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  • Geebo 10:28 am on February 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Donald Trump, ,   

    Judge rules Federal Prosecutors broke law by hiding plea deal from millionaire sex offender’s victims 

    Judge rules Federal Prosecutors broke law by hiding plea deal from millionaire sex offender's victims

    Jeffrey Epstein and Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta

    If you’re unfamiliar with the story of wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, it’s one that goes back 14 years. Starting in 2005, the now 66-year-old Epstein was accused of molesting underage girls in his Palm Beach, Florida mansion by offering them money in exchange for massages. An investigation carried out by Palm Beach police state there is probable cause to charge Epstein with multiple counts of unlawful sex acts with a minor. Along the way, it’s discovered that Epstein may have had as many as 40 victims and may have allowed some of his wealthy and powerful friends to use the girls as well.

    To cut to the heart of matters, Epstein eventually reached what’s called a non-prosecution agreement where Epstein would plead guilty to minor state charges and would only serve 13 months in Palm Beach County jail. As you may imagine, this wasn’t the harshest prison treatment as Epstein was allowed to move about the area freely while conducting business only having to report back to the jail at night. Meanwhile, his victims were never informed of the plea deal and were told that the FBI was still investigating Epstein. The man who brokered the deal was then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta who is now the current Secretary of Labor in the Trump administration. Epstein and Trump were at one time, close friends. As was Bill Clinton but President Clinton was in no position at the time to name people to presidential cabinets.

    Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra ruled that federal prosecutors broke the law by not revealing the non-prosecution agreement to victims and by telling the victims the investigation was still ongoing. This violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. Unfortunately, as of right now there’s no sure way on how to move forward with any further criminal action against Epstein since he served his ‘sentence’ and the Crime Victims’ Rights Act does not specifically state how violators should be punished.

    It’s obvious that if Epstein was any other run of the mill child trafficker, he would have been facing a probable life sentence in prison. However, since he is a wealthy and connected man he basically served his sentence in a dormitory and only at night. It’s difficult to have faith in a system that has allowed this to happen and offers little to recompense for his victims.

    If you want to read an in-depth analysis of the Epstein case we highly recommend the Miami Herald’s Perversion of Justice investigation.

     
  • Geebo 10:02 am on February 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Donald Trump,   

    Amazon’s alleged tax dodge is just the beginning 

    Amazon's alleged tax dodge is just the beginning

    Last week was not a good week PR-wise for Amazon, the company owned by the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos. Even before it was announced that Amazon was not going ahead with their second headquarters in New York, they were raked over the coals in the press for allegedly not having to pay any corporate income tax for this year and last year. Instead, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy published a report claiming that Amazon received multi-million dollar tax refunds.

    So how did this happen? According to the report from ITEP, it’s because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that Congress passed in 2017 which was heavily backed by President Trump. It not only lowered corporate tax rates but it also failed to close loopholes that large corporations like Amazon could take further advantage of. This is somewhat ironic since President Trump has long criticized Amazon’s business practices while enabling a law that allows Amazon to supposedly continue those practices.

    So Amazon is not paying its ‘fair share’ taxes, what’s the big deal right? Well, it’s not just Amazon who is taking advantage of these new tax regulations. Netflix is another company that will reportedly pay no federal income tax this year either. How many other Fortune 500 companies will also look to take advantage of these loose corporate tax laws? Without corporate taxes being paid as they have been before 2017 tax increases could be passed on to an already overtaxed American public making the economic disparity in our country even worse.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Donald Trump, , ,   

    Amid shutdown, federal employees forced to sell belongings on Facebook and craigslist 

    Amid shutdown, federal employees forced to sell belongings on Facebook and craigslist

    Today, the government shutdown reaches its 24th day. This is the longest government shutdown in American history. 800,000 federal employees are going without their paychecks because the President is throwing a tantrum like a tangerine toddler over a border wall that would actually do little to stop the influx of immigrants that we should be welcoming into this country. Most illegal immigration doesn’t even take place at the country’s southern border with Mexico but rather through people who have stayed in the country after their travel visas have expired. But far be it from the truth getting in the way of a President who was elected on a platform of fear and intolerance. Meanwhile, the federal employees caught in the crossfire are in danger of having their lives ruined.

    Due to their lack of income, many locked out employees have taken to selling their possessions on places like Facebook and craigslist. So not only are they being driven into poverty by their own government but now these employees will have to deal with many scammers and con artists that prey on people like this on the less than scrupulous classifieds sites and marketplace apps like craigslist. The Coast Guard even published a survival guide recommending their members try to get part-time jobs as secret shoppers which has a well-known history of being mostly a scam.

    To make matters worse, the President has the temerity to claim that the unpaid federal employees are behind him and his ridiculous wall.

    President Donald Trump, when asked about the hardship facing workers, said federal employees “are on my side.”

    “You take a look at social media, so many of those people saying ‘it’s very hard for me, it’s very hard for my family, but Mr. President you’re doing the right thing. Get it done.’ They’re patriots,” he said.

    Then again, what do you expect from someone who made a business out of declaring bankruptcy on multiple occasions? However, Mr. Trump right now is the worst kind of bankrupt, morally bankrupt.

     
  • Geebo 10:59 am on January 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Donald Trump,   

    How to vote with your dollar over new immigration policies 

    How to vote with your dollar over new immigration policies

    Are you a politically active consumer? Do you want to either show your support or opposition to the recent immigration executive order issued by President Donald Trump? Well, we’re here to help with what companies you may want to support or avoid depending on your political leaning.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook had the following to say…

    “Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do. I’ve heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support,”

    After their previous kerfuffle Uber CEO Travis Kalanick added this…

    “This order has far broader implications as it also affects thousands of drivers who use Uber and come from the listed countries … We are working out a process to identify these drivers and compensate them pro bono during the next three months to help mitigate some of the financial stress and complications with supporting their families”

    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had similar concerns…

    “Trump’s actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all,” wrote Hastings. “Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe. A very sad week, and more to come with the lives of over 600,000 Dreamers here in a America under imminent threat. It is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity.”

    The CEO of President Trump’s favorite social networking platform, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, added this…

    “The Executive Order’s humanitarian and economic impact is real and upsetting,” wrote Dorsey, linking to a similar statement from the Internet Association on Twitter. “We benefit from what refugees and immigrants bring to the U.S.”

    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos issued the following statement

    We’re a nation of immigrants whose diverse backgrounds, ideas, and points of view have helped us build and invent as a nation for over 240 years. No nation is better at harnessing the energies and talents of immigrants. It’s a distinctive competitive advantage for our country—one we should not weaken.

    Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has stated that not only do they oppose the ban but they will be hiring 10,000 immigrants to help fill their positions.

    “There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.”

    Airbnb head Brian Chesky has offered assistance to those affected by the ban…

    “Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right and we must stand with those who are affected,”

    Also such industry luminaries as Google, Microsoft, IBM, HP, Yelp, and Facebook all oppose the ban.

    This is far from a comprehensive list but will give you enough information to make informed choices on where to spend your money or whose services you want to use or boycott if you so choose. If you do choose to boycott, it seems that you have a long road to hoe. Good luck with that.

     
  • Geebo 1:10 pm on January 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Donald Trump,   

    Should you be ashamed for using Uber? 

    Should you be ashamed for using Uber?

    (Disclaimer: This blog post is not an endorsement for Uber or any political policy.)

    Over the weekend a firestorm erupted over taxis and ride sharing services Uber and Lyft. Due to President Donald Trump’s immigration policy deemed the ‘Muslim ban’ a number of people started protesting at major airports across the country. The most major of those airports was JFK in New York City. In support of the protests the NY Taxi Workers Alliance announced that they would not be picking up fares from JFK between 6-7PM this past Saturday. In response Uber announced that they would be picking up riders from JFK and that their surge pricing would be suspended during the taxi strike. This resulted in many people taking to social media not only chastising Uber but stating that they were deleting the Uber app as well.

    Uber came out and apologized for the gaffe stating…

    ‘We’re sorry for any confusion about our earlier tweet — it was not meant to break up any strike,” a spokesperson for Uber said. “We wanted people to know they could use Uber to get to and from JFK at normal prices, especially last night.”

    Uber also said that it would create $3 million defense fund to help cover legal, immigration and translation costs for drivers affected by the immigration ban. This hasn’t stopped the technorati from calling for a complete boycott of Uber.

    Unfortunately what some may not realize is that Uber has been a godsend to low-income users who aren’t necessarily serviced by public transportation. In to many locales Uber is the only choice for people who need to get to doctor appointments and the like. So while the tech elite and politically active can afford to delete Uber, not everyone can. If you use Uber, you should not be shamed into using another service just because some of the more reactionary among us now think it’s the devil’s livery.

    If you can afford to boycott Uber then fine, but not everyone is in your financial position to do so. Keep that in mind before shaming someone for using the service.

     
  • Geebo 12:58 pm on December 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Archive.Org, , Donald Trump, Internet Archive,   

    Archive.org heading to Canada over Trump concerns 

    Archive.org heading to Canada over Trump concerns

    (Disclaimer: This post is not intended to espouse one political party over the other)

    A number of us are familiar with the Internet Archive at Archive.Org. It’s where we go to see what websites looked like in the early days of the internet thanks to their Wayback Machine.The Archive is so much more than that though as according to Wikipedia, “It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including web sites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books.” It can almost be considered a public service to the whole of the internet.

    Recently, the curators of the Archive made their intentions known that they plan to create a new backup center in Canada. Normally this is just good security to have all their data backed up in off site storage, however that’s not the main reason as to why they’re backing up north of the border. According to reports, the digital library said they were using a Canadian site for backup over fears of surveillance during the upcoming Donald Trump presidency.

    “On November 9 in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long term, need to design for change,” said a blog post from Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian at the organization.

    While the Internet Archive is a private entity and are free to back up their data anywhere they see fit , to some this may seem like a sour grapes move after the election didn’t go the way they may have wished. For example, one of the biggest and most sweeping surveillance programs in US history, PRISM, took place under the Obama administration, yet there were no massive tech runs to the border at that time. Sadly, this sounds an awful lot like all those people who claimed that they were moving to Canada if Trump won the election, but again there are no massive rushes to the northern border.

    While President-Elect Trump may want to put some surveillance program in place that are reminiscent of the McCarthy era, he still has an uphill battle as far as enacting any of his supposed Bond Villain-like plans. Not only will the Democrats in Congress oppose him at every turn but he has also disenfranchised many within the GOP. While the outlook may indeed appear bleak to many, there is no guarantee of dystopia.

     
  • Geebo 9:57 am on October 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Donald Trump, , , , Sheldon Adelson   

    Why is Peter Thiel doubling down on Donald Trump? 

    Why is Peter Thiel doubling down on Donald Trump?

    Donald Trump’s campaign for President took a massive publicity hit recently after recordings of misogynistic comments he made in private were made public. This doesn’t help with Trump’s image since many already view him as being xenophobic and racist. So one would have to wonder that after all this controversy, why would venture capitalist Peter Thiel double down on Trump by donating an additional $1.25 million to the Trump campaign?

    As TechCrunch points out, Thiel is not only an immigrant to this country, having been born in Germany, bur he is also openly gay. These are two camps of voters that have not exactly been supportive of Trump. A Thiel representative told TechCrunch that the reason Thiel supports Trump is…

    Thiel is motivated by his view that feels the country ‘needs fixing’, and thinks Mr. Trump pull it off.

    So the question remains, what does Peter Thiel think needs fixing in our country?

    If you go by history, what may need fixing in Peter Thiel’s mind is a free press that he may view as being a little too free. BY now we all should know about Thiel’s backing of Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker in revenge for Gawker outing Thiel as gay. This is not to mention that there was an alleged Thiel backed motion to threaten Gawker further over a piece they wrote about Donald Trump’s hair.

    You could also surmise that the Trump campaign is friendly to a less free press due to another one of its financial backers, and that’s casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson also bought the Las Vegas Review Journal newspaper that was previously critical of him. Since the purchase of the Review-Journal it’s long been rumored there that stories about Adelson are not viewed as newsworthy as they used to be.

    Trump is no fan of the media himself so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities for Trump and his uber-rich supporters to form a cabal of billionaires that are willing to buy their way around the First Amendment.

     
  • Geebo 10:11 am on August 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Donald Trump, , , Hillary Clinton,   

    Sorry Facebook pundits, you’re not convincing anyone 

    Sorry Facebook pundits, you're not convincing anyone

    Even long before the nominees were determined for each party during this presidential election season, many people were posting their political punditry on Facebook. Whether it be the Donald Trump memes or the ‘lies’ of Hillary Clinton or even lamenting the fact that Bernie Sanders was not nominated, virtually no one is having their political views changed on Facebook.

    According to survey of 10,000 Facebook users, over 90% of respondents have not had their minds changed on a political issue due to anything posted on Facebook. However the political postings have had some effect as 13% of respondents say they’ve unfriended someone on Facebook because of a political post.

    It used to be said that in polite company you should never talk about sex, politics and religion. Since Facebook it’s now so ubiquitous in our lives should those same courtesies be extended to Facebook, or is Facebook more akin to a graffiti laden restroom wall? Maybe we would be more united as a country if we used Facebook as a forum of discussion rather than a series of megaphones projecting a cacophony of political clamor.

     
  • Geebo 9:15 am on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Donald Trump, , ,   

    Will Peter Thiel be ousted from Facebook? 

    Will Peter Thiel be ousted from Facebook?

    Later today the board of directors of Facebook will meet for the annual shareholder’s meeting. One of the items said to be on the agenda is whether or not venture capitalist and Gawker lawsuit backer Peter Thiel will remain on the board.

    According to TheWrap The Writers Guild of America East sent a petition to Facebook stating that Peter Thiel’s presence on the board is too much of a threat to freedom of the press.

    “Facebook is the portal through which so much news, particularly online news, is accessed and even sent out now,” WGAE executive director Lowell Peterson added. “[News outlets] depend on social media like Facebook for their survival, for getting their message out, for getting their stories and videos out.”

    Another point of controversy is that Thiel is a delegate for Donald Trump. This kind of explains why Thiel’s attack lawyers are threatening Gawker with legal action over Donald Trump’s alleged hairpiece. However, could it also mean that with Thiel in Trump’s camp will this start a campaign where media outlets critical of Trump are threatened with legal action?

    So will Facebook take a stand in defense of the press or will they continue to support a legitimate threat to journalism?

     
  • Geebo 11:30 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Donald Trump, , , ,   

    Is Peter Thiel suing Gawker over Donald Trump’s hair? 

    Is Peter Thiel suing Gawker over Donald Trump's hair?

    From the ridiculous to the sublime.

    Just when you thought the feud between venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Gawker Media couldn’t get anymore strange comes the news that Thiel’s team of legal attack dogs of Harder Mirell & Abrams are threatening more legal action against Gawker over Donald Trump’s hair.

    One of Gawker’s reporters, Ashley Feinberg, has claimed that she has solved the mystery of Donald Trump’s infamous coiffure. In a Gawker blog post she claims that The Donald’s hair is actually an expensive hairpiece produced by a company named Ivari International. Ivari, while being represented by Charles J. Harder, of the above named legal firm, sent a letter to Gawker…

    Thiel’s lawyer-for-hire, Charles J. Harder, sent Gawker a letter on behalf of Ivari International’s owner and namesake, Edward Ivari, in which Harder claims that Feinberg’s story was “false and defamatory,” invaded Ivari’s privacy, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, and committed “tortious interference” with Ivari’s business relations.

    As it currently stands, Thiel backed lawsuits are already draining Gawker of all available capital. How much more money does he think that his paid proxies can bleed from an already drained stone and is Donald Trump’s hair really the hill that he wants to die on?

    In this blogger’s opinion this recent threat of legal action shows not only how petty Thiel has become and not only how much he’s abusing the legal system but also shows how much he’s willing to strong-arm a media outlet into non-existence. What happens when a media giant like the Washington Post or the New York Times reports something about Thiel that he doesn’t like? Will he back lawsuits against them too and if so where does it end? What’s stopping other billionaires from funding lawsuits by proxy against the media? Will they all try to sue the media out of existence? Granted, that’s an extreme scenario that is unlikely to come to pass but how many journalistic voices could fall in the meantime?

     
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