Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 22/10/2021: Global Encryption Day

  • Leftovers

    • The Path to a Livable Future Cannot be the Path We're On

      Cox explains:

      To be clear: Cox aims to promote radical action in the best sense, that is, by getting down to basics, to€ roots. Here is Cox:

    • Facebook agrees to compensate French newspapers for content

      Facebook said the deal with Alliance de la presse d'Information générale, which represents papers across France, will allow users to “continue to freely share news within their communities, while ensuring the protections of neighboring rights of our publishing partners.”

      The company said it had been working with the Alliance since October 2019, when France introduced a copyright law known as “neighbouring rights” that aimed to allow publishers to be compensated for use of their content by tech giants.

    • Science

      • Opinion | Rich Jerks in Space
      • Vikings Were in the Americas Exactly 1,000 Years Ago

        But in results published Wednesday in Nature, scientists presented what they think are new answers to this mystery. By analyzing the imprint of a rare solar storm in tree rings from wood found at the Canadian site, scientists have decisively pinned down when Norse explorers were in Newfoundland: the year A.D. 1021, or exactly 1,000 years ago.

        Getting a more precise handle on when the Vikings inhabited L’Anse aux Meadows is important, said Michael Dee, a geoscientist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and an author of the study.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Covid-Panic and Nuclear Prowess!

        On one hand, it cannot be ignored, statistically, the negative impact of Covid-19 seems hardly a significant figure when thought of destruction, human lives lost and injured by use of bombs, missiles and other weapons. Covid has had nothing to do with the latter. But the coverage accorded with photographs to sufferings undergone by persons because of Covid, limited beds in hospitals, lack of medical attendance, graves and so forth particularly in the West conveys a totally different picture. Of course, each life is as important as any other. Yet, how many really care for this grim reality?

        Covid-impact has brought power-holders face to face with what loss of health, lives, employment and other amenities can spell for their own people. Think of the sufferings which people in the Third World have undergone for no fault of theirs when outsiders have hit at them, dismantling even their basic infra-structural facilities, including hospitals, educational institutions, and political power-centers:—all for the sake of what some external power holders desired and/or viewed as important. How much importance and/or coverage has really been accorded to what these sufferers have faced and are still going through?

      • Family physicians will not issue mask-wearing exemptions

        Head of the family doctors' association Le Vallikivi said situations where a person wearing a mask is actually medically contraindicated are very rare. If a patient really needs such a certificate, it will be issued by a specialized doctor and not family physicians.

        "Those with chronic lung disease and asthma, lung malignancies should certainly be wearing masks, instead. Unless too much of their lung tissue is damaged, they need the extra oxygen," Vallikivi said. She added that an oxygen mask in those cases would do.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Windows REvil ransomware gang taken down by US spies and allies: claim [iophk: Windows TCO]

          On Wednesday, the news surfaced that the REvil site on the dark web was offline. One Dmitry Smilyanets, who works for the threat intelligence firm Recorded Future and also writes for The Record, a website belonging to the company, claimed to have found a thread claiming to offer the reason for the disappearance of REvil. The CIA's investment arm, In-Q-Tel is an investor in Recorded Future.

        • Governments turn tables on ransomware gang REvil by pushing it offline [iophk: Windows TCO]

          According to three people familiar with the matter, law enforcement and intelligence cyber specialists were able to [crack] REvil’s computer network infrastructure, obtaining control of at least some of their servers.

          After websites that the [attacker] group used to conduct business went offline in July, the main spokesman for the group, who calls himself “Unknown,” vanished from the [Internet].

        • Security

          • Company That Buys Zero-Day Hacks Now Wants Exploits for Popular VPNs

            Uh oh. An infamous company that pays thousands of dollars for iOS and Android hacking techniques is now out to acquire zero-day exploits for three popular VPN services.

            Zerodium today sent out a tweet calling for “zero-days” or publicly unknown attacks that work against ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark. The attacks must be capable of leaking information from the VPNs, such as a computer’s IP address. Zerodium will also pay for exploits that can trigger a VPN to remotely execute computer code.

          • Verizon 'Visible' Wireless Accounts Hacked, Exploited To Buy New iPhones

            Wireless subscribers of Verizon's Visible prepaid service received a rude awakening after hackers compromised their account, then ordered expensive new iPhones on their dime. Last week a company statement indicated that "threat actors were able to access username/passwords from outside sources," then utilize that access to login to Visible customer accounts. Hacked users say the attackers then utilized that access to order expensive kit, and, initially, getting Visible to do anything about it was a challenge:

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Facebook ‘whistleblower’ Frances Haugen represented by US intelligence insiders
            • Facebook ‘Whistleblower’ Frances Haugen Represented by US Intelligence Insiders

              A former employee of Facebook named Frances Haugen earned national renown after€ appearing before Congress on October 5, 2021€ to accuse the company where she once worked of everything from poisoning the minds of young American women to aiding and abetting global evildoers.

            • Do We Really Want Amazon's Internet-Connected Autonomous Surveillance Robots Wandering Around our Homes?

              The first is yet another Ring unit, called the “Ring Always Home Cam“. Despite the clunky name, it’s of note, because it’s a domestic drone: an autonomous indoor security camera that flies along pre-configured paths to check on your home. This raises obvious privacy concerns, which Amazon is keen to address. When the device rests in its base, the camera is physically blocked from operating. The camera will only start recording when the device leaves the dock and starts flying along one of the preset paths. Amazon even claims that it designed the Always Home Cam to hum at a certain volume, as an audible warning that the camera is in motion and is recording. This is “privacy you can hear”, the company boasts.

            • Confidentiality

              • Make the Switch

                Today, 21 October 2021, is the first ever Global Encryption Day. We're asking people to Make the Switch to strong encrypted services and defend their right to privacy and security.

              • On Global Encryption Day, Let's Stand Up for Privacy and Security

                We’ve seen big victories in our fight to defend encryption. But we haven’t done it alone. That’s why we’re proud this year to join dozens of other organizations in the Global Encryption Coalition as we celebrate the first Global Encryption Day, which is today, October 21, 2021.

                For this inaugural year, we’re joining our partner organizations to ask people, companies, governments, and NGOs to “Make the Switch” to strong encryption. We’re hoping this day can encourage people to make the switch to end-to-end encrypted platforms, creating a more secure and private online world. It’s a great time to turn on encryption on all the devices or services you use, or switch to an end-to-end encrypted app for messaging—and talk to others about why you made that choice. Using strong passwords and two-factor authentication are also security measures that can help keep you safe.€ 

                If you already have a handle on encryption and its benefits, today would be a great day to talk to a friend about it. On social media, we’re using the hashtag #MakeTheSwitch.

              • Edward Snowden: ‘If you weaken encryption, people will die’

                Snowden has joined the Global Encryption Coalition to launch a campaign to protect encryption. The group of civil society organizations and tech firms warns that undermining encryption will leave people more vulnerable to crime and surveillance.

              • Global Encryption Day: #MakeTheSwitch

                Today, Oct 21, 2021, is the very first Global Encryption Day, organized by the Global Encryption Coalition, where we are a member. Global Encryption Day is an opportunity for businesses, civil society organizations, technologists, and millions of Internet users worldwide to show our communities why encryption matters. It’s also a day for all of us to pledge to Make the Switch to encrypted services (like Tor!) and prioritize our privacy and security online.

                At the Tor Project, we’re proud to help millions of people take back their right to privacy, to freely access and share information, and to more easily circumvent internet censorship--and encryption makes this possible.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Biden Administration Is Building Back to the Brink of a New Cold War
      • Of Spirits, Martyrs & Legends: the Magic & Sorrow of Vietnam's Côn SÆ¡n Island

        A short up-and-down overwater flight from Tân SÆ¡n Nhất International Airport and, voilà, you’ve arrived. While your destination is just off the coast of southern Vietnam, it may as well be another world. In less than an hour, you are transported from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to the quiet and melancholic beauty of Côn SÆ¡nIsland, the largest and most infamous in the 16-island Côn Đảo Archipelago.

        Vietnamese come from far and wide not just to enjoy breathtaking views of the sea, fresh seafood, and invigorating walks along pristine beaches, but also to participate in a solemn pilgrimage to dark places that are a legacy of French and US brutality. They are a stark testament to the supreme arrogance of one fading colonial power that handed the blood-stained baton to an ascending neocolonial power, both convinced they had the right to determine the destiny of a country not their own. Many of those who travel here are war veterans and former prisoners who pay homage to their fallen comrades.

      • Were the Recent Haiti Kidnappings Business, Politics—or Both?

        Let’s take a harder look at the kidnapping in Haiti that’s making the news this week. Sixteen Americans, including several children, plus one Canadian, all part of Christian Aid Missionaries, were taken on October 16 by one of Haiti’s largest gangs, 400 Mawozo, as the foreign group was finishing a visit to an orphanage.

      • War Talk From the Mad Monk: Tony Abbott goes to Taiwan

        The range of issues that have seen his intervention have taken him to conservative, often reactionary fora, the world over.€  He has given a gloss of legitimacy to the Great Replacement theory, worried that Christian Europeans have somehow forgotten how to breed, including members of the British Royal Family.€  He has been praised by Hungary’s authoritarian Viktor Orbán for defending Western civilisation against the dark and swarthy.€  He has expressed a preference for a social Darwinian model in containing COVID-19, advising governments that the elderly are dispensable citizens.€  He has sold his brutal “turn back the boats” formula to European states with, it has to be said, some success.€  The United Kingdom and Denmark, for instance, are increasingly aping his stance in lifting the drawbridge and detaining those seeking asylum.

        Then, it was time for the ironman pugilist to pay a visit to Taiwan, something he considered a duty to do and must have had, at least on some level, the nod of approval from Canberra.€  “Taiwan’s friends are so important right now.”€  He went, not as a peace envoy but as a representative flagging future conflict.

      • In U.S. Foreign Policy are the Realists Finally on the Rise?

        One of Schwenninger’s many gifts was his ability to anticipate far in advance trends that would shape U.S. foreign policy and the global political economy. He was also one of the first thinkers to promote an alternative to the stale liberal internationalism and neoconservatism that have dominated the foreign policy discussion in Washington. According to Schwenninger, “The progressive realist critique… centered around international law; non-intervention; disarmament; and winding down the worst excesses of the post-9/11 period.” Though he sadly did not live to see it, perhaps history is finally moving in Schwenninger’s direction as far as U.S. foreign policy is concerned.

        The idea, progressive realism, was the focus of a special issue of the Nation on foreign policy that was edited by Schwenninger during the week Donald Trump took office in January 2017.

      • Imran Khan Faces a Standoff With the Pakistani Military

        Islamabad—Once again, in a repetition of the same pattern that has dogged Pakistani politics since the country’s inception, the military and civilian government have become embroiled in a tense and highly publicized tussle for power. Imran Khan—who became prime minister in an election allegedly rigged for him by the army—has refused to sign off on the appointment of Lt. Gen. Nadeem Anjum as the country’s top spymaster, apparently under the guidance of his mysterious wife, who has somehow convinced her husband that she has the gift of clairvoyance. As a result, Islamabad has become the setting of a constitutional crisis that has enervated the state and left crucial military departments without leadership and direction.

      • Man, 25, in dock over murder of UK MP David Amess

        Nick Price, head of the CPS special crime and counter-terrorism unit, said lawyers would submit that Amess' killing "has a terrorist connection, namely that it had both religious and ideological motivations".

      • Muslims in France preach: “These people deserve to die, but we are not in a position of strength at the moment”

        A few days after the murder of Samuel Paty, the mosque’s leaders reportedly agreed with the teacher’s destiny and considered the person of Abdoullakh Anzorov, his murderer, a “martyr”. It was “essential to strengthen the faith and prepare for the struggle”, one of the people who spoke at the mosque was quoted as saying. Another member said the murder of Samuel Paty had strengthened his resolve. These words were reportedly uttered during a prayer session. One of the active members of the mosque reportedly bragged about his meeting with Djamel B., a jihadist imprisoned for his involvement in terrorist groups. One of the association’s imams, Driss E.K., is said to have declared before the Charlie Hebdo publications that “these people deserve to die, but at the moment we are not in a position of strength”.

      • Manchester Arena Inquiry: Bomber's brother 'laughed in face' of inquiry

        Speaking on the day when he was due to attend the hearing, Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, said Ismail Abedi "has been able to flee and effectively laugh in the face of the inquiry" and added that such a thing should not be able to happen again.

      • Survey: Concern about political Islam in Austria is growing

        Overall, the majority of Austrians rate living together with immigrants and refugees as rather bad. Above all, they criticise their attitude towards women (55%), cultural and language differences (53%) as well as their propensity to violence and criminality (52%). Furthermore, a clear majority of 72% agree with the statement that parallel societies have established themselves in Austria.

      • Attacks on Hindus: Protests continue

        The Dhaka University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) demanded exemplary punishment for those involved in the attacks on Hindu temples and Durga Puja venues across the country. They also urged the government to enact a new law to ensure religious freedom for everyone.

    • Environment

      • 12 Environmental Novels We’re Reading This Fall
      • Ecological Economists Support Message of Religious Leaders to Cop 26

        They remind everyone of our individual and collective responsibility to take action to avert global environmental catastrophe, resulting from our having “greedily consumed more of the earth’s resources than the planet can endure.” They warn that the future will be worse for our children unless we act collaboratively and urgently as the situation clearly requires. They state that “we must decide what kind of world we want to leave to future generations”.

        The profound exhortations of the religious leaders resonate deeply with us, the undersigned Circle of Ecological Economics Elders. Working across the natural and social sciences we have come to the same conclusion. Since the early 1970s, humanity has overshot the resource regenerative and waste absorptive capacities of the earth and has been moving in an unsustainable direction ever since – to the benefit of very few at the expense of very many.€  The problems we face can usually be traced to the excessive scale of our economies which require increasing quantities of materials and energy, produce ever greater quantities of wastes, and degrade the earth’s land, air, and waters. To respond to the call of our religious leaders, to respond to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, now requires a significant reduction in the physical size of our human niche rather than a continuing expansion and faster degradation of the biosphere in the name of growth.

      • Climate Change Viewed From the Attic of the World

        As a medical mission, our purpose is to provide primary health care to people who rarely, if ever, see a clinician. As pilgrims, our purposes are as varied as our individual identities. Mine is to make peace with the anger and grief that have dogged me since finishing a pair of books, one on climate change, the other on extinction. They left me heartsick. My delight in the beauty of the world had been joined to sorrow at its destruction, and the two emotions were like cellmates who refused to get along. Their ceaseless argument soured the taste of life. I hoped that a long walk — about 150 miles in this case — might cure the resultant moral ache. (The story of that walk provides the backbone of my new book, The Trail to Kanjiroba: Rediscovering Earth in an Age of Loss.)

        The trails we followed led us into the past in the sense that the high Himalayan world — Sanskrit’s “abode of snow” — is a relic of the Pleistocene, a land of glaciers, vast spaces, stony rubble, and frigid rivers. Its cynosure animal is less the snow leopard than the yak, a source of food, fiber, hide, bone tools, transport, and tractor power more essential to the Tibetan settlers of the region than even the bison was to America’s Cheyenne or Sioux. Yaks enabled people to inhabit the wintry attic of the world, where today an Ice Age climate still lingers, even as it begins to fade away.

      • Africa Will Lose All Three of Its Icebergs to Climate Change
      • “Dirty Empire”: Sen. Joe Manchin Demands Dems Drop Climate Funding as He Makes Millions from Coal

        As Senator Joe Manchin demands Democrats drop critical climate funding to replace coal- and gas-fired power plants with renewable energy sources, investigative reporting into the financial dealings of Manchin reveals that he has profited over $4.5 million from investments in West Virginia coal companies since he became a U.S. senator. Investigative journalist Daniel Boguslaw, who looked into the network of coal companies that Manchin and his family has owned and held stock in over the decades, says Manchin’s voting record in Washington shows him “prioritizing a dying industry that he’s making millions of dollars off of.” The report also finds that Manchin’s family coal businesses have grim records of pollution, safety violations and death.

      • ‘People Right Now Are Absolutely Feeling the Climate Emergency’

        Janine Jackson interviewed the Center for Biological Diversity’s Jean Su about People vs. Fossil Fuels for the October 15, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • The Most Important Climate Summit in History Is a Local News Story Too

        This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration cofounded by The Nation and Columbia Journalism Review to strengthen coverage of the climate story. The writer is CCNow’s deputy director.

      • Leaked Docs Reveal Fossil Fuel-Soaked Nations Lobbying to Sabotage Climate Action

        Just ahead of a key United Nations climate summit, a major leak of documents reveals that some fossil fuel-producing nations are encouraging authors of an upcoming U.N. report to omit an assessment that the world must transition away from oil, gas, and coal to tackle the planetary emergency.

        "This is an insight into how a small group of coal, oil, and meat producing countries continue to put the profits of a few polluting industries before science and our planet's future."

      • PG&E's Tree Cutting Frenzy: Blaming Forests for Climate Change (and Its Own Negligence)

        This fall, PG&E has has taken to Humboldt County’s roads and forests in a similar mood. KMUD news documented their demented rampage last week, when they visited a protest staged in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. As you listen to the KMUD interviews, you can hear trees crashing in the background. The protesters fume as they watch this slaughter of large, healthy beautiful carbon-sequestering, oxygen-manufacturing and water-retaining engines. They are agitated by the destruction of a critical wildlife corridor, connecting the Park with Rainbow Ridge and the wild, foggy refugia of the Mattole North Forks. A tree sitter who has been sleeping in an old growth douglas fir to protect it, described the red tree voles, a listed species, also a favorite food of the endangered Northern Spotted Owls, living around her perch.

        There has been no permit, no environmental impact statement. All done, absurdly, in the name of fire safety.

      • Opinion | 'Compromising' on Climate Is Horrible Politics, Deadly Policy, and Stupid Economics

        By now, we are accustomed to the absurd premise at the heart of the negotiations over the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act: Any efforts to address climate chaos must satisfy West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a man who has made a fortune in the coal business and who once released a campaign ad where he shot a cap-and-trade bill with a rifle.

      • In World First, New Zealand Law Will Force Banks to Disclose Climate Impacts of Investments

        New Zealand officials on Thursday heralded passage of a groundbreaking law requiring financial institutions to disclose climate-related risks.

        "This is a landmark day," Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said in a speech to Parliament.

      • Lancet Report Warns Planetary Crisis Will Spur More Infectious Diseases, Climate Refugees

        With the coronavirus pandemic still raging and world leaders preparing for a climate summit at the end of the month, an annual report published Wednesday in The Lancet highlights governments' failure to ambitiously address the climate emergency and related health impacts.

        "It's time to realize that no one is safe from the effects of climate change."

      • Energy

        • Belarus Chastised for Persecuting Environmental Defenders

          Belarus is to have its rights and privileges under a major international treaty suspended for persecuting environmental defenders and shutting down green NGOs.

          A high-level summit of parties to Aarhus Convention on environmental rights on October 21, chastised the state for liquidating one of its oldest green NGOs and suppressing many other domestic environmental organisations.

        • Fossil Fuel Plant Run by William Koch at Heart of EPA Investigation into Racism in Texas’s Environmental Oversight

          There are over 2,600 people living within three miles of Oxbow Corporation’s industrial plant in Port Arthur, Texas, a community that’s almost entirely people of color. And for 85 years, the Oxbow Calcining’s 112-acre plant has been processing oil and gas products into “petroleum coke,” which is commonly used to make steel and aluminum — all the while releasing sulfur dioxide into the air of Port Arthur. From 2016 to 2019, the plant pumped an average of over 22 million pounds of sulfur dioxide, which can cause lung disease, coughing, and eye irritation, into the air each year.

          Oxbow’s founder and CEO is billionaire William “Bill” Koch, a member of the Koch family who has historically maintained a lower profile than his politically active brothers Charles and David, who passed away in 2019. Charles and David notoriously poured fortunes into funding organizations and projects designed to prevent fossil fuel regulation, often by obscuring the role that fossil fuels play in causing climate change. The Koch Family Foundations, which are linked primarily to Charles and David, have spent more than ExxonMobil in that effort, DeSmog’s database shows.€ 

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Opinion | Kunming Declaration Sets Path Toward a More Just Global Biodiversity Framework

          In August 2019, in the middle of heavy monsoon rain and floods, my sister Sudakshina Sen (an avid wildlife photographer) and I arrived at the Western Ghats in southwest India, a global biodiversity hotspot. One day, we got stuck on the sinuous state highway SH-78, due to fallen trees on the road from the storm. Parked by the roadside was a bicycle, with signs attached to both the front and the back, meant to draw attention to the plight of the Lion-tailed macaque, an endangered primate endemic to the Western Ghats. The low-budget signs included a stencil image of two Lion-tailed macaque and the bilingual text: "GO SLOW: LION TAILED MONKEY CROSSING" in English and Tamilian. It struck me that the signs, made by people with very little financial resources, differ from the road signs we all know that ask us to slow down for an animal that might be crossing. Instead, they€  highlight the need to accommodate nonhuman beings in the midst of human habitation. For the makers of the signs, such co-existence is a part of daily life of the community in the Western Ghats.

        • What It’s Like to Watch a Harpooned Whale Die Right Before Your Eyes

          The whalers demonstrated their contempt for our nonviolent protests by firing an explosive harpoon over our heads. The harpoon line slashed into the water and we narrowly escaped death. One of the whales was not so lucky. With a dull thud followed by a muffled explosion, the entrails of a female whale were torn and ripped apart by hot steel shrapnel.

          The large bull sperm whale in the midst of the pod abruptly rose and dove. Experts had told us that a bull whale in this situation would attack us. We were a smaller target than the whaling ship. Anxiously, we held our breath in anticipation of sixty tons of irate muscle and blood torpedoing from the depths below our frail craft.

    • Finance

      • After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

        Major U.S. companies that got a "stealth bailout" thanks to congressional pandemic relief legislation are now lobbying against President Joe Biden's proposal to hike taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations through the Build Back Better package, according to a new Accountable.US analysis provided exclusively to Common Dreams.

        "When the pandemic hit, big corporations were first in line for help as millions of families lost their jobs and their livelihoods."

      • Opinion | 5 Ways to Tax Wealth to Pay for the Build Back Better Agenda

        The Build Back Better agenda under negotiation in Congress would improve the lives of millions of Americans by creating good jobs, expanding access to affordable child care and home care, and other vital public investments. Several tax reforms on the table to help pay for the plan would also reduce our country's skyrocketing wealth inequality.

      • Opinion | Phil Knight: A Case Study in to How Dodge Over $3.6 Billion in Taxes

        Nike founder and billionaire Phil Knight, worth an estimated $58 billion according to Forbes, is the subject of an expose informed by research conducted by IPS associate fellow Bob Lord, published by Bloomberg Businessweek, along with terrific explanatory graphics.

      • The Culture Wars Continue: The Fate of Sex Workers

        However, far less reporting was about Gov. Greg Abbott signing of Texas’s HB 1540 on June 16th that went into effect on September 1st.€  € It is ostensibly an “anti-trafficking” bill, but actually makes buying sex a felony. “We know the demand is the driving force behind human trafficking,”€ Texas state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D), the bill’s author, said. “If we can curb or stamp out the demand end of it [sic], then we can save the lives of numerous persons.”

        According to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, HB 1540 makes Texas the first state in the country to charge so-called “Johns” with a state felony. A second conviction under this law would enhance the charge to a third-degree felony.

      • Help Us Report on the Ultrawealthy and Taxes

        ProPublica reporters are dedicated to investigating government agencies and federal policy. Much of our reporting is fueled by the people who share their experiences, advice and inside knowledge with us.

        We are looking for both specific tips and broader expertise. If you’re a current or former government employee, please sign up to be a source for our reporters. We may contact you with questions related to your area of experience.

      • U.S. Billionaires are Now $2.1 Trillion Richer Than Before the Pandemic

        Not only did the wealth of U.S. billionaires grow, but so did their numbers: in March of last year, there were 614 Americans with 10-figure bank accounts. Today there are 745.

        The $5 trillion in wealth now held by 745 billionaires is two-thirds more than the $3 trillion in wealth held by the bottom 50 percent of U.S. households estimated by the Federal Reserve Board.

      • Our Future vs. Neoliberalism

        Progressive leaders in the U.S. Congress are refusing to back down on the Democrats’ promises to American voters to reduce poverty, expand rights to healthcare, education and clean energy, and repair a shredded social safety net. After decades of tax cuts for the rich, they are also committed to raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations to pay for this popular agenda.

        Germany has elected a ruling coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats that excludes the conservative Christian Democrats for the first time since 2000. The new government promises a $14 minimum wage, solar panels on all suitable roof space, 2% of land for wind farms and the closure of Germany’s last coal-fired power plants by 2030.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Top Dem Calls on Biden to Toss Legally 'Erroneous' Trump Memo and Ratify Equal Rights Amendment

        U.S. House Oversight Committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney on Thursday urged President Joe Biden to rescind the former Trump administration's "erroneous legal memorandum" blocking adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would enshrine "equal rights for people of all genders in the Constitution."

        "Such a legally flawed memo should not stand."

      • What’s “in the Damn Bill” for Families? Bernie Sanders Wants You to Know.
      • Could Vice President Harris Take a Page From Nixon and Challenge the Filibuster?
      • Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

        U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday endorsed Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton, who has faced a spate of attacks from fellow Democrats within and beyond New York since defeating incumbent Byron Brown in the party's primary earlier this year.

        "As Buffalo voters start to head to the polls this weekend, I urge them to cast their ballot for India Walton as the next mayor of Buffalo," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "India is an inspiring community leader, mother, nurse, and a lifelong Buffalonian with a clear progressive vision for her hometown."

      • AOC: GOP Opposes Build Back Better Because They Fear "A Changing Country"
      • AOC Warns That Corporate Lobbyists Would Love People to 'Give Up Before the Deal Is Done'

        Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warned Wednesday night that the corporate lobbyists who have been working tirelessly to weaken or destroy the Democratic Party's hopes for a sweeping Build Back Better agenda would love nothing more than the American people to stop fighting so that lawmakers like Sens. Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and other corporate members of the party can succeed in watering down the legislation to the barest minimum.

        During the online event dubbed "What's in the Damn Bill" hosted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and joined by other progressive lawmakers and outside organizers to bolster the fight against Big Pharma, the fossil fuel industry, Wall Street interests, and the powerful right-wing lobby groups like the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce, Ocasio-Cortez said people must remain vigilant, especially as the negotiations appear to being reaching a conclusion. The Build Back Better bill envisioned by nearly 98 percent of the Democratic caucus would make lasting investments in elder care, higher education, family leave, renewable energy, ending childhood poverty, and creating a system of universal pre-K and childcare.

      • 'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

        Already under fire from fellow Democrats and progressive activists for his ongoing efforts to weaken the Build Back Better Act, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin on Thursday faced fresh pressure from his constituents, who traveled from West Virginia to rally at his Washington, D.C. residence—a houseboat named "Almost Heaven."

        "We're tired of feeling like we're on a battlefield against our own representative."

      • 'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

        Underscoring the yawning chasm between progressives' demands for a $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package and right-wing Democrats' refusal to accept such spending, U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders wrangled over the bill's price tag behind closed Senate doors Wednesday, according to colleagues present during the fracas.

        According to Axios, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who witnessed the exchange, recounted that "Joe said, 'I'm comfortable with nothing,'" while "Bernie said, 'We need to do three-and-a-half [trillion dollars].'"

      • Manchin's Compromise Voting Rights Bill Gets Zero Support From GOP Senators
      • Sinema Shatters Democrats' Plan to Raise Corporate Tax Rate

        Thanks to the intransigence of right-wing Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—who has refused to support proposed tax hikes on corporations and wealthy individuals to pay for her party's social infrastructure and climate package, all while taking tens of thousands of dollars from Wall Street—President Joe Biden on Wednesday shelved his long-standing and popular tax reform plan and is reportedly considering potential alternatives.

        "Many Democrats would rather not dance around their goals by enacting more complicated proposals than those Sinema has rejected," Politico reported Wednesday. "But they may have no other choice: Democrats said she's the primary, and in some cases sole, impediment to raising the rates they've been campaigning against for years."

      • Omar: Manchin and Sinema Are Doing Big Pharma, Big Oil and Wall Street's Bidding
      • Ilhan Omar Blasts Manchin & Sinema for Siding with Big Pharma, Big Oil & Wall Street in Budget Talks

        For weeks, conservative Democrats in Congress have prevented the passage of the Build Back Better Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. Congressmember Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has been a vocal critic of Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who have stalled the bills and forced President Biden to radically scale back the price tag of his agenda. “All Democrats are essentially on board,” Omar says, “except for these two, who are essentially doing the bidding of Big Pharma, Big Oil and Wall Street.” The Build Back Better Act, which began at $3.5 trillion when Biden introduced the bill, has reportedly been lowered to half the original amount due to resistance in Congress. Progressive initiatives that are in danger of being dropped include free community college, extended paid family leave and lower prescription drug prices.

      • Sinema Is “Obstacle to Progress,” Say 5 Vets Who Quit Her Advisory Panel
      • Sinema and Manchin Go for the Throat of the Social Infrastructure Bill
      • 'Disgraceful': Just 9 Republicans Join With Dems to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

        The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to hold Steve Bannon, the former top political advisor to President Donald Trump, in criminal contempt over his refusal to submit to a subpoena issued by the congressional panel investigating the MAGA insurrection that took place on January 6, 2021.

        "It is disgraceful how few Republicans voted to enforce congressional subpoena power and hold Steve Bannon in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas about his role in, and knowledge of, the bloody attempt to topple our government."

      • Opinion | The Big Lie in Rahm Emanuel’s Senate Testimony

        At Rahm Emanuel’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as potential ambassador to Japan, Sen. Jeff Merkley€ (D-OR) deserves credit for questioning€ Emanuel about what he knew€ as Chicago’s mayor€ about€ the police murder of€ 17-year-old African American Laquan McDonald—and when he knew it. Yesterday’s€ senate€ hearing marked the 7th anniversary of the 2014 killing, to the day.

      • 'Hanging Your Constituents Out to Dry': 5 Sinema Advisers Quit in Protest

        As U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema continues to be a leading impediment to her own party's flagship Build Back Better package, five of the Arizona Democrat's advisers resigned in protest Thursday, accusing her of "hanging your constituents out to dry" while favoring the big money donors who pad her campaign coffers.

        "We shouldn't have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming."

      • John Keats’s Politics of Pain and Renewal

        Like a lot of people who get their understanding of the world from books, I fell in love twice when I was 20. I was introduced to Hart Crane’s poetry a few weeks after I met my wife, and I connected immediately with Crane’s depressive excess and with his precociousness—both tragic and goofy. He could be cruel, especially about those whose approval he craved, and he would inflate brief encounters into life-changing entanglements just to feel interesting. When an acquaintance was hit by a car, Crane turned to “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” John Keats’s meditation on beauty and mortality. But you can’t call Crane’s “Praise for an Urn” an ode—a commemoration in heightened diction, addressing an absent or even abstract figure—because it is, like most of Crane’s poems, really just about himself: His thoughts, delivered to me From the white coverlet and pillow, I see now, were inheritances— Delicate riders of the storm.

      • Trump Announces His Own Social Network, 'Truth Social,' Which Says It Can Kick Off Users For Any Reason (And Already Is)

        Last night, Donald Trump sent out a press release announcing (effectively) the launch of his new social network, "Truth Social." The press release shows that it's a bit more complicated than that. Trump is launching "Trump Media & Technology Group" which is entering into a reverse merger agreement to become listed as a public company in order to launch this new service. Apparently, Truth Social will let in "invited guests" next month, followed by a full launch in early 2022. The press release has the expected bombastically ridiculous quote from the former President.

      • Suing Social Media Sites Over Acts Of Terrorism Continues To Be A Losing Bet, As 11th Circuit Dumps Another Flawed Lawsuit

        People suing Twitter and Facebook for acts of violence committed by terrorists have yet to talk a court into agreeing with their arguments. Utilizing federal anti-terrorism laws as a way to circumvent discussion of First Amendment and Section 230 issues has worked to a certain extent. It may not have handed any wins to plaintiffs, but it has prevented precedent that would work against these clients (and their law firms -- both of them) when attempting to define "insanity" through repeated failure.

      • Facebook is so toxic it’s no wonder Zuckerberg wants to drag us into his ‘metaverse’

        The question society needs to ask itself is whether it really wants Facebook to help build the future. This is a company that, despite its benefits, is cavalier with user data, reluctant to moderate its content, designs algorithms to exacerbate discord and passively undermines democracy.

      • Trading in Trump-linked SPAC halted as shares soar on social media deal

        A beta launch of the site for “invited guests” is scheduled for November, and the full launch is expected in the first quarter of 2022.

        As part of the launch, the former president announced that Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) would enter a definitive merger agreement with DWAC that will allow TMTG to become a publicly listed company, subject to regulatory approval.

      • Shares of Trump-linked SPAC close up 350% following news of social media deal

        Trump has been banned by social media giants Twitter and Facebook since early this year after he was accused of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol [insurrection] by a mob of his supporters. The violence interrupted the confirmation of Trump's Electoral College loss to President Joe Biden.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Misinformation
      • Residents bring down drone believing it was spreading COVID-19

        It appears that the residents were moved to aggression by the belief that the drone was spreading COVID-19.

        In reality, the aircraft belonged to the state Public Security Ministry (SSP) and was brought in by the state search commission to look for hidden graves in Soledad Atzompa, a municipality in the mountainous central region of the state.

      • U.S. Army Failed to Warn Troops About COVID-19 Disinformatio

        Although veterans groups, disinformation experts, and service members have for years been warning about foreign adversaries’ efforts to target members of the military, the findings suggest the Army was slow to counter disinformation that worked to undermine government trust and stymie efforts to stop the virus’s threat.

        Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who served as commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe, said he was surprised that almost 90 percent of people surveyed had not received information from their units about disinformation related to the pandemic. “Even if you cut that number in half, 40-something percent, that’s still a lot in an organization that prides itself on pushing information through the chain of command,” Hodges said.

      • China-linked disinformation campaign blames Covid on Maine lobsters

        With some further digging, Schliebs uncovered a network of more than 550 Twitter accounts, which he shared with NBC News, spreading a nearly identical message, translated into multiple languages — including English, Spanish, French, Polish, Korean and even Latin — at similar times each day between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. China Standard Time.

        Some of the accounts were “unsophisticated sock puppets” with “very few or zero followers,” Schliebs said, while others appeared to be accounts that were once authentic but had been hijacked and repurposed to spread disinformation.

      • Bangladesh: Hindus targeted by violence demand better legal protection

        Last week, several Hindu temples were ransacked during violent protests across Bangladesh that were sparked by video of a Quran being placed at the feet of a Hindu statue during celebrations for the Hindu festival Durga Puja.

        The Quran video provoked outrage in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, and hundreds of Muslims protested violently in more than a dozen districts. Houses belonging to Hindus were also attacked, and six people were killed, including two Hindus.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Facebook AI Moderation Continues To Suck Because Moderation At Scale Is Impossible

        For several years now, we've been beating the idea that content moderation at scale is impossible to get right, otherwise known as Masnick's Impossibility Theorem. The idea there is not that platforms shouldn't do any form of moderation, or that they shouldn't continue to try to improve the method for moderation. Instead, this is all about expectations setting, partially for a public that simply wants better content to show up on their various devices, but even more so for political leaders that often see a problem happening on the internet and assume that the answer is simply "moar tech!".

      • EFF to Federal Court: Block Unconstitutional Texas Social Media Law

        A new Texas law, which Texas Governor Greg Abbott said would stop social media companies that “silence conservative viewpoints and ideas,” restricts large platforms from removing or moderating content based on the viewpoint of the user. The measure, HB 20, is unconstitutional and should not be enforced, we told a federal court in Texas in an amicus brief filed Oct. 15.€ 

        In NetChoice v. Paxton, two technology trade associations sued Texas to prevent the law from going into effect. Our brief, siding with the plaintiffs, explains that the law forces popular online platforms to publish speech they don’t agree with or don’t want to share with their users. Its broad restrictions would destroy many online communities that rely on moderation and curation. Platforms and users may not want to see certain kinds of content and speech that is legal but still offensive or irrelevant to them. They have the right under the First Amendment to curate, edit, and block everything from harassment to opposing political viewpoints.

        Contrary to HB 20’s focus, questionable content moderation decisions are in no way limited to conservative American speakers. In 2017, for example, Twitter disabled the verified account of Egyptian human rights activist Wael Abbas. That same year, users discovered that Twitter had marked tweets containing the word “queer” as offensive. Recent reporting has highlighted how Facebook failed to enforce its policies against hate speech and promotion of violence, or even publish those policies, in places like Ethiopia.

      • New Global Alliance Calls on European Parliament to Make the Digital Services Act a Model Set of Internet Regulations Protecting Human Rights and Freedom of Expression

        Balancing these principles is complex, but imperative. A step in the wrong direction could reverberate around the world, affecting fundamental rights beyond European Union borders. To this end, 12 civil society organizations from around the globe, standing for transparency, accountability, and human rights-centered lawmaking, have formed the Digital Services Act Human Rights Alliance to establish and promote a world standard for internet platform governance. The Alliance is comprised of digital and human rights advocacy organization representing diverse communities across the globe, including in the Arab world, Europe, United Nations member states, Mexico, Syria, and the U.S.

        In its first action towards this goal, the Alliance today is calling on the EP to embrace a human rights framework for the DSA and take steps to ensure that it protects access to information for everyone, especially marginalized communities, rejects inflexible and unrealistic take down mandates that lead to over-removals and impinge on free expression, and strengthen mandatory human rights impact assessments so issues like faulty algorithm decision-making is identified before people get hurt.

        This call to action follows a troubling round of amendments approved by an influential EP committee that crossed red lines protecting fundamental rights and freedom of expression. EFF and other civil society organizations told the EP prior to the amendments that the DSA offers an unparalleled opportunity to address some of the internet ecosystem’s most pressing challenges and help better protect fundamental rights online—if done right.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • [Old] The US diplomatic assurances are inherently unreliable. Julian Assange must be released

        The investigation on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks was opened by the Obama Administration, but it was Trump who charged him and we now have president Biden. Amnesty International is asking for the charges against Assange to be dropped. Do you believe it is likely that the Biden Administration will drop them?

      • Slovenian PM Rattled by Low Marks on Rights, Press Freedom

        While public institutions work well, the mission cited areas of concern including harassment and pressure on public broadcasters and critical journalists.

        It’s a concern shared by several journalists and media rights groups, including Jamie Wiseman, from the International Press Institute (IPI).

      • Taliban Strikes Journalists In Kabul As Women Protest For Their Rights

        Taliban militants have attacked several journalists covering a Kabul rally by a group of women demanding "work, bread, and education," spurring concerns about the deterioration of the rights situation under Afghanistan’s new rulers.

      • Taliban attacks journalists covering women's rights protest in Kabul

        The Taliban authorities allowed the women to walk freely for around an hour and a half, AFP journalists saw. However, one foreign journalist was struck with the butt of a rifle by one Taliban fighter, who swore and kicked the photographer in the back as another punched him.

        At least two more journalists were hit as they scattered, pursued by Taliban fighters swinging fists and launching kicks. Zahra Mohammadi, one of the protest organisers, told AFP the women were marching despite the risks they face.

      • Taliban strike journalists at Kabul women's rights protest

        High school girls have been blocked from returning to classes for more than a month, while many women have been banned from returning to work since the Taliban seized power in mid-August.

        "My message to all girls and women is this: 'Don't be afraid of the Taliban, even if your family doesn't allow you to leave your home. Don't be afraid. Go out, make sacrifices, fight for your rights'," Mohammadi said.

        "We have to make this sacrifice so that the next generation will be in peace."

      • Poll: Voters trust ABC, CNN most, Fox News least among mainstream news outlets

        Voters say they generally trust ABC news, and CNN the most and distrust Fox News Channel the most among mainstream news outlets, according to a new Hill-HarrisX poll.

        Forty-five percent of registered voters in the Oct. 18-19 survey said they generally trust ABC News while 44 percent said they trust CNN.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • 'Historic Victory': US Judge Rules Guantánamo Detainee's Imprisonment Illegal

        Two weeks after a review board cleared Guantánamo Bay prisoner Asadullah Haroon Gul for release, a federal judge ruled this week that the Afghan's imprisonment by the U.S. military in Cuba for over 14 years without charge or trial is illegal.

        "This is such happy, sweet news for our family. We now pray that Asadullah is sent back home quickly—where he belongs."

      • Opinion | Investing in Home Care Workers Like Me Is the Solution We Need

        My adopted sister, Leia, depends on me for everything. Leia has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and it’s my job as a home care worker to make sure her needs are met. Over the course of any given day, I move Leia from her bed to her wheelchair, fold her laundry, prepare her lunch, wash her dishes, brush her teeth, and teach her a few new words. Leia and I are incredibly close, and I’m proud to be able to earn my living by providing the care she needs and deserves.€ 

      • Crowd-Sourced Suspicion Apps Are Out of Control

        These apps come in a wide spectrum—some let users connect with those around them by posting pictures, items for sale, or local tips. Others, however, focus exclusively on things and people that users see as “suspicious” or potentially hazardous. These alerts run the gamut from active crimes, or the aftermath of crimes, to generally anything a person interprets as helping to keep their community safe and informed about the dangers around them.

        "Users of apps like Citizen, Nextdoor, and Neighbors should be vigilant about unverified claims"

        These apps are often designed with a goal of crowd-sourced surveillance, like a digital neighborhood watch. A way of turning the aggregate eyes (and phones) of the neighborhood into an early warning system. But instead, they often exacerbate the same dangers, biases, and problems that exist within policing. After all, the likely outcome to posting a suspicious sight to the app isn’t just to warn your neighbors—it’s to summon authorities to address the issue.

      • Police Can’t Demand You Reveal Your Phone Passcode and Then Tell a Jury You Refused

        In Valdez, the defendant was charged with kidnapping his ex-girlfriend after arranging a meeting under false pretenses. During his arrest, police found a cell phone in Valdez’s pocket that they wanted to search for evidence that he set up the meeting, but Valdez refused to tell them the passcode. Unlike many other cases raising these issues, however, the police didn’t bother seeking a court order to compel Valdez to reveal his passcode. Instead, during trial, the prosecution offered testimony and argument about his refusal. The defense argued that this violated the defendant’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, which also prevents the state from commenting on his silence. The court of appeals agreed, and now the state has appealed to the Utah Supreme Court.

        As we write in the brief:€ 

        Protecting these fundamental rights is only more important as we also fight to keep automated surveillance that would compromise our security and privacy off our devices. We’ll await a decision on this important issue from the Utah Supreme Court.

      • Jailed Egyptian Activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah Publishes Prison Writings as Sisi Cracks Down on Dissent

        The Biden administration says it is withholding about 10% of its annual military aid to Egypt because of concerns over human rights abuses by the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Egypt will still get nearly $1.2 billion in military assistance, even as a new report by Human Rights Watch finds Egyptian authorities have killed perhaps hundreds of secretly held dissidents in extrajudicial executions in recent years. Egypt holds an estimated 60,000 political prisoners, including the prominent activist and blogger Alaa Abd El-Fattah, who appeared in court this week to face charges of spreading “false news” on social media. He has been imprisoned since his arrest in September 2019, just six months after he was released following a five-year prison term for his role in the peaceful demonstrations of 2011. El-Fattah’s mother Laila Soueif, a mathematics professor at Cairo University, says he is under severe restrictions, with no exercise time or even reading materials permitted in jail. “He’s been in jail on pretrial remand for more than two years, which is completely illegal,” says Soueif. The case against the activist is part of a wider crackdown on civil society, says Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, a reporter for the independent Egyptian news outlet Mada Masr. “The vast majority of political prisoners in Egypt have not been convicted of a crime,” he says.

      • Report Details 'Jaw-Dropping' Abuse of Asylum Seekers by US Border Agents

        "These internal government documents make clear that reports of grievous abuses—assaults, sexual abuse, and discriminatory treatment by US agents—are an open secret within DHS."

      • Rikers Island and the Shapeshifting Monster of Reform
      • Not Allowed to Be a Kid

        My first frightening interaction with cops happened when I was only 6 years old. I was heading to the park with my cousin to play basketball, but as soon as we started walking, two cops began slowly following us in their car. By this time, I had already been taught to act a certain way around the police. My father told me never to make any sudden movements, not to look them in the eye, and to speak clearly and respectfully. I was just a kid and I didn’t remember this. I waved at them, but they did not wave back.

      • Court Says City Of Baltimore's 'Heckler's Veto' Of An Anti-Catholic Rally Violates The First Amendment

        One of the more common violations of the First Amendment is viewpoint discrimination. When entities run into speech they don't like, they often steamroll Constitutional rights in their hurry to shut this speech down.

      • In Our Orbit: Dave Zirin’s The Kaepernick Effect

        When Nation publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel invited Dave Zirin in 2006 to become the magazine’s first sports editor in the publication’s then-141-year history, many readers scoffed. What a waste of valuable space! Sports were a diversion, people argued, banal escapism, not worth the time of a serious magazine. One reader denounced pro sports as the modern-day opiate of the masses.

      • Louisiana Deputy Who Slammed a Black Woman on the Pavement Was Named in Multiple Suits, Records Show

        A Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputy with a long history of excessive-force complaints is the officer seen in a viral video on Sept. 20 slamming 34-year-old Shantel Arnold’s head repeatedly into the pavement with such force it ripped several braids from her scalp.

        Multiple sources who have reviewed the video’s contents confirmed that the deputy was Julio Alvarado, a 16-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office. Alvarado has been named in nine federal civil rights lawsuits, all involving the use of excessive force, the most of any deputy currently employed by the Sheriff’s Office. Two suits were settled, one of them involving the beating of a 14-year-old boy, and two are pending, with the remaining dismissed.

      • Chicago Court Gets Its Prior Restraint On, Tells Police Union Head To STFU About City's Vaccine Mandate

        The Chicago PD -- fronted by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) [itself fronted by John Catanzara, "one of the most frequently-disciplined officers in the history of the Chicago PD"] -- is fighting the city of Chicago's vaccine mandate.

      • Mohamed Noor, ex-Minneapolis police officer, resentenced to 57 months for killing 911 caller

        “You did shoot across the nose of your partner. You did endanger a bicyclist and residents of a community of surrounding houses on a summer Saturday evening. One household was entertaining guests on a porch adjacent to the gunfire,” she said.

        “These factors of endangering the public make your crime of manslaughter appropriate for high end of the guidelines.”

      • Taliban beheaded female volleyball player, posted photos online, coach says

        Mahjabin Hakimi, one of the best players in the Kabul Municipality Volleyball Club, was slaughtered in the capital city of Kabul as troops searched for female sports players, her coach told the Persian Independent.

        She was killed earlier this month, but her death remained mostly hidden because her family had been threatened not to talk, claimed the coach, using a pseudonym, Suraya Afzali, due to safety fears.

      • Afghanistan: Taliban beheads female volleyball player, threatens family

        Mehjabeen Hakimi belonged to the Hazara ethnic group. The Hazaras are a minority in Afghanistan, hated and persecuted by the Taliban. The Hazaras are the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and a religious minority. About 10 per cent of Muslims in Sunni-majority Afghanistan are Shia and almost all of them are Hazaras. The Taliban and Islamic State are Sunni. The Hazaras are said to be of Mongolian and Central Asian descent and descended from Mongolian leader Genghis Khan. He invaded Afghanistan in the 13th century. They mostly live in the mountainous region of central Afghanistan, which is known as 'Hazaristan' or the land of the Hazaras.

      • Taliban behead junior volleyball player who was part of Afghan women’s national team: Report

        The coach of the Afghan women's national volleyball team said that only two of the team's players was able to escape from the country before the Taliban wrested complete control in August. Mahjabin Hakimi was among the many other unfortunate women sportspersons who were left behind.

      • Taliban Abducted, Decapitated Member Of Afghan Women's Volleyball Team: Report

        The Taliban has targeted female athletes as they continue to search for the women who competed in competitions domestically and abroad. Only two members of Afghanistan’s national volleyball team were able to leave the country during the August evacuations, the India Times reported.

        Despite a promise to uphold the rights of women in the country, the Taliban continues to partake in policies that are repressive to women, including one that keeps women from returning to secondary school. Many women fear that this is only the beginning, al-Jazeera reported.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Victory! Oakland’s City Council Unanimously Approves Communications Choice Ordinance

        Across the country—through elaborate kickback schemes—large, corporate ISPs looking to lock out competition have manipulated landlords into denying their tenants the right to choose the internet provider that best meets their family’s needs and values. In August of 2018, an Oakland-based EFF supporter emailed us asking what would need to be done to empower residents with the choice they were being denied. Finally, after three years of community engagement and coalition building, that question has been answered.€ € 

        Modeled on a San Francisco law adopted in 2016, Oakland’s new Communications Choice ordinance requires property owners of multiple occupancy buildings to provide reasonable access to any qualified communication provider that has received a service request from a building occupant. San Francisco’s law has already proven effective. There, one competitive local ISP, which had previously been locked out of properties of forty or more units with active revenue sharing agreements, gained access to more than 1800 new units by 2020. Even for those who choose to stay with their existing provider, a competitive communications market benefits all residents by incentivizing providers to offer the best services at the lowest prices. As Tracy Rosenberg, the Executive Director of coalition member Media Alliance—and a leader in the advocacy effort—notes, "residents can use the most affordable and reliable services available, alternative ISP's can get footholds in new areas and maximize competitive benefits, and consumers can vote with their pockets for platform neutrality, privacy protections, and political contributions that align with their values.”

        Unfortunately, not every city is as prepared to take advantage of such measures as San Francisco and Oakland. The Bay Area has one of the most competitive ISP markets in the United States, including smaller ISPs committed to defending net neutrality and their users’ privacy. In many U.S. cities, that’s not the case.

    • Monopolies

      • After Months of Organizing, Amazon Workers Ready Union Drive at Staten Island Warehouse

        Amid the U.S. labor movement's recent surge in strikes, Amazon workers at a warehouse on Staten Island are planning to file for a union vote with the National Labor Relations Board next week.

        After collecting nearly 2,000 union authorization cards from employees at the only Amazon fulfillment center in New York City—a monthslong effort that has faced stiff opposition from one of the world's most powerful corporations, which has managed to suppress previous unionization efforts—organizers with the Amazon Labor Union say they will have enough signatures by Monday to file for an election with the NLRB.

      • Why Is It So Hard to Figure Out What to Do When You Lose Your Account?

        People lose a lot when they lose their account. For example, being kicked off Amazon could mean losing access to your books, music, pictures, or anything else you have only licensed, not bought, from that company. But the loss can have serious financial consequences for people who rely on the major social media platforms for their livelihoods, the way video makers rely on YouTube or many artists rely on Facebook or Twitter for promotion.

        And it’s even worse when you can’t figure out why your account was closed, much less how to get it restored.€  The deep flaws in the DMCA takedown process are well-documented, but at least the rules of a DMCA takedown are established and laid out in the law. Takedowns based on ill-defined company policies, not so much.

        Over the summer, writer and meme king Chuck Tingle found his Twitter account suspended due to running afoul of Twitter’s ill-defined repeat infringer policy. That they have such a policy is not a problem in and of itself: to take advantage of the DMCA safe harbor, Twitter is required to have one. It’s not even a problem that the law doesn’t specify what the policy needs to look like—flexibility is vital for different services to do what makes the most sense for them. However, a company has to make a policy with an actual, tangible set of rules if they expect people to be able to follow it.

      • Patents

      • Copyrights

        • RIAA Criticizes ICANN for 'Hindering' Its Anti-Piracy Efforts

          The RIAA is helping U.S. music companies to fight piracy, which isn't always an easy task. One of the major frustrations is that, due to hidden or shielded Whois information, it's often hard to identify the people who run sites and services. According to the RIAA, the governing domain name body ICANN needs to step up its game. Perhaps the EU can help as well?

        • Mega: 144,000+ Users Have Been Terminated For Repeat Copyright Infringement

          Boasting more than 230 million users storing 107 billion files, Mega is one of the world's most popular cloud storage services. Generous storage options mean that some users utilize the site to distribute copyright-infringing content but according to Mega, that's not without consequence. The service has now suspended the accounts of more than 144,000 users for repeat infringement.

        • Le Tigre Sues Barry Mann To Stop Copyright Threats Over Song, Lights Barry Mann On Fire As Well

          It takes a special kind of hubris to appropriate music and lyrics not just from another artist, but another cultural genre of artists, and then threaten someone else for "stealing" what you've "stolen". Meet Barry Mann. If that name doesn't sound terribly familiar to you, fear not, as he is known for the 1961 hit song Who Put The Bomp? and other songs from decades ago. And if that song title doesn't sound familiar, you've almost certainly heard the song. To jog your memory, it includes such made up words as "ramalama ding dong". See, those are called vocables: made up syllables used to effectuate rhythmic form rather than meaning. You can listen to the song below to get an idea of what I'm talking about.

        • Two Years Later, Judge Finally Realizes That A CDN Provider Is Not Liable For Copyright Infringement On Websites

          More than two years ago we wrote about a truly bizarre ruling in a truly bizarre copyright lawsuit against Cloudflare. As you (perhaps?) know, Cloudflare is a popular CDN provider, helping websites (including Techdirt) provide better access to users while helping to mitigate things like denial of service attacks. In this case, the plaintiffs, Mon Cheri Bridals -- a maker of bridal dresses -- sued Cloudflare because websites out there were selling counterfeit dresses. If you know anything about copyright (and counterfeiting) law, you should be scratching your head. Counterfeiting is not about copyright. It's about trademark. But the dress company (for reasons I still don't understand), made the stretchiest of stretchy arguments to say that (1) the counterfeit sellers were posting images of the dresses, and (2) those images were protected by a copyright held by the dress maker, and (3) because the counterfeiting sites posting the allegedly copyright infringing photos used Cloudflare for CDN (not hosting) services, that somehow makes them contributory liable for the copyright infringement.

Recent Techrights' Posts Still At It! 98% Probability Chatbot Generated, According to GPTZero!
"The Internet is mostly made by AI... but that's ok, it's all being deleted anyway."
Links 23/05/2024: SeekOut Collapsing and Why Microsoft Probably Isn’t Going to Buy Valve
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/05/2024: The Allure of Vinyl
Links for the day
Links 23/05/2024: Apple Responds to Streaming Music Fine, DOJ to Sue Live Nation
Links for the day
Links 23/05/2024: UK General Election and Archival
Links for the day
[Video] 3 Major Issues in Nationwide, Including (Potentially) a Major Data Breach
'electronic-bank' security has become the joke of the town
[Meme] Pointing Out Corruption Isn't a "Hate Crime"
The European Commission's reflexive (re)action to any sort of doubt or criticism
More Evidence in "iLearn AI Day" (a Buzzwords Festival) That EPO Intends to Eliminate Staff and Deviate Further Away from Fairness, Law, and Constitutions (Including Its Own!)
The EPO is a very potent danger to Europe's unity and the very concept of lawfulness. It exists to serve international monopolists and patent lawyers.
Microsoft's Windows Has Fallen Below 3% in Democratic Republic of the Congo (100+ Million Citizens)
Microsoft's sharp fall in Congo
The Real Reason Censorship is Attempted Against Us (and Against Others Too)
Microsoft's Windows market monopoly was in trouble
You Are Not The Only One
Reprinted with permission from Cyber Show (C|S)
GNU/Linux in Monaco: From 0.3% to Almost 6%
Monaco is a small country
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 22, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Microsoft Has Lost Cote D'ivoire (Ivory Coast), Where Android Now Exceeds 60% of the Operating Systems' 'Market Share'
According to statCounter anyway
The Rumour Said Later Today Red Hat (IBM) Might Announce Layoffs
Let's see what happens later today (or next week)
Governments That Fail Journalism
Australia is known for giving us pure garbage like Rupert Murdoch
Windows Has Fallen From 'Grace'
When you tell people that Microsoft watches their every move in Windows many of them will freak out and ask for alternatives
Serbia: GNU/Linux at Almost 4% (or Beyond if ChromeOS is Counted)
considerable growth for GNU/Linux
Links 22/05/2024: China in Other Countries' Islands, Growing Threat of Piracy
Links for the day
Gemini Links 22/05/2024: Freedom Through Limitation, Cloud Photos
Links for the day
Canonical Supports Monopoly
more of the same
A farewell to Finland, an occupied territory
Finland, Finland, Finland
Links 22/05/2024: "Copilot+" as Mass Surveillance and Microsoft Defying Consent in Scarlett Johansson's Case
Links for the day
[Meme] Escalating After Failures
4 stages of cancel culture
Red Hat Had 2+ Days to Deny Reports of Impending Layoffs. But Red Hat Chose to Keep Silent.
Red Hat DOES NOT deny layoffs on the way
Microsoft-Connected Person Was Threatening to Sue Me and to Sue My Wife (Because His Feelings Were Hurt After Had He Spent More Than a Decade Defaming Me and Violating My Family's Dignity, Privacy)
litigation was chosen and we shall defend everything we wrote
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 21, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Attempts to Sink the Free Software Movement (Under the Guise of Saving It)
We can see who's being drowned
Czech Republic: Windows Down From 98% to 43%, GNU/Linux Rises to Over 3%
modest gains for GNU/Linux
Links 22/05/2024: Pixar Layoffs and More Speculation About Microsoft Shutdowns/Layoffs (Ninja Theory)
Links for the day
Microsoft-Connected Sites Trying to Shift Attention Away From Microsoft's Megabreach Only Days Before Important If Not Unprecedented Grilling by the US Government?
Why does the mainstream media not entertain the possibility a lot of these talking points are directed out of Redmond?
Gemini Links 21/05/2024: Caesar II for MS-DOS and Reinventing the Assertion Wheel
Links for the day
Internal Memos/Communications Hinting at "a New, But Masked, Round of Layoffs" at Red Hat
A negative outlook heads of a long weekend
Nigeria: Windows Down to 6%, Android at All-Time High of 77%
Google is becoming the "new monopoly" in some places
[Video] Microsoft's Attack on Education
Microsoft's cult-like activities and overt entryism
[Meme] Money In, No Money Out (Granting Loads of Invalid European Patents)
EPO production?
Staff Representation at the EPO Has Just Explained to Heads of Delegations (National Delegates) Why the EPO's Financial Study is Another Hoax
Here we are again 5 years later
Canonical and Red Hat Are Not Competing With Microsoft Anymore
What a shame they hired so many people from Microsoft...
Links 21/05/2024: "Hating Apple Goes Mainstream", Lots of Coverage About Julian Assange Ruling
Links for the day
Gemini Links 21/05/2024: Losing Fats and Modern XMPP
Links for the day
Microsoft Windows Used to Have Nearly 100% in China and Now Google Has 50% (With Android)
Will China bring about a faster "fall" for Microsoft?
Pursuing a Case With No Prospects (Because It's "Funny")
the perpetrators are taking a firm that's considered notorious
GNU/Linux Growing Worldwide (the Story So Far!)
Microsoft is unable to stop GNU/Linux
GNU/Linux in Honduras: From 0.28% to 6%
Honduras remains somewhat of a hotspot
Good News From Manchester and London, Plus High Productivity in Techrights
what has happened and what's coming
[Video] The 'Linux' Foundation Cannot be Repaired Anymore (It Sold Out)
We might need to accept that the Linux Foundation lost its way
Links 21/05/2024: Tesla Layoffs and Further Free Speech Perils Online
Links for the day
Gemini Links 21/05/2024: New Gemini Reader and Gemini Games
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 20, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, May 20, 2024