12.07.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 7/12/2021: Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 and Tails 4.25

Posted in News Roundup at 9:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The 9 Best Linux Distros for Windows Users

        Linux can be hard to adapt to for first-time users, but only if you install the wrong distro. Here are the best Linux distros for Windows users.

        Windows has evolved over the years, and there is no denying how Windows users are spoilt for options. Multiple OS versions rolled out at regular intervals, making it one of the best operating systems in the market.

        Nevertheless, people are on the lookout for open-source options for their systems. Windows, being a closed-source OS, is not suitable for every computer user out there. Alternatively, Linux is an open-source operating system, and this Linux distro list is ideal if you are looking to switch from Windows to Linux.

    • Kernel Space

      • ADI grows Linux device-driver lineup

        Analog Devices (ADI) expands it Linux distribution with over 1000 in-kernel drivers for devices from both ADI and Maxim Integrated Products. These open-source drivers streamline the software development process by providing access to tested code and preventing hardware lock-in.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nvidia card in eGPU and NixOS

          Nvidia made work in their proprietary driver to allow a program to have its OpenGL/Vulkan calls to be done in a GPU that is not the one used for the display. This allows to throw optirun/primerun for this use case, which is good because they added performance penalty, complicated setup and many problems.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Simple Raspberry Pi powered SMS Gateway: make your projects send SMS with a simple REST API

        TL;DR

        Install gammu-smsd, get the API code from github and you’ll be able to send and receive SMS via API.

      • Use dmseg to check your Linux system’s kernel message buffer | Network World

        The dmesg command displays the content of the kernel’s message buffer since the system’s most recent boot. It displays a lot of details on how the system is working and problems it might be running into that you won’t normally see. That can be a lot of data, but there are several tricks for paring it down.

        For example, Even though the system queried below has only been up a little more than three days, it’s collected more than a thousand lines of data.

      • Working with gnome-boxes – Unixcop the Unix / Linux the admins deams

        In my PC I’ve worked with Virtual box for years. Then virtual box, for some reason, was removed from the Debian repository. As I wasn’t using those VMs for something critical I’ve just didn’t bother to find out why or to search some alternate repo. Few months ago I need some virtual machines on my PC, so I began working with gnome-boxes.

      • How To Install Terminalizer on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Terminalizer on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Terminalizer is a very useful terminal recording tool designed for different distributions of the Linux operating system. Terminalizer works in the same way as a desktop screen recorder but instead runs in your terminal. It has the capability to record all the activities that you perform on the Linux terminal and then save them in the form of an animated GIF.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of Terminalizer on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How To Install Yunohost on Debian 10 Buster Made Simple

        This tutoriall will explain how one can install Yunohost based on Debian 10 with examples in step by step. This tutorial is practiced locally in a virtual machine and you can practice later on a real computer once you understood how to play it. Now let’s start practicing!

      • How to Change User Passwords in Linux – ByteXD

        In this tutorial we’ll explain how to change user passwords in Linux using the passwd command, from the command-line.

        We’ll show you how to change your current user’s password, as well as changing, expiring, or locking passwords for other users.

        These commands should work on any Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, CentOS, Rocky Linux, etc.

      • How to Install Telegraf Configure InfluxDB2 output in Debian 11

        In this guide we are going to learn how to install Telegraf and configure InfluxDB v2 output on a Debian 11.

        Telegraf is a plugin-driven server agent for collecting & reporting metrics, and is the first piece of the TICK stack. Telegraf has plugins to source a variety of metrics directly from the system it’s running on, pull metrics from third-party APIs, or even listen for metrics via a statsd and Kafka consumer services. It also has output plugins to send metrics to a variety of other datastores, services, and message queues, including InfluxDB, Graphite, OpenTSDB, Datadog, Librato, Kafka, MQTT, NSQ, and many others.

      • How to Install and Configure InfluxDB2 in Debian 11

        InfluxDB is the database in which we will store the metrics sent from the agent. This database is designed to withstand high write and read loads.

        InfluxDB is an open source time series database. It has everything you need from a time series platform in a single binary – a multi-tenanted time series database, UI and dashboarding tools, background processing and monitoring agent. All this makes deployment and setup a breeze and easier to secure.

        The InfluxDB Platform also includes APIs, tools, and an ecosystem that includes 10 client and server libraries, Telegraf plugins, visualization integrations with Grafana, Google Data Studio, and data sources integrations with Google Bigtable, BigQuery, and more.

      • How to Install and Use Ping Command in Linux

        PING is undoubtedly a millennial word. It’s rooted in quotidian life and henceforth has become a concept to be unveiled. Many of us might be known of the fact that the word ‘ping‘ is not actually a word but an acronym. PING stands for Packet Internet Groper. The meaning
        says it all.

        Pinging is a notion to observe the connectivity between two systems, to check whether the remote system is online. Technically, the word ping lies in the domain of network communication. It deals with the notion of transferring and accepting the packets from source to destination system.

      • How to install system updates using Webmin – Unixcop the Unix / Linux the admins deams

        Hello, friends. We continue with Webmin and now we will explain very briefly how to install system updates using Webmin. This post is part of our series dedicated to this tremendous application.

      • How to use monitoring to troubleshoot Ansible Automation Platform | Enable Sysadmin

        Running an Ansible automation controller in OpenShift provides an easy way to scale an Ansible automation controller. However, as with any virtualization platform, you need to enable the Ansible automation controller to run as efficiently as possible.

        Often, OpenShift runs on top of another virtualization platform, and understanding how resources are used at the various virtualization levels is essential. Overcommitting CPU and memory resources in your virtualization platform can impact OpenShift performance. Therefore, it is important to have a 1:1 commit ratio for CPU and memory in your virtualization platform and let OpenShift manage resource overcommitment. In addition to looking at CPU and memory overcommitment, you need to understand what other pods are running on the OpenShift instances in order to prevent resource conflicts.

        Proper management of OpenShift guarantees the availability of the Ansible automation controller and other applications running in the OpenShift environment. Quotas on namespaces set the maximum amount of CPU and memory resources a project can consume, limiting the impact one project can have on other projects. In addition, the request and limit settings for the task container set the CPU and memory resources the Ansible automation controller has for running jobs.

        By default, the Ansible automation controller installer sets the CPU request to 1,500 millicores and the memory request to 2GBs. You can use the task_cpu_request and task_mem_request variables to set request sizes for the task container in the Ansible automation controller installer inventory. These settings directly impact the number of forks an Ansible automation controller instance has available for running jobs.

      • What Is ’Sudo’ In Linux?

        If you’re new to Linux, you might have seen the word “sudo” being thrown in Linux commands, and you may be wondering what it does. In this article, let’s look at Sudo in Linux, what it means, and how to use it to get specific work done.

        The word Sudo stands for “Superuser Do” and is pronounced as “Sue Dough.” By using sudo in command in the terminal, you ask your computer to run commands with root privileges. Now, if you ask, “But why do I need superuser permission when I’m already the superuser.” That’s a good question. You’ll need superuser permissions to get that stuff done, which the average user wouldn’t know about.

      • What is a Cron Job in Linux? How to Use it?

        Cron is a command line utility to run small and quick commands on a scheduled basis. This is a handy, classic sysadmin tool for automating various tasks by combining it with othe tools. For example, some people combine rsync and cron to automatically create a daily or weekly backup at a certain time. Some people use it to analyze server logs and combine it with mail function to send an email if there is certain kind of error detected in the logs.

        Cron is like the Swiss army knife. It can be used for a variety of use cases. It’s really up to your imagination on what to use it for.

        Getting started with cron is super easy, and only takes a matter of seconds to get started. But before I show you that, I’ll discuss something else that often confuses Linux users.

    • Games

      • My Major Is Gaming… | Hackaday

        Times have changed. You can now take a university class in writing games. In fact, YOU can now take a university class about writing games because [Dave Churchill] of Memorial University has put all 22 of his lectures up for your enjoyment. [Dr. Churchill] isn’t planning on releasing the assignment files, but you can still get a lot from watching the videos. Apparently, the classes were also live streamed on Twitch.

        The games build on SFML so the resulting games can be portable. The library abstracts input, graphics, sound, and networking.

      • RetroArch 1.9.14 out, with more emulator cores landing on Steam | GamingOnLinux

        The RetroArch team have released RetroArch 1.9.14, and recently they’ve been expanding what emulator cores are available on the Steam version with 26 now available. Cores are what RetroArch runs to do pretty much anything. They can be emulators, entire games and more.

      • Survival-horror deck-builder Draft of Darkness adds gamepad support ready for Steam Deck | GamingOnLinux

        The Steam Deck will be a great device for many things, and one genre we’re excited to play on the go (or in bed) are deck-builders and it sounds like Draft of Darkness will be a lot easier to play now.

        “Draft of Darkness is a survival horror deck builder with roguelike dungeon exploration. Recruit allies, synergize their decks to create powerful card combos, manage your resources, explore procedurally generated maps and determine the outcome of the story.”

      • 7 Days to Die gets Alpha 20 out in Experimental, lots of shiny new additions | GamingOnLinux

        8 years of Early Access and 7 Days to Die shows no signs of slowing down on the major upgrades, with Alpha 20 Experimental out now on Steam. It’s opt-in, so you need to select it from the Beta menu for the game on Steam, and once it’s stable enough it will be out for everyone.

        This version is another huge change for the game with lots of new character / enemy models that look and perform better, along with some massive world-building upgrades to the whole experience.

      • Decentraland is the latest to help fund Blender development | GamingOnLinux

        Decentraland joins a long list of companies and individuals helping to fund Blender, the excellent free and open source 3D creation suite that just recently released the big 3.0 version. Becoming a Patron member for at least two years, Decentraland will be providing at least €120,000 to Blender per year along side NVIDIA, Epic Games, AWS, Facebook, Unity and AMD.

      • New Patron member: Decentraland

        Decentraland is the first fully decentralized virtual world. Its vision is to hand over control to the people who create and play in this virtual space. The DAO (“Decentralized Autonomous Organization”) behind Decentraland decided in a recent community town hall meeting to join the Blender Development Fund for a period of two years, as Patron Member.

      • The amusing Rain on Your Parade to get a DLC on December 15 | GamingOnLinux

        Rain on Your Parade is a little gem that released back in April, a game where you fly around as a little cloud and mess things up for everyone and now it’s set for an expansion.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Top 10 Linux Distributions for KDE Plasma [Compared]

          Planning to adapt a stable KDE Plasma based desktop in Linux and thinking about as a daily driver? Well, here we present top 10 Linux distributions that are better integrated with KDE Plasma.

        • Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 is Out

          The Plasma Mobile team is happy to introduce the Plasma Mobile updates for September to December 2021

          Since its inception, Plasma Mobile has used the oFono stack for telephony functions (mobile data, calling, SMS), but with this Plasma and Gear release, we are transitioning our telephony stack to ModemManager.

          oFono is a Nokia/Intel project started in 2009 with the Nokia N900. It integrates with the higher-level ConnMan connection manager, and is currently used by projects like Ubuntu Touch and Sailfish, which maintain their own series of patches on top of the stack in order for it to work for their use cases.

          ModemManager is a FreeDesktop project started in 2008 with the goal of providing USB dongle support for desktops. It integrates with the higher-level NetworkManager network management daemon. It is currently used on Plasma Desktop and the GNOME desktop to provide support for USB modems, as well as on Phosh for telephony functions.

    • Distributions

      • SteamOS-like Linux distribution ChimeraOS 28 is out now | GamingOnLinux

        ChimeraOS is a Linux distribution aimed at gamers who primarily want a more console-like big-screen experience. A new release with ChimeraOS 28 is now available.

        With this fresh upgrade it comes with some freshened up internals like Linux Kernel 5.15.5, Mesa 21.2.5, NVIDIA 495.44, RetroArch 1.9.13 and updates to their own built-in apps and tooling. Additionally there’s now improved support for Xbox controllers connected via Bluetooth, an issue with the chimera app server crashing under certain conditions when loading MangoHud configuration files was solved and they also fixed an issue with the system updater which could result in an unbootable system under certain conditions.

      • My VR Hell on NixOS

        Recently I got a new VR setup that uses my tower directly instead of the wifi streaming catastrophe. I have a Valve Index and an AMD RX6700XT GPU. Some huge advantages of this setup include: [...]

      • BSD

        • Using awk to pretty-display OpenBSD packages update changes

          You use OpenBSD and when you upgrade your packages you often wonder which one is a rebuild and which one is a real version update? The packages updates are logged in /var/log/messages and using awk it’s easy to achieve some kind of report.

        • Supporting a new C compiler for oksh and review of the vbcc C compiler

          Today, I added support for the vbcc compiler to oksh, my portable version of the in-base OpenBSD Korn shell. I will discuss how I got vbcc running on OpenBSD, how I got oksh building and working with vbcc, and my overall review of using the vbcc compiler.

        • Battery status in tmux status bar in FreeBSD

          I don’t need much information to be shown in the status bar.

          When the charger is connected, I want to know how far the charging is.

          When on battery, I want to know what the remaining battery time is.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora on NVIDIA Jetson Xavier

          The last two years or so I’ve been working with NVIDIA on general distro support including UEFI and ACPI for their Jetson Xavier platforms. Their Xavier platform, except a few quirks, are mostly SystemReady-ES compliant, so having a SBBR compliant firmware goes quite some way to having a widely available, relatively affordable, platform that “just works” for the arm ecosystem. I was very excited to finally have NVIDIA finally release the first version in March this year. This firmware is a standard UEFI firmware based on the open source TianoCore/EDK2 reference firmware, it allows booting in either ACPI or Device-Tree mode and supports all the basic things needed. The ACPI mode is not as fully featured as the Device-Tree mode as yet. In ACPI you get compute (cpu/memory/virt etc), PCIe, USB, network, which is just fine if you’re just looking for standard server or for testing a SystemReady system but there’s no display or accelerator support as yet. The Device-Tree mode is more feature full but both work pretty well with upstream kernels and NVIDIA are improving and upstreaming more things regularly.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.25 Anonymous Linux OS Released with New Backup Tool for Persistent Storage

          The monthly Tails releases continue, and Tails 4.25 is here to introduce a brand-new and simple backup utility to help users backup their Persistent Storage from the USB flash drive where they run Tails to another Tails USB stick.

          Contributed by David A. Wheeler, the new backup tool offers a graphical interface and automates the process described in the official Tails documentation on how to make a backup of your Persistent Storage via the command line. You can find it under System Tools > Back Up Persistent Storage.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint’s (Ace) Sticky Notes App Works Great on Ubuntu

          I used to use real post-it notes in real life. A ton of them. I’d use them remind me to buy cat food, put the bins out, and unclog the sink. But most of my sticky notes ended up face down on my desk, dog eared and ignored (or, on more than one occasion stuck to the back of the cat).

          These days I keep on top of my to-do list using desktop (and mobile) apps. The latest version of Linux Mint comes with a standout one preinstalled called Sticky.

        • Ubuntu-based Freespire 8.0 Linux distribution focuses heavily on Google services

          Guess what, folks? Freespire 8.0 is available to download immediately. This version of the Ubuntu-based operating system utilizes Linux kernel 5.4.0-91 LTS while using Xfce 4.16 as its desktop environment. This no-nonsense distribution is fairly lightweight and easy to use, making it a good choice for Linux newbies; particularly with aging (not obsolete) hardware.

          Surprisingly, the developers have decided to focus heavily on Google with this release. This includes the search giant’s services (Translate, News, etc.) and the Chrome browser. Apparently, this new focus is a result of reading user feedback. While this may scare some privacy-zealots away, it should make the operating system more appealing to the average home computer user. Let’s be honest, shall we? Google services are rather essential for many people.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Goodbye WordPress, I’ve Switched To Jekyll (Again)

        I’ve decided to leave WordPress behind and switch to Jekyll…for a second time. This post explains why.

      • Cross-platform package building: Pkgsrc vs. Ravenports (2/2)

        Part 2 discusses two package building frameworks that were developed to allow for a cross-platform solution. It contains a short introduction of both, a somewhat detailed elaboration of how they compare as well as information on the test scenario and of course the results. It ends with a conclusion.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • The EUPL is a “Legal Licence” in France

            This omission is now repaired by a Décret n° 2021-1559 of 1st December 2021 adding the EUPL as a “Legal licence” in the Code of Relationship between the Public and the Administrations (CRPA).

            Before this Décret, French public administrations wanting to make use of the EUPL had to justify it case by case in a long administrative process. Since the EUPL is a reciprocal licence stating that derivatives of the covered software must be distributed under the EUPL too, this was a barrier for sharing and reusing software between European institutions, France and the rest of EU.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python

          • Install Python 3.9 on Raspberry Pi OS or Debian 10 (for Ansible or other uses)

            The problem is Ansible 2.12 has a new hard requirement for Python 3.8 or newer. And Ansible 2.12 is included in Ansible 5.0.0, which was recently released. Raspberry Pi OS, which was based on Debian 10 (“Buster”) until recently, includes Python 3.7, which is too old to satisfy Ansible’s installation requirements.

            And there was recently a fix that makes it so Ansible 5.x won’t get installed on these older systems, but who wants to get stuck on old unsupported Ansible versions?

            There are three options: [...]

  • Leftovers

    • Port Arthur and the Sublime

      The most amazing place I saw during a recent tour of flood damaged towns and cities on the Gulf Coast, was Port Arthur, Texas. The ruin of its downtown, combined with the fury of its petrochemical infrastructure, can only be called sublime. That’s not a good thing. The vacant lots and gutted buildings downtown — which recall Pompeii after Vesuvius — are tokens of a vicious system of racial capitalism. The oil refineries — a tentacular network of pipes, distilleries, smoke stacks, and storage tanks — leak so many cancer-causing pollutants that adjacent residential areas are sometimes called “sacrifice zones.”

      The ruin and fury that characterizes Port Arthur today is so overwhelming, that it seems timeless and impervious to change. Breaking the spell of the sublime is therefore one of the most important tasks of environmental justice activists in Port Arthur. And as I learned, that’s precisely what they’re doing.

    • The Question Dave Hickey Dared to Ask

      What are critics good for? There’s certainly no lack of commentary today; if anything, the current online environment is a flowering of critical prose. On platforms like Twitter, the shorthand of “the discourse” (trickled down from Foucault, but never applied with so much seriousness as to seem uncool) is pervasive. We’re having a conversation out here, and it would behoove you to pay attention, subject aside—perhaps there is a much-hyped novel or a possibly offensive artwork you need to become aware of (or, just as often, something even more fleeting: an image, a meme). “Takes,” hot or cold, follow; if we’re analyzing television, where the real man-hours are spent consuming culture, “recaps” regurgitate screen time into the following day: Writers are hard at work extending, reiterating, dissenting, providing nuance and context.

    • Donald Trump’s Media & Tech Company Facing SEC Investigation

      Former President Donald Trump’s media company thinks it can attract 10 million paying subscribers to a new streaming service, and that users will be willing to pay a monthly fee “closer to that of Netflix given President Trump’s highly-enthused base.”

      But first, it will have to navigate a federal investigation.

      According to documents filed by Digital World Acquisition Company (the SPAC Trump’s company intends to merge with) Monday, both firms are facing investigations by the SEC and FINRA.

    • ‘Nobody Is Above the Law’: Elizabeth Warren Applauds SEC Probe of Trump’s Social Media Venture

      Garnering praise from progressives including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. federal regulators have launched investigations into the proposed merger of a special purpose acquisition company with a budding social media company backed by former President Donald Trump.

      Ongoing probes conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) were revealed on Monday in an SEC filing by Digital World Acquisition Corporation, a “so-called blank-check company that raised nearly $300 million in an initial public offering in September” and intends to merge with Trump Media Technology Group, the New York Times reported.

    • Science

      • Actegories and Lenses

        A lens is a reification of the concept of object composition. In a nutshell, it describes the process of decomposing the source object s into a focus a and a residue c and recomposing a new object t from a new focus b and the same residue c.

        The key observation is that we don’t care what the residue is as long as it exists. This is why a lens can be implemented, in Haskell, as an existential type: [...]

    • Hardware

      • Sony cameras are getting harder to buy due to the chip shortage

        The global chip shortage has claimed yet another camera from Sony’s lineup. This time, Sony is suspending orders for the ZV-E10, a mirrorless vlogging camera that the company released in August, as reported by Digital Photography Review.

        Sony announced the camera’s suspension in a post on its website, noting that it will no longer sell the ZV-E10 on its store or through any of its distributors for the time being. “With regard to digital imaging products, parts procurement is delayed due to the effects of global semiconductor shortages,” a translation of Sony’s notice reads.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Antivaxxers vs. FDA’s VRBPAC and CDC’s ACIP.

        Sometimes the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend delays my writing about something that caught my interest (that, and my wife and I agreeing to foster a litter of puppies for a local animal shelter). Before the holiday, I had seen a rather long post over on Children’s Health Defense (CHD), the website of one of the oldest and most influential antivaxxers out there, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and I knew I had my topic. The article was published the day before Thanksgiving and is titled “14 ACIP Members Who Voted to Jab Your Young Children — and Their Big Ties to Big Pharma“. Unlike most articles on CHD, it was not credited to any single author, but rather to the Children’s Health Defense Team. Whenever I see that credit, I can’t help but speculate that maybe no one wanted to take personal credit for this article because it’s so misleading and bad, but then I remember: This is RFK Jr.’s website. Misleading is his business model.

      • Continuing Vaccine Apartheid Could Herald “Wave After Wave of Variants”
      • COVID-19 Hit This County Hard. A Weakened Health Department Still Can’t Get People Vaccinated.

        Most people told her the COVID-19 vaccine helped them feel safer, but Barbara Hawkins worried it would make her sick.

        Uninsured and without a regular doctor, she feared that side effects could aggravate her heart condition. Her friends and family, mostly vaccinated, reassured her that they wouldn’t.

      • Campaigners Warn of ‘Wave After Wave of Variants’ as Long as Vaccine Apartheid Remains

        A coalition of humanitarian groups warned Sunday that the world could face “wave after wave of variants” unless rich countries stop blocking a proposed patent waiver for coronavirus vaccines and immediately distribute the technology needed to mass-produce the lifesaving shots.

        “Pharmaceutical monopolies and profiteering have prevented vaccination in Africa and the rest of the developing world.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Better.com CEO fires 900 employees over Zoom

          The Softbank-backed mortgage lender announced in May it was going public through an SPAC and last week received $750 million in cash as part of the deal. The company is prepared to have more than $1 billion on its balance sheet.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Announcing Istio 1.10.6

            This release contains bug fixes to improve robustness. This release note describes what’s different between Istio 1.10.5 and Istio 1.10.6.

          • CISA Releases Security Advisory on WebHMI Vulnerabilities

            CISA has released an Industrial Controls Systems (ICS) advisory detailing vulnerabilities in Distributed Data Systems WebHMI products. A remote attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system.

          • Zoho Releases Security Advisory for ManageEngine Desktop Central and Desktop Central MSP

            Zoho has released a security advisory to address an authentication bypass vulnerability in ManageEngine Desktop Central and Desktop Central MSP. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to take control of an affected system. According to Zoho, this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild.

          • Privacy

            • What is the Surveillance State?

              Surveillance and crime prevention

              At the present time, in the US, the focus of surveillance has become the “crime problem.” On the lookout for the incipient evil-doer, surveillance rationalizes itself through technological silence, while depending on sociological explanations. It is supposed to help prevent crime. But that just makes it more mysterious. Does it stop corporate crime? Does it rescue us from administrative corruption? These crimes reside in the domain of brave investigative journalism. When nine different people observed a woman being sexually assaulted on a train (Philadelphia, 10/13/21), all they could think of to do was record the event on their nine separate cellphones – thinking, perhaps, that that act of surveillance would stop the crime they were witnessing. Remaining in the hands of the police, will the technology of surveillance stop the crimes committed by the police?

            • NSO Spyware Used To Snoop On US State Department Employees Stationed In Uganda

              Israeli exploit seller NSO Group has long past reached the limits of its non-denials and deflection attempts. There’s only bad news on the horizon for the tech company, which would be a lot less disheartening for the company if it hadn’t been preceded by months of bad news.

            • Clearview’s Facial Recognition AI One Of The Best In The Business, Says NIST

              Some good news for Clearview, the bottom dweller of the facial recognition field. The prodigious scraper of web content has finally submitted its algorithm (the one it actually sells to government agencies) to the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) and has obtained a score that justifies its frequent blustering about how accurate its AI is. Here’s Kashmir Hill with the details for the New York Times.

            • The Open Technology Fund That Makes All Your Favorite Privacy Apps is Staffed Full of Spies

              The Open Technology Fund (OTF) is one of the most influential and celebrated organizations in the hacking and internet freedom communities. Well over two billion people globally use OTF-produced software, including communications app Signal and web browser Tor, services that are specifically marketed to privacy-conscious consumers looking to circumvent government censorship and surveillance. Yet its close links to the U.S. national security state raise many worrying questions about whether the world is making a mistake by trusting the organization and its products.

            • Chinese Government Is Building A Surveillance System That Will Target, Track Foreign Journalists, Students

              The Chinese government is truly, undeniably, utterly evil. Anyone saying otherwise has something to sell (most likely to the Chinese people or their government). Private companies and public entities alike have kowtowed and capitulated rather than face the ferocity of the easily angered government and/or risk losing access to a marketplace containing a few billion people.

            • Interview With Nathan Collins – PAVilion

              Nathan Collins: In the late ‘90s I was an economics graduate from UCW Aberystwyth and determined not to go anywhere near IT. IT had been the profession that my father had chosen, and I wanted to go a different way. Alas, I failed spectacularly in this endeavor with a 20+ year career involving technical direction, consulting services, support services, and everything else associated with technology. However, in the last 5 years I have broken free a little becoming a sales director.

            • TikTok considers monetization and creator retention in judging recommendation algorithm

              To keep users watching and coming back, TikTok considers four main objectives, according to the Times: user value, long-term user value, creator value, and platform value. One way that plays out is the algorithm prioritizing a diversity of content rather than overwhelming users with one single topic they might love.

            • Rise in employee monitoring prompts calls for new rules to protect workers

              “We have seen a significant increase of interest in employee monitoring technology through the pandemic,” said Helen Poitevin, VP analyst at Gartner focusing on human capital management technologies. “This continues as organizations plan for hybrid work environments, with employees working more flexibly from home and at the office.”

              Technological innovation has largely outpaced existing employment and equality legislation, said Andrew Pakes, director of communications and research at UK union Prospect. (Pakes contributed to a recent cross-party government report on AI monitoring and management in the workplace.)

            • Ransomware attacks soar, [attackers] set to become more aggressive – Canada spy agency

              Global ransomware attacks increased by 151% in the first half of 2021 compared with 2020 and [attackers] are set to become increasingly aggressive, Canada’s signals intelligence agency said on Monday.

              The Communications Security Establishment (CSE), citing attacks on North American health facilities and a U.S. pipeline, said the scale and scope of ransomware operators represented both security and economic risks to Canada and its allies.

            • Personal Data Protection Bill report likely to be tabled in Parliament on Dec 21

              The bill that seeks to provide protection of personal data of individuals and establish a Data Protection Authority for the same, was brought in Parliament in 2019 and was later referred to the Joint Committee for further scrutiny on the demand of opposition members.

            • noyb’s Second “Advent Reading”: How the Irish DPC tried to lobby Facebook’s “GDPR bypass” into European Guidelines.

              This week, noyb published two rounds of documents as part of their “Advent Readings” from DPC and Facebook documents: A letter from Facebook to the Irish DPC confirms that the DPC had ten meetings with Facebook where they discussed and agreed on Facebook’s GDPR bypass. The second round of documents shows that the DPC tried to push this bypass for “Social Media” into Guidelines of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) but was met with harsh criticism from other European Data Protection Authorities (DPAs), going all the way with comments like “We think that this interpretation undermines the system and spirit of the GDPR“ or “This reduces the GDPR to a pro-forma instrument.” The DPC’s attempt to include the GDPR bypass into the guidelines took place, while it was tasked with being an indepent decision maker in a pending case on Facebook’s “GDPR bypass”.

            • Digital surveillance / Pegasus: Civil society calls for EU sanctions against NSO Group

              In a letter published today to the EU’s foreign affairs commissioner Josep Borrell and the foreign ministers of EU member states, the coalition summarises the growing number of allegations against the company and calls for action under the EU’s human rights sanctions regime. The EU must take appropriate steps to ban the use and trade of NSO technology until effective human rights protections are in place.

              More than 220 journalists have been identified as targeted or confirmed targets of state spying attacks using the spyware since the first Pegasus Project revelations in July. The German government has so far maintained its use of Pegasus, including by the Federal Intelligence Service. The US Department of Commerce, on the other hand, took concrete steps in November and placed NSO Group and another Israeli surveillance technology company on a sanctions list.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • U.S. Opposes a Ban on Killer Robots–A New Autonomous Form of Warfare–Ahead of U.N. Weapons Summit

        Human rights activists and dozens of countries are calling for an all-out ban on the use of lethal autonomous weapons, also known as “killer robots” that can make the final order to kill without a human overseeing the process. The robots will be coming under review next week during high-level talks on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. So far, the Biden administration has rejected calls to ban the weapons, instead proposing the establishment of a “code of conduct” for their use. “This is not just a new weapon, it’s a new form of warfare,” says Steve Goose, director of Human Rights Watch’s arms division and co-founder of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, says. “The majority of countries want to see a legally binding instrument — a new treaty — that would have prohibitions and regulations on fully autonomous weapons.”

      • Gun Control Advocates Demand New Regulations After Michigan School Shooting
      • “Systemwide Failure”: Gun Control Advocates Demand New Regulations After Michigan School Shooting

        Funerals have begun in Oxford, Michigan, for the four students killed when their 15-year-old classmate opened fire in a rampage that also injured seven others. Ethan Crumbley has been charged with terrorism and first-degree murder, and his parents have also been charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly giving him access to a firearm even as he displayed obvious signs he was thinking about committing violent crimes. We’re joined by Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, prompting her to found Sandy Hook Promise; and Kris Brown, president of Brady, one of the oldest gun violence prevention organizations in the country. “We have an epidemic of gun violence in this country,”says Brown. “This was an absolutely preventable act of violence,” adds Hockley, who also discusses her organization’s anonymous reporting system called “Say Something” for students to use if they see a classmate who is at risk of harming themselves or others.

      • Corrupting science: Shunning forensic expertise, OPCW left Douma, Syria murders unsolved
      • “Crisis of Accountability”: Pentagon Reopens Probe of Syrian Airstrike That Killed Dozens of Civilians

        Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a new investigation into one of the deadliest U.S. airstrikes in recent years after the New York Times exposed an orchestrated cover-up by U.S. military officials to conceal the attack. The March 2019 airstrike killed dozens of women and children during a bombing of one of the last strongholds of the Islamic State of Syria. Evidence has shown that U.S. military officials spent two-and-a-half years covering up the attack by downplaying the death toll, delaying reports, and sanitizing and classifying evidence of civilian deaths. “This is not the case of one little mistake,” says Priyanka Motaparthy, director of the Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict and Human Rights Project at Columbia Law School. “This really points to a crisis of accountability in the Pentagon.”

      • Breaking China: There Won’t be Anything Left

        But this was all intentional misdirection, because the “War on Terror” was a handy diversion from the real intent of the folks pulling the strings of the Military Industrial Complex. The WOT was a very effective way to a inculcate a permanent sense of terror at home, provide a vehicle to strip away constitutional rights and the checks and balances of our federal system, eviscerate the last shreds of the constitutional duty for congress to declare war, and work to develop a cadre of volunteer troops who would be primed to redirect their racist brainwashing from denigrating sand-monkeys to demonizing slope-heads, or other natives, as needed.

        Some of you may remember how well that worked out, the last time we went to Asia to fight the domino-flipping commies.

      • Chris Hedges: The Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Is an American Satyricon

        The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell which began this week in Manhattan will not hold to account the powerful and wealthy men who are also complicit in the sexual assaults of girls as young as twelve Maxwell allegedly procured for billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

      • Sham GOP Election ‘Auditors’ Want to See Your Ballot — But Hide Their Own Work

        Vos’s comparison was farcical on its face, likening alleged election-related fraud with the search for a killer. But it also revealed a key dynamic of Wisconsin’s GOP-driven audit, showing how the same lawmakers signing off on subpoenas and demanding extraordinary access to election records sought to keep the public in the dark about the inner workings of their “audit.”

      • American Oversight Files Motion to Hold Speaker Vos in Contempt for Failure to Comply with Wisconsin Public Records Law

        On Nov. 5, the court ordered the Wisconsin Assembly and Vos to release records in response to American Oversight’s lawsuit, giving Vos and the Assembly 10 days to release certain records held by the contractors hired to conduct the inquiry. Almost two weeks have passed since that Nov. 19 deadline, and Vos and the Assembly have not produced the records.

      • A gathering storm: why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor in 1941?

        With a dwindling supply of petroleum, Japan faced the appalling prospect of having to give up its ambitions for a ‘Co-Prosperity Sphere’. In reaction to the US’s financial freeze and de facto oil embargo, on 3 September 1941, Prime Minister Konoe’s cabinet convened to discuss the ‘Outline Plan for the Execution of the Empire’s National Policy’, produced by Imperial General Headquarters, a council of top-ranking army and navy officers. Unless the western powers backed down, the cabinet resolved “… to go to war with the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands if necessary”.

        The accepted strategy for combating the west was for Japan to move rapidly to secure the oil-rich Dutch East Indies and the Philippines, a US colonial depen­d­ency. The supposedly formidable British military and naval garrison at Singapore would be taken, along with commodity-rich Malaya and Burma. Meanwhile, the main body of the Japanese navy would wait for the approach of the US fleet as it sailed to relieve the Philippines – which was indeed the proposal of ‘War Plan Orange’, as con­c­eived by the joint US Army and Navy Board in the 1920s. Here, at the Marshall Islands, in the western approaches of the Pacific Ocean, the Japanese navy would annihilate the US navy, just as the legendary Admiral Tōgō had decimated the Russian navy at the battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.

        However, Admiral Isoroku ­­Yama­moto, who as commander-in-chief of its Combined Fleet held the pivotal role in Japan’s war strategy against the United States, had other ideas. He turned conventional wisdom on its head by planning a surprise attack on the US’s key Pacific naval base, located in Hawaii. By sinking America’s Pacific Fleet in a surprise attack – particularly its flotilla of aircraft carriers, which Yamamoto had identified as the key sea weapons of the coming war – he would seek to delay a US naval advance. This would give time for Japan to build up defences in the Pacific islands, and secure its resource supply lines within its newly acquired south-east Asian empire. At best, Yamamoto surmised that, after the destruction of the US navy at Pearl Harbor, Washington might even offer a truce.

      • 101-year-old returns to Pearl Harbor to remember those lost

        In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed 388 sets of these remains in hopes of identifying them with the help of DNA technology and dental records. They succeeded with 361.

      • America Learned the Wrong Lessons From Pearl Harbor—And the World Is Still Living With the Consequences

        World War II was an aberration in so many ways: the existential threat posed by fascism, the unequivocal necessity of our participation, and the decisiveness of Allied victory are only the most obvious. When we remember Pearl Harbor, we find ourselves in the position of Orpheus, suddenly mistrusting Hades’ bargain, compelled to look back, only to discover that Eurydice has vanished. Betrayed by the last twenty years, we grasp in vain to retrieve an elusive glory. Our tragic postwar mistake was in thinking that the consequences of World War II could be endlessly duplicated. Over the years we have somehow developed a capacity to be surprised when American military might doesn’t establish, as it once helped to do, a new world but instead, after twenty wasteful years of occupation, fitful nation-building, and unfounded confidence, are left right back where we started. There is a cruel and particular irony in the paradox that a country the imagination of which has always been knit so tightly to the future—to the seductive dream of beginning anew—now finds itself in the position of hoping that history will miraculously repeat itself.

      • US Remembers Pearl Harbor on 80th Anniversary of Attack

        Tuesday marks the 80th anniversary of the surprise strike on the U.S. Pacific Fleet that killed more than 2,400 service members and civilians, wounded about 1,000 people, and damaged or destroyed almost 20 ships and more than 300 aircraft in less than two hours.

        The next day, Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan, and the lawmakers approved the move.

        Just three days later, Germany and Italy, Japan’s allies, declared war on the U.S. The U.S. reciprocated, entering World War II, which had been raging in Europe for more than two years.

      • War in Ukraine? NATO expansion drives conflict with Russia
      • Europe’s future will be decided in Ukraine

        My appointment as Ukraine’s new Minister of Defense in early November coincided with a wave of mounting international concern over Russia’s latest military build-up along the Ukrainian border. This concentration of troops and armor is consistent with preparations for a large-scale invasion of Ukraine in the coming months.

