Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 19/2/2022: Alternatives to Adobe InCopy and Alternatives to Firefox

  • GNU/Linux

    • Applications

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Adobe InCopy

        Adobe is a large multinational computer software company with over 22,000 employees. Its flagship products include Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, XD, Acrobat DC, and the Portable Document Format (PDF). The products are wrapped up and marketed as the Creative Cloud, a subscription-only way of accessing more than 20 desktop and mobile apps and services for photography, design, video, web, UX, and more.

        We are long-standing admirers of Adobe’s products. They develop many high quality proprietary programs. It’s true there are security and privacy concerns in relation to some of their products. And there’s considerable criticism attached to their pricing practices. But the real issue is Adobe Creative Cloud does not support Linux. And there’s no prospect of support forthcoming.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Gaming at 1080p and 120 Hz on a Raspberry Pi 4

        For an upcoming project, I was able to acquire an MSI Optix G241 'Esports gaming monitor' that can run up to 144 Hz. Since the monitor runs at 120 Hz too, I decided to see how it worked with the Pi.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: Oh so many things

          While we work on Plasma 5.24 bugs (and you can see many of them fixed below), we’ve also started to work on many improvements for Plasma 5.25 and KDE apps! Check it out...

          You can once again launch apps from the Application Launcher’s “History” and “Frequently Used” pages (Oleg Solovyov, Plasma 5.24.1)

          In the Plasma Wayland session, moving a window to another virtual desktop or activity using a keyboard shortcut or the relevant Pager applet no longer leaves a semi-transparent non-interactive ghost version of it visible in its former location (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.24.1)

    • Distributions

      • SerenityOS: Building an Operating System from Scratch – The New Stack

        In early February the programming podcast “CoRecursive” explored a unique project to build an operating system entirely from scratch — and how that project grew out of a very personal journey.

        The podcast’s host, developer Adam Gordon Bell, began by sharing estimates that building Windows XP took more than 2,000 developers. And yet, Swedish developer Andreas Kling launched a project to build one on his own, coding what Bell describes as resembling an “alternate-world version of the Windows 95 that I grew up using.”

        The operating system’s official website even describes SerenityOS as “a love letter to ’90s user interfaces,” but “with a custom Unix-like core.”

      • BSD

        • The FreeBSD Boot Process

          Throughout this article we will study the FreeBSD boot process. FreeBSD’s boot process is very robust and well thought out, but it differs slightly depending on your system architecture, filesystem (UFS2 or ZFS), partitioning scheme (GPT or MBR), and whether the system boots under UEFI or legacy BIOS (also known as CSM).

      • Slackware Family

        • My "daily drivers", and what happened to Slackware here

          In yesterday's post, I mentioned taking my old Mac Mini out of the OS X/macos ecosystem and bringing it into Debian, and then what kind of hilarity followed when I attempted to install a Javascript linter (and it tried to drag in 180+ node-related packages).

          This and some other mentions have prompted some questions, mostly along the lines of "Debian? What happened to Slackware and green-on-black?"... and I guess I can answer some of those.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Detects Heat Anomalies with Machine Learning

          In a nutshell, the Pi monitors a boiler in Lauer's basement using a thermal camera module. A custom machine learning model was created by Lauer to train the Pi to recognize familiar/safe thermal readouts from the system. The data acquired by the Pi is transmitted to a cloud service using a wireless cellular module for the Pi.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • What’s the Alternative to Firefox?

            Urgh, Mozilla. What are you doing to me? You, me and Firefox have been good pals since 2005 – not long after your 1.0 release. That’s 17 years…probably older than some of the people reading this post!

            During that time you have become my bastion for the web. As smartphones entered the market, I was quick to install you on there too. But you’re ruining it. Please stop.

      • Programming/Development

        • [Old] What Is The 2038 Problem?

          The 2038 problem refers to the time encoding error that will occur in the year 2038 in 32-bit systems. This may cause havoc in machines and services that use time to encode instructions and licenses. The effects will primarily be seen in devices that are not connected to the [Internet].

        • What is Dog Fooding, Fish Fooding a Product?

          Of course, there's some things to watch out for when dogfooding. You might get used to workarounds or have a different installation or upgrade path than end users. As a developer, you might have a faster computer or be more technically saavy than your end user.

        • Humble Chronicles: Decomposition

          Now feels like a good time to make this blog an actual log, documenting my findings as I develop Clojure UI library, Humble UI.

          This is an introductory post, describing the overall shape of the project.

          None of the decisions are final and might change at any time. In fact, my expectation is that talking about them in public might help either solidify or replace them, rubber duck-style.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppSimdJson 0.1.7 on CRAN: Maintenance

          The RcppSimdJson package was updated to release 0.1.7 today. CRAN had sent a note overnight that it triggered ‘LENGTH_1’ error (where boolean comparisons happen with longer vectors). That may be debatable in the two cases flagged if one looks at the commit but life being too short to debate this so we just fixed it. The email came in at 04:50h-ish when I was sound asleep, but four hours later the fixed version was on CRAN thanks to the automated processing:

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Classic Chat: Preserving Computer History | Hackaday

        To answer that most pressing question, what’s worth saving from the landfill, Dag says the CHM often follows what they call the “Ten Year Rule” before making a decision. That is to say, at least a decade should have gone by before a decision can be made about a particular artifact. They reason that’s long enough for hindsight to determine if the piece in question made a lasting impression on the computing world or not. Note that such impression doesn’t always have to be positive; pieces that the CHM deem “Interesting Failures” also find their way into the collection, as well as hardware which became important due to patent litigation.

        Of course, there are times when this rule is sidestepped. Dag points to the release of the iPod and iPhone as a prime example. It was clear that one way or another Apple’s bold gambit was going to get recorded in the annals of computing history, so these gadgets were fast-tracked into the collection. Looking back on this decision in 2022, it’s clear they made the right call. When asked in the Chat if Dag had any thoughts on contemporary hardware that could have similar impact on the computing world, he pointed to Artificial Intelligence accelerators like Google’s Tensor Processing Unit.

        In addition to the hardware itself, the CHM also maintains a collection of ephemera that serves to capture some of the institutional memory of the era. Notebooks from the R&D labs of Fairchild Semiconductor, or handwritten documents from Intel luminary Andrew Grove bring a human touch to a collection of big iron and beige boxes. These primary sources are especially valuable for those looking to research early semiconductor or computer development, a task that several in the Chat said staff from the Computer History Museum had personally assisted them with.

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • Apple-1 Mystery Is Finally Solved 45 Years Later

        You can read the full story over at the Apple-1 Registry, where you’ll find letters of authentication documents signed by PSA. Here is a link to one of the certified boards, which notes: “Steve Jobs did not sign the circuit board, however, all writing was written in his hand.”

      • Buying a new graphics card

        I’ve been looking to buy a new graphics card for the last year or so. Already you can probably tell where this is going.

        My Asus GTX 970 OC edition has served me well over the years playing Minecraft with shaders, and games like X-Plane and Train Simulator. The Nvidia binary blob drivers work great on FreeBSD, and Debian for Steam games. Alas, it doesn’t fit in my smaller sleeper PC case rebuild, so I’ve sold it and am using the integrated Intel silicon while I decide what to do.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Dangerously Awash in Chemicals

        “We have overwhelming evidence of negative impacts on Earth systems, including biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles,” according to Bethanie Carney Almroth, University of Gothenburg. (Source: Marc Préel, Plastic, Chemical Pollution beyond Planet’s Safe Limit: Study,, February 15, 2022, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University)

        According to Bethanie Carney Almroth: “The impacts that we’re starting to see today are large enough to be impacting crucial functions of planet Earth and its systems,” Ibid.

      • Religion, magic, and slavery: Rhetoric about masks and vaccines

        Since the pandemic hit two years ago, I’ve been documenting increasing commonalities between antivaxxers of your (i.e., before and during the pandemic) and antimaskers, admittedly, a catch-all term that describes those opposed to masks and mask mandates, as well as pretty much every other nonpharmacological intervention (NPI) to slow the spread of COVID-19, particularly in terms of rhetoric. A while back, I was perusing the website of the Brownstone Institute, the right wing libertarian “free market” institute that its founder Jeffery Tucker described as the “spiritual child of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), that famous document from fall 2020 that, in essence, advocated a “let ‘er rip” strategy for COVID-19 among “low risk” young and healthy people, all in order to achieve what it viewed as the “inevitable”—”natural herd immunity”—more rapidly, while advocating a vaguely defined “focused protection” to prevent mass death among the elderly and those vulnerable to severe disease and death. Given that the GBD was published before there were safe and effective vaccines available and that as a practical matter it’s impossible to protect such a large portion of the population from a respiratory virus that’s spreading unchecked through the rest of the population, it was a dangerous proposition.

      • Official New Covid Policy: Pretend It Isn’t Happening

        The geniuses calling for us to get back to normal never mention that this virus can make you ill for a long time, namely years. Or that it can easily kill anyone in the majority of Americans with co-morbidities, from obesity and diabetes to old age. Or that once you get covid, you can get it again and again and again. There appears to be no such thing as acquired, natural immunity. How are you supposed to live normally with that? Something’s gotta give, and from my perch in the peanut gallery, that something is the whole concept of normal.

        If the choice is wearing an N95 mask in public or almost certainly risking death or disability, any sane person wears the mask. If someone’s so fanatical about their “freedom” to get sick, die and kill other people, well sorry, those beliefs make that person an imbecile. For the rest of us, wearing the mask is the new normal. It doesn’t go away till covid does. Not when it subsides between peaks, not when it becomes endemic. When it’s gone. Then we take off our masks.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Why Coinbase admitted Apple calls the shots

          One of Web3’s benefits, according to boosters such as Jack Dorsey, is that it’s censorship-resistant. Because it is decentralized, this argument goes, it is impossible to censor anyone. But it isn’t true that cryptocurrency is decentralized. Right now, Web3 has a choke point: Big Tech.

          Cryptocurrency has relied on points of centralization since the days of Mt. Gox. (That hack wouldn’t have mattered nearly as much if Mt. Gox hadn’t been processing 80 percent of all transaction volume in Bitcoin at times). As the ecosystem has expanded, so have the points of centralization, such as AWS and Google Cloud.

        • Microsoft Teams Targeted With Takeover Trojans

          Threat actors are targeting Microsoft Teams users by planting malicious documents in chat threads that execute Trojans that ultimately can take over end-user machines, researchers have found.

          In January, researchers at Avanan, a Check Point Company, began tracking the campaign, which drops malicious executable files in Teams conversations that, when clicked on, eventually take over the user’s computer, according to a report published Thursday.

        • Are You Prepared for 2022's More Destructive Ransomware? [iophk: Windows TCO]

          We’re barely into 2022, and already we’re seeing ransomware proliferate. What we saw last year is that while most attacks continue to exploit known vulnerabilities, cybercriminals have also redoubled efforts to target new ones – such as what we saw with Hafnium and new Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities.

          We expect that this year, as a result of the high-profile attacks of 2021, many organizations are finally dedicating time to basic cyber hygiene. And as they continue efforts to patch the one- to three-year-old Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) that most cybercriminals seek to exploit, 2022 will most likely be a record year for the number of CVEs reported – in excess of 22,000, we expect. This will likely raise the high-water mark even further as the attack surface continues to expand. And attackers will start to use those fresh or zero-day vulnerabilities to target unprepared organizations with speed.

        • Their Bionic Eyes Are Now Obsolete and Unsupported

          Ross Doerr, another Second Sight patient, doesn’t mince words: “It is fantastic technology and a lousy company,” he says. He received an implant in one eye in 2019 and remembers seeing the shining lights of Christmas trees that holiday season. He was thrilled to learn in early 2020 that he was eligible for software upgrades that could further improve his vision. Yet in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, he heard troubling rumors about the company and called his Second Sight vision-rehab therapist. “She said, ‘Well, funny you should call. We all just got laid off,’ ” he remembers. “She said, ‘By the way, you’re not getting your upgrades.’ ”

        • Bionic eye recipients left in the dark with obsolete tech

          Why it matters: Entrepreneurs are rushing to cash in on recent advances in brain technology with such hopes as reversing depression, treating Alzheimer's disease or restoring mobility.

          But not all companies will succeed and the risk for early adopters is that their high-tech implants turn into just another obsolete gadget.

          The fallout of Second Sight's saga is a reminder of the perils of relying on private companies for essential health devices.

        • SquirrelWaffle Adds a Twist of Fraud to Exchange Server Malspamming [iophk: Windows TCO]

          SquirrelWaffle – the newish malware loader that first showed up in September – once again got its scrabbly little claws into an unpatched Microsoft Exchange server to spread malspam with its tried-and-true trick of hijacking email threads.

          That’s the same-old, same-old, as in, a SquirrelWaffle campaign will hijack an email thread to increase the chances that a victim will click on malicious links. Those rigged links are tucked into an email reply, similar to how the virulent Emotet malware – typically spread via malicious emails or text messages – has operated.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Mainstream Brain-Computer Interfaces Are Coming — Just Ask Synchron, Neuralink, Paradromics, and HackerBCI

              Last November, a small company called Synchron was granted regulatory approval by the FDA to conduct tests on human volunteers using its brain implant, Stentrode. It’s a neural implant that is inserted via the jugular vein into the blood vessels that sit on top of the brain. Once in position, small electrodes are deployed inside the vessel, close to the brain’s surface, that are able to send signals via an infrared transmitter surgically inserted into the chest. Machine-learning algorithms can be used to parse those signals, allowing paralyzed subjects to carry out simple tasks like moving a cursor on-screen.

            • Digital cash: EU Parliament attacks anonymous payments in cryptocurrencies

              A draft EU Parliament report published today would ban anonymous payments and donations in cryptocurrencies. The €1000 limit for anonymous transactions proposed by the EU Commission would be abolished. Only peer-to-peer payments between local wallets without the involvement of service providers would remain possible without identification.

              For the Pirates in the EU Parliament, the stated aim to tackle money laundering and terrorism is only a pretext to gain more control over personal data of EU citizens.

            • Social Media Giants Face Uncertain Future

              Macroeconomic factors usually impact major social media companies in similar ways. But in Q4, the three social giants — Meta, Snap and Twitter — all outlined different narratives and mixed messaging for the future of their businesses.

              Meta kicked things off Feb. 2, and it was dismal to say the least. The stock hemorrhaged 26% in the following trading session after reporting disappointing user growth, earnings and weak revenue guidance for Q1. That decline in Meta stock erased $230 billion in market value from the broader market and was the single largest drop ever by a U.S. company.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Opinion | Could Western Media Hysteria Lead to War With Russia?

        Thursday was roiling with headlines—thanks to remarks from U.S. government officials, including President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Ambassador to the UN Linda Greenfield—that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was "imminent." As a result, social media was crackling with the speculation that war might break out any moment.€ 

      • California Bill Would Allow Citizens to Enforce Assault Weapon Ban

        California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday endorsed legislation that would allow private citizens to enforce the state's ban on assault weapons.

        California's new bill mimics a Texas law empowering private citizens to enforce the state's draconian abortion ban by suing anyone who "aids or abets" an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

      • The Western Allied Nations Bully the€ World While Warning of Threats From€ China and Russia

        The next day, on January 22, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba€ summoned€ Germany’s ambassador to Ukraine, Anka Feldhusen, to Kyiv and “expressed deep disappointment” regarding the lack of German weapons provided to Ukraine and also about Schönbach’s comments in New Delhi. Vice Admiral Schönbach released a statement soon after,€ saying, “I have just asked the Federal Minister of Defense [Christine Lambrecht] to release me from my duties and responsibilities as inspector of the navy with immediate effect.” Lambrecht did not wait long to accept the resignation.

        Why was Vice Admiral Schönbach sacked? Because he said two things that are€ unacceptable€ in the West: first,€ that€ “the Crimean Peninsula is gone and never [coming] back” to Ukraine and, second, that Putin should be treated with respect. The Schönbach affair is a vivid illustration of the problem that confronts the West currently, where Russian behavior is routinely described as “aggression” and where the idea of giving “respect” to Russia is disparaged.

      • Russia Announces Nuclear Drills Amid Tensions Over Ukraine

        Amid ongoing calls for a diplomatic resolution to tensions over Ukraine, Russia's military announced Friday that it would hold nuclear drills this weekend.

        Scheduled for Saturday, the drills will be overseen by Russian President Vladimir Putin and will involve the launching of ballistic and cruise missiles, Russia's Defense Ministry said, according to state news agency TASS.

