Links 15/8/2017: New LibreELEC and More

Posted in News Roundup at 7:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Is OpenStack enterprise-ready?

    The question of whether OpenStack enterprise deployments can work comes down to the skill level of in-house IT administrators.

  • Blockstream Satellite: Broadcasting Bitcoin from Space

    Blockstream Satellite uses GNU Radio , an open-source software development platform for Software-Defined Radio ( SDR ), expected to reduce costs and streamline development by eliminating the need for specialized hardware. Blockstream Satellite utilizes the Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine (FIBRE) , an open-source protocol backed by several years of history operating and studying the Bitcoin Relay Network . “Together, these open-source technologies power the Blockstream Satellite network enabling Blockstream to provide this free service reliably and cost effectively,” noted the Blockstream press release .

  • The Faces of Open Source: Kate Stewart

    This is the third episode from the series in Shane Martin Coughlan’s, “The Faces of Open Source Law,” that puts a face to the vibrant open source community, and the fascinating discussions happening within it. This series of interviews focuses on issues related to law affecting open source projects and communities—copyright, licensing, patents, foundations, governance, etc.—and includes interviews with several current and former OSI Board Directors.

    In addition, Shane provides “production notes” for each of the videos (presented below), offering his own insights from the interviews

  • Former CIA Dir. Woolsey joins OSI member NAVO in movement to open source elections

    Former CIA Director and U.S. Ambassador James Woolsey recently issued a New York Times op/ed piece with open source stalwart, GNU Bash creator, and technology lead for OSI Affiliate Member NAVO/CAVO, Brian Fox, to call on politicians to expedite efforts toward open source election systems. Director Woolsey was blunt about the need for Microsoft and others to cease and desist lobbying efforts against the open source voting community and commended the open source momentum toward securing the elections.

  • Web Browsers

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Oracle Open Source Library now available to C and C++ developers [Ed: openwashing of a link to Oracle's proprietary lockin]

      The production release of the Oracle Database Programming Interface for C (ODPI-C), which gives more streamlined access to C and C++ developers to Oracle Database, has been launched on GitHub.

      The open-source wrapper is aimed primarily at language interface developers, allowing users to quickly call more common features of the Oracle Call Interface (OCI), the main C API for Oracle Database. But the company says that its conciseness makes it a flexible and accessible tool.

    • Mono 5.2 Released With Various Changes [Ed: Microsoft lockin painted as "open"]
    • Microsoft’s .NET Core 2.0: What’s new and why it matters
    • Microsoft Launches .NET Core 2.0 With Better Linux Support
    • Tips for finding partners open enough to work with you

      Imagine I’m working on the front line of an open organization, and I’m committed to following principles like transparency, inclusivity, adaptability, collaboration, community, accountability, and commitment to guide that front-line work. A huge problem comes up. My fellow front-line workers and I can’t handle it on our own, so we discuss the problem and decide that one of us has to take it to top management. I’m selected to do that.

      When I do, I learn there is nothing we can do about the problem within the company. So management decides to let me present the issue to outside individuals who can help us.

      In my search for the expertise required to fix the problem, I learned that no single individual has that expertise—and that we must find an outside, skilled partner (company) to help us address the issue.

  • Programming/Development

    • A history of microprocessor debug, 1980–2016

      Since the dawn of electronics design, where there have been designs, there have been bugs. But where they have been bugs, there inevitably was debug, engaged in an epic wrestling match with faults, bugs, and errors to determine which would prevail — and how thoroughly.

      In many ways, the evolution of debug technology is as fascinating as any aspect of design; but it rarely receives the spotlight. Debug has evolved from simple stimulus-response-observe approaches to sophisticated tools, equipment, and methodologies conceived to address increasingly complex designs. Now, in 2017, we sit at the dawn of a new and exciting era with the introduction of debug over functional I/O.

      This is the culmination of decades of hard work and invention from around the globe. I’ve been involved in debug since 1984, so to truly appreciate the paradigm shift we’re now experiencing in debug, it’s useful to take a look back at the innovation that has taken place over the years.

    • Testing in production: Yes, you can (and should)

      I wrote a piece recently about why we are all distributed systems engineers now. To my surprise, lots of people objected to the observation that you have to test large distributed systems in production.

      It seems testing in production has gotten a bad rap—despite the fact that we all do it, all the time.

      Maybe we associate it with cowboy engineering. We hear “testing in production” and assume this means no unit tests, functional tests, or continuous integration.

      It’s good to try and catch things before production — we should do that too! But these things aren’t mutually exclusive. Here are some things to consider about testing in production.

    • Hacker-Proof Coding

      At the University of Washington (UW) Medical Center, a radiotherapy system shoots high-powered radiation beams into the heads of patients, to treat cancers of the tongue and esophagus. Any software errors in the system could prove fatal, so engineers at the medical center have teamed with a group of computer scientists from the university to ensure the system will not fail, and that the beam will shut off if prescribed settings go out of tolerance.

      This is made possible by a process known as software verification, and verifying implementations of critical systems like that radiotherapy setup is one of the things about which Zachary Tatlock is passionate. Over three years ago, Tatlock was a Ph.D. candidate giving a talk at the university on his thesis research in program verification. The lead engineer for the medical center’s radiotherapy team was in the audience, and asked Tatlock how they could apply verification to that system. “That probably helped me get hired,” Tatlock recalls. Today, he’s an assistant professor of computer science at the university and, with other colleagues and students at UW, has also been working with the team at the medical center ever since.

    • RProtoBuf 0.4.10
    • #9: Compacting your Shared Libraries
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Launching the WebAssembly Working Group

      For over two years the WebAssembly W3C Community Group has served as a forum for browser vendors and others to come together to develop an elegant and efficient compilation target for the Web. A first version is available in 4 browser engines and is on track to become a standard part of the Web. We’ve had several successful in-person CG meetings, while continuing our robust online collaboration on github. We also look forward to engaging the wider W3C community at the WebAssembly meeting at this year’s TPAC.


  • A Bizarre Case at USC Shows How Broken Title IX Enforcement Is Right Now
  • Kicker Matt Boermeester was removed from USC after an unfair investigation, girlfriend says
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Trump’s Opioid Commission Had Some Stunningly Good Recommendations. He Ignored Them for 80s Drug War Nostalgia.

      The Trump administration will not declare a public health emergency on the opioid epidemic, dismissing the top recommendation his own blue-ribbon commission called for a week ago. The commission argued such a declaration was critical to unlock emergency funding and expand treatment.

      Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said at a Tuesday news conference that public health emergencies have traditionally been limited to specific areas of the country, like after Hurricane Sandy. “We believe … that the resources that we need, or the focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crisis at this point can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency,” Price said.

    • The opioid epidemic, explained

      # genocide

      “the Toyotazation of medicine — tremendous pressure on doctors within these large integrated health care centers to practice medicine in a certain way and get patients out in a timely fashion to be able to bill insurers at the highest possible level and to make sure that their patients were satisfied customers.”

    • Is State-Level Single Payer Within Reach?

      Scandinavian-style health care is part of at least one candidate’s platform for 2018.

    • How to strip 99 per cent of harmful BPA from water in 30 minutes

      Terrence Collins at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania and his colleagues set out to find a cheap way to remove BPA from water. After 15 years of work, the team came up with a solution: first, they add a group of catalysts called TAML activators to contaminated water, next they add hydrogen peroxide.

    • State health director asks judge to force release of Flint water documents

      Lyon is the highest-ranking state employee to face criminal charges for his role in the water crisis, and has received strong support from Gov. Rick Snyder.

    • The curse of blades and powders: FGM in Somaliland – in pictures
    • Barnardo’s under fire for using photo of a white girl in campaign against female genital mutilation
    • Liberals Provide Ammunition Against Single-Payer

      Holland raises concerns that employers and seniors won’t want to give up their private plans, but that is based on his mistaken belief that Improved Medicare for All will be the same as current Medicare. The reality is that people will be less worried about giving up what they have if they know that it will be replaced with something better and that they will no longer fear losing their doctor as they will all be in the new system. Improved Medicare for All will provide more comprehensive benefits, no out-of-pocket costs and an unrestricted network of health professionals from which to choose. Employers will no longer be burdened with the high costs of health insurance. People with pre-existing health conditions will no longer worry about losing coverage or having to pay more. Unions and employers can offer supplemental plans for extras not covered by the new system, as is done in countries like France, if they choose to do so.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Former NSA Official Argues The Real Problem With Undisclosed Exploits Is Careless End Users [Ed: Many are NOT “Undisclosed Exploits” but back doors]

      As leaked NSA software exploits have been redeployed to cause computer-based misery all over the world, the discussion about vulnerability disclosures has become louder. The argument for secrecy is based on the assumption that fighting an existential threat (terrorism, but likely also a variety of normal criminal behavior) outweighs concerns the general public might have about the security of their software/data/personal information. Plenty of recent real-world examples (hospital systems ransomed! etc.) do the arguing for those seeking expanded disclosure of vulnerabilities and exploits.

      Former Deputy Director of the NSA Rick Ledgett appears on the pages of Lawfare to argue against disclosure, just as one would have gathered by reading his brief author bio. Ledgett’s arguments, however, feel more like dodges. First off, Ledgett says the NSA shouldn’t have to disclose every vulnerability/exploit it has in its arsenal, an argument very few on the other side of the issue are actually making. Then he says arguments against exploit hoarding “oversimplify” the issue.

    • But that’s not my job!

      This week I’ve been thinking about how security people and non security people interact. Various conversations I have often end up with someone suggesting everyone needs some sort of security responsibility. My suspicion is this will never work.

    • HBO hackers release Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes

      Hackers who broke into HBO’s computer systems last month continue to release the network’s content, including episodes of the return of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is slated to air in October.

    • The Ultimate Virus: How Malware Encoded In Synthesized DNA Can Compromise A Computer System

      If nothing else, this first DNA malware hack confirms that there is no unbridgeable gulf between the programs running in our cells, and those running on our computers. Digital code is digital code.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 59 – The VPN Episode
    • Update gone wrong leaves 500 smart locks inoperable

      Hundreds of Internet-connected locks became inoperable last week after a faulty software update caused them to experience a fatal system error, manufacturer LockState said.

      The incident is the latest reminder that the so-called Internet of Things—in which locks, thermostats, and other everyday appliances are embedded with small Internet-connected computers—often provide as many annoyances as they do conveniences. Over the past week, the Colorado-based company’s Twitter feed has been gorged with comments from customers who were suddenly unable to lock or unlock their doors normally. Complicating the matter: the affected LockState model—the RemoteLock 6i—is included in an Airbnb partnership called Host Assist. That left many hosts unable to remotely control their locks.

