Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 1/1/2022: Happy New Year 2022!

  • GNU/Linux

    • Happy New Year, Folks — Let's Fill it with Linux, Yeah?! - OMG! Ubuntu!

      This is a short (and yes, rather predictable) post to wish every single person reading this site a very merry—wait, we’ve already had that one—a happy new year.

      Yes, even those of you still sat in your pants (the British kind).

      It may feel like the world now exists in a dark timeline but there are things to be hopeful about, especially where Linux and open source software is concerned.

      After all, despite the environment, 2021 was a particularly buoyant year for Ubuntu on the desktop

      Ubuntu 21.04 and 21.10 both made their way out with new features, new kernels, and in the latter’s case, even a new desktop. Strong foundations laid ahead of April 2022 release of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

    • Linux Magazine

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Cockpit On Rocky Linux 8 Or Alma Linux 8 | Tips On UNIX

        Cockpit is a web-based server administration tool sponsored by Red Hat and by using this tool you can easily manage the server in a graphical way.

        From Fedora 21 and RHEL 8 onwards Cockpit loaded with default.

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install cockpit on Rocky Linux 8 / Alma Linux 8.

      • How to Install and Use FFmpeg on CentOS 8.

        FFmpeg is a free and open-source software project consisting of a suite of libraries and programs for handling video, audio, and other multimedia files and streams. It contains a set of shared audio and video libraries such as libavcodec, libavformat, and libavutil. With FFmpeg, you can convert between various video and audio formats, set sample rates, capture streaming audio/video, and resize videos.

      • Install and Configure Virtualmin on Ubuntu 20.04

        So, Virtualmin is an open-source web hosting and cloud control panel. Virtualmin has the right features and controls over managing all the different domains at the same portal. It allows access to the server via an SSL-encrypted HTTP line. For example,. via a standard browser and provides a clear user interface.

      • Install Miniconda In Linux

        Miniconda is a minimal and stripped-down version of Anaconda distribution. As the name implies, Miniconda contains only Conda package manager, Python and a small number of useful packages such as pip, zlib including their dependencies.

        Miniconda is suitable for those who don’t mind to install each package individually. It saves you not only the disk space but also avoids dumping a lots of unnecessary applications that you don’t use often in your hard drive. For those wondering, Anaconda distribution automatically installs 1,500 packages that consumes around 3 GB disk space. If you use only a handful of applications, miniconda might be a good choice.

      • How to set, change and delete music tags with Mutagen

        Tagging music files is a way of keeping a music library well organized and let us search for songs on the base of Artists, albums, genre and other parameters. Many graphical and command line applications exist on Linux to manage tags for audio files, like Picard or Quodlibet. Most of those applications are written in Python and use the “mutagen” module at their core. In this tutorial we learn how to use it directly.

      • Top Five Chat Apps For Ubuntu Users

        Here are the top five chat apps for Ubuntu users. Having a decent chat application could help team members to collaborate in an effective way. Team members can collaborate effectively with a decent chat app. Although there are many applications available in the market, we will discuss only five of them which are Ubuntu compatible. Click here to refer to more similar topics.

        As a result of the pandemic, collaboration tools have become more important. Which utility to choose? So, It varies from user to user because sometimes the criteria are sharing data and other times secure and encrypted communication. A decent GUI, quick installation, and easy-to-use features are important. Here, after going through multiple utilities, we tried to opt top 05 tools. Hope they will be as per your need. Let’s start.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: Finally root file operations in Dolphin – Adventures in Linux and KDE

          This week the last piece of a major project almost five years in the making was merged: PolKit support in KIO! This allows Dolphin and other KDE apps that use the KIO library to to create, move, copy, trash, and delete files in non-user-owned locations! It took a long time but we finally got it. Thanks very much to Jan Blackquill for pushing this over the finish line and Chinmoy Ranjan Pradhan for starting it and getting it very far those years ago. Support will arrive in Frameworks 5.90 in a few weeks. Please test it out and file bugs on frameworks-kio if things don’t work right!

        • Highlights from 2021 – Adventures in Linux and KDE

          The coronavirus pandemic frustratingly continued to spread misery this year, but one silver lining to this cloud was that keeping people at home meant lots of contributions to KDE! As a result this was an enormous year for KDE and all who use its software. Like I did last year, I’d like to mention some of my favorite big features and improvements from the past 12 months. Also like last year, what’s written here is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg, probably not even a tenth of a percent, and also a very selective look at just some of the software I use and follow on a regular basis. There’s a whole lot more at!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Best Ubuntu Themes In 2022

          Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux operating systems right now on the internet. It is often considered as the first choice for people using Linux for the first time.

          In this post, we will be discussing the best Ubuntu themes available on the internet. You can install various Ubuntu themes to make your distro more beautiful.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • New year, new community manager |

          I am privileged to be here at as the new community manager. I'm looking forward to working with existing correspondents and contributors, and also bringing in new contributors and increasing the diversity of thoughts and ideas shared here on

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • A Tidy Cyberdeck That You Could Take Anywhere. | Hackaday

          The cyberdeck trend has evolved to a relatively straightforward formula: take a desktop computer and strip it to its barest essentials of screen , PCB, and input device, before clothing it in a suitably post-apocalyptic or industrial exterior. Sometimes these can result in a stylish prop straight from a movie set, and happily for [Patrick De Angelis] his Raspberry Pi based cyberdeck (Italian, Google Translate link) fits this description, taking the well-worn path of putting a Raspberry Pi and screen into a ruggedised flight case. Its very unremarkability is the key to its success, using a carefully-selected wired keyboard and trackpad combo neatly dodges the usual slightly messy arrangements of microcontroller boards.

        • The No-MCU Fan Controller | Hackaday

          The default for any control project here in 2019 was to reach for a microcontroller. Such are their low cost and ubiquity that they can be used to replicate what might once have needed some extra circuitry, with the minimum of parts. But here we are at the end of 2021, and of course microcontrollers are hard to come by in a semiconductor shortage. [Hesam Moshiri] has a project that takes us back to a simpler time, a temperature controlled fan the way they used to be made, without a microcontroller in sight.

        • Customisable Micro-Coded Controller Helps With In-Circuit Debugging | Hackaday

          Over on, [Zoltan Pekic] has been busy building a stack of tools for assisting with verifying and debugging retro computing applications. He presents his take on using Intel hex files for customised in-circuit testing, which is based upon simple microcoded sequencers, which are generated automatically from a high level description.

          The idea is that it is very useful to be able to use an FPGA development board to emulate the memory bus component of the CPU, allowing direct memory access for design validation purposes. This approach will also allow the production of a test rig to perform board level verification. The microcode compiler (MCC) generates all the VHDL, and support files needed to target a Xilinx FPGA based dev board, but is generic enough to enable targeting other platforms with a little adaptation.

        • 3D Printering: Adding A Web Interface Where There Was None Before | Hackaday

          [Renzo Mischianti] got himself a Chinese 3D printer, specifically a FlyingBear Ghost 5. (Cracking name, huh?) He was more than a little irritated with the fact that whilst the controller, an MKS Robin Nano, did have a integrated Wi-FI module, it provided no web-based interface for monitoring and control purposes. This seemed a bit short-sighted in this day and age, to say the least. Not being at all happy with that situation, [Renzo] proceeded to write dedicated Wi-Fi firmware using websockets, but not without fully documenting his journey in a detailed series of the blog posts.


          We’ve been covering 3D printer hacking since the dinosaurs were roaming. This is the oldest, and still one of the strangest, posts that we could find in a quick search. Anyone care to find something older?

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 4 metrics to measure sustainable open source investments. - Justin W. Flory's blog

        How do we understand value when we talk about sustainability? What does investing in open source mean? The meaning is different for many people because of an implicit understanding of what open source means.

        This post is a reflection on the past year in my work with the UNICEF Venture Fund. We integrated new open source tools to capture metrics and data about open source repositories connected to UNICEF portfolio companies and created a shortlist of key metrics that map to business sustainability metrics. Now, we are better positioned to look back on past, current, and upcoming portfolio companies and mentor support programs.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Use basegfx to convert angle unit – EasyHack

          First, what is basegfx, how it is used for converting angle units, and why we should care?

          If you look at the list of LibreOffice modules in, you will see that basegfx is one of the LibreOffice modules. It contains the “algorithms and data types for graphics“, and it provides useful functions for LibreOffice graphics code. We care because using these functions helps us write cleaner code using well tested methods.

        • Happy New Year 2022!
      • Programming/Development

        • Header Guards C++

          A header guard in C++ is a component that proves to be your savior whenever you attempt and make a mistake while writing your code by defining a function more than once with the same name. Every programmer needs to know that it is never considered good practice to include the function definitions in the header files. However, at times, you need to do so. In that case, you must know how to properly use the header guards in C++. Therefore, this article discusses the need to use the header guards in C++, followed by some examples to teach you their usage on the Ubuntu 20.04 system.

          Why Do We Need to Use the Header Guards in C++?

          While writing your code, you define certain header files on your own, depending upon the functionality you require. After creating these header files, you can include them all in your .cpp file that contains your actual code. However, sometimes these header files depend upon each other. So, you have to include one header file into another. In that case, when you include both these header files into your .cpp file, the same functions of one header file might be defined twice. This leads to the generation of a compile-time error since C++ strictly prohibits the definition of the same function twice within the same code. Therefore, we use the header guards to protect your header files from malfunctioning to resolve this dependency issue.

          These header guards can be implemented using the four pre-processor directives: #ifndef, #define, #ifdef, and #endif. For example, whenever you enclose a piece of code within the “#ifndef” directive, the compiler always checks whether the following code has been previously defined or not. If not, then the statements following the “#define” directive are executed. Otherwise, these statements are simply ignored. This, in turn, ensures that your program always compiles successfully and the same functions are not defined more than once within the same code. The “#ifdef” directive works vice-versa. You will be able to understand all this in a better way after going through the following two examples.

  • Leftovers

    • Movement Music After the Movement Fades: Reflections on Phil Ochs

      Throughout Phil’s twenties — that is, throughout the 1960’s — social movement activity in the US (and much of the rest of the world, for lots of different reasons) grew.€  It was a period of constant tumult and change of all sorts, and Phil’s style of music was probably more popular in the early Sixties than in the later part of the decade, with louder, more electric instruments being more dominant in the scene, and on the FM airwaves.€  But regardless of various career ups and downs — and despite what was later demonstrated to be an organized campaign conducted by the FBI against a variety of musicians, including Phil — he continued to write, record, tour and perform throughout the United States and occasionally elsewhere, throughout the period.

      In the early 1970’s a lot of things were happening that were supposedly affecting the antiwar movement’s size and scope, such as the massacres of protesters at Kent and Jackson state universities, as well as the scaling back of the presence of ground troops in Vietnam, since so many of them were refusing to fight anyway, and fragging their officers instead.€  (If you don’t happen to know what “fragging” means, please look it up, you’ll be glad you did.)

    • NYC Officials Denounced for Holding New Year's Celebration Amid Omicron Surge

      Public health experts expressed shock Friday as New York City went ahead with its plans to hold a scaled-back—but still large—New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square, with 15,000 people expected to pack the landmark to ring in 2022 as the city sets new records for Covid-19 cases.

      Outgoing Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the traditional New Year's ball drop will go on, prompting epidemiologists to warn that the event will carry risks for attendees and the city's already-strained healthcare facilities—as well as communities across the country, since many of the attendees are likely to be visiting from elsewhere.

    • Intrepid Trips, Indeed

      The next few years, as I dove deeper into the world of the counterculture I learned that that book’s author Tom Wolfe was a damn good observer, a pretty decent journalist if you liked this stuff they called the New Journalism, and anything but a hippie freak. I read that book every summer in high school, the style and the story imprinted in my brain. As the 1970s wore on, I watched as the world of the grey flannel suits fought against the world of blue jeans, long hair and marijuana. I knew which side I was on. It wasn’t the ones wearing suits (figuratively speaking). Unlike the political world of the time—which ultimately put “if there’s going to be a bloodbath, let’s get it over with” Ronald Reagan into the White House in 1980—there were no clear cut victors in the cultural struggle. Capitalists in both realms figured out ways to sell the pieces of the counterculture that were salable. And the people bought it.

      As for me, I moved to the Bay Area, where the counterculture was still hanging on. I began meeting some of the people I had only read about. I played it cool, listening to their stories while hanging out drinking beer in People’s Park, crashing at the Hog Farm house, at concerts big and small, the White Panther squats and the parties I ended up at. The storytellers included acid manufacturers recently out of prison, Black Panthers tending bar, hippie women turned Christian, street hustlers who fought the cops in the Haight uprisings and then People’s Park, college professors, working musicians and burnt out rock musicians whose bands had left them behind. Every collection of freaks had their memories and every freak had their own version of what went down. Still, certain stories and storytellers were paramount. Like the book of Genesis or the creation stories of the Tlingit, those stories were origin stories. Those were the ones I wanted to hear, to collect and remember. This interest remained even as those who knew them left their earthly existence, taking their tales with.

    • A Prescription for Resistance to the Bully of Christmas: Make Art

      Given such evidence of where our public education has gone, before alluding to a story from the Christian bible which – for various reasons – may not be in every reader’s wheelhouse, I’ll briefly fill in the details, trusting I insult no one! Here goes:

      In Matthew’s version of the Christmas story, Herod the king feared the birth of a rival and so sent out his soldiers to murder all the male babies in Bethlehem. An angel warns Mary and Joseph, the new parents of baby Jesus, to flee in order to save the child. Importantly, the parents heeded the advice and got the hell out of town (the flight into Egypt). They did not, that is, declare the warning preposterous, did not protest but people don’t do that kind of thing to little children! At great personal expense, they exiled themselves, becoming refugees.

    • Macedonian Ramble: Hell's Foundations at Galliopoli

      By my standards I splurged on my accommodation, the Hotel des Etrangers in Çanakkale, wanting to have a room that overlooked the Dardanelles so that from my window I could watch the passage of ocean-going ships on their stately procession to and from the Bosphorus and the Aegean.

      At Çanakkale the strait (which separates Europe from Asia) is only several kilometers wide, and in the course of a few hours by the seafront everything from container ships to destroyers passes before your eyes. Many ships are headed to Istanbul; the rest ply the Black Sea.

    • 2021 Latin America and the Caribbean in Review: The Pink Tide Rises Again

      Central has been the struggle of the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America) countries – particularly Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua – against the asphyxiating US blockade and other regime-change measures.€ Presidential candidate Biden pledged to review Trump’s policy of US sanctions against a third of humanity. The presumptive intention of the review was to ameliorate the human suffering caused by these unilateral coercive measures, considered illegal under international law. Following the review, Biden has instead tightened the screws, more effectively weaponizing the COVID crisis.

      Andean Nations

    • Opinion | Top 3 Pieces of Good News in 2021—Because Optimists Are the Problem Solvers

      News corporations think good news does not sell, which is why you see so little of it on television or on the front page of news websites. Executives at for-profit news believe their corporations benefit, just as do social media platforms, from provoking your fight or flight reflexes — making you angry or afraid — since the adrenaline rush keeps you reading and keeps you coming back for more. They think bad news is addictive. It is to the point that the editors and journalists seem to feel they have to cast President Biden in a bad light unfairly to keep their viewers.

    • Yes, There Were 10 Good Things About 2021

      It was, indeed, a disastrous year, but we do have some reasons to cheer:

      1. The U.S. survived its first major coup plot on January 6 and key right-wing groups are on the wane. With participants in the insurrection being charged and some facing significant jail time, new efforts to mobilize–including September’s “Justice for J6” rally–fizzled. As for Trump, let’s remember that in early 2021, he was impeached again, he lost his main mouthpiece, Twitter, and his attempt to build a rival social media service seems to have stalled. QAnon is in decline—its major hashtags have evaporated and Twitter shut down some 70,000 Q accounts. We may still see a resurgence (including another Trump attempt to take the White House), but so far the insurrection seems to have peaked and is being rolled back.

    • 2021 Year in Review: EFF Graphics

      All the graphics we create are original, and free to the public to use on a Creative Commons Attribution license. That means that if you are fighting to stop police misuse of surveillance technology in your community, promoting free expression online, or simply looking for a way to share your love for EFF and digital rights with the world, you€ are free to€ download our graphics and use them for your own purposes without permission. It's our way of seeding the Commons!

      Below is a selection of graphics we produced this year. We hope you enjoy perusing them! To learn more about each project, go ahead and click the image. It will link you to a page where you can learn more.

    • Bright Green Lies Torpedoes Greens

      According to Bright Green Lies authors Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, and Max Wilbert: “We are writing this book because we want our environmental movement back.” As such, they charge ahead with daggers drawn, similar to Planet of the Humans (2019-20), nobody spared.

      As explained therein, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) brought on the environmental movement as well as establishment of the EPA, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. She did not call for “saving civilization,” which is the common rallying cry today (“Civilizations Last Chance” by Bill McKibben or Lester Brown, “The Race to Save Civilization”). Rachel Carson called for “saving nature.”

    • Looking Up From€ Don't Look Up: Adam McKay and End Times
    • Who Will Guard the Guardians?

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?€ (Juvenalis,€ Satires) — who will guard over the guardians ? — when the mainstream media no longer performs the function of the watchdog, no longer alerts us to endemic — and punctual — governmental abuses but act more like echo-chambers of the interests of certain “elites” and transnational corporations…€  who will blow the whistle on governmental and private-sector scams?€  How can we defend our rights when our elected officials, those who have the obligation to uphold the law, are actually in the service of other, more powerful and lucrative interests?€  What can we do when the executive, legislative and judiciary are progressively corrupted, when institutions like the ICC discontinue investigations into gross criminality by powerful states while prosecuting the little fish, when the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons tampers with the evidence of inspectors and suppresses crucial facts (Douma “report” on Syria), when the OAS is complicit in a coup d’état against an OAS member state (Bolivia), when other supposedly objective organizations systematically dis-inform the public, disseminate evidence-free news, suppress dissent?

      Only we can be the guardians€ — by reclaiming democracy and our right to effective participation in public affairs, as stipulated in article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We must condemn the politicization and “weaponization” of human rights, especially when human entitlements are instrumentalized to obliterate others.

    • Bells Tolling for Russian Memory

      Similar is the story of former prisoner Susanna Pechuro, who as a teenager with her boyfriend tried to safeguard revolutionary values from what they both considered the ideological deviation of Stalin’s government. After their arrest, the boyfriend was shot while Susanna was sentenced to decades in the gulag. When, after Stalin’s death, Khrushchev declared amnesty, Susanna became a history teacher and later one of the founders of the Memorial, institution fostered by Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika. Her dress with the white schoolgirl’s collar in which she was arrested and which she wore in prison was deposited at the Memorial.

      In the Memorial I also found books, which in the gulag represented the most treasured possession, although generally forbidden and therefore scarce. Books were the salvation because reading made one forget the wretchedness of the camp and provided the prisoners with thoughts to occupy their minds while they worked up to fourteen hours a day, not counting the long marches to the place of work. In the reading, the prisoners found surprising insights and unusual beauty, which helped them to retain their dignity as human beings. Many people who spent years or decades in the gulag deposited in the Memorial those objects that had helped them most to develop resilience.

    • Who Owns the Clouds? The Adventures of the Chinese and Me in Changing the Weather

      An article in the Guardian on December 3 was about climate change and it described the ways China is now trying to increase rainfall to cope with present and future water shortages. What really caught my eye was the scope of China’s undertaking, which is immense. It also caught my attention for personal reasons. The main method the Chinese are using is of course cloud seeding and that is something I have been involved in.

      The article featured a photo of Chinese soldiers firing a cannon aimed at the sky—which is certainly in keeping with numerous articles about what is now described as China’s aggressive behavior. If you only looked at the headline and the photo you might think that now the Chinese are attacking even the clouds. The Chinese were firing rockets filled with either silver iodide or liquid nitrogen into clouds. Either substance will cause the cloud’s moisture to form water droplets. As it happens I was involved in this same activity years ago, although I did not use a cannon.

    • Happy New Year, It’s Sure Been Weird

      Whether the pandemic that’s swept the world started from a bat or not, as 2021 ends, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all far battier than we were when it began.

    • Harry Reid Understood Power

      Former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid died Tuesday at 82. Effective, ruthless, and understated, Reid used his position as head of the Senate’s Democratic caucus from the end of the Bush years through the Obama presidency to advance Democratic legislation and protect programs like Social Security.

    • Brazil, Amazon, World: Sociopathy vs Democracy

      Although it’s a monstrous form of conscious social engineering aimed at concentrating wealth and power, neoliberalism tends to be presented as a kind of evenly spread biological law governed by a “market” that panders to individuals turned into consumers whose democratic choices are mainly limited to competitive buying and selling. Those who can’t enter the competition drop or are dropped by the wayside. When this sociopathic system appears, full-blown, in a person who commits or encourages these crimes, its malignity for all living things is unmasked.

      Take one of Bolsonaro’s more recent demonstrations of this. After weeks of heavy rain in Brazil’s north-eastern state of Bahia, the Igua dam on the Verruga River near the city of Vitoria da Conquista collapsed on 25 December, and a second dam, the main source of potable water in Jussiape, 100 kilometres to the north, burst on 26th. Twenty people have died as a result of the heavy rains and flooding, more than 430,000 people have been affected, 36,000 are homeless and thousands have been evacuated from at least 72 towns facing emergency situations, many of them without electricity. In the state capital, Salvador, the December rainfall has been six times higher than the average.

    • New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path

      As long term readers of Techdirt know, each year since 2008 my final post of the year has been a kind of reflection on optimism. This tradition started after I had a few people ask how come it seemed that I was so optimistic when I seemed to spend all my time writing about scary threats to innovation, the internet, and civil liberties. And there is an odd contradiction in there, but it's one that shows up among many innovation optimists. I'm reminded of Cory Doctorow's eloquent response to those who called internet dreamers like John Perry Barlow "techno utopians."

    • Science

      • Biden administration will continue ISS cooperation through 2030

        The ISS’s future was called into question in 2018, when a draft budget proposal from President Donald Trump’s administration had scheduled ending support for the space station in 2025. More recently, escalating tensions between the US and Russia have threatened the cooperation required to work together on the ISS. In November, Russia blew up a satellite, creating a dangerous debris cloud in Earth’s orbit.

    • Education

      • The Tutor

        For Josephus, Pilate was an unreasonable tyrant.

        During my thirty-five years at Cal., ninety-five percent of my students were suburban whites. Long before Andrew Hacker* and Charles Murray,** I learned that “a tangle of pathologies” was occurring in the suburbs, while Hollywood, Television, and Think Tank intellectuals and columnists were profiting by blaming social problems on Black personal behavior. I’m not surprised that life expectancy among whites is diminishing because of Opioid addiction. Heroin epidemics were occurring in the suburbs of Philadelphia in the late nineties; the epidemics were hidden in the back pages. They didn’t want to embarrass those who supported their advertisers. While the press divided races between powder cocaine and crack cocaine users, the typical crack addict was white. Jonathan Capehart says he just found that out. I wrote about white crack addiction ten years ago.* Even as the drug crisis among white Americans is spreading, the media represents the distribution of drugs and their consumption as Black.

      • Teacher faces probe for organizing mixed-gender forest walk for students

        The administration of a prestigious high school in Ä°stanbul has launched an investigation into a teacher for organizing a walk in the woods with the participation of both male and female students, the Gerçek Gündem news website reported.

        Gülay HacısalihoÄŸlu, the principal of the BeyoÄŸlu Anatolian High School, initiated the investigation into teacher Engin Ulus for organizing a mixed-gender walk in the Bentler Nature Park in Ä°stanbul on Oct. 23, Gerçek Gündem said.

      • Conservative Muslims pressure liberals in Berlin schools: study

        Berlin schools in the multicultural Neukölln district face growing religious intolerance. Conservative Muslims pressure liberal students and teachers to adapt their behavior to stricter interpretations of Islam, according to a survey conducted by the Association for Democracy and Diversity in Schools established by the federal government.

        The research, supported by the Ministry for Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth at the request of the Neukölln district office, focused mainly on confrontational manifestations of religion and lasted three months.

    • Hardware

      • Threaded Wires Save Phone Numbers | Hackaday

        If you thought programming your 1990s VCR was rough, wait until you see this Russian telephone autodialer that [Mike] took apart over on the mikeselectricalstuff YouTube channel (video below the break). [Mike] got this 1980s Soviet-era machine a few years ago, and finally got around to breaking into it to learning what makes it tick. The autodialer plugs into the phone line, much like an old-school answering machine. It provides the user with 40 pre-set telephone numbers, arranged in two banks of 20, and a speaker to monitor the connection process. It uses pulse dialing — no touch tones. What’s surprising is how you program the numbers. Given that this was build in the 1980s Soviet Union, he wasn’t expecting a microcontroller. But he wasn’t expecting transformer core “rope” memory, either.


        Mike tries to decipher the schematics and pokes around enough to get the gist of how it works. This design is an interesting solution to the problem of building an autodialer in that era. If you want to learn more about core memory, here’s an article we wrote about deciphering an Apollo rope memory module, perhaps one of the most well-known examples of this technology. We also covered a couple of projects using rope memory techniques but on a small scale, here and here.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Ending a Global Pandemic Should Not Rely on "Individual Responsibility"
      • Why Leftists are Joining Hands With the Right in Opposing Vaccine Mandates

        Most telling, archconservatives hated the mandates. That’s always a good sign that you are on the side of the angels.

        But while many on the far right oppose the mandates for idiotic reasons (whacky conspiracy theories, quack science) and a few have gone so far as to plot the assassination of a German governor, more and more people on the far left are objecting to vaccine mandates out of ideological concerns, i.e., how far government power can be exercised.

      • On Manhood and Vaccines

        Beyond misinformation, the real reason for opposing the vaccinations is simple defiance to the wishes of people and institutions that anti-vaxxers don’t like.€  It is intransigence based on an intuitive version of Napoleon’s Maxim XVI: “never do what the enemy wishes you to do for this reason alone, that he desires it.”2€  In this petty, internalized form, it is also related to the resentful slave morality outlined by Nietzsche in On the Genealogy of Morals and the idea of not giving others the satisfaction of complying with their desires, even when they are right.€  In psychology, the doubling-down on being wrong in this way is known as cognitive dissonance.3€  Those who still do not realize that they are wrong are the victims of a mass propaganda-driven cult-like phenomenon. The fact that so many people would accept Internet rumors over medical science is shocking but not surprising.

        But the implied justification for resisting vaccination is moral staunchness and physical toughness, and when manifested in a man, it harkens back to older notions of manhood and manliness.€  To those of us who accept vaccines as safe and effective products of modern science, the anti-vaccine mindset appears to be a widespread instance of noisy and occasionally violent yahooism, and a kind of physical and moral cowardice—the opposite of manliness.€  It is the virtues of honorable manhood honored in the breach. € It is dumb braggadocio. Courage must have a higher purpose than just courting personal risk and the anti-vaxxers mistake recklessness for valor. And their external bluster appears to mask squeamishness about needles and well-tested medicine.

      • Ideological Struggle: Language in the Era of COVID-19

        The abundant use of military metaphors is clearly demonstrated by phrases such as “increasing our armamentarium of weapons to combat COVID-19,” or such as when Vice President Harris announced that “the virus hit our shores” and when President Biden announced plans to deploy 1,000 military medical professionals to “support overburdened hospitals” in US cities. A particularly vile instance was a recent NY Daily News headline which announced that “kids enter COVID-19 crosshairs”. These announcements, and the words chosen to make them, should prompt, among other things, increased recognition of the adverse impact the use of military metaphors, related terms and the frames they evoke, and of the strategic value of their avoidance or minimization. Both with respect to COVID-19 and more generally, the strategic value of utilizing metaphors and frames that better reflect progressive goals of equitable public health, community, solidarity and peace cannot be understated.

        Progressive struggle requires action through a range of domains, including the ideological. A key component of ideological struggle is the choice of words used to promote and support important positions–a strategy regressive extremist forces have recognized and effectively exploit. For example, Republican strategist Frank Luntz emphasized that Republicans should never speak of a “public health care option”, “oil drilling” or an “estate tax”, but should instead only refer to a “government mandate”, to “energy exploration” or to a “death tax”; while promoting reactionary, neoliberal positions, he has nonetheless correctly stressed the strategic importance of using word choices that make use of the conscious or subconscious emotional content of words.

      • Campaign Urges Biden Admin to Mail 'Continuous' Supply of Masks, Tests to All US Households

        A new campaign led by public health experts and grassroots activists—including the daughter of a Covid-19 victim—is calling on the Biden administration to deliver rapid tests and high-quality masks to every household in the United States as the nation faces a tsunami of new infections.

        "We are asking you to mail an ample and continuous supply of free rapid at-home tests and N95-quality masks to every household in America twice a month through May 2022, with additional supplies sent to first responders, healthcare workers, and public centers in our most impacted communities," reads campaigners' open letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator.

      • My APA Resignation

        I’ve been a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) for years, and a fellow for the past six or seven years. I sat on their Council of Representatives, which theoretically sets policy for the APA, for three years. I am just ending my term as president of the APA’s Society for Media and Technology, where I have met many wonderful colleagues. Yet, at the end of 2021, I decided to resign my membership in the APA. My concern is that the APA no longer functions as an organization dedicated to science and good clinical practice. As a professional guild, perhaps it never did, but I believe it is now advancing causes that are actively harmful and I can no longer be a part of it.

      • Inside psychogenic death, the phenomenon of "thinking" yourself to death

        Yet until recently the idea that our beliefs, or our fears, could kill us was not taken seriously in Western medicinal circles, due to the lack of a mechanical explanation for how something as ephemeral as the mind could extinguish something as tangible as the body. Now, thanks to the work of a British psychologist and researcher named John Leach, that may change, as he has mapped out at least one road to this unfortunate end.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • 2021 in review: 'Right to Repair' campaigners claim iPhone victory

          Manufacturers, including Apple, are still introducing new features that appear intended only to make repairs more difficult, says Kevin Purdy at iFixit, a company that sells spare parts and offers free how-to guides. Components that are glued together or require proprietary tools to remove are common and can often be overcome using third-party kits from such services, but a growing trend is for companies to add software-coded serial numbers to components, which alert the device to any unauthorised repairs.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • O Lenderking, the Lies You Bring: a Look at Biden’s Special Envoy for Yemen

        In the same speech, Biden announced, not without fanfare, the appointment of “career foreign policy officer” Tim Lenderking as special envoy to Yemen.€  Lenderking is attempting to forge peace between Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition which is at war with the Houthis.

        On December 16, Lenderking appeared on public radio’s The World.€  Lenderking told World host Carol Hills, presumably with a straight face, that one of the Biden Administration’s “first principles” for ending the war “is to get outside actors out of the conflict.”

      • British Colonialism and How India and Pakistan Lost Freedom

        Do nations and civilizations grow out of the moral mire of military conquests, killings of innocent people, political cruelty and subjugation by imperialism? For more than 800 years, India as a Moghul Empire was an economically well integrated and politically viable entity and west European had strong trade and political relationships. After intrigued conspiracies and planned division, British invaded India in 1857, committing cold blooded massacres of two millions people mostly Muslims opposing the military invasion described just as a “Mutiny” in the British chronicle. Bahadur Shah Zafar – the last Moghul emperor was deposed over night in Delhi, his youngest son head was chopped-off and put on a breakfast plate to strangle the Shah and make him surrender unconditionally. Shah was hurriedly taken to Rangoon (Burma) and imprisoned in a garage and later on died and buried only to write poems in loss of his freedom and beloved country. Did the British overtake India to be a free country for democracy or to support the Hindu domination of futuristic India? British robbed Moghul India and became it became Great Britain and imagined India as an absolute entity of the British Empire.

        Leaders like Gandhi and Nehru, Dr. Mohammad Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Khan though educated in British intellectual traditions but articulated new mission and visions for national freedom as a revulsion against the British colonial political traditions and continuity of British Raj in India. Was this violent and ruthless indoctrination part of the British heritage or history-making efforts to besiege India forever? Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy made sure that Indians will remain loyal and committed subservient to the futuristic blending of so called celebrated national freedom after the 1947 partition into India and Pakistan. British failed to deliver the truth of national freedom to both nations in a universal spirit of political responsibility. Both nations continued to engage in military warfare, ethnic conflicts and hegemonic control to dominate each other by undermining their own future.

      • Opinion | The Real Lesson of Jan. 6 Is That Trump-World's Coup Effort Is Far From Over

        January 6 will be remembered as one of the most shameful days in American history. On that date in 2021, the United States Capitol was attacked by thousands of armed loyalists to Donald Trump, some intent on killing members of Congress. Roughly 140 officers were injured in the attack. Five people died that day.

      • Pentagon Projected to Hand $407 Billion to Private Military Contractors This Fiscal Year

        President Joe Biden signed a record-shattering military budget earlier this week, and a new analysis published Thursday predicted that if recent contracting trends continue, the Pentagon will funnel $407 billion worth of public funds to private weapons makers this fiscal year—more than the federal government spent when sending $1,400 relief checks to most Americans in 2021.

        Stephen Semler, co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute, found that "from fiscal year (FY) 2002 to FY2021, 55% of all Pentagon spending went to private sector military contractors."

      • Pentagon Fails Audit (Again!)

        Instead, the story, which broke on November 17, was largely ignored or buried. The nation’s two main newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times, have simply ignored it. Other news organizations stenographically quoted Pentagon officials as admitting that they “failed again” but saw “progress,” and as promising that they would achieve a “clean” audit by… get this … 2027.

        The Pentagon, with some $3 trillion (give or take a trillion but who’s counting?) in assets and a record current 2021 budget of $738 billion, has for the third year in a row failed its audit. An army of 1400 auditors hired by us taxpayers for $230 million and borrowed from some of the biggest auditing firms in the country, spent the past year poring through the books and visiting hundreds of operations of the government’s largest and geographically vastest single agency, and came back with word that they couldn’t give it a pass.

      • Even as Crime Declines, Gun Violence Is Rising
      • JFK Revisited: Oliver Stone and the New JFK Fact Pattern

        Stone is the dogged veteran of a culture war that has been going on for thirty years since the release of his 1991 Oscar-winning feature film, JFK, a struggle to define American history that ripples through the culture with every new development in the ever-evolving JFK story. He is also a Vietnam veteran who did a dangerous tour of combat duty, as depicted his 1987 film Platoon. The man risked his life for his country, I thought, a sacrifice that few of his harshest critics have ever made.

        When I shared that thought with Stone in a telephone interview, he demurred. “Serving as a soldier doesn’t give me any better political insights than someone who did not,” he insisted, with the modesty that has recurred in our occasional conversations over the years. As film critic Ann Hornaday observed in a recent Washington Post piece that was actually fair to the Oscar-winning director. “To spend time with Oliver Stone is to enter a different kind of looking glass,” Hornaday wrote, “A man often caricatured as wild-eyed provocateur is thoughtful, easygoing and generous even at his most contrarian.”

      • One Year in, Biden’s Nuclear Policies Look a Lot Like Trump’s
      • UN Demands 'Urgent Protection' of Children in Conflict Zones in 2022

        As a year in which millions of youth were caught up in armed conflicts around the world came to a close Friday, the United Nations Children's Fund warned that "grave violations against children" are on the rise and called on all offending parties to work for a more peaceful 2022.

        "Year after year, parties to conflict continue to demonstrate a dreadful disregard for the rights and wellbeing of children."

      • How CIA Plots Undermined African De-Colonization

        The latest and most noxious of these colonial iterations is the U.S. military’s AFRICOM, although a French oligarch “controls 16 West African ports through bribery and influence peddling,” as Margaret Kimberley recounted in Black Agenda Report, December 1. “Canadian companies control gold mining in Burkina Faso, Mali and D.R.C.…British soldiers are still stationed in Kenya.” So the west never stopped strangling African nations. In this effort, the vile 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba was key. Needless to say, the CIA was involved up to its eyeballs.

        As Congo’s first freely elected leader after the Belgian rout, Lumumba made the honest mistake of trusting western democratic ideals.€  Then, when he discovered they were phony, he tilted – very slightly – toward the Soviets. That sealed his fate. “President Eisenhower authorized the assassination of Lumumba,” writes Susan Williams in her newly published book, White Malice: the CIA and the Covert Recolonization of Africa. The consequences were ghastly. After Lumumba’s murder and dismemberment, for well over three decades, “the Congo was ruled with an iron fist by Mobutu – a dictator chosen by the U.S. government and installed by the CIA.”

      • Using and abusing Djibouti: How the US transformed a tiny African state into a hub of imperial aggression
      • Beijing’s Movie War Propaganda—and Washington’s

        To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party, the powerful Chinese Central Propaganda Department commissioned a blockbuster film that depicts a US defeat in the Korean War.

      • Daniel Pipes: The Challenge to Islam It Has Never Faced

        You may have noticed much less news about violent jihad in the United States. Two reasons explain this. First, counterterrorism has become far more effective, rendering a 9/11-style attack almost out of the question. Second, what I call the 6Ps – police, politicians, press, priests, professors and prosecutors – have made it harder to find out about jihad. When Islamist attacks take place, they tend to be portrayed as mere violent episodes without motive. Exceptions exist, such as Boston Marathon and Fort Hood attacks, but most of what appear to be jihadi attacks that are simply not reported, although these seem to take place every few months.

      • Sweden, Gang Violence and a New Prime Minister

        Sweden has the highest number of fatal shootings per million inhabitants in Europe according to the latest report by Brå on shooting, released in May. Sweden, furthermore, is the only country in Europe in which fatal shootings have increased since the year 2005.

        "The main underlying reason for the development with shootings and explosions is the situation that prevails in vulnerable [sic] areas, where residents feel threatened by criminals, where there is open drug trafficking and where criminals in some places have created parallel social structures", Swedish police wrote in a recent press release.

      • French-Syrian man arrested in France over chemical weapons parts in Syria

        A French-Syrian man has been detained by French police on suspicion of supplying components for the manufacture of chemical weapons in Syria through his shipping company, sources briefed on the case told AFP Sunday.

      • 70,000 New Arabic Teachers Hired To Teach Quran In Punjab Schools

        Earlier this year, the SED issued official guidance requiring district education authorities to visit all schools in their respective areas, including public and private schools, as well as madrassahs, to ensure that the Holy Quran was being taught as its own subject. Following this directive, three school principals in Nankana Sahib were recommended for disciplinary action for improperly teaching the Holy Quran.

    • Environment

      • Roaming Charges: When the Old Anomaly Became the New Normal–2021, the Year in Climate

        + Through the first 10 months of 2020 there were no regions on the planet which experienced near record cold. When it came to heat, however…

        + This satellite image, taken back on 9 September 2020, shows some of the wildfires over Oregon, including the fire that drove us from our house. The view on the right utilizes SWIR bands to penetrate the smoke.

      • Seasonal insomniacs in Times of Climate Chaos

        Because of the human-wrought climate crisis, it rained on Christmas Eve.

        This is a fierce and fragile region, rugged and imperiled all at once. Deserts endure an existence one step closer to death’s scythe than other regions. Their inhabitants are wily survivors. The toads wear dragon’s spines. The cacti guard their precious water with miniature swords. The junipers twist upon themselves, the size of small children despite being centuries old.

      • Opinion | Seasonal Insomniacs in Times of Climate Chaos

        It snowed, finally. We’ve been waiting for months, restless and agitated. Have you ever seen your child settle more deeply into slumber after you tuck them under the blanket? That’s how it feels here. I live in the high-altitude desert of Northern New Mexico. Deserts often invoke images of Saharan sands, but this desert sprawls atop black, volcanic basalt. Perched at 7,000 feet, it snows here in the winter. Or, it used to.

      • 'We Are in a Climate Emergency': Late-December Wildfires Ravage Colorado

        Tens of thousands of Coloradans were forced to flee their homes Thursday as two fast-moving wildfires—whipped up by wind gusts reaching 110 mph—tore through communities just outside of Denver, engulfing entire neighborhoods in flames and destroying hundreds of buildings.

        Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has declared a state of emergency to help aid the disaster response as officials characterized the late-December fire event as among the worst in the state's history.

      • Energy

        • Trump-Appointed Judge Sides With Cops Who Brutalized DAPL Protesters

          Five years after police brutalized activists opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline, a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump has dismissed a lawsuit accusing North Dakota law enforcement officers of excessive use of force—a decision that critics have characterized as a tacit endorsement of the violent repression of climate justice advocates.

          Several peaceful protesters who gathered at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to struggle against the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure were assaulted€ by law enforcement officers on November 20, 2016. Police€ sprayed demonstrators with water cannons amid sub-freezing temperatures that night, and according to the plaintiffs' lawyers, they€ also used tear gas and fired rubber bullets and exploding munitions "indiscriminately into the crowd."

        • Germany One Step Closer to Nuclear-Free Future as Three of Six Power Plants Go Offline

          Green groups on Friday celebrated as Germany prepared to shut down three of its six remaining nuclear power plants, part of that country's ambitious goal of transitioning to mostly renewable energy by the end of the decade.

          "Wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower are forms of energy that protect the environment and climate, are safe, and affordable. The future lies in their use."

        • The US Still Doesn’t Know How and Where It Will Store Its Growing Nuclear Waste
        • Plans to capture CO2 from coal plants wasted federal dollars, watchdog says

          About $1.1 billion has flowed from the Department of Energy to carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects since 2009. Had they panned out, nine coal plants and industrial facilities would have been outfitted with devices that scrub most of the CO2 out of their emissions. Once captured, the CO2 can be sent via pipelines to underground storage in geologic formations.

          That’s not what happened. The DOE doled out $684 million to coal six coal plants, but only one of them actually got built and started operating before shuttering in 2020. Of the three separate industrial facilities that received $438 million, just two got off the ground. Without more accountability, “DOE may risk expending significant taxpayer funds on CCS demonstrations that have little likelihood of success,” the GAO says.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • 15 Things Biodiversity Protectors Are Watching Out for in 2022
        • Climate Crisis Fuels Late-December Wildfires Ravaging Colorado
        • Behold, the Deepest-Dwelling Squid Known to Science | Hakai Magazine

          When a team of subsea explorers completed the deepest ever dive to a shipwreck earlier this year, the news was broadcast around the world. A team from Caladan Oceanic found the USS Johnston, which sank during an intense naval battle in 1944, to be astoundingly well-preserved, its guns still pointing in the direction of the enemy. A few days before making their record-setting trip, however, the explorers had carried out another descent to the seafloor, a dive that ended up being a few kilometers off the mark.

          Though they failed to find the wreck that day, they did find something else.

          Once footage from the excursion came in, Alan Jamieson, a deep-sea researcher from the University of Western Australia, sat in his office aboard the expedition ship scrolling through frame after uneventful frame, searching for anything that might be of interest.

    • Finance

      • Opinion | 'Historic Victory': Garment Workers Organize to End Wage Theft

        Daisy Gonzalez's mother emigrated to California from Guatemala in the '80s and landed a job as a garment worker. "My mother was a trimmer and an ironer. I learned how difficult this work was for her body from her experience," Gonzalez says. Beyond the difficult conditions, the pay was equally abysmal. She recounts her mother once working for a week, and the employer paying her just $30. Her mother's struggles opened Gonzalez's eyes to the trenchant problem of "wage theft," a phenomenon she says is built into the very fabric of the garment industry and its global supply chain.€ 

      • How A Boy Called Christmas Converted Me to the Politics of Greed

        Worse, as my daughter had grown older, the content of the lie had become more obviously poisonous – and not only because a childhood spent venerating Father Christmas likely serves as one of the pillars of the continuing patriarchy.

        The degree to which to the Christmas story reinforces our understanding of how society should be organised – and at a time before we can think critically – was driven home to me by a new Netflix and Sky joint film production I watched with my family on Christmas Day.

      • Starbucks Workers in Chicago and Colorado File Union Petitions With NLRB

        Capping off what organizers and other labor rights advocates have dubbed "the year of the worker," employees at two more Starbucks stores are seeking to unionize.

        Workers at a pair of Starbucks locations in Broomfield, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois filed union petitions with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a Twitter account associated with organizing efforts at the coffee giant announced Thursday.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • A Shuffling of the Cards in Germany

        Pious or not, they were faced by the old truism, “Two’s company, three’s a crowd!” The SPD still calls itself “left” and tries somehow to appeal to workers, or at least union leaders. The Greens, once the party of rebelliousness, still stand for women`s rights, gay rights in all variations, opposing neo-Nazis and far-right xenophobia. But they have grown tamer and tamer. While still playing their basic environment-ecology card they often cozy up to monopolies who like to talk green but always think first of their bank accounts. € In southern Baden-Württemberg, the Greens’ one and only state governor gets along fine with Daimler-Benz, the giant which is centered there. In Hesse, as junior coalition partners of the Christian Democrats (CDU), € they have had no known run-ins with the bank interests centered there in Frankfurt/Main. All the same, the media still classifies those two as “left” – or at least “center-left”.

        But that third Free Democratic Party (FDP) is unabashedly right-wing pro-capitalist, at least in all economic matters. Despite the € fewest popular votes of the three its good-looking, well-spoken one-man boss, Christian Lindner, has a loud voice, and it is he who grabbed the powerful job of Finance Minister and has taken a no-compromise stand against raising taxes on the super-rich (using the same leak-down arguments as in the USA since Reagan). While SPD and Greens have ties with the monopolies, they occasionally move them to limited concessions, like raising minimum wages, some aid to children and a few more euros to the jobless. But Lindner and his FDP belong € outright to the biggies. Whether the pandemic wanes or worsens, working people, the jobless, the elderly, and several millions with precarious, temp, gig, part-time and unprotected jobs will have to exert strong pressure “from below”€  to hinder further stagnation or worse.

      • Biden Congratulates Leftist Chilean President-Elect Gabriel Boric

        In a departure from previous administrations' responses to left-wing victories in Latin America, President Joe Biden on Thursday congratulated Chilean President-elect Gabriel Boric, who beat his right-wing opponent earlier this week after running on a social-democratic platform.

        Biden called the 35-year-old president-elect, who will be sworn in as the country's youngest leader in March, to say his victory has set a "powerful example to the region and the world," according to a White House statement.

      • Democracy with United States Characteristics

        The USA should be described as a democracy with United States characteristics.

        The U.S. government often expresses the idea that its system is so desirable that leaders of other countries should model their country after it.

      • The True Problem With the GOP’s Patricia Morgan

        Some very good Black writers at websites like The Root and The Grio have already dissected the racism of this strange missive and I cannot commend those readings enough.

        Unfortunately, for whatever reason, there are two issues that are important to put emphasis upon as we move into the midterm elections, particularly because of the manifest ineptitude and flaccidity of the Democratic electoral strategy.

      • J. Edgar Hoover’s Legacy: Spying On Democracy

        The FBI has been conducting domestic surveillance operations since its inception in the 1920s, marking nearly a hundred years of violating the First Amendment of the Constitution.€  Very few of these operations involved the investigation and gathering of evidence of a serious crime, the only justification for FBI surveillance.€  J. Edgar Hoover, appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation in1924, amassed illegal powers of surveillance that enabled him to conduct extra-legal tracking of activists, collect compromising information, and even to threaten and intimidate sitting presidents.

        Hoover created the Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) in the 1950s to counter the activities of the Communist Party in the United States, but it morphed into a program of covert and illegal activities to disrupt numerous political organizations, particularly the anti-Vietnam war and civil rights organizations of the 1960s and 1970s.€  He exaggerated the threat of communism to ensure financial and public support for the FBI.€  (The Pentagon similarly exaggerates the Russian and Chinese threats to elicit greater defense spending, such as the record-setting budget that President Biden signed on Monday.)€  When Supreme Court decisions made it more difficult to prosecute individuals for their political opinions, Hoover formalized a covert “dirty tricks” program that included illegal wiretaps, forged documents, and burglaries.

      • Want an answer to Trumpism? Rewatch€ “It’s a Wonderful Life”

        When I first saw the movie in the late 1960s, I thought it pure hokum. America was coming apart over Vietnam and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and I remember thinking the movie could have been produced by some propaganda bureau of the government that had been told to create a white-washed (and white) version of the United States.

      • In 'Victory for Democracy' and 'Blow to Trumpism,' FDIC Chair Resigns

        What has been described as both "open lawlessness" and a "partisan brawl" came to an end Friday when Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Jelena McWilliams—an appointee of former President Donald Trump—revealed she is resigning, which will give Democrats control of the agency.

        In a letter to President Joe Biden published on the FDIC's website, McWilliams said she intends to step down effective February 4, 2022. Politico pointed out that her resignation "means that FDIC board member Martin Gruenberg will become acting chair, his third stint atop at the 88-year-old agency, which insures trillions of dollars in deposits at the nation's banks."

      • Best of CounterSpin 2021
    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Palestinian COVID conspiracy theories do matter

        If one isolated lunatic wrote those words, there would be no reason to take him seriously. But the publication of that conspiracy theory in the official P.A. newspaper means that it reflects the views of the P.A. leadership. And it means that this is what the P.A. wants the Palestinian Arab public to believe.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Belgium refuses extradition of fugitive Spanish rapper

        Beltran was sentenced for lyrics in songs published online in 2012 and 2013 at a time when he was a little-known rapper in the Balearic Islands.

        These included: "Let them be as frightened as a police officer in the Basque Country" and "the king has a rendezvous at the village square, with a noose around his neck."

      • Afghanistan: Taliban 'sentences TV To Death,' Destroys Scores Of Musical Instruments

        In the chilling video, the Taliban that has enforced strict sharia law for governance after the political takeover is seen forcing a man to take an oath that he would never watch TV again. This is purportedly due to the belief among the Islamist extremists that it is not permissible in sharia (Islamic law) to watch TV. The Taliban men are seen smashing a television set and destroying scores of musical instruments including harmonium as it is "haram" [forbidden] in Islam. Pakistani journalist Hamza Azhar Salam who first shared the footage appeared to normalise the behaviour as he stressed that "things can change in future."

      • Prominent vaccine scientist banned from Twitter for spreading anti-vaxx content

        Dr Robert Malone has amassed over 500,000 followers but the scientist was removed from the platform after sharing a video about supposed harmful effects of the Pfizer vaccine.

        Twitter has not commented on the decison and it’s unclear whether the banning was automated or actioned by a human.

      • Who is Robert Malone? Twitter Suspends Account of Virologist Who Warns Covid-19 Vaccine is 'NOT SAFE' for Children

        However, it is unclear if the suspension was automatic or Twitter deliberately suspended his account due to violation as the platform did not make any comment regarding the same.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Democracy Now! at 25: Celebrating a Quarter-Century of Independent News on the Frontlines

        Democracy Now! first aired on nine community radio stations on February 19, 1996, on the eve of the New Hampshire presidential primary. In the 25 years since that initial broadcast, the program has greatly expanded, airing today on more than 1,500 television and radio stations around the globe and reaching millions of people online. We celebrate 25 years of The War and Peace Report with an hour-long retrospective, including highlights from the show’s early years, some of the most controversial interviews, and groundbreaking reports from East Timor, Standing Rock, Western Sahara and more.

      • Dr. Oz and wife thought they'd hung up — got caught raging against "f**king girl reporter"

        Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa were overheard by a journalist describing her as a "fucking girl reporter" after they failed to hang up successfully while trying to duck her phone calls.

        New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi traveled to Pennsylvania to profile Oz's Republican Senate campaign but had difficulty tracking down the celebrity doctor or any signs of an actual campaign. After contact with the campaign "proved elusive," she wrote, she showed up at Oz's empty campaign office and asked a nearby business owner to connect her with Oz's family. She was ultimately able to reach Lisa Oz, who hung up on her. When Nuzzi tried again, Lisa Oz presumably intended to hang up again, but connected her phone to her car's sound system instead, allowing Nuzzi to hear her conversation with her husband.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Creativity in Nonviolent Resistance

        We humans have studied war for perhaps 11,000 years or more. We have colleges and massive industries devoted to that destructive ability of our species.

        What about the opposite, the creative ability, the constructive conflict?

      • In 2021, the Police Took a Page Out of the NSA’s Playbook: 2021 in Review

        While dragnet searches were once thought to be just the province of the NSA, they are now easier than ever for domestic law enforcement to conduct as well. This is because of the massive amounts of digital information we share—knowingly or not—with companies and third parties. This data, including information on where we’ve been, what we’ve searched for, and even our genetic makeup, is stored in vast databases of consumer-generated information, and law enforcement has ready access to it—frequently without any legal process. All of this consumer data allows police to, essentially, pluck a suspect out of thin air.

        EFF has been challenging unconstitutional dragnet searches for years, and we’re now seeing greater awareness and pushback from other organizations, judges, legislators, and even some companies. This post will summarize developments in 2021 on one type of dragnet suspicionless search—reverse location data searches.€ 

        Reverse location searches allow the police to identify every device in a given geographic area during a specific period of time in the past as well as to track people’s paths of travel. Geographic areas can include city blocks full of people unconnected to the crime, including those living in private residences and driving on busy streets.€ 

      • Opinion | Tutu's Courage on Israeli Apartheid Is Played Down in American Media

        The Guardian has published an important eulogy to the late Desmond Tutu by Chris McGreal, saying what so many in the Palestinian solidarity community are saying: After fighting apartheid in South Africa, Tutu used his stature to call out apartheid in Israel and Palestine, and he paid a large price for doing so.

      • Remembering My Time With Bishop Tutu

        The following took place more than a quarter of a century ago before the widespread use of the Internet, and my memory may be a bit faulty regarding some details. Be that as it may, to the best of my recollection, after the worst excesses of apartheid had been defeated and Nelson Mandela had been elected South Africa’s President, Tutu flew to Hawaii circa 1995. In Downtown, Honolulu the Anglican Bishop made a speech at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, which was commissioned in the 19th century by a Hawaiian monarch before a white settler- and U.S.-backed coup overthrew the independent Polynesian kingdom.

        Prior to his talk, the anti-apartheid leader agreed to do an interview with me, I believe for the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and/or its overseas service, Radio Australia. The RA is the main source of news for and about the Pacific Islands, and I had been reporting as a stringer for this broadcast outlet since the assassination of the President of the Republic of Palau in 1985, where I’d lived at the time. My interview with the much-in-demand, extremely busy Bishop took place in a room that was part of the rather large cathedral complex, where there were a number of aides sitting with him (none interfered with the Q&A, although it’s possible one staffer may have informed us my allotted time was up).

      • Remembering the Real Desmond Tutu, 1931–2021

        “It’s realpolitik, this forgiveness thing,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu to me in 1996 with characteristically blunt eloquence, about the job he had to do as chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). “It’s not just something in the realm of religion or the spiritual. If justice is your last word, you’ve had it. You’ve got to go beyond it.”

      • The Russian Supreme Court Moves to Shut Down a Prominent Human Rights Group

        On December 10, my father Dmitry Muratov, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate, proclaimed when he received his award: “Memorial is not ‘an enemy of the people,’ Memorial is a friend of the people.” Russian-based human rights groups Memorial Human Rights Center and Memorial International have worked for decades to rehabilitate over a million victims of Stalinist repression. On December 28, 18 days after Muratov’s speech, the Russian Supreme Court ruled to shut down the organization.

      • As Many as 1 in 3 Afghan Refugee Women at U.S. Bases are Pregnant

        When thousands of Afghans first arrived at the military base in rural Wisconsin, local residents in Sparta, the “Bicycling Capital of America”, a small city of less than 10,000, began warning that the Afghans being housed at Fort McCoy were putting a significant strain on their infrastructure and their medical services. I was told that there were as many as 800 pregnant refugees at the base. The number seemed wildly implausible, but now the official number is out.

        According to military officials, there have been 500 pregnant Afghans at Fort McCoy and, according to a local news report, “the numbers keep growing”.

      • No Trips For Afghan Women Unless Escorted By Male Relative: Taliban

        Afghanistan's Taliban authorities said Sunday that women seeking to travel anything other than short distances should not be offered transport unless they are accompanied by a close male relative.

        The guidance, issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, also called on all vehicle owners to offer rides only to those women wearing Islamic hijabs.

      • Sexual crimes against children rampant in Turkey – reports

        “This is the tip of the iceberg,” Aksay told BirGün. “These numbers are from one hospital, and cases that made it to the criminal unit.”

      • Wiesenthal Center puts BBC 3rd – after only Iran, Hamas – on antisemitism list

        “People might assume we would put neo-Nazi groups on our list,” Hier told the paper, “but the BBC is there because when a globally recognized organization allows antisemitism to creep into its reporting, it makes it all the more insidious and dangerous.”

        The full list is to be released on Tuesday.

      • Women Protesters Injured In Stampede After Taliban Militants Fire In The Air

        Participants told RFE/RL that up to 130 women attended the protest in Kabul, and shots fired in the air by Taliban militants trying to disperse the demonstration prompted fleeing protesters to fall and trample one another. Several women sustained injuries in the stampede, witnesses said.

        It was not immediately clear how many women were injured in the incident.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • A new coronavirus vaccine heading to India was developed by a small team in Texas. It expects nothing in return.

          Unlike the vaccines of big-name manufacturers such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the Texas Children’s Hospital vaccine, which is called Corbevax, is being shared patent-free. The Texas Children’s Hospital team is also working with manufacturers like Biological E. to ensure they have the know-how to make doses.

          The ambition is to create a low-cost, open-source alternative to expensive and limited-supply mRNA vaccines for developing and under-vaccinated countries. And it won’t stop at India: Hotez and Bottazzi are talking to other manufacturers around the world and have consulted with the World Health Organization to see how they can share the vaccine globally.

      • Copyrights

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