07.24.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 24/7/2021: FreeBSD Report (April-June) and KDE Reporting Its Progress

Posted in News Roundup at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Leftovers

    • The Beast that Kills the Beauty

      It was the summer of 1982. Ronald Reagan had been president for a little more than a year. The immediate future was obvious and it wasn’t something I was looking forward to. I saw the recession deepening while the bulk of voting citizens blamed the growing number of poor for their fate. The number of middle fingers being shown to me while I hitchhiked on interstates and country highways was on the increase. My beard was as dirty as my jeans and the peace I had found on the road was rare compared to a mere three years previous. At least I wasn’t in Central America, where it looked like Reagan and his fascist crew were preparing to seek some serious revenge.

      A truck pulled over to the shoulder behind me. I grabbed my bedroll and pack and ran to the passenger door. The driver wore a straw hat and was as red as a dead lobster in the pot. He told me to hop in and grab a beer from the cooler. I took his advice. Lefty Frizell was playing on the radio. The song was “Long Black Veil.” I remembered because a boss I had when I worked at the military commissary in Frankfurt played it all the time on his cassette player. I liked his voice. We rode into Kansas City, drinking and talking shit. He dropped me off near where the Kansas City Royals play. There was no game going on. The Royals were on the road. We sat in the stadium parking lot and finished off the remaining beers. It was early and he was heading into town to see a girl. I wished him luck and he said goodbye. I spent the night sleeping in some bushes. I was awakened by a couple stadium security guys who bought me breakfast and sent me on my way. Life was good. Reagan could go fuck himself.

    • The Risks of Where we are Today

      CDOs are really a form of gambling. When a finance company or bank allows you to borrow money, there is a direct financial risk that they are taking on. Will you pay back what you borrowed? For the borrower, the need for immediate money means that you accept an additional amount of money to be paid back—interest—on top of what has been loaned to you. CDOs are packaged together as loan bundles of all types of money that has been borrowed, from mortgages to credit card debt, car loans, student loans, and so on, then these bundles are sold off to investors (i.e., other financial companies or banks) that are betting that the amount coming in via debt payments plus interest will be greater than what was paid for the CDO to start with. There is alchemy here in that what would normally be marked as a potential liability (or risk) for any company issuing any kind of loan now gets repackaged as an asset since another party is willing to purchase it. In other words, the value gets collateralized—it gets turned into money, credit, or both—allowing for more of the same.

      If the purchase of CDOs seem too risky, that risk can be offset by credit default swaps where another party is willing to accept the liability of potential non-payment. If the CDO does not pay out as promised, the party/company that issues the CDS is on the hook to pay out what is owed.

    • The Italian Cinema and the Left: On Rediscovering Roberto Rossellini-Filmmaker

      The story of Roberto Rossellini is a very Italian story, not an European story, encompassing Italy in change from the Fascist period until 2009. It is a very Italian story because Italy, separated from the rest of Europe by the Alps, is, and perhaps always has been, something apart, still today considered by North Europeans an exotic place to escape to. Read Roberto Rossellini and think Italy of the past seventy-five years.

      The Italian film director, Roberto Rossellini (1906-1977), known as 95% neo-realist, was highly successful in his film career. Yet—and here are two pieces of information that might be news for cinema buffs—after growing up in a bourgeois family near pre-Dolce Vita Via Veneto in Rome and then tinkering in insignificant cinema during the Fascist era, he later became a maker of Italy’s cinema of the Left. Late in his life, Rossellini then had a vision, a vision light years distant from European filmmaking: in the 1970s, far ahead of his time, he became enamoured of the East and dreamed of a rejoining of the Occident and Islam.

    • In a league of his own Remembering some of Pyotr Mamonov’s greatest recorded performances
    • Google will now tell you why you are seeing a specific search result

      The feature will now tell you why you are seeing this specific result. Along with the information about the ‘Source’ publication, you will now be able to see a ‘Your search and this result’ card placed at the bottom of ‘About this result’ when you tap on the overflow menu on the web and desktop. The feature will now offer additional background information about a website.

    • Education

      • Economists Worry Covid-19 May End Standardized Testing Altogether

        The sky is falling for standardized test enthusiasts.

      • How Contingent Faculty Organizing Can Succeed in Higher Education

        The rapid, pandemic related expansion of on-line education threatens to further erode employment conditions for the two-thirds to three-fourths of all faculty members who are contingent. (For an analysis of OLE and its impact, see Robert Ovetz’s “Conscious Linkage: The Proletarianization of Academic Labor in the Algorithmic University,” New Politics, Summer, 2021) In the next few years, Berry and Worthen predict, “the institutions of higher education will be more globalized, more on-line” and “and most will try to eliminate tenure and universalize contingency.”

        To help the contingent faculty movement prepare for its next big battles, the authors have produced a timely history of union activity among “second tier faculty excluded from the tenure system.” It updates Berry’s previous survey of the field in Reclaiming the Ivory Tower (Monthly Review Press, 2005) and draws heavily on their own experience in California and other states. Their detailed case study of membership mobilization, contract bargaining, and political action by the California Faculty Association (CFA) illustrates many of the continuing challenges facing  contingent faculty trying to form their own bargaining units or influence the direction of unions that include tenure line teaching staff with sometimes divergent interests.

      • World’s first university programme for influencers to launch in Tampere, Finland

        The tailor-made degree is founded on entrepreneurship, with each student setting up and running a company for the duration of the programme in Finland. The aim of the instruction is to equip the students with the skills required to run their companies.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Many Elder Care Workers Still Refuse to Get COVID-19 Vaccine
      • Would Jean-Jacques Rousseau Get Vaccinated?

        Those who refuse to be vaccinated or refuse to accept a government’s decision to oblige them to be vaccinated believe that they have inalienable rights to do as they choose. They believe that their rights trump society’s needs. But, following from this, I also have my rights. And my rights include not being exposed to others who are not vaccinated. If those who believe in non-vaccination believe I should respect their rights, will they respect mine?

        Why are individual rights so dominant that my needs and society’s needs are secondary?

      • Insanity is Healthy

        If the sane mind is defined by its submission to the powers that be, then this sane mind is a suffering mind, an unfree mind. Does this make an insane mind revolutionary? Not necessarily, for reordering society through revolution also implies some form of

        organization, even if it is dynamic and non-hierarchical.

      • Congress Should Ensure a Better Medicare

        It’s well understood that health care costs are out of control in America. Older and disabled Americans are hit hardest because we use three times more health care services than working people. Congress can and should ensure health care is affordable to us through a reasonable Medicare out-of-pocket cap.

      • Medicare for All Rallies in 50 Cities Show Big Support for Universal Health Care
      • Future of Program for Brain-Damaged Children Now Rests With Powerful Florida Official

        Now that the Florida Legislature and governor have taken action to overhaul a Florida program that serves families with brain-damaged children, its future could pivot on a state Cabinet member following through on his promise to make the program answer to the parents of disabled children.

        Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, whose office oversees the Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, initiated an audit and an investigation of the program after the Miami Herald and the journalism nonprofit ProPublica published a series of stories this year showing how NICA had amassed nearly $1.5 billion in assets while frequently denying care to children it serves.

      • Biden Gives Pregnant, Nursing and Postpartum Mothers a Pass

        “Since 2016, ICE has arrested undocumented pregnant immigrants more than 4000 times,” according to the New York Times on July 9. “There are currently fewer than 20 such immigrants in custody.” The article notes that Biden’s new, more lenient policy “could rankle some conservatives.” These nativists are already hot and bothered about birthright citizenship, having credulously swallowed right-wing propaganda outlet Fox News’s lies about so-called “anchor babies.”

        Many reactionaries swear by tall tales about migrant women racing over the border in their ninth month of pregnancy, to “drop” a baby in the U.S. But my guess is that pregnant migrant women are not that different from most pregnant women and aren’t “racing” anywhere after their fourth or fifth month. And if they are desperate enough to travel that near delivery, they probably do qualify as asylum seekers.

      • Why Tokyo Turned Against the Olympics

        Tokyo—People often avoid unpleasant topics in casual conversation in Japan. Yet the impending Olympics have transformed the mood, and my exchanges over the past few weeks have often touched upon the disgust, anxiety, and bewilderment people living here feel now. My next-door neighbor laments that the children in her life, her grandchildren but also my child, have had to give up so many of the events important to them. “How can they hold the Olympics when the kids can’t have their Sports Day games?” she asked me the other day, as I lingered outside her always-open window and gossiped. My own students have made so many sacrifices; many are still learning online. Others are returning to in-class instruction even without any clear idea about when they will be eligible to get vaccinated. The staff at our local day cares and schools are similarly often in the dark about when they can get a vaccine, and in the meantime daily cases of Covid-19 in Tokyo, now under its fourth State of Emergency, are hitting highs not seen since January.

      • “COVID Games” Begin in a Fearful Japan as Olympic Committee Prioritizes “Profits Over All Else”

        As the Summer Olympics begin in Tokyo after the International Olympic Committee pushed forward during a pandemic despite widespread opposition in Japan, we speak with a protester outside the Olympic stadium and former Olympic athlete Jules Boykoff. “The people have been frustrated actually ever since the awarding of the Olympics in 2013,” says Satoko Itani, associate professor of sports, gender and sexuality at Kansai University. “The vast majority of Japanese people don’t want these games.” Boykoff argues the “saga in Tokyo has exposed an International Olympic Committee that openly disrespects the will of locals, that brushes off inconvenient facts from experts … And the IOC tends to prioritize its profits over all else.”

      • “Don’t You Work With Old People?”: Many Elder-Care Workers Still Refuse to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

        They are two sisters in two states. Both are dedicated health care professionals who watched in horror as COVID-19 swept through the nation’s nursing homes, killing a staggering number of residents and staff alike.

        One sister is now vaccinated. The other is not.

      • “America’s Frontline Doctors” sue over deaths from COVID-19 vaccines. Hilarity ensues.

        Does anyone remember “America’s Frontline Doctors”? To be honest, after having featured them in a retrospective about doctors behaving badly in 2020, I had (mostly) forgotten about this group of not really “frontline” doctors who had become the face quacks fronting an astroturf lobbying campaign after their moment in in the spotlight around a year ago. Sure, a year ago I simultaneously laughed and became angry at their credulous promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for COVID-19, commenting on their propaganda efforts in a post in which I likened hydroxychloroquine to the Black Knight of COVID-19 treatments, in a nod to the iconic character in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who, after each successive limb was lopped off by King Arthur, would say thinks like, “It’s just a flesh wound.” Of course, since then hydroxychloroquine has faded as more and more evidence has shown that it doesn’t work, only to be replaced by ivermectin, a very likely ineffective treatment that has risen to become the new hydroxychloroquine—with added incompetence and fraud behind it.

      • 316 people are shot every day in America. Here are 5 stories

        The spike plaguing many American cities this year has lawmakers reeling and police scrambling, though homicide rates are not rising as high as the double-digit jumps seen in 2020. Still, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, 316 people are shot every day in the U.S. and 106 of them die. It’s even prompted President Joe Biden to order federal strike forces in to help catch gun traffickers who are supplying weapons used in the shootings.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • A Defunct Video Hosting Site Is Flooding Normal Websites With Hardcore Porn

        This is funny, unfortunate, and also, an example of a much larger problem: The [Internet] is a collective hallucination that is fading away thanks to link rot.

      • Proprietary

        • Ransomware key to unlock customer data from REvil attack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The company’s spokeswoman Dana Liedholm declined to answer whether Kaseya had paid for access to the key.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Pegasus is Just the Tip of the Israeli Cyber Spying Iceberg, with Whitney Webb
            • Surveillance, Roombacops, White Rage, and the End of Empathy

              Bodycam, cellphone and dashcam footage of these incidents reveal that some police take pleasure in brutalizing those they are ostensibly sworn to protect. After Bottom’s arrest, one of the officers complimented his colleagues on their “good police work.” Another laughingly boasted, “I had a handful of dreads.” Others enjoy reviewing footage of their casual brutality. “It’s like live TV.” Bodycams are my favorite thing to watch, I could watch livestream bodycams all day,” Hopp’s partner, Daria Jalali, revealed as she watched bodycam footage of Hopp brutalizing Garner with him and another officer.

              It took 30 seconds for Hopp to assault Garner; less than two seconds for officer Timothy Loehmann to shoot and kill 12-year-old Tamir Rice; nine minutes and 29 seconds for Derek Chauvin to asphyxiate George Floyd. Loehmann, who was almost hired by another police department after the incident, was fired for lying on his original job application but was not criminally charged in the slaying. Similarly, none of the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, who died after a 12-second barrage of gunfire during which police fired 32 rounds into her apartment, six of which struck and killed Taylor, were charged with her murder.

            • EFF, ACLU Urge Appeals Court to Revive Challenge to Los Angeles’ Collection of Scooter Location Data

              For the brief: https://www.eff.org/document/sanchez-v-ladot-opening-appellage-briefpdf

            • Data Brokers are the Problem

              This is not the first time Grindr has been in the spotlight for sharing user information with third-party data brokers. The Norwegian Consumer Council singled it out in its 2020 “Out of Control” report, before the Norwegian Data Protection Authority fined Grindr earlier this year. At the time, it specifically warning that the app’s data-mining practices could put users at serious risk in places where homosexuality is illegal.

              But Grindr is just one of countless apps engaging in this exact kind of data sharing. The real problem is the many data brokers and ad tech companies that amass and sell this sensitive data without anything resembling real users’ consent.

              Apps and data brokers claim they are only sharing so-called “anonymized” data. But that’s simply not possible. Data brokers sell rich profiles with more than enough information to link sensitive data to real people, even if the brokers don’t include a legal name. In particular, there’s no such thing as “anonymous” location data. Data points like one’s home or workplace are identifiers themselves, and a malicious observer can connect movements to these and other destinations. In this case, that includes gay bars and private residents.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Pelosi Pledges to Move Forward on Jan 6 Commission, With or Without GOP Support
      • ‘A Huge Outrage’: Senate Panel Approves $25 Billion Pentagon Budget Increase

        The Senate Armed Services Committee agreed Thursday to add $25 billion to President Joe Biden’s already massive $715 billion Pentagon spending request, a move that prompted immediate outrage from progressive activists who have been demanding cuts to the bloated U.S. military budget.

