United States of America/USA
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Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Oct 23, 2016 If your shampoo says “organic” on the label, it probably doesn’t mean anything (Buyer Beware)
QUOTE: for non-food items, such as shampoos, cosmetics, and textiles—there is no such certification process. The Federal Trade Commission has a “flexible” rule for industry, which requires marketers to have accurate and reliable science to back up their claims. But there is no formal definition for “organic” outside of food...
Quartz Sep 08, 2016 Why Donald Trump and Pam Bondi Probably Won’t Face a Corruption Investigation: The Supreme Court’s McDonnell decision seems to have put a chill on prosecutors.
QUOTE: Why is a charity giving money to aid a pol with whom the foundation’s head has pending legal business?....Reading through the court’s language in McDonnell, the easier hurdle is “official acts.” The justices were not certain that McDonnell’s various phone calls and luncheons represented official acts...
Slate Aug 21, 2016 To Crack Down on Securities Fraud, States Reward Whistle-Blowers
QUOTE: In the aftermath of the financial crisis, a growing army of confidential informants — better known as whistle-blowers — has helped federal securities regulators identify and prosecute wrongdoers. Now the same thing is happening at the state level...
New York Times Aug 15, 2016 Postmates has failed to make Uber-for-anything cheap, and is quietly misleading customers about it
QUOTE: On-demand startups are falling short of their founding promise to make instant-anything cheap, and they don’t want customers to know. That’s made prices on many of these platforms not just expensive, but also outright misleading.
Quartz Jul 21, 2016 Trump’s Republican National Convention speech massively distorted national crime statistics
QUOTE: When Donald Trump took the stage in Cleveland on Thursday night (July 21), he immediately made some strong comments about law and order. They were, however, in typical Trump fashion, a rather blatant distortion of the facts.
Quartz Jul 16, 2016 Donald Trump’s Deals Rely on Being Creative With the Truth
QUOTE: [Trump's] long, operatic record as a swaggering business tycoon. And without question, there will be successes aplenty to highlight, from his gleaming golden high-rises to his well-regarded golf resorts, hit TV shows and best-selling books. But a survey of Mr. Trump’s four decades of wheeling and dealing also reveals an equally operatic record of dissembling and deception, some of it unabashedly confirmed by Mr. Trump himself, who nearly 30 years ago first extolled the business advantages of “truthful hyperbole.” Indeed, based on the mountain of court records churned out over the span of Mr. Trump’s career, it is hard to find a project he touched that did not produce allegations of broken promises, blatant lies or outright fraud.
New York Times Jul 16, 2016 Philando Castile, Fatally Shot in His Car, Was a Magnet for Minor Traffic Stops
QUOTE: In a 13-year span, Philando Castile was pulled over by the police in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region at least 49 times, an average of about once every three months, often for minor infractions....The episode, to many, is a heartbreaking illustration of the disproportionate risks black motorists face with the police... growing national debate over racial bias in law enforcement.
New York Times Jul 12, 2016 The Near Certainty of Anti-Police Violence: By ignoring illegitimate policing, America has also failed to address the danger this illegitimacy poses to those who must do the policing.
QUOTE: 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson murdered five police officers in Dallas. This abhorrent act of political extremism cannot be divorced from American history—recent or old. In black communities, the police departments have only enjoyed a kind of quasi-legitimacy. That is because wanton discrimination is definitional to the black experience, and very often it is law enforcement which implements that discrimination with violence. A community consistently subjected to violent discrimination under the law will lose respect for it, and act beyond it.
Atlantic Online, The (Atlantic Monthly) Jul 10, 2016 Police used a robot to kill -- The key questions
QUOTE: While there are links to the discussion on the future of killer robots, known as LAWS (lethal autonomous weapons systems), there are also three important differences to keep in mind.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jul 10, 2016 Something more is required of us now. What?
