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05.28.16

Links 28/5/2016: Wine 1.9.11, New Gentoo

Posted in News Roundup at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Java Fair Game, Millennium Bug, Open Source DNA

    The top story today was the court decision in Oracle vs Google for copyright infringement. Everyone is celebrating but Oracle. In other news Phoronix.com reported today that Linus is questioning the benefits of new Y2038 patches and Bryan Lunduke said that Open Source has been in our DNA since cave painting days. The Open Source Initiative released an Open Source License API and The Document Foundation posted a video explaining The Document Liberation Project.

  • Open-source vs. Proprietary – Keeping Ideology Out of the Equation

    Most users of software sensibly employ a mixture of software tools that span open-source, closed-source, proprietary, ‘free’ and in-house. Many modern software developers also decide to use a hybrid of open-source and proprietary models within an integrated code-base. Advocating either open-source only, or commercial only, software dogmas are both narrow-minded and unhelpful in allowing the researcher or the business the freedom to deliver the best outcomes.

  • Genode OS 16.05 Adds Rust Support, Updated Device Drivers

    Genode OS 16.05 has been released, the research Opearing System Framework project that’s been making very good progress over the years and has a loyal open-source following.

    Genode OS 16.05 has a new API for implementing Genode components, improved documentation, all ported Linux kernel drivers were re-based to their state from Linux 4.4.3, added support for the Rust programming language, new ACPI features, and support for using GDB with the 64-bit version of their NOVA hypervisor.

  • Twitter open-sources Heron for real-time stream analytics

    Heron, the real-time stream-processing system Twitter devised as a replacement for Apache Storm, is finally being open-sourced after powering Twitter for more than two years.

    Twitter explained in a blog post that it created Heron because it needed more than speed and scale from its real-time stream processing framework. The company also needed easier debugging, easier deployment and management capabilities, and the ability to work well in a shared, multitenant cluster environment.

  • ONF to Release Guidelines for Deploying Secure SDN Controllers

    The Open Networking Foundation’s security working group is preparing to release guidelines for designing and deploying secure software-defined networking (SDN) controllers. The guidelines are currently in review and will be published in June, according to Sandra Scott-Hayward, vice chair of ONF’s security project.

  • What sets PatternFly apart from Bootstrap?

    Last June, Opensource.com gave readers a behind the scenes look of PatternFly, how it came to be, and why developers should know about the project. This time around, I thought it was important to hear from the people who are actually using PatternFly. This series aims to learn more about PatternFly through the eyes of the developer.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Sun, sea, and open source: How Spain’s Balearic islands are trying to turn into a tech paradise

      However, work remains to be done, especially on civil servants’ desktops. “We started by replacing MSN Office”, explains Villoslada. “Thanks to free office suite LibreOffice 5, we may overcome compatibility problems with documents coming in from different versions of MSN Office. We already have 1,000 Office licenses which are not necessary anymore, and we plan not to renew over 5,500 licenses purchased in 2007″, he adds.

    • The Document Liberation Project: What we do

      While The Document Foundation is best known for LibreOffice, it also backs the Document Liberation Project. But what exactly is that? We’ve made a short video to explain all…

  • Education

    • Using Open Source Software, Powering Potential and the Raspberry Pi Foundation Bring Technology to Schools in Tanzania

      Thanks to open source, Powering Potential and the Raspberry Pi Foundation are able to bring computers and a library of digital education content to rural schools in the East African nation of Tanzania. Recently, the Foundation funded a project now distributing Raspberry Pi computers with uploaded educational content alongside portable projectors and screens to 56 schools across the Zanzibar archipelago and two mainland regions of Tanzania. The Segal Family Foundation also provided matching funds, which enables the project to give computer training as well.

      With a five-fold increase in the number of students in the decade following 2003, the nation is struggling to provide more schools, classrooms, teachers, desks, and textbooks. Yet whenever you visit rural secondary schools in Tanzania, you will find eager girls and boys in roughly equal numbers outfitted in uniforms with ready smiles.

    • EBSCO Information Services Continues to Support Open Source Technology for Libraries

      EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) continues to provide support in advocating open source and open access. EBSCO has agreed to provide additional financial support to Koha, the world’s first full-featured, free open source Integrated Library System (ILS) that is used worldwide by more than 15,000 libraries of all types.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Study: Sweden should boost open source competence

      Sweden should bolster its competence on the use of open source and open standards in public administrations, a study for the country’s Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation recommends. Public administrations must also be required to consider switching to free and open source alternatives, when procuring ICT solutions, and justify why they continue to use proprietary software.

    • Amen! Sweden Will Prefer FLOSS
    • Italy to develop 3-year government ICT strategy

      Italy will define a three-year ICT strategy for public administrations, Antonio Samaritans, General Director of the country’s Agency for the Digitalisation of the Public Sector (Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale, AGID), announced this week. This includes the development of information systems that can be used by all public administrations, the agency announced in a statement.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • SuperTux Returns, Proprietary Open Source & More…

      Also included: Google in a TKO over Oracle, four distro releases and Microsoft’s latest trick to force Windows 10 upgrades.

    • An intro to Linux commands, the EU’s open source mathematics toolbox, and more news
    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open source wifi enabled 3D printer controller Franklin speeds up with new release

        3D printing hit the mainstream a few years ago thanks in part to the open-source 3D printer market. The origins of this transition had to do with expiring patents held by the traditionally held commercial 3D printing companies. Since then, several small businesses have sprung up around the emerging low-cost 3D printer market. Some of these companies embraced the open-source mentality, while others are seeking shelter with patents.

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: Open-Source Myoelectric Hand Prosthesis

        Hands can grab things, build things, communicate, and we control them intuitively with nothing more than a thought. To those who miss a hand, a prosthesis can be a life-changing tool for carrying out daily tasks. We are delighted to see that [Alvaro Villoslada] joined the Hackaday Prize with his contribution to advanced prosthesis technology: Dextra, the open-source myoelectric hand prosthesis.

      • BCN3D Technologies releases open source files for BCN3D Sigma 3D printer

        As our readers will know, an important part of the 3D printing community is the idea of accessibility. Of course, it is more than just an idea, as everyday makers around the world share their 3D designs and models for free, and even 3D printing companies exercise an open-source philosophy with DIY 3D printers and accessible models. Recently, Barcelona based 3D printer developer BCN3D Technologies decided to further embrace the additive manufacturing open-source philosophy with their latest initiative, Open Source 360º. As part of the initiative, the company has announced that it will share all of its engineering, design, and fabrication information used in the manufacturing of their flagship product, the BCN3D Sigma 3D printer.

      • Shellmo: Aquatic 3D printed robot for fun and education

        Recently I came across a very interesting open hardware project called Shellmo. What caught my eye was that it’s a 3D printed crustacean that seems to have no apparent real world use, though with a little creativity I can see educational implications.

        Shellmo is a unique, almost cartoon-like creatures that could captivate the imagination of children while at the same time affording them an opportunity to 3D print their own robot. With the current emphasis on STEM in education, Shellmo appears to be the kind of project that would stimulate student interest.

  • Programming/Networking

    • 10 Best Cheat Sheets That A Programmer Must Have
    • Thoughts on JSRs, TCKs, and Open Source

      In the Java EE umbrella every piece of technology is standardized under a JSR (Java Specification Request). The Expert Groups of the JSRs have to deliver the specification, a Reference Implementation, and a TCK (Technology Compatibility Kit). For most of the JSRs, the TCK is licensed as closed-source software and is not available for the public.

    • Omniscient DevOps? JFrog introduces Xray
    • Ciena Intros Blue Planet DevOps Toolkit for SDN/NFV

      The kit consists of a set of software development tools and community resources that allow operators to integrate network resources such as devices, functions, or domains (physical or virtual), as well as customize service templates, with the Blue Planet Network and Service Orchestration software.

    • Devops: A Culture or Concrete Activity?

      In traditional software development, the professionals who were responsible for building a company’s applications were referred to as development. The team that tested the applications was QA management. At this point, the program would be handed off to operations, which would then be responsible for maintenance and update management.

    • Rise of Open Cloud Architectures and Over-the-Top Network Services
    • Vodafone Demands More From NFV Vendors

      Big Communications Event — Vodafone is making significant progress towards the implementation of its Ocean virtualization strategy but is still encountering some significant challenges as it works with the vendor community on its plans.

      That was one of the key messages from the Vodafone’s head of SDN and NFV, David Amzallag, during his keynote presentation at the Big Communications Event (BCE) here this week.

    • SD-WAN Demands Different Network Monitoring

      ThousandEyes, a company that does network monitoring, says software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) is making visibility more difficult, so it has created agent-to-agent tests to make it easier to pinpoint issues in both the forward and reverse paths.

Leftovers

  • Your Vote at the EU Referendum Will Determine Our Future

    The EU referendum on June 23 will be one of the most significant decisions British citizens will ever have to make. The outcome will affect how the UK is governed, national security, the economy, human rights, the environment, culture… every aspect of our lives. It will define what it means to be British and could alter this country’s relationship with the world for generations to come.

  • The BBC and British branding

    The corporation’s claims to the public and to neutrality are crucial for the British state and its power across the globe.

  • Science

    • USA Today Fail: Trump Science Column by Corporate Front Group

      USA Today fell to a new low in science and election coverage this week with a column speculating about presidential candidate Donald Trump’s science agenda, written by two members of a corporate front group that was not identified as a corporate front group.

      The column, “Would President Trump Be a Science Guy?”, was authored by Hank Campbell and Alex Berezow of the American Council on Science and Health, a group that promotes various corporate agendas via its science commentaries while secretly receiving significant funding from corporations, according to leaked documents reported by Mother Jones.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Climate Change Could Be Poisoning Your Food

      By now, it’s fairly well-established that climate change is going to be a major challenge for food production.

      Rising temperatures are set to severely damage crop yields, lessen the nutritional value of important crops, and make large portions of the planet inhospitable to crop production. And some studies argue that it won’t be easy to innovate our way out of these problems, with data suggesting that developed countries have a more difficult time maintaining yields during droughts and heat waves — two things set to increase with climate change — than developing countries.

    • Ross Eisenbrey on Overtime Pay, Patty Lovera on Monsanto Protests

      This week on CounterSpin: “Federal Regulations Work Overtime to Kill American Prosperity”—you see what they did there; that’s Reason magazine on new Labor Department rules that mean more people will get overtime pay when they, well, work overtime. We’ll get a different take from Ross Eisenbrey of the Economic Policy Institute.

    • For Many of Connecticut’s Disabled, Home Is Where the Harm Is

      The woman was sent to a Connecticut emergency room 19 times in 15 months. Her injuries were ghastly. She swallowed pieces of razor blades. She burned herself. She inserted pins, nails, metal can lids and other objects inside her vagina and rectum.

      She was developmentally disabled; living in a group home overseen by Connecticut state authorities. Each of her injuries should have been investigated by the state. None of them were.

      The woman’s experience is part of a federal report formally released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General. Hers were among more than 300 emergency room visits examined by federal investigators between January 2012 and June 2014.

    • Stung by Yelp Reviews, Health Providers Spill Patient Secrets

      The vast majority of reviews on Yelp are positive. But in trying to respond to critical ones, some doctors, dentists and chiropractors appear to be violating the federal patient privacy law known as HIPAA.

    • Woman found to harbor infection resistant to antibiotic of last resort

      For the first time, doctors have diagnosed an American with an infection that can’t be treated with an antibiotic of last resort, an ominous development in the battle against antibiotic resistance, according to a new study.

      The antibiotic, colistin, is used when infections become impervious to all other drugs, including a class of antibiotics called carbapenems. Colistin, which was approved in the 1950s, fell out of favor in the 1970s because of its toxicity. Doctors have resumed using it when nothing else works.

      In the past six months or so, scientists have found bacteria that are resistant to colistin in more than two dozen countries, said study co-author Patrick McGann, a senior microbiologist at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Given the danger of colistin-resistant bacteria, doctors at Walter Reed decided to begin testing samples from the U.S.

    • The superbug that doctors have been dreading just reached the U.S.

      Colistin is the antibiotic of last resort for particularly dangerous types of superbugs, including a family of bacteria known as CRE, which health officials have dubbed “nightmare bacteria.” In some instances, these superbugs kill up to 50 percent of patients who become infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called CRE among the country’s most urgent public health threats.

    • Dreaded ‘Nightmare Bacteria’ Resistant to All Antibiotics Is Finally Here

      A so-called superbug immune to all antibiotics was discovered for the first time in a person in the U.S., reports a study published Thursday in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

      The discovery “heralds the emergence of a truly pan-drug resistant bacteria,” the study’s authors warned.

    • German Cops Bust Dude Who Bought Weed on Silk Road Years Ago

      We’ve seen plenty of high profile and often technical busts on dark web sites targeting dealers, users, and administrators. In a recent case, German cops tracked down a marketplace user who placed orders for just a few grams of cannabis at a time, three years ago.

      A German user of the original Silk Road and another dark web market was recently fined over €3,000 for ordering cannabis 17 times, according to independent researcher Gwern Branwen. Branwen said in a Reddit post that the buyer contacted him recently. He also uploaded an apparent March 2016 letter from German law authorities detailing the transactions. (Names and other information have been redacted from the letter, so Motherboard was unable to contact its supposed recipient).

    • Big Pharma Sells Risky Meds We Don’t Need for Disorders It Made Up That We Don’t Have

      “Intermittent explosive disorder.” “Overactive bladder disorder.” Professional medical societies and paid drug industry researchers have loaded society up with new definitions of alleged ill health from which drug companies can profit when millions of otherwise well people are labeled as ailing.

      “In 2003 and again in 2010,” for example, write MedPage Today editor Kristina Fiore and Milwaukee Journal reporter John Fauber, “the American Diabetes Association tinkered with the definition of a condition known as prediabetes, which independent doctors say is an unneeded label that has led to overtreatment with drugs, exposing patients to risks without proof of real benefit.”

      “The changes, which twice lowered the threshold for hemoglobin A1C, increased the number of people fitting the diagnosis from 17 million to 87 million. Indeed, a March report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research estimated that 46% of Californians—13 million people—had prediabetes.”

      “A Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today investigation found the ADA has long received more than $7 million in current annual funding. In addition, nine of the 14 experts who authored the 2010 change worked as speakers, consultants or advisers to companies that marketed diabetes medicines.”

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Judge Says The FBI Can Keep Its Hacking Tool Secret, But Not The Evidence Obtained With It

      Michaud hasn’t had the case against him dismissed, but the government will now have to rely on evidence it didn’t gain access to by using its illegal search. And there can’t be much of that, considering the FBI had no idea who Michaud was or where he resided until after the malware-that-isn’t-malware had stripped away Tor’s protections and revealed his IP address.

      The FBI really can’t blame anyone but itself for this outcome. Judge Bryan may have agreed that the FBI had good reason to keep its technique secret, but there was nothing preventing the FBI from voluntarily turning over details on its hacking tool to Michaud. But it chose not to, despite his lawyer’s assurance it would maintain as much of the FBI’s secrecy as possible while still defending his client.

      Judge Bryan found the FBI’s ex parte arguments persuasive and declared the agency could keep the info out of Michaud’s hands. But doing so meant the judicial playing field was no longer level, as he acknowledged in his written ruling. Fortunately, the court has decided it’s not going to allow the government to have its secrecy cake and eat it, too. If it wants to deploy exploits with minimal judicial oversight, then it has to realize it can’t successfully counter suppression requests with vows of silence.

    • Researcher Pockets $30,000 in Chrome Bounties

      Having cashed in earlier in May to the tune of $15,500, Mlynski pocketed another $30,000 courtesy of Google’s bug bounty program after four high-severity vulnerabilities were patched in the Chrome browser, each worth $7,500 to the white-hat hacker.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Cornel West Accuses Israeli PM Netanyahu of “War Crimes”

      Meanwhile, racial justice scholar and activist Cornel West, who is one of Bernie Sanders’ five appointees to the Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee, has accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “war crimes” in the continued occupation of Palestinian territories. This comes as Netanyahu moves his government even further to the right with the addition of the right-wing nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party. Professor West and another Sanders appointee, James Zogby, are looking to incorporate opposition to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories into the Democratic Party platform when the drafting committee meets at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

    • Risks of Citizens Suing Foreign Governments

      Well-meaning legislation would permit 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in the terror attacks but the principle of individuals suing foreign governments is fraught with problems, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Peace Activist and Holocaust Survivor Hedy Epstein Dies at 91

      Holocaust survivor and peace activist Hedy Epstein has died at the age of 91. Epstein was born in Germany and left in 1939 on a Kindertransport to England. Her parents died in Auschwitz. She later returned to Germany to work as a research analyst for the prosecution during the Nuremberg trials. She was involved in civil rights and antiwar movements throughout her life. In 2011, she was part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and was a passenger on the U.S.-flagged ship, The Audacity of Hope. She was a frequent guest on Democracy Now! She first appeared on the program in 2009, as she and other activists were planning for the Gaza Freedom March.

    • “I Want the World to Wake Up”: Hiroshima Survivor Criticizes Obama for Pushing New Nuclear Weapons

      Extended interview with Setsuko Thurlow, who survived the Hiroshima atomic bombing, about the bombing of 1945 and her push to eliminate nuclear weapons. On August 6, 1945, Thurlow was at school in Hiroshima when the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb on a civilian population. She has been an anti-nuclear activist for decades.

    • Imperialism’s Junior Partners

      On May 12, Brazil’s democratic government, led by the Workers’ Party (PT), was the victim of a coup. What will the other BRICS countries (Russia, India, China, and South Africa) do?

      Will they stand by as the reactionaries who took power in Brasilia pivot closer to Western powers, glad to warm Dilma Rousseff’s seat at the BRICS summit in Goa, India in five months’ time? Or take a stronger line, following the lead of Latin American progressive countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador)?

      Here in South Africa, few expect Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC) government to react constructively on the international stage. Making waves isn’t likely at a time when Standard & Poors and Fitch are on a South Africa visit, deciding whether to downgrade the country’s credit rating to “junk” status, as happened in Brazil late last year.

      This is a shame because the last two weeks have offered excellent opportunities for diplomatic rebellion: revelations have emerged implicating the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in assisting the apartheid state’s 1962 arrest and twenty-seven-year imprisonment of Nelson Mandela. This isn’t exactly surprising; the State Department did keep Mandela on its terrorist watch list until 2008.

    • Senator Scolds Obama for “Preaching Nuclear Temperance From a Bar Stool”

      While President Obama called for a “moral awakening” in Hiroshima and restated his ambition for a nuclear-weapon free future, back in Washington, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., criticized him for moving forward with a costly plan to renovate the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

      “The U.S. cannot preach nuclear temperance from a bar stool,” Markey wrote in a Boston Globe opinion piece.

      Obama’s Hiroshima speech was reminiscent of the one he gave in Prague, only three months into his presidency, when he announced that he would “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

      In 2010, he negotiated a treaty that limited the U.S. and Russia to 1,550 deployed, strategic nuclear weapons each.

      But that was as far as he would go. Obama is set to maintain the U.S. arsenal of 1,528 deployed warheads — almost half of which are on 30-minute alert — despite a 2013 White House assessment that he could safely reduce the U.S. arsenal by a third.

    • On President Obama’s Hiroshima Visit

      President Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima since the bombing 71 years ago in 1945.

      Japan seeks not an apology or reparation but an awareness and intimate connection to the common humanity we all share and that is at once threatened by the continued existence of nuclear weapons.

      Any nation that continues to keep these weapons is not more secure or powerful but rather a bully ready to threaten others and indeed themselves.

    • Defending Israel’s Attacks on Civilians—A Harbinger for Clinton’s Presidency?

      Going well beyond the normal “pro-Israel” rhetoric expected of American politicians, she has defended Israeli attacks on heavily-populated civilian areas as legitimate self-defense against terrorism, even in cases where the Obama administration and members of Congress—including Sanders—have raised objections.

      Her statements raise serious questions as to what kind of rules of engagement she would support for U.S. forces in the “War on Terror.”

    • The Brazilian Coup and Washington’s “Rollback” in Latin America

      It is clear that the executive branch of the U.S. government favors the coup underway in Brazil, even though they have been careful to avoid any explicit endorsement of it. Exhibit A was the meeting between Tom Shannon, the 3rd ranking U.S. State Department official and the one who is almost certainly in charge of handling this situation, with Senator Aloysio Nunes, one of the leaders of the impeachment in the Brazilian Senate, on April 20. By holding this meeting just three days after the Brazilian lower house voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, Shannon was sending a signal to governments and diplomats throughout the region and the world that Washington is more than ok with the impeachment. Nunes returned the favor this week by leading an effort (he is chair of the Brazilian Senate Foreign Relations Committee) to suspend Venezuela from Mercosur, the South American trade bloc.

    • Silencing America as it prepares for war

      Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention. The great counter revolution had begun.

      The first to be assassinated that year, Martin Luther King, had dared link the suffering of African-Americans and the people of Vietnam. When Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, she spoke perhaps unconsciously for millions of America’s victims in faraway places.

      “We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom. Now don’t you forget it.” So said a National Parks Service guide as I filmed last week at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. He was addressing a school party of young teenagers in bright orange T-shirts. As if by rote, he inverted the truth about Vietnam into an unchallenged lie.

      The millions of Vietnamese who died and were maimed and poisoned and dispossessed by the American invasion have no historical place in young minds, not to mention the estimated 60,000 veterans who took their own lives. A friend of mine, a marine who became a paraplegic in Vietnam, was often asked, “Which side did you fight on?”

    • Washington Uses US Troops As Lab Rats

      Civilians, not soldiers, are always the vast majority of war’s casualties. People die not for freedom and democracy but in order for armaments manufacturers to make large fortunes. General Smedley Butler said that his US Marines died for the sake of the profits of the United Fruit Company and some lousy bank investment—truth that you never hear on Memorial Day or July 4th.

    • Ticking Closer to Nuclear Midnight

      President Obama embraced Japanese survivors of the Hiroshima bomb, but his policies, such as heightening tensions with Russia, have raised the potential for a far worse nuclear catastrophe, explains Jonathan Marshall.

    • During Historic Hiroshima Visit, Obama Didn’t Apologize, but Here’s What He Could’ve Said

      With President Obama’s historic visit Friday to Hiroshima, he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Japanese city that was the target (some might say victim) of the first atomic bombing, in August 1945. Many Japanese, and most people in the world, consider Hiroshima to be a milestone in human history, a chilling symbol of how science and technology, capable of such creativity and creation, can also deliver terrible forms of destruction and cruelty. Of course, the bar for his speech, at the city’s Peace Memorial Park, was set very high.

    • NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes

      Liberals and left-leaning individuals in the U.S. trust NPR more than any other news outlet. And, I certainly consume NPR news more than any other mainstream source, usually listening to it at least twice daily, though I abhor its coverage of international events. For these reasons, and with the reader’s forbearance, I have chosen to single NPR out to look at how we in the U.S. are collectively misled into ignoring or accepting our own government’s atrocities.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The New State Department Report on Hillary’s Email, and Why it Matters

      The State Department Inspector General’s (IG) investigation report leaked out a day early on May 25 makes a number of significant points. These matter, and need to be considered by anyone voting in November.

      [...]

      The other shoe has yet to drop. Though the Inspectors General from the intelligence community have stated unequivocally that Clinton did handle highly classified material on her unsecured server, the FBI report on the same matter has not yet been released.

      For those who wish to defend Clinton with the “but everybody did it” argument, Condoleezza Rice did not send any emails on any unsecured system at all. Powell and Albright sent a handful in the early days of the web. All of them cooperated in the State IG investigation. None of them ran a fully private system for four years and most importantly, none of them are asking us to trust them now running for president.

      If your support is whittle down to a sad Hillary is down to “well, she’s not Trump,” do be careful what you wish for. She’s not Trump, but she is all of the above.

      [...]

      BONUS: If Bernie Sanders will not discuss any of this publically, he does not want to be president.

    • Did the Clinton Email Server Have an Internet-Based Printer?

      The Associated Press today points to a remarkable footnote in a recent State Department inspector general report on the Hillary Clinton email scandal: The mail was managed from the vanity domain “clintonemail.com.” But here’s a potentially more explosive finding: A review of the historic domain registration records for that domain indicates that whoever built the private email server for the Clintons also had the not-so-bright idea of connecting it to an Internet-based printer.

    • MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinksi: It Feels Like Hillary Clinton ‘Is Lying Straight Out’

      MSNBC hosts and analysts severely and unanimously criticized Hillary Clinton on Thursday after the Obama-appointed inspector general of the State Department that she once led published a damning report contradicting her repeated claims that she was allowed to conduct official correspondence on a private email server.

      The rebuke is remarkable because with a few exceptions MSNBC has treated Clinton favorably in the 2016 primaries.

      “I really don’t want to be the one delivering this, but I’ve got to tell you, this is really hard to believe. It feels like she’s lying straight out,” host Mika Brzezinski said in a discussion on “Morning Joe.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • G7 Wants to Kill Fossil Fuel Subsidies by 2025, But We Could Do It ‘Twice as Fast’

      For the first time, the G7 has set an actual deadline for ending massive fossil fuel subsidies: the year 2025.

      But while it’s great to “finally have an endgame for these perverse incentives,” as Overseas Development Institute research fellow Shelagh Whitley wrote on Friday, “we could easily get there twice as fast.

    • In Oil-Soaked Niger Delta, ‘Avengers’ Bombing Pipelines in Struggle for Compensation

      In the oil-rich Niger delta, where communities suffer “enormous” effects from decades of spills, a militant group claiming responsibility for a spate of attacks on oil infrastructure now appears to have the backing of some community members.

      The group, Niger Delta Avengers, whose links and sponsors are unclear, said it was responsible for blowing up Chevron’s main electricity power line, which grounded the oil giant’s activities in Nigeria, the company said Thursday, while another attack on a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline took place late Thursday.

      The Avengers, the Guardian reports, “say they are fighting to protect the environment and to win locals a bigger share of the profits.”

    • Hillary Clinton Tried to Push Fracking on Other Nations When She Was Secretary of State, New Emails Reveal

      Emails obtained by The Intercept from the State Department reveal new details of Hillary Clinton’s behind-the-scenes efforts to export fracking—a method of extracting oil and natural gas from underground shale deposits—to foreign countries during her tenure as Secretary of State. The emails, acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request, could be particularly damning in light of Clinton’s recent attempts to ally herself with the anti-fracking movement.

    • Fox’s Special Report Claims Scientific Consensus On Climate Change Is “Subject Of Vigorous Debate”
    • Greenwashing or Progress? Exxon Shareholders Issue Calls for Climate Accountability

      At ExxonMobil’s annual shareholder meeting in Dallas this week, activist shareholders and investors demanded the company own up to its deceptive practices regarding climate disruption and begin to implement adaptations and regulations to mitigate climate disruption’s impacts.

    • Exxon investors aim to force reckoning with impact of climate change policies

      Group of largest shareholders will vote for resolution calling on firm to publish annual assessment of business impact of policies such as Paris Agreement

    • New Team Trying to Stop Another Year of Massive Indonesian Wildfires

      Indonesian organizations are teaming up for the massive task of preventing forest and ground fires that blanket the region in haze every year during the dry season.

      Last year, fires in the peatland forest of Sumatra and Kalimantan created an environmental crisis due to an extended drought and El Nino weather conditions.

      In Palangkaraya, the Central Kalimantan capital, the haze was so bad schools and businesses closed and thousands suffered respiratory and eye problems.

    • Australia’s Removal From UN Climate Change Report Labelled ‘Scientific Censorship’
    • Censorship of UN climate report to edit out Great Barrier Reef leaves questions for Hunt
    • Australia cut from UN report on climate threat to avoid damaging reef tourism
    • Coalition’s great big climate hoax turns to outright denial

      The far right of the Coalition has maintained enormous ideological discipline to insist – in the face of ever mounting evidence to the contrary – that climate science is a giant hoax.

      That climate denial – still evident in most of the conservative rump of the party, even if Barnaby Joyce now wonders if “climate change might be real” after staring at a dry creek bed on his family property – has now seeped through to everyday government.

      Two events this week highlight how this ideological intransigence retains its hold over the Turnbull administration.

    • Aust pressure gets reef cut from UN report

      Australia has pressured a United Nations agency into removing the Great Barrier Reef from a report detailing climate change risks on world heritage sites.

      That’s despite mass bleaching at the world’s largest coral reef, which scientists strongly link to global warming.

      Australia is not mentioned in the 87-page UNESCO report that lists other sites in the Asia-Pacific region and which says coral reefs are “particularly vulnerable” to climate change.

    • Stonehenge and Statue of Liberty ‘in direct and immediate danger’ from climate change

      Some of the world’s most famous heritage sites – from the Statue of Liberty and Venice to the Galapagos Islands – are threatened by climate change , a report has warned.

    • Solar Surges: Renewable Energy Jobs Topped 8 Million in 2015

      On the heels of clean fuel milestones in Germany and Portugal , a new report finds that the renewable energy industry employed over 8.1 million people worldwide in 2015.

      According to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) annual review, that figure marks a 5% increase from the previous year. China led the pack, accounting for 3.5 million jobs. Brazil and U.S. ranked second and third, respectively, for the highest number of renewable energy jobs.

    • Sanders, Warren Blast Republican Efforts to Derail #ExxonKnew Probe

      Republican efforts to stifle any federal inquiry involving climate change should be considered “Exhibit A among the reasons why the Department of Justice should take a full and honest look at possible fraud in the fossil fuel industry’s climate denial operation,” leading progressive senators said Thursday in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

      The letter from Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) provides a counterpoint to a separate missive (pdf) issued Wednesday by five Republican senators including Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

      That letter called on Lynch to drop any federal investigations into whether oil companies like ExxonMobil committed fraud when they worked to downplay the science and impact of climate change. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has suggested it is considering such a probe.

    • Climate damage threatens heritage sites

      Scientists warn that some of the jewels in the crown of the world’s natural and man-made treasures face decay and destruction because of climate change.

    • UN World Heritage Sites Imperiled by Climate Change, New Report Warns

      From the city of Venice to the Statue of Liberty, dozens of natural and cultural World Heritage sites in 29 countries are under direct threat from climate change, warns a shocking new report from UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

    • Arizona’s Getting Hotter, But State Leaders Oppose Solutions

      On average, 2,000 Arizonans visit the emergency room because of heat-related illnesses every year. Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse because it’s only getting hotter. This April was just named the hottest on record, making it the 12th consecutive month to break a temperature record. Last year was named the hottest year on record, and at this pace 2016 is set to top it. This week, the Obama administration recognized Extreme Heat Week — something Arizonans have become well-acquainted with in recent years.

  • Finance

    • Yanis Varoufakis talks about Privatization, Human Rights & Capitalism with acTVism Munich

      In this interview with the former finance minister of Greece and founder of DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025), Yanis Varoufakis, a host of issues are discussed which include privatization, human rights, media, his experience with the EU and capitalism’s ability to reform.

    • The leaning tower of TISA

      The news out of Geneva on Thursday is that multiple countries participating in the Trade in Services Agreement aren’t happy with the European Union. At a meeting where the EU presented its latest market offer, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Colombia, Peru, Australia and New Zealand all complained about the level of market access the EU is offering, according to senior officials involved with the talks.

    • Twitter loses two more top execs, reportedly dissolves commerce division
    • Two Top Execs Leaving Twitter
    • America’s Worst Laid Plans

      The U.S. government seeks to impose neo-liberal economics on the world even though those “free-market” policies funnel global wealth to a tiny fraction at the top, cause widespread despair and spark political turmoil, Michael Brenner explains.

    • Protests Intensify, Spread Across France as Workers Refuse Submission

      Amid ongoing blockades and intensifying clashes with police, protests against President François Hollande’s controversial set of labor reforms deepened on Thursday as workers in France’s nuclear plants joined the hundreds of thousands of people taking part in a nationwide strike.

      Fueled by “a groundswell of public anger,” as the Associated Press put it, the strikes have already shut down France’s gas stations forced the country to dip into reserve petrol supplies.

      “After oil refinery shutdowns, ” Euronews reports, “Thursday’s strikes at nuclear sites have taken the stand-off one stage further. Power cuts are not expected but tension is growing as France prepares to host the Euro 2016 football tournament in two weeks time.”

    • In Nine Democratic Debates, Not a Single Question About Poverty

      Over 45 million Americans live in poverty—but you wouldn’t think potential leaders of the country are expected to know or care anything about this, listening to the questions asked by the elite journalists who moderated the Democratic debates this primary season.

      A FAIR analysis of all nine democratic debates over the past seven months shows that not one question was asked about poverty. By contrast, 30 questions were asked about ISIS or terrorism (almost half of them concentrated in the December 19 debate, which took place days after the San Bernardino shootings) and 11 questions were asked Russia. Ten questions were asked about socialism or communism, all of which were directed at Bernie Sanders.

      The candidates themselves have brought up poverty, either in their prepared remarks or in response to more abstract questions about the economy. Sanders brought up poverty in all but two debates, broaching the topic 12 times, or approximately 1.3 times per debate. Clinton brought up the issue five times in total, or a little more than once every other debate.

    • Wells Fargo Sponsorship of Black Lives Matter Panel Draws Scorn

      Wells Fargo’s sordid practice of steering minorities into exploitative mortgages burst into public view after the housing crash in 2008. But to a black business group the bank has partnered with — by donating nearly half a million dollars — it’s ancient history.

    • ‘On Like Donkey Kong’: How a Dubious Super PAC Boosted a Questionable Penny Stock

      A little more than a year ago, Hillary Clinton’s imminent entry into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination was setting off political and financial ripples around the country. One of the most unlikely was a spike in the stock price of an obscure Las Vegas company that once built tables for beer pong.

      The company, CrossClick Media, had been issuing press releases for months, saying it had won a contract to run call centers and other services for a super PAC called Voters for Hillary. Getting hired by the PAC was “a milestone” for CrossClick and would lead to growing revenue “predicated largely on Ms. Clinton becoming a Presidential candidate and the Company pursuing other clients for our services,” the firm’s chief executive had declared in December 2014.

      Excited posts about CrossClick’s bright future started filling Internet message boards popular with investors in so-called penny stocks, which, like CrossClick, trade for less than five dollars per share.

      “Soon the 1st lady announces her candidacy and it’s on like Donkey Kong,” read a comment posted March 28, 2015, on a site called InvestorsHub. “Hope you have some shares :)”

      Days after Clinton announced, a person with the same user name wrote, “We are in the midst of our biggest gain day yet. You’re close to changing your life, so hang tight! XCLK is the new hot riser!”

    • Even the IMF—the IMF!—Turns on Neoliberalism

      New paper by three IMF economists finds that policies of capital account liberalization and austerity fuel inequality, which in turn hurts growth—”the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting.”

    • Hillary Clinton Won’t Say How Much Goldman Sachs CEO Invested With Her Son-in-Law

      When Hillary Clinton’s son-in-law sought funding for his new hedge fund in 2011, he found financial backing from one of the biggest names on Wall Street: Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

      The fund, called Eaglevale Partners, was founded by Chelsea Clinton’s husband, Marc Mezvinsky, and two of his partners. Blankfein not only personally invested in the fund, but allowed his association with it to be used in the fund’s marketing.

    • Emails Show TPP ‘Collusion’ Between Big Banks & Obama Administration

      A series of emails released Friday show what activists describe as “collusion” between U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Wall Street executives to push for the passage the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

      The emails (pdf), obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the group Rootstrikers, which organizes against money in politics, include a message to Froman from a managing director at Goldman Sachs urging him to push for “robust commitments” on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions—which allow private corporations to sue governments for perceived loss of profits—to be included in the divisive trade deal.

      “I wanted to underscore how important it is for the financial services industry to get robust commitments on ISDS in the agreement… denying our industry the same rights as enjoyed by every other sector would be terribly unfortunate,” the email states.

      Another mentions it would be “good for the U.S.” if lawmakers in U.S. Congress passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as “fast track,” which would allow the president to send trade deals to the House and Senate for a yes-or-no vote, rather than allowing them to make amendments to the agreements.

    • Economic Update: Listen, Professor Krugman

      This episode discusses ride-share companies, the latest from the pope and evidence against Professor Paul Krugman’s rosy view of inequality. We also examine why markets shouldn’t undermine a co-op-based economy, and European leaders’ failed policies on Greece.

    • Sanders Has Always Wanted to Debate Trump—or Any Other Representative of the ‘Billionaire Class’

      Bernie Sanders relishes ripping on Donald Trump, describing the billionaire as “someone who must never become president of this country.”

      No surprise there.

      Sanders has run his entire 2016 presidential campaign in opposition to plutocracy, oligarchy, and billionaire-dominated politics—proudly declaring that his run is paid for by small donors and “not the billionaires.” In fact, Sanders has run his entire political career in opposition to plutocracy, oligarchy, and billionaire-dominated politics. He has, as well, spent decades critiquing a media system that pays more attention to “lifestyles of the rich and famous” celebrity than the real-world issues facing working-class Americans. That’s made Trump, a billionaire byproduct of the media’s cult of celebrity, a preferred target for the senator, who rips the Republican’s rhetoric as “shameful” and complains that “every day he comes up with another stupid remark, absurd remarks.”

    • After Six-Week Strike, Verizon Workers Claim Major Victory as Deal Reached

      After a nearly six-week strike, Verizon workers are celebrating a huge victory on Friday after a deal was reached in principle with the telecom giant that will bring gains for union members and end one of the nation’s largest work stoppages in recent history.

      The deal, announced Friday afternoon by U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, reportedly includes a four-year contract between Verizon and its two biggest unions, CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary’s Gun Gambit

      In their view, and in the view of “liberal” corporate media, Bernie Sanders and the masses of people his campaign has mobilized are merely nuisances, not worth taking seriously. They livened up the primary season for a while, but now they are pointlessly standing in the way of the Queen’s coronation.

    • All Donald Trump’s Men

      Donald Trump claims to fight for the little guy against a rigged system, but the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has turned to political operatives who have scammed money for the rich and powerful, says Michael Winship.

    • Clinton Clinches Democratic Nomination

      MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has revealed that the major television networks plan to call the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton during the day on June 7th — hours prior to the close of polls in California — on the grounds that Clinton has “clinched” the nomination as soon as she crosses the 2,383-delegate threshold via both pledged delegates (who are already committed to her) and super-delegates (who cannot, by Democratic Party rules, commit themselves to her or be tallied until July 25th).

      In other words, as recently indicated by Mark Murray, NBC’s Senior Editor for Politics, the networks will make the news on June 7th rather than report it — as, per the Democratic National Committee, the final and indeed only authority on the tabulation of super-delegates, Clinton cannot clinch the nomination on June 7th unless she wins 78.3 percent of the pledged delegates on that date.

      Which she won’t.

      No more than Sanders will get 70 percent of the pledged delegates on June 7th.

    • Bernie Sanders supporters sue to have California’s voter registration extended until election day

      A federal lawsuit alleging widespread confusion over California’s presidential primary rules asks that voter registration be extended past Monday’s deadline until the day of the state’s primary election on June 7.

      “Mistakes are being made,” said William Simpich, an Oakland civil rights attorney who filed the lawsuit Friday.

    • Bernie Sanders Supporters Sue Over California’s Voter Registration Rules

      William Simpich, an Oakland civil rights attorney, told the L.A. Times, “Mistakes are being made.” As RT notes, there are more than 4.1 million California voters who are registered without a party preference—and it has been shown that independent voters lean toward Sanders.

    • The Arrogant Ignorance of Campbell Brown: Education Journalism in Decline

      TV Networks such as NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo have broadcast various education segments on “Nightly News” and “Today” underwritten by Bill Gates and Eli Broad.

      The Education Writers Association – which boasts more than 3,00 members – receives money from Gates and Walton. The L.A. Times receives funds from Broad for its Education Matters Digital initiative.

      On-line publications also have been infiltrated. The Education Post took $12 million in start-up funds provided by Broad, Bloomberg and the Waltons. The site focuses on “K-12 academic standards, high-quality charter schools and how best to hold teachers and schools accountable for educating students,” according to the Washington Post.

      Even well-respected education blogs including Chalkbeat and Education Week are funded in part by the Waltons (in the latter case, specifically for “coverage of school choice and [so-called] parent-empowerment issues.”) Education Week even tweets out paid advertisements for Teach for America as if they were news stories!

      We’ve all seen “Waiting for Superman,” the infamous union bashing, charter loving propaganda film packaged as a documentary. Its popularity was helped with outreach and engagement funds by the Waltons and a host of other privatizers. It’s far from the only effort by market-driven billionaires to infiltrate popular culture with corporate education reform. They tried to sell the parent trigger law with “Won’t Back Down,” but no one was buying. Efforts continue in Marvel Studios television shows.

      A plethora of teachers, academics and other grassroots bloggers have taken to the Internet to correct the record. But they are often ignored or drowned out by the white noise of the same corporate education reform narratives being told again-and-again without any firm footing in reality. In fact, after blogger and former teacher Anthony Cody won first prize from the Education Writers Association in 2014 for his criticism of Gates, the organization banned bloggers from subsequent consideration.

    • Donald Trump: Caligula of the Lowest Common Denominator Empire?

      If this awful parody of democracy was not tragic for Americans, it would be rather comical. In early December 2010 I wrote a commentary entitled “The US Empire is Collapsing, and Americans Will Be the Last to Know.” In 2016, in the extremely unlikely case Trump gets (s)elected, could he be the Caligula of the new Rome? Even though the process has gained momentum, Americans still do not know that their empire is doomed. They do not know that the United States of America is not a democracy with the Democrats on one side and the Republicans on the other side, but instead a global empire run by oligarchs and plutocrats; most do not know that Bill and Hillary Clinton are good friends with Donald Trump; they do not know that almost all of politicians elected for office are not public servants, but instead are working of the behalf of worldwide corporate interests; Americans do not know that they have been conned for almost four decades into the notion that their vote matters; they do not know that the so called “leader of the free world” is not much more than an anchor man with a law degree reading a teleprompter; they do not know that he doesn’t lead anything, but he is instead the global corporate spokesperson of their enslavement; they refuse to know that they not only live but actively export a police state which still prints on its currency, In God We Trust; they do not know that the corporate empire of chaos, whomever its figurehead is, is joyfully leading us all to oblivion.