        “Just the proposed $25 billion increase to the Pentagon budget alone could end homelessness in the United States, making clear that senators are more interested in increasing the profits of military contractors than meeting the needs of everyday working people,” said Carley Towne, co-director of the anti-war group CodePink.

      • AMLO and Coup Insurance

        More worrisome than what appears to be a return to the days in which the president designated his successor is the nature of the people he is presenting: two middle-of-the-road politicians who are directly linked to the collapse of Line 12 of the Metro in May and one former president of the national university, widely repudiated for having crushed a student strike in 2000 and who is now Mexico’s UN embassador. Ah: and two women cabinet members who are not interested.

        On Tuesday July 13, one of the protegés, former Mexico City mayor Marcelo Ebrard, spoke at the daily presidential press conference, apparently in his role as secretary of foreign relations. But there he announced that he is running for president. And right-wing newspaper columnists have already begun writing about how “Obradorism without Obrador” will not be so bad for business and have named Ebrard, current mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, and Ricardo Monreal, a quirky white-collar criminal and senator, as his acceptable succesors. “This is the Mexican left?”, you may be asking.

      • In Pre-Sentencing Letter, Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Says Crisis of Conscience Motivated Leak

        Attorneys for drone whistleblower Daniel Hale—who faces sentencing next week after pleading guilty earlier this year to violating the Espionage Act—on Thursday submitted a letter to Judge Liam O’Grady in which the former Air Force intelligence analyst says a crisis of conscience drove him to leak classified information about the U.S. targeted assassination program.

        “To stop the cycle of violence, I ought to sacrifice my own life and not that of another person. So, I contacted an investigative reporter… and told him that I had something the American people needed to know.”—Daniel Hale, whistleblower

      • It’s Time to End the U.S. War on Syria, Not Restart It

        In May, the AP claimed President Biden would soon put a stop to a US energy company’s ongoing theft of oil from a region in Syria that’s illegally occupied by US troops. So far, it’s not clear anything has changed. Syrian oil reportedly continues to be extracted by Americans, in what constitutes “pillaging” under international law. The company is owned by an ex-US special forces operative and a George W. Bush administration appointee.

        Some may be surprised by this. Didn’t naked, take-the-oil imperialism die with Dick Cheney’s political fortunes? Hasn’t the US stayed out of Syria?

      • Why U.S. Policy Toward Nicaragua Isn’t Working

        Let me try to fill this gap from the perspective of Nicaragua, a subject of U.S. intervention for more than a century. First, some history: According to Stephen Kinzer, the U.S. overthrow of Nicaragua’s elected President José Santos Zelaya in 1909 was the first example of U.S. regime change in mainland Latin America. It led to Marines occupying the country until 1933, when national hero Augusto Sandino threw them out. His assassination in 1934 led to 45 years of brutal dictatorship, in which the United States was complicit. The Sandinista revolution brought this to an end in 1979, but then Ronald Reagan sponsored the “Contra” forces whose atrocities, combined with a U.S. blockade, led to President Daniel Ortega’s narrow defeat for re-election in 1990.

        When Ortega was later re-elected in 2007, interference resumed under the banner of “promoting democracy.” As William Robinson has pointed out, in practice this means destabilizing measures that include sanctions, international media and propaganda campaigns, paramilitary actions, covert operations and much more. Writing in 2018 in Global Americans about recent U.S. involvement in Nicaragua, Benjamin Waddell bluntly described it as “laying the groundwork for insurrection.”

      • The Schnacke Affidavit: U.S. Admission of Offensive Germ Warfare Capability During the Korean War

        True crime devotees are familiar with the concept of the “cold case,” which Oxford Languages defines as “an unsolved criminal investigation which remains open pending the discovery of new evidence.” Allegations from China and North Korea that the U.S. used biological weaponry (BW) during the Korean War is an example of just such a cold case.

        I recently obtained from the National Archives an affidavit from assistant U.S. attorney Robert H. Schnacke. The sworn statement was filed during a controversial 1950s trial prosecuting the editorial staff of China Monthly Review for sedition for reporting on the controversy over whether the U.S. used BW against China and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK).

      • Bianca Nozaki-Nasser on Anti-Asian Bias
      • Does Roger Stone Read CounterPunch?

        However, a person described as a longtime friend, Trump, who, like others before him, could be viewed as an abuser of his constitutional powers, granted Stone a pardon that prevented the government from housing Stone in a federal prison and saving us taxpayers some money.[2]

        Soon after being pardoned, as reported in Newsweek, Stone was possibly involved in the January 6 riots. Video “footage of Stone galvanizing Trump supporters prior to the incident” is available.  However, as one might expect, “Stone has vehemently denied any involvement in the attack.”

      • Biden Admin’s Drone Strike in Somalia Draws Fire From Sanders, Lee and Murphy
      • Ilhan Omar Demands Answers After First Somalia Airstrike of Biden Era

        Rep. Ilhan Omar—the first Somali-American elected to Congress and an outspoken critic of U.S. militarism—on Friday sent a letter to President Joe Biden questioning his rationale behind its first drone strike in Somalia earlier this week, and seeking to hold his administration accountable for a promise it made to compensate families of civilians killed by American airstrikes.

        “How does your administration plan to better balance our diplomatic and development goals in Somalia with the militarized counter-terrorism approach that was so overemphasized by the previous administration?”—Rep. Ilhan Omar

      • Sanders, Lee, and Murphy Slam Biden Administration’s First Drone Strike in Somalia

        A trio of senators, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, issued a statement late Thursday condemning the U.S. military’s drone strike in Somalia earlier this week, the first known bombing of the East African country since President Joe Biden took office in January.

        “We’re troubled that no one in the administration sought the required legal authorization from Congress for Tuesday’s drone strike in Somalia especially with no American forces at risk—and apparently, did not even check with our commander-in-chief,” Sanders, an independent, said in a joint statement with Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

      • Hemingway and Latin America

        “I recognized him immediately, as he passed with his wife Mary Welsh on the Boulevard St. Michel in Paris one rainy spring day in 1957. He walked on the other side of the street toward the Luxembourg Gardens, wearing a worn pair of cowboy pants, a plaid shirt and a ballplayer’s cap. The only thing that didn’t look as if it belonged to him was a pair of metal-rimmed glasses, tiny and round, which gave him a premature grandfatherly air. For a fraction of a second, as always seemed to be the case, I found myself divided between my two competing roles. I didn’t know whether to ask him for an interview or cross the avenue to express my unqualified admiration for him. But with either proposition, I faced the same great inconvenience. I spoke the same rudimentary English I speak to this day, and I wasn’t very sure about his bullfighter’s Spanish. And so, I didn’t do either of the things that could have spoiled that moment, but instead cupped both hands over my mouth and, like Tarzan in the jungle, yelled from one sidewalk to the other: ‘Maeeestro!’ Ernest Hemingway understood that there could be no other master amid the multitude of students, and he turned, raised his hand and shouted to me in Castilian in a very childish voice, ‘Adiooós, amigo!’ It was the only time I saw him”. García Márquez thus expressed his appreciation for one of the two authors who most influenced his work (the other was William Faulkner).

