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08.23.16

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux rules the world. Where to next?

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

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

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

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

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

  • THE BIG LIE About Operating Systems

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

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Linux Absent from Zemlin’s LinuxCon Pep Rally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Server

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

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

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

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

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

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

      • KDevelop 5.0 Appears Ready For Release

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

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Maps is fast again!

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

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

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

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

      • GSoC: final evaluation

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

      • GUADEC

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

      • GSoC Summary

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

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

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

      • GNOME 3.22 Beta Released

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

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

      • GUADEC Experience

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

      • GNOME Usability Test Results (Part 1)

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

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo Linux live DVD “Choice Edition

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

      • Why did Gentoo Linux fade into obscurity?

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

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Slackware Family

      • Latest Slackware Version Doesn’t Cut Newbies any Slack

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

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

    • Red Hat Family

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

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

      • Finance

      • Fedora

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

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

        • Trying Out Fedora 25 With Wayland, Early Benchmarks Included

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

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

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

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

        • New role as Fedora Magazine editor in chief

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

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

        • FOSS Wave: Delhi, India

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

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible Builds: week 69 in Stretch cycle

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

      • Proposing speakers for DebConf17

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

      • Google Summer of Code 2016 : Final Report

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

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Rotate Screen on Ubuntu Easily With This Indicator Applet

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

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Peppermint OS explained

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

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Software for Business: 12 Leading Apps

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

  • Digital Asset to Open Source Smart Contract Language

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

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

  • Reasons behind Enterprises’ Appeal towards Open Source Analytics Frameworks

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

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

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

  • Events

    • Updates from LinuxCon and ContainerCon, Toronto, August 2016

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

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

    • 2016 SFD Registration is on!

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

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

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

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

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

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

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

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

      • Mozilla’s new logo ideas

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

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

  • SaaS/Back End

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

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

    • Apache CloudStack Still Going, Arrives in New Version

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

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

  • Databases

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

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

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

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

    • Proprietary licences both frustrating and pushing move to PostgreSQL

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

    • Time To Move To PostgreSQL

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

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

  • Education

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

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

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 6.2 Compiler Released

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

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

  • Public Services/Government

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

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

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

    • Open Source at work, Open Society working in Taiwan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

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

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

    • Open Access/Content

      • 7 resources for open education materials

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

      • Open education is more than open content

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

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

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

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

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

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

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

  • Hardware

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

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

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

  • Health/Nutrition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Why a Single-Payer Healthcare System is Inevitable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      He has not been identified by the Ministry of Defence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Destroying history is now being charged as a war crime

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

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

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

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

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

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

    • Forest restoration can turn the clock back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Fire crews battling late summer blazes

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

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

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

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

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

  • Finance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Virgin Trains East Coast strikes to be held in August

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

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

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

    • Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”

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

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

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

    • Clinton’s Transition Team: A Corporate Presidency Foretold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Escalating the War on Low-Income Families

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Students across Finland protest cuts to vocational education

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

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

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

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump also visited this week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Nicholas Schou, Alexander Zaitchik, and David Talbot

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

    • Trump’s White Supremacist Factor

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

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

    • Donald Trump’s undocumented deportation pledge called into question

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

    • Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • A Slow River Flows Through the Campaigns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Why? Fear is at the core.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

    • KickassTorrents ‘Front Company’ Disappears From Web

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

    • How Facebook censors your posts (FAQ)

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

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

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

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

    • Police Continue to Withhold Information in Case of Korryn Gaines

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Turkish journalists honour international organisations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      And yet they sent takedowns for links there.

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

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

    • Gawker to Shut Down Next Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

    • Nation Mirror calls on authorities not to censor their work

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

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

    • How To Escape The Challenges Of Internet Censorship

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

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

  • Civil Rights/Policing

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

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

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

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

    • Uncovering a $1 Billion Deal to Detain Unauthorized Immigrants

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

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

    • Shoot First

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Justice Department Plans to Stop Using Private Prisons

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

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

    • Hats Off To Mother Jones

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Right To Draw Air

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Idea of Peace in the Quran

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

    • Where the Death Penalty Still Lives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Boy, 8, dies in Swedish hand grenade blast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Romania’s telecom regulator to boost competition

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

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

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

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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

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

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

    • Trademarks

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

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

    • Copyrights

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microsoft's chief evangelist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

08.22.16

Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies” (attribution note)

Summary: Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli

THE previous post about Battistelli's lies would not be complete without showing that his loyal goons (those who have historically been like his lapdogs) also distort the facts and blatantly lie.

Here is a document regarding the above-the-law Vice-President:

VP1 lies

Here is a document regarding the EPO Vice-President who faces many criminal charges (and arrogantly believes he is above the law, so he refuses to even attend court hearings he's summoned to attend):

VP4 lies

The moral and ethical erosion at the EPO‘s top-level management isn’t too hard to see. It is sad if not depressing to see what was once a reputable institution. Witness what it has sunk to because of misguided and highly abusive men (yes, men) in suits. When even flagrant disregard for the truth has become so banal/mundane how are patent applicants expected to come to the EPO for (patent) justice?

Misleading publications that are published only in the Intranet or passed internally (personally) between managers are hard to get a hold of and we receive legal threats for publishing them. Without these, showing the rot inside the EPO is a lot harder (there are virtually no whistleblower protections in the land of Eponia, which serves to hide serious abuse).

Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 8:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli the politician (chronic liar) uses political tricks to give an impression of legitimacy

Battistelli liar
Source (original): Rospatent

Summary: Battistelli’s lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures

CATCHING EPO officials in a lie has become far too easy. They’re lying to journalists, they’re lying to their own staff, and we have given plenty of examples of this. It would actually be an improvement if they stopped saying anything at all, following the “silence is gold” mantra.

“Battistelli lives in the fantasy land of the EPO (which he totally controls) and he really loves the IAM propaganda machine these days.”The EPO is going through an unprecedented crisis, but Battistelli lies about it to the media (even if insiders who are high officials acknowledge it). Dead (or at least dormant) EPO forums are one way for the EPO to distract from terrible internal affairs and PR people just keep pushing a Battistelli lobbying event that’s nearly a year away [1, 2], resorting even to borderline spam like seen in these couple of new examples [1, 2]. They have nothing positive to say, have they?

We recently saw information about Battistelli’s activities report, an oral report given with no citations, just a word of mouth. The information said this: “The President focussed as usual on the very good production (+14% in 2015 and an estimated +9% in 2016) and filing figures as well as claiming that quality had only improved as well: he cited a very positive survey in IAM magazine ranking EPO as the best patent office on quality in the world. He stated further that the social dialogue had intensified [...] He confirmed that a “Social Conference” looking into the conclusions from OHSRA, the social study and the financial study is now planned for 11 October, just ahead of the October Council meeting. He also referred to the reduction in sick-leave days, the success of the Inventor of the Year Award and progress on re-building The Hague.”

“It puts the EPO on un/ethical grounds similar to those of China.”Decline in EPO patent quality has been covered (even with supporting material) for quite some time in Techrights. Battistelli lives in the fantasy land of the EPO (which he totally controls) and he really loves the IAM propaganda machine these days. They produce ‘ammo’ for him. They’re like the think tank which he uses for lies about quality of patents. When does a so-called ‘news’ publication cross the line between journalism and propaganda mill? IAM is on holiday/break right now, but surely they know what to do next year in order to keep the money coming, even if some of it comes from the PR agency of the EPO.

Notice how the above-mentioned events are timed strategically; Timed to pressure the delegates without telling them the enormous cost of this publicity stunt. Some delegates, on the face of it, no longer take what Battistelli says at face value. The information continues as follows: “Unusually, only a few delegations made an intervention following this report. Even these few referred not only to the good filing and production figures, but also raised concerns over to the bad social atmosphere. Quality is becoming a new focus for many delegations: can it be realistically be maintained in the light of such increased productivity demands on DG1? It is not only the granted patent itself, but also the whole search and examination process which must be quality ensured.”

“This should be cause for alarm inside the EPO and outside the EPO.”DG1 is the President’s goon who said on national TV that the EPO would ignore a ruling from the highest court. It puts the EPO on un/ethical grounds similar to those of China. These are basically a bunch of liars and maybe they even believe their own lies. A lot of politicians tend to be like that and one must remember that Battistelli is still a politician. Watch what happened in France a month ago. SUEPO has produced this English translation of a letter in French [PDF], which we included below with highlights in yellow:

F R E N C H
R E P U B L I C

Mr. Jean-Yves Le Déaut
Deputy, President of the OPECST
National Assembly
126 Rue de l’Université – 75355 Paris 07 SP
Paris, 12 July 2016

Jean-Yves LECONTE
Senator representing
French citizens
established outside
France

Dear Deputy, Dear Jean-Yves,

In the capacity of President of OPCEST (Parliamentary Office of Scientific Evaluation and Assessment), you recently travelled to The Hague at the head of a delegation of French parliamentarians in order to visit the European Patent Office there and to meet its President Benoît Battistelli. On this occasion, in particular, you awarded him the “Medal of the National Assembly”.

I am surprised that you have not taken account of the political risks which this visit might incur at a time at which the management of the President is the object of virulent criticism, such as has been made known by us to Mr. Emmanuel Macron, the Minister with responsibility for relationships with this Office (see the two letters enclosed herewith). The most significant of these bears on the decision by the current Executive of the Office to give priority in the registration of patents to “major accounts” from the Anglo-Saxon world, which, while generating substantial income, in particular is also incurring long delays for a large number of French “start-up” companies and small and medium-sized businesses. This issue was raised in particular by Ms. Axelle Lemaire, Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, at a public event which she attended in June 2015 on the occasion of the award of the “European Innovator Prize” organized by the EPO.

As well as this, the present management of the staff is the source of a very great deal of social tension, the most evident signs of which are the suicides of five persons, the sanction procedures, even to the extent of dismissal, imposed against persons who should enjoy protection (staff union representatives), and massive and regular strike actions both at The Hague and in Munich.

The appended note will provide you with more exhaustive details of the reasons for which we have been prompted to request that the Ministers of the Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs set about the mobilisation of our representatives on the Administrative Council of the EPO, in order for them to obtain, as rapidly as possible, a reorientation of the approach adopted by its President.

I am at your disposal to discuss the points raised in the note, and, in
anticipation of this, I remain

Yours faithfully

Copy:
- The Members of the Parliamentary Office of Scientific Evaluation and Assessment

Enclosures:

- My letter of 21 September 2015 to the Minister of the Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs;
- My note of 24 November 2015 regarding the situation at the EPO;
- A letter signed jointly by my parliamentary colleagues of 21 April 2016, sent to the Minister of the Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs.

The EPO has essentially been taken over by a political monster and unless it can detoxify itself some time in the very near future, there will be no turnaround and no recovery. Politicians are used to faking accomplishments in the short term (like CEOs during their terms) and they don’t have any concern about whatever happens once they leave Office. This should be cause for alarm inside the EPO and outside the EPO.

The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 7:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Also: Why the EPO rapidly becomes the greater culprit

Cracked metal

Summary: The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever

THE US Patent Office (USPTO) begrudgingly comes to grips with the fact that software patents are a passing fad. If the Office continues to grant these and most of the time US courts deem these invalid, what will that say about the Office?

According to this, Alice has just had another belated casualty because “US Pat 5,841,115, Nutritional information system; Killed w/Alice by Google” (a software patent). Google is pursuing software patents on driving and there is growing concern that this “could raise risk of patent litigation” so Google should not be viewed as an innocent victim here. It is growingly part of the problem.

“…many software patents they helped clients get (past, not future) are worthless pieces of paper right now.”In other news, “Patent Claims to Weather Alerts Not Patent-Eligible Under Section 101,” says a pro-software patenting site. “This is an unsurprising result in the post-Alice world,” it concludes. “Claims to alerting functionality can face stiff headwinds when challenged under Section 101, especially when not supported by a specification, or better, claim language, calling out technical improvements.”

One of the most vocal proponents of software patents in Europe took note of it and Watchtroll, probably the most vocal proponent of software patents in the US, is trying to promote ‘cheating’ the system to patent software in spite of Alice. We have come to expect that from Watchtroll, who is stooping quite low these days. They must be nervous and they are panicking as many software patents they helped clients get (past, not future) are worthless pieces of paper right now. Even the Federal Circuit, which helped bring software patents to the US in the first place, has become exceedingly hostile towards them. Here is a new comment from IP Kat:

Anything by the Federal Circuit is of momentary import and cannot be considered “the driver seat.”

This is a direct offshoot of what the Supreme Court has been doing and can be seen to be why the Court refuses to draw any clear lines. They Court simply does not want to be left out of any discussion of eligibility, even as it is beyond the Court’s allocated powers to write law in this area.

So, you may think that you are “moving beyond,” but that is merely a mirage, as you have never left what the Supreme Court has done (is doing) – and that is by design of the Supreme Court.

Do you really think that such critical terms as “abstract” and “significantly more” are left undefined lacking a reason?

NOTHING that the Federal Circuit does is of lasting import in the realm of eligibility. And this is so because basically they lack the backbone to call a spade a spade and to note when the Supreme Court has stepped beyond the Court’s authority when it comes to the difference between interpreting the law and writing the law.

Much to our delight, things are improving in the US (patent scope improved/tightened), whereas in Europe we drift in the opposite direction.

“Much to our delight, things are improving in the US (patent scope improved/tightened), whereas in Europe we drift in the opposite direction.”“Laws in Brussels are written by MNCs (Multi-National-Corporations), and FRAND in DSM is part of it,” Benjamin Henrion wrote yesterday, linking to this upcoming talk titled “DSM, EIF, RED: Acronyms on the EU level and why they matter for software freedom” (some of these are used to sneakily bring software patents to Europe). From the abstract: “In the coming years, the EU is determined to bring its industries to the digital market and acquire a leading position on the global tech market. In order to achieve this ambitious goal of allowing Europe’s “own Google or Facebook” to emerge, the EU has come up with several political and legislative proposals that obviously cannot overlook software. Three or more magic letters combined in an acronym have, therefore, the power to either support innovation and fair competition, or drown the EU in its vendor lock-in completely. The terms “open standards”, “open platforms”, and Free Software are being used more and more often but does it mean that the EU is “opening” up for software freedom for real? My talk will explain how several current EU digital policies interact with Free Software, and each other, and what does it mean to software freedom in Europe.”

Well, FRAND brings software patents to Europe, in spite of them being illegal. Does Brussels even care? The same applies to the EPO under Battistelli’s regime. He certainly does not care about the EPC. He just ignores it. This is why increased focus on internal EPO affairs is worthwhile and the next couple of posts will contain new information about abuse at the top.

Apple’s Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents, Samsung at 6:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rounded corners? Apple’s invention!

UK power socket

Summary: Apple’s insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns

TROLLS, or patent sharks, typically use software patents, but what if they also had design patents at their disposal?

Apple‘s war on Android, which manifested itself in a now-settled case against HTC and later in a long patent war against Samsung, may prove to be counterproductive now that Apple attracts patent trolls like VirnetX, to which it might be forced to pay billions of dollars. A pro-software patents site now says that “Apple will also be an even richer target for the new breed of design patent trolls” if it wins its case against Samsung/Android (over design patents). To quote this new article:

On October 11, 2016, the Supreme Court will hear Samsung’s appeal of the Federal Circuit’s affirmation of the jury’s damage award to Apple of Samsung’s “total profits” on sales of the infringing smartphones even though it had only infringed Apple’s design of the iPhone’s outer shell. In upholding the “total profits” award, the Federal Circuit determined that it was bound to uphold the jury’s award by the “explicit” and “clear” statutory language relating to design patent infringement damages.

[...]

The importance of the Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling here is underscored by the numerous amicus curiae briefs filed (27 at last count). With over 205 billion in cash reserves at last count, Apple certainly doesn’t “need” the full nine-figure damage award. And, given the far reaching implications of this case, Apple may live to regret its aggressive pursuit of “total profits” for design patent infringement by finding itself battling design patent holders seeking to recover Apple’s total device profits for infringement of even a minor design feature. Apple will also be an even richer target for the new breed of design patent trolls already surfacing based, at least in part, on Apple’s success in this case. Clearly it is time for Congress to step in and amend Section 289 to add apportionment language.

No wonder technology companies are overwhelmingly supportive of Samsung in this case — a high-profile case over design patents.

In other news, Vera Ranieri from the EFF has this new update about one of their high-profile cases against patent trolls. Ranieri writes:

There has been significant activity relating to cases and patent infringement claims made by Shipping & Transit, LLC, formerly known as ArrivalStar. Shipping & Transit, who we’ve written about on numerous occasions, is currently one of the most prolific patent trolls in the country. Lex Machina data indicates that, since January 1, 2016, Shipping & Transit has been named in almost 100 cases. This post provides an update on some of the most important developments in these cases.

In many Shipping & Transit cases, Shipping & Transit has alleged that retailers allowing their customers to track packages sent by USPS infringe various claims of patents owned by Shipping & Transit, despite previously suing (and settling with) USPS. EFF represents a company that Shipping & Transit accused of infringing four patents.

The above is a timely and good example. It demonstrates not just of the harms of patent trolls but also the harms of software patents, which in the large majority of cases rely on them. If Apple made design patents stronger, with affirmation from the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), the damage would be enormous.

Apple is on the wrong side of history.

Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Philosophy of Open Source in Community and Enterprise Software

    Open source software is alive and well, backing most of the systems we take for granted every day. Communities like Github have paved the way for more open collaboration and increased contributions. More software today is branded with the marketing gimmick of being moved “into the cloud”, and into subscription models were people perpetually rent software rather than purchase it. Many of the websites we use are walled gardens of free services that are not open, and which make it intentionally difficult to move your data should you become unsatisfied with the service provider. Much of the opens source software being released today is backend technology or developer tools. We are still a far cry away from having the day to day software we use being truly free, not only in cost, but being able to modify it to our needs and run it anywhere we want.

  • Release management in Open Source projects

    Open source software is widely used today. While there is not a single development method for open source, many successful open source projects are based on widely distributed development models with many independent contributors working together. Traditionally, distributed software development has often been seen as inefficient due to the high level of communication and coordination required during the software development process. Open source has clearly shown that successful software can be developed in a distributed manner.

    The open source community has over time introduced many collaboration systems, such as version control systems and mailing lists, and processes that foster this collaborative development style and improve coordination. In addition to implementing efficient collaboration systems and processes, it has been argued that open source development works because it aims to reduce the level of coordination needed. This is because development is done in parallel streams by independent contributors who work on self-selected tasks. Contributors can work independently and coordination is only required to integrate their work with others.

    Relatively little attention has been paid to release management in open source projects in the literature. Release management, which involves the planning and coordination of software releases and the overall management of releases throughout the life cycle, can be studied from many different aspects. I investigated release management as part of my PhD from the point of view of coordination theory. If open source works so well because of various mechanism to reduce the level of coordination required, what implications does this have on release management which is a time in the development process when everyone needs to come together to align their work?

  • 5 reasons professors should encourage students to get involved in open source projects

    I’ve been supporting student participation in humanitarian free and open source software (HFOSS) projects for over a decade. I’ve seen students get motivated and excited by working in a professional community while they learn and mature professionally. Out of the many reasons for supporting student participation in open source, here are five of the most compelling reasons.

  • When you wake up with a feeling

    One philosophy – Free software. Let me not explain it as a technical debt. Let me explain it as social movement. In age, where people are “bombed” by media, by all-time lying politicians (which use fear of non-existent threats/terror as model to control population), in age where proprietary corporations are selling your freedom so you can gain temporary convenience the term Free software is like Giordano Bruno in age of Inquisitions. Free software does not only preserve your Freedom to software source usage but it preserves your Freedom to think and think out of the box and not being punished for that. It preserves the Freedom to live – to choose what and when to do, without having the negative impact on your or others people lives. The Freedom to be transparent and to share. Because not only ideas grow with sharing, but we, as human beings, grow as we share. The Freedom to say “NO”.

  • Every Simplenote App Is Now Open-Source
  • What do we mean when we talk about software ‘alternatives’?

    OK, so alternative is a malleable term. But it’s bigger than that. It’s not just a question of life with The Munsters, it’s a question of who’s allowed in. With open source, there’s no exclusion; even in the worst case where you feel unwelcome by some community that is building an open source application, you still have access to the code. Then the barrier to entry is your own resolve to learn a new application.

    And that ought to be the standard, no matter what. My Rorschachian responses to application types default to open source, with the alternatives being the ones that you might choose to use if, for whatever reason, you find the ones available to everyone insufficient:

    Office: LibreOffice
    Photo: GIMP
    Video: Kdenlive
    Operating system: Slackware

    The list goes on and on. You define your own alternatives, but my mainstream day-to-day tools are not alternatives. They’re the ones that gets my seal of authenticity, and they’re open to everyone.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • MariaDB open-source credentials take a hit

      The open-source credentials of MariaDB, the database company that was born as a fork from MySQL, have taken a hit after it announced that it would be releasing the new version of its MaxScale database proxy software under a proprietary licence.

      MaxScale is vital to monetising the MariaDB software as it enables the deployment of MariaDB databases at scale. Its new version, 2.0, is now available under what the man behind MariaDB, Michael “Monty” Widenius, calls a Business Source Licence. This will switch to the GNU General Public Licence in 2019.

      The licence terms state: “Usage of the software is free when your application uses the software with a total of less than three database server instances for production purposes.”

      Though there is now a fork of MaxScale, it is from the old version from which this was possible. None of the fixes that are in version 2.0 are present.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Parallel 20160822 (‘Og Nomekop’) released
    • Second release of eiffel-iup

      I’m glad to announce the second release of eiffel-iup. A wrapper that allow create graphical applications with Liberty Eiffel using the IUP toolkit. This second version add flat buttons and fix some errors. The main changes are in the names of some features, which now have names in the eiffel style. This is enough mature to create graphical interfaces. The package contains examples that show how use eiiffel-iup. So let me know if you have problems and Happy hacking!

    • diffutils-3.5 released [stable]
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • How scientists are using digital badges

      The open source world pioneered the use of digital badges to reward skills, achievements, and to signal transparency and openness. Scientific journals should apply open source methods, and use digital badges to encourage transparency and openness in scientific publications.

      Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts know all about merit badges. Scouts earn merit badges by mastering new skills. Mozilla Open Badges is a pioneer in awarding digital merit badges for skills and achievements. One example of a badge-issuing project is Buzzmath, where Open Badges are issued to recognize progress in mathematics to students, or anyone wanting to brush up on their skills. Another example is IBM Training and Skills, which issues badges to validate credentials earned in their certification programs.

      The Center for Open Science went beyond validating skills and established badges for open data and open materials in 2013, and created guidelines for issuing these badges.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Nasa just made all its research available online for free

        Care to learn more about 400-foot tsunamis on Mars? Now you can, after Nasa announced it is making all its publicly funded research available online for free. The space agency has set up a new public web portal called Pubspace, where the public can find Nasa-funded research articles on everything from the chances of life on one of Saturn’s moons to the effects of space station living on the hair follicles of astronauts.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Hardware Comes of Age

        Most people have at least heard of the term “open source” but the wide popularity of open source has been in software rather than hardware. Open source software is well known. Home computer users recognize it in downloads like Office Libre, GIMP, and the VLC media player. More serious computer users realize that much of the Internet itself was built on open source technologies like Linux and the Apache Web Server. Open source software can quickly be defined as source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance.

      • The Opposite of the EOMA-68 Modular Laptop

        In the photos of the laptop that David exposed and is keeping functional, the complexity of the design is clearly apparent. Huge heat sinks and heat pipes, a densely populated and really quite large PCB on both sides (which is costly to manufacture). Chances of repair and ongoing maintenance: absolutely zero. The only reason that David is even considering keeping this machine going is down to years of experience with computers – something that most people simply do not have time to do.

        By contrast, the EOMA68 Laptop Housing is kept to a bare minimum out of pure necessity: it’s a simpler design that’s been made using tools that the average electronics engineer could conceivably imagine owning… so that they can make or repair these devices, for themselves, or for other people.

        The main PCB (PCB1) is only 6” square with a small extension for the USB ports, and is approximately only 30% populated with components, only on one side. PCB2 (for the keyboard and mouse) is very small and has around 30 components on it, and PCB3 likewise. Here are some pictures taken last year: the first shows the 3 PCBs wired together and assembled in the 3D-printed case, whilst the second is a partially-populated PCB (USB2 connectors in the top left corner to give an idea of scale).

      • Earth-friendly EOMA68 Computing Devices
  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • AMD crashes Intel’s party: Powerful Zen CPUs are coming next year

      A block away from Intel’s Developer Forum in San Francisco, AMD brought together a select group of media and analysts to make one thing clear: Its long-awaited Zen processor actually exists, and it’s on track to ship early next year for desktops. Surprisingly, the company is aiming directly at the high-end PC gaming market, whereas its last few chips appealed more to budget builders.

      “Our focus is on high-performance CPUs and GPUs,” AMD CEO Lisa Su said, as she listed off the company’s most recent accomplishments. Those include building the chips powering both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (as well as the One S and the upcoming Project Scorpio), and delivering a surprisingly powerful $200 video card in the Radeon RX480.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Valeant Pharmaceuticals Accused Of Vast Fraud By T. Rowe Price

      A U.S. mutual fund firm that used to be one of Valeant’s largest shareholders is suing the embattled Quebec drugmaker for allegedly pursuing “a fraudulent scheme” that ultimately cost investors billions of dollars.

      T. Rowe Price filed the lawsuit against Valeant, its former chief executive and several current and former executives.

      “This case arises from a fraudulent scheme by Valeant and its top executives to use a secret pharmacy network, deceptive pricing and reimbursement practices, and fictitious accounting to shield the company’s branded drugs from generic competition and artificially inflate the company’s revenues and profits,” said the 200-page statement of claim filed Monday in the United States District Court in New Jersey.

    • Life Itself Is Being Patented, Privatized and Re-engineered

      Capitalism is predicated on endless expansion. It is a socio-economic system that must grow indefinitely or cease to exist. And it has to grow at a compound rate, leading it to commodify and consume ever-greater portions of the planet at an accelerating velocity. Since we only have one planet, there is clearly a fundamental contradiction between our economic system and the environment upon which it, and all of humanity, ultimately depends. But since capitalism grows in a spatially uneven manner, some people can live obscenely affluent, insulated lives while other people face stark ecological catastrophe. But at some point, capitalism will take the entire planet past a point of ecological destruction from which there will be no return, at least on any time scale that is meaningful for human beings.

    • Americans Are Gorging on Meat in Amounts Not Seen in Decades

      Healthy eating and animal welfare campaigns haven’t been able to sway the carnivorous masses.

  • Security

    • Security and reproducible-build progress in Guix 0.11

      The GNU Guix package-manager project recently released version 0.11, bringing with it support for several hundred new packages, a range of new tools, and some significant progress toward making an entire operating system (OS) installable using reproducible builds.

      Guix is a “functional” package manager, built on many of the same ideas found in the Nix package manager. As the Nix site explains it, the functional paradigm means that packages are treated like values in a functional programming language—Haskell in Nix’s case, Scheme in Guix’s. The functions that build and install packages do so without side effects, so the system can easily offer nice features like atomic transactions, rollbacks, and the ability for individual users to build and install separate copies of a package without fear that they will interfere. Part of making such a system reliable is to ensure that builds are “reproducible”—meaning that two corresponding copies of a binary built on different systems at different times will be bit-for-bit identical.

    • VeraCrypt Audit Under Way; Email Mystery Cleared Up

      To say the VeraCrypt audit, which begins today, got off to an inauspicious start would be an understatement.

      On Sunday, two weeks after the announcement that the open source file and disk encryption software would be formally scrutinized for security vulnerabilities, executives at one of the firms funding the audit posted a notice that four emails between the parties involved had been intercepted.

    • Cryptocurrency Mining Virus Targets Linux Machines
    • Why The Windows Secure Boot Hack Is a Good Thing

      Most coverage of the subject has been written in that panicky, alarmist prose that makes for exciting news, but the problem is that the invalidation of Secure Boot is a very positive development for everyone concerned, except for Microsoft. Yes, it shows why backdoors for “the good guys” are a terrible idea — yes, it even has far-reaching implications for every piece of computing technology using the UEFI standard. However, I maintain that it will have a positive influence on the direction of security and tech standards moving forward.

    • Islamists Target Kali Linux: An Operating System Designed to Thwart Attacks

      The Kali Linux operating system may help tackle cyberterrorism, which has attracted Daesh, digital strategy consultant Lars Hilse told Sputnik.

    • Nasty Rex Linux Trojan Packs DDoS Attacks, Ransomware, And Bitcoin Miner
    • New Trojan Turns Linux Devices into Botnet
    • The cost of mentoring, or why we need heroes

      We may never have security heroes like we did. It’s become a proper industry. I don’t think many mature industries have new and exciting heroes. We know who Chuck Yeager is, I bet nobody could name 5 test pilots anymore. That’s OK though. You know what happens when there is a solid body of knowledge that needs to be moved from the old to the young? You go to a university. That’s right, our future rests with the universities.

    • Bounty hunters are legally hacking Apple and the Pentagon – for big money

      Now 21, it is his full time job. This month so far he has earned $21,150, in installments: he counted them out over the phone – “400, plus 400, plus 300, plus 100, plus 1,000, plus 3,000, plus 4,000…”

      Wakelam’s month-to-month profit varies considerably, but in an average year, he said, he can comfortably clear $250,000, working from his home in Melbourne or on his Macbook in coffee shops or nearby bars.

    • Inventor of The Internet’s Most Terrifying Search Engine Shows Us How To Use It

      It’s called Shodan and it’s a great tool to find insecure devices, so that people can fix them and make the internet safer. Shodan crawls the internet and collects all kind of stuff connected to the internet, from mundane smart fridges to industrial control systems. It’s a powerful tool, and you don’t really appreciate it until you use it yourself, or, better yet, until its inventor shows you what it can do.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Could a Russian-Led Coalition Defeat Hillary’s War Plans?

      The representation of Russia as an “existential threat” to the U.S. is preposterous fantasy. Just like the depiction of Iran as a nuclear threat is preposterous, and the notion that Bashar al-Assad’s secular government in Syria is the cause for the emergence of ISIL is sheer delusion.

      Russia with 12% the U.S. military budget has military bases in precisely 8 foreign countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan (all nations bordering Russia, and former soviet socialist republics) plus Syria and Vietnam. Its only foreign naval facilities are in the latter two countries. The Sevastopol base in Crimea used to be on Ukrainian territory, but Russia has of course annexed the Crimean Peninisula to ensure continued control of the headquarters of its Black Sea fleet.

      The U.S. in contrast has over 650 military bases abroad, and five naval bases on the Mediterranean coast alone, in Spain, Italy and Greece. There are 10,000 sailors stationed at NSA Naples. In that same region the Russians have only their resupply station in Tartus, Syria operative by treaty since 1971, typically with a tiny garrison.

      The Russian air force base in Latakia, Syria is a modest operation, incapable of supporting those Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers used to bomb ISIL and al-Nusra targets a few days ago in Aleppo and elsewhere. Those took off instead from Sahid Nojeh air base near Hamadan, Iran, causing some Pentagon concern and (false) accusations that the mission somehow violated a UNSC resolution about arming Iran. Moscow is boasting of mission success. (Morning Joe’s upset about that true.)

      Russian forces have already done more damage to ISIL, dismissed in January 2014 by President Obama as a minor problem, than the U.S. The U.S. started its bombing of ISIL months before the Russians but Russian strikes have turned the tide of battle in Syria.

    • Trump Hypes a New ‘War on Terror’

      Donald Trump has urged a new “war on terror” that brings back torture and seeks revenge on terrorists’ families, but another problem with the Republican nominee’s approach is his exaggeration of the danger, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • US Hawks Advance a War Agenda in Syria

      The U.S. government, having illegally sent American troops into Syria, is now threatening to attack the Syrian military if it endangers those troops, an Orwellian twist that marks a dangerous escalation, explains Daniel Lazare.

    • Can Russia Survive Washington’s Challenge?

      News services abroad ask me if President Erdogan of Turkey will, as a result of the coup attempt, realign Turkey with Russia. At this time, there is not enough information for me to answer. Speculation in advance of information is not my forte.

      Moreover, I do not know if it is true that Moscow warned the President of Turkey of the coup, and I do not know if Washington was behind the coup. Therefore, I do not know how to weigh the scales. As I see it, whether Turkey stays with Washington or realigns with Moscow depends first of all on whether or not Moscow warned Turkey and whether or not Washington was behind the coup. If this is what Erdogan believes, whether true or false, Erdogan is likely to align with Russia. However, other factors will also influence Erdogan’s decision. For example, Erdogan’s belief about how resolute Putin is to standing up to Washington.

    • Syria’s Horrors Visit Turkey Again as Bomber Attacks Kurdish Wedding

      The wedding on Saturday night was winding down, and some guests had already left. But the music was still playing and people were still dancing in the narrow streets of Gaziantep, a city not far from the Syrian border.

      Just then a child — no more than 14 years old, Turkey’s president said later — meandered into the gathering and detonated a vest of explosives.

      Suddenly, the most joyous of occasions became a scene of blood and gore, with body parts scattered all around. Once again, the horrors of Syria’s civil war had visited Turkey.

    • More Than 50 Dead in Turkey After Suicide Blast at Kurdish Wedding

      At least 51 people were killed and dozens more injured when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a Kurdish wedding celebration in southeastern Turkey late Saturday night.

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that the Islamic State (ISIS) was behind the attack, and that the suicide bomber was a child between 12 and 14 years old. No entity has claimed official responsibility.

    • Russia Teams Up With Iran to Continue to Bomb Syria

      And that brings us to this week, where Assad is still around, ISIS is still around, Iraq is still a sectarian mess, Iran more or less controls the Iraqi government and the powerful Shiite militias except for the ones who might just rebel and/or slaughter Sunnis to complete a slow-burn civil war, Turkey a newly-collapsing crappy Mideast-ish stinkhole run by a new dictator and Russia and Iran, always a bit wary of one another, are cooperating militarily to attack ISIS (U.S. thumbs up!) in support of Assad (U.S. thumbs down!)

      And that’s all before we get to the Kurds, who are well on their way to creating a confederacy of Kurdistan carved out of parts of Iraq, Syria and Turkey. That will be the impetus behind the next war inside the Middle East, with most of the same players now in Syria joining in. Figure maybe a year from now or so.

    • Merkel: Migrants did not bring Radical Terrorism to Germany

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a campaign event on Wednesday evening, that there is no relationship between the influx of some one million migrants and refugees into Germany in the past year and the incidents of radical Muslim violence in the country.

      She pointed out that Muslim radicalism as a phenomenon pre-existed the rise of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) and that even Daesh was there before the refugee crisis. She said that German authorities have been worried about Daesh for some years.

      To some extent she blamed social media rather the the influx of refugees.

    • Saudis bomb Sanaa during “Million-Person march”

      The Houthi Ansarullah Movement that controls most of north and west Yemen staged what was by all accounts an enormous demonstration in the capital of Sanaa on Saturday. It may have been the single largest demonstration in the country’s history. While it was unlikely actually to have involved a million people, it did probably tens of thousands, and it showed how strong grassroots support for the Houthis is in the north.

      The massive demonstration in Sab`in Park in downtown Sanaa was intended to send a signal to Saudi Arabia and its coalition that the Houthis are enormously popular in the north and that the General People’s Congress, the parliament of Yemen in its present form, shares in that popularity.

      If so, Saudi Arabia did not get that message. Its fighter-bombers targeted downtown Sanaa in the midst of the demonstration, which arguably was a war crime (you aren’t allowed to endanger large numbers of civilians in war if you don’t have to). The Saudis are at war with rebel supporters of the Houthis, whom Saudi Arabian inaccurately depicts as a cat’s paw of Iran.

    • Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution

      One of the biggest threats to food security the world currently faces is neoliberalism. It’s logic, which has become status quo over the past 70 years and valorizes global ‘free market’ capitalism, is made manifest through economic policies that facilitate privatization, deregulation, and cuts to social spending, as well as a discourse that promotes competition, individualism, and self-commodification. Despite rarely being criticized, or even mentioned, by state officials and mainstream media, neoliberal programs and practices continue to give rise to unprecedented levels of poverty, hunger, and suffering. The consequences of neoliberalism are so acutely visceral that the Zapatistas called the 21st century’s most highly lauded free-trade policy, NAFTA, a ‘death certificate’ for Indigenous people.1 This is because economic liberalization meant that imported commodities (e.g., subsidized corn from the U.S.) would flood Mexican markets, devalue the products of peasant farmers, and lead to widespread food insecurity. As a response, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), primarily Indigenous peasants themselves, led an armed insurrection in Chiapas, Mexico on January 1, 1994—the day NAFTA went into effect.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • QC who worked on Julian Assange case jumped in front of West Hampstead train after being allowed out of private hospital

      CCTV footage of the death was not played to the court because coroner Mary Hassell said she thought it would be “too distressing” but that she had watched it, and was satisfied that “nobody else was involved”.

      Recording a narrative verdict, Ms Hassell said she could not be certain that Mr Jones intended to kill himself because the balance of his mind was affected.

      Ms Hassell said: “John Jones died instantaneously when he jumped in front of a moving train.

      “However, the state of his mental health at the time meant that he lacked the necessary intent to categorise this as suicide.”

      Mr Jones’ wife, lawyer Misa Zgonec-Rozej, told the inquest: “I feel horrified that he was allowed out so early in the morning, in such a fragile state and without having slept properly for days.

      “I genuinely believe that John did not want to die, and that he didn’t know what he was doing (when he jumped).”

    • DCCC Docs on Pennsylvania

      So, here are DCCC docs on Pennsylvania’s congressional districts. You may find a thing or two about the Democratic primaries in the state there.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • In Arctic, Ancient Diseases Reanimate and Highways Melt as Temperatures Hit “Frenzy” of Records

      By the time I’d reached the end of my 10 years of reportage on the impacts of the US occupation of Iraq in 2013, it was impossible for me to find an Iraqi who did not have a family member, relative or friend who had been killed either by US troops, an act of non-state sponsored terrorism or random violence spun off one of the aforementioned.

      Now, having spent the entire summer in Alaska, I’ve yet to have a conversation with national park rangers, glaciologists or simply avid outdoors-people that has not included a story of disbelief, amazement and often shock over the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) across their beloved state.

      Whether it is rivers causing massive erosion after being turbo-charged by rapidly melting glaciers, dramatically warmer temperatures throughout the year, or the increasingly rapid melting and retreat of the glaciers themselves, everyone who is out there, seeing the impacts firsthand, has a grave experience to share.

      As just one small example, less than an hour’s drive from Anchorage, I visited an area where I’d climbed in the past. An old climbing partner had suggested I visit Byron Peak, which is situated not far from both Turnagain Arm and Prince William Sound, to witness how much Byron Glacier had retreated since I’d last been there.

    • The West’s ‘new normal’: Another long season of volatile wildfires

      The morning of July 23, the city of Los Angeles was covered in a dusting of ash. An apocalyptic haze muted the sun, and the sky was an eerie, unnatural pink. Just a day before, a wildfire had broken out on private land 30 miles northwest, near Santa Clarita. Within 24 hours, the Sand Fire scorched 20,000 acres, and in a week, it burned another 21,000 acres. At least 10,000 people had to evacuate before it was contained by early August.

      The most volatile fire activity in the West this year has occurred in Central and Southern California – from Big Sur to Carmel-by-the-Sea to San Bernardino – causing the closure of the Pacific Coast Highway, the destruction of hundreds of homes, and the death of at least six people. According to experts, these blazes – along with the 85 large fires currently burning across the country, many in the West – offer a glimpse into the West’s “new normal” wildfire season that has been intensified by climate change in recent years. Warmer temperatures, less snowfall and increased drought mean that fire season begins earlier in April and lasts longer, until November or December.

      Last winter, California breathed a sigh of relief during El Niño, expecting it to drench the parched landscape after four years of drought. Northern California got more rain and remains relatively wet, but El Niño didn’t deliver enough to prevent fires in the southern part of the state. “It’s the legacy effect of the long-term drought: these large, volatile, fast-moving wildfires in California,” says Crystal Kolden, fire science professor at the University of Idaho. By the first week of June, firefighters in the state had already tackled over 1,500 fires that burned almost 28,000 acres – twice as many acres burned as in the first half of 2015.

    • [Older] Tunisia: on the frontlines of the struggle against climate change

      Kerkennah islanders are faced with a double threat to their existence: rising sea water levels and the extractive operations of fossil fuel companies.

      [...]

      I visited Kerkennah in March 2016, after hearing there was simmering discontent about Petrofac’s refusal to honor its engagements in helping finance an employment fund. On the ferry to the island, I noticed a delegation headed by the Tunisia Minister of Environment accompanied by a TV crew was also on the same boat. I found myself asking: “Was the purpose of the delegation’s visit the same as mine? Were they also there to investigate the now two-month-long labor mobilization around Petrofac?”

    • The Earth Has Endured 14 Straight Months of Record-Breaking Heat

      The lower part of South America, the Beijing region, and a little patch of far-east Russia: These were the landmasses that experienced abnormally cool temperatures in June.

      The vast majority of the Earth’s surface, however, was either warmer than usual or scalding with record-breaking heat, according to NOAA’s latest global analysis. At 1.6 degrees above the 20th-century average of roughly 60 degrees, it was the warmest June in modern history and the 14th consecutive month of unprecedented hotness. That’s the longest streak of record-busting temperatures in observations dating back to 1880.

  • Finance

    • The politics of ethnic diversity: Scotland, Brexit and inequality

      This week the Equality and Human Rights Commission published a study demonstrating that people born into an ethnic minority household in Scotland are twice as likely to face poverty.

    • Do Unions Belong in the Fight Against Corporate School Reform? [Ed: Gates meddling]

      In the fight for public education, the forces of standardization and privatization are running scared.

      They’ve faced more pushback in the last few years – especially in the last few months – than in a decade.

      The Opt Out movement increases exponentially every year. Teach for America is having trouble getting recruits. Pearson’s stock is plummeting. The NAACP and Black Lives Matter have both come out strongly against increasing charter schools.

      [...]

      The fight for public schools isn’t between grassroots communities and well-funded AstroTurf organizations, they say. Despite the evidence of your eyes, the fight isn’t between charter school sycophants and standardized test companies, on the one hand, and parents, students and teachers on the other.

    • How US Farm Subsidies Make Taxpayers Pay Twice (And How We Could Change That)

      Usually, when you buy something, you pay for it just once. But if you’re a US taxpayer, you’re paying twice for the food system you’re “buying” with your hard-earned tax dollars. An example: today’s massive federal farm subsidies encourage farming practices that lead to toxic algae blooms, drinking water pollution, and other costly problems we have to pay for again downstream. By contrast, modest investment in just one proven alternative farming system would achieve annual savings—in the form of water pollution averted—of $850 million.

    • Anti-Austerity Leftist Announces Challenge to French President Hollande

      Seeking to replace France’s increasingly unpopular President François Hollande, former industry minister and “left-wing firebrand” Arnaud Montebourg announced his candidacy for president on Sunday.

      The French election will take place in May 2017. Hollande, whom Jacobin notes has “force[d] his way though political institutions and democracy in order to implement his unpopular policies,” has not yet said whether he will run for re-election. In 2016, he faced a popular uprising under the banner “Nuit Debout,” a pro-democracy movement that grew out of protests against his anti-labor and authoritarian security policies.

      On Sunday, Montebourg urged Hollande not to run, calling his record “indefensible” and charging him with betraying the “ideals of the left.”

      According to Reuters, the candidate “said his project would include measures to end austerity while raising expenditure, reverse tax increases of the last five years, fight globalization and restructure the European Union which had ‘practically become a failed company’.”

    • Rio’s Olympic ruins

      The opening of Rio’s Olympic Village, on July 24, just two weeks before the beginning of the 2016 Summer Games sparked considerable criticism of the state of athletes’ accommodations. Reports of missing lights on staircases, gas leaks, dirty rooms and hallways, and unfinished facilities abounded in all four corners of the gated condominium comprised of thirty-one 17-story towers.

      Citing blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring, the Australian delegation initially refused to move in to the Village, and checked into a hotel for two nights. The infrastructural crisis almost gave way to a diplomatic one, when Rio’s major Eduardo Paes commented he would get a kangaroo to jump around in the grounds of the Athletes’ Village if it would make Australians feel more at home. Australia’s response: “we do not need kangaroos, we need plumbers”.

    • Clinton and Trump Are Rich and Pals of the Rich—and That Could Be a Huge Problem for the Nation

      Unless you’ve somehow succeeded in living off the grid for the past year and a half, you’ve no doubt heard about the massive economic conflicts of interest Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would bring to the White House if either is elected president.

      As described in various articles and op-eds, Trump’s conflicts stem from his far-flung worldwide enterprises, while Clinton’s emanate from the global reach of her family foundation and her long-standing ties to Wall Street banks. Given their assets and business relations, questions of favoritism, self-dealing and compromised judgment would haunt either candidate’s tenure in office.

      But as so often happens with American news coverage, even at its best, either too much emphasis has been placed on personality, or too many details have been offered without placing the Trump and Clinton campaigns in a wider historical and political context. Indeed, the biggest conflict of interest of all has gone practically unmentioned in mainstream coverage—namely, that Trump and Clinton don’t just have personal conflicts of interest that would affect their ability to govern, but they represent different dimensions of a larger corporate oligarchy that dominates American democracy.

      When most reporters write about Trump’s and Clinton’s conflicts, they usually have in mind a more narrow concept imported from the United States criminal code, as set forth in Title 18, Section 208. That statute, as the Congressional Research Service has explained, embodies the “axiom ‘that a public servant owes undivided loyalty to the Government,’ and that decisions, advice, and recommendations made by or given to the government by its officers be made in the public interest and not be tainted, even unintentionally, with influence from personal financial interests.”

      Willful violations of Section 208 are felonies subject to as much as five years in prison. To guard against running afoul of the law, executive branch officers are instructed to follow the principles of “disqualification, disclosure, and divestiture.” Thus, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration is precluded from owning stocks or bonds in an aeronautical company, and no member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors can own stock in a bank.

      Some of the better reporters, such as Bloomberg’s Timothy O’Brien, have been quick to point out, however, that while Section 208 applies to other executive branch employees, officials and Cabinet officers, it does not cover the president and vice president. Congress, in drafting the legislation in 1962, exempted those offices because the powers of the chief executive were considered so vast that any decision he or she made could be open to attack on conflict grounds.

    • Sweden Warns U.K. Against Aggressive Tax Cuts Amid Brexit Talks

      The U.K. should avoid any drastic steps to cut corporate taxes, or similar measures, as it prepares to start talks on leaving the European Union, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven said.

      The premier of the largest Nordic economy also said the U.K.’s exit from the 28-nation bloc “shouldn’t take longer than necessary.”

      “But if the U.K. wants some time to think about the situation, this will also give EU countries some time,” Loefven told Bloomberg after giving a speech in Stockholm on Sunday. “On the other hand, you hear about plans in the U.K. to, for example, lower corporate taxes considerably. If they, during this time, begin that kind of race, that will of course make discussions more difficult.”

      U.K. policy makers are now dealing with the fallout of the June vote backing a Brexit and are looking at the first part of next year to start formal talks. Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed starting Britain’s exit as she puts together a team and prepares for what will inevitably be tough negotiations.

    • China Is Grappling With Hidden Unemployment

      Cracks are starting to show in China’s labor market as struggling industrial firms leave millions of workers in flux.

      While official jobless numbers haven’t budged, the underemployment rate has jumped to more than 5 percent from near zero in 2010, according to Bai Peiwei, an economics professor at Xiamen University. Bai estimates the rate may be 10 percent in industries with excess capacity, such as unprofitable steel mills and coal mines that have slashed pay, reduced shifts and required unpaid leave.

      Many state-owned firms battling overcapacity favor putting workers in a holding pattern to avoid mass layoffs that risk fueling social unrest. While that helps airbrush the appearance of duress, it also slows the shift of workers to services jobs, where labor demand remains more solid in China’s shifting economy.

    • Japanese hedge fund robot outsmarts human master, passes Brexit test

      Yoshinori Nomura felt like weeping. It was the morning of June 24, Brexit day, and markets were moving against him.

      Well, not against him, exactly. It was the hedge fund manager’s self-learning computer program that had placed the bet, selling Japanese stock-index futures before a sizable market advance. Nomura had anticipated a rally, but decided not to interfere, and his fund was paying the price.

      Then, in an instant, everything changed. When new vote counts signalled Britain was going to leave the European Union, a burst of selling sent Japanese shares to their biggest drop in five years. By luck or design, Mr. Nomura’s Simplex Equity Futures Strategy Fund ended the day with a 3.4-per-cent gain, one of its best results in three months of trading.

      “The machine was right after all,” said Mr. Nomura, who spent more than three years refining his trading program and now oversees about ¥3.5-billion ($44-million) in the fund, one of the first in Japan to utilize artificial intelligence technology.

      Mr. Nomura doesn’t have the assets or name recognition of computer-savvy giants such as Renaissance Technologies or Two Sigma Investments. But in his own way, the Tokyo-based physics buff has become a compelling test case for what some say is the future of money management. If Mr. Nomura can succeed in Japan – where central bank stimulus has upended markets, hedge funds are trailing global peers and institutional investors are notoriously risk averse – it would offer hope for fledgling AI traders around the world.

    • Massachusetts to tax ride-hailing apps, give the money to taxis

      Massachusetts is preparing to levy a 5-cent fee per trip on ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft and spend the money on the traditional taxi industry, a subsidy that appears to be the first of its kind in the United States.

      Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the nickel fee into law this month as part of a sweeping package of regulations for the industry.

      Ride services are not enthusiastic about the fee.

      “I don’t think we should be in the business of subsidizing potential competitors,” said Kirill Evdakov, the chief executive of Fasten, a ride service that launched in Boston last year and also operates in Austin, Texas.

      Some taxi owners wanted the law to go further, perhaps banning the start-up competitors unless they meet the requirements taxis do, such as regular vehicle inspection by the police.

    • The Wat on Cash

      Several months ago I stayed in an offbeat Amsterdam hotel that brewed its own beer but refused to accept cash for it. Instead, they forced me to use the Visa payment card network to get my UK bank to transfer €4 to their Dutch bank via the elaborate international correspondent banking system.

      I was there with civil liberties campaigner Ben Hayes. We were irritated by the anti-cash policy, something the hotel staff took for annoyance at the international payments charges we’d face. That wasn’t it though. Our concern was an intuitive one about a potential future world in which we’d have to report our every economic move to a bank, and the effect this could have on marginalised people.

      ‘Cashless society’ is a euphemism for the “ask-your-banks-for-permission-to-pay society”. Rather than an exchange occurring directly between the hotel and me, it takes the form of a “have your people talk to my people” affair. Various intermediaries message one another to arrange an exchange between our respective banks. That may be a convenient option, but in a cashless society it would no longer be an option at all. You’d have no choice but to conform to the intermediaries’ automated bureaucracy, giving them a lot of power, and a lot of data about the microtexture of your economic life.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Top DNC staffer resigns in wake of massive hack

      Another top official has left the Democratic National Committee in the wake of an email hack last month the revealed embarrassing messages.

      Jordan Kaplan, the party’s national finance director for more than three years, stepped down, becoming the scandal’s fifth casualty. The first to go was DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      Kaplan’s resignation email, obtained by The Associated Press, makes no mention of the leaked emails. He says he is returning to consulting and in that capacity will continue to manage party fundraisers featuring the Obamas. Kaplan is a longtime Obama supporter, having first worked for him years ago during Obama’s Illinois Senate campaign.

    • Trump, Clinton ‘Have Not Earned Our Vote,’ says Jill Stein

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said Republican Party nominee Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton “have not earned our vote” for president.

      “Politicians do not have a new form of entitlement,” Stein told ABC’s “This Week.” “They are not entitled to our vote. They have to earn our votes.”

      “People are being thrown under the bus and they’re tired of it,” Stein said. “They’re tired of a rigged economy, and they’re tired of a rigged political system.”

      A poll by ABC News/Washington Post this month found that 57 percent of voters are dissatisfied with the choice between Trump and Clinton. Stein polled at 4 percent in the same survey, well ahead of the one half of 1 percent of votes she won in the 2012 presidential election.

      But, according to a new ABC/SSRS online poll released today, 59 percent of voters worry that casting a ballot for a third-party hopeful could cause their least-preferred candidate to win the presidency. Of the 59 percent, 35 percent said they were somewhat worried, 15 percent very worried, and 9 percent extremely worried.

    • Stein & Baraka to Bernie Sanders Supporters: Vote Green & Abandon the Party of War and Wall Street

      For months, Jill Stein of the Green Party attempted to push Bernie Sanders to join the Green ticket. While he ignored the call, Stein is now reaching out to Sanders supporters for their votes in November. But is Stein afraid of tipping the election toward Donald Trump? We get response from her and running mate Ajamu Baraka.

    • Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka Urge Trump and Clinton to Back Open Debates With Greens, Libertarians

      In the spirit of democracy, we are writing to ask that you support open debates in 2016 that include all of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates who are on enough ballots to win at least 270 electoral college votes.

      There will only be four campaigns on enough state ballots to win the election: your campaigns, the Libertarians, and our Green Party campaign. All candidates should be included in the series of Presidential debates, so that voters can be informed about all of their choices. We propose four open debates, three for the Presidential candidates and one for the Vice Presidential candidates.

      The US electorate is changing rapidly and is no longer limited to Republicans and Democrats. The number of eligible voters who identify as Republican or Democratic has steadily dropped from approximately 80% in 1958 to 50% today. A majority of US voters do not identify with either of your parties.

    • Jill Stein: ‘Democracy needs a moral compass’

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      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein doesn’t want voters to think a vote for her is a vote for Donald Trump.

      “What we have seen over the years is that this politics of fear actually delivered everything that we were afraid of,” Stein said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “That’s actually what we’ve gotten because we, the people, have allowed ourselves to be silenced. Democracy needs a moral compass. It needs a vision, an affirmative vision of what we are about and an agenda that we can actually put forward.”

    • No, Jill Stein Supporters, You Are Not Crazy

      The primaries were rigged. The mainstream media is obscenely biased. The progressive vote is actively being dismissed, ignored and marginalized as the Democratic party moves further into bed with neoliberal policies of imperialism and corporatism. And there most certainly is a deliberate attempt from the Democrats to attack, undermine and obliterate the support for your candidate, who is most certainly a very sane voice in an extremely corrupt political environment.

    • The Real Way the 2016 Election Is Rigged

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

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

      It’s not going to happen. Democratic House candidates will likely get many more votes than Republican ones – as they did in 2012, when Democrats received 1.4 million more votes nationwide, but Republicans maintained a 234-201 advantage. Indeed, Trump is more likely to rebound in swing states than Democrats are to capture the 30 congressional seats they need to pry the speaker’s gavel from Paul Ryan.

    • Empty Promises About the Clinton Foundation

      The Clinton Foundation is an unprecedented abomination to American democracy. Under the pretenses of charitable work, the foundation has furthered the interests of the Clintons and their corporate and wealthy donors across the globe. It has also blurred the lines between donations and off-the-record political favors, while providing the Clintons with plausible deniability of auctioning off access to the most politically powerful couple in modern U.S. history.

      The Clinton Foundation has accepted large contributions from foreign dictatorships and corporations which have never shown any other interest in supporting the charitable causes the foundation cites as its focus. As a means to obscure its list of donors, the foundation has created branches of initiatives, such as the Clinton Global Initiative, and a Canadian affiliate, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. These subsidiaries failed to disclose over 1,000 foreign donations, violating Hillary Clinton’s promise to the White House Administration to annually disclose contributors to the Clinton Foundation. Despite this promise, Hillary Clinton appointed a Clinton Foundation donor to an intelligence board upon his request when he had no qualifications for the position. She abided instructions from one of her prominent donors, billionaire George Soros, to intervene in Albanian politics.

    • Quora Question: Has Trump Lost the Ability to Capitalize on Outrage?
    • Quora Question: Does the NSA Have All of Clinton’s Deleted Emails?

      For the NSA to be in possession of Hillary Clinton’s deleted e-mails, the NSA would not only have to violate intelligence community protocols regarding surveillance on US citizens (which, without a FISA warrant, is expressly forbidden) but they would have to have been spying and collecting intelligence on the civilian government charged with overseeing them.

    • Trump’s Empire: A Maze of Debts and Opaque Ties

      On the campaign trail, Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has sold himself as a businessman who has made billions of dollars and is beholden to no one.

      But an investigation by The New York Times into the financial maze of Mr. Trump’s real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt — twice the amount than can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House. The Times’s inquiry also found that Mr. Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign.

    • Huma Abedin worked at a radical Muslim journal for a dozen years

      Hillary Clinton’s top campaign aide, and the woman who might be the future White House chief of staff to the first female US president, for a decade edited a radical Muslim publication that opposed women’s rights and blamed the US for 9/11.

      One of Clinton’s biggest accomplishments listed on her campaign Web site is her support for the UN women’s conference in Bejing in 1995, when she famously declared, “Women’s rights are human rights.” Her speech has emerged as a focal point of her campaign, featured prominently in last month’s Morgan Freeman-narrated convention video introducing her as the Democratic nominee.

      However, soon after that “historic and transformational” 1995 event, as Clinton recently described it, her top aide Huma Abedin published articles in a Saudi journal taking Clinton’s feminist platform apart, piece by piece. At the time, Abedin was assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs working under her mother, who remains editor-in-chief. She was also working in the White House as an intern for then-First Lady Clinton.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Federalism and the European left

      An important question arises: what conditions would enable progressive policy to come about again in Europe? I want to suggest that these conditions are not primarily political but institutional. The left may have lost most of its former capacity to organize the working class. It may have surrendered some of its core values to third-way or related projects. But what if these are the consequences of a far more fundamental difficulty? What if progressive policies – broadly understood as a counterweight to capitalism ­– are unlikely to emerge in any of the institutional structures now operative in Europe, that is, nation states and the EU in its present form?

    • Turkey warns travelers at airport of high ‘rape rate’ in Sweden amid underage sex scandal

      Turkey has posted its own “travel warning” amid an ongoing international scandal linked to Turkey’s underage sex law, placing ads at Istanbul Airport alleging that “Sweden has the highest rape rate worldwide.”

      The “warning” apparently appeared at the international Ataturk airport, in the form of a banner, by the Turkish Gunes newspaper, The Local reported on Friday.

    • Ryan Lochte, Donald Trump and the Steep Decline of American Democracy

      Trump and Lochte are amazingly American, no doubt. Taken together, they effectively provide the answer to Brooks’ incoherent question. The disgraced American swimmer and the disgraced American candidate found themselves in similar predicaments this week. It’s a marriage made in hell, or at least in purgatory: These two clowns epitomize the disordered state of the American psyche, circa 2016, almost too perfectly.

      Lochte and Trump are a pair of arrogant, ignorant jerks who believe that neither conduct nor character actually matters, and who feel entitled to rescue themselves from any sticky situation through the strategic application of lies and money. They’re the white men who give white men a bad name (which is, of course, deeply unfair). They’d almost be comical, if one of them weren’t endangering the future of the republic and if they weren’t working so hard to reinforce the entire world’s negative stereotypes about Americans. (Which are, of course, deeply unfair … no, I’m sorry, I can’t say it with a straight face.)

    • Blame It On The Bossa Nova: Lochte and Brazilian Police

      The travails of the Ryan Lochte gang of American Swimmers has been playing out for a full week now. The result has been almost universal scorn, if not hatred, for Lochte et. al, and almost complete credulous acceptance of the somewhat dubious, if extremely strident, pushback and claims of the Brazilian Police.

      Frankly, neither side’s story ever sat quite right with me. But Lochte’s story, among other exaggeration/fabrication, always, from the start, indicated that the swimmers were pulled from a taxi at gun point, by people in uniform with badges, who pointed guns at them, and took money from them.

      And then came the dog and pony show press conference staged by the Brazilian Police for a worldwide audience during mid-day on Thursday August 18. It was a bizarre and rambling presser, that was nearly comical in its staging during its opening portion. It did, however, make clear that there was a lot more to the full story than Lochte had told, and that some of his story was flat wrong. But, if you listened carefully, as I am wont to do with cops making self serving statements, it, along with previous statements made by the police, also pretty much confirmed the swimmers were pulled from a taxi at gun point, by people in uniform with badges, who pointed guns at them, and took money from them.

    • Why I Still Have Hope In The American Dream That Failed Me

      I am in a federal prison in Colorado. While here, I have read Ta-Nahesi Coates’ award-winning book Between the World and Me. Though my background is different from Coates’ (I did not grow up in the mean streets of a large city), I enjoyed reading Between the World and Me because I identify with so much of it. It is also those commonalities which make it rather difficult for me to read. Between the World and Me serves as a reminder and a warning. But most importantly Coates’ book forces us to think about the American Dream, and what hope we have in it. Coates’ book struck a chord with me particularly with his emphasis on the black body. “In America,” he tells his son, “It is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage.”

      I have long known that physical violence to the black body is an ever present specter. My indoctrination came over 35 years ago, when one of my brothers was in a drug-induced stupor in the street in front of my childhood home in small-town Missouri. The police had been called and they showed up in force. My mother was in a fretful state, pleading for my brother to return to safety inside the house. Someone attempted to calm her down by saying that everything was going to be all right, that the police would help. Her answer was so emphatic. “No! They’ll kill him!” My brother was not hurt, but I cried that night. I don’t know if the tears were from the emotions of the night or from the lesson I learned that my body and my brother’s body, our bodies, were subject to “official” physical violence.

      I would soon learn that official violence against black bodies comes in many guises. Even if not overtly physical, it is without question destructive. In my case, discrimination, arrest and imprisonment has robbed my black body of a sense and identity by disparate treatment, silencing, erasure, and exclusion from the American Dream.

    • When King came up against Chicago racism

      SOME FIVE months after the Watts uprising, King arrived in Chicago in January 1966 and announced “the first significant Northern freedom movement ever attempted by major civil rights forces.” King declared the focus of the movement would be the “unconditional surrender of forces dedicated to the creation and maintenance of slums.”

      King came to Chicago by the invitation of activists who formed the core of the Chicago Freedom Movement (CFM). They had been the key organizers of boycotts and campaigns in 1963 for the struggle against public school apartheid in the city.

      Chicago activists debated whether to focus on job discrimination or racism in public schools. Eventually, King, organizers from SCLC and local activists agreed on a target: slum conditions in housing on the West Side of Chicago. They concluded that the problems in housing were closely tied to problems of access to jobs and good schools. To dramatize the point, King moved into a shabby apartment on the city’s segregated West Side as the campaign began to set up.

      The campaign was to lead to the creation of “Unions to End Slums” across the city. This was part of a collaborative effort between the AFL-CIO and SCLC to use the “union model” to organize tenants and expose conditions of poverty in cities across the country.

      For their part, union leaders were attempting to regain favor among a growing layer of African American workers who were bitter about racism in the labor movement. Black workers often held the most physically difficult and worst-paid jobs in union shops–and growing numbers of them were critical of union officials. The civil rights agenda of unions like the United Auto Workers were intended to offset criticism of the internal politics of the organizations.

    • Argentina’s Mapuche Community Stands Up to Benetton in Struggle for Ancestral Lands

      The Mapuche have begun to reshape history by moving back onto the Patagonian land in the Chubut Province of Argentina that has been part of their ancestral history for more than 1,400 years. The transnational fashion company Benetton claims ownership to the land and force has repeatedly been used against Mapuche people who have sought to move back onto it.

    • Chris Hedges Interviews CounterPuncher Rob Urie
    • Team Refugee and the Normalization of Mass Displacement

      It was after midnight when the small refugee Olympic team strode into the stadium in Rio, the very last before host country Brazil’s huge contingent danced in to the samba-driven opening ceremonies. Ten amazing athletes, originally from four separate countries but sharing their status as unable to return home, marching under the Olympic flag.

    • The last Russian prisoner at Guantánamo Bay does not want to go home

      Fourteen years after arriving at Guantánamo, Ravil Mingazov is now due to be released. But returning to Russia could bring harassment, torture and the threat of further imprisonment.

    • Worthy and Unworthy Victims of Child Abuse

      In recent weeks surveillance footage has broken in the Australian media of institutional abuse at the Don Dale juvenile detention facility just outside of Darwin. Needless to say this has been deeply shocking the Australian public — the graphic footage of teenagers being savagely beaten and forcibly restrained in chairs with bags over their heads all too reminiscent of the human rights abuses in Abu Ghraib. The effect of these images has not been much diminished by the fact that it took the story years to break in the face of protracted institutional resistance and willingness to turn a blind eye to what were clearly the same kinds of abuse.

    • Nearly Half Of All Women In The Australian Federal Police Have Reported Sexual Harassment

      A new report investigating the culture of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has found that 46 percent of women and 20 percent of men reported being sexually harassed in their workplace over the past five years. Two-thirds of men and women also reported being bullied in the workplace. The AFP’s commissioner has apologised to employees who have been victims of sexual harassment and bullying, but the report has called for further “immediate action”.

    • A man who was almost killed by Anders Breivik explains how he keeps re-living it to prevent others from becoming radicalised

      As Anders Breivik conducted his act of terror on the usually-picturesque Norwegian island of Utøya, methodically slaughtering 69 people and injuring dozens more at the hands of his shotgun, 20-year-old Bjørn Ihler lay low on the far southern tip of the island and somehow struck up a conversation about Christmas.

      On the morning of July 22, 2011, Ihler had slept in. He only arrived to the island the night before and stayed up all night catching up with old friends.

      The island played host to Norwegian Labour Party-affiliated Worker’s Youth League summer camp and Ihler had travelled over from England, where he was studying theatre at Liverpool University, to “learn something about how politics was going in Norway,” he told Business Insider.

    • Philippines Drug-War Deaths Double as President Duterte Lashes Out at U.N.

      The number of drug-related killings since President Rodrigo Duterte took power and declared war on drugs in May has jumped to about 1,800, police said Monday, a day after the new leader lashed out over United Nations criticism of the deaths.

      Duterte said in a bizarre and strongly worded late-night news conference Sunday that the Philippines might leave the U.N. and invite China and others to form a new global forum, accusing it of failing to fulfill its mandate.

      However, Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay said Monday the Philippines would remain a U.N. member and described Duterte’s comments as expressions of “profound disappointment.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

08.21.16

Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

Posted in News Roundup at 9:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open365 – Clouding with style

    Office, suite, cloud. Sounds familiar. Google Docs. Yup. Microsoft Office 365. Yup. LibreOffice. No. Wait, what? Buzzwords around modern technology concepts are all too easy to ignore, but this one actually caught my attention beyond the almost-too-cliche dotIO domain, the blue design very reminiscent of Docker (hint), and optimistic text that promises wonders.

    Anyhow, Open365 is an all-in-one productivity suite, based on KDE, Seafile, LibreOffice, Docker, and Jitsi. That’s enough buzz to keep you warm till 2020, but is it any good? Or rather, can it compete with the proven giants out there? I decided to explore and see what gives.

  • ReactOS 0.4.2 Officially Released
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • 3 Firefox Add-ons Every Ubuntu User Needs

        Firefox is the default browser in Ubuntu — but it doesn’t integrate with the Unity desktop as well as it could.

        That’s where the following Ubuntu Firefox add-ons come in. These little extras, trivial though they seem, help to bridge the (admittedly few) gaps and missing functionality between browser and OS.

      • Mozilla is changing its look—and asking the Internet for feedback

        Mozilla is trying a rebranding. Back in June, the browser developer announced that it would freshen up its logo and enlist the Internet’s help in reaching a final decision. The company hired British design company Johnson Banks to come up with seven new “concepts” to illustrate the company’s work, as shown in the gallery above.

        The logos rely on vibrant colors, and several of them recall ’80s and ’90s style. In pure, nearly-unintelligible marketing speak, Mozilla writes that each new design reflects a story about the company. “From paying homage to our paleotechnic origins to rendering us as part of an ever-expanding digital ecosystem, from highlighting our global community ethos to giving us a lift from the quotidian elevator open button, the concepts express ideas about Mozilla in clever and unexpected ways” Mozilla’s Creative Director Tim Murray writes in a blog post.

        Mozilla is soliciting comment and criticism on the seven new designs for the next two weeks, but this is no Boaty McBoatface situation. Mozilla is clear that it’s not crowdsourcing a design, asking anyone to work on spec, or holding a vote over which logo the Internet prefers. It’s just asking for comments.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Decides To Drop PulseAudio

      DragonFlyBSD developers have decided to remove PulseAudio from their dports packaging system and patch their desktop software to not depend upon this open-source sound server.

      Running PulseAudio on DragonFlyBSD appears to cause problems for users, similar to PulseAudio in its early days on Linux, “the pulseaudio server didn’t seem to work and even caused one CPU to spin at 100% usage. Moreover, it seems that firefox, even if built without pulseaudio, would detect if PA was installed and use it over ALSA resulting in no sound and a spinning CPU,” according to John Marino who removed PA from DragonFlyBSD.

    • LLVM Clang 3.9 Still On Track For Release Next Week

      LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg tagged LLVM 3.9.0-rc2 on Thursday and it’s still looking like LLVM/Clang 3.9 could ship on schedule next week.

      Hans noted in the RC2 announcement, “This is a release candidate in the very real sense that if nothing new comes up, this is be what the final release looks like. There are currently no open release blockers, and no patches in my merge-queue.”

Leftovers

  • Know English? For New York Cabdrivers, That’s No Longer Required [iophk: "This change is so wrong on many levels. There are many, many reasons to require a basic ability to communicate."]

    Hail a yellow taxi in New York City, and there is a good chance the driver is from another country. Passengers are regularly exposed to a range of languages that span the globe, from Spanish to Bengali to Urdu.

    It can be charming, but also maddening for riders who feel that drivers do not understand where they want to go. Don’t you have to speak English, some wonder, to drive a taxi here?

    As of Friday, the answer is no.

    That is when new rules went into effect eliminating the requirement that taxi drivers take an English proficiency exam. Now, the test for a taxi license is available in several languages, to accommodate non-English speakers.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Building alternatives for food systems and trade

      And it’s not over yet. As public pressure continues this year, whether through vibrant events like Rock Against the TPP ! or organized pressure on specific members of Congress, there is a concerted demand by progressive civil society organizations and leaders to halt current trade agreements and to insist on a different process, different rules, and a different vision of what comes next. We need trade policy that serves to reduce inequality, build local economies and enhance environmental sustainability.

    • CDC Expands Zika Travel Advisory in Miami

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday expanded its unprecedented travel advisory warning pregnant women to avoid several neighborhoods in Miami, Florida.

      The initial advisory, issued on August 2, was the first of its kind for a continental U.S. city.

      The expanded advisory names “a second zone of local Zika transmission, a swath of Miami Beach that includes the popular tourist magnet of South Beach,” the New York Times reports.

      The initial area touched on “the Wynwood, Midtown, and Design District neighborhoods in Miami, popular with tourists,” the Miami Herald notes.

    • Revealed: Banned drugs used by cheating athletes for sale just TWO MILES from Olympic venues in Rio

      Banned performance enhancing drugs used by athletes to cheat their way to medals and glory can be bought in Rio de Janeiro less than two miles from where Olympic events take place.

      The Rio Olympics is under the shadow of drugs because of the presence of Russia after allegations of a state sponsored cover-up of cheating athletes and the comparative ease with which performance improving substances can be obtained in the host city will cause serious concern.

      Two athletes Chinese swimmer Chen Xinyi, 18, who finished fourth in the 100m butterfly in Rio, and Bulgarian steeplechaser Silvia Danekova – have been exposed in the first week of the Games.

    • ‘BernieCare’ can save ObamaCare

      The decision by Aetna to withdraw from many ObamaCare exchanges was a predictable outrage that opens to the door not to the demise of ObamaCare, but the dramatic improvement of ObamaCare led by a grand battle by Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and progressives to enact the public option and move toward a Medicare-for-all healthcare system.

      Let’s coin the phrase “BernieCare” to describe the kind of healthcare system that progressives believe, with some reason, would be the kind of program that voters prefer. Sanders has long been a champion of single-payer healthcare — which I personally support — but for obvious political reasons in a lobbyist-dominated Washington, single payer is highly unlikely to happen soon.

    • This Town Is Sick of Drinking Polluted Water

      In Alabama’s Black Belt, a region where the vestiges of slavery still manifest in chronic poverty and crumbling infrastructure, a more recent legacy of mining and industry is haunting the land through poisoned waterways and toxic soil.

      Yet the region has long been the rural core of civil-rights struggles, and along the Black Belt, local citizens are trying to revive a legacy of activism as they struggle to restore their environment.

      In Uniontown—in Perry County, one of the state’s poorest—residents say they have been systematically denied the basic dignity of decent sanitation—what activists see as the residue of institutionalized racism.

    • Poor Sanitation Persisted at U.N. Missions Long After Haiti Cholera Crisis

      Years after medical studies linked the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti to infected United Nations peacekeepers, the organization’s auditors found that poor sanitation practices remained unaddressed not only in its Haitian mission but also in at least six others in Africa and the Middle East, a review of their findings shows.

      The findings, in audits conducted by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services in 2014 and 2015, appear to reflect the organization’s intent to avoid another public health crisis like cholera.

      But the findings also provide some insight into how peacekeepers and their supervisors may have been either unaware of or lax about the need to enforce rigorous protocols for wastewater, sewage and hazardous waste disposal at United Nations missions — despite the known risks and the lessons learned from Haiti, where at least 10,000 people have died from cholera and hundreds of thousands have been sickened.

    • As UN Admits Role in Haiti Cholera Crisis, Audits Show No Lessons Learned

      A day after the United Nations admitted that it helped spread cholera in Haiti, the organization also found that poor sanitation persisted in its missions around the world—from the Caribbean nation to Africa and the Middle East.

  • Security

    • New BlackArch Linux ISO Released with Over 1,500 Penetration Testing, Hacking Tools
    • Address Bar Spoofing Vulnerability Found in Several Browsers

      Chrome, Firefox and other web browsers are plagued by vulnerabilities that can be exploited to spoof their address bar. Some of the affected vendors are still working on addressing the issues.

      Pakistan-based researcher Rafay Baloch discovered that the address bar in Google Chrome, also known as the omnibox, can be tricked into flipping URLs.

      The problem, which affects Chrome for Android, is related to how Arabic and Hebrew text is written from right to left (RTL). If an attacker’s URL starts with an IP address and it contains an Arabic character, the URL’s host and path are reversed.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Breaking from Saudi Arabia!!! Two Month Old Misleading News

      In spite of the fact that this “exclusive” — which has since been reported by other outlets with similarly misleading headlines — describes two month old news, it nevertheless obscures that fact with its editorial choices, as here where it suggests the move “reduces,” in present tense, staff numbers, or the headline which hides that, in fact, the US already withdrew these staffers.

      [...]
      s
      I’d also suggest that reports about what non-uniformed US personnel are doing in Yemen’s immediate neighborhood would be a better gauge of the support we’re giving Saudi Arabia beyond refueling their aistrikes, the latter of which has not stopped at all.

    • Dragon Rising? China seeks Closer military Cooperation with Syria

      The Arabic press is reporting that a high Chinese official on a visit to Damascus has announced that Beijing intends to strengthen its military relationship with the current Syrian government. At the same time he affirmed that China would avoid involvement in the civil war. Reuters broke the story in the West.

      China has a long history of involvement in Syrian security affairs and is already doing some training of the Syrian military. But Beijing now seems intent on taking the relationship to the next level.

      The news comes in the wake of reports that Russia is strengthening its own military ties with Iran and may be flying missions against fundamentalist rebels in Syria from that country.

      China and Russia both belong to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which appears to see Iran and Syria as potential strategic assets in its rivalry with the US and NATO. They feel as though NATO stole Libya from them, and are determined to make a stand in Syria. The newspaper of the Chinese military said that Russia’s moves in Crimea and Syria should be studied by Chinese officers. Iran has observer status in the SCO.

    • Bolivia Builds Anti-Imperialist School to Counter US Hegemony

      ‘If the empire teaches domination of the world from its military schools, we will learn from this school to free ourselves from imperial oppression,’ says Bolivian President Evo Morales

    • Bolivia opens ‘anti-imperialist’ military school to counter US foreign policies

      Bolivia’s president Evo Morales has opened a new “anti-imperialist” military academy to counter US policies and military influence in Latin America.

      “If the empire teaches domination of the world from its military schools, we will learn from this school to free ourselves from imperial oppression,” the country’s first indigenous president said at an inauguration ceremony on Wednesday.

    • U.S. Defense Contractors Tell Investors Russian Threat Is Great for Business

      The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries.

      Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions with Russia to fuel new business in the wake of Russian’s annexation of Crimea and modest increases in its military budget.

    • A Lawless Plan to Target Syria’s Allies

      Official Washington’s disdain for international law – when its doing the lawbreaking – was underscored by ex-CIA acting director Morell voicing plans for murdering Iranians and maybe Russians in Syria, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says.

    • Marcos Redux

      We interrupt election news just long enough to bring you breaking news of Ferdinand Marcos, deceased. As corpses’ sojourns go, his has been one of the most enduring, due in large part to the devoted attention of his wife, Imelda. To long time readers of this column, apologies are in order since some of what is described today was reported ten years ago in this very space.

      Ferdinand moved to Hawaii in 1986, having been overthrown as president of the Philippines in a People Power Revolution. His move was assisted by President Ronald Reagan who arranged for the United States Air Force to provide two U.S. Air Force C-141s to carry the Marcos family, its retainers and belongings to Hawaii. Sadly, Mr. Marcos’s sojourn there was cut short by his death on September 28, 1989. His death marked the end of one adventure but the beginning of another, an adventure that will end on September 18, 2016, when he will come to rest in the Heroes Cemetery in Manila.

    • We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know

      A word about five-year-old Omran Daqneesh. The image of him sitting still, stunned, bloodied in an ambulance after being scooped out of rubble from an air strike on Aleppo has quickly spread, reads one account, “shocking and disturbing social media users.” Well yes. Shocking and disturbing. Harrowing and heartbreaking. But, to be clear, not exceptional. Up to a half million Syrians have been killed in Russian and Assad air strikes, many aimed at Aleppo. “These are children bombed every day,” notes Mustafa al-Sarout, an Aleppo-based journalist who filmed the rescue, and was surprised at the reaction. “This child is a representative of millions of children in Syria and its cities.”

      Those there or witness to it say the same things. “Everyone is bombing Syrians, and no one cares,” says Dr. Zaher Sahloul, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society. The story not being told in the media: “Civilians are suffering every day. Children are being mutilated and killed… Hospitals are targeted. Schools are targeted. Fruit markets are targeted. This is the tragedy that we are living in.” A tragedy, he adds, that most of the world turns away from, because we can. Because we can be shocked, even surprised despite the years-long carnage, and then go on with our lives, as silent as Omran in his ash and blood and shock.

    • China and the U.S. are Approaching Dangerous Seas

      A combination of recent events, underpinned by long-running historical strains reaching back more than 60 years, has turned the western Pacific into one of the most hazardous spots on the globe. The tension between China and the United States “is one of the most striking and dangerous themes in international politics,” says The Financial Times’ longtime commentator and China hand, Gideon Rachman.

      In just the past five months, warships from both countries—including Washington’s closest ally in the region, Japan—have done everything but ram one another. And, as Beijing continues to build bases on scattered islands in the South China Sea, the United States is deploying long-range nuclear capable strategic bombers in Australia and Guam.

      At times the rhetoric from both sides is chilling. When Washington sent two aircraft carrier battle groups into the area, Chinese defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun cautioned the Americans to “be careful.” While one U.S. admiral suggested drawing “the line” at the Spratly Islands close to the Philippines, an editorial in the Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times warned that U.S. actions “raised the risk of physical confrontation with China.” The newspaper went on to warn that “if the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a U.S.-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea.”

    • US Support for Saudi Coalition Remains Steadfast, Despite Growing Outcry

      The U.S. remains defiant in its support for the Saudi campaign in Yemen, even as its backing for the ongoing and indiscriminate assault comes under increasing scrutiny.

      Following a week that saw the Saudi-led coalition kill significant numbers of Yemeni civilians, including in an attack on a school and the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders facility—which led the charity to announce it was pulling its staff from the northern part of the country—Reuters reported exclusively on Friday that the Pentagon in June withdrew military personnel who were involved in planning the campaign from Saudi Arabia.

      “Fewer than five U.S. service people are now assigned full-time to the ‘Joint Combined Planning Cell,’ which was established last year to coordinate U.S. support, including air-to-air refueling of coalition jets and limited intelligence-sharing,” according to the news service, which cited Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey, a U.S. Navy spokesman in Bahrain. That’s down from a peak of 45, he said.

    • Richard Holbrooke and the Obama Doctrine

      In 1975, during Gerald Ford’s administration, Indonesia invaded East Timor and slaughtered 200,000 indigenous Timorese. The Indonesian invasion of East Timor set the stage for a long and bloody occupation that recently ended after an international peacekeeping force was introduced in 1999.

      Transcripts of meetings among Indonesian dictator Mohamed Suharto, Ford, and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger have shown conclusively that Kissinger and Ford authorized and encouraged Suharto’s murderous actions. “We will understand and will not press you on the issue [of East Timor],” said President Ford in a meeting with Suharto and Kissinger in early December 1975, days before Suharto’s bloodbath. “We understand the problem and the intentions you have,” he added.

    • Neofascism of the Law and Order Candidate

      Henry Giroux tells Paul Jay that fear is an organizing principle of U.S. society

    • Turkey and Iran Reach Agreement on Conditions for Syria Peace

      In a stunning diplomatic surprise, Turkey and Iran have announced a preliminary agreement on fundamental principles for a settlement of the Syrian conflict.

    • Hillary Clinton’s War Policy

      As a result of Trump’s stumbles, Hillary Clinton seems to be on course to become next president of the United States and it is depressing to reflect on what some of her policies might be if she achieves that office. Unfortunately, the future looks bleak for peace and stability around the world.

      She is one of the Washington-Brussels war-drum beaters who planned the 2011 aerial blitz on Libya to destroy the government of President Gaddafi, about whose murder she giggled that “We came; We saw; He died.” The US-NATO attacks on Libya caused massive suffering and destruction, opened the way for feuding bands of militants to fight each other for control of parts of the country, and created a haven for the lunatic extremists of Islamic State.

    • A Battle to the Death in Syria

      All sides are terrified of each other and with good reason: Amnesty International last week published a report describing how 17,723 people, or 300 a month, have been tortured or otherwise done to death in Syrian government prisons since 2011. Most of the 4.8 million Syrian refugees come from opposition areas, many of which have been flattened by bombs, shells and bulldozers so they look like pictures of Warsaw in 1945.

    • Photo of the Week: Omran Daqneesh, Pulled From the Rubble in Aleppo

      Who’s to blame? Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad or his Russian allies launched the bomb into rebel-held Aleppo more than five years into a war that has spanned the whole of Omran’s life. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Russian bombings recently overtook Islamic State as a cause of civilian deaths in the country.

    • Is UK foreign policy helping to fuel the conflict in Syria?

      With the Syrian war escalating, I sat down with Andy Baker, the Regional Program Manager for Oxfam’s Syria crisis response. I asked about the humanitarian situation, the UK’s role in the conflict and what policy Oxfam believes the UK should be following in Syria.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Internet energy impacts on climate

      Switch off your computer, dust off your old typewriter, sharpen all the pencils you can find, lay in stocks of postage stamps − and that’s just the start.

    • The Climate Catastrophe Cannot Be Reversed Within the Capitalist Culture

      His face was hacked off. Left prostrate in the red dust, to be preyed on by vultures, his body remained intact except for the obscene hole where his magnificent six foot long tusks used to be. Satao was a so-called tusker, an African elephant with a rare genetic strain that produced tusks so long that they dangled to the ground, making him a prime attraction in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park.

      These beautiful tusks also made him particularly valuable to ivory poachers, who felled him with poison arrows, carved off his face to get at his tusks, and left his carcass for the flies. The grisly death of Satao, one of Africa’s largest elephants, is part of a violent wave of poaching that is sweeping the continent today. In 2011, twenty-five thousand African elephants were slaughtered for their ivory. An additional forty-five thousand have been killed since that time. If the present rate of slaughter continues, one of the two species of African elephants, the forest elephant, whose numbers have declined by 60 percent since 2002, is likely to be gone from Africa within a decade.

    • Social Media Exposes Devastating Effects of Louisiana Flood (Multimedia)

      It’s been labeled “the worst U.S. disaster since Hurricane Sandy,” yet many are accusing the mainstream media of providing too little coverage of the catastrophic flooding across Louisiana.

      The flooding, which began earlier this week, has left at least 13 people dead and tens of thousands homeless. On Friday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump paid a highly publicized visit to the state, despite a plea from Louisiana’s governor for political figures to avoid photo ops in the flooded areas. “Trump told reporters he came to help out,” reports Bryn Stole of Reuters. “Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office, however, had said Trump did not call to discuss plans.”

    • Rock-solid carbon storage hopes rise

      Study of natural carbon dioxide reservoirs shows that the greenhouse gas could be safely stored deep underground for tens of thousands of years.

    • The New Normal: Organizing to Break the Cycle of Climate Disaster

      The record-breaking floods in Louisiana are the latest example of what many working people already know all too well: climate change has already begun, and it is wrecking our communities.

      So far, over 30,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, 10,000 people are in shelters, and those numbers are rising. The shelters themselves are experiencing flooding, and some families have already been relocated multiple times. At this point, almost 30 parishes have been declared major disaster areas.

    • Amid Flooding, Groups Call for End to ‘Unconscionable’ Fossil Fuel Auctions

      A coalition of climate and advocacy groups on Friday called on the Obama administration to cancel an upcoming fossil fuel auction as Louisiana reels from the unprecedented floods that have ravaged the state—and which rescue groups have described as the worst U.S. disaster since Superstorm Sandy.

      The organizations, including 350.org, CREDO, and Greenpeace, circulated a petition imploring President Barack Obama to call off the planned August 24 offshore drilling lease auction for a portion of the Gulf of Mexico “the size of Virginia.” The auction is set to take place in the New Orleans Superdome, which became an infamous symbol of climate injustice and bureaucratic callousness when Hurricane Katrina victims were forced to take shelter there in 2005.

    • Scientists link conflict and climate change

      Ethnic conflict linked to tragic episodes of civil war, waves of refugees and even the collapse of nation states could be made more likely by climate-related disasters.

      A team of European scientists say they can demonstrate, “in a scientifically sound way”, a link between civil violence based on ethnic divisions, and episodes of drought, intense heat or other climate-linked weather extremes.

      That climate change seems to be a factor in social collapse is now fairly firmly established. Researchers have identified evidence of prolonged drought that preceded the collapse of Assyrian and Bronze Age civilisations in prehistory.

    • For Future Summer Olympics, Climate Change Is No Game

      The Lancet researchers made use of the global attention being paid to the Olympics to make a bigger point: “The world beyond 2050 poses increasingly difficult challenges … because the extent and speed of change might exceed society’s ability to adapt.” Half the world’s workers work outdoors, they note, and, increasingly, the outdoors, and indoor spaces without cooling, are becoming unsafe. They warn that “exertional heat stroke and its negative outcomes, including mortality, will become a large part of outdoor work around the world.” Drawing from another sports example, thousands of workers are toiling in extreme heat in Qatar, building the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup soccer championships. The International Trade Union Confederation estimates that “more than 7,000 workers will die before a ball is kicked in the 2022 World Cup.”

    • From Epic Fires to a 1,000-Year Flood: The Climate Change of Here and Now

      From deadly floods in Louisiana to an “explosive” wildfire in California, the impacts of the climate change are being felt across the United States this week.

      Neither extreme weather event can be exclusively blamed on global warming. But record-breaking heat, warmer oceans, and drier brush—all linked to man-made climate change—are certainly contributing factors.

      “Climate change is never going to announce itself by name. But this is what we should expect it to look like,” declared Jonah Engel Bromwich at the New York Times, referring to the flooding in southern Louisiana, which has been called the worst natural disaster to strike the U.S. since Superstorm Sandy.

      In fact, current analyses suggest that—as was the case in 2012—greenhouse gas emissions and resultant climate change at the very least increased the severity of the storm that brought on the flooding.

    • As Louisiana floods rage, Republicans are blocking modest climate action

      If we needed a reminder of the importance of taking climate change seriously, the floods in Louisiana are providing a big one on a daily basis. When it comes to the big environmental issues, our country’s polarization is historically unusual, and it’s already gone way too far. That’s why the latest fight to break out in Washington over climate issues needs more attention.

      On 1 August, the White House Council on Environmental Quality issued a non-binding suggestion, formally known as “guidance”, to federal agencies to think about climate change when making decisions under a law called the National Environmental Policy Act (Nepa). What should have produced a shrug (or, hopefully, a cheer) caused a panic on the right that’s only getting louder.

      Under Nepa, federal agencies have to account for the environmental impacts of taking major actions such as approving a mine permit, constructing or removing a dam or allowing a road near a protected habitat. These decisions are made by trained scientists and public servants with years of expertise and involve an unparalleled level of public input. By and large, they are among the most rigorously footnoted and well-supported decisions the federal government makes, and Nepa is one of the best vehicles the public has to express concerns about federal impacts on homes and communities.

    • Clinton Foundation Should Also Divest Its Fossil Fuel Holdings

      350 Action, the political arm of climate organization 350.org that has supported the fossil fuel divestment movement, is celebrating today’s announcement that the Clinton Foundation will stop receiving corporate donations if Hillary Clinton is elected President, and urging the Foundation to go a step further by divesting all of its holdings in fossil fuel companies.

    • Dakota Pipeline Construction Halted Amid Ongoing ‘Defiance of Black Snake’

      Hillary Clinton called to ‘take a stand against this ominous pipeline as well as the brazen violation of our treaty rights’

    • North Dakota pipeline construction halted until court date
    • Hillary Clinton must stand with Native Americans

      Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton says she is committed to supporting Indian country. Well, now her commitment is being put to the test.

      Thousands of Native Americans and allies, including actress Shailene Woodley, have been at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline there. The almost $4 billion, 1,172-mile-long pipeline, which received its permits from the Army Corps of Engineers in July, will snake through ancient Standing Rock Sioux burial grounds and may also threaten the peoples’ drinking water.

  • Finance

    • Reality is broken

      Then the Brexit vote happened and over the next two weeks of utterly surreal political chaos it became apparent that I had a Problem.

    • Zuckerberg Sells $95 Million in Facebook Shares for Philanthropy [iophk: “for some special definitions of ‘donate’”; Zuckerberg appears to be embracing Bill Gates’ method of tax evasion, to shelter is his growing wealth.]

      Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has made his first big share sale to fund his family’s philanthropic initiative.

      The sale of more than 760,000 shares of Facebook stock, valued at about $95 million, was made by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Holdings and the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation, according to a regulatory filing Friday. The price of the shares ranged from $122.85 to $124.31.

    • How Trump and Christie Colluded to Steal $25 Million From NJ Taxpayers

      The very thought of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a man with all the charm and temperament of Bluto, being commander-in-chief was luckily destroyed. His pathetic and nonexistent presidential run proved that America preferred an even bigger, louder and more unstable narcissistic a-hole in Donald Trump. But since he can’t keep being governor of New Jersey forever, the blob of buffoonery has to kiss up to Trump in the hopes that it gets him an unelectable cabinet-level position. Well, that cynical effort appears to be playing out quite beautifully.

      The sketchy relationship between Christie and Trump took on a new chapter after a New York Times report showed that Trump’s $30 million casino tax debt, something New Jersey officials fought endlessly to collect, was suddenly reduced by a massive amount after Christie took office in 2010.

    • Detroit Ready to Sue Banks, Private Companies for Unpaid Property Taxes

      Detroit has finally set its sights on some of the real culprits of the city’s financial crisis—the banks and for-profit companies that refuse to pay their share.

      The city on Wednesday said it issued demand letters to 1,543 private entities, both residential and commercial, to recoup more than $12 million in unpaid property taxes, which piled up between 2010 and 2012 alone.

      If they don’t pony up, the city will file lawsuits against them by the end of the month, officials said.

      “For too long, there are those who chose not to pay what they owed in taxes, leaving everyone else to pay the price,” Detroit’s treasurer and deputy chief financial officer David Szymanski said Wednesday. “We are working to improve city services for our residents, and to do that—whether it’s better police and fire protection, streetlights or better schools for our children—we need everyone who does business in this city to pay their fair share.”

    • CBO Report: Rich Get Richer, Poor Get Poorer

      Total wealth in the United States doubled between 1989 and 2013, but the wealth of the American family right in the middle of the economy barely budged in that time, according to a new report prepared by the Congressional Budget Office for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

      “Over the period from 1989 through 2013, family wealth grew at significantly different rates for different segments of the U.S. population,” CBO wrote. “The distribution of wealth among the nation’s families was more unequal in 2013 than it had been in 1989.”

    • Sanders Condemns Obscene Levels of Inequality Documented in New CBO Report

      Yet another report, this one from the U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO), highlights what many American families already know: The rich keep getting richer, while everyone else keeps struggling to get by.

      The CBO report, released Thursday and prepared at the request of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), examines trends in family wealth from 1989 to 2013.

      It found, unsurprisingly, that the distribution of wealth—assets including home equity, other real estate holdings, financial securities, and defined contribution pension accounts—among the nation’s families “was more unequal in 2013 than it had been in 1989.”

    • ‘Good to Be King’: The Very Good Loans Key Lawmakers Get from Wall Street Banks

      A new study identifies “a direct channel through which financial institutions contribute to the net worth of members of the U.S. Congress”—especially those ostensibly tasked with overseeing those very Wall Street entities.

      The paper from London Business School professors Ahmed Tahoun and Florin Vasvari, which is based on a “unique dataset” provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), finds that members of Congress sitting on the finance committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives “report greater levels of leverage and new liabilities as a proportion of their total net worth, relative to when they are not part of the finance committee or relative to other congressional members.”

      The authors write that their analysis was “motivated in part by anecdotal evidence suggesting that some U.S. politicians, who are in a position to potentially affect the future performance of financial institutions that lend to them, have allegedly received preferential treatments from lenders.”

    • Whistleblower Rejects Award to Protest SEC and Wall Street’s “Looting”

      A Deutsche Bank whistleblower rejected his portion of a $16.5 million award for exposing corporate crime because the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) let bank officials off the hook, he said Thursday.

      Former risk manager Eric Ben-Artzi, who went to federal authorities in 2010 after he was fired from Deutsche Bank for alerting its officials of improper accounting, said the bank and the SEC were so deeply entwined in a revolving-door culture that commissioners refused to properly investigate the firm’s top executives.

      “This goes beyond the typical revolving door story. In this case, top SEC lawyers had held senior posts at the bank, moving in and out of top positions at the regulator even as the investigations into malfeasance at Deutsche were ongoing,” Ben-Artzi wrote in an op-ed for the Financial Times.

    • Progressives Gear Up To Kill TPP In Lame-Duck Congress

      As Hillary Clinton’s election victory appears increasingly likely, liberal groups already have their sights on the next battle: defeating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

      President Barack Obama issued an official notification last Friday that he plans to submit the Trans-Pacific Partnership for a vote in Congress.

      While congressional Republican leaders must still green-light the votes, the move has confirmed for many progressive activists that the White House plans to go all-in for the accord during the lame-duck session of Congress after the November election.

    • Trump and Clinton’s free trade retreat: a pivotal moment for the world’s economic future

      Enemies in politics and opposed on nearly all fronts, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have found themselves united together against Barack Obama and a tradition that has kept America in charge of the world economy’s rules for more than 70 years. The next president of the United States is rethinking free trade.

      In Washington, that tradition was taken for granted for so long that it rarely attracted much attention even in the business press, let alone dominated the politics pages of an entire election season. But in 2016, America’s faltering faith in free trade has become the most sensitive controversy in DC – never before have both main presidential candidates broken with the orthodoxy that globalisation is always good for Americans.

    • As Resistance Mounts, TPP Becoming 2016 Election’s Third Rail

      As the White House prepares for its final “all-out push” to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress, lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle are being made vulnerable due to growing opposition to the controversial, corporate-friendly trade deal.

      “[I]n 2016,” the Guardian reported on Saturday, “America’s faltering faith in free trade has become the most sensitive controversy in D.C.”

      Yet President Barack Obama “has refused to give up,” wrote Guardian journalists Dan Roberts and Ryan Felton, despite the fact that the 12-nation TPP “suddenly faces a wall of political opposition among lawmakers who had, not long ago, nearly set the giant deal in stone.”

    • How Parasitic Finance Capital Has Turned Iran’s Economy Into a Case of Casino Capitalism

      Critics have often blamed President Rouhani of Iran for blindly following the neoclassical-neoliberal model of capitalism. The critical problem with Mr. Rouhani’s economic policies, however, is more than just following the dominant economic model of neoliberalism; more gravely, it is following the worst aspects of that model.

      One such disturbing aspect is the unregulated and out-of-control financialization of Iran’s economy: the banking/financial sector is given a free rein to engage in all kinds of parasitic, speculative activities. As this practice has robbed the manufacturing sector of the economy of the productively-investible finance capital, it has thereby led to a severe economic stagnation and high rates of unemployment.

    • McDonalds Could Be Held Liable For Franchise Wage Theft, Federal Judge Rules

      A federal judge in California allowed class action wage theft litigation to proceed against McDonald’s, on the grounds that a jury could find it guilty of negligence.

      Judge Richard Seeborg said Tuesday that the lawsuit against the corporation may continue under the “ostensible agency theory.”

      The doctrine holds an actor responsible for the fault of another, if victims reasonably believe that the perpetrator committed wrongdoing in the employ of said actor.

      The case involves McDonald’s franchise co-owners, Bobby and Carol Haynes, who operate eight restaurants in Northern California. Leading the class are three women who work in one of their Oakland restaurants: Guadalupe Salazar, Judith Zarate, and Genoveva Lopez.

      “Looking at the record, there is considerable evidence, albeit subject to dispute, that McDonalds caused plaintiffs reasonably to believe Haynes was acting as its agent,” Seeborg ruled.

    • Economic Update: The System Exposed

      This episode of Professor Wolff’s radio show discusses the economics of the Olympics, mass transit, productivity truths and the crimes of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The show also examines political conflict between unions and the rich.

    • The Fight for a Six Hour Workday

      How long should we work? Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal of a 6-hour working day policy shows the answer to this question is not a god-given fact. In reality each society makes a deliberate decision, and the answers are subject to massive historical fluctuation and social struggle, which we continue to see today. When Francois Hollande announced this year that the 35-hour week would be increased, he was met with the #LoiTravail strikes, which were fierce enough to see the exhausted French police begging the trade unions for a ceasefire. With the biggest social-democratic party in Europe putting 6 hours forward, this is now a move which could feasibly take place. But what are the arguments for and against it? What did the working day look like in the past? And how could it look in the future?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Primary Challenger Claims She Illegally Used DNC Resources Against Him

      In an interview with Mimi Rosenberg and Ken Nash of WBAI’s “Building Bridges” radio program, Tim Canova, a law professor, a former Truthdigger of the Week and the Bernie Sanders-endorsed primary challenger of Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, explains why he filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Wasserman Schultz over information found in DNC emails made public by WikiLeaks and says Depression-era types of public investment would bring general prosperity to Americans.

      “We’ve had this complaint going on for many months,” Canova said. “The campaign had been growing pretty rapidly. In the first four months we raised about a million dollars. Very unprecedented here. And the way we’re raising money is very much the way that the Bernie Sanders campaign did, in small contributions from many thousands of ordinary folks.

      “As the campaign started growing we clearly got the attention of Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic Party establishment. We knew that from a number of things that she was doing on the ground that she was trying to impede us. Whenever I would go to a local union hall, for instance, or a local Democratic Party club to speak, quite often they would receive a call from the Wasserman Schultz camp trying to pressure them to not let me even speak. … [T]he state party had cut off our access to the [inaudible] voter database much like the DNC had done to Bernie Sanders.

    • Will Donald Trump’s Shake-Up Destroy the GOP?

      Shaken by the fact that he’s losing, Donald Trump has fled into the parallel universe of the extreme right—and apparently plans to stay there for the remainder of the campaign. Let’s see if the rest of the Republican Party is dumb enough to follow him.

      Trump has reportedly been feeling “boxed in” and “controlled” by the few people around him who actually know something about politics. Advice from these professionals to tone it down must be responsible for his slide in the polls, he seems to believe. So he has hired as chief executive of his campaign a man named Stephen Bannon, who will not only let Trump be Trump, but encourage him to be even Trumpier.

      Bannon runs Breitbart News, a website that creates its own ultranationalist far-right reality—one that often bears little resemblance to the world as it really is. As I write, the site is claiming that Hillary Clinton has some serious undisclosed health problem (her doctor says she is just fine), that one of Clinton’s aides has “very clear ties” to radical Islam (which is totally untrue) and that Clinton herself has “clear ties” to Russian President Vladimir Putin (when in fact it is Trump who often reveals his man-crush on the Russian leader).

    • Is the GOP Ready to Cut Trump off Financially?

      It’s make or break time for the Republican Party. Its ticket leader, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, is now so far behind Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the polls that no candidate in the last 16 elections has lagged at this point in the race and still won the White House in November. Does the party keep pushing for a win at the top, or does it regroup and focus down ballot in the hopes of keeping the Senate and House?

    • Clinton’s list of bundlers shorter than Obama’s, and she’s disclosing less

      Clinton has so far received at least $49.6 million from nearly 500 bundlers, or individual fundraisers who collect money from friends and acquaintances in order to deliver a candidate a “bundle” of checks. As for her opponent Donald Trump? There’s no way to tell, as he has not made any moves to release information on his campaign bundlers.

      Though federal campaign law requires the disclosure only of bundlers who are registered lobbyists, most White House candidates in recent elections have opted to share a fuller list of names. But in the last presidential election, Mitt Romney became the first major-party nominee since 2000 to keep his bundlers private, and so far, Trump has done the same.

      While Clinton has released a list, her campaign is disclosing less than previous Democratic candidates. In 2008 and 2012, bundlers were grouped in tiers — those who gathered between $50,000 and $100,000, between $100,000 and $200,000, between $200,000 and $500,000, and more than $500,000. Clinton has instead simply released the names of everyone who has bundled more than $100,000, with no specifics about amounts raised beyond that.

    • Voting Rights Victories Piling Up

      On November 4, 2014, seven Native Americans living on the Turtle Mountain reservation in North Dakota went to cast their ballots for the general election. All were turned away.

      They were U.S. citizens, longtime county residents, and had voted in North Dakota before. So what was the holdup?

      For Dorothy Herman, 75, it was an expired state ID.

      Herman, a 43-year resident of North Dakota who lives on retirement from her years as a teacher and her husband’s Social Security, had twice tried to renew her ID before Election Day. One day, she traveled 10 miles to the nearest licensing office only to find it closed during posted hours. On her second attempt, she was informed that her expired license was not proof enough of her identity—she also needed a birth certificate, a document that nearly a third of North Dakota Native Americans who need state ID cards to vote don’t have, according to one study. By the time she found it, returned to the office a third time, and paid $8 for her renewed ID card, she had missed the election.

    • Liberal Hate for the Green Party

      Liberals have joined Hillary Clinton’s “big nasty tent” in a very big way. They have moved far beyond the usual rationales for sticking with the Democrats and are now carrying on a full-fledged hate fest. Their targets are Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate Ajamu Baraka, who is also a Black Agenda Report editor and columnist.

      The screeds have become more and more extreme and defy the run of the mill rationales that progressives use to justify remaining within Democratic Party lines. Holding one’s nose and voting for the “lesser evil” democrat is passé. So is fear of Republican judicial appointments. Concern for abortion rights doesn’t cut it anymore.

      Liberals are no longer going through the motions of criticizing the Democrat. Instead they openly show love for Hillary Clinton and disdainfully pile on Stein and Baraka with fury. The blog Wonkette called Jill Stein “cunty” and “a mendacious nihilist piece of shit.” The site Very Smart Brothas declared that a vote for Stein was akin to putting it in the trash. They also threw in a dig at Cornel West because he dared to criticize Barack Obama. The Huffington Post chose to deride Green Party convention delegates because they ate at McDonald’s. Gawker tried to link Ajamu Baraka to holocaust denial. His unassailable human rights credentials didn’t mean much when the media decided to go into attack mode.

      The list is long and will get longer between now and Election Day. The degree of antipathy is actually quite useful. It tells us why the Green Party is so important and why liberals are such a dangerous enemy.

    • Steve Bannon Is Trump’s New Anti-Establishment Attack Dog

      Bannon is close to Nigel Farage, the former head of the right-wing UK Independence Party, who offered “massive thanks” to Breitbart News for supporting the party’s successful campaign on behalf of Britain’s departure from the European Union. “Your UKIP team is just incredible,” Bannon told Farage during an interview after the June Brexit vote.

    • Are Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon, and Roger Ailes Cooking Up a Post-Election Media Empire? The Frightening Possibility of a Trump TV Network Combining the Extremism of Breitbart News and Fox News

      Before he became the chairman of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon worked in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department at Goldman Sachs. For the past year, Bannon has merged Breitbart News with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, hoping to acquire more and more influence as a frequent Trump advisor and, as of this week, as the campaign’s CEO.

      After Trump loses, don’t be surprised to see Bannon join forces with Trump and Roger Ailes (the former Fox News guru deposed for engaging in sexual harassment of employees who recently jumped aboard Trump’s sinking ship) to create a new right-wing media conglomerate — Trump TV or Trump Media — linking Breitbart News to a new cable network that will almost make Fox News look tame and responsible. Together, Trump, Ailes and Bannon would run their media empire to advance their common goals: gaining political influence, massaging their massive egos, moving the Republican Party further to the right, attacking Democrats and liberal ideas, and promoting a neo-fascist agenda combining xenophobia, racism, sexism, government-bashing, and anti-immigrant nativism.

    • Hillary’s Hubris: Only Tell the Rich for $5000 a Minute!

      There is a growing asymmetry between the media’s mounting demands for Donald Trump to release his tax returns (Hillary has done so) and their diminishing demands that Hillary Clinton release the secret transcripts of her $5000 per minute speeches before closed-door banking conferences and other business conventions.

      The Washington Post, an endorser of Clinton, in its August 18 issue devoted another round of surmising as to why Trump doesn’t want to release his tax returns—speculating that he isn’t as rich as he brags he is, that he pays little or no taxes, and that he gives little to charity. Other media outlets endorsing Hillary have been less than vociferous in demanding that she release what she told business leaders in these pay-to-play venues.

      When asked last year about her transcripts on Meet the Press, she said she would look into it. When the questions persisted in subsequent months, she said she would release the transcripts only if everybody else did. Bernie Sanders replied that he had no transcripts because he doesn’t give paid speeches to business audiences. Nonetheless she continues to be evasive.

    • Dem candidate’s dad chips in $1 million to Senate super-PAC

      Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Patrick Murphy (Fla.) is getting a major financial boost as his campaign heads into the final stretch, courtesy of a $1 million check from his father.
      Thomas Murphy, a Florida home builder, gave the seven-figure sum to the Harry Reid-linked Senate Majority PAC — the group’s largest donation in July, according to the Federal Election Commission.

      The congressman has long benefited from his father’s financial largesse; Thomas Murphy shelled out six-figure super-PAC contributions to help him win his Florida congressional seat in 2012.

      On July 15, two days after the $1 million check landed in the Senate Majority PAC account, the super-PAC announced to the Washington Post its plans to launch a $1 million ad buy in Florida.

      The reported aim was to help Murphy win his primary on Aug. 30 against liberal challenger Rep. Alan Grayson, who is openly opposed by Democratic leadership.

    • The Half-Life of Deindustrialization: Why Donald Trump Is Just A Symptom

      Every four years, the white working class gets a fresh round of attention from candidates and the media. At campaign stops in Rust Belt cities, candidates promise to fix the economy, while pundits yet again claim that white working-class voters are the key to election victory. The pattern is being repeated this year, but this time, both the news media and social media seem especially baffled by the attitudes and behavior of working-class voters.

      As a number of commentators have noted, the roots of this year’s populism lie in deindustrialization, though some seem baffled that white working-class people are still troubled by either NAFTA, which went into effect in 1994, or the loss of industrial jobs, which peaked in the early 1980s. In a recent New York Times column, David Brooks suggested that working-class people should not be so strongly affected by the economic hardship of deindustrialization. After all, he suggested, it’s not as if life in a coal town was ever easy. What he and others don’t realize is that deindustrialization was never only about economics. Its economic, social and psychological effects continue for decades after plants closed and across generations, affecting the worldviews of younger people who never worked in steel mills or auto plants. Like radioactive waste, deindustrialization has a half-life.

    • Independent Women’s Forum and Independent Women’s Voice Use “Independent” Brand to Push Right-Wing Agenda to Women Voters

      The Independent Women’s Forum and its 501(c)(4) affiliate, the Independent Women’s Voice, market themselves to the media and voters as “non-partisan,” “independent,” and “neutral.”

      However, a new investigation of the groups by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reveals them to be anything but that. Joan Walsh in the Nation broke this story today along with other new details about these not-so independent women’s groups.

      CMD’s Reporters’ Guide exposes the groups’ leaders admitting to—and boasting about—their true role for what it is: finding ways to sell right-wing policies and candidates favored by their funders to reach independent women voters under the guise of neutrality.

    • Hillary Goes With the Flow

      One of Team Hillary’s lines is that a vote for her is a vote for President Obama’s “legacy.” It is; for his legacy as a protector and enabler of an overripe capitalist system and the economic predators and earth despoilers it raises to the top.

      There aren’t very many at the top of the heap; enthusiastic sloganeers sometimes peg the number as low as a fraction of one percent. But, under Obama, as under all his predecessors since the economy took a neoliberal turn, they have been making out like the bandits they are, while everyone else has had to struggle, often in vain, not to fall behind. Count on Hillary to keep that going.

    • Hillary and the War Party

      You haven’t heard much from the Democrats lately about foreign policy or global agendas – indeed virtually nothing at the Philadelphia convention and little worthy of mention along the campaign trail. Hillary Clinton’s many liberal (and sadly, progressive) supporters routinely steer away from anything related to foreign policy, talk, talk, talking instead about the candidate’s “experience”, with obligatory nods toward her enlightened social programs. There is only the ritual demonization of that fearsome dictator, Vladimir Putin, reputedly on the verge of invading some hapless European country. Even Bernie Sanders’ sorry endorsement of his erstwhile enemy, not long ago denounced as a tool of Wall Street, had nothing to say about global issues. But no one should be fooled: a Clinton presidency, which seems more likely by the day, can be expected to stoke a resurgent U.S. imperialism, bringing new cycles of militarism and war. The silence is illusory: Clintonites, now as before, are truly obsessed with international politics.

    • Jill Stein on BDS and Israel
    • A Cheap Shot at Bernie Sanders’ Summer Home

      Charles Lane and other Washington Post editorialists defend neocon and neoliberal orthodoxies by demonizing foreign leaders who step out of line and now by making fun of Bernie Sanders for buying a summer home, writes Robert Parry.

    • Donald Trump Casts Himself as Mr. Brexit, Mistaking Depth of Anti-Immigrant Sentiment in U.S.

      As John Lanchester noted in the London Review of Books, the campaign appealed primarily to white working class voters who, with good reason, felt left behind by the increasingly globalized economy, and vented their anger at migrant workers. Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign has been structured like this from the beginning, and he clearly hopes for a similar result.

      What that argument overlooks, however, are quite different demographics — and the crucial difference between attitudes about immigration in the two countries.

      As a Pew Research Center survey published in July showed, residents of the U.K. were closely divided on the question of whether “having an increasing number of people of many different races, ethnic groups and nationalities in our country” made Britain a better or worse place to live — with 33 percent saying “better” and 31 percent saying “worse”. By contrast, a majority of Americans, 58 percent, said “better,” and just 7 percent said “worse.”

    • Column: It’s time for black people to break the two-party system

      White supporters of Hillary Clinton are concerned with the rise of neo-­fascism, of what a Trump presidency would mean for the fragile economic sector, foreign policy, immigration and social progress. For Trump supporters, a world of black and brown people pouring through American borders is a dastardly reality that must ultimately be confronted and curbed through racist, ideological litmus tests for incoming immigrants, draconian and impractical measures against the undocumented and isolationist economic policies that are sure to disrupt our precarious economy.

    • Green Party candidate Jill Stein calls for climate state of emergency

      Presidential hopeful points to California wildfires and Louisiana flooding in push for Green New Deal to address both environment and economy

    • More than half of Clinton Foundation’s major donors would be barred under new rule

      More than half of the Clinton Foundation’s major donors would be prevented from contributing to the charity under the self-imposed ban on corporate and foreign donors the foundation said this week it would adopt if Hillary Clinton won the White House, according to a new Washington Post analysis of foundation donations.

      The findings underscore the extent to which the Clintons’ sprawling global charity has come to rely on financial support from industries and overseas interests, a point that has drawn criticism from Republicans and some liberals who have said the donations represent conflicts of interest for a potential president.

    • Who Is Your Choice for President? [Ed: with over 1000 votes, Jill Stein at 80%]

      Donald Trump’s campaign went through some big changes during the week, and Hillary Clinton faced criticism for some of her own staffing choices. Third-party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson ramped up their media presence. And some of the biggest challenges to politicians stemmed from environmental disasters, as flooding in Louisiana and wildfires in Southern California led to renewed attention on the impact of climate change.

    • Let Gary Johnson, Jill Stein enter presidential debates

      On its website, the Commission on Presidential Debates states that it was established “to ensure that debates “provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners.”

    • Hey Bernie Sanders, You Should Vote For Jill Stein

      I heard about you and Jane buying a new home on the beach and I couldn’t stop smiling, thinking about you out there chillin, grandkids running around, toes in the sand, drinking a Heady Topper or two, or three, or four, reflecting over the past year and a half.

      Even though I dedicated my entire life to getting you elected, there was always this small part of me that wanted you to just go home and relax.

    • Maryland Green Party Forum 2016

      Candidates discuss clean energy policy, challenging corporate power, and improving investment in Baltimore City

    • Jill Stein Makes History as First Green Party Candidate to Hold Town Hall on Prime-Time TV (Video)

      Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, addressed voters on CNN on Wednesday night in an hour-long town hall meeting in which they outlined their “Green New Deal.” Stein also told the public she would “have trouble sleeping at night if either Trump or Clinton is elected” and reiterated her goal to build on Bernie Sanders’ “political revolution.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s Choice of Ken Salazar Comes Under Fire (Video)

      Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of “Democracy Now!” dive deeper into Salazar’s politics in an interview with David Sirota, senior editor for investigations at International Business Times. Sirota explains that the beliefs of those working on Clinton’s transition team are “very important to understanding what may be coming in a Clinton administration policywise and whether those policies in a Clinton administration will reflect the policy promises from Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How to turn on Twitter’s quality filters and silence trolls

      Twitter has finally come up with a solution to muzzle trolls.

      The company published a blog post on Thursday announcing two new controls for filtering your notifications. Twitter notifications are the primary method through which trolls can contact and harass users.

      The first new setting reduces the noise in your notifications stream. By default, anyone who mentions your Twitter username with the “@” symbol shows up in your Twitter notifications. It doesn’t matter if they’re asking a simple question, offering constructive criticism, or threatening to cut your head off. Everyone shows up.

    • Hey Sexters, Here’s a Very Good Reason to Care About Porn Laws

      Most of us tend to think of pornographers, and porn law, as being about one very specific set of people: namely, those who make a living recording people fucking and selling or freely distributing the resulting photos and video. But in the eyes of the law, it’s not quite that simple.

      As technology has made it easier for anyone to create and distribute dirty pictures and videos, it’s become harder to see where the pornographers end and the rest of us pervs begin—and that could mean that the aggressive laws designed to crack down on “evil” pornographers could potentially spill over into the lives of ordinary citizens.

      Take, for instance, 18 U.S.C. § 2257 and § 2257A, the federal statutes that govern adult industry record keeping and reporting. Ostensibly designed to prevent the distribution of child porn, these regulations—which are much more about maintaining proper paperwork than they are about not exploiting minors—aren’t just for people who actually create porn. They also outline strict regulations for anyone who distributes sexual media to the masses, no matter how far that person is from the actual creation of the original media.

    • British man imprisoned in Dubai over Facebook post raising money for refugees in Afghanistan

      A British man has been imprisoned for almost a month in Dubai over a Facebook post raising money for refugees in Afghanistan.

      Scott Richards unwittingly fell foul of the United Arab Emirates’ “bizarre” laws banning the operation of any charity not registered in the country.

      Police said the 42-year-old, who holds dual British and Australian citizenship, was arrested after using social media to promote a US-based crowd funding campaign.

      The offending link was to a Go Fund Me page raising money to buy blankets for families at the Chahari Qambar refugee camp near Kabul, where children froze to death in 2012.

    • Gawker’s Flagship Site Will Shut Down After Univision Deal

      Gawker.com is shutting down, marking the final chapter for a pioneer in online media and one of the most controversial publishers on the web.

      Nick Denton, the founder of Gawker Media, told the site’s staff that it will end operations next week, according to a post on its website. Gawker.com’s archives will still be available, Denton said in a memo to employees.

      Earlier this week Univision Holdings Inc. made the winning $135 million bid to acquire Gawker Media, which also published the sports website Deadspin, the women’s site Jezebel, the tech site Gizmodo and others. The company was driven into bankruptcy in June after losing an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit to Hulk Hogan. Univision is expected to use Gawker’s other websites to bolster its growing digital footprint, which includes the websites the Root, the Onion and A.V. Club.

      In his memo Thursday, Denton confirmed that he won’t be working for Univision and instead will “move on to other projects, working to make the web a forum for the open exchange of ideas and information, but out of the news and gossip business.”

    • China Censorship Orders Media Not to Report on “Miseries” of Olympic Athletes

      Chinese censor organs have ordered its media to stop reporting news related to problems and failures of Chinese athletes during their participation in the ongoing Rio Olympic Games, and focus more on their patriotism.

      “Do not report on the miseries of Olympic athletes; report more on (their) patriotic spirit,” said a directive sent to the country’s media and published online by the “Ministry of Truth” dedicated to leaking these almost secret orders of Chinese censorship.

      The order was leaked recently as China delivers its worst Olympic performance and coupled with the emergence of local athletes with strong personalities such as the swimmer Fu Yuanhui, which has changed the direction of the Chinese press, focusing more on the human side of athletes than their glory.

    • Why Palestine Matters, Even on the Pitch

      It is not Israel’s Jewish character that is the issue, as those who attempt to delegitimise the Palestinian struggle and those who support it continually maintain. It is Israel’s apartheid character that is the issue, and where better to demonstrate resistance to apartheid than in a packed football stadium alongside thousands of others.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Care.data is dead – long live care.data?
    • Security companies scramble following leak of NSA toolkit
    • NSA leaked files, confirm new documents
    • The NSA was hacked, confirmed by the Snowden Documents
    • Edward Snowden archive prove malware & exploits dumped on public internet on Monday originated from NSA
    • Russian hacks against the Democrats and the NSA expose the weaknesses of our democracy [Ed: The ToryGraph blames Russia for TWO things WITHOUT evidence: DNC leaks and NSA crack]
    • Yup! The NSA Got Hacked
    • The NSA was hacked- so is unfettered government surveillance a good thing?

      Many of those skeptical of Snowden-esque critiques of the surveillance state rely on an argument: “If you don’t have anything to hide, there is no reason to be concerned.” But now that the NSA itself has been hacked, it means the tools to breach your own identity— your bank accounts, credit cards, medical records— are out there. Snowden’s warnings have been found to be the height of prudence.

    • The cyber war that’s breaking out between the US and Russia
    • The NSA Hack Shows Why the U.S. Government Shouldn’t Stockpile Software Vulnerabilities

      Earlier this week, top secret code written by one of the NSA’s most clandestine branches was released on the internet. Among other things, it contains a cache of technologically sophisticated hacking tools.

    • Snowden Docs Support Claim NSA Cyberweapons Stolen, Report Says
    • Cisco Firewall Products Targeted by NSA Hacking Tools

      Cisco this week acknowledged that some of its firewall appliance products are being targeted by purportedly leaked U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) hacking tools.

    • Should feds worry about the NSA leak?
    • After the NSA Hack: Cybersecurity in an Even More Vulnerable World
    • Quartz
    • Snowden Documents Confirm The NSA Hack Is Real
    • Australia in top three vulnerable to Cisco firewall attack
    • Snowden documents confirm that leaked hacking tools belong to NSA
    • NSA Vulnerabilities Trove Reveals ‘Mini-Heartbleed’ For Cisco PIX Firewalls
    • New Snowden docs support claim of NSA cyberweapon hack
    • New Snowden documents prove the hacked NSA files are real

      Edward Snowden Former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden appears live by video during a student-organized world-affairs conference at the Upper Canada College private high school in Toronto on February 2, 2015.

    • Hack of NSA ‘cyber weapons’ verified by Snowden docs – report
    • Snowden documents show NSA leak is real
    • New Snowden docs suggest Shadow Broker leak was real
    • The latest NSA leak shows why it’s so hard to trust even tech designed to keep computers safe

      Leaked National Security Agency hacking tools are exposing how even the technology designed to safeguard our computer networks can put users at risk — and how poor security practices like clinging to old equipment can make things worse.

    • ‘Auction’ of NSA Tools Sends Security Companies Scrambling

      The leak of what purports to be a National Security Agency hacking tool kit has set the information security world atwitter — and sent major companies rushing to update their defenses.

      Experts across the world are still examining what amount to electronic lock picks. Here’s what they’ve found so far.

    • Snowden documents show NSA leak is real: report

      Such access would enable the NSA to plant malware in rivals’ systems and monitor – or even attack – their networks.

    • NSA cybersecurity hack – this is what happened

      Shadow Brokers posted online some examples of the data it said it had stolen, including scripts and instructions for breaking through firewall protection.

    • Cyber espionage: A new cold war?

      This is a tale of spies, a $500m cyber arms heist, accusations of an attempt to manipulate a US presidential election and an increasingly menacing digital war being waged between Russia and the west.

    • NSA Hacked, Cyber Weapon Toolkit Theft Confirmed By Snowden Docs
    • US hacked NTC to spy on Pakistan military, political leadership: Snowden documents
    • NSA spied on Pakistani civil-military leadership
    • US spied on Pakistan through hacking tools
    • US hacked NTC to spy on Pakistan military, political leadership: Snowden documents

      The United States hacked into targets in the Pakistan’s National Telecommunications Corporation (NTC) to spy on the country’s political and military leadership, documents released by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden confirm.

      According to a report by online news site The Intercept, the previously unpublished documents released by Snowden confirm that some of the NSA’s top-secret code has been leaked or hacked.

      The Intercept’s editors include journalists that worked with Snowden to publicise his notorious 2013 NSA leak revealing the extent of government snooping on private data.

    • US spied on Pakistan’s leaderships: Snowden

      United States spied on the political and military leaderships of Pakistan and also hacked their data, according to the documents released by dissent whistleblower Edward Snowden. This was reported by Aaj News in its headline stories here on Saturday.

      The files Snowden took from the agency in 2013 say a top-secret NSA manual contains the same 16-character alphanumeric tracking code that appears throughout a portion of code released online earlier this week by a group called The ShadowBrokers. The group was auctioning off the code, which it said was stolen from the NSA. The relevant code was reportedly part of a program dubbed SECONDDATE that was used to spy on Pakistan and Lebanon.

    • Industry pros react to Cisco, Fortinet advisories after possible Snowden NSA leak

      Ridley agreed, noting that he expects the actionable takeaway of the leaked exploits will be technical. He told SCMagazine.com that security pros “need to start architecting networks to assume both devices and endpoints are compromised, and minimize the lateral movement to minimize damage.”

    • Evidence Links Leaked Hacking Tools to the NSA

      “NSA malware staging servers getting hacked by a rival is not new,” he wrote in a tweet, referring to private servers that are occasionally controlled by NSA agents, but not owned by the agency itself.

    • Equation Group’s BENIGNCERTAIN tool – a remote exploit to extract Cisco VPN private keys

      In the Equation Group dump that contained NSA hacking tools, there was an overlooked tool called BENIGNCERTAIN.

      Analysis of the tool shows that it appears to be a remote exploit for Cisco PIX devices that sends an Internet Key Exchange (IKE) packet to the victim machine, causing it to dump some of its memory. The memory dump can then be parsed to extract an RSA private key and other sensitive configuration information.

      The tool references Cisco PIX versions 5.2(9) to 6.3(4), which was released in 2004. It is also worth noting that the Cisco PIX line of products are at their end-of-life.

      The exploit consists of three binaries, each consisting of an individual step in the exploitation process.

      The first step is executing bc-genpkt, which generates an IKE packet of arbitrary size and fills some of it with arbitrary data.

    • NSA Hackers, Hacked

      Whatever the true identity and motives of the Shadow Brokers, there are some clear policy lessons to take away from this. The first concerns the “Vulnerability Equities Process“—which is how the American intelligence community decides whether and how long to hang on to software vulnerabilities they discover before notifying developers so that these cybersecurity holes can be patched. Back in 2014, federal cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel insisted in a post on the White House blog that the process is strongly weighted in favor of disclosure. The government, he assured the public, understands that “[b]uilding up a huge stockpile of undisclosed vulnerabilities while leaving the Internet vulnerable and the American people unprotected would not be in our national security interest.”

    • NSA leak rattles cybersecurity industry

      By exposing the custom-made malware online, the Shadow Brokers have suddenly made many of the systems American corporations rely on for cybersecurity more vulnerable to digital attacks from criminals and spies.

    • After Shadow Brokers, should the NSA still be hoarding vulnerabilities?

      This weekend’s Shadow Brokers leak dropped 300MB of stolen data onto the open web, including live exploits for some of the web’s most crucial network infrastructure, apparently stolen from the NSA in 2013. But while experts are still sorting out who stole the data and how, the new exploits have also left companies like Cisco, Fortinet, and Juniper scrambling to fix the newly published attacks against their systems. Suddenly, there was a new way into products that had been considered secure for years — and anyone who downloaded the data knew exactly how to get in.

    • In wake of NSA leaks, a call for transparency in cyber arms

      A leak of sensitive computer code is spurring calls for the government to be more transparent about its handling of a secret stockpile of network intrusion tactics.

      The leaked code, believed to be written by an NSA operation, contained new techniques to hack widely used hardware from Cisco, Fortinet and Juniper Networks.

      The leaks left countless computer networks vulnerable to hackers — something security professionals and government officials alike acknowledge is a risk of stockpiling these kinds of techniques.

      The government has a program in place to minimize that risk, called the Vulnerability Equities Process (VEP), which requires agencies to justify keeping a security vulnerability and report all other vulnerabilities to manufacturers so they can be repaired. While the VEP receives praise from civil libertarians as a considerable step up from countries making no similar effort, many are seizing on the NSA leaks to push for changes to the program.

      “One of the better things the Obama administration did was to create a presumption of disclosure,” said Gabe Rottman, deputy director of the Freedom, Security and Technology Project at the Center for Democracy and technology. “But being more open on the policy would be a good start.”

      The administration has revealed very little about the inner workings of the VEP. A White House board makes the ultimate decision of which vulnerabilities are kept by weighing investigative necessity against the harm that would be caused by the vulnerability going unfixed.

    • Snowden documents ‘show NSA leak is real’
    • Cisco wants to be a software company? Why customers should look beyond the hype [iophk: “it doesn’t matter, Cisco will be gone because of SDN, they are unlikely to recover from the NSA backdoor incidents”]

      Five years ago Forbes published an article called Now Every Company is a Software Company. The magazine wasn’t the first to notice this phenomenon and it certainly wasn’t the last but it did neatly articulate a view that has grown louder with each passing year since the era of the dot.com boom when the notion first gained currency.

    • 98 personal data points that Facebook uses to target ads to you

      Say you’re scrolling through your Facebook Newsfeed and you encounter an ad so eerily well-suited, it seems someone has possibly read your brain.

      Maybe your mother’s birthday is coming up, and Facebook’s showing ads for her local florist. Or maybe you just made a joke aloud about wanting a Jeep, and Instagram’s promoting Chrysler dealerships.

      Whatever the subject, you’ve seen ads like this. You’ve wondered — maybe worried — how they found their way to you.

      Facebook, in its omniscience, knows that you’re wondering — and it would like to reassure you. The social network just revamped its ad preference settings to make them significantly easier for users to understand. They’ve also launched a new ad education portal, which explains, in general terms, how Facebook targets ads.

    • Australia v New Zealand: All Blacks hotel room in Sydney ‘bugged’

      New Zealand Rugby says a Sydney hotel room where the All Blacks held meetings was bugged before their first Bledisloe Cup match against Australia.

      The New Zealand Herald reported that a “sophisticated” listening device found on Monday had been hidden in a chair.

      The All Blacks beat Australia’s Wallabies 42-8 on Saturday.

      The CEO of New Zealand Rugby, Steve Tew, said in a statement that Australian police and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) had been informed.

      Saturday’s game is the first of three in the annual Bledisloe Cup between Australia and New Zealand – which the All Blacks have not lost in 13 years.

      Tew said: “We are taking this issue very seriously, and given it will be a police matter, it would not be prudent to go into further details.”

      The New South Wales Police Force said in a statement that they had become aware of the allegation on Saturday, and had attended a hotel in Double Bay, an area of Sydney.

    • NSA Hacked – Keys to the Kingdom Stolen

      The biggest story in the news right now isn’t Donald Trump. The biggest story is the NSA was hacked and the “Keys to the Kingdom” were stolen. Someone managed to get hold of the NSA’s hacking tools used by their Tailored Access Operation unit. (TAO) What this means is that leterally everything that civilization depends on is now exposed.

      These tools exploit flaws in the operating systems of the computers and routers that make the internet work. The NSA keeps these flaws secret rather that informing companies like CISCO and Juniper of the flaw and give them the opportunity to fix them. The NSA has put their need to spy above the security of the world. And now the unthinkable has happened. Hackers have the power of the NSA and they could bring down civilization. Think of it as Y2K on steroids.

    • How the NSA snooped on encrypted Internet traffic for a decade

      In a revelation that shows how the National Security Agency was able to systematically spy on many Cisco Systems customers for the better part of a decade, researchers have uncovered an attack that remotely extracts decryption keys from the company’s now-decommissioned line of PIX firewalls.

      The discovery is significant because the attack code, dubbed BenignCertain, worked on PIX versions Cisco released in 2002 and supported through 2009. Even after Cisco stopped providing PIX bug fixes in July 2009, the company continued offering limited service and support for the product for an additional four years. Unless PIX customers took special precautions, virtually all of them were vulnerable to attacks that surreptitiously eavesdropped on their VPN traffic. Beyond allowing attackers to snoop on encrypted VPN traffic, the key extraction also makes it possible to gain full access to a vulnerable network by posing as a remote user.

      BenignCertain’s capabilities were tentatively revealed in this blog post from Thursday, and they were later confirmed to work on real-world PIX installations by three separate researchers. Before the confirmation came, Ars asked Cisco to investigate the exploit. The company declined, citing this policy for so-called end-of-life products. The exploit helps explain documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and cited in a 2014 article that appeared in Der Spiegel. The article reported that the NSA had the ability to decrypt more than 1,000 VPN connections per hour.

    • FCC won’t back down on broadband users’ privacy

      There will be no lame-duck period for Tom Wheeler. The FCC chairman vowed this week to push ahead in the last months of 2016 to complete an ambitious agenda to reshape the rules governing broadband and “put a referee on the field to throw the flag on any future unjust or unreasonable activity.”

    • Google Glass strikes back

      The single most innovative wearable of all time has to be Google Glass.

      Yeah, I said it. And it’s true.

      If you read the tech blogs, you’d be forgiven for believing that Google Glass is a failed product, dead and gone. But in fact, the opposite is true.

      The Google Glass Explorer program succeeded wildly. Google is feverishly working on new kinds of Google Glass products, and the innovation around Google Glass never stopped.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Turkish airport advert warns travellers about Sweden rape danger

      A billboard displayed this week in Istanbul’s main airport warned travellers against visiting Sweden, describing it as having the highest rate of rape in the world, the latest salvo between EU-candidate Turkey and its European allies.

