Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: May 26, 2016 Billionaire Peter Thiel’s attack on Gawker is called “champerty,” and it used to be illegal
QUOTE: Billionaire Peter Thiel appears to be helping to fund Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Media. But the lawsuit and its outcome are a mere sideshow to the main story, which is that this case is a terrifying development for those of us who value a free, democratic media.
Quartz Jul 21, 2015 The Myth of the Ethical Shopper We're still trying to eliminate sweatshops and child labor by buying right. But that's not how the world works in 2015.
QUOTE: ...for a while there, it worked. The major apparel companies adopted codes of conduct, first banning just the most egregious stuff—workers under 16, forced overtime—then expanding to health and safety, environmental protection and social investment....I spoke with more than 30 company reps, factory auditors and researchers and read dozens of studies describing what has happened in those sweatshops since they became a cultural fixation three decades ago. All these sources led me to the same conclusion: Boycotts have failed. Our clothes are being made in ways that advocacy campaigns can’t affect and in places they can’t reach. So how are we going to stop sweatshops now?
Huffington Post Jul 16, 2015 The ambassador’s tale: Lessons I learned about success and scandal
QUOTE: Truth often loses its way in Washington and never more quickly than during a presidential campaign....Several of my friends tried to rally the president’s support, but I knew no one from the White House would publicly walk into what was to them a minor story.
Washington Post Apr 30, 2015 Rules Change on I.R.S. Seizures, Too Late for Some
QUOTE: Under mounting pressure, the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department have announced in recent months that they will no longer use a law designed to go after drug dealers and terrorists to seize the bank accounts of small business owners who are not suspected of criminal activity.
New York Times Mar 05, 2015 Companies Turn Tables on Human Rights Lawyers
QUOTE: mounting difficulties facing a small group of plaintiffs’ lawyers who have carved out a niche suing multinational corporations on charges that they violated human rights overseas. The biggest setback for this kind of litigation came two years ago when the Supreme Court sharply limited the use of an obscure law adopted in 1789, the Alien Tort Statute, to bring international claims in American courts. Meanwhile, a number of controversies involving Mr. Collingsworth and other lawyers have cast a shadow over the field and made it possible for companies to mount counterattacks.
New York Times Feb 28, 2015 Fear Envelops Russia After Killing of Putin Critic Boris Nemtsov
QUOTE: About two weeks before he was shot and killed in the highest-profile political assassination in Russia in a decade, Boris Y. Nemtsov met with an old friend to discuss his latest research into what he said was dissembling and misdeeds in the Kremlin... he wanted to publish the research in a pamphlet to be called “Putin and the War,” about President Vladimir V. Putin and Russian involvement in the Ukraine conflict
New York Times Dec 03, 2014 Wave of Protests After Grand Jury Doesn’t Indict Officer in Eric Garner Chokehold Case
QUOTE: A Staten Island grand jury on Wednesday ended the criminal case against a white New York police officer whose chokehold on an unarmed black man led to the man’s death, a decision that drew condemnation from elected officials and touched off a wave of protests....The decision came barely a week after a grand jury found no criminality in the actions of another white police officer, Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man in Ferguson, Mo.
New York Times Nov 19, 2014 A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA
QUOTE: UVA's emphasis on honor is so pronounced that since 1998, 183 people have been expelled for honor-code violations such as cheating on exams. And yet paradoxically, not a single student at UVA has ever been expelled for sexual assault. "Think about it," says Susan Russell, whose UVA daughter's sexual-assault report helped trigger a previous federal investigation. "In what world do you get kicked out for cheating, but if you rape someone, you can stay?"
Rolling Stone Jul 11, 2014 Civilian Deaths in Gaza: Is Israel killing indiscriminately? A closer look at the evidence and context.
QUOTE: let’s focus on the narrower question of how to minimize civilian deaths, now and in future conflicts. How bad is this war compared to others? Are Israel’s attacks indiscriminate?
Slate Jun 07, 2014 Book wars: A monopolist vs. the cartel
QUOTE: The publishers are more than a little disingenuous in conflating their own interests with those of authors, readers and booksellers. And Amazon might want to consider that its admirable campaign to lower book prices may have reached a point of diminishing return, with the risk that further cuts really will have an adverse effect on consumer choice and the quality of what is published. Rather than using readers and writers as hostages in their ongoing battle over discounts, commissions and co-op fees, both sides might better use their ingenuity to come up with a simpler and more rational structure for the industry’s economics that is better able to adapt to changing technology and market realities.