        Hemingway in Cuba

      • What’s Really Going on in Cuba

        The international media has exaggerated and manipulated these events to depict mass opposition to the Cuban government, police repression of peaceful protests and a regime in crisis. Meanwhile, the role of external forces, the existence of a concerted social media war on Cuba, the pernicious impact of US sanctions and the mobilisation of thousands of Cubans in support of the revolutionary government have been deliberately downplayed or ignored.

        In most of the Americas, including in the US, such social disturbances are common, and often involve serious casualties and multiple arrests. In Cuba, however, the last violent protest was the Maleconazo uprising in 1994 – the worst year of the so-called ‘special period’ of economic crisis in which Cuba’s GDP fell by 35% after the collapse of the socialist bloc which accounted for nearly 90% of Cuba’s trade. Hoping to push the country over the edge, the US government enacted the Torricelli Act in 1992 and Helms Burton Act in 1996, tightening US sanctions and obstructing Cuba’s trade with the rest of the world. While scarce resources were harnessed to prioritise welfare, Cubans faced shortages in every sector: food, fuel, medicines, housing, industry, transport, and so on. Life was tough.

      • ‘The Haitian People Aren’t Looking for Foreign Powers to Impose a New System’
      • Now Is the Time for Biden to Restaff the Havana Embassy

        On September 21, 2017, more than 30 members of the US Embassy community in Havana, Cuba, sent a letter to the State Department imploring Secretary Rex Tillerson not to reduce the embassy staff in response to a series of mysterious “acoustic incidents” experienced by US intelligence and diplomatic personnel. “[W]e understand there are a series of decisions being made this week regarding the operating status of the Embassy,” the urgent letter stated. “We are aware of the risks of remaining at Post. And we understand there may be unknown risks.” Rather than an “ordered departure,” the diplomats and spouses proposed an alternative: “We ask that the Department give us the opportunity to decide for ourselves whether to stay or leave.”

      • The Best Haitians Can Expect From New President Ariel Henry

        Two weeks have passed since the assassination of Jovenel Moïse in his bedroom at his private residence. Ariel Henry, a humble neurosurgeon and a minister who has shifted imperturbably from right to moderate left and back over the years, has been installed as Haiti’s latest in a long series of easily forgotten acting presidents. Moïse’s widow, Martine Moïse, reportedly critically injured in the attack, has returned from a Miami hospital to Haiti, where she participated in memorial ceremonies for her husband wearing a plain black dress and a splint on her right arm. There have been persistent rumors that Moïse wanted his wife to run for president after his term ended.

      • Facing Possibility Of Harshest Sentence Ever For Leak, Daniel Hale Pens Letter To Judge

        The following was originally published as part of The Dissenter Newsletter, a project of Shadowproof. Subscribe here.As President Joe Biden winds down U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, a conflict spanning nearly 20 years, the As the President Joe Biden winds down United States military involvement in Afghanistan, a conflict spanning nearly 20 years, the U.S. Justice Department seeks the harshest sentence ever for the unauthorized disclosure of information in a case against an Afghanistan War veteran.

        Daniel Hale, who “accepted responsibility” for violating the Espionage Act, responded to the spitefulness of prosecutors by submitting a letter to Judge Liam O’Grady, a judge for the district court in the Eastern District of Virginia. It could be construed as a plea for mercy from the court ahead of sentencing, but more than anything, it outlines a defense of his actions that the U.S. government and a U.S. court would never have allowed him to present before a jury.

      • Protecting the Prophet in Norway

        But Norway’s elites didn’t let the facts keep them from using Breivik’s atrocities against the critics of Islam, who in a slew of op-eds and TV commentaries were painted as mentors of Breivik – his co-conspirators, even – who should be silenced, or worse. (These are the same elites who respond to acts of jihad by insisting that they’re unrelated to Islam – never mind the Koranic commands to kill infidels and the perpetrators’ cries of “Allahu akbar!”)

        Eventually the cris de coeur died down. But as the tenth anniversary of 7/22 has approached, those of us who were among the left’s targets back then have seen the pitchforks coming back out. In a July 7 op-ed entitled “Together against Extremism,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg took aim at “xenophobia, hate speech, and conspiracy theories.” Five days later came the news that the Labor Party would commemorate 7/22 by calling for an “extremism commission” to “prevent and counteract radicalization.”

      • Record Number of People Fleeing Armed Attacks in Burkina Faso

        The attacks on civilians and security forces by jihadist groups are increasing in frequency and in the level of violence. Over the past two years, more than 1.3 million people, or 6 percent of the population, have become displaced inside the country.

        UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said the speed of internal displacement was showing no sign of slowing as armed attacks continue unabated.

    • Environment

      • Boris Johnson ‘Missing in Action’ Ahead of COP26 Climate Summit, Say Campaigners

        Climate campaigners have called on the UK government to step up its action ahead of the COP26 UN summit set to take place in Glasgow in November, which they say is in “serious jeopardy”.

        A hundred protesters gathered in Parliament Square this morning to mark 100 days before the talks begin, accusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak of being “Missing in Action”. They held banners with the phrase “The climate needs you” and giant alarm clocks to emphasise the urgency of tackling climate change. 

        Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

      • ‘A Day of Shame’: Australia Lobbying Thwarts Push to List Great Barrier Reef as Endangered

        An intense lobbying campaign by the pro-fossil fuel Australian government succeeded Friday in keeping the Great Barrier Reef off a list of World Heritage Sites considered “in danger,” despite experts’ warnings that the biodiverse ecosystem is increasingly imperiled by the global climate emergency.

        “The Great Barrier Reef is in danger, and trying to hide the facts won’t change a thing.”—Lesley Hughes, Climate Council

      • Deadly Disparity: Closing the Tree Equity Divide

        As heat wave after heat wave scorches the West this summer, it may feel like there’s no escape from the record-breaking temperatures. But mounting research shows one way to help beat the heat: Urban communities with more tree cover fare much better than those that lack a green canopy.

      • Energy

        • ‘Huge Legal Win’: Court Stops Police From Blockading Line 3 Protester Camp

          In a development progressives called a “huge legal win in the fight against Line 3,” a Minnesota court on Friday ordered police in Hubbard County to stop impeding access to the Giniw Collective’s camp, where anti-pipeline activists have been organizing opposition to Enbridge’s multibillion-dollar tar sands project.

          “Just because the Hubbard County Sheriff and Hubbard County Attorney are opposed to Native people protecting our homelands should not mean they can engage in violent, unlawful repression without consequence.”—Tara Houska, Giniw Collective

        • Landslides in India Kill 100+ as Monsoon Rains Pummel Nation

          In India, landslides triggered by monsoon rains—which scientists say are increasing in frequency and intensity as a result of the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis—have killed dozens of people this week, including at least 112 overnight in the western state of Maharashtra, authorities said on Friday.

