Links 28/9/2021: GnuCash 4.7 and SuperTuxKart 1.3 Release

Posted in News Roundup at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Leftovers


      N Hell, I know my superpower! I stare back at the solo sun & think, I could take you

      down, right to the cool core if my mother asked it of me,or if I thought my father would

    • Opinion | Instituting Liberty: Contested, Changing, Conflicted Definitions

      News that the University of Texas at Austin has been courting donors for a Liberty Institute is a reminder of the danger of ideology undermining university life. Provost Sharon Wood, responding to faculty concerns, said the goal of such an institute would be to “consider problems from multiple points of view,” but skepticism is warranted.

    • Techdirt’s ‘Plagiarism Collection’: A Plagiarized Set Of NFTs About Plagiarism

      As we noted last week, I’m going to be writing a deep dive paper, similar to my Protocols, Not Platforms paper, that explores the ins and outs of NFTs — looking at the legal, cultural, economic, environmental issues related to NFTs. The idea is to explore the ways in which digital scarcity could prove to be different and interesting — and also the many ways in which it may not be interesting at all. If you’re at all interested in supporting this project, our crowdfund to back the paper (and to get a piece of the resulting NFT of the paper) is still going, though not for much longer.

    • The Soccer Icon From London’s East End: Jimmy Greaves (1940 -2021)

      He was slightly injured for the quarter final against Argentina when he was replaced by Geoff Hurst who scored the winning goal. Hurst kept his place thereafter with Greaves relegated to the bench not as a substitute, as there were no substitutes those days, but as a spectator close to his teammates battling it out across the line. His dream of scoring a winner in a World Cup final was shattered when he was told by manager Sir Alf Ramsey that, though fully fit, he would not be playing in the final. He probably fell victim to Ramsey’s mistrust of players with great talent not allied with a willingness to graft and cover blades of grass. Geoff Hurst went on to score a hat-trick and Greaves could be seen in footage from the final in a suit running onto the pitch at the end to congratulate his colleagues. It is said that he was nowhere to be seen afterwards. Though obviously devastated at being left out, he did not seem to bear any grudges.

      He had started his career as a prolific scorer at Stamford Bridge (home of Chelsea – current Champions League winners) and had his best years at Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs). How ironic that he was to pass away at 81 on the day his two clubs, Spurs and Chelsea, met in an English Premier League match. With Spurs, he spearheaded the first British team to European glory, winning the European Cup Winners Cup smashing Atletico Madrid (the holders) 5-1 in the final in Rotterdam.

    • Opinion | Truth Is Truth: Fuck These Guys
    • Nirvana’s Nevermind at 30

      I remember Kurt, with his bright violet hair, strolling on stage, forcing himself through the song, which still sounded fantastic. But it wasn’t their bitter rendition of Smells Like Teen Spirit that altered my teens, or in my view, the trajectory of the 1990s. It was their next song Territorial Pissings. A far better track, to be sure, and a big fuck you to the label, to MTV, and to SNL who would have preferred a hit like In Bloom or Come As You Are.

      After ripping through Territorial Pissings, the band smashed their equipment. Cobain jabbed his cheap guitar into his amp. Dave Grohl tossed over his drum kit. The audience screamed in shock and nervous excitement. I was thirteen and I had no idea what the fuck I had just witnessed. Kris and I looked at each other, bewildered, laughing, energized. The next weekend my mom dropped us off at the mall and I took my ten dollars and ran to Sam Goody and bought Nevermind on cassette. I must have listened to side A a thousand times before my shitty walkman finally ate the tape.

    • Education

      • We can’t even freely debate Islam without being accused of Islamophobia. British universities are becoming cancel-culture prisons

        A discussion of religion shouldn’t cause “distress”. A university is supposed to be an arena where learning is gained through healthy debate with people with whom we might sometimes disagree. That’s how we challenge and expand our independent thinking. Depriving speakers of the chance of discussing the Islamic faith on campus is a slippery slope to intolerance, and, were it to be repeated in an academic course, could even alienate Muslim students. If cancel culture is allowed to continue stifling discussion in this way, it will ultimately make students less smart. That there might soon be a total lack of intellectual pushback is a gloomy prospect that should worry us all.

        If our ideas are worth listening to, we must be confident enough to debate them, rather than seeking to erase views that aren’t the same as ours. Most Muslims, and indeed Islam itself, encourage such debates, and the Oxford Union has previously hosted plenty of discussions about aspects of the faith. We must all be able to talk freely about Islam without being accused of Islamophobia. If we don’t, we risk perpetuating misconceptions and stereotypes – and that will cause far more harm to Muslims in the long run than free speech. Pressuring guest speakers into silence and demanding apologies serves only to stir up divisions between communities and stops us finding common ground through interfaith dialogue.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Dots Com

        That species-jumping flu was Spanish in name only. (Kansas was more likely its ground-zero origination site.) Spain was neutral in WWI and so not subject to wartime censorship. When folks started sickening and dying there the Spanish press found it newsworthy. Reporting on an invisible virus that was as lethal as the bullets, bombs, and poison gas in and out of the trenches was judged to be bad for “morale” as the US sought to consolidate its position as an imperial power. Hence, news was limited here.

        WWI featured the first concerted efforts at government propaganda, “news management,” or  “manufacturing consent” among a population which, left to its own devices might not be all that eager to set about “killing other people and taking their stuff.”  Continuous war and subversion on a global scale’ was not yet an accepted part of domestic culture in the evolving American Century.

      • Studies Show Schools With Mask Rules See Lower Rates of Student COVID Diagnoses
      • Acclimation and Heat Stress of Plants, and Future Crop Failures

        This is not an entirely bad idea — especially in its more nuanced formulation as multi-crop regenerative agriculture coupled with wildland, wetland and forest conservation and reforestation, ending industrialized chemical pesticide monoculture farming and drastically reducing the entire meat industry, along with a popular shift to plant-based diets — though it is an entirely inadequate tactic for absorbing the ever increasing load of CO2 in the atmosphere being fed by gargantuan torrents of anthropogenic CO2 emissions exhausted as waste products from the fossil fueled engines powering today’s capitalism and militarism, which remain requirements by our capitalists and militarists for the continuation of our present civilizational paradigm.

        So, planting trees is being done and will continue because it is something that many people can do to try to help, and because it poses no real threats to capitalism or militarism. But one of the cruelties of global warming is that high concentrations of CO2 combined with elevated global temperatures reduce the rate of photosynthesis and plant growth. These effects are called “acclimation” and “heat stress” of plants, respectively.

      • In which Orac experiences schadenfreude over Ben Garrison’s COVID-19

        It occurs to me that it’s odd that I’ve never blogged about Ben Garrison (or, as far as I can tell, even mentioned him on this blog before). The reason, of course, is that he is one of the crankiest of cranks when it comes to COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines, and the pandemic. (Indeed, a whole section of his website devoted to COVID-19 is called “Plannedemic,” obviously a play on the term “Plandemic,” a conspiracy theory that emerged early during the pandemic as a result of a video by conspiracy “documentarian” Mikki Willis featuring Judy Mikovits, a disgraced scientist turned antivax conspiracy theorist and COVID-19 grifter, claiming that the whole pandemic was a “plandemic” designed so that the elites can take total control. Of course, Garrison is about so much more than just COVID-19 conspiracy mongering and antivaccine nonsense. He is arguably the most famous pro-Trump cartoonist, and his cartoons buy into pretty much every piece of propaganda and conspiracy theory promoted by by Donald Trump over the years. Garrison’s style is also very notable in that he makes his cartoons so complicated that he feels a compulsion to label everything, as in these two examples:

      • Opinion | The Vaccine Vampires Are Now Lurking in Broad Daylight

        Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend imagines a world where a global epidemic has turned every human being on Earth except one into a vampire. The novel’s scientist-hero hides by night and roams the countryside by day, when the vampires are asleep, searching for a cure and killing them wherever he finds them.

      • 160 Patient Advocates Demand Medicare Negotiation in Build Back Better Package

        Scores of patient advocates from across the United States came together Monday to demand that congressional Democrats include drug pricing reforms—especially allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription rates—in the Build Back Better package.

        “It’s time for Congress to deliver its promise to lower drug prices and let Medicare negotiate.”—Lauren Stanford, P4ADNow

      • Child Advocates Celebrate ‘Pause’ But Push for Permanent End to Instagram for Kids

        Critics of Instagram and its plan to create a version of the photo- and video-sharing platform for children ages 12 and under celebrated Monday’s announcement that the project is “on pause” while calling for the company to “permanently pull the plug.”

        “We won’t stop pressuring Facebook until they permanently pull the plug on IG Youth and take real steps to make their platform safer for teens.”—Josh Golin, Fairplay

      • Facebook puts off Instagram Kids launch after adverse WSJ report

        Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal ran a series of articles about Facebook, in one of which it claimed that Instagram’s own research had found that nearly a third of teenagers who had body image issues felt worse due to what they saw on Instagram.

      • Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Buddies Tried to Get the VA to Sell Access to Veterans’ Medical Records

        Former President Donald Trump empowered associates from his private club to pursue a plan for the Department of Veterans Affairs to monetize patient data, according to documents newly released by congressional investigators.

        As ProPublica first reported in 2018, a trio based at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort weighed in on policy and personnel decisions for the federal government’s second-largest agency, despite lacking any experience in the U.S. government or military.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Hacker Recounts How He Once Broke Into Professor’s Computer to Submit Late Assignment

            When you miss your assignment deadline by just two or four hours, you wish you could go back in time and submit your assignment before the limit -something which seems impossible. Turns out, it was not that hard for college student Robert Graham, who is now a well-known cybersecurity researcher. Talking to Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai in an episode of My First Hack series by Vice’s Cyber podcast, Graham shared an anecdote from his college when he hacked his professor’s computer to submit his late assignment in time.

            Graham recollects that once when he was too late in submitting his assignment by a midnight deadline, he changed his computer’s date so that the timestamp on the assignment reads of an earlier time than it was actually submitted. But it was not long before the teachers became aware of this trickery students used. To make sure that assignments were actually assigned on time, teachers made it mandatory for students to send the assignment by email.


            The university ran a Unix-based university environment, and the emails arrived on the professor’s computer rather than being on the cloud.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • ‘Chilling’: Facial recognition firm Clearview AI hits watchdog groups with subpoenas – POLITICO
            • Clearview Tosses Subpoena To Non-Party Transparency Advocates, Demands Copies Of Communications With Journalists

              Clearview is currently being sued by a small percentage of its database of scraped personal info. It is also being sued by a few state officials over privacy law violations. It is (also) also being side-eyed closely by the federal government, which has not initiated an official investigation, but has expressed its disappointment in legislative ways.

            • The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 102: Colleen Flood on the Legal, Ethical and Policy Implications of Vaccine Passports

              CityNews, Day One of Ontario’s Vaccine Passport

            • EU is Spending More Than a Billion Dollars Expanding Biometric Honeypots, Despite Risks to Privacy and Freedom

              That’s just one contract: Wired Italia goes on to describe two more. In total, they add up to over 900 million euros – a billion dollars – being spent on the creation of huge databases holding comprehensive sets of personal data. The “Lisa” in EU-Lisa, the agency in charge of this project, stands for “Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice“. However, not everyone thinks that the new system will do much to promote any of those. A few weeks ago, 31 NGOs wrote an open letter to key members of the European Parliament to express their “fundamental rights concerns about the Eurodac reform“. Although Eurodac began as the main EU fingerprint database for identifying asylum seekers and those crossing the border irregularly, the latest plans will see it expanded greatly. The NGOs identified a number of areas of concern, including the application of facial recognition techniques for biometric identification, and the widened scope of the database.

            • TikTok says it has one billion monthly users

              The short-form video app has risen sharply in popularity in the last few years, spawning competing products from other platforms.

            • EFF to Court: Stop SFPD from Spying on Protesters for Black Lives

              In October 2020, on behalf of three activists of color, we sued the City and County of San Francisco for violating the city’s landmark Surveillance Technology Ordinance. A few months earlier, an EFF investigation uncovered that the SFPD had obtained live access to a downtown business district’s camera network for 8 days that summer to spy on Black-led protests against police violence. The Ordinance prohibits any city department, including the SFPD, from acquiring, borrowing, or using, or entering an agreement to acquire or use, surveillance technology without prior approval from the city’s Board of Supervisors. The Ordinance is one of nearly 20 Community Control of Police Surveillance (CCOPS) laws nationwide that empower community members, through their local legislators, to make decisions about if and under what circumstances police and other government agencies may acquire and use surveillance technology.  

              We filed our motion for summary judgment—asking the court to rule without a trial—after obtaining documents and deposition testimony that an SFPD officer repeatedly viewed the camera network during the 8 days that the department had access. This contradicted the SFPD’s previous public statements that they obtained access to the network, but never viewed it.

              The information we uncovered showed the SFPD unilaterally and secretly deployed a surveillance camera network against protesters marching in defense of Black lives. In the words of Hope Williams, one of the plaintiffs, “It is an affront of our movement for equity and justice that the SFPD responded to police abuse and violence by secretly spying on us.” SFPD’s unlawful actions chill speech and make it harder for activists to organize and participate in future protests.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • One Man as a Whole Generation: The Unfinished War of Zakaria Zubeidi

        Twenty years ago, following what has been etched in the collective Palestinian memory as the ‘Jenin Massacre’, I was introduced to the Zubeidi family in the Jenin refugee camp, which was almost entirely erased by the Israeli army during and following the Jenin battle.

        Despite my repeated attempts, the Israeli army prevented me from reaching Jenin, which was kept under total Israeli military siege for months following the most violent episode of the entirety of the Second Palestinian Uprising (2000-2005).

      • UK Labour Conference Condemns AUKUS as Threat to World Peace

        Echoing concerns raised by international activists over the perils posed by the three-nation AUKUS agreement, delegates at the U.K. Labour Conference on Monday voted to condemn the new military pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States as a threat to world peace.

        “I want to live in a peaceful world. And if we’ve got differences with people, as we have on human rights, then challenge… then support those in those societies that are demanding their rights.”—Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP

      • Opinion | Humanity’s Call to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

        Sunday marked the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. This 8th year commemorating the day was declared by the United Nations as a way of bringing about awareness and education of the imminent existential threat that hangs over all of humanity by the continued existence of nuclear weapons. The elimination of nuclear weapons has been a leading goal of the United Nations General Assembly since its earliest days in 1946. 

      • How Do We Confront America’s Attachment to Violence?

        As a religious studies professor, I know a parable when I see one. Consider the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the final events in this country’s war in Afghanistan as just such a parable taken directly from the history of our moment.

      • Opinion | Forever Wars: The Names You’ll Never Know

        As a parting shot, on its way out of Afghanistan, the United States military launched a drone attack that the Pentagon called a “righteous strike.” The final missile fired during 20 years of occupation, that August 29th airstrike averted an Islamic State car-bomb attack on the last American troops at Kabul’s airport. At least, that’s what the Pentagon told the world.

      • HBO’s Anti-Maduro Propaganda Is Cruder Than Venezuelan Oil

        HBO Max began streaming a documentary on September 15: A La Calle (“To the Street”). It portrays US-backed opposition leaders in Venezuela as pro-democracy heroes battling a brutal dictatorship—a total reversal of the truth. A Daily Beast article (9/13/21) promoting the film is headlined “Capturing Venezuela’s Descent Into Socialist Hell,” which succinctly conveys the film’s slant, and suggests why it found a big corporate platform like HBO Max, a subsidiary of AT&T‘s WarnerMedia.

      • Lab-Leak, Gain-Of-Function, and the Media Myths Swirling Around the Wuhan Institute

        Editor’s Note | We recognize that COVID-19 coverage can inflame passions and is prone to controversy. In the past, MintPress News has published varying viewpoints on the topic (including ones that stand in contrast to those represented in the following article). We strive to provide well-researched articles representing a diversity of views to our readers in the interest of fostering healthy discussion in the public interest.

      • The US and China: A Productive Path Forward

        I will briefly go through the history of the economic relationship between China and the U.S. in the last two decades. Then I will describe the implications for inequality for the path Biden seems to be pursuing. The last part outlines an alternative, more cooperative path for relations with China.

        The Trade Deficit with China: Donald Trump’s Phony War

      • Israeli PM Naftali Bennett Mentions Palestinians Exactly Zero Times During UN Address

        Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday gave his inaugural address to the United Nations General Assembly during which he made zero mention of Palestinians.

        Journalist Dalia Hatuqa was among those who immediately noted how revealing the Israeli leader’s decision was.

      • The Military Stood Up to Trump, But Who Will Stand Up to the Military?

        Nixon’s was, of course, a calculated craziness. “When the wind is southerly,” Tricky Dick certainly could distinguish “a hawk from a handsaw,” as Hamlet famously put it.

        A half century later, America has had to deal with a different kind of crazy in the White House. Although Donald Trump has insisted that he’s a “stable genius,” all the evidence suggests otherwise. After Trump lost the 2020 election, even those in his close circle of advisors began to question the president’s sanity. There was a distinct possibility that a real mad man now held the reins of power and that he was willing to do pretty much anything to stay in the Oval Office, up to and including a coup.

      • International Criminal Court Excludes US From Probe Into Afghanistan War Crimes
      • Critics Fume as ICC Excludes US From Probe Into Afghan War Crimes

        A Monday announcement from the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor saying his office is seeking approval to resume its investigation into potential war crimes in Afghanistan committed by the Taliban and the Islamic State—but excluding alleged atrocities committed by U.S. forces—sparked a flurry of outrage from human rights defenders.

        “It seems there is no end to the betrayal of Afghans—now so many victims of torture and other abuses by U.S. and former Afghan government forces have been told there is no justice for you,” Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director for Human Rights Watch, tweeted Monday in response to the announcement.

      • Trump Aides Refusing to Testify Before Jan 6 Committee May Face Criminal Charges
      • Donald Trump Is Building an Army. He Can No Longer Be Ignored.
      • Flight campaign in the UK: Military drone operates in civilian airspace for the first time

        Throughout Europe, military drones are only allowed to fly in restricted areas. This is a major obstacle for training and missions inside the country. A British flight series with a US drone is now set to bring a breakthrough for flights in civilian airspace.

      • Meet Mansoor Adayfi: I Was Kidnapped as a Teen, Sold to the CIA & Jailed at Guantánamo for 14 Years

        We speak with Mansoor Adayfi, a former Guantánamo Bay detainee who was held at the military prison for 14 years without charge, an ordeal he details in his new memoir, “Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo.” Adayfi was 18 when he left his home in Yemen to do research in Afghanistan, where he was kidnapped by Afghan warlords, then sold to the CIA after the 9/11 attacks. Adayfi describes being brutally tortured in Afghanistan before he was transported to Guantánamo in 2002, where he became known as Detainee #441 and survived years of abuse. Adayfi was released against his will to Serbia in 2016 and now works as the Guantánamo Project coordinator at CAGE, an organization that advocates on behalf of victims of the war on terror. “The purpose of Guantánamo wasn’t about making Americans safe,” says Adayfi, who describes the facility as a “black hole” with no legal protections. “The system was designed to strip us of who we are. Even our names were taken.”

      • Understanding the enemy: An interview with Dr. Anat Berko

        The criminologist and former Knesset member has spent decades researching the psychology of suicide bombers and their handlers, including one-on-one talks with senior Hamas figures such as the terror group’s founder, Ahmed Yassin. “There’s no potential of rehabilitating them because, from their perspective, they didn’t do anything wrong,” she says.

      • Hero attendants on Boston JetBlue flight block cockpit from ‘unruly passenger’ saying ‘Allah’

        That passenger on JetBlue Flight 261 heading to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday night “had to be physically restrained by flight crew members … during the passenger’s attempt to gain access to the flight deck,” an FBI agent states in his affidavit.

      • Egypt: Christian Building Abruptly Demolished

        The most distressing though hardly surprising aspect of this particular building demolition in Egypt is that the city council gave the Christians no warning whatsoever, waiting until construction of the building was complete—at which point they simply set out and demolished it, violently punishing any who dared get in the way.

      • Over 800 Hazara Families Ordered Out Of Their Homes By Taliban

        He said more than 800 families had been ordered out of their homes in a remote district straddling the provinces of Daykundi and Uruzgan, southwest of Kabul.

        Locals contacted by AFP have confirmed the report, and pleaded with authorities to help them.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Opinion | Abolish the Debt Ceiling. Do It Now
      • Bankers As Content Moderators

        In August, porn-subscription platform OnlyFans announced that it would no longer permit pornography, blaming pressure from banks. The porn policy was rescinded after a backlash from platform users, but the incident illustrates how a handful of heavily regulated financial service providers can act as meta-moderators by shaping the content policies of platforms that rely on them. 

      • ‘A Deal’s a Deal’: Progressive Leader Holds Strong on $3.5 Trillion Social Investment Plan

        “A deal’s a deal.”

        “Instead of undercutting the president ahead of an election year, progressives are the ones keeping the full Biden agenda on track.”

      • Private Enterprise is the Issue, Not Big Government

        The owner, of course, blamed China (the country being now the latest RACIST “bogeyman” for so-called patriots and honorable business owners) for shutting down the factory. Seemingly overnight, peoples’ lives changed dramatically, from having someplace secure where they could earn something to pay for what they needed, to now, wondering what else to do in the near future.

        The owner, I remember, simply made that decision, “talked” about it with the employees, and moved on. That experience made it very evident to me that the problem in society isn’t government inefficiency (although that is indeed an issue at times), or even so-called government waste and corruption (which is something that even progressives like to discuss, along with consumer activism), but rather, something that Marxists have long understood as the problem of private enterprise having too much power, having too much weight in shaping our lives, in shaping who lives and dies, who suffers and who can carry on with some mode of “living” a.k.a. barely scraping by.

      • Chris Hedges: America’s Fate: Oligarchy or Autocracy

        The competing systems of power in the United States are divided between oligarchy and autocracy. There are no other alternatives. Neither are pleasant. Each have peculiar and distasteful characteristics. Each pays lip service to the fictions of democracy and constitutional rights. And each exacerbates the widening social and political divide and the potential for violent conflict.

      • Opinion | America’s Unpleasant Fate: Oligarchy or Autocracy

        The competing systems of power in the United States are divided between oligarchy and autocracy. There are no other alternatives. Neither are pleasant. Each have peculiar and distasteful characteristics. Each pays lip service to the fictions of democracy and constitutional rights. And each exacerbates the widening social and political divide and the potential for violent conflict.

      • Will Fanboys for Grand Fortune Ever Flame Out?
      • Pandemics, pension funds, and cheap money

        The “now” in that sentence is April 2nd, 2020, that is the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Reconciling the Reconciliation Bill: a Preview

        Manchin-Senema in the Senate and Cuellar and his ten associates in the House are really the point persons for the corporate wing.  The differences and split within the Democratic party are not about individual Senators or Representatives; it’s about the corporate forces that dominate and control the majority of that party (as they have since 1990) and those same corporate interests intent on ensuring the two spending bills are not so large that taxes will have to be significantly raised in order to pay for them. More specifically, ensuring that the Trump $4.5T tax cuts of 2017 are not rolled back.

        Those corporate interests in the Democratic party have already prevailed in rolling back the Infrastructure bill to a level of only $550B in new spending (from its original $2.3T) to ensure paying for the $550B is not done by raising any taxes on corporations, investors and wealthiest Americans. They already succeeded. Now the same fight is underway to prevent the Reconciliation bill requiring tax hikes on the same capital incomes. To ensure no tax hikes for that bill, spending will have to be significantly cut or delayed, or perhaps both.

      • Amid Calls for Closure, House Dems Urge NYC Officials to End ‘Inhumane Conditions’ at Rikers

        Citing “uninhabitable” conditions and a fourfold increase in inmate deaths over the past two years, U.S. House Democrats on Monday urged New York City’s mayor and corrections chief to immediately address the “deplorable” situation at Rikers Island jail—where a dozen prisoners have died this year alone.

        “I have visited prisons in Haiti. What I saw when I went to visit Rikers was worse.”—Assemblywoman Phara Souffrant Forrest

      • Social Democrats, Greens Eye Coalition After Outgoing Merkel’s Bloc Ousted in German Elections

        The center-left Social Democrats took the most parliamentary seats in German elections Sunday as the center-right bloc led by longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel lost ground and the ascendant Greens—energized by the youth vote and with a focus on the climate emergency—picked up a promising number of seats with an eye towards being a crucial member of a yet-to-be-determined coalition government.

        “The climate crisis is the leading issue of the next government, and that is for us the basis for any talks,” said Annalena Baerbock, leader of the Greens.

      • The Full Rudy

        David Rockefeller, the head of Chase Manhattan Bank, was in charge of the family’s business interests. Brother Nelson was the governor of New York State whose “Edifice Complex” Newfield had written about in the Village Voice.  In Albany “Rocky” had taken 98 acres by eminent domain to build a plaza full of government buildings with supposedly arty exteriors. It was the early 1960s, the time of “urban renewal,” also known as “Negro removal,” and sure enough, the biggest group being evicted were African Americans

        Meanwhile in NYC, where most of the major office buildings were in midtown, Brother David was heavily invested in Lower Manhattan real estate. In the late 1950s he had financed the construction of One Chase Plaza, 60 stories of glass and steel, the first high-rise office built in the financial district since before World War 2. It involved creation of what planners call a “superblock.” As explained by Eric Darton in Divided We Stand, “The elimination of a single block of Cedar Street between Nassau and William Streets provided a platform upon which David Rockefeller’s 60-story bank headquarters could rise. A decade later, the pedestal for the World Trade Center engulfed 16 blocks to the northwest. The combined force of these two projects opened the floodgates to a tidal wave of office and residential superblock developments in Lower Manhattan.”

      • ‘Fantastic!’: Berlin Votes to Expropriate 240K Apartments From Corporate Landlords

        Housing justice advocates are celebrating after residents in Berlin, Germany—fed up with skyrocketing rents driven in part by speculative investments in real estate markets—voted on Sunday to socialize roughly 240,000 homes by expropriating apartments controlled by the city’s biggest corporate landlords and transferring them to public ownership.

        By a margin of 56% to 39%, Berliners approved a referendum that instructs the municipal government to purchase housing from mega-landlords, or private real estate companies that own more than 3,000 units. If implemented, the move would bring approximately 240,000 homes, or about 15% of the city’s stock, into public ownership.

      • The DeSantis Platform
      • ‘Cartoonish Level Corrupt’: As Dems Fight for Bold Agenda, Sinema to Fundraise With Its Corporate Opponents

        U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema faced blistering rebuke Monday following reports that the right-wing Arizona Democrat will solicit large campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists staunchly opposed to her party’s flagship $3.5 trillion Build Back Better budget reconciliation package.

        The New York Times reports Sinema is scheduled to host a Tuesday fundraiser with five influential business lobby groups. According to the paper:

      • The “Resistance” Is Back In Virginia. But This Year, It’s GOP Resistance.

        Fredericksburg, Va.—State Republicans here ran a ghoulish campaign in 2017, trying to hold on to the state House of Delegates and take back the governor’s seat by using fear—of immigrants, of crime, of toppling Confederate statues; of Democrats, generally. Just one example: They accused Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam of backing “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants. But Virginia has none, and the moderate Northam didn’t support the idea anyway.

      • Pramila Jayapal, Ilhan Omar Slam Lobby Against Build Back Better Bill in Op-Ed
      • Breaking Up Big Tech Alone Won’t Solve Systemic Issues, Authors of New Book Argue

        In an online event on Friday, professor at Stanford, Rob Reich, Mehran Sahami, and Jeremy Weinstein — in discussing a book they wrote and published earlier month called System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot — said we won’t find a silver bullet in antirust or data privacy law when it comes to dealing with big tech.

        “We’re actually going to have to tackle these issues by looking at the ethic of responsibility in technology companies, thinking about the corporate power that has been concentrated in a small number of firms, but also how we set in place a set of democratic institutions that are capable of governing tech.”

      • RNC Official Reveals GOP Plan to Ramp Up Election Lawsuits in 2022
      • [Older] Georgia inches toward possible takeover of Fulton elections

        Georgia’s State Election Board inched forward Wednesday in a process set in motion by Republican lawmakers using a controversial provision of the state’s sweeping new election law that could ultimately lead to a takeover of elections in the state’s most populous county.

        Fulton County, a Democratic bastion that includes most of the city of Atlanta, has long been a target of Republicans who complain of sloppiness and say they want to ensure state laws are being followed. Former President Donald Trump fixated on Fulton after the November general election, claiming without evidence that fraud in the county contributed to his narrow loss in the state.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • New Report Says Trump’s CIA Considered Kidnapping or Assassinating Assange
      • CIA Director Mike Pompeo Touted Kidnapping, Killing Of Julian Assange In Response To Publication Of CIA Leaks

        As CIA director, Mike Pompeo decided Julian Assange and Wikileaks should be promoted to Public Enemy #1. With Wikileaks leaking leaked CIA secrets, Pompeo ratcheted up his rhetoric in response to the leaks. Finding himself frustrated by the US government’s understandable reluctance to pull the trigger on prosecutions of arguable acts of journalism, the CIA director decided those constitutional concerns could be waved away with the proper national security designation.

      • CIA developed plans to kidnap Julian Assange, per report

        The Trump administration’s CIA actively developed plans to kidnap or assassinate Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during his seclusion in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, according to a detailed new report from Yahoo News. Scenarios included abducting Assange from the embassy, intercepting a Russian effort to extract him, or an outright assassination attempt. While none of the operations were ever approved, they paint an alarming portrait of intelligence agencies’ ongoing obsession with Wikileaks and its controversial founder.

        As sources, Yahoo cites conversations with more than 30 former US officials. Among those, eight provided details on plans to kidnap Assange.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Gunfighter Nation Meets Haitian Migrants

        The videos and photos from Texas that were released on September 19, 2021 also display an attack: U.S. Border Patrol Agents on horseback chasing, pushing, corralling Haitian migrants. An attack on dignity and humanity of those who are attempting to flee the humanitarian crisis they have been facing at their home country, only to be greeted by more violence where they arrive in the hopes of seeking asylum.

        The image of a White patrol agent with a cowboy hat, on horseback grabbing a Black migrant, carries echoes of the American Old West, invoking the still lasting power and presence of the Myth of the Frontier. In Gunfighter Nation, cultural historian and scholar Slotkin explores how the Myth of the Frontier has always been inseparable from violence—a violence that was carried out in the name of progress and civilization, while at the same time justifying conquests, imperial ambitions, and endless tyranny. “The images and video from Del Rio of predominantly White federal agents on horses wielding long reins and chasing Black migrants recall the often unexamined and disturbing US history of racial and ethnic violence, including by border patrols, slave patrols, and vigilantes,” states Human Rights Watch, commenting on the explicit history of systematic racism in U.S. immigration enforcement.

      • Investigation: Minneapolis Cops Responded To George Floyd’s Murder By Refusing To Do Their Jobs While Still Collecting Their Paychecks

        The police in Minneapolis are giving the public what they think the public wants: fewer police officers, fewers interactions with police, and, of course, MOAR CRIME. Calls to defund the police began following the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin. Law enforcement officers expressed disdain (rather than dismay their actions had provoked this), asking rhetorically who would show up to tell people there isn’t much officers can (or will!) do in response to reported crimes.

      • Teach Youngsters About Corporatism’s Harms

        Howard Zinn published A Young People’s History of the United States (2009), to go with his best-selling pioneering work, A People’s History of the United States (1980), but he didn’t do justice to all the modern corporate controls of just about every facet of American life, including educational institutions.

        Today, school children are engulfed by corporate apps and software, textbooks biased toward the corporate definitions of an economy, and myths about “free markets.” For years free school materials and videos produced or sponsored by business groups, including the coal and nuclear industries, have flooded elementary classes. Our report: Hucksters in the Classroom: A Review of Industry Propaganda in Schools by Sheila Harty (1979), documented this mercantile assault on education. Students even take tests designed by corporate institutions.

      • Opinion | Democrats Need to Stand Up to Corporate Extremists in Their Own Party

        The progressive optimism that the Biden presidency might lead to real change is quickly fading as right-wing Democrats such as Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are threatening to indefinitely stall the 3.5 trillion spending bill that “would expand education, health care, and childcare support, address the climate crisis and make further investments in infrastructure.” This is a familiar story, a so-called centrist push back against the possibility of even basic systemic reforms in the name of finding a “sensible” economic and political “middle ground.”

      • The Radical Generosity of Charles Mills

        In 2016, I was just finishing up my fourth year of graduate school at UCLA and attended a presentation Charles Mills gave on racial equality that set me off: It attempted to defend liberal philosophy from many of its more radical critics. What surprised me about the talk was that, though by that point Mills had become one of the foremost critics of liberal political theory, particularly from the standpoint of how it addressed race, his argument moved in a different direction. Insisting that we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, he argued that liberal philosophy should not be discarded but rethought. It had failed to build methodologies that grappled seriously with the effect of race in structuring the modern world, but its doctrines of equality and liberty also offered a vital language for describing what it missed. Getting a little antsy as the talk neared its end, I raised my hand to ask a question: “Why do we need liberal political philosophers to believe anything at all? Why don’t we just critique them and move on?” Mills received my annoyance with warmth. He grinned and shrugged, letting my bitterness pass over him, and then responded softly, “Maybe we don’t. Give it a shot.”

      • White Supremacy, Immigration Hypocrisy, and Haiti

        Haiti is about the size of Maryland. It is found on the western third of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. The eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola is the Dominican Republic. Hispaniola was home to Taino/Arawak people for thousands of years before Christopher Columbus stumbled upon it in December 1492.

        Spanish colonizers enslaved their Taino hosts and forced them to work in gold mines. Hunger, violence, disease, and harsh working conditions decimated the indigenous enslaved people, so King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain licensed the colonizers to enslave Africans to replace the work force. The enslaved Africans worked on plantations to grow sugar cane, coffee, tobacco, and other raw crops for export to Europe. French colonizers replaced the Spanish in the western part of Hispaniola and continued the plantation system until San Dominque (the name the French gave that part of Hispaniola) became the most profitable French colony in the world.

      • The Quiet Power of Everyday Resistance

        Most accounts of life in, say, Nazi Germany in the late 1930s or Rwanda in the early months of 1994—each a place and time when preparation for war and mass violence had begun to alter the granularity of the everyday—paint an image of large-scale conflict as totalizing. In Germany, even intimate relations became sites of preparation for war and domination. Parents were coerced and incentivized to bear more children, all part of Hitler’s drive to create a strong state, and decisions that before had been up to the individual now had to be made according to a new calculus that lay beyond the personal sphere. In Rwanda, so unrelenting were the efforts of Hutu Power ideologues to lay the groundwork for genocide by casting Tutsis as “foreign” and “threatening,” that ethnic identities took on new and lethal meaning, once daily cross-communal interaction had all but ceased, and civilians in their hundreds of thousands became killers. Both Germany and Rwanda are examples of how war and extreme violence are not invariably the work of trained fighters alone; rather, they can be mass participation projects that pull most everyone and everything into their orbit.

      • ‘Quite Literally What Instigated the Tunisian Revolution’: Outrage After NYC Food Vendor’s Stall ‘Trashed’

        Bronx residents rallied in support of Diana Hernandez Cruz this weekend after New York City officials raided the longtime food vendor’s stall because she lacked a permit—throwing away large quantities of fruits and vegetables in a neighborhood where hunger is widespread.

        “The city of New York should be ashamed.”—Jumaane Williams, New York City Public Advocate

      • When will the ‘happy dhimmi’ myth be discredited?

        Startling parallels between Jews in Muslim lands and blacks in the American South are revealed in a chapter called “Happy Dhimmis, Happy Darkeys: Myths past and present,” by Eunice G. Pollack and Stephen H. Norwood.

        According to Pollack and Norwood, Arab leaders and their Western supporters have spread the myth of “perfect harmony” and “mutual respect between Arabs and Jews” in the 14 centuries of “coexistence” before the establishment of the State of Israel. The “paradise” was shattered by the invasion of the foreign ideology of political Zionism, a movement supposedly fashioned by European Jews, with no relevance to Jews living in Muslim lands.

        In practice, however, Jews in Muslim lands were treated little better than black slaves in the cotton plantations of the deep South, claim Pollack and Norwood. Both groups were seen as cowardly and obsequious.

      • Liz Cheney Claims to Support LGBTQ Community, But She Voted Against Equality Act
      • Haitian migrants: More than 40 children with non-Haitian passports deported, says International Organization for Migration – CNN

        Dozens of children with non-Haitian passports have been sent to Haiti as part of the US government’s massive deportation operation this week, according to the International Organization for Migration.

