Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 12/8/2016: Ardour 5.0, Simplenote Liberated

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition: Is This Linux Laptop Worth $1,500?
      Thanks to its lightweight chassis, gorgeous screen and epic battery life, the Dell XPS 13 has been our favorite laptop overall for more than 18 months now. Though it's not targeted directly at business users, the laptop's industry-leading design and strong performance make it a great choice for workers, especially coders. The XPS 13 Developer Edition ($1,049 to start, $1,550 as tested) is a version of the notebook running Ubuntu Linux 14.04 that is primed for, you guessed it, developers.

    • Business users force Microsoft to back off Windows 10 PC kill plan
      Microsoft has backed down on its plan to hustle owners of certain PCs to Windows 10 by crimping support options.

      Redmond revealed the plan last January, when it decreed that PCs running 6th-generation Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs and Windows 7 would only get limited security and stability support until mid-2017. By March it backed off a little, extending support for another year and promising critical patches would flow until end of life.

    • People Demand Control Of Their PCs
      You can no longer dictate to the world what folks will do with the hardware they own.

    • The Best Chromebook You Can Buy Right Now (Aug. 2016)

    • Attention, College Students: Chromebooks Are About to Get Awesome
      Here’s some unhelpful back-to-school advice: Don’t buy a laptop. Borrow one, steal one from a family member, buy a piece of junk for 40 bucks on Craigslist. If you can find a way to wait a couple of months before dropping serious coin on a new clamshell, you’ll be glad you did.

      Later this fall, Apple’s almost certainly going to release a new MacBook Pro, which is desperately in need of a revamp. And there will be Windows PCs practically falling from the ceiling—maybe even a few made by Microsoft itself. But the real reason to hold off on your purchase is to wait for the new breed of Chromebooks that are on their way.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Cross-Compilation Support Coming Soon to Flatpak Universal Binary Packages
        GNOME and Flatpak development Bastien Nocera reports the other day on his personal blog about an upcoming feature that's about to be implemented in the next release of the Flatpak universal binary format.

        The GUADEC conference for GNOME developers is taking place these days in Karlsruhe, Germany, between August 12-14, and it looks like Mr. Nocera was supposed to present a lightning talk about what's coming to Flatpak later in the year, as well as to run a contest related to his presentation, whose prize was a piece of hardware.

        "Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to finish the work that I set out to do, encountering a couple of bugs that set me back," said Bastien Nocera in the blog announcement. "Hopefully, this will get resolved post-GUADEC, so you can expect some announcements later on in the year."

      • Thoughts about reviewing large patchsets

      • LVFS has a new CDN

  • Distributions

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Announces the Release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host 7.2.6
        Red Hat, through Scott McCarty, is happy to announce the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host 7.2.6, a maintenance update that adds many performance improvements for most of the included components.

        For those behind their Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host reading, we'll take this opportunity to inform them that Red Hat's Atomic Host offering for the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system is a specially crafted version of the OS that has a small footprint and it's designed to run containerized workloads.

      • How Red Hat Can Take Cloud Market Share Away From Its Key Rival
        Recently, Red Hat Inc (NYSE: RHT) has taken a back seat to Ubuntu in low cost cloud infrastructure. Ubuntu Linux has been a key rival of Red Hat and has experienced major success in capturing cloud infrastructure totaling to over a 65 percent share of all cloud server operating system instances.

        Deutsche Bank's Karl Keirstead commented on Red Hat's potential to fulfill its opportunities in cloud infrastructure. Keirstead's comments came after he met with Ubuntu company management.

      • Red Hat stands by HB2 stance at shareholders' meeting
        Red Hat defended its decision to take a stand against North Carolina's House Bill 2 when asked about it by a Washington think tank at Thursday's shareholders meeting in Raleigh.

        Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, attended the meeting to seek an explanation from Red Hat about its decision to join an amicus brief along with 67 other companies, such as IBM and Cisco, in support of the U.S. Department of Justice's opposition to the law. He posed his questions to Red Hat Chief Executive Jim Whitehurst, but company General Counsel Michael Cunningham responded.

      • Group questions Red Hat over legal brief on NC’s HB2
        A lawyer for a conservative think tank who appeared at Red Hat’s annual shareholder meeting Thursday to question the software company’s support of a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s House Bill 2 characterized his move as part of a broader effort to reshape public perception of the law.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Want make Linux run better on laptops?
          So we have two jobs openings in the Red Hat desktop team. What we are looking for is people to help us ensure that Fedora and RHEL runs great on various desktop hardware, with a focus on laptops. Since these jobs require continuous access to a lot of new and different hardware we can not accept applications this time for remotees, but require you to work out of out office in Munich, Germany. We are looking for people with people not afraid to jump into a lot of different code and who likes tinkering with new hardware. The hardware enablement here might include some kernel level work, but will more likely involve improving higher level stacks. So for example if we have a new laptop where bluetooth doesn’t work you would need to investigate and figure out if the problem is in the kernel, in the bluez stack or in our Bluetooth desktop parts.

        • Last Day
          This was my last week at RedHat and I feel I had really good learning experience so far. I am happy that I had great mentors like Maririn Duffy, Ryan Lerch, Paul Frields, Pierre and Sayan who always helped me out whenever needed. For me personally, the biggest advantage has been the opportunity to work with some really wonderful people. Open source allowed me to make connections far outside my normal circle of co-workers. Having access to such a huge pool of talented people was daunting to me at first. I had to deal with issues I have not encountered before, like getting feedback for your design work or working with people from different time zones. But all this was a good learning experience. Working on open source projects allowed me to develop my skills and gain valuable experience working in highly collaborative software project. I learnt how to be able to function as a part of a team and contribute my time not to only to technical tasks but also to several side projects with respect to conferences like FAD, Flock etc. Lastly, I feel the experience that I have gained here will prove invaluable for my future career.

        • Flock 2016 Report

          I spent previous week in Kraków at Flock. It is a conference of Fedora developers and users.

        • Women in technology: Fedora campus presence
          This week, we kicked off an initiative for engaging more women contributors in Fedora. Sumantro Mukherjee helped me guide new contributors on this Hangouts call. The purpose was to bring in more woman contributors to the Fedora Project and help them be industry-ready. As buzzwords in the industry boom, these meet-ups are focused to generate awareness in the first few rounds. Then, they address fields like the Internet of Things (IoT), ML, and mobile app development, to mention a few.

        • Flock 2016, Krakow
          Last week, I got to attend the 2016 edition of Flock — the Fedora Contributor Conference. As always for Flock, the 2016 edition of Flock (in Krakow, Poland) provided an amazing opportunity to meet up and work alongside many of my fellow Fedora contributors for a week of talks, hackfests, workshops, and evening events.

        • Flock to Fedora: Krakow, PL Edition
          Flock, the Fedora Contributors conference held annually in August has happened again. This year the conference was in Krakow, Poland. I was one of the organizers and my employer, Red Hat, paid for my trip. I continue to be thankful to Red Hat for their support of the Fedora community and, in this case, me. Completely without bias (hah!) I must also point out that this is the single best organized conference I have ever attended in my life. So strap in, this is a long roundup!

    • Debian Family

      • My Free Software Activities in July 2016

      • Derivatives

        • ExLight Linux Is Now Based on Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS and Debian GNU/Linux 8.5
          GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton informs us about the availability of a new build of his very popular ExLight Linux Live DVD operating system based on the latest Ubuntu and Debian technologies.

          ExLight Linux Build 160810 is here to rebased the entire OS to the recently released Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, as well as to upgrade the default desktop environment to Enlightenment from 0.19.12, and move to a kernel from the Linux 4.6 series, specially optimized by Arne Exton to support more hardware.

        • ExLight is very popular!
          ExLight Linux Live DVD has been downloaded about 2000 times per week the last two months. I have therefore made a new upgraded version of ExLight today (160810). I have also created a new special WordPress site for ExLight.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Snapcraft 2.14 for Ubuntu with New Rust Plugin, Improvements
            Canonical, through Sergio Schvezov, has had the great pleasure of announcing the release and general availability of Snapcraft 2.14 Snap creator tool for the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system.

