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02.15.14

Microsoft-Bribed Ben Edelman Behind Latest Smear Against Android/Linux

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Funded by Microsoft, but the press doesn’t know it

Ben Edelman

Summary: Response to some of the latest claims about AOSP — claims that indirectly come from Microsoft, the biggest foe of Android

Ben Edelman is a sellout masquerading as an academic. He worked for Microsoft by covertly spreading FUD against Android in 2011 and he is doing is again. Microsoft has a tradition of passing ‘dirt’ for people to publish and make its rivals (ODF, IBM, Google, GNU, Linux etc.) look bad. It comes from Microsoft’s PR agencies.

When we saw the latest smear against Android [1,2] (similar to Steve Jobs’ facts-free smear against Android) we thought it was Microsoft Florian behind it. This time, however, it was a different paid lobbying doing the work [3] (there is a group of people Microsoft regularly pays for this FUD service, some of whom are lawyers that try to hide the payments from Microsoft).

The latest smear against Android (it’s untrue by the way, for reasons we covered before) was further promoted and spread by pro-Microsoft circles like tech tabloid ZDNet (CBS). Chase all these reports back to the source (which Android/AOSP does have by the way) and you will find Microsoft. It’s a shame that all these gullible journalists fail to disclose the Microsoft tie to these claims. They just don’t seem to know who Ben Edelman really is. This is why Microsoft keeps shuffling lobbyists; it’s harder to track this way.

There is a new press release titled “Android Open Source Project (AOSP) ROM Builder Now Available on AWS Marketplace,” [4] demonstrating perhaps that the myth of limitation is just a make-belief agenda that Microsoft has been pushing for years.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Android can’t escape the Pandora’s Box of openness
  2. Is Android too open for Google to retain control?
  3. Google’s Dirty Little Android Secrets Leaked

    Google imposes strict restrictions on smartphone manufacturers and app developers in its Android mobile application distribution agreement, or MADA, according to excerpts of documents revealed by Ben Edelman, an associate professor at the Harvard Business School.

  4. Android Open Source Project (AOSP) ROM Builder Now Available on AWS Marketplace

02.14.14

Skynet Watch in the Media (Friday)

Posted in News Roundup at 6:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Unwise policies that breed mistrust and even hatred continue to receive scrutiny from the media

Surveillance

  • U.S. Tech’s Costly Trust Gap

    Since the intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began exposing surveillance programs by the National Security Agency last June, trust overseas in U.S. technology companies has plummeted. In some cases, sales have slowed. And foreign regulators have been licking their chops in anticipation of a crackdown. Estimates of the cost to these companies have ranged from $21.5 billion to $180 billion by 2016.

  • The Pauls Are Leading the Way on Snowden, NSA

    Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced this week that he is suing the Obama administration in a class-action lawsuit over the surveillance excesses of the NSA, as revealed by documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Specifically, he is challenging the constitutionality of the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata.

  • Technology Firms Urge Changes to NSA Spying

    Top execs from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, LinkedIn and Twitter have formed a coalition known as Reform Government Surveillance, and are urging changes to the NSA spying programs that would include a government agreement not to collect bulk data from Internet communications. Tumblr, Mozilla and Reddit also support the effort.

  • NSA spying undermines checks and balances

    As the Framers conceived it, our system of government is divided into three branches — executive, legislative and judicial — each of which is designed to serve as a check on the others. If the president gets out of control, Congress can defund his efforts, or impeach him, and the judiciary can declare his acts unconstitutional. If Congress passes unconstitutional laws, the president can veto them, or refuse to enforce them, and the judiciary can declare them invalid. If the judiciary gets carried away, the president can appoint new judges, and Congress can change the laws, or even impeach.

  • Wyden doesn’t support Paul’s NSA lawsuit

    Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) on Thursday said he doesn’t support Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) lawsuit against President Obama and the National Security Agency.

    “I believe that legislation, not a Senate-brought lawsuit is the only effective way to stop this behavior of the NSA,” Wyden said in a statement provided to The Hill.

  • The Day We Fought Back: by the numbers

    Thanks to everyone who participated on Tuesday. Together we demonstrated that activists, organizations, and companies can work in unison to fight mass surveillance, and laid a foundation for escalation over months to come.

