German Court Rules Facebook Use of Personal Data Illegal

German Court Rules Facebook Use of Personal Data Illegal

February 12th, 2018

Via: Reuters:

A German consumer rights group said on Monday that a court had found Facebook’s use of personal data to be illegal because the U.S. social media platform did not adequately secure the informed consent of its users.

The verdict, from a Berlin regional court, comes as Big Tech faces increasing scrutiny in Germany over its handling of sensitive personal data that enables it to micro-target online advertising.




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Dilemma for Kate? Does the Duchess show solidarity with #TimesUp or stick to royal rules?

The Duchess, who will attend this year’s British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) ceremony with her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, is about to be landed in a diplomatic minefield. Actresses are gearing up to don black dresses in support of the #TimesUp movement, a campaign against sexual harassment prompted by the #MeToo phenomenon.

The move comes after the Academy Awards in the US saw only a handful of women ignore the call of solidarity by wearing lighter shades. Kate is faced with a crisis: show solidarity or keep with the royal family’s policy of avoiding political statements or comment.

Kensington Palace told RT that they would not comment, but they did confirm that Meghan Markle – Prince Harry’s fiancée – would not be in attendance, only the Duchess and Duke.

A letter to BAFTA guests, published by film industry magazine the Hollywood Reporter, has laid out plans from a “collective of UK based female film and television industry leaders,”  for a “physical and visual representation of our solidarity with people across all industries who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse or have been held back due to an imbalance in power.”

“Here in the UK, more than half of all women and nearly two-thirds of women aged 18 to 24 have experienced sexual harassment at work,” the letter said.

“And we hope that those of us who are privileged enough to have a platform, can use it to raise awareness of the experiences of women beyond our industry, whose experiences are often silenced and marginalized.

“At this point, we are keeping things under wraps as the UK-side movement shapes up and we’ll have some exciting plans to announce soon. We wanted to personally reach out to you at this point to let you know of the colour code and we will be in touch again with more information, including talking points on why we’re wearing black.”

While stars have not publicly vowed to wear black to the BAFTAs, Harry Potter star Emma Watson all-but confirmed it with a single, simple tweet.

BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry told the Telegraph that awards organizers are braced for speeches about the Hollywood harassment scandal. “It often has (been used as a platform) in the past, I think in different years there have been different issues,” she said.

“People obviously feel it’s a very powerful platform. The film awards go out globally so that makes it even more powerful, so we never say to people don’t say anything, please just thank the crew or whatever it is. Because if somebody feels passionately about it, they are going to say it. There has been a lot of conversation to date and obviously that conversation continues, awards season shines a very bright spotlight on that conversation.”

The BAFTAs will take place on February 18 at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

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Bozell & Graham Column: Weinstein Amnesia Rules at Sundance

The Hollywood Left flew to Utah for the Sundance Film Festival (and its homegrown Women’s March) with a small item of regret on its agenda. Just last year, they had put on their pink knit hats and marched for women’s rights with one of the most visible figures at Sundance…Harvey Weinstein.

How to handle this embarrassment? National Public Radio ran a short “Harvey who?” soundbite from Sundance founder Robert Redford: “Well, I think Harvey Weinstein was like a moment in time. And I think that we’re going to move past that. I don’t think he’s going to stop the show.”

NPR reporter Mandalit del Barco noted “the first question at the press conference opening the festival was if Sundance somehow enabled Harvey Weinstein.” After all, some of his accusers say he abused them at Sundance. Sundance in turn responded that they “weren’t aware” at the time when the abuses were happening. 

That claim of ignorance hasn’t helped any other corporation or church or institution facing a sexual-abuse mess like this. Somehow it’s been good enough for the beautiful people at Sundance. 

The NPR reporter carefully avoided recalling the optics of Weinstein mingling in the Women’s March last January. She headed straight for the official spin — Sundance has a new code of conduct to revoke credentials to harassers. And Utah’s attorney general now has a sexual misconduct hotline.

But did everyone at this festival enable Harvey Weinstein? Of course. NPR’s del Barco would never remind listeners that two years ago at Sundance, she was enthusiastically boosting Weinstein and his latest effort, a forgettable TV miniseries adaptation of War and Peace.

In 2018, NPR and CNN were urgently helping paper over the embarrassment. CNN Films has a new documentary oozing all over feminist Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So she became the toast of Sundance, a progressive palate cleanser for the Weinstein enablers. NPR’s reporter gushed “NPR’s own Nina Totenberg will be interviewing her here at a small venue. And that’s a really hot ticket!”

The NPR reporter also helpfully promoted new documentaries debuting at the festival on Jane Fonda and on “civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, who’s been representing many of those women who accused Harvey Weinstein and comedian Bill Cosby and Roy Moore of sexual harassment and rape. And on Saturday, Allred and Fonda are scheduled to speak at a rally on the anniversary of the Women’s March.” 

At Sundance, Allred pandered to the crowd. “I’m so proud of you and your courage. Give yourself a round of applause for standing up for women’s rights!” Fonda added, “When we are equal, we are not abused!”

NPR also avoided the films at Sundance that clash with the official line against sexual violence. First, there was The Tale, described by Kevin Fallon at the Daily Beast as “The Disturbing Child Rape Movie That Left Sundance Speechless.” It’s supposed to “resonate” with the current vibe. It’s about an adult woman realizing she was raped at 13 (and showing that rape at 13 caused people to walk out). 

Second, there was Piercing. Marlow Stern, also of the Daily Beast, was “tickled” by the action. The lead character “has convinced himself that the only way to cast out this demon inside him and achieve true domestic bliss is to capture, maim, and murder a female prostitute.” But the prostitute he acquires changes the stakes by “violently stabbing herself in the right thigh with a pair of scissors.”

Remind us again how Hollywood is mending its ways regarding its mistreatment of women? 

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Wealthy Exodus to Escape New Tax Rules Worries California Democrats

Wealthy Exodus to Escape New Tax Rules Worries California Democrats

January 19th, 2018

Via: Sacramento Bee:

The state’s wealthiest 1 percent, for instance, pay 48 percent of its income tax, and the departure of just a few families could lead to a noticeable hit to state general fund revenue.

“It is a genuine concern and that’s why the legislatures in high-tax states are swinging into action immediately,� said Katie Pratt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles who specializes in taxes.

The new federal tax law poses problems for high earners in the Golden State because it caps two deductions that Californians used to limit their federal income tax liability, restricting their ability to write off mortgage interest and their state and local taxes.

Because real estate in coastal counties is so expensive with median home prices in the nine-county Bay Area topping $768,000, the cap on mortgage interest deductions probably will bite some middle class Californians, too.




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Paradigm Shift: Court Rules 11yo Girl Can Treat Her Seizures with Cannabis—In School


Schaumburg, IL — In a testament as to how the world is rejecting the war on cannabis and, instead, embracing its incredible medicinal properties, an Illinois court has just ruled that an 11-year-old girl will be able to treat her seizures with cannabis — while at school.

Nothing highlights the hypocrisy, immorality, and sheer idiocy of the drug war quite like marijuana prohibition. Here we have a medicine that kills cancer cells, saves the lives of countless epileptic children, heals broken bones, relieves pain, treats PTSD, is not dangerous, and exhibits a variety of other incredible benefits – yet the state will kill you over it. The good news is, however, that in spite of the reefer madness maniacs tightening their grip on the drug war, people are resisting and the effects are saving lives — Ashley Surin is one of them.

When she was much younger, Ashley found herself in a battle for her life as leukemia took over. Thankfully, she won that battle but not without consequences. As a result of the chemotherapy, Ashley developed seizures.

Luckily for Ashley, however, medical marijuana helped to drastically decrease those seizures.

“We’re amazed with her progress,” Maureen Surin, Ashley’s mother told NPR. There was a catch, however, in treating Ashley’s seizures with cannabis — she couldn’t go to school — because it was illegal.

Ashley’s family wasn’t going down without a fight though and this week, in a landmark ruling, she won that fight.

As NPR reports, her parents filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday against Schaumburg School District 54 and the State of Illinois, claiming that the state’s ban on taking the drug at school violates the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). On Friday, a judge ruled in their favor after hearing from the school district, which reportedly had concerns that its employees may be subject to legal penalties for helping Ashley with her medications.

“What people seem to misunderstand here is that medical marijuana is a prescription like any other drug,” the girl’s attorney, Steven Glink, said. “Prohibiting it in school would be the same as prohibiting other medications such as Ritalin, Adderall or Concerta.”

To be clear, Ashley is not smoking joints at school. She simply wears a patch that delivers the cannabis which keeps her seizure free.

Clarifying that point, the judge in Ashley’s case said, “No one’s saying she wants to fire up a bong in math class,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

While this ruling is certainly a victory for Ashley and all children whose lives can improve from the use of cannabis, it could be short-lived thanks to the current administration’s war on this most amazing plant.

In the land of the free, citizens found in possession of a plant — that grows wild on every continent except Antarctica — can and will be kidnapped, caged or killed. In fact, in just the short time it took you to click this article and read the above paragraphs, someone was just arrested for cannabis.

According to the most recent FBI statistics available, an American citizen is kidnapped and caged for cannabis — on average — every 48 seconds.

An estimated 653,249 American citizens — who harmed no one — had their lives ruined in 2016 for possessing this plant, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Crime In the United States (CIUS) report.

“Arresting and citing over half a million people a year for a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol is a travesty,” said Morgan Fox, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Despite a steady shift in public opinion away from marijuana prohibition and the growing number of states that are regulating marijuana like alcohol, marijuana consumers continue to be treated like criminals throughout the country. This is a shameful waste of resources and can create lifelong consequences for the people arrested.”

Arresting people for cannabis is good for business — the police state and big pharma business, that is. If we look at who’s lobbying to keep cops kidnapping people for a plant, we see that it is money, and not morals, that motivates this issue and children in states where the plant is illegal, suffer as a result.

While states have moved to decriminalize this plant, the damage done by its prohibition is immense, irreversible, and nothing short of tyrannical. It is high time humanity stand up and demand an end to this brutal and murderous war on a plant.

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CBS Comedy: Religion Full of ‘Ancient, Pointless Rules,’ Designed to Make You ‘Feel Bad’

If you’ve ever watched The Big Bang Theory or its new spin-off Young Sheldon, you already know that both shows love to remind viewers how much main character Sheldon doesn’t believe in God and likes to bash Christianity. But just in case you missed the 5,924,835 references that came before, Thursday night’s episode of Young Sheldon, “Demons, Sunday School, and Prime Numbers,” made sure to remind everyone once again.

The episode kicks off with young Sheldon (Iain Armitage) playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends Tam (Ryan Phuong) and Billy. Sheldon’s mom Mary (Zoe Perry) walks in and is shocked to discover that the game contains demons and the Devil.

“I’m worried,” Mary later tells Sheldon’s father and grandmother “Meemaw” (Annie Potts). “There are incantations in this book to summon actual demons.” She talks to the other parents about it.

Billy’s father isn’t concerned about there being demonology in the game and it being against the teachings of their southern Baptist church as long as “nobody’s touchin’ nothin’” and “everybody’s got their trousers up.” He’s also happy that Billy has friends and isn’t “eating dirt and crabgrass anymore.” He then proceeds to hit on Mary. Typical caricature from Hollywood of the southern, mostly conservative and Christian state of Texas where the show takes place. Texans must all be naive, unintelligent, hypocritical “rednecks,” of course.

Mary finally has Pastor Jeff (Matt Hobby) from the family’s church over to the house to discuss the issue. He tells them:

At a recent Young Baptist Leaders Conference, I attended a seminar on satanic leisure activities. And the important lesson is, rather than have a parent or authority figure take the offending game away, let God remove it, root and stem… Sheldon needs to start attending Sunday school. If he likes books with demons and devils, I’ve got one that will blow his mind.

Sheldon hates the Sunday school idea and tells the pastor that he doesn’t believe in God. Eventually, though, he surprisingly starts to read the Bible to study for Sunday school.

