Category Archives: In the News

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: August 3: WannaCry Savior Arrested; Ulbricht Hunters More Guilty Than First Admitted

Marcus Hutchins, the man who reportedly brilliantly slowed the WannaCry cyber attack on the U.K.’s National Health Service (and hundreds of thousands of computers around the world) was picked up by the FBI in Las Vegas on August 2. He was apparently leaving the Def Con hacking “conference.”

marcus-hutchins.jpg

Hutchins (above), 22, is a British national who uses the alias MalwareTech on social media.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 12: NSA, “Exploits,” WannaCry and Whistleblowers

According to the U.K.’s Telegraph, the hero-turned-U.S. enemy of the state is out on $30,000 bail:

Hutchins, of Ilfracombe, Devon, is due to appear in court in Milwaukee on August 14, charged with six counts of creating and selling a malware known as Kronos.

While sprung from prison, he was made to wear a GPS monitor and forbidden from using the internet.

The Independent reports this is the culmination of a two-year investigation into Hutchins, whose “Trojan” software (the Kronos) infects computers and then steals banking passwords.

There is an as yet unnamed co-defendant in the case.

Hutchins faced a six-count indictment, which carries a possible 40 years in prison, on August 14 in the Eastern District of Wisconsin court. He pleaded not guilty and was given internet access. The trial is set for October 23.

International Business Times suggested the Feds may go easy on Hutchins given his recent usefulness to society.

Hutchins’ discovery of the “killswitch” for WannaCry, which slowed the spread of the ransom-demanding virus, apparently led to reporters camping out around his house back in May.

*

In other “citizens that actually know how to use computers are a threat to national security” big government crackdown news, one of the corrupt Federal agents that shamelessly choreographed a double life sentence for Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht (who was quietly moved to a maximum security prison in Colorado this summer, because nonviolent crime) pleaded guilty to money laundering. Again.

Shaun Bridges, formerly of the Secret Service, worked with former DEA thug Carl Mark Force on the Baltimore task force that took money and Bitcoins from the Silk Road investigation, likely framed Ulbricht for ordering assassinations…all the things good Federal agents add to society.

Rogue Silk Road Agent Admits to Stealing Bitcoins Seized by U.S. Marshals

Bridges, 35, moved 1600 Bitcoins (worth $6.6 million) out of a Federal account. This is even more reprehensible because Bridges had already been sentenced in 2015 to 71 months in prison for money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Washington Times reported the taxpayer-funded thief had not even begun the initial sentence, and could get up to another 10 years in prison at his November sentencing.

Force was also arrested in 2015 and pleaded guilty to money laundering, obstruction of justice, and “extortion under color of official right.” He was sentenced to 6.5 years.

Ulbricht, who lost the May appeal of his convictions of money laundering, conspiracy to traffic and distribute narcotics, computer hacking and identity fraud, arguing that his investigators were using the case to commit their own crimes, will die in prison.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/08/08/wannacry-hero-marcus-hutchins-freed-us-jail-ahead-court-appearance/

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/marcus-hutchins-arrested-latest-us-authorities-wannacry-cyberattack-nhs-las-cegas-mccaran-a7875761.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/08/03/fbi-arrests-wannacry-hero-marcus-hutchins-las-vegas-reports/

Security researcher Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty, returns to Twitter

FBI Agent Admits to Stealing Silk Road Bitcoins Seized by U.S. Marshals

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/16/shaun-bridges-disgraced-secret-service-agent-plead/

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/8q845p/dea-agent-who-faked-a-murder-and-took-bitcoins-from-silk-road-explains-himself

https://www.wired.com/2017/05/silk-road-creator-ross-ulbricht-loses-life-sentence-appeal/

https://www.docketalarm.com/cases/New_York_Southern_District_Court/1–14-cr-00068/USA_v._Ulbricht/183/

Bill Nye Sues Disney

HuffPost reported everyone’s favorite politically-correct prick, Bill Nye, has leveled a lawsuit at Disney. The entertainment giant produced Nye’s publicly-propped PBS production “Bill Nye the Science Guy” in the 1990s.

A Nye-ordered audit of the Walt Disney Company from last year reportedly found the fake scientist was stiffed $9.3 million since 1993 under the distribution deal.

Related:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! April 21–Bill Nye the Gender Guy/Girl/Continuum Plugs for Eugenics, Orgies and Monsanto

HuffPost also found another $28 million is apparently due to “Nye and his partners” from Disney, offenses unspecified.

