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Category Archives: Great American Rip-Off

Democracy Spring Protest

Apparently utterly ignored by Cable News, the Democracy Spring Protest went on today with 400 arrests of the protesters. One of my young ones was at this, and I haven’t gotten a call for bail – so I assume they didn’t get busted…

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off, Occupy America

 

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US Bans Hoverboard Imports – Hoverboards Banned

And not because of them catching fire!

The U.S. Just Banned Hoverboard Imports

And it has nothing to do with their fiery explosions.

The International Trade Commission announced Wednesday that the United States is banning imports of so-called hoverboards.

But while some brands of the auto-balancing scooters are known to spontaneously combust, the U.S.’s decision had nothing to do with safety and everything to do with a request from Segway, the hoverboard’s nerdy uncle.

Hoverboards are often described in media reports as Segways without handlebars, or a cooler Segway. But it turns out the new scooters have more in common with their Paul Blart-endorsed predecessor than meets the eye.

Segway filed a complaint with the ITC in 2014, claiming that hoverboards, the vast majority of which are manufactured in China, infringed on some of their patents and copyrights. The particular patents they listed mostly have to do with technologies that allow Segways to self-balance and read user inputs.

“In recent years, there has been an influx of low quality two-wheel personal transporters built on the intellectual property developed by DEKA and Segway,” the company, which licenses the technology from research firm DEKA, said at the time. “If this influx is allowed to continue, this iconic American product and the U.S. jobs dependent on it will be threatened.”

While Segway is based in New Hampshire and continues to manufacture its products there, it was bought last April by Ninebot, a Chinese company that Segway actually listed as a respondent in its 2014 complaint.

The ITC’s ruling goes on to name several brands that are no longer allowed to be imported into the country, including UPTECH, U.P. Technology, U.P. Robotics, FreeGo China, Ecoboomer and Roboscooters.

Segway said it would work with both U.S. customs and the ITC to help implement the ban, although demand for these products is likely at a new low. Just last month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced voluntary safety standards for all manufacturers, importers and retailers of self-balancing scooters due to their pesky tendency to catch on fire. Online retailer Amazon even agreed to refund all hoverboard purchases.

All of which means there might be a gaping new hole in the self-balancing scooter market. One that Segway could be poised to fill if it would only get cracking on asmaller, cooler-looking model.

The last isn’t going to happen. Segway will continue to sell vastly overpriced product now that there is no competition.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off, News

 

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Even Chinese Are Avoiding “Made in China”

One of the problems with China’s hyper-competitive, poorly regulated manufacturing is product quality and criminal forgery. Most recently seen in America as cheap, poor quality components in Hoverboards causing the products to catch fire while recharging.The number of products containing fake ingredients, including fake food, fake and sometimes poisonous drugs, product counterfeiting on a massive scale, and childen’s toys and china plates containing toxic levels of lead, cadmium, and antimony.

The problem has gotten so bad it has spurned the development of a new retail economy, where Chinese are buying American Made goods through cutout buyers living in America and having the known safe and good quality products shipped to China. An industry which is now a $7.9 billion business and growing exponentially.

When Chinese consumers want Western goods, they turn to these U.S. intermediaries

Jennifer Zhong’s phone buzzes with a message from one of her 4,000 followers on Weibo, a Chinese service similar to Twitter.

A client in China wants to buy a gold Baublebar necklace, but it’s expensive and inconvenient to order products from U.S. websites.

Zhong taps over to another Chinese social network, WeChat, to discuss the transaction, and they settle on a price: $52.

In her downtown Los Angeles apartment, Zhong flips open her laptop and finds the necklace on Baublebar’s website at the sale price of $32. When the package arrives, one of the employees of her online store, Jia Jia Buys It for You, removes the receipt, tears off the tags and repackages it for shipment to China.

Social media-fueled transactions such as these have grown so popular in China that they’ve become an industry known as daigou, a Chinese phrase that means “to buy on behalf of.”

In 2015, luxury daigou purchases were valued at up to $7.6 billion, or nearly half of China’s overall luxury purchases, according to an estimate by Bain and Co., a consulting firm that tracks consumer trends in China.

And in the San Gabriel Valley and other Chinese communities nationwide, immigrants rich and poor have embraced daigou as a way to earn a living at the intersection of the world’s largest economies, reaching for American prosperity by serving China’s wealthy.

The business first took root in 2008, when Chinese milk containing a toxic additive killed at least six infants and sickened hundreds of thousands more.

The scandal created huge demand for overseas milk powder, which quickly became and remains one of daigou‘s most popular products. Quality control scandals for products such as toothpaste, cosmetics and medicine also have motivated Chinese consumers to shop overseas.

But daigou really began to take off in 2011, when Chinese e-commerce platforms such asTaobao gave buyers a platform to grow their business beyond their friends and family, says Charlie Gu, director of China Luxury Advisors, a company that helps high-end brands reach Chinese consumers.

