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The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Mitt Romney Outlines His Stance on Military Spending & Foreign Policy (techfleece.com)

TheGift73 writes: "In a Memorial Day speech to honour the veterans of America’s wars, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney stated that, ”The world is not safe”, then going on to say that he means ”to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world.”

He then pretty well insulted the US’s allies in Europe and it’s much smaller military and unwise financial decisions by saying:

“We have two courses we can follow: One is to follow the pathway of Europe. To shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs. And they of course rely on the strength of America and they hope for the best. Were we to follow that kind of course, there would be no one that could stand to protect us.”

Yeh, Europe would fall if it weren’t for the mighty US.

“The other is to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world. We choose that course. We choose that course for America not just so that we can win wars, but so we can prevent wars.”

So basically, under Romney’s America, US social needs aren’t important as being the biggest boy in the playground. Look at what two wars have done to the US thus far, and after his previous comments regarding Russia (Russia is America’s ‘number one geopolitical foe), having someone like him in power would make this a very scary world to live in. Mitt Romney won’t be happy until the US are in complete control of the world or have rekindled the fires of The Cold War.

All of this coming from someone who has never served a day in the armed forces, nor has he sent any of his five sons off to war. I’m not saying that because he has never served in the forces is a bad thing because it’s not; but I do find it disturbing that he seems intent on furthering the US war machine hence placing other people’s sons and daughters in future danger. Here’s a heads up Mitt, your country is currently in a massive financial mess and wanting to increase the military budget even further than the estimated $1.030–$1.415 trillion that you already are expected to spend on your 2012 military budget, isn’t going to improve the situation. Neither is insulting your allies."

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Techdirt Threatened With Defamation Suit Over Story On Feds Getting Royalty In M (techdirt.com)

TheGift73 writes: "We recently wrote about a very strange case, in which the US government apparently ended up with a 10% royalty in a soon to be produced Hollywood movie that is being billed as the "prequel" to Passion of the Christ — the famous Mel Gibson movie that made over $600 million. The details were convoluted, but apparently our reporting on the subject upset someone, as we were sent an email, claiming that our post was defamatory and could cause damages in "the hundreds of millions of dollars," threatening that legal action would be taken if we did not change the post immediately.

In case you missed the original story, it involved a guy by the name of Jorge Vazquez Sanchez, who everyone seems to admit was somehow connected to a Mexican drug cartel. The government specifically charged him with money laundering and extortion. Reporters covering the story, including Guillermo Contreras and Jason Buch at the San Antonio Express-News, refer to Vazquez as a "drug trafficker."

Either way, the extortion claim came from the way he took ownership of a screenplay for Mary, Mother of Christ, which was written by Benedict Fitzgerald, who also wrote the screenplay for Passion.... Fitzgerald, at some point, took out and then defaulted on a business loan for $340,000 with Macri Inc. Because of this, the owner of Macri Inc., Arturo Madrigal, took possession of the screenplay. Some time after this, apparently Vazquez had Madrigal's brother kidnapped in Mexico, and demanded the rights to the screenplay in exchange for his release. Madrigal signed over the rights to the screenplay to Vazquez. Vazquez apparently then was able to sell the screenplay to Proud Mary Entertainment, which was later renamed Aloe Entertainment, in exchange for $1 million (less some fees) and a 10% royalty rate on any profits from the movie. After Vazquez did a plea deal in which he plead guilty and handed over that 10% royalty to the US government, Madrigal hit Vazquez with a separate lawsuit, seeking to regain control of the screenplay that Vazquez had obtained through these questionable means.

As far as we can tell all of the above are undisputed facts. It's what has been reported by others. It's what's in the legal documents. And it's what we reported. Our report focused almost entirely on the oddity of the US government ending up with a 10% royalty interest in a Hollywood movie.