    • Advice for Divided Democrats

      It’s true that Bernie’s chances are slim, but it’s inaccurate to say he has no chance. If you consider only pledged delegates, who have been selected in caucuses and primaries, he’s not all that far behind Hillary Clinton. And the upcoming primary in California – the nation’s most populous state – could possibly alter Sanders’s and Clinton’s relative tallies.

    • Bernie and Utopia

      Bernie’s got flaws, no doubt. For instance, he shouldn’t talk about breaking up the banks; he should talk about nationalizing them. And he should talk about nationalizing (or, better yet, internationalizing) more than just that – not to mention debt amnesty. In spite of these shortcomings, however, he’s the only presidential candidate who could, however slightly, help the U.S.A. to clean up its act. Sure, Sanders most likely won’t be able to get much accomplished. At least, though, he’d prevent Clinton or Trump from accomplishing their maniacal plans. And just doing that would help the U.S.A. to clean up its act – even though what we really need is for the U.S.A. to change its act altogether.

    • Sanders Closes in on Clinton Ahead of California Primary

      The timing couldn’t be worse for Clinton, who is losing ground in hypothetical match-ups against the presumed Republican nominee. A Real Clear Politics general election poll from May 24 shows Clinton eking out a win against Trump 43.2 to 42.8. The same poll has Sanders beating Trump by over 10 points.

    • As Sanders Campaigns in California to Change the Democratic Party, How Far Can He Push It?

      Can Bernie Sanders change the Democratic Party from the inside out? Several campaign developments this week have posed that question. The Sanders campaign’s latest TV ad before California’s June 7 primary features Sanders asking, “What choice do Californians have in this election?” His reply, “The biggest one of all. You have the power to choose a new direction for the Democratic Party.”

    • Like Clinton, Trump Chickens Out of Debate with Sanders

      Looks like Donald Trump took a page from Hillary Clinton’s book and chickened out.

      The presumptive GOP presidential nominee said Friday afternoon that he would not debate Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, despite having said one day prior that he’d “love to debate Bernie.”

      Sanders’ rival for the Democratic nomination said earlier this week that she would not participate in a debate with Sanders in California ahead of that state’s primary next month, despite having agreed to do so previously.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • New York City has been shining surveillance lights on its black population for the last 300 years

      There are more than 250,000 streetlights in New York City, and while the recent change to LED bulbs have made them a nuisance for some residents, they don’t make the people whose windows they illuminate feel watched. But some residents of the city’s public housing have recently had to deal with a harsher light shining on them.

    • A Big Win for Women Who Seek Care at Catholic Hospitals in Illinois

      Illinois passes a bill to protect women at religious hospitals that routinely deny care.

    • Heads Up Internet: Time to Kill Another Dangerous CFAA Bill

      The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the federal “anti-hacking” statute, is long overdue for reform. The 1986 law—which was prompted in part by fear generated by the 1983 techno­thriller WarGames—is vague, draconian, and notoriously out of touch with how we use computers today. Unfortunately, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Lindsey Graham are on a mission to make things worse. They’ve proposed (for the second time) legislation that fails to address any of the CFAA’s problems while simply creating more confusion. And they may try to sneak their proposal through as an amendment to the Email Privacy Act—the very same sneaky tactic they tried last year.

      Their latest proposal is ostensibly directed at stopping botnets. It’s even named it the “Botnet Prevention Act of 2016.” But the bill includes various provisions that go far beyond protecting against attacks by zombie computers:

      First, the bill would expand the CFAA’s existing prohibition against selling passwords to trafficking in any “means of access.” The broadening is unnecessary and misguided, as other statutes—like the U.S. code section concerned fraud in connection with access devices—already cover what the authors seem to be targeting. The bill also doesn’t define “means of access,” another sign of its poor drafting. With no guidance, it’s unclear how broadly prosecutors or courts will apply this provision. The provision could make criminals of paid researchers who test access in order to identify, disclose, and fix vulnerabilities.

    • Official RNC Protest Rules Designed to Stifle Demonstrators, Groups Say

      The city of Cleveland’s rules for the Republican National Convention (RNC), released Wednesday, are “unacceptable and far too restrictive,” according to advocacy groups and protest organizers.

      The convention, which runs July 18-21, is expected to attract scores of protesters. For example, a coalition of social justice groups is organizing a large End Poverty Now march for July 18, and a political action group founded by American Muslim doctors and young professionals in the Midwest, Stand Together Against Trump (STAT), is planning for a 10,000-person march and rally in downtown Cleveland on July 21—the day Donald Trump is expected to formally accept the party’s nomination after surpassing the necessary delegates on Thursday.

      According to the Washington Post, “there are at least 10 applications on file for major parades, protests, and news conferences beginning the week before the convention.”

      Politico reports: “The planners of those events insist they’re taking precautions to encourage nonviolence, but some fear that the strong feelings Trump engenders among supporters and detractors alike will create a combustible atmosphere.”

    • California Supreme Court Overturns Murder Conviction Based on Flawed Bite-Mark Evidence

      In a unanimous ruling released Thursday, the California Supreme Court overturned the 1997 conviction of Bill Richards for the murder of his wife, Pamela, finding that false forensic testimony had impacted the outcome of his trial. “Needless to say, we are thrilled,” said Richards’s attorney Jan Stiglitz, a founder of the California Innocence Project, which has represented Richards for the last 15 years. “It’s been a long time coming.”

      Richards’s controversial conviction for Pamela’s grisly 1993 murder has long been considered a clear case of wrongful conviction that was based on the discredited science of bite-mark analysis. Indeed, it took the state four attempts to convict Richards — two full trials ended in a hung jury and a third ended in a mistrial during jury selection — and prosecutors were successful only after putting on the stand a legendary forensic dentist who testified that Richards’s highly unique lower dentition was a match for a bite mark found on Pamela’s hand. The dentist, Norman “Skip” Sperber, told the jury that based on his 40-plus years in the field, he could say that out of 100 people, only “one or two or less” would have the same “unique feature” in their lower teeth.

    • Robert Scheer and Sandy Tolan Confront the Grimness of Life in the West Bank

      In this week’s edition of “Scheer Intelligence,” Truthdig editor in chief Robert Scheer speaks to Sandy Tolan, a University of Southern California professor of journalism and author of the book “Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land,” about music’s role in the life of children in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the lack of media coverage of the grim daily reality there.

    • Detroit police accused of needlessly killing dogs while searching house

      They came to serve a warrant on a suspected drug house, but what a lawsuit filed in federal court claims is Detroit police officers systematically shot and killed three family pets.

      When police came to serve the warrant at a home on Sussex Street on Detroit’s west side, the owner claims she told them there were dogs in the house and she would put them away.

    • Consumers believe they have more rights than they really do in digital media

      ownershipTo buy or to license? That is the question that’s stumped a lot of e-book and other digital media consumers over the years, recently culminating in an author’s lawsuit against Simon & Schuster over sales versus licensing revenue. But just how badly has it stumped consumers? A pair of law school researchers undertook to find out, and the 60-page report on their study is fascinating reading.

    • Rare Media Interest in Native American Views–on Behalf of Indian Mascots

      It’s naturally worth listening to a range of Native American people, but that happens so rarely in media that an instance like this merits some scrutiny. For some, the word to describe these results would not be the one the Post chose—”unambiguous.”

      Jaqueline Keeler noted in The Nation (5/25/16) that more than half of respondents were over 50, when Native Americans have a median age of 26—or some 10 years younger than the general US population. The Post says they weighted the results numerically, but those were still the comments reflected in the report. No respondents were under 18, and that might be justified methodologically—you need to follow certain protocols to interview minors—but it does leave a hole in the data’s meaning, given that it leaves out the Native American students attending the 2,000 high schools in the US that use Native Americans as mascots, and that the White House has reported face discrimination connected to it.

    • ‘Has Our Country Gone Just Mad?’

      Michael Ratner, who passed away last week at the age of 72, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, investigated, defended and spoke up for victims of human rights abuses around the world. He didn’t inspire hundreds of lawyers because he won cases, but because he saw law as an instrument of justice.

      Ratner brought the first challenge under the War Powers Resolution Act to the use of US troops in El Salvador, he prosecuted US officials on behalf of Nicaraguans murdered by the Contras, and he made CCR the first human rights organization to stand up for the rights of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. His work will live on.

      Here’s Michael Ratner interviewed by CounterSpin’s Steve Rendall in November 2004 on the occasion of Alberto Gonzales’ nomination to be US Attorney General.

    • Virginia Cabbie Faces 48 Years in Prison After Driving Aspiring Terrorist To Airport

      A federal grand jury charged a 26-year old Virginia taxi driver with helping provide support for terrorists after he transported one of his associates, a would-be member of Islamic State, 90 minutes to the airport.

      The cabbie, Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, was also charged with making false statements to federal agents. He faces up to 48 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines — more than twice the maximum of 20 years faced by the budding terrorist he transported.

    • David Cameron Says He Would Welcome Trump To UK

      But Senate Republicans aren’t the only people in the world walking back their criticisms of the man now confirmed as the Republican Presidential candidate. Great Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, who previously called Trump “stupid”, said he would welcome Trump should he visit the UK during the run up to the presidential elections. While that is a far cry from an endorsement, it is a shift in position after Cameron responded to Trump’s proposed Muslim-ban by saying that Trump would “unite us all against him.”

    • ‘What Happens to These Hundreds of Thousands of People That Are Being Deported?’

      Disturbing words from a young woman explaining to Al Jazeera why she made the perilous trip from El Salvador to the US. After being kidnapped and assaulted at age 16 by armed men, she became one of tens of thousands of children coming into the US without a guardian from the three Central American countries—El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—known as the Northern Triangle. Most are fleeing a level of violence that’s hard to fathom, but the Obama administration is stepping up raids and deportations, which officials tell the New York Times are aimed mainly at Central American mothers and children.

    • EU Turns to Sudan’s Wanted War Criminal to Stop Flow of Migrants from Africa

      Explosive classified documents obtained by German reporters show that the EU is working out a plan to fund the construction of detention centers and provide refugee processing equipment to various African countries, including Sudan, in an effort to stem the flow of migrants from Africa to Europe.

    • “Civil Disobedience is Survival”: Ireri Carrasco Sues Obama Admin for Denying Her DACA over Protests

      In Chicago, a migrant justice activist is suing the Department of Homeland Security for refusing to renew her DACA protection because of her activism. Twenty-nine-year-old Ireri Unzueta Carrasco received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status in 2013. DACA is the Obama administration’s program shielding some undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children from deportation if they meet certain conditions. Even though Unzueta Carrasco says she met those conditions, the Department of Homeland Security denied her DACA renewal because of her participation in acts of civil disobedience aimed at pressuring the Obama administration to halt its record deportations. We’re joined by Ireri Unzueta Carrasco.

    • Prevent ISPs From Following Your Ev

      Blasting a military that continues to act with impunity and a willfully blind judiciary that continues to serve as “the Occupation’s fig leaf,” Israel’s foremost human rights organization B’Tselem has declared that “there is no longer any point” in seeking justice for Palestinians through complaints to military courts they long hoped would serve as “a path to accountability.” The decision to stop cooperating with an intransigent military judicial system is the latest sign – along with the appointment of uber-hawk defense minister Avigdor Lieberman and the growing power of zealous settlers – that Israel is still moving inexorably toward its most right-wing incarnation ever.

    • New York City Homeless Take Action Against Police Efforts To Break Up Their Communities

      Last summer, the New York Police Department (NYPD) began a concerted effort to target a growing community of homeless people living on the streets of East Harlem, issuing “move along” orders and threatening arrest, tickets, or the destruction of their property if they didn’t comply. Now the homeless and advocates are fighting back against the practice.

    • In Memory of Michael Mariotte—Activist, Journalist, Musician

      Long-time anti-nuclear activist, journalist and punk rock drummer Michael Mariotte died May 16 at the age of 63 in his home in Kensington, Md., after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Mariotte was executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) in Takoma Park, Md., for 27 years. Under Mariotte’s leadership NIRS became a key information resource for anti-nuclear activists around the world.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Millions Annoyed As Frontier Bungles Acquisition of Verizon Customers Across Three States

      In February of last year, Frontier Communications announced it would be buying Verizon’s unwanted fiber (FiOS), DSL, and phone customers in Florida, Texas, and California for $10.5 billion. The deal was yet another chapter in Verizon’s effort to give up on fixed-line networks it no longer wanted to upgrade, as it focused on more profitable (read: usage capped) wireless service. The deal was, as Frontier’s CEO stated at the time, a “natural evolution for our company and leverages our proven skills and established track record from previous integrations.”

    • Secret New Internet Rules in the Trade in Services Agreement

      This week new materials from the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) were released by Wikileaks, revealing that negotiators from around the world have been continuing to craft new rules that will affect all Internet users, without public scrutiny or consultation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Doesn’t Mean Unlimited Control

        True competition could finally come to the market for TV set-top boxes thanks to a new set of proposed rules from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Under the FCC’s “Unlock the Box” rule, you’ll be able to use a device from any manufacturer to connect to your cable or satellite TV service.

        Disappointingly—but not surprisingly—the cable industry has not responded well. Cable and satellite providers’ comments on the proposed rule have followed a predictable pattern: cable operators and their TV studio subsidiaries think that copyright law affords them complete control over the devices that we use to consume their content.

      • Star Trek Fan Film Axanar Lawyers Tell Court About JJ Abrams Claims Of Paramount Dropping Suit, Express Confusion

        Over the weekend, the internet blew up over the story that Paramount and CBS were going to drop their silly lawsuit over a professional looking Star Trek fan film. The news was “broken” by the producer of the next official Star Trek film, JJ Abrams, sitting alongside the director of that film, Justin Lin, at a Star Trek fan event. Lin had previously expressed support for the fan film on Twitter, and Abrams claimed that Lin urged Paramount to settle, and that “within a few weeks” there would be an announcement that the case had been settled.

        Of course, between now and “within a few weeks,” the case is still going on… and the folks behind the fan film, called Axanar, had to file their reply to the amended complaint. And they have. And, as per usual with these things, it goes through and rebuts various claims and then tosses in a bunch of counterclaims. Normally we’d go through and analyze the more interesting/important claims, but given that there’s still a pretty good chance the whole case is going away shortly, we’ll skip all that and jump to the part where Axanar’s lawyers point to the JJ Abrams/Justin Lin statements and basically throw their hands in the air and say “we don’t know what to do about this.”

      • The life and death of the PRINCE Bill

        The recent passing of Prince left many fans in mourning and potential heirs clambering for a piece of his estate. The singer, who died intestate, left behind a wealth of copyright protected works. His right to publicity, however, did not survive him, as the common law right in Minnesota, where Prince was domiciled, only applies to the living.

        The Minnesota State Legislature hastily attempted to pass a bill to change this, by creating a post-mortem right of publicity. On May 9, the Bill, entitled Personal Rights in Names Can Endure Act, was put forward, two weeks before the end of the Legislature’s session on May 23. The bill was subsequently pulled amid concerns that it was not properly thought out and could have unintended consequences, but this Kat commends the carefully created name.

      • Critics Pounce on Proposed PRINCE Act in Minnesota

        In the wake of the death of Prince, lawmakers in Minnesota have introduced legislation named after the pop star that establishes a right of publicity for celebrities in the state and their heirs.

        Keith Harris, a writer and attorney in Minneapolis, has an article in MinnPost looking at the reaction to the bill. Minnesota wouldn’t be the first state to codify rights of publicity, but some IP experts are critical of the broadly worded proposal.

05.27.16

Links 27/5/2016: Android for Raspberry Pi, Google Beats Oracle in Court

Posted in News Roundup at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source is in our DNA

    The same thing that compels us to make Linux (and many other projects) free and open source is present in many of humanity’s greatest achievements

  • Why Open-Source Pros Are in Great Demand

    The majority of hiring managers predict that the demand for open-source IT professionals will rise more than other recruitment-based areas of interest over the next six months, according to a recent survey from the Linux Foundation and Dice. The resulting report, “Moving Toward Professionalization: Rising Need for Open-Source Skills in 2016,” indicates that these managers struggle to fill open-source positions, especially when trying to find candidates with needed cloud, networking and/or security experience. Meanwhile, when considering an offer, open-source professionals said they’re most interested in working on appealing projects with cutting-edge technology challenges. Money and perks are of secondary interest, even though, given the hot market, many open-source specialists are able to negotiate a great compensation package. According to the report, “In the last decade, open-source development has experienced a massive shift: Once a mostly community and volunteer-based concern, the model has since become a mainstay of the IT industry. Flexibility in accommodating new technologies and speed at adapting to a changing market have made open source vital to modern companies, which are now investing zealously in open source and open-source talent. More and better code is the way forward, and the skilled professionals who can make it happen are highly in demand.” More than 400 hiring managers and 4,500 open-source professionals took part in the research.

  • Open Source Realm Mobile Database Hits Version 1.0

    Citing advantages over the SQLite and Core Data databases commonly used in iOS and Android apps, Realm today launched version 1.0 of its namesake “mobile-first database.”

  • Realm has hit the version 1.0 milestone, and now reaches over 1 billion users

    As mobile databases go, Realm was already a fan favorite. Now we get an idea of just how popular it really is, as the company notes it now reaches one billion iOS and Android users via 100,000 active developers.

  • Rackspace Adopts OX’s Dovecot Pro Open Source IMAP Email Platform

    Dovecot, the open source email platform from Open-Xchange, received a significant endorsement this week from Rackspace, which announced that it will use the company’s Dovecot Pro product for email hosting.

  • An Apparent Exodus Continues At OwnCloud

    This week we’ve now seen the announcements by Jos Poortvliet, Lukas Reschke, Björn Schießle, and Arthur Schiwon are among those leaving ownCloud Inc. Each of their blog posts confirm they are leaving but don’t shed much light on the underlying situation at the company.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Google Inbox Notifications

        I made a Firefox addon that brings that functionality to Google Inbox. It gives you a notification when new mail arrives and updates the pages title with the unread mail count. You can get it here!

  • Networking

    • Accelerating and Maintaining NFV Adoption: Prodip Sen, HP and OPNFV
    • AT&T: OPNFV Can Bring Open Source Sanity

      The Big Communications Event — It will be up to one open source group, the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), to provide a “fair playing field” to sort the multiple industry open source initiatives around orchestration, an AT&T executive said here Wednesday.

    • Telecom Companies Collaborate Through OPNFV to Address Unique Business Challenges

      Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is an emerging alternative to using dedicated hardware appliances, particularly for service providers, where quick, flexible responses to traffic pattern shifts and user demand changes are essential. It implements network tasks like access security, load balancing, and packet filtering as software modules suitable for virtualized cloud environments.

    • Securing the Cloud With SDN

      It’s becoming clear that rising network security threats will drive increasing integration between network virtualization (NV) and security, as we’ve long predicted here. This means that software-defined networking (SDN) will become a key technology for securing the cloud.

    • Telstra Shares PEN Plans

      Just one year after Telstra completed its acquisition of Pacnet, the Australian-based service provider is taking big steps to expand its global footprint using its PEN platform built on SDN.

    • Cisco Looks to Open Source for ‘Badder Ass’ Internet

      Big Communications Event — Cisco needs open source to build a “badder ass” Internet — a network with sufficient performance, reliability and security for major business applications, a company executive said.

    • ETSI Open Source MANO group delivers first code package

      The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) announced that its new ETSI Open Source MANO group has delivered its Release 0 code package, a month ahead of schedule. The institute said OSM Release 0 integrates the seed code supplied by Telefonica, RIFT.io, Canonical and others into a documented package of running code. Release 0, which is available now for download from the OSM project website, meets the commitment made at MWC 2016 to deliver working code that enables end-to-end service instantiation and represents a number of significant steps forward since the MWC demo.

    • ETSI Open Source MANO group releases initial code package
  • Education

    • American schools are teaching our kids how to code all wrong

      To truly impact an children’s cognitive development, and prepare them for future computing jobs that may not even exist yet, we must move beyond pop computing. I strongly believe that learning computing should become mandatory in all schools, and should be viewed in the same context as reading and writing. Students must be challenged and encouraged to think differently in each grade level, subject matter, and read/write various computing projects every day in their academic life. With this mindset and approach we’ll help this generation of students fill those one million jobs, all of which require so much more than dragging and clicking.

  • BSD

    • Faces of FreeBSD 2016: Michael Lucas

      Back by popular demand, we’re again sharing a story from someone involved in FreeBSD with our Faces of FreeBSD series. It may be a story from someone who’s received funding from us to work on development projects, run conferences, travel to conferences, or advocate for FreeBSD. Or, it may be from someone who gives back to FreeBSD financially or in another way. Regardless, it is always from someone who is making a positive difference in the FreeBSD world.

    • pfSense 2.3.1 FreeBSD Firewall Update Patches Web GUI Security Issue, Seven Bugs

      Released a week ago as the first maintenance build in the 2.3 stable series, pfSense 2.3.1 received its first update, bringing a patch for a major security issue in the Web GUI, as well as seven other bug fixes.

      pfSense 2.3.1 was a major point release of the FreeBSD-based network firewall distribution that introduced over 100 changes, but pfSense 2.3 brought a new pkg system that lets the project’s maintainers update only individual parts of the system.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Upcoming governance workshop for the European Catalogue of ICT Standards for Public Procurement

      On the 15th June, 2016, DG Connect and DG Growth wil be co-hosting an interactive workshop for the European Catalogue of ICT Standards for Public Procurement. This catalogue of standards is being developed to assist public procurers implement interoperable ICT solutions across Member States, as well as reducing incidence of vender lock-in, and ultimately to assist in the continued development of the Digital Single Market.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Announcing the Open Source License API

      Over the last 19 years, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has been the steward of the Open Source Definition (or OSD), establishing a common language when discussing what it means to be an Open Source license, and a list of licenses which are known to be compatible with the OSD.

      This is taken to its logic next step this year, with the OSI providing a machine readable publication of OSI approved licenses at api.opensource.org. This will allow third parties to become license-aware, and give organizations the ability to clearly determine if a license is, in fact, an Open Source license, from the authoritative source regarding Open Source licenses, the OSI.

  • Programming/Development

    • Announcing Rust 1.9

      The Rust team is happy to announce the latest version of Rust, 1.9. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • Rust 1.9 Released

      Rust 1.9 brings controlled unwinding support, support for deprecation warnings, new targets (MIPS Linux Musl C library and i586 Windows MSVC), compile-time improvements, more library stabilization work, and new Cargo features.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • How Paper Shaped Civilization

      Over centuries, writing moved across more than a dozen materials. Clay tablets dominated for three thousand years—“a considerably longer period than the reign of paper up until now,” Kurlansky writes—because they had the advantage of being inexpensive, readily available, and easy to use. But the tablets’ lack of portability was a problem. People turned to papyrus, the reedy plant found in marshy areas, but that disintegrated easily, and much of the world’s supply was too spindly for making high-quality writing sheets. Wax was one alternative, but it was best for disposable writing, so parchment was next in line, made by scraping and processing animal skins. As many as two hundred animals were needed to make a single book.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Most Drugs Aren’t Tested on Pregnant Women. This Anti-nausea Cure Shows Why That’s a Problem

      For years, Zofran was the most popular morning-sickness medication in the U.S. Now it’s being accused of causing birth defects. The larger issue is a drug-safety system that excludes women from clinical trials, potentially putting them and their babies at risk.

    • Scientists Just Discovered Exactly What Air Pollution Does To Your Arteries

      Air pollution has been linked to heart disease for years, prompting concern as well as some skepticism, as the physiological steps showing a cause-and-effect have gone less understood. But now, a multi-year study has for the first time documented that air pollution thickens blood and hardens arteries, a condition that causes cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and strokes.

      “What’s new here is the linkage between air pollution and actual evidence of progression of atherosclerosis, the underlying disease process that leads to most [heart] attacks and strokes,” Joel Kaufman, lead author and University of Washington professor, told ThinkProgress. “The study provides important new information on how pollution affects the main biological process that leads to heart disease.”

    • Bayer and Monsanto: A Marriage Made in Hell

      The two multinationals that teamed up during the Vietnam War to poison millions of people with its Agent Orange herbicide—St. Louis, Mo.-based Monsanto and Germany’s Bayer AG—are looking to become one.

      Bayer has announced a bid to buy Monsanto in a deal that would expand Bayer’s GMO and pesticide holdings and add drugs to Monsanto’s global portfolio. Monsanto has rejected the latest bid, but the two are still in talks.

      If Monsanto, perhaps the most hated GMO company in the world, joins hands with Bayer, one of the most hated Big Pharma corporations on Earth (whose evil deeds date back to World War I and the Nazi era), the newly formed seed-pesticide-drug behemoth would have combined annual sales of $67 billion.

    • Who Will Replace Our Century-Old Water Pipes?

      The water that comes out of your tap is clean, right?

      It should be. But in the United States, we can’t afford to keep taking for granted that safe, clean water flows from our taps.

      The crisis in Flint, Michigan is the leading edge of a desperate situation for our tap water in communities across the country as our water infrastructure crumbles. That’s why Food & Water Watch has worked with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to introduce the WATER Act, one big step to ensure our water’s safety for generations to come.

    • Nebraska Drug Warriors Lose Bust Thanks To Jurisdictional Limits On Criminal Conspiracy Charges

      The legalization of marijuana in a few states has led to some interesting law enforcement problems. To date, most of the “solution” appears to be camping out on the borders and seizing drugs from travelers headed out of the state. The lack of legalization on a federal level inflates drug bust stats but doesn’t do much for visitors to pot-friendly states whose purchases are completely legal, but their possession — once crossing the border into a neighboring state — suddenly isn’t.

      The legality of the transaction at the point of purchase also makes for some rather unusual court decisions, like the one highlighted by Noel Erinjeri of Fault Lines. Two Minnesota natives were traveling to Colorado to purchase some weed when they were stopped by Lancaster County (NE) Sheriff’s deputies, resulting in their arrest and seizure of the cash they were carrying.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Paul Vixie on IPv6 NAT, IPv6 security and Internet of Things

      Internet pioneer Paul Vixie spoke with SearchSecurity about IPv6 NAT, IPv6 and the Internet of Things, and the long, thankless path to deploying IPv6.

    • PHP 7.0.7 Released Fixing 28 Bugs

      As is the case with a .xy update, this is mostly a bug fix update, with at least 28 different issues being fixed in an effort to make PHP 7.x more stable. Though the PHP project hasn’t identified any specific security vulnerabilities that are fixed in the update, I see at least one with bug #72162.

    • Skimmers Found at Walmart: A Closer Look

      Recent local news stories about credit card skimmers found in self-checkout lanes at some Walmart locations reminds me of a criminal sales pitch I saw recently for overlay skimmers made specifically for the very same card terminals.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Britain’s nuclear deep: a new transparency

      For its part, the UK’s ministry of defence may claim to be unconcerned by the prospect of the Trident system being no longer able to remain hidden in the depths. But the global trend is very much towards the oceans’ increased transparency. That process is already well underway. How much further will it go over the twenty-year timespan for developing and deploying a new class of missile submarines?

    • Greenpeace Calls Out Obama’s Double Standards for a Nuclear-Free World at Hiroshima Visit
    • Obama’s Historic Hiroshima Visit Underscores Nuclear Hypocrisy

      President Barack Obama on Friday will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit to Hiroshima, Japan—a visit, according to anti-nuclear campaigners, that “rings hollow without far bolder efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.”

      During his visit, Obama will reportedly offer no apology for the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on the Japanese city 71 years ago, which killed 140,000 people, though lingering effects, both physical and psychological, remain today.

      At the start of his presidency, in 2009, Obama gave a speech in Prague during which he called for world without nuclear weapons and said, “the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same.”

    • My Dreams Seek Revenge: Hiroshima

      Unlike President Obama, who today is the first sitting president to ever visit the site of the first atomic bombing, I’ve visited Hiroshima many times while living in Japan.

      The thing that always struck me about Hiroshima was simply being there. The train pulled into the station under an announcement that you had arrived in Hiroshima. It was another stop on the bullet train’s long run from Osaka to Fukuoka, so they called out the name as if it was just another stop. I’d get off the train, step out into the sunlight — that sunlight — and I was in Hiroshima. I had the same feeling only once before, taking a bus out of Munich and having the driver announce the next stop as Dachau. Somehow such names feel wrong being said so prosaically.

    • Israel, a Palestinian State and Anti-Semitism

      The issues of anti-Semitism and support for Israel reared their serpentine heads once again when major candidates either attended, or refused to attend, the yearly conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2016. AIPAC is seen by many as the single most important molder of public opinion regarding Israel in the US. Ben Norton wrote in Salon that Hillary Clinton “sounded indistinguishable from that of a neocon,” when she spoke before the AIPAC conference about Israel and the greater Middle East. Bernie Sanders did not speak at that conference, and has been the only major candidate with a critical stand on the issues surrounding the establishment of a Palestinian state.

    • The Coming Drone Blowback

      The targeted assassination of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour last weekend wasn’t just another drone strike.

      First of all, it was conducted by the U.S. military, not the CIA, which has orchestrated nearly all drone strikes in Pakistan.

      Second, it didn’t take place in Afghanistan or in the so-called lawless tribal region of Pakistan known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA. The guided missile turned a white Toyota and its two passengers into a fireball on a well-traveled highway in Balochistan, in southwest Pakistan.

      Prior to this particular drone strike, Pakistan allowed the United States to patrol the skies over the northwest region of FATA, a Taliban stronghold. But President Obama decided to cross this “red line” to take out Mansour (and a taxi driver, Muhammad Azam, who had the misfortune to be with the wrong passenger at the wrong time).

    • A 10-Minute Debate on War

      And this is the state of American democracy during an election year: a 10-minute debate in Congress about the future of war and a reckless cowboy’s logical conclusion that since we’ve made a whole lot of nuclear weapons — we have over 7,000 in the stockpile right now — a president ought to have the right to use one or two if he’s really annoyed with another country’s behavior. No doubt this is how you make America great again.

      In other words, the United States is under the almost total control, politically and emotionally, of a confluence of economic and military interests that go by various names: the military-industrial complex, the Deep State. And the defense budget, of course, quietly passes in Congress, releasing a new round of unquestioned funding — more than $600 billion — for the Department of Defense to use as it sees fit. Funding is scarce for everything from schools to lead-free water pipes to addressing the Zika virus. But nukes and weapons development and the war on terror continue unchallenged.

      Lee asks: “Since 1991, the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars, dropped hundreds of thousands of bombs and lost thousands of brave servicemen and women in Iraq. Do you feel any safer? Are we any safer?”

    • The Death Toll in Syria: What Do the Numbers Really Say?

      What is the Syrian death toll now? 400,000? Less? More? While the aphorism “One death is a tragedy, one million deaths is a statistic”, has been attributed to many, it is likely none foresaw the inverse utility of this concept for shaping narratives in an age of humanitarian intervention. Statistics are now weapons in themselves. Raw numbers are ambiguous; as journalist Sharmine Narwani writes, “It doesn’t tell us who is killing and who is dying. And that information matters – the global political response to a genuine civil conflict would be different than to a genocide committed by a ruthless authority.”

      When the United States’ Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) released its eighth summary of the Syrian death toll in mid-2015 it painted this confused picture: 230,000 total deaths, between 150,000 and 160,000 ‘opposition deaths’ (civilian and military), a further 98,000 ‘other’ civilian deaths, and a very precise 18,476 ‘regime’ deaths – an actual minimum total of 266,476.

    • Some Light in Iraq’s Dark Tunnel

      The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 blasted apart the country’s political structure and left behind widespread chaos, but Iraqis may be slowly digging out of the wreckage, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • The New York Times’s (and Clinton Campaign’s) Abject Cowardice on Israel

      In fact, essentially the entire world recognizes the reality of Israeli occupation with the exception of a tiny sliver of extremists in Israel and the U.S. That’s why Chris Christie had to grovel in apology to GOP billionaire and Israel-devoted fanatic Sheldon Adelson when the New Jersey Governor neutrally described having seen the “occupied territories” during a trip he took to Israel. But other than among those zealots, the word is simply a fact, used without controversy under the mandates of international law, the institutions that apply it, and governments on every continent on the planet.

    • USA Still Uses Floppy Disks To Control Its Nuclear Missiles And Bombers

      According to a report of the US Government Accounting Office, many important government institutions are still using more than 50-year-old systems to perform important tasks. While the U.S. Defense Department uses 8-inch floppy disks to handle the function of its nuclear force operations, the Treasury Department calculates tax returns on a 56-year-old IBM mainframe computer.

    • A European army is exactly what the EU and UK needs

      Germany has been among the most vocal opponents of Brexit. So it was perhaps surprising that it was from here that a mini-missile was launched into the referendum campaign, with leaked details of a defence White Paper pushing the creation of a European Army.

      For the UK’s flailing Brexiteers, this was just what was needed. Veterans for Britain duly popped up to warn of the threats to UK sovereignty and to Nato, the alliance that had kept the country safe through the Cold War and beyond.

    • James Bovard on the Cost of the War on Terror
    • Natural borders, beware a dangerous idea

      Whatever borders follow the ongoing violence and war, they must under no circumstances be ‘natural’.

    • Europe Revolts Against Russian Sanctions

      From ministerial offices to barricades on the streets, Europe is in open revolt against anti-Russian sanctions which have cost workers and businesses millions of jobs and earnings. Granted, the contentious issues are wider than anti-Russian sanctions. However, the latter are entwined with growing popular discontent across the EU.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • State Dept. IT staff told to keep quiet about Clinton’s server

      Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to use a private email server ran afoul of the government’s IT security and record retention requirements, according to a report by the department’s inspector general released today.

      This use of a private email server did not go unnoticed within the Department of State’s IT department. Two IT staff members who raised concerns about Clinton’s use of a private server were told not speak of it.

      Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 and during that period she used a private email server in her New York home.

    • Clinton’s Imperious Brush-off of Email Rules

      The State Department’s Inspector General issued a blunt report criticizing Hillary Clinton’s imperious refusal to follow email rules as Secretary of State, adding to Clinton’s credibility problem, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

      [...]

      It turns out that she deliberately chose to use a hacker-friendly, unprotected email server, and not so much for convenience – unless you define “convenience” as the ability to operate in total secrecy with no possibility of being held accountable for your policies or behavior. In one email to an aide, Clinton explained, “I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

    • ‘Smart Grid’ Company Demands MuckRock Turn Over Info On Anyone Who Might Have Seen Public Records Docs Involving It

      The replacement of regular meters with potentially-invasive “smart meters” is due to begin in 2017, despite concerns about health and privacy. As the EFF points out, the power company’s ability to record pinpoint data on customers’ power use may seem innocuous, but it’s not nearly as benign if that information is shared, either purposefully or inadvertently.

      [...]

      Multiple documents were provided to Mocek by Seattle City Light, including documents related to the company awarded the smart meter contract: Landis+Gyr. Landis+Gyr isn’t happy the city of Seattle has made these documents public, so it’s logically responded by suing MuckRock. Yes, it’s also suing the city and the utility, but for some reason has decided MuckRock (and Phil Mocek) should be included in the litigation, despite them only being the recipients of documents Landis+Gyr wants to keep out of the public’s hands.

      It’s seeking to have future planned responses from the city involving its “trade secrets” blocked. (Seattle plans to release another batch of documents to Mocek on May 26.) But it’s also making requests pertaining to MuckRock that are both chilling and completely ridiculous. Not only does Landis+Gyr want the documents taken down, but it also wants info on every MuckRock reader who may have viewed them.

    • New WikiLeaks Trove Further Exposes TISA’s Neoliberal Agenda

      Docs reveal trade deal negotiations have gone ‘very far from legitimate trade concerns into the territory of a sweeping deregulatory political agenda’

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Deadly effect of farming’s dirty needs

      Farming is a dirty business – so dirty now that, according to new research, air pollution from agriculture in the form of fine particles of lung-choking dust outweighs all other human sources of that kind of pollution.

      These particles are calculated to cause around 3.3 million deaths a year worldwide − and most of this lung-penetrating murk is from fertilisers. Back in 1950, the world produced 20 million tons of artificial fertilisers, but farmers now spread on their fields every year around 190 million tons.

      Ammonia from the nitrogen-based compounds gathers in the air, and combines with the sulphates and oxides of nitrogen from the combustion of fossil fuels and wood smoke to make tiny aerosols, each around one-thirtieth of the thickness of a human hair.

    • Hundreds of Millions to Be Displaced by Climate Change, French Minister Warns

      Calamitous global conflict as a result of climate change will produce hundreds of millions of refugees by 2100, said France’s environmental minister Ségolène Royal to representatives from 170 countries at the UN environment assembly in Nairobi on Thursday.

      [...]

      “The difficulty of having access to food resources leads to massive migration, south-south migration,” she said, referring to migration between developing countries.

      “The African continent is particularly hit by this south-south migration,” Royal continued. “If nothing is done to combat the negative impact of climate change, we will have hundreds of millions of climate change migrants by the end of the century.”

    • The Desperate Plight of Petro-States

      Some petro-states like Venezuela and Iraq already appear to be edging up to the brink of collapse. Others like Russia and Saudi Arabia will be forced to reorient their economies if they hope to avoid such future outcomes. Whatever their degree of risk, all of them are already experiencing economic hardship, leaving their leaders under growing pressure to somehow alter course in the bleakest of circumstances — or face the consequences.

    • Congressman to Red Cross: ‘How Do You Get Lost Going to a Disaster Area?’

      Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the ranking member of the congressional committee that oversees the Red Cross, sent a three-page letter to the charity’s CEO on Monday demanding that she explain why the Red Cross struggled to respond to record flooding in Mississippi this spring.

    • Utah Congressman Wants To Block Proposed National Monument In Maine

      Despite Bishop’s criticism of a potential Maine Woods national monument, polling shows that two-thirds of Maine residents support creating a unit of the national park system in the Katahdin region. More than 200 Maine businesses have signed a letter stating their support for a park.

    • In ‘Epic Fight for Justice,’ Activists Descend on Chevron Meeting

      Chevron CEO John Watson became “visibly flustered” at his company’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, after being confronted by an Indigenous leader whose community has been gravely affected by the oil company’s pollution in the Amazon.

    • We Stopped Keystone, Canada Can Stop Energy East

      Since I last visited Canada to share my experiences dealing with TransCanada as a rancher along the proposed Keystone XL path, and as a member of Bold Nebraska, a lot has changed. President Obama has since put the final nail in the coffin of Keystone XL, listening to the voices of ranchers, Indigenous communities and climate activists united in their opposition to the tar sands, or oil sands, pipeline.

    • Meet Proterra, The Next Generation Of Bus

      “Everything that has an urban drive cycle will ultimately be an electric vehicle.” That’s what Ryan Popple, the president and CEO of Proterra, the leading U.S. electric bus company, explained to me in a recent interview.

      The future of transit isn’t cleaner diesel, hybrids, natural gas, or hydrogen fuel-cell buses, argues Popple. The rapidly dropping price for electric batteries combined with new fast-charging technology appears to render the competition obsolete. Right now, the biggest question isn’t which technology will win in the bus market — it’s how quickly all-electrics will take over, and whether Proterra can keep ahead of the Chinese competition, like electric vehicle giant BYD.

    • Deadlock over political coercion at work causes 3 FEC commissioners to issue scathing statement

      The complaint stemmed from a piece The New Republic published on Oct. 4, 2012, about how Murray Energy required all employees to attend a Mitt Romney campaign event. Attendance was mandatory, even though the company shut down the mine and those workers reportedly were not paid for that day.

    • How coal shipping accidents are damaging coral reefs around the world

      Just a few kilometres from the wild south-western coast of Madagascar, home to part of the world’s third largest coral reef system, the coal-laden New Mykonos ship has sunk and is slowly breaking apart.

      The sinking of the coal vessel comes as a new scientific study published in Nature warns of the damaging effects of coal on coral, seagrass and fish.

      Back in late February the Panamanian-registered New Mykonos left the Richards Bay Coal Terminal in South Africa and set sail for the Indian port of Vizag with 160,000 tonnes of coal aboard.

    • Burned By Slow Government Response To A Polluter, Residents Mistrust Cleanup Efforts

      When residents don’t trust the company who poisoned their water and soil, and they don’t trust the government agencies mandated to stop the company, they’ll either ignore everything and hope for the best, or they’ll take matters into their own hands.

      Both reactions are in abundance in Vernon, California near the site of a now-shuttered battery recycling plant now owned by Exide Technologies. Exide and the plant’s previous owners knowingly leached lead and other carcinogens into the soil, air and water in surrounding residential neighborhoods, a problem made much worse by inadequate government oversight.

      State regulators repeatedly warned Exide Technologies, which ran the Vernon battery smelting facility since 2000, and its previous owners that the plant was releasing dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere. Exide responded only by paying fines and continuing business as usual.

      The fines were small considering the scope of the damage. A Los Angeles Times investigation found that, over more than 15 years, Exide paid $869,000 in penalties and that “most of the fines were assessed in the last two years.”

    • Student Activism Pushes UMass to Become First Major Public University to Divest

      University of Massachusetts students—who just over one month ago were arrested for demanding that their school divest from fossil fuels—were validated on Wednesday after it was announced that the school would become the first major public university to pull its direct holdings from polluting industries.

      The decision was made by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors of the UMass Foundation, which oversees the endowment, valued at $700 million at the end of the last fiscal year.

    • Our Lives are on the Line: Protesters Blockade Planned Pipeline Site Near Nuclear Plant Outside NYC

      In Peekskill, New York, just about an hour north of New York City, residents have launched a blockade in efforts to stop the construction of a gas pipeline slated to run only hundreds of feet from the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant. The proposed project has sparked concerns from residents and nuclear experts that a pipeline break could cause a catastrophic nuclear disaster that would threaten the entirety of New York City. The pipeline is being built by Spectra Energy and is officially known as the Algonquin Incremental Market Project, or AIM pipeline. Well, only hours ago, Peekskill residents and activists escalated the campaign to stop this pipeline’s construction by installing a fully sustainable shipping container at the entrance of Spectra’s work yard—complete with two activists living inside. Democracy Now! was there as the blockade was launched.

    • EU referendum: Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn to join forces in climate change warning

      Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband will publicly join forces to warn that Britain’s membership of the European Union is vital in the fight against climate change.

      In their first major appearance together since the Labour leader took over the party eight months ago, Mr Miliband and Mr Corbyn will share a platform together at Raventhorpe solar farm to emphasise the central role the pair believe the EU has had in tackling climate change.

      The intervention by Mr Miliband, who led the Labour party to a bruising election defeat in May last year, could also quell rumours about of tensions between the two men.

    • Hope and Burnout in the Anthropocene

      Between May 3 and May 16, thousands of people gathered in 20 acts of civil disobedience spanning 6 continents, to protest society’s continued reliance on fossil fuels. Dubbing their collective action “Break Free 2016,” they placed themselves in the paths of oil trains, coal ships and mining equipment, in an effort to convince those in power of the urgency of action on climate change.

    • Climate Action is Needed Whether Exxon Likes it or Not.

      Last week, we were among a handful of organizations who received a letter signed by 13 members of Congress claiming that we may be violating Exxon’s right to free speech. They’re requesting that we divulge any communication we may have had with state officials and many private organizations with regard to looking into what Exxon knew about climate change and when. At face value this request is a threat to constitutional rights. The signers of the letter clearly want to send a message that advocacy organizations and others should only pursue their rights to petition the government, exercise free speech and enjoy freedom of association at their own peril. In short, it’s a blatant attempt to use governmental power to find and deter anyone that shares our values and wants to join us in our efforts.

    • On Climate, Trump Promises To Let The World Burn

      President Obama’s climate change policies would be undone. Regulations on greenhouse gas emissions would be eliminated. The Keystone XL pipeline would be built. There would be no international agreement to prevent catastrophic climate change.

      That is what Donald Trump’s energy policy would look like should he be elected president, the presumptive Republican nominee promised on Thursday before a pro-fossil fuel development crowd in Bismark, North Dakota.

      In a speech laying out his energy agenda for the United States, Trump promised to undo essentially every major policy developed in the last decade intended to slow human-caused global warming.

    • Treating cattle with antibiotics affects greenhouse gas emissions, and microbiota in dung and dung beetles

      Antibiotics are routinely used to improve livestock health and growth. However, this practice may have unintended environmental impacts mediated by interactions among the wide range of micro- and macroorganisms found in agroecosystems. For example, antibiotics may alter microbial emissions of greenhouse gases by affecting livestock gut microbiota. Furthermore, antibiotics may affect the microbiota of non-target animals that rely on dung, such as dung beetles, and the ecosystem services they provide. To examine these interactions, we treated cattle with a commonly used broad-spectrum antibiotic and assessed downstream effects on microbiota in dung and dung beetles, greenhouse gas fluxes from dung, and beetle size, survival and reproduction. We found that antibiotic treatment restructured microbiota in dung beetles, which harboured a microbial community distinct from those in the dung they were consuming. The antibiotic effect on beetle microbiota was not associated with smaller size or lower numbers. Unexpectedly, antibiotic treatment raised methane fluxes from dung, possibly by altering the interactions between methanogenic archaea and bacteria in rumen and dung environments. Our findings that antibiotics restructure dung beetle microbiota and modify greenhouse gas emissions from dung indicate that antibiotic treatment may have unintended, cascading ecological effects that extend beyond the target animal.

  • Finance

    • Clean-Energy Jobs Surpass Oil Drilling for First Time in U.S.

      The number of U.S. jobs in solar energy overtook those in oil and natural gas extraction for the first time last year, helping drive a global surge in employment in the clean-energy business as fossil-fuel companies faltered.

    • Good News: Turns Out Most People Don’t Want to Give Their Business To A Small Insecure Money-Grubber

      Savagely telling it like it is, our favorite woman warrior Elizabeth Warren shredded the presumptive Drumpf this week in a speech at the Center for Popular Democracy’s annual gala. Citing his newly revealed and fabulously revealing remark in a 2007 interview that he was kinda looking forward to the idea of a housing meltdown” – who SAYS these things out loud?!? – because he could rake in the profits, Warren called him out not just as a sorry specimen of manhood but as a small, cruel, greedy, amoral human being who’s spent his whole life saying to hell with the social contract most sentient beings at least acknowledge. Now, after his lifetime of fuck yous, it seems, Warren is ready to return the favor.

      Noting Drumpf admitted he was “drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown because it meant he could buy up a bunch more property on the cheap,” she rhetorically asked, “What kind of a man does that? Root for people to get thrown out on the street,” to lose their jobs and pensions and sometimes end up living in a van? She then furiously responds, “I’ll tell you exactly what kind. A man who cares about no one but himself. A small, insecure money-grubber who doesn’t care who gets hurt, so long as he makes some money off it.” Warren went on to blast Trump for suggesting he’d dismantle Dodd-Frank because he is “worried about helping poor little Wall Street,” adding, “Let me find the world’s smallest violin to play a sad, sad song.” Oh yes. She’s good.

    • India says Apple must sell locally-sourced goods to set up stores: source

      India has said Apple Inc must meet a rule obliging foreign retailers to sell at least 30 percent locally-sourced goods if it wishes to open stores in the country, a senior government official told Reuters.

      Apple is hoping to expand its retail presence in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets, at a time when sales in the United States and China have slowed.

      A change in legislation last year exempted foreign retailers selling high-tech goods from the rule, which states 30 percent of the value of goods sold in the store should be made in India.

    • Foxconn replaces ’60,000 factory workers with robots’

      Apple and Samsung supplier Foxconn has reportedly replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots.

      One factory has “reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots”, a government official told the South China Morning Post.

      Xu Yulian, head of publicity for the Kunshan region, added: “More companies are likely to follow suit.”

    • Britain’s poorest people pay more of their income in tax than the very richest

      Britain’s poorest people pay more of their income in taxes than the very richest, official figures reveal.

      The worst-off tenth of households handed 47% of their money back to the government in 2014/15 – up from 43% two years earlier.

      Yet the richest tenth paid just 34%, down slightly from 35% in the two years previously.

      The gulf was laid bare today in annual figures by the Office for National Statistics which show the richest 10% earn £108,000 while the poorest earn just £4,467.

    • Report says banks still generate billions in overdraft fees

      A new federal law implemented six years ago was supposed to resolve the issue of bank overdraft fees, which often blindsided consumers with unexpected expenses.

      Before the law was passed, a consumer making a debit card purchase, and not having sufficient funds to cover the purchase, would be automatically “loaned” the funds to cover the purchase. The bank would then charge the consumer a fee of $30 or so for that service.

    • I, Daniel Blake

      More space has been devoted by the mainstream media in the last week to the terrible effects of “austerity” on the vulnerable, than in total since the Westminster election.

    • Bank of America’s Winning Excuse: We Didn’t Mean To

      Back in the late-housing-bubble period, in 2007, Countrywide Home Loans, which was then the largest mortgage provider in the country, rolled out a new lending program. The bank called it the “high-speed swim lane,” or HSSL, or, even more to the point, “hustle.” Countrywide, like most mortgage lenders, sold its loans to Wall Street banks or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two mortgage giants, which bundled them and, in turn, sold them to investors. Unlike the Wall Street banks, Fannie and Freddie insured the loans, so they demanded only the ones of the highest quality. But by that time, borrowers with high credit scores were getting scarcer, and Countrywide faced the prospect of collapsing revenue and profits. Hence, the hustle program, which “streamlined” Countrywide’s loan origination, cutting out underwriters and putting loan processors, whom the company had previously deemed not qualified to answer borrowers’ questions, in charge of reviewing loan applications. In practice, Countrywide dropped most of the conditions meant to insure that loans would be repaid.

    • Greek Debt Negotiations: Will the IMF Exit the Troika?
    • Demanding ‘What We Need to Survive,’ Workers to Descend on McDonald’s Shareholders Meeting

      As McDonald’s prepares to hold its annual meting on Thursday, low wage workers—buoyed by successes from the “unstoppable” Fight for $15 movement—are gearing up to confront the burger giant and again demand a decent wage and union rights.

      On Wednesday, in addition to a mid-day strike at the flagship Rock N Roll McDonald’s in Chicago, organizers say thousands of underpaid workers will stage a protest at the company’s headquarters just outside the city, in Oak Brook, Illinois.

      The suburban location will be the site of a second rally and march on Thursday as well as the shareholder meeting takes place.

    • The TPP Has Always Been About Corporate Dominance, Not Trade or Economic Growth

      A report released by the U.S. International Trade Commission last week found, as Deirdre Fulton notes, “that the controversial trade deal” — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (also known by some as NAFTA on steroids) — “will produce negligible economic benefits while damaging most Americans’ jobs and wages.”

      To a large extent, the report falsifies — or, at least, calls into question — many of the key premises of the Obama administration’s argument in favor of the far-reaching pact.

      President Obama, himself, has stepped into the fray and lobbied aggressively for the agreement, often demeaning those who speak out against it. He has made it clear that he views the passage and implementation of the deal as a crowning achievement that will ultimately cement his legacy as an advocate of free trade and economic development worldwide.

      He has insisted that the deal will boost growth, create jobs, “promote American values,” “protect American workers,” and erode unnecessary trade barriers.

      The agreement’s contents, however, differ wildly from the advertised product.

      Indeed, much of the discussion of the deal’s potential effects on economic growth is, in fact, a red herring, a distraction that prevents discussion of the underlying purpose of trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    • CUNY Professors and Staff Consider Future Strike to Defend Public Education Funding

      Higher education in the United States is facing serious problems with state disinvestment, lack of protections for adjuncts and low pay for faculty, among other reasons. The situation is no different at the City University of New York (CUNY), where the problems have affected professors, staff and students for decades. But 92 percent of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the union representing more than 25,000 CUNY professors and staff, decided earlier this month to approve use of a strike to fight not only for a new contract, but also to ensure a quality education for students.

    • New Mexico Officials Accused Of Tampering With Documents To Deny Citizens Emergency Food Stamps

      Kimberly Jones knows just how hard it is to wait for emergency food stamps to come through. New Mexico is supposed to grant people in dire financial situations expedited benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) within seven days, rather than the 30 it takes to process regular applications. But it often doesn’t work out that way.

    • America’s Cosmic Tax Gap

      That wouldn’t matter all that much if the IRS had plenty of agents out in the field doing in-depth audits. But the IRS has been losing staff. The tax agency had 50,400 full-time-equivalent enforcement staff available in 2010. The 2016 figure: only 38,800.

    • Average CEO Raise Last Year Amounted to 10x What Most Workers Made in Total

      It was another banner year for chief executives at the biggest companies.

      For its latest annual study of CEO compensation, the Associated Press, using data from Equilar, looked at what 341 executives at companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index brought home from salary as well as other perks like stock awards and deferred compensation.

      The study found that the median compensation was $10.8 million, up from $10.3 million the CEOs took in the year before.

    • CEO pay climbs again, even as their stock prices don’t

      CEOs at the biggest companies got a 4.5 percent pay raise last year. That’s almost double the typical American worker’s, and a lot more than investors earned from owning their stocks — a big fat zero.

      The typical chief executive in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index made $10.8 million, including bonuses, stock awards and other compensation, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press. That’s up from the median of $10.3 million the same group of CEOs made a year earlier.

    • Greek media and independent journalism under austerity

      In Greece, the media landscape under austerity has created bleak conditions for journalism and media freedom; a post-austerity agenda could change this situation.

    • Hillary Clinton: A Major Gold-Digging Liability

      As much as the Clinton machine may welcome their stay at Hotel California in early June, they might check out any time they like only to find themselves never leaving the Trump-leads-the-national-average-poll syndrome.

      This was never the original script, as Manifest Destiny was supposed to have – finally – fully entitled the Queen of the Perma-Smirk to the Presidency. What has she done to deserve this? Well, a myriad of factors come into play. Let’s cut to the chase and follow the money.

      Now that I found you I can’t let you go

      While still in the Senate, the Queen of Chaos manifested a vague interest in going after tax havens, as in “people who create a mailbox, or a drop, or send one person to sit on the beach in some island paradise and claim that it is their offshore headquarters.” But – and that’s a crucial “but” – no bills proposed by Hillary ensued. After all, what to do about the Clinton machine’s virtually unlimited access to a pool of vast, non-transparent funds?

      The Clinton machine could not be savvier on onshore/offshore tax havens. Six years ago their home in Chappaqua, New York, of subterranean email fame, was conveniently placed in a “residence trust.”

      Bill Clinton for his part spent a wholesome five years as just a mere adviser to $3.2 billion-worth playboy Ron Burkle – now reduced to the status of former Clinton pal. While the friendship lasted, Burkle’s investment fund registered in Dubai and the Cayman Islands added at least $15 billion to Bill’s piggy bank.

    • Los Angeles Is Considering Taxing Millionaires to Help Homeless People, and More

      In today’s On the News segment: Los Angeles is considering taxing millionaires to help homeless people; global unemployment is expected to overtake 200 million people for the first time on record by the end of 2017; a new poll shows that two-thirds of all Americans would struggle to cover a $1,000 crisis; and more.

    • This Confirms It was a Coup: Brazil Crisis Deepens as Evidence Mounts of Plot to Oust Dilma Rousseff

      A key figure in Brazil’s interim government has resigned after explosive new transcripts revealed how he plotted to oust President Dilma Rousseff in order to end a corruption investigation that was targeting him. The transcripts, published by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, document a conversation in March, just weeks before Brazil’s lower house voted in favor of impeaching President Rousseff. Romero Jucá, who was then a senator but became a planning minister after Rousseff’s ouster, was speaking with a former oil executive, Sérgio Machado. Both men had been targets of the so-called Car Wash investigation over money laundering and corruption at the state-controlled oil firm Petrobras. In the conversation, the men agree that ousting President Rousseff would be the only way to end the corruption probe. In the transcript, Jucá said, “We have to change the government so the bleeding is stopped.” Machado then reportedly said, “The easiest solution is to put Michel in”—a reference to Vice President Michel Temer, who took power once Rousseff was suspended. We speak to Maria Luisa Mendonça, director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights.

    • Wall Street’s New Man in Brazil: The Forces Behind Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment

      According to recent internal documents, provided by WikiLeaks, on several occasions Michel Temer was an embassy informant for U.S. intelligence. Temer secretly shared information to the U.S. Southern Command concerning the 2006 election of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the vitality of his center-left Workers’ Party. Temer assured the Defense Department that despite Lula’s clear path to reelection the president would have to negotiate with the opposition, the Brazilian Democratic Workers Party (PMDB), who had just won most governorships and the Senate. He also assured the U.S. that the PMDB would soon coalesce with Brazil’s right wing parties, therefore greatly minimizing the Workers’ Party platform. Additionally, Temer also criticized the social programs being implemented by Lula and the Workers’ Party, claiming Lula was too concerned the poor and not concerned enough about “economic growth.” In these communications a thin line was drawn between espionage and informant. Temer’s loyalty seemed to be with the United States and capital and not to Brazil and democracy.

    • Clinton accuses Trump of “rooting” for a crash caused by her own donors

      A new attack ad put out by the Hillary Clinton campaign this week achieves the near-impossible, making Donald Trump look wronged and (almost) like a victim. More believably, it makes the Democrats look sleazy and disingenuous in comparison.

      [...]

      This ad is disingenuous in a dozen different ways. For one thing, the destruction that the Clinton campaign describes was not caused by people swooping in after the bubble burst, buying at the bottom of the market.

    • To Avoid Regulations, Uber Describes Itself as Either, Neither and Nor

      Uber is a traditional employer recruiting employees. Or Uber is a non-employer facilitating the work of independent contractors. Or Uber is a technology company supplying an app to small businesses.

      It depends on which lawsuit you read. The company, valued at over $62 billion, changes its description of what it does depending on what best allows it to avoid regulatory scrutiny.

    • Poultry And Meat Workers Face Some Of The Cruelest Working Conditions In The Country

      “The conditions that these workers are forced to endure is an outrage, and have no place in our nation,” Casey said, according to The Hill. “This is a matter of basic justice. The meat and poultry industry must quickly take substantial steps to improve the workplace conditions for those in this industry.”

      Latinos and immigrants make up a large part of the meat and poultry industry workforce, according to a 2005 human Human Rights Watch report. But because some of the immigrants are undocumented, they often “suffer violations of their rights but are afraid to challenge them,” which allows employers to exploit them with bad pay and dirty, dangerous working conditions.

      Jose Gaytan, an immigrant from Mexico, began working in slaughterhouses at the age of 19 because he thought the job would pay well. He began to feel his hands change from the effects of his job to “pull the tenderloin, which is where the filet mignon comes from,” he previously told ThinkProgress. Every night, his hands would “sting” and hurt.

      Pedro, a poultry worker at a Tyson plant in North Carolina, processes 45 to 60 chickens every minute. To treat his hands — which get so swollen from handling the chickens that he has to wear 3XL-sized plastic gloves — a nurse told him to take ibuprofen and to soak his hands in Epsom salt and hot water.

      Although Pedro and Jose have to work through the pain, they are actually among the fortunate in the meat industry. Other workplace injuries in this sector have resulted in fatalities. The new GAO report found that between 2004 and 2013, 151 workers died on the job, with transportation incidents cited as the most frequent cause of death.

    • REXLot Suspends Trading After Shares Tumble on Anonymous Report

      REXLot Holdings Ltd. suspended its shares from trading in Hong Kong after they tumbled on a research report questioning the lottery machine maker’s accounting.

      REXLot sank 9.3 percent to 44 Hong Kong cents, the lowest intraday level since August 2012, before the stock was halted from trading at 11:33 a.m. local time. Volume was about quadruple the three-month daily average. Anonymous Analytics rated the company a strong sell with a target price of 12 Hong Kong cents in a report today, saying REXLot exaggerates its revenue and the amount of cash on its balance sheet.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The ‘Woman Card’ Brings a Wealth of Disadvantages

      I am no fan of Hillary Clinton, simply because she is a neoliberal centrist wolf cloaked in progressive sheep’s clothing. However, she has many advantages propelling her toward the Democratic nomination, including the support of her party’s establishment, Wall Street executives and even Republicans.

    • Neil Young Now Okay With Donald Trump Using His Music

      That familiar situation played itself out again last June, when iconic singer-songwriter—and big-time supporter of Bernie Sanders—Neil Young told Donald Trump to cease and desist using his classic song “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Since then, the billionaire has become the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, resulting in an awful lot of backtracking on the part of big-money donors and former political foes. Amid this group, surprisingly, is Neil Young, who is now apparently totally okay with the Donald using his music.

    • Writers speak out against Donald Trump

      An Open Letter to the American People

    • Sanders to Trump: Let’s Debate in ‘Biggest Stadium Possible’

      Donald Trump has doubled down on his challenge to debate Bernie Sanders, telling reporters in Bismarck, North Dakota on Thursday that he would agree to a one-on-one with the Vermont senator for “something over $10 million.”

      “If we can raise for maybe women’s health issues or something, if we can raise $10 or $15 million for charity,” he said. “We have had a couple of calls from the networks already and we’ll see.”

    • Happy 25th birthday, TV-2, or the rise and fall of independent Russian TV

      This month TV-2, an independent TV channel in the Siberian city of Tomsk, turns 25 years old. It hasn’t been on the air for 18 months.

    • Trump and the Polls of Loathing

      Caught between a cynical Clinton machine and a shape-changing reality television show, US politics has featured its latest twist in the saga of surges and poll ratings. Now, we are being told that Donald Trump does have a chance against Hillary Clinton, spluttering ahead in some of the figures.

      There should be no sharp intake of breath on this. Reactionary politics and a certain voodoo mastery of reality was already perfected by Ronald Reagan when he secured the White House and ensured the irrevocable decline of an ailing empire. Making America great has remained the caption of failed politics, but it seems entirely at home in the Trump argot.

    • The Bruenig Firing: ‘Civility’ As A Tool To Control Political Dissent

      The idea that political civility is a necessary element of political discourse—one which is meant to emulate a kind of ideal courtroom politesse—is a bourgeois conviction. Expressions of civility are said to uphold democratic standards and tame violent language, and are therefore considered hallmarks of respectability and, mostly importantly, of enlightenment.

      In a report from 2004 entitled Democracy Online, Zizi Papacharissi, professor and communications department head at the University of Illinois at Chicago, described George Washington’s work on the subject of civility as a guiding factor in the conceptualization of the characteristics of consummate citizenry. Papacharissi writes that this “model of civility…was integral to American citizenship and democracy,” guiding one’s morality, and above all, helped to “cool hot passions of citizenry.”

      This civility model is designed to restrain and adjudicate what’s often characterized as being the savagery of political disobedience. For those who depart from this standard, there may be material consequences.

      On May 20, the progressive public policy organization, Demos, fired Matt Bruenig, a popular writer who covered poverty and inequality.

    • Read Between the Lines: The Case for Bernie Sanders Running as an Independent

      Everyone seems to think Bernie Sanders is finished. The establishment wants him out, Hillary Clinton has moved onto the general election and pundits clamor over the mathematical impossibility of his nomination. Even Donald Trump, who likely has ulterior motives, has called attention to this reality. But through all of this, one individual appears unfazed: Bernie Sanders himself. He has been called to back away and give up, but he has done just the opposite. If anything, he has further embroiled and empowered himself and his movement with his recent rhetoric.

    • Who’s Lobbying for Millennial Interests? Meet the “AARP for Young People”

      Millennial voters have gotten a bad rap when it comes to politics. They’re often brushed off as self-obsessed and disengaged, a stigma rooted in their abysmal turnout in recent elections. Just 21 percent of millennials voted in the 2014 midterms.

    • ‘Game On’: With Clinton Refusing, Sanders Agrees to Debate Trump in California

      Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have seemingly agreed to a one-on-one debate ahead of California’s primary on June 7—or, as Politico puts it, “the debate the world has been waiting for.”

      Appearing on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Wednesday night, Trump said he would debate Sanders if the proceeds from the event went to charity.

      “If I debated him it would have such high ratings,” the presumptive Republican nominee said.

      Minutes later, Sanders tweeted, “Game on.”

    • Jeffrey Sachs: Bernie Sanders easily wins the policy debate

      Mainstream U.S. economists have criticized Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s proposals as unworkable, but these economists betray the status quo bias of their economic models and professional experience. It’s been decades since the United States had a progressive economic strategy, and mainstream economists have forgotten what one can deliver. In fact, Sanders’s recipes are supported by overwhelming evidence — notably from countries that already follow the policies he advocates. On health care, growth and income inequality, Sanders wins the policy debate hands down.

    • Neck-and-Neck in California as Sanders Virtually Erases 50-Point Deficit

      Less than two weeks before California’s critical Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are locked in a dead heat in that state, according to a poll released Wednesday.

      The same poll (pdf) shows Sanders outperforming Clinton in a hypothetical match-up against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

      The survey, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), shows that among Democratic primary likely voters, 46 percent support Clinton and 44 percent support Sanders. Sanders leads Clinton among those who are very liberal (64% to 35%) as well as among younger voters (66% to 27%). Latino voters are slightly more likely to support Clinton (52% to 43%), while white voters are more divided (47% Clinton, 41% Sanders).

      The San Jose Mercury News points out: “Sanders started the campaign a year ago trailing Clinton in California by more than 50 percentage points in early polls, but he had pared down her lead to single digits earlier this year. PPIC’s last poll in March found Sanders trailing by seven percentage points.”

    • Amid Election Chaos, Communities Show Where the Real Power Is

      Economic pain is the most obvious reason so many feel alienated. Many economists tell Americans we should be celebrating the recovery, but I found communities stuck in poverty and debt and lacking affordable health care, decent housing, and even safe water. We are told it is our own fault if we are struggling, even though the structure of the economy has shifted profoundly to the advantage of the superrich.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • European Parliament prepares for actual Internet Censorship using “Terrorism” as justification buzzword

      Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, groups in the European Parliament wants to give police the power to censor the Internet and even individual accounts with social media providers at will. This is not just a stark attempt to justify sharp reductions in liberty with the buzzword “terrorism”, it also flies in the face of the most fundamental anti-censorship principles. The Directive (sort of a European Federal Law) isn’t completed yet, but is starting to take shape, and it’s looking horrifying.

    • New test for VCE literature sparks censorship concerns

      Books, plays and films studied for VCE will soon be screened to ensure they don’t offend religious and cultural groups.

      Education Minister James Merlino has ordered the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) to review its text selection process for VCE English, literature, drama and theatre studies.

      A spokesman for Mr Merlino said the Minister requested to “extend” the guidelines to “ensure that the views and sensitivities of cultural and religious groups are considered”.

      This comes after two Jewish groups slammed the inclusion of a play on the VCE drama list, Tales of a City by the Sea, which depicted life during war in Gaza, and was written by Palestinian playwright Samah Sabawi.

    • A WTO challenge to China’s internet censorship is long overdue [Ed: Corporate lobby (AEI) wants to expand the Empire of Corporations to China and uses censorship as WTO excuse]
    • The Great Rap Censorship Scare of 1990

      Jack Thompson, a conservative lawyer from Coral Gables, spearheaded a campaign to restrict sales of the album in Florida’s Broward County, eventually leading to a U.S. District Court ruling that declared the album’s lyrics obscene. A record store owner in Ft. Lauderdale was subsequently arrested for selling As Nasty As They Wanna Be, and members of 2 Live Crew were detained and charged with obscenity after a show at an adults-only club in Hollywood, Florida.

    • Looking To Destroy A Media Organization Through Lawsuits Is A Big Deal Even If You Don’t Like The Media Organization

      So I had thought that our post yesterday about Peter Thiel allegedly financing Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker would be the only time we posted about that story, but a few things have happened that seem to merit a further post. First, Thiel has admitted to it, and insisted that he views it as “philanthropy.” There are a number of claims that Thiel makes that are quite troubling. First, he admits that he didn’t just back Hogan, but rather gave lawyers money to go hunting for anyone who might want to sue Gawker, directly out of spite.

      [...]

      Incredibly, Thiel, who has given a large amount of money to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and who has claimed to be a big supporter of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, pulled a classic “I support freedom of speech, but…” line in response to questions along those lines, basically saying that he doesn’t think Gawker counts.

    • Facebook admits: ‘Rogue employees’ may be behind censorship of conservatives

      After investigating itself, the social media giant Facebook said it saw no “systematic political bias,” but admitted that “rogue employees” may be behind the censorship of conservative news on the site, the Washington Times reported Monday. Facebook also said it couldn’t rule out the possibility these rogue employees unintentionally acted with malice in “isolated improper actions.” The report did not specify what these “actions” might have entailed.

    • Unrepentant Facebook Censors Complaints of Censorship, Makes Tiny Tweaks

      It’s been over a week since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with leaders of conservative media to calm down accusations that the social media site was censoring conservative news and opinion. After the meeting one of the attendees, Media Research Center Pres. Brent Bozell “characterized the meeting between Zuckerberg and conservative leaders as generally positive and ‘cordial’ – but, also expressed a cautious wait-and-see reaction to Facebook’s promises of reform, citing the social media giant’s loss of public trust.” He also said “We’ll see how the [internal] investigation turns out”

    • Twitter abuse – ’50% of misogynistic tweets from women’

      Half of all misogynistic tweets posted on Twitter come from women, a study suggests.

      Over a three-week period, think tank Demos counted the number of uses of two particular words as indicators of misogyny.

      It found evidence of large-scale misogyny, with 6,500 unique users targeted by 10,000 abusive tweets in the UK alone.

    • Hong Kong cartoonist drops publisher amid charges of self-censorship

      A Hong Kong cartoonist claimed he is the victim of “self-censorship gone too far” after a publisher wanted to edit or delete content in his new political satire book.

      Artist Ar To said on Facebook Thursday that he couldn’t reach a compromise with the publisher, whom he did not wish to name. He is now seeking a new publisher who will issue the book without any changes.

    • ‘Satya’ to ‘Veerappan’: Watch Ram Gopal Varma talk about cinema, censorship

      Among other changes they demanded, Varma reveals that the Censors asked him to cut out a line from the film in which the real-life bandit Veerappan points out that LTTE chief Prabhakaran killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Varma says the Censors expressed concern that these words uttered as a statement of fact could hurt Tamil sentiments and asked him to replace them with a speculative sentence about Prabhakaran’s role in Rajiv’s assassination.

    • ‘Don’t you know that you’re toxic?’

      Amos Yee is back: After an apparent short escape to Australia and less than a year since his jail stint, the controversial teen blogger with a potty mouth will be charged in court today. He faces eight charges, including five for hurting the feelings of Muslims and Christians. If convicted, he could go to jail for up to three years and be fined.

    • Singapore teenage blogger Amos Yee back in court for ‘insulting Islam’
    • Singapore blogger faces fresh insulting Islam charges
    • Local blogger Amos Yee to claim trial to 8 new charges
    • Amos Yee claims trial to 8 charges, bail extended
    • Amos Yee back in court, faces eight new charges
    • Teenage blogger Amos Yee faces 8 new charges
    • Teen blogger Amos Yee to claim trial to eight charges
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy Shield must be Schremsproof, says one MEP—others wave it through

      MEPs have expressed concern about the many “deficiencies” in the current text of the Privacy Shield data-sharing deal with the US, and urged officials to negotiate a better agreement.

      In a non-binding resolution passed by 501 votes to 119 with 31 abstentions on Thursday, politicos urged the European Commission—which is the executive wing of the EU—to address issues such as US authorities’ access to data; the possibility of collecting bulk data in “exceptional cases” contrary to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; the independence of a proposed US ombudsperson, and the complexity of the redress system.

      The Privacy Shield deal is expected to replace the now defunct Safe Harbour mechanism to allow the transfer of European personal data to the US. Safe Harbour was ruled invalid by the European Court of Justice last October in the Max Schrems case. Many MEPs acknowledged that Privacy Shield was a substantial improvement on the previous system, however gaps opened up between political groups on how to approach it.

    • Microsoft and Facebook building underwater transatlantic ‘MAREA’ data cable [Ed: surveillance companies take control of the Internet backbone/infrastructure]

      As the world’s need for high-speed internet grows, there will be an increasing strain on existing infrastructure. While both the internet and the web can create a border-free exchange of data, something still needs to connect continents so that it can be shared. While you will likely never see it with your own eyes, there are actually data cables under the sea which connect large masses of land.

      Today, Microsoft and Facebook announce a partnership to build a transatlantic subsea data cable. Called ‘MAREA’, it will connect the United States to Europe. More specifically, it will connect the State of Virginia to the country of Spain. The project will begin this August, with a targeted completion date of October 2017.

    • Facebook and Microsoft to build private internet highway underwater

      The two technology companies announced on Thursday they are to install an undersea cable from the east coast of the US to Spain to help speed up their global internet services.

      Fast connectivity is particularly important to Facebook, which wants to encourage users across the world to broadcast live video and meet in virtual reality. Both activities can consume vast amounts of bandwidth.

    • Facebook and Microsoft team up to lay a massive internet cable across the Atlantic
    • Audio fingerprinting being used to track web users, study finds

      A wide-scale study of online trackers carried out by researchers at Princeton University has identified a new technique being used to try to strip web users of their privacy, as well as quantifying the ongoing usage of some better-known tracking techniques.

      The new technique unearthed by the study is based on fingerprinting a machine’s audio stack via the AudioContext API. So it’s not collecting sound played or recorded on a machine but rather harvesting the audio signature of the individual machine and using that as an identifier to track a web user.

    • Academics Make Theoretical Breakthrough in Random Number Generation

      Two University of Texas academics have made what some experts believe is a breakthrough in random number generation that could have longstanding implications for cryptography and computer security.

      David Zuckerman, a computer science professor, and Eshan Chattopadhyay, a graduate student, published a paper in March that will be presented in June at the Symposium on Theory of Computing. The paper describes how the academics devised a method for the generation of high quality random numbers. The work is theoretical, but Zuckerman said down the road it could lead to a number of practical advances in cryptography, scientific polling, and the study of other complex environments such as the climate.

    • Mission: Montreal! (Building the Next Generation of Onion Services)

      A few weeks ago, a small group of Tor developers got together in Montreal and worked on onion services for a full week. The event was very rewarding and we wrote this blog post to share with you how we spent our week! For the record, it was our second onion service hackfest, following the legendary Arlington Accords of July 2015.

    • Billionaire’s revenge: Facebook investor Peter Thiel’s nine-year Gawker grudge

      Billionaire Silicon Valley investor, Donald Trump delegate and Facebook board member Peter Thiel has made secrecy his brand. So when it emerged that Thiel appeared to be bankrolling former wrestler Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker, many people were surprised.

      Yet by publicly outing him as gay in 2007, Gawker founder Nick Denton shattered the privacy of Thiel’s fiercely guarded personal life and techno-libertarian vision. And Thiel, it turns out, can hold a grudge.

    • The name’s Mum – Spy Mum: Government recruiting middle-aged mums to be SPIES because of their ‘skills and mindset’
    • British spy chiefs’ mission to recruit female spooks
    • Wanted – Middle aged mothers to spy for MI5 (flexible hours available): Intelligence agencies target women after being told to become more diverse
    • Spy chiefs’ Mumsnet mission to recruit Jane Bonds [Ed: femmewashing day (appealing to women they spy on)]
    • Less than 10% of Germany’s SIGINT Spying Targets Terrorist

      Among the things I did was attend a presentation from Konstantin von Notz, one of the Bundestag members who is investigating Germany’s SIGINT spying in the wake of the Snowden leaks.

    • Surveillance cameras could put your home at risk

      FOX23’s Michelle Linn is taking a closer look at how security cameras could let anyone watch you
      Security experts say some websites give people access to security cameras

      For less than $200 people can install a security camera and keep an eye on what’s happening, but FOX23 found out it’s very easy for anyone to see what’s going on at their house.

    • Surveillance technology has advanced far beyond the laws that govern it

      Last week, we filmed our second episode of Ars Technica Live in Oakland, California, and we had a tremendously interesting conversation with UC Davis law professor Elizabeth Joh, who researches surveillance technology and policing. Right out of the gate, Joh made it clear that the problem isn’t surveillance per se—governments “need surveillance,” she said, to figure out what its citizens require in terms of benefits, help, and security. The problem is when this surveillance becomes invasive, and the government inhibits freedom of expression and punishes unconventional behavior. How do we balance the need for surveillance and the need for free expression and privacy in a democratic society?

      Joh talked a lot about the future legal landscape we’re creating with cutting-edge technologies like self-driving cars, facial recognition, and body cams. When you’re talking about law and policy, the issue is always that adoption of devices like body cams tends to precede careful thought about what rules will govern them. After the Ferguson protests, for example, police departments started using body cams as an accountability measure. But there are no federal guidelines for how cops will use these cams. Will they be able to turn them off whenever they want? Who has access to the data they collect? Can they use facial recognition in body cams? All of these questions remain unanswered, yet body cams are in widespread use across the US.

    • Secret Text in Senate Bill Would Give FBI Warrantless Access to Email Records

      A provision snuck into the still-secret text of the Senate’s annual intelligence authorization would give the FBI the ability to demand individuals’ email data and possibly web-surfing history from their service providers without a warrant and in complete secrecy.

      If passed, the change would expand the reach of the FBI’s already highly controversial national security letters. The FBI is currently allowed to get certain types of information with NSLs—most commonly information about the name, address, and call information associated with a phone number or details about a bank account.

      Since a 2008 Justice Department ruling, the FBI has not been allowed to use NSLs to demand “electronic communication transaction records” such as email subject lines and other metadata, or URLs visited.

    • Report: Impacts of surveillance on contemporary British activism

      St Andrews University and openDemocracy interviewed 25 activists, and surveyed more than a hundred, about the impacts of surveillance on activism in the UK. Here are our findings.

    • Top Websites Using Audio Fingerprinting to Secretly Track Web Users

      Despite browsing incognito, blocking advertisements, or hiding your tracks, some websites monitor and track your every move online using a new web-tracking technique called Audio Fingerprinting.

      This new fingerprinting technique can be utilized by technology and marketing companies to deliver targeted advertisements as well as by law enforcement to unmask VPN or Anonymous users, without even decrypting the traffic.

    • Government still holding on to 5 years of NSA phone-snooping metadata

      The National Security Agency’s phone-snooping program ended six months ago this Saturday, but the government is still holding on to the mountain of data it piled up over the previous five years, worrying civil liberties advocates who say it’s time to start expunging the legally questionable information.

      Government officials say they no longer access the information, but the intelligence community’s past behavior has some civil libertarians skeptical of those assurances. And the mere existence of the data, which includes the time, duration and numbers involved in phone calls, worries critics who say there’s no reason for it to be sitting under government control.

    • Feds say they have no evidence of any NSA surveillance of refuge occupiers

      Federal prosecutors say they have no evidence that any national security surveillance was used to investigate the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

      Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight said intelligence agents made no wiretap interceptions in the case, and he’s not aware of any electronic surveillance by national security agencies targeting the 41-day occupation of the refuge in Harney County.

      [...]

      The surveillance under question falls under what’s called Executive Order 12333, a Reagan-era directive signed in 1981 to extend the powers of U.S. intelligence agencies and direct the leaders of federal agencies to cooperate with CIA requests for information.

    • America shut down the original NSA because ‘gentlemen do not read each other’s mail’ [Ed: B-I puff pieces for NSA continue]
    • Don’t Spy On Us: British surveillance campaign ignores BND and NSA and resorts to orientalism

      Stereotypes about the “threat from the east” should have been buried along with the Cold War. Regrettably, they are seeping back into Western discourse. Such crude pigeonholing coarsens debate as a new British poster campaign proves.

      Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are the poster boys for a new British anti-surveillance advertising campaign. Meanwhile, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel are absent – never mind the ample proof showing that the NSA and BND routinely spy on ordinary citizens.

      The BND is so generous with Germans’ most private information it routinely passes it on to NSA colleagues. On the other hand, there is no proof the Russian and Chinese services have developed, or are deploying, data gathering schemes similar to their Western counterparts.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • G4S promises (again) to repaint asylum seeker red doors and relocate families at risk

      Back in January I helped The Times expose racial abuse of asylum seekers whose landlords in the north east of England — the security company G4S and its subcontractor Jomast — had painted their front doors a distinctive red.

      People who had fled their home countries to escape persecution reported having dog excrement pushed through their letterboxes and graffiti daubed on their doors, because their homes were so easy to locate.

    • Will Canada Recognise Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Developing Countries Too?

      While Canada’s long-awaited support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples brought hope and celebration last week, it’s not yet clear whether the rights of Indigenous people in developing countries harmed by Canadian mining companies will also be included.

      The Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, told IPS that Canada’s support for the Declaration is a “breath of fresh air.”

      For almost a decade, Ottawa had voted against the Declaration, a global set of collective human rights covering an array of indigenous issues. The Conservative government that was voted out last year claimed that the provision requiring government to consult indigenous groups before making any decision that might impact their way of life or their ability to exercise rights over traditional lands and territories would amount to a indigenous veto on major resource projects. Signing the Declaration would be ignoring the human rights of non-indigenous Canadians, it asserted.

    • Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Takes High-School Detention to a New Level

      Thursday, Jan. 28, was a cold morning in Durham, North Carolina. Wildin David Guillen Acosta went outside to head to school, but never made it. He was thrown to the ground and arrested by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He has been in detention ever since. Wildin, now 19 years old, fled his home in Olancho, Honduras more than two years ago. He was detained when crossing the border, but, as he was a minor at the time, he was allowed to join his family in North Carolina. He started out at Riverside High School, and was set to graduate this June. He wanted to become an engineer. Instead, he has been locked up in the notorious Stewart Detention Center in rural Lumpkin, Georgia, which is run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America.

    • Theresa May launches review of Sharia law in England and Wales

      The Government has announced the launch of its long-awaited independent review into Sharia law in England and Wales, to be chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui.

      It said that there is “evidence some Sharia councils may be working in a discriminatory and unacceptable way, seeking to legitimise forced marriage and issuing divorces that are unfair to women”. A statement released by the Home Office claimed this was “contrary to the teachings of Islam.”

    • Sharia councils face inquiry into ‘discrimination against women’

      Home Secretary Theresa May has launched an independent inquiry into the state of Sharia law in the UK to examine whether Islamic courts are being used to support forced marriage and issue unfair divorces.

      The government is concerned that some Sharia councils in Britain may be misusing the religious legal code to cause “harm” in communities.

      The Home Office announced the review, which will be chaired by Islam expert Professor Mona Siddiqui, on Thursday.

      The inquiry is part of the government’s counter-extremism strategy and is expected to be completed by 2017.

    • Holocaust Survivor and Human Rights Activist Hedy Epstein Dies at 91

      Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 91, died at her home in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on May 26, 2016. An internationally renowned, respected and admired advocate for human and civil rights, Hedy was encircled by friends who lovingly cared for her at home.

      Born August 15, 1924, in the Bavarian region of Germany, her lifelong commitment to human rights was formed by the horrific experiences she and her family endured under the repressive Nazi regime.

    • NYPD Commissioner Calls Rappers ‘Thugs,’ Blames Them For Violence At Concert

      By calling rappers “thugs” Bratton is relying on coded language with specific, racist associations for black men.

    • Former NBA Player Calls Out Racist Train Rider

      On Friday, Thomas posted an account on Facebook about an experience he had while riding a train in an unnamed city. He wrote that he asked to sit in the empty seat next to a white woman, and she told him it was taken. Moments later, however, when a white man asked for the same seat, she moved her things for him.

    • We Shall be the Prey and the Vulture

      The police kill protestors all over the country and vulnerable groups like prisoners, sex workers, street traders and squatters are ruled with violence all over the country. But while the most egregious single incident of rule by violence was, of course, the massacre of striking workers at Marikana near Rustenburg in 2012 the problem of political violence is particularly acute in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is usually assumed that this is rooted in the militarisation of politics in this part of the country during the last years of apartheid.

    • Cancelled brain scan could have saved UK immigration detainee

      Inquest, Day Four: Neurologist testifies that he might have saved 25 year old Bruno Dos Santos.

    • How Anti-Choice Groups Push Message “Directly Into Women’s Phones”
    • Saudi Cleric Says Posing for Photos With Cats Is Forbidden

      A prominent Saudi cleric has declared photographs with cats, and other animals, forbidden unless completely necessary due to an upsurge in Saudis “who want to be like Westerners.”

      On a televised broadcast, Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan, a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, was told about “a new trend of taking pictures with cats has been spreading among people who want to be like Westerners.”

    • Woman left with horrific burns after acid attack for rejecting marriage proposal

      A young Pakistani woman had her skin burned off in a brutal acid attack for turning down a marriage proposal.

      Saima Mehmood, 21, from North Karachi, had acid thrown in her face as punishment for refusing to marry a suitor, leaving her with horrific injuries.

      The victim recently got engaged to another man, resulting in the revenge attack, according to The Express Tribune.

    • Elderly Christian woman stripped naked and paraded through streets by mob

      The 300-strong mob of Muslim men in rural Egypt also burned down seven homes belonging to Orthodox Coptic families, over rumours of an affair between a local Christian man and a Muslim woman

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • EU Commission Releases Plans To More Directly Regulate Internet, Pretending It’s Not Regulating The Internet

      Well, this isn’t a surprise. After all, we warned you that it was likely to happen, and we helped get together folks to warn the EU Commission that this was a bad idea, but the EU Commission has always seemed dead set on a plan that they believe will hold back big successful American internet firms, while fostering support for European ones. This week they made their first move by releasing details of some of their plans. This is all part of the “Digital Single Market” plan, which, in theory, makes a ton of sense. The idea is to knock down geographical regulatory barriers on the internet, such as geoblocking. And the first part of the EU’s plan is right in line with that idea and makes perfect sense. It talks about getting rid of geoblocking and also making cross-border delivery of packages easier and less expensive — basically making e-commerce work better. That’s all good.

      But it’s the second part that is concerning, and that’s where they start talking about updating “audiovisual rights” and the regulation of “online platforms.” The audiovisual rights stuff is getting most of the press attention, because of silly rules like requiring video platforms to promote more European-created content.

    • As Expected, Verizon’s Attempt To Woo Millennials Is Falling Flat On Its Face

      For years now Verizon has made it clear that it no longer wants to be in the fixed-line broadband business. Despite countless billions in taxpayer subsidies and numerous unfinished obligations, the company has all-but frozen serious fiber deployments. It has also been either selling off unwanted DSL customers to smaller, ill-equipped telcos (which which almost always ends poorly for everybody except Verizon accountants and lawyers) or has quite literally tried to drive unwanted users away with both rate hikes and apathy.

      Instead, Verizon executives decided to try and transform the stodgy old telco into a sexy new Millennial-focused advertising juggernaut. So far that has involved launching the company’s Millennial-targeted “Go90″ streaming video service, spending $4.4 billion on acquiring AOL, trying to acquire the drifting wreckage that is Yahoo, and developing controversial stealth ad tracking technology to build covert profiles of customer behavior as they wander around the Internet.

    • How the Internet works: Submarine fiber, brains in jars, and coaxial cables

      But how does it work? Have you ever thought about how that cat picture actually gets from a server in Oregon to your PC in London? We’re not simply talking about the wonders of TCP/IP or pervasive Wi-Fi hotspots, though those are vitally important as well. No, we’re talking about the big infrastructure: the huge submarine cables, the vast landing sites and data centres with their massively redundant power systems, and the elephantine, labyrinthine last-mile networks that actually hook billions of us to the Internet.

    • Cities Rushing To Restrict Airbnb Are About To Discover That They’re Violating Key Internet Law

      Fights over tech policy are going increasingly local. Most technology regulations have been federal issues. There have been a few attempts to regulate on the state level — including Pennsylvania’s ridiculous attempt to demand ISPs filter out porn in the early 2000s. But state legislators and Attorneys General eventually learned (the hard way) that federal law — specifically CDA 230 — prevents any laws that look to hold internet platforms liable for the actions of their users. This is why state Attorneys General hate Section 230, but they need to deal with it, because it’s the law.

      It’s looking like various cities are now about to go through the same “education” process that the states went through in the last decade. With the rise of “local” services like Uber and Airbnb, city by city regulation is becoming a very, very big deal. And it seems that a bunch of big cities are rapidly pushing anti-Airbnb bills that almost certainly violate Section 230 and possibly other federal laws as well. In particular, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago are all pushing laws to further regulate platforms for short term housing rentals (and yes, the SF effort comes just months after another shortsighted attempt to limit Airbnb failed).

    • House Budget Bill Guts Net Neutrality, Kills FCC Authority — All Because The FCC Dared To Stand Up To Comcast & AT&T

      We’ve noted a few times now that ever since the FCC passed net neutrality rules, loyal ISP politicians in the House and Senate have been engaged in a full-court press to punish the agency for daring to stand up to big broadband ISPs. That has involved an endless parade of taxpayer-funded hearings pretending to be about agency transparency and accountability — but are really just about publicly shaming the agency. It has also involved a laundry list of bills that attempt to thoroughly gut FCC funding and authority under the pretense of saving the country from a power-mad FCC.

    • The Next Battle for Net Neutrality Is Getting Bloody

      Net neutrality is a slippery subject. Months after the government appeared to get greedy telecom companies in check, carriers have come up with another clever trick to make more money and jeopardize the open internet. The latest trick is something called zero-rating, and your mobile carrier probably already uses—or abuses—this net neutrality loophole.

      This week, 58 tech companies, including Reddit, Yelp, and Kickstarter, asked the FCC in a letter to lead a transparent discussion about zero-rating practices. Basically, they want the same open discussion that spurred 4 million people to send comments to the FCC because they believe zero-rating policy could have a dramatic effect on the health of net neutrality in the US.

    • House spending bill takes swipes at FCC rules

      Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee are pushing a spending bill that would temporarily block a slate of controversial regulations at the Federal Communications Commission.

      The panel’s Financial Service and General Government spending bill would block the agency from enforcing its net neutrality rules until a court challenge is over, and it would block the commission from using those rules to regulate broadband prices.

      In addition, the spending bill would force the FCC to complete a study before it finishes writing its regulations to open up the TV set-top box market. It would also force the commission to post the text of new rules on its website for 21 days before any vote.

      A House Appropriations subcommittee advanced the bill Wednesday, which will later get taken up by the full committee.

      The bill is largely a GOP wish list. Similar provisions to blunt the agency’s internet service regulations were included in last year’s spending bill. But they were stripped out of a final deal that make it to President Obama’s desk.

      Republicans are almost universally against the FCC’s net neutrality rules approved last year, which reclassify internet service providers under strict common carrier regulations. The new authority gives the agency power to ban internet service providers from blocking, throttling, create fast lanes or unreasonably discriminating against certain kinds of internet traffic.

    • Jesper Lund – Internet Regulation: A Danish Perspective
  • DRM

    • Huge Billboard Protests VPN Blocking at Netflix HQ

      Netflix’s ongoing VPN crackdown is meeting fierce resistance from concerned users around the world. Today, privacy activists are driving a massive billboard around Netflix’s headquarters, hoping the company will respect their privacy and reverse the broad VPN ban.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Threatening someone with IP infringement? Law Commission explains what you need to know about the new IP (Unjustified Threats) Bill

      No threats action can be brought against a professional adviser acting for a client in a professional capacity providing legal or attorney services for which they are regulated.

    • Copyrights

      • Should it be legal to resell e-books, software, and other digital goods?

        One of the most interesting questions in the world of modern entertainment may soon be pondered at Europe’s top court: can people resell the e-books that they buy?

        This question is vital in the digital era, and relevant not just to the world of book publishing, but also the realms of music, film, and games. You’re able to resell the CDs and DVDs that you buy, so why can’t you do the same with downloaded copies of albums and movies?

        The case involves a Dutch second-hand e-book platform called Tom Kabinet, which took a previous ruling by the European Court of Justice, involving second-hand software, as the go-ahead for its own business model. Since 2014, Tom Kabinet has been at war with the Dutch Publishers Association (NUV), which sees it as a threat to the entire book industry.

      • Bankruptcy Fight May Be The Least Of Team Prenda’s Concerns, As The FBI Comes Knocking

        Of course, it’s been three years since then and a few things have happened. One of the three main members of Team Prenda (though, probably the least involved of the three) passed away. But the other two are both facing bar complaints over ethical violations. Paul Hansmeier also famously tried to declare bankruptcy, but appears to have lied to the court in the process. Fight Copyright Trolls just recently had an update on that case, and suffice it to say, it’s hilarious. Hansmeier has not just lost his lawyer after she told the court that she could no longer represent him and be a servant of the court (i.e., heavily hinting that Hansmeier was likely asking her to lie to the court), but he’s also lashed out at the trustee handling his bankruptcy for… buying a new car.

        And, of course, both Hansmeier and Steele have moved on to a revamped version of the same old trolling trick, but this time using the Americans with Disabilities Act as the fulcrum, rather than copyright law.

05.26.16

Warning: EPO Surveillance May Have Just Gotten Even More Intrusive

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reporters Without Borders on BlueCoat
Source: Reporters Without Borders

Summary: BlueCoat, which the EPO uses to enable oppression inside its European premises, has just gotten even nastier and staff may be at risk

LAST year we wrote about BlueCoat’s relationship with the EPO. Some people already know about this, but some do not. BlueCoat is (or at least was) used to spy on EPO staff and censor EPO staff, as we first suspected quite a while back (this was later confirmed to us). We gave some background regarding BlueCoat at the time. It’s militarised, just like Control Risks. There are many militaristic elements to the EPO under Battistelli and it’s getting worse over time, to the point where one paranoid man in a suit has half a dozen bodyguards, costing a fortune.

“There are many militaristic elements to the EPO under Battistelli and it’s getting worse over time, to the point where one paranoid man in a suit has half a dozen bodyguards, costing a fortune.”“Please spread this really bad news which I read on Twitter,” wrote to us one person earlier today. It’s a reliable source.

“BlueCoat,” we’re told, “the company making TLS MitM equipment allegedly used by govs [AND EPO] to violate human rights, now has a REAL UNRESTRICTED CA.”

“Please spread this really bad news.”

“BlueCoat is used by the EPO to filter web traffic (at least it was in 2013/2014),” our source told us. This is something that we were able to verify independently. “From now on all these people (bastards) can intercept (as Man-in-the-middle, MitM) and read (possibly) without that you even notice also https:// traffic because your browser will trust them, because they have a real unrestricted certificate -like your bank, and so on.Please spread this really bad news.

“Here are some links.”

This now-deleted tweet said: “network interception device manufacturer granted a Certificate Authority able to MitM HTTPS on any computer.”

“Remedy,” we’re told, “partially, but perhaps not for unlucky sheep in the office,” is this. “Here’s how to untrust it,” apparently believes our source, although that in itself may arouse suspicion from within the Office. This may have gone on for quite some time because, to quote the blog post: “This month an interesting one popped up, generated apparently in September 2015: “Blue Coat Public Services Intermediate CA”, signed by Symantec. (No certificates signed by this CA have reached the CT logs or Censys so far.)”

Staff representatives of the EPO, albeit besieged and suppressed, might wish to report to European authorities which kind of parties the EPO is associating itself with. Under Battistelli, in the widely notorious Eponia, human rights are respected no more than in Bahrain.

Victim Card Ends up in Another Blunder for Battistelli and His Six Bodyguards

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Megalomania and paranoia are not so far apart

EPO Frame Breaking

Summary: Battistelli is wrecking what’s left of the EPO’s reputation (after decades it took the Office to earn it) as the media continues to scrutinise his appalling regime

IN SPITE of an effort to keep a low profile, the EPO is receiving unwanted attention from European TV, from European politicians, and even Croatian authorities. There’s more on the way, based on our sources. In the mean time, judging by this article from earlier today, patent scope at the EPO comes under fire again. To quote:

In May, a record 65,000 people from 30 countries and 32 organizations have backed the complaint issued to the European Patent Office due to the approval of a Syngenta tomato discovered in South America and cultivated by traditional methods.

The tomato was accepted as an “invention” in August 2015, with patent EP1515600, which further describes a “flavonoid pathway in the production and domestication method of the tomato.” This gives the Swiss company Syngenta the power over all plants with the characteristics mentioned, including seeds and even fruits and foods derived from them.

“This so-called “invention”, however, is simply a crossing of tomatoes originating in Peru and Chile, with varieties currently grown in industrialised countries,” said via email to La Gran Época María Carrascosa, of the association Red de Semillas, which joined the international coalition “Against patents on seeds”.

There should be similar movements against software patents at the EPO. This relates to the UPC and we are aware of organisation against it (work in progress apparently).

Regarding the presidential bike story (updated thrice by now), one person asks: “Why would an (alleged) tampering with brakes matter at all? I can’t imagine BB [Battistelli] braking for anyone or anything…”

There is now even a whole article about it, published earlier today at The Register. To quote some bits: “Every CEO knows it’s impossible to be universally liked. But when staff start cutting your brakes, maybe it’s time to consider moving on.

“The president of the European Patent Office (EPO), Benoit Battistelli, has already been on the receiving end of an official censure from his board, a series of strikes, several highly critical news reports, and a zero per cent confidence rating. But an announcement sent to all staff on Wednesday topped the lot.

“”Deliberate damage to personal property of the President,” read the subject line in an email sent from EPO vice president Željko Topić and seen by The Register.”

Here is a new fact. Battistelli apparently has nothing short of six (6!) bodyguards now. That’s insane and no wonder it's so expensive. To quote: “That’s not all. According to reports, the EPO has recently hired no fewer than six bodyguards to provide “close protection” of Battistelli for six months for the princely sum of €550,000 ($615,000).

“The irony of the EPO paying hundreds of thousands of euros to protect Battistelli from his own staff while cutting the salaries and benefits of staff representatives that stood up to his reorganization plans has not been lost on people.

“Incredibly, however, despite an ever-increasing outcry against Battistelli and his executive team and several meetings of the EPO’s Administrative Council focused solely on how to overcome the breakdown in staff-management communication, Battistelli is still refusing to budge an inch.

“Despite being told to fix the situation and scale back the problems in March, Battistelli has instead proposed reforms that have angered staff even more. They are now planning yet more protests to take place during the organization’s annual PR showpiece, the EPO European Inventor Award in June.”

“It is worth explaining that EPO has been granted sovereignty status by the European Commission, hence no local laws apply and its president has status almost equal to that of a head of state (totalitarian one).”
      –Anonymous
This is very negative publicity for the EPO. “The EPO Also Ranks No. 1 in Having the Most Unpopular President,” wrote Patent Buddy, perhaps alluding to the IAM nonsense (also published earlier today).

Looking at some of the comments on this article, there is no sympathy at all for Battistelli. One person says: “There’s a line in HHGG about “waiting for the right…price”. I’d sack the whole board as well, they are supposed to ensure that situations like this never occur.”

Another comment says: “It is worth explaining that EPO has been granted sovereignty status by the European Commission, hence no local laws apply and its president has status almost equal to that of a head of state (totalitarian one).”

The number of bodyguards is then brought up: “SIX bodyguards?

“I assume that means he has 24×7 protection and more than one bodyguard much of the time. Apparently they’re worried about a team coming after him, not a single disgruntled individual.”

Many jokes ensued, e.g.: “Good job no one tried to kill the VP

“I mean if he needs bodyguards surely a bicycle isn’t an option.”
      –Anonymous
“That would be going off Topic”

Here is another joke: “Do the bodyguards have bikes too and how exactly would that work?

“Do they flank him either side? Follow from behind at a safe distance?

“I mean if he needs bodyguards surely a bicycle isn’t an option.”

Finally: “From now on, he’ll probably use a bullet proof bicycle.”

There is more coming Battistelli’s way in the negative publicity sense. The harder he tries to paint himself as a victim, the worse it gets for him.

Italian Report About EPO Now Available in English

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An English translation of a TV program which earlier this month documented some of the glaring problems at the EPO

THE EPO‘s management is receiving unwanted attention again. Recent Italian TV coverage, which we last mentioned yesterday, focused on the value or lack of value of EPO patents. It also featured EPO staff representatives like Hardon and mentioned Techrights material like this.

Below is the English translation of the transcript of the program. It’s just the part related to patents, to paraphrase the translator, or more precisely the few parts related to the EPO. Our contributor translated only the excerpts about the EPO and UPC. This contributor also put the timings corresponding to the video as streamed in this original link.


Report 15-5-2015 “La guerra dei brevetti” (The war of patents)

By Paolo Mondani

Collaboration with Cataldo Ciccolella

Introduction on the web page with the video

(http://www.report.rai.it/dl/Report/puntata/ContentItem-52eb23d7-fcb8-4fe0-af49-50cdf7a9d8ac.html):

A world war is on, but with no bombs and no tanks: it’s the war to grab and protect trademarks and patents. In the field are multinational corporations and small inventors, investment funds, universities and above all, legions of lawyers. Even the movement of two fingers to zoom in a picture on the smartphone: Apple and Samsung have been heavily beating on each other in Tribunals to establish who invented it first. Behind a certificate, which says, “I invented this”, there are years of research, mazes of bureaucracy, money. We are going to see how EPO works, its central seat in Munich, the European institution which grants patents: the president Benoit Battistelli is at the centre of polemics for his relations with the employees, and what’s more – in spite of being an excellence – EPO is not subject to external controls, with all the risks that this brings along.

Report will also relate about the difficulties of some Italian enterprises, as for the inventor of the “Tutor” (a speed limit control system) in a legal battle against “Autostrade” (enterprise for Italian motorways) for establishing who really has the rights for the idea.

Also the Renzi administration has realized the importance of patents and trademark and for this reason has started a “patent box”, a fiscal discount to make inventors desist from going abroad. Who knows if Ferrari, the most important Italian brand in the world, will decide to export its rights in the Netherlands, where it already has taken a seat for its holding, or if it will remain in Italy. Finally, this enquiry will show what is the impact of patents on the national health system and in the pockets of patients, starting from the battle for the pricings for a pharmaceutical anti-hepatitis C.

- Translation of the audio transcript for five excerpts concerning the European Patent Office.

Excerpt 1: 00:00 – 01:17

Introduction:

Milena Gabanelli in the studio:

Good evening! Mafias are changing skin, and how are we fighting them? We’ll see about this, after the enquiry of today, which will lead us into the world of patents. You got a brand you register it, you got an idea you protect it. But that is not all said, because an industry of counterfeits, as for instance in the world of pharmaceuticals, is operating without a face. And around paper documents extremely violent legal battles arise, often fought over a comma or the slightest pretext. For example, this thing (she shows it on the screen) is called “Pinch to Zoom” and it has been fought over by Apple and Samsung for billions. One invents it, the other copies it, and if you can commercialize it anyway, you might still have to pay one million back, but if you made a 5 millions gain, it was still convenient. Who makes more profits from royalties of their inventions in the world, compared to what they pay for inventions from others, are: USA, Japan, Germany. And how about us, people of inventors? And who rules patents in Europe instead? It’s this mister (she shows Battistelli’s picture on the screen), who is the president of an institution that has almost the independence of a State. Now to our Paolo Mondani.

Excerpt 2: 16:56 – 19:04

Paolo Mondani – voiceover

While we are putting at stake the patents of Italian chemical industry, those who decide are in Munich. Single inventors and small and larger enterprises file here their patent applications for 38 European countries. The EPO, the office where 7000 engineers are employed, examines them and finally grants or refuses the patent. It takes 4 to 5 years. The problem is the cost of it.

Patent Examiner at the European Patent Office – Munich

Well if we add up all the costs including translations, the legal representations and our procedure, we’re about, let’s say, 50thousand €. Then you have to pay some thousands of euro for keeping the patent alive each year.

PAOLO MONDANI

And do you have a favourable attitude towards larger enterprises who send their applications here?

Patent Examiner at the European Patent Office – Munich

Not from our side, as examiners. But I cannot hide that we were rather astonished when recently the management has decided to establish some resources dedicated as an interface with larger enterprises.

Roberta Romano-Goetsch – Principal Director at EPO

But that is an offer that is available to any applicant and any representative.

PAOLO MONDANI

So I should not be malicious and think that you prepared a preferential lane for corporations…

Roberta Romano-Goetsch – Principal Director at EPO
No. No.

PAOLO MONDANI

Well, because actually I read an internal document, of 2015, where it reads that Canon, Philips, Microsoft, Qualcomm, BASF, Bayer, Samsung, Huawei, Siemens, Ericsson and Fujitsu will enjoy a preferential lane on patenting. What does that mean?

Patent Examiner at the European Patent Office – Munich

On the paper it is just a kind of “dedicated assistance”, but in substance it is not like that. It’s them who bring us real money, and for that reason they will get more attention.

Paolo Mondani – voiceover

Small inventors do not seem enthusiasts of the European patenting system. Sergio D’Offizzi is an engineer that has been working for (Italian enterprises) Enel and Sogin in the safety of nuclear power plants.

……………

Excerpt 3: 20:05 – 20:38

Paolo Mondani – voiceover

Please, where did you file your patent application?

SERGIO D’OFFIZZI – former manager at Sogin.

I filed it in the USA and China, from where I could get a notification in 2014. Being European, I also filed it at the EPO, and it’s nine years that I am still waiting, I’m not saying for an answer, but at least for a notification about where my invention will ever get.

……………………

Excerpt 4: 21:56 – 22:29

PAOLO MONDANI

When did you patent the “reflexometer”?

GIORGIO MARCON – Technical legal consultant for Tribunals

In 2013 I started submitting the documentation, having started 3 years before all the procedures to develop all the rest.

PAOLO MONDANI

And did you finally get a patent?

GIORGIO MARCON – – Technical legal consultant for Tribunals

End of 2015

PAOLO MONDANI

And why did you not file it also at the EPO in Munich?

GIORGIO MARCON – Technical legal consultant for Tribunals

Exactly because I knew that there are some deceptions behind the patenting, and not a protection of the patent.

PAOLO MONDANI

Which deception? What are you suspicious about?

GIORGIO MARCON – – Technical legal consultant for Tribunals

In essence, the information is leaked, it goes to industries who then can speculate.

……………………

Excerpt 5: 23:40 – 31:31

PAOLO MONDANI

Where did you get it patented? At the EPO in Munich? (Asking an entrepreneur about his patented compass system)

SERGIO SULAS – Enterpreneur

Yes, then in ten European countries, then in the USA, Australia and New Zealand. In my experience I could see that in the USA it is more difficult to patent, but smaller enterprises have it easier. And there are some advantages that the European system does not offer.

PAOLO MONDANI

For instance?

SERGIO SULAS – IMPRENDITORE

It is 15 to 20 times less expensive.

Milena Gabanelli in the studio

We also have a Patent Office in Italy. You go there only if you want to patent only in Italy. The highest waiting time is 2,5 to 3 years – depending from complexity – the costs are about 5000 €, plus a yearly fee for each year of patent life. For those who go to Munich (EPO), time can be longer. But between filing and obtaining the patent, the costs can reach 50.000€. Is it too much? Is it too little? It depends from the success of the invention. But that does not mean that once you have the patent you’re safe, because often a larger enterprise comes up and says “You stole part of that idea from me!”. And even if that is not true, they can just arrange a whole legal battle, most expensive and that takes forever, so if you are big enough, you line up all your own lawyers, but if you are small you can only handle on royalties for a possible future development, or you simply sell the patent to them, usually at the price that they decide and goodbye.

Some commercials now, then we’ll be back to Munich, to the Patent Office there, where, according to those who work there, they have the same freedom of opinion that you get in North Korea.

(After the commercials break)

We’re back again. We’re talking about patents and we are going to see: a battle between a man who says he invented the “Tutor” (Speed Limit Control) and the “Autostrade” (enterprise for Motorways in Italy) who says the invention was actually anticipated by Galileo; Universities are incubators of ideas, the Sapienza University (Rome) will have its ones managed by Mr Carrai, the consultant of the Italian Prime Minister, then we’ll see the most complex problem, which is about pharmaceuticals. What is the border between the need of saving human lives and the need of refund the expenses for research first and then of making profits? Well, but first let’s got back to the office in Munich (EPO) where patenting is too expensive, as everybody says, but truth is that in this office made of glass, you really cannot see anything.

PAOLO MONDANI

EPO is not controlled by the European Union, up to the point that you are an extraterritorial institution, with particular guarantees of immunity. But who is controlling you then?

Examiner at the European Patent Office – Munich

In theory member states should do it, through their representatives in the Administrative Council, but it happens more than often that these make agreements with Battistelli on specific points: you give something to me, I give something to you. You know, a bit like what was happening at FIFA with Blatter.

PAOLO MONDANI – voiceover

In front of the building in Munich, also the employees say that the president, Benoit Battistelli, administrates EPO in an obscure way.

ELIZABETH HARDON – Unionist at EPO

A month ago we have been dismissed, Jon and I, and Malika has been downgraded. We were asking for more transparency and a control on finances of EPO. This is the reason why the president has zeroed on us.

PAOLO MONDANI

Corruption cases here at EPO?

Examiner at the European Patent Office – Munich

Not if you mean like getting ten thousand euros in an envelope. But you know, at times the exchange of favours may mean a jump in career steps, the obtainment of a position of power or prestige. To a manager this can be granted in change of making a patent application fly.

PAOLO MONDANI

EPO makes 2 billions € a year. What do you do with all this money?

Examiner at the European Patent Office – Munich

There is no transparency on how it is being used. We don’t even know how much the president gets.

ELIZABETH HARDON – Unionist at EPO

Today we oppose the reforms of the President, which are infringing freedom of association, freedom of speech and our privacy. And we’ll keep protesting until the office won’t return to its function of servicing European citizens rather than the careers of some megalomaniac manager.

Examiner at the European Patent Office – Munich

Please consider that we have to make a request to strike or for having discussions among us. And if the President says no, well, we can’t do it.

PAOLO MONDANI – voiceover

Mauro Masi is member of the Administrative Council of EPO since 2006. What do you think of Battistelli’s methods?

MAURO MASI – Italian delegate at the Administrative Council of EPO

Battistelli behaves in a way, (that) he respects all formal rules of EPO. The issue is whether such rules are still valid or should be changed. In my opinion they should be changed.

Examiner at the European Patent Office – Munich

They had newspapers writing articles in which we’ve been described as a bunch of spoiled engineers, earning 8000€ a month who dare asking freedom to strike.

PAOLO MONDANI

Well, 8000 a month seems an huge sum to me.

ESAMINATORE UFFICIO EUROPEO BREVETTI – MONACO

Yes, but it is a work of highest quality and we are paid also for not being corruptible.

PAOLO MONDANI

EPO does not depend from Europe, it’s not part of European Union. It is a private institution, you even enjoy immunity. But who’s controlling you?

ROBERTA ROMANO-GOETSCH –Principal Director at EPO

Representatives of the member states compose our administrative council, which is also our legislator, so to say. Therefore it’s them, our administrative council. Then we have also a commissioner from the European community, who is an observer inside the administrative council.

PAOLO MONDANI

But, let’s say, don’t you have a supranational body, or any authority independent from the administrative council, that could perform a control on your activity?

ROBERTA ROMANO-GOETSCH – Principal Director at EPO

No.

PAOLO MONDANI – voiceover

The patent office in Munich is an anomaly, yet as such it will be responsible for the unitary European patent, where English German and French will be allowed as languages.

RENATA RIGHETTI – President of “BUGNION” – Industrial Property Consultants

The unitary patent is an intellectual property document covering all 28 countries of the European Union. This is its intention, seen in terms of homogeneity of the Country Europe. Various states have joined little by little. Initially Italy and Spain remained outside of it, but now only Spain is out of it. The unitary patent cannot enter into force until the Unified Patent Court won’t enter into force. The UPC will have jurisdiction on all appeals, on infringement, on counterfeits or related issues, concerning the unitary patent and the European patent in general.

PAOLO MONDANI

Unitary European Patent, five seats: Munich, Berlin, The Hague, Brussels and Vienna. Three languages: German, French and English. Three seats for the Unified Court: Paris, London and Munich and a Court of Appeals in Luxemburg. Italy will be good just for the holidays.

MAURO MASI – Italian delegate at the Administrative Council of EPO

These choices are ratified by single parliaments, therefore at a higher level, Politics with a capital P. So about that, you have to ask at that political level.

PAOLO MONDANI – voiceover

The parties of the coalition of the Renzi government have approved the unitary patent with a majority. With the new patent, the small and medium enterprises will have fewer expenses, but won’t be the larger enterprises, those who’ll get most advantages?

RENATA RIGHETTI – President of “BUGNION” – Industrial Property Consultants
Oh well…. Yes, I believe this is a legitimate doubt. It is legitimate because a legal lawsuit to protect one’s own rights for a patent before the Unified Court will be much more expensive than what it is today, one can easily imagine.

The EPO is Doing Great, Says EPO-Connected ‘News’ Site

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like asking Les Echos about the EPO amid ceremonial distractions where a lot of money changes hands

Afghanistan hospital
Reference (investigating oneself)

Summary: IAM ‘magazine’, a longtime ally of the EPO, gives people the impression that all is fine and dandy at the EPO even though that’s clearly not the case

THERE IS a lot to distract with and distract from right now at the EPO. There is also a huge marketing budget (almost a million dollars, €880,000 to be precise, spent on ‘outside help’ from a firm that pays IAM 'magazine').

“Very limited sample sets in such a survey are bad enough; what’s worse is that they’re all self-selecting readers of a pro-EPO site, so how reliable can that be?”The EPO’s lobbying for the UPC is now a daily thing and Mr. Battistelli has a good (effective) propaganda rag in IAM, which has just come out with this nonsense, choosing a pro-EPO angle right there in the headline, a sort of odd cherry-picking of data. “The result repeats the one the office achieved in last year’s survey,” it says, but remember that the EPO has a recent history of ‘spamming’ to game/prop up its own polls [1, 2].

“We received over 600 responses in total,” says IAM several paragraphs down (this is not emphasised because this number is relatively low). There are more than 10 times that number in EPO staff alone. Very limited sample sets in such a survey are bad enough; what’s worse is that they’re all self-selecting readers of a pro-EPO site, so how reliable can that be? Probably as reliable as a Facebook investigation into its own censorship of trending topics or a Pentagon probe of its own war crimes (hence the reference above).

“With help from FTI Consulting, CRG and apparently bodyguard/security agencies (secrets contracts, passage of great wealth to private hands) the EPO is no longer a patent office but increasingly a thuggish propaganda agency that goes aggressive on anyone who dares to question the propaganda.”This is something that people have become accustomed to but are not prepared to accept. The EPO is a malicious organisation that admits there is a crisis due to the management. Will people start complaining to their delegates about alleged 'buying' of votes by Battistelli or do people need more evidence? An internal audit won’t do. As one person put it earlier today, “show me the detailed proposal and concrete proof that it will be put before the AC and I will see what I can do about my complaining to my country’s representative to the AC.”

Do not ever trust anything that EPO management says, whether it's about bicycles, weapons, Nazis, or even so-called ‘results’ [1, 2, 3]. With help from FTI Consulting, CRG and apparently bodyguard/security agencies (secrets contracts, passage of great wealth to private hands) the EPO is no longer a patent office but increasingly a thuggish propaganda agency that goes aggressive on anyone who dares to question the propaganda.

Microsoft Has Killed Nokia (and Its Own Mobile Ambitions), But Watch What it Does With Patents

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 7:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia still a piece in Microsoft’s patent stacking strategy against Android

Nokia trolls
Image from BusinessKorea

Summary: Microsoft announces many more layoffs, having already caused tremendous damage to the Finnish economy, and patents are left astray for Microsoft’s favourite patent trolls to pick

SEVERAL readers have sent us links regarding the latest passage of Nokia patents by Microsoft, having already seen how Microsoft feeds Google-hostile trolls using Nokia’s patent portfolio. These links have been sent to us for over a week and we can no longer ignore the subject, despite the fact that we try hard not to cover Microsoft (there are more pressing issues like the EPO). This article is an accumulation of news about Microsoft and Nokia, including the patent angle that the media overlooks, as usual.

Microsoft is fully aboard on a marketing campaign and it is still in a major war against Linux. Anyone who doesn’t see it probably pays no attention to patents. As Benjamin Henrion put it earlier this week, “Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others hardly pay any taxes in any country, with patent boxes and other tricks.”

“Microsoft does not think it needs to obey the law. It never really did. Bill Gates already got arrested as a youngster, but as a child of very rich parents he quickly got bailed out.”The Patent Box trick was covered here before. It’s one classic way to evade tax through patents (as loopholes) and IAM published ‘sponsored’ ‘content’ about this the other day, titled “The Patent Box is changing shape”. Recall Microsoft’s tax avoidance (it was found guilty in a court and the IRS now goes after it, however belatedly) and consider the fact that Microsoft hardly cares about the law. Microsoft does not think it needs to obey the law. It never really did. Bill Gates already got arrested as a youngster, but as a child of very rich parents he quickly got bailed out.

Microsoft hardly matters in mobile. It never really mattered. It was companies like Nokia with Symbian that dominated the market. Regarding this article from a Microsoft booster, iophk wrote to tell us: “Aside from its role in killing Nokia, Microsoft was never a player. And statistics say otherwise about iPhone vs Android market share.”

Yes, it is disappointing to see some of the claims put forth by Microsoft boosters in ‘journalist’ clothing. They are trying to rewrite history regarding Microsoft and mobile and also misplace the blame for Nokia’s demise. As one person put it earlier this week: “#Microsoft #mobile cutting 1350 people in Finland + 500 globally, killing #windowsphone #wp So this was Microsoft’s mobile first strategy.”

It was a failed strategy, but Microsoft refuses to admit this and would quite likely resort to a strategy of revisionism. Watch Microsoft’s CEO and the mole (Elop) in the photo used by Microsoft Peter. Will the world remember that it was Microsoft’s Elop who killed Nokia?

The Helsinki Times wrote: “The network equipment manufacturer confirmed that it will trim its headcount in the country by 1,023 as part of a global, almost one-billion euro cost-cutting programme aimed at achieving the synergies arising from its recent takeover of Alcatel-Lucent.”

Gizmodo has chosen the headline “Microsoft Is Demolishing Its Smartphone Business” and said: “A week after selling off its feature phone division, Microsoft has announced that it’s also “streamlining” its smartphone hardware business, cutting 1,850 jobs in the process.”

“Will the world remember that it was Microsoft’s Elop who killed Nokia?”These are more Microsoft layoffs, which oughtn’t be attributed to Nokia because Nokia was killed by Microsoft after Microsoft had infiltrated it. Initially, the Finnish press reported a different number, e.g. “Nokia to cut 1032 jobs in Finland”. To quote: “Networks giant Nokia has slightly lowered the number of employees being made redundant in Finland from April’s estimate of 1300. About half of the jobs being eliminated are in Espoo, with about a quarter each in Oulu and Tampere.”

Later on came the headline “Microsoft to cut 1,350 jobs in Finland” and whatever the real number is, we know from experience that Microsoft disguises many of its layoffs using a variety of tricks, so the real number is probably a lot higher. As CNET put it: “The company announced Wednesday that it would be axing 1,850 jobs in addition to the 4,500 job cuts that were announced last week, along with the sale of its feature phone business.”

It is getting hard to keep track of the numbers, but considering all the loopholes (like temporary employees and contractors), assume the real number of laid off staff to be much higher albeit hard to verify.

The Australian media says this will cost Microsoft a billion (probably more in reality). To quote: “Software giant Microsoft appears to have all but thrown in the towel on its disastrous mobile phone experiment, announcing a US$1 billion restructure of its smartphone hardware business with the loss of 1850 jobs, most of them at the former Nokia plant in Finland.”

“It is getting hard to keep track of the numbers, but considering all the loopholes (like temporary employees and contractors), assume the real number of laid off staff to be much higher albeit hard to verify.”“Good riddance,” iophk told us. “Now how can they be reconditioned so as not to be a liability for society, which they will be if they continue to spread Microsoft?”

Yes, there’s a growing danger of entryism by Microsoft in Finland.

Microsoft ended up killing Nokia after Nokia had worked on Linux (which was created by a Finnish man) and now this is costing Finnish taxpayers (i.e. economy) a lot of money. Consider the report “Government ministers pledge to help laid-off Microsoft workers” which says: “The Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn and Minister of Justice and Labour Jari Lindström said that the government would help the 1,350 workers in Finland who are scheduled to be laid off by the computing giant Microsoft.”

This sounds like corporate welfare for thugs.

“Again,” iophk wrote, “it is the taxpayers who are left holding the bag.” With its back doors (for NSA at al) Microsoft cost economies trillions (some estimates circa 2010). How much more can the world tolerate? Imperialism/espionage by Microsoft and those whose offensive spying it actively facilitates? Even near the Russian borders, where such activity can invoke brutal retaliation?

So Microsoft killed Nokia and everyone but Microsoft is expected to pay the price now?

“Microsoft is a ruthless company that won’t tolerate Android, not without it becoming a Microsoft cash cow somehow.”What about patents? Well, see this report from IAM. It says: “HMD Global is reportedly owned by its own management team – which includes several former Nokia and Microsoft executives – and private equity fund Smart Connect LP. This latter entity is managed by another Nokia alumnus, Jean-Francois Baril, who served as senior vice president and chief procurement officer for the Finnish company from 1999 to 2012.”

According to press releases we were shown, patents too (including software patents) were passed, so we might know quite soon if the gutting of Nokia is a way to ensure Android gets heavily taxed (at OEM level) in the patents sense. This is what Microsoft has basically been doing to Android for over half a decade, including through Nokia (we gave several examples in the past). Microsoft is a ruthless company that won’t tolerate Android, not without it becoming a Microsoft cash cow somehow.

EPO Management Under Growing Stress From Croatian Law Enforcement Authorities, German Politicians, Italian Media

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s not looking promising for people at the top, especially the ringleader and his right-hand man

Blatter exits

Summary: Things are not as rosy as the relative calm may suggest, and in the coming weeks we expect some major events other than the protest at all EPO sites across Europe

THINGS are heating up at the EPO. It’s not just about that (updated twice) bicycle tale but also potential trouble with the police. Sources tell us that we are about to find out a lot more from Zagreb, where the Vice-President of the EPO faces criminal charges. As one source of us put it today, “at this moment I have only a few verbal [bits of information], but very strong information from different sources.” It’s about the cases against the Vice-President of the EPO, who has been busy making a mountain out of a molehill regarding a bicycle, allegedly in order to help justify almost a million dollars spent on Battistelli's truly spurious bodyguards (the bicycle tale curiously enough coincided with the budget meeting). The updates and comments in our original coverage of this reveal some more details. Speaking of criminality, watch this Danish article about Jesper Kongstad, Chairman of the Administrative Council. The title says “senior executive in the state scammed for millions of ‘Nigerian fraud’: Therefore we were cheated” and to give the gist of it, consider this automated translation: “The employee got an email from a person who claimed to be the agency’s director, Jesper Kongstad, and therein was there that the director wanted a bank transfer of 6.7 million to a Chinese bank for the purchase of shares in a Chinese company – all in confidence, said in the message.”

“It’s about the cases against the Vice-President of the EPO, who has been busy making a mountain out of a molehill regarding a bicycle, allegedly in order to help justify almost a million dollars spent on Battistelli’s truly spurious bodyguards (the bicycle tale curiously enough coincided with the budget meeting).”Surely this is bad publicity not just for Kongstad but also for the EPO. How could these people be so easily fooled? It doesn’t bode well for their intelligence, does it?

3 sources told us, both privately and publicly, about Italian TV coverage of the EPO. It wasn’t too flattering and there may be more on the way (follow-up reports). “Now,” told us one reader, “it might be that the authors might want to get a closer more specific look on EPO, if more strange things reach them. So I keep posting to them (who knows, maybe that also set them on the tracks in the first place) and they might well focus some follow-up on EPO. Surely there is no lack of issues.

“The program now is still available on streaming, precisely the part concerning patents, cut out from the rest of the show and there is also a complete transcript in Italian in PDF.”

“Signing a work contract with the EPO is signing a terrible, irrevocable deal which can leave one depressed, unemployed for years (at presidential veto/decree), robbed (legal fees, pension, etc.) and in some cases dead.”Contact details are on the site in case somebody else wishes to send them information for follow-up investigations.

It has been nearly 3 months since Bavarian television covered EPO abuses, asked us to remove copies of the relevant segment, and then the Bavarian Parliament got involved. This isn’t over yet and it seems to have been initiated by the televised coverage, based on the timing. SUEPO has just stated that a Bavarian Parliament session on the subject will take place again next week. To quote: “On 20 April earlier this year the Committee of European and international affairs of the Bavarian Parliament discussed an urgent request from Ms Gabi Schmidt, speaker of the party “Freie Wähler”, concerning the working conditions at the EPO. A short report of the meeting can be found here. The discussion will continue in a plenum session of the Bavarian Parliament in the afternoon of 1 June.”

German patent lawyers are meanwhile trying to rush up the UPC, as does the EPO (advocacy for UPC again or just “unitary effect”?). Based on this new tweet, brain drain at the EPO truly is a problem; there are openings, but people with the required skills would not want to work for the EPO (those who know better).

EPO asks: “Who can apply to be a patent examiner at the EPO?”

Well, who would want to apply to be a patent examiner at the EPO given all that is known nowadays? Signing a work contract with the EPO is signing a terrible, irrevocable deal which can leave one depressed, unemployed for years (at presidential veto/decree), robbed (legal fees, pension, etc.) and in some cases dead.

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