Disney started it: according to TMZ, they asked [Nye] to return $496,000 of a $585,000 check it issued him in 2008 for “back-end profits” because of an accounting error.

Nye proceeded to audit Disney to contest the claim. And here we are.

Thanks to our source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bill-nye-the-science-guy-is-suing-disney-for-big-bucks_us_59a0008ce4b05710aa5b97ca?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313

Five Missing Army Aviators Now Sought in “Recovery” Rather Than “Rescue”–Hawaii

Another great loss for the U.S. military occurred last week as the Army lost communication with a Black Hawk helicopter on August 16 near the North Shore of Oahu, HI.

On August 22, the five aviators were presumed dead as the search and rescue was suspended and a “recovery” mission took over.

96,000 square miles were searched over the past week. The chopper, from Wheeler Army Airfield’s 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, was on a routine nighttime training mission according to Hawaii News Now.

Part of the chopper fuselage and a service helmet were found on the first day of the search.

The soldiers were identified on August 21 (see incomplete picture above from Hawaii News Now):

1st Lieutenant Kathryn M. Bailey, 26; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian M. Woeber, 41;  Chief Warrant Officer 2 Stephen T. Cantrell, 32; Staff Sgt. Abigail R. Milam, 33; and Sgt. Michael L. Nelson, 30.

All five are still missing.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/36147766/coast-guard-searching-for-5-missing-after-army-helicopter-reportedly-crashes-off-oahu

Missing soldiers identified as Coast Guard ends search for Black Hawk crew

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 18: Crime and Punishment

170718-mohamed-noor-horizontal.jpg

Mohamed Noor (above) offered condolences via his defense attorney to the family of Australian/American dual citizen Justine Damond (below), who Noor fatally capped on July 15.

Noor is maintaining his silence and continues to exercise his legal right not to be interviewed by investigators probing Ms Damond's death 

(Ms. Damond’s actual surname was Ruszczyk, but she reportedly took her fiancé Don Damond’s name before their marriage–scheduled for August 2017. We’re going with “Damond.”)

The 40-year-old yoga instructor reportedly called “9-1-1” (twice!) that Saturday evening to notify police of a suspected assault behind her home.

Apparently, Damond ran up and “slapped” the back of the patrol car, whose lights were off as it moved through the alley looking for the assailant. (Noor’s partner, one-year veteran Matthew Harrity, was driving, and described being “startled” by the noise.)

At that point, Noor fired from the passenger seat, across Harrity’s body and into the abdomen of Damond, who was at the driver’s side window.

*

According to Associated Press,

Noor was one of several Somali-Americans hired by the department in recent years as part of the city’s public effort to diversify so it better reflects the city.

On July 25, Minnesota Public Radio obtained a search warrant (???) from Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that revealed:

“Upon police arrival, a female ‘slaps’ the back of the patrol squad … After that, it is unknown to BCA [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] agents what exactly happened, but the female became deceased in the alley.”

Sensitive!

Interestingly, Minnesota is the only state that requires a two-year college degree of all police officers. (Most departments prefer a four-year degree, according to Associated Press.)

Noor, 31, with a four-year degree in business administration and economics from Augsburg College, completed the certificate program recommended for non-criminal justice degree holders looking to get into law enforcement (see below).

Judicial Watch on Somali Immigrants

According to the Star Tribune, Noor completed a seven-month “accelerated police cadet program” in 2015.

James Densley, criminal justice teacher at Metropolitan State University, told the Star Tribune: “The cadet program is rigorous, no doubt, but it is also an immersive paramilitary experience, taught by practitioner faculty without advanced degrees, and I suspect it leaves students with a limited view of the profession.”

[our emphasis]

Minneapolis Police Department has reportedly run into difficulty filling police officer slots after (darthfrankthetank.com fully recognizes there are plenty of outstanding “public servants” across the country that do not necessarily take government jobs solely for the benefits, especially those that will presumably be paid to their families should the applicant lose their life in a riskier “public service” job such as police officer) [a] pension change that spurred a wave of retirements among peace officers statewide in 2014.

According to Star Tribune, advocates commend the “fast-track” cadet program as “a way to attract more diverse people with broader life experiences.”

Critics believe it is lacking in instructing common sense approaches to slowing down confrontations and defusing hostile situations.

Nate Grove of the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board maintains the fast-track curriculum includes “teaching and modeling de-escalation techniques.”

*

Of note, Noor is obliged to offer any information possible to the internal investigation if he wants to keep his job. And that information will by definition never make it to the courtroom, according to Daily Mail:

[Under] the Garrity Warning in Minnesota […] public employees under internal investigation are given the option to provide information or face disciplinary action.

‘Because you are being required to provide information under the threat of disciplinary action, the information you provide, and any evidence resulting from the information you provide, cannot and will not be used against you in any subsequent criminal proceeding,’ the warning reads.

CNN reported:

Department records indicate [Noor] had three complaints filed against him, the details of which are not public. One was closed without any disciplinary action and two are still open.

*

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

Police Chief Janee Harteau (above), reportedly the first female, first lesbian and first Native American head of Minneapolis Police Department, resigned at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges.

Hodges was shouted out of her press conference announcing Harteau’s replacement, Assistant Chief Medaria “Rondo” Arradondo (below, white shirt), on July 21.

itemprop

Harteau said of Noor’s credentials the day before she was forced to resign: “We have a very robust training and hiring process. This officer completed that training very well, just like every officer. He was very suited to be on the street.”

On July 24, CNN reported Damond’s fiance and other family hired Robert Bennett to sue the city. Mr. Bennett most recently negotiated a settlement for the family of another Minnesota resident killed by a local government employee: Philando Castile.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: June 16: Philando Castile Update

*

Also on July 18, an otherwise law-abiding father of four was wrenched from his Ohio home and deported to Mexico. Crime: not a citizen.

PHOTO: Jesus Lara Lopez, 37, of Willard, Ohio, comforts his sons before he is deported back to Mexico, July 18, at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. (Lisa DeJong/The Plain Dealer via Barcroft )

Jesus Lara Lopez, 37,  had been in America for 16 years, working and paying taxes. Immigration authorities got their opening to harass him through a police tip in 2008 after [Lopez] was stopped by police for driving without a license.

Lopez was then allowed to remain in America and authorized to work, despite a federal judge ordering his removal in 2011.

However, federal authorities dribble out favors to maintain a veneer of benevolence: Lopez scored a stay in 2014.

“[I]n a further exercise of discretion, the agency has allowed [Lopez] to remain free from custody to finalize his departure plans. The agency will continue to closely monitor his case to ensure compliance.”

ICE spokesperson Khaalid Walls. [our emphasis]

Many Americans should be able to relate to Lopez, if only through their kitchen cabinets:

The New York Times reported in June that Lopez worked “the graveyard shift packing Milano cookies and Goldfish crackers” at Pepperidge Farm.

[our emphasis]

Lopez’ work permit came through third-party company Spherion, who hired him for Pepperidge Farm in October 2016.

His wife and children set up a Go Fund Me page to support the family Lopez left behind in Willard, OH.

Related:

Tears at the Airport

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/minneapolis-officer-allegedly-shot-justine-191820294.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/personnel-records-minnesota-officer-shot-woman-221652854.html

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/21/us/minneapolis-police-chief-resigns/index.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4737564/Justine-Damond-U-S-Mohamed-Noor-never-face-charges.html

http://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-police-face-questions-about-noor-s-fast-track-training/436057173/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/18/us/mohamed-noor-minneapolis-police/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/24/us/minneapolis-justine-ruszczyk-attorney-robert-bennett/index.html

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/ohio-father-4-bids-farewell-deportation-mexico-171004765–abc-news-topstories.html

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/07/jesus_lara_lopez_prays_for_a_miracle_after_deportation_to_mexico_photos.html

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 6: One [Uri]nation Under God

Last year’s Independence Day festivities were rivaled.

Florida Man’s Independence Day Utterly Ruined by Girlfriend

Happy Independence Day

Emily Lance (below), of Pennsylvania, reportedly urinated on an American flag and filmed it for Facebook.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and phone

(Although this picture seems also to be captured in a bathroom, it is dated July 6, and Lance appears to be wearing different clothes. It is likely from a separate photo shoot.)

BBC reported the Facebook page was down (according to our research, it’s back up; see below), but the caption on the original video reportedly read: “F*** your nationalism. F*** your country. F*** your stupid f****** flag”.

We obtained video of the incident via “YouTube” (from a Diana Printz):

BBC notes Lance pulls off the standing ovation urination “with the aid of a device that allows women to do so standing up.”

