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Links 8/5/2019: RHEL 8, Plasma 5.15.5, GTK 3.96.0

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  • Server

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 Reaches General Availability
      As we've been expecting, Red Hat just announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0.

      In kicking off Red Hat Summit 2019 today in Boston, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 has reached "GA" five years after the introduction of RHEL 7. RHEL 8.0 offers many improvements around cloud/containerized workloads, ships with the Linux 4.18 kernel in being in much better shape than its heavily patched Linux 3.10 kernel, GNOME 3.28 with Wayland comprises the default workstation desktop, and the many other package updates are roughly based upon their state from Fedora 28.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Officially Released, Here's What's New

    • Red Hat Opens the Linux Experience to Every Enterprise, Every Cloud and Every Workload with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 now generally available
      I think Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is the most developer-friendly Red Hat Enterprise Linux that we’ve delivered, and I hope you agree. Let’s get down to business, or rather coding, so you can see for yourself. You can read the Red Hat corporate press release.

      For this article, I’ll quickly recap Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 features (architecture, containers), introduce the very new and cool Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI), and provide a handy list of developer resources to get you started on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Delivers New Server Management Features
      Red Hat is kicking off its annual Red Hat Summit customer event on May 7, announcing the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 adds multiple new features including a web console, application streams, improved security and updated configuration capabilities. Red Hat Enteprise Linux is Red Hat's flagship platform, serving as a foundational component for application, container and cloud infrastructure delivery.

      The impact of Red Hat Enterprise Linux is non-trivial, with a Red Hat sponsored IDC study reporting that the enterprise Linux platform has a $10 trillion impact on global business revenues.

    • Red Hat Enterprise 8 Now Available, Microsoft Announces New Windows 10 Terminal App, Microsoft and Red Hat Announce an Open-Source Kubernetes Event-Driven Autoscaling Service, StackRox Partners with Red Hat, and Ubuntu 19.10 to Be Called Eoan Ermine [Ed: 40% of Linux Journal's "Linux news" today is actually not Linux news at all. It's Microsoft news. Googlebombing works.]
      Red Hat Enterprise 8 is now available. From the press release: "Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is the operating system redesigned for the hybrid cloud era and built to support the workloads and operations that stretch from enterprise datacenters to multiple public clouds. Red Hat understands that the operating system should do more than simply exist as part of a technology stack; it should be the catalyst for innovation. From Linux containers and hybrid cloud to DevOps and artificial intelligence (AI), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is built to not just support enterprise IT in the hybrid cloud, but to help these new technology strategies thrive." There will be a press conference tomorrow, May 8, at 11am EDT. You can register here.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 developer cheat sheet
      With the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, I’m pleased to introduce our new RHEL 8 cheat sheet for developers. This version has been updated from the beta version to reflect the final updates in RHEL 8.
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and the Services to help you get there
      Today’s IT landscape is constantly changing. Legacy strategies of static, "stable," image-based deployments and isolated patching may create brittle architectures, server sprawl, and highly restrictive platforms. We believe modern workloads should be scalable whether they’re deployed across bare metal, virtual, or cloud environments. To deliver performance, enhance reliability, and empower innovation, a holistic strategy is called for—one that prioritizes controlled evolution over static environments.

    • RHEL 8 released: It's the last pre-IBM Red Hat Linux Enterprise Linux
      In 2003, Red Hat made a radical bet. It went from being another do-it-all Linux distributor with Red Hat Linux and gambled everything on becoming an enterprise Linux power with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Red Hat won that bet. Soon, however, Red Hat will become part of IBM. So, when Red Hat released RHEL 8 at Red Hat Summit in Boston it will be the last major "pure" Red Hat Linux distro.

      RHEL 8 will be a fitting finish to this part of Red Hat's story. As the company states, RHEL 8 "is the operating system redesigned for the hybrid-cloud era and built to support the workloads and operations that stretch from enterprise datacenters to multiple public clouds. Red Hat understands that the operating system should do more than simply exist as part of a technology stack; it should be the catalyst for innovation. From Linux containers and hybrid cloud to DevOps and artificial intelligence (AI), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is built to not just support enterprise IT in the hybrid cloud, but to help these new technology strategies thrive."

    • Announcing the 2019 Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year
      Each year at Red Hat Summit, we recognize Red Hat Certified Professionals who demonstrate ingenuity, hard work and expertise by making a difference in their organizations. We’re proud to announce that Jason Hiatt, lead infrastructure developer at OneMain Financial, has been named the 2019 Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year.

      Hiatt has earned several Red Hat certifications and is a Red Hat Certified Engineer, Red Hat Certified System Administrator, Red Hat Certified System Administrator in Red Hat OpenStack, Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Administration, Red Hat Certified Specialist in Ansible Automation and Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Application Development. In addition, the Red Hat Learning Subscription has been key to helping Hiatt hone his skills in Red Hat technologies.

      In 2017, when the company needed a way to deliver applications more quickly for its customers, it turned to Red Hat to help build out a container platform. Hiatt helped oversee the roll-out of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. He led the implementation of Red Hat Ansible Automation while building the clusters, created CI/CD pipelines and developed applications that run on top of the platform. The initiative was successful in enabling code changes, which once took weeks or days and now takes mere hours or minutes.

    • Red Hat offers Linux experience to every enterprise, cloud and workload

      Red Hat, a world leader in open source solutions, has announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, the operating system designed to span the breadth of deployments across enterprise IT. For any workload running on any environment, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 delivers one enterprise Linux experience to meet the unique technology needs of evolving enterprises. From deploying new Linux workloads into production to launching Digital Transformation strategies, the next-generation enterprise is built on top of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform.

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is the operating system redesigned for the hybrid cloud era and built to support the workloads and operations that stretch from enterprise data centres to multiple public clouds. Red Hat understands that the operating system should do more than simply exist as part of a technology stack; it should be the catalyst for innovation. From Linux containers and hybrid cloud to DevOps and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is built not just to support enterprise IT in the hybrid cloud, but to help these new technology strategies thrive.

    • Bringing Management-as-a-Service to the enterprise
      Today Red Hat announced Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 which was designed for the hybrid cloud era — supporting workloads and operations that stretch from enterprise datacenters to multiple public clouds. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is a leap forward in providing enterprises with a consistent platform as the foundation of their infrastructure. And the world’s leading enterprise Linux needs management solutions designed to keep up with today’s hybrid IT. Solutions that can manage with ease environments across on-premises, in the cloud, or across multiple clouds.

      According to an IDC study, "lack of a unified control layer (or control plane) is the top challenge with using multiple cloud IaaS providers. This exposes the need for unified control and management, a central requirement for multi-location management."1 Managing systems dispersed across a variety of on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure can present a significant challenge to IT organizations. Organizations grapple with the increased complexity that stems from using unintegrated tools and processes and staying proactive with challenges around system management, security, and compliance. Making sure management solutions work across these environments is critical in today’s IT.

    • Introducing the Red Hat Universal Base Image
      Containers offer a lighter-weight version of the Linux operating system’s userland stripped down to the bare essentials, but it’s still an operating system and the quality of a container matters just as much as the host operating system. This is why we have offered Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) images since Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 GA, to offer customers certified and up-to-date enterprise-grade containers. Running RHEL container images on RHEL container hosts offers compatibility and portability between environments, not to mention familiarity. There was one problem. You couldn’t easily share it with others, even if they were a Red Hat Enterprise Linux customer or partner.

      But now, that’s changed.

      With the release of the Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI), you can now take advantage of the greater reliability, security, and performance of official Red Hat container images where OCI-compliant Linux containers run - whether you’re a customer or not. This means you can build a containerized application on UBI, push it to a container registry server of your choosing, and share it. The Red Hat Universal Base Image can allow you to build, share and collaborate on your containerized application where you want.

    • Meet the Red Hat Monitoring Team at KubeCon EU 2019
      KubeCon Barcelona is just around the corner, and if you’re looking for a way to enhance the monitoring capabilities of your Red Hat OpenShift clusters, then you’ll want to attend the conference’s Thursday keynote, as well as a number of other talks by the team inside Red Hat that works on Prometheus.

      Now that Kubernetes has become the de facto standard for container native infrastructure, it’s time for many users to start focusing on more than just installing and standing up clusters. For many, this means solving the monitoring and instrumentation challenges that come with running cloud-based services and systems.

    • Never forget where you come from: Expanding and evolving the Red Hat Enterprise Linux community ecosystem
      Over 15 years ago, Red Hat introduced a new way of delivering open source software for production use. Instead of trying to serve a developer and an enterprise IT community at the same time with a single "Red Hat Linux", we split the work in two: the Fedora Project, where we work with contributors and partners to refine and incubate open source projects in public, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, where we made that code ready for commercial use. This split enabled both teams to focus on their intended users, while still sharing the same ecosystem and therefore enriching each other. There were plenty of mistakes and course-corrections along the way, but the "Fedora Model," as we call it today, has been a critical contributor to our community’s success both upstream and commercially.

      The world has changed in the last 15 years. Linux now fuels a breakneck pace of innovation across the hybrid cloud, from the datacenter to the public clouds, spanning a diverse range of hardware configurations. Applications are now driving infrastructure thanks to the rise of containerized and cloud-native practices. Developers are now a key stakeholder in how enterprise technologies evolve. At the same time, we see greater stability in the upstream projects incubating in Fedora, even as these technologies continue to mature. These changes will naturally influence the way that our upstream communities work with each other and with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

    • What, no Python in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8?
      Of course we have Python! You just need to specify whether you want Python 3 or 2 as we didn’t want to set a default. Give yum install python3 and/or yum install python2 a try. Or, if you want to see what packages we recommend, use yum install @python36 or yum install @python27. Read on for why.

      For prior versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and most Linux distributions, users have been locked to the system version of Python unless they got away from the system’s package manager. Although this can be true for a lot of tools (Ruby, Node, Perl, PHP), the Python use case is more complicated because so many Linux tools (like yum) rely on Python. To improve the experience for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 users, we have moved the Python used by the system “off to the side” and introduced the concept of Application Streams based on Modularity.

      Through Application Streams, in combination with Python’s ability to be parallel installed, we can now make multiple versions of Python available and easily installable, from the standard repositories, into the standard locations. No extra things to learn or manage. Now, users can choose what version of Python they want to run in any given userspace and it simply works. For more info, see Introducing Application Streams in RHEL 8.

    • Red Hat Developers: Python in RHEL 8
      Ten years ago, the developers of the Python programming language decided to clean things up and release a backwards-incompatible version, Python 3. They initially underestimated the impact of the changes, and the popularity of the language. Still, in the last decade, the vast majority of community projects has migrated to the new version, and major projects are now dropping support for Python 2.

      In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, Python 3.6 is the default. But Python 2 remains available in RHEL 8.

    • Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage - what’s next?
      The application development landscape has evolved over the last decade. It’s now possible to offer a way to reduce development and deployment times and gain increased workload portability through the use of container-based platforms. At the same time, enterprises are looking for ways to reduce their reliance on the proprietary services offered by public clouds, and instead rely on democratized approaches that can be deployed and managed similarly across multiple clouds.

      Enterprises are realizing the importance of defining a hybrid cloud strategy that addresses the concerns of their users, application developers, and business stakeholders. And one primary yet overlooked piece of the puzzle is data: What do you do with your application persistent data? How are you processing the application data? How do you ensure the application is still available when the ephemeral container has been destroyed?

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Powering digital transformation with SAP solutions
      Today’s launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, the next generation of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, is about more than just unveiling a new version of enterprise-grade Linux. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 represents our vision for the operating system as the foundation for the hybrid cloud and as a catalyst for enterprise digital transformation. While Linux containers and Kubernetes are often discussed as transformative technologies, nearly every IT evolution has one common denominator: data.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 released
      Red Hat has announced the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8. "Modern IT is hybrid IT. But turning a sprawling ecosystem—from traditional datacenters to public cloud services—into a true hybrid environment requires a few things. Scaling as needed. Moving workloads seamlessly. Developing and managing applications that run anywhere. There's an operating system that makes those things possible. And now it gives you predictive analytics and remediation." See the release notes for more information.

    • Red Hat enables Lockheed Martin to deliver F-22 Raptor upgrades
      “By working with the Red Hat Open Innovation Labs team, we changed everything ‒ our toolchain, our process, and most importantly, our culture. With our new culture firmly rooted in DevSecOps and agile, and a more flexible platform based on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, the F-22 team will continue its work to ensure the Raptor meets America’s defense needs,” said Michael Cawood, vice president, f-16/f-22 product development, at Lockheed Martin.


      For Lockheed Martin, keeping the F-22 Raptor out front was not simply about upgrading its hardware and deploying a modern software platform. Instead, it also sought to create a team culture rooted in innovation and collaboration to transform its approach to application development. To do this, Lockheed wanted to adopt principles and frameworks common in software lexicon like agile, scrum, minimum viable product (MVP) and DevSecOps.

      Lockheed Martin chose Red Hat Open Innovation Labs to lead them through the agile transformation process and help them implement an open source architecture onboard the F-22 and simultaneously disentangle its web of embedded systems to create something more agile and adaptive to the needs of the U.S. Air Force.

      Red Hat Open Innovation Labs’ dual-track approach to digital transformation combined enterprise IT infrastructure modernization and, through hands-on instruction, helped Lockheed’s team adopt agile development methodologies and DevSecOps practices.

    • IBM's Red Hat acquisition moves forward
      Just ahead of Red Hat Summit in Boston on May 3, the US Department of Justice concluded its review of IBM's proposed Red Hat acquisition and essentially approved the IBM/Red Hat deal. This means the IBM/Red Hat acquisition is still on track for the second half of 2019.

      At Red Hat Summit, Red Hat released the results of a commissioned IDC study, which concluded software and applications running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) are expected to contribute to more than $10 trillion worth of global business revenues in 2019.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.1 arrives [Ed: This is the news Microsoft hopes to distracting from, googlebombing for Vista 10 promotion]
      Linux 5.1, wrote Linux Torvalds, "looks very normal with just over 13k commits (plus another 1k+ if you count merges). Which is pretty much our normal size these days." Normal is a good thing. There's no big "exciting" updates in this Linux kernel release, but it does include several neat, new features.

