Poverty Profiteering Part 2 – The Business Model of Exploiting the Poor in St. Louis County

The officer found that Bolden had four arrest warrants in three separate jurisdictions: the towns of Florissant and Hazelwood in St. Louis County and the town of Foristell in St. Charles County. All of the warrants were for failure to appear in court for traffic violations. Bolden hadn’t appeared in court because she didn’t have the money. A couple of those fines were for speeding, one was for failure to wear her seatbelt and most of the rest were for what defense attorneys in the St. Louis area have come to call “poverty violations” — driving with a suspended license, expired plates, expired registration and a failure to provide proof of insurance.

“These aren’t violent criminals,” says Thomas Harvey, another of the three co-founders of ArchCity Defenders. “These are people who make the same mistakes you or I do — speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, forgetting to get your car inspected on time. The difference is that they don’t have the money to pay the fines. Or they have kids, or jobs that don’t allow them to take time off for two or three court appearances. When you can’t pay the fines, you get fined for that, too. And when you can’t get to court, you get an arrest warrant.”

- From Radley Balko’s excellent article in the Washington Post, How Municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., Profit from Poverty

The following article is the second in a series exploring the increasing business of “Poverty Profiteering.” The first one, which stuck a particular chord with several readers can be found here: Poverty Profiteering in 2014 – Introducing Private Probation Companies

Read the Full Article »

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.

Introducing JackPair – A New Hardware Tool to Encrypt Cellphone Conversations

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 3.07.22 PMWell, I’m not actually introducing JackPair at all. The creators of the device have had their project on Kickstarter for quite some time now, but it just passed its funding goal today (it had a $35,000 goal and has already raised close to $45,000 as of publication). Congrats guys!

While encryption between cell phones is already available via apps you can download, there are several reasons I have decided to highlight the project. First, I tend to focus quite a bit on all the things going wrong in the world, so when something comes across my screen that is encouraging and should be supported, I try to mention it. Second, I was really inspired by the description of the project, which contained an added personal touch by the creator when he describes growing up in authoritarian Taiwan. Third, while there appear to be other methods to achieve similar goals, this could serve as user friendly option for the non tech savvy amongst us. Finally, security guru Bruce Schneier seems to be impressed by the device.

Read the Full Article »

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.

Barclays is Launching Finger Scanner that Scans a Person’s Blood Flow to Access Account

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.16.53 PMIt’s hard for an article to be simultaneously disturbing and amusing, but this morning’s article in the UK Telegraph about Barclays’ new blood vein finger scanner does just that.

What’s truly incredible about the article is Ashok Vaswani’s (chief executive of Barclays personal and corporate banking) purported obsession with fighting criminality, when in reality there appear to be few bigger criminal enterprises on earth than Barclays itself.

We are told the following about Barclays’ ostensible commitment to the rule of law:

Read the Full Article »

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.

Do You Receive Free Lunch at Work? The IRS Wants to Tax it…

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 3.37.44 PMThe IRS. There are few agencies more hated, corrupt, and degraded in the entire nation, and that’s saying a lot.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you are well aware of the fact that the IRS was caught consistently abusing its extraordinary power in order to selectively target groups with which leadership disagreed with politically.

We also know that the IRS, and its former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit, Lois Lerner, subsequently destroyed evidence of misconduct by claiming emails had been lost and are unrecoverable, in a ludicrous series of purported events.

Read the Full Article »

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.

At Least 17 Fake Cellphone Towers Capable of Invasive Spying Have Been Discovered Across America

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.12.08 AMWhen Lee Goldsmith drives by one of the many fake cellphone towers being discovered throughout the U.S., his $3,500 CryptoPhone 500 will immediately display the warning message in the thumbnail image to the left.

When you drive by the same fake towers, known as “interceptors,” your run of the mill iPhone or Samsung Galaxy won’t alert you to any potential security breach. And that’s exactly how those people who installed these interceptors, whoever they are, like it.

Read the Full Article »

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.

Apple Doesn’t Take Customer Security Seriously – 5 Irresponsible and Shocking Lapses

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 2.35.22 PMI’m the furthest thing in the world from a technology or security expert, but what I have learned in recent years is that a dedicated, sophisticated and well funded hacker can pretty much own your data no matter how many precautions you take. Nevertheless, the major technology companies on the planet shouldn’t go out of their way to make this as easy as possible.

In the wake of the theft of private images from several prominent celebrities, many people are rightly wondering whether how vulnerable their data is. The answer appears to be “very,” and if you use Apple, the following article from Slate may leave you seething with a sense of anger and betrayal.

Read the Full Article »

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.

Chinese Homebuilders Expand in America as U.S. Auto Loans Hit Record Levels

Just a little tale from the streets of America
Sparkled promises paved with pathos and hysteria
Trenchant, weary native sons
Step back, step back
And see the damage done
Meander to the horizon 
The streets of America

- Bad Religion, Streets of America

Late last week I published a post titled, Your Wall Street Slumlord Arrives in Europe – Goldman and Other Financial Firms Launch “Buy to Rent” in Spain, in which I highlighted the fact that U.S. financial oligarchs had recently turned their sights toward Spanish real estate after feasting on the American market for several years and driving home prices to unaffordable levels for much of the native population.

Interestingly, today I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal that noted Chinese homebuilders are beginning to make a more aggressive push into the U.S. market. One of the main reasons for this phenomenon appears to be:

Read the Full Article »

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.

Department of Homeland Security – A 240,000 Person Cancer on the American Soul

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 4.27.17 PMRegular readers will be intimately familiar with my feelings on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Long before it became obvious to millions of people, I wrote about how the DHS was never intended to prevent terrorist attacks, rather it had always been intended to suppress the American citizenry. Over the past decade, it has become a dangerous behemoth of fascism under the guise of the fraudulent “war on terror.”

Going back to 2010, I wrote a piece titled: The Dangers of a Failed Presidency, in which I wrote:

Read the Full Article »

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.

James Foley Worked Under USAID, a Known U.S. Intelligence Front. Was He More Than Just a Journalist?

Before I get into the meat of this post, I want to make a few things clear.

First, the brutal beheading of anyone is barbaric, unacceptable and tragic beyond description. Second, this piece is in no way intended to cause any harm or pain to the Foley family. Third, I don’t have any proof that James Foley was involved in covert intelligence work for the U.S. government.

All that being said, I do think it is important people understand he worked under USAID in Iraq only three years before he was abducted in Syria. As such, I believe the question as to whether or not he was more than just a journalist is a reasonable one to ask.

Read the Full Article »

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.

Your Wall Street Slumlord Arrives in Europe – Goldman and Other Financial Firms Launch “Buy to Rent” in Spain

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 3.15.21 PMLiberty Blitzkrieg was early in reporting on the trend of financial firms entering the U.S. residential real estate market with “all-cash” bids for tens of thousands of homes with the intention of turning former homeowners into permanent sources of rental income. The first of many pieces I published on the topic was in January 2013, titled: America Meet Your New Slumlord: Wall Street.

Now that the financial oligarchs have had their way with the U.S. property market, to the point that average citizens can’t even afford to own a home (Zillow recently showed that 1 in 3 homes are unaffordable), it appears they have turned their sights overseas. What better market for bailed-out bankers to feast on than Spain, with its 50%+ youth unemployment rate and a continued depressed real estate market.

Read the Full Article »

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.