Links 19/6/2019: Linux Mint Vs Vista 10, Qt 5.13 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Linux Mint vs Windows 10 — which is best for small business productivity?

      If you’re using an old computer in your small business, the likelihood is that you don’t have a great deal of money to splash on powerful hardware.

      You might therefore be tempted to look for extra performance by using Linux — and save on the cost of buying the OS into the bargain. But is there really that much of an advantage? James Mawson of Australian site DXM Tech Support has conducted a series of tests to find out.

      Using a basic HP 245 G6 with an AMD E2-9000e processor set up to dual boot, he ran the same tasks using Windows 10 1903 and Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon. The results are interesting, for most of the tasks including booting the machine, browsing the web and editing documents in LibreOffice, Mint proved significantly faster. For editing a JPEG in GIMP they were neck and neck. Only when opening collaboration tool Slack did Windows have a slight edge.

    • Infographic: Linux Mint Challenges Windows 10 In Small Business Productivity Speed Tests

      Linux is typically less resource-hungry than Microsoft’s Windows 10, and that gives it a distinct advantage on under-powered desktops and laptops. Linux is constantly celebrated for reviving older hardware (think low-powered Atom processors and a scant 1GB or 2GB of RAM) that struggles to run smoothly under Windows. It’s an advantage I haven’t (yet) had the opportunity to test in the real world, though. Thankfully, community member James Dawson who owns and operates Melbournes’s DXM Tech Support did some testing and published a fantastic infographic illustrating the speeds of various productivity and business tasks using a “cheap and cheerful” HP laptop.

    • Linux Mint Vs Windows 10 Speed Test [Infographic]

      If you’ve got a cheap laptop and were wondering whether Linux Mint might be a better fit for it than Windows 10, check out the following infographic.

      It appears to show that Linux Mint is a fraction faster than Windows 10 when run on the same low-end machine, launching (mostly) the same apps.

      Both the speed tests and the resulting infographic were conducted by DXM Tech Support, an Australian-based IT support company with a bit of an interest in Linux.

  • Server

    • Linux Powers All Of The World’s Top 500 Supercomputers

      OP500’s 53rd edition has been released and this time what lies common in all the top 500 supercomputers is Linux. The supercomputers on the list are Linux-based and capable of delivering a petaflop performance and even more.

      The top 10 on the list include Summit and Sierra supercomputers in first and second positions, respectively. Both supercomputers have been developed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and were the top two supercomputers even in the 52nd edition of the list in November last year.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.1.12

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.1.12 kernel.

      All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.1.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


    • Linux 4.19.53
    • Linux 4.14.128
    • PowerCap/RAPL Code To Support Icelake Desktop / X / Xeon D With Linux 5.3

      While as of Linux 5.2 the support for Intel’s Icelake CPUs appear production ready with all of the bits in place from new IDs to the much enhanced “Gen 11″ graphics, there are a few stragglers of items to land with the upcoming Linux 5.3 merge window though could be back-ported to current series. Fortunately, we haven’t found anything major to be missing.

      One of the latest bits of Icelake Linux support is handling of these next-generation processors within the PowerCap / RAPL (Running Average Power Limit) driver code. In particular, the desktop/workstation Icelake parts. This is the code for reading the estimated CPU package power consumption based on hardware performance counters and the ability to artificially limit the power draw of the processor via software.

    • Six Niche Linux Certifications
    • Graphics Stack

      • libinput and tablet proximity handling

        This is merely an update on the current status quo, if you read this post in a year’s time some of the details may have changed

        libinput provides an API to handle graphics tablets, i.e. the tablets that are used by artists. The interface is based around tools, each of which can be in proximity at any time. “Proximity” simply means “in detectable range”. libinput promises that any interaction is framed by a proximity in and proximity out event pair, but getting to this turned out to be complicated. libinput has seen a few changes recently here, so let’s dig into those. Remember that proverb about seeing what goes into a sausage? Yeah, that.

      • libinput and the Dell Canvas Totem

        We’re on the road to he^libinput 1.14 and last week I merged the Dell Canvas Totem support. “Wait, what?” I hear you ask, and “What is that?”. Good question – but do pay attention to random press releases more. The Totem (Dell.com) is a round knob that can be placed on the Dell Canvas. Which itself is a pen and touch device, not unlike the Wacom Cintiq range if you’re familiar with those (if not, there’s always lmgtfy).

      • Libinput 1.14 Will Support Dell’s Totem Input Device

        Dell announced the Totem two years ago while the Linux support is finally getting in order. However, there isn’t yet any notable applications/tool-kits at least on Linux that support utilizing this specialized input device.

        Red Hat input expert Peter Hutterer, who also maintains libinput, has blogged about the Totem support addition for the upcoming libinput 1.14. If you are interested in this unique input device, Peter’s post has all the interesting technical bits.

      • AMD Navi GPU stack bares all in Linux graphics driver update

        Eight Navi GPU variants have been spotted in Linux driver code. AMD’s next-gen RDNA graphics chips are set for launch on July 7, 2019 within the RX 5700 XT and RX 5700, but the red team has plenty of silicon in store for a range of applications. Including console, laptops, desktop, and mobile phones.

        The GPU codenames were spotted within Linux display drivers after the additional code was submitted and signed off by two AMD employees. The code adds support for Display Core Next, or DCN2, which “is the display block for Navi10.” Each entry following adds the necessary ASIC IDs for each Navi chip in the stack, starting with Navi 10 and down to Navi 21 LITE.

      • Nouveau Driver Picking Up NVIDIA TU116 GPU Support For Linux 5.3

        Building off the initial Turing mode-setting bits that were in place since Linux 5.0 and have continued stepping along to support newer variants on successive kernel releases, the Linux 5.3 kernel is slated to add support for the TU116 graphics processor.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarks Of OpenMandriva’s AMD Zen Optimized Linux Distribution Against Ubuntu, openSUSE, Clear Linux

        Released this week was OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 as the latest major release for this Linux distribution of Mandriva/Mandrake heritage and continues on the interesting trend of innovations. In addition to continuing to use the LLVM Clang compiler by default rather than GCC, among other changes that position it more uniquely than many other Linux distributions out there, their 4.0 release has a “znver1″ spin that is optimized for AMD Ryzen/Threadripper/EPYC processors. Here are benchmarks comparing not only OpenMandriva 4.0′s x86-64 and Znver1 options but also how that performance compares to the likes of Ubuntu 19.04, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and Intel’s Clear Linux.

        OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 is the first distribution in recent times that is catering towards AMD platform optimizations. The primary difference is all of OpenMandriva’s packages have been re-built when enabling the “znver1″ compiler optimizations to cater towards the AMD Zen microarchitecture along with other tweaks they hope lead to better AMD performance. But this approach isn’t nearly as much as what’s employed by Clear Linux as part of Intel’s open-source group where they relentlessly optimize all levels of the stack in trying to seek maximum performance out of modern x86-64 hardware, primarily their own microarchitectures. Obviously OpenMandriva doesn’t have as many resources as Clear Linux but still an interesting foray for this Linux distribution with AMD currently not backing their own Linux distribution.

  • Applications

    • Jami/Ring, finally functioning peer to peer communication client

      Some years ago, in 2016, I wrote for the first time about the Ring peer to peer messaging system. It would provide messaging without any central server coordinating the system and without requiring all users to register a phone number or own a mobile phone. Back then, I could not get it to work, and put it aside until it had seen more development. A few days ago I decided to give it another try, and am happy to report that this time I am able to not only send and receive messages, but also place audio and video calls. But only if UDP is not blocked into your network.

      The Ring system changed name earlier this year to Jami. I tried doing web search for ‘ring’ when I discovered it for the first time, and can only applaud this change as it is impossible to find something called Ring among the noise of other uses of that word. Now you can search for ‘jami’ and this client and the Jami system is the first hit at least on duckduckgo.

      Jami will by default encrypt messages as well as audio and video calls, and try to send them directly between the communicating parties if possible. If this proves impossible (for example if both ends are behind NAT), it will use a central SIP TURN server maintained by the Jami project. Jami can also be a normal SIP client. If the SIP server is unencrypted, the audio and video calls will also be unencrypted. This is as far as I know the only case where Jami will do anything without encryption.

    • Arc Menu Extension Now Lets You Pin Your Fave Apps to the Sidebar

      If you’re a fan of the Arc menu extension for GNOME Shell you may be interested to hear that an update is on the way.

      A new version of the traditional-style app menu, which is particularly popular with Dash to Panel users, is currently pending approval over the GNOME Extensions website.

      What does it bring? Personalisation.

      Arc Menu replaces the full-screen app launcher in GNOME Shell with a more traditional ‘start menu’ design. It’s searchable, has bookmarks for important folders, shortcuts for key system actions, and lets you manage your session.

      It also lets you browse installed applications based one their category. The whole of the left-hand sidebar is dedicated to this purpose.

    • 9 Best Free Linux Biology Tools

      Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of living things, ranging from microscopic organisms up to the largest known animal, the blue whale. It is divided into many specialized fields including evolution, ecology, zoology, botany, genetics, microbiology and molecular biology. This science examines function, structure, origin, growth, evolution, distribution and taxonomy.

      Biology is extremely relevant to our daily lives, as it helps us to understand how living things work, including the human body. Furthermore, the study of biology is crucial in the development of new food products, to protect the environmental quality of our world, and improving human health e.g. through the discovery of new medical treatments and tests for diseases.

      Modern biology is founded on four main components: cell theory, evolution, gene theory, and homeostasis. Schools recognize the importance of biology to society, regarding it as one of the three most important branches of sciences, alongside physics and chemistry. We covered the best open source Linux software available for these disciplines in the following articles: Physics, Chemistry.

      Biology is at the cutting edge of scientific research and development. In the past 40 years, biology has advanced enormously revealing a wealth of information about the millions of different organisms inhabiting our planet, including, of course, ourselves. Biology continues to grab the headlines with much excitement being generated in the fields of synthetic biology (combining science and engineering) and genomics (the study of the genomes of organisms).

