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Links 10/10/2020: Istio 1.6.12, Wine 5.19 and Wine-Staging 5.19, FreeBSD 12.2 RC2

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #371: The Weekender LVIII

        It's time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we're doing. We'd love to hear from you.

    • Kernel Space

      • Unix vs Linux – Key Differences You Need To Know

        Unix and Linux are two operating systems that have many significant overlapping features and, yet, continue to be unique in their own ways. While most of the world today is dominated by Linux, it is Unix which is very old and also known as the mother of all operating systems. In fact, the Linux kernel is also derived from Unix. You will find Linux to be an ideal operating system, widely used for game development, computer software and hardware, tablet PCs, and mainframes. The “Linux Revolution” has allowed the operating system to rule over our desktops, servers, smartphones, and even some electrical appliances like refrigerators. Unix is primarily used in workstations, internet servers, and PCs by Intel, HP, Solaris, and more.

        Before we dive in to get an insight into the differences between Unix and Linux, let us first take a look at their individual history and purpose of development.


        Linux is a free, open-source operating system. In an attempt to create a free and open source alternative to the proprietary Unix system, Richard Stallman created the Free Software Foundation. He also developed the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) that allowed the software to spread freely. By the early 1900s, many programs such as compilers, libraries, text editors, a windowing system, and a UNIX shell, that are required in an operating system were completed. But, other elements such as daemons, device drivers, and the kernel were not complete. The first Linux kernel was released for the Intel x86 PC systems on 17th September 1991. It was developed by Linus Torvalds, who was working on a Unix-like operating system called MINIX. The MINIX OS code was available under the GNU GPL project. A usable operating system was created by including the system utilities and libraries from the GNU project.

      • EXT4 "Fast Commits" Coming For Big Performance Boost In Ordered Mode

        After being in development for more than one year, it looks like with Linux 5.10 there will be EXT4 fast commit support.


        When running in EXT4 ordered mode with the fast commit patches, Ted reported a ~103% write performance improvement. Thus seeing this new code make it into the EXT4 "dev" branch ahead of mainline integration is quite exciting if you rely on EXT4 ordered journal functionality.

      • The Linux Kernel Preparing To Take Advantage Of The Intel DSA / ENQCMD In Sapphire Rapids

        Expected with next year's Intel Sapphire Rapids Xeon CPUs is the Intel DSA as the Data Streaming Accelerator for high performance data movement and transformation operations. Since the end of 2019 there have been Linux patches surfacing for bringing up the DSA support and now as we roll into 2021 the Linux kernel looks to begin making use of the new capabilities.

        With the Intel DSA block there are new instructions with ENQCMD/ENQCMDS for submitting work descriptors along with the PASID instruction for the Process Address Space ID. We've seen various Linux driver work around the Data Streaming Accelerator as well as supporting these new instructions in the open-source compiler.

      • Paragon Sends Out Latest NTFS Read-Write Linux Driver Patches

        Back in August was the big surprise of file-system driver vendor Paragon Software wanting to mainline their NTFS driver into the Linux kernel that is much more advanced than the existing NTFS Linux driver. While not merged yet, on Friday the latest version was sent out for review.

      • Graphics Stack

        • This Is Your RTX 3080 On Linux

          Phoronix received an RTX 3080 to test on Linux and with a quick install of the NVIDIA 455.23.05 beta Linux graphics driver and CUDA 11.1 they were off to the races. The results are consistent with the performance on Window, with noticeably improved performance across the board. There are a handful of benchmarks in which it doesn’t take top spot, specifically when looking at performance per watt, even if it is the fastest overall.

          In machine learning benchmarks like PlaidML Ampere really struts it’s stuff, showing significant improvements compared to previous cards. In the end, the geometric mean of performance shows the RTX 3080 is 27% faster than the GeForce TITAN RTX, 63% more than the RTX 2080 SUPER and 73% better than the original GeForce RTX 2080. This makes the RTX 3080 a big winner in performance per dollar.

        • NVIDIA release another fresh Vulkan Beta Driver - 455.26.01

          NVIDIA just quietly released another fresh update to their special developer-focused Vulkan Beta Driver.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Back To Being Interesting

          I talked about a lot of boring optimization stuff yesterday, exploring various ideas which, while they will eventually will end up improving performance, didn’t yield immediate results.

          Now it’s just about time to start getting to the payoff.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Current Intel Coffee Lake Mitigation Performance Impact With Linux 5.9

        Of the many new features in Linux 5.9 with its debut set for this weekend, one of the performance-related changes is Intel FSGSBASE support finally being mainlined. A half-decade after the Linux patches first appeared for this feature present in Intel CPUs going back to Ivy Bridge, the mainline kernel is now patched for this feature that can help out I/O and other context switching heavy workloads. Given many of the same workloads were negatively impacted by the CPU security mitigations of recent years, here is a look at the current mitigated vs. unmitigated performance difference on the Linux 5.9 kernel with an Intel Core i9 9900K CPU for reference on how the mitigation impact is on recent versions of the Linux kernel.

    • Applications

      • LazPaint – Raster Image Editor Similar to Paint.Net / PaintBrush

        Looking for an image editor similar to Windows Paint.Net or Mac OS PaintBrush? LazPaint is the open-source image editor that works on Linux.

        LazPaint is an image editor with layers and transparency. It’s written in Lazarus (Free Pascal) and uses BGRABitmap library. With OpenRaster format support it can interoperate with MyPaint, Gimp and Krita.

      • FFmpeg Now Supports VP9 Profile 2 VDPAU Decode (10-bit / 12-bit)

        New to the RTX 30 series and the NVIDIA 455 Linux driver is decode support with VDPAU for VP9 10-bit and 12-bit content, which can now be taken advantage of by the popular FFmpeg multimedia library.

        FFmpeg on Thursday landed support for VP9 Profile 2 VDPAU support, which is the 10 and 12-bit format addition.

      • Navigating your Linux files with ranger

        Ranger is a unique and very handy file system navigator that allows you to move around in your Linux file system, go in and out of subdirectories, view text-file contents and even make changes to files without leaving the tool.

        It runs in a terminal window and lets you navigate by pressing arrow keys. It provides a multi-level file display that makes it easy to see where you are, move around the file system and select particular files.

        To install ranger, use your standard install command (e.g., sudo apt install ranger). To start it, simply type “ranger”. It comes with a lengthy, very detailed man page, but getting started with ranger is very simple.

      • Announcing Istio 1.6.12

        This release contains bug fixes to improve robustness. This release note describes what’s different between Istio 1.6.11 and Istio 1.6.12

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.19 is now available.

        What's new in this release (see below for details): - Wine Mono engine updated to 5.1.1, with WPF text formatting support. - KERNEL32 library converted to PE. - DSS cryptographic provider. - Windowing support in the new console host. - A number of exception handling fixes. - Various bug fixes.

        The source is available from the following locations:

        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:

        You will find documentation on

        You can also get the current source directly from the git repository. Check for details.

        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
      • Wine 5.19 Released With A Variety Of Changes

        Wine 5.19 is out as the latest bi-weekly development release of this software for running Windows games/applications on Linux and other platforms.

      • Wine 5.19 Is Released With 27 Bug-Fixes

        The latest Wine Is Not An Emulator Windows API re-implementation has game-specific fixes for a long list of games including Beach Life, The Sims Complete Collection, Risk II, Earth 2150, Need for Russia, World of Warcraft, Avencast: Rise of the Mage, Mahjong Titans, Resident Evil HD and Fallout New Vegas. The vast majority of the new code in this release was written by the Codeweavers corporation.

      • The compatibility layer Wine sees a 5.19 development release out now

        Continuing to chase Windows as a platform, the compatibility layer Wine has another development release available now with Wine 5.19.

        Need to know what Wine is? Here's a quick primer: it's a constantly improving compatibility layer that allows the running of Windows-only applications and games on Linux and other operating systems. It's one of the driving forces behind Steam Play Proton. Helping you to get whatever you need done on Linux, or perhaps so you don't have to give up that favourite game.

      • Wine-Staging 5.19 Adds Windows.Networking.Connectivity

        Following yesterday's release of Wine 5.19, the developers responsible for the Wine-Staging have issued their corresponding update for this codebase that adds 600+ patches currently undergoing testing.

        Wine-Staging 5.19 is a bit lighter in that a few patches were upstreamed but a number of patches were also updated to jive with the Wine 5.19 code-base. Adjustments to Wine-Staging were needed for NTDLL, XACTEngine, and other bits.

      • 11 New Games You Can Play With Proton Since Sept. 2020

        These series are back after a short hiatus. Our friend bdefore had some kind of break over the summer and some of the ProtonDB dumps ended up a little delayed. This is now what we can see from the latest data which encompasses everything in September 2020.

    • Games

      • Amnesia: Rebirth has a brand new trailer ahead of release this month

        Frictional are ready and waiting to scare us silly with Amnesia: Rebirth releasing soon, and they have a brand new trailer to get us in the mood.

        "In Amnesia: Rebirth, you are Tasi Trianon, waking up deep in the desert of Algeria. Days have passed. Where have you been? What did you do? Where are the others? Retrace your journey, pull together the fragments of your shattered past; it is your only chance to survive the pitiless horror that threatens to devour you."


        You can pre-order now on GOG and Steam. It's releasing for Linux on October 20.

      • Sonic The Hedgehog 2 free to keep, Total War: WARHAMMER II free for the weekend + more

        SEGA are having a big celebration this weekend, as it's their 60th anniversary so you can grab Sonic The Hedgehog 2 free to keep forever. Plus plenty more on sale.


        You know what's great about it? It's part of the SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis Classics which has Linux support and it has the ROM file too.

      • A merger

        Today is a special day, special in a number of ways. First of all, we hit a milestone with 19 years of ScummVM. Our first-ever public release, ScummVM version 0.0.1, happened on October 8th, 2001. And second, something else finally happened, something which has been in the talks for a long time: The ScummVM project is officially merging with the ResidualVM project.

        For a long time ScummVM limited itself to 2D point-and-click adventure games, and so ResidualVM was born as a sister project to support 3D games. But from now on, there will be no more confusion about which project a game belongs to. ScummVM now embraces adventure games and RPGs, whether they are 2D or 3D, point-and-click or not. It is a natural step for both projects which have been developed alongside each other and cross-pollinating each other with ideas, patches and design decisions. Moreover, several developers belonged to both projects.

        With this merger, ScummVM adds several games to our supported list: Grim Fandango, Escape from Monkey Island, Myst III - Exile, The Longest Journey and an unfinished engine for In Cold Blood, as well as Wintermute 3D engine.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Mobile UI for Linux phones gets new lockscreen, keyboard, and apps

          Plasma Mobile is a user interface designed for smartphones running Linux-based operating systems such as postmarketOS, KDE Neon, and Manjaro ARM.

          It’s a mobile version of the Plasma Desktop software designed for Linux notebook and desktop computers, but with a UI and suite of apps that have been optimized for small, touchscreen devices.

          While Plasma Mobile is still very much a work in progress, it is making progress, and over the past month the software picked up a new virtual keyboard, a redesigned lockscreen, and several other new apps.

        • KDE’s Apps Update for October 2020 Brings Improvements to Kid3, Labplot, and More

          Besides the September update for Plasma Mobile, the KDE Project also announced today the general availability of the KDE Apps update for October 2020, versioned 20.08.2.

          KDE Applications 20.08.2 is the second scheduled maintenance update for the latest KDE Applications 20.08 open-source software suite. It’s here a month after the September 2020 update (KDE Applications 20.08.1) and comes with the recently released digiKam 7.1 photo management software and many updated apps.

          These include Labplot 2.8 interactive scientific data graphing and analysis tool, which comes with two new worksheet objects, namely image elements and reference lines, new capabilities for the spreadsheet to calculate quartiles and trimean, suport for Jupyter project files, as well as easier access to many online resources.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.36.7 Desktop Update Released with Various Bug Fixes

          GNOME 3.36.7 continues the monthly release cycle and comes four weeks after GNOME 3.36.6 to further improve the overall stability and reliability of the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment series, which many of you are probably still using right now since GNOME 3.38 hasn’t yet arrived in major distro releases.

          GNOME 3.36.7 is here to fix Night Light updates after DPMS (Display Power Management Signaling), improve IM (Instant Messaging) handling on X11, address resizing of attached modal dialogs on Wayland, as well as to fix system action search regressions and the alignment of week numbers when using font-scaling in GNOME Shell.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 12.2-RC2 Now Available

          The second RC build of the 12.2-RELEASE release cycle is now available.

          Installation images are available for:

          o 12.2-RC2 amd64 GENERIC o 12.2-RC2 i386 GENERIC o 12.2-RC2 powerpc GENERIC o 12.2-RC2 powerpc64 GENERIC64 o 12.2-RC2 powerpcspe MPC85XXSPE o 12.2-RC2 sparc64 GENERIC o 12.2-RC2 armv6 RPI-B o 12.2-RC2 armv7 BANANAPI o 12.2-RC2 armv7 BEAGLEBONE o 12.2-RC2 armv7 CUBIEBOARD o 12.2-RC2 armv7 CUBIEBOARD2 o 12.2-RC2 armv7 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD o 12.2-RC2 armv7 RPI2 o 12.2-RC2 armv7 WANDBOARD o 12.2-RC2 armv7 GENERICSD o 12.2-RC2 aarch64 GENERIC o 12.2-RC2 aarch64 RPI3 o 12.2-RC2 aarch64 PINE64 o 12.2-RC2 aarch64 PINE64-LTS

          Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access. Additionally, the root user password is set to root. It is strongly recommended to change the password for both users after gaining access to the system.

