Sponsor of the "Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act" sues Twitter cow-account for $250 million

Devin Nunes (previously) is a Trump-loyalist whose scandals have ranged from secretly moving his family farm to make it easier to hire undocumented workers to a bizarre obsession with the Steele Dossier; and like a lot of far-right types, he's big on "preventing frivolous lawsuits" (which is to say, he wants to make it harder for the public to sue companies that harm them, which is why he cosponsored last year's Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act. Read the rest

Big Chemical says higher pollution levels are safe in West Virginia because residents don't drink water, and are so fat that poisons are diluted in their bodies

West Virginia Manufacturers Association (whose major member is Dow Chemical) wants to do something about the frequent "boil water" advisories in the state: specifically, they want to relax the criteria that results in water being declared unsafe to drink, on the ground that West Virginians are so overweight that they can absorb more dangerous substances before reaching unhealthy concentrations of them; and besides, West Virginians don't drink much water, anyway. Read the rest

The US requires visas for some EU citizens, so now all US citizens visiting the EU will be subjected to border formalities too

Many countries around the world have a policy of reciprocal border treatment -- I once traveled to Uganda and the visa payment demanded at the border varied on your citizenship, based on what your country charged Ugandans to travel there; likewise, after the US started fingerprinting visitors, Brazil starting fingerprinting Americans (and only Americans!) at the border. Read the rest

Blockbuster Gizmodo investigation reveals probable masterminds of the massive anti-Net Neutrality identity theft/astroturf campaign

US government agencies can't just make up rules: they're require to show that the rules they make reflect the best evidence, and part of that is a "notice and comment" period for major policy shifts where the public gets to weigh in on proposals. Read the rest

Owner of civil war reenactment business sues school district that canceled field trips after his far-right social media came to light

Riley's Farm is a staple of Los Angeles overnight school trips (my daughter visited last year with her elementary school); it's an apple farm with a pick-your-own apples sideline that branched out into civil war re-enactments, with some students staying overnight in tents. Read the rest

Matt Taibbi on Chris Christie's "agonizing" memoir: "an epic literary self-own"

Chris Christie's got a new memoir, "Let Me Finish," and Matt Taibbi (previously), Rolling Stone's most incandescent and relentless writer, has done us all the mercy of reading Christie so we don't have to. Read the rest

Trump's properties routinely employed (and abused) undocumented Latinx workers, including dozens from a single Costa Rican town

The Washington Post tracked down workers from Santa Teresa de Cajon in Costa Rica, who say that they and their neighbors were part of a "pipeline" from Central America to Trump properties in New Jersey and elsewhere, where they worked doing construction, groundskeeping, and cleaning, with the full knowledge of their supervisors and Trump Organization managers (a claim verified by a police report detailing a warning from local officials to Trump Organization bosses about the number of undocumented workers on Trump's property). Read the rest

Kleptocracy in America: Russian-style corruption, driven by global oligarchs, enabled by US elites

As Naomi Klein documents in her classic and seminal book The Shock Doctrine, disasters and upheavals are the bread-and-butter of global looters, who use the collapse of civil society or the default of debtor states to privatize state assets at pennies on the dollar, then milk them into further crises, which create more chances for looting -- but the collapse of the USSR was different, because the spies and strongmen who rode out that collapse ensured that public assets were only given to domestic looters, not off-shore oligarchs. Read the rest

Appeals court to Donald Trump's FCC: "Drop dead."

The federal appeals court in the DC circuit has overturned the FCC's decision to make it effectively impossible for people on tribal lands to make use of the federal "Lifeline} program that provides cheap broadband access to poor communities. Read the rest

Delayed, not saved: Foxconn's Wisconsin "factory" announcement is a bid to help Trump save face

After announcing that, inevitably, it wasn't going to build an LCD factory in Wisconsin, and would instead use its $4.1 billion subsidy to build a modest R&D facility employing out-of-state skilled workers; Foxconn reversed itself and promised that the factory was back on. Read the rest

Charter slashes network spending by $2B, but makes up for it by charging its customers more

When Trump FCC Chairman (and former telcoms executive) Ajit Pai murdered Net Neutrality, he told us the slaughter was necessary, otherwise the ISPs wouldn't invest in their networks. Read the rest

Predatory lender found to have swindled veterans' pensions for eight years, so Trump's CFPB fined him $1

Mark Corbett has settled with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- founded by Elizabeth Warren and then gutted by Trump appointee and awful person Mick Mulvaney, now the White House Chief of Staff -- over the complaints that he ran an illegal loan-sharking operation that swindled veterans out of their pensions for a decade.

He has been fined $1. Read the rest

Secret Service challenge coin commemorates unpaid labor during the shutdown

The latest Secret Service challenge coin (previously) commemorates Trump's shutdown (which has nearly 1,000,000 people going without pay, and has undermined everything from air travel to the ability of poor people to eat and pay rent), bearing the legends "Essential Personnel" and "Don't Worry, You'll Get Backpay." Perhaps SS agents can pay their rent by flogging the coins on Ebay, where the rarest of SS challenge coins fetch up to $500. 6,000 Secret Service employees are working without pay around the world and another 1,222 have been furloughed. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Republican Arizona lawmaker revives doomed "porn tax" to fund Trump's doomed border-wall

Anti-porn troll Chris Sevier (previously) has built his career by convincing grandstanding Republican state lawmakers to introduce doomed, unconstitutional porn-tax laws that would require in-state ISPs to implement default-on censorship of "adult sites" (or, more specifically, "sites appearing an an arbitrary, unaccountable secret blacklist of allegedly adult material") and then charge $20/subscriber to turn off the filters. Read the rest

Trump's FCC chairman won't do anything about your cellular company selling your location to bountyhunters because shutdown

Motherboard's blockbuster story about mobile carriers selling your realtime location data into a marketplace where bounty hunters and other villains can buy it for just a few dollars has triggered an urgent, national conversation about the fact that, in the year since the first stories about this emerged, the carriers have not only failed to live up to their promises to put a stop to it, but seem to have made it even worse. Read the rest

Shutdowns don’t get bad linearly; they get bad exponentially

Federal employees missed their first paycheck last week; from here on in, every milestone dramatically exacerbates the pain of the shutdown: a halt to aviation as TSA screeners quit en masse, civil cases stall in federal courts, 38 million hungry Americans denied food stamps and 10% of food sales in the US vanishing; deals expiring with the landlords of 40,000 low income households; then 2.2 million more households are imperiled; landlords renting to federal agencies will go without rent but won't be able to evict federal tenants, triggering mortgage and debt defaults; prison guards go from today's skeleton crew to near-total absenteeism; city buses stop running as Federal Transport Agency payments dry up; drugs fall out of the FDA pipeline, denying medication to ill and dying people; and of course, every IPO is stalled (and maybe DOA) for so long as the shutdown continues. Read the rest

In DHS tests, prototypes of Trump's chosen barrier posts were easily defeated by hacksaws

Trump isn't America's most anti-immigrant president; that honor goes to Obama, the great deporter, who also extensively tested border wall technologies while deporting 2MM undocumented people. Read the rest

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