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

Q Sues Michael Jackson Estate

Quincy Jones ‘ musical direction took Michael Jackson from being a star to being an international superstar, Had there been no Q – the production quality of Jackson’s three biggest albums would have been different, and arguably less stellar.

So this one is a bit of a shocker.

Quincy Jones sues Michael Jackson’s estate

Quincy Jones sued Michael Jackson’s estate on Friday claiming he is owed millions in royalties and production fees on some of the superstar’s greatest hits.

Jones’ lawsuit seeks at least $10 million from the singer’s estate and Sony Music Entertainment, claiming the entities improperly re-edited songs to deprive him of royalties and production fees. The music has been used in the film “This Is It” and a pair of Cirque du Soleil shows based on the King of Pop’s songs, the lawsuit states.

Jones also claims that he should have received a producer’s credit on the music in “This Is It.” His lawsuit seeks an accounting of the estate’s profits from the works so that Jones can determine how much he is owed.

The producer worked with Jackson on three of his most popular solo albums, “Off the Wall,” ”Thriller” and “Bad.”

Jackson’s estate wrote in a statement that it was saddened by Jones’ lawsuit. “To the best of its knowledge, Mr. Jones has been appropriately compensated over approximately 35 years for his work with Michael,” the statement said.

An after-hours message left at Sony Music’s New York offices was not immediately returned.

Jackson’s hits “Billie Jean,” ”Thriller” and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” are among the songs Jones claims were re-edited to deprive him of royalties and his producer’s fee. Jones’ lawsuit states the producer’s contracts called for him to have the first opportunity to re-edit or alter the songs, in part to protect his reputation.

 

Shopping While Black…Again!

What it is beginning to look like is the high end store section in NYC has been the victim of some heavy duty professional shoplifters. Whether because of budget concerns or stupidity, the Security Chief there went out on the cheap and hired George Zimmerman Security…

Resulting in a solution more expensive than having someone stand at the door to hand out free bags to the shoplifters.

 

Macy’s Also Gets Slapped With Racial Discrimination Lawsuit By Black Shopper

Barneys isn’t the only store being accused of racial discrimination. Now, Macy’s has been slapped with a lawsuit implicating the luxury store of racial profiling.

The New York Post reports that actor Robert Brown, who’s most known for his starring role opposite Sean Connery in the film “Finding Forrester,” has filled a civil suit for an unspecified sum against the luxury retail store and the New York Police Department, citing that he was unlawfully searched by undercover police officers on June 8, 2013.

The 29 year old, who is black, was stopped after making a purchase at the Sunglass Hut store located inside Macy’s flagship location in New York’s Herald Square.

According to the Manhattan Supreme Court suit, Brown presented his ID to the cops but “was told that his identification was false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase.” The Brooklyn resident says he was then arrested and detained by cops for over an hour before finally being released without any charges.

This isn’t the first time Macy’s has dealt with a racial discrimination lawsuit. In 2005,the company paid New York state $600,000 to settle a complaint that its New York department stores were racially profiling shoppers and unlawful handcuffing them while they were being detained on suspicion of shoplifting.

Army Drill Sergeant Sues Army Over Discrimination

The Army’s first woman drill sargeant is suing the Army over racial and sexual discrimination by her two superiors…

Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King

Army drill sergeant boss Teresa King takes legal action to get job back, alleges racism, sexism

The first woman to command the Army’s drill sergeant training took legal action Monday to reclaim her job, alleging she was improperly suspended last year because of sexism and racism and demanding that two of her superiors be investigated for abuse of their authority.

Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King still does not know what exactly her superiors were investigating when they suspended her Nov. 29, according to her attorney, James Smith. He said the Army has declined to say specifically what it was looking into, beyond a general statement that it involved her conduct.

Smith on Monday filed a legal complaint with the Army against two of King’s superiors, and wants to have King reinstated to her position. Smith is also asking South Carolina’s two senior members of Congress, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. James Clyburn, for a congressional probe of King’s treatment.

Army officials said they wanted to study the complaint first before commenting.

King, who is black, made headlines in 2009 when the Army named her as the first woman to head the Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, the Army’s largest training installation.

Smith has statements from King’s deputy at the school and an Army colonel who worked with King contending she is a victim of sexism and racism on the part of soldiers who resented her promotion and the national attention it drew.

“It’s abundantly clear that there was nothing to warrant her removal. The Army should reinstate her and restore her honorable name,” Smith said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The attorney said King, 50, has declined to comment on the actions, saying the complaint stands on its own. But in a rebuttal to the Army, King wrote her superiors, “My instincts tell me that if I were a male, that none of this would have happened.”

Smith said he believes the Army is delaying its investigation in order to force King to take retirement when she becomes eligible later this year.

Smith, who has handled military legal cases as an executive officer in the National Guard, said Army regulations require that investigations must be handled “expeditiously” and the one against King has gone on far too long.

After she took charge of the training program, reporters and TV crews descended on King, making much of her background as the daughter of a North Carolina sharecropper who dispensed stern discipline to his 12 children. She was featured on national TV, on newspaper front pages and in women’s magazines, sometimes with photos of her car sporting “noslack” vanity plates. (more)

Vatican Threatens to Sue Benetton Over “Kissing” Ad

Benetton’s stock in trade has been “shock” ads for a while. This time, I think they went way overboard!