          Installer images and memory stick images are available here:

          Please note, dvd1.iso images for non-x86 architectures that are normally provided are missing from this release candidate due to human error. They will be provided for 12.2-RC3 if it is deemed necessary, as well as 12.2-RELEASE. We apologize for the inconvenience.

          The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.

          If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR system or on the -stable mailing list.

          If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing system, use the "releng/12.2" branch.

          A summary of changes since 12.2-RC1 includes:

          o Fix Typo in ng_hci_le_connection_complete_ep struct.

          o Set up the firmware flowc for the tid before send_abort_rpl in cxgbe(4).

          o Fix resuming receive stream to dataset with a mounted clone.

          o Fix "zfs receive" of interrupted stream without "-F".

          o Set the correct HWCAP for arm64/aarch64.

          A list of changes since 12.1-RELEASE is available in the releng/12.2 release notes:

          Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be updated on an ongoing basis as the 12.2-RELEASE cycle progresses.
      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/41

          Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

          After a lengthy integration period, we have finally merged glibc 2.32 during week 41. Of course, this is not all that happened in the 4 published snapshots (1002, 1004, 1005, and 1007).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Prioritize culture change in your integration strategy

          Any organization that’s modernizing to digitally transform and succeed in today’s highly competitive, fast-paced digital era is likely taking a closer look at agile processes and methodologies, if not already using them. Either way, they’ll have to grapple with the culture challenge. That’s because agile processes call for new ways of planning and executing more rapid development cycles that are iterative, tested, continuous, and scalable.

          Culture has typically played a significant part in an organization’s ability to embrace new business models, processes and technologies. But just how important is culture in digital transformation? According to an article published by Forbes last summer, up to 84% of companies’ digital transformation efforts fail to deliver expected benefits because of culture problems–lack of leadership, poor strategy and commitment, lack of buy-in and a heavier focus on goals than adoption of a new digitally enabled business model.

        • Static analysis with KubeAudit for Red Hat OpenShift

          In this article, we introduce a new utility for developers who want to ensure that their code transitions cleanly from upstream Kubernetes to Red Hat OpenShift. OpenShiftKubeAudit (KubeAudit) is a static analyzer that semantically checks a user’s code for known incompatibilities so you can fix them before bringing the code into OpenShift. KubeAudit is also simple to use and easy to extend.

        • Two technology projects from KubeCon and CloudNativeCon Europe that you should know

          outsourcing and hosting business that gave it an annuity-like revenue stream – and something of an even keel – in some rough IT infrastructure waters for two over decades.

          The spinout, which IBM chief executive officer Arvind Krishna, who took over the helm of the company in April, will create an as-yet-unnamed and publicly traded company that is tentatively being called NewCo, focused on strategic outsourcing and system hosting for some 4,600 companies in 115 countries around the world. And while IBM has not said this, NewCo will also be something else: IBM’s largest customer, which has some interesting ramifications for both companies.

        • IBM to spin off $19B business to focus on cloud computing

          IBM says it is breaking off a $19 billion chunk of its business to focus on cloud computing.

        • IBM Jettisons Legacy Services To Focus On Hybrid Cloud

          Today, the Gerstner era of International Business Machines is over, and the Krishna era is truly beginning, as Big Blue is spinning out the system outsourcing and hosting business that gave it an annuity-like revenue stream – and something of an even keel – in some rough IT infrastructure waters for two over decades.

          The spinout, which IBM chief executive officer Arvind Krishna, who took over the helm of the company in April, will create an as-yet-unnamed and publicly traded company that is tentatively being called NewCo, focused on strategic outsourcing and system hosting for some 4,600 companies in 115 countries around the world. And while IBM has not said this, NewCo will also be something else: IBM’s largest customer, which has some interesting ramifications for both companies.

        • IBM to spin off $19B business to focus on cloud computing

          IBM says it is breaking off a $19 billion chunk of its business to focus on cloud computing.

          The 109-year-old tech company said Thursday it is spinning off its managed infrastructure services unit into a new public company, temporarily named NewCo. The separation is expected to take effect by late 2021.

          IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said the split will help IBM focus on its cloud platform and artificial intelligence, while the newly formed company will provide services to manage the infrastructure of businesses and other organizations.

        • IBM To Split Into Two Companies To Focus On Hybrid Cloud Growth

          IBM has announced that it is splitting itself into two public companies to focus on hybrid cloud growth, a $1 trillion market opportunity.

        • Mainframe and DevOps in Traditional Enterprise, With ASG

          The assumption that large, established enterprises—from insurance companies to government agencies—can’t adopt Agile processes or DevOps is based on the falsehood that legacy technology stacks won’t allow for it; that existing traditional mainframe applications or legacy applications that large enterprises are built on are incapable of adapting to these approaches.

        • 5 ways organizations can lean into failure and transform it into success

          As software engineers, our industry may be competitive, but we need to remove the stigma associated with failing. One way of doing that is to talk about our failures. The more we hear and talk about failures, the more acceptable it becomes. We need to think about failures as learning opportunities, not a time to shame and ridicule others (or ourselves).

          When we have failed, or think we have made a mistake, most of us get that pit in the bottom of our stomach, and the negative self-talk can kick in almost instantly. This reaction occurs because there are often consequences for mistakes, which can impact us personally as well as the organizations we work for.

      • Debian Family

        • Salsa CI now includes i386 build support

          Salsa CI aims at improving the Debian packaging lifecycle by delivering Continuous Integration fully compatible with Debian packaging. The main Salsa CI's project is the pipeline, that builds packages and run different tests after every git push to Salsa. The pipeline makes it possible to have a quick and early feedback about any issues the new changes may have created or solved, without the need to upload to the archive.

          All of the pipeline jobs run on amd64 architecture, but the Salsa CI Team has recently added support to build packages also on i386 architecture. This work started during the Salsa CI Sprint at DebConf20 after the "Where is Salsa CI right now" talk, and required different changes at the core of pipeline to make it possible.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Homelab clusters: LXD micro cloud on Raspberry Pi

          Running or testing workloads at home, safely, still has issues. There are lots of ways to do it, maybe you have a dedicated homelab in your basement, or you run workloads on your main machine, or something in between. But every method has drawbacks. People want something that doesn’t take up racks of space, that is quiet enough not to be in a different room, and won’t cost an arm and a leg.

          Previously you had to use cloud technology, fork out the cash, or let go of your homelab dreams forever. But this all changes with the LXD Ubuntu Appliance. A smaller, quieter and comparably inexpensive way to spin up and manage all the VMs and containers you need.

        • Canonical & Ubuntu at Open Infrastructure Summit 2020

          This year we’ve probably used the word ‘unprecedented’ almost as often as we’ve said ‘Linux’ and yet life must go on, and certainly so does tech. That’s why we were so thrilled to hear that Open Infrastructure Summit (OIS) will indeed take place this year too (virtually of course) – especially considering how solid the interest around OpenStack is today, and Canonical’s ongoing commitment to this technology and community.


          This year, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth will be joining the community again to set the tone for the event with a few words on where the future of open infrastructure is headed.

        • Ubuntu Community Council election 2020 underway!

          Voting has begun for the Ubuntu Community Council election. We will be voting in all seven seats for a two year term. All Ubuntu Members are eligible to vote and should receive their ballot by email.

        • First UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 Groovy Beta Is Released

          UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 Groovy Beta is a GNU/Linux distribution based on the Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla beta released last week. It features the latest version of the very user-friendly yet powerful Deepin Desktop Environment instead of the laughable and utterly useless tablet/smart-TV desktop environment Ubuntu's regular release ships with. This beta-release is primarily for testers. We tested it and we liked it.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 7 Best Free and Open Source Linux Caching Systems

        In 1897 Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, identified that 80% of the wealth was owned by 20% of the population in his country. The observation that wealth was distributed in that way led Dr Juran, a management consultant, to (mis)label this phenomenon as the Pareto principle (commonly known as the 80-20 rule). Dr Juran applied this principle outside the field of economics.

        When applied to commerce, the Pareto principle means that about 20% of your efforts generates 80% of the results. Or think of it in terms of a small number of clients making up the majority of your business, or a small number of blog articles generating the most traffic. Learning to focus on that 20% is the key to effective time management. This phenomenon equally applies to computer system caching.

      • 5 qualities of great open source developer advocates

        The developer relations job category is less than 10 years old, and the developer advocate role is even newer. In essence, developer advocates represent the voice of the user—in this case, that's usually the developer—internally to the company and the voice of the company externally to the community.

        Mattermost depends on its developer advocates to be the bridge between the community and the organization. At Mattermost, a developer advocate's three primary areas of responsibility are...

      • Events

        • Two Affiliate Events Later This Month

          October in 2019 was packed with opportunities to catch up -- in person -- with many of our open source friends. This year is different, but there are still opportunities to learn, grow and even meet people. The only downsides? No long flights, no camping out in hotel lobbies waiting for your room to be ready and no jetlag.

          On October 15 - 17, you can join LibreOffice who are combining their annual conference this year with openSuse. OSI Board member Italo Vignoli will be speaking on the first day about how to get LibreOffice certification. The conference is free and the community is welcome! Check the conference website for the full schedule and detals on how to register.

      • Web Browsers

        • 15 Privacy-Focused Free Open-source Web Browsers That care about your Privacy

          Most of the popular web browsers does not care much about user privacy with minor exceptions for Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

          Privacy is not a luxury, it's a necessity especially nowadays when our private data, interests, usage behaviors are becoming a product for many companies and enterprises to use to reach us or generate more revenue.

          Google Chrome is dominating other browsers with the largest share, however with its default state, it provides a basic privacy protection and requires more tools and customization to make it more privacy-aware.

          Unfortunately, many users find that hard to do, as they are not experienced or that tech-savvy user. And the same goes for Mozilla Firefox.

        • Mozilla

          • Join the Tor Localization Hackathon November 6 - 9

            Between November 6 and 9, the Tor Project and Localization Lab will host the first edition of Tor Project's localization hackathon, the Tor L10n Hackaton. A hackathon is an event where a community hangs out and works together to update, fix, and collaborate on a project. The L10n Hackathon is a totally remote and online event.

            In this localization hackathon we're going to work exclusively on the localization of our latest resource, the Tor Community portal. The Community portal is organized into sections: Training, Outreach, Onion Services, Localization, User Research, and Relay Operations. Each section helps users understand how they can get involved in each of these activities to build and strengthen the community supporting the Tor Project.

          • about:Mozilla's blockers and needinfos

            On this rainy october day (well, at least it rains where I’m writing this) of the great year 2020, let’s take another few minutes to reflect on some great practices that we have at Mozilla and that would deserve to take over the world.

            Today, let’s talk about what you can do when your work is blocked.

            As a software developer, I spend most of my time being blocked. Sometimes, I’m waiting for a review. Sometimes, I need information: What should this dialog look like? Is it legal for me to copy part of a (copyrighted) page to attach it to a test that will be published on our repo? What’s the best way to test this feature? Or sometimes, I’m working on a bug that I just can’t finish because it depends on some other bug that some other developer hasn’t finished working on – or that I haven’t finished working on, or worse, that nobody is working on.

          • A New Backend for Cranelift, Part 1: Instruction Selection

            So what is Cranelift? The project is a compiler framework written in Rust that is designed especially (but not exclusively) for just-in-time compilation. It’s a general-purpose compiler: its most popular use-case is to compile WebAssembly, though several other frontends exist, for example, cg_clif, which adapts the Rust compiler itself to use Cranelift. Folks at Mozilla and several other places have been developing the compiler for a few years now. It is the default compiler backend for wasmtime, a runtime for WebAssembly outside the browser, and is used in production in several other places as well. We recently flipped the switch to turn on Cranelift-based WebAssembly support in nightly Firefox on ARM64 (AArch64) machines, including most smartphones, and if all goes well, it will eventually go out in a stable Firefox release. Cranelift is developed under the umbrella of the Bytecode Alliance.

            In the past nine months, we have built a new framework in Cranelift for the “machine backends”, or the parts of the compiler that support particular CPU instruction sets. We also added a new backend for AArch64, mentioned above, and filled out features as needed until Cranelift was ready for production use in Firefox. This blog post sets some context and describes the design process that went into the backend-framework revamp.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • PostgreSQL vs MySQL for Robotics Companies: What Are the Similarities and Differences?

          The major similarity between these two platforms is that they can serve the same purpose. They are both RDBMS, which are complex technological systems that simplify data storage, prevent data theft, and improve operations across a wide area of applications.

          Furthermore, both platforms structure data according to the relational data model. This means they both organize data as tables of rows and columns. They offer a wider array of features than Excel, and are applicable to more complex database management operations. They are both effective in working with data at scale.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.0.2 Released with Fixes Galore

          The Document Foundation (TDF) announced the release of LibreOffice 7.0.2 (Fresh). This is the second point release on the LibreOffice 7.0.0 series. And both the first and second point release brings almost 100+ bug fixes which makes it a more robust free and open-source Office productivity suite.

        • LibreOffice 7.0.2 Is Released With 131 Bug-Fixes

          The latest minor LibreOffice-release has a really long list of 131 bug-fixes. Many of them are fixed related to third party files that can be opened in LibreOffice such as .docx, .xlxs and .pptx. 18 bug-fixes are related to various crashes and the rest of the bug-fixes seem to be all over the place.


          LibreOffice is now a old and very mature office suite with the majority of features professional users need and everything a casual user would need to write a letter or make a simple spreadsheet with a household budget. LibreOffice 7.0 brought a lot of new features to the table. It didn't bring Vulkan-based acceleration or Skia rendering to GNU/Linux users, but it did give Windows-users those features. What GNU/Linux users did get was OpenCL acceleration, but only for those with OpenCL 2.0 provided by something like AMD ROCm (It won't work with Mesa's Clover). The latest 7.0.2 is a minor version-bump to the 7.0.x series with no new features. That doesn't mean there's nothing to enjoy in this release, the list of bug-fixes in this "minor" release is so long it's almost mind-boggling.

