I doubt anyone is shocked at this revelation. The U.S. and various special interest groups and their lobbyists have instituted protectionist tariffs, duties and bills to thwart their trading partners and when the decision come down from the WTO panel usually against the U.S. only then do they back down, this is more than a common theme it has been happening for years and years.
I find it rather amusing that the U.S. is bitching about the WTO Panels rulings when they were part of the process that brought in NAFTA AND other trade agreements.
The U.S. agreed as did the other countries who signed the agreement to the dispute mechanism way back when, but when the U.S is found to be in violation of the trade agreement they dont like the rules all of a sudden and the way the disputes are adjudicated.
Maybe if the U.S. didn't let lobbyists and special interest groups throw gobs of money at the members of senators and congress as a means to protectionism of those groups profits to stifle the competition the U.S. wouldnt be crying about how many times they have violated those trade agreements rules and got smacked on the hand by the WTO panel.
I can only wait to see how TPP is going to go, it is going to be some of the same B.S. and we are alll going to get screwed because of it being forced down are throats
John Steele and Paul Hansmeier ought to be the forefront of every law school's ethic's class on "when to know you have crossed the line"
The lure of easy cash settlement and the addiction to them is one of the major factors of what brought Prenda law down. These guys were so greedy they even started to cut the studios who were there clients out of the picture and make their own films, their own film entities just so they wouldn't have to give a cut of the settlements to those previous studios and this way they could keep 100% of the settlements
Even after all the hot water these two have been in they still pled stupid and kept using the "we didn't do nuffin" line when the evidence proved otherwise.
Steele and Hansmeier still haven't learned anything and are still addicted to the easy settlement cash that they are doing the ADA troll lawsuits, and ask Hansmeier how well that is going for him?
Dont know, well allow me to fill you in Hansmeier has been so busy with his filings in Minnesota and pissing off small business so much that those small businesses have gone to the media and the city and state legislators to cry fowl over these drive by ADA lawsuits that the state legislator passed some law that would severally restrict how an ADA claim in a lawsuit is played out, now Hans cant just ask for cash to go away.
Hansmeier must now give the defendant time to make good on the decencies that are alleged in the lawsuit. So that angle is sewering for his litigation.
Stelle is also in the ADA lawsuit game in Illnois, and guess who is rumored to be working with him...Mark Lutz Yes that same Mark Lutz who is the CEO mastermind businessman behind AF Holdings etc etc etc.
I guess Lutz got tired of all that hectic corporate business and decided to settle for being one of Steele's underlings shaking -er negotiating settlements, or whatever else he does for Steele.
I hope the Feds slap these Guys with RICO and wire and Mail fraud, but time will tell. Lord knows they deserve everything they get
Remember when the police duties were to uphold the law and stop crimes from being committed, and help citizens when needed.
It would seem nowadays that while that still appears to be their directive that various agencies in the Law Enforcement sector have turned their duties of enforcement into revenue generation.
These days we have photo radar and red light cameras which are alleged to be for enforcement of the laws they fall under but most people see as revenue generation under the guise of enforcement.
There are quotas for officers to write so many traffic tickets per month (even though most Police agencies deny this, but has been stated as such by some officers) and with those monetary fines it adds up for the department.
In the city where I live when photo radar was first introduced it made 3 million a year, the next year it made 7 million a year as they bought more photo radar equipped vehicles and they have continued to do so. In 2015 my city police department collected 45 million from photo radar... yes you read that right 45 million.
People and even politicians have been complaining in my city to the mayor and it's council members that the police departments use of photo radar is not being use as a deterrent as meant, but as a revenue generation tool. The Police and our city Traffic safety office are very elusive about how and why they were able to generate 45 million from photo radar.
The media in my city had picked up on this and had found out that the powers that be and the police decided to lower the threshold of how many kilometers over the posted speed limit you had to be going over before you got a ticket.
The city traffic safety office and the police will not confirm or deny what that threshold is and will not confirm what the media is reporting it as.
The Police and traffic safety office have also been fighting against the call from citizens and council members to put more signs of what the posted speed limit is some areas where the speed goes from 60 to say 50 because they say it is not needed and drivers should know this already.
every year there are more and more red light and photo radar cameras going up at high traffic locations through out the city. ( and of course while the police and traffic safety office wont say it most of the public know that if you have 45000 cars going thru that particular intersection at rush hour times you are going to catch a percentage speeding and they know this and are playing the odds)
It seems more and more that law enforcement agencies are concerned with revenue generation under the guise of enforcement, and asset forfeiture seems to be the new "it" thing to achieve that goal.
The slippery slope and tactics law enforcement is employing these days seems to be of the we do what we want mantra and your rights be damned innocent or not.
Law Enforcement wonders why there is a major shift in the perception the people have about them nowadays and how they are under such scrutiny by the public and press, maybe it's the shit like this that they do by seizing some citizens money when no crime has been committed is just one more reason why
The more stories of asset forfeiture come to the forefront, the more horrified I am at the abuse of power that is taking place all across the country.
There is no you are innocent until you are proven guilty with the forfeiture of your funds.
Many folks carry cash when travelling on the road of if they are going to make a purchase outright or a down payment ( which a lot of people still do when going to buy goods such as vehicles, recreational vehicles, Furniture, Electronics etc) because some times the seller doesn't want a cheque or a bank draft due to fraudsters making those various forgeries and some times you can get a better deal with cash.
It was bad enough that anyone who had cash and got stopped and said they had cash was suspected of drug dealing or money laundering or whatever else the cop that pulled you over thought was appropriate to liberate you money now they can do it and take your funds because you have a prepaid debit or credit card??? Like WTF
This is more than an abuse of police power but this is an abuse of due process and of a persons constitutional rights. Just because I carry cash or a pre paid card does not mean I am doing it for nefarious purposes.
I have had upwards of 35k in cash on me and it wasnt for illegal purposes but it is because I got to a lot of vehicle and equipment auctions and buy vehicles, tools, equipment that I will then sell for a profit (hopefully).
I carry that kind of cash because I know if I am buying cars trucks SUV or what not that at an auction and depending how many I buy and for what price that I can pay the price for the vehicle, the auctioneers fee and the taxes and then take it home that very day or get it paid for and come pick it up later and thus dont have to worry about any storage fees charged by the auction facility.
So because I have that kind of cash does it mean I am a criminal or doing something nefarious, no it doesnt, but somehow I doubt the cops would care even if I had proof.
The more I hear about asset forfeiture of peoples cash the more I liken it to copyright trolling and patent trolling who look for victims and then shake them down for settlements, to me this has ring to it like asset forfeiture in that some people are not going to fight it and those who do get offered a percentage of their money back and the cops etc keep the rest.
I find it even more astonishing that this company that makes this device is taking 7.7% of what the cops seize and that state and federal agencies think this is all A-OK that people are being robbed by roadside bandits disguised as law enforcement... oh wait IT IS law enforcement!
It is shady shit like this that just heaps more distrust of law enforcement and government who are supposed to be looking out for it's citizens, not running roughshod over their rights and stealing from them.
When I was young we were always taught that the police officer is your friend and they are their to help you, but these days it seems while that it is getting to be more and more of dont trust the police officer and what you do and say for fear of where it may lead you in your interactions with them.
The real sad thing is that a persons rights as laid out in the constitution seem to not mean a thing and do not matter at all to the Government, the US DOJ or Law Enforcement.
It is the same with the rights an accused has when they have been charged with a criminal offense. It is no longer you are innocent until proven guilty, now it is more you are guilty unless you can prove your innocence, and these days that is starting to be a very uphill battle.
There is way to much collusion between prosecutors, law enforcement and judges and when it comes to following the letter of the law most judges seem to give the government , prosecutes and law enforcement a wide birth in which to operate.
An accused nowadays faces an uphill battle with forces that conceal, lie, mislead and fail to be forth right in disclosure to the defense counsel and the accused in way of due process.
I believe if the forefathers could see how the constitution and the rights enshrined in it are being trampled over and discard like gum on a shoe, they'd be pissed and would be of mind at a travesty that is taking place.
The Goverment now seeks to win at all costs, whether the playing field is fair matters not, as long as they get the win that is all the care about.
