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05.24.16

The Media Starts Informing the European Public About the Downsides of UPC While EPO Accelerates Its Lobbying for Ratification

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hoping it will be too late and too hard to rescind this antidemocratic scheme?

EPO UPC promotion

Summary: The EPO’s shameless UPC promotion takes another step forward as the European press outlets (even television channels) begin to explore the secret deal that’s negotiated by patent lawyers (with corporate clients) and patent offices, not the public or any public interest groups

More UPC lobbying was caught by us just earlier today. This kind of lobbying (totally antidemocratic and by an unaccountable entity above the law) was coming from the EPO's PR department. The UPC and EPO should be seen as increasingly inseparable. The management of the EPO is trying to change the system in favour of large corporations (not even European ones), clearly at the expense of ordinary European citizens and even patent examiners, board members, etc. The public will sooner or later find out about it, just as it found out about ISDS and what it really meant to ordinary citizens, as opposed to large corporations (global corporations can sue local governments overseas, i.e. claim damages from citizens overseas for alleged losses due to policy/representatives).

“The management of the EPO is trying to change the system in favour of large corporations (not even European ones), clearly at the expense of ordinary European citizens and even patent examiners, board members, etc.”We are seeing more about the UPC in the press. Coverage in Italy, for example, was mentioned here earlier this month. One reader told us that “the program on Italian television [on] patents and EPO has caught some attention and even some alarmed reaction. So far it is still all under the radar but the authors of the show are known to follow up their investigations consistently. The program (15 May) had just a significant part on EPO and its obscure behavior, even an examiner got interviewed anonymously, but it has been mainly reporting on the perverse development that patents in general have become, including a critical view on UPC. So in general EPO remained an important part of the program, but not its main focus.”

There may be more coming, not just from Italian national television. How deep will the journalists dig and what will they tell the public about the UPC? The EPO is lobbying Italy pretty hard to ratify the UPC (Italy is a longtime thorn on the UPC’s side) and there are some dubious reports on the matter.

“Does the public need to know more before taking the battle to the streets of Europe?”Bristows LLP staff, in the mean time, continues with the UPC cheerleading. There’s no sense of shame when one does it for one’s financial interests (it’s like promoting/ushering in TPP and TTIP, except not many European citizens know anything about the UPC). Funnily enough, down in the comments, what seems like a patent lawyer explains why UPC is problematic and may make no sense at all.

Is it time to call the whole thing off? Does the public need to know more before taking the battle to the streets of Europe? There is more coming from the media and perhaps also from activism groups, so stay tuned.

Some Details About How the EPO’s President is Rumoured to be ‘Buying’ Votes and Why It’s Grounds/Basis for “Immediate Dismissal”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bank robbery

Summary: Some background information and a detailed explanation of the systemic financial dependency, created by Battistelli at the cost of €13 million or more, which prevents effective oversight of Battistelli

THE PRESIDENT of EPO is not exactly a model manager. He is so widely loathed that he now believes he needs to surround himself with bodyguards (while lying to the press about his relationships) and people who work under him allege that he is buying votes in his support (0% of the polled staff actually approves/supports him), having allegedly done that for quite a while. We keep hearing this from many sources, some more reliable than others (like anonymous ones).

“We keep hearing this from many sources, some more reliable than others (like anonymous ones).”Is Battistelli digging his own hole (grave)? Will this end up any better than the Bygmalion affair? To summarise some information we have just gained, there was a rather recent discussion about the relationship between the EPO and its Council, i.e. the member states. It was pointed out that bigger member states, e.g. Germany, France and the UK, or more economically advanced member states like Switzerland, are traditionally applying for and receiving more patents. This is what everyone ought to expect, but how does that really scale when it comes to representation? Can Switzerland have an equal voice to that of the UK? And what about Croatia? Does it count as much as Germany? Under Battistelli, an ENA mindset adopter, none of this matters really; the main if not sole interest of the EPO is issuing as many patents as possible so as to receive a large share of the annual renewal fees. But then there is also the loyalty dimension, especially now that Battistelli risks losing his job and the UPC is at stake (nations vote on it or vote to ratify/reject it).

“The date is 2014, so this is a Battistelli policy.”There is a divide or a growing disparity when it comes to member states and also when it comes to patent applicants and their supposed representatives (or delegates). Policy at this level is virtually irrelevant to the vast majority of tiny states as they have very few patents designated to their citizens, but they have other things to be gained, other than favouritism at the patent examination process. Their delegates, as one might expect, work for their national patent offices (colleagues/friends) and for themselves, not for ordinary citizens, especially in nations where corruption is rampant. Thus, these delegates are probably more interested in EPO “co-operation” budget. In this context, as we noted here some years ago, see this EPO document [PDF] (“Co-operation Roadmap: update and plans” submitted by “President of the European Patent Office”). We have made an HTML version of it (thanks, Marius Nestor) in case the EPO removes the ‘evidence’ some time in the future. The date is 2014, so this is a Battistelli policy. How convenient a way to 'buy' the loyalty of members.

We mentioned this angle two years ago in relation to some of the Željko Topić affairs. This document as a whole merits careful reading. The total budget at hand is at least, as is often the case at the EPO, €13 million. Now, recall the delegates, who are typically heads of their national patent offices (with very few and rare exceptions). There is almost half a million at stake for each and these are the people who attend Administrative Council meetings. With so much money on the table, would they want to jeopardise the money by invoking the wrath of Battistelli? For large/affluent nations this money can be spared, but what about small and/or poor nations? Some of them have fewer controls that help combat corruption, so the temptation is high. If delegates get to decide how much their national patent offices get in co-operation money, then there is great pressure on them, even from within the national offices, to suck up to Battistelli. Such financial strings must never have existed in the first place, as here we have mutual financial dependence, which imperils supervision/oversight tasks. To some of the smaller states that don’t care much about patents (or have very few patents at the EPO) this is a lot of money, enough to buy their silence or complicity. The money passage is further disguised (made harder to track) because it’s part of bilateral agreements that are not at all transparent. We previously wrote about other potential 'sweeteners' such as dental care, but let’s leave that aside for now as the total value of that is a lot less than the per-nation budget (an average of about €350k for each nation).

“The money passage is further disguised (made harder to track) because it’s part of bilateral agreements that are not at all transparent.”How is proper supervision ever possible? The whole thing is basically rotten and Battistelli can get away with just about everything he does, even breaking the law, throwing out staff representatives, and causing a "crisis", as per Board 28. It shouldn’t be so shocking that EPO staff cannot stand Battistelli and delegates, especially those from small nations, suck up to Battistelli. There is apparently more to come on this front, as work is done to highlight such injustices. Well, “firstly,” said one person, “admittedly, the Staff Representation in its dramatically reduced capacity is very busy or, more to the point, kept busy by a lot of activism on several fronts, such as reviewing investigation guidelines, disciplinary guidelines, health insurance, surveys over surveys to measure the obvious presumably.”

Regarding why “in effect nothing concrete has really happened yet” we learned that: “While it is laudable to try to fix all that has been broken over the past years, attempting to pretend this will be done in a few months may indeed be seen as unrealistic or lacking good faith. Bottom-line is that the Staff Representation cannot report any positive signs nor genuine interest in fixing past reforms in the interest of staff and the organisation. Needless to say no effective changes have been proposed so far.”

We are not expecting much to happen until the next protest, but two staff representatives might learn this week if they can get their job back (which we doubt) or get their previous position back. In the mean time, as one person pointed out this week in IP Kat

Confidentiality restrictions are one thing, restrictions upon the freedom to choose one’s own employment is a completely different matter.

An employer might reasonably take action to prevent misuse of confidential information gained by an ex-employee. However, for an employer to impose a “ban” on an ex-employee taking up new employment with certain organisations represents an infringement of the civil liberties of that ex-employee. Such infringements are typically either not permitted or, if precisely defined in a contract of employment in a manner that protects only the legitimate interests of the employer (and no more), are permitted for only a very limited duration – certainly no more than 1 year. However, even in those exceptional circumstances, what is permitted is rarely a total “ban” on taking up new employment, but more frequently a limitation (for a short duration) on the permitted activities (e.g. a ban on contacting ex-clients) of the ex-employee in their new role.

If any employer wants their employee to not take up a new role for a set period after handing in their resignation, then they have to pay them to stay at home (i.e. put them on so-called “garden leave”).

What are the precise proposals from BB? I recall a period of 2 years being mentioned, but that seems way over the top (especially if those 2 years are not paid garden leave). And is there any precise definition of what “bans” can be imposed and for what reasons? Also, is there any scope for discretion in how or whether any “bans” are imposed? If so, are there any checks and balances that prevent such discretion being misused?

Finally, I note that there have been several references to BB “buying” votes at the AC from some of the “smaller” countries. Such a tactic would certainly be a “political” response to the fix that BB found himself in at the last AC meeting. However, is there any real evidence of such Machiavellian tactics being employed? If so, could that count as grounds for immediate dismissal?

So Battistelli ‘buying’ votes at the Administrative Council might be short on evidence, except some of the above (and the articles cited therein). “If so,” the commenter argues, this “could that count as grounds for immediate dismissal?”

“So Battistelli ‘buying’ votes at the Administrative Council might be short on evidence, except some of the above (and the articles cited therein).”Who would be behind dismissal of Battistelli? The delegates who want Battistelli to send money their way? Here is the last paragraph in full: “Finally, I note that there have been several references to BB “buying” votes at the AC from some of the “smaller” countries. Such a tactic would certainly be a “political” response to the fix that BB found himself in at the last AC meeting. However, is there any real evidence of such Machiavellian tactics being employed? If so, could that count as grounds for immediate dismissal?”

Several responses were posted, including:

listen mate, all your erudite arguments here to explain us how all these rules that are enacted by BB at the European Patent Office could never be in the … – shall I say, civil society: why don’t you put them in a letter and send it to the Representative of your country at the Administrative Council?

Because either he/she is as dumb as you get or he/she does not give a shit about what happens at the European Patent Office – as long as the money keeps flowing.

Thanks!

Yes, it could be a reason to fire Mister BB….
But! His immunit can only be lifted by the AC.
Any disciplinary measures can only be started and decided by the AC.
Any decission to fire, replace, send on “garden leave” with pay, … of the president of the EPO can only be taken by the AC.

The same people who either vote yes because they want the money for their country/office, or because “we are only one vote, despite being one of the big three”.

There was a time, not long ago, where it was diplomatic standard to not vote against the “big countries”, especially not against the host countries.
BB played that card by pushing the smaller ones to show a “we do not like you and vote out of spite against you” vote.

What does the Dutch Hoge Raad? The current situation shows they cannot hope for the problem to solve itself, witho the SUEPo having been destroyed. They are facilitating the “Justice denied” by taking their time….
The Dutch government is getting in a really difficult situation here by not demanding more respect from the other member states, who outvote the Netherlands and telling the Netherlands to deny citizens their Dutch rights when going to work.

Notice the argument about big nations in there. Heiko Maas, who is responsible for the largest such nation, gets criticised in this comment which says: “Don’t forget the hypocritical little weasel in Berlin who preaches to the world via Twitter that there should be no “legal vacuum” at the FIFA. But when it comes to the EPO where he derives an income of millions per annum he is completely silent.”

Maas has been getting many letters from EPO staff and their lawyers, but he never seems to be writing anything in return. Total stonewalling. How embarrassing for Germany. Does justice matter at all or just money and self interest?

How the Patent Lawyers’ Microcosm Continues to Boost Software Patents Filth by Misdirecting Readers, Relying on Highly Selective Coverage

Posted in America, Patents at 2:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Narrowly covering Enfish v Microsoft as though it’s the only case law in the world, in order to bypass the law-making process, hoping to salvage software patenting

Caselaw

Summary: Under the guise of reporting/analysis/advice the community of patent lawyers is effectively lobbying to make software patents popular and widely-accepted again, based on one single case which they wish to make ‘the’ precedent

OVER the past week we have composed not one but two articles about how the USPTO distorts patent law [1, 2]. We showed examples of USPTO bias when it comes to software patents, which are a source of USPTO revenue (at everyone else’s expense). The bias is showing, as even post-Alice the USPTO cherry-picks cases about software patents, trying to re-enable them. Reed Smith LLP, i.e. patent lawyers, is reaffirming what we wrote [1, 2] and so do people from the “The Software Intellectual Property Report” (Bejin Bieneman plc). Another firm of lawyers, Burns & Levinson LLP, is framing this as an “availability” problem, as if software patents are products. Where are the voices of reason in all this and why aren’t actual developers consulted on these matters? Ricardo Ochoa of PretiFlaherty (patent lawyers) failed to even hide his bias on the subject. They all try to attract customers based on the misguided belief or hope that they’ll manage to sneak software patents into the system, with help from an apathetic (about quality) USPTO. Where does this end? The most vocal longtime proponents of software patents even try using CAFC to broaden the appeal and scope of such patents. All of them rely on pretty much one single case which we mentioned here before, namely Enfish v Microsoft [1, 2, 3].

“Quite simply, being sincere and honest would not be convenient a strategy for people who make money ramming software patents down the USPTO’s belly.”Jason Rantanen, writing as a guest at Patently-O, deals with Enfish v Microsoft and In re TLI Communications. He is now comparing cases/studying CAFC to better understand how to get software patents granted in spite of the Alice decision.

“This month’s decision in Enfish,” he writes, “was an overnight sensation—almost literally, as mere days later the PTO issued the new examiner guidance to implement the decision that Dennis wrote about last week. That guidance emphasizes the Federal Circuit’s recognition of Mayo Step-1 as a meaningful inquiry and focuses on particular aspects of Enfish that relate to that inquiry: comparisons to prior abstract idea determinations; a caution against operating at too high a level of abstraction of the claims, and the rejection of the tissue-paper argument that use of a computer automatically dooms the claim (it doesn’t).”

But actually, those two cases are just a couple among many more (even at CAFC alone), and the overwhelming majority of them were against software patents. Patent lawyers latch onto Enfish v Microsoft as opportunists with agenda and the public is barely told anything at all about this overwhelming majority of cases, which reaffirm the demise of software patents. One person, writing about another CAFC case, says: “This case is notable mainly because it is the first Federal Circuit decision to distinguish itself from Enfish LLC v. Microsoft Corp., and also because it is another reminder that the wall between patentable subject matter, obviousness, and written description is now rubble.”

But why only rely on the latest two cases to discern/differentiate between patent-eligible and patent-ineligible? Why not rely on Alice and all the cases that cite it (probably many hundreds if not over a thousand)? Quite simply, being sincere and honest would not be convenient a strategy for people who make money ramming software patents down the USPTO’s belly.

One new report, titled “Claims to Devices Sharing GPS Addresses Not Patent-Eligible in E.D. Texas”, says:

Claims to Devices Sharing GPS Addresses Not Patent-Eligible in E.D. Texas

[...]

Judge Schroeder began by explaining that the magistrate judge was correct to decide the patent-eligibility question at the pleadings stage. The plaintiff had objected to the court’s refusal to consider its expert’s declarations, which were outside the pleadings. However, the magistrate properly relied on the plain language of the patent claims, and the plaintiff’s own description of the claimed subject matter. The expert’s declarations were not material to patent-eligibility and failed to provide adequate basis for their conclusions. Where “patent claims on their face are plainly directed to an abstract idea,” a dismissal at the pleadings stage was appropriate.

Moreover, Magistrate Judge Love properly “found that the ’503 Patent is directed toward the abstract idea of address retrieval.” The plaintiff argued that the magistrate judge had improperly used the “machine-or-transformation” test. Instead, Judge Schroeder explained, the magistrate judge had simply found that each of the problems the ’503 patent purported to solve “simply relate[s] to ease, accuracy, and efficiency benefits achieved when any fundamental or well-known concept is implemented on a computer device.”

Finally, addressing the second prong of the Alice/Mayo test, the claims recited no inventive concept. The plaintiff had essentially argued that “that the ‘503 Patent is inventive because it requires specialized hardware and software, and is limited to a specific type of data.” However, as the magistrate judge found, “a GPS device performing generic computer tasks does not transform the claims into patent-eligible subject matter.”

That last sentence is interesting because it shows how much effort was made to exploit EPO-style loopholes, wherein one tries to portray software as “hardware” using the device it happens to be running on (even a generic computer or GPS device).

The US is moving away from software patents. Many patent lawyers are either in denial about it or hope to use self-fulfilling prophecies to impose their will on the system.

Documents Show Zagreb Police Department in Investigation of Vice-President of the European Patent Office

Posted in Europe at 1:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FIFA may turn out to be small nuggets compared to the EPO…

Željko Topić and FIFASummary: Željko Topić’s troubles in Croatia, where he faces many criminal charges, may soon become an extraordinary burden for the EPO, which distances itself from it all mostly by attacking staff that ‘dares’ to bring up the subject

“Hot new document from Croatia,” as our source put it, landed on our lap today. At the moment, this redacted document [PDF] is only available in Croatian, but we at least have the gist of it. Things aren’t getting any better for Topić and the EPO. The EPO is silent and inactive on the union-busting front, but people carry on speaking about it. It’s also on national TV channels.

“Remember that Topić’s shenanigans led to a lot of legal chaos, resulting even in suicide in Croatia (before the same thing began happening at the EPO, after Topić had come aboard).”Earlier this month we wrote about Željko Topić, EPO Vice-President under Battistelli, dodging judges and courts as though he was above the law. Remember that Topić’s shenanigans led to a lot of legal chaos, resulting even in suicide in Croatia (before the same thing began happening at the EPO, after Topić had come aboard).

“According to our information,” said our source, “the document is a request from the Office of the Public Prosecutor to the Zagreb Police Department carry out investigations and to gather evidence in relation to a criminal complaint filed against Željko Topić. The request from the Public Prosecutor was issued on the 10th of March and the police were supposed to respond within 30 days. We are trying to get a translation and obtain more information about the current state of the proceedings.”

There must be some more (newer) documents where this came from.

“We are going to publish more information (and perhaps a translation) once we have it.”As we noted here before, Topić is a well connected person in Croatia and he hired some expensive lawyers with powerful connections, but can these connections thwart legal actions at reasonably high levels? Is the system rife with corruption? Time will tell, but one sure thing is, in the lawless Eponia things aren’t any better (autocracy, mass surveillance, overt nepotism and controversial interrogation to name just few among many abuses).

We are going to publish more information (and perhaps a translation) once we have it.

[ES] Interrumpiendo la Propagánda Distractante de Battistelli: los Empleados de la EPO Protestará de Nuevo en una Quincena

Posted in Deception, Europe, Marketing, Patents at 12:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Article as ODF

Publicado en Decepcción, Europa, Marketing, Patentes at 1:28 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blatter and Qatar

Sumario: La exágerada extravagancia (desperdicio de dinero) en la Ceremonia de Premiación al Inventor Europeo de la EPO tendrá que competir por atención de los medios con miles de empleados de la EPO (en todaslas sedes de la EPO) marchándo en las calles para protestar por los abusos de la EPO

LA EPO se convirtió en un gran foco de escándalos y es la culpa de Battistelli conjuntamente con su ‘circulo’, quienes subvierten la democracia y trabajan burlando (si no atropellándo) a la EPC. En esta etapa, para las personas que trabajan en la EPO, la pregunta clave para contestar no es“¿por que protestar?” pero “¿porqué NO protestar?”

En unos pocos años, habiéndo existido y prosperádo por muchas décadas (casi la mitad de un siglo), la Oficina (EPO) se ha convertido en fuente de burla y una fuente de escándalos sin precedencia en Europa. Esto causa daño a la institución (o Organización) en su totalidad, trayéndola a un estado de crisis (por admisión propia) si no al borde del colapso. ¿Qué futuro habra para los examinadores de la EPO si completamente incompetentes idiótas y sinverguenzas como Battistelli permanencen a cargo por unos años más? La EPO ahora dañá la legitimidad de la Unión Europea en su totalidad. Esto no es bueno.

En unos pocos años, habiéndo existido y prosperádo por muchas décadas (casi la mitad de un siglo), la Oficina (EPO) se ha convertido en fuente de burla y una fuente de escándalos sin precedencia en Europa.”

Temprano este mes oficiáles Franceses observaron una protesta en la EPO en Munich. Otros oficiales Franceses se han dado cuenta de la situación. Como alguién cercano a estas acciónes lo puso (no a nosotros directa o indirectamente): “El gobierno Frances ha sido informado completamente del problema causado por su compatriota el Sr.Battistelli, entre otros por el Sr. Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, el Sr Philip Cordery, Srta. Claudine Lepage y otros. Pero no hemos visto mucho esfuérzo (diplomático o de otra manera) del gobierno Frances para enfrentar la situación. Por lo tanto me parece [sic] que debemos recordárselo al gobierno Frances. La demostración ha sido autorizada por las autoridades locales competentes en Alemania.”

Separádamente en relación a estas acciónes, una persona escribió: “Los empleados no deberían esperar que el calvario llegue de su propio impulso y resolver los problemas de la EPO, o que rescate a sus empleados. Para mi el observador de afuera notará el estado de decadencia (cantidad, calidad, motivación, servicio, etc…), será demasiado tarde. He aquí es ahora el tiempo que los empleados demuestre al mundo que la EPO no es como su ¨Presidente¨ lo describe, o dejar que la Gazette intente hacerlo pareces. De acuerdo a la Technologia Survey, la realidad hoy es que la situcación en la EPO es peor que nunca: para aquellos“férus de Benchmarking”, es reportadamente peor que la crisis en la France Télécom lo fué…”

La EPO ahora dañá la legitimidad de la Unión Europea en su totalidad. Esto no es bueno.”

Hay varios falsos ‘estudios’ preparándose en este momento. Sabemos acerca de estos y sabemos que fuéron designados (por la gerencia de la EPO) para hacerse propaganda. Son como grupos de interes o cabilderos, no encuéstas genuínas o investigación, por razones notadas aqui este mes. En adición a estos llamados ‘estudios’ (producidos para ayudar a influenciar a políticos) también hay ese estúpido evento de propaganda el cual se esfuérza en crear falso cubrimiénto de prensa de “socios en los medios” de la EPO. SUEPO ha organizado una demostración que coincidirá con este evento de propaganda, pero no esperamos que los “socios en los medios” de la EPO incluso menciónen tal demostración, habiéndo sido testigos de como ellos borraron parrafos enteros cuando cometiéron el horrible ‘error’ de cubrir el crticismo durante el evento mismo. He aquí las palabras de la SUEPO, notándo la falta de progreso de Battistelli (debería ser despedido brevemente después de este evento al menos que se las arregle para ‘comprar’/asegurar su puesto de maneras nefástas por las que ya es conocido. Para citar: “No hay progreso en los reclamos de los empleados (ver e.g. la última llamada a la huegla: “Ilegalidad en la EPO”). También no hay señal que el sr. Battistelli intente respetar la resolución de Marzo del Consejo Administrativo. Al contrario: nuevas controversiáles reformas estan planeados (plan de salud de la EPO, procedimiénto de despido, obligaciónes posterióres al empleo), algunas ya para ser decididas en la próxima reunión del Consejo Administrativo el 29-30 de Junio. Para resáltar la falta de progreso al Consejo Administrativo una demostración es planeada en cuatro sitios para el Jueves 9 de Junio. La demostración coincidirá con la ceremonia de premiación al Inventor Europeo de la EPO en Lisboa.”

Esto es un oportunismo astuto. La huelga debería coincidir con la reunión del Consejo Administrativo, pero el equipo Battistelli usó lo que pareció (en ese momento) tácticas dilatorias. “La demostración coincidirá con la ceremonia de premiación al Inventor Europeo de la EPO en Lisboa,” dice lo de arriba. Va a dañar al equipo Battistelli donde duele más por que la gente de relaciónes públicas de la EPO está trabajando el fin de semana de nuevo (ambos Sábado y Domingo), ayudándo a distraer de los escándalos [1, 2] usando la mencionada ceremonia. Simplemente es ‘control de daños’ y esto es todo lo que han estado haciéndo por un mes ahora. ¿Puede la SUEPO aplastar este evento de propagánda? Si no, ¿Cómo tomar como objetivo al ‘baby’ de Battistelli, la UPC?

La huelga debería coincidir con la reunión del Consejo Administrativo, pero el equipo Battistelli usó lo que pareció (en ese momento) tácticas dilatorias.”

De acuérdo a este nuevo tweet, El equipo Battistelli todavíá esta en modo de profecía autocumplible (tratándo de pretender de que ya es un hecho, cuándo incluso no lo es) acerca de la UPC. Para citar: “Es interesánte que los tipos de la cabina de información de la EPO en la AIPLA estaban confíados que Brexit fallaríá–Whistling pasando el cementerio?”

Recuérden que la UPC está en riésgo en lo que viene a Brexit y es cualquier cosa pero algo definitivo por varias otras razónez. Incluso el vocero de la EPO, escribiéndo acerca de casi novia de la EPO, finalmente reconoce que Brexit importa (algunos abogados británicos trataron de negar esto anteriórmente). Para citar las columnas de hoy del editor de IAM: “En un mes y un día el electorado del Reino Unido decidirá el inmediato y talvez permanente futuro de la propuesta patente unitaria de la EU y el régimen de la Corte de Patentes Unitaria. Eso es porque el 23 de Junio, los Británicos votarán si el Reino Unido permanecerá siendo un miembro de la Unión Europea. Como discutimos anteriórmente aquí, si ellos votan por permanecer, dentro de un año podemos esperar ver ambas la UPC y la patente Unitaria en su lugar.”

Pero también hay otras barreras, la menor de todas es la salida Británica, así como Finlandia (un referéndum allí seríá lelos de una llamada cercana basado en encuéstas) y la larga oposición del fiero pueblo Español.

Nada enojaría más a Battistelli y sus chácales ver su difunto ‘proyectoUPC irse en una trayectoria para abajo.”

Invitamos a los trabajadores de la EPO a unirse a una buena causa y ayudar a la economía de Europa. Pedimos recordar a su gerencia no patentar todo lo que exista bajo el Sol (trampa común cuando se máxmimiza el parámetro malo, como un negociánte en vez de un científico) y si esto signfica rechazar a la UPC, entonces sea así.

Nada enojaría más a Battistelli y sus chácales ver su difunto ‘proyecto’ UPC irse en una trayectoria para abajo. Esto no sólo lo vengaría (por sus muchos abusos) pero también serviría para restaurar a la ‘antigua’ EPO, antes de toda esas mamadas como “Patente de EU” o “Comunidad de Patentes” o “UPC” se asomen por la ventana, con la ayuda y colaboración de grandes aplicantes (incluso no Europeos, simplemente un grupo de billonarios y sus cabilderos buscando a someter al resto del mundo). La UPC tiene muchas similaridades/parecidos con la TPP y la TTIP, como hemos explicado antes.

Windows and Microsoft’s Other ‘Burning Platforms’

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

To use Elop’s own words (we shall write about Nokia separately some time later)

Summary: It’s not just Windows for phones that’s reaching minuscule market share levels but also Windows, but Microsoft is skilled at hiding this (cannibalising Windows using something people do not even want, then counting that cannibal, Vista 10)

THE REASON why Microsoft is not being covered here as much as before is that it’s not as relevant. Right now even Microsoft’s and Bill Gates’ friends at Gartner admit that Windows Phone market share is approaching 0%. Rumours we have been hearing suggest that Windows Phone will be called off and die not too long from now. Even Microsoft’s biggest fans (some of whom pretend to be journalists) have dumped Windows Phone (usually in favour of Android). We didn’t write about it when it happened because we worry more about what Microsoft intends to do with its patents (recall IBM) as its business is reduced to rubble.

“Rumours we have been hearing suggest that Windows Phone will be called off and die not too long from now.”For those who have not seen or heard the news, “Windows Phone market share falls below one percent”, according to a Microsoft-connected firm. As iophk put it: “Market share or sales? The numbers might be lower still.” They probably are. To quote CBS: “Microsoft’s Windows Phone may not be long for this world. Although the first quarter of 2016 saw a 3.9 percent increase in global smartphone sales year-on-year, Windows Phone saw a nearly 2 percent drop in sales. According to the latest Gartner report, Windows Phone sales went from 2.5 percent and 8.27 million units in Q1 2015 to 0.7 percent and 2.4 million units in Q1 2016.”

Glyn Moody cites this as proof that Microsoft won’t come back to greatness (in the market share sense) any time soon, or ever. Here is another article about it, this one titled “Windows Phone market share sinks below 1 percent” (also from a Gates-connected source). There are even more pessimistic reports in other places. FOSS proponent Sam Varghese notes that “Android sales were the highest (84.1%).” We have intentionally chosen Microsoft-friendly sources so as to show just how serious the problem is. Even the Microsoft choir cannot spin its way out of it.

“Microsoft’s Vista 10 installs itself without consent, still.”On the desktop, Microsoft is forcing people to use what Microsoft tells them to have, basically by hijacking people’s PCs. As the Bill Gates-funded The Guardian has just put it, “Microsoft has ruined my day, and possibly my life” (article by Michele Hanson). the summary says: “An unwanted software update has moved my files, broken my printer and stopped the sound on iPlayer” (which was originally notoriously Microsoft-friendly, as we noted over the years).

“Microsoft is in shambles.”As a matter of preference and priority, we don’t write much about Vista 10 anymore, but we keep hearing new stories about forced ‘upgrades’. For instance, “yesterday,” said one person, “Microsoft updated to windows 10 without my consent…” [1, 2]. Microsoft’s Vista 10 installs itself without consent, still. The solution? Goodbye Windows, hello GNU/Linux. Much to our disgust, Microsoft continues to exploit the “Linux” brand in its miserable effort to whitewash Vista 10, based on what Microsoft published yesterday. Is this whole provocative charade not over yet? Microsoft does not love Linux, it just realises that now, as Chromebooks outsell Apple-branded PCs, GNU/Linux is the growing/huge force not only in mobile (tablet/phones) but also on the desktop (or laptop rather). Microsoft does not love Linux and it does not love FOSS either. Yesterday, for instance, we learned of yet another case of Microsoft censorship [1] because someone dared to suggest making Visual Basic FOSS upon its 25th anniversary [2].

Microsoft is in shambles. To use Elop’s words (from that infamous memo), Microsoft’s operating systems are now “burning platforms”.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Visual Basic Reaches 25th Birthday – Microsoft Censors Campaign To Open Source VB6
  2. Microsoft marks Visual Basic’s 25th birthday, kicks off marathon celebration

Links 24/5/2016: CRYENGINE Source Code is Out on GitHub, Jono Bacon Leaves GitHub

Posted in News Roundup at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ask Safia: How do I move from a proprietary software background into open source?

    Your inexperience with open source tools definitely is not going to prevent you from participating in the open source community. Regardless of the closed nature of the platforms that you’ve worked with previously, you have all the skills needed to be a valuable open source contributor. If you’ve learned a thing or two about documentation, consider addressing documentation issues on projects. If you had experience in QA or testing, you can start off by user testing the software and identifying areas for improvement or for improving code coverage. Valuing your skill set and the nature of the environments that you have worked in is important.

  • Apache Elevates TinkerPop Graph Computing Framework to Top Level

    As we’ve been reporting, The Apache Software Foundation, which incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, has been elevating a lot of interesting new tools to Top-Level Status recently. The foundation has also made clear that you can expect more on this front, as graduating projects to Top-Level Status helps them get both advanced stewardship and certainly far more contributions.

    Now, the foundation has announced that a project called TinkerPop has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). TinkerPop is a graph computing framework that provides developers the tools required to build modern graph applications in any application domain and at any scale.

    “Graph databases and mainstream interest in graph applications have seen tremendous growth in recent years,” said Stephen Mallette, Vice President of Apache TinkerPop. “Since its inception in 2009, TinkerPop has been helping to promote that growth with its Open Source graph technology stack. We are excited to now do this same work as a top-level project within the Apache Software Foundation.”

  • Why a Buffer developer open sourced his code

    If you look for the official definition of open source, you’ll likely stumble upon this outline from the board members of the Open Source Initiative. If you skim through it, you’re sure to find some idea or concept that you feel very aligned with. At its heart, openness (and open source) is about free distribution—putting your work out there for others to use.

    It’s really about helping others and giving back.

    ​When we started to think about open source and how we could implement it at Buffer, the fit seemed not only natural, but crucial to how we operate. In fact, it seemed that in a lot of ways we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t start to look more seriously at it.

    But what I didn’t quite realize at the time were all the effects that open source would have on me.

  • Events

    • How to make a culture change at your company

      I attended an interesting talk by Barry O’Reilly at the Cultivate pre-conference at OSCON 2016 about “how to push through change in an enterprise.” Though I think the title should have been: “What the enterprise can learn from open source.”

    • Two OSCON Conversations, And A Trip Report Between Them

      My last visit to OSCON was in 2011, when I had worked for the Wikimedia Foundation for under a year, and wanted to build and strengthen relationships with the MediaWiki and PHP communities. I remember not feeling very successful, and thinking that this was a conference where executives and engineers (who in many cases are not terribly emotionally passionate about open source) meet to hire, get hired, and sell each other things.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Struggling to open a document or photo? Here’s how to do it

      Things are a bit trickier if you have a file from a productivity application you don’t have access to —such as a Word document and no Word application, either to open it or re-save it. The solution is still simple, though — download Libre Office. Libre Office is a free and fully functional office suite that’s more than a match for Microsoft Office, and it can open (and save in) Office file formats.

  • Networking/SDN

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD/loongson on the Lemote Yeeloong 8101B

      After hunting for Loongson based hardware for the first half of 2015, I was finally able to find an used Yeeloong in July, in very good condition. Upon receiving the parcel, the first thing I did was to install OpenBSD on this exquisitely exotic machine.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Call for GIMP 2.10 Documentation Update

      With the upcoming GIMP 2.10 release we intend to finally close the time gap between releases of source code, installers, and the user manual. This means that we need a more coordinated effort between the GIMP developers team and the GIMP User Manual team.

      For the past several months we’ve already been working on GIMP mostly in bugfix mode. It’s time to start updating the user manual to match all the changes in GIMP 2.10, and we would appreciate your help with that.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Mobile Age project: making senior citizens benefit from open government data

        On 1 February 2016, ten European partners launched the Mobile Age project. Aiming to develop inclusive mobile access to public services using open government data, Mobile Age targets a group of citizens that are usually marginalised when it comes to technical innovations but which is rapidly growing in number and expectations: European senior citizens.

        While more and more public services are made available online only, older persons’ needs and wishes towards digital services are rarely understood and taken in account. This deficit is often exacerbated by their lower digital skills and poor access to the internet. In order to cope with this, Mobile Age is based on the concept of co-creation: it will develop mobile open government services that are created together with senior citizens.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Protecting IP in a 3D printed future

        3D printing might just change everything. At least John Hornick, who leads Finnegan’s 3D printing working group and wrote 3D Printing Will Rock the World, certainly thinks so. Introduced by Bracewell Giuliani’s Erin Hennessy, Hornick spoke to INTA registrants yesterday morning about the dramatic consequences he believes the proliferation of 3D printing could have for intellectual property.

  • Programming/Development

    • Google reveals nationalities of students in open source-focused Summer of Code 2016

      Every summer, many students get excited for some well-deserved time off from studies; well, if their region practices such a vacation, that is. In some cultures, school is year-round. While this is unfortunate from the standpoint of socializing and having fun, it arguably keeps the students on track for great success.

      For students that are particularly motivated and education-focused, Google hosts its legendary Summer of Code. This program pairs future developers with open source projects. Not only do these young folks learn, but they get to contribute to the projects as well. Today, the search giant shares the nationalities of the students participating in Summer of Code 2016. For the first time ever, Albania has a representative — woo-hoo! This may surprise you, but the USA is not the most-represented nation. The top country, however, may shock you — or not.

    • Google GSoC, Outreachy Kick Off Their Summer 2016 Coding Projects

      Yesterday marked the official start of the projects for this year’s Google Summer of Code and the summer round of the Outreachy (formerly the Outreach Program for Women) projects.

      The Google Open-Source Blog announced the start of GSoC 2016 with this being their 12th year and having around 1,200 students with 178 different open-source organizations participating.

    • Japan Just Made Computer Programming A Compulsory Subject In Its Schools

      With an aim to improve children’s creative and logical thinking, Japan has decided to make programming a compulsory subject in its schools. To start this program from 2020, the Japanese government has constituted panels to decide the programming syllabus and incorporated the matter in its growth strategy agenda.

    • GitLab Container Registry

      Yesterday we released GitLab 8.8, super powering GitLab’s built-in continuous integration. With it, you can build a pipeline in GitLab, visualizing your builds, tests, deploys and any other stage of the life cycle of your software. Today (and already in GitLab 8.8), we’re releasing the next step: GitLab Container Registry.

      GitLab Container Registry is a secure and private registry for Docker images. Built on open source software, GitLab Container Registry isn’t just a standalone registry; it’s completely integrated with GitLab.

    • Moving on From GitHub

      Last year I joined GitHub as Director Of Community. My role has been to champion and manage GitHub’s global, scalable community development initiatives. Friday was my last day as a hubber and I wanted to share a few words about why I have decided to move on.

      My passion has always been about building productive, engaging communities, particularly focused on open source and technology. I have devoted my career to understanding the nuances of this work and which workflow, technical, psychological, and leadership ingredients can deliver the most effective and rewarding results.

      As part of this body of work I wrote The Art of Community, founded the annual Community Leadership Summit, and I have led the development of community at Canonical, XPRIZE, OpenAdvantage, and for a range of organizations as a consultant and advisor.

    • My time with Rails is up

      Last year I made a decision that I won’t be using Rails anymore, nor I will support Rails in gems that I maintain. Furthermore, I will do my best to never have to work with Rails again at work.

      Since I’m involved with many Ruby projects and people have been asking me many times why I don’t like Rails, what kind of problems I have with it and so on, I decided to write this long post to summarize and explain everything.

      This is semi-technical, semi-personal and unfortunately semi-rant. I’m not writing this to bring attention, get visitors or whatever, I have no interest in that at all. I’m writing this because I want to end my discussions about Rails and have a place to refer people to whenever I hear the same kind of questions.

    • An overview of Lean, Agile and DevOps

      The lunch of big corporate IT is being stolen by smaller, nimbler companies. Big IT, with its greater resources, should have crushed the competition. Rather it is playing catch-up. But things are changing. There is a quiet revolution in corporate IT. Big organisations are learning from small companies and are beginning to use it at scale. Goliath is back but acting like David.

Leftovers

  • Time for a new Acronym for Mobile, Digital, Media & Tech: Our New Tech Industry Sectors Are: SCIAM – Social Media, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Analytics, and Mobile

    There are plenty of great acronyms in our industry. For example a recent one is SMAC (Social, Mobilty, Analytics and Cloud) which is a nice way to remember what all are the real hot tech ‘industries’ already viable in tech (compared to emerging promising tech which is not yet established as a viable global (and profitable) industry such as 3D printing, drones, augmented reality, virtual reality, nanotechnology etc. Most of those will probably also grow to be big but they are TRIVIAL in size, compared to say Social Media – haha Facebook alone is bigger than global 3D printing industry plus drones plus AR plus VR plus nanotechnology combined). Recently I have been thinking about this and calculating and doing some deep analysis, and have now started to discuss my thoughts in my private customer seminars. Eventually this will become a public conference item and a chapter in an upcoming book. But right now, I want to just introduce a new acronym for our industry. The problem with SMAC is that it is clearly missing a major component… where is IoT? Where is one of the biggest tech opportunities – definitely already a giant global industry – the Internet of Things? All the stuff about Smart Cities and Connected Cars – thats all part of the IoT slice of the tech future – and that CERTAINLY is of the scale to be included within ‘SMAC’ for example. I have the solution. Easy:

  • The UKIP MEP using Brussels privilege to frustrate a UK court process and an Act of Parliament

    23rd May 2016

    In a High Court judgment handed down last week we have the splendid irony of a UKIP MEP using the privileges of the European Parliament so as to stay a case in the English courts where the court is applying an Act of Parliament.

    The case is one about libel damages and the statutory provision is that which governs “offers to amend” under the Defamation Act 1996.

    One would think that this is exactly the sort of Brussels interference with national legal sovereignty – the court process and the effect of primary legislation – that UKIP would be against.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Federal Government Must Stop Catholic Hospitals From Harming More Women

      Unfortunately, it’s increasingly a common story. A woman who is expecting a baby rushes to the hospital knowing that something is going horribly awry. Her heart rate is elevated, and she is bleeding. Sadly, the pregnancy is doomed. Crying and upset, she realizes she needs an abortion because she knows the pregnancy won’t make it to term. And she knows she is getting sicker.

    • Putin is Taking a Bold Step against Biotech Giant Monsanto

      Russia’s Vladimir Putin is taking a bold step against biotech giant Monsanto and genetically modified seeds at large. In a new address to the Russian Parliament Thursday, Putin proudly outlined his plan to make Russia the world’s ‘leading exporter’ of non-GMO foods that are based on ‘ecologically clean’ production.

    • Monsanto’s 50 Years of Death From Above and Below Is About to End

      For over 20 years, Monsanto has exercised almost dictatorial control over American agriculture. But many people now believe the company is contaminating our food supply and destroying the environment–and public opinion has increasingly turned against the company.

      Now, for the first time in those two decades, the number of acres planted with genetically modified (GMO) crops is down. Efforts to label GMO foods are gaining momentum. Family and community farms are taking off. Nearly 40 countries have banned GMO crops and use of Monsanto’s keystone product, Roundup (glyphosate), may not be re-approved by the Food and Drug Administration, while the European Union has done so on a restricted basis.

    • ‘March Against Monsanto’ Activists Rally in Cities Around the World (Video)

      Hundreds of thousands of anti-GMO activists took the streets in hundreds of cities around the world calling for bans on genetically modified food.

    • Monsanto Threatens Argentina Over Recent Food Inspection Decision

      In yet one more example of how Monsanto will stop at nothing to achieve total domination of the food supply, the major agricultural corporation is now attempting to use its toxic product as leverage against the Argentinian government.

      After a dispute between Monsanto and Argentina regarding the inspection of genetically modified soybeans, Monsanto has now announced that it intends to suspend future soybean technologies in Argentina. Monsanto’s move will leave many Argentine farmers who used the company’s biotech products without the new Xtend technology scheduled to be deployed in Argentina allegedly aimed at increasing soy yields as well as controlling glyphosate-resistant, broad-leaf weeds, another problem created by Monsanto itself. The dispute centered around the fact that Monsanto was demanding that private exporting companies act as inspectors to ensure that agricultural products trademarked to the company (although even this is disputed by farmers) were not being sold. The Argentine government ruled that only the government had the authority to act as a food inspector.

    • NYPD Commissioner Has Some ‘Extremely Dubious’ Claims About Marijuana

      NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said on a local radio show over the weekend that marijuana is responsible for the “vast majority” of New York City’s violence, adding that it makes him “scratch [his] head” as to why states want to legalize marijuana.

      “Interestingly enough here in New York City, most of the violence we see — violence around drug trafficking — is involving marijuana,” Bratton said. “Here in New York the violence we see associated with drugs, the vast majority of it, is around marijuana, which is ironic considering the explosion in the use of heroin now in the city.”

    • [Last month] ‘Karoshi’ cases on rise in Japan

      In a country that has no legal limits on working hours, an increasing number of people are taking their lives or dying from work-related stress

    • When the drugs don’t work

      How to combat the dangerous rise of antibiotic resistance

    • WHO Director Advocates Strong Health Systems, Warns Against Profit-Oriented Mechanisms

      The World Health Assembly opened today with World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan repeating that this year has a record number of agenda items and over 3,000 participants. She slapped at profit-seeking mechanisms leading to “slow-motion disasters,” which put economic interests above concerns about well-being. In particular, she underlined the lack of research and development for antimicrobial treatments and the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases.

    • Health Systems, Collaboration, Research Funding Before Innovation, Speakers Say

      The fight against epidemics cannot only rely on innovation, according to speakers at an event organised by the pharmaceutical industry alongside the annual World Health Assembly’s opening day. Strong health systems, collaboration of all stakeholders, preventive measures, and the ability to fund research are prerequisite to innovation, they said.

      The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) organised an event on the side of the 69th World Health Assembly on 23 May, looking at how global health threats such as the Ebola and Zika viruses prompt innovation.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • What’s the point of (InfoSec) Certifications?

      When I did the GSE, I absolutely loved the hands-on lab more than anything-else I’d done in the world of SANS or GIAC, outside of Mike Poor’s 503 Packet Work book (if you like packets, this is heaven, literally :) ) and the “Capture the Flag” exercises created by Ed Skoudis in 504 and 560. I’ve also had some amazing instructors like Arrigo Triulzi (Arrigo teaching SEC504 actually convinced me that my future was in InfoSec) and Stephen Sims, however, I am questioning more than ever the value of certifications and to a lesser degree the training courses (which are priced to be exclusive to a tiny minority who are already fairly well off or lucky – I often recommend Coursera or the Offensive Security stuff to candidates when cost is a real issue).

    • Linux Kernel Website Kernel.org Banned By Norton

      Symantec’s automated threat analysis system, Norton Safe Web, claims that Linux kernel’s website kernel.org contains 4 threats and shows a red flag to the users. Looking at Norton’s past record, this threat detection could be just another false warning.

    • Oplcarus: An Anonymous Hacker Reveals The Motivation Behind Latest Attacks

      Here is an account of the operation against banks and financial institutes, named “OpIcarus”, by Anonymous. It reveals the purpose of the cyber attacks, their targets, and the future of OpIcarus operation as told by one of the Anonymous hacktivists with an online name of “The Voice” .

    • Systemd Reverts Its Stance On Letting Users Access Frame-Buffer Devices

      Last week’s release of systemd 230 ended up shipping with a change that made it more easy for processes running as a user to snoop on frame-buffer devices. That change has already been reverted for the next systemd update.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Jeremy Corbyn ‘still prepared to call for Tony Blair war crimes investigation’

      Jeremy Corbyn is prepared to call for an investigation into Tony Blair for alleged war crimes during the Iraq War, according to reports.

      The Chilcot Inquiry into conflict will be released on 6 July this year after years of analysing evidence about how the Government acted in the run-up to and during the conflict.

      During the Labour leadership election Mr Corbyn said he was convinced the Iraq War was illegal and that anyone who had committed a crime should be put on trial.

    • Tony Blair calls for ground forces to fight ‘proper’ war against Isis

      Isis will not be defeated without the deployment of ground forces against them, Tony Blair has said.

      Speaking at an event hosted by Prospect magazine, the mastermind of Britain’s involvement in 2003 invasion of Iraq reiterated his call for greater military involvement in the conflict.

      “If you want to defeat these people, you’re going to have to go and wage a proper ground war against them,” he said.

    • Turkey´s Kurdish peace process: regional implications

      In Turkey, the pro-Kurdish People´s Democratic (HDP) Party won an unprecedented 13 percent of the national vote during Turkey’s General Election on June 7, 2015. For the first time since 2002, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its parliamentary majority. Though this trend was reversed in the November election, with the AKP regaining political dominance and exhibiting increasing authoritarian tendencies, Turkey´s political landscape had clearly shifted. The growing influence of Kurds in the country both politically and militarily, for better or worse, means Turkey is holding the key to either fostering peace and stability in the region, or more violence and chaos.

      These political developments in Turkey are influencing the peace negotiations with the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which are currently at a standstill. The Kurdish conflict and recent developments in Turkey are also affected by larger conflict dynamics in the region; even though Kurds’ situation varies from country to country, they are all in the end interconnected. The escalating violence in Syria has displaced millions, resulting in an influx of refugees to Turkey, the region, and particularly to Europe. This has focused international attention on the need for a political solution both in Turkey and in Syria.

    • Dear Grads, Don’t Join the Military

      There are many reasons why it is immoral to place yourself in a position in which you are compelled to kill on command, or to facilitate such killing. But in this letter, I will focus on why, even if you accept the morality of war, you should stay out of military life for the sake of your own personal development and flourishing.

    • Is Scarborough Shoal Worth a War?

      If China begins to reclaim and militarize Scarborough Shoal, says Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III, America must fight.

      Should we back down, says Aquino, the United States will lose “its moral ascendancy, and also the confidence of one of its allies.”

      And what is Scarborough Shoal?

      A cluster of rocks and reefs, 123 miles west of Subic Bay, that sits astride the passageway out of the South China Sea into the Pacific, and is well within Manila’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

      Beijing and Manila both claim Scarborough Shoal. But, in June 2013, Chinese ships swarmed and chased off a fleet of Filipino fishing boats and naval vessels. The Filipinos never came back.

      [...]

      High among them is that the incoming president of the Philippines, starting June 30, is Rodrigo Duterte, no admirer of America, and a populist authoritarian thug who, as Mayor of Davao, presided over the extrajudicial killing of some 1,000 criminals during the 1990s.

      Duterte, who has charged Aquino with treason for abandoning Scarborough Shoal, once offered to set aside his country’s claim in exchange for a Chinese-built railroad, then said he might take a jet ski to the reef to assert Manila’s rights, plant a flag and let himself be executed to become a national hero.

    • Why is the government so close to BAE Systems?

      The British government has a very cosy relationship with the people arming Saudi Arabia.

    • Trajectory of US Policy in Vietnam Offers a Roadmap for the Mideast

      The pivot is an attempt by the United States to contain China by supporting countries in East Asia against its rising power and also to augment U.S. military forces and bases in the region. Yet the pivot has never been fully completed because the United States has been bogged down needless nation-building wars in the greater Middle East for a decade and a half.

      Obama, supposedly the antiwar president, has failed to recognize that Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria are unwinnable nation-building quagmires. The war in Afghanistan – of which the assassination of Taliban leader Mansour in Pakistan is a part – has surpassed the Vietnam War as the longest war in American history. Obama first surged US force levels there and then halted a promised complete withdrawal to continue the fight indefinitely against the Taliban with 11.000 American troops. In Iraq, initially, Obama wisely carried out George W. Bush’s timetable for complete American withdrawal and then decided to send US forces back in to fight ISIS (5,000 troops and increasing), which is largely a threat to the Mideast and Europe. Obama has also sent a limited number of US forces into Syria for the same purpose.

    • What The Gun Industry Thinks Women Want

      Across the exhibit hall with “seven acres of guns and gear” at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville this weekend, the gun industry’s attempts to market to women were not hard to spot. Just look for the pink.

    • Will The November US Presidential Election Bring The End Of The World?

      If Hillary becomes US president, the neoconservative threat to Russia will escalate. The Atlanticist Integrationists will be eliminated from the Russian government, and Russia will move to full war standing.

      Remember what an unprepared Russia did to the German Wehrmacht, at that time the most powerful army ever assembled. Imagine what a prepared Russia would do to the crazed Hillary and the incompetent neoconservatives.

    • Hammering for Peace

      As one of the manufacturers with the largest share of the global Unmanned Aerial Systems market, (18.9%), Northrop Grumman profits immensely from peddling complex weapon systems often designed to be eyes in the skies monitoring targets for assassination. This kind of surveillance and extrajudicial execution generates intense anger and backlashes in other lands. It also promotes proliferation of robotic weapons. But the U.S. military and acquiescent institutions encourage us to feel that we’ve been made safer by complex weapons of destruction, and we should instead be frightened of a young woman wielding a sledgehammer to break a plate glass window.

    • US Centcom Commander in Syria to Coordinate Kurds, Arabs against ISIL

      Robert Burns of AP reported on the visit inside Syria of the head of the US Middle East Command (Centcm), Army Gen. Joseph Votel, to assess the progress in US training of the Syrian Democratic Forces division. It is said to comprise 25,000 Kurdish fighters of the leftist YPG or People’s Protection Units along with 5,000 or 6,000 Arab fighters allied with the Kurds against Daesh (ISIS, ISIL).

      A few dozen US troops are on the ground there, training the SDF, but the latter complain that Washington has provided them with no medium or heavy weaponry.

    • Obama in Hanoi: Vietnam Arms Embargo to Be Fully Lifted

      What other nation on earth would signal its intent to “bury the hatchet, and what it believes to be the start of a new relationship, other than the United States, by lifting an arms embargo?

      The United States is rescinding a decades-old ban on sales of lethal military equipment to Vietnam, President Obama announced at a news conference in Hanoi on Monday, ending what the New York Times called “one of the last legal vestiges of the Vietnam War.”

      “The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations,” Obama said. “It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving toward normalization with Vietnam.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Elephants continue to suffer in ‘humane’ wildlife sanctuaries

      For 15 years she ferried tourists around Cambodia’s famous landmarks before dropping dead at the side of the road.

      As holiday-goers posed for photos and made their wish of riding an elephant come true, the elderly animal who was thought to be aged 40 to 45, dutifully plodded on.

      But three weeks ago on Apr. 22, as the sweltering summer heat reached 40 degrees Celsius, Sambo suffered a heart attack and died on her way to famed Siem Reap temple Angkor Wat.

    • North Yorkshire council backs first UK fracking tests for five years

      Fracking is set to take place in Britain for the first time in five years after councillors approved tests in North Yorkshire, sweeping aside thousands of objections from residents and campaigners.

    • What’s the True Cost of Fracking? This Eye-Opening Infographic May Surprise You

      Arsenic. Cadmium. Chromium. Radon. Lead. These are just a few of the toxins used in hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, a controversial drilling process to retrieve oil and natural gas from shale deposits under the surface of the Earth.

      Concerns about the process have been mounting, as studies have linked it to a host of environmental and public health problems, from increased infant mortality and low birth weight babies to the release of cancer-causing radioactive gas, contamination of drinking water and earthquakes. Fracking also releases methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

    • Brexit campaign leadership dominated by climate-sceptics

      The group’s three leaders Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and figurehead Lord Nigel Lawson have cast doubt over man-made climate change, which is backed by most of the world’s credible experts.

      Lawson founded the Global Warming Policy Foundation in 2009 and is a noted climate sceptic. Both the foundation, which broke UK Charity Commission rules for anti-climate bias, and Vote Leave share rich donors.

    • Programmers Aren’t Writing Green Code Where It’s Most Needed

      Confession? I don’t write green code. I mean, it might be green code just by coincidence, but I’ve never really thought too much about the relative energy consumption demanded by this design pattern or algorithm versus some other. Sadly, this is true even when I’m working with actual hardware and low-level software, such as that written in plain C for embedded devices (in my case, for an Arduino board or other microcontroller platform). What’s more, I don’t think the green code idea has ever come up in my years of computer science classes.

      I’m hardly the exception, according to a paper presented this week at the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering. In interviews and surveys conducted with 464 software engineers from a range of disciplines—including mobile, data center, embedded, and traditional software development—researchers found that where green coding most matters, its practice is rare.

    • Study: Humans to blame for big water losses in region

      A new study blames human-caused evaporation for water losses in the Colorado River Basin.

      More water is lost across the seven-state basin to evaporation due to human factors such as irrigation during July — about 8.5 million acre-feet — than what flows downriver from Lake Powell to Lake Mead in an average year, says the study, from seven researchers in Southern California, Taiwan and China.

    • GE to Invest $1.4 Billion in Saudi Arabia

      General Electric Co. on Monday announced a raft of investments worth at least $1.4 billion in Saudi Arabia as the Persian Gulf kingdom seeks to reduce its oil dependence by further opening up its economy to international businesses.

    • Saudi Arabia asserting writ in region like mafia crime family

      What passes for a government in Saudi Arabia has just threatened that unless things change in Syria they will resort to ‘Plan B’, thus proving that the arrogance and impertinence of this medieval dictatorship knows no bounds.

      Let us be clear: if the religious extremism that has engulfed the Arab world in recent years is a snake, responsible for the most heinous and wanton acts of brutality and barbarity it has ever experienced, the head of this snake lies in Riyadh.

      This is not to argue that Saudi Arabia should be lined up for invasion and occupation – surely we’ve seen enough of such invasions and occupations to know they only make the situation worse rather than better. But it does require that countries such as the US, UK, and France reappraise foreign policies that have long placed an emphasis on maintaining close relations to a government that has done more to destabilize the region with the poison of religious sectarianism than any other.

    • Parts of New Orleans Are Sinking Fast, Study Finds

      New Orleans is sinking fast — with one neighborhood losing as much as an inch per year, a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research found.

      The study, which was conducted between 2009 and 2012 and published last week, used GPS and radar, including one device that captured images from seven miles above ground.

      The most threatened section of the already-below-sea level city is Michoud, a neighborhood that sits between Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Borguen, and is being swallowed up at a rate of half an inch to just over one inch per year, the researchers found.

      Another neighborhood, the Upper 9th Ward, is losing just under half an inch to nearly one inch per year.

    • North Yorkshire fracking vote: Council approves fracking in Ryedale

      The North Yorkshire County Council planning committee voted seven to four in favour of an application by UK firm Third Energy to frack for shale gas near the village of Kirby Misperton

    • Brazil prepares to roll back green laws

      Taking advantage of Brazil’s present political turbulence, as the battle to impeach President Dilma Rousseff reached its climax, reactionary politicians were quietly rolling back environmental and indigenous protection laws in defiance of the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.

      Environmentalists say that if the bill known as PEC (constitutional ammendment project) 65/2012, now at the Senate committee stage, is approved, it means that major infrastructure projects will be able to go ahead regardless of their impacts on biodiversity, indigenous areas, traditional communities and conservation areas.

      Instead of a careful if somewhat slow licensing process which involves scientific assessments including biological, botanical, anthropological and archaeological studies, developers will merely have to present a proposed study of environmental impact to be allowed to begin – without actually having to carry out the study. And once a project is under way it cannot be cancelled or suspended by the environmental protection agencies.

    • Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents

      The Indian Point nuclear power plant is located just 35 miles from midtown Manhattan. About 18 million people live within 50 miles of the site. The two reactors at the site are over 40 years old – ancient in nuclear years. Recently Indian Point has been plagued by increasing problems; nearly 25% of the bolts in the reactor vessel were found to be damaged or missing and 65,000% spike in tritium levels one of its test wells. These mechanical problems raise the concern of a catastrophic meltdown. Any large release from the red-hot cores or pools of nuclear waste were to occur from human error, mechanical failure, or act of sabotage, would exceed Chernobyl or Fukushima in fatalities.

    • “Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street

      On Sunday, May 15, more than a hundred climate change kayaktivists took to the waters of Padilla Bay in Anacortes, Washington, risking arrest to land on the banks of the Tesoro oil refinery. In the shadow of the refinery smoke stacks, they unfurled banners calling attention to the potentially lethal risks that fossil fuel workers confront each day on the job. “Seven Dead, No More Casualties, Tesoro Explosion April 2, 2010” read one banner focused on Tesoro’s checkered workplace safety record. “Solidarity is Strength, We are all workers,” read another banner. Yet another called for a “Just Transition,” as kayaktivists knelt on the ground, paddles in hand, in what organizers described as a demonstration of respect for the workers killed at the refinery, and for those still working in the refinery. The messaging on the banks of the refinery signaled the central challenge that climate change activists confront in trying to find common ground—if not common cause–with refinery workers.

  • Finance

    • European Parliament to tackle virtual currencies and Blockchain

      This week, the European Parliament will debate (Wednesday) and vote (Thursday) on a report on virtual currencies.

      First of all, this is a report – not legislation. But it will be handed over to the European Commission for consideration.

    • Make Scandinavia one nation, says Norwegian tycoon

      Speaking with Swedish daily Göteborgs Posten, the Norwegian owner of the Nordic Choice Hotel Group was full of praise for his country’s eastern neighbours, hailing their capacity for innovation and suggesting that combining that with Norway’s sense of adventure could be a recipe for success.

      Stordalen went on to suggest that Norway should incorporate not only Sweden but Denmark as well and create one nation out of the three Scandinavian countries.

    • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replacing 4 next-door Palo Alto homes

      Four houses surrounding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s home in Palo Alto will be demolished and replaced by smaller ones, according to an application filed with city planners Tuesday.

      Zuckerberg bought the homes in the Crescent Park neighborhood in 2013 after he learned of a developer’s plan to build a house next door tall enough to have a view of Zuckerberg’s master bedroom.

      Concerned about privacy, Zuckerberg paid more than $30 million total for the properties.

      One of those sales led real estate developer Mircea Voskerician to sue the Facebook co-founder in 2014, alleging a breach in the terms of their property deal. Voskerician settled the fraud lawsuit in March without getting any money from the settlement.

    • Fast Food Workers Are Starting To Win The Fight For $15. What About The Battle For Union Rights?

      Ever since fast food workers staged their first strike in 2012, their basic demands have been twofold: an increase of their pay to at least $15 an hour, and the right to form a union.

      They’ve made significant headway on the first demand, helping to secure the passage of a $15 minimum wage in two states and a handful of cities. But now they plan to make good on the second half.

    • Rise of the robots: 60,000 workers culled from just one factory as China’s struggling electronics hub turns to artificial intelligence

      The manufacturing hub for the electronics industry, Kunshan, in Jiangsu province, is seeking a drastic reduction in labour costs as it undergoes a makeover after an industrial explosion killed 146 people in 2014.

      The county, one-seventh the size of neighbouring Shanghai and the mainland’s first county to achieve US$4,000 per capita income, was adjudged the best county for its economic performance by Forbes for seven years in a row.

      However, the blaze, blamed on poor safety standards and haphazard industrialisation, dented Kunshan’s pride.

    • Uber’s Conscientious Objectors

      One Saturday night after staying out too late in the West Village’s seedy bars, a close friend asked me to share an Uber with her back to Brooklyn.

      A pit developed in my stomach. I couldn’t untangle what exactly about the app made me uncomfortable, but I felt guilty about taking an Uber. There’s the cost, for one thing. The app seems like a luxury in Manhattan, where taxis are plentiful and the subway runs all night. But that wasn’t it. I just had a feeling that Uber, the company, was bad.

    • The New Agenda For Taking On Wall Street

      More than 20 progressive organizations representing millions of voters are putting their weight behind a five-point agenda for the next stage of Wall Street reform. What these groups will formally announce Tuesday, in an event featuring Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, sets a high but practical standard for what a candidate would have to embrace to be considered a progressive on reining in the financial sector.

      [...]

      It also comes as many in the Wall Street financial community turn to Clinton as the sane alternative to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the general election campaign. These money interests will want Clinton to assure them that her get-tough rhetoric is nothing more than political red meat to assuage an angry populist electorate; their hope is that if the pivot to a centrist posture doesn’t happen in the general election, it will surely happen once she secures the presidency. But broad support for the Take On Wall Street agenda will limit Clinton’s ability to pivot, especially if this agenda helps elect new Senate and House members committed to not allowing Wall Street to keep rigging the economy against the rest of us.

    • Two Decades Later, Democrats Say Giuliani Was Wrong About Rent Limits

      Since 1995, developers in lower Manhattan have relied on a letter written by former Mayor Giuliani to justify receiving tax breaks without rent restrictions. Former lawmakers who wrote and voted for the law say the practice violates the intent and clear meaning of the statute.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Bernie Sanders Will Be a Significant Force at the Democratic Convention

      The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July seems set to continue the fierce nomination battle—and launch a major debate about what the party stands for.

      Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, won the Oregon primary handily on Tuesday and was barely edged out in Kentucky. Last week, he took West Virginia by almost 16 percentage points. Yet, supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are already calling for him to stand down.

    • Mob Politics: the Democrats Have a Problem and It’s Not the Sandernistas

      It’s the entire fault of Bernie’s kids, have you heard? A wild mob of them in Nevada went on a rampage during the Nevada Democrat Convention and hurt “Democracy” as we know it.

      To hear the horrific description of events, they nearly killed it dead.

      They wrote nasty social messages to a VIP!

      They did some other bad stuff, unlike anything Hillary Clinton’s robots would do. Voting and delegate stuff, trying to steal the limelight—and perhaps an election.

      They’re as bad as pro athletes going off the handle on Twitter!

      Millennials and other Sanders’ supporters are suddenly the degenerate generation if you hear it told by the Democratic National Committee and the lackluster scribes working for the mainstream media.

      Sounds like a night of cocktails and toadying around got out of hand.

      It is both intriguing and disgusting the way Clintonites and the Madam’s corporate-media backers attack Sanders’ campaign and youthful supporters while repeatedly letting her off the hook for her crookedness, the likes of which we have not seen since the infamous “Robber Barons” came on the American scene after the Civil War.

      Well, crooks love other crooks they say.

      What is wrong with this picture? It’s a sad commentary on where we are—and a “fuck you” in the face of reality.

      Let’s measure this overblown Nevada riot of rudeness in coffee spoons, shall we? Forget Clinton and Bernie for a second, though they are both major shareholders in the madness; let’s consider the way things are and have been for too long.

    • Virginia Republicans Sue To Stop 200,000 Ex-Felons From Voting

      Republican lawmakers in Virginia filed a lawsuit Monday to block the governor from restoring the voting rights of more than 200,000 residents with felony convictions. The case now before the Virginia Supreme Court argues that the Gov. Terry McAuliffe exceeded his constitutional power by signing an executive order restoring the full civil rights of all residents who have already served their felony sentences and completed supervised parole or probation. Until April, Virginia had been one of just four U.S. states that permanently disenfranchised most people with felony convictions.

      “The Governor is authorized to restore the voting rights of any convicted felon through an individualized grant of clemency, but he may not issue a blanket restoration of voting rights,” the lawsuit states.

    • Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign

      Early last Fall, I received a surprising circular email from a high union officer and erstwhile leader of SDS, way back in the early 1960s. It contained an urgent appeal: get behind Hillary, because this is an era for defensive struggles. The letter-writer had also been an early and articulate opponent of the US invasion of Vietnam. I puzzled at his conversion to the War Candidate. I winced, some months later, as his union staffers crossed the border from my own Wisconsin to work feverishly in Iowa against….the labor candidate, Bernie Sanders, who lost by a hair (perhaps a hair that did not exist!). And again back in Wisconsin, where the best or worst efforts of his union, joined to the purported idealists of the labor movement, SEIU, failed somehow to keep the state in line for Hillary. They could not carry the working class vote.

    • This is How the Strongman Wins: Donald Trump’s Single Greatest Weapon is America’s Hatred for its Press

      Distrust in the media is at an all-time high, and Trump plans to ride that enmity all the way to the White House.

    • Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade

      The Obama administration wants Americans to believe that it is fiercely anti-corruption. “I have been shocked by the degree to which I find corruption pandemic in the world today,” declared Secretary of State John Kerry at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London on May 12. Kerry sounded like the French detective in Casablanca who was “shocked” to discover gambling. Six years ago at the United Nations, President Obama proclaimed that the U.S. government is “leading a global effort to combat corruption.” Maybe he forgot to send Kerry the memo.

    • A Harvard MBA Guy Is Out to Bring Down the Clintons

      In a 9-page letter dated yesterday and posted to his blog, Ortel calls the Clintons’ charity the “largest unprosecuted charity fraud ever attempted,” adding for good measure that the Clinton Foundation is part of an “international charity fraud network whose entire cumulative scale (counting inflows and outflows) approaches and may even exceed $100 billion, measured from 1997 forward.” Ortel lists 40 potential areas of fraud or wrongdoing that he plans to expose over the coming days.

    • Chris Hedges: Taxpayers Pay for Primaries, but DNC Determines Rules in Order to Steal Votes (Video)

      “It is our job to make the powerful frightened of us,” the Truthdig columnist said in a discussion about the future of the Bernie Sanders movement held at the Left Forum in New York City. “That is what movements do. Movements keep power in check, and as any good anarchist will tell you, power is always the problem, no matter who holds it.”

    • How corporate America bought Hillary Clinton for $21M

      “Follow the money.” That telling phrase, which has come to summarize the Watergate scandal, has been a part of the lexicon since 1976. It’s shorthand for political corruption: At what point do “contributions” become bribes, “constituent services” turn into quid pro quos and “charities” become slush funds?

      Ronald Reagan was severely criticized in 1989 when, after he left office, he was paid $2 million for a couple of speeches in Japan. “The founding fathers would have been stunned that an occupant of the highest office in this land turned it into bucks,” sniffed a Columbia professor.

    • NYT: Protesters and Prosecutor Should Be Friends

      The editorial board argued Thompson had stopped prosecuting low-level marijuana cases (marijuana has been decriminalized since 1977), launched a warrant-clearing program (a renaming of a similar program started under his predecessor) and pushed to reverse wrongful convictions (not including his convictions). Speaking to public defenders in Brooklyn, however, you’d be hard-pressed to find any who shared the sentiment that Thompson is anything other than an enforcer for a criminal justice system that still crushes people of color. Dozens of attorneys staged a protest in front of his office (another set of critics the editorial board ignored) to rail against Thompson and his aggressive prosecution of poor New Yorkers.

      The Times editorial board acknowledged that “Mr. Thompson’s critics say he continues to seek unfairly harsh sentences for poor and black defendants, refusing to extend to them the leniency he offered Mr. Liang.” But, they countered, “the facts of every case are different, and need to be considered individually.”

      They’ve obviously never spent much time in Brooklyn criminal court, which still looks and operates like a conveyor belt of punishment with an overwhelming amount of black and brown bodies being loaded onto it. One lawyer told me that her clients get worse plea deal offers under Thompson than they did under the former Brooklyn DA, Charles Hynes, whose record Thompson ran against. In fact, she said, Thompson might be the most hard-charging district attorney in the city when it comes to punishing low-level offenders, the majority of whom are poor people of color.

    • Clinton’s ‘Broken Promise’ on California Debate Called ‘Insult’ to Voters

      Bernie Sanders calls it an “insult” to the people of California while many others consider it a promise broken.

      With no apparent upside for her campaign and despite an agreement earlier this year, Hillary Clinton has said she will not participate in a debate with Sanders in California ahead of that state’s crucial primary next month.

      “We believe that Hillary Clinton’s time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,” Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, said in a statement.

    • Twilight of the Grifter: Bill Clinton’s Fading Powers

      In the warm twilight of a spring evening 15 years ago, in the quiet, green garden of Rhodes House at Oxford, I watched Bill Clinton give an impromptu talk to a group of graduate students who had gathered around him with their glasses of wine after an official function earlier in the day. (I was there in a service capacity.) He was pushing the same line he espoused last week while campaigning for Hillary, when he declared that he had “killed himself” to get a state for the Palestinians at the high-stakes Camp David summit in 2000.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EU data protection chief: We have serious concerns about Privacy Shield

      The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) will issue his opinion on the controversial Privacy Shield proposals on Monday and negotiators shouldn’t expect an easy ride.

      Speaking at the presentation of the EDPS annual report on Tuesday, Giovanni Buttarelli said that his view was “in full synergy with the A29 working group opinion” that was issued last month.

      “We have serious concerns. We do. But now our task is not simply to copy and paste or repeat what our colleagues have said. We would like to be more proactive by focussing on potential solutions, for example what an ‘essentially equivalent test’ really means,” he said.

      The A29—or Article 29—group is made up of data protection authorities from across the EU and its report was extremely critical of the planned Privacy Shield deal to facilitate the transfer of EU citizens personal data to the US. The Privacy Shield plan was drawn up after the European Court of Justice ruled the Safe Harbour agreement invalid last year, saying that there were not sufficient safeguards for personal data under the voluntary scheme.

    • Exclusive: Source Reveals How Pentagon Ruined Whistleblower’s Life and Set Stage for Snowden’s Leaks

      In a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive, we speak with a former senior Pentagon official about how his superiors broke the law to punish a key National Security Agency whistleblower for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. His account sheds light on how and why Edward Snowden revealed how the government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. John Crane worked 25 years for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, which helps federal employees expose abuse. He now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system, and is speaking out about what happened to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic surveillance. Crane describes how in December 2010 Drake’s lawyers filed a complaint with the inspector general alleging he had been punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing, and that the crimes Drake was later charged with were “based in part, or entirely,” on information he provided to the Pentagon inspector general. Mark Hertsgaard recounts Crane’s story in his new book, “Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden,” and shows how Drake’s persecution sent an unmistakable message to Edward Snowden: Raising concerns within the system meant he would be targeted next. Edward Snowden has responded to Crane’s revelations by calling for a complete overhaul of U.S. whistleblower protections. “To me, the main issue is: Can we have a workable system that lets whistleblowers follow their own principled dissent without having them destroyed in the process?” asks John Crane. We are also joined by Mark Hertsgaard.

    • Why the UK government’s latest Snoopers’ Charter bid is wrong

      I’d like to preface what follows by saying that I am by no means an IT expert or technologist by any stretch of the imagination. As Members of Parliament we are often asked to debate and scrutinise legislation outside of our own areas of expertise, and the Investigatory Powers Bill is such a case.

      When you are scrutinising one of the most complex and important pieces of legislation in recent Westminster history, you are very reliant on—and grateful for—experts that explain various technical provisions within the bill to help understand whether they are possible, affordable, and potentially overly burdensome on the industry.

      You also need to listen to the various agencies set out their case as to why they need these powers, and what these powers will enable them to do that they can’t do at the moment. All in order for us to judge whether or not the powers are necessary, proportionate, and in accordance with rule of law.

    • Cyber attacks a constant threat, says GCSB boss
    • New GCSB director – a consummate public servant
    • New GCSB head talks ‘next generation’ cyber programme
    • ‘Innate tension’ stops GCSB helping other agencies
    • GCSB links to NSA unsurprising – new spy boss
    • GCHQ infosec group disclosed kernel privilege exploit to Apple [Ed: Portraying GCHQ as “Good Guys” using CESG (which is more benign)]

      Communications and Electronics Security Group (CESG), the information security arm of GCHQ, was credited with the discovery of two vulnerabilities that were patched by Apple last week.

    • When Is NSA Hacking OK? [Ed: the “Good Guys” defence]

      The National Security Agency attempts to stay a step ahead of threats by occasionally using a software flaw to hack computers and online networks, but both privacy advocates and one of the agency’s top officials acknowledge the potential risks of keeping these security gaps secret.

      NSA Deputy Director Rick Ledgett tells U.S. News the agency alerts tech companies about discovered gaps in their cybersecurity “more than 90 percent of the time,” while government officials at several agencies vet the merits of disclosure in the remaining instances.

    • FBI Agent Testifies That The Agency’s Tor-Exploiting Malware Isn’t Actually Malware

      It wasn’t supposed to go this way. The same tactics that are causing the FBI problems now — running a child porn website, using local warrants to deploy its spyware to thousands of computers around the US (and the world!) — slipped by almost unnoticed in 2012. In a post-Snowden 2016, the FBI can hardly catch a break.

      Just recently, a judge presiding over one of its child porn cases agreed the FBI should not be forced to hand over details on its Network Investigative Technique to the defendant. Simultaneously, the judge noted the defendant had several good reasons to have access to this information. While this conundrum spares the FBI the indignity of the indefinite confinement it’s perfectly willing to see applied to others, it doesn’t exactly salvage this case, which could be on the verge of dismissal.

      In related cases, judges have declared the warrant used to deploy the NIT is invalid, thanks to Rule 41′s jurisdictional limits. If a warrant is issued in Virginia (as this one was), the search is supposed to be performed in Virginia, not in Kansas or Oklahoma or Massachusetts.

    • Beware of keystroke loggers disguised as USB phone chargers, FBI warns

      FBI officials are warning private industry partners to be on the lookout for highly stealthy keystroke loggers that surreptitiously sniff passwords and other input typed into wireless keyboards.

    • FBI Wants Biometric Database Hidden From Privacy Act

      The FBI is working to keep information contained in a key biometric database private and unavailable, even to people whose information is contained in the records.

      The database is known as the Next Generation Identification System, and it is an amalgamation of biometric records accumulated from people who have been through one of a number of biometric collection processes. That could include convicted criminals, anyone who has submitted records to employers, and many other people. The NGIS also has information from agencies outside of the FBI, including foreign law enforcement agencies and governments. Because of the nature of the records, the FBI is asking the federal government to exempt the database from the Privacy Act, making the records inaccessible through information requests.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • After migrants, German nationalist party takes aim at Islam

      Weeks after declaring that there is no place for Islam in Germany, a surging nationalist party has sharpened its rhetoric against prominent Islamic groups and suggested limiting the religious freedom of the more than 4 million Muslims in the country.

      Senior members of Alternative for Germany cut short a meeting Monday with the Central Council of Muslims, accusing the group of failing to renounce religious beliefs that they claim clash with the German constitution.

      The confrontation came days after the party — known by its acronym AfD — launched a campaign against the construction of a mosque in the eastern state of Thuringia, joining up for the first time with the group known as the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West.

    • Austria election result: Alexander Van der Bellen celebrates narrow victory over right-wing candidate Norbert Hofer

      Alexander Van der Bellen has narrowly beaten his far-right rival Norbert Hofer to become Austria’s new head of state.

      Despite two different exit polls giving Mr Hofer of the right-wing Freedom Party the lead, Austria’s interior minister announced independent candidate Mr Van der Bellen will become the country’s next president.

      Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said Mr Van der Bellen collected 50.3 per cent of the votes, compared to 49.7 for Mr Hofer.

    • Narooma butcher says he didn’t mean offence with bacon bomber sign

      Narooma butcher Jeff Rapley says he meant no offence with a sign meant to boost bacon sales.

      Mr Rapley earlier this month put up a sign in his shop window stating: “Eating two strips of Rapley’s award-winning bacon for breakfast reduces your chance of being a suicide bomber by 100 %”.

      A local resident who noticed the sign complained to the butcher and he removed it later that day and has not displayed it since.

    • Brother of Guantánamo Diary Author Barred from Entering U.S.

      The brother of a prominent Guantánamo Bay prisoner was denied entry to the United States this weekend as he attempted a trip to advocate for his brother’s release.

      Mohamedou Ould Slahi is one of the most famous of the 80 men left at Guantánamo. Last year, Guantánamo Diary, his brutal memoir of imprisonment and torture by the United States and its counterterrorism allies became a bestseller. Held in Guantánamo for nearly 14 years without being charged with a crime, Slahi is scheduled to go before the prison’s Periodic Review Board on June 2. The interagency panel will review his case and could possibly recommend his release.

      Mohamedou’s younger brother, Yahdih Ould Slahi, lives in Düsseldorf, Germany, and has been trying to secure his brother’s freedom for years. He was planning to come to the United States to meet with journalists and for a series of public events ahead of the review board hearing.

      Yet when Yahdih, a German citizen, arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Saturday, May 21, he was immediately taken into custody by Customs and Border Patrol. He was held overnight, questioned for hours, and then sent back to Germany on Sunday evening.

      “He was asked questions about his family, his brother, and what he knew about why his brother was in Guantánamo,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. “It was a harrowing, stressful, and exhausting experience.”

    • Justice Thomas Doesn’t See Anything Wrong With Excluding Jurors Based On Race

      It is tough to imagine a more egregious case of jury discrimination than Foster v. Chatman. The prosecutor’s office in this Georgia death penalty case struck every single black member of the jury pool. They made four copies of a list of prospective jurors, highlighting every African-American on the list in green next to a legend indicating that such highlighting “represents Blacks.” An investigator working for the prosecution advised prosecutors that “if it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors,” then one in particular “might be okay.” A note on one of the prosecution’s internal documents suggested that the office did not want a particular juror to be seated because of the juror’s membership in a “Black Church.”

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Guilty As Charged? Pakistan And The Special 301 Reports

      The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued its annual Special 301 Report in the last week of April. This report discusses the impediments faced by the US nationals and companies due to lack of intellectual property protection in foreign countries. This report is issued every year under Section 182 of the amended US Trade Act, 1974. Under this Section, the USTR is required to identify countries that fail in providing adequate and effective protection to intellectual property rights or restrict market access to the US nationals relying on IPR protection in the host countries. Countries thus identified are considered Priority Foreign Countries. According to this Section, a country may be considered a priority foreign country even when it is fully compliant with the WTO Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the main multilateral agreement on IP rights today. Hence, this legislation and the determinations made in the Special 301 reports prioritize protection of commercial interests of the US nationals.

    • Trademarks

      • EUIPO provides update on trademark reforms

        Representatives from the EUIPO provided registrants with a guide to the substantial changes to EU trademark law and practice that came into force in March in a Users Meeting on Sunday.

    • Copyrights

      • Google’s closing argument: Android was built from scratch, the fair way

        Google attorney Robert Van Nest made his closing argument to a panel of jurors here today, asking them to clear Android of copyright infringement allegations as a matter of “fairness and fair use.”

        “This is a very important case, not only for Google but for innovation and technology in general,” Van Nest told the jury. “What Google engineers did was nothing out of that mainstream. They built Android from scratch, using new Google technology, and adapted technology from open sources. Android was a remarkable thing, a brand-new platform for innovation.”

      • The Pirate Bay Returns To Its Original And 13-Year-Old .ORG Domain

        It looks like that after about a half-decade-long journey of shuffling domain names, The Pirate Bay website is now back to its original .ORG domain. This decision has been made after a Swedish court has ordered the seizure of two .SE domains belonging to The Pirate Bay.

      • Are academic publishers liable for ginormous damages?

        Now assume, for argument’s sake, that the teacher exception to the work made for hire doctrine does not apply after the coming into force of the 1976 Copyright Act, and universities do own the copyright in the work of their faculty, provided the individual employment contract does not stipulate anything to the contrary. The wording of the relevant § 101 Copyright Act is certainly broad to entertain this possibility. It appears that up to 1990s, most employment contracts with university professors did not address copyright ownership in works created by faculty, but maybe some reader has more insight. So we have a potential 20 year or so window in which the universities, not the professors, own the copyright in the scholarly writings of the professors.

      • Take-Two Says Tattoo Artist Can’t Get Statutory Damages Because He Only Registered Copyright In 2015

        Back when I first wrote about the copyright lawsuit between a tattoo artist and Take-Two Software, makers of the highly successful NBA2K basketball series, over the faithful depiction of LeBron James’ image including his ink, I had been hopeful that perhaps this case could be a step towards resolving whether fair use applies when presenting images of people with tattoos in creative works. And that might still happen, but the defense Take-Two has decided to start things off with won’t do the trick. Rather than asserting the work’s status as fair use, the video game maker has led with a challenge to whether the tattoo artist can claim statutory damages based on when he had registered the copyright for the tattoos in question. It’s a play on a technicality, one which seems to strangely play on what counts as an independent work.

        Solid Oak Sketches had sued for damages nearing $1.2 million, claiming eight works had been infringed upon in the game NBA 2K16, including tattoo designs for LeBron James and two other players. According to Take-Two’s most recent filing with the court, Solid Oak Sketches registered the copyright for those tattoos in 2015. The game company’s argument is that it has been depicting those players and their tattoos since 2013, therefore there is precedent that statutory damages are not in play.

      • Shameful: House Panel Votes Down Plan To Make Public Domain Congressional Research Public

        For many, many years, we’ve complained about the fact that research reports from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) are kept secret. CRS is basically a really good, non-partisan research organization that tends to do very useful and credible research, when tasked to do so by members of Congress. The results, as works created by the federal government, are in the public domain. But the public never gets access to most of them. The reports are available to members of Congress, of course, but then it’s up to the members who have access to them to actually release them to the public… or not. And most don’t. Back in 2009, Wikileaks made news by releasing almost 7,000 CRS reports that had previously been secret. Since at least 2011, we’ve been writing about attempts to release these reports publicly, and nothing has happened.

      • Taylor Swift’s symbolic victory: Spotify still hasn’t figured out how to turn a profit

        Like a lot of the disruptors, when the music-streaming services came onto the scene, they made a lot of noise about how they had figured out the future. The old world of CDs and recorded music was antique: They knew that listeners wanted more access to music than any record store could offer, and they would pay substantial royalties to musicians and labels. There was utopian spirit to some of the talk.

        In the case of Spotify, its Swedish founder, Daniel Ek, spoke often about his love of music and how he would save the music industry. Even as musicians like Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke, and Prince kept their music off Spotify and criticized its business model, Ek kept talking about the way giving music away for free would help everyone.

      • Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet

        Writing a bad review online has always run a small risk of opening yourself up to a defamation claim. But few would expect to be told that they had to delete their review or face a lawsuit over another part of the law: copyright infringement.

        Yet that’s what happened to Annabelle Narey after she posted a negative review of a building firm on Mumsnet.

        Narey, who is the head of programme at an international children’s charity, had turned to London-based BuildTeam for a side return extension, but almost six months later, the relationship had turned acrimonious. The build, which was only supposed to take 10–14 weeks, was still unfinished, she wrote. “On Christmas day a ceiling fell down in an upstairs bedroom,” she says, apparently due to an issue with the plumbing. “Mercifully no one was hurt. [That] there seem to be so many glowing reports out there it is frankly curious. Proceed at your own risk,” the review concluded.

05.23.16

Links 23/5/2016: GNOME 3.22, Calculate Linux 15.17

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 19 years later, The Cathedral and the Bazaar still moves us

    Nineteen years ago this week, at an annual meeting of Linux-Kongress in Bavaria, an American programmer named Eric Raymond delivered the first version of a working paper he called “The Cathedral and the Bazaar.” According to Raymond, the exploratory and largely speculative account of some curious new programming practices contained “no really fundamental discovery.”

    But it brought the house down.

    “The fact that it was received with rapt attention and thunderous applause by an audience in which there were very few native speakers of English seemed to confirm that I was onto something,” Raymond wrote a year later, as his treatise blossomed into a book. Nearly two decades after that early-evening presentation in Bavaria, The Cathedral and the Bazaar continues to move people. Now, however, it’s not so much a crystal ball as it is an historical document, a kind of Urtext that chronicles the primordial days of a movement—something Raymond and his boosters would eventually call “open source.” The paper’s role in Netscape’s decision to release the source code for its web browser has cemented its place in the annals of software history. References to it are all but inescapable.

  • Time to choose: Are you investing in open source or not?

    In 1996, the term “open source” didn’t exist. Yet 20 years later, open source technology spans countless projects and brings together the collective talent of millions. Take a close look at any open source project or community of developers and you’ll find incredible levels of speed, innovation, and agility.

    Open source participation varies wildly. Some developers devote their professional lives to open source software projects; others contribute their time and talent as an avocation. While the communities behind the software continue to grow, the technology itself is playing both a foundational role in the most important technology developments of the past 20 years and is also an integral role in the strategies powering many of today’s leading organizations.

  • Open Source Employment Trends

    We often think of open source as a volunteer or community based activity community. However open source is increasingly important to companies who need to keep up with new technologies.

    The latest survey from Dice and The Linux Foundation goes beyond Linux to examine trends in open source recruiting and job seeking. The report is based on responses from more than 400 hiring managers at corporations, small and medium businesses (SMBs), government organizations, and staffing agencies across the globe and from more than 4,500 open source professionals worldwide.

  • 10 most in-demand Internet of things skills

    The Internet of things is ramping up into a multi-billion dollar industry and with it goes demand for employees with IoT skills. Here we look at the skills that employers want

  • Open source job market booming

    Recruiting open source talent is a top priority for IT recruiters and hiring managers in 2016. According to the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report released today by IT hiring platform Dice.com and The Linux Foundation, 65 percent of hiring managers say open source hiring will increase more than any other part of their business over the next six months, and 79 percent of hiring managers have increased incentives to hold on to their current open source professionals.

  • Open Source Horizon Claims Edge over Google’s Firebase Mobile Back-End

    Much fanfare accompanied Google’s elevation of its Firebase mobile back-end platform last week, but slipping under the radar was the quieter unveiling of Horizon, an open source JavaScript back-end for Web and mobile apps that claims advantages over Firebase.

  • Linksys WRT routers won’t block open-source firmware under new FCC rules

    On June 2, new Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rules will force router manufacturers to limit what can be done with their hardware. Only Linksys is ready with a solution for open-source firmware. TP-Link is taking the easy way out by blocking third-party firmware on its routers, and other router manufacturers are quietly following in its footsteps.

  • Open source tool manages AWS Lambda apps

    A new open source project from Express and Node.js-canvas creator TJ Holowaychuk lets developers create, deploy, and manage AWS Lambda functions from a command-line tool.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Italian Army Switches to LibreOffice

      Following announcements made last year, the Italian army has moved forward with its plan to replace Microsoft Office with LibreOffice. So far, the army has tested its transition plan across 5000 workstations without significant problems. Following its LibreDifesa plan, the army aims to replace all MS Office installations by the end of the year.

      In doing so, the Italian army will join government departments from Spain, France, the UK, Holland and Germany in setting an example for the rest of the public sector to follow.

    • The Month of LibreOffice

      It also helps spread the word about LibreOffice. Remember, Free/Libre & Open Source Software does not directly produce products. Rather, it develops and releases software through community of contributors, that may then be monetized in one way or another – or perhaps not at all. In other words, this means that the distinction between outbound and inbound marketing that is commonly found in the corporate world is more blurry as any user is also a potential contributor. Marketing our community really means marketing LibreOffice itself. This is what we’re doing this month and it makes me happy. I’m excited at the stats and figures that we will draw from this experiment. If you happen to be a LibreOffice contributor, or just a fan of LibreOffice, you could get a badge. All you need is to contribute to the project in one of the several ways described here and it will be awarded to you: remember, we’re already at the end of the month!

  • CMS

    • Made-in-Vietnam open-source software supports IPv6

      At first, NukeViet was used to build websites and publish content on internet.

      However, since the NukeViet 3.0 version launched in 2010, NukeViet has been developed to serve as a platform for the development of web-based apps.

      NukeViet now has many different products, including NukeViet CMS used to operate news websites, NukeViet Portal used to make business information portals, and NukeViet Edu Gate – the information portal solution for education departments, and NukeViet Shop, used to build online sale websites.

  • Networking

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • All About the DC/OS Open Source Project

      The DC/OS project is a software platform that’s comprised entirely of open source technologies. It includes some existing technologies like Apache Mesos and Marathon, which were always open source, but also includes newer proprietary components developed by Mesosphere that we’ve donated to the community and which are fully open sourced under an Apache 2.0 license. Features include easy install of DC/OS itself (including all the components), plus push-button, app-store-like installation of complex distributed systems (including Apache Spark, Apache Kafka, Apache Cassandra and more) via our Universe “distributed services app store”. We’re also tightly integrating our popular Marathon container-orchestration technology right into DC/OS, as the default method for managing Docker containers and other long-running services (including traditional non-containerized web applications, as well stateful services such as databases).

    • Learn about Apache Mesos and the State of the Art of Microservices from Twitter, Uber, Netflix
  • BSD

    • Wayland/Weston with XWayland works on DragonFly

      DragonFlyBSD user karu.pruun compiled Xorg with XWayland support and made it work with many applications that need Xorg work now with wayland/weston. It’s success because of XWayland support has been merged in the master X.Org branch. Still there will be a compatibility issue with Wayland which will not work properly alone as X window systems.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open Source Governance: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

      Open source solutions – primarily in software but increasingly also in hardware – cost roughly one tenth of proprietary offerings. The switch to open source software enables financial and public service scalability as well as quality sustainability at all levels of governance. Unfortunately this understanding is not widespread.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • A roadmap for the BBC’s support of local journalism

    The White Paper on the future of the BBC published on May 12th notes that the corporation has made a number of proposals to establish ‘a positive partnership with the local news sector’. These include a ‘Local Public Sector Reporting Service’, which would ‘report on local institutions.’

    The BBC has already indicated that it intends to fund 150 journalists to work in the local and regional sectors. This means that from next year a population of around 400,000 people – a city the size of Bristol, say – could expect to have a journalist reporting full time on local government and other public sector institutions.

  • European Union: a House Divided

    The European Union is one of the premier trade organizations on the planet, with a collective GDP that matches the world’s largest economies. But it is far more than a trade group. It is also a banker, a judicial system, a watchdog, a military alliance, and, increasingly, an enforcer of economic rules among its 28 members.

    On the one hand it functions like a super state, on the other, a collection of squabbling competitors, with deep divisions between north and south. On June 23, the two-decade-old organization will be put to the test when Great Britain—its second largest economy—votes to stay in the EU or bail out.

  • Let the Games Begin—Behind the Olympic Sheen

    There is a conventional narrative of the Olympics. It is one the television audience is fed every Olympic Games. This narrative is essentially a pack of lies created and nurtured to further the myth that the Olympic Games are one of humanity’s greatest moments; a time when politics, nationalism, racism and sexism are transcended by the pure beauty of athletic competition. In this narrative, petty pursuits like profit and power are put aside in the name of the Olympic ideal, an almost heavenly reality where humanity becomes like the greatest and purest of the gods in the heights of Olympus. Of course, this narrative is nonsense. In his book, Boykoff enumerates exactly why.

  • London is finally getting the Night Tube

    The Night Tube service will finally begin in three months time on the Central and Victoria lines, with the Piccadilly, Jubilee and Northern lines to follow in the autumn.

    The long-awaited service was due to start last September but has been delayed due to disputes with unions.

    “The Night Tube is absolutely vital to my plans to support and grow London’s night time economy – creating more jobs and opportunities for all Londoners. The constant delays under the previous Mayor let Londoners down badly,” Khan said in a statement.

    “I have made getting the Night Tube up and running a priority, and London Underground has now confirmed that services on the first two lines will launch on 19 August.”

  • IBM layoffs continue

    International Business Machines Corp. this week quietly laid off employees, continuing a wave of job cuts the company announced in April.

  • It’s a Car ‘Crash’ Not an ‘Accident’ Say Auto Safety Advocates

    The word ‘accident’ was introduced into the lexicon of manufacturing and other industries in the early 1900s, when companies were looking to protect themselves from the costs of caring for workers who were injured on the job, says historian Peter Norton. “Relentless safety campaigns started calling these events ‘accidents,’ which excused the employer of responsibility,” says Norton. When traffic deaths spiked in the 1920s, a consortium of auto-industry interests, including insurers, borrowed the wording to shift the focus away from the cars themselves. “Automakers were very interested in blaming reckless drivers,” says Norton. But over time the word has come to exonerate the driver, too, with “accident” seeming like a lightning strike, beyond anyone’s control. “Labeling most of the motor vehicle collision cases that I see as an attorney as an ‘accident’ has always been troubling to me,” says Steven Gursten. “The word ‘accident’ implies there’s no responsibility for it.”

  • Science

    • The Pope and Mercy: the Catholic Church has not Abandoned Its 400 Year War on Science

      “Pope Francis Relaxes Church Rules on Divorce” touts a recent headline at Huffington Post, a news website whose articles often promote religion, “faith” and spirituality along with a clear bias for the Democratic Party. But he really hasn’t. What’s going missing in the ongoing and often covertly promotional media hullabaloo over Pope Francis’ frequent and seemingly liberal, even revolutionary, public proclamations is the most important fact: as Pope, Francis has the power to change the Church’s repressive doctrines and laws concerning sexuality, women, divorce, the family and human nature itself. He hasn’t.

    • High Tech Tool to Aid in Pacific Northwest Toxin Detection

      The Environmental Sample Processor (left) is an underwater robot that can remotely measure paralytic shellfish toxins. Here, the robot and a surface buoy with communication hardware (right) are readied for deployment in the Gulf of Maine. The sampling equipment for this tool is encased in a yellow steel housing to protect it from crushing ocean pressure. Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

  • Deception

    • G4S suspends 5 staff over alleged attempts to massage 999 response figures

      Commercial partners G4S and Lincolnshire Police are jointly investigating the matter.

      Three years ago the security company G4S boasted that it had radically improved emergency call handling times for Lincolnshire Police.

      John Shaw, managing director for G4S policing support services, which took over the bulk of Lincolnshire’s operations in a gigantic 10 year contract in 2012, told the BBC that with G4S involved: “Hopefully the service people get from the police is as good as it was, if not better.”

      Today G4S admitted that it had suspended 5 members of staff working with Lincolnshire Police “following an investigation led by the force with support from G4S”.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How big tobacco lost its final fight for hearts, lungs and minds

      There was a finality about it all, a sense that after half a century something was coming to an end. As David Anderson QC, one of “big tobacco’s” senior lawyers, put it, the battle against the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes had become the industry’s equivalent of Custer’s Last Stand, its “last battlefield”.

      Legal hyperbole perhaps, but also an indication of just what the tobacco industry believed was at stake last week when the high court handed down its landmark judgment rejecting a coordinated attempt by the world’s four largest cigarette manufacturers to derail the new EU regulations that came into effect on Friday.

      The new tobacco directive means graphic health warnings with photos, text and cessation information must cover 65% of the front and the back of cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco packs. Member states have 12 months to sell old stock, and up to four years to sell menthol and flavoured cigarettes, which were banned outright.

    • Seeds of suicide

      May 22 has been declared International Biodiversity Day by the United Nations. It gives us an opportunity to become aware of the rich biodiversity that has been evolved by our farmers as co-creators with nature. It also provides an opportunity to acknowledge the threats to our biodiversity and our rights from IPR monopolies and monocultures.

      Just as our Vedas and Upanishads have no individual authors, our rich biodiversity, including seeds, have been evolved cumulatively. They are a common heritage of present and future farm communities who have evolved them collectively. I recently joined tribals in Central India who have evolved thousands of rice varieties for their festival of “Akti”. Akti is a celebration of the relationship of the seed and the soil, and the sharing of the seed as a sacred duty to the Earth and the community.

      In addition to learning about seeds from women and peasants, I had the honour to participate and contribute to international and national laws on biodiversity. I worked closely with our government in the run-up to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, when the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) was adopted by the international community. Three key commitments in the CBD are protection of the sovereign rights of countries to their biodiversity, the traditional knowledge of communities and biosafety in the context of genetically-modified foods.

      The UN appointed me on the expert panel for the framework for the biosafety protocol, now adopted as the Cartagena protocol on biosafety. I was appointed a member of the expert group to draft the National Biodiversity Act, as well as the Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Act. We ensured that farmers rights are recognised in our laws. “A farmer shall be deemed to be entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce, including seed of a variety protected under this act, in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this act”, it says.

    • “Our Water, Our Future”: Voters in Oregon Defeat Nestlé’s Attempt to Privatize Their Water

      Blue yard signs bearing the words “Yes on 14-55: Our Water, Our Future” dotted lawns throughout Hood River County, Oregon, in the run-up to the primary election held on May 17. Just as many of these signs appeared to share a lawn with a Cruz or Trump yard sign as with a Clinton or Sanders sign.

      The issue that brought conservatives and progressives together in this way was clear-cut: keeping Nestlé Waters North America from building a water bottling plant and extracting over 118 million gallons annually from a spring in a small, rural community 45 miles east of Portland.

    • Public Health England: Advice to eat more fat ‘irresponsible’

      Advice to eat more fat is irresponsible and potentially deadly, Public Health England’s chief nutritionist has said.

      Dr Alison Tedstone was responding to a report by the National Obesity Forum, which suggests eating fat could help cut obesity and type 2 diabetes.

      The charity said promoting low-fat food had had “disastrous health consequences” and should be reversed.

  • Security

    • TOTP SSH port fluxing

      Beware: I would not really recommend running this software – it was only written as a joke.

    • TeslaCrypt no more: Ransomware master decryption key released

      The developer has handed over the keys to the kingdom in a surprising twist in TeslaCrypt’s tale.

    • Thoughts on our security bubble

      Last week I spent time with a lot of normal people. Well, they were all computer folks, but not the sort one would find in a typical security circle. It really got me thinking about the bubble we live in as the security people.

      There are a lot of things we take for granted. I can reference Dunning Kruger and “turtles all the way down” and not have to explain myself. If I talk about a buffer overflow, or most any security term I never have to explain what’s going on. Even some of the more obscure technologies like container scanners and SCAP don’t need but a few words to explain what happens. It’s easy to talk to security people, at least it’s easy for security people to talk to other security people.

    • Ransomware Adds DDoS Capabilities to Annoy Other People, Not Just You

      Ransomware developers seem to have found another way to monetize their operations by adding a DDoS component to their malicious payloads.

      Security researchers from Invincea reported this past Wednesday on a malware sample that appeared to be a modified version of an older threat, the Cerber ransomware.

      The malware analysis team that inspected the file discovered that, besides the file encryption and screen locking capabilities seen in most ransomware families, this threat also comes with an additional payload, which, when put under observation, seemed to be launching network packets towards a network subnet.

    • Linux 4.7 Gets a Security Boost with ChromeOS Feature

      We’re currently inside of the two week merge window where code is being pulled in to form the Linux 4.7 kernel. One of the GIT pull requests came from Linux kernel developer James Morris and includes at least one really interesting new security feature, by way of a new Linux Security Module (LSM).

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump’s Five Questions on US Foreign Policy

      Along with his self-congratulatory bombast, Donald Trump has offered a rare critique of Official Washington’s “group think” about foreign policy, including the wisdom of NATO expansion and the value of endless war, notes John V. Walsh.

    • Cameroon Under Colonial Powers
    • Baghdad on Lockdown not from fear of ISIL but of poor Protesters

      Baghdad was a ghost town on Saturday,, as security forces fanned out, blocking key roads into the Green Zone, the area downtown, closed off by blast walls, that houses parliament and foreign embassies.

      On Friday, over a hundred protesters were wounded and at least 2 died as crowds poured into the Green Zone for a second time in a month. Some attacked the home of Iraqi prime minister Haydar al-`Abadi. In response, he ordered a curfew in the capital that lasted until Saturday morning. Security forces expelled the crowds from the Green Zone, using live ammunition and tear gas

    • Israel: Netanyahu replies to Officers’ charges of Fascism, makes far Right Lieberman their boss

      Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu bolstered his majority and rid himself of a troublesome voice of conscience Thursday by appointing the extremist Avigdor Lieberman minister of defense. This move strengthened Netanyahu’s hand politically, removing a critic in the form of Moshe Yaalon, the previous minister of defense. But it also sent a signal to Israel’s officer corps, which has been showing distinct unease at Netanyahu’s march of the country into Mussolini territory.

      Part of the dispute is over the cold-blooded murder allegedly committed by a 19-year-old Israeli soldier with an extremist background, who was caught on camera killing an incapacitated Palestinian assailant, Abd al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif. Sharif had committed a knife attack before being incapacitated and searched. The video showed Azarya rushing back over, shouting angrily, and shooting the prostrate twenty-one year old in the head.

    • Egyptians “shocked” at Lieberman Appointment, note Barak’s accusation of “fascism” in Tel Aviv

      What do Israel’s Arab neighbors think about the political earthquake that struck PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet on Thursday and Friday? Netanyahu invited into his government the far right Yisrael Beitenu ultra-nationalist party and offered the minister of defense position to extremist Avigdor Lieberman. He appears to have attempted to mollify the old defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, by offering him the foreign ministry. Yaalon angrily declined and announced his resignation from the government.

    • Can Iran Sue the US for Coup and Supporting Saddam in Iran-Iraq War?

      Iranian members of parliament have approved the details of a bill that insists US compensate Iran for its crimes against that country.

      The bill comes as a result of a $2 billion judgment against Iran entered by a US court and backed by an act of the US Congress, on behalf of the families of Marines killed in a Beirut bombing in 1983. Iran was allegedly behind the attack, though responsibility for it was attributed to a fundamentalist Lebanese Shiite splinter group that was a predecessor of Hizbullah.

    • The Big Breakthrough

      Americans are rejecting imperialism – on both sides of the political spectrum

    • Obama in Hiroshima: the Last Best Chance to Step Back Away From the Nuclear Precipice

      President Obama will be the first US president to visit Hiroshima while in office. His visit, on May 27th, has historic potential. It comes at a time when nuclear disarmament talks with Russia and other nuclear-armed nations are non-existent and all nuclear-armed nations, led by the US, are modernizing their nuclear arsenals. The US alone has plans to spend $1trillion on modernizing every aspect of its nuclear arsenal, delivery systems and infrastructure over the next 30 years.

      [...]

      When the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it did so with impunity. Japan was already defeated in war and did not have atomic bombs with which to retaliate against us. That was more than 70 years ago. Today there are nine nuclear-armed countries capable of attacking or retaliating with nuclear weapons. Missiles carrying nuclear weapons can travel across the globe in a half-hour. No one is secure from the consequences of a nuclear attack – not only the blast, fire and radiation, but also those of nuclear famine and nuclear winter.

    • Meet the new face of Israel’s growing military refuser movement

      onscientious objectors from the Israeli military, or “refusers,” are a small but growing group within an increasingly right-wing and militarized society. Last month, several young refusers visited 12 U.S. cities as part of a speaking tour sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and the Refuser Solidarity Network.

      On April 27, following an event in New York City hosted by Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace, I spoke with refusers Yasmin Yablonko and Khaled Farrag, who each run their own support groups for conscientious objectors. While Yablonko heads the newly-founded Mesarvot, which provides social and psychological support for those deciding to refuse, Farrag fronts Urfod (Arabic for “refuse”), which specifically supports members of the Druze community refusing Israeli military service. The Druze community faces a unique position because they are the only Palestinians since 1956 to have military service imposed on them.

    • 25 Years of Struggle Building Socialism in Eritrea; Fighting the Cancer of Corruption

      This coming May 24 marks 25 years since a rag-tag afro coifed army of Eritrean rebel fighters drove their captured Ethiopian tanks through the Eritrean capital of Asmara and gave birth to the modern, “socialist” country of Eritrea.

      The birthing process, the “armed struggle for independence”, took 30 years so the modern struggle to build a country based on “scientific socialism”, as Pan Africanists have called it, is still maturing.

    • The foggy numbers of Obama’s wars and non-wars

      As the Obama administration prepares to publish a long-delayed accounting of how many militants and noncombatant civilians it has killed since 2009, its statistics may be defined as much by what is left out as by what is included.

      Release of the information was first envisioned three years ago this month, as part of strict new guidelines President Obama announced for the United States’ controversial use of drones and other forms of lethal force to battle terrorism abroad. Such operations, Obama said in a 2013 speech at the National Defense University, would also be subject to new transparency and oversight.

    • US Govt to “Exclude” 3/4 of Drone Strikes from Civilian Casualty Numbers

      The Obama administration is set to “exclude Pakistan” from its publication of total casualties resulting from covert drone strikes, according to a report in the Washington Post.

      If accurate, this would mean that as many as 72% of known covert drone strikes would be excluded from the tally, along with 84% of recorded casualties, according to figures from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

    • Mullah Mansour Drone Strike: Important Milestone or Radicalizing Event?

      How much more ironic could it be? More than 43 years after the last Americans evacuated Vietnam, ending our disastrous occupation there, the dateline reads Hanoi on President Barack Obama’s statement today on the US drone strike that killed Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour. Mansour was the head of Afghanistan’s Taliban but was in Pakistan at the time the US killed him with a drone, striking a similarity to the US “secret” bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam war.

      [...]

      Because I know how much Marcy enjoys miraculous “left behind” documents, I couldn’t resist following up on a Twitter reference I saw flit by yesterday about how a passport for Mansour somehow survived the conflagration in the taxi in which Mansour met his death by drone. By following it, though, I found even more deep irony in the drone strike. This article by ToloNews carries a photograph of a pristine-looking passport. Compare that with the photo in the New York Times article linked above with the burned out wreckage of the vehicle Mansour was said to have been in when hit. How could the passport have survived?

      [...]

      So while Mansour and his group have continued to reject peace talks with the Afghan government, at least some observers believe that he was in the process of trying to join the fight against Islamic State. And it may well be that he died because of that effort. Here’s a map of the region, showing that the site of the drone attack, Ahmad Wal, lies about 100 miles away from Quetta (where the Afghan Taliban has long been believed to be headquartered) along the highway that is the most direct route to Iran from Quetta.

    • Call It a ‘Coup’: Leaked Transcripts Detail How Elite Orchestrated Overthrow in Brazil

      Confirming suspicions that the ouster of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is, in fact, a coup designed to eradicate a wide corruption probe, Brazil’s largest newspaper on Monday published damning evidence of a “national pact” between a top government official and oil executive.

      It is unclear how Folha de São Paulo obtained the transcripts of the 75-minute phone conversation between the newly-installed Planning Minister Romero Jucá, a senator at the time, and former oil executive Sergio Machado. But the discussion reportedly took place in March, just weeks before Brazil’s lower House voted to impeach the democratically-elected Rousseff.

    • New Political Earthquake in Brazil: Is It Now Time for Media Outlets to Call This a “Coup”?

      Brazil today awoke to stunning news of secret, genuinely shocking conversations involving a key minister in Brazil’s newly installed government, which shine a bright light on the actual motives and participants driving the impeachment of the country’s democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff. The transcripts were published by the country’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, and reveal secret conversations that took place in March, just weeks before the impeachment vote in the lower house was held. They show explicit plotting between the new planning minister (then-senator), Romero Jucá, and former oil executive Sergio Machado — both of whom are formal targets of the “Car Wash” corruption investigation — as they agree that removing Dilma is the only means for ending the corruption investigation. The conversations also include discussions of the important role played in Dilma’s removal by the most powerful national institutions, including — most importantly — Brazil’s military leaders.

      The transcripts are filled with profoundly incriminating statements about the real goals of impeachment and who was behind it. The crux of this plot is what Jucá calls “a national pact” — involving all of Brazil’s most powerful institutions — to leave Michel Temer in place as president (notwithstanding his multiple corruption scandals) and to kill the corruption investigation once Dilma is removed. In the words of Folha, Jucá made clear that impeachment will “end the pressure from the media and other sectors to continue the Car Wash investigation.” Jucá is the leader of Temer’s PMDB party and one of the “interim president’s” three closest confidants.

    • Does Russia Have Reason to Fear?

      NATO is putting an anti-missile base in Romania and brushing aside Russia’s fears, but – over the decades – the U.S. has reacted furiously to the possibility of nearby foreign military bases, recalls James W Carden.

    • Poof! Our Wars are All Forgotten

      Despite the estimated $26 billion the U.S. spent training and equipping that military between 2003 and 2011, whole units broke, shed their uniforms, ditched their American equipment, and fled when faced with relatively small numbers of ISIS militants in June 2014, abandoning four northern cities, including Mosul. This, of course, created the need for yet more training, the ostensible role of many of the U.S. troops now in Iraq. Since most of the new Iraqi units are still only almost ready to fight, however, those American ground troops and generals and Special Operations forces and forward air controllers and planners and logistics personnel and close air support pilots are still needed for the fight to come.

    • ‘Utopia’, the film, can be viewed for the first time on this site

      John Pilger’s acclaimed film on Indigenous Australia joins his archive for public viewing. Watch now.

    • Protesters Rally Against US Military in Okinawa: ‘Killer Go Home’

      Thousands of people held protests over the weekend in front of a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, Japan in response to the rape and killing of 20-year-old Rina Shimabukuro by an American former sailor.

      Roughly 2,000 people attended the protest organized by dozens of women’s rights groups based on the island, where more than two-thirds of U.S. bases in Japan are located. They rallied outside the front gates of the Marine Corps headquarters at Camp Foster, holding signs that read, “Never forgive Marine’s rape,” “Killer go home,” and “Withdraw all U.S. forces from Okinawa.”

      Suzuyo Takazato, a representative of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, told Stars and Stripes that the rally was organized to mourn Shimabukuro and to renew the long-held demand to remove all military bases from Okinawa. The protest comes just ahead of President Barack Obama’s scheduled trip to Japan to attend a summit and visit Hiroshima on Friday.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hillary Clinton’s Energy Initiative Pressed Countries to Embrace Fracking, New Emails Reveal

      Back in April, just before the New York primary, Hillary Clinton’s campaign aired a commercial on upstate television stations touting her work as secretary of state forcing “China, India, some of the world’s worst polluters” to make “real change.” She promised to “stand firm with New Yorkers opposing fracking, giving communities the right to say ‘no.’”

      The television spot, which was not announced and does not appear on the official campaign YouTube page with most of Clinton’s other ads, implied a history of opposition to fracking, here and abroad. But emails obtained by The Intercept from the Department of State reveal new details of behind-the-scenes efforts by Clinton and her close aides to export American-style hydraulic fracturing — the horizontal drilling technique best known as fracking — to countries all over the world.

      Far from challenging fossil fuel companies, the emails obtained by The Intercept show that State Department officials worked closely with private sector oil and gas companies, pressed other agencies within the Obama administration to commit federal government resources including technical assistance for locating shale reserves, and distributed agreements with partner nations pledging to help secure investments for new fracking projects.

      The documents also reveal the department’s role in bringing foreign dignitaries to a fracking site in Pennsylvania, and its plans to make Poland a “laboratory for testing whether US success in developing shale gas can be repeated in a different country,” particularly in Europe, where local governments had expressed opposition and in some cases even banned fracking.

    • More Than 600,000 Miles of Arctic Sea Ice Have Disappeared, and More

      In today’s On the News segment: The current rate of sea ice loss could lead to ice-free summers in the Arctic within the next two decades; a new study is identifying food that can help prevent chronic inflammation that leads to many causes of death; cells may carry the memory of an injury; and more.

    • Oil majors tread cautiously towards renewables

      The big oil companies’ on-off affair with renewable energies seems to be back on track.

      Recent reports say Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil conglomerate, is to invest $1.7 billion in forming a new company division aimed specifically at developing renewable energy and low carbon power.

      This follows on the heels of an announcement by the French oil company Total, another of the oil giants, that it is stepping up its investments in clean energy, spending more than $1 bn buying Saft, a major battery manufacturer. Total has also purchased a majority share in SunPower, a leading solar concern.

    • How the NY/NJ Port Authority Misspent Millions in Federal Money Meant to Cut Air Pollution

      In 2010, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced a plan to drastically reduce air pollution in the impoverished Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey, by replacing outdated, environmentally harmful freight trucks. Over the next six years, the Port Authority received some $35 million in federal grants to do so. But today, many of the trucks are still on the road, and air quality has hardly improved. The Port Authority eventually – though very quietly – abandoned the plan, and Newark children today continue to suffer some of the highest asthma rates in the country. Freelance writer Max Rivlin-Nadler uncovered the story of the failed program for the Village Voice earlier this month; on this week’s podcast, he tells us how he did it.

    • NOAA Historical Hurricane Tracks

      NOAA’s Historical Hurricane Tracks is a free online tool that allows users to track historic hurricane tracks. The site, developed by the NOAA Office for Coastal Management in partnership with NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and National Centers for Environmental Information, offers data and information on coastal county hurricane strikes through 2012. It also provides links to detailed reports on the life histories and effects of U.S. tropical cyclones since 1958, with additional U.S. storm paths traced as far back as 1851. The site contains global hurricane data from as far back as 1842.

    • There’s Still Time To Fix The World’s Most Pressing Environmental Problems, But Not Much

      Environmental degradation is happening faster than previously thought, but there is still time to avert many of the worst effects through better management, new energy sources, and sustainable consumption, a new United Nations report on the state of the world’s environment has found.

      Most of the world is suffering from desertification, land and air degradation, and the effects of climate change as rapid urbanization, rising levels of consumption, and population growth intensifies, the report, released Thursday, states. While dire impacts are recorded in every corner of the world, there is time to address the worst effects, such as marine ecosystem damage and the world’s most widespread environmental health risk: increasing air pollution.

    • This Retired Military Leader Is Now Helping Prep The Business World For Climate Change

      Retired Rear Admiral David Titley used to be a climate skeptic. But after decades in the service, he came to see the carbon crisis as “one of the preeminent challenges of our century.” As the Navy’s chief oceanographer, he spearheaded a task force to investigate the national security implications of climate change.

      Titley has since turned his attention to the world of business. He now teaches Weather Risk and Financial Markets at Pennsylvania State University, the capstone course for meteorology majors specializing in risk management.

    • Tragedy At The Preakness Renews Questions About The Safety Of Horse Racing

      Homeboykris, a nine-year-old gelding who has won 14 races in 63 career starts, won the first of those races. But after he posed for pictures in the winner’s circle, he walked about 100 yards, collapsed, and died, likely due to cardiovascular collapse.

    • ‘Everyday There’s Resistance’: Peaceful Pipeline Protesters Arrested in NY

      Twenty-one non-violent demonstrators were arrested in Peekskill, New York on Saturday in the latest attempt to stop construction of a controversial high-pressure methane gas pipeline planned to run through residential communities and near the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant.

    • Watching the Rails: One Community’s Quest for Safety

      When fossil fuel polluters need a place to do their dirtiest and most dangerous work, they tend to locate their operations in places where they believe people have less power, often in low-income communities or communities of color. Faced with a deadly new threat, residents in one predominately African-American community are organizing their neighbors and allies from far and wide — building the power to take on a Fortune 500 company and complacent regulators.

    • Colorado’s Tenacious Anti-Fracking Movement Explores “Last-Ditch Options”

      Left with few options for stopping the scourge of oil and gas drilling in their state, Colorado residents are turning to creative forms of resistance in what the Denver Post calls “a last-ditch push for protection” against fracking.

      The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in early May that state rules promoting oil and gas development trump local attempts to restrict or ban drilling near homes and schools. As such, residents who live near proposed drilling sites “said they see few options” for stopping new projects, the Post reported.

    • Colorado residents push to protect homes, river from fracking

      Colorado residents fighting new oil and gas development — 53 wells and a fracking waste facility on the banks of the Colorado River — have turned to an untested state rule in a last-ditch push for protection.

      The proposed Ursa Resources wells here, drilled within 1,000 feet of Battlement Mesa homes, also would be near a public water system and a state wildlife area.

      Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment officials have raised concerns, warning that six storage tanks at the waste injection facility “creates a significant contamination risk to the public water supply” and that a spill could hurt wetlands and the river.

    • A hint of hell: fires in Canada and PUC pipeline dishonesty

      The firestorm in Alberta’s Fort McMurray grew eight times as large in a couple of days—engulfing more than 600,000 acres.

      Not just one fire, it was series of fires, and as the fire enlarged, it created its own storm systems.

      The fire has not yet been put out, although it moved away from the city, ravaging the Wood Buffalo National Park and forests in the north.

    • Trudeau government faces crucial decisions in coming months

      But the Trudeau government will need to decide this December on the 890,000 barrel per day Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain export pipeline.

    • Vandana Shiva: Small Farmers Are Foundation to Food Security, Not Corporations Like Monsanto

      May 22 has been declared International Biodiversity Day by the United Nations. It gives us an opportunity to become aware of the rich biodiversity that has been evolved by our farmers as co-creators with nature. It also provides an opportunity to acknowledge the threats to our biodiversity and our rights from IPR monopolies and monocultures.

      Just as our Vedas and Upanishads have no individual authors, our rich biodiversity, including seeds, have been evolved cumulatively. They are a common heritage of present and future farm communities who have evolved them collectively. I recently joined tribals in Central India who have evolved thousands of rice varieties for their festival of “Akti.” Akti is a celebration of the relationship of the seed and the soil and the sharing of the seed as a sacred duty to the Earth and the community.

  • Finance

    • Texas’ Largest Jail Accused Of Jailing Poor People Because They Don’t Have Money

      Maranda Lynn ODonnell’s supposed crime was small. On May 18, she was arrested for allegedly driving with an invalid license. But the 22-year-old mother says she was still jailed for two days at the Harris County Jail in Texas, kept away from her four-year-old daughter and her new job at a restaurant.

      If ODonnell had more money, she would have been able to go home immediately. But she doesn’t have many resources. She can’t afford her own home, so she and her daughter stay with a friend. She relies on WIC benefits to feed her child. She lives paycheck to paycheck. So when she was told she either had to pay a $2,500 bail after her arrest or be detained, she was stuck in the jailhouse.

    • The BlackRock Dilemma: To End Short-Termism, Reform CEO Pay

      In April, Gretchen Morgenson boldly called out the hypocrisy of BlackRock pillorying corporate short-termism while the investment giant simultaneously approved more than 96 percent of executive pay packages last fiscal year. She also described one BlackRock investor’s intrepid campaign to better align the company’s supposed philosophy with its executive pay practices: Stephen Silberstein, a retired software company founder, wrote a shareholder proposal for reform, and BlackRock investors and shareholders in general (including anyone with a pension or college savings) should take heed.

      The important connection between short-termism and executive pay that Morgenson and Silberstein are making is not widely understood. People who object to America’s grotesque CEO pay practices usually do so in terms of fairness, which is an argument that certainly has its own merit. But what many Americans are not aware of is how bad CEO pay practices are for the economy, particularly in terms of how they are so tied up with short-termism.

    • The Joys of Accountancy and Tents

      It is not a small point. Empires live on their accounting – some of the oldest documents in the world are surviving accounts of Mesopotamian empires, indelibly inscribed on clay tablets. The commercial origins of the EIC made accounting even more central to its culture. The pressure on Burnes over accounts was a major worry; if the government repudiated his bills he could be ruined.

    • “Print the Money”: Trump’s “Reckless” Proposal Echoes Franklin and Lincoln

      Paying the government’s debts by just issuing the money is as American as apple pie – if you go back far enough. Benjamin Franklin attributed the remarkable growth of the American colonies to this innovative funding solution. Abraham Lincoln revived the colonial system of government-issued money when he endorsed the printing of $450 million in US Notes or “greenbacks” during the Civil War. The greenbacks not only helped the Union win the war but triggered a period of robust national growth and saved the taxpayers about $14 billion in interest payments.

    • With More Americans Going Far Left (And Right), an Anti-Corporate Agenda Takes Shape

      A recently released study by four leading economists of voting in U.S. congressional races uncovered an important pattern. According to a New York Times report on the study, “Areas hardest hit by trade shocks were much more likely to move to the far right or the far left politically.” Job losses, especially to China, the authors noted, lead voters to strongly favor either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.

    • Sanders to Senate Dems: Do You Stand with Puerto Rico or with Wall Street?

      As a U.S. House committee prepares to take up the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) on Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is calling on his U.S. Senate colleagues to oppose the bill, which he says “would make a terrible situation even worse.”

      In a letter to Senate Democrats issued Monday, Sanders said: “We have an important choice to make. Do we stand with the working people of Puerto Rico or do we stand with Wall Street and the Tea Party? The choice could not be clearer.”

      PROMESA (pdf) would allow Puerto Rico restructure $72 billion in debt, while establishing an unelected outside control board to oversee the territory’s fiscal matters—a top demand from Republicans.

    • Americans: A Conquered People: The New Serfs

      As readers know, I have seen some optimism in voters support for Trump and Sanders as neither are members of the corrupt Republican and Democratic political establishments. Members of both political establishments enrich themselves by betraying the American people and serving only the interest of the One Percent. The American people are being driven into the ground purely for the sake of more mega-billions for a handful of super-rich people.

      Neither political party is capable of doing anything whatsoever about it, and neither will.

      The optimism that I see is that the public’s support of outsiders is an indication that the insouciant public is waking up. But Americans will have to do more than wake up, as they cannot rescue themselves via the voting booth. In my opinion, the American people will remain serfs until they wake up to Revolution.

    • Fighting for an Alternative to Big Banks

      We’ve heard a lot about Wall Street reform in this presidential primary season. Most of the attention has been on the need to break up the “too big to fail” banks, curbing short-term speculation, and reining in executive bonuses.

      But we also need to create a financial system that serves the everyday need for accessible, affordable financial services. Nearly 28 percent of U.S. households are at least partially outside the financial mainstream, or underserved by traditional banks. A shocking 54 percent of African-American and 47 percent of Latino households are underserved.

    • Locked Out of the American Dream

      The Urban League recently released its annual report on the State of Black American economics, within its pages a bleak picture is painted for African Americans. The report, titled “Locked Out,” shows that in most ways, Black Americans are unable to participate in the American economy.

    • Disposable Americans: The Numbers are Growing

      …poor Americans are becoming increasingly ‘disposable’ in our winner-take-all society. After 35 years of wealth distribution to the super-rich, inequality has forced much of the middle class towards the bottom, to near-poverty levels, and to a state of helplessness in which they find themselves being blamed for their own misfortunes.

      The evidence keeps accumulating: income and wealth — and health — are declining for middle-class America. As wealth at the top grows, the super-rich feel they have little need for the rest of society.

    • What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters

      It’s being blamed on the Brexit jitters. But the weakness in the UK economy that the latest figures reveal is actually a symptom of a much deeper malaise. Britain has never properly recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. At the end of 2015, inflation-adjusted income per capita in the UK was only 0.2% higher than its 2007 peak. This translates into an annual growth rate of 0.025% per year. How pathetic this performance is can be put into perspective by recalling that Japan’s per capita income during its so-called “lost two decades” between 1990 and 2010 grew at 1% a year.

      At the root of this inability to stage a real recovery is the serious imbalance that has developed in the past few decades – namely, the over-development of the UK financial sector and the atrophy of manufacturing. Right after the 2008 financial crisis there was a widespread recognition that the ballooning financial sector needed to be reined in. Even George Osborne talked excitedly for a while about the “march of the makers”. That march never materialised, however, and manufacturing’s share of GDP has stagnated at around 10%.

    • Over 1,500 Organizations Call on Congress to Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Seizing Chance, Sanders Makes Bold Progressive Picks to Shape DNC Platform
    • What Does Bernie Want?
    • The Return of Democratic Socialism

      Democratic socialism used to be a vibrant force in American life. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Socialist Party of America, headed by the charismatic union leader, Eugene V. Debs, grew rapidly, much like its sister parties in Europe and elsewhere: the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, the Swedish Social Democratic Party, the Australian Labor Party, and dozens of similar parties that voters chose to govern their countries. Publicizing its ideas through articles, lectures, rallies, and hundreds of party newspapers, America’s Socialist Party elected an estimated 1,200 public officials, including 79 mayors, in 340 cities, as well as numerous members of state legislatures and two members of Congress. Once in office, the party implemented a broad range of social reforms designed to curb corporate abuses, democratize the economy, and improve the lives of working class Americans. Even on the national level, the Socialist Party became a major player in American politics. In 1912, when Woodrow Wilson’s six million votes gave him the presidency, Debs–his Socialist Party opponent–drew vast, adoring crowds and garnered nearly a million.

    • Watch: John Oliver Perfectly Nails 10 Reasons Why Our Primary System Is Deeply Broken
    • John Oliver: Primary System Is a Broken, Counterintuitive ‘Cluster- – - – ’
    • The Divide Between Elite and Public Opinion on Healthcare Highlights America’s Democratic Deficit

      In 2014, the political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page released a study revealing that, “In the United States…the majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites or with organized interests, they generally lose.”

      Often called the “democratic deficit,” this disconnect between public policy and public opinion is one that, for many, supports the conclusion that the United States is a democracy in name only.

      In their rhetorical flourishes and stump speeches, American political figures, from the president to members of Congress to this year’s presidential candidates, pay fealty to the desires of the public, some more genuinely than others. But even the most cursory examination is enough to show that actual policy decisions often differ wildly from those promised on the campaign trail.

    • Should Dems Be Freaking Out? In First, National Polling Average Shows Trump Over Clinton

      Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders continues to trounce the presumptive GOP nominee by double digits

      [...]

      At the same time, Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders continues to best both Clinton and Trump in favorability ratings (43 percent hold a positive view of the Vermont senator versus 36 percent who have a negative view) and maintains a double-digit lead over the Republican candidate.

    • Why Trump Might Win

      A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday finds Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a statistical tie, with Trump leading Clinton 46 percent to 44 percent among registered voters. That’s an 11 percent swing against Clinton since March.

      A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, also released Sunday, shows Clinton at 46 percent to Trump’s 43 percent. Previously she led 50 percent to 39 percent.

      Polls this far before an election don’t tell us much. But in this case they do raise a serious question.

      [...]

      Americans who feel like they’re being screwed are attracted to an authoritarian bully – a strongman who will kick ass. The former reality TV star who repeatedly told contestants they were “fired!” appears tough and confrontational enough to take on powerful vested interests.

    • Bill Clinton Brought Democrats Back to Life: A Zombie Idea That Won’t Die

      “No one doubted that he had given new life to the party”? Actually, plenty of people have doubted this (e.g., Jeff Cohen, L.A. Times, 8/9/00). But since corporate media keep pushing the fantasy of Bill Clinton as savior of the Democratic Party, it’s worth going over the reality once again.

      [...]

      The Democrats had big losses on the state level under Clinton as well. From the late 1950s onward, Democrats had a big advantage in state houses that continued almost unbroken through the Nixon and Reagan eras. That ended in 1994; since then, party control of state legislatures has on balance favored Republicans.

    • Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning

      The Bernie or Busters want to see him run as an independent or throw in with the Greens and Jill Stein. That absolutely ain’t gonna happen, so the dynamic of General Washington morphing into Benedict Arnold will be an interesting one to observe as the Democrats slouch toward Philly. The Sanders campaign has been splintering for weeks, Buzzfeed reports, struggling with the transition from revolutionary leaders to cheerleaders for Hillary. This is a sad and delicate dance that Bernie is performing, and it will have an ugly ending. Think Jesus in the Garden before the crucifixion and resurrection to emerge as the Savior against Trump.

    • Study: China’s Government Fabricates About 488 Million Social Media Posts Every Year

      For years, the Chinese government has been widely suspected of hiring thousands of paid commenters using fabricated accounts to argue in favor of the government on social media sites.

      This presumed army of trolls is dubbed the “50 Cent Party,” because of the rumored rate of pay per post – 50 cents in Chinese Yuan, or about $0.08.

    • Expecting Sanders Supporters to “Close Ranks?”

      When the Clinton campaign and the corporate press call for Sanders to drop out and turn his supporters over to Hillary, they reveal just how out of touch they are. Sanders’ army is not his to command. They arose out of a profound dissatisfaction over politics as usual, and many – if not most – will not be persuaded to vote for a status quo politician they perceive to be part of the problem, no matter how frightening a Trump Presidency could be.

    • How to Make the Democratic Nominating Process Actually Democratic

      In late July, delegates to the Democratic National Convention will gather in Philadelphia, not only to nominate a president and vice president but to debate a reform agenda for the party itself. Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution is centered on democratizing U.S. politics, including the Democratic Party, and his delegation will number at least 1,700. “Big money out and voters in” should be their rallying cry; spending on the 2016 election is on track to exceed the 2012 record of $7 billion.

    • Bernie Sanders Endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Progressive Challenger

      Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders announced in an interview released late Saturday that he would be backing Tim Canova, the progressive challenger running to unseat incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.) in the congressional race for Florida’s 23rd district.

      Wasserman Schultz has been a highly controversial chair of the DNC this primary season, and is widely perceived by many Sanders supporters as rigging the primary to bolster establishment candidate Hillary Clinton over Sanders’ progressive campaign.

      “Well, clearly, I favor her opponent,” Sanders told Jake Tapper of CNN’s State of the Union. “His views are much closer to mine than to Wasserman Shultz’s.”

    • This Could Be Make-or-Break Monday for Bernie Sanders

      Monday is a critical day in Bernie Sanders’ historic, insurgent campaign for president. It’s the last day Californians can register to vote in the state’s high-stakes presidential primary.

      The Sanders campaign is counting on high voter turnout to win big in the Golden State and five other states in the final Super Tuesday round of primaries June 7. So far, the news is encouraging for the Vermont senator: More than 850,000 new voters have registered for the 2016 California elections.

    • On ‘SNL,’ ‘Hillary’ Admits to ‘Bernie’ the System Is Rigged as They Toast Wasserman Schultz (Video)

      While the most recent “Saturday Night Live” clip featuring Larry David as Bernie Sanders and Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton is full of truthy nuggets—such as what a “schmuck” the Vermont senator was to brush away the “damn emails” that could’ve “sunk” Clinton—it also shows some bias toward the former secretary of state, much like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee.

    • Why Hating the Media Could Make the Difference in November

      The winning candidate may be the one who most successfully stirs the public’s mistrust of journalists and journalism.

    • Democrats Can’t Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes!

      The Democratic National Committee chair has thrown fuel on the flames of infighting just as the party faces a critical November election.

    • Down the 2016 Primary Home Stretch: What the DNC Doesn’t Seem to Get

      There is the cry for Bernie to break free from the obviously Clinton-biased behavior of the DNC and its chair, Debbie Wassermann Schultz. That camp wants Bernie to run as an Independent if he does not win the Democratic nomination. Some look forward to forming a completely new political party that is more responsive to the people and less beholden to special interests and big money. Many in this camp are done with the DNC.

    • Elizabeth Warren Carries the Sword for Democrats in Their Crusade Against Donald Trump

      As some politicians opt to lay down their swords and acquiesce to the tour de farce that is Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Senator Elizabeth Warren is stepping up her attacks, engaging in yet another Twitter battle with the presumptive Republican nominee Thursday night.

    • Trump camp quietly courts Muslims

      Donald Trump’s top foreign policy adviser has quietly opened backchannels within Muslim and Middle Eastern communities in the U.S. in an attempt to win over a small but increasingly important voting bloc.

      Walid Phares, a top national security adviser for Trump, has been courting prominent Muslim Republicans and conservative Middle Eastern activists in the U.S.

      Some Muslim Republicans and conservative Middle Eastern activists have also engaged with other top campaign officials about furthering Trump’s outreach to those communities.

      In a Friday phone interview with The Hill, Phares said Trump campaign officials had not directed him to engage with the groups. Rather, he described the talks as a natural extension of the relationships he’s built over decades of policy work on Middle Eastern affairs.

      Phares said that he initiated contact with several individuals and groups to ask them to organize for Trump or to sell them on Trump’s positions in hopes that they’d at some point support the likely GOP nominee.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The NRA Wants Ex-Felons To Have Guns But Not Voting Rights

      The National Rifle Association wants convicted felons to be able to purchase firearms, yet its leaders are lambasting efforts to restore voting rights to the same people.

    • Refugees Unwelcome in Australia: Reading the Signs of a Humanitarian Crisis

      In fact, refugees tend to be a fairly educated bunch — one needs some smarts to traverse hell and high water to resettle in a new country. Moreover, many refugees might be fleeing situations in which they were targeted precisely for their educational and social status. Perhaps they had applied their critical thinking skills to challenge authoritarianism and champion democracy, or were talented artists who defended free expression against state censorship. In fact, Australia, which received in 2014 less than 1 percent of the global transnational refugee flow, tends to receive a self-selecting demographic of relatively well-credentialed people, whose human capital is exactly what made them vulnerable in their home countries.

    • Rebecca Gordon: Terror, Torture and US Wars of Vengeance Diminish Our Humanity

      Because here it is 2016, and no one has been held accountable for the crimes committed in the so-called war on terror. One result is what we’ve seen during the current season of primary elections: Republican candidates for president are competing to see who can promise to commit the most crimes.

    • Austria Is On The Brink Of Electing Europe’s First Far-Right President Since WWII

      The Austrian presidential election is currently too close to call, putting the country on the brink of electing Western Europe’s first democratically-elected far-right leader since World War II.

    • Reform or Revolution

      Karl Leibknecht, who had coaxed a reluctant Luxemburg into an uprising she knew was almost certainly doomed, had been executed a few moments before. The Spartacus Revolt was crushed. It was the birth of German fascism.