      • Programming/Development

        • Stupid RCU Tricks: Torturing RCU Fundamentally, Part I

          A quick look at the beginning of the Documentation/RCU/Design/Requirements/Requirements.rst file in a recent Linux-kernel source tree might suggest that testing RCU's fundamental requirements is Job One. And that suggestion would be quite correct. This post describes how rcutorture tests RCU's grace-period guarantee, which is usually used to make sure that data is not freed out from under an RCU reader. Later posts will describe how the other fundamental guarantees are tested.


          The rcu_torture_removed list is handled by the rcu_torture_pipe_update_one() function that is invoked by rcutorture callbacks and the rcu_torture_pipe_update() function that is invoked by rcu_torture_writer() after completing a synchronous RCU grace period. The rcu_torture_pipe_update_one() function updates only the specified array element, and the rcu_torture_pipe_update() function updates all of the array elements residing on the rcu_torture_removed list. These updates each increment the -&gtrtort_pipe_count field. When the value of this field reaches RCU_TORTURE_PIPE_LEN (by default 10), the array element is freed for reuse.

          The rcu_torture_reader() function handles the random time delays and leverages the awesome power of multiple kthreads to maintain a high read-side load on RCU. The rcu_torture_writer() function runs in a single kthread in order to simplify synchronization, but it enlists the help of several other kthreads repeatedly invoking the rcu_torture_fakewriter() in order to keep the update-side load on RCU at a respectable level.

        • Jonathan Dowland: Type design

          For some recent work I needed to define some additional properties for the operators: properties that would be used in a M/M/1 model (Jackson network) to represent the program do some cost modelling with. Initially we supplied this additional information in completely separate instances of types: e.g. lists of tuples, the first of a pair representing a vertexID, etc. This was mostly fine for totally novel code, but where I had existing code paths that operated in terms of Graph StreamVertex and now needed access to these parameters, it would have meant refactoring a lot of code. So instead, I added these properties directly to the types above.

        • Perl/Raku

          • What do I use to release a module to CPAN for the first time?

            Several months ago I read a tutorial on module creation. It got me thinking about releasing some of my modules. I got to work getting my code organized. At the time I had all of my work in the directory for my site. So I moved my general purpose modules to their own directory and then started reading more about what is needed to get a module published on CPAN.

            I first installed Module::Starter. It seemed like a good place to start, but then Dist::Zilla was suggested, so I installed it. Most recently Minilla suggested, and now it is installed. The problem is, I do not know which one to use. Do I use any of those at all, or is there yet another packaging module (with executable) out there?

        • Python

          • Save Plot as Image with Matplotlib

            Matplotlib is one of the most widely used data visualization libraries in Python. It's common to share Matplotlib plots and visualizations with others.

            In this article, we'll take a look at how to save a plot/graph as an image file using Matplotlib.

          • PyATL and oso partner to offer a workshop on access control patterns in Python applications.

            Join us Thursday, October 22nd at 7pm EST for a workshop where you will implement common access patterns in a social media application using Django.

            Nearly every application needs to enable its users to see only their data. Many other applications go further and add more controls, like sharing, or making some content private and public. These concepts are increasingly important to get right as data privacy consistently finds itself at the center of the conversation in technical, business and political communities. This workshop will be hands-on, led by Sam Scott (PhD), cofounder & CTO of oso.

          • Pandas Row

            In this post, we will go over the most common commands for Pandas rows.

            I will use some dummy data for this post.

            Let us import the Pandas first.

          • The Real Python Podcast – Episode #30: Exploring the New Features of Python 3.9

            Python 3.9 has arrived! This week on the show, former guest and Real Python author Geir Arne Hjelle returns to talk about his recent article, "Python 3.9: Cool New Features for You to Try". Also joining the conversation is Real Python video course instructor and author Christopher Trudeau. Christopher has created a video course, which was released this week also, based on Geir Arne's article. We talk about time zones, merging dictionaries, the new parser, type hints, and more.

          • Talk Python to Me: #285 Dask as a Platform Service with Coiled

            If you're into data science, you've probably heard about Dask. It's a package that feels like familiar APIs such as Numpy, Pandas, and Scikit-Learn. Yet it can scale that computation across CPU cores on your local machine all the way to distributed grid-based computing in large clusters.

            While powerful, this may take some serious setup to execute in its full glory. That's why Matthew Rocklin has teamed up with Hugo Bowne-Anderson and others to launch a business to help Python loving data scientists run Dask workloads in the cloud. And they are here to tell us about they open-source foundation business.

          • Andrew Dalke: A molfile precursor?

            I think I found a precursor to the MDL molfile in a 1973 publication by Gund, Wipke, and Langridge.


            You can see the basic structure is similar to a Molfile, though a Molfile has two additional lines for misc. info., and the counts line and the atom and bond lines all have a few more fields.

            The full citation is: Gund, P., Wipke, W. T., and Langridge, R., Computer Searching of a Molecular Structure File for Pharmacophoric Patterns, Computers in Chemical Research and Education, vol 3, pp. 33-38 (1974).

            The publication contains papers from a conference in in 1973 but Google Scholar says it was published in 1974 so I'm going with that. Also, the above quote is from the second page of the paper and the figure is at the top of the third page. The page numbers on the bottom of the pages are "5/34" and "5/35", respectively.

          • Python Bytes: #202 Jupyter is back in black!
          • The Maw of Chaos - why time forecasting is so challenging?

            I promised to myself not to write about Covid-19.

            However, with my recent inclination in going back to fundamentals and revisiting some of the more interesting topics in mathematics, I thought it would be fun and useful to explain why forecasting a time series (e.g. a disease progression) is so challenging. More precisely, I want to explain why making such simulations can be really be hard sometimes by showing how things work at the fundamental level.

            We will start with some basic equations and discuss the main challenges that relate to data and building models. Then, we will move on to a more intricate mathematical phenomenon known as chaos. Just like in Thief: The Dark Project (one of my old favorites) we will descent into it gradually, but this time, we will be equipped with python. ;)

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Bash How to Print a Variable?

            Bash scripts are an effective means of increasing efficiency in programming. They also increase reusability to the fullest since when a Bash script is once written, can be executed for as many times as the user wants. In this article, our goal is to learn the method of printing a variable using Bash.

  • Leftovers

    • Four dead, several injured after explosion in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut
    • It's a Sink or Swim Year for CounterPunch

      You’re fired up as you should be, with a world in chaos that needs more than a tune-up. People are rising up and demanding that we return to a life that’s better than the old normal. At CounterPunch, we’ve been fortunate to continue working through the pandemic, while readers were spending plenty of time reading new articles each day, the business office hasn’t had many beans to count. We thought times were tough in the past, but we all understand what that really means now. We chipped in by opening the digital titles cupboard, and have given away 2,400 free books since March to readers that have suddenly found they have the time to get to books they’ve wanted to read for years.

      The continuing evolution of CounterPunch hasn’t been only sweetness and light this year, however, as we had to face the long-delayed, difficult decision of retiring the print edition of our magazine. Merely a handful of our readers were still print exclusive readers, and we had to cut the last thread two issues into the year. But, fear not, CounterPunch+ has launched and is in a grace period–free for all to read.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • 'While There Is Hunger, We Will Never Have a Peaceful World': Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to UN World Food Programme

        "We will never achieve the goal of zero hunger unless we also put an end to war and armed conflict," said the Nobel Committee.

      • We don’t know how to treat this: Doctors and patients in Russia are fighting for coronavirus drugs that hardly help anyone

        In early September, more than one million Russians were battling the coronavirus. Statistics show that many regions are now in the midst of experiencing a second wave. However, no one seems to know how to treat the virus effectively as of yet. “Meduza” special correspondent Svetlana Reiter and science editor Alexander Ershov investigate the different drugs being used to treat the coronavirus in Russia and find out who’s profiting during the pandemic.

      • Dispatches From Haiti: Physician Advocacy

        Mr. Valcin is stuck in Port au Prince.

        He is the Haitian man who is very sick from valvular cardiomyopathy and needs his heart valves operated by a heart surgeon. Mr. Valcin has been offered pro bono life-saving heart surgery by a heart surgeon and medical center in the United States but the American Embassy in Port au Prince will not issue him a visa for travel.

      • 'Blatant Hypocrisy': Trump Heralds Covid-19 Drugs He Took Made Possible by Fetal Cell Research His GOP Actively Works to Ban

        The use of fetal cells "has led to immense medical breakthroughs, including the development of vaccines for polio, measles, and rubella," and critical understanding of other diseases, said one leading researcher.

      • Therapeutic Cannibalism

        When Johnson and Johnson or the other companies developing vaccines with human fetal cells succeed, we will all be cannibals.

        Not that that is anything new in human history, considering that for most of it the animals and plants on which people subsisted were persons in their own right, animated by indwelling intentionality and volition.

      • COVID Cornell

        Even if arctic blasts are increasingly rare in warming Upstate New York, those reddening maples confirm that it will eventually be getting colder here, even if this weekend’s temperatures are forecast to flirt with 80 degrees.

        “High above Cayuga’s waters” begins the alma mater of Cornell University which spreads across the bluffs at the southern tip of the lake. The students have been back since the beginning of September when classes started, though many arrived a month earlier to take up their off-campus leases on the first of August.

      • Dr. Carrie Madej: COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are transhumanism!

        Antivaccine conspiracy theorists blame vaccines for many things, such as autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, autoimmune diseases of all kinds including fake ones, childhood obesity, this generation of children supposedly being the “sickest generation,” infertility due to primary ovarian insufficiency, and even death, as in death by sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Basically, whatever the health issue, to antivaxxers, it is, first and foremost, always about the vaccines. Always. No mater how implausible and lacking in evidence the link between vaccines and a given disease or health condition is, antivaxxers will find a way to blame it on vaccines. Indeed, even now, in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve found ways to blame the influenza vaccine for COVID-19, particularly now that flu season is here. However, one of the wildest claims I’ve ever seen about vaccines is that they are “transhumanism,” a claim being made by über-quack “Dr.” Joe Mercola in an article on The Vaccine Reaction, the house blog of Barbara Loe Fisher’s antivaccine group the Orwellian-named National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), entitled Will New COVID Vaccine Make You Transhuman?, an article based on a video by one Dr. Carrie Madej:

      • Weekend for Trump, Who Has Covid-19, Now Includes On-Air 'Sham Medical Exam' Friday and In-Person White House Event Saturday

        "No proof he's not contagious yet," said epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding. "Dangerous."

      • Dozens of children are hospitalized in Dagestan with signs of poisoning

        Dozens of children in Dagestan have been hospitalized with signs of poisoning. According to local health officials, 42 children — including 36 preschoolers — were admitted to an infectious diseases hospital in Makhachkala with apparent acute intestinal infections. The children are reportedly in “moderately serious” condition and will remain under observation for the next week.€ 

      • Trump Plans to Raid Medicare to Pay for Drug Discount Cards Bearing His Name

        Less than a month away from the November election, Trump administration officials are reportedly rushing to implement the president’s recent proposal to send $200 prescription drug discount cards to nearly 40 million Medicare recipients — an $8 billion plan that would be financed by dipping into the Medicare trust fund.

      • Trump Plans to Have On-Air Medical Evaluation on Fox News

        In his first video interview since being diagnosed with coronavirus over a week ago, President Donald Trump will reportedly receive a medical evaluation by Fox News’s medical expert Marc Siegel during “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

      • Primary Health Care Is in Critical Condition. Making Primary Care Public Will Restore Its Health—and Protect Ours

        In order to avoid the catastrophic effects of the hollowing out of primary care for our health and that of the economy, the U.S. should take this opportunity to transform the sector by creating a national program for universal public primary care.€ 

      • Health Experts 'Stunned' as Trump Says He Will Resume In-Person Rallies While Infected With Covid-19

        Trump and White House officials have repeatedly refused to say whether the president has tested negative for the coronavirus since his diagnosis last week.

      • 'Shameless Stunt': Trump Reportedly Attempting to Raid Medicare Trust Fund to Pay for Drug Discount Cards With His Name on Them

        "There it is: Trump wants to steal billions from Medicare to pay for an illegal voter bribery scheme weeks before the election."

      • The Most Important Patient In The World

        The vortex we’ve lived in since—was it January or February?—that downward spiral grew and accelerated last Thursday. The pace of events quickened as speculations and plans—all provisional—multiplied. I thought then of what I told my students in March when the coronavirus came to campus. Against a flurry of activity by deans and faculty and staff, I wrote my students that all the plans and instructions issued by those parties on Tuesday could be null and void by Wednesday. The only use the attached PDFs piling up in their mail might serve was to line the bottom of a birdcage. If you don’t have a bird, get a birdcage anyway. For months all the various crises combined and recombined in unforeseen ways as though the crises themselves had their own cunning DNA. Then on Friday October the 2nd the helicopter lifted off the White House lawn with its cargo of ignorance and arrogance and it was one of those moments. Even Trump stopped tweeting for a time.

        Watching the chopper levitate slowly I thought of the moment on November the 22nd 1963 when the school janitor Al Parent told our nun Sister Mary Something or Other, “The president has been shot.” We all just watched her. Fascinated as only children can be at the sight of an adult at a loss of what to say or do. I don’t recall now what she said or what we did next. Probably she said we would say a prayer. But I don’t recall. On that day in 1963, for all its uncertainties, even a child knew the world would never be the same.

      • "Fake Covid-19 Pandemic:" Refuting the Conspiracy Theory Gone Global

        I responded with concern to the suspect claims being made on the site. “The extreme right are running the anti-Covid-19 movement from the start so far as I have seen”, I wrote my admired colleagued Michel Chossudovsky, “and GR appears to join them from the left, especially since its expertise too does not come from infectious disease knowledge”.

        I then wrote the text of the following communication to follow up his call for ‘a debate’ on the issue. Since the logical fallacies at the heart of the ‘fake pandemic’ argument contribute to the deaths mounting from dismissal of pre-cautionary practises against its virulent spread, it is a life-and-death matter to expose their invalidity.

      • Trump's COVID Denial Mirrors Romney’s Climate Denial in 2012, Hurting Election Bid

        Back in 2012, climate science denial created an€ “October Surprise” moment€ for the presidential election and a turning point against the presidential prospects of Republican candidate Mitt Romney. In 2020 science denial is again a game changer, this time for Republican President Donald Trump, who has continued to downplay COVID-19’s seriousness, even after he was hospitalized for the disease which has killed more than 210,000€ Americans.

      • How Boris Johnson Killed Tens of Thousands of Britons: The First Four Months

        On 9 January, the European Union’s Directorate General for Health and Safety activated the Early Warning and Response System, in which “most members,” but not the UK, shared response and communications measures. On 17th, the EU began holding regular Health Security Committee meetings to discuss procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE). Despite the UK being invited to participate, Team Johnson decided not to take up the offer.

      • The Case Against Social Media: Mass Misinformation in the Covid-19 Era

        Americans are now witnessing a new era of conspiracy mongering and fake news via the rise of the fringe “QAnon” movement, among a plethora of paranoid claims that Covid-19 is an elite-fueled hoax and that it was secretly created by powerful people working in the shadows.

        Pew Research Center polling from September finds that nearly half of Americans – 47 percent – have read or heard about the QAnon conspiracy, which claims that the Democratic Party and media are secretly coordinating a cannibalistic satanic pedophilia ring, and that only Donald Trump and one of his allies embedded in the “deep state” stand in their way.

      • The Cuckoo’s Nest

        We have a president who is literally ill with COVID-19 but apparently thinks he conquered it, whose medication may saddle him and us with unknown after-effects and who cruelly and unreasonably canceled talks for another virus rescue package.

        Donald Trump’s apparent spontaneous, heartless decision to end the discussions between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has left millions of people wondering and worried about who will help them financially, with their jobs, with possible eviction and with their own and their family’s futures.

      • White House hosted Covid 'superspreader' event, says Dr Fauci

        Dr Fauci, a member of the White House's coronavirus task force, said the president's unveiling of his judicial nominee was a "superspreader event".

        Dozens of White House aides and other contacts were reportedly infected.

      • Fauci: 'We had a superspreader event in the White House'

        Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, said Friday that there was a "superspreader event" at the White House late last month, a stark assessment of the string of positive coronavirus cases among the president and top aides.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Amid an Embarrassment of Riches, Ransom Gangs Increasingly Outsource Their Work

          One of the most common ways such access is monetized these days is through ransomware, which holds a victim’s data and/or computers hostage unless and until an extortion payment is made. But in most cases, there is a yawning gap of days, weeks or months between the initial intrusion and the deployment of ransomware within a victim organization.

          That’s because it usually takes time and a good deal of effort for intruders to get from a single infected PC to seizing control over enough resources within the victim organization where it makes sense to launch the ransomware.

          This includes pivoting from or converting a single compromised Microsoft Windows user account to an administrator account with greater privileges on the target network; the ability to sidestep and/or disable any security software; and gaining the access needed to disrupt or corrupt any data backup systems the victim firm may have.

        • Epic Games Loses Again on Restoring Fortnite to Apple Store

          A federal judge in Oakland, California, on Friday rejected Epic’s bid for a preliminary injunction that would have required Apple to reinstate the battle royale video game in the App Store -- and allowed Epic to use its own payment option. Apple had removed Fortnite in August after Epic set up a direct-pay option for in-game purchases that circumvented Apple’s pay system.

          It’s Epic’s second setback in its lawsuit alleging that Apple runs its App Store as an illegal monopoly because developers are barred from making their iPhone and iPad apps available through their own websites. Instead, Apple allows only downloads and payments through the App Store, and takes 30% of the purchase price. The case is now headed for trial next year.

        • SEP and Oracle Present “Backup & Recovery Best Practices with SEP Sesam and Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager”

          SEP Software and Oracle proudly announce our four-part series about SEP Sesam backup and disaster recovery software and Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager. The series will provide product overviews and details on how the combination can benefit your on-premises and cloud deployments. This will include best practices and demonstrations of SEP Sesam’s backup and recovery capabilities using Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Open Source Processes Driving Software-Defined Everything

                The Linux Foundation (LF) has been quietly nudging an industrial revolution. It is instigating a unique change towards software-defined everything that represents a fundamental shift for vertical industries.

                LF on September 24 published an extensive report on how software-defined everything and open-source software is digitally transforming essential vertical industries worldwide.

                “Software-defined vertical industries: transformation through open source” delves into the major vertical industry initiatives served by the Linux Foundation. It highlights the most notable open-source projects and why the foundation believes these key industry verticals, some over 100 years old, have transformed themselves using open source software.

                Digital transformation refers to a process that turns all businesses into tech businesses driven by software. This change towards software-defined everything is a fundamental shift for vertical industry organizations, many of which typically have small software development teams relative to most software vendors.

              • CNCF Announces Rook Graduation

                The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) has announced the graduation of cloud native storage tool Rook.

              • CD Foundation Announces 4 New Members

                The Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF) recently announced new members, community growth, and more at the start of their first annual CDCon.

                CDF also announced the appointment of Tracy Miranda as its new Executive Director. Miranda has worked closely with the CDF since the creation of the foundation.

        • Security

          • Germany's Software AG hit by Windows Clop ransomware

            Germany-based global enterprise software company Software AG has suffered a ransomware attack launched by cyber criminals using the Clop ransomware that runs on Windows systems.

          • JWT Heartbreaker offers remedy for weak JSON web tokens

            Security platform provider Wallarm has released JWT Heartbreaker, a Burp extension designed to find thousands of weak secrets automatically.

            Many web applications use JSON Web Token (JWT), a data format with built-in signature and encryption mechanisms, to store user sessions and application context, including authentication by SSO and metadata.

            Tokens are generated by the server and sent to the client, which can then certify their identity. They are usually found in authentication bearer HTTP headers for authenticated API calls, and are signed either using a private secret or a public/private key.

          • Internet Of Broken Things Jumps The Shark With IoT Chastity Penis Lock That Can Be Hacked

            Say it with me now: not every last thing needs to be connected to the internet. If we've learned anything through the myriad of posts we have done on the internet of broken things, it's that far too many devices that need not be internet-connected are instead wide open to security flaws and connectivity-related flaws and outages. Pet feeders, so-called smart locks, healthcare devices: all examples of things that have been broken or broken into thanks to their being connected to the internet in wildly insecure manners.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Four Million Downloads and Counting: Everyone Should Install the COVID Alert App

              As we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, if you haven’t downloaded and installed the app, please do so. The app doesn’t replace other essential measures – social distancing, wearing masks, testing, contact tracing – but it has emerged as an important part of the toolbox for keeping everyone a bit safer.

            • Censorship on art to normalize surveillance

              La Quadrature du Net is concerned about the censorship by the Studio national d’arts contemporains Le Fresnoy, in Tourcoing, of the artist Paolo Cirio, following an intervention by the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, and police unions, who asked in a tweet for the cancellation of his exhibition “Capture”, claiming that it would be a “pillorying” of the police. In France, there is freedom of expression, and the fact that art is questioning in a completely legal manner the arrival of facial recognition in European society should in no way become a reason to censor such an exhibition.

            • Port of Seattle continues debate on facial recognition

              The debate continues on whether the Port of Seattle should allow or pay for continued or expanded use of facial recognition at Sea-Tac Airport (SEA) and the Seattle cruise port.

              Yesterday Port of Seattle staff and a subcommittee of the Port Commission met with an advisory committee on biometrics appointed by the Port Commission.

              Jennifer Lee of the ACLU of Washington State delivered a letter co-signed by a coalition of organizations including the Identity Project urging the Port Commission not to authorize, pay for, or participate in any use of facial recognition to identify travelers:

            • Court seeks IP address from Twitter for account allegedly linked to Seth Rich conspiracy

              U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu of Oakland, CA has issued a subpoena to Twitter asking the social media platform to provide the IP address and account registration information used to create and operate the Twitter account that has been established as the first link to an allegedly forged FBI document which some say is the root of the conspiracy surrounding the death of Seth Rich – a Democratic National Congress staffer who died in 2016. Twitter has until October 20th to give up the identity of the person behind a now deactivated Twitter account under the handle @whyspertech, NPR reports.

            • San Diego PD Uses Police Charity To Buy Off-The-Books Phone Cracking Tech

              A law enforcement agency looking to dodge oversight has a few options. First, there's the 1033 program, which allows agencies to pick up useful things like guns, bullets, armored vehicles, grenade launchers… and… um… filing cabinets, I guess. Going this route means spending federal money rather than local money. So, if you're not spending local tax dollars, you really don't need to ask permission.

            • TikTok Banned in Pakistan After Racking Up 43 Million Downloads

              Pakistani regulators moved to block the popular video app TikTok in the country, citing the parent company’s inability to police immoral and indecent content on the service.

              TikTok, which is owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance Ltd., has a sizable user base in Pakistan. The app has been installed nearly 43 million times in the country, including 14.7 million installs this year alone, according to data from research firm SensorTower. That makes Pakistan TikTok’s 12th largest market. The U.S., by comparison, has seen over 200 million downloads, according to SensorTower.

            • Pakistan bans TikTok for ‘immoral’ and ‘indecent’ videos

              The ban comes just a few months after TikTok was removed in India over concerns around the app’s Chinese ownership. The United States is still moving to ban TikTok over those same concerns. The ban itself is currently on hold due to a court order, but other restrictions are set to go into place in mid-November.

            • [Old] TikTok 'tried to filter out videos from ugly, poor or disabled users'

              TikTok’s moderators were instructed to exclude videos from the For You feed if they failed on any one of a number of categories, the documents show. Users with an “abnormal body shape (not limited to: dwarf, acromegaly),” who are “chubby … obese or too thin” or who have “ugly facial looks or facial deformities” should be removed, one document says, since “if the character’s appearance is not good, the video will be much less attractive, not worthing [sic] to be recommended to new users.”

            • TikTok partners with John Lennon estate to bring classic songs to creators

              Lennon’s estate is the latest to partner with TikTok. TikTok partnered with the Prince estate in June to bring the singer’s catalog of songs to the app. It marked the first time that the Prince estate partnered with a shortform video app. Although Prince’s songs haven’t particularly taken off on the app — none have achieved the viral success on TikTok that songs from other artists have — it seems like an attempt by the estate and labels to try to make a play for a younger generation of music listeners. Adding several of Lennon’s songs, and hoping they pick up, is further testament to how important labels and estates view having an artist’s work on TikTok.

            • Imran in virtual meeting with Sandberg welcomes Facebook's investments, programmes in Pakistan

              The premier welcomed Facebook's investments and programmes in Pakistan and urged the company to increase their footprint, Radio Pakistan reported.

              He also recognised the potential of digital platforms and the role they can play in providing global opportunities to the country's youth and entrepreneurs. The premier also noted how such opportunities can lift people out of poverty, the report said.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Getting the facts straight Russian police officials release new report on inquiry into Navalny’s hospitalization in Omsk

        The Transit Police Department for Russia’s Siberian Federal District has published a new report on the inquiry in connection with opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s hospitalization in Omsk on August 20. In the report, police officials recount details of a “mine scare” at the Omsk Airport that same day, accuse employees from Navalny’s non-profit organization — the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) — of refusing to give testimony, and express doubts that a water bottle from Navalny’s hotel room was actually taken to Germany. “Meduza” breaks down the key points from the police report and recalls what Navalny and his associates have said on these topics.

      • Azerbaijan and Armenia reach a ceasefire agreement after 10-hour negotiations in Moscow

        Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced before dawn on October 10 that Armenia and Azerbaijan have reached a ceasefire agreement to halt the fighting over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh Republic that reignited on September 27. Both Baku and Yerevan sent their top diplomats to Moscow on Friday, October 9, for negotiations under Russian mediation. Foreign Minister Lavrov told the news agency RIA Novosti that the ceasefire talks lasted 10 hours.

      • Azerbaijani troops break through line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh, President Aliyev announces

        Azerbaijan’s troops have “broken through and destroyed the line of contact,” between Azerbaijan and the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in a televised address, as reported by Interfax.€ 

      • Nixon's Ghost Stalks the White House

        No one calls anyone a communist anymore. The accusation du jour is socialist, not communist. The accusation of communism has been essentially absent from the American political landscape since the break-up of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, and it has been essentially replaced by the accusation of socialism since Bernie Sanders, who had called himself a socialist, first ran for president in 2016.

        In fact, Trump himself has repeatedly derided Sanders as a socialist, not a communist, in keeping with the vocabulary used by the rest of the right to attack Sanders. And now, all of a sudden, Trump is using the word “communist” to attack Kamala Harris. Why?

      • President of Kyrgyzstan sends troops into Bishkek and declares state of emergency

        President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov has signed a decree on sending military units and equipment into the capital, Bishkek, Interfax reports.

      • Apple says it never asked Telegram to delete Belarusian channels for doxing cops (it just wants specific posts removed)

        The U.S. tech giant Apple says it never demanded that the messaging app Telegram delete entire channels created to dox police officers and polling station workers in Belarus. Company spokespeople confirmed to the website TJournal that they did reach out to Telegram, but they say Apple is only asking the network’s administrators to remove specific posts that violate the AppStore’s terms of service by disclosing individual’s private data without their consent.€ 

      • With Crushing Sanctions on 18 Iranian Banks, Is Trump Trying to Leave a War Behind for Biden?

        The Trump strangling of Iran could produce a war.

      • In 'Genocidal Screed' Against Iran, Trump Threatens: 'If You F**k Around With Us...We Are Going to Do Things to You That Have Never Been Done Before'

        "He could see a war as helping him these next few weeks, or after November 3 if the results aren't decisive. Vote!" said Sina Toossi of the National Iranian American Council.

      • Nukes and North Korea: a New Direction

        Containment advocates argue that North Korea has never truly been squeezed hard enough to force capitulation. Engagement advocates counter that serious tit-for-tat negotiations have never tested North Korea’s willingness to freeze or shut down its nuclear program in exchange for good-faith incentives. Both camps maintain that some additional variable—failure of leadership, bureaucratic inertia, the perfidy of North Korea, the resistance of the U.S. Congress, the ambivalence of China—has undermined the integrity of the containment or the engagement approach. Politics and/or geopolitics, in other words, continually interfere with the workings of a perfectly good plan.

        There is a third category of options: try something new and different. Into this category falls a regional proposal like a nuclear-weapon-free zone for Northeast Asia. Unfortunately, it remains as marginal to the debate today as it was when it was first proposed. Even though the rationale for such a zone has arguably grown stronger, the political will in the principal capitals—Washington, Pyongyang, Beijing, Tokyo, and Seoul—is lacking. Not surprisingly, the greatest interest in this proposal has come from Mongolia, a country that that has not been central to the nuclear politics of the region.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Reforming The Espionage Act, Latest In OPCW Whistleblower Scandal

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola breaks down a proposal to reform the Espionage Act that would create a public interest defense for whistleblowers. He also highlights the latest in the OPCW whistleblower scandal, particularly how Western countries shut down testimony before the UN Security Council.

        Later in the show, Gosztola discusses a settlement against Bechtel and Aecom, who are contracted to operate the Hanford nuclear waste plant. He also covers a court decision against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, which says he owes $5 million to the U.S. government from his book, Permanent Record.

      • Black Votes, White Violence: Parallels From 150 Years Past

        Also like today, it was economic downturns that led to a consolidation of reactionary right-wing power to take hold in 1874. The Panic of 1873 was known as the Great Depression at the time but this was forgotten when what is presently known as The Great Depression outpaced it. Their day was also plagued by compromises in the opposition party, similar to today. In 1871 President Ulysses Grant stood up to the Klan, but the Compromise of 1877 disenfranchised black voters with the then lesser evil Republicans walking away with the Presidency for Rutherford Hayes but selling their black base out in return. Federal troops withdrew from the South and Southern states were allowed to do whatever they wanted to the black vote and black population in general. The 14th and 15th amendments were not respected.

        Today, as documented by Greg Palast, Black votes are systematically and routinely not counted. In Georgia, for example, 70% of the voters booted off the voter rolls for not having an “exact match” of government ID to photo ID are black. This issue of voter suppression has mostly gained attention from the national media only as Donald Trump has resorted to openly calling for violence to suppress the vote and/or violence to keep him in office if he loses.

      • Be Prepared for Violent Fascists and Political Violence

        The first was that the lack of enforcement of basic ground rules led many, if not most, people to turn off the debate. I could count the fingers on one hand the number of people I knew who watched the whole event.

        The second was somewhat delayed, Trump’s repeated refusal to condemn white supremacist violence—he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”

      • Study Warns Radicalized Right-Wingers Uniting Online—Many Inspired by Trump—Threaten Australian Democracy

        The researchers urge Australian leaders to safeguard the nation's political system "from these very insidious and ongoing threats."

      • White Drivers Attempt to Kill Protestors With Vehicles – Hundreds of White Supremacists Attack O’odham Social Media with Death Threats Demanding Indigenous Water Protectors Be Run Over

        White Drivers Attempt to Kill Protestors With Vehicles – Hundreds of White Supremacists Attack O’odham Social Media with Death Threats Demanding Indigenous Water Protectors Be Run Over

        Action Planned This Friday in Tucson to Defend Indigenous Lands and Lives Against Border Violence and White Supremacy

      • From the Front Lines of Fear: Megalopolis; Thanatos Recognised as Delineated

        ‘All grist to the mill’, so it goes…

        ‘Fear Megalopolis, Thanatos’ is ‘growing’ after the fashion of a disease as virus borne.

      • 'A Threat to a Fair Election': Experts Warn of Danger Posed by Armed Pro-Trump Poll Watchers

        "This is the stuff of our worst nightmares."

      • Donald Trump Must Be Held Responsible for the Michigan Terrorist Plot

        This plot is no accident. It is the essence of Trumpism.€ 

      • FBI Charges Men Involved in Whitmer Kidnapping Plot With Domestic Terrorism

        Just months after President Trump tweeted for his supporters to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” the FBI has foiled an alleged plot to kidnap and take hostage Democratic Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer. Authorities arrested six men Thursday involved in the kidnapping plot, and seven others who were said to be planning to storm the state Capitol in Lansing with the intent of starting a civil war. “It came as a surprise to many, but not necessarily here in Michigan, because the state has a long history of militia and white nationalist ties,” says Russ McNamara, a reporter at WDET, Detroit’s NPR affiliate. We also speak with Michigan state Representative Kyra Harris Bolden, who says local Democrats have been warning for months about the threat posed by far-right extremists. “It’s very important to note that this could have been prevented,” she says.

      • Trump Keeps Inciting Domestic Terrorism

        One hallmark of the Trump era is that incidents of terrorism are not followed by the traditional calls for national unity but often deepen the partisan divide. On Thursday, federal and state officials announced the arrest of 13 men in Michigan associated with a group called the Wolverine Watchmen on assorted charges of terrorism, conspiracy, and unlawful weapons possession. The most lurid of the accusations was that at least six of the men were involved in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

      • FBI Foils Right-Wing Plot to Kidnap Michigan Gov. Months After Trump Urged “Liberation” of State

        Just months after President Trump tweeted for his supporters to ”LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” the FBI has foiled an alleged plot to kidnap and take hostage Democratic Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer. Authorities arrested six men Thursday involved in the kidnapping plot, and seven others who were said to be planning to storm the state Capitol in Lansing with the intent of starting a civil war. “It came as a surprise to many, but not necessarily here in Michigan, because the state has a long history of militia and white nationalist ties,” says Russ McNamara, a reporter at WDET, Detroit’s NPR affiliate. We also speak with Michigan state Representative Kyra Harris Bolden, who says local Democrats have been warning for months about the threat posed by far-right extremists. “It’s very important to note that this could have been prevented,” she says.

      • Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict: Why Turkey’s Intervention Could Turn It into a “Proxy War”

        The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are in Moscow for talks following two weeks of fighting over the disputed territory Nagorno-Karabakh. At least 300 people have already died in what could turn into a wider regional conflagration, with Turkey openly supporting Azerbaijan and Russia backing Armenia. Nagorno-Karabakh lies inside Azerbaijan but is controlled by ethnic Armenians. “Turkey’s intervention on the side of Azerbaijan is very destabilizing,” says Anna Ohanyan, professor of political science and international relations at Stonehill College. “It creates the conditions of transforming this conflict into a proxy war.”

      • 'I thought I was going to die': Sole survivor of Afghan market shooting in Sacramento speaks

        The Sacramento County Coroner and Sheriff’s Office confirmed Wednesday that Hassib Shams was the shooter. According to the sheriff’s office, Shams died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after shooting the three others. He was a 33-year-old UC Davis student and graduated from Mira Loma High School in 2005, according to both schools.

      • FBI Charges 6 in Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor

        Working with members of an unidentified militia group in Michigan, the men – five from Michigan and one from Delaware – spent months plotting, training and conducting surveillance of Whitmer’s Michigan summer residence, most recently last month, prosecutors said.

        "All of us can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever result in violence," said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider for the Eastern District of Michigan. "The allegations in this complaint are deeply disturbing."

      • Olympics slammed for not caring about murder of Iranian wrestler

        The organization Global Athlete issued a scathing indictment of the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday for its refusal to act against Iran's regime in response to the execution of Iranian champion Greco-Roman wrestler Navid Afkari.

        “The IOC’s failure to stand up for athletes’ human rights – their willingness to stand by while athletes are jailed, tortured and executed – is a gross abdication of duty," said two-time Olympian Noah Hoffman, a Global Athlete member.

      • Abuse hearings, starvation tactics, and bagasse noses: The Cheat Sheet
    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • EFF and ACLU Ask Ninth Circuit to Overturn Government’s Censorship of Twitter’s Transparency Report

        Citing national security concerns, the government is attempting to infringe on Twitter's First Amendment right to inform the public about secret government surveillance orders. For more than six years, Twitter has been fighting in court to share information about law enforcement orders it received in 2014. Now, Twitter has brought that fight to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. EFF, along with the ACLU, filed an amicus brief last week to underscore the First Amendment rights at stake.

        In 2014, Twitter submitted a draft transparency report to the FBI to review. The FBI censored the report, banning Twitter from sharing the total number of foreign intelligence surveillance orders the government had served within a six-month period. In response, Twitter filed suit in order to assert its First Amendment right to share that information.

    • Environment

      • Hotter seas imperil both human and marine life

        Climate warming brings hotter seas. The waters mix less. And conditions for some creatures could grow increasingly stifling.

      • Fascism’s Twisted Take on Climate Change

        Eco-fascism also posits that there are too many people in the world – read black and brown people. Fewer people mean a healthier climate, so this deviously false reasoning goes. But this neo-Malthusian nonsense conveniently ignores the fact that most people on the globe, billions of them have a very small climate impact. Millions in Bangladesh, drowning in climate catastrophe-caused flooding, have tiny carbon footprints compared to, say, the U.S. military, one of the planet’s pre-eminent carbon emitters. Subsistence farmers in Central America do nowhere near the climate damage of industrial agriculture, or corporate fossil fuel capitalists, fracking companies or even just North American suburbanites. The problem is not numerous poor people. It’s rich people – and their obscenely opulent corporations and the militaries they deploy to defend their wealth.

        Then last year, Australia burned. When climate change thus became undeniable, radical right-wingers tried a new diversionary tactic: blame the left. Right-wing politicians and Rupert Murdoch’s rabidly reactionary Newscorp spread the lies that left-wingers and environmentalists set Australia’s fires. Those fires, according to Vice, “burned an area larger than South Korea, killed over 30 people and resulted in the deaths of millions of animals.” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison downplayed the role of the climate catastrophe, while climate-change denying propagandists, including Murdoch’s Newscorp, wouldn’t shut up. Trump picked up the “environmentalists did it” lie and disseminated it further.

      • After Hurricanes, Toxic Spills and Pollutants Threaten Gulf Coast Communities

        After Hurricane Laura barreled through southwest Louisiana in late August, independent environmental scientist and chemist Wilma Subra began testing for contaminants in local waterways. In this region crowded with oil and gas infrastructure, pollution appears to be widespread. Heading west from her home in New Iberia, Subra said there are “large, large areas of oily sheen floating on the water, and you see large areas of oily sheen in the vegetation in the marsh all around these oil and gas facilities.”

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Wildfire Safety Starts With Communities, Not Logging Forests

          The good news is that a road map exists for fire policy that truly protects communities. Step one: Make houses and communities more fire-safe. Step two: Stop building new developments in fire-prone areas. Step three: Take strong action to fight climate change.

          For years, state and federal wildfire policies have promoted logging of our forests. Under overly broad terms like forest management, thinning and fuels reduction, these policies do the bidding of the timber industry and entrenched agencies that are invested in cutting down trees. Yet, as more money has poured into logging, we’ve witnessed the unprecedented loss of lives and homes.

        • Avian Botulism Kills 40,000 Birds at National Wildlife Refuge
        • Scientists say waters are clean around landfill in Kamchatka suspected of polluting Avacha Bay

          A group of scientists from the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) says it found no traces of toxins in the rivers near a major pesticide landfill in Kozelsk, which is considered to be one of the possible sources of the pollution that has tainted Kamchatka’s Pacific coastline and decimated local marine life.€ 

      • Overpopulation

        • U.N. World Food Programme Wins Nobel Peace Prize for Tackling Hunger Amid War, Pandemic & Climate Crisis

          As the World Food Programme wins the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger around the world, we speak with Vijay Prashad, director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, who says the United Nations body is doing vital work around the world. “I couldn’t be happier that the World Food Programme won the Nobel Prize for peace, because this hunger pandemic is paralyzing perhaps 2.7 billion people,” he says.

    • Finance

      • Another Renaissance?

        Giovanni Boccaccio was thirty-five when he wrote€ The Decameron€ (Ten Days), a masterpiece of stories about the 1347-1348 plague of Black Death. He spoke with passion about Florence that suffered so much from the tsunami-like force of the pestilence.

        Boccaccio was well aware of the ills of his time, the obsolete religious dogmas, sterility in thought, gross inequality among the owners of land and wealth and the have-nots, misogyny, and intolerance of reason by the clerical culture dominating Italy and Europe. He was unhappy with that narrow and oppressive vision of life. He wanted to revive ancient Greek and Roman culture with its many gods and freedom of thought and speech. In other words, Boccaccio was a scholar who dreamed of the Renaissance.

      • Socialism’s Increasing Popularity Doesn’t Bring Media Out of McCarthy Era

        Ever since the Great Recession in 2008, and accelerating with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential run, there has been a resurgence of popularity and interest in socialism in the US, and an increasing skepticism of capitalism. A 2019 Pew poll (6/25/19) reported that 42% of respondents had a favorable view of socialism, with particular sympathy shown among people who are Black (65%), Latino (52%), have family incomes below $30,000 (50%) or are between the ages of 18-29 (50%). In a 2019 Gallup survey (12/18/19), 38% saw socialism positively—more than the 34% who identify as conservatives (Gallup, 7/27/20). Gallup (11/25/19) noted that Millennials were especially attracted to socialism, with slightly more viewing socialism positively than capitalism.

      • Times Reveals Trump Secured Massive Windfall Then Poured Millions Into 2016 Campaign, Sparking Calls for Federal Probe

        "The more we learn about what Trump is hiding in his tax returns, the worse it looks."

      • Despite Trump's 'Jobs, Jobs, Jobs' Bluster, the Rust Belt Is Still Reeling from Plant Closures

        Chuckie Denison fought the closure of a GM factory in Lordstown, Ohio—now, he’s devoted himself to challenging the President’s lies about America’s economic recovery.

      • Masking the True Poverty Rate

        Several of these outdated assumptions relate to care, gender, and children’s developmental and participation needs. One of the bedrock assumptions of the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) is that every family includes a “housewife.” That is, a married woman whose full-time job € is “running or managing her family’s home — caring for her children; buying, cooking, and storing food for the family; buying goods that the family needs for everyday life; housekeeping, cleaning and maintaining the home; and making, buying and mending clothes for the family—and who is not employed outside the home ….”

        The vast majority of women were married and not working in the labor force in the late 1950s, so this assumption may have made sense back then, although even that is debatable. Regardless, it holds little water today when most women are in the labor force and only about half live with a spouse.

      • One-Third of Americans Can't Pay Their Bills as Stimulus Talks Stall

        Emily Brockman is a recently unemployed mother, but that didn’t stop her landlord from attempting to kick Brockman and her 5-month-old child out of their home in Lexington, Kentucky. Like millions of people across the United States, Brockman is struggling to pay rent and bills as talks over pandemic relief stall on Capitol Hill and stimulus checks fail to reach society’s most vulnerable. Despite a “moratorium” on evictions put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month, Brockman was recently in court fighting for a place to live.

      • Britain is on the Skids, Economically and Morally

        Scams by criminals have€ included€ fake websites offering supposed cures for the virus, and bogus€ claims€ for job support.€ € There have been many€ news reportsabout such things but these are just the ones that have surfaced because their originators have been inefficient or unlucky.€ € There are countless other scams out there, with evil people making a lot of money by defrauding innocent citizens. It was ever thus, but the charity€ Age UK€ has listed a number of particularly squalid con-jobs aimed specifically at cheating the old and vulnerable, and when one examines them it is difficult not to doubt that human beings are indeed far from being nature’s last word in moral development.

        Which brings us to Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest person and vulgar creep who was honored by being made a€ knight€ in 2018 for “Services to Business and Investment”.

      • Trump Has Made Hundreds of Millions From Foreign Business Interests Since 2016

        President Donald Trump is making hundreds of millions from foreign business dealings during his time in the White House, an OpenSecrets analysis of personal financial disclosures found.

      • How Taxpayers Funded "Consulting Fees" for Ivanka Trump

        These few words evoke everything people like and admire about the U.S. economy. The always welcoming luncheonette. The barbershop where you can still get a haircut, with a generous tip, for less than $20. The corner candy store.

        But “family-owned businesses” have a dark side, too, as we see all too clearly in the Trump Organization. We now know — thanks to the landmark New York Times exposé on Trump’s taxes — far more about this sordid empire than ever before.

      • Class Warfare Intensifies as Labor Rights Violated Around the World

        The International Trade Union Confederation has issued its annual€ Global Rights Index, and only 12 countries managed to be listed in the€ Index’s top ranking, the countries that are merely “sporadic” violators of rights. But those countries are hardly paradises (this is capitalism, after all). One of those dozen, the Netherlands, had no less than seven of its corporations listed among companies violating workers’ rights. Those were not necessarily isolated instances. The report said, “In the Netherlands, unions observed an increasing trend to shift from sectoral agreements to company agreements with the intent of minimising labour costs in return for employability. Companies often used the competitiveness and employability argument with their employees to incite them to accept lower conditions of work at the enterprise level. In addition, companies, including Ryanair, Transavia, Jumbo Supermarkets, Gall & Gall, Action and Lidl supermarkets, tended to circumvent collective bargaining with representative unions.”

        If that represents the “best” of conditions for working people, the world is a mighty unfair place. Which it obviously is, given the ever more intense pressure bearing down on working people as the neoliberal era continues to make capitalism ever more miserable for those whose€ work produces the profits€ swelling the pockets of industrialists and financiers.

      • Power and Class in the 21st Century

        This isn’t to endorse the view that it has, far from it. But because it serves as the starting point for political challenges to capitalism, such as they are, it has to be addressed. That it is being lived differently by different people provides a clue that it isn’t ubiquitous in the sense asserted. The assertion itself is subtextual— a function of political and economic relations, not stated out loud in a way that most people might find convincing. This is its power, that political challenges are a response to capitalism, rather than the existential need to create the world that we inhabit.

        The bitterness and rancor of current politics reflects opposing sides in a class war launched in the 1970s by wealthy industrialists, financiers and inherited wealth against organized labor and an imagined redistributive state. To be clear, the state is redistributive, with the overwhelming preponderance of its largesse going to the rich and their agents in the PMC. While government spending only constitutes a fraction of GDP, the economic value of government support for the rich and bourgeois finds measure in the value of the stock ‘market,’ which is now many multiples of annual economic production (GDP). It is owned almost exclusively by these classes.

      • Why America’s Economic War on China is Failing

        None of this has worked very well. Trump faces negative legal judgments about his “trade war,” and the U.S. economy slips into negative territory. It is not just Trump. Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are committed to a policy that will not cause China to surrender to U.S. ambitions. Whether or not the U.S. can backtrack from this policy orientation and begin a dialogue with China remains to be seen; doing so would be, of course, desirable.

        Legal Setbacks

      • The Future of the Gig Economy Is on the Ballot

        I’m a writer. I’m also a part-time bicycle courier for UberEats, Postmates, and Caviar in New York City: a job that I do on the side, on my own schedule. I am the mythical “independent contractor” Silicon Valley platform capitalists like Uber cite to justify California Prop 22, which, if passed in November, could permanently exclude delivery and rideshare workers from employee status—and therefore deny them the rights and protections they deserve.

      • Did Someone at Deutsche Bank Leak Trump’s Tax Returns?

        These questions came up on a hike with a friend on my last day of vacation. My friend asked who I thought leaked them? I hadn’t really considered it because I had been hiking the Sawtooth Mountains when the story broke. By the time I did hear about Trump’s tax troubles, the tax news was overtaken by the debate shit-show and Trump’s positive test for COVID. So when he asked me, I responded that I had no idea. My friend then said he thought it was obvious. Who had access to Trump’s tax returns going back decades, and who among them had the most to gain from leaking those returns to derail his re-election? When framed in that way the answer is obvious – the banks – and in particular Deutsche Bank.

        Last February the New York Times Magazine reported:

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • 'Maybe We Should Be': Rebuke and Ridicule After Mike Lee Says 'We Are Not a Democracy'

        "Some of us are fighting to build a true representative democracy, and then some are Mike Lee."

      • VP Encounter Shows You Can’t Have a Real Debate When One Party Refuses to Follow Rules

        Wednesday’s vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris may have lacked the bullying and blustering by Trump that characterized the first presidential debate (, 10/2/20), but it still managed to reinforce the overall problem with the 2020 debates: You can’t have a real debate if one party refuses to follow the rules.

      • You Could Even Call It a Blessing From God. Trump's Resignation Would Save Countless American Lives

        Too many have needlessly suffered and died on his watch.

      • Joe Biden, Multiple Miggs, and the Horrors of Lesser Evilism

        I don’t feel like I’m being hyperbolic here and I don’t see the concept of the lesser evil as being merely symbolic. We are literally advocating choosing evil. One has to look no further than any two major party candidates in the last century. Hell, one has to look no further than Joe Biden and Donald Trump. We are taught that it is perfectly morally acceptable to choose between a man who served as an architect of the modern day slave trade that is the post-Clintonian prison industrial complex and a man who imprisons children at the border in glorified concentration camps. These are both clearly evil human beings. Your average American recognizes this fact, and yet it remains perfectly mainstream to not only advocate giving one of these beasts a popular mandate for their crimes but it’s downright traditional to bully and humiliate anyone with enough of a conscience to refuse to play along.

        What kind of sick fucking message does this send to the world? What kind of sick fucking message does send to our children? Can you imagine using this logic in any other scenario? “Well, all the kids are getting high, so I guess huffing kerosene is morally preferable to shooting bath salts into my junk. I mean, its not like I can just not get high. What kind of a party guest would I be then?” Or maybe, “Well I have to go to prom, it’s my moral obligation as a student, and even though Marcus does beat me, at least he’s not a confirmed date-rapist like Ben.” And I’m the irresponsible radical for voting for Jill Stein? If you still have to wonder how the terrorists justify murdering American civilians, go to your local Baptist church this November and count the American civilians shrugging their shoulders and casually consenting to brutality. Thank god most of this country still has the moral fortitude to stay home and get high.

      • Citing Trump’s COVID Diagnosis, Pelosi Plans Discussion of His Possible Removal

        House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she and Democrats in the House of Representatives would begin discussing issues related to the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which pertains to how the president of the United States can be removed from power if the commander in chief is deemed unfit to serve.

      • QAnon Candidate Gave Own Campaign $450k After Receiving PPP Loan

        Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon conspiracy theorist and Republican candidate who is expected to win her House race in Georgia next month, donated $450,000 to her own campaign after receiving a six-figure Paycheck Protection Program loan from the government for her construction company.

      • 'Newman!': Seinfeld's Favorite Mailman Is Back to Make Sure Postal Service Protected From GOP Attacks—and That You Have a Plan to Vote

        "Hey!" says infamous sitcom neighbor to Trump and the GOP: "You picked the wrong government employees to mess with."

      • How We Should Defend Against the Impending Trump Coup

        President Donald Trump has€ refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power€ no matter who wins the election. What is to be done if Trump loses the election but refuses to concede?€ The purpose of this commentary is to stimulate discussion and preparation for how to overcome such a Trump coup.

      • 2020 = 200,000, by 3 Artists
      • Voter Fraud Is a Right-Wing Fiction

        Lawyers for President Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican Party are pulling out all the stops to make it hard to vote this fall. They’ve pinned their case on the fantasy that voting by mail—a safe approach to casting ballots in the midst of a pandemic—will lead to widespread voter fraud.

      • Child’s Play
      • Second Presidential Debate Canceled After Trump's Battle With Covid-19 Spurs Fight Over Safety Protocols

        The Commission on Presidential Debates "will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22."

      • 'GOP Loses a Big One in Their War on Drop Boxes': Federal Judge Bars Ohio From Limiting Ballot Sites to One Per County

        "Drop boxes have proven to be a secure method of collecting ballots, and are crucial in allowing voters to safely cast their vote during this unprecedented pandemic."

      • Have Liberals Learned Anything From the Age of Trump?

        Cancel Culture suggests not.

      • Black Lives Should Always Matter: Delinking Social Justice from Seasonal US Politics

        Following the debate between US President, Donald Trump, and Democratic Presidential nominee, Joe Biden, most analyses focused mainly on the personal insults and name-calling, which, deservedly, earned the event the title ‘worst Presidential debate in recent memory’.

        Supporters of both parties, however, rushed to minimize the damage inflicted by the poor performance of their candidate, elevating certain points and conveniently omitting others.

      • The Great Voter Purge: a Wisconsin Story

        Palast’s biggest piece of advice remains the same as it was in August: Check Your Registration! It is still not too late, and you better do it, because voters are being scrubbed from voter rolls all over the country, and he’s got the evidence to prove it.

        One of the most damning cases to emerge so far is in the battleground state of Wisconsin, where Trump edged out Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a mere 22,000 votes, landing the state’s electoral college votes in the Trump column. Now, a group called the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), funded by the wealthy Bradley family (who made millions selling their factories in Milwaukee and then poured some of their profits into supporting Trump) recently sued the state demanding it remove 153,000 voters from the rolls on the grounds these voters had moved from their registration addresses. Oral arguments were heard September 29.

      • Ranked Choice Voting: Maine's Challenge to Lesser Evil Politics

        One way to restore a semblance of democracy is Rank Choice Voting (RCV). RCV gives voters more power because we can rank candidates by order of preference free from narrow binary choices.

        And, RCV insures that the winner has an actual majority of votes not just a plurality. Having more votes than the other candidate, is a very low bar indeed. Contrary to the convention wisdom that “majority rules” US elections are not based on majorities but pluralities.

      • Trump’s Election Day Coup Threat: Into the Streets! Shut it Down!

        Trump responded, “We’re going to have to see what happens… We want to get rid of the [mail-in] ballots, and we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.” Trump subsequently repeated his threat to declare himself president on Election Day, apparently based on his presumption that his personal rejection of counting mail-in and absentee ballots will ultimately be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

        The spectacle of some dozen U.S. TV stations broadcasting election returns on November 3 while Trump’s White House simultaneously prepares its own count is almost beyond belief. Yet, if would-be dictator Trump takes this route there is zero doubt that we will see a massive protest mobilization of unprecedented proportions in the streets of the nation.

      • Electionland 2020: Florida Felon Voting, Election Websites, DOJ Policies and More

        In Florida, the Gutting of a Landmark Law Leaves Few Felons Likely to Vote

        State officials don’t know how many felons are registered or eligible to vote. So we did our own analysis and found only a very small percentage of them will be able to cast ballots this election. Some could face prosecution if they do. Read the story from The Tampa Bay Times and ProPublica.

      • Fascism, Trumpism and the Left

        Invoking the 1932 election in Germany, some leftists urge a vote for Joe Biden to keep Trump from consolidating the fascist regime he began constructing in 2016. While not mentioning the word fascism, a letter€ € signed by Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West and 52 other notable leftists insists that we vote for Biden, especially in swing states. Chomsky probably spoke for the entire group when he told The Intercept:

        Even before Trump’s 2016 victory, Chomsky fixated on the threat fascism posed. When Chris Hedges interviewed him in 2010, he compared the U.S.A. to Weimar Germany: “It is very similar to late Weimar Germany. The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”

      • Roaming Charges: A Fly in the Anointment

        + Mike Pence rope-a-doped Tim Kaine in the last VP debate. Or maybe Kaine rope-a-doped himself. But Pence won, if only because Kaine lost, and the same might happen tonight given that Harris is expected to go all George Foreman on his ass, the image of which will serve to inflame white male grievance and elicit the sympathy of handmaids from Chilocothe to Sheboygan.

        + I thought Kaine was too aggressive, almost spastic, slipping in and out of his Jesuit Spanish. He was inauthentic & a little unhinged. Pence, who is basically an android programmed by Focus on the Family, remarkably came off as the calmer, more benign presence which helped soften Trump, too.

      • MAGA and the White Nationalist Agenda

        Ronald Reagan and the Republicans used the theme successfully throughout Reagan’s presidency. Decades later Tea Party Patriots, white nationalists, the alt-right and conservative Republicans proclaim the same MAGA. Only this time the invocation conveys more of an urgency and vitriol. They fear the growth of multiculturalism, socialism and leftists and a country the white majority is becoming a minority.

        The leader of the emergent white nationalist movement, the one who gives voice to their fears, is none other than the “billionaire” and star of the reality show The€ Apprentice, Donald Trump, forty-fifth POTUS. With Mussolini aplomb and stand-up comedy theatrics, Trump has drawn out a subterranean cast of characters. Trump has been successful in using concepts, terms and colloquialisms easily understood by the “deplorables.” In fact, it appears that they enjoy each other’s company and Trump’s political rallies. They have become a fun fest of character assignation and blatant lies about political rivals and their “ridiculous” policy positions.

      • Damn It, Kamala

        There were even inklings of interest in diminishing the size and influence of our preposterously overblown military-industrial-national security state complex, and there was talk of ways to get the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave to menace the rest of the world less.

        But then, sensing that they were losing control, the Pelosiites and Schumerians struck back, quashing the Sanders and Warren insurgencies, anodyne as they were. It is telling that they encountered little or no resistance from Sanders or Warren themselves.

      • Will Deeper Segregation Be Bill de Blasio’s Legacy?

        Cities across the United States are confronting this country’s original sin of slavery, with white liberals everywhere suddenly activated against police violence and systematic racism. But here in supposedly progressive New York City—where Mayor Bill de Blasio personally helped paint the words “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue outside Trump Tower—wealthy Manhattanites on the Upper West Side are fighting to show homeless Black and brown New Yorkers the door.

      • Debatable: Can Kamala Harris Tell Us Anything About the Politics of Ava DuVernay?

        But that was 2019. It is 2020 and that has all changed.

        This year, despite all she has done on TV and with film, DuVernay’s views on electoral politics become a central talking point, raising the question of whether she has a cultural role to play.

      • Harris refuses to oppose Trump’s planned 2020 election coup

        Harris’s response was that the Democrats will do nothing. They will take no action to defend the Constitution or the democratic rights of the American people.


        But the question is what, given Trump’s announced intention not to honor the results of the vote which are likely to show a heavy defeat, will be done to enforce the vote? On this Harris was silent.

      • Twitter Will Not Allow Trump or Biden to Declare an Unverified Victory on Election Day

        Twitter on Friday introduced a number of new rules the social media platform is rolling out for the upcoming election.

        In what is perhaps the most interesting of the changes, Twitter will not allow Donald Trump nor Joe Biden to declare a victory without official double verification.

      • 'Not sure they're ready to debate me,' says Green Party candidate

        Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins joins Morning Joe to say he's ready to debate Donald Trump and Joe Biden but he's not sure they're ready to debate him.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Federal Judge Ridiculously Says That Holding A Sign Telling People Cops Are Ahead Is Not Free Speech

        I am perplexed. US district court judge Alfred Covello seems to have a very strange understanding of the 1st Amendment. As first noted in the Hartford Courant (who didn't link to the ruling) Covello has ruled that holding up a sign telling drivers that there are police ahead is not protected speech under the 1st Amendment. Because I'm not the Hartford Courant, you can read the whole ruling yourself.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Facebook's Internal 'Hate Speech' Guidelines Appear To Leave Protected Groups Unprotected (June 2017)

        Summary: Facebook has struggled to moderate "hate speech" over the years, resulting in it receiving steady criticism not only from users, but from government officials around the world. Part of this struggle is due to the nature of the term "hate speech" itself, which is often vaguely-defined. These definitions can vary from country to country, adding to the confusion and general difficulty of moderating user content.

      • Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands - Again

        In its case law, the European Court of Human Rights has stated that Article 10 protects not only "the information or ideas that are regarded as inoffensive but also those that offend, shock or disturb; such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broad-mindedness without which there is no democratic society. Opinions expressed in strong or exaggerated language are also protected."

        What seems offensive is often extremely subjective.... Speech with which everyone agrees does not need protection.

        In the light of the case law of the European Human Rights Court, which specifically protects the political speech of political actors and political campaigns, it is difficult to see how the question Wilders posed could legitimately be limited in accordance with article 10 (2). Wilders did not incite to violence, nor did he jeopardize national security or public safety or any of the other concerns noted as relevant to limiting free speech.

      • Islam’s Sexual Enslavement of White Women

        As it happens, there is something else—another medium besides writing—that documents this reality: countless more paintings than the one in question concerning the abduction, trafficking, and sexual enslavement of European women; altogether they further underscore the ubiquity and notoriety of this phenomenon. Indeed, this was such a well-known theme that many nineteenth and early twentieth century artists and painters specialized in it, often based on their own eye-witness accounts. (As one art gallery puts it, “Many … of the most important painters did travel [to the Muslim world] themselves, and what they painted was based on the sketches they had made while they were there…)

        Below are just 20 such paintings (there are many more). Aside from noting the artist’s name, year of painting, and, where possible, title—information which is often difficult to ascertain—I’ve limited my remarks to important asides and clarifications, mostly in the first few paintings, leaving the rest to speak for themselves. They follow.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Mary McCord on Unlawful Militias, Chip Gibbons on Assange Extradition
      • Where Is My Final Assange Report?

        Numerous people have contacted me in various ways to ask where is my promised report on the final day of the Assange hearing, to complete the account?

      • George Monbiot’s Excuses for Not Speaking Out Loudly in Defense of Assange Simply Won’t Wash

        The Trump administration wants Assange brought to the United States to face espionage charges that could see him locked away in a super-max prison on “special administrative measures”, unable to have meaningful contact with any other human being for the rest of his life. And that fate awaits him only because he€ embarrassed€ the US by exposing its war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq in the pages of newspapers like the New York Times and Guardian – and because Washington fears that Assange, if left free, would publish more disturbing truths about US actions around the globe.

        But there is much more at stake than simply Assange’s rights being trampled on. He is not simply the western equivalent of Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist and dissident who notably offered his own support to Assange during the hearings. Weiwei covered his mouth outside the Old Bailey courtroom in protest at the media’s blanket silence over the crimes being perpetrated against Assange.

      • Years of Harassment to Blame for Russian Journalist’s Death, Friends Say

        On Friday, Slavina, editor-in-chief of the news website Koza Press, tied herself to a bench near the Interior Ministry in Nizhny Novgorod and set herself on fire. Hours before, the 47-year-old journalist had posted on Facebook, "In my death, I ask you to blame the Russian Federation."

        Slavina was known widely in the region for reporting on local government and pro-opposition movements, and for helping to coordinate marches in memory of Boris Nemtsov, the Russian politician assassinated near the Kremlin in 2015.

        Friends and colleagues say Slavina faced years of harassment for her work, and they blamed intimidating actions by security forces for the journalist’s death.

      • Concerned journalists accuse President’s Press Secretary of stifling them

        The Office of the President cancelled a meeting with a group of concerned journalist at the last-minute earlier this week, citing reasons which the journalists say are not true.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • A Bittersweet Hispanic Heritage Month

        In this rare moment when we have the country’s eyes and ears, I wish I could just highlight the ways in which we’re thriving and be done with it. Alas, I must pair each piece of positive news with a harsh dose of reality.

        We are growing as a portion of the U.S. population. There are now 61 million of us here — a fact I can’t acknowledge without also mourning the 40,000 members of my community who have perished from COVID-19.

      • Bar Applicants Deserve Better than a Remotely Proctored “Barpocalypse”

        This week was the California Bar Exam, a grueling two-day test that determines whether or not a person can practice law in California. Despite the privacy and security risks remote proctoring apps present to users, the California Bar, as well as several other state bars throughout the country, are requiring that students use proctoring and surveillance app ExamSoft to protect the “integrity” of the test. The results have been nothing short of disastrous, and test-takers have taken to calling these remotely proctored exams the “Barpocalypse.”€ 

        All of this was avoidable.€ 

      • Power to the People: Right On!

        McKibben was irate and got a platform in Rolling Stone to disabuse Moore of his notions of righteousness and factuality; Gore just smirked like an asshole, like he did after he lost his home state in the 2000 presidential election. Perhaps the main criticism of the film was that the data used for its propositions was out-of-date; things Green had moved forward since Gibbs began his project and, they argue, he hadn’t properly factored that in. There was still time to effect change; it was too early to bury our heads in the sand like some kaput Madeleine Kahn version of Lady Liberty. Our Lady’s got plenty left. Fuck off, Moore and Gibbs, their critics, who still held a torch, seemed to say.

        The stoush within and amongst the Greens and so-called progressive bodes ill for the rest of us, as we expect leadership to rise up out of their ranks to posit the impetus for radical transformation from our current American middle class lifestyles to something decidedly more spartan and less attached to materialism. We think we understand what the McKibbenses and Greens are about, but sometimes they’re caught with their good intentions down and their hypocritical butts hanging out. You wouldn’t want to be a jury on this one, and yet, duty calls. A Boston Legal episode from Season 4, “Green Christmas,” brought home the dilemmas associated with solving our global crisis. Here’s a cross exam of a McKibben-like character from the episode.

      • We Fight For the Users

        Here at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we have a guiding motto: "I Fight For the Users." (We even put it on t-shirts from time to time!) We didn't pick that one by accident (nor merely because we dig the 1982 classic film "Tron"), but because it provides such a clear moral compass when we sit down to work every day.

        Should your boss be able to spy on you through your computer? Well, you're the user and we fight for you, so we say no.

      • Going Undercover on a Racist Dating Site looks innocuous at first: Its home page could be cribbed from Ashley Madison, or FarmersOnly, or any number of niche dating sites. A stock-photo, glossy-lipped blonde smiles into her beau’s suited shoulder, lowering her lashes demurely; a slogan reads, “We know where we come from, where we belong, and wish to share the feeling with like-minded partners.” Beside a pink and purple heart, the words “for European Singles” hint at WhiteDate’s purpose: to connect white supremacists seeking to preserve the future of the white race through love and procreative nookie.

      • Pence Faked Care for George Floyd, But We Know the Truth of His Administration

        Immediately following this week’s vice presidential debate, an explosion of unapologetically racist and misogynist references to Kamala Harris have spread across social media. Trump himself labeled her a “monster” on Fox News.

      • Warning Fundamental Rights and American Lives at Stake, 5,000+ Lawyers Urge Senate to Reject Barrett

        "Rushing to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett will cause irreparable damage to the public's faith in the Supreme Court, the rule of law, and our democracy."

      • Will Amy Coney Barrett Stand by Her Man? He's Betting a Second Term On It

        "I have never seen a president in my lifetime that has disavowed the results of the election before they've even happened."

      • 'Be Afraid—Be Very Afraid': Methane Ruling Seen as Ominous Sign With Barrett Poised to Join Supreme Court

        The judge delivered a "puzzling and unsupported conclusion that the Bureau of Land Management can't limit methane waste because that would reduce greenhouse gas pollution."

      • Amy Coney Barrett Has No Business Ruling on This Election

        Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his party are playing by two sets of rules, ramming through Donald Trump’s nomination to fill a Supreme Court vacancy during an election year, despite McConnell’s refusal in 2016 to hold a hearing for President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.

        McConnell claimed at the time that no Supreme Court nomination should be processed in an election year, and that “the people should decide” after the election. Four years later, “the people” apparently only includes those whom McConnell decides should be considered.

      • Those “Commie Folksingers” and the FBI

        Little did I know back then that Ives had been a leftist at one time. Nor did I know he betrayed his friends and comrades during the McCarthy era, denouncing his leftist political beliefs and naming names to a congressional subcommittee. One assumes Ives took this action to stay out of prison and in the hope his career would blossom. He was correct on both counts. Like other artists, performers and writers in Hollywood and the music industry who decided to cooperate with the forces of reaction of the time, Ives traded his friends (and a fair amount of his integrity) for a modicum of success and a stay-out-of-jail card. History tells us that several other artists and the like who didn’t betray their friends or allegiances were not as lucky.

        One thing history was never really clear on, though, was how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Congressional investigators were able to determine which artists to pursue. How did they know which musicians attended study groups run by members of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and how did they know which ones were actual members? How did these investigators know who these artists’ friends were? What data did they use to decide who to call before Congress and/or threaten with imprisonment?