Sheldon’s parents are impressed by his study of the Bible and Mary tells her husband that she’s grateful now for the Dungeons & Dragons game because it helped lead Sheldon to God. But Mary’s joy soon turns to despair when Sheldon announces that he’s planning to study other religions as well, including voodoo.

Sheldon turns to his friend Tam first to ask about his religion, Catholicism, and ends up getting very uneducated answers. There’s also a nasty slam on the Catholic church. Because, of course:

Sheldon: Tam, you’re Catholic, right?

Tam: Yes.

Sheldon: Explain it to me.

Tam: Explain what?

Sheldon: Well, for starters, who do you pray to?

Tam: I guess, Jesus, God and Mary.

Sheldon: Jesus isn’t God?

Tam: No, He’s his Son. But you do eat Him, and drink His blood. Oh, there’s also a Ghost, but not the scary kind.

Sheldon: Like Casper?

Tam: Exactly.

Sheldon: And how does the Pope work?

Tam: Well, the Pope lives in Italy. He has a special car, and a big pointy hat. It’s a wonderful hat.

Sheldon: And is there anything else I should know about?

Tam: Every once in a while, you have to confess your sins to a priest.

Sheldon: Not me, I don’t have any sins.

Tam: Then you have the sin of pride.

Sheldon: Your religion is making me feel bad.

Tam: That’s how you know it’s working.


Things go downhill from there as Meemaw arranges a meeting between her Jewish friend, Ira, and Sheldon to explain Judaism, which, according to Ira, is about being punished by God and following “ancient, pointless rules.”

Sheldon: What’s it like to be Jewish?

Ira: Oh, it’s terrible. I don’t recommend it.

Sheldon: Why?

Ira: Well, for starters, your life is hemmed in by ancient, pointless rules. There’s a lot of yelling, and, uh, you’re probably not gonna get into a good country club.

Sheldon: What about God?

Ira: What about Him?

Sheldon: Does He play a part in your life?

Ira: Well, historically, He’s gotten a kick out of punishing us.

Sheldon: What about Jesus? He was Jewish.

Ira: Oh, we’ve got a lot of celebrities. Uh, we’ve got, uh, we got William Shatner, and Leonard Nimoy…

Sheldon: Kirk and Spock? I want to be Jewish.

Ira: Hold on a second. Hold– I got a question for you, Sheldon. When you grow up, are you planning on living in Texas?

Sheldon: Probably.

Ira: Then I strongly advise you to stay Baptist. Maybe even wear a cross.

Mary finally tells Sheldon that it’s “important to keep in mind that there is only one true God.” When Sheldon tells her, “That’s called monotheism,” and offers her a book about it, Mary tells him, “That’s okay. I have The Book about it.”

Sheldon asks, “Would you be angry with me if I don’t pick your religion?” Mary tells him, “I could never be angry with you. You be a seeker of your own truth…And if the truth turns out to be Satan, I will do battle with him.”

Sheldon then falls asleep on his research books and begins to have a dream about religion where he discovers that the “10” Commandments are really binary code:

Male voice: Welcome, Sheldon.

Female voice: We’ve been waiting for you.

Sheldon: Are you the Ten Commandments?

Male: No. We are one.

Female: And zero.

Male: We are the binary code that underlies the universe.

Female: The ten thing is a common mistake.

Sheldon: I want to understand God. Can you help me?

Male: Did you not hear what we just said?

Female: It’s a binary universe.

Male: God is yes and no.

Female: Left and right.

Male: On and off.

Female: Something and nothing.

Male: Positive and negative.

Female: Male and female.

Male: Light and dark.

Sheldon: But why is there evil and suffering?

Female: Well, without evil and suffering, there is no good and happiness.

Sheldon: Oh, sure. Binary.

Sheldon then announces in Sunday school that he’s starting his own religion called “Mathology,” based on a “universal binary system,” and that he’s there to “convert everybody.” As Pastor Jeff hurries him out of the room to have a talk with his mother, Sheldon says on the way out, “The only sin in Mathology is being stupid.”

Does that mean that the writers of this show are sinners in the world of Mathology by writing this twisted, defamatory script on religion, then?

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