    • Ransomware Targeting WordPress – An Emerging Threat

      Recently, the Wordfence team has seen ransomware being used in attacks targeting WordPress. We are currently tracking a ransomware variant we are calling “EV ransomware.” The following post describes what this ransomware does and how to protect yourself from being hit by this attack.

    • AWS unveils AI monitoring for Amazon S3
    • FancyBear Use Leaked NSA “WannaCry” Exploit To Target Hospitality Industry [Ed: The solution to this is simple: don't use Microsoft Windows at hotels]

      Microsoft has indicated that a number of different versions of Windows are vulnerable to the EternalBlue exploit, even those currently receiving support. It is imperative that IT teams from all businesses across all industries ensure that the version of Windows that they are using is not vulnerable to EternalBlue and, if so, take the necessary steps to remediate it. With three attacks using this exploit having occurred over just the past few months, we’re likely to see cybercriminals continuing to deploy it until devices are patched and it is no longer an effective vector for them to spread malware.”

    • Researcher who neutralized WCry pleads not guilty to writing banking malware

      Marcus Hutchins, the British security researcher instrumental in neutralizing the virulent WCry ransomware worm that shut down computers worldwide in May, appeared in federal court Monday and pleaded not guilty to unrelated criminal charges that he created and distributed malware that steals banking credentials.


      Hutchins, who works for Kryptos Logic of Los Angeles, is going to live in Los Angeles while awaiting an undetermined trial date. He will be tracked by a GPS monitoring device. He has been ordered not to touch the WCry sinkhole, presumably because if it’s shut off, it could possibly make the ransomware start spreading again.

    • Innovation may be outpacing security in cars [Ed: ITProPortal cites the liars from Black Duck to make it sound as though FOSS is the root of all security issues. Profitable FUD (to them).]

      As the UK government’s car cybersec guidelines recognise, innovation may be outpacing security in cars. When you put new technology into cars, you’ll inevitably run into security challenges.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Does Qatar Support Extremism? Yes. And So Does Saudi Arabia.

      What has been happening for many years now, however, is that a set of beliefs has been advanced from Saudi Arabia that is, by any standard, extremist.

    • She Blamed Islamophobia, Then Her Husband was Arrested for Weapons Smuggling

      Rashid Jijakli aided in the smuggling of assorted military equipment, including rifle sights, night vision scopes and other materials. He crossed over into Syria, personally smuggled some of the equipment and may have even participated in the fighting. In one communication he complains that his trip to Syria hadn’t been much fun because he was unable to “join with (sic) some action.” In another, he tells an unindicted coconspirator that a “Russian weapon” would be available for him.

    • The Complex Task of Deterring Acid Attacks, Explained
    • Maumee man taken into custody for plowing into Virginia crowd, killing 1

      A car with a Lucas County license plate plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally Saturday in a Virginia college town, killing one person, hurting at least two dozen more and ratcheting up tension in an increasingly violent confrontation.

    • Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district has third shooting in a week

      A 30-year-old man was shot in the buttocks on Tuesday night in what was the third shooting incident in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district within seven days.
      According to Copenhagen Police, as many as four shots were fired.

    • Is Donald Trump Tweeting the U.S. Into a War on North Korea?

      Trump has exhibited a disturbing pattern of reckless spontaneity, usually expressed publicly through his Twitter feed, when announcing what could rightly be construed as new U.S. policies. Indeed, when Trump’s senior adviser Sebastian Gorka was asked on Fox News what leverage Trump has left to pressure China to do more to contain potential threats from North Korea, Gorka shot back: “We have, you know, the president’s Twitter feed.”

    • Leaked Emails: Saudi Power Behind the Throne “Wants Out of Yemen”

      Mohammed bin Salman, a member of the Saudi royal family who effectively rules the country, made the comments to Martin Indyk and Stephen Hadley. Indyk was a high-level diplomat during both the Clinton and Obama administrations and Hadley a top adviser to former President George W. Bush.

      Indyk relayed the conversation to Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States, and the man most responsible for aiding bin Salman’s rise in Washington.

      “I think MBS is far more pragmatic than what we hear is saudi public positions,” Otaiba wrote to Indyk on the morning of April 20.

      Indyk replied quickly. “I agree on that too. He was quite clear with Steve Hadley and me that he wants out of Yemen and that he’s ok with the US engaging Iran as long as it’s coordinated in advance and the objectives are clear,” he said.

    • As Yemen Cholera Cases Reach 500,000, US and UK Condemned for Complicity

      Wright went on to single out two world superpowers—the United States and the United Kingdom—that have fueled conflict in Yemen by providing weaponry and intelligence to Saudi Arabia, which has for years been waging a relentless bombing campaign against its neighbor.

      “All those fighting and backing this war need to stop fueling the madness and instead come to the peace table for the sake of civilian families in Yemen. Too many people have died, too many have lost everything they owned, too many have seen their futures put on hold, Wright concluded. “In backing this war with billions of dollars of arms sales and military support, the U.S. and the U.K. are complicit in the suffering of millions of people in Yemen.”

    • Half a million people infected as Yemen cholera epidemic continues to spread

      In reaction to the announcement that more than 500,000 people are suspected of contracting cholera in Yemen, Katy Wright, Oxfam head of advocacy, shared the following statement.

      “Yemen’s catastrophic cholera crisis is rewriting the miserable history of this disease. Our common humanity tells us that this massive crisis demands a massive response.

    • Cholera count reaches 500,000 in Yemen
    • Trump’s Threats of Military Action in Venezuela Rejected Across Latin America

      The Venezuelan opposition and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos have both joined the growing chorus of voices in Latin America warning the Trump administration against any possibility of U.S. military intervention in Venezuela.

      Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to four countries in Latin America this week began with an unequivocal message for the Trump administration from Santos on Sunday.


      Pence distanced himself from Trump’s comments while also appearing to leave the possibility of military action open, saying at his meeting with Santos, “We have many options for Venezuela, but President Trump also remains confident that working with all of our allies across Latin America, we can achieve a peaceable solution.”

    • Venezuela’s struggle is also ours

      Hard to imagine a better example of Chesterton’s barb than the unremitting assault on the current Venezuelan government by much of the Western media. They parrot the critical howls of politicians and pundits whose opinions they might otherwise view with scepticism, among them Donald Trump and Michel Temer, the unelected president of Brazil. Even Pope Francis has come out against Venezuelan President Maduro’s “regime”, but then the Catholic Church has a track record in these matters. It also sided with the Chilean military in the coup against Salvador Allende’s government in 1973.

      No one can credibly dispute that Venezuela is in a mess. Reasons to criticise the ineptness of the Venezuelan administration are not hard to find; though the same could be said of plenty of others, including the current inhabitants of 10 Downing Street and the White House, who in their respective elections failed to win over the majority of eligible voters (May) or even the majority of actual voters (Trump). Nevertheless, Venezuela is a functioning democracy with an elected president whose term ends in 2018. Should Maduro stand again, he can be democratically defenestrated, and there has been no suggestion that the next election will not take place on time.

      Why, then, the calls for regime change? Whence the hostility of the international media? Why, above all, is the Venezuelan government being tasked with acts of violence for which the Opposition is largely if not entirely responsible? It is the latter that has been firing on public buildings, attacking medical centres, erecting street barricades, destroying or blocking access to polling stations, using molotov cocktails and roadside bombs against police and security personnel, and horrifically burning alive the odd “Chavista” in broad daylight – aggressions that have been caught on camera – often by passers-by.


      Venezuela is by far the most significant hold-out for the left, from the West’s point of view. It is suffering a major assault not just on the Maduro administration but on a political project – the Bolivarian Revolution – that for the first time in Venezuela’s history has given the poor access to health care, education and the prospect of dignified participation in the nation’s economic life. That assault is being orchestrated by the wealthiest sections of Venezuelan society with the overt backing of the United States , the European Union and much of Latin America. Should it succeed, it will be a triumph not for democracy but for neoliberal capitalism, and for government by the one percent. Such is the context of calls from Tories and from UK media for Jeremy Corbyn to condemn President Maduro. Corbyn is right to resist them. Venezuela’s struggle is also ours.

    • When All the World’s a War…

      Meanwhile, much of the country was distracted from that metaphorical war by an actual war in Vietnam, where the only metaphor around was the insistence of commander of U.S. forces General William Westmoreland that there was “light at the end of the tunnel” when it came to that disastrous conflict.

    • “Mad Dog” Mattis Making Life Interesting for Pentagon Stenographers

      Speaking at a troop event last week, Secretary of Defense Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis offered up the kind of rhetoric that helped earn him his nickname.

      And it leaves stenographers to grapple with the question: When a sailor curses like a sailor, what does the official government transcript look like?

      For last week’s event at Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state, the stenographers just rolled with it.

      “You will have some of the best days of your life and some of the worst days of your life in the U.S. Navy, you know what I mean? That says — that means you’re living. That means you’re living,” Mattis told the assembled sailors.

    • Fearful Villagers See the U.S. Using Afghanistan as a “Playground for Their Weapons”

      The province of Nangarhar, in eastern Afghanistan, is bearing the brunt of ongoing U.S. airstrikes against the Taliban and fighters who have declared allegiance to the Islamic State. Half of July’s U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan – at least 358 strikes – took place in eastern Nangarhar, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. And according to United Nations data released last month, U.S. strikes in Nangarhar are more likely to result in civilian casualties than strikes anywhere else the country. On July 23, one of these strikes reportedly killed at least eight civilians, including children, who were attending a funeral, allegations of which the U.S. military is investigating.

      Just last week, Afghan officials said that a U.S. attack in Nangarhar killed 16 civilians, including women and children. A spokesman for the U.S. military denied those claims, saying that the strike was “against militants [who] were observed loading weapons into a vehicle.”

    • The 16 Year War in Afghanistan – Headlines Tell the Story

      Since 2001 the US has been at War in Afghanistan – the longest war in US history. Headlines concisely tell the story of this cruel boomeranging quagmire of human violence and misery. Below are some newspaper headlines from 2010 to the present to show that a militarized foreign policy without Congress’s constitutional duties and steadfast public engagement will drift on, costing our soldiers’ lives and limbs, nearly three-quarters of a trillion taxpayer dollars, hundreds of thousands of Afghani lives and millions of refugees, with no end in sight.

    • We Can Stop North Korea From Attacking Us. All We Have to Do Is Not Attack Them.

      North Korea is not going to launch a first strike on America or its allies with nuclear weapons.

      To understand this, you don’t need to know anything about the history of U.S.-North Korea relations, or the throw weight of intercontinental ballistic missiles, or even where North Korea is. All you need to know is human history. And history says that small, poor, weak countries tend not to start wars with gigantic, wealthy, powerful countries — especially when doing so will obviously result in their obliteration.