QUOTE: How many politicians have been prosecuted for taking millions of dollars from private prisons, prison guard unions, pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, tobacco companies, the NRA and Wall Street banks and doing their bidding for them...Our entire political system is financed by wealthy private interests buying politicians and making sure the rules are written in their favor. But selling CDs or loose cigarettes? In America, that’s treated as a serious crime, especially if you’re black.
Medium Jul 09, 2016 Black Lives Matter Was Gaining Ground. Then a Sniper Opened Fire.
QUOTE: Inside Black Lives Matter, the national revulsion over videos of police officers shooting to death black men in Minnesota and Louisiana was undeniable proof that the group’s message of outrage and demands for justice had finally broken through....Black Lives Matter now faces perhaps the biggest crisis in its short history: It is both scrambling to distance itself from an African-American sniper in Dallas who set out to murder white police officers and trying to rebut a chorus of detractors who blame the movement for inspiring his deadly attack.
New York Times Jul 03, 2016 Amazon Is Quietly Eliminating List Prices
QUOTE: The problem with list prices or, as they are sometimes called, manufacturers’ suggested retail prices, is that they are regularly more of a marketing concept than what anyone is actually charging. When Amazon was saying the list price of the Breville Infuser was $800, Breville itself was selling the machine for $500 — about the same as Amazon. Other retailers sell it for $500, too.
New York Times Jun 28, 2016 2-Year Panel on Benghazi Ends, Finding No New Fault by Clinton
QUOTE: the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead. The 800-page report, however, included some new details about the night of the attacks, and the context in which it occurred, and it delivered a broad rebuke of government agencies like the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department — and the officials who led them — for failing to grasp the acute security risks...
New York Times Jun 28, 2016 Democrats Need to Wake Up
QUOTE: Surprise, surprise. Workers in Britain, many of whom have seen a decline in their standard of living while the very rich in their country have become much richer, have turned their backs on the European Union and a globalized economy that is failing them and their children. And it’s not just the British who are suffering. That increasingly globalized economy, established and maintained by the world’s economic elite, is failing people everywhere.
New York Times Jun 27, 2016 Dear Landlord: Don’t Rip Me Off When it Comes To Internet Access When building owners get kickbacks from big providers it’s the tenants who lose
QUOTE: Water and heat are regulated utilities. But when it comes to Internet access, people in apartments (called Multiple Dwelling Units, or MDUs) often have the worst of both worlds: all the limitations of a utility framework — no competition, no choices — with zero protections for consumers. That means unconstrained pricing. Network operators like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T, in cahoots with developers and landlords, routinely use a breathtaking array of kickbacks, lawyerly games of Twister, blunt threats, and downright illegal activities to lock up buildings in exclusive arrangements.
Backchannel Jun 23, 2016 Supreme Court Tie Blocks Obama Immigration Plan
QUOTE: The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it had deadlocked in a case challenging President Obama’s immigration plan, effectively ending what Mr. Obama had hoped would become one of his central legacies. The program would have shielded as many as five million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allowed them to legally work in the United States. The 4-4 tie, which left in place an appeals court ruling blocking the plan, amplified the contentious election-year debate over the nation’s immigration policy and presidential power.
New York Times Jun 22, 2016 Is Donald Trump right about Hillary Clinton?
QUOTE: ...Trump raised valid questions about Clinton's foreign policy positions, fund-raising practices and email quandary -- but he did so in his vintage over-the-top fashion, with so many personal insults that many will ignore or forget the substance of his criticism.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jun 13, 2016 A Party Agrift
QUOTE: ...there has always been a close association between the movement and the operations of snake-oil salesmen — people who use lists of campaign contributors, right-wing websites and so on to sell get-rich-quick schemes and miracle health cures. Sometimes the political link is direct...Sometimes it just seems to reflect a judgment on the part of the grifters that people who can be persuaded that President Obama is Muslim can also be persuaded that there are easy money-making opportunities the establishment doesn’t want you to know about.