Lance later implored haters to stop threatening her father and his business over “my shenanigans” and noted her family disapproved of the Independence Day statement.

“What don’t you people understand? You’re celebrating freedom while damning me for doing the same. You can’t have it both ways.”

Emily Lance

Despite the threats, Ms. Lance has an action shot on her Facebook page:

Image may contain: one or more people and text

The caption reads “Fuck you nazis! lol”

Thanks to our source:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40518395

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! April 7–Neil Gorsuch

SENATE GOES NUCLEAR!!!

Demented DC fixture Senator John McCain (R-AZ) had some hateful speech for the Senate majority as he joined his colleagues in changing the body rules to confirm U.S. Tenth Circuit appellate judge Neil Gorsuch (below) to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Gorsuch official portrait.jpg

Democrats had filibustered the nomination of Gorsuch, 49. Republicans, who hold 52 Senate seats, were unable to muster a supermajority of 60 votes to break the filibuster. Instead, they held a 52-48 party-line vote to implement a “nuclear” option: the Senate will now require just 51 votes to allow a vote on Supreme Court justice appointments.

Yahoo! had more:

“It’s a bad day for democracy,” McCain said before entering the Senate chamber, where he later voted with fellow Republicans to change the rules. “I think it’s a terrible mistake that we will regret for many, many years to come.

[…]

There’s not a single senator in the majority who thinks we ought to change the legislative filibuster, not one,” he told reporters Tuesday. “We all understand that’s what makes the Senate the Senate.”

McCain speaks to reporters after the Senate voted to remove the filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominees on Thursday. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

[McCain (above) was re-elected in November with 53.7% of the vote.]

“I find myself torn between protecting the traditions and practices of the Senate and the importance of having a full complement of justices on the Supreme Court,” he said. “I’m left with no choice. I will vote to change the rules an [sic] allow Judge Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority.”

[our emphasis]

According to Yahoo!, McCain’s April 4 statement on the matter was even more patronizing to the American people who are apparently supposed to stomach the notion that the six-term senator, 80, has any integrity at all:

I would like to meet that idiot, I’d like to meet the numskull that would say [changing the rule for Gorsuch is a good thing]. Whoever says that is a stupid idiot, who has not been here and seen what I’ve been through and how we were able to avoid that on several occasions. And they are stupid and they’ve deceived their voters because they are so stupid.”

[our emphasis]

Democrats, led by then-Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), similarly changed filibuster rules in 2013, requiring only a 51-vote majority in the Senate to break filibusters on all presidential nominees except Supreme Court justices (i.e., executive branch and all other judicial appointments). Once the filibuster is broken, these nominees can be confirmed by a similar, simple majority vote.

USA Today notes Reid and the Democrats felt unrelenting Republican filibusters of Obama nominees for necessitated the rule change:

The turning point in the decades-long debate over Senate filibuster rules was Republicans’ decision to block all three of Obama’s latest nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the nation’s second-most-powerful court with vast jurisdiction over federal agencies and regulations.

April’s was therefore the second “nuclear” rule change for the U.S. Senate in four years.

“The American people believe Congress is broken. The American people believe the Senate is broken. And I believe they are right. The need for change is so very, very obvious.”–then-Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)

Reid (above; thanks, galleryhip.com) retired in 2016.

Then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)famously warned the Democrats: “You will no doubt come to regret this, and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think.”

Fifty-two of the fifty-five Democrats and their common-caucusing Independents voted for the 2013 rule change. Of the three Democrats in opposition, only Joe Manchin (WV) remains in the Senate today.

At the time, Dianne Feinstein noted: “I’ve sat on the Judiciary (Committee) for 20 years and it has never, ever been like this. You reach a point where your frustration just overwhelms and things have to change. I think the level of frustration on the Democratic side has just reached the point where it’s worth the risk.”

McCain, per USA Today, called the decision “foolish” and squarely blamed junior Democratic senators. “There are members that have never been in the minority who have been here a short time who basically drove this,” he said.

And Obama praised Reid’s maneuver: “A deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just to re-fight the result of an election is not normal, and for the sake of future generations, we can’t let it become normal[.]”