      Ties between Ankara and Europe have worsened since last month’s failed coup, with Turkey accusing its Western allies of insensitivity, saying they were more concerned about a subsequent crackdown than the coup itself.

    • Meet the robots that will help us win the wars of the future

      If former Marine and entrepreneur Sean Bielat has his way, the law enforcement officer tentatively approaching a vehicle in the future after making a traffic stop won’t be an officer at all. Rather, those are the kind of interactions — fraught with uncertainty, potentially dangerous — that seem to him to make perfect sense for one of his robots to deal with instead.

      [...]

      Among other things, Endeavor says that new system will increase the operational range of its robots in urban areas and other “radio-challenged” environments. Longer term company targets include things like getting the price of robot units down so clients like cash-strapped police departments can more easily afford them.

    • How Do Today’s Struggles for Justice Differ From Those of the 1930s?

      In the 1930s capitalism faced a very deep crisis, and the strategy for dealing with it was more or less one of two ways: either fascism, or the kind of social democracy of the New Deal, compromise with the domestic working class. The United States chose, on the whole, the new deal. Roosevelt, to a large extent, excluding Britain, which came very close to choosing fascism, didn’t. But certainly Europe did choose fascism. But many economists think not that far from another bout of quite deep crises. ‘07-‘08 was, many people say, a tip of the iceberg. And I think many people are getting ready for the next round that might be far more deep and more profound.

      You have the rise of a kind of neofascism in the United States that we once saw in many places in the world in the 1930s, and see again now in Europe in various forms. But on the other side, Hillary Clinton ain’t no Roosevelt. She’s not a proponent of the New Deal. The closest one could get to that was Bernie Sanders, and that clearly was crushed, that campaign, by the people that control the machinery of the Democratic Party. So what does that mean for people of the United States, and the choices they will make, and what might face them in the coming days?

    • Justice Dept. Announces Initiative to End Use of For-Profit Prisons
    • What You Need to Know About the DOJ’s Claim It Is Ending Private Prisons

      The U.S. Justice Department issued a memo, first reported Thursday by Matt Zapotosky and Chico Harlan of the Washington Post, in which the federal agency claims that it will end the use of private prisons.

      “I am eager to enlist your help in beginning the process of reducing—and ultimately ending—our use of privately operated prisons,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. “As you know, all of the Bureau’s existing contracts with private prison companies are term-limited and subject to renewal or termination. I am directing that, as each contract reaches the end of its term, the Bureau should either decline to renew that contract or substantially reduce its scope in a manner consistent with law and the overall decline of the Bureau’s inmate population.”s

    • Feds End Use of Private Prisons, but Questions Remain
    • DOJ Ending Use of Private Prisons: Will Decarceration Follow?

      Truthout’s Maya Schenwar says the announcement won’t affect federal immigration detention centers or state prisons

    • Private Prisons Are Far From Ended: 62 Percent of Immigrant Detainees Are in Privatized Jails

      The US Department of Justice’s decision to no longer use private prisons for its federal prisoners is a groundbreaking first step, but the August 18 announcement doesn’t spell the end to private prisons: Private prison corporations will continue to control 46 immigration detention centers that detain nearly 25,000 people (or 62 percent of the country’s 33,676 immigrant detainees) on any given day.

      It is perhaps telling that in the hours after the announcement made headlines yesterday, stock prices for both Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, two of the country’s largest private prison corporations, dropped 40 percent, but by today they had started to climb again.

    • The DoJ is right to ditch private prisons. But it won’t do much in practice

      Just a week after a scathing report decrying the condition of private prisons in the US, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday that it would phase out their federal use by not renewing contracts for companies like GEO Group, Management of Training Corporation, and Correctional Corporations of America (CCA).

    • Sanders and Activists Say DOJ Ban on Private Prisons Doesn’t Go Far Enough
    • Sanders Applauds Decision to End Federal Use of Private Prisons
    • DOJ to End Use of Private Prisons: CCR Says DHS and ICE Must Do the Same
    • Admitting Failed Experiment, DOJ to Phase Out Private Prisons
    • Justice Department says it will end use of private prisons

      The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.

      Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

      “They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote.

    • Why Is the Obama Administration Keeping Toddlers Behind Bars?

      Twenty-two mothers who have been interned with their children for up to a year in a for-profit immigration detention facility entered the ninth day of a hunger strike on Wednesday. Neither the mothers nor their children have committed any crimes, nor have they been charged with any. They have no idea when they will be released. Advocates and attorneys representing the women tell The Nation that their children are suffering, they feel that they’ve been lost in the system and their desire for freedom has become desperate.

    • Photos and Hunger Strikes Expose More Abuses in Migrant Detention

      Central American women holding a hunger strike at the Berks County Family Detention Center in rural Pennsylvania implored President Barack Obama to “set aside [his] vacation for 10 minutes and look at how we’re suffering locked up in here” on Wednesday, as they continued their second week of striking.

      The women, who are also mothers, said they will continue striking until they receive some word on their asylum petitions. Activists with the grassroots group Make the Road Pennsylvania, who spent several months protesting outside the facility in solidarity, have taken their action to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, where Obama is on break with his family.

    • Detained Undocumented Mothers Launch Hunger Strike, Vow to Leave ‘Alive or Dead’

      Dozens of undocumented women being held with their children at the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania are on a hunger strike that they say will culminate in their leaving the facility “alive or dead.” The mothers are essentially being held prisoner under an Obama administration plan to detain undocumented families while their papers for asylum are being processed. Their children range in age from 2 to 16.

      A Philadelphia-based grass-roots organization called Juntos has been working to shut down Berks for nearly two years. It should not be such a difficult task, given that the facility is violating policy on many fronts. In an interview, Juntos Executive Director Erika Almiron told me that Berks was licensed as a “child residential facility” rather than a “detention center,” and that there is “no license that they can get in the state of Pennsylvania to fit what they want to do.” The detention center’s license expired in February, and Juntos and its allies pressured the Department of Human Services (akin to a child welfare department) to refuse renewal. But Berks County commissioners inexplicably appealed the decision. While the appeal is in process, the facility continues to operate and keep the women and children as prisoners.

      Meanwhile, the entire program of imprisoning immigrant families is under question. A year ago, a federal judge in California, Dolly Gee, found the practice in violation of the settlement of a class action lawsuit 18 years ago, known as the Flores agreement, and ordered the release of families. Yet the thousands of women and children being held at three facilities, including Berks (the other two are in Texas), continues. But at a press event earlier this month, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson defended the ongoing detention in spite of Gee’s ruling, saying, “I think that we need to continue the practice so that we’re not just engaging in catch and release.”

    • The Justice Department Is Done With Private Prisons. Will ICE Drop Them Too?

      The Justice Department’s announcement on Thursday that it would seek to end the use of private contractors to run its federal prisons was a monumental one that quickly sent private prison stocks plunging and drew praise from dozens of human and civil rights groups that for years had been denouncing abuse and neglect in private facilities.

      In a memo explaining the decision, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates wrote that private prisons “simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources,” “do not save substantially on costs,” and “do not maintain the same level of safety and security” as facilities operated by the Bureau of Prisons.

      But as the criminal justice community began to take stock of the news, many also expressed hopes that the DOJ would not be the only government agency to cut ties with the private companies, which also operate state prisons and immigration detention centers.

    • ‘They Are Incentivized to Arrest People Because It Raises Money’

      When Newt Gingrich comes out for criminal justice reform, you are right to look under the hood, to question just how deep this popular reform is intended to go. Any improvements that help real people are to be wished for, but policing and prisons are systems with deep and far-reaching roots in US life. We ought to have questions about reform that comes without an honest reckoning with the fact that some of what we call problems in the criminal justice system are not so much bugs as features.

    • The Justice Department’s Call to Axe Private-Prison Contracts Is A Victory. ICE Must Now Do the Same to End Federal Prison Profiteering.

      In a bluntly-worded memo issued yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to begin phasing out all of its contracts with private prisons.

      Private prisons, the memo stated, “compare poorly” to federally run prisons. They “simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and . . . they do not maintain the same level of safety and security.” The memo then describes how the Bureau of Prisons will reduce and ultimately end its reliance on private prisons.

    • Two visions of politics in Turkey: authoritarian and revolutionary

      Late last December, upon returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia, Turkish President Erdogan was asked by Turkish reporters whether an executive presidential system was possible while maintaining “the unitary structure of the state”. He responded, “There are already examples in the world. You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany.” Following a failed coup d’etat attempt this July, as Erdogan started excluding and imprisoning political rivals, laying the groundwork for authoritarian control, some critics have begun taking the comparison more seriously.

    • Solitary for Suicide Attempts: The Brutal Punishment of Chelsea Manning

      On August 10, Army Secretary Eric Fanning received a petition with 115,000 signatures, part of an ongoing effort by activists to ensure Chelsea Manning’s additional suicide-related charges are dropped. Although public pressure has mounted, there has been no sign that the charges will be dropped any time soon.

      Manning’s case has been fraught with government abuses of power, ranging from 1,000 days of detention without trial to denial of medical resources when dealing with gender dysphoria. Now, after a suicide attempt, Manning is facing potential conviction that would force her back into solitary confinement. This horribly inhumane treatment is used for many prisoners, particularly those seen as threatening to the state. But Manning hasn’t just been punished because of her charges; she has been denied basic resources necessary for dealing with the complexity of both gender dysphoria and the mental ramifications of solitary confinement.

    • Owning Milwaukee’s Tragedy

      Race and ethnicity 2010: Milwaukee by Eric Fischer. Map based on Census 2010 data. Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, Orange is Hispanic, Yellow is Other, and each dot is 25 residents.

      In a nation that clings to the notion that we live in a shining city upon a hill, the shooting death of Sylville Smith on a Milwaukee street, the fiery response by the black community, the scorching rhetoric from the press and the sheriff, the heated replies by everybody with a computer are all unsettling our basic sense of ourselves.

      Milwaukee is Baltimore is Ferguson is Los Angeles is Detroit.

    • “I Was Like, Whatever…”: On Lochte Abroad and Idiocy at Home

      This is the current American quote that sums up where it’s all come to. The degradation of culture, the hip anti-intellectual posture, the hollow reality shows, the prevailing mean smugness and the flat screen mesmerizing of the American tribe has brought us to, “I was like, whatever.”

      This is the quote of a famous American with oddly colored hair. He claims this was his response to a man pointing a gun at his head and telling him to get on the ground.

      The first part – “I was like…” The linguistic Zika virus – “like.” Not “I was” or “I am” or “I shall be.” No. “I was like,” meaning an approximation of reality. This is the current subconscious cover for the dread of a real feeling—or real moment—or the real story.

      I suppose this hapless, entitled fellow with the bright dimpled smile thought he’d get some mileage out of a war story. And when you live in a pool of approximation anchored to the word “Like” maybe it doesn’t seem so wrong. He may have played a flat screen version of this story in his head and then he downloaded it into the ear of a reporter named Bush, which adds another wrinkle to the event of an international, malicious, scandalous fib.

      [...]

      Both rising out of the same cauldron of deception, anti-intellectualism, entitlement and fantasy. Both ducking genuine narratives – both weaving phantasms in which each is victim and hero. Both, when on the verge of being busted cuts to: “No – no – this is what happened – I’ll tell you what happened.” Lie – word salad – Lie – then the quote that says it all, because it says nothing. “I was like, whatever.”

    • The Illusion of Freedom

      The seizure of political and economic power by corporations is unassailable. Who funds and manages our elections? Who writes our legislation and laws? Who determines our defense policies and vast military expenditures? Who is in charge of the Department of the Interior? The Department of Homeland Security? Our intelligence agencies? The Department of Agriculture? The Food and Drug Administration? The Department of Labor? The Federal Reserve? The mass media? Our systems of entertainment? Our prisons and schools? Who determines our trade and environmental policies? Who imposes austerity on the public while enabling the looting of the U.S. Treasury and the tax boycott by Wall Street? Who criminalizes dissent?

      A disenfranchised white working class vents its lust for fascism at Trump campaign rallies. Naive liberals, who think they can mount effective resistance within the embrace of the Democratic Party, rally around the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, who knows that the military-industrial complex is sacrosanct. Both the working class and the liberals will be sold out. Our rights and opinions do not matter. We have surrendered to our own form of wehrwirtschaft. We do not count within the political process.

      This truth, emotionally difficult to accept, violates our conception of ourselves as a free, democratic people. It shatters our vision of ourselves as a nation embodying superior virtues and endowed with the responsibility to serve as a beacon of light to the world. It takes from us the “right” to impose our fictitious virtues on others by violence. It forces us into a new political radicalism. This truth reveals, incontrovertibly, that if real change is to be achieved, if our voices are to be heard, corporate systems of power have to be destroyed. This realization engenders an existential and political crisis. The inability to confront this crisis, to accept this truth, leaves us appealing to centers of power that will never respond and ensures we are crippled by self-delusion.

      The longer fantasy is substituted for reality, the faster we sleepwalk toward oblivion. There is no guarantee we will wake up. Magical thinking has gripped societies in the past. Those civilizations believed that fate, history, superior virtues or a divine force guaranteed their eternal triumph. As they collapsed, they constructed repressive dystopias. They imposed censorship and forced the unreal to be accepted as real. Those who did not conform were disappeared linguistically and then literally.

    • Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer Assess the Merits of a Life of Virtue in a Careerist’s World

      In this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence” on KCRW, Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer speaks with Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges about the rewards of Hedges’ unorthodox career as a minister and journalist covering the disintegration of societies on multiple continents, his working habits, and the consequences of elite neglect of the forces that turn civilized populations barbarian.

      The two spoke in Philadelphia in late July as Democrats pilloried Republicans and their presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

      “The Nazis before 1933 were buffoonish figures, as were Radovan Karadžic and Slobodan Miloševic in Yugoslavia,” Hedges remarked. “And as Trump is. But when these buffoonish figures take power, they become extremely frightening.”

      “They are frightening,” Scheer replied. But “what you’re saying is they didn’t come from nowhere.”

    • Images from US Border Patrol facility reveal harsh conditions for immigrants

      The photograph, a still image drawn from video footage captured by a security camera, shows a mass of cylindrical shapes squashed together in a box and wrapped in what appears to be silver foil, their surfaces glistening like sardines in a tin.

      The shapes are not sardines, however, but human beings. And they are wrapped not in foil but in emergency blankets, handed out to them as they were put into a cramped detention center at the US border, courtesy of the federal agency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

      The image, and several others like it released on Thursday at the order of a federal judge, gives the most damning evidence yet seen of the exceptionally harsh and some say abusive conditions to which immigrants are subjected when detained at the southern US border with Mexico.

    • We need to re-examine Corbyn’s so-called ‘dangerous friendships’

      An LSE survey found that 74% of newspaper articles ‘offered either no or a highly distorted account of Corbyn’s views and ideas’ and that only 9% were ‘positive’ in tone. Research carried out at Birkbeck similarly found a strong bias in ‘mainstream media coverage’. So how trustworthy are the above claims?

    • ‘We Tortured Some Kids’: Parody Advert Unveils Horrors at Australia’s Child Detention Facilities (Video) [Ed: When Obama said "We Tortured Some Folks" he thought he had done enough regarding torture but never pressed charges against the criminals]

      Allegations that Nauru’s conditions are as horrendous as those at Guantanamo Bay were confirmed earlier this month, when the Guardian published more than 8,000 pages of leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island. The documents detail “assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty,” reports the Guardian.

      “But, alas, our human rights record is constantly under threat of improving,” the video’s narrator says. “To continue our abuse and torture programs, the government requires your complicity,” she adds, offering five simple steps you can take to help.

    • Lost Peoples of the Lake

      Our visit was punctuated by the sighting of a lone coyote padding along the salt crust: the traditional Native American trickster is perhaps conjuring further redemption for the Lake. There is no commemoration of the killing fields of Inyo County: surely they bring even greater shame upon this country than, for instance, the nearby WWII era Japanese internment camp of Manzanar and are of at least equal educational potential. The new monument might be more relevant if it referenced the lost peoples of the Lake rather than simulating, in earth and granite cobbles, the waves that animated the vast body of water that once filled the graben. In the Owen’s Valley, there is yet a greater, unacknowledged debt to be paid.

    • The Olympics: Nationalism at its Worst

      Once again the world is being subjected to the periodic nationalist orgy known as the Olympics. Here, we are told, participating nations around the globe are all equal, and send their best athletes for a friendly competition, where nothing but sportsmanship counts, and any and all other differences are not even considered. After trying their very best in each of many different sports, the top three are honored with a gold, silver or bronze medal, something he or she can look proudly on for generations to come.

      This writer hates to burst such a pretty balloon (actually, he doesn’t hate doing so at all), but once one has passed the age where Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy have all been relegated to the status of pleasant childhood memories, the same should be done with the farce of the Olympics.

      Let’s look for a minute at a few examples.

      [...]

      Now let us look at another Olympic swimmer, Yursa Mardini, age 18. Ms. Mardina is a Syrian refugee, who, perhaps, didn’t have the same advantages as Mr. Phelps. She refers to being in the Olympics as a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity; please note that the current games are Mr. Phelp’s fifth foray into an Olympic pool. And training was sometimes difficult for Ms. Mardini, not because she didn’t have sufficient energy or motivation, but because of other factors. Said she: “…sometimes we couldn’t train because of the war. Or sometimes you had training but there was a bomb in the swimming pool.” Mr. Phelps, once caught with a bong in his mouth, never had a bomb in his pool.

      [...]

      The Olympics, for some bizarre reason, attract the attention of people for whom watching an athletic event, let alone ever participating in one, does not occur outside of this periodic spectacle. But these are people who never let an opportunity pass for a flag to be waved, and to rejoice in anything that, in their narrow little minds, sets their nation above all the rest. There is no thought of the deadly, murderous horrors their country may inflict on innocent people (see: USA, Israel), no thought to the exploitation and abuse of the poor (see: USA, Brazil), no thought of blatant racism (see: USA, Israel). No, if a swimmer from one’s own country swims faster than the swimmers representing other countries, one’s country is the greatest! For such people, seeing an athlete representing their country stand atop the highest pedestal, accepting a gold medal, brings a tear to the eye as the chest swells with pride!

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • EFF accuses T-Mobile of violating net neutrality with throttled video

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has accused T-Mobile USA of violating net neutrality principles with a new “unlimited” data plan that throttles video. The group is weighing whether to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, and the EFF is evaluating a similar offering from Sprint.

      T-Mobile’s $70-per-month unlimited data plan limits video to about 480p resolution and requires customers to pay an extra $25 per month for high-definition video. The plan also throttles mobile hotspot connections unless customers pay an extra $15 for each 5GB allotment. Going forward, this will be the only plan offered to new T-Mobile customers, though existing subscribers can keep their current prices and data allotments.

  • DRM

    • This lawsuit could be the beginning of the end for DRM

      Our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently filed a lawsuit challenging Section 1201 of the US’s Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which provides legal reinforcement to the technical shackles of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). Defective by Design applauds this lawsuit and agrees with the EFF that Section 1201 violates the right to freedom of speech. We hope that excising Section 1201 from US law can be the beginning of the end for DRM.

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