New York Times Jun 12, 2016 Court Papers Give Insight Into Stanford Sex Assault
QUOTE: The assault of the 22-year-old woman — she is described as Jane Doe in court documents — has led to a firestorm of outrage for what many saw as her assailant’s light punishment, a six-month jail term with the possibility of parole after just three months.
New York Times Jun 09, 2016 Hundreds allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills (USA TODAY exclusive)
QUOTE: Donald Trump often portrays himself as a savior of the working class who will "protect your job." But a USA TODAY NETWORK analysis found he has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades — and a large number of those involve ordinary Americans, like the Friels, who say Trump or his companies have refused to pay them. At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work.
USA TODAY Jun 07, 2016 The Supreme Court Is Afraid of Racial Justice
QUOTE: 40 years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided a pivotal case on race and equality whose legacy has profoundly shaped American race relations...The case, Washington v. Davis, involved the constitutionality of Test 21....a long American tradition — from grandfather clauses to literacy tests — of seemingly race-neutral measures functioning in a discriminatory manner. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that Test 21’s grossly disproportionate impact on minority applicants violated the Equal Protection Clause. But when the case reached the Supreme Court, the justices disagreed.
New York Times Jun 05, 2016 Panama Papers Show How Rich United States Clients Hid Millions Abroad
QUOTE: These transactions and others like them for a stable of wealthy clients from the United States are outlined in extraordinary detail in the trove of internal Mossack Fonseca documents known as the Panama Papers. The materials were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and have now been shared with The New York Times. In recent weeks, the papers’ revelations about Mossack Fonseca’s international clientele have shaken the financial world. The Times’s examination of the files found that Mossack Fonseca also had at least 2,400 United States-based clients over the past decade, and set up at least 2,800 companies on their behalf in the British Virgin Islands, Panama, the Seychelles and other jurisdictions that specialize in helping hide wealth.
New York Times May 31, 2016 Former Trump University Workers Call the School a ‘Lie’ and a ‘Scheme’ in Testimony
QUOTE: In blunt testimony revealed on Tuesday, former managers of Trump University, the for-profit school started by Donald J. Trump, portray it as an unscrupulous business that relied on high-pressure sales tactics, employed unqualified instructors, made deceptive claims and exploited vulnerable students willing to pay tens of thousands for Mr. Trump’s insights.
New York Times May 30, 2016 MetLife Suit Raises Questions of Extent of Corporate Liability
QUOTE: some others who lost their money are suing MetLife, claiming that the insurer ignored or failed to notice signs that agents and brokers were peddling Mr. Friedman’s financing program to retirees and others....MetLife has argued in court documents that it “had no relationship with D.L.G.” and that it “did not sell, or materially assist in the sale” of the D.L.G. financing program. Neither was it legally obligated to supervise the broker who made the sale to Ms. Ramirez, MetLife said, because he was a contractor and licensed through another, unaffiliated broker-dealer, even though he was authorized to sell MetLife insurance products.
New York Times 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 May 25, 2016 State Department email audit faults Hillary Clinton
QUOTE: Hillary Clinton and her team ignored clear guidance from the State Department that her email setup broke federal standards and could leave sensitive material vulnerable to hackers, an independent audit has found. Her aides twice brushed aside concerns, in one case telling technical staff “the matter was not to be discussed further.”
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) May 17, 2016 White House Increases Overtime Eligibility by Millions
QUOTE: “For the past 40 years, overtime protections have been increasingly weakened,” Mr. Biden added, noting that more than 60 percent of salaried workers qualified for overtime in 1975 based on their salaries, but only 7 percent do today.
New York Times Mar 14, 2016 Justice Dept. Condemns Profit-Minded Court Policies Targeting the Poor
QUOTE: The Justice Department on Monday called on state judges across the country to root out unconstitutional policies that have locked poor people in a cycle of fines, debt and jail.
New York Times Jan 09, 2016 Campus Sex … With a Syllabus
QUOTE: In the movies (that are not “Superbad”), sexual consent goes something like this: the lights dim, the mood swells, two people silently move toward each other at the same exact time, knowing what the other wants without speaking a word. Clothes come off seamlessly; lovemaking ensues. Consent is implied, not spoken. But in real life — and, ever more frequently, on college campuses — what constitutes consent is wildly more complicated.
New York Times Jan 09, 2016 Flint Wants Safe Water, and Someone to Answer for Its Crisis
QUOTE: Shortly after officials switched the source of their drinking water to the Flint River from Lake Huron in April 2014 to save money, residents started complaining that their tap water looked strange, tasted bad and caused rashes. But not until the fall of 2015, when the water was found to have elevated levels of lead that were reflected in children’s blood, did state officials swing into action. Now they are scrambling to address a situation that has endangered the health of Flint’s children and generated untold costs and anxiety.
New York Times Jan 08, 2016 Ratings Agencies Still Coming Up Short, Years After Crisis (Fair Game)
QUOTE: The credit ratings agencies played an enormous role in generating billions of dollars in losses during the debacle. Internal emails that emerged in congressional investigations were especially revealing of the problems at these companies... like many of those responsible for the mess, credit raters largely escaped accountability. They were allowed to maintain their conflicted business models, in which issuers pay the agencies to rate their securities.
New York Times Jan 06, 2016 The Man Who Studies the Spread of Ignorance
QUOTE: Proctor found that ignorance spreads when firstly, many people do not understand a concept or fact and secondly, when special interest groups – like a commercial firm or a political group – then work hard to create confusion about an issue. In the case of ignorance about tobacco and climate change, a scientifically illiterate society will probably be more susceptible to the tactics used by those wishing to confuse and cloud the truth.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Jan 02, 2016 Federal lawsuit filed to overturn city’s ‘unequal’ bail system
QUOTE: The lawsuit is trying to put an end to what Telfeyan calls a bifurcated justice system. “One for the rich, where they are able to purchase their freedom, and one for the poor, who have to sit in jail and await trial.”
San Francisco Examiner Dec 18, 2015 Disputing Korean Narrative on ‘Comfort Women,’ a Professor Draws Fierce Backlash
QUOTE: a South Korean court ordered Ms. Park’s book, “Comfort Women of the Empire,” redacted in 34 sections where it found her guilty of defaming former comfort women with false facts....and she is being sued for defamation by some of the women themselves. The women have called for Ms. Park’s expulsion from Sejong University in Seoul, where she is a professor of Japanese literature.
International New York Times Jul 23, 2015 Uber wins, liberals lose
QUOTE: The model for these big new disruptors, like Uber (for rides) and Airbnb (for rooms), in the so-called sharing economy is simple: 1) Make markets, while treating workers as independent contractors or eliminating them altogether, 2) Build scale quickly and then negotiate from strength with would-be regulators, 3) Use the money they're raking in to sway if possible and crush if not any politician who tries to interfere with (1) or (2).
CNN (Cable News Network) 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 May 26, 2015 The University of Minnesota’s Medical Research Mess
QUOTE: the antiquated bureaucratic apparatus of institutional review boards, or I.R.B.s, which are supposed to protect subjects of medical experimentation. Indeed, whether other institutions have seen the kinds of abuses that have emerged at the University of Minnesota is difficult to know, precisely because the current research oversight system is inadequate to detect them.
New York Times May 16, 2015 Shareholders' Votes Have Done Little to Curb Lavish Executive Pay (FAIR GAME)
QUOTE: It’s been five years since the Dodd-Frank law required that companies let investors vote on their executive pay practices. The idea, lawmakers said, was to give shareholders a chance to sound off when compensation plans are not in their best interests. But has putting these matters to a vote done anything to rein in executive pay? Not a chance. Since these votes started being tallied, C.E.O. pay has risen on average 12 percent annually.
New York Times May 02, 2015 Baltimore Prosecutor Faces National History of Police Acquittals
QUOTE: Brutality cases against police officers are notoriously difficult to win...whatever case prosecutors make will have to overcome the inherent deference to police officers that most jurors take with them to the courtroom, experts said.
New York Times 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 Apr 18, 2015 FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades
QUOTE: The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000. Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far...
Washington Post Apr 07, 2015 The double-standard of making the poor prove they’re worthy of government benefits [Wonkblog]
QUOTE: We rarely make similar demands of other recipients of government aid. We don't drug-test farmers who receive agriculture subsidies...
Washington Post Mar 25, 2015 Iran Case Is So Secret It Can't Go On
QUOTE: When only the government gets to speak, and does all its talking in secret, there's no check over its actions. Who is a district judge to stand up to the anonymous director of some anonymous intelligence agency? The result is not just bad for the rule of law. It's an embarrassment to the entire judiciary.
Bloomberg View Mar 05, 2015 In U.C.L.A. Debate Over Jewish Student, Echoes on Campus of Old Biases
QUOTE: at the prodding of a faculty adviser there who pointed out that belonging to Jewish organizations was not a conflict of interest, the students revisited the question and unanimously put her on the board.... spotlight what appears to be a surge of hostile sentiment directed against Jews at many campuses in the country, often a byproduct of animosity toward the policies of Israel.
New York Times Mar 05, 2015 How Much Is Your Arm Worth? Depends On Where You Work
QUOTE: employers are now paying the lowest rates for workers’ comp than at any time since the 1970s. Nonetheless, dozens of legislatures have changed their workers’ comp laws, often citing the need to compete with neighboring states and be more attractive to business. The changes have forced injured workers’ families and taxpayers “to subsidize the vast majority of the lost income and medical care costs generated by these conditions”...
ProPublica Mar 04, 2015 Yes, Black America Fears the Police. Here’s Why. Shots were fired in Long Island, but there was no rush to call 911. It made perfect sense to ProPublica’s Nikole Hannah-Jones.
QUOTE: For those of you reading this who may not be black, or perhaps Latino, this is my chance to tell you that a substantial portion of your fellow citizens in the United States of America have little expectation of being treated fairly by the law or receiving justice. It’s possible this will come as a surprise to you. But to a very real extent, you have grown up in a different country than I have. As Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of The Condemnation of Blackness, puts it, “White people, by and large, do not know what it is like to be occupied by a police force. They don’t understand it because it is not the type of policing they experience. Because they are treated like individuals, they believe that if ‘I am not breaking the law, I will never be abused.’”
ProPublica Dec 30, 2014 Intelligence, defense whistleblowers remain mired in broken system
QUOTE: Since 9/11, defense and intelligence whistleblowers such as Greenstein have served as America’s conscience in the war on terrorism. Their assertions go to the heart of government waste, misconduct and overreach: defective military equipment, prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, surveillance of Americans. Yet the legal system that was set up to protect these employees has repeatedly failed those with the highest-profile claims. Many of them say they aren’t thanked but instead are punished for speaking out. More than 8,700 defense and intelligence employees and contractors have filed retaliation claims with the Pentagon inspector general since the 9/11 attacks, with the number increasing virtually every year...
McClatchy DC Dec 06, 2014 Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General
QUOTE: unprecedented, secretive alliance that Mr. Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general have formed with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda...Attorneys general in at least a dozen states are working with energy companies and other corporate interests, which in turn are providing them with record amounts of money for their political campaigns, including at least $16 million this year. They share a common philosophy about the reach of the federal government, but the companies also have billions of dollars at stake.
New York Times Dec 05, 2014 The Police in America Are Becoming Illegitimate: The crooked math that's going to crash American law enforcement if policies aren't changed
QUOTE: Law-enforcement resources are now distributed so unevenly, and justice is being administered with such brazen inconsistency, that people everywhere are going to start questioning the basic political authority of law enforcement. And they're mostly going to be right to do it, and when they do, it's going to create problems that will make the post-Ferguson unrest seem minor. The Garner case was a perfect symbol of everything that's wrong with the proactive police tactics that are now baseline policy in most inner cities.
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