*

For Mr. Gorsuch’s confirmation, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer shamelessly misled the public by attempting to goad the Republicans into “changing the nominee” to allow Democrats to contribute at least eight votes to reach a 60-vote threshold. This is the number needed to end the filibuster Schumer orchestrated. Washington Post:

“If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes — a bar met by each of President Obama’s nominees and George Bush’s last two nominees — the answer isn’t to change the rules. It’s to change the nominee.”

Also according to Post, Schumer decided to lead a filibuster because “[Gorsuch] was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check” on Trump, and Mr. Gorsuch was “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology[.]”

Washington Post was complicit in Schumer’s fantasy that all Senate proceedings require 60 “yes” votes to break a filibuster (a sort of holdover from the Obama administration when Republicans filibustered ruthlessly and lead Dirty Harry to change the rules, as above) and not a simple majority of 51:

Among recent Supreme Court nominees, the 60-vote threshold has not caused a problem. President Barack Obama’s choices of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena ­Kagan each received more than 60 confirmation votes. Samuel A. Alito Jr., chosen by President George W. Bush, was confirmed 58 to 42 in 2006, but 72 senators voted to defeat a possible filibuster and allow his confirmation vote to go forward. Indeed, only Alito — among the last 16 Supreme Court nominees — was forced to clear the supermajority hurdle to break a filibuster.

President Obama had nominated chief justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit Merrick Garland in March 2016 following the unexpected death of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Republicans, who held the Senate majority, refused to hold a confirmation vote for Garland, leaving an eight-member court for about one year and prompting allegations they “stole” an additional Obama-appointed Supreme Court seat. The issue became more of a sore spot for liberals with Trump’s unexpected capture of the presidency, ensuring Hillary would not make the next nomination.

After the rule change, Gorsuch was confirmed 54-45 with 51 Republicans (led by now-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) joined in the affirmative by three Democrats: Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Manchin, and Joe Donnelly (IN). All three are up for re-election in 2018. Republican Johnny Isakson (GA) did not vote.

We were unable to find a quote from Obama reacting to the rule change and ensuing Gorsuch confirmation.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-04-06/gop-begins-nuclear-rule-move-to-advance-trump-high-court-pick

https://www.yahoo.com/news/mccain-filibuster-change-bad-day-democracy-172058093.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_election_in_Arizona,_2016

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/gorsuch-confirmation-hearing-to-focus-today-on-testimony-from-friends-foes/2017/03/23/14d21116-0fc7-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?utm_term=.a9fa2a9f85fa

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/11/21/harry-reid-nuclear-senate/3662445/

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! April 1–“Brad’s Wife” Wanted!

Image from Twitter.

Companies across the country should be careful not to stoke the fires of feminist fury by extending unspecified job offers to “Brad’s wife.”

Cracker Barrell, Brad's Wife, JusticeForBradsWife

Fortune reported on Yahoo! that Nanette Byrd, allegedly fired by an Indiana Cracker Barrel in March after 11 years of service, found overnight fame when her husband Bradley Byrd boldly engaged the gift shop with attached unhealthy food service on “Facebook”:

Cracker Barrel, Brad's Wife, JusticeForBradsWife

Image from heavy.com. Brad is clearly concerned for his wife’s future, using the term “LOL.”

While the Byrds are from Milltown, IN, it is unclear if that is the location of the heartless, heart-clogging Cracker Barrel in question.

Heavy.com notes that Brad–apparently, Nanette has not yet mounted her own social justice campaign–is encouraging the country to continue patronizing the chain and exact our frustrations only on a national level.

In his most recent statements, Byrd has begged people not to take their anger out on the local Indiana restaurant. He wants people to ask the main Cracker Barrel offices in Lebanon, Tennessee. “Please send all of your questions/comments to the home office. They are the ones who can answer them,” Byrd wrote on Facebook on March 24.

*

People poked the internet at large without recognizing their own peddling to the patriarchy. How dare a woman’s employer send her packing on her husband’s birthday???

Of course, no true internet rallying cry would complete without a change.org petition. “Brad was a kind and simple man. His wife, a loyal Cracker Barrel employee of 11 years,” the page reads. “On a day that should have been full of cake and laughter, there was sorrow. It was Brad’s birthday and his wife was unfairly, unjustly, terminated from her employment.”

[our emphasis]

Image from Twitter. The Georgia St Chik-fil-A franchise, located in Amarillo, TX, is making use of the “hashtag,” #JusticeforBradsWife.

