Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 18/9/2021: GIMP 2.10.28 Released and Azure Remains Back Doored

  • GNU/Linux

    • Why my public library chooses Linux and open source

      The Crawford County Federated Library System has been using Linux and open source software in its IT operations since 1999. They realized early on the potential of open source and integrated it into their enterprise. They were a part of my own Linux journey as I built a content filtering system for our school district. Twenty years ago, there were few models for the use of open source in libraries and education. Meadville Public Library and the Crawford County Federated Library System were the leaders then and now. Recently I had some questions about how to help libraries in our own library system, and I called Meadville. They referred me to Cindy Murdock Ames, their IT Director. I asked her what they were using for patron desktop computers. Cindy sent a brief email that piqued my interest, and I asked her if she would agree to an email interview. She graciously accepted.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #429: The Weekender LXXVIII

        It's time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we're doing. We'd love to hear from you.

    • Kernel Space

    • Applications

      • 9 Best Free and Open Source Command-Line Image Compression Tools

        Data compression is the process of storing data in a format that uses less space than the original representation would use. Compressing data can be very useful particularly in the field of communications as it enables devices to transmit or store data in fewer bits. Besides reducing transmission bandwidth, compression increases the amount of information that can be stored on a hard disk drive or other storage device.

        There are 2 main types of compression. Lossy compression is a data encoding method which reduces a file by discarding certain information. When the file is uncompressed, not all of the original information will be recovered. Lossy compression is typically used to compress video, audio and images, as well as internet telephony. The fact that information is lost during compression will often be unnoticeable to most users. Lossy compression techniques are used in all DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and most multimedia available on the internet.

      • Top 5 Open-Source eLearning Platforms for Linux

        The world of education, like other sectors, has been undergoing the process of digital transformation for years. With the creation of e-learning platforms, education is now available to anyone who has access to the Internet. The term “e-learning“, which means “electronic learning“, is one of the most commonly used words today. It refers to training and education typically on the Internet.

        Modern e-learning platforms or LMS (Learning Management System) are based on a virtual learning space that, in general, is oriented to simplify the distance training experience. So, due to the importance that e-learning has, it is necessary to know which are some of the best platforms available.

        In this post, you will find a brief overview of 5 open-source solutions for e-learning that can be installed on a Linux machine.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • IPv4 vs IPv6

        In today’s technological era, we are witnessing a massive leap in the usage of the internet and networking devices. Every home has a laptop, smartphone, digital watch, IoT device, home automation component, and other devices that are connected to the home network or the Internet. Devices communicate with each other through various network protocols, with TCP and IP being the most frequently used protocols. Each device connected to the network must have an IP address that identifies the device on the network.

      • Clear APT Cache Using the Apt Clean Command - ByteXD

        When you install a package on Linux, that package has to be kept somewhere on the system to be used for installation.

      • How to install Glimpse on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Glimpse on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • Using Oracle Cloud, Part 2: An 'Always Free' Web Server Platform -- Virtualization Review

        In a previous article, I detailed how it took less than 10 minutes to sign up for, create and use an "Always Free" Ubuntu 18.04 virtual machine (VM) on Oracle Cloud. Yes, the free VM wasn't that large (1 vCPU, and 4GB RAM), but I figured it would allow for the creation of a small web site -- a good test of Oracle Cloud because the web site on the VM would need to be opened up to allow access to the outside world. In this article, I will discuss what web server I chose to use, how I installed it and how well it works.

      • How To Install Chromium Browser on Debian 11 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Chromium Browser on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all users to experience the web. It is available for Windows, Linux, macOS, and many more, which is mainly not intended for end-users, but only for developers because Google tweaks the Chromium source code almost every day, hence you should always use the latest version.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Chromium web browser on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

      • How to Install Redis on Debian 11 Bullseye - LinuxCapable

        Redis is an open-source (BSD licensed), in-memory key-value data structure store used as a database, cache, and message broker. Redis supports data structures such as strings, hashes, lists, sets, sorted sets with range queries, bitmaps, hyperlog logs, geospatial indexes, and streams. Redis also provides high availability with its Redis Sentinel software logic, creating automatic partitioning across Redis nodes with Redis Cluster.

      • How to Install Memcached on Debian 11 Bullseye - LinuxCapable

        Memcached is used to speed up dynamic database-driven websites by caching data and objects in RAM. This reduces the number of times an external data source must be read, which lowers overheads and speeds up response times. The memory caching software is a free, open-source project that anyone can use.

        At the end of the guide, you will know how to install and configure Memcached on your Debian 11 Bullseye operating system.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: so many Wayland improvements, and more!

          The Plasma 5.23 beta has been released, so go test it! We’ve got a month to fix all the bugs you find and report, so please do so. Many of the improvements already made this week pertain to Plasma’s Wayland session which is rapidly becoming usable for more and more people’s daily usage. I’m using it myself as my primary session, and this is pretty painless now. I’m so impressed by how KDE developers have managed to whip it into shape over the last year! The future truly is now, or something.

          Lots of other non-Wayland improvements were made as well...

    • Distributions

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 18.04.6 LTS released

          The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 18.04.6 LTS (Long-Term Support) for its Desktop and Server products.

          Unlike previous point releases, 18.04.6 is a refresh of the amd64 and arm64 installer media after the key revocation related to the BootHole vulnerability, re-enabling their usage on Secure Boot enabled systems. More detailed information can be found here:

          Many other security updates for additional high-impact bug fixes are also included, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

          Maintenance updates will be provided for 5 years for Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Cloud, and Ubuntu Base.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • COM-HPC module unleashes up to 80-core Arm edge server SoC

        Adlink unveiled a “COM-HPC Ampere Altra” module that runs Linux on a 32- or 80-core, Arm v8.2 based Ampere Altra. There is also an automotive focused “AVA Developer Platform” that supports Arm’s new SOAFEE initiative.

        Adlink announced a COM-HPC/Server module featuring Ampere’s up to 80-core Ampere Altra Arm server SoC, which uses Arm’s Neoverse N1 architecture. The module will first become available in an automotive focused AVA Developer Platform (see farther below).

        The COM-HPC Ampere Altra is the first COM-HPC/Server module we have covered, although we have reported on several smaller, more embedded COM-HPC/Client modules. These include Congatec’s Tiger Lake-U based Conga-HPC/cTLU and Tiger Lake-H powered Conga-HPC/cTLH, and Eurotech’s Tiger Lake-U based CPU-180. For more on COM-HPC, you can check out our report on MSC’s Coffee Lake driven MSC HCC-CFLS, which was the first fully announced COM-HPC module.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Sir Clive Sinclair, 1940-2021
        • [Old] Reversing Sinclair's amazing 1974 calculator hack - half the ROM of the HP-35

          In a hotel room in Texas, Clive Sinclair had a big problem. He wanted to sell a cheap scientific calculator that would grab the market from expensive calculators such as the popular HP-35. Hewlett-Packard had taken two years, 20 engineers, and a million dollars to design the HP-35, which used 5 complex chips and sold for $395. Sinclair's partnership with calculator manufacturer Bowmar had gone nowhere. Now Texas Instruments offered him an inexpensive calculator chip that could barely do four-function math. Could he use this chip to build a $100 scientific calculator?

      • September update: Hurdles and Successes

        In this community update we’ll discuss PinePhone keyboard progress (and hurdles), add-on back cases awaiting developers approval, initial PineNote impressions and early development progress, as well as news of InfiniTime 1.4 release and a guest post about PineCubes as a part of a security system. We also have an announcement for our community developers: we will be introducing bounties to the DevZone.

    • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • New Alpha Release: Tor
    • Events

      • Linux Plumbers Conference: Get ready for LPC 2021!

        The LPC 2021 conference is just around the corner. We wanted to share the logistics on how to participate and watch the virtual conference.

        For those that are not registered for the conference, we will have live streaming of the sessions on YouTube, like last year. This is free of charge. We will provide the URLs where to watch each day, on this page. The only limitation is that you cannot participate and ask questions live with audio. However this year we will have the chat in each Big Blue Button room also available externally via the Matrix open communication network. Anyone is invited to join with their personal Matrix account.

    • Web Browsers

    • FSF

      • GNU Projects

        • GIMP 2.10.28 Released with Improvements and Bug Fixes, New Script-Fu Function

          GIMP 2.10.28 is here more than five months after the GIMP 2.10.24 release, which probably most of you are using on your GNU/Linux distributions right now, to address various bugs and issues, as well as to improve the performance of the application and add some new functionality.

          Highlights of this release include a new Script-Fu function called dir-make that lets users create directories from scripts, fixes to various accessibility issues in themes, such as mouse-hover feedback or problematic colors, as well as bug fixes for the BMP, C-source, DDS, DICOM, GIF, Gimpressionist, Metadata Viewer, PS, PSD, Sunras, and TIFF plugins.

        • GIMP 2.10.28 Released With More Fixes
        • GIMP 2.10.28 Released

          GIMP 2.10.28 is now released. This is a bugfix release, because we are giving most of our time and efforts to the development version (2.99.x).

          Note: you may have noticed we skipped GIMP 2.10.26. A build bug has been discovered just after tagging the release. GIMP 2.10.28 is the same without the bug. We recommend against building and using GIMP 2.10.26.

      • Licensing/Legal

    • Programming/Development

      • It’s Time for Vendor Security 2.0

        1. Questionnaires are largely Security Theater because it’s nearly impossible to assess a company’s security risk from the outside.

        2. If the business needs a given tool, they’ll likely force the company to use it despite the risk.

        3. Given these truths, the most realistic path for protecting ourselves from vendors is heavy investment in Risk Visibility, Risk Reduction, and Risk Communication/Acceptance.

      • Napkin Problem 16: When To Write a Simulator

        I hope you see the value in simulations for getting a handle on these types of problems. I think you’ll also find that writing simulators is some of the most fun programming there is. Enjoy!

      • Python

        • Use virtual environments to install third-party Python programs from PyPI

          The problem is that Pip's "user" mode involves pretending that Pip is basically a Unix distribution's package manager that just happens to be operating on your $HOME/.local. This is an attractive illusion and it sort of works, but in practice you run into issues over time when you upgrade things, especially if you have more than one program installed. You'll experience some of these issues with virtual environments as well, but with single purpose virtual environments (one venv per program) and keeping track of what you installed, the ultimate brute force solution is to delete and recreate the particular virtual environment. The dependency versions are getting tangled? Delete and recreate. You've moved to a new distribution version of Python (perhaps you've upgraded from one Ubuntu LTS to another)? It sounds like a good time to delete and recreate, rather than dealing with version issues.

  • Leftovers

    • Species Spotlight: Sunda Clouded Leopard, the Ethereal and Declining ‘Tree Tiger’
    • Afropessimism and Its Discontents

      Afropessimism is all the rage among millennial Black academics and activists—most notably among Black feminist critical race theorists, who themselves are now the prime targets of the MAGA crowd. Black intellectuals haven’t enjoyed this much pop currency among the right wing since Black Power took over buildings to demand Black studies in state universities and the Ivies 50 years ago.

      Afropessimism’s recent emergence in the mainstream of Black political conversation could not have been better timed. Particularly for that critical race sistren group, given their issues with suddenly woke white America—especially their bête blanche, white academic feminists. Here the grounds for suspicion are not gratuitous but experiential and statistical: 48 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump. Beyond that tempestuous internal struggle between feminists of different hues, though, just what is Afropessimism? And why should you, dear Nation reader, even give a good goddamn?

    • Tedious Failures, Revisited

      I began writing short stories from a very young age. Most of it was what you’d expect from an avid science fiction reader. I even won a library writing contest at age 16 for a story I wrote about vampires. The original story is lost to time, but the general idea was these vampires had a band and wanted me to join. I refused to perform with them because they sucked … (ha ha ha)

      I’ve always dealt with depression, so writing stories and songs without any audience in mind helped me get through a lot in my younger years. I love the writing process, from research to final draft. Creating something tangible from nothing at all and expressing it through the written word is nothing short of a phenomenon. Then sharing that creation with others—even if you only reach a handful of readers—is a great feeling. I may not be very good at it sometimes, but it’s something we all need in our lives.

      Anyone who reads my feature-length work here knows I focus heavily on music. There’s a reason for that. As the late, great Frank Zappa wrote: music is the best. But it’s far from my only writing interest. I also love writing scripts, advertising copy, how-to guides, and short stories. I tried my hand at a novel a few years ago. It is absolutely terrible, but it was still therapeutic and a blast to write … even if it sucks (it does).

    • Retrotechtacular: The Dangers of Confined Spaces

      Many people find themselves working in confined spaces every day, whether it be in sewer systems, drains, or other tight spots. These areas come with their own unique risks to life and limb that must be carefully considered in order to avoid disaster.

    • Science

      • A Socialist Vision for Space Exploration Must Include Disability

        It is well know that this space-race between three white, cis-het men collectively worth nearly 380 billion dollars isn’t without cost to the non-billionaire class: New Mexico taxpayers contributed 220 million dollars to Branson’s journey, Musk’s new German factory was constructed over environmental protests about its harmful effects on (among other things) water pollution in an area in which nearly all drinking water comes from groundwater reserves, and Bezo’s extractive practices as Amazon’s CEO are well-documented. What’s more, this ego-driven contest plays out as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has decimated public health systems, increased the number of families experiencing food insecurity, put millions into unstable housing situations, exacerbated educational inequities, and left communities reeling from the personal, economic, and health effects of the past year and a half. A year that laid stark our unequal access to healthcare, housing and food, and employment stability has almost completely eroded away to the faintest gossamers that archive our early-pandemic call for national quarantine and masking solidarity, government aid for all that needed it, and dreams of healing environmental woes. Many have leveled racial critiques of white men going to space while Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities bear the greatest impact of economic, environmental, educational, and health inequities here on Earth. Yet, one critique is missing: how consideration of disability, now and in the future, influence the way we might read the privatization of space.

        For most of us, this bizarrely out-of-touch mission to flee Earth for the chromatic possibilities of futurism is something entirely alien. Yet, for disabled people, it represents the next instance of an ongoing pattern of abandonment, another move toward a future of which they are not imagined to be a part. This past year, COVID cast a hypervisible spotlight in which folks with immuno-compromises were at first the center of liberal arguments to wear masks and think collectively to stop the spread of disease. But as vaccines became accessible (to people with transportation, paid time off to burn during the work week, and proximity to medical facilities), many returned to a pre-pandemic life in which practices of solidarity like masking, quarantining, and even switching to take-out are the cultural markers of their own altruism, rather than a daily personal hurdle. The disposability of disabled people was laid barer than ever, particularly in a world in which many refused to quarantine or vaccinate, backed by the argument that only the elderly, disabled, and young were dangerously susceptible to contamination. (Something about climate change and the particular effect of natural disasters of disabled people? Anything from Ida?) In critiques of everything from genetic testing to feminist science fiction novels, disability studies scholars confront us with the question of whether disability is desired in our collective future; in Musk’s dreams of colonizing Mars as Earth-bound humanity falls to the effects of climate change, it’s easy to wonder whether disabled people will be seen as “fit” for space travel.

      • Elon Musk’s Spacefaring Civilization is a Pipe Dream

        As it currently stands the United States, China, Russia—and to a degree Europe–are the only nations capable of building modules for human livable space stations and the transport systems necessary to replenish the space stations currently orbiting the planet. Moreover, they are the sole nations in possession of the skills and materials to get humans of the watery rock that is Earth.

        Waking up in the morning wishfully thinking, that “the future is going to be great” slams into a brick wall when thinking about nuclear weapons modernization, terrorism, perpetual war, pandemics, health care infrastructure collapse, murder rates, drug wars and a host of other plagues that the human species inflicts upon itself. Further, the human race seems to be hell-bent on destroying its only home, The Pale Blue Dot (Carl Sagan): Climate change is here thanks to the extraordinary amount of pollution that is pumped into the atmosphere and the maniacal destruction of plant life that allows the human race to breath. More depressing is the number of endangered species around the globe.

      • Tracking space debris is a growing business

        As orbiting objects multiply, the danger grows. Roughly a dozen sizeable pieces of space debris break up every year as a result of collisions, exploding rocket fuel, or the rupturing of pressurised tanks or old batteries. Solar radiation chips off bits of paint and metal. And the number of launches is increasing. According to BryceTech, a consultancy in Virginia, at the end of 2001 there were 771 active satellites orbiting Earth. Ten years later that population had grown to 965. Since then, it has nearly quintupled, to roughly 4,500—and this does not include defunct satellites. And small, cheap satellites are a booming business. Maciej Konacki, an astronomer at the Polish Academy of Sciences, in Warsaw, who has studied the matter on behalf of the European Union, reckons there could be 100,000 active satellites in orbit by the end of the decade.

    • Education

      • Forthcoming Mastery Book Price Changes

        Just like the rest of the industrial world, the print book supply chain is struggling. All over the world, my printers are raising their prices. My indie publishing unit, Tilted Windmill Press, must roll with the changes. If you want print books, I recommend purchasing them soon.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Patient Advocacy Group Calls Out 2 Dems for "Selling Us Out to Drug Companies"
      • Bernie Sanders Rips Into Big Pharma Profits, Says “Thousands Die Every Year”
      • PETA Sues NIH And HHS Directors For Blocking Comments With 'PETA' And '#StopAnimalTesting'

        PETA is certainly not above filing some pretty ridiculous lawsuits, so I was initially skeptical when I heard that it had filed a lawsuit against the directors of the National Institutes of Health (Francis Collins) and Health & Human Services (Xavier Becerra) over Facebook keyword blocking. However, upon reading through the lawsuit, it seems pretty legit. At issue is that it appears that NIH has put in place a block list on Facebook and Instagram that blocks anyone from mentioning PETA and a surprisingly long list of words and phrases that are likely of interest to PETA.

      • Resisting Evictions Amid a Pandemic

        Indeed, the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Texas abortion ban was hardly its only horrific decision this summer. Its€ willingness€ to end a moratorium on evictions instantly put hundreds of thousands of people at risk of eviction, with tens of€ millions more in danger in the weeks to come. With an€ unequal€ economic recovery,€ surging Covid-19 cases (thanks to the highly infectious Delta variant), and€ poor€ and homeless people disproportionately suffering the effects of fires and floods, this decision could truly prove catastrophic. Nor is it the only one likely to impact poor and low-income communities of color€ drastically. That stacked court, the Trump court (if you want to think of it that way), is offering a remarkably vivid demonstration of just how connected voting rights, women’s rights, immigrant rights, and poverty really are.

        President Biden€ critiqued€ the Supreme Court recently for its ruling on the Texas abortion case. “For the majority to do this without a hearing, without the benefit of an opinion from a court below, and without due consideration of the issues,” he said, “insults the rule of law and the rights of all Americans to seek redress from our courts.” And as continued injustices, especially from that court’s “shadow docket,” have come to light, former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, now head of the American Constitution Society,€ tweeted, “SCOTUS’s increasing use of the shadow docket to issue massive legal decisions is yet another reason why Supreme Court reform needs to be taken seriously.”

      • Exclusive: Jared Kushner's Family Firm Set to Unleash Eviction Wave Amid Pandemic

        Properties owned by former White House adviser Jared Kushner's family company have filed at least 590 eviction lawsuits since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and more than 200 in 2021 alone, putting "countless tenants" at risk of losing their homes in parts of the U.S. where Covid-19 transmission levels remain dangerously high.

        "With eviction protections gone, corporate landlords like Kushner are relishing the soonest opportunity to evict the vulnerable."

      • FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shots for People 65+ and Especially Vulnerable

        A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday unanimously recommended booster shots of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for U.S. adults age 65 and older, and those especially at risk from virus, while voting strongly against recommending the same for people between the ages of 16 and 64. € 

        Though neither vote is binding, the agency is likely to follow the advice of the 18-member committee and is expected to issue a final decision on boosters—a topic of controversy in recent months, especially given the ongoing global inequity in terms of access to vaccines—as early as next week.

      • Opinion | We're Going to Take on Big Pharma and Win the Fight to Lower Drug Prices

        On Wednesday, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) was one of three Democrats who cast a pivotal no vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rice shamefully voted against giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices as part of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

      • Biden: GOP Governors Are Undermining Efforts to Combat COVID
      • How Congress Can Prevent the Next Pandemic

        $15 billion isn’t enough, but it is an important starting point. We must come to terms with the grim certainty that another pandemic will devastate our country in our lifetimes. Our government cannot afford another scramble for vaccine technology and personal protective equipment. We must prepare for the next pandemic today.

        Should Congress fail to pass at least $15 billion of pandemic preparedness funding, Americans will suffer more the next time we face a pandemic. COVID-19 has killed over 600,000 Americans and cost this country $16 trillion dollars, and experts say that the next pandemic could be right around the corner. That’s not to mention that COVID-19 has had disproportionate, devastating effects on disabled Americans, communities of color, those living in poverty and other marginalized groups. The reality is, pandemic preparedness efforts aren’t just about preventing economic ruin for our country — it’s about stopping what is in all reality a matter of life and death for marginalized communities.

      • Covid Is Here to Stay. This Is How We Should Respond.

        After 18 months of being stuck in our homes—if we were lucky enough to do so—and being surrounded by death and suffering, we are all ready to move past this pandemic. The vaccines offered hope for this in the spring—it seemed that by summer the virus would be at low levels and people could safely gather again. Then the Delta variant, combined with lackluster vaccination levels and a disastrous CDC guidance that told vaccinated people they could remove their masks indoors and dispense with social distancing, led to major setbacks. These factors combined to create a perfect storm of rising infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. As a result, despite having plentiful supplies of vaccines, as of early September, the United States is seeing more than 1,000 deaths a day.

      • Patient Group Targets Pair of Democrats for 'Selling Us Out to Drug Companies'

        A national patient organization launched new ads on Friday targeting Reps. Scott Peters and Kathleen Rice for opposing a plan to let Medicare directly negotiate prescription drug prices, a centerpiece of the Democratic Party's popular agenda to lower sky-high medicine costs.

        In the two 30-second spots—titled "Sellout" and "Patients Over Profit"—multiple sclerosis patient€ Therese Ball slams Peters (D-Calif.) and Rice (D-N.Y.) for prioritizing the interests of the pharmaceutical industry, which has lobbied aggressively against the Medicare drug-pricing proposal.

      • AOC Would Have Cast the Winning Vote for Drug Price Reform

        When Representative Kathleen Rice was running for reelection from New York last year, the centrist Democrat’s campaign ads announced that “in times of crisis, you see what really drives someone.” What drove Rice, the ads declared, was a recognition of the necessity of “taking on drug and insurance giants to lower costs.”

      • After 33 Years, Parents of Brain-Damaged Kids Get to Express Disgust With Florida Program

        The parents of children born with catastrophic brain damage who were stripped of the right to sue were offered a measure of consolation Thursday: They were given the chance to speak.

        About a dozen mothers and fathers addressed the administrators and governing board of Florida’s Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, or NICA, at an online meeting. Many of the parents said they had suffered silently for years as the program fought over benefits that could have relieved the considerable burden on the children and families NICA served.

      • NYT: China Needs to Rethink Its Not-Letting-People-Die-From-Covid Policy

        It still boggles me that a US paper thinks it has standing to offer advice to China on how to address the Covid-19 pandemic (, 1/29/21). For those who have been on Mars for the past two years, China has had, since the disease first appeared, 95,493 cases and 4,636 deaths from Covid. The United States, with approximately one-fourth as many people, has had almost 42 million cases and 668,000 deaths. On a per capita basis, the US’s handling of the coronavirus has been more than 600 times worse than China’s.

      • Mark Zuckerberg’s bad week: Senators demand answers after exposé reveals Instagram is toxic for kids

        Ire against the 37-year-old Harvard dropout and his social media platform has been one of the rare points of bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill this week as revelation after revelation about Facebook's pitfalls continues to trickle out, many from a series of internal documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

        Lawmakers are now calling for Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress, in particular about a number of internal reports cited by the Journal that determined Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, had a marked negative impact on young women.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • New attacks continue using Linux to attack Windows systems – The Clare People [Ed: They try to make it seem like the problem is "Linux" rather than Windows]
        • Anatomy of a Cloud Infrastructure Attack via a Pull Request

          In April 2021, I discovered an attack vector that could allow a malicious Pull Request to a Github repository to gain access to our production environment. Open source companies like us, or anyone else who accepts external contributions, are especially vulnerable to this.

        • Man who unlocked nearly 2 million AT&T phones gets 12 years in prison

          In 2013, however, AT&T put into place a new unlocking system which made it harder for Fahd’s crew to unlock phones’ unique IMEI numbers, so according to the DOJ he hired a developer to design malware that could be installed on AT&T’s computer system. This allegedly allowed him to unlock more phones, and do so more efficiently. The AT&T employees working with Fahd helped him access information about its systems and other employees’ credentials, allowing his developer to tailor the malware more precisely, the DOJ said.

        • Security

          • Attackers Exploit OMIGOD Flaw in Azure Despite Microsoft Fixes [Ed: Bug door?]

            Cybercriminals are targeting Linux-based servers running Microsoft’s Azure public cloud environment that are vulnerable to flaws after Microsoft didn’t automatically apply a patch on affected clients in its infrastructure.

            According to cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, the attacks began the night of Sept. 16 after a proof-of-concept exploit was published earlier in the day on GitHub. About 10 malicious servers have been searching the internet for vulnerable systems, and while the search began slowing, it has now ramped up to more than 100 sites by morning, Recorded Future noted, citing information from threat intelligence vendor GreyNoise.

            In addition, Cado Security researchers in a blog post also noted a tweet from cybersecurity researcher German Fernandez, who found that the infamous DDoS Mirai botnet – known for taking advantage of insecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices – also is exploiting OMIGOD. Mirai is putting a version of the botnet into a system and then closing the 5896 OMI SSL port, essentially stopping others from exploiting the same box.

          • Yes, of course there's now malware for Windows Subsystem for Linux [Ed: WSL is a sick joke and impossibility for security]

            Linux binaries have been found trying to take over Windows systems in what appears to be the first publicly identified malware to utilize Microsoft's Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to install unwelcome payloads.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • Microsoft to Azure Linux users: Patch this problem yourself

              Azure Linux administrators, it's time to get patching. In response to the recent OMIGOD vulnerabilities, Microsoft has released an updated version of OMI, but you'll need to upgrade on your own (via BleepingComputer). Here's the full scoop.

              OMIGOD vulnerabilities are named after OMI, an acronym that stands for the Open Management Infrastructure software agent. The OMIGOD vulnerabilities found in OMI have opened the door for RCE (Remote Code Execution) attacks from malicious parties. And if you're an Azure user operating on a Linux setup with a service such as Azure Diagnostics or Azure Automation enabled, that means you have OMI on your Virtual Machine.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • These Single Moms Are Forced to Choose: Reveal Their Sexual Histories or Forfeit Welfare

              Amberly Sanchez had a job as an accountant at a real estate company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when she was laid off due to the pandemic. Then an electrical fire destroyed her apartment building, forcing her and her 16-month-old daughter Avery to stay in a $400-a-week motel. She’d lost everything, from parenting essentials — crib, baby clothes, toy car — to her own mother’s ashes.

              This spring, she applied for welfare.

            • The spying that changed Big Tech

              In 2013, reporting by The Washington Post—based on documents from former US government contractor Edward Snowden—revealed that the National Security Agency and its British counterpart had essentially hacked reams of information from customers of Google, Yahoo and other American internet companies without those companies’ knowledge. The spy agencies did this by intercepting internet traffic from undersea internet cables or other access points between corporate computer centres outside the US.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • A National Rite of Passage: Beyond War

        The writer, Andrew Exum, was an Army Ranger who had deployments in the early 2000s to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and a decade later served for several years as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy.

        The point he is making amounts to this: The last twenty years of war have been a disaster, with our pullout from Afghanistan sealing history’s final judgment: We lost. And we deserved to lose. But what a crushing blow to the men and women who served with courage, indeed, who sacrificed their lives for their country.

      • The US and Yemen: Putting a Disreputable Policy Right

        In a word, Yemen is a humanitarian catastrophe in which the US has long had dirty hands.

        For a number of years, going back to the Obama administration, the US has been Saudi Arabia’s silent partner in war-making in Yemen. The proclaimed national interests that guided US support included confronting Iran’s presumed proxy force in Yemen, the Houthi, and being a faithful ally to the Saudis.

      • Minnesota Troopers Decided Being Sued For Excessive Force Was The Perfect Time To Delete Emails And Text Messages

        How do you reform this?

      • Examining the Labels: Settler Colonialism and ‘Toxic’ Masculinity

        Mother kept a very close eye on us, particularly when we were on the reservation. She inferred by her actions that some Indian men were not safe to be around. She clarified that sentiment with her words, “Stay away from him. He’s dangerous when he drinks, and he always drinks.” I do not recall ever hearing this off reservation. I discovered in my adult years that my Blackfeet grandmother has also carefully watched over her children in a similar manner and for good reason. With this information and an adult perspective, I began to wonder what this ideology of the dangerous Indian man instilled in our men and boys? Were we ourselves perpetuating the settler colonial construct of the ‘scary brown man’ and had we become so indoctrinated that we could not see past presumed danger and self-preservation to look for the root problems? I believe both idioms are correct and that we are contributing to the subjugation of our own people.

        Over the years I have read many feminist Indigenous authors (including, but not limited to Sarah Deer, Audra Simpson, and Mishuana Goeman) and I remain impressed on how they address the abuse of Native women at the hands of settler society and Indigenous men. This is good and valuable work, necessary to address the violence perpetrated against Native women. Yet, the more I read the more I wonder what we, as Indigenous women are doing to recognize the settler colonial trauma our men continue to endure? As the mother of six children, five of whom are male, this has become an important, relevant, and urgent question to ask myself.

      • US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

        Following a rare Pentagon admission Friday that a remote-controlled airstrike which killed 10 Afghan civilians in the closing days of the war in Afghanistan was a "horrible mistake," anti-war and human rights advocates asserted that "war crimes are not oopsies," while calling on the U.S. to end drone strikes in the so-called War on Terror.

        "Many similar strikes in Syria, Iraq, and Somalia have happened out of the spotlight, and the U.S. continues to deny responsibility while devastated families suffer in silence."—Brian Castner, Amnesty International

      • Anti-War Voices Blast Biden Over 'Absurd' $500 Million Saudi Military Contract

        Peace and human rights advocates on Friday accused President Joe Biden of breaking his promise to end American support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen after the U.S. State Department approved a potential agreement to provide half a billion dollars worth of support services to the Middle East monarchy known for its pervasive human rights abuses and military atrocities.

        "Providing such support to [Saudi Arabia] undermines the credibility of any U.S.-Yemen diplomacy, let alone the human rights and so-called U.S.-led rules-based international order rhetoric."—Kate Kizer, Win Without War

      • From the ‘Iron Wall’ to the ‘Villa in the Jungle’: Palestinians Demolish Israel’s Security Myths

        Jabotinsky was speaking figuratively. However, future Zionist leaders, who embraced Jabotinsky’s teachings, eventually turned the principle of the iron wall into a tangible reality. Consequently, Israel and Palestine are now disfigured with endless barricades of walls, made of concrete and iron, which zigzag in and around a land that was meant to represent inclusion, spiritual harmony and co-existence.

        Gradually, new ideas regarding Israel’s ‘security’ emerged, such as ‘fortress Israel’ and ‘villa in the jungle’ – an obviously racist metaphor used repeatedly by former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, which falsely depicts Israel as an oasis of harmony and democracy amid Middle Eastern chaos and violence. For the Israeli ‘villa’ to remain prosperous and peaceful, according to Barak, Israel needed to do more than merely maintain its military edge; it had to ensure the ‘chaos’ does not breach the perimeters of Israel’s perfect existence.

      • Opinion | US Drones Still Fly Over the Afghan Horizon

        Facing unrelenting criticism over the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden Administration is insisting that the United States will maintain a capability to launch airstrikes in Afghanistan, regardless of the legal limitations and possibility of perpetuating the war.€ 

      • Hello, China? This is the Pentagon Calling...

        Chinese hardliners just had their stance justified by the erratic, verging on unhinged, behavior in the United States and by its military.

        First the storming of the capitol on Jan 6. Seen from Beijing it looked like a failed coup, a botched but serious attempt to upend US politics. Now, a book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa claims US General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army not once but twice. First on October 30, 2020, just four days before the election. The second call took place on January 8, two days after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. Milley sought to assure Li that the United States was stable and not going to attack. However, he said, if there were to be an attack, he would alert his counterpart ahead of time. Schizophrenic? This places Li in an impossible position. How does he tell his boss, Xi Jinping? He would have to inform the Chinese president that a US general had just said that they won’t attack with nuclear weapons but if they do they will be notified. Can you trust him to let you know? Is it a veiled threat? At the very least you would have to put your forces on alert.

      • New unmanned capabilities: When will the EU use drones for practical sea rescue?

        Two leading drone manufacturers report readiness to equip their aircraft with life rafts. These can be dropped with pinpoint accuracy over a maritime emergency. But perhaps this would also encourage violations of the Geneva Refugee Convention.

      • 21st Century Internationalism of the Oppressed: A Comradely Response to Ajamu Baraka

        Keeping this in mind the following is offered as a response to a recent piece by Ajamu Baraka, “We Can No Longer Avoid Raising the Contradiction of the Western Imperial Left’s Collaboration with the Western Bourgeoisie,” in Black Agenda Report (1 September 2021). This response is offered carefully because this is not a personal debate, despite the condescending tone of Baraka’s piece. Our differences do not revolve around any question as to the Baraka’s dedication and commitment, nor his insight into many issues facing the globally oppressed. He and I have known each other for years and, despite differences, have had a comradely relationship. In the context of his recent essay, however, I respectfully believe that his framework is muddled, incorrect and stuck in a perverse version of a pre-1991 world.

        We will leave aside Baraka’s insults to Gilbert Achcar. They are not only unfounded and inappropriate, but they are based on little other than Baraka’s disagreements with Achcar’s views, which he misrepresents, engaging in ad hominem insults (e.g., “Eurocentric armchair commentator”) that show he doesn’t have a clue of who Achcar is. The tone of the tirade almost sounded like a preface to the “Dozens,” an old African American exchange between potential foes in which they malign the other person by, among other things, talking about their opponent’s mother.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • How Climate-Conscious is Boris Johnson’s New Cabinet?

        Boris Johnson’s reshuffle has dominated the news this week – but what does it mean for government policy on climate change?

        As might be expected, several cabinet ministers were involved in campaigning for Brexit, whose crossover with climate science denial and environmental deregulation DeSmog has reported on extensively.€ 

      • Opinion | Federal Funding for Sustainable Nutrition Science Would Help Solve Climate and Health Crises

        A new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists finds that federal funding for "sustainable nutrition science"—a field of research and education at the intersection of food production, climate and environment, and nutrition—is abysmally low, amounting to less than 25 cents out of every thousand dollars in federal research funding.

      • Cook Islands UN Negotiator Paid $700k by Shipping Industry Lobby Group

        A negotiator representing the Cook Islands at the UN who has been criticised for blocking efforts to tackle global shipping emissions has been paid at least $700,000 since 2010 by an industry lobby group he helps run with his wife.

        Campaigners said the revelation was a “slap in the face” for those suffering the effects of climate change in the South Pacific, where the archipelago is located.

      • What’s Up With COP26?

        COP26 will be one of the most significant meetings in modern human history, comparable to the meeting of the Big Three at the Tehran Conference November 28, 1943 when the Normandy invasion was agreed, codenamed Operation Overlord and launched in June 1944. Thenceforth, tyranny was stopped, an easily identified worldwide threat symbolized by a toothbrush mustache. Today’s tyranny is faceless but recklessly beyond the scope of that era because it’s already everywhere all at once! And, ten-times-plus as powerful as all of the munitions of WWII.

        What’s at risk at COP26?

      • Critics Warn Biden That 30% Methane Reduction by 2030 Not Good Enough

        Advocates of addressing the root causes of the global climate emergency on Friday called the United States and European Union's new pledge to reduce methane emissions at least 30% by 2030 a step in the right direction but still lacking in both necessary ambition and specifics.

        "Instead of merely pledging to do better, governments around the world must put an end to the drilling and fracking that is fueling the climate emergency."—Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch

      • 'What Betrayal Looks Like': UN Report Says World on Track for 2.7€°C of Warming by 2100

        The United Nations warned Friday that the planet is barreling toward 2.7€°C of warming by the end of the century, a nightmare scenario that can be averted only if policymakers take immediate and sweeping action to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

        Even if the 191 parties to the Paris climate accord meet their current commitments, global greenhouse gas emissions will still rise 16% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, according to a new report published by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

      • Biden-Backed Aukus Deal Could Spell 'Disaster' for Climate Cooperation With China

        Climate campaigners voiced concern Friday that a new trilateral military agreement by the U.S., U.K., and Australian governments—an arrangement, including new weapons sales, designed to neutralize China's growing geostrategic influence—could have a devastating impact on urgently needed climate cooperation ahead of the United Nations' COP 26 climate talks next month in Glasgow.

        "Further success is predicated on a repaired U.S.-China relationship, but also upon a commitment to multilateralism across the board if we are to keep the spirit of the Paris agreement alive."

      • No Barrier?
      • Railways and Pipelines are Preferable to Nuclear Submarines

        Two major developments in international commercial conveyance were reported in August and September, but neither of them received much cover by mainstream western media.€ € First was the news that the China-Europe rail link was proving outstandingly successful, as recounted by the€ Xinhua news agency and Spain’s€ EFE, and second came the story on September 6 that the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany was about to come on line, which was€ covered€ by the€ Oil Price€ website and to an€ extent€ by Deutsche Welle which didn’t mention the official statement by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.€ € But the€ New York Times, for example, did not consider the development newsworthy in even a minor fashion, and a€ search€ of the paper’s website was entirely negative, as it was for all the west’s major outlets.

        It is intriguing that these two significant affairs were so comprehensively disregarded rather than being welcomed in most western capitals, and it goes some way to explaining the shaky state of international relations to examine some of the reasons behind the seeming antipathy of western governments and media to successful cooperative ventures involving China and Russia.

      • Change of diet could help tackle climate change

        Food causes climate problems, and offers solutions too. New research examines what change of diet could do.

      • Alabama "Forever Chemicals" Plant Creates the Climate Pollution of 125,000 Cars
      • Opinion | Children Around the World Are Suffering From Climate Anxiety

        Climate anxiety and distress is affecting the€ daily lives and functioning of nearly half of global youth surveyed,€ according to the largest scientific study.

      • Energy

        • Opinion | 100% Renewable Energy Is Possible: A Plan for Africa

          The science shows that climate change will hit Africa the hardest. In fact, global warming and extreme weather events are already threatening the poorest and most vulnerable people on the continent. The 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released 9 August 2021, exposed the fact that global warming has been more rapid in Africa than the rest of the world. This warming€ is already having devastating impacts for people, their livelihoods, and ecosystems. It is being€ driven by a greedy energy system that is based on extracting and burning fossil fuels. It is an energy system that disrespects and destroys all life on earth.€ The time to move away from harmful fossil fuels towards a transformed energy system that is clean, renewable, democratic, and actually serves its peoples, has never been more urgent.

        • Opinion | The Time to Act Is Now: President and Army Corps of Engineers Must Halt Line 3

          Last month, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) delivered a devastating blow to the lives of Anishinaabe people and our surrounding tribal nations with their decision to stand by Trump-era water permits for the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota. Further, earlier this year the USACE made the disappointing decision to not take action to stop the illegal Dakota Access Pipeline.

        • America's Largest Windfarm: an Environmental Disaster?

          This question puts a fine point on the twin looming disasters that humanity has brought upon the Earth: the Climate Crisis and the Biodiversity Crisis. If we leave half the Earth to nature and radically reduce our environmental footprint on the remainder, we might well halt ecosystem collapse and the extinction pandemic in the short term, but if the climate crisis deepens, we could end up on a hot, stormy, lifeless planet anyway — and if we focus myopically on just the reducing fossil fuels, we might revert to a cooler planet only to find it depauperate in plants and animals and ultimately incapable of supporting our own species. The climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis are of equal importance to humans and every other species with which we share this globe, and it would be foolhardy to ignore either in pursuit of solutions for the other.

          This is where the LA Times’ article proves short-sighted: It treats the TransWest Express powerline, and the Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind farm that it serves, as unqualified benefits for the Earth’s environment. In reality, neither would have ever been built in an environmentally sustainable world.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Point Reyes National Seashore Capitulates to Ranchers

          As in the draft document, the final management plan proposes to kill the native Tule elk if their populations grow beyond what the ranchers believe (as the NPS jumps to) is undesirable. The public submitted some 50,000 comments opposed to continued ranching and the killing of rare native Tule elk. Point Reyes Seashore is the only national park where Tule elk exist.

          Among the impacts caused by the ongoing livestock operations is the pollution of the park’s waterways, increased soil erosion, the spread of exotic weeds, the transfer of park vegetation from wildlife use to consumption by domestic livestock,€  the use of public facilities j(the ranch buildings, etc. are all owned by the U.S. citizens but are used just as if they were private property, hindering public access to its lands.

        • Killing Wolf Pups for a Cow Doesn't Add Up

          It didn’t last.

          On July 31, just weeks after the pack’s adults attacked four cattle, helicopter sharpshooters from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife killed two of the pack’s 14-week-old pups.

        • 'It Has Come to This': Ancient Sequoias Wrapped in Foil as Wildfire Threatens

          A grove of ancient trees in Sequoia National Park remained Friday in the path of a California wildfire that has already triggered evacuations and other protective efforts including wrapping some of the iconic trees—including the planet's biggest—in protective foil covering.

          The immediate threat is the KNP Complex fire. Spanning 9,365 acres, the complex includes the Paradise Fire and the Colony Fire, both sparked by lightning last week.

        • Ever spot tiny ‘horns’ on a Texas beach? They belong to an elusive squid species

          If you’re a beachcomber with a good eye, there’s a chance you’ve spotted a tiny, curled “horn” in the sand.

          So, what sea creature is it from?

          Padre Island National Seashore shared a photo Friday of the milky-colored shell found last week on the barrier island near Corpus Christi, Texas.

          “If you’ve found one of these on the seashore while beachcombing, consider yourself very lucky!” Padre Island National Seashore posted on Facebook. “Why? Because you didn’t pick up a shell that an animal lived in, you picked up a shell that was inside an animal!”

    • Finance

      • We Are on the Precipice of a Housing Disaster

        Over the past weeks, multiple crises have merged: a crisis of democracy with the most significant attack on voting rights since Reconstruction; a climate crisis, with lives and livelihoods upended in the Gulf Coast and the Northeast by extreme weather events and in the West by a stunning fire season; and an economic crisis in which millions are being cut off from Pandemic Unemployment Insurance, even as August job gains proved underwhelming. There’s also a crisis taking place in state legislatures with an ongoing attack on women’s autonomy over our own bodies. The Supreme Court let a law go into effect that makes abortions nearly impossible in Texas and turns its enforcement over to vigilantes. And then, of course, there’s the looming eviction crisis that could precipitate the worst housing and homelessness disaster in American history.

      • Saving $3.5 Trillion on Prescription Drugs to Pay for Bernie Sanders’s Big Agenda

        The Democrats are hoping to use these savings to pay for expanding Medicare (possibly also lowering the age of eligibility; 64 would be a good start), free community college, extending the child tax credit, and all sorts of other good things. While there is some skepticism as to whether the government can actually save $600 billion over a decade on prescription drugs, this is actually a very low target. Arguably, the full cost of the $3.5 trillion (1.2 percent of GDP) package could be covered by savings on prescription drugs alone.

        Projected Spending on Prescription Drugs

      • Unemployment Benefit Cut-Off Will Slash Annual Incomes by $144 Billion: Analysis

        The decision by Congress and the Biden administration to let pandemic-related unemployment programs expire earlier this month will slash annual incomes across the U.S. by $144.3 billion and significantly reduce consumer spending, the Economic Policy Institute estimates in an analysis released Friday.

        "The resulting income and consumer spending losses of the most recent unemployment benefit cuts will be devastating."

      • What Occupy Wall Street Organizers Would Do Differently

        The Rev. Michael Ellick1

      • Opinion | What We Can Learn From Occupy Wall Street for Today's Tax Fight

        Ten years ago, young people set up camp in New York City's Zuccotti Park to protest rampant  economic  inequality and outsized corporate influence on our democracy.  The Occupy Wall Street movement quickly spread to other  U.S. cities but lost steam before it made a meaningful mark on policy.

      • Did Occupy Wall Street Make a Difference?

        Ten years ago this month, Occupy Wall Street unexpectedly inaugurated a new wave of protest. The domestic manifestation of a worldwide explosion of digitally networked social movements, it scaled up rapidly, attracting enormous public and media attention. But the protesters were evicted from New York City’s Zuccotti Park and other occupied spaces after only a few months, and Occupy dissipated soon afterward. Some commentators have dismissed it as a meteoric flash in the pan, while others have criticized its “horizontalist” structure and lack of concrete demands.1

      • “Another World Is Possible”: How Occupy Wall Street Reshaped Politics & Kicked Off New Era of Protest

        On the 10th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, we examine the legacy of the historic protests with three veterans of the movement: Nelini Stamp, now the director of strategy and partnerships at the Working Families Party; Jillian Johnson, a key organizer in Occupy Durham who now serves on the Durham City Council and is the city’s mayor pro tempore; and writer and filmmaker Astra Tayor, an organizer with the Debt Collective. Occupy Wall Street “broke the spell” protecting the economic status quo and marked a major shift in protests against capitalism, Taylor says. “Occupy kind of inaugurated this social movement renaissance,” she tells Democracy Now! “We’ve been in an age of defiant protest ever since Occupy Wall Street.”

      • A Canadian Amazon Warehouse Could Soon Be the First to Unionize in North America
      • European Shares Subdued As China Data Disappoints

        European stocks were subdued on Wednesday as weak Chinese data, a strong inflation reading in the U.K. and disappointing sales from fashion retailer H&M raised concerns about the global economic recovery.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Rolling Back the Enlightenment

        Few people in the U.S. would like corporations to have more power. Unfortunately, Democrats have done little to halt their increasing power. Their hands, or so they would argue if they were honest, are effectively tied by the nature of campaign finance. They can’t afford to bite the hands that feed them.

        So the Democrats are not protecting us from the increasing hegemony of large corporations. What they are doing, on the other hand is far worse than rolling back the 20th century. They are taking us all the way back to the Dark Ages, the age of orthodoxy, where only officially sanctioned ideas were allowed to be publicly proclaimed. Freedom of expression, a lawyer friend of mine is fond of pointing out, is specifically for views one does not like, views one finds offensive, even threatening. It is completely unnecessary for views one agrees with because there is never a question of suppressing those.

      • Buffalo Mayor Who Lost to Socialist India Walton Can’t Be on Ballot, Court Rules
      • Trump’s Mental Stability in Question

        “He’s crazy. You know he’s crazy. He’s been crazy for a long time,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the chairman, Gen. Mark Milley, Jan. 8, two days after Trump supporters attacked the Capitol to thwart the certification of Joe Biden as president.

        “I agree with you on everything,” Milley told her.

      • Judge Blocks Biden From Continuing Inhumane Trump Policy to Deport Families
      • Freedom to Vote Act—For Capitalist Parties Only

        Yet this bill also deserves vigorous protest from the Left for its public campaign financing provisions, which are effectively for the two big capitalist parties only.

        The bill eliminates the Presidential Election Campaign Fund on December 31, 2021. That is the fund which Green Party presidential candidates have used to qualify for presidential primary matching funds. That funding has been crucial in paying for petitioners to qualify the Green Party for state ballots under the onerous signature requirements of most states. No major party candidates used primary matching funds in 2020 because it limited total primary spending to $50 million, which is not enough for the corporate party candidates these days. So they are eliminating it because only the Green Party still uses the program.

      • The Handcuffing of Joe Biden

        Bipartisanship? As Donald Trump would say in his New York accent: fuhgeddaboutit!

        One day after Biden’s inauguration, QAnon sympathizer Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced HR 57 to impeach the new president on the Trumped-up charge of bribery. As the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan proceeded at its telescoped and chaotic pace, impeachment calls came with greater regularity from the Republican Party, with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) demandingthe president’s ouster for the high crime and misdemeanor of “ignoring sound advice.”

      • Milton Allimadi on US Media’s Africa Reporting
      • The New York Times: Ally to Colonialism in Africa

        In 1948, apartheid became official policy in South Africa. Racial segregation and inequity in distribution of resources, with adverse impact on the€  African population on all aspects of social, cultural, economic, and political life—and always in favor of the white minority—was now formalized. It was the law of the land.

      • Secret Service Protection for Trump Family, Officials Cost $1.7 Million in 2021
      • Rikers
      • Trump the Neocon?: The Changing Climate of Antiwar Politics

        But I knew more than a few legit antiwar activists who were taken in by the orange bastard. Most of them were right-wing libertarians and paleocons, and most of them would readily admit that the guy was an asshole, but they still held out hope that this whole America First scheme would light a fire beneath middle America that would drive out the neocons and usher in a new era of conservative isolationism like the kind that once dominated the GOP before Nixon. At the very least, they held out hope that that foul gangster would finally bail us out of Afghanistan. I didn’t see it. So I voted for Jill Stein again.

        Five years later and I find myself in I-told-you-so country again. After a very brief flirtation with anti-globalist rhetoric and getting-along-with-Putin bromides, the GOP has rejoined their war loving frenemies in the Democratic Party to crucify Joe Biden for doing what their darling Trump promised to do for four years straight and finally get us the fuck out of Afghanistan. Both sides are fucking hysterical over the shocking spectacle of old Joe doing something right for the first time in his impossibly long career as a Beltway gangbanger, but those blathering crybabies over at Fox News take the cake.

      • A Journalist Dissects a Biased Chart of Media Biases

        Ad Fontes Media, Inc, claims they want to help people with this. They say they want to help people “navigate the news landscape” and “make news consumers smarter and news media better”. Unfortunately, their own bias steps in, and they fail at this task.

      • Roaming Charges: Taxing Representations

        + As AOC strolled before the fashion paparrazi at the Met Gala, her immaculate train held aloft by masked workers, I was reminded of the rollout for Verso’s chic 150th anniversary edition of the Communist Manifesto, with a trendy cover by Komar and Melamid, which publisher Colin Robinson boasted was “self-consciously marketed towards sybarites.” Marx and Engels’ call to arms ended up on display in the hands of mannequins at Barney’s and Prada wearing $150 t-shirts featuring Che Guevara. But at least they were marketing revolution as a kind of sly prank and not tax hikes to fund an upgrade to Bernie’s fleet of F-35s.

        + If the Left ever listened to Johnny Cash, they might realize that “taxes”–the one thing universally hated by the rich and working poor–is not a winning political slogan like, say–Free Health Care, End the War, Cancel Student Debt, Stop Evictions, Solar Power Now or even F tha Police.

      • Glenn Greenwald and Iowa’s latest WTF Moments

        Glenn Greenwald’s latest Substack essay shows how it is possible to be bright, seemingly progressive, stupid, and stealthily reactionary all at one and the same time – a common affliction of petit-bourgeois intellectuals who’ve never had a proper Marxist education.

        “While AOC’s revolutionary and subversive socialist gown generated buzz,” Greenwald writes, “the normalization of maskless elites attended to by faceless servants is grotesque.”

      • Understanding the Basics of 21st-Century Democracy, Autocracy, and Capitalism

        Residential communities in many parts of the modern world operate in formal democracies. However, they usually allow individuals with high levels of income and wealth to use these means to influence others in their voting, whereas individuals with low levels of income and wealth can and usually do wield less influence. The capitalist economic system generates precisely that unequal distribution of income and wealth that creates and sustains a wide gap between formal and real democracy in the world today. That gap in turn reinforces capitalism.

        Workplace communities are those collections of interacting individuals comprising enterprises: factories, offices, and stores. In societies where capitalism prevails, enterprises are very rarely organized democratically. Instead, they are autocratic. Inside most workplace communities in today’s world, an individual or small subgroup within the workplace community, a ruling group, governs the workplace community. An owner, an owning family, a partnership of owners, or a board of directors elected by major shareholders comprises the ruler in capitalist enterprises. Their autocratic governance reinforces and is reinforced by the unequal distributions of income and wealth that they generate.

      • To Avert Failure, Biden Should Listen to the “Radicals” – Not Corporate Media

        With Biden’s popularity lagging, success or failure for his administration hinges on who he listens to on various pressing issues. Will he side with the “radicals” or with the go-slow, yes/no, status-quo corporate media?

        STUDENT DEBT:€ € Biden should listen to Senate leader Chuck Schumer, not exactly a Marxist-Leninist, who has spent months publicly€ pressuringthe president to use€ his executive authority€ under the€ Higher Education Act of 1965€ to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student debt for each person holding such debt. This executive order would dramatically stimulate the economy well in advance of the 2022 election – and would be an important step forward on racial justice as well as economic equity.

      • Top Gymnasts Blast FBI for Not Taking Nassar's Sexual Abuse Case Seriously
      • There’s No Good Reason FBI Director Chris Wray Still Has a Job

        Firing FBI Director James Comey was arguably the first big mistake of Donald Trump’s presidency (he’d go on to have more). It was such an obvious misstep that Trump consigliere Steve Bannon called it “the biggest mistake in modern political history.” Comey had been investigating foreign interference in the 2016 election as well as ties between Russian oligarchs and the Trump campaign. Trump literally admitted to firing Comey because of “the Russian thing,” which was textbook obstruction of justice, thereby triggering his first impeachment (he’d go on to have more).

      • Human rights advocates decry Apple, Google decision to pull Navalny app as Russia voting begins

        The app, built by associates of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was intended to help Russian voters opposed to Putin cast ballots in a way that would prevent splitting opposition support among multiple candidates and handing victory to the Putin candidate. But Roskomnadzor, the Russian censorship agency, accused Apple and Google of meddling in Russia’s political affairs by allowing voters to download the app and demanded that it be removed from their online stores. It threatened fines and possible criminal prosecutions while calling Navalny supporters “extremists.”

      • [Older] The Intolerance Network

        Over 17,000 documents from HazteOir and CitizenGO, Spanish right-wing campaigning organizations. They use high level lobbying, a large network and grassroots mobilizations to hinder advancements in LGBTQI, reproductive rights and secularization. These documents include HazteOir founding CitizenGo in 2013 to expand their reach, as well as their organizing of the 2012 World Congress of Families, an influential American far-right platform.

      • The Intolerance Network

        Today, 5th August 2021, WikiLeaks publishes "The Intolerance Network" over 17,000 documents from internationally active right wing campaigning organisations HazteOir and CitizenGO. The documents date from 2001 to 2017 and cover the founding of CitizenGO and early activities of both organisations. The documents are from their internal systems and cover things like: spreadsheets of donors and members, strategy and planning documents, letters, financial charts and legal and training documents.

        HazteOir was first founded in 2001 in Spain to campaign for right wing values, in 2013 it founded CitizenGO to spread its work beyond Spanish speaking countries. This dataset includes the founding of CitizenGo, and documents from HazteOir organising, along with US based The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, the 2012 World Congress for Families (WCF) in Madrid. The WCF brings together right wing organisations that promote opposition to LGBTQI+ and reproductive rights, it has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and a 2014 Human Rights Campaign report stated "The World Congress of Families (WCF) is one of the most influential American organizations involved in the export of hate".

      • Freedom to Vote Act—For Capitalist Parties Only

        The Freedom to Vote Act, the pared down voting rights legislation that Democratic Senators unveiled on September 14, must be supported to preempt GOP state laws for partisan gerrymandering, voter suppression, election subversion, and intimidation of voters and election administrators.

        Yet this bill also deserves vigorous protest from the Left for its public campaign financing provisions, which are effectively for the two big capitalist parties only.

        The bill eliminates the Presidential Election Campaign Fund on December 31, 2021. That is the fund which Green Party presidential candidates have used to qualify for presidential primary matching funds. That funding has been crucial in paying for petitioners to qualify the Green Party for state ballots under the onerous signature requirements of most states. No major party candidates used primary matching funds in 2020 because it limited total primary spending to $50 million, which is not enough for the corporate party candidates these days. So they are eliminating it because only the Green Party still uses the program.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Litecoin Walmart Hoax Easily Exploits A Lazy U.S. Press

        You might have seen a week or two ago how everybody absolutely freaked out after a Rolling Stone article falsely reported that Ivermectin overdoses were causing massive congestion at Oklahoma hospitals. In reality, the truth wound up being something substantively less than that (Mathew Ingram at Columbia Journalism Review has a good breakdown here). The whole mess began after a local news organization published a story that was misinterpreted by a bunch of national outlets who "aggregated" and repackaged it. The screw up was then picked up in turn by conservative commentators eager to point out that the press was specifically out to get them.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Appeals Court Says The First Amendment Protects Minnesota Woman's Right To Be Super-Shitty About Nearby Islamic School

        The First Amendment protects unsympathetic plaintiffs just as much as it does those able to obtain mass support for their arguments. This case, originating from Bloomington, Minnesota, involves someone whose motives seem bigoted but whose actions were clearly covered by the Constitution.

      • Angry Anti-Masker Sues Joe Biden, Facebook, And Twitter Because His Social Media Was Taken Down For Disinfo

        Another day, another truly silly lawsuit. The "Liberty Justice Center" and the Tyler & Bursch law firm -- both of which seem to specialize in filing ridiculous lawsuits -- have now filed a lawsuit on behalf of a disinformation-spewing anti-masker against Joe Biden, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Facebook, and Twitter... because Facebook and Twitter locked his account after he posted an image claiming (incorrectly) that "masking children is impractical and not backed by research or real world data."

      • On Why I’m Leaving Academe

        Tenure is often the reward for having confined one’s activities to relatively uncontroversial topics. And just because your point of view is approved at this moment in our history does not mean that the tables won’t turn later. If you went into higher education because you valued freedom of thought and expression, lately you may be feeling as if you chose the wrong profession.

      • Citing Russia’s ‘broadcast moratorium,’ in a blow to Navalny’s Smart Vote initiative, Telegram suddenly suspends all bots ‘associated with campaigning’

        In a message on Friday evening, Telegram founder Pavel Durov announced that the popular instant messenger is suspending support for all “bots associated with election campaigning” during Russia’s parliamentary elections, which began today and conclude on Sunday, September 19.

        Justifying the decision, Durov explained in a post on his Telegram channel that the network will observe Russia’s “broadcast moratorium” during the voting process. “We consider this practice to be legitimate and call on Telegram users to respect it. Beginning at midnight, Moscow time [September 18], we plan to restrict the functionality of bots associated with election campaigning.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Dallas Journalist Barrett Brown Went to the U.K. Now, He Wants Asylum.

        But sometime after leaving the room, the official returned and changed his tune, Brown said. Suddenly, Brown’s answers were unsatisfactory, and he was told that his six-month visa had actually ended in April. “Whereas in fact, counting to six from November, it ends in May,” Brown said.

        The Home Office, the British department responsible for immigration, security and law and order, didn’t return a request for comment.

        Brown isn’t sure how his case will turn out. But even if he were to get slapped with the maximum sentence, he’d just be looking at six months behind bars, and he did more than that in solitary confinement alone in a facility outside of Dallas.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Words Mean Things, and the "Treason" Talk is Tiresome

        Not just by his opponents, who broke out the t-word every time they tried to blame Hillary Clinton’s loss on alleged collusion with THEM RUSSIANS!, but by Trump himself when, for example, an anonymous op-ed writer asserted that “adults in the room” were working to keep him from looking stupid.

        Trump’s leveling his latest (provisional — “if the story … is true”) “treason” accusation against General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

      • Hunger Strike Erupts in Notorious Florida Jail as Haitians Fight Deportation
      • 40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

        At least 40 climate activists were arrested Friday at the New York City offices of JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America, organizers said, as campaigners across the United States demanded financial institutions stop supporting the destruction of the planet.

        "We need our government leaders to take action immediately... The climate crisis is here, now."—Christina See, XR NYC

      • Fireworks at the Select Committee on the Capitol Riot

        It all depends on what secrets those phone records unlock. For instance, were early reports accurate that Boebert texted with the rioters during the pandemonium? If so, what did she tell them? Did any of these Stop the Steal congresspeople reveal the location of the goons’ targets – potential victims like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence? Particularly Pence, whom the rioters vociferously apostrophized with the chant, “Hang Mike Pence!” Revealing his location to such a mob would seem to show some rather criminal, if not murderous intent. Phone records could answer such questions.

        Certain things, however, are already known. House minority leader Kevin McCarthy had an infamous phone call with Trump on January 6, in which he reportedly pleaded with the Fuhrer to call off his thugs. Trump’s unforgettable reply was “well Kevin, I guess they’re a lot more upset about the election than you are.” Possible translation: I’m not calling them off until they do real damage or until not stopping them could harm ME. Trump may even have mulled invoking the insurrection act, thus suspending the transfer of power mandated by the election. But since members of the select committee won’t likely obtain McCarthy’s testimony – which he’d probably rather die than give – they may have to pursue the contents of that call otherwise. So ordering phone companies to preserve all records sounds pretty sensible.

      • New Report Shows “Deeply Troubling Failures” by Border Patrol in Boy’s Death, Key Congressional Leader Says

        A new report details “deeply troubling failures” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the 2019 death of a Guatemalan boy in the agency’s custody, including the creation of false records suggesting he was monitored during the night, the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security said Friday.

        Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who leads the panel, called on the agency to “take corrective action to help ensure a tragedy like this never occurs again.”

      • The Big Lie That's Destroying the Wild Horses of the American West

        At roughly 27 million acres, wild horse herd management areas (HMAs) constitute just 4% of the 750 million acres making up “the West” in the lower 48 states. There are 22 million cattle and sheep across that vast western expanse. That’s 265 times the number of wild horses (presently estimated at 86,000) in the 177 HMAs that were established principally for their use by the 1971 Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

        But the livestock industry considers that 27 million acres with 86,000 wild horses on it (one wild horse per€ 314€ acres) to be overpopulated, or, as the BLM puts it, “above AML.” This is an acronym for “appropriate management level” but “agribusiness management level” is more accurate. Science-based? No. The AML is a quota whose purpose is to maintain commercial cattle and sheep stocking rates inside wild horse territory.

      • Indigenous People of Brazil Fight for Their Future

        “Bolsonaro attacked a woman first,€ the land, our mother,” the Indigenous leader Célia Xakriabá told me. “We have no choice but to fight back.”

        Since becoming president, the former Army captain, who served under the country’s last military dictator, has led an unprecedented war against the environment and the people protecting it. A slew of€ anti-Indigenous legislation,€ escalated€ violence against and assassinations of Indigenous land defenders, and the€ COVID-19 pandemic€ have threatened the existence of Brazil’s original people, the Amazon rainforest, and the future of the planet.

      • How to Have a Safe Abortion—Even in Texas

        Texas Senate Bill 8 bans abortions after six weeks, when most people don’t yet know they are pregnant. The law empowers private citizens to sue anyone believed to be providing or “aiding and abetting” a procedure. Snitches, even ones living outside of Texas, can receive a $10,000 reward. Elisa Wells, a cofounder and codirector of Plan C, an informational resource for self-managed abortions, called SB 8 “abhorrent.” But she stressed that, despite the new and escalating restrictions, another option exists: the self-managed abortion. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, abortion medications are safe, convenient, and can be mailed directly to homes, but false rumors spread by anti-choice groups color self-managed abortions as dangerous “back alley” options that need to be highly regulated. Thankfully, groups like Plan C are working to demystify and destigmatize this medical tool. I spoke to Wells about the Texas law, misconceptions about self-managed abortions, and what the future of reproductive rights in America looks like.

      • “Systemic Failure”: Top Gymnasts Blast FBI for Bungling Sexual Abuse Probe of Dr. Larry Nassar

        This week some of gymnastics’ biggest stars shared scathing testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the FBI’s failure to stop Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics doctor and serial sexual abuser.

        Lawyers say that after the FBI was first told of Nassar’s crimes, he abused another 120 people before his 2016 arrest. We feature the testimony of Simone Biles, the four-time Olympic gold medalist, who is widely considered to be the greatest gymnast of all time, and speak with gymnast Rachael Denhollander, who was the first to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse and says the case exposes a systemic failure to take sexual abuse seriously. “Something we need to be asking as we’re watching this unfold is: What are we not seeing?” Denhollander says. “What happens to the survivors who don’t have an army of 500 women? What happens to the survivors who don’t have Olympians headlining their case and raising the profile of the gross negligence and corruption that’s taking place in our system?” We also speak with Mark Alesia, who was an investigative reporter at The Indianapolis Star in 2016 and helped to break the story about Nassar’s sexual abuse of gymnasts. “The FBI did not take the gymnasts’ complaints seriously,” Alesia says.

      • Mohamed Noor Murder Conviction Reversed: MN Supreme Court Orders Ex-MPD Officer Be Sentenced For 2nd-Degree Manslaughter

        According to the ruling, evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction since the “appellant’s conduct was directed with particularity at the person who was killed.”

      • Murder verdict in death of Australian woman Justine Damond overturned

        Noor was the first police officer in the state’s history to be found guilty of murder for killing a civilian.

        His conviction was followed by a 22-and-half year sentence for Derek Chauvin, the white Minneapolis police officer who was found guilty of murdering black man George Floyd by pressing his knee into his neck for almost 10 minutes.

        After a trial that captivated the midwestern state in 2019, Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for shooting Damond, a dual US-Australian citizen, after she called police to report a possible sexual assault behind her home.

      • Minnesota Supreme Court overturns murder conviction of ex-cop who killed Justine Damond

        Mohamed Noor, a Somali-American former police officer, was convicted in 2019 of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Justine Ruszczyk Damond on the night of July 15, 2017. Damond, a dual citizen of Australia and the US, had called to report a possible sexual assault taking place outside her home; Noor shot her as she approached his squad car.

      • Former Minneapolis police officer's murder conviction reversed in deadly shooting of Australian woman

        The ruling in Noor's case was also closely watched for its possible impact on three other former Minneapolis officers awaiting trial in Floyd's death. Prosecutors had wanted to add charges of aiding and abetting third-degree murder against them, but that's unlikely to happen now. The trio are due to go on trial in March on charges of aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.

      • Minnesota Supreme Court Allows The Ballot Question On Changing The Minneapolis Police

        Yes 4 Minneapolis, which spearheaded the initiative, insists that the city would continue to have police if voters approve the amendment, but that the new department would be free to take a fresh approach to public safety that could reduce excessive policing against communities of color.

      • Minneapolis Inches Closer to Disbanding Its Police Department

        Both groups agree that the city’s police force has a problem. But how to solve that problem has remained a point of contention—one that’s led to months-long political feuds and legal battles over ballot language that will allow voters to decide this fall whether to replace the Minneapolis police force with a public safety agency. The latest episode came Thursday evening when the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that knocked down the ballot question.

        That means Minneapolis voters will have the chance to weigh in on the future of the police department. Early voting begins today.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Data Again Shows That U.S. Broadband Is Painfully Mediocre

        For literally twenty-five years we've thrown billions in subsidies, tax breaks, merger approvals, and regulatory favors at U.S. telecom giants in exchange for the promise of amazing, competitive, ultra-fast, widely-available broadband (and oodles of high paying jobs). And time and time again, studies show that what Americans got back in exchange was...something notably less than that.

      • How California’s Broadband Infrastructure Law Promotes Local Choice

        EFF will explain below why local communities need to take charge, and how the new law will facilitate local choice in broadband. No state has taken this approach yet and departed from the old model of handing over all the subsidies to giant corporations. That’s why it’s important for Californians to understand the opportunity before them now.

        If the bankruptcy of Frontier Communications has taught us anything, it is the following two lessons. First, large national private ISPs will forgo 21st-century fiber infrastructure in as many places they can to pad their short-term profits. Government subsidies to build in different areas do not change this behavior. Second, the future of broadband access depends on the placement of fiber optic wires. Fiber is an investment in long-term value over short-term profits. EFF’s technical analysis has also laid out why fiber optics is future-proof infrastructure by showing that no other transmission medium for broadband even comes close, which makes its deployment essential for a long-term solution.

        AT&T and cable companies, such as Comcast and Charter, are going to try to take advantage of this program by making offers that sound nice. But they will leverage existing legacy infrastructure that is rapidly approaching obsolescence. While they may be able to offer connectivity that’s “good enough for today” at a cheaper price than delivering fiber, there is no future in those older connections. It’s clear that higher uploads are becoming the norm, and at ever-increasing speeds. As California’s tech sector begins to embrace distributed work, only communities with 21st-century fiber broadband access will be viable places for those workers to live. Fiber optics’ benefits are clear. The challenge of€  fiber optics is that its high upfront construction costs require very long-term financing models to deliver on its promise. Here is how the state’s new program makes that financing possible.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Ivantis to pay $60M in patent litigation settlement with Glaukos

          Glaukos (NYSE:GKOS) announced today that it entered into a settlement with Ivantis to terminate a three-year-old patent infringement lawsuit.

        • FOSS Patents: China extends hand to EU over standard-essential patent enforcement, prefers dialog over escalation: judges from three jurisdictions spoke at today's Renmin University conference

          China's response to the EU's request for information via the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding standard-essential patent (SEP) enforcement was rather succinct. But that is only because China is confident of its compliance with the TRIPS Agreement--and should not be confused for an unwillingness to discuss SEP enforcement policies with a major trading partner.

          In 2012, seven judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit attended what the U.S. appeals court's website still describes as "an historic three-day conference to discuss the adjudication of intellectual property disputes." That event took place at Renmin University of China (RUC), as did the first International Symposium on Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property Rights--Transnational Dialogue and Normative Coordination a few years ago. Today, RUC hosted the "sequel" to that event, and I followed it via Zoom because it represented a splendid opportunity to listen to multiple patent-specialized judges from China, the UK, and Germany.

          If the European Commission that if they missed any details in China's official answer, the EU might just ask for a recording of today's conference (approximately five hours).

          The presentations by multiple Chinese judges as well as two German (Judge Klaus Bacher of the Federal Court of Justice and Judge Tobias Pichlmaier of the Munich I Regional Court) and two British judges (Justices Richard Meade and James Mellor, both of the England & Wales High Court of Justice) summarized and explained various landmark SEP rulings I've previously looked at, all the way up to the very recent jurisdictional decision in OPPO v. Sharp. No surprises there, obviously. Those presentations were all well-structured and informative. Judge Bacher didn't mention that his court expects implementers to take global portfolio licenses--maybe he omitted it because it was so obvious to him, but in this international context it bears reiterating. I think Justice Meade stole the other European judges the show in terms of content, structure, and presentation (despite not switching into full-screen mode): low-key but world-class.

        • DABUS: An AI inventor or the Emperor's New Clothes? [Ed: Stop calling bots "Hey Hi" and stop playing into the hands of people who provoke the patent courts/offices to turn them into a total farce]

          The question of whether it should be possible to name artificial intelligence (AI) code as an inventor on a patent application continues to dog patent offices and courts around the world. However, despite the global attention on the so-called "AI inventor" patent applications, we are no nearer to understanding how the AI ("DABUS") actually goes about the process of inventing, or even if it can be said to really invent at all. Meanwhile, the main commercial players in the AI field, such as Google DeepMind, continue to navigate the patent system without apparent concern about the issue of AI inventorship.

          DABUS and the Emperor's New Clothes

          The team behind the fight for an algorithm to be named as an inventor on a patent application have had some recent success. The South African patent office accepted DABUS as an inventor of a South African patent (IPKat), although it must be noted that South Africa takes a very light touch with respect to patent examination. The Australian Federal Court also found that DABUS could be named as an inventor (Thaler v Commissioner of Patents [2021] FCA 879) (currently under appeal). The US District Court, by contrast, recently found against naming an algorithm as an inventor (IPWatchDog). In the UK, we are imminently expecting the decision from the Court of Appeal (expected in September), whilst the oral proceedings in the case before the EPO are scheduled for December.

        • FOSS Patents: OpenRAN is certain to increase standard-essential patent licensing costs: more SEPs, more SEP holders, more implementers, more injunctions

          The stated goal of the O-RAN Alliance (O-RAN = OpenRAN = Open Radio Access Network) is to "enable a more competitive and vibrant RAN supplier ecosystem with faster innovation" by virtue of modularizing mobile network infrastructure through standardized interfaces. If OpenRAN (or "O-RAN") is clearly superior over the current architecture, it's striking that even the most optimistic projections come down to approximately 10% of the global RAN market by 2025.

          There are hurdles to be taken and concerns to be addressed. In this post I can't talk about them all. To give just one example of a serious technical question, it is debatable whether a mobile network that runs partially on the cloud ("vRAN" or "virtual RAN") could ever match the reliability and performance of traditional equipment, and whether the optimized use of resources that cloud-based solutions potentially offer outweigh security and other risks. I may very well discuss some of those architectual and practical issues on other occasions.

          Today I'm going to focus on what is--for this blog--the obvious starting point of the analysis: standard-essential patent (SEP) licensing and litigation. From that angle, O-RAN has zero upside--literally zero--but comes with a significant downside:

        • Software Patents

          • Ideahub patent held unpatentable

            On September 16, 2021, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents, LLC v. Ideahub Inc. holding all challenged claims of U.S. Patent 9,641,849 invalid and denied the motion to amend. The IPR was filed as part of Unified's ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. The '849 patent relates to a video compression technique known as intra prediction.

            The '849 patent is a part of the Access Advance patent pool. Access Advance claims that certain claims of the '849 patent are essential to the HEVC standard.

      • Trademarks

        • Judge In Scouts BSA Trademark Case Says He's Going To Rule In Scouts BSA's Favor On Summary Judgement

          Well, well, it appears that this particular story is going to move faster than I had thought. And, to be frank, I kinda sorta get it. We had just discussed Scouts BSA, formerly The Boy Scouts of America, seeking summary judgement in the trademark suit brought by The Girl Scouts of America. You can go back through the old posts for the detailed context, but the short version is that the Boy Scouts decided girls aren't as icky as they previously thought and rebranded as Scouts BSA to be more inclusive. This created a bunch of confusion with The Girl Scouts, some of it very much due to the actions of local Scouts BSA chapters, such as:

      • Copyrights

        • Instagram Beats Photographers’ Suit Over Embed Feature

          Two photographers in May sued Instagram on behalf users who uploaded content to the app that was later embedded elsewhere without permission. Alexis Hunley and Matthew Brauer argue that Instagram’s embed feature lets third parties display content without licensing it and therefore the app is secondarily liable for enabling their copyright infringement.

        • Yout Files Refocused Lawsuit Against RIAA to Have YouTube-Ripping Service Declared Legal

          YouTube-ripping service sued the RIAA in 2020, hoping to have its platform declared legal. As time went on the case became more complex. As a result, it was dismissed last month to allow Yout time to revise its arguments. Yout has now done just that via a focused amended complaint, providing precise detail on why the court should rule in its favor.

        • RIAA and Rightscorp Counter Renewed 'False and Fraudulent' DMCA Notice Claims

          Internet provider RCN accused the RIAA and Rightscorp of sending "fraudulent" piracy notices based on flimsy evidence. The anti-piracy outfits recently asked the court to dismiss the allegations, arguing that these are fatally flawed. This includes the finding that Rightscorp operates without a private investigator's license.

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