      A good range of open source biology software is available for Linux. This article focuses on selecting our favorite tools which are extremely useful for biologists. We hope this feature offers a useful resource for biologists and students alike. With the diverse range of software, there should be something of interest here for all budding biologists. Here’s our legendary rating chart showing our top recommendations.

    • Vorta BorgBackup GUI Now Available For Install On Linux From Flathub

      Vorta, a GUI for BorgBackup (or Borg for short), is now easier to install on Linux. The backup tool was added to Flathub the other day, a service for hosting and distributing applications as Flatpak packages.

    • rga: Search Text In PDF, Ebooks, Office Documents, Archives And More (ripgrep Wrapper)

      rga (or ripgrep-all) is a command line tool to recursively search all files in a directory for a regex pattern, that runs on Linux, macOS and Windows. It’s a wrapper for ripgrep, the line-oriented recursive search program, on top of which it enables search in a multitude of file types like PDF, DOCX, ODT, EPUB, SQLite databases, movies subtitles embedded in MKV or MP4 files, archives like ZIP or GZ, and more.

      rga is great when you want to search for some text from a file available in a folder with many documents of various file types, even if some of them are available in archives.

    • Daniel Stenberg: Google to reimplement curl in libcrurl

      By throwing a lot of man power on it. As the primary author and developer of the libcurl API and the libcurl code, I assume that Cronet works quite differently than libcurl so there’s going to be quite a lot of wrestling of data and code flow to make this API work on that code.

      The libcurl API is also very versatile and is an API that has developed over a period of almost 20 years so there’s a lot of functionality, a lot of options and a lot of subtle behavior that may or may not be easy or straight forward to mimic.

      The initial commit imported the headers and examples from the curl 7.65.1 release.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Lovely Planet 2: April Skies is an FPS with a sweet style for those who like to go fast

        Lovely Planet 2: April Skies from QUICKTEQUILA and tinyBuild has released, with Linux support just like the first game. Are you reading to run, jump and shoot? There’s a lot of that.

      • Valve have given out some more details on the Index VR HMD with a “Deep Dive” about the Field of View

        As the first in a series of posts giving out more detail on what Valve wanted to achieve with the Valve Index, a new Deep Dive post is up starting with information about the Field of View. Future posts will also be covering Extensibility and Mod-ability as well as Optics and Clarity so we will keep an eye out for those and let you know when they’re up.

        VR is something that’s completely new to me, I’ve never owned one and the most I’ve ever tested is about 30 minutes of a Vive in a local GAME store and it was…weird. I want to be convinced, so perhaps the Valve Index will truly sway me over.

        As for the FOV post, Valve said their goal with the Index was to “improve the overall fidelity of the VR experience, including visuals, audio, ergonomics, tracking quality, and more”. Interestingly, I wasn’t actually aware until this post that you could tweak the HMD’s lenses distance to your eyes which is pretty handy and that’s on top of the slider on top of the unit to adjust the spacing between the lenses. It certainly seems like Valve have made some interesting design choices, to make it as comfortable as possible for many people.

      • Valve are doing a small celebration for 20 years of Counter-Strike

        Has it really been 20 years? Madness. Counter-Strike started off life as a Half-Life mod in 1999 and the series is still going strong. Pretty amazing really, to think something that started off as a modification in 1999 for another game by two people has later spawned four games: Counter-Strike (2000), Counter-Strike: Condition Zero (2004), Counter-Strike: Source (2004) and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (2012).

      • Mordhau | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 18.04 | Steam Play

        Mordhau running through Steam play.

      • Fresh snaps for May 2019

        Got a potato gaming computer? You can still ‘game’ on #linux with Vitetris right in your terminal! Featuring configurable keys, high-score table, multi (2) player mode and joystick support! Get your Pentomino on today!

      • Dead Mage have confirmed that their story-driven action RPG Children of Morta is still coming to Linux

        Due for release sometime this Summer, Children of Morta looks like it’s going to be a huge amount of fun and thankfully the Linux version is still confirmed to be coming.

      • Viktor’s Experimental Update for Slime Rancher is big and it’s out now, along with a sweet cosmetic DLC

        Viktor Humphries needs help. This crazy scientist has made a virtual version of the Far, Far Range and it’s a little glitchy.

        Getting to him might take a little while for newer players though. You will need to have first unlocked the Ruins, purchased the Lab Ranch Expansion, unlocked the Treasure Cracker MKII, and then complete a Range Exchange request with him. Viktor’s Slimeulation does sound amusing though, with you using “Viktor’s patented debug spray” to reveal glitch slimes and suck up as many as you can before his virtual world becomes too corrupted.

      • Non-Euclidean roguelike HyperRogue just had a huge update and you can now play in first-person

        HyperRogue absolutely melts my brain and yet I still keep coming back to it! It just had a huge update too, allowing you to play it in some interesting new ways. These new ways might just cook your brain that little bit more, it certainly did give mine a workout.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • KDE Plasma 5.16 Desktop Environment Gets First Point Release, Update Now

      KDE Plasma 5.16.1 is now available only one week after the release of the KDE Plasma 5.16 desktop environment series, a major version that adds numerous new features and improvements, including a totally revamped notifications system, new look and feel for the login, lock, and logout screens, better Wayland support, as well as numerous other desktop enhancements.

      Consisting of a total of 21 bug fixes, the KDE Plasma 5.16.1 maintenance update is here to make the KDE Plasma 5.16 desktop environment more stable and reliable by addressing various issues reported by users lately, including an issue that broke the Sleep/Suspend command, and the ability for the Plasma Discover package manager to show when Flatpak updates are fetched.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Study the Elements with KDE’s Kalzium

        I’ve written about a number of chemistry packages in the past and all of the computational chemistry that you can do in a Linux environment. But, what is fundamental to chemistry? Why, the elements, of course. So in this article, I focus on how you can learn more about the elements that make up everything around you with Kalzium. KDE’s Kalzium is kind of like a periodic table on steroids. Not only does it have information on each of the elements, it also has extra functionality to do other types of calculations.

        Kalzium should be available within the package repositories for most distributions. In Debian-based distributions, you can install it with the command…

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME ED Update – April/May

        At the end of April, Molly de Blanc and Sri Ramkrishna were at Linux Fest North West. Additionally, Molly delivered a talk related to community guideline enforcement, which was featured on the LFNW web page.

        We also had a couple of hackfests in may – Rust+GNOME Hackfest #5 in Berlin at the start of the month, and the GStreamer Spring Hackfest 2019 in Oslo at the end of May.

        Coming up in July, we’ll be attending OSCON and having a West Coast Hackfest – a combined 3-in-1 hackfest bringing in GTK, Documentation and Engagement teams!

      • Ravgeet Dhillon: First Two Weeks at GSoC

        The landing page is the centerstage for this website and will provide routes to various other resources. I am working on some new sections and may remove/alter some of the existing ones. I looking for someone to draw some artworks/illustrations that I need in this website. If you can help with this thing, please file an issue and we will have a healthy conversation. A wiki has also been made. All the important information about the porject is present here. I have forked the original project for GTK website into my workspace. The website is hosted by gitlab pages for now and can be surfed here.

  • Distributions

    • Kali Linux Roadmap (2019/2020)

      Now that our 2019.2 release is out, we thought we would take this opportunity to cover some of the changes and new features we have coming to Kali Linux in the following year. Normally, we only really announce things when they are ready to go public, but a number of these changes are going to impact users pretty extensively so we wanted to share them early.

      As you read through this post, what you will see is that we are really trying to balance our efforts between changes that are user facing and those that are applicable to the backend. The backend changes don’t seem as exciting at first, but the fact is that the easier it is for us to work on Kali, the easier it is for us to get to user facing features. Plus, some of these changes are focused on tweaking the development process to make it easier for others to get involved in the project.

      We are not ready to announce dates on any of these changes just yet. When they are ready, they will drop.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE & SAP “A 20 years of Partnership”
      • SUSE on the IO500 List for HPC Storage

        If you haven’t been hanging around the Ceph world for a bit, you may not realize that Ceph was originally intended to provide a distributed file-system to service HPC clusters. While this was the original intent, Ceph has taken a round-a-bout path to relevance in this space, especially given that we are only supporting multiple active MDS servers since the Luminous release. The result is that we are, only now, really starting to see adoption in the HPC space, and mostly for the second tier storage needs.
        Enter, the science project. Given an all-flash environment on SATA SSDS with a fast storage pool on Intel Optane for the metadata, would it be possible to provide a reasonable storage environment for HPC clusters?

    • Fedora

      • Fedora 30 test on laptop with Nvidia – Back in 2010

        I think the results are obvious, and they speak for themselves. Alas, it would seem that if you want to use Fedora with a setup like the above, then you’ll be either very lucky or you’re going to face a torrent of problems. But then, Linux has always been, to use a somewhat stupid analogy, like saying you should only drive your car on Mondays on roads that have green sidewalks, and then you will be fine. The whole not-our-problem, use hardware that’s “friendly” is nonsense, because people don’t have infinite money, choice or expertise, especially since alternative operating systems offer all they need, plus a full range of hardware freedom.

        My Fedora 30 test on the G50 was decent – that’s a simple Intel graphics box – but even that one used to have millions of problems with Linux – Fedora wouldn’t boot until I’d done a BIOS update, and for three years, almost every distro had network disconnect problems. On this box, we’re seeing more of what I showed you in the Fedora 29 test. Fedora and Nvidia graphics are not a good fit. Add to that my home dir import woes, the performance woes, the Wireless woes, you get the picture. Feels like we’ve gone back many years into the past. I’d actually prefer if distros WARNED that the device is not certified or approved or expected to work and refuse to install, than install and then throw a whole bucket of hissy. I will still run an in-vivo upgrade on the Lenovo machine, because that’s what I promised to do, but this is a big, big disappointment.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu says i386 to be 86′d with Eoan 19.10 release: Ageing 32-bit x86 support will be ex-86

            Ubuntu is set to drop support for the i386 processor architecture beginning with its next release.

            Canonical, developer of the iconic Linux distro, said on Tuesday the 19.10 release, code named Eoan Ermine, will drop 32-bit i386 from its supported architectures, which include 64-bit AMD64 (x86-64) and 64-bit Armv8.

            “The Ubuntu engineering team has reviewed the facts before us and concluded that we should not continue to carry i386 forward as an architecture,” said Ubuntu desktop team member Will Cooke.

          • Ubuntu 19.10 To Completely Drop Support For 32-bit Architecture

            The 32-bit architecture used in Intel and other compatible CPUs is referred to as “i386” in the Debian and other communities of Linux distributions. However, as the legacy hardware that only runs a 32-bit operating system isn’t popular anymore, the major Linux distributions and software vendors are shifting away from it. To put things in perspective, there is a good chance that most of the computers made during the last decade only support 64-bit instructions.

            Ubuntu, the world’s most popular open source operating system, decided to ditch its plans to offer 32-bit installation images during its Ubuntu 17.10 development cycle. However, different 32-bit packages were still available to support existing users. Now, Canonical has announced it plans to completely drop support for such 32-bit packages.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 11 Free and Open Source Video Editing Software

    Here is a comprehensive list of top free and open source video editors available on Linux, Windows and macOS along with their main features.

  • Codethink open sources part of onboarding process

    Here at Codethink, we’ve recently focused our energy into enhancing the onboarding process we use for all new starters at the company. As we grow steadily in size, it’s important that we have a well-defined approach to both welcoming new employees into the company, and introducing them to the organization’s culture.

    As part of this overall onboarding effort, we’ve created How to Git going in FOSS: an introductory guide to the world of free and open source software (FOSS), and some of the common technologies, practices, and principles associated with free and open source software.

    This guide was initially aimed at work experience students and summer interns. However, the document is in fact equally applicable to anyone who is new to free and open source software, no matter their prior experience in software or IT in general. How to Git going in FOSS is hosted on GitLab and consists of several repositories, each designed to be a self-guided walk through.

  • What Is Razee, and Why IBM Open Sourced It

    The continuous delivery software that’s been doing the heavy lifting on IBM’s global Kubernetes platform is now open source.

  • Events

    • Red Hat EMEA Partner Conference 2019: Envision the future and create it now

      A recent survey sponsored by Red Hat among 950 IT leaders from around the world found that 69 percent consider open source very or extremely important to their organization’s overall enterprise infrastructure software strategy.

      Open source not only provides access to the latest innovation, it is also a platform for imagination – a catalyst for people and ideas to come together. Red Hat and our partners will explore these ideas together at the Red Hat EMEA Partner Conference 2019 on June 25-27, 2019 in Prague.

    • F30 release parties in Prague and Brno

      We’ve prepared 5 talks for visitors. I started with news in Fedora Workstation and also added a pack of news in Fedora Silverblue. We try to make the release parties as informal as possible, so the talks should not be lectures where one is talking and the rest is listening in silence. My talk was again mixed with a lot of discussion and instead of 30-40 min, it took 1h20m.

      Then Petr Hráček introduced the project he’s working on Packit. As someone who maintains packages in Fedora I find the idea interesting because in package maintenance there is a lot of work that can be automated and if there is a tool that can help you with that, great! The only thing that limits my enthusiasm about Packit is that it relies on having YAML files in the upstream repo. And you know how some upstream projects are dismissive to hosting any downstream-specific files…

      The next two talks were delivered by Fedora QA guys – František Zatloukal and Lukáš Růžička. František talked on how they test Fedora, what tools they use and how you can help them. Lukáš talked on how to report bugs the useful way.

      The 5th talk that was supposed to be on GNOME Builder was cancelled because we were considerably over time, but its author – Ondřej Kolín – promised that he’d change it into an article on mojefedora.cz.

    • Cloud native infrastructure, patterns, and technology

      At the recent SUSECON conference in Nashville, Andreas Jaeger from SUSE discussed and demonstrated how cloud native technologies drive more and more applications – both in public cloud and in customer’s data centers. Andreas looked at what “Cloud Native” is, what patterns are used to build and run cloud native applications, and how it can be implemented. The presentation gave a broad overview of the area to help you understand the concepts behind cloud native and start your own journey. Andreas also introduces SUSE CaaS Platform and SUSE Cloud Application Platform.

    • Testing and Fuzzing Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Last year’s microconference brought about a number of discussions; for example, syzkaller evolved as syzbot, which keeps track of fuzzing efforts and the resulting fixes. The closing ceremony pointed out all the work that still has to be done: There are a number of overlapping efforts, and those need to be consolidated. The use of KASAN should be increased. Where is fuzzing going next? With real-time moving forward from “if” to “when” in the mainline, how does RT test coverage increase? The unit-testing frameworks may need some unification. Also, KernelCI will be announced as an LF project this time around. Stay around for the KernelCI hackathon after the conference to help further those efforts.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • View Source 5 comes to Amsterdam

        Mozilla’s View Source Conference is back for a fifth year, this time in Amsterdam, September 30 – October 1, 2019. Tickets are available now.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Microsoft, you should look away now: Google’s cloud second only to AWS in dev survey [Ed: Longtime Microsoft booster Tim Anderson on Azure being a failure after so many entryism attempts and underhanded tactics]

      Coders use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) more than Microsoft Azure, though Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a comfortable lead, according to a Developer Ecosystem survey conducted by tools vendor JetBrains.

      Developer usage is 67 per cent AWS versus 28 per cent GCP and 21 per cent Azure, according to the new survey. Unfortunately, the question was posed in a different way in the 2018 survey, adding on-premises into the mix, but last year Azure and GCP had equal share after AWS.

      The survey had 19,000 participants invited via “Twitter ads, Facebook ads, Google Adwords and JetBrains’ own communication channels,” the tools vendor said, though “only the responses of 6,993 respondents were included in the report.” Responses were removed to reduce bias, yet it warned “some bias may be present as JetBrains users may have been more willing on average to compete the survey”.

    • Get your coat, you’ve pulled a Pull Panda: GitHub goes home with code collab specialists [Ed: Notice how Microsoft only takes GitHub in more of a proprietary software direction. That says a lot – they have plans and they’re really detrimental to FOSS]
  • BSD

    • QF RDI’s ‘Innovation Coupon’ funding initiative to support private sector

      Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI) has marked the launch of its new funding initiative, ‘Innovation Coupon’, by signing an agreement with its first beneficiary, ADGS – a local private sector SME that sells a suite of products that utilise artificial intelligence (AI), behavioural biometrics, and emergent behaviour.


      ADGS is working to port its security solution from a Windows to a Unix-based environment. The ADGS team will use QF RDI’s award to employ external support in order to allow the company to continue its expansion.

    • HAMMER vs. HAMMER2 Benchmarks On DragonFlyBSD 5.6

      With the newly released DragonFlyBSD 5.6 there are improvements to its original HAMMER2 file-system to the extent that it’s now selected by its installer as the default file-system choice for new installations. Curious how the performance now compares between HAMMER and HAMMER2, here are some initial benchmarks on an NVMe solid-state drive using DragonFlyBSD 5.6.0.

  • Programming/Development

    • Leading in the Python community

      Naomi began her career in the Classics; she earned a PhD in Latin and Ancient Greek with a minor in Indo-European Linguistics, as she says, “several decades ago.” While teaching Latin at a private school, she began tinkering with computers, learning to code and to take machines apart to do upgrades and repairs. She started working with open source software in 1995 with Yggdrasil Linux and helped launch the Fort Wayne, Indiana, Linux User Group.

    • What’s the Best Language for Android App Developers: Java or Python?

      Few things can be so divisive among developers as their choice of programming languages. Developers will promote one over the other, often touting their chosen language’s purity, speed, elegance, efficiency, power, portability, compatibility or any number of other features.

      Android app developers are no exception, with many developers divided between using Java or Python to develop their applications. Let’s look at these two languages and see which is best for Android app developers.

    • Python 3.7.4rc1 and 3.6.9rc1 are now available

      Python 3.7.4rc1 and 3.6.9rc1 are now available. 3.7.4rc1 is the release preview of the next maintenance release of Python 3.7, the latest feature release of Python. 3.6.9rc1 is the release preview of the first security-fix release of Python 3.6. Assuming no critical problems are found prior to 2019-06-28, no code changes are planned between these release candidates and the final releases. These release candidates are intended to give you the opportunity to test the new security and bug fixes in 3.7.4 and security fixes in 3.6.9. We strongly encourage you to test your projects and report issues found to bugs.python.org as soon as possible. Please keep in mind that these are preview releases and, thus, their use is not recommended for production environments.

    • Qt 5.13 Released!

      Today, we have released Qt 5.13 and I’m really proud of all the work that everyone has put into it. As always, our releases come with new features, updates, bug fixes, and improvements. For Qt 5.13, we have also been focused on our tooling that makes designing, developing and deploying software with Qt more efficient for designers and developers alike. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of Qt 5.13 as well as some of the updates on the tooling side.

      I will also be holding a webinar summarizing all the news around Qt 5.13 together with our Head of R&D Tuukka Turunen on July 2. Please sign up and ask us your questions.

    • Qt 5.13 Released With glTF 2.0 Importing, Wayland Improvements, Lottie Animation Support

      After being marred by delays the past several weeks, Qt 5.13 is shipping today as the latest major update to the Qt5 tool-kit and another step closer towards seeing Qt 6.0 around the end of 2020.

      There are a lot of great improvements in terms of the Qt 5.13 features with now supporting glTF 2.0 assets for importing into Qt 3D, Lottie animation support now being natively supported, new protocol support within Qt Wayland’s compositor, Qt WebEngine has been re-based to a newer version of Chromium, Qt Multimedia playback improvements, native file dialog support on Android, updates to the Qt Python API bindings, the WebAssembly support continues taking shape, and QtCoAp is a new module.


  • “I Can’t Believe Alcohol Is Stronger Than Love”

    She moved away from the curtain for the hundredth time that evening, having checked the driveway to see if my long overdue, undoubtedly drunk father had returned.

