Friday, May 5, 2017

Last Call For The Greyball Special, Con't

Two months ago the NY Times revealed how ride-sharing giant Uber was using software called "Greyball" to evade police in cities where the service was limited or prohibited entirely by law, and had been using it for years.  It seems the Sessions Justice Department wants to have a few words with Uber about Greyball and its use as the company is now facing a criminal probe.

The U.S. Department of Justice has begun a criminal investigation into Uber Technologies Inc's use of a software tool that helped its drivers evade local transportation regulators, two sources familiar with the situation said.

Uber has acknowledged the software, known as "Greyball," helped it identify and circumvent government officials who were trying to clamp down on Uber in areas where its service had not yet been approved, such as Portland, Oregon.

The company prohibited the use of Greyball for this purpose shortly after the New York Times revealed its existence in March, saying the program was created to check ride requests to prevent fraud and safeguard drivers. The Times report triggered a barrage of negative publicity for the company.

The criminal probe could become a significant problem facing the company that is already struggling with an array of recent business and legal issues.

An Uber spokesman and the Justice Department declined to comment. Uber lawyers said in letters to Portland authorities, which Portland made public in a report last week, that the Greyball technology was used ”exceedingly sparingly” in that city, before the service was approved there in 2015.

The nature of any potential federal criminal violation, and the likelihood of anyone being charged, is unclear. The investigation is still in its early stages, the sources said.

Bloomberg news service reported the existence of a federal probe last week, but did not identify it as criminal.

Not sure who to root for here as it's the Trump regime versus arguably the worst, most entitled techbro asshole company in Silly Valley, but I'm hoping both sides will find a way to be permanently damaged by the probe and any resulting trials.

We'll see what happens, but for now I'm rooting for a meteor impact.

We Don't Need No Education, Con't

And we finally have one Arizona Republican go there on public education: One GOP state lawmaker says it's time for the Grand Canyon State to toss compulsory public education laws and redefine K-12 schooling as a privilege, not a right.

He is Paul Mosley, an extremely conservative freshman Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives from Lake Havasu City, which is in Mohave County. When it comes to education, his campaign website says this: 
A good quality education is essential in preparing the next generation. I believe that parents understand the needs of their children better than bureaucrats and I am a proponent of education choice. Competition in education is good and I support district schools, charter schools, private schools, home schooling and tuition tax credits.  
But he has another idea about education, too, and, he says, it is a top priority. In an interview with the Arizona Capitol Times, he said wants the state to pass a law that eliminates compulsory education. He was quoted as saying:
“Education used to be a privilege. People used to believe getting an education was something you had to be privileged to get, that you had to work hard to get. Now we basically force it down everybody’s throats.” 
And he said this:

“The number one thing I would like to repeal is the law on compulsory education … I believe education is still a privilege, and the kids who don’t want to be there are a larger distraction to the kids who do want to be there. 
“We’re telling kids they have to go to school, and we put fences around the schools to protect them now, and we give them a meal or two and sometimes send a backpack of food home with them. So now schools are not only tasked with educating our children, but also feeding our children. What happened to the personal responsibility of a parent to feed and educate their kids?”

You catch that?  Mosley wants to define who does and who does not get to have the "privilege" of public education.  In a border state like Arizona, you can guess exactly who Mosley would like to deny education to.

That's the endpoint of the GOP attack on education in this country, to reserve it for those who are "privileged" enough to deserve it.  The rest of America's kids, well, maybe a little child labor will fix them right up.  Or you know, prison for the bad ones.  (Same difference if the GOP has their way.)

But don't be fooled for a second by the "charter school" crusaders and the "accountability reformers". The goal is to turn public education into something only the right people are allowed to have.  It's much easier to control the uneducated, you see.

Fascism In Fashion

In America, dissent against the Trump regime is now literally punishable by a year in prison.

A jury on Wednesday convicted three Code Pink protesters on charges that they disrupted the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions for attorney general — including a Virginia woman who said all she did was break out in laughter. Each could face up to 12 months in prison. 
The Virginia woman, Desiree A. Fairooz, was found guilty of the two charges she faced: disorderly conduct and parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds. 
The jury also convicted two other activists in the group she was with, Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi, who were dressed as Ku Klux Klan members with white hoods and robes and stood up before the Jan. 10 hearing started. 
They were acquitted on a count of disorderly conduct but were convicted on two separate charges of parading or demonstrating, Mr. Barry said.Continue reading the main story

The verdicts were returned shortly after noon Wednesday. A two-day trial in United States Superior Court in Washington ended on Tuesday. 
Ms. Fairooz, 61, of Bluemont, Va., said she was “really disappointed.” She said her lawyer, Samuel A. Bogash, would file post-trial motions seeking to set the verdict aside. She said it was too early to discuss an appeal. 
“We’ll face that music when we get to that,” Ms. Fairooz said. She added that she was undeterred and would continue to protest.

She was in the Senate gallery at Sessions's confirmation hearing.  She laughed.  She's now facing a year in federal prison for this crime.  The jurors felt that the statue, as written, demanded her conviction.

Several of the jurors indicated they disagreed with the decision of Capitol Police Officer Katherine Coronado to take her into custody because of the laugh.

“We did not agree that she should have been removed for laughing,” the jury foreperson stated. Some jurors indicated they believed Coronado made a mistake.

“The officer, she was a rookie officer, and I think it was her first time involved in an arrest,” another juror stated. “Make of that what you will.”

The jurors indicated they felt they had to convict Fairooz because of the way the laws are written, with yet another juror describing them as “so broad.”

At least three jurors said it was fair to say they felt forced into convicting her. “There’s almost no way that you can find them not guilty,” one said.

“There’s not a lot of wiggle room,” said the jury foreperson.

Justice Department attorneys claimed during the trial that laughter was enough to merit a criminal charge against Fairooz, asserting that “heads turned around” when Fairooz let out what they characterized as a “scoff,” “outburst” or “burst” of laughter. But they mostly focused on how Fairooz acted after she was confronted by the police officers.

“Why am I being taken out of here?” Fairooz asked. “I was going to be quiet, and now you’re going to have me arrested? For what?” Fairooz also referred to Sessions’ record as “evil,” Shelby’s comment as “ridiculous,” and appeared to hold up her sign, which could violate the ban on picketing.

This is the textbook definition of fascism, by the way, arresting and jailing political dissidents for the crime of being political dissidents.  Just so you know, that's the real legacy of Trump's first 100 days.


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