      • A Call for Peace: Russian & U.S. Women Push for Diplomacy, Not Military Action, to Resolve Crisis

        U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have agreed to meet next week as tension remains high over Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russia has announced plans to stage massive drills on Saturday of its nuclear forces, including multiple practice missile launches. We speak with Russian journalist Nadezhda Azhgikhina, one of a group of two dozen independent Russian and American women who released an open letter this week calling for peace. The letter reads, “We are united in the belief that diplomacy, dialogue, engagement and exchange are urgently needed to end the current crisis and avert a catastrophic military conflict that could spiral out of control — even push the world to the precipice of nuclear war.”

      • Opinion | We Need to Talk About the Jewish National Fund

        The world took little notice last month when over€ 100 Bedouin, a third of them minors, were arrested in the Negev/Naqab desert in Southern Israel. They were protesting the Jewish National Fund's planting trees on 300 dunams as part of a€ 5,000 dunam (1,236 acre) afforestation project on land where 300,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel live and farm.€ 

      • Africa Must Not Abandon Palestine by Granting Israel Observer Status

        Africa is currently facing one of its most crucial decisions regarding Palestine and Israel. The repercussions of this decision could be as significant as the 1975 Resolution 77 (XII) by the Organization of African Unity – the precursor to the African Union – which recognized Zionism, Israel’s founding ideology, as a form of racism. This time around, however, it is Palestine, not Israel, that stands to lose.

        Israel’s attempt to gain observer status at the AU began years ago. For many years, most African countries have severed all ties with Israel in solidarity with Palestine and other Arab countries. The African boycott, which began in earnest in 1973, faltered soon after the Palestinian leadership itself signed a series of agreements with Israel, starting with the Oslo Accords of 1993. Seeing Palestinians and other Arab countries ‘doing business’ with Israel, some African countries felt that their solidarity was no longer serving a particular purpose, thus the revival of diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.

      • Israeli Reactions to Amnesty's Apartheid Report

        The evidence all points in one direction: Israel constitutes an apartheid state as defined under international law. As Paul O’Brien, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA put it, “the Israeli government’s system of apartheid violated international law, and serious human rights violations committed to maintain the system constitute crimes against humanity.” He goes on to point out that “This system does not exist in a vacuum—foreign governments, including that of the United States, facilitate apartheid by supplying the Israelis with arms and failing to hold Israeli authorities accountable for their systemic human rights violations.”

        The Amnesty International report does not stand alone. It follows similar investigations by Human Rights Watch, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, and Palestinian organizations as well. Indeed, the collective documentation proving that Israel is an apartheid state is so overwhelming that Israel and its allies no longer bother to address the evidence. Instead they summarily dismiss it with three formulaic responses:

      • Bomb Threats Menace Historically Black Colleges During Black History Month
      • Raising the stakes Meduza uncovers why the Russian State Duma asked Putin to recognize the breakaway ‘republics’ in eastern Ukraine

        The tensions surrounding the Russia-Ukraine crisis have continued to escalate with no end in sight. On Thursday, February 17, U.S. President Joe Biden said that there’s still a “very high” threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, warning that this could happen “in the next several days.” The Kremlin, meanwhile, underscored that it has no plans of backtracking on its demands for comprehensive security guarantees from Washington and NATO. Moscow raised the stakes again earlier this week when the State Duma adopted an official resolution urging President Vladimir Putin to recognize the self-proclaimed “republics” in eastern Ukraine. Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev uncovers why this step was taken and how it was orchestrated.

      • Something Evil in the Air: US F-22s Deploy to the UAE

        In 2015, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates led a coalition of Arab states in an unprovoked attack on Yemen. Their objective was to restore President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi who had been overthrown the year before by the country’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The US has participated indirectly in the war. The US has supported the Saudi-led coalition (“SLC”) with intelligence sharing, targeting assistance, logistics assistance, arms sales, transfer of spare parts for SLC warplanes, and (until November 2018) in-flight refueling of coalition warplanes. US assistance to the coalition has continued even after President Joe Biden’s announcement on February 4, 2021 that the US was ending support for “offensive operations” in Yemen.

        The recent flexing of US muscle comes in response to drone and missile attacks on the UAE in January by Yemen’s Houthi rebels (formally known as Ansar Allah: “Party of God”). Houthi cross-border drone and missile attacks have become relatively commonplace in Saudi Arabia, but not in the UAE. Before January 17, the last Houthi drone attack on the UAE occurred on July 26, 2018 when a Houthi drone struck Abu Dhabi International Airport.

      • Gestapu: How the US Used an Indonesian Massacre to Deepen the Sino-Soviet Split

        Kissinger’s aide, Winston Lord, was not so reticent.[1] He explained that the visit had become possible only when the ‘Sino-Soviet bloc was no longer a bloc’ and praised the State Department whose China-expert, Marshall Green, was one of the thirteen persons in Nixon’s delegation to Beijing. The nitty-gritty of splitting the Sino-Soviet bloc had long been the work of Green before he was an aide to Secretary of State William Rogers.

        By the late ‘60s, Moscow and Beijing, once Cold War allies, were deadly enemies. Beijing feared nuclear attack, large tank battles had occurred in north-east China and the Uyghur people in the south-west had received Soviet support. Along parts of the Chinese border, forty divisions of Soviet troops (half a million men) were threatening.

      • Wave of Bomb Threats Terrorizing Historically Black Colleges Continues During Black History Month

        The House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security heard testimony Thursday about a wave of bomb threats against historically Black colleges and universities, including more than a dozen this month alone. February is Black History Month. More than 60 educational groups called on Congress this week to take immediate steps to support and protect HBCUs. We speak with legendary filmmaker Stanley Nelson, whose 2017 PBS film, “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” documents the pivotal role HBCUs played in dismantling segregation after the Civil War and creating a Black middle class.

      • Lessons from January 6th: an Inside Job

        Over a year after the harum-scarum storming of the U.S. Capitol, there is ample evidence that it was an inside job. Not only was the security detail intentionally minimized to the extreme, but decisions were made at the highest levels of the chain of command to allow a right-wing mob to rampage through the building. At the forefront of this antidemocratic horde, as we shall see, there were fascist or semi-fascist organizations whose leadership has multiple direct ties to the military and intelligence agencies. All of this raises fundamental questions regarding the true nature of the U.S. government and its relationship to fascism.

        Unfortunately, two false narratives concerning January 6th dominate the corporate media. On the one hand, the Democratic Party and its press allies have run a mawkish faith-in-government campaign, presenting themselves as the last great guardians of ‘our sacred democracy,’ while refusing to aggressively combat the fascist threat and back-peddling on all of Biden’s more progressive campaign promises. On the other hand, the Trump camp and its media have concocted a self-serving narrative according to which the storming of the Capitol was a false flag operation that lured ‘patriots’ into a trap, leading to the prosecution of innocent, freedom-loving MAGAs in the ‘second war on terror.’ Through an incredible act of ideological transubstantiation, which is unfortunately a common feature of white supremacy, the rioting antidemocratic mob is thereby transformed into victims rather than perpetrators of violence.

      • US Is Effectively Stealing Billions From a Nation Ravaged by a US-Initiated War
      • Biden’s $7 Billion Afghan Heist

        Of the country’s reserves, $7 billion were “parked” in U.S. financial institutions. This is normal procedure for developing countries, with the, now in retrospect, very ironic purpose of keeping funds in a secure place. Watching this latest Biden debacle, Central Banks of multiple countries are now surely contemplating pulling their monies out of U.S. financial institutions to protect them against arbitrary dictatorial disposal.

        After the Executive Order was issued, Da Afghanistan Bank — Afghanistan’s U.S.-built Central Bank — issued a statement that was both judicious and, to an American reader, embarrassing. It offered a measured, dumbed down 101 on what a monetary reserve is and what a Central Bank does. One might have hoped that a U.S. president, or at least his advisers, would know this, but evidently not.

      • The Biden Administration Must Immediately Unfreeze Afghanistan’s Assets and End the Devastating Sanctions

        This man-made humanitarian catastrophe is a direct result of American policies, namely freezing Afghanistan’s foreign assets and implementing strict sanctions. Prior to the American withdrawal, nearly 80% of Afghanistan’s budget came from the international community. That money has been cut off, causing a total economic collapse and imminent mass starvation. Human rights organizations working in Afghanistan have expressed the dire need for the United States to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets and end the sanctions in order to mitigate the enormous—and unnecessary—suffering of the Afghan people and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a failed state.

        On February 11th, the Biden Administration announced that the United States will unfreeze seven billion dollars of Afghanistan’s currently frozen assets and reserve half of that money for legal claims brought by the families of American 9/11 victims, with the other half going to humanitarian aid. This outrageous policy all but guarantees the collapse of Afghanistan’s central bank, and an increase in instability and starvation. In response to this announcement, Afghan-American activist Bilal Askaryar stated: “The people of Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11; that is an undeniable fact. What Biden is proposing is not justice for 9/11 families, it is theft of public funds from an impoverished nation already on the brink of famine and starvation…”

      • Afghanistan on the Brink of Disaster

        And you don’t need bombs to play. All you need is the will to dominate and the ability to dehumanize “the enemy,” so that their lives can be trashed if (and when) necessary.

        I have to confess a stunned speechlessness as I learn about the looming fate of Afghanistan, if President Biden refuses to release $9.4 billion of its assets to the country’s central bank, which it had deposited abroad, primarily at the U.S. Federal Reserve, during the 20-year war. With the Taliban reclaiming power after the U.S. withdrawal last August, the president seized control of these assets, potentially plunging Afghanistan into economic freefall, and . . . oh God . . .

      • When the Taliban Came to Geneva

        The positive side was that during a weeklong stay, representatives of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) signed a document vowing to “facilitate principled humanitarian action in Afghanistan and to ensure the protection of humanitarian workers and aid,” according to the hosting NGO. The delegation also committed to “promote the full respect and protection of health care facilities, transports and staff, including female workers,” the NGO said.

        But questions were raised about the visit. Should they have been invited by the Swiss NGO? Should officials have met with them? Although a similar delegation (with women) had been received in Oslo in late January, sitting down at the table with such well documented human rights violators is a strong leap, even in neutral Switzerland, which bills itself as the human rights/humanitarian capital of the world.

      • What Is Going to Happen in Ukraine?

        There are three possible scenarios:

        The first is that Russia will suddenly launch an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

      • Mass evacuations raise fears of a major event looming in eastern Ukraine

        Eastern Ukraine’s Russia-backed separatists have announced mass evacuations, urging women, children, and the elderly to relocate to Russia. Denis Pushilin, the head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), explained that refugees would receive all the basic necessities at shelters ready and waiting in Russia’s Rostov region (though the governor there later revealed that he had no knowledge of an incoming wave of evacuees). After Pushilin’s public address, sirens sounded in Donetsk, and residents formed long lines at ATMs throughout the city.

      • Self-declared separatist republics in eastern Ukraine announce mass evacuations, alleging imminent offensive by Kyiv

        In a video address shared on February 18, the head of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) in eastern Ukraine announced the start of “a mass, centralized departure of the population to the Russian Federation” due to growing tensions in the region and a supposedly imminent attack from Ukrainian government troops:

      • Documents Reveal US Gov't Spent $22M Promoting Anti-Russia Narrative in Ukraine and Abroad

        Amid soaring tensions with Russia, the United States is spending a fortune on foreign interference campaigns in Ukraine. Washington’s regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), has spent $22.4 million on operations inside the country since 2014, when democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown and replaced by a successor government handpicked by the U.S. Those operations included propping up and training pro-Western political parties, funding pliant media organizations, and subsidizing massive privatization drives that benefit foreign multinational corporations, all in an effort to secure U.S. control over the country that NED President Carl Gershman called “the biggest prize” in Europe.

      • Biden 'Convinced' Putin Will Invade as Peace Movement 'Opposes Any War Over Ukraine'

        With U.S. President Joe Biden "convinced" that Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning not only confirmed nuclear drills but also an invasion of Ukraine that Moscow has repeatedly denied, the global peace movement on Friday reiterated calls for de-escalation.

        "Stop the War opposes any war over Ukraine, and believes the crisis should be settled on a basis which recognizes the right of the Ukrainian people to self-determination and addresses Russia's security concerns," declares a statement from the U.K.-based coalition signed by thousands of people.

      • An Unwinnable War in Ukraine has No Upside for Putin, But Threats have the West Lining up to Listen

        “When I sat down at my desk every morning for years,” a retired British diplomat told me, “the first thing I would read were reports of Soviet, and later Russian, military manoeuvres on their borders.” He added that these could cause alarm, but they never turned out to mean very much.

        Suddenly, American and British politicians and diplomats are speaking of a faint glimmer of hope of peace, illuminating the dark scene they had been painting only 24 hours earlier when a Russian invasion was being described as imminent. Russian officials are crowing about dispelling the dark cloud of war hysteria and stressing that no invasion had ever been planned.

      • Metadata reveals that DNR and LNR leaders recorded evacuation announcements two days in advance

        The video addresses announcing mass evacuations shared on February 18 by the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” were actually recorded on February 16. This was reported by Bellingcat’s training and research director Aric Toler, who verified video metadata from the clips.€ 

      • Judge rules Oath Keepers leader must remain in jail ahead of seditious conspiracy trial

        A federal judge on Friday ruled that Stewart Rhodes, the Oath Keepers leader charged with seditious conspiracy over the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, must remain in jail while awaiting trial.

        U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta denied Rhodes's renewed request to be released, concurring with a federal magistrate judge's order that he be denied bail because he would pose a danger to the community if allowed out of jail.

      • Ukrainian DDoS Attacks Should Put US on Notice–Researchers

        On Tuesday, institutions central to Ukraine’s military and economy were hit with a wave of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, which sparked an avalanche of headlines around the world. The strike itself had limited impact — but the larger implications for critical infrastructure beyond the Ukraine are worth noting, researchers said.

        The targets were core entities to Ukraine: the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Ministry of Defense, Oschadbank (the State Savings Bank) and Privatbank, the country’s largest commercial bank, servicing nearly 20 million customers. Oschadbank and Privatbank are considered “systemically important” to Ukraine’s financial markets.

      • Erik Prince and an Army of Spies Keep Meddling in US Politics

        The news that Blackwater founder Erik Prince was working with former spies to go after Trump opponents is just the tip of the iceberg. Former intelligence officers and other denizens of the national security state are increasingly meddling in domestic US politics.

      • Mobile internet disrupted in Luhansk, Ukraine amid heightened tensions with Russia

        Network data from NetBlocks confirm a significant disruption to internet service in Luhansk, Eastern Ukraine on Thursday 17 February 2022. Metrics show a multi-hour loss of connectivity on infrastructure used by the Vodafone mobile network, corroborating user reports of loss of cellular service in Luhansk and Donetsk.

      • Islamic State collaborators received Turkish citizenship, official report shows

        Shortly after the Islamic State’s (IS's) leader was killed in a Syrian hideout near the Turkish border, a leaked report by Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) revealed details about how the jihadi group used the country to traffic money and obtain supplies, including drone parts.

      • Niger to accept foreign troops fighting insurgents in Sahel

        Niger will host French and European special forces after their withdrawal from neighboring Mali, President Mohamed Bazoum confirmed on Friday.

      • The Politics of Hijab in India

        To make an objective assessment of the ongoing hijab controversy, some pertinent observations are needed. The said government college in Udupi (Karnataka) is a government college with more than 100 Muslim students, both boys and girls. Out of them, the eight girls who started the hijab issue started wearing it only since 31st December. Before that day, they used to come and attend classes in usual college uniform.

      • CISA Insights: Foreign Influence Operations Targeting Critical Infrastructure | CISA

        CISA has released CISA Insights: Preparing for and Mitigating Foreign Influence Operations Targeting Critical Infrastructure, which provides proactive steps organizations can take to assess and mitigate risks from information manipulation. Malicious actors may use tactics—such as misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation—to shape public opinion, undermine trust, and amplify division, which can lead to impacts to critical functions and services across multiple sectors.

      • NCSC-NZ Releases Advisory on Cyber Threats Related to Russia-Ukraine Tensions

        The New Zealand National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC-NZ) has released a General Security Advisory (GSA) on preparing for cyber threats relating to tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The advisory recommends organizations review their security posture and monitor for cyber incidents and provides additional resources to help protect against potential threats.

    • Environment

      • What Drives Sea Level Rise?

        A new report led by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that the U.S. should prepare for 10-12 inches of relative sea level rise on average in the next 30 years. The rise is due to both sinking land and global warming. And given the greenhouse emissions released so far, the country is unlikely to be able to avoid it.

        That much sea level rise means cities like Miami that see nuisance flooding during high tides today will experience more damaging floods by midcentury. Nationally, the report expects moderate coastal flooding will occur 10 times as often by 2050. Without significant adaptations, high tides will more frequently pour into streets and disrupt coastal infrastructure, including ports that are essential for supply chains and the economy.

      • Facebook Misled Investors About Battling Climate, Covid Lies: SEC Filings

        In complaints to the U.S. government, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen accused the tech giant of misleading investors about combating climate and Covid-19 misinformation, The Washington Post revealed Friday.

        "Congress must now step in and require the type of safety reporting that is found in industries from car manufacturers to agriculture."

      • 'Cancel This Project': Price Tag of Trans Mountain Expansion Nearly Doubles

        Climate activists on Friday renewed calls for canceling the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline after the Canadian government responded to the project's soaring cost by pledging not to put any more public money into it.

        "Trans Mountain is an absolute dumpster fire and it's outrageous that it's been allowed to carry on on the public dime all this time."

      • Worth More Standing
      • Energy

        • US Reactors Dangerously Operating Using Counterfeit Parts

          This hair-raising news is just one of the shocking findings in a set of seven reports released February 10 by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Office of Inspector General (OIG), now headed by Robert J. Feitel.

          Among the findings of the first of the seven reports were: 1. “Counterfeit, fraudulent, and suspect items (CFSI) are present in operating plants”; 2. “The extent of CFSI in operating plants is unknown because the NRC does not usually require licensees to track CFSI” … “if done at all, tracking is voluntary and methods and data quality vary among licensees”; 3. The questionable “termination of [some] rulemaking in 2016 that addressed CFSI oversight concerns”; and 4. “Department of Energy staff identified more than 100 incidents involving CFSI in FY 2021 alone, including 5 incidents involving safety-significant components.”

        • Court Approves Surrey Oil Development But Campaigners Hail ‘Important Legal Victory’

          Judges in the Court of Appeal have ruled that Surrey County Council acted lawfully in its approval of an onshore oil development, despite ignoring emissions produced when the fuel is eventually used.

          Campaigners welcomed a decision on Thursday from one of the three judges, however, who said the council had failed to consider the full impacts of the project in its environmental assessment.

        • Inadequate OpSec

          By far the most interesting source is the 20-page Statement of Facts filed by Christopher Janczewski, a Special Agent assigned to the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). It provides a detailed timeline of the important transactions, which in summary is:

          In August 2016 someone compromised Bitfinex, and made over 2000 unauthorized transfers totalling 119,754 BTC from Bitfinex wallets to a wallet the IRS names 1CGA4s.

        • Melania Trump Calls the Media ‘Dream Killers’ for Scrutinizing Her Sketchy Fundraisers

          The New York Times reported last week that Melania is under investigation in Florida for hosting an event to raise money for a charity that may not actually exist. Trump’s “Fostering the Future” program, which is part of her Be Best initiative that began while in the White House, is not registered with the Florida Consumer Services Division, according to the Times. A spokesperson for the state agency told the paper that it was “currently investigating whether this event involves an entity operating in violation of” state law.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Child Poverty Increased by 41 Percent After Monthly Tax Credits Expired
      • Fetterman Calls for Permanent Expansion of Enhanced Child Tax Credit

        Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman, a progressive U.S. Senate candidate, voiced support Friday for permanently boosting the Child Tax Credit after research showed that Congress' failure to extend the enhanced benefit caused child poverty to spike in January.

        "Washington needs to be helping working families across the country, making their lives easier," Fetterman said in a statement. "The Child Tax Credit did just that, and it's an embarrassment that we allowed this program to expire."

      • 'Morally Obscene': Sanders Blasts GOP, Manchin Over 41% Spike in Child Poverty

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday castigated the GOP and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin for killing the boosted Child Tax Credit after new research showed that child poverty spiked by 41% in January—the first month since July 2021 that eligible families didn't receive the popular benefit.

        "In January, the child poverty rate increased by 40% in just one month—jumping from 12.1% to 17% as 3.7 million children slipped into poverty," Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in a Twitter post. "How did this happen? Fifty Republicans and one corporate Democrat allowed the $300-a-month Child Tax Credit to expire. That is morally obscene."

      • AOC Denounces NYPD for Bragging About Arrests Over Stolen Diapers

        Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday criticized New York City police officers for boasting about arresting a dozen people over stolen necessities, including diapers, baby formula, and medicine.

        "This is not public safety. This is cruelty on display."

      • How the Left Should Think About Inflation

        In stating recently that “inflation is the Fed’s job,” President Biden gave compact expression to three radically false and politically suicidal propositions: 1. The past year’s price increases are part of a process that must be suppressed. 2. Anti-inflation policies are the preserve of the central bank. 3. The Federal Reserve can suppress inflation without also wrecking the economy, the president’s own program, his party, and his political prospects.

      • China’s Economy€ Not as Strong as Beijing Proclaims or the West Fears

        The temptation to be flippantly Wildean and evoke the spirit of Oscar is sometimes too tempting for the mortal flesh. For the United States to lose China once is unfortunate; to lose it twice smacks of carelessness. The second time round, it is important not to over exaggerate. China is a powerful country and its transformation over the last four decades has been astonishing. And of course, flippancy aside, China was never anyone’s to lose. But the country is not as powerful as those in power portray it or as those in the West, desperately seeking a new bogey man to boost defense spending, would suggest. Debt is the iceberg waiting to shred any over-confidently navigated economy’s hull. China is no longer going full steam ahead but it is in treacherous, icy waters. Evergrande? Let’s put this in perspective. The construction conglomerate has a debt of about $300 billion.

        Local government debt in China at the start of November was about $4.7 trillion, approx $3,300 for every Chinese citizen.

      • Sanders Calls to Cancel All Student Debt After Biden Axes $415 Millions' Worth
      • Elon Musk Accuses The SEC Of Trying To Keep Him From Posting Dumb Tweets

        Let’s be honest. It’s laughable to think that one of the world’s most powerful and wealthy men, who also wields a massive platform with millions of followers, is being “silenced” in any particular way. And if history is any indication, nothing’s going to stop Elon from tweeting every silly thing that pops into his head — no matter how dumb and harmful.

      • Elon Musk, Tesla attack SEC for 'unrelenting' harassment

        Thursday's letter escalates Musk's battle with regulators as they scrutinize his social media posts and Tesla's treatment of workers, including accusations of discrimination.

        It followed Tesla's disclosure on Feb. 7 that it had received a subpoena from the SEC about its compliance with the 2018 settlement.

      • Was the hacking of Ottawa trucker convoy donors a US-Canadian intelligence operation?
      • Hundreds of Police Make Arrests in Ottawa to End Anti-Government Siege

        Police in Ottawa, Canada were deployed Friday to arrest dozens of people opposed to public health measures and remove vehicles clogging city streets as part of an anti-government blockade which has€ led to supply chain shortages, threatened public safety, and disrupted daily life in the city for more than three weeks.

      • Opinion | The Suicide Trucker Convoy

        Once upon a time there were three people in a boat, out in the middle of the sea. It was a beautiful day, and the sea was calm. Two of the people were fishing contentedly.

      • Guarimbas in Canada

        The demonstrations in Canada since late January have in effect taken over its capital city, Ottawa, and one of the most important bridges for trade between the Province of Ontario, the industrial center of this country and the USA. Other Canadian cities and border crossings have also been occupied and blocked. It is a futile blockade that undermines Canada’s own economic fibre from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

        The undersigned have lived in Canada for decades; we are writing you – our compatriots and colleagues in justice – to give you a first-hand account of what has happened and the geopolitical gravity of the matter.

      • Oh, Canada

        Canadians mostly live up to their worldwide€ reputation as civilized people despite their more than two weeks of protests in€ their capital of Ottawa, at the€ Ambassador Bridge across the Detroit River from€ Windsor, Ontario, to the Motor City and in the rural western provinces.

        Truckers illegally parked hundreds of their€ huge “Freedom Convoy” rigs by the grounds of Parliament, blocking traffic and€ blowing their blaring horns for€ days, to protest pandemic restrictions€ requiring vaccines and other means of combatting COVID-19.

      • Trudeau's Money Heist: Emergencies Act Allows Seizure of Bank Accounts, Securities, Crypto of Those Suspected of "Links" to Convoy Members w/o Court Order
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Birth of a Nation?

        Unlike most U.S. Americans, I don’t revere the Founding Fathers the way we are supposed to. I see them as mostly a collection of the Mitch McConnells, Ted Cruzes, Tucker Carlsons, Joe Manchins, Elon Musks, Andrew Cuomos, J.D. Vances, Mike Pences and Bret Kavanaghs of their time.€ Admittedly, a Jamie Raskin or three was in there too.

        Still, I’ll give the white and male and property-owning Founders this.€  Their successful campaign to violently transfer power away from the English monarchy and the East India Trading Company to themselves compelled them to boost an idea called democracy. € A seed was planted.