          “Global warming is increasing monsoon rainfall in India even more than previously thought. It is dominating monsoon dynamics in the 21st century.”—Anja Katzenberger, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

        • The Climate Crisis Has Gone Critical

          In June, record heat waves hit Russia, Northern Europe, Canada, and the United States. When these increasingly common weather phenomena began killing hundreds of people, the U.S. media focused its coverage on a single record breaking 116-degree day in Portland, Oregon.  

        • Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Renewables Would Add 8 Million Energy Sector Jobs Worldwide: Study

          Critics of a shift to a post-carbon economy often claim that a fossil fuel phase-out would leave millions of people unemployed. And while millions of fossil fuel industry jobs would indeed be lost under a robust climate policy, a study published Friday shows that overall energy sector employment would actually increase by over 40% by 2050 due to gains in renewable energy jobs.

          “While fossil fuel jobs, particularly extraction jobs, which constitute 80% of current fossil fuel jobs, would rapidly decline, these losses would be more than compensated by gains in solar and wind jobs.”—Study

        • Tribal Leaders Raise ‘Serious Concerns’ About Plans to Turn Their Shrinking Louisiana Island Home Into a ‘Sportsman’s Paradise’

          For decades, federal and Louisiana state officials encouraged residents to permanently relocate from the Isle de Jean Charles — the shrinking traditional homeland of the Isle de Jean Charles Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw (IDJC) Tribe — and they assured them that the Gulf Coast island would not be redeveloped if residents left. 

          However, changes in plans for the island, which has been threatened by over a century of oil and gas extraction, flood control development on the Mississippi River delta, and now climate change, are leaving tribal leaders increasingly “unsettled” in the years after their plans helped the state of Louisiana secure federal funding for resettlement in 2016. The result is a growing feeling among tribal leaders that new investments and proposals to turn the region into a recreational destination may continue a long history of displacement and colonization.

          Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

        • Just Out of Jail, Winona LaDuke Decries Militarized Crackdown on Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Protests

          Nearly 600 water protectors have been arrested during ongoing protests in Minnesota against the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline at the Shell River, which the partially completed pipeline is set to cross in five places. On Monday, authorities arrested Indigenous leader Winona LaDuke and at least six others. She was just released from jail yesterday and joins us after three nights in jail. LaDuke describes how the Canadian multinational corporation Enbridge, which is building the pipeline, has funded more than 40 police squads from around the state to crack down on protests, saying, “It is a civil crisis when a Canadian multinational controls your police force.” LaDuke is executive director of Honor the Earth. She says Enbridge’s efforts to finish construction come as investors are increasingly pulling out of the fossil fuels sector. “Who wants to have the last tar sands pipeline? It’s the end of the party.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Why Regenerative Farming Works and Regenerative Ranching Fails

          The dominant paradigm in American farming is mass production of single-crop monocultures, where every square foot of arable land is tilled to plant a single variety of annual plant that dies after harvest and then expose the soil to dessication, erosion, impoverishment, and wind drift. This practice relies heavily on the use of on chemical fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides, and includes the frequent use of genetically-modified crops to withstand the poor growing conditions. The system is efficient on an industrial scale, but it creates ecological deserts of no value to native wildlife, hemorrhages soil nutrients into streams and rivers (creating a massive oceanic dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico), and minimizes the capacity for carbon storage in the soil.

          In contrast, truly regenerative farming minimizes soil disturbance by retaining ground cover between rows of primary crops, often using nitrogen-fixing species that add nutrients to the soil. Instead of planting a single crop as far as the eye can see, multiple crops are planted together, creating a simple and non-native but ecologically more diverse natural system that offers native birds, mammals, and pollinators a better chance to find suitable habitat. Sometimes regenerative agriculture involves perennial plant species, which over years can invest resources in developing deeper and weightier root systems, sequestering more carbon in the soil. These regenerative farming methods might not approach the carbon storage of the native perennial grasslands and shrublands that originally inhabited the lands they occupy, but they’re a major improvement over corporate mega-farms. Given the billions of humans on the planet and the futility of feeding them all on hunting and gathering from native ecosystems, regenerative farming is an important step toward sustainability.

        • Brazil, Amazon, World: Part Two
        • The Return of Logging Without Laws

          The rider was an unprecedented power grab by the timber industry, giving the U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary sole discretion as to whether or not the Forest Service should conduct any environmental analysis of logging impacts and it completely did away with any administrative appeals while also severely limiting the ability of the federal courts to stop the damaging timber sales.

          Perhaps one of the most egregious provisions in the rider was the “sufficiency clauses” that said any “salvage” timber sale would automatically be considered as meeting the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, along with several other bedrock conservation laws. And just to be sure no other barriers stood in the way to this massive timber grab, the law exempted any timber sales conducted under the rider from “all other applicable federal environmental or natural resource laws.” Thus, it rightfully earned the moniker “Logging Without Laws.”

        • East River Ecocide

          But while we can’t stop the wind, that doesn’t mean we’re entirely powerless to clean the air. The cheapest and most effective way, of course (in addition to curtailing pollution — i.e., degrowth), is to plant trees. Trees and other plants not only capture CO2, but produce oxygen. So, if we value breathing (and, really, only a maniac doesn’t, right?), we must also value trees. We should plant trees, as many as possible. But, crucially, we should also conserve the trees and forests and green spaces we have already. It’s no exaggeration to say that those in positions of power who don’t value, and don’t prioritize, such vital resources are putting us all on a path to extinction.

          That’s why it’s so peculiar that Bill de Blasio (the mayor of New York City, who never tires of promoting himself as a friend of the environment) among others are planning to destroy over one thousand mature trees in a park here this coming October. At a time when we should be protecting our trees and green spaces most vigorously, the city is intent on destroying the thousand trees of East River Park, the nearly one-and-a-half mile long park that runs between the East River (really a tidal strait, an extension of the bay, particularly prone to flooding) and the FDR Highway along Manhattan’s Lower East Side. But why?

        • Record-Breaking Temperatures Are Sparking Forest Fires
        • Vanishing: Song for the Bobolink
        • Vaquita porpoise sacrificed for political gain; observers fear extinction will follow

          The federal government’s decision to scrap a no-fishing zone in the upper Gulf of California will likely lead to the extinction of the critically endangered vaquita marina porpoise, according to two environmental sector professionals.

    • Finance

      • Wyden Warns Millions of Poor Families Could Be ‘Denied’ Child Tax Credit Unless IRS Acts

        Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, warned Thursday that millions of poor and vulnerable families across the U.S. could be “denied” benefits from a newly launched child tax credit program unless the Internal Revenue Service acts quickly to improve a key online application portal.

        The online tool was unveiled last month with the stated goal of helping low-income people who aren’t required to submit a tax return—and thus don’t have information on file with the IRS—gain access to the expanded CTC, which Congress approved in March. The IRS has been tasked with administering the program, despite concerns over the agency’s ability to handle the distribution of monthly payments to tens of millions of households on top of its other obligations.

