Alleged human sex trafficker gave thousands to Trump campaign and hung out with Don Jr. at Mar-a-Lago

📸 Li Yang, aka Cindy Yang, 45, with Donald Trump at the Super Bowl, rooting for the Patriots. Just 2 weeks later, authorities charged team owner Robert Kraft with soliciting prostitution at a spa in Jupiter, Florida that was founded by Yang.

The Miami Herald headline reads, “Trump cheered Patriots to Super Bowl victory with founder of spa where Kraft was busted,” but the alterate headline suggested by @joshrogin gets straight to the point: “Alleged human trafficker gave thousands to Trump campaign and hung out with Don Jr. at Mar-a-Lago.” Read the rest

The EU hired a company that had been lobbying for the Copyright Directive to make a (completely batshit) video to sell the Copyright Directive

At the end of February, the EU Parliament released a bizarre video "explaining" the Copyright Directive, a controversial and sweeping internet regulation that has inspired more opposition than anything else in EU history. Read the rest

Pentagon Inspector General reveals widespread retaliation against whistleblowers with impunity for the retaliators and the wrongdoers

Last November, the Pentagon's Inspector General presented Congress with a "little-noticed" report on whistleblowing in the US military, revealing that those who come forward with claims of misconduct including sexual harassment and safety problems face a "culture of retaliation" including black marks on their service records, demotion, and suspension of security clearance; the IG also reported that in nearly every case, the officers who retaliated against whistleblowers faced no consequences for their actions. Read the rest

Iowa's electricity monopolist Midamerican Energy has written a bill to let it "monopolize the sun"

Iowa State Representative Gary Carlson [R-91/gary.carlson@legis.iowa.gov] introduced House Study Bill 185, co-drafted by lobbyists for Midamerican Energy, one of Iowa's regional energy monopolists, with a long history of trying to subvert the "net metering" rules that allow Iowans to put solar panels on their roofs and sell power back into the grid when they are generating more than they are using. Read the rest

Public records requests reveal the elaborate shell-company secrecy that Google uses when seeking subsidies for data-centers

It's not just Amazon and Apple that expect massive taxpayer subsidies in exchange for locating physical plant in your town: when Google builds a new data-center, it does so on condition of multimillion-dollar "incentives" from local governments -- but Google also demands extraordinary secrecy from local officials regarding these deals, secrecy so complete that city attorneys have instructed town councillors to refuse to answer questions about it during public meetings. Read the rest

Beyond GIGO: how "predictive policing" launders racism, corruption and bias to make them seem empirical

"Predictive policing" is the idea that you can feed crime stats to a machine-learning system and it will produce a model that can predict crime. It is garbage. Read the rest

Bank lobbyists are scared to meet with AOC because she might humiliate them on Twitter later

A "lobbyist for a major bank" told Reuters that they're afraid to meet with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who now sits on Congress's Financial Services Committee, because "anything you do or say can be used against you" -- the lobbyist likened meeting with AOC to "going in to talk to the FBI." Read the rest

A short list of "all the bad things" about Uber and Lyft

Angie Schmitt's list of "all the bad things" about Uber and Lyft only touches on transportation, leaving aside the companies' labor, taxation, regulatory and other issues, but it's still quite a damning document. Read the rest

Addressing inequality is foreign policy, not domestic

The scholarship on inequality has been producing a wealth of empirical findings about how inequality is created, expanded and perpetuated, building on the work of Thomas Piketty in tracing capital flows. Read the rest

AOC's latest Congressional "lightning round game" is the best video CSPAN has ever aired

The Democrats have started hearings on HR1, a comprehensive anti-corruption and voting rights bill, and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gets to participate, which is great news for all of us. Read the rest

Washington State sheriff used courtroom camera to zoom in on defense attorney and juror's private notes

A San Juan county assault case has been thrown out after it was revealed that Sheriff Ron Krebs had used the courtroom's cameras to zoom in on the notes of the defense attorney and a juror. Read the rest

Sorting the spin from the facts: how big can the surveilling city that Sidewalk Labs plans for Toronto get?

Cory published a writeup of my research showing Google offshoot Sidewalk Labs’ plan to build a surveilling city in Toronto involves a much, much larger chunk of land than publicly disclosed (in fact about 2,600 acres of prime Toronto waterfront!). It flushed out a response from the high-priced US PR firm Berlin Rosen, apparently acting on behalf of Sidewalk Labs: Read the rest

Malaysia charges Goldman Sachs with criminal complicity in multi-billion-dollar 1MDB fraud

In 2015, a scandal involving the state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund brought down the country's authoritarian government, amid allegations that the disgraced ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak and his retinue embezzled $4.5 billion from the fund. Read the rest

Charter will pay $174.2m for defrauding New Yorkers over data speeds, the largest settlement ever paid by a US ISP

Charter-Spectrum has settled a lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General that accused the company of defrauding New Yorkers through false advertising about the data-speeds they could expect from their plans (among other things, the AG accused Charter of supplying customers with modems that were too slow to attain the speeds they'd paid for). Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's new bill: let the US government manufacture generic versions of overpriced, unavailable drugs

Senator Elizabeth Warren has introduced a bill called the Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act, which allows the US government to manufacture generic versions of drugs "in cases in which no company is manufacturing a drug, when only one or two companies manufacture a drug and its price has spiked, when the drug is in shortage, or when a medicine listed as essential by the World Health Organization faces limited competition and high prices." Read the rest

Trump's scandal-haunted Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is out

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (previously) is leaving the cabinet at the end of the month. Read the rest

Europe's right-to-repair movement is surging -- and winning

Earlier this month, European right-to-repair activists sounded the alarm, warning that the model right-to-repair legislation that had been proceeding through the EU legislative process had been hijacked by lobbyists who had gutted its core protections and were poised to make repairs even harder in the EU. Read the rest

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