  • ARTHUR CYR: NSA lacks human touch

    Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has become prominent in the debate. This reflects not only the extent of continuing public alarm about the activity, but also the fact that Congress is exercising growing policy leadership in this realm as in others, including fiscal and budgetary matters.

  • Obama DOJ’s New Abuse of State-Secrets Privilege Revealed

    For nine years, the U.S. government refused to let a Stanford PhD student named Rahinah Ibrahim back in the country after putting her on the no-fly list for no apparent reason. For eight years, U.S. government lawyers fought Ibrahim’s request that she be told why. Last April, despite his promise in 2009 to do so only in only the most extreme cases, Attorney General Eric Holder tried to block Ibrahim’s case by asserting the state secrets privilege, declaring under penalty of perjury that the information she wanted “could reasonably be expected to cause significant harm to national security.”

  • You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

    The East German secret police, known as the Stasi, were an infamously intrusive secret police force. They amassed dossiers on about one quarter of the population of the country during the Communist regime.

    But their spycraft — while incredibly invasive — was also technologically primitive by today’s standards. While researching my book Dragnet Nation, I obtained the above hand drawn social network graph and other files from the Stasi Archive in Berlin, where German citizens can see files kept about them and media can access some files, with the names of the people who were monitored removed.

Ethics

  • Pete Seeger: Troubadour of Truth and Justice

    Pete Seeger’s life, like the arc of the moral universe famously invoked by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., bent toward justice. He died this week at 94. Pete sang truth to power through the epic struggles of most of the last century, for social justice, for civil rights, for workers, for the environment and for peace. His songs, his wise words, his legacy will resonate for generations.

  • ‘Don’t Mess with My Drone Junk’: Bezos Has It All, A to Z, CIA Included

    That’s right, Bezos bought the grey Lady, that Washington Post-pone, and, alas, you think the WP is going to cover the Amazon contract with the guys and gals who take contracts out on us, them, anyone, with that drone thing, the favorite toy of Bezos’ Prozac mind – he wants drones all over Seattle first, to try out his 30 minute or you get it free delivery idea for orders for his useless shit, the upside down world of Maslow’s hierarchy of misneeds/deeds.

Drones

  • The Terrible Toll of Secrecy

    xhaustive independent studies by the British Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the New America Foundation and the Long War Journal have documented that civilian casualties are endemic – the latest count is at least 440 since the drone campaigns began, according to the BIJ.

    And countless journalistic accounts have described how the strikes are counterproductive, increasing civilians’ sympathy for al Qaeda and its allies in Yemen today as in Pakistan and Afghanstan before, and as in Somalia next.

  • Columnist: Obama’s Secret Drone War Is a Threat to National Security

    Every time you think the war on terror can’t get any weirder, it does.

  • On the drone campaign in Pakistan

    Zara Shahid a student at Lahore University of Management Science in Pakistan, on why she values student activism on unofficial drone warfare

  • Students join debate on drones

    A Cambridge student has launched a campaign to encourage British universities to cease investment in companies that produce drones.

    Sara Aslam, a Masters student in Modern South Asian studies, has started a petition which calls for higher education institutions to consider the human costs of the use of drones and to divest from drone technologies.

  • Anti-drone activist picked up by his backers?

    In an interesting turn of events which indicate a visible policy change on the part of the agencies, Karim Khan, an anti-drone campaigner from North Waziristan, seems to have been picked up by the same people who had been accused of blowing off the security cover of three previous CIA station chiefs in Islamabad who used to supervise the US drone campaign, writes Amir Mir.

    [...]

    But hardly a few days before he was due to travel to Britain to brief parliamentarians from Britain, Germany and the Netherlands about the impact of the drone strikes in the tribal belt of Pakistan, up to 20 armed men stormed into his home in Rawalpindi on the night of February 4, 2014 and took him away without even telling his family members who they were and what they actually wanted.

War

  • In the Darkness of Dick Cheney

    What are these words, after all, next to the iron realities of the post–September 11 world? The defense budget has more than doubled, including a Special Operations Command able to launch secret, lethal raids anywhere in the world that has grown from 30,000 elite troops to more than 67,000. The drone force has expanded from fewer than 200 unmanned aerial vehicles to more than 11,000, including perhaps 400 “armed-capable” drones that can and do target and kill from the sky—and that, following the computer directives of “pilots” manning terminals in Virginia and Nevada and elsewhere in the United States, have killed in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia an estimated 3,600 people.

  • In Security Cases, Feds No Longer Get Benefit Of The Doubt

    And I’m Renee Montagne. Good morning. We have been hearing for months about how disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have shaken the intelligence community and spurred Congress to try to impose new limits on surveillance. In recent weeks, after-shocks from those leaks have been rippling through the courts as well. NPR’s Carrie Johnson reports some judges have signaled they’re no longer willing to take the government’s word when it comes to national security.

Report: Microsoft’s Vista 8 at Less Than 3% Market Share in Rising China, Which Apparently Builds on Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 10:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lanterns

Summary: Figures from China help confirm the trend of migration to Free software amid expiry of Windows XP

CHINA is going to become the world’s most powerful economy in just a few years. Amid those charade of scientific advancement [1] that recently came to an end [2] this Chinese superpower also announced that it was developing its very own mobile Linux distribution, namely COS, which can threaten Android domination in the same way that Baidu threatens Google in China. In the Western press, which is operated by censors and spies, it is common to see China hypocritically portrayed as a bunch of human rights violators with censorship and surveillance. The reality, however, is quite different. China is very Westernised. It recently decided to ban smoking in public places [3] (not that one can truly escape the smoke of manufacturing in some cities) but not some forms of GMO [4]. A lot of opportunists exploit weak worker and environmental protections to made billions of dollars on the back of hard-working (overworked) employees, some of whom are minors and pay for it with their health.

A news report says that China’s older GNU/Linux-based operating system is being neglected, which should not be surprising because COS stole its thunder. Towards the end the article states this about Vista 8: “The Chinese government has already stated its discontent with Windows 8, which comes preinstalled on almost all new PCs. It says an upgrade to Windows 8 would cause a substantial increase in costs both for the OS and relevant software. Windows 8 accounts for less than three percent of the Chinese market.”

Given the increasing usage of GNU/Linux in both North Korea and South Korea (where LG and Samsung are based) it seems safe to expect a gradual retreat from Microsoft’s Windows, the NSA'a Trojan horse for espionage. China too must have realised that dependence on US software (even Android) is a risk to its autonomy. It’s generally a good realisation and if the world’s largest and most powerful economy will be built on GNU/Linux, then we have much to celebrate.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. China successfully soft-lands probe on the moon in a first since USSR in 1976
  2. China’s Jade Rabbit rover pronounced dead on the moon

    Yutu’s troubles began last month, just six weeks into its three-month mission. China’s Chang’e-3 lander touched down on the moon on 14 December and released the Yutu rover about 7 hours later. Both machines successfully entered hibernation mode during their first lunar night. On the moon, night lasts for half of each Earthly month and plunges surface temperatures from daytime highs of about 90 °C to below -180 °C.

  3. China aims to ban smoking in public places by end of the year

    China aims to impose a nationwide ban on smoking in public places this year, as authorities move to stamp out a widespread practice that has taken a severe toll on citizens’ health.

    China, home to some 300 million smokers, is the world’s largest consumer of tobacco, and smoking is a ubiquitous part of social life, particularly for men.

  4. Monsanto announces high profits and major expansion across Latin America

    Even China, where American exports were recently rejected over fears of being tainted with GMO products, agreed last June to approve Intacta soybeans. Monsanto President and Chief Commercial Officer Brett Begemann said then that it marked “a significant milestone” for the company and “showcases the next wave of innovation that is poised to drive the decade of the soybean at Monsanto.”

Installing GNU/Linux is Still Hard Due to UEFI

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

So boycott UEFI

UEFI logo with monopoly

Summary: The latest experiences with UEFI (reported by one who is experienced with UEFI) suggest that a boycott of UEFI is still justified

AS we pointed out before, UEFI ‘secure’ boot is actually a mechanism for reducing security, enabling remote entities to take control of one’s hardware or destroy it ‘IBM style’ (IBM works with the NSA on self-destroying hardware). Even the NSA recognises this ability. In addition, UEFI makes it harder for people to explore operating systems other than those which have NSA back doors.

Several days ago Jamie Watson reported [1] that he had purchased a computer saddled with the notoriously unwanted Vista 8. He said he was getting it “ready for Linux” and days later he reported on his findings, having had many issues with UEFI before (the UEFI Forum contacted him as part of well-coordinated attempts to change perceptions). His opinion on UEFI is hardly changed. He calls UEFI “a royal pain” after trying almost a dozen distributions with it (over the course of nearly 2 years). He said: “For those who might not be personally familiar with UEFI boot yet, and especially for those who might be familiar with only one UEFI boot implementation, I’m going to include some more details here to explain and illustrate why it is, for me, such a pain.”