      So what exactly is the “crisis” involving North Korea?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Indonesian President Joko slams lack of progress in reforming forestry sector

      The National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan) revealed on Sunday that there were 239 hot spots in the country, mostly in West Kalimantan, Aceh and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).

    • Malaysia minister seeking to visit Indonesia over forest fires before SEA Games
    • Leaked Report Reveals Truth About Climate Change

      A leaked report conducted on climate change by scientists from 13 U.S. federal agencies emphatically concluded that the effects of climate change are real, and that, in stark contrast to messaging from the Trump administration, those effects are clearly the result of human activity.

    • Billionaire Behind the Dakota Access Is ‘Baffled’ by Complaints About His New Pipeline

      In a letter to U.S. lawmakers Monday, Warren said he was “baffled” by federal energy regulators’ allegations that his company, Energy Transfer Partners LP, violated rules in building the $4.2 billion, 700-mile (1,127-kilometer) Rover gas pipeline and defended how the project has been constructed. That same day, his company reached a deal to sell a 32 percent stake in its Rover unit to Blackstone Group LP for about $1.57 billion in cash.

    • After damaging historic property and wetlands, pipeline CEO is ‘baffled’ by criticism

      Last week, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) sent a letter to the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC), requesting that the agency investigate “misstatements” made by Energy Transfer Partners during the construction of the Rover Pipeline. Cantwell and Pallone claimed that the company knowingly destroyed a historic house in Ohio near the planned pipeline route, despite assuring regulators that it would avoid damaging the property.

    • Experts cast doubt on Keystone XL construction despite political green light

      Low oil prices and the high cost of extracting Canadian crude from oil sands are casting new doubts on Keystone XL as executives with the Canadian company that wants to build it face the final regulatory hurdle next week in Nebraska.

    • Going outside could be deadly in some parts of the world by the end of this century, scientists warn

      The study used new research that looked at the way humidity changes how people’s bodies can deal with heat. Temperatures and the amount of moisture will mean that the body will simply be unable to cool itself and so people will die, the researchers found.

    • South Asia could face deadly heat and humidity by the end of this century

      The new study accounts for the combination of temperature and humidity, which reduces the human body’s ability to cool itself through evaporation of sweat. If the ambient temperature in humid conditions, known as the wet-bulb temperature, exceeds skin temperature of 35° Celsius (95° Fahrenheit), humans quickly overheat. These temperatures can equate to well over 38° C (100° F) in standard, or dry-bulb, temperature. Not even the fittest of humans would be able to survive a few hours in these conditions, even in well-ventilated shaded areas, Pal says.

    • Many Indonesian forest fires detected as dry season approaches
    • Farmer suicides in India may be linked to climate change, says study

      Climate change has led to over 59,000 farmer suicides over the last 30 years in India. For every 1 degree C increase in temperature above 20 degrees C during the crop growing season in India, there are about 70 suicides on average. The increase in temperature during the cropping season reduces crop yields, thus resulting in increased suicides, says a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    • Seas rise, trees die: Climate change before your eyes

      It is happening around the world, but researchers say new ghost forests are particularly apparent in North America, with hundreds of thousands of acres of salt-killed trees stretching from Canada down the East Coast, around Florida and over to Texas.

    • South Australia okays giant solar thermal plant from SolarReserve

      On Monday the South Australian government awarded a key contract to a company called SolarReserve to build a 150MW solar thermal plant near Port Augusta. The California-based company uses giant mirrors, called heliostats, to direct sunlight to a thermal tower that heats molten salt, which can be stored in tanks for hours at very high temperatures. That molten salt can be pushed through a heat exchanger, where it will create steam to generate power, even when the Sun isn’t shining.

    • Scott Pruitt Is Turning the EPA into the KGB

      Scott Pruitt, polluters’ puppet and head of the Environmental Protection Agency, knows most Americans are strongly opposed to his anti-public health, anti-kids, anti-science agenda. That’s why he does all he can to hide it.

  • Finance

    • Big Money Runs Illinois. Can Small-Donor-Backed Daniel Biss Change That?

      The race for Illinois governor is expected to be one of the most expensive statewide races in U.S. history — with some anticipating as much as $300 million in spending.

      On the Democratic side, J.B. Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, has spent $21 million of his own money in a bid to win the nomination for his party. The Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner has dropped $50 million of his own money into his campaign.

      Democratic state Sen. Daniel Biss doesn’t have a lot of money. And as a mathematics professor who went into politics when he was elected to the state legislature in 2011, Biss isn’t from a long-time political family, like rival Chris Kennedy.

    • How can we miss our kids if they won’t go away?

      We had no idea that the economy would tank, and that even after things improved, the job market and wages would stagnate while the housing market went bonkers.

    • When Prisoners Are a ‘Revenue Opportunity’

      Unlike the in-facility video visitation systems, these remote setups come with charges of up to a dollar per minute, not counting account-deposit fees and set-up charges—expenses that can be quite burdensome for the often-poor families of inmates.


      Such systems make jailers—whether local governments or private corporations—the de-facto business partners of the companies, while enriching private-equity firms (which own many video-visitation providers) and their investors.

    • Workers juggling two or three jobs to make ends meet

      She is one of 750,000 Australians working second or third jobs as result of high underemployment according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics. There has been a 9.2 per cent increase in secondary jobs compared to a 6.8 per cent increase in main jobs for the past three years.

    • City ‘haemorrhaging’ talent because of Brexit, says headhunter

      Brexit is being blamed for a decline in the number of job vacancies in the City and a drop in applications for key posts compared with last summer.

      According to headhunters Morgan McKinley there was an 11% slide in the number of City jobs in July, compared with a year ago, and a 33% fall in professionals seeking positions.

      Hakan Enver, Morgan McKinley’s operations director for financial services, said: “The City is still haemorrhaging talent because of Brexit, and we risk losing jobs, too.”

    • EU dismisses Britain’s post-Brexit customs plan

      The EU on Tuesday flatly rebuffed the U.K.’s first formal proposal on a post-Brexit trading relationship, saying a new position paper released by London was an effort to leapfrog divorce proceedings.

      In its response, Brussels noted that withdrawal terms must be settled first — a position they believe is strongly supported by Article 50, the brief provision in the EU treaty that sets the parameters for a nation’s withdrawal from the bloc.

    • Over 50,000 will be affected by state pension age changes in Theresa May’s constituency, analysis shows

      Planned increases to the state pension age will affect nearly 37m people, including 56,000 in Theresa May’s constituency, according to a new analysis by Labour.

      According to data from the House of Commons Library, which breaks down the number of people affected by the changes by constituency, 61,753 people under the age of 47 in the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s constituency of Runnymede and Weybridge will have to work longer before receiving a state pension.

      Under current plans, the state pension age for men and women will be equalised at 65 at the end of 2018, before rising to 66 in 2020 and 67 in 2028. The rise to the pension age to 68 will be phased in between 2037 and 2039.

    • Ethereum Mining: Getting Started

      If you’ve been following recent coverage of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, you’ve probably seen coverage of Ethereum. Although the Ethereum project has only been around for a couple of years, it has become wildly popular. In fact, in CoinDesk’s recent State of Blockchain report, nearly all of the respondents — 94 percent — said they feel positive about the state of Ethereum.

      So what is generating all this positive feeling?

      To understand that, you need to understand that Ethereum has two parts. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a cryptocurrency. (Technically, the cryptocurrency is called “Ether,” but a lot of people refer to it as “Ethereum.”) Currently, Ethereum has the second highest market cap of any cryptocurrency (behind Bitcoin), and its price has been rising very quickly. In January 2017, 1 Ether was worth about $10. In June, it reached nearly $400. Obviously, that kind of rise is going to attract attention.

    • Two reasons Bitcoin just surged past $4,000

      The virtual currency Bitcoin hit a new record over the weekend, surging past the $4,000 mark. As of press time, one Bitcoin is worth $4,250. It’s an astonishing rally for a currency that was worth $580 a year ago and has risen 300-fold over the last five years.

    • ‘A fantasy’: EU leaders dismiss UK’s post-Brexit customs plan

      EU leaders have poured cold water on Britain’s hopes of being able to sign trade deals with non-EU countries during a Brexit transition period, with one describing the UK’s opening gambit for trade negotiations as a “fantasy”.

      The British government published proposals on Tuesday for “a new customs arrangement that facilitates the freest and most frictionless trade possible in goods between the UK and the EU”.

      The policy paper calls for “a continued close association with the EU customs union for a time-limited period after the UK has left the EU” in March 2019. It also makes clear that Britain intends to forge ahead with trade talks with other countries, but acknowledges that any new arrangements would have to respect the EU’s transition terms.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Fighting White Supremacy Means Owning Up to American History

      Trump’s failure to swiftly condemn racist violence is appalling. But he’s right that it’s always been part of this country’s story.

    • Trump Is Not the Problem [iophk: "or as Phipps wrote, he is the fruiting body of a fungus growing since Reagan/Thatcher; the electoral college flat out failed to do its job this time around"]
    • What I Realized as a Counter-Protester at the Charlottesville White Nationalist Rally

      We cannot simply out-hate white nationalists; they clearly cannot be shamed nor mocked into oblivion. Further, there are very real, very complicated, and very deeply embedded systemic issues that give rise to and sustain white supremacy and white supremacists. We need only look at our schools, our prisons, our news media, our neighborhoods to see them at play. But making those changes is the long game — it’s not accomplished through 10 hours of protest on a Saturday in August.

    • How Obama, Trump Had Their Wings Clipped

      President Donald Trump was backed into a corner in late July, forced to sign a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia, despite opposing it on substance and form. Trump issued a signing statement, claiming that the new law impinges on “the President’s constitutional authority to recognize foreign governments” (referring to the case of Crimea and Ukraine), limits the President’s actions on sanctions, and violates “the President’s exclusive constitutional authority to determine the time, scope, and objectives of international negotiations”, among other things.

    • Green Party Urges Prosecution of White Supremacist Groups For Domestic Terrorism In The Wake of Racist Violence In Charlottesville

      The Green Party of the United States is calling for vigorous prosecution of white supremacist groups responsible for the violence, injuries, and deaths that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, August 12.

      Greens said that the violence inflicted on anti-racist counter-protesters, including a car driven into a crowd that killed one person and injured more than two dozen others, was a deliberate act of domestic terrorism.

      The Green Party strongly condemns the white supremacists and their rally and violent actions and expressed solidarity with all those who participated in the counter-demonstrations.

      White supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations thrive on violence and threats of death and mayhem. They support a violent overthrow of the U.S. government and various forms of subjugation, expulsion, and extermination for all people of color, LGBTs, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, and anyone who doesn’t conform to their vision of a white gentile male-dominated society based on an extremist “blood and soil” ideology.