What a mess they have made of the one thing Americans have always had pride in.
What will be interesting is if this will fit the statues of RICO and if it does which one of the two remaining Prenda gang will be tripping over themselves to try and strike a deal.
We all know CEO mastermind of AF Holdings and related shell companies Mark Lutz (formerly Johns Steele's paralegal and process server) will cave in five minutes of questioning and beg to be a witness, and after his brilliant performance when questioned by the Florida Judge in the Sunlust that went over like a led balloon and it didn't help that Steele was trying to whisper the answers to Lutz who was being questioned by the Judge, until the Judge noticed that and then started questioning Steele on what he was doing and who he was.
So Lutz would roll the easiest. Now Gibbs who Steele and Hansmeier tried to get to take the blame and then pressure to take the hit before Judge Wright in his court room would make a very powerful witness for the DOJ as Gibbs would have inside knowledge as to how the trolling scheme for settlements worked.
I am sure Steele and Hansmeier may be wishing that they did not try to throw Gibbs under the bus. I wouldnt at all be surprised to see if Steele and Hansmeier tried to put the blame Duffy's way since he has passed on and there would be no rebuttal from that end.
Everyone knows Steele and Hansmeier reaped the profits from their trolling collective and the greed became so much that they started to loathe having to give the pron producers who were their clients when they started this their cut from the settlements, so they decided to be their own porn creators, leakers, monitoring firm, and law firm with the goal of keeping as near as 100% of the profits of their scheme to themselves.
How the mighty have fallen. Hansmeier bankruptcy getting converted due to falsehoods on his original chapter filing. Now his Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit settlement scheme is about to come to a crashing halt due to the state of Minnesota enacting legislation to prevent the drive by ADA lawsuits and their abuse of the Americans with Disabilities act in Minnesota which incidentally was brought to the forefront because of Paul Hansmeier filing so many lawsuits and looking for settlements.
The Irony that Hansmeier and his greed is bringing his ADA lawsuits settlement came crashing down around him is way more than just and just too damn funny, you reap what you sow Paul.
So Steele must be on his desk peeing his pants at what has transpired with Hansmeier and knowing he is on the trolley tracks and people in Illinois are starting to make noise over the ADA suits Steele is filing there and not only that but the ADA abuse and lawsuit generation scheme is gaining notoriety all over the USA as people are complaining to the politicians about the issue.
Its been a long time coming and the Prenda gang deserves what they get, I hope they have many many sleepless night ahead of them as they have cause many for a lot of their victims.
The bell tolls for Hansmeier and Steele, it will be interesting to see what happens when the music stops playing and their are no chairs left. The race will be on to cut a deal. Who will fold first I wonder.
There are a lot of people in the legal community much like Paul Levy from Public Citizen who assists Techdirt with Legal issues, and I am sure Ken from Popehat as well as numerous other Lawyers who would help Techdirt if they thought Techdirt and it's writers needed them.
I don't see Homeland Security getting very far with this, I liken this to the Big Bad Wolf who wants to huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down...except the Department of Homeland Security is playing the part of the Big Bad Wolf at the behest of someone from CBP/ICE.
This whole thing is a farce in my opinion, I think the agent mentioned in the story is a little embarrassed as he is associated to the seizure on the behalf of CBP/ICE who have much egg on their face as well.
I am sure the good folks over at CBP/ICE are just a little embarrassed that this didnt stay out of the media and their methods and attempt at a legal hold up for fun and profit didnt work out so well.
I doubt Techdirt is shivering in fear and the staff is plastered to the windows waiting for the dark colored SUV's full of Agent Foster Grannt's piling out and running into the building to seize everything, far from it.
Well I guess we know now that the good folks at Homeland security are reading Techdirt, I guess that is one way for them to find out what is happening in the cases they are in court with.
And it would also seem that ICE, CBP Homeland Security aren't very big fans of the media doing stories on the asset seizures that happen to involve cash from citizens because they can (no crime needed it would seem)
Honestly so how much time and money are they going to waste on this so called "investigation" of that comment. Was the comment over the line, to a point yeah, but honestly how many other people post way worse on the internet?