Intel and Microsoft are making it very hard to dodge back doors, surveillance, etc. in pursuit and in favour of freedom. It’s time to dodge Microsoft and Intel and it’s time to seriously just boycott any hardware that comes with UEFI.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Buying a new Windows 8.1 laptop – and getting it ready for Linux

    One of the large retail chains here in Switzerland has a low-priced product range that it calls “M-Budget”, which includes everything from groceries to housewares to computers, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

    As I was walking past one of its shops on Saturday, I saw that it was offering an HP Compaq laptop for 333 Swiss Francs (about £225/€272/$370), and that is so low for the Swiss market that I couldn’t resist.

  2. Experiments with my new laptop, Linux and UEFI

    But as for UEFI: what a royal pain. For those who might not be personally familiar with UEFI boot yet, and especially for those who might be familiar with only one UEFI boot implementation, I’m going to include some more details here to explain and illustrate why it is, for me, such a pain.

    The UEFI BIOS boot configuration is made up of two basic parts — a list of boot objects, and a sequence in which they should be attempted. When you get a new Windows 8 system, there is usually only one “real” item in the list, that being the Windows 8 Bootloader.

    There will probably also be some other “pseudo” items or “generic” items in the list which allow for CD/DVD and USB boot, for example. The boot sequence on the a new Windows 8 system will contain the Windows Boot item first, and then perhaps some or all of the pseudo/generic boot items.

    This is the first place I saw something unexpected in this UEFI BIOS, because there were items included in the default sequence which don’t even exist in the list of boot objects. Weird.

    When you install another bootable operating system, such as Linux, it will add an item to the boot object list for itself, and that item will be placed at the front of the boot sequence list.

    [...]

A Defunct Economy That Systematically Passes Wealth to the Rich

Posted in Finance at 9:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The myth of “trickle down”

Pierre Omidyar and Richard Branson
Pierre Omidyar and Richard Branson, photo by Pierre Omidyar

Summary: Excess debt is created by the rich, who then use it to confiscate public property (austerity) and further increase their personal wealth at the expense of the public

“Central banks around the world,” explains Der Spiegel in a new report, “are pumping trillions into the economy. The goal is to stimulate growth, but their actions are also driving up prices in the real estate and equities markets. The question is no longer whether there will be a crash, but when.” The article is titled “Feeding the Bubble: Is the Next Crash Brewing?”

As explained by many people before, this so-called ‘crisis’ is a crisis of economic distribution; there is no “lack” of money (a man-made concept anyway) and resources are more then sufficient to give everyone on Earth a tolerable lifestyle without debt slavery (neither personal nor national). “Stagnation by Design” [1] is a recommended new article about this. It was written by a famous professor of economics.

It is easy to see that there is no real crisis when bankers get bailed out, CEOs of corporations receive state subsidies [2], and benefits to the public are slashed or eliminated [3] (leaving the vast majority helpless and hopeless [4,5]). The problem is not just the currency [6,7], it’s the system. This trend is spreading everywhere including Europe [8,9]. Corporations are being given welfare [10] instead of people receiving welfare [11] (some children end up in hunger in the US, in part due to this [12]). It’s the “trickle down” fiction. The US spent a great deal of time attacking competing models [13], alienating many nations to its south, so even professors of economics in the US are not speaking out against the US model [14,15], which currently confiscates what’s public [16] and gives it to just a few people [17] — so few in fact that they fit on a double decker bus and own more than the combined ownership of 3.5 billion people on Earth (that’s how unjust and wide the divide has become). Under the leadership of the Tories, the UK heads down the same path.

It was recently reported that the banking cartel now refuses to give people money they deposited [18], putting yet more barriers in this process after using economic warfare to kill people’s banks [19].

