Categories
Business crime

Alderman Burnett says No Devil’s Weed Store Next to West Loop Rehab Center

Little Bo-Peep

Following up on the ridiculous “Cannabis is the devil’s weed” story from last week, Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) pushed back Tuesday on a pot firm’s plan to open a recreational weed store next to the city’s largest drug treatment facility.

Burnett, a former alcoholic, said the location proposed by Wheaton-based NuMed is simply “too close” to The Haymarket Center at 932 W. Washington.

“Ideally, I would like to have a perimeter of three city blocks that surround Haymarket. But I think it’s going to be very challenging,” said Lustig.

Asked if the litany of bars in the area that serve alcohol are also a concern, Lustig said: “I’ve always had concerns, but you can’t smell alcohol” like you can smell marijuana smoke.

But Burnett said because of the availability of booze, the other proposed pot shop locations aren’t as much of a concern to him as NuMed. The Fulton Market Association, a nonprofit focused on economic development in the area, is collecting signatures for a petition against NuMed that it plans to send to city officials Friday morning.

“We support that [patients] shouldn’t be faced with a marijuana shop right in their face and perhaps be enticed into a relapse,” said the group’s executive director Roger Romanelli.

(click here to continue reading Ald. Burnett says no to pot company’s plan to set up shop next to West Loop rehab center – Chicago Sun-Times.)

Drink Up

This irks me for all sorts of reasons. For one, for addicts, including alcoholics, being near bars and restaurants that serve alcohol is fine apparently, but an upscale cannabis dispensary being 1/4 mile away is a temptation they cannot resist? Really? Really?

Secondly, smoking is not permitted in dispensaries. Smoking cannabis is also not legal on the streets, though of course people have been smoking on the weed in public for decades or longer, including right in the doorway of this drug treatment facility. I can attest to this personally.

Smoker's Burdens

And if I were to get NIMBY1 with it, I’d rather this treatment facility was the one that moved. The clients2 often huddle in groups on the sidewalk, blocking passersby, chain smoking Newport cigarettes, blowing smoke on pedestrians. Why is this drug treatment facility located in the middle of a bustling entertainment district anyway? Haymarket Center has been there for a long time, and originally, this was not the same neighborhood as it is now. But neighborhoods change, and the West Loop has drastically changed over the last decade.  The West Loop of 1975 is not the same as the West Loop of 2020.

Final thought, smoking cannabis is not a gateway drug to being a heroin addict, at least not according to modern research. The State of Illinois recognized this by granting medical cannabis licenses to opioid users, remember? Addicts need help, and consideration from the rest of us, but perhaps having the city’s largest treatment facility on 900 W. Washington is the real issue that should be addressed rather than NuMed opening an upscale storefront on Randolph Street.

Become Someone Better

Footnotes:
  1. Not In My Back Yard []
  2. customers? patients?? recovering addicts?? []
Categories
Business crime

Facebook agrees to pay $550 million to Illinois users

Facebook Login

 The Chicago Tribune reports:

Facebook will pay $550 million to Illinois users to settle allegations that its facial tagging feature violated their privacy rights.
The settlement — which could amount to a couple of hundred dollars for each user who is part of the class-action settlement — stems from a federal lawsuit filed in Illinois nearly five years ago that alleges the social media giant violated a state law protecting residents’ biometric information. Biometric information can include data from facial, fingerprint and iris scans.

Illinois has one of the strictest biometric privacy laws in the nation. The 2008 law mandates that companies collecting such information obtain prior consent from consumers, detail how they’ll use it and specify how long the information will be kept. The law also allows private citizens, rather than just governmental entities, to file lawsuits over the issue.

In 2018, a judge defined the class as Facebook users in Illinois from whom the Menlo Park, California-based company created a stored face template after June 7, 2011, the date Facebook said its tag suggestion feature was available in most countries.
The feature uses facial recognition software to match users’ new photos with other photos they’re tagged in. It groups similar photos together and suggests the names of friends in the photos.

The settlement is a win for privacy advocates who say that protecting biometric information is critical because, unlike a credit card number, it can’t be changed if it’s stolen.
“This pretty firmly establishes the fact that those harms are real and consumers deserve restitution when their rights have been violated,” said Abe Scarr, director of the Illinois Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocacy organization.

(click here to continue reading Facebook agrees to pay $550 million to Illinois users – Chicago Tribune.)