And yet... we received a very threatening email claiming that our post was defamatory. The full email (complete with a series of typos, though minus the odd line breaks) is posted below. The lawyer who sent it claims to represent the producers of the film who purchased the screenplay from Vazquez. This may mean Aloe Entertainment, though the email never names the client. Oddly, the email, while insisting that our post was defamatory, more or less repeats the identical facts as we described them in the original post, and which we are reiterating here. The email does appear to raise two issues:"

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - London Olympic Torch Bearers Cashing-In On eBay (techfleece.com)

TheGift73 writes: "The Olympic athletes aren’t the only ones going for gold during this summer, as the official Olympic Torch Bearers are starting to place the torches that they were able to buy after having run with them, on eBay.

The prices that they are reaching is pretty amazing to be honest. Take a look at this one below which finished just a few moments ago.

The listing only lasted for a day, and started of at a conservative £200.00, which is about the amount that the torch bearers are able to buy them for. There were 19 bidders in total, making 52 bids between them. The one below went for £103,100.00 by the time the time ran out.

Quite a few of the torches that are coming on the eBay listing are also pledging to donate part of the final price to a charity, which is great if it actually gets there and not just made up to get people to bid.

The torch’s are disabled by the organisers once the runners have used them, so that the burners cannot be lit again. If you want to know more about the Olympic Torch and the route that the bearers will take, then see my article here.

Now, this is eBay, so there is also the very real possibility that the winning bidder wasn’t serious, which would mean that the seller could then offer the torch to the next highest bidder.

The organisers of the London Olympic Games have said that once the runners have purchased them, they aren’t responsible for what happens to them."

Censorship

Submission + - The 'Tax the Rich' Talk TED Deemed 'Too Political' to Post (UPDATE: Now with Vid (gawker.com) 1

TheGift73 writes: "After he delivered a well-received talk on income inequality at the TED University conference on March 1st, multimillionaire investor and Amazon.com early adopter Nick Hanauer was all-but-assured by organizers that his talk would be published on the TED website.

That never happened.

Instead, he was informed earlier this month that his talk was "too political" for the nonpartisan nonprofit to seemingly endorse by making it available for public consumption.

The sticking point appears to be Hanauer assertion that "rich businesspeople like me don't create jobs," but rather it's the middle class consumers who fuel business growth and subsequent job creation by spending their hard earned money on stuff.

According to Hanauer, it follows from this, then, that "taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.""

Advertising

Submission + - General Motors Pulls Advertising From Facebook [REPORT] (mashable.com)

TheGift73 writes: "In a big vote of no confidence before Facebook’s IPO, General Motors is pulling its ads from the platform, calling them “ineffective,” according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The automaker determined that its ads on the platform “had little impact on consumers,” according to the report, which cites “people familiar with the matter.” GM will continue to market via Facebook’s brand Pages, which, of course, are free.

The article quotes GM marketing chief Joel Ewanick as saying GM “is definitely reassessing our advertising on Facebook, although the content is effective and important.” Ewanick’s use of “content” in this case refers to Facebook brand Pages."

Bitcoin

Submission + - FBI Explores The Implications Of Bitcoin (techdirt.com)

TheGift73 writes: "Remember Bitcoin? The online cryptographic currency that got a lot of attention last year, but quickly faded? There was some political grandstanding against it, like when Senator Chuck Schumer declared that Bitcoin was a form of money laundering. And, now, the FBI is trying to understand Bitcoin, sending around a document warning that criminals might (*gasp*) use Bitcoin.

The report is pretty even-handed, actually. It notes that there's a reasonable likelihood that "malicious actors will exploit Bitcoin to launder money." However, it at least admits, noting that this is no different than cash, that users of Bitcoin "value the currency for many of the same reasons people trust Federal Reserve notes: they believe they can exchange the currency for goods, services or a national currency at a later date." It does highlight some "unique features" that make Bitcoin especially suited for illegal activity — but most of those just seem to be examples of Bitcoin being used for questionable activity, rather than specific features of Bitcoin."

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Congress: The TSA Is Wasting Hundreds Of Millions In Taxpayer Dollars (techdirt.com)

TheGift73 writes: "File this under, 'Things we knew'.

The House Oversight Committee has come out with a report slamming the TSA for tremendous amounts of waste, specifically in the "deployment and storage" of its scanning equipment. Basically, it sounds like the TSA likes to go on giant spending sprees, buying up security equipment and then never, ever using it. A few data points...."

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