Seriously there are people posting a heel of a lot worse and more direct threats at other people or groups.
This seems to me this is someones more butthurt at the story subject, and this is the ICE, CBP, Homeland Security indirect way of trying to throw a little scare at Techdirt by the way of using the comment as leverage to say" Hey, keep this up and we will tie you up in legal fees and make life hell for your company and writers if you want to keep writing and questioning cash seizures we do for fun and profit.
Well this further's my suspicion when it comes to copyright trolls suing alleged infringers of their clients movies/music and using geo location tools to locate the alleged infringer.
To listen to the copyright trolls claim in their submission to the court and as part of their application to get expedited discovery from the ISP for the subscribers information they often (and I mean religiously) say how the geo location tools they use have a 99% accuracy in pin pointing the alleged infringer lives in this are and is served by so and so ISP.
I have always thought that this was baloney, and much like Andrew has pointed out in his article you should believe in the baloney too. If you look at the data Andrew included and his test he ran, there is a lot of hocus pocus in the trolls claims off 99% accuracy.
Not only have their been cases were they the trolls sued a small business because the geo location information led them to that IP address as being the infringer (mind you the business owner replied to the court with a WTF) and then promptly dismissed the business owner once it was pointed out to the trolls it was a business, but that points out how geo location tools are not as accurate as the trolls claim.
Yet to the courts as part of their boilerplate complaints you will see the trolls always always claim how their geo location tools are 99% accurate and their investigative methods point to the IP address of the ISP subscriber as the infringer.
It really is a joke at how much the courts are fooled by the B.S. the trolls fill their submissions to the court with in their complaint to get the whole extortion scheme going and the trolls continue to get away with this
Sorry but I am not going to cry and Tears for the online Advertising companies. A person who surfs the internet nowadays is barraged with all sorts of invasive forms of Ad's.
The Ad companies have no one to blame but themselves, they have graduated from ads that were banners to intrusive things, like pop-under, mouse-overs, IFrames, redirects, oversize, auto play, malvertising and virus laden ads, forcing you to click or hit the esc button, forcing you to click thru and on and on and on and it is even worse if your on a tablet or mobile device.
If your on a tablet or mobile device you have all the same worries and the added bonus of watching your device bandwidth get eaten up and your device slowing down or grinding to a close halt.
The advertisers thirst for cash and subjecting surfers to the aforementioned garbage type ads is the whole reason Ad Blockers are so prevalent now and the Ad Blocking industry has been booming.
I realize sites need and want revenue from the ads, we all get that, however I will be damned if I am going to sit and be prey to the intrusive ones that turn a simple web site visit into one of those annoying moments were I can wait to get the fuck away from that site and vow never to return and go off to search for what I am looking for elsewhere on the web.
As for the sites who kindly as you to turn off your ad blocker, I do that to the ones where I find the Ad's aren't intrusive, but to the others that ask and then they pull the above laden intrusive ads..fuck you!
So Let's see Hollywood went and bought Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood to use his office and it's powers to Investigate Google and try and force Google to do what Hollywood wanted...and then that blew up in Hollywood's face big time.
So having no luck using Hood here in the U.S. and Google dragging the MPAA and Hood thru the courts all while leaving them bruised and battered, Hollywood still learned nothing from the events that have unfolded thus far.
So In Hollywood's wisdom they have decided to use their BPI pals and the bought & paid for UK Government to go after Google their because their efforts blew up in their faces in the U.S.
Once again you have private companies who are buying Governments and getting said Governments to do what it never ever could thru civil litigation or even negotiation. Yet Hollywood once again will use Governments to see that their profits are maintained and they still seek to control how, where, when and how much you pay to see their music or movies.
Hollywood still reminisces for the days when they controlled, distributed, and manufactured the supply of music and media to the public and those fat profits they made doing so. Hollywood hates that you can have the option to see the movies/music thru other methods, they hate that you can get around their restrictions on when , where and how much.
Hollywood will never ever change their message or come around to letting the people get the media/movies they want without region restrictions and fair prices, so they will stoop once again to let their bought and paid for Goverment's do what they can not and have been unwilling to do with Google.