        As the international community began to raise the alarm over Russia’s menacing military activity, it was noted that Ukraine seemed to be reacting in a far calmer manner than many in the US or European capitals. This was an entirely accurate observation.

      • Han Chinese now hold most government posts in Tibet as Beijing extends control

        Han Chinese now outnumber Tibetans in top government posts in Tibet by more than 2-to-1, an indication, Tibetan sources say, of China’s push to dominate the region.

        Following Beijing’s installation of Wang Junzheng as Tibet’s party secretary on Oct. 19, only four out of fifteen chief and vice-chief administrative positions in the capital Lhasa are now held by Tibetans, according to Chinese government figures.

        This lack of representation in government shows that Tibet’s status as an Autonomous Region of China has no meaning for Beijing, a Tibetan living in Lhasa told RFA.

      • The Taliban are losing the fight against Islamic State

        Deborah Lyon, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan, recently told the UN Security Council, ‘Once limited to a few provinces and the capital, [IS-K] now seems to be present in nearly all provinces, and increasingly active’. Indeed, there’s been a marked increase in attacks across the country since 2020. US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl similarly testified to Congress, ‘We could see [IS-K] generate that capability [for foreign attacks] in somewhere between six or 12 months’, adding that the Taliban’s ability to combat the group ‘is to be determined’. The US recently identified and sanctioned senior officials of IS-K, including its leader.

      • US and EU condemn Taliban over ‘summary killings’ and demand investigation

        Early this week Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report that it says documents the summary execution or enforced disappearance of 47 former members of the Afghan National Security Forces, other military personnel, police and intelligence agents “who had surrendered to or were apprehended by Taliban forces” from mid-August through October.

      • Salah Abdeslam and the Banality of Terror

        Abdeslam is the most prominent defendant, and the one that bears the greatest burden of guilt. French newspapers printed his photo when the trial kicked off in September, presenting him as the incarnation of evil. The other defendants stand accused of having participated in preparations for the attack – arranging fake documents, for example, or obtaining vehicles and apartments for the conspiracy. Two of them had been on their way to Europe, hoping to join in on the attack, but didn’t make it in time. Still others helped Salah Abdeslam escape after Nov. 13. Abdeslam, though, is the only one who was there and was supposed to have blown himself up, and he’s the only one who could provide answers to a number of open questions. Thus far, though, he has remained silent about the background of the attacks.

      • Two soldiers killed in Islamist militant attack in northern Benin, army says
      • West Africa: Explosions, attacks in Mali, Niger kill over 100

        Both Niger and Mali are struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that started in 2012 in northern Mali.

        The federal government in both West African nations has little control outside cities in the vast deserts that comprise the countryside. Additionally, both countries are desperately poor, ranking at the very bottom and near the bottom of the UN’s Development Index.

      • Former D.C. Guard official accuses Army generals of lying to Congress about Jan. 6 response

        The officer, Col. Earl Matthews, wrote in a 36-page memo to the House committee investigating the attack that Gen. Charles Flynn, who was the deputy chief of staff for operations on Jan. 6, and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, the director of the Army staff, “repeatedly misrepresented, understated, or misled” the House Oversight Committee and the Defense Department’s inspector general.

    • Environment

      • How China wrested control of the Congo’s critical minerals

        Despite an avowed concern to end the US dependence on China for supplies of critical minerals, both the Obama and Trump administrations stood aside, allowing Freeport to hand control of the world’s largest cobalt mine to China Molybdenum with the sale of its nickel and cobalt operations in the DRC. The Chinese were assisted in their purchase by President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

      • How the U.S. Lost Ground to China in the Contest for Clean Energy

        Not only did the Chinese purchase of the mine, known as Tenke Fungurume, go through uninterrupted during the final months of the Obama administration, but four years later, during the twilight of the Trump presidency, so did the purchase of an even more impressive cobalt reserve that Freeport-McMoRan put on the market. The buyer was the same company, China Molybdenum.

        China’s pursuit of Congo’s cobalt wealth is part of a disciplined playbook that has given it an enormous head start over the United States in the race to dominate the electrification of the auto industry, long a key driver of the global economy.

        But an investigation by The New York Times revealed a hidden history of the cobalt acquisitions in which the United States essentially surrendered the resources to China, failing to safeguard decades of diplomatic and financial investments in Congo. The sale of the two mines, also flush with copper, highlights the shifting geography and politics of the clean energy revolution, with countries rich in cobalt, lithium and other raw materials needed for batteries suddenly playing the role of oil giants.

      • A Future With Little to No Snow? What That Means for the West
      • Energy

        • ‘We Won’t Stop Fighting,’ Vow South African Activists After Judge OKs Shell Seismic Blasting at Sea

          South African activists on Monday vowed to keep fighting after a court ruling allowing fossil fuel giant Shell to proceed with massive underwater explosions off the ecologically sensitive Wild Coast, a move environmentalists say would cause “irreparable harm” to marine life.

          “Our ancestors’ blood was spilled protecting our land and sea, and we now feel a sense of duty to protect it for future generations.”

        • Big Oil Profits Surge to $174 Billion in 2021 Amid Rising Gas Prices: Report

          While rising gasoline prices have adversely affected millions of working people in the U.S., the world’s biggest fossil fuel corporations have benefited immensely, raking in a combined $174 billion in profits during the first nine months of this year.

          “Oil corporations are reveling in their massive profits and using that money for their real priorities: stock buybacks and lining shareholders’ pockets.”

        • Oil and Gas Industry Profits Climbed as Americans Faced High Gas Prices in 2021
        • ‘It’s a Proud Day’: Oregon Landowners Celebrate Demise of LNG project, Even as Legal Questions Go Unanswered

          Oregon’s 15-year battle against the Jordan Cove LNG project quietly came to an end on December 1, bringing relief to dozens of landowners that live in the path of the proposed project. 

          It was an anti-climactic end to one of the most controversial fossil fuel projects ever proposed in the Pacific Northwest. Pembina, the backer of Jordan Cove LNG and the Pacific Connector gas pipeline that would have fed the export terminal, submitted a request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to cancel its authorization, citing the company’s inability to obtain state environmental permits. 

        • Biden Administration Is Approving Oil and Gas Drilling at Faster Rate Than Trump
        • Biden Continues Drilling Boom on Public Lands Despite Campaign Pledge, Analysis Shows

          Despite pledging as a presidential candidate that he would allow “no ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period,” President Joe Biden’s White House has approved more drilling permits for public lands each month than the Trump administration, a new analysis shows.

          In a report titled Biden’s Oil Letdown, released Monday, Public Citizen showed that since Biden took office, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved an average of 333 oil and gas drilling permits per month this year—40% more than it did in the first three years of Trump’s presidency.

        • South African environment groups demand an end to Shell exploration

          Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to explore for oil along a stretch of pristine coastline raised the ire of local activists on Sunday as hundreds gathered on beaches around South Africa, calling for the oil giant to stop prospecting.

          Demonstrators are worried about the effect seismic blasting — a prospecting method based on emitting powerful sound waves — will have in a 6,000 square kilometer (2316 square mile) area.

        • The price of electricity around the world

          This data might be of some interest to bitcoin miners and owners of data centres in their decision-making process to determine suitable locations, although typically, ‘big-pipe’ access to the [Internet] is poor in the cheapest countries, thereby limiting interest.

        • Why have prices of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, fallen—again?

          The effect of all this on cryptocurrencies has been particularly pronounced. They are consistently volatile. Though they are billed as digital currencies, their holders treat them not as means of payment but as financial assets. Most are thinly traded in comparison to shares, with a few big investors holding significant sway. About 2% of bitcoin accounts hold 95% of the available coins, according to Flipside, a crypto-analytics firm. Last year, less than 20% of bitcoin supply was actively traded—most is held in long-term accounts. That means trades do not have to be very large to shift prices dramatically. Crypto exchanges are numerous: the fragmentation of trading increases volatility, as a few trades on a given exchange can have a significant effect. Prices are also affected by a massive market for derivatives (contracts based on the price of an underlying asset, in this case a cryptocurrency): there are on average five times more bitcoin derivative trades than spot trades of the coin itself. These bets, which are usually made on unregulated offshore exchanges, can shift the price of cryptocurrencies, adding to volatility.

        • Ethereum Emissions

          After reading a paper by Jonathan Koomey that encourages taking a bottom-up approach to energy estimates instead of Alex’s top-down approach, I looked for some bottom-up estimates. When I couldn’t find one I was happy with, I did some research and built a new Ethereum emissions tracker.

          This is the part where I am supposed to say “what I found will shock you”, but perhaps what is most surprising is that the previous attempts at answering this question seem to have been basically correct in their conclusions.

        • A Bitcoin Boom Fueled by Cheap Power, Empty Plants and Few Rules

          But the surge of activity has also prompted a growing outcry over the amount of electricity and pollution involved in mining for Bitcoin. Globally, cryptocurrency mining is said to consume more electricity annually than all of Argentina. China, once home to perhaps two-thirds of all crypto mining, banned the practice this year to help achieve its carbon-reduction goals, driving some miners to New York.

          As a result, environmental groups say, the Wild West-style scramble, coupled with a lack of restrictions on Bitcoin mining, is threatening the state’s own emission-reduction goals, which call for more renewable power and rapid reductions in fossil-fuel emissions.

    • Finance

      • Inside the November Jobs Numbers

        The 210,000 job growth in the establishment survey is slower than generally expected, but it is important to note that it went along with an increase in the average workweek. The index of aggregate hours in the private sector increased by 0.5 percent in November. This would be the equivalent of more than 630,000 new jobs, with no change in the workweek.

        This fits a story where employers are increasing hours since they are unable to hire new workers. We are seeing a reshuffling of the labor market where workers are looking for better jobs and employers are competing to attract workers, especially in lower paying sectors.

      • Concentration of Power

        Well, it is nice to be free again, though as I said on release, I shall never really feel free while Julian is still imprisoned and while Scotland is still part of an imperialist United Kingdom. I expect most of you have seen my release, but for those who have not…

      • “Unregulated Capitalism is a Suicide Pact”: Noam Chomsky Talks Climate, China, and More with Lowkey
      • Opinion | With Maxwell Sacrificed, the Ruling Oligarchs Will Once Again Escape Justice

        The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell which began this week in Manhattan will not hold to account the powerful and wealthy men who are also complicit in the sexual assaults of girls as young as twelve Maxwell allegedly procured for billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

      • WATCH: Sanders Hosts ‘Solidarity Brewing’ Town Hall With Starbucks Workers Amid Union Push

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday night will host a town hall with Buffalo, New York Starbucks workers as they attempt to form the first-ever union at the company, whose management has turned to well-worn corporate tactics in its campaign to stamp out the historic organizing drive.

        “Young workers are struggling with low wages, high rents, student debt, lack of healthcare, etc. Some of them are fighting back,” Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in a tweet promoting the event, slated to begin at 8 pm ET.

      • Opinion | The First Corporate-Owned Starbucks in the Country to Unionize?

        The cream always rises to the top. Howard Schultz must love this folk maxim. And well he should. Understanding the ways of cream has helped make Schultz—the two-time former CEO and current chairman emeritus of Starbucks—a billionaire almost five times over.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | In Buffalo and After: Democratic Socialists Vs. Republican Democrats

        Two weeks ago, with the final ballots counted in Buffalo’s mayoral race, India Walton acknowledged her loss. She also looked ahead: “This election was not an end, but a beginning,” she told reporters. “The new ideas we articulated, the new energy we inspired, the new volunteers we trained, and the new relationships we built will only grow in the coming years. This campaign planted many seeds. The blossoms are inevitable.”

      • A Litmus Test for Democracy? Democratic Deficits at the Summit for Democracy

        There are, of course, many manifestations or “models” of democracy, exercised nationally as well as locally in provinces and communities. The spectrum of democratic governance goes from direct democracy by way of citizen power of initiative and the possibility to challenge legislation by way of referenda, to participatory democracy through public meetings and voting on specific issues by ballot (or even show of hands!), to representative democracy through the election of parliamentarians with specific mandates, to presidential democracy by electing a president with wide-ranging powers.

        As a Swiss citizen, I recognize the benefits of the semi-direct democracy practised in Switzerland. Indeed, I vote in every single election and referendum, and actively participate in the public debate that precedes them, and in this way I feel that my opinion counts. As an American citizen I vote in every congressional and presidential election every two years. However, on the important issues I feel that there is no genuine choice given to the electorate, because the two parties converge precisely on those issues where there must be change. Because there is hardly a possibility to influence domestic or international policy, I and many other Americans feel disenfranchised. We suffer from endemic democratic deficits.

      • Rights Groups Decry ‘Farcical and Corrupt’ Verdict as Myanmar’s Suu Kyi Sentenced to Four Years in Prison

        A Myanmar court on Monday sentenced the nation’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four years in prison on charges that human rights groups and the United Nations condemned as “politically motivated” and “corrupt.”

        The verdict—under which the former leader was convicted of incitement and violating Covid-19 restrictions—came more than 10 months after Myanmar’s armed forces arrested Suu Kyi and took control of the country’s government, imperiling the nation’s recent, tenuous steps toward democracy after decades of military dictatorship.

      • DOJ Lawsuit Challenging Texas Gerrymandering Met With Applause, Calls for Action in Congress

        Following the lead of a number of voters and rights organizations, the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday filed a legal challenge to Texas’ newly drawn, “discriminatory” congressional district map, while noting that action by federal lawmakers could keep states from imposing racial and partisan gerrymandering on constituents.

        The DOJ filed its lawsuit under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bars legislators from denying equal access to voting on the basis of voters’ race or ethnicity.

      • Justice Department Sues Texas Over Racist Congressional Maps
      • Opinion | GOP Is Launching a Mechanical Attack to Steal the Next Election

        The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6  demonstrated exactly how little the United States has progressed since the civil rights era. The right, still battling against the foundation and promise of a multiracial democracy, has demonstrated its willingness to use violent means to preserve political control. But, beyond the desire of some to literally murder their opponents, Republican leaders are also launching a less obvious and more mechanical attack on the idea of a fairly elected government. 

      • Proud Boy
      • Honduras Elects a Socialist—but Will She Be Allowed to Govern?

        Tegucigalpa, Honduras—You could hear the shouting inside the Buenos Aires voting center from almost a block away. It was nearing 6 pm on November 28, and arguments began spilling out from the school-turned-polling-place onto the street. In this poor neighborhood in Tegucigalpa, the vote facilitators, who belonged to the ruling right-wing National Party, were preventing voters from casting their ballots. Just minutes remained before the cutoff for the presidential elections. Many had been waiting in line since the morning.

      • Omas Gegen Rechts—Grannies Against the Right!

        The first time I saw Omas gegen Rechts (Grannies Against the Right) in action at a demonstration in Berlin, I was startled, then thrilled. Here was a group of older women bringing attention to the fact that they were older women, distinct from yet allied with other protesters on the street. Simply by being there, by carrying signs that said Omas gegen Rechts, they seemed to be confronting the dismissal of older women while also drawing on the mythologies of grandmothers who sort things out. And they explicitly identified which side they were on: countering the far right.

      • Opinion | Must Reads: Critical Exposés Abound But American Fascism Marches On

        Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1938 message to Congress warned that when private power becomes stronger than the democratic state itself, we have Fascism. There are many ways to witness the intensifying domination toward a corporate state. One way is to compare exposé books in the 1960s and the present.

      • Human Rights Groups Condemn Sentencing of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi as “Farcical”
      • Critical Exposés Everywhere as the Corporate State Worsens

        Within a span of five years, there were three books in the sixties that put forces in motion leading to significant reordering of our society’s priorities. They were Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962), my Unsafe at Any Speed (1965), and The Other America by Michael Harrington (1962).

        The message of these bestselling books was expanded by authors going on national TV and radio shows. They spoke around the country, before large audiences at colleges/universities and even high schools. An aroused citizenry prompted congressional hearings, legislation, and the establishment of federal agencies to deal with the problems of toxic chemicals, unsafe motor vehicles, and deep poverty in the U.S.

      • On the Origins of Neoliberalism

        The second problem is that while neoliberalism can be traced back to to old-school market liberalism of the Republican type, it is not the same thing, but something new and different — thus the “neo”. Neoliberals do hold many points in common with the anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-union, little-government conservatism we know all too well, but their ideas about the political history and the role of government are entirely different.

        Most of what I will say here comes from The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective, ed. Mirowski and Plehwe (Harvard , 2009), which I think is the best single source on the topic. I will only discuss what I think are the main points, with special emphasis on the American-based neoliberals Friedman, Hayek, and Buchanan and will mostly draw from Plehwes’s introduction, Mirowski’s two contributions, and the chapter on neoliberalism in Chile.

      • Opinion | How Congress Loots the Treasury for the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex

        Despite a disagreement over some amendments in the Senate, the United States Congress is poised to pass a $778 billion military budget bill for 2022. As they have been doing year after year, our elected officials are preparing to hand the lion’s share—over 65%—of federal discretionary spending to the U.S. war machine, even as they wring their hands over spending a mere quarter of that amount on the Build Back Better Act.

      • Devin Nunes Retires From Congress To Spend More Time Banning Satirical Cows From Trump’s New Social Network

        In a bit of a Monday afternoon surprise, Rep. Devin Nunes has announced that he’s retiring from Congress this month to become the CEO of Trump’s new media company, Trump Media & Technology Group — a company which apparently now has tons of money in the bank (even if from sketchy sources) but also is facing a newly revealed SEC investigation that might require someone who actually understands this stuff, rather than a very thin-skinned politician who sues people who criticize him.

      • Donald Trump Taps Congressman Devin Nunes as CEO of His Media and Tech Company

        Nunes will retire from Congress and start as CEO of TMTG in January. He was one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress during his presidency, and was a frequent critic of tech companies.

        The hiring of Nunes comes as Trump’s company faces an investigation from the SEC over its talks with Digital World Acquisition Company, the SPAC that TMTG is planning to merge with in order to go public.

      • Trump Just Wanted to Remind America that He Committed Obstruction of Justice

        Former President Trump went on Mark Levin’s show on Sunday to promote his new picture book, a MAGA holiday essential you can get your hands on for a mere $74.99 (or $229.99 if you want one autographed by the “author” himself). The provides a glossy overview of Trump’s four years in office, which might not have been possible, Trump told Levin, if he hadn’t fired James Comey as FBI director in May 2017.

      • NSA leaker Reality Winner says she acted in ‘service to the American people’

        “She actually stood up and worked for the American people to give us the truth about an attack on our vote, an attack on our democracy, an attack on our country.”

      • Reality Winner and the debate over the Espionage Act

        But there had been another [attack] that targeted the state and local officials who managed voter registration systems. The NSA — and by extension, the White House — had evidence the attack had been carried out by Russian military intelligence. Winner, then an intelligence contractor at the NSA, saw the classified report on an in-house newsfeed in early May 2017.

      • 60 Minutes speaks with ex-NSA contractor Reality Winner about leaking documents to the press

        Former Air Force linguist and NSA contractor Reality L. Winner made headlines in 2017 for her arrest on charges of leaking classified information to the media. After her case dragged on for more than year, Winner pleaded guilty and was handed the longest sentence ever on a civilian for releasing unauthorized government documents to the press. She was sentenced to five years and three months behind bars for releasing a classified report that alleged the Russian military “executed cyber espionage” against local U.S. election officials in 2016.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Belarusian KGB accused of using fake social media accounts to inflame migrant crisis

        People posing as journalists and activists from Poland, Lithuania, and elsewhere in the European Union used the fake profiles to post “criticism of Poland in English, Polish, and Kurdish”, the company said in a report issued late on December 1. The West accuses Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko of waging “hybrid war” by allowing migrants to fly into the country and then funneling them to the borders of EU members Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

      • New Greek law against disinformation endangers press freedom

        Under article 191 of the Penal Code, the dissemination, in public or online, of any information that “causes concern or fear among citizens” or “disturbs public confidence in the national economy, defence or public health” is now punishable by a prison sentence ranging from three months to five years. If the offence is committed repeatedly in the media or online, the minimum sentence increases to six months in prison. These penalties are not limited to the person who is the source of the information. They also apply to the owners and directors of the media that publish it, or simply publish links to it.

        The previous version of the Penal Code provided for a prison sentence ranging from six months to three years for disseminating false information that had “the effect of causing fear” or entailed “a risk of harm” to society. Public health was not included in the list of sensitive sectors.

      • “Powered by AI” has become a marketing gimmick: Zerodha CTO

        “Anecdotally, pretty much every single instance of “Al-first mindset” that I have seen in the industry have been strong cases of misguided assumptions, outright delusions, and often, intellectual dishonesty. “Al-first mindset” tends to fall into the solution looking for a problem category so much that personally, I am highly sceptical of anything labelled “powered by Al”.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Twitter Admits It Messed Up In Suspending Accounts Under Its New Policy, But Policies Like This Will ALWAYS Lead To Overblocking

        Last week, we called out a questionable move by Twitter to put in place a new policy that banned images or videos that included someone without their permission. The company claimed that this was to prevent harassment and also (for reasons I still don’t understand) buried the fact that this was not supposed to apply to public figures or newsworthy media. However, as we pointed out at the time, the standard here was incredibly subjective, and wide open to abuse. Indeed, we pointed out examples in that article of the policy clearly being abused. And even as Fox News talking heads insisted the policy would only be used against conservatives, in actuality, a bunch of alt right/white nationalists/white supremacists immediately saw this as the perfect way to get back at activists who had been calling out their behavior, leading to a mass brigading effort to “report” those activists for taking pictures and videos at white nationalist rallies and events.

      • Sialkot no surprise

        With that out of the way, I’m sure the official condemnation will be even more vociferous now, due also in no small part to the fact that this time the blasphemy brigade has claimed the life of a foreign national from a friendly country. After all there’s this geo-economic reset to think about.

        We’ll see the truth of this soon enough when the next Pakistani — be he or she Muslim, Hindu, Christian or otherwise — is lynched in the name of blasphemy. Because that’s going to keep happening no matter what becomes of those arrested in the Sialkot lynching. You know it, and I know it too. And if you believe otherwise, you may as well try to cure cancer with dispirin. Make no mistake; there will be several thousand more Kumaras and Mashals before this runs its course, if it ever will. And let’s face another fact. It won’t end. Why should it?

      • Peng Shuai and the Real Goal of Chinese Censorship

        “Even if I court disaster like an egg against stone or a moth to a flame, I will tell the truth about you and me.” So wrote Chinese doubles tennis star Peng Shuai. Her post lasted 30 minutes on Weibo before it was censored, and her name rendered unsearchable.

      • My Take: Ways you or your gamer kids can help battle censorship in China

        Even the Internet browser the Chinese populace is forced to use is of China’s own creation, controlling the narrative by altering facts, adding propaganda, and omitting any hint of troubling conditions. Hence, freedom of speech is almost entirely stifled, which creates nearly insurmountable challenges for those wanting to create change through political or nonviolent means.

      • ‘Eating melons’: Chinese people dodge censors to discuss Peng Shuai sexual assault allegations

        When Peng last month posted that former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli forced her to have sex, censors were quick to scrub the message and obvious discussion of Peng from social media.

      • Facebook removes accounts targeting critics of Vietnam’s government

        Facebook’s parent company removed a network of accounts on the platform that coordinated attacks against Vietnamese activists who criticized the government, but Hanoi said the removed accounts belonged to “anti-state” elements.

        In its Adversarial Threat Report published Wednesday, Meta said users of the accounts abused Facebook policy by “mass reporting,” which is an organized effort to flag content with the intent of getting its author’s account suspended. The accounts in this case targeted anti-government posts.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Australia Has Sacrificed Julian Assange to the United States

        The US is fighting tooth and nail to get Julian Assange extradited to an American prison. Ever the dutiful ally, the Australian government is effectively giving over Assange, and flouting any commitment to human rights, freedom of the press, and democracy in the process.

      • Mauritian parliament imposes tougher regulations on broadcast media

        “Wake for freedom of expression,” was the front-page headline in the Mauritian newspaper L’Express yesterday morning, a few hours before the national assembly approved the Independent Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Bill, giving the authorities extensive powers to penalise the island nation’s very popular privately-owned radio stations and jeopardising the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.

        The law would enable the director of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the national broadcast media regulator, to ask a judge to order journalists to reveal their sources or “produce any record, document or article needed for the exercise, by the Authority, of its regulatory powers.” And it establishes no legal safeguards for this practice.

      • After targeting journalists, Russian authorities now targeting their lawyers

        “These proceedings and this use of the ‘foreign agents’ label against media lawyers is designed solely to put additional pressure on the journalists they defend, to isolate these journalists and to deter those who could assist them,” said Jeanne Cavelier, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “We urge the Leningrad region bar association and the Russian justice ministry not to yield to the FSB’s pressure and to drop all the baseless proceedings against lawyers who defend journalists, so that they can practice their profession in the manner prescribed by the law.”

        The authorities began a year ago to place media outlets, journalists and now lawyers on the “foreign agents” list. The two Komanda 29 lawyers were preceded by the head of the Mass Media Defence Centre (MMDC), a leading source of expertise and legal assistance for media in difficulty, who became the first lawyer to be placed on this denigratory register on 8 October. There were 11 media entities on the list in December 2020 but another 85 entities and journalists have been added in the past year.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • How US Guns Destabilize Latin America and Fuel the Refugee Crisis
      • Opinion | UK Police Bill Is an Attack on the Rights of Everyone Who Has a Cause They Believe In

        Just over a year ago, disturbing reports began trickling out: the British government was preparing an attack on the right to protest. The right through which we won many of the things we take for granted today—from voting rights to marriage equality—which allows all of us to stand up against injustice. Now we know the government is taking a sledgehammer to this right, smashing everyone’s ability to stand up to power.

      • Urging Dems to ‘Fight for Justice,’ Progressives Launch ‘Pass the PRO Act Holiday Tour’

        Declaring that “workers are under attack,” Our Revolution—the progressive advocacy group born from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign—Communications Workers of America, and the Worker Power Coalition on Monday rallied outside the Phoenix office of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to kick off the “Pass the Pro Act Holiday Tour.”

        “We have a chance to pass the most important labor law since FDR, since the 1930s.”

      • Prison Officials Punished Me With Solitary — Against Their Own Rules
      • Why Amazon Is Terrified of Its U.S. Workers Unionizing

        Stuart Appelbaum, president of RWDSU, accused Amazon of engaging in “efforts to gaslight its own employees,” and filed a petition in April to nullify the vote. After investigating the union’s assertion, the NLRB decided that Amazon interfered so blatantly in its workers’ ability to vote that a second election is now in order.

        The ruling detailed how, in spite of the NLRB denying Amazon’s request to install a mail collection box right outside the warehouse entrance, the company did so anyway, giving workers the impression that it was involved in the vote counting. Additionally, the company distributed “vote no” paraphernalia to workers in the presence of managers, forcing them to declare their support of or opposition to the union. And, Amazon held what the NLRB called “captive audience meetings” with small groups of workers, “six days a week, 18 hours a day,” in order to blast the approximately 6,000 employees who were eligible to vote with anti-union messaging over the course of the voting period.

      • Opinion | The Donald Also Rises?

        What alt-right guru Steve Bannon failed to create, German taxpayers have just stepped in to revive: a Nationalist International. Thanks to the German government, the far right is about to get its own well-heeled global think tank, complete with the sort of political academy that was so dear to Bannon’s plan for world domination.