            Coming hot on the heels of Snapcraft 2.13, the new 2.14 maintenance update is here to introduce a bunch of new plugins, namely rust, godeps, and dump. You can find more information about each one by running the "snapcraft help dump|rust|godeps " command in a terminal window.

          • Ubuntu Touch Mobile OS to Be Soon Rebased on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Not Yakkety Yak
            One of our readers was asking us last week if we have any news on when Ubuntu Touch will switch to a newer version of Ubuntu? The official answer came a few days ago from Canonical's Łukasz Zemczak, who reveals the fact that the Ubuntu mobile OS will soon be rebased on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

            It appears that this is not the first time the Ubuntu Touch developers have been asked by Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Tablet users what's the state of operating system's baseline, which right now is still using the packages from the now deprecated Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) release.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Trends in corporate open source engagement
    In 1998, I was part of SGI when we started moving to open source and open standards, after having been a long-time proprietary company. Since then, other companies also have moved rapidly to working with open source, and the use and adoption of open source technologies has skyrocketed over the past few years. Today company involvement in open source technologies is fairly mature and can be seen in the following trends:

  • Open source and saving the earth from asteroids
    The web app is using open source technologies such as PHP, Bootstrap, MySql and Apache and the team is working on making the web application code as well as the image recognition algorithm open source.

  • Open source R extension simplifies data science with IBM Watson

  • Upskill U: Telstra Tackles Open Source & NFV
    Open source's momentum is building in the telecom industry due in part to the appeal of a more collaborative development process between vendors, users and developers. Open source also has the potential to reduce development cycle times and costs; lay the foundation for improved software interoperability and customization across different companies; and deliver new solutions, such as those needed to support NFV.

  • GigaSpaces Empowers Developers with Open Source In-Memory Computing Platform
    GigaSpaces, a provider of in-memory computing (IMC) technologies, announced the launch of XAP 12, the company’s first open source initiative for its high-performance data grid. The open core enables developers to build upon a proven IMC platform that’s been utilized by hundreds of Fortune 500 companies worldwide, including top banks, leading retailers, and many of the world’s largest transportation, telecommunications and healthcare companies.

  • Simplenote, the planet’s most useful piece of software, is now open source on iOS, macOS and Android
    If you’re not using Simplenote, you’re missing out. This… well, simple note app has been a standby and lifesaver for me for years, though occasionally I have worried about its future: Will it survive if Automattic, which bought it back in 2013, goes under or gets bought itself? What if the servers go down? Is there a god, and if so, does he or she use Simplenote, too?

    At least a couple of those worries are alleviated with the news that Automattic is open-sourcing the Simplenote apps on iOS, Mac and Android. The Windows app was already open, so this doesn’t come as a total surprise, but it’s still good news.

  • Remains of the Day: Simplenote Goes Open Source

  • Simplenote for Android is now open source
    Simplenote is a lightweight yet full-featured note taking app that's cross-platform on Android, iOS, Windows and Mac. It's a great alternative to Evernote and their new pricing, and offers syncing and sharing as well as the ability to work while offline. And as of today, it's now open source on all platforms.

  • Simplenote is Now Open Source Across Platforms

  • Databases

    • Percona Introduces Open Sourced Platform for MongoDB
      Percona unveiled a new open sourced platform for MongoDB called the Percona Memory Engine for MongoDB.

      With Percona Memory Engine for MongoDB, Percona has now delivered an open source in-memory storage engine that works with Percona Server for MongoDB, the open source drop-in replacement for the MongoDB Community Edition that includes enterprise-grade features and functionality.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Document Foundation Released 2015 LibreOffice Report
      The Document Foundation today released its annual accounting report highlighting accomplishments for the year. "TDF Annual Report starts with a Review of 2015, with highlights about TDF and LibreOffice, and a summary of financials and budget." LibreOffice saw two major and 12 minor releases that year earning €1.1 million in donations. The project now sports over 1000 contributors with 300 making commits in 2015.

      This years report covered a long list of topics beginning with the City of Munich and Russian RusBITech joining The Document Foundation's Advisory Board. The migration team got a honorable mention before the diagram of the power structure. But the best portion was that dedicated to the releases. Two major releases were announced in 2015, 4.4 and 5.0, as well as 12 minor updates, 4.3.6 through 5.0.4.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


  • Public Services/Government

    • US federal agencies to publish 20% custom software as open source
      Over the next three years, US federal agencies will be required to publish at least 20 percent of their newly-made custom software as open source. This requirement is part of a pilot established by the Federal Source Code Policy published last week by the President's Executive Office.

    • U.S. Open Source Policy Seeks to Leverage Code Reuse
      The Obama administration has released a new federal open-source policy for improving access to software developed by or for federal agencies.

    • The US government now has an open source policy—but it doesn't go far enough
      In short: All new code developed for the federal government needs to be made available to other federal government organizations. And then a small portion of that is going to be looked at being released to the public.

      I'm still reading through everything—it’s a rather dull read—but I was surprised at what was not included. Specifically, there’s no mention of the GNU Public License (GPL) whatsoever. In fact, the only mention of GNU or free software is one word tucked away at the bottom of the document under a definition of “Open Source.” I’m not surprised, but still it’s a bit disappointing.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Which type of open source license do you prefer?

    • What is copyleft?

      While the GPL family are the most popular copyleft licenses, they are by no means the only ones. The Mozilla Public License and the Eclipse Public License are also very popular. Many other copyleft licenses exist with smaller adoption footprints.

      As explained in the previous section, a copyleft license means downstream projects cannot add additional restrictions on the use of the software. This is best illustrated with an example. If I wrote MyCoolProgram and distributed it under a copyleft license, you would have the freedom to use and modify it. You could distribute versions with your changes, but you'd have to give your users the same freedoms I gave you. If I had licensed it under a permissive license, you'd be free to incorporate it into a closed software project that you do not provide the source to.

      But just as important as what you must do with MyCoolProgram is what you don't have to do. You don't have to use the exact same license I did, so long as the terms are compatible (generally downstream projects use the same license for simplicity's sake). You don't have to contribute your changes back to me, but it's generally considered good form, especially when the changes are bug fixes.

    • Hellwig v. VMware Hits A Rock
      They wanted line by line evidence, not pointers to the lines. You’d think there would be a script for that…

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Hardware Camp 2016
        Open Source Hardware Camp 2016 will take place place in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge. For the third year running it is being hosted as part of the Wuthering Bytes technology festival, featuring 12 talks on the Saturday and 4 hands-n workshops on the Sunday.

  • “Fuchsia”


  • Nigel Farage wows social media with new moustache
    Nigel Farage has spent his time post-Brexit working on his facial hair.

    The usually clean-shaven former UKIP leader wowed social media with his daring new look.

  • Science

    • “Evolution Is Just A Theory” – Mike Pence Argues To Congress
      I am always impressed with how smoothly a trained lawyer can present “facts” without presenting any… facts. Below is CSPAN video of once-Congressman Mike Pence (who would later go on to become Governor of Indiana and the official Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States) arguing against the “theory” of evolution on the Congressional floor in an attempt to reinsert creationism (masquerading under the new term “intelligent design”) back into public school – using the Bible as his source of…, what? Evidence?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • A Rush to Judgment on Russian Doping [Ed: Chinese and Bulgarian just got caught too (EPO doping)]
      The West’s anti-Russian bias is so strong that normal standards of fairness are cast aside whenever a propaganda edge can be gained, a factor swirling around the treatment of Russian athletes at the Rio Olympics, Rick Sterling says.

    • Donna Murch on For-Profit Punishment, Patty Lovera on GMO Labeling
      This week on CounterSpin: One of the legacies of Michael Brown’s killing, two years ago this week, was the exposure of police departments like Ferguson, Missouri’s, that have a system for profiting from fines and fees for low-level infractions that targets African-Americans disproportionately. That’s only one aspect of the interrelationship between economics, race and criminal justice our guest says calls out for scrutiny. Donna Murch is associate professor of history at Rutgers and author of Living for the City: Migration, Education and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California. We’ll talk about her new essay, “Paying for Punishment: The New Debtors Prison.”

    • Unsafe levels of toxic chemicals found in drinking water for six million Americans
      “For many years, chemicals with unknown toxicities, such as PFASs, were allowed to be used and released to the environment, and we now have to face the severe consequences,” said lead author Xindi Hu, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard Chan School and Environmental Science and Engineering at SEAS. “In addition, the actual number of people exposed may be even higher than our study found, because government data for levels of these compounds in drinking water is lacking for almost a third of the U.S. population—about 100 million people.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Ex-CIA Chief advocates murder
      Well, this was an interesting one. As I was stepping out of the shower this morning, my phone rang – RT asking if I could do an interview asap.

      The subject under discussion? A former acting head of the CIA apparently recommending that the USA covertly start to murder any Iranian and Russian citizens operating against ISIS in Syria, and bomb President Assad “to scare him, not to kill him”.

    • Hyde Park cordoned off after body discovered in 'suspicious' incident
      The area of Speakers' Corner has been cordoned off, while pictures show a number of police cars on the scene.

      Police were alerted shortly before 6am after a member of public found a man with injuries.

      A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Police in Westminster were called to Hyde Park, W2 at 05:50hrs on Friday, 12 August, following concerns for a man.

      “Officers attended and found a man deceased. This incident is being treated as suspicious.
    • Thailand blasts: More explosions target tourist towns
      A series of coordinated blasts across Thailand has targeted tourist towns leaving four dead and many injured, with reports of more explosions.

      In the popular resort town of Hua Hin four bombs exploded over the last 24 hours. Several blasts also hit the island of Phuket on Friday.

      No group has said it carried out the attacks, but suspicion is likely to fall on separatist insurgents.

      The timing is sensitive, as Friday is a holiday marking the queen's birthday.

    • Thailand bombings: At least four dead and many injured after explosions in tourist towns
      At least four people have been killed in a series of bombings targeting some of Thailand’s most popular tourist resorts.

      The attacks started with two explosions in the beachside town of Hua Hin that were detonated remotely just minutes apart in a bar area popular with foreigners.

      Police said a Thai woman was killed and 21 people were injured, sparking chaos as crowds fled and local shops and restaurants were shut down on Thursday night.

    • Poppies, patriots and pro-Brexit propaganda: Revisiting the myths of Britain's past
      This year marks the anniversary of the Battle of Verdun, which raged from 21 February to 18 December 1916. By the end of this terrible struggle, one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the First world war, some 143,000 German and 162,000 French soldiers had been killed. But because British forces were not involved in this battle, this part of the Western Front is less visited by the British than are the more westerly battlefields such as those of the Somme and the Marne. And yet the whole area, throughout the length of the war, saw some of the worst battles of the entire conflict – not least in the hilly, forested area south west of Verdun, known as the Argonne. Such spots can teach us a great deal about the past and draw lessons for the future, but as I discovered, in these raw post-Brexit times, even what they tell us is a matter of controversy.

    • Donald Trump Talks Tough About Military Contractors, But Quietly Signals Friendship
      Donald Trump, who has railed against the political influence of military contractors, denounced wasteful Pentagon spending, and promised a less interventionist foreign policy has nevertheless added to his transition team the leader of a group of defense contractors who advocate greater American militarism.

      Michael Rogers, the hawkish former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, will be advising the Trump transition team on national security, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

      After leaving Congress, Rogers founded a pressure group called Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security, intended to “help elect a president who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy.”

    • Rethinking The Cold War
      The Cold War was pointless except for the Dulles brothers’ interests and those of the military/security complex. The Soviet government, unlike the US government today, had no world hegemonic asperations. Stalin had declared “Socialism in one country” and purged the Trotskyists, the advocates of world revolution. Communism in China and Eastern Europe were not products of Soviet international communism. Mao was his own man, and the Soviet Union kept Eastern Europe from which the Red Army drove out the Nazis as a buffer against a hostile West.

    • Lopsided Peace Talks Collapse, Saudis Resume Bombing Yemen and U.S. Sells More Weapons
      The Pentagon announced an additional $1.15 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia this week, even as a three-month cease-fire collapsed and the Saudi-led coalition resumed its brutal bombing campaign of the Yemen capital Sana.

      The U.S. has already sold more than $20 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia since the war began in March 2015, defying calls from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to cut off support. The Saudi-led coalition is responsible for the majority of the 7,000 deaths in the conflict, which has left more than 21 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. Saudi Arabia has been accused of intentionally targeting homes, factories, schools, markets, and hospitals.

      On Tuesday, the coalition targeted and destroyed a potato chip factory, killing 14 people (see top photo). The Yemeni press has since reported that coalition has conducted hundreds more airstrikes across the country, killing dozens of people.

    • The Pentagon Money Pit
      But how about a report by the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General saying that the US Army had $6.5 trillion in unaccountable expenditures for which there is simply no paper trail? That is 6,500 billion dollars! Have you heard about that? Probably not. That damning report was issued back on July 26 — two whole weeks ago — but as of today it has not even been reported anywhere in the corporate media.

    • Contradicting Prior Claims, Pentagon Admits US Forces on the Ground in Libya
      The Pentagon confirmed this week that U.S. forces are indeed on the ground in Libya as the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) continues.

      A "small number of U.S. forces have gone in and out of Libya to exchange information with these local forces in established joint operations centers, and they will continue to do so as we strengthen the fight against [ISIS] and other terrorist organizations," Deputy Defense press secretary Gordon Trowbridge said Wednesday.

      The news comes just days after the U.S. launched new airstrikes in Libya, centering largely around the strategic port city of Sirte, on August 1. At the time, defense officials claimed there were no troops on the ground supporting the bombings.

      On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that "U.S. Special Operations forces are providing direct, on-the-ground support for the first time to fighters battling the Islamic State in Libya," quoting U.S. and Libyan officials.

    • Magical Thinking in US Foreign Policy
      The U.S. foreign policy establishment cloaks its desire for global dominance in the language of humanitarianism and “democracy promotion” even when the policies lead to death and chaos, as James W Carden describes.

    • Why does the west turn a blind eye to Rwanda's dictatorship?

      Paul Kagame led his country away from genocide and war, but today his regime is upheld by authoritarian controls and political violence.


      In 1994, Paul Kagame and his rebel forces, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), took Rwanda’s capital Kigali from Hutu extremists, bringing an end to the genocide that saw close to a million people killed in 100 days. Although only officially elected president in 2000, Kagame has been the de facto leader ever since and, following recent changes in the nation’s constitution that allow him to run for a third term, he could remain in power until 2034. Rwanda has seen great progress during his incumbency and has been held up by many in the international community as an exemplary model of development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    • Stunning revelation: Wikileaks hack shows that Soros called the shots on US policy toward Albania
      Who was in charge of U.S. foreign policy when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state? That is a legitimate question to consider in light of the most stunning revelation yet mined from the Wikileaks hack. George Soros is suggesting an intervention in domestic Albanian politics, and getting his way!

    • Merchant Marine cadets endure rough waters as sexual misconduct roils their ranks
      It’s the secret code that cadets at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy are advised to use if things get really rough during their year-long shipboard training on merchant vessels thousands of miles from shore, or at ports far from home. Women — and men, in some cases — can use it as a fail-safe if the lewd comments and unwanted advances from fellow sailors escalate to something worse. The government will bring them ashore.

    • NYT Reveals Think Tank It’s Cited for Years to Be Corrupt Arms Booster

      As the Times also notes, CSIS is funded largely by Western and Gulf monarchy governments, arms dealers and oil companies, such as Raytheon, Boeing, Shell, the United Arab Emirates, US Department of Defense, UK Home Office, General Dynamics, Exxon Mobil, Northrop Grumman, Chevron and others.

      Anyone with a seven-year-old’s understanding of causality can conclude that CSIS would, in the aggregate, promote the expansion of the military and surveillance state, since that’s who pays their bills; what the Times did was reveal a specific, rather direct example, using heretofore secret documents.

    • If Anyone Runs Out of Guns and Grenades, Here’s a Shopping Market in Baghdad That’s Well-Stocked
      You know how it is. You just get back from a trip to the store and your significant other says “Honey, I just realized we are all out of AK-47s. And while you’re at the market, could you also grab a couple of mortars and some grenades in case your mother stops by again unexpectedly?”

      Yes, it could be Texas, but it actually is what’s going on in Baghdad.

      Iraq news site Niqash tells us about a market in Baghdad’s Sadr City, where masked men display their wares on open tables the same way vegetable sellers do in other city markets. Next to grenades on the tables are rockets, mortars and plenty of other weaponry, with markings that indicate they come from a number of different sources. Welcome one and all to Maridi market, one of Baghdad’s, if not, Iraq’s, most famous “illegal” arms markets.

      (The photo above shows beautiful Sadr City back in the good old days, when America liberated it.)

      There are a lot of ways he obtains weapons, said one trader in the market. The most significant route is across unguarded border crossings from NATO ally Turkey. The guns and other weapons enter Kurdistan (another American ally) and are then brought to Baghdad; checkpoints (manned by Iraqi security forces the U.S. pays for) don’t seem to be a problem and if they are, counterfeit ID cards or a bribe will often work.

    • Maybe FBI Has Lost Track of Who the Informants Are?
      Not mentioned at all in this narrative is the role played by Joshua Goldberg, a Jewish guy who adopted many avatars online to incite all kinds of violence, including, under the name of Australi Witness, Garland. In December Goldberg was deemed incompetent to stand trial, though in June it was decided with more treatment he might become competent enough to stand trial, so they’re going to check again in four months.

      So, the cell that committed the Garland attack consisted of the two now-dead perpetrators, four informants, an undercover FBI officer, a mentally ill troll, and Hendricks.


      Has the FBI simply lost track of who are real and who are the people it is paying to play a role? Or is it possible someone from another agency, claiming to be FBI, recruited Hendricks (don’t laugh! That’s one potential explanation for Anwar al-Awlaki’s curious ties to US law enforcement, a story that wends its way through a related mosque in VA)?

      Sure, maybe Hendricks is making all this up (at the very least, it may necessitate the BoP to protect him in prison since he has now publicly claimed to be a narc). But FBI’s network of informants sure is getting confusing.

    • CounterSpin interview with William Hartung on US arms sale
      American media love the rich. Besides constant, assiduous attention to the things they buy and eat and wear, we see lists of the richest people alongside numbers indicating what we straightforwardly refer to as their worth. Of less interest is how the rich got and stay that way.

      And the same holds true for corporations, which, of course, are a big part of how rich people got and stay that way. Success is success after all, and for all the tales of a muckraking media, our guest’s experience suggests that when it comes to one of the most stupendously successful US industries, the press corps don’t seem all that eager to look behind the curtain.

    • Mike Morell’s Kill-Russians Advice
      Washington’s foreign policy hot shots are flexing their rhetorical, warmongering muscles to impress Hillary Clinton, including ex-CIA acting director Morell who calls for killing Russians and Iranians, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

      Perhaps former CIA acting director Michael Morell’s shamefully provocative rhetoric toward Russia and Iran will prove too unhinged even for Hillary Clinton. It appears equally likely that it will succeed in earning him a senior job in a possible Clinton administration, so it behooves us to have a closer look at Morell’s record.

      My initial reaction of disbelief and anger was the same as that of my VIPS colleague, Larry Johnson, and the points Larry made about Morell’s behavior in the Benghazi caper, Iran, Syria, needlessly baiting nuclear-armed Russia, and how to put a “scare” into Bashar al-Assad give ample support to Larry’s characterization of Morell’s comments as “reckless and vapid.” What follows is an attempt to round out the picture on the ambitious 57-year-old Morell.

    • Congressional Investigation Affirms Reporting on ISIL War Intelligence Manipulation
      A report issued on Thursday by a Republican congressional task force confirmed that military leaders doctored intelligence analyses in order to paint a rosier picture of the war on the Islamic State (ISIL).

      The investigation confirms Daily Beast reporting first published last year on the integrity of those intelligence reports, which originated from US Central Command (CENTCOM)—the arm of the Pentagon that oversees operations in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.

      Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), one of the task force’s members, noted that the findings are preliminary. There is still a Pentagon inspector general investigation into the allegations, which were brought to the watchdog last year by fifty whistleblowers.

      “We still do not fully understand the reasons and motivations behind this practice and how often the excluded analyses were proven ultimately to be correct,” Wenstrup said, according to The Hill.

      In its report, the task force noted that it “did not receive access to all the materials it requested.” The group said it would “continue its work following the conclusion of the [Department of Defense inspector general] investigation and other ongoing efforts.” That probe is supposed to wrap up by the fall.

    • The Invisible Man: George W. Bush and a Hole in History
      There's a missing page to this recipe, one that has been deliberately deleted like a classified email from The Book Of Days. Trump runs around blaming Secretary Clinton for the state of the economy while arguing in tandem that Clinton and President Obama created ISIS out of thin air. "He's the founder of ISIS," Trump said on Wednesday. "He's the founder of ISIS. He's the founder. He founded ISIS. I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton." The corporate "news" media lap it up because its "good television," and even his most ardent opponents fail to say the one missing word.


      Noam Chomsky explained the phenomenon best, and it is remarkable to watch it unfold in real time. According to Chomsky, the most effective way to control a populace is to severely limit the parameters of debate, but have the debate within those hedged parameters be vigorous so people think something of worth is actually taking place. Hence, they shout and stomp about responsible budget priorities without ever discussing the bloated "defense" budget, because that topic has been deemed off limits. Likewise, they shout and stomp about ISIS and the economy without ever mentioning George W. Bush, because he is simply too embarrassing to too many people sitting behind important desks with a lot to lose.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • FOIA Request Probes Extent of Government Spying on Climate Protesters
      Citing an investigation that revealed federal agents went undercover to spy on environmental activists, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on Thursday filed nine Freedom of Information Act requests seeking information on surveillance of peaceful protests at federal fossil fuel auctions.

      As they wrote at The Intercept in July, journalists Lee Fang and Steve Horn obtained emails showing that in May, local law enforcement and federal agents monitored and infiltrated a "Keep it in the Ground" protest at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction in Lakewood, Colorado.

      "The emails, which were obtained through an open records act request, show that the Lakewood Police Department collected details about the protest from undercover officers as the event was being planned," they wrote. "During the auction, both local law enforcement and federal agents went undercover among the protesters."

    • Washington County Shocks Big Oil With Ban on Fossil Fuel Exports
      Environmentalists and industrialists were both shocked by the move from the coastal county once known as "Wide Open Whatcom" for its welcoming of oil refineries and a massive aluminum smelter.

    • Tribal Members Block Pipeline Construction, 12 Arrested
      Yesterday (August 11), approximately 200 protestors from the Oceti Sakowins (commonly known as the Sioux people)—joined by “Divergent” actress Shailene Woodley—blocked crews constructing the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline set to run through their land. Though the group remained peaceful, the Morton County Police Department arrested 12 for disorderly conduct or criminal trespass, reports the Associated Press.

  • Finance

    • Brexit harm denial and the exchange rate
      There seems at the moment some confusion in the Brexit camp: is all the bad news just wishful imagination by Remainers, or is it real but caused by Remainers. Some specific thoughts on the extraordinary Telegraph editorial are here, but one event that was not in anyone’s imagination was the depreciation in sterling as the result became known. Brexiters tend to think markets know what they are doing, so they have resorted to all kinds of arguments why this depreciation was not really bad news.

      First, the reason why it is bad news. A depreciation in sterling makes everyone in the UK poorer, because the goods we buy that are made overseas or sold in world markets (oil) will cost more. That this depreciation happened as a result of the vote is beyond dispute. So what do Leave apologists have to say in response? So far I have heard the following.

    • 'Strongest Words Yet,' But Clinton Still Refuses to Push Obama on TPP
      Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Thursday offered her "strongest words yet against the TPP," according to one progressive organization—but whether it will be enough to convince skeptics remains to be seen.

      In an economic policy speech delivered in Warren, Michigan, Clinton said her "message to every worker in Michigan and across America is this: I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages—including the Trans Pacific Partnership. I oppose it now, I'll oppose it after the election, and I'll oppose it as President."

    • Why a Tax on Wall Street Trades is an Even Better Idea Than You Know
      One of Bernie Sanders’s most important proposals didn’t receive enough attention and should become a law even without a president Sanders. Hillary Clinton should adopt it for her campaign.

    • The Fiscal Myth That’s Killing The Economy, In 7 Steps
      A new economic working paper reinforces an important reality: We need more government spending to repair the economy for millions of working Americans. Unfortunately, our political debate is being held back by an economic myth – one that has yet to be challenged in political debate, despite an ever-growing body of evidence against it.

    • Jill Stein and the Green Party Add More Ballot Lines This Week
      Jill Stein and the Green Party filed their petitions for ballot access in 3 more states this week: Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Utah. The campaign is confirmed on the ballot in 28 states, and awaits state government confirmation in 7 others where we have filed in the last month. 12 more states have pending deadlines where we will be filing between now and September 9.

    • GOP Obsession With Austerity Is to Blame for Sluggish Economic Recovery
      Fiscal austerity in the wake of the Great Recession—imposed by Republicans on the federal, state, and local levels—is responsible for the sluggish pace of economic recovery since 2009, states a new paper that undercuts conservative attempts to pin the blame on President Barack Obama.

      "By far the biggest drag on growth throughout the recovery from the Great Recession has been the fiscal policy forced upon us by Republican lawmakers in Congress and austerity-minded state legislatures and governors," wrote Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which put out the analysis on Thursday.

      Because the "ability of conventional monetary policy to spur recovery following the Great Recession was more limited than in any other post-war recovery," Bivens explained, increases in government spending and federal aid to states were necessary to help working Americans following the recession that began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.

    • The Olympics Are a Colossal Waste and a Shameful Distraction
      Everyone loves the Olympics. They allow people all over the world to set aside their political and religious differences and enjoy a few weeks of healthy competition between a few thousand people who have spent years honing their skills.

      At least, this is what we tell ourselves.

      In fact, not everyone loves the Olympics. Often, the poorest sectors of society within the host countries experience displacement and other forms of oppression as authorities work hard to impress visiting athletes and spectators. In Brazil, the first South American country to serve as the international showcase, this was certainly true; more than 20,000 families were displaced to make way for Olympics-related infrastructure. In fact, the state of Rio de Janeiro, where the games are being held, is in such desperate financial circumstances that state workers are not being paid and health care centers cannot even afford to take on the Zika virus crisis. Rio declared bankruptcy ahead of the games, and the state’s governor declared a “state of calamity.”

      But the mayor of Rio de Janeiro was quick to assure the world that the economic disaster “in no way delays the delivery of Olympic projects and the promises assumed by the city of Rio.” Apparently, delivering basic services to the city’s residents is a lower priority than accommodating the Olympics.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jeremy Corbyn earns geordie acclaim at debate against Owen Smith
      Clutching Momentum and socialist party banners, and placards reading “Geordies got ya back Corbyn”, a crowd of about 50 people swarmed around the Labour leader as he arrived at the Hilton hotel in Gateshead on Thursday evening, chanting his name as he got out of his car. Owen Smith received no such welcome.

    • Diane Abbott says Labour entryist claims are a distraction
      The shadow health secretary, Diane Abbott, a staunch Jeremy Corbyn supporter, has dismissed suggestions that the Labour party is being infiltrated by hard-left activists, saying the claims are being peddled by “people within the Westminster bubble”.

      Abbott said the Labour deputy leader Tom Watson’s claims that the party was vulnerable to a takeover by Trotskyist entryists were a “distraction”.

      Her comments come ahead of a court of appeal ruling on whether tens of thousands of new members of the Labour party will have the right to vote in the forthcoming leadership election between Corbyn and Owen Smith.

    • An Open Letter to Ivanka Trump from Michael Moore: 'Your Dad Is Not Well'
      Every day he continues his spiral downward—and after his call for gun owners to commit acts of violence against Mrs. Clinton, it is clear he needs help, serious help. His comments and behavior have become more and more bizarre and detached from reality. He is in need of an intervention. And I believe only you can conduct it.

    • FEC Commissioner, Citing The Intercept, Calls for Ban on Foreign Money in Politics
      Federal Election Commission member Ann Ravel on Tuesday proposed a ban on political contributions by domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations.

      Ravel’s proposal cites The Intercept series last week reporting that American Pacific International Capital, a California corporation owned by two Chinese nationals, donated $1.3 million to Right to Rise USA, the main Super PAC supporting Jeb Bush’s presidential run.

      Ravel wrote that as a result of Citizens United and subsequent Supreme Court decisions, “our campaign finance system is vulnerable to influence from foreign nationals and foreign corporations through Domestic subsidiaries and affiliates in ways unimaginable a decade ago.”

    • US Presidential Race 2016: Cruella de Vil Versus Captain Klutz
      Like or hate Trump, the media bias against him for challenging the neoliberal order is astonishing, harkening back to Cold War thinking. He is vilified out of fear he might shake the old order up: Reorder NATO, work with the Russian president, focus money on US infrastructure.


      The New York Times, Washington Post, mainstream/cable news reek of polemic and government “officials” in a stunning disinformation campaign while at the same time they try to dismiss Clinton’s continued flirtation with the FBI/IRS over email, the shenanigans of the Clinton Foundation, and her militaristic “love a man in uniform”, and her coup instigating past. Even former military commanders and the CIA have gotten in on 2016 presidential campaign.

    • Don't Be Fooled By Small Donations to Presidential Campaigns
      When Bernie Sanders ended his run for the Democratic nomination, the small donor narrative seemed over for this presidential cycle. But last week, small donors roared back, reportedly fueling Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee’s huge July fundraising take.

      At a rally last week, Trump announced that he had raised $35.8 million from 517,000 small donors with an average contribution of $69.

      As usual, Trump’s numbers don’t quite add up. The total July fundraising take was $82 million. The campaign announced it had raised $64 million from an email and snail mail campaign, the bulk from small donors. But was the $69 average from a $35.8 million subset of one of these amounts? No telling until the official numbers are filed with the Federal Elections Commission later this month.

      Until then, Trump won’t let the details get in the way. He boasted at a Columbus, Ohio, rally that small donors were keeping him honest: "I'm going to do what's right for you," he said. "[Hillary Clinton] has got to do right for her donors."

    • I'm Sick of the So-Called "News"
      If you turn on MSNBC or CNN any morning, all you'll hear is the hosts and guests arguing about the latest absurd thing that Donald Trump has said.

      On Monday, Trump laid out his economic plan, but the media ignored the details and the fact that his plan is Voodoo Economics 2.0, and they instead focused on the fact that he called Hillary Clinton unfit to serve as president.


      Honestly, it doesn't matter what day of the week or what time of day a person tunes into the 24-hour news networks, he or she can always find out the latest vapid and boorish insult that's spewed from Trump's lips.

      The problem is… it isn't news!

      It's nothing but pure infotainment.

      The corporate commercial networks are much, much happier presenting personal drama in the form of packaged infotainment and faux outrage rather than any sort of programming in the public interest.

    • First on CNN: Inside the debate over probing the Clinton Foundation
      Officials from the FBI and Department of Justice met several months ago to discuss opening a public corruption case into the Clinton Foundation, according to a US official.

      At the time, three field offices were in agreement an investigation should be launched after the FBI received notification from a bank of suspicious activity from a foreigner who had donated to the Clinton Foundation, according to the official.

      FBI officials wanted to investigate whether there was a criminal conflict of interest with the State Department and the Clinton Foundation during Clinton's tenure. The Department of Justice had looked into allegations surrounding the foundation a year earlier after the release of the controversial book "Clinton Cash," but found them to be unsubstantiated and there was insufficient evidence to open a case.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Joint FBI-US Attorney Probe Of Clinton Foundation Is Underway
      Multiple FBI investigations are underway involving potential corruption charges against the Clinton Foundation, according to a former senior law enforcement official.