    • Innovating Democracy in Latin America

      Latin America’s countries have been consistently scoring badly in assessments of quality of democracy. Many years of authoritarianism and political instability have led citizens to distrust their institutions and have made scholars doubt democracy’s ability to reinvent itself. The international scholarship and the media have long echoed what opinion polls and democracy indexes have confirmed: democracies in Latin America have been unable to become fully consolidated because they are flawed by clientelism, corruption, and populism, not to mention poverty, crime and inflation.

      This shadowed scenario and the pessimism associated with it have, however, for a long time hindered that constructive questions were asked and that their answers were sought in the right places. How can political trust be rebuilt? How does one strengthen democratic institutions after long periods of authoritarian rule? How can governments become more accountable and responsive in countries with long traditions of political instability? How can the rule of law be enforced where crime and corruption are permanent problems? How can democracy ensure political inclusion and social equality in countries where poverty and hunger are still a reality?

    • Donald Trump Has Been a Racist All His Life — And He Isn’t Going to Change After Charlottesville

      “Racism is evil,” declared Donald Trump on Monday, “and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

      OK, “declared” may be too strong a word for what we heard from the president. “Stated” is perhaps a better descriptor. “Read out” might be the most accurate of all. Trump made these “additional remarks” with great reluctance and only after two days of intense criticism from both the media and senior Republicans over his original remarks blaming “many sides” for the neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The words were not his own: they were scripted by aides and delivered with the assistance of a teleprompter. The president reserved his personal, off-the-cuff ire on Monday for the black CEO of Merck, not for the white fascists of Virginia.

      Much of the frenzied media coverage of what CNN dubbed “48 hours of turmoil for the Trump White House” has overlooked one rather crucial point: Trump doesn’t like being forced to denounce racism for the very simple reason that he himself is, and always has been, a racist.

      Consider the first time the president’s name appeared on the front page of the New York Times, more than 40 years ago. “Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City,” read the headline of the A1 piece on Oct. 16, 1973, which pointed out how Richard Nixon’s Department of Justice had sued the Trump family’s real estate company in federal court over alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act.

    • Congress is At Home, So Pay Your Members a Visit

      It’s August. In the United States, that means members of Congress will be swinging back home to their home districts to check in with their state-side staffers, hit some fundraisers, and maybe host a few public events.

      You can meet them. Constituents can request meetings with members of Congress while they are home this August by contacting their local congressional offices. If you coordinate a meeting request with a few local allies, you’ll likely be able to meet with staffers, and you may even be able to meet with your member of Congress herself.

      Meetings like this matter—a lot. When members hear repeatedly from multiple constituents about overlapping concerns, those views can influence how they vote on policy issues, especially if they think those concerns will animate controversy that might complicate their careers. With so many issues vital to digital rights looming in the congressional calendar, this August is a critical time for Internet users to pressure Congress to do the right thing on mass surveillance, net neutrality, and rules that insulate platforms for liability based on content written by users.

      Here are some of the key issues to bring up this August, whether in meetings with your Members of Congress, or when writing for public audiences…

    • After Charlottesville violence, World War II anti-fascist propaganda video finds a new audience
    • Intel CEO Brian Krzanich quits Trump manufacturing council

      Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has quit President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, he announced in a Monday statement.

      “I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing,” Krzanich wrote.

    • Intel CEO exits President Trump’s manufacturing council

      Intel said Monday that CEO Brian Krzanich was leaving President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, the latest executive to distance himself from the president following the weekend’s events in Virginia.

      In a blog post, Krzanich said that the decline in American manufacturing remains a serious issue, but said that “politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”

      “I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing,” Krzanich said in a blog post. “Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”

    • Trump’s Soft-Shoe on Racist Violence

      On Monday, President Trump did a second take on his remarks about the white-nationalist-sparked violence in Charlottesville, but his tepid first take offered a troubling look into his soul, says Michael Winship.

    • The Thankless Task of ‘Saving’ Trump
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • While Everyone Frets About State Censorship, Corporate Censorship Tightens The Noose

      Glenn Greenwald, who as my regular readers know is the subject of my endless adoration and entirely inappropriate sexual obsession, has written an article titled “The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville”, and it is the first article of his that I have no intention of ever reading. Not because I think he’s incorrect to defend the ACLU and argue against the censorship of hate speech, but because I only have so much time in my day and I see the debate over government censorship as an irrelevant red herring right now.

    • Nearly 50 Senators Want to Make It a Felony to Boycott Israel

      The proposed Israel Anti-Boycott Act would make it a felony for Americans to support BDS, with a penalty of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison.

    • Texas sheriff’s Facebook war on “political correctness” upsets residents

      “I think political correctness is one of the reasons that these things happen. People are afraid they’re going to be called what I’ve been called: a racist, or islamophobe, or a hate mongerer,” he said earlier this year. “People don’t speak out because they don’t want to be called those things, and I’m not afraid to be called those things. I’m not that, I just speak the truth.”

    • Google Domains, GoDaddy blacklist white supremacist site Daily Stormer

      For years, the website Daily Stormer has promoted hatred against Jews, black people, LGBT people, and other minorities, making it one of the Internet’s most infamous destinations. But on Sunday, editor Andrew Anglin outdid himself by publishing a vulgar, slut-shaming article about Heather Heyer, a woman who was killed when someone rammed a car into a crowd of anti-racism protestors in Charlottesville.

    • Trump can block people on Twitter if he wants, administration says

      The administration of President Donald Trump is scoffing at a federal lawsuit by Twitter users who claim that their constitutional rights are being violated because the president has blocked them from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter handle.

      “It would send the First Amendment deep into uncharted waters to hold that a president’s choices about whom to follow, and whom to block, on Twitter—a privately run website that, as a central feature of its social-media platform, enables all users to block particular individuals from viewing posts—violate the Constitution.” That’s part of what Michael Baer, a Justice Department attorney, wrote to the New York federal judge overseeing the lawsuit Friday.

      In addition, the Justice Department said the courts are powerless to tell Trump how he can manage his private Twitter handle, which has 35.8 million followers.

    • Lawyer: Yahoo Lost Sec. 230 Immunity Because It Didn’t Hand Over Personal Info; Court: GTFO

      Sometimes litigants start out with a good case… or at least a credible one. Then they ruin it by getting creative. The day-to-day work of adjudicating may be a bit dry, but novel legal arguments rarely provide anything more than entertainment for bystanders.

      Lawyer and author Thomas Hall originally sued three individuals for alleged online harassment. According to his first complaint, Hall had drawn the ire of supposed white supremacists who bombarded him with hundreds of “threatening and disparaging emails.” Hall sought a restraining order against the three defendants, but apparently needed a bit more personal info before he could get that order approved. [via Eric Goldman]

    • Blocked by Trump on Twitter? You may have a strong case

      When Virginia resident Brian Davison tried to post on his county government’s official Facebook page last year, he couldn’t. He’d been blocked. Frustrated over his inability to communicate, Davison sued.


      “The Davison rulings suggests that Trump can’t block members of the public from his Twitter account,” Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at the UCLA School of Law, wrote in an email. “Social media accounts are a modern kind of public forum, from which government officials are not free to exclude people based on disagreement with their views.”

    • Amarinder Singh warns against censorship by cable operators
    • Kevin Myers to moderate talk on censorship in Limerick debate

      The Sunday Times published an apology following the publication of an article on July 30 last by Myers, which contained offensive remarks about women and Jewish people, while he was also dismissed from the paper.

    • Video: Google under fire for search and YouTube video ‘censorship’
    • Chinese Censorship Hits the Middle East

      A deal between Beijing and the increasingly despotic Erdogan regime in Turkey is raising fears of a new phase of Chinese political influence, in which Chinese soft power is used to persuade foreign governments to allow the same type of pro-Beijing censorship that constricts the Chinese internet in their own countries. After a meeting last week between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, it was reported that Turkey plans to block anti-China reports from its media and Turkish language websites. This has worried many activists from China’s persecuted Uighur minority, for whom Turkey has functioned as something of a safe haven after other Asian countries closer to Beijing crumbled in the face of political pressure to crackdown on Uighur refugees within their borders.

    • #SABC8 honoured for their stance against censorship

      Eight SABC journalists who were fired after openly protesting changes to the public broadcasters’ editorial policy have received the prestigious Guardian of Governance Award for their bravery.

      The prestigious award was bestowed on the “SABC8″ at a gala dinner during the 20th Annual Southern Africa Internal Audit Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre on Tuesday night.

      The journalists are Busisiwe Ntuli, Lukhanyo Calata, Thandeka Gqubule, Foeta Krige, Krivani Pillay, Jacques Steenkamp, Vuyo Mvoko, now a senior news anchor with eNCA, and the late Suna Venter.

    • Journalism, Propaganda, Censorship, and the 19th Party Congress

      At Deutsche Welle, Sabine Peschel talks to Audrey Jiajia Li, a former TV journalist who has turned to social media and foreign media outlets as the media climate within China grows ever frostier. Li discusses self-censorship and social media blocks, her hopes for journalism in China, unpromising recent developments, Liu Xiaobo, and Yang Shuping, the overseas student whose “unpatriotic” speech about China sparked a fierce backlash in May.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Building America’s Trust Act would amp up privacy concerns at the border

      If a new Senate Republican border security bill is passed as currently drafted, it would dramatically increase the amount of surveillance technologies used against immigrants and, in some cases, American citizens traveling to and from the United States.

      The bill, known as the “Building America’s Trust Act,” is authored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). It aims for a “long-term border security and interior enforcement strategy,” according to its summary. However, the senators have yet to formally introduce the text of the bill.

    • Rising Demands for Data Localization a Response to Weak Data Protection Mechanisms

      The digital economy relies on cross-border provision of services and goods, and in the past government trade regulators have embraced the borderless nature of the Internet and adopted light-touch regulation. But with the growing perception of data as the new oil, governments around the world are now flexing their muscles and stepping up efforts to limit or tax cross-border data flows. Multiple countries have enacted laws localizing storage and processing of data within their territory or subjecting cross-border transfers to to strict conditions.

      The wave of data localisation policies suggest that a marked regulatory shift is underway. National localization is creating tension within trade negotiations such as RCEP, NAFTA, and TiSA in which countries like the United States, Singapore, Thailand and Japan, along with tech companies, are seeking to prohibit data localization practices.

    • In J20 Investigation, DOJ Overreaches Again. And Gets Taken to Court Again.

      This time they served a search warrant on hosting provider DreamHost that would require the company to turn over essentially all information on a website it hosts, www.disruptj20.org—a site that was dedicated to organizing and planning the protest.