Some of the offensive pics can be seen here. No word yet from the Muslim Iman (Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb) in the pic. I can’t imagine Sunni followers are thrilled, either.

While more tolerant of the slings and arrows than some Religions - The Catholic Church is taking this one seriously.

Vatican Pledges Legal Action Against Benetton

The Vatican is taking legal action against the Benetton clothing company to prevent the circulation of an ad featuring a fake photo montage of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a top Egyptian imam on the lips.

The Vatican said Thursday the image is “offensive not only to the dignity of the pope and the Catholic Church, but also to the sensibilities of believers.”

Benetton withdrew the ad immediately after its debut Wednesday once the Vatican denounced it as an unacceptable provocation.

Benetton had said its “Unhate” campaign was aimed at fostering tolerance, but the Vatican’s daily newspaper Thursday called it “an insult to believers in the name of profit.”

The campaign’s fake photos feature a half-dozen purported political nemeses in lip-locked embraces, including President Barack Obama and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

The photo of the pope kissing Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb of Cairo’s al-Azhar institute, the pre-eminent theological school of Sunni Islam, was on Benetton’s website all day Wednesday but was pulled about an hour after the Vatican’s protest.

Al-Azhar suspended interfaith talks with the Vatican earlier this year after Benedict called for greater protections for Egypt’s minority Christians.

Shock ads have long been a part of Benetton’s publicity strategy, with photographer Oliviero Toscani’s famous campaigns for them featuring death row inmates and people dying of AIDS.

In a statement, the Treviso, Italy-based clothing manufacturer said it was sorry that its image had offended the faithful and that as a result “we have decided with immediate effect to withdraw this image from every publication.”

The other images, including the one of Obama, are still on its website.

Is Herman Cain Another Clarence Thomas?

Image: Herman Cain

Who...Me?

Those who remember the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, recall the Anita Hill affair…

Seems Clarence had a problem with the ladies.

Reports are coming out now that Herman Cain may indeed have the same problem. To be fair, this is still in the category where it could be a smear…

But Cain’s response below does leave a few questions.

Herman Cain denies report of sexual harassment

Herman Cain, a businessman whose rise to the top of the Republican presidential polls has stunned the U.S. political establishment, was on the defensive Monday after a report he had faced sexual harassment accusations in the 1990s.

Cain planned to make several scheduled appearances in Washington on Monday following the report that alleges he was twice accused of sexual harassment while he was the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday, his campaign disputed a report on the website Politico that said Cain had been accused of sexually suggestive behavior toward at least two female employees.

Cain — a self-styled outsider relatively new to the national stage — is facing a new level of scrutiny after a burst of momentum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. He’s been steadily at or near the top of national surveys and polls in early presidential nominating states, competitive with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The report said the women signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them five-figure financial payouts to leave the association and barred them from discussing their departures. Neither woman was identified.

The report was based on anonymous sources and, in one case, what the publication said was a review of documentation that described the allegations and the resolution.

Cain’s campaign told the AP that the allegations were not true, and amounted to unfair attacks.

“Inside-the-Beltway media have begun to launch unsubstantiated personal attacks on Cain,” spokesman J.D. Gordon said in a written statement. “Dredging up thinly sourced allegations stemming from Mr. Cain’s tenure as the Chief Executive Officer at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, political trade press are now casting aspersions on his character and spreading rumors that never stood up to the facts.”

Asked if Cain’s campaign was denying the report, Gordon said, “Yes.”

“These are baseless allegations,” Gordon said in a second interview later Sunday evening. “To my knowledge, this is not an accurate story.”

Cain plans to continue with several planned appearances in Washington on Monday. He is slated to discuss his tax plan at the American Enterprise Institute, appear at the National Press Club and hold a healthcare briefing on Capitol Hill.

The former pizza company executive has been pointing to his long record in business to argue that he has the credentials needed to be president during a time of economic strife.

In its report, Politico said it confronted Cain early Sunday outside of the CBS News Washington bureau, where he had just been interviewed on “Face the Nation.”

“I am not going to comment on that,” he told Politico when asked specifically about one of the woman’s claims.

When asked if he had ever been accused of harassment by a woman, he responded, Politico said, by asking the reporter, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”

Atlanta Woman Arrested and Jailed Wrongly For 2 Months

It took the Police 2 months to figure out this woman wasn’t the suspect they were after?

While the news crew apparently had no problem finding the woman they were after!

Apparently the Police didn’t even bother to confirm the identity of the woman they had arrested, Ms. Culpepper, with the victim to make sure that they had arrested the right person.

Woman spends 53 DAYS in jail because she was ‘mistaken for another woman with the same first name’

A woman has claimed she was jailed for almost two months because of a mix-up with another woman with the same first name.

Teresa Culpepper was locked up after police suspected her of being involved in an aggravated assault.

Despite not having the same surname as the alleged suspect, as well as a different birth date, she was held for 53 days.

Her lawyer Ashleigh Merchant said police in Atlanta held her simply because her first name matched that of their prime suspect.

‘She had medical records. She had numerous other documents that showed her name and proved her actual identity, but nobody bothered to check, and they arrested her and took her to jail,’ said Ms Merchant.

‘Her birth date didn’t match. Her address didn’t match. Her description didn’t match. Other than the name Teresa, nothing matched.’

Ms Culpepper was released after the victim of the alleged assault appeared in court to reveal Ms Culpepper was not the person who assaulted her. Continue reading

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