You Are Being Film

I assume Facebook will find a way to weasel out of including everyone in Illinois from this class. I resided solely in Illinois during the time the class action covers, and was probably tagged in a photo, but am not sure. I also don’t have my proper residence listed (I’ve varied it a bit from Frostpocket, to Guam, to Upper Yurtistan, and elsewhere as the mood strikes), but Facebook of course knows where I’m logging into their servers from, down to the individual block group I imagine.

Facebook Instant Personalization

Categories
crime government

The Director Of National Intelligence Missed The Deadline To Provide Congress With A Report On Jamal Khashoggi’s Killing

Legality ≠ Morality

Emma Loop, Buzzfeed reports:

The country’s top intelligence official has failed to turn over to Congress a report on the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, sources said, flouting a law passed last month.

In December, lawmakers passed a sweeping defense bill that included a provision ordering the director of national intelligence to send Congress an unclassified report identifying those responsible for Khashoggi’s death at a Saudi Arabian consulate in 2018. The legislation set the deadline for the report at 30 days, which passed earlier this week.

Though the CIA has reportedly concluded that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing at the consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, Saudi officials have denied his involvement — something President Donald Trump seemed willing to believe. The unclassified report, if Congress receives and releases it, could provide the administration’s first public acknowledgment of the crown prince’s role, or that of other Saudi officials, in Khashoggi’s brutal death.

The provision requiring the report was contained in the larger National Defence Authorization Act that Trump signed into law on Dec. 20, 2019. The bill required Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, to provide the report to four congressional committees: the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees, and the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.

The delay has already resulted in an inquiry from the office of Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, an Intelligence Committee member who pushed for the provision to be included in the legislation. “Our office has asked ODNI about the status of that information and has not received a response,” Keith Chu, a spokesperson for Wyden, told BuzzFeed News.

(click here to continue reading The Director Of National Intelligence Missed The Deadline To Provide Congress With A Report On Jamal Khashoggi’s Killing.)

It’s so unlike the Trump* administration to ignore laws, and support extra-judicial killing, and kowtow to dictators! Shocked, shocked I tells ya…

Darwin Fish Prototype

Categories
Chicago-esque crime government News-esque

Illinois: First day of recreational marijuana sales begins

Legalize Marijuana: Cook County

Cannabis is legal for adults to consume in Illinois as of this morning. Amazing. I’d visited Amsterdam for a week in early 1990s, so I knew it was theoretically possible for governments to allow citizens the freedom to chose whether to consume plants, but I did not think it would happen in America in my lifetime. Happy to be proven wrong.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton purchases edible gummies as Sunnyside Lakeview opens in the first minutes of legal recreational marijuana in Illinois.

Dispensary employees at Rise took orders from customers outside in line to speed up the process. There were outdoor heaters, and free coffee hats and gold bead medallions.

The dispensary also hired a steel drum player to play outside, adding a little “Red Red Wine” to the proceedings.

(click here to continue reading Legal weed in Illinois: First day of recreational marijuana sales begins – Chicago Tribune.)

 Henry Anslinger

and this is among the good outcomes to Democrats winning elections:

On the day before recreational cannabis becomes legal in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced he was pardoning more than 11,000 people who had been convicted of low-level marijuana crimes.
“When Illinois’ first adult use cannabis shops open their doors tomorrow, we must all remember that the purpose of this legislation is not to immediately make cannabis widely available or to maximize product on the shelves, that’s not the main purpose, that will come with time,” Pritzker said to a crowd at Trinity United Church of Christ on the Far South Side. “But instead the defining purpose of legalization is to maximize equity for generations to come.”

The 11,017 people pardoned by Pritzker will receive notification about their cases, all of which are from outside Cook County, by mail. The pardon means convictions involving less than 30 grams of marijuana will be automatically expunged.
 
 Pritzker and other elected officials said they believe Illinois is the first state to include a process for those previously convicted of marijuana offenses to seek relief upon legalization of cannabis.

(click here to continue reading Pritzker pardons 11,000 weed convictions in Illinois – Chicago Tribune.)

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Shortly after 6 a.m. Wednesday, Renzo Mejia walked into Chicago’s Dispensary 33 and, after perusing a menu, bought an eighth of an ounce of Motorbreath OG.

With that, the West Loop resident made the first legal purchase of recreational marijuana in Illinois history.

As soon as the order processed, a cheer permeated through the small showroom floor and employees and customers embraced.

“To be able to have [recreational marijuana] here is just mind-boggling,” said Mejia, who paid about $80 for his purchase. “ … To be able to now make the first purchase in Chicago, it’s just surreal.”

To be the first, which Dispensary 33’s Abigail Watkins said was confirmed a short time after the sale by state officials, Mejia rang in the New Year in line — literally.

He took his place outside the store at 5001 N. Clark St. at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday — when the temperature was already below freezing.

(click here to continue reading 1st man to buy legal recreational pot in state history rang in New Year in line, braved freezing temps – Chicago Sun-Times.)

Truck full of Cannabis

Block Club Chicago reports:

They began lining up at 2 a.m. in the cold, with fold-up chairs and blankets in tow. By 6 a.m., when Dispensary33 in Andersonville opened, the line, composed of people from all corners of the city and beyond, stretched for more than five blocks.

Trevor Seyller of Lakeview was first in line to buy legal recreational weed as it went on sale for the first time in Illinois. He waited four hours in temperatures below freezing for “the fun of it” — and for history.

“It’s been a long time coming, this is an historic moment,” Seyller said.

Charlie Wells drove three hours from Madison, Wis. to be among the first few in the line. He said he skipped celebrating New Year’s Eve to take part in the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana.

“It’s the end of prohibition and it’s a lot safer than drinking,” Wells said. “I’m here because my state doesn’t have it yet.”

Dispensary33 — named for 1933, the year the prohibition on alcohol was lifted — is located at 5001 N. Clark St. To help patrons battle the cold, Dispensary33 put out a few propane heating lamps along the Argyle Street.

(click here to continue reading Legal Recreational Weed Goes On Sale — And Chicagoans Line Up For Blocks In The Cold – Block Club Chicago.)

More photos of the big day at WBEZ, for instance.

Cooking Up that Cannabis Juice Like There’s No Tomorrow

Personally, had plans to go join the party and photograph people in line, but decided to wait until tomorrow or even next week to visit a dispensary. My days of being an all day smoker are long gone. Don’t get me wrong, I plan on purchasing something from a dispensary in the near future, but I didn’t feel enthusiastic enough to brave the below-freezing weather to be first in line or anything. By spring, the supply shortage should be addressed, presumedly.

Reefer songs 23 Original Jazz & Blues Vocals

Kudos to Illinois! Time to queue up the Reefer songs!

Categories
Apple crime

Encryption as a Ribbon Around An Apple iPhone

Fonzo Killin Hipsters

Another good post by digital forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski, explaining what the FBI is actually pressuring Apple to provide:

With most non-technical people struggling to make sense of the battle between FBI and Apple, Bill Gates introduced an excellent analogy to explain cryptography to the average non-geek. Gates used the analogy of encryption as a “ribbon around a hard drive”. Good encryption is more like a chastity belt, but since Farook decided to use a weak passcode, I think it’s fair here to call it a ribbon. In any case, lets go with Gates’ ribbon analogy.

Instead of cutting the ribbon, which would be a much simpler task, FBI is ordering Apple to invent a ribbon cutter – a forensic tool capable of cutting the ribbon for FBI, and is promising to use it on just this one phone. In reality, there’s already a line beginning to form behind Comey should he get his way. NY DA Cy Vance has stated that NYC has 175 iPhones waiting to be unlocked (which translates to roughly 1/10th of 1% of all crime in NYC for an entire year). Documents have also shown DOJ has over a dozen more such requests pending. If FBI’s promise of “just this one phone” were authentic, there would be no need to order Apple to make this ribbon cutter; they’d simply tell them to cut the ribbon.

Why has the government waited this long to order such a thing? Because in spite of all of iOS 8’s security, the Chinese invented a ribbon cutter for it called the IP BOX. IP BOX was capable of brute forcing any numeric passcode in iOS 8, and even though it was junky, Chinese-made hardware with zero forensic credibility (and actually called home to servers in China), our government used it widely to break into iOS devices without Apple’s help. The government has really gone dumpster diving for forensic solutions for iOS. This ribbon cutter was used by both law enforcement and anyone with $200 to break into iOS devices, and is a great example of how such a ribbon cutter is often abused for crime.

So here’s the real question: Why is FBI asking for the invention of a ribbon cutter instead of just asking Apple to cut the ribbon? Well the answer to that comes back to precedent. If FBI can order the existence of this ribbon cutter, Cy Vance’s 175 phones will be much easier to push through the courts without the same level of scrutiny as a terrorism case. If FBI were simply asking for Apple to cut the ribbon, all future AWA orders would have to go through the same legal scrutiny in the courts for justification. Getting the ribbon cutter invented for a terrorism case opens the door for such a tool to then be justified by the DA for weaker cases – such as narcotics, computer crimes, or even simply investigations where the government can’t even prove to the courts that a crime was ever committed. Once it’s a tool, just like a Stingray box or a breathalyzer, the court’s leniency in permitting its use increases dramatically.

(click here to continue reading On Ribbons and Ribbon Cutters | Zdziarski’s Blog of Things.)

Now if I could only mandate that all politicians were required to understand the concepts before opening their speaking holes. I know, I know, zero chance…

 

Additionally, there is this angle:

Also consider that the courts aren’t about to force Apple to hack into their own customer products. In fact, the customer purchased these products trusting that the manufacturer wouldn’t – even couldn’t – intentionally compromise them; ever since iOS 8, Apple has marketed these devices as so secure that Apple themselves cannot hack them. For Apple to be forced to backdoor their own devices would invite countless lawsuits from their own customers, betray consumer trust, and likely cost Apple millions, if not billions, in sales depending on how big of a PR nightmare it created. The courts, however, appear to be OK with forcing Apple to write what is being portrayed by the FBI as an innocent, fluffy tool for just this one device.

(click here to continue reading On Ribbons and Ribbon Cutters | Zdziarski’s Blog of Things.)

Categories
Business crime

AT&T and Verizon collude to keep you from switching cellphone carriers–allegedly

 Zoey Getting Ready to Vote in the Nature Photo Contest

The Washington Post reports:

The Department of Justice is investigating potential efforts by AT&T and Verizon to hamstring a technology that could someday make it easier for consumers to seamlessly switch their wireless carriers, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The probe appears to focus on whether those companies — perhaps in a bid to stop their subscribers from jumping ship to rivals — colluded to undermine so-called eSIM cards, a technology that could someday allow the owners of smartphones, smartwatches or other devices to change their service provider on their own, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity to speak freely about the probe, which has not been made public.

If the U.S. government ultimately determines that AT&T and Verizon harmed competitors or consumers, it could result in major fines or other penalties.

(click here to continue reading Did AT&T and Verizon collude to keep you from switching cellphone carriers? The Justice Department is investigating. – The Washington Post.)

Operative word being “if”…

In the Trump/GOP era of government, corporations are encouraged to run rampant over any rules or laws they don’t like, all that is needed is a nice campaign contribution, and issues miraculously vanish! Poof! 

Categories
Business crime Uncategorized

Equifax to Pay Some Fines and Laugh All The Way To The Bank

Safe - Chicago Board of Trade

 The New York Times reports on the latest slap on the wrist regarding corporate malfeasance and indifference:

The credit bureau Equifax will pay at least $650 million … to end an array of state, federal and consumer claims over a 2017 data breach that exposed the sensitive information of more than 147 million people. The breach was one of the most potentially damaging in an ever-growing list of digital thefts.

The settlement, which was announced on Monday and still needs court approval, would be the largest ever paid by a company over a data breach. The deal requires Equifax to put a minimum of $380.5 million into a restitution fund for American consumers who file claims showing that they were financially harmed.

A portion of that money will pay for lawyers’ fees, but at least $300 million must go to victims, according to settlement documents filed in federal court in Atlanta. If the initial cash is depleted, the company will add up to $125 million more to settle consumers’ claims, bringing the total fund size to more than $500 million.

Equifax will pay an additional $175 million in fines to end investigations by 50 attorneys general. Forty-eight states — all except Indiana and Massachusetts, which separately filed their own lawsuits against Equifax — are part of the deal, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico

(click here to continue reading Equifax to Pay at Least $650 Million in Largest Data-Breach Settlement Ever – The New York Times.)

So the government gets a ‘taste’, but individual consumers get spit in their eye. $300,000,000 to be distributed to a portion of 147,000,000 people who Equifax screwed. $2 each. Whooo hooo! Lawyers get plenty of money, average people, not so much.

The fine print is that you have to prove that Equifax harmed you by giving away your social security number, bank info, drivers license, date of birth and whatever else. 

You Wanted Some Privacy

Fortune reports:

Equifax will also pay $20,000 to consumers who can prove that they suffered “fraud, identity theft, or other misuse” because of the data breach. Equifax will also pay them $25 per hour for up to 20 hours of time they had spent trying to safeguard their data. Equifax will also reimburse them for out-of-pocket losses and up to 25% of the cost of Equifax credit or identity monitoring. Exactly how Equifax will require consumers verify their costs is unknown.

 

(click here to continue reading Equifax Settlement: How to Get the Money You’re Owed | Fortune.)

What are the odds that 10% of the consumers who lost their data due to Equifax’s negligence will be able to jump through the proper hoops and reclaim any cash? 

Categories
crime

California Gov. Gavin Newsom to impose moratorium on death penalty

Ghosts

The Washington Post reports:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday will impose an indefinite moratorium on carrying out the death penalty, arguing that the cost, finality and racial imbalance among death-row inmates make the punishment immoral and a public policy “failure,” according to planned remarks released by his office.

Newsom will suspend the practice through an executive order that will give a reprieve from execution — though not release — to California’s 737 death row inmates, about a quarter of the nation’s population awaiting capital punishment. The order will also annul California’s lethal injection protocol and close the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison, where the state’s most notorious criminals have been put to death.

“I do not believe that a civilized society can claim to be a leader in the world as long as its government continues to sanction the premeditated and discriminatory execution of its people,” Newsom plans to say. “In short, the death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian.”

(click here to continue reading California Gov. Gavin Newsom to impose moratorium on death penalty – The Washington Post.)

Kudos to Governor Newsom for following the trend of the rest of the civilized world. I am a little surprised that California is a latecomer to this decision, but better late than never.

The government should not be in the business of murdering its own citizens. 

It Might Rain Money It Might Rain Fire

Parenthetical autobiographical note: before my sophomore year in high school, I travelled with my uncle Phil by car on an extended road trip, through the south, south east, Charleston, Atlanta, DC, NYC, and Toronto/Frostpocket and then back to Austin. Somewhere along the journey, we went to an exhibit of the Cambodian Khmer Rouge Killing Fields, and an Amnesty International exhibit on the pointlessness of the death penalty. Both stick in my head to this day. Also, I recall writing a term paper for Mrs. Kathy Borich in honors English that subsequent year on the topic of the futility of the death penalty. I don’t remember the paper’s details, only that I got an A+.

Categories
crime politics

In the Middle of His Official Business, Trump Took the Time to Send Checks to Michael Cohen

Perpetual Payment of Perpetual Loans

The New York Times reports:

Of the eight checks now available, seven were for $35,000 and another was for $70,000 to cover two months’ worth of payments. Six were signed by Mr. Trump himself while he was president and the other two were signed by his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and his company’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.

Altogether, Mr. Trump or his trust paid Mr. Cohen $420,000, according to federal prosecutors. Of that, $130,000 was to reimburse payments made shortly before the 2016 election to Ms. Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, so she would not tell her story. Another $50,000 was for Mr. Cohen’s effort to manipulate online polls to inflate Mr. Trump’s reputation as a businessman.

That $180,000 was then “grossed up” with another $180,000 to offset taxes that Mr. Cohen would have to pay on the original money since it was being treated as income. Another $60,000 was added as a “bonus,” prosecutors have said.

(click here to continue reading In the Middle of His Official Business, Trump Took the Time to Send Checks to Michael Cohen – The New York Times.)

That was a pretty nice deal for Michael Cohen. I’ve never had a client that allowed me to bill them more than double what was contracted for. Is this standard procedure for Trump world?

Contemporaneous Memos

And I’ve also been saying the same thing as “some peope close to Mr. Trump” for a while:

“The $35,000 is an indication of the quality of that evidence, and it both shows the extent of Trump’s leading role and now leaves little doubt that he faces criminal prosecution after he leaves office for the same offenses for which Cohen will serve time,” said Robert F. Bauer, a law professor at New York University and former White House counsel for President Barack Obama.

Indeed, some people close to Mr. Trump have privately predicted that he will ultimately choose to seek a second term in part because of his legal exposure if he is not president. While there is no legal consensus on the matter, Justice Department policy says that a president cannot be indicted while in office.

The Justice Department policy is rather weak sauce, but we’ll see if it stands up to scrutiny once the breadth of Trump’s crimes comes to light.

Categories
crime government

Half the land in Oklahoma could be returned to Native Americans. It should be.

Albert Einstein with a group of Hopi Indians 1922
Albert-Einstein-with-a-group-of-Hopi-Indians-1922

The Washington Post:

Half the land in Oklahoma could be returned to Native Americans. It should be. A Supreme Court case about jurisdiction in an obscure murder has huge implications for tribes.

On the morning of June 22, 1839, the Cherokee leader John Ridge was pulled from his bed, dragged into his front yard and stabbed 84 times while his family watched. He was assassinated for signing the Cherokee Nation’s removal treaty, a document that — in exchange for the tribe’s homelands — promised uninterrupted sovereignty over a third of the land in present-day Oklahoma. That promise was not kept.

Sixty-seven years later, federal agents questioned John’s grandson, William D. Polson. They needed to add him to a list of every Cherokee living in Indian Territory to start the process of land allotments. Through allotment, all land belonging to the Cherokee Nation — the land John had signed his life for — would be split up between individual citizens and then opened up for white settlement. And by this grand act of bureaucratic theft, Oklahoma became a state.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the land that John Ridge not only died on, but for, could be acknowledged as Cherokee land for the first time in more than 100 years. John signed the treaty of New Echota knowing he would be killed for it but believing that the rights of the Cherokee Nation enshrined in that blood-soaked document were worth it.

One hundred and seventy-nine years later, the grass is still growing, the water is still running and, in eastern Oklahoma, our tribes are still here. And despite the grave injustice of history, the legal right to our land has never ended.

(click here to continue reading Half the land in Oklahoma could be returned to Native Americans. It should be. – The Washington Post.)

Fascinating. I hope the Muscogee (Creek) Nation wins, though I’d be surprised if there weren’t further tricks in store…

The Bowman

Categories
crime politics

Donald Trump praises Gianforte for assault on Guardian reporter

Donald Trump Is A Swine

The Guardian reports:

A crew of Fox News reporters witnessed the attack on the Guardian’s correspondent in Bozeman. According to their firsthand account, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands as the reporter was posing questions to him.

The crew wrote: “He then slammed [Jacobs] into the ground behind him. [We] watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter.”

Jacobs was taken by ambulance to a hospital and treated for an elbow injury.

Gianforte pleaded guilty to a charge of assault and was sentenced to four days in jail as a misdemeanor. The sentence was later changed to 40 hours of community service, a fine and a compulsory anger-management course.

In a statement, the Guardian US editor, John Mulholland, said: “The president of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian. To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the first amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it.

“In the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats. We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.”

(click here to continue reading ‘He’s my guy’: Donald Trump praises Gianforte for assault on Guardian reporter | US news | The Guardian.)

What a thug. As a long time student of American history, I cannot recall any president ever praising a violent criminal like this, especially 

Probably a good day to donate a couple of bucks (or more) to the Guardian. I did.

Categories
crime politics

Christine Blasey Ford Wants F.B.I. to Investigate Kavanaugh Before She Testifies

Perched
Perched

The New York Times reports:

The woman who has accused President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault all but ruled out appearing at an extraordinary Senate hearing scheduled for next week to hear her allegations, insisting on Tuesday that the F.B.I. investigate first.

Speaking through lawyers, Christine Blasey Ford said she would cooperate with the Senate Judiciary Committee and left open the possibility of testifying later about her allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. But echoing Senate Democrats, she said an investigation should be “the first step” before she is put “on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.”

Republicans signaled Tuesday night that they would not negotiate an alternative date and would go ahead with the hearing without her or declare it unnecessary if she refuses to appear, then possibly move to a vote.

(click here to continue reading Christine Blasey Ford Wants F.B.I. to Investigate Kavanaugh Before She Testifies – The New York Times.)

Yes, much more important to speedily nominate Kavanaugh to a lifetime appointment than take a couple of days to investigate her claims and his counter-claims. The GOP motivation is transparent – make sure there is a conservative majority in the Supreme Court in the last few months before they lose their upcoming election. Disgusting.

Rule of law, ha.

