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Links 25/3/2019: Linux 5.1 RC2, Nano 4.0, PyPy 7.1

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  • Server

    • A HATS For Many Occasions
      IBM gives customers plenty of options when it comes to its Rational Host Access Transformation software, including several modes of operation, different runtime options, and support for different operating systems in screen modernization engagements. With last week’s launch of HATS version 9.7, the development and deployment options got even wider.

      Regardless of which downstream options a HATS customer ultimately chooses, it all starts out basically the same on the front side of the sausage machine: Customers come to HATS because they have a 5250 (or 3270 or VT100) application that they want to transform, but they don’t want to go through the hassle, expense, and risk of modifying the IBM i, z/OS, or Unix application’s source code.

    • Six top skills that you should acquire in 2019
      There is a growing demand for the fullstack development skill set, which is the ability to develop tech both on the front-end/client side and back-end/server side. As you can’t learn all, select combinations like MEAN or LAMP stack.

    • Kubernetes and the Enterprise
      The reason we were having this conversation was around SUSE’s Cloud Application Platform (CAP). This is our Kubernetes focused Cloud Foundry distribution. And as part of the Kubernetes focus, we have been supporting and running SUSE CAP on Azure’s AKS for the last year or so.

      The conversation continued with observations that Kubernetes was clearly the future across IT. Yet to date, Cloud Foundry still has a good following with the large enterprise. And the thinking was that the Cloud Foundry approach really helped the large enteprise work with their applications, even if the applications were purely ‘container’ applications. Cloud Foundry makes the container-side of managing your ‘container’ application transparent. This approach ultimately lowers the tasks, breadth of tooling, and knowledge you have to surround Kubernetes with. It was with this thought, that a light-bulb went on.

    • Reducing sysadmin toil with Kubernetes controllers
      Kubernetes is a platform for reducing toil cunningly disguised as a platform for running containers. The element that allows for both running containers and reducing toil is the Kubernetes concept of a Controller.


      The canonical example of this in action is in how we manage Pods in Kubernetes. A Pod is effectively a running copy of an application that a specific worker node is asked to run. If that application crashes, the kubelet running on that node will start it again. However, if that node crashes, the Pod is not recovered, as the control loop (via the kubelet process) responsible for the resource no longer exists. To make applications more resilient, Kubernetes has the ReplicaSet controller. The ReplicaSet controller is bundled inside the Kubernetes controller-manager, which runs on the Kubernetes master node and contains the controllers for these more advanced resources. The ReplicaSet controller is responsible for ensuring that a set number of copies of your application is always running. To do this, the ReplicaSet controller requests that a given number of Pods is created. It then routinely checks that the correct number of Pods is still running and will request more Pods or destroy existing Pods to do so.

      By requesting a ReplicaSet from Kubernetes, you get a self-healing deployment of your application. You can further add lifecycle management to your workload by requesting a Deployment, which is a controller that manages ReplicaSets and provides rolling upgrades by managing multiple versions of your application's ReplicaSets.

    • Rebooting UUCP to redecentralize the net
      UUCP (Unix-to-Unix Copy Protocol) is a venerable, non-hierarchical networking protocol that was used as transport for early email and Usenet message boards; its intrinsic decentralization and its cooperative nature (UUCP hosts store and forward messages for one another) make it a kind of symbol of the early, decentralized robustness that characterized the early net and inspired so much optimism about a fundamentally distributed arrangement of peers rising up to replace the top-down phone companies and other centralized systems.

      As part of the decentralized web movement, UUCP has been rebooted by Dataforge, a Fort Worth, Texas-based "hybrid shell provider/tilde server" whose proprietor Wesley "praetor" Banderia uses his decades of Unix systems administration to keep the system running on a cluster of lovingly maintained vintage SGI machines with a Google Cloud VPS for backup.

    • Five layers of security for Red Hat Data Grid on OpenShift
      Red Hat Data Grid is an in-memory, distributed, NoSQL datastore solution. With it, your applications can access, process, and analyze data at in-memory speed to deliver a superior user experience. In-memory Data Grid has a variety of use cases in today’s environment, such as fast data access for low-latency apps, storing objects (NoSQL) in a datastore, achieving linear scalability with data distribution/partitioning, and data high-availability across geographies, among many others. With containers getting more attention, the need to have Data Grid running on a container platform like OpenShift is clear, and we are seeing more and more customers aligning their architecture with a datastore running natively on a container platform.

      In this article, I will talk about multiple layers of security available while deploying Data Grid on OpenShift. The layers of security offer a combination of security measures provided by Data Grid as well as by OpenShift/Kubernetes.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Action News 98
      Is Linux gaming really being saved by Google's Stadia platform? We discuss the details and possibilities.

      Plus good news for KDE Connect users, Intel begins work on next-generation open source video drivers, and much more.

    • Linux Gaming News Punch - Episode 5
      The Linux Gaming News Punch - Episode 5 is here once again! Another week, another ton of news and so here's your bite-sized take at a few interesting topics for those struggling to keep up.

      As usual, it has a video to give your eyes as well as your ears a feast or just the plain audio to listen to on the go.

    • gnuWorldOrder_13x13

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.1-rc2
      Well, we're a week away from the merge window close, and here's rc2. Things look fairly normal, but honestly, rc2 is usually too early to tell. People haven't necessarily had time to notice problems yet. Which is just another way of saying "please test harder".

      Nothing particularly stands out. Yes, we had some fixes for the new io_ring code for issues that were discussed when merging it. Other than that, worth noting is that the bulk of the patches are for tooling, not the core kernel. In fact, about two thirds of the patch is just for the tools/ subdirectory, most of it due to some late perf tool updates. The people involved promise they're done.

    • Linux 5.1-rc2 Kernel Released
      Linus Torvalds has announced the second weekly release candidate for Linux 5.1.

      Linux 5.1-rc2 is looking "fairly normal" but then again with being the trailing week after a busy merge window, it's difficult to tell how the rest of the cycle will pan out.

      Linus noted in the 5.1-rc2 announcement that nothing particular stands out but there are fixes to the io_uring code and other improvements merged over the past week.

    • Linux 5.0.4
      I'm announcing the release of the 5.0.4 kernel.

      All users of the 5.0 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.0.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-5.0.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:
    • Linux 4.19.31
    • Linux 4.14.108
    • Linux 4.9.165
    • Linux 4.4.177
    • Linux 3.18.137

    • Linux Foundation

      • How Open Source Is Accelerating NFV Transformation
        Red Hat is noted for making open source a culture and business model, not just a way of developing software, and its message of open source as the path to innovation resonates on many levels.

        In anticipation of the upcoming Open Networking Summit, we talked with Thomas Nadeau, Technical Director NFV at Red Hat, who gave a keynote address at last year’s event, to hear his thoughts regarding the role of open source in innovation for telecommunications service providers.

        One reason for open source’s broad acceptance in this industry, he said, was that some very successful projects have grown too large for any one company to manage, or single-handedly push their boundaries toward additional innovative breakthroughs.

      • Why The CDF Launch From Linux Foundation Is Important For The DevOps And Cloud Native Ecosystem
        Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) has become an essential building block of modern application lifecycle management. This technique allows business to increase the velocity of delivering software to users. Through CI/CD, what was once confined to large, web-scale companies became available to early-stage startups and enterprises.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Canonical Reportedly Not Planning To Enable Wayland-By-Default For Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
        Since the short-lived Ubuntu 17.10 GNOME + Wayland experience, the Ubuntu desktop has still been using the trusted X.Org Server session by default. While Ubuntu 19.04 will soon be shipping and the Ubuntu 19.10 development cycle then getting underway, don't look for any Wayland-by-default change to be around the corner.

        Twice in the past week I've received communication from two indicating that Canonical reportedly isn't planning on enabling Wayland-by-default for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. If Canonical were planning to go ahead with Wayland used by default, they would need to make the change for Ubuntu 19.10 as is customary for them to make large changes in the LTS-release-1 version in order to facilitate more widespread testing ahead of the Long Term Support cycle. But Canonical engineers feel that the Wayland support isn't mature enough to enable in the next year for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

      • Vulkan Working To Expose Video Encode/Decode, Machine Learning
        During this week's Game Developers Conference was the usual Khronos Dev Day where Vulkan, WebGL, glTF, and OpenXR took center stage. During the Vulkan State of the Union some details on their future endeavors were covered.

        Among some of the larger efforts that are "in flight" are improving the portability of Vulkan to closed platforms without native drivers (MoltenVK, etc), continuing to work on ray-tracing (complementing the existing VK_NV_ray_tracing), exposing video encode/decode through Vulkan, exposing machine learning capabilities, and the separate effort on safety critical Vulkan.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux Tests Of The QNINE M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure To USB-C Adapter
        In the past few months a number of M.2 NVMe SSD to USB adapters have been appearing on the market. Curious about the performance potential on Linux of an NVMe SSD drive attached to a USB 3.1 connection, I recently picked up a QNINE NVMe solid-state drive enclosure for benchmarking.

        The QNINE NVMe SSD enclosure is an M.2 NVMe to USB-C/USB-3.1 adapter that retails for about $40 USD from the likes of Amazon. Only Windows and macOS support is mentioned, but the drive was detected just fine and working under Linux. This QNINE adapter is just one of many M.2 NVMe to USB-C adapters on the market and most in the $40~60 USD price range.

  • Applications

    • nano-4.0 is released
      2019.03.24 - GNU nano 4.0 "Thy Rope of Sands"

      ● An overlong line is no longer automatically hard-wrapped. ● Smooth scrolling (one line at a time) has become the default. ● A newline character is no longer automatically added at end of buffer. ● The line below the title bar is by default part of the editing space. ● Option --breaklonglines (-b) turns automatic hard-wrapping back on. ● Option --jumpyscrolling (-j) gives the chunky, half-screen scrolling. ● Option --finalnewline (-f) brings back the automatic newline at EOF. ● Option --emptyline (-e) leaves the line below the title bar unused. ● <Alt+Up> and <Alt+Down> now do a linewise scroll instead of a findnext. ● Any number of justifications can be undone (like all other operations). ● When marked text is justified, it becomes a single, separate paragraph. ● Option --guidestripe=<number> draws a vertical bar at the given column. ● Option --fill=<number> no longer turns on automatic hard-wrapping. ● When a line continues offscreen, it now ends with a highlighted ">". ● The halfs of a split two-column character are shown as "[" and "]". ● A line now scrolls horizontally one column earlier. ● The bindable functions 'cutwordleft' and 'cutwordright' were renamed to 'chopwordleft' and 'chopwordright' as they don't use the cutbuffer. ● The paragraph-jumping functions were moved from Search to Go-to-Line. ● Option --rebinddelete is able to compensate for more misbindings. ● Options --morespace and --smooth are obsolete and thus ignored. ● The --disable-wrapping-as-root configure option was removed.

    • GNU Nano 4.0 Text Editor Released
      For fans of GNU's Nano text editor, version 4.0 was released this Sunday where overlong lines are no longer automatically hard-wrapped, smooth scrolling has been enabled by default, and other improvements made.

    • nikita 0.3 released
      We are pleased to announce that we have released 0.3 of nikita.

      A high level overview of the work that has been carried out is detailed in:

      You can also get an insight into the the work from the developer-notes

      This is very much a incremental release. We have a had a look backwards on the code and worked on bug-fixes and undertaken improvements. We introduce the browse capability, which is useful when discussing structural issues with data. We have started support for pagination and undertaken some experimental work on block chain integration. The project has also spent a lot of energy on the interface standard and we drafted a description on how business specific metadata should be supported. We have a good number of pull requests in, on clarifying issues with the standard. We have also tested Evrys Noark core that claims compliance with the interface standard and are in dialog about issues there. This has shown that there is a further need to standardise the entry point to a Noark API.

      We are discussing a lot of interesting stuff going forward and you are welcome to join us on #nikita. Going forward we are working on export, import, pagination, odata and business specific metadata. We are also looking at how a private collection of documents can be sorted and imported to a Noark core via the interface standard.

      Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the project!

    • Release 0.3 of free software archive API system Nikita announced
      Yesterday, a new release of Nikita Noark 5 core project was announced on the project mailing list. The free software solution is an implementation of the Norwegian archive standard Noark 5 used by government offices in Norway.

    • Stellarium v0.19.0 has been released!
      The major changes of this version:

      5 new sky cultures Refactoring the code: many improvements and fixes Added many DSO textures Many improvements for Scripting Engine Thank you very much to community for bug reports, feature requests and contributions!

    • Free Software Planetarium Stellarium 0.19.0 Released (How to Install)
      Stellarium released version 0.19.0 today. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 18.10, and higher.

    • 15 Useful And Best Media Server Software For Linux
      There is no doubt that Linux is multi-purpose operating systems. It has gone far from being the operating systems for system administrators or for the programmers. You can use it for many purpose.

      In this post, We will talk about some of the best Media server software for Linux so that you can turn your Linux to media server instantly.

    • 10 Excellent Free Linux Relational Databases
      A relational database matches data using common characteristics found within the data set. The resulting groups of data are organized and are much easier for people to understand. In such a database the data and relations between them are organized in tables. A table is a collection of records and each record in a table contains the same fields. Certain fields may be designated as keys, which means that searches for specific values of that field will use indexing to speed them up.

      The term relational database was originally defined by Edgar Codd, a British computer scientist, whilst working at IBM Almaden Research Center. He recognized that the concept of a relational database could be derived from the principles of relational algebra and relational calculus.

      A Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) is a Database Management System (DBMS) that is based on the relational model. Most database systems today are based on this type of system.

      A database is a vital system for any organization that stores mission critical information. The continual failure of a company’s database system can only lead to the demise of the organization – companies cannot do business without a working database system.

      To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 10 open source RDBMS. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to store data in an efficient way.

    • 10 Best lightweight browsers for Linux or Ubuntu
      Web Browsers, the day when they started making our lives easier by allowing us to crawl the internet to today’s world; they have been gone through numerous technological advancements. Browsers are quite advance to handle high-end graphics, online videos, apps and more without the help of third-party software. But this also has made them heavy in terms of consuming hardware resources, means more RAM and storage space. Such kind of browsers works well on good system configuration machines, however, Linux operating systems those are running on old PC or laptops or low configuration systems require light browsers with a minimal approach to work fast.

      Mainstream browser or shall I say the dominated one: Google Chrome that Linux users refrain themselves from instaling it on their machines is rather resourced consuming browser. This is the main reason why most of the Linux OS like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Centos and more come with Firefox Mozilla but somewhere it still not that much lightweight as we need it to be. So, I have done some research and gathered some lightweight Linux browsers.

    • Top 5 Linux Apps For Writing
      Top 5 Linux Apps For Writing. Keeping in mind that not all Linux apps for writing are created equal nor do they each provide the same functionality. Today I’ll provide you with my top five Linux app picks for writing.

