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05.26.16

Links 26/5/2016: CentOS Linux 6.8, Ansible 2.1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 open source skills in high demand

    The open source job market is booming and companies need talent to drive their business. Here are the five most in-demand skills for open source IT professionals.

  • 7 Essential Skill-Building Courses for the Open Source Jobs Market

    Dice and The Linux Foundation recently released an updated Open Source Jobs Report that examines trends in open source recruiting and job seeking. The report clearly shows that open source professionals are in demand and that those with open source experience have a strong advantage when seeking jobs in the tech industry. Additionally, 87 percent of hiring managers say it’s hard to find open source talent.

  • Open-Source Software Companies Try a New Business Model

    Early open-source software companies adopted a strategy of selling services to support technology freely available on the Web. Red Hat, which has about $2.0 billion in annual revenue, demonstrated that open-source software companies could scale, but it is one of several exceptions to the rule, according to Jake Flomenberg, a partner at venture capital firm Accel Partners.

  • 3 open source alternatives to AutoCAD

    CAD—Computer aided design, or computer aided drafting, depending on who you ask—is technology created to make it easier to create specifications for real-world objects. Whether the object you’re building is a house, car, bridge, or spaceship, chances are it got its start in a CAD program of one type or another.

    Among the best-known CAD programs is AutoDesk’s AutoCAD, but there are many others out there, both proprietary and open source alike. So how do the open source alternatives to AutoCAD stack up? The answer depends on how you plan to be using them.

  • A Template Job Posting for Open Source Office Lead

    I ran into several folks this past week at OSCON who expressed a keen interest in creating a dedicated role for Open Source at their respective companies. So what was stopping them? One simple thing: every single one of them was struggling to define exactly what that role means. Instinctively we all have a feeling of what an employee dedicated to Open Source might do, but when it comes time to write it down or try to convince payroll, it can be challenging. Below I have included a starting point for a job description of what a dedicated Open Source manager might do. If you are in this boat, I’d highly recommend that you also check out the slides from our talk at OSCON this year. In addition, the many blog posts we’ve published about why our respective companies run Open Source.

  • SDN and Cloud Foundry

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Cray builds Urika-GX for open source data analytics

      High Performance Computing Supercomputer (HPCS) outfit Cray is one of those special companies.

    • Datadog Announces New Hadoop Monitoring Solution

      There are many more enterprises running Hadoop at scale now, and for a lot of them, monitoring has become important. Toward that end, there are new front ends and dashboards that make monitoring easier. Datadog, which has a SaaS-based monitoring platform for cloud applications, has announced support for Hadoop with a focus on monitoring.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • OSS Funding, CentOS 6.8, Open Source Hardware

      Johnny Hughes announced the release of CentOS 6.8 topping the Linux news today. Slackware-current received more updates today and Alicia Gibb announced a new Open Hardware certification. Jeremy Garcia offered some financial assistance to Open Source projects “in need of funding” and Gentoo developer Andreas Huettel today said, “Akonadi for e-mail needs to die.”

    • Are You Involved With an Open Source Project That’s In Need of Funding? I May Be Able to Help.

      With that in mind, are you involved with an Open Source project that would benefit from a targeted donation to accomplish a specific goal or task? If so please contact me with details and we’ll see if Linux Fund is a good fit. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me directly or post here.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Here I am casually using GDB with Infinity
    • Rust implementation of GNUnet with GSoC

      I will be participating in Google Summer of Code this year with GNUnet. The project is on improving the Rust implementation of GNUnet utils. The primary objective is to add asynchronous IO in a way that is general, extensible and resemble the original GNUnet API.

    • libbrandt GSoC kickoff

      I was accepted for a Google Summer of Code project and will be developing an auctioning library. During the community bonding period I have so far read four papers relevant to the topic, choosen a few algorithms with slightly different properties which I want to implement and reconstructed one of them within the pari/gp CLI (see attachment). I also started with a first draft of the library interface which will be published in a git repository shortly.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Governance, one of the main sectors using open data

        Governance, data and information technology, and research and consulting are the three sectors that most frequently use open government data across all regions, the Open Data Impact report reveals.

        The report, published in May, aimed at assessing the use of open data from the perspective of the people and organisations that use it – unlike the Open Data Barometer or Open Data Index which assess open data supply and quality in the world.

        “In the governance sector, uses focus on government accountability and transparency, providing services to government agencies, or improving governance and policy on specific issues”, whereas “data/ information technology organisations work to make open government data more useful and applicable for other businesses”, the report notes. “In a similar way, organisations that offer research and consulting services help other organisations and companies succeed and create economic and social value ”, the report added.

      • Matt Hancock (UK) pledges transparency through open data at OGP meeting

        Promoting transparency through open data was at the center of a visit by Matt Hancock, UK Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, to South Africa for an OGP Steering Committee meeting in May.

        Matt Hancock reaffirmed the UK government’s commitment to transparency and noted that the country was recently ranked first in the Open Data Barometer of the World Wide Web Foundation.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • Pyston 0.5 released

      Today we are extremely excited to announce the v0.5 release of Pyston, our high performance Python JIT. We’ve been a bit quiet for the past few months, and that’s because we’ve been working on some behind-the-scenes technology that we are finally ready to unveil. It might be a bit less shiny than some other things we could have worked on, but this change makes Pyston much more ready to use.

    • Pyston 0.5 Released As A Faster Python JIT

      The Dropbox engineers working on their Pyston project as a high-performance JIT implementation today announced version 0.5 of the software.

    • Jono Bacon Leaves GitHub

      One rumor FOSS Force has heard puts him on his way back to Canonical. In his blog post, Bacon hints that he has some plans, “I have a few things in the pipeline that I am not quite ready to share yet, so stay tuned and I will share this soon.”

Leftovers

  • Get ready for more ads on Google Maps

    The search giant adds new ways for brands to lure people using its maps service. What this could mean for you: more stops at McDonald’s during road trips.

  • Unsafe at Many Speeds

    Visual Evidence looks at the ways design and data visualization can create or solve real-world problems, from making weather warnings easier to read to finding meaning on the bottom of our shoes. This week, we’ll transform some data on an everyday — some might even say, pedestrian – topic into a more visual and interactive form.

  • Move to scrap university entrance exams gains speed

    The hectic rush every spring as thousands of frazzled university applicants attend entrance exams has engendered even more talk than usual this year, as several fronts are pressing for dropping the demanding tests all together. The problem is finding a suitable replacement that would still be a fair determinant of applicant merits.

  • Science

    • NFL’s War Against Science and Reason

      As a powerful corporation and cultural icon, the NFL expects to always get its way whether muscling aside concussion scientists or ignoring science in a witch hunt against one of its best quarterbacks and teams, writes Robert Parry.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Unaffordable Medicines Now Global Issue; System Needs Change, Panellists Say

      At a side event to this week’s annual World Health Assembly, a member of the Netherlands Ministry of Health delivered an unexpected speech on access to medicines, calling for more clarity in the setting of medicine prices, looking inside and outside of the patent system for solutions, and praising de-linkage. Other panellists viewed partnerships as a key ingredient to fill research and development gaps. And a representative from the Gates Foundation advised against a hasty switch to new system.

      Yesterday, an event co-organised by Health Action International, Medicines for Malaria Venture, and Oxfam gathered four speakers asked to discuss ways to achieve affordable access to health technologies.

    • Big Pharma: Pushing the Edge of the Envelope

      Wall Street’s drive for profits is hiking drug prices, says Caroline Poplin, MD, JD

    • GOP Lawmakers Capitalize on Zika Threat to Pass Bill Dubbed ‘Making Pesticides Great Again’ Act

      Representative Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.)., meanwhile, said it “is a sham.”

      “It is nothing but trying to weaken the environmental regulations. It exempts, a broad exemption, of toxic pesticides from the Clean Water Act,” she said to PBS Newshour Monday, adding that the bill stands to “pollute our rivers and contaminate our water.”

      Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.) spoke out against the measure on the House floor Tuesday, calling it “misguided” and “harmful.”

      “I am very concerned about the effect of these pesticides on the health of our rivers, on our streams, and especially the drinking water supplies of all our citizens, including pregnant women,” Napolitano added.

      Slamming the repeated iterations of the bill that threatens “to undo protections that safeguard our environment and public health,” Hoyer said that to “bring the same bill back to the Floor last week and again today, renamed with ‘Zika’ in the title, is one of the most egregious displays of dishonesty I’ve seen while serving in the House.”

      “It is an act that seeks to provide political cover for Republicans who refused to act on President Obama’s urgent request for funding to address the Zika outbreak in a serious way. House Republicans might as well bring this bill to the Floor and rename it the ‘Making Pesticides Great Again’ Act, because in truth it would remove virtually all federal oversight concerning the use of chemical pesticides to ensure they do not end up in our water supply,” he charged.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Big Stink, Necessary Evil’: A Poem That Will Change Your Perspective on the Atomic Bombings (Audio)
    • “American Sniper” Chris Kyle Distorted His Military Record, Documents Show

      No American has been more associated with the Navy SEAL mystique than Chris Kyle, known as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. His bestselling autobiography, American Sniper — a story of honor, glory, and quiet heroism — has sold more than a million copies. The movie adaptation became the highest-grossing war film in American history.

      “All told,” Kyle wrote in his book, “I would end my career as a SEAL with two Silver Stars and five Bronze [Stars], all for valor.”

      But Kyle, who was murdered by a fellow military veteran several years after leaving the Navy, embellished his military record, according to internal Navy documents obtained by The Intercept. During his 10 years of military service and four deployments, Kyle earned one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with Valor, a record confirmed by Navy officials.

    • Will Russia Succumb To Washington’s Economic Attack?

      If Russia is going to allow the West to control its economy, it may as well allow Washington to control its armed forces.

    • Former 9/11 Commissioner Won’t Rule Out Saudi Royal Family Foreknowledge of 9/11 Plot

      A former member of the 9/11 Commission on Tuesday left open the possibility that the Saudi royal family knew about the 9/11 terror plot before it happened.

      Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., asked members of the panel at a House Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing to raise their hands in response to this question:

      “How many of you there believe that the royal family of Saudi Arabia did not know and was unaware that there was a terrorist plot being implemented that would result in a historic terrorist attack in the United States, in the lead-up to 9/11?”

      Two of the four panelists raised their hands, but Tim Roemer, 9/11 Commission member and a former congressman from Indiana, did not. Neither did Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    • After ‘Destroying’ Canada, Stephen Harper Leaving Politics to ‘Make His Fortune’

      News that former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper would be leaving politics presumably to “make his fortune” was met with derision and delight from his many critics who say that the conservative MP “destroyed the social fabric of Canada.”

      Harper is expected to resign from federal politics before Parliament resumes in the fall. According to the Globe and Mail, which broke the news Wednesday, he plans to “pursue new interests on corporate boards and the establishment of a foreign policy institute,” which, according to an undisclosed source, “won’t be academic or domestic-policy focused…but directed largely at global ‘big picture’ issues.”

    • Harper will step down as MP before Parliament’s fall session

      Along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Harper pushed austerity and balanced budgets at the G20 summits, a view not shared by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government expects to run a $30-billion deficit this fiscal year.

    • Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army

      In a surprise move, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week forced out his long-serving defence minister, Moshe Yaalon. As he stepped down, Yaalon warned: “Extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel.”

      He was referring partly to his expected successor: Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, whose trademark outbursts have included demands to bomb Egypt and behead disloyal Palestinian citizens.

      But Yaalon was also condemning extremism closer to home, in Netanyahu’s Likud party. Yaalon is to take a break from politics. With fitting irony, his slot is to be filled on Likud’s backbenches by Yehuda Glick, a settler whose struggle to destroy Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque and replace it with a Jewish temple has the potential to set the Middle East on fire.

    • Let Obama’s Hiroshima visit open up debate in the U.S. about the nuclear attacks

      Years ago, when I lived in San Diego, I saw a Cadillac with a homemade sign taped to the window that read “If there was not a Pearl Harbor, there would not have been a Hiroshima.” The car’s specialized license plate indicated that the owner was a Pearl Harbor veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart. The combination of messages perfectly encapsulated what is often the American understanding of the atomic bombs: necessary, just and, above all, uncomplicated.

      Tomorrow, Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima. It is a powerful moment for both Americans and Japanese. As a historian, I hope we can see this visit as an opportunity to open up the debate on the standard narratives of the nuclear attacks.

    • A Year Ago, I Crossed the DMZ in Korea. Here’s Why.
    • Evo Morales: Latin America Must Fight US Coups with ‘Democratic Revolution’

      Bolivian President Evo Morales called on leftist governments in South America to counter U.S. plans to control the region with a “democratic revolution.”

      “In some countries it should be like a wake-up call where [governments] must start permanent conferences to relaunch democratic and cultural revolutions for Latin America and the Caribbean [region],” Morales said during an interview in Cuba on Monday night with the program Cubavisión, according to TeleSUR.

    • Evo Morales Urges ‘Democratic Revolutions Against US Empire’

      The Bolivian head of state further warned that several socialist governments in the region are facing “a battle against the empire” which has launched a campaign to discredit and destabilize those governments.

    • Do Clinton Voters Care About War?

      In America, we do not lock up our murdering politicians. We rarely prosecute or impeach them. The only scandals that stick are sex ones. Serious voters, writers, pundits, and anyone else who feels as if they have deep principles invariably buckle under the partisan weight of the political system.

      She hasn’t yet been coronated, but Hillary Clinton is surely about to win the Democratic nomination. Sure, Sen. Bernie Sanders has given her an amusing amount of trouble. And though he’s voted for deaths abroad as well, he hasn’t voted for as many as Clinton. (This is not an argument for Sanders, but it is unquestionably an argument against Clinton.) Still, she’s got this thing in the bag, because she’s got party loyalty, and she may even win the hearts of a few lost, sad little neocons running away from Donald Trump.

    • The Pentagon’s Huge Atomic Floppies

      When you hear the phrase “floppy disk,” your mind (assuming you’re of a certain age) flashes back to those ubiquitous 3.5-inch versions that were AOL’s Johnny Appleseed in the mid-1990s, spreading “You’ve Got Mail!” across the land. Only the aged among us can recollect what came before: the behemoth 5.25-inch models that owned the (tiny computer universe of the) 1980s.

    • US nuclear force ‘still uses floppy disks’ [iophk: "Newer is not better. Different is not better. Only better is better. Let's hope that the new stuff is not infected with Microsoft"]

      The US nuclear weapons force still uses a 1970s-era computer system and floppy disks, a government report has revealed.

      The Government Accountability Office said the Pentagon was one of several departments where “legacy systems” urgently needed to be replaced.

      The report said taxpayers spent $61bn (£41bn) a year on maintaining ageing technologies.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Canary Watch – One Year Later

      Along the way, the project has been part of the massive popularization of the concept: we began with just eleven canaries listed, and now just a year later we have almost seventy. In the course of tracking those, we have learned many lessons about the different types of canaries that are present on the web, as well as what happens when a canary goes away.

      In that way, the Canary Watch project has been a major success, and we’ve decided that it has achieved the goals we set out for it. As of today we will no longer accept submissions of new canaries or monitor the existing canaries for changes or take downs.

    • Obama Promised Open Government, But Hasn’t Delivered Yet

      President Obama took office promising to usher in an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability in the federal government.

      Back in 2009, when he said federal agencies “should take affirmative steps to make information public,” he promised that the administration would make openness a centerpiece of its agenda.

      But as the curtain closes on Obama’s second term, many of his lofty promises remain unfulfilled.

    • Swedish court upholds Assange arrest warrant

      A Swedish lower court upheld on Wednesday the arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, saying the stay at Ecuador’s London embassy did not equal detention.

      Assange, 44, is wanted by Swedish authorities for questioning over allegations, which he denies, that he committed rape in 2010.

    • Report: Swedish Police Excuse Migrant Rape, Blame ‘Nordic Alcohol Culture’ And ‘Ignorance’

      A Swedish police report into rape and sexual assault committed by migrants has blamed “Nordic alcohol culture,” “ignorance” and the “non-traditional gender roles” of European women for the growing problem.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • US insurance aid props up climate-risk homes

      Major insurer calls for an end to government subsidies that encourage expensive house-building schemes in areas of the US at high risk of floods and storms.

    • Activists and Investors Hold Exxon’s Feet to the Fire for Climate Crimes

      Exxon shareholders on Wednesday rejected a resolution that would have forced the oil giant to calculate and report the impact of climate change on its long-term business prospects, as well as other climate-related proposals, in some cases by an “overwhelming majority.”

      DeSmog Blog’s Steve Horn reports that “shareholders voted against one that called for the company to limit global warming to 2-degrees Celsius, with 18-percent voting for it and 82-percent against it. Further, 79-percent of shareholders voted against a resolution calling for the company to insert a climate expert on its Board.”

    • Striking Workers Shut Down France’s Oil Depots, Move to Blockade Nuclear Plant

      Striking workers with the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), one of France’s largest unions, are clashing with French government forces after the union members blockaded oil refineries and depots in response to President François Hollande forcing unpopular labor reforms through parliament earlier this month.

      Hollande’s proposed legislation would make it easier to fire employees, increase employees’ work hours, and move jobs offshore, in defiance of France’s long history of labor protections.

      The blockades shut down a quarter of the France’s gas stations and forced the country to dip into reserve petrol supplies.

  • Finance

    • We Have Entered The Looting Stage Of Capitalism

      Having successfully used the EU to conquer the Greek people by turning the Greek “leftwing” government into a pawn of Germany’s banks, Germany now finds the IMF in the way of its plan to loot Greece into oblivion .

      The IMF’s rules prevent the organization from lending to countries that cannot repay the loan. The IMF has concluded on the basis of facts and analysis that Greece cannot repay. Therefore, the IMF is unwilling to lend Greece the money with which to repay the private banks.

    • The Financial Invasion of Greece

      The IMF is preparing to bail out Ukraine, to say you don’t have to pay your debts that you owe to Russia or any governments that the U.S. doesn’t like. You have to sell off your land to George Soros and the people whom the U.S. government does like. Look at the duel standard that the IMF is imposing on Greece compared to what it’s doing for the Ukrainian government. You see that the IMF has become a tool of the New Cold War and the Syriza people and the Greeks can do is point out how unfair this is and to try to let the world know that what is happening is a movement way to the right wing of the political spectrum and that finance is war.

    • Lawsuit accusing 16 big banks of Libor manipulation reinstated by US court

      A US appeals court on Monday reinstated a civil lawsuit accusing 16 major banks of conspiring to manipulate the Libor benchmark interest rate. The ruling, which overturns a 2013 decision, could bankrupt the institutions, the judges warned.

      A lower court judge erred in dismissing the antitrust portion of private litigation against Barclays, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS and others on the ground that the investors failed to allege harm to competition, according to the US circuit court of appeals in Manhattan.

      Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, underpins hundreds of trillions of dollars of transactions and is used to set rates on credit cards, student loans and mortgages. It is calculated based on submissions by banks that sit on panels.

    • Bernie Sanders Makes Hay With His Old-School Oratory Skills

      They were insistent that Sanders stay in the race against Hillary Clinton. “We haven’t had our primary yet,” Ewald said. “It should all count,” echoed Selden. “I think he should stay. He has to. The only people who want him to stop are the big corporations.”

    • 39,000 Verizon Workers Mark Six Weeks on Strike in Biggest U.S. Labor Action in Years

      Today marks six weeks since nearly 40,000 Verizon workers went on strike along the East Coast, from Massachusetts to Virginia, marking one of the biggest U.S. strikes in years. The workers have been without a contract since August amid attempts by Verizon to cap pensions, cut benefits and outsource work to Mexico, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. On Tuesday, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam admitted the company’s second-quarter earnings may take a hit because the strike has resulted in the company falling behind on new internet and television installations. This comes as financial analysts are projecting the strike will cost Verizon $200 million in profits this year and a loss of $343 million in revenue in the second quarter alone. The Verizon strike is being organized by two unions: the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. We speak to Verizon worker Pamela Galpern and Bob Master, assistant to the vice president of Communications Workers of America.

    • Pentagon Cafeteria Workers Faced Retaliation From Managers After Going On Strike

      Food service managers at the Pentagon have been illegally retaliating against workers for going on strike, attorneys for the National Labor Relations Board have found.

      Multiple employees at a Pentagon cafeteria managed by Seven Hills, Inc., participated in strikes alongside other federal contract workers across the Washington, D.C., area in recent years. The campaign is the first of its kind, and has already won the support of the Obama administration in both word and deed.

    • The Other Big Surprise of 2016 Is the Return of Democratic Socialism

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

    • Republicans Demand Flint-Like Solution To Puerto Rico Debt

      Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) explains how Wall Street financial interests contributed to the economic crisis in Puerto Rico at the “Take On Wall Street” campaign event Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol.

      In 2008 Wall Street got in over its head, and the U.S. government and Federal Reserve stepped in with trillions of dollars to bail them out. Now Puerto Rico has debt that it cannot pay. Instead of helping, though, Republicans in Congress are demanding increased austerity and an unelected “oversight board” that sets aside democratic governance – the same way Republicans imposed unelected government on Michigan cities like Flint. (We know how that turned out.)

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Myth That Sanders Hasn’t Been Criticized Won’t Go Away

      This line of argument has been advanced by, for example, everyone from Slate’s Michelle Goldberg to the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky to MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid. The problem is this Beltway dogma is based entirely on rhetorical sleight-of-hand, conventional wisdom and unfalsifiable assumptions.

      The refrain that the Clinton campaign hasn’t run a negative attack on Sanders, thus protecting him from the sort of criticism that lies ahead, is just a lie — one that normally reserved PolitiFact (5/22/16) deemed Clinton’s claim to this effect “false.” This argument has been repeated by several pundits, notably Goldberg (5/2/16), who wrote, “Clinton has not hit Sanders with a single negative ad.” Tomasky (5/24/16) added, “While [Sanders] all but called Clinton a harlot, she’s barely said a word about him.”

    • WATCH: Amy Goodman on MetroFocus (PBS)

      Amy Goodman appears on the PBS show MetroFocus and breaks down all that is wrong with the media’s coverage of Election 2016.

    • 72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election

      A 72-year-old college professor named Alexander van der Bellen, running for president as the candidate of the leftist Austrian Green Party, a fringe party that had never been considered a serious contender in post-war Austrian politics, just won a narrow victory over Norbert Hofer, a right-wing candidate of the neo-fascist Freedom Party who had been favored to win.

    • If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent

      As of late I have not been particularly kind to Senator Sanders‘ ability or even intentions to truly fight for what desperately must be done to salvage a vague sense that democracy is not a complete illusion in the United States of America. Early on, when he threw his hat into the election circus ring, we made proper official interview requests to the Senator from Vermont through his Senate staff, and were never granted the courtesy of any sort of response. In several columns we have called him a “Hillary Clinton seat warmer” a “limp candidate” and other unflattering names. As the primary charade is about to end, Bernie Sanders still has a chance to not let his many supporters completely down. Sanders still can be a real contender, but the window of opportunity is closing extremely quickly.

    • Dems Reportedly Asking: Has Debbie Wasserman Schultz Become ‘Too Toxic’?

      Democratic Party insiders are reportedly discussing whether to remove Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) before this summer’s nominating convention in Philadelphia.

      “There’s a strong sentiment that the current situation is untenable and can only be fixed by her leaving,” a senior Democratic aide told The Hill. “There’s too much water under the bridge for her to be a neutral arbiter.”

    • DNC chair on thin ice

      Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is on increasingly thin ice as she risks losing key support to stay in her job.
      Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of Hillary Clinton’s leading supporters on Capitol Hill, told CNN Wednesday that Wasserman Schultz is seen by supporters of Bernie Sanders as “part of the problem.” She said the Florida congresswoman is playing a “starring role” ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July, which is unusual for someone in her position.

    • Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz Pick Influence Peddlers to Guide DNC Platform

      Three professional influence peddlers, including a registered corporate lobbyist, have been chosen by Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., to serve on the committee responsible for drafting the party’s platform.

      The 15-member panel has six members chosen by Clinton, five chosen by Bernie Sanders and four chosen by Wasserman Schultz.

      Wendy Sherman and Carol Browner, two of the representatives chosen by Clinton, work at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a “government affairs” firm that was created in 2009 through a merger with Madeleine Albright’s consulting company and Stonebridge International, a defense contractor lobbying shop.

    • Blaming ‘Too Much Democracy’ for Trump

      The latest lament of the neocon establishment is that America is suffering from too much democracy – leading to Donald Trump – but the opposite is more to the point, how elite manipulation set this stage, explains Mike Lofgren.

    • Hillary Clinton ripped by State Department inspector over e-mail flap

      The Republican Party and Donald Trump just got some fresh campaign fodder. A State Department inspector general report released Wednesday concludes that Hillary Clinton sidestepped security by running a private e-mail server when she was Secretary of State.

      The 83-page report by Inspector General Steve Linick noted that the Office of the Secretary has had “longstanding, systemic weaknesses related to electronic records.” What’s more, the report (PDF) concludes the office hasn’t addressed these issues fast enough.

    • Government Report on Clinton Email Scandal Much Worse Than Expected

      Hillary Clinton and her top aides failed to comply with U.S. State Department policies on records by using her personal email server and account, possibly jeopardizing official secrets, an internal watchdog concluded in a long-awaited report (pdf) on Wednesday.

      Clinton also never sought permission from the department’s legal staff to use the server, which was located at her New York residence, a request which—if filed—”would not” have been approved, the report by the agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) states.

    • Hillary Clinton Is Criticized for Private Emails in State Dept. Review

      The State Department’s inspector general on Wednesday sharply criticized Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, saying that she had not sought permission to use it and would not have received it if she had.

      The report, delivered to members of Congress, undermined some of Mrs. Clinton’s previous statements defending her use of the server and handed her Republican critics, including the party’s presumptive nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, new fodder to attack her just as she closes in on the Democratic nomination.

    • Sanders Calls for Kentucky Vote Review, Clinton Nixes California Debate

      Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are revving up their campaigns in anticipation of the California primary, which will be held on June 7. This week, their pre-California strategies are growing clear: Sanders is attempting to engage with Hillary and create campaign momentum, whereas Clinton is continuing to go after Trump while trying to ignore any hindrances to her own campaign. Midway through this week’s madness, let’s look at what’s happening with both the Democratic nominees.

      On Monday, it was announced that Sanders would pick members for the platform-writing portion of the Democratic Party. The Washington Post reports that of the 15 members in the body, Clinton will appoint six and Sanders will appoint five. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Convention’s chair, will appoint the remaining four.

    • Transgender Group ‘Perplexed’ At Why Clinton Won’t Fill Out Questionnaire

      A national group for trans people in the United States is waiting for Hillary Clinton to complete a survey on where she stands on issues. On the other hand, the group is not waiting for Bernie Sanders. He followed through on his commitment to fill out the questionnaire.

    • Five Takeaways From Democracy Spring

      April 2016 was a turning point for democracy in the United States.

      Under the banner of Democracy Spring, thousands of Americans decided to fight back against a broken democratic system that represents only the wealthiest in society. They gathered in Washington, D.C. to march, rally, and risk arrest (over 1300 people were arrested on the Capitol steps) to get big money out of politics and ensure that every American has the right to vote.

      These protestors had clear demands, endorsing four pieces of legislation already introduced in Congress.

    • Television Meets History

      “All The Way,” an HBO biopic of LBJ from his first days of presidency through the election victory of 1964, aired on Saturday to the delight of critics and, one suspects, also most of the viewers. The adaptation of Robert Schenkkan’s Tony award-winning 2014 theater piece is certainly timely, in the fifty-year anniversary sense alone, but it has a lot more going for it. Jay Roach, who memorably directed Bryan Cranston, star of this film, as Dalton Trumbo in an earlier biopic, here has crafted a Lyndon Johnson true to the life, vulgar and manipulative but in many ways the loyal son of the New Deal that Johnson imagined himself.

      What may it mean to people not yet born fifty years ago, most of all to today’s young, economically sunken and political restless population? How do they (or we) understand a political crisis of the two party system in the face of another political crisis, at least as intense? And what do we make, on the Democratic side in particular, of rivals who hearken back to that political era, where they developed their ideas and hardened themselves for an extended upward climb?

      It would seem especially difficult for mainstream Democrats, now in a rush to get Bernie Sanders into the concession mode, to imagine a teenage Hillary Clinton as the Goldwater Girl of suburban Chicago, 1964. Respectable Republican suburbanites mostly disdained use of the N Word as evidence of lower class vulgarity. But Barry Goldwater’s insistence that the Constitution forbade “forced” integration of schools and other public facilities had a special resonance for the Country Club set. As suburbs sprouted, racial covenants had sprouted with them way back to the 1920s, marking off large, mostly prosperous living space—especially compared to the tax-starved cities—from the taint of a non-white presence. Hillary Rodham’s own Park Ridge was a prime case in point: 99.9% white in 1960, its residents undoubtedly wished to keep it that way.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A Huge, Huge Deal

      Here and there we’ve reported on the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker. As you probably know, Hogan won the case and won a massive judgment of $115 million dollars and an additional $25 million in punitive damages. While it is widely believed that the verdict is likely to be reversed on appeal or at least the judgment dramatically reduced, Gawker had to immediately place $50 million into escrow. The anticipated need to produce that sum forced Gawker to sell an undisclosed amount of the company to a Russian oligarch named Viktor Vekselberg. Simple fact: It’s hard to feel too much sympathy when a publication gets sued for publishing excerpts of someone’s sex tape. But some new information emerged this morning that, in my mind, significantly changes the picture.

    • Silicon Valley Billionaire Peter Thiel Accused Of Financing Hulk Hogan’s Ridiculous Lawsuits Against Gawker

      So here’s a crazy and unfortunate story. On Monday evening, the NY Times posted a rather weird story suggesting that there was someone with a grudge against Gawker funding the various lawsuits against the site, including Hulk Hogan’s multiple lawsuits (he recently filed another one, even more ridiculous than the first — which resulted in a $115 million verdict against Gawker that hopefully will get tossed on appeal). The NYT piece was weird in that it was pure innuendo — just saying that Gawker’s Nick Denton was increasingly sure that someone who really disliked the site was funding the lawsuits. It was surprising that the NY Times ran it given the lack of anything beyond speculation and rumor.

    • Prisoners’ Voices Blocked and Censorship in U.S. Prisons

      Like many political prisoners, the author’s freedom of speech rights are routinely curtailed. “While prisoners do have a legal right to express their thoughts and report on issues and abuses, actually getting your words out is often very hard or impossible.” U.S. prisons operate their own “kangaroo courts” that often shut down inmate communications “even if the prisoner ultimately wins appeal and has his or her communications restored.”

    • D&AD Next Photographer winner Tam Hoi Ying on challenging censorship in China

      Hong Kong-Chinese photographer Tam Hoi Ying has received this year’s D&AD Next Photographer award for a series of images which raise awareness of issues surrounding freedom of speech and human rights in China. Here, she discusses her work and how she hopes to challenge censorship

    • Copyright As Censorship: Questionable Copyright Claim Forces Indie Musician To Destroy All Physical Copies Of New Album

      Indie musician Will Toledo has a band (it’s all him, actually) called Car Seat Headrest that just (sorta) put out its first album with a label (pretty famous indie record label) after a whole bunch of self-released albums, and lots of (well-deserved) internet buzz. The album was released this past Friday… sorta. Apparently one of the songs included an homage to a song by The Cars. I’ve read a bunch of articles on this and Toledo’s own statement, and the homage is called a bunch of different things, from a “sample” to a “cover” and no one ever clarifies which it actually is. And that’s important because the legal issues are potentially different with each. But, it also doesn’t matter at all because Toledo and Matador have agreed to destroy all the physical copies of the album after The Cars’ Ric Ocasek complained that he didn’t like it. So the digital release came out, with a replacement version of the song that Toledo apparently rewrote a week before the album was released, and a new physical version will come out… sometime.

    • Car Seat Headrest LPs Destroyed Because Ric Ocasek Wouldn’t Authorize a Cars Sample

      Car Seat Headrest’s new album, Teens of Denial, will be digitally available next Friday, May 20 via Matador. The record was originally supposed to be physically released on May 20, too. However, the physical release has been delayed to the summer due to a legal issue over “Just What I Wanted/Not Just What I Needed,” an album track containing elements of the Cars’ “Just What I Needed.” In a press release, the label writes, “Matador had negotiated for a license in good faith months ago, only to be told last week that the publisher involved was not authorized to complete the license in the United States, and that Ric Ocasek preferred that his work not be included in the song.” As a result, the currently printed copies of the record will be recalled and destroyed. The song, meanwhile, will be edited to remove the Cars reference.

    • Censorship & Upcoming Royal Society Evo Meeting

      The world is awash with the latest scientific evidence that anyone and everyone can now access on the Internet. Science in that sense has been democratized and everyone who wants to be in the know can be — including the Royal Society organizing committee — and can have an educated opinion.

    • Ekho Moskvy Chief Alleges Censorship In Cancellation Of Putin Critic’s Show

      The editor in chief of Ekho Moskvy radio, one of Russia’s most prominent independent-minded media outlets, says a popular talk show hosted by a searing Kremlin critic has been pulled off the air due to censorship by the station’s management.

      The comments by Aleksei Venediktov come amid mounting concerns that the authorities are stepping up efforts to curtail hard-hitting investigative reporting and dissenting voices anywhere in the Russian media.

    • Liberal censorship: breaking out of the echo chamber

      Universities, once recognized as bastions of tolerance and diversity, bear perhaps the greatest blame. Kristof cites studies showing that just 6 to 11 percent of humanities professors are conservatives. Fewer than one in ten social-studies professors call themselves conservative. For perspective, consider that twice that number identify as Marxists!

    • Lawmakers From The Great Theocracy Of Utah Looking To Block Porn On Cell Phones

      When we’ve talked in the past about government attempting to outright block pornography sites, those efforts have typically been aimed at sites hosting child pornography. Blocking child porn is a goal that’s impossible to rebel against, though the methods for achieving it are another matter entirely. Too often, these attempts task ISPs and mobile operators with the job of keeping this material out of the public eye, which is equal parts burdensome, difficult to do, and rife with collateral damage. Other nations, on the other hand, have gone to some lengths to outright block pornography in general, such as in Pakistan for religious reasons, or in the UK for save-the-children reasons. If the attempts to block child porn resulted in some collateral damage, the attempts to outright censor porn from the internet resulted in a deluge of such collateral damage. For this reason, and because we have that pesky First Amendment in America, these kinds of efforts attempted by the states have run into the problem of being unconstitutional in the past.

    • Meet The Social Justice Foundation That Pays For Censorship And Lies

      In addition, the foundation has partnered with Microsoft in an effort to replace standardized testing with an educational video game system that would likely bring a progressive message to millions of American students.

    • NUJ: Amendments to CMA 1998 must not restrict right to freedom of expression

      The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has cautioned that the proposed amendments to the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 must not restrict the right to freedom of expression online.

      “NUJ considers it best to bring up the right to reporting and freedom of press since online news now play a bigger role in informing the public.

      “Clamping down on online reporting will not only maim freedom of information but also removes the democratic rights of the people,” it said in statement on Wednesday.

      Proposed amendments to the Act include mandatory registration of political bloggers and online news portals, and an increase in penalties for offences under the Act.

    • NUJ expresses concerns over proposal to amend Communication and Multimedia Act

      The NUJ said it considered it best to bring up the right to reporting and freedom of the press since online media now plays a bigger role in keeping the public informed.

    • NUJ: Proposed law could entrench censorship

      The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Malaysia has lent its support to calls against proposed amendments to the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998.

    • WhatsApp ban ignites Brazil censorship fears
    • Security Researcher Revealing “Secure” Advertising Claim By DigiExam As Utterly False Threatened With Copyright Monopoly Lawsuit
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Mid-2016 Tor bug retrospective, with lessons for future coding

      Recommendation 5.1: all backward compatibility code should have a timeout date. On several occasions we added backward compatibility code to keep an old version of Tor working, but left it enabled for longer than we needed to. This code has tended not to get the same regular attention it deserves, and has also tended to hold surprising deviations from the specification. We should audit the code that’s there today and see what we can remove, and we should never add new code of this kind without adding a ticket and a comment planning to remove it.

    • Anti-Choice Groups Use Smartphone Surveillance to Target ‘Abortion-Minded Women’ During Clinic Visits

      Women who have visited almost any abortion clinic in the United States have seen anti-choice protesters outside, wielding placards and chanting abuse. A Boston advertiser’s technology, when deployed by anti-choice groups, allows those groups to send propaganda directly to a woman’s phone while she is in a clinic waiting room.

      [...]

      When Ads Follow You Around

      By now, most Americans have experienced the following phenomenon: You look at something online—a hotel, a flower delivery service, a course at a local college—and the next thing you know, ads for that thing follow you around the internet for the next week.

      A watch you looked at now pops up next to your Facebook feed; an ad for a coffee machine you researched on Amazon now lurks on your favorite news sites. And maybe, after researching cars online, it seems that Toyota knows whenever you visit a lot, and sends ads to your phone as you walk through the dealership’s doors.

    • Dropbox Wants More Access To Your Computer, and People Are Freaking Out

      On Tuesday, Dropbox published more details about upcoming changes to the company’s desktop client that will allow users to access all of the content in their account as if it is stored on their own machine, no matter how small the hard-disk on their computer.

      In other words, you can browse through your own file system and have direct access to your cloud storage, without having to go and open a web browser nor worry about filling up your hard-drive.

      Sounds great, but experts and critics have quickly pointed out that Dropbox Infinite, as the technology is called, may open up your computer to more serious vulnerabilities, because it works in a particularly sensitive part of the operating system.

    • Is Facebook eavesdropping on your phone conversations?

      It’s irresistible, enticing and addicting. And, it’s available 24-hours a day all over the world to billions of people. Facebook beckons to users seemingly with a two-prong approach – both the pressure and pleasure to post.

      We share stories, photos, triumphs and tragedies. It is ingrained into our daily lives so deeply that studies show people check Facebook, on average, 14 times a day. With all those eyes all over the globe dialed in and the purchasing power available, the online giant has tapped into a controversial delivery of data into its intelligence gathering. It all starts with something that you may not even realize is enabled on your phone.

    • Senate Judiciary Committee Must Pass the Email Privacy Act Without Weakening Amendments

      The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the Email Privacy Act on Thursday. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) plan to introduce near-identical text of the House-passed bill, H.R. 699, as substitute language for the existing Senate bill, S. 356. This manager’s amendment contains minor changes. In addition, up to eight different amendments may be offered.

      The Email Privacy Act would amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require the government to get a probable cause warrant from a judge before obtaining private content stored in the “cloud” with companies such as Google, Facebook, and Dropbox. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 699 last month by a unanimous vote of 419-0. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing last September on the need to reform ECPA and codify the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2010 ruling that the government violated the Fourth Amendment when it obtained emails stored by third parties without a probable cause warrant.

    • Congrats, FBI, You’ve Now Convinced Silicon Valley To Encrypt And Dump Log Files

      Soon after the original Snowden revelations, I went around talking to a bunch of startups and startup organizers, discussing whether they’d be more willing to speak out and complain about excessive government surveillance. Some certainly did, but many were cautious. A key thing that I heard over and over again was “well, our own data privacy protections… aren’t that great, and we’d hate to call attention to that.” Every single time I’d hear that I’d point out that this should now be their first priority: clean up your own act, now and fix your own handling of people’s data, because it’s an issue that’s going to become increasingly important, and you’re being foolish and shortsighted to ignore it.

      While the Snowden revelations certainly did get some companies to improve their own practices, it looks like the FBI’s decision to go after Apple over encryption, has really galvanized many in Silicon Valley to take action to truly protect their users from snooping government officials — meaning making use of real (not backdoored) encryption and also diong other things like dumping log files more frequently.

    • We toured the NSA museum, a building dedicated to America’s secrets and spies — take a look [Ed: Pro-NSA site (not just me saying so) does a puff piece for NSA today
    • The NSA will neither confirm nor deny these are items in its gift shop[Ed: puff pieces for the NSA continue to come from BI]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A computer program rated defendants’ risk of committing a future crime. These are the results.

      Courtrooms across the nation are using computer programs to predict who will be a future criminal. The programs help inform decisions on everything from bail to sentencing. They are meant to make the criminal justice system fairer — and to weed out human biases.

      ProPublica tested one such program and found that it’s often wrong — and biased against blacks. (Read our story.)

    • Drinking Milk While Black: Middle School Kid Busted For “Stealing” Milk Carton He Was Entitled To, and Besides They Probably Have A Frig At Home Too

      A valiant police officer in Prince William County, Virginia arrested and handcuffed an aspiring thug and middle school student – who is black but obviously that had nothing to do with it – after the boy allegedly “stole” a 65-cent milk carton already available to him under a free lunch program. Ryan Turk was confronted by the school cop – wait, tell us again why we have cops in school? – in the cafeteria after he went back to the lunch line to get milk. When the officer grabbed him and charged him with stealing it, he protested – “I yanked away from him and I told him to get off me because he’s not my dad,” the perpetrator later admitted – at which point two officers handcuffed him because he “broke the rules and became disorderly.” Turk was taken to the principal’s office, where he was searched for drugs, charged with larceny and suspended from school for “acting inappropriately” – more specifically, “theft, being disrespectful and using his cell phone.”

    • A School Accused A Student Of Milk Theft. He Was Innocent But Is Still Going To Court.

      A middle school student in Virginia was handcuffed and charged with stealing a 65-cent carton of milk from his school cafeteria, local television station WTVR reported — even though the student, who’s on the school’s free lunch program, wasn’t responsible for paying for it anyway.

      The student’s mother told WVTR she’s very frustrated her son was handcuffed. “They are charging him with larceny,” she said. “I don’t have no understanding as to why he is being charged with larceny when he was entitled to that milk from the beginning.”

    • Prosecutors Still Using Race to Choose Juries in Death Penalty Cases, Despite Century of Supreme Court Rulings

      Yesterday’s 7-1 Supreme Court decision in Foster v. Chatman was a huge victory for Timothy Foster, a 49-year-old Black man who has been on Georgia’s death row for 29 years. The ruling also reflects a systemic problem with the death penalty: prosecutors’ repeated, deliberate use of race to choose jurors. This practice alone makes capital punishment so fundamentally unfair that we must end it.

    • In fighting corruption, whistleblowers must be encouraged

      Corruption is a complex phenomenon, and I think it depends a lot on which point of view you choose to look at it. I think the reality today is a reality of light and shade. Although it is true that there are many more corruption scandals –and we just witnessed a global explosion with the Panama Paper revelations–, corruption has also become a lot more visible than in the past. And that speaks well of the investigation mechanisms, and of the tools of transparency and social mobilisation in many places, which have resulted in these cases coming to light. Before there was much more opacity, I think, on the issue of corruption.

    • Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500

      It’s less than a month since the ‘Frisco Five’ began their hunger strike, with a single demand: that Police Chief Greg Suhr resign or be fired. This chief, who for five years has been crying ‘crocodile tears’ while justifying every police killing of a Black or Latino person. This chief, who for five years has been vigilantly protected by the mayor, the media and the city’s Democratic political establishment.

    • 5,600 Refugees Rescued in 48 Hours an Indictment of Crises Created by West

      As humanitarian groups plead with European officials to allow refugees safe passage—and as Europe closes its borders to asylum seekers—more and more people are risking their lives in the treacherous sea crossing from North Africa to Europe, with disastrous results.

      The Italian Coast guard announced Wednesday morning that a staggering 5,600 migrants had been rescued from treacherous waters off the coast of Libya in only the last 48 hours—straining all search and rescue agencies in the region to absolute capacity.

      On Tuesday alone, 3,000 asylum seekers were rescued in 23 separate operations.

    • DHS/ICE Knew Its World Series ‘Panty Raid’ Was A Bad Idea; Pressured To Do So Anyway

      The Kansas City Royals’ long-delayed return to competitive baseballing coincided with one of the most ridiculous raids ever conducted by the Department of Homeland Security. Birdies, a Kansas City lingerie shop, was “visited” by DHS agents — working in conjunction with ICE — who seized a number of panties emblazoned with a handcrafted take on the Royals’ logo, along with the phrase “Take the Crown.”

    • Will Rhode Island Double Down on the CFAA’s Faults?

      Legislators in Rhode Island have advanced a dangerous bill that would duplicate and exacerbate the faults of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Four organizations joined EFF this week in signing a letter and supporting memo to state legislators explaining the bill’s faults and why it should not pass.

      In addition to threatening innocent activities like security research, whistleblowing in the public interest, and anyone who violates a corporate Terms of Service (TOS) agreement to access confidential information, the bill would place enormous power in the hands of prosecutors, impose steep criminal penalties without even requiring an intent to obtain financial gain, and compound the problematic vagueness of terms in existing Rhode Island state law.

    • Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Takes High-School Detention to a New Level

      Thursday, Jan. 28, was a cold morning in Durham, North Carolina. Wildin David Guillen Acosta went outside to head to school, but never made it. He was thrown to the ground and arrested by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He has been in detention ever since. Wildin, now 19 years old, fled his home in Olancho, Honduras more than two years ago. He was detained when crossing the border, but, as he was a minor at the time, he was allowed to join his family in North Carolina. He started out at Riverside High School, and was set to graduate this June. He wanted to become an engineer. Instead, he has been locked up in the notorious Stewart Detention Center in rural Lumpkin, Georgia, which is run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America.

    • Bill Would Require DNA Samples From Americans When Sponsoring Family Visas

      A new immigration bill under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee would impose unprecedented restrictions on U.S. citizens seeking to sponsor the immigration of their family members, requiring that all parties submit to mandatory DNA testing as part of their visa applications.

      H.R. 5203, the Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016, would require that “a genetic test is conducted to confirm such biological relationship,” adding that, “any such genetic test shall be conducted at the expense of the petitioner or applicant.”

      A public letter from the American Civil Liberties Union protesting the bill notes that its provisions would require “even a nursing mother [to] undergo DNA testing to prove the biological relationship with her infant,” and “would amount to population surveillance that subverts our notions of a free and autonomous citizenry.” It is unclear how the bill would account for adopted children, or those who for a variety of other reasons might not fully share the DNA characteristics of their parents.

    • Amos Yee makes video to hurt Muslims, but the community’s too mature for him

      Amos Yee has made an extremely provocative video with the intent of hurting the beliefs and sentiments of Muslims.

    • Amos Yee to face new charges related to religion

      Less than a year after he was released from jail for posting online an obscene image and content intended to hurt the religious feelings of Christians, teenage blogger Amos Yee is set to be charged on Thursday (May 26) with similar offences.

      The 17-year-old will face eight charges, including five for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Muslims and one for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Christians. These charges relate to content he posted online between November last year and last Thursday.

      The remaining two charges are for allegedly failing to show up at Jurong Police Division last December and this month, despite a notice from Assistant Superintendent of Police Doreen Chong and a magistrate’s order to do so.

    • Muslim students face $5K fine if they refuse Swiss teachers’ handshakes

      Educational authorities in Switzerland ruled Wednesday that the parents or guardians of students who refuse to shake a teacher’s hand — a Swiss tradition — can be fined up to $5,000.

      The decision comes after a school in the northern town of Therwil, near Basel, agreed last month to allow two teenage Muslim boys to refuse to shake hands with their female teachers on religious grounds. The school also decided the boys would not shake hands with male teachers to avoid discrimination.

      The incident sparked a national debate — Swiss students often shake their teachers’ hands at the beginning and end of the day.

    • Police release chilling bodycam footage of the moments before unarmed father-of-two was shot dead in a hotel by Arizona police officer – but crucially omits the moment he begged for his life

      Police in Arizona have released an edited bodycam video of the night an unarmed father was shot dead by cops, although it crucially omits the moment he was killed while begging for his life.

      The shaky footage, published publicly on Tuesday, fails to show the moment Daniel Shaver, 26, was shot dead by officer Philip Brailsford in Mesa on January 18.

      Shaver, a married father-of-two from Texas, was in the city for business relating to his work in pest control.

      Police were called to his hotel after reports that someone was pointing a gun from a window on a high-up floor in La Quinta Inn & Suites on East Superstition Springs Boulevard.

      Though Shaver carries two pellet guns with him for work, he was unarmed at the time.

      In the footage released by police, all that can be seen or heard in the video is the armed response team ordering guests on the fifth floor to get out their rooms as they surrounded Room 502, Shaver’s room.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T’s Broadband Caps Go Live This Week And Are The Opening Salvo In An All-Out War On Cord Cutters

      For a company that just spent $69 billion on DirecTV to unlock “amazing synergies” across the TV, wireless and broadband sectors, AT&T’s latest quarterly earnings subscriber tallies landed with a bit of a thud. The company actually posted a net loss of 54,000 video subscribers, a net loss of 363,000 postpaid phone subscribers, and a net gain of just 5,000 broadband customers during the quarter — suggesting that any “synergies” AT&T envisioned are going to be somewhat slow in coming, if they arrive at all.

      That AT&T spent $69 billion on a satellite TV provider on the eve of the cord cutting revolution — especially given its fixed broadband network lags cable speeds and is in desperate need of upgrade — turned numerous heads on Wall Street. But skeptics haven’t yet really keyed in to the cornerstone of AT&T’s plans or its ultimate secret weapon in the war on evolving markets: usage caps.

    • GOP budget bill would kill net neutrality and FCC’s set-top box plan

      House Republicans yesterday released a plan to slash the Federal Communications Commission’s budget by $69 million and prevent the FCC from enforcing net neutrality rules, “rate regulation,” and its plan to boost competition in the set-top box market.

      The proposal is the latest of many attempts to gut the FCC’s authority, though it’s unusual in that it takes aim at two of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s signature projects while also cutting the agency’s budget. The plan is part of the government’s annual appropriations bill.

  • DRM

    • As Netflix Locks Down Exclusive Disney Rights, The New Walled Gardens Emerge

      Back in 2012, Netflix and Disney struck a deal wherein Netflix would be the exclusive online provider of Disney content starting in 2016. And while we knew that the deal had been struck, it was only this week that Netflix announced on its blog that the exclusive arrangement would formally begin in September. As of September 1, if you want to stream the latest Disney (and by proxy Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar) films — you need to do it via Netflix.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Leaked European Council Document On Major Evaluation Of EU Drug Affordability

      The 28 European Union member governments are preparing to request the European Commission to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the availability and affordability of EU medicinal products that could lead to changes in R&D and pricing models. An apparent first-of-its-kind, the assessment would look at market and data exclusivity, supplementary protection certificates, and intellectual property issues, according to an alleged copy of the draft Council conclusions obtained by Intellectual Property Watch.

    • Trademarks

      • SCHHH … it’s not a single brand

        The IPKat is very grateful to David Pellisé and Juan Carlos Quero of Pellisé Abogados in Barcelona, for telling him about a new reference that is fizzing its way to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

        Interested in the limits of parallel importation? Then pour yourself a stiff G&T and read on. The Barcelona Commercial Court (nº 8) in Spain has essentially asked the CJEU to rule on what happens when the owner of a trademark right has caused uncertainty as to the function of origin.

      • City Of Mesa Abusing Trademark Law To Punish City Council Candidate They Don’t Like

        Another day, another story of abusing trademark law to try to silence speech. Paul Levy has the story of how the city of Mesa, Arizona, has sent a ridiculous cease and desist letter to Jeremy Whittaker, who is running for city council. Apparently, his opponent in the election is the preferred choice of many current city officials, suggesting that they don’t really appreciate Whittaker’s candidacy. But the city took things a ridiculous step too far in sending that cease and desist, arguing that Whittaker’s campaign signs violate the city’s trademark on its logo.

      • Urban Outfitters With A Surprising First Win In Navajo Trademark Dispute: Navajo Isn’t Famous

        Earlier this year, we wrote about an ongoing trademark dispute between the Navajo Nation and Urban Outfitters. The clothier had released a line of clothing and accessories, most notably women’s underwear, with traditional Native American prints and had advertised them as a “Navajo” line. The Nation, which has registered trademarks on the term “Navajo”, had sued for profits and/or damages under trademark law and the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which prohibits companies from passing off goods as being made by Native Americans when they were not. In that post, I had focused on whether or not the term “Navajo” was deserving of trademark protection at all, or whether it ought to be looked at in the same way we consider words like “American”, “Canadian” or “Mexican”, as generic terms to denote a group of people.

    • Copyrights

      • Fan-Created Movie Subtitle Site Operator Facing Prison

        The operator of a site that hosted fan-made translated movie subtitles has been prosecuted in Sweden. Undertexter.se was raided by police in the summer of 2013, despite many feeling that the site had done nothing wrong. That is disputed by the prosecutor who says that the crimes committed are worthy of imprisonment.

      • Hollywood Writers & Copyright Scholars Point Out That Piracy Fears Over Open Set Top Boxes Are Complete FUD

        We’ve been covering for a while the ridiculous ongoing fight about the FCC’s plan to open up the set top box market to actual competition. Historically, we’ve always seen that when closed technologies are opened up, it generally leads to much more innovation that benefits everyone. But the big cable companies are freaking out, because locked set top boxes are a huge moneymaker for them: they get customers to “rent” those cable boxes for an average of $230 per year. The industry, as a whole, takes in approximately $20 billion from set top box rentals alone. And they can only do that because the market is locked down. And the cable companies don’t want to give that up.

        They’ve been trying various strategies to kill off the FCC’s plans, including the ridiculous, but frequently used, argument that opening up set top boxes will harm diversity (the opposite is actually true, but… details). But a key vector of attack on this plan has been to convince their buddies at the MPAA that open set top boxes are just another name for piracy. They’ve convinced some truly confused Hollywood types to freak out about more innovation in set top boxes meaning more piracy, leading to a series of similar op-ed pieces showing up basically everywhere. And those op-eds have influenced some of our clueless lawmakers too, who are now asking if open set top boxes will lead to a Popcorn Time revolution.

05.25.16

Links 25/5/2016: Nginx 1.11, F1 2015 Coming to GNU/Linux Tomorrow

Posted in News Roundup at 8:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Your Occasional Reminder to Use Plain Text Whenever Possible

    I myself have lost access to many WordPerfect files from the ’80s in their original form, though I have been migrating their content to other formats over the years. I was fortunate, though, to do most of my early work in VMS and Unix, so a surprising number of my programs and papers from that era are still readable as they were then. (Occasionally, this requires me to dust off troff to see what I intended for them to look like then.)

  • Science

  • Networking

    • Disruption in the Networking Hardware Marketplace

      The idea behind software-defined networking (SDN) is to abstract physical elements from networking hardware and control them with software. Part of this is decoupling network control from forwarding functions so you can program it directly, but the main idea is that this separation allows for a dynamic approach to networking – something that the increasing disaggregation in IT makes a necessity.

    • Facebook Lauds Terragraph Cost Savings

      Facebook says its Terragraph system could revolutionize service provider economics, insisting the cost point it is targeting for the wireless technology is “significantly” less than that of rival connectivity solutions.

      Announced last month, Terragraph uses unlicensed spectrum in the 60GHz range to provide high-speed connectivity in densely populated communities. (See Facebook Debuts Terragraph & ARIES to Extend Wireless.)

      The social networking giant says it plans to make Terragaph available to service providers through its recently launched Telecom Infra Project (TIP), which is developing open source network technologies in partnership with various telecom operators and vendors. (See Facebook TIPs Telcos Towards Open Source Networks.)

    • AT&T will launch SDN service in 63 countries simultaneously this year, de la Vega says

      Ralph de la Vega, vice chairman of AT&T and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions and AT&T International, told investors during the 44th Annual JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that while he could not name the service yet, it’s something that the company could not have achieved on traditional hardware architectures.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • What the Media and Congress Are Missing on Zika and Poverty

      Somewhere along the way the focus shifted. What began as coordinating a response to Zika that is rooted in smart public health policy and caring for our fellow citizens became a funding fight on Capitol Hill in which many conservatives seem completely divorced from reality—particularly the reality of low-income women and children of color living in the South.

    • Commission may offer defining criteria on hormone disruptors by June

      After a delay of more than two years, the criteria defining hormone disruptors could be presented at the meeting of the College of European Commissioners on 15 June, Le Monde reported on Friday (20 May). EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

      Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health, had promised MEPs in February to present the criteria for the definition of endocrine (hormone) disruptors by this summer. Their publication was originally planned for December 2013.

      Hormone disruptors are already mentioned in two European regulations, one from 2009 on biocides and the other from 2012 on crop protection products, but they remain undefined.

    • Initiative To Find New Antibiotics Being Launched At WHA

      A new initiative seeking to develop new antibiotic treatments is being launched today at the annual World Health Assembly. The Global Antibiotic Research and Development (GARD) is a partnership between the World Health Organization and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).

      The partnership has secured the necessary seed funding to build its scientific strategy, initial research and development (R&D) portfolio, and start-up team, according to a DNDi release.

    • Marijuana social network is denied listing on Nasdaq

      The Denver-based social network has 775,000 users from the 24 states where marijuana is legal medicinally (including those states where it’s also legal recreationally), who use the platform to find like-minded people in their area, learn about nearby dispensaries, and follow pot legalization news. MassRoots has said it meets the criteria for listing on Nasdaq—it has a $40 million market capitalization value and “well over 300 shareholders” through over-the-counter markets, according to CNN Money.

      MassRoots alleges that the decision to deny the social media platform a place on Nasdaq was due to the fact that marijuana use and cultivation remains a federal crime. “On May 23, 2016, Nasdaq denied MassRoots’ application to list on its exchange for being cannabis-related,” the company wrote. “We believe this dangerous precedent could prevent nearly every company in the regulated cannabis industry from listing on a national exchange, making it more difficult for cannabis entrepreneurs to raise capital and slow the progression of cannabis legalization in the United States.”

    • WHO Engagement With Outside Actors: Delegates Tight-Lipped, Civil Society Worried

      This week, country delegates meeting at the annual World Health Assembly are expected to come to an agreement on a framework managing the UN World Health Organization’s relationship with outside actors, such as the private sector, philanthropic organisations and civil society groups.

    • Global Health R&D Under Debate At World Health Assembly

      Panellists included David Kaslow, who oversees PATH’s product development partnerships; Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general in charge of the Health Systems and Innovation Cluster at WHO; Suerie Moon, research director and co-chair of the Forum on Global Governance for Health at the Harvard Global Health Institute; Bernard Pécoul, who leads the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi); and Ambassador Guilherme Patriota, the deputy permanent representative of Brazil to the UN organisations in Geneva.

    • Samantha Bee: In the Big Tobacco vs. Little Vape Fight, the Underdog Keeps on Puffing

      New government regulations announced earlier this month may give Big Tobacco a huge advantage over its major competitor—the vape market.

    • GMOs Are Complicated, And Our Food System Is Not Designed To Handle Complicated. That’s A Problem.

      The report comes at an important time in the overall debate about GMOs and their place in the American food system. In a country almost constantly polarized, an overwhelming majority of Americans think that GMOs should be labeled. According to a Pew poll, more than half of Americans believe that GMOs are unsafe. At the same time, proponents of the technology argue that GMOs are safe for human consumption and will help farmers meet growing demands for food, even as population increases and climate change intensifies.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Kerry Threatens War-Without-End on Syria

      Alleged peace-maker John Kerry threatened to wage war-without-end on Syria – if the Middle East country does accept the US demand for regime change.

      That’s hardly the language of a supposed bona fide diplomat who presents an image to the world as a politician concerned to bring about an end to the five-year Syrian conflict.

      The US Secretary of State repeatedly sounds anxious to alleviate the appalling suffering of the Syrian nation, where over the past five years some 400,000 people have been killed and millions displaced as refugees.

    • More Game-Playing on MH-17?

      The West keeps piling the blame for the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Russian President Putin although there are many holes in the case and the U.S. government still withholds its evidence, writes Robert Parry.

    • House simmers with criticism for Saudi Arabia

      House lawmakers appear eager for an opportunity to beat up on Saudi Arabia, amid persistent allegations about the kingdom’s support for international terrorism.

      Legislators from both parties took shots at the kingdom during a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, in what could presage a one-sided effort to pass legislation opening the kingdom up to legal jeopardy for alleged activity ahead of 9/11.

      “If a foreign country — any country — can be shown to have significantly supported a terrorist attack on the United States, the victims and their families ought to be able to sue that foreign country, no matter who it is,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), the head of the subcommittee on Terrorism and a co-sponsor of the bill that would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. “Like any other issue, we should let a jury decide that issue and the damages, if any.”

      “What concerns me is the Saudi government comes to us and say ‘You’re our friend and you should protect us from this statute,’ while defending every day the Wahhabi mullahs who not only preach orthodox practices of Islam, but preach violence and murder against those whom they disagree with,” added Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)

    • Tony Blair Admits His Ignorance of Middle East; Immediately Calls for New War

      Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted underestimating “forces of destabilization” in the Middle East when Britain joined the U.S. in invading Iraq in 2003, the Guardian reports, but stopped short of actually apologizing for the U.K.’s role in the Iraq War in remarks at an event on Tuesday.

    • How to Disappear Money, Pentagon-Style

      The United States is on track to spend more than $600 billion on the military this year — more, that is, than was spent at the height of President Ronald Reagan’s Cold War military buildup, and more than the military budgets of at least the next seven nations in the world combined. And keep in mind that that’s just a partial total. As an analysis by the Straus Military Reform Project has shown, if we count related activities like homeland security, veterans’ affairs, nuclear warhead production at the Department of Energy, military aid to other countries, and interest on the military-related national debt, that figure reaches a cool $1 trillion.

    • Kosovo: Hillary Clinton’s Legacy of Terror

      Hillary owns Kosovo – she is not only personally responsible for its evolution from a province of the former Yugoslavia into a Mafia state, she is also the mother of the policy that made its very existence possible and which she carried into her years as Secretary of State under Barack Obama.

      As the “Arab Spring” threatened to topple regimes throughout the Middle East, Mrs. Clinton decided to get on board the revolutionary choo-choo train and hitch her wagon to “moderate” Islamists who seemed like the wave of the future. She dumped Egyptian despot Hosni Mubarak, whom she had previously described as a friend of the family, and supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s bid for power. In Libya, she sided with Islamist rebels out to overthrow Moammar Ghaddafi, celebrating his gruesome death by declaring “We came, we saw, he died.” And in Syria, she plotted with Gen. David Petraeus to get around President Obama’s reluctance to step into the Syrian quagmire by arming Syrian rebels allied with al-Qaeda and other terrorist gangs.

    • Israel’s Army Goes to War With Its Politicians

      IN most countries, the political class supervises the defense establishment and restrains its leaders from violating human rights or pursuing dangerous, aggressive policies. In Israel, the opposite is happening. Here, politicians blatantly trample the state’s values and laws and seek belligerent solutions, while the chiefs of the Israel Defense Forces and the heads of the intelligence agencies try to calm and restrain them.

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer last week of the post of defense minister to Avigdor Lieberman, a pugnacious ultranationalist politician, is the latest act in the war between Mr. Netanyahu and the military and intelligence leaders, a conflict that has no end in sight but could further erode the rule of law and human rights, or lead to a dangerous, superfluous military campaign.

      The prime minister sees the defense establishment as a competitor to his authority and an opponent of his goals. Putting Mr. Lieberman, an impulsive and reckless extremist, in charge of the military is a clear signal that the generals’ and the intelligence chiefs’ opposition will no longer be tolerated. Mr. Lieberman is known for ruthlessly quashing people who hold opposing views.

      This latest round of this conflict began on March 24: Elor Azariah, a sergeant in the I.D.F., shot and killed a Palestinian assailant who was lying wounded on the ground after stabbing one of Sergeant Azariah’s comrades. The I.D.F. top brass condemned the killing. A spokesman for Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the chief of staff, said, “This isn’t the I.D.F., these are not the I.D.F.’s values.”

    • A Worrisome New Plan to Send U.S. Troops to Libya as ‘Advisers’

      The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James Dunford, said last week that the United States is engaged in a “period of intense dialogue” that could lead to an agreement with the government of Libya that would allow U.S. “military advisers” to be deployed there in the fight against Islamic State.

      “There’s a lot of activity going on underneath the surface,” Dunford told The Washington Post. “We’re just not ready to deploy capabilities yet because there hasn’t been an agreement. And frankly, any day that could happen.”

      This plan should worry every American. If the past is any lesson, the new U.S. military advisers will likely be permanent and will presage a large combat contingent in Libya.

      U.S. military advisers first arrived in Vietnam in 1950, a move that presaged the eventual arrival of 9,087,000 military personnel, and reaching a peak in 1967 of 545,000 combat troops. The last U.S. troops didn’t leave Vietnam until 1975, and only after 58,220 had been killed. U.S. troops entered Kuwait in February 1991 to push invading Iraqi forces out of that country. Twenty-five years later, 13,500 troops remain.

    • Jeremy Scahill: Corporations Are Making a Killing Off US Targeted Killing

      If drone warfare has come up at all this election season, it’s been in passing. The candidates don’t differ much on the use of pilotless drones. But how is the face of war changing, and how do our peace movements need to respond?

      Jeremy Scahill is an award-winning investigative journalist and a founding editor of The Intercept. He’s the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Dirty Wars (the book and the film), and now The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program, written with the staff of The Intercept.

    • As Hillary Clinton Defends Her Role in 2009 Coup, Is U.S. Aid to Honduras Adding “Fuel to the Fire”?

      We speak with Annie Bird about Hillary Clinton’s role as secretary of state during the 2009 coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. “There’s no other way to categorize what happened in 2009 other than a military coup with no legal basis,” Bird says. “The U.S. was not willing to cut off assistance to Honduras, and that is the only reason it was not called a coup, a military coup. At the time, activists like Berta called for the assistance to be cut off, and today her children are calling for it to be cut off, because the U.S. assistance is actually adding fuel to the fire and stoking the economic interests of the people behind the coup.”

    • Philippine death squads very much in business as Duterte set for presidency

      On May 14, five days after voters in the Philippines chose Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as their next president, two masked gunmen cruised this southern city’s suburbs on a motorbike, looking for their kill.

      Gil Gabrillo, 47, a drug user, was returning from a cockfight when the gunmen approached. One of them pumped four bullets into Gabrillo’s head and body, killing the small-time trader of goods instantly. Then the motorbike roared off.

      The murder made no headlines in Davao, where Duterte’s loud approval for hundreds of execution-style killings of drug users and criminals over nearly two decades helped propel him to the highest office of a crime-weary land.

      Human rights groups have documented at least 1,400 killings in Davao that they allege had been carried out by death squads since 1998. Most of those murdered were drug users, petty criminals and street children.

    • Insane NRA video warns Iran: Americans are crazier and more violent than ‘flower child’ Obama

      The National Rifle Association wants the government of Iran to take heed: The United States of America is much crazier than President Barack Obama is letting on. In a new video message that’s addressed to the “ayatollahs of Iran and every terrorist you enable,” an NRA supporter warns Iran that the real America is nothing like “our fresh-faced flower child president and his weak-kneed, Ivy League friends.”

    • Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy

      Interestingly, the question of nuclear weapons will likely also not be addressed in a substantive way. There may indeed be some discussion of the subject in general terms, but it will be veiled in the typically flowery, but utterly vacuous, Obama rhetoric. Given the opportunity, an intrepid reporter might venture to ask the President why, despite winning the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples [and] vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons,” he has presided over an administration that will spend more than $1 trillion upgrading, modernizing, and expanding the US nuclear arsenal.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Scientists Warn of 10C Warming as we “Dial up Earth’s Thermostat”

      So far this year we have had warnings that the Great Barrier reef is “dying on our watch” due to coral bleaching caused by record temperatures; dramatic early seasonal melting of the Arctic Ocean sea ice and Greenland’s massive ice sheet; devastating wild-fires in Canada which are being linked to climate change, and month after month of record temperatures.

    • Trump’s Climate Change Denial Is Already Complicating the Paris Climate Deal

      If Donald Trump wins and pulls the U.S. out of its climate change commitments, some countries wonder, why should they keep their own?

    • Into the Zone

      This is the countryside of Fukushima. Five years after the nuclear meltdown, it remains full of radiation, and virtually empty of people.

    • World could warm by massive 10C if all fossil fuels are burned

      Arctic would warm by as much as 20C by 2300 with disastrous impacts if action is not taken on climate change, warns new study

    • Businessman’s arrest for forest fires is “slap in the face” for Indonesian government

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

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

      The reason for Indonesia’s umbrage remains unclear, although implicit in the protest was the notion that Singapore had tried to force Indonesia’s hand in acting against responsible parties for last year’s environmental disaster, which saw much of South East Asia engulfed in a haze. Jakarta’s reaction suggests that it deemed Singapore to have overstepped its scope of action. By contrast, Singapore’s NEA felt that it had every right to prosecute those deemed responsible, based on the 2014 Transboundary Haze Pollution Act.

    • Shock and Awe, The Chevron Way

      With pockets deep enough, you can buy justice. That’s what Chevron assumes since they lost a $9.5 billion verdict at the Supreme Court of Ecuador in 2013. But can Chevron justify their mockery of the justice system at the shareholder meeting on Wednesday, May 25th? Some shareholders are gearing up for a battle.

      The funds from the $9.5 billion judgment are needed to set up a health programme for the tens of thousands of victims of Chevron’s toxic dumping in Ecuador, and to clean up a contaminated part of the Amazon rainforest bigger than Lake District. Chevron left Ecuador years ago, but it “forgot” to take home 16 billion gallons of toxic waste that contaminates streams and rivers relied on by local inhabitants for their drinking water, bathing, and fishing.

    • Ecuador Activist Accuses Chevron of ‘Harassment and Defamation’

      Santiago Escobar began getting death threats after he revealed information against the oil giant. Now he says publications financed by Chevron are trying to smear him.

    • Anti-Frackers Vow Fierce Resistance as UK Goes Back ‘Up for Shale’

      Furious environmental campaigners vowed to fight back on Tuesday after councilors in North Yorkshire approved the UK’s first fracking permit in five years.

      The North Yorkshire County Council on Monday approved Third Energy’s application to frack the fields near the North York Moors National Park—just days after people across the country celebrated five years of being “frack-free.”

    • ExxonMobil tried to censor climate scientists to Congress during Bush era

      ExxonMobil moved to squash a well-established congressional lecture series on climate science just nine days after the presidential inauguration of George W Bush, a former oil executive, the Guardian has learned.

      Exxon’s intervention on the briefings, revealed here for the first time, adds to evidence the oil company was acutely aware of the state of climate science and its implications for government policy and the energy industry – despite Exxon’s public protestations for decades about the uncertainties of global warming science.

      Indeed, the company moved swiftly during the earliest days of the Bush administration to block public debate on global warming and delay domestic and international regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to former officials of the US Global Change Research Program, or USGCRP.

      The Bush White House is now notorious for censoring climate scientists and blocking international action on climate change by pulling the US out of the Kyoto agreement.

    • China’s New Dietary Guidelines Could Be Good News For The Climate

      Chinese food has fans around the world, but in China it’s creating a problem. A recent study found obesity and other diet-related diseases are skyrocketing.

      Recently, the Chinese government took a major step to reverse that trend by issuing a new set of dietary guidelines.

      While dietary experts will weigh in on the nutritional aspects, buried in the pages is a recommendation with potentially huge implications for climate change.

    • Gulf Coast Activist Crashes Shell Meeting to Decry Destruction of Her Home

      Just two weeks after Royal Dutch Shell’s offshore drilling operations released nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the water off the Louisiana coast, an Indigenous activist from the Gulf region spoke out at Shell’s annual shareholders meeting in the Netherlands on Tuesday, highlighting the company’s history of environmental devastation in the place she calls home.

      “In the late 90s, after learning that their community was plagued by an open-air, toxic, oil-field waste facility, I began documenting my Houma relatives living in a small, mostly American Indian and Cajun community called Grand Bois, located just south of Houma, Louisiana,” Monique Verdin told Common Dreams via email. “As I was taken further and further down the bayous I also became more and more aware of our rapid land loss and the other environmental impacts caused by the oil and gas industry.”

  • Finance

    • Elizabeth Warren Calls On Americans To Fight Wall Street

      On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) headlined an event that launched a new coalition calling itself “Take On Wall Street.”

      The group includes lawmakers like Warren, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), labor leaders like the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka and the AFT’s Randi Weingarten, as well as civil rights groups, community groups, and the organizing giant Move On. It aims to put pressure on lawmakers at all levels to pass stricter rules governing the financial system.

    • Armed with Policy Solutions and Populist Rage, Campaign Vows to ‘Take on Wall Street’

      On Tuesday, a coalition of more than 20 progressive activist and labor groups is launching a new campaign to reform the financial industry.

      The group, Take on Wall Street, aims to utilize public anger at the banking industry and the momentum of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as the efforts of groups like the AFL-CIO and Communications Workers of America (CWA), to introduce an agenda that would change the way the financial sector operates.

      Take On Wall Street will formally announce its campaign launch at an event Tuesday night, which will feature a headlining speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), an outspoken proponent of financial reform.

    • Obama Overtime Plan Won’t Hurt Businesses, Executives Admit

      Business interest groups and their allies engaged in hyperbolic rhetoric about the supposed negative impact of overtime regulations before they were announced last week. By changing a salary threshold, the new rules will make millions of workers newly eligible to be paid for their overtime hours.

      “Businesses will be forced to look for cuts in the face of such massive costs,” Competitive Enterprise Institute policy analyst Trey Kovacs predicted. Right-wing economist analyst Michael Carr even worried that the overtime rules could help start another recession.

    • Apple, Microsoft and Google hold 23% of all U.S. corporate cash, as tech sector accumulates wealth

      Apple, Microsoft and Google are the top three cash-rich U.S. companies across all sectors of business, not including banks and other financial institutions — holding a combined $391 billion in cash as of the end of 2015, or more than 23 percent of the entire $1.68 trillion held by the nation’s non-financial corporations.

    • McDonald’s ex-CEO: $15/hr minimum wage will unleash the robot rebellion

      For years, economists have been issuing predictions about how automation will impact the world’s job markets, but those studies and guesses have yet to make a call based on what would happen if a given sector’s wages rose. Instead, that specific guesswork mantle has been taken up by a former McDonald’s CEO, who declared on Tuesday that a rise in the American minimum wage will set our nation’s robotic revolution into motion.

      In an appearance on Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria, Ed Rensi claimed that a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour would result in “job loss like you can’t believe” before ceding ground to our new robotic overlords. “I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday, and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry—it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries.”

    • CEOs Paid 335 Times Average Rank-and-File Worker; Outsourcing Results in Even Higher Inequality

      CEO pay for major U.S. companies continues to soar as income inequality and outsourcing of good-paying American jobs increases. Outsourcing has become a hot presidential election topic with candidates calling out corporations who say they need to save money by sending jobs overseas. Meanwhile, according to the new AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch, the average CEO of an S&P 500 company made $12.4 million per year in 2015 – 335 times more money than the average rank-and-file worker.

    • ‘Desperate’ Verizon Seeks Scabs to Offset Labor Strike

      Telecom giant Verizon has put out an urgent call for temporary employees as the company’s bitter feud with thousands of striking workers enters its seventh week.

      Last month, some 40,000 Verizon technicians and service employees walked off the job after a year of labor negotiations failed to produce a new contract.

      The workers, who are represented by the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, argue that Verizon wants to freeze pensions, slash benefits, and outsource jobs to Mexico and the Philippines. The unions also say that the company has refused to negotiate improvements to wages, benefits and working conditions for a group of Verizon Wireless workers who joined CWA in 2014.

    • Takin’ It to the Streets—Brazilians Protest President’s Ouster

      Another Temer miscue was appointing Brazil’s first all-white, all-male cabinet in seventy years, going back even further than the military dictatorship of 1965-1984. The move, in a land that is majority Afro-Brazilian, has angered and energized women and Afro-Brazilians opposed to Temer’s government.

    • Brazil’s New Government Is Already Planning to Balance the Budget on the Backs of the Poor

      Just days after the Brazilian Senate voted to suspend former President Dilma Rousseff and subject her to an impeachment trial, the country’s new right-wing government is already planning to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.

    • The Embarrassing Referendum

      Personally I remain an EU enthusiast, but I am horrified by the arguments being put forward by the Remain campaign, and even more by the personalities associated with it. I could never display a Remain poster in case people felt I agreed with David Cameron. I strongly suspect that explains the mass public apathy, which friends tell me is no different down south. Whatever their views on the EU, people do not want in any way to be associated with George Osborne, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Tony Blair or Peter Mandelson on one side, or with Ian Duncan Smith, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson et al on the other.

    • Study confirms that the national press is biased in favour of Brexit

      A new research study has confirmed what most people, including this commentator, knew: national press coverage of EU referendum campaign has been “heavily skewed in favour of Brexit.”

      The bald figures produced by researchers at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism tell the story: 45% of 928 referendum articles it studied were in favour of leaving while 27% backed the remain case.

      Some 19% were categorised as “mixed or undecided” and 9% were designated as adopting no position.

    • Obama Visits Vietnam To Promote TPP. Wait, VIETNAM? Really?

      President Obama is in Vietnam promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Vietnam? Really?

      A year ago the post “Obama To Visit Nike To Promote the TPP. Wait, NIKE? Really?,” noted how Nike pioneered moving jobs out of the country to take advantage of low wages and lack of environmental protections in places like Vietnam, which led to many of the problems in our economy today. It seemed that Nike was possibly the worst company to use to support claims that TPP would benefit the American economy.

    • Sanders Bucks Dem Leaders, Calls for Opposition to Puerto Rico Bill

      In a message to fellow Senate Democratic caucus members, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday called for the defeat of emergency legislation to address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis.

      A bill introduced last week by House Republicans would require the island territory to give up its budget-making autonomy in exchange for debt relief. The measure has the tentative support of the Obama administration and Democratic leadership.

      Puerto Rico is currently $72 billion in the hole, and already defaulting on financial obligations. Sanders, a presidential hopeful, said in a statement that the proposed initiative would “make a terrible situation even worse.”

    • INTO THE WORLD OF WORK

      What do you need to know – about the new world of work, but also about yourself – as you graduate and launch yourself into the world of work? We made a short film of my last class of the semester, where I speak to graduating seniors about these questions and more. If you’re a graduating senior (or know one) we hope this is helpful.

    • Warren Incensed at GOP Effort to Gut Financial Protections for Retirees

      The Labor Department rule, issued last month, requires financial advisors to adhere to a “fiduciary standard” that places client interests ahead of potential profits for themselves.

    • Armed with Policy Solutions and Populist Rage, Campaign Vows to ‘Take on Wall Street’

      On Tuesday, a coalition of more than 20 progressive activist and labor groups is launching a new campaign to reform the financial industry.

      The group, Take on Wall Street, aims to utilize public anger at the banking industry and the momentum of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as the efforts of groups like the AFL-CIO and Communications Workers of America (CWA), to introduce an agenda that would change the way the financial sector operates.

    • Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?

      When the price of oil slumped, it was therefore inevitable that Venezuelans would see a downturn. Indeed, in some ways, the current crisis isn’t anything new: Venezuela has experienced boom and bust cycles coinciding with oil prices since the 1970s. With historically high oil prices, Chavez had luck on his side during his golden years, while Maduro has drawn a short straw. However, it’s worth noting that no other petro state in the world is facing the same kind of crisis that has hit Venezuela. Back luck aside, the Maduro administration could avoided the current conditions by reforming monetary policy in 2013 or 2014. While low productivity or anti-government sabotage are issues that can’t be resolved overnight with the wave of a hand, monetary policy could have been shored up in a relatively short period of time. Unlike international oil prices or long term issues like Dutch Disease, the Maduro administration had meaningful agency here, but failed to act. If serious reforms had been enacted, Venezuela would still be facing a nasty downturn, but probably not a fully fledged economic and political crisis. Likewise, even if the oil crash never happened, Venezuela would almost certainly still be heading towards a crisis sometime down the road anyway, largely thanks to failed monetary policy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The massive scale of the Clintons’ speech-making industry

      Last week, Hillary Clinton’s campaign released her most recent personal financial disclosure, detailing ways in which she and her husband earned money in 2015. Most of their income came from book royalties and giving paid speeches. Bill Clinton, for example, gave a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers in March 2015, being paid $325,000 for his time.

    • LISTEN: Amy Goodman on NPR’s Weekend Edition

      NPR’s Scott Simon asks Amy Goodman about Bernie Sanders’ chances of getting the delegates he needs to claim the Democratic nomination.

    • Americans’ Dislike for Trump and Clinton Bolsters Sanders’ Superdelegate Pitch

      Most Americans can’t stand the frontrunner of either major political party, a new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday has found.

      Almost 60 percent of respondents said they “dislike” or “hate” Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and 63 percent said the same about Republican nominee Donald Trump.

      In fact, the poll found that the roughly one-third of respondents on either side of the political aisle were voting for their candidate solely to defeat the other nominee.

    • Why I Am #NeverHillary

      It’s one hell of a choice. The more I delve into Donald Trump and his past (to research my biography, which comes out in June), the more scared I get. Nevertheless, there is no way I’ll vote for Hillary. I won’t vote for her if she stops shaking down rich right-wing Republicans for donations. I won’t vote for her if she adopts Bernie’s platform. I won’t vote for her if she names Bernie her vice president. I won’t even vote for her if Bernie invites me to spend the summer with him and Jane in Vermont.

      #NeverHillary. That’s me.

      There are millions of us.

    • Bernie’s not-so-secret-weapon

      For months, Bernie Sanders and his supporters have pointed to polls that show him running comfortably ahead of Donald Trump in November. But now that Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump has disappeared — and the two likely nominees are now running neck-and-neck in national polls — his argument is gaining new resonance.

      Clinton and her campaign argue that the Vermont senator hasn’t undergone the kind of scrutiny that Clinton and Trump have — and that his poll numbers are over-inflated compared to candidates who have faced intense political attacks from the other party.

    • I watched Hillary Clinton’s forces swipe Nevada: This is what the media’s not telling you

      It probably wasn’t the best time for me to go to Vegas. My beloved father had just died the week before, and I was feeling hazy and vulnerable, prone to weeping at the slightest provocation. Grief made me feel like I had no skin and no brain; grief had turned me into a cloud, and I was in that floaty state when I got on the plane with my husband—a state delegate headed to the Nevada Democratic Convention—and our 6-year-old son. I wasn’t sure what would happen once we got to Vegas, whether all the lights and bells would hammer me back into my body, or whether I would drift even further away from myself, hover like the cigarette smoke over the casino floor.

      I had wanted to be a delegate, myself, but knew I was going to be out of town during the county convention in April, so I didn’t put my hat in the ring at the February caucus, where I had served as a precinct captain for Bernie. It was my first election season in Nevada, my first caucus, and the whole process seemed wild to me, taking what was normally such a private experience—voting quietly in an individual booth—and turning it into a political game of Red Rover, people taking sides in a room, trying to sway folks to come over to their side, their candidate; it was a civil game in our precinct, but I could see how easily things could turn nasty. I was grateful my husband had volunteered himself to be a county delegate, and was excited when he got the email that he was chosen to be a state delegate, as well. Nevada has a strange three-tier system—Hillary had won a majority at the February caucus, but more Bernie delegates showed up at the county caucus, negating Hillary’s win, so the race for delegates at the state convention promised to be a tight one. I looked forward to seeing the process in action; I never expected that process would become so chaotic and surreal, although I had become used to surreal of late.

      We arrived late Friday night and all around me, women were dressed to the nines and looking miserable. My heart broke for them. I wanted to know their stories; why were they so unhappy? The weight of crumbling expectations seemed to fill the smoky air. I found myself sending little silent affirmations to all these sad, fancy women—You are beautiful, I beamed to them. It will be okay. Perhaps I was channeling my dad, who always did whatever he could to make people feel better about themselves.

    • Study: One Out Of Every 178 Posts To Chinese Social Media Is Government Propaganda

      In Russia, we’ve talked about how Vladimir Putin employs a massive army of Internet trolls to ridicule and shout down political opponents and critics. In China, the government’s tactics are notably different. According to a new study out of Harvard (pdf), the Chinese government posts about 488 million fake social media comments — or roughly one day of Twitter’s total global volume — each year. In China, these propagandists have historically been dubbed the “50 Cent Party,” because it was generally believed they were paid 50 Chinese cents for every social media post.

    • Across Europe, distrust of mainstream political parties is on the rise

      The narrow defeat – by just 0.6 percentage points – of the nationalist Freedom party’s Norbert Hofer in this week’s Austrian presidential elections has focused attention once more on the rise of far-right parties in Europe.

      But despite what some headlines might claim, it is oversimplifying things to say the far right is suddenly on the march across an entire continent. In some countries, the hard right’s share of the vote in national elections has been stable or declined.

      In others – particularly the nations of southern Europe, which, with memories of fascism and dictatorship still very much alive, have proved reluctant to flirt with rightwing extremism – it is the far left that is advancing.

      Some rightwing populist parties are relatively new, but others have been a force to be reckoned with for many years now, sometimes – as in France – enjoying a large share of the vote but being unable, as yet, to break through nationally.

    • Bernie Sanders Draws Thousands at ‘A Future to Believe In’ Rally

      The California primary is only eight days away, and Bernie Sanders isn’t slowing down.

      If anything, the 74-year-old Vermont Senator is picking up the pace as he tours California this week, stopping at as many as three cities a day for rallies and events.

      On Monday night, Sanders held a rally on the football field of Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, Calif. The Sanders campaign estimated a turnout of 10,000 people—and the numbers may have swelled to more than that, considering the vast numbers of people who turned up but couldn’t fit inside the football field. Sanders told ABC News that he hopes to speak with “200,000 Californians at rallies statewide.”

    • Tim Canova on Bernie Sanders’ Endorsement, Challenging Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Video)

      Canova, a lawyer and activist who supported the Occupy Wall Street movement and opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, among other causes, recently received a big boost in the form of an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders, with whom Canova has worked previously. Sanders’ backing has helped Canova’s cause, both financially and in terms of publicity, as has the scrutiny focused on Wasserman Schultz in the ongoing controversy about her leadership of the DNC vis-a-vis Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s bids for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    • Elites vs. Too Much Democracy: Andrew Sullivan’s Afraid of Popular Self-Government

      British expatriate writer Andrew Sullivan recently returned to the public eye with a piece that has aroused considerable comment, some of it reasonably on point, and some bloviatingly incoherent.

      What is all the fuss about? Sullivan, in critiquing the Donald Trump phenomenon and the political factors that gave rise to it, makes a few good points, but buries them under a ridiculous premise: The culprit responsible for Trump is too much democracy, and the cure is more elite control of the political process.

    • Sanders: Yes, A Convention About Real Issues Might Be ‘Messy’

      DNC should focus on welcoming energized newcomers, not attending private fundraisers hosted by big donors and corporate lobbyists

    • The BBC has lost touch: here’s how it could re-connect

      A filmmaker advises BBC news staff on how to better engage with the harsh realities of life for many in Britain.

    • Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?

      Like Obama, Hillary Clinton is a liberal internationalist and a strong believer in American exceptionalism, meaning she is convinced that the world looks to America for leadership, that US involvement everywhere is unavoidable as well as desirable, that US-based multinational corporations are a positive force for global development, and that the US should be ready to commit force in support of humanitarian ideals and American values—but not necessarily in accordance with US or international laws—as much as because of concrete strategic interests. It’s the traditional marriage of realism and idealism that we find in every president (though a Trump presidency would drop the idealism). But each president, as Henry Kissinger once said, inclines somewhat to one side or the other, and in Hillary Clinton’s case, she is more the realist than Obama—more prepared, that is, to commit US power, unilaterally if she believes necessary, in support of a very broad conception of national security.

    • Shock Poll: Sanders Ahead of Trump by 15 Points, Hillary Just by 3

      A shocker. A new NBC News/Wall St Journal poll has Bernie up 54 to 39 over Donald Trump.

      Meanwhile, according to the same poll, Hillary Clinton no longer has a double digit lead over Donald Trump like she did just a month ago — her lead over Trump is just 3 points.

    • Sanders Endorses Down-Ticket Democrats Running for ‘Bold Change’

      “These candidates are standing up against the wealthy interests and biggest corporations, and putting working families first.”

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Shares Her “Plan B” for Bernie Sanders Supporters: A Green New Deal

      As Bernie Sanders’ voters begin facing the question of whether or not to support Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton if she becomes the party’s nominee, many of his supporters have pledged never to support her. In fact, voters in both major parties are seeking alternatives in this year’s presidential election — and third-party candidates are seeing an explosion in social media interest in their campaigns.

    • Donald Trump: He can’t win, can he?

      In a book published in 2004, Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington argued that Latino immigration was endangering the American way of life. Trump has campaigned on a shrill version of the same sinister idea.

    • Progressive women are running for office all over the country

      Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the first woman president has gotten far more attention in the media, but there are hundreds of female candidates running for office in 2016. And although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is rightly credited for calling attention to the fundamental unfairness of our rigged economic and political systems, inspiring women such as Zephyr Teachout, Pramila Jayapal and Lucy Flores are carrying the mantle of progressive populism in congressional races across the country. Notably, Sanders has endorsed and fundraised for all three women in their upcoming primaries, recognizing them as important allies in the battle to create progressive change.

    • ‘Fighting For Every Last Delegate,’ Sanders Requests Kentucky Primary Recanvass

      A recanvass is not the same thing as a recount “but a review of the voting totals,” notes AP.

      If the process finds that Sanders actually won the primary, it would mean that one delegate will go to Sanders instead of Clinton.

    • Sanders campaign requests Kentucky vote recanvass

      Clinton holds 1,924-vote lead over Sanders out of 454,573 votes cast…

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Web Sheriff Abuses DMCA In Weak Attempt To Hide Info Under UK High Court Injunction, Fails Miserably

      Last week, Twitter engaged in some dubious behavior on behalf of a few super-secret someones who’d rather the press didn’t discuss their sexual activity. Twitter was apparently firing off “letters of warning” to users who had dared break an injunction issued by the UK Supreme Court forbidding anyone in the media from discussing a threesome involving a prominent British celebrity.

      There was very little legal force behind the “warning letters” (despite threats from local authorities) and Twitter users were under no obligation to comply with the company’s request. The fact that Twitter even bothered to issue these highlights the utter futility of injunctions/super-injunctions of this variety, which are really just a way for British citizens of a certain level of importance to control local media. It doesn’t really matter if the UK’s highest court upholds a super-injunction if it has no way of enforcing it beyond its super-limited purview.

    • Fantastic: Now British Firms Are Getting In On The Bogus Website/Bogus DMCA Notice Scam

      Here we go again: intellectual property laws being abused to silence critics. In this case — which resembles the tactics exposed by Pissed Consumer recently — bogus copyright claims contained in bogus DMCA notices are being used to remove negative reviews from websites.

      In this case, it’s a British firm — one that first tried to abuse that country’s oft-abused defamation laws.

    • Glenn Beck and other conservatives are in denial about Facebook censorship — so how do we fight back?

      Twitter was recently caught for shadowbanning conservatives and now it’s been leaked that Facebook is equally biased. You can’t have right wing opinions anywhere these days without mass amounts of backlash and censorship.

    • Mapping Media Freedom marks second year of monitoring censorship in Europe

      Journalists have been murdered and burned in effigy. Reporters have been publicly discredited by government officials, prosecuted for under anti-terrorism laws and excluded from public meetings on the refugee crisis. We’ve even recorded journalists being menaced with mechanical diggers.

      Mapping Media Freedom launched to the public on 24 May 2014 to monitor media censorship and press freedom violations throughout Europe. Two years on, the platform has verified over 1,800 incidents, ranging from insults and cyberbullying to physical assaults and assassination.

    • Google To France: No You Don’t Get To Censor The Global Internet

      As we’ve been covering here at Techdirt, French regulators have been pushing Google to censor the global internet whenever it receives “right to be forgotten” requests. If you don’t recall, two years ago, there was a dangerous ruling in the EU that effectively said that people could demand Google remove certain links from showing up when people searched on their names. This “right to be forgotten” is now being abused by a ton of people trying to hide true information they just don’t like being known. Google grudgingly has agreed to this, having little choice to do otherwise. But it initially did so only on Google’s EU domain searches. Last year, a French regulator said that it needed to apply globally. Google said no, explaining why this was a “troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web.”

      French regulators responded with “don’t care, do it!” Google tried to appease the French regulators earlier this year with a small change where even if you went to Google.com, say, from France (rather than the default of Google.fr), Google would still censor the links based on your IP address. And, again, the French regulators said not good enough, and told Google it needed to censor globally. It also issued a fine.

    • Timeline of Amos Yee’s latest arrest by the Singapore Police Force over Section 298 of penal code

      TOC understands that Amos has uploaded a video titled “Refuting Islam With Their Own Quran” on 19 May 2016. The video is taken off of Youtube within an hour (possibly for violating Youtube community standards). Amos then re-uploads the video on Vimeo.

    • EU:s EPP group calls for Internet censorship

      If we introduce far-reaching online censorship you can be absolutely sure that it will be extended beyond its’ original purpose.

    • Myanmar court convicts man over penis tattoo poem

      A court in Myanmar has sentenced a young poet to six months in jail for defaming former president Thein Sein, making him one of the first political activists sentenced since Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi took power in April.

      Maung Saung Kha, 23, used his Facebook account to publish a poem about having a tattoo of a president on his penis. He was charged for defaming Thein Sein under telecommunications laws, used to curb free speech in several other recent cases.

    • Mohawk Regional releases yearbooks in censorship flap; will reprint page that was removed

      The yearbook was supposed to have been released on Friday, but was held back at the last minute by Superintendent Michael Buoniconti, who had previously ordered a single page cut from each book so as not to “harm the well-being of several students.”

      The page contained a photograph of former teacher Ivan Grail, who earlier this year was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with students, said Sarah Wunsch, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

      Grail was placed on paid leave in March. His current employment status is not known. Buoniconti did not respond to an email and telephone message from The Republican seeking comment.

    • Lessons in Censorship

      Public schools, we all agree, should teach civics and promote democracy, including respect for constitutional rights. Unfortunately, regardless of the official curriculum, schools routinely teach students through censorship and punishment that those in charge decide what may be said.

      In Lessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students’ First Amendment Rights, George Washington University law professor Catherine Ross presents and analyzes dozens of legal cases concerning the free speech rights of students in K-12 public schools. She also provides a convincing critique of the state of the law, an urgent warning about what students experience in school, and concrete suggestions for protecting student speech.

      Ross does not address censorship of college students, which has been much in the news over the past year. But her book is an important reminder that censorship of students begins long before they get to college. She organizes her presentation around five key U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

    • Censorship or justified Concern?

      While the University accepted that the proposed conference was a legitimate academic event, it became increasingly concerned by the end of March 2015 that the conference speakers had a ‘distinct leaning’ to one point of view (essentially anti-Israel) rather than the original intention of a balanced exchange of views, and more significantly that there was an unacceptably high risk of disorder if the conference were to go ahead.

    • Campus censorship is holding women back

      That a significant proportion of female students is willingly supporting censorship is very depressing. But it’s hardly surprising. The vast majority of censorship on campus is aimed at protecting women from offence. spiked’s 2016 Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR) found that almost a third of UK universities banned the Sun and the Daily Star, as part of the No More Page 3 campaign, and 25 banned the controversial pop song ‘Blurred Lines’. All of this is done in the name of cleansing campus of ‘demeaning’ representations of women.

    • Facebook changes policies on Trending Topics after activist accused site of right-wing censorship – and blames any bias on rogue employees
    • Facebook Censorship Concerns Could Hurt Engagement, Advertising Dollars
    • Facebook denies systemic bias in Trending Topics but changes how they are chosen
    • Facebook Makes ‘Trending Topic’ Change Following Conservative Backlash
    • Facebook Inc makes changes to ‘Trending Topics’ policies after conservative criticism
    • Facebook’s ‘sweeping’ reforms to trending topics won’t actually change much
    • Facebook tweaks ‘Trending Topics’ policy: Will it restore faith in neutrality?
    • Facebook denies ‘systematic’ content bias, but admits possibility of rogue employees
    • Facebook Trending Topics Will Undergo Changes Following Allegations of Political Bias
    • Facebook is tweaking Trending Topics to counter charges of bias
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Another Court Finds FBI’s NIT Warrants To Be Invalid, But Credits Agents’ ‘Good Faith’ To Deny Suppression

      Yet another court has found that the warrant used by the FBI in the Playpen child porn investigation is invalid, rendering its NIT-assisted “search” unconstitutional. As USA Today’s Brad Heath points out, this is at least the sixth court to find that Rule 41′s jurisdictional limitations do not permit warrants issued in Virginia to support searches performed all over the nation.

      While the court agrees that the warrant is invalid, it places the blame at the feet of the magistrate judge who issued it, rather than the agents who obtained it.

    • British govt hackers report vulnerabilities to Apple [Ed: Yet another one of those “saves the day” puff pieces]

      Britain’s main spy agency has reported two serious operating system vulnerabilites to Apple, as concerns over government stockpiling of zero-day exploits continue.

    • Huge Scale Of Road Camera Surveillance Revealed

      The massive scale of surveillance cameras on the UK’s roads has been revealed in new figures obtained by Sky News.

      Automatic number plate recognition – or ANPR – technology uses cameras to scan number plates and log car journeys.

      Whenever a car passes a camera, its registration is scanned and added to a central database, accessible by police forces.

    • Consumers Demanding Online Privacy in Light of Snowden Leaks

      He pointed to companies in Germany that market their social networking services by underscoring their commitment to enhanced privacy, meaning that the security of personal information has become something that can be sold.

    • The U.S. Surveillance State

      It was the most significant government leak since the Pentagon Papers and revealed an unprecedented level of spying by the U.S. state on the American people and those far beyond the America’s borders. We’ll feature highlights from the Academy Award-winning documentary film “Citizenfour” about whistleblower Edward Snowden and his revelations of massive NSA surveillance.

    • Where The 2016 Candidates Stand On Cybersecurity And Civil Liberties

      While Trump wants to strengthen the government’s surveillance and cyberattack capabilities, the Democrats have fought for civil liberties.

    • Pentagon Whistleblower’s Disclosures Put a Lie to Obama, Clinton Claims About Snowden

      Mark Hertsgaard broke the story of Pentagon whistleblower John Crane in his new book, “Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden.” The book details how senior Pentagon officials may have broken the law to punish National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. “I think that’s what’s important about John Crane’s story, is it puts the lie to what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are saying and have been saying about Edward Snowden from the beginning,” Hertsgaard said.

    • ‘Lots of surprises inside’: Activist David Miranda tells RT about planned mass Snowden file leak

      On August 18, 2013, Miranda’s life was turned upside down when he was detained at London’s Heathrow Airport for 12 hours under anti-terrorism laws. This came after his partner Glenn Greenwald had published numerous documents released by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      Now the Brazilian-born Miranda says the public has the right to “see what is inside” the documents, which he plans to leak within the next few weeks, despite coming under pressure from governments not to publish the files.

    • Edward Snowden wants you to give a damn about privacy

      In October last year the Government passed the metadata legislation, with bipartisan support, that forces all telecommunications companies to keep the records of their customers for two years.

    • A new study shows how government-collected “anonymous” data can be used to profile you

      After Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, showed the world that intelligence agencies in the US and the UK were monitoring call records on a massive scale, there was a collective gasp, but then mostly silence. There was outrage at the discovery that elected governments had been snooping on law-abiding citizens, but there was also confusion about what information, exactly, those governments were gathering, and what they could use it for.

    • We Asked Edward Snowden if Online Privacy Has Improved Since His Massive NSA Leak

      This Friday, May 27, HBO will air a new episode from season four of our Emmy-winning show. On the last episode, we met the team of female volunteers working to eradicate polio in Pakistan, as well as expert disposal teams trying to detonate unexploded land mines in Southeast Asia. This week we head to Russia to meet Edward Snowden to discuss the current state of digital privacy and government surveillance in America.

    • Scoop: VICE on HBO on Friday, May 27, 2016

      “State of Surveillance” The show is also available on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On Demand. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked details of massive government surveillance programs in 2013, igniting a raging debate over digital privacy and security. That debate came to a head this year, when Apple fought an FBI court order seeking to access the iPhone of alleged San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook. Meanwhile, journalists and activists are under increasing attack from foreign agents.

    • NSA Whistleblowers Before Snowden Illegally Suppressed By Pentagon
    • FSB’s Snowden War:Using the American NSA against Itself [Ed: The idea that if one distrusts corporate/Western media, then one is fooled by Russia and alternative media is “Russian propaganda”]

      It is important to note that this form of intelligence media propaganda is not effective in isolation. It was not Russian propaganda that caused widespread distrust of the US government. However, the FSB and Russian media conglomerates are able to effectively profit from the damning Snowden disclosures by casting the US in a suspicious, negative light, while at the same time minimizing its own supposed flaws and political sins. More study should be devoted in future to this softer but still significant aspect of US-Russian relational conflict.

    • Observations and thoughts on the LinkedIn data breach

      Last week there was no escaping news of the latest data breach. The LinkedIn hack of 2012 which we thought had “only” exposed 6.5M password hashes (not even the associated email addresses so in practice, useless data), was now being sold on the dark web. It was allegedly 167 million accounts and for a mere 5 bitcoins (about US$2.2k) you could jump over to the Tor-based trading site, pay your Bitcoins and retrieve what is one of the largest data breaches ever to hit the airwaves.

      But this is not a straightforward incident for many reasons and there are numerous issues raised by the data itself and the nature of the hack. I’ve had a heap of calls and emails from various parties doing stories on it over the last week so I thought I’d address some of those queries here and add my own thoughts having now seen the data. I’ll also talk about Have I been pwned (HIBP) and the broader issue of searchable breach data.

    • Five Years of Cookie Law: Politicians’ good intentions and incompetence create security, privacy nightmare

      Five years with the “cookie law”, taking effect in 2011, shows how politicians’ good intentions – when coupled with incompetence – can create a security and privacy nightmare. It was supposed to give users choice, privacy, and security. Its effect, over and above causing developer facedesks and headaches, has been the exact opposite.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs

      Truman, for instance, on civil rights: “I think one man is as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman.” (He regularly referred to Jews as kikes, to Mexicans as greasers.)

      When Oppenheimer expressed to Truman his misgivings about having developed the atomic bombs, the president told his chief of staff, “I don’t want to see that son of a bitch in this office ever again.” He later called Oppenheimer a “crybaby scientist”.

    • Federal Judge Catches DOJ Lying, Sanctions Lawyers With Mandatory Ethics Classes

      The lies the DOJ told involve a 2014 DHS directive that changed its handling of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DOJ told the court and opposing counsel that no action under the new guidelines would commence until February 2015. These statements were made both orally (January 15, 2015) and in a filing (December 19, 2014). But in reality, the guidelines were already being used to process immigrants, resulting in over 100,000 modified DACA applications being granted or renewed by the DHS prior to either of these statements.

      This was caught by the court in April 2015, but the DOJ insisted its statements weren’t lies, but rather the “innocent mistakes” of poorly-informed counsel, shifting the blame towards the DHS. Months later, the real truth has come out.

      [...]

      This isn’t the DOJ lying about a minor procedural detail. This is the DOJ lying about the DACA modification central to the states’ lawsuit against the US government. To purposely mislead the court and the defendants about the status of DACA applicants cannot be waved away with claims of foggy memories. It also cannot be waved away with claims that the DOJ had no idea so many applicants were already being processed using guidelines still being contested in federal court.

      [...]

      Unfortunately, the court is limited to what it can do in response to the DOJ’s misconduct. Holding the DOJ responsible for the involved states’ legal fees would result in the participating states effectively paying their own legal fees. It would be nothing more than moving around money collected from taxpayers and, thanks to federal taxes, robbing plaintiffs to pay plaintiffs. Instead, Judge Hanen has ordered that any DOJ lawyer who has — or will — appear in the courts of the 26 states involved in the lawsuit attend legal ethics courses. The courses will be provided by a legal agency unaffiliated with the DOJ, and the DOJ itself will be required to provide annual reports to the court confirming these courses are being attended.

    • 1,000 fake 999 calls by G4S to raise performance figures

      Another day another scandal at G4S, this time it has been claimed that staff made fake calls to a 999 emergency contact centre to ensure they met targets of answering 92 per cent of calls within ten seconds.

      This dire situation took place between November and December 2015 reports the Daily Mirror.

      There have been five staff who are now on suspension after they supposedly made over a thousand “test calls” at quiet times to ensure they were picked up quickly.

    • Judge Rules Edward Nero ‘Not Guilty’ in Freddie Gray Case, but Social Media Disagrees

      A judge has found Officer Edward Nero not guilty on all charges in the Freddie Gray case on Monday, but many on social media disagreed with the verdict.

      Nero was one of six Baltimore police officers charged in the 2015 arrest and death of Gray. Nero was accused of assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

    • Oklahoma’s Insane Rush to Execute

      Ever since the dramatic last-minute halt of the execution of Richard Glossip in Oklahoma last fall, exactly what happened that day has remained a mystery. In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court had given the green light for Oklahoma to proceed with the execution using a protocol the justices had upheld just months before, in Glossip v. Gross. Outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary that afternoon, Glossip’s lawyers, his family, and members of the press were all convinced the execution was imminent. Inside, witnesses thought they were about to be escorted to the death chamber. Glossip, meanwhile, stood in his boxer shorts inside a holding cell, waiting to be taken to the gurney.

      Instead, just before 4 p.m. on September 30, 2015, Gov. Mary Fallin — who had repeatedly denied relief for Glossip despite his vociferous claims of innocence — suddenly intervened, stopping the execution while making an embarrassing admission: The state did not have the correct execution drug in its possession. In a short statement, Fallin announced a temporary stay of 37 days to determine whether a drug named potassium acetate was “compliant” with the state’s lethal injection protocol.

    • When a Killer Cop Retires: The Resignation of Dante Servin

      On May 19, organizers and community members around the United States engaged in #SayHerName actions in support of women and femmes who have been harmed by state violence. This national day of action should have coincided with the start of the termination proceedings for Dante Servin, the Chicago police officer who murdered 22-year-old Rekia Boyd on March 22, 2012. Instead, Servin resigned on May 17, two days before an evidentiary hearing was scheduled to begin: as the last stage in his firing process.

    • The “Moscow Consensus”: Constructing autocracy in post-Soviet Eurasia

      Across the former Soviet Union, a new type of authoritarianism has become the default — with commerce, parliaments, military, media and civil society used to consolidate elite economic and political power.

    • T.S.A. Replaces Security Chief as Tension Grows at Airports and Agency

      Facing a backlash over long security lines and management problems, the head of the Transportation Security Administration shook up his leadership team on Monday, replacing the agency’s top security official and adding a new group of administrators at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

      In an email to staff members, Peter V. Neffenger, the T.S.A. administrator, announced a series of changes that included the removal of Kelly Hoggan, who had been the assistant administrator for the Office of Security Operations since 2013.

      Beginning late that year, Mr. Hoggan received $90,000 in bonuses over a 13-month period, even though a leaked report from the Department of Homeland Security showed that auditors were able to get fake weapons and explosives past security screeners 95 percent of the time in 70 covert tests.

    • How Anti-White Rhetoric Is Fueling White Nationalism

      I opened Twitter recently and saw 20+ notifications. Most of the time that means the new generation of white nationalist Twitter trolls are filling my feed with racist and anti-Semitic cartoons. It was the trolls, but this was different. They were celebrating my use of the word “anti-white” in a tweet. They saw it as a victory that a “mainstream conservative” was using this term that for so long has been their calling card.

      They had a point. Until recently I would have been unlikely to use the term. Not because I didn’t believe some people harbored animosity towards whites, but because that was a fringe attitude removed from power, which represented little real threat. That is no longer the case. Progressive rhetoric on race has turned an ugly corner and the existence of “anti-white” attitudes can no longer be ignored.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Freedom of choice of terminal, key issue for Net Neutrality

      La Quadrature du Net publishes an article from Benjamin Bayart, member of the Strategic Directions Council of La Quadrature du Net. This article was written on behalf of the Federation FDN and was initially plublished in French here.

    • Transition Of Core Internet Functions (IANA) Oversight From US Government No Done Deal

      Will the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) be able to handover oversight over the management of the DNS root zone and other core databases of the internet in September? At a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee in Washington today, proponents and opponents showed off and Senator Marco Rubio, former presidential candidate, strongly supported a delay.

    • Reddit, Mozilla, Others Urge FCC To Formally Investigate Broadband Usage Caps And Zero Rating

      We’ve noted how the FCC’s latest net neutrality rules do a lot of things right, but they failed to seriously address zero rating or broadband usage caps, opening the door to ISPs violently abusing net neutrality — just as long as they’re relatively clever about it. And plenty of companies have been walking right through that open door. Both Verizon and Comcast for example now exempt their own streaming services from these caps, giving them an unfair leg up in the marketplace. AT&T meanwhile is now using usage caps to force customers to subscribe to TV services if they want to enjoy unlimited data.

      In each instance you’ve got companies using usage caps for clear anti-competitive advantage, while industry-associated think tanks push misleading studies and news outlet editorials claiming that zero rating’s a great boon to consumers and innovation alike.

      The FCC’s net neutrality rules don’t ban usage caps or zero rating, unlike rules in Chile, Slovenia, Japan, India, Norway and The Netherlands. The FCC did however state that the agency would examine such practices on a “case by case” basis under the “general conduct” portion of the rules. But so far, that has consisted of closed door meetings and a casual, informal letter sent to a handful of carriers as part of what the FCC says is an “information exercise,” not a formal inquiry.

    • Medium, Mozilla, and Kickstarter Signed a Letter Against Zero-Rating

      A coalition of leading open internet advocates is pressuring federal regulators to crack down on the controversial broadband industry practice of “zero-rating,” calling it a threat to net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible.

      Zero-rating refers to a variety of practices that broadband companies use to exempt certain internet content and services from data caps, effectively favoring those services by giving consumers an economic incentive to use them instead of rival offerings.

    • AT&T Begins Capping Broadband Users Today

      Just a reminder to AT&T customers: the company’s usage caps on U-Verse broadband connections take effect today. When AT&T originally announced broadband caps on fixed-line connections back in 2011, it capped DSL customers at 150 GB per month and U-Verse customers at 250 GB per month. But while the DSL customer cap was enforced (by and large because AT&T wants these users to migrate to wireless anyway), AT&T didn’t enforce caps for its U-Verse customers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What does the timing of the US Defend Trade Secrets Act and EU Trade Secrets Directive really mean for companies? [Ed: Those who promote UPC (for big foreign corporations, AmeriKat in this case) also promote ‘law’ for corporations to punish staff]

      So with two new trade secrets laws on both sides of the Atlantic, what does this really mean for companies seeking to protect and enforce their valuable trade secrets?

    • Copyrights

      • Australia Officially Abandons Three Strikes Anti-Piracy Scheme

        After indications earlier this year that copyright holders and ISPs were having serious problems reaching agreement on who will pay for the three-strikes anti-piracy regime, the project has now officially been canned. In a letter to the Australian Media and Communications Authority, the Communications Alliance and rightsholders have confirmed its demise.

      • Hollywood Withdraws Funding for UK Anti-Piracy Group FACT

        The UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft has received a major blow after the Motion Picture Association advised the anti-piracy group it will not renew its membership. The termination of the 30-year long relationship means that FACT will lose 50% of its budget and the backing of the six major Hollywood movie studios.

      • Hollywood Writers: Set-top Box Piracy Fears Are Overblown

        Copyright holders and cable companies are fiercely against FCC’s plan to open up the set-top box market. They fear that this will facilitate piracy and degrade security. As a notable exception, the Writers Guild of America West contradicts these concerns, arguing that more choice for consumers is likely to benefit all sides.

      • How Piracy Became a Cause Celebre in the World of Academics

        In October 2008, two of the big names in academic publishing, Elsevier and Thieme, celebrated victory against an “international piracy scheme involving the unlawful copying, sale, and distribution of scientific journals.”

        In the defeated scheme, a Vietnamese entrepreneur had used throwaway email accounts to pose as a salesman. He contacted academics, offering discounted access to subscription journals. The unsuspecting marks made payment through fake websites that mimicked the publishers’, and received paper printouts of the journals in the mail.

        Now, another international piracy scheme commands the attention of Elsevier—but this one looks more like a Silicon Valley startup than a black market.

      • Sony Thinks It Can Charge An ‘Administrative Fee’ For Fair Use

        Mitch Stoltz, over at EFF, has been writing about a ridiculous situation in which Sony Music has been using ContentID to take down fair use videos — and then to ask for money to put them back up. As Stoltz notes, the videos in question are clearly fair use. They’re videos of lectures put on by the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association, teaching people about bluegrass music. They’re hourlong lectures in a classroom setting, that do include snippets of music here and there as part of a lecture, with the music usually less than 30 seconds long.

05.24.16

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

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

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

  • Apache Elevates TinkerPop Graph Computing Framework to Top Level

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

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

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

  • Why a Buffer developer open sourced his code

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

    It’s really about helping others and giving back.

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

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

  • Events

    • How to make a culture change at your company

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

    • Two OSCON Conversations, And A Trip Report Between Them

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

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

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

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

  • Networking/SDN

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD/loongson on the Lemote Yeeloong 8101B

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

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Call for GIMP 2.10 Documentation Update

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

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

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

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

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

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

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Protecting IP in a 3D printed future

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

  • Programming/Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • GitLab Container Registry

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

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

    • Moving on From GitHub

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

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

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

    • My time with Rails is up

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

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

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

    • An overview of Lean, Agile and DevOps

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

Leftovers

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

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

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

    23rd May 2016

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

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

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

  • Health/Nutrition

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

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

    • Putin is Taking a Bold Step against Biotech Giant Monsanto

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Monsanto Threatens Argentina Over Recent Food Inspection Decision

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • When the drugs don’t work

      How to combat the dangerous rise of antibiotic resistance

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

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

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

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

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

  • Security

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

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

    • Linux Kernel Website Kernel.org Banned By Norton

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

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

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

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

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

  • Defence/Aggression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Turkey´s Kurdish peace process: regional implications

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

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

    • Dear Grads, Don’t Join the Military

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

    • Is Scarborough Shoal Worth a War?

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

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

      And what is Scarborough Shoal?

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

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

      [...]

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

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

    • Why is the government so close to BAE Systems?

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

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

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

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

    • What The Gun Industry Thinks Women Want

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

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

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

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

    • Hammering for Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Elephants continue to suffer in ‘humane’ wildlife sanctuaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Brexit campaign leadership dominated by climate-sceptics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • GE to Invest $1.4 Billion in Saudi Arabia

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

    • Saudi Arabia asserting writ in region like mafia crime family

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

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

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

    • Parts of New Orleans Are Sinking Fast, Study Finds

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

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

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

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

    • North Yorkshire fracking vote: Council approves fracking in Ryedale

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

    • Brazil prepares to roll back green laws

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Finance

    • European Parliament to tackle virtual currencies and Blockchain

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

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

    • Make Scandinavia one nation, says Norwegian tycoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Uber’s Conscientious Objectors

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

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

    • The New Agenda For Taking On Wall Street

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

      [...]

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

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

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

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

      They wrote nasty social messages to a VIP!

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

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

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

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

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

      Well, crooks love other crooks they say.

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

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

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

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

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

    • Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign

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

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

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

    • Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade

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

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

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

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

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

    • How corporate America bought Hillary Clinton for $21M

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

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

    • NYT: Protesters and Prosecutor Should Be Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • FBI Wants Biometric Database Hidden From Privacy Act

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

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

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • After migrants, German nationalist party takes aim at Islam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Guilty As Charged? Pakistan And The Special 301 Reports

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

    • Trademarks

      • EUIPO provides update on trademark reforms

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

    • Copyrights

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

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

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

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

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

      • Are academic publishers liable for ginormous damages?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

05.23.16

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

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

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

    But it brought the house down.

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

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

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

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

  • Open Source Employment Trends

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

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

  • 10 most in-demand Internet of things skills

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

  • Open source job market booming

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

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

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

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

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

  • Open source tool manages AWS Lambda apps

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

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Italian Army Switches to LibreOffice

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

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

    • The Month of LibreOffice

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

  • CMS

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

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

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

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

  • Networking

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • All About the DC/OS Open Source Project

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

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

    • Wayland/Weston with XWayland works on DragonFly

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

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open Source Governance: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

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

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

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

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

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

  • European Union: a House Divided

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

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

  • Let the Games Begin—Behind the Olympic Sheen

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

  • London is finally getting the Night Tube

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

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

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

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

  • IBM layoffs continue

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

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

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

  • Science

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

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

    • High Tech Tool to Aid in Pacific Northwest Toxin Detection

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

  • Deception

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

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

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

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

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

  • Health/Nutrition

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

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

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

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

    • Seeds of suicide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Security

    • TOTP SSH port fluxing

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

    • TeslaCrypt no more: Ransomware master decryption key released

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

    • Thoughts on our security bubble

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Linux 4.7 Gets a Security Boost with ChromeOS Feature

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

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump’s Five Questions on US Foreign Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Big Breakthrough

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Does Russia Have Reason to Fear?

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

    • Poof! Our Wars are All Forgotten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Oil majors tread cautiously towards renewables

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

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

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

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

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

    • NOAA Historical Hurricane Tracks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Colorado residents push to protect homes, river from fracking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Trudeau government faces crucial decisions in coming months

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

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

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

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

  • Finance

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Joys of Accountancy and Tents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Americans: A Conquered People: The New Serfs

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

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

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

    • Fighting for an Alternative to Big Banks

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

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

    • Locked Out of the American Dream

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

    • Disposable Americans: The Numbers are Growing

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

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

    • What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

    • Why Trump Might Win

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

      [...]

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

    • Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning

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

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

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

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

    • Expecting Sanders Supporters to “Close Ranks?”

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

    • How to Make the Democratic Nominating Process Actually Democratic

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

    • Bernie Sanders Endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Progressive Challenger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Why Hating the Media Could Make the Difference in November

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

    • Democrats Can’t Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes!

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

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

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

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

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

    • Trump camp quietly courts Muslims

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

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

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

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

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

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Reform or Revolution

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

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

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

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

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

    • Machine Bias

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

    • Time to End Religious Apartheid in Scotland – and England

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Battle for the Soul of American Higher Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks

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

    • Cop sued for drawing gun on man filming him

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

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

    • Sanders picks pro-Palestinian activist for Democratic platform committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Unraveling of Zionism?

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

    • Speak Up for Kids in Military Detention

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

    • Chelsea Manning Appeals 35-Year Sentence For Leaking Files

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • DTSA Litigation Updates

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

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

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

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

    • Copyrights

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

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

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

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

      • Chilean Bid to Help Authors Will Chill Audiovisual Content Online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

05.22.16

Links 22/5/2016: Systemd 230, Debian Installer Alpha 6

Posted in News Roundup at 10:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 1000 contributors!

    On the ownCloud blog, Jos shared today that the ownCloud community has hit an impressive milestone!

    The project I started 6 years ago just got a contribution from the 1000th volunteer who considered ownCloud worth the time and effort to contribute code to! Only a year ago, we were so proud having hit over 550 contributors at our 5 year anniversary. It is stunning how fast ownCloud has continued to grow.

  • 7 ways to make new contributors feel welcome

    Sumana Harihareswara and Maria Naggaga gave back-to-back talks at OSCON 2016 on how we can build our open source communities in such a way that contributors feel safe and loved.

    First, recognize that people participate in open source for many reasons. Some of us are lucky enough to get paid to work on it, others are doing it for a school project, and others are doing it just for fun or for the passion of the project. Start by looking at your project as an outsider and try to think about what they might find discouraging or not helpful. There are things in our projects that can be alienating. Evaluate these weird things in your projects and decide if you want to make changes or not.

  • Events

    • DORS/CLUC 2016 – Event Report

      Between 11-13 May 2016, Zacharias Mitzelos and I had been to Zagreb, Croatia for the 23rd DORS/CLUC. We were joined by Elio Qoshi, Jona Azizaj from Albania and Gergely Rakosi from Hungary.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 46.0.1 Lands in the Ubuntu Repos, But No Sign of Thunderbird 45

        Canonical recently pushed the first point release of the Mozilla Firefox 46.0 web browser to the stable channels for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, along with Mozilla Thunderbird 38.8.0.

        Mozilla Firefox 46.0.1 is a small bug fix update to the acclaimed and widely used open-source and cross-platform web browser, patching various security issues discovered by Mozilla’s skillful developers or reported by users since the release of Mozilla Firefox 46.0.

      • CSS coding techniques

        Lately, we have seen a lot of people struggling with CSS, from beginners to seasoned developers. Some of them don’t like the way it works, and wonder if replacing CSS with a different language would be better—CSS processors emerged from this thinking. Some use CSS frameworks in the hopes that they will have to write less code (we have seen in a previous article why this is usually not the case). Some are starting to ditch CSS altogether and use JavaScript to apply styles.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Enforcement and compliance for the GPL and similar licenses

      The Free Software Legal & Licensing Workshop (LLW) is a three-day event held every year for legal professionals (and aficionados) who work in the realm of free and open-source software (FOSS). It is organized by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and, this year, the event was held in Barcelona (Spain), April 13-15. The topics covered during the event ranged from determining what constitutes authorship, how to attribute it, and what is copyrightable, to the complexity of licenses and how to make them more accessible for potential licensees lacking in legal background. In addition, license enforcement and compliance were discussed, with a particular focus on how the GPL and related licenses have done in court.

      According to the organizers, there were approximately 90 attendees, 70% of whom were legal professionals and 30% technical professionals linked in some way to legal matters in their communities or companies. Attendees came from legal firms, traditionally open-source companies and communities, such as the Linux Foundation, Red Hat, and Debian, tech companies with some open-source products (Intel and others), and companies that are using open-source software embedded in their products. Discussions were held under the Chatham House Rule, which means that names and affiliations of participants are only available for those who have explicitly agreed.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • ReText and Markdown

      Markup formats can inspire just as much devotion and loathing as programming languages. TeX versus HTML, DocBook versus Mallard—the list is probably endless. But the “lightweight” markup formats (Markdown, reStructuredText, AsciiDoc, and so on) are the subject of particular scrutiny. Users almost always write them by hand, not in a dedicated tool, and the formats are becoming ever more widespread: as input formats in web applications and as the preferred document format on sites like GitHub. But these lightweight formats, Markdown in particular, have developed a reputation for compatibility problems in recent years—see the CommonMark effort for one of several attempts to impose order on the chaos. Thus, when version 6.0 of ReText, a GUI editor for Markdown and reStructuredText documents, was released recently, I was curious enough to take a look.

    • Embrace Open Source culture: the 5 common transformations.

      This is a story of what I have lived or witnessed a few times so far. A story of an organization that used to consume, develop and ship proprietary software for many years. At some point in time, management took the decision of using Open Source. Like in most cases, the decision was forced by its customers, providers, competitors… and by numbers.

      [...]

      This organization gained control over its production and, by consuming Open Source, it could focus many resources in differentiation, without changing the structure, development and delivery processes. At some point, it was shipping products that involved a significant percentage of generic software taken “from internet”.

      It became an Open Source producer.

      You can recognise such organizations they frequently create a specific group, usually linked to R&D, in change of brining all the innovation that is happening “in the Open Source community” into the organization.

      Little by little this organisation realised that giving fast and satisfactory answers, to its customer demands became more and more expensive. They got stuck in what rapidly became an old kernel or tool chain version…. Bringing innovation from “the community” required back-porting, solving complex integration issues, incompatibilities with what your provider brings, what your customer wants.

    • The rise of APIs

      It’s been almost five years since we heard that “software is eating the world.” The number of SaaS applications has exploded and there is a rising wave of software innovation in the area of APIs that provide critical connective tissue and increasingly important functionality. There has been a proliferation of third-party API companies, which is fundamentally changing the dynamics of how software is created and brought to market.

      The application programming interface (API) has been a key part of software development for decades as a way to develop for a specific platform, such as Microsoft Windows. More recently, newer platform providers, from Salesforce to Facebook and Google, have offered APIs that help the developer and have, in effect, created a developer dependency on these platforms.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • How expiring patents are ushering in the next generation of 3D printing

        The year 2016 is quickly shaping up to be one of the hottest years on record for 3D printing innovations. Although there is still a lot of hype surrounding 3D printing and how it may or may not be the next industrial revolution, one thing is for certain: the cost of printing will continue to drop while the quality of 3D prints continues to rise.

        This development can be traced to advanced 3D printing technologies becoming accessible due to the expiration of key patents on pre-existing industrial printing processes.

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: Open Source Electrospinning Machine

        Electrospinning is a fascinating process where a high voltage potential is applied between a conductive emitter nozzle and a collector screen. A polymer solution is then slowly dispensed from the nozzle. The repulsion of negative charges in the solution forces fine fibers emanate from the liquid. Those fibers are then rapidly accelerated towards the collector screen by the electric field while being stretched and thinned down to a few hundred nanometers in diameter. The large surface area of the fine fibers lets them dry during their flight towards the collector screen, where they build up to a fine, fabric-like material. We’ve noticed that electrospinning is hoped to enable fully automated manufacturing of wearable textiles in the future.

  • Programming/Development

    • Upcoming changes in PHP 7.1

      Below are the key changes that will be introduced (or removed) in PHP 7.1. For a full list, and to see which changes are being discussed, check out the official PHP RFC.

    • Changes Being Worked On For PHP 7.1

      PHP 7.1 is coming later this year as the first significant update to last year’s PHP 7 release that delivered huge speed improvements.

      We’ve already been looking forward to new features with PHP 7.1 and in not looking at the 7.1 work in a few months, more improvements have materialized.

    • Perl 5.24 upgrade
    • Selected projects and mentoring organizations

      The following projects have been selected to participate to SOCIS 2016.

      Instruction for students: you can apply now, but you must first contact the mentor of the project of your choice and discuss the contents.

Leftovers

  • A Day in the Life of an F-35 Test Pilot

    Here at the F-35 integrated test force, pilots spend their days simulating real missions to prepare the jets to one day operate on the battlefield.

    Defense News got a glimpse into the day-to-day life of an F-35 test pilot during a May 4 visit to Edwards Air Force Base. We followed Maj. Raven LeClair, assistant director of operations for the 461st flight test squadron, as he zipped up his flight suit, climbed into the cockpit, taxied to the runway and finally took off into the clear, desert sky.

  • An Oral History of Our Week Without Slack [iophk: "It's just getting proper Swedish-style dot-com hype. That doesn't stop it from being proprietary garbage and all-around useless though."]

    Our announcement got a lot of attention—much more than we were expecting. Throughout the week, our friends, fellow media workers, and coworkers at VICE have been asking us how the experiment is going.

    The short answer is, the experiment went well. We are learning what Slack is essential for, and in what ways it has been serving as a bandaid for what could be a more robust editorial structure.

  • Science

    • EgyptAir: Images released of debris found in plane search

      The Egyptian military has released images of items found during the search in the Mediterranean Sea for missing Egypt Air flight MS804.

      They include life vests, parts of seats and objects clearly marked EgyptAir.

      The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 people aboard when it vanished from radar early on Thursday.

    • Bad News

      I think it could be months or years before the cause will be known unless explosive residue is discovered on the stuff already recovered.

  • Hardware

    • Petition for Intel to Release an ME-less CPU design

      Please sign below, allowing Purism to provide this petition to our Intel Partner Account Manager that users want an “ME-less” CPU. “ME-less” is a defined term from within Intel created when discussing with Purism the need to have a CPU without the Management Engine (ME).

    • One Billion Drive Hours and Counting: Q1 2016 Hard Drive Stats

      For Q1 2016 we are reporting on 61,590 operational hard drives used to store encrypted customer data in our data center. There are 9.5% more hard drives in this review versus our last review when we evaluated 56,224 drives. In Q1 2016, the hard drives in our data center, past and present, totaled over one billion hours in operation to date. That’s nearly 42 million days or 114,155 years worth of spinning hard drives. Let’s take a look at what these hard drives have been up to.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Activists, Farmers, Indigenous People Rise Up to March Against Monsanto

      Anti-corporate activists, organic farmers, Indigenous peoples, environmental groups and others took the streets across six continents and over 400 cities on Saturday in a global grassroots march against bioengineering giant Monsanto.

      “The fight against corporate control of our food is global,” a food sovereignty campaigner with UK-based nonprofit Global Justice Now rallied the crowd marching in London.

    • Big Pharma Seeks to Capitalize on Pain-Reducing Compound Derived From Cannabis

      The medicinal properties of cannabidiol (better known as CBD), a compound found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant species, are quickly drawing the attention of scientists, plant-medicine lovers, dietary-supplement companies, venture capitalists, professional athletes and Big Pharma — not to mention people living with serious, chronic medical conditions. Insiders predict the burgeoning market will be as profitable as the NFL.

    • Congress Approves A Major Step Forward For Medical Marijuana

      In states that allow it, veterans are a major step closer to being able to obtain medical marijuana.

      On Thursday, both chambers of Congress approved measures prohibiting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from enforcing a policy prohibiting government doctors from prescribing medical marijuana to veterans. That essentially means doctors will now be able to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in the 24 states (plus D.C.) where it’s legal.

    • City of Long Beach Sues Monsanto for Ongoing PCB Contamination of Storm Runoff, Waterways

      The city of Long Beach filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. Thursday, claiming the manufacturer’s long-banned cancer-producing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are responsible for the contamination of the city’s storm water, port waters, and other bodies of water.

    • Microplastics in the sea a growing threat to human health, United Nations warns

      Millions of tons of tiny debris from plastic bags, bottles and clothes in the world’s oceans present a serious threat to human health and marine ecosystems.

      This is the stark warning issued by the United Nations in a report on the most dangerous environmental problems facing the world today.

      Global plastic production has increased dramatically in recent years. Between 2004 and 2014, the amount of plastic produced rose by 38 per cent, the report said.

    • Florida Man Says He Killed Sick Wife Because He Couldn’t Afford Her Medicine, Sheriff Says

      William J. Hager, 86, said he had run out of options.

      His wife, Carolyn Hager, 78, had been ill for the last 15 of the more than 50 years they were married. The cost of her medications had become so burdensome that they could no longer afford it, he said. So on Monday morning while she was sleeping, he shot her in the head, he told the deputy who came to their Florida home.

      The killing in Port St. Lucie and Mr. Hager’s explanation were detailed in an arrest affidavit and by local news media. Mr. Hager was arrested and charged with first-degree premeditated murder. But the case appeared to also highlight the difficulties faced by older people who are retired or on fixed incomes and struggle to pay for their medicine when they are ill or in pain.

      At the sheriff’s office, Mr. Hager told deputies that his wife had a “lot of illnesses and other ailments which required numerous medications,” which he “could no longer afford,” the affidavit said.

      According to a study by the AARP, an advocacy group for people over 50, specialty drugs that treat complex, chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis come with huge price tags.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Security brief: CoreOS Linux Alpha remote SSH issue

      On May 15, CoreOS was informed of a vulnerability in the alpha version of CoreOS Linux. Within 8 hours of this notification, over 99% of affected systems had been automatically patched. Though this issue was limited to an alpha version, we hold all of our releases to the same security standards, and we immediately responded, reported, and corrected the issue. This post describes the nature of the vulnerability, our response, and our plans to avoid similar issues in the future.

    • Purism Laptops to Protect You from Surveillance Capitalism

      There’s a new hardware company on the scene called Purism, and the name is a significant clue as to what the company is all about: pure software. At its heart, Purism is dedicated to providing computer hardware driven entirely by open source software so that users can “trust, but verify.” Purism is putting itself in direct opposition to what it considers “surveillance capitalism.”

      I spoke with CEO Todd Weaver at Pepcom, and it was one of the most significant conversations I’ve had with a tech exec in a long time. I was already on board with Mr. Weaver’s general message when he laid that phrase on me, “surveillance capitalism.” That’s when he really had me hooked.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • U.S. Set to Deploy (More) Ground Troops to Libya

      The decision by President Obama, egged on by his then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to depose Libya’s long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, led to near-complete chaos inside a country that had been otherwise stable since the 1960s.

    • Israel Veers Even Further Right

      Now come reports that Netanyahu is offering the Defense Ministry to former Moldovan nightclub bouncer (and resident of a West Bank settlement) Avigdor Lieberman. This will bring into the ruling coalition Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, which even within the Israeli context is usually described as “hard right.”

      Bringing Lieberman into the government is indicative not only of the overall orientation of that government but also of some larger disturbing trends in Israeli attitudes that the government has fomented more than it has discouraged.

      If Lieberman is made defense minister he would replace Moshe Ya’alon, who in recent days has backed the Israeli military in prosecuting (though only for manslaughter, not the murder that occurred) an Israeli soldier who was caught on videotape shooting in the head, at close range, a Palestinian man who was wounded and lying on the ground, already subdued and obviously not a threat. Lieberman has joined other hardliners in expressing support for the soldier. (Netanyahu has visited the soldier’s family to express sympathy.)

    • The Republicans’ Military Budget Could Make Every Homeless Person In America A Millionaire

      Last year, the United States spent more than $596 billion on the military, a total greater than the next six countries in the world combined. But the Republican-controlled Congress is looking to increase that number for next year.

      On Wednesday, the House passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), allowing for $602 billion to be spent on the country’s defense in 2017, but the way the money is budgeted could mean that total military spending could actually end up being far higher.

      Under the bill, $18 billion would be moved from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which is currently used primarily to fund operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, to the general budget to be used for additional troops and equipment. As Politico reported, this would likely leave enough money for such operations only through April, forcing the next president to request additional funding. Thus, the House bill would effectively increase the total military expenditure for next year.

    • The Parable of the Fat Man Earrings

      This rationalization perpetuates one of the great frauds of the war in the Pacific. As described in John Dower’s excellent War Without Mercy, by the spring of 1945 the Japanese military had been demolished. The disparities in the casualties figures between the Japanese and the Americans are striking. From 1937 to 1945, the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy suffered 1,740,955 military deaths in combat. Dower estimates that another 300,000 died from disease and starvation. In addition, another 395,000 Japanese civilians died as a result of Allied saturation bombing that began in March 1945. The total dead: more than 2.7 million. By contrast, American military deaths totaled 100,997.

    • The West’s Needless Aggression

      If we continue down the road toward a totalitarian society, propaganda may become even more pervasive. With the population unendingly surveilled, relentlessly entrapped, enslaved by debt, permanently profiled and all-too-frequently imprisoned, elites will go about their exploitation with calm impunity as ordinary citizens internalize the dictates of power. The question is whether the flashpoints of unrest seemingly everywhere in the world will coalesce into a popular front that can stem the tide of empire. We have little time left before state repression, blood-soaked bombing campaigns, and ecological ruin overcome us. It’s either a Green New Deal or Mad Max. The choice is ours.

    • First Take: Taliban leader’s death may not reduce war

      The apparent death of Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor on Saturday won’t have an immediate impact on the military operations of the insurgent group, which has been expanding in recent months, analysts and Afghan government officials said.

    • How We Got the Tanks and M-16s Out of LA Schools

      To return all military grade weapons to the Department of Defense “Excess Military Equipment Program” AKA the 1033 Program that is arming police departments all over the U.S. In particular, they returned 1 Tank, a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, 3 grenade launchers (“37 mm less less-lethal launch platforms” and 61 M-16 rifles).

    • Venezuela and the Silence of the Left

      Venezuela is nearing collapse It can turn violent soon. Last week Nicolás Maduro decreed a state of emergency and suspended constitutional rights. He fears “the Empire” is set to strike soon. This measure comes abruptly as the opposition demands Venezuelan Electoral Panel to ratify the 1.8 million signatures collected in just a few hours as a first step to constitutionally call for a referendum to remove him from power. And he is looking for ways to delay this process.

      An article in Counterpunch written by Eric Draitser characterized the referendum as a coup orchestrated by the opposition to oust Maduro and destroy the legacy of Chávez’ revolution. It further argues that Venezuela’s economic predicament—already a humanitarian crisis—is the product of a plot of the Venezuelan right-wing elites that control the National Assembly and the U.S. imperial interests, comparing the current crisis in Venezuela with the overthrow of Allende in the seventies by Nixon, Kissinger, the CIA and the Chilean elites.

    • New Turkish PM backs constitution to strengthen Erdogan

      Turkey’s incoming prime minister said on Sunday his top priority was to deliver a new constitution to create an executive presidency, giving President Tayyip Erdogan the broad powers he has long sought.

      As delegates from the ruling AK Party unanimously elected Transport Minister Binali Yildirim as their new party leader, and therefore the next premier, Yildirim left no doubt that he would prioritize the policies closest to Erdogan’s heart.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Haze war worsens as Indonesia halts joint projects with Singapore

      The tussle between Singapore and Indonesia over last year’s crippling haze escalated with Jakarta saying it will halt cooperation with Singapore on environment, forestry and haze-related issues.

      Indonesia’s environment and forestry minister also said Jakarta will undertake a unilateral review of several agreements with Singapore on collaboration on haze related matters.

    • Antarctic glacier melt could raise sea level by 3m

      One of Antarctica’s great glaciers could become unstable if global warming continues at the present pace. As warm seas wash the ice shelf, the land-based mass of ice could begin to retreat, cross a critical threshold in the present century and then withdraw 300 kilometres inland.

      In the course of doing so it would spill tremendous quantities of water into the oceans: enough to raise global sea levels by 2.9 metres and threaten cities that are home to billions.

    • Top Democrats Ally With Oil and Gas Industry to Fight Colorado Anti-Fracking Ballot Measures

      Oil and gas companies are spending heavily to crush three Colorado ballot initiatives that would limit fracking. And some of the state’s most powerful Democrats are helping them.

      The stakes are particularly high for several Colorado communities that have voted to limit or ban oil and gas development locally. Those limits were nullified in two cities by state Supreme Court decisions earlier this month. So the ballot initiatives may be their last best chance to slow development whose speed has surprised even cities that initially supported oil and gas projects.

    • Another Gulf oil spill adds fuel to movement against new offshore drilling leases

      Last week a damaged pipeline at a Royal Dutch Shell deepwater production field about 100 miles off the Louisiana coast spilled what’s been officially estimated at 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico before the leak was stopped.

    • How To Socialize America’s Energy

      Coming out of last December’s landmark climate negotiations in Paris, the question is no longer if societies will shift toward renewables, but when and how. For all the limitations of the deal—that it is largely unenforceable, contains only passing reference to human and indigenous rights, and treats historical polluters with kid gloves—its clearest and most redeeming feature is that it signals an end to the fossil fuel era.

    • This Country Just Set A Major Renewable Energy Record

      Last week, Portugal set a record for renewable energy use. Through a combination of hydroelectric, solar, and wind power, electricity use in the country was completely covered for four consecutive days.

      The news was reported by the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) in collaboration with ZERO System Sustainable Land Association. According to their measurements, from 6:45 a.m. on Saturday, May 7 to approximately 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, Portugal was able to rely entirely on renewables for an impressive 107 hours, the longest the country has ever been able to go.

    • Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump: ‘Almost a death knell for the human species’

      As he appears in new documentary The Divide, the great intellectual explains why Brexit is unimportant, why Trump’s climate change denial is catastrophic – and why revolution is easier than you think

    • Cherry Blossoms Paint A Lake Purple Making Tokyo Look Like A Fairytale

      Tokyo-based photographer Danilo Dungo uses drones to take stunning pictures of Japanese cherry blossoms. Every spring, he goes to the Inokashira Park to admire the blossoms, and while regular photography capture the park’s beauty, the drones reveal something else altogether.

      When seen from a great height, the lake Inokashira Park lake appears to be entirely covered in blossoms! Resembling pollen in a river stream, the blossoms turn the lake a surreal pink, a view unseen by most before the drone age. Be sure to check out Dungo’s other photographs at the National Geographic link below!

  • Finance

    • Sierra Club Statement on the U.S. International Trade Commission’s TPP Study

      Today the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released a study on the potential impacts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as required by law. The report projects that the controversial trade deal would result in a decline in U.S. manufacturing due in part to an increase in manufactured imports in some sectors from Vietnam and Malaysia, where production spurs far more climate pollution than in the U.S. It also notes the controversy surrounding the TPP’s conservation provisions, which are too weak to actually curb environmental abuses in TPP countries. The report further acknowledges broad concern that the TPP would empower polluters to sue the U.S. government in private tribunals over climate and environmental protections.

    • Will Hillary Clinton’s Plan to Have Her Husband Fix the Economy Hurt Her at the Polls?

      Hillary Clinton is dishing out details on how her potential administration would function—and apparently, it includes a lot of help from her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

    • Trump Attacks On Hillary Take Violent Turn

      Less than one day after his speech at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention, Donald Trump tweeted that a Hillary Clinton presidency would not only eliminate people’s gun rights but strip Clinton of her armed security team as well.

    • ‘This is for Our Families’: Children of Striking Verizon Workers Join Picket Line

      From Indianapolis to Philadelphia, there were new, younger voices joining the usual chant on the Verizon strike picket lines on Saturday: “What do we want? A contract! When do we want it? Now!”

      Children of striking workers joined their parents for 25 nationwide “Family Day” protests organized by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), one of the unions behind the strike.

    • Economist Dimitris Kazakis: Greece Can and Must Leave the Eurozone and EU

      As discussions continue to take place between the Greek government and the country’s lenders, Greece’s economic crisis is showing no signs of abating. Meanwhile, new cuts to pensions, wages and social services are currently on the table. Unemployment remains at record levels, while large-scale privatizations of profitable publicly owned assets are moving forward to appease the demands of Greece’s lenders.

    • The Privatization of the Public Sphere

      The attempt to privatize Social Security and Medicare are but two of a growing number of campaigns underway to privatize key aspects of public or social life. These efforts range from local water services, schools and healthcare insurance as well as prisons and the military. And this says nothing about the effort by private corporations to control the postal service and the telecommunications superhighway. With privatization comes increased cost, the deterioration of quality, the increased power of the 1 percent and America’s deepening social crisis.

    • Testing The Limits on Wealth Inequality

      In this post, I pointed out that we are going to see an empirical test of Piketty’s theory of rising wealth inequality. The theory itself is not well understood, and Piketty has revisited it since the publication of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and published an economist’s dream of a paper in full mathematical glory here. The American Economics Association devoted space in its journal to arguments about the theory, giving Piketty an opportunity to discuss his theory in what I think is a very readable paper, and one worth the time.

      He starts by saying that the relation between r, the rate of return to capital, and g, the rate of growth in the overall economy, are not predictive. They cannot be used to forecast the future, and are not even the most important factor in rising wealth inequality. The crucial factors are institutional changes and political shocks. Neither can the relation tell us anything about the decrease in the labor share of national income. He points to supply and demand for skills and education in this paper, as he does in his book, but this is a at best an incomplete explanation, owing more to the neoliberal view that the problems of workers are their fault than to a clear understanding of social processes in the US. A better explanation lies in tax law changes, changes in labor law and enforcement of labor law, rancid decisions from the Supreme Court, failure to update minimum wage and related laws, and government support for outsourcing and globalization.

    • Amazon bought this old hotel in Seattle and turned it into a homeless shelter

      Last month, Amazon announced that it’s turning an old hotel it bought in downtown Seattle into a temporary shelter for homeless people.

    • Noam Chomsky Reveals The Hypocrisies of Capitalism in the Financial Capital of the World

      Chomsky spoke at the New York Public Library last month about why the financial sector is basically tax-funded.

    • Karl Polanyi and twenty-first century socialism

      Gold certificates were used as paper currency in the United States from 1882 to 1933. These certificates were freely convertible into gold coins.Wikicommons. Public domain. Polanyi, however, brought a new angle of vision to this question. He had watched closely the process by which the Labour Government in England in 1931 and the Popular Front government in France in 1936 were effectively forced to abandon their radical reform agendas by international economic pressures.

    • Pensions may be cut to ‘virtually nothing’ for 407,000 people

      The Central States Pension Fund has no new plan to avoid insolvency, fund director Thomas Nyhan said this week. Without government funding, the fund will run out of money in 10 years, he said.

      At that time, pension benefits for about 407,000 people could be reduced to “virtually nothing,” he told workers and retirees in a letter sent Friday.

      In a last-ditch effort, the Central States Pension Plan sought government approval to partially reduce the pensions of 115,000 retirees and the future benefits for 155,000 current workers. The proposed cuts were steep, as much as 60% for some, but it wasn’t enough. Earlier this month, the Treasury Department rejected the plan because it found that it would not actually head off insolvency.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Democrats Can’t Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes!

      To paraphrase the words of that Scottish master Robert Burns, the best laid plans of mice, men — and women — go often astray, or “gang aft agley,” as they say in the Highlands. No one knows this better than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

      Twice now, the flight of her presidential aspirations has been forced to circle the airport as other contenders put up an unexpected fight: In 2008, Barack Obama emerged to grab the Democratic nomination away and this year, although all signs point to her finally grabbing the brass ring, unexpected and powerful progressive resistance came from the mighty wind of the Bernie Sanders campaign.

      Certainly, Hillary Clinton is angered by all of this, but the one seemingly more aggrieved — if public comments and private actions are any indication — is Democratic National Committee chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Hillary surrogate who takes umbrage like ordinary folks pop their vitamins in the morning.

      As we recently wrote, “… She embodies the tactics that have eroded the ability of Democrats to once again be the party of the working class. As Democratic National Committee chair she has opened the floodgates for Big Money, brought lobbyists into the inner circle and oiled all the moving parts of the revolving door that twirls between government service and cushy jobs in the world of corporate influence.”

    • Dems in a pickle

      I’ve written before about how the Hillary Democrats are running against hope, and how the Sanders campaign have outed them as frank corporate shills and enemies of even mild social democracy. But now even nominal liberals, or progressives, or whatever we’re calling them these days have gotten in on the act. Not content with merely saying “No!” to new programs like single-payer health insurance and free college, they’re highlighting the worst aspects of the New Deal in an effort to…well, what exactly? Promote Hillary? Fight Trump? It’s hard to tell.

    • Trump and the Dance to the Right

      Donald Trump’s nationalism echoes that of Europe’s rising right-wing parties and movements — but is far more dangerous.

    • Hyperdemocracy or Hypermodulation?

      It’s the encompassing paradigm we are in, one that has made us vulnerable to the demagoguery of Donald Trump.

    • Yes, Bernie’s Waging War on the Democratic Party—But if Hillary Loses, It Won’t Be His Fault

      Hey, remember what I said about the coming civil war in the Democratic Party, and how it wouldn’t necessarily be a whole lot more polite than the Republican version? Well, everybody who spouts opinions for a living loves to say “I told you so,” but in this case I can’t claim that: Neither I nor anyone else thought it would get here quite this quickly. After the ugly, angry chaos of the Nevada state convention last weekend and Bernie Sanders’ big victory in the Oregon primary on Tuesday — to go with a virtual tie in Kentucky, where Hillary Clinton won by fewer than 2,000 votes — Democrats now face the possibility of a highly contentious convention in Philadelphia this summer, where the outcome may not be in doubt but the mood will hardly be harmonious.

    • 8 European Far-Right Parties Who Are Celebrating Donald Trump

      Donald Trump’s campaign is truly testing the limits of the old saying “Every cloud has a silver lining.” Unless one operates under the assumption that a hate-filled platform fueled by bigotry, xenophobia and sexism is what the world needs right now. In which case, the Trump cloud appearing on the horizon is seen by some as an invitation to open their arms in exaltation, awaiting the inevitable Trumpian shower to follow.

    • Hillary Clinton’s ‘House of Cards’

      For “House of Cards” fans who can’t get enough of fictional President Frank Underwood and his First Lady Claire, it must be tempting to view Bill and Hillary Clinton as their real-life political doppelgangers. Certainly there’s fertile ground for those seeking parallels between the main protagonists of this quintessential political soap opera, and our more flesh and blood “heroes.” Like their imaginary foils, the Clintons’ moral compass is functionally impaired, so much so one suspects the HoC scriptwriters modeled their lead characters on the Democratic Party’s resident “royal couple.”

    • $25 vs $30, Hats Off to the Two-Party System!

      It is sad comedy to view working class individuals lather themselves up about Mexicans (when in fact more Mexicans are leaving this nation than entering these days) and steam up over Black Lives Matter (cause White Lives Matter, too, they bellow….the best response to this I’ve seen is….just because you say “Save the Rainforest” doesn’t mean you believe “Fuck the Tundra”)…..and these people don hats that say “Make America Great Again”, as if there was a magical time and place with greatness falling from the heavens on the white and shining American hordes. Okay, maybe that sort of happened, but there were quite a few “others” who did not receive such blessings. Some even received blessings like genocide and slavery, but those are pesky details, “Make America Great Again!” Sometimes these people seem just lost, not evil (but plenty are bile dripping Evilsaurus Rexes to be sure). The billionaire knows these people are disgruntled souls to actively mine–lots of rancor, insecurity and lust for authoritarianism under that crust and mantle. The hats sell for $25.00 on the official Trump site, or about 3 ½ times the Federal Minimum Wage, so what a bargain.

    • Project Censored Invited to Speak at Ralph Nader’s Breaking Through Power in D.C.

      More specifically, Nader states the goals for day two on Breaking Through the Media: “Leading authors, documentary filmmakers, journalists, cartoonists, new media content producers and other creative advocates will gather to discuss tactics to reform our communications landscape, and open the airwaves and internet up to serious and compelling content. Together we will launch a new organization – ‘Voices’ – a full-spectrum advocacy group to champion an open, democratic communication commons.”

    • Millions Now Understand That Capitalism Needs Socialism to Work—Which Is Why Bernie Is So Popular

      Context is important. When Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist, he is referring to democratic socialism as practiced in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Norway and many other countries in Western Europe; in other words, capitalism with a safety net. Sanders is essentially a capitalist who rejects the type of crony capitalism and ruthless corporatism that is killing America’s middle class. By European standards, Sanders is a mainstream liberal, which is a far cry from orthodox Marxist-Leninism as practiced in the old Soviet Union. And compared to some of the left-wing parties that have been gaining momentum in parts of Europe (such as Podemos in Spain or Syreeza in Greece), Sanders is not that far to the left. Rather, the political discourse in the U.S. moved so far to the right in the 1980s and ’90s that openly embracing socialism on any level was considered toxic.

    • The Most Reliably Democratic County in America Just Sent Hillary Clinton a Signal [iophk: "And how many tens of billions per year is the US willing to spend on incarceration?"]

      Through most of the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has been seen as the Democratic contender who appeals to Democrats. Bernie Sanders might attract independents in open-primary states, and political newcomers in most states, but Clinton, we’ve been told, is the candidate of the party faithful. That did not turn out to be the case in rural Kentucky, however.

      In what has been characterized as the most consistently Democratic county in the United States—Elliott County in eastern Kentucky—Sanders was an easy winner Tuesday night. The strength Sanders showed in the historically Democratic counties of eastern Kentucky helped him to hold Clinton to a virtual tie in the Bluegrass State. With 99 percent of the ballots counted Wednesday morning, Clinton was clinging to a 1,923 lead out of more than 400,000 votes cast statewide and the candidates split the elected delegates 28-27. On a night when Sanders easily won Oregon, Clinton had hoped for a big win in Kentucky, a state where she beat Barack Obama by a 65-30 margin in 2008.

    • Key Sanders backer: DNC chair must apologize [iophk: "DNC has been acting fucked up this whole election cycle. It has failed to remain neutral even from the beginning."]

      The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee should apologize to Bernie Sanders for her handling of the primary fight with Hillary Clinton, says Nina Turner, the Ohio state lawmaker and high-profile Sanders surrogate.

      In an interview with The Hill, Turner stopped just short of calling for Wasserman Schultz to resign, but said that at a minimum there should be an apology.

      “My husband told me I needed to be ready to answer this question,” Turner said. “It’s hard for me to say because I try not to judge people based on one snapshot of their lives or their career, but she should certainly apologize to Sen. Sanders for her words and deeds in making this an unfair fight.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • DMCA ‘reform’ harbors return of SOPA

      Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The open Internet is under attack by lawyers and lobbyists hoping to promote their own narrow interests under the guise of reform.

      Similar “reform” efforts gave us the controversial SOPA and PIPA legislation that died four years ago in the face of massive protests by Internet users. Those threats to free speech have since been recycled into backroom-negotiated trade deals and court cases.

    • Pirate Bay’s Domain Shuffle Has Come Full Circle

      After years of rotating domain names, The Pirate Bay is now back at its original .ORG domain. The notorious torrent site started redirecting users after a Swedish court ruling put its .SE domain at risk. Today we take a look at the rather impressive domain shuffle the site went through.

    • Fox ‘Stole’ a Game Clip, Used it in Family Guy & DMCA’d the Original

      This week’s episode of Family Guy included a clip from 1980s Nintendo video game Double Dribble showing a glitch to get a free 3-point goal. Fox obtained the clip from YouTube where it had been sitting since it was first uploaded in 2009. Shortly after, Fox told YouTube the game footage infringed its copyrights. YouTube took it down.

    • Amid Censorship Allegations, Conservative Activist Says Facebook Removed This Post and Briefly Suspended Her Account

      Conservative activist Lauren Souther claimed on Friday that Facebook deleted one of her posts because it didn’t “follow the Facebook Community Standards.”

      Ironically, the post was about Facebook allegedly “censoring” one of her conservative friends.

      “As I suspected my friend who res Disdain for Plebs has been banned on all his accounts that run the page AND Facebook deleted his post calling them out for censoring conservatives. This is utterly insane,” she wrote in the offending post.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Enterprises Stumble on Data Management

      Information governance essentially describes an end-to-end approach to managing, protecting and extracting the maximum value of enterprise data, typically stored as business records or documents. To accomplish this, CIOs, IT managers and business leaders use a wide range of technologies, management tools and policies to ensure that information is not only routed, stored and used appropriately, but that it doesn’t wind up in the wrong hands causing regulatory compliance and privacy headaches.

    • TorrZan Allows You to Download Torrents Via Telegram

      TorrZan is a new service that allows Telegram users to download torrents through their favorite instant messaging application. The Telegram bot can find files on popular torrent sites and downloads them securely through its service. When the transfers are complete, users can download or play the files directly through the instant messaging service.

    • Steve Allen: @GCHQ stop looking at cat pictures [Ed: they look at naked people through webcams]

      Given that social media is a mixed bag for a radio presenter, I’m not sure why GCHQ joined Twitter this week.

    • Terrorists no longer welcome on OneDrive or Hotmail [Ed: or, Microsoft spies on everyone, everything]]

      Microsoft says that it will be using the Consolidated United Nations Security Council Sanctions List to determine whether something is terrorist or not; content posted by or in support of the individuals and groups on that list will be prohibited.

    • Uber Knows When You’ll Pay Surge Pricing, But Promises Not to Use It Against You

      Other than the company’s notoriously lax attitude about background checks, allegations of drivers kidnapping and raping riders, and that, um, interesting new logo, the worst thing about Uber is surge pricing. And, not surprisingly, the company has figured out exactly when you are more likely to pay double or triple the cost of your ride: when your phone battery is low.

    • This Is Your Brain On Uber

      Uber is built on the scourge of surge. When demand is high, the company charges two, three, even NINE-POINT-NINE times as much as normal for a ride. Riders hate it… but not so much that they stop riding. “Dynamic pricing” has helped the company to grow into one of the largest ride-booking services in the world. What’s the psychology behind it? Shankar sits down with Uber’s Head of Economic Research Keith Chen to talk about when we’re most likely pay for surge, when we hate it the most, and why monkeys would probably act and feel the same way.

    • British Airways website blocking non exit relays IPs?
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Detained and interrogated for 10 hours in North Korea

      The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes was last week expelled from North Korea and forced to apologise for his reporting. He was held incommunicado for 10 hours and interrogated. Here he gives his first account of what happened.

      After a week in North Korea I was more than ready to go home. The trip, to cover a visit to Pyongyang by a delegation of three Nobel laureates, had been exhausting and stressful.

      I couldn’t move anywhere in Pyongyang without a team of five minders following my every step. At night the BBC team was confined to an overheated villa in a guarded compound. We’d fallen out with pretty much everyone. Our North Korean minders were now openly hostile.

    • Ted Nugent Reelected To NRA Board After 2016 Of Hate

      Ted Nugent was reelected to the National Rifle Association’s board of directors just weeks after he promoted a fake video of Hillary Clinton being shot and during a year in which he caused a national controversy for promoting anti-Semitic material.

    • Guantánamo Prisoner, Never Convicted, To Be Released After Decade-Plus Detention

      An Afghan man detained for 14 years in Guantánamo—without ever being convicted of a crime—was on Friday recommended by the Pentagon for release.

      The man, known as Obaidullah, was arrested and detained in 2002, when he was about 19, but the U.S. government failed to successfully prosecute him for any crimes, AP reported. Charges were eventually made against him in 2008, but were dismissed in 2011.

      “This young man should have been released years ago,” Marine Maj. Derek Poteet, who has represented him since 2010, told the Miami Herald. “He was taken from his bed at his home peacefully without resistance. He was subjected to real abuse at Bagram.”

      Obaidullah was allegedly arrested by U.S. special forces in 2002 because unarmed land mines were discovered buried near his house. The U.S. government did not formally bring charges against him until 2008.

    • As peace deal nears, Colombia’s journalists and activists still live in fear

      In the following months, his investigation into the killing and disappearance of hundreds of men, women and children in the department of North Santander by the paramilitary group Frente Fronteras (linked to the AUC, Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, or United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia) resulted in dozens of threats against him and his family.

    • Colombia: the Displaced & Invisible Nation

      The latest thematic report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concerning Colombia makes for shocking though quite important reading. [1] In short, it details human rights abuses on a massive scale, and lays the blame for these abuses chiefly upon the right-wing paramilitaries aligned with the Colombian State. Citing Colombia’s Center for Historical Memory, the IACHR concludes that Colombia, with its over 6 million internally displaced persons, is indeed “a displaced nation.”

    • ‘America Was Never Great’ Hat Leads to Death Threats

      A Staten Island woman who supports Senator Bernie Sanders said she received death threats after photos of her wearing a cap with the message “America Was Never Great” were posted widely on social media.

      The woman, Krystal Lake, 22, said Thursday that she had ordered the custom-made hat online with the phrase, a play on the slogan “Make America Great Again,” popularized by the campaign of Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

      Ms. Lake said she had gotten tired of hearing Mr. Trump’s slogan from his supporters and thought America “was never great.” She said that Mr. Trump’s slogan did not make room for bigger aspirations beyond the past and that he was dismissive of groups that did not fit his ideal demographic.

    • Corruption in Latin American Governments

      It should be remembered that Joseph Stalin, with Lenin’s approval, robbed banks to finance the Bolshevik party. Chavist politicians have also robbed banks: their own. This may seem relatively lacking in glory, but at least most of the time it is also in the service of political ends.

    • Can Sisi stop Egypt’s implosion?

      Contrary to popular belief, there has been a steady increase in under-reported forms of protests since the military coup. The regime has also moved from one security blunder to the next. From the increasingly sophisticated insurgency in Sinai, the bomb on a Russian airliner, and the murder of Mexican tourists by the Egyptian military in the western desert, the tourism industry is crashing.

    • After Fatal Shooting Of Unarmed Black Woman, San Francisco Police Chief Resigns

      Shortly after an unarmed black woman was fatally shot by police in San Francisco, Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned at the urging of Mayor Ed Lee. The move comes days after Lee defended the chief’s leadership, despite a string of department scandals and months of protests calling for Suhr’s departure.

    • A Federal Judge Just Ordered A Dox Attack Against 100,000 Innocent People

      A federal judge with a history of anti-immigrant sentiment ordered the federal government to turn over the names, addresses and “all available contact information” of over 100,000 immigrants living within the United States. He does so in a strange order that quotes extensively from movie scripts and that alleges a conspiracy of attorneys “somewhere in the halls of the Justice Department whose identities are unknown to this Court.”

      It appears to be, as several immigration advocates noted shortly after the order was handed down, an effort to intimidate immigrants who benefit from certain Obama administration programs from participating in those programs, lest their personal information be turned over to people who wish them harm. As Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director for United We Dream, said in a statement, the judge is “asking for the personal information of young people just to whip up fear” — fear, no doubt, of what could happen if anti-immigrant state officials got their hands on this information. Or if the information became public.

    • Brazil’s Guarani Indians killing themselves over loss of ancestral land

      The small Apy Ka’y community of around 150 Guarani Indians has lived in squalor by the side of Highway BR 463 in southern Brazil since 2009. Since then, they have been forced out three times by unknown gunmen, had their makeshift camp burned down twice by arsonists and three young people from the group have killed themselves.

      Each time they were intimidated they returned and reoccupied their last patch of land but last month a Brazilian judge ordered the Apy Ka’y community to permanently move off the land that was theirs for hundreds of years but was seized without compensation by wealthy plantation owners in the 1970s.

      “It will be a death sentence,” says anthropologist and community leader Tonico Benites Guarani who estimates that 1,000, mostly young, Guarani, have killed themselves in the last 10 years throughout Brazil – hundreds of times more than the average Brazilian suicide rate, and unequalled among all other indigenous peoples in Latin America.

    • GOP Senator’s Dying Wish Was To Apologize To Muslims On Behalf Of His Party For Trump

      As former Utah senator Bob Bennett lay dying this spring, the staunchly conservative lawmaker voiced a final, unexpected wish: he wanted to apologize to Muslims for Donald Trump.

      “Are there any Muslims in the hospital?” the Republican asked his wife and son, according to the Daily Beast. “I’d love to go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country, and apologize to them on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump.”

    • How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground for ISIS

      Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.

      The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression.

      Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.

      Kosovo now finds itself, like the rest of Europe, fending off the threat of radical Islam. Over the last two years, the police have identified 314 Kosovars — including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children — who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe.

      They were radicalized and recruited, Kosovo investigators say, by a corps of extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudi Arabia and other conservative Arab gulf states using an obscure, labyrinthine network of donations from charities, private individuals and government ministries.

    • Islamophobia on the Rise in England

      During a casual conversation inside a store on a swanky shopping street located a short distance from London’s fabled Kensington Palace a twenty-something retail clerk said she feels a strange sense of discomfort that she’s never felt before in London, the city where this native of Algeria has lived most of her life.

      She traces this alienating discomfort to the sharp increase in Islamophobia.

      Islamophobia is generally defined as dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims.

      This London resident is an identifiable target for Islamophobia because she wears a modest headscarf that is traditional in her culture and religion – Islam. (She does not wear a full-face covering burka.)

      For her and others, Islamophobia ranges from disdainful stares and caustic comments to physical assaults. A few assaults have ended in fatalities. And then there are British government policies like ‘Prevent’ – the professed counter-terrorism program that seemingly is targeted solely at Muslims. Prevent enlists citizens to report actions and attitudes deemed suspicious.

    • Police make naked dead woman sandcastle, then swiftly apologise

      A local police force has come under fire for building a fictitious crime scene from sand, featuring a naked dead woman.

      The peculiar sandcastle, surrounded by police tape and even featuring a green beach spade sticking out of her back, won the Cornwall Beach Games competition.

    • The crisis in European social democracy: a crisis like no other

      That said, representative democracy must itself be more open to a more balanced selection of representatives (in terms of generations and gender), while the various implementation mechanisms must facilitate genuine debate on issues and challenges that are impossible to face in isolation. These are all huge changes, but constitute only the beginning, a beginning that might suffice in restoring self-confidence, prompting the first steps towards major transformation, by way of the required social and ecological transition.

    • We Can Dream, or We Can Organize

      The swift rise, and swift crumbling, of the Occupy movement brings to the surface the question of organization. Demonstrating our anger, and doing so with thousands of others in the streets, gives us energy and brings issues to wider audiences.

    • Price of calling women crazy: Military women who speak out about sexual assault are being branded with “personality disorder” and let go

      As all too many rape victims discover when they speak out, many react by just wishing the victim would shut up and go away.

      Most rapists attack someone they know, which means that holding them accountable means tearing apart whatever community — school, work, friend group — that the accused and accuser belong in. Often, it feels just easier to pressure the accuser to shut up and go away so everything can return to normal, even though that often requires ignoring that there’s a sexual predator in your midst.

      In a report released on Thursday, Human Rights Watch turned up alarming evidence that, in the military, forces that want to shut accusers up and make them go away have found a disturbingly potent weapon: Misogynist stereotypes. By leaning on prejudiced beliefs that women, especially outspoken women, are either dishonest or crazy, the military was able to get rid of women who came forward with rape accusations.

    • GOP Senator Says America, The World’s Leading Jailer, Doesn’t Put Enough People In Prison

      Many lawmakers appear ready to begin unwinding the system that’s left millions of Americans rotting in prison and blocked those who do make it out from the economic opportunities they need to rejoin polite society. But one Republican lawmaker rejects the idea that America has a mass incarceration problem at all.

      “The claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact,” Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said Thursday at the right-wing Hudson Institute. “For the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted, and jailed.”

    • House Republican Staffer: If You Don’t Support The Confederate Flag You Are Just Like The Terrorists

      On Thursday, the U.S. House approved a measure to ban most displays of the Confederate flag in national cemeteries.

      The final tally was 265-159, but a majority of Republicans opposed the measure, with 158 voting nay and 84 voting in favor. Before the vote, a staffer working on behalf of one of the Republicans who voted against restricting the Confederate flag, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), distributed an email comparing those who support the measure to ISIS.

      “You know who else supports destroying history so that they can advance their own agenda? ISIL. Don’t be like ISIL. I urge you to vote NO,” Westmoreland’s legislative director, Pete Sanborn, wrote, signing the email, “Yours in freedom from the PC police.”

    • Obama’s Civil Rights Hypocrisy

      There is nothing new about people being transgender or using the restrooms they choose. They have been doing so for years. In contrast, black people risk death constantly just because they exist in this society. Driving, walking, riding a bicycle, being in a public space at the wrong moment, or even calling the police for assistance can get them killed. Yet Obama’s FBI doesn’t even maintain a record of killings committed by the police.

      Black people unilaterally surrendered their history of fighting for justice ever since Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses in 2008. From the moment it became clear that he could become president there was no amount of contempt or indifference from him that would dissuade millions of people from giving him unquestioned support.

    • Don’t Let the CIA Disappear the Senate Torture Report

      Torture is a war crime under international law and is prosecutable under federal law. The Senate Torture Report contains evidence of crimes. Destroying, disappearing, or continuing to hide the report undermines the rule of law and denies the American people their right to know when the government engages in criminal conduct.

      The CIA’s lawlessness cannot be allowed to subvert justice and erase history. Unless the report is preserved and made public it could be lost forever.

    • Daddy Knows Best

      I’m staring at that separation of politics and life, Obama’s saying “In politics and in life.” But politics IS life, or it at least is where decisions about people’s lives are legislated.

      “Ignorance is not a virtue.” No, it’s not. Yet Obama, this nation’s daddy, decides when we’re better off unaware. As a candidate for president, he promised transparency, but his tenure has been the least transparent in American history.

    • An open letter to #NuitDebout from the Indignados’ districts of the internet

      The strength of r-evolutions like #NuitDebout or 15M lies in:

      (1) decentralization and a distributed leadership according to expertise, not according to media visibility; these new ways of organising will overcome the limits of the horizontal governance of assemblies and will transform into networks.

      (2) Our abilities, well above those of the institutions and political parties, to resolve specific problems with specific solutions that are derived from the specific experiences and expertise of each of us, and not from ideologies. It’s about collaboration between people with different skills and abilities, not about merging under a single banner or a unique trade mark. The strength of a federation based on diversity.

      (3) Shared responsibility: we want grown-up, adult societies that don’t need a parental figure whose proclamations are fanatically observed, or in the same vein, a leader for whom we are the critical current, and who we legitimise ‘democratically’ through our disagreements.

    • Truthdiggers of the Week: Brazilians Protesting Absorption of the Ministry of Culture

      What would you do if a bunch of politicians ousted your democratically elected president and installed one of their own?

    • Is Pope Francis a Teamster at Heart?

      And I say the following not only as a non-Catholic and non-Christian, but as a non-theist. Who is the American public more apt to listen to? The Pope and Jesus? Or Wal-Mart executives?

    • After Damaging Washington Post ‘Redskins’ Poll, Change The Mascot Movement Moves On

      For Native American leaders who have been fighting for the Washington team to change its name — and making strides, at least on the local level — this poll felt like a slap in the face.

      “This is just an investment in white supremacy, plain and simple,” Dr. Adrienne Keene wrote on her website, Native Appropriations. “It is an attempt to justify racism, justify the continued marginalization of Native peoples, justify divide-and-conquer techniques that are pitting Native people against one another. It devalues Native voices, stories, and experiences.”

      Joel Barkin, a spokesman for the Oneida Nation and the Change The Mascot campaign, agreed.

    • ‘I’m sorry, I’m scared:’ Killing of student enrages ABQ

      Jonathan Sorensen, a 25-year-old University of New Mexico student, died at the K-Mart location at Carlisle and Indian School Road after he was held down by three loss prevention employees who suspected him of shoplifting.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality complaints have flooded into FCC since rules took effect

      The data includes 86,114 Internet service complaints filed since October 31, 2014 against home Internet and cellular ISPs. Net neutrality has been the most common type of complaint since the rules went into effect and is near the top of the list even when counting the first seven months of the data set in which net neutrality complaints weren’t yet being accepted. In the full data set, billing complaints led the way at 22,989—with 16,393 since June 12. The other top categories for the entire period since late 2014 were service availability with 14,251 complaints, speed with 11,200 complaints, and privacy with 7,968 privacy complaints.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Deborah Cohn on a year of progress for the Trademark Caucus

        Deborah Cohn has been busy since starting as INTA’s Senior Director of Government Relations in March last year. “We are trying and succeeding in raising the visibility of trademark issues and INTA on Capitol Hill,” the former Commissioner for Trademarks for the USPTO says of her role.

    • Copyrights

      • ISP: Police Request Most User Data for File-Sharing “Crimes”

        For the first time Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof has shared details on the nature of police requests for subscriber identities. The data reveals that with 27.5% “file-sharing” is by far the largest category. The ISP, however, doesn’t see piracy as a serious crime and has refused to hand over any subscriber data.

      • Why Is Oracle Suing Google and What’s at Stake?

        For the past week or so, Google — which, uh, I imagine you’re familiar with — and Oracle, an enormous but less flashy technology company, have been sparring in court over Google’s use of a version of Java, the programming language owned by Oracle, in its Android operating system. At the heart of the matter is the question of whether or not the Java API could be copyrighted, and whether Google’s use of it was exempt under fair use. In short, Oracle wants to know if it can get some cash because Google used a program it created.

      • How an Oracle win over Google could set the software industry back to the licensing age

        What’s at stake in Google and Oracle’s copyright dispute over Java isn’t really about the future of open source, as Quentin Hardy seems to argue, but rather about the future of software licensing, period. A pro-Oracle verdict essentially dumps us back into the software Stone Age, an era of arcane software licensing designed to mimic the pre-digital world of physical goods.

      • Google’s legal war with Oracle could undermine a core pillar of the software industry

        Oracle alleges that Google violated its copyright when it put pieces of the crucial Java technology into the Android operating system, which now ships on 80% of smartphones sold. Google’s defense hinges on “fair use,” the idea that it was legally allowed to use Java as it did.

      • Music Industry Wants More Money From YouTube

        UK music industry group BPI is not happy with YouTube and other streaming sites that can feature their music for just a few pennies. According to the major labels, EU legislation needs an overhaul to deter piracy and make sure that labels and artists are properly compensated for their work.

      • Ancillary Copyright: bad for both end-users and creators

        The Commission’s public consultation on whether to grant additional rights to press publishers is aimed at audiences beyond the publishers themselves, to include a wide range of stakeholders – including end users, consumers, and citizens. In this third post of our series on the consultation, we highlight what the introduction of an additional right for publishers would mean for end-users of news and online information, as well as content creators. We encourage everyone to make their views known to the Commission by answering the consultation questionnaire by 15 June.

05.21.16

Links 21/5/2016: Manjaro Linux RC, Flock 2016 Schedule

Posted in News Roundup at 9:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • They take to it later, but when women FLOSS, they mean it

    Despite an extreme gender gap in the free/Libre and open-source software community – even more extreme than in general IT – women who work full time in FLOSS stick with it longer than men, according to a recent report.

    The gap between men and women in the IT industry is well known. The report, “Women in Free/Libre/Open Source Software: The situation in the 2010s”, estimates that women make up 25 to 30 per cent of the IT workforce. For women working in free and open-source software, however, this percentage drops dramatically to two to five per cent.

  • Moving on from ownCloud

    A few days ago, I published my last blogpost as ’ownCloud’ on our blog roll about the ownCloud community having grown by 80% in the last year. Talk about leaving on a high note!

    Yes, I’ll be leaving ownCloud, Inc. – but not the community. As the numbers from my last post make clear, the ownCloud community is doing awesome. It is growing at an exponential rate and while that in itself poses challenges, the community is healthy and doing great.

  • The most important skill you need as a leader

    “One of the most powerful tools you have as a leader is to be present.” Eric McNulty opened up the first day of Cultivate this year, the annual pre-conference event before OSCON, with this quote.

  • Geek of the Week: Timothy Crosley is a champion of open source technology

    When Timothy Crosley isn’t working on security solutions for DomainTools, he devotes his time to open source projects. He runs Simple Innovation, a software development business that builds apps on a contract basis, using open source technology.

  • Why Should Every Developer Contribute To Open Source Software?

    Since the beginning of the free and open source software movement, a lot has changed. Today, open technologies are being used by millions of individuals and companies to make their products better. Open source software development also brings numerous benefits to a developer and here we are going to talk more about the same.

  • Open source at your company? 6 questions your manager will ask

    Christian Grail gave a talk at OSCON 2016 titled: “How to convince your manager to go open source.”

    I thought the perspective was going to be from the user side but it was from the employee side, about convincing your manager to open source the projects at your company.

  • Yu set to take on Xiaomi, releases open-source code for developers to make its OS interesting!

    Micromax subsidiary brand, Yu Televentures has an official forum online, which has been an active space for communication for the company with its fans and followers. The company has now announced something special for developers and contributors.

  • The new open source: Money, corporations, and identity

    Danese Cooper, head of open source for PayPal, spoke to during the Day 2 OSCON morning keynotes about the sustainability of open source, mixing in some of the history of open source as well as her own sage advice.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

    • It Takes a Village: Making Data Projects Work – Amy Gaskins, Big Data Project Director
    • It’s Surprising Who’s Using NFV MANO Code From Cloudify

      There’s been so much flurry around NFV management and network orchestration (MANO) in 2016 that GigaSpaces’ Cloudify Project kind of flew under the radar.

      GigaSpaces, a company that offers a data scalability platform, has created some MANO software named Cloudify, and the code is being used by Open-O, OPNFV, and AT&T.

      [...]

      GigaSpaces launched the NFV Lab during the OpenStack Summit last month, and it is demonstrating it in collaboration with Metaswitch at the Metaswitch Forum event this week in Scottsdale, Ariz.

    • Publisher’s cloud strategy improves uptime and agility with PaaS

      Despite this PaaS love, Otte is keeping his options open. As he told me, “We’re committed to operating in a multi-cloud environment that uses open source and cloud-based technologies in everything that we do.” This means, among other things, that the company will continue to use OpenStack to stand up private and public clouds, even as it uses Cloud Foundry’s container-based architecture to build portable images and then run them in any language.

    • MapR Report Shows Apache Drill Coming to Maturity

      MapR Technologies, focused on Hadoop, made the news this week as it rolled out a simple migration service for its Hadoop distribution that targets what it bills as growing demand for moving Big Data tool installations to its converged data platform. And, it was one year ago that we did an interview marking the company weaving Apache Drill into its Hadoop-centric distribution. Drill, which we’ve covered before, delivers self-service SQL analytics without requiring pre-defined schema definitions, dramatically reducing the time required for business analysts to explore and understand data. It also enables interactivity with data from both legacy transactional systems and new data sources, such as Internet of things (IOT) sensors, Web click-streams, and other semi-structured data, along with support for popular business intelligence (BI) and data visualization tools.

  • CMS

    • Phire CMS: A feature-rich, lightweight content management system

      By 2009, developer Nick Sagona had, over time, built quite a few custom, hand-rolled content management solutions for his specific client needs. He realized that having a standard, modular platform for all these custom bits would be useful, and Phire CMS was born.

      Phire CMS version 1.0 was released on November 1, 2010. Last October, version 2.0 was released, with a ground-up rewrite to utilize the Pop PHP Framework, also developed by Sagona at NOLA Interactive, a New Orleans-based web design firm. Both applications are available under the BSD 3-Clause License.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • It’s Possible To Run (X)Wayland On DragonFlyBSD

      It’s possible to get XWayland running on DragonFlyBSD if you want to experience Wayland/Weston outside of Linux.

      A DragonFlyBSD developer was successful in rebuilding the X.Org Server with XWayland support, used the i915 Intel DRM/KMS driver for display, and launched Wayland’s Weston with the Pixman renderer.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Git 2.8.3 Source Code Management System Introduces over 20 Improvements

      Git, the popular and acclaimed source code management system, has received its third point release, version 2.8.3, bringing over 20 improvements and bug fixes to the current stable 2.8 branch.

    • Your project’s RCS history affects ease of contribution (or: don’t squash PRs)

      Github recently introduced the option to squash commits on merge, and even before then several projects requested that contributors squash their commits after review but before merge. This is a terrible idea that makes it more difficult for people to contribute to projects.

      I’m spending today working on reworking some code to integrate with a new feature that was just integrated into Kubernetes. The PR in question was absolutely fine, but just before it was merged the entire commit history was squashed down to a single commit at the request of the reviewer. This single commit contains type declarations, the functionality itself, the integration of that functionality into the scheduler, the client code and a large pile of autogenerated code.

Leftovers

  • Aiding Africa

    I realized that there are two Africas: one normally portrayed in the media, a land of poverty, disease and war. And another Africa: a vital, energetic continent of hard working men and women, a continent of beautiful children and young men and young women, a continent of humor and a continent of hope. Today, six of the ten fastest economies in the world are in Africa.

    Despite some progress, however, some important problems remain, such as unemployment, particularly among the young. It is estimated that 70 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 30, and that 60 percent of the unemployed are also young people. New policies should be developed to incorporate them into the labor force.

  • Eurovision as Politics

    This year’s Eurovision came with its usual cast of political baggage and implications, made spicier by the introduction of a “popular” vote that effectively neutralised usual judging patterns. But then again, the entire tournament was filled with such innovations, with Australia running a second time and winning the professional judge’s vote, only to lose by public vote to Ukraine.

    Even before the confirmation that Australia would feature again, eyebrows were raised as to what would be in store. A ridiculous competition, famed for its sublimated battles, was about to get even more peculiar. Were the Australians the shock absorbers in a polarised field?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Hundreds of antibiotics built from scratch

      A 64-year-old class of antibiotics that has been a cornerstone of medical treatment has been dramatically refreshed by dogged chemists searching for ways to overcome antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

      In work described today in Nature[1], a team of chemists built molecules similar to the drug erythromycin, a key member of the macrolide class, from scratch. In doing so, they were able to generate more than 300 variations on erythromycin that would not have been feasible by merely modifying the original drug — the way that scientists would normally search for new variants of existing antibiotics.

    • Establishment Dems Fight to Defeat ‘Medicare-for-All’ in Colorado

      Pro-Clinton Democrats join Big Pharma and state Republicans in fighting to defeat first-in-the-nation ballot measure for statewide single-payer plan

    • Tobacco laws: Bid to overturn packaging rules dismissed

      Uniform packaging rules for tobacco will be introduced on Friday after a legal challenge against the new law was dismissed by the High Court.

      The case was brought by four of the world’s biggest tobacco firms, Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International.

      But Mr Justice Green dismissed all their grounds of challenge.

      The government said it meant a generation would “grow up smoke-free”.

      Two of the companies have said they will appeal against the ruling.

    • Big Tobacco Lost to Australia over Plain Packaging – but That Doesn’t Mean Corporate Courts ‘Work’

      Late last year tobacco company Philip Morris International’s (PMI) attempted to sue the Australian government for billions over the introduction of plain packing of cigarettes. This court case happened in a secretive court system, just like the one that they are trying to introduce in the EU-USA trade deal, TTIP. PMI failed in their attempt and the case report has just been published.

      It is indisputably a good thing that PMI lost the case. But people who argue in favour of the same ‘corporate court’ system in TTIP (the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism, or ISDS) are claiming this as proof that the system works, justice was done, and the ISDS system functions responsibly to make sure that corporations can’t abuse it.

      Here’s five reasons why that’s not true.

  • Security

    • “Robin Hood” Hacker Steals $11,000 In Bitcoin, Donates It To Help Fight ISIS

      The hacker who claimed to hack the Hacking Team and Gamma Group is back again. This time, he has sent about $11,000 of allegedly stolen Bitcoin to help fight ISIS.

    • Aqua Launches Container Security Platform

      Looking beyond just application vulnerability scanning, Aqua also provides a degree of runtime protections. Aqua uses a layered security approach to keep containers safe, according to Jerbi. The layered approach starts with running the container application images in learning mode, usually during functional testing. In the learning mode, Aqua examines a container’s behavior in the application context and uses that to set granular runtime parameters, based on which files, executables and network connections a container is using.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Noam Chomsky on Syria Conflict: Cut Off the Flow of Arms & Stop Bombing to Stem the Atrocities

      Today, the U.S. and Russia co-chair a meeting of the 17-nation International Syria Support Group aimed at easing the five-year conflict with a death toll that has reached close to half a million people. Just last month, President Obama announced the deployment of 250 more Special Operations troops to Syria in a move that nearly doubles the official U.S. presence in the country. Syria is only one of a number of ongoing deadly conflicts in the Middle East. Last year, a record 60 million people around the world were forced to flee their homes, becoming refugees. For more on these conflicts and the rise of ISIS, we continue our conversation with internationally renowned political dissident, linguist and author, Noam Chomsky. “The U.S. invasion of Iraq was a major reason in the development, a primary reason in the incitement of sectarian conflicts, which have now exploded into these monstrosities,” says Chomsky. He has written over 100 books, most recently, “Who Rules the World?” Chomsky is institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than 50 years.

    • Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows in the New Middle East

      On the surface, it would seem that Saudi Arabia and Israel would be the worst of enemies — and indeed, they’ve never had diplomatic relations.

    • America – the Most Frightened Nation on Earth

      America is exceptional alright. It is the most frightened nation on Earth, subjected to hysterical propaganda over decades warning about foreign enemies and ideologies. No wonder its supposed democratic freedom is in so appallingly bad shape, when the preponderant population is imprisoned by their rulers in a virtual cage of fear.

      [...]

      Clooney dismissed Trump as a demagogue sowing fear and divisive tensions along racial and xenophobic lines. Which is fair enough. Of interest here is not so much the actor’s views on Trump’s chances of political success. Rather, it is Clooney’s premise that Americans would not succumb to reactionary fear peddling.

      Seated at the press conference alongside his American co-star Julia Roberts and film director Jody Foster, Clooney told his Cannes audience: «Fear is not going to drive our country… we’re not afraid of anything».

      Well, sorry George, but you are dead wrong on that score. Fear is the paramount emotional driver in American politics since at least the Second World War, and probably decades before that too.

    • Pentagon Official Once Told Morley Safer That Reporters Who Believe the Government Are “Stupid”

      Morley Safer, who was a correspondent on CBS’s 60 Minutes from 1970 until just last week, died Thursday at age 84.

      There will be hundreds of obituaries about Safer, but at least so far there’s been no mention of what I think was one of the most important stories he ever told.

      In 1965, Safer was sent to Vietnam by CBS to cover the escalating U.S. war there. That August he filed a famous report showing American soldiers burning down a Vietnamese village with Zippo lighters and flamethrowers as children and elderly women and men cowered nearby.

    • The Dreadful Kagan Clan——Hillary’s Warmongers In Waiting

      The U.S. is heading straight for a fiscal calamity in the next decade. Even if you believe the CBO’s Rosy Scenario projections——-which assume that we will go 207 months thru 2026 without a recession or double the longest expansion on record and nearly 4X the normal cycle length—–we will still end up with $28 trillion of national debt and a $1.3 trillion annual deficit (5% of GDP) by 2026.

    • Obama Plays a Dove in NPR’s Historical Fiction

      So Clinton pushed for “safe zones” in Syria, which Obama did not create—and she advocated for US military intervention in Libya, which Obama carried out. So half the evidence presented for the claim that Clinton is more hawkish than Obama actually shows that Clinton is as hawkish as Obama.

      But what is the evidence that Obama is “reticent when it comes to deploying military force” in the first place? He’s bombed at least seven countries during his time in office—Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya, and drone strikes continue in all of these but Libya. The deadliest airstrikes, those against ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria, have killed more than 25,000 people, according to US officials.

    • Pushing Russia Toward War

      NATO’s military pressure on Russia and the West’s economic sanctions have empowered Moscow’s hardliners…

    • Parallels Between Israel and 1930s Germany

      90 years ago was 1926, one of the last years of the German republic. 80 years ago was 1936, three years after the Nazis came to power. 70 years ago was 1946, on the morrow of Hitler’s suicide and the end of the Nazi Reich.

      I feel compelled to write about the general’s speech after all, because I was there.

      As a child I was an eyewitness to the last years of the Weimar Republic (so called because its constitution was shaped in Weimar, the town of Goethe and Schiller). As a politically alert boy I witnessed the Nazi Machtergreifung (“taking power”) and the first half a year of Nazi rule.

    • Death in a Shopping Aisle: Jonathan Sorensen’s Fatal Encounter with Kmart

      “We’re fighting a system that now includes Kmart, which has an unlimited amount of power,” said Dinah Vargas, Albuquerque human rights activist and producer of the independent media site Burquemedia.com. “They’re acting like agents of the State, like they’re police officers. They have no authority to arrest him,”

      Vargas added, “Our own state doesn’t do capital punishment. We don’t send anyone to death. I’m an American citizen, and I’ll be damned if a loss prevention officer is going to be judge, jury and executioner.”

    • Speaking To NRA In A Gun-Free Zone, Trump Pledges To Eliminate Gun-Free Zones

      Donald Trump vowed to get rid of “gun free zones” during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville Friday, going a step further than his frequent promise to allow guns in schools and military bases.

      Despite the fact that many Trump hotels and the convention center where he spoke on Friday are all gun-free zones, the presumptive nominee said he went off his telepromter to promise the NRA members in attendance that he would eliminate gun-free zones altogether. Trump also earned the NRA’s endorsement at the event.

    • NSA Participated In the Worst Abuses of the Iraq War

      You know the CIA was involved with some of the least savory aspects of the Iraq War.

      But the NSA got its hands dirty, as well.

    • US Downplays a New Syrian Massacre

      The Obama administration claims Syrian rebels in Ahrar al-Sham deserve protection from government attack although they have close ties to Al Qaeda and joined its official Syrian affiliate in a slaughter of Alawites, writes Daniel Lazare.

    • Venezuela’s Crisis From Up Close

      As the political configuration of South America quickly shifts to the right and the global alignment of power is in active play , Venezuela is in the cross-hairs. The grave humanitarian crisis in Venezuela today is real and not an invention of the press. And the contributions to this crisis lie on multiple shoulders. And the solution to this problem needs to be determined by the Venezuelan people with support from other Latin American peoples.

    • Think Tanks and the US Power Elite

      The US power elite is involved in many ways in the dispute over global domination, its exercise and defense.

      The precarious balance of forces in the bipolar world in which we lived after World War II prevented US imperialism from imposing its absolute hegemony world-wide. That was based on the nuclear blackmail it threatened after its genocidal bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      Later, a tense arms race would arrive, promoted by the so-called “balance of terror”. According to this notion, which the forerunner power in the production of weapons would cause an imbalance in the international arena. The one with the most and deadliest weapons would be able to destroy the other.