      • To Fight Attacks on “Critical Race Theory,” Look to Black History

        This week, South Dakota’s House of Representatives passed two bills, one targeting the teaching of “divisive concepts” and the other aimed at “protecting” kids from “political indoctrination.” While neither bill mentioned the words “critical race theory,” it was clear what they meant. They followed just a few weeks after the Mississippi Senate passed Senate Bill 2113—another “critical race theory” bill authored by Michael McLendon (R-Hernando)—over the objection of Black lawmakers, who walked out of the chamber in protest. Both of these efforts, along with many others, are part of a nationwide campaign led by conservatives to supposedly rid classrooms of “critical race theory”—a term for a high-level legal discipline that has been used as a cover to ban books by Black and brown authors.

      • State Constitutions Could Stymie Right-Wing Strategies for a Post-“Roe” World
      • Arizona Prosecutor Who Brought Bogus Gang Charges Against Protesters Files Ridiculous Defamation Suit Against Her Boss

        Protests against police violence erupted around the country following the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by Minneapolis (MN) police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin ended Floyd's life by placing his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes… and for more than three minutes after another officer informed Chauvin he could no longer detect Floyd's pulse.

      • Roaming Charges: Of Fathers and Their Countries

        + While Chernow’s text is rather elliptical on these decisive episodes in Washington’s life (there’s little risk of it being pulled from libraries in most of the states, at this point), the book is generously foot-noted with primary sources, many of them in Washington’s own hand (he was a prolific self-promoter of his own exalted life), which fill-in the more tenebrous aspects of his character.

        + The first member of the Washington clan to step foot in Virginia was John, who came ashore in the Tidewater area in 1676. George’s great-grandfather wasn’t much of a farmer (after all, he only owned three slaves and some Irish “servants”), but he did amass thousands of acres of land along the Potomac and received a military commission to kill Indians in Maryland, where he earned a reputation for treachery and slaughter. In one notorious incident, Washington murdered five Indian leaders who had come to negotiate a treaty, then claimed their land. He was known by the Potomac tribes as Conotocarious, “destroyer of villages, devourer of homes.”

      • Opinion | Like a Bizarre Johnny Appleseed, Trump Has Planted the Seeds of Extreme Antisocial Behavior—And It Cannot Be Ignored

        Violent behavior on airplanes has reached such epidemic proportions that the President of Delta Airlines last week asked the Department of Homeland security to allow the airlines to submit passengers who have terrified or otherwise abused flight crews for placement on the government's no-fly list.

      • Failure in Moscow: Liz Truss loses Britannia’s Way

        Truss, former international trade secretary known for her “goofy public persona”, took over from the less goofy and somewhat severe Dominic Raab as foreign secretary in Johnson’s ministerial shake-up last year. Her time at the Department of International Trade had been dubbed the “Department for Instagramming Truss”, given her insatiable appetite for social media platforms.

        Ideology, not facts, interest her. As she explained to Politico, “I’m probably one of the more ideological among my colleagues, in that that’s what motivates me.” Her rapid immaturing has seen her moving ever more towards economic libertarianism, founding the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs keen to savage and prune employment laws and regulations.

      • Overhauling the Human Rights Apparatus: a New Paradigm for the 21st Century

        Politicians. NGOs and UN secretariat members master the jargon of human rights, to which they only give lip service, but most of them are only going through the motions and falling into a human rights “routine” that fails to see the faces of the victims. At the UN Human Rights Council we witness mostly diplomatic rituals, and an effort not to shake the boat too much. Admittedly, there have been successes, which the apparatchiks and a compliant corporate media effusively hail.€  But they hide the root causes of human rights violations, the economic imbalances and continuing exploitation.€  They propose the wrong treatment for most ailments, applying band-aids here and there, without developing a coherent preventative plan encompassing early detention of disease, effective curative measures and the rehabilitation of the disabled.

        We know that the UN Division of Human Rights evolved into the Centre for Human Rights and then the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (General Assembly Resolution 48/141).€  As it turned out, the HR directors are more “managers” than committed human rights leaders, inspired by a genuine belief in the fraternity of human beings and the equal dignity of all.€  The UN Secretariat is more politicized than ever, and many have forgotten the sources of the UDHR and the enthusiasm of the creative days of Eleanor Roosevelt, René Cassin, Charles Malik and P.C.Chang.

      • Opinion | GOP Attacks on Voting Already Impacting 2022 Primaries

        The attacks on our democracy are moving into the 2022 primary elections.€ New state voter suppression laws that restrict access to absentee ballots, eliminate ballot drop boxes, drop registered voters from the rolls, and reduce polling places, among other provisions, are about to directly impact voters in this year's primaries.€ Leading the way in these new Jim Crow voter suppression laws is Texas, which has reportedly rejected an unprecedented number of absentee ballots, and Georgia.€ Enacted last year by GOP-controlled state legislatures, these laws would not apply to federal elections if Senate Republicans—joined by Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)—hadn't used the filibuster last month to preserve and protect these anti-democracy laws.€ At the same time, unprecedented amounts of money are being poured into the usually quiet Secretary of State races this year. That's because these offices oversee the administration of elections in their states and the winners of these jobs will oversee the 2024 presidential and congressional elections.€ According to the Brennan Center, contributions are three times higher for these offices in key battleground states than they were at this point in the 2018 election cycle and eight times higher than 2014.€ According to the Brennan Center's findings, contributions are particularly high in Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan, key 2024 battleground states that Biden won in 2020.€ According to The New York Times, nearly two dozen Republicans who have publicly questioned or disputed the results of the 2020 presidential election are running for Secretary of State positions across the country.€ In Arizona, for example, two of the four Republican candidates running in the Secretary of State primary tried to overturn the 2020 election results.€ The candidate viewed as currently leading in the primary attended the Stop the Steal rally in Washington on January 6, 2021 and is affiliated with the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers, The New York Times reported.€ Tina Peters, a backer of the Big Lie that Trump's 2020 election was stolen, announced she is running for Secretary of State in Colorado. Peters, who made her announcement on the podcast of the notorious Trump follower Steve Bannon, is currently under investigation in Colorado for allegations of tampering with the election equipment used in the 2020 presidential election.€ Meanwhile, election officials are warning that there is not enough money available for states to safely and securely administer the upcoming elections.€ A tough battle lies ahead in 2022 to protect the integrity of our elections and to preserve the right of every eligible citizen to vote. All possible resources must be marshaled in the cause of fair, safe, and secure elections.

      • Opinion | American Social Democracy Is Possible

        Many Americans have a difficult time imagining what it would be like to live in a social democratic society.€ Some think that the nations of Northern Europe are good enough places, but their systems could never work in the United States.€ This, I think, is a common fallacy that can be corrected by looking at life on an American military base (full disclosure:€ my father was a career Air Force officer and I grew up on military bases around the world).

      • Nevada Dems Sound Alarm Over 'Single Most Vicious Suppression Attempt' Yet by GOP

        The Nevada Democratic Party and voting rights advocates sounded the alarm Thursday over a local Republican's proposal to station National Guard members at every polling place in the state's second-largest county, purge voting records, and impose new restrictions on mail-in ballots.

        "This travesty is not an independent event—it is part of a concerted effort by right-wing extremists."

      • Progressives Slam Corporate Dem PAC's First Slate of Endorsements

        A slate of endorsements for corporate Democratic incumbents was met with indignation from progressives on Thursday, with critics accusing a political action committee started by the fifth-ranked House Democrat, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, as prioritizing a defense against challengers from the left rather than fighting to retain seats in swing districts.

        Team Blue PAC, started last year by Jeffries and Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), announced on Wednesday its first endorsements in the 2022 Democratic primary elections. The PAC offered support and $5,000 campaign contributions to Reps. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), and Dina Titus (D-Nev.), all of whom face challenges from progressives who are campaigning on broadly popular economic justice and climate policy proposals.

      • The Right Is Exploiting People’s Fears With Surgical Precision

        As Republicans ramp up their straw man attacks on the purported invasion of K-12 classrooms by critical race theory, a just-released report from the D.C.-based watchdog organization Accountable US explores the connections these groups and their funders have with organizations pushing anti–civil rights and anti–voting rights policies.

      • Number of Competitive Seats in House Decreases Following Drawing of New Maps
      • Five reasons why the opposition will win in Hungary, and five why it will not

        Campaign vibes from turbo-folk mode to a sleeper that must awaken

      • Just 13 of 143 Texas GOP Candidates Will Admit Trump’s Loss Was “Legitimate”
      • Five questions ahead of Trump's social media launch

        Former President Trump’s new social media platform is expected to be released to the public on Monday.

        There are still many unknowns about how Truth Social will work and whether it will successfully compete with the major platforms or their conservative alternatives.

        More than a year after Trump was suspended from Facebook and Twitter, the platform may play a key role in outreach to his base as he considers a 2024 presidential run.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • War in Europe and the Rise of Raw Propaganda

        But is this new? It is more than a century since Edward Bernays, the father of spin, invented “public relations” as a cover for war propaganda. What€ is€ new is the virtual elimination of dissent in the mainstream.

        The great editor David Bowman, author of€ The Captive Press, called this “a defenestration of all who refuse to follow a line and to swallow the unpalatable and are brave”. He was referring to independent journalists and whistle blowers, the honest mavericks to whom media organisations once gave space, often with pride. The space has been abolished.

      • How Bots and Fake Accounts Push China’s Vision of Winter Olympic Wonderland

        Inside the Potemkin village of China’s propaganda, the Winter Olympics have unfolded as an unalloyed success, a celebration of sports and political harmony that has obscured — critics say whitewashed — the country’s flaws and rights abuses.

        At Beijing 2022, the hills are snowy, not brown as usual this time of year. A Uyghur skier is the symbol of national unity, the tennis player Peng Shuai just a curious spectator. Athletes and foreign journalists praise the polite volunteers and marvel at the high-speed trains and the robots that boil dumplings and mix drinks.

      • Twitter and Google blocked ads from a medical journal about health and racism

        The medical journal Health Affairs spent years planning its special issue on health and racism, which it published at the beginning of February. The journal wanted to reach new readers by promoting the issue through targeted advertisements on Twitter and YouTube.

        That’s why it was so frustrating when Twitter and Google blocked its ads before they could go up, says Patti Sweet, the director of digital strategy at Health Affairs. The journal’s Google ads account was also suspended. Sweet wrote a blog post outlining that frustration last week, saying she thought the use of the word “racism” was the trigger for the rejections.

      • Facebook whistleblower alleges company misled investors on climate, COVID-19 misinformation: report

        Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen reportedly filed two new complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) arguing the tech giant misled investors about its efforts to mitigate the spread of misinformation on climate change and COVID-19.

        The allegations build on Haugen’s broader efforts to raise the alarm about her former employer through SEC complaints. The first round of complaints against Facebook were filed in October.

        The new complaints were filed by Whistleblower Aid, a nonprofit representing Haugen, this month, The Washington Post reported.

      • Wikipedia's new boss sees it as a misinformation-age model

        Catch up quick: Iskander, who replaces Katherine Maher as Wikimedia's leader in January, was previously CEO of the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator in South Africa and before that was chief operating officer of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in New York.

      • Bryce Greene on Ukraine
      • Russia's hybrid war against Ukraine

        In the past week alone, Ukraine has seen unprecedented cyber-attacks against both the defense ministry and two large Ukrainian banks: PrivatBank and JSC Oschadbank. Individual customers and the whole online banking system were affected. This coincided with reports from the frontline in eastern Ukraine of intensified clashes between Russian-trained rebels from Luhansk and Donetsk and Ukrainian army forces. There have also been reports that the Russian parliament is on the verge of recognizing these self-pronounced people's republics.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • My Life With Maus

        For months, I’ve been reading about the growing Trumpist-Republican movement to ban whatever books its members consider politically unpalatable, lest the lives of America’s children be sullied by, say, a novel of Toni Morrison’s like The Bluest Eye or Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale or a history book like They Called Themselves the K.K.K. It’s an urge that just rubs me the wrong way. After all, as a boy growing up in New York City in the 1950s, when children’s post-school lives were much less organized than they are today, I would often wander into the local branch of the public library, hoping the librarian would allow me into the adult section. There — having little idea what I was doing — I would pull interesting-looking grown-up books off the shelves and head for home.

        Years later, exchanging childhood memories with a friend and publishing colleague, Sara Bershtel, I discovered that, on arriving in this country, she, too, had found a sympathetic librarian and headed for those adult shelves. At perhaps 12 or 13, just about the age of those Tennessee schoolkids, we had both — miracle of miracles! — not faintly knowing what we were doing, pulled Annmarie Selinko’s bestselling novelDésirée off the shelves. It was about Napoleon Bonaparte and his youthful fiancé and we each remember being riveted by it. Maybe my own fascination with history, and hers with French literature, began there. Neither of us, I suspect, were harmed by reading the sort of racy bestseller that Republicans would today undoubtedly loathe.

      • Thankfully, Jay Inslee's Unconstitutional Bill To Criminalize Political Speech Dies In The Washington Senate

        Over the last few years, it's been depressing to see politicians from both major political parties attacking free speech. As we noted last month, Washington state governor Jay Inslee last month started pushing a bill that would criminalize political speech. He kept insisting that it was okay under the 1st Amendment because he got a heavily biased constitutional lawyer, Larry Tribe, to basically shrug and say "maybe it could be constitutional?" But the bill was clearly problematic -- and would lead to nonstop nonsense lawsuits against political candidates.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • 'Psychological torture' of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange not addressed, says expert

        Accusations of the psychological torture of Julian Assange have not been addressed, with no legal basis for leaving the WikiLeaks founder locked up in solitary confinement in a high security prison, a human rights expert has claimed.

        Nils Melzer, United Nations special rapporteur on torture, said Mr Assange's health is being "destroyed" as he remains in Belmarsh prison in London as the United States continues to try to extradite him.

        Mr Assange does not have access to his lawyers and is prevented from preparing his legal case, said Mr Melzer.

      • No legal basis for leaving Assange in high security prison – human rights expert

        Accusations of the psychological torture of Julian Assange have not been addressed, with no legal basis for leaving the WikiLeaks founder locked up in solitary confinement in a high security prison, a human rights expert has claimed.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Filmmaker Stanley Nelson on Police Brutality, Black History & His First Oscar Nomination for “Attica”

        Legendary filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s new documentary “Attica” has been nominated for the first Oscar in his three-decades-long career documenting the Black American experience. The film tells the story of the deadliest prison uprising in U.S. history, when men at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York rebelled on September 9, 1971, overpowering guards and taking over much of the prison to protest conditions, before New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller called out state troopers, who opened fire and killed at least 39 men, including 10 guards. Attica is one of the most “important American events that happened over the last 50 years,” says Nelson. He also has an upcoming film focusing on the racist origins of police and discusses the hate crimes trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers and the condemnation of police in New Jersey who broke up a fight by violently arresting a Black teen while allowing an older white teen to remain free. “These things are not just happening for the first time. These things are being filmed for the first time,” says Nelson.

      • Weaponizing the Other: Why Black Power Still Matters to All Marginalized Outlaws

        I remember being treated by adults as if I were somehow a dangerous child. Teachers at my little Catholic school would periodically hold meetings to discuss what should be done with me. Parents stared and whispered when I got anywhere near their children, especially the ones younger than me, as if they could somehow catch whatever it was that made me so unsettling. My skin may have been the same color as theirs, but they made it very clear that whatever I was, was something else. I was something dangerously other. These confusing experiences with childhood alienation and felt stigma made it very hard to maintain anything resembling self-esteem well into adulthood. Uncoincidentally, my heroes during this frightening time in my life were predominately Black.

        The nineties seemed to be a profoundly surreal and downright unsettling time for Blackness as well. During the era of gangsta rap, rural white communities like mine generally saw Black people as being dangerous, but this danger seemed to somehow make them cool. Black pop cultural figures of that era from Eazy-E to Chris Rock seemed to embrace this aura of danger thrust upon them by mainstream white society and threw it back in their faces flamboyantly with middle fingers blazing.

      • Letter From High-Ranking FBI Lawyer Tells Prosecutors How To Avoid Court Scrutiny Of Firearms Analysis Junk Science

        Law enforcement -- including the FBI -- like to claim they're heavily invested in science. The use of forensic "science" has been with us for years, but nowhere is it more sketchy than in law enforcement labs, where zero accountability rubs elbows with zero outside review of methods.

      • New Schengen Council: Frontex as „spearhead“ of new border policy

        With a new steering group, the French EU Presidency wants to monitor the coordinates of asylum and migration policy in Europe. The basis is a new measuring instrument for „migratory pressure“.