Meanwhile, the Cracker Barrel “Facebook” page is flowing with vitriol from commenters on the “sweet maple pepper bacon,” according to Fortune:

Thanks to our sources:

Nanette Byrd, Brad’s Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/companies-hiring-brad-wife-cracker-005923903.html

People Are Trolling Cracker Barrel’s Facebook Page After an Alleged Employee Firing

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 16–Applebee’s

Cosmo reported that, like many of their customers, Applebee’s has sunk to a new level of desperate.

For the final two weeks of March, certain Texas locations of the seedy “fast-casual” bar and grill reportedly reduced patrons’ check by up to 50% in exchange for giftcards or expired coupons–from any business.

Applebee's.svg

In a press release, Applebee’s said the idea for the promotion came after noticing customers had expired coupons and gift cards to places they’ve never visited before. Chief operating officer of the Apple Texas franchise group Chris Dharod thinks the promotion will bring in customers who will eventually become regulars. In a statement, he said, “We know that when our neighbors taste our food and relax in our atmosphere, they will become Applebee’s fans for life.”

 

Applebee’s is a subsidiary of DineEquity; DineEquity also runs IHOP, which is slightly classier than Applebee’s.

Thanks to our source:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/applebees-accepting-gift-cards-anywhere-163729537.html

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 10, 19 and 22–Genes, Tattoos and Faces

Republican House members led by Virginia Foxx (below) of North Carolina recently pulled a rather clandestine stunt. H.R. 1313: Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act passed a House Committee 22-17 along party lines.

logo

The bill would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information, according to Scientific American.

Under guise of propping up “workplace wellness programs,” the 2008 “GINA” protections of employees’ genetic material from their employer would be eliminated. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act restrictions on wellness programs are also removed.

According to the Federal text online from the bill introduced on March 2:

This bill exempts workplace wellness programs from: (1) limitations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 on medical examinations and inquiries of employees, (2) the prohibition on collecting genetic information in connection with issuing health insurance, and (3) limitations under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 on collecting the genetic information of employees or family members of employees. This exemption applies to workplace wellness programs that comply with limits on rewards for employees participating in the program.

Workplace wellness programs may provide for more favorable treatment of individuals with adverse health factors, such as a disability.

Collection of information about a disease or disorder of a family member as part of a workplace wellness program is not an unlawful acquisition of genetic information about another family member.

[our emphasis]

American Scientific notes the power these “wellness programs” already wield under Obamacare:

Employers got virtually everything they wanted for their workplace wellness programs during the Obama administration. The ACA allowed them to charge employees 50 percent more for health insurance if they declined to participate in the “voluntary” programs, which typically include cholesterol and other screenings; health questionnaires that ask about personal habits including plans to get pregnant; and sometimes weight loss and smoking cessation classes.

[…]

Rigorous studies by researchers not tied to the $8 billion wellness industry have shown that the programs improve employee health little if at all. An industry group recently concluded that they save so little on medical costs that, on average, the programs lose money.

[our emphasis]

So it sounds like instead of just paying more for health insurance for the privilege of not submitting to a company cheek swab, employees now may be explicitly subject to same, as well as invasive questions about planned future pregnancies and smoking behaviors…as long as the “wellness program” is labeled “voluntary.”

Republican representatives Thomas Garrett (VA),  Luke Messer (IN) Paul Mitchell (MI), Elise Stefanik (NY) and Tim Walberg (MI) are all co-sponsoring this charade to gather more data on citizens in the name of “wellness.” But we can trust big, bad corporations not to share with the government, right?

Elise Stefanik official congressional photo.jpg

Elise Stefanik, 32, (above) is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Millennials, hamstrung by student debt and faced with diminished economic prospects, are supposed to depend on their contemporaries to defend the freedom of the younger generation as it is trampled by the Baby Boomers.

Does Stefanik care to protect Millennials’ privacy rights as they toil to build careers to hopefully pay off the $20,000,000,000,000 national debt their parents accumulated? [PUN ALERT] Ap-parent-ly not.

According to congress.gov, the bill has stalled since the committee vote. Let’s hope it remains that way.

*

The mainstream media is breathlessly pumping up the latest fallout of President Trump’s top terrible tyrannical priority: enforcing immigration law.

ATTN: said:

A Bay Area tattoo removal clinic has been booming recently for an unexpected reason: the fear of deportation.

The fear of possibly being associated with gang members or seen as criminals has apparently prompted many to seek out the clinic’s services. Nora Ruiz of the San Pablo Economic Development Corporation said people are taking up the service “for fear that they might be seen as a certain type of person or judged in any way.”

Lawyers who have consulted detainees say tattoos and old speeding tickets were the reason a father of two U.S.-born children and longtime resident was detained following a raid.

Raids are common during the current crackdown by ICE agents on undocumented immigrants, whether or not they have criminal histories. Tactics such as entering courthouses in order to make arrests are being used more frequently. The Department of Justice has begun drafting plans to reassign an unspecified number of immigration judges to 12 cities across the country, including San Francisco, in order to facilitate quicker deportation hearings.

 […]

Due to an executive order signed by Trump in January, all undocumented immigrants are effectively a priority for deportation regardless of whether they have committed violent crimes or not.

[our gold]

Presumably, people are more vulnerable if they have been incarcerated, and (presumably) had their skin photographed against their will:

Privacy Groups “Up In Arms” Over FBI Tattoo Tracking Program

On the other hand, Socialist sympathizers who backed Bernie may have had a change of heart in disgust at the Democratic downfall with which they don’t want to be associated! Hopefully they will learn to vote for a “third party” next time around:

Sterile Needles for Socialism

*

In other privacy-pillaging news,  NBC told us to face reality: the FBI, which couldn’t bring itself to prosecute Hillary for her criminal secret email server while Secretary of State, is sweeping up images of all American citizens’ faces. You know, just in case.

Most disconcerting, this same intelligence agency tampered with the iPhone of ISIS-inspired mass murdered Syed Farook in order to blackmail Apple to reverse-engineer every iPhone in the world. When Apple wouldn’t play ball, the Fibbies paid a hacker, as we have extensively documented.

FBI Rapes More Phones

 

NBC:

 

More than 400 million pictures of Americans’ faces are archived in local, state and federal law enforcement facial recognition networks, the federal Government Accountability Office reported last year.

Those pictures include the faces of about half of all U.S. adults, Georgetown University Law School’s Center on Privacy & Technology estimates.

The networks are largely unregulated and subject to ethnic and gender bias, according to experts, including a photo technologist for the FBI itself. The databases are culled from police mugshots, driver’s licenses, passports, visas, security video and other sources — taking in millions of Americans who aren’t even suspected of a crime.

[Yet.]

[Our emphasis.]

More widely known for his recent comment that potentially Obamacare-stripped poor people should choose between health insurance and the latest iPhone, Republican Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Regulation Jason Chaffetz of Utah said of the intelligence community’s latest (known) unconstitutional power grab: “The FBI, in particular, and others are doing everything [they] can to build out facial recognition with the goal, essentially, of having everybody’s face in their database.”

"If the database was smaller to known criminals, wanted criminals, people that are here illegally, maybe those are the types of things that we should be focused on, as opposed to everybody, and that's one of the questions and why we have a distinguished panel today," he said. (Graeme Jennings/Examiner)

According to Washington Examiner, Chaffetz (above) used a hearing to propose the FBI employ facial recognition more selectively: “If the database was smaller to known criminals, wanted criminals, people that are here illegally, maybe those are the types of things that we should be focused on, as opposed to everybody[.]”

He acknowledged the “unintended racial, gender or age biases or deficiencies” likely inherent in the massive database. Per Examiner, Chaffetz said that nearly 80 percent of the faces in the FBI‘s facial recognition network are of non-criminals.

[our emphasis]

 But the intriguing–and perhaps most anti-American?–nugget of the FBI’s further crackdown on your quickly-eroding privacy rights, from NBC:
 

In a paper published in the December 2012 edition of the journal IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, four authors — including a senior photography technologist for the FBI — reported that facial recognition systems are less accurate in distinguishing identities among African-Americans, women and younger people.

The FBI system, in particular, “is not designed to give no for an answer,” Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Georgetown Privacy Center, said last month on the public radio podcast Criminal Injustice.

No matter what, it will return a list of faces. And so, in these systems that are designed to not tell you no for an answer, when they miss the right suspect, they’re still going to give you a list of potential suspects that look like the candidate image,” he said. “And those innocent people will predominantly be African-Americans, women and young people.”

[our emphasis]

Who sets the facial recognition standards? Our friends at National Institute of Standards and Technology (who are photographing prisoners without consent; see link above).

Apparently, the GAO found the FBI is using “one or two” angles to accuse innocent people who happen to look like criminals. NBC:

The federal government’s own guidelines, set out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, suggest using at least five images to determine a credible match.

[…]

Internal FBI documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center indicate that the FBI’s own database, called the Next Generation Identification Interstate Photo System, or NGI-IPS, had an acceptable margin of error of 20 percent — that is, a 1-in-5 chance of “recognizing” the wrong person.

And research published in the October 2015 issue of the scientific journal PLOS ONE by researchers at the universities of Sydney and New South Wales in Australia found that the humans who interpret such data build in an extra error margin approaching 30 percent.

Because state and local agencies need their surplus military Humvees and assault rifles to serve search warrants, federal goodies from equitable sharing, etc., etc., they are lining up to collaborate with James Comey‘s literal army of Federal thugs:

Even so, the FBI is working to grow the number of state and local law enforcement agencies whose databases it can tap into. It already has agreements with 16 states allowing investigators to cross-check faces without court warrants, creating what the Georgetown Privacy Center called a “virtual perpetual lineup.”

*

UPDATE: As of April 29, Chaffetz had announced he will not run for re-election in 2018 and is further taking an emergency one-month leave of absence from Congress to remove some hardware from his ankle. Talk of his aspiration for higher office, such as the Utah governorship (November 2020 election) abounds. The militant Maxine Waters (D-CA) speculates the emergency absence illustrates Chaffetz is working for the Kremlin.

Chaffetz’ allegedly partisan investigation of the Jim Henson Company’s “Sid the Science Kid” educational video on Zika sponsored by Centers for Disease Control as his own party’s President Trump aside, we would hope another Federal Government watchdog will step up in his stead to keep the screws on Federal thugs to preserve what privacy we still enjoy.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/house-republicans-would-let-employers-demand-workers-rsquo-genetic-test-results/

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1313

http://www.attn.com/stories/15773/how-trumps-presidency-effects-tattoo-removal?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=internal

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/facial-recognition-hearing-looks-give-lawmakers-clearer-picture-creepy-technology-n736771

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/jason-chaffetz-use-facial-recognition-technology-to-track-illegal-immigrants/article/2618090

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/utah-rep-chaffetz-provides-transparent-reason-leave-absence-n751901

Maxine Waters Floats Harebrained Russia Theory About Jason Chaffetz [VIDEO]

While Trump scandals mount, Chaffetz decides to investigate … a cartoon character

NFL Updates: Detroit Lions Free Agency

The Lions made some bold moves to kick off the free agency period. Baltimore Ravens right guard Rick Wagner will potentially make nearly $50 million over the next five years in Detroit, according to The Detroit News.

Rick Wagner

Photo from DetroitLions.com.

Offensive guard T.J. Lang will come over from division rivals Green Bay Packers, multiple sources reported tonight. Lang will get $9.5 million annually for three years according to Pride of Detroit.

refer to caption

Lang, 29, made his first Pro Bowl in 2016.

Akeem Spence

Akeem Spence (above), who spent the past four seasons as defensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, signed a three-year, $9 million contract with Detroit, per Wikipedia.

Chicago DE Cornelius Washington signed for two years and potentially $6 million.

Although the Lions released longtime linebacker Deandre Levy (below), they signed Paul Worrilow from the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons.

http://sports.cbsimg.net/images/blogs/levy_32816.jpg

Scott Bish of Lions Wire reports that in recent years Worrilow became expendable as the Falcons made a concerted effort to get more athletic on defense. Speedy and quick linebackers Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell pushed Worrilow from his starting job last year[.]

Corner D.J. Hayden, wideout Keshawn Martin and tight end Darren Fells will also be playing for Detroit in 2017.

 

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2017/03/10/lions-deliver-big-money-blue-collar-rick-wagner/99015724/

http://www.detroitlions.com/media-center/photo-gallery/2017-Detroit-Lions-free-agent-signings/1e510789-1a35-4d85-bf19-7c153447eb5b

http://www.detroitlions.com/news/news-short/article-1/Lions-release-LB-DeAndre-Levy/6ad4aa3c-1b39-4027-a55c-004b1acdd714

http://www.prideofdetroit.com/2017/3/12/14901266/tj-lang-contract-details-3-years-28-million-detroit-lions

2017 NFL free agency: Everything we know about Lions' Paul Worrilow