      • The Far Right Continues to Build Its International

        Germany’s gift to the far right is the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation, the public-policy arm of the country’s most prominent extremist party, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). Erasmus, a Dutch humanist of the Renaissance best known for his ironic essay “In Praise of Folly,” would have been appalled at such a grotesque misappropriation of his name. The AfD, after all, has built its political base on a series of follies diametrically opposed to humanism, from its initial anti-immigration screeds to its current overtures to the anti-vaccination crowd.

        Strangely enough, the AfD underperformed in the recent German elections, its parliamentary delegation losing 11 seats. Still, by capturing a little more than 10% of the vote, the party made it into parliament a second consecutive time. As a result, it qualifies for what all other major parties also receive: government support of its foundation. Unless legal efforts to block this largesse succeed, the Erasmus foundation will soon enjoy the equivalent of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars a year.

      • Dems Mark Anniversary of 13th Amendment With Calls to ‘Close the Slavery Loophole’

        Congressional Democrats on Monday marked the 156th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by calling on federal lawmakers to end a form of slavery that has been allowed to persist in the United States.

        “Abolishing slavery can’t come with a loophole.”

      • Opinion | Bracing for a Post-Roe South in the Region’s Last Three Abortion-Safe States

        The U.S. Supreme Court this week heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a high-profile case about the constitutionality of Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The state’s Republican-controlled legislature passed the law, which has no exceptions for rape or incest, in 2018, with the intention that it would take effect if Roe v. Wade were overturned. That landmark 1973 case set out a legal framework that protected the right to an abortion until fetal viability at 24 weeks of pregnancy.

      • If Roe v Wade Ends, So Will Easy Re-Elections for Right-Wing Republicans and Neoliberal Dems

        Such a decision in the current case before the High Court, which involves Mississippi’s recently passed ban on the abortion of any fetus where a “heartbeat” can be detected, would be a major loss for women’s rights, particularly in the Republican Party-dominated states that can be expected to push rapidly for bans on abortion if they haven’t passed such laws already (some 21 such states are said to be preparing legislation to outlaw abortions like Mississippi and Texas have done if the High Court overturns its long-standing ruling denying states the right to ban abortions outright).

        But I would argue that in the long run this legal U-turn, if it happens, may prove to be a  Pyrrhic victory for the reactionaries and the white fundamentalist Christian zealots whom the Republican Party has been pandering to for decades over this issue of “reversing Wade.”

      • Why Women Will be Collateral Damage in the Abortion War: the View of a Former State Supreme Court Justice

        It goes without saying that Judges should be immune from partisan and sectarian pressures when deciding cases involving a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body and her private reproductive choices free from government interference. Notwithstanding, however, it appears that a majority of the Court has adopted Republican and religious right conservative ideology; and that will likely result in a decision against these women’s rights.

        Recall that, historically, abortion has been a part of American history since its inception. States began to criminalize it the 1870s, with the result that by the 1960s there were hundreds of thousands of illegal abortions a year endangering women. Based on sound medical practice, states began to de-criminalize pregnancy terminations, leaving the matter to the woman and her doctor. By 1972, (the year Roe v. Wade was handed down) 64% of Americans (59% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans) agreed with this medical model.

      • How a Supreme Court Decision Limiting Access to Abortion Could Harm the Economy and Women’s Well-Being

        But reproductive health isn’t just about abortions, despite all the attention the procedures get. It’s also about access to family planning services, contraception, sex education and much else – all of which have also been under threat in recent years.

        Such access lets women control the timing and size of their families so they have children when they are financially secure and emotionally ready and can finish their education and advance in the workplace. After all, having children is expensive, typically costing almost US$15,000 a year for a middle-class family. For low-income working families, child care costs alonecan eat up over a third of earnings.

      • Unapologetic Support for Abortion Rights Must Be a Pillar of the Left
      • Deutsche Welle halts cooperation with Jordanian broadcaster

        Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, has established an independent investigation into a press report on antisemitic remarks made by some members of the editorial staff at DW’s Arabic service.

        Director General Peter Limbourg has emphasized that there is a zero-tolerance policy toward antisemitism at DW.

      • Here’s Why Movie Dialogue Has Gotten More Difficult To Understand (And Three Ways To Fix It)

        This problem indeed goes far beyond simply flipping a switch or two on a mixing board. It’s much more complex than I anticipated, and it turns out there isn’t one simple element that can be singled out and blamed as the primary culprit.

        “There are a number of root causes,” says Mark Mangini, the Academy Award-winning sound designer behind films like “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Blade Runner 2049.” “It’s really a gumbo, an accumulation of problems that have been exacerbated over the last 10 years … that’s kind of this time span where all of us in the filmmaking community are noticing that dialogue is harder and harder to understand.”

        Join me and these industry experts as we sort through that “gumbo” and identify some of the most prominent reasons it has become more difficult to, in the paraphrased words of Chris Tucker’s Detective Carter in “Rush Hour,” understand the words that are coming out of characters’ mouths.

      • Police raid home of Human Rights Association head Eren Keskin’s mother at midnight

        “But what does it mean to come to my home at this hour? A statement at this hour? I would go to testify had they summoned me verbally. Moreover, my lawyer friends got power of attorney,” said the lawyer. “Call me and I’ll come. They called me after raiding the home.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Dems Urge DOJ Antitrust Probe Into $43 Billion Discovery-WarnerMedia Merger

        Nearly three dozen congressional Democrats revealed Monday that they are calling on the Biden administration to investigate the proposed $43 billion merger of Discovery and WarnerMedia for antitrust law violations and whether it will reduce diverse content.

        “Corporate consolidation and monopolistic practices come at the direct expense of workers, consumers, competition, innovation, fairness, and equity.”

      • Why Apple may be planning life after Arm

        Like so many companies, Apple is a licensee of Arm, which means it very likely shares competitively sensitive information with Arm, which is seen as a neutral partner.

        In the event Nvidia took possession of Arm, that neutral status would be in doubt, and the chip development company might become less likely to innovate in ways challenging to Nvidia’s interests. Nvidia could also gain access to historically confidential data from Apple and other competitors.

      • AT&T CEO Calls Congressional Letter Opposing Discovery-WarnerMedia Merger “Unfounded”

        As the deal to create the newly-titled WarnerMedia Discovery company awaits regulatory approval, the pending mega-merger of Discovery and AT&T’s WarnerMedia is set to close during the first half of 2022. While insisting the antitrust review process was going according to expectations, Stankey discounted the overture from the Democratic Congressional members.

      • Patents

        • Steely Dan, The CIA and the acid anthem of ‘Kid Charlemagne’

          It seems very un-1960s-like to mention admin, but in 1963, the patent for LSD expired, and a lot of the culture thereafter spun out from that tie-dye three years where mind-bending was basically legalised. It wasn’t just the hippies at it either. The CIA, an organisation that has seemingly welcomed more well-manicured arseholes than every one of Hugh Hefner’s pool parties combined, were dabbling in its kaleidoscopic properties to no end. Somewhere from this melee of psychedelic mania derives the Steely Dan acid anthem ‘Kid Charlemagne’. Be forewarned before you trip down this rabbit hole things get fairly strange, dude.

        • Feds Uncover Alleged $20 Million Music Royalty Scam — 50,000+ Songs Illegally Claimed

          The Department of Justice just recently shed light upon the shocking indictment, which alleges that a 36-year-old Arizona resident named Jose Teran and a 38-year-old Florida resident named Webster Batista established a company called MediaMuv. Via MediaMuv – the web presence of which looks to have been scaled back dramatically, currently consisting of a few inactive social-media accounts – the defendants are alleged to have collected north of $20 million, as mentioned at the outset.

          This alleged scam kicked off in 2016, according to the government agency’s release, and Teran and Batista are said to have “first claimed they had the legal right to monetize over 50,000+ songs” back in mid-February of 2017. Then, the royalty-minded crooks allegedly inked “contractual agreements” with “two third party companies,” the names of which aren’t disclosed in the text, maintaining that they possessed “legal rights over the music they claimed to control.”

      • Copyrights

        • Hollywood, Netflix, Amazon & Apple Sue Two Pirate IPTV Providers in the US

          A coalition of Hollywood studios plus Amazon, Netflix and Apple have sued two IPTV providers in the US. Targeting AllAccessTV and Quality Restreams, which are allegedly operated by the same person, the complaint claims that sales take place through a fake VPN website and a large network of resellers who funnel customers and revenue to the platforms.

        • DNS-Resolver Quad9 Loses First Pirate Site Blocking Appeal in Germany

          DNS-resolver Quad9 has lost its appeal against Sony Music’s pirate site-blocking order at the Regional Court in Hamburg. The non-profit Quad9 Foundation is disappointed with the outcome but isn’t giving up the legal battle just yet, noting that various Internet services are at risk if the order isn’t successfully challenged.

        • Public Fallout Over Take-Two Playing IP Troll Begins

          Take-Two Interactive continues to find itself in the news for all the wrong reasons. The game publisher and parent company of Rockstar Games, the studio behind the Grand Theft Auto franchise, had a reputation built for itself for making great AAA video game titles. More recently, its reputation centers more on its aggressive actions on all things intellectual property. The company has gone after its own modding community, seeing it as a threat to its release of a shitty anthology of past GTA games. The company has also found itself going after companies in totally unrelated industries over the silliest of trademark concerns. And, most recently, there was speculation that there was a threatened opposition to the trademark application filed by Hazelight Studios for its indie hit game It Takes Two, as though anyone were going to take that common phrase and confuse it with the much larger game publisher.

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