The Thugs of Silicon Valley

Bunch of strange stuff has been going on in High-Tech for the last 5-10 years. I have discussed previously the use of H1 Visa employees from other countries to steal American engineering jobs, paying H1′s  half or less than what a qualified American Engineer would get.  Resulting in several hundred thousand American kids who did the right thing, and got a college education in the Tech field…Being unable to get a job.

Then there was the outright age/salary discrimination against experienced and older workers. Resulting in the strange situation where the very guys who invented much of the current technology in the first place…becoming pariahs in the view of company HR.

If that wasn’t criminal enough, now we find that some of the biggest names in the Tech business have participated in a conspiracy, the result of which is to eliminate the ability of American workers to find a new job.

One of the things Unions did back in the days of the Robber Barrons was to break this sort of “restraint of free trade” up. One of the reasons conservatives are so anxious to destroy unions is they know if Unions move from the manufacturing of physical devices into the High-Tech development world…

Theirr clients won’t be able to get away with this shit.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators. On February 27, 2005, Bill Campbell, a member of Apple’s board of directors and senior advisor to Google, emailed Jobs to confirm that Eric Schmidt “got directly involved and firmly stopped all efforts to recruit anyone from Apple.”

Later that year, Schmidt instructed his Sr VP for Business Operation Shona Brown to keep the pact a secret and only share information “verbally, since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?”

These secret conversations and agreements between some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley were first exposed in a Department of Justice antitrust investigation launched by the Obama Administration in 2010. That DOJ suit became the basis of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of over 100,000 tech employees whose wages were artificially lowered — an estimated $9 billioneffectively stolen by the high-flying companies from their workers to pad company earnings — in the second half of the 2000s. Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied attempts by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe to have the lawsuit tossed, and gave final approval for the class action suit to go forward. A jury trial date has been set for May 27 in San Jose, before US District Court judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the Samsung-Apple patent suit.

In a related but separate investigation and ongoing suit, eBay and its former CEO Meg Whitman, now CEO of HP, are being sued by both the federal government and the state of California for arranging a similar, secret wage-theft agreement with Intuit (and possibly Google as well) during the same period.

The secret wage-theft agreements between Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar (now owned by Disney) are described in court papers obtained by PandoDaily as “an overarching conspiracy” in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act, and at times it reads like something lifted straight out of the robber baron era that produced those laws. Today’s inequality crisis is America’s worst on record since statistics were first recorded a hundred years ago — the only comparison would be to the era of the railroad tycoons in the late 19th century.

Shortly after sealing the pact with Google, Jobs strong-armed Adobe into joining after he complained to CEO Bruce Chizen that Adobe was recruiting Apple’s employees. Chizen sheepishly responded that he thought only a small class of employees were off-limits:

I thought we agreed not to recruit any senior level employees…. I would propose we keep it that way. Open to discuss. It would be good to agree.

Jobs responded by threatening war:

OK, I’ll tell our recruiters they are free to approach any Adobe employee who is not a Sr. Director or VP. Am I understanding your position correctly?

Adobe’s Chizen immediately backed down:

I’d rather agree NOT to actively solicit any employee from either company…..If you are in agreement, I will let my folks know.

The next day, Chizen let his folks — Adobe’s VP of Human Resources — know that “we are not to solicit ANY Apple employees, and visa versa.” Chizen was worried that if he didn’t agree, Jobs would make Adobe pay:

if I tell Steve [Jobs] it’s open season (other than senior managers), he will deliberately poach Adobe just to prove a point. Knowing Steve, he will go after some of our top Mac talent…and he will do it in a way in which they will be enticed to come (extraordinary packages and Steve wooing). Continue reading

Getting the Criminals Off the Streets in DC…Means Arresting the Police

Big City…Big Crime. Corruption on the part of Civil employees is a threat in any government. When it is the Police though, it has an impact on community trust and impacts the ability of the good cops to do their job.

The District of Columbia has more policemen per capita than any city in the world. Between the dozen or so local and Federal Police Departments (FBI, Secret Service, Customs, ATF,  etc), quasi police organizations such as the Federal Protective Service, the Transit Police guarding the city’s bus and subway system, and a host of private police guarding various buildings and facilities – there are actually enough police in DC to station one on every street corner in the city…several times over. During the riots of 1968 after MLK was assassinated, they actually did that with some small help from the National Guard.

A pic of some of DC’s finest. Insofar as this poster knows, none of the Policemen shown in this picture has done anything untoward or illegal.

110 D.C. Police Officers’ Arrests Since 2009 Leads To Questions, Scrutiny

Police officials in the nation’s capital have been facing recent questions about headline-making arrests — not of hardened street criminals but of their own officers.

In a single month, one District of Columbia police officer was accused of taking semi-nude pictures of a 15-year-old runaway and another was charged with running a prostitution operation involving teenage girls. A third was indicted on an attempted murder charge, accused of striking his wife in the head with a light fixture.

Police say the arrests aren’t representative of the entire department, which includes about 4,500 officers and civilian employees. Still, more than 100 officers in the last five years have been arrested on charges ranging from traffic offenses to murder to money laundering, and the latest instances have increased concerns about training, supervision and accountability. The D.C. Council has set a hearing to discuss the problem and Police Chief Cathy Lanier has met with residents to assuage fears of a misbehaving department.

“We don’t think we have a department out of control, and I think that oftentimes is the image that is portrayed,” she said in an interview, noting that the majority of arrests are not for on-duty corruption but instead involve off-duty misconduct that is harder to police.

The hearing Friday will focus on how applicants are screened and what services are available to prevent alcohol abuse and domestic violence, two prevalent problems, said Councilmember Tommy Wells, who chairs the public safety committee.

“I think it’s extremely important that the public have confidence in our police force and we’ve had three high-profile cases of serious police misconduct, albeit generally off-duty,” Wells said.

Police department figures show the arrests of about 110 police officers, for both on- and off-duty conduct, since 2009. Many of the arrests involved traffic violations or involved cases that were dropped or ended in acquittal.

Among the most serious cases was Richmond Phillips, who received life without parole last year for the slayings of his mistress and baby daughter. Wendel Palmer was convicted last year of sexually abusing a girl who participated in his church choir, while Kenneth Furr received a 14-month sentence for an armed altercation that began after prosecutors say he solicited sex from a transgender prostitute.

Lanier has said many of the arrested officers were brought onto the force during a time of lax hiring standards and wouldn’t be qualified to serve today. She said that in some cases the arbitration process has required the department to rehire officers it fired. She said the department has dramatically tightened its recruitment practices to mandate polygraph exams and that only one of about 25 applicants is now hired.

The department also tracks warning signs like missed commitments and abuse of sick leave. And it requires officers to report off-duty arrests, which Lanier contends can make the numbers look worse than in cities that lack that requirement.

“I feel comfortable that our recruiting process, the background screening we do, is as tight as we can get,” Lanier said at the meeting. “But I also realize that there are people that are on the police department that came through at a time when there was not that strict background (check), and those are the people that we want to make sure that if they are involved in misconduct, that we weed those people out.”

But resident Khadijah Tribble, 42, told the chief she was unconvinced the misconduct was isolated.

“Aren’t these trends troubling and isn’t it worth our due diligence to do a thorough, independent investigation of this trend?” Tribble said in an interview.

Robert Kane, the director of the Drexel University criminal justice program who has studied police misconduct, said the number of arrests wasn’t necessarily shocking for a big-city police department.

At least 43 New York City police officers are known to have been arrested between 2011 and 2013 on charges including gun-running, drunken driving, perjury, a ticket-fixing scam and a cannibalism plot. A Los Angeles police officer was charged with stomping a handcuffed woman who later lost consciousness and died. Dozens of Memphis, Tenn., officers have been arrested in recent years.

Kane said that on-duty police misconduct can be reliably defined, off-duty misbehavior by officers is studied less often.

“We know what factors explain police misconduct, when police officers stop people and extort money from them,” he said. “What do we know about officers who walk into a liquor store when off-duty and rob it at gunpoint for some beer?”

In D.C., the first of the recent arrests was on December 2 when officer Marc Washington was charged with taking semi-nude pictures while on-duty of a teenage runaway who had just returned home. Authorities say after responding to the girl’s apartment, he directed her into her bedroom and told her to undress so he could photograph injuries. He was arrested after the girl alerted her mother, who contacted police. Soon after being released from jail, Washington was dead from an apparent suicide.