      The first of these is Linux now supports persistent memory as RAM. Sure, non-volatile memory (NVM) isn't as fast as good old RAM, but on newer systems it gives you the option of expanding your memory. Slowly, but surely, we seem to be on our way to merging RAM with storage.

    • Some AMD CPUs Might Lose RdRand Randomness Following Suspend/Resume
      Systemd developers are sounding the alarms that some AMD processors might lose randomness (yielding non-random data) via the RdRand instruction following a suspend/resume alarm. However, initial indications don't appear for this to be some glaring widespread issue and might be limited to the older AMD CPUs and/or BIOS/motherboard combination.

      Systemd lead developer Lennart Poettering of Red Hat tweeted today, "So AMD CPUs implement an RDRAND operation that doesn't actually return randomness (after your first suspend/resume cycle that is)."

    • Linux 5.2 For s390 Finally Adds Support For KASLR
      The IBM System Z kernel code with the now in-development Linux 5.2 kernel is finally supporting kernel address space layout randomization (KASLR).

      KASLR as the current Linux address space layout randomization implementation was merged a half-decade ago for randomizing the kernel code's position in RAM at boot time. Now finally with Linux 5.2 due out in July 2019, the s390 architecture supports KASLR. By placing the kernel code at a random position in RAM, it makes various attacks on the system more difficult due to not being able to reliably jump to a given position for an intended exploit.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation Supports Community Development to Improve Mobility, Transportation, Safety and Infrastructure with New Urban Computing Foundation
        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the formation of the Urban Computing Foundation to accelerate open source software that improves mobility, safety, road infrastructure, traffic congestion and energy consumption in connected cities. Initial contributors include developers from Uber, Facebook, Google, HERE Technologies, IBM, Interline Technologies, Senseable City Labs, StreetCred Labs and University of California San Diego (UCSD).

        As cities and transportation networks evolve into ever-more complicated systems, urban computing is emerging as an important field to bridge the divide between engineering, visualization and traditional transportation systems analysis. However, these advancements are dependent on compatibility among many technologies across different public and private organizations. Urban Computing Foundation will provide a neutral forum for this critical work, including adaption of geospatial and temporal machine learning techniques and urban environments and simulation methodologies for modeling and predicting city-wide phenomena. To contribute to this work, please visit the Urban Computing Foundation website.

    • Graphics Stack

      • RadeonSI Adds Workaround To Deal With Incorrect Rendering In Counter-Strike: GO
        For those enjoying Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver, a workaround has been added to Mesa Git that is also marked for back-porting to the Mesa 19.0/19.1 series to address incorrect rendering issues.

        The primary issue appears to be black patterns and other malformed rendering when using the scope on select rifles as opposed to being some very pressing issue. The original bug report dates back to March 2017 but has now been resolved.

      • GeForce GTX 1650 Support Backported To Stable Linux Driver With 418.74 Update
        Last month for the GeForce GTX 1650 launch, NVIDIA shipped the 430.09 beta Linux driver, which is the current beta series at the moment. For those looking for GTX 1650 Turing support on a "stable" series, the NVIDIA 418.74 driver is available.

        NVIDIA 418.74 is the latest stable update for this current "long-lived" branch. Added to this 418.74 update is support for the GeForce GTX 1650 and GTX 1650 Max-Q as well as the Quadro P2200 and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q. See our GeForce GTX 1650 Linux review and follow-up Radeon RX 560/570/580 vs. GeForce GTX 1060/1650/1660 Linux Gaming Performance if you are considering among these lower-end GPUs.

      • Mesa 19.1 Has Been Branched, Mesa 19.2 Is In Development
        The Mesa 19.1 release candidate is running a few days behind schedule but the code branching has indeed occurred while Mesa 19.2 is now under development on Git master.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD EPYC + Radeon Instrinct To Power "Frontier" 1.5 Exaflop Supercomputer
        AMD and Cray announced today they won a contract to provide the US Department of Energy with the hardware to the "Frontier" supercomputer that is expected to go online in 2021 and deliver 1.5 exaflops of compute power.

        The US DoE Frontier supercomputer is the fastest planned supercomputer right now and will be built around custom EPYC CPUs and Radeon Instinct graphics processors. There will be four Radeon GPUs per EPYC CPU and feature a custom Infinity Fabric implementation and this supercomputer is built around Cray's Shasta architecture.
      • Running Clear Linux With NVIDIA's Proprietary Driver Stack
        With the fast-moving kernel and other packages of Clear Linux, it hasn't been the easiest to target for proprietary drivers. Since earlier this year they began offering an optional "kernel-native-dkms" kernel package that enables DKMS (Dynamic Kernel Module System) support for allowing the likes of the NVIDIA kernel module to run easier and in most cases remain building against the distribution's rolling-release kernel updates. Now with the "Install NVIDIA Drivers" guide they have offered their official guidance on installing the NVIDIA proprietary driver so that it jives with the rest of their software stack as to not cause any interference.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.15.5
        Today KDE releases a Bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.15.5. Plasma 5.15 was released in February with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

        This release adds a month's worth of new translations and fixes from KDE's contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important and include...

      • KDE Plasma 5.15 Desktop Reaches End of Life, KDE Plasma 5.16 Arrives on June 11
        KDE Plasma 5.15.5 comes only a month after the KDE Plasma 5.15.4 point release to address more issues and improve various parts of the desktop environment, including the Plasma Discover package manager, KWin window and composite manager, Plasma Desktop, Plasma Workspace, Plasma Audio Volume Control, Plasma Networkmanager, Plasma Addons, System Settings, and Breeze GTK.

        Highlights of this last point release include breeze_cursors as default cursor theme in Breeze GTK, better support for the Flatpak universal binary format, improvements for non-BMP emoji characters in KWin and non-metric locales Weather add-on, compatibility fixes for Qt 5.13 and Qt 4, as well as improvements to Folder View, Kickoff, and Widget Explorer. More details are available in the full changelog.

      • Bring the Linux App Summit 2019 home
        The GNOME and KDE communities are looking for locations for the Linux App Summit (LAS) 2019, an event that will be held sometime between September and December 2019.

        The Linux App Summit is an evolution of the Libre Application Summit and has a specific focus on the creation of applications that target Linux devices. By co-hosting the conference, KDE and GNOME want to create a space for a more widespread collaboration and work towards a common goal: make the Linux application ecosystem flourish.

        If you are interested in hosting LAS 2019 in your town, send us an e-mail to by May 15th with your proposed location. This will allow the organizing committee to establish contact with you and give you assistance as you put together a bid later on.

      • Rajeesh K Nambiar: Okular: improved PDF annotation tool
        Okular, KDE’s document viewer has very good support for annotating/reviewing/commenting documents. Okular supports a wide variety of annotation tools out-of-the-box (enable the ‘Review’ tool [F6] and see for yourself) and even more can be configured (such as the ‘Strikeout’ tool) — right click on the annotation tool bar and click ‘Configure Annotations’.

        One of the annotation tools me and my colleagues frequently wanted to use is a line with arrow to mark an indent. Many PDF annotating software have this tool, but Okular was lacking it.

        So a couple of weeks ago I started looking into the source code of okular and poppler (which is the PDF library used by Okular) and noticed that both of them already has support for the ‘Line Ending Style’ for the ‘Straight Line’ annotation tool (internally called the TermStyle). Skimming through the source code for a few hours and adding a few hooks in the code, I could add an option to configure the line ending style for ‘Straight Line’ annotation tool. Many line end styles are provided out of the box, such as open and closed arrows, circle, diamond etc.

      • Summer is coming...
        All of this began here, probably this was the first day I was giving Krita a try cause this was the closest I got to Photoshop after switching to Linux. It has been something on and off from that day, sometimes I used Krita, sometimes I mixed it up with GIMP and Inkscape too for satisfying my needs to replace the “Photoshop through Wine”.

        Until 2017 I was just a Krita user, but after installing Gentoo and getting comfortable with compiling programs on my own, I decided to contribute to Krita, cause it feels awesome when your work is being used by millions of people, right?

        So I headed over to their IRC channel, introduced me and told them my intentions, luckily, Scott was there to help me with the things I would love to work on and in a couple of days, I made my first patch to the new Text Tool. Cool, sounds perfect, except it wasn’t cause, that branch which I committed into will probably never get merged into master, why? why? (read them quickly one after another) For the reason that, I immediately left working on that part (even though I promised that I would work) after the first commit, god knows what I was thinking, such an idiot I was.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK 3.96.0
        This week, we released GTK+ 3.96.0. Again, it has been a while since the last release, so it is worth summarizing whats new in this release. There is really too much here to cover it all, so this post will only highlight the most important changes.

        This release is another milestone on our way towards GTK+ 4. And while there are still some unfinished things, this release is much closer to we hope to achieve with GTK+ 4.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The May 2019 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine
        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the May 2019 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

        In the May 2019 issue:

        * De-Googling Yourself, Part 1 * GIMP Tutorial: More About Masks * PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: jim2u71 * The Ruby Programming Language: Writing A Ruby Program, Part 2 * Casual Python, Part 4 * ms_meme's Nook: If I Had PCLinuxOS * FREE Linux Help Books * Tip Top Tips: Linking Your Orage Calendar To Google Calendar * Short Topix: Julian Assange Taken Into Custody * PCLinuxOS Recipe Corner: Philly Cheese & Ground Beef Casserole * And much more inside!

        This month’s cover was designed by parnote, with the cover photo by YouCanToo.

        Download the PDF (9.5 MB)

        Download the EPUB Version (8.6 MB)

        Download the MOBI Version (7.1 MB)

        Visit the HTML Version

    • Fedora

      • Innovations on the Linux desktop: A look at Fedora 30's new features
        The latest version of Fedora Linux was released at the end of April. As a full-time Fedora user since its original release back in 2003 and an active contributor since 2007, I always find it satisfying to see new features and advancements in the community.

        If you want a TL;DR version of what's has changed in Fedora 30, feel free to ignore this article and jump straight to Fedora's ChangeSet wiki page. Otherwise, keep on reading to learn about some of the highlights in the new version.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 19.10 Release Schedule and Expected Features
            The development for Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine has begun. Learn the release date of Ubuntu 19.10 and the new features it is expected to bring.

          • Ubuntu Developer Desktop Survey 2019
            It’s clear that a lot of people develop software using Ubuntu. What’s less clear is exactly what sort of software is being built. We see reports of people developing Linux apps, Android apps, web services, self driving cars… the list is huge. We need to get better clarity; to understand how that relates to Ubuntu desktop.

            We can get some reasonable insights from the Stack Overflow Developer Survey, but I’m keen to really dig down in to the Ubuntu community specifically.

            When I was chatting with Barton George a few weeks back he expressed the same interest; what are people doing with the Sputnik machines from Dell? We want to learn more about the sorts of software projects that you’re working on so that we can make the Ubuntu developer experience as good as possible.

            To that end we put together the Ubuntu Developer Desktop Survey to help us understand more about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. This survey is aimed primarily at people who are using Ubuntu to develop software targeting any platform. It doesn’t matter if you do that at work, at home, at school – if you’re building software then we’re glad to hear from you. To be clear: this doesn’t mean we’re abandoning our mantra of Ubuntu being for human beings, software developers are human beings too. Right now I want to get a better view in to what software developers are doing.

          • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS has transitioned to ESM support
            Ubuntu 14.04 LTS ‘Trusty Tahr’ transitioned into the ESM support phase at the end of April 2019, and will no longer be supported for users who do not have access to Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) through Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure.

            Ubuntu long term support (LTS) releases provide a stable, supported platform for development and production, with five years of guaranteed public maintenance available. Once the public Standard Security Maintenance window comes to a close, Ubuntu LTS releases have an additional three to five years of support (depending upon the release) through ESM.

            Access to ESM extends LTS release coverage, allowing for continued security fixes for high and critical common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) for the most commonly used packages in the Ubuntu main archive. This access permits organisations with workloads running on Ubuntu LTS releases to maintain compliance standards by providing a secure environment before upgrading can occur.

          • Don't Hold Your Breath On UBports' Ubuntu Touch For Purism's Librem 5 Smartphone
            While Ubuntu Touch that continues to be worked on by the UBports community remains one of the most viable and furthest along Linux open-source smartphone operating systems, it doesn't look like there will be any solid support in time for launch-day of the upcoming Purism Librem 5 smartphone.

            Adding to the growing list of concerns over the Librem 5 smartphone is now finding out there isn't Ubuntu Touch progress being made... Last year Purism announced Ubuntu Touch would be supported on the Librem 5 and that the company would "officially collaborate" with UBports. That was back when they planned to ship the Librem 5 smartphone in January 2019 and offer their own GNOME-based PureOS, PureOS with KDE Plasma Mobile, and Ubuntu Touch as options.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What you need to know about the CEO and chief engineer of Adafruit Industries
    A two-inch-wide, jeweled LED disc sits on the desktop to the right. Colors dance, looping in rhythmic circles. A metallic green circuit board glints under the fluorescent lights of a south Manhattan factory. On the reverse side of the disc, stamped in stark white, is the Adafruit logo.

    Thousands of makers and inventors, from beginners to advanced, have used Adafruit electronics and kits to engage with technology in new and different ways.

    At the center of it all stands a passionate entrepreneur from Boston, defining a new class of engineer and reinventing the way electronic hardware is created.

  • A young leader that the times and technology demand
    From a small classroom in Jaipur, India's LNM Institute of Technology, laughter and rhythmic music pour out. A group of students exploring the next generation of smart vehicles is taking their midafternoon break: a dance break. Among them is a bright-eyed, playful young woman who is passionate about redefining diversity within technology communities.

    Meet Saloni Garg, an award-winning computer science student. She has a strong coding background and a commitment to collaboration that makes her an asset to any open source project team.
  • In a Kubernetes vs. AWS world, Red Hat may hold the edge
    No matter how fervently a CIO may intone that she is "all in" on this or that cloud, or any particular vendor, the messy reality of enterprise IT is that every enterprise is hybrid by happenstance, not choice. Yes, it's easy to find overly optimistic opinions on "the benefits of a multi-cloud strategy" (authored by vendors that crave your cash), but "hybrid" and "multi-cloud" tend not to be strategies at all.

