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Links 8/7/2019: Linux 5.2 and Much AMD/Radeon News

  • GNU/Linux

    • 10 ways to get started with Linux

      The article What is a Linux user? by Anderson Silva made it clear that these days people are as likely to use Linux (in some way) as they are to use Windows, as long as your definition of "using Linux" is sufficiently broad. Still, if you don't have enough Linux in your life, now is a great time to try Linux in a way you've never tried before.

      Here are 10 ways to get started with Linux. Try one or try them all.

    • Desktop

      • System76's USA-made and Ubuntu Linux-powered Thelio desktop now available with 3rd gen AMD Ryzen processors

        Fans of Linux have long coveted System76 computers, as they come with Ubuntu pre-installed rather than Windows. After all, buying one of these computers is a great way to support the Linux community. Nowadays, in addition to Ubuntu, the company also offers its own Ubuntu-based operating system called Pop!_OS.

        With the System76 "Thelio" desktop PC, even more people became interested in the company -- beyond Linux enthusiasts. Why? Because it is made right here in the good ol' USA. People that take pride in being an American often look for USA-made products (something that is getting increasingly harder to find), and System76 began filling that need.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.2
        So I was somewhat pre-disposed towards making an rc8, simply because
        of my travels and being entirely off the internet for a few days last
        week, and with spotty internet for a few days before that [*].

        But there really doesn't seem to be any reason for another rc, since it's been very quiet. Yes, I had a few pull requests since rc7, but they were all small, and I had many more that are for the upcoming merge window. Part of it may be due to the July 4th week, of course, but whatever - I'll take the quiet week as a good sign.

        So despite a fairly late core revert, I don't see any real reason for another week of rc, and so we have a v5.2 with the normal release timing.

        There's no particular area that stands out there - the changes are so small that the sppended shortlog really is the best description of last week. A few small random changes all over: drivers, architectures, filesystem, mm, ...

        So with this, the merge window for 5.2 is open.

      • Linux Kernel 5.2 Officially Released, Here's What's New

        Linus Torvalds has announced today the release and general availability of the Linux 5.2 kernel series, a major release that adds several new features, updated drivers, and many improvements.

        After seven RCs (Release Candidates), the Linux 5.2 kernel series is now available and it comes with some very interesting features and enhancements. However, before we dive into what's new, you should know that this release is not a long-term supported (LTS) branch, which means that you stick with your current LTS kernel instead.

        "I was somewhat pre-disposed towards making an rc8, simply because of my travels and being entirely off the internet for a few days last week," said Linus Torvalds in a mailing list announcement. "So despite a fairly late core revert, I don't see any real reason for another week of rc, and so we have a v5.2 with the normal release timing."

      • Linux 5.2 Kernel Released As The "Bobtail Squid"

        Adding to the excitement of 7 July is the release of the Linux 5.2 stable kernel, which also means the opening of the Linux 5.3 merge window.

        Linux 5.2.0 made it out today on time without having any extra release candidates for this summer 2019 kernel release. This kicks off the Linux 5.3 merge window and its series of release candidates that then should debut as stable in September.

        See our Linux 5.2 feature overview for those wondering about all of the exciting features of this new kernel.

      • The 5.2 kernel has been released

        Linus Torvalds has released the 5.2 kernel. He originally planned for an rc8 this week, rather than 5.2, due to his travel schedule, but was pleasantly surprised at how calm things have been.

      • The Best Features Of Linux 5.2: Intel Bits, RTW88, Sound Open Firmware, EXT4 Insensitive

        While back in May we provided a Linux 5.2 feature overview following the closure of its merge window, given Sunday's release of the Linux 5.2 Bobtail Squid kernel, if you've lost track of what there is to get excited about in this new kernel, this article is for you.

    • AMD

      • Radeon Software For Linux 19.30 Brings Radeon RX 5700 Support

        As a follow-up to this morning's Radeon RX 5700 / RX 5700 XT Linux benchmarks, AMD has now published a packaged launch-day Linux driver for those wanting to use these new RDNA/Navi graphics cards on Linux without building your own kernel/Mesa/libdrm/LLVM... Well, assuming you are on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

        AMD posted this "AMDGPU Navi Unified Linux driver" just minutes ago for these RX 5700 (XT) GPUs now shipping. The only change listed with this Radeon Software for Linux 19.30 version is support for the Radeon RX 5700 series.

      • AMD Ryzen 7 3700X + Ryzen 9 3900X Offer Incredible Linux Performance But With A Big Caveat

        After weeks of anticipation, we can now share how the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X performance is under Linux. These first Zen 2 processors do indeed deliver a significant improvement over Zen/Zen+ processors and also battle Intel's latest 14nm CPUs but for Linux users there is one big, unfortunate issue right now.

      • AMD Radeon RX 5700 / RX 5700XT Linux Gaming Benchmarks

        While last month we could talk all about the specifications for the Radeon RX 5700 series, today the embargo has lifted concerning the Radeon RX 5700/5700XT graphics cards so we can finally talk about the actual (Linux) performance. The road is a bit rougher than we had hoped, but it's possible to drive these new Navi graphics cards today using their open-source graphics driver stack at least for OpenGL games/applications. Over the weeks ahead, the Linux driver support for Navi will continue to improve.

      • AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU Review & Benchmarks: Strong Recommendation from GN

        For a video maker with a stricter budget, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is superior to its immediately price-matched competition from Intel, although you may be better served by purchasing an R7 2700 on steep sale and overclocking it. That’d land you at our overclocked 2700X result of 4.3 minutes for the 1080p Premiere render and would cost about $200 today, but that inventory will stop being made at some point, if not already. Even in the $200-$250 range, there’s no point in buying a 9600K if Premiere will be part of your regular activities, or any rendering software that can make use of more than six cores. We’ll be doing streaming benchmarks later as part of our ongoing Ryzen 3000 coverage, but for now we can at least say that the 3600 is the better choice for streamers that plan to edit and render footage.

        If AMD is its own biggest competition, then they’ve done a great job on the gaming side of differentiating the 3600 from the 2600 and 1600, X SKUs or otherwise. There are significant generational improvements over the other 6C/12T parts with clocks being pushed closer to the max out of the box--there’s still freedom to overclock, but there’s less and less point to pushing an all-core OC on AMD parts at room temperature. We’re hoping for better results from Precision Boost Overdrive, so stay tuned for that testing. The i5-9600K outperforms the 3600 in most of our game benchmarks as games have been slow to adapt to CPUs with more than 8 threads, and the 5GHz+ overclocking potential of the 9600K makes it an even clearer winner for exclusively gaming, but the R5 3600 is the more versatile and potentially cheaper option at $200 MSRP. The big question is whether the $250 R5 3600X that AMD (not us) bills as their 9600K competitor will be worth the extra money, or whether it’s a repeat of first generation Ryzen where R7 1700s could be clocked to the same speeds as 1800Xs.

        Our content is made possible by your support, especially via the GN Store products and Patreon. If you would like to support these colossal efforts, please consider buying one of our new GN Toolkits (custom-made for video card disassembly and system building, using high-quality CRV metals and our own molds) or one of our system building modmats. We also sell t-shirts, mousepads, video card anatomy posters, and more.

      • Linux Support For AMD's Radeon RX 5700 Series Graphics Cards Has Landed, Sort Of

        Official support for the newly launched Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT graphics cards have arrived on Linux as promised. Sort of. If you want to experience 7nm Navi on Linux, AMD just published its Radeon Software for Linux 17.30 package here. The critical gotcha, of course, is that you'll need to be running Ubuntu 18.04.2.

        AMD's Linux driver offers all-open + PRO components, and it's currently the only simple way to get the new Navi GPUs running. As Phoronix points out, if you're using any other distribution besides Ubuntu 18.04.2 you "will need to resort to building your own open-source driver stack or otherwise wrangling together a working packaged driver setup with some maneuvering." Not the ideal solution for most of us. Phoronix did manage to scrape together all the pieces for some early benchmarking as the review embargo lifted, but was limited to strictly OpenGL games.

      • AMD have today released the Radeon RX 5700 series GPUs and the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs

        The world of 7nm is here, as AMD have today released their new GPU and CPU series with the Radeon RX 5700 and Ryzen 3000.

        “We are proud to deliver our newest AMD Radeon graphics cards and AMD Ryzen processor products to create the ultimate PC gaming platform with leadership performance at every price point,” said Dr. Lisa Su, President and CEO, AMD. “AMD is committed to driving innovation and competition across the computing and graphics markets to give PC enthusiasts, gamers and creators incredible experiences and unmatched value.”

        AMD's new Radeon RX 5700 series is the first to use their new "RDNA" architecture, which AMD claim will provide up to "1.25x" higher performance per clock and up to "1.5x" higher performance per watt versus the older Graphic Core Next (GCN) architecture. For the new GPU it comes in three editions....

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Manages Launch-Day Support For AMD Navi 10/12/14 GPUs

        Leading up to today's Radeon RX 5700 "Navi" series launch it was looking like there wouldn't be any support within Mesa's Radeon "RADV" Vulkan driver for this community-maintained open-source implementation. But the open-source developers at Valve managed to not only deliver Navi 10 support but also Navi 12 and Navi 14 are also supported with this new Mesa 19.2 code.

        Various folks at AMD didn't believe the "community" RADV developers at the likes of Valve and Red Hat were provided with samples or documentation in advance, but however it turned out, Valve developer Samuel Pitoiset along with Google developer Bas Nieuwenhuizen managed to land the Navi/GFX10 enablement code just minutes ago into Mesa 19.2 Git.

      • AMD Ryzen 7 3700X & Ryzen 9 3900X Performance In Linux

        AMD’s third-gen Ryzen processors have just landed, and to kick-start our coverage, we’re going to dive into a look at performance under Linux. Our initial experiences are a little hit-or-miss in some cases, but overall, AMD seems to have brought along some great improvement with these latest chips. It’s funny that it has been only a little over two years since Ryzen’s first-gen chips were introduced, yet it’s still felt like Zen 2 has been a long time coming. Part of that might owe itself to the fact that Ryzen surprised many, and when everyone saw how good things were out-of-the-gate with the new architecture, who wouldn’t be eager to see what the second-generation could do?

        Well, we have our answer today, as AMD has just launched its Ryzen 3000-series CPUs. For desktop, these are codenamed Matisse, and succeed the last-gen Pinnacle Ridge. In addition to a die-shrink to 7nm, these new processors include numerous enhancements to improve IPC performance, more cache, and higher clocks. Best of all, they even feature more cores in some cases.

    • Applications

      • Geany text editor - a sort of genie

        I have to say I'm very pleased with Geany, and I'm sort of surprised - with myself - that I never gave it a more thorough examination in the past. But we shall rectify that, as I do intend, as a consequence of this little test, to try using Geany in a more serious manner, in my production environment. At the moment, on my Slimbook, I am using Notepad++, so maybe this could be a solid alternative.

        Geany is a really interesting product - rich, extensible, robust, intelligent. It also looks the part, with a spacious, airy, friendly UI, and none of that modern flatness that ruins usability. You get a wealth of options and features, and while I do feel some small things are missing, I don't think there's any massive, glaring weakness in this text editor. Quite worth testing. Lastly, many thanks for those of you who recommended this program. May the code lint be with you.

      • Proprietary

        • WPS Office Linux Update Adds PDF Support, Drops 32-bit Support

          An all-new update to the free WPS Office productivity suite is available for Linux.

          WPS Office features a stack of iterative improvements, but no major new features to speak of, besides the ability to open and display PDF documents natively.

          This is the first update to the office suite since April but it does not contain all the ‘new’ features available in the latest WPS Office 2019 release for Windows. The Linux version is community maintained.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Aether Skies: A visual novel game

        Aether skies is a visual novel game available for all major desktop platforms on itch. The story revolves around a prince and princess journey. The game is still in demo but has rich story content and also may quite intrigue you with its story plot too.

    • Hardware

      • The Most Retro Way to Run Terminal Commands on Linux, Period

        The Lorzenz Lo15 is a 1930s teleprinter (also known teletype, teletypewriter, and TTY [TeleTYpe], the the latter being how the Unix TTY available in Linux distros got its name).

        These machines supported an early form of electronic communication that allowed typed messages to be sent and received over a network using Baudot, an early precursor to ASCII (which is the current character encoding standard for electronic communication).

        The machine features an early serial interface that, with the right know-how, can be mapped to USB (Lind explains more in a follow-up tweet), something a troupe of talented tech bods have taken advantage of over the years.

      • Matthew Garrett: Creating hardware where no hardware exists

        The laptop industry was still in its infancy back in 1990, but it still faced a core problem that we do today - power and thermal management are hard, but also critical to a good user experience (and potentially to the lifespan of the hardware). This is in the days where DOS and Windows had no memory protection, so handling these problems at the OS level would have been an invitation for someone to overwrite your management code and potentially kill your laptop. The safe option was pushing all of this out to an external management controller of some sort, but vendors in the 90s were the same as vendors now and would do basically anything to avoid having to drop an extra chip on the board. Thankfully(?), Intel had a solution.

        The 386SL was released in October 1990 as a low-powered mobile-optimised version of the 386. Critically, it included a feature that let vendors ensure that their power management code could run without OS interference. A small window of RAM was hidden behind the VGA memory[1] and the CPU configured so that various events would cause the CPU to stop executing the OS and jump to this protected region. It could then do whatever power or thermal management tasks were necessary and return control to the OS, which would be none the wiser. Intel called this System Management Mode, and we've never really recovered.

        Step forward to the late 90s. USB is now a thing, but even the operating systems that support USB usually don't in their installers (and plenty of operating systems still didn't have USB drivers). The industry needed a transition path, and System Management Mode was there for them. By configuring the chipset to generate a System Management Interrupt (or SMI) whenever the OS tried to access the PS/2 keyboard controller, the CPU could then trap into some SMM code that knew how to talk to USB, figure out what was going on with the USB keyboard, fake up the results and pass them back to the OS. As far as the OS was concerned, it was talking to a normal keyboard controller - but in reality, the "hardware" it was talking to was entirely implemented in software on the CPU.

        Since then we've seen even more stuff get crammed into SMM, which is annoying because in general it's much harder for an OS to do interesting things with hardware if the CPU occasionally stops in order to run invisible code to touch hardware resources you were planning on using, and that's even ignoring the fact that operating systems in general don't really appreciate the entire world stopping and then restarting some time later without any notification. So, overall, SMM is a pain for OS vendors.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Christoph Cullmann: Kate LSP Client Restart

          Since my last post about the LSP client progress in May I didn’t work on that project at all I think.

          But the good news is, somebody else did scratch that itch on his own ;=)

          We have now a prototype plugin in kate.git master, see lspclient in the addons directory.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Whonix 15 with extensive changes and new features officially released

          Apart from the features mentioned above, Whonix 15 will also allow you to easily install VM kernel with the help of Qubes-Whonix, and work with Raspberry Pi/ARM64 and UsrMerge. Not only that, but it takes care of the latest security vulnerabilities as well. Moreover, the update will also include new utilities, including a P2P exchange network, known as Bisq, and a keystroke anonymization tool, called kloak. You can check out the complete list of new enhancements and features from here.

          With this release, the creators have also announced that Whonix 14 will reach its end of life in about a month. Therefore, if users want to receive support and regular updates, they would have to update to the latest version.

          The official Whonix forum also talks over the upcoming Whonix 16 release and the features it will bring. For now, we only know that the Whonix team is working on a Whonix host operating system, policy for inclusion of compiled software, and live mode.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Debian 10 Buster

          Today we are celebrating the release of Debian Buster, aka 10.0. It is released on the 7th of July 2019 and in this review, we will mainly look at the Gnome Release, even though it is also available in KDE, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, MATE and XFCE. I chose the Gnome edition as it is the default Desktop Environment for Debian 10.0 but I will have a look at some of the others in the future as well.

          The Gnome edition comes with Gnome 3.30, which also means no desktop icons, but you can enable it with a Gnome Extensions, look here. It comes by default with Wayland, however, a person can choose a Xorg session or a Gnome Classic session in the login manager. It uses about 1.1GB of ram when idling and Linux Kernel 4.19. Enjoy!

        • Debian 10.0 Buster Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Debian 10.0 Buster, the Gnome edition.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

        • The July 2019 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

          The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the July 2019 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

          In the July 2019 issue:

          * De-Googling Yourself, Part 3 * GIMP Tutorial: Pressed Text * PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: Aragorn * The Ruby Programming Language: More Ruby Concepts For Data Handling * Casual Python, Part 6 * ms_meme's Nook: Linux Boogie * Google To Block Modern Ad Blocking On Chrome * Short Topix: S. Korea Gov’t Switching To Linux * PCLinuxOS Recipe Corner: Queso Taco Pockets * And much more inside!

          This month’s cover was designed by parnote.

          Download the PDF (6.5 MB)

          Download the EPUB Version (7.2 MB)

          Download the MOBI Version (6.6 MB)

          Visit the HTML Version

        • Review: Mageia 7

          Mageia is a user friendly, desktop-oriented Linux distribution. The project originally grew out of the Mandriva family of distributions and is independently developed. The project's latest release is Mageia 7 which, according to the project's release notes, offers 18 months of support. Mageia 7 drops support for the ARMv5 architecture while adding support for 64-bit ARM (Aarch64) and improving support for ARMv7. While ARM packages are being built, ARM installation media is not yet featured on the project's download page. The new release includes the DNF command line package manager and features the ability to play MP3 files - MP3 support was not included by default in previous releases due to patent restrictions.

          The release notes mention that GNOME users can enjoy their desktop running on a Wayland session by default with X.Org available as an alternative. KDE Plasma users will have the opposite experience with their desktop running on X.Org and a Wayland session available through a package in the distribution's repositories. The documentation also mentions that when running a GNOME on Wayland session some graphical administrator tools will not work when run through su or sudo. The user can run these tools with their regular user privileges and the system will prompt for an admin password when necessary.

          Mageia is available for the 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64) architectures. We can either download an install DVD with multiple desktop packages bundled or we can download live media with the Plasma, GNOME, or Xfce desktops. There are smaller net-install disc images available too. I decided to try the KDE Plasma live disc which is a 2.8GB download.

          Booting from the live media brings up a menu which gives us the option of immediately loading the project's system installer or launching a live desktop environment. Choosing the live desktop brings up a series of graphical screens asking us to select our language from a list, confirm the distribution's license agreement, and we are offered a chance to read the release notes. We are then asked to select our time zone from a list and confirm our keyboard's layout.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian 10 'Buster' Linux-based operating system finally available for download

          Debian is one of the most important operating systems, as so many other Linux distributions (such as Ubuntu) are based on it. In other words, it is part of the foundation that holds up many distros. With that said, it is a great operating system in its own right -- many folks depend on it daily.

          Today, Debian reaches a significant milestone -- version 10. Yes, Debian is finally in the double digits. Believe it or not, development of Debian 10 (code-named "Buster") took more than two years! In fact, more than 60 percent of all packages have been updated since its predecessor. Probably the most significant update, however, is Wayland finally being the new default display server for the GNOME desktop environment.

        • Debian 10 Buster is here (GNU/Linux OS with 5 years of support)

          Now the Debian team has released Debian 10, code-named Buster.

          The free and open source operating system includes thousands of new software packages, a new display manager enabled by default, support for UEFI Secure Boot, and many other changes. And Debian 10 will be officially supported for 5 years.

          Among other things, Debian 10 uses the Wayland display server by default instead of Xorg, although Xorg is still installed and users can switch to it if they want/need to.

          AppArmor is also now enabled by default, providing tighter security.

        • Andy Simpkins: Debian Buster Release

          I spent all day smoke testing the install images for yesterday’s (this mornings – gee just after midnight local so we still had 11 hours to spare) Debian GNU/Linux 10.0.0 “Buster” release.

          This year we had our “Biglyest test matrix ever”[0], 111 tests were completed at the point the release images were signed and the ftp team pushed the button. Although more tests were reported to have taken place in IRC we had a total of 9 people completing tests called for in the wiki test matrix.

          We also had a large number of people in irc during the image test phase of the release – peeking at 117…

          Steve kindly hosted his front room a few of us – using a local mirror[1] of the images so our VM tests have the image available as an NFS share really speeds things up! Between the 4 of us here in Cambridge we were testing on a total of 14 different machines, mainly AMD64, a couple of “only i386 capable laptops” and 3 entirely different ARM64 machines! (Mustang, Synquacer, & MacchiatoBin).

        • Debian 10 ‘Buster’ Released After 2 Years Development

          Debian is one of the most important Linux distributions for the Linux community. Most popular Linux distros are based on Debian including Ubuntu that most of us use.

          Debian team has released the most awaited release — Debian 10 “Buster”. It came up after 25 months of development. Because of such a long time development, over 62% of packages have received updated versions and includes over 13370 new packages in the repositories.


          So these were some big highlights from newly released Debian 10 “Buster”. You can read the release note for the complete list of changes in Debian 10.

          The best way to know all the features is by trying it yourself. Download Debian 10 live USB image. You can install it using the Calamares installer or standard Debian installer.

        • Debian 10 (Buster) Installation Steps with Screenshots

          Debian Project has released its latest and stable operating system as Debian 10, code name for Debian 10 is “Buster“, this release will get 5 years of support. Debian 10 is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. This release comes with lot of new features,

        • Debian Edu / Skolelinux Buster — a complete Linux solution for your school

          Do you have to administrate a computer lab or a whole school network? Would you like to install servers, workstations and laptops which will then work together? Do you want the stability of Debian with network services already preconfigured? Do you wish to have a web-based tool to manage systems and several hundred or even more user accounts? Have you asked yourself if and how older computers could be used?

          Then Debian Edu is for you. The teachers themselves or their technical support can roll out a complete multi-user multi-machine study environment within a few days. Debian Edu comes with hundreds of applications pre-installed, but you can always add more packages from Debian.

          The Debian Edu developer team is happy to announce Debian Edu 10 Buster, the Debian Edu / Skolelinux release based on the Debian 10 Buster release. Please consider testing it and reporting back to help us to improve it further.

        • Debian GSoC Kotlin project blog: Week 4 & 5 Update

          Finihsed downgrading the project to be buildable by gradle 4.4.1

          I have finished downgrading the project to be buildable using gradle 4.4.1. The project still needed a part of gradle 4.8 that I have successfully patched into sid gradle. here is the link to the changes that I have made.

          Now we are officially done with making the project buidl with our gradle; so we can now go on ahead and finally start mapping out and packaging the dependencies.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) reaches End of Life on July 18 2019

          Canonical has announced that Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) reaches End of Life on July 18 2019. It released almost 9 months ago, on October 18, 2018.

          Ubuntu regular releases are supported for 9 months. As a non-LTS release, 18.10 has a 9-month support cycle and, as such, the support period is now nearing its end of life.

          After that users won’t be get any package updates for 18.10 including security updates as well.

          Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) users are urged to upgrade Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo).

        • Testing Ubuntu 18.04 on XIDU PhilPad 2-in-1 Hybrid with Touchscreen

          So I’ve recently completed the review of XIDU Philpad 2-in-1 hybrid with Windows 10. The laptop features a 13.3″ touchscreen and support stylus, and I was intrigued whether those would work in Ubuntu 18.04. So I flash the Ubuntu 18.04.2 Desktop ISO to a flash drive and installed Ubuntu to another USB flash drive to give it a try with persistent storage. Note that while it’s OK for testing, running Ubuntu 18.04 from a USB flash drive is very slow, so it’s not recommended.


          Some are clearly the mouse pointer and touchpad, while the “Goodix” one is for the capacitive touchscreen. So I tried SINO WEALTH USB Composite Device which shows support for Pressure, and selected “Screen” mode, before clicking Save. But using the drawing tools in Gimp, only allows me to draw points with the stylus, not continuous lines, and the size of the points is fixed no matter how lightly or strongly I press on the display. Playing with “Dynamics Pressure Opacity” in the Airbrush settings did not yield any results.

          In summary, most features work, except the cameras that fail completely out of the box, and the touchscreen may need some fiddling with the settings depending on the program you are using. I’m unclear whether it’s possible to use the stylus at this stage.

        • Canonical's Ubuntu repos on Github hacked

          Canonical Ltd, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, has had its software repositories on Github hacked by unknown attackers.

          The hack appears to be limited to a defacement, with 11 new repos sequentially named CAN_GOT_HAXXD_1, `with no existing data being changed or deleted.

        • Ubuntu maker’s GitHub account hacked — but the source code is safe

          The GitHub account of Canonical Ltd., the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, was hacked over the weekend on July 6.

          While the hacker’s identity remains unknown, they managed to compromise the account’s credentials to create 11 new empty repositories. The repositories were named “CAN_GOT_HAXXD.”

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Prioritization of bug reports and feature requests in Free and Open Source software projects

        A few months ago I wrote an essay on software development planning in FOSS projects.

      • Events

        • Kushal Das: Two new federated services for dgplug

          Having our own instance was in the plan for time in my head. I had personal Mastodon account before, but, that instance went down and never tried to find a new home. This time, I think if a few of us (the sys-admins from the group) use this as a regular thing for ourselves, it will be much easier to maintain than depending on someone else.

          Any regular dgplug member can get an invite link for the instance by joining the IRC channel and asking for the same.

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: Scheduler Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

          We are pleased to announce that the Scheduler Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference! The scheduler determines what runs on the CPU at any given time. The lag of your desktop is affected by the scheduler, for example. There are a few different scheduling classes for a user to choose from, such as the default class (SCHED_OTHER) or a real-time class (SCHED_FIFO, SCHED_RT and SCHED_DEADLINE). The deadline scheduler is the newest and allows the user to control the amount of bandwidth received by a task or group of tasks. With cloud computing becoming popular these days, controlling bandwidth of containers or virtual machines is becoming more important. The Real-Time patch is also destined to become mainline, which will add more strain on the scheduling of tasks to make sure that real-time tasks make their deadlines (although, this Microconference will focus on non real-time aspects of the scheduler. Please defer real-time topics to the Real-time Microconference). This requires verification techniques to ensure the scheduler is properly designed.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Internet group brands Mozilla ‘internet villain’ for supporting DNS privacy feature

            An industry group of internet service providers has branded Firefox browser maker Mozilla an “internet villain” for supporting a DNS security standard.

            The U.K.’s Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA), the trade group for U.K. internet service providers, nominated the browser maker for its proposed effort to roll out the security feature, which they say will allow users to “bypass UK filtering obligations and parental controls, undermining internet safety standards in the UK.”

            Mozilla said late last year it was planning to test DNS-over-HTTPS to a small number of users.

            Whenever you visit a website — even if it’s HTTPS enabled — the DNS query that converts the web address into an IP address that computers can read is usually unencrypted. The security standard is implemented at the app level, making Mozilla the first browser to use DNS-over-HTTPS. By encrypting the DNS query it also protects the DNS request against man-in-the-middle attacks, which allow attackers to hijack the request and point victims to a malicious page instead.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • Python list comprehension with Examples

          This tutorial covers how list comprehension works in Python. It includes many examples which would help you to familiarize the concept and you should be able to implement it in your live project at the end of this lesson.

        • Fork System Call in C

          fork() system call is used to create child processes in a C program. fork() is used where parallel processing is required in your application. The fork() system function is defined in the headers sys/types.h and unistd.h. In a program where you use fork, you also have to use wait() system call. wait() system call is used to wait in the parent process for the child process to finish. To finish a child process, the exit() system call is used in the child process. The wait() function is defined in the header sys/wait.h and the exit() function is defined in the header stdlib.h.

        • Exec System Call in C

          The exec family has many functions in C. These C functions are basically used to run a system command in a separate process that the main program and print the output. In this article, I am going talk about the exec family of functions and show you how to use each one of these exec family function in C. So, let’s get started.

        • Why Use Python for Startups?

          When I was just starting out learning Django to break into the local startup scene.

          I was wondering what are the types of startups, who are looking for python developers?

          There is demand for Django developer which Shopee was trying to search for them.

          Sadly there wasn't much information about it till I was searching consistently for these startups on AngelList, Tech in Asia or e27.

        • Full Stack Python: Developer-led Sales for Startups

          This blog post contains the slides along with a loose transcript from my talk on the promises and perils of developer-led sales as an early-stage company method to acquire customers.

          I gave this talk remotely to Ubiquity.VC portfolio company startup founders and the Extended Team on June 26, 2019.

        • Create integer list from a number with python

          In this chapter, we are given a number and we need to return a list of integer based on that number, for example, number 3 will return a list of [1,2,3].

          We will first create an empty array, then we will loop through that number and push the new number (count + 1) into that empty list.

        • sRGB↔XYZ conversion

          In an earlier post, I’ve shown how to calculate an sRGB↔XYZ conversion matrix. It’s only natural to follow up with a code for converting between sRGB and XYZ colour spaces. While the matrix is a significant portion of the algorithm, there is one more step necessary: gamma correction.

        • Domain Driven Design For Python

          When your software projects start to scale it becomes a greater challenge to understand and maintain all of the pieces. In this episode Henry Percival shares his experiences working with domain driven design in large Python projects. He explains how it is helpful, and how you can start using it for your own applications. This was an informative conversation about software architecture patterns for large organizations and how they can be used by Python developers.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Embattled Russian higher education commission refuses to hear report on falsified dissertations

        The Commission to Combat the Falsification of Scholarly Research, which operates within the Russian Academy of Science (RAN), spent six months preparing a report on academic integrity violations in academic dissertations only to have the Higher Attestation Commission (VAK) refuse to hear the results. RAN representatives had planned to present their findings on June 28, the same day the VAK was scheduled to review a dissertation some academics said had been plagiarized. VAK Presidium member Anna Dybo said that Vladimir Filippov, the head of the VAK, refused to let the RAN academics into the hearing room on the grounds that “we are scholars, not investigators.” However, it is one of the VAK’s primary duties to review completed dissertations for academic integrity violations.


        The VAK became a subject of intense controversy in Russian academia after it upheld a dissertation by Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky in October 2017 despite many scholars’ assertions that the dissertation contained unacceptable errors.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • After Trump's Former FDA Chief Quietly Joins Pfizer Board, Warren Calls for Resignation 'Immediately'

        Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts who is also running for her party's nomination for president in 2020, released a letter (pdf) Tuesday morning calling on Gottleib to step down from the board in the name of government ethics.

        "You will be on the board of a company that has billions of dollars at stake in the decisions made by the agency you used to head and the employees you used to lead," states Warren's letter.

        It's a profitable venture for Gottleib.

        "According to Pfizer," Warren notes, "board members in 2018 were paid $142,500 in cash retainers, plus received $192,500 worth of Pfizer stock."

        Appointed by Trump, Gottleib was the head of the FDA from 2017 until he resigned on April 5 of this year. After leaving the government, he took a job with right-wing think tank The American Enterprise Institute. The move to Pfizer, however, came later and was only announced on June 27.

        In Warren's letter, which Common Dreams obtained exclusively and is reproduced below, the senator refers favorably to Gottleib's work with the FDA before hitting him on joining Pfizer and tying that move to the behavior of other officials in President Donald Trump's White House who have left the administration for big money payouts.

      • 'If Grandma Is on the Table, No One Will Blink at the Price': A Former Drug Company Manager Explains Industry Price-Setting

        Frances Leath no longer works in management for pharmaceutical industry giant Eli Lilly and Company, but she keeps tabs on the company where she spent the first 15 years of her career. She still lives in Indianapolis, home of the company headquarters. She has watched as Lilly’s dramatic increases in the price of insulin have triggered regular protests by angry patients, class-action lawsuits, and Congressional criticism.

