Thousands Agree To Manually Clean Sewers In User Agreement For WiFi Services

200px-Wifi_logo300px-Sewer_coverNeither Congress nor foreign legislatures have done anything about ridiculous user contracts for services like WiFi or cable that require consumers to sign long agreements with impenetrable legal language and clauses.  It is a knowing effort by companies to impose highly disadvantageous terms in mountains of legalese.  One company however has vividly demonstrated the scam to its credit.  The WiFi company, Purple, inserted language in its standard contract that obligated consumers to clean toilets at festivals and clear sewer blockages.  Some 22,000 people signed up.

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Tourist Killed At Popular Beach In St. Maarten By Airplane Blast

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 8.19.36 AM.pngA tragedy in St. Maarten highlights the perils of assumption of the risk.  In St. Maarten a New Zealand tourist has been killed by the blast from a jetliner taking off next to a popular beach.  People love to go to the beach to feel the blast of engines and see planes land just overhead (like the YouTube image above of another tourist).  The 57-year-old woman tried to cling to a fence — a common practice — but was thrown into a wall with fatal injuries.

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Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo Dies In Chinese Custody

Today the world lost one of its most inspiring and courageous figures.  On Thursday,  Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Prize recipient and Chinese intellectual, has died at 61 of cancer.  The Chinese government defied the world in keeping Liu under custody as part of its authoritarian, one-party rule.  Liu kept the memory of the  Tiananmen Square massacre alive when the government has sought to wipe out any evidence that the protests even occurred.  He was a tireless defender for civil liberties in a country that rejects the most basic principles of human rights and civil liberties. He declined numerous opportunities to leave the country and live in freedom. He was the ultimate Chinese patriots and the Chinese government has reaffirmed that it remains a blood-soaked dictatorship.  Some day freedom will come to China and the Chinese people will learn of people like Liu who died for their liberty and their future.

 

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Worst Spy Story Ever: Media Builds On Le Carre Knockoff “Tinker, Trumper, Lawyer, Spy”

I have been discussing the dubious claims of criminal liability over the meeting of Donald Trump Jr. with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.  As I have mentioned, there is a legitimate reason to investigate this latest undisclosed meeting, though the overheated rhetoric on possible (if not imminent) criminal charges is bizarre. This morning on CNN, Sen. Richard Blumenthal raised possible charges of espionage and treason.  Putting aside the facially weak foundation for such charges, I must again note that the underlying narrative around this meeting remains rather speculative and unbelievable. I have worked on the legal side of national security investigations for decades in both espionage and terrorism cases. As I said when this meeting first surfaced, none of this makes sense as an actual Russian intelligence operation as opposed to a rather transparent “bait-and-switch.”  If this is a Russian spy mystery, it hardly makes for a sequel of Le Carre’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”

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New York Times: Trump Jr. Told In Advance That Anti-Clinton Information Was Coming From Russian Government To Help His Dad

220px-Nytimes_hqThe New York Times is reporting that “Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy.”  That would be a significant development in supporting allegations of “collusion.”  I am still skeptical of the alleged crime of collusion and even more skeptical of the alleged crime related to this meeting.  I am also confused by the NYT story which says that the email from publicist Rob Goldstone acknowledged that the information was coming from the Kremlin but the article quotes Goldstone in saying that he had no knowledge of any such connection to the Russian government.

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Was The Meeting Between Donald Trump Jr. and The Russian Lawyer Really “Treason” or The “Smoking Gun” of Collusion?

UnknownRichard Painter, an ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush, has declared that the meeting of Donald Trump Jr., with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have compromising information on Hillary Clinton during the campaign, “borders on treason.”  Others have said that the disclosure could be the long sought after “smoking gun” on collusion and evidence of criminal conduct.  I am afraid that I have to continue my record as something of a “buzz kill” on these stories.  There is not a clear criminal act in such a meeting based on the information that we have.  Moreover, it is not necessarily unprecedented.

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