US credit union regulator crushed Internet Archive's non-predatory, game-changing bank


The Internet Archive's Brewster Kahle writes, "We founded a credit union to build a new path after the banking debacle of 2008 and it's been crushed by federal regulators. The regulators close 200-300 credit unions every year, and have been since their founding of the NCUA in 1970. Only a couple are allowed to start each year. We were one of four in our year." Read the rest

Leaked recording: pollution lobbyists discuss exploiting Syrian refugee crisis


A leaked recording made of a conference call hosted by the Edison Electric Institute, which lobbies for the power industry, reveals lobbyists for high pollution companies talking about how they can exploit the Syrian refugee crisis to get a rider inserted into a pending bill that would kill the EPA's Waters of the United States rule, which protects America's waterways from pollution. Read the rest

WTO rules against US dolphin-safe tuna labels because they're unfair to Mexican fisheries


The barb in trade agreements' tail is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system, which lets companies sue governments to repeal rules that interfere with their profitability. It's let tobacco giants fight anti-smoking campaigns, and now it's letting fisheries attack rules aimed at preventing the wholesale slaughter of dolphins. Read the rest

Shamrock shake: Pfizer's Irish "unpatriotic loophole" ducks US taxes


Pfizer's used a tax-dodge called a "reverse-inversion" to sell itself to a much smaller, Irish pharma company, moving its corporate nationality to Ireland at the stroke of a pen. Read the rest

US cops seized more through asset forfeiture in 2014 than US criminals stole through burglary


US police seized $4.5 billion through civil asset forfeiture (through which police can take money and valuables away from citizens without charging anyone with any crimes) in 2014; in the same period, the FBI estimates that burglars accounted for $3.9B in property losses.

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How a paid FBI informant created a terror plot that sent an activist to jail for 9 years


Eric McDavid, a 26-year-old, nonviolent anarchist activist, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after a paid FBI informant promised to have sex with him if he'd help her bomb some unspecified targets in Northern California. She provided the money, transport, a cabin HQ (filled with hidden CCTVs), and the bomb recipe. Then she helped federal prosecutors illegally withhold 2,500 pages worth of evidence that eventually exonerated McDavid, after nine years in prison. Read the rest

How Hamilton, ON's violent "accountability" councilor intimidated a journalist out of City Hall


Hamilton's the kind of city where half of City Hall says they've been bullied at work, where the "accountability" committee charges you $100 to make a complaint and proposed that it would only investigate if you are never quoted in the press on the matter, and where city policy prohibits linking to its website without written permission. Read the rest

Startup uses ultrasound chirps to covertly link and track all your devices

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Silverpush, a startup that's just received $1.25M in venture capital, uses ultrasonic chirps that are emitted by apps, websites, and TV commercials to combine the identities associated with different devices (tablets, phones, computers, etc), so that your activity on all of them can be aggregated and sold to marketers. Read the rest

Cop who unplugged his cam before killing a 19-year-old girl is rehired

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Albuquerque police officer Jeremy Dear was ordered to wear a body-camera after many of the city's residents complained about their encounters with him. Afterward, he routinely failed to plug in the camera. His camera was not running when he shot and killed a 19-year-old girl in 2014. Read the rest

San Francisco Airport security screeners charged with complicity in drug-smuggling

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Three screeners working for Covenant Aviation Security -- the TSA contractor that provides government-funded genital massages at SFO -- have been arrested for alleged participation in a scheme to smuggle "real and simulated cocaine" onto planes. Read the rest

Not (just) the War on Drugs: the difficult, complicated truth about American prisons


U Penn political scientist Marie Gottschalk has a new book out, Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics, in which she expands on her prodigious work on the root causes of America's astounding rate of incarceration. Read the rest

How big offshoring companies pwned the H-1B process, screwing workers and businesses


Giant multinational offshoring firms have figured out how to game the H1-B system, flooding the application queue with thousands of requests the instant the process opens each year. It's transformed the H1-B Visa category from a lifeline for companies who need to bring in critical foreign talent into a way to shut down whole departments in the USA and replace them with lower-cost overseas workers who are exploited far from home. Read the rest

The DoJ won't let anyone in the Executive Branch read the CIA Torture Report


The Senate's 6,700 page, $40M report on the CIA's participation in torture has apparently never been read by a single member of the Executive Branch of the US Government, because the Department of Justice has ordered them all to stay away from it. Read the rest

House GOP defends the right of racist car-dealers to overcharge people of color


House Bill HR1737 will create penalties for auto-lenders who substantially overcharge black and latino customers through gouging on dealer markups. Read the rest

America's airlines send planes to El Salvador, China for service by undertrained technicians


If you have your plane fixed in the USA, the FAA requires that your maintenance crew be proficient in English (the language of aviation manuals), and that you admit FAA spot-inspectors at any time. But shift your maintenance to brand new facilities that were hastily spun up El Salvador, China and Mexico, FAA inspectors can only visit after applying for a visa and giving you lots of advance notice. Read the rest

EU wants to require permission to make a link on the Web


Digital commissioner Günther Oettinger (CDU – EPP) is joining with European Parliament president Martin Schulz (SPD – S&D) in pressing the European Commission to create a copyright interest in links, meaning that making a link to a Web-page that contains infringing material would expose you to liability for copyright infringement yourself. Read the rest

Once again, the SFPD blames a cyclist for his own death without any investigation


47-year-old Mark Heryer was killed on October 11th when he was run over by a 38-Geary bus. The SFPD concluded, without investigation, that Heryer's death was his own fault. The city will not release the footage from the bus's camera -- not even to Heryer's lawyer. Read the rest

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