Washington Post May 31, 2014 In Ukraine War, Kremlin Leaves No Fingerprints
QUOTE: The Cold War-style standoff over Ukraine may have subsided for now. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has drawn his troops back from the border and has promised to work with Ukraine’s new government. But the shifting reality here in eastern Ukraine suggests the crisis has simply entered a new phase. In contrast to Crimea, which was seized by Russian troops in unmarked uniforms this spring, eastern Ukraine is evolving into a subtle game in which Russian freelancers shape events and the Kremlin plausibly denies involvement.
New York Times May 28, 2014 Chilling Effect: How the attacks on a University of Virginia law professor are bad for academia, and all of us.
QUOTE: The effort to intimidate or—more charitably—“educate” professor Laycock is misdirected toward an academic career that has been protective of gay rights and gay marriage and only, in the two instances cited, collides with them through a larger vision of religious liberty. The groups who don’t like that anti-LGBT movements get intellectual cover from Laycock’s legal arguments are free to say so, loudly, passionately, and publicly. But using a FOIA request to try to get dirt on him, to imply that he is doing something unsavory with those groups, is simply a smear tactic...
Slate May 27, 2014 Will ‘Evidence’ Show Google Stole Money From Publishers?
QUOTE: There are a lot of claims by AdSense publishers who say Google has not paid them what they’re owed. Recently, a person claiming to be an ex-Google employee described (at length) a plot by the company to keep from having to pay publishers, and shutting down their accounts ahead of payment dates. Since then, a lot of people have said this happened to them, and a class action suit has been launched against the company.
WebProNews May 24, 2014 Amazon's Tactics Confirm Its Critics' Worst Suspicions
QUOTE: This week, as part of a contract dispute with the publisher Hachette, we're seeing Amazon behaving at its worst. The company's willingness to nakedly flex its anticompetitive muscle gives new cause for concern to anyone who cares about books...
New York Times Mar 09, 2014 After Big Bet, Hedge Fund Pulls the Levers of Power: Staking $1 Billion That Herbalife Will Fail, Then Lobbying to Bring It Down
QUOTE: a small hint of Mr. Ackman’s extraordinary attempt to leverage the corridors of power — in Washington, state capitols and city halls — for his hedge fund’s profit after taking a $1 billion financial position called a short, a bet that will pay off only if Herbalife’s stock drops. Corporate money is forever finding new ways to influence government. But Mr. Ackman’s campaign to take this fight “to the end of the earth,” using every weapon in the arsenal that Washington offers in an attempt to bring ruin to one company, is a novel one, fusing the financial markets with the political system.
New York Times Jan 20, 2014 Gruesome Syria photos may prove torture by Assad regime
QUOTE: The bodies in the photos showed signs of starvation, brutal beatings, strangulation, and other forms of torture and killing....A complex numbering system was also used to catalog the corpses, with only the relevant intelligence service knowing the identities of the corpses. It was an effort, the report says, to keep track of which security service was responsible for the death, and then later to provide false documentation that the person had died in a hospital.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jan 17, 2014 Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down as Judge Cites Burden on Citizens
QUOTE: ruled that the law hampered the ability of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians to cast their ballots, with the burden falling most heavily on elderly, disabled and low-income residents, and that the state’s reason for the law — that it was needed to combat voter fraud — was not supported by the facts....In addition, Judge McGinley ruled, the state’s $5 million campaign to explain the law had been full of misinformation that has never been corrected.
New York Times Dec 17, 2013 Accidental Tax Break Saves Wealthiest Americans $100 Billion
QUOTE: The popularity of the shelter, known as the Walton grantor retained annuity trust, or GRAT, shows how easy it is for the wealthy to bypass estate and gift taxes. Even Covey says the practice, which involves rapidly churning assets into and out of trusts, makes a mockery of the tax code.
Bloomberg News Oct 05, 2013 No way to run a country: The Land of the Free is starting to look ungovernable. Enough is enough
QUOTE: ...Republicans are setting a precedent which, if followed, would make America ungovernable. Voters have seen fit to give their party control of one arm of government—the House of Representatives—while handing the Democrats the White House and the Senate. If a party with such a modest electoral mandate threatens to shut down government unless the other side repeals a law it does not like, apparently settled legislation will always be vulnerable to repeal by the minority. Washington will be permanently paralysed and America condemned to chronic uncertainty.
Economist Oct 05, 2013 A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning
QUOTE: interviews with a wide array of conservatives show that the confrontation that precipitated the crisis was the outgrowth of a long-running effort to undo the law, the Affordable Care Act, since its passage in 2010 — waged by a galaxy of conservative groups with more money, organized tactics and interconnections than is commonly known.
New York Times Sep 26, 2013 Public Nuisance: What happens when calling 911 could cost you your home.
QUOTE: the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and Briggs’ lawyer sued the borough of Norristown on behalf of Briggs, arguing that its disorderly behavior ordinance—and hundreds of similar laws around the country—unconstitutionally punish protected First Amendment speech, fall most heavily of victims of domestic violence, and recast those victims as a public nuisance.
Slate Aug 18, 2013 Glenn Greenwald's partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours David Miranda, partner of Guardian interviewer of whistleblower Edward Snowden, questioned under Terrorism Act
QUOTE: "This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process," Greenwald said. "To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ. The actions of the UK pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere."
Guardian Unlimited Jul 29, 2013 Cambodian Opposition Rejects Election Results
QUOTE: Cambodia faces a volatile and possibly prolonged political standoff after leaders of the opposition said on Monday that they rejected the preliminary results of Sunday’s election and accused the authoritarian government of Prime Minister Hun Sen of large-scale cheating to achieve a relatively narrow victory.
New York Times Jul 25, 2013 U.S. Asks Court to Limit Texas on Ballot Rules
QUOTE: The Obama administration on Thursday moved to protect minority voters after last month’s Supreme Court ruling striking down a central part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with the Justice Department asking a court to require Texas to get permission from the federal government before making changes....Gov. Rick Perry of Texas cast Mr. Holder’s remarks as an attempt by the Obama administration to weaken the state’s voter-integrity laws...
New York Times Jul 07, 2013 “Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book”: The new warrior cop is out of control
QUOTE: It wasn’t even the first time a Virginia SWAT team had killed someone during a gambling raid.....Police have justified this sort of heavy-handedness by claiming that people who run illegal gambling operations tend to be armed, a blanket characterization that absurdly lumps neighborhood Hold ’Em tournaments with Uncle Junior Soprano’s weekly poker game. And in any case, if police know that people inside an establishment are likely to be armed, it makes even less sense to come in with guns blazing. Police have also defended the paramilitary tactics by noting that poker games are usually flush with cash and thus tend to get robbed. That too is an absurd argument, unless the police are afraid they’re going to raid a game at precisely the same moment it’s getting robbed. Under either scenario, the police are acknowledging that the people playing poker when these raids go down have good reason to think that the men storming the place with guns may be criminals, not cops.
Salon Jul 05, 2013 Mayhem in Cairo as Morsi Backers Fight for Return
QUOTE: violent clashes in the streets of Cairo and elsewhere on Friday as masses of demonstrators celebrating the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi battled crowds of Islamists who wanted him reinstated....The new violence suggested that the military’s removal of Mr. Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president, after protests by millions of Egyptians angry with his rule, had worsened the deep polarization between Islamists who call his ouster a military coup and their opponents who say his removal was the result of an urgent need to fix Egypt’s myriad problems.
New York Times Jul 04, 2013 As Competition Wanes, Amazon Cuts Back Discounts
QUOTE: with Borders dead, Barnes & Noble struggling and independent booksellers greatly diminished, for many consumers there is simply no other way to get many books than through Amazon. And for some books, Amazon is, in effect, beginning to raise prices.
New York Times Jun 27, 2013 NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama
QUOTE: The Obama administration for more than two years permitted the National Security Agency to continue collecting vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans...under the program, launched in 2001, a federal judge sitting on the secret surveillance panel called the Fisa court would approve a bulk collection order for internet metadata "every 90 days"... The collection of these records began under the Bush administration's wide-ranging warrantless surveillance program, collectively known by the NSA codename Stellar Wind.
Guardian Unlimited Jun 25, 2013 Who will stop Google? Snowden revealed what many of us already suspected: Google completely controls the web
QUOTE: What do the U.S. government and Silicon Valley already have in common? Above all, they want to remain opaque while making the rest of us entirely transparent through the capture of our data. What is arising is simply a new form of government, involving vast entities with the reach and power of government and little accountability to anyone. Google, the company with the motto “Don’t be evil,” is rapidly becoming an empire. Not an empire of territory, as was Rome or the Soviet Union, but an empire controlling our access to data and our data itself. Antitrust lawsuits proliferating around the company demonstrate its quest for monopoly control over information in the information age.
Salon Jan 04, 2013 On Google, F.T.C. Set Rules of War Over Patents
QUOTE: The [FTC's Google-Ed.] action by no means spells the end of the smartphone patent wars, a global conflict in which major corporations including Apple, Samsung and Google have spent billions amassing patent portfolios and then suing and countersuing one another in courts around the world. But legal experts say Google’s settlement with the F.T.C. signals progress in clarifying the rules of engagement in high-tech patent battles, and thus could ease them.
New York Times Jan 03, 2013 Was The FTC Too Easy On Google? Too Hard? FTC will not take action on search practices
QUOTE: the FTC finally made an announcement regarding its investigation of Google for alleged anticompetitive conduct. The investigation is now closed. The Commission will not be pursing antitrust litigation, and Google escaped without fines, and will make some minor voluntary changes regarding its search business.... Google has agreed to change some of the business practices to resolve the FTC’s concerns including those related to patents and what the FTC alls its “misuse of patent protection to prevent competition.”
WebProNews Nov 07, 2012 Bahrain strips Shiite activists of citizenship amid unrest
QUOTE: Bahrain has revoked the citizenship of 31 Shiite activists, the latest clampdown on the opposition amid continued unrest in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
CNN (Cable News Network) Sep 17, 2012 Patent Trolls Causing Serious Problems For Startups
QUOTE: although large companies tend to dominate patent headlines, most unique defendants to troll suits are small....To the extent patent demands tax innovation, then, they appear to do so regressively, with small companies targeted more as unique defendants , and paying more in time, money and operational impact, relative to their size, than large firms.
Techdirt Aug 14, 2012 A Giant Hospital Chain Is Blazing a Profit Trail
QUOTE: HCA’s emergence as a powerful leader in the hospital industry is all the more remarkable because only a decade ago the company was badly shaken by a wide-ranging Medicare fraud investigation that it eventually settled for more than $1.7 billion. Among the secrets to HCA’s success: It figured out how to get more revenue from private insurance companies, patients and Medicare by billing much more aggressively for its services than ever before; it found ways to reduce emergency room overcrowding and expenses; and it experimented with new ways to reduce the cost of its medical staff, a move that sometimes led to conflicts with doctors and nurses over concerns about patient care.
New York Times Aug 07, 2012 Texas Executes Man With IQ of 61
QUOTE: If 54-year-old Marvin Wilson is put to death on Tuesday, it will not be because Texas denies that he is intellectually disabled, or as the legal literature puts it, “mentally retarded.” This much, the state recognizes. It just does not believe that Wilson is disabled enough not to be executed in Texas—a flagrant violation of the 2002 Supreme Court ruling in Atkins v. Virginia, which held that “the mentally retarded should be categorically excluded from execution,” period.
Nation Jul 26, 2012 The Real Problem With Offshore Tax Havens
QUOTE: one doesn’t necessarily have to fly to the Channel Islands with a bag of cash to stash ill-gotten gains or evade the taxman anymore. The past 30 years have seen the evolution of a mainstream financial system that is global in scope and that through secrecy and complexity has enabled itself to profit handsomely off of the tax evasion of the world’s richest citizens.
Time Magazine May 19, 2012 Sites receive legal threats for linking: What If The Google Penguin Update Inadvertently Killed The Web As We Know It?
QUOTE: I’m not suggesting Google has some plot to kill the web. However, many businesses rely on Google and people are freaking out about backlinks. Some are going so far as to threaten legal action if links are not removed. Links. If such legal action ever resulted in the outlawing of links in any capacity, the web as we know it could be put into great jeopardy. People would be afraid to link. I don’t think Google intends for anything like that to happen, but people don’t always respond to things in the most rational of ways.
WebProNews May 15, 2012 Is the filibuster unconstitutional?
QUOTE: Bondurant thinks the filibuster is unconstitutional. And, alongside Common Cause, where he serves on the board of directors, he’s suing to have the Supreme Court abolish it....In a 2011 article in the Harvard Law School’s Journal on Legislation, Bondurant laid out his case for why the filibuster crosses constitutional red lines.
Washington Post May 07, 2012 No Room for Dissent in a Police Department Consumed by the Numbers
QUOTE: This, too, is Mr. Kelly’s police force, a department that can claim many victories but is consumed by a single imperative: crime and homicide rates must keep falling...There’s no definitive proof that top officials systematically manipulate crime data and set arrest quotas. But officers have stepped forward in recent years to talk of such practices in widely scattered precincts...