    They're simply what happens in a world driven by developers.

    For organizations that find themselves hopelessly hybrid (which is to say, every company on earth), take heart. There is a way to make this mess look like (and serve as) a very real strategy. It's called Kubernetes, derived from the Greek word for "helmsman," and it offers a way to turn hybrid computing into a smart business strategy, even if that's not how it started.

  • Why startups should release their code as open source
    It's always hard to recall exactly how a project started, but sometimes that can help you understand that project more clearly. When I think about it, our platform for creating user guides and documentation, Dokit, came straight out of my childhood. Growing up in a house where my toys were Meccano and model airplane kits, the idea of making things, taking individual pieces and putting them together to create a new whole, was always a fundamental part of what it meant to play. My father worked for a DIY company, so there were always signs of building, repair, and instruction manuals around the house. When I was young, my parents sent me to join the Boy Scouts, where we made tables, tents and mud ovens, which helped foster my enjoyment of shared learning that I later found in the open source movement.

    The art of repairing things and recycling products that I learned in childhood became part of what I did for a job. Then it became my ambition to take the reassuring feel of learning how to make and do and repair at home or in a group—but put it online. That inspired Dokit's creation.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Thunderbird: WeTransfer File Transfer Now Available in Thunderbird
        WeTransfer’s file-sharing service is now available within Thunderbird for sending large files (up to 2GB) for free, without signing up for an account.

        Even better, sharing large files can be done without leaving the composer. While writing an email, just attach a large file and you will be prompted to choose whether you want to use file link, which will allow you to share a large file with a link to download it. Via this prompt you can select to use WeTransfer.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Programming/Development


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Raise Your Hand If You Like Being Ripped Off by Pharmaceutical Corporations
      It doesn’t matter where you live in this country or what your political identification is; nobody likes getting ripped off by pharma. Everybody wants their members of Congress to drastically lower drug prices by taking on big pharma’s greed and breaking up pharmaceutical monopolies.

      Our organizations, Social Security Works and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, recently commissioned new polling by Public Policy Polling that shows that lowering drug prices is not a partisan issue. Republicans, Democrats and Independents overwhelmingly agree that Congress must act aggressively to lower drug prices. The only people who don’t want bold, aggressive action are the drug corporations and the members of Congress who are listening to them instead of their constituents.

      Public Policy Polling surveyed Americans in three House districts—Iowa’s 4th, represented by Republican Steve King; New Hampshire’s 1st, represented by Democrat Chris Pappas; and South Carolina’s 1st, represented by Democrat Joe Cunningham. These are all swing, frontline congressional districts, the kind where both parties worry most about winning control. They are all also in early caucus or primary states for the 2020 presidential races. Together they give a good look at how an issue plays in “tough” districts and states.

      What did we find? Do Republicans and Independents like getting ripped off by drug corporations? Nope.

    • FDA Study: Sunscreen Chemicals Seep Into the Bloodstream
      A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study has found that chemicals used in common sunscreens end up in the blood at levels well above the trigger for further testing, Reuters reported.

      The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Monday, found subjects' blood had levels of avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule substantially above the 0.5 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) point at which testing is required. One of the chemicals, oxybenzone, has been shown to harm coral reefs, and sunscreens containing it have been banned in coral habitats from Hawaii to Key West, Florida.

    • High levels of sunscreen ingredients end up in the bloodstream: study
      (Reuters) - The active ingredients of commonly-used sunscreens end up in the bloodstream at much higher levels than current U.S. guidelines from health regulators and warrant further safety studies, according to a small study conducted by U.S. Food and Drug Administration researchers and published on Monday.

    • North Carolina Legislature Seeks to Quadruple Taxpayer Funding for Anti-Choice Clinic Group
      North Carolina lawmakers have drafted a state budget for 2019-21 that awards more than $1.2 million per fiscal year to an organization that operates anti-choice pregnancy centers, four times the funding the group received in the previous budget.

      Pro-choice advocates, led by the group Reproaction, have lobbied top North Carolina officials to halt public funding for anti-choice clinics, including those run by the Human Coalition, which misleadingly advertises its clinics as offering a full range of reproductive health-care options. In a letter to North Carolina officials sent before the legislature’s budget was released this week, the pro-choice organizations said that Human Coalition has “been known to change the name of the fake clinics they operate to evade detection [by] the women they aim to trick out of procuring abortions.”

      The state’s proposed 2019-21 budget has yet to pass either chamber of the GOP-held legislature, though it’s widely expected to clear the house on Friday. North Carolina Republicans lost their veto-proof supermajority in last year’s midterm elections, meaning Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper now has more sway in budget negotiations.

    • A Serious Question Goes Viral: 'When Did You Become Radicalized by the U.S. Health Care Non-System?'
      Messages like this are provoking fear in the health care corporate board rooms. Signs of their alarm are evident in massive lobbying of Congress to support Medicare for some alternatives, hefty campaign donations to key players on key committees, and other political bullying.

      The profiteers of pain probably also noticed some chilling new data, such as the study from the American Cancer Society that found 137 million U.S. adults have suffered due to exorbitant medical costs.

      Or the report in the Los Angeles Times last week that one in six Americans who have employer-paid insurance made “difficult sacrifices” last year, such as cutting back on food, using up all or most of their savings, getting extra jobs, or moving in with friends, to be able to pay un-payable medical bills.

      But it’s likely not just stories and findings like these that probably keep the CEOs up at night, it’s also the massive movement on the ground.

      Since a week of mass movement building organizing meetings (barnstorms) in February, a National Nurses United grassroots campaign has been hosting canvassing and phonebanks across the U.S. at a rate of 150 a week.

      They have generated thousands of person-to-person conversations that have resulted in well over 10,000 calls to legislators to support Medicare for All bills, especially the House bill, HR 1384, co-sponsored by Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell that just had its first wildly successful hearing in the House Rules Committee and, as a result of mass pressure, will soon be the focus of a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee.

    • U.S. Pregnancy Deaths Are Up, Especially Among Minorities
      Pregnancy-related deaths are rising in the United States and the main risk factor is being black, according to new reports that highlight racial disparities in care during and after childbirth.

      Black women, along with Native Americans and Alaska natives, are three times more likely to die before, during or after having a baby, and more than half of these deaths are preventable, Tuesday’s report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes.

      Although these deaths are rare — about 700 a year — they have been rising for decades.

      “An American mom today is 50% more likely to die in childbirth than her own mother was,” said Dr. Neel Shah, a Harvard Medical School obstetrician.

    • 'We Will Fight This': Rights Advocates Warn Georgia's Six-Week Abortion Ban Poses National Threat
      Reproductive rights advocates vowed to fight in court against Georgia's new six-week abortion ban—signed into law Tuesday by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp—while warning that the measure's greater purpose is to challenge the constitutionally protected right to abortion on a national scale.

      "What we need to understand is that this is actually something that's happening in state after state with a very specific purpose of overturning Roe v. Wade," Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan said in a video Planned Parenthood Action posted to Twitter.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday

    • Build up your SDDC security with 3 components

    • Firefox issues fixes for extensions problem
      The Mozilla Foundation, the organisation that produces the open-source browser Firefox, has released updates to fix the issue with the browser that prevented users from downloading extensions and also rendered any existing extension unusable.

    • SSH Honey Keys

      The thought behind honey keys is similar to Honeywords, a concept published a while ago to help identify attempts to use data collected in breaches to gain unauthorized access to a user account. In our case, the attacker attempts to authenticate with the honey key, the action is logged (or another action chosen by the defender) and an alarm is sounded for use of the key.

    • Chinese hackers were using NSA malware a year before Shadow Brokers leak [Ed: NSA-Microsoft collusion helped China rather than USA]
      The group --tracked by cyber-security vendors under names such as Buckeye, APT3, Gothic Panda, TG-011, and UPS-- is infamous after US authorities charged three hackers in late 2017.

      The US alleged that the three men were behind a cyber-security company named Boyusec that was acting as a front for the Chinese Ministry of State Security and had hacked western companies such as Moody's Analytics, Siemens, and Trimble.

      The group was considered advanced among the spectrum of Chinese-based and government-backed APTs (advanced persistent threats), having access to its own custom tools and zero-days.

    • Stolen NSA hacking tools were used in the wild 14 months before Shadow Brokers leak

      One of the most significant events in computer security happened in April 2017, when a still-unidentified group calling itself the Shadow Brokers published a trove of the National Security Agency’s most coveted hacking tools. The leak and the subsequent repurposing of the exploits in the WannaCry and NotPetya worms that shut down computers worldwide made the theft arguably one of the NSA’s biggest operational mistakes ever.

      On Monday, security firm Symantec reported that two of those advanced [attack] tools were used against a host of targets starting in March 2016, fourteen months prior to the Shadow Brokers leak. An advanced persistent threat [attack] group that Symantec has been tracking since 2010 somehow got access to a variant of the NSA-developed "DoublePulsar" backdoor and one of the Windows exploits the NSA used to remotely install it on targeted computers.

    • Turla LightNeuron: An email too far

      Recently, ESET researchers have investigated a sophisticated backdoor used by the infamous espionage group Turla, also known as Snake. This backdoor, dubbed LightNeuron, has been specifically targeting Microsoft Exchange mail servers since at least 2014. Although no samples were available for analysis, code artefacts in the Windows version lead us to believe that a Linux variant exists.

    • Russian cyberspies are using one hell of a clever Microsoft Exchange backdoor [Ed: Microsoft has put NSA back doors in everything. Even the servers of the type Hillary Clinton was running. Microsoft Exchange servers getting cracked isn't an accident but a design choice.]

    • Researchers discover highly stealthy Microsoft Exchange backdoor

      Aside from the Transport Agent, which is dropped in the Exchange folder located in the Program Files folder and registered in the mail server’s configuration, the backdoor also uses a DLL file containing most of the malicious functions needed by the Transport Agent.

      As mentioned before, the backdoor can block emails, modify their body, recipient and subject, created a new email, replace attachments, and re-create and re-send the email from the Exchange server to bypass the spam filter.

      It can create email and attachment logs, encrypt emails and store then, and parse JPG/PDF attachments and decrypt and execute the commands found in them.

      LightNeuron can also be instructed to write and execute files, delete and exfiltrate them, execute processes, disable itself, perform extensive logging (backdoor actions, debug, error, etc.) and perform automatic file exfiltration at a particular time of the day and night.

    • Russian Nation-State Group Employs Custom Backdoor for Microsoft Exchange Server

      "It's not really a vulnerability. They are using legitimate functionality [of Exchange]," he says.

      Microsoft was not available for comment at the time of this posting.

    • New backdoor targets Microsoft Exchange mail servers

      The malware was able to use the transport agent to read and modify every email passing through the server, compose and send emails, and block any email.

      ESET said LightNeuron used steganography to hide its commands inside a PDF document or a JPG image.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • What Is Happening at the Venezuelan Embassy Is an Outrage
      Right here in Washington DC an unprecedented showdown is unfolding. Venezuelan supporters of self-declared interim president Juan Guaido have been trying to take over the Venezuelan Embassy. This goes against international law, the wishes of the government in control in Venezuela, and the dogged determination of a group of US citizens called the Embassy Protection Collective, who have been living in the Embassy since April 15.

      A takeover of the embassy of a sovereign nation whose government holds power and is recognized by the United Nations would be illegal according to the 1961 Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations, which says that diplomatic premises are inviolable and the receiving State must protect the premises against any “intrusion, disturbance of the peace or impairment of its dignity.”

      This has nothing to do with whether one likes Nicolas Maduro or considers the Venezuelan elections fair. My Saudi friends in Washington DC hate Mohammad Bin Salman—a man who has NEVER been elected by anyone—but the US government would never let them take over the Saudi Embassy. Chinese dissidents say that “winners” of Chinese rigged elections—with only the Communist Party allowed to exist—should not be recognized by the rest of world, but they would never get access to the Chinese Embassies. Likewise for dissidents from Egypt, Honduras, Syria, Zambia, Congo, Romania, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, etc.—all countries with highly questionable elections, to put it mildly.

    • Third suspect in attack on journalist Oleg Kashin arrested after years of hiding in Belarus
      34-year-old Vyacheslav Borisov has been caught and arrested in St. Petersburg, Fontanka reported. Borisov is suspected of participating in a 2010 attack on the independent journalist Oleg Kashin that nearly left the journalist dead. However, he was arrested in connection with a separate case.

      Like Kashin’s other two alleged attackers, Danila Veselov and Mikhail Kavtaskin, Borisov was arrested on suspicions of participating in the kidnapping of Alexander Gorbunov, the CEO of the company where the three suspects worked. Gorbunov was kidnapped in April of 2014 and allegedly tortured until he confessed on tape to ordering the attack on Kashin.

    • Tomgram: Hartung and Smithberger, A Dollar-by-Dollar Tour of the National Security State
      In its latest budget request, the Trump administration is asking for a near-record $750 billion for the Pentagon and related defense activities, an astonishing figure by any measure. If passed by Congress, it will, in fact, be one of the largest military budgets in American history, topping peak levels reached during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. And keep one thing in mind: that $750 billion represents only part of the actual annual cost of our national security state.

      There are at least 10 separate pots of money dedicated to fighting wars, preparing for yet more wars, and dealing with the consequences of wars already fought. So the next time a president, a general, a secretary of defense, or a hawkish member of Congress insists that the U.S. military is woefully underfunded, think twice. A careful look at U.S. defense expenditures offers a healthy corrective to such wildly inaccurate claims.

      Now, let’s take a brief dollar-by-dollar tour of the U.S. national security state of 2019, tallying the sums up as we go, and see just where we finally land (or perhaps the word should be “soar”), financially speaking.

      The Pentagon’s “Base” Budget: The Pentagon’s regular, or “base,” budget is slated to be $544.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2020, a healthy sum but only a modest down payment on total military spending.