      The investigation centers on New York City where the Clinton Foundation has its main offices, according to the former official who has direct knowledge of the activities.

    • 2016 Election Lawsuit Tracker: The New Election Laws and the Suits Challenging Them
      There are 15 states with new voting laws that have never before been used during a presidential election, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice. These laws include restrictions like voter ID requirements and limits on early voting. Many are making their way through the courts, which have already called a halt to two laws in the past month — one in North Carolina and one in North Dakota.

      “All the sides were pushing for opinions over the summer so that nobody would run into the concern that it was all of a sudden too late to shift what the state had been planning to do,” said Jennifer Clark, counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program.

      We’re tracking the new laws and the suits against them in the run-up to Election Day. We’ll keep this updated as decisions roll in.

    • Hate Trump? You should still hold Clinton's feet to the fire
      Here’s a news flash: if you’re a progressive, you can and should critique Hillary Clinton right now – and that doesn’t have to mean that you want Donald Trump to be president.

      It means we are still using our brains, “That we are not checkmated,” as Michelle Alexander puts it, that engaging in discourse is not just possible, but necessary in a race with less than terrific choices. No matter who you ultimately vote for, don’t stop demanding a candidate endorse policies that benefit you in order to get your support, even if you vote for them.

      Clinton should be pushed relentlessly by the left on her economic policies and history, for starters. While she made fun of Trump on the stump for having “a dozen or so economic advisers he just named: hedge fund guys, billionaire guys, six guys named Steve, apparently,” she is living in a glass house funded by Goldman Sachs and should be throwing no stones. We’ll see whether she does in the big economic policy speech she is due to give on Thursday.

    • The Seven Deadly Sins of Political Punditry

      There are lots of reasons to question the infatuation of pundits with polls and how too much of a fuss is made over statistically insignificant changes in their results. Post RNC and DNC, a lot of noise was made in terms of convention bumps and who was in the lead. Historically presidential candidates get convention bumps but after a couple of weeks it fades. No news here. Pundits nonetheless angst over them, especially when they pay for them and make them their main news story, such as what CNN has done recently.

      Finally, aggregate public opinion polls in presidential races are meaningless–remember it is not the popular but the electoral vote that determines the president. The race for the presidency is really 51 separate elections, of which only about ten really matter because that is how few swing states there are.

    • Don't Mistake a Protest Vote for a Strategy
      Last week, I received the same response from a crowd of Bernie Sanders backers that I had seen another group of his supporters give the man himself the prior week in Philadelphia – they jeered me. I was kind of flattered, actually. In Bernie’s case, the negative reaction was in response to his support for the election of Hillary Clinton, against whom we had all campaigned for so long. In my case, I didn’t even argue against voting for Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, in California, a “non-battleground” state, but I did express the hope that no one who did so would mistake a protest vote for a strategy. In other words, we shouldn’t abandon the Democratic Party – where we may not feel loved – for the Green Party, where we may feel better, but go nowhere.

      I found a bit of personal irony in the situation, in that I had come in for a quite similar response just down the hall in the very same building a little over four years ago. That night I sat on a panel with Rocky Anderson, a former mayor of Salt Lake City then seeking the presidency on the Justice Party ticket. What had met with audience disapproval then was my argument that, while my co-panelist seemed like a fine candidate, the problem was that if we had really wanted to effectively take on Barack Obama, what Anderson or someone else should have done was enter the Democratic primaries. Anderson ultimately did not make it onto the ballot in California; he received 86 write-in votes in San Francisco, some no doubt from that audience. He got 43,018 nationwide, 0.03 percent of the total.

    • Paul Ryan: ‘Eunuch’ or ‘Powerhouse’?

      House Speaker Paul Ryan is a servile political “eunuch” twisting himself to meet the capricious whims of Republican nominee Donald Trump, smirked Late Night host Stephen Colbert.

      Yet Ryan is “the most powerful Republican politician in America,” according to the astute MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, a long-time observer of American politics.

      So which is it? Actually, Ryan fits both descriptions. Shamelessly endorsing Trump despite repeated racist and inflammatory statements, Ryan wants to display just enough support for Trump in this campaign to avoid alienating Republican voters who oppose both “free trade” and immigration.

    • Tainted Gifts: Time to Enforce Ethics Laws
      Was it wrong for Senator Tim Kaine to accept $201,600 in corporate gifts –many of them from businesses and lobbyists seeking favors from state– during his eight years as Virginia’s lieutenant governor and then governor? That’s the question voters may ask as Mr. Kaine campaigns as Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate.

      Sadly, our courts and state ethics commissions seem to be turning a blind eye to conflicts of interest.

      Neither former Governor Kaine nor his successor Bob McDonnell broke any law when they accepted costly gifts from businessmen who had pending business interests before the state– because the State of Virginia had no conflict of interest law on the books when they accepted their gifts.

    • Did Companies & Countries Buy State Dept. Access by Donating to Clinton Foundation?
      Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Grimaldi of The Wall Street Journal, who has covered the Clinton Foundation for years, looks at the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, and what it would be if she became president. Newly released State Department emails include exchanges between top members of the Clinton Foundation and Clinton’s top State Department advisers, including Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. The FBI reportedly wanted to investigate the Clinton Foundation earlier this year, but U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch pushed back.

    • "Historians Against Trump" Demonstrates Crucial Role for Public Intellectuals

      The group took inspiration from Ken Burns' 2016 commencement speech at Stanford University. Burns' performance in fact brings to the fore some of Fish's points, and in particular the issue of the deportment of intellectuals in public. Burns was welcomed at Stanford as a celebrated documentary filmmaker -- the level of recognition he was awarded was matched only by how comfortable the audience seemed to be to welcome the man who taught them so much about baseball, jazz, the Civil War and many other subjects.

      However, when he launched into a bitter and urgent tirade against Donald Trump, the mood changed. At first, especially amongst the graduates, there was surprise and wild applause. But as Burns kept on that topic, digging deeper into Trump's mendacity and utter lack of qualifications, as Burns began to talk about fascism and totalitarianism, there was less applause. He seemed to have overstayed his welcome.

      Why is this important to note? Because it points to something that Richard Hofstadter noted half a century ago in his magisterial Anti-intellectualism in American Life -- even when they approach others with humility, academic intellectuals are still often viewed with suspicion and written off as inherently arrogant and unnecessary to everyday life. And this is especially true when they appear in public. Then they may be intolerable. Fish takes on the job of putting them in their place: "Professors are at it again, demonstrating in public how little they understand the responsibilities and limits of their profession."

    • Progressives Beware: Why a Vote for Neoliberals is a Vote for the Fascists and the Far Right
      Decades of voting for the corporate-controlled neoliberal elite has led to perpetual wars, the complete disintegration of several nations, resulting in millions of dead and millions of refugees on a scale not seen since WWII, to Al Qaeda-turned ISIS, to a situation on the brink of a catastrophic war between NATO and Russia, and to a nearly complete demise of the once vibrant middle class in most advanced economies. This in turn has resulted in extreme political discontent and a polarized political order rejecting the centrist “business as usual” neoliberal order. This rebellion of sorts is manifested by the rise of the ‘radical’ left in Greece, Spain and even the United States, countered by the rise of the far-right with France’s Le Pen, Germany’s AfD, Greece’s Golden Dawn, leading to a trend that has recently resulted in a Brexit vote in the UK and the rise of the Donald Trump phenomenon in the United States.

    • Civil Rights Icon John Lewis: I'm Probably Gonna Get Arrested Again (Video)
      And quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., Lewis added, "We must be hopeful. We must be optimistic. We must never hate. As Dr. King would say, hate is too heavy a burden to bear."

      Lewis also maintains that non-violence is key.

      "You were a founder of the SNCC, which was a student council that was specifically designed around nonviolence," Noah pointed out. "That was an important distinction that you had to make—I've always been fascinated as to why you made that distinction."

    • Austerity nostalgia, racism and xenophobia

      Why anti-racism and migrants rights activism need to be central to anti-austerity campaigning.

