Feed on
Posts
Comments



Debtors prison

I could be wrong, but I think this law may be unconstitutional. I think it’s pretty settled case law that they have to prove you owe the money – but then again, the world’s turning upside down, so who knows?

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has approved legislation making it easier for debt collectors to go after defaulting consumers and small businesses.
Brewer signed House Bill 2664 into law today. The measure allows collection agencies to use final billing statements as a basis to show amounts owed and interest rates as they seek court judgments and wage garnishments.


The bill was favored by debt collectors, which buy delinquent accounts from banks and credit card companies for pennies on the dollar, but receive only minimal information from those sources. It can be difficult and expensive for the collection companies to get additional information on the defaulting consumers and business owners.


Debt collectors’ business model depends on them collecting money from the account holders whose information they buy. The new state law makes it easier on them if they can obtain final billing statements from the banks and credit card issuers.

Basically, they make shit up. But so much for law and order in Arizona!

Ode to the oligarchs

Long Dead Kings:

Bon appetit

Don’t eat Gulf seafood:

A new study has concluded that the FDA severely underrated the risk of contaminants in seafood following the BP oil spill of 2010, according to Environmental Health Perspectives (via Alternet).

The report, conducted by non-governmental scientists, says that 53 percent of Gulf shrimp samples tested revealed “levels above concern” of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Some cases showed carcinogenic levels up to 10,000 times more than what is considered safe.

This leaves pregnant women, children and big seafood eaters at risk to develop issues stemming from the consumption of these chemicals. Prenatal exposure to PAHs has been shown to lower IQs and increase the risk of asthma, heart malformations and low birth weight.

The researchers at the Natural Resources Defense Council also included internal FDA emails — procured using the Freedom of Information Act — that showed a concerted effort to downplay the effects of the contaminants. Emails also showed decisions to ignore alarms raised by FDA staff concerning this issue.

The report calls on the FDA to update their current risk assessment of seafood.

In response, the FDA says that setting higher protective health measures will “do more harm than good,” since people would have to remove more food from their home than necessary. Both the NRDC and Alternet have noted that there was no scientific backing provided for this claim.

Yep

What Lance said.

Jerry Brown

Adapts to circumstance like a cockroach. Now, I’ll point out here that California governors have so many limits on budgeting and tax increases that he may literally have no other option.

America colonized again

America has been colonized by corporations, but Chris Hedges is still counting on Occupy to spark a backlash. More here.

Ethics, Mittens style

Whatever “achievement” a Republican politician brags about, you can be pretty sure there’s more to the story. The Daily Beast has been following Romney’s track record of being brought in to clean up a bribery scandal at the 2002 Winter Olympics, and has found some things that indicate his own ethics leave something to be desired.

As per this new video from the DNC, Mittens oversaw the expenditure of $1.5 billion in government money for the event, making it the most expensive Olympics ever. He bragged about it when he ran for governor of Massachusetts, although he now says most of it was for post-9/11 security:

In his quest for the White House, Mitt Romney has repeatedly made the case that he is a better manager than its current occupant. When his tenure at the helm of Bain Capital came under fire in the primaries, he shifted to stressing his rescue of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Those games had been nearly destroyed by a wide-ranging bribery scandal, and as Romney recounted in his 2004 memoir, Turnaround, he was the CEO brought in after the brouhaha who cleaned it up.

Although no one disputes that the Salt Lake Games were a managerial success that revived his public career, some of the contacts Romney made during that time were key figures in the scandal, yet he remains connected to some of them, and continues to receive their sizable campaign donations. The closeness of these bonds calls into question Romney’s ethical compass.

Last month, The Daily Beast recounted the tale of one circle of Romney donors tied to a tainted Olympic contractor who has given more than a million dollars in campaign donations. After being granted immunity by prosecutors, the contractor, Sead Dizdarevic, admitted making $131,000 in cash payments to Romney’s predecessors. The cash was used, at least in part, to subsidize the IOC gifts. Yet it was Romney, not his indicted predecessors, who awarded Dizdarevic the hospitality deal that’s made him the ticket king of the Olympics to this day.

But Dizdarevic is hardly the only Romney donor with disturbing Olympic ties. David Simmons also testified in the 2003 federal trial of Romney’s predecessors, in a case that was ultimately dismissed. But unlike Dizdarevic, Simmons pleaded guilty to a federal tax misdemeanor as part of a cooperation agreement that allowed him to avoid a multi-count felony indictment.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the guilty plea was connected to Simmons giving a fake job to John Kim, the son of a critical IOC member, to qualify him for a sham visa, and then submitting fraudulent tax and immigration filings to cover up the alleged conspiracy.

Since that time, Simmons and his family have given more than $317,000 to Romney and affiliated campaigns, and business associates of the family have added nearly $160,000 more. Simmons and his wife, Melinda, donated $32,100 themselves, going back to 2006.

“There are things that make your job easier and things that make your job harder,” Romney told reporters who asked about Simmons.

In addition, one Simmons brother provided Romney’s 2008 campaign with a private plane and another led the energy discussion at a policy roundtable fundraiser for Romney in Washington last February. A company whose board of directors consisted entirely of Simmons’s father, all six of the Simmons siblings, and the spouse of one sibling, each one of whom has donated to Romney, was directly implicated in the Olympics scam that led to David Simmons’s guilty plea.

Oh, what’s the big deal? If we started discounting Republican candidates for taking money from shady people, there wouldn’t be a Republican party!

Big Oil

Who’s your daddy?

The right to Tase freely

I hope the Supreme Court declines this case, because if they do accept it, I expect it means they want to rubberstamp police insanity of this sort. (After all, this dangerous woman might have been a terrorist.) Many cops, I suspect, are terrified of car stops. You never do know what the person behind the wheel may do; it’s a dangerous moment. But once cops feel they have the upper hand, it becomes a matter of power and being cops, they always have to win.

Tasers were introduced as a non-lethal form of police protection. Now they’re used to intimidate and subjugate people for things like “talking back” and other harmless forms of non-compliance.

Only citizens can stop this kind of thing, because the elected officials who control our police departments will only respond to our united voice. As a citizen, you have a right to know: What are the policies and accepted procedures for the use of Tasers? How often are officers trained – and re-trained? How frequently are the guns tested and calibrated? How much have related lawsuits cost your municipality? How many claims were settled by the town’s insurance carrier? (These should all be public record.)

Over 500 people have died in Taser-related deaths. Only our silence allows it to go on:

WASHINGTON — There have been many hundreds of varied rulings in the lower courts on when the use of Taser stun guns by the police amounts to excessive force, and sooner or later the Supreme Court will have to bring order to this area of the law. Next week, the justices are scheduled to decide whether to hear an appeal from three Seattle police officers who say they are worried about the future of what they call “a useful pain technique.”

The case involves Malaika Brooks, who was seven months pregnant and driving her 11-year-old son to school in Seattle when she was pulled over for speeding. The police say she was going 32 miles per hour in a school zone; the speed limit was 20.

Ms. Brooks said she would accept a ticket but drew the line at signing it, which state law required at the time. Ms. Brooks thought, wrongly, that signing was an acknowledgment of guilt.

Refusing to sign was a crime, and the two officers on the scene summoned a sergeant, who instructed them to arrest Ms. Brooks. She would not get out of her car.

The situation plainly called for bold action, and Officer Juan M. Ornelas met the challenge by brandishing a Taser and asking Ms. Brooks if she knew what it was.

She did not, but she told Officer Ornelas what she did know. “I have to go to the bathroom,” she said. “I am pregnant. I’m less than 60 days from having my baby.”

The three men assessed the situation and conferred. “Well, don’t do it in her stomach,” one said. “Do it in her thigh.”

Officer Ornelas twisted Ms. Brooks’s arm behind her back. A colleague, Officer Donald M. Jones, applied the Taser to Ms. Brooks’s left thigh, causing her to cry out and honk the car’s horn. A half-minute later, Officer Jones applied the Taser again, now to Ms. Brooks’s left arm. He waited six seconds before pressing it into her neck.
Continue Reading »

Uh oh

This sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »