08.03.21

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Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Leftovers

    • Opinion | To Make the World A Human Dwelling Place For All: I Can’t Believe What You Say Because I See What You Do
    • “We Will Live in a Completely Different World”: A Conversation With Svetlana Alexievich

      Nadezhda Azhgikhina: Svetlana, human rights organizations are concerned by the new wave of repressions in Belarus; the independent press and civil society are being targeted. The Belarus Association of Journalists is in danger of being shut down, and so is the Belarus PEN Center

    • Welcome to Western China!

      Forbidding millions of people from boarding a train, ordering a meal outdoors, or watching a film in a cinema without proving they are not infected by showing, as many as ten times a day, a document that business-owners will have to check, shifts us into another world.

      That world already exists and it’s called China. Police officers there have augmented-reality glasses linked to thermal cameras on their helmets so they can pick out a person with a temperature in a crowd. Is this what we want?

    • St. Petersburg artist auctions off ‘foreign agent’ tattoo in support of Meduza

      Arina, an illustrator and tattoo artist from St. Petersburg — also known by her Instagram handle awaystland — has announced plans to auction off a “foreign agent” tattoo in support of Meduza and the advocacy group Nasiliu.net (No to Violence). 

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Fed Up With Democrats, Thousands March to Demand Medicare for All

        To be fair, President Joe Biden has done what he promised to do during his campaign, which is to preserve and strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and effectively expand private health insurance coverage via subsidies. The ACA is not designed to cover all people with the best and most affordable health care. Biden’s major legislative achievement thus far, the American Rescue Plan, included more government subsidies for private health insurance plans to cover unemployed Americans while leaving millions more out of the equation. Neither the ACA nor the American Rescue Plan’s health care provisions ensure that all Americans have good-quality free health care.

        The only assurance is that private insurance company profits remain healthy. Earlier this summer, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a campaign to encourage Americans to sign up for private insurance through HealthCare.gov (perhaps a more appropriate address for the website would be HealthInsurance.gov). The Biden administration celebrated the fact that 2 million more Americans were able to purchase low-cost or no-cost private health insurance plans or sign up under expanded Medicaid programs. The insurance industry front group Partnership for America’s Health Care Future echoed that number as an achievement to celebrate. But neither made mention of the tens of millions who remain uninsured and underinsured. There is even less acknowledgment of the fact that tax dollars are subsidizing corporate profits for what is often mediocre health care coverage.

      • Opinion | How Media Consolidation Endangers Our Health Amid Pandemic

        On Sunday, New York Times journalists Sheera Frenkel and Tiffany Hsu wrote on a topic that’s gone underreported: the role that local radio and television stations play in spreading lies about COVID vaccines.

      • Lock Down (Again?)
      • Vaccinated People May Spread the Virus, Though Rarely, C.D.C. Reports

        In the new report, which was intended to explain the agency’s sudden revision to its masking advice for vaccinated Americans, the C.D.C. described an outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., this month that quickly mushroomed to 470 cases in Massachusetts alone, as of Thursday.

        Three-quarters of the infected were fully immunized, and the Delta variant was found in most of the samples that were genetically analyzed. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people who were infected carried high levels of the virus, the agency reported.

      • Pfizer, Moderna raising vaccine prices in Europe: report

        Reuters reported that Pfizer has raised the price of its vaccine from 15.50 euros to 19.50 euros, or around $23.15. Moderna has raised its prices to the equivalent of about $25.50 per dose.

      • Pfizer and Moderna raise prices for COVID-19 vaccines in EU- FT

        The new price for the Pfizer shot was 19.50 euros ($23.15)against 15.50 euros previously, the newspaper said, citing portions of the contracts seen.

        The price of a Moderna vaccine was $25.50 a dose, the contracts show, up from about 19 euros in the first procurement deal but lower than the previously agreed $28.50 because the order had grown, the report said, citing one official close to the matter.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Pegasus and the Threat of Cyberweapons in the Age of Smartphones

            The possible targets not only include journalists and activists, but also government officials. This includes 14 heads of states and governments: three presidents (France’s Emmanuel Macron, Iraq’s Barham Salih and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa), three sitting and seven former prime ministers, and a king (Morocco’s Mohammed VI). The three sitting prime ministers are Pakistan’s Imran Khan, Egypt’s Mostafa Madbouly and Morocco’s Saad-Eddine El Othmani. Among the seven former prime ministers are Lebanon’s Saad Hariri, France’s Édouard Philippe, Algeria’s Noureddine Bedoui and Belgium’s Charles Michel, according to the Washington Post.

            Once the malware is installed on a target’s phone, the spyware not only provides full access to the device’s data but also controls the phone’s microphone and camera. Instead of a device for use by the owner, the phone becomes a device that can be used to spy on them, recording not only telephonic conversations but also in-person conversations, including images of the participants. The collected information and data are then transmitted back to those deploying Pegasus.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The Cryptocurrency Surveillance Provision Buried in the Infrastructure Bill is a Disaster for Digital Privacy

              While the language is still evolving, the proposal would seek to expand the definition of “broker” under section 6045(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include anyone who is “responsible for and regularly providing any service effectuating transfers of digital assets” on behalf of another person. These newly defined brokers would be required to comply with IRS reporting requirements for brokers, including filing form 1099s with the IRS. That means they would have to collect user data, including users’ names and addresses.

              The broad, confusing language leaves open a door for almost any entity within the cryptocurrency ecosystem to be considered a “broker”—including software developers and cryptocurrency startups that aren’t custodying or controlling assets on behalf of their users. It could even potentially implicate miners, those who confirm and verify blockchain transactions. The mandate to collect names, addresses, and transactions of customers means almost every company even tangentially related to cryptocurrency may suddenly be forced to surveil their users. 

              How this would work in practice is still very much an open question. Indeed, perhaps this extremely broad interpretation was not even the intent of the drafters of this language. But given the rapid timeline for the bill’s likely passage, those answers may not be resolved before it hits the Senate floor for a vote.

            • Zoom settles $85 million class-action lawsuit — see how much you could get
            • Zoom Agrees To Settle A Privacy Lawsuit For $85 Million

              The settlement still requires approval by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., but if she signs off, subscribers would receive 15% refunds on their core subscriptions, or $25, whichever amount is larger. Zoom users who did not pay for an account can submit a claim for $15. Zoom will also up its security, committing to alerting users about third-party app data sharing, and taking more measures to safeguard user data.

            • New German ID Cards: More control, less freedom?

              There’s a pressing reason why data protection activists like Leena Simon are raising the alarm: From August 2, authorities in Germany are planning to massively extend requirements for fingerprints to be registered. From that day on, all German citizens applying for a new government-issued ID will be obliged to permit their fingerprints to be stored electronically on the card. So far, this was a voluntary procedure for ID cards and obligatory only for separate passport documents.

              More than 62 million Germans have an ID card. They have the same dimensions as a credit card and are valid for 10 years. Most people use them for everyday movements within the country, although they can also be used for traveling around the EU.

            • New Polish ID cards blocked after fingerprint scanners raise security concerns

              The introduction of new national identity cards in Poland has been delayed indefinitely amid concerns expressed by the Internal Security Agency (ABW) about the threat to state security and personal privacy posed by fingerprint scanners.

              The government has confirmed that it is preparing urgent legislation to postpone the issuance of the cards, which were due to come in on 2 August and bring Poland into line with new EU security rules.

            • [Old] REGULATION (EU) 2019/1157 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 20 June 2019 on strengthening the security of identity cards of Union citizens and of residence documents issued to Union citizens and their family members exercising their right of free movement (Text with EEA relevance)

              5. Identity cards shall include a highly secure storage medium which shall contain a facial image of the holder of the card and two fingerprints in interoperable digital formats. For the capture of biometric identifiers, Member States shall apply the technical specifications as established by Commission Implementing Decision C(2018) 7767 (13).

            • DOJ Official Supports Mandatory Breach Reporting [iophk: Windows TCO]

              There is currently no federal law requiring such disclosures, but bipartisan Senate legislation co-sponsored by Senator Angus King, I-Maine, would change that. Titled Cyber Incident Notification Act of 2021, the bill was introduced last month.

              This legislation would require all contractors, federal agencies, companies, and organizations critical to U.S national security to report all breaches of data to the Department of Homeland Securities’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within 24 hours.

              The bill and discussions about it come in light of high-profile cyberattacks that have targeted software company SolarWinds and oil transport company Colonial Pipeline in the last several months. And the discussion isn’t expected to slowdown as more critical infrastructure is hooked up to the [I]nternet.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Decolonizing Pan-Americanism

        The concept of Pan-Americanism has been a contested space since the early nineteenth century between the Bolivarian project of uniting the newly independent states of Latin America against foreign interference, on the one hand, and Monroeism, which has sought to establish the Americas as a protectorate of the U.S., on the other.[1] The idea that the U.S. has the historic mission of leading a process of Pan-American unity against any European incursion contains the contradiction of introducing a new process of colonization, with all its multiple hierarchies of domination (race, class, gender, culture), but this time by Washington, in the name of regional autonomy and mutual assistance. Today we are witnessing a growing aversion to the Monroeist vision of Pan-Americanism as manifest in the deteriorating legitimacy of the Organization of American States (OAS) as an impartial association of the hemisphere’s countries. This deterioration is precisely due to Washington’s relentless opposition to Latin American independence and integration and its failure to adopt a policy based on recognition of the sovereign equality of nations.

        Biden follows Trump’s path

      • Opinion | Resisting Nuclear Weapons in a Climate Crisis

        On July 21, I was walking in the forests surrounding the German Air Force Base at Büchel in the Eifel Mountains with three Catholic Worker friends, Susan van der Hijden of Amsterdam, Netherlands, Susan Crane of Redwood City, California, and Christiane Danowski of Dortmund, Germany. We were there at the end of an “International Week” of protests against the approximately 20 US nuclear gravity bombs known as B61s kept at the base in a “nuclear sharing” agreement with the United States.

      • Just Let the Militias Have Iraq

        So peace may be a strong word for a weak gesture, but it’s still more than I had hoped for from a century long chickenhawk like Joe. And despite the incessant sob stories coming out of the mainstream media, who will have you and anyone unfortunate enough to listen believe that imperial conquest is the key to feminism in savage brown countries, there appears to finally be something of a bipartisan consensus that Afghanistan has been a gigantic waste of time and resources. Which frankly begs the question, what the fuck are we still doing in Iraq?

        Out of the two flagship wars on terror, Iraq was always the more obvious mistake. At least Afghanistan had actually hosted the fuckers responsible for 9/11, even if they were more than willing to hand them over before we started shooting. The Iraq War had been precipitated on such obvious lies that I was able to expose them on my PC at 15 in between lesbian porno binges. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam fucking hated al-Qaeda more than we did. And yet we’re still there. Biden can call them advisors all he wants but some 2,500 troops are still in Babylon, ready to die for some hopped up neocon conspiracy to control the world’s oil supply.

      • The Washington Post Won’t Let Go of Afghanistan

        Meanwhile, civilian casualties in Afghanistan reached record highs in May and June, with women and children making up nearly half of the losses.  The Afghan air force killed and wounded more than twice as many civilians in that period as in the first half of 2020.  During one five-month period in Afghanistan, nearly 90 percent of the people killed by U.S. drones were not the intended target.  The source of the latter information, whistleblower David Hale, was just given a 45-month prison sentence for leaking documents with this information.  President Biden’s Department of Justice was seeking a nine-year sentence.

        The critics of the withdrawal make very little sense; they are led by David Ignatius, the national security columnist of the Washington Post, who typically shills for the military and intelligence communities.  Last week’s column (“Biden’s options on Afghanistan are shrinking”) is a stunner in view of the fact that the United States has been trying to negotiate an end to this miserable war with one foot long out the door.  Ignatius believes the Biden administration should have left our thousands of contractors in the country to “help the Afghan army continue its operations.”  But who would protect the U.S. contractors?  With the Afghan army, including members of the elite commando corps, beating a hasty retreat from the Taliban, there is no reason to believe the so-called Afghan government could do so.

      • January 6 Commission Is Necessary But Isn’t Likely to Break Trump’s Grip on GOP
      • Dems Blast McCarthy Over Joke About Violence Toward Pelosi With Speaker’s Gavel
      • Can Saudis/US Use Water Crisis to Bring Yemenis to Their Knees?

        When the well ran dry, Abu Yahya al-Hamdani, who provides water to many residents of the Saruf neighborhood in northeastern Sana`a, had no warning. Last week, the water table dipped lower in his water well and the pump began to suck air. For the families in the neighborhood, to whom the danger of water shortage suddenly became visible, the specter of dying of thirst is closer than ever.

      • Whistleblower Daniel Hale Sentenced To 45 Months In Prison For Exposing The Horrors Of US Drone Strike Programs

        So begins the very dry press release from the Department of Justice. What this is, though, is another successful prosecution of a whistleblower. The “Tennessee man” is Daniel Hale, the whistleblower who exposed the breadth and reach of the United States’ extrajudicial killing programs.

      • US suffocates Cuba for unwavering, victorious anti-imperialism at great cost
      • As Taliban Advances, Europe Fears an Afghan Migration Crisis

        Around 2,000 Afghans a day are entering Turkey, and migration experts expect the numbers to surge as the Taliban seizes control of more of Afghanistan.

        The Taliban is currently besieging three major cities in south and west Afghanistan to add to the rapid rural gains it has made in recent weeks in the wake of the decision by the Biden administration to withdraw US troops from the country. Almost all NATO troops will be gone by September. Few observers believe the Afghan government will be able to hold out and last week a Pentagon watchdog warned that the country’s government will likely face an “existential crisis.”

      • Big-Money Republican Donors Are Now Backing the GOP’s War on Fair Elections

        Mayer captures one of the oddities that make it hard for so many journalists to capture the big picture here: So many of the small details are inane. She covers the Arizona “forensic audit” (or “fraudit”) in Maricopa County, and the cast of bizarros behind it, from the grifting Cyber Ninjas to the Overstock.com guy to babbling QAnonics. It’s easy to chuckle at the lunacy on display. But Republicans in other states, and within powerful big-money groups, are taking notes, and hoping to spread the election-undermining tactic to other states where Biden’s win was fairly narrow—Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania among them. The point is not that they can steal the 2020 election—they can’t—but they’re laying the groundwork for 2022 and 2024. That’s what has Hasen “scared shitless”: the spread of “election subversion,” new laws passed across the country that will elevate election officials “who will mess with the count,” he told Mayer.

      • Third Officer Who Responded to US Capitol Attack Dies by Suicide

        This is the third known suicide of a police officer who responded to the attack on the Capitol.

      • He Killed Himself After the Jan. 6 [Insurrection]. Did He Die in the Line of Duty?

        On Friday, his widow, Erin Smith, will petition the Police and Firefighters’ Retirement and Relief Board to designate her husband’s suicide as a death in the line of duty, a designation that comes with vastly greater financial benefits and, she says, more dignity. But the odds are decidedly against her.

      • Four officers who responded to U.S. Capitol attack have died by suicide

        The District of Columbia’s police department on Monday said two more police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol have died by suicide, bringing to four the number of known suicides by officers who guarded the building that day.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • How a ProPublica Reporter Learned Scammers’ Secret Sauce

        When the federal government enacted the CARES Act in March 2020, it boosted jobless aid and expanded the benefits to include people who weren’t typically covered, like gig workers. The legislation was designed to cushion workers against the massive blow of a partial economic shutdown during the pandemic.

        But if you haven’t already buried your memories of last year, you probably remember how difficult it was to get those unemployment benefits.

    • Environment

      • “The Ants and the Grasshopper”: Raj Patel’s New Film Aims to “Decolonize” Climate & Health Solutions

        We look at a groundbreaking new documentary on the climate crisis and the global food system, “The Ants and the Grasshopper,” which follows the journey of a Malawian farmer as she tries to end hunger and gender inequality in her village, and tackle climate change in the United States. “In this film, what we’re trying to do is decolonize the view of how it is that we fix the climate crisis and the health crisis by foregrounding the wisdom of peasants from around the world, whether they’re in the United States or from Malawi,” says co-director Raj Patel.

      • 4 Major Environmental Treaties the U.S. Never Ratified — But Should
      • Report Outlines ‘Crucial’ Need for Biden Administration to Aid Climate Refugees

        A leading refugee advocacy organization on Monday published a report outlining ways in which the Biden administration can help people displaced by the ever-worsening climate emergency find safety.

        “The U.S. government has many tools that it can use now to make a meaningful impact on the lives of climate-displaced people.”—IRAP report

      • Protestors Gather to Highlight Social Justice and Environmental ‘Crime Scene’ at Mossmorran Petrochemical Complex

        Yesterday, Fife locals were joined by hundreds of environmental campaigners from across Scotland at the gates of the Mossmorran petrochemical complex – Scotland’s third largest emitter. 

        The protest was part of Scotland’s first “Climate Camp” in over a decade, a weekend of dedicated climate activism in the area. It follows five years of campaigning at a local level to shut down the twin ethylene and liquid natural gas (LNG) plants at Mossmorran.

        Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

      • ‘Civil Disobedience Is Our Duty’: Swiss Climate Campaigners Occupy Zürich Financial Center

        Climate justice campaigners occupied the center of Zürich’s financial district Monday to demand that the two biggest banks in Switzerland divest from oil, gas, and coal.

        Dozens of “singing and chanting activists” blocked entrances to the headquarters of Credit Suisse and a UBS office building on Paradeplatz square, Reuters reported. Police officers arrested about 30 people who refused to disperse during the peaceful demonstration.

      • Opinion | How Corporate Courts Impede Efforts to Battle the Climate Crisis

        Any day now, Italy expects to be ordered to hand millions of dollars over to an oil exploration corporation, following the Italian government’s decision to ban such exploration off its coast.

      • Near-Record Temps and Deadly Fires Engulf Southern Europe

        Southern Europe continues to bake and burn under intense heat Monday as scores of fires have forced evacuations and caused mass destruction across Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

        “We are facing the worst heat wave since 1987,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Monday, referring to week-long soaring temperatures that year which claimed over 1,000 lives.

      • Energy

        • What if bitcoin went to zero?

          A rout could be triggered either by shocks from within the system, say through a technical failure, or a big hack of a leading exchange. Or they could come from outside it: a clampdown by regulators, for instance, or an abrupt end to the “everything rally” in markets, say in response to central banks raising interest rates.

        • Illegal crypto-mining operation discovered in Polish police HQ

          The civilian employee reportedly used the station’s computers, which he upgraded with specialised software, to mine cryptocurrency. He also stole the station’s electricity for the power-intensive process.

          The National Police Command’s (KGP) spokesman, Mariusz Ciarka, told Notes from Poland that the employee in question did not access police databases. No breaches of the internal Police Data Transmission Network had been detected.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The Collapse of Wild Red Wolves Is a Warning That Should Worry Us All

          The killing of red wolf 11768f was the beginning of the bad times for this country’s most critically endangered canid. It was mid-2015, and 11768F was a six-year-old matriarch with a mate and a large family. She’d already given birth several times before, and the evidence suggests she may have been caring for more newborns in the wet coastal forests that flourish near North Carolina’s Outer Banks. She and her family were supposed to be safe, thanks to the strong protections of the Endangered Species Act, which makes it a crime to harm or harass listed animals like red wolves. But then, in a foreshadowing of events to follow, the federal government issued her death warrant: It gave a private landowner permission to gun her down. By late June, she was dead. She was the first-ever federally listed red wolf shot and killed by a private individual with explicit government consent.1This article was written with the support of the Alicia Patterson Foundation.

    • Finance

      • Collapsing Federal Corporate Crime Enforcement

        Despite constant exposés in the mainstream media – still only reporting the tip of the iceberg – neither members of Congress nor presidents from the Republican and Democratic parties have raised the banner of tough “law and order” to counter rampaging corporate crime. Proposals to bring the laws up to date in their penalties and coverage to deter corporate lawbreaking are never a priority for Congress. When was the last time you heard a politician demand “corporate reform”?

        Many people still remember how Wall Street, in its greed and power, collapsed the economy in 2008-2009, cost nine million jobs, shredded pension and mutual funds, and insisted on a multi-trillion-dollar bailout. In 2018 Public Citizen found during President Donald Trump’s first year in office, enforcement against corporate crime and wrongdoing plummeted from the final year of the Obama administration (See Corporate Impunity “Tough on Crime” Trump Is Weak on Corporate Crime and Wrongdoing).

      • Hundreds Arrested in DC Demanding Voting Rights, End to Poverty, and Death of Filibuster

        Leaders of the national Poor People’s Campaign and Rev. Jesse Jackson were among hundreds of people arrested in Washington, D.C. during a direct action Monday led by clergy and low-wage workers from across the country.

        The “Moral Monday” event—which follows last week’s 27-mile, four-day march in Texas, one of several states where GOP lawmakers have attacked voting rights this year—elevated demands for congressional action to protect ballot access and improve the lives of working people.

      • Homes — Not “Sanctioned Encampments” — Are the Solution to Homelessness
      • AOC Slams Democrats Who Would Rather Skip Town Than Vote to Extend Eviction Ban
      • Graduate Workers at UT Austin Are Undervalued, Underpaid, and Demanding Answers

        Over the past year, American universities have been eager to tout their role in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. Among them, the University of Texas at Austin has taken particular pride in its role in developing and delivering vaccines and in graduating its first class of Dell Medical School students. However, these avowed commitments to health ring hollow considering that UT Austin, like many universities and medical centers across the country, fails to prioritize the health of its own students and employees. The university’s careless response to Covid emphasized “good choices” over strong, central leadership and transparent reporting. While UT does not report deaths on its Covid dashboard, graduate workers know of at least three staff members who died of the virus over the past year.

      • Capitalism Primes Our Bodies for Illness
      • Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer Told ‘Stop Playing the Blame Game’ and Extend Eviction Moratorium

        As congressional leaders and the White House continued to point fingers on Monday while coronavirus cases kept rising largely due to the highly contagious Delta variant, the youth-led Sunrise Movement and other progressives demanded that Democratic leadership act to extend the recently expired federal moratorium on evictions by any means necessary.

        “Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer: Stop playing the blame game and show us who you stand for.”—Lauren Maunus, Sunrise Movement

      • GDP Rises 6.5 Percent in Second Quarter, Passing Pre-Pandemic Level of Output

        Productivity Growth Still Strong

        While the growth for the quarter was somewhat lower than had generally been expected, it would still likely imply strong productivity growth for the quarter. With the increase in hours worked likely to come in near 4.0 percent, the GDP figure would imply productivity growth near 2.5 percent. This is lower than the 4.1 percent rate from the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 but far above the 1.0 percent annual rate in the decade preceding the pandemic. If this sort of uptick in productivity growth could be sustained, it makes it unlikely that inflation would be a problem in the years ahead.

      • America’s Billionaires: Borrowing Their Way to Ever More Fabulous Fortunes

        The Rockefeller family had hired Rivera to paint the artistic centerpiece of the newly constructed Rockefeller Center in New York. Rivera’s resulting mural contrasted the “debauched rich” with workers on the rise. Right-wingers went apoplectic. Young Nelson, getting hammered, asked Rivera to remove an image of Lenin from the mural. Rivera refused, offering instead to add a portrait of Lincoln.

        The Rockefellers would eventually have Rivera’s mural plastered over, but not before E. B. White, the beloved author of Charlotte’s Web, penned “a classic of light verse” on the face-off for the New Yorker. His poem’s most famous couplet had grandson Nelson excusing his censorship:

      • “Inflamed”: Dr. Rupa Marya & Raj Patel on Deep Medicine & How Capitalism Primes Us for Sickness

        As much of the world struggles to cope with the pandemic and its impacts, we speak with Dr. Rupa Marya and Raj Patel, co-authors of the new book, “Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice,” which examines the social and environmental roots of poor health. “Inflammation is the body’s appropriate response to damage, or the threat of damage,” says Marya, a physician and co-founder of the Do No Harm Coalition. “We’re learning that the social structures around us, the environmental, political structures around us, are tuning the immune system to sound out the full range of inflammation.” Patel adds that “capitalism primes bodies … for sickness.”

      • “Give Us the Moratorium”: Rep. Cori Bush Sleeps on Capitol Steps Demanding Eviction Protection

        We speak with Missouri Congressmember Cori Bush, who is formerly unhoused, about why she has been sleeping on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with others since Friday night to protest her colleagues’ decision to adjourn for August recess without passing an extension to the federal eviction moratorium, which expired July 31, as millions are behind on rent. Bush tells Democracy Now! she could not “walk away from this situation and go on vacation” knowing that millions of people could end up on the streets. “This isn’t easy. This is not performative in any way. I would rather be at home, but I understand the urgency and the need of this crisis right now,” Bush says.

      • Lebanon’s “National Financial Suicide”
      • Deutsche Bank Pivots to Virtual Tech Conference as Delta Spreads

        Deutsche Bank AG will shift its September technology conference to a completely virtual format as governments and businesses come to grips with the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘You can’t trust them’ Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Director accuses investigative journalists of working with Western spy agencies

        In an exclusive interview with talk show host Vladimir Solovyov, the Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (the SVR) Sergey Naryshkin claimed that a number of independent Russian news outlets are part of a “network” allegedly linked to Western intelligence services via the investigative outlet Bellingcat. Naryshkin also reiterated claims that the August 2020 poisoning of opposition politician Alexey Navalny was orchestrated by the West, and said that the SVR is anticipating “new provocations” in the lead up to Russia’s fall elections. Meduza summarizes Sergey Naryshkin’s “Solovyov Live” interview here.

      • 100 State Lawmakers From 20 States Join TX Dems in DC to Defend Voting Rights
      • ‘He Should Resign’: Women’s Rights Group Denounces Violent Misogyny of Kevin McCarthy

        The women’s rights group UltraViolet on Monday added its voice to the chorus of condemnation of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after the California Republican joked how difficult it would be to not beat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the chamber’s gavel should he win her job following the 2022 midterm elections.

        McCarthy’s comments came during a Tennessee Republican Party fundraiser on Saturday, at which he was presented with an oversized gavel.

      • 100+ State Lawmakers Join Texas Dems in DC to Demand Passage of For the People Act

        More than 100 state lawmakers from across the United States converged on Washington, D.C. Monday to join Texas Democrats—who fled Austin to block voter suppression legislation—in demanding that the U.S. Senate pass the For the People Act.

        The sweeping pro-democracy bill was approved by the Democrat-controlled House in March, but it has stalled in the evenly divided Senate. In June, Republican senators blocked debate on the For the People Act, fueling calls for Democrats to abolish the legislative filibuster.

      • Percentage of Russians who vote in elections hits 17-year low, VTsIOM reports

        The share of Russian citizens who vote in elections has reached a 17-year low, writes RBC, citing a survey conducted by the state-owned Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM).

      • The Little Talked About Covid-19 ‘Variants’: Vaccine Mismanagement Will Have Dire Repercussions

        These ambitious goals, which included the eradication of “extreme poverty and hunger”, to “combating lethal diseases” and “reducing child mortality worldwide”, proved to be yet another empty gesture which, unsurprisingly, amounted to little.

        Even if the architects of the project were well-intentioned as they labored to meet the 2015 deadline, the lack of true international solidarity made their commendable program simply impossible.

      • Time Running Out for Democrats to Block GOP Gerrymandering Bonanza

        With the U.S. Census Bureau set to release data on August 16 that state governments will use to redraw their 10-year congressional and state legislative maps, progressives are warning Democrats in Congress that if they fail to pass redistricting reform within the next two weeks, Republicans are likely to gerrymander their way to decade-long GOP majorities in the House and in dozens of state houses.

        “You cannot out-organize a well-crafted gerrymander. Once manipulated maps are drawn, they will be almost impossible to overcome.”—Michael Li, Brennan Center for Justice

      • Opposition politician Violetta Grudina detained following release from forced hospitalization

        Murmansk police detained opposition politician Violetta Grudina on the morning of August 2 — immediately after she was released from the medical facility where she was involuntarily hospitalized in mid-July.

      • Opinion | Trump ‘Shadow Cabinet’ Drains Its Followers of Cash—and the Coup Rolls On

        Even though the number of dying Trump followers increases daily, his coup rolls on.

      • Trump’s “Shadow Cabinet” Ensures His Coup Is Ongoing
      • Both-Sidesing Democracy to Death

        After January 6, we noted (FAIR.org, 1/18/21) that many in corporate media finally found the courage to cast aside their commitment to false equivalence. Presumably shocked by what they had witnessed, reporters began using words like “sedition” and “incitement” without having to put them in the mouth of a source who could then be balanced by an opposing view. News outlets directly stated that Donald Trump “set in motion” (New York Times, 1/6/21) or was responsible for “inciting” (CNN.com, 1/12/21) the deadly attack on democracy.

      • Pro-Trump social network inundated with terrorist propaganda: report

        Gettr, which was started last month by former President Trump’s campaign aide and spokesman Jason Miller, has seen a jump in posts from supporters of ISIS, including graphic content, videos of beheadings and memes of a militant executing the former president, who is shown wearing an orange jumpsuit, according to Politico.

        Moustafa Ayad, an executive director at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue who first informed POLITICO of the jihadi propaganda on Gettr, said that the Islamic State has been “very quick” to exploit the app.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Social Media Platforms Are a ‘Safe Space’ for Anti-Jewish Hate: Report

        Despite promises to crack down on hate speech, social media companies took no action against over 80% of the anti-Jewish posts—which included incitements to violence against Jews and Holocaust denial—reported on their platforms during a recent six-week period, a report published this weekend reveals.

        “This is not about algorithms or automation… Social media companies allow bigots to keep their accounts open and their hate to remain online, even when human moderators are notified.”—Imran Ahmed, CCDH

      • Antivax quack tycoon Joe Mercola profits selling COVID-19 disinformation

        I’ve written about Joseph Mercola, DO on a number of occasions over the years, dating back to before I ever joined this blog, first as a contributor and then as an editor. Out of curiosity, as I was writing this post I tried to identify the first time I ever wrote about Mercola. It turns out that it was quite long ago in 2005, at a point when my very first blog was just over six months old. At the time, Mercola was—surprise! surprise!—comparing school vaccine mandates to the Holocaust. Interestingly, the link to the original article that I discussed then now forwards to an article from 2009 that includes no mention of the Holocaust, and when I tried to find the original article at Archive.org, it turns out that the original link has been excluded from the almighty Wayback Machine. (It’s almost as though he was embarrassed by his use of the analogy, although it was useful to be reminded that the misuse and abuse of Holocaust was commonplace among antivaxxers even 19 years ago, years before my post.)

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Anti-domestic violence group ‘Nasiliu.net’ to launch crisis shelter program in Moscow

        Beginning in August, Nasiliu.net will provide emergency accommodations in Moscow hotels and hostels for victims of domestic violence, the advocacy group stated in a message to Meduza.

      • Amid Allegations of Child Endangerment, HHS Inspector General to Probe Fort Bliss Detention Facility

        The inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services said Monday that it is launching a review into a Biden administration-run detention center that holds thousands of unaccompanied migrant children in Fort Bliss, Texas following whistleblower allegations of unsafe conditions.

        The facility is one of the larger Emergency Intake Sites (EIS) set up to keep children out of Border Patrol custody, but human rights advocates say kids have languished there for too long and in conditions detrimental to their physical and mental well-being.

      • Sha’Carri Richardson’s Story Shows Us Drug Testing Is a Harmful Drug War Tactic
      • The Story of “El Chapo” and Why the Drug War Will Never End

        On January 31, 2019, US Customs and Border Protection announced its “biggest fentanyl bust ever,” 254 pounds of the synthetic opioid, discovered hidden under the floor of a tractor-trailer chock-full of Mexican contraband bound for Arizona and beyond. “Our great U.S. Border Patrol Agents made the biggest Fentanyl bust in our Country’s history,” then-President Donald Trump tweeted, back when he could still do that. “Thanks, as always, for a job well done!”

      • Lawsuit Initiated Against Trump for ‘Illegal’ Deportations Resumes Against Biden

        “The administration is choosing to treat refugees like political pawns, and so we are eager to return to court so we can end Title 42 for families once and for all.”—Noah Gottschalk, Oxfam America

      • ShotSpotter (Again) Spotted Altering Shots (And Spots) To Better Serve Police Narratives

        Dozens of cities around the nation are relying on early warning tech to help their law enforcement get out ahead of crime. (Well, get out slightly behind crime, to be accurate…) Microphones and sensors placed in strategic locations around cities pick up loud noises and pass this information on to police departments so they can scramble cops to the spotted shot.

      • ‘That’s how suicide cases end up’ Belarusian sports officials caught on tape trying to pressure sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya into quitting Tokyo Olympics after she criticized them publicly. Full transcript.

        A year after protests swept Belarus and nearly forced long-time ruler Alexander Lukashenko from office, the nation’s politics has followed Belarusian athletes to Tokyo. On August 1, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya appealed directly to the Japanese police at Haneda Airport and asked for help from the International Olympic Committee, saying that she was being forced suddenly onto a flight bound for Minsk. The 24-year-old sprinter says the pressure started after she criticized Belarusian sports officials for deciding without her knowledge that she would run a relay race for which she hadn’t trained, in order to fill in for a disqualified team member. In a message shared on social media, Tsimanouskaya said she now fears criminal prosecution if she returns to Belarus. International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams later told journalists that Tsimanouskaya is being protected by the Japanese authorities. The U.N. refugee agency is reportedly involved in her case, and both the Czech Republic and Poland say they are ready to offer the Belarusian Olympian a visa. According to the BBC, Tsimanouskaya is now considering seeking asylum in Europe.

      • New York Congresswoman Thinks It’s Too Hard To Be A Good Cop, Offers Up Bill That Would Codify Qualified Immunity

        Last summer, following the George Floyd killing, members of Congress introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. Among other reforms, the bill (since renamed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act) attempted to bring an end to qualified immunity, the Supreme Court-created legal doctrine that allows officers to escape civil rights lawsuits if the court decides no existing precedent would have put them on notice that the violation of rights they committed was actually a violation of rights.

      • 7 Years After Islamic State Genocide, Yazidi Survivors Still Seeking Justice

        “They say Daesh is no more. If that’s the case, then where are our missing ones? The parliament passed a law about Yazidi survivors, but where is its implementation? We need action,” she told VOA.

        Safeel said the “Yazidi genocide continues because we still have many missing people and most of us still reside in displacement camps.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Judge Shoots Down ViaSat’s Quest To Stall Starlink Launches

        For a few years, scientific researchers have warned that Elon Musk’s Starlink low orbit satellite broadband constellations are harming scientific research. Simply, the light pollution Musk claimed would never happen in the first place is making it far more difficult to study the night sky, a problem researchers say can be mitigated somewhat but not eliminated. Another problem is there are simply so many low orbit satellites being launched, the resulting space junk is creating navigation hazards. US regulators, so far, have done little to nothing about either problem.

      • After Exploiting Covid Broadband Program, Verizon Faces Unsurprising Opposition To Tracfone Merger

        When last we checked in with Verizon, the company had just been caught exploiting the government’s Covid broadband relief program to upsell struggling Americans to more expensive plans. Now, as Verizon tries to gain regulatory approval for its $6.2 billion acquisition of Tracfone, consumer groups and a small cadre of Senators are wondering if a company that thinks nothing of exploiting struggling Americans in need is a good steward for a discount phone company whose client base is predominantly comprised of low-income Americans.

      • Pushing Gigabit, FBA President Says Debate over Megabit Speeds ‘Silly’

        Congress has been inundated with proposed legislation that would raise the speed threshold to address connectivity gaps exacerbated by the pandemic. In March, the Democrats proposed tiered service level connections, with anything below 100 Mbps download as low-tier. The current federal standard is 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

        Conversation should be on gigabit, not 100 Megabit

        Over the course of the Fiber Connect conference, many panels and keynote speakers did not even discuss 100/100 Mbps symmetrical speeds, and instead were talking about the differences between 1 Gbps service and 10 Gbps service, in between discussing the potential of 100 Gbps services.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Where can I buy DRM-free ebooks?

        Do you prefer to buy DRM-free ebooks? It means you can read them on any device you want, and they’re not locked to a single vendor or company. You actually own them.

        Here is a list of online bookshops that sell DRM-free ebooks, digital comics, magazines, and RPGs, usually in multiple formats for any of your favourite devices.

      • [Old] How Vulfpeck Album ‘Sleepify’ Used Spotify Loophole to Earn $20,000

        Much fuss has been made over the impact of online streaming on artists’ lifestyles, particularly with respect to Spotify, the streaming giant that offers free music to millions, but only pays artists the royalty equivalent of peanuts. In seeking a Spotify loophole, last year a funk band from Michigan called Vulfpeck set out on a creative mission to get around this issue with the album Sleepify, a 5-minute long silent album, complete with 10 tracks, 30 seconds a-piece. The loophole worked for a little while, netting the band around $20,000 before Spotify pulled the plug.

        The Vulfpeck album coincided with an ambitious call to action, with the band asking its fans to play the silent album on repeat, while they slept, so as to trickle royalties from Spotify down to the band in record numbers — in other words, the ultimate Spotify loophole. At the time, Vulfpeck assured its fans that the album Sleepify would be a resounding success, with replays of the Vulfpeck album Sleepify paying off in the form of an admission-free tour.

      • [Old] A Band That Tried to Make Money From Spotify Have Been Banned From Spotify

        The band, who are called Vulfpeck, uploaded a totally silent album and asked fans to play it while they slept, hoping to turn Spotify’s $0.007 pay-per-play into something that would help them survive. They generated revenue from the streams and the profit—which ended up being around $20,000—would be used to finance a free-admission tour to places where the album was played the most. Sadly, Spotify emailed the band, telling them that the album violated the site’s terms and conditions and would be taken down. It’s unclear if the Vulpeck will receive the money.

        [...]

        Jack: I think they panicked when they realised someone was actually making money from the music.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

      • Trademarks

        • Israel, Ice Cream, Trademarks: This Year’s Dumbest Controversy Results In Trademark Skullduggery

          Welcome to this year’s dumbest controversy thus far. A couple of weeks ago, famed ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would no longer be selling its products in “occupied Palestinian territory.” Indicating that doing so would not align with the company’s values, the idea here was that settlements that infringed on territory that was deemed to belong to the Palestinians by international law would be off the company’s radar. Not all of Israel, mind you. Just the occupied territories. And that is when everyone lost their god damned minds. Ron DeSantis is seeking to have Florida put B&J and its parent company, Unilever, on a list of companies that should be scrutinized for “boycotting Israel”. Jewish leaders indicated that the kosher rating of the ice cream could be altered for the same reason. Except that isn’t what B&J are doing. It isn’t boycotting Israel at all. It’s simply refusing to sell its product in small sections of land that Israel currently occupies.

      • Copyrights

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