    • In Hiroshima, Obama and Abe Should Acknowledge Their Country’s Wrongdoing

      On May 27, as the first sitting president of the United States, Barack Obama, will visit Hiroshima, the city that his country attacked with an atomic bomb on August 6, 1945.

      Obama neither has a plan to apologize for the bombing nor to go back to the debate on the decision to drop the bomb. He has no plan to make a significant speech in Hiroshima comparable to his “Prague Speech” of April 5, 2009. There is not a plan yet for him to meet with Hibakusha (atomic-bomb victims).

      He received a Nobel Peace Prize for just talking about “a world without nuclear weapons” in Prague. Yet, Obama has been relentlessly allocating large budgets for modernization of nuclear weapons – $1 trillion over thirty years.

    • Saudi Arabia’s new best friend: India

      Fighting a sectarian air-war in Yemen, Saudis have made a mockery of humanitarian and human rights laws; from using indiscriminate cluster bombs to decimating hospitals and marketplaces. But the absence of formidable ground force means that they have not been able to achieve any of the set military objectives. Houthis still control much of the country, including the capital Sana’a. The Saudi-backed ousted government of Mansour Hadi faces opposition even in its stronghold of Aden. Al-Qaeda virtually rules over a state in the south-eastern port of Mukalla with a constant revenue stream and looted reserves worth $100 million. ISIS is also on the rise.

    • 2001 AUMF, Gitmo Restrictions Survive as House Passes Defense Policy Bill

      Last minute attempts to wind down trappings of the Bush-era Global War on Terror were thwarted Wednesday night before lawmakers in the House passed the annual defense bill.

      An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) put forth by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) was defeated in a 285-138 vote. Fifty-seven Democrats joined Republicans to preserve the 15-year-old consent to war.

    • Trump Praised For Being ‘Consistent’ After Lying About His Record On Military Intervention

      During a Friday phone interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he “would have stayed out of Libya” back in 2011. Contrasting his own position with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who pushed to get the United States more involved in the effort to take out Muammar Qaddafi, Trump said deposing the dictator led to “more destabilization” in the region. Trump also said he “would have stayed out of Iraq too.”

      Trump’s remarks won plaudits from host Joe Scarborough, who responded by saying, “There are a lot of people who say you have an inconsistent foreign policy, but it sounds pretty consistent.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • UN Assessment: Global Destruction of Mother Earth on Fast Track

      With no region of the Earth untouched by the ravages of environmental destruction, the state of the world’s natural resources is in a rapid downward spiral, a comprehensive assessment by the United Nations has found.

      Published Thursday, Global Environmental Outlook from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) involved the expertise of more than 1,200 scientists and over 160 governments, and exposes through reports on each of the world’s six regions that the rate of environmental deterioration is occurring faster than previously thought—and can only be halted with swift action.

    • Abandoning Doubt & Denial, School District Officially Embraces Climate Literacy

      In what may be a first in the nation, this week the Portland, Oregon school board passed a sweeping “climate justice” resolution that commits the school district to “abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its roots in human activity.” The resolution further commits the school district to develop a plan to “address climate change and climate justice in all Portland Public Schools.”

      The resolution is the product of a months-long effort by teachers, parents, students, and climate justice activists to press the Portland school district to make “climate literacy” a priority. It grew out of a November gathering of teachers and climate activists sponsored by 350PDX, Portland’s affiliate of the climate justice organization, 350.org. The group’s resolution was endorsed by more than 30 community organizations. Portland’s Board of Education approved it unanimously late Tuesday evening, cheered by dozens of teachers, students, and activists from 350PDX, the Raging Grannies, Rising Tide, the Sierra Club, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Climate Jobs PDX, and a host of other groups.

    • Agriculture Wasn’t Included In The Paris Climate Deal, But It Will Be Crucial To Meeting Its Goals

      In December, nearly 200 nations met in Paris and unanimously agreed, in historic fashion, to a shared goal of keeping the world well below 2 degrees Celsius of warming. In order to achieve that, the participating nations each put forth a broad set of goals, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), and agreed to a number of provisions included in the text of the Paris agreement itself.

    • After ‘Robbing Humanity’ of Better Future, Shareholders Targeted for Big Oil’s Charade

      When they gather in Texas and California, respectively, for their annual shareholder meetings next week, ExxonMobil and Chevron will face increasing pressure from shareholders, environmentalists, and impacted communities to act on climate change.

      The meetings, both taking place next Wednesday, come amid a concerted effort to hold Exxon and other fossil fuel corporations accountable for deceiving the general public and their shareholders about climate science.

      But if history is any indication, the Big Oil giants will remain as intractable as ever, even in the face of a growing climate crisis.

    • Here’s One Way The Media Confuses The Public About Climate Change

      The multi-decade disinformation campaign funded by the fossil fuel industry is certainly a key source of their confusion. And that confusion is amplified whenever the media disproportionately favors scientists who reject the basic scientific consensus on climate change. A 2014 study makes clear this false balance remains commonplace.

      But there is another more insidious source of confusion for the public, and that’s when the media’s language on climate science is itself ridiculously watered-down.

    • Tiny English Village Fights Fossil Fuel Industry To Avoid Becoming Ground Zero For British Fracking

      Through the decades, the English countryside has been known to American audiences as the background for classic, beloved shows: Brideshead Revisited, All Creatures Great and Small, Downton Abbey. The casual Netflix viewer today is familiar with Britain’s brick villages, hedgerows, and quaint, narrow streets.

      Kirby Misperton (pop. 370) is such a village. It has been perched in the gently rolling hills of northeast England for, literally, a thousand years. “New” houses here were built before the United States fought a civil war.

    • The Science Museum is free – so what is BP buying?

      “I’d prefer the wording not to focus on environmental damage” – those were the words used in an email by the company Shell, as it attempted to muscle in on the Science Museum’s curatorial decision making. In 2014, Shell had been a sponsor of the museum’s climate science exhibition but once that controversial email had been unearthed – as the result of a freedom of information request – there was no going back. The museum’s reputation was damaged and the end of Shell’s sponsorship became inevitable.

      Earlier this month, the campaign group, Art Not Oil, published a damning report into the “corrupting influence” of another fossil fuel giant – BP – on the museums and galleries it sponsors. Once again, it places the Science Museum in the spotlight.

      At its recent AGM, BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley insisted that the company gives money with “no strings attached” but documents cited in the report paint the opposite picture. Rather than furthering the understanding of science, BP appears to have been using the Science Museum in order to sharpen its spin and advance its strategic interests with policymakers.

      Curatorial independence is highly prized in the culture sector but for the Science Museum, BP has often been an exception to the rule. When the museum redeveloped its energy gallery in 2004, BP played a “hands-on” role. An article posted on BP’s website at the time (but now no longer available) described a “BP advisory board headed by Peter Mather, BP head of country, UK” with “10 experts from BP … to help with content for the exhibits.” And the Science Museum’s sponsorship liaison manager said: “We would like to help [BP] meet their objectives on different levels, including corporate responsibility, education strategy and global strategy.”

    • First Nations and Allies Vow to Fight Kinder Morgan Pipeline Approval

      Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) announced late Thursday that it has found oil giant Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of a pipeline that transports tar sands oil to the British Columbia coast “in the public interest.”

    • India Records Highest Temperature Ever As Drought Drives Despair

      India recorded its hottest day on the books on Thursday amid a scorching heatwave and “staggering” number of farmer suicides.

      Sizzling at 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 degrees F), the temperature in the city of Phalodi in the western state of Rajasthan topped the nation’s previous record of 50.6 Celsius set in 1956.

    • India records its hottest day ever as temperature hits 51C (that’s 123.8F)

      A city in northern India has shattered the national heat record, registering a searing 51C – the highest since records began – amid a nationwide heatwave.

      The new record was set in Phalodi, a city in the desert state of Rajasthan, and is the equivalent of 123.8F.

      It tops a previous record of 50.6C set in 1956.

    • Over A Third Of North America’s Bird Species Need ‘Urgent Conservation Action’

      The report, released by the governments of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, is the first to look at the threats facing all 1,154 migratory bird species native to North America. Taking into account population sizes and trends, extent of habitats, and severity of threats, the report found that 37 percent of migratory birds in North America qualify for the conservation watch list, “indicating species of highest conservation concern based on high vulnerability scores across multiple factors.”

    • Fukushima Flunks Decontamination

      The Abe government is desperately trying to clean up and repopulate as if nothing happened, whereas Chernobyl (1986) determined at the outset it was an impossible task, a lost cause, declaring a 1,000 square mile no-habitation zone, resettling 350,000 people. It’ll take centuries for the land to return to normal.

    • Drought be Dammed

      The water crisis in the West has renewed debate about the effectiveness of major dams, with some pushing for the enormous Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River to be decommissioned.

    • House Republicans Are Going After The Exxon Investigation

      Not content to let the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology’s reputation for hating science rest for even a moment, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has now subpoenaed the New York attorney general over his investigation into Exxon’s role in sowing climate denial.

      Calling the investigation a “coordinated attempt to deprive companies, nonprofit organizations, and scientists of their First Amendment rights and ability to fund and conduct scientific research free from intimidation and the threat of prosecution,” Smith’s letter calls for documents and communication between the attorney general’s office and environmental groups, the EPA, and the Justice Department, and internally, regarding any climate change investigations.

    • The ALEC Attack on Solar Power

      It seems almost every week a new report comes out touting the growth of renewable electricity, especially wind and solar. Whether it is new milestones in installed generation capacity or low prices sold into the electricity markets, wind and solar are the certain future of electricity generation. But the future prospects of truly clean energy depend on a variety of government policies that have incentivized that growth. Net metering is one of those policies—which is why it has come under attack.

      Net metering is a billing arrangement in which the owner of a rooftop solar system can send electricity they don’t use back into the grid, and receive credit for it on their bill. While there is no national net metering policy, net metering programs have traditionally paid the owners the “retail” electricity rate. In other words, the owners have gotten a one-for-one credit for each kilowatt-hour of electricity sent into the grid.

    • Trump cannot derail global climate deal

      Even if he wins the US presidency, Donald Trump will be unable to halt international progress towards a low-carbon economy, a British expert says.

    • The world’s largest cruise ship and its supersized pollution problem

      As Harmony of the Seas sets sail from Southampton docks on Sunday she will leave behind a trail of pollution – a toxic problem that is growing as the cruise industry and its ships get ever bigger

    • Warnings of Food Safety Threats as Canada Green Lights ‘Frankenfish’

      Despite a sustained effort from public health and climate activists, genetically modified (GM or GMO) salmon has been officially sanctioned for sale in Canada.

      And if that wasn’t foreboding enough, a pending trade deal between Canada and the European Union means the country’s first approved GMO food animal, known colloquially as the “Frankenfish,” could soon be sold and eaten internationally.

      Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced their approval of the U.S.-based biotechnology company AquaBounty’s salmon—which will be shipped as eggs from Prince Edward Island to laboratories in Panama, where they will be grown to their adult full size and sent back to Canada for sale and consumption—on Thursday.

  • Finance

    • Central Asia, the Panama Papers and the myth of the periphery

      Regarding the potential for a mobilisation of public outrage, the anonymous source behind the Panama leak stated that “a new global debate has started” in a manifesto for Süddeutsche Zeitung.

      In tune with the usual refrain that bribing is rife outside the west, David Cameron referred to Afghanistan and Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt” during an embarrassing microphone slip-up on 10 May ahead of the London Anti-Corruption Summit. In response, corruption experts at Transparency International were quick to brand Cameron’s government as “extraordinarily inept” for its lax regulation and transparency requirements across British-controlled offshore dependencies such as the Cayman and Virgin Islands (BVI).

      These developments suggest two market logics in play. Whereas oligarchs from outside the west operate from a logic of “demand-side” corruption seeking discreet locations to launder money, the west operates from a logic of “supply-side” corruption.

    • Response to Human Rights Watch’s letter on minimum-age standards with respect to child labour

      As the UN considers its position on child labour, a group of academics and practitioners have engaged in open debate with Human Rights Watch over the utility of minimum age rules. This is the third letter in a series.

    • Donald Trump Says ‘I Don’t Settle,’ But We Found 13 Times He Did.

      The lawsuits touch many facets of his real estate and entertainment empire: Complaints were filed against his television production company, his now mostly defunct chain of casinos, and his hotel and resort management businesses. Each of the companies were owned and/or directly controlled by Trump at the time of the suits.

    • Francis: Employers not offering health insurance are ‘true leeches’

      Pope Francis has condemned employers who exploit their workers by offering only temporary contracts or not providing health insurance, calling them “true leeches [that] live on the bloodletting of the people they make slaves to work.”

      Reflecting Thursday on the day’s Mass readings during his homily at Casa Santa Marta, the pontiff also said that Christians err when they think there is a “theology of prosperity” in which God “sees that you are just and gives you much wealth.”

    • Pope Francis To Employers Who Don’t Offer Health Care: You Are ‘True Leeches’
    • Austerity as a failed experiment

      Austerity is a failed experiment, it is an elite narrative that informs a set of policies whose outcomes are not yet fully known – they are contingent, contested and uncertain.

    • Many of America’s Leading Economists Are Not Even Remotely Grappling With America’s Systemic Problems

      The ferocious reaction to my assessment that Senator Bernie Sanders’ economic and health care proposals could create long-term economic growth shows how mainstream economists who view themselves as politically liberal in America have abandoned progressive politics to embrace a political economy of despair. Rationalizing personal disappointment and embracing market-centric economic theories according to which government can do little more than fuss around the edges, their conclusions—and the political leadership that embraces them—have little to offer millions of angry ordinary people for whom the economy simply isn’t working.

    • University of Chicago Students Protest The ‘Corporatization’ Of Their School

      University of Chicago students plan to stage a sit-in on Thursday afternoon to demand several actions from the administration, including putting an end to racist policing practices and paying university workers $15 an hour.

      Student activists say they plan to have 30 students and alumni go into the administration building and drop a banner from the windows that will read “Democratize UofC.” A group of 250 protesters — including students, adjunct faculty, and community members — will walk through the streets and block traffic before marching through the quad and staging a sit in in front of the administration building.

      The list of demands also includes expanding student disability services and disabled students’ access to buildings and divesting from fossil fuels. When asked about what ties together the list of demands, Anna Wood, a second-year student and university worker, told ThinkProgress that the “corporatization” of the university is the reason why all of these issues remain unaddressed.

    • #NuitDebout Protests Are Part of a Global Movement Challenging a Broken Economic System

      Over the last two month France has been rocked by mass protests, occupations and strikes, as a new generation takes to the streets to expresses its rage at labor reforms and growing inequality. Over a million people have mobilized across the country to say on vaut mieux que ça — “we are worth more than this.”

      Similar to the Occupy Wall Street, Indignados and the Gezi Park movements, #Nuitdebout (“Night on our Feet”) is part of a new global movement that seeks to challenge the rule of the 1 percent by taking back public space. Thousands gather every night in Place de la République to discuss and debate how to construct a more participatory form of politics.

      The streets and squares of Paris are alive with democracy, and if the Spanish and US examples are anything to go by, this participatory and chaotic movement could play an important part in creating transformative change.

      The link between these movements is clear. On May 15th they jointly organized #GlobalDebout – over 300 actions across the world demanding real democracy, economic justice and sustainability. There were major demonstrations in Madrid, a general assembly in Mexico, a free orchestra in Brussels and occupations across Italy.

    • Economic Update: Poverty and the US Economy

      This episode provides updates on an Alabama prison strike, Greece’s economy, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Yale’s taxes. We also interview Joan Berezin and Kip Waldo on revolutionary change.

    • How Rudy Giuliani Helped Landlords Get a Tax Break With No Strings Attached

      In June 1995, a proposal to revitalize the ghostly New York neighborhood near Wall Street was poised to pass the state Senate. The bill offered developers multimillion-dollar tax breaks if they were willing to turn aging office buildings into apartments. Landlords, in turn, would agree to limit rent increases, a standard provision for such programs.

      However, just hours before the Senate was scheduled to adjourn for the summer, Joseph L. Bruno, the Republican leader of the Senate, surprisingly slammed the brakes and pulled the bill off the calendar. He later said the reason was simple: He wanted time to consult New York City’s mayor, Rudolph Giuliani.

    • New rule means millions more U.S. workers can qualify for overtime pay

      Millions of workers in the U.S. who currently don’t qualify for overtime pay despite putting in more than 40 hours a week will soon see a spike in their paycheck. After years of resistance from powerful business lobbies, the Department of Labor announced new rules Tuesday. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more.

    • Fighting for an Alternative to Big Banks

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

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

    • Is Your Local Public Library Run by Wall Street?

      What do 82 public libraries, a Texas beef processing company, and a string of Pizza Huts across Tennessee and Florida have in common?

      They’re all managed by the same private equity firm.

      Fifteen of those libraries are in Jackson County, Oregon, where public officials are starting to raise concerns over the firm’s ownership of the private contractor that manages them. Facing budget issues in 2007, the county contracted with Library Systems and Services (LS&S), the country’s largest library outsourcing company, to try to save money—but LS&S is owned by Argosy Private Equity, whose mission is to “generate outstanding returns” and “substantially grow revenues and profits” for the businesses it owns.

      Now Jackson County is learning the hard way. LS&S’s claim to do more with less while still making a profit really meant that corners would be cut. Before privatization, most of the county’s libraries were open more than 40 hours per week—after taking over, the company cut the operating times in half and closed branches on Sundays. They also cut benefits for the staff, which were no longer unionized.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Nefarious Surveillance State Dangerously Inhibits Self-Expression and a Healthy Democracy

      The nefarious brilliance of the surveillance state rests, at least in part, in the fact that it conveys omniscience without the necessity of omnipresence. Since even its verifiable actions are clandestine and shadowy, revealed not through admission but by whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Jeremy Hammond, its gaze can feel utterly infinite. To modify an old phrase, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not watching you—especially given that you now have proof. But if you never know precisely when they’re watching or exactly what they’re looking for, can you ever be paranoid enough?

    • American Democracy Is in Crisis Mode and We’re All Complicit: Here’s What Needs to Happen

      And here we are. Conservatives blame liberals for summoning “movements” that turn citizens into “takers.” Liberals blame conservatives for turning them into stupefied consumers and mobs. Each side is only half right—right only about how the other side is wrong. Let’s stop listening to such one-sided thinking. The novelist D.H. Lawrence wrote that “it is the business of our Chief Thinkers to tell us of our own deeper desires, not to keep shrilling our little desires in our ears.” The founders understood that a republic needs an open, circulating elite of “disinterested” citizen-leaders who rise above private interests in wealth and power and tribal loyalties to inspire and, yes, support others in looking beyond narrow self-interest to accomplish things together that they couldn’t achieve alone.

    • Why Voters Might “Respectfully Disagree” With Clinton’s Declaration of Victory

      The Bernie Sanders campaign struck back at Hillary Clinton on Thursday for her statement that the Democratic presidential nominating process was “already done,” pointing to not only the nine remaining contests, but also poll after poll showing Sanders outperforming Clinton in hypothetical match-ups against presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

      Clinton told CNN on Thursday: “I will be the nominee for my party. That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I won’t be.”

      But Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs, in a strongly worded statement issued late Thursday afternoon, begged to differ.

    • After Distancing Herself From Bill Clinton’s Economic Policies, Hillary Wants Him as Mr. Economic Fix It

      After having institutionalized the neoliberal economic policies that have enriched the 1% and particularly the 0.1% at the expense of everyone else, Hillary Clinton wants to give the long-suffering citizenry an even bigger dose.

    • Bernie Comes to Vallejo

      Sanders delivered his speech saying:

      * the campaign finance system is corrupt and undermining democracy

      * the economy is “rigged” with the rich taking it all

      * the infrastructure is collapsing with school children in Flint Michigan poisoned by tap water

      * corporations have taken away good jobs by moving manufacturing outside the USA

      * the criminal justice system is broken, with the government spending $80 billion locking up 2.2 million people

      * police departments have been militarized

      * graduating students are saddled with monstrous debts

      * why does the government always have money for wars but not to rebuild inner cities?

      * we are destroying the planet – what kind of legacy is that?

      * healthcare should be a right not a privilege – we need medicare for all

      * workers needs a living wage which is $15 per hour minimum

      * we need immigration reform and end to deportations

    • Five things people should stop saying about Bernie Sanders

      Establishment Democrats want him to stop criticizing Clinton, they want him to lay off the party, they want him to drop out. Here’s why they’re utterly wrong

    • Trump’s Rasputin: What the Donald Learned From Roy Cohn

      Trump was a mere stripling of 27, the son of a racist real estate tycoon, when crooked, always-under-indictment lawyer Cohn got his claws on him. As Donald and his dad Fred faced federal charges of racial discrimination at the Trumps’ New York rental properties, young Trump turned to Roy Cohn, the city’s most notorious fixer, to fix it. Trump’s staff lawyers advised we’re guilty so settle; Cohn said tell the Justice Dept. to go to hell.

    • Sanders Takes Case to California

      Despite calls from many pundits and pols for him to quit, Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to rally thousands of Americans to a program of profound social and economic change, reports Rick Sterling.

    • Establishment Collectively Stunned To See Citizens Reject Rigged Democratic Primary

      Democratic Party leaders accuse Bernie Sanders and his presidential campaign of inciting “violence” among supporters by promoting allegations that the primary process is rigged in favor of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Surrogates for Clinton and pundits, who favor Clinton, have ramped up their attacks on Sanders for maintaining a robust campaign, even though the last votes have yet to be cast in the primary.

      Much of the pressure to rein in supporters stems from a belief that Sanders no longer has a right to run in the primary, and that he is now a spoiler candidate in the race. The pressure has ramped up in the aftermath of the chaos at the Nevada State Democratic Party’s convention, which was largely provoked by how it was handled by chairwoman Roberta Lange.

      For example, The New York Times published a report with the incendiary headline, “Bernie Sanders, Eyeing Convention, Willing to Harm Hillary Clinton in the Homestretch.” It suggests Sanders intends to inflict a “heavy blow” on Clinton in California and “wrest the nomination from her,” despite the reality that she has not clinched the nomination.

    • Why Bernie Sanders Is Our Best Chance to Beat Donald Trump

      Hand-wringing over party unity misses the point. No one cares about your precious parties.

      As Hillary Clinton joylessly stumbles her way to the Democratic nomination, calls have increased for Bernie Sanders to either drop out of the race altogether or, at least, to stop fighting so darn hard. We’re told that Bernie should drop out for the good of the party. Bernie should drop out so that Hillary can make her general election “pivot” (which presumably means she can be free of the burden of pretending to be a liberal). Bernie should drop out so that Hillary can focus on Trump. According to this logic, Bernie and his band of loyalists need to get pragmatic, face the music, have a reality check. Hogwash. Doesn’t anyone see what I see? Bernie Sanders is our best chance to beat Donald Trump and to prove to the young voters backing him that the Democratic party actually stands for something.

    • Why Not Hillary?

      For those who have had enough of the neoliberal turn and of liberal imperialism, and who have no liking for endless wars and for an economy organized around war and preparations for war, the question answers itself. Or, rather, it would, if reason were in control.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Neocon Resumé

      Liberal Democratic Hillary Clinton supporters get defensive when they hear that Mrs. Clinton is favored over Donald Trump by right-wing billionaires like Charles Koch and (with much more enthusiasm) by leading arch-imperial foreign policy Neoconservatives like Robert Kagan, Max Boot, and Eliot Cohen. But an honest look at Hillary’s record should make the support she is getting from such noxious, arch-authoritarian “elites” less than surprising.

      My last essay reflected on Hillary’s deeply conservative, neoliberal, and pro-Big Business career in domestic U.S. politics and policy. This article turns to her foreign policy history, showing why it makes perfect sense that top imperial Neocons prefer Hillary over the at least outwardly “isolationist” and at anti-interventionist Trump.

    • Clinton to Californians: Your Votes Will Not Affect the Democratic Primary Whatsoever

      It’s hard to take Clinton’s first comment as anything but a statement that nothing California could possibly do in its primary could change the outcome of the Democratic race — even though it’s now widely accepted that Clinton can’t win the primary with pledged delegates alone. This means that the Democratic nomination will be decided by super-delegates, who don’t vote for more than two months — at the Democratic National Convention, to be held in Philadelphia on July 25th. As the DNC has repeatedly advised the media, those super-delegates can and often do change their minds — and are free to do so up until they actually vote this summer.

      CNN analyst Carl Bernstein noted several times Wednesday night that between mid-May and late July countless things could happen that would cause super-delegates to move toward Sanders en masse.

    • Why Hillary Clinton’s Camp Should Be Scared

      The Democratic Party machine, along with the Clinton campaign wants voters to believe the nomination is a sure thing, and while it may be all but clinched barring a miracle for the Sanders campaign. Mathematically speaking it’s pretty locked in for Clinton. The obstacles Bernie Sanders must overcome to secure the nomination are seemingly insurmountable, needing to win nearly 80 percent of the remaining delegates and then convincing Super Delegates to swap from the party elite to his revolutionary comparing.

      Yet, with all air of confidence coming from the Clinton camp, they have descended upon a strange campaign strategy; convince voters that the Sanders campaign and supporters are inseparable from the Trump campaign.

      They are accomplishing this by exploiting the inexcusable actions of a small number of individuals in Nevada who apparently sent threatening voicemails and text messages to Nevada Democratic Party Chair, Roberta Lang. Sanders quickly condemned these actions, writing in a press release, “I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals.”

      However, the Democratic Party elite continue to tell the media and voters that Sanders has yet to condone these actions and apologize for them. These comments come in the form of comparisons to what voters have seen from Trump rallies, and wonder why Sanders would allow such a thing to happen, as if he has any control over these individuals.

    • Bernie fan Robert Reich urges voters to ‘work like hell for’ Hillary if she gets nod — and all hell breaks loose

      There have been few more eloquent supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ drive for the Democratic presidential nomination than former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who is precisely on the same page as Sanders when it comes to income inequality and the oppressive influence of money in politics in the U.S.

    • Hillary Clinton and Political Violence

      In broader understanding, the German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey developed the ‘telos of becoming’ to describe life-purpose as it unfolds historically. In contrast to passive theories of pre-ordination, Dilthey’s purposiveness is brought into being through the act of living. In a social sense this theory places the policies and practices of Bill and Hillary Clinton on the path to those of George W. Bush as necessary precedents. In more straightforward terms, Mr. Bush’s crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan were preceded by the Clinton’s sanctions and bombing that killed 500,000 innocent Iraqis. And Mr. Bush’s capacity to wage war was facilitated by the political cover provided by both Clintons.

      The American relationship with political violence has always been schizophrenic as the storyline of ‘benevolent’ violence overseas is met by the facts as lived by what remains of the indigenous population and the descendants of slaves whose forebears were kidnapped and held as chattel when not being raped and / or murdered. Thanks in large measure to the economic and carceral policies of Bill and Hillary Clinton, the portion of the population that isn’t currently incarcerated lives with the ‘passive’ violence of outsourced jobs, privatized public services and generally diminished lives. And lest this idea of passive violence seem effete, the suicides, drug addiction, divorces and domestic abuse that accompany economic stress are demonstrably real.

      When Black Panther and all-around lovely human being Angela Davis was asked in 1972 by a Swedish film crew about the alleged penchant of the Panthers toward revolutionary (political) violence, she made the point back that Black people in America have lived with three centuries of political violence not of their making. Those old enough to remember the murder of Black Panther and all-around lovely human being Fred Hampton at the hands of the Chicago police as he slept next to his pregnant wife likely cringed knowingly when permanent Clinton confidant and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel covered up the vicious murder of Laquan McDonald by the very same Chicago Police Department four decades later. Depending on one’s class and race, political violence in America is either an everyday occurrence or something that doesn’t affect you.

    • ‘I Will Be the Nominee for My Party,’ Hillary Clinton Declares (Video)
    • First, Do Some Harm: How to Smear a Disfavored Candidate on NYT’s Front Page

      As a bonus, you get to make a front-page allusion to violence on the part of Senator Sanders, which bolsters the idea—advanced by phantom chair-throwing incidents—that the Sanders campaign is a dangerous menace. (Note that the story’s original headline was the less-inflammatory “Bernie Sanders’s Campaign Accuses Head of DNC of Favoritism“—which became the more slanted “Bernie Sanders’s Defiance Strains Ties With Top Democrats” before settling on the final smear.)

      The real problem that the Times has with the Sanders campaign, I would suggest, is revealed at the end of that lead, where Healy et al. write that Sanders plans on “amassing enough leverage to advance his agenda at the convention in July—or even wrest the nomination from her.”

      Yes, the New York Times has the scoop: Bernie Sanders is secretly hoping to win the election!

      Healy is one of the Times reporters who wrote, back in October, about “Hillary Rodham Clinton emerging as the unrivaled leader in the Democratic contest.” The Times will not forgive Sanders for proving them wrong.

    • Ralph Nader’s Democracy Crusade

      Nader did not do it through the Green Party after he ran for President. But neither, to be fair, did Barack Obama, whose Organizing for America became not a progressive pressure group, as it was originally conceived, but a mere fundraising vehicle for the national Democratic Party. The Bernie Sanders campaign just might grow into something more lasting. Naturally, Nader himself has some thoughts on Sanders’s next steps.

      “What Bernie Sanders should do if he doesn’t win is turn himself into a civic mobilizer,” Nader says.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Real Reason Why All The People Trump Wants To Put On The Supreme Court Are White

      Wednesday afternoon, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump released a list of 11 conservative judges that he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if elected president. All are them are white.

      To a certain extent, this is a window into Mr. Trump’s priorities. In May of 2001, President George W. Bush announced his first 11 nominees to the federal bench. The nominees included two African-Americans and one Latino, in an apparent nod to the fact that the optics of diversity matter, even in a Republican administration. Trump, by contrast, does not appear to see the value in making even a token appeal to racial diversity.

    • Did Francis Just Blindside Conservatives on Women’s Ordination?

      Three years, two synods, dozens of bishop attendees, hundreds of pages of documents, innumerous small committee meetings, and endless amounts of angst went into Pope Francis’ decision to more or less keep the status quo on the question of whether divorced and remarried Catholics should be admitted to communion.

    • Trump Isn’t Bluffing, He’ll Deport 11 Million People

      During the run-up to America’s war against Iraq, I told audiences that Bush would certainly win reelection. Some people broke down in tears.

      That’s my job: telling people things they prefer not to hear, especially about the future. Being Cassandra isn’t much fun. Because we live in a nation in decline and yielding to incipient fascism, the more I’m right — i.e., most of the time — the more I annoy my readers.

    • Suyapa Portillo on Central American Refugees, Michael Ratner on Alberto Gonzalez
    • Ibsen and Whistleblowers

      As a result, over the last 15 years we have seen scandal heaped upon intelligence scandal, as the spies allowed their fake and politicised information to be used make a false case for an illegal war in Iraq; we have seen them descend into a spiral of extraordinary rendition (ie kidnapping) and torture, for which they are now being sued if not prosecuted; and we have seen that they facilitate dodgy deals in the deserts with dictators.

    • Despite Confession, CIA’s Role in Mandela’s Capture Can Still Hardly Be Told

      Now we have news, from the Sunday Times of London (5/15/16), that shortly before his recent death, Donald Rickard himself admitted it, and proudly. It was righteous because Mandela was believed to be a Communist, Rickard told a British filmmaker. “Mandela had to be stopped. And I put a stop to it.”

    • The Widening Cracks in Zionism

      What happens when ideologically driven leaders start to lose their following? Well, they get very upset because those who are supposed to affirm everything the movement stands for are now having doubts. Such doubters are dangerous to the supposed true faith and so are usually dealt with in one of two ways: (1) the ideologues in charge attempt to marginalize the disaffected by denigrating them and then casting them out of the fold or (2) if we are dealing with totalitarian types, they send the dissenters off to a gulag, or worse.

    • Racism from above in Appalachia

      There’s been buzz since Bernie Sanders won West Virginia’s primary last week about the nature of the white working class. Touching it off were a series of polls showing high support for Trump among the voters who handed Sanders a nearly 16 point lead in the 97.3 percent white state. Almost 40 percent of Sanders supporters said they would vote for Trump in November, compared with a third of primary voters overall. The same night, Trump won 77 percent of the vote. For liberal pundits, the upshot seemed clear: Even when they dress up as socialists, white working-class voters are more committed to white supremacy than economic populism.

      [...]

      In few places has that statement been more true than in Appalachia. As the lines of today’s two-party system continue to shift into uncertain territory, movements eager to continue the political revolution — and win over white working class voters, away from Trump — might do well to pick up Haney-López and McGhee’s call.

    • Explosive Report Shows How Oklahoma Used The Wrong Drug In Charles Warner’s Execution

      Charles Warner was executed in January 2015 by a three-drug cocktail: a sedative, a paralytic, and a drug that stopped his heart. According to approved protocol — and the state’s official post-execution records — the last, lethal drug was supposed to be potassium chloride. However, Warner was mistakenly executed with potassium acetate, a mistake that wasn’t discovered until the scheduled execution of Richard Glossip in September 2015.

    • Pakistan’s Senate Gets Smart About Terrible Cyber-Crime Bill

      Over the last few months, Pakistan’s Internet community has been fighting to stop the passage of one of the world’s worst cyber-crime proposals: the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB). Thanks in part to the hundreds of messages sent to Pakistan’s senators, they secured a major victory this week—public assurances from key members of Pakistan’s Senate that they will oppose the bill in its entirety. There’s still work to be done, but it’s a strong sign that public opposition is working.

    • Journalists Arrested In Ferguson Promise Not To Promote The Settlement

      Back in 2014, as the protests in Ferguson, Missouri were the main story everyone was following, we noted a troubling pattern of police in the area arresting journalists on no basis whatsoever. This happened even after a court told them to knock if off. And yet, the fallout from this is still happening. For reasons that still don’t make any sense at all, prosecutors have charged two journalists — Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery — with trespassing, after they failed to leave a McDonald’s fast enough (they were leaving, just apparently not fast enough).

      [...]

      Meanwhile, some other journalists who had been detained had already filed a lawsuit over the unlawful detention and, on Wednesdsay, it was announced that a settlement has been reached in which law enforcement officers will receive more training.

    • Bill Clinton to Poland and Hungary: Do As We Say on Immigration, You Dirty Little Putins!

      Shortly after World War II, after the Soviet Red Army liberated Hungary from Nazi occupation, the Hungarians held their first election in six years. The November, 1945 vote resulted in an overwhelming victory for a coalition led by the agrarian, anti-communist Hungarian Smallholders Party. This victory at the ballot box infuriated Hungary’s Communist Party and Hungary’s new occupying Soviet overlords. Little by little, in what became known as “salami tactics,” the Hungarian communists chipped away at the ruling coalition – slicing off one piece of salami (coalition partner) at a time until nothing was left. Once accomplished, a new election was held in which the Communists captured power and ruled for 40 years from the barrel of a Soviet tank (literally in 1956).

    • Occupied Canada: Indigenous & Black Lives Matter Activists Unite to Protest Violence & Neglect

      We host a roundtable discussion in Toronto about how indigenous and Black Lives Matter activists in Canada are working together to address state violence and neglect, and media coverage of their efforts. Last month, First Nations people occupied the offices of Canada’s indigenous affairs department to demand action over suicides as well as water and housing crises in their communities. The protests came after the Cree community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency over attempted suicides. Protesters set up occupations inside and outside the offices of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in Toronto, Regina, Winnipeg and Gatineau, Quebec. Among those who took part in the occupation of the office here in Toronto were local Black Lives Matter activists who just weeks earlier had launched a 15-day encampment outside police headquarters following news there would be no criminal charges for the police officer who fatally shot a South Sudanese refugee named Andrew Loku last July. Among those who turned out in force at the encampment outside Toronto police headquarters were First Nations activists. We are joined by Erica Violet Lee an indigenous rights activist with the Idle No More movement and a student at the University of Saskatchewan; Hayden King, an indigenous writer and lecturer at Carleton University’s School of Public Policy in Ottawa; LeRoi Newbold, a member of the steering committee for Black Lives Matter Toronto and director of the Black Lives Matter Toronto Freedom School Project; and Desmond Cole, a journalist and columnist for the Toronto Star and radio host on Newstalk 1010.

    • San Francisco Police Chief Forced Out After Killing of Black Woman by Police Officer

      San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr was forced to resign by the city’s mayor on Thursday after an officer fatally shot a Black woman who crashed a stolen car.

      For months, Suhr and Mayor Ed Lee have faced mounting criticism—including an internationally publicized hunger strike demanding Suhr’s resignation—after the city police kept repeating a pattern of shooting and killing non-white San Franciscans in confrontations with the cops.

    • Israeli Defense Minister Resigns, Citing Extremism & Racism in Israel

      The Israeli defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, has resigned, saying, “I fought with all my might against manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society.” His resignation comes only days after Ya’alon’s deputy chief of staff, Major General Yair Golan, compared modern-day Israel to “nauseating trends” in Nazi-era Germany. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now offered the position of defense minister to the right-wing, ultranationalist politician Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman is considered to be one of the most hawkish politicians in Israel.

    • How the Mainstream Media’s Islamophobia Fuels Endless War

      Longtime advocates for peace say their work has gotten a lot harder ever since ISIS (also known as Daesh) became a household name, and that has a lot to do with how the media covers violent extremism, according to a new report by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

      AFSC researchers looked at 600 news stories published by 20 national outlets in the United States last year and discovered a pervasive tendency toward painting violent extremism as an inherently Islamic problem that is only solvable with the use of force.

    • Political Judiciary in Argentina

      The parallels with the right-wing opposition strategy in Brazil are striking. In Brazil, the right-wing coalition has just formed a new government while they impeach President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (PT). Like the Kirchners in Argentina, the PT also presided over a large improvement in living standards in Brazil, most of which have not been lost in the last couple of years of recession. Dilma is being impeached for an accounting maneuver that is not a crime, and had been done by previous presidents as well as governors. In both Brazil and Argentina, a hostile, oligopolized, anti-government mass media has been used to make these non-crimes look like they are somehow tied to corruption. In both countries, the investigation is led by a blatantly partisan judge (Sergio Moro in Brazil). And the smearing of Lula da Silva, who was perhaps the most popular president in the history of Brazil, is also meant to prevent his candidacy in the next presidential election (2018).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Once Again With Feeling: Cord Cutting Is Not A ‘Myth’

      For years we’ve noted how the cable industry (and companies that feed off of it like Nielsen) have been in stark, often comic denial about the changes happening in the legacy cable sector. But every few months or so, a select rotation of news outlets also feel compelled to pooh pooh the entire notion of cord cutting, broadly declaring that the idea is a “myth” perpetuated by a select cadre of mean bloggers hellbent on confusing the public for some unfathomable reason. More often than not it’s the editors trotting out the “myth” headline to gain hits, despite the story itself doing a piss poor job actually debunking the concept.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ICTSD: Specialised Intellectual Property Courts – Issues And Challenges

      Professor Jacques de Werra (University of Geneva) wrote the lead article of this second issue. As highlighted by the author, under the TRIPS Agreement countries have the option to create specialised intellectual property courts and on this basis, countries are free to decide what types of judicial body or bodies have the jurisdiction to hear disputes. In this respect, the experience in both developed and developing countries varies. Jacques de Werra concludes that how advantageous or necessary it is to establish specialised courts in a given jurisdiction depends on a number of factors that go beyond intellectual property. Rather, this determination should take into account more general factors, including economics, the legal system and societal characteristics. Thus, the creation of specialised IP courts cannot be recommended in all circumstances.

    • Tackling OEM infringement in China

      Huang Hui and Paul Ranjard of Wan Hui Da discuss the implications of the recent PRETUL decision of the Supreme People’s Court in China

    • Can Patents Ever Be “Ever-Greened”? The Answer…They Are “Never-Greened”

      Let’s assume a molecule has been patented in a country by Patent No.1. Let’s further assume that a derivative of the said molecule is patented by Patent No.1A and that a device to dispense the said molecule is patented by Patent 1B in the same country. It is further assumed that the patent office has granted the three patents after the due process of examination as per the Patent Law in that country. The figure illustrates that every patent expires at the end of its term [or at the end of the term extension if any]. It is obvious from the figure that the claims of Patent No.1 are not enforceable after its patent term. Similarly the claims of Patent No.1A are not enforceable after the patent term of Patent No.1A, and similar is the case of the claims of Patent No.1B. It is fallacious to conclude that the protection via the claims of Patent No.1 are so called “ever-greened” till the term of Patent No.1B as has been surprisingly concluded by several authors. A generic player would be free to use the claims of Patent No. 1 immediately after the expiry of Patent No.1. Claims of Patent No. 1A and/or Patent No.1B would not come on the way of the user to exploit the claims of Patent No. 1 under such circumstances. The only requirement of any person wishing to enter the market with a product based on claims of Patent No. 1 would be to satisfy the regulatory requirement of that specific country. The claims of Patent No. 1 do not get ever-greened. Further, a generic player would not be permitted to exploit the claims of Patent No. 1A or Patent No. 1B during their respective patent terms though nothing stops the generic player from exploiting the claims of Patent No. 1 which has expired.

    • IPOPHL Interview: The view from the Philippines

      It is four years since the Philippines joined the Madrid Protocol, and the Director General has observed an annual increase of 20% to 30% in the number of overseas filings with IPOPHL. New filers account for 80% among the Madrid filers in the past four years. “The figures are likely to infer that accession to the Madrid Protocol has had a positive impact on Philippine ­business,” she says.

    • Trademarks

      • Zendesk and the Art of Trademark Trolling

        Zen. The word has come to be associated with simplicity, intuition, and a sense of enlightenment. It originates from a branch of Buddhism that emphasizes meditation and self-reflection as the way to achieve enlightenment.

        Naturally, given the cultural cachet of the word, it’s been adopted to various degrees by businesses and other organizations. One of these is Zendesk, maker of customer helpdesk software that businesses use to answer and resolve customer questions and complaints.

        Zendesk is quickly becoming famous for another activity: bullying small companies into changing their name if it contains the word “zen.”

        We recently became aware of Zendesk’s tactics via the ordeal of a WordPress plugin called Comet Cache, formerly known as ZenCache. To put it very simply, Comet Cache allows websites running on the WordPress platform to create a temporary storage area where users visiting the site can quickly find the information they’re looking for, rather than fetching the data every time from the database, which can be quite expensive when accounting for computing power and other resources.

      • Appeals Court Muddies Trademark Nominative Fair Use Doctrine

        The nominative use doctrine allows third party references to trademark owners using the trademarks they chose as their preferred descriptors. Without a robust and well-functioning nominative use doctrine, trademark owners can have too much control over their brands — they can shut down the advertisement of complementary or competitive offerings and potentially even critical scrutiny of the brands. Unfortunately, Congress never adopted a statutory nominative use doctrine for trademark infringement, and the doctrine seemingly baffles the courts. As a result, the circuits have created a patchwork of nominative use doctrines. A ruling this week from the Second Circuit exacerbated this problem.

    • Copyrights

      • Chile’s New Copyright Legislation Would Make Creative Commons Licensing Impossible For Audiovisual Works

        Techdirt has written many times about the way in which copyright only ever seems to get stronger, and how different jurisdictions point to other examples of excessive copyright to justify making their own just as bad. In Chile, there’s an interesting example of that kind of copyright ratchet being applied in the same country but to different domains. It concerns audiovisual works, and aims to give directors, screenwriters and others new rights to “match” those that others enjoy. Techdirt has already written about this bad idea in the context of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances.

        [...]

        According to Villarroel, the legislation is being promoted by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers — and by Chilean collecting societies. By an amazing coincidence, the new licensing fees will all be administered by the latter. Villarroel first wrote about this move last year, when the legislation was approved in Chile’s House of Representatives. Despite the delay, it is apparently back on the agenda, and will be considered by the Senate, the country’s upper house, soon.

      • Dallas Buyers Club Demands Accused Pirate Take Polygraph, Asks For Judgment When He Agrees Anyway

        Anyone who has spent time with us here at Techdirt will be familiar with Voltage Pictures, the movie studio that perhaps is more famous now for being a copyright settlement troll than it is for having produced the movie Dallas Buyers Club. The studio has quite the reputation for sending settlement letters to those it accuses of having pirated the movie, typically with offers to settle for amounts in the thousands, and armed with the evidence of an IP address and nothing else. The frightened masses too often fork over the demanded settlement, not realizing that having an IP address is not evidence enough to prove guilt. It’s a bullying business model that drips of sleaze.

      • EFF at Copyright Office Roundtables Tuesday and Wednesday in San Francisco

        San Francisco—On Tuesday and Wednesday, May 24-25, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Staff Attorney Kit Walsh and Senior Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz will participate in public roundtable discussions about the impact of U.S. copyright law on freedoms to investigate and improve the software embedded in everyday products, devices, and appliances.

      • John McCain, Forgetting His Own Support Of Fair Use On YouTube, Tries To Use Copyright To Take Down His Own Ad

        You may recall that, back during the 2008 Presidential election, the Presidential campaign of John McCain sent YouTube a letter, complaining that the video site did not take fair use into account when deciding to pull down videos after receiving copyright complaints. Apparently, some people had been issuing copyright claims on videos related to his campaign that he believed were fair use, and he was quite upset about it. In particular, McCain was upset about videos his campaign had uploaded that included news clips that were taken down. He insisted this was not just fair use, but that YouTube was an important platform for political speech, and should be much more careful before pulling down political videos.

05.20.16

Links 20/5/2016: Purism Tablet, ChromeOS PCs Outsell ‘Mac’-Branded PCs

Posted in News Roundup at 5:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • What is Linux?

    What is Linux? It means different things to different people, from the purist who considers it to be the kernel, to the GNU advocate who sees it as a part of GNU/Linux and the new user who thinks it is another name for Ubuntu.

    In truth, Linux is all of these, depending on your point of view. Strictly speaking, the term Linux used alone refers to the kernel of the operating system, while GNU/Linux is the whole operating system, comprising the Linux kernel and GNU tools – either would be useless without the other (or one of its alternatives).

    If you then add a collection of application software, along with some tools to manage the whole thing, you have a distro, such as Ubuntu.

  • Purism introduces privacy-focused 2-in-1 tablet

    Like their laptop predecessors, the Librem 10 and 11-inch tablets are running free and open source software and are targeted at users that want more privacy than is available from major manufacturers. Both devices run PureOS 3.0 Linux and have privacy protecting services like Tor, HTTPS Everywhere and ad blocker Privacy Badger pre-installed. The company is working towards getting both devices QubesOS (the OS of choice of Edward Snowden) certified.

  • Purism introduces privacy-focused, Linux tablets for $599 and up

    Purism is expanding its line of Linux-based computers with an emphasis on security, privacy, and open source software. The company’s new Librem 10 is a Linux-based tablet with a 10 inch display and a starting price of $599, while the Librem 11 is a higher-powered model with a bigger screen and a starting price of $999 for early backers of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

  • Desktop

    • Chromebooks outsold Macs for the first time in the US

      Google’s low-cost Chromebooks outsold Apple’s range of Macs for the first time in the US recently. While IDC doesn’t typically break out Windows vs. Chromebook sales, IDC analyst Linn Huang confirmed the milestone to The Verge. “Chrome OS overtook Mac OS in the US in terms of shipments for the first time in 1Q16,” says Huang. “Chromebooks are still largely a US K-12 story.”

      IDC estimates Apple’s US Mac shipments to be around 1.76 million in the latest quarter, meaning Dell, HP, and Lenovo sold nearly 2 million Chromebooks in Q1 combined. Chromebooks have been extremely popular in US schools, and it’s clear from IDC’s comments the demand is driving US shipments. Outside of the US, it’s still unclear exactly how well Google’s low-cost laptops are doing. Most data from market research firms like IDC and Gartner focuses solely on Google’s wins in the US.

  • Server

    • Linux containers vs. VMs: A security comparison

      In this article, I’ll take two different approaches to comparing VM and container security. The first approach will be more structural, or theoretical, looking at the characteristics of each from a security perspective. Then I’ll apply a more practical analysis by looking at what happens in a typical breach and how it might be affected by container and VM architectures.

    • Docker Founder Talks of New Tool and Open-Source Lessons He Learned

      Solomon Hykes, founder of Docker, details his firm’s open-source experience and releases new tools at the OSCON conference.
      Solomon Hykes, founder of Docker Inc., is a familiar name in the world of open source today, but he wasn’t always an open-source developer. In a keynote at the OSCON conference on May 18, Hykes detailed Docker’s open-source voyage and released a trio of new tools as open source.

    • Containers and Persistent Data Storage on Docker and CoreOS

      As containers from Docker and other vendors grow in popularity, so does the need for enterprise-ready data storage solutions that work well with containers. Here’s an overview of the challenges on this front, and how developers are solving them.

      You may be wondering why data storage for containers is an issue at all. After all, in our era of scale-out storage, automatic failover and redundant arrays, figuring out ways to store and protect data is not usually difficult.

    • SAP rolls Cloud Foundry HANA Platform beta

      SAP has released a beta version of its Hana Cloud Platform for Cloud Foundry.

      The software giant yesterday released a Cloud Foundry beta service that works on the Pivotal-inspired open-source cloud.

      Coming with the beta is support for Java, Node.js, HTML5, MongoDB, Redis, PostgresSQL and RabbitMQ.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Re: Announcing Board of Directors Elections 2016

        As a Director serving since two years already I would love to mention being on the Board is definitely a great experience and a way to learn how one of the most famous FOSS-related non-profit Foundations around the globe is actually ran behind the scenes. If you are a Foundation Member, have some spare time and willing to contribute to the GNOME Project in a way which doesn’t strictly involve coding or any other development task, feel free to apply! I’m sure you will find this experience very rewarding!

      • External plugins in GNOME Software

        I’ve just pushed a set of patches to gnome-software master that allow people to compile out-of-tree gnome-software plugins.

      • GNOME 3.21.2 unstable tarballs due (responsible: jjardon)

        Tarballs are due on 2016-05-23 before 23:59 UTC for the GNOME 3.21.2
        unstable release, which will be delivered on Wednesday. Modules which
        were proposed for inclusion should try to follow the unstable schedule
        so everyone can test them. Please make sure that your tarballs will
        be uploaded before Monday 23:59 UTC: tarballs uploaded later than that
        will probably be too late to get in 3.21.2. If you are not able to
        make a tarball before this deadline or if you think you’ll be late,
        please send a mail to the release team and we’ll find someone to roll
        the tarball for you!

  • Distributions

    • Bodhi Linux 3.2.1 With Moksha: Another Path to Enlightenment

      Actually, I suppose I loved Mandrake first, which I installed back in ’02 and used, like. forever. But at that time it wasn’t the distro I loved so much as GNU/Linux. I had no experience with other distros, even though I knew about them, so Mandrake represented, by proxy, all of Linux. Such is the way it goes with new Linux users.

      Around 2008, when Mandrake/Mandriva’s future became uncertain, I moved on to distro hop for a while, not finding anything that really tripped my trigger. However, PCLOS came close, not surprisingly given its Mandrake roots, and became the distro I used for a number of years. Then an install failure, followed by an inability to login or open an account on the distro’s forum, prompted me to move on.

      Which led me to Bodhi, a resource sipping Ubuntu based distro using the Enlightenment desktop version 17, or E17, which at the time was the most elegant and configurable of the lightweight desktops available.

    • New Releases

      • Webconverger 35 Switches to Linux Kernel 4.5, Adds Firefox 46 with GTK3 Support

        Webconverger, a Debian-based GNU/Linux operating system whose main design goal is to distribute a fully functional and controlled web kiosk platform, has been updated today to version 35.1.

        There are many Linux kernel-based distributions out there that claim to offer a powerful web kiosk system for use in offices or Internet cafes, but Webconverger is among the most popular ones, and it is based on the almighty Debian GNU/Linux operating system.

      • Pinguy OS Developer Wants to Pull the Plug On His Ubuntu-Based Operating System

        Just a few minutes ago, Antoni Roman, the developer of the Ubuntu-based Pinguy OS GNU/Linux operating system wrote a short blog post on the distro’s website to inform the community that he wants to pull the plug on the entire project.

    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • [Older] In a Crisis, Be Open and Honest

        James Whitehurst is president and chief executive of Red Hat, the world’s largest open source software company.

        Q. You joined Delta Air Lines at noon on Sept. 11, 2001, as acting treasurer. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2005, by which time you had been promoted to chief operating officer and had to lay off tens of thousands of people. Talk about managing through crisis!

        A. I got promoted about 12 weeks before we filed for bankruptcy. That was really my first major leadership role, with 80,000 people working for me. I was 35 years old and I was too naïve to know I should have said no [to the promotion]. I’m naturally a very calm person and that helped, but it was really brutal.

        One of the key things I learned is that in this type of situation, your goal should not be to comfort or make people feel better, but to be open and honest. Tell people what it’s like and allow them to make the decisions that work best for them. A lot of leaders want to show a ray of optimism, but all you do is shade the truth. Be honest and say, “This is what it is and this is what we’re going to do about it.”

      • Finance

    • Debian Family

      • Summer of Reproducible Builds

        What is Outreachy? You might not know! Let me empower you: Outreachy is an organization connecting woman and minorities to mentors in the free (as in freedom) software community, /and/ funding for three months to work with the mentors and contribute to a free software project. If you are a woman or minority human that likes free software, or if you know anyone in this situation, please tell them about Outreachy 🙂 Or put them in touch with me, I’d happily tell them more.

      • Puppet 4 uploaded to Debian experimental

        I’ve uploaded puppet 4.4.2-1 to Debian experimental.

      • Accidental data-store ..

        My code is reliable, the implementation is almost painfully simple, and the only difference in my design is that rather than having an API-server which allows both “uploads” and “downloads” I split it into two – that means you can leave your “download” server open to the world, so that it can be useful, and your upload-server can be firewalled to only allow a few hosts to access it.

      • Accidental data-store .. is go!

        I might not be cool, but I did indeed rewrite it in golang. It was quite simple, and a simple benchmark of uploading two million files, balanced across 4 nodes worked perfectly.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Has Work To Do: The BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Tablet, Hands On

            The BQ Aquaris M10 is a 10.1-inch touchscreen tablet powered by Ubuntu Core, and it can be used like a laptop by connecting a keyboard and mouse. The device has the ability to alter its navigation interface by connecting to an external display, similar to Microsoft’s Continuum, with a feature Canonical calls “convergence.”

          • BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition review: A rocky start to a new era

            Let me be clear. In reviewing the Aquaris M10, I was very aware that I was reviewing not just the device but the Ubuntu mobile platform. In fact, the review is less about the device than about where Ubuntu stands now in the tablet space and the potential and possibilities the future holds.

            Ubuntu mobile is a very promising platform; it just needs some constructive feedback so that developers can improve the user experience. I consider this tablet something similar to Google Glass: a prototype that gives you a glimpse of what to expect from Ubuntu on tablets.

          • Digital Signage Solution, Screenly, Chooses Canonical’s Ubuntu Core
          • 10 things you should know about the BQ Aquaris M10 tablet

            If you’ve been following me for awhile here, you’ve probably noticed I’ve started giving Ubuntu Touch a bit more coverage. There’s a reason for that. Once you get your hands on such a device, you discover just how powerful a tablet can be. Since most people haven’t picked up the BQ Aquaris M10 tablet, I thought I would shed some light on the issue, so that you can decide for yourself if it’s a device you should own.

            Before I get into this, know that you can purchase one of the Ubuntu Touch-powered BQ tablets now. The price is, relatively speaking, low (€279.90, or roughly $320.00 USD). But for some, shelling out even that much cash for unproven tech is steep. And for the average consumer (and even the IT pro) Ubuntu Touch is just that: unproven.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Dueling Arduinos Include Linux in Recent SBC Announcements

      Few would claim that the year-old fork and legal dispute between rival Arduino camps is healthy for the open source hardware community. Yet, so far, the platform remains strong, despite growing competition from open source Linux SBCs like the Raspberry Pi. In large part, this is due to the rising interest in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which dovetails nicely with the low-power, gadget-oriented MCU-based platform.

    • Sneak peek: Arduino Srl’s Primo and Primo Core IoT duo

      Although neither of the Primo products runs Linux, they differ significantly from previous Arduino boards, in that they don’t run their sketches on the traditional Atmega32 MCU, but instead tap the beefier MPU that’s embedded within the IoT-oriented, Nordic Semiconductor nRF52 wireless system-on-chip that implements all but one of the boards’ multi-wireless features. Despite the change in MCU architecture, the Primo and Primo Core run existing Arduino sketches, and are programmed using the familiar Arduino IDE. To this end, Arduino Srl’s software team is busy ensuring that any Arduino sketch will work exactly the same on the new MCU, as on the Atmega32.

      The Primo SBC offers a broad spectrum of wireless capabilities, including WiFi, BLE, NFC, and IR, with all but WiFi implemented by the Nordic Semiconductor nRF52 SoC. A second MCU-controlled wireless SoC, the Espressif ESP8266, is responsible for the board’s WiFi connectivity.

    • i.MX7 computer-on-module may be smallest yet

      Embedded Artists and Rohm have launched a 37 x 27mm COM built around an NXP i.MX7 featuring a low-power Rohm PMIC, 1GB LP-DDR3, and 8GB eMMC.

      You know the Internet of Things has become “a thing” when the main selling point of a computer-on-module is the properties of its power management IC. In the case of the iMX7 Dual uCOM Board from Swedish embedded firm Embedded Artists and Japanese IC semiconductor firm Rohm, however, the module has more than its power-sipping Rohm BD71815GW PMIC going for it. Measuring a wee 37 x 27mm, the Linux-friendly uCOM also appears to be one of the smallest COMs to date built on NXP’s power-stingy i.MX7 Dual SoC.

      Read more

    • This tiny, open-source Game Boy lookalike has started shipping

      The Arduboy is far from high-tech, but its tiny size, basic specs, and throwback style are part of what makes it so appealing. It has a 1.3-inch OLED display, stereo speakers, and six buttons. Inside, there’s 32KB of storage, 2.5KB of RAM, and a 180 mAh rechargeable battery that’s supposed to last through eight hours of gameplay. It’s built on top of Arduino, so the platform should be accessible to a large base of developers (and to those just getting started). The device is on sale for $39, though if you buy it now, you’ll have to wait until every Kickstarter reward has been shipped out.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • The shift in open source: A new kind of platform war

    For many years, open source software seemingly lay at the fringe of the tech industry. A subculture that many didn’t understand and that seemingly threatened the broader industry. It is amazing how much has changed.

    Today, open source software, especially Linux, is so pervasive that you probably interact with it every day. From supercomputers to GoPros and nearly every data center in the world, open source software is the default platform.

  • Open365 an Open Source Takes On Microsoft Office 365

    Open365 is completely open source office available for both the online and offline. Download the software and install in your computers and mobiles. This cloud service and desktop service is provided completely free for all. Open365 is the combination of LibreOffice online + Seafile + KDE. This helps you to improve the productivity and communicate better with the team.

  • Open365: An free Open Source Office 365, Google Docs alternative

    Open365 is a free open source alternative to Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google Docs. It features a complete online interface that lets you edit documents online and sync them with the cloud.

  • The future of sharing: integrating Pydio and ownCloud

    The open source file sharing ecosystem accommodates a large variety of projects, each supplying their own solution, and each with a different approach. There are a lot of reasons to choose an open source solution rather than commercial solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, or OneDrive. These solutions offer to take away worries about managing your data but come with certain limitations, including a lack of control and integration into existing infrastructure.

  • file considered harmful

    A program that helps users is useful. A program that restricts users is harmful. Run file on your computer all you want, but don’t use file to limit what I can do.

  • Open source, COTS-based voting tech

    A new company, Free & Fair, is offering a suite of products to make elections more verifiable, transparent and secure. The firm is a spin off from Galois, a research company that has worked with the federal government on identity and privacy services, cybersecurity defense solutions, mobile cryptographic authentication and even secure drone software.

  • A 5-step process for hiring tech talent

    Bitnami cofounder and COO, Erica Brescia says hiring good engineers is difficult. One of the greatest challenges facing companies today is that the younger, less experienced engineers may be a better culture fit than engineers with more experience. Also, more experienced engineers may not apply at all because they are secure in their current jobs.

  • Putting Purpose-Built Performance in NFV

    As the network functions virtualization (NFV) revolution comes to service provider and cloud communities, there are some concerns about this new technology. One of the major questions is how to design enough performance in NFV to keep pace in high-subscriber, mission-critical environments.

    Can NFV live up to the performance expectations of the most demanding networks, including global service providers? There is evidence that there is more work to do to transform this IT technology – but some key technology tools are emerging to put enough performance in NFV to perform for the most demanding applications, including communications.

  • An app competition is fertile testing ground for open organization principles

    It was just a typical, mundane day at school, when I happened to bump into my friend, Sheng Liang, who asked me if I was interested in participating in a competition with his friend, Li Quan. Sheng Liang has an entrepreneurial and competitive mindset, someone we usually see busy with some sort of idea or competition. So I was intrigued by his proposal.

  • Events

    • LAS, hosted by GNOME

      Sri and many members of our community have spearheaded a wonderful new conference named Libre Application Summit. It’s hosted by the GNOME Foundation and has aspirations to bring together a wide spectrum of contributors.

    • Announcing the Debut of LAS GNOME Conference in Portland, OR

      The GNOME Foundation is pleased to announce the Libre Application Summit — hosted by GNOME (LAS GNOME), which will be held on September 19 – 23 in Portland, Oregon. LAS GNOME is a new conference that aims to advance the state of the GNU/Linux application ecosystem by increasing collaboration with the Linux Kernel and major Linux distributions, and by attracting and empowering application developers both big and small.

    • European Space Agency starts 6th Summer of Code

      The European Space Agency will start its 6th Summer of Code on 1 June. ESA will this week select students for 24 open source software projects. The past month, sixty students registered to participate in the ‘Summer of Code in Space’ programme.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Steps beyond Open Source with Gigabit Internet Funding in Austin

        Mozilla has built its name on open source software. But its latest Gigabit funding initiative, which piggybacks on Google Fiber, extends the organization’s reach into networking and hardware by supporting the development of robotics, big data and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

        On Wednesday Mozilla announced that, in August, it will expand its National Gigabit Community Fund to Austin, Texas. The fund originated in 2014 in Chattanooga and Kansas City.

      • Mozilla Funds Program to Put Austin’s Gigabit Connections to Use

        Mozilla is funding a new effort in Austin exploring just what can be done with a gigabit. Over the last few years Austin has become one of the few hotbeds of broadband competition in the United States, with Google Fiber, AT&T, Grande Communications all now offering gigabit broadband for $65 per month and up. In the hopes o