Frustrated by luxury-good counterfeiters, Chinese consumers stepped up their purchases through intermediaries in the U.S., Japan, France, South Korea and other countries.

The rise of Chinese social networks such as Weibo and WeChat also facilitated the person-to-person connections that are daigou‘s lifeblood, Gu says.

And in the U.S. and Southern California, the massive influx of Chinese students at universities and colleges provided the industry with a labor force.

Some entrepreneurs open shipping businesses to facilitate the flow of goods, while Chinese students, tour guides and anyone with contacts in China earn extra income as buyers, lining up Coach purses, Prada bags, Michael Kors shoes and other luxury products that are significantly cheaper in America.

Chinese students, who typically come from middle- to upper-class families that can afford to buy goods overseas, serve as daigou agents for their personal networks. Recommendations expand their networks and increase their revenues.

The person-to-person nature of the business makes it harder for the government to crack down on daigou, which undermines domestic firms by allowing Chinese buyers to avoid higher prices and import taxes.

“The Chinese government can’t tell your friends and family not to buy things for you,” Gu says.

Zhong, 26, came to the U.S. to study at USC and noticed students using daigou to earn extra money.

“This is a business where you can’t really lose money,” she says. “It’s just a matter of how much you want to make.”… Read More Here

 

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off, News

 

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Hoverboard Fire…Again

BTx3 suggested crossing those Hoverboard things off the Christmas list a while back…If you got one of these, you may want to consider buying a loooong extension cord…To charge it outdoors.

Hoverboard fire destroys $1 million home

The Nashville Fire Department says two fires in the last three months were caused by hoverboards.

One of the fires destroyed a $1 million home early last month. According to a statement from the Fire Department, two teens living in the home hid upstairs after hearing noises from downstairs. The noise wasn’t a burglar but their FITURBO F1 hoverboard exploding into flames. A 16-year-old girl had to jump out the second-floor window into her father’s arms due to smoke and a 14-year-old boy was helped down by the dad with the use of a ladder. Both teens suffered minor injuries and the 4,000 square foot home was destroyed.

An investigation found friends of this same family also had an issue when a hoverboard purchased in the same batch caught fire after the battery compartment caught fire. Only the hoverboard was damaged during that fire.

Tennessee Commerce & Insurance Deputy Commissioner Gary West warned “consumers about so-called ‘hoverboard’ devices becoming potential fire hazards to Tennessee consumers.”

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off

 

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Highway to Hell

The ego of this minister is larger than believable. First asking his congregation to buy him a $68 million jet…

And now a highway.

The home Creflo’s parishioners paid for with plenty of parking for his several Rolls Royces.

Moneybags Pastor Creflo Dollar Might Get His Very Own Highway

Controversial megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar may soon have a namesake highway to coast down in his two Rolls-Royces.

It isn’t exactly a street paved with gold and, alas, it doesn’t include any pearly gates, but controversial mega-church pastor Creflo Dollar might be getting his own highway.

A Georgia state senator filed a resolution to rename a portion of Old National Highway in Dollar’s honor.

“It is abundantly fitting and proper that this enduring example of God’s message be recognized by dedicating a road in his honor,” state Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta), who appears to have nothing better to do, wrote in her proposed legislation. Last year, James successfully lobbied the legislature to change the name of a section of Spring Street to Gladys Knight Highway.

At least one Atlanta blogger is calling foul.

“There are many, many God-fearing Christians of every denomination who believe [Dollar’s] message is sinful at best, exploitative at worst, and want as much distance between their government and this man as possible,” wrote George Chidi forGeorgiaPol.com.

World Changers Church International, where Dollar is the founding senior pastor, sits in James’s south Fulton County district just outside of Atlanta. Its 8,500-seat World Dome is purportedly home to around 30,000 members, many of whom are pressed to “tithe” 10 percent of their gross earnings to support the ministry. At one point, in 2006, the praying enterprise took in nearly $70 million in cash collections.

While Dollar—who is often derisively called “Rev. Cash-Flow”—has never disclosed his income, he has been widely criticized for enriching himself on the backs of his working-poor and middle-class congregation. The sanctuary, built for $18 million without bank financing, stands in a predominantly black, economically depressed neighborhood. Meanwhile, Dollar owns two Rolls-Royces and flies around the world in a private jet. He made headlines last year when the church attempted to raise $65 million for a brand new luxury Gulfstream.

Dollar “renounced” his church salary in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press and said he relies on personal investments, including income from book sales. A U.S. Senate committee investigated Dollar, along with Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Baptist Church and four other faith leaders, but ultimately found no wrongdoing.

“Some people hear the name Creflo Dollar, and immediately sing his praises,” Andre Walker blogged at Georgia Unfiltered.

“Others hear the name Creflo Dollar, and think he’s a two-bit shyster who uses the Bible and poor religious people to support his lavish lifestyle through the so-called prosperity gospel.”