    “I can’t believe alcohol is stronger than love,” was her resigned, almost-sequitur to my impassioned inquiry as to why she didn’t leave him.

    “I can’t believe alcohol is stronger than love.” She repeated the statement with a righteous yet zombie-like stubbornness that never ceased to inspire massive confusion in my child heart.

    At twelve I adored her and desperately needed to trust a mother. At twelve, however, I was still sane enough not to embrace her masochistic philosophy of “love”. At twelve I still retained a degree of emotional sobriety in terms of the merry-go-round of misery of an alcoholic home. It was only a matter of time until the pain would wash away my frame of reference, too, in terms of healthy living, let alone loving. I would ultimately become as masochistic and pain-oriented as she.

    But then I sat there. Simply confused. Straining so hard to understand and to help. Part of me admittedly enjoyed the excitement and the privilege. My bedtime was long past, but once again, due to the extenuating circumstance of my father’s drinking binge, I was promoted to confidante. My mother required an audience — a shock absorber — for her alarm.

    I was a passenger on her roller coaster of emotions. The spectacle of her filled the living room. The wringing of hands and wailing. The foot-stomping fury. The panic. She’d turn on the radio to hear if there had been an accident. Every car on the street pulled her to the curtain once again. My father usually didn’t come home on those nights until the early hours of the morning, but her ritual sustained its intensity all evening.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Spurred by sanctions, State Duma passes bill enabling domestic cannabis and opium cultivation for medical purposes

      Russia’s State Duma has adopted a bill that would enable the domestic cultivation of plants that contain narcotic substances for medical use. The proposal covers 11 plants, including opium poppies and cannabis. Its sponsors pointed to economic constraints caused by international sanctions in their arguments for the bill. They noted that nine of the 10 companies that control “the market for pharmaceutical substances for the production of opiate drugs” are located in countries that have introduced sanctions against Russia, making an independent opium production mechanism vital for “national security.”

    • Matters of Water: Dubious Approvals and the Adani Carmichael Mine

      While the proposal is of a diminished monster, the travails over Adani’s efforts to open up the Galilee Basin in Queensland to mining have yielded fruit. Brute corporate strength, and the customary cowering of politicians, has seen an Indian mining giant gain approval for the construction of the Carmichael mine. Many a stick and carrot were procured in the endeavour, and the outcome of the ballot box in May, returning a pro-coal Coalition government, was always going to have some propulsion.

      The environmental aspects of the case have been gradually sidelined and placed in storage. Prior to the federal election, Queensland’s Labor government was expressing reservations, suggesting stonewalling and vacillation. A divide between the metropolitan centre and the rural areas was being teased at the federal level: areas where a mining development might create jobs was touted as a drawcard; the metropolitan centre was deemed indulgently green, coffee-sipping and distant.

      The drawcard aspect was trumpeted by the Queensland Resources Council: “The Adani Carmichael mine is one of six in the Galilee Basin that could create tens of thousands of jobs in construction and operation and deliver billions of dollars in royalties over their working lifespan.” At the same time, there were concerns about irreversible environmental damage, the sort that could only be dealt with by means of management plans. The versions, and delays, proliferated.

      This left the state Palaszczuk government, despite a fear of wobbling, still keen to let the Queensland environmental regulator decide, a vain attempt to keep politics out of the equation. The season was not a good one for the thorough minded. The federal government had essentially muzzled the then Environment Minister Melissa Price prior to the election, weighing upon her to approve aspects of the project. It was then left to the state government to consider the water management plans.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • U.N. Expert Urges Probe of Bin Salman Over Khashoggi Killing

      An independent U.N. report into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said Wednesday there is “credible evidence” to warrant further investigation into the possible role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and suggested sanctions on his personal assets.

      The scathing probe is likely to further harden opinion against the crown prince in Washington and other Western capitals, where critics say an operation of this magnitude would have required the powerful prince’s knowledge and involvement.

      The 33-year-old Saudi prince, who continues to have the support of his father, King Salman, denies any involvement in the killing, and the kingdom has blamed rogue Saudi agents for carrying out the operation. U.S. President Donald Trump has defended U.S.-Saudi ties in the face of international outcry after the Oct. 2 slaying.

      The 101-page report released by Agnes Callamard stated that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible for Khashoggi’s killing.

    • ‘Joints Will Be Separated’: Revealing Gruesome New Details of Khashoggi Murder, UN Report Says ‘Inconceivable’ Crown Prince Not Involved

      In a thorough and damning report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi released Wednesday, United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard found that Khashoggi was “the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing” that was likely orchestrated by top officials in the Saudi government, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

      “Evidence points to the 15-person mission to execute Mr. Khashoggi requiring significant government coordination, resources, and finances,” Callamard wrote. “Every expert consulted finds it inconceivable that an operation of this scale could be implemented without the crown prince being aware, at a minimum, that some sort of mission of a criminal nature, directed at Mr. Khashoggi, was being launched.”

      On top of the 101-page report’s (pdf) conclusion that the Saudi kingdom is responsible for the killing, Callamard’s findings also provided “chilling” new details of the final moments leading to Khashoggi’s murder last year.

      According to Callamard—who listened to audio recordings provided by Turkish authorities—Saudi agents Maher Mutreb and Dr. Salah Tubaigy discussed how they would dismember and dispose of Khashoggi’s body just minutes before he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain marriage papers.

      “Joints will be separated,” Tubaigy told Mutreb, according to Callamard’s report. “First time I cut on the ground. If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be finished.”

    • FSB major sentenced to nine years for murder in Northern Caucasus

      Major Pavel Sterlyagov of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has been sentenced to nine years in prison in Rostov-on-Don. Sterlyagov was convicted of stabbing Kabardino-Balkaria resident Khusei Makitov to death in 2018 while on a business trip to the Northern Caucasian republic. Investigators said Sterlyagov was drunk at the time of the encounter.

    • What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?

      Russia and the US are engaging in tit-for-tat hacking of each others’ power grid, the New York Times is reporting, in what is really a kind of cyber “cold war” where the hackers from each country’s military and intelligence services load electronic “explosives” in the computer systems of critical infrastructure of the other, that in a crisis or war could be “detonated” to create chaos or bring down electric grids.

      The Times article, the publication of which President Trump decried in a tweet as “close to treason,” was disturbing for a number or reasons. One was that sources told the Times the hacking by the US Cyber Command of Russia’s power grid had been conducted without the president’s knowledge, for fear that he might act to prevent it or might disclose it.

      In other words, an action — the hostile hacking of another rival country’s essential infrastructure, which the US government has warned other nations would be viewed as an “act of war,” is being taken by the US military, without the President’s or Congress’s knowledge!

      That should be enough to send shivers down the spine of any sane person. In fact, the that could lead to a US “military response.”

      If the Times is correct in both its articles, the current US hacking of Russia’s power grid is evidence of a US military establishment run amok.

      Congress should be outraged and calling for immediate hearings to determine the chain of command that allowed this to happen. Either Trump is lying, and knows all about the hacking, or some high-ranking military officers who acted without his knowledge should be fired the way President Truman fired an insubordinate Gen. Douglas McArthur during the Korean War.

    • Guaidó’s Star Fades as His Envoys to Colombia Allegedly Commit Fraud With Humanitarian Funds for Venezuela

      In an investigative report, “Envoys of Guaidó Appropriate Funds for Humanitarian Assistance in Colombia” (June 14, 2019), Editor in Chief of PanAm Post, Orlando Avendaño, details the alleged “diversion of money, embezzlement of funds, inflation of bills, fraud, and threats [by representatives of self proclaimed president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó] in order to surround themselves with luxuries.” (1)

      These allegations of fraud committed by functionaries of Guaidó in Colombia are raising alarm within the fractured Venezuelan opposition about the political damage this might do to their cause, but for critics of the US backed shadow Venezuelan government, this is just the tip of the iceberg, with the expectation of more such revelations of fraud to come.

      Among a trove of documentary evidence, including itemized invoices, Avendaño provides a copy of a letter from Guaidó to Carlos Holmes Trujillo Garcia, Minister of Foreign Relations of the Republic of Colombia, dated February 24, 2019. In the letter, Guaidó designates Kevin Rojas and Rossana Barrera, both members of the right wing opposition Venezuelan political party, Voluntad Popular (VP), to “attend to the situation” of Venezuelan military personnel and civilians who “enter Colombian territory seeking help and refuge.” Avendaño points out that “Rossana Barrera is the sister-in-law of National Assembly Deputy of the party Voluntad Popular, Sergio Vergara, right hand man of president Juan Guaidó.” She was part of Guaidó’s inner circle.

      To put Guaidó’s letter in context, we move our focus for a moment to the frontier town of Cúcuta, Colombia, which is just across the border from the Venezuelan town of San Cristóbal, Táchira. (2) We return to the events of February 23, 2019, that fateful day when US and Colombian backed Guaidó and his supporters had planned to force a convoy of “humanitarian aid” trucks over the border, with the objective of scoring a propaganda victory against the Maduro administration and inspiring army defections, all as a prelude to a coup against the constitutional government of Venezuela.

    • Trump Is Misleading America Into A New War

      This is not a drill. A new Middle East war is coming, perhaps soon. Only dramatic political action by the American people and their political leaders can stop it.

      President Trump says he does not want war with Iran. Perhaps the entire war scare is just another neurotic impulse. Or he may believe that he is deftly executing a “fire and fury” feint, as with North Korea earlier, where he threatens war and “the end of Iran” only to back down and offer talks. His latest dismissal of the alleged attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf as “very minor” would indicate that this is indeed his game.

      But the deeper he gets in, the harder it becomes to get out. Don’t bet on all this blowing over. Trump’s closest allies (and business partners) in the region—Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel—urge military attacks. “The next logical step,” a prominent Saudi paper editorialized, “should be surgical strikes.” His closest Washington advisors in the White House, the State Department, and Fox News also want war and have said so repeatedly. They link it explicitly to “40 years of Iranian aggression.” They skillfully feed reporters sound bites and cherry-picked intelligence to convince them to report Iran’s “malign activities” in the region. With Trump’s approval or ignorance, they have taken a series of steps, beginning with the ill-advised and unnecessary abrogation of the Iran anti-nuclear accord, to provoke a conflict.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The DNC Can’t Be Allowed to Ignore the Climate Crisis

      The Democratic National Committee continues to ignore the most pressing issue of our time — the global climate crisis — by refusing to allow presidential candidates to hold a debate focused specifically on the climate. Given that the president has launched a wholesale scorched earth attack on all things environmental, it’s far past time for the Democrats, if they truly seek to lead the nation in 2020, to make their environmental agenda known to the public whose votes they seek.

      Virtually every state in the nation is already suffering debilitating, destructive and vastly expensive impacts from global warming. Farmers can’t plant their fields in the Midwest because they’re underwater from record high floods. Massive storms have swept the Eastern Seaboard as the raging and rising sea claims more land every year. The West Coast is fighting wildfires burning not in forests, but in scrub brush that no amount of raking or thinning will remedy. Alaska is again on fire where there shouldn’t be any fires. The Rockies are facing a host of climate-caused assaults including extirpation of native species and invasion by non-native species as they move north with the warming climate.

      In the meantime, President Trump is doing everything possible to exacerbate the harsh impacts of global warming. Just last week the Department of Agriculture announced it would be issuing new administrative rules for the Forest Service to undermine compliance with the foundational National Environmental Policy Act. Why? To speed up permitting for more oil and gas drilling, coal and mineral mining, and deforestation couched in the phony rubric of forest restoration.

      Make no mistake, the only thing Donald Trump has going for him is the economy that he inherited from his nemesis President Obama — but for which he takes full and unwarranted credit. To keep that economy rolling in the face of a global economic slowdown, Trump has unleashed wide-open, broad spectrum pillaging of the nation’s natural resources for the sole purpose of aiding his re-election bid which, at this point, isn’t looking great. He’s far behind Democratic challengers in states he carried last election and, although he’d never admit it, the causes are the results of his own actions — tariffs and global warming impacts.

    • Undocumented Plant Extinctions Are a Big Problem — Here’s Why They Go Unnoticed

      A recent survey on the world’s plants found a shocking number have gone extinct — 571 since 1750. And this is likely to be a stark underestimate. Not all plants have been discovered, so it’s likely other plants have gone extinct before researchers know they’re at risk, or even know they exist.

      In Australia, the situation is just as dire. The Threatened Species Recovery Hub recently conducted two evaluations that aren’t yet published of extinct plants in Australia. They found 38 have been lost over the last 170 years, such as the Daintree River banana (Musa fitzalanii) and the fringed spider-orchid (Caladenia thysanochila).

      But uncertainty about the number of plant extinctions, in addition to the 38 confirmed, is an ongoing concern.

      Both studies pointed out the actual number of extinctions is likely to be far more than those recognized in formal lists produced by the Commonwealth and state and territory agencies.

      For example, there is still a high rate of discovery of new plant species in Australia. More than 1,600 plants were discovered between 2009 and 2015, and an estimated 10 percent are still yet to be discovered.

    • Very heavy rain bouts are on the way

      Canadian scientists have examined an exhaustive collection of rain records for the past 50 years to confirm the fears of climate scientists: bouts of very heavy rain are on the increase.

      They have measured this increase in parts of Canada, most of Europe, the US Midwest and Northeast, northern Australia, Western Russia and parts of China.

      Between 2004 and 2013, worldwide, bouts of extreme rainfall rain increased by 7%. In Europe and Asia, the same decade registered a rise of 8.6% in cascades of heavy rain.

      The scientists report in the journal Water Resources Research that they excluded areas where the records were less than complete, but analysed 8,700 daily rain records from 100,000 stations that monitor rainfall worldwide. They found that from 1964 to 2013, the frequency of catastrophic downpours increased with each decade.

    • India Could Pull Off a Green Energy Miracle

      Solar energy is one of the fastest-growing energy sectors in the world, and has the great advantage of producing no carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is raising the average surface temperature of the earth.

      India is now for the first time in history investing more in solar energy than in coal.

      There is a simple reason for this. Coal costs roughly 5 cents a kilowatt hour to generate electricity. India just let a bid for 1.2 gigawatts of solar energy and four companies scooped it up at 3.6 cents a kilowatt hour. The only advantage coal and gas had is that the sunk costs of plant construction have already been written off. But in India today, it is actually cheaper to build a new solar park than to go on operating a coal plant.

      Over-all, India is now the lowest-cost producer of solar electricity, at about 8.5 cents a kilowatt hour. Solar photovoltaic has been declining annually by about 23% year on year since 2010.

      Another 720 gigawatt bid was fulfilled by two companies for 3.86 cents a kilowatt hour.

      Moreover, the solar panels, useful as they are for inexpensive energy production, also have other implications.

      Indian farmers are hampered by the cost of powering irrigation. They typically depend on monsoon rains (which can turn to destructive floods), or they spend money that they cannot afford on water pumps fueled by diesel.

      Solar to the rescue! The company Khethworks is introducing solar-powered irrigation pumps, which avoid the expense and carbon of diesel, and which could greatly increase India’s food supply.

      India wants to put in 175 gigawatts of wind and solar energy by 2022, which would equal half of all India’s electricity consumption. New Delhi will likely fall somewhat short in these efforts, but may fulfill 75% of its goals, which itself would be highly impressive.

    • ‘Canary in the Coal Mine’: Experts Warn of Climate Tipping Point as Scientists Find Permafrost Thawing 70 Years Ahead of Schedule

      Areas of the Canadian Arctic permafrost are thawing rapidly, 70 years ahead of when scientists previously believed, as the climate crisis continues to push the planet towards dangerous tipping points.

      Reuters reported on the change Tuesday citing the June 10 research of University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists like geophysics professor Vladimir E. Romanovsky. In an interview, Romanovsky told the news agency that the change in the Arctic permafrost was “amazing” to witness and “an indication that the climate is now warmer than at any time in the last 5,000 or more years.”

      Melting permafrost could release potentially catastrophic levels of methane and other gases trapped for millennia into the atmosphere, adding to a feedback loop that could accelerate the climate crisis and lead to more warming. As Common Dreams reported in April, the permafrost is already emitting more gasses than previously thought; the new research indicates that this is part of a larger issue.

    • ‘This Pipeline Will Not Be Built,’ Indigenous and Climate Leaders Tell Trudeau After Canada Approves Trans Mountain Expansion

      “Canada deserves a Green New Deal, not more fossil fuel projects.”

      That’s how many climate campaigners—including Clayton Thomas-Muller of 350.org—responded after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday announced his federal government approved an expansion of the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline, just a day after the country’s House of Commons voted to declare a climate emergency. Ahead of the anticipated move, critics charged that green-lighting the project would make an “absolute mockery” of the emergency declaration.

      Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen whose solo strike outside her country’s parliament last year ignited a global youth climate movement, called the decision “shameful.”

    • For Not Mentioning Climate Crisis or Soaring Inequality, Sanders Calls Trump ‘Man Living in Parallel Universe’ Who ‘Must Be Defeated’

      After President Donald Trump kicked off his 2020 reelection bid Tuesday night with an event that echoed the xenophobic hysteria of his 2016 campaign launch, White House hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders tore into the president’s “hour-and-a-half speech of lies,” highlighted the rally’s lack of substance, and examined the deeply unequal America that Trump left completely unmentioned.

      “Listening to Trump made me feel very much that he is a man living in a parallel universe, a man way out of touch with the needs of ordinary people, and a man who must be defeated,” Sanders said in an online address shortly after the president’s rally in Orlando came to a close.

    • EU Aims to Tackle Climate Change With Newly Adopted ‘Green Finance’ Guidelines

      Newly adopted guidelines set forth by the European Commission Tuesday aim to tackle climate change by way of the financial sector. The move comes to bolster the success of the Sustainable Action Plan published last year to reorient capital flows toward sustainable investment and manage financial risks from climate change, environmental degradation and social issues.

    • Trudeau Government Approves Trans Mountain Expansion a Day After Canada Declares Climate Emergency

      Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that his government would once again approve the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would triple the amount of oil transported from Alberta’s tar sands to the coast of British Columbia (BC).

      The decision comes a day after Canada’s House of Commons passed a non-binding resolution declaring a climate emergency, as CBC News reported. The timing prompted environmental activists to charge the Trudeau government with hypocrisy, since the House motion was proposed by the government.

    • House passes non-binding motion declaring a national climate emergency

      The House of Commons has passed a non-binding motion to declare a national climate emergency in Canada, kicking off a week that will test the Liberals’ promise to balance environmental protection with economic development.

    • Trudeau cabinet approves Trans Mountain expansion project

      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet have again approved the Trans Mountain expansion project, a crucial next step for the much-delayed pipeline project designed to carry nearly a million barrels of oil from Alberta’s oilpatch to the B.C. coast.

    • This Exhausted Polar Bear Wandering a Siberian Suburb Is the Latest Face of the Climate Crisis

      An exhausted, starving polar bear has been spotted wandering around the Siberian city of Norilsk, Reuters reported Tuesday. It is the first time a polar bear has entered the city in more than 40 years.

    • Exhausted polar bear wanders into Siberian city

      A starving polar bear has strayed hundreds of kilometers from its natural Arctic habitat and wandered, exhausted, into the major Russian industrial city of Norilsk in northern Siberia.

      The female bear, visibly weak and seemingly ill, lay despondently on the ground for hours on Tuesday in Norilsk’s suburbs, its feet caked in mud, occasionally rising to sniff around for food.

      It is the first polar bear seen in the city in more than 40 years, according to local environmentalists.

    • Hungry polar bear found wandering in Russia industrial city

      “He is still moving around a factory, under observation by police and the emergency services, who are ensuring his safety and those of residents,” environmental services official Alexander Korobkin told AFP.