      • AOC, Housing Advocates Slam ‘Reckless’ Biden Plan to Allow Evictions to Resume
      • The Oligarch’s Mythology of Cowboy Individualism: Bezos in a 10-Gallon Hat

        When the extractive, cotton-based oligarchy of the South was shattered by the war, and Reconstruction brought a genuine surge of democracy to the region, it resulted in multi-ethnic legislatures that were beginning to provide basic public goods to all people, such as schools, hospitals and roads. Meanwhile, the extractive economy was moving West. Cattle ranching was one of its major industries.

        Through the Democratic Party, the oligarchs gained traction North and South with the myth of the cowboy individualist. Richardson writes, “ . . . they contrasted what they saw as a system of race-based wealth redistribution taking hold in the East with an image of the American West where hardworking men asked nothing of the government but to be left alone. The cowboy era and Reconstruction overlapped almost exactly . . . Democrats mythologized the cowboy, self-reliant and tough, making his way in the world on his own . . . By 1880, the cowboy had become an iconic image of the American individualist . . . “

      • The ‘Creative Chaos’ of Gloria Richardson (1922–2021)

        I learned about Gloria Richardson when I was a teenager in the early 1960s. Following the example of the adults in my family, my sister and I paid close attention to news about the civil rights movement. I might have seen Richardson on TV, but more likely it was in the pages of Ebony, Jet, or the Call and Post, Cleveland’s Black newspaper. Although I had no real concept of sexism or gender politics at the time, Richardson made an impression because it was so unusual to see a Black woman out front leading.

      • The Political Brilliance of the American Rescue Plan

        The economy is bouncing back. The announcement of 850,000 new jobs in June adds to other signs that people are aggressively looking for work and that wages are going up. This recovery is different from the anemic growth that followed the Great Recession, thanks to the $1.9 trillion in spending allocated in the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan. The legislation expanded aid to states and municipalities, extended unemployment insurance benefits, sent people $1,400 checks, and far more. The plan is expected to get us back to the country’s pre-pandemic employment levels by the end of 2022.

      • Billionaires in Space

        “Welcome to the dawn of a new space age,” said billionaire Richard Branson after the successful launch and landing of his spaceship the VSS Unity. The test flight for Branson’s space tourism venture, Virgin Galactic, was indeed a fitting inauguration of this new, neoliberal space age, which substitutes corporate noblesse oblige for the cosmic vision of collective progress that space travel once represented.

      • Roaming Charges: Bedtime for Bezos

        + We are witnessing the last great enclosure, as the billionaire rocket-set greedily stake their claims on space–once a universal commons, a kind of dreamscape that since the beginning of humankind has been available freely to all, owned by none.

        + Bezos’s rocket looks like it was designed by Barbarella’s workshop, a stubby white vibrator, which is the most extravagant manifestation yet of that favorite pastime of the American elite, Ostentatious Onanism.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Progress or War: On Islamophobia and Europe’s Demographic Shifts

        Of course, anti-Muslim sentiments are rarely framed to appear anti-Muslim. While Europe’s right-wing parties remain committed to the ridiculous notion that Muslims, immigrants and refugees pose a threat to Europe’s overall security and unique secular identities, the left is not entirely immune from such chauvinistic notions.

        The right’s political discourse is familiar and is often condemned for its repugnantly ultra-nationalistic, if not outright racist, tone and rhetoric. The left, on the other hand, is a different story. The European left, notably in countries like France and Belgium, frame their ‘problem’ with Islam as fundamental to their supposed dedication to the secular values of the State.

      • Trump Foreign Business Dealings Draw Scrutiny as New York Probe Ramps Up
      • Have You Heard That Trumpism is “Becoming Fascist”?

        I ask these absurd questions because George W. Bush’s former speechwriter David Frum has recently taken to the pages of The Atlantic to inform readers that “there’s a word for what Trumpism is becoming.” The word starts with an “f.” The word, Frum has discovered, is…drum roll, please…fascism.

        You don’t say. Where has the F Rip Van Frum-kel been the last six years? Did he witness Trump’s presidential campaign announcement in the spring of 2015, when the Donald rode down the Trump Tower escalator behind his Nazi trophy frau Melania to claim that America was being overrun by Mexican rapists and that he alone could fix the nation’s dire problems? The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik had the fascism at the heart of Trumpism figured out when he wrote this in May of 2016:

      • Senators Klobuchar And Lujan Release Ridiculous, Blatantly Unconstitutional Bill To Make Facebook Liable For Health Misinformation

        On Wednesday, Senator Amy Klobuchar promised to introduce a bill that would somehow hold Facebook liable for medical misinformation. As we wrote in the post about her claims, that doesn’t explain how there would be any legitimate underlying cause of action, because nearly all such medical misinformation is still protected by the 1st Amendment.

      • Star politics Almost every election season, Russian celebrities vow to run for office and serve the nation. They’re usually full of shit.

        Russia’s current election season has featured several unexpected announcements from celebrities that they, too, would like seats in the next State Duma. Political inspiration has struck (sometimes faded) stars like former t.A.T.u. singer Julia Volkova, rapper Slava KPSS, musicians Victoria Dayneko and Tatyana Bulanova, and entertainer and stylist Sergey Zverev, just to name a few.

      • Naming and Shaming the Organizations, Corporations, and Billionaires Behind Voter Suppression

        Sean Morales-Doyle, the acting director in the Democracy Program for the Brennan Center for Justice, brought a message about the urgent need to protect voting rights to Congress last week, when he testified before the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

      • Rev. Liz Theoharis of Poor People’s Campaign Arrested in Protest over Voting Rights & Infrastructure

        Nearly 100 women from around the United States were arrested outside the Supreme Court as they marked the 173rd anniversary of the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls with a protest calling for voting rights and economic justice. We speak with Reverend Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and one of those who was arrested. She says Congress needs to scrap the filibuster, pass voting rights legislation and pass a “bold infrastructure bill” that addresses economic inequality, as well as the climate. She also discusses the work of her father, historian Athan Theoharis, who recently died after a lengthy career dedicated to exposing FBI misconduct.

      • 150 Voting Rights Groups Warn Biden Against Attempting to ‘Out-Organize Voter Suppression’

        Voting rights advocates on Friday said the Biden administration risks alienating the very organizers whose tireless work was instrumental in delivering the White House and both chambers of Congress for Democrats in 2020, as they pushed the administration to abandon the notion that the party can combat Republican attacks on voting rights through get-out-the-vote efforts rather than congressional action.

        “Every American deserves and should be able to rely on a baseline level of voting access, free from efforts to block their path to the voting booth or dilute or nullify their votes. Only passage of both the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act can make this aspiration a reality.”—150 voting rights groups

      • It’s Nina Turner Against the Democratic Establishment in Ohio 11

        Nina Turner seemed a little uneasy when we said goodbye after a mid-May weekend on the campaign trail, during which she’d logged eight events from Cleveland to Akron and back in about 24 hours. The former state senator’s campaign for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District was looking good: She would soon release an internal poll showing that she had 50 percent of the vote, with her closest rival, Cuyahoga County Democratic Party chair Shontel Brown, far behind at 15 percent (there are 11 other candidates). She was crushing Brown in fundraising, too.

      • The Pleasure of His Company
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Techdirt Has Been Released From A Gag Order Regarding A Federal Investigation Into A Silly Comment

        I’m going to start off this post with a note that, in general, you should not threaten federal judges. I do understand that people often take out their anger on decisions that go in ways they disagree with by insisting that a judge is corrupt or awful or that something ought to be done, and while I understand the impulse and the instinct to vent in that manner, it’s not very productive. Also, as you’ll see below, it creates something of a mess. Meanwhile, it’s only been a year since an angry party from a case showed up at a federal judge’s home and shot and killed her son (and shot and wounded her husband). There is now legislation being proposed to keep judges’ information more private to try to prevent such a thing from happening again.

      • Instagram restores investigative news outlet’s account after brief suspension following ‘undesirable’ designation in Russia

        The investigative news outlet Proekt had its Instagram page restored, roughly a day after editor-in-chief Roman Badanin reported that the social network had permanently suspended his team’s account for supposedly violating community guidelines.

      • Instagram users worry a new sensitivity filter is censoring their work

        Instagram users around the platform share one central concern right now: that the app’s new sensitive content filter is blocking their posts. In posts on both the feed and in Stories, account holders are warning their followers that the setting is limiting their reach and that their followers should disable the filter to ensure their posts get through.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Redeem American Ideals: US Government Must End the Political Prosecution of Julian Assange

        On January 4, 2021, the British Judge Vanessa Baraitster rejected the US extradition request of Assange on medical grounds, noting her concerns about the harsh US prison condition. Two days later the judge denied his bail application, sending Assange straight back to the same prison that contributed to his deteriorating health.

        In February, the Biden Justice Department decided to pursue the extradition case for conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. The UK’s High Court is yet to decide whether it will grant the US prosecutors permission for their appeal. Meanwhile, important revelations have now emerged that challenge the factual basis of this case.

      • Russian newspaper’s website crashes after publishing op-ed from journalist charged with treason

        Hours after the newspaper Vedomosti published an op-ed by imprisoned journalist Ivan Safronov, the page hosting his text suddenly became inaccessible. Not long thereafter, Vedomosti’s entire website crashed. According to communications director Guzel Khairetdinova, the newspaper is under DDoS attack. She told Meduza that the attack is targeting Vedomosti’s entire website, not just a single text. “The whole site is down and our technical team is doing everything it can to restore it,” she explained.

      • Justice Ministry designates The Insider (Bellingcat’s main partner in Russia) as a ‘foreign agent’

        On Friday, July 23, Russia’s Justice Ministry designated another prominent independent news outlet as a “foreign agent,” adding The Insider to its registry. The federal agency also designated another five journalists as “individual foreign agents.”

      • ‘Journalists like that are worse than terrorists’: Meet Vitaly Borodin, the activist whose complaint led Russia to outlaw the investigative news outlet ‘Proekt’

        On July 15, the Russian authorities declared the investigative outlet Proekt “undesirable” — a designation that officials previously used only with NGOs. The same day, a number of their journalists (and three from other outlets) were declared “foreign agents.” Each one had been the object of a complaint to Russia’s Attorney General filed by an obscure activist named Vitaly Borodin, who’s also a veteran Interior Ministry employee. Borodin leads the Federal Security and Anti-Corruption Foundation, a Kremlin-backed organization whose name and structure are strikingly similar to those of Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, which was declared an “extremist” group in June. Meduza special correspondent Lilia Yapparova spoke to Borodin about his past, his organization, and his motives for going after independent journalists.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Slogan No Justice, No Peace Gets It Backward.  Peace is the Key to Justice

        As my own thinking has evolved over a political lifetime of mostly antiracist focused thought and action, I have concluded that understanding the role of violence has received far too little attention. What happened first was that I became aware that my knowledge of settler colonialism and its impact on white identity and white power was woefully inadequate.  Reading Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s 2014 book An Indigenous People’s History of the United States was a milestone and remains an indispensable resource.  Along this path, I have written about settler colonialism in several articles including here and here.

        Trying to discover more about white territorial conquest led to my becoming open to learning more about Indigenous ways of seeing the world.  I am especially indebted to my colleague in the National Council of Elders (NCOE), Kathy Sanchez and other leaders of Tewa Women United for helping me find an escape hatch out of the exclusively white-way-of-thinking.

      • This Is What Happens to Child Migrants Found Alone at the US Border
      • Just Out of Jail, Winona LaDuke Decries Militarized Crackdown on Line 3 Protests
      • Revealing ‘Extreme and Regressive Strategy,’ Mississippi Asks SCOTUS to Overturn Roe

        Mississippi’s attorney general on Thursday explicitly asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade as the state appeals a lower court ruling on its ban of nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of gestation.

        The opening brief (pdf) Mississippi filed with the court, said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, “reveals the extreme and regressive strategy, not just of this law, but of the avalanche of abortion bans and restrictions that are being passed across the country.”

      • American Psychosis

        In Afghanistan, after two decades of corruption and chaos, drone attacks and door-kicking and cold-blooded executions, the Taliban gliding back into power. For the entirety of their occupation, Washington turned a blind eye to gross abuses of power and position by the government they installed. Just as in Viet Nam, they’re running away and leaving an unholy mess, with more than three million internally displace people. They still can’t win a war, and Afghan irregulars have once again defeated a superpower (two down, none to go). Do locals feel grateful that The President chose their distant country as a locus for weapons system testing? Seemingly not.

        The Afghan government is so criminally inept that its expensively equipped regular soldiers are as redundant as Joe Biden’s dog walker. Trained at vast expense by American and British officers who won hearts and minds with seminars on topics such as personal hygiene, Afghan soldiers are as sick as everyone else of the destruction. Rather than fight the Taliban, they run away as fast as their legs can carry them. It seems that all those infantry training manuals expensively translated into Pashtun and Dari and Tajik omitted the importance of ‘having something to fight for’.

      • Legal Brief From Mississippi AG Calls for Supreme Court to Undo Abortion Rights
      • FBI Admits It Got 4,500 Tips on Kavanaugh But Didn’t Investigate Them
      • Texas School District’s Facial Recognition System Capable Of Capturing A Single Student’s Image More Than 1,000 Times A Week

        Facial recognition tech is making its way into schools, subjecting minors to the same tech that still hasn’t proven its worth in the adult world. Like many other surveillance encroachments, this acquisition and deployment was prompted by violence and fear.

      • Biden Upholds Last-Minute Trump Memo That Would Send 4,000 People Back to Prison
      • Court Docs Appear To Show FBI Informants Contributed Two-Thirds Of The Conspirators To The Michigan Governor Kidnapping Plot

        The FBI’s proclivity for inside jobs has not gone unnoticed here at Techdirt. The FBI primarily considers itself a counterterrorist agency these days, which has led to a lot of undercover work that closely resembles entrapment.