Last month we explained why Pierre Omidyar has no credibility when it comes to talking for the poor. He is himself a very rich person and despite claims that he tries to support journalism it finally turns out, based on The Intercept‘s introduction, that he is only in it for the money. Coverage of NSA files has mostly dried up as of late (reiteration of old news and smears against Snowden dominate the news). It’s like Omidyar bought off those who were capable of leading a reaction to a system of looting and oppression.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Stagnation by Design

    The basic point that I raised a half-decade ago was that, in a fundamental sense, the US economy was sick even before the crisis: it was only an asset-price bubble, created through lax regulation and low interest rates, that had made the economy seem robust. Beneath the surface, numerous problems were festering: growing inequality; an unmet need for structural reform (moving from a manufacturing-based economy to services and adapting to changing global comparative advantages); persistent global imbalances; and a financial system more attuned to speculating than to making investments that would create jobs, increase productivity, and redeploy surpluses to maximize social returns.

  2. Crop subsidies kept secret by Congress in new farm bill

    When President Obama signs the farm bill today at Michigan State University, it’s unlikely he’ll mention how the new law undermines his own promises of transparency.

    The new farm bill vastly extends the taxpayer-supported crop insurance program while deliberately keeping recipients of those subsidies secret. Indeed, the final version of the law even dropped a bipartisan provision that would have at least required members of Congress and Cabinet officials to disclose such benefits.

  3. What Will 2016 Political Landscape Look Like? USA Today Has No Clue

    That the actual circumstances under which candidates ran for office in 2008 didn’t at all resemble the situation in early 2006 shows the futility of trying to pontificate about elections almost three years before they happen. But that isn’t going to stop the political press corps.

    In fact, Page is already predicting the policies the next president will have to pursue. Surprise! They involve cutting Social Security…

  4. The American Dream is Dead

    Pessimism, pessimism, and more pessimism. It’s like the whole country is on the brink of despair. Maybe Phil Graham was right, after all. Maybe we are just a nation of whiners. But I kind of doubt it. What’s really going on can be summed up in one word: Frustration. People are frustrated with the government, frustrated with their jobs, frustrated with their shitty, stagnant wages, frustrated with their droopy incomes, frustrated with their ripoff health care, frustrated with living paycheck to paycheck, frustrated with their measly cat-food retirement plan, frustrated with their dissembling, flannel-mouth president, frustrated with the fact that their kids can’t find jobs, and frustrated with the prevaricating US media that keeps palavering about that delusional chimera called the American Dream.

  5. Obama Killed the American Dream
  6. Bitcoin Enables Drug Dealing, Just as Major Banks Do

    Two weeks ago, Pascal Reid and Michel Abner Espinoza were arrested by police in Miami and charged with using the virtual currency Bitcoin to launder money. The week before, Charlie Shrem, co-founder and chief executive officer of BitInstant, was arrested in New York getting off a plane from Amsterdam. Shrem was charged by federal prosecutors with conspiracy to commit money laundering linked to alleged sales of more than $1 million in Bitcoins to people who wanted to buy drugs on Silk Road, a now defunct online marketplace.

  7. Russia Outlaws Bitcoin

    Russia’s Prosecutor General has declared use of bitcoin illegal in the country, charging that the currency is used for money-laundering and other illegal purposes.

  8. “Breathtaking” Corruption In Europe

    A recent article at the BBC discusses the findings of a report by EU Home Affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem on corruption in the EU. According to the report, the cost of corruption in the EU amounts to €120 billion annually. We would submit that it is likely far more than that (in fact, even Ms. Malmstroem herself concurs with this assessment). This is of course what one gets when one installs vast, byzantine bureaucracies and issues a veritable flood of rules and regulations every year. More and more people are needed to administer this unwieldy nightmare of red tape, and naturally the quality of the hires declines over time due to the sheer numbers required.

  9. Anglophilia and the Lure of Neoliberalism in Finland

    There has been much discussion recently about international educational standards and league tables, particularly following Finland’s recent alarm over lower than expected PISA results. However, as Pasi Sahlberg of the Ministry of Education noted in an article published in The Guardian on 8th December 2013, market-based educational reform is proving damaging across the globe. How to read such results seems not entirely straightforward, and Finland’s excellence in education is, nonetheless, still upheld by the results of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

  10. Pence mum on plans to cut tax on business equipment

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is keeping quiet about negotiations underway to cut the business equipment tax, a proposal that a new report shows might only bring slight economic growth to the state.

  11. AOL chief cuts 401(k) benefits, blames Obamacare and two “distressed babies”

    AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong Thursday offered a number of unusual explanations for why his company pulled back its 401(k) benefits for employees this year. The first reason: Obamacare. The second: two women at the company who had “distressed babies” in 2012.

  12. Utah School Threw Out Students’ Lunches Because They Were In Debt

    According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the child nutrition manager’s original plan was to withhold lunches for kids whose parents hadn’t paid. But cafeteria workers were unable to distinguish who was on that list before serving. Once the food had been dished out, food safety codes say it can’t be given to another student and must be thrown away.

    The children were given milk and fruit instead of a full lunch — the meal that the school says it gives any child who isn’t able to pay.

    “So she took my lunch away and said, ‘Go get a milk,’ ” recalled one student, a fifth grader named Sophia. “I came back and asked, ‘What’s going on?’ Then she handed me an orange. She said, ‘You don’t have any money in your account so you can’t get lunch.’”

  13. Latin America summit wraps up in Cuba on note of peace

    Thirty-three countries from Latin America and the Caribbean are winding up a two-day summit in the Cuban capital Wednesday with the noteworthy absence of the United States and Canada.

  14. Political Corruption and Capitalism

    Nearly daily, mass media report political corruption across the world. Government bureaucrats, from local to national to international, are exposed for having abused their offices for personal gain. That gain is usually financial, but can involve career advancement. Much of that corruption is driven and financed by capitalist enterprises. In that kind of corruption, officials enable tax avoidance, provide subsidies, make purchases and sometimes sales, and decide many other “public” matters (e.g. locating roads, zoning cities, constructing state facilities, repressing strikes, investigating corruption, negotiating international agreements, etc.).

  15. Janet Yellen and I were taught to revere capitalism. But it’s a failing system

    Janet Yellen, the United States’ Federal Reserve’s new Chair, and Iwere graduate economics students around the same time at Yale University. The professor who shaped the macroeconomics we learned was James Tobin. He taught us to be Keynesian economists: that is, to accept capitalism as the sole object and focus of our studies, to celebrate it as the best possible system, and to preserve it against its own serious faults. Keynesian economics teaches that to secure capitalism’s blessings requires systematic government intervention in the workings of the economy.

  16. Costs of Privatization Hidden in Plain Sight

    Privatization is often sold as providing higher quality services and infrastructure at lower cost. In fact, important costs are regularly overlooked. In other words, services and infrastructure have been privatized, even though keeping them public is the better choice.

  17. State of Power 2014: Exposing the Davos Class

    The Transnational Institute is proud to launch its third annual ‘State of Power’ report as the World Economic Forum meets in Davos. This anthology exposes and analyses the principal power-brokers, members of the “Davos class”, who have caused financial, economic, social and ecological crises worldwide. Unless we know which elites control our wealth and resources, understand how they influence political and social processes, and can identify the systems, structures and policies by which they maintain their power, TNI believes our hopes for advancing social and environmental justice are slim. Justice demands a recalibration of power and that requires us to better understand it.

  18. Bank Run Fears: Customers Being Forced to Provide Evidence For Why They Need Cash

    In early 2013 the country of Cyprus locked down private banking accounts and restricted access to depositor funds. It was the first widely documented instance of a “bail-in,” as bank officials and European regulators determined that bad loans taken on by the banks were now the responsibility of the banks’ customers. This led to a country-wide confiscation of 10% or more of all customer funds. In the heat of the Cyprian financial panic banks limited cash withdrawals to around $300 and ramped up security to prevent angry Cypriots from breaking down the doors.

  19. How economic warfare killed the People’s Bank

    US Investigative Journalist Michael Hastings told an incredible story when he returned from his 2010 trip, embedded with US general Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan. The Pentagon, he revealed in his award winning book ‘The Operators’, spends $4.7bn of public money annually employing 27,000 psychological operations, marketing and public relations staff around the world. Their daily mission: to push the Pentagon line into the West’s national newspapers and broadcast bulletins.

Boycott of Slashdot is Protesting Against Dice Policies

Posted in Action at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A Slashdot boycott is happening this week because Dice is asked to stop messing about with Slashdot

The new owner of Slashdot has been treating the Slashdot community like an enemy. People hate what’s being done to the interface and some are disgusted by the editorial choices. While I no longer read Slashdot myself, several people in our IRC channels (and our IRC bots) are following Slashdot. They say that the FOSS-hostile bias is increasing (we wrote about that yesterday) and Microsoft lobbyists regularly get placements there. A site called Slashcott says that boycotts against the site began some days ago and will last for at least a week in order to demonstrate to Slashdot’s owner that a Slashdot without community is just another Web site on the Web. Some of our readers have said that they are running out of FOSS-friendly sites that they can visit.

