Saturday, September 17, 2016

The higher the federal agency, the greater the piracy on us

Recall please the "odd news" genre which, though ostensibly for fun and entertainment, often outdoes the corporate-cartel "mainstream" media for honest reporting. From :

The Drug Enforcement Administration has schemed for several years to pay airline and Amtrak employees for tips on passengers who might be traveling with large sums of cash, so that the DEA can interview them -- with an eye toward seizing the cash under federal law if they merely "suspect" that the money is involved in illegal activity. A USA Today investigation, reported in August, revealed that the agency had seized $209 million in a decade, from 5,200 travelers who, even if no criminal charge results, almost never get all their money back (and, of 87 recent cash seizures, only two actually resulted in charges). One Amtrak employee was secretly paid $854,460 over a decade for snitching passenger information to the DEA. [USA Today, 8-11-2016, 1-7-2016]

Update: In August, the Defense Department's inspector general affirmed once again (following on 2013 disclosures) that the agency has little knowledge of where its money goes -- this time admitting that the Department of the Army had made $6.5 trillion in accounting "adjustments" that appeared simply to be made up out of thin air, just to get the books balanced for 2015. (In part, the problem was laid to 16,000 financial data files that simply disappeared with no trace.) "As a result," reported Fortune magazine, "there has been no way to know how the Defense Department -- far and away the biggest chunk of Congress's annual budget -- spends the public's money." [Fortune, 8-19-2016]

Now for some good news about some horrible news:

The July 2012 Aurora, Colorado, theater shooter, James Holmes, is hardly wealthy enough to be sued, so 41 massacre victims and families instead filed against Cinemark Theater for having an unsafe premises, and by August 2016 Cinemark had offered $150,000 as a total settlement. Thirty-seven of the 41 accepted, but four held out since the scaled payout offered only a maximum of $30,000 for the worst-off victims. Following the settlement, the judge, finding that Cinemark could not have anticipated Holmes's attack, ruled for the theater -- making the four holdouts liable under Colorado law for Cinemark's expenses defending against the lawsuit ($699,000). [Los Angeles Times, 8-30-2016]

Of course it's horrible these people were shot -- if that is what happened. ( and other good sites are calling it a false flag operation.) The idea that victims here -- if that's what they are -- should be able to sue the theater simply because the alleged perp has no money is ludicrous. What if the theater has no money, do you sue some organization (e.g. the Chamber of Commerce) of which the theater's a member, or the city council for running an unsafe jurisdiction?

I would hate to be in their shoes -- really would. But if courts are there for justice, it sounds like ground was gained against excessive litigousness and ambulance chasing.

I share all this with you all in hopes that you will -- for instance -- start mining for information damning to the system and sharing it with others in all directions. You see, this news genre does something no others do: demonstrating the complete range of good, bad, hilarious, ironic, tyrannical and twisted things of which humanity and even nature are capable.

So far we're mining just one installment's worth of "NOTW". Get this item from the other side of the world -- isn't it just like life here in the U.S. of A.?

In 2005, India enacted a landmark anti-poverty program, obligating the government to furnish 100 days' minimum-wage work to unskilled laborers (potentially, 70 percent of the country's 1.3 billion people). Programs often fail in India because of rampant corruption, but a recent study by a Cambridge University researcher concluded that the 2005 law is failing for the opposite reason --anti-corruption measures in the program. Its requirement of extreme transparency has created an exponential increase in paperwork (to minimize opportunities for corruption), severely delaying the availability of jobs. [Phys.Org News, 7-21-2016]

I'm back. Spread the world please. More good horrible news next time.


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