      • Maine Legislature Ends Civil Asset Forfeiture In The State

        The state of Maine recently enacted the strictest facial recognition limitations in the country, prohibiting the use of the tech in most areas of the government and preventing state law enforcement from acquiring it. The tech can still be used, but all searches must be run through either the FBI or the state’s database via the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Citizens who believe they’ve been unlawfully subjected to facial recognition tech can sue state agencies for violations of the law.

      • 35 Years Later, Looking Back at the Founding of FAIR

        It was 35 years ago this month that I left my beloved Venice, California, to move to New York City to launch FAIR. Not many progressive nonprofits endure 35 years, but FAIR has survived and thrived.

      • The Two Big Lies of WSJ’s Attack on Critical Race Theory

        The Wall Street Journal editorial board (7/7/21) recently condemned teachers’ support for anti-racist curricula and professional development. In a piece headlined “The Teachers Unions Go Woke”—because the right loves to use that term as a pejorative—the board wrote:

      • Curb Your McCarthyism: An Early Test for Israel’s New Minister of Education

        This week, the High Court of Justice informed the new Minister of Education, Yifat Shasha-Biton, that she has three weeks to decide her position regarding one of the last acts of her predecessor, Yoav Gallant of Netanyahu’s government. Before leaving his post, Gallant made a final decision as Education Minister not to award the high-profile Israel Prize in computer science to a professor at the Weizmann Institute, Oded Goldreich.

        Initially, Gallant vetoed the award of the prize back in April in the wake of a right-wing group ‘uncovering’ the academic’s alleged support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In a follow-up to the veto, Gallant cast himself in the role of chief prosecutor in an investigation into the granting of the prize and Goldreich was summoned to a hearing whose function was to determine the answers to questions regarding petitions and open letters signed by him, his position regarding BDS and his activities in a group called Academia for Equality.

      • The right to international travel and the right to a U.S. passport

        In late 2015, as we noted at the time, Congress voted — as part of an unrelated surface transportation bill — to authorize the Department of State to revoke and/or refuse to issue a U.S. passport to anyone against whom the IRS has assessed an administrative lien or levy (even in the absence of any judicial action) for $50,000 or more in tax debt.

        This week, the first appellate court to review this law upheld it as Constitutional, although on limited grounds. In its “per curiam” opinion in Maehr v. Department of State, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by a U.S. District Court judge in Colorado dismissing a lawsuit by Jeffrey T. Maehr, one of almost half a million people who have been deemed subject to revocation or non-issuance of U.S. passports, and thus prohibited from legally leaving (or returning to) the U.S.,  for alleged tax debts.

        Two judges wrote opinions in support of the “per curiam” decision, each joined in different parts by the third member of the three-judge panel.

      • For enslaving two Yazidi women: Widow of IS terrorist sentenced by German court

        The Hanseatic Higher Regional Court was convinced that the widow of IS terrorist and rapper Denis Cuspert (“Deso Dogg”), as a member of the terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS), aided and abetted a crime against humanity in the form of enslavement under the International Criminal Code. [...]

      • Rise of the Right: White Supremacy and the Myth of the “White Working-Class”

        America’s culture of white supremacy is longstanding, and not confined to the Republican-right. Recent polling reveals that large numbers of Americans can be classified as white nationalists, including members of both parties. An October 2019 Associated Press poll found that 22 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans agreed that “a culture established by the country’s early European immigrants” is “important” “to the United States identity as a nation.” Such sentiment draws on classic white nationalist sentiments that identify white “European immigrants” as central to the national “culture” and “identity” and what it means to be American.

        Similar to AP’s 2019 poll, a University of Virginia poll from 2018 revealed that 35 percent of Americans, including 26 percent of Democrats, 29 percent of independents, and 51 percent of Republicans, agreed that “America must protect and preserve its White European heritage.” The poll revealed much about American denialism, as only 8 percent of respondents were willing to admit in the survey that they support “white nationalism,” despite the alternatively worded question above serving as a functional equivalent for white nationalism, and demonstrating that 35 percent of respondents agreed that “America” as a nation should define “its” identity via “White European heritage.” Put another way, the discrepancy here suggests that while only 8 percent of Americans admit they are white nationalists, another 27 percent “fit the bill,” but are unwilling to openly identify as so for fear of the stigma that comes along with it.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Biden Still Hasn’t Picked An FCC Boss, But He Just Tagged A Comcast Lobbyist As Ambassador To Canada

        Consumer groups have grown increasingly annoyed at the Biden administration’s failure to pick a third Democratic Commissioner and permanent FCC boss six months into his term. After the rushed Trump appointment of unqualified Trump BFF Nathan Simington to the agency (as part of that dumb and now deceased plan to have the FCC regulate social media), the agency now sits gridlocked at 2-2 commissioners under interim FCC head Jessica Rosenworcel.

    • Monopolies

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DecorWhat Else is New


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  3. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 17, 2021

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  10. [Meme] 70 Days of Non-Compliance

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  12. Links 16/9/2021: Linux Mint Has New Web Site, LibreOffice 7.2.1, KDE Plasma 5.23 Beta, and Sailfish OS Verla

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  17. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, September 15, 2021

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    Links for the day



  22. Open Invention Network (OIN) Recognises a Risk Posed to Cryptocurrencies (Danger From Software Patents), But OIN Still Proposes the Wrong Solutions

    Square is joining OIN, but it's another example of banking/financial institutions choosing to coexist with software patents instead of putting an end to them



  23. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, September 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, September 14, 2021



  24. (Super)Free Software As a Right – The Manifesto

    "Software text has long been recognized as “speech”, and is covered under the very same copyright laws as conventional printed matter."



  25. Links 15/9/2021: Java 17 / JDK 17 Released and ExpressVPN Sold

    Links for the day



  26. Latest Public Talk (Over BigBlueButton) by Richard Stallman is Now Online

    This video has been released; it starts with an old talk and then proceeds to a new discussion (14 minutes from the start)



  27. Richard Stallman Is Not Surrendering His Free Speech

    The homepage of Dr. Stallman looked like this on Saturday, 20 years since the September 11 attacks in the US, noting that “[t]oday we commemorate the September 11 attacks, which killed President Allende of Chile and installed Pinochet’s murderous military dictatorship. More than 3,000 dissidents were killed or “disappeared” by the Pinochet regime. The USA operated a destabilization campaign in Chile, and the September 11, 1973, attacks were part of that campaign.”



  28. Twitter -- Like Google's YouTube -- is 'Hiding' Tweets From People Who Follow You

    So-called 'entertainment' platforms disguised as 'social' aren't the future of media; they need to be rejected



  29. How to Track the Development or Construction of the Techrights Web Site and Gemini Capsule

    Following some busy publication schedule (heavy lifting for weeks) we're stopping a bit or slowing down for the purpose of site (or capsule) 'construction'; here's a status update



  30. Links 14/9/2021: Libinput 1.19, Kali Linux 2021.3, and ExTiX Deepin 21.9

    Links for the day


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