Previous month:
July 2010
Next month:
September 2010

Jesse Friedman's Moral Victory is a Defeat

Ted Frank has passed along happy news for Jesse Friedman, who was wrongfully convicted of child molestation.  (Watch Capturing the Friedmans.)  There's no question that Jessee Friedman was innocent, that he was wrongfully prosecuted, and that the trial court conspired with the prosecution to convict him.

Many will will praise the appellate court's opinion.  We'll all toast the system.  We'll also ignore some important facts:

  1. There is nothing preventing what happened to Jesse Friedman from happening today.
  2. It's more likely that a man will be falsely convicted of child molestation.
  3. The prosecutor who falsely prosecuted him will never be punished.
  4. The judge who conspired with the prosecutor will never be punished.
  5. Nothing will change.

The criminal justice system is demoralizing, and some would say that I should lighten up.  Enjoy the "victories" when you can.  Toast this decision.  Have a nice glass of wine.  Forget that nothing will change, and that the climate for false convictions has gotten worse.

I'd love to not sound "cynical," and yet everything I've said is true.  Read these posts about White v. McKinley.  The detective and prosecutor who framed an innocent man kept their jobs.

The system could be changed to prevent wrongful convictions.  Prosecutors, for example, could actually be held accountable for misconduct. Courts usually don't even identify unethical prosecutors by name in the judicial opinion - lest someone Googling the prosecutor learn about the misconduct.  Here is a list of honest-to-god unethical prosecutors.  None of them have received any discipline.

I'd rather be cynical than live in a fool's paradise.  The Friedman opinion changes nothing.  Until judges commit to stopping the next Friedman, there is nothing to celebrate.


Is Gulf Seafood Safe to Eat?

From Washington's Blog:

The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) just announced:

For the seafood to pose a health risk, the food would have to be heavily contaminated with oil, and would therefore have a strong odor and taste of oil.

That is patently untrue.

As I pointed out in June:

Crude oil contains such powerful cancer-causing chemicals benzenetoluene,heavy metals and arsenic.

***

As Bloomberg notes:

“Oil is a complex mixture containing substances like benzene, heavy metals, arsenic, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons -- all known to cause human health problems such as cancer, birth defects or miscarriages,” said Kenneth Olden, founding dean of New York’s CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, who is monitoring a panel on possible delayed effects.

Corexit breaks down oil into constituent chemicals. So there could easily be toxic levels in the Gulf of compounds that don't smell anything like oil.

For example, arsenic is odorless. So fish contaminated with arsenic will not smell or taste like oil.

And crude oil contains mercury. Mercury is odorless, so fish contaminated with mercury will not smell or taste like oil.

As McClatchy notes today:

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill still poses threats to human health and seafood safety, according to a study published Monday by the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association.

***

In the short term, study co-author Gina Solomon voiced greatest concern for shrimp, oysters, crabs and other invertebrates she says are have difficulty clearing their systems of dangerous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) similar to those found in cigarette smoke and soot. Solomon is an MD and public health expert in the department of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.

In the longer term, she expressed worries about big fin fish such as tuna, swordfish and mackerel, saying levels of mercury from the oil might slowly increase over time by being consumed by fish lower in the food chain and becoming concentrating in the larger fish.

As time goes on, she said, doctors may be warning pregnant women and children to strictly limit the amount of such fish they eat. Some of the fish had relatively high levels of mercury even before the oil spill, she said.

Moreover, Corexit is itself toxic. Many of the ingredients of Corexit are either odorless and tasteless or have very different smells and tastes from oil. For example, Corexit contains propylene glycol, which is nearly odorless, with a faintly sweet taste. And some versions of Corexit contain 2-butoxyethanol which has afruity rather than petroleum-like smell.

Finally, Corexit interacts with crude oil to form new compounds. No one has thoroughly studied the range of new compounds which might be formed by the interaction of Corexit with crude oil, let alone what they taste or smell like.

And see this.

In addition, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco says that we can be assured that Gulf seafood is safe because only fishing areas which are free of oil are being reopened.

That is also false.


Department of Justice Decriminalizes Banking With Terrorists

Last month the United States Department of Justice decriminalized money laundering.  Today Justice [sic] announced that trading with terrorists is now legal.  As with money laundering, you must be a bank in order to receive an exception from the law:

WASHINGTON—Barclays Bank PLC has reached a $298 million agreement with U.S. and New York authorities to settle charges that it facilitated financial payments for parties and countries facing U.S. sanctions.

According to court documents filed in federal court in Washington, Barclays will forfeit $149 million pursuant to an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department and another $149 million in a separate agreement with the New York County District Attorney's Office.

According to court filings, for a roughly 11-year period until September 2006 Barclays facilitated and hid transactions for countries facing sanctions, including banks from Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Burma.

Mike Scarcella has more here.

Want to buy a cigar from Cuba?  Too bad, plebian.  Buying a Cuban cigar violates the Trading with the Enemy Act.  If you're a Wall Street bank, however, you may purchase Cuban cigars with money paid to you by drug dealers and terrorist nations.

The greatest threat to the American people isn't a mosque near Ground Zero.  It's a collection of banks on Wall Street.  The terrorists are carrying briefcases near Ground Zero - although you'll find collateralized debt obligations rather than dirty bombs inside.

Incidentally, the bankers didn't even bother appearing in court:

A federal judge in Washington had scheduled a hearing Monday afternoon to approve the settlement, but chose to postpone the proceedings because the Barclays representative who signed the legal agreement wasn't present in court."

He's the one who signed the pleadings and he should be here," U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said of Barclays general counsel Mark Harding.

The judge didn't immediately schedule a new hearing date, but it is likely to take place later this week.

Why did the judge even approve this settlement?  If what Justice alleges is true, then Barclay's traded with Iran.  Who inside Barclay's made the decision?  Corporations do not act on their own, but instead are controlled by people.  What bankers broke the law?

A federal judge lacks the power to order that bankers be indicted.  Judges have not just the power but also the duty to question the parties about a public court settlement.  Judge Sullivan may ask who inside Barclay's made the decision to trade with terrorist countries.

Judge Sullivan may ask why no bankers have been charged.  Weren't Muslim charities criminally indicted for banking violations?  Weren't individual Muslims held under the PATRIOT Act for doing what Barclay's bankers admitted doing?

Given that Mark Harding spit on the judge's face by not appearing in court, one hopes that Judge Sullivan takes seriously his responsibility as a judge, and asks why banks are receiving more than equal protection under the law.


Department of Justice Decriminalizes Money Laundering

There are billions to be made in laundering money for drug cartels.  No doubt many of you have asked yourselves, "How can I get into the money laundering business?"  Like me, you no doubt concluded that the risk of imprisonment was too great a risk.

You may have even heard of J. Mark Shelnutt, a criminal defense lawyer who was prosecuted for money laundering for merely accepting fees from an accused drug dealer.  Why risk it?  The Department of Justice takes money laundering seriously, and so we must not launder drug money.

Well, our friends at the United States Department of Justice are here to help.  There is indeed a way for you to make billions laundering money without ever risking a prison sentence.  The Department of Justice has decriminalized money laundering.

If you think I'm kidding or being in the least bit sarcastic, read this article:

Just before sunset on April 10, 2006, a DC-9 jet landed at the international airport in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, 500 miles east of Mexico City. As soldiers on the ground approached the plane, the crew tried to shoo them away, saying there was a dangerous oil leak. So the troops grew suspicious and searched the jet.

They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found. Law enforcement officials also discovered something else.

The smugglers had bought the DC-9 with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.: Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp., Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August 2010 issue.

This was no isolated incident. Wachovia, it turns out, had made a habit of helping move money for Mexican drug smugglers. Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted in court that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers -- including the cash used to buy four planes that shipped a total of 22 tons of cocaine.

The banks were warned about their role in funding the drug cartels:

"'It’s the banks laundering money for the cartels that finances the tragedy,' says Martin Woods, director of Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit in London from 2006 to 2009. Woods says he quit the bank in disgust after executives ignored his documentation that drug dealers were funneling money through Wachovia’s branch network."

Working as the drug cartels' personal bankers was no an accident.  There was no overcriminalization problem.  No one was fooled.  Instead, bank executives knowingly laundered drug money.

The Department of Justice did not criminally prosecute any of the banks.  Instead, the Department of Justice told the banks face that there is no risk of ever being criminally prosecