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08.24.16

Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenIndiana Operating System Gets MATE 1.14 Desktop Environment, New ISOs

    Alexander Pyhalov from the OpenIndiana development team was happy to announce the availability of the latest MATE 1.14 open-source desktop environment for the Solaris-derived operating system.

  • 3 open source alternatives to Office 365

    It can be hard to get away from working and collaborating on the web. Doing that is incredibly convenient: as long as you have an internet connection, you can easily work and share from just about anywhere, on just about any device.

    The main problem with most web-based office suites—like Google Drive, Zoho Office, and Office365—is that they’re closed source. Your data also exists at the whim of large corporations. I’m sure you’ve heard numerous stories of, say, Google locking or removing accounts without warning.

    If that happens to you, you lose what’s yours. So what’s an open source advocate who wants to work with web applications to do? You turn to an open source alternative, of course. Let’s take a look at three of them.

  • NGINX’s Plan to Create a $1 Billion Business from its Open Source Software

    NGINX Inc. has a set an ambitious goal for itself: To become a $1 billion company within the next eight to 10 years. It will not be an easy task, especially given that its biggest competitor may be its own well-engineered open source software. For NGINX, the key to success will be to successfully get customers from additional markets.

    The open source NGINX project, which began in 2002, is a widely-used high-performance web server and reverse proxy. However, the commercial company, NGINX Inc., created to support the open source project, was founded much later, in 2011, with the first commercial product in 2013.

  • Hazelcast Releases Version 3.7

    Hazelcast, a provider of an open source in-memory data grid, has announced the general availability of Hazelcast 3.7. According to the company, the latest release is 30% faster than previous versions and is the first fully modularized version of Hazelcast. Each client/language and plugin is now available as a module – speeding up the development process for open source contributors, with new features and bug fixes released as modules alongside Hazelcast 3.7.

    Hazelcast continues to expand its footprint beyond its traditional “Java heartland,” the company says. The Hazelcast open source community has created clients for programming environments including Java, Scala, .Net/C#, C++, Python, Node.js, and Clojure. Java and Scala can be used for both clients and embedded members.

  • Hazelcast releases 3.7: cloud-enabled, 30% faster and the first fully modularized in-memory data grid
  • How to measure your community’s health

    How do you measure the health of your community, identify problems, and track progress towards your goals? What should you be measuring?

    Last month we discussed vanity metrics, those metrics that might sound impressive on the surface, but ultimately give you little insight or guidance to improve the health and well-being of your community. This naturally begs the question: What should you be measuring? And as I mentioned last month, the obvious but annoying answer: It depends. The first and foremost dependency relates to the nature of your community and where you and your members want it to go.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) to Remove Chrome applications from Mac, Linux, Windows
      • Google Makes Changes to the Chrome App Ecosystem

        Google is making some sweeping changes in the way Chrome, Chrome OS and Android handle apps and applications. The company has announced that it is moving away from the app platform on its Chrome browser for all platforms aside from Chromebooks. Beginning in late 2016, you will require a Chromebook to be able to download new Chrome apps, although existing apps will be usable and developers can still release updates.

        Meanwhile, many Chrome OS users are beginning to use Android apps on the platform. Android apps arrived on Chromebooks in a heavy-handed way in June, but the developer channel was still buggy. Now, a new implementation has entered the beta channel with some much needed stability.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Walmart, Comcast Hasten Innovation, Improve Agility With OpenStack

      As new technologies like applications and programming languages are introduced, it’s important for companies to remain flexible and fast enough to adapt, which is why Walmart and Comcast have embraced OpenStack.

      By adopting OpenStack solution OneOps, Walmart doesn’t have to spend unnecessary time writing code or automating new processes in order to keep up with new technologies, Andrew Mitry, OpenStack Lead at Walmart, explained today at OpenStack East 2016.

      Walmart already uses more than 3,000 applications and services and has more than 170,000 cores in more than 30 regions, with more than 60 Open Source products that are deployed more than 40,000 times each month. With OneOps, Walmart can automate low-level processes like load balance and firewalls using OneOps, which Mitry said frees up time and resources to manage more intricate processes that require manual oversight.

  • Databases

    • MySQL daddy Widenius: Open-source religion won’t feed MariaDB

      MySQL daddy Monty Widenius has dismissed claims the MariaDB fork is veering away from open source.

      Rather, the chief technology officer of MariaDB corporation called his firm’s embrace of a commercial licence for part of MariaDB “critical” to delivering new revenue and for the continued development of open-source software.

      Widenius told The Register in an interview that he believes criticism of MariaDB’s commercial licence for its new database proxy sever, MaxScale 2.0, is motivated by a “religious” belief in free and open source software.

      Not that Widenius is against the belief per se, he told The Register, it’s just: “Religion doesn’t put meat on the table.”

    • Percona Celebrates 10 Years of Leading the Open Source Database Revolution
  • CMS

    • How to Resolve Your Open Content Management Quandary

      After years of development and competition, open source content management systems (CMS) have proliferated and are very powerful tools for building, deploying and managing web sites, blogs and more. You’re probably familiar with some of the big names in this arena, including Drupal (which Ostatic is based on) and Joomla.

      As we noted in this post, selecting a CMS to build around can be a complicated process, since the publishing tools provided are hardly the only issue. The good news is that free, sophisticated guides for evaluating CMS systems have flourished. There are even good options for trying open CMS systems online before you choose one. Here, in this newly updated post, you’ll find some very good resources.

      he first thing to pursue as you evaluate CMS systems to deploy, including the many free, good platforms, is an overview of what is available. CMSMatrix.org is a great site for plotting out side-by-side comparisons of what CMS systems have to offer. In fact, it lets you compare the features in over 1200 content management system products. Definitely take a look. This site also has a good overview of the options.

    • Postleaf is an open-source blogging platform for the design-conscious

      Content management systems are boring until you have to use one. You can install a little Drupal or WordPress, pick up some Squarespace, or just dump to Medium, the graveyard for posts about protein shakes and VC funding. But what if you could roll your own CMS? And what if you made it really cool?

      That’s what Cory LaViska did. LaViska is the founder of SurrealCMS and has been making it easy to edit stuff on the web for nine years. Rather than build and sell an acceptable CMS, however, he took all of his best ideas and made a far better CMS. And he made it open source and called it Postleaf.

  • Education

    • Schools that #GoOpen should #GoOpenSource

      School administrators know that traditional proprietary textbooks are expensive. Teachers in budget-strapped schools often face shortages of textbooks. Worse, print content is usually out-of-date as soon as the ink dries on the page. There has to be something better than students hauling bulbous backpacks loaded with dead knowledge stamped on dead trees.

      In the fall of 2015, the U.S. Department of Education launched the #GoOpen campaign, an initiative encouraging public schools to adopt openly-licensed digital educational materials to transform teaching and learning, and perhaps lighten both backpacks and textbook bills. The Department recently published the #GoOpen District Launch Packet, a useful step-by-step implementation guide for schools planning a transition from traditional textbooks to Open Educational Resources (OER).

      We should applaud the Department of Education’s efforts to promote affordable, equitable, and quality educational materials for all schools. Their initiative empowers educators to curate, shape, and share educational content at a local level. No longer is the written word of proprietary publishers like Pearson the fountain of all classroom knowledge. Districts that choose to #GoOpen opt to honor teacher expertise, empower them to build communities of shared practice, and encourage collaboration with colleagues across counties and states. Given unfettered permission to revise, remix, and redistribute curriculum material, teachers are trusted to become active agents in the creation of high-quality learning materials.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Be Bold, Be Curious, and Be Open, Advise Outreachy Participants

      In Tuesday afternoon’s “Kernel Internship Report and Outreachy Panel” session at LinuxCon North America, interns and mentors involved with the Outreachy program spoke enthusiastically of their experiences with the program. The panel was moderated by Karen M. Sandler, Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, and organizer of Outreachy.

      Sandler provided an overview of the Outreachy program, which offers a paid three-month internship for women and other underrepresented groups to work on a free and open source software project. Helen M Koike Fornazier, a former Outreachy intern and now a Software Engineer at Collabora, described her Linux kernel project involving video4linux, with Laurent Pinchart as her mentor. She wrote a driver, which simulates some media hardware using the Media API.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Uganda eager to tap into open source

      Uganda’s Ministry of ICT recently developed a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) policy to regulate the deployment of open source software and use of open standards to accelerate innovation and develop local content.

      At the 7th African Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), organised in conjunction with Uganda’s National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) to encourage industry partnerships and uptake of OSS in East Africa, open software was recognised for its contribution to innovation.

      Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of ICT and National Guidance in Uganda, said, “Free and open software services will help my ministry to innovate better because it forms the platform (for) many of the innovative ideas. Free and open source software in Uganda is certainly something we have been talking about and I am sure we will do so even more in the next few days. Some of the things Uganda has put in place to harness the benefit from free and open source software include a Software Strategy and Policy in accordance with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Trade, Services and Development expert meeting’s determination that free and open source software is an inseparable component of the global technology ecosystem.”

    • Ireland’s govt IT: Recession and job cuts forced us to adapt

      Ireland was hit hard by the global financial crunch of 2007 and 2008. It was the first of the EU member states to slip into recession immediately following the bursting of the economic bubble.

      As the economy contracted, banks faced default and government debt increased, with Ireland eventually taking an €67.5bn loan from the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

      Falling tax income and the need to bail out banks saw the Irish government spending in other areas of public life.

      The government had introduced the Public Sector Recruitment Embargo in 2009, which stopped hiring of all civil servants across government and cut pay and pensions – in return for a promise of no compulsory redundancies.

    • Oh! The Horror! Ireland Stays Enslaved To MS

      For 15 years or so, I was in those same financial straits in schools where I taught and GNU/Linux and FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) was the obvious solution. Obviously, one is better off to have IT for all rather than paying monopolistic prices for IT for a few. In schools, that meant extending the life of IT, elimination of malware and re-re-reboots, freedom from paper, freight for paper, storage for paper, … For governments freedom from lock-in to M$ and “friends” saved huge sums which could have been better spent on hardware or employees. Sigh.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Digital Asset Holdings to open up DAML for developers

      Digital Asset Holdings, the blockchain start-up commanded by Blythe Masters, has announced that it will be open-sourcing its DAML modelling language.

      DAML, which Digital Asset describes as a “smart-contact-like” system for financial applications and supporting tools, is hailed by the company as a solution to the current market of modelling languages being unsuitable for regulated financial applications.

      “Many that are exploring the use of smart contracts — legal agreements written as executable code to automate the processing of rights and obligations on a distributed ledger — are discovering the deficiencies with available smart contract languages,” the firm writes in a statement.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • 20% of scientific papers on genes contain gene name conversion errors caused by Excel

      These scientists didn’t have to write a scientific paper on the problems that Microsoft Excel causes. An easier fix would be “to raise awareness of the problem” via Excel UserVoice or reach out to the Excel team on Twitter for a faster response. It is a bit alarming that 20% of scientific papers have errors due to Excel, but it’s even more confusing that scientists don’t try to figure out a way to solve the problem. This latest scientific paper is not the first of its kind, as a Bing search can easily reveal.

    • Gene name errors are widespread in the scientific literature

      The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. A programmatic scan of leading genomics journals reveals that approximately one-fifth of papers with supplementary Excel gene lists contain erroneous gene name conversions.The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. A programmatic scan of leading genomics journals reveals that approximately one-fifth of papers with supplementary Excel gene lists contain erroneous gene name conversions.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Officials Pull Water Supply as Dakota Access Protest Swells in Number and Spirit

      Growing in number and spirit, the Standing Rock Sioux protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline is swiftly gaining strength ahead of a federal hearing on the controversial project. Support has spread across the country, and thousands have descended on the peaceful “prayer camps” in recent days, prompting state officials on Monday to remove the demonstrators’ drinking water supply.

      North Dakota homeland security director Greg Wilz ordered the removal of state-owned trailers and water tanks from the protest encampment, despite the sweltering heat, because of alleged disorderly conduct, according to the Bismarck Tribune, including reports of laser pointers aimed at surveillance aircraft.

    • After 525 years, it’s time to actually listen to Native Americans

      The center of the fight for our planet’s future shifts. But this week it’s on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation straddling the border between North Dakota and South Dakota. There, tribal members have been, well, standing like a rock in the way of the planned Dakota Access Pipeline, a huge hose for collecting oil out of the Bakken shale and carrying it off to the Midwest and the Gulf where it can be made into gasoline.

      The standoff has been picturesque and dramatic, featuring American Indians on horseback. But mostly it’s been brave and lonely, far from most journalists and up against the same forces that have made life hard for Indigenous Peoples for centuries.

      The U.S. Army, for instance. It’s the Army Corps of Engineers that last month granted Energy Transfer Corporation the permit necessary to start construction near the reservation, despite a petition signed by 150,000 people, and carried—on foot—by young people from the reservation all the way to Washington. That would be the same U.S. Army that—well, google “Wounded Knee.” Or “Custer.” “Washita River.” “Pine Ridge.”

    • EpiPen Uproar Highlights Company’s Family Ties to Congress

      The CEO of a Fortune 500 company, who is also the daughter of a U.S. senator, is under fire from for jacking up the rates of life-saving anti-allergy device known as the EpiPen.

      Heather Bresch, whose father is U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), became president of Mylan Pharmaceutical in 2009 and CEO in 2012. She is no stranger to controversy: She moved Mylan’s headquarters to The Netherlands last year, after a corporate “inversion” merger with Abbott Laboratories.

      The move enabled the company to operate its headquarters in the U.S. but maintain corporate citizenship in Holland, benefiting from a lower tax rate.

      But the EpiPen scandal, sparked by a sudden price hike, could cause more trouble for the company, its CEO, and her lawmaker father. This week, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee, demanded hearings on the EpiPen’s 450 percent price increase in just seven years.

    • WTO, WHO, WIPO Host Discussions On Antimicrobial Resistance In October

      Antimicrobial resistance has been described as a major threat to public health, as infections, even minor, might become killers again, if no new antibiotics are discovered. In October, the World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization and World Trade Organization will join forces for a symposium organised to discuss how to foster innovation, and access.

      A Joint Technical Symposium on “Antimicrobial Resistance: How to Foster Innovation, Access and Appropriate Use of Antibiotics?” will be held on 25 October at WIPO.

      Antibiotic resistance, although occurring naturally as microbes become resistant to treatment, is said to worsened by overuse or misuse of antibiotics. Another factor accounting for the lack of private sector innovation seems to be that once a new antibiotic is found, it must be used sparsely in order to keep microbes from developing resistance, an approach that runs contrary to successful commercial markets.

    • WHO Pandemic Flu Review Group Meets Next Week
  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • UN Calls for 48-Hour Ceasefire So Aid Can Reach War-Ravaged Aleppo

      The United Nations is urging all factions inside Syria to commit to a 48-hour ceasefire so that emergency aid and relief workers can save lives and offer assistance to those caught inside the war-ravaged city of Aleppo.

    • Life and Death In Aleppo

      It is all still going on in Aleppo, where the U.N. has now dubbed desperate relief efforts “the apex of horror.” Omran Daqneesh, 5, the stunned and bloodied boy in the ambulance, survived. This weekend his 10-year-old brother Ali, buried longer in rubble from the same airstrike, has died, one of over 100 children of Aleppo killed just this month in similar attacks. Their deaths, it must be noted, were not as widely publicized, but just as deeply mourned.

      As much as the viral image of Omran came to represent Syria’s devastation for those distant from it, says Syrian activist Kenan Rahmani, Omran was a fleeting symbol, a trending hashtag soon gone from many memories. Ali, he says, is grim, ongoing reality. “Ali is the suffering itself, that which Omran tried to convey to us,” he writes. “Ali is the utter loss of everything. Ali is Syria as Syrians know it.” While Rahmani sorrowfully argues “no story in Syria has a happy ending,” there are at least shards of hope and moments of respite. In this extraordinary footage, newly surfaced from July, doctors perform an emergency C-section trying to save a mother and baby wounded in a barrel bomb attack. See the moment one calls, “That’s it! Cry! Cry!” Then help them save more here or here.

    • Propaganda for Syrian ‘Regime Change’

      Neocons and liberal hawks have poured millions of dollars into propaganda to justify “regime change” in Syria and are now desperate to keep the war going until President Hillary Clinton gets a chance to escalate, as Rick Sterling describes.

    • Militant Leader Talks About Break With Al Qaeda and Possible Syrian Rebel Merger

      Such a merger would also make it easier for U.S. officials to justify targeting other Syrian opposition groups like Ahrar al-Sham, as it would more closely associate them with a designated terrorist organization. Along with the Syrian government and mainstream opposition groups, Jabhat Fath al-Sham has been accused by monitoring organizations of committing systematic human rights abuses over the course of Syria’s civil war, including kidnappings and extrajudicial executions.

    • What’s Next for Turkey’s Exiled Cleric Fethullah Gülen?

      At the time, I was shocked by this description of a massive organization. The Gülenists were, according to Mr. X, recruiting in the police, the judicial system, and other government agencies. Gülen’s followers were creating a playbook for religious adherents to survive in a government dominated by a rigid secular ideology promulgated by the Kemalists.

    • Is Turkey’s Pivot to Russia about Erdogan’s Survival?

      The attempted coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey shook that country’s political system to the core. Although President Tayyip Erdogan of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had broken in 2013 with his former allies, the right wing religious cult around Fethullah Gulen, he appears to have believed that he had tamed it. He survived the members’ leak of recorded conversations pointing to AKP corruption and support of fundamentalist militias in Syria. His party went on winning elections without the Gulenists, who were revealed to have less popular support than they had imagined.

    • A revolution is not a dinner party

      Does the word “revolution” mean the same thing to the Kurdish liberation movement and to American leftists who supported Bernie Sanders? A little history…

    • Israel sold weapons to Argentina at height of Falklands War, reveal declassified Foreign Office files

      Israel sold weapons to Argentina at the height of the Falklands War in 1982, according to newly declassified Foreign Office files.

      British diplomats cited evidence that Israel had supplied the Argentine military junta with arms that were used against the Task Force during the campaign to liberate the islands.

      Israeli military exports before the war included the Skyhawk jets that would later be used to bomb British warships, killing dozens of soldiers, sailors and marines.

      Four British warships were sunk by bombs dropped from Skyhawks, including RFA Sir Galahad, a troop carrier that was set ablaze while anchored in Bluff Cove, killing 48 sailors and soldiers. Simon Weston, the badly burned veteran, was among the survivors. Another four ships were damaged by Skyhawks.

    • Such a long silence on Yemen

      Early this August, the Pentagon announced plans to sell weapons worth $1.15 billion to Saudi Arabia. The news itself was not surprising as the Arab kingdom is one of America’s biggest arms buyers, but the timing of the announcement was rather conspicuous. The Saudis had resumed heavy bombardment of Yemen after a lull as part of the peace process. By deciding to send in more tanks and armaments to Saudi Arabia at a time when the kingdom faces severe international criticism for rights violations in Yemen, including the killing of children, the U.S. was unmistakably sending a message that it’s with Riyadh in this war.

    • Lawmakers, Peace Groups Team Up to Block ‘Disturbing’ US-Saudi Arms Deal

      Anti-war advocates are launching an 11th-hour bid to stop U.S. Congress from approving a $1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia in its fight against Houthi rebels in Yemen, which was announced earlier this month.

      Chief among them are the activist group CODEPINK and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who are calling on Congress to block the sale at least long enough to give lawmakers time to “give these issues the full deliberation that they deserve.”

      Congress has 30 days to object to the deal, announced August 9. Lieu has bipartisan support in the House of Representatives from Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), and Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), all of whom are sending a letter to the Obama administration on Thursday asking to delay the trade, citing the recent bombings of hospitals, schools, and residential areas by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

      “I taught the law of war when I was on active duty,” Lieu told The Intercept on Monday. (Lieu served in the U.S. Air Force and is an Air Force Reserves colonel.) “You can’t kill children, newlyweds, doctors and patients—those are exempt targets under the law of war, and the coalition has been repeatedly striking civilians. So it is very disturbing to me. It is even worse that the U.S. is aiding this coalition.”

    • Deadline This Thursday: Urge Your Representative to Block Saudi Arms Deal
    • Moscow, August 1991: a world-changing failure

      25 years ago, an attempted takeover by communist hardliners led to the Soviet Union’s collapse.

    • British woman stabbed to death at Australian hostel by attacker shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’

      A British woman has been killed after being stabbed at a hostel in Australia by man who allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack.

      A 30-year-old British man is also in a critical condition following the attack at the Shelly’s Backpackers in the town of Home Hill in Queensland at around 11:15pm local time on Tuesday, police said.

      Queensland Police Service said up to 30 people witnessed the “senseless act of violence” at a room in the hostel.

      A 29-year-old French national was arrested at the scene and taken into custody. He was then transferred to hospital for treatment for “non-life threatening” injuries.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Leading Doctor Calls Climate Change Gravest Health Threat of 21st Century

      Climate change is the greatest threat to public health worldwide and doctors must step up to help mitigate it, according to a leading advocate speaking at the annual Canadian Medical Association (CMA) meeting in Vancouver on Monday.

      Dr. James Orbinski, a former top official with the medical charity Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), who is now an an associate professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, urged physicians to “step up and step out” in the fight against climate change as part of their duties to create “health-in-all” policies.

      “We’re not separate from our biosphere, or our planet,” Orbinski told the audience of 600. “We can’t possibly live, survive, and thrive without our biosphere. It affects us and we affect it.”

      “Climate change is very much of our own making…but as doctors, we have a vital responsibility to urge the development of a health-in-all-policies approach,” he said.

      The summit is taking place following extreme weather events and other environmental catastrophes throughout Canada, from wildfires in Fort McMurray to a massive oil spill in Saskatchewan.

    • Gulf Residents Arrested Telling Obama: More Drilling Equals More Floods

      A group of Gulf residents were arrested after occupying the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) office in New Orleans on Tuesday, where they were demanding that President Barack Obama cancel an imminent lease sale for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

      The BOEM auction scheduled for Wednesday would sell off an area the size of Virginia for fossil fuel drilling and exploration. It is set to take place in the Superdome “behind locked doors,” according to a press statement from protest organizers.

      Obama will tour Baton Rouge on Tuesday, in the wake of catastrophic flooding that hit Louisiana last week.

    • Louisiana Climate-Deniers Who Refused Sandy Victims Now Want Federal Flood Relief

      As residents of Louisiana this week struggle to recover from “one of the worst floods in modern history,” there is a chance that federal aid may not be so forthcoming thanks to a trio of Bayou State Republicans, who back in 2013 voted against helping victims of another storm: Sandy.

      House majority whip Rep. Steve Scalise, Rep. John Fleming, and Sen. Bill Cassidy all cast their votes against the $50.5 billion relief package because of their dogmatic adherence to austerity economics. At the time, Scalise said, “Paying for disasters and being fiscally responsible are not mutually exclusive.”

      But, as Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik and others noted this week, that decision may come to haunt them.

      “No one is saying that the flood-stricken communities of Louisiana don’t deserve all the assistance that the U.S. government can provide them,” Hiltzik wrote. “But so did the residents of the Sandy zone. How do the lawmakers’ 2013 votes to deny relief to those Northeast communities square with their demand for emergency flood assistance now?”

      All three signed onto a letter sent to President Barack Obama earlier this month calling for a disaster declaration and requesting “that vital federal resources be made available in an expedited manner.”

    • State pulls relief resources from swelling Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp

      North Dakota’s homeland security director ordered the removal of state-owned trailers and water tanks from the Dakota Access Pipeline protest campsite Monday, citing mounting reports of unlawful activity — the latest involving lasers — and the risk of damage.

      “Based on the scenario down there, we don’t believe that equipment is secure,” Homeland Security Division Director Greg Wilz said.

    • Indonesian parliament to investigate fire-linked firms in Riau

      The Indonesian parliament will form a task force to look into the cancelling of investigations against 15 companies alleged to be complicit in fires in Riau, the country’s top palm oil producing province.

      Legislators made the announcement on Friday as burning in Sumatra and Kalimantan continued to spread, prompting emergency responses from authorities there. The fires are an annual scourge caused by illegal slash-and-burn land clearing practices by companies and farmers, usually to make way for oil palm and timber plantations.

      The fires this week were most concentrated in West Kalimantan province, on Indonesia’s part of Borneo island, with 158 hotspots there on Friday, according to Indonesia’s disaster management agency chief Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. That was up from 106 a day earlier. Following a request from the governor, the agency will begin cloud seeding operations next week and send in two water-bombing helicopters in the meantime.

    • Climate change will mean the end of national parks as we know them

      After a century of shooing away hunters, tending to trails and helping visitors enjoy the wonder of the natural world, the guardians of America’s most treasured places have been handed an almost unimaginable new job – slowing the all-out assault climate change is waging against national parks across the nation.

      As the National Parks Service (NPS) has charted the loss of glaciers, sea level rise and increase in wildfires spurred by rising temperatures in recent years, the scale of the threat to US heritage across the 412 national parks and monuments has become starkly apparent.

      As the National Parks Service turns 100 this week, their efforts to chart and stem the threat to the country’s history faces a daunting task. America’s grand symbols and painstakingly preserved archaeological sites are at risk of being winnowed away by the crashing waves, wildfires and erosion triggered by warming temperatures.

      The Statue of Liberty is at “high exposure” risk from increasingly punishing storms. A national monument dedicated to abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who will be enshrined on a new $20 note, could be eaten away by rising tides in Maryland. The land once walked by Pocahontas and Captain John Smith in Jamestown, the first English settlement in the US, is surrounded by waters rising at twice the global average and may be beyond rescue.

    • Blue lakes are appearing in Antarctica – and that’s a bad thing

      In a new study, scientists who study the largest ice mass on Earth – East Antarctica – have found that it is showing a surprising feature reminiscent of the fastest melting one: Greenland.

      More specifically, the satellite-based study found that atop the coastal Langhovde Glacier in East Antarctica’s Dronning Maud Land, large numbers of “supraglacial” or meltwater lakes have been forming – nearly 8,000 of them during summer months between the year 2000 and 2013. Moreover, in some cases, just as in Greenland, these lakes appear to have then been draining down into the floating parts of the glacier, potentially weakening it and making it more likely to fracture and break apart.

      This is the first time that such a drainage phenomenon has been observed in East Antarctica, the researchers say – though it was previously spotted on the warmer Antarctic Peninsula and was likely part of what drove spectacular events there like the shattering of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002.

      When it comes to East Antarctica, however, “that’s the part of the continent where people have for quite a long time assumed that it’s relatively stable, there’s not a huge amount of change, it’s very, very cold, and so, it’s only very recently that the first supraglacial lakes, on top of the ice, were identified,” said Stewart Jamieson, a glaciologist at Durham University in the UK and one of the study’s authors.

    • Nuclear waste accident 2 years ago may cost more than $2 billion to clean up

      The Los Angeles Times is estimating that an explosion that occurred at a New Mexico nuclear waste dumping facility in 2014 could cost upwards of $2 billion to clean up.

      Construction began on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico’s Carlsbad desert in the 1980s (PDF). The site was built to handle transuranic waste from the US’ nuclear weapons program. The WIPP had been eyed to receive nuclear waste from commercial, power-generating plants as well.

      According to the LA Times, the 2014 explosion at the WIPP was downplayed by the federal government, with the Department of Energy (DoE) putting out statements indicating that cleanup was progressing quickly. Indeed, a 2015 Recovery Plan insisted that “limited waste disposal operations” would resume in the first quarter of 2016. Instead, two years have passed since the incident without any indication that smaller nuclear waste cleanup programs around the US will be able to deliver their waste to the New Mexico facility any time soon.

      Ars contacted the DoE for comment and has not received a response. We will update this article if we hear back.

    • Nuclear accident in New Mexico ranks among the costliest in U.S. history

      When a drum containing radioactive waste blew up in an underground nuclear dump in New Mexico two years ago, the Energy Department rushed to quell concerns in the Carlsbad desert community and quickly reported progress on resuming operations.

      The early federal statements gave no hint that the blast had caused massive long-term damage to the dump, a facility crucial to the nuclear weapons cleanup program that spans the nation, or that it would jeopardize the Energy Department’s credibility in dealing with the tricky problem of radioactive waste.

      But the explosion ranks among the costliest nuclear accidents in U.S. history, according to a Times analysis. The long-term cost of the mishap could top $2 billion, an amount roughly in the range of the cleanup after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

      The Feb. 14, 2014, accident is also complicating cleanup programs at about a dozen current and former nuclear weapons sites across the U.S. Thousands of tons of radioactive waste that were headed for the dump are backed up in Idaho, Washington, New Mexico and elsewhere, state officials said in interviews.

    • Germany: Renewable gains, won by people’s power, face corporate threat

      In 2000, renewable energy made up just 6.3% of Germany’s electricity. By last year, it had risen to 31%.

      Cloudy Germany became a leading innovator in solar energy. It did so not by subsidising large power utility companies, but by mobilising hundreds of thousands into energy cooperatives. The two legs of this democratic energy transition are Germany’s commitment to phase out nuclear power and its feed-in tariffs, which allowed small renewable energy producers to sell their electricity.

      Both policies were fruits of the environmental movement. Now, the feed-in tariffs are under attack by the right-wing Angela Merkel government, which wants to hand over renewable energy to large corporations.

      The anti-nuclear leg of the renewable energy transition came out of protest. It was born out of a struggle against a nuclear power plant begun in the early 1970s.

      By the time the plant’s construction was stopped in 1977, the anti-nuclear movement had organised a 10-month occupation by 20,000-30,000 people at the construction site. The victory sparked similar protests across the country.

  • Finance

    • Postal Workers To Rally Against TPP Tuesday

      The 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union (APWU) is holding its biennial convention in Orlando this week. As part of that convention, there will be a rally to publicize opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The rally will take place Tuesday, August 23 at 3:30 pm beginning in the Hemisphere Ballroom of Orlando’s Dolphin Hotel.

    • From the destruction of Greece to democracy in Europe

      In protesting the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I, John Maynard Keynes wrote: “The policy . . . of depriving the lives of millions of human beings, of depriving a whole nation of happiness should be abhorrent and detestable — abhorrent and detestable, even if it were possible, even if it enriched ourselves, even if it did not sow the decay of the whole civilized life of Europe.”

      Last year’s third bailout of Greece, imposed by Europe and the International Monetrary Fund, does to Greece what Versailles did to Germany: It strips assets to satisfy debts. Germany lost its merchant marine, its rolling stock, its colonies, and its coal; Greece has lost its seaports, its airports — the profitable ones — and is set to sell off its beaches, the public asset that is a uniquely Greek glory. Private businesses are being forced into bankruptcy to make way for European chains; private citizens are being forced into foreclosure on their homes. It’s a land grab.

    • Is the TPP falling apart? Let’s take a look at where the 12 nations are at

      As the ratification fight intensifies, we’re watching closely as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) winds its way through national legislatures across the globe. So grab your popcorn, and let’s take a look at where the TPP stands in each country yet to ratify.

      United States

      In addition to opposition from both major U.S. presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the TPP recently faced two significant setbacks as Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi came out against the deal and House Speaker Paul Ryan deemed it pointless to even bring it up during the Lame Duck session of Congress later this year.

      However, President Obama is convinced he’s “got the better argument,” for this “political football” and is continuing to push hard for TPP ratification, as claims abound that a failure to do so could have costly consequences for the U.S. as a power in the Asian-Pacific region and in the eyes of its partners. He recently put Congress on notice that the TPP is coming, so it looks like we’ve a major fight ahead of us this fall.

    • Race and Class Gap Widening: Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers

      Summary: Hurricane Katrina hit eleven years ago. Population of the City of New Orleans is down by over 95,000 people from 484,674 in 2000 to 389,617 in 2015. Almost all this loss of people is in the African American community. Child poverty is up, double the national average. The gap between rich and poor in New Orleans is massive, the largest in the country. The economic gap between well off whites and low income African Americans is widening. Despite receiving $76 billion in assistance after Katrina, it is clear that poor and working people in New Orleans, especially African Americans, got very little of that help. Here are the numbers.

    • The average American family had the same amount of wealth in 2013 as it did in 1989

      The analysis shows the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans now hold three-quarters of the nation’s wealth, up from two-thirds in 1989, and a three percentage-point increase from the start of the recession. Most Americans found themselves with less wealth in 2013 than Americans of a similar age had in 1989; the only age group doing better than its counterparts from a quarter-century ago was senior citizens.

      The report was commissioned at the request of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who made inequality a central theme of his run for the Democratic presidential nomination this year. In a statement, he said the analysis “makes clear that since the 1980s there has been an enormous transfer of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the wealthiest people in this country.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Stoking Russia Panic for Partisan Gain Will Have a Long-Term Price for Peace

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein doesn’t have a show at all, let alone on RT. She once attended a function hosted by RT, which, by our current standards of liberal discourse, makes her a Kremlin agent, but the fact that such a demonstrably false statement could be made on cable news to thousands of people without anyone bothering to correct it shows how easy Russia panic is to stoke.

      Earlier in the segment, Nance made the claim that “someone” in Trump’s campaign “may” be an “agent of Russia,” citing a recent report in the Financial Times (8/19/16) alleging that Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s former translator “may” have “links” to Russian intelligence.

      The irony, of course, is that Nance himself has far more recent and better documented ties to US intelligence, but MSNBC feels no need to convince viewers he is not a CIA plant spreading disinformation.

      Nance had a hot tip, offered in smarmy “insider” tones: “Here’s a bit of strategic intelligence for you. Russia is doing a military massing of forces in Crimea in what appears to be an ‘October Surprise.’” That’s correct, an MSNBC contributor is openly speculating Russia will invade Ukraine for the express purposes of influencing the US elections.

      [...]

      Asking questions about Trump’s links to overseas money is entirely fair and above board (as are questions about Clinton’s ties to foreign funders). But to give the Trump charges more moral urgency, liberal pundits are dusting off old Cold War panic and playing up the reach, scope and sinister motives of Russia.

      The effects of this, if and when Clinton takes the White House, will be hard to downplay. How can the US negotiate the end of the Syrian conflict or the Ukrainian crisis if the public, even MSNBC-watching liberals, views Russia as irredeemably aggressive and incapable of ever being a US “friend”? In the interest of short-term partisan gain, pundits on America’s nominally liberal cable network are damaging the prospects of normalizing relations with Russia for years to come.

    • Let them debate

      Before 1988 the non-partisan League of Women Voters was the sponsor of presidential debates. Before that year’s debates between Republican George H.W. Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis, however, the League pulled out.

      The candidates, the League claimed, had entered into deal deciding how the debates would unfold, including which candidates would be allowed and who would get to ask the questions. They wanted no part of that.

      Stepping into the void to decide the rules was the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has run all the presidential debates since. They are comprised of Democrats and Republicans. Essentially, the candidates are still deciding the rules.

      And to the surprise of no one, Democrats and Republicans are doing their best to keep other parties out, forcing Americans to choose between them. This year both the Republican and Democratic candidates are hugely unpopular, setting new records for unfavorable ratings. To many Americans, it is truly a choice of the lesser evil.

    • Emails threaten to shadow Clinton through Election Day

      The fallout over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server appears certain to dog her until Election Day, after a federal judge ordered the State Department to accelerate its production of nearly 15,000 previously-unreleased emails uncovered by the FBI.

      The State Department is under intense pressure from Republicans to release the full set before Nov. 8.

      But sorting through all 14,900 documents is a gargantuan task. The first batch likely won’t be released until mid-October — just weeks before Americans head to the polls.

      It’s also not clear what the emails contain. They weren’t in the original trove of 30,000 documents that Clinton voluntarily turned over to the State Department in 2014. And their release could put her on the defense in the critical final stretch of the election.

      The revelation of the thousands of additional documents dovetailed with Monday’s release of another set of emails that exposed uncomfortably close ties between Clinton’s staff and the Clinton Foundation during her tenure as secretary of State.

      It was only the latest development in a long controversy Clinton has struggled to move beyond.

    • Clinton e-mail service providers served subpoenas by House, Senate

      Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, has sent subpoenas to three companies that provided services related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server. The subpoena seeks information on how secure the server was and whether it was protected within the guidelines set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for systems used by government employees. Smith’s subpoenas were supported by Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

      The subpoenas were sent to executives of the data security firm Datto, SECNAP Network Security, and the ISP and managed services provider Platte River Networks. Datto’s SIRIS disaster recovery service was used to back up the e-mail server hosting ClintonEmail.com, and SECNAP provided its Cloudjacket managed intrusion detection and prevention service to the Clinton server. Platte River Networks apparently managed the server for at least part of the period that Clinton and her staff used e-mail accounts on it while at the State Department. All three companies had previously declined to provide information to Smith’s committee voluntarily.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Latest Email Scapegoat: Colin Powell

      Hillary Clinton has struggled for months to find a satisfactory explanation for why she chose to use a private email server and a personal email address while she was secretary of state, a choice that FBI Director James Comey described as resulting in “extremely careless” handling of classified information. Publicly, none of her excuses have met with much success.

    • Democrats are kidding themselves: The House is out of reach, period [Ed: mentioned before, reposted]

      Hillary Clinton has put the Electoral College into checkmate. She’s closer to Donald Trump in many red states like Kansas and Texas than he is to her in key swing states.

      As her lead swells, naturally, fired-up Democrats and a restless media have turned their attention to a more exciting story: Can Democrats retake the House of Representatives? But the outcome there is not really in doubt, either.

      It’s not going to happen. Democratic House candidates will likely get many more votes than Republican ones — as they did in 2012, when Democrats received 1.4 million more votes nationwide, but Republicans maintained a 234-201 advantage. Indeed, Trump is more likely to rebound in swing states than Democrats are to capture the 30 congressional seats they need to pry the speaker’s gavel from Paul Ryan.
      Even if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency in a landslide, there are simply not enough competitive districts remaining to give the Democrats any chance at winning the House.

    • Latest Hillary Email Scandal Revelation

      Hillary lied about not having classified State Department material on her personal home server. She lied about turning over to the State Department all emails relating to agency business.

      On Monday, the FBI announced discovery of 15,000 previously undisclosed emails. Some are personal. Others show foreign officials sought favors in return for large Clinton Foundation donations.

      Judicial Watch (JW) president Tom Fitton asked “(w)hen will State release them? It looks like the State Department is trying to slow-roll the release of the records. They’ve had them for at least a month, and we still don’t know when we’re going to get them.”

    • Donald Trump’s Odd Pitch for the Black Vote: Wooing With Insults

      Donald Trump has a problem. He is polling as low as 1 percent among African-American voters nationwide, and in the key swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, he has earned an astonishing 0 percent of the black vote.

      So what’s Trump to do? Make a bold play for the black vote? Yes.

      But here’s the problem—the same problem that has earned him his meager support from black voters: The words of appeal he speaks drip with his deep contempt for black people.

      The heart of his new pitch to the African-American community is this: “You live in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

      When I heard him speak these words, I was astonished at how quickly an appeal for votes could devolve into an insult. Frankly, I felt more than insulted—I felt oddly traumatized, like I had heard these words before. Then it hit me: the memory of the scene from “The Color Purple,” where Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) finally decides she’s had enough abuse, but Albert (Danny Glover) won’t let her go without one last “appeal.”

    • Photo Op
    • Trump’s New Billionaire Backer Also Funds Huge Stockpile of Human Urine

      The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have all noticed that Robert Mercer, co-CEO of the giant hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, has emerged as a key backer of Donald Trump.

      Mercer, who first spent over $10 million trying to make Ted Cruz president, just gave $2 million to a Super PAC supporting Trump. Mercer is also a top investor in the Breitbart News Network. According to the Post, Mercer’s daughter Rebekah nudged Trump to bring in Stephen Bannon, Breitbart’s executive chairman, to run his campaign.

      But here’s what the mainstream media won’t tell you: Robert Mercer and his daughter have also funded a gigantic stockpile of human urine in Oregon.

    • A Clinton Family Value: ‘Humanitarian’ War

      The current debate over the future of U.S. foreign policy is largely over whether the U.S. should continue its self-anointed role as the policeman of the world, or whether it might be wise for the next administration to put, in the words of Donald J. Trump, “America First.”

      On the other hand, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly called for a more active U.S. foreign policy. The 2016 election is shaping up to be, among other things, a battle between the inarticulate isolationism of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s liberal interventionism. Hers is an approach which came into vogue during the administration of her husband.

    • Could a New York Times Exposé Help Level the Playing Field for Advocates in the Press?

      In its recent series “Think Tanks Inc.,” the New York Times exposed the deep financial ties between corporations and think tanks, outlining how corporate donors reaped influence and rewards from such “mutually beneficial” relationships. As someone who has worked in Washington, D.C. for 15 years in communications roles, and in corporate communications and PR prior to that, this is not surprising to me. Every piece of research or analysis that comes from an organization — whether it’s a company, a non-profit, or even a government entity — puts forth an agenda.

    • No Need to Build The Donald’s Wall, It’s Built

      At the federal courthouse, Ignacio Sarabia asks the magistrate judge, Jacqueline Rateau, if he can explain why he crossed the international boundary between the two countries without authorization. He has already pleaded guilty to the federal misdemeanor commonly known as “illegal entry” and is about to receive a prison sentence. On either side of him are eight men in the same predicament, all still sunburned, all in the same ripped, soiled clothes they were wearing when arrested in the Arizona desert by agents of the U.S. Border Patrol.

      Once again, the zero tolerance border enforcement program known as Operation Streamline has unfolded just as it always does here in Tucson, Arizona. Close to 60 people have already approached the judge in groups of seven or eight, their heads bowed submissively, their bodies weighed down by shackles and chains around wrists, waists, and ankles. The judge has handed out the requisite prison sentences in quick succession — 180 days, 60 days, 90 days, 30 days.

    • Belted by Trump

      I wondered about confronting Mr. Trump with my concerns and imagined his “customer service” skills. First, he would blame and then insult me for putting on weight over the past few years. He might even insult me with a short person joke or two just for good measure despite being totally unrelated to the belt problem. Then I would be berated for being so stupid as to buy a product with his name on it and expecting any type of quality or satisfaction (I do deserve that one). The whole experience would be a “gotcha” moment, where like other hucksters, once the money changes hands, you are stuck with the product, like it or not. Those of us with marketplace expectations of fair play, quality merchandise and honest representation of the product are easy pickings for con artists like him.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Sony Apparently Issuing Takedowns To Facebook For News Articles About PS4 Slim Leak

      Recently, Sony had let it be known that it would soon be announcing some new offerings for its PlayStation 4 console. While most of the media coverage had focused on what is suspected to be a new, more powerful version of the console, a leak this week instead revealed a different console offering, consisting of a newly slimmed down form factor PlayStation 4 with a slightly redesigned controller. As an owner of a PS4, I can join others’ interest in this design, with the original console being somewhat bulky. I can also join others in having only a mild bit of surprise as a reaction, given that Microsoft had already announced a slimmed down version of its Xbox product, and given that Sony has done this with previous versions of the console as well.

      But I was slightly surprised to learn that Sony has apparently been setting its lawyers on spooking gaming media sites and taking down news articles from social media accounts about the leak. Reports of the latter have just started coming in.

    • Think Tank That First Proposed SOPA Now Claims ‘Proof’ That SOPA Would Have Been Great

      Oh boy. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a DC-based think tank that, from it’s name, you might think would promote things that are important for innovation. And yet, this misleadingly named think tank has been on the wrong side of almost every major tech issue over the last few years — perhaps because a large segment of its funding comes from anti-technology industries, like the entertainment industry and the large telco/broadband providers. This is the same organization that argued that net neutrality was bad, that kicking people off the internet for piracy was a good idea, that the US gov’t should encourage countries to censor the internet and, most recently, that broadband companies charging more to not track your every move is “pro-consumer.”

      But perhaps the pinnacle of bullshit policy proposals from ITIF was that it was the organization (again, funded by the entertainment industry) that first proposed the basic framework of site blocking as a response to copyright infringement, back in 2009. The basis of that proposal was then turned into SOPA, leading ITIF to take a victory lap for creating what it believed was such a good law.

      Of course, you know how that all went down. After actual technologists pointed out how problematic the ITIF approach to site blocking would be, and the public spoke up, the bill went nowhere. And ITIF is basically the sorest of sore losers. Last fall, ITIF published a bogus snarky “report” insisting that it’s original SOPA plan for DNS blocking “did not break the internet.” This, of course, conveniently misstates what was meant by “breaking the internet” when tech experts like Paul Vixie explained the problems with SOPA. It wasn’t that the overall internet would just stop working or that fewer people would use it, but rather than basic ways in which the internet is expected to function (I reach out to this DNS entry, I get back the proper response) would fail, and that would open up opportunities for serious mischief, from man in the middle attacks to breaking how certain security protocols work.

    • Peter Thiel’s Lawyer Now Sending Questionable Defamation Threat Letters To Media On Behalf Of Melania Trump

      Charles Harder is the California lawyer who likely will forever be known as “Peter Thiel’s lawyer” after Thiel helped set up his own law firm with the “focal point” of hunting for any lawsuit that might destroy Gawker. It appears that Thiel is happy to share his pet lawyer with his new best buddy, Donald Trump, or Trump’s wife, Melania. On Monday the UK’s Daily Mail (not exactly known for its accuracy in reporting) received a threat letter from Harder, representing Melania Trump, claiming that its recent article on Melania was defamatory.

      I’m not exactly sure where Mr. Harder is looking to sue but, if it’s in the US, it’s difficult to see how the article reaches the level of defamation by any stretch of the imagination. Melania Trump is, obviously, a public figure and, under US law, for a news report to be defamatory it needs to not only be incorrect and harmful but also published “with actual malice” — meaning that the Daily Mail would have known that the published statements of fact were false, or they had a reckless disregard for the truth. Reading through the original Daily Mail article, I don’t see how that could possibly be the case. The supposed “bombshell” claims in the piece are statements from a couple of different sources alleging that Melania was an escort when she first came to NY (and that may be how she met Donald in the first place). But the Mail is actually (somewhat surprisingly, given its reputation), quite careful with those statements, pointing out that they came from a book, but also noting that there’s little evidence to back them up. It also points to a Slovenian magazine article claiming that the modelling agency Melania worked for was actually an escort service, but the Mail only notes that the magazine said this, and then gets a quote from the guy who ran the modelling agency saying (vehemently) that the story wasn’t true.

    • Ece Temelkuran: Turkey’s drive to make theatre “suitable”

      In 2013, the Ministry of Culture began to evaluate its subsidies to private theatres under the criterion of being “suitable with regard to public decency”. This enforcement arose as part of the Turkey Art Association (TÜSAK), which was put forward in a bill advocating the audition and support of art associations affiliated with the state. In this way, the legal foundation for state-imposed censorship was laid.

      For the evaluation of private theatre companies’ grant requests to the Ministry of Culture, submission of the play’s script was made obligatory. Shakespeare’s Macbeth was removed from the State Theatre repertoire in 2014.

    • Cloudflare Faces Lawsuit For Assisting Pirate Sites

      In recent months CloudFlare has been called out repeatedly for offering its services to known pirate sites, including The Pirate Bay. These allegations have now resulted in the first lawsuit after adult entertainment publisher ALS Scan filed a complaint against CloudFlare at a California federal court.

    • How censored is China’s first Tibetan-language search engine? It omits the Dalai Lama’s website

      China launched its first Tibetan-language search engine this week, called Yongzin. It aims to be a “unified portal for all major Tibetan-language websites in China,” according to the state news agency Xinhua.

      Yongzin means “master” or “teacher” in Tibetan. It is the world’s first search engine solely in the Tibetan language, and also the one and only choice for China’s seven million Tibetan people, unless they use a VPN to jump China’s Great Firewall. Chinese search engines like Baidu and Sogou don’t search in Tibetan, while Google, which does, has been blocked in China for years.

      Yongzin features sections for news, images, videos, and music just like Google, and even has a logo with similar colors and designs to Google’s, which was quickly noticed.

    • Some questions for those who are cheering Gawker’s demise

      Gawker.com, the pioneering and controversial media blog, officially died yesterday. It was killed by billionaire Peter Thiel in his successful quest to bankrupt Gawker Media Group through a series of lawsuits he funded – most notably wrestler Hulk Hogan, who sued over the publication of a portion of his sex tape four years ago.

      Out of all the controversial topics that we’ve tweeted about at Freedom of the Press Foundation – and there have been a lot – by far the most negative response we’ve received is from Gawker critics who are happy to see the website die.

      The Hogan case certainly brings up a lot of tangled questions about the tension between privacy and free speech and it’s understandable that many people have found Gawker’s decision to publish a clip of Hulk Hogan’s sex tape deplorable. (It’s also true that Gawker did a lot of exemplary investigative journalism). But condemning a specific story and cheering the demise of a media organization at the hands of the legal system are two very different things.

    • Bogus Defamation Lawsuit With Fake Defendant Results In Negative Reviews Of Dentist Being Taken Down

      Earlier this year, complaint site Pissed Consumer noticed a disturbing new trend in the dark art of reputation management: unnamed rep management firms were using a couple of lawyers to run bogus defamation lawsuits through a local court to obtain court orders demanding the removal of “defamatory” reviews.

      What was unusual wasn’t the tactic itself. Plenty of bogus defamation lawsuits have been filed over negative reviews. It’s that these lawsuits were resolved so quickly. Within a few weeks of the initial filing, the lawsuit would be over. Each lawsuit improbably skipped the discovery process necessary to uncover anonymous reviewers and proceeded straight to judgment with a (bogus) confessional statement from each “reviewer” handed in by the “defamed” entity’s lawyer for the judge’s approval. Once these were rubber stamped by inattentive judges, the lawyers served Google with court orders to delist the URLs.

      To date, no one has uncovered the reputation management firm behind the bogus lawsuits. In each case, the companies purporting to be represented by these lawyers were shells — some registered as businesses on the same day their lawsuits were filed.

      It’s one thing to do this sort of thing from behind the veil of quasi-anonymity afforded by the use of shell companies. It’s quite another to file a bogus lawsuit with an apparently forged signature (of the supposed defamer) under your own name. But that’s exactly what appears to have happened, as detailed in this post by Public Citizen’s Paul Alan Levy.

    • Why are GitHub and WordPress.com censoring content?

      The Great Equalizer. The Great Democratizer. Many such phrases have been used to describe the internet over the years—mostly focusing on the rapid dissemination of uncensored information.

      Even social media sites (such as Twitter) have played critical roles in real-world revolutions. The ability for the average person to spread ideas, news and information—without corporate or government censorship—has brought about massive power and freedom to the people of the world.

      But what happens when the key websites and services—the ones we rely upon to spread those messages—censor that content? That’s a bad thing, right? Well, this seems to be happening a lot recently, especially in relation to leaked content (regardless of the type of content or the source from which it originated).

      GitHub, a service primarily used for open source and free culture projects, recently completely censored a repository that contained information proving the NSA developed malware targeting numerous systems.

      Maybe there’s a legitimate reason for this. But if there is, GitHub is staying quiet. I reached out to GitHub’s press department for comment one week ago, and as of today, I have not received any response of any kind.

      And WordPress.com, the company that runs the popular blogging platform, censored content posted by “Guccifer 2” that was potentially damaging to the reputation of the Democratic party.

    • BANNED TOGETHER: A CENSORSHIP CABARET Set for Banned Books Week in NYC

      The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (“DLDF”) will present “Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret” as a part of Banned Books Week (September 25-October 1st), the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The performance will take place on September 29th and 30th at 5PM at the Drama Book Shop (250 W 40th St).

      “Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret” is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the Theater. The performances will feature selections from “Cabaret”, “Chicago”, “Almost, Maine”, “Rent” and “Angels in America,” among other notable works, with contextual commentary by DLDF president John Weidman.

    • Muthambi defends SABC censorship
    • SABC to face music at parliament
    • South African minister faces grilling over SABC crisis
    • Muthambi to explain SABC editorial policy
    • Activists call for Facebook ‘censorship’ change after Korryn Gaines death
    • Facebook censorship of Korryn Gaines police killing puts Zuckerberg in crosshairs
    • Facebook deactivation during fatal police standoff alarms civil rights, consumer activists
    • Why Did You Shut Down Korryn Gaines’ Account? Facebook C.E.O Asked
    • How Facebook censors your posts
    • Facebook and politics’ relationship status: It’s complicated
    • Trolls and spam not welcome in Twitter’s new features
    • Twitter to give everyone ‘quality filter’, letting them mute tweets judged to be bad
    • How to Remove Twitter’s New ‘Quality Filter’ Censorship Setting
    • Twitter has a really good anti-harassment tool
    • Twitter (TWTR) Rolls Out New Feature to Filter Tweets
    • Twitter has a really good anti-harassment tool – and it’s finally available to everyone
    • Twitter ‘quality filter’ works because it’s about news, not social
    • Twitter’s ‘Quality Filter’ Gets Rid Of Trolls, But There’s A Major Catch
    • Twitter Unveils Features to Filter Tweets, Notifications
    • Twitter Updates Quality Filter Tool for All
    • Quality Filter Comes To Twitterati’s Rescue
    • Twitter adds more user control with latest features
    • Now Ignore Trolls on Twitter [Ed: Just the start: expect on by default, expansion of scope of “trolls”, later no option to toggle it off, Like UK ISPs…]
    • Twitter’s New “Quality Filter” Addresses Abuse on the Platform, Also Try New Notification Settings [Ed: Twitter has already done so-called 'quality filtering' for a while but called it shadow-banning. Suppression of particular ideas.]
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Pokémon Go loses its luster, sheds more than 10 million users [Ed: Nintendo's experiment with crowd-sourced CCTV (with microphone) and hotspot collector is rapidly failing]

      It had almost 45 million daily users in July, but this figure appears to have sunk by more than 12 million since the start of August, to just over 30 million said to be playing Pokémon Go. Further decline is expected, as downloads, engagement, and the time users spend on the app have all also visibly flopped, according to data provided by Sensor Tower, SurveyMonkey, and Apptopia.

      Bloomberg, which saw the raw data, reported that other major apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat “can breathe a sigh of relief” that Pokémon Go is finally wobbling, as the game’s popularity had apparently been costing them considerable amounts of users.

      “Given the rapid rise in usage of the Pokémon Go app since the launch in July, investors have been concerned that this new user experience has been detracting from time spent on other mobile focused apps,” said Axiom Capital Management analyst Victor Anthony.

    • Encryption under fire in Europe as France and Germany call for decrypt law

      A fresh chapter of the crypto wars looks to be opening up in Europe, after the French and German interior ministers took to a podium yesterday to lobby for a law change that would enable courts to demand that Internet companies decrypt data to help further criminal investigations.

      So, in other words, to effectively push for end-to-end encryption to be outlawed. Yes we’ve been here before — many times.

      Giving a joint press conference in Paris yesterday with German’s Thomas de Maizière, France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve called for the European Commission to change the law to afford security agencies the ability to access encrypted data.

      They want their proposals discussed by the European Commission at a meeting next month.

      The context here is that France and Germany have suffered a spate of terrorist attacks over the past year, including a co-ordinated attack in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130; a July 2016 attack in Nice where a truck driver ploughed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day; and a stabbing in a church in Northern France that killed an elderly priest.

    • Secret Cameras Record Baltimore’s Every Move From Above

      The sky over the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on June 23 was the color of a dull nickel, and a broad deck of lowering clouds threatened rain. A couple dozen people with signs—“Justice 4 Freddie Gray” and “The whole damn system is guilty as hell”—lingered by the corner of the courthouse, watching the network TV crews rehearse their standups. Sheriff’s officers in bulletproof vests clustered around the building’s doors, gripping clubs with both hands.

      Inside, a judge was delivering the verdict in the case of Caesar Goodson, the only Baltimore police officer facing a murder charge for the death of Freddie Gray. In April 2015, Gray’s neck was broken in the back of a police van, and prosecutors had argued that Goodson purposefully drove the vehicle recklessly, careening through the city, to toss Gray around.

    • At 25, the World Wide Web Is Still a Long Way From Reality [Ed: 24/7 tracking, camera/s, microphone]

      In recent years, the web has lost some of its mojo. It hasn’t quite lived up the lofty ideals laid down by Berners-Lee and so many of his disciples. Facebook makes 84 percent of its money from its mobile app—not the web. Tinder, Snapchat, and many other newer apps aren’t even available on the web.

    • AshleyMadison security protocols violated privacy laws, watchdog says

      AshleyMadison used inadequate privacy and security technology while marketing itself as a discreet and secure way for consenting adults to have affairs, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada says.

      In a report Tuesday, the privacy watchdog says the Toronto-based company violated numerous privacy laws in Canada and abroad in the era before a massive data breach exposed confidential information from their clients to hackers.

      The hack stole correspondence, identifying details and even credit card information from millions of the site’s users. At the time of the breach in July 2015, AshleyMadison claimed to have 36 million users and took in more than $100 million in annual revenue.

    • Poor privacy at Ashley Madison site at time of hack

      The dating website Ashley Madison was in violation of Australian and Canadian privacy laws at the time when it suffered a security breach last year.

      Australian and Canadian authorities carried out a joint investigation into the breach and made this finding in a report which has been released today.

      Avid Life Media, the owner of the website, has been asked to enhance privacy safeguards, amend information retention practices, improve information accuracy and increase transparency.

      ALM has signed an enforceable undertaking with the Australian Information Commissioner to implement these measures.

    • Facebook can guess your political preferences — here’s how to see how it’s categorized you

      This is yet another case of Facebook knowing way more about you than you think.

      The social network is categorizing its users as liberal, conservative, or moderate. This information is valuable for campaign managers and advertisers, especially in the midst of election season.

      For some, Facebook is able to come to conclusions about your political leanings easily, if you mention a political party on your page. For those that are less open about politics on social media, Facebook makes assumptions based on pages you like.

      As The New York Times explained, if you like Ben and Jerry’s Facebook page and most of the other people that like that page identify as liberal, Facebook might assume you, too, are liberal.

      I’m not too politically active on Facebook, and I was curious to see how it categorized me. To my surprise, I am “very liberal,” when I was expecting “moderate” or “conservative.”

    • Apple Acquires Personal Health Data Startup Gliimpse

      Apple’s ambitions in the health sector continue to expand, with its digital health team making its first known acquisition—personal health data startup Gliimpse, Fast Company has learned.

      Silicon Valley-based Gliimpse has built a personal health data platform that enables any American to collect, personalize, and share a picture of their health data. The company was started in 2013 by Anil Sethi and Karthik Hariharan. Sethi is a serial entrepreneur who has spent the past decade working with health startups, after taking his company Sequoia Software public in 2000. He got his start as a systems engineer at Apple in the late 1980s.

      The acquisition happened earlier this year, but Apple has been characteristically quiet about it. The company has now confirmed the purchase, saying: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

    • First on CNN: FBI investigating Russian hack of New York Times reporters, others

      Hackers thought to be working for Russian intelligence have carried out a series of cyber breaches targeting reporters at The New York Times and other US news organizations, according to US officials briefed on the matter.

      The intrusions, detected in recent months, are under investigation by the FBI and other US security agencies. Investigators so far believe that Russian intelligence is likely behind the attacks and that Russian hackers are targeting news organizations as part of a broader series of hacks that also have focused on Democratic Party organizations, the officials said.

      The Times said email services for employees are outsourced to Google. CNN requested comment from Google but didn’t receive comment. The FBI declined to comment.

      Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said the company had seen “no evidence” that any breaches had occurred.

    • Russia’s Hackathon Continues, Targeting The New York Times And Other News Agencies
    • The Real Russian Mole Inside NSA [Ed: The latest Rubbophobia from ‘ex’ NSA staff John “Watch My Dick” Schindler]
    • Former NSA analyst: Russia ‘can listen in on anything it wants’
    • Hints suggest an insider helped the NSA “Equation Group” hacking tools leak
    • A Second Snowden at the NSA? Here’s What We Know
    • Juniper Confirms Shadow Brokers Firewall Implants
    • Juniper confirms leaked NSA exploits affect its firewalls
    • NSA leak: Juniper Networks confirms its firewalls are vulnerable to leaked ‘Equation Group’ exploits
    • NSA-linked Cisco exploit poses bigger threat than previously thought
    • Hacking the hackers: everything you need to know about Shadow Brokers’ attack on the NSA
    • Why Twitter Was the Platform of Choice for Ripping Apart the NSA Dump
    • Snowden’s Long Shadow Darkens NSA’s Reputation
    • Not Even NSA Can Keep Software Exploits Secret
    • Who Are The NSA’s Elite Hackers?
    • A Peek Inside The Matrix: What The Shadow Brokers Affair Means For A Cyber Future
    • Your ‘Smart’ Power Outlets Are Now Botnets Thanks To The Internet Of Broken Things

      Making fun of the Internet of Things has become a sort of national pastime, made possible by a laundry list of companies jumping into the space without the remotest idea what they’re actually doing. When said companies aren’t busy promoting some of the dumbest ideas imaginable, they’re making it abundantly clear that the security of their “smart,” connected products is absolutely nowhere to be found. And while this mockery is well-deserved, it’s decidedly less funny once you realize these companies are introducing thousands of new attack vectors in every home and business network the world over.

      Overshadowed by the lulz is the width and depth of incompetence on display. Thermostats that fail to heat your home. Door locks that don’t protect you. Refrigerators that leak Gmail credentials. Children’s toys that listen to your kids’ prattle, then (poorly) secure said prattle in the cloud. Cars that could, potentially, result in your death. The list goes on and on, and it grows exponentially by the week.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • With Voting Rights at Risk Across US, International Monitors Called to Help

      With the right to vote “more vulnerable now than at any time in the past 50 years,” an American civil rights coalition is calling for an increase in international election monitors during the 2016 election.

      In a letter sent this weekend, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, comprised of more than 200 national organizations, urged the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to expand its election monitoring mission in the United States this November.

      The body has sent observers to every U.S. presidential election since 2002 and intends to send 500 observers for 2016.

      However, citing the 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act (VRA)—as well as recent news that as a result of the decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Justice Department is scaling back its deployment of election observers in 2016—the group wrote “to emphasize that the OSCE’s plans to monitor the upcoming U.S. presidential election will be more essential than ever before and to encourage the OSCE to greatly expand its election monitoring mission in the United States for this election.”

    • FBI Apparently Made Darkweb Child Porn Site Faster During Its Hosting Of Seized Server

      Another FBI/Playpen/NIT case has moved to the point of a motion to dismiss. The lawyer for defendant Steven Chase is arguing the government should abandon its prosecution because the FBI’s activities during its conversion of child porn site Playpen into its own Rule 41-flouting watering hole were “outrageous.” What did the FBI do (besides traveling beyond — far beyond — the warrant’s jurisdiction to strip Tor users of their anonymity) to merit this accusation? It made Playpen a better, faster child porn website. Joseph Cox reports for Motherboard…

    • Lawyer: Dark Web Child Porn Site Ran Better When It Was Taken Over by the FBI

      In February 2015, the FBI took control of Playpen, the largest dark web child pornography site at the time. But instead of shutting the site down, the agency kept it going for just under two weeks, in order to deliver malware to its visitors in the hope of identifying suspects in its investigation.

      Newly filed court exhibits now suggest that the site performed substantially better while under the FBI’s control, with users commenting on the improvements. The defense for the man accused of being the original administrator of Playpen claims that these improvements led to the site becoming even more popular.

      “The FBI distributed child pornography to viewers and downloaders worldwide for nearly two weeks, until at least March 4, 2015, even working to improve the performance of the website beyond its original capability,” Peter Adolf, an assistant federal defender in the Western District of North Carolina, writes in a motion to have his client’s indictment thrown out.

    • What It Looks Like When The Terrorists Win: The JFK Stampede Over Fans Cheering For Usain Bolt

      We’ve talked a great deal here about what a theater of security our national airports have become. Far from accomplishing anything having to do with actually keeping anyone safe, those in charge of our airports have instead decided to engage in the warm fuzzies, attempting to calm an easily-spooked traveling public through bureaucracy and privacy invasion. The hope is that if everyone suffers the right level of inconvenience and humiliation, we’ll all feel safe enough traveling.

      But it’s quite easy for the 4th wall in this security theater to be broken by the right sort of circumstance. In case you missed it, one such circumstance happened recently at JFK Airport. The fallout was described in a first-person account in New York Magazine by David Wallace-Wells.

    • ‘Assange kill attempt’? Unknown man climbs Ecuador’s London embassy, sheltering WikiLeaks chief

      Social media users are in a panic after WikiLeaks said an unknown man had climbed the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Julian Assange has been staying for four years. Users suggested that it was probably an assassination attempt, “ordered by Clinton.”

      “…At 2:47am an unknown man scaled the side wall [and the] window of the Ecuadorian embassy in London; fled after being caught by security,” a statement from WikiLeaks said early Monday morning.

    • ‘Cardboard justice’ | Youth groups stand against killings

      Hundreds of students spoke out against the rising number of killings, with the continuation of the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, now coupled with President Duterte’s war on drugs.

      Youth groups Anakbayan and League of Filipino Students (LFS) led simultaneous candle-lighting protests on August 11, at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and Manila campuses, Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila and the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila.

    • NBN leaks: AFP carries out raid at parliament house

      The Australian Federal Police has conducted a raid at the Department of Parliamentary Services at Parliament House to try and find out the source of leaks that led to a number of stories about the NBN.

      AFP personnel met staff of shadow special minister of state Stephen Conroy after they arrived at parliament house at about 10am. The meeting took place in a room of the basement of parliament.

      Media personnel were asked to leave a section of the basement, but were later allowed to film AFP personnel as they left the area. The AFP officers are said to be looking at the email records and logs of Labor staffers, in order to try and track the media they were in contact with.

      In February, there were claims in the mainstream media that the Coalition multi-technology mix broadband network faced mounting delays and rising costs.

    • Passengers back Jeremy Corbyn’s claim that Virgin Train was ‘ram-packed’

      Other people on the train have however come forward to say it was in fact very busy, at least at the start of the journey.

      One passenger, Keren Harrison, posted a picture of herself on the train with Mr Corbyn and gave an account of events that contradicted the company’s version.

      “I was on said train and it was very busy!” she said. “He got seat about 45 mins in when staff started shuffling people around!”

      She added in another tweet that the train was “chock-a”.

      Separately, Charles Anthony, a Corbyn-supporting video journalist who shot the original film also released new footage and disputed the company’s account.

    • Hijab approved as uniform option by Scotland Police
    • French police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban

      Photographs have emerged of armed French police confronting a woman on a beach and making her remove some of her clothing as part of a controversial ban on the burkini.

      Authorities in several French towns have implemented bans on the Burkini, which covers the body and head, citing concerns about religious clothing in the wake of recent terrorist killings in the country.

      The images of police confronting the woman in Nice on Tuesday show at least four police officers standing over a woman who was resting on the shore at the town’s Promenade des Anglais, the scene of last month’s Bastille Day lorry attack.

      After they arrive, she appears to remove a blue long-sleeved tunic, although one of the officers appears to take notes or issue an on-the-spot fine.

    • Nice Officials Say They’ll Sue Internet Users Who Share Photos Of French Fashion Police Fining Women In Burkinis

      This seems pretty ridiculous on all sorts of levels, but never think things are so ridiculous that some politicians can’t make them worse. Guillaume Champeau from the excellent French site Numerama alerts me to the news that the deputy mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi is threatening to sue those who share these images over social media. Yup, France, a country that claims to pride itself on freedom is not just telling women that they can’t cover themselves up too much on the beach, but that it’s also illegal to report on the police following through on that.

    • In Wake of Burkini Ban, Muslim Women Demand Criminalization of Fat White Men in Speedos

      A French-Muslim group has called for a ban on what it terms “woefully-endowed white walruses terrorizing our kids in public,” alongside the repeal of a string of municipal measures outlawing the burkini in southern France.

      Speaking to reporters yesterday, Dr. Yasmina Al-Hazeemi of France’s Think of the Children! Foundation urged the nation’s parliament to criminalize the tight-fitting male swimsuit, framing the so-called ‘budgie smuggler scourge’ as a public safety crisis: “These obscene bathers are in fact evil terrorists imperiling the mental health of millions,” claimed the Algerian-born pediatrician. “For the sake of our traumatized children and the very soul of our Republic, we must crush this shameless cult of sagging manboobs, shrivelled racoon balls and itsy-bitsy Sarkozian wee wees!”

      The Front for the Supremacy of Stocky Indigenous Speedo Lovers, meanwhile, slammed the proposed ban as “yet another Islamic attack on France’s noble secularism.” “From the beaches of Corsica to the shores of distant Thailand, it’s our natural-born right to let it all hang it, no matter how many millions of juvenile nightmares it may cause,” said FSSIS chair Jean-Paul Le Grosporc, who then blasted Al-Hazeemi’s “slanderous attack on the honor of the Frenchman’s glorious manhood – unlike the dark savages flooding our continent, we natives are growers, not showers!”

    • Mansplaining Science To A Doctor, Cycling To An Olympian

      I have to say — the invention of the word “mansplaining” was something of a relief to me. Finally, there was a word for that weird, creepy thing men do when they assume authority over you when they have none. “You wrote a book? I read a book once. It was green. The thing about writing books is…”

      The word was born from an essay called “Men Explain Things To Me” by Rebecca Solnit. In it, she tells an anecdote where she was at a party when a man, on hearing that she wrote books about the photographer Eadweard Muybridge, told her that she really should read this wonderful new book on Muybridge that he had just read and proceeded to tell her all about this Muybridge guy.

    • NLRB: Graduate Students at Private Universities May Unionize

      In a blow to private institutions and a boon to their graduate student employees, the National Labor Relations Board ruled Tuesday that graduate research and teaching assistants are entitled to collective bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act.

      Graduate student unions at public institutions are common, as students’ collective bargaining status on public campuses is governed by state law. But the NLRB oversees graduate student unions on private campuses. Tuesday’s decision in favor of a graduate student union bid at Columbia University effectively reverses an earlier NLRB ruling against a graduate student union at Brown University, which had been the law of the land since 2004. The decision also overturns a much longer-standing precedent against collective bargaining for externally funded research assistants in the sciences.

      Graduate students at Columbia and elsewhere celebrated Tuesday’s decision, saying they planned to move forward with their union drives. While many professors applauded the decision to recognize students as legitimate workers, other groups described it as reckless, with the potential to transform — for the worse — the relationship between institution and student. Columbia or other universities could move to challenge the ruling in federal court.

      Columbia’s graduate assistants are affiliated with the United Auto Workers, but there are active drives on a number of other campuses affiliated with different unions, including the American Federation of Teachers and Service Employees International Union. The latter was a key player in a wave of recent adjunct faculty union drives.

    • The Blacklist – how to go on the run
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • One More Time With Feeling: Net Neutrality Didn’t Hurt Broadband Investment In The Slightest

      You’ll recall that ISPs (and the lobbyists, think tanks, politicians, and consultants paid to love them) argued incessantly that if we passed net neutrality rules, investment in broadband infrastructure would grind to a halt, leaving us all weeping gently over our clogged tubes. ISPs like Verizon proudly proclaimed that net neutrality rules would “jeopardize our investment and the development of innovation in Broadband Internet and related services.” ISP-tied think tanks released study after statistically-massaged study claiming that net neutrality (and the reclassification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II) would be utterly catastrophic for the broadband industry and its consumers alike.

      But as time wore on it became abundantly clear that these warnings were the empty prattle of a broken industry, using a thick veneer of bunk science to defend its monopoly over the uncompetitive broadband last mile.

      Since net neutrality was passed there has been absolutely no evidence that a single one of these claims had anything even remotely resembling merit, with broadband expansion pushing forward at full speed, constrained only by the ongoing lack of competition in many markets. We’ve watched as outfits like Google Fiber continue to expand its footprint. We’ve watched as Verizon suddenly promised to deploy fiber to cities long neglected. We’ve watched as Comcast and AT&T rushed to try and keep pace with gigabit investments of their own. In short, nothing changed, and things may have even improved.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Review Of WIPO Development Agenda Implementation: Good Progress But Expectations Unfulfilled

      A group of independent reviewers has found definite progress on implementing the landmark 2007 Development Agenda Recommendations at the World Intellectual Property Organization. But the UN agency needs to elevate the debate, tie in with UN development agencies, create reporting mechanisms, make projects more compatible with local development levels, and detail use of financial and human resources, the reviewers found.

    • Trademarks

      • Little Tree Air Freshener Company Sues Non-Profit For Making Tree Shaped Ornaments

        At the time, we noted how odd it was to take out a full page ad warning people against supposed trademark infringement, and over-claiming its own rights at the same time (e.g., “no matter how you use it.”). So it comes as little surprise that Car-Freshener corporation is a bit of a trademark bully in court. Though, perhaps it’s met its match — and it may result in it losing some trademarks.

        Trademark lawyer Marty Schwimmer, who runs the excellent Trademark Blog, is representing a non-profit organization, Sun Cedar, that has been sued by Car-Freshener for daring to create tree-shaped blocks of wood (cedar!) that smell good. The answers and counterclaims from Sun Cedar is worth the read in full, but we’ll hit a few high points here. Sun Cedar is not just a non-profit, but an organization that tries to train and to employ “at risk” individuals, including those who are homeless, ex-felons and substance abusers to help them get back on their feet. The organization creates objects out of wood, including tree shaped ornaments. It even ran a very successful Kickstarter project last year.

      • And Just Like That, The Dumbest Trademark Suit Over Saying ‘Thank You’ Disappears

        It is with mostly pleasure, but a little bit of sadness, that I am here to inform you, dear reader, that the idiotic trademark lawsuit brought by Citigroup against AT&T because it dared to say “thank you” to its customers is dead. Yes, what started only a couple of months ago as an unintentional test to see just how far a large corporation could twist trademark law out of its useful intentions has been dropped by both parties with prejudice, meaning that no further legal action can be taken on the matter.

        At issue was AT&T including the phrase “thank you” in some of its messaging and branding. Citigroup, as it turns out, somehow got the USPTO to approve a trademark for the phrase “thankyou” and declared that, largely because the two companies had done some co-branding work in the past, customers might be confused by an AT&T ad thanking them for their business into thinking that it has something to do with Citigroup. I read the argument Citigroup made in its filing as to why this confusion was likely, but my brain came to a screeching halt every few sentences, distracted by questions like, “How much can a bank’s lawyers drink during the day?” and “Precisely how many peyote buttons would I have to swallow before ‘thank you’ equalled ‘Citigroup’ in my addled mind?”

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Group, In Arguing Against FCC’s Set Top Box Proposal, Appears To Argue That VCRs & DVRs Are Also Illegal

        Earlier this month, we wrote about how the Copyright Officer had filed a really bizarre and legally dubious comment with the FCC concerning the FCC’s plan to open up competition in TV set top boxes, ending cable company’s monopoly on those boxes (for which they bring in $21 billion in revenue per year). The FCC’s plan was pretty straightforward — and the cable companies have attacked it on all sides, with the one argument that seems to be sticking is that this plan is somehow an affront to copyright, and would result in piracy. This is blatantly, factually incorrect. The FCC’s plan makes it clear that any system would retain existing technology protection measures against piracy (for better or for worse). If this new system resulted in infringement, it would because there’s infringement on the internet already, not because of these new rules.

        [...]

        Except, if what I’ve bolded above is actually copyright law, then the VCR, the DVR, the MP3 player, photocopiers and much of the very internet itself are inherently against copyright law. But that’s not what courts have found. If you look at the classic Betamax lawsuit, it made it abundantly clear that even when there were license agreements between content providers and TV stations that end users could absolutely record and watch content via an “unlicensed” device, known as the VCR. This just takes the Copyright Office’s ridiculous assertion that copyright holders and ISPs can somehow write fair use out of their agreements for end users, and takes it even further to effectively write the Betamax ruling out of existence and set up a framework that says there can be no fair use in new consumer electronics.

        That’s both wrong and crazy. And, yes, I know that the former Copyright Office boss Ralph Oman has argued that all technology should be considered infringing until Congress says it’s okay, but that’s not the actual law, and it’s incredibly dishonest to suggest it’s the case.

        Here’s the important thing that the Copyright Office and the Copyright Alliance don’t seem to understand (or are willfully ignoring). This content is already licensed. The only people who will get access to it are those who have a legitimate right to access the content from their cable providers. In other words, everything is licensed. There is no “harm” at all. The only issue is that the content can be accessed (by the paying subscribers!) via alternative hardware (which might add some more features, but which will still have the same copy protection). But nothing in this creates any problems for the content creators, because the overall setup is the same. They have licensed the work. The hardware alternatives that may arise may include some additional features, such as recording and such, but that’s well within their legal rights under fair use. The complaint here seems to just be that the Copyright Alliance and the Copyright Office don’t like fair use and don’t want the Betamax standard to exist any more.

        The Copyright Alliance and its funders in the entertainment industry may wish that the VCR were never made legal (even though it was a device that basically saved Hollywood by bringing in massive new markets and revenue streams), but they don’t get to rewrite history and pretend it doesn’t exist.

      • Techdirt Podcast Episode 87: An Interview With Kim Dotcom’s Lawyer

        Ira Rothken is a lawyer on the front lines of many major legal battles relating to copyright and piracy, including defending Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and, most recently, taking up the defense of Kickass Torrents operator Artem Vaulin. This week, Ira joins us on the podcast to discuss the ins and outs of these and other cases where the entertainment industry has come down hard on consumers and innovators.

      • Singapore Government launches public consultation on major copyright reform

        Singapore is currently engaged in a significant reform of its Copyright Act. In this context, yesterday Government launched a public consultation [open until 24 October 2016, 5 pm GMT+8] to seek feedback on proposed changes to this country’s copyright regime. This is the full consultation paper.

08.23.16

Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

Posted in News Roundup at 1:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux rules the world. Where to next?

    From Android phones to supercomputers to clouds to car, it’s all Linux all the time. Linux is the poster child for the open-source revolution.

    The latest Linux kernel report, Linux kernel development – How fast it is going, who is doing it, what they are doing, and who is sponsoring it, details just how quickly Linux changes. In the last 15 months, more than 3 million lines of code have been added to the Linux kernel. For those of you coding at home, that’s 7.8 changes per hour.

  • Almost open: BIOS and firmware update tips for Linux users

    I suppose I’m lucky in that for more than 10 years my primary work environment has been Linux-based, yet all to often I’ve been forced to dig out a DOS or Windows image because I need to patch some BIOS device firmware. These days I don’t own anything than has a valid Windows license, and even my 2008 white MacBook has spent most of its life running either Ubuntu or Fedora. Luckily most hardware manufacturers have started to provide bootable images for patching system firmware, and for enterprise-grade hardware they even provide Linux-ready tools. In this article, I’ll walk through my recent firmware update on Linux, and I’ll share a few recommendations based on that experience.

    In the consumer/prosumer landscape there has been a shift toward UEFI-based systems for desktops and laptops, and along the way many manufacturers appear to have removed the option for the BIOS to update from a USB Stick. Historically we’d only see firmware updates for enterprise-class spinning rust (hard drives), but many SSD manufacturers are also providing regular firmware updates for consumer-class devices. Whilst we often should stand by the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” I’m a strong believer when standing up a new environment to make sure all my firmware is current. So begins my journey…

  • THE BIG LIE About Operating Systems

    The desktop also is not locked in. Despite slow progress at times, GNU/Linux is gradually gnawing away at Microsoft’s lock on the desktop. It happened in my schools, in my home, in governments in Europe and a few places around the world. It’s obvious the world can make its own software and does have a complete stack with GNU/Linux.

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Linux Absent from Zemlin’s LinuxCon Pep Rally

      “As all of you may know, Thursday, August 25 is the 25th anniversary of Linux,” he said during the opening portion of the address. “It’s the day when Linus Torvalds, 25 years ago, sent out his note introducing this funny little operating system that wouldn’t amount to much of anything.”

      “Linux at 25 is a big thing,” he added. “Most things in life just don’t last as long and are as enduring as Linux. And Linux has gone so far beyond what anyone who has participated in this community could have ever expected. Linux today really is…the most successful software project in history.”

      After this opening, he pointed to the enormity of the Linux project by citing numbers, like its 53,000 source files and 21 million lines of code, and the fact that each day 10,800 lines of code are added to Linux, 5,300 lines of code removed and 1,800 lines of code modified.

      “This pace is only accelerating,” he said. “Linux now changes seven [or] eight times an hour. There is no single software project by any single person or organization that rivals the breadth, pace, depth and adoption of Linux. What an incredible run.”

      As with any good pep rally, Zemlin gave the fans plenty of reason to be happy to support the home team by pointing to Linux’s wins. Trouble is, all of those wins had to do with making “billions of dollars” — a phrase he used often — for the enterprise.

      “Linux has become the world’s most widely adopted software,” he said and rattled off a list of uses that included high performance computing, weather forecasting, climate modeling, economic modeling, mobile devices and embedded systems. “It runs the global economy. Quite literally, it runs the vast majority of stock exchanges. It runs the vast majority of the Internet and powers things like Google, Facebook, Amazon and much, much more.”

    • Why Google plans to stop supporting your Chromebook after five years

      It’s worth noting that end-of-life doesn’t have to mean the end of useful hardware. If you have the know-how, you can install Linux on your Chromebook to extend its lifespan. Otherwise, users whose Chromebooks are still in fine working order just have to hope that end-of-life notification never comes.

    • EFF slams Microsoft’s ‘blatant disregard’ for user privacy with Windows 10 [Ed: It’s textbook definition of malware]

      THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF) has lashed out at Microsoft over the company’s “blatant disregard” for user privacy with the pushy, data-slurping Windows 10 operating system.

      Following the launch of a petition in June, EFF has heard from thousands of pissed off people who are asked it to take action against Microsoft, and the privacy campaigners are doing just that. EFF is calling on Microsoft to listen to its users, of which more than 6,000 have signed the online petition, and incorporate their complaints into its operating system.

      “Otherwise, Microsoft may find that it has inadvertently discovered just how far it can push its users before they abandon a once-trusted company for a better, more privacy-protective solution,” EFF’s Amul Kalia said in a blog post.

      First on EFF’s radar is Microsoft’s backhanded tactics to get people to upgrade to Windows 10, which we here at the INQUIRER know about all too well.

  • Server

    • How IBM’s LinuxONE Has Evolved For the New Open Source Cloud

      LinuxONE is IBM’s Linux Server. The LinuxONE server runs the major distributions of Linux; SUSE, Red Hat and Canonical’s Ubuntu. The server also runs open source databases like Mongo DB , PostgreSQL and MariaDB allowing for both horizontal growth and vertical scale, as demonstrated by running a 2TB Mongo database without sharding. Several of the features built into this system support the constant innovation inherent in the open source movement while maintaining the performance and reliability required by Enterprise clients; for example, Logical Partitions (LPARs) allow clients to host a development environment on the same system as production with zero risk.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Linux Mint Rounds Out 18 ‘Sarah’ Releases With Beta KDE Edition

        Earlier this month, the Linux Mint developer team released the Xfce edition of Linux Mint 18 ‘Sarah’, which followed the main release at the end of June. But now it’s time for some Plasma action, with a beta release of the upcoming Linux Mint 18 KDE edition.

        It’s worth noting that all three Linux Mint 18 editions are LTS releases (long-term support), with a promise to be supported until 2021. For that reason, these releases don’t include bleeding-edge software, but instead software that can be assured to be stable right-out-of-the-box.

      • KDevelop 5.0 Appears Ready For Release

        We haven’t yet seen any official release announcement, but since yesterday a source package and AppImage binary have been out in the wild for KDE’s KDevelop 5.0 integrated development environment…

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Maps is fast again!

        Once your distro of choice picks up one of these stable releases you should be back to at least the old Mapquest speed of Maps. And if your distro upgrades to latest libchamplain when it arrives you will see even greater speeds.

      • GTK Scene Kit Isn’t Happening In Time For GNOME 3.22

        With GNOME 3.19 there were plans for a GTK scenegraph and this GTK Scene Kit (GSK) was then planned for 3.20 and then most recently hoped for 3.22. But it’s not happening.

        One of the big user benefits to the GTK Scene Kit will be offloading more work to the GPU and while it looked like GSK may finally be a reality for GNOME 3.22, this morning we found out it’s not going to be merged in time.

      • GSoC: final evaluation

        This blog-post contains the final evaluation of my Google summer of Code 2016 project for the GNOME organization. More precisely, I’ve been working in the Games application under the mentorship of Adrien Plazas implementing multi-source/multi-disc games and offer support to the PlayStation platform.

      • GUADEC

        I arrived at GUADEC a few days early to participate in the Board and AdBoard meetings.

      • GSoC Summary

        The goal to be achieved was to be able to play both single player and multiplayer emulated games using a gamepad in GNOME Games

      • GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” Desktop Environment Gets Its First Public Beta Release

        GNOME Project’s Frederic Peters informs us a few minutes ago about the availability of the first Beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems.

      • GNOME 3.22 Beta Released

        The first beta of GNOME 3.22 beta is now available for testing ahead of the planned official desktop release around this time next month.

        Some of the recent package changes for the GNOME 3.22 Beta include sharing support for GNOME Photos, various Mutter and GNOME Shell improvements (including Wayland improvements!), and GTK improvements.

      • GUADEC Experience

        In this blog post, I will be sharing my GUADEC experience which recently held from 11-Aug-2015 to 17-Aug-2016 in Karlsruhe, Germany. I actually got to see the faces behind IRC nicks, met most of developers and people from GNOME community and also most importantly, GUADEC helped me to meet my Google Summer of Code mentor Debarshi Ray in person which was just great.

      • GNOME Usability Test Results (Part 1)

        This is the first part of analysis for the usability test I recently conducted, with the purpose to uncover usability flaws of two GNOME applications: Photos and Calendar.
        For this part I am focusing on visualizing the results, demographics and talk more about the methodology I used for testing. We will take a closer look on how testers performed on every task given, using a heat map. Hopefully this will create a clear picture of the testing process and help to “get to know” the participants and understand them better!

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo Linux live DVD “Choice Edition

        Gentoo One of the wonderful things about Linux is the diversity of the distributions available. Some distributions are very beginner friendly with installers that offer only a few basic options. Others are more complex, requiring knowledge of Linux and skills with the command line to install. Gentoo falls into the more complex category. There is no installer per se, the user just needs to follow instructions to perform several steps leading to a fully installed and configured system. This process is certainly harder than using Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer, but it is not that hard. The instructions are clear and do require previous experience with Linux, or the tenacity to keep going (or start over) when things go wrong when Gentoo is used in a “dive in head first” learning experience. Below, I take a look at the latest Gentoo Linux live DVD, the “Choice Edition,” and briefly explore how Gentoo gets installed on a system by using a step by step set of instructions instead of an installer that takes care of most of the steps automatically.

      • Why did Gentoo Linux fade into obscurity?

        Gentoo Linux was fairly well known at one point, with many tech-savvy Linux users opting to run it on their computers. But Gentoo Linux slowly lost popularity over time and is now a pale shadow of its former self in terms of usage and mind-share among Linux users (though there are still some die-hard Gentoo users left on Reddit).

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Slackware Family

      • Latest Slackware Version Doesn’t Cut Newbies any Slack

        Slackware is a throwback to the early days of the Linux OS, and it may not have much relevance to anyone but diehard Slackware fans. Still, experienced Linux users looking for a change of pace might enjoy setting up a Slackware system.

        The documentation and user guides are fairly detailed, but they are heavy reads that will frustrate the typical new user. Those without a strong technical background will see a big disconnect in going from the live session “Slackware demo” to a functioning Slackware installation.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Most companies worried about coping with increasing data volumes, says Red Hat

        Storage has become a complicated animal within the IT stack, and according to a recent Vanson Bourne survey commissioned by Red Hat, there’s growing evidence that ignoring the critical role storage plays across physical, virtual, container and both public and private cloud environments is a recipe for disaster.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • DNF 1.1.10 and DNF-PLUGINS-CORE 0.1.21-3 Released

          Another stability release of DNF and DNF-PLUGINS-CORE has been made. This release should eliminate the most critical bugs, especially the Unicode tracebacks and COPR plugin should work in Korora again. More information about the release can be found in DNF and plugins release notes.

        • Trying Out Fedora 25 With Wayland, Early Benchmarks Included

          With the news from Friday that Fedora 25 will run Wayland by default I loaded up the current Fedora 25 development packages on a test system this weekend and I used that as my primary system for all of my business/production work this weekend. It went well and included are some early gaming benchmarks of Fedora 25 Workstation GNOME on Wayland and X.Org.

        • Fedora 25 Linux OS to Arrive on November 15, Ship with Wayland by Default

          The Fedora Project is currently working very hard on the next major version of the popular GNU/Linux computer operating system, Fedora 25, bringing you all the latest and modern technologies.

          Wayland is a modern technology, the next generation display server designed as a drop-in replacement for the old X.Org Server or X11 as many of you out there might want to call the display server almost all GNU/Linux distributions are currently using by default. But there are many security-released issues with X11 that for some reason can’t be fixed, so it’s time for the open-source ecosystem to adopt Wayland.

        • New role as Fedora Magazine editor in chief

          Today, I am pleased to announce my new role as the Fedora Magazine editor-in-chief. After deciding to shift focus to other areas of the Fedora Project, I am receiving the torch from Ryan Lerch. Ryan has helped lead the Magazine, edit pieces from other contributors, contribute his own pieces, and decide strategic direction for the Magazine.

          He leaves big shoes to fill, but I hope to offer my own leadership, creativity, and direction in coming years as well. I’d like to thank both Ryan, Paul Frields, and Remy DeCausemaker for their mentorship and guidance towards becoming involved with Fedora and the Magazine. I’m excited to have the opportunity to help guide the Fedora Magazine in how it fits with the rest of Fedora.

        • FOSS Wave: Delhi, India

          After the introductory session on FOSS, we went ahead with our agenda and introduced the Fedora Project and the community behind it: what the Fedora Project is, what its mission is, and how the participants can get started with Fedora. The participants were guided upon how they can create their identity on the Fedora Project by signing up on FAS. They could then use that identity to get access to various Fedora applications and resources. The session on Fedora moved on with the introduction on how the contributors can get to the mailing list and introduce themselves to the community. There, they can get help about starting their contributions. The main focus during the session on Fedora was to introduce the participants to the Fedora Quality Assurance (QA) team and release validation testing.

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible Builds: week 69 in Stretch cycle

        Daniel Stender blogged about python packaging and explained some caveats regarding reproducible builds.

      • Proposing speakers for DebConf17

        As you may already know, next DebConf will be held at Collège de Maisonneuve in Montreal from August 6 to August 12, 2017. We are already thinking about the conference schedule, and the content team is open to suggestions for invited speakers.

      • Google Summer of Code 2016 : Final Report

        This project aims to improve diffoscope tool and fix Debian packages which are unreproducible in Reproducible builds testing framework.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Now in Feature Freeze, First Beta to Land August 25

            Ubuntu and Debian developer Iain Lane informed the Ubuntu community that the upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system is in Feature Freeze as of August 18, 2016.

          • Artist Sylvia Ritter Painted All 25 Ubuntu Linux Mascots and They’re Astonishing

            Artist Sylvia Ritter happily informs Softpedia about the availability of 25 wallpapers for mobile phones and tablet devices illustrating her vision of the mascots used for all the Ubuntu Linux operating system releases.

          • Canonical and QTS Team on Private, Managed OpenStack Cloud Solution

            For several years running, OpenStack Foundation surveys have revealed that Ubuntu is the most common platform for OpenStack deployments to be built on. Organizations report that they choose OpenStack and Ubuntu to save money and avoid vendor lock-in. These themes have been emphasized by Canonical at OpenStack Summit.

            Now, responding to what they describe as “increasing demand for flexible, open source and cost-predictable cloud solutions, QTS Realty Trust, Inc. and Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, have announced a private, fully managed OpenStack cloud solution. It will be available from any of QTS’ secure data centers in mid-September.

            Built on Ubuntu OpenStack and using Canonical’s application modeling service Juju as well as Canonical’s Bare Metal as a Service (MaaS), QTS’ OpenStack cloud will be fully managed. Essentially, organizations can treat it as a turnkey cloud solution.

          • Rotate Screen on Ubuntu Easily With This Indicator Applet

            Sam, our backend web hamster, makes occasional use of a portrait monitor. He says it makes reading long terminal sessions easier.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Peppermint OS explained

              In the childhood many of us must have eaten peppermint tablets. Well, just the name gives us some nostalgic moments. So today on the 12th segment of “Introduction with Linux Distro” we are having Peppermint OS as our guest. Peppermint OS is a lightweight option for those with old machines or those who loves fast and light OS.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Software for Business: 12 Leading Apps

    These are some of the best ERP, CRM, small business server, project management and business intelligence applications available under an open source license.

  • Digital Asset to Open Source Smart Contract Language

    Digital Asset Holdings has announced it intends to open-source DAML, the smart contracting language it acquired from startup Elevence earlier this year.

    Though no date has been set for the transition, the Blythe Masters-led blockchain startup credited its bid to “advance industry adoption” of the tech as the impetus for the move.

  • Reasons behind Enterprises’ Appeal towards Open Source Analytics Frameworks

    Big Data might be a relatively new term but not an entirely new concept. It has been around for millennia. Even in the Paleolithic age, the cavemen of Africa etched markings into bones or sticks to monitor their food supplies. Then came the abacus, the library of Alexandria, the Antikythera Mechanism (the world’s first computational device), and the list goes on. As time passed by, the art of data analysis or deduction evolved giving rise to new sciences and technologies– statistics, data storage, business intelligence, and data centers.

    When the internet storm took over the human world in the latter part of the 20th century, analog storage systems made way for digital storage and cloud services. In another ten years or so, the total storage information processed in the world grew from 1.5 billion gigabytes to 9.57 zettabytes (9.57 trillion gigabytes to be specific). In the meantime, Wired gave a name to this vast ocean of information– Big Data, (quite undervalued if you ask me, how about Cosmic Data!). At the same time, something else also passed under the radar. It was Hadoop, an open source framework for Big Data analysis, developed by the Apache Software Foundation, the open source advocates. Soon, Hadoop was extensively adopted by businesses for two reasons; firstly, it was cost-efficient, secondly, it was fast.

    Since then, open source has been the buzzword for Big Data analytics. But, what makes open source analytics platform attractive for enterprises even though there is no guarantee about security or the quality of the software?

  • Events

    • Updates from LinuxCon and ContainerCon, Toronto, August 2016

      The first 25 years of Linux has transformed the world, not just computing, and the next 25 years will continue to see more growth in the Open Source movement, The Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin said during the opening keynote of LinuxCon/ContainerCon in Toronto on Monday, August 22, 2016.

      “Linux is the most successful software project in history”, Zemlin said, noting that the humble operating sytem created by Linus Torvalds 25 years ago this week is behind much of today’s software and devices.

    • 2016 SFD Registration is on!

      The Digital Freedom Foundation is very happy to announce that registration of its thirteenth edition of Software Freedom Day has just opened. While the wiki has been back online for about a week we were still lagging on the registration. Fear no more, it is now fixed and you can all register your events!

    • Advanced Linux System Administration and Networking is designed for IT professionals

      This Course includes some of the course materials, with access to LFS211 Linux operating system and networking and administration for 1 year, also registration includes a printed course manual.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Johnson Banks reveals first designs for “open-source” Mozilla rebrand

        Johnson Banks has unveiled seven potential brand identities for Mozilla, as part of its ongoing “open-source” rebrand.

        The search for the not-for-profit software company’s new identity was first announced in June, and it has been taking feedback from the Mozilla community and members of the public since then.

        Seven initial themes were created by Johnson Banks, all exploring different facets of Mozilla’s advocacy for shared and open-source internet access and software.

      • Mozilla’s new logo ideas

        The folks over at Mozilla (makers of Firefox) are redesigning their logo—because apparently just having a wordmark isn’t good enough. That said, maybe it’s time to retire the dinosaur head.

        In the spirit of openness, Mozilla has posted a series of logo concepts to their blog and invited the public to review and share their opinions. I am doing so here.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Walmart’s OneOps open source cloud management platform could become part of OpenStack

      The retailing giant is pondering a move where its OneOps open source platform could be lumped under OpenStack.

    • Apache CloudStack Still Going, Arrives in New Version

      In case you don’t know its history, CloudStack had more momentum a few years ago as an open cloud platform than OpenStack has now. Citrix, which owned it, passed the open source CloudStack platform to the Apache Software Foundation, and CloudStack continues to advance and is widely used. It has even inspired a popular forked version.

      Now, the Apache CloudStack project has announced the availability of Apache CloudStack v4.9, the latest version of the cloud platform used for creating private, public, and hybrid cloud environments. Apache remains a steady steward for CloudStack, even as OpenStack has overtaken it in popularity.

  • Databases

    • Does MariaDB’s latest move show how hard it is to make money with open source?

      It turns out that selling open source software is really, really hard. So hard, in fact, that only one company has proven the ability to do so profitably at scale: Red Hat. Everyone else is either swimming in red ink or a rounding error.

    • MariaDB MaxScale: at scale yes, but at a proprietary license cost

      MariaDB is a database that was created as a community-developed ‘fork’ of the MySQL relational database management system and, as such, has always been free to use under the GNU General Public License.

    • Proprietary licences both frustrating and pushing move to PostgreSQL

      Proprietary licences that are very complex, impossible to comply with, and abused to squeeze customers are frustrating public agencies in their effort to make IT infrastructures more open and interoperable. On the other hand, these licensing problems are motivating the same agencies to move to open source software. The Swedish National Heritage Board, the Dutch City of Ede, and the Dutch DUO agency all mention complex licences from their traditional proprietary suppliers as an important reason to deploy PostgreSQL as an open alternative for their database systems. At the same time, suppliers are abusing their inscrutable licensing models to hinder public agencies in their migration and consolidation efforts.

    • Time To Move To PostgreSQL

      Sigh… I understand that businesses need to make money but proper businesses don’t jerk their customers around in the process. That drives them away.

      Large businesses that use MySQL/MariaDB depend on the MaxScale component and changing the licence for that jerks them around. In the process, MariaDB is preventing a larger community from sharing in the development, a major plus of FLOSS. So, this is essentially kicking a large segment of the market for SQL databases to a non-Free solution. It really is time to go to PostgreSQL, a truly Free/Libre Open Source database from top to bottom.

  • Education

    • Out of the Trash and into the Class: Building a STEM Program by Re-Building Computers.

      The FLOSS Desktop for Kids initiative refurbishes surplus and discarded school computers, allowing students to learn (hands-on) about computers and technology by diagnosing, breaking-down and repairing hardware components. Students acquire, install and configure open source software including Linux operating systems, LibreOffice, GIMP, Pidgin, etc.—not just run “apps” on a tablet. The program, is designed to teach engineering and technology by doing, failing, fixing, frustration, and finally achieving—that’s how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math really happen, and that aligns perfectly with STEM’s goals: “knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 6.2 Compiler Released

      GCC 6.2 is now available as the first stable update to this year’s GCC 6/6.1 compiler release.

      GCC 6.1 shipped earlier this year as their first stable version of GCC 6 (per their unique versioning scheme…) while GCC 6.2 is out this morning as the first point release.

  • Public Services/Government

    • New US Government Source Code Policy Could Provide Model For Europe

      The United States government this month published its new federal source code policy to allow government-wide access to custom source code developed by or for any agency of the federal government. The policy, which aims to reduce duplication, avoid technology “lock-in,” and tap the best minds in or outside government, has caught the attention of free software developers in Europe who are hoping to use it as a basis for change there too.

      “We plan to use that in the next months as an example for European countries,” Matthias Kirschner, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), said in a recent email discussion on the new US policy.

    • Open Source at work, Open Society working in Taiwan

      There was striking evidence that Open Source can lead to Open Society at the first day of OS//OS at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre on Monday August 22.

      One of the keynote speakers, Audrey Tang from Taiwan, outlined how a quiet (and unheralded, at least in New Zealand) revolution has completely changed how democracy is practiced in the 23 million people nation sitting off China’s coast.

      It started with a parliamentary sit-in in 2014 – aided and abetted by Taiwan’s digital wizards as informal representatives debated how to use internet tools to ensure that all voices are heard before any new legislation is put in place.

      Eventually parliamentarians agreed that what was proposed by the ‘Sunflower Movement’ was valid.

      Now, the feelings and opinions of many different people (and animals and the environment) are considered. The role of parliament is to enact this debate outcome through legislation.

    • Up to EUR 200,000 for Austria open source projects

      The Austrian government will award up to EUR 200,000 for open source projects on eGovernent, eHealth, eLearning, eInclusion, or commercial products and services. “Open source has beneficial macroeconomic effects, improving possibilities for use and development”, explained Muna Duzdar, State Secretary for Digitisation, in a statement.

    • Ministry of ICT and NITA Uganda Urge on Adoption of Open Source Software

      Increased awareness, integration and adoption of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Uganda, both by government and the private sector is key to improved service delivery by government, reduced cost of public service deliver as well as improve competitiveness of Uganda’s ICT and ICT Enabled Services (ITES), Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, Uganda’s ICT and National Guidance Minister has said.

    • UK Government Digital Service looking for a “Chief Penguin”

      According to the job description on LinkedIn, the new role has been created as part of a change of course to “a more concerted approach to open source, building collaboration and reuse internally and making higher impact contributions to the wider open source community”. The new Lead will “work with teams in GDS and across government to help build their open source community, both through driving specific, focused projects and by providing tools and an environment that allow the work to grow and thrive”. At the same time, the job requires technical hands-on capabilities as well: “day to day responsibilities will alternate between programming, liaising with colleagues from other professions (eg. communications, legal and delivery management), community building and leading projects”.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Dutch Accountability Hack set for week before Little Prince’s Day

        On Friday 9 September, an Accountability Hack will be organised at the Dutch Court of Audit in The Hague. Developers and open data adepts are asked to participate and work on innovative (mobile) apps that allow people to check on government spending and returns. Increased transparency helps strengthen democracy, fight corruption and waste, and improve efficiency and accountability.

    • Open Access/Content

      • 7 resources for open education materials

        Shrinking school budgets and growing interest in open content has created an increased demand for open educational resources. According to the FCC, “The U.S. spends more than $7 billion per year on K-12 textbooks, but too many students are still using books that are 7-10 years old, with outdated material.” There is an alternative: openly licensed courseware. But where do you find this content and how can you share your own teaching and learning materials?

      • Open education is more than open content

        The famous playwright George Bernard Shaw once said: “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”

        I love that quote, and in May I shared it with a room full of educators, administrators, and open source advocates at New York University during the Open Summit, an open conversation about education. I believe it reveals something critical about the future of education and the positive role openness can play in the future, if we embrace it.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Yahoo Ad Partner Media.net Sells to China Group for $900 Million

    A group of Chinese investors said it’s acquiring ad-tech startup Media.net for about $900 million in cash, with plans to eventually sell the company to an obscure telecommunications firm whose shares have been suspended from trading since last year.

    Media.net, which is based in Dubai and New York, is touting this as the third-largest ad-tech acquisition in history. However, the complex deal more closely resembles a reverse merger, where a private company takes over a public one and bypasses the formalities of an initial public offering.

    Technology entrepreneur Divyank Turakhia started Media.net in 2010 and bootstrapped the business. The company provides the technology powering contextual ads offered by Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s Bing search engine. The system is similar to one offered by Google, choosing which ads to show based on the content of the web page they appear on.

  • Hardware

    • The Story of How the Apple I Computer Could Fetch $1 Million at Auction

      In the summer of 1976, Daniel Kottke was looking for a job while off from college. He found one from his old buddy and the man he spent time with in India just years prior: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

      During that summer, Kottke had a somewhat tedious job. He was to sit in a garage and put together Apple I computers, the devices his old college friend and his co-founder Steve Wozniak had designed and built. Now, nearly 40 years later, one of those Apple I computer boards that Kottke helped assemble is up for auction—and it could be worth as much as $1 million, according to a listing on auction site CharityBuzz.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Pfizer to pay $14 billion for Medivation, whose drug Xtandi was discovered by UCLA [Ed: the public pays for research! The public subsidises development of cures. Some private firms then patent it and make a killing. Prices soar. At whose expense? The public!]

      Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. is paying $14 billion to buy Medivation Inc., a San Francisco biotech company that sells a high-priced prostate cancer medication discovered by UCLA.

      A year’s worth of the drug, Xtandi, sells for about $129,000, and the medicine has generated about $2.2 billion in net sales worldwide over the last year, the companies said Monday in announcing the deal.

      Medivation had become a prime target of larger pharmaceutical companies, largely thanks to Xtandi, which is also being tested for breast cancer treatment.

    • WHO Africa Region Addresses Strategies On Counterfeits, Malaria, Hepatitis

      The 47 members of the World Health Organization African region this week adopted or considered a series of measures aimed at fighting substandard and counterfeit medical products, eliminating malaria and viral hepatitis, and setting a global strategy and plan of action on ageing and health that includes a focus on non-communicable diseases. They also addressed a plan for disease outbreaks and health emergencies.

    • NHS could struggle post-Brexit without EU citizen staff, Department of Health officials admit

      A 7-day week NHS may no longer be possible following Brexit because so many healthcare professionals come from EU countries, Department for Health officials have warned.

      The NHS employs around 55,000 staff who are EU citizens, amounting to a tenth of the overall workforce. It is currently unknown whether freedom of movement and employment rights will change for EU citizens following the referendum vote, prompting uncertainty over future staffing levels.

    • Drug and Device Makers Pay Thousands of Docs with Disciplinary Records

      Physicians whose state boards have sanctioned them for harming patients, unnecessarily prescribing addictive drugs, bilking federal insurance programs and even sexual misconduct nonetheless continue to receive payments for consulting, giving talks about products, and more.

    • Why a Single-Payer Healthcare System is Inevitable

      The best argument for a single-payer health plan is the recent decision by giant health insurer Aetna to bail out next year from 11 of the 15 states where it sells Obamacare plans.Aetna’s decision follows similar moves by UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, and by Humana, another one of the giants.

      All claim they’re not making enough money because too many people with serious health problems are using the Obamacare exchanges, and not enough healthy people are signing up.

      The problem isn’t Obamacare per se. It lies in the structure of private markets for health insurance – which creates powerful incentives to avoid sick people and attract healthy ones. Obamacare is just making this structural problem more obvious.

    • What the UN must do to wipe out cholera in Haiti

      It is not enough that the United Nations is finally beginning to acknowledge its involvement in the lethal cholera epidemic in Haiti. Now it must urgently do everything in its power to eliminate cholera in Haiti before thousands more die.

      Cholera was brought to Haiti in October 2010 by UN peacekeepers from Nepal. Some of the Nepalese peacekeepers had been infected with the disease in their home country. And due to close quarters and poor sanitation practices, the disease quickly spread throughout the Nepalese camp near the interior town of Mirebalais.

      Early on, some contaminated fecal waste from the Nepalese camp leaked into a nearby stream, infecting a few Haitians. Then the accumulated camp waste was dumped into the local river by a poorly supervised UN vendor. This local river flowed on to the mighty Artibonite River, which runs through the breadbasket of Haiti before emptying into the Caribbean Sea.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • A Congressman Campaigns to “Stop the Madness” of U.S. Support for Saudi Bombing in Yemen

      For months, a California congressman has been trying to get Obama administration officials to reconsider U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. And for months, he has been given the runaround.

      Ted Lieu, a Democrat representing Los Angeles County, served in the Air Force and is a colonel in the Air Force Reserves. The brutal bombing of civilian areas with U.S.-supplied planes and weapons has led him to act when most of his colleagues have stayed silent.

      “I taught the law of war when I was on active duty,” he told The Intercept. “You can’t kill children, newlyweds, doctors and patients — those are exempt targets under the law of war, and the coalition has been repeatedly striking civilians,” he said. “So it is very disturbing to me. It is even worse that the U.S. is aiding this coalition.”

      But he and a very few other lawmakers who have tried to take bipartisan action to stop U.S. support for the campaign are a lonely bunch. “Many in Congress have been hesitant to criticize the Saudis’ operational conduct in Yemen,” Lieu said. He didn’t say more about that.

    • Congress Must Take Action to Block Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia

      Last week, the Pentagon announced the approval of the sale of an additional $1.15 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia. The callousness of this announcement – just days after Saudi Arabia rebooted its devastating bombing campaign in Yemen – is breathtaking. The Saudi-led coalition has used American-made fighter jets, bombs and other munitions in a relentless onslaught against Yemen that has left thousands of innocent civilians dead and created a humanitarian crisis that the United Nations characterizes as a “catastrophe.” In just the last few days, the Saudi-led coalition has killed at least 35 people – most of them women and children – in three airstrikes against a school, a residential neighborhood and a hospital in northern Yemen.

      Congress has thirty days to block the sale of these weapons. It is a moral imperative that they do so.
      The internal crisis in Yemen spiraled out of control when the Saudis intervened in March 2015. The BBC has reported that nearly all of the more than 3,000 civilian deaths reported in the conflict have been caused by airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition. Saudi air strikes have also decimated Yemen’s infrastructure, leaving more than 21 million people desperately in need of humanitarian assistance.

    • US Guilty of ‘Basically Unconditional Support’ for Saudi War Crimes in Yemen

      The United States and other governments that continue to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia are guilty of “the worst kind of hypocrisy,” an international watchdog charged on Monday, as the arms trade continues despite mounting evidence of civilian causalities, war crimes, and other atrocities being committed by the kingdom in Yemen.

      “It is extremely concerning that many transfers are still continuing, in particular the governments of the United States, the U.K., and France have authorized and are continuing to export very large quantities of weapons, including explosive weapons, bombs which are being used daily against civilians in Yemen,” said Anna Macdonald, director of Control Arms Coalition.

      The statement was made as governments convened in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Trade Organization’s second conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which stipulates that signatories block any arms deal if there is evidence that the weapons will be used against civilians.

      “At the heart of the ATT is the obligation on countries that have joined it to make an assessment of how the weapons they want to transfer will be used,” states the Control Arms website. “They must determine if the arms would commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and serious human rights violations.”

      Both France and the U.K. have ratified the agreement. While the U.S. has signed on, Congress has failed to approve it.

    • Syrian boy’s image shamelessly exploited for West’s war agenda

      How many times have we seen this before? Western media selectively focusing on, or distorting, human suffering in order to fulfill a base political agenda – war – for powerful interests.

      It is no coincidence Western media fevered with images of a five-year-old boy, pulled from rubble in Aleppo after an alleged air strike by Syrian government or Russian forces – and the very next day US warplanes were scrambled over northern Syria reportedly to ward off Syrian Su-24 fighter bombers.

    • Nearly 15 Years and $70 Billion Later, US Troops Still Endlessly Fighting Taliban

      More than a hundred U.S. troops were sent to Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan on Monday to continue fighting the Taliban, in the first deployment of forces to the area since the drawdown in 2014—offering another signal that the U.S. military presence there is expanding, not decreasing, as President Barack Obama has promised.

    • Over a hundred US troops sent to Lashkar Gah to battle Taliban
    • Soldier dies in live firing training exercise in Northumberland

      A soldier has died after being shot at a military training area in Northumberland, police have said.

      The male soldier, serving with the Royal Regiment of Scotland, was shot on the military ranges in Otterburn during a live firing exercise at about 23:15 BST on Monday.

      Northumbria Police said the soldier sustained a “serious head wound” and was pronounced dead at the scene.

      He has not been identified by the Ministry of Defence.

    • Near-War: US Planes almost tangle with Syrian MiGs, which bombed area of US troop Embeds

      The fighting that has broken out between Kurdish YPG fighters and the Syrian Arab Army in Hasaka, northeast Syria, is hardly a new thing. There were clashes in April.

      Syria says that the Kurds brought it on themselves by trying to expand into government-held territory.

      As the US has deepened its involvement in Syria, this round of fighting could drag the US into war.

      The People’s Protection Units or YPG is a Syrian Kurdish militia that now holds large swathes of northern Syria. These leftist Kurds are in conflict with Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) and with the fundamentalist rightwing Arab guerrillas such as the al-Qaeda-linked Army of Syrian Conquest and the Saudi-backed Army of Islam.

    • US-Allied Kurds advance in Hasaka City, NE Syria

      Clashes continued on Sunday between the Kurdish YPG [People’s Protection Units] and the Syrian Arab Army in Hasaka, according to the Egyptian press . Surveying Syrian social media, Misr24 said that the Kurds had apparently advanced into Hasaka and driven the Syrian army from some districts, including al-Nashwa and Ghuwayran.

    • Destroying history is now being charged as a war crime

      An Islamist fighter has pleaded guilty in the Hague for destroying parts of the fabled West African trading city of Timbuktu, in the International Criminal Court’s first case based on the destruction of cultural artifacts.

      Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi has admitted today (Aug 22) to razing all but two of the city’s 16 mausoleums as well as a mosque dating back to 1400 during a raid by Islamist radicals in 2012. Ahmad told the tribunal in the Netherlands that he regretted “the damage [his] actions have caused.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • EXCLUSIVE Jill Stein op-ed: In praise of Wikileaks

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is a hero. Like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and other whistleblowers facing government persecution, Assange has sacrificed his personal comfort and safety to bring us the truth.

      George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Thanks to Wikileaks, we know that powerful institutions have been abusing their power and lying to the public. For example, redacted State Department communications published by Wikileaks revealed that Secretary Clinton identified Saudi Arabia as a leading funding source for terrorist groups around the time she approved a whopping $29 billion arms deal with the Saudi dictatorship.

      Wikileaks courageously published the infamous “Collateral Murder” video showing an American helicopter gunning down Iraqi civilians, Viewed over 15 million times on Youtube alone, it revealed just one of the many shocking war crimes whitewashed as “collateral damage” by the US government.

      Wikileaks’ stunning revelations of how top Democratic National Committee officials conspired to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, in collusion with the media, shattered the illusion of a fair electoral process and confirmed what millions Americans already knew in their gut: we live under a rigged political system.

      What Wikileaks actually does — to political parties, the military, and other powerful entities — is pull back the curtain of censorship, spin, and deception to show the public what’s really going on. Unlike pundits in the mainstream media, Wikileaks doesn’t tell us what to think. They invite us to read the emails, watch the footage, and decide for ourselves.

      The political and economic elite, used to controlling information, see this unprecedented transparency as a tremendous threat. They have mercilessly persecuted a series of heroic whistleblowers. Chelsea Manning, convicted of leaking the Collateral Murder video among other revealing materials, was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Jill Stein Speaks With Victims of Louisiana’s Catastrophic Flood—and Those Trying to Help Them

      In a concluding clip, Stein thanked everyone who had shown up to help the people of Denham Springs recover. Local activist Le’Kedra Robertson said local children won’t be able to return to school until December and invited viewers to come to Denham Springs and contribute physical labor to help residents get back on their feet.

      “If you walk through these streets of Denham Springs, where I grew up, there aren’t any FEMA or other resources that are coming except for people who have compassionate hearts who are fixing lunches and putting boots on the ground.”

    • Forest restoration can turn the clock back

      The ecological and carbon cost of rainforest destruction goes on accumulating for years after nations halt the conversion of canopy into farmland, scientists have found.

      This implies that to meet ambitious targets, global strategies to combat climate change – including forest restoration – should have started years ago.

      Tropical forests soak up vast quantities of carbon dioxide released by industrial combustion of fossil fuels, limiting global warming. Burning, clear-felling and ploughing of forest lands release centuries of stored carbon back into the atmosphere to accelerate global warming and climate change. So forest conservation and carbon emissions reduction are both vital parts of any strategies to contain global temperature rises.

    • Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers: Race and Class Gap Widening

      Hurricane Katrina hit eleven years ago. Population of the City of New Orleans is down by over 95,000 people from 484,674 in 2000 to 389,617 in 2015. Almost all this loss of people is in the African American community. Child poverty is up, double the national average. The gap between rich and poor in New Orleans is massive, the largest in the country. The economic gap between well off whites and low income African Americans is widening. Despite receiving $76 billion in assistance after Katrina, it is clear that poor and working people in New Orleans, especially African Americans, got very little of that help. Here are the numbers.

    • New Study Shows How Clinging to Nuclear Power Means Climate Failure

      While it’s been touted by some energy experts as a so-called “bridge” to help slash carbon emissions, a new study suggests that a commitment to nuclear power may in fact be a path towards climate failure.

      For their study, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies grouped European countries by levels of nuclear energy usage and plans, and compared their progress with part of the European Union’s (EU) 2020 Strategy.

      That 10-year strategy (pdf), proposed in 2010, calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by least 20 percent compared to 1990 levels and increasing the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption to 20 percent.

      The researchers found that “progress in both carbon emissions reduction and in adoption of renewables appears to be inversely related to the strength of continuing nuclear commitments.”

      For the study, the authors looked at three groupings. First is those with no nuclear energy. Group 1 includes Denmark, Ireland, and Portugal. Group 2, which counts Germany and Sweden among its members, includes those with some continuing nuclear commitments, but also with plans to decommission existing nuclear plants. The third group, meanwhile, includes countries like Hungary and the UK which have plans to maintain current nuclear units or even expand nuclear capacity.

    • Report Shows Whopping $8.8 Trillion Climate Tab Being Left for Next Generation

      “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children,” is an oft-quoted proverb, frequently used to explain the importance of environmental preservation. Unsaid, however, is how much it will impact the next generation if the Earth is bequeathed in a lesser state.

      Environmental campaigners NextGen Climate and public policy group Demos published a new study that attempts to quantify the true cost of not addressing climate change to the millennial generation and their children.

      The Price Tag of Being Young: Climate Change and Millennials’ Economic Future (pdf) compares some of the high costs millennials will face in the “new inequality economy”—such as student debt, child care costs, stagnant wages, as well as financial and job insecurity—against the fiscal impacts of unmitigated global warming.

      “The fact is,” the report states, “unchecked climate change will impose heavy costs on millennials and subsequent generations, both directly in the form of reduced incomes and wealth, and indirectly through likely higher tax bills as extreme weather, rising sea levels, drought, heat-related health problems, and many other climate change-related problems take their toll on our society.”

    • Water Is Life, Oil Is Death: The People vs. the Bakken Pipeline in Iowa and the Dakotas

      The American version of democracy focuses on elections and candidates. As the venerable left intellectual Noam Chomsky observed in June, “Citizenship means every four years you put a mark somewhere and you go home and let other guys run the world. It’s a very destructive ideology … a way of making people passive, submissive objects.” Chomsky added that we “ought to teach kids that elections take place, but that’s not [all of] politics.” There’s also the more urgent and serious politics of popular social movements and direct action beneath and beyond the election cycle.

      We might refine Chomsky’s maxim to read “and let rich guys run the world into the ground” or “let rich guys ruin the world.” With anthropogenic (really “capitalogenic”) global warming, the nation and world’s corporate and financial oligarchs are bringing the planet to the brink of an epic ecosystem collapse.

      We might also put some meat on the bones of Chomsky’s pedagogical advice by “teach[ing] kids” about the people’s politics being practiced in the upper Midwest and northern Great Plains by citizen activists fighting to help avert ecological calamity by blocking construction of what North Dakota Sioux leader David Archambault II calls “a black snake” of “greed.” The snake in question is the planet-baking Dakota Access/Bakken pipeline, what Iowa activists call “The Next Keystone XL.”

    • Fire crews battling late summer blazes

      A fire swept through a pine forest in Moura, just over the Algarve border in the Alentejo on Saturday morning.

      Pine, grassland and scrub were consumed before 82 firefighters brought the blaze under control and extinguished it.

      Two aircraft were used to dump water on the fire with 26 vehicles supporting ground operations.

      Last week there was a fire in the Algarve at Luz da Tavira in which a pasture area and an orchard were damaged before Tavira and Olhão fire teams prevented the fire from spreading.

      Portugal’s weather service has kept 13 municipalities in the districts of Castelo Branco, Faro, Guarda, Leiria and Santarém on high fire risk.

  • Finance

    • Brexit Diary: the clash of political will and reality, continued

      The story of Brexit is about the clash of political will (the referendum result and express government policy) and the realities of trade, devolution, and government capability. All because the government wants something to happen, it cannot just be made to happen.

    • National borders are ‘the worst invention ever’, says EC chief Jean-Claude Juncker

      National borders are “the worst invention ever”, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has claimed.

      The comments by Brussels’ top official were dismissed by Theresa May, whose spokeswoman said “it is not something that the Prime Minister would agree with”.

    • Brexit latest: UK Government asserts right to set tax rates after Swedish Prime Minister warns against EU ‘tax war’

      Downing Street has asserted its right to set tax rates after an EU leader warned Britain against “aggressiveness” in slashing business levies during Brexit talks.

      A Number 10 spokeswoman said it is up to each member state how they set their taxes, following the comments made by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven.

      The exchange highlights a potential conflict point in EU negotiations, with Britain seeking to boost growth through lower corporate levies while also trying not to aggravate EU states concerned about a ‘tax war’.

      Chancellor Philip Hammond has already said he is ready to bolster the British economy with corporate tax cuts and other measures if need be.

    • With Both Presidential Candidates Claiming To Be Against The TPP, President Obama Kicks Off Campaign To Ratify It

      Even as the candidate that President Obama is supporting, Hillary Clinton, has been increasingly insisting that she really (no, really) is against the TPP (despite being for it prior to this campaign) — and even as Donald Trump has been vehemently against it, despite trade agreements usually getting strong support from the GOP — President Obama is making a big push to get the TPP ratified by Congress. It needs a majority vote in both houses of Congress to be ratified in the US. Last week, we noted the weird situation where everyone’s position on the agreement appeared to be wishy-washy, though mostly for all the wrong reasons.

    • Obama Is Pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership So Clinton Won’t Have To (Video)

      President Obama is rushing to pass the sovereignty-crushing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the lame duck session of Congress in order to save Hillary Clinton from revealing that she supports it, which she’ll have to do if she wins the White House, says Cenk Uygur of “The Young Turks.”

    • Virgin Trains East Coast strikes to be held in August

      Workers on Virgin Trains East Coast are to stage three 24-hour strikes this month, including one on Bank Holiday Monday, the RMT union has said.

      Members will walk out from 03:00 BST on 19, 26 and 29 August and ban overtime for 48 hours from 27 August, in a row over cuts, work conditions and safety.

      The RMT said the dispute involved about 1,800 members, saying Virgin Trains was trying to “bulldoze” through changes.

    • Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”

      August 22, 2016, was the twentieth anniversary of the day President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which replaced the income safety net for poor single mothers and their children with temporary, disciplinary, punitive relief. While this so-called reform of welfare did reduce the welfare rolls, it did not stanch the poverty of single mothers or improve the well-being of their children. The failure of 1990s welfare reform to enhance economic security and opportunity is reason to dedicate this anniversary to rethinking and revising our national approach to poverty.

      It is time to end this version of “welfare as we know it” by creating a system of income support that makes the dignity and equality of low income mothers a preeminent policy value, while respecting and supporting the role of caregiving in family well-being.

      Future policy should restore income support for low-income caregivers by renovating welfare policy in a way that restores the right of each caregiving parent to figure out her own balance between family work and wage work. We need not catalog here the numerous and familiar ways the key features of welfare 1990s reform — work requirements, time limits, family sanctions, fertility control pressures, and marriage promotion — suppress the economic empowerment and wellbeing of low-income single-mother families.

    • Clinton’s Transition Team: A Corporate Presidency Foretold

      Like other Bernie Sanders delegates in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, I kept hearing about the crucial need to close ranks behind Hillary Clinton. “Unity” was the watchword. But Clinton has reaffirmed her unity with corporate America.

      Rhetoric aside, Clinton is showing her solidarity with the nemesis of the Sanders campaign—Wall Street. The trend continued last week with the announcement that Clinton has tapped former senator and Interior secretary Ken Salazar to chair her transition team.

      After many months of asserting that her support for the “gold standard” Trans-Pacific Partnership was a thing of the past—and after declaring that she wants restrictions on fracking so stringent that it could scarcely continue—Clinton has now selected a vehement advocate for the TPP and for fracking, to coordinate the process of staffing the top of her administration.

      But wait, there’s more—much more than Salazar’s record—to tell us where the planning for the Hillary Clinton presidency is headed.

    • The Scourge of Neoliberalism: Why the Democratic Party Is Failing the Poor

      When Democrats began their rightward lurch in the late 1960′s, they were not content to merely broaden their coalition in order to quell the rise of the ultra-reactionary right; they have been concerned, also, with preventing left-wing insurgencies that could spook their patrons and push the party left.

      After Ronald Reagan’s decisive victories — first in 1980 against an incumbent president whose administration had, in many ways, fueled the neoliberal turn, and again in 1984 — the efforts of Democrats eager to transform the party, both superficially and ideologically, intensified.

    • Escalating the War on Low-Income Families

      Illinois Governor Rauner recently cut “Meals on Wheels” for seniors and at-risk youth services. Chicago residents were hit with a nearly 13% property tax increase. Some Chicago public schools could face 2017 cutbacks of an incredible 20 percent.

      But six of Illinois’ largest corporations together paid ALMOST ZERO state income taxes this year. Full payment of their taxes would have exceeded the $1.1 billion Chicago Public School deficit.

      It’s much the same around the nation, as 25 of the largest U.S. corporations, with over $150 billion in U.S. profits last year, paid less than 20% in federal taxes, and barely 1% in the state taxes that are vitally important for K-12 education.

    • ‘I wasn’t crazy.’ A homeless woman’s long war to prove the feds owe her $100,000.

      If you’ve spent any time in downtown Washington, you’ve probably seen 80-year-old Wanda Witter.

      Shock white hair, a determined, unsmiling set to her mouth, jeans. She may have asked you for some change and probably didn’t smile if you gave her some. This month you may have also been taken aback by the black eye and stitches across her face.

      For years, Witter bedded down for the night at 13th and G streets NW, on the concrete in her blue sleeping bag, pulled up tight to keep the rats and cockroaches out. Her tower of three suitcases was stacked on her handcart and bike-locked to the patio chairs next to her.

      She may have even told you that inside those bags is all the paperwork to prove the government owes her more than $100,000. And she was right.

    • John Oliver on How Charter Schools Around the Country Have Been Allowed to Run Wild (Video)

      “The problem with letting the free market decide when it comes to kids,” the “Last Week Tonight” host said in his commentary on publicly funded, privately run schools, “is that kids change faster than the market. And by the time it’s obvious a school is failing, futures may have been ruined.”

    • Students across Finland protest cuts to vocational education

      Students across the country took to the streets Monday to protest government cuts to education programmes. Organisations representing institutions, students and teachers are calling on the government to postpone or soften plans to slash up to 190 million euros from funding for the schools next year.

    • Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success

      Investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and J.P. Morgan, philanthropies such as the Rockefeller Foundation, politicians such as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Massachusetts former governor and now Bain Capital Managing Director Deval Patrick, and elite universities such as Harvard have been aggressively promoting Pay for Success (also known as Social Impact Bonds) as a solution to intractable financial and political problems facing public education and other public services. In these schemes investment banks pay for public services to be contracted out to private providers and stand to earn much more money than the cost of the service. For example, Goldman Sachs put up $16.6 million to fund an early childhood education program in Chicago yet it is getting more than $30 million (Sanchez, 2016) from the city. While Pay for Success is only at its early stages in the United States, the Rockefeller Foundation and Merrill Lynch estimate that by 2020, market size for impact investing will reach between $400 billion to $1 trillion (Quinton, 2015). The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2016, the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, directs federal dollars to incentivize these for profit educational endeavors significantly legitimizing and institutionalizing them.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein visits Baton Rouge amid presidential campaign

      Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein arrived in Baton Rouge on Sunday (Aug. 21) to visit the flood-struck region and assist with relief efforts for residents, according to a news release. She planned to stay through Monday (Aug. 22) and said via Twitter that she would live-stream her activities in Denham Springs that morning from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Facebook.

      On Sunday, Stein said she was scheduled to meet with Louisiana Green Party officials to receive an update on the flooding’s impacts and discuss how her campaign might help mobilize more aid resources. For Monday, she pledged to help Green Party volunteers gut houses and stave off water damage in affected areas.

      The news release also said Stein would discuss her experiences later in the week at a press conference in Washington DC, highlighting the need for emergency action on climate change.

    • Louisiana floods a ‘crisis of climate change’ say Greens

      The Green Party presidential candidate has described the flooding in the US state of Louisiana as “a crisis of climate change”.

      Dr Jill Stein spoke as she surveyed the wreckage from the disaster, which has killed at least 13 people and displaced thousands more.

      A week on, more than 2,800 people remain in shelters unable to return to their wrecked homes.

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump also visited this week.

      President Barack Obama has been criticised for not breaking off his holiday last week but he will come on Tuesday.

      Dr Stein stood in front of a home gutted by the rains in Denham Springs to deliver her message on global warming.

      “We see the Louisiana flood as further evidence of the global crisis posed by climate change,” the Green Party released in a statement.

    • New York Times Edited Bernie Sanders Article For Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

      Emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee reveal that Nicholas Confessore suppressed information about Hillary Clinton’s victory fund in an article he wrote about Bernie Sanders. The New York Times political correspondent made the omissions at the request of Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer, Marc E. Elias, and DNC officials.

      The emails, published by Wikileaks, also appear to show that Confessore made other edits to the article at the request of former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz. After Confessore’s revisions, DNC National Press Secretary Mark Paustenbach suggested that the DNC Chairwoman grant an off-the-record interview to a group of New York Times writers.

      In an email to Paustenbach, Miranda writes, “We were able to keep him from including more on the JVF, it has a mention in there, but between us and a conversation he had with Marc Elias he finally backed off from focusing too much on that.”

    • Consultant Raised Cash for Hillary Clinton, Used Access to Seek Meeting for Coal Giant, Emails Reveal

      In 2009, when St. Louis-based coal company Peabody Energy was aiming for rapid expansion into Mongolia, China, and other international markets, it sought an audience with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss its global vision.

      In April of that year, an official with Peabody reached out to the State Department to request a formal meeting. The request was denied, so Peabody leaned on its lobbying team to intervene on the issue. In June, two months after Peabody’s formal request, Joyce Aboussie, a political consultant working for Peabody, wrote to Clinton aide Huma Abedin to ask that Clinton meet with Peabody executives as a personal favor.

      “Huma, I need your help now to intervene please. We need this meeting with Secretary Clinton, who has been there now for nearly six months,” Aboussie wrote. “It should go without saying that the Peabody folks came to Dick and I because of our relationship with the Clinton’s,” she added.

    • Hillary Clinton’s ‘Pivot’ or ‘Spin’?

      To stave off Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton became a born-again progressive, critical of trade deals and tough on fracking, but her preparations for a presidential transition presage a pro-corporate and hawkish administration, says Norman Solomon.

    • ‘It’s a Kind of Original Sin of the Modern Democratic Party’

      Looking back, a New York Times “Retro Report” this May treated as novel the recognition that though welfare rolls were reduced in the wake of the Act, poverty was not, that for those who could find jobs, wages were insufficient to lift them from poverty, and that “all too often they had a hard time staying employed when the economy soured.” The piece also says that those using assistance “found themselves…characterized as loafers and cheats”—with no hint of just who was broadcasting such characterizations.

      Well, none of this is news to the many who criticized the Act, at the time and ever since. The question is what will we do about it. Those who remember the welfare reform debate remember that it centered on unmarried women with children, overwhelmingly depicted as women of color. Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter said that to this group of poor mothers could be traced “every threat to the fabric of this country.” Diane Sawyer said, “To many people, these girls are public enemy No. 1.” Low-income women were and are the target of so-called reform, so if we’re really reconsidering it, shouldn’t we start with them?

    • Nicholas Schou, Alexander Zaitchik, and David Talbot

      Mickey speaks with two authors in the new “Hot Books” series. First, Nicholas Schou discusses “Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood.” Then Alexander Zaitchik describes his study of Trump voters, “Gilded Rage: A Wild Ride Through Donald Trump’s America.” Also on hand for the hour is author David Talbot, the founder and editorial director of Hot Books; he explains its mission, and describes some of the other titles in the Hot Books series.

    • Trump’s White Supremacist Factor

      America has been a nation of white male supremacists from Day One. They “bought” Manhattan Island from the Indians for $24. They safeguarded slavery in the Constitution. They bought the Louisiana Purchase from the French but stole the land from the Indians, and then took the Southwest from the Mexicans. They settled what was left of the Indians on reservations in the most uninhabitable land on the continent where they live in poverty inconceivable to the rest of us.

      White males have nonetheless done some great and noble things. When they declared our independence from England, they could have said, “Get out of our hair; we can make more money without you.” Instead, they wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    • Donald Trump’s undocumented deportation pledge called into question

      A central promise of Donald Trump’s campaign – to deport 11 million undocumented people – came into question on Sunday, with a series of conflicting reports and equivocations on the Republican nominee’s long-held, hardline stance on immigration.

    • Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion

      Meryl Streep must be a very intelligent woman to be such a good actress. So it was embarrassing to see her dressed in an American flag playing cheer leader for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic Convention. One must suppose that she is too busy studying for all her varied movie roles to have learned much about the sinister nature of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy. She proclaimed that President Hillary Clinton would be “making history” simply by being a woman. That means symbolic history. The fact that President Hillary Clinton is more likely to make real history by starting another war even more disastrous than those she has already helped get us into seems not to have occurred to Meryl Streep.

      Nor does it occur to millions of other American women who share the same illusion.

      Those women are thinking too much in terms of symbols and images. They are ignoring the major issue facing the United States: whether to make peace or war. They don’t worry that the imminent conflict with the other major nuclear power, Russia, might affect themselves, their families, the world and the future. They feel that they will somehow personally benefit from the election of a woman to the U.S. Presidency.

    • Trump vs. Clinton: It’s All About the Debates

      Conventional wisdom says Donald Trump is going to lose, and lose big.

      You see it everywhere in corporate media. Republican Party insiders are bereft and in denial, simultaneously refusing to accept the reality that their party is facing the possibility of catastrophic defeats in races all over the country this fall; indeed, some pundits say Trump marks the beginning of the end of the GOP. The New York Times is running a 24-7 odds placement that puts Hillary Clinton’s chances of victory at 86% against his 14%.

    • Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’

      Although Hillary Clinton selected Tim Kaine as her Vice President in this campaign, her true running mate might very well be her vagina. Indeed, while Clinton’s support continues to be among the lowest for any Democratic nominee in recent memory, she has managed to position her gender as a focal point of her campaign, a move intended to capture the women’s vote among liberals and conservatives alike. And, considering her opponent is Donald Trump, a man seen by millions of women as a misogynistic loudmouth, she has done this quite successfully.

      But beyond the political window-dressing and empty rhetoric, Clinton’s record on women and families should not only lose her the support of American women, it should qualify her as one of the most anti-woman candidates in history. For while modest progress has been made toward some semblance of gender equality, it is the actions of Clinton herself that have done more than any other single individual to harm women and families. Slick public relations aside, Hillary Clinton may very well be the most anti-woman candidate in generations.

    • What Does It Mean When War Hawks Say, “Never Trump”?

      Keep in mind that this is just a taste of the CVs of this list of 50 Republican foreign policy and national security luminaries who took out after The Donald.

      With any luck, between his indirect call to assassinate his opponent and the latest news about his campaign director Paul Manafort’s shady Ukraine connections, we have now reached Peak Trump. With supporters bolting on all sides, it’s just possible that we won’t have Trump to kick around forever.

      But we shouldn’t forget that the party that made Trump possible is also the home of the crooks, liars, and war criminals now eager to disown him. The enemies of our enemy are not our — or the world’s — friends.

      Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes (Hot Books). Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua.

      Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

    • A Slow River Flows Through the Campaigns

      That’s pretty extreme for elite academics—to say that science is pointing us back toward religion. The Ehrlichs believe that we are stuck in the essential inaction of right-thinking, spinning speeches, wonkyness, clicktavism, lobbying and marketing, i. e. modern politics—as the Earth heats up. In the Church of Stop Shopping we agree, we need to break out of these repetitions. And cut out the patriarch and invite in the Earth. Amen?

      The Ehrlichs bold move reminds me of Dr. Cornel West’s stop-everything sermons at the last months’ Democrat platform hearings. He froze the Clinton professionals with dread. Dr. West spoke openly of the soul, prophecy, the agony of Gaza, and what it means to hesitate with your morals, as if to warn the Clinton professionals that they would be depressed by their hack work.

      The video footage of that panel is fascinating. I felt like the Earth was to about crush the room in the triangle between the preacher and Deborah “water is sacred to my people” Parker and Bill “we need bicycles in the suburbs” McKibben. Debbie Wasserman retired to a back room behind her staring eyes as Gaia’s wind and waves and wildfires seemed to sing to her from multiple faces. And then she voted for fracking, Monsanto, and TPP.

    • Why These Latinas are Voting for the Green Party’s Jill Stein in the Presidential Election

      Despite what mainstream media might have you believing, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton aren’t the country’s only presidential options. This is good news, considering Americans nominated the two most-disliked candidates for commander in chief in U.S. history. Among those frustrated are Latinxs, who definitely can’t support Trump’s blatant racism and xenophobia but are also side-eyeing Clinton for her perpetuation of systemic violence, particularly impacting communities of color at home and abroad.

      That’s why these Latinas are planning to vote for the Green Party’s Jill Stein in the November election. Ahead, they share why they are supporting the physician-activist-politician.

    • Hillary Clinton Should Follow Jill Stein’s Lead In Louisiana

      On Sunday, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein traveled to Baton Rouge to help out with relief and rebuilding efforts following more than a week of intense flooding in Louisiana. She joined local Green Party members to visit displaced residents in and around Baton Rouge, and posted videos online explaining how her supporters could help with disaster relief efforts. President Obama is also expected to arrive in Louisiana on Tuesday after Donald Trump’s recent high-profile visit to Baton Rouge, but Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced that the Democratic nominee would only travel to Louisiana “at a time when the presence of a political campaign will not disrupt the response.” However, Clinton should follow Stein’s lead in helping with relief efforts on the ground.

      That’s not to say that Clinton hasn’t addressed the situation in Louisiana. She reportedly called Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards late last week, and a post on her official Facebook page urged her supporters to donate to the Red Cross and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. “My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can’t afford any distractions,” the post read. “The very best way this team can help is to make sure Louisianans have the resources they need.”

    • I’m a Bernie backer and I refuse to support Hillary

      I mean, why pick a pro-life, pro-offshore-drilling, pro-TPP white male as your vice president if you want to unify with Sanders supporters?

      It’s clear why: Because Clinton cannot represent the progressive vote and, guess what? Neither can the Democratic Party. Not anymore.

      Now, maybe you’re thinking that it’s Clinton and her crony politics that are the problem, not the entire Democratic Party. I’ll give you that. It’s not the entire party. It’s just too much of the party to make staying and fighting worth it.

      It’s like a good friend of mine says: It’s an abusive relationship. You know it is so unhealthy to stay with this abusive person and that you deserve better. You know in reality that this person are not going to change. Yet, you stay.

      Why? Fear is at the core.

      You stay, that is, until that magical day when enough is enough. Well guess what, my friends? That day has come. Hope can be a beautiful thing. Hope can also be extremely destructive and blinding.

      For me, that moment came when the DNC and Wasserman Schultz colluded against Sanders, stacking the deck against him and manipulating the odds in favor of Clinton during the Democratic primary. That was the moment when enough really became enough. Clinton and the entire Democratic establishment are antithetical to the foundation of the United States and to true progressive values.

      Now, don’t get me wrong. By all means, support your down-ticket Berniecrats and progressives. However, I really think it’s time that we revolutionaries shift away from the two-party system, because honestly, both parties are just destructive tidal waves of corruption — tidal waves that, this time, climate change is not responsible for.

    • As She Rakes in the Cash, Clinton Fundraisers Still Shrouded in Secrecy

      Hillary Clinton spent the weekend fundraising in affluent New England communities, speaking to more than 2,200 donors at private brunches and gatherings in Nantucket and Cape Cod—but what she told them “remains a mystery,” the Associated Press reported Monday.

      The fundraising effort—which follows her campaign’s most lucrative month so far with a $63 million gain in July—underscores Clinton’s continued evasion of transparency over her ties to wealthy elites. In fact, of the roughly 300 fundraising events she has held since announcing her White House run in April 2015, only five have allowed any press coverage, and Clinton has attempted to ban the use of social media among guests, according to the AP.

    • The Populist Uprising Isn’t Over; It’s Only Just Begun

      But Frank is waving the white flag when the struggle has only just begun. One needn’t have illusions or hopes about a Hillary Clinton presidency to think that the old order can’t be sustained. Both elites and dissenters tend, I believe, to underestimate the scope and the devastation of the establishment failure both at home and abroad.

      America is a rich country, awash in entertainment. People have little time and few outlets for real political education. Labor and the left are weak. The Democratic Party is a fundraising and recruitment machine, not a source of political education. The truly desperate tend to be isolated, locked up and kept out of sight.

      But what we’ve seen in this election — and in the elections of 2008 and 2012 – is that Americans are catching onto the game. They are working harder and losing ground. They suffered through the Great Recession, and have witnessed the wars without end and without victory. They’ve seen their kids graduate from college and come back home burdened by debt. Poor people of color are in many cities more segregated and in worse condition than they were in the Jim Crow South. They are casting about for a change.

    • Missing: FBI files linking Hillary Clinton to the ‘suicide’ of White House counsel Vince Foster have vanished from the National Archives

      Documents describing Hillary Clinton’s role in the death of White House counsel Vince Foster have vanished, Daily Mail Online has learned after an extensive investigation

    • Trickle Down Election Economics: How Big Money Can Affect Small Races

      At a press event in Kingston, New York, a Hudson Valley community about 90 miles north of Manhattan, the local Democratic congressional candidate, Zephyr Teachout, earlier this month called for a debate. But not with her Republican opponent, John Faso.

      Instead she issued the challenge to two high-rolling hedge fund bosses who back him.

      [...]

      “When someone writes a $500,000 check they don’t do it out of the goodness of their heart, continued Teachout, a Fordham University law professor who literally wrote the book on political quid pro quos: In 2014, her Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United, laid out a strong argument for what she calls “prophylactic” anti-corruption laws that focus on preventing the circumstances that give rise to corruption rather than prosecuting it after the fact.

    • Powell talks Clinton emails: ‘Her people are trying to pin it on me’
    • Why Colin Powell is a bad enemy for Hillary Clinton to make
    • The FBI found 15,000 emails Hillary Clinton didn’t turn over. Uh oh.
    • Clinton emails recovered by FBI to be released just before election day
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • KickassTorrents ‘Front Company’ Disappears From Web

      According to the United States Government, KickassTorrents was operated through Cryptoneat, an alleged “front company” located in Ukraine. Now, however, Cryptoneat’s web’s presence is no more. In addition to the disappearance of its website, the company’s main domain has just expired.

    • How Facebook censors your posts (FAQ)

      Facebook doesn’t disclose how many times people post, how many live videos are streamed or how many posts it’s deleted. It has said it’s responded to about 20,000 law enforcement requests over a five-month period last year.

      Activists say Facebook needs to more clearly spell out policies, particularly after what happened with Gaines.

    • Groups question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on why Korryn Gaines’ account was shut down

      The following video depicts a confrontation between Baltimore County Police and Korryn Gaines during a standoff on Monday, August 1.

    • Police Continue to Withhold Information in Case of Korryn Gaines

      In Maryland, Baltimore County police say they will continue to withhold the names of the officers involved in the August 1 shooting of Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old African-American mother shot by police in her apartment after an hours-long standoff. The officer who shot Gaines has been assigned to administrative duties. There is body camera footage of the standoff prior to the shooting, but police claim there is no footage of the shooting itself. Gaines live-streamed the beginning of the standoff on Facebook, before Facebook responded to a police request to shut down Gaines’s account. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and activists have both questioned official police accounts of the shooting. Gaines’s five-year-old son, Kodi, was also injured by police gunfire. This is Gaines’s cousin, Creo Brady, speaking last week at her funeral.

    • India Criminalizes Merely Visiting A Copyright Infringing ‘Blocked’ Site

      The Indian film industry has long had a complicated relationship with piracy. After all, India’s Bollywood regularly produces the most films of any other country in the world (it’s often neck and neck with Nigeria). That seems to be a sign that the market is pretty healthy. After all, filmmakers keep telling us that piracy is going to destroy their reasons for making films… and yet here’s a market that’s making tons and tons of films (many of which are excellent). And, as we’ve noted in the past, the film studios in India are making lots of money, in part because they’re competing effectively against piracy. And, then you even have some Indian filmmakers who recognize that piracy helps spread the message of their films to a wider audience.

      And yet… because it’s (oooooh! scary!) “piracy,” there will always be some who freak out and come up with bad ideas. Apparently, one of those bad ideas is now the law. After already putting in place dumb site blocking laws that force ISPs, under court order, to block access to sites deemed hubs of infringement, the Indian government now says that getting around one of those blocks (hi there, VPN user!) is a criminal act that could get you three years in jail.

      “What are you in for?” “Me? I used a VPN to access Archive.org.”

      Think I’m joking? The Internet Archive was included in the ban list. As was GitHub and Vimeo.

    • Turkish journalists honour international organisations

      The Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC) on Thursday gave a 2016 Press Freedom Award to a coalition of international organisations, including Index on Censorship, that have worked in concert since last year to support journalists in the country and fight an ongoing deterioration in the state of press freedom.

      “Press freedom cannot be taken for granted in any country and requires us to be constantly vigilant. As the post-coup crackdown continues, Index’s project Mapping Media Freedom is registering threats to the media, as well as publishing work from censored journalists, to help bring international attention to the issues. Index is grateful to be recognised for its work on behalf of the journalists of Turkey,” Rachael Jolley, deputy chief executive of Index on Censorship said.

    • Donald Trump Has Freed Up Journalists’ Ability To Call Bullshit; But It Won’t Last, Nor Extend To Others

      The question is what does this actually mean for journalism? Goodwin, at the Post, sees this as the downfall of journalism. The fact that the media will actually call someone out on their lies is seen as “bias” because it’s not done equally to other candidates. Klein sees this as a temporary state of being — because most other candidates will return to their truthy wrongness with the press happy to eat that up, with nothing more than a “he said/she said” type of false equivalency when there’s some question about the facts.

      Another writer, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, more or less agrees with Goodwin that this is somehow freeing the press up to be biased, after noting how much he disagrees with Trump — but worries about the press feeling emboldened.

    • Did The NY Times Give Up Its Journalism Standards The Second Facebook Threw A Few Million Its Way?

      Last month, we discussed how Facebook was apparently forking over truckloads of cash to various media companies to get them to use Facebook Live, the company’s new livestreaming video platform. This arrangement struck us as odd — and potentially an FTC violation, in that these media companies are basically promoting and endorsing Facebook’s product, after getting paid millions of dollars, without ever disclosing the payments and the relationship. That seems… questionable. Apparently the two largest recipients of the cash were Buzzfeed and the NY Times, who each got over $3 million to stream these videos. Buzzfeed, for its part, has embraced the ridiculousness of this situation with Buzzfeedian gusto, putting on stunts like livestreaming exploding a watermelon with rubberbands. But that’s kind of what you’d expect from Buzzfeed.

      The NY Times, on the other hand, is a bit of a different beast. The newspaper likes to pride itself on being serious, careful, thoughtful journalism. And while that’s often a lot more what the people there tell themselves than reality, it does raise some questions about what the NY Times is doing with that $3+ million and how journalistic it is. Apparently, I’m not the only one to wonder about this, as the NY Times recently appointed public editor, Liz Spayd, is concerned about what the NY Times is doing here as well.

    • Anti-Piracy Operations Are Fabricating Links To Non-Existent Torrents In DMCA Notices

      Okay, so you can see how this happened. The anti-piracy groups understood just enough about how the torrent cache sites worked, that they automated sending takedowns based on torrent hashes on the assumption that those torrents would also show up via the cache sites. Okay, understandable. But here’s the problem: they never checked to see if those links ever existed. Hell, it sounds like they never even visited Zoink.it again for at least the past two years.

      And yet they sent takedowns for links there.

      So how can these companies actually claim that they know these “files” are infringing, when they clearly never even checked the links, let alone the fact that the site they’re accusing of infringement, hasn’t even been up for two years?

      The TorrentFreak article notes that this is not a one-off thing. They found other anti-piracy groups sending takedowns for more non-existent torrents on the same non-existing sites. We know that these fly-by-night operations don’t bother to check the files to see if they’re actually infringing material, but now we know they don’t even seem to check to see if sites or links ever actually existed in the first place.

    • Gawker to Shut Down Next Week

      In media news, the digital outlet Gawker will shut down next week. Gawker was ordered to pay $140 million in a lawsuit for publishing a sex tape of wrestler Hulk Hogan. Hogan’s lawsuit was financially backed by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who was outed as gay by a now-defunct Gawker blog.

    • Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law

      The BBC has made much of a report from Demos warning that thousands of ‘Islamophobic’ tweets are sent in English every day. But the researchers, like everybody else who uses the term, have totally failed to define what ‘Islamophobia’ actually means.

      The research by Demos into ‘Islamophobia’ was reported by the BBC under the headline “Islamophobic tweets ‘peaked in July’”. From reading the BBC report you might imagine that 7,000 bigoted and anti-Muslim tweets were sent every day in July.

      In fact, Demos have inadvertently set out what has been warned of for many years; that ‘Islamophobia’ is a nonsense word with sinister implications.

      On reading the report it is clear that the Demos research isn’t just focused on anti-Muslim tweets, or bigotry against Muslims, but, as they define it in their research paper, “anti-Islamic ideas”.

      [...]

      Anti-Muslim bigotry and criticism of Islam are separate phenomenon, they may overlap, there are some who engage in both, but it is methodologically meaningless to consider both of these things in one term. That is why Demos’ researchers found ‘Islamophobia’ “challenging” to define.

      What they have produced is therefore subjective, as Demos admit: “Ultimately, this research comes down to the judgement of the researchers involved.”

      Demos argue that Islamic terror attacks drive ‘Islamophobic’ tweets. Perhaps challenging Islamism would therefore be a good place to start if you want to cut anti-Muslim bigotry off at the source?

      The implications of this term’s use are very unsettling. The moral equivalence that is being drawn, increasingly, between abuse against Muslims, and the robust criticism of an idea (Islam), poses an immense threat to freedom of speech.

    • Nation Mirror calls on authorities not to censor their work

      The Nation Mirror newspaper has issued a statement complaining of “censorship and repression” after authorities in Juba on Thursday demanded that an article be removed from the paper, leading to suspension of printing in order to avoid confiscation of papers the following morning.

      The newspaper did not appear on news stands on Sunday. Censors in Juba had deemed a report about Riek Machar’s escape from South Sudan to Congo to sensitive for publication.

    • How To Escape The Challenges Of Internet Censorship

      Internet censorship is a barrier while enjoying the benefits of internet technology. This censorship is for the safety and welfare of the internet users. Yet, you cannot ignore that the process is a distraction. This article will discuss the probable ways as how to avoid censorship on the Internet.

    • Defeating Turkey’s censorship is a US national security interest
    • Wikipedia co-founder gets his Twitter account hacked
    • Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales’ Twitter account hacked
    • Wikipedia co-founder’s Twitter account hacked
    • Hacking group OurMine strikes next victim taking over Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales’ Twitter account
    • Twitter account of WikiPedia Founder Jimmy Wales Hacked by OurMine
    • Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales’ Twitter Account Hacked By OurMine
    • OurMine Hacks Twitter Account of Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales
    • Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Hacked
    • Hackers Hit Twitter Account of Wikipedia Co-Founder
    • OurMine hacks Wikipedia co-founder
    • Why the internet thought Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was dead
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The NYPD’s Third ‘Forfeiture’ Option: Call Seized Items ‘Evidence;’ Never Give Them Back

      Clavasquin’s iPhone was seized in the summer of 2015. His case was dismissed in December. The phone is still in the possession of the NYPD while Clavasquin has continued making monthly service contract payments for a phone he can’t use.

      The article points out that this noxious blend of asset seizure and bureaucratic malaise affects “hundreds, if not thousands” of New York City arrestees. The city is now facing a class-action lawsuit over this process, filed by Clavasquin and two others with the help of Brooklyn Defenders. In these cases, neither form of asset forfeiture — civil or criminal — is being used. Instead, the NYPD is tying up possessions seized during arrests in miles of red tape, subverting what would appear from the outside to be a straightforward, two-step process: case dismissed, items returned.

      Even if someone is able to move heaven, earth, and the District Attorney’s office, that’s not the end of the frustration. One thing most arrestees carry often disappears into the evidence locker as well, greatly increasing the difficulty of retrieving possessions.

    • Uncovering a $1 Billion Deal to Detain Unauthorized Immigrants

      Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would phase out its use of private prisons. While significant, the move will not put an end to the booming immigrant detention industry. Private prison companies will continue to receive millions in government contracts to detain unauthorized immigrants.

      Even though private prison companies play a central role in the government’s immigration strategy, the financial dealings between the two are often opaque. In his piece for the Washington Post, reporter Chico Harlan sheds light on one of these secretive arrangements, detailing a $1 billion deal between the Obama Administration and Corrections Corporation of America, also known as CCA, the largest private prison company in the country.

    • Shoot First

      Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show

    • KING: North Carolina police kill unarmed deaf man using sign language

      A North Carolina state trooper shot and killed 29-year-old Daniel Harris — who was not only unarmed, but deaf — just feet from his home, over a speeding violation. According to early reports from neighbors who witnessed the shooting this past Thursday night, Harris was shot and killed “almost immediately” after exiting his vehicle.

      He appeared to be trying to communicate with the officer via sign language.

      “They should’ve de-escalated and been trained to realize that this is an entirely different situation,” neighbor Mark Barringer said. “You’re pulling someone over who is deaf, they are handicapped. To me, what happened is totally unacceptable.”

    • Muslim, American, & Intersectional: The Activism of Linda Sarsour

      TO THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW HER, Linda Sarsour might seem out of place in the lobby of the Public Theater on a blustery January night.

      Sarsour, head of the Arab-American Association of New York, waits patiently to enter the theater’s concert venue, where the folk-and-blues musician Toshi Reagon is to play. A radical lesbian icon, Reagon boasts an incredibly wide-ranging and diverse following. But Sarsour stands out in her brightly colored hijab, the head covering associated with her Muslim faith.

      Anyone familiar with her, though, would not be surprised at all, nor would they be surprised that tonight’s concert is a benefit for Sarsour’s group.

      “One of the reasons I want to support this organization,” Reagon says between songs, donning a “Stop Profiling Muslims” T-shirt, “is that this organization is inclusive. I see them reaching out to all kinds of people.”

    • Police Unions To City Officials: If You Want Good, Accountable Cops, You’ll Need To Pay Them More

      Three police unions in different cities have come forward to insert their feet in their mouths following changes to department policies. The thrust of their terrible arguments? Cops should be paid more for doing their job properly.

      In Cincinnati, officers are being outfitted with body cameras. This, of course, has sent the local Fraternal Order of Police into defense mode. The FOP sent a letter to the city stating that officers won’t be wearing the cameras until they’re given more money. The union apparently believes any increase in officer accountability should be accompanied by an increase in pay.

    • Ramen is displacing tobacco as most popular US prison currency, study finds

      Ramen noodles are overtaking tobacco as the most popular currency in US prisons, according a new study released on Monday.

      A new report by Michael Gibson-Light, a doctoral candidate in the University of Arizona’s school of sociology, found the decline in quality and quantity of food available in prisons due to cost-cutting has made ramen noodles a valuable commodity.

    • Justice Department Plans to Stop Using Private Prisons

      The Department of Justice will stop contracting with private prisons, the department announced Thursday morning. The decision comes a week after the DOJ inspector general released a damning report on the safety, security, and oversight of private prisons, which incarcerate 12 percent of federal inmates.

      The announcement comes on the heels of a Mother Jones investigation of a private prison in Louisiana that found serious deficiencies in staffing and security. It also documented a higher rate of violence than the prison reported. Last week’s DOJ report found that private prisons are more violent than federal prisons.

    • Hats Off To Mother Jones

      The road to Social Security privatization is the “reform” of the consumer price index, which under-measures inflation in order to deny Social Security recipients cost-of-living-adjustments. The continuing decline in the real value of Social Security benefits will result in large-scale economic distress. This distress will be used to discredit the Social Security system and to privatize it.

      Whenever you hear “privatization,” you are hearing the formation of a scam that will create riches for insiders while taking the public to the cleaners.

    • Team GB’s Olympic triumph is testament to the benefits of social democracy

      Team GB’s second place in the Rio medals table is nothing less than staggering. It is only 20 years ago that the squad returned with a solitary gold from Atlanta ’96 clinging on to 36th in the table. This sporting nation is now ranked alongside the Olympian superpowers of USA and China. If it hadn’t been for the partial International Olympic Committee ban on their competitors, Russia would have been in the mix too, but this still remains a remarkable Team GB medal haul.

      Unlike the football World Cup, the Olympics medal table is by and large an indicator of global economic and political power. When it comes to the Olympics, the more you have to plough into sport facilities and training for promising young athletes, the better you’re likely to do. Conversely, the superpower nations of USA, China and Russia have not come close to claiming a single men’s Football World Cup title between them. The Olympics is a different story. So how has Great Britain, not a superpower in the same league, ended up on top of the olympic pile?

    • The Right To Draw Air

      Less than two months after he was filmed hysterically waving his gun and screaming expletives at a bloodied dying Philando Castile, having just killed him for pulling out his ID as instructed during a traffic stop, St. Anthony’s police officer Jeronimo Yanez has returned to work on desk duty. With the shooting still under review, Yanez, 28, was praised by St. Anthony Police Chief Jon Mangseth as a good officer with “a real sound ability when it comes to communicating and relating to people.”

      Outside the St. Anthony’s Police Department last week, Castile’s still-grieving family and friends protested Yanez’ return as “another slap in the face”and “the wrong signal” to send to a black community reeling both locally and nationwide from too many deaths at the hands of racist police. Castile’s mother Valerie charged that police were “trying to sweep (another unjust death) under the rug” but vowed, “We’re not going to let this one go.” Meanwhile, the community has sought to channel their grief and rage by fundraising for a scholarship in Philando’s name at the school where he worked.

    • Virginia Just Took Step to Uproot ‘Tragic History of Voter Suppression’

      Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday restored the voting rights of roughly 13,000 felons—a development aimed at stopping his state from being “an outlier in the struggle for civil and human rights.”

      “The Virginia Constitution is clear,” he said in his announcement at the Civil Rights Memorial on Capitol Square in Richmond. “I have the authority to restore civil rights without limitation.”

      In April, McAuliffe issued an order restoring voting rights to roughly 200,000 convicted felons. The move was widely heralded by civil rights organizations, and it was supported by 61 percent of Virginians. But in July the Supreme Court of Virginia sided with Republican lawmakers and struck down that order, finding that McAuliffe had overstepped his authority.

    • Virginia Restores Right to Vote to Thousands of Ex-Felons

      Nearly 13,000 former felons in Virginia had their right to vote restored Monday—and more could be re-enfranchised in time for the November election.

      Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the rights restoration at a civil-rights memorial in Richmond.

      “Restoring the rights of Virginians who have served their time and live, work and pay taxes in our communities is one of the pressing civil rights issues of our day,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “I have met these men and women and know how sincerely they want to contribute to our society as full citizens again.”

    • The Idea of Peace in the Quran

      Perhaps because it arose during a great seventh-century war between the Byzantine and Iranian empires, peace (al-salam) was a profound concern for the Qur’an. An early chapter (97) of the Qur’an comments on the first revelation given to the prophet, in 610, while he was meditating at a cavern at Mt. Hira near Mecca. It speaks of a descent of angels and of the Holy Spirit on the night of power when the revelation was sent down, ending with the verse “And peace it is, until the breaking of the dawn.” This verse identifies the night of revelation, and therefore the revelation itself, with peace. Peace in Semitic languages like Hebrew and Arabic is not only conceived of as an absence of conflict, but as a positive conception, of well-being. The revelation and recitation of scripture, Chapter 97 is saying, brings inner peace to the believer.

    • Where the Death Penalty Still Lives

      On a Saturday evening in July 2013, just before 6:30, James Rhodes was recorded on a surveillance camera walking into a Metro PCS cellphone store in Jacksonville, Fla. He was wearing a black do-rag and a blue bandanna, which he pulled over his nose and mouth. Shelby Farah, the store manager, stood behind the counter. Rhodes pointed a gun at her and demanded the money in the cash register. Shelby gave it to him. Then Rhodes shot her in the head. She was 20 years old. He was 21.

    • Turkish Journalist Jailed for Terrorism Was Framed, Forensics Report Shows

      Turkish investigative journalist Barış Pehlivan spent 19 months in jail, accused of terrorism based on documents found on his work computer. But when digital forensics experts examined his PC, they discovered that those files were put there by someone who removed the hard drive from the case, copied the documents, and then reinstalled the hard drive.

      The attackers also attempted to control the journalist’s machine remotely, trying to infect it using malicious email attachments and thumb drives. Among the viruses detected in his computer was an extremely rare trojan called Ahtapot, in one of the only times it’s been seen in the wild.

      “We have never seen a computer attacked as ferociously as Barış’s. The attackers seemed to pull everything out of their bag of tricks,” Mark Spencer, digital forensics expert at Arsenal Consulting, said.

    • RAMADAN TRAIN WRECK Muslim train driver crashed after going without food or drink for 15 hours during Ramadan

      The Great Western driver went through a double red light at London’s Paddington Station in June.

      He made an emergency stop after realising his error but the empty train left the tracks, hit a gantry and brought down power lines at 6.12pm.

    • ‘Belmarsh HERO’ Hate preacher Anjem Choudary ‘raising an army of extremists’ behind bars

      The news comes as the Government prepares to launch a crackdown on radicalisation behind bars.

      Choudary, 49, is being held in a single cell inside the most secure part of Belmarsh Prison.

      He has been isolated from the bulk of the jail’s 900 inmates for several months to prevent him from spreading his poisonous ideology.

    • Boy, 8, dies in Swedish hand grenade blast

      Emergency services were called to the building at around 3am when a large explosion was heard from its third floor. At least five children and several adults were inside at the time, said police, and an eight-year-old child who had suffered serious injuries later died in hospital.

      “It could have ended much worse,” said police spokesperson Thomas Fuxborg.

      The incident has been given a preliminary classification of murder/manslaughter by authorities, who also said that individuals convicted of serious violent crimes were living in the residence.

      Police have confirmed that one of the men convicted over a fatal shooting at a restaurant in the area last year was registered at the address. They are investigating revenge as a potential motive.

      “We’ll have to see if the motive is linked to that. Our theory is that it may be,” said Fuxborg.

    • Muslim convert, 35, ‘jumped out of his car to knock out a schoolboy for hugging his girlfriend in the street’

      A Muslim ‘bully’ grabbed a schoolboy by the throat and threw him to the ground because he saw him hugging a girl in the street, a court heard today.

      Michael Coe, 35, was driving through Newham in East London when he spotted the two 16-year-olds cuddling on the pavement, it is claimed.

      He allegedly confronted the pair, demanding to know if they were Muslims, before calling the girl a ‘whore’.

      Coe was said to have grabbed the boy by the throat, causing him to black out, before he woke up bleeding on the floor.

    • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Fires ‘Thousands’ of Government Officials

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Sunday that he would be sacking every member of his administration who was appointed by a previous President. The move — the latest in what Duterte calls a campaign against corruption — is one of several that have left critics troubled over what they say is an excessive wielding of executive power.

      “Until now, in my provincial visits, I still hear that corruption is being committed,” he said in a long press conference in the earliest hours of Sunday morning, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “My mouth is, as they say, lousy. If you are there because of a presidential appointment, I will declare all your positions, all throughout the country, vacant.”

      As for the number of government employees to be sacked: “It will number in the thousands.”

      Duterte, formerly the tough-on-crime mayor of the city of Davao, has long been known as a bombastic firebrand, but in the less than two months since he was inaugurated as President of the Southeast Asian nation, many there have expressed concern over what that zeal means at the level of federal politics. He has in recent weeks threatened to impose “martial law” if the country’s judiciary infringes upon his campaign to eradicate drugs from the country — an exercise that has left hundreds dead.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Romania’s telecom regulator to boost competition

      Romania’s Telecom Regulator ANCOM wants to increase competition in the country’s mobile and fixed telecommunication services, the agency announced in August. ANCOM published its “Strategy for digital communications up to 2020”, “diagnosing the current status of the communications sector in Romania, as well as the future trends.”

    • T-Mobile, Sprint Tap Dance Over, Under, And Around Net Neutrality

      For some time now T-Mobile has been accused of violating net neutrality by exempting the nation’s biggest video services from its usage caps, and throttling all video on the network by default to 1.5 Mbps or 480p. Net neutrality advocates have repeatedly warned that giving some content or companies a leg up and fiddling with service quality sets a horrible precedent, and research has shown T-Mobile’s system to be unreliable and exploitable. Still, T-Mobile has so far received applause from many regulators, media outlets and customers operating under the belief consumers are getting something for free.

      As such, however bad the precedent being set here, there’s no real political pressure on the FCC to act since consumers are effectively applauding what many believe to be a net neutrality violation. The FCC’s net neutrality rules don’t specifically prohibit zero rating, something we’ve long argued opens the door to creative abuses of net neutrality to thunderous applause, which is effectively what’s happening here. The rules do require the FCC to explore whether zero rating is anti-competitive on a “case by case” basis, but so far, outside of a few letters, the FCC doesn’t seem particularly pressed to take action.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Appeals Court Tosses Lawsuit Against Broadcasters For Violating Publicity Rights During Football Game Broadcasts

      Javon Marshall — a former college athlete spearheading a putative class action against several broadcasters for uncompensated use of his likeness — has just seen the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court send him (and everyone “similarly situated”) back home without a parting gift.

      Marshall — like many others who believe the mere existence of intellectual property protections entitles them to a paycheck — sued a long list of broadcasters for allegedly violating the Lanham Act and the Tennessee “right of publicity” law by not paying him and other athletes for using his name and “image” in game broadcasts and advertising. Marshall also claimed the NCAA’s waiver student-athletes sign is “vague and unenforceable.” That may very well be, but that claim was never addressed by the plaintiff and the NCAA was never a defendant. It only served as an introduction to a long list of alleged violations [PDF] that the lower court determined to be baseless accusations.

    • Trademarks

      • A Test He Couldn’t Pass: College Admissions Expert Loses Domain

        Get into Harvard? Not this way. That’s the message of a World Intellectual Property Organization dispute panel after ruling the website harvard-review.com confusingly uses the name of a famous university in promoting skills training for college admissions tests, without authorisation.

    • Copyrights

      • New IP law titles: from EU copyright to ISP liability

        For some odd reasons, it seems that many good IP titles are being released at a time of the year when – at least in the Northern hemisphere – the attention for anything that relates to IP is increasingly and acutely replaced by a slightly stronger interest for holidays, sunshine, and the outdoors.

The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another outrageous patent settlement that requires Microsoft bundling, but the Linux Foundation is too bribed by Microsoft to actually antagonise it any longer

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Summary: This morning’s reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft’s patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles

MICROSOFT is not a friend. It’s a predator. It just changed the logo, the PR, and the CEO. It also started paying more and more money to its critics, including Linux OEMs, to keep them quiet. “Microsoft Keynoting LinuxCon,” said a headline from Phoronix yesterday. What it failed to say is that Microsoft actually pays the Linux Foundation to infiltrate it. This has gone on for a while. Earlier this month the Linux Foundation posted a Microsoft puff piece paid for by Microsoft. We mentioned it this worrisome development the other day (to their credit, the Linux Foundation did add a disclosure to this). The payment was made under the pretense of supporting a conference (i.e. interjecting Microsoft stuff into it).

Is Microsoft becoming more open? No, it’s spying more and more. All the core products are proprietary. What is PowerShell all about? Openwashing. “Embrace and extend” of wget and curl (soon to have Mono as well) while claiming to be “opening up” a part of Windows, which is proprietary spyware that defies law (and had Microsoft lose cases in court).

But never mind all the above. Has Microsoft actually made peace with GNU/Linux? Hardly. Au contraire. Microsoft is still attacking GNU/Linux. If “Microsoft loves Linux,” then it sure shows it like an abusive spouse that beats up the wife (to borrow the analogy from Simon Phipps). Microsoft extorts Linux again, but it has bamboozled the media like it first did when it attacked Acer. It did this several times more thereafter and we covered it earlier this year, e.g. in:

Remember what happened to Samsung when it said “No!”

Microsoft took it to court and Samsung later settled with bundling (early 2015). That’s like racketeering, but Microsoft is far too politically-connected to face charges under the RICO Act.

In the past, Microsoft was offering payments for bundling; right now, instead, it’s a patent settlement. A patent settlement over what? Linux. The media is calling it all sorts of things other than patent settlement (after threats), which is what it really is. Here is the coverage we see right now (misleading):

The following two articles suggest that Motorola too (already sued by Microsoft over patents) is a victim of this strategy:

All that Microsoft is trying to achieve here is control over Linux (or Android) users, e.g. using Skype malware. People who actually think that Microsoft has changed need to reassess their trust in corporate media (much of the above is Microsoft-connected media and Microsoft advocacy sites that help mislead other media).

08.22.16

Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies” (attribution note)

Summary: Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli

THE previous post about Battistelli's lies would not be complete without showing that his loyal goons (those who have historically been like his lapdogs) also distort the facts and blatantly lie.

Here is a document regarding the above-the-law Vice-President:

VP1 lies

Here is a document regarding the EPO Vice-President who faces many criminal charges (and arrogantly believes he is above the law, so he refuses to even attend court hearings he's summoned to attend):

VP4 lies

The moral and ethical erosion at the EPO‘s top-level management isn’t too hard to see. It is sad if not depressing to see what was once a reputable institution. Witness what it has sunk to because of misguided and highly abusive men (yes, men) in suits. When even flagrant disregard for the truth has become so banal/mundane how are patent applicants expected to come to the EPO for (patent) justice?

Misleading publications that are published only in the Intranet or passed internally (personally) between managers are hard to get a hold of and we receive legal threats for publishing them. Without these, showing the rot inside the EPO is a lot harder (there are virtually no whistleblower protections in the land of Eponia, which serves to hide serious abuse).

Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 8:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli the politician (chronic liar) uses political tricks to give an impression of legitimacy

Battistelli liar
Source (original): Rospatent

Summary: Battistelli’s lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures

CATCHING EPO officials in a lie has become far too easy. They’re lying to journalists, they’re lying to their own staff, and we have given plenty of examples of this. It would actually be an improvement if they stopped saying anything at all, following the “silence is gold” mantra.

“Battistelli lives in the fantasy land of the EPO (which he totally controls) and he really loves the IAM propaganda machine these days.”The EPO is going through an unprecedented crisis, but Battistelli lies about it to the media (even if insiders who are high officials acknowledge it). Dead (or at least dormant) EPO forums are one way for the EPO to distract from terrible internal affairs and PR people just keep pushing a Battistelli lobbying event that’s nearly a year away [1, 2], resorting even to borderline spam like seen in these couple of new examples [1, 2]. They have nothing positive to say, have they?

We recently saw information about Battistelli’s activities report, an oral report given with no citations, just a word of mouth. The information said this: “The President focussed as usual on the very good production (+14% in 2015 and an estimated +9% in 2016) and filing figures as well as claiming that quality had only improved as well: he cited a very positive survey in IAM magazine ranking EPO as the best patent office on quality in the world. He stated further that the social dialogue had intensified [...] He confirmed that a “Social Conference” looking into the conclusions from OHSRA, the social study and the financial study is now planned for 11 October, just ahead of the October Council meeting. He also referred to the reduction in sick-leave days, the success of the Inventor of the Year Award and progress on re-building The Hague.”

“It puts the EPO on un/ethical grounds similar to those of China.”Decline in EPO patent quality has been covered (even with supporting material) for quite some time in Techrights. Battistelli lives in the fantasy land of the EPO (which he totally controls) and he really loves the IAM propaganda machine these days. They produce ‘ammo’ for him. They’re like the think tank which he uses for lies about quality of patents. When does a so-called ‘news’ publication cross the line between journalism and propaganda mill? IAM is on holiday/break right now, but surely they know what to do next year in order to keep the money coming, even if some of it comes from the PR agency of the EPO.

Notice how the above-mentioned events are timed strategically; Timed to pressure the delegates without telling them the enormous cost of this publicity stunt. Some delegates, on the face of it, no longer take what Battistelli says at face value. The information continues as follows: “Unusually, only a few delegations made an intervention following this report. Even these few referred not only to the good filing and production figures, but also raised concerns over to the bad social atmosphere. Quality is becoming a new focus for many delegations: can it be realistically be maintained in the light of such increased productivity demands on DG1? It is not only the granted patent itself, but also the whole search and examination process which must be quality ensured.”

“This should be cause for alarm inside the EPO and outside the EPO.”DG1 is the President’s goon who said on national TV that the EPO would ignore a ruling from the highest court. It puts the EPO on un/ethical grounds similar to those of China. These are basically a bunch of liars and maybe they even believe their own lies. A lot of politicians tend to be like that and one must remember that Battistelli is still a politician. Watch what happened in France a month ago. SUEPO has produced this English translation of a letter in French [PDF], which we included below with highlights in yellow:

F R E N C H
R E P U B L I C

Mr. Jean-Yves Le Déaut
Deputy, President of the OPECST
National Assembly
126 Rue de l’Université – 75355 Paris 07 SP
Paris, 12 July 2016

Jean-Yves LECONTE
Senator representing
French citizens
established outside
France

Dear Deputy, Dear Jean-Yves,

In the capacity of President of OPCEST (Parliamentary Office of Scientific Evaluation and Assessment), you recently travelled to The Hague at the head of a delegation of French parliamentarians in order to visit the European Patent Office there and to meet its President Benoît Battistelli. On this occasion, in particular, you awarded him the “Medal of the National Assembly”.

I am surprised that you have not taken account of the political risks which this visit might incur at a time at which the management of the President is the object of virulent criticism, such as has been made known by us to Mr. Emmanuel Macron, the Minister with responsibility for relationships with this Office (see the two letters enclosed herewith). The most significant of these bears on the decision by the current Executive of the Office to give priority in the registration of patents to “major accounts” from the Anglo-Saxon world, which, while generating substantial income, in particular is also incurring long delays for a large number of French “start-up” companies and small and medium-sized businesses. This issue was raised in particular by Ms. Axelle Lemaire, Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, at a public event which she attended in June 2015 on the occasion of the award of the “European Innovator Prize” organized by the EPO.

As well as this, the present management of the staff is the source of a very great deal of social tension, the most evident signs of which are the suicides of five persons, the sanction procedures, even to the extent of dismissal, imposed against persons who should enjoy protection (staff union representatives), and massive and regular strike actions both at The Hague and in Munich.

The appended note will provide you with more exhaustive details of the reasons for which we have been prompted to request that the Ministers of the Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs set about the mobilisation of our representatives on the Administrative Council of the EPO, in order for them to obtain, as rapidly as possible, a reorientation of the approach adopted by its President.

I am at your disposal to discuss the points raised in the note, and, in
anticipation of this, I remain

Yours faithfully

Copy:
- The Members of the Parliamentary Office of Scientific Evaluation and Assessment

Enclosures:

- My letter of 21 September 2015 to the Minister of the Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs;
- My note of 24 November 2015 regarding the situation at the EPO;
- A letter signed jointly by my parliamentary colleagues of 21 April 2016, sent to the Minister of the Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs.

The EPO has essentially been taken over by a political monster and unless it can detoxify itself some time in the very near future, there will be no turnaround and no recovery. Politicians are used to faking accomplishments in the short term (like CEOs during their terms) and they don’t have any concern about whatever happens once they leave Office. This should be cause for alarm inside the EPO and outside the EPO.

The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 7:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Also: Why the EPO rapidly becomes the greater culprit

Cracked metal

Summary: The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever

THE US Patent Office (USPTO) begrudgingly comes to grips with the fact that software patents are a passing fad. If the Office continues to grant these and most of the time US courts deem these invalid, what will that say about the Office?

According to this, Alice has just had another belated casualty because “US Pat 5,841,115, Nutritional information system; Killed w/Alice by Google” (a software patent). Google is pursuing software patents on driving and there is growing concern that this “could raise risk of patent litigation” so Google should not be viewed as an innocent victim here. It is growingly part of the problem.

“…many software patents they helped clients get (past, not future) are worthless pieces of paper right now.”In other news, “Patent Claims to Weather Alerts Not Patent-Eligible Under Section 101,” says a pro-software patenting site. “This is an unsurprising result in the post-Alice world,” it concludes. “Claims to alerting functionality can face stiff headwinds when challenged under Section 101, especially when not supported by a specification, or better, claim language, calling out technical improvements.”

One of the most vocal proponents of software patents in Europe took note of it and Watchtroll, probably the most vocal proponent of software patents in the US, is trying to promote ‘cheating’ the system to patent software in spite of Alice. We have come to expect that from Watchtroll, who is stooping quite low these days. They must be nervous and they are panicking as many software patents they helped clients get (past, not future) are worthless pieces of paper right now. Even the Federal Circuit, which helped bring software patents to the US in the first place, has become exceedingly hostile towards them. Here is a new comment from IP Kat:

Anything by the Federal Circuit is of momentary import and cannot be considered “the driver seat.”

This is a direct offshoot of what the Supreme Court has been doing and can be seen to be why the Court refuses to draw any clear lines. They Court simply does not want to be left out of any discussion of eligibility, even as it is beyond the Court’s allocated powers to write law in this area.

So, you may think that you are “moving beyond,” but that is merely a mirage, as you have never left what the Supreme Court has done (is doing) – and that is by design of the Supreme Court.

Do you really think that such critical terms as “abstract” and “significantly more” are left undefined lacking a reason?

NOTHING that the Federal Circuit does is of lasting import in the realm of eligibility. And this is so because basically they lack the backbone to call a spade a spade and to note when the Supreme Court has stepped beyond the Court’s authority when it comes to the difference between interpreting the law and writing the law.

Much to our delight, things are improving in the US (patent scope improved/tightened), whereas in Europe we drift in the opposite direction.

“Much to our delight, things are improving in the US (patent scope improved/tightened), whereas in Europe we drift in the opposite direction.”“Laws in Brussels are written by MNCs (Multi-National-Corporations), and FRAND in DSM is part of it,” Benjamin Henrion wrote yesterday, linking to this upcoming talk titled “DSM, EIF, RED: Acronyms on the EU level and why they matter for software freedom” (some of these are used to sneakily bring software patents to Europe). From the abstract: “In the coming years, the EU is determined to bring its industries to the digital market and acquire a leading position on the global tech market. In order to achieve this ambitious goal of allowing Europe’s “own Google or Facebook” to emerge, the EU has come up with several political and legislative proposals that obviously cannot overlook software. Three or more magic letters combined in an acronym have, therefore, the power to either support innovation and fair competition, or drown the EU in its vendor lock-in completely. The terms “open standards”, “open platforms”, and Free Software are being used more and more often but does it mean that the EU is “opening” up for software freedom for real? My talk will explain how several current EU digital policies interact with Free Software, and each other, and what does it mean to software freedom in Europe.”

Well, FRAND brings software patents to Europe, in spite of them being illegal. Does Brussels even care? The same applies to the EPO under Battistelli’s regime. He certainly does not care about the EPC. He just ignores it. This is why increased focus on internal EPO affairs is worthwhile and the next couple of posts will contain new information about abuse at the top.

Apple’s Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents, Samsung at 6:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rounded corners? Apple’s invention!

UK power socket

Summary: Apple’s insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns

TROLLS, or patent sharks, typically use software patents, but what if they also had design patents at their disposal?

Apple‘s war on Android, which manifested itself in a now-settled case against HTC and later in a long patent war against Samsung, may prove to be counterproductive now that Apple attracts patent trolls like VirnetX, to which it might be forced to pay billions of dollars. A pro-software patents site now says that “Apple will also be an even richer target for the new breed of design patent trolls” if it wins its case against Samsung/Android (over design patents). To quote this new article:

On October 11, 2016, the Supreme Court will hear Samsung’s appeal of the Federal Circuit’s affirmation of the jury’s damage award to Apple of Samsung’s “total profits” on sales of the infringing smartphones even though it had only infringed Apple’s design of the iPhone’s outer shell. In upholding the “total profits” award, the Federal Circuit determined that it was bound to uphold the jury’s award by the “explicit” and “clear” statutory language relating to design patent infringement damages.

[...]

The importance of the Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling here is underscored by the numerous amicus curiae briefs filed (27 at last count). With over 205 billion in cash reserves at last count, Apple certainly doesn’t “need” the full nine-figure damage award. And, given the far reaching implications of this case, Apple may live to regret its aggressive pursuit of “total profits” for design patent infringement by finding itself battling design patent holders seeking to recover Apple’s total device profits for infringement of even a minor design feature. Apple will also be an even richer target for the new breed of design patent trolls already surfacing based, at least in part, on Apple’s success in this case. Clearly it is time for Congress to step in and amend Section 289 to add apportionment language.

No wonder technology companies are overwhelmingly supportive of Samsung in this case — a high-profile case over design patents.

In other news, Vera Ranieri from the EFF has this new update about one of their high-profile cases against patent trolls. Ranieri writes:

There has been significant activity relating to cases and patent infringement claims made by Shipping & Transit, LLC, formerly known as ArrivalStar. Shipping & Transit, who we’ve written about on numerous occasions, is currently one of the most prolific patent trolls in the country. Lex Machina data indicates that, since January 1, 2016, Shipping & Transit has been named in almost 100 cases. This post provides an update on some of the most important developments in these cases.

In many Shipping & Transit cases, Shipping & Transit has alleged that retailers allowing their customers to track packages sent by USPS infringe various claims of patents owned by Shipping & Transit, despite previously suing (and settling with) USPS. EFF represents a company that Shipping & Transit accused of infringing four patents.

The above is a timely and good example. It demonstrates not just of the harms of patent trolls but also the harms of software patents, which in the large majority of cases rely on them. If Apple made design patents stronger, with affirmation from the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), the damage would be enormous.

Apple is on the wrong side of history.

Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Philosophy of Open Source in Community and Enterprise Software

    Open source software is alive and well, backing most of the systems we take for granted every day. Communities like Github have paved the way for more open collaboration and increased contributions. More software today is branded with the marketing gimmick of being moved “into the cloud”, and into subscription models were people perpetually rent software rather than purchase it. Many of the websites we use are walled gardens of free services that are not open, and which make it intentionally difficult to move your data should you become unsatisfied with the service provider. Much of the opens source software being released today is backend technology or developer tools. We are still a far cry away from having the day to day software we use being truly free, not only in cost, but being able to modify it to our needs and run it anywhere we want.

  • Release management in Open Source projects

    Open source software is widely used today. While there is not a single development method for open source, many successful open source projects are based on widely distributed development models with many independent contributors working together. Traditionally, distributed software development has often been seen as inefficient due to the high level of communication and coordination required during the software development process. Open source has clearly shown that successful software can be developed in a distributed manner.

    The open source community has over time introduced many collaboration systems, such as version control systems and mailing lists, and processes that foster this collaborative development style and improve coordination. In addition to implementing efficient collaboration systems and processes, it has been argued that open source development works because it aims to reduce the level of coordination needed. This is because development is done in parallel streams by independent contributors who work on self-selected tasks. Contributors can work independently and coordination is only required to integrate their work with others.

    Relatively little attention has been paid to release management in open source projects in the literature. Release management, which involves the planning and coordination of software releases and the overall management of releases throughout the life cycle, can be studied from many different aspects. I investigated release management as part of my PhD from the point of view of coordination theory. If open source works so well because of various mechanism to reduce the level of coordination required, what implications does this have on release management which is a time in the development process when everyone needs to come together to align their work?

  • 5 reasons professors should encourage students to get involved in open source projects

    I’ve been supporting student participation in humanitarian free and open source software (HFOSS) projects for over a decade. I’ve seen students get motivated and excited by working in a professional community while they learn and mature professionally. Out of the many reasons for supporting student participation in open source, here are five of the most compelling reasons.

  • When you wake up with a feeling

    One philosophy – Free software. Let me not explain it as a technical debt. Let me explain it as social movement. In age, where people are “bombed” by media, by all-time lying politicians (which use fear of non-existent threats/terror as model to control population), in age where proprietary corporations are selling your freedom so you can gain temporary convenience the term Free software is like Giordano Bruno in age of Inquisitions. Free software does not only preserve your Freedom to software source usage but it preserves your Freedom to think and think out of the box and not being punished for that. It preserves the Freedom to live – to choose what and when to do, without having the negative impact on your or others people lives. The Freedom to be transparent and to share. Because not only ideas grow with sharing, but we, as human beings, grow as we share. The Freedom to say “NO”.

  • Every Simplenote App Is Now Open-Source
  • What do we mean when we talk about software ‘alternatives’?

    OK, so alternative is a malleable term. But it’s bigger than that. It’s not just a question of life with The Munsters, it’s a question of who’s allowed in. With open source, there’s no exclusion; even in the worst case where you feel unwelcome by some community that is building an open source application, you still have access to the code. Then the barrier to entry is your own resolve to learn a new application.

    And that ought to be the standard, no matter what. My Rorschachian responses to application types default to open source, with the alternatives being the ones that you might choose to use if, for whatever reason, you find the ones available to everyone insufficient:

    Office: LibreOffice
    Photo: GIMP
    Video: Kdenlive
    Operating system: Slackware

    The list goes on and on. You define your own alternatives, but my mainstream day-to-day tools are not alternatives. They’re the ones that gets my seal of authenticity, and they’re open to everyone.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • MariaDB open-source credentials take a hit

      The open-source credentials of MariaDB, the database company that was born as a fork from MySQL, have taken a hit after it announced that it would be releasing the new version of its MaxScale database proxy software under a proprietary licence.

      MaxScale is vital to monetising the MariaDB software as it enables the deployment of MariaDB databases at scale. Its new version, 2.0, is now available under what the man behind MariaDB, Michael “Monty” Widenius, calls a Business Source Licence. This will switch to the GNU General Public Licence in 2019.

      The licence terms state: “Usage of the software is free when your application uses the software with a total of less than three database server instances for production purposes.”

      Though there is now a fork of MaxScale, it is from the old version from which this was possible. None of the fixes that are in version 2.0 are present.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Parallel 20160822 (‘Og Nomekop’) released
    • Second release of eiffel-iup

      I’m glad to announce the second release of eiffel-iup. A wrapper that allow create graphical applications with Liberty Eiffel using the IUP toolkit. This second version add flat buttons and fix some errors. The main changes are in the names of some features, which now have names in the eiffel style. This is enough mature to create graphical interfaces. The package contains examples that show how use eiiffel-iup. So let me know if you have problems and Happy hacking!

    • diffutils-3.5 released [stable]
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • How scientists are using digital badges

      The open source world pioneered the use of digital badges to reward skills, achievements, and to signal transparency and openness. Scientific journals should apply open source methods, and use digital badges to encourage transparency and openness in scientific publications.

      Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts know all about merit badges. Scouts earn merit badges by mastering new skills. Mozilla Open Badges is a pioneer in awarding digital merit badges for skills and achievements. One example of a badge-issuing project is Buzzmath, where Open Badges are issued to recognize progress in mathematics to students, or anyone wanting to brush up on their skills. Another example is IBM Training and Skills, which issues badges to validate credentials earned in their certification programs.

      The Center for Open Science went beyond validating skills and established badges for open data and open materials in 2013, and created guidelines for issuing these badges.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Nasa just made all its research available online for free

        Care to learn more about 400-foot tsunamis on Mars? Now you can, after Nasa announced it is making all its publicly funded research available online for free. The space agency has set up a new public web portal called Pubspace, where the public can find Nasa-funded research articles on everything from the chances of life on one of Saturn’s moons to the effects of space station living on the hair follicles of astronauts.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Hardware Comes of Age

        Most people have at least heard of the term “open source” but the wide popularity of open source has been in software rather than hardware. Open source software is well known. Home computer users recognize it in downloads like Office Libre, GIMP, and the VLC media player. More serious computer users realize that much of the Internet itself was built on open source technologies like Linux and the Apache Web Server. Open source software can quickly be defined as source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance.

      • The Opposite of the EOMA-68 Modular Laptop

        In the photos of the laptop that David exposed and is keeping functional, the complexity of the design is clearly apparent. Huge heat sinks and heat pipes, a densely populated and really quite large PCB on both sides (which is costly to manufacture). Chances of repair and ongoing maintenance: absolutely zero. The only reason that David is even considering keeping this machine going is down to years of experience with computers – something that most people simply do not have time to do.

        By contrast, the EOMA68 Laptop Housing is kept to a bare minimum out of pure necessity: it’s a simpler design that’s been made using tools that the average electronics engineer could conceivably imagine owning… so that they can make or repair these devices, for themselves, or for other people.

        The main PCB (PCB1) is only 6” square with a small extension for the USB ports, and is approximately only 30% populated with components, only on one side. PCB2 (for the keyboard and mouse) is very small and has around 30 components on it, and PCB3 likewise. Here are some pictures taken last year: the first shows the 3 PCBs wired together and assembled in the 3D-printed case, whilst the second is a partially-populated PCB (USB2 connectors in the top left corner to give an idea of scale).

      • Earth-friendly EOMA68 Computing Devices
  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • AMD crashes Intel’s party: Powerful Zen CPUs are coming next year

      A block away from Intel’s Developer Forum in San Francisco, AMD brought together a select group of media and analysts to make one thing clear: Its long-awaited Zen processor actually exists, and it’s on track to ship early next year for desktops. Surprisingly, the company is aiming directly at the high-end PC gaming market, whereas its last few chips appealed more to budget builders.

      “Our focus is on high-performance CPUs and GPUs,” AMD CEO Lisa Su said, as she listed off the company’s most recent accomplishments. Those include building the chips powering both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (as well as the One S and the upcoming Project Scorpio), and delivering a surprisingly powerful $200 video card in the Radeon RX480.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Valeant Pharmaceuticals Accused Of Vast Fraud By T. Rowe Price

      A U.S. mutual fund firm that used to be one of Valeant’s largest shareholders is suing the embattled Quebec drugmaker for allegedly pursuing “a fraudulent scheme” that ultimately cost investors billions of dollars.

      T. Rowe Price filed the lawsuit against Valeant, its former chief executive and several current and former executives.

      “This case arises from a fraudulent scheme by Valeant and its top executives to use a secret pharmacy network, deceptive pricing and reimbursement practices, and fictitious accounting to shield the company’s branded drugs from generic competition and artificially inflate the company’s revenues and profits,” said the 200-page statement of claim filed Monday in the United States District Court in New Jersey.

    • Life Itself Is Being Patented, Privatized and Re-engineered

      Capitalism is predicated on endless expansion. It is a socio-economic system that must grow indefinitely or cease to exist. And it has to grow at a compound rate, leading it to commodify and consume ever-greater portions of the planet at an accelerating velocity. Since we only have one planet, there is clearly a fundamental contradiction between our economic system and the environment upon which it, and all of humanity, ultimately depends. But since capitalism grows in a spatially uneven manner, some people can live obscenely affluent, insulated lives while other people face stark ecological catastrophe. But at some point, capitalism will take the entire planet past a point of ecological destruction from which there will be no return, at least on any time scale that is meaningful for human beings.

    • Americans Are Gorging on Meat in Amounts Not Seen in Decades

      Healthy eating and animal welfare campaigns haven’t been able to sway the carnivorous masses.

  • Security

    • Security and reproducible-build progress in Guix 0.11

      The GNU Guix package-manager project recently released version 0.11, bringing with it support for several hundred new packages, a range of new tools, and some significant progress toward making an entire operating system (OS) installable using reproducible builds.

      Guix is a “functional” package manager, built on many of the same ideas found in the Nix package manager. As the Nix site explains it, the functional paradigm means that packages are treated like values in a functional programming language—Haskell in Nix’s case, Scheme in Guix’s. The functions that build and install packages do so without side effects, so the system can easily offer nice features like atomic transactions, rollbacks, and the ability for individual users to build and install separate copies of a package without fear that they will interfere. Part of making such a system reliable is to ensure that builds are “reproducible”—meaning that two corresponding copies of a binary built on different systems at different times will be bit-for-bit identical.

    • VeraCrypt Audit Under Way; Email Mystery Cleared Up

      To say the VeraCrypt audit, which begins today, got off to an inauspicious start would be an understatement.

      On Sunday, two weeks after the announcement that the open source file and disk encryption software would be formally scrutinized for security vulnerabilities, executives at one of the firms funding the audit posted a notice that four emails between the parties involved had been intercepted.

    • Cryptocurrency Mining Virus Targets Linux Machines
    • Why The Windows Secure Boot Hack Is a Good Thing

      Most coverage of the subject has been written in that panicky, alarmist prose that makes for exciting news, but the problem is that the invalidation of Secure Boot is a very positive development for everyone concerned, except for Microsoft. Yes, it shows why backdoors for “the good guys” are a terrible idea — yes, it even has far-reaching implications for every piece of computing technology using the UEFI standard. However, I maintain that it will have a positive influence on the direction of security and tech standards moving forward.

    • Islamists Target Kali Linux: An Operating System Designed to Thwart Attacks

      The Kali Linux operating system may help tackle cyberterrorism, which has attracted Daesh, digital strategy consultant Lars Hilse told Sputnik.

    • Nasty Rex Linux Trojan Packs DDoS Attacks, Ransomware, And Bitcoin Miner
    • New Trojan Turns Linux Devices into Botnet
    • The cost of mentoring, or why we need heroes

      We may never have security heroes like we did. It’s become a proper industry. I don’t think many mature industries have new and exciting heroes. We know who Chuck Yeager is, I bet nobody could name 5 test pilots anymore. That’s OK though. You know what happens when there is a solid body of knowledge that needs to be moved from the old to the young? You go to a university. That’s right, our future rests with the universities.

    • Bounty hunters are legally hacking Apple and the Pentagon – for big money

      Now 21, it is his full time job. This month so far he has earned $21,150, in installments: he counted them out over the phone – “400, plus 400, plus 300, plus 100, plus 1,000, plus 3,000, plus 4,000…”

      Wakelam’s month-to-month profit varies considerably, but in an average year, he said, he can comfortably clear $250,000, working from his home in Melbourne or on his Macbook in coffee shops or nearby bars.

    • Inventor of The Internet’s Most Terrifying Search Engine Shows Us How To Use It

      It’s called Shodan and it’s a great tool to find insecure devices, so that people can fix them and make the internet safer. Shodan crawls the internet and collects all kind of stuff connected to the internet, from mundane smart fridges to industrial control systems. It’s a powerful tool, and you don’t really appreciate it until you use it yourself, or, better yet, until its inventor shows you what it can do.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Could a Russian-Led Coalition Defeat Hillary’s War Plans?

      The representation of Russia as an “existential threat” to the U.S. is preposterous fantasy. Just like the depiction of Iran as a nuclear threat is preposterous, and the notion that Bashar al-Assad’s secular government in Syria is the cause for the emergence of ISIL is sheer delusion.

      Russia with 12% the U.S. military budget has military bases in precisely 8 foreign countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan (all nations bordering Russia, and former soviet socialist republics) plus Syria and Vietnam. Its only foreign naval facilities are in the latter two countries. The Sevastopol base in Crimea used to be on Ukrainian territory, but Russia has of course annexed the Crimean Peninisula to ensure continued control of the headquarters of its Black Sea fleet.

      The U.S. in contrast has over 650 military bases abroad, and five naval bases on the Mediterranean coast alone, in Spain, Italy and Greece. There are 10,000 sailors stationed at NSA Naples. In that same region the Russians have only their resupply station in Tartus, Syria operative by treaty since 1971, typically with a tiny garrison.

      The Russian air force base in Latakia, Syria is a modest operation, incapable of supporting those Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers used to bomb ISIL and al-Nusra targets a few days ago in Aleppo and elsewhere. Those took off instead from Sahid Nojeh air base near Hamadan, Iran, causing some Pentagon concern and (false) accusations that the mission somehow violated a UNSC resolution about arming Iran. Moscow is boasting of mission success. (Morning Joe’s upset about that true.)

      Russian forces have already done more damage to ISIL, dismissed in January 2014 by President Obama as a minor problem, than the U.S. The U.S. started its bombing of ISIL months before the Russians but Russian strikes have turned the tide of battle in Syria.

    • Trump Hypes a New ‘War on Terror’

      Donald Trump has urged a new “war on terror” that brings back torture and seeks revenge on terrorists’ families, but another problem with the Republican nominee’s approach is his exaggeration of the danger, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • US Hawks Advance a War Agenda in Syria

      The U.S. government, having illegally sent American troops into Syria, is now threatening to attack the Syrian military if it endangers those troops, an Orwellian twist that marks a dangerous escalation, explains Daniel Lazare.

    • Can Russia Survive Washington’s Challenge?

      News services abroad ask me if President Erdogan of Turkey will, as a result of the coup attempt, realign Turkey with Russia. At this time, there is not enough information for me to answer. Speculation in advance of information is not my forte.

      Moreover, I do not know if it is true that Moscow warned the President of Turkey of the coup, and I do not know if Washington was behind the coup. Therefore, I do not know how to weigh the scales. As I see it, whether Turkey stays with Washington or realigns with Moscow depends first of all on whether or not Moscow warned Turkey and whether or not Washington was behind the coup. If this is what Erdogan believes, whether true or false, Erdogan is likely to align with Russia. However, other factors will also influence Erdogan’s decision. For example, Erdogan’s belief about how resolute Putin is to standing up to Washington.

    • Syria’s Horrors Visit Turkey Again as Bomber Attacks Kurdish Wedding

      The wedding on Saturday night was winding down, and some guests had already left. But the music was still playing and people were still dancing in the narrow streets of Gaziantep, a city not far from the Syrian border.

      Just then a child — no more than 14 years old, Turkey’s president said later — meandered into the gathering and detonated a vest of explosives.

      Suddenly, the most joyous of occasions became a scene of blood and gore, with body parts scattered all around. Once again, the horrors of Syria’s civil war had visited Turkey.

    • More Than 50 Dead in Turkey After Suicide Blast at Kurdish Wedding

      At least 51 people were killed and dozens more injured when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a Kurdish wedding celebration in southeastern Turkey late Saturday night.

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that the Islamic State (ISIS) was behind the attack, and that the suicide bomber was a child between 12 and 14 years old. No entity has claimed official responsibility.

    • Russia Teams Up With Iran to Continue to Bomb Syria

      And that brings us to this week, where Assad is still around, ISIS is still around, Iraq is still a sectarian mess, Iran more or less controls the Iraqi government and the powerful Shiite militias except for the ones who might just rebel and/or slaughter Sunnis to complete a slow-burn civil war, Turkey a newly-collapsing crappy Mideast-ish stinkhole run by a new dictator and Russia and Iran, always a bit wary of one another, are cooperating militarily to attack ISIS (U.S. thumbs up!) in support of Assad (U.S. thumbs down!)

      And that’s all before we get to the Kurds, who are well on their way to creating a confederacy of Kurdistan carved out of parts of Iraq, Syria and Turkey. That will be the impetus behind the next war inside the Middle East, with most of the same players now in Syria joining in. Figure maybe a year from now or so.

    • Merkel: Migrants did not bring Radical Terrorism to Germany

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a campaign event on Wednesday evening, that there is no relationship between the influx of some one million migrants and refugees into Germany in the past year and the incidents of radical Muslim violence in the country.

      She pointed out that Muslim radicalism as a phenomenon pre-existed the rise of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) and that even Daesh was there before the refugee crisis. She said that German authorities have been worried about Daesh for some years.

      To some extent she blamed social media rather the the influx of refugees.

    • Saudis bomb Sanaa during “Million-Person march”

      The Houthi Ansarullah Movement that controls most of north and west Yemen staged what was by all accounts an enormous demonstration in the capital of Sanaa on Saturday. It may have been the single largest demonstration in the country’s history. While it was unlikely actually to have involved a million people, it did probably tens of thousands, and it showed how strong grassroots support for the Houthis is in the north.

      The massive demonstration in Sab`in Park in downtown Sanaa was intended to send a signal to Saudi Arabia and its coalition that the Houthis are enormously popular in the north and that the General People’s Congress, the parliament of Yemen in its present form, shares in that popularity.

      If so, Saudi Arabia did not get that message. Its fighter-bombers targeted downtown Sanaa in the midst of the demonstration, which arguably was a war crime (you aren’t allowed to endanger large numbers of civilians in war if you don’t have to). The Saudis are at war with rebel supporters of the Houthis, whom Saudi Arabian inaccurately depicts as a cat’s paw of Iran.

    • Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution

      One of the biggest threats to food security the world currently faces is neoliberalism. It’s logic, which has become status quo over the past 70 years and valorizes global ‘free market’ capitalism, is made manifest through economic policies that facilitate privatization, deregulation, and cuts to social spending, as well as a discourse that promotes competition, individualism, and self-commodification. Despite rarely being criticized, or even mentioned, by state officials and mainstream media, neoliberal programs and practices continue to give rise to unprecedented levels of poverty, hunger, and suffering. The consequences of neoliberalism are so acutely visceral that the Zapatistas called the 21st century’s most highly lauded free-trade policy, NAFTA, a ‘death certificate’ for Indigenous people.1 This is because economic liberalization meant that imported commodities (e.g., subsidized corn from the U.S.) would flood Mexican markets, devalue the products of peasant farmers, and lead to widespread food insecurity. As a response, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), primarily Indigenous peasants themselves, led an armed insurrection in Chiapas, Mexico on January 1, 1994—the day NAFTA went into effect.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • QC who worked on Julian Assange case jumped in front of West Hampstead train after being allowed out of private hospital

      CCTV footage of the death was not played to the court because coroner Mary Hassell said she thought it would be “too distressing” but that she had watched it, and was satisfied that “nobody else was involved”.

      Recording a narrative verdict, Ms Hassell said she could not be certain that Mr Jones intended to kill himself because the balance of his mind was affected.

      Ms Hassell said: “John Jones died instantaneously when he jumped in front of a moving train.

      “However, the state of his mental health at the time meant that he lacked the necessary intent to categorise this as suicide.”

      Mr Jones’ wife, lawyer Misa Zgonec-Rozej, told the inquest: “I feel horrified that he was allowed out so early in the morning, in such a fragile state and without having slept properly for days.

      “I genuinely believe that John did not want to die, and that he didn’t know what he was doing (when he jumped).”

    • DCCC Docs on Pennsylvania

      So, here are DCCC docs on Pennsylvania’s congressional districts. You may find a thing or two about the Democratic primaries in the state there.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • In Arctic, Ancient Diseases Reanimate and Highways Melt as Temperatures Hit “Frenzy” of Records

      By the time I’d reached the end of my 10 years of reportage on the impacts of the US occupation of Iraq in 2013, it was impossible for me to find an Iraqi who did not have a family member, relative or friend who had been killed either by US troops, an act of non-state sponsored terrorism or random violence spun off one of the aforementioned.

      Now, having spent the entire summer in Alaska, I’ve yet to have a conversation with national park rangers, glaciologists or simply avid outdoors-people that has not included a story of disbelief, amazement and often shock over the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) across their beloved state.

      Whether it is rivers causing massive erosion after being turbo-charged by rapidly melting glaciers, dramatically warmer temperatures throughout the year, or the increasingly rapid melting and retreat of the glaciers themselves, everyone who is out there, seeing the impacts firsthand, has a grave experience to share.

      As just one small example, less than an hour’s drive from Anchorage, I visited an area where I’d climbed in the past. An old climbing partner had suggested I visit Byron Peak, which is situated not far from both Turnagain Arm and Prince William Sound, to witness how much Byron Glacier had retreated since I’d last been there.

    • The West’s ‘new normal’: Another long season of volatile wildfires

      The morning of July 23, the city of Los Angeles was covered in a dusting of ash. An apocalyptic haze muted the sun, and the sky was an eerie, unnatural pink. Just a day before, a wildfire had broken out on private land 30 miles northwest, near Santa Clarita. Within 24 hours, the Sand Fire scorched 20,000 acres, and in a week, it burned another 21,000 acres. At least 10,000 people had to evacuate before it was contained by early August.

      The most volatile fire activity in the West this year has occurred in Central and Southern California – from Big Sur to Carmel-by-the-Sea to San Bernardino – causing the closure of the Pacific Coast Highway, the destruction of hundreds of homes, and the death of at least six people. According to experts, these blazes – along with the 85 large fires currently burning across the country, many in the West – offer a glimpse into the West’s “new normal” wildfire season that has been intensified by climate change in recent years. Warmer temperatures, less snowfall and increased drought mean that fire season begins earlier in April and lasts longer, until November or December.

      Last winter, California breathed a sigh of relief during El Niño, expecting it to drench the parched landscape after four years of drought. Northern California got more rain and remains relatively wet, but El Niño didn’t deliver enough to prevent fires in the southern part of the state. “It’s the legacy effect of the long-term drought: these large, volatile, fast-moving wildfires in California,” says Crystal Kolden, fire science professor at the University of Idaho. By the first week of June, firefighters in the state had already tackled over 1,500 fires that burned almost 28,000 acres – twice as many acres burned as in the first half of 2015.

    • [Older] Tunisia: on the frontlines of the struggle against climate change

      Kerkennah islanders are faced with a double threat to their existence: rising sea water levels and the extractive operations of fossil fuel companies.

      [...]

      I visited Kerkennah in March 2016, after hearing there was simmering discontent about Petrofac’s refusal to honor its engagements in helping finance an employment fund. On the ferry to the island, I noticed a delegation headed by the Tunisia Minister of Environment accompanied by a TV crew was also on the same boat. I found myself asking: “Was the purpose of the delegation’s visit the same as mine? Were they also there to investigate the now two-month-long labor mobilization around Petrofac?”

    • The Earth Has Endured 14 Straight Months of Record-Breaking Heat

      The lower part of South America, the Beijing region, and a little patch of far-east Russia: These were the landmasses that experienced abnormally cool temperatures in June.

      The vast majority of the Earth’s surface, however, was either warmer than usual or scalding with record-breaking heat, according to NOAA’s latest global analysis. At 1.6 degrees above the 20th-century average of roughly 60 degrees, it was the warmest June in modern history and the 14th consecutive month of unprecedented hotness. That’s the longest streak of record-busting temperatures in observations dating back to 1880.

  • Finance

    • The politics of ethnic diversity: Scotland, Brexit and inequality

      This week the Equality and Human Rights Commission published a study demonstrating that people born into an ethnic minority household in Scotland are twice as likely to face poverty.

    • Do Unions Belong in the Fight Against Corporate School Reform? [Ed: Gates meddling]

      In the fight for public education, the forces of standardization and privatization are running scared.

      They’ve faced more pushback in the last few years – especially in the last few months – than in a decade.

      The Opt Out movement increases exponentially every year. Teach for America is having trouble getting recruits. Pearson’s stock is plummeting. The NAACP and Black Lives Matter have both come out strongly against increasing charter schools.

      [...]

      The fight for public schools isn’t between grassroots communities and well-funded AstroTurf organizations, they say. Despite the evidence of your eyes, the fight isn’t between charter school sycophants and standardized test companies, on the one hand, and parents, students and teachers on the other.

    • How US Farm Subsidies Make Taxpayers Pay Twice (And How We Could Change That)

      Usually, when you buy something, you pay for it just once. But if you’re a US taxpayer, you’re paying twice for the food system you’re “buying” with your hard-earned tax dollars. An example: today’s massive federal farm subsidies encourage farming practices that lead to toxic algae blooms, drinking water pollution, and other costly problems we have to pay for again downstream. By contrast, modest investment in just one proven alternative farming system would achieve annual savings—in the form of water pollution averted—of $850 million.

    • Anti-Austerity Leftist Announces Challenge to French President Hollande

      Seeking to replace France’s increasingly unpopular President François Hollande, former industry minister and “left-wing firebrand” Arnaud Montebourg announced his candidacy for president on Sunday.

      The French election will take place in May 2017. Hollande, whom Jacobin notes has “force[d] his way though political institutions and democracy in order to implement his unpopular policies,” has not yet said whether he will run for re-election. In 2016, he faced a popular uprising under the banner “Nuit Debout,” a pro-democracy movement that grew out of protests against his anti-labor and authoritarian security policies.

      On Sunday, Montebourg urged Hollande not to run, calling his record “indefensible” and charging him with betraying the “ideals of the left.”

      According to Reuters, the candidate “said his project would include measures to end austerity while raising expenditure, reverse tax increases of the last five years, fight globalization and restructure the European Union which had ‘practically become a failed company’.”

    • Rio’s Olympic ruins

      The opening of Rio’s Olympic Village, on July 24, just two weeks before the beginning of the 2016 Summer Games sparked considerable criticism of the state of athletes’ accommodations. Reports of missing lights on staircases, gas leaks, dirty rooms and hallways, and unfinished facilities abounded in all four corners of the gated condominium comprised of thirty-one 17-story towers.

      Citing blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring, the Australian delegation initially refused to move in to the Village, and checked into a hotel for two nights. The infrastructural crisis almost gave way to a diplomatic one, when Rio’s major Eduardo Paes commented he would get a kangaroo to jump around in the grounds of the Athletes’ Village if it would make Australians feel more at home. Australia’s response: “we do not need kangaroos, we need plumbers”.

    • Clinton and Trump Are Rich and Pals of the Rich—and That Could Be a Huge Problem for the Nation

      Unless you’ve somehow succeeded in living off the grid for the past year and a half, you’ve no doubt heard about the massive economic conflicts of interest Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would bring to the White House if either is elected president.

      As described in various articles and op-eds, Trump’s conflicts stem from his far-flung worldwide enterprises, while Clinton’s emanate from the global reach of her family foundation and her long-standing ties to Wall Street banks. Given their assets and business relations, questions of favoritism, self-dealing and compromised judgment would haunt either candidate’s tenure in office.

      But as so often happens with American news coverage, even at its best, either too much emphasis has been placed on personality, or too many details have been offered without placing the Trump and Clinton campaigns in a wider historical and political context. Indeed, the biggest conflict of interest of all has gone practically unmentioned in mainstream coverage—namely, that Trump and Clinton don’t just have personal conflicts of interest that would affect their ability to govern, but they represent different dimensions of a larger corporate oligarchy that dominates American democracy.

      When most reporters write about Trump’s and Clinton’s conflicts, they usually have in mind a more narrow concept imported from the United States criminal code, as set forth in Title 18, Section 208. That statute, as the Congressional Research Service has explained, embodies the “axiom ‘that a public servant owes undivided loyalty to the Government,’ and that decisions, advice, and recommendations made by or given to the government by its officers be made in the public interest and not be tainted, even unintentionally, with influence from personal financial interests.”

      Willful violations of Section 208 are felonies subject to as much as five years in prison. To guard against running afoul of the law, executive branch officers are instructed to follow the principles of “disqualification, disclosure, and divestiture.” Thus, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration is precluded from owning stocks or bonds in an aeronautical company, and no member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors can own stock in a bank.

      Some of the better reporters, such as Bloomberg’s Timothy O’Brien, have been quick to point out, however, that while Section 208 applies to other executive branch employees, officials and Cabinet officers, it does not cover the president and vice president. Congress, in drafting the legislation in 1962, exempted those offices because the powers of the chief executive were considered so vast that any decision he or she made could be open to attack on conflict grounds.

    • Sweden Warns U.K. Against Aggressive Tax Cuts Amid Brexit Talks

      The U.K. should avoid any drastic steps to cut corporate taxes, or similar measures, as it prepares to start talks on leaving the European Union, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven said.

      The premier of the largest Nordic economy also said the U.K.’s exit from the 28-nation bloc “shouldn’t take longer than necessary.”

      “But if the U.K. wants some time to think about the situation, this will also give EU countries some time,” Loefven told Bloomberg after giving a speech in Stockholm on Sunday. “On the other hand, you hear about plans in the U.K. to, for example, lower corporate taxes considerably. If they, during this time, begin that kind of race, that will of course make discussions more difficult.”

      U.K. policy makers are now dealing with the fallout of the June vote backing a Brexit and are looking at the first part of next year to start formal talks. Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed starting Britain’s exit as she puts together a team and prepares for what will inevitably be tough negotiations.

    • China Is Grappling With Hidden Unemployment

      Cracks are starting to show in China’s labor market as struggling industrial firms leave millions of workers in flux.

      While official jobless numbers haven’t budged, the underemployment rate has jumped to more than 5 percent from near zero in 2010, according to Bai Peiwei, an economics professor at Xiamen University. Bai estimates the rate may be 10 percent in industries with excess capacity, such as unprofitable steel mills and coal mines that have slashed pay, reduced shifts and required unpaid leave.

      Many state-owned firms battling overcapacity favor putting workers in a holding pattern to avoid mass layoffs that risk fueling social unrest. While that helps airbrush the appearance of duress, it also slows the shift of workers to services jobs, where labor demand remains more solid in China’s shifting economy.

    • Japanese hedge fund robot outsmarts human master, passes Brexit test

      Yoshinori Nomura felt like weeping. It was the morning of June 24, Brexit day, and markets were moving against him.

      Well, not against him, exactly. It was the hedge fund manager’s self-learning computer program that had placed the bet, selling Japanese stock-index futures before a sizable market advance. Nomura had anticipated a rally, but decided not to interfere, and his fund was paying the price.

      Then, in an instant, everything changed. When new vote counts signalled Britain was going to leave the European Union, a burst of selling sent Japanese shares to their biggest drop in five years. By luck or design, Mr. Nomura’s Simplex Equity Futures Strategy Fund ended the day with a 3.4-per-cent gain, one of its best results in three months of trading.

      “The machine was right after all,” said Mr. Nomura, who spent more than three years refining his trading program and now oversees about ¥3.5-billion ($44-million) in the fund, one of the first in Japan to utilize artificial intelligence technology.

      Mr. Nomura doesn’t have the assets or name recognition of computer-savvy giants such as Renaissance Technologies or Two Sigma Investments. But in his own way, the Tokyo-based physics buff has become a compelling test case for what some say is the future of money management. If Mr. Nomura can succeed in Japan – where central bank stimulus has upended markets, hedge funds are trailing global peers and institutional investors are notoriously risk averse – it would offer hope for fledgling AI traders around the world.

    • Massachusetts to tax ride-hailing apps, give the money to taxis

      Massachusetts is preparing to levy a 5-cent fee per trip on ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft and spend the money on the traditional taxi industry, a subsidy that appears to be the first of its kind in the United States.

      Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the nickel fee into law this month as part of a sweeping package of regulations for the industry.

      Ride services are not enthusiastic about the fee.

      “I don’t think we should be in the business of subsidizing potential competitors,” said Kirill Evdakov, the chief executive of Fasten, a ride service that launched in Boston last year and also operates in Austin, Texas.

      Some taxi owners wanted the law to go further, perhaps banning the start-up competitors unless they meet the requirements taxis do, such as regular vehicle inspection by the police.

    • The Wat on Cash

      Several months ago I stayed in an offbeat Amsterdam hotel that brewed its own beer but refused to accept cash for it. Instead, they forced me to use the Visa payment card network to get my UK bank to transfer €4 to their Dutch bank via the elaborate international correspondent banking system.

      I was there with civil liberties campaigner Ben Hayes. We were irritated by the anti-cash policy, something the hotel staff took for annoyance at the international payments charges we’d face. That wasn’t it though. Our concern was an intuitive one about a potential future world in which we’d have to report our every economic move to a bank, and the effect this could have on marginalised people.

      ‘Cashless society’ is a euphemism for the “ask-your-banks-for-permission-to-pay society”. Rather than an exchange occurring directly between the hotel and me, it takes the form of a “have your people talk to my people” affair. Various intermediaries message one another to arrange an exchange between our respective banks. That may be a convenient option, but in a cashless society it would no longer be an option at all. You’d have no choice but to conform to the intermediaries’ automated bureaucracy, giving them a lot of power, and a lot of data about the microtexture of your economic life.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Top DNC staffer resigns in wake of massive hack

      Another top official has left the Democratic National Committee in the wake of an email hack last month the revealed embarrassing messages.

      Jordan Kaplan, the party’s national finance director for more than three years, stepped down, becoming the scandal’s fifth casualty. The first to go was DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      Kaplan’s resignation email, obtained by The Associated Press, makes no mention of the leaked emails. He says he is returning to consulting and in that capacity will continue to manage party fundraisers featuring the Obamas. Kaplan is a longtime Obama supporter, having first worked for him years ago during Obama’s Illinois Senate campaign.

    • Trump, Clinton ‘Have Not Earned Our Vote,’ says Jill Stein

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said Republican Party nominee Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton “have not earned our vote” for president.

      “Politicians do not have a new form of entitlement,” Stein told ABC’s “This Week.” “They are not entitled to our vote. They have to earn our votes.”

      “People are being thrown under the bus and they’re tired of it,” Stein said. “They’re tired of a rigged economy, and they’re tired of a rigged political system.”

      A poll by ABC News/Washington Post this month found that 57 percent of voters are dissatisfied with the choice between Trump and Clinton. Stein polled at 4 percent in the same survey, well ahead of the one half of 1 percent of votes she won in the 2012 presidential election.

      But, according to a new ABC/SSRS online poll released today, 59 percent of voters worry that casting a ballot for a third-party hopeful could cause their least-preferred candidate to win the presidency. Of the 59 percent, 35 percent said they were somewhat worried, 15 percent very worried, and 9 percent extremely worried.

    • Stein & Baraka to Bernie Sanders Supporters: Vote Green & Abandon the Party of War and Wall Street

      For months, Jill Stein of the Green Party attempted to push Bernie Sanders to join the Green ticket. While he ignored the call, Stein is now reaching out to Sanders supporters for their votes in November. But is Stein afraid of tipping the election toward Donald Trump? We get response from her and running mate Ajamu Baraka.

    • Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka Urge Trump and Clinton to Back Open Debates With Greens, Libertarians

      In the spirit of democracy, we are writing to ask that you support open debates in 2016 that include all of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates who are on enough ballots to win at least 270 electoral college votes.

      There will only be four campaigns on enough state ballots to win the election: your campaigns, the Libertarians, and our Green Party campaign. All candidates should be included in the series of Presidential debates, so that voters can be informed about all of their choices. We propose four open debates, three for the Presidential candidates and one for the Vice Presidential candidates.

      The US electorate is changing rapidly and is no longer limited to Republicans and Democrats. The number of eligible voters who identify as Republican or Democratic has steadily dropped from approximately 80% in 1958 to 50% today. A majority of US voters do not identify with either of your parties.

    • Jill Stein: ‘Democracy needs a moral compass’

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      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein doesn’t want voters to think a vote for her is a vote for Donald Trump.

      “What we have seen over the years is that this politics of fear actually delivered everything that we were afraid of,” Stein said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “That’s actually what we’ve gotten because we, the people, have allowed ourselves to be silenced. Democracy needs a moral compass. It needs a vision, an affirmative vision of what we are about and an agenda that we can actually put forward.”

    • No, Jill Stein Supporters, You Are Not Crazy

      The primaries were rigged. The mainstream media is obscenely biased. The progressive vote is actively being dismissed, ignored and marginalized as the Democratic party moves further into bed with neoliberal policies of imperialism and corporatism. And there most certainly is a deliberate attempt from the Democrats to attack, undermine and obliterate the support for your candidate, who is most certainly a very sane voice in an extremely corrupt political environment.

    • The Real Way the 2016 Election Is Rigged

      Hillary Clinton has put the Electoral College into checkmate. She’s closer to Donald Trump in many red states like Kansas and Texas than he is to her in key swing states.

      As her lead swells, naturally, fired-up Democrats and a restless media have turned their attention to a more exciting story: Can Democrats retake the House of Representatives? But the outcome there is not really in doubt, either.

      It’s not going to happen. Democratic House candidates will likely get many more votes than Republican ones – as they did in 2012, when Democrats received 1.4 million more votes nationwide, but Republicans maintained a 234-201 advantage. Indeed, Trump is more likely to rebound in swing states than Democrats are to capture the 30 congressional seats they need to pry the speaker’s gavel from Paul Ryan.

    • Empty Promises About the Clinton Foundation

      The Clinton Foundation is an unprecedented abomination to American democracy. Under the pretenses of charitable work, the foundation has furthered the interests of the Clintons and their corporate and wealthy donors across the globe. It has also blurred the lines between donations and off-the-record political favors, while providing the Clintons with plausible deniability of auctioning off access to the most politically powerful couple in modern U.S. history.

      The Clinton Foundation has accepted large contributions from foreign dictatorships and corporations which have never shown any other interest in supporting the charitable causes the foundation cites as its focus. As a means to obscure its list of donors, the foundation has created branches of initiatives, such as the Clinton Global Initiative, and a Canadian affiliate, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. These subsidiaries failed to disclose over 1,000 foreign donations, violating Hillary Clinton’s promise to the White House Administration to annually disclose contributors to the Clinton Foundation. Despite this promise, Hillary Clinton appointed a Clinton Foundation donor to an intelligence board upon his request when he had no qualifications for the position. She abided instructions from one of her prominent donors, billionaire George Soros, to intervene in Albanian politics.

    • Quora Question: Has Trump Lost the Ability to Capitalize on Outrage?
    • Quora Question: Does the NSA Have All of Clinton’s Deleted Emails?

      For the NSA to be in possession of Hillary Clinton’s deleted e-mails, the NSA would not only have to violate intelligence community protocols regarding surveillance on US citizens (which, without a FISA warrant, is expressly forbidden) but they would have to have been spying and collecting intelligence on the civilian government charged with overseeing them.

    • Trump’s Empire: A Maze of Debts and Opaque Ties

      On the campaign trail, Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has sold himself as a businessman who has made billions of dollars and is beholden to no one.

      But an investigation by The New York Times into the financial maze of Mr. Trump’s real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt — twice the amount than can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House. The Times’s inquiry also found that Mr. Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign.

    • Huma Abedin worked at a radical Muslim journal for a dozen years

      Hillary Clinton’s top campaign aide, and the woman who might be the future White House chief of staff to the first female US president, for a decade edited a radical Muslim publication that opposed women’s rights and blamed the US for 9/11.

      One of Clinton’s biggest accomplishments listed on her campaign Web site is her support for the UN women’s conference in Bejing in 1995, when she famously declared, “Women’s rights are human rights.” Her speech has emerged as a focal point of her campaign, featured prominently in last month’s Morgan Freeman-narrated convention video introducing her as the Democratic nominee.

      However, soon after that “historic and transformational” 1995 event, as Clinton recently described it, her top aide Huma Abedin published articles in a Saudi journal taking Clinton’s feminist platform apart, piece by piece. At the time, Abedin was assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs working under her mother, who remains editor-in-chief. She was also working in the White House as an intern for then-First Lady Clinton.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Federalism and the European left

      An important question arises: what conditions would enable progressive policy to come about again in Europe? I want to suggest that these conditions are not primarily political but institutional. The left may have lost most of its former capacity to organize the working class. It may have surrendered some of its core values to third-way or related projects. But what if these are the consequences of a far more fundamental difficulty? What if progressive policies – broadly understood as a counterweight to capitalism ­– are unlikely to emerge in any of the institutional structures now operative in Europe, that is, nation states and the EU in its present form?

    • Turkey warns travelers at airport of high ‘rape rate’ in Sweden amid underage sex scandal

      Turkey has posted its own “travel warning” amid an ongoing international scandal linked to Turkey’s underage sex law, placing ads at Istanbul Airport alleging that “Sweden has the highest rape rate worldwide.”

      The “warning” apparently appeared at the international Ataturk airport, in the form of a banner, by the Turkish Gunes newspaper, The Local reported on Friday.

    • Ryan Lochte, Donald Trump and the Steep Decline of American Democracy

      Trump and Lochte are amazingly American, no doubt. Taken together, they effectively provide the answer to Brooks’ incoherent question. The disgraced American swimmer and the disgraced American candidate found themselves in similar predicaments this week. It’s a marriage made in hell, or at least in purgatory: These two clowns epitomize the disordered state of the American psyche, circa 2016, almost too perfectly.

      Lochte and Trump are a pair of arrogant, ignorant jerks who believe that neither conduct nor character actually matters, and who feel entitled to rescue themselves from any sticky situation through the strategic application of lies and money. They’re the white men who give white men a bad name (which is, of course, deeply unfair). They’d almost be comical, if one of them weren’t endangering the future of the republic and if they weren’t working so hard to reinforce the entire world’s negative stereotypes about Americans. (Which are, of course, deeply unfair … no, I’m sorry, I can’t say it with a straight face.)

    • Blame It On The Bossa Nova: Lochte and Brazilian Police

      The travails of the Ryan Lochte gang of American Swimmers has been playing out for a full week now. The result has been almost universal scorn, if not hatred, for Lochte et. al, and almost complete credulous acceptance of the somewhat dubious, if extremely strident, pushback and claims of the Brazilian Police.

      Frankly, neither side’s story ever sat quite right with me. But Lochte’s story, among other exaggeration/fabrication, always, from the start, indicated that the swimmers were pulled from a taxi at gun point, by people in uniform with badges, who pointed guns at them, and took money from them.

      And then came the dog and pony show press conference staged by the Brazilian Police for a worldwide audience during mid-day on Thursday August 18. It was a bizarre and rambling presser, that was nearly comical in its staging during its opening portion. It did, however, make clear that there was a lot more to the full story than Lochte had told, and that some of his story was flat wrong. But, if you listened carefully, as I am wont to do with cops making self serving statements, it, along with previous statements made by the police, also pretty much confirmed the swimmers were pulled from a taxi at gun point, by people in uniform with badges, who pointed guns at them, and took money from them.

    • Why I Still Have Hope In The American Dream That Failed Me

      I am in a federal prison in Colorado. While here, I have read Ta-Nahesi Coates’ award-winning book Between the World and Me. Though my background is different from Coates’ (I did not grow up in the mean streets of a large city), I enjoyed reading Between the World and Me because I identify with so much of it. It is also those commonalities which make it rather difficult for me to read. Between the World and Me serves as a reminder and a warning. But most importantly Coates’ book forces us to think about the American Dream, and what hope we have in it. Coates’ book struck a chord with me particularly with his emphasis on the black body. “In America,” he tells his son, “It is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage.”

      I have long known that physical violence to the black body is an ever present specter. My indoctrination came over 35 years ago, when one of my brothers was in a drug-induced stupor in the street in front of my childhood home in small-town Missouri. The police had been called and they showed up in force. My mother was in a fretful state, pleading for my brother to return to safety inside the house. Someone attempted to calm her down by saying that everything was going to be all right, that the police would help. Her answer was so emphatic. “No! They’ll kill him!” My brother was not hurt, but I cried that night. I don’t know if the tears were from the emotions of the night or from the lesson I learned that my body and my brother’s body, our bodies, were subject to “official” physical violence.

      I would soon learn that official violence against black bodies comes in many guises. Even if not overtly physical, it is without question destructive. In my case, discrimination, arrest and imprisonment has robbed my black body of a sense and identity by disparate treatment, silencing, erasure, and exclusion from the American Dream.

    • When King came up against Chicago racism

      SOME FIVE months after the Watts uprising, King arrived in Chicago in January 1966 and announced “the first significant Northern freedom movement ever attempted by major civil rights forces.” King declared the focus of the movement would be the “unconditional surrender of forces dedicated to the creation and maintenance of slums.”

      King came to Chicago by the invitation of activists who formed the core of the Chicago Freedom Movement (CFM). They had been the key organizers of boycotts and campaigns in 1963 for the struggle against public school apartheid in the city.

      Chicago activists debated whether to focus on job discrimination or racism in public schools. Eventually, King, organizers from SCLC and local activists agreed on a target: slum conditions in housing on the West Side of Chicago. They concluded that the problems in housing were closely tied to problems of access to jobs and good schools. To dramatize the point, King moved into a shabby apartment on the city’s segregated West Side as the campaign began to set up.

      The campaign was to lead to the creation of “Unions to End Slums” across the city. This was part of a collaborative effort between the AFL-CIO and SCLC to use the “union model” to organize tenants and expose conditions of poverty in cities across the country.

      For their part, union leaders were attempting to regain favor among a growing layer of African American workers who were bitter about racism in the labor movement. Black workers often held the most physically difficult and worst-paid jobs in union shops–and growing numbers of them were critical of union officials. The civil rights agenda of unions like the United Auto Workers were intended to offset criticism of the internal politics of the organizations.

    • Argentina’s Mapuche Community Stands Up to Benetton in Struggle for Ancestral Lands

      The Mapuche have begun to reshape history by moving back onto the Patagonian land in the Chubut Province of Argentina that has been part of their ancestral history for more than 1,400 years. The transnational fashion company Benetton claims ownership to the land and force has repeatedly been used against Mapuche people who have sought to move back onto it.

    • Chris Hedges Interviews CounterPuncher Rob Urie
    • Team Refugee and the Normalization of Mass Displacement

      It was after midnight when the small refugee Olympic team strode into the stadium in Rio, the very last before host country Brazil’s huge contingent danced in to the samba-driven opening ceremonies. Ten amazing athletes, originally from four separate countries but sharing their status as unable to return home, marching under the Olympic flag.

    • The last Russian prisoner at Guantánamo Bay does not want to go home

      Fourteen years after arriving at Guantánamo, Ravil Mingazov is now due to be released. But returning to Russia could bring harassment, torture and the threat of further imprisonment.

    • Worthy and Unworthy Victims of Child Abuse

      In recent weeks surveillance footage has broken in the Australian media of institutional abuse at the Don Dale juvenile detention facility just outside of Darwin. Needless to say this has been deeply shocking the Australian public — the graphic footage of teenagers being savagely beaten and forcibly restrained in chairs with bags over their heads all too reminiscent of the human rights abuses in Abu Ghraib. The effect of these images has not been much diminished by the fact that it took the story years to break in the face of protracted institutional resistance and willingness to turn a blind eye to what were clearly the same kinds of abuse.

    • Nearly Half Of All Women In The Australian Federal Police Have Reported Sexual Harassment

      A new report investigating the culture of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has found that 46 percent of women and 20 percent of men reported being sexually harassed in their workplace over the past five years. Two-thirds of men and women also reported being bullied in the workplace. The AFP’s commissioner has apologised to employees who have been victims of sexual harassment and bullying, but the report has called for further “immediate action”.

    • A man who was almost killed by Anders Breivik explains how he keeps re-living it to prevent others from becoming radicalised

      As Anders Breivik conducted his act of terror on the usually-picturesque Norwegian island of Utøya, methodically slaughtering 69 people and injuring dozens more at the hands of his shotgun, 20-year-old Bjørn Ihler lay low on the far southern tip of the island and somehow struck up a conversation about Christmas.

      On the morning of July 22, 2011, Ihler had slept in. He only arrived to the island the night before and stayed up all night catching up with old friends.

      The island played host to Norwegian Labour Party-affiliated Worker’s Youth League summer camp and Ihler had travelled over from England, where he was studying theatre at Liverpool University, to “learn something about how politics was going in Norway,” he told Business Insider.

    • Philippines Drug-War Deaths Double as President Duterte Lashes Out at U.N.

      The number of drug-related killings since President Rodrigo Duterte took power and declared war on drugs in May has jumped to about 1,800, police said Monday, a day after the new leader lashed out over United Nations criticism of the deaths.

      Duterte said in a bizarre and strongly worded late-night news conference Sunday that the Philippines might leave the U.N. and invite China and others to form a new global forum, accusing it of failing to fulfill its mandate.

      However, Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay said Monday the Philippines would remain a U.N. member and described Duterte’s comments as expressions of “profound disappointment.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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