    • Feds demand 1.3 million IP addresses of those who visited Trump protest site

      The Justice Department is seeking the 1.3 million IP addresses that visited a Trump resistance site. The search warrant is part of an investigation into Inauguration Day rioting, which has already resulted in the indictment of 200 people in the District of Columbia. DreamHost, the Web host of the disruptj20.org site that helped organize the January 20 protests, is challenging the warrant it was served as being an “unfocused search” and declared that it was a “clear abuse of government authority.”

      A hearing on the dispute is set for Friday in Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

    • DOJ Goes Way Overboard: Demands All Info On Visitors Of Anti-Trump Site

      Not all search warrants are bad. Indeed, most of them are perfectly legitimate, and meet the qualifications under the 4th Amendment that there is probable cause of a crime being committed, and the warrant is narrowly tailored to seek out evidence to support that. But… not always. As Ken “Popehat” White explains in a recent blog post, the Justice Department has somehow obtained the mother-of-all bad search warrants while trying to track down people who were involved in protests of Donald Trump’s inauguration back in January. The government has brought felony charges against a bunch of protestors from the inauguration, and now it appears the DOJ is going on a big fishing expedition.

    • EFF Urges Supreme Court to Protect Your Cell Phone Location Data from Over-Curious Cops

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the U.S. Supreme Court today to curb law enforcement’s expansive tracking of suspects’ cell phones, arguing that police must get a warrant before collecting the detailed location data that all phones generate as part of their routine functioning.

      The defendants in U.S. v. Carpenter were convicted after hundreds of days of location data collected from their wireless carriers associated them with a string of armed robberies. But investigators obtained those location records through a lower legal standard than needed for a warrant, relying on the “third-party doctrine”—an outdated legal standard that says if you voluntarily give certain information to entities like banks or the phone company, you have no expectation of privacy in the data.

    • Can open source help agencies manage big data? [Ed: Hortonworks is connected to the NSA and promotes surveillance under the guise of "big data" and "open source"]

      Today’s guests are Hortonworks Federal President Shaun Bierweiler and his colleague Henry Sowell, the company’s technical director for Public Sector. They are in the studio to give some listeners some insight when it comes to Hadoop and big data.

    • Big data + private health insurance = game over

      Once big data systems agglomerate enough data about you to predict whether you are likely to get sick or badly injured, insurers will be able to deny coverage (or charge so much for it that it amounts to the same thing) to anyone who is likely to get sick, forcing everyone who might ever need insurance into medical bankruptcy, and turning Medicaid into a giant “high-risk pool” that taxpayers foot the bill for.

    • Big Data Is Coming to Take Your Health Insurance

      All kinds of incidentally collected data — shopping history, public records, demographic data — can be repurposed for assessing people’s health. For example, LexisNexis offers a product called a “Socioeconomic Health Score” that seeks to predict costs using such information as education, criminal records and personal finances.

    • DEA Looking To Buy More Malware From Shady Exploit Dealers

      The DEA — like other federal agencies involved in surveillance — buys and deploys malware and exploits. However, it seems to do better than most at picking out the sketchiest malware purveyors to work with.

      When Italian exploit retailer Hacking Team found itself hacked, obtained emails showed the company liked to route around export bans through middlemen to bring the latest in surveillance malware to UN-blacklisted countries with horrendous human rights records. It also, apparently, sold its wares to the DEA — an agency in a country with only periodic episodes of horrendous human rights violations.

      Maybe there’s a shortage of exploit sellers, but it would be nice to see a US agency be a bit more selective about who it buys from, rather than jumping into the customer pool with Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Egypt. But the DEA has done it again. Emails obtained via FOIA by Motherboard show the DEA attempting to get in bed with another questionable malware purveyor.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Holocausts R Us

      We cannot, I think, begin to approach the history of the United States without thoroughly ingesting, at the molecular level, the impact of European settler colonialism over the last half millennium. Thus it is that the comparatively new volume, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’, The Indigenous People’s History of The United States, 2015, seems to be an essential antidote to the rote mythologies of this country (essentially regurgitated by Zinn with a populist twist) and which, at the high school level, might be effective (perhaps in conjunction with an introduction to ‘green’ consciousness) in developing a generation that begins to understand this land’s History Degree Zero (to paraphrase Barthes’ term). In other words, a history that does not accept as natural, the imposition by means of genocide, of European values on a continent peopled by highly varied groups who nevertheless shared an ethos that almost always ran counter to the materialistic, hierarchical, monotheistic characteristics of Western civilization, (just as Barthes refused to accept the French literary canon, infused, as he correctly saw it, with the values of ‘a triumphant middle class’).

      The capture of the Republican Party by the extreme right and the installation of a racist demagogue in the White House have inevitably raised the specter of Germany in the 1930’s. Timothy Snyder has made explicit connections between the founding of the Third Reich and the rise of Trump (On Tyranny, 2017). Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ to rid the world of Jews in a messianic holocaust dominates any consideration of the German leader. His morbidly twisted mind personified both capitalism and communism within the Jewish people. The fabrication of Judeobolshevism was aggregated with a more traditional anti-Semitism into a bizarre pseudo-scientific theory of race whereby the Aryan people must exterminate the weaker Jew in order to ensure their survival and ultimate global supremacy. Hitler was a uniquely malignant leader. Yet he remains a shadowy presence behind more recent, far right-wing, fascist politicians, and once again our genocide radar is alerted.

    • Hours After Trump Finally Denounced White Supremacists… A Racist Tweet

      Late Monday night, just hours after (finally) delivering his “too little, too late” condemnation of “racism…white supremacists…and hate groups”—which critics noted appeared dispassionate and forced—President Donald Trump re-tweeted a message from Jack Posobiec, a well-known right-wing racist and conspiracy theorist, who raised objections to the media’s focus on the rampage in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday by an alleged neo-Nazi member who killed one person and injured dozens of others.

      According to the Los Angeles Times, “Posobiec is well-known in alt-right circles. He was a vocal believer that top Democrats were involved in a child sex trafficking ring at a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor, and that the Democratic National Committee was behind the death of former staffer Seth Rich.” NewsWeek reports that Posobiec is “currently helping organize multiple alt-right rallies similar to the one in Charlottesville in cities throughout the U.S. this coming weekend” and “has in the past defended white supremacist Richard Spencer.”

    • Fascism Here We Come: the Rise of the Reactionary Right and the Collapse of “The Left”

      The white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over this last weekend is an important moment in American politics, symbolizing the ascendance of the reactionary right and showcasing the dangers of its toxic assault on democracy, equality, and the rule of law. News outlets on early Sunday reported that one person was killed on August 12th after a car accelerated into a crowd of counter-protestors, while dozens more were injured. That intimidation, terror, and murder are tools of the reactionary right in their war on people of color and non-Christians is nothing new in history. Still, the most recent wave of right-wing hate is instructive, offering numerous lessons regarding the state of American politics.

    • Charlottesville Is An Urgent Call for Voting Rights

      Saturday night I arrived in Virginia as the conscience of the country and world turned toward the state. Earlier that day, hundreds of organized white supremacists gathered for a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in the mountainous Western part of the state, home to the University of Virginia.

    • Making America Hate Again

      But it’s too little, too late. Trump’s unwillingness to denounce hateful violence has been part of his political strategy from the start.

      Weeks after he began his campaign by alleging that Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists, two brothers in Boston beat up and urinated on a 58-year-old homeless Mexican national, subsequently telling police “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

      Instead of condemning the brutality, Trump excused it by saying “people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again.”

    • Backed by Police Unions, Legislators Stand By Laws to Protect Drivers Who Kill Protesters

      In the aftermath of the murder of activist Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, state legislators who had previously pushed to shield drivers who killed protesters with a moving vehicle are largely standing by their various efforts, arguing that their legislation would not have applied in this weekend’s attack.

      Before the killing on Saturday, a swath of bills had been proposed around the country, largely in the South and primarily in response to Black Lives Matter and Dakota Access Pipeline related protests. The bills targeted leftist demonstrators who have increasingly shut down traffic by blocking roads and highways to bring attention to their cause.

    • The Difficulty of Sponsoring Yazidi Refugees

      Many Yazidi abroad are in hiding, or living in fear in the UNHCR camps. Since camps are located within Muslim majority countries outside of Iraq, the Yazidi are often treated by UN employees with the same anti-Yazidi prejudices that they have experienced in Iraq and Syria.

    • The Toxic Impact of Indonesia’s Abusive Blasphemy Law

      These are just two of the two dozen or so blasphemy prosecutions filed since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took office in October 2014, according to databases of the Setara Institute and the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network, two Jakarta-based nongovernmental organizations. At least 10 of those prosecutions have produced convictions that have resulted in the imprisonment of 15 people. There have been zero acquittals.

    • Indonesia Again Silences 1965 Massacre Victims

      But since then, there has been deafening silence from the government. The security forces’ unwillingness to allow public discussion of compensation suggests that elements within the government and the security forces want to protect perpetrators even at the expense of redress for the victims. Jokowi will need to step in again or the victims and their suffering will go unrecognized and uncompensated.

    • Atheists in Malaysia should be hunted down, minister says

      “The (Federal Constitution) does not mention atheists. It goes against the Constitution and human rights.

      “I suggest that we hunt them down vehemently and we ask for help to identify these groups,” he said in a press conference at Parliament today.

    • Malaysian atheist group under investigation over alleged Muslim apostate members

      Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, the country’s deputy minister who oversees religious affairs, told reporters: “If it is proven that there are Muslims involved in atheist activities that could affect their faith, the state Islamic religious departments or Jawi could take action,” New Straits Times reported.

    • Gov’t probing viral claim Muslims joining KL Atheist Club
    • A look at Rwanda’s genocide helps explain why ordinary people kill their neighbors

      In reality, only about 20 percent of Hutu men, an estimated 200,000, seriously injured or killed at least one person during the genocidal outbreak, estimates Rwanda genocide researcher Omar McDoom of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    • Atheists should be “hunted down vehemently” by authorities, says Malaysian minister

      A photo of the gathering by the Kuala Lumpur chapter of Atheist Republic, or “consulate”, has caused uproar from some in the Muslim community recently after it was highlighted by pro-Islamist blogs, leading to violent and death threats on social media.

    • Saudia Airlines refuses to fly passengers who expose arms or legs
    • Close loopholes that allow forced child marriage in the UK
    • NSPCC reports large rise in forced marriage counselling for children

      More help is being provided than ever before for children in Britain who fear being forced into marriages, with some potential victims as young as 13, the NSPCC has said.

    • [Reposted] Saudi Arabia is to execute 14 young men for protesting – where is Theresa May’s condemnation? [iophk: “with the new investors, there were be likely be fewer or none of these kind of articles”

      There are 14 pro-democracy demonstrators who face execution after being caught up in protests against the royal family which turned violent. What’s even more disturbing is the fact that British police may have directly helped arrest them

    • Iran’s Killing Fields

      MacEoin continued, “The long term aim is to rid the country (Iran) of the Baha’is while inflicting as much pain on them as possible. Islam is intolerant of heretics and apostates, even if the group is not even a remote threat. Baha’is believe in world peace, universal brotherhood, tolerance, and the equality of the sexes. They are forbidden to resort to violence. They are even commanded as a religious principle to obey the government in whatever country they live in. There is something else that deeply upsets the clerical regime in Tehran, the Baha’is have their holiest shrine and international shrine in Haifa, Israel.”

    • Annual Report : Iran 2016/2017

      The authorities heavily suppressed the rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and religious belief, arresting and imprisoning peaceful critics and others after grossly unfair trials before Revolutionary Courts. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common and widespread, and were committed with impunity. Floggings, amputations and other cruel punishments continued to be applied. Members of religious and ethnic minorities faced discrimination and persecution. Women and girls faced pervasive violence and discrimination. The authorities made extensive use of the death penalty, carrying out hundreds of executions, some in public. At least two juvenile offenders were executed.

    • FBI and DHS Warned of Growing Threat From White Supremacists Months Ago

      The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in May warned that white supremacist groups had already carried out more attacks than any other domestic extremist group over the past 16 years and were likely to carry out more attacks over the next year, according to an intelligence bulletin obtained by Foreign Policy.

      Even as President Donald Trump continues to resist calling out white supremacists for violence, federal law enforcement has made clear that it sees these types of domestic extremists as a severe threat. The report, dated May 10, says the FBI and DHS believe that members of the white supremacist movement “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year.”

    • Surveillance Footage Shows Border Officers Forcing Teen to Drink Liquid Meth

      On July 29, ABC News published a surveillance video of two border officers asking a young person to drink a substance that was later revealed to be a solution containing methamphetamine, 100 times more potent than a usual dose. The teen later died, and the incident, which occurred during the evening of November 18, 2013, is now making headlines after nearly four years because of the footage.

    • These playing cards are so Singaporean, it’s got Amos Yee and Steven Lim as jokers

      “We picked them as ‘jokers’ not to condemn them in any way, but rather to open up a conversation.”

    • Come at me, motherfucker! A Crash Course Guide to Amos Yee

      “Lee Kuan Yew is dead. Finally! Why hasn’t anyone said, ‘Fuck yeah! The guy is dead?’” These are the words of sixteen-year-old Amos Yee; who at one point was the world’s youngest prisoner of conscience according to Amnesty International.

    • In the name of honour

      Qandeel Baloch was an anathema for a country like Pakistan. Coming from poverty, she rose to become independent and support herself and her family. She was an anathema because she did not care. She did not care what society thought of her and she did not care if they made fun of her. She was the bold and the beautiful. And one year ago, on July 15, 2016, she was murdered in the name of that tenuous and all important property of Pakistani men: honour.

    • Liberal Magazine Asks Why the Left Ignores ‘Sexism, Homophobia’ In Muslim Culture

      “I fear that the truth is Islam has become an untouchable shibboleth for some on the left,” Sullivan writes. “What they lacerate in other religions, they refuse to mention in Islam. Sexism, homophobia, the death penalty for apostasy … all of this is to be rationalized if the alternative is Islamophobia. Why, one wonders? Is it because Muslims are a small minority? But the same could be said for Jews.”

    • Ann Arbor Jihad: Muslim shot by SWAT: ‘Get on the ground and bow before Allah’
    • Court: New Jersey Residents Can’t Mention ’Islam’ or ’Muslim’ at Public Hearing on Mosque
    • Celine Dookhran: ‘Honour killing victim’ kidnapped and had throat cut before being stuffed in freezer, hears inquest
    • Sweden Turns the Blind Eye to Creeping Islamism, Refugees Flying Daesh Flags

      Hörby Municipality in Sweden has recently renounced an agreement with an asylum home for unaccompanied young people after there were reports that the staff were radicalizing young men. According to Merzek Botros, an Arab pastor from Stockholm, the incident in Hörby is far from the only one of its kind.

    • Denmark: Rapes Soared 196 PERCENT Since Liberal Government Took Power, Invited Refugees
    • Court: Residents Can’t Mention “Islam” or “Muslim” At Public Hearing on Mosque Construction; Thomas More Law Center Files Federal Lawsuit

      TMLC’s lawsuit alleges that Bernards Township’s settlement agreement constitutes a prior restraint on speech based on content, as well as, a violation of the Establishment Clause because it prefers Islam over other religions. The lawsuit asks the court to: declare that the settlement agreement is unconstitutional; and to enter a preliminary and permanent injunction against its enforcement.

    • Love kills as amorous terrorists throw caution to the wind

      Talha was smitten by the daughter of a superintending engineer in state PWD and made this amply clear to him. He asked the engineer to let his daughter, a cultured and highly-educated girl, be with him. The bewildered father did not know what hit him and packed off the girl to her grandparents’ place. A miffed Talha got Dukhtaran-e-Millat to issue a ‘fatwa’ against the girl saying that she wore too much make-up. When the girl still did not show up, Talha threatened her entire family with dire consequences.

    • Daesh Slavery Business: Over 1,700 Yazidis Bought From Terrorists’ Captivity

      Ali Husein al-Khansuri, a Yazidi activist from Iraq who is helping Iraq’s Yazidi minority search for loved ones who were enslaved by Daesh terrorists, told Sputnik that they have been able to buy back 1,700 Yazidis, mostly women and children, who have been held in captivity since 2014.

    • Europe’s Cities Absorb Sharia Law

      Two years later, Europe’s three most important cities — London, Paris and Berlin — are adopting the same sharia trend.

    • Atheists in Muslim world: Silent, resentful and growing in number

      “I wear a headscarf despite being an atheist,” said Ms. Ahmed, who studies biology at the school, about 115 miles south of Baghdad. “It is difficult not to wear it in southern Iraq. Few women take the risk not to cover their hair. They face harassment everywhere.”

    • U.S. Muslims Concerned About Their Place in Society, but Continue to Believe in the American Dream

      When asked whether targeting and killing civilians can be justified to further a political, social or religious cause, 84% of U.S. Muslims say such tactics can rarely (8%) or never (76%) be justified, while 12% say such violence can sometimes (7%) or often (5%) be justified.

    • Bondi synagogue ban over terrorism risk leaves Jewish community shocked and furious

      A local council has banned the construction of a synagogue in Bondi because it could be a terrorist target, in a shock move that religious leaders say has caved in to Islamic extremism and created a dangerous precedent.

    • Drawing a ‘major sin’ in Islam: Moeen Ali slammed on Twitter

      However, certain section of his fan base were not amused by this development, as they seem to believe that a devout Muslim should not draw pictures.

    • The Islamophobia Scam

      Islamophobia is classic political correctness. You don’t have to deal with the substance of arguments against Islamic extremism. All you have to do is label critics a cluster of “Islamophobes.” If this lie prevails, we become infinitely more vulnerable to terrorism and the negative impact of Islam because we are afraid to talk about them. As a manipulation, it has been highly effective.

    • If We Can’t Criticize Islam, We Can’t Reform It

      We know from history that the European Enlightenment did not happen overnight. It’s not as if Europe woke up one fine morning and delightfully jumped into the formation of a secular and pluralistic society. To construct this new world, Europe went through a dialectic process of reformation, characterized by destructive historical conflicts.

      A similar process, though at a more modest level, can be observed in various parts of the Muslim world. Unfortunately, though, it looks like this process will encounter a most stubborn resistance. This is not only a result of efforts from fundamentalist Muslims, but also on the part of Western intellectuals, regressive leftists, and the political far right.

    • Europe’s Muslims hate the West

      So, we blame ourselves in order to remain blameless. Safer to blame our own societies and socioeconomic conditions than to blame the religious and cultural concepts with which terrorists poison their own minds.

    • Indonesia denies claims of Papuan rights restrictions

      Vanuatu has repeatedly called for UN action on human rights violations by Indonesian security forces in Papua.

    • West Papua protest: Indonesian police kill one and wound others – reports

      Indonesian paramilitary police have shot and killed one person and wounded a number of others at a protest in a West Papuan village, according to human rights groups and local witnesses.

    • Preaching violence from the pulpit

      Left-of-center outlets, also known as mainstream media, apparently saw nothing to report.

    • 25 taxi drivers lose licences as part of Operation Sanctuary sex exploitation investigation
    • Eighteen people found guilty over Newcastle sex grooming network

      Four trials find 17 men and one woman guilty of nearly 100 offences including rape and human trafficking of vulnerable women and girls

    • More than 700 women and girls victims of sexual exploitation in North East as hunt for grooming gangs continues

      More than 700 women and girls have been identified as potential victims of sexual exploitation in the North East and authorities expect the figure to rise following the conviction of a high profile grooming gang.

    • Newcastle sex ring: People care more about being called racist than preventing child abuse, says Rotherham’s Labour MP
    • On abuse it’s time to call a spade a spade
    • Sex Slavery In Islamic India

      Women and children were special targets for enslavement throughout the medieval period, that is, during Muslim invasions and Muslim rule. Captive children of both sexes grew up as Muslims and served the sultans, nobles and men of means in various captives. Enslavement of young women was also due to many reasons; their being sex objects was the primary consideration and hence concentration on their captivity.

    • Rees-Mogg fan ‘warned by police’ for posting content that is critical of Islam

      The owner of a Facebook page praising the Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has told their followers that they have been visited by two police officers who provided ‘advice’ that included a warning to stop posting content that is ‘critical of Islam.’

    • Man decapitates wife for not quitting job in Lahore

      He said the woman worked as a labourer in a factory in Raiwind area but her husband did not like her job and would ask her to quit.

    • Muslim Refugees Visit Concentration Camp, Cheer Hitler
    • Don’t forget the Yazidis: To avoid the next genocide, remember the last

      Why, then, has the world turned such a blind eye to their genocide? In large part it is because, numbering only 600,000, they rank as a minority in the genuine sense of the word. There are no Yazidi politicians in the West to press their case, no Yazidi columnists to beat the drum on their behalf.

    • How Should NATO React to the Threat from Sweden?

      Sweden is in a state of collapse. Dozens of areas are now under Islamist control, which leaves locals in the hands of violent sharia patrols. According to the Swedish police, thousands of Islamic State sympathizers are on the loose, endangering not only native Swedes, but also neighbouring countries such as Denmark, Norway, and Finland—the first two of them being NATO members.

      The Swedish state has shown no genuine determination to contain the problem.

    • Racist rapists handed lower sentences because their victims were WHITE
    • Imam charged over sermon calling for non-practicing Muslims to be ‘killed in their homes’

      He is accused of calling for the murder of non-praying Muslims during a sermon on October 21, 2016.

    • Singing anthem, recording video un-Islamic: Clerics
    • Birmingham Sikh TV channel accused of encouraging victims of grooming to take vigilante action
    • WhatsApp messages, pamphlets calling for boycott of Muslims fuel tension in Narkhed
    • Topless man arrested after scrawling, ‘Stop Muslim grooming gangs’ on his skin
    • The demographic threat to the West

      Because French law forbids census-takers asking religious questions, estimates of the number of Muslims in France varies, but Muslims may comprise as much as 10 percent of the population of 70 million. A third of those describe themselves in other surveys as “observing believers.” Germany as recently as 2015 was believed to count about 4.5 million Muslims, nearly 6 percent of the population of 83 million. That was before Chancellor Angela Merkel permitted a million Syrian and other refugees, nearly all Muslims, to enter in 2016.

    • Muslim woman awarded $85,000 after her hijab was forcibly removed by Long Beach police officer

      The city of Long Beach has agreed to pay $85,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed by a Muslim woman whose hijab was pulled off by a male officer while she was in police custody.

      The settlement, approved Tuesday, concludes the legal battle undertaken by Kirsty Powell, an African American Muslim. Her lawsuit, filed in 2016, prompted the Long Beach Police Department to reverse its policy barring inmates from wearing religious head coverings.

    • Americans, Irish, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Pakistanis – They All Have More Balls Than We Scots

      The fascist violence in Charlottesville was in defence of prominent public statues to those who fought to uphold slavery. History should not be destroyed, and there is a place for such statues in appropriate explained context in museums. But public celebration of advocates of slavery ought to end. People always throw off the monuments of their oppressors, and so they should. The statues should be removed from their prestigious positions.

      Hardly anybody remembers now that O’Connell Street in Dublin was Sackville Street. You will scour Ireland with little success for surviving statues of British Imperial rulers and commanders – there were once hundreds. I found that Burnes Road in Karachi is no more. Uzbekistan and Ukraine are no longer dotted with great statues of Lenin.

    • The Trump Administration Is Detaining Immigrant Kids for Gang Membership Without Evidence. So We Sued.

      Wearing a blue soccer jersey with “El Salvador” written on it. Doodling an area code from home on a school notebook. Law enforcement agencies have used both of these as “evidence” that a teenage immigrant high school student belongs to a dangerous gang. And both have triggered a process that results in the teenager’s detention in prison-like facilities far from his or her family and home.

      In the government’s latest effort to be tough on immigration, federal immigration agents are picking up teenagers in what appears to be a coordinated effort to detain anyone whom they suspect of gang affiliation — regardless of whether they have any real evidence to back that up.

    • There’s No Evidence I’m in a Gang — Because I’m Not. But I’ve Been Locked Up for Two Months for Gang Membership.

      I came to the U.S. to be safe from gangs. Now officials are accusing me of being in one.

      One Friday after school last June, I went to play soccer with friends in the park in Brentwood, New York, where I live. I love the soccer fields there. There are lights and grass, and it feels so much nicer and safer than the fields where I used to play. In El Salvador, where I’m originally from, a gun might go off or gang members might grab a player off the field and beat him up.

      Walking home with my friend, Juan* around 8 p.m., I felt good. We ran into a kid we knew from school, Andres,* and he joined us. I knew Andres’ face, and I would say, “Hey, what’s up?” when we ran into each other at school, but I didn’t know him well.

    • Misdemeanor Defendants Facing Jail Time Not Told They Have a Right to Counsel, Bar Association Finds

      The defendants were booked, photographed, fingerprinted and then led into Court 1A in the county courthouse in Nashville. There was no judge. Prosecutors handling the misdemeanor cases invited the accused who were interested in pleading guilty to step forward and finalized plea deals for suspended sentences and an array of fines. There were no defense lawyers, nor were any of the defendants advised they were entitled to one.

      Later that day in September 2016, a group of five defendants was called up by a local prosecutor and offered the previously arranged plea deals, some of which might have resulted in days behind bars. One defendant asked to see a judge. The prosecutor said that was not possible, and that her only choice at that moment was to plead guilty, or to plead not guilty and go to trial. The defendant could only speak to the judge, the prosecutor said, if she rejected the plea offer. Again, none of the defendants was told they had the right to see a lawyer before entering any plea.

    • White Supremacist Chaos In Charlottesville Is Just the Beginning

      Arriving in downtown Charlottesville about a half-hour before the scheduled noon start time for the Unite the Right rally on Saturday, it was clear that violence was inevitable. I rode past a throng of men with semiautomatic rifles slung across their backs, and a group of left-wing counterprotesters bearing sticks and clubs.

      I was dropped off at Justice Park, where groups of peace-promoting hippies and religious liberals congregate blocks from the rally site. At the perimeter, observers from the National Lawyers Guild, wearing their trademark green caps, stood ready to offer protesters advice on their rights, and to stand vigil as men with assault rifles stood guard. The men were revolutionaries of Redneck Revolt, a left-wing group that embraces armed resistance. Virginia is an open-carry state, so there was no stopping anyone from arriving in Charlottesville with a permitted gun strapped to their bodies.

      A counterprotester later told me that members of the pro-Trump group the Proud Boys had “menaced” the Redneck Revolt guards at the park’s perimeter. Proud Boys is a recently formed group whose fundamental aim appears to be to engage in physical conflict.

    • India at 70: bigotry rules

      As India marks 70 years of independence today (August 15), two events of the past week illustrate the predicament a country that often preens itself as the world’s largest democracy finds itself in.

      One was a vitriolic and graceless speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a farewell ceremony for Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who was stepping down after two terms as Vice-President. The other a prominent television anchor declaring that a panellist’s mention of the deaths of dozens of children in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh state was an attempt to divert attention from the real issue, which in her opinion was the rectitude of the state government’s order to Muslim schools to celebrate Independence Day with the recitation of a nationalist song entitled Vande Mataram (salute the motherland).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Broadband ISP Cox Will Now Charge You $50 More To Avoid Usage Caps, Overage Fees

      We’ve noted repeatedly how large ISPs for years have happily abused the lack of competition in the broadband market by imposing arbitrary, unnecessary and confusing usage caps and overage fees. While ISPs had tried for a while to suggest these caps were “only fair,” or necessary due to congestion, repeated debunking of those excuses forced the ISPs a few years back to finally stop pretending there’s any good reason for these limits.

      These days, ISPs don’t even give coherent reasons for the limits, because they know caps are about one thing: abusing a lack of competition to raise rates and protect TV revenues from streaming video competition. More importantly, they know that thanks to this limited competition, there’s nothing you can do about it either way.

    • Hughes signs deal to launch 100Mbps satellite Internet service in 2021

      In March, Hughes Network Systems launched an upgrade of its satellite-based Internet service, HughesNet, that transformed it into the first residential satellite-based Internet service to meet the Federal Communications Commission’s definition of “broadband.” Now, the company is planning for its next major leap in bandwidth—a 100 Mbps-capable network based on a new satellite to be launched in 2021.

    • SDN and a life beyond the death of the internet

      For decades, enterprises have relied on the public internet for business-critical SaaS applications and data traffic. The reason why is pretty simple: it’s cost-efficient, it’s easy to use and it’s already there. Compare that to the logistical, financial and implementation challenges of installing an alternative private network, and it’s clear why enterprises have been pretty content with the internet for their entire digital lives.

      But, it’s 2017. And, if there’s one thing clear about the public internet today, it’s that it no longer cuts it. Rampant DDoS attacks and other cyber threats posed by hackers, rogue employees and nation-states have not just revealed the security, reliability and transparency cracks in the public internet — they’ve blown them wide open.

      For enterprises concerned about secure and consistent network performance, the public internet cannot be the default solution anymore. Enterprises need to look beyond the public internet to their own private WANs — and specifically, to SDN.

    • New FCC Broadband ‘Advisory Panel’ Stocked With Telecom Consultants, Allies & Cronies

      On the one hand, FCC boss Ajit Pai proclaims to be a man dedicated to hard data, transparency, and closing the digital divide. But we’ve repeatedly highlighted how his public rhetoric is miles from his actual policies, which by and large focus on making life easier than ever for the nation’s entrenched, uncompetitive broadband mono/duopolies. From gutting broadband privacy and net neutrality protections, to protecting the cable industry’s monopoly over the cable box, Pai’s actions consistently reveal anti-competitive intent, while his words gracefully try to imply another, artificial artifice.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Danish University And Industry Work Together On Open Science Platform Whose Results Will All Be Patent-Free

      Here on Techdirt, we write a lot about patents. Mostly, it’s about their huge downsides — the stupid patents that should never have been awarded, or the parasitic patent trolls that feed off companies doing innovative work. The obvious solution is to get rid of patents, but the idea is always met with howls of derision, as if the entire system of today’s research and development would collapse, and a new dark age would be upon us. It’s hard to refute that claim with evidence to the contrary because most people — other than a few brave souls like Elon Musk — are reluctant to find out what happens if they don’t cling to patents.

    • Copyrights

      • How The DMCA’s Digital Locks Provision Allowed A Company To Delete A URL From Adblock Lists

        Starting late last week, there’s been a bit of a fuss in various circles about a DMCA notice being used to remove a domain from one of the most prominent adblocking server lists, known as Easylist. AdGuard had a big blog post about it, as did TorrentFreak and Gizmodo. But, the whole situation is somewhat confusing, and requires understanding a variety of different things, from how adblocking works, to how certain paywalls work and, most importantly, how two separate parts of the DMCA — the notice and takedown portions of DMCA 512 intersect with the anti-circumvention/”digital locks” provisions of DMCA 1201.

The Collapse of Patent Quality at the EPO is Inviting to Europe Some of the World’s Worst Patent Trolls

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European Patents (EPs) too are now weapons of blackmail and extortion

EPO trolls

Summary: As troll litigation soars in Europe we must take a careful look at the sorts of patents granted by the EPO these days and the policies that support such grants

THE utter disregard for patent quality should be a reason for concern if not panic. Patent trolls would benefit greatly from that as they cannot get sued; there’s nothing for them to get sued for/over. So the broader the scope of patents, the worst off society will be. There’s a reason why sites funded by and/or connected to trolls push so hard for patent maximalism; worth noting is also the correlation (in my experience) between blowhard Conservative Trump proponents and patent trolls; they want more and more deregulation; they want chaos. To them, from chaos comes income.

“To them, from chaos comes income.”Battistelli, a Conservative politician, is pushing towards patent chaos in Europe. It’s not just the UPC (the EPO was pushing for this lame duck earlier this week and also in this very recent tweet). Earlier today, for instance, the trolls-connected Rovi showed up in news from Belgium, wielding what seems like an EP on software:

The recent CJEU judgment and subsequent national interpretation in Rovi Guides v Telenet will have a significant impact on the predictability of legal costs and should be taken into account when setting up an IP litigation strategy in Belgium, as Steven Sarlet and Ben Brigou explain

Rovi Guides Inc (previously United Video Properties (UVP)) initiated an infringement action against Telenet NV on June 7 2011 based on European patent 1327209 (systems and methods for providing storage of data on servers in an on-demand media delivery system)….