      As you might imagine, that base budget provides basic operating funds for the Department of Defense, much of which will actually be squandered on preparations for ongoing wars never authorized by Congress, overpriced weapons systems that aren’t actually needed, or outright waste, an expansive category that includes everything from cost overruns to unnecessary bureaucracy. That $544.5 billion is the amount publicly reported by the Pentagon for its essential expenses and includes as well $9.6 billion in mandatory spending that goes toward items like military retirement.

    • Is China Being Framed?
      Like many attempts to frame people, events and nations–Vietnam, Iraq, 9/11, JFK, Bin Laden–it was a State hoax, a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as truth. An atrocity story sustained by artful censorship and loud, proud, bold and brassy propaganda. An expensive, in-your-face, preposterous conspiracy, sustained for two years at great financial and reputational cost to the nation. Wildly ambitious, batshit crazy and so self-destructive as to boggle the mind, it was one of many propaganda-driven frame-ups, another of which in progress as you read these lines.

      It checks all the boxes: big, bold, loud and proud, expensive, in-your-face, a preposterous hoax, daringly ambitious and utterly self-destructive.

      The China Hoax frames China’s Confucian politics and economics as if they were – or should be – Roman. It explains why thousands of predictions of China’s collapse have been one hundred percent wrong for seventy years and why we keep repeating them, and why we think of China’s government as oppressively authoritarian when ninety-five percent of Chinese think it’s super. It also helps us see how the narrative is sustained by an almost totalitarian censorship regime.

      It is well known that our censors–for that’s what they are–have silenced hundreds of thousands of Americans with National Security Letters[1] and, whenever those prove inadequate, have permanent authority to take control[2] of all American communications and information. If undesirable communications persist they can kidnap, imprison or execute the communicators[3] without fear of court trial or media criticism. Since China emerged as a threat to our hegemony six months ago they have tightened their control noticeably.

    • Sheremetyevo demands ‘severest punishment’ for airport staff who laughed at Sunday’s catastrophic airplane fire
      Top executives at Sheremetyevo airport are demanding the “severest” punishment for the airport officials who filmed themselves laughing at Sunday's airplane fire aboard a Sukhoi Superjet 100, which killed 41 people. Recorded in a restricted area of Sheremetyevo, a video shared online this week shows airport staff watching the plane make its emergency landing, as one man jokes that the plane “landed well, making sparks fly.”

    • 'Presidential Endorsement of Murder': Trump Pardon of US Soldier Who Tortured, Killed Iraqi Prisoner Spurs Outrage
      Critics of the president's decision stressed its negative implications, including the dangerous message it sends to the world.

      "This pardon is a presidential endorsement of a murder that violated the military's own code of justice," said Hina Shamsi, the director of the ACLU's National Security Project, in a statement provided to Common Dreams. "The military appeals court found Behenna disobeyed orders, became the aggressor against his prisoner, and had no justification for killing a naked, unarmed Iraqi man in the desert, away from an actual battlefield."

      In court filings reviewed by the Times, Behenna allegedly said that "he would do it again, and he did not feel bad about it because he just lost two guys."

      Trump's pardon of Behenna came after politicians in the soldier's native Oklahoma and retired military figures mounted a sustained campaign for Behenna, a campaign that commentator Nate Bethea, a U.S. military veteran who served in Afghanistan, opined was driven by right-wing callousness.

      "All Republicans agree with this because all Republicans think no American soldier should go to jail for murdering someone overseas," said Bethea. "They don't think it counts as murder."

    • The Left Needs to Stop Crushing on the Generals
      The two-star army general strode across the stage in his rumpled combat fatigues, almost like George Patton—all that was missing was the cigar and riding crop. It was 2017 and I was in the audience, just another mid-level major attending yet another mandatory lecture in the auditorium of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

      The general then commanded one of the Army’s two true armored divisions and had plenty of his tanks forward deployed in Eastern Europe, all along the Russian frontier. Frankly, most CGSC students couldn’t stand these talks. Substance always seemed lacking, as each general reminded us to “take care of soldiers” and “put the mission first,” before throwing us a few nuggets of conventional wisdom on how to be good staff officers should we get assigned to his vaunted command.

      This time, though, the general got to talking about Russia. So I perked up. He made it crystal clear that he saw Moscow as an adversary to be contained, checked, and possibly defeated. There was no nuance, no self-reflection, not even a basic understanding of the general complexity of geopolitics in the 21st century. Generals can be like that—utterly “in-the-box,” “can-do” thinkers. They take pride in how little they discuss policy and politics, even when they command tens of thousands of troops and control entire districts, provinces, or countries. There is some value in this—we’d hardly want active generals meddling in U.S. domestic affairs. But they nonetheless can take the whole “aw shucks” act a bit too far.

    • The Silence of the 2020 Democratic Hopefuls on Gaza Is Deafening
      But despite their pledge earlier this year not to attend the annual conference of the Israeli lobbying group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)—one that Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., effectively violated when she hosted representatives from the organization in March—the Democratic Party’s 2020 hopefuls have been loathe to criticize the Israeli government, with a couple of notable exceptions. Both former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have called the Netanyahu administration “racist,” with the latter telling a CNN town hall recently, “I have family in Israel. I am not anti-Israel. But the fact of the matter is that Netanyahu is a right-wing politician who, I think, is treating the Palestinians extremely unfairly.”

    • As mainstream comes down hard on Palestinians, Sanders cites human rights violations in Gaza
      Not surprisingly, mainstream American politicians were unequivocal in condemning Palestinians for the rocket attacks that went back and forth between Israel and Gaza over the weekend. Below are several statements from Democratic pols and liberal Israel support groups showing that there is no room in the mainstream US discourse for criticizing Israeli violence or speaking about Israel’s 13-year-long blockade on Gaza or its slaughter of Palestinian demonstrators at the fence over the last year, let alone its refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

    • Aeroflot passenger Oleg Molchanov describes his escape from the burning jet at Sheremetyevo
      On May 5, a Sukhoi Superjet 100 owned by the Russian airline Aeroflot caught fire at Sheremetyevo airport. The airplane, which was bound for Murmansk, made an emergency landing at its departure point soon after takeoff. 41 people died in the fire out of the 78 people onboard the flight. Meduza spoke with 35-year-old Murmansk entrepreneur Oleg Molchanov, who survived the fire along with his wife.

    • Investigators focus on alleged pilot errors in Moscow airplane fire
      Russian officials leading the investigation into a disastrous May 5 airplane fire that left 41 people dead are treating the actions of the pilots who were flying the Sukhoi Superjet 100 as a potentially central explanation for the airplane’s destruction, sources close to the investigation told Kommersant.

      Officially, Russia’s Investigative Committee wrote that it is looking into multiple potential explanations for the fire aboard the jet. Among them are insufficiently qualified pilots, dispatchers, and technical inspectors; a malfunction in the Superjet itself; and unfavorable weather conditions.

    • Failed ‘Coup’ a Fake Corporate News Story Designed to Trick Venezuelan Soldiers—and US Public
      After days of breathless reporting in the US media about public and military support for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro collapsing, and about an April 30 coup by presidential poseur Juan Guaidó, we now know the truth: The whole thing was a fraud, staged at the instigation of Washington in hopes that the Venezuelan people and rank-and-file troops would fall for the trick and think an actual coup was underway.

      We also know, from an excellent May 2 report by Michael Fox in the Nation magazine, that the US mainstream media and its reporters in country were promoting that dangerous fraud.


      The “newspaper of record” either made no effort to check its reporters’ “facts,” or went along deliberately with the charade that Washington’s hand-picked “legitimate president” Guaidó was actually speaking from a “liberated” military airfield, when he was really only standing on a highway overpass outside the airfield, which itself was never even contested, remaining in government hands throughout the day.

      To compound the journalistic felony, the Times ran a Reuters wire photo showing Guaidó speaking to a street full of supporters, purportedly taken that day, but clearly not depicting where he had made his call for a coup, when he had only the camera to address, though incautious readers might well have assumed that is what the photo showed.

      Did editors at the Times’ home office in New York double-check on the reporters’ claims before running their incendiary report of the capture of a government military airbase? Why didn’t one of the paper’s many reporters and photographers in Caracas high-tail it to the La Carlota base to get a firsthand report and video of the first victory in this so-called coup attempt?

    • 'No One is Taking Any Chances': US Mosques Hold Active Shooter Drills Ahead of Ramadan
      The Muslim month-long holiday Ramadan is traditionally a time for reflection and celebration—and, in 2019, a time to take measures against active shooters.

      That's the new reality in the U.S. for the American Muslim community, which has seen a spike in hate speech, threats, and attacks over the last three years.

      To deal with the increase in threats and attacks, Muslims across the U.S. are turning to active shooter training to deal with the danger.

      Reporting this week from The Washington Post and HuffPost details the situation these houses of worship find themselves in as they get ready for Islam's biggest holiday.

    • 8 Hurt, 2 in Custody After School Shooting Outside Denver
      Gunfire erupted Tuesday inside a suburban Denver middle school not far from Columbine High School, wounding eight people before two students were taken into custody, authorities said.

      Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said two students walked into the school and opened fire in two classrooms. He said only students ages 15 and older were wounded.

      Deputies responded within minutes from a nearby sheriff’s department substation, entering the school as gunfire rang out. Police took the two suspects, one adult and one juvenile, into custody with no injuries.

      “We did not have them on any radar,” Spurlock said of the suspects. “I have to believe that the quick response of the officers that got inside that school helped save lives.”

      Spurlock said at least a handgun was recovered, but he didn’t release more information on weapons.

    • Rich brothers recruited via Facebook to fund Sri Lanka attacks, cops say

      While Sri Lanka Easter suicide attacks mastermind Zahran Hashim used social media to publicly call for the death of non-Muslims, he worked for months in private chatrooms to persuade six young men to sacrifice themselves, Muslim community leaders say.


      "We asked the intelligence agencies to take down the Facebook page of Zahran because he was polluting the minds of Sri Lankan Muslims," Razik said. "We were told it is better to allow him to have the page so that the authorities could keep an eye on what he was doing."

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Pamela Anderson visits Julian Assange in prison

      "It is for me shocking to see my friend, an intellectual, a publisher, a journalist. A man who has transformed the world of journalism with his work sitting in a high-security prison," Hrafnsson said.

      "Someone said that you could judge the civilization of a society by visiting its prisons and frankly I have to say from my heart that this visit did not reflect well on this society here."

    • Britain: National Union of Journalists World Press Freedom Day event ignores Julian Assange

      When the floor was opened to questions, Assange supporter Cristina Navarrete thanked the speakers for their information about the dangers facing journalists but said there was a clear omission. “On World Press Freedom Day, we have a journalist here in the UK that is in the high security prison in Belmarsh,” she reminded them.

      “As you know, Julian Assange was taken away from the Ecuadorian Embassy on 11th April. With that, the Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno broke all the asylum laws.

    • Accused CIA Leaker Files Complaint Against The Government Seeking $50 Billion In Damages
      Some CIA phone hacking tools made their way into the wild back in 2017. It didn't take long for the DOJ to find a suspect to charge. Joshua Schulte, a former NSA and CIA operative, was hit with a long list of charges, including espionage, child porn possession, and (at least momentarily) copyright infringement -- the last one on the list being the result of feds discovering a bunch of pirated movies and music on Schulte's server.

      As this prosecution has slowly moved forward, it has gotten wilder. The DOJ claimed Schulte was continuing to leak classified info, even after being jailed while awaiting his trial. According to the DOJ's filing, Schulte was using a number of smuggled-in phones to smuggle out classified documents turned over to him by the DOJ in response to discovery requests. The government's filing also made mention of "significant encryption" stymieing its attempts to break into Schulte's contraband phone but left the definition of that term open to discussion.

      Marcy Wheeler (of Emptywheel) was the first to come across Josh Schulte's latest filing in his case. And it's… something. Schulte has been openly critical of his incarceration and the US prison-industrial complex generally. Now, he's attempting to nail down the specifics by filing a complaint [PDF] against the US government for depriving him of a number of his rights and demanding, in a Dr. Evil-esque move, 50 BILLION DOLLARS.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Study: Educating Children on Climate Change Teaches Parents Too
      With the School Strike for Climate movement inspired by Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, young people have taken the lead on climate activism. Now, a first-of-its-kind study suggests that this could be a winning strategy to get more adults involved, too.

      Researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State) found that teenagers educated about climate change saw their parents' concern about the issue jump almost 23 percentage points on average, Reuters reported.

    • Children may be their parents' best climate-change teachers, scientists find
      Teenagers in the U.S. coastal state of North Carolina who were schooled in the basics of man-made climate change saw their parents grow more concerned about the issue, scientists said on Monday in the first study of its kind.

      The results suggested nationwide protests by young people urging action to tackle global warming could influence the views of adults at home, researchers told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

      Danielle Lawson, lead author of the study published by the journal Nature Climate Change and a researcher at North Carolina State University, said the findings could “empower” ongoing efforts by students, such as the “Fridays for Future” marches.

    • Ninth Gray Whale in Two Months Washes Up Dead in Bay Area
      A gray whale washed up dead on a San Francisco beach Monday morning, CNN reported, making the mammal the ninth to be found dead in the Bay Area this year.

    • Nine dead gray whales have washed ashore in the San Francisco Bay Area this year
      A dead gray whale washed ashore on a San Francisco beach Monday morning -- the ninth such death in the Bay Area this year, scientists at the Marine Mammal Center said.

      "The death of nine gray whales in the San Francisco Bay Area this year is a cause for serious concern and reinforces the need to continue to perform and share the results of these type of investigations with key decision-makers," Dr. Padraig Duignan, Chief Research Pathologist at the center, said.

    • Human Civilization Is Under Threat. We Must Save Nature to Save Ourselves
      This is a rough moment to read or listen to environmental news. As we're experiencing a seemingly unending parade of rollbacks and pro-polluter actions coming out of DC, the international science community is ringing the alarm bell on a series of issues that need attention — now. Most notably, last year's IPCC climate report made clear that action needs to happen fast if we are going to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

    • The IPCC Climate Change Report: Why It Matters to Everyone on the Planet
      You’d be forgiven for losing track of all the studies on climate change. There are a lot—each seemingly more dire than the last. But the latest report by one of the leading international authorities on the subject, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sounds an urgent warning that is worth heeding: We must cut emissions immediately to avoid the catastrophic effects of a changing climate.

      The October report, Global Warming of 1.5 ℃, seeks to answer a pressing question: What would be the impact of a 1.5- degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures above preindustrial levels? At the Paris climate talks in 2015, nearly all countries committed to a target of keeping the temperature change to well below 2 degrees and to make efforts to prevent a change greater than 1.5 degrees. The IPCC’s special report answers the question of how important that seemingly small half-degree difference would be. And the conclusions are startling: A half degree more of warming would mean substantially more poverty, extreme heat, sea level rise, habitat loss, and drought. And we cannot prevent this unless we act immediately to cut emissions deeply. In fact, every tenth of a degree matters.

      Here’s a look at this report’s findings—the starkest yet—and why it’s so critical that our leaders pay attention.

    • How to Build the Green New Deal? Cities and States May Already Have Answers
      Over the past several months, legislators in Washington have engaged in heated conversations about the Green New Deal, the potential plan to help the United States to cool the planet by quickly and equitably curbing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to cleaner energy sources.

      The hotly debated idea has both vocal supporters and detractors. But even for those who champion the mission, there’s still a lot to figure out about how it would be developed and implemented.

      The good news is that any effort to bring the Green New Deal to fruition wouldn’t need to start from scratch. Proponents can, and should, look to states and cities for help and inspiration, says Caitlin McCoy, a fellow at Harvard Law School who specializes in in climate, clean air and energy. McCoy just authored a new policy paper that shows areas where state and local governments have been leading and how understanding their progress is crucial to crafting any new sweeping federal legislation.

      “States are an experimental testing ground for policies that could one day be adopted at a federal level,” she says. Green New Deal backers, she adds, “would be wise to do an accounting of what’s happening at a state and local level and see where they might be able to plug federal policies and programs into existing architecture and frameworks. And any big federal policy to operationalize the principles of the Green New Deal would necessarily need to build on state action, because a lot of the areas that the deal seems to be seeking to reach are areas of traditional state and local control.”

    • Campaigning Green MEP candidate says progress too slow on Cambridge University divestment
      Responding to the announcement today from Cambridge University that it had agreed to provide fully costed plans setting out how it could divest multibillion-pound endowments from fossil fuel corporations (1), with the report due in six months, Jeremy Caddick, a former member of the university council, a position from which he campaigned for divestment, said:

      "Seventy six UK universities, holding €£12 billion in fossil fuel assets, have already committed to divest. Cambridge sees itself as a leader among British universities, but on the issue of divestment it is clearly in grave danger of being a laggard.

      "Two years ago the administration dodged the issue by failing to act on a call from more than 130 academics to move towards serious action. Now, with double that number of academic supporters signing up to a motion to its ruling body, it appears there is recognition that in the age of climate emergency this issue is not going to go away.

    • Coral reefs provide flood protection worth $1.8 billion every year – it’s time to protect them
      The news is grim: According to a report compiled by hundreds of scientists from 50 countries, Earth is losing species faster than at any other time in human history. Thanks to climate change, coastal development and the impacts of activities such as logging, farming and fishing, roughly 1 million plants and animals are facing extinction.

      The UN report calls for rapid action at every level, from local to global, to conserve nature and use it sustainably. And here’s some potential good news: Many ecosystems now at risk can provide valuable services if they are protected.

      I know from my research on coastal habitats that the biggest obstacle to investing in natural infrastructure, such as wetlands and reefs, often is that experts have not figured out how to value the protection that these habitats provide in economic terms. But a new report that I co-authored, published by the U.S. Geological Survey, solves that problem for one of our planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems: coral reefs.

      This report shows that coral reefs in U.S. waters, from Florida and the Caribbean to Hawaii and Guam, provide our country with more than US$1.8 billion dollars in flood protection benefits every year. They reduce direct flood damages to public and private property worth more than $800 million annually, and help avert other costs to lives and livelihoods worth an additional $1 billion. Rigorously valuing reef benefits in this way is the first step toward mobilizing resources to protect them.

    • Pompeo Cheers 'Opportunity' in Arctic From Climate Change as America Blocks Resolution Language
      Rather than saving the Arctic from climate change, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the melting polar region should be seen as an opening for the northern hemisphere.

      Pompeo's comments came during a speech to a meeting of the Arctic Council, a group of seven countries—Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the U.S.—with interests and claims in the region.

      "Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade," said Pompeo. "This could potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days."

      Reporting in The Washington Post said that Arctic Council members were "stunned" by Pompeo's remarks and the U.S. position, especially coming on the same day as a U.N. report warning of the extinction of 1 million species due to human activity and within months of a NOAA report showing that 95 percent of the region's thickest ice is gone.

      The council member countries had hoped to pass a resolution calling for addressing climate change—but the U.S. killed the statement's references to the phrase.

    • The Green New Deal is going globa
      It’s the third period of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs and we’re trailing, badly. It’s time to pull the goalie and send out the top forward line. We don’t know if we can actually win, but we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.

      In hockey-obsessed Canada, this is an appropriate metaphor to explain to the public why we need a bold and comprehensive strategy to tackle climate change. We’re running out of time to avoid catastrophic levels of warming and what we have been doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions hasn’t been working.

      It’s time to try something new, like The Pact for a Green New Deal, just launched by a large coalition of youth, workers, Indigenous leaders, artists and scientists. The plan would see Canada cut emissions in half in 11 years — in line with what the world’s scientists have demonstrated is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change — and do so in a manner that will “leave no one behind.”

    • Insects Are 'Glue in Nature' and Must Be Rescued to Save Humanity, Says Top Scientist
      "Insects are the glue in nature," said Sverdrup-Thygeson. "We should save insects, if not for their sake, then for our own sake."


      Sverdrup-Thygeson's call to action came after the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released a comprehensive global biodiversity report, which warned that human activity has pushed a million plant and animal species to the brink of extinction.

      According to the report, "available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10 percent [of insect species] being threatened" by the climate crisis.

      "It is not too late to make a difference," said IPBES chair Sir Robert Watson, "but only if we start now at every level from local to global."

    • Is Conference Room Air Making You Dumber?

    • Above Us the Waves
      The salient point about Cassandra the mythological princess, and Dr Stockmann in Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, and Chief Brody in Peter Benchley’s Jaws is not that they predicted calamity or that they were proved right after several individuals (thousands in Cassandra’s case) had unnecessarily died. It was that they were ignored and even reviled. So it is with the most significant issue of the age, indeed the most significant event in the history of the world: climate change.

      Predictably enough, the coverage of the on-going worldwide action by the groups acting under the umbrella Extinction Rebellion has concentrated on their conduct rather than their aims. Sitting down, sleeping over and supergluing are of more interest to the mainstream media than the survival of the planet. Politicians and media commentators prate about irresponsibility, disruption and cost, unmindful that these are but a drop in the rising ocean.

  • Finance

    • H&R Block, TurboTax Accused Of Obstructing Access To Free Tax Filing

      Only about 3% of taxpayers eligible for Free File are using it — resulting in Americans paying an estimated $1 billion a year in unnecessary fees to the tax prep companies, by ProPublica's calculations.

      ProPublica found that tax prep companies used a range of tactics to lead low- and moderate-income people into paying to file taxes. For example, reporters discovered that Intuit used a bit of code to hide the free version of TurboTax from Google and other search engines. The products are also confusingly named: the "Free Edition" of TurboTax actually charges a fee to file state forms, while the truly no-cost version is named "Freedom Edition" and isn't listed on its homepage.

    • Why Government Jobs Stats are Inaccurate
      You can show all the graphs you want. But they’re graphs based on data (and the definitions, assumptions and methods behind the data) that are sometimes erroneous. And while not all government data is incorrect or inaccurate, to slavishly defend it as you do is a gross disservice to the truth. You defend your positions by employing the very government data that I am arguing is not always truthful. It may be factual, but facts are selective and not necessarily truthful.

      You can attack me personally all you like, Doug, but your attack shows one irrefutable conclusion: You believe unconditionally in the government’s data instead of challenging it when called for. In that regard you are an apologist and, when it comes to government data, you are clearly in the camp of the bureaucrats and other government conscious mis-representers of the truth. Misrepresentation by clever statistical manipulation, by omission of facts and alternative interpretations, and by obfuscation based on methodologies that are intended to conceal rather than reveal—-all of which you defend.

      You help them maintain the fiction that the economy is doing great, that jobs are plentiful and well-paid, and we’re all better off than we think. That makes you an ideologist, not an economist. I think you’d be great writing editorials for the Wall St. Journal. Given your style and content, you really have more in common with those guys. I’ll write them on your behalf and see if they’re interested.
    • The Fight for Affordable Housing Rages On
      Curtis and Riley put all the pieces together, and they’re not sure what to do about finding a place to live. As they’re walking the streets, they run into a rally outside City Hall led by Carmen, a housing activist.

    • Trump Launches New Assault on the Working Poor
      The Trump administration on Monday moved to change the definition of “poverty” in the United States in a proposal which combines the president’s attempts to portray the U.S. economy as strong with his repeated attacks on the working poor and their access to government services.

      In a regulatory filing, President Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) wrote that it may change how inflation is calculated in order to reduce the number of Americans who are living below the federally-recognized poverty line and are therefore eligible for certain government support services and social programs.

      As Melissa Boteach, who oversees income security programs at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), wrote on Twitter, the change “seems technical, but it’s actually a big attack on working people.”
    • Worsening U.S.-China Trade Tensions Rattle Financial Markets
      The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled more than 470 points Tuesday amid a broad sell-off on Wall Street as the U.S. and China moved closer to an escalation of their already costly trade war.

      The U.S. was set to impose higher tariffs on China on Friday, a day after representatives from both nations are scheduled to resume trade talks in Washington. Trump administration officials accused China of reneging on commitments made during weeks of negotiations.

      Both sides had signaled progress was being made toward a resolution in recent weeks. Buoyed by those signs, as well as a more dovish stance on interest rates by the Federal Reserve and better signs on the economy, investors had furiously bought stocks and pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to all-time highs last week. All major indexes still have double-digit gains for the year.
    • U.S.-China Talks Are About Much More Than Trade
      Just when it appeared that Washington and Beijing were inching closer to concluding their trade negotiations (thereby bringing a cessation in the ongoing and escalating conflict), the U.S. president has thrown a new grenade in China’s direction. Trump “threatened to raise tariffs on all Chinese imports to 25 per cent, sharply ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to make concessions in trade talks and sending global equities markets sliding,” write James Politi, Courtney Weaver, Tom Mitchell and Yuan Yang of the Financial Times.

      Win or lose, anything that creates the perception that the administration is standing up for the rights of American workers (even at a cost of repudiating decades of free trade ideology) could cement Trump’s growing popularity within a traditional Democratic Party constituency. Many blue-collar voters tried to send a message of change in 2016 when they voted for Trump. These voices are particularly germane in Midwestern states, which basically secured the necessary Electoral College votes required to put Trump in the White House.

      Politics aside, the trade talks create dilemmas for both sides: capital markets in both countries have revived, as expectations have grown that the two nations would resolve this increasingly acrimonious dispute, albeit on terms that largely retain the status quo.

      Trump in particular has done much to elevate those expectations in his Twitter account, even as it became increasingly apparent that the nature of the deal was unlikely to do anything more than induce Beijing to make further large-scale purchases of American exports, as opposed to undertaking structural reforms of the kind that would likely rectify some longstanding U.S. grievances, such as the appropriation of intellectual property (IP), cyber-theft, and inadequate access to Beijing’s domestic markets, to cite a few prominent examples.

    • Ride-Hailing Drivers Strike, as Execs Stand to Make Millions in IPOs
      Lyft and Uber drivers are planning to strike on Wednesday, turning off their apps and protesting at company offices to demand better wages, job security, benefits and transparency around pay structures.

      “We don’t know if we will have a job from one day to the next,” Lyft driver Henry Rolands said in a statement released by the New York City Taxi Workers Alliance. “We make pennies while the app companies make billions off the backs of drivers who suffer and suffer.”

      The action, which is to take place in at least eight cities, will involve thousands of drivers and comes just two days before Uber is expected to take the company public. Uber’s IPO, CNBC reports, is “expected to be the largest among new tech stock debuts this year with an expected valuation of $80.53 billion to $91.51 billion.”

      Some workers will not drive that day; others will stop for a few hours. In New York City, the strike is expected to last two hours during the heart of the morning commute. “This is an act of solidarity with drivers across the country, and really across the world, who are suffering with poverty wages,” Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, told The Washington Post.

      In Virginia, Henock Wonderse will be turning off his app all day, because, as he explained to The Washington Post, “The wages are so unpredictable and so low, it’s very difficult to make a living.” Los Angeles drivers, who, as the Post points out, were the first to propose a strike, will also be off work all day, according to a release from Rideshare Drivers United.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • When It Comes to Trump, Nancy Pelosi May Be Too Clever for Our Own Good
      Last week a New York Times profile of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reported that Pelosi wants the Democrats to “stay in the center,” insisting that for the party to succeed in 2020 it must “own the mainstream.”

      Pelosi, currently the most powerful Democrat in public office, has surely sought to strike that pose. She has been consistently cool to ambitious progressive ideas, like the Green New Deal, and to their idealistic proponents, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; she has quite publicly resisted calls from within her own caucus to commence an impeachment inquiry, insisting that impeachment would require a “bipartisan consensus” and a level of broad public support that is currently lacking; and she has maintained that while Democrats must support appropriate investigations of the Trump administration, they must also work “constructively” to try to pass legislation that benefits the American people.

      The most striking instance of this effort to strike a moderate pose is Pelosi’s recent initiative to meet with Donald Trump at the White House, and to attempt to collaborate with him on a $2 trillion infrastructure bill. In a column last Monday, I criticized this effort, arguing that it might be motivated by tactical savvy, but it is an act of weakness and cowardice, that could only offer Trump an appearance of statesmanship at a time when he is vulnerable and is lashing out. I stand by what I wrote: “either the Democrats are in a political battle, now, to defeat a dangerous president, or they are not.”

    • Though It 'May Seem Nuts,' Experts Say Trump Endorsement of Two-Year Extension of His Term Should Not Be Ignored
      Amid growing fears that Democratic political leaders are not taking seriously the possibility that President Donald Trump could refuse to yield power if he loses in the 2020 election, progressive critics are voicing concern over Trump's retweet over the weekend of a post calling for two years to be added to his first term as "pay back for time stolen" by the Mueller investigation.

      Written by right-wing Liberty University head Jerry Falwell, Jr. and boosted by the president Sunday evening, the tweet stated Trump "should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term" as "reparations" for the recently completed Mueller probe.

      "It may seem nuts," Adolph Reed, Jr., professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, said of Falwell's tweet in an email to Common Dreams, "but I do think this is worth paying attention to."

    • The Ominous Implications of William Barr’s Testimony
      Though not explicitly mentioned, a concept of the presidency that constitutional scholars call “the theory of the unitary executive” is deeply embedded in the attorney general’s testimony. In a recent article, Politico White House correspondent Eliana Johnson asserted that it was the prospect of advancing this theory that drew Barr to Trump in the first place, rather than any personal fealty to the president.

      The unitary executive theory has long been a favorite of the radical right. It has its roots, innocuously enough, in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which provides: “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”

      Hardline proponents of the unitary theory also frequently invoke Alexander Hamilton’s arguments in favor a strong chief executive, set forth in Federalist Paper No. 70, as proof that the Founding Fathers intended to endow the president with sweeping authority.


      'The theory of the unitary executive is an instrumentalist theory designed to validate a particular vision of presidential power, namely, one in which a vast array of governmental powers are consolidated into the Presidency and insulated from the checks and balances so integral to a republican form of government. Its proponents seek the cover of the Constitution, but in truth their theory wreaks havoc on the most fundamental principles of our constitutional traditions. This theory and the practices that emanate from it need to be resoundingly rejected by the American public.

      As former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor…said: ‘It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.'

      Congress has many tools at its disposal to act. The Constitution grants Congress the power of impeachment, for one. In addition, the Supreme Court has long recognized the authority of Congress to investigate the executive branch for alleged instances of maladministration, arbitrary and capricious behavior, abuse, waste, dishonesty and fraud.

      With its newly constituted majority, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is uniquely poised to hold the most corrupt administration in our history to account. Sadly, however, it is by no means certain that it will. In part II, we’ll examine this failure of nerve.

    • Rebuking DCCC Blacklist, Progressive Groups Endorse Campaign to Oust 'Anti-Choice, Anti-LGBTQ' Democrat
      "Illinois women and families deserve someone who shares their values, not someone who pursues his own ideology that is out of step with his constituents," Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement.

      "Marie Newman is ready to stand up for the women and families of Illinois' 3rd Congressional District and fight for their values," said Hogue. "Dan Lipinski is dangerously out of touch, and has time and time again refused to stand up for basic values like reproductive freedom, LGBTQ equality, and economic opportunity for every family."

    • Mitch McConnell's Trump Defense Strategy Is Proof the Republican Party Is an Authoritarian Outfit
      One day after the President of the United States released his latest authoritarian trial balloon, his allies in the Senate have sought to make it clear, in case there was any doubt, that they have jettisoned their obligations to defend the Constitution and will instead defend The Leader.

      On Monday, Donald Trump helped to float the idea that two years of his term had been "stollen" by the Russia investigation, which he and his allies are now calling a "coup," and that his term should be extended as a result. This might seem a bit absurd when you consider the supposed shadowy cabal trying to take down the president opted not to press charges, and to leave the decision on whether he obstructed justice to a Congress that is half-controlled by his Republican allies. Just don't think too hard about it!

      That's what the Senate Republicans are hoping you'll do. They're led by Mitch McConnell, who's done far more damage to American democracy than Donald Trump and started the job well before the Tangerine Generalissimo pried his way into the Oval Office. The Kentucky senator is the archetypal megalomaniac, deploying weaponized nihilism to secure tax cuts and stuff the courts full of conservative ideologues in service to big-money campaign donors, who will, in turn, help maintain his place as one of the three most powerful people in America. Ol' Mitch plans to make an exciting announcement on the Senate floor today, which his aides leaked to the press this morning.

    • Over 600 Federal Prosecutors Say Trump Should Be Charged With Obstruction
      In a searing rebuke to Attorney General William Barr, hundreds of former federal prosecutors, many with service records lasting decades, have signed a letter stating that the Mueller report provided ample ammunition for obstruction of justice charges to be brought against Donald Trump. At the time of this printing, the letter, titled “Statement by Former Federal Prosecutors,” held 636 signatures, a number that had nearly doubled from 375 when its existence was announced by The Washington Post on Monday afternoon.

      “We are former federal prosecutors. We served under both Republican and Democratic administrations at different levels of the federal system,” reads the letter. “Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.”

      The concept of a sitting president being beyond prosecution is not seated in any law or legislation. It’s a rule, a guideline set by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel which has no force or power beyond a tacit agreement within the department that it should be followed. Absent that rule, say these more than 600 former federal prosecutors, Trump would be charged with multiple felonies. Shorter version: If Donald Trump were Donald Smith from Coupon, Pennsylvania, he’d be in deep shit.

    • Regulating Online Political Advertising Needs Data Use Transparency
      Electoral Commission Director of Regulation Louise Edwards called for new laws requiring online adverts to show clearly who has paid for them.

    • White House Orders Don McGahn to Defy House Subpoena
      The Trump administration has instructed former White House counsel Don McGahn to defy a subpoena for documents from the House Judiciary Committee, arguing that the materials are subject to executive privilege.

      The committee wants to speak to McGahn and review certain documents after he cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice.

      In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Tuesday, the deadline the panel set for the materials, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said McGahn has been directed not to disclose the documents. Cipollone said McGahn does not have any “legal right” to the materials because they are under White House control and that any requests should be directed to the White House.

      Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor declared “case closed” on the Russia probe and potential obstruction by Trump, deriding Democrats who he says are “grieving” the result.

    • Erdogan Defends Istanbul Vote Redo; Critics See Power Grab
      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted Tuesday that rerunning the Istanbul mayoral vote that was won by the opposition will only strengthen democracy, while critics called the decision an “outrageous” move to eliminate dissent against his government.

      Ruling in favor of Erdogan’s governing party, Turkey’s top electoral body on Monday annulled the results of the March 31 vote in Istanbul, which opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu narrowly won, and scheduled a re-run for June 23.

      “The will of the people has been trampled on,” said Meral Aksener, leader of a nationalist party in Turkey that had backed Imamoglu.

      The loss of Istanbul — and the capital of Ankara — in Turkey’s local elections were sharp blows to Erdogan and his conservative, Islamic-based Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

    • After Florida Re-enfranchises 1.4 Million, Republicans Push New “Poll Tax” For Formerly Incarcerated
      Civil rights groups are decrying what they say is a new poll tax after the Florida Senate passed a bill Friday that would require formerly incarcerated people with felony convictions to repay all fines and fees to courts before their voting rights are restored. This comes six months after voters in Florida approved a measure to restore voting rights to 1.4 million people with nonviolent felonies who have fully completed their sentences, overturning a Jim Crow-era law aimed at keeping African Americans from voting. Nearly 65 percent of voters approved the constitutional amendment to re-enfranchise people with former felony convictions in November. It was hailed as the biggest win for voting rights in decades, with the potential to sway the 2020 election and beyond. But the Florida legislature’s vote threatens to keep tens of thousands from the ballot boxes. We speak with Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and chairman of Floridians for a Fair Democracy. He spearheaded Amendment Four, which has re-enfranchised 1.4 million Floridians, including himself.

    • 'They Underestimate Me at Their Own Peril': Sanders Says GOP Will Regret Hoping for His Nomination in 2020
      In interviews with Politico, Republican Senate incumbents expressed confidence that a Sanders nomination would both ensure Trump's reelection and imperil the Democratic Party's narrow chances of taking back the Senate—or even add to the GOP's advantage in the chamber.

      "If we can run a race against a person that's an out-of-the-closet socialist and promoting socialist ideas, it's a great contrast for us," said Sen. John Thune (R-N.D.).

      Sen. Joni Ernst, who is up for reelection in 2020, said a Sanders nomination "would be good for us."

      As Politico reported, Republicans' attitude toward Sanders is similar to Democrats' confidence that they would take the Senate and the presidency after Trump won the Republican nomination in 2016.

      "Republicans could be making the same mistake Democrats made four years ago," Politico reported, "when Trump launched his presidential campaign and they began salivating over the prospect of a Senate sweep."

    • Turtle Man: Case Is Closed. She Who Is Yet Persisting: Not So Fast
      In an act of shameless chutzpah decried as "a stunning act of political cynicism," bag of slime Mitch McConnell gave a floridly hypocritical speech on the Senate floor Tuesday in which he blasted Democrats' "unhinged partisanship" - aka their insistence on doing their job of Congressional oversight - bizarrely blamed Obama for not stopping Russian meddling even as he magically forgot he himself blocked Obama's efforts to do so, ridiculed the "outrage industrial complex" inexplicably aimed at dethroning "the American people's choice," and preemptively declared of a Mueller report that found and documented multiple crimes, "case closed." Many Democrats and other cognizant beings responded essentially with, say what? "I have just listened to (an) astounding bit of whitewashing," said Chuck Schumer, citing a timely historic precedent. "It's sort of like Richard Nixon saying let's move on at the height of the investigation of his wrongdoing. Of course (McConnell) wants to move on. He wants to cover up."

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Dearborn mayor: 'Zero tolerance' for hate [sic] posting on Sports Illustrated burkini model

      Dearborn Mayor John O'Reilly Jr. has strongly condemned a Facebook post demeaning Muslims that was allegedly written by a city employee, launching an investigation into the source of the offensive remark.

    • Russia issues new state contract to monitor and categorize social media and news reports
      Russia’s Presidential Affairs Department is soliciting bids on a new government contract to monitor social media and the news media. According to the Internet freedom movement Roskomsvoboda, which reported the story first, the Kremlin is also paying for the monitoring of Telegram channels, even though Telegram is technically blocked in Russia.

      According to the state contract, the Presidential Affairs Department is interested in information about the president’s activities, Russia’s government, and other state structures, as well as anything concerning the president’s management, press service, healthcare, and nutrition. The contractor must also perform a “sentiment analysis” of all collected data, dividing the information into “negative,” “positive,” and “neutral” categories.

    • Europe Is Reining In Tech Giants. But Some Say It’s Going Too Far.
      In Spain, activists were convicted for social media posts that violated an expanded antiterrorism law. The Twitter accounts of German citizens were blocked because of rules enacted last year that prohibit hate speech. And a Dutch court determined Google must remove search results about a doctor punished for poor performance, in compliance with a privacy law.

      Heralded as the world’s toughest watchdog of Silicon Valley technology giants, Europe has clamped down on violent content, hate speech and misinformation online through a thicket of new laws and regulations over the past five years. Now there are questions about whether the region is going too far, with the rules leading to accusations of censorship and potentially providing cover to some governments to stifle dissent.

      The unintended consequences may be compounded as European governments pursue more laws and policies to restrict what communication can be shared online. Last month, Britain proposed appointing an internet regulator who would be empowered to block websites it considers harmful. The European Union is separately debating a law that would require tech companies to quickly remove terrorist-related content online.

      With the growing body of European legislation, “there will be a lower standard for protection of freedom of expression,” said David Kaye, a University of California, Irvine, law professor whom the United Nations appointed to spotlight government efforts to restrict free speech. He added that Europe’s rules erode what had been a shared belief among the United States and other Western democracies to avoid censoring social media posts, YouTube videos, discussion forums and other internet content. The debate in Europe illustrates the difficulties that governments face as they try to regulate the most corrosive material on the internet without choking off individual expression. That is set to flare up elsewhere as other countries also move to pass new laws or impose restrictions on online material.
    • The drospirenone case: the effects of the ruling of revocation in a legal action prior to the infringement. Judgement of the Provincial High Court of Barcelona
    • The Ninth Circuit Broke The Internet. So We Asked Them To Unbreak It.
      It is possible that if the Ninth Circuit panel truly realized how badly it messed up Section 230 it might have thought twice about it. So we’ve asked the court to give it a second thought. As did Airbnb and Homeaway, who were most immediately affected by the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in their challenge of the Santa Monica ordinance that, like the San Francisco ordinance, and ordinances increasingly sprouting up around the country, seeks to make them liable for their users’ expression.

      The problem: that’s exactly what Section 230 is supposed to prevent – holding a platform liable for user generated content that is wrongful in some way. If Santa Monica, San Francisco, and all those other cities want to make it illegal for people to list homes to rent, that’s fine. It may or may not be good local policy, but it won’t break the Internet. What breaks the Internet is when the law doesn’t just make people legally responsible for their own expression but makes the platform they used to express it liable for it too. Section 230 is supposed to prevent that, because if platforms can be held liable for all the myriad things that can be wrong with all the enormous amounts of user expression they intermediate, then they won’t be able to be platforms anymore. It will simply be too expensive to mitigate and manage this risk, at least not in a way that doesn’t result in enormous amounts of censorship of user content that isn’t even legally wrongful at all.

      So Airbnb and Homeaway filed a petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc to ask the Ninth Circuit to review their case again, and last week the Copia Institute, along with the R Street Institute, filed an amicus brief in support of their petition. In our brief we reminded the court of what we have discussed here. First, that threatening platforms with liability forces platforms to have to monitor all their user expression, which may or may not even be possible, and at the expense of any monitoring that might be more effective. For instance, in this case, all these cities are asking Airbnb and Homeaway to ensure that every listing it allows to be rented be compliant with the registration requirement, but it might be better if instead they could focus their resources on building a more usable and secure platform, helping to eliminate fraud, or working to satisfy any other priority that would benefit the public more. Threatening platforms with liability for user content inevitably co-opts platforms’ resources, diverting them away from the sort of beneficial monitoring Congress tried to incentivize them to do with Section 230 and into monitoring that is solely self-protective.
    • The Human Cost Of FOSTA
      As you'll recall in the run up to passing FOSTA last year, supporters of the bill -- backed in secret by Hollywood lobbyists whose sole goal was to create liability for internet companies and force them to install filters -- kept insisting that it was all about "protecting women." There was an infamously misleading Public Service Announcement that supporters of the bill put together, staring into the camera and talking grimly about how necessary it was to amend Section 230 to save women. It starred a bunch of famous actors, including Amy Schumer, Tony Shalhoub, Josh Charles, Seth Meyers, and others.


      So, maybe, someone should be asking Amy Schumer, Tony Shalhoub, Josh Charles, Seth Meyers, and those others how they feel about this law that they were instrumental in getting passed. Or, better yet, someone should be asking whoever it was who put them up to be spokespersons for this terrible and unconstitutional law.
    • The Union for Democratic Communications-Project Censored 2019
      The Union for Democratic Communications-Project Censored 2019 conference invites contributions that reflect on the relationships between media, communication, and empire from a variety of perspectives. Contributions may examine these concepts through historical materialist, feminist, critical race, queer, and other critical approaches, and might be situated in interdisciplinary areas such as Latinx Studies, Black Studies, gender studies, cultural studies, and environmental studies. In particular, we invite contributions that highlight the means and methods for active resistance, democratic communication, and the promotion of social justice. New and established scholars, graduate students, activists, and media creators are encouraged to submit proposals. Please refer to this page for proposal submissions.

      At this conference, we will ask: In what ways do we still exist in “American empire”? What are its prospects for the future, what alternatives are emerging and in what way? What role do media and communication networks play in solidifying or disrupting these possibilities? What continuities or disjunctures exist in the relations between the state, capital, labor, technology, and ideology? In what ways are the structures and ideologies of colonialism and imperialism (re)produced and experienced within national contexts?

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Moscow police are looking for the soccer fans who protested ‘Fan ID’ at a recent game
      Police in Moscow are searching for the fans who unfurled an “unpermitted banner” at a soccer game between CSKA Moscow and Dynamo Moscow at the VEB Arena stadium. On May 5, CSKA Moscow fans displayed a banner that read: “Six billion rubles to implement Fan ID, or annual pensions for 35,714 people, 4 new maternity wards, 7 new schools, 1 oncological hospital, or 31 new kindergartens.” Several other fans in attendance also held up signs protesting the Fan ID system.

    • Student Files $1 Billion Lawsuit Against Apple Over Supposedly Faulty Facial Recognition Tech That Falsely Accused Him Of Theft
      An 18-year-old resident of New York City is suing Apple for $1 billion. His lawsuit alleges Apple uses facial recognition technology as part of its stores' security systems and that this led directly to him being accused of multiple thefts across a handful of states… despite him bearing zero resemblance to the thief caught on tape.

      Ousmane Bah's lawsuit [PDF] alleges Apple failed in its duty of care by attributing all these thefts to him, despite him not being the thief, resulting in numerous harms and injuries.

    • ‘They Would Go Absolutely Nuts’: How a Mark Cuban-Backed Facial Recognition Firm Tried to Work With Cops

      Facial recognition technology is becoming more common across the United States, for both law enforcement and private companies. Now, emails obtained through a public records request provide insight into how facial recognition companies attempt to strike deals with local law enforcement as well as gain access to sensitive data on local residents.

      The emails show how a firm backed by Shark Tank judge, Dallas Mavericks owner, and billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban pushed a local police department to try and gain access to state driver's license photos to train its product. The emails also show the company asked the police department to vouch for it on a government grant application in exchange for receiving the technology for free.

    • Why a Republican senator wants the FTC to throw the book at Facebook

      Facebook stands accused of violating the terms of a 2012 privacy settlement. Prior to that settlement, the FTC had charged Facebook with deceiving customers by telling them their data would be private, then making it public without consent. In settling the charges, Facebook promised to give users "clear and prominent notice" of how their data would be used and to seek user consent before using the data in undisclosed ways.


      In their letter, Blumenthal and Hawley firmly side with the Democrats in this intra-agency fight. The pair describes a $5 billion fine as a "bargain" for a company with $15 billion in quarterly revenues, and they also argue that "fines alone are insufficient."

    • The CIA Will Use its New Dark Web Site to Collect Anonymous Tips

      Today the CIA announced in a press release the launch of its very own onion site, or as the agency puts it, its “Latest Layer” online.

      According to the agency, a transition to the Tor network (known for its anonymity services) was a natural move since its onion site is “secure, anonymous, untraceable—traits ever-present in CIA’s intelligence collection mission.” The site will be an exact replica of its regular website,, featuring things like CIA World Factbook and its online Library of declassified materials.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Lawsuits claimed Amazon fired pregnant warehouse workers who asked for more bathroom breaks: report

      The lawsuits allege the plaintiffs made various requests for accommodations including fewer continuous hours on their feet and longer bathroom breaks, and that in every case, the women were fired after informing their managers they were pregnant. All the dismissals occurred over the last eight years.

    • What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right

      But the transfer, midyear, to a new school—after he’d been wrongly accused, unfairly treated, then unceremoniously dropped by his friends—shattered Sam. He felt totally alone. I counseled patience, naively unprepared for what came next: when he found people to talk to on Reddit and 4chan.

    • Saudi Arabia: Mobile App Keeps Women at Home

      Google and Apple should strongly urge the Saudi government to end the male guardianship system, including travel restrictions abroad. Companies should always assess apps to determine whether they may undermine or violate rights, with extra scrutiny for apps developed or sponsored by governments. They should also revise their terms of service to prohibit apps expressly designed to violate rights and make every effort to mitigate any human rights harm before making such apps available.

      Concerned governments should press the Saudi authorities to end the male guardianship and kafala systems, including the exit permit requirement for migrant workers and residents in the country.

    • Protestors fly banner-towing plane over Google I/O
      It’s a bit odd to see protestors use something as expensive as a banner tow, but it’s not unheard of either. The text on the banner is also a bit of an odd mix of privacy concerns and advocating for local news, but there is only so much you can fit on a banner, I guess.

    • Google I/O 2019 Protest: Plane Flies With Anti-Google Banner
      Google I/O protest took place at the ongoing developer conference in Mountain View, California. The tech giant is no stranger to controversies, but the latest one takes things sky-high, literally. As reported by TechCrunch, a plane flew over the amphitheater as the Google I/O conference was underway.

    • UN Report Says Indigenous Sovereignty Could Save the Planet
      The United Nations released a dire assessment of humanity’s impact on the world’s ecosystems and natural resources this week. Up to 1 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction due to pollution, habitat loss, climate disruption and other consequences of human activity that are wreaking havoc on the planet. Many species could disappear within decades if current development trends continue.

      The U.N. assessment comes on the heels of startling climate reports that have alarmed much of the world, but it also illuminates a path forward for humanity: While humans have “significantly altered” about three quarters of land-based environments and two-thirds marine environments, these trends have been less severe or avoided altogether in areas held or managed by Indigenous peoples and “local communities.”

      This means that Earth’s resources are protected in areas preserved for and by Indigenous people and managed by communities that enjoy some autonomy from global economic forces and tend to use resources sustainably. However, these areas often face the most pressure from deforestation, fossil fuel production and mineral mining, putting both the stewards of pristine lands and waters and their knowledge for managing them at risk, according to the report.

      “Western scientific evidence is now saying what our Indigenous peoples have been expressing for a long time: Life as we know it is in danger,” said Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the U.S.-based Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), in an email. “Indigenous people have long led the way to protect our natural resources.”

      The sweeping U.N. assessment, compiled by 145 experts from 50 countries over three years, concludes that the natural world is declining at a faster rate than any time in human history. Humans depend on nature’s resources to survive, so this accelerating and unparalleled loss of biodiversity poses a “direct threat” to people living in all regions of the world, according to Josef Settele, a research scientist from Germany who co-chaired the U.N. assessment.

      “Ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating or vanishing,” Settele said in a statement on Monday. “The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed.”

    • Trump’s Fee for Asylum Seekers Could Send Many Back to Their Deaths
      Last week, Trump ordered his top officials to come up with a way, within 90 days, of charging asylum seekers for applying for asylum. Of all the cruel anti-immigrant measures that this sadistic regime has come up with since January 2017, this one ranks right up there with family separation and child imprisonment.

      If there were a competition for devising the most Kafka-esque or Catch 22-like policy, the asylum application fee would surely win. It is intended to be as insidious, and impossible to successfully navigate, as the medieval dunking tests meant to ferret out witches.

      The witch tests were designed to set up those subjected to their cruelties to fail. Put simply, if a person was suspected of being a witch and somehow survived being held under water for prolonged periods, that was proof of their guilt and they were executed. If they weren’t witches, however, their innocence could only be proven by their susceptibility to drowning when their heads were submerged by their merciless interrogators. Either way, once you were accused of being a witch, you were pretty much screwed.

      The idea of charging a fee to asylum seekers is just as murderous. The mythical “fake” asylum seeker of Trump’s imagination might actually have resources to pay for the application process, but a genuine asylum seeker most likely won’t. After all, almost by definition, asylum seekers are people who have fled for their lives with pretty much nothing more than the clothes on their backs, who have paid smugglers to get them out of death-zones and extortionists to not kill them and their kids. They are also people who, if sent back for not being able to pay a fee, would face a high likelihood of death.

      This past week in Arizona, I met asylum seekers from Central America who were welcomed into the United States by being put in freezing cold detention centers, with only flimsy aluminum blankets to warm them. They were kept 30-plus people to a room, and were told that if they were thirsty, the only liquid available to them during the three days they remained in detention was the dirty water from a faucet next to the toilet that was used by all.

    • Israel Folau found guilty of breaching Rugby Australia's code of conduct

      Israel Folau has been found guilty of a "high level breach" of Rugby Australia's player code of conduct after he said "hell awaits" gay people in a social media post.

    • Sanders Campaign Unveils 'Gold-Standard' Blueprint for Combating Sexual Harassment and Discrimination on 2020 Campaign
      Four months after meeting with former staffers to discuss their negative experiences while working on his 2016 presidential campaign, Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled new guidelines that his 2020 team will follow to combat inequality, discrimination, and sexual harassment.

      The Guardian reported that the Sanders campaign used feedback from former employees as well as research into successful industry practices, partnering with the consulting firms Workplace Ideal and Redwood Enterprise to devise a "Campaign Equity Blueprint" that management and all staffers will follow.

      "Campaigns should live their values and align their campaign's goals for a better economy and society with their own campaign culture and workplace," reads the blueprint. "To build a campaign that is responsive to communities across America, campaigns need to build diverse and inclusive organizations from the ground up."

    • Texas House Unanimously Votes to Create Governor’s Task Force on Sexual Assault
      The Texas House of Representatives voted 146-0 Tuesday to create the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Task Force inside the governor’s office, bringing money and support at the highest levels of state government to reform how rapes are tracked, investigated and prosecuted across Texas.

      The measures provides up to $3 million to fund the task force, which will collect, analyze and make publicly available a new set of information showing where gaps remain in the system to prevent and prosecute sexual assaults.

    • The Cinderella Story Has Always Evolved With the Times. Rebecca Solnit's Update Is Overdue.
      Cinderella is one of the oldest myths in the world; versions of the rags-to-riches tale date as far back as to the Greeks. At its core, it is a story of transformation and further — beyond the gloss and the societal implications about beauty — it is a story about self-discovery through the triumph over oppression.

      When Disney released the animated adaptation, “Cinderella,” in 1950 — based on the version by Charles Perrault — generations had come to accept an idea far from the original Cinderella myths. She was no longer the Egyptian courtesan of Greek mythology, the girl with a fishy friend of 9th century China, an abandoned child of 12th century France, an abused stepchild of 17th century Naples or the plague orphan of a bourgeois German family as imagined by the Grimm Brothers. Instead, she was a minor noble, demurring to mistreatment at the hands of an inherited family, who experienced a miraculous intervention by an outsider with magical powers to be changed into a princess for one night. The message for millions since was that one needed to marry well in order to triumph from hardship — or at least transcend class status.

    • The Arrest of Manny Singh
      On Saturday, I was an eye-witness to Manny Singh, organiser of the huge pro-Independence demonstration through Glasgow, co-operating efficiently and respectfully with the police in keeping order and protecting public safety, and in making sure the event was a joyous family occasion, successful and enjoyed by everyone. That included Manny liaising regularly with the most senior police officers in charge of the march. Before I made my speech, I asked him how it was all going and Manny volunteered unasked that the Police had been brilliant. From what I witnessed, the respect was mutual.


      This is the essential background to the arrest of Manny. Now the SNP has a highly ambivalent attitude to Manny’s organisation, AUOB. AUOB is the main vehicle for public pressure for early Independence, while Nicola Sturgeon has embraced a strategy of kicking a new Independence referendum ever further into the long grass, while a national consultation is held, or Brexit plays out, or a citizens’ assembly discusses federal solutions, or whatever else excuse comes to hand.

      In terms of electoral success for the SNP, Sturgeon’s strategy is undoubtedly brilliant. The SNP stands unchallenged in the polls at 46%, with the Tories in second place trailing woefully behind on 22%. The SNP is an incredibly successful political machine, and one which can keep the highheidyins in a very comfortable living indeed for life. To say that the SNP hierarchy are very comfortable on the UK gravy train would be a massive understatement. They are in no hurry at all to make a bid for Independence that may put their careers and livelihoods at risk.

      The only problem is the wider Yes campaign and the wider SNP membership, who had been under the impression that they were putting their hands in their pockets and donating, and were out there in the cold delivering leaflets, because the SNP was the vehicle for Independence, not just to support Scotland’s very own highly paid ruling political class. These people continually applied inconvenient pressure, both online where their criticisms of the BBC and other establishment pillars were an embarrassment to the comfortably ensconced, and by continual street activity as through AUOB.

    • Mistakenly Jailed Pretrial, an Ohio Mother Lost Her Job and Kids
      When you’re incarcerated pretrial in America, it doesn’t take long for life to fall apart. And that’s without a conviction.

      On April 11, Hamilton County police in Cincinnati, Ohio arrested Ashley Foster in a Target parking lot on charges of trafficking heroin. Foster was with her two young sons, one of whom was only eight weeks old. Foster was taken into a police car, sobbing, while her baby screamed. But because the warrant for her arrest was based in nearby Brown County, Foster sat in jail for five days waiting to be transferred and was kept in the dark about what was happening to her and even of what she was accused. The consequences of her being held pretrial without explanation were tectonic: Her kids were taken by the county department of jobs and family services, and she lost her job.

      And it was all because of a mistake.

      It wasn’t until after Foster spent five days in a cage that officials realized they had the wrong woman. Once Foster was transferred to Brown County and spoke to a police officer, he immediately realized he had the wrong person. Foster suffered considerable hardship and heartache based on law enforcement’s error, but no one offered an apology. And a family services worker still scanned her home before allowing her children to return.

      Foster was wrongly pulled into a cycle of perpetual criminalization that is all too familiar in our nation. And though not every case involves mistaken identity, Foster’s case reiterates some of the core evils of pretrial incarceration: an ordeal we subject millions of people to each year in America.

    • Could "Liking" an Anti-Pipeline Facebook Post Soon Be Illegal?
      A new South Dakota law — written in consultation with the company that owns Keystone XL — could punish people for exercising their right to peaceful protest. Is it a harbinger of things to come?

      America was born out of protest. Revolution and rebellion, bred in part by crackdowns on protests, affirmed that a protected right "peaceably to assemble" in support — or protest — of ideas affecting Americans' lives was crucial to our fledgling democracy's survival. And so, the very first amendment added to the newly ratified U.S. Constitution enshrined public protest as a right.

    • Beyond Prisons: Abolition Is A Horizon feat. Sarah K. Tyson
      Sarah K. Tyson joins Beyond Prisons for a conversation about her work as a philosopher, anti-violence advocate, and prison educator.

      We explore the contradiction between anti-violence work and its reliance on the criminal punishment system, what it’s like to do philosophy in prison, the importance of building relationships with people inside, and so much more.

      Sarah Tyson is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Affiliated Faculty of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado, Denver.

      Her research focuses on questions of authority, history, and exclusion with a particular interest in voices that have been marginalized in the history of thinking.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Fixes Giant Error Over-Stating Broadband Availability... Then Doubles Down On Bogus Claims
      While the FCC didn't release any hard data to support the claim its policies are creating telecom Utopia, it did bandy about some cherry-picked stats that in no way showed what the FCC claimed. For example, while the FCC tried to claim that 2018 was a "record year" in fiber deployment thanks to its "deregulatory" policies (like killing net neutrality), it failed to note that about half of the 6 million fiber lines deployed last year were thanks to conditions affixed to the AT&T DirecTV merger by the previous FCC (kinda the opposite of deregulation).

      The Pai FCC's claims had other holes. For example much of the data it used to suggest broadband growth was exploding thanks to killing net neutrality was collected -- before net neutrality was actually formally repealed (June 2018). And about 1.9 million new subscriber growth was subsequently discovered to be thanks to a clerical error. I'd been wondering if this FCC would actually fix that error before it released a broader report, and to its credit, the agency did. But when the agency issued a press release saying it had fixed the problem, it failed to address the countless other flaws in its claims.

    • Russian government sets five-year plan for center that would control an isolated RuNet
      The Russian government has approved regulations that allocate funds from its budget to create and operate a Monitoring and Direction Center for Public Online Networks. This Monitoring Center would be responsible for the operation of the Russian Internet were it to be isolated in case of an external threat. A budget of 1.8 billion rubles ($27.6 million) over the next three years has been proposed for the creation of the center.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Germany: Why Does So Much Take So Long?
      Perhaps it’s just me becoming more and more impatient with age, but I increasingly wonder why it is that so many things take so long in my home country. The litany is endless, from Berlin airport via Stuttgart 21, to any simple construction site on any German highway. From the formation of our government to passing even the most uncontroversial law. Not to mention the ever more badly needed switch to renewable energies, wherever possible. And, last but not least, nullity proceedings before the Federal Patent Court. The average pendency has meanwhile increased to almost 27 months (from an already deplorable 21 months in 2009). Even worse, in those areas where most money is at stake and where legal certainty is most desperately needed, i.e. in the fields of chemicals/pharmaceuticals and electrical engineering, it now takes no less than three years before a nullity action is decided.


      In my view, several things could and should be done, both on a legislative and administrative level as well as, possibly, inside the Federal Patent Court itself. Only if everybody concerned works hard to improve on the current deplorable state of affairs, can progress realistically be expected.

      On a legislative level, I wonder if something can be done to relieve the judges from part of their work. For example, nullity actions are presently decided by the Federal Patent Court in a composition of five judges, including three technical judges. Ordinary technical appeals are decided by a panel of four members. In contrast, the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office do about the same job in a composition of three members. Why not reduce the nullity boards (and the technical boards of appeal in the FPC) to three judges? I do not think that this would significantly affect the quality of the court’s decisions, but it would free precious time of the judges for studying other cases, decision drafting etc.

      On the justice administration level, it seems both inevitable and very urgent to me that more technical judges be appointed, particularly in those fields where the demand is highest and the cases are most complex. Appallingly, the exact opposite has happened in the last couple of years. The two chemical appeal boards have been fused into one and retired judges have not been replaced. Once again, we cannot continue like this!

    • Unified advocates for “reasonable likelihood” standard to determine printed publication status
      On May 1, 2019, Unified filed an amicus brief in Hulu, LLC v. Sound View Innovations, LLC, IPR2018-01039, urging the PTAB to clarify the standard used by PTAB panels to determine whether an asserted reference qualifies as a printed publication when deciding whether to institute trial in a post-grant proceeding. Different panels have approached the question inconsistently, leading to a lack of certainty in what a petitioner must present in its petition to show that an asserted reference qualifies as a printed publication.

      In IPR2018-01039, a PTAB panel declined to institute Hulu’s petition for inter partes review based on a finding that the copyright notice and a supporting affidavit submitted by Hulu were insufficient to demonstrate that a textbook reference qualified as a printed publication. Subsequently, the Board’s Precedential Opinion Panel authorized review, permitting the parties and interested third parties to address: “What is required for a petitioner to establish that an asserted reference qualifies as a ‘printed publication’ at the institution stage?”

Recent Techrights' Posts

[Meme] Community of People to be Exploited, Then Thrown Away, Left Behind or Even Slandered front page
Alexandre Oliva's FSF disposition
During my recent trip for LibrePlanet, I was fortunate to have, or at least start, long conversations with nearly everyone in FSF staff
One More (Failed) Attempt to Deplatform the Sites by Harassing and Threatening Webhosts
What we're seeing here is a person who abuses the system in Canada at Canadian taxpayers' expense trying to do the same in the UK, at British taxpayers' expense
12 Days Have Passed Since the Edward Brocklesby Revelations and Debian Project Has Said Absolutely Nothing About That
One must therefore assume they have nothing to say in their defence (covering up severe security failings)
Jean-Pierre Giraud, Possible Forgeries & Debian: elections, judgments, trademark already canceled, archaeologist
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Six on the Beach: After Losing Six Continents Microsoft is Losing Oceania Too
Based on the 6- or 7-continent view of the world
Links 17/06/2024: Mass Layoffs Accelerating in Tech, Concerns About Impact of the Net
Links for the day
Gemini Links 17/06/2024: Hyprland Analysed and No Use for Betrusted
Links for the day
Microsoft Can Never Make a Comeback Anymore, the Community is Shutting It Out
We're relying on the real community, not fake ones or coopted ones
The World is Becoming (or Has Already Become) Linux
An intercontinental success story
Georgia: Bing Share Fell by Half Since 'Bing Chat' (LLM Hype), Fell Behind Yandex As Well
Georgia's situation is interesting
[Meme] SPI and 'FSFE': Sponsored by Microsoft to...
women's instincts do not matter to these strongmen
[Meme] Shitburger of an LLM
IBM and the Hololens
Links 17/06/2024: Chatbot Nonsense Thrown Under the Bus (Severe Failure, Pure Hype), How to Finance Free Software 'Hackers'
Links for the day
Debian's Personal Attacks Are Upsetting Women, Too
Female Debian Developer: "I Believe Daniel [Pocock] is On the Right Track."
Microsoft's Bing is So Irrelevant in Moldova (1%) That Russia's Yandex is About 5 Times Bigger
How much longer before Microsoft throws in the towel?
Yes, You Can
Unless you live somewhere like Russia...
[Meme] Listen to the Experts
Bill Gates didn't even finish university]
Roy and Rianne's Righteously Royalty-free RSS Reader (R.R.R.R.R.R.) and the Front-End Interfaces
As the Web deteriorates the availability, quality and prevalence of RSS feeds is not improving, to put it mildly
Algeria Shows High GNU/Linux and Android Adoption, All-Time High and Almost Three-Quarters of Web Requests
GNU/Linux was below 3%, now it is above 3%
Mass Layoffs at Microsoft-owned GitHub (About 80 Percent of the Staff in India Laid Off)
It's not just in India
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, June 16, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, June 16, 2024
Gemini Links 16/06/2024: Scarecrows, Moles, Ham Radio, and No IPs
Links for the day
Africa is Android and Green (Chrome, Not Just Android Logo)
In Africa Firefox is almost below 1% now
Coercion From the "Consent" and "CoC" Crowd is a Self-Defeating Tactic
Freedom of the press; Nothing less
Covering Abuses and Corruption
We'll never surrender to blackmail
According to statCounter, GNU/Linux Increased From 3.77% to 3.89% This Month (Worldwide), Windows Now Below 20% in 78 Nations, Below 10% in 27 Nations
Highest since March (for GNU/Linux)
Ubuntu Running Out of Energy
Its planet too is deteriorating
Links 16/06/2024: In Defence of Email and Why Recycling Symbol Lost All Meaning
Links for the day
Gemini Links 16/06/2024: Computer Science Course Union and Potentiometer
Links for the day
Cross border crime: sale of Swiss insurance in France and European Union without authorisation
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Letting Microsoft systemd Manage /home Was a Terrible Idea All Along
systemd-tmpfiles, deleting /home
Patriotism is OK, But We Need Facts and Reason, Not Blind Obedience to Authority
Very seldom in the history of human civilisation has groupthink proven to be of real merit
When You Touch One of Us You Touch All of Us
We have a principled, uncompromising stance on this matter
Links 16/06/2024: New Sanctions Against Russia, Fentanylware (TikTok) Causing More Problems
Links for the day
Social Control Media in Japan: Twitter (X) Has Collapsed, YouTube Rising (Apparently)
What a genius Mr. Musk is!
Windows Cleansed in South Africa (Already Hovering Around 10% Market Share)
Plus Microsoft's mass layoffs in Africa
[Meme] Satya Nadella's Windows PC RECALLS Not What He Did
Satya got lucky
Usage of Let's Encrypt in Geminispace Has Collapsed (That's a Good Thing!)
Ideally, or eventually, all capsules will sign their own certificates or have their own CA
North Macedonia: Windows Down From 99.2% to 28.5%
Last year it was even measured at 26%
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, June 15, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, June 15, 2024
Gemini Links 16/06/2024: Hand Held Maneuvering Unit and Hugo Static Files
Links for the day
Removing the Tumour From IRC
looking back
[Meme] The Free(dom) Software Engineer in European Elections
“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
Vista 11 Was 'Leaked' Exactly 3 Years Ago and This One Picture Says It All
how 'well' Vista 11 has done
A Smokescreen for Brad Smith
Maybe the key point was to say "Linux is not secure either" or "Windows and Linux are equally vulnerable", so don't bother dumping Microsoft
Windows Sinking Below 13% Market Share in the Island of Jamaica
Microsoft's decline continues and will mostly likely continue indefinitely in Jamaica and its neighbours
Links 15/06/2024: Microsoft's Intellectual Ventures Attacks Kubernetes With Software Patents, More Layoff Waves
Links for the day
Gemini Links 15/06/2024: On Lagrange and on YouTube Getting Worse
Links for the day
Edward Brocklesby: hacker received advance notice of zero-day vulnerabilities in MH and NMH email software
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] Code Liberates Kids
Matthias Kirschner: I can't code, but I can write a book
In Armenia, Bing is Measured at 0.6%, About Ten Times Less Than Yandex
Bing will probably get mothballed in the coming years
[Meme] A Pack and Pact (Collusion Against Computer Users)
They never really cared about users, no more than drug dealers care about drug users...
GNU/Linux in Azerbaijan: From ~0.1% to 7%
Azerbaijan is around the same size as Portugal
Women in Free Software (FOSS) Need Action, Not Mere Words
the men who are loudest about women's rights are some of the very worst offenders
Embrace, Extend, Extinguish Minecraft
These folks should check out Minetest
Techrights Statement on Men Who Viciously Attack Women in Free Software
history shows women will win
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, June 14, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, June 14, 2024
[Meme] People Who Cannot Find Gainful Employment Because of Their Poor Behaviour Online (Not the People Who Merely Call Them Out on It)
Imagine trying to become a lecturer while talking like this in public
You Too Would Get Nervous
countries where Windows is down to 2%
[Meme] The Two Phases (and Faces) of Microsofters
Microsofters: stalk IRC, then troll IRC
The 'Nobody Reads Techrights Anyway' Crowd
Send In the Clowns
Books in the Making
I intend to spend a considerable amount of time explaining what my family and I were subjected to for the 'crime' of promoting/covering Free software
Microsoft is Still Losing Malta
And GNU/Linux is doing well on laptops and desktops
Tux Machines: Third Party Impending
There will be more next week