      The bear was first spotted on Sunday evening in an industrial area northeast of central Norilsk, Korobkin said.

      A team of specialists are set to arrive Wednesday to inspect the animal and decide its fate.

      Polar bears are increasingly wandering into human-inhabited areas in northern Russia as climate change and regional development affect their own habitat and food supply.

      However such sightings so far away from the ice are rare.

      In February, a state of emergency was declared after dozens of the animals approached a village in the far northern Novaya Zemlya archipelago, with several exploring streets and buildings.

    • ‘Now We Know Oil Is More Toxic Than We Thought’ – CounterSpin interview with Riki Ott on Exxon Valdez spill

      That sort of malfeasance never seems to play a role in corporate media “looks back” or “lessons learned” at catastrophic events like major oil spills. The press was part of the story when CounterSpin spoke with Riki Ott in 2009. Riki Ott is an activist and marine biologist, and author of Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. When I spoke to her in 2009, my first question was to what extent the Exxon Valdez was a live story, and not one 20 years old.

      Riki Ott: We still do not have the herring back in Prince William Sound. Herring are a foundational species in Prince William Sound; they’re the forage fish that whales, seals, sea lions, sea birds all rely on. Realistically. without herring, Prince William Sound cannot recover. So we are waiting for the herring to recover, and they collapsed, really, in 1989, when the young of the year did not survive their oil bath. And four years later, when those fish should have become adults, they weren’t there. And that’s when the population crashed.

      We also rely on herring for our economy. So there are still fishermen, to this day, the herring fishermen—it’s closed indefinitely—they are out of that line of work. We are still incurring long-term harm from something that happened 20 years ago now. So that’s sort of the environmental and economic side.

      But there’s more. And this is where it’s in the interest of all Americans to really understand what happened in our Supreme Court decision, back in June of 2008.

      The Supreme Court decided to break the link between punishment and profit; the jury had decided that it would really take a link between punishment and profit to punish a corporation. This big $5 billion was one year’s net profit in 1994. The Supreme Court decided, “No, punishment should instead be linked to damages.”

    • The Battle to Stop the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, Revisited

      “Shoreham Action is One of the Largest Held Worldwide,” was the headline in The New York Times about an event which happened 40 years ago this month. The article told of how “more than 600 protesters were arrested” on June 3, 1979 at the site of the then under-construction Shoreham nuclear power plant and “15,000 demonstrators gathered” on the beach fronting the plant in the protest of it.

      That action was important in stopping the Shoreham plant from going into operation—and preventing the Long Island Lighting Company from building a total of seven to 11 nuclear power plants on Long Island.

      The Shoreham site, which was where the first plant was to go up, is 60 miles east of Manhattan. There were to be three nuclear power plants at Shoreham and four, to its east, at Jamesport, and several in between. In addition to these plants on the north shore, LILCO also eyed building a nuclear power plant in The Hamptons on Long Island’s south shore, in Bridgehampton.

      With the anniversary of the 1979 protest at Shoreham, on Facebook and in email-communication, that action 40 years ago was heralded as a turning point for this area—and indeed it was.

      On Facebook, Catherine Green, a founder of the SHAD (Sound-Hudson Against Atomic Development) Alliance which organized the protest, wrote about being part of a “committed band of activists…protesting the nuclear power that powerful corporate forces were trying to shove down our throats…Eventually we won, but not before we had committed civil disobedience repeatedly…Not before we had systematically thrown out every pro-nuclear official in [Suffolk] county government and elected an anti-nuke legislature. Not before our dogged grassroots educating coupled with the shock of Three Mile Island had turned the tide of public opinion. It took 25 years.”

      Civil disobedience and political work were big parts of the challenge to LILCO’s plan to turn Long Island—in the jargon of the atomic promoters then—into a “nuclear park.”

      There was an array of complementing strategies—including lawsuits, insistence by Suffolk County, N.Y. government that there could be no successful evacuation of the area in the event a major nuclear plant accident, and the use by New York State of its power of condemnation. The Long Island Power Authority was created with the power to seize LILCO’s stocks and assets and eliminate it as a corporate entity if it persisted in its nuclear drive.

      That huge demonstration on June 3, part of an International Antinuclear Day, encapsulated the strong resistance on Long Island to the LILCO nuclear push. The protesters, enduring rain, heard from speakers and were sung to by folk singer Pete Seeger who described the “immoral” basis of nuclear power.

  • Finance

    • $1 Billion Worth of Cocaine Seized in Historic Bust at Philadelphia Port [Ed: Police copaganda. If this pile of drugs is valued so highly, it's because the war on drugs made it this way.]

      U.S. authorities seized more than $1 billion worth of cocaine Tuesday from a ship at a Philadelphia port, calling it one of the largest drug busts in American history.

      The U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia announced the massive bust on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, saying law enforcement agents seized about 33,000 pounds (15,000 kilograms) of cocaine from a large ship at the Packer Marine Terminal. Members of the crew were arrested and face federal charges.

      Agents with dogs swarmed the colossal container ship Tuesday afternoon, including one officer who could be seen climbing into the back of a large red container on wheels.

      The drug seizure is the latest in a series of large cocaine busts along the East Coast. In a March bust in Philadelphia, drug dogs sniffed out 1,185 pounds (538 kilograms) of cocaine worth about $38 million — at that time the city’s largest seizure of the drug in more than two decades.

    • One Trump Tax Cut Was Meant to Help the Poor. A Billionaire Ended Up Winning Big.

      Under a six-lane span of freeway leading into downtown Baltimore sit what may be the most valuable parking spaces in America.

      Lying near a development project controlled by Under Armour’s billionaire CEO Kevin Plank, one of Maryland’s richest men, and Goldman Sachs, the little sliver of land will allow Plank and the other investors to claim what could amount to millions in tax breaks for the project, known as Port Covington.

      They have President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul law to thank. The new law has a provision meant to spur investment into underdeveloped areas, called “opportunity zones.” The idea is to grant lucrative tax breaks to encourage new investment in poor areas around the country, carefully selected by each state’s governor.

      But Port Covington, an ambitious development geared to millennials to feature offices, a hotel, apartments, and shopping, is not in a census tract that is poor. It’s not a new investment. And the census tract only became eligible to be an opportunity zone thanks to a mapping error.

    • In China Again

      After being in Austria for a week– enjoying there the delicious fall-out from the collapse of its rightwing coalition government, when the leader of the coalition’s junior partner was caught in a video-recorded sting in Ibiza offering bribes to a fake Russian billionaire provided she bought the country’s leading newspaper and turned it into a mouthpiece for his party– I’m now in China.

      No such sting could take place in China, simply because all Chinese media are owned by the government, and no private individual can buy any one of its segments.

      It goes almost without saying that China is fascinating and complex. For one thing, its sheer linguistic diversity is mind-boggling.

      China is home to hundreds of languages, the most common of which are Chinese (principally Mandarin). But in addition to these Chinese languages, there are numerous others, such as the Turkic and Iranian languages spoken in the northwest, Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetan languages in the southwest, and the numerous languages of Southeast Asia in the south. Three of these minority languages– Mongolian, Uighur, and Tibetan– are official regional languages.

      This linguistic diversity has as its correlate an accompanying ethnic diversity.

      No discussion of China can begin without acknowledging its unique political system, and the relation of that system to capitalism.

    • AT&T Lays Off Thousands After Nabbing Billions In Tax Breaks And Regulatory Favors

      While AT&T had been deploying fiber as per a 2015 DirecTV merger condition (something the Trump FCC tried to credit to killing net neutrality), the company recently finished up those obligations, and now has returned to the default state of most US telcos: skimping on fiber upgrade investment thanks to limited competition. There’s been nary a peep from Trump INC, because fattening investor and executive wallets, unless you’re new here or exceedingly gullible, was the entire point. Objective experts say the cuts uniformly failed to deliver any of the numerous investment and employment promises made by Trump INC.

      Of course this is a shtick AT&T has been engaging in for decades now under both political parties. AT&T will promise a universe of jobs and network investment if it gets “X” (X=killing net neutrality, a tax break, eliminating consumer protections, approving a new merger, passing a law AT&T wrote), but then bails on following through. Nobody in the press or government much cares because AT&T’s among the wealthiest and most politically powerful companies in the world. Nobody in the press much cares because covering failed AT&T promises on the tech policy front doesn’t get hits, and most journalists are too young to remember the last forty times we’ve gone through this.

    • American Inequality Creates the Fascism We Fight Against

      I assume everybody remembers “if / then” statements from middle school? One day your jaded teacher, who had clearly just had some sort of relationship issue, walked into the room and said, “Class, it works like this: IF Tom is a good-looking man, THEN he is a pedophile. …That will be on the exam, so write it down!”

      It’s unclear whether learning if / then statements ever helped a single child later in life, especially when compared to the crucial life skills we were never taught in school, such as the manipulation tactics of unfettered consumerist cultures or how to hide your wallet in your shoe when having sex with an Olive Garden waitress you just met. (Our education system doesn’t create useful humans.)

    • Russian investigative journalists uncover mansions owned by top Moscow FSB officials

      Moscow Federal Security Service Directorate head Alexey Dorofeev and the family of his deputy, Lieutenant Colonel Marat Medoev, own adjacent mansions in the “Lesnaya Bukhta” (Forrest Cove) villa community, according to a joint investigative report by Novaya Gazeta, Baza, and Transparency International Russia. Journalists say each piece of real estate is worth upwards of 70 million rubles ($1.1 million).

      The two homes are reportedly three-story buildings with more than 700 square meters (7,535 square feet), located near the shore of the Istrinskoye Reservoir. The mansions are surrounded by a single fence and connected by a shared walkway. Marat Medoev’s father (Igor Medoev, a decorated FSB veteran and former aide to Russia’s defense minister) bought the first land plot in 2013. Two years later, Alexey Dorofeev acquired the neighboring real estate. They registered their new homes on this land on the same day in 2017. Marat Medoev’s daughter, Elda, also owns property in the same villa community.

    • New Jobs In Manufacturing are Not Union Jobs

      That point would have been worth mentioning in a NYT article on the fact that most new manufacturing jobs have been in prosperous areas of the country rather than in areas that lost numbers of manufacturing jobs in the last decade. While the economy has been adding a moderate number of manufacturing jobs since 2011, the number of union members in the industry has continued to fall.

    • Switzerland and women’s rights

      Switzerland may be known for many things and even though many believe that it may be a progressive country, as far as women’s rights are concerned, Switzerland is a particularly drastic example of how a highly globalized, neoliberal economy, the free flow of goods, capital, labour and patriarchal structures can coexist.

      In Appenzell, a small canton, the women’s voting rights was only introduced in 1990. But only after being forced to do so by federal authorities. On the national level, the right for women to vote also only exists since 1971. Until 2004, rape in the bond of matrimony wasn’t a criminal offence that the state would have to prosecute (on its own initiative), and maternity protection has only been in place since 2006 – but still only lasts 14 weeks. Paternity leave doesn’t exist – men get one day off after the birth of their child. At the same time, Switzerland has one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world: childcare for a child, five days a week costs up to half of an average wage. Additional to that the working conditions for the caregivers at day-care centres are catastrophic.

      Moreover, the gender wage gap is immense. In terms of wages there can be a difference determined which goes up to 30%, even if this difference is often concealed by the statistics and reduced to 10-20%. In addition, there is a shocking number of women who have experienced sexualized violence, assaults, harassment and psychological violence. In Switzerland, a feminicide occurs every two weeks. All those reasons and many more build the basis for the women’s strike 2019.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump Rehashes Gripes, Rips ‘Radical’ Democrats in 2020 Launch

      Jabbing at the press and poking the eye of the political establishment he ran against in 2016, President Donald Trump officially kicked off his reelection campaign Tuesday with a grievance-filled Florida rally that focused more on settling scores than laying out his agenda for a second term.

      Addressing a crowd of thousands at Orlando’s Amway Center, Trump complained he had been “under assault from the very first day” of his presidency by a “fake news media” and “illegal witch hunt” that had tried to keep him and his supporters down.

      And he painted a disturbing picture of what life would look like if he loses in 2020, accusing his critics of “un-American conduct” and telling the crowd that Democrats “want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.”

      “A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” he said, ripping “radical” and “unhinged” Democrats even as he made only passing mention of any of the men and women running to replace him.

    • The Case that Obama Was a Traitor Just Got Powerful New Evidence — From the DNC!

      The case that Obama’s team concocted Russiagate in order to weaken Trump if Trump were to win the Presidency has just received an important admission. The Government has acknowledged that the Obama administration lied to the FISA Court in order to get permission to investigate Trump for possible collusion with Russia.

      This information came from the DNC’s own lawyer, to the current U.S. Justice Department, in the case of United States of America v. Roger J. Stone Jr.

    • We Have To Do Better: Winning With Love and A Stellar Non-Endorsement

      So the ghastly MAGA guy kicked off his re-election campaign Tuesday night in Orlando, a town which this month also marks the three-year-anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shootings, the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall, and Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the U.S. With breathtaking cognitive dissonance, Trump lumbered in bringing lies – “100,000″ people in the 17,000-person, perfectly apt Amway Center – crowds of old fat blindingly white people chanting “Lock Her Up!” because wow these people are stupid, and a crew of Nazis and Proud Boys flashing white power signs and chanting “Pinochet Was Right!” “When America sends its people to Orlando, they’re not sending their best,” wrote Betty Bowers. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing racism. They’re bringing xenophobia. They’re ignorant. And some, I assume, are good people.” Given the diversity of both Florida and Orlando, wrote another un-fan, “This isn’t a rally – it’s a Klan meeting.” From another, “Today, thousands of people are traveling to Orlando to visit a Magical Kingdom of Make Believe. Meanwhile, thousands of others are going to Disney World.”

    • Trump’s “Deep State” is Trump’s Corrupt State

      Trump has been ramping up his “Deep State” rhetoric again. He’s back to blaming a cabal of bureaucrats, FBI and CIA agents, Democrats, and “enemies of the people” in the mainstream media, for conspiring to remove him from office in order to allow the denizens of foreign shi*tholes to overrun America.

      But with each passing day it’s becoming clearer that the real threat to America isn’t Trump’s Deep State. It’s Trump’s Corrupt State.

      Not since Warren G. Harding’s sordid administration have as many grifters, crooks and cronies occupied high positions in Washington.

      Trump has installed a Star Wars Cantina of former lobbyists and con artists, including several whose exploits have already forced them to resign, such as Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Tom Price, and Michael Flynn. Many others remain.

      When he was in Congress, the current White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from payday lenders, then proposed loosening regulations on them. Trump appointed Mulvaney acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, of all things.

    • Requiem for a Lightweight: the Mayor Pete Factor

      My first sounding, at least from the political echo chamber, of the South Bend mayor came a few months ago, when my wife announced over breakfast that some of her sisters liked the cut of his jib.

      I looked him up online, came across McKinsey and the Rhodes scholarship, and, like the rest of the country that lives without television, struggled with the pronunciation of his Maltese surname, Buttigieg, until I learned that a simple “Mayor Pete” would suffice.

      In the intervening two months, I thought little more about the mayor, other than to take note that his ranking in the early polls consigned him to that great electoral no man’s land of about five percent that he was sharing with the likes of Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Beto O’Rourke, all of whom, someday, might regret that they had only one soundbite to give for their country.

      As best as I could determine, Mayor Pete was stalking a constituency of the middle ground, by uttering thoughtful clichés about the Rust Belt, the deficit, sexual equality, cops on the beat in South Bend, and the wars on terror—in which he was a deployed as an onward Christian soldier.

      His dream is to survive long enough in the primaries so that as a last man standing he could offer himself as an alternative either to the Democratic Shining Path (Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders) or Joe Biden’s Walmart he’s-hopeless-but-he-can-win Amtrak centrism.

    • Farting in a Turkish Mosque

      The residents of Istanbul are getting ready to vote again next Sunday. Turks are divided, making Kurds the most critical voting block in the history of Turkish elections.

      The city supports 15 million souls, 3 million of whom hail from Kurdistan. The Kurds hold the deciding vote, noted Ertugrul Kurkcu in a Father’s Day tweet.

      Ekrem Imamoglu is the candidate of Nation Alliance supported by the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP).

      Binali Yildirim is the candidate of People’s Alliance supported by the center-right Justice and Development Party (AKP).

      Both candidates, regrettably, have aligned themselves with prominent Turkish supremacists making it impossible for the pro-Kurdish, Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) to align with either of them.

      Last March—when the people of Istanbul went to the polls for the first time, our Kurds held their noses and voted overwhelmingly for the lesser of the two evils: CHP’s Imamoglu.

    • Mitch McConnell calls representation for D.C. and Puerto Rico “full-bore socialism”

      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued in a Fox News interview that giving congressional representation to the millions of Americans who live in Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico would be “full-bore socialism.”

      The senator from Kentucky, which ranks third in state tax dependency, said in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham that Democrats are trying to “turn us into a country we’ve never been.”

      “They plan to make the District of Columbia a state — that’d give them two new Democratic senators — Puerto Rico a state, that would give them two more new Democratic senators,” McConnell complained. “And as a former Supreme Court clerk yourself, you’ve surely noticed that they plan to expand the Supreme Court. So this is full-bore socialism on the march in the House. And yeah, as long as I’m the majority leader of the Senate, none of that stuff is going anywhere.”

      Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are home to nearly 4 million Americans who have no voting representation in Congress, despite a combined population that rivals the state of Kentucky. Puerto Rico alone has a larger population than 21 states.

      While citizens of those jurisdictions pay federal taxes without any federal representation, Kentucky takes $2.61 from federal taxpayers for every dollar its residents pay in taxes. The Bluegrass State’s tax dependency ranks only behind Mississippi and New Mexico, according to a WalletHub study.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Site-Blocking In Australia Expanded Again To Include 105 More Sites, Including A Search Engine

      The Australian government approved an amended copyright law late last year that made subtle changes to what types of sites ISPs can be ordered to be blocked by the courts, and the process by which that order is obtained. Essentially, the changes amounted to allowing blocking of sites with the primary “effect” being copyright infringement, rather than the primary “purpose”, along with an expedited process for getting additional site-blocking orders for sites that set up mirror sites to route around the blocks. Before the ink on the legislation was even dry, just as we warned, Village Roadshow and a bunch of American entertainment companies swooped into the court system to order blocks on all kinds of sites.

    • Twitter suspends open-source intelligence handles for showing IAF aircraft positions during Balakot airstrike

      Twitter has suspended multiple accounts which had used open-source intelligence (OSINT) to reveal details of Indian Air Force (IAF)’s aircraft, other than fighters, on the days of the Balakot airstrikes and when Pakistan retaliated.

      The accounts, which included @ELINTNews, were informed by Twitter that they had suspended for ‘violating Indian laws’, according to a report by ThePrint. However, another account @IntelCrab was reactivated.

    • Let’s Shut Down the Authoritarian Machine

      Trump’s ominous tweet about how his supporters might “demand” that he stay in office for more than two terms is the latest proof that his authoritarian ideology has little regard for the law. The tweet also reflects Trump’s strong desire to use threats of violence, if necessary, to reshape the political landscape and mode of governance.

      Other recent evidence of the rising threat of authoritarianism in the U.S. include Trump’s continuing efforts to run roughshod over Congress with the most recent attempt being his urging former staff members not to respond to House subpoenas and his attempts “to block Congress from obtaining documents about the census citizenship question.” Trump’s authoritarian politics is also evident in his embrace of and fascination with dictators and demagogues, his promotion of a militarized foreign policy that threatens war with Iran, and his ongoing criticism of mainstream newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post as “enemies of the people.” Moreover, his abuses of executive privilege reflect new levels of disdain for the separation of power; his attempts to prevent the full Mueller report from being handed over to Congress are just one example of this.

