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Links 13/8/2017: DebConf 2017 and GUADEC 2017 Wrapups

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • The Minifree Libreboot T400 is free as in freedom
      The Libreboot T400 doesn’t look like much. It’s basically a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad with the traditional Lenovo/IBM pointer nubbin and a small touchpad. It’s a plain black laptop, as familiar as any luggable assigned to a cubicle warrior on the road. But, under the hood, you have a machine that fights for freedom.

      The T400 runs Libreboot, a free and open BIOS and the Trisquel GNU/Linux OS. Both of these tools should render the Libreboot T400 as secure from tampering as can be. “Your Libreboot T400 obeys you, and nobody else!” write its creators, and that seems to be the case.

      How does it work? And should you spend about $300 on a refurbished Thinkpad with Linux installed? That depends on what you’re trying to do. The model I tested was on the low end with enough speed and performance to count but Trisquel tended to bog down a bit and the secure browser, “an unbranded Mozilla based browser that never recommends non-free software,” was a little too locked down for its own good. I was able to work around a number of the issues I had but this is definitely not for the faint of heart.

    • 5 Reasons to Use Linux for Development
      An average computer user has never installed an operating system. Some users may not even understand the concept of an OS and would see it as too technical a subject.

      As a programmer though, installation of the OS and applications is a fairly basic skill. You already have the foundational knowledge required to search for an appropriate Linux distro, download the ISO, burn it onto a USB drive, and follow the screen prompts. Installing Linux isn't much different from installing Windows.

    • Linux is simply amazing!
      The community is always very helpful and inspiring, the OS is sleek and fast, and the ability to get to work immediately after logging in with no slowdown due to configuring updates and dragging on loading gigabytes of system software is simply amazing! The entire 'log in and BAM!' is what drives Linux in for me.

    • [Video] StationX - Spitfire Linux Laptop Review

    • Station X is Making Gorgeous Linux Computers
      Station X is the latest entrant in the market with the focus specifically on UK and EU Linux users. The company is based in Bletchley Park – the home of the Second World War Codebreakers and the birthplace of modern computing. It was known as ‘Station X’during the war and this is why the company has been named Station X.

  • Server

    • Open Source Leaders: Solomon Hykes and the Docker Revolution
      Not often we come across technologies that are so disruptive that they turn industries upside down. Docker container is one such technology that’s literally transforming the IT world. Docker founder and Chief Technology Officer Solomon Hykes is one of the few technology leaders who thoroughly understands the open source development model and the sauce that’s needed to turn into a profitable business.

      Hykes may not sound very French, but he grew up in France. His parents moved there when he was very young. Hykes began programming as a teenager. Throughout most of high school, he skipped classes to work on programming jobs at the local cyber café. Eventually, he went to a programming school for software engineering training.

    • International Space Station set to receive its first supercomputer
      The machine, dubbed Spaceborne Computer, is based on the Apollo 40 class systems and runs Linux. It will be fitted with a unique water-cooled enclosure for the hardware to address environmental constraints and reliability requirements of supercomputing in space.

    • HPE Spaceborne Computer Testing Regular Servers in Space
      A new experiment from HPE called the Spaceborne computer is set to launch on a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday August 14 that could revolutionize the way servers work in space.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.12.6
      I'm announcing the release of the 4.12.6 kernel.

      All users of the 4.12 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.12.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-4.12.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:

    • Linux 4.9.42
    • Linux 4.4.81
    • Linux 3.18.64

    • Four stable kernel updates

    • Linux 4.12 Network Performance Issues With Virtio
      We recently encountered a server problem that was a little more than just a configuration mishap, and we had to dig deeper. Here’s the story:

      This week, we noticed that our virtualized Arch Linux servers were having strange network performance issues. While the upload speed was quite good, the download rate had decreased to about 200 KB/s and there was a noticeable amount of received packets being dropped.

    • The search for the killer app of unikernels
      When a radically different technology comes along it usually takes time before we figure out how to apply it. When we had steam engines running factories there was one engine in each factory with a giant driveshaft running through the whole factory. When the electric engine came along people started replacing the giant steam engine with a giant electric motor. It took time before people understood that they could deploy several small motors in different parts of the factory and connect electric cables rather than having a common driveshaft. It takes time to understand the technology and its applicability.

    • AWS No Longer a Holdout, Joins Kubernetes Group
      It's only been two weeks since Microsoft made news by signing up as a platinum member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, a Linux Foundation project and the organization behind the open source container orchestration platform Kubernetes. At the time, that made Amazon Web Services the only major public cloud provider that wasn't a member, and it wasn't expected to sign on anytime soon because it has its own container orchestration platform, Elastic Container Service.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Vulkan-CPU Begins Working On The Graphics Pipeline

      • The Radeon RX Vega Makes A Nod To Linux
        This week I ended up receiving the Radeon RX Vega 56 and Radeon RX Vega 64 from AMD. While the embargo on performance figures for the Radeon RX Vega series doesn't expire until Monday, the embargo expires this morning for "unboxing" these consumer Vega cards. I don't quite get those interested in the unboxing hype, but the Radeon RX Vega 64 box did get me smiling (aside from the card itself) for a small gesture.

      • How To Setup Your Linux System For The Radeon RX Vega
        Yesterday the embargo expired on showing you the Radeon RX Vega hardware, both the Vega 56 and Vega 64. While the embargo for sharing reviews and performance benchmarks for the Radeon RX Vega doesn't expire until tomorrow (Monday) when the hardware will become available, today I am providing a brief how-to guide for setting up both drivers (AMDGPU+RadeonSI and AMDGPU-PRO) for the RX Vega 56 / 64. So if you are hoping to buy a Radeon RX Vega tomorrow when they become available, this is what you can do today for getting your system(s) ready.

      • mesa 17.2.0-rc4

      • Mesa 17.2 Release Candidate 4 Arrives For Testing
        The fourth weekly release candidate of Mesa 17.2 is now available for testing.

        Emil Velikov announced 17.2-RC4 a few minutes ago and it consists of just under two dozen fixes. Many of the fixes pertain to the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver but there are also some EGL fixes, Intel ISL fixes, and other minor updates.

      • OMX Tizonia Gallium3D State Tracker Sent Out For Review
        Student developer Gurkirpal Singh has sent out his OpenMAX "Tizonia" Gallium3D state tracker patches for review by upstream Mesa developers, marking a successful GSoC 2017 project.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • State of Sway August 2017

      Is it already time to write another one of these? Phew, time flies. Sway marches ever forward. Sway 0.14.0 was recently released, adding much asked-after support for tray icons and fixing some long-standing bugs. As usual, we already have some exciting features slated for 0.15.0 as well, notably some cool improvements to clipboard support. Look forward to it!

      Today Sway has 24,123 lines of C (and 4,489 lines of header files) written by 94 authors across 2,345 commits. These were written through 689 pull requests and 624 issues. Sway packages are available today in the repos of almost every Linux distribution.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Let There Be More Shapes!
        As a follow-up to the previous post about the upcoming new Shape element, I am happy to share that the feature set is going to be bigger than previously expected, and this applies already to the upcoming 5.10 release of Qt.

      • A laptop by KDE

        Earlier this year we announced a joint venture between KDE and Slimbook that we named the KDE Slimbook.

        Last Akademy we had the opportunity to meet the Slimbook team and discuss its purpose and future. I’m quite happy about the discussions, here’s my feedback.

      • How to extend Brooklyn with new chat protocols
        Do you like Brooklyn but you use a chat protocol which is not officially supported? All you have to do is following this tutorial step by step!

        First of all, you have to check if there is a Java library for the protocol whereby you want to create the bot. If it doesn't exist, you've to write it by yourself (as I did to support Rocket.Chat). Then, add the library you have just created to Maven. Finally import it on Brooklyn through Maven.

      • Latte Dock v0.7, "...a tornado is coming..."
        if you dont want to build it yourself, you can wait a few days to launch on your distro repositiories!

      • Latte Dock 0.7 Released With Many Improvements, Wayland Tech Preview
        Perhaps most exciting though is Latte Dock 0.7 has a "tech preview" support for use with KDE Plasma on Wayland. The Latte Dock functionality under Wayland should mostly be on par with X11 except for where KDE Plasma is hitting Wayland bugs.

      • [Video] Latte Dock 0.7 - Official

      • Another iteration and one tough bug
        I didn’t want to give up and so I looked through the KWayland and KWin code related to pointer locking and confinement, which is a lot. Hours later I finally found the root cause: KWin creates small on screen notifications when a pointer is locked or confined to a window. Most of the time this works without problem, but with the above patch to Xwayland the client sends in quick succession the pointer confine and lock requests to KWin and for some reason when trying to show both notifications at the same time KWin or maybe the QML engine for the notification can’t process any further. Without the patch Xwayland always only sent the confinement request and nothing blocked. I don’t know how Martin would like to have this issue solved so I created a bug report for now. It’s weird that it was such a petty cause in the end with such huge consequences, but that’s how it goes.

      • Akademy (22-27) 2017

      • Release GCompris Qt 0.80

        We are pleased to announce the release of GCompris version 0.80.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Ubuntu Desktop Weekly Update: August 11, 2017

        We’re preparing to make the changes described above in the coming weeks, that means that the GNOME Shell Ubuntu session is going to transition to this design in the next few days. Didier will be posting a series of blog posts next week on how this all works as they are landing. The vanilla upstream GNOME session will also emerge from this work. And we’ll link to the posts in next week’s newsletter, but keep an eye on social media for up-to-date information.

        We’ve resurrected the “power off” option when the power button is pressed. This will appear in GNOME Control Center 3.25.90.
      • GNOME Calendar App to Support Adding and Modifying of Recurrences for GNOME 3.26
        The Beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.26 desktop environment is still not out as probably there's more apps and core components that need to be released, but this gives us extra time to look at the new features of various GNOME apps.

        We already told you what's coming to the Nautilus (GNOME Files) and Epiphany (GNOME Web) apps, and it now looks like the maintainers of the GNOME Calendar app have released the Beta version for GNOME 3.26.

      • Allan Day on The GNOME Way
        If you don't read Allan Day's blog, I encourage you to do so. Allan is one of the designers on the GNOME Design team, and is also a great guy in person. Allan recently presented at GUADEC, the GNOME Users And Developers European Conference, about several key principles in GNOME design concepts. Allan's has turned his talk into a blog post: "The GNOME Way." You should read it.

        Allan writes in the introduction: "In what follows, I’m going to summarise what I think are GNOME’s most important principles. It’s a personal list, but it’s also one that I’ve developed after years of working within the GNOME project, as well as talking to other members of the community. If you know the GNOME project, it should be familiar. If you don’t know it so well, it will hopefully help you understand why GNOME is important."

      • GUADEC 2017
        Few days ago I attended this year’s GUADEC which held at Manchester. This was my third GUADEC and, as the previous ones, attending to the conference gave me the opportunity to talk about both technical and ethical matters, hang out with old friends (even though unfortunately some of them were missing) and meet new ones. My general feeling is that each GUADEC is always better than the previous one and I think it is due to a more tight relationship with the members of the community. GUADEC is the event that keeps my motivation up: being able to talk in real life with people sharing the same concerns and ideas about software freedom helps me to feel less alone.

      • GSoC Report 3
        Remapping the gamepad is a lengthy task, hence we plan on providing quick configurations for some common gamepads. As an example we could have a simple button swapper.

  • Distributions

    • Slackware Family

      • OpenJDK7 and Flash Player security updates (Aug ’17)
        On the blog of IcedTea release manager Andrew Hughes (aka GNU/Andrew) you can find the announcement for IcedTea 2.6.11 which builds OpenJDK 7u151_b01. This release includes the official July 2017 security fixes for Java 7. Note that the security updates for Java 8 were already pushed to my repository some time ago.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • DebConf 2017: Ayatana Indicators

      • DebConf17: Story Telling about Debian Edu in Northern Germany

      • Debian's DebConf17 Wrapping Up Today, Watch The Videos Online
        If you have extra time this weekend, you may be interested in watching videos from DebConf17, the annual Debian Developers' conference.

        DebConf17 was hosted in Montreal, Canada and sponsored by Google, HPE, Valve, Collabora, and other organizations. Talks this year ranged from Debian in the cloud to Debian's Outreachy involvement to the current work on the Debian Installer and many other Debian topics.

      • DebConf17 closes in Montreal and DebConf18 dates announced
        Next year, DebConf18 will be held in Hsinchu, Taiwan, from 29 July 2018 until 5 August 2018. It will be the first DebConf held in Asia. For the days before DebConf the local organisers will again set up DebCamp (21 July - 27 July), a session for some intense work on improving the distribution, and organise the Open Day on 28 July 2018, aimed at the general public.


        Next year, DebConf18 will be held in Hsinchu, Taiwan, from 29 July 2018 until 5 August 2018. It will be the first DebConf held in Asia. For the days before DebConf the local organisers will again set up DebCamp (21 July - 27 July), a session for some intense work on improving the distribution, and organise the Open Day on 28 July 2018, aimed at the general public.

      • Debian: a Commons of Innovation
        I recently returned from Debconf. This year at Debconf, Matthew Garrett gave a talk about the next twenty years in free software. In his talk he raised concerns that Debian might not be relevant in that ecosystem and talked about some of the trends that contribute to his concerns. I was talking to Marga after the talk and she said that Debian used to be a lot more innovative than it is today. My initial reaction was doubt; what she said didn't feel right to me. At the time I didn't have a good answer. Since then I've been pondering the issue, and I think I have a partial answer to both Marga and Matthew and so I'll share it here.

      • Work for Debian and FLOSS I got done during DebCamp and DebConf... and Beyond...

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Works on Improving Video, Audio, and Networking on Ubuntu 17.10
            Canonical's Ubuntu Desktop Manager Will Cooke just informed the community about the latest things the Ubuntu Desktop team is working on for Ubuntu 17.10.

          • Canonical Outs New Kernel Security Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases
            Canonical on Friday published multiple Ubuntu Security Notices (USNs) to inform Ubuntu users about the availability of new Linux kernel versions for their supported releases.

            Two security issues are affecting the Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin), as well as all of their official derivatives, including Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu GNOME, and Ubuntu Kylin.

            Both security flaws patched by the new kernel updates were discovered by Andrey Konovalov. The first is a race condition (CVE-2017-1000112) found in Linux kernel's UDP Fragmentation Offload (UFO) code, which could allow a local attacker to either execute arbitrary code or crash the affected system by causing a denial of service.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 "Artful Aardvark" Preview Part 2: Features & Applications

          • Nemo 3.4 Without Cinnamon Dependencies Available In PPA For Ubuntu 17.04 And 16.04
            Nemo 3.4 (3.4.7 at the time I'm writing this article) without Cinnamon dependencies and with Unity patches is now available in the WebUpd8 Nemo 3 PPA, for Ubuntu 17.04 and 16.04.

            While it comes with some Unity patches, this Nemo version should work with other desktop environments as well, like GNOME (Shell), etc.

          • Canonical Releases Snapd 2.27 Snappy Daemon for Ubuntu, Other Linux Distros
            Canonical's Michael Vogt from the Snappy Team was proud to announce the release and general availability of the Snapd 2.27 Snappy daemon for Ubuntu Linux and other supported GNU/Linux distributions.

            Coming exactly three months after the release of Snapd 2.26, which received no less than 11 maintenance updates during this time, Snapd 2.27 is a major version that adds numerous improvements and new features, but also fixes some of those annoying issues reported by users lately.

            We'll start with the interface support, as Snapd 2.27 introduces two new interfaces, namely greengrass-support and password-manager-service. On the other hand, it updates the mir, unity, network-control, screen-inhibit-control, default, system-observe, optical-observe, and default interfaces.

          • Mir 1.0 Appears Close, But No Wayland Client Support Yet Nor Vulkan
            Mir 1.0 might be close to being released for Ubuntu 17.10, but it doesn't yet have Wayland support.

            Mir 1.0 has long been said it would happen for the Ubuntu 17.10 release. The 17.10 Artful Aardvark feature freeze is coming up in two weeks and so far this v1.0 release of the Mir display server has yet to materialize. Even after Canonical deciding to drop their grand Mir+Unity8 ambitions, Mir 1.0 was still committed for the 17.10 cycle.

            But when abandoning their Unity 8 desktop plans, the Mir 1.0 focus shifted from dropping deprecated libmirclient functions to instead working towards supporting Wayland clients directly. As of this weekend the direct Wayland client support hasn't landed, but it's looking like Mir 1.0 may happen without it.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Making open source clouds more accessible than ever
    prime example of our efforts with open source is the work we’ve been doing with Red Hat to make OpenStack implementations stable, reliable, and able to integrate with enterprise IT systems. We focus on addressing key challenges of OpenStack — namely executing seamless automated deployments for the entire hardware and software stack, supporting non-disruptive upgrades, and building integrations with complementary open technologies like Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.

  • Coreboot Now Has Basic UEFI Support Working With TianoCore
    Those not regularly using Coreboot may have not realized that it didn't yet have UEFI support, but now it does.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Honoring Our Friend Bassel: Announcing the Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship

        On August 1, 2017, we received the heartbreaking news that our friend Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil, detained since 2012, was executed by the Syrian government shortly after his 2015 disappearance. Khartabil was a Palestinian Syrian open internet activist, a free culture hero, and an important member of our community. Our thoughts are with Bassel’s family, now and always.

        Today we’re announcing the Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship to honor his legacy and lasting impact on the open web.

      • [Old] Yahoo Replaces Google As Default Search Provider in Firefox

        Yahoo and Mozilla just announced a “strategic five-year partnership that makes Yahoo the default search experience for Firefox in the United States on mobile and desktop.” The companies said they will explore other potential “future product integrations and distribution opportunities to other markets.”

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Finalizes Its Ryzen Workaround
      Separate from the AMD Ryzen performance marginality problem affecting Linux users, BSD users have been working on a workaround for their kernels to address problems with how their user stacks are mapped.

      A link circulating earlier this month was this FreeBSD commit to work around a guard page issue. Issues (funky behavior) can occur if code is running at the top of the user memory address space, so the workaround is to increase the guard page size. Linux has already had a large guard page while the BSDs have not, but they are now being increased for Ryzen.

    • BSDCam 2017 Trip Report: Michael Lucas

      BSDCam attendance is invitation only, and the facilities can only handle fifty folks or so. You need to be actively working on FreeBSD to wrangle an invite. Developers attend from all over the world. Yet, there’s no agenda. Robert Watson is the chair, but he doesn’t decide on the conference topics. He goes around the room and asks everyone to introduce themselves, say what they’re working on, and declare what they want to discuss during the conference. The topics of interest are tallied. The most popular topics get assigned time slots and one of the two big rooms. Folks interested in less popular topics are invited to claim one of the small breakout rooms.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open-source entrepreneurship
      Open-source software is free software whose underlying code, or “source code,” is also freely available. Open-source development projects often involve hundreds or even thousands of volunteer coders scattered around the globe. Some of the best known are the Linux operating system, the Firefox web browser, and the WordPress blogging platform.

      This past spring, MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science Saman Amarasinghe offered 6S194 (Open-Source Entrepreneurship), a new undergraduate course on initiating and managing open-source development projects. The course had no exams or problem sets; instead, the assignments included consulting with mentors, interviewing users, writing a promotional plan — and, of course, leading the development of an open-source application.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Access Can't Wait. Pass FASTR Now.

        When you pay for federally funded research, you should be allowed to read it. That’s the idea behind the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (S.1701, H.R.3427), which was recently reintroduced in both houses of Congress.


  • Paris Olympic Committee To Consider eSports For 2024
    While eSports, or competitive video gaming, has now been a thing for some time, it's rather swift rise in stature is still sprinting past milestones. Once a hobby sport relegated primarily to a few countries in Asia, eSports has since seen its inclusion in college athletics, in coverage on ESPN, and into the business models for real-life major sports leagues. If you were tracking what would be the next natural progression on the eSports legitimacy map, you wouldn't be surprised that the latest milestone reached is the consideration for making eSports a medal event in the Paris Olympic games scheduled for 2024.

  • Ad blocking is under attack
    Yesterday a strange commit landed in the EasyList repo. The "" domain was removed with a comment "Removed due to DMCA takedown request".

    An ad server was unblocked by all ad blockers due to a DMCA request. Let that sink in for a moment...

    A small research was conducted by the community in the comments section of that commit. It appears that the story began 23 days ago with a comment by a freshly registered Github account to the commit that added "" to EasyList. @dmcahelper threatened with "the file or repository disruption," but his threats were not taken seriously that time.

    The domain in question hosts an image describing its work as "used by digital publishers to control access to copyrighted content in accordance with the DMCA and understand how visitors are accessing their copyrighted content".

  • Science

    • Un-bustable myths and stubborn minds: Pro-vaccine efforts backfire
      Striking at a myth with facts may only shore it up, a new study suggests.

      Researchers found that three main intervention strategies for combating anti-vaccine lies and falsehoods were ineffective at changing minds. But perhaps more concerning, they found that over-time exposure to the interventions strengthened participants’ belief in those lies and falsehoods, researchers recently reported in PLOS One. The researchers speculate that the mere repetition of a myth during the process of debunking may be enough to entrench the myth in a believer’s mind.

    • Humans were in Indonesia more than 63,000 years ago
      In the Padang Highlands of western Sumatra, a large island in Indonesia, there is a small cave called Lida Ajer that has long offered up clues about human history. Dutch paleoanthropologist Eugene Dubois first excavated the cave before 1890, and Lida Ajer has turned up plenty of preserved animal remains since, including teeth that were identified as human in 1948.

      It’s only now that the cave has been carefully and thoroughly dated, providing a new line of evidence that our species was in the region more than 60,000 years ago. That’s 20,000 years older than the previous oldest skeletal evidence of humans in the area. But these new dates line up with existing genetic evidence, as well as with reconstructions of the climate and sea levels at the time.

    • You're grounded...and so is your smartphone

      But in recent years youngsters have become less concerned about the prospect of being sent to their rooms, where they are free to spend the day idling away on their mobile phones and games consoles.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • A failed peach harvest devastates the US South

    • The Tories have quietly DOUBLED the number of NHS properties they're selling off
      The Tories have quietly doubled the number of NHS properties being sold off to private developers.

      Dozens of the properties up for sale are still being used for medical care, it was claimed today.

      It’s led Labour to accuse the government of secretly planning to strip hospitals of their assets to plug the gaps in their budget in a “fire sale”.

    • Illinois Democrat Says Elect Him Governor and He’ll Commute All Low-Level Drug Sentences
      Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, one of several Democrats vying for his party’s nomination to run for Illinois governor against incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner, doesn’t think the drug war was a failure.

      “The war on drugs was a success,” he said in a speech on criminal justice reform given last month. “Because the war on drugs was never actually on drugs. It was against black people.”

      Pawar used that address to explain the true history of the modern drug war, which former President Richard Nixon utilized to crack down on the anti-war left and African-Americans.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • London Mayor Fingers The Culprit In Increased Knife Crime: YouTube
      With only minimal media fanfare, violent crime is on the rise in London. There have been many explanations on offer for this, ranging from the refugee migrant crisis to drastic cuts to funding for youth services. Specifically noteworthy is the upward trend in knife violence, which, we will note, began before the Middle East refugee crisis, but has accelerated since. Knife attacks have risen not only in what could be called "terrorist" incidents involving Islamic extremists, but also in the more banal gang-related type of incidents as well. As experts search for the real cause and solution to all of this, however, London Mayor Sadiq Khan insists he has found the real enemy in all of this: YouTube.

    • Hurtling Toward ‘Fire and Fury’
      Like some demonic Hollywood director, President Trump keeps finding new ways to make us jump out of our seats, just when we think we’ve seen everything. On Tuesday, he outdid himself by twice pledging to meet any further North Korean threats to the United States “with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
    • Donald’s Fury and North Korea’s Fire

      At least Kim doesn’t try to run his country and convey personal insults and peculiar international policies by tweeting ridiculous remarks in the early morning hours. He confines himself to pontificating about world affairs in periodic official videos which are regarded with various degrees of horror, amusement and foreboding by most of the world, and a mix of outrage and paternalistic condescension by the US Administration.

      One of his pronouncements in March 2016 was a lulu, even by his standards, and might possibly have given pause for thought in the Pentagon as well as Mar-a-Lago. He delivered a warning that “If the American imperialists provoke us a bit, we will not hesitate to slap them a pre-emptive nuclear strike. The United States must choose! It’s up to you whether the nation called the United States exists on this planet or not.” But this didn’t seem to have any effect on the US, which continued to poke insults at the prickly Kim.

      Then a year later US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “ruled out negotiations with North Korea, saying talks ‘can only be achieved by denuclearizing, giving up their weapons of mass destruction’.”

      That was pretty forthright, but in May 2017 some carefully considered statements by President Trump included the observations that Mr Kim is “a pretty smart cookie” and that “If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would — absolutely. I would be honored to do it.”

      Are we missing something here? The White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, who was sacked for failing to be a pretty smart cookie, thought that there might be something slightly strange about his president’s declarations and declared that Washington wanted to see North Korea end its provocative behavior immediately and “clearly conditions are not there right now.” But what message did that send to loopy Kim? Because Spicer also said that Kim had “obviously managed to lead a country forward. Despite the obvious concerns that we and so many other people have, he is a young person to be leading a country with nuclear weapons.”

      What was Kim supposed to make of that absurdly patronizing remark? He is certainly six years younger than France’s President Macron (and Donald Trump junior), and the same age as Eric Trump, but if there is one thing that the North Korean Supreme Leader doesn’t want to be told it is that he is “a young person to be leading a country with nuclear weapons.”

    • Kim Jong-Trump
      There is no pre-emptive military option against North Korea. None. No first strike, no Syria-style “surgical” message, no Israeli-style Osirak bombast, no special-ops bravura. Not unless we’re prepared for immediately triggering war and causing hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of deaths. The only justifiable attack would be in response to a North Korean first strike. And that’s not about to happen. A missile test in the area of Guam is a provocation, not an attack, and no more and no less of a provocation than a nuclear-armed U.S. sub periscoping North Korean shores from the Sea of Japan. It doesn’t count. Contrary to our president’s hallucinations, the Pacific is not an elementary school playground.

    • Trump’s End
      President Trump’s declaration that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States” of course resulted in another threat from North Korea. The New York Times reported, “The ad-libbed comments embodied Mr. Trump’s overall approach to foreign policy, an improvisational style that often leaves his national security team in the dark about what he is going to say or do.” (Glenn Thrush and Peter Baker, “Trump’s Threat to North Korea was Improvised,” Aug. 9, 2017).

      Defense Secretary Mattis rushed in to revise Trump’s words: “actions” not “threats” would be the line Kim Jong Un had to cross before we engaged in “overwhelming response.”Cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and destruction of its people,” Mattis’s words should have been Trump’s words. But they were not because Trump is impervious to the counsel of others, perhaps because his experience and erudition regarding international diplomacy is so remarkable. Of course, if he was elected to “deconstruct” any such qualifications, his sort of shoot from the hip diplomacy should appeal to his supporters.

      Regardless of all that, it is clear that Kim Jong Un uses the same style as Trump so it is possible to imagine that our end is in the hands of two warring volatile ego maniacs, avoiding any armchair psychiatry and employing the same school yard analytics as Trump and Kim Jong Un.

    • Terrorism for Profit

      What this makes clear to me is that no one should have the authority — the power — to declare any war whatsoever. The fact that this is still possible, so many decades into human awareness of war’s utter insanity, reveals the paradox that civilization remains economically tied to its own destruction.

      Another icon of this paradox is Erik Prince, immensely wealthy mercenary, notorious founder of the terror organization Blackwater, who had cozy ties to the Bush administration back when the 21st century’s endless wars were just getting underway and now, with another unelected Republican in the White House, has recently made a grab at the business opportunity still represented by these wars:

      Let’s privatize the quagmire!

    • Venezuela: Trump Threat of US Military Intervention "Madness" of US Imperialism
      In response to comments from President Donald Trump that he wouldn't "rule out" a "military option" against Venezuela—currently embroiled in domestic political conflict as neoliberal forces challenge the socialist-led government of President Nicholas Maduro—the nation's top officials characterized Trump's remarks as "madness" coming from the "imperial" and "extremist elite that rules the United States."

      In remarks to reporters made from his estate in Bedminster, New Jersey on Friday Trump said, "We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary." Trump bragged that the U.S. has "troops all over the world," but said that Venezuela was "not very far away."

      Later, it emerged that Trump—who has hosted or greeted with smiles human rights offenders like Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi—had refused to take a call from Maduro.

      In response, Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino denounced the behavior and comments of the U.S. president.

    • On Guam, Resistance Grows to US Military Presence as N. Korea Threatens Missiles Off Island's Coast
      The front page of Guam’s Pacific Daily News reads "14 Minutes!" That’s how long it would take missiles fired from North Korea to reach the U.S. territory in the western Pacific if there is an escalation of the threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea. On Thursday, Trump again threatened North Korea, saying if it were to carry out an attack on Guam, the U.S. would retaliate with military action. The Pentagon controls about a third of all the land on Guam, which is home to 163,000 people and a sprawling complex of U.S. military bases, including the Air Force base where many of the United States’ B-2 bombers take off from before flying over the Korean Peninsula. For decades, residents of Guam have resisted the militarization and colonization of their homeland by the United States, which has now put them in the crosshairs of a possible nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea. We go to Guam to speak with LisaLinda Natividad, president of the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice and a member of the Guam Commission on Decolonization, and with David Vine, author of "Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World."

    • We Have Been at War in Iraq for 27 Years
      On August 2, 1990, I was a newly minted high school graduate counting the hours until my freshman year of college began. I was 18 years old, madly in love for the first time, and totally unaware that Iraq was invading Kuwait that day. Five days later, on August 7, President George H.W. Bush ordered troops to Saudi Arabia, the first of millions who would rotate through that region over the next 27 years.

      I remember things happening fast during that long-ago August. An Army recruiter visited my house just before I left for school. He sat in my living room and told me Iraq's military was massive, that Saddam Hussein was more dangerous than Adolf Hitler, but if I joined up now and entered the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, I wouldn't be near combat for at least four years. Besides, he said, this war will be over by then. I remembered my father, what volunteering for Vietnam did to him, and politely declined the proffered papers.

    • Steve Bannon Said He Learned to Fear Muslims When He Visited Pakistan. Except He Was Probably in Hong Kong.
      The port of Karachi was not run by the British in 1979. Karachi, which is the commercial hub of Pakistan, had a population that was well short of 10 million (it was about half that) and is not usually considered part of the Middle East. But the biggest problem is that the destroyer Bannon served on, the USS Paul F. Foster, never visited Karachi while Bannon was aboard.


      Six sailors who served on the Foster with Bannon told The Intercept that the vessel did not stop at Karachi during its 1979-1980 deployment. The recollections of these enlisted men and officers are supported by the ship’s deck logs, which show no stop on the way to the Arabian Sea and are available to the public at the National Archives. And a map of the Foster’s port calls that was published in its “cruisebook” shows stops in Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines, Christmas Island, Hong Kong, and Singapore — but not Karachi.

    • The United States and the Crucifixion of Yemen
      The United States has killed, maimed, displaced and otherwise harmed an astonishing number of people in its 241-year record of murder and mayhem—including more than 20 million killed in 37 nations since 1945.


      Which brings us back to Yemen, a developing humanitarian catastrophe in one of the poorest nations on the planet. Yemen is an Arab country at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the Gulf of Aden (leading to the Indian Ocean) on its south, the Red Sea and Africa to its west, Oman to its east and the powerful, oil-rich and U.S.-equipped Saudi regime along its long northern border. It has been torn by a “civil war” that began in March 2015, when Saudi-led forces launched a military campaign backing the nation’s Sunni Muslim-embattled government against allied Shiite Muslim Houthi rebels.

      More than 10,000 Yemini civilians have died and more than 44,000 have been injured in this conflict. Most have been killed and maimed by more than two years of airstrikes conducted by a regional coalition headed by the U.S.-equipped Saudi Arabian regime.

    • Jeremy Corbyn urges Tory Government to stay out of any military action in North Korea
      Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has urged the Government to stay out of any military action as the situation in North Korea deteriorates.

      Writing exclusively in today’s Sunday Mirror, Mr Corbyn calls for Prime Minister Theresa May to rule out committing any of the British Armed Forces – including for joint exercises in the region.

    • Week in review: Gina Miller and far-right terrorism
      The response to the interview from Ukip figures and Leave.EU, the Ukip flank of the Brexit campaign, was telling. There was not a single note of alarm at the fact one of their political opponents was terrified of violent assault, nor any attempt to use their influence to discourage attacks on her. Instead, Leave.EU's official account published a celebratory gif, while Nigel Farage ally and former Ukip donor Arron Banks said the fact she might have to leave the UK was "cracking news".


      It doesn't have to be like this. Figures on right and left are perfectly capable of debating their opponents hard while always knowing where the line is. Here is John McCain, for instance, responding to a supporter saying he was scared of Barack Obama during the 2008 election. It's worth watching for a reminder of how politics can be conducted decently and with principle.

      But instead of taking the McCain example, the harder reaches of the right are sinking into more destructive positions, seemingly without any basic moral standards to limit their descent. If anything, things now seem set to get worse. The new generation of Ukip leadership candidates trades in outright Islamophobia and narratives of a nation under siege. It's this storyline - of a clash of civilisation, of a plot by traitors to destroy the country - which produces the violent threats seen by Miller.

      Far-right terrorism is real. It cannot be ignored. Just over a year ago, it took the life of Jo Cox. We seem to have learned nothing from that incident.

    • Will the Blowhard Blow Us Up
      A couple of chubby brats with big missiles and short fuses

    • For Media, Driving Into a Crowd of Protesters Is a ‘Clash’
      The BBC’s breaking news tweet, “One dead amid clashes between US white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville,” is an extremely odd way to describe a person driving a car into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters—as was AOL’s “1 Dead, 34 Injured in Clashes at Virginia Rally.”


      There are times when things can be ambiguous, but after a person the police say “premeditatedly” rammed into a crowd of anti-racist protesters with a car, it’s fairly clear the anti-racist protesters aren’t to blame for the death. But one would hardly know this, reading these “clashes” framings.

      Most of these articles would mention in the text (or later change the headline after social media backlash) to make it clear it was the anti-fascist protesters who were mowed down, but the initial instinct to obscure who did what to whom speaks to the pathological fear of placing blame on the far right.

    • The Voices of Syria Have Always Been Ignored by the West
      Disregarding Syria’s people has been a constant theme since the creation of modern Syria in 1920. Had anyone listened to them, the multiple tragedies of the past century might have been avoided. France and Britain, after expelling the Ottomans from their Arab empire during World War I, excelled at denying Syrians a voice in their destiny. With the notorious Sykes-Picot Agreement, they severed what became Syria from its historic peripheries in Lebanon and Palestine. Ghayth Armanazi, in “The Story of Syria,” a sympathetic history of his homeland, called the Anglo-French accord “an iconic example of imperial deceit and duplicity.” After dividing Syria, the British and French imposed colonial rule on inhabitants, who had made clear their unanimous desire for independence in multiple petitions to the King-Crane Commission, sent by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to gauge public opinion. The British and French armed forces crushed rebellions and uprisings to enforce their rule throughout their tenure in the Levant.

    • The Battle for Venezuela and Its Oil
      Despite the public battles between the New York Times and President Donald Trump, the two seem to be on a similar page about the unfolding crisis in Venezuela. Last week, the administration announced it had “designated” President Nicolas Maduro and other Venezuelan officials, freezing their U.S. assets and barring Americans from doing business with them. The Times called that the best way to confront the Venezuelan government. The Times, though, went a step further calling on European and other nations to join what it called a “quarantine” of Maduro. It was an interesting word choice. That was also the term used for the early days of the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba. Interestingly, none of these players — Trump or the New York Times — are calling for a boycott on Venezuelan oil, which is heavily consumed by Americans.

      U.S. hostile posturing toward Venezuela is nothing new. Washington, under both Democrats and Republicans, loathed the late President Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian revolution. Chavez enjoyed sticking it to Washington and viewed each attack against him as a badge of honor in his struggle against Yankee imperialism. But Chavez’s successor, Maduro, does not have nearly the charisma or credibility among Venezuelans and progressive forces in Latin America enjoyed by Chavez. And Maduro’s recent actions have been disturbing even to some of Chavez’s close allies.

    • Trump’s “Fire and Fury” Wouldn’t Be the First for North Korea
      Leave it to Donald Trump to threaten to rain “fire and fury” on the North Korean people the same week the world observed the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. government’s vindictive atomic bombings of Japanese civilians. In case anyone missed the message, Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis warned that the Kim Jong-un regime’s actions risk the “destruction of its people.” He wasn’t talking about Kim’s cruel communism.

      We know what Trump and Mattis mean, even if many conservatives twist themselves like pretzels to transform the threatened savagery into something more benign. Trump and Mattis were referring to America’s nuclear arsenal.

      Trump promised “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” No one would expect him to know this, but the North Korean people have seen their share of fire and fury at the hands of the U.S military. It happened almost 70 years ago, when Harry Truman, another president who went ga-ga over generals, unleashed America’s savage vengeance during the Korean War. It’s called the “forgotten war,” but even when it wasn’t forgotten, few Americans realized how brutally the United States treated people that posed no threat whatever to Americans.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Court Tells Government Sticking FOIA Waivers In Plea Agreements Is Probably A Bad Idea
      The court doesn't have much sympathy for the plaintiff's argument that the FBI's denial creates another FOIA exemption, one that isn't statutorily-supported. The court points out it does nothing of the sort. The FBI is only denying records to Price, but those records can still be accessed by another person. As such, they are not covered by a phantom exemption, but rather Price himself is forbidden from accessing these records via a contract he signed with the government.

      As the court points out, allowing Price to access these documents despite his plea agreement with the government would result in FOIA chaos. When FOIA lawsuit settlements are obtained, requesters often agree to the receipt of certain documents, rather than everything they've sought. The agreement states they cannot pursue the denied documents or engage in further litigation over these denied documents. If contracts like these aren't honored, the government would never offer to settle FOIA litigation because plaintiffs could just file new requests for denied documents and engage in further litigation despite having agreed explicitly to refrain from further requests and lawsuits. It's a good point, albeit one that ignores the fact most plaintiffs don't have unlimited funds for FOIA litigation, whereas the government's litigation funding will never dry up, no matter how many litigants it does battle with.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Tar sands pipeline companies oversee hundreds of oil spills
      The companies behind four proposed pipelines that would transport oil from Canada’s tar sands have spilled 63,000 barrels of hazardous liquids – including crude oil – from their existing US pipeline network since 2010, according to government data.

      Statistics from the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) – obtained as part of an investigation by Greenpeace USA – show that oil giants TransCanada, Kinder Morgan and Enbridge have together suffered 373 spills over the past seven years.

      Of these, the agency classed 41 as ‘significant’ — which for crude oil this means that more than 50 barrels were spilled.

    • The next step for EPA to relax fuel economy standards: Public comment period
      Yesterday Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the agency would start a public comment period in efforts to overhaul Obama-era fuel economy standards for cars and light duty trucks from 2021 to 2025.

      Much like the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States Act, the fuel economy standards that were proposed and finalized by Obama’s EPA have also been in the crosshairs of President Donald Trump's EPA. The new administration argues that the current fuel economy standards will cost automakers too much money. However, the current standards were based on extensive research that showed consumers saving hundreds or thousands of dollars per year in fuel expenses. Although the EPA estimated that automakers would collectively lose $200 billion over 13 years in complying with the fuel economy standards, the International Council on Clean Transportation—the same group that helped bring to light Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal—released a study showing that the EPA's estimates had been too conservative, and automakers can meet aggressive fuel economy standards more economically.

    • Australia faces potentially disastrous consequences of climate change, inquiry told
      Military and climate experts, including a former chief of the defence force, have warned that Australia faces potential “disastrous consequences” from climate change, including “revolving” natural disasters and the forced migration of tens of millions of people across the region, overwhelming security forces and government.

      Former defence force chief Adm Chris Barrie, now adjunct professor at the strategic and defence studies centre at the Australian National University, said in a submission to a Senate inquiry that Australia’s ability to mitigate and respond to the impacts of climate change had been corrupted by political timidity: “Australia’s climate change credentials have suffered from a serious lack of political leadership”.

    • Kandi Mossett on Dakota Access Update, Craig Aaron on Sinclair Takeover
      This week on CounterSpin: Talking to reporters on Air Force One last month, Donald Trump said: “Dakota Access takes it to the Pacific. Who do they compete with? Russia.” Every word of that is nonsense; or, as Politico graciously put it, “It was not immediately clear what Trump meant”—given that the Dakota Access pipeline goes nowhere near the Pacific, and oil is an international market. But while Trump is wrong out loud, corporate media are tacitly wrong in their evident belief—if coverage is guide—that the fight over the pipeline is over. We’ll get an update on a struggle that’s very much alive from Kandi Mossett, organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.

    • Tanzania's ghost safari: how western aid contributed to the decline of a wildlife haven
      The long road from Dar es Salaam brings you through sparsely wooded hills and fields to the narrow northern neck of the Kilombero valley. There’s a bend in the road, then the land opens out, suddenly, in front of you.

      Along the west side lie the steep-faced Udzungwa mountains, one of the last pristine rainforests in Tanzania. The Kilombero river runs through the red soils of the valley, flooding in November or December and subsiding by June. Down the longer eastern flank rise the Mahenge mountains, and beyond them, invisible, unfurls the vast territory of the Selous game reserve, one of the largest remaining chunks of African wilderness.

      Ryan Shallom was 16 the first time he saw the Kilombero valley, in 1990. “There were 600 lions in the valley back then,” recalls Shallom, whose family were professional hunters, running trips for tourists and rich Tanzanians. The light tree cover in the valley’s higher ground, the rivers, the abundance of food and water, meant that this was a haven not just for elephants, lions, and buffalos, but for all wildlife: a pocket Eden.

    • Tribal Liaison in Minnesota Pipeline Review Is Sidelined After Oil Company Complains to Governor
      A controversial proposal for a tar sands oil pipeline has led indigenous leaders in Minnesota to threaten an uprising similar to the one near Standing Rock last fall. That conflict began with what tribes described as the federal government’s failure to properly consult with nearby tribal communities prior to permitting the Dakota Access Pipeline project.

      In July, Danielle Oxendine Molliver, the tribal liaison brought on by Minnesota’s Department of Commerce to consult with indigenous leaders about Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 pipeline, resigned in protest of what she called a flawed environmental review process that lacked transparency, professionalism, and fairness.

  • Finance

    • Brexit Secretary David Davis 'dodging scrutiny' after not facing parliamentary EU committee for TWO months
      Brexit Secretary David Davis has been accused of dodging scrutiny by not facing the House of Lords EU Select Committee.

      He last updated peers on July 5 but refused to meet them this month or next.

      When he faces them in October, four rounds of Brexit negotiations will have taken place.

      Open Britain campaign supporter and Labour MP Chuka Umunna said: “It’s a sure sign the Government does not think negotiations are going well when its chief negotiator is going out of his way to avoid examination of them.

    • In wake of lawsuit, Uber investors are now publicly sniping at each other
      Some of Uber’s top investors appear to be engaged in a civil war, underscoring the deep chaos that has sown behind the scenes.

      Just a day after Benchmark Capital Partners sued former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, another faction (of unknown size) led by investors Shervin Pishevar has asked that Benchmark call off its lawsuit, resign its board seat, and sell a substantial portion of its holdings in the ridesharing company.

    • Investors rescue embattled SoundCloud with $170 million lifeline
      The company laid off 40 percent of its workforce in July.

    • Here Are the Places in the U.K. That Will Be Hit Hardest by Brexit

    • 'Tories will never win another majority': David Davis’s ex-chief of staff says his party “not fit for office”
      He has since joined a PR firm, and this week said Brexit was going to be a “catastrophe”.

      He added yesterday: “I’ve seen it from the inside – and Brexit is going to be the worst calamity for UK since WW2.”

      Mr Chapman wants to establish a new centre-ground political party called The Democrats.

      “The two main parties have been captured by the fringes,” he said.

      On Twitter, Mr Chapman savaged his replacement at the Brexit department, former Tory MP Stewart Jackson.

    • Lord Heseltine tells Business Insider: There's now a window of opportunity to stop Brexit

    • Ethereum Potential: Possibly Revolutionary
      The world of Ethereum, to be sure, has an element of the eccentric.

      Ethereum is a technology started 24 months ago by a 21-year-old college dropout, Vitalik Buterin. Among the facts listed on his slender bio: in 2011 he won third place in a high school programing competition. Yet Ethereum is now supported by JP Morgan Chase and a bevy of tech titans. The market cap of its currency, Ether, hovers around $20 billion – down from its $37 billion cap a month ago.

      There are Ethereum cryptocurrency miners who rent Boeing 747s to rush delivery of the super-charged graphic cards they need for their rigs. Ethereum is promoted by the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, which sounds like a group Spock himself would have enjoyed.

    • Lexington County’s Draconian Debtors’ Prison Flies in the Face of Common Sense and Decency

      Last month, the Supreme Court of Missouri adopted the National Task Force bench card, incorporated it into Missouri court rules, and required it to be sent to judges, court clerks, and court staff across the state. It followed in the footsteps of Ohio, Washington, and Michigan, which had already enacted similar guidelines for judges. This was the right thing to do in light the U.S. Department of Justice’s scathing 2015 report on the debtors’ prison in Ferguson, Missouri.

      Lexington County and its justice system leaders can never give Ann back the 54 days of her life spent in jail or the home or job she lost while incarcerated. But they can forge a new path by adopting the National Task Force bench card as well as the sorts of reforms embraced by cities like Biloxi, Mississippi, which has pioneered efforts to end debtors’ prisons following litigation by the ACLU.

      Common sense solutions to debtors’ prisons abound. It is up to Lexington County and its court leaders to act on them.

    • Capitalism and Its Discontents: What Are We Living For?
      Capitalists literally are holding the people of the Earth in bondage. As liberal democracy crumbles in the West, the risk of neo-fascism continues to rise in North America and Europe.

    • There’s a New Wells Fargo Scandal: This Time It’s the TruCoat
      An FTC spokesman would neither confirm nor deny whether the commission had looked into the complaints, citing government policy regarding public comments. Such complaints, when they become public, tend to attract class-action attorneys, who suspect the complaints might just be the tip of the iceberg.

    • Secrecy and Suspicion Surround Trump’s Deregulation Teams
      When President Trump ordered federal agencies to form teams to dismantle government regulations, the Transportation Department turned to people with deep industry ties.

      One appointee had previously lobbied the department on behalf of American Airlines. Another held executive roles for several electric and hybrid car companies regulated by the department. A third was a lawyer who represented United Airlines in regulatory matters.

      The three appointees have been identified by ProPublica and The New York Times in a continuing effort to track members of the deregulation teams. The appointments, previously unreported, follow a pattern identified by the two news organizations: By and large, the Trump administration has stacked the teams with political appointees, some of whom may be reviewing rules their former employers sought to weaken or kill.

    • Majority of British public support free movement of citizens anywhere in the EU, new survey suggests
      A majority of the British public support the free movement of citizens to live, work, study and do business anywhere in the EU, according to a new survey mapping public opinion across Europe.

      It comes after a spokesman for Theresa May confirmed earlier this week that free movement would end when Britain formally leaves the EU in March 2019 – the deadline set for the conclusion of Brexit talks.

      But the barometer of public opinion – commissioned by the EU Commission – appears to contradict the commonly held view that British people are not in favour of free movement.

    • Kate Osamor and Cat Smith: Tories must accept austerity is hitting young people
      This is the full statement to mark International Youth Day which has been published by Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs, and Kate Osamor, shadow international development secretary.

      The Labour Party joins the United Nations in marking International Youth Day and recognising the positive contribution the world’s youth make in transforming their societies. This important day reminds us that young people are how we make the world fairer, safer and richer.

    • How Capitalist Central Banks Have Been Creating the Next Financial Crisis
      Central banks in the US and Europe were grossly in error predicting in 2008 that massive liquidity injections and zero interest rates would re-stimulate their economies and return them to pre-crisis real GDP growth rates. They are now about to repeat a similar error, as they presume that raising those rates, and retracting excess liquidity by selling off balance sheets, will not have a significant negative impact on the real economy or financial markets.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The De-Putin-Nazification of America
      For those unfamiliar with the Putin-Nazis, it’s an official term I recently made up to describe, not just the Russian Federation, and Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, but also the maleficent global alliance of Russian hackers, Russian propagandists, Russian diplomats, Russian businesspersons, persons married to Russian persons, persons with Russian-sounding names, neo-Nazis, alt-right geeks, Goldman Sachs guys, Sandernistas, Corbynistas, former coal miners, hillbilly oxycodone addicts, socialists, anarchists, Black Lives Matterists, the ghost of George Carlin, the ACLU, and anyone who has ever retweeted Wikileaks or didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton.

    • Twitter users want Trump’s account suspended for ‘threatening violence’ against North Korea
      Can a president be suspended from Twitter for threatening to attack another country?

      That's what some Twitter users, including actor and former Barack Obama aide Kal Penn, are demanding, after President Trump tweeted Friday morning that U.S. “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.”

    • Education or Brainwashing?

      Education is one of those words that has a positive connotation for almost everyone – usually generating a warm and fuzzy feeling that suggests a richer and brighter future. But that is just an idealization of the concept. As I have stated before, as far as the state is concerned, education has two major purposes: to fulfill the vocational needs of the economy and the political need for ideologically loyal citizens. It is in the pursuit of this last goal that education can reveal a darker side.

    • The Clintons, Trump and White Backlash
      In the mid-1980s Klan leader, White nationalist and one-term Representative from Louisiana David Duke traded in his KKK garb for a business suit and a corporate haircut in order to merge his version of White nationalism with then resurgent capitalism. Neoliberalism links a malleable conception of freedom as what those with social power want to circular social apologetics. And the capitalist / Thatcherite assertion that the individual is the fundamental social unit revivifies White nationalism by erasing history.

      Another way of putting this is that neoliberalism has long been a subtext of White nationalism. If social outcomes reflect individual capabilities, goes the theory, then group social failures result from aggregated individual failures— from some ‘defect’ that characterizes individuals as members of that group. This is the theoretical basis of ‘scientific racism.’ Likewise, Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s ‘culture of illegitimacy’ erased three centuries of race-based social repression to frame the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow as Black moral failures.

    • Trump and Kobach’s Voter Fraud Lies Are Making More Voters Lose Confidence in Our Elections, Says New Poll
      No matter how many studies have found that voter fraud is extraordinarily rare in the U.S., some public officials continue to tell Americans falsehoods about the state of our elections.

      But their untrue claims are, unfortunately, resonating among some voters.

    • Minority Rule in Trump’s America
      Donald Trump’s slogan “America First” is vile; it smacks of nativism and appeals to the insularity and anti-intellectualism of an appallingly large segment of the public. It has always been clear too that Trump’s eagerness to get along with Russia stems from more than common sense; that it involves some sort of cover up of something.

      Nevertheless, these were the only straws to grasp for people who desperately wanted to believe that a Trump presidency, awful as it was bound to be, not just for Muslims and Hispanics but for anyone — black, white, and brown –who is not filthy rich, would at least come with a few redeeming features.

      By last November, it wouldn’t have taken a whole lot along those lines to put the seemingly obvious truth, that the Democratic Party was the lesser evil of our two semi-established political parties, in doubt. Despite some encouraging movement at state and local levels around the country, it would take even less now. At the national level, the party remains a disgrace.

    • Lawsuit Challenges DNC Anti-Sanders Bias
      Nine months after losing the presidency, the Democratic Party is in dire need of a course correction. Grass-roots enthusiasm for the party is far from robust. Despite incessant funding appeals and widespread revulsion for the Trump administration, the Democratic National Committee’s fundraising is notably weak.

    • Despite White House Chaos, Trump Delivers Favors for Corporate America
      The Trump administration may be dazed and confused about many things, but not about its corporate agenda.

      From Scaramucci to Spicer, from Kelly to Kushner, one thing doesn’t change at Donald Trump’s chaotic White House: Its devotion to delivering for giant corporations at the public’s expense.

      During the campaign, Trump directed nearly as much venom toward major U.S. corporations as toward his opponents. He savaged Wall Street, badgered companies for manufacturing products outside of the U.S. and threatened them with onerous penalties. Trump singled out lobbyists who do the bidding of corporations by promising to “drain the swamp.”

      It was plain enough that Candidate Trump’s anti-industry shtick was bluster. But it wasn’t obvious that he would hand control of the government over to Corporate America. His billionaire cabinet is the most corporate in modern history and his sub-cabinet officials are worse.

    • CNN Axes Trump Booster Jeffrey Lord Over Nazi Salute Tweet

    • Three dead, dozens hurt after Virginia white nationalist rally is dispersed; Trump blames 'many sides'
      At least three people were killed and 35 injured after a violence-filled Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., where white nationalists had gathered for one of their largest rallies in at least a decade, only to see their event end in chaos and national controversy.

      Bloody street brawls broke out between dozens of anti-racism activists and far-right attendees, many of whom carried shields, weapons and Nazi and Confederate battle flags. One woman was killed when a driver plowed a sports car into a crowd of protesters; he was arrested and charged with murder and other crimes. Two troopers died when a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed near the city after monitoring the chaos.


      But in a television statement that drew criticism from many of his fellow Republicans, as well as from Democrats, President Trump blamed the violence “on many sides, on many sides.” As he did repeatedly during his presidential campaign, Trump avoided direct criticism of the nation’s burgeoning white nationalist movement, whose leaders have openly and repeatedly embraced Trump’s presidency.


      Saturday was a different story. Before the “Unite the Right” rally could even begin, neo-Nazis, white nationalists and other far-right figures began brawling with large numbers of opposing protesters.

      White nationalists in helmets, who were holding plastic shields, and anti-racism protesters, carrying red banners, could be seen skirmishing with each other on a city street, with someone spraying what appeared to be a crowd-control substance at the counter-protesters. Virginia state police said pepper spray was being released by crowd members.

    • The Right: United by Hate, Love, or Nothing?
      The ad shows what is meant to be a parade of horribles — a parade of bogeymen: Chuck Schumer, Rachel Maddow, Meryl Streep, Joe & Mika, Kathy Griffin, Al Franken, Brian Williams, James Comey, and Nancy Pelosi. The ad promises that all of these people will be defeated.

    • My meeting with Donald Trump: A damaged, pathetic personality — whose obvious impairment has only gotten worse
      I arrived at Trump Tower in early evening, accompanied by my finance chair and an old friend and colleague. Stepping off the elevator into his apartment, we were met by a display of sterile, vulgar ostentation: all gold, silver, brass, marble; nothing soft, welcoming or warm. Trump soon appeared and we began to converse, but not really. In campaigns, we candidates do most of the talking; because we like to, and because people ask us lots of questions. Not this time. Not by a long shot.

    • Trump’s Shallow Thinking on ‘Terrorism’

      If the United States supposedly were never to do any business with anyone who had used terrorism, it would somehow have to explain away the extensive business it has done with leaders who had been up to their eyeballs in terrorism, including Gerry Adams, Menachem Begin, and Yitzhak Shamir. The same is true not only of individual leaders but also some groups, such as the African National Congress.

      We decide which of the users of terrorism we will countenance and which ones we won’t according to criteria other than terrorism itself. Only we don’t admit that we’re doing that, so as to preserve the fiction of being steadfastly opposed to terrorism wherever it arises. And this inconsistency doesn’t even take account of the U.S. acceptance of other applications of political violence that, although they do not meet the formal definition of terrorism because they involve overt use of force by a state, are just as deadly to many innocent civilians (such as the force that Saudi Arabia uses in Yemen, or that Israel regularly uses in the West Bank).

    • Dear White Supremacists: There Will Be No Race War

      Just the ones who think being “white” and being a “boy” means the world owes them something.

      "There will be no race war... Not now. Not ever."

      Cause I’m white, too, and I know it doesn’t make me any better than anyone else.

    • Let Me Remind You Who Jeff Sessions Is
      Sessions has bought into Trump’s false narrative about rising crime rates (which are actually near historic lows), and has proposed solutions founded on harsh punishment that’s meted out with impunity. He wants to reinstate lengthy, mandatory sentences for nonviolent offenses, and plans to undermine Department of Justice mandates designed to reign in abusive arrest patterns in communities of color. He believes racism in policing is a fact of life, but believes that being called a racist is the worst thing that can ever happen to a person.

    • A Legacy of Environmental Racism
      Joseph Gaines was sitting on his porch in the Charlton-Pollard section of Beaumont, Texas, on a recent evening in June, sipping beer and chatting with some of his neighbors about the NBA playoffs, when a loud boom cut through the night and a stream of fire lit up the sky. A few minutes later, a strong, unpleasant odor settled over the street. As soon as they smelled it, the men stopped arguing about LeBron James and left the porch, covering their mouths and noses as they hurried into their homes.

      As unsettling as it was, none of the neighbors reported what happened that night — not the fire that rose above their heads, nor the sound they heard, the sickening smell or the symptoms that followed. For Gaines, the symptoms included an intense sudden headache, tearing eyes, a runny nose, and congestion that made it difficult to sleep and lasted into the next day.


      The plant releases at least 135 toxic chemicals, many of which — including 1,3-butadiene, benzo[a]pyrene, and styrene — are carcinogens. And the plant is regularly in noncompliance with the Clean Air Act. Yet many of the people I met on my recent visit to Charlton-Pollard said they felt there was no point in trying to reduce the emissions.

    • Gulf Government Gave Secret $20 Million Gift To D.C. Think Tank
      The United Arab Emirates is on pace to contribute $20 million over the course of 2016 and 2017 to the Middle East Institute, one of Washington’s leading think tanks, according to a document obtained by The Intercept. The outsized contribution, which the UAE hoped to conceal, would allow the institute, according to the agreement, to “augment its scholar roster with world class experts in order to counter the more egregious misperceptions about the region, inform U.S. government policy makers, and convene regional leaders for discreet dialogue on pressing issues.”

      The Emirates, according to the Associated Press, operate a network of torture pens in Yemen where detainees are grilled alive.

      MEI was founded in 1946 and has long been an influential player in Washington foreign policy circles. It serves as a platform for many of the U.S.’s most influential figures, allowing them to regularly appear on cable news, author papers, host private briefings and appear on panels in between stints in government.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Anurag Kashyap on Prasoon taking Pahlaj’s job at Censor Board: ‘It’s like wow!’
      Anurag Kashyap, whose 2015 film Udta Punjab had trouble getting certified, is delighted that monologues would now be replaced by dialogues, as Pahlaj Nihalani is replaced by Prasoon Joshi.

    • Universities should be about learning, not satisfaction

    • It's a wrap! Victory for Bollywood as controversial censor boss Pahlaj Nihalani is ousted, and replaced by Prasoon Joshi

    • Move on from censorship
      The board’s name had changed from old fashioned “censor” to certification, but the person chosen to head it to showed little appreciation of the changed times. While the appointment Prasoon Joshi, a respected ad man who is also a lyricist and poet, is bound to broaden the perspective, it is important that he makes a clean break from the censorious times of Nihalani and ushers in the enlightened age in which content is available anyway regardless of how the board has tried to “control” storytelling. It is the board’s job merely to certify films while judging whether content is unfit for youth and hence should bear an “adult” tag or recommend adult supervision.

    • India blocks the Internet Archive Wayback Machine in censorship overstep

    • DMCA Used to Remove Ad Server URL From Easylist Ad Blocklist

      Easylist, the popular adblock filter list used by millions of subscribers, appears to be under attack. Github, where the project is maintained, has recently received a DMCA notice requiring a domain URL to be removed from the list. That domain appears to be owned by US-based anti-adblocking company Admiral.

    • ACLU Sues D.C. Metro After It Rejects Ad With Text Of 1st Amendment

      Outfront Media, which manages the system's advertising, initially told the ACLU that it was rejected because it "does not take any issue oriented advertising."

    • The First Amendment (Literally) Banned in DC

    • DC’s transit agency rejected ads touting the First Amendment (really)
      The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday sued the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the government agency that operates the capital region's subway system and its primary bus network. The ACLU argues that the transit agency's policies for accepting advertisements on its subway stations, trains, and buses violate the First Amendment by discriminating against controversial and non-mainstream viewpoints.

      The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are ideologically diverse: the ACLU itself, an abortion provider, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and alt-right-Internet-troll-to-the-point-Twitter-actually-banned-him Milo Yiannopoulos.

    • Google is the Engine of Censorship
      Late last year, search engine giant Google announced its plans to protect users from the horrors of ‘fake news’ by changing the way it presents search results. According to corporate officials, they hope to shelter readers by limiting access to what the company deems as “low-quality” information – while promoting what it calls ‘established’ mainstream sources. Critics believe that the company, which now has a virtual monopoly on internet traffic, is now playing god over the info-sphere.

      While its known that Eric Schmidt, the head of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, is regular attendee at the annual secretive Bilderberg meeting which charters the globalist agenda, not much is known about new Google CEO Sundar Pichai and what his personal ideology is, or whether he personally believes that Google’s role is to control what the public think about any given issue by fixing the search results on the world’s number one search engine. Judging by the culture of conformity at Google, it’s not likely that Pichai would be allowed to express any dissenting views if he had them.

    • Conservative And Independent YouTube Channels Hit By Censorship And Demonetization

    • Appeals Court Mostly Fixes Bad CDA 230 Ruling Over Publicity Rights

      The attacks on Section 230 of the CDA are coming in all directions these days, unfortunately. Last year, we wrote about a series of troubling rulings in California that opened up the possibility of chipping away at 230's important protections of internet services. If you're new here, Section 230 says you can't blame an internet service for what a user does with that service. This should be common sense, but because people like to sue the big companies rather than the actual people doing stuff, it's necessary to stop bogus lawsuits. A little over a year ago, we wrote about one of these troubling rulings in California, where a judge ruled that publicity rights aren't covered by CDA 230.

    • Will Trump Resort To Climate Censorship?

    • Climate change report is leaked over Trump censorship fear

    • Week 29: Can Trump Resist the Temptation to Censor the National Climate Assessment?

    • How to fight Trump’s climate science censorship

    • Pahlaj Nihalani has left the building, but censorship of Indian movies hasn’t

    • The Head Of Indian Film Censorship Has Been Fired

    • Pahlaj Nihalani, farewell: Your brand of sanskaari censorship will be missed (not)

    • How Could You Represent Someone Like Milo Yiannopoulos?
      Milo Yiannopoulos trades on outrage. He is a professional provocateur who has turned insulting different groups of people into a specialty.

      He has claimed that the very existence of transgender people is the product of delusional thinking. He has compared Black Lives Matter activists to the KKK. And he has fostered both anti-Muslim bias and disdain for women in one breath, characterizing abortion as "so clearly bad for women's health that it falls second only to Islam.”

      Here at the ACLU, we vehemently disagree with Mr. Yiannopoulos’ views. We work hard, every day, with the very communities he targets, to fight for equal rights and dignity for all. We recognize that his words cause grievous pain to many individuals, their families, and their loved ones. Speech like his hurts.

      Yet even though we know how wrong-headed Mr. Yiannopoulos’ speech is, the ACLU today filed a lawsuit to defend his free speech rights.
    • Artwork Mocking Google’s Censorship Just Started Popping Up In California
      Artwork mocking Google for its oppressive censorship is popping up all over the Los Angeles area, near Google’s office in Venice, California.

      Earlier this week, Google fired one of its engineers, James Damore, after he wrote a 10-page memo criticizing the way the tech giant treated female employees as well as the company’s crippling level of liberal bias. In the memo, Damore pointed out the fact that men and women are different, and argued Google’s refusal to recognize these differences and embrace them was hurting the company. The memo was distorted by members of the media as an “anti-diversity tirade,” when in reality, as many social scientists pointed out, science backs up Damore’s statements.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Researchers report >4,000 apps that secretly record audio and steal logs
      Soniac was one of the three apps that made its way into Google Play, according to a blog post published Thursday by a researcher from mobile security firm Lookout. The app, which had from 1,000 to 5,000 downloads before Google removed it, provided messaging functions through a customized version of the Telegram communications program. Behind the scenes, Soniac had the ability to surreptitiously record audio, take phones, make calls, send text messages, and retrieve logs, contacts, and information about Wi-Fi access points. Google ejected the app after Lookout reported it as malicious.

      A single threat actor has aggressively bombarded Android users with more than 4,000 spyware apps since February, and in at least three cases the actor snuck the apps into Google's official Play Market, security researchers said Thursday.

    • Facebook attempts to enter China through the back door

      Facebook is attempting to quietly worm its way into China with the release of a photo-sharing app named Colorful Balloons through a local company.

    • In China, Facebook Tests the Waters With a Stealth App

      Now the social network is trying a different way into China: by authorizing the release of a new app there that does not carry the Facebook name.

    • Facebook Quietly Launches an App in China, But With a Different Name

      Chinese authorities have recently ramped up censorship of social media and messaging platforms, partially blocking Facebook-owned WhatsApp last month. Some users have relied on virtual private networks, a technology that allows users to route their data overseas, to get around the block -- although the government has been cracking down on those tools too.

    • The CTO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is leaving after less than a year

    • Film: The Tiny West Virginia Town Haunted by an NSA Secret
      Antennae at the NSA listening post, codenamed TIMBERLINE, were built to capture Soviet satellite messages as they bounced off the moon, imbuing a pristine stretch of Appalachia with a sort of cosmic gravity. Residents lived with the knowledge that something was hidden away on a hilltop above the town, even if it was something they could never know. TIMBERLINE’s mission has, to say the least, changed in the intervening years, as submarine-laid internet cables have become a greater priority for American spies than foreign satellite communication.
    • Why do porn sites have social media sharing buttons? [Ed: Spying partners; that’s what these buttons are used to actually do, depending on how they are implemented.]

      For some reason, though, porn sites such as PornHub and RedTube have still installed social media sharing options underneath every video—for Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Google Plus, StumbleUpon and Blogger. Nevermind that many of those sites (apart from Reddit, which, for better or worse, is known for its permissive content policy), generally frown upon or outright forbid sexually explicit content.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Singapore blogger robbed ‘multiple times’ in US detention centre
      A teenage blogger from Singapore who has been detained in the US for over 200 days, claims he was repeatedly robbed by a fellow inmate who was convicted under illegal weapons and assault charges.

      In a Facebook post yesterday, Amos Yee said the inmate, Emmanuel “Bubba” Reyes, had on multiple occasions robbed him of money given to purchase food from the prison kiosk.

      According to the post, Yee received the money on his commissary account from well-wishers “who care about him”.

    • Amos Yee repeatedly robbed by muscular tattooed black man in US prison
      Amos Yee was reportedly repeatedly robbed by a fellow inmate in the same American prison as him.

    • So, about this Googler’s manifesto.
      You have probably heard about the manifesto a Googler (not someone senior) published internally about, essentially, how women and men are intrinsically different and we should stop trying to make it possible for women to be engineers, it’s just not worth it.

      Until about a week ago, you would have heard very little from me publicly about this, because (as a fairly senior Googler) my job would have been to deal with it internally, and confidentiality rules would have prevented me from saying much in public.

    • Should Social Media Sites Be Forced To Pull Pastor Calling For War With North Korea?
      There's been a lot of debate over the past few years about forcing internet platforms -- YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, mainly -- to respond to terrorists (oddly only Muslim terrorists) using those platforms for propaganda and agitation by taking down that content. It's often been discussed under the banner of "countering violent extremism" or CVE. These days, those and other platforms tend to have large staffs reviewing videos, and especially quickly pulling down videos of ISIS promoters calling for attacks on America and Europe. And, in some countries it's now required by law that internet platforms remove such content. And you can certainly understand the gut reaction here: someone calling you evil and encouraging attacks on you is seriously unnerving.

      One of the points that we make about this, though, is that while many, many people think it's "easy" to determine which content is "good" and which content is "bad," it's not. The areas of gray are vast and murky. One example we pointed to is that when YouTube was first pressured into taking down terrorist propaganda videos, it resulted in YouTube killing a channel that was documenting atrocities in Syria. Understanding the difference between promoting violence and documenting violence is not easy.

    • The British Public & its Freedom to Tinker with Data
      From Alan Turing's success at breaking the Enigma cipher at Bletchley Park, and Tommy Flowers' "Colossus" (also there) to break the Lorenz cipher, to early and secret research into what later became known as "Public Key Encryption" by Clifford Cox, to GCHQ's vast deployment of technology to enable mass-surveillance of undersea cable communications — whatever one's opinion of the fruits of the work, Britain is recognised as a world leader in the fields of cryptography.

      And one of the great truths of cryptography is: cryptography only improves when people are trying to break it. From academics to crossword-puzzle fans, cryptography does not evolve unless people are permitted to attack its means, methods and mechanisms.

    • Senator Demands Answers From Case Farms
      Alarmed by the “disturbing” practices of a major chicken processor in his state, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is demanding answers from the company, whose treatment of workers was detailed in a recent ProPublica and New Yorker investigation.

      The story, published in May, documented how Case Farms, which supplies Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Boar’s Head, has for decades relied on immigrant workers to staff its plants, which are some of the most dangerous workplaces in America.

      When these workers fought for higher pay and better conditions, Case Farms used their immigration status to get rid of vocal leaders, quash dissent and avoid paying for injuries. The story detailed how current immigration law makes it difficult for authorities to go after employers for hiring unauthorized immigrants, but easy for employers to retaliate against those workers.

    • Lexington County’s Draconian Debtors’ Prison Flies in the Face of Common Sense and Decency
    • Migration in historical perspective

      There are some obvious factors worth mentioning that help to explain this change. There is of course 9/11 and the association of Islam and Muslims with terror, which makes people much more afraid. Back then Islam was not a dominant theme, and it had not been turned into an electoral issue either, at least in Dutch politics. Nor was this the case in Germany, for example, which had much higher numbers in the 1990s than they do now. So we have to see 9/11 as a game-changer, together of course with what happened afterwards in London, Madrid, Brussels, Nice and Paris, leading to the rise of Islamophobia.

    • Who’s Taking College Spots From Top Asian Americans? Privileged Whites.
      More than a decade ago, I chatted with Asian-American seniors at Hunter College High School in New York City about their college admission prospects. One young woman told me she had scored 1530 out of a maximum 1600 on the SAT. When I congratulated her, she said that her score was what she and her friends called “an Asian fail.” She predicted it wouldn’t be enough to get into her dream school, Yale. She was right. The next day, she learned that Yale had rejected her.

      I remembered our conversation when I read last week that the Justice Department plans to investigate a complaint by Asian-American organizations that Harvard discriminates against them by giving an edge to other racial minorities. My immediate response was: right victim, wrong culprit.

      Asian Americans are indeed treated unfairly in admissions, but affirmative action is a convenient scapegoat for those who seek to pit minority groups against each other. A more logical target would be “the preferences of privilege,” as I called them in my 2006 book, “The Price of Admission.”

      These policies elevate predominantly white, affluent applicants: children of alumni, big non-alumni donors, politicians and celebrities, as well as recruited athletes in upper-crust sports like golf, sailing, horseback riding, crew and even, at some colleges, polo. The number of whites enjoying the preferences of privilege, I concluded, outweighed the number of minorities aided by affirmative action.
    • The Terrorism of Moral Indignation
      To be sure, the whole of Western culture is complicit, but what astounds is the complicity of what defines itself as left. Notably, the complicity of those among the left’s comfortable and intellectual “tendencies,” usually called “liberals.” But in general, a whole language has vanished from the Western left’s vocabulary: class struggle, international solidarity, peace among peoples, social justice, exploitation, poverty. They are so illiterate in left theory and experience that the call the ruling class’s booth on their faces, “the deep state.” This today in the West is an amalgam (rather than a conscious political program) of a loose and dangerous left. It dreams, if it dreams at all, of a revolution without struggle. The answer to that pietism is force. Whole nations wiped off the face of the earth.

    • American tourist gives Nazi salute in Germany, is beaten up
      Police say a drunken American man was punched by a passer-by as he gave the stiff-armed Nazi salute multiple times in downtown Dresden.

      Dresden police said Sunday the 41-year-old, whose name and hometown weren’t given for privacy reasons, suffered minor injuries in the 8:15 a.m. Saturday assault.


      On August 5 two Chinese tourists were caught taking photos of themselves making the gesture in front of Berlin’s Reichstag building.

    • In 2017, Pregnancy Still Earns Women Pink Slips
      When Ms. Luke found out she was pregnant, she was elated. Then her employer fired her because she had a lifting restriction.

      In 2011, Eryon Luke got good news: She was pregnant with twins. Along with the happy test results, though, came an instruction from Luke’s doctor not to lift more than 30 pounds. It’s a common warning for pregnant women like Ms. Luke who work in physically demanding jobs — in her case, as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Nottingham Regional Rehab Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

      But when Ms. Luke told her supervisor about her restriction, instead of discussing options that would allow her to keep working, her boss simply told her to go home. By the time Ms. Luke’s unpaid leave ran out, she was still pregnant and still had a lifting restriction. Still unwilling to assign her modified job duties, Nottingham fired her instead. By the time she had her babies, Ms. Luke hadn’t received a paycheck in months.

      Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) almost 40 years ago to ensure that pregnancy didn’t force women out of work. But as Eryon Luke’s story shows, that promise has yet to be fulfilled. Under the PDA, employers must treat pregnant women who have temporary physical restrictions the same as they treat other workers “similar in their ability or inability to work.” So if an employer allows reassignment to “light duty” work or makes similar accommodations for those workers, then it must do so for pregnant employees, too.