Dollar, who faced allegations that he punched and choked his daughter in June 2012, hasn’t said a word about James’s proposal. According to police reports, the pastor “slapped” his 15-year-old daughter in the face and “choked her for about five seconds.” Another of Dollar’s daughters, who was 19 at the time, allegedly witnessed the attack. In the heat of the accusations, the preacher denied that the altercation unfolded as his daughters reported and issued a public statement, saying he would never hurt them. His supporters pointed to a father’s “duty” to discipline his children….

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2016 in American Greed, Great American Rip-Off

 

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What Are They Teaching Children?

This is the second time I have heard of a situation like this…This one was in Pocatello, Idaho. I think some of these folks have no business being around school children.

Dalene Bowden

LUNCH LADY FIRED FOR GIVING FREE LUNCH TO HUNGRY STUDENT

Last week, Dalene Bowden, a food service worker at Irving Middle School, was placed on leave after she gave a free hot lunch to a 12-year-old girl who said she was hungry and didn’t have any money.

Bowden has now received a registered letter from the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District informing her that she has been fired.

The brief, one-page letter was signed by District 25 Director of Human Resources Susan Petit. It states that Bowden was dismissed due to her theft of school district property and inaccurate transactions when ordering, receiving and serving food.

Bowden’s story garnered hundreds of comments on social media and an online petition was launched Saturday demanding that Bowden be reinstated as a lunch lady at Irving.

Bowden said she offered to pay for the $1.70 lunch, but her supervisor rejected her offer. And she was placed on termination leave last Tuesday pending a meeting with the District 25 School Board.

Read the original Idaho State Journal story here.

District School Board member Jacob Gertsch declined to comment on Bowden’s termination Monday, calling it a personnel matter. And administrators could not be reached.

“This is just breaking my heart,” Bowden said. “And they couldn’t even bother to put my check in with the letter.”

The letter states that Bowden will be paid within 10 days.

Raushelle Guzman, of Pocatello, started an online petition hoping to convince the district to rehire Bowden. As of Monday, more than 1,800 people had signed the online petition.

Guzman said she doesn’t know Bowden, but she does have two children who attend District 25 schools.

“I think (Bowden) did the right thing and I think we need to make sure that every child that wants lunch can have lunch,” Guzman said. “I think the district’s policy needs to be changed. We do not need to humiliate or demean any child or worker in that situation. Students must be provided with an adequate meal.”

Bowden has worked for District 25 for the past three years and said she’s never been written up or reprimanded for her job performance. But she said she did receive a verbal warning once for giving a student a free cookie.

She plans to seek legal counsel regarding the termination letter accusing her of theft.

“I broke the rules, but I offered to pay for the meal and I don’t think I deserved to lose my job over it,” Bowden said.

Last week, Interim Superintendent Douglas Howell said District 25 works to make sure children who live in economically disadvantaged homes receive free or reduced hot lunches.

District 25 also participates in the Idaho Foodbank’s weekend backpack program that sends food items home with students in need each Friday.

Shelley Allen, spokeswoman for the district, said last week that students who exceed an $11 charge limit are provided something to eat, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and milk.

Parents are notified once the lunch bill reaches the $11 cutoff.

Bowden said if a child is over the credit limit, workers are supposed to take their tray away and dump it.

“I know I screwed up, but what are you supposed to do when the kid tells you that they’re hungry and they don’t have any money?” Bowden said.

 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in Domestic terrorism, Great American Rip-Off

 

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Twerking Attack at DC Gas Station – Women Attack Man

This one is indeed strange…I think the guy was right to be suspicious about what was going on.

Victim of twerking attack at DC gas station speaks out

Two women are accused of sexually abusing a man inside a gas station, and police say they have made one arrest. Surveillance video captured the women “twerking” and touching the man— and that victim is now speaking out to FOX 5.

The man, who has asked not to be identified, said he was getting gas at the Shell station in the 1700 block of New York Avenue NE on October 7 around 4 p.m. when he was attacked. The video shows the women coming over to the man, and then they are seen twerking and groping him. The man said the suspects also flashed him while he pumped gas and followed him as he called police.

“You don’t know who these people are. I was afraid of my safety. Like I said, I thought they were either transvestites, or women, or men dressed like women,” the victim said.

According to the victim, he asked the cashier for help, and the man behind the counter told him, “What do you want me to do?”

The victim said there were men outside of the gas station who he believed to be pimps, and he was concerned about what would happen to him if he acted in self-defense.

“And then, when I had the idea that they were women, I thought they would have a pimp who was pushing them to be prostitutes who could have been outside with one of the gentlemen that were out there watching and witnessing, could have been with guns to come and shoot me. I did not want to be shot that day,” the victim said.

The victim said he is a teacher and does not want to show his face because of the backlash he has received on social media for filing a complaint.

Police arrested 22-year-old Ayanna Marie Knight of Las Vegas on Tuesday. She is facing a third-degree sex abuse charge. The other suspect has not been caught.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2015 in Great American Rip-Off

 

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