        As of Wednesday, the latest figures available, a total of 1,424 deportees from the US had arrived on 12 flights in Haiti, according to Giuseppe Loprete, chief of mission for the IOM, which is helping process the new arrivals.

      • Decentralization will never be enough. Even if it is digital

        A crucial issue of our age, that I often discuss here, but is never repeated often enough, is that we cannot throw everything away just because we have digital technology.


        If the crypto ecosystem is going to create any societal value, it must strive to purge bad actors and prove the decentralist idea of self-regulating markets will exile them for good.

        But without regulatory oversight, what’s stopping another crypto cabal from taking over? Nothing (please note that this is exactly the same issue that makes blockchain useless to certify property)

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • The Future Of Streaming TV Looks Increasingly Like Cable, But Free

        There’s been little doubt that the streaming TV revolution has been a decidedly good thing. Competition from streaming has resulted in more options, for less money, and greater programming flexibility than ever before. Streaming customer satisfaction is consistently higher than traditional cable TV as a result, and lumbering giants that fought against evolution for years (at times denying that cord cutting even existing) have been forced to actually try a little harder if they want to retain TV subscribers.

    • Monopolies

      • Why there will be new software winners in ten years time, and how the giants will fall

        Bygone market consensus was that Open Source (OS) software wasn’t worth the investment. Open means free, and free means you can’t monetise it. Yet today, technology investors are throwing money into Commercial Open Source Software (COSS) companies like it’s going out of fashion.

      • Using Tech to Fight Big Tech

        Antitrust enforcers seem to have a long dream of creating markets without monopolies, but it might be helpful to ask if these markets would have ever existed without large corporations in the first place. Alexander Graham Bell, AT&T’s founder, often credited as the inventor of the first practical telephone, got patents for his invention and a legal monopoly to offer telephone services.

        AT&T’s ingenuity led to the creation of the transistor—which is still the building block of any digital device—to the laser, Unix operating system, and the most important computer languages. Multiple Nobel Prizes have been awarded for technologies developed at AT&T’s Bell Labs. Again, big is not necessarily bad.

        Today, it is impossible to list all the lawsuits, government investigations, and political pressures that Big Tech corporations are facing. Initially, U.S. antitrust enforcers were accused of being too lax compared to EU antitrust enforcers in managing Big Tech’s power. It did not take too much for U.S. antitrust enforcers to respond to those critics by emulating a more severe European approach with Big Tech.

        Innovation, however, may not be a hallmark of EU corporations—most technological disruption occurred thanks to U.S. companies. Google, Apple, and AT&T are only three symbolic examples, which bear the question of whether the “laxer” U.S. antitrust enforcement action has been, in part, responsible for this progress in technology.

      • Patents

        • Unitary patent is coming: Germany ratifies protocol via EU patent court

          On Monday, the federal government deposited the instrument of ratification for the protocol on the provisional application of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA). This is considered an important stage on the way to building the planned judicial institution. The agreement on the patent court also forms the keystone of the reform of the European patent system, with which the new EU unitary patent, which has been planned for many years, is to be introduced.

        • Latest news and updates on the Unified Patent Court [Ed: Amy Sandys as Team UPC’s unquestioning megaphone. And JUVE has just published a dozen pages of pure spam.]

          Only a few days after Slovenia, Germany has also completed the ratification of the protocol on the provisional agreement (PAP) of the Unified Patent Court. As announced by the Ministry of Justice in Berlin, Germany deposited the corresponding ratification instrument in Brussels.

      • Copyrights

        • Cox Plans to Challenge $1 Billion Piracy Verdict Over ‘Concealed Evidence’

          Internet provider Cox Communications believes that several record labels may have concealed key information at the 2019 piracy trial, which led to a $1 billion verdict. The ISP plans to ask the court to vacate the verdict because key copyright infringement evidence appears to have been recreated years after the alleged offenses took place.

        • ROM & Emulation Site Pleasuredome Shuts Down After 15 Years of Gaming

          Pleasuredome, one of the world’s most enduring ROM and emulation sites, has suddenly shut down after more than 15 years online. The torrent site first appeared in 2004 as the home of the MameFTP Group but over the weekend suddenly went offline, leaving thousands of users in the dark. Sources close to the site say there’s “no drama” and quitting “while ahead” was the best option.

        • ‘Illegal Streaming Sites Might Take Nude Pictures of You’

          Most people know that they shouldn’t stream or download pirated content. However, legal and moral arguments are often not sufficient to stop prospective pirates. A new anti-piracy ad seems to be well aware of this and focuses on different threats. Apparently, pirate streaming sites can be linked to all sorts of cybercrime, including sextortion.

        • Marvel Hit Once Again By Estate For Some Spider-Man, Doctor Strange Copyright Terminations

          It’s no secret that we haven’t been huge fans of the termination rights that exist in current copyright law. Not because we don’t want original artists to be able to profit from their own work, of course. Rather, the problems are that copyright is already simply too long, which makes the termination issue far too often not about artists themselves profiting from their work, but rather about their families doing so. Add to that the more salient issue that these termination rights tend to be mostly useful for creating massive messes and disputes between parties over the validity of termination requests and the fact is that this stuff gets really icky really fast.

IRC Proceedings: Monday, September 27, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:12 am by Needs Sunlight

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