    • Donald Trump’s Talk to Police Officers Was Police-State Authoritarianism Distilled to Its Essence
      Freddie Gray ended up dead after the kind of treatment described above. And despite his death, last Friday Donald Trump made sure that police officers around America knew that if they use illegal, unnecessary force when arresting suspects, he will have their backs. He then doubled down by promising to repeal anti-police laws that don’t exist. This is the man who said he could kill someone on Fifth Avenue in New York, and it would not make any difference to his supporters. Apparently, he believes he can make up laws and then pretend to repeal them, and no one will notice.

      Was he joking?

      I don’t think so. Not when his remedy for a crime is a return to unconstitutional, ineffective policies like “stop and frisk” practices. Not when his attorney general proposes a return to policies that will produce the same racially biased results, with overly long sentences, that do nothing to make us safer. Trump’s delusional view of the world tells people whose communities have already suffered and paid a heavy price for unnecessary police violence that more of the same is coming. Why wait for the courts to mete out punishment when we can get a little payback on the street?

      In Trump’s world when someone is arrested, officers should not hesitate to inflict some pain — and if that attitude makes encounters between police and the public more violent and dangerous, so be it. If more people — innocent or guilty — are injured or killed, so be it. If culture starts at the top, Trump’s promise to back officers who use unnecessary force is extremely dangerous. This is precisely the kind of rhetoric and viewpoint that led to the behavior of Chicago police officers who were indicted in June for conspiracy for “backing up” Officer Jason Van Dyke by lying about the killing of Laquan McDonald.
    • Across America, The Single Most Powerful Person in Local Criminal Justice Systems Operates With Near Impunity
      Unchecked prosecutorial power has been a major contributor to mass incarceration, but voters have the power to change that.

      For anyone who cares about transforming America’s criminal justice system, pivotal elections are fast approaching. It’s not the congressional elections we are talking about, though — it’s the more than 1,000 local prosecutors that will soon be up for election in counties across the country in 2018.

      Criminal justice policy is shaped mostly at the local and state level, and elected prosecutors have more power than any other single actor to influence the trajectory of these policies. With more than nine out of every 10 cases resolved by a plea bargain where a judge has little or no role, prosecutors unilaterally decide who gets a second chance and who goes to prison and for how long. Mandatory minimum sentencing and other laws allowing extraordinarily harsh sentences have only increased prosecutors’ power to extract guilty pleas and prison terms. In addition, their extraordinary influence is wielded every year at the statehouse, where prosecutorial opposition can easily undermine or sink even modest criminal justice reform legislation.

    • Whiting Out Black Lives Matter
      Then, like the turning of a page, the changing of a channel, the dropping of a curtain, Black Lives Matter disappeared from the public sphere. The day after Donald Trump was named the newest occupant of the White House, Black Lives Matter no longer mattered to the mainstream press. And it must be framed that way: Black Lives Matter has been “whited out” of the national media, even as the work intensifies and the movement continues to grow. Media has either been duped by Trump’s weapons of mass distraction or is actually complicit in shifting public attention away from what is arguably the most significant movement of this generation.

    • Horror in Charlottesville: One Dead After Driver Plows into Anti-Racist Demo
      In a terrifying scene in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, the driver of a car appeared to intentionally slam into progressive demonstrators marching against a Klu Klux Klan-backed neo-Nazi rally taking place in the city. According to the Associated Press, at least one person was killed and approximately twenty others injured in the attack.

    • 'We Must Call Evil by Its Name': Republicans Criticize Trump, Jeff Sessions for Ignoring White Supremacists in Charlottesville Statements

    • Police Stood By As Mayhem Mounted in Charlottesville
      There was nothing haphazard about the violence that erupted today in this bucolic town in Virginia’s heartland. At about 10 a.m. today, at one of countless such confrontations, an angry mob of white supremacists formed a battle line across from a group of counter-protesters, many of them older and gray-haired, who had gathered near a church parking lot. On command from their leader, the young men charged and pummeled their ideological foes with abandon. One woman was hurled to the pavement, and the blood from her bruised head was instantly visible.


      Officials in Charlottesville had publicly promised to maintain control of the “Unite the Right” rally, which is the latest in a series of chaotic and bloody racist rallies that have roiled this college town, a place deeply proud of its links to Thomas Jefferson and the origins of American Democracy.

      But the white supremacists who flooded into the city’s Emancipation Park — a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee sits in the center of the park — had spent months openly planning for war. The Daily Stormer, a popular neo-Nazi website, encouraged rally attendees to bring shields, pepper spray, and fascist flags and flagpoles. A prominent racist podcast told its listeners to come carrying guns. “Bring whatever you need, that you feel you need for your self defense. Do what you need to do for security of your own person,” said Mike “Enoch” Peinovich on The Right Stuff podcast.

    • The future of civil society is dependent on space
      It’s a time of overwhelming isolationism, as borders go up people sink further into their shells; doors shut with algorithm screens that feed us our future. Social media lulling us into a false sense of community – one that we design ourselves, hearing what we want and filling the void of the need for human connection.

    • “I don’t want to die because I’m an atheist”: ex-Muslims speak out

      In the UK and beyond, filmmaker Deeyah Khan has documented the experiences of ex-Muslims and the “extraordinary levels of persecution, abuse and discrimination they face”.

    • Bush-Era Ethics Czar Says Trump’s Far-Right Staffers Are to Blame for Charlottesville Riot: 'I Will Not Support Fascism'

    • To Combat Trump's Attacks on Democracy, We Must Understand Precedents Set by Obama
      Seven months into the Trump presidency, many people still deny how some of Donald Trump's most regressive and harmful policies directly continue the legacy of Barack Obama. Yes, Trump is demonstrably worse than Obama. The nasty rhetoric that Trump spews from his bully pulpit does real harm to marginalized communities, especially Muslims and immigrants. Under Trump's watch, US airstrikes have killed innocent civilians at a much higher rate than under Obama, with horrifying numbers of people killed in Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile Stephen Bannon is overseeing the "destruction of the administrative state," including the attempted rollback of environmental regulations and federal rules protecting internet freedom; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rekindled the racist, classist "war on drugs," reversing Obama's policy of prosecutorial leniency for low-level drug offenders. And the Republicans' attempts to gut Medicaid and sabotage Obamacare could do unconscionable violence to millions of Americans.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Is Mobile Internet Broadband? Americans Voice Concerns Over FCC Proposal

      The response came after the FCC launched its annual study of broadband deployment and suggested access to a smartphone and mobile broadband networks could be considered a suitable substitute for cable or fiber internet.

    • Mozilla Study: Zero Rating Isn't The Miracle Broadband Duopolies And Facebook Pretend It Is
      For years now we've explored how large ISPs have (ab)used the lack of competition in the broadband market by imposing completely arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps and overage fees. But in addition to these glorified price hikes, ISPs have also long taken to exempting their own content from usage caps, while penalizing competitors -- allowing them to use this lack of broadband competition to tilt the content playing field in their favor. Incumbent ISPs have long tried to twist and distort this narrative, claiming that zero rating is the bits and bytes equivalent of a 1-800 data or free shipping.

      Of course that's simply not the case, and zero rating simply shifts costs around to the benefit of entrenched mono/duopolists. Since caps and overage fees are arbitrary implementations not tied to any sound, real-world economics, the consumer isn't technically really saving anything (especially in the States, where we already pay more for data than most developed nations). And because content companies are often penalized while ISPs exempt themselves, this reduction in overall competition has very real negative cost impact on the end user.

      This gross distortion of the market doesn't just benefit ISPs. Overseas, companies like Facebook have partnered with mobile carriers to cook up their own, poorly-received zero rating efforts, providing an AOL-esque portal to the internet stocked with Facebook-chosen content. Facebook tried to convince folks in India that it wasn't just trying to corner the international ad market, it was simply worried about the plight of the impoverished farmers.

    • Navigating the Walled Garden : Free and Subsidized Data Use in Myanmar [warning for PDF]

      Respondents do not use or know Free Basics content other than Facebook


      Facebook dominates; some rural respondents conflate Facebook with the Internet


      Respondents are not happy with a second-class Internet

    • Study: Facebook's "zero rating" programs doesn't deliver anything except power for Facebook

      The Malaysian study confirms what other Mozilla partners found in other countries: zero-rating does not improve access by poor people to information services -- but it does teach newcomers to the internet that Facebook is the internet.

    • FCC faces backlash for saying Americans might not need fast home Internet
      American Internet users are telling the Federal Communications Commission that mobile broadband is not a full replacement for fast home Internet service. This week, the FCC kicked off its annual analysis of broadband deployment and signaled that it might determine that smartphone access is a proper substitute for cable or fiber Internet. In doing so, the FCC could conclude that broadband is already being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, and thus the commission could take fewer steps to promote deployment and competition.

      There have been over 300 new comments filed since we wrote about this two days ago, almost universally lambasting the FCC's suggestion that Americans might not need fast home Internet service and could make do with mobile broadband only. Mobile is hindered by data caps, limits on tethering, and reliability problems that make it fall short of a wired Internet connection, people told the FCC.

    • FCC extends net neutrality comment period by two weeks

    • FCC extends deadline for net neutrality comments

  • DRM

    • Netflix hits the buffers as explosive UK growth cools

      For most of last year the company was stuck on around 5.7 million subscribers, according to the figures, which are partly based on information for the Broadcasters’ Audience €­Research Board, a television industry body. The data also includes private consumer research.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Piracy Narrative Isn’t About Ethics Anymore, It’s About “Danger”

        The MPAA's former VP of Worldwide Internet Enforcement says that the industry narrative on piracy is no longer based on trying to get people to act ethically. Hemanshu Nigam says the discussion today is based around the dangers that pirate sites can pose to those who visit them. Few listened before, will they listen now?

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Links for the day
First They Came for Iranian Developers...
Red Hat/IBM and 'cancel culture'
[Video] A Debian Project Leader Needs to Also be a Technical Project Leader
We do not vouch for one (or none) horse in this race
Aggressive Efforts (and Threats) for Those Who Speak About What Happened in the Balkans
Acting in this way in an effort to censor people typically results in a second scandal on top of the original scandal
How Kosovo won DebConf21
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Video] How the Media Blamed SSH and Linux (for Nearly a Whole Fortnight!) Instead of Microsoft's GitHub and Systemd
Microsoft-connected sites have said a whole bunch of lies
Anzacathon: a hackathon for Anzac day at home
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 10, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, April 10, 2024
On Julian Assange, Now 5 Years in Belmarsh Prison: The Good News, the Bad News, and Ugly Noise
Some time this spring (or summer) we'll revisit the Appelbaum case