      The killers, like the police who murder unarmed people of color in the streets of American cities, were tried in a court—in this case, a military court—that issued tepid reprimands. The state had no intention of punishing the assassins. They had done what the state required.

      The ruling Social Democratic Party of Germany created the Freikorps, which became the antecedent to the Nazi Party. It ordered the militias and the military to crush resistance when it felt threatened from the left. Luxemburg’s murder illustrated the ultimate loyalties of liberal elites in a capitalist society: When threatened from the left, when the face of socialism showed itself in the streets, elites would—and will—make alliances with the most retrograde elements of society, including fascists, to crush the aspirations of the working class.

    • Mira Nair on Who Decides What’s ‘Marginal’ and Why People Need to Tell Their Own Stories

      Founder of the Maisha Film Lab in Kampala for aspiring East African filmmakers, Nair sat down with Truthdig to talk about who decides what’s “marginal,” the importance of having people tell their own stories and how “Queen of Katwe” is not about a poor girl triumphing against all odds.

    • Machine Bias

      There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.

    • Time to End Religious Apartheid in Scotland – and England

      In all the wringing of hands about the violence at the end of the Hibs/Rangers Scottish cup final, there is a reluctance to tackle the root of the question. The debate has in recent weeks been reinvigorated over the Scottish law banning sectarian songs and displays at football matches, with speculation that the Scottish Parliament will now have a majority for lifting it. Public mass displays of hate speech do not to me come under freedom of speech. My guide as usual is the philosopher John Stuart Mill, who stated that to argue that corn merchants are parasites who thrive on the misery of the poor is freedom of speech. To yell the same thing to an armed mob outside a corn merchant’s house at night is not. That seems a precise analogy to sectarian songs in football grounds and Mill – whose father was from Montrose – is right.

      But sensible as the ban is, it does nothing to tackle the cause of sectarian hatred. The greatest cause is segregated education. It is difficult to hate people when you grow up amongst them, share your earliest friendships and experiences with them, and learn together. It is easy to hate people when you are taught from your most innocent youth that they are different, and are forcibly segregated from them by the state for all the time you spend outside the family environment in young childhood. They are the other, different, rivals, the enemy. Name-calling, stone throwing, hostile chanting, sectarian singing and your football banner and scarf all ensue in obvious and logical succession.

    • Indonesia needs to stop acting as a “big brother”

      Tensions between Indonesia and Singapore are simmering as a kerfuffle is developing over the decision by a Singaporean court to grant a warrant to the National Environment Agency (NEA) for an Indonesian businessman suspected of involvement in last year’s forest fires. The warrant was obtained after the businessman, whose identity remains hidden, failed to turn up for an interview with the Singaporean authorities while he was in the city-state.

      The saga took an interesting twist as Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied its counterpart’s repeated claims that a formal complaint against the warrant had been lodged by the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore.

    • Syrian refugees bring life back to Swedish city – with shisha clubs and falafel cafes

      When Fisal Abo Karaa stepped off the train in Malmö’s central station this time last year, exhausted after a long journey by train and boat, he looked like any other victim of Syria’s terrible civil war.

      It wasn’t until April, when Malmö’s main shopping street was filled with the sound of Syrian bagpipes, drums and dancing that he made his presence felt. The opening of Jasmin Alsham, his new restaurant, was the most visible sign yet of an unexpected injection of Syrian money hitting Sweden’s third city.

      Abo Karaa and his partners have invested a rumoured five million Swedish kronor (£400,000) converting what was once a Pizza Hut into a replica Damascene house. It is one of five Syrian restaurants to have opened in less than a year. “There are people saying that the Syrians have come and want to buy up everything,” says Ibrahim, a hairdresser and member of the Nahawand shisha smoking club, a meeting place for the city’s established Arab businessmen.

    • The Battle for the Soul of American Higher Education

      Student Protest, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the Rise of the Corporate University

    • Second Freddie Gray Trial Ends in Acquittal, Surprises No One

      Nero was one of three officers on bike patrol who chased Gray on April 27 last year, before arresting him and loading him unrestrained into a police van, sending him off on a ride that left him with a severed spine. Nero was charged with second degree assault and misconduct in office, but his defense attorneys argued that he played a marginal role in the arrest. Another officer, Garrett Miller, testified that he alone arrested Gray.

    • Baltimore Police Officer Found Not Guilty in the ‘Rough Ride’ Death of Freddie Gray

      After a mistrial in the first case and now an acquittal the question is whether anyone will be held responsible for the Baltimore man’s death in police custody.

    • BREAKING: Officer Involved In Freddie Gray Death Found Not Guilty On All Counts
    • That’s How It Is These Days

      Another brutal white cop just walked in Baltimore, where a judge acquitted Edward Nero of all charges in the death of Freddie Gray. The bike cop who initially arrested Gray for being a black guy who acted wary of police long wielding criminal power over his and other black lives, Nero was found not guilty of assault. Or reckless endangerment. Or two counts of misconduct in office. Or anything. This, for handcuffing, shackling and throwing Gray into the van without any restraints that might prevent him from getting slammed into its sides, thus breaking his neck on any ensuing rough ride, which is what happened. The verdict came after a five-day bench trial. Circuit Judge Barry Williams, who is black, stressed the facts applied specifically to Nero’s case; five more trials remain.

    • Freddie Gray case: Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero found not guilty of all charges

      Prosecutors had argued that Nero committed an assault by detaining Gray without justification, while the reckless endangerment charge related to Nero’s role in putting Gray into an arrest wagon without buckling a seat belt. In closing arguments Thursday, Williams had skeptically questioned prosecutors about their theory of assault, which legal experts said was unprecedented.

    • Baltimore Officer Found Not Guilty on All Counts in Freddie Gray Case

      Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero was found not guilty of all charges by a judge Monday morning for his role in the arrest and subsequent death of 25-year-old black man Freddie Gray.

      Nero, who is white, had faced charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and two counts of misconduct in office, all related to his role in Gray’s initial detention and arrest on April 12, 2015. Gray died one week after being taken into custody, having suffered a broken neck and severe spinal cord injury in the back of a police transport van.

    • Vindication for Edward Snowden From a New Player in NSA Whistleblowing Saga

      The Guardian published a stunning new chapter in the saga of NSA whistleblowers on Sunday, revealing a new key player: John Crane, a former assistant inspector general at the Pentagon who was responsible for protecting whistleblowers, then forced to become one himself when the process failed.

      An article by Mark Hertsgaard, adapted from his new book, Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden, describes how former NSA official Thomas Drake went through proper channels in his attempt to expose civil-liberties violations at the NSA — and was punished for it. The article vindicates open-government activists who have long argued that whistleblower protections aren’t sufficient in the national security realm.

    • Solitary Confinement Is Used to Break People — I Know Because I Endured It

      Solitary confinement. Administrative segregation. Administrative detention. Restrictive housing. Temporary confinement. Protective custody. Appropriate placement. There are many names for solitary confinement. In the Illinois prisons where I was incarcerated, it was called “segregation,” but most of the women called it “seg” or “jail.” No matter the language, it is all solitary — and it is torture.

      Solitary confinement is being locked in a cell alone and segregated from the general population of the prison for 23 hours a day. More often than not, the allowed hour out does not happen. Meals are delivered through a slot in the door, which is kept locked except during the delivery of meals, mail and medication. Being in solitary means being handcuffed for transport to the shower or a visit.

    • Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks

      Fierce criticism has greeted the claim by the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, about the dangers of giving Turks easier entry to Europe. He said that for the EU “to offer visa-free access to 75 million Turks to stem the flow of migrants across the Aegean seems perverse, like storing gasoline next to the fire.” He warned that extreme right wing populist parties in Europe would benefit from the hostile reaction to a fresh wave of migrants as has happened already in Austria and beyond.

    • Cop sued for drawing gun on man filming him

      It’s been months since Ars reported about a Northern California police officer who unholstered his gun and looked ready to shoot a man whose crime appeared to be nothing more than filming that officer scouring the neighborhood.

      Officer David Rodriguez was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by officials from Rohnert Park, a city about 50 miles north of San Francisco. But his job was restored after the police department said the law enforcement official did nothing wrong. The video of the incident went viral and has been seen nearly half a million times on YouTube alone. The incident, in which Rohnert Park resident Don McComas and the officer were both filming each other, underscores that we are indeed living in a YouTube society—one in which there is distrust between the public and police, and one where footage speaks louder than words.

    • Sanders picks pro-Palestinian activist for Democratic platform committee

      Sen. Bernie Sanders has been given highly unusual say over the drafting of the Democratic Party platform this year even if, as expected, he loses the primary contest to Hillary Clinton.

      The two Democratic candidates have agreed with Democratic Party officials to a new apportionment of the 15-member committee that writes the platform, according to Democratic officials familiar with the compromise worked out this month.

    • The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve

      Media Education Foundation’s new documentary THE OCCUPATION OF THE AMERICAN MIND: ISRAEL’S PUBLIC RELATIONS WAR IN THE UNITED STATES, now available for sale, is quite simply the best primer yet produced for American audiences so to understand the conflict. It is a valuable tool that we all need to get into our local libraries and hold screenings of.

      Several months ago, in a matter that has little to do with these proceedings, I was asked a pretty easy question by a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology from my alma mater, a woman who once was fired from another university for merely saying the words “occupied territory”, “How did you become interested in the Palestinians?” I replied that it was the now-infamous scene where Dr. Norman Finkelstein righteously bellows at a crowd of know-nothing college students at Waterloo University in Canada, excerpted from the magnificent AMERICAN RADICAL.

      I guess everyone who knows this cause and its meaning has their own story like that. After so many years of hasbara and lies, one finally stumbles upon a piece of media that makes everything click. For some it was the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. For others, it was the First Intifada. Still more were converted in the aftermath of the Oslo debacle. Regardless of what it is, there is a moment that occurs to every American when they just become overwhelmed by this revolting state of affairs and begin to study all they can about this conflict.

    • The Unraveling of Zionism?

      This sort of unraveling – the loss of growing numbers of traditional followers of an ideological movement – seems to be going on within the Zionist community, particularly among American Jews. Zionism is an ideological movement that preaches the God-given Jewish right to control and settle all of historical Palestine. Since the founding of Israel in 1948 the Zionists have also claimed that the “Jewish State” represents all of world Jewry, thus self-aware Jews owe allegiance to both Israel and its prevailing Zionist philosophy. However, in the last ten or so years that allegiance has been breaking down. In the U.S. a growing “disconnect” has been noted between the outlook and actions of the ideologically rigid leaders of major U.S. Jewish organizations (who remain uncritically supportive of Israel) and the increasingly alienated Jewish American rank and file whom, at least up until recently, the leaders claimed to represent. This gap has been repeatedly documented by several sources ranging from, Pew Research Center surveys, to the Jewish Forward newspaper, and the organization of Reform Judaism.

    • Speak Up for Kids in Military Detention

      If you think this is impossible, consider this: the Iran deal was impossible. The Bernie Sanders campaign was impossible. Maybe some things that used to be impossible are now possible. Let’s put this proposition to the test. What kind of sacrifice is it to try? Not a very big one.

    • Chelsea Manning Appeals 35-Year Sentence For Leaking Files

      It’s been almost three years since Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail for leaking a bunch of State Department cables to Wikileaks in what she claims was an act of whistleblowing (though, obviously, some disagree). As we noted in the past, even if you disagree with the whistleblowing claim, the leak did lead to some important discussions about what the US government was doing in certain areas and (contrary to some hyperbolic claims) did not lead to a single death. In addition, we’ve pointed out that people who were flat out selling secrets to the Russians, or simply full-on terrorists, have received lighter sentences. Something does not seem at all right with that.

      And now, Manning has officially appealed the conviction and sentence. The full filing is a massive 209 pages and seems to challenge just about everything about the case against Manning, and makes Constitutional arguments around the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment and Eighth Amendment.

    • Elijah Wood: Hollywood’s child sex abuse comparable to Jimmy Savile case

      Elijah Wood, the actor who took his first film role aged eight before starring in the Lord of the Rings movies, has said that organised sexual abuse of children in Hollywood is rife.

      Speaking to the Sunday Times, Wood said that although he had been protected as a child – mainly through the efforts of his mother, who stopped him going to parties – many of his peers were regularly “preyed upon”.

      Wood, now 35, drew parallels between such experiences and the prolific sexual abuse perpetrated by TV host Jimmy Savile. “You all grew up with Savile,” said Wood. “Jesus, it must have been devastating. Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organised. There are a lot of vipers in this industry – people who only have their own interests in mind.”

      “There is darkness in the underbelly,” he added. “If you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.”

      The actor said he felt that such crimes continue to be unpunished because the victims “can’t speak as loudly as people in power”. “That’s the tragedy of attempting to reveal what is happening to innocent people. They can be squashed, but their lives have been irreparably damaged.”

    • Sanders Tells Deported Immigrant: ‘I Would Like You On This Side Of The Border’

      Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visited to the U.S.-Mexico border wall in California over the weekend — and met with deported U.S. veteran Hector Barajas, who may not have been sent back to Mexico under Sanders’ policies.

      Speaking through the slotted steel border wall division, Sanders thanked Barajas for his service and said that deported individuals should have a chance to come back to the United States.

      “I would like you on this side of the border,” Sanders told Barajas.

      After he served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne, Barajas fired a weapon in an incident with someone — an event that he previously told ThinkProgress was induced by PTSD. That incident led to his arrest, which gave him a 20-year reentry ban. Barajas then received a lifetime ban after he was caught coming back to the United States to see his young daughter.

    • [Old] Attica Is All of Us: Cornel West on 40th Anniversary of Attica Prison Rebellion

      This week marks the 40th anniversary of another 9/11 tragedy: the Attica prison rebellion. On September 9, 1971, prisoners took over much of state prison in Attica, New York, to protest conditions at the maximum security prison. Then Governor Nelson Rockefeller ordered state police to storm the facility on the morning of September 13. Troopers shot indiscriminately more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition, killing 39 male prisoners and guards. After the shooting stopped, police beat and tortured scores of more prisoners, many of whom were seriously wounded but were initially denied medical care. After a quarter century of legal struggles, the state of New York would eventually award the surviving prisoners of Attica $12 million in damages. We play an excerpt from a September 9 commemoration at Riverside Church in New York City, “Attica Is All of Us,” featuring Cornel West, professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University and the author of numerous books on race. “So, 40 years later, we come back to commemorate this struggle against the historical backdrop of a people who have been so terrorized and traumatized and stigmatized that we have been taught to be scared, intimidated, always afraid, distrustful of one another, and disrespectful of one another,” West says. “But the Attica rebellion was a countermove in that direction.” [includes rush transcript]

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • DTSA Litigation Updates

      In this newly filed DTSA case, Universal Protection (a company providing security guards, etc.) has sued its former employee Thornburg for trade secret misappropriation (as well as various breach contract claims involving his non-compete agreement and breach of loyalty). In the case, Thornburg apparently developed a good relationship as head of security for a customer (JBS) and decided to quit his job and start-up a competing company where he could charge the company less and make more money. The primary trade-secret at issue here is apparently the pricing plan provided to JBS and the security plan (developed by Thornburg while at JBS).

    • “Cybersecurity” Directive makes European Council appearance, but where is the Trade Secrets Directive?

      Nothing drives the AmeriKat more crazy than when things or people go AWOL. Thus, her fur bristled when the 17 May came and went but no big Council press release concerning the adoption of the EU Trade Secrets Directive that was passed by the European Parliament last month (see Kat posts here).

      Instead, the European Council adopted the Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive during its first reading. The NIS Directive provides that operators of critical IT services (think energy, transport, health and finance) meet certain security obligations. Who falls within this category will be determined by each Member State, whereas digital service providers (such as search engines and cloud services) will be directly subject to the Directive. Member States are also required to cooperate in sharing information when tackling cybersecurity threats.

    • Copyrights

      • The Oracle-Google Case Will Decide the Future of Software

        The legal battle between Oracle and Google is about to come to an end. And nothing less is as stake than the future of programming. Today lawyers for both companies are set to make their closing arguments in the fight over whether Google’s use of the Java application programming interface (API)—an arcane but critically important part of the Android mobile operating system—was legal. Regardless of how the jury rules, the case has already had a permanent effect on the way developers build software.

      • Google vs Oracle: US jury to hear $9 billion lawsuit
      • Oracle sued Google over a hamburger, Java trial jury told

        That’s a Google lawyer’s message to jurors at the companies’ copyright infringement trial. Robert Van Nest showed the jury a menu with only “hamburger” written on it and likened it to the packages, or APIs, of Java programming code…

      • Chilean Bid to Help Authors Will Chill Audiovisual Content Online

        Authors around the world are realizing the benefits of sharing their work in new ways, finding new audiences by refusing to articipate in traditional methods of distribution and licensing. But a new proposal in Chile could undermine thatthose choices, at least for Chilean creators.

        In pursuing copyright reform around the world, we usually stress the need to balance the rights of users with those of copyright owners. But it’s also important to balance the rights of authors with those of copyright owners. Many people understandable think they are the same people. But they often aren’t. Authors (including artists, songwriters and filmmakers) routinely give up their copyrights to large companies in exchange for those companies handling the marketing and management of their work. If the terms of this exchange are unfair, because of the company’s greater bargaining power, this can leave the author in a precarious position (the story of Little Richard selling the rights to Tutti Frutti for $50 is illustrative).

        A current proposal in Chile shows how hard it is to address this tension without trampling on the rights of secondary users and undermining the burgeoning efforts to give authors more choices about how their works might be handled.

      • Paramount Apparently Going To Drop Lawsuit Against Axanar Fan Film, Produce ‘Guidelines’ For Fan Films

        Since December, we’ve been following the ridiculous Paramount/CBS lawsuit over a big crowdfunded Star Trek fan film called Axanar. While it is true that by raising over a million dollars on Kickstarter, and getting a professional team and actors behind it that Axanar started to blur the lines between a traditional fan film and a full-on professional production, it still seemed like a ridiculous and anti-fan move to sue. To some extent, it highlighted yet another problem with today’s copyright laws, which are woefully unprepared for the fact that the equipment is cheap enough and available enough for “amateur” work to be really, really good.

        We’d been covering the case, including the ridiculous overclaiming of copyrights by Paramount/CBS (including claiming a copyright over the Klingon language and “uniforms with gold stars.”) Things had just been starting to heat up and the judge was gearing up for a trial… when famed producer/director JJ Abrams announced at a fan event for the next film that the lawsuit was going away.

      • You’re Entitled To Your Own Opinions, But Not Your Own Facts About Copyright, NY Times Edition

        The NY Times has an op-ed piece by Jonathan Taplin, claiming that Silicon Valley hates music, that is so chock full of out and out factual errors that it’s an embarrassment for the NY Times to have allowed it to be published. Is fact checking dead at the Gray Lady? It’s perhaps not as embarrassing for Taplin, who’s been spewing ridiculous falsehoods for years about how technology is out to destroy all creative culture. In the past we’ve had to correct his blatantly false statements, but it seems odd to us that the NY Times would let him publish a piece so devoid of facts. Let’s dig in and do some editing and fact checking that the NY Times apparently failed to do.

      • Fair Use Needs Protecting & All Abusers Need to Be Punished

        Fair use is an extremely important facet of copyright law and it needs to be defended when it’s wrongly targeted under the DMCA. So, let’s get down to business. Those who attempt to stifle it should get punished. And, to balance things up, those who blatantly claim fair use when it’s clearly not warranted should get punished too.

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