Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 5/5/2020: GNU/Linux in Kerala and Mozilla Firefox 76

  • Leftovers

    • Lingg’s Autobiography: An Overlooked Haymarket Confession?

      On the near west side of Chicago, between parking lots and the plain back walls of commercial buildings, stands a puzzling monument whose abstract figures are either assembling or pulling apart an old-fashioned wagon. Circling the base of the sculpture are bronze plaques that describe the meaning of theat night one hundred and thirty four years ago when someone threw a bomb into a squad of policemen, wounding scores and killing seven and coming to be known as the Haymarket incident.€  One reads:

    • ‘Ahead of its time’ A short but instructive history of Russia’s Beer Lovers’ Party

      At the beginning of 2020, new political parties made up of unexpected members, began actively registering in Russia. This includes, for example, the Direct Democracy Party — from the man behind the online role-playing game “World of Tanks,” Vyacheslav Makarov —€ and the party “Novye Lyudi” (New People), brought to you by perfume company founder Alexey Nechayev. Meanwhile, political projects both old and new began to recruit pop-culture personalities to their ranks. Leningrad frontman Sergey “Shnur” Shnurov joined the “Partiya Rosta” (Growth Party), while artist Vasya Lozhkin became set to head the newly formed environmental party “Zelyonaya Alternativa” (Green Alternative). Critics were quick to point out that the Putin administration is often involved in building up these spoiler parties in an apparent effort to split the opposition vote ahead of the 2021 State Duma elections. And it’s likely that they took inspiration from the 1995 parliamentary elections, which saw campaigns from 43 political parties (many with equally outlandish names and platforms), resulting in a divided opposition vote. The most striking and memorable campaign that election year was that of the Beer Lovers' Party — Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev recounts its remarkable history.€ 

    • An Ethical Imperative: the Visionary "Impossible" in the Northern Rockies

      We are rapidly dismantling the biological and aesthetic integrity of the entire planet, and can’t pretend any longer that small and compromised efforts can fix our threatened condition. Yet pretending is exactly what the widespread and celebrated “collaboration and compromise” model of resolving conservation disputes does.

    • Landscape Amnesia and the Deschutes River

      I took a run along the Deschutes River in Bend’s Riverbend Park the other day. The one thing I noticed is that the river is nearly opaque. You can see down maybe 2 feet, but no more. Why? Because the river was being flooded by water releases from an upstream reservoir to serve downstream irrigated ranches and farms. These high flows erode the banks, filling the river with sediment.

    • NBC News chairman Andy Lack to step down amid corporate shakeup

      Under Lack, NBC News was accused of attempting to scuttle journalist Ronan Farrow's investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein. Farrow also accused Lack of downplaying an internal complaint about a rape allegation against then-host Matt Lauer.

    • Science

      • Did the coronavirus really escape from a Chinese lab? Here's what we know

        As NBC News has reported, U.S. intelligence agencies first detected signs of a health crisis in Wuhan in November and began producing intelligence reports on the issue in December. Intelligence reports first appeared in the president's briefing book, known as the President's Daily Brief, in early January, according to NBC News' reporting. The brief is written for the president, but it also goes to certain Cabinet officials and top advisers.

      • Why Scientists Think The Novel Coronavirus Developed Naturally — Not In A Chinese Lab

        According to a growing body of research, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is almost certainly a naturally occurring virus that initially circulated in bats then spilled into humans. But that hasn’t stopped some from trying to find a more sinister origin. “It seems like such an extreme event that people are looking for an extraordinary explanation for it,” said Stephen Goldstein, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah who studies coronaviruses. No single piece of evidence has yet confirmed the virus’ origin. But according to scientists, the evidence that does exist paints a consistent picture of a wild virus, not one that sprang from a lab.

    • Education

      • Not Trusting that Department of Ed: Looking to Higher Ed Relief via States

        Reeling from last week’s attacks on Harvard and Stanford that bullied those schools and others into refusing federal relief allocated to their most needy students, the Young Invincibles this week released an open letter asking the schools to reconsider.

      • The Anatomy of a Failing University

        American universities are failing. They are private or public schools. They could be religiously-affiliated or not. They could be in the east, west, north, or south of the United States.€  They traditionally emphasized liberal arts. They are facing an enrollment and budget crunch for several years, seeing that the declining number of eighteen-year-olds in the coming years poses an existential threat. It has a modest endowment. It is not an elite school. It is a school like the one that many professors teach at.€  It was failing before Covid-19. It may not be around in five years. With COVID-19, it may be around even less than that.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Unbroken Ground | A New Old Way to Grow Food
      • 'Results May Be Catastrophic': Concerns Grow as Trump Shuns Global Cooperation on Covid-19 Treatment

        "Trump's refusal to participate in a coordinated global effort to respond to COVID19 is the 21st century equivalent of the U.S. not joining the League of Nations."

      • 'Kind of Like Large Scale Negligent Homicide': As Trump Urges Reopenings, CDC Report Warns of Surge in Covid-19 Deaths

        Internal CDC document projects U.S. coronavirus deaths could reach 3,000 per day by June 1—nearly double the current daily death toll.

      • Two Pandemics, Separate and Unequal

        Why policy solutions must address underlying causes of vastly different health and economic outcomes

      • We Must Redefine "Frontline" by Providing PPE for All Workers

        Please join us so that every single frontline worker who needs masks and other PPE to protect themselves, their families, and the communities they serve—gets that crucial equipment.

      • The Novel Coronavirus and Nuclear Weapons

        As with viruses, containment of atomic weapons may be good, but eradication is best.

      • A Death Sentence for Meatpackers

        Meat processing plants are high risk for spreading COVID-19, and many are shutting down. Animals due for processing have nowhere to go, and they are being culled.

      • As World Joins Forces to Raise $8 Billion for Global Covid-19 Fund, US Contributes This Much: $0

        "It is a pity the U.S. is not a part of it. When you are in a crisis, you manage it and you do it jointly with others."

      • Trump Restricts COVID-19 Relief Funds From Hospitals Serving Nation's Poorest

        Public health experts, state officials, and frontline medical workers are sounding the alarm and demanding an urgent change of course as the Trump administration disproportionately allocates Covid-19 relief funds to higher-revenue hospitals while restricting the flow of aid to providers that primarily serve low-income people.

      • Trump Just Doubled His Previous Projections for COVID-19 Deaths in the US

        President Donald Trump took part in a virtual town hall event on Sunday hosted by Fox News, in which he — yet again — altered his projections for how many Americans could die from COVID-19.

      • To Counter Trump Inaction, Sanders-Khanna Bill Would Unleash $75 Billion for Emergency Manufacture of PPE, Covid-19 Testing

        "It's been three months, but somehow the Trump administration continues€ to€ drag its feet in ramping up the€ production of critical testing and protective€ equipment€ that our health care providers are begging for."

      • 'A Travesty': Trump Restricting Covid-19 Relief Funds From Hospitals Serving Nation's Poorest

        "Trump is using hospital bailout fund money to disproportionately help high revenue hospitals, and leave safety-net systems in the lurch."

      • Rural America Needs a Real COVID-19 Response

        As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, many rural communities are in a uniquely difficult position.

      • Only the Poor Starve: Hunger in the Time of Covid-19

        In addition to the global health crisis and the coming worldwide economic collapse, Covid-19 is fuelling a humanitarian crisis. The World Food Program (WFP) warns that, “millions of civilians living in€ conflict-scarred nations, including many women and children,€ face being pushed to the brink of starvation, with the spectre of famine a very real and dangerous possibility.” The WFP’s view that the biggest impact of the pandemic will not by caused by the virus directly, but the hunger that the flows from it, is in line with other concerned groups.

      • ‘It is impossible to receive any illness through communion’ As a massive post-Easter COVID-19 outbreak spreads through the Russian Orthodox clergy, here’s what high priests are and aren’t doing to stop the disease

        Two weeks after Easter services, the novel coronavirus is spreading through the Russian Orthodox Church, infecting increasing numbers of priests, bishops, and metropolitans. At least one church leader, Bishop Veniamin of Zheleznogorsk and Lgov, has already died of COVID-19, and monasteries are rapidly becoming local pandemic hotspots. In an attempt to push back against the disease, Patriarch Kirill has issued an order for the Moscow Diocese warning that any priest who conducts services with members of his congregation present may be penalized by an ecclesiastical court. Meanwhile, Orthodox believers have signed onto a petition asking the Church to disclose how many infections have been confirmed in cathedrals and monasteries that have been closed to the public. Still, a number of vocal dissidents within the Church hierarchy have continued to insist that closing off cathedrals will be even more dangerous than the alternative.

      • ‘We will fight this virus together’ 98-year-old World War II veteran raises over 1.5 million rubles to help Russian doctors fight COVID-19

        Zinaida Korneva is a 98-year-old veteran who lives in St. Petersburg. Until 1942 she worked as a teacher. During World War II, she served as an anti-aircraft gunner and made it all the way to Berlin. Now, she’s raising money to help Russian doctors fight the coronavirus.

      • Demanding Tax Cut in Next Stimulus Package, Trump Holds COVID Relief Hostage

        President Donald Trump on Sunday said he will not approve another badly needed Covid-19 stimulus package if it doesn’t include a payroll tax cut, a policy that would strike a blow to Social Security and Medicare funding while offering no relief for the more than 30 million people who have lost their jobs over the past six weeks.

      • Small Devices Can Detect Oxygen Deprivation Earlier From COVID-19

        We speak with Dr. Richard Levitan, an emergency physician based in Littleton, New Hampshire, who volunteered at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan for 10 days at the height of the COVID-19 surge in April. Based on what he saw, he argues patients should be going to hospitals sooner and that medical professionals could use a small device you clip on your fingertip, called a pulse oximeter, to help detect the virus earlier by revealing oxygenation problems and elevated heart rates. “A pulse oximeter is just a measure of identifying how well the lungs are working, and, I believe, can be basically an early warning system in terms of patients to know who has COVID pneumonia,” says Dr. Levitan.

      • Surviving Pandemics Is Indigenous Resistance

        Kelly Hayes talks with Morning Star Gali about Native life and death in the age of COVID-19.

      • Trump Says He Won't Approve Covid-19 Package Without Tax Cut That Offers Zero Relief for 30 Million Newly Unemployed

        "'Payroll tax cut' is code for 'gut Social Security and Medicare's dedicated funding, then demand benefit cuts.' Democrats must stand strong and continue blocking Trump's terrible idea."

      • Beware the Pentagon's Pandemic Profiteers

        Hasn't the military-industrial complex taken enough of our money?

      • The Pentagon Continues to Profit at Taxpayers’ Expense During Pandemic

        At this moment of unprecedented crisis, you might think that those not overcome by the economic and mortal consequences of the coronavirus would be asking, “What can we do to help?” A few companies have indeed pivoted to making masks and ventilators for an overwhelmed medical establishment. Unfortunately, when it comes to the top officials of the Pentagon and the CEOs running a large part of the arms industry, examples abound of them asking what they can do to help themselves.

      • Trump Hasn’t Released Funds That Help Families of COVID-19 Victims Pay for Burials. Members of Congress Want to Change That.

        Democratic members of Congress are urging President Donald Trump to authorize FEMA to reimburse funeral expenses for victims of the coronavirus pandemic, citing ProPublica’s reporting about the administration’s policies.

        “Just as with all previous disasters, we should not expect the families of those that died — or the hardest hit states — to pay for burials,” said the statement issued Friday from Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “President Trump needs to step up and approve this assistance so FEMA can pay for the funerals of our fellow Americans so they can be buried in dignity. It is the least he can do.”

      • Russia confirms more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the country’s official count over 145,200

        On the morning of May 4, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 10,581 new coronavirus infections in the past day (there were 10,633 new cases the day before), bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 145,268 patients.

      • Activists Demand Worker Safety Plans as COVID-19 Surges in Meat Plants

        At least 20 workers at meat processing plants have died from COVID-19, and around 5,000 have tested positive, but President Trump invoked an executive order to bar local governments from closing meat plants. We hear from meat plant workers and organizers about conditions during the pandemic and speak with Sindy Benavides, CEO of the League of United Latin American Citizens, which is supporting the workers with a virtual town hall on food worker safety with presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and calling for Meatless May Mondays.

      • Internal U.S. document foresees surge of coronavirus deaths this month: NY Times

        The document, based on modelling by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, projects that COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, will kill 3,000 Americans a day by the end of May, the Times said, up from a current daily toll that a Reuters tally places at around 2,000.

      • Michigan's Militia-like Morons Can't Math

        Deaths were trending downward until the idiots’ Gridlock protest. It would be nice to know how many of the spike in deaths were people who attended the protest, or who broke the Stay Home order because they were inspired by Gridlock to do so. We may never know how many deaths were because of asymptomatic carriers exposed on that date unless researchers conduct a forensic genetic examination some time in the future.

      • District head in S. Sulawesi reported for blasphemy after dispersing Friday prayer

        On April 17, Ulfa and a number of COVID-19 task force personnel as well as local authorities conducted checks on mosques in the district to ensure Muslims in the area did not congregate for Friday prayers, so as to abide by the government's appeal for physical distancing.

        However, the residents reportedly thronged to the Ar-Rahmah mosque as usual, prompting Ulfa to ask the local figures to stop the mass prayer while the sermon was ongoing.

      • Antivaccination Activists Are Growing Force at Virus Protests

        In recent years, Ms. Muñoz Gleisner and the two other founding members of the Freedom Angels, Denise Aguilar and Tara Thornton, have organized people in California and New Jersey against bills that crack down on non-medical exemptions for vaccinations and the process by which they’re granted.

      • Anti-vaxxer groups sow doubt about coronavirus vaccine before one even exists

        In recent weeks, vaccine opponents have made several unsubstantiated claims, including allegations that vaccine trials will be dangerously rushed or that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, is blocking cures to enrich vaccine makers. They’ve also falsely claimed that Microsoft founder Bill Gates wants to use a vaccine to inject microchips into people — or to cull 15 percent of the world’s population.

      • International students in Turkey ‘suspended between loneliness and fear’

        It’s been nearly two months since Turkey shut down most of its universities at the beginning of March. Many students left their adopted cities, said goodbye to their dormitories and headed to their hometowns unsure when they would come back and what remained of their education.

        The possibility of attending graduation ceremonies and taking final exams has slowly faded and online classes have replaced the physical interaction of the classroom.


        Normally, when universities are closed in Turkey for holidays or summer break, student dorms are also shut for students with international students going back to their home countries or finding alternative accommodation.

        “Everything is new, suspended between loneliness and fear,” Hyseni tells TRT World, unsure when she will be able to go home and see her family and the lockdown potentially weeks away from being lifted.

        “Our sleeping routine has drastically changed, and as someone who does outdoor sports, it was difficult to cope with the idea of not getting fresh air every morning,” added Hyseni.

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Fifty Years Later, the Gunfire at Kent State Still Echoes Through America

        Today’s pandemic alters our tradition of protest and dissent.

      • Fifty Years Ago This Spring: Millions of Students Struck to End a War in Vietnam

        President Richard M. Nixon prided himself on the accuracy of his political prognostication. Nixon was never more prescient than fifty years ago this month, in a remark made to his secretary, just before delivering a White House address that announced a U.S. military invasion of Cambodia. “It’s possible,” Nixon told her, “that the campuses are really going to blow up after this speech.”

      • Syria: ISIS Dumped Bodies in Gorge

        The effort to exhume the ISIS mass graves has been faltering and incomplete, in part due to the fluid security situation. With limited resources and minimal outside support, local groups, such as Raqqa’s First Responders Team, have been conducting partial exhumations, but the sites are still not protected and have not been examined in line with international best practices. No teams are working at al-Hota or the apparent mass grave sites that are currently under Turkish control.

      • US Navy Ships Enter Arctic’s Barents Sea for First Time in Decades

        U.S. surface ships, as opposed to U.S. submarines that regularly prowl the Arctic waters, have not operated in the Barents Sea since the mid-1980s.

      • Saudi activists allege a tribesman was killed over glitzy megacity plans

        Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti loved his home — so much so that he refused to move. It may have cost him his life.

        He lived on a remote stretch of land near the Red Sea in northwest Saudi Arabia. That’s where Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman wants to build his much-celebrated megacity called NEOM.

      • Scuttling New START: Trump’s China Distraction

        For a person keen on throwing babies out with their bath water, only to then ask for their return, President Donald Trump risks doing giving that same treatment to the New START treaty. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, also known as the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive arms, a creation of the Obama administration, is due for renewal come February 2021.

    • Environment

      • Antarctica: Too Big to Melt
      • Energy

        • Irish LNG Plan That Would Allow US Fracked Gas Imports ‘Dead in the Water’

          First, the€ European Court of Justice advocate general,€ Juliane Kokott, ruled that€ An Bord Pleanála, Ireland’s planning appeals body,€ erred in not requesting an up-to-date environmental impact study for the€ proposed Shannon LNG terminal€ before extending planning permission for a planned project. The decision means the case would have to be referred back to Ireland’s High€ Court.

        • Russian Health Ministry confirms that over 3,000 workers at oil field in Yakutia have COVID-19

          After over 10,000 workers at the Chayanda oil field in Yakutia were tested for the coronavirus, “one third tentatively showed positive results,” confirmed Elena Malinnikova, an infectious disease specialist for the Russian Health Ministry, after visiting the shift workers’ settlement.

        • Underwriter Announces Tougher Stance on Coal

          German insurer, Allianz has updated its coal insurance restrictions with a new policy, released on last week. In addition to the underwriter’s previous exclusion of insurance for coal projects (specifically new coal-fired power plants and mines), Allianz will now no longer offer property and casualty insurance for companies whose business model is largely based on coal and which do not have a clear coal exit path from 2023.

          According to the statement, the policy applies to energy suppliers that generate 25% or more of their electricity from coal and have a coal-fired power generation capacity of 5GW or more.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • Planet of the Anti-Humanists

          Progress is a dangerous myth, the film argues; there are too many humans consuming too much stuff, so everyone in developed countries — including the working class — needs to consume less, while the planet as a whole must be depopulated down to a more sustainable number.

    • Finance

      • Crushing the States, Saving the Banks: the Fed’s Generous New Rules

        Congress seems to be at war with the states. Only $150 billion of its nearly $3 trillion coronavirus relief package – a mere 5% – has been allocated to the 50 states; and they are not allowed to use it where they need it most, to plug the holes in their budgets caused by the mandatory shutdown. On April 22, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was opposed to additional federal aid to the states, and that his preference was to allow states to go bankrupt.

      • Warnings of 'Pro-Corporate Agenda' on Eve of Post-Brexit US and UK Trade Talks

        "Our approach to trade policy needs to be fundamentally overhauled to benefit working families, not just the executives and large shareholders of multinational corporations."

      • Time for an Emergency Charity Stimulus

        Congress can help nonprofits come up with an additional $200 bill—without costing taxpayers another dime.

      • Shed No Tears for CEOs with Sinking Share Prices

        Sometimes calendars can be cruel. A regularly reoccurring event can suddenly reoccur at a most inopportune moment. Just ask Ronald Rittenmeyer, the chief executive of Tenet Healthcare, a for-profit colossus that runs 65 hospitals and over 500 smaller care centers across the country.

      • Cancel Rent and Stop Playing the Landlord’s Game

        Years ago, I took an interest in the origins of the boardgame Monopoly, which was originally known as the Landlord’s Game.€  Its history is germane, I think – and perhaps even might be a source of inspiration – for those heroic renters now contemplating a nationwide rent strike.