      As these incidents show, we live in dangerous times, or what might be called the Age of Jackals: that is, an era ruled by the architects of an apocalyptic nationalism, regressive populism, and brutally repressive and racist forms of authoritarianism.

      Right-wing populism is washing away the most basic institutions of democracy in countries that extend from the United States to Brazil. Authoritarians such as Viktor Orbán of Hungary and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil are now invited to the White House in which they receive an endorsement for their policies of repression, their crushing of dissent, their use of state violence, and their much-publicized hatred of democracy. Trump appears to pride himself on flouting the law, making a mockery of justice, enriching his personal wealth through corrupt business practices, and using the office of the presidency to enhance what even timid liberals such as the New York Times columnist David Leonhardt call “the global standing of authoritarianism.” Increasingly, authoritarian and fascist movements pose a threat to those they deem disposable, such as Black youth, intellectuals critical of the corrupt Jackals in power, and social movements fighting to save the planet.

      The project of addressing the rise of authoritarianism both in the United States and abroad takes on a new urgency as the power of financial capital consolidates its forces over the commanding institutions of society, turning them into workstations for propaganda, social sorting, violence and disposability. The normalization of terror is now matched by the normalization of the spectacle as everyday life is treated as a Reality TV show that endlessly replays the virtues of extreme competition and a survival-of-the fittest ethos.

    • Three Dagestani newspapers to publish identical front pages in solidarity with arrested journalist

      Three Dagestani newspapers will publish front pages with the slogan “I AM / WE ARE ABDULMUMIN GADZHIYEV” on June 21. Novoye Delo, Svobodnaya Respublika, and Chernovik also called on other regional and federal news outlets to join their campaign and print the same front page. Gadzhiyev, who edits the religion section of Chernovik, has been jailed on charges of funding terrorism and participating in a terrorist organization. His colleagues have demanded his release and argued that the charges are fabricated.

    • New Zealand Man Gets 21 Months In Prison For Sharing Footage Of The Christchurch Shooting

      Shortly after the Christchurch mosque shooting, the New Zealand government’s censorship board decided to categorize almost everything related to the shooting (the shooter’s manifesto, his livestream of the shooting, his social media posts) as “objectionable.” This wasn’t a case of reaching an obvious conclusion. Officially terming it “objectionable” made it a criminal act to distribute any of this content via social media or other services.

      Having done that, the government wasted no time bringing criminal charges against violators. The first arrest happened only two days after the shooting, netting the government an 18-year-old defendant. The more interesting arrest was the second one, which landed Phillip Arps, a local businessman with some not-so-latent white nationalist leanings.

      Arps spent the hours after the shooting refusing to condemn the violent act and — the event triggering the criminal charges — passing around footage of the shooting. Not all that surprising for a man whose company is named after a German prison camp and who charges $14.88 a foot for insulation installation.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Critics Lament as 126 House Democrats Join Forces With GOP to Hand Trump ‘Terrifying’ Mass Domestic Spying Powers

      Privacy advocates and civil liberties defenders are expressing outrage after the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday night voted down a bipartisan amendment designed to end, as one group put it, the U.S. government’s “most egregious mass surveillance practices” first revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      In a final vote of 253-175, it was 126 Democrats who joined with 127 Republicans to vote against an amendment introduced by Rep Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) that would have closed loopholes in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that critics charge has allowed the NSA to abuse warrantless surveillance capabilities and target the emails, text messages, and internet activity of U.S. citizens and residents. See the full roll call here.

      Among the high-profile Democrats to vote against the bill was Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a frequent and outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.

      “It’s good to know that House Democrats like Adam Schiff are ‘resisting’ Trump by voting to ensure that he has limitless authority to conduct mass warrantless surveillance,” said Evan Greer, the deputy director of Fight for the Future, in a statement rebuking those Democrats who sided with the president and the Republicans in voting down the Amash-Lofgren amendment.

      While House Democrats otherwise treat Trump as an existential threat who cannot be trusted on any matter, Greer and her group said it was bewildering to see a majority of the party leave such “terrifying” mass surveillance powers in the hands of the president and the intelligence agencies he largely controls.

    • The Omnipresent Surveillance State

      Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state.

      It’s been 70 years since Orwell—dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm—depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984.

      Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, “He loved Big Brother,” we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.


      What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

      Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality.

      Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

      Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness—a philosophy that discourages diversity—has become a guiding principle of modern society.

    • Massachusetts Can Become a National Leader to Stop Face Surveillance

      Massachusetts has a long history of standing up for liberty. Right now, it has the opportunity to become a national leader in fighting invasive government surveillance. Lawmakers need to hear from the people of Massachusetts to say they oppose government use of face surveillance.

      Face surveillance poses a threat to our privacy, chills protest in public places, and gives law enforcement unregulated power to undermine due process. The city of Somerville—home of Tufts University—has heard these concerns and is considering a ban on that city’s use of face surveillance. Meanwhile, bills before the Massachusetts General Court would pause the government’s use of face surveillance technology on a statewide basis. This moratorium would remain in place unless the legislature passes measures to regulate these technologies, protect civil liberties, and ensure oversight of face surveillance use.

      Face recognition technology has disproportionately high error rates for women and people of color. Making matters worse, law enforcement agencies often rely on images pulled from mugshot databases—which exacerbates historical biases born of unfair policing in Black and Latinx neighborhoods. If such systems are incorporated into street lights or other forms of surveillance cameras, people in these communities may be unfairly targeted simply because they appeared in another database or were subject to discriminatory policing in the past.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Abolishing the Death Penalty Requires Morality

      In “How to Convince Americans to Abolish the Death Penalty,” Amherst Professor Austin Sarat asserts “important lessons about how abolitionists can be successful around the country” can be learned from New Hampshire – which just last month became the twenty-first state to abolish capital punishment – including: “[T]he moral argument doesn’t work.”

      Acknowledging New Hampshire is hardly the front-line in the fight to abolish the death penalty – because as the Washington Post editorial board observed “[t]he last time the Granite State executed someone, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was midway through his second term” – Sarat nonetheless urges abolitionists to follow New Hampshire’s lead “by shifting the grounds of the debate so as not to be painted as soft on crime or out of touch with mainstream American values.”

      This feat can be accomplished, Sarat says, by eschewing the argument “even the most heinous criminals are entitled to be treated with dignity or that there is nothing that anyone can do to forfeit their right to have rights.” Sarat argues this is a “pitfall” because it “puts opponents of the death penalty on the side of society’s most despised,” and “rejects the simple and appealing rationale for capital punishment: retribution.”

      While Sarat is correct, high approbation is due New Hampshire abolitionists – for how they effectively “enlisted conservative allies,” and aligned “themselves with the plight of the families of murder victims” (by arguing “the death penalty does not make citizens safer and that it is archaic, costly, discriminatory and violent”) – his call for abolitionists to abandon appeals to morality and human dignity in crusading to end capital punishment, is, with all due respect, unwise, and even worse, immoral.

    • Native American Named U.S. Poet Laureate for First Time

      Joy Harjo, the first Native American to be named U.S. poet laureate, has been ready for a long time.

      “I’ve been an unofficial poetry ambassador — on the road for poetry for years,” the 68-year-old Harjo wrote in a recent email to The Associated Press. “I’ve often been the only poet or Native poet-person that many have seen/met/heard. I’ve introduced many poetry audiences to Native poetry and audiences not expecting poetry to be poetry.”

      Her appointment was announced Wednesday by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, who said in a statement that Harjo helped tell an “American story” of traditions both lost and maintained, of “reckoning and myth-making.” Harjo’s term is for one year and she succeeds Tracy K. Smith, who served two terms. The position is officially called “Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry,” with a $35,000 stipend. Harjo will have few specific responsibilities, but other laureates have launched initiatives, most recently Smith’s tour of rural communities around the country.

    • Try Not to Look Away

      Anger is both a necessary and destructive emotion and I have been very angry for a very long time. A commentator noted that the election of Trump in 2016 was a monumental slap in the face for the baby boomers of the 1960s and early 1970s, at least for those who protested and continue to protest. Some of us grew up in relative comfort and were confronted by a bestial war in Southeast Asia. Others of our generation grew up without many resources and still confronted the war machine and empire and put fear into the hearts and minds of those who paid attention to our words and actions.

      The psychiatrist Dr. Alfred Fireman wrote people out of the draft during the Vietnam War and pissed off some in his medical specialty by observing that sometimes the society is at fault and not the individual.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • US Lawyer Who ‘Sucked’ Money From ‘Porn Lovers’ Faces 14-Year Prison Time

        We have seen numerous examples of how legal tools are used by people to achieve their goals. US-based lawyer Paul Hansmeier was one such person who tried to use his knowledge to earn some hard cash, but in the wrong way.

        A couple of years back, Hansmeier and his partner in crime John Steele were accused of plotting a multi-million dollar scam to rope in some cash from the people who pirate porn.


        As copyright owners, the duo would then track down pirates and pressurize them to pay settlements out of court to avoid any potential lawsuit. Many people eventually paid the amount because of embarrassment as there was a risk of having their names publicly revealed.

      • The Copyright Fights Over The Australian Aborigine Flag Continue To Demonstrate Copyright Insanity

        It’s been nearly a decade since we last wrote about the Australian aborigine flag and the insane copyright issues surrounding it. That time, back in 2010, it involved the copyright holder of the flag forcing Google to edit the flag out of one of its famous Google doodles, where it had originally been included as part of an Australia Day celebration. The problem, as you might have guessed, is that the flag was designed in the early 1970s “as a symbol of unity and national identity” by Harold Thomas. Because it was the creation of a private individual, and not a government, Thomas claims to hold a copyright on the image. He didn’t do much with that copyright for decades, while the flag became an established symbol for indigenous Australians. Then, suddenly, he discovered he held the copyright and started making use of it.

        Apparently, that’s ramped up even more in the last few months after Thomas did a licensing deal with a clothing company, followed by the traditional “sending of the cease-and-desist letters.”

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