The following week brought the off-duty arrest of Linwood Barnhill Jr., a 24-year-veteran who was charged after police came to his apartment and found a 16-year-old girl who had been reported missing. The girl told police Barnhill had photographed her and offered to pay her to have sex with other men, allegations also made by a second teenager. His lawyer says Barnhill never threatened anyone.

Lanier acknowledged the arrests, especially for on-duty conduct, have shaken the department. But she said she hopes the sight of handcuffed officers sends a message to other officers who would break the law.

“We would like the officers to know that if there’s somebody in our midst that is committing criminal conduct and we become aware of it, we will lock them up,” Lanier said. “We don’t need somebody else to lock them up. We will lock you up.”

Conservative Down – Yet Another Con faces Criminal Charges

So far this week we have seen one Republican Governor indicted in Va for taking bribes…

A Republican Governor in New Jersey under Federal investigation, in what started as a case of political payback, and has now expanded to corruption charges, and even meetings with a purported Mafia Capo…

And now, one of the formerly shining voices of the right, Dines D’Souza being indicted for election fraud.

I mean…It’s only January, and you have two guys formerly touted as potential Presidential material, and a highly influential voice on the Christian Right potentially looking at jail time.

How bad is it? You even have Glen Beck apologizing!

This should be a TV reality show.

The latest conservative icon to face charges is Dinesh D’Souza. Author of “Illiberal Education“, the controversial “The End of Racism“, and the Anti-Obama hate Movie

2016: Obama’s America” which was a major hit with the racist conservative sector.

Dinesh D’Souza’s Series of Unfortunate Events

Author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza was indicted for encouraging fraudulent campaign donations—just the latest in a spiral that has all but sunk his career in the conservative movement.

Conservative author, filmmaker and provocateur Dinesh D’Souza was indicted Thursday on charges of using straw donors to make illegal contributions to a college classmate’s 2012 campaign.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, accuses D’Souza of “willfully and knowingly” surpassing the $5,000 limit for individual campaign donations by directing others to donate to the campaign of Wendy Long, who unsuccessfully challenged New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. According to the document, D’Souza and his then-wife, Dixie, each contributed $5,000 to Long’s campaign, and he reimbursed others for $20,000 he had encouraged them to donate.

D’Souza worked with Long on the infamousDartmouth Review, an edgy conservative newspaper at Dartmouth College known for launching smart young right-wingers to prominence. In 1990, the pairapologized for printing an anti-Semitic quote from Hitler’s Mein Kampf in an edition of the publication distributed on Yom Kippur—an antic typical of theReview’s ethos of deliberate provocation. Long went on to become an attorney at several conservative institutions, including the Claremont Institute. She made her first run for office in 2012, and lost in a landslide to Gillibrand, New York’s incumbent Democratic senator.

According to the New York Times], Long raised about $785,000 in the race, with D’Souza hosting one of her fundraisers. D’Souza’s lawyer denied any criminal intent in the apparent plot to reimburse donors to Long’s campaign, saying it was “at most … an act of misguided friendship.”

The indictment is just the latest in a tangle of personal and professional difficulties that swarmed around D’Souza at what was arguably the height of his success: the popularity of his 2012 anti-Obama documentary 2016: Obama’s America. The film, which was released in the summer of 2012 and became a slow-burn hit with conservatives in the run-up to the presidential election, earned over $33 million at the box office and was the highest-grossing documentary since 1982. But just a couple of months into the film’s promotion, D’Souza was out of a job: he resigned his lucrative position as president of the King’s College, a small evangelical Christian school in Manhattan, over reportsthat he was engaged to a 29-year-old woman while still being married to his wife of 20 years.

D’Souza’s departure from the King’s College was the symbolic end of his career in the institutional conservative movement, which had grown increasingly exasperated with his string of conspiratorial books that failed to live up to his reputation as a star of conservative scholarship. (One advanced the notion that America’s moral decadence led to 9/11; another launched the meme, which has long since become a political punch line, that Obama was a “Kenyan anti-colonialist.”) D’Souza’s tenure at the King’s College was fraught with conflict, as some faculty members viewed him as a name-brand hire who lacked appropriate academic credentials and who was more interested in his own money-making projects than in fundraising for the college.

The conflict came to a head in October, when the evangelical magazine Worldalleged that D’Souza had shared a hotel room with Denise Odie Joseph, a young woman who had written a fawning blog about about him, and introduced her as his fiancée despite still being married. The college had apparently been aware of D’Souza’s marital problems, but decided to end its relationship with him once news of the scandal engulfed the school.

Despite that flameout, D’Souza’s prospects seemed as bright as ever: his wildly successful documentary was one of the most profitable projects of his career, at least since his hagiographic biography of Ronald Reagan was published in 1999. D’Souza had discovered the lucrative business of hitting the sweet spots of the conservative movement with a mixture of Christian apologetics, celebration of conservative heroes, and paranoid attacks on liberals. Even if it was unlikely he would continue to be given quasi-scholarly positions in conservative institutions, the financial prospects of political propagandizing had never looked better.

But even the glow of his documentary’s success was interrupted by legal headaches. While the King’s College scandal was erupting, D’Souza was sued by Douglas Sain, the producer of 2016: Obama’s America. Sain alleged that D’Souza had mismanaged funds from the movie and kept his partners out of crucial decisions about the film’s marketing and distribution. A judge eventually threw out the suit, concluding that the charges “lacked specificity.”

D’Souza was last seen in an informercial for a friend’s artificial Christmas tree

Florida Again – Road Rage Hillbilly Vasectomy

 

Some years ago when I used to regularly target shoot at a range, I noticed over a period of several months that they had 10-15 used pistols made by a popular manufacturer in the cabinet for sale. The pistols were a compact “carry” model identical to that carried by some police departments, just about 1//2 the size.  when you see a large number of most any product in the “Return bin” it usually means there is a defect or quality problem.

Asked the friendly salesman about that seeming discrepancy, as the manufacturer had a good reputation for producing quality product. Seems that the safety on both the bigger an smaller model were in the same place. Which, it turns out was fine when the gun was carried in a holster like that used by the military or police. When the smaller “carry” model was tucked under the belt though, it seems that the safety was exactly in the wrong place and would flip to the fire position when puled out of a trouser waistband. The result was a fairly prolific series of what I euphemistically all “Hillbilly Vasectomies”  as a result of self emasculation by gun. .. This one kind of makes you wonder …

Man shoots self in road-rage incident on I-4

Where an Interstate-4 motorist shot himself in a road-rage incident today remained in question for hours as police and sheriff’s deputies tried to determine who should investigate.

Orlando police first treated the shooting as their case about 11:30 a.m. when the man pulled off the highway and stopped his white BMW sedan at the Princeton Street exit near College Parkand Florida Hospital, records show.

Within an hour, police turned the case over to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office believing the shooting happened there.

But the investigation was turned over again about 1:15 p.m. to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in the belief the shooting happened south of the Seminole Countyline.

The confusion apparently stemmed from Richard Coles, the wounded motorist who was undergoing treatment for his injury, according to the sheriff’s office.

“He was taken to local hospital where he has declined to prosecute and no longer wishes to speak with investigators,” sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Williamson wrote.

Details remain few but Coles, 36, told Orlando police he had been driving toward Orlando when another motorist brandished a gun over an undisclosed incident, according to police.

Feeling threatened, the man grabbed his own gun and it fired. The bullet struck one of the man’s legs causing a non-life threatening wound, said Orlando police Sgt. Jim Young.

Police officers and sheriff’s deputies have not located witnesses to what precipitated the shooting, according to the sheriff’s office.

 

Ex-Republican Gov, Bob McDonnell Charged For Fraud in Federal Court

Looks like Gov Chris Christie may have a Republican roommate waiting for him in the Federal Prison. Headed for the next “Orange Jumpsuit Award for Politicians” is the former (3 days) Governor of Virginia…And is wife.

And since the  former Republican Virginia Attorney General and losing Gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli also accepted “gifts” from the same folks…He may well be next.

The only thing that is missing from this one is Mrs. Mcdonnell stuffing cash in her bra ala Orange Jumpsuited former Prince Georges executive Jack Johnson’s wife… So far. Republicans are just so much more classy with their ill gotten money!

Bob McDonnell, Wife Charged In Gifts Case

Days after he left office, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, were charged Tuesday in federal court with illegally accepting gifts, trips, and loans from a Virginia businessman and political donor.

The indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va., charging them each with 13 federal crimes.

Prosecutors had spent months investigating the relationship between the McDonnell family and Jonnie Williams, the now-former CEO of an embattled dietary supplements company called Star Scientific. Williams gave McDonnell and his family more than $150,000 in gifts and payments in recent years, at the same time that McDonnell and his wife took steps to support the company.

When their ties to the businessman became a public scandal in 2013, the McDonnells returned the gifts and repaid the money given to them by Williams.

 

You can read the gory details of the Charging Document here.

Another Gun Lynching in Florida?

That Florida SYG Lynch law is having the intended effect…

That Assad guy over in Syria needs to pass one of these laws. Then he’d have the cons screaming to support genocide.

Now, I have no idea what the ethnicities or races are of the individuals involved are – but this is the result of conservative gun mania empowering murderers.

Back in the days when people called murder what it is

 

Florida Man Claims Self-Defense After Hopping A Fence To Shoot, Kill 21-Year-Old In A Hoodie

On Thursday, an Orlando man shot and killed a 21-year-old who was fleeing his yard. He didn’t appear to be stealing anything, according to witness accounts. He didn’t appear to be threatening anybody. But Claudius Smith said he feared he was a burglar, followed him over the fence to a neighboring apartment complex, where he shot him after he said he felt threatened, according to a confession documented in an Orlando Police Department report. Smith even said he feared victim Ricardo Sanes was armed “because his pants were falling down” and his hands were in his hoodie pockets, according to a report obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.

Now, questions are emerging about whether Smith will also invoke the state’s Stand Your Ground law, which gained notoriety over the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, shot in a Florida residential development while wearing a hoodie. Law enforcement officials don’t seem to believe Stand Your Ground applies. Smith has already been charged with second-degree murder. But that doesn’t stop a judge from granting Stand Your Ground immunity later. In one of the most recent Florida court decisions on Stand Your Ground, an appeals court granted Stand Your Ground immunity to a man who went to his car to get a gun before the fatal incident.

According to statements by Smith’s girlfriend, Angela Kemraj, to police, the incident started when she saw a man in the yard on surveillance cameras and reported it to Smith. She said they saw the individual in dark clothes and a hoodie leaving their yard without anything in his hands, and climbing over the fence to a neighboring apartment complex. Smith then left the apartment and climbed over the fence. Two minutes later, Kemraj said she heard gunshots. Soon after, Smith came back to the apartment and said Sanes tried to rob him, without mentioning the shooting. During initial police questioning, Smith later denied knowledge about the shooting, and only later confessed, claiming he shot in self-defense.

Exorcism in Maryland Results in Death of Two Children

Proving that the Tea Party didn’t quite get every nutcase in America elected last term…

And the possible impact of watching one too many Twilight reruns.

This is another datapoint in why we, as a country – need to get a hell of a lot better on access to, and treatment of mental illness in our midst. Up to and including re-establishing long term facilities supporting the poor and middle class. Conservative “saint” Raygun kicked the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street as homeless, and the country has been paying a high toll for that bit of conservative “logic” ever since.

Police: Md. mother kills 2 kids while performing exorcism

 

GERMANTOWN, Md. (WUSA9) — A mother killed two of her own children while performing an exorcism in Germantown, Md., police said.

Montgomery County police have charged two women for murder in the Friday deaths of a 1-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl.

Zakieya Latrice Avery, the mother of the children is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the killings, and two counts of attempted first-degree murder, as two other children remain hospitalized after Friday’s attack. Avery, 28, of the 19000 block of Cherry Bend Drive in Germantown, is being held without bond.

Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, who was also at the scene, has been released from the hospital and has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of the two kids and two counts of attempted murder for two children who are still in the hospital. She is also being held without bond.

Police identified the deceased children as Norell N. Harris, a 1-year-old male, and Zyana Z. Harris, a 2-year-old female.

The hospitalized children are identified as Taniya Harris, a 5-year-old female, and Martello Harris, a 8-year-old male.

People have laid down flowers, candles, and teddy bears in front of the home where the two children were killed and the two others were injured. A vigil was held Saturday night to remember the small children who were stabbed to death.

“It’s kind of horrifying for any father, any grandfather,” State’s Attorney John McCarthy said Friday. “These are hard cases,” he said, his voice breaking.

There has been no update on the condition of Taniya or Martello.

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