    • Release of GooCalendar 0.5
      We are glad to announce the release of GooCalendar version 0.5.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Google Stadia Gaming Platform Needs Min 25Mb/s Internet Speed
        Google has released the specifications of its upcoming game streaming platform known as Google Stadia. The game streaming platform from the tech giant will use custom made processor and an ultra-fast graphics card in its forthcoming console.

        While the CPU will be a 2.7GHz x86 custom-made chip with hyper-threading and 9.5 MB L2+L2 cache, AMD will handle the graphical duties with a 10.7 Teraflops GPU with 56 compute units and HMB2 memory. Stadia machine will have 16GB of RAM along with 484GB/s of high transfer speed. Additionally, an SSD will be used for maximum performance to increase the load-time.

      • Forge and Fight might be the most hilarious prototype I've played recently
        Always keen to see what new types of experiences developers are looking to offer, I often try out game prototypes. Forge and Fight is one where you make your own weapon and it's pretty amusing.

        Since it's a prototype, it's obviously quite basic. However the promise with this one is very clear! Pick a handle and then basically stick anything on it and swing it around at your enemies! How about a fancy looking sword? Sure you could do that—or you could swing around multiple Scythes attached by a chain link with a flamethrower, a couple of spike balls and a boxing glove because why the hell not.

      • The shoot and loot RPG 'Relic Hunters Legend' is looking good in the latest trailer's coming to Linux and certainly still seems to be that way as the trailer even has the Linux "tux" logo included and the current FAQ clearly mentions Linux as a platform...

      • Port Valley, a "not so classic" point & click adventure now has a Linux demo
        From developer WrongPixel, Port Valley is an in development point & click adventure that's "not so" classic apparently.

        Honestly, I had never heard of this before or at least I don't remember hearing about it at all. Turns out a few days ago it gained a Linux demo and it does seem to work quite nicely. Seems like a very interesting point and click game, one the developer said is only aiming to borrow some mechanics from the past while showing the genre "still has a lot to say".

      • The impressive squad-based survival strategy game Overland to release this autumn
        Overland from Finji is a beautiful looking and impressive squad-based strategy game and they've now announced a release window.

      • The open source game manager Lutris had another sweet update recently
        What's that, too many launchers or no easy way to manage GOG games on Linux? Lutris might solve this problem for you.

        Giving you the ability to install and manage games from Steam, GOG, Humble Store, Emulators and more it's a pretty handy application to keep around. This latest release is mostly improving on existing features like downloading the default Wine version when not already available, preventing duplicated entries when importing games from a 3rd party, one search bar to rule them all, improved log handling performance, using your discrete GPU by default on compatible systems and more.

      • Dead Cells - Rise of the Giant free DLC to release this week, over 1 million copies sold
        Ready for just one more run? The Dead Cells - Rise of the Giant free DLC is releasing this week (March 28th) as Motion Twin celebrate good sales.

        The developer spoke at GDC and they went on to mention that Dead Cells has now officially sold over 1 million copies! Around 60% of that was on PC too, so the indie market for good games is still alive and well by the looks of it.

      • Fossilize Is Valve's Latest Open-Source Vulkan Project
        Valve Software has been backing work on Fossilize as an open-source project providing a serialization format for persistent Vulkan object types.

        Valve has been backing Hans-Kristian Arntzen to work on this Vulkan project while it has also seen commits by their in-house Vulkan guru Dan Ginsburg. The Fossilize library and Vulkan layer is intended so these persistent Vulkan persistent object types can be backed by the pipeline cache, a Vulkan layer to capture the cache, and the ability to replay the cache on different devices without having to run the application itself.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Sway
      There is a new, small desktop available for Sparkers: Sway


      If you don’t want to install gdm3 (and gnome-shell), you can use other display managers, such as LightDM, SDDM, etc., but they can run Sway in Xorg session with Xwayland (xwayland package has to be installed).

    • 7 Great XFCE Themes for Linux
      Gnome might be the de-facto default desktop for many Linux distributions, but that doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s favorite. For many Linux users that distinction goes to XFCE. While it’s not as lightweight as it used to be, XFCE remains a favorite among users who want their desktop environment to stay out of their way.

      Just because you want a relatively minimal desktop doesn’t mean you want it to be ugly. Looking to spice up the look of your XFCE installation? You have plenty of options.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Linux Mint KDE Still Possible
        If you're the Linux Mint and KDE lover, then you know that starting from Linux Mint 19 "Tara", your beloved Linux distro has stopped shipping with KDE. So Linux Mint KDE has died a brutal death. But we can revive the combination of the two best software, i.e. Linux Mint on KDE. In this article, I will show you how you can install KDE on Linux Mint 19 or possibly any other distro gets released after Linux Mint 19 "Tara". I personally love the combination of two software. Linux Mint is the best Linux distro not only for Linux beginners but in almost all aspects of computing, Linux mint fits very well. On the other hand, KDE is one of the most customizable Linux desktop environments that we've ever had.

        ​Although, KDE might not be the best for ancient PCs or laptops. It prefers looks and the ability to customize the system a little more than performance. So if you have a decent computer, one bought in the current decade, you can try out KDE.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Kodachi OS Review
        Kodachi is a free Debian based Operating System designed specially for security, anonymity and privacy. It has built in anonymity, cryptography and anti forensics solutions. If compared with others, its a better alternative for its competitor Operating Systems like Tails and Qubes. It has a complete suite of tools and utilities that one needs to secure his privacy and anonymity on the internet. When Kodachi boots up, it changes your MAC Address, establishes TOR (The Onion Routing) connection through a paid VPN and all of the internet traffic has to go through TOR plus VPN with DNS encryption. Also it changes your MAC Address regularly after a while to avoid detection and tracking on the internet.

        Kodachi runs on Live USB, CD, DVD and can be used with USB persistence, also it can be installed on Hard Disk Drive but that’s not recommended. Kodachi is entirely anti forensics, it leaves no traces of your activity on host system and can’t be traced back. It also has wipe RAM option in Panic Room Panel to clear Temporary Memory.

        Followings are some of its amazing features which aren’t provided by any other Operating System

      • Review: Pardus 17.5
        Pardus is a Debian-based distribution developed in Turkey. Pardus 17.x releases are based on Debian 9, but they also include software from Debian Backports and Pardus-specific packages. The latest release, Pardus 17.5, will be the final release in the Pardus 17 series, but it will be supported through early 2021.

        For this review I will be looking at Pardus 17.5's Xfce desktop version, but there is an alternate download that features the Deepin desktop environment. There is also a server image that installs Pardus without a desktop environment. The Xfce image is 1.3GB, the Deepin image is 1.4GB, and the server image is 530MB.

        Pardus live image

        I copied the Xfce image to a flash drive and booted my computer from the drive. I was presented with options to use the live desktop in Turkish or English, or to install using a graphical or text-mode installer. I selected the English live desktop and waited just a short time before I had a functional desktop.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SuSE touts ‘move to independence’
        Corporate (but ultimately technically-related) news from March saw the completion of SuSE’s acquisition by growth investor EQT from Micro Focus.

        EQT is a Scandinavia equity funds organisation that has previously spoken of its intentions to invest in engineering prowess at SuSE itself.

        As TechTarget’s Aaron Tan has alaredy discussed here in a piece entitled Is open source lock-in possible (?) … this move allows SuSE to stake a claim for being the largest independent open source company on the planet given IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat.

      • Suse renews focus on APAC as independent firm
        Fresh from its acquisition by growth investor EQT from Micro Focus for $2.5bn, open source software company Suse is now looking towards Asia-Pacific to fuel its growth this year.

        Speaking to Computer Weekly in Singapore, Andy Jiang, vice-president for Suse in Asia-Pacific and Japan, said the company currently runs its third largest engineering centre in Beijing, and has recently beefed up its call centre operations in Singapore.

        While much of Suse operations, including sales, in Southeast Asia are run out of Singapore, Jiang revealed that the company has recently hired people in Indonesia and Thailand, declining to reveal specific headcount numbers in the region.

        Though smaller than US rival Red Hat, Suse has achieved strong growth in Asia-Pacific over the past eight years. Revenue from the region is three times the size it was when Suse became a business unit under Micro Focus in 2014.

    • Debian Family

      • Jelmer Vernooij: Breezy evolves
        Last month Martin, Vincent and I finally released version 3.0.0 of Breezy, a little over a year after we originally forked Bazaar.

        When we started working on Breezy, it was mostly as a way to keep Bazaar working going forward - in a world where Python 2 has mostly disappeared in favour of Python 3).

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • It's About Time DApps Unlocked the Mass-Market Momentum for Blockchain
    There’s more to Blockchain technology than Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. At its fundamental level, Blockchain technology engenders trusts in inherently trustless environments. Protocol blockchains such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, GoChain, Steem and xDai have provided a launchpad for developers to work on DApps. DApps are typically open source applications not owned by anyone, immune from downtimes; and that cannot be shut down by a government or its agencies.

    The rapid proliferation of Decentralized Applications (DApps) powered a bull run in cryptocurrencies in 2017. Right now, there are more than 2000 DApps designed to solve specific market problems across industries such as health, data storage, finance, gaming, and governance.

  • DeepBrain Chain outlines release of DBC beta in progress report

    DeepBrain Chain detailed the release of DBC beta of its AI Training Net, which allows users to rent computing power to train artificial intelligence algorithms.

    DeepBrain Chain claimed numerous feature inclusions and and improvements, many pertaining to the scheduling and activation of tasks. In DBC, if an AI training task has been stopped a specified period of time, its storage will be deleted automatically. However, the task can be restarted at any time before deletion. If a node has been restarted, reactivation of any previous training tasks will require manual user authorization.


    A decision was made recently by the community concerning the open source licensing of DeepBrain Chain’s code. Over 55 percent of the members polled voted to not make the code fully open source by the end of March.

  • Redox OS 0.5.0
    It has been one year and four days since the last release of Redox OS! In this time, we have been hard at work improving the Redox ecosystem. Much of this work was related to relibc, a new C library written in Rust and maintained by the Redox OS project, and adding new packages to the cookbook. We are proud to report that we have now far exceeded the capabilities of newlib, which we were using as our system C library before. We have added many important libraries and programs, which you can see listed below.

  • Redox OS 0.5 Released With New C Library Written In Rust
    It's been just over one year since the previous release of Redox OS while today this Rust-written operating system has finally been succeeded by Redox OS 0.5.

    It's taken a while since the previous release of Redox OS as they have been focusing their attention on Relibc, a C library implementation written within the Rust programming language. Relibc is now used as the operating system's default C library.

  • Redox OS 0.50 released with support for Cairo, Pixman, and other libraries and packages
    The developer of Redox OS shared that there are still security concerns in the kernel with regards to memory management. He commented, “There are a couple known security issues in the kernel regarding memory management. One is that memory is granted in pages, so buffers passed to a scheme are over-mapped for the process handling it. You have to be root to handle a scheme, so it was not a high severity issue.”

    He further added that there are concerns with the grants which can be dropped by owning process and highlighted that more kernel work is needed.

    He commented, “Another is that grants can be dropped by the owning process while in use by another process. This can lead to the re-allocation of said grants in the owning process, making memory accessible to the other users of the grant. More kernel work is needed to prevent schemes from leaking data in this manner.”
  • Get Moving with New Software from OpenBuilds
    If you’re reading Hackaday, you’ve probably heard of OpenBuilds. Even if the name doesn’t sound familiar, you’ve absolutely seen something on these pages that was built with their components. Not only is OpenBuilds a fantastic place to get steppers, linear rails, lead screws, pulleys, wheels, and whatever else you need to make your project go, they’re also home to an active forum of people who are passionate about developing open source machines.

    As if that wasn’t enough reason to head over to the OpenBuilds website, [Peter Van Der Walt] recently wrote in to tell us about some new free and open source software he and the team have been working on that’s designed to make it easier than ever to get your creations cutting, lasing, milling, and whatever else you could possibly imagine. If you’ve got a machine that moves, they’ve got some tools you’ll probably want to check out.

  • Events

    • Dive into developer-focused sessions at Red Hat Summit
      Red Hat Summit is just around the corner, and it’s shaping up to be best Red Hat developer event ever. This year, attendees will get to choose from more than 300 sessions, not to mention booth presentations, parties, labs, and training.

      To help you cut through the clutter, we’ve created a list of developer specific activities and sessions that will help you shape your Red Hat Summit experience. Most of these sessions are part of the Cloud-Native App Dev track, with a few other sessions that we think will appeal to you as a developer. For more information on these sessions, visit the Red Hat Summit session listing page and sort by “cloud-native app dev” track.

    • 10th year of FOSSASIA
      This FOSSASIA was special as it marked its 10th year! It was quite impressive to witness a FOSS conference to continue growing this long with growing community. The four day conference schedule was packed with various interesting talks, workshops, hackathon and other engaging activities.

  • Web Browsers

    • Some Additional Chrome vs. Firefox Benchmarks With WebRender, 67 Beta / 68 Alpha
      A few days ago I posted some Chrome vs. Firefox benchmarks using the latest Linux builds. Some readers suggested Firefox could be more competitive if forcing WebRender usage and/or moving to the latest nightly builds, so here are some complementary data sets looking at such combinations.

      In addition to Firefox 66 stable and Chrome 73 stable, here are results when using Firefox 67 Beta 4 and Firefox 68 Alpha 1 as the latest at the time of testing. In addition to testing those two development channels, additional runs were done on each of them after forcing WebRender with the "MOZ_ACCELERATED=1 MOZ_WEBRENDER=1" environment variables.

    • Mozilla

      • TenFourFox FPR13 SPR1 available
        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 13 Security Parity Release 1 ("FPR13.1") is now available and live (downloads, hashes, release notes). The Pwn2Own vulnerabilities do not work on TenFourFox in their present form (not only because we're PowerPC but also because of our hybrid-endian typed arrays and other differences), but I have determined that TenFourFox-specific variant attacks could be exploitable, so we are patched as well. This should also reduce the risk of crashes from attempts to exploit mainline x86 Firefox.

        Meanwhile, H.264 support for TenFourFox FPR14 appears to be sticking. Yes, folks: for the first time you can now play Vimeo and other H.264-only videos from within TenFourFox using sidecar ffmpeg libraries, and it actually works pretty well! Kudos to Olga for the integration code! That said, however, it comes with a couple significant caveats. The first is that while WebM video tends not to occur in large numbers on a given page, H.264 videos nowadays are studded everywhere (Vimeo's front page, Twitter threads, Imgur galleries, etc.) and sometimes try to autoplay simultaneously. In its first iteration this would cause the browser to run out of memory if a large number of higher resolution videos tried to play at once, and sometimes crash when an infallible memory allocation fallibled. Right now there is a lockout in the browser to immediately halt all H.264 decoding if any instance runs out of memory so that the browser can save itself, but this needs a lot more testing to make sure it's solid, and is clearly a suboptimal solution. Remember that we are under unusual memory constraints because of the large amount of stack required for our JIT.

      • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: EU copyright reform: a missed opportunity
        We’ve been engaged in the discussions around the EU Copyright directive since the very beginning. During that time, we deployed various tools, campaigns, and policy assessments to highlight to European lawmakers the importance of an ambitious copyright reform that puts the interests of European internet users and creators at the centre of the process. Sadly, despite our best efforts – as well as the efforts of academics, creator and digital rights organisations, internet luminaries, and over five million citizens – our chances of reversing the EU’s march towards a bad legislative outcome diminished dramatically last September, after the draft law passed a crucial procedural milestone in the European Parliament.

        Over the last several months, we have worked hard to minimise the damage that these proposals would do to the internet in Europe and to Europeans’ rights. Although the draft law is still deeply flawed, we are grateful to those progressive lawmakers who worked with us to improve the text.

      • Mozilla’s Firefox Send File Sharing Service Now Available As Android App
        Mozilla recently introduced its file-sharing service, Firefox Send, which was initially available on the web. As promised previously, the service now has an Android app, currently available in the form of a beta.

        Firefox Send allows users to share files with other users, in a secure and end-to-end encrypted form.


    • Questioning and Finding Purpose
      This is copied over from my spiritual blog. I'm nervous doing that, especially at a point when I'm more vulnerable than usual in the Debian community. Still, this is who I am, and I want to be proud of that rather than hide it. And Debian and the free software community are about far more than just the programs we write. So hear goes:

      The Libreplanet opening keynote had me in tears. It was a talk by Dr. Tarek Loubani. He described his work as an emergency physician in Gaza and how 3d printers and open hardware are helping save lives.

      They didn't have enough stethoscopes; that was one of the critical needs. So, they imported a 3d printer, used that to print another 3d printer, and then began iterative designs of 3d-printable stethoscopes. By the time they were done, they had a device that performed as well or better than than a commercially available model. What was amazing is that the residents of Gaza could print their own; this didn't introduce dependencies on some external organization. Instead, open/free hardware was used to help give people a sense of dignity, control of some part of their lives, and the ability to better save those who depended on them.

      Even more basic supplies were unavailable. The lack of tourniquets caused the death of some significant fraction of casualties in the 2014 war. The same solution—3d-printed tourniquets had an even more dramatic result.

      Dr. Loubani talked about how he felt powerless to change the world around him. He talked about how he felt like an insignificant ant.

    • LibrePlanet Day 2: Welcoming everyone to the world of free software
      One of the most important questions that free software is facing in the year 2019 is: how do we make the world of free software accessible to broader audiences? Vast numbers of people are using software every day -- how do we relate our message to something that is important to them, and then welcome them into our community? In order to achieve our mission, we need to invite people and get them to use, create, and proliferate ethical software, until it replaces until all technology is free.

      Many of the best talks at LibrePlanet 2019 echoed a message for the free software community to focus on building a culture that's respectful and encouraging for new people, respecting a wide variety of personalities and values. The first way to get people invested in the culture of free software is to make it fun, and that was the focus of the morning keynote, "Freedom is fun!", delivered by free software veteran Bdale Garbee. A prominent name in the free software world for decades, Bdale talked about how he has a habit of turning all of his hobbies into free software projects, starting with model rockets.

  • Programming/Development

    • PyPy v7.1 released; now uses utf-8 internally for unicode strings
      The interpreters are based on much the same codebase, thus the double release.

      This release, coming fast on the heels of 7.0 in February, finally merges the internal refactoring of unicode representation as UTF-8. Removing the conversions from strings to unicode internally lead to a nice speed bump. We merged the utf-8 changes to the py3.5 branch (Python3.5.3) but will concentrate on 3.6 going forward.

      We also improved the ability to use the buffer protocol with ctype structures and arrays.

    • PyPy 7.1 As The Well Known Alternative Python Implementation
      Last month brought the release of PyPy 7.0 as the JIT-ed performance-optimized Python implementation. PyPy 7.0 brought alpha Python 3.6 support, an updated CFFI module, and other enhancements. Out now is PyPy 7.1 as its successor.

    • Python’s “else” clause for loops

    • EuroPython 2019: Presenting our conference logo for Basel
      The logo is inspired by graphical elements from the Basel Jean Tinguely Museum and Basel Rhine Swimming. It was again created by our designer Jessica Peña Moro from Simétriko, who had already helped us in previous years with the conference design.
    • PyPy v7.1 released; now uses utf-8 internally for unicode strings
      The interpreters are based on much the same codebase, thus the double release.

      This release, coming fast on the heels of 7.0 in February, finally merges the internal refactoring of unicode representation as UTF-8. Removing the conversions from strings to unicode internally lead to a nice speed bump. We merged the utf-8 changes to the py3.5 branch (Python3.5.3) but will concentrate on 3.6 going forward.

      We also improved the ability to use the buffer protocol with ctype structures and arrays.

    • PyPy 7.1 As The Well Known Alternative Python Implementation
      Last month brought the release of PyPy 7.0 as the JIT-ed performance-optimized Python implementation. PyPy 7.0 brought alpha Python 3.6 support, an updated CFFI module, and other enhancements. Out now is PyPy 7.1 as its successor.

    • PyPy 7.1 releases with UTF-8 for Unicode strings
      PyPy team released version 7.1 of PyPy, a fast and compliant Python Interpreter, yesterday. PyPy 7.1 explores new features, improvements, and other changes. PyPy 7.1 supports x86 machines on common operating systems ( Linux 32/64 bits, Mac OS X 64 bits, Windows 32 bits, OpenBSD, FreeBSD), ARM32, s390x running Linux, etc.

    • PyDev of the Week: Miro Hrončok
      This week we welcome Miro Hrončok (@hroncok) as our PyDev of the Week! Miro teaches at Czech Technical University and helps out with the local PyLadies chapter. He is also involved with the Special Interest Group for Python in Fedora as he works for Red Hat in addition to his teaching position. You can check out some of the projects he is involved in over on Github or check out his website. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Miro better!

    • Python’s “else” clause for loops

    • EuroPython 2019: Presenting our conference logo for Basel
      The logo is inspired by graphical elements from the Basel Jean Tinguely Museum and Basel Rhine Swimming. It was again created by our designer Jessica Peña Moro from Simétriko, who had already helped us in previous years with the conference design.
    • 5 Julia-Specific IDEs Developers Should Know
      If you already are a Julia programmer or developer, you would be interested to know what are the top IDEs one can use. Julia is easier to work with when you make use of an IDE such as Juno which is an excellent IDE. For developers who wish to create complex applications, IDEs can be very helpful but it must be noted that there is no such specific feasible IDE for this language and one must choose their IDE according to their comfort level as well as accessibility to that language.

      In this article, we list down 5 Julia-specific IDEs along with some prominent alternative IDEs.


  • “I’m a Nine-Star General Now”: an Interview with Black Uhuru’s Duckie Simpson
    After watching legendary reggae band Black Uhuru perform in September of 2016, I wrote: “Duckie Simpson is an ageless, still spry reggae icon; like fine wine, his artistic beauty and complete mastery of reggae music has only matured over the years, ripening and deepening in its richness and maturity.” Over two years later and coming off of the September release of “As the World Turns,” the first new Black Uhuru album in over fifteen years – a superb addition to Black Uhuru’s discography that received a Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album – Simpson is now more like an extremely rare VSOP (very superior old but not pale) cognac: robust and full of flavor, roots, and culture; when he sings or speaks about reggae music, it’s an experience to be savored.

    So on March 12, when I had the opportunity to see Black Uhuru perform a riveting set at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, California, and afterward, when I was invited on the band’s tour bus to interview Duckie Simpson, I was conscious of the privilege I’d been given, and was determined to make the most of it. For approximately forty-five minutes, Simpson and I spoke about: the Grammy Awards; the making of “As the World Turns”; songwriting generally; ganja; Rastafari; the return of reggae superstar Buju Banton to Jamaica; his relationship with former Black Uhuru bandmates Garth Dennis, Don Carlos, and Michael Rose, and much, much more. What follows is a transcript of the interview, modified only slightly for clarity and space considerations.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How Jim Crow Went to China in the Making of Big Tobacco
      The cigarette industry played a paradigm-shifting role in the rise of corporate power during the late 19th and early 20th century. It drew on Jim Crow to expand globally, and revolutionized branding by intimately intertwining the cigarette with jazz culture. Truthout asked Nan Enstad, the author of Cigarettes Inc.: An Intimate History of Corporate Imperialism, to discuss how Big Tobacco’s early history can help us challenge conventional understandings of corporations that have otherwise left our understanding of power clouded in smoke.


      The first story took place in the 1890s, when the cigarette corporate monopoly, the American Tobacco Company (ATC), was instrumental in a major redefinition of the corporation’s powers. In essence, the ATC successfully prevailed against state-level court challenges to its monopolistic business practices by drawing on the Fourteenth Amendment’s new federal protections of property and due process intended to safeguard the citizenship of African American men. With this success, the ATC helped wrest the corporation free from state regulations and redefined it as private rather than public in nature. This was a huge shift that set the stage for corporations’ claiming liberty rights in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but it was important in its own right, as it shielded and obscured corporations’ “private” uses (and abuses) of public resources. I tell this story in chapter two of the book and, in quite different form, in a Boston Review article.

      The second big story about cigarettes and the corporation takes place in the 1920s and ‘30s, when cigarette corporations moved to the global cutting edge of branding and marketing. By the mid-1920s, the two most popular cigarettes brands in the world were Camel Cigarettes in the US and Ruby Queen Cigarettes in China. But success did not come in the way that industry leaders had expected or planned. Cigarette executives thought that they needed to offer many cigarette brands to reach the diversity of tastes and price points. When these single brands became so trendy, they gained a remarkable social power and also made cigarette smoking itself more popular. In fact, the brands sometimes escaped the control of marketers and became resources for other projects. Anti-imperial protestors in China effectively rebranded Ruby Queen cigarettes in 1925 as a symbol of imperialism. Another non-parallel example is that African American workers in North Carolina appropriated the brand name Lucky Strike to attribute social value to a Black baseball team. These uses of the brand far beyond marketers’ intentions mark the beginning of the hyper-branded world that we live in.

    • Avocados Shipped to Six States Recalled Over Listeria Fears
      A major California avocado producer issued a voluntary recall of the popular fruit over concerns they could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, USA Today reported.

      Henry Avocado issued the recall Saturday after a routine government inspection at its California packing facility turned up positive test results for the bacteria on "environmental samples," the company said in a statement. No illnesses have been reported.

  • Security

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 138 - Information wants to be free
      Josh and Kurt talk about a prank gone wrong, the reality of when your data ends up public. Once it's public you can't ever put it back. We also discuss Notepad++ no longer signing releases and what signing releases means for the world in general.
    • Hackers Hijacked ASUS Software Updates to Install Backdoors on Thousands of Computers
      Researchers at cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab say that ASUS, one of the world’s largest computer makers, was used to unwittingly install a malicious backdoor on thousands of its customers’ computers last year after attackers compromised a server for the company’s live software update tool. The malicious file was signed with legitimate ASUS digital certificates to make it appear to be an authentic software update from the company, Kaspersky Lab says.

      ASUS, a multi-billion dollar computer hardware company based in Taiwan that manufactures desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, smart home systems, and other electronics, was pushing the backdoor to customers for at least five months last year before it was discovered, according to new research from the Moscow-based security firm.

      The researchers estimate half a million Windows machines received the malicious backdoor through the ASUS update server, although the attackers appear to have been targeting only about 600 of those systems. The malware searched for targeted systems through their unique MAC addresses. Once on a system, if it found one of these targeted addresses, the malware reached out to a command-and-control server the attackers operated, which then installed additional malware on those machines.

      Kaspersky Lab said it uncovered the attack in January after adding a new supply-chain detection technology to its scanning tool to catch anomalous code fragments hidden in legitimate code or catch code that is hijacking normal operations on a machine. The company plans to release a full technical paper and presentation about the ASUS attack, which it has dubbed ShadowHammer, next month at its Security Analyst Summit in Singapore. In the meantime, Kaspersky has published some of the technical details on its website.

    • Hackers break into the Tesla car web browser to win a Model 3

    • Sonatype and HackerOne partner on open source vulnerability reporting

    • Security updates for Monday
    • What is Metasploit? And how to use this popular hacking tool
      It's not quite as simple as that, of course, so let's begin at the beginning. Back in ye olden days of yore, pentesting involved a lot of repetitive labor that Metasploit now automates. Information gathering? Gaining access? Maintaining persistence? Evading detection? Metasploit is a hacker's Swiss army chainsaw (sorry, Perl!), and if you work in information security, you're probably already using it.

      Better still, the core Metasploit Framework is both free and libre software and comes pre-installed in Kali Linux. (It's BSD-licensed, in case you're curious). The framework offers only a command-line interface, but those wanting GUI-based click-and-drag hacking — plus some other cool features — can drop a bundle for per-seat licenses to Metasploit Pro.

    • TCP: Urgent Data Processing & Push Functions Part 3
      To allow the code to follow either the standard interpretation or the Berkeley UNIX interpretation of the urgent pointer (i.e., whether the urgent pointer points to the last octet of urgent data or to one octet beyond it), the code contains a configuration constant (BSDURG). When defined, symbolic constant BSDURG makes TCP interpret the pointer as the position one beyond the last octet of urgent data.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Killing for Credibility: A Look Back at the 1999 NATO Air War on Serbia
      Our story begins not in the war-torn Balkans of the 1990s but rather in the howling wilderness of Afghanistan at the end of the 1980s as defeated Soviet invaders withdrew from a decade of guerrilla warfare into the twilight of a once-mighty empire. The United States, which had provided arms, funding and training for the mujahideen fighters who had so bravely resisted the Soviet occupation, stopped supporting the jihadis as soon as the last Red Army units rolled across the Hairatan Bridge and back into the USSR. Afghanistan descended deeper into civil war.

      The popular narrative posits that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network, Washington’s former mujahideen allies, turned on the West after the US stationed hundreds of thousands of infidel troops in Saudi Arabia—home to two out of three of Sunni Islam’s holiest sites—during Operation Desert Shield in 1990. Since then, the story goes, the relationship between the jihadists and their former benefactors has been one of enmity, characterized by sporadic terror attacks and fierce US retribution. The real story, however, is something altogether different.

      From 1992 to 1995, the Pentagon flew thousands of al-Qaeda mujahideen, often accompanied by US Special Forces, from Central Asia to Europe to reinforce Bosnian Muslims as they fought Serbs to gain their independence from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Clinton administration armed and trained these fighters in flagrant violation of United Nations accords; weapons purchased by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran were secretly shipped to the jihadists via Croatia, which netted a hefty profit from each transaction. The official Dutch inquiry into the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which thousands of Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys were slaughtered by Bosnian Serb and Serbian paramilitary forces, concluded that the United States was “very closely involved” in these arms transfers.

    • Trump’s Golan Heights Tweet Disregards History, Law and Ethics
      On March 22, 2019, President Donald Trump unceremoniously tweeted that the United States would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights. He explained that such sovereignty “is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and regional stability.” Everything about this tweet is wrong – as a matter of law, policy and fact.

      The Golan Heights, located in the southwest of Syria, was seized by Israel during the 1967 War when, in the course of six days, Israel also came to control Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula as well as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The United Nations, which was in session during the war, deliberated the matter for nearly six months. Controversy revolved around whether Israel should be compelled to withdraw from the Arab territories immediately or whether it could, as the Lyndon B. Johnson administration urged, be able to retain them as consideration in exchange for permanent peace. Despite Syrian and Palestinian opposition, in 1967 the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 242, which established the land-for-peace framework sought by the United States and Israel that declared that the territories would be returned in exchange for permanent peace.

      The Resolution proved ineffective due to a lack of political will to establish peace together with Israel’s desire to retain the territories. The Israeli government developed this legal argument: Because no sovereign existed in the West Bank and Gaza – Egypt and Jordan never had legitimate title and Palestinians were not sovereigns – no country could claim better title to the territory than could Israel. Thus, Israeli officials argued, the West Bank and Gaza could not be occupied as a matter of law and are better described as “disputed” rather than occupied territories. This novel legal argument enabled Israel to establish legal presence as a military authority in the Palestinian territory adhering strictly to Occupation Law, most notably its proscription on civilian settlement. This enabled Israel to fulfill its settler-colonial territorial ambitions by incrementally taking Palestinian lands under the framework of military necessity without the Palestinian people on them.

    • Guns and Liberty
      The proliferation of guns in American society is not only profitable for gun manufacturers, it fools the disempowered into fetishizing weapons as a guarantor of political agency. Guns buttress the myth of a rugged individualism that atomizes Americans, disdains organization and obliterates community, compounding powerlessness. Gun ownership in the United States, largely criminalized for poor people of color, is a potent tool of oppression. It does not protect us from tyranny. It is an instrument of tyranny.

      “Second Amendment cultists truly believe that guns are political power,” writes Mark Ames, the author of “Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond.” “[They believe that] guns in fact are the only source of political power. That’s why, despite loving guns, and despite being so right-wing, they betray such a paranoid fear and hatred of armed agents of the government (minus Border Guards, they all tend to love our Border Guards). If you think guns, rather than concentrated wealth, equals political power, then you’d resent government power far more than you’d resent billionaires’ power or corporations’ hyper-concentrated wealth/power, because government will always have more and bigger guns. In fact you’d see pro-gun, anti-government billionaires like the Kochs as your natural political allies in your gun-centric notion of political struggle against the concentrated gun power of government.”

      American violence has always been primarily vigilante violence. It is a product of the colonial militias; the U.S. Army, which carried out campaigns of genocide against Native Americans; slave patrols; hired mercenaries and gunslingers; the Pinkerton and Baldwin-Felts detective agencies; gangs of strikebreakers; the Iron and Coal Police; company militias; the American Legion veterans of World War I who attacked union agitators; the White Citizens’ Council; the White League, the Knights of the White Camellia; and the Ku Klux Klan, which controlled some states. These vigilante groups carried out atrocities, mostly against people of color and radicals, within our borders that later characterized our savage subjugation of the Philippines, interventions in Latin America, the wars in Korea and Vietnam and our current debacles in the Middle East. Gen. Jacob H. Smith summed up American attitudes about wholesale violence in the Philippines when he ordered his troops to turn the island of Samar, defended by Filipino insurgents, into “a howling wilderness.”

      Mass culture and most historians do not acknowledge the patterns of violence that have played out over and over since the founding of the nation. This historical amnesia blinds us to the endemic violence that defines our culture and is encoded in our national myth. As historian Richard Slotkin writes in “Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier 1600-1860,” the first of his three magisterial works on violence in American society, our Jacksonian form of democracy was defined by “the western man-on-the-make, the speculator, and the wildcat banker; [in a time] when racist irrationalism and a falsely conceived economics prolonged and intensified slavery in the teeth of American democratic idealism; and when men like Davy Crockett became national heroes by defining national aspirations in terms of so many bears destroyed, so much land preempted, so many trees hacked down, so many Indians and Mexicans dead in the dust.”

      “The first colonists saw in America an opportunity to regenerate their fortunes, their spirits, and the power of their church and nation,” he writes, “but the means to that regeneration ultimately became the means of violence, and the myth of regeneration through violence became the structuring metaphor of the American experience.”

    • Pro-military party's surprise lead in Thai election, partial results show
      Thailand's pro-military party has taken an unexpected lead in the first general election since a coup in 2014.

      With 93% of votes counted, the Phalang Pracharat party was first with 7.64 million votes, according to the country's Election Commission.

      "We are pleased with the results so far," said Phalang Pracharat leader Uttama Savanayana.

      Its vote total falls short of the numbers required for an outright majority in parliament.

    • US Bombing Kills 10 Children in Afghanistan: UN
      Americans ordered the airstrikes after roughly 20 minutes of crossfire, the Times reported.

      The deadly bombing comes a month after the release of a U.N. report showing that 2018 saw the highest number of Afghan civilians killed in the war since records began a decade ago. Of the 3,804 civilian deaths, the report said, 927 were children.

      The report also put blame on U.S. airstrikes for 393 of the total deaths, and noted that casualties from airstrikes have increased every year since 2014.

    • 'Akin to a Tripwire': Russian Troops in Venezuela Complicate U.S. Regime Change Plans
      Russia's involvement in the Venezuelan crisis has American officials crying foul as U.S. plans for regime change in the Latin American country are now facing further complications.

      U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Palladino, in a statement related to a conversation the secretary had with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, said that the U.S. "will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela" after between 99 and 100 Russian troops and one defense official arrived in the Latin American country Saturday, complicating efforts by the U.S. to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro's government.

    • Admiral Alexander Kolchak’s archives have been declassified. Why is the White Army leader still so controversial?
      On March 21, it became public knowledge that Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, had declassified documents related to the criminal case against Alexander Kolchak. Kolchak led the White Army movement that attempted to regain control of Russia from the Bolshevik Red Army during the Russian Civil War of 1917 – 1923. Access to the documents declassified by the FSB remains limited: viewing them is still prohibited. Kolchak was executed by firing squad in 1920 after being convicted of war crimes, and in 1999, a Russian court declined to rehabilitate him. Rehabilitation is a legal practice typically used to exonerate the victims of Stalinist and post-Stalinist repressions, often after those victims have died. The fact that Kolchak was not accorded even that level of respect speaks to the controversy his name still inspires: in 2017, a memorial plaque mounted on the admiral’s former home in St. Petersburg was taken down just one year after its construction. At the same time, Kolchak has become the subject of various books and films, and he remains one of the most popular historical figures of the Civil War. Meduza asked history professor Andrey Ganin, a leading scholar at the Institute for Slavic Studies in the Russian Academy of Sciences, to explain contemporary attitudes toward the figure of Alexander Kolchak.

    • Don’t Believe the Hype: Here’s Why ISIS Hasn’t Been Defeated
      After all the headlines about the supposed defeat of Isis, anyone who doesn’t believe a word of it may seem a bit of a spoilsport. But whenever I read that victory has been declared – whether it be of the Bush “mission accomplished” variety or the “last Isis stronghold about to fall” fantasy – I draw in my breath. Because you can make a safe bet that it’s not true.

      Not just because the fighting around Baghouz is, in fact, still continuing outside the wrecked town. But because there are plenty of Isis fighters still under arms and ready to fight in the Syrian province of Idlib, along with their Hayat Tahrir al Sham, al-Nusra and al-Qaeda comrades – almost surrounded by Syrian government troops but with a narrow corridor in which they could escape to Turkey; always supposing that Sultan Erdogan will let them. There are Russian troop outposts inside these Islamist front lines, along with Turkish military forces but the tentative ceasefire which held for five months has become a lot more tenuous in the past few weeks.

      Maybe it’s a failure of our institutional memory – or it’s just plain simpler to go along with the simplest story – but Idlib has for three years been the dumping ground of all Syria’s Islamist enemies, or at least the antagonists who didn’t surrender when they fled the big cities under Syrian and Russian bombardment.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • It's official: Russiagate is this generation's WMD
      Nobody wants to hear this, but news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is headed home without issuing new charges is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media.

      As has long been rumored, the former FBI chief’s independent probe will result in multiple indictments and convictions, but no “presidency-wrecking” conspiracy charges, or anything that would meet the layman’s definition of “collusion” with Russia.

    • Watch the 21st Vigil for Assange
      With concern growing about the latest possible moves to illegally extract Julian Assange from Ecuador’s London embassy, Elizabeth Vos discusses the latest WikiLeaks news and interviews Ecuadorian journalist Jose Rivera in the 21st Assange vigil held on Friday.

    • Defense for Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange
      For so long, we have been pushed out from democracy. Our elected officials and political parties, both Republicans and Democrats, have been undermining the will of ordinary people. Monopoly media, bought by corporate money has turned against public interests, distorting information and manipulating public perception.

      For too long, American people have been kept in the dark. We have been made to live in an insulated “reality” of the American dream and engage in mindless consumption. We didn’t know what our government is doing overseas under the pretext of fighting terrorism or humanitarian intervention. We didn’t know about these illegal wars in the Middle East and the tortures at Guantanamo. We didn’t know what intelligence agencies are doing in the name of national security here at home or abroad.

      But now, we know. Julian Assange in his work with WikiLeaks courageously came forward to fulfill the role of the free press. Through the method of transparency, WikiLeaks challenged government secrecy. The whistleblowing site gave American people information that those in power worked so hard to conceal.

      Through WikiLeaks’ release of the collateral murder video and the publication of documents concerning the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we came to know the military rule of engagement was broken and how we became complicit in killing innocent civilians, including journalists. With their publication of files on prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, we know innocent men are detained and prisoners are exploited in interrogation.

      In 2013, revelations of Edward Snowden sent a shock wave to the world. WikiLeaks, not only helped the NSA whistleblower attain asylum, but also alerted us the extent to which the NSA conducts its mass surveillance at a global scale, even targeting political leaders of its ally countries for US geopolitical interests. WikiLeaks publication of Vault 7, the largest publication of confidential documents that belong to CIA revealed the agency’s excessive power, with its hacking tools to spy on people through smartphones and TVs.

      As a consequence of shining a light on government war crimes and corruption, WikiLeaks has become a target of political retaliation. The Obama administration’s persecution led Julian Assange to seek political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012. For the last 6 years, Assange has been unlawfully held by the UK government without charge, being denied access to medical treatment, fresh air, sunlight and adequate space to exercise. Now, the Trump administration carries on this Obama’s war on truth-tellers, trying to extradite this Western journalist to the US.

      What does this assault on press freedom reveal? It is a battle concerning who controls a narrative of history. For too long, we have been told to shut up. We were made irrelevant in our own history. We became an observer who is not participating in the unfolding story.

    • Wikileaks Editor: Roger Stone Never Spoke With Julian Assange
      In a new interview, Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson says that former Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone never spoke with Julian Assange.

      Kristinn spoke with the Grapevine in a feature interview, where he went in depth into Wikileaks, the 2016 US presidential elections, and much more.

      Last January, the details of the special prosecutor’s indictment against Roger Stone were brought to light, which included Stone’s claim to have communicated with Julian Assange prior to the elections. Kristinn told the Grapevine, however, that this is wholly false.

      “If you read through [Stone’s indictment], and it’s only 23 pages long, it’s basically a confirmation that there was no communication between Roger Stone and Julian Assange,” Kristinn says. “Stone claimed that there had been. He was trying to elevate his position. He’s a player in that circle. It’s Roger Stone.” In fact, Kristinn says, “The only communications that arguably took place between them was a direct message on Twitter, where Wikileaks asked Roger Stone to please stop making the claims that you had access to Julian Assange and had communication with him. Because it didn’t exist.”

      With regards to the Michael Cohen testimony, Kristinn points out that Wikileaks is mentioned only once, “When [Cohen] said that he was present when Roger Stone called Trump and said that he had just talked to Julian Assange. So that’s the proof that Trump knew that Stone had talked to Julian Assange and therefore there’s a direct connection? But it’s a claim. You’re going to take at face value something Roger Stone is saying, at the same time that you’re charging him with lying to investigators?”

    • Unsealed documents shed light on state conspiracy against Chelsea Manning
      On Wednesday, the U.S. Eastern District Court of Virginia unsealed several filings concerning Chelsea Manning’s legal challenge to the subpoena attempting to force her to testify before a grand jury involved in fabricating charges against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Among the unsealed documents is Manning’s legal motion of March 1 to have the subpoena thrown out on the grounds that it violates her First and Fifth Amendment rights, that it is an abuse of the grand jury process and that it is the product of illegal electronic surveillance by the government. The documents include the government’s response to Manning’s motion and other filings related to unsealing the documents as well as a transcript of a March 5 hearing before US District Judge Claude Hilton on these matters.

    • Those Complaining About a Lack of “Press Freedom” in The Philippines Insult The Intelligence of The Civilised World
      After a visit to Singapore, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa is currently in San Francisco where she’ll almost certainly be meeting with powerful and very rich friends from America’s Silicon Valley tech industry. Even though Ressa is set to face trial on charges of cyber-libel against Filipino businessman Wilfredo Keng, this has not stopped her from globe-trotting to some of the world’s most expensive cities (Singapore and San Francisco are expensive even for those earning in USD). So much for being the “oppressed journalist” that she and her supporters claim that she is.

      To understand how Ressa’s globe trotting travel makes a mockery of her own arguments about press freedom in The Philippines, one only needs to examine the fate of a journalist whose press freedom and human freedom have been crushed at the hands of the United States, Ecuador and Britain. This journalist and publisher is of course Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. For over a year, Assange has been without any digital contact with the outside world after Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno agreed to sever Assange’s internet connection.

      Beyond this, Assange has been held in a de facto prison inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for nearly seven years. As a result, his physical and mental health have severely deteriorated according to the most recent medical report on Assange that has been made public.

      Assange remains caught between a rock of being arrested by UK authorities on a bail charge related to an Swedish investigation that has been dropped in full and the hard place of a US justice system that seeks Assange’s extradition and almost certain execution thereafter.

    • The Courage Foundation Publishes “The Assange Precedent,” Outlining The Dangers To Journalism Presented by The Trial of Julian Assange
      The last article ever I published for Legacy Medi4 in June 2018 was an article about the ongoing dangers of the Democrat National Committee‘s (DNC) lawsuit against Julain Assange, explaining how, if the case was successfully argued, it would set a dangerous precedent allowing journalists all over the country to begin facing lawsuits themselves – including all the journalists working for papers like the Washington Post and New York Times for publishing all those White House leaks during Trumps first couple months in office, theoretically enough to potentially bankrupt these press organizations in the future. Independent of that however, I just cant help but notice how all of the same criticisms, misunderstanding or misconceptions of Julian Assange’s work are also applied to me and what I am attempting to do here.

      People keep asking me, “how have you not been arrested for publishing all these leaks or talking to hackers?” To which I respond, “how are you so stupid?” People just do not seem to understand, publishing leaks is in no way, shape or form illegal. Nothing Julian Assange or I do is illegal. Sure, the information we obtain was illegally obtained, but we didn’t hack or steal it ourselves – did we? No matter how many times/ways it’s explained to them, people just cant seem to grasp the concept that publishing information is not illegal. What our sources do is illegal, but what we do with our sources information is not. It’s illegal to be the hacker/leaker, but its not illegal to publish the leaks – understand? Didn’t think so.

    • Slavoj Žižek: US establishment desperate to arrest Assange after Manning imprisoned (E725)
      We speak to renowned philosopher Slavoj Žižek and discuss the arrest of Chelsea Manning and the campaign by the US to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; Brexit and whether the UK was right to leave the EU; the battle for the Democratic Party in the US; the causes of far-right populism and more! Next we speak to Consultant Editor of the Daily Mail Andrew Pierce on the week of chaos in Parliament after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was resoundingly rejected in Meaningful Vote 2, the vote to rule out ‘no-deal’ Brexit, the prospect of an early general election, and more.

    • A human rights commission has just monumentally failed Julian Assange
      The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) has declined Julian Assange’s request that it order Ecuador to ease draconian rules imposed on him. Item 24 of the rules explicitly prohibits Assange, the head of WikiLeaks, from engaging in political speech the Ecuadorian government considers “harmful”. It effectively removes his right to free speech. Assange must comply with these rules to continue to receive asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been for several years.

      Ecuador has denied Assange the ability to communicate directly with the outside world through social media for almost a year. Meanwhile, the US government has become bolder than ever in its efforts to imprison Assange for his work as a publisher. Chelsea Manning was recently jailed for refusing to give testimony against WikiLeaks.

      The IACHR did not appear to say that Ecuador’s rules for Assange were legal under international law. It said his case did not meet the “requirements of gravity, urgency and irreparable harm” needed for the body to make a ruling. The reasoning behind that claim was not given.

    • 'Torture, Plain and Simple': Chelsea Manning's Supporters Demand Her Release From Solitary Confinement
      Supporters of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning are demanding she be released from solitary confinement, in which she has been held for 17 days since refusing to answer a grand jury's questions.

      Chelsea Resists!, Manning's support committee, released a statement over the weekend denouncing her treatment and invoking the United Nations' own statements about the dangers and injustice of isolation in prisons.
    • Chelsea Manning's health threatened by solitary confinement in Virginia jail, her support group says
      Representatives for Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst behind one of the largest leaks of classified information in US history, are arguing for her removal from solitary confinement, saying it threatens her health and surmounts to "torture."

      On Saturday, Manning's "support committee" said that she has been kept in her cell for 22 hours a day -- which they say constitutes solitary confinement. "Chelsea can't be out of her cell while any other prisoners are out, so she cannot talk to other people, or visit the law library, and has no access to books or reading material," the committee, Chelsea Resists, said in a statement. "She has not been outside for 16 days. She is permitted to make phone calls and move about outside her cell between 1 and 3 a.m."

    • Wikileaks Editor: Democratic Party Needs To ‘Come To Terms’ With Lessons Of 2016
      With the Mueller report now released to US Attorney General William Barr, and what we know of the findings so far showing no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections, Democrats are now strategising their next steps.

      Kristinn Hrafnsson, the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, believes the party would do well to engage in some self-examination, as he told The Grapevine in a feature interview with us.

      “The DNC wants to maintain [the email leak] had an effect, to try and brush over the humiliation of their defeat in the electoral college,” he says. “The Democratic Party just needs to come to terms with the fact that Hillary Clinton was not a charismatic candidate that people were excited about. Of course, it’s a hard thing to swallow, but it’s a necessary thing to do if the Democratic Party wants to come to terms with this and try to move forward. I haven’t seen any discussion within their ranks about how it’s possible you could win the popular vote and still lose the election. For us who have a hard time understanding the electoral college, when you get an instant like that, it should call for introspection and that the system needs to be changed. It’s a very serious situation that demands examination.”

      Further, he points out the implications behind the Democrats’ version of events belies deeper problems.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Gulf Stream slowdown may bring later cold
      As the Gulf Stream weakens in a rapidly warming world, north-western Europe could paradoxically become cooler. There is, however, a time lag between those two climate change-related events, and US scientists now think they know how long that could be. It could be as much as 400 years.

      They know this because the world has warmed and cooled before, and as the difference between tropics and Arctic narrows, there is a change in the so-called Atlantic conveyor, an important part of the climate machine.

      This vast Atlantic current carries a steady flow of warm water to the far north, making north-western Europe up to 5€°C warmer than its latitude would otherwise dictate. Then, as it meets colder, denser Arctic waters, it dives, to carry its burden of surface carbon to the depths, and then flows southwards again.

    • How We’re Fighting to Eliminate Plastic in California
      Growing up in a plastic-free home, I was sheltered from the plastic waste crisis. I (Coda) went to a very progressive school that had vegan lunch items, farm animals and ran on solar power. My mom produces zero-waste events and my dad is a sailor, so we're very passionate about the ocean. When I was nine years old, we moved back to Manhattan Beach, California and I started 3rd grade in a public school. This was the first time I really understood that plastic-free living is not the norm; single-use plastics were everywhere, especially in the cafeteria. Once I recognized this problem, I knew I had to make a difference.

    • Air pollution: Green Party stands with concerned teachers
      Reacting to the survey that found that two-thirds of teachers would support banning cars near schools [1], Green Party of England and Wales peer Jenny Jones said:

      “Teachers know what they’re talking about when it comes to their students. We know that air pollution stunts lung growth in children and teenagers, at a similar level to exposure to maternal smoking. [2] It’s time to take action.

      “Closing the streets in front of schools at the start and end of the school day would help deliver a safer, cleaner school environment that every child deserves. We’ve seen it work in Camden [3] and Hackney [4], now it’s time to spread the idea across the country.”

    • Oil Execs Brag About Having ‘Direct Access’ to Trump’s Pick for Interior Secretary
      Oil executives gathered for a conference laughed about their "unprecedented" access to Trump administration officials, according to a recording obtained by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

      In the recording, taken at a June 2017 meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) at a Ritz-Carlton in Southern California, members expressed excitement about one official in particular: David Bernhardt, who had been nominated that April to be deputy secretary at the Department of Interior (DOI). Bernhardt would be confirmed the following month.

      "We know him very well, and we have direct access to him, have conversations with him about issues ranging from federal land access to endangered species, to a lot of issues," IPAA political director Dan Naatz said in the recording.

    • Protecting Our Ocean — and Our Bottom Line
      Just as vehicles often hit animals on busy roadways, vessels on our busy waterways often strike marine mammals. Depending on the speed or size of the vessel, animals can be injured or killed. These collisions may go unreported or, often, unnoticed by ship crews. In some cases, particularly in cases of collisions with whales, vessels may also sustain significant damage.

    • ‘We’re only getting started on our climate campaign’ – Extinction Rebellion York
      We do this because for too long not enough action has been taken to address the breakdown of the climate and the destruction of the living planet. These threats now represent a very real existential threat to our futures and the future habitability of the planet itself.

    • The Coal Industry Isn’t Going Anywhere — Yet
      What does the future look like for coal?

      If you listen to coal insiders, the next few years will still burn bright for the notoriously polluting industry. According to data analytics company GlobalData, coal production will “grow exponentially to 2022,” with more than 300 potential new coal projects launching over the next four years. GlobalData predicts annual production increases in India, Indonesia and Australia at a staggering 10.9 percent, 3.9 percent and 2.3 percent.

      Although GlobalData also predicts that 100 projects will close worldwide, the company anticipates a total annual coal production increase of 1.3 percent over the next four years, which follows a modest growth of 2.8 percent in 2017 and 0.1 percent in 2018.

      But other experts offer a different picture, one that paints the coal industry with a far less certain brush. They point to climate change, failing economics, bank divestment, polluting technology, legal and social challenges, the rise of cheap natural gas (another potent source of greenhouse emissions) and vast improvements in renewable energy technologies. Combined, these factors suggest the coal industry may struggle to stay viable in the coming years.

      For now, though, the question seems to be: Will the coal industry fade quickly enough to make a difference for the climate — or will it keep chugging along at current levels?

      “Are we on a long flat plateau, which would still mean a disaster for the planet, or are we on an escalating downward path, a path toward actually saving the planet?” asks Justin Guay, director of global climate strategy at the Sunrise Foundation, which advocates for closing coal plants and shifting financing out of fossil fuels.

    • Will High-Speed Rail Ever Get on Track in the U.S.?
      Other countries don't seem to have a problem getting their high-speed rail systems on track. This superfast, fuel-efficient form of mass transit is wildly popular throughout Asia and the European Union. Japan's sleek Shinkansen line, the busiest high-speed rail system in the world, carries an estimated 420,000 riders every weekday. In China, the new Fuxing Hao bullet train now hurries more than 100 million passengers a year between Beijing and Shanghai at a top speed of 218 miles an hour, allowing its riders to make the trip of 775 miles — roughly the distance from New York City to Chicago — in about four and a half hours. Spain, Germany and France together have more than 4,500 miles of track dedicated to high-speed rail, over which more than 150 million passengers travel annually.

  • Finance

    • “Free College” Fails to Address Racial and Class Gaps
      Having a robust higher education plan is now a prerequisite for any 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and several states have already built public programs that heavily subsidize post-high school tuition. Those developments have come in response to a growing recognition — as the student debt crisis has anxiously trod into trillion dollar territory — that loans often enable students to finish programs but then leave them financially hobbled and unable to fully contribute to the economy. Less recognized but just as devastatingly widespread is the unaddressed shadow crisis of nontuition costs, like housing, food, books and transportation (as well as child care). These necessities — often rendered ancillary fees by rich or upper middle-class parents who can pick up the tab as their children focus on classes — are rarely covered in even the most generous of states. The gap in funding has passively created a disincentive for members of working-class communities, particularly those of color, to enter higher education. Those who enroll instead of taking up the stagnant wage work that, ironically, they are told college will help them escape, often risk financial doom. For lower- and middle-income students “free public college” isn’t truly free if only tuition is taken care of. According to the College Board, nontuition expenses took up over two-thirds of the average budget for community college students in the 2017-18 school year. For many students from humble backgrounds in four-year programs, the cost breakdown is similar. But currently, as a result of largely neglecting college expenses beyond tuition, too many states are generating perverse outcomes regarding who receives public aid.
    • 'We Won't Stop Till There Is Justice': Uber and Lyft Drivers Strike Against Deep Pay Cuts
      Earlier this month, Uber abruptly slashed the minimum fare from $3.75 to $2.62 and per-mile pay from 80 cents to 60 cents in Los Angeles County and parts of Orange County.

      The goal of Monday's strike, according to organizers, is to pressure both Uber and Lyft to boost wages and allow drivers "to organize without retaliation."

      "We plan to make some noise and create a ruckus to get the 25 percent back that they stole," James Hicks, an Uber driver and spokesman for Rideshare Drivers United (RDU), told the Los Angeles Daily News.

      RDU—a group consisting of around 3,000 members—organized the strike, during which participants will not drive for either Uber or Lyft for a full day.

      In interviews with local media outlets, Uber drivers said the pay cuts have already had a devastating effect.

      "I was working 55 to 60 hours a week and making anywhere from $1,100 to $2,000 a week," Corey Mills, an Uber driver from Chino Hills, told the Los Angeles Daily News. "Now I have to work doubly hard to get the same pay. Last week I worked 82 hours and made $1,000."
    • The Republican President Who Dabbled in Socialism
      Beware of the specter of socialism!

      Anytime a politician proposes a wildly popular idea that helps ordinary people, a few grumpy conservatives will call them “socialists.” Propose to reduce college debt, help sick families, or ensure the super-rich pay their fair share of taxes — suddenly you’re a walking red nightmare.

      Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart is so alarmed he’s convened an “Anti-Socialism Caucus” to ward off “the primitive appeal of socialism” that will “infect our institutions.” Democrats’ talk of restoring higher income tax rates on the wealthiest or helping families with childcare was enough to trigger Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to quip, “We’re not going back to socialism.”

      These same politicians consistently vote for tax cuts for the rich and to gut taxes and regulations on corporations so they can exercise their full freedom and liberty — to mistreat workers, pollute the environment, and rip off their customers.

      The “shrink government” fear-mongers want you to believe there are only two flavors of economic ice cream. Choose strawberry and you get liberty-choking gulag communism. From this vantage, any proposal to rein in the unchecked power of global corporations and the rule-rigging rich is creeping socialism.

      Choice number two, blueberry, is plutocracy, a society where the super-rich lord over the rest of us. It’s an economically polarized dystopia with stagnant wages and a declining standard of living for the majority.

      Conservative demagogues aim to scare you into embracing their pro-plutocrat agenda as the only tolerable choice.

    • Wanted: A new global tax architecture
      Developing countries are vulnerable to the phenomenon of Base Erosion and Profit-Shifting. Non OECD countries collectively lose about $200 billion per year in revenue, this is about 1.3 per cent of their GDP.

      The idea that income and profits are obviously linked to physical presence or that transactions inside a complex corporate group can be valued based on an objective market benchmark represented two outdated assumptions about the international tax system. The problem of tax competition remains unaddressed. Principles governing the transfer pricing law and its concomitant arms-length guidance allowed profitable firms to pay little tax. There is a need for an alternative international tax architecture. Digital business models rely on intangible assets that are hard to value, like patents or software. They have less need for a physical presence to do business.
    • Does most of your paycheck go to rent? That may be hurting your health
      New data on health across the U.S. shows that high housing costs are harming Americans’ health – and that some communities are affected more than others.

      The 2019 County Health Rankings, an annual collaborative report from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows that 11 percent of U.S. households are severely burdened by housing costs. This means that more than 800,000 households spend at least half of their income on housing.

      In communities with high housing costs, residents rate their health as lower, are less likely to be able to purchase enough quality and nutritious foods, and have higher rates of child poverty.

      As a health researcher, this is a theme that I have seen in studies over and over again.
    • As Uber Gets Ready to Turn Public, L.A. Drivers Prepare a Strike
      As Uber prepares to go public on the New York Stock Exchange, many drivers in the Los Angeles area hope their colleagues will join them in a strike Monday.

      Last week, Uber slashed per-mile pay from 80 cents to 60 cents in Los Angeles County and parts of Orange County. In response, the group Rideshare Drivers United is seeking a 25-hour strike against both Uber and Lyft.

      The group, which now numbers nearly 3,000, has made a list of demands in what it calls “A Drivers’ Bill of Rights.” Their demands include a 10 percent commission cap for Uber and Lyft, a minimum wage per trip that corresponds to the one recently established in New York City, and a recognition of a driver-led organization that allows it to negotiate on the behalf of drivers without fear of retaliation.

      In January, New York City enacted a $17.22 minimum wage (after expenses) for all rideshare drivers. The first such pay policy in the U.S. came after a report by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission found that almost 20 percent of all rideshare drivers receive food stamps, 40 percent receive Medicaid and 16 percent have no health insurance.

      The demonstrators face significant obstacles in organizing, primarily due to the individual nature of the work since drivers only interact with apps and not each other. This has fueled concerns that drivers as well as passengers could end up completely unaware of the protest.

    • Lawrence Ferlinghetti Is Still Revolutionary at Age 100
      The founder of the San Francisco landmark City Lights bookshop rang in the turn of his very own century as his adopted city—he’s originally from New York—celebrated “Lawrence Ferlinghetti Day,” one of many centennial celebrations held throughout March in his honor.

      Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, who once worked at City Lights and has been a lifelong friend of Ferlinghetti, writes about the city’s festivities, “Lawrence turns 100 today and poetry owns the Barbary Coast in a wild romp of readings at bars, galleries, and other watering holes in North Beach around Broadway and Columbus where City Lights Bookstore still stands as the best rebuke to the slick mindlessness of capitalist culture that now overwhelms Ferlinghetti’s once beloved bohemian San Francisco.”

      While the journalist and the poet have recorded several of their conversations, their most recent discussion, produced by filmmaker Stephen French, can be found in the media player below. In it, Scheer and Ferlinghetti talk about the beginning of City Lights and its roots in an egalitarian desire to both promote and protect writers, as well as provide a safe space for local artists to congregate.
    • The Capitulation of Jerome Powell and the Fed
      This past week, on March 20, 2019, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell announced the US central bank would not raise interest rates in 2019. The Fed’s benchmark rate, called the Fed Funds rate, is thus frozen at 2.375% for the foreseeable future, i.e. leaving the central bank virtually no room to lower rates in the event of the next recession, which is now just around the corner.

      The Fed’s formal decision to freeze rates follows Powell’s prior earlier January 2019 announcement that the Fed was suspending its 2018 plan to raise rates three to four more times in 2019. That came in the wake of intense Trump and business pressure in December to get Powell and the Fed to stop raising rates. The administration had begun to panic by mid-December as financial markets appeared in freefall since October. Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, hurriedly called a dozen, still unknown influential big capitalists and bankers to his office in Washington the week before the Christmas holiday. With stock markets plunging 30% in just six weeks, junk bond markets freezing up, oil futures prices plummeting 40%, etc., it was beginning to look like 2008 all over again. Public mouthpieces for the business community in the media and business press were calling for Trump to fire Fed chair Powell and Trump on December 24 issued his strongest threat and warning to Powell to stop raising rates to stop financial markets imploding further.

      In early January, in response to the growing crescendo of criticism, Powell announced the central bank would adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude whether or not to raise rates further. The Fed’s prior announced plan, in effect during 2017-18, to raise rates 3 to 4 more times in 2019 was thus swept from the table. So much for perennial academic economist gibberish about central banks being independent! Or the Fed’s long held claim that it doesn’t change policy in response to developments in financial markets!

    • The Importance of Kicking Up: Changing Market Structures So the Rich Don’t Get All the Money
      Most progressives focus their efforts on getting better pay and benefits for those at the bottom and middle. This includes policies like raising the minimum wage, stronger overtime rules, and better Medicaid benefits. This is good and important work, which I have often engaged in myself.

      However, it is also important to address the other side of the equation, all the money going to the rich. Many want to do this by having a more progressive tax structure. That would be good and could help to reduce inequality. But for both economic and political reasons, a better approach is to change market structures so the money doesn’t go to the rich in the first place.

      There is far too little recognition of the extent to which the market is malleable. The idea that the market just generates inequality is nonsense. The market will generate inequality if we design it to generate inequality, as has been the case over the last four decades. If we design it differently, it will lead to more equal outcomes.

      My favorite example is patent and copyright monopolies. This is both because they are economically important, but also because the issues should be easy to understand. These monopolies are quite obviously creations of government. It is not somehow a fact of nature or a given of the market that I can have someone arrested if they make a copy of my book or sell a drug I developed without my permission.[1]

      It is amazing to me how many people, including economist people, fail to see that these monopolies are government created and can be weakened or strengthened as we choose. The basic story is straightforward, these monopolies are ways in which the government provides incentives for innovating and creative work. But, if we are worried that the people who innovate and do creative work are getting too much money at the expense of everyone else, then it is a really simple thing to make these incentives less generous.

    • Trump’s Budget Would Deny Food to 400,000 Children and Pregnant People
      Donald Trump’s budget calls for cutting funding for the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) nutrition program by $3.5 billion over the next decade. WIC is a program that serves over 8 million low–income children and pregnant women; it has been shown to improve health for children, as well as educational outcomes as they grow older.

      The proposed cut would reduce projected spending by roughly 5 percent over the next decade. That may sound insignificant, but for the beneficiaries of the program it is a big deal.

      WIC is an efficient, well-run program. If spending is cut by 5 percent, it probably means that the number of beneficiaries will drop by around 5 percent, or 400,000 per year. That means 400,000 fewer children and pregnant mothers would benefit from access to food supplementation from this vital nutrition program. That is especially bad news for those without family support to help make up the gap.

      Meanwhile, the $3.5 billion that taxpayers would save through the cuts to the program would only add up to roughly $1 per person per year — hardly grounds for a spending spree. The whole WIC program comes to a bit more than 0.1 percent of the federal budget. In terms of the federal budget, this is chump change.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Exception to Double Jeopardy Would Affect More Than Just Manafort
      There has been a lot of talk about double jeopardy after Paul Manafort was sentenced for federal crimes and New York followed up by bringing more than a dozen state felony charges against President Trump’s former campaign manager. The new state charges prevent Trump from simply pardoning Manafort for his federal crimes to get him out of serving jail time. Although the Fifth Amendment protects a person from multiple prosecutions, the separate sovereignty exception allows successive state and federal prosecutions.

      The conversation is even more important now because the Supreme Court, in Gamble v. United States, is rethinking this exception. But this exception to double jeopardy affects many more people than just Manafort. Gamble, which will likely be decided in the coming months, involves a traffic stop in which a police search of Terance Gamble’s car revealed a pistol. Gamble had a prior felony conviction, making it illegal under both state and federal law for him to possess the weapon. After pleading guilty to the state charge, Gamble received a one-year sentence. However, a subsequent federal prosecution resulted in another 34 months to his prison term for the same crime.

      Some liberals are concerned that if the Supreme Court overturns the separate sovereignty exemption in Gamble, Manafort may walk free. They should really be concerned, however, about how this exception acts as a massive hole in our criminal legal protections and puts many lives in danger. Predictably, this huge exception affects people of color the most — making an already biased criminal legal system that much more unforgiving.

      To review, the Fifth Amendment states that, “No person shall … be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life and limb.” Essentially, once you’ve been tried for a crime, you can’t just be tried again if the prosecution fails to get a conviction the first time. The separate sovereignty exemption came along when the Supreme Court decided to adopt the point of view of the government instead of the accused when determining if double jeopardy had been violated.

    • Common Cause Urges Release of Mueller Report
    • 'Congress Didn't Ask for a Summary': Demands to #ReleaseTheFullReport Surge After Barr Letter
      Arguing that a four-page summary by President Donald Trump's handpicked Attorney General is far from sufficient transparency for a probe that lasted nearly two years, members of Congress and progressive advocacy groups Sunday night intensified their demands that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's full conclusions be made public immediately.

    • Down the Imperial Memory Hole With Venezuela
      In George Orwell’s 1984, the dictatorship of Oceania controlled perceptions by continuous propaganda broadcast through the “telescreen” and constant updating of news print so that the past would conform to the lies of the present. The device used to discard any document contradicting the fakery of the present was called a “memory hole.”

      Orwell was acutely aware of the fact that empire thrives on imperial amnesia and constant historical revision of the past by the powerful. He knew that citizens would be much easier to control if they were forced to live in an eternal present — a place where it would be impossible to critically assess and compare today’s world by looking at what happened yesterday and the day before.

      In the 21st century, we have constructed our own kind of Orwellian memory holes. The global nexus of economic and political powers in neoliberal corporate capitalist states and international bodies tend to view critical and historical consciousness as an impediment, if not an outright threat, to their hegemony. The reason is obvious: an informed, critical consciousness is the foundation upon which any flourishing democracy is built — where the “political” is understood as government of, by and for all citizens, not merely in the interests of the wealthy or powerful few.

      No doubt, this was why the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and The New York Times, could, without a hint of irony, claim that U.S. democracy was “undone” because a foreign power put Trump into office, while simultaneously praising Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó after he received a directive from Vice President Mike Pence that he should just forget about elections and declare himself president.

      Gore Vidal once said, “ … we are permanently the United States of Amnesia. We learn nothing because we remember nothing.” Yet, even in the U.S., it is still possible to uncover a “history of the present” where Central and South America are concerned. If you are prepared to put in the necessary time and effort, you can discover the truths and realities of a past that many of those in power would rather you just forget.

    • How the Media Distort News from Venezuela
      Whenever officials in Washington, D.C. set out to overthrow a foreign government, mainstream US media outlets are there to give a helping hand. All pretense of fairness and balance disappear in favor of outrageous distortion. For the most recent example, let’s look at Venezuela.

      Both high-level Republicans and Democrats have decided it’s time for Venezuela, with the world's largest oil reserves, to rejoin the US sphere of influence. Hawks may call for direct military intervention while doves seek punishing sanctions, but all agree that the elected government of President Nicolas Maduro has got to go.

      Mainstream media took a particularly rightward turn in January after Juan Guaidó anointed himself as Venezuela’s president, with the blessings from the administration of President Donald Trump. Guaidó is president of the opposition-dominated National Assembly and had never even run for president. A January opinion poll showed he was unknown to 81 percent of the people. He represented an unstable alliance of opposition parties. As I’ve written before, lack of legality didn’t stop the United States and its allies from declaring Guaidó president and pretending he ran an actual government.
    • Shunning Corporate PACs Won’t End Corporate Influence in Elections
      Americans have long been frustrated with the pervasive role of money in politics. When elections come, however, it seems to be accepted as the cost of doing business. Barack Obama broke records in Wall Street fundraising and among his largest donors was Goldman Sachs, but this did not stop Democratic voters from electing him twice (and for a time treating him almost like a deity).

      Those days may be over for politicians seeking the Democratic nomination for president. While Obama was not given a hard time by voters for his connections to finance, the issue hindered Hillary Clinton in 2016, especially as the Bernie Sanders campaign pushed the issue of her contributions and paid speeches in front of the industry.

      The increased scrutiny of the role of money in politics has continued to play a big role in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Most of the 2020 Democrats, accordingly, are racing to swear off “corporate PACs.”

      Campaign finance advocates say this emphasis reflects important progress. “The ‘no corporate PAC’ pledges …were prompted by reform-minded candidates who were responding to voter anger over all of the money in politics,” Adam Bozzi, the strategic partnerships director of End Citizens United, told Truthout. “Voters know the amount of money spent in politics affects their own bottom lines and they know corporate special interests have outsized and undue influence.”

      Nonetheless, campaign finance experts acknowledge that swearing off corporate PAC money, as Sarah Bryner of the Center for Responsive Politics tells Truthout, is “mostly symbolic.” Corporations will still find ways for money to reach the candidate. An “individual donation” is not a synonym for “small donations” ($200 or less – generally considered a better gauge of grassroots support).

    • The Real Scandal of Donald Trump
      We may never know for sure whether Donald Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin to obtain Russia’s help in the 2016 election, in return for, say, Trump’s help in weakening NATO and not interfering against Russian aggression in Ukraine.

      Trump and his propaganda machine at Fox News have repeatedly conjured up a “witch hunt” and maintained a drumbeat of “no collusion,” which already has mired Robert Mueller’s report in a fog of alt-interpretation and epistemological confusion.

      What’s “collusion?” What’s illegal? Has Trump obstructed justice? Has he been vindicated? What did Mueller conclude, exactly? What did he mean?

      The real danger is that as attention inevitably turns to the 2020 campaign, controversy over the report will obscure the far more basic issues of Trump’s competence and character.

      An American president is not just the chief executive of the United States, and the office he (eventually she) holds is not just a bully pulpit to advance policy ideas. He is also a moral leader, and the office is a moral pulpit invested with meaning about the common good.

      A president’s most fundamental responsibility is to protect our system of government. Trump has weakened that system

      As George Washington’s biographer, Douglas Southall Freeman, explained, the first president believed he had been entrusted with something of immense intrinsic worth, and that his duty was to uphold it for its own sake and over the long term. He led by moral example.

      Few of our subsequent presidents have come close to the example Washington set, but none to date has been as far from that standard as Trump.
    • If Trump’s Border Wall Becomes Reality, Here’s How He Could Easily Get Private Land for It
      On March 15, President Donald Trump vetoed Congress’ attempt to stop him from declaring a national emergency to build a wall along the United States’ border with Mexico.

      His construction plans still face court challenges. But if the effort survives, you can expect this to happen in the near future: The federal government will begin seizing private land to build the wall, a process known as eminent domain.

      It’s a fundamental power, laid out in the Fifth Amendment. The government can take your land to build public works, but it has to pay you “just compensation” — the amount that a willing buyer would pay a willing seller to purchase the property.

      But the federal power to seize land contains none of the landholder protections commonly found in state and local jurisdictions. The federal government rarely loses its bid to take land. Under a special procedure, federal officials can file a Declaration of Taking that results in a court granting immediate title to the land. Bulldozers can roll the next day. The only fight, essentially, is over how much money the property owner will receive.

      Fifteen months ago, ProPublica examined the Department of Homeland Security’s use of eminent domain to construct the first border barrier, then called a fence. The Secure Fence Act, passed in 2006 with bipartisan support, resulted in 654 miles of fencing along the 2,000-mile border.
    • Collusion or Not? Trump Said No, and Mueller Agrees
    • Israel’s Moves to the Right
      An article published in the Israeli news blog +972 on 19 November 2018 posed the question: Why does the right keep winning elections in Israel? The answer offered was “because Israelis are right wing.” Simple enough, and apparently, quite true. The article estimates that over half of Israeli Jews think of themselves as “right wing.” Self-defined centrists are about 25 percent, and those Israeli Jews who still cling to “leftist” ideals are now only about 15 percent of the population. The remainder are non-committal.

      This movement to the right is often blamed on the Palestinians, but that is largely an evasion. As the story goes, it was the Second Intifada (occurring from late 2000 to early 2005) that so scared a majority of Israeli Jews that it “led to a migration of left-wingers to the … political center… [and] centrists [to the] right, causing the percentage of Jewish right-wingers to drift upward over the decade.” While the “migration to the right” has certainly taken place, it is better understood as follows: under Palestinian pressure for democratic reforms and justice, along with corresponding resistance to oppression, Israeli Jews who could not face the prospect of real democracy had nowhere politically to go than to the right—what should properly be described as the racist right. And, so they went. From this point on there was no more obfuscation—Israeli “security” is now clearly a stand-in phrase for the maintenance of Israeli Jewish domination over non-Jews.

    • Immigration and the Democratic Hopefuls
      To date, Democrats have largely failed to lay out a comprehensive vision of what our immigration policy should be. Some of the announced presidential candidates have, over time, staked out positions on specific issues, such as the status of the Dreamers or the abolition of ICE, but they’ve largely left it to Donald Trump and his allies to set the broader terms of the debate.

      If the candidates hope to offer a genuine alternative to the administration’s policies, it’s imperative that they shift the debate from sloganeering about the wall and “open borders” to a consideration of an underlying question: what priorities and values will guide our immigration policy in the coming years? Will we continue along the present path of increased militarization and incarceration, or will we forge policies guided by a vision of a more just society?

      No challenger will succeed in this project unless he or she can begin to counter Trump’s greatest political weapon: fear. Right from the start, candidate Trump began stoking people’s anxieties about their job security, their physical safety, and the cohesion of American society itself. Since his election as president, he has used the enormous power of his office to amplify his message, supported by Fox News and other conservative outlets. If Democratic challengers are to succeed, they’ll need to employ facts and narratives skillfully to align the mainstream debates to reality. For the facts, they’ll need to draw on extensive research, including a recent report of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, that documents the positive overall effects of immigration on U.S. economic growth.

      They’ll need to show that Trump is wrong on crime and immigration. A number of recent, large-scale studies of metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. have shown no correlation between crime and the growth of immigrant communities. If anything, crime in those areas has decreased. Moreover, challengers to Trump must show that his repeated characterizations of migrants as constituting a destabilizing “invasion” are dangerously distorted. Although news reports have focused on recent migrations to our southern border of people fleeing violence and destitution in Central America, the greatest percentage of people coming to the U.S. since 2010 is from Asian countries, and many of these immigrants are college educated. The percentage of foreign-born persons in the U.S. – 13.7 percent as of 2017 – is still lower than the peak percentage of around 15 percent at the turn of the twentieth century.

    • We did Trump to Ourselves and Should Own up to It; Mueller and Putin can’t Save US
      The Mueller report, at least as Trump’s AG describes it, was not able to prove that Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign. It did not prove he did not. Mueller obviously did find evidence of Russia supporting Trump, but that is different. The attraction of the theory embraced by many pundits and politicians that Trump became president by colluding with Vladimir Putin is that it gets the American public off the hook.

      But we don’t deserve to be let off the hook. We elected Trump. Even today, after a further election, he controls the senate and can get away with having committed election fraud by paying hush money to his porn star and Playboy model paramours, can by fiat gut the Environmental Protection Agency, can up the carbon emissions of the US, can steal money from other programs against the will of Congress for his Wall boondoggle, can wage ruinous trade wars with major trading partners, can foment war with Iran and support the Saudi war on little Yemen, and can doom babies at the border to be ripped from their mothers’ breasts and imprisoned in ICE boxes. The Supreme Court, which he has managed to pack, even just voted to let him imprison people forever without charging them, a basic violation of human rights.

      This is a man whose own cabinet appointees seriously considered invoking the 25th Amendment because they find him seriously impaired.

      And yet his public approval, despite an endless concatenation of uncanny foolishness and dangerous delusion, hovers around a plurality of the country.
    • Harris Sends Message to Democratic Old-Guard: Every Era Has Its End
      California Sen. Kamala Harris sent a subtle signal to the old-guard of Democratic politics that every era has its end.

      At an Atlanta church service dedicated to youth Sunday, the presidential candidate compared leadership to a relay race in which each generation must ask themselves “what do we do during that period of time when we carry that baton.”

      Then she added with a smile that for “the older leaders, it also becomes a question of let’s also know when to pass the baton.”

      The 54-year-old senator — one of the younger contenders for the White House in 2020 — did not mention any other presidential hopeful or tie her remarks to the Democratic presidential scramble. Her spokeswoman said she only wanted to encourage the youth at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

      Her commentary to the congregation once led by Martin Luther King Jr. comes as former Vice President Joe Biden, 76, considers whether to join a field that already includes Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is 77. Both men have run for president before and fallen short.

    • Russia Inquiry: No Evidence of Collusion, No Ruling on Obstruction
      Attorney General WIlliam Barr sent a letter to Congress summarizing the results of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

    • FULL TEXT: Read Attorney General Barr's Summary of the Mueller Report
      U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Sunday afternoon sent congressional lawmakers a 4-page letter offering a summary of his initial review of the report submitted to the Justice Department by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday.

      The initial headlines on the contents of the summary highlighted that Mueller's probe found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections, but that the Special Counsel's report "stops short" of exonerating President Donald Trump from allegations of obstruction of justice or other possible misdeeds.

      According to Barr's letter, the Mueller report put it this way: "While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

      In a statement from the White House, the administration characterized the Mueller report as offering "complete exoneration" of the president.

      The letter was sent to the chairs and ranking members of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees: Sen Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.).

    • Mueller Finds Trump Campaign Did Not Conspire With Russia, DOJ Says
      The Justice Department said Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation did not find evidence that President Donald Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated” with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.

      Mueller also investigated whether Trump obstructed justice but did not come to a definitive answer, Attorney General William Barr said in a letter to Congress summarizing Mueller’s report.

      The special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice, Barr said, and his report “sets out evidence on both sides of the question.”

      After consulting with other Justice Department officials, Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined the evidence “is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense.”

      Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller’s report Sunday afternoon. Mueller wrapped up his investigation on Friday with no new indictments, bringing to a close a probe that has shadowed Trump for nearly two years.

    • Whether Impeached or Voted Out or Stays Put, Ocasio-Cortez Says Trump 'Symptom of Much Deeper Problems'
      The Twitter thread on Sunday afternoon arrived just prior to news that U.S. Attorney General William Barr had delivered his summary of the Mueller report to members of Congress. According to the Associated Press' initial reporting on the summary, Mueller "did not exonerate President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice," but neither did it "find that he committed a crime."

      With numerous outlets earlier reporting that Mueller's office will seek no further indictments based on its exhuastive nearly two-year investigation, many legal analysts and political observers have shifted to the idea that President Trump, as well as his family members and other associates, could still face jeopardy from congressional oversight, criminal probes underway by the Southern District of New York, or possible action from other jurisdictions.

      However, as Ocasio-Cortez, argued in a follow-up tweet, the focus on Trump's potential criminal problems or impeachment by the Democratic-controlled Congress misses the larger point when it comes to solving the nation's deeper crisis.

      "He can stay, he can go. He can be impeached, or voted out in 2020," she tweeted. "But removing Trump will not remove the infrastructure of an entire party that embraced him; the dark money that funded him; the online radicalization that drummed his army; nor the racism he amplified+reanimated."

    • What Democratic Socialism Is... And What It Is Not
      In recent weeks, Donald Trump and other Republicans have begun to tar their Democratic opponents with the “socialist” brush, contending that the adoption of socialist policies will transform the United States into a land of dictatorship and poverty. In fact, though, like many of Trump’s other claims, there’s no reason to believe it.

      The ideal of socialism goes back deep into human history and, at its core, is based on the notion that wealth should be shared more equitably between the rich and the poor. Numerous major religions have emphasized this point, criticizing greed and preaching the necessity for “all God’s children” to share in the world’s abundance. The goal of increased economic equality has also mobilized numerous social movements and rebellions.

      But how was this sharing of wealth to be achieved? Religious leaders often emphasized charity. Social movements developed communitarian living experiments. Revolutions seized the property of the rich and redistributed it. And governments began to set aside portions of the economy to enhance the welfare of the public, rather than the profits of the wealthy few.

      In the United States, governments created a public sector alongside private enterprise. The American Constitution, drafted by the Founding Fathers, provided for the establishment of a U.S. postal service, which quickly took root in American life. Other public enterprises followed, including publicly-owned and operated lands, roads, bridges, canals, ports, schools, police forces, water departments, fire departments, mass transit systems, sewers, sanitation services, dams, libraries, parks, hospitals, food and nutrition services, and colleges and universities. Although many of these operated on a local level, others were nationwide in scope and became very substantial enterprises, including Social Security, Medicare, National Public Radio, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. armed forces. In short, over the centuries the United States has developed what is often termed “a mixed economy,” as have many other countries.

    • Reminiscent of Enthusiasm Sparked in 2016, Bernie 2020 Draws Massive Crowds in California
      Reminiscent of his 2016 insurgent run for president that saw overflow and enthused crowds in nearly every town he visited, Sen. Bernie Sanders drew a "yuge" crowd to a rally in Los Angeles on Saturday as the 2020 presidential candidate made his first swing through the country's most populous state of California over the weekend.

      The Los Angeles Times put the estimated number of attendees at the rally in a sprawling city park at 12,000 people, but others suggested the number was much higher.

    • A Heartbroken Trump
      It is no wonder his heart is broken. Not only have they been wonderful employees, but it’s impossible for him or anyone else to know what Eric’s daddy really wants. It all has to do with the confusing rules about legal and illegal immigrants, his daddy’s inconsistent statements, and the difficulty his daddy’s companies have had complying with the law when it comes to employing immigrant workers at their various properties.

      When it was reported, late in 2018, that the Trump organization employed many undocumented workers at its assorted properties, and in some cases had assisted them in falsifying their documents so they could remain employed, the organization vowed to change its ways. Eric Trump, a vice president of the company, explained, while simultaneously demonstrating his grammatical creativity: “We are actively engaged in uniforming this process across our properties and will institute e-verify at any property not currently utilizing this system.”

      When it became publicly known that the Trump organization employed a number of workers who were not qualified to work in the United States, even though many of them had worked for the Trump properties for many years, they were fired. Their firing took an emotional toll on Eric.

    • Bernie Is Not a Wind Sock
      Bernie Sanders wrapped up a weekend campaign swing through California with a Sunday afternoon speech to 16,000 of us a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. News coverage seemed unlikely to convey much about the event. The multiracial crowd reflected the latest polling that shows great diversity of support for Bernie, contrary to corporate media spin. High energy for basic social change was in the air.

      Speaking from the podium, Bernie 2020 co-chair Nina Turner asked and answered a question about the campaign: “What’s love got to do with it? Everything.”

    • Steny Hoyer Condemned for 'Shameful' and 'Unhinged' AIPAC Speech
      Hoyer went on to express support for a bipartisan resolution condemning the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, which was introduced by House Democrats last week.

      Tlaib and Omar are the first members of the House to back the BDS movement. In a statement last week, Tlaib—a Palestinian-American—said the anti-BDS measure "is aimed at suppressing free speech and moves us no closer to peace and understanding."

      "Peaceful forms of speech, including economic boycotts, are constitutionally protected. Where would civil rights in the United States be without the heroic Montgomery bus boycotts?" Tlaib said. "The economic boycott of Israel or any other government based on violations of human rights is about highlighting the injustices that need to stop."

      Hoyer was the first of several Democratic leaders scheduled to speak at AIPAC's annual conference this week, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Suppressing Discussion Doesn’t Solve the Problem. It is the Problem.
      Everywhere one looks these days, the world seems to be moving away from debate on contentious subjects and toward demands that those who have unpopular opinions — or even just ask impertinent questions — be forcibly silenced.

      “You will never hear me mention his name,” prime minister Jacinda Ardern said of Brenton Tarrant, the sole suspect in two deadly attacks on mosques in Christchurch. “He may have sought notoriety but here in New Zealand we will give him nothing — not even his name.”

      That’s fine as a personal decision, I guess, but not as a top-down decision for her fellow New Zealanders. Even as Ardern spoke, police working for her government were arresting at least two people for sharing the shooter’s live-streamed video of the attacks on social media.

      Across the Tasman Sea, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison is calling on the governments of G20 countries to implement measures “including appropriate filtering, detecting and removing of content by actors who encourage, normalise, recruit, facilitate or commit terrorist and violent atrocities.”

      Let’s be clear about what Morrison, other “world leaders,” and significant segments of activist communities and even the general public, are demanding (and to a frightful degree already implementing): Internet censorship.

      This isn’t really a new development. The mosque attacks are merely the latest incident weaponized by politicians and activists in service to a long-running campaign against public discussion and debate that requires them to make arguments and persuade instead of just bark orders and compel.

      The fictional “memory hole” of the IngSoc regime in George Orwell’s 1984 stood for more than half a century as an oft-cited and wisely acknowledged warning. Now that hole is opening up beneath us for real and threatening to suck us down into a new Dark Age of “thoughtcrime” and “unpersons.”
    • Russia’s Federal Youth Affairs Agency now has the authority to get websites blocked
      Thanks to a government order issued on March 21, Russia’s Federal Youth Affairs Agency, Rosmolodezh, now has the power to order the state censor to block websites that distribute information “intended to encourage minors to commit life-threatening acts.” The new grounds for extrajudicial Internet censorship were introduced in legislation drafted by State Duma Deputy Speaker Irina Yarovaya and signed last December by President Putin.

    • Russia’s Federal Security Service is being sued over Internet shut-off in Ingushetia last year during mass protests
      A man living in Ingushetia has filed a lawsuit against Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and Interior Ministry over the disconnection of mobile Internet services during last year's protests against a boundary agreement with Chechnya. Murad Khazbiev is suing the federal government in the Magas District Court, according to the newspaper Vedomosti, which has obtained a copy of his lawsuit.

      “I [was] a participant of these events, and I wholeheartedly subscribe to the protesters’ critical statements and slogans,” Khazbiev states. “However there was no opportunity to share this opinion and express it publicly on social media, because I experienced limitations on communications over mobile Internet.”
    • ‘Radio Svoboda’ deletes article about Prigozhin's catering business after threat of lawsuit
      The U.S.-government-funded media outlet Radio Svoboda (Radio Liberty) deleted a story published last month about the activities of a company owned by the catering tycoon Evgeny Prigozhin, after receiving a letter of claim from the company calling the article defamatory.

      The story, titled “They Acted Through Blackmail” (which you can still find here on Google’s cache), cites an anonymous source who claims that several competitors were forced to leave Moscow’s school catering market because of Prigozhin’s “Concord” food production facility, which dominates the city’s state procurement contracts.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The FBI Is the Enemy of the Left
      It was spring 1968 when Gerald Kirk and “Herb” met one evening at the Hyde Park Theatre on the South Side of Chicago. Kirk was a young student and Communist Party (CP) member. Herb was several decades his senior. He argued to Kirk that the time had come to break with the party.

      The CP had become “anti-revolutionary” and “revisionist.” Herb was part of the “Ad Hoc Committee for a Marxist-Leninist Party” and was seeking to recruit true revolutionaries out of the CP’s cadres. Kirk declined, but not merely out of party loyalty. He was a paid informant tasked with keeping tabs on the CP for the FBI.

      Unbeknownst to Kirk, Herb was also an informant. In fact, the entity Herb was supposedly part of, the “Ad Hoc Committee for a Marxist-Leninist Party,” was almost certainly a creation of the FBI. Kirk was tasked with spying on the CP; Herb was tasked with disrupting it. Neither were aware of the other’s efforts.

      The revelation that the FBI went so far as to invent a fictitious Marxist organization in their efforts to disrupt and destroy the American left came to light through the research of Aaron Leonard and Conor A. Gallagher, who have written two books on the FBI’s harassment, infiltration, surveillance, and disruption of Maoist organizations.

      Their first, Heavy Radicals: The FBI’s Secret War on America’s Maoists: The Revolutionary Union / Revolutionary Communist Party 1968–1980 focuses on the FBI’s campaign against the Revolutionary Union (which later became the Revolutionary Communist Party), doubling as an organizational history of the group and a look at the FBI’s actions against it. Their second work, A Threat of the First Magnitude: FBI Counterintelligence & Infiltration From the Communist Party to the Revolutionary Union – 1962–1974, builds on their research in the first to examine the role of FBI infiltrators.

      For contemporary activists who are only familiar with the current iteration of the Revolutionary Communist Party and its peculiar promotion of its leader Bob Avakian, or readers who find Maoism unpalatable generally, it might be difficult to understand the early appeal of the RU/RCP. (Though they were distinct organizations at different historical moments, for clarity, I’ll refer to them as one, following the authors’ lead in their first book’s subtitle.)

    • Shirish Agarwal: Questions about Racism, Immigration
      The idea is similar in many ways to what Brexiteers told to people living in Britain. In essence we see the following characteristics –

      a. Immigrants are the problem of all problems – While time and again has shown that Immigrants have been the source of growth in all developed countries, they are still able to get that particular message across. We had movies like Pathemari from South and fortunately or unfortunately many more movies on the same subject pursued in Hollywood. Some of the movies which I have enjoyed and have also found challenging are Moscow on the Hudson, (one of the best performances given by Robin Williams, The Immigrant , Man Push Cart, The Namesake (the Novel first and then the Movie) , Brooklyn , Sugar and many more. To distill down, all the movies, it comes to a singular fact, we love the place where we are born. We learn the taste, the smell, the culture and are assimilated by it long before we know it. It is only when people go to a different place whether to visit or to live as an immigrant that a dissonance is created and people spend their whole lives trying to fix the dissonance somehow.

      In fact, I know at least 10-15 friends and family personally who have been forced into being Economic migrants for life, many of them into IT or Information Technology or business. While I may have shared this pattern before, just a few months back, (without taking names), a friend of mine wound up going back to States. He had made good money in States, is and was at a high post, had made enough money to buy a bungalow in Pune. He sent resumes from United States to Indian companies in and around Pune where they promised him comparative earnings, But when he was back in the excuse of being with the family i.e. father, mother, sister et al he found that they were promising him now half or 1/3rd of what they had promised him before. And this is without any of the benefits which he was enjoying in States. His wife is also from Pune, India and a working professional. In the end, he had to sell his bungalow and say a tearful bye to his parents and sister. This is the case in almost all of Kothrud. I may have shared about Kothrud before. This is a place around 5-6 kms. from my place, where thousands of parents are living a good life as their children are abroad. They feel good that the children are earning good, but many or most of them miss the human touch, the love and care that children can give. There are now non-profits and even the police who do try to care of the old and the aged but there is only so much they can do.

    • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Creator Made An Animal’ By Snotty Nose Rez Kids (Featuring Boslen)
      Snotty Nose Rez Kids are a Canadian indigenous hip-hop duo made up of Darren “Young D” Metz and Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce, both Haisla Nation. They previously released two albums of politically charged music that included several songs that spoke to the issue of indigenous rights.

      The duo released the hard-hitting single “Warriors,” which protested the Trans Mountain Pipeline and appeared on the benefit album, “Tiny House Warriors Vol. 1,” and they recently released “Creator Made An Animal” the first single off their anticipated third album, “Trapline,” which is due out May 10, 2019.

      The song features contributions from fellow British Columbian, Canadian rapper Boslen.

    • Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Robert Scheer on the Importance of Not Selling Out (Video)
      Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer talks with his lifelong friend and legendary poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti who just turned a 100 years old. The two discuss a host of topics including the importance of not selling out and the founding of San Francisco’s landmark City Lights bookshop.

      “What Lawrence represents is the ultimate uncompromising spirit,” says Scheer, “not in the sense of some pompous asshole who says, ‘I know the truth and here it is,’ but in the sense of saying, ‘I am a bullshit detector … whose main concern is that the average person and artists and poets and everybody not get fucked over.”

    • How to Make a Difficult Situation Awful
      Borders are cruel. I know this because I’ve been studying the U.S.-Mexico border for more than 40 years. It features prominently in two of my books, written in different decades. It keeps pulling me back. Every time I cross that border, I say to myself that this is no big deal -- I’m used to it. And every time, I feel that familiar fear-or-flight jolt of adrenaline and hear the inner warning: Watch out! Things go wrong here.

      The border is cruel because it gives some people what they want and denies the needs of almost everybody else. Still, the hopeful come, lately in swelling numbers. Sadly, the cruelty of the border has ratcheted upward. It didn’t have to. U.S. policies have added unnecessary meanness to the innate hurt of the dividing line we share with Mexico. Here are a dozen “realities” of the border that I try to keep in mind while mulling the latest disasters.
    • INSIGHTS into the WORLD / Consider moral aspects of tech advances
      In the ongoing race for global technological supremacy, it is a common strategy to try to reconcile two conflicting needs — the need to flaunt the superb appearance and usability of each product and the need to conceal its internal mechanism — to remain a preeminent market player as long as possible. International competition has become so fierce that a “technology cold war” is now taking place.

      In fact, researchers and journalists around the world are closely following the technology rivalry between the United States and China to see which is and will be technologically superior.

    • The TSA’s Role as Journalist Harasser and Media ‘Watchdog’
      Sometimes you have to leave the United States to understand how far this country has evolved towards becoming a police state.

      I got a good example of this just last week on a trip with my harpsichordist wife to Vienna where she had been contracted to perform on Austrian State Radio in Vienna a concert of music by a leftist Jewish composer who settled in the US after fleeing from Austria just ahead of the Nazi Anschluss that took over and incorporated that country into Germany.

      In retrospect, the first indication of a problem occurred the night before our flight, when we tried to make our seat assignments and print our boarding passes for the next day’s flight. My wife managed to easily get both her passes for the London Heathrow leg and for the leg on to the Vienna International Airport. My boarding pass for the second leg of the trip came up and got printed okay too, but when we tried to print my boarding pass from Philly to London, it wouldn’t come up. Instead there was a message on the website saying we’d have to obtain that pass at the check-in counter. (Eventually by trying on both the American Airlines and the partner British Airlines site, she was able to get that boarding pass printed too, somehow.)

      At the Philadelphia International Airport, the next day, I got my initial boarding pass without a problem. But going through the TSA security checkpoint, I was pulled aside for what i was told was a “random” special inspection. Later, at our plane change at Heathrow Airport in the UK, at the point in the flight transfer process where we had to go through a passport and security check, I was told my boarding pass was “not recognized” and that I’d need to go to the airline check-in counter in an adjacent room to obtain a new one. It seemed a little odd — my wife’s boarding pass had checked out fine, and our itinerary showed both our names and our adjacent seat reservations for the next flight. But I still naively marked the glitch up to bureaucracy or an inadequate home printer that wasn’t working in the scanner

    • Epifanio Camacho: a Militant Farmworker Brushed Out of History
      Camacho’s life story is critical to understanding how and why he became militant.

      Epifanio Camacho was born in San Agustín, a village of about 150 inhabitants, in the province of Tamaulipas, Mexico, on the eve of the Mexican Revolution. Camacho spent his formative years in Mexico and migrated to the United States in 1955 when he was in his thirties.

      Camacho’s first job was in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he worked as a gravedigger. His employer consistently underpaid him and Camacho eventually tired of this and left. He went to Oklahoma to pick cotton and then to Arizona to do the same. From there, he went to the Coachella Valley in California, where he picked dates. Eventually, he got a job at Montebello Rose in McFarland, California grafting rose plants.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Chinese EV startup XPeng is at the center of major trade secret disputes with Apple and Tesla
      Last summer, a former Apple employee was charged by the FBI for allegedly stealing trade secrets related to the company’s secretive self-driving car project. This week, Tesla sued a former employee for allegedly stealing trade secrets related to Autopilot. While they happened many months apart, both sets of allegations have something in common: the employees were each allegedly trying to get information to a Chinese electric car startup called Xiaopeng Motors.

      Xiaopeng Motors, or XPeng, isn’t well-known in the West, but has rapidly grown its profile in China despite an overly crowded field in the EV startup space. Now it finds itself close to the heart of these two major trade secret dustups. So it’s worth taking a step back and getting a better understanding of just exactly what the company is all about.

    • Ex parte Smith (PTAB 2019) [Ed: The patent microcosm has moved from covering SCOTUS cases to covering lower court cases, first CAFC and then district courts. Now they celebrate mere decisions to GRANT! Priceless!]
      In the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) recently designated its decision in Ex Parte Smith as an informative decision for its application of the revised guidance on the application of 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101. (Ex parte Eileen C. Smith, Anthony Montesano, Edward T. Tilly, Mark A. Esposito, Stuart J. Kipnes, and Anthony J. Carone, Appeal 2018-000064, Technology Center 3600).

      Below, we analyze the decision, which is favorable for applicants, to illustrate that even when claims are found to be directed to a judicial exception (e.g., abstract idea), they will survive section 101 challenges if additional elements in the claim integrate the judicial exception into a practical application.


      The PTAB found these additional limitations did, in fact, integrate the recited judicial exception of derivative trading into a practical application. In particular, these additional elements limit the conventional practice of automatically executing matching market orders by reciting a specific timing mechanism in which the execution of a matching order is delayed for a specific period of time. The PTAB found that the Specification provided further context to conclude that the use of the claimed timing mechanisms and the associated temporary restraints on execution of trades provided a specific technological improvement over prior derivatives trading systems.

    • Copyrights

      • Supporters Of Article 13, After Denying It's About Filters, Now Say It's About Regulating Filters Which They Admit Don't Work
        As the EU Parliament gets ready to vote on the EU Copyright Directive and Articles 11 and 13, the desperation from the supporters of these laws is reaching a fever pitch. It's gotten to the point that their own arguments no longer make any sense and are totally inconsistent with what they've been saying for months. Late last week, a new group sprung up with a website called It is an astounding document in so many ways, not the least of which is it admits that Article 13 is about filters, while also admitting that filters don't work.


        I'm honestly stumped. It's true that filters don't work very well. But nothing in Article 13 fixes that. I think they're trying to say that if companies just pay to license up every bit of content (i.e., throw lots of money at collection societies described above) then they won't need to use filters any more, but that is not what Article 13 says by any stretch of the imagination. First, for that to be true, it would only apply if a site could be guaranteed that it was even possible to license every possible bit of content ever. Which it is not. And thus, they would still need to use filters. Which lead to mass, automated censorship.

        The manifesto goes on from there, with some other nonsense -- such insisting that "Memes are safe!" but it's really not worth spending more time on it, other than to suggest that if this is truly the best that collection societies could do with their propaganda, perhaps next time they should pay their writers more to write something coherent, and which doesn't disagree with basically all the other lobbying messaging about Article 13.

      • This Open Source Extension Displays Hidden Google Search Results
        Google receives tonnes of requests from copyright holders daily for removing infringing content. The company then analyzes the received requests and removes the content that violates copyright claims. The number of DMCA notices received by Google has increased manifold over time. As reported by TorrentFreak, content creators have asked Google to remove over four billion pirate links till date.

        Whenever Google removes links from its search results, it displays a notice at the bottom with the number of results removed from a search page. Google also provides links to the DMCA notices on LumenDatabase which led to the removal of links.
      • Huge Protests Across Europe Protest Article 13; Politician Lies And Claims They Were Paid To Be There
        As expected, people took to the streets in the EU this week to protest the EU Copyright Directive and the censorship filters of Article 13 and the snippet tax in Article 11. Most of the protests took place in Germany, where reports are that over 150,000 protesters showed up to let their elected officials know that this law is a disaster (other reports put the number closer to 200,000 protesters).
      • The Copyright Directive: Articles 11 and 13 must go – Statement from European Academics in advance of the Plenary Vote on 26 March 2019
        While we welcomed the ambition for copyright rules to be modernised “in the light of the digital revolution, new consumer behaviour and Europe’s cultural diversity” (Commission president Juncker’s 2014 “mission letter” to Günther Oettinger, then Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society), the implementation of this goal has been misguided.

        Policy making moved from “legislative steps towards a connected Digital Single Market” towards supporting narrow sectoral interests. During a full parliamentary period, this new form of industrial policy was turned into an ideological battle between European culture and so-called “GAFA” (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), the multinational industrial complex dominated by US firms.

        In our first open letter of 24 February 2017, we said:

        “While the Proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (COM(2016) 593 final) contains a number of reasonable, common sense measures (…), there are two provisions that are fundamentally flawed. They do not serve the public interest.
      • Leading German MEP Claims Copyright Protesters are Bought: Here are the TWELVE People He’s Talking About
        Over 100,000 people took to the streets of Germany yesterday. In Munich alone, approximately 50,000 marched, as well as an estimated 30,000 in Berlin. They demonstrated in response to repeated accusations from MEPs that critics of the EU Copyright Directive didn’t actually exist, and were merely “bots” created by leading internet companies in order to manipulate the EU.

        When people hit the streets yesterday, some new theories emerged. Daniel Caspary is the leader of the CDU/CSU delegation, Germany’s largest in the European Parliament. He spoke to Bild magazine and claimed that protesters were bought for €450.
      • Merkel's party in hurricane-strength shitstorm after falsely alleging U.S. corporations pay anti-Article 13 demonstrators
        The day after tomorrow, Tuesday, March 26, the European Parliament will hold its first-reading plenary vote on the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market aka EU Copyright Directive, at 12:30 PM local time in Strasbourg.


        We're less than 48 hours away from the EP vote, and Merkel's party (formally two parties--CDU and CSU--but practically just one as the CSU is basically the pseudo-independent Bavarian state party like Minnesota's DFL is just the Democrat Party in the North Star State) is going through a shitstorm now that beats everything they've ever been through. It's a hurrican.

        What triggered this shitstorm is the most stupid and most outrageous claim made in the whole copyright reform debate, which means a lot because earlier this week the CDU/CSU delegation to the European Parliament already made itself the laughing stock of German Internet users by saying something totally foolish and incompetent about Google's inner workings. Also, the European Commission's "mob" blog post won't be forgotten anytime soon.

Recent Techrights' Posts

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