      • The Woman Who Lost Her Fear

        I enter the Barcelona Center of Contemporary Culture to attend a discussion with Alyokhina. The debate accompanies the exhibition “The Mask Never Lies”, which can be seen there until May. The first question for Masha, as Maria is called by her fans and friends, is about the mask: the Pussy Riot were notorious for their multicolored balaclavas. “Our clothing has acquired symbolic meaning of protest against the regime,” Masha explains. “Today, Russians wearing balaclavas identify themselves as dissidents of the Kremlin.”

        Alyokhina was unable to travel to Barcelona because she is banned from traveling. After the trial that followed Pussy Riot’s performance in the Moscow cathedral, and in which the artist had to answer from a cage, she was sent to what she defines as post-gulag: a labor camp less harsh than the Stalinist ones: “Instead of fourteen hours a day they made us work twelve.” Now Masha is on probation: she is forced to return home at nine o’clock at night and must wear an electronic bracelet through which the police can constantly track her. “I’m not complaining,” she says. “Compared to those dissidents who have been killed or are in the gulag, like Navalny, I’m not doing too bad.”

      • Conical Race Theory
      • A Persecuted Father Deported to Haiti Fights to Reunite With His Family in US
      • We’ll Keep Fighting to Protect Our Bodily Autonomy

        As the conservative Supreme Court considers new anti-Roe cases and state legislatures rush to pass harsh new restrictions, Roe may not make it to its 50th anniversary. So we wanted to advocate for continued access to reproductive health care.

        What followed was an intense interaction with Capitol Police, who accused us of “defacing” federal property simply for putting posters on lamp posts. They forced us to retrace our steps and scrape down each poster — including some we hadn’t even put up. It was humiliating, but we cooperated to avoid arrest.

      • Iran: Wife killer's 'walk of fame' highlights horror of 'honour killings'

        The video is unbearable: For 30 seconds it shows a grinning man parading in the streets of Ahvaz, in the Iranian province of Khuzestan, holding a knife in one hand. In the other hand: his wife's head. He has just decapitated her after she ran away from their forced marriage. The incident has received international attention since February 5, and is rare visual proof of the persistence of "honour killings" in Iran, as detailed by our Observer.

      • Unions Can Prevent Workplace Disasters

        Federal officials are investigating possible health and safety violations at the facility in Edwardsville, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis. Illinois lawmakers are considering raising€ statewide standards€ for warehouse construction to prevent future tragedies. And family members of one of the employees, Austin McEwen, recently filed a€ wrongful death suit€ against the giant retailer.

        “My daughter was not expendable,” said Jeffrey Hebb at a January rally€ in front of the Edwardsville facility. Hebb’s daughter, 34-year-old Etheria Hebb, died in the warehouse collapse, leaving behind a one-year-old daughter.

      • Leaked audio exposes Amazon's anti-union scare tactics
      • Apple Store Employees Are Reportedly Unionizing
      • Apple Store employees want to unionize
      • McDonald’s Hasn’t Taken Promised Action on Sexual Harassment

        Angelica Hernandez has worked at a corporate-owned McDonald’s in California for nearly two decades. In all that time, she’s never received any substantial sexual harassment training. Once, two years ago, she said, she and her coworkers were instructed to watch a video about harassment on tablets, but she found it “ridiculoso.” The situations depicted had no bearing on what things are really like inside a McDonald’s restaurant; instead, the video mostly consisted of blanket statements that employees shouldn’t be harassed.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • FTC Promises To Play Hardball With Robocall-Enabling VOIP Providers

        Every year or so, the FCC unveils a new plan to combat robocalls it claims will finally tackle the annoying menace. Granted, year after year, the problem either gets worse or stays relatively the same. We've already noted that this is generally due to few things: one, a steady erosion by the courts (and lobbyists) of what the FCC can or can't actually do when it comes to various annoyances like automated spam texts or live robocalls.

      • Dial Into The Internet Like It’s 1999 | Hackaday

        Restoring classic hardware of any sort is a great hobby to have, whether it’s restoring vintage cars, tools, or even antique Apple or Commodore computers. Understanding older equipment can help improve one’s understanding of the typically more complicated modern equivalents, plus it’s just plain fun to get something old up and running again. Certainly we see more retro computing restorations around here, but one thing that we don’t typically see much of is the networking equipment that would have gotten those older computers onto the early Internet. [Retrocet] has a strong interest in that area, and his latest dial-up server really makes us feel like we’re back in the 90s.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Monopolies

      • Read exactly how Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal for Activision Blizzard came together

        Microsoft shocked the tech and gaming world on January 18th when it announced it would acquire Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion deal, by far the biggest ever in gaming. Activision Blizzard, one of the most storied developers on the planet, had been reeling for months from multiple scandals, including California’s lawsuit accusing the company of creating a culture of “constant sexual harassment,” an explosive Wall Street Journal report suggesting CEO Bobby Kotick was both aware of that harassment and sexually harassed employees himself, and labor protests from Call of Duty workers.

      • Patents

      • Trademarks

        • 'Coca' pits indigenous Colombians against soft drink giant

          Indigenous Colombians are going head to head with the world's biggest soft drink company over the commercial use of the word "coca" -- the name of an indigenous South American plant.

          Representatives of the Nasa and Embera Chami tribes are threatening to ban the sale of Coca-Cola in their territories after the Coca-Cola Company incurred their ire by taking issue with the name of a locally-produced beer, Coca Pola.

          They sent a letter to the multinational corporation, a copy of which AFP has seen, giving it 10 days to explain its "non-consensual use" of the word "Coca" in Coca-Cola -- the world's most popular fizzy drink.

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright is Not a Shortcut Around the Constitution’s Anonymous Speech Protections, EFF Tells Court

          Unfortunately, courts do not always apply the correct tests to protect anonymous speakers, particularly when they use other’s copyrighted material to engage in commentary and criticism. That's why EFF and the ACLU Foundation of Northern California filed an amicus brief today in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California arguing that a magistrate’s decision sidestepped the appropriate constitutional test for maintaining anonymity. The flawed ruling results in speakers who use copyrighted material receiving less anonymity protections than those who don’t.€ 

          The case is an effort to unmask an anonymous Twitter user (@CallMeMoneyBags) who posted photos and content that implied a private equity billionaire was romantically involved with the€  woman who appeared in the photographs. Bayside Advisory LLC holds the copyright on those images, and used the DMCA to demand that Twitter take down the photos, which it did. That should have been the end of it.

          Instead, Bayside Advisory sent a subpoena to Twitter to unmask its anonymous user. Twitter refused and asked a federal magistrate judge to quash the subpoena. The magistrate incorrectly ruled that Twitter must disclose the identity of the user because the user failed to show up in court to argue that they were engaged in fair use when they tweeted Bayside’s photos. Twitter has asked a federal district court judge to reverse the magistrate’s decision.

        • MPA, Amazon & Apple Win Injunction To Shut Down Two Pirate IPTV Services

          A coalition of Hollywood studios plus Amazon, Netflix, Apple, and other content owners, have won a preliminary injunction to shut down two pirate IPTV services accused of infringing their movie and TV show rights. Claims from the alleged pirate operator that the case is deficient and relies on biased and inaccurate evidence made little difference to the outcome.

        • US Govt Identifies Top Pirate Sites and Other ‘Notorious Markets’

          The US Government has published its annual list of problematic piracy websites and other "notorious markets." This year's overview includes usual suspects such as The Pirate Bay, FMovies, and Rapidgator, but hosting companies and an advertising service are mentioned as well. The USTR hopes that by highlighting the threats, platform operators or foreign authorities will take action.

        • Nintendo Is Beginning To Look Like The Disney Of The Video Game Industry

          Techdirt, and myself specifically, have had an awful lot to say about Nintendo. To be fair to me, not every post I write about the company is negative. But to be fair to anyone with a pair of eyeballs, much of it certainly has been negative. I find that the company prioritizes control of every last ounce of its IP over its own customers and fans, that the company behaves in a manner so aloof as to be almost comical, and that the company seems perfectly willing to break the entire concept of the American copyright system incentives by combatting all forms of "piracy" or use of its IP while also being perfectly willing to silo that IP in places where the public simply cannot legitimately access it.

        • How Our Convoluted Copyright Regime Explains Why Spotify Chose Joe Rogan Over Neil Young

          Spotify’s decision to hitch its star to podcaster and font-of-COVID-misinformation Joe Rogan has sparked a wave of pushback from musicians, some of whom--among them Neil Young, India Arie, and Joni Mitchell--have pulled their music from Spotify in protest. Spotify, for its part, has stood firmly by Rogan.€ 

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