      • The Surprising History of Marriage in the US

        Most Americans know little about the history of marriage in this country — gay or straight. The truth is surprising. It reveals that the family has always been changing, and in the last century it has changed in the direction of more emotionally and sexually fulfilling relationships.

        Laws punished “sodomy” throughout the colonial United States, but defined “sodomy” as€ any non-procreative sex by a man — including with a woman.

      • Black Landowners Will Benefit From New Funding to Prevent Land Loss

        A property law scholar who has helped secure state protections to keep Black families from losing their land won a MacArthur “genius” award this week, a year after ProPublica drew attention to the problem and his significant efforts in a story that was published with the New Yorker. Thomas W. Mitchell, a professor at Texas A&M University School of Law, plans to use the $625,000 grant to create a law center where staff will study reforms to protect the real estate and wealth of disadvantaged property owners.

        ProPublica showcased legal dilemmas that Mitchell has long worked to address: the obstacles that families face when they pass down property without a will. This land, often handed down over generations, is referred to as “heirs’ property,” a form of ownership in which descendants inherit an interest, like holding stock in a company. Their ownership is vulnerable to laws and loopholes that allow speculators and developers to acquire their property from under them, often at below-market rates. It’s estimated that more than a third of Southern Black-owned land is heirs’ property.

      • Three arrested in Shepparton after alleged forced marriage of Ruqia Haidari who was later allegedly killed by husband in Perth

        He was charged with murder and is due to return to court later this month.

        The three people arrested this week have all been charged with causing a person to enter a forced marriage.

        All three faced court in Shepparton and were released on bail to return to court at a later date.

      • YouTube Removes Nation of Islam Channel

        According to YouTube, the NOI channel was removed on Oct. 2 for violating YouTube’s policies against hate speech, specifically the notion that members of a protected group are part of an evil conspiracy theory.

        “We have strict policies prohibiting hate speech on YouTube, and terminate any channel that repeatedly or egregiously violates those policies,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement to the Journal. “After updating our guidelines last year to better address content that spreads hateful conspiracy theories, we saw a 5x spike in video removals and have terminated over 25,000 channels for violating our hate speech policies.”

        NOI did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

      • Jewish Organizations Applaud YouTube Ban on Antisemitic Nation of Islam Channel

        The removal of the NoI’s channel was part of a broader move on YouTube’s part to clamp down on hate speech, with 25,000 channels deleted under the company’s guidelines.

      • YouTube removes Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam channel

        Some individual accounts of Nation of Islam members are still up, with tens of thousands of followers.

        Farrakhan is a longtime, vehement anti-Semite who has railed against “wicked Jews,” praised Adolf Hitler, condemned the “synagogue of Satan,” likened Jews to termites and accused them of controlling the US government. He also has a history of homophobia.

      • DOJ Seizes Domains, Claiming They Pushed Iranian Disinformation; Should Raise 1st Amendment Concerns

        For about a decade now we've been questioning why the government is allowed to seize domains over claims of illegal behavior happening on a website. It seems to us that seizing a website is the equivalent of seizing a printing press or books -- both of which would be deemed clear 1st Amendment violations. Unfortunately, even when those seizures have proven to be for made up reasons, no one has been able to challenge the underlying ability of the government to seize domains. And now it seems to happen all the time. And even if you believe the websites in question are doing something bad, seizing the websites is problematic.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T Gives Up On DSL, Leaving Many Out Of Broadband's Reach

        AT&T has announced the company has stopped selling DSL lines completely as of October 1. It's not particularly surprising. AT&T has long history of refusing to seriously upgrade its network to fiber despite untold billions in state and federal subsidies and tax breaks. Many of these DSL connections were far from meeting the FCC definition of broadband (25 Mbps down, 4 Mbps up). For its part, AT&T says its focus moving forward will be on 5G wireless and fiber:

    • Monopolies

      • Desktop OS monopolist Microsoft criticizes app distribution terms of smartphone OS makers Apple, Google: closing ranks with Epic Games, Spotify

        Everyone in the industry has known for years that Microsoft hates the notion of Apple and Google retaining 30% of whatever end users pay for and in Microsoft Office and other smartphone apps. Microsoft was exceedingly hesitant but ultimately accepted. The word "hates" has a meaning here that transcends purely financial considerations--in fact, Microsoft has been in business for more than long enough to know and remember that traditional distribution channels used to ask and get up to about twice that margin when Office was installed from a bunch of DVDs, CDs, or floppy disks. There's also a psychological problem here. The need to agree to a revenue split that the likes of Epic Games and Spotify--midgets compared to Microsoft--are fighting against is nothing short of a major humiliation for Redmond. The combination of a revenue split one would rather avoid (or at least minimize) with a constant reminder of having lost in the smartphone operating system (OS) market--and, in fact, no longer being the world's #1 OS company if all device categories are considered--presumably feels toxic.

        In an alternative universe in which Microsoft would have extended its desktop operating system monopoly (as a matter of fact, Microsoft didn't even appeal an EU court decision that concluded it was a desktop OS monopolist) to smartphones, which it tried very hard but ultimately unsuccessfully...

      • Bonny Sweeney suing Google on indie app developer's behalf--what's the connection between her and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney?

        At times it feels there's not a day on which nothing happens in those app store antitrust cases. Yesterday, Microsoft threw its weight behind the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) and Epic Games' complaints, but in a political sense and without joining the CAF or formally intervening in those lawsuits--and, by the way, Microsoft is reluctant to apply the goose-gander principle to the Xbox, at least for the time being. Then, today and Monday are two particularly likely days for Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to enter an order on Epic Games' motion for a preliminary injunction against Apple. And here's just a quick procedural update on the Google cases pending in the same district, but before a different judge (Judge James Donato) and in a different city (San Francisco, not Oakland).

        Yesterday Judge Donato held a joint case management videoconference in all three Google cases pending before him and which he decided to relate: Epic Games v. Google, Carr v. Google (consumer class action), Pure Sweat Basketball v. Google (app developer class action), and Peekya Services v. Google (another app developer class action). Peekya sells an Android app that costs approximately three bucks to download, depending on the country where the customer resides. This may or may not be a coincidence--should it be one, then it's a really funny one: the attorney who appeared on Peekya's behalf is Bonny E. Sweeney, a San Francisco-based partner of Hausfeld, a major law firm especially in competition matters. Hausfeld represented 40 law professors who supported the Federal Trade Commission against Qualcomm.

      • Epic Games v. Apple bench trial in Oakland to kick off on May 3, 2021 (closer to Epic's preference than Apple's), possibly via Zoom due to covid

        Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California is still working on her decision on Epic Games' motion for a preliminary injunction against Apple. At last week's hearing, she wasn't totally convinced of Epic's claim that it was likely to win this case when all is said and done. And it's practically impossible for Epic to deny that Fortnite's removal from the App Store was of its own making (as Google calls it in a parallel case in San Francisco).

        In this context I'd like to point you to an article by North Carolina (Epic's home state) newspaper The News&Observer on many Fortnite players preferring to play the game on other devices than iPhones, and Fortnite no longer being as interesting as it used to be, as other games now offer some of the same features. That article appeared before the preliminary injunction hearing, but I just spotted it today on Twitter.

      • Patents

        • New PatentlyO Law Journal Essay: eBay, the Right to Exclude, and the Two Classes of Patent Owners [Ed: Once again publishing for ex judge who became like a software patents lobbyist in favour of trolls]

          The entire point of a healthy patent system is on spurring invention and investment, by rewarding inventor and investor alike, big or small, with exclusive rights of limited duration, for their inventive risks and contributions. Otherwise, without such patent rights—or with fewer such rights—the incentives to invent diminish, or such inventive resources will re-locate.

        • Germany hastens second ratification of Unified Patent Court [Ed: Scheming to break the law and constitution]
        • German draft UPC ratification bill in parliament, chance of new constitutional challenges

          Crucial months are ahead for the Unitary Patent project. In Germany the re-ratification process of the Unified Patent Court Agreement is progressing rapidly, but the threat of new constitutional complaints is looming.

          Two weeks ago, the Bundesrat approved the UPC ratification bill. Yesterday, in first reading, the Bundestag referred the bill to the parliamentary committees (both the Committee of Legal Affairs and Culture will have their say) for discussion. A second decisive reading in the Bundestag is expected late October or early November. According to a report of Juve Patent, the UPC ratification should go through parliament in the slipstream of the discussion on the 2021 budget, “which means that a large number of members of parliament are guaranteed”.


          Supporters of the system hope the UPC can start functioning in the first half of next year, or “in a near future”, as the Preparatory Committee stated. This is the uncomplicated schedule. However, various serious issues will have to be overcome before the UPC and Unitary Patent see the light of day. Legally, there have been many questions since the Brexit referendum of 2016 and more so since the July announcement of the British government to withdraw from the European patent system. For just one example see article 3(1) above: how can the PPA enter into force when it is explicitly stated in the PPA that the UK’s approval or ratification is mandatory?

          A hotly debated issue is the London section of the UPC’s central division (mentioned in article 7 of the UPCA). Now that the UK is definitely out of the game, this division will have to be relocated and the Italian government and the IP sector and governors in Milan have been very clear they want it to go to this city. After the recent (online) meeting of the UPC Preparatory Committee, quite a vague statement was issued by the committee, whereas the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the formal Milan candidacy to the seat of the UPC. In a press release it stated that the committee “approved a provisional redistribution of the competence of the London office between the existing offices in Paris and Munich, provided, however, that this is a short-term solution, pending the entry into force of the Agreement and that Italy can start, in agreement with the other signatory States, the procedure for amending the Agreement to include Milan as the third seat of the central Court division.”


          Besides the FFII, it is not unthinkable that a new constitutional challenge will be filed as well by Ingve Stjerna. Shortly after the outcome of the first challenge, he pointed out to Juve Patent that the Constitutional Court had not dealt with the content of his objections to the UPCA and said: “If, despite these problems, the German government continues to adhere to the convention, a new constitutional review by the Constitutional Court will have to be considered, possibly of a complaint from a company.”

          It is, at least to the author of this blog, not clear whether a second complaint would automatically mean the FCC would ask the German Bundespräsident to put the ratification procedure on hold, as happened when the first complaint was filed in 2017. The FCC declined to “provide any information on (…) legal issues or on any potential constitutional complaints that are intended to be lodged, but have not even been lodged yet.”

        • US Patent Boss Says No Evidence Of Patents Holding Back COVID Treatments, Days Before Pharma Firms Prove He's Wrong

          A week or so ago, the head of the US Patent and Trademark Office, Andrei Iancu, who has been an extreme patent maximalist over the years, insisted that there was simply no evidence that patents hold back COVID treatments. This is a debate we've been having over the past few months. We've seen some aggressive actions by patent holders, and the usual crew of patent system supporters claiming, without evidence that no one would create a vaccine without much longer patent terms.

        • Software Patents

          • EPO challenge filed against GEVC by Unified

            On October 8, 2020, Unified filed an opposition proceeding against EP 3 410 716 B1, owned by GE Video Compression LLC (GEVC). The ‘716 patent is generally related to coding of significance maps and transform coefficient blocks. This filing is a part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone.

      • Copyrights

        • is About to Get Placed On a WIPO Anti-Piracy Blacklist

          Japan and Ukraine are the latest countries to sign agreements with the World Intellectual Property Organization in an effort to keep advertising off pirate sites. The notable factor here is that Ukraine is the first country to reveal which sites rightsholders have blacklisted. Among them are Amazon-owned Twitch and US-based streaming platform Veoh.

        • Judge Recommends to Deny $250,000 Claim Against YTS Sites and Apps

          The operators of several YTS-branded apps and sites may escape a $250,000 damages claim from Hawaiian anti-piracy lawyer Kerry Culpepper, who accused them of trademark infringement, In a recommendation issued to the court, Magistrate Judge Wes Reber Porter notes that there isn't sufficient evidence that the defendants purposefully targeted the US.

        • Meet CC Tanzania, Our Next Feature for CC Network Fridays!

          The Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN) consists of 45 CC Country Chapters spread across the globe. They’re the home for a community of advocates, activists, educators, artists, lawyers, and users who share CC’s vision and values. They implement and strengthen open access policies, copyright reform, open education, and open culture in the communities in which they live.

        • While Trump Continues To Complain About 230, It's Copyright Law That Once Again Actually Gets His Content Removed

          Once again this week, the President decided to attack Section 230 because social media companies decided to highlight that he was posting dangerous misinformation (this time about the relative dangers of COVID-19, which he was downplaying). Yet, for reasons I do not understand, the President never seems to address copyright law, even though that law is what is actually forcing his and his campaign's content to be legally removed from social media.

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Techrights observes today's disturbing attempts to extradite a journalist for committing acts of journalism
Links 20/02/2024: More GAFAM Layoffs, Assange Missing From His Trial for Heath Reasons (the UK's Own 'Navalny Treatment')
Links for the day
[Meme] But the Boss Said...
"The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer."
An EPC-Violating Patent Granting Process: Unlawful Orders, According to the Central Staff Committee of the European Patent Office (EPO)
One can hope there's another strike (work stoppage) planned
In Cuba, Windows Dips to 'Market Share' of 16.8% and GNU/Linux Keeps Growing (Now ~6% of Desktops and Laptops)
it's harder for Microsoft to push Cubans around
[Meme] Code of Conduct (CoC): Too Much Power in the Wrong Hands
Might makes right?
[Video] For Software Freedom Avoid Free Bait
do not take any of this for granted
[Video] Trouble at Mozilla Means Trouble for Firefox and for the Web
The era of the open Web is ending
[Video] Microsoft Layoffs: It's Worse Than the Media Makes It Seem
Microsoft's fraudulent accounting
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 19, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, February 19, 2024
Gemini Links 20/02/2024: Kids Cannot Write, Misfin-Server, and More
Links for the day