        Yet the company has continued to ratchet up the price. The same vial of Lilly’s Humalog insulin that was priced at $21 in 1996 can cost as much as $275 today. Especially when research shows that the same vial is manufactured for about $5, and that Americans are suffering and even dying because they can’t afford their insulin, this approach can seem shocking.

        Not to Frances Leath. “I’m not surprised a bit,” she says.

        It was not always this way at Lilly. When she started her career, there was an internal company slogan Leath would hear a lot: “We make drugs as if people’s lives depend on it.”

        That was in 1987, when Leath was fresh out of DePauw University and working in Lilly’s finance division. The company’s portfolio focused on medicines for acute illnesses, including several antibiotics. “One of the things I liked about working there was that the conversation was very much about patients,” Leath said. “You could see that our products like Ceclor were treating infections and saving lives.”

      • 'No, No I Do Not': Kamala Harris Clarifies She Does Not Support Abolishing Private Insurance

        For the second time in a period of five months, Sen. Kamala Harris was forced to clarify Friday morning that she does not support eliminating private health insurance just hours after making it seem to many that she did.

        "No, no I do not," Harris said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" when asked if she supports abolishing private insurance. "I am a proponent of Medicare for All. Private insurance will exist for supplemental coverage."

        Harris's remarks came after she raised her hand in response to an "awkwardly phrased" question from NBC's Lester Holt during Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate.

        "Many people watching at home have health insurance through their employer," Holt said. "Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?"

      • ‘Medicare For All’ Emerges As Early Divide In First Democratic Debate

        During Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate — the first in a two-night event viewed as the de facto launch of the primary season — health policies, ranging from “Medicare for All” to efforts to curb skyrocketing drug prices, were among the key issues the 10 hopeful candidates onstage used to help differentiate themselves from the pack.

        Health care dominated early, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) using questions about the economy to take aim at pharmaceutical and insurance companies. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) emphasized the difficulties many Americans face in paying premiums.

        But the candidates broke ranks on the details and not all of their claims stayed strictly within the lines.

      • The US War on Immigrants Is a Public Health Crisis

        This week, Americans will celebrate the 4th of July with barbecues and fireworks while drinking beers and listening to speeches extolling liberty and freedom. Others, however, will be more active in working to make sure the idea of freedom extends to more than just U.S. citizens. On Tuesday, protests and demonstrations are being held across the country to resist Trump’s increasingly violent nativism, with folks heading to their local Congressperson’s office or picketing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in their neighborhood.

        The U.S.’s Independence Day holiday is taking place this year against a backdrop of venomous anti-immigrant actions being carried out by uniformed officers of the American state. Trump, who will be presiding over a particularly grotesque militarized “Salute to America” in Washington, D.C., that day, has declared that he will order his enforcement agents to begin mass deportation sweeps shortly after the holiday.

        Since the demagogue-in-chief has promised the same thing previously, only to then announce a postponement, his words should be taken with a pinch of salt. But regardless of their reality, they are deliberately intended to ratchet up the fear levels and stress experienced by millions in the United States.

        It is all in keeping with a long history — and recent intensification — of a slew of brutal policies and practices toward immigrants. We — and I say “we,” since all of this is being done by an elected government, ostensibly in the name of “we, the people” — have criminalized and dehumanized and pushed internment on some of the most vulnerable among us, and we have done so with no thought or care for the long-term impacts on the lives of those so heartlessly treated.

        We have forcibly separated immigrant parents from their children. We have put children into cage-like “detention centers,” some of which deny them such basic amenities as diapers, toothpaste and soap. We have bottled up asylum seekers in fetid encampments on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump and his henchmen didn’t create these atrocious practices out of thin air; in fact, some of the horrific conditions in migrant jails were described as early as 2015. But those currently in charge of immigration policy have turbo-charged the brutality. It is, now, a terrifying central facet of U.S. immigration policy.

      • “Modified” – A Film About GMOs & Corruption of the Food Supply for Profit

        Parts of the documentary Modified are spent at the kitchen table. But it’s not really a tale about wonderful recipes or the preparation of food.

        Ultimately, it’s a story of capitalism, money and power and how our most basic rights are being eroded by unscrupulous commercial interests.

        The film centres on its maker, Aube Giroux, who resides in Nova Scotia, Canada. Her interest in food and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was inspired by her mother, Jali, who also appears throughout.

        Aube says that when her parents bought their first house her mother immediately got rid of the lawn and planted a huge garden where she grew all kinds of heirloom vegetables, berries, flowers, legumes and garlic.

        “She wanted me and my sister to grow up knowing the story behind the food that we ate, so our backyard was basically our grocery store,” says Aube.

        During the film, we are treated not only to various outdoor scenes of the Giroux’s food garden (their ‘grocery store’) but also to Aube and her mother’s passion for preparing homemade culinary delights.

        The ‘backyard’ is the grocery store and much of Giroux family life revolves around the kitchen and the joy of healthy, nutritious food.

        When GMOs first began appearing in food, Aube says that what bothered her mother was that some of the world’s largest chemical companies were patenting these new genetically engineered seeds and controlling the seed market.

      • Unfair Food Pricing Is Killing Family Farms and Regenerative Farming

        In February, a dairy farmer friend sent me a note confiding that a few farmers she knows are living on cereal until their milk checks arrive. Yet, the recently released census of agriculture shows that the number of young farmers is growing even as the average age of farmers also increases, and there are uplifting articles about young Black farmers connecting with the land and enjoying the self-empowerment that comes with being an independent farmer.

        Meanwhile, voices are rising about the central role that regenerative and organic farming can play in a Green New Deal, a program to mobilize all possible forces to prevent climate disaster.

        How can we make sense of these conflicting currents? What policies and programs will create a just transition for family-scale farmers? What changes will enable farmers to maximize the potential of photosynthesis for putting carbon in the soil to supplement reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in mitigating climate disaster?

      • Sanders Says US Leaders Need to Have the Guts to Take on Powerful Corporations

        In a fiery closing speech at the 2020 Democratic presidential debate in Miami, Florida Thursday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders said compelling campaign rhetoric and detailed policy proposals will do nothing to alter America’s deeply unequal status quo if U.S. leaders are not willing to take on Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry, and other powerful corporate forces standing in the way of progressive change.

        “I suspect people all over the country who are watching this debate are saying, these are good people, they have great ideas,” said Sanders. “But how come nothing really changes? How come for the last 45 years wages have been stagnant for the middle class? How come we have the highest rate of childhood poverty? How come 45 million people still have student debt? How come three people own more wealth than the bottom half of America?”

        The answer, Sanders said, is that “nothing will change unless we have the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military-industrial complex, and the fossil fuel industry.”

      • Grow Your Own Iced Tea This Summer

        Where I come from — the Deep South — iced tea is a religion. Traditionally, most Southern families make it with Lipton tea bags, a little lemon and a lot of sugar. The sole ingredient in those Lipton bags is black tea, which comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The species was once grown on a limited commercial scale in the South, but today it’s produced primarily in Asia. Gardeners in mild-winter areas can grow the traditional “tea” plant (warning: it’s finicky), but green thumbs everywhere can easily grow perfectly suitable substitutes that combine into a delicious, caffeine-free iced tea.

        Use these herbs fresh or dried. Simply steep them in boiling water and refrigerate. Add sweeteners to taste.

      • American caravan arrives in Canadian 'birthplace of insulin' for cheaper medicine

        A self-declared “caravan” of Americans bused across the Canada-U.S. border on Saturday, seeking affordable prices for insulin and raising awareness of “the insulin price crisis” in the United States.

        The group called Caravan to Canada started the journey from Minneapolis, Minnesota on Friday, and stopped at London, Ontario on Saturday, to purchase life-saving type 1 diabetes medication at a pharmacy.

        The caravan numbers at approximately 20 people, according to Nicole Smith-Holt, a member of the group. Smith-Holt said her 26-year-old son died in June 2017 because he was forced to ration insulin due to the high cost. This is Smith-Holt’s second time on the caravan.

        Caravan to Canada trekked the border in May for the same reasons, which Holt-Smith said was smaller than the group this week. She said Americans have gone to countries like Mexico and Canada for more affordable medications in the past and continue to do so.

      • Li Ka-Shing’s Canadian Bet Aims to Halt Doctors’ Paper Trails

        It’s an unexpected bet by Hong Kong’s richest man: a penny stock seeking to modernize clinics for Canada’s overstretched family doctors, many of whom are stuck in the age of paper charts.

        Billionaire Li Ka-shing is the biggest outside investor in Well Health Technologies Corp., a Vancouver-based startup that’s acquiring clinics and electronic medical records providers to bring Canada’s highly fragmented primary care market into the digital era. Its shares have more than doubled this year, making it one of the top-performing health-care stocks on the TSX Venture Exchange.

    • Security

      • Urgent warning to upgrade Windows as flaw lets hackers take control remotely

        Microsoft users have been urged to update their operating systems, with engineers showing how a flaw identified by the tech giant could be exploited by hackers to break into systems and execute code remotely.

        The so-called BlueKeep vulnerability was identified earlier this year.

        It's regarded as so serious that government agencies such as the US National Security Agency as well as the Australian Cyber Security Centre urged users to install the Microsoft security patch as soon as possible.

        Now engineers at British cybersecurity company Sophos have shown how it can be used by cybercriminals to get "full control of a remote system without having to deploy any malware".

        The engineers showed that the exploit is also "wormable" which means once hackers get into one system they can then use it to spread malware to other systems.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Peace With North Korea Should Be a Priority for US Progressives

        In his signature braggadocio way, President Trump made history over the weekend when he met North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un at the military demarcation line dividing North and South Korea and stepped over the cement border and onto North Korean soil, the first standing U.S. president to ever do so. After walking 20 steps, Trump returned back over the line with Kim by his side where they met South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

        As he departed the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Trump announced that working-level meetings would be established over the next few weeks led by Special Representative Stephen Biegun. While we don’t yet know what was agreed to, it was likely some combination of offering North Korea relief of sanctions or security assurances. On Sunday, The New York Times reported that a deal was offered which amounted to “a nuclear freeze, one that essentially enshrines the status quo, and tacitly accepts the North as a nuclear power.”

        Democrats — including North Korea watchers, media pundits and politicians — have issued an overwhelmingly negative response to the meeting. Yet as progressives, must we not recognize the importance of taking steps to end the 69-year-old Korean War? That war, which claimed more than 4 million lives, was temporarily halted by a ceasefire, not with a peace agreement. As I wrote last year, “A peace treaty would end the state of war between the United States and North Korea, taking the threat of a military conflict off the table.”

      • 'We Need Real Diplomacy,' Not Just Photo-Ops, Says Bernie Sanders as Trump Restarts Nuclear Talks With North Korea

        "I have no problem with [Trump] sitting down with Kim Jong-un in North Korea or anyplace else. But I don't want it simply to be a photo opportunity. The whole world's media was attracted there," Sanders said Sunday in an interview on ABC's "This Week," referring to the moment when Trump became the first sitting U.S. president set foot in North Korea.

        "What's going to happen tomorrow and the next day?" Sanders asked. "He has weakened the State Department.... We need to move forward diplomatically, not just do photo opportunities."

        Sanders—a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate—went on to note that Trump has not committed to diplomatic solutions to other conflicts, such as the U.S.-backed Saudi-led assault on Yemen and growing military tensions with Iran, which were sparked by the president's violation of the Iran nuclear accord last year.

        "Right now, while he is meeting with Kim Jong-un, he is still provocative in terms of almost moving toward a war with Iran," Sanders said. "He vetoed legislation that I supported and that we won in the Senate and won in the House which would get the United States out of the horrific war in Yemen, which is led by the brutal dictator Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia."

      • NBC News Whitewashes Colombia’s Right-Wing President

        Colombian President Iván Duque gave a talk on June 21 at the “Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity” on his book Orange Economy: An Infinite Opportunity. Duque wasn’t alone—Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, singer John Legend and former NBA star Dwyane Wade also made appearances at the French Riviera event.

        Claire Atkinson, the senior media editor at NBC News (6/27/19), interviewed Duque after his talk—but instead of asking hard questions and doing deep political analysis, she turned to easy questioning, opting not to follow up on his answers, while omitting the realities on the ground in Colombia. It seems as if his stance on climate change and his ideas on creativity were good enough to erase his record.


        In Duque’s talk, he said he wants Colombia to be the “Silicon Valley” of Latin America. To do this, he put in place a “zero income tax for seven years for creative and tech industries in Colombia.” Colombia Reports (1/7/15) writes that “inequality is a widely cited cause of Colombia’s armed conflict.” And so in Colombia, one of the most unequal countries in the world, the consequences of yet another policy favoring the wealthy isn’t investigated by NBC News.

        The sub-headline of the NBC News interview is this quote from Duque: “We only produce 0.4 percent of CO2 global emissions, but we are one of the most vulnerable countries on climate change effects.” Accepting his self-portrayal as an environmental advocate, Atkinson didn’t ask Duque about his plans to expand aerial fumigation of coca farms, a tactic cheered on by the United States.

      • Born on the 5th of July

        The unifying factor behind environmental decline, an extractive health care system, mind-numbing work for poverty wages, perpetual wars and increasingly intrusive and assertive commercial relations, is capitalism. Of course, the term is an abstraction, shorthand for a belief system used to explain and organize social relations. Its history is of brutality, pillage and genocide explained by its perpetrators as laying the ground for some imagined future civility.

        The motivating factor behind its endurance and spread is the perpetual promise of a better tomorrow. If economic growth can only reach a certain level goes the logic, the social isolation, fractured relations, ruined landscape and brutality that is its product will all be proven worth it. In the half century since its newest incarnation, neoliberalism, was launched this certainty remains despite mounting evidence that it represents the greatest wrong turn in human history.

        The political question in the present is: what to do about it? As with other turning points in history, embedded relations and social stasis form an anchor which must be raised to prevent them from determining the future. And in contrast with the manifestos of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the future is more about foregoing and not doing than doing. It is the doing, acting on a misplaced arrogance of certainty, that has brought us to the precipice.

        Imagined civility was the backdrop for the exchange that momentarily levelled presidential hopeful Joe Biden— made between people who each had long careers perpetrating ‘acceptable’ social violence, one as a segregationist and the other putting poor people in prison. Together they are vying to represent the rich under a façade of inclusion. How much better for a woman (Kamala Harris) to lead the banking sector, the U.S. military and the oil and gas industry into the abyss. We do have our distractions.

      • We Move Under Cover to Terminal One: When the Revolutionary Army Triumphed Though They Ran Out of Hardtack and Covfefe
        Behold the glory of our great revolutionary heroes, proclaimed General Bonespurs at his tank-bedecked sham of a July 4 spectacle, where he babbled and chittered and dutifully read his lines with all the substance and gravitas "of a mid-tier wedding dj." Mostly, weirdly, he narrated the grand bloody history of a Continental Army that "suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware, and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown,” inexplicably drifting into the War of 1812 before triumphantly declaring, "Under the rockets’ red glare, (it) had nothing but victory. When dawn came, the star-spangled banner waved defiant.” En route, however, he went entirely off the rails detailing the arduous journey: “Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over airports, it did everything it had to do." Say what? responded Twitter, which had at it. #RevolutionaryWarAirportStories took off faster than most planes out of Atlanta, with tragic tales of the battle of Jet Blue, the hardships of Paul Revere's red-eye flight, the shortage of pretzels and hardtack on layover in New York, the high price for parking horses at Dulles, and Washington's historic delay due to long lines at Continental.

      • From Japan to Houston During the G20 Circus

        I left Japan for Houston last week, going from a country where gun violence is virtually unknown to one that is a free-fire zone.

        In 2017, just 3 people were killed in shooting incidents in Japan, where there is strict gun control.

        By contrast, and let’s focus on children alone, data from the Center for Disease Control shows that 6.63 children, 18 and under, died each day from violence-related firearm deaths in 2017, the last year those statistics are available (2,420 total deaths divided by 365 days = 6.63).

        As I was leaving Kyoto for Tokyo airport by bullet train, the annual circus that is the G20 summit was about to begin in nearby Osaka.