 Would You Believe

Unfortunately, if Ms. Blasey doesn’t agree to the bullies’ terms, they will just skip the testimony part and go right to the vote, depending upon reliable Republicans like Susan Collins to vote Kavanaugh in.

NYT:

In the letter to the Judiciary Committee, Dr. Blasey’s lawyers said that she has been the target of “vicious harassment and even death threats” since her name was made public on Sunday in an interview published in The Washington Post. Her email has been hacked, she has been impersonated online and she and her family have been forced to relocate out of their home, according to the lawyers, Ms. Banks and her partner, Debra S. Katz.

“While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident,” the lawyers wrote to Mr. Grassley. The hearing “would include interrogation by senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is ‘mistaken’ and ‘mixed up.’”

 

(click here to continue reading Christine Blasey Ford Wants F.B.I. to Investigate Kavanaugh Before She Testifies – The New York Times.)

Categories
crime government

Canadian cannabis workers targeted by U.S. border guards for lifetime bans

Henry Anslinger
Henry Anslinger was an evil man

The Star reports:

As tensions between Canada and the U.S. have risen in recent months, a quieter, slower-burning conflict has been developing along the border: Canadians associated with the cannabis industry — even if they have never used the drug — can be banned for life from America.

Despite Washington State legalizing cannabis within state boundaries, the border is under federal jurisdiction. And since cannabis, along with drugs such as heroin and cocaine, is a Schedule I substance, past or current association with the drug is considered a federal crime in the U.S.

In addition to those who have used marijuana, Canadians who are involved with the cannabis economy have been labelled “inadmissible” because they are considered to be living off the profits of the drug trade.

A Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs press officer for the U.S. State Department told The Star via email that “admission requirements into the United States will not change due to Canada’s legalization of cannabis.”

(click here to continue reading Canadian cannabis workers targeted by U.S. border guards for lifetime bans | The Star.)

Grade A bullshit. What about the CEOs of multiple American multinationals who have invested in the Green Rush, are they to be banned too? And when other nations realize that cannabis is not the scourge the DEA claims, and remove it from their banned substance list as Canada has, what then? Seems like an unsustainable policy. But then logic and precedent to legal norms have never been a hallmark of the Trump administration and mouth-breathers like Jeff Sessions.

Categories
crime politics

Secret Money: How Trump Made Millions Selling Condos To Unknown Buyers

Protestors Headed Towards Trump International Tower
Protestors Headed Towards Trump International Tower

Buzzfeed:

More than one-fifth of Donald Trump’s US condominiums have been purchased since the 1980s in secretive, all-cash transactions that enable buyers to avoid legal scrutiny by shielding their finances and identities, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found.

Records show that more than 1,300 Trump condominiums were bought not by people but by shell companies, and that the purchases were made without a mortgage, avoiding inquiries from lenders.

Those two characteristics signal that a buyer may be laundering money, the Treasury Department has said in a series of statements since 2016. Treasury’s financial-crimes unit has, in recent years, launched investigations around the country into all-cash shell-company real-estate purchases amid concerns that some such sales may involve money laundering. The agency is considering requiring real-estate professionals to adopt anti-money-laundering programs.

(click here to continue reading Secret Money: How Trump Made Millions Selling Condos To Unknown Buyers.)

That’s a lot of Kompramat for Putin’s gang to have over the Resident in the White House, don’t you think?

Trump condo sales that match Treasury’s characteristics of possible money laundering totaled $1.5 billion, BuzzFeed News calculated. They accounted for 21% of the 6,400 Trump condos sold in the US. Those figures include condos that Trump developed as well as condos that others developed in his name under licensing deals that pay Trump a fee or a percentage of sales.

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New York Attorney General Opens Probe Into Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Catholic Priests

Duomo  Firenze 1993
Duomo – Firenze, 1993

WSJ:

The New York attorney general’s office has issued subpoenas to all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state as part of its investigation into whether church officials covered up allegations of sexual abuse of young people, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The subpoenas, which come on the heels of a Pennsylvania grand jury report last month documenting the molestation of more than 1,000 children by priests in that state, are part of a broader civil investigation by the office, the existence of which was revealed Thursday. The probe of the dioceses, which are nonprofit institutions, is being conducted by the office’s charities bureau.

(click here to continue reading New York Attorney General Opens Probe Into Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Catholic Priests – WSJ.)

Shut them down, and sell off their real estate to pay restitution to those abused…