New York Times Apr 28, 2012 How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes
QUOTE: The growing digital economy presents a conundrum for lawmakers overseeing corporate taxation: although technology is now one of the nation’s largest and most valued industries, many tech companies are among the least taxed, according to government and corporate data. Over the last two years, the 71 technology companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index — including Apple, Google, Yahoo and Dell — reported paying worldwide cash taxes at a rate that, on average, was a third less than other S.& P. companies’.
New York Times Apr 17, 2012 How to Pay No Taxes: 10 Strategies Used by the Rich
QUOTE: For those who can afford a shrewd accountant or attorney, our era is rife with opportunities to avoid—or at least defer—tax bills, according to tax specialists and public records. It’s limited only by the boundaries of taste, creativity, and the ability to understand some very complex shelters.
BusinessWeek Mar 28, 2012 News Corp in fresh storm
QUOTE: The emails, said to be from the hard drive of a former head of security at NDS, a former News Corp subsidiary, appear to show that the company paid computer hackers to work with its "operational security" unit....The Australian Financial Review claimed that NDS's activities in Australia in 1999 caused millions of dollars of damage to Mr Murdoch's rivals in the country's nascent pay-TV market. The business models of Austar, Optus and Foxtel were all damaged by a wave of high-tech piracy at that time.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 27, 2012 Florida’s New Election Law Blunts Voter Drives
QUOTE: Florida, which is expected to be a vital swing state once again in this year’s presidential election, is enrolling fewer new voters than it did four years ago as prominent civic organizations have suspended registration drives because of what they describe as onerous restrictions imposed last year by Republican state officials.
New York Times Mar 11, 2012 Cry, the Beloved Constitution (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: Both liberals and conservatives have the American Constitution in the cross hairs. They assault the Constitution in their different ways, each with damaging effects on our nation. Conservatives attack the courts on one hand and seek to have them advance their activist agenda on the other. Liberals, when it suits them, embrace rights that have not been enumerated in the Constitution and cry for restraint only when their pet bills come under fire. The result is a national jurisprudence whetted by political appetite, with our democratic values as the victims.
International Herald Tribune (IHT) Mar 06, 2012 Saints admit to 'bounty' program
QUOTE: The New Orleans Saints admitted Tuesday to paying bonuses for hits that would knock opposing players out of a game....former NBA star Charles Barkley said he had taken part in a bounty program during his basketball playing days in the 1980s.
CNN (Cable News Network) Feb 24, 2012 Attorneys: Cardinal ordered memo on priests destroyed
QUOTE: A Philadelphia archdiocese official on trial for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of children has asked a court to throw out charges against him based on a 1994 memo showing Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua ordered a list of suspected abusive Catholic priests to be destroyed. Attorneys for Monsignor William Lynn asked a Philadelphia court to dismiss charges of conspiracy and child endangerment based on documents that Lynn had informed his superiors -- including the cardinal -- that priests in the archdiocese were assaulting children.
CNN (Cable News Network) Feb 23, 2012 World shouldn't stay silent in face of Syrian regime's brutality
QUOTE: The very fact that an indigenous internal struggle for democracy could emerge in one of the worst police states in the Arab world and be sustained for so long is both mind-boggling and inspiring. The heroic struggle in Syria today represents the best of the human spirit. It is fundamentally about the most basic political value we take for granted in the West, the right of a people to self-determination.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jan 30, 2012 F.T.C. Fines a Collector of Debt $2.5 Million
QUOTE: The Federal Trade Commission signaled on Monday that it would continue to crack down on debt collectors who harass consumers for money they may not even be legally obligated to pay...Asset Acceptance, one of the nation’s largest debt collection companies, had agreed to pay a $2.5 million civil penalty to settle charges that the company deceived consumers when trying to collect old debts.
New York Times Dec 08, 2011 Breaking News: Feds Falsely Censor Popular Blog For Over A Year, Deny All Due Process, Hide All Details...
QUOTE: The US government has effectively admitted that it totally screwed up and falsely seized & censored a non-infringing domain of a popular blog, having falsely claimed that it was taking part in criminal copyright infringement. Then, after trying to hide behind a totally secretive court process with absolutely no due process whatsoever...
Techdirt Oct 22, 2011 The First Amendment and the Obligation to Peacefully Disrupt in a Free Society
QUOTE: the First Amendment supersedes the restrictive permit laws now being invoked against protesters. The First Amendment was designed to allow for disruption of business as usual. It is not a quiet and subdued amendment or right. Indeed, our nation's founding was a series of rowdy and intense protests, disrupting business as usual for tax collectors and mercenaries up and down the eastern seaboard.
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