      • ‘The Industry Chose to Protect Billions of Dollars a Year in Its Own Profit’
      • Newspapers Won’t Connect the Dots on Postal Service Threats

        More than six weeks after a bill was introduced to require vote-by-mail to be available for the November 3 elections, no federal steps have been taken to ensure a fair and free election in the shadow of a pandemic that threatens people’s ability to access the polls.

      • Newspapers Won’t Connect the Dots on Postal Service Threats

        The right-wing vendetta against the Postal Service long predates the pandemic, but gutting it now has the potential to undermine the integrity of the November election. Yet establishment media seem remarkably uninterested in connecting the dots.

      • Following Mexico’s Worker Strikes, the US Steps in to Keep Border Factories Open

        In Washington, D.C., President Trump is trying his best to reopen closed meatpacking plants, as packinghouse workers catch the COVID-19 virus and die. In Tijuana, Mexico, where workers are dying in mostly U.S.-owned factories (known as maquiladoras) that produce and export goods to the U.S., the Baja California state governor, a former California Republican Party stalwart, is doing the same thing.


        The Bank of England’s moves to offer forms of monetary financing to the Treasury in the wake of Covid-19 have caused concerns over excessive inflation, but this panic is misplaced. Instead, as social distancing measures generate an unprecedented shock to the demand for goods and services, Covid-19 is a powerful deflationary force. In the UK, the latest figures showed inflation slipping by 0.2% in March, before the lockdown was even introduced.

        Following the 2008 financial crisis, inflation hawks predicted that Quantitative Easing (QE) measures would turn high-income economies into the next victims of hyperinflation. Yet despite central bankers’ best efforts, the past decade has seen inflation remaining consistently below the 2% inflation target. The false predictions were based on misconceptions originating in the debunked theory of monetarism, the core of which Milton Friedman famously captured in the claim that inflation is “always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon”.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Belarusian President says Russian officials are welcome to attend Victory Day celebrations in Minsk

        Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has announced that Victory Day celebrations will go forward in Minsk on May 9, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

      • Defying Trump and Their Governors, Many Workers Are Refusing to “Reopen”

        The argument over whether or not to extend stay-at-home orders has reached a crescendo after weeks of COVID-19 cloistering — combined with scant assistance from the federal government — and left millions forced to choose between their money and their lives. Many people need cash after weeks without working; those people want and need to work, but many of those people don’t want to die for work.

      • A Lawless President Confronts an Untrustworthy Intelligence Community

        “There is no ‘deep state’—not in the conspiratorial way that Donald Trump uses the term,” writes David Rohde, a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent, in his new book, In Deep: The FBI, the CIA and the Truth about America’s “Deep State.”

      • America is Exceptional...In Some of the Worst Ways

        “America First,” has been a pronouncement of pride for President Donald Trump and millions of his supporters. Today they have gotten their wish as the United States leads the world during a global deadly pandemic, racing well past other nations in the numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths. It may not be the “first place” spot that they desire or expect. But it should come as no surprise, for anyone paying attention to the deliberate design of the U.S. economy and infrastructure could have predicted the pandemic’s impact. And indeed, our national hubris may have been our biggest weakness.

      • Four Dead in Ohio

        If you are old enough, you will recognize that snippet from a song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.€  If not, I am here to tell you that on May 4, 1970, four students were shot to death by members of the Ohio National Guard on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio.€  Nine others were wounded.

      • Portugal Leads the Way: How European Countries Fared in Their Treatment of Refugees

        As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading its tentacles throughout China and eventually to the rest of the world, the World Health Organization (WHO), along with other international groups, sounded the alarm that refugees and migrants are particularly vulnerable to the deadly disease.

      • The South China Sea: Beyond the Smoke ‘n Mirrors

        As the American Empire continues to intensify its many-fronted aggression against China, the South China Sea has become a potential flashpoint. The latest “freedom-of-navigation” (translation: freedom-of-provocation) sail-past by a US Navy destroyer was “expelled” by PLA forces, Chinese media reported. More confrontations are expected in that strategic maritime stretch.

      • Right-Wing "Reopen" Fanatics Would Kill Nearly as Many Americans as Died in All US Wars

        A new simulation by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania offers a frightening scenario of what happens if the Neo Nazis, libertarians, and too many Trumpian governors have their way.

      • Trump Must Choose Between a Global Ceasefire and America's Long Lost Wars

        Trump has so far spurned this chance to make good on his promise to bring U.S. troops home, even as his lost wars and ill-defined global military occupation expose thousands of troops to the Covid-19 virus.

      • St. Petersburg’s governor scores another PR coup, posing in a medical mask and face shield beside a new mother and her baby

        Over the weekend, St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov braved the indoors of several maternity hospitals, making the rounds to see how the region’s newest mothers are faring during the coronavirus pandemic. To ensure that this deadly and pesky pathogen stood no chance, the governor donned both a medical mask and a face shield.€ 

      • Can Democrats Take the Senate? A New Poll Shows Iowa Might Flip.

        At this time last year, many believed that the chances for Democrats to win the Senate in 2020 were fairly mild. There was a possibility, prognosticators said, but it was going to be a very tight contest overall.

      • You Can't Make Me

        You can’t make me vote for Biden


        The situation gets even weirder when we see Democrats – who were rightfully outraged against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the supreme court – trot out many of the exact same arguments that the right used to try to discredit Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony to Congress. She remained silent about the abuse for years. There haven’t been other allegations – which eventually turned out, by the way, to be false. Her politics are suspect. We’ve seen this shit before, flying out of the mouths of aging ghouls like Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell. Now we see it – almost word for word – from the standard bearers of centrist liberalism, like the Times and MSNBC.

        We had so many options early on in the 2020 primary. We had… a young gay mayor of a small Midwestern town, a Democratic socialist, an Asian-American entrepreneur touting universal basic income, a lawyer and crusader for consumers’ rights, a woman of color serving in the Senate… the list goes on. When the establishment center of the party coalesced around its own candidate in a coordinated effort to stop the Democratic Socialist upsurge, they picked…. Biden.

      • The Bigoted, Conspiratorial Rants of Rudy Giuliani’s Radio Show

        Presidential lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has largely fallen out of the public eye since his starring role in President Donald Trump’s impeachment. But Giuliani hasn’t gone silent.

        Instead, he’s in his home, doing a call-in radio show and a podcast — “Common Sense” — during which he has repeatedly gone on bigoted rants about China and its government.

      • 'Dangerous and Irresponsible': 40 Rights Groups Demand McConnell Stop Ramming Through Lifetime Judges During Covid-19 Crisis

        "Trump and McConnell are prioritizing their morally bankrupt agenda instead of addressing the impact of this public health crisis."

      • Trump campaign has not returned illegal donation from foreign national, FEC records show

        The Trump campaign has not returned an illegal donation it received from a foreign national in 2019, records from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show. It is the campaign's only known illegal foreign contribution.

      • [Older] Pro-Infection Rallies Are Astroturf All The Way Down

        At least this time around, many media outlets have caught on to the sham early, and have pointed out just how inorganic this "movement" is. The Washington Post, for example, offers a close look at how three pro-gun brothers from the Midwest have been behind a series of groups on Facebook that promote not following public health orders. That story and many others have noted that the recent pro-virus protests in Michigan have been promoted by Republican-aligned groups, including one that's connected to Donald Trump's Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. In Idaho, the local media have prominently noted that last Friday's protest at the state Capitol building was organized by rightwing political groups, one of which promotes an anti-vaccine agenda. Anti-vaxxers also showed up at a rally in Pennsylvania:

        Gosh, what nice folks, and what nice astroturf organizers helping them share their love for liberty and infectious disease.

        The Washington Post's story on the gunhumpers behind multiple Facebook groups is a model for how reporting on the pro-death rallies should be done. Not only does it trace the groups' origins to three rightwing brothers, Ben, Christopher, and Aaron Dorr, it also points out that the online groups appear to violate Facebook's own rules on spreading misinformation about the virus, and emphasizes that however much noise these guys and their pals make, the "reopen America" bullshit is only supported by a tiny minority of Americans: [...]

      • [Older] We Will Never Agree On What Happened During The First Wave Of The Pandemic — And That Will Make It Harder To Survive The Second

        Some of those groups are the work of conservative activists. A network of pro-gun groups run by four brothers — Chris, Ben, Aaron, and Matthew Dorr — were behind five of the largest Facebook groups dedicated to to the protests, according to NBC News. Another one of the protests in Michigan was organized by a group linked to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

        But the Tech Transparency Project, a research initiative of Campaign for Accountability, a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization, published a report outlining how extremists were using private Facebook Groups to ramp up support for a violent anti-government uprising.

      • With Kayleigh McEnany, the White House Isn’t Even Pretending the Truth Matters

        That a person whose three-year long career was premised entirely on a lack of shame, a willingness to “go there” and a propensity for telling preposterous lies that are completely untethered from reality was elevated to the job of White House Press Secretary in the first place told Colvin all she needed to know.

        Unlike most of her predecessors as White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany didn’t come to the job with a background as a reporter or a career press secretary. She never had a prominent role in a political campaign or in government. Instead she is the first of a new type of press secretary, one that if current trends are any indication we will have to get used to. She blazed the path to the podium on the back of her experience as an internet troll turned cable news pundit. (Fun fact: McEnany was rejected by Fox before getting scooped up by CNN’s Jeff Zucker who was looking for a new “character in a drama” — his words — who was willing to defend Donald Trump on the network. And what a character she has become).

        In this way, and others, her elevation mirrors that of her boss.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Texas Appeals Court Brushes Off Section 230 In Allowing Lawsuit Over Sex Trafficking Against Facebook To Continue

        Earlier this year, we mentioned, in passing, personal injury lawyer Annie McAdams' weird crusade against internet companies and Section 230. The lawyer -- who bragged to the NY Times about how she found out her favorite restaurant's secret margarita mix by suing them and using the discovery process to get the recipe -- has been suing a bunch of internet companies trying to argue that we can ignore Section 230 if you argue that the sites were "negligent" in how they were designed. In a case filed in Texas against Facebook (and others) arguing that three teenagers were recruited by sex traffickers via Facebook and that Facebook is to blame for that, the lower court judge ruled last year that he wouldn't dismiss on Section 230 grounds. I wish I could explain to you his reasoning, but the ruling is basically "well, one side says 230 bars this suit, and the other says it doesn't, and I've concluded it doesn't bar the lawsuit." That's literally about the entire analysis:

      • Cambodian Government Using Fake News Law To Silence Critics And Coronavirus Reporting

        In 2018, Cambodia's government passed a "fake news" law. It was enacted shortly before a general election, allowing the government to stifle criticism of the Prime Minister. It also required all local websites to register with the government and put government employees to work scouring social media for violations.

      • Special Guests Nicholas Baham, III, Anthony DiMaggio - The Project Censored Show
      • Top Russian newspaper fights for survival amid censorship row

        Tensions reportedly started right after the first staff meeting with the new editor-in-chief of Vedomosti. Since Andrey Shmarov started in the job at the end of March, journalists at the paper say he banned them from writing about Vladimir Putin's controversial constitutional reforms, which could keep the Russian president in power far beyond his current term limit. Apparently he also told them not to cite surveys by the independent pollster Levada Center, an accusation Shmarov has denied. The editor has also deleted a column about the Russian oil giant Rosneft and changed the title of another column.

        Vedomosti media editor Ksenya Boletskaya tells DW that many of the steps caused a "violent emotional reaction" in the team, which values its editorial independence above all. Vedomosti staff began openly defying Shmarov. In an editorial, staff wrote that his editorial changes "are damaging trust in the publication," accusing Shmarov of censorship. Without the journalistic principles its reputation is based on, they wrote, Vedomosti will become "yet another dependent and controlled media outlet," adding: "There are enough of those already in Russia."

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Journalists: Democracy’s Frontline Workers

        Without relief to keep reporters on the job, each local-news closure will cut into our democracy in ways that may prove fatal.

      • Recognizing World Press Freedom Day During COVID-19

        In the face of a global pandemic, there is an urgent need for reporting relating to the spread of the coronavirus and how governments are responding. But it is in times of crisis that the civil liberties we value most are put to the test—and that is exactly what is happening now as governments around the world clamp down on journalism and stifle the free flow of critical information.

        With so little currently known about the novel coronavirus, governments around the world have seized the opportunity to control the narrative around the virus and their responses to it. In countries including Algeria, Azerbaijan, China, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Palestine, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, and more, authorities have banned individuals and journalists from sharing false or misleading information about the coronavirus.

      • China jails journalist, human rights activist before World Press Freedom Day

        Several human rights activists were convicted and imprisoned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) right before World Press Freedom Day (May 3), demonstrating China's view on freedom of speech has not been affected by the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

      • Merkel government condemns 'extremists' for film crew attack

        Berlin prosecutors probing Friday’s attack on a crew filming for a satirical news show on public ZDF television say their probe is proving "complicated." Some 15 persons are suspected of injuring five team members.

      • ZDF camera crew attacked in Berlin

        A ZDF camera crew were attacked after filming a demonstration for satirical news programme the heute-show (Today Show) on Friday 1 May. The team were on the way back to their vehicles when the incident took place.

        Six of the seven members required hospital treatment and have since been discharged to recover from home. Six people have since been arrested.

      • German attack on journalists to be investigated for political motives

        While filming on May Day, several members of the crew were attacked while filming in Berlin. Four members of the team sustained injuries severe enough to be sent to hospital. Five men and one woman were arrested.

      • Exiled Pakistani Journalist Found Dead in Sweden

        A Pakistani journalist forced into exile in Sweden after covering violence, crime and a simmering insurgency in his home country was found dead on Friday in a river north of Stockholm, the Swedish police said.

        A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said an autopsy did not point strongly to foul play in the death of the journalist, Sajid Hussain, 39, but journalism groups expressed skepticism and concern.

      • Body in Swedish River Was Missing Pakistani Journalist

        Hussain was openly critical of the Pakistani government, and the Swedish chapter of Reporters Without Borders had raised concerns that his disappearance could have been due to his work.

      • Julian Assange's extradition case delayed until September, WikiLeaks founder's hearing moved to another court

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition case has been delayed until September and will be moved to another court by a British judge.

        The Australian's next hearing had been due on May 18, but District Judge Vanessa Baraitser last week agreed to delay it over concerns that Assange and lawyers would not be able to attend in person.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Supreme Court Streams Oral Arguments Live For The First Time (Thanks To The Pandemic)

        For over a decade now, we've been saying that the Supreme Court should absolutely stream its oral arguments live via the internet -- and for all that time the Supreme Court has rejected the idea. All of the Justices have always seems to be aligned in this view, though with very bad justifications. The two most frequently cited reasons are that (1) the public wouldn't understand what was going on, and (2) that it might make the oral arguments more "performative" as the Justices (and perhaps some lawyers) would act differently for the cameras. Neither of these arguments makes much sense.

      • Third Russian doctor falls from window after criticizing working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic

        Emergency physician Alexandr Shulepov fell from a second-story window at the hospital where he was recovering from the coronavirus, in the rural town of Novaya Usman (Voronezh Region). Shulepov had previously complained that he was being forced to work after becoming infected with COVID-19. He is now the third Russian doctor who has fallen from a window in the past two weeks.€ 

      • Female Genital Mutilation Finally Banned in Sudan

        Women's rights groups praised the move saying it would help to end FGM but warned about the difficulty of changing mentalities as the practice is deeply entrenched in Sudanese culture. Now the bill still needs to be passed by members of the sovereign council, which was created following the ousting of former dictator Omar al-Bashir.

        “There is so much work to be done. This is a start, a good start,” communication officer of the United Nations Children’s agency (Unicef) in Sudan, Fatma Naib, said.

      • Trump's COVID-19 meatpacking order returns us to 'The Jungle' days just so you can eat bacon

        Industries famously don't regulate themselves, and the meatpacking industry isn't going to be an outlier. SARS-CoV-2 is relentless and brutal and, so far, mysterious to science. More line workers will get sick and die, and more meatpacking plants will close. Things won't get better until there is the real political will to change how the meatpacking industry handles worker safety.

      • Amazon Web Services Executive Resigns In Protest Against Firing Of Whistleblowers

        A vice president and distinguished engineer at Amazon Web Services resigned in protest against the corporation’s firing of whistleblowers who spoke out against deplorable warehouse conditions.

        Tim Bray wrote in a post on his personal website that terminating whistleblowers was “evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture. I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison.”

      • Citing 'Vein of Toxicity' and Firing of Whistleblowers, Amazon VP Resigns in Disgust

        "This is a really big deal. This kind of courage is what we need€ right now, in every workplace and walk of life."

      • Tim Bray, Early Internet Guru, And Amazon VP Quits Over The 'Chickenshit' Company's Targeting Of Employees Speaking Out About COVID-19

        If you do anything internet related, hopefully you already know Tim Bray. Among tons of other things, he helped develop XML and a variety of other standards/technologies the internet relies on. He's also been a vocal and thoughtful commenter on a wide variety of issues, especially in the tech policy space. For the past five years he's been working at Amazon as a VP and Distinguished Engineer -- but as he's announced he has now quit in protest over the company's retaliation against workers who were speaking up over the company's handling of their working conditions during the pandemic. Bray gives some of the background of workers organizing and speaking up about their concerns, and then discusses the company's reaction (firing the vocal ones and offering lame excuses).

      • Canadian Tim Bray quits as VP of Amazon Web Services, cites firing of activist employees

        The Canadian vice-president of Amazon Web Services has quit, citing the company's firing of employees he said voiced concerns over work conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

        "I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of COVID-19," said Vancouver-based Tim Bray in a blog post on Monday, He denounced the firings and said the company's actions were "evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture."

        In the blog, Bray said Amazon warehouse exployees concerned about work conditions amid the cornavirus pandemic had reached out to Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), an employee group that calls for greater climate action at the company.

      • Bye, Amazon

        May 1st was my last day as a VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services, after five years and five months of rewarding fun. I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19.

        What with big-tech salaries and share vestings, this will probably cost me over a million (pre-tax) dollars, not to mention the best job I’ve ever had, working with awfully good people. So I’m pretty blue.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Cable TV Customers Are Rightfully Pissed They're Still Paying For Cancelled Sports Programming

        For years, consumers have been bitching about the high cost of sports programming as it pertains to your monthly cable bill. Especially for those who don't watch sports, but are often forced to pay the sky high prices for sports programming as part of a bloated cable bundle anyway. One survey a few years ago found that 56% of consumers would ditch ESPN in a heartbeat if it meant saving the $8 per month subscribers pay for the channel. The "regional sports fees" tacked on to subscriber bills have also long been a point of contention because they're often used to help falsely advertise a lower rate.

      • 'Time for the Agency to Come Clean': FCC Ordered to Release Detailed Data From Fake Net Neutrality Comments

        "Journalists wanted to get to the bottom of this mess. The FCC told them go away. But a court just told the FCC to stop hiding from the press."

      • Our Work to Make the Internet for Everyone Marches On

        The Internet Society will focus on its core work: an Internet that is open, globally-connected, secure, and trustworthy for everyone. At a time when we are all reminded about how crucial the Internet is for society, our work has never been more critical. We will continue to focus on that work in support of our mission. To do it, we shall continue to rely on our partners at PIR, who will maintain, as ever, its exemplary service to all those who rely on .ORG and the other TLDs PIR operates.

      • How I Quadrupled Internet Speed in a Resort Room… with a Rope

        I just temporarily moved into a room, or more exactly a small bungalow, and with my line of work I kind of need decent internet. I was told they had “WiFi”, and when I tried it out, I could log in fine, but the speed was pretty dismissal. I repeated the test close to the router and it achieved speeds I could easily live with.


        I met the owner since then, and he’s afraid the router may get wet due to the rain. So I’ll probably weatherproof it with a thin plastic bag, or something else…

        The moral of the story is where you place your router can be critical, and in this moving the router down by around 20 centimeters to allow line-of-sight, and move it away from the metal bars, allowed me to quadruple the Internet speed in my room.

    • Monopolies

      • Court Sides With Nike And Dismisses Kawhi Leonard's Lawsuit Over 'Klaw' Logo

        Sometimes you turn out to be wrong. When we initially discussed Kawhi Leonard's lawsuit against Nike over the "Klaw" logo, I'd said I was interested to hear Nike's response. That was because my glance at Leonard's description of the history of the logo, one which he created in rough draft form when he was young to one which Nike used as inspiration for the eventual Nike Kawhi shoe logo, it sure seemed like Nike was being hypocritical. After all, Nike has a reputation for being extremely protective of its own intellectual property rights while being rather cavalier with those of others. As a reminder, Leonard created a logo that makes something of a "K" and "L" outlined via the tracing of his own hand. It sure seemed that if that all wasn't unique enough that Nike shouldn't be trying to trademark a version of the logo from under him, what could be?

      • How is regulatory policy influencing the development and marketing of antibody testing for COVID-19?

        Over the last few weeks, dozens of companies have begun marketing tests intended to determine whether someone has antibodies directed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These tests indicate likely immunity to COVID-19 and are different from diagnostic tests to determine whether someone is currently infected. However, recent evaluations have shown that these antibody tests are often failing to deliver accurate results. Last week, the House Oversight Committee called for more information from these companies about the accuracy of their tests, and the FDA has now responded by increasing its oversight over antibody tests. But why did the FDA’s initial stance toward these tests differ so strongly from its stance toward COVID-19 diagnostics, and what lessons should policymakers draw from these experiences going forward?


        Initially, the FDA took a highly permissive approach to serology tests, essentially using discretion not to enforce its normal rules and permitting developers to enter the market where (1) the test has been validated, (2) the manufacturer has notified the FDA of its intention to enter the market, and (3) a series of disclaimers accompany the test results. (See Section IV.D of the FDA’s guidance document here for more details about these disclaimers.) The validation studies recommended by the FDA include studies designed to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the test, as described below. Likely as a result of the FDA’s lack of review process, serology test manufacturers rushed to enter the market. As of April 30, 170 commercial manufacturers and 24 separate laboratories had notified the FDA that they have validated and are offering serology tests.

        Manufacturers were also permitted to submit their validation data to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), in which the FDA performs a limited review of the relevant information and more formally authorizes the manufacturer’s entrance into the market. Although the EUA process is less formal and rigorous than the FDA’s typical review pathway, in this context it can still provide greater assurance that there are no major concerns with a company’s validation tests. As of April 30, 10 manufacturers and laboratories had received such authorization.

        In short, the FDA was allowing antibody tests to quickly enter the market with little regulatory oversight. The agency has also been collaborating with the NIH and CDC to “establish a capability at NIH to evaluate serological tests for developers,” which “may complement and inform the determination of whether FDA issues an EUA for a particular test” in the future. But through April, the agency’s focus was on expanding antibody testing capacity rather than assessing the quality of the proliferating array of tests.

        Today, the FDA changed its policy and announced that companies marketing antibody tests would need to apply for an EUA within ten business days of beginning to market their products. Companies who do not receive such authorization must cease marketing their tests.

      • Patents

        • In re Rudy (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Christopher John Rudy, represented pro se, appealed from a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("Board") affirming the rejection of claims 34, 35, 37, 38, 40, and 45–49 of U.S. Patent Application No. 07/425,360 ("the '360 application") as ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. €§ 101. On April 24, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision affirming the Board's conclusion.

          Mr. Rudy originally filed the '360 application on October 21, 1989, and so, somehow, it has been pending for almost 31 years!

          The application, entitled "Eyeless, Knotless, Colorable and/or Translucent/Transparent Fishing Hooks with Associatable Apparatus and Methods," has undergone a lengthy prosecution, including numerous amendments and petitions, four Board appeals, and a previous trip to the Federal Circuit, in which the Court affirmed the obviousness of all claims then on appeal. In re Rudy, 558 F. App'x. 1011 (Fed. Cir. 2014).

          Now, claims 34, 35, 37, 38, 40, and 45–49 of the '360 application stand rejected as ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. €§ 101. Claims 26–33 and 54–60 stand allowed and all remaining claims of the '360 application have been cancelled by the applicant.

        • EPO calls time on most face-to-face hearings in favour of videoconferences

          Until now, hearings before the EPO Examining Divisions (EDs), which are in charge of examining European applications, were normally held in person on the EPO premises. Upon request and at its discretion, the EPO could decide to hold these by videoconference (VC). However, such requests could be denied due to unavailability of VC facilities at the EPO, or if the ED considered that holding the hearing by VC would be unsuitable given the subject matter of the application or the complexity of the case.

          The EPO has now made an almost 180€° change to its practice: hearings before the EDs will now be held by VC unless there are “serious reasons” against it. The EPO has provided only two examples of such a serious reason, namely the need for direct taking of evidence and “where an impediment prevents an applicant or representative from participating … by videoconference”. Although the EPO could, in principle, accept other reasons, we understand that the EPO considers very few hearings to genuinely need to be held in person.

          The change will, in practice, affect all hearings before the EDs which have not already been held. Hearings before the EPO Opposition Divisions and Boards of Appeal are, for the time being, unaffected by this change, and can only be held in person – but watch this space.

        • USPTO Unveils Virus Patent Platform, EPO Extends Deadlines

          The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office launched a new online marketplace Monday for patents related to COVID-19, while its European counterpart said it is extending certain deadlines until next month due to the pandemic.

          The USPTO's "Patents 4 Partnership" platform is aimed at supporting patent owners who seek to license intellectual property related to the "prevention, treatment and diagnosis" of COVID-19, the agency said in a press release.

          The new platform offers a "user-friendly, searchable repository of patents and published patent applications" related to COVID-19, which the agency said will help connect patent owners with businesses that are interested in obtaining licenses to the technology.

          In addition to facilitating licensing efforts, the platform will also "disseminate valuable patent information," according to the press release. It noted that the platform may later expand to include new technologies.

        • USPTO Confirms Inventorship as Limited to Natural Human Beings

          A key question surrounding patents for artificial intelligence (AI) related technologies is can an AI agent (as in, not a human) be considered an inventor to a patent application. Last week, in a highly publicized case, the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) answered with a resounding “no” to an AI agent named “Device for Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience” (“DABUS”) that “autonomously generated” the invention in question. The decision explained that an AI agent cannot meet certain statutory definitions for an inventor or the jurisprudential tests for determining inventorship.

          In the USPTO’s view, the language of the Patent Act suggests an inventor must be a natural person because it uses terms such as “whoever,” “himself or herself,” and “individual” when describing an inventor. The Act also describes actions that can only be performed by a human being, for example, by directing an inventor to “execute an oath or declaration.” The decision further cites case law defining the contours of inventorship, which turns on the question of “conception.” Generally, the legal tests for conception require a person to conceive of and contribute to the inventive subject matter in the claims. According to the USPTO, these tests contemplate conception in the “human mind” and therefore only natural persons can satisfy the requirements for inventorship.

        • If the PTAB Denies Institution Based on a Reference under Phillips, Does that Mean it was not Material Under BRI?

          But, in denying the motion to amend the answer to add inequitable conduct, the trial court relied upon the PTAB decision to hold that it would be futile to permit the amendment. It reasoned that it was implausible that the Porsche 959 art could have been but-for material because of the PTAB’s decision.

          But Therasense requires materiality be based upon the broadest reasonable interpretation standard, not Phillips. Thus, the PTAB decision doesn’t decide materiality: if anything, it decided there was no anticipation based on the PTAB’s claim construction under Philips.

          Even weirder, the trial court held in denying amendment that it could still find invalidity based upon the Porsche 959 prior art. If anything, that would be precluded by the PTAB’s decision (I’m not even sure that’s right, however). Finally, and I may be misremembering (I’m grading finals!), but I thought there was also Federal Circuit precedent finding materiality even on submitted art? (I know you can find invalidity that way.)

        • Windy City IPR: Are Joinder Decisions Appealable after Thryv?

          Saurabh Vishnubhakat, Joinder and the One-Year Time Bar in Inter Partes Review, Patently-O (March 20, 2020). Facebook had wanted to join its prior case, because its later-filed case would have otherwise been time-barred under €§ 315(b)(1-year post-service timeline does “not apply to a request for joinder”).

          Facebook v. Windy City was decided one month before the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Thryv, Inc v. Click-To-Call Techs., LP, 18-916, 2020 WL 1906544 (U.S. Apr. 20, 2020). In Thryv, the court held that the USPTO’s interpretation of the €§ 315(b) one-year time-bar was not reviewable on appeal based upon the “no appeal” provision of €§ 314(d).

        • Software Patents

          • IP Bridge patent challenged as likely invalid

            On May 1, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 7,305,035 as part of its ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. The '035 patent is owned by Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1, which is participating in the HEVC Advance patent pool (HEVC Advance patent list).

            HEVC Advance claims that certain claims of the '035 patent are essential to the HEVC standard. After conducting an independent analysis, Unified has determined that the '035 patent is likely unpatentable.

          • $3,000 Cash Prize for Prior Art on Former Panasonic-owned Patent

            On May 4, 2020, as part of Unified's Open Covid Pledge efforts, Unified has announced a new PATROLL contest seeking prior art on at least Claim 1 of U.S. Patent 7,567,622. This former Panasonic patent is now owned by Swirlate IP, LLC, an NPE and IP Edge entity. The '622 patent generally relates to digital modulation and transmission errors in wireless communication systems (e.g. cellular radios).

            The patent has been asserted against ResMed, Livongo Health, Corning Optical Communications, Badger Meter, and Continental Automotive. The accused products include ventilators (ResMed) and blood glucose monitors (Livongo Health).

      • Copyrights

        • US Government 'Blacklists' The Wrong Domain as a Pirate Site, Again

          The US Government uses its diplomatic power to address piracy worldwide. One of the annual highlights is the USTR's annual review of 'notorious' pirate sites. Given the associations with criminal activity, this list should be constructed with great care. However, for the second time, the USTR made a serious mistake by listing a wrong domain name.

        • Massive Private Torrent Site Has Domain Seized Due to Criminal Investigation

          One of the world's largest private BitTorrent trackers,, has had its domain seized by authorities in Romania. The invite-only site, which has in excess of a milllion members, is facing a criminal investigation being overseen by the Prosecutor's Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice.

        • 21 and illegal in all states? The German Pelham court confirms when sampling is illegal

          Two decades into the Pelham v Hütter saga, the German Federal Court of Justice has confirmed when sampling is illegal under German copyright law. Few copyright litigations reach adulthood but this legal dispute over a two-second sample from Kraftwerk’s Metall auf Metall (Metal on Metal) in Nur Mir comes 21 years after reaching the Regional Court of Hamburg in 1999 (308 O 90/99). In its fourth decision, the Federal Court of Justice confirmed that recognizable sampling of a phonogram will usually infringe the phonogram producer’s reproduction right under German law. In this Katfriend’s estimation, this judgement is unwelcome news for producers of mashups and remixes in the EU. A question remains as to whether other EU national cases regarding copyright and music sampling will come to a similar and uniform legal position.


          In light of the CJEU Pelham judgement, the Federal Court of Justice clarifies how the reproduction, communication and distribution rights granted by Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the InfoSoc Directive apply to music sampling. Regarding the reproduction right, the Court aligns with the CJEU, finding that a sample that is recognisable to an average music listener was an Article 2 reproduction of a phonogram of the InfoSoc Directive, no matter how short the sample is. The Court also rules that the free use limitation in German copyright law (freie Benutzung, €§ 24 Urheberrechgesetz) permitted the reproduction of samples before the InfoSoc Directive. However, the limitation does not apply to reproductions after the InfoSoc Directive came into effect on 22 December 2002, restricting Member States from granting exceptions and limitations unless they were listed in Article 5 of that directive. The Court also confirms that relevant InfoSoc exceptions and limitations—for quotation, parody and caricature and incidental inclusions—do not permit reproduction by sampling. It follows that for any reproductions from 22 December 2002, the defendants in the case can no longer rely on any German limitation or exception to permit their sampling. Ultimately, the Court defers to the Higher Regional Court to decide whether there was any reproduction in this particular case after the InfoSoc Directive, and declines to find any infringement.

          Regarding the distribution and communication rights, the Court aligns with the CJEU by clarifying that these rights are infringed by music sampling. Unfortunately, this is an empty victory for sampling artists. EU and German copyright law grants them freedom to distribute and communicate works of sampling. However, the conditions on exceptions and limitations deny them the permission to use recognisable samples in the first place.

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