    • Labour Appeal: Fury as High Court Judge Philip Sales’ intimate links to Tony Blair revealed
      In what is a consolation victory for the Labour Party’s establishment in the Court of Appeal, it has been revealed by WikiLeaks that there may be more to the decision than meets the eye.

      After Sir Philip Sales QC overruled the previous High Court decision to allow the 130,000 disenfranchised Labour Party members to vote in the up and coming leadership election – notorious whistle-blower Wikileaks revealed that Sales had been a Blair insider for years, having been recruited as Junior Counsel to the Crown in 1997.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A Possible Solution To Twitter's Difficult Problem Of Abusive Behavior: Let People Speak, Don't Force Everyone To Listen
      BuzzFeed had a long and interesting article earlier this week noting Twitter's ongoing difficulty in figuring out an appropriate way to deal with harassment and abuse that is often heaped upon certain users -- especially women and minorities. The article is interesting -- even as Twitter disputes some of its claims. It's also noteworthy that this debate is not even remotely new. Last year, I wrote about it, suggesting that one possible solution is to switch Twitter from being a platform into being a protocol -- on which anyone could then build services. In that world, Twitter could then offer various filters if it wanted -- while other providers could compete with different filters or services. Then the tweets could flow without Twitter having to take responsibility, but there would be options (possibly many options) for those who were dealing with abuse or harassment.

      Not surprisingly, that kind of suggestion is unlikely to ever be adopted, but reading through the BuzzFeed article, something else struck me. To some extent, the article seemed a bit unfair in portraying some of Twitter's execs as willfully clueless about the abuse and harassment. It repeatedly portrays those who support freedom of expression as somehow being unreasonable extremists.

    • Another Unfortunate Example Of Facebook Silencing Important Videos
      Another day, another case of Facebook disappearing a video that it should have left up. A politician in Hong Kong says that Facebook banned him from the site for 24 hours for a "terms of service violation" after he posted a video of him confronting men who had been following him around for weeks.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy: What Not To Do
    • Surveillance Isn’t Colorblind
      Rapidly developing technology exposes communities of color to near-constant surveillance and over-policing.

    • La Quadrature du Net supports Reporters Without Borders against the German Surveillance Law
      La Quadrature du Net supports Reporters Without Borders with its action against the German bill on BND surveillance, which would allow the German foreign intelligence service to spy on foreign journalists. This bill is a direct attack on freedom of information, and thus undermines democracy and fundamental rights. German MPs must refuse to yield on values that they would defend for their own country just as well as foreign surveillance is concerned. Fundamental rights cannot simply be accommodated whenever convenient.

      La Quadrature du Net seizes the opportunity to remind that attacks on the rights of journalists, which are indeed intolerable, must not distract from massive infringement on the fundamental rights of the whole of the population, as entailed in the various surveillance laws passed in the recent years across European Union Member-States and which, far too often, are in contradiction with the principles of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

      Similarly, foreign surveillance laws should serve as warnings on conditions by which intelligence, individually targeted or wide-ranging, is being shared between European Member-States and third parties, as well as on agreements to share or access interception systems : usually downright absent from the laws on foreign intelligence (in France or elsewhere), these provisions constitute a grave danger of collateral surveillance being carried out in the greatest opacity and with no avenue of appeal.
    • Illinois Sets New Limits On Cell-Site Simulators
      Illinois has joined the growing ranks of states limiting how police may use cell-site simulators, invasive technology devices that masquerade as cell phone towers and turn our mobile phones into surveillance devices. By adopting the Citizen Privacy Protection Act, Illinois last month joined half a dozen other states—as well as the Justice Department and one federal judge—that have reiterated the constitutional requirement for police to obtain a judicial warrant before collecting people's location and other personal information using cell-site simulators.

      By going beyond a warrant requirement and prohibiting police from intercepting data and voice transmissions or conducting offensive attacks on personal devices, the Illinois law establishes a new high watermark in the battle to prevent surveillance technology from undermining civil liberties. Illinois also set an example for other states to follow by providing a powerful remedy when police violate the new law by using a cell-site simulator without a warrant: wrongfully collected information is inadmissible in court, whether to support criminal prosecution or any other government proceedings.

    • Turkish Reporter: These Grand Theft Auto Cheat Codes Are The Secret Messages Of The Failed Coup Attempt
      Let's take Turkey, for instance. Yes the country with the petulant and easily-upset President Tayyip Erdogan, also has some reporters that truly just make stuff up. For instance, you can read about one reporter who managed to find some secret documents from the plotters of the recently failed coup attempt against Erdogan, and you can see an image of the secret codes she found below.


      Yup, those are cheat codes for Grand Theft Auto 4. The reporter, meanwhile, apparently insisted that these were secret communications by the plotters against Erdogan. And you have to admit that that doesn't make any sense, because if those plotters could get more guns and health just by repeating a video game cheat code, the coup probably would have went off without a hitch.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How A Man Got $115,000 After A Random Facebook Post Destroyed His Life
      The social media gripped-world has now started to think about the consequences of the skyrocketing presence of websites like Facebook in their life.

      No one would have thought, a simple Facebook post would invite a life-threating experience for a 74-year-old man. But it happened.

      Australia-based Kenneth Rothe used to run two hotels, Nirvana Village and Blue Dolphins, in Nambucca, New South Wales. Everything was going fine until a dark day came when a Facebook post popped up out of nowhere and destroyed Rothe’s life thereon.

      The following post was made by an electrician named David Scott in March 2014,

      “Pedophile [sic] warning:- Nambucca has been used as a relocation for these monsters – blue dolphin –nirvana hotel and above the Indian restaurant! …Bus stops are right out front of theses hotels for our children?”

      Rothe accommodated the ones affected by family disputes but he never allowed pedophiles and people with a criminal history to stay at his properties.

      After the post, Rothe started experiencing anonymous calls with consent for hanky-panky acts. He even requested Scott for an apology regarding the problems he was facing due to the post but his request only fell upon deaf ears.

    • Trump favors Guantanamo trials for US terrorism suspects
      Donald Trump says it would be "fine" to try Americans suspected of terrorism at the Guantanamo Bay detention center if possible.

      The Miami Herald asks Trump whether he'd approve new detentions at the prison if he's elected president. The Republican says he wants to ensure the U.S. has a "safe place" to keep a "radical Islamic terrorist."

    • Nearly 100 people shot in Chicago in less than a week
      Nearly 100 people have been shot in Chicago in less than a week, pushing the number of shooting victims so far this year to more than 2,500 — about 800 more than this time last year, according to data kept by the Tribune.

      Between last Friday afternoon and early Thursday, at least 99 people were shot in the city, 24 of them fatally. At least nine people were killed on Monday alone, the deadliest day in Chicago in 13 years, according to Tribune data. Among the wounded that day was a 10-year-old boy shot in the back as he played on his front porch in Lawndale.

    • Australian diplomats in UK and New Zealand may be called in to explain Nauru files
      British and NZ governments are facing calls to summon Australian high commissioners to explain revelations of child abuse and sexual assault

    • The Dysfunctional United Kingdom
      The late Duke of Westminster is characterised as a “philanthropist” by mainstream media even though the percentage of both his income and his wealth he gave to charity was less than most ordinary people’s mite, myself included, and I am willing to bet that what he did do, was tax-deductible. That a parasite who sat on €£9 billion of unearned money in a country where disabled people commit suicide from poverty, and who got two O levels from Harrow, was Prince Charles’ closest friend, cuts through the lying propaganda about the Royal family we are constantly fed.

    • WATCH: This Student Was Arrested for Challenging an Abusive Officer in School
      One day last fall, Niya Kenny was sitting in her math class at Spring Valley High School in Richland County, South Carolina, when a police officer came into the classroom. A girl in her class had refused to put away her cell phone, and the teacher had summoned an administrator, who called on the officer assigned to the school.

      Niya thought the officer was bad news — his name was Ben Fields, but he was so aggressive that students knew him as Officer Slam. As soon as he entered the room, she called out for other students to record him.

    • ‘We’re Trying to Transform How Policy Looks in the 21st Century’
      Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson: “We have always said that state violence was bigger than just police murdering black people.”

    • We can’t all be “radicals”, but we should all support them.