Health Watch: Sleep, Pesticides, Legalised Drug Cartels, GMO, and Major Cuts to Health

Posted in News Roundup at 7:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Cuts to public health in the UK and increased subsidies to corporations that are harming everybody’s health

  • The myth of the eight-hour sleep

    We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night – but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

  • A Valuable Reputation

    In 2001, seven years after joining the biology faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Tyrone Hayes stopped talking about his research with people he didn’t trust. He instructed the students in his lab, where he was raising three thousand frogs, to hang up the phone if they heard a click, a signal that a third party might be on the line. Other scientists seemed to remember events differently, he noticed, so he started carrying an audio recorder to meetings. “The secret to a happy, successful life of paranoia,” he liked to say, “is to keep careful track of your persecutors.”

  • NHS hires drugmaker-funded lobbyist

    Conflict of interest concerns as Specialised Healthcare Alliance, funded by pharmaceutical companies, advises NHS England

  • Pharma drug development only for wealthy countries?
  • Landmark GM canola case to rest on negligence principle

    Lawyers representing a West Australian farmer who is suing his neighbour over genetically-modified canola which allegedly contaminated his property, say the court case will hinge on the principle of negligence.

    The landmark case was taken by Kojonup organic farmer Steve Marsh.

    The lawyers say neighbour Michael Baxter had a duty to contain his own crop of GM canola, and the contamination resulted in Mr Marsh losing his organic accreditation for 70 per cent of his property.

  • Massive: Russia Considers Complete Ban on GM Food Production

    While the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, along with Monsanto and other poison makers try to slip a labeling-by-choice campaign past citizens in the US, Russia is preparing a bill that would heavily restrict the import of genetically modified agricultural produce, as well as stop it altogether from being produced domestically.

  • “Fakethrough!” New Report Shows How Easily Media Was Duped by Claims of GMO “Breakthroughs”

    Despite a full-court press defending the supposed benefits of genetically engineered “golden rice,” it has never entered production. According to Jonathan Latham of Independent Science News, the science media has utterly failed to report accurately on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — on their failures and criticisms rather than just their potential successes. A transgenic high-protein cassava, a type of starchy edible root, was lauded in the scientific press but fizzled not long after. So did a supposedly virus-resistant sweet potato that was widely hailed in the media. According to Jonathan Latham of Independent Science News, these and others are just a few examples of what he says is the utter failure of the science media to report accurately and critically on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — on their failures rather than just their touted successes.

  • Will Monsanto Become The NSA Of Agriculture?

    Monsanto is best-known for its controversial use of genetically-modified organisms, and less well-known for being involved in the story of the defoliant Agent Orange (the company’s long and involved story is well told in the book and film “The World According to Monsanto”, by Marie-Monique Robin.) Its shadow also looms large over the current TPP talks: the USTR’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator is Islam A. Siddiqui, a former lobbyist for Monsanto. But it would seem that the company is starting to explore new fields, so to speak; as Salon reports in a fascinating and important post, Monsanto is going digital

  • You’d Be Shocked at What These Fashion Editors Are Editing Out of Their Photos
  • 7,000 key NHS clinical staff made redundant amid enforced cuts

    An “arbitrary” straitjacket on the NHS’s budget by Whitehall is leading to job losses, recruitment freezes and inadequate care for patients, the leader of the country’s doctors warns on Tuesday.

  • Manawatu school removes wi-fi over cancer fear (radiation fears have been downplayed by lobbying and fake, companies-funded ‘studies’)

    Two Manawatu fathers have won a major battle in their fight to have wi-fi removed from their local school, TVNZ reports.

    Fathers Damon Wyman and David Bird have been leading a campaign to remove the wireless networking from Te Horo School and replace it with cable-based internet due to concerns it could cause cancer and other health problems.

    Science Media Centre manager Peter Griffin says the death of Te Horo pupil Ethan Wyman from a brain tumour was a tragedy for his family, friends and school mates, but that to blame it on wi-fi is wrong.

Environment Watch: Extinction, Pollution, and Business Lobby Against Reforms

Posted in News Roundup at 7:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at some of the mess we are in (along with other species) and the role played by greed

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