We have written extensively about Rovi; it’s connected to the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures. They’re reaching out for Europe already. Crossing the Atlantic bridge for litigation purposes…

“The farce of patent “quality” at the EPO under Battistelli has lowered the bar even below the USPTO’s and applicants are starting to notice.”As noted here earlier this year, the EPO openly promotes software patents even though they should all be disallowed. As of this week, moreover, the EPO is openly promoting such patents yet again, this time under the guise of “CII”. “Guidance on EPO procedures for US CII applicants at this event in Palo Alto,” it wrote, pointing to this seminar whose programme says “EPO CII approach – Christian Platzer, Director, Information & Communications Technology, EPO” and two sessions are titled “Guidance on EPO procedures for US CII applicants” (CII is just a synonym for software patents).

“By all means, unless the EPO manages to get patent quality under control again (this would also mean invalidating many patents granted under Battistelli), too few stakeholders would be willing to pay application and renewal fees.”Morever, based on this article from earlier this week, the EPO is granting a patent (monopoly) on life yet again. Are CRISPR patents next to be thrown away? Why are they being granted at all? The EU has been very clear in its opposition to such patents and Allen & Overy LLP has just published this analysis titled “EPO reverses its position on the patentability of products obtained by essentially biological processes” (can be viewed as applicable to the above too). “The firm,” says the article, “a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Merck KGaA, said the EPO has issued a ‘Notice of Intention to Grant’ a broad patent for the company’s CRISPR technology.”

Why are these patents being granted? The farce of patent “quality” at the EPO under Battistelli has lowered the bar even below the USPTO‘s and applicants are starting to notice. Even legal firms are noticing and saying so to audiences at public events.

There was this discussion yesterday regarding the “abstract idea” test in the US and the infamous “technical effect” test. Here are just two of the more relevant comments:

I agree with the notion of allowing the case law to evolve. Some of the arguments against having a specialist patent appeal court in the US are that it would allow other case law doctrines to evolve if more than one court was involved, and ultimately that makes case law richer and more dynamic, but also of increase uncertainty. There will be directions that are ultimately found to be unhelpful and so case law then has to change direction, etc.

However in terms of what a claim is, I don’t think it can be said to be the same as the ‘technical effect’. Sometimes applicants will want to voluntarily limit their claim scope (for example due to an agreement with another party), or to minimise the chance of an opposition happening (I have been in that situation). And so the literal scope is important as a sign of what the applicant chose to pursue at that time (and chose to limit to in examination). I therefore think that whilst the technical effect is an important component in determining claim scope it cannot be only one. And I agree that the system needs to be thrown into this new uncertainty to decide whether we want to think in terms of a ‘flag’, and whether a usable test based on that can emerge. [People of course do not like uncertainty and so this will be a painful journey]

I think the ‘abstract idea’ test in the US is interesting because the Supreme Court has chosen to say little about it, and it is being allowed evolve at the hands of the Federal Circuit, where it will I am sure end up being the same as a ‘technical effect’ test. You will be familiar with the level of criticism that that test has encountered, but I think it is a great experiment. The Supreme Court had the wisdom to be minimalist about it, and let it evolve, realising the test was too complex to be derived by simply thinking of one. A test will come into being which is found to be useful in the cases that the Federal Circuit has before it.

I agree with you on “abstract” and I agree that fixing the scope of protection is not the same as identifying the technical effect. I like the Neuberger evolved version of the Catnic Questions.

Courts need a residual degree of wiggle room to do justice. Neuberger gives them just enough, but no more than that. Like the EPO’s Problem and Solution for framing the obviousness debate, the Neuberger 3 Question rubric gives the parties a framework for efficient debate on scope of protection.

In my view, the evolved Three Question routine represents an optimal compromise between fair protection for the patent owner and reasonable legal certainty for those under threat from the patent.

By all means, unless the EPO manages to get patent quality under control again (this would also mean invalidating many patents granted under Battistelli), too few stakeholderx would be willing to pay application and renewal fees. Paying for something that’s already worthless (or can be rendered invalid overnight, without even a trial) is like falling for a scam.

The EPO was supposed to be a world leader in terms of solid, defensible patents. What it’s becoming more and more like over time is a facility which fuels patent trolling (already soaring in Germany).

The EPO is Paying Journalists For Trips Abroad and May be Buying Fake Twitter Followers (Still)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Battistelli’s European Patent Office Broadens FTI Consulting Contract to Undermine the Media, Wastes Millions of Euros

Concentration of media ownership
Reference: Concentration of media ownership (also a problem in Germany, where the largest media keeps deliberately silent about the EPO scandals)

Summary: The EPO’s media strategy — a nefarious strategy which is costing many millions of euros and is corrupting the media — explained in light of recent activity and reporting (in German)

THE other day we noticed that the EPO had promoted/retweeted this old tweet (summer is too slow for the EPO) about the 'European Media Intervention Award' (EIA). Battistelli recently bragged (in the German media) about over a hundred ‘manufactured’ articles regarding EIA 2017. We decided to ask: “Is this one among the many PAID-FOR ‘articles’, which EPO reportedly paid 3 millions euros for?” (for one day)

“How much of the media have they already corrupted with large payments?”Etan Smallman soon replied by saying that the “EPO did not pay for the article, though they did cover costs of trip. Out of interest, where is 3 million euro figure from?”

The other day we published a translation of a long article in German; it seems to have just been translated by the publisher itself, so the information is now available in English (albeit behind a paywall). That’s where the figure comes from, matching the estimates we learned about and wrote about over a year ago. I “wrote about that at the time and named you,” I told Smallman, after he had told me that this wasn’t the first time he wrote about the EIA ‘festival’ of Battistelli. They repeatedly invite him and cover all the costs.

“This is what the EPO is now doing and it’s a form of bribery.”“Don’t help the EPO,” I advised him. “They’re malicious.” I was referring to Team Battistelli. How much of the media have they already corrupted with large payments? One decade ago we wrote about Microsoft doing similar things, flying people from all around the world (even half way across the world) to some nice vacation. The strings? Just produce some puff pieces to the effect Microsoft wants. This is what the EPO is now doing and it’s a form of bribery. In addition to this, there are even more nefarious media deals.

Incidentally, yesterday we checked again the EPO’s Twitter Audit. It suggests that the proportion of legitimate (real) followers has decreased since we last checked and right now 4 out of 10 “followers” of the EPO are fake and likely paid for (there are dodgy people who create users farms and sell “followers”). The EPO’s Twitter spamming habits make a payment quite likely/plausible an explanation.

‘US Inventor’ is an Extremist Group Created by Watchtroll (Not Inventors) to Troll the USPTO for Patent Maximalism

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The true colours of the founder of that ridiculous (and minuscule) account, Mr. Morinville [1, 2]

Paul Morinville sickened

Summary: The face behind so-called ‘US Inventor’ (an anti-PTAB group) which enlists, apparently, a handful of people and does not actually represent American inventors

THERE is no lack of radicalism in patent circles, even if they try to disguise this as professionalism or even inventorship. With words like “ownership” and “property” (even “piracy”) they seek to mislead the public, but it doesn’t always work.

Dennis Crouch, a prominent part of the problem, has been bashing PTAB for quite some time. Days ago he even defended patent trolls from the EFF and earlier this week he wrote about USPTO statistics; it’s anything but benign, but improvements have been made in recent years.

Worse things have come from Watchtroll, a site of patent extremists and very rarely some moderates. A couple of days ago, for example, Neel Chatterjee said that a “Patent ‘gold rush’ [is] to blame for patent sharks, patent trolls,” noting quite correctly the correlation to software patents. “The roots of the modern patent troll boom,” he said, “can be traced to a similar expansion in the definition of patentable subject matter sparked by the Federal Circuit’s 1998 State St. Bank & Trust Co. v. Signature Fin. Grp., Inc. decision eliminating the so-called “business method exception” for software that produced a “useful, concrete, and tangible result.” In the 10 years following the Federal Circuit’s 1998 decision, the number of granted software patents expanded from approximately 30,000 per year to over 100,000 per year.”

Much of Watchtroll, however, has been a cesspool of patent propaganda. Some of the most aggressive actors out there, including the site’s founder, keep bashing PTAB and pushing hard for software patents almost every day/week. Some of their most extreme pieces come from Morinville, who sounds like a rabid Trump supporter (recall his constant online bullying of Michelle Lee) and has been begging for attention recently because he organised a ridiculous ‘event’ which turned out to be a massive failure. Funnily enough, it seems like he organised it in Facebook, in order to protest Facebook. The head of ‘IP’ [sic] at Google, incidentally, has just quit to join Facebook.

We expected the event to receive no media attention, as it received barely any attention online (or presence). We mentioned it briefly the other day, but only very briefly. When a radical group of patent extremists from Watchtroll (and cohorts) get together about a dozen people we don’t deem it noteworthy and definitely not newsworthy. We were wrong, however, as a couple of sites got trolled (or tricked) into writing articles about it.

Basicallly, ones who are hypocritical to the extreme (for reasons noted here last week) must have pressed on the media. WIPR really fell for it and played along (via). Here is the relevant part:

Paul Morinville, founder of US Inventor, said: “The PTAB, a rogue administrative tribunal, is neutering or invalidating over 92% of challenged patents.”

He added that it takes millions of dollars to fight at the PTAB, so “very few inventors and start-ups can protect their patent rights”.

Morinville concluded that the board is a “disaster and must be eliminated”.

Yeah, patent quality is such “disaster and must be eliminated,” right, Paul?

So a so-called ‘inventor’ finally realised his patent is worthless (and was likely bogus all alone), then decided to burn it. Big deal. Like a child.

We were even more surprised to see this covered in bigger media last night (the headline again focused on the fiery publicity stunt that’s akin to radical book-burning). The article also said:

President Donald Trump hasn’t nominated a replacement for former PTO Director Michelle K. Lee, who resigned in June.

Lee was popular among technology companies. However, patent owner and inventor groups criticized her for not reining in a PTAB they consider overly aggressive in invalidating patents.

Joseph Matal, a former congressional aide who played a leading role in drafting the AIA, was appointed June 7 as PTO acting director.

It doesn’t look like an unauthorised protest by a few people who burn paper will have any impact on Matal and his colleagues. If anything, it serves to show what sorts of people are behind the anti-PTAB rhetoric. As we put it earlier this year, “Michelle Lee, USPTO Director, Should Recognise That the Patent Microcosm is Her Enemy Which Hates Her”…

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