      “Violence is never the answer” is a sentiment I often hear parroted by people who celebrate the 4th of July in America, a holiday commemorating a violent and deadly rebellion. People have a habit of glorifying violence in history, while condemning violence in modern times.

      I’ve seen people who claim to love Malcolm X denounce modern day revolutionaries who embody the same principals that made X who he was. It seems that there are many people who only like the idea of revolution if they’re reading about it in a history book.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The rise and fall of the Gopher protocol
      It was mid-March 1992, and Mark McCahill had never been to San Diego before. Back home in Minneapolis, the skies had been dumping snow for six months, and would keep at it for several more weeks. McCahill checked into the Hyatt Islandia, an 18-story high-rise hotel overlooking Mission Bay. “There were palm trees,” he recalls. “Boy, was it nice.”

    • Federal Court Delivers a Blow to Municipal Broadband
      The digital divide is alive and well in 2016 and there are still millions of people in the United States living without internet access. And a court decision that came down this week hasn’t helped matters.

      On Wednesday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the FCC’s 2015 order to preempt state-level restrictions in North Carolina and Tennessee on municipalities seeking to build their own high-speed broadband networks.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • KickassTorrents Admins Needs Your Help To Rebuild The Site
        Some long-time moderators of KickassTorrents have come together with a common aim to bring back the website to its former glory. To achieve this goal and maintain the community website, the KickassTorrents crew has asked for donations. They are accepting donations via PayPal and a Gofundme campaign.

      • Archivists Grapple With Problems Of Preserving Recent Culture Held On Tape Cassettes And Floppy Drives
        It is an irony of these formerly high-tech holdings that they are far less durable than old-fashioned paper-based systems. And researchers studying them face problems of compatibility that simply don't arise with paper. This is a major issue that is only now being faced, as cultural figures of Greer's generation pass on their archives to universities and libraries, who must start to grapple with the core tasks of deciphering and preserving them.

        The good news is that once they have been decoded, they can be transferred to other media, and in more open formats that will be easier to access in the years to come. But that still leaves the problem of how to store all these archives in a way that will stand the test of time. Perhaps they will be encoded as data held on the ultimate storage medium, DNA. Or maybe it would just be easier to print the lot out on paper.

      • Compulsory collective management of copyright for images displayed by search engines: a French cultural exception to EU law
        A few weeks ago this Blog explored the possible of implications of a case currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), Marc Soulier C-301/15, in particular should the Court follow the Opinion of Advocate General (AG) Wathelet. This reference for a preliminary ruling from France concerns the compatibility with EU law of the 2012 loi (Law No 2012-287 of 1 March 2012) adopted to allow and regulate the digital exploitation of out-of-print 20th century books.

        The AG held the view that such law is not really compatible with EU law because it envisages a mechanism that, contrary to Articles 2 and 3 of the InfoSoc Directive, gives approved collecting societies - rather than authors - the right to authorise the reproduction and the representation in digital form of out-of-print books.

        In my comment to the Opinion, I highlighted how the law on out-of-print books might not be the only case of potential incompatibility with EU law. In particular, in early July France introduced Loi No 2016-925 on la liberté de la création, l'architecture et patrimoine (freedom of creation, architecture and cultural heritage), which introduces new provisions into the French Intellectual Property Code (IPC) to regulate the publication of a plastic, graphic or photographic work by an online communication service. In particular, new Article 136-2(1) IPC provides that the publication of a plastic artwork, graphic or photographic work by an online communication service is subject to the consent, not of authors, but rather ... one or more collective management organisations (CMOs) appointed to this end by the French Ministry of Culture.

      • Why Does The Copyright Office Keep Acting Like A Lobbying Arm For Hollywood?
        We've noted a few times recently that the Copyright Office has inserted itself into policy disputes where it has no business being. It's important to note that the role of the Copyright Office is supposed to be a rather specific one: to handle the registration of copyrights. It has little official roles in terms of actual policymaking -- the role is more about executing on the policy decisions of Congress. And, yet, over the years the Copyright Office has become a revolving door way station for execs from the entertainment industry, where they seek to use the Copyright Office as something of a taxpayer funded pro-legacy industry lobbying arm. Just in the last few months, we've reported on how the Copyright Office was flat out lying to the FCC about how copyright works in an effort to support the cable industry's plan to stop competition in set top boxes. Then there's its plan to strip websites of their safe harbors by making it a bureaucratic nightmare. Oh, and also its new plan to mess up the part of copyright law that protects libraries and archives. And let's not forget the absolutely ridiculous hearings the Copyright Office held a few months ago about the DMCA safe harbors, where they seemed 100% focused on pushing the RIAA/MPAA's plan to blame Google for everything.

        What the hell is going on with the Copyright Office? This is not in its mandate and yet it's run like a government-funded lobbying arm of Hollywood? The folks over at Public Knowledge have now started putting together a long list (much longer than the above examples) of the Copyright Office incorrectly weighing in on policy issues, taking positions that favor the desires of the legacy copyright industries, rather than what the law actually says. It's a long and very troubling list.

      • Appeals Court Says It's Perfectly Fine For The DOJ To Steal Kim Dotcom's Money Before Any Trial
        Last year, there was a series of very troubling rulings by a district court in a case related to the criminal prosecution of Kim Dotcom. This wasn't, technically, part of the actual criminal case against him, but rather a separate effort by the government to steal his money. We've been covering the ridiculous process of civil asset forfeiture for a while, and it's really problematic in general. In Dotcom's case, it's something of a farce. Remember, civil asset forfeiture is the situation where the US government effectively files a civil (not criminal) lawsuit against inanimate objects, rather than people. In this case, it basically filed a lawsuit against all of Kim Dotcom's money, arguing that it was the proceeds of a crime and therefore, the government should just get it all. Again, this is entirely separate from the actual criminal trial of Kim Dotcom, which has been put on hold while the extradition battle plays out in New Zealand (determining if Dotcom can be forcibly sent to the US to stand trial).

        Just the whole process of civil asset forfeiture is troublesome enough. As we've detailed over and over again, it's basically a system whereby law enforcement gets to steal money and other stuff (cars are popular) from people, simply by claiming that they were used in a criminal endeavor. Since the lawsuit is against the stuff, if people want it back, they have to go and make a claim on it, and it's a fairly convoluted process. In this case, things were even more ridiculous, because the government argued that because Dotcom was resisting extradition from New Zealand, he could be declared "a fugitive" and the judge overseeing the case (the same one overseeing his criminal case, Judge Liam O'Grady) agreed. That effectively meant that Dotcom had no legal right to protest the government simply taking and keeping all of his assets -- and they moved forward and did exactly that.

        It is difficult to see how this can be legitimately described as anything but theft by the US government. It got someone locked up in New Zealand, based on questionable legal theories, and while he was (quite reasonably) fighting extradition to the US (a place he's never visited and where he has no business ties), it initiated a separate legal process to keep all his money, no matter what happens in his extradition fight and criminal trial. On top of that, it effectively barred him from making an official claim on that money by having him declared a fugitive for exercising his legal due process rights to fight extradition. So while he exercises his legal due process rights in New Zealand, he's blocked from doing so in the US. And all of his money goes to the US government.

        As we said after O'Grady's ruling came out, even if you think that Dotcom is guilty of a criminal copyright conspiracy, and even if you think he should be extradited, tried and locked up this should concern you. Let him go through the full legal process, with all that due process entails, and then determine what should happen to his assets. To take them before that's happened, through this questionable side process is immensely problematic.
      • Facebook's ContentID Clone Had A Vulnerability That Opened Up Ability For Users To Game Others' Videos
        Earlier this year, we noted that Facebook had launched its own ContentID clone, called Rights Manager, which was a response to a bunch of angry YouTubers who were annoyed at people "freebooting" popular YouTube videos onto Facebook. We noted that, like ContentID, we fully expected the system to be abused to take down content. While we haven't heard examples of that just yet, it does appear that Rights Manager had some serious vulnerabilities that enabled anyone else who was signed up for Rights Manager to manipulate the information and rules on any other video in the system (including, obviously, those claimed by other users).

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