        Nothing worthwhile or lasting has ever been achieved at these G20 events, which are for PR consumption and little else.

      • 14 Russian sailors die in submarine fire

        14 submarine sailors serving in the Russian Navy have died after a fire broke out on their research vessel, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported. The sailors died due to toxic fumes emitted by burning materials on the vessel. The victims of the fire have not yet been named.

    • Environment

      • With 2019 Predicted to Be Among Planet's Hottest Years, France's 114€º Heat Is 'Absolutely Consistent' With Warnings of Climate Crisis

        United Nations climate experts on Friday expressed alarm—but not surprise—over the extreme heatwave engulfing Europe, as temperatures in parts of France reached a record-breaking 114 degrees Fahrenheit.

        The heatwave, which has hit the continent earlier than in past years and has contributed to wildfires in Spain, is "absolutely consistent" with the climate crisis which is linked to the continued burning of fossil fuels by many of the world's wealthy countries, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told Reuters.

      • As Heat Wave Boils Europe, Lackluster Bonn Talks Marred by US and Saudi-Led Obstruction of Climate Science

        While cities across Europe faced public safety alerts amid record-breaking heatwaves, two weeks of climate talks by nearly 200 delegations in Bonn, Germany wrapped up on Thursday with the negotiations marked by obstruction and climate denial by the United States and other oil-friendly countries rather than a sense of urgency.

        The U.S. and Saudi Arabia led the effort to water down an official concluding statement to the Bonn Climate Change Conference as they objected to mentioning the risks of rising greenhouse gas emissions and were instrumental among the group of oil-producing countries in calling into question the U.N.'s findings about the need to limit the temperature rise to 1.5ۼ Celsius.

        The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said last October that failing to curb rising temperatures would lead to irreversible ecological damage.


        However, Meyer said, "while they may have succeeded in short-circuiting formal discussion of the report, the Saudis can't prevent scientific fact from continuing to drive the heightened awareness among governments, the business community and the public of the need for an urgent response to the climate crisis."

        The conference was also unable to reach an agreement on how to implement the Sustainable Development Mechanism, the program required under the Paris climate agreement of 2015 to support developing countries, many of which are on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

        Debate over the program was pushed to next December, when delegates will meet for the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) in Santiago, Chile.

      • After Data Shows Last Month Was Hottest June on Record, Sanders Says Maybe Now Is 'Time to Start Treating This Like a Crisis and Not a Hoax'

        In response to news on Tuesday that a European Union satellite agency declared last month the hottest June ever recorded, 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said, "Maybe, just maybe, it's time to start treating this like a crisis and not a hoax."

        With campaigners across the world demanding leaders respond to the crisis of the rapidly heating planet as the "climate emergency" it is, Sanders was responding to a tweet by co-founder Bill McKibben noting new data released by the UN-supported Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) that showed global temperatures last month were the highest ever recorded for June since records began in the late 19th century.

      • 'We Are in a Climate Emergency, America': Anchorage Hits 90 Degrees for First Time in Recorded History

        With Alaska in the midst of an unprecedented heat wave that experts say is driven by the climate crisis, Anchorage—the state's largest city—reached an all-time high temperature of 90 degrees on Thursday.

        "At 5 pm [Thursday] afternoon, Anchorage International Airport officially hit 90 degrees for the first time on record," the Anchorage National Weather Service announced in a tweet early Friday.

      • Photo: Amid global extreme weather events, Russia's Irkutsk region faces deadly floods

        Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, has published satellite images of areas in the Irkutsk region where a state of emergency has been declared due to mass flooding. This photograph was taken on June 29, 2019. Since June 25, more than 6,600 homes have flooded in the region, displacing more than 32,000 people. As of July 2, 18 deaths have been reported in the flooding, and more than 200 people have been hospitalized due primarily to hypothermia.

      • Is Gavin Newsom Just a Slicker Version of Jerry Brown on the Environment?

        Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday reappointed three of Governor Jerry Brown’s most controversial, least popular and most environmentally questionable appointees – Karla Nemeth, Cindy Messer and Chuck Bonham – after in February refusing to reappoint Brown’s best appointee, Felicia Marcus, as Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.

        He reappointed these three officials in spite of growing opposition to their reappointment by fishermen, conservationists and environmental justice advocates. He reappointed Nemeth as Department of Water Resources (DWR) Director, Messer as DWR Chief Deputy Director and Bonham as California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director.

        The Governor’s Office stated, “Governor Gavin Newsom today announced several appointments, including the reappointment of several of the state’s top water policy officials at the California Department of Water Resources and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which are critical to build the Administration’s water resilience portfolio in the coming months, as directed by the Governor’s executive order, and to advance Voluntary Agreements regarding water management for the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems.”

        Fishermen, Tribal leaders, conservationists and environmental justice advocates must wake up and see what Newsom is really doing. I have been a voice in the wilderness on Newsom’s questionable appointments and actions to date – and other people must pull the blinders off their eyes and understand that Newsom is just a slicker version of Governor Jerry Brown.

        Under Newson, Nemeth, Messer and Bonham, the environmentally destructive Delta Tunnel is still on the table as part of Newsom’s “water portfolio.” It is only the twin tunnels that the Governor has abandoned.

      • Is Bottled Water Safe to Drink, Everyday?

        The next time you put your lips to a plastic bottle of “crystal-clear mountain spring water” think about Trump’s herculean efforts to dismantle federal agencies that protect health.

        More to the point, Trump’s innate distrust of science is already starting to impact health risks, e.g., according to Consumer Reports (“CR”) excessive levels of arsenic are found in some bottled water that should have been spotted by federal regulators, and not by Consumer Reports.

        As it happens: “The federal government’s safety inspections of water bottling facilities hit a 15-year low in 2017, according to documents CR obtained through a public records request.”

        The referenced CR headline: “Arsenic in Some Bottled Water Brands at Unsafe Levels, Consumer Reports Says,” June 28, 2019. More on that travesty, later.

      • Uprising on Rainbow Ridge

        There is a great forest, that stands on the ridges to the north of Petrolia, California. These mountains are the source of the Mattole River’s largest and formerly most bountiful tributaries, the North Forks. Their branches are so steep, their weather so wild that not even the rapacious MAXXAM corporation, which owned it from 1986 to 2008, could destroy this forest completely. And so, it has survived into the modern era.

        These forests are now the property of Humboldt Redwood Company, which plans to log them. HRC brings with it a new paradigm for timber harvest: certified sustainable logging. This system, which contains appealing features for the public, such as protection for old growth trees, ban on clearcuts, and consultation with the wishes of neighboring communities, was initially greeted with enthusiasm by elements who fought MAXXAM tooth and nail. However, certification is gradually defining itself as just another mechanism, adjusted to dwindling resources, to continue what former Cal Fire director Richard Wilson has called liquidation logging.

        Where MAXXAM was the lion, ravaging the virgin redwood forest, HRC is the jackal, gnawing the last scraps off the bones.


        Goons lit truck tires under the trees of young climbers. Others were wrapped in duct tape and lowered hundreds of feet headfirst. Many young people, earnestly desiring a better world for themselves and their children, were severely traumatized in these Mattole timber wars. Some of them cannot forget the blood spilled here, and are continuing to defend these same forests twenty years later.

        Resistance was not confined to direct action. Beginning in 1990, Mattole residents challenged every single MAXXAM timber harvest plan in court. Issues concerning the public trust were brought before the Board of Forestry. However, when in 2007 MAXXAM declared bankruptcy as they had planned all along, only the 3500-acre Headwaters Forest, of MAXXAM’s 210,000 acres, was offered any permanent protection.

        Looking back, it is curious that the Mattole was so passionately defended during the timber wars. It is not glamorous, like Headwaters Forest. But, unlike redwood lands, which are rather sterile, mixed fir and hardwood forests can support a marvelous variety of life, including many species which are on the decline and need places to live. For the original indigenous inhabitants of the Mattole, these mountains must have been spiritually associated with salmon, so prodigious were their salmon runs. Early colonists used to say that you couldn’t get a horse to cross the lower North Fork because of the flashing tails.

      • Who Can Afford a Green New Deal? We Can!

        Despite ridicule by Republican leaders, calls for a Green New Deal resonate with 80 percent of Americans. Building on the vision laid out by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Ed Markey, now Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have weighed in with their versions.

        Americans love the idea of taking on the climate crisis, but three-fourths of us also worry about paying the bill. So, we started looking for answers and have some heartening news to share. But first, a stark reality.

        Doing little or nothing could cost hundreds of billions annually by the end of the century, experts warn; and even that feels optimistic to us, given the multitude of climate-related variables likely to harm our health, infrastructure, agriculture, and so much more.

        Bottom line: To avoid immeasurable catastrophe, we now know we cannot heat the planet above 1.5 ℃ over preindustrial levels, says the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And that means getting serious fast: Slashing global, human-caused CO2 emissions 45 percent by 2030, compared to 2010 levels, and reaching net-zero by 2050.

      • Energy

        • U.N. Chief Warns Paris Climate Goals Still Not Enough

          U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took his global message urging immediate climate action to officials gathered in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, where production of hydrocarbons remains a key driver of the economy.

          Guterres is calling on governments to stop building new coal plants by 2020, cut greenhouse emissions by 45% over the next decade and overhauling fossil fuel-driven economies with new technologies like solar and wind. The world, he said, “is facing a grave climate emergency.”

          In remarks at a summit in Abu Dhabi, he painted a grim picture of how rapidly climate change is advancing, saying it is outpacing efforts to address it.

          He lauded the Paris climate accord, but said even if its promises are fully met, the world still faces what he described as a catastrophic three-degree temperature rise by the end of the century.

          Arctic permafrost is melting decades earlier than even worst-case scenarios, he said, threatening to unlock vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas.

        • Virginia Legislators Promoting Atlantic Coast Pipeline Have Personal Investments

          Virginia State Senator Bill DeSteph is a staunch advocate for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. He hasn’t just endorsed the project – he’s actively campaigned for it. DeSteph is listed on the pipeline’s website as a supporter. He co-chairs a caucus that in March 2016 sent Virginia’s two U.S. Senators a letter backing the pipeline. In September 2016, he even co-authored an op-ed in the pages of the Virginian-Pilot that promoted the project.

          But DeSteph has another important tie to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: he owns more than $250,000 worth of Dominion Energy stock. Dominion is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s top owner. It is building the pipeline and will operate it.

          DeSteph’s decision to use his public platform to advance a controversial pipeline project that he stands to personally profit from reflects a larger trend in Virginia. According to financial disclosures filed with Virginia’s Ethics Council, several other members of the Virginia General Assembly who have strongly advocated for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline also own significant amounts of company stock in the pipeline’s owners.

        • Chernobyl Has Blown Up Twice

          They have gone into Mega Propaganda Overdrive because the drama was so popular they are terrified that millions of people will now realize that nuclear power is Actually Dangerous.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Recreational Bulldozing

          I recently got a survey from a mountain biking advocate asking me if I agreed with the premise that bikes belong in designated wilderness.

          This person justified mountain bike access to wilderness and recommended wilderness areas because they maintain trails and create new trails that are open to hikers and horse riders. And oh, by the way, shouldn’t they have the “right” to use all public lands because they are part of the public too.

          I once had an acquaintance (wouldn’t call him a friend) who played around with bulldozers to be exact. A D-9 cat which he used to uncover gold-bearing gravels in Alaskan rivers. He was what he called a “recreational” bulldozer. He felt, like some mountain bikers, that because he paid taxes, that gave him the right to run his D-9 cat anyplace on public lands.

          He used the same logic about improving access as the mountain bikers as well. He claimed he was “improving” the land by making it more accessible by making trails. He used to tell me that his trails were open to everyone else. Hikers, dirt bikers, horses, and I suppose even mountain bikers.

          This acquaintance is quite the mechanic and recently told me he had been able to create a prototype electric bulldozer so his machine was very quiet. I.e. he would soon be an example of “quiet” recreation.

          He argues that has just as much right to create new trails and use his bulldozer on all public lands as any mountain bike. After all, he is older and “needs” a machine to carry him up the mountain.

          Of course, he can walk, just like most mountain bikers can walk, but he loves his “yellow metal” about as much as most mountain bikers love their machines.

          If mountain bikes are allowed on all public lands or just about all public lands, why not recreational bulldozing? Given the cost of bulldozers, I don’t think we have to worry too much about the widespread impact of recreational bulldozing, though certainly new roads are created by bulldozers for logging, mining and so on every year.

        • Vegans Begin to Stir the Pot in France

          France has been slow in recognizing the vegan movement, which is not surprising given a renowned culinary tradition notable for fois gras and rich cream sauces. Are we not the country where the gastronomy is classified by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage? Our star chefs are our best ambassadors abroad, our monuments. Who does not know the reputation of Pierre Gagnaire or the late Joël Robuchon?

          Until recent years, only a small group of French activists have promoted veganism—a way of life that aims to prohibit killing or abusing animals for use as food, for clothes, in cosmetics testing or for other purposes. Some activists take part in high-profile actions, from attacking butcheries with fake blood to releasing animals from farms and slaughterhouses.

          These tactics repel much of French society, but at the same time that society is beginning to embrace the notions of vegan diets and protection of animals. In fact, some of the French media hailed the rise of veganism as the movement of the year 2018—evidence that a campaign pursued most notoriously by militants is well on the way to becoming a social phenomenon.

      • Overpopulation

        • Over One-Tenth of Global Population Could Lack Drinking Water by 2030

          Outside on my front porch, alder chip smoke billows out of my small smoker. The racks inside the tin smoker are filled with wild-caught Alaskan Coho salmon, provided to me by my friend Jonathan. He and his wife take their three daughters in their fishing boat and head north from our town on the north coast of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula for the late summer salmon runs in Southeastern Alaska. They return with a hull full of frozen fish, for those of us here lucky enough to have placed our orders for it.

          Several friends here attached to the land where I live are also outside, busy doing their own things: one is preparing his sailboat to launch in a week, another is working in the garden, two others are pitching a tent, another is out working his summer job with the Washington Conservation Association, and still another is reading and contemplating what she might write in the next column we co-author for Truthout.

          It is truly idyllic. A dream I’ve had for decades is finally coming true: I’m living in a way that is close to the Earth, which enables me to minimize my carbon footprint. I’m growing much of my own food and living in community with like-minded people.

          Yet all is taking place against the backdrop of a global climate crisis. Runaway human-caused climate disruption is already making life unlivable for millions around the globe, and is an integral reason why we are already in the Sixth Mass Extinction Event.

          Each of us in this small community of ours is fully aware of the crisis that is upon us. We understand we are living in a bubble, in that we are able to grow much of our food, smoke this fish, go for hikes, share healthy meals, and have enough water to do all of this. Our conversations tend to run the gamut: ranging from discussing the latest breakdowns of portions of our global life support system, to when are we going to hang the bat house, to where to put the clothesline, to what happens when the cities run out of food, to when am I leaving for my next climbing trip.

        • There Is No Such Thing as a Green War [Ed: Overpopulation is real (a real problem) and war will be inevitable if it carries on. Then, the only "green" thing about it will be elimination of populations. Better not reach war. Ever.]

          In June, the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs released a report titled “Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War.” Echoing previous reports on the link between the US military and climate change, the paper outlines the various ways in which the Pentagon is “the world’s largest institutional user of petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world.”

          While this is not necessarily news, it never hurts to have a reminder, and the paper’s detailed data on issues such as fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions make for a shocking read and eye-catching headlines. In 2017 alone, for example, “the Pentagon’s greenhouse gas emissions were greater than the greenhouse gas emissions of entire industrialized countries such as Sweden or Denmark.”

          Still, although the paper clearly links the US military to climate chaos, the soft conclusion and the handling of the military industrial complex with kid gloves leaves some gaping holes in what could otherwise be a powerful commentary on intersectionality and the need for systemic change.

          It is not enough to academically trace a red thread between issues. Recognizing the connections that tie climate chaos to war to imperialism to the growing refugee crisis demand solutions founded on that real-world intersectionality. We need an active solidarity that erases the demarcations of single-issue movements and builds a power that reflects the reality of our place and time. Likewise, we must be wary of soft reforms, greenwashing and capitalism’s unending affinity for shaming people.

    • Finance

      • Community Land Trusts Are a Model for Reparations

        This year has already seen more Democrats talking about reparations than ever, including several running for the presidency. Now, rather than writing checks to individuals, more and more people are talking about collective strategies for repair and reparation. Community land trusts, cooperatives and mutual housing associations, for example, might offer a way to transfer some long-promised land and rights to Black communities while making today’s housing economy less speculative.

        Joining us to discuss those possibilities are Katherine Franke, author of a new book, Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition; Cathy Albisa, co-founder and executive director of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative; and Jaritza Geigel, senior organizer for Picture the Homeless, a grassroots organization founded and led by homeless people which advocates for social justice on issues like housing and what they call the shelter-industrial complex. The interview that follows has been edited for clarity and length.

      • Reparations Are One Step in a Long Fight to End Racial Capitalism

        Recently, the discourse around reparations, a movement well over a century old, has intensified. As the 2020 election approaches, (mostly white) candidates are weighing in on an issue they have no personal relation to, but all the opinions one could ever hope for. And even those who are not white speak carefully from their positions of state authority. Yet reparations for slavery shouldn’t actually be up for debate, because there’s nothing to debate; the U.S. owes Black people. As a matter of fact, the entire Western world does. These empires have built themselves up and maintained their power through the enslavement, colonization and exploitation of not only the African continent, but African people as well. Still, how we talk about reparations does matter, and we have to be careful when speaking about them with regard to the United States. One of the last things that we should want is a movement that gives legitimacy to the state.

        When the subject of reparations comes up, the term “conversation” is tossed around and repeated ad nauseum. It’s often there to neutralize what’s evergreen: white fears of Black demands. This is one of the ways progress dies; matters of oppression and power are reduced to mere disagreements that need to be talked over. Unfortunately, mere discussion is not the solution, and neither is simply hearing “the stories” of oppressed people, although both of those practices can be a beginning. Without further action, this emphasis on “conversation” can contribute to oppression — not take away from it.

        Moreover, throughout mainstream conversations about reparations, much of the language disturbingly relies on concepts like worthiness, innocence and goodness. The word “deserve” is doled out through countless commentaries in a way true compensation for slavery never has been. This dangerous rationale of who deserves and who doesn’t is based in white supremacist logic that cages, kills and brutalizes Black people based on our proximity to what a white society deems worthy. These categories associated with being deserving and others like them are almost always injected with anti-Blackness. There’s a difference between what’s deserved and what’s owed, or even more, what’s liberating.

        Being “undeserving,” “guilty” and “bad” are very racialized categories. There’s a reason that every time the police extrajudicially kill a Black person it’s always justified in the eyes of white supremacy and the state: It’s because we are always deserving of violence in the eyes of the state and a white supremacist society. If we make appeals that rely on the idea that some people are “deserving” and some are not, we direct the discussion into a realm of scarcity, in which only certain people are eligible for justice. It is this sort of austerity reasoning that is already destroying us.

      • Senate Democrats Demand Trump Administration Answer for 'Unconscionable' Delay of Puerto Rico Food Aid

        In a letter to White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday, a group of senators demanded to know why Puerto Rico still hasn't received the $600 million in emergency food stamp aid that Congress approved three weeks ago.

        "In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, it is unconscionable that the Trump administration is allowing the most vulnerable Puerto Ricans to struggle to make ends meet and put food on the table," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of the letter's signatories, said in a statement.

      • 'The Bold Solution We Need': Over 100 Academics Endorse Sanders Student Debt Cancellation and Tuition-Free College Plan

        More than 100 academics endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders's tuition-free college and debt cancellation proposal on Wednesday, hailing the plan as the kind of ambitious solution that is needed to tackle soaring higher education costs and provide relief to the millions of Americans drowning in student loans.

        In a letter (pdf) to Congress first obtained by The American Prospect, a mix of education, economic, and legal experts said Sanders's College for All Act "would benefit the entire economy, improving life not only for those who will feel immediate relief as borrowers, current students, and their loved ones."

      • Trump Invites Debates Over Omnivorous Crony Capitalism

        Donald J. Trump’s 2020 election strategy is to connect his potential Democratic opponents with “socialism.” Trump plans to use this attack on the Democrats even if Senator Bernie Sanders, who proudly calls himself a “democratic socialist,” doesn’t become the presidential nominee (Sanders has been decisively re-elected in Vermont).

        Senator Elizabeth Warren is distancing herself from the socialist “label.” She went so far as to tell the New England Council “I am a capitalist to my bones.”

        Sanders and Warren are not what they claim to be. They are both updating Roosevelt’s New Deal and more closely resemble the Social Democrats that have governed western European democracies for years, delivering higher standards of living than that experienced by Americans.

        The original doctrine of socialism meant government ownership of the means of production – heavy industries, railroads, banks, and the like. Nobody in national politics today is suggesting such a takeover. As one quipster put it, “How can Washington take ownership of the banks when the banks own Washington?”

      • 'People Don't Like Insurance Companies, They Like Their Doctors': Poll Shows Majority of Voters Support Abolishing Private Insurers If They Can Keep Providers

        Conducted by Morning Consult and Politico after the first Democratic presidential debates, the poll (pdf) found 55 percent of voters back a Medicare for All system that "diminishes the role of private insurers but allows you to keep your doctor and hospital."

        According to the survey, 78 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of independents, and 26 percent of Republicans—averaging 55 percent overall—support a Medicare for All plan that phases out private insurance and allows them to keep their doctors and hospitals.

        In a statement to Morning Consult, Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) presidential campaign said "[t]hese numbers only affirm what the senator has said many times: people don't like insurance companies, they like their doctors and their hospitals."

        "Despite what the pharmaceutical and insurance industries will tell you," the campaign said, "Medicare for All is the only proposal that gives Americans the freedom to control their own futures—change jobs, start a family, start a business—and keep their doctor."

      • Rich Father-in-Law Has Helped, Complicated O’Rourke’s Career

        Beto O’Rourke was running for the El Paso City Council in 2005 when he asked to meet with the illustrious real estate investor William Sanders.

        Sanders had earned a fortune and a reputation as a brilliant businessman in Chicago before returning to his remote hometown on the West Texas-Mexico border. He thought the aspiring politician was there to solicit a donation. But O’Rourke was seeking permission to marry Sanders’ daughter Amy, whom he’d met less than three months before.

      • Rich Will Keep Getting Richer and 'Nothing Will Change,' Says Bernie Sanders, Unless US Leaders Have Guts to Take on Powerful Corporations

        "I suspect people all over the country who are watching this debate are saying, these are good people, they have great ideas," said Sanders. "But how come nothing really changes? How come for the last 45 years wages have been stagnant for the middle class? How come we have the highest rate of childhood poverty? How come 45 million people still have student debt? How come three people own more wealth than the bottom half of America?"

        The answer, Sanders said, is that "nothing will change unless we have the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military-industrial complex, and the fossil fuel industry."

        "If we don't have the guts to take them on, we'll continue to have plans, we'll continue to have talk, and the rich will get richer, and everybody else will be struggling," the Vermont senator concluded.

      • The Real College Inequality Democrats Have Yet to Address

        Just in time for the 2020 presidential election, the Democrats have discovered that there is real economic inequality in the United States. But they have not yet fully addressed the role that the Democratic party and its leaders have played in creating this vast inequality that led to the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.

        The presidential candidates have been slow to fully recognize the role that former President Bill Clinton’s globalization policies (NAFTA and WTO) played in the outsourcing of American jobs or the lowering of wages for workers.

        As the Democratic presidential debates have shown, Vice President Biden is having a hard time defending his long public record, especially as an opponent of federally mandated “forced” busing to integrate our public schools decades after the Supreme Court’s overturning of racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). As a Senator Joe Biden was a free trade advocate as well.

        But Senator Biden played a large role in creating inequality in two additional realms. He was a strong backer of a 2005 bankruptcy “reform” law that made it harder for people to file personal bankruptcy and to wipe out all of their debts. Given that perhaps as many as fifty percent of all personal bankruptcies in America are caused by debt incurred from health care not covered by insurance, this was an especially cruel blow to those seeking relief from their heavy debt loads. Senator Warren has already criticized Biden for his support of this bill (“The Twenty Year Argument Between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren Over Bankruptcy, Explained”)

      • 'The Bernie Grassroots Machine Chugs Along': Sanders Raises $18 Million From Individual Donations Averaging $18

        Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $18 million for his Democratic presidential campaign in the second quarter, his campaign reported Tuesday, a number that, while shy of the high water mark set by rival South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, nonetheless showed the Vermont senator's staying power in a crowded field.

        The $18 million came from "nearly 1 million donations," the Sanders campaign said in a statement announcing the numbers—at an average of around $18. Sanders transferred into his coffers an additional $6 million from other committees, the campaign said, bringing the total they reported for the second quarter to $24 million.

        "The Bernie grassroots machine chugs along," tweeted BBC reporter Anthony Zurcher.

        The campaign stressed the Sanders approach to raising money from grassroots, small-dollar donors and the campaign's aversion to big money power players.

        "This is a movement built by working people all across this country," campaign manager Faiz Shakir said. "While other candidates court big money at fancy fundraisers, this campaign is supported by teachers, retail workers, and nurses who are putting what little money they have behind the one candidate who can bring about the transformative change this country needs."

      • How the Two-Tiered System in Higher Education Gets Reproduced (and Hopefully Abolished)

        To understand how the two-tiered system in higher education reproduces itself, I think it is useful to analyze how those in positions of relative power often serve to legitimate the system rhetorically, culturally and via political discussion. This is especially true when the purported aim of those driving the discussion is a progressive one, as I hope to show below with analyses of a tenure-track professor’s commentary on healthcare disparities in academia and of the higher education plans recently put forward by high-profile politicians seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. In addition, I spell out below the kind of educational aims and strategy those of us most severely impacted by the two-tiered system need to adopt if we are to abolish the disparate treatment incisively described as “faculty apartheid.”

        The two-tiered system refers to the class structure in academia that bestows a modicum of prestige and influence upon a dwindling portion of the professoriate while ensuring the privileges that shrinking strata of faculty enjoy are made possible by the disempowering of the rest of us who teach at community colleges, state universities and sometimes even Ivy League institutions. The two-tiered system reflects the separation of faculty into haves and have-nots. The system is responsible for the conditions facing ‘contingent faculty’ and ‘adjuncts’ – designations used more or less interchangeably to refer to us have-nots, although ‘adjunct’ tends to imply part-time, per-semester contract status while ‘contingent’ is more of a catch-all for professorial precarity. The two-tiered system is responsible for the new faculty majority of precariously employed professors who rarely know if they will have jobs from one semester to the next. It produces and indicates the existence of déclassé faculty who – despite holding master’s degrees and often enough PhDs – are paid appreciably less than their counterparts on the tenure-track, subsist in poverty or near-poverty and frequently lack basic job benefits. Unlike our tenure-track and tenured colleagues, we adjuncts are subject to the whims of department chairs and upper level administration. We might not get offered classes the next term if lecturer money dries up or if we annoy our chairs, fellow faculty with the power to hire or to deny us work. We are part of the gig economy. The two-tiered system created and continually reproduces a situation in which a significant number of faculty are routine “freeway fliers,” reduced to cobbling together several “part-time” gigs at a couple different schools in order to teach enough classes and earn (just) enough to squeak by, for a while. Maybe. Oh, and sometimes, especially during summers, we work plenty of other jobs too.

      • 'This Is the Agenda America Needs': Sanders Fires Back After Biden Attacks Medicare for All and Other Progressive Solutions

        After former Vice President Joe Biden attacked Medicare for All, decriminalization of border crossings, and other major progressive agenda items during an interview that aired Friday morning, fellow 2020 White House contender Bernie Sanders responded that bold ideas will be necessary to "energize voters" and defeat President Donald Trump.

        "I'm proud to be working with AOC and so many other Democrats to pass Medicare for All, debt-free college, and a Green New Deal," Sanders tweeted, referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). "This is the agenda America needs."


        On the topic of immigration, Biden said he doesn't agree with calls to decriminalize entering the U.S. without documentation, a proposal put forth by Julián Castro and backed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

        "No, I don't," Biden said when asked if he supports the proposal. "I think people should have to get in line, but if people are coming because they're actually seeking asylum, they should have a chance to make their case."

        The former vice president also downplayed Ocasio-Cortez's victory over Rep. Joe Crowley last year and suggested her ideas don't have broad appeal.

        "I think Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman, but she won a primary," Biden said. "In the general election fights, who won? Mainstream Democrats who are very progressive on social issues and very strong on education and healthcare."

      • After Sanders Points Out Poorest Have Zero or Negative Wealth, WaPo Fact Checker Slammed for Calling That Fact 'Not Especially Meaningful'

        Critics of massive wealth inequality in the United States defended a statistic frequently cited by 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday after Glenn Kessler, author of the Washington Post's "Fact Checker" column, claimed the fact that the bottom half of the country has zero or negative wealth was "not especially meaningful."

        The statistic in question was brought up most recently by Sanders during the Democratic primary debate last week:

        "We have three people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of America," Sanders said.

        The statement, Kessler said, is factually true—but he rejected Sanders's suggestion that the inequality evidenced by the fact means that a major correction to the U.S. economy is required.

        "This snappy talking point is based on numbers that add up, but it's also a question of comparing apples to oranges," Kessler wrote. "But people in the bottom half have essentially no wealth, as debts cancel out whatever assets they might have. So the comparison is not especially meaningful."

      • The Watchmakers Revolution

        Besancon is a town in eastern France. It is also the original site of the Lip Watch Company, a watchmaker famous for its top-quality high-end timepieces. In the 1970s, the company was the site of a worker-managed undertaking instituted in response to attempts by the ownership to sell the company to outside financial interests. After a series of dismissals and layoffs from 1970 1972, workers formed an Action Committee. The worker takeover of the plant where the company was housed took place in 1973 after the committee discovered management documents detailing more dismissals. Hundreds of workers occupied the plant and took a couple members of management hostage. The building where the hostages were being held was raided by security forces and the hostages were released. In response, the occupying workers took tens of thousands of watches “hostage,” hiding them in secret caches around the region.

        The occupation of the factory continued, as did the production of watches. Inspired by the factory takeovers in France during the rebellion of 1968 and informed by New Left concepts of worker management and autonomy, the workers at LIP organized themselves along non-hierarchical lines to run the factories, educate themselves about managing the company and cooperation across traditional gender, ethnic and occupational segmentation, and keep the police out. Their efforts were supported by individuals and groups formed and inspired by the aforementioned rebellion. Support from the traditional union leadership was tendentious at best, especially among those who feared a loss of power and control should the LIP self-management exercise prove successful in the long run. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, the striking/occupying workers of LIP received tremendous support from the residents of Besancon.

        In 2018, Verso published the most complete English language history of what is known as “The Lip Affair.” Written by University of North Carolina history professor Donald Reid, the text, titled Opening the Gates: The LIP Affair, 1968-1981, is a lengthy and detailed report on the struggle. Reid has written an in-depth examination of the financial decisions of management that led to the “affair,” simultaneously describing the owner’s paternalism and assumption of his employees’ ignorance. As he continues his reporting of the machinations and manipulations of management and ownership, Reid reveals the growing empowerment of the workers. It becomes clear that this empowerment is related both to the fact of the workers’ success in keeping the plant open and in their growing knowledge of the industry’s financial workings.

      • Wall Street Beware: The Public Banking Movement Is Coming for You

        It may not come as a surprise to hear that the majority of Americans don’t trust the banking system in this country. Only 27 percent of those surveyed in a 2016 Gallup poll said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the institution — less than half of the record high set in 1979. And the lack of trust is spread relatively evenly across the political spectrum — it’s not just liberals or those on the left: Almost everyone is fed up with the banks.

        And if banking institutions don’t exactly spark joy, their lead characters — morally bankrupt investment bankers whose greed and arrogance almost singlehandedly collapsed the entire country’s economy — certainly don’t spark joy either. It’s an old story: Bankers made obscene amounts of money destroying the economy, we bailed them out, they walked away from it all without a shred of accountability and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. But that’s not where the story has to end. Spurred by the need for an alternative to the for-profit, extractive model of finance exemplified by Wall Street, there is a budding movement in the United States that is working to reimagine banking as an institution that truly serves the public.

        Public banking is an old idea, but it has never been very common in the United States. The first and only public bank in the country was founded exactly 100 years ago in North Dakota, and it wasn’t until relatively recently that the idea has begun to find new life in cities and states across the country. Growing largely out of the need for more democratic ownership over capital, the aim of this budding movement is to create a robust public banking infrastructure across the nation that is rooted in the principles of economic, environmental, racial and social justice.

        The renewed interest in public banking really took off right after the financial collapse in 2008 as people began exploring the option of moving their money into alternative banking institutions, such as local credit unions and community banks. But despite being useful for small-scale, personal banking, these institutions do not operate on a scale where they are able to handle a city or state’s financial assets — they’re just too small. What was needed was a much larger institution with a clearly defined charter that could take in the municipal deposits of a state — or even a city like San Francisco, whose budget topped $10 billion in 2018.

      • We Must Fight to Preserve Social Security for Millennials

        If you’re a millennial, you may have been led to believe that you have a better chance of seeing a UFO or Bigfoot than receiving a Social Security check. In a recent survey, some 80 percent of millennials are concerned that they won’t be able to receive any Social Security benefits upon retirement.

        With the steady drumbeat of dystopian disinformation flowing from Social Security’s opponents and many in the media, who could blame them? No wonder the young adults I talk to at town hall meetings across the country tell me the same thing: “Social Security will not be there for me when I need it.” Let me assure the U.S.’s young people that Social Security will be there for you in the future, if you fight for it now.

        Don’t listen to so-called “entitlement reformers” who try to divide the generations by telling you it’s unfair that millennials “support” today’s retirees through Social Security payroll contributions. This ignores the fact that the program has always been a compact between the generations — and has provided Americans with basic income in retirement for more than 80 years. Social Security is the bedrock of the U.S.’s working and middle classes. We can’t allow conservative ideologues to erode it.

        These “reformers” count on people forgetting that Social Security is much more than a retirement income program. It also provides disability, spousal and survivor’s benefits to Americans of all ages. The average worker with a spouse and two children would have to purchase more than $600,000 in life and disability insurance to replace the protections Social Security provides. In fact, some 1.2 million millennials already receive Social Security benefits.

        Social Security is as much a millennials’ program as anyone else’s. Current trends indicate that millennials will rely on Social Security retirement benefits significantly more than their parents’ or grandparents’ generations. Increasing income inequality, wage stagnation, student loan debt, declining home ownership, the gig economy and the scarcity of employer-provided pensions have put young peoples’ retirement security at risk.

        The National Institute on Retirement Security reports that two-thirds of millennials haven’t saved any money for retirement. At the same time, future seniors face rapidly escalating living costs. Basic expenses — from housing to health care to groceries — will become even pricier in decades to come. What’s more, millennials will live longer on average than today’s retirees, meaning they’ll have to spread out their financial resources over a greater number of years.

        Don’t let them fool you into believing that slashing benefits is the only way to keep the system solvent for the future.

      • Bought Politicians

        The blatant corruption of the UK’s political system is part of the reason for popular alienation from the ruling classes. It was Blair who elevated British politics to US levels of shamelessness in the matter of politicians’ self enrichment, and Johnson looks set to follow the Blair example. While some may pretend to do so, I do not accept that there is anybody who is naive enough genuinely to believe that such donations do not influence politicians’ policy decisions.

        Straight donations aside, the slightly disguised corruption of our political system should also be taken into account. The banks put politicians in their pockets not through direct payments, but through massive, often six figure, fees they pay them for “speaking at dinners”. That is how Hillary Clinton garnered much of her Wall Street funding. In the case of Boris Johnson, it is interesting that in the House of Commons Register of Members’ Interests, he frequently lists the name of the speaking agency who paid him, but not who the client was.

        Another way to pay less obvious bribes – and one particularly pursued by New Labour – was the book deal, where publishers pay massive six figure advances to politicians which are, routinely, up to ten times the actual royalties earned for which they are an “advance”. This only makes sense when you realise that every single one of the major publishers is owned by a much bigger multinational – for example until recently Murdoch owned HarperCollins.

        James Reuben, who gave two donations totaling €£50,000 to Johnson, is the scion of the UK’s second wealthiest family, worth €£18 billion. The Reubens made their money, like Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, in the pillaging of Russia’s massive metal producing assets, which were physically seized by gangsters, in the chaotic US organised Yeltsin privatisation process. The entire basis of their vast fortune was the exploitation of assets effectively stolen from the Russian state and people.

        There is a fascinating link here to New Labour corruption that shows how entirely rotten Westminster is. Many will recall Peter Mandelson’s famous meeting with Oleg Deripaska and Nat Rothschild on the yacht in Corfu, at a house party where George Osborne was also around. The full story has never appeared in mainstream media, so far as I can judge.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • How To Spot A Twitter Troll

        It is a matter of simple fact that the British government employs a very large number of people whose full time job is to influence the political narrative on social media. The 77th Brigade of the British Army, the Integrity Initiative, MI5 and MI6 and GCHQ all run major programmes of covert online propaganda. These information warriors operate on twitter, facebook, and in comments sections across the internet.

        I have long been fascinated by the disconnect by which people, who do know and understand that the security services employ tens of thousands of people and have budgets of billions, nevertheless find it hard to accept that they may come personally into contact with their operations. Therefore when I state that the security services infiltrate groups including environmentalists and the SNP, and were involved in the Skripal story in ways not public, there is a peculiar desire among people to reject it as it is uncomfortable. Equally while people do know the security services are committing huge sums to social media influencing, to point out any of its instances brings derisive shouts of “conspiracy theory”.

        It was when I was pointing out the many omissions and inconsistencies in the official version of events surrounding the Skripals, that I first came under sustained attack from accounts on twitter, often making short and very sarcastic comments. I confess for a while this did actually get me down. I have no difficulty with people disagreeing with me, but I find it depressing to encounter unreasonably closed minds.

        But in quite short order I started to note a few defining characteristics of the scores of accounts from which I was being attacked. These are false accounts, but they are trolls not bots. There are people from the 77th Brigade, GCHQ or other agencies sitting behind a desk and running scores of fake accounts each. As there is a real human being behind them, unlike bots, these trolls can reply if challenged and attempt to promote a real identity. But there are a number of key giveaways:

      • Why Are Democrats Afraid to End Private Health Insurance?

        Voters from both sides of the aisle are starting to support the idea of national health insurance, or Medicare for all, but just two of the ten candidates on stage for the first Democratic debate—Bill de Blasio and Elizabeth Warren—were willing to say they’d abolish private insurance. Another candidate, Beto O’Rourke, had previously expressed support for national health insurance, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., had been a co-sponsor of a Medicare for all bill. The rest were firmly against it.

        According to a June Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 56% of Americans support a national health care plan, i.e., Medicare for all. Two 2018 polls, from Hill-HarrisX and Reuters-Ipsos found that nearly 80% of respondents supported the concept, although as the Kaiser poll indicates, many Americans are confused about the details, such as whether premiums, deductibles and co-pays would still exist, and if so, whether employers or individuals would pay for them.

        Perhaps it’s that confusion that made eight candidates so timid. As Dylan Scott explains in Vox, “employer-sponsored insurance is one of the biggest challenges for single-payer health care.” As many as 150 million people get their insurance from their employers, Scott continues, and under the bill put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., they’d be moved to a government-sponsored plan within a few years of the bill’s passage.

      • Why Calling Bernie Sanders a 'Radical' Is Nonsense

        As the Democratic candidates for president continue to roll out policy positions, many pundits are classifying them as centrists (such as former Vice President Joe Biden) and radicals (such as Senator Bernie Sanders and a few others). But let's not confuse semantics and substance. Voters want and need a different standard: Which candidates have the most pragmatic solutions to America's woes?

        It is clear to most Americans that our country faces several challenges. According to a Gallup poll from May 2019, 63% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in our country. Trust in the government is also at a low, with only 17% saying that Washington will do what is right "just about always" or "most of the time."

      • ‘Government-Run Healthcare’ Is a Product of Health Industry–Run Media

        At the first of two Democratic debates (6/26/19), MSNBC host and moderator Lester Holt asked the presidential hopefuls, “Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?” He asked the same question the next night (6/27/19), and prefaced another question to Sen. Bernie Sanders: “You basically want to scrap the private health insurance system as we know it and replace it with a government-run plan.”–

        At a glance, this seems entirely unremarkable. The terms “private health insurance” and “government-run plan” are everywhere in US media.

        The question at the first debate, however, was asked just a day after a new report came out from the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). The report, “Parroting the Right: How the Media, Pollsters Adoption of Insurance Industry Spin Warps Democracy,” demonstrates how power brokers in the for-profit health industry have worked to make this exact language (“government-run healthcare”) the boilerplate description for a national health system in major media outlets.

        “In framing a national health system as ‘government-run,’ the press is helping the insurance industry systematically frame the debate in their own interests,” lead author Ben Palmquist told FAIR.

      • Democrat Debates: Who won and who lost?

        There are two very different types of measures of this, one being polling that was done both immediately before and immediately after the debates, and the other being Google searches of the names both immediately before and immediately after the debates. This report will cover both measures, as of June 30th.

        Regarding the polling-data, there is, as of this moment, only one poll that was taken both immediately before and immediately after the debates, and it was issued at 11:18 AM on June 28th, the morning after the second of the two debates. It’s from 538 dot com and Morning Consult.


        Presumably the big winner from the debates, who is unquestionably Kamala Harris, will now be collecting enormous infusions of money, and not only from the voters who will donate small amounts to her campaign, but especially from the billionaires whom she has especially been seeking to flood her campaign with money.

      • Buttigieg Goes for Big Bucks as NYT Oversells His Small-Donor Support

        The thread running through these takes is that money, not public support, is what defines a candidate’s “momentum” or “surge,” and determines who is in “eclipse.” Voters are great, seems to be the thinking—but what really counts are donors.

        Of course, from a voter’s point of view, what really matters is not how much financial support a candidate is getting, but who they’re getting it from—because those supporters may not have the same interests as the voter. In the case of Buttigieg, the two main sources of funds seem to be the tech industry—in part because of personal ties between the tech world and Buttigieg, who was one of the first 300 users of Facebook (American Prospect, 6/25/19)—and the financial industry, that traditional source of funds for corporate-oriented Democrats.

        A New York Times headline (6/16/19) told the story: “Wall Street Donors Are Swooning for Mayor Pete. (They Like Biden and Harris, Too.)” “A Harvard graduate and veteran of the McKinsey consultancy, Mr. Buttigieg is fluent in the language of elite New York circles,” the story noted.

      • Pete Buttigieg Claims He Raised $24 Million in Second Quarter

        Democrat Pete Buttigieg said Monday that he took in $24.8 million during the second fundraising quarter, more than triple what the South Bend, Indiana, mayor raised during the first three months of the year for his surprise hit presidential campaign.

        Buttigieg was the first White House contender to announce his fundraising numbers for the quarter, which ended at midnight. His haul amounts to a show of force at a critical early juncture in the race where fundraising figures, and the number of people giving to a campaign, aren’t just indicators of viability but criteria for qualifying for the debate stage in September.

      • Progressive Candidates Are Rising. Establishment Media Are Terrified.

        Some things in life are inevitable, it seems. When the sun rises, it does so in the east. When it rains, things get wet. When you drop your smartphone, it lands in such a way as to crack the screen with an audible tink.

        When progressive ideas are cogently aired before millions of viewers, the “centrist” establishment and their “moderate” mainstream media allies will rally furiously to try and convince everyone how terrifying those ideas are. Inevitable.

        The run of days since the first twin-bill Democratic debate has been a study in public political pushback. Certainly, both the first and second nights were deliberately chaotic affairs salted liberally (pardon the pun) with unrefined gobbledygook from moderator Chuck Todd. That being said, the policy initiatives were clearly outlined despite the format. Many of those policy initiatives were dramatically progressive and are, according to a variety of polls, deeply popular with a majority of voters.

        A hell of a lot of people tuned in, especially to the Thursday night debate which featured several frontrunners, including Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. According to Nielsen, some 18.1 million viewers tuned in to watch Harris snap Biden over her knee on the second night, making it the most-watched Democratic primary debate in history.

        For the establishment press, which flees progressive ideas the way vampires flee garlic, this simply will not do. Like swallows returning to Capistrano, they swooped in after the debate and started pooping all over the roof. This led to the publication of some hilariously fraught news stories and editorials in the bigger papers, none more so than The New York Times, with The Washington Post riding sidecar on this road to progressive perdition.

        “With moderate Democrats repeatedly drowned out or on the defensive in the debates,” wrote the Times in its opening “Fear the Libs!” salvo, “the sprint to the left has deeply unnerved establishment Democrats, who have largely picked the party nominees in recent decades.” Can’t have the establishment stripped of its power to pick sure-fire winners like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, now can we?

      • It's Time to Redefine Left, Right, and Especially "Center" in US Politics

        One of the most persistent—and destructive—myths in politics is that America is a center right country politically. It is reinforced by both parties, the press, and pundits and it has become generally accepted by much of the public. This myth explains why folks warn against going too far to the left; about the dangers of embracing—gasp—"socialism," and why most attempts to divine the "electability" of the multitude of candidates in the Democratic race are misguided at best.


        It's not just the centrists and the center-right who are mischaracterizing the center of American politics, it includes nominally liberal folks as well as corporate-funded liberal organizations like The Third Way and the Center for American Progress. And the debate about whether the Democratic Party is drifting too far to the left was evident in both Democratic debates.

        But here's the thing. This chorus of people warning against the dangers of drifting to the left are being duped by a well-funded, Madison Avenue-style campaign that has been decades in the making. If you look behind the labels, you'll find that the majority of Americans have been polling liberal on an issue by issue basis for some time now, and recent surveys show that trend is only strengthening.

      • 'Hell No': Ocasio-Cortez Denounces Pelosi-Approved Vote on McConnell's Border Bill Without New Protections for Children

        "Senate Dems put us in a terrible position," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Senate version of the funding bill, she said, "does absolutely nothing to hold a rogue administration accountable for cruelty. It has no provisions to ensure $$ goes to the children or that for-profit agencies are held accountable. I am a giant no vote on that bill."


        Ezra Levin, co-director of the progressive advocacy group Indivisible, suggested it was ridiculous of Pelosi to agree to the vote even as she gives President Donald Trump a free pass on impeachment proceedings and McConnell has shown no inkling of caving to Democrats on any of their key legislative items.

        "Pelosi, who is blocking Judiciary impeachment proceedings," said Levin in a tweet, "now unilaterally caves to McConnell's demands on the bad immigration bill. Not clear why she was so eager to become Speaker - seems happy acting like a Minority Leader."

      • Democratic Candidates Are Sounding a Lot Like Teddy Roosevelt

        There was a Republican on the Democratic Party debate stage — a Progressive Republican who sometimes liked to “speak softly, and carry a big stick.” Did you notice him?

        “When I say that I am for the square deal,” said the politician, “I mean not merely that I stand for fair play under the present rules of the game, but that I stand for having those rules changed so as to work for a more substantial equality of opportunity.”

        You would be forgiven if you confused President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech for something said by one of the candidates running in the Democratic Party presidential primary in 2019.

        Ours is the New Gilded Age of ostentatious, unaccountable wealth and growing inequality, and current politicians sound a lot like their predecessors. The Gilded Age — the name given to the period after the Civil War to about 1900 — was characterized by massive industrialization and wealth accumulation in the hands of the few and at the expense of the many. “Robber barons” like J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Andrew W. Mellon and John D. Rockefeller controlled entire segments of the economy and were answerable to no one. Roosevelt sought to rein them in.

        There are generational and policy differences between today’s Democratic candidates, but all 20 who made it onto the debate stage over two nights in Miami professed a Rooseveltian understanding of the ills facing the nation.

        And — though no one used the term exactly — all promised Americans what Roosevelt promised the country: a new “square deal.”

      • Peace Is Revolution! Revolution Is Peace!

        I would really, over the long run, hope America would find some way to provide all of our citizens with extended families—a large group of people they could call on for help. Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

        From what I have read, Indian culture, such as that of the Iroquois confederacy which preceded the invasion of white people in the Mohawk Valley where I live, was naturally anarchist. This is due, I venture, to their reliance on shamanic wisdom and oral, face-to-face teaching and storytelling for their cultural underpinnings, rather than on hierarchical systems of top-down authority and order. They truly were/are a bottom-up society, and at least among the “traditionalists,” purposefully maintain themselves as such. For that reason our indigenous neighbors provide the needed model as we move into the era of “adaptation” to climate collapse, (not to mention the era of divisiveness, mass immigrations, and increasing social chaos we have entered) a model we always needed but didn’t know it.

        The many-headed crisis we collectively face was avoidable had we been capable of seeing the Indians not as “other” and inferior, but as “others” having helpfully corrective information to give us! The fact that we could turn down their helpful corrective information had everything to do with keeping them, in our collective mind, as “others -” inferior, savage, superstitious, lazy, no-good drunks, etc. which in turn, avoided a crisis for the collective European settler ego. It would be helpful now for white people to enter our long-postponed crisis, a postponement that has brought us so much material good, and visited so much evil on “others,” that is, upon everyone who, for whatever our purposes – grabbing land, building railroads, factory production, or just maintaining the bourgeois reality – could be classified as inferior, not covered under the Golden Rule.

      • Meet St. Petersburg Acting Governor Alexander Beglov, who just might be the Kremlin's worst candidate in this fall's elections

        In the fall of 2019, 16 Russian regions will hold gubernatorial elections. The strangest and most widely discussed campaign among them is taking place in St. Petersburg, where voters will select new municipal legislators and the city’s governor. In dozens of precincts, local elections are being organized in secret, and groups of muscular men have stood in line at registration offices to make sure opposition candidates can’t turn in their paperwork. Russia’s Central Election Commission has threatened to cancel St. Petersburg’s local legislative races, and even the Kremlin doesn’t seem to believe in Alexander Beglov, the regime’s candidate for governor. Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev has done his best to explain what’s going on in Russia’s cultural capital.

      • Over Two Nights, Democrats Start Building the Wall Against Trump

        You somehow know that when Donald Trump, our nation’s juvenile lead, sent out his one word tweet—“BORING!”—during the first of the two Democratic presidential debates this week, he probably really was bored. That’s because the candidates were talking about some real policy ideas, for which we know he has the attention span of an intellectually challenged mayfly, the insect who got left behind in third grade.

        But his ego also could have led him to believe that NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo would interrupt their coverage of the proceedings and breathlessly report his latest two-syllable typing exercise – you know, the way that back in the 16th century Britain’s official Groom of the King’s Close Stool would closely monitor and assist Henry VIII with his trips to the royal loo.

        No such luck, Mr. President. During the live telecast no one mentioned it until after the first debate was over—along with yet another childish tweet from you, this time mindlessly making fun of an audio glitch during the event.

      • Twitter Users Ridicule First Daughter With #UnwantedIvanka Hashtag After Ivanka Caught on Video 'Boxing Way Above Her Weight'

        Social media users inserted images of Ivanka Trump into pictures of historical events to show how nepotism doesn't always translate into acceptance after a viral video of the First Daughter and senior White House advisor awkwardly interrupting a group of world leaders at the G20 summit went viral over the weekend.

        The video, which was posted to Instagram by the office of French President Emmanuel Macron, shows Ivanka jumping into a conversation between Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde. Ivanka was at the conference with her father, President Donald Trump.

      • Rex Tillerson to Congress: Jared Kushner Went Behind My Back on Foreign Policy

        Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly told Congress last month that Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and special adviser, repeatedly went behind top cabinet officials’ backs on foreign policy.

        Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month that he was left “angry” after Kushner kept him in the dark while conducting his own meetings with foreign officials, according to a transcript of Tillerson’s seven-hour testimony published by the Washington Post.

        Tillerson told the committee that one of the “challenges” that “everyone had” in the Trump administration was “to learn to deal with … the unique situation with the president’s son-in-law [Kushner] and daughter [Ivanka] being part of the White House advisory team.”

      • #NeverAgainIsNow: 36 Arrested As Hundreds of Jewish Protesters Block Road to Migrant Detention Center

        Rejecting the notion that denouncing the Trump administration's immigrant detention centers as "concentration camps" does harm to the memory of the Holocaust, 200 Jewish people demonstrated at a facility in New Jersey Sunday evening and demanded the release of the thousands of immigrants in U.S. custody.

        Grassroots group Never Again Action called for all detention centers to be closed and for the U.S. government to protect asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants—instead of sending Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) into communities where the agency has arrested hundreds so far this year in raids.

        The group reported that 36 participants were arrested for blocking the road to the Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

        "I have to do whatever is in my power to disrupt ICE, to close these camps, to provide permanent protection, and to ensure that 'never again' means never again," said Rebecca Oliver, a demonstrator who was arrested.

      • Maxim Trudolyubov explains why Russia’s ‘state-family’ business elites are living dangerously

        On July 1, Meduza published a new investigative report by Ivan Golunov about Moscow’s funeral industry. Golunov’s first report about this business, released in August 2018, addressed the national market. Russia’s funeral industry has fundamentally transformed over the past 30 years, and the changes across the country have reinforced a single trend: individuals with connections to the state have replaced men with ties to organized crime. Meduza asked International New York Times contributing opinion writer and Kennan Institute The Russia File editor-in-chief Maxim Trudolyubov to explain the problems with this unruly industry and those who control it.

        Consider this family portrait. The man of the house, a respected industry manager since the late Soviet times, is now deceased. His wife is an enterprising woman who seizes the new era and creates a private company that quickly becomes the market leader. Their son has returned home to take up his inheritance, after graduating from a university in London. He’s now an elected lawmaker, serving in Russia’s ruling political party, and he even supervises the party’s “Strong Family” project.

      • Russian prosecutors: still no suspects in drug case previously used to arrest Ivan Golunov

        The criminal drug distribution case under which Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov was charged and later released for lack of evidence remains open: after Golunov was cleared, law enforcement officials were left to find the true source of the drugs that the journalist said police had planted in his possessions. However, no suspects in the case have yet been found, said Alexander Kurennoy, a representative of Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office.

      • The Sheriff Lost Reelection. Then the Spending Spree Began.

        A jumble of electrical cables dangles from a hole punched through the ceiling in Sheriff Blake Turman’s brightly lit office in rural Covington County, Alabama, near the Florida Panhandle.

        A year ago, Turman’s predecessor, Dennis Meeks, used sheriff’s office funds to buy and install a security camera system, financial records show. But the equipment is no longer there.

        “You see them wires hanging right there?” Turman asked during an interview in the office, which he took over in January, several months after beating Meeks in a runoff.

        “That’s where the closed-circuit camera system used to be. He spent $2,800 putting that in there — $2,800 out of discretionary funds, and it’s gone now.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • France has turned into one of the worldwide threats to free speech

        Just over one year ago, French President Emmanuel Macron came to the United States to import two potentially invasive species to Washington. One was a tree and the other was a crackdown on free speech. Ironically, soon after the tree was planted, officials dug it up to send it to quarantine. However, the more dangerous species was his acorn of speech controls, a proposal that resulted in rapturous applause from our clueless politicians.

        While our politicians in the United States may applaud Macron like village idiots, most Americans are hardcore believers in free speech. It runs in our blood. Undeterred, however, Macron and others in Europe are moving to unilaterally impose speech controls on the internet with new legislation in France and Germany. If you believe this is a European issue, think again.

        Macron and his government are attempting to unilaterally scrub out the internet of hateful thoughts. The French Parliament has moved toward a new law that would give internet companies like Facebook and Google just 24 hours to remove hateful speech from their sites or face fines of $1.4 million per violation. A final vote is expected next week. Germany passed a similar measure last year and imposed fines of $56 million.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Hong Kong Protests Show Dangers of a Cashless Society

        It can be easy to take cash for granted, especially in a wealthy, developed economy. Those fortunate enough to live in a stable society usually suffer no lack of payment options. They are getting more advanced all the time, with financial technology (fintech) companies constantly developing new ways to quickly and cheaply make purchases and send money. It sometimes seems the days of old-fashioned cash, with its dormant physicality, are numbered.

        Allowing cash to die would be a grave mistake. A cashless society is a surveillance society. The recent round of protests in Hong Kong highlights exactly what we have to lose.

        The current unrest concerns a proposed change to Hong Kong's extradition laws that would allow island fugitives to be transferred to Taiwan, Macau, and mainland China. The proposal sparked mass outrage, as many Hongkongers saw it as little more but a new way for the People's Republic of China to erode the legal sovereignty of Hong Kong.

        This week, anti-extradition protests reached another crescendo, as Hongkongers took to the streets again to commemorate the anniversary of Hong Kong's handoff to China, highlighting the deep political dynamics at play.

        Specifically, protestors fear that the Chinese judicial system, with all its attendant human rights baggage, would come to supplant Hong Kong's. This would be no small problem. China isn't shy about cracking down on political dissidents, even those from other states under their control. For example, in 2017, a Taiwanese pro-democracy activist was detained in China and sentenced to five years in prison for "subverting [Chinese] state power" in his home country.

      • Demanding Users Fight for Data and Privacy Protections, Wikipedia Co-Founder Calls for #SocialMediaStrike

        The declaration also accuses big tech companies of requiring "agreement to terms of service that are impossible for ordinary users to understand, and which are objectionably vague in ways that permit them to legally defend their exploitative practices."

        Corporations have "marketed private data to advertisers in ways that no one would specifically assent to," wrote Sanger, and have "data-mined user content and behavior in sophisticated and disturbing ways."

        "The vast power wielded by social networks of the early 21st century, putting our digital rights in serious jeopardy," Sanger wrote, "demonstrates that we must engineer new—but old-fashioned—decentralized networks that make such clearly dangerous concentrations of power impossible."

        Sanger left Wikipedia in 2002, and has gone on to criticize the site of being a "broken system" that "never solved the problem of how to organize itself in a way that didn't lead to mob rule."

      • British Airways faces record €£183m fine for data breach

        British Airways is facing a record fine of €£183m for last year's breach of its security systems.

        The airline, owned by IAG, says it was "surprised and disappointed" by the penalty from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

        At the time, BA said hackers had carried out a "sophisticated, malicious criminal attack" on its website.

        The ICO said it was the biggest penalty it had ever handed out and the first to be made public under new rules.

        The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force last year and was the biggest shake-up to data privacy in 20 years.

        The penalty imposed on BA is the first one to be made public since those rules were introduced and amounts to 1.5% of its worldwide turnover in 2017, less than the possible maximum of 4%.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • St. Petersburg investigators open criminal case to investigate police torture of local teenager

        The St. Petersburg Investigative Committee has opened a police overreach case that could carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison after local officers circulated a photograph of a 17-year-old’s battered face. The human rights center Zona Prava, which is representing the young man who was beaten, told Meduza that investigators believe unnamed police officers beat the victim using their batons.

        Olesya Koval, the teenager’s mother, had previously explained that her son was arrested on May 28 during a suspected shoplifting incident, after which police officers both used their batons to beat him and threatened to rape him with the batons. Koval said police then circulated a photograph of her son to their coworkers.

      • Protesters Take Over Hong Kong’s Legislature

        A group of protesters in Hong Kong has taken over the legislative chamber, spray painting slogans on the wall and over the territory’s emblem.

        Some stood on the desks of lawmakers Friday night while others climbed up to leave their messages on the soaring wooden wall.

        Police appear to have retreated to avoid a confrontation, giving the protesters the run of the building.

        They smashed and tore down portraits of legislative leaders after prying open metal gates to gain access.

        Meanwhile, tens of thousands of others marched through the city to demand expanded democracy on the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China.

      • 'Monstrous': Trump Blames Migrants for Appalling Conditions at Border Patrol Detention Centers

        In response to photos, news reports, and first-hand accounts of the horrific conditions inside Border Patrol detention centers in Texas, President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired off a tweet blaming migrants themselves for the abuse they are now enduring at the hands of his administration.

        "If illegal immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come," Trump wrote. "All problems solved!"

      • 'Slap in the Face to the People of Flint' as Former Mich. Gov. Snyder Appointed to Harvard Fellowship

        The appointment to the school of Snyder, a Republican, which begins today, was first announced Friday. By Sunday, as news of the fellowship spread, Flint advocates and environmental activists expressed outrage over the appointment, especially given Snyder's role in the Flint crisis.

        In a statement, Food and Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said Snyder's appointment was "a slap in the face to the people of Flint by one of the most elite institutions in America."

        "Snyder is a leader, alright," said Hauter, "he led Flint straight into one of the nation's most notorious disasters in recent memory. His appointment of an emergency manager set the stage for the lead and bacterial contamination that resulted in unnecessary deaths and the lead poisoning of children. The timeline of events shows that his administration knew more about the events early on than what they disclosed to the public. This is criminal, and he must be held accountable."

        Activist Mariame Kaba told Common Dreams that she was "appalled" to learn about the appointment given that "Snyder oversaw the poisoning of thousands of people in Flint."

      • Revolution in the Red States

        Donald Trump was elected to the US presidency by sheeplike flocks of Red State “deplorables” brainwashed by an army of Russian trolls spreading lies on social media and hacking Saint Hillary’s email, you’d better take a peak through the pages of Charlie LeDuff’s new book, Sh*tshow!: The Country’s Collapsing … and the Ratings Are Great.

        LeDuff spent three years travelling the US with a two-man film crew, chronicling the desperation of workers, frustrated by the insincerities of sharp-suited, slack-mouthed career politicians, who were too occupied with nosing their way through the troughs of corporate America to offer hope to their weary constituents.

      • Amazon’s first job listing show’s Jeff Bezos’ gruelling standards

        The tough working conditions allegedly facing Amazon employees have made headlines for years now — and it seems it’s been the case from day one. Amazon’s first ever job ad — listed by founder Jeff Bezos in 1994 — was unearthed last year by BNN Bloomberg host Jon Erlichman, and shared on Twitter. And 12 words buried within the ad could be the secret to the company’s phenomenal success — although it also paints a grim picture about the tech giant’s stringent standards.

      • Border agency knew of troubling Facebook posts in 2016: acting secretary

        U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials knew in 2016 about a private Facebook group where border agents posted racist and misogynistic comments, acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan said on Sunday.

        McAleenan said on ABC’s “This Week” that he had been told about an allegation in 2016 “that was investigated, followed up on, and that discipline was meted out on an agent that made an offensive post on that website.”

        The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service came under fire over the issue last Monday, when the nonprofit news site ProPublica reported that offensive content had been posted on a private Facebook group for current and former CPB officers.

        Posts included jokes about the deaths of migrants and sexually explicit comments referring to U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the news outlet said.

        McAleenan said the Facebook page was a private site run by a group of individuals in their off-duty hours and not under CBP control. He said DHS did put out a social media policy encouraging border agents to maintain standards and a code of conduct on social media.

      • U.S. Policy on Immigrant Children Violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

        A Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned while attempting to seek asylum in the United States are the latest victims of a policy that has cost the lives and seriously affected the health of hundreds of people, most of them children. Children have been separated from their parents and kept in steel cages, a brutal aggression against those most vulnerable.

        The mistreatment of children and the separation from their parents violates basic tenets of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), an internationally recognized agreement that establishes a comprehensive set of goals for individual nations to improve children’s lives.

        Although the convention has worldwide recognition and support, the U.S. is the only country in the world that hasn’t yet ratified the CRC yet. Both the Ronald Reagan and the George H.W. Bush administrations played an important role in drafting the treaty, which was signed by the US government in 1995, indicating the nation’s intent to consider ratification.

        The next step, so far unfulfilled by the US, is for the President and his advisors to draft a Statement of Reservations, Understandings, and Declarations to be presented to the Senate for its “advice and consent.” Upon Senate approval by a two-thirds majority, the treaty goes back to the President for ratification.

        The Convention calls for children to be free from violence and abuse, and compels governments to provide them adequate nutrition and health care. It also demands that children receive equal treatment regardless of gender, race or cultural background, and have the right to express their opinions and have freedom of thought in matters affecting them. Further, it addresses the rights of children with disabilities.

        In addition, the CRC emphasizes the primacy and importance of the role, authority, and responsibility of parents and family and is consistent with the principles contained in the U.S. Bill of Rights. Ratification of the convention has been endorsed by about a hundred organizations in the US, among them the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Baptist Churches, the American Bar Association, the National Education Association, and the Child Welfare League of America.

      • 'That Little Girl Was Me': Watch Kamala Harris Confront Joe Biden Over Opposition to School Busing and Praise for Segregationists

        Sen. Kamala Harris directly confronted Joe Biden over his civil rights record during Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate, highlighting the former vice president's opposition to school busing as a senator in the 1970s and his fond recollection of the "civility" of notorious segregationists.

        After saying it was "hurtful" to hear Biden offer kind words earlier this month about two senators who "built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country"—James O. Eastland and Herman Talmadge—Harris invoked "a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day."

        "And that little girl was me," Harris said.

        "So I will tell you that, on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats," added the senator from California. "We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly."

      • Nuclear IQ, Presidential Debates, and Our Future

        The formal debates for the 2020 Democratic nomination for President have begun this week. While there are many substantive topics that need to be covered, there are two existential threats that demand to be addressed. The threat of climate change has been discussed nominally though hardly with the urgency that it requires to stop our steady drift to ever greater catastrophic climate events. The other threat is that of nuclear war which increases as environmental degradation, resource depletion and its associated conflict follows. Yet the threat of nuclear weapons and the concept of nuclear deterrence has not and is not likely to be discussed. Despite growing scientific evidence of the increasing vulnerability and threat posed by these weapons, we seem incapable of having a national dialogue on why they should even exist. Ultimately, they threaten every single thing we care about every moment of every day.

        At a time when the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists calculates that we are closer to nuclear war either by intent, cyberattack or accident than at any time since the height of the cold war, we would be well advised to take note so as to take appropriate action and educate our citizenry to eliminate these risks. In keeping their 2019 Doomsday Clock at 2 Minutes to Midnight, the Bulletin's advisory board noted the close interplay of climate crises with growing international conflict, and the risk of nuclear war.

      • With 'Devastating' Consequences in the Balance for Hundreds of Thousands, Supreme Court Agrees to Weigh Trump's Move to End DACA

        The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday that it would take up challenges to President Donald Trump's bid to terminate DACA, the Obama-era program that protects roughly 800,000 youth from deportation.

        Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), said on Twitter that the decision—issued just before the high court takes its three-month recess—"is a reminder of what's at stake with 2020 elections."

        "In total," CBS News explained, "the court will hear three cases on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA which will be consolidated into one ruling when the justices return in October."

        "The legal question before the Supreme Court," Reuters reported, "is whether the administration properly followed a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act in Trump's plan to rescind DACA."

        Three federal judges have already said the administration did not follow that law.

        NILC, Make the Road NY, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) at Yale Law School are representing DACA recipients groups in the challenge.

      • How Sergey Petrov went from anti-Soviet officer to market kingpin to person of interest

        “Rolf” founder Sergey Petrov, whom police charged on June 27 with illegally withdrawing money to an offshore company, has spent his whole life fighting against “the regime” in Russia and dreaming about liberalism’s ultimate victory. After becoming a leader of the country’s auto market, he joined the parliamentary opposition and started working to develop civil society. Meduza looks back at the career of one of Russia’s most successful entrepreneurs, who has no plans to return home, while threatened with felony criminal prosecution.

      • Ocasio-Cortez Live Tweets 'Horrifying' and 'Dehumanizing' Treatment of Migrants as She Tours US Detention Facilities

        Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described the "horrifying" conditions she witnessed on Monday in a series of live tweets as she and other congressional Democrats visited migrant detention facilities in Texas.

        The New York congresswoman was part of a delegation of 21 lawmakers organized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and co-led by Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas.

        The group is slated to make stops at three separate facilities, one of which is the Clint site, where a team of laywers recently visited and detailed dangerous and inhumane conditions faced by imprisoned migrant children.

        The lawmakers' visits took place the same day as A.C. Thompson reported at ProPublica on a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents—boasting roughly 9,500 members—in which participants depicted lewd images of Ocasio-Cortez, joked about the death of a migrant in custody, and, referencing the planned congressional visits, referred to Ocasio-Cortez and women in the group as "hoes" and bitches."

    • Monopolies

      • Replace Patent Monopolies With Direct Public Funding for Drug Research

        The benefits go beyond just the savings. Patent monopolies give drug companies an enormous incentive to push their drugs as widely as possible, even when they may not be the most effective drug or have harmful side effects. Purdue Pharma would not have been pushing OxyContin so vigorously if it were selling at generic prices. While the opioid crisis is an extreme case, drug companies exaggerate the benefits of their drugs and conceal negative side effects all the time.

        If we went the route of direct public funding, the savings would go beyond prescription drugs. Medical equipment and tests are also made expensive because of government-granted patent monopolies.

        NPR recently did a piece about a woman who had a surprise bill of $94,000 for neuromonitoring services during a surgery on her spine. The reason this process could be billed for $94,000, as opposed to perhaps 1/20th of this amount, is that the process is patented. If the neuromonitoring system had been developed with public funds, there would be no huge bill with which to surprise patients.

        Given the many bold progressive proposals that Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and some of the other candidates have put forward, it is surprising that they have not proposed to reform the financing of drug and other medical research. This failure is especially peculiar, since both Sanders and Warren (along with Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar) were sponsors of a bill that would provide some public funding for research that would lead to new drugs being introduced as generics.

        The patent monopoly system of financing the development of new drugs and medical equipment is a disaster in just about every way. Many of the leading Democratic contenders know how to do better, they need to add this to their agenda.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Cellspin Soft, Inc. v. Fitbit, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          Cellspin Soft Inc. (Cellspin) filed an infringement suit against Fitbit Inc. (Fitbit) and ten other defendants in the Northern District of California, asserting U.S. Patent Nos. 8,738,794, 8,892,752, 9,258,698, and 9,749,847. These patents have a common specification and their claims are directed to a data capture device being connected to a mobile device so that captured data can be published to a web site. The defendants moved the District Court to dismiss all counts under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), alleging that the patents did not meet the eligibility requirements of 35 U.S.C.ۤ 101. Ultimately, the District Court not only granted this motion, but also awarded the defendants attorney fees under ۤ 285. Cellspin appealed.


          The Court also made it clear that Aatrix "expressly stated that patentees who adequately allege their claims contain inventive concepts survive a ۤ 101 eligibility analysis under Rule 12(b)(6)." Thus, the District Court's reliance on Berkheimer to discount Cellspin's allegations was misplaced.

          Putting this all together, the Court stated "accepting the allegations stated above as true, we cannot conclude that the asserted claims lack an inventive concept . . . we have no basis, at the pleadings stage, to say that these claimed techniques, among others, were well-known or conventional as a matter of law." A major factor that led the Court toward this conclusion was that "Cellspin did more than simply label [the claimed] techniques as inventive . . . [i]t pointed to evidence suggesting that these techniques had not been implemented in a similar way." Thus, based on the allegations, the claims "recite a specific, plausibly inventive way of arranging devices and using protocols rather than the general idea of capturing, transferring, and publishing data," and cannot be found ineligible at this point in the case.


          The Court also found that the District Court erred when admonishing Cellspin for amending its complaints so close to the hearing thereon. Looking to the record, the Court observed that "Cellspin's amendment was timely based on a scheduling order entered by the district court just three days before Cellspin's amendment," and that "Cellspin's decision to amend was also justified in light of Berkheimer and Aatrix, decided just a few weeks earlier."

        • Jony Ive has his name on some weird patents

          Ive has been prolific during his time at Apple. His name can be found on 1,628 patents in the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) database. The first one he was part of, filed in 1994 when Apple was still called Apple Computer, was for the design of a product now seen as being far too ahead of its time, the Apple Newton handheld digital assistant.

          Ive went on to have a hand in just about every major piece of hardware Apple has released since the turn of the century, including the seminal designs of the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. His designs have sold billions of units, helping turn Apple into one of the most valuable companies in the world.

          But not everything Ive has done at Apple has been as momentously important as kicking off the mobile computing revolution.

        • [Older] Congress Is Debating—Again—Whether Genes Can Be Patented

          IN 2013, THE Supreme Court unanimously struck down patents on two human genes—BRCA1 and BRCA2—associated with breast and ovarian cancers. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court at the time that isolated DNA “is a product of nature and not patent eligible.” The historic decision invalidated patents held by Myriad Genetics, the defendant in a 2009 lawsuit brought by dozens of patients and researchers represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, breaking the company’s virtual monopoly on predictive cancer testing and unleashing a torrent of competition. Today, more than a dozen companies, including mail-order spit-kit operations like 23andMe and Color, can tell you what your BRCA genes say about your risk of getting cancer.

          Now lawmakers in Washington, DC, are weighing a new proposal that would upend that landmark decision and other recent rulings that created judicial exceptions to federal patent law. Under debate are the notions that natural phenomena, observations of laws of nature, and abstract ideas are unpatentable. That legal precedent includes a major victory for the software industry against a plague of patent trolls. If successful, some worry this bill could carve up the world’s genetic resources into commercial fiefdoms, forcing scientists to perform basic research under constant threat of legal action.

          The bipartisan draft bill, released last month by Senators Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware), makes changes to several sections of the statutes covering patent law and adds a provision that would nullify the Supreme Court’s exceptions to it. Critics of those decisions say they’ve left the US with incoherent and overly stringent patent eligibility rules that are hurting innovation, at a time when technological rivals, in particular China, are speeding ahead. Proponents of the current legal doctrine fear reform will send the US back to a time when you could slap intellectual property rights on almost anything—from a DNA sequence to the act of scanning and sending a file with a single click.

        • On the Economics of Injunctions in Patent Cases

          Courts in many countries continue to follow the traditional practice of awarding the prevailing patent owner a permanent injunction, absent exceptional circumstances. First-generation law-and-economics scholarship, building on Calabresi and Melamed’s work on property and liability rules, largely supported this practice, based upon the perceived advantages of injunctions (as opposed to damages awards) in inducing bargaining and reducing valuation errors. More recent scholarship, however, has questioned the wisdom of automatic injunctions, particularly in cases in which the conditions conducive to patent holdup are present — among them, cases involving standard essential patents, patents incorporated into complex, multipatent devices, and actions brought by patent assertion entities.

          Building upon this more recent work, I argue that the social benefits and costs of injunctions vary depending on the circumstances. To assist policymakers in rendering decisions in the real world, I propose two simplifying assumptions that would enable courts to compare the expected cost of holdup with the expected cost of valuation error. A simple set of recommendations follows, namely that courts generally should (1) grant injunctions when the probability of holdup is low, and (2) deny them when the probability of holdup is great and the expected harm from valuation error low to moderate. For indeterminate cases — for example, when the probability of holdup and the expected harm from valuation error are both high — courts can mitigate both risks to some degree by granting injunctions subject to stays pending design-around.

      • Trademarks

        • An Emerging Trend - ADR Mechanism in IPR Conflicts

          India is country habitants having many religion and cultures, since centuries habitants of India has evolved with several forms of dispute resolution mechanisms and over period of time, they have customized, varied according to needs. Even though Britisher’s rulers had left Indian shores almost half a century ago, still several of these laws exist till date without any major changes. Wide Internet usage has rendered boundaries of the states meaningless. The people across the globe have realized its potentiality as an effective tool for communication, dissemination of information and e-commerce and enjoying to unrestricted access to multifarious interactions, transactions inevitably thereby raising many new issues in the nature of e-disputes to virtual sale/purchase of products through e-auctions or otherwise, domain disputes, trademark infringement, patents, software infringement, copyright, defamatory writings, fraud, privacy, etc.

          In this scenario the Intellectual Property Rights are becoming fundamentally exigent to get in to research collaborations and thereby making Intellectual property rights tool as valuable business assets for technological entities. The people across world over frequently involve in cross-border transactions having different backgrounds and different national laws or within different states of India. Some time disputable transactions create multi-jurisdictional disputes between the nationalities of different countries having different social backgrounds, mindsets. Usually those business entities having familiarity with alternative dispute resolution (ADR) are able to resolve such conflicts efficiently. As the determination of commercial or non commercial disputes before different national courts can result in to high legal and other costs as well as conflicting awards. Therefore, the ADR has a potential to provide business entities belonging to distinct nationalities a single unified forum of arbitration thereby having a final and enforceable award binding across multiple jurisdictions. Hence, increasingly, IP owners and users are approaching to many of known alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures like arbitration and mediation to resolve their IP disputes.

          In this scenario the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has been playing pivotal role since i ts inception in strengthening ADR procedures for IP conflicts and forefront in resolving IP conflicts through their specialized ADR procedures. The Intellectual Property conflicts are not that conflicts which cannot be adjudicated or resolved through ADR. As Intellectual Property conflicts being a specialised in its nature and it require specialised services of ADR experts in resolving IP conflicts, mainly due to non availability of IP experts in India is the main obstacle in resolving IP conflict through arbitration or through ADR.

          Thus, like any other emerging field of law, IP conflict resolution also has a plenty of debatable issues before it. In this research paper, It will be my endeavor to delve deep into these issues like amongst mainly i) Whether ADR: arbitration and mediation can be real alternative to IP disputes litigation, ii ) whether IP right disputes like any other commercial disputes can be brought under ADR procedure or not If so, to what extent?. iii) When is ADR to be preferred, when is it to be avoided; and, if ADR is preferred, what form of ADR should be pursued? iv) Whether, an alternative dispute resolution procedure can play effective role in resolving IP conflicts if so to what extent? v) Whether the parties to IP conflicts can reap overall benefits by invoking ADR procedures in comparison to traditional litigation, if so, to what extent? vi) Whether the use of a private consensual mechanism like arbitration or mediation procedures pose any threat to the resolution of such specialised disputes, if so, to what extent?

      • Copyrights

        • ‘We’re Not Being Paid’: Musicians Struggle Against Orchestra Management, Streaming Services

          At the end of May, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra management informed their musicians that the summer season would be canceled and musicians would be locked out beginning June 17, the first work stoppage for the orchestra in 31 years.

          “We’re not being paid. They told us our health insurance will end July 1. They canceled our long term disability insurance retroactive to June 17,” said Greg Mulligan, co-chairman of the Baltimore Symphony Musicians’ Players Committee.

          Mulligan noted the lockout comes in the wake of pressure from management to reduce musicians’ wages by 20 percent after years of keeping pay stagnant.

          In new contract negotiations, the Players’ Committee is asking for a two percent wage cost of-living increase. They also want the orchestra to abide by the required minimum of 83 full-time musicians as set out in the most recent contract. (Currently, there are only 76 full-time musicians.)

          “Because we are the single biggest expense in the budget, I think they find it the easiest to try to lower our wages,” he said. “It’s very disappointing.”

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