Leaked (final?) TPP Intellectual Property chapter spells doom for free speech online

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Wikileaks has published a leaked draft -- dated Oct, 5, and thus possibly the final text -- of the "Intellectual Property Chapter" of the Trans Pacific Partnership, and it's grim reading. Read the rest

Canadian Tories funneled $8M in tax money to US Republican Party's NGO


Under the Stephen Harper government, $8M was given to the John McCain-chaired International Republican Institute, a non-governmental organization started by the US Republican party to advocate for right-wing policies abroad. Read the rest

Volkswagen CEO: Dieselgate caused by Lynndie England "rogue engineers"; execs blameless


Remember Lynndie England, the 21-year-old low-ranking Army Specialist who, along with ten other low-ranking Army personnel, was determined to be responsible for years of systematic torture in Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, thus letting the entire Army chain of command off the hook for any wrongdoing in one of the worst scandals of the unbelievably scandalous Iraq War? Read the rest

States enjoy kickback from prison phone gougers


The families of prisoners in the U.S. often have to pay rates as high as $12.95 for 15 minutes of phone time to stay in touch with an incarcerated spouse, child, or parent.

Global Tel-Link Corp. and Securus Technologies are the two main prison phone service providers, and they make a fortune charging poor people over 100 times the typical rate for a phone call. They reason they can get away with it is that they give generous kick-backs to state and local governments for giving them contracts to be the exclusive phone service providers for prisons under their control.

Read the rest

Kim Davis isn't doing her job. Again.

Rowan County, KY Clerk Kim Davis [Reuters]

Kim Davis isn't doing her job again. Michael from Muckrock writes, "This time, she's falling short on responding to public records requests, particularly one relating to her controversial visit with Pope Francis." Read the rest

NYPD steal black woman banker's BMW, commit her when she asks for it back


Another Kevin writes, "Last September, the NYPD pulled Kamilah Brock, a black woman, over on suspicion of DUI marijuana. They found nothing but seized her BMW anyway. When she claimed it, they decided she was delusional, no black woman could be a banker and own a BMW, so they threw her in the psych ward for eight days. She's now out over $13k for the hospital bill. All for DWB. #blacklivesmatter" Read the rest

Bankers' "Vulnerability Index": scoring employees' desperation


Back in 2009, SF author Peter Watts had dinner with a retired investment banker from TD who described the bank's "vulnerability index" -- a numeric score that expresses how desperate you are for your paycheck and thus the extent to which you can be reliably expected to forego your dignity and principles to keep your check intact. Read the rest

NZ government leaks on TPP: copyright terms will go to life plus 70 years


An official New Zealand government bulletin on yesterday's conclusion of the still-secret Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations accidentally confirmed something we all believed was in there all along: an extension of copyright terms to match the USA's bizarre, evidence-free, century-plus terms. Read the rest

Now that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is finalized, the real fight starts


For most of a decade, government negotiators from around the Pacific Rim have met in utmost secrecy to negotiate a "trade deal" that was kept secret from legislatures, though executives from the world's biggest corporations were allowed in the room and even got to draft parts of the treaty. Read the rest

Saudi PR machine goes bigtime, hires top US muscle for charm offensive


The Saudi royals -- you know, the charming people who exported intolerant, extremist Wahabiism and whose scions get to rape their US-based servants with impunity -- have hired the biggest, most ruthless PR firms in America to run their PR machine. Read the rest

Democratic machine won't let Larry Lessig into the debates; will Sanders stand up for him?


Lessig raised $1M for his amazing, unprecedented presidential bid, where he promises that, if he wins, he'll immediately pass campaign finance reform and then resign, handing over the presidency to his running-mate. Read the rest

Wyoming's Ag-Gag law makes it a crime to gather evidence of crime


With this year's "ag-gag" law, Wyoming has made it a crime to gather evidence of agricultural wrongdoing, from illegal pollution to animal cruelty, even from public land -- and also prohibits regulators from acting on information gathered in violation of the law. Read the rest

Dieselgate for TVs: Samsung accused of programming TVs to cheat energy efficiency ratings


The European Commission is probing whether Samsung televisions' sensed when they were being tested for energy efficiency and changed their power consumption to get better ratings than they deserved. Read the rest

Arbitration: how America's corporations got their own private legal system


In 1925, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations of similar size and bargaining power could use arbitration, rather than courts, to settle their differences; today, corporations demand that customers and employees agree to use the arbitration system for redress of any grievances, while reserving the right to use the courts to attack humans who offend them. Read the rest

Fuerdai: Paris Hilton with Chinese characteristics


China's hereditary oligarchy is in its second generation, and the fuerdai -- rich kids born to rich kids -- are a national symbol for corruption and excess, splashing social media with evidence of their debauchery. Read the rest

France's plan to legalize mass surveillance will give it the power to spy on the world


After getting caught breaking its own laws with a mass surveillance program, the French government has introduced legislation that mirrors the NSA's rules, giving it the power to spy on all foreigners -- and any French people who happen to be swept up in the dragnet. Read the rest

Carly Fiorina boasts: I sold the NSA its mass-surveillance servers


When National Security Agency director Michael Hayden told then-CEO-of-HP/now-Republican-presidential-hopeful Carly Fiorina he needed servers to put the entire USA under unconstitutional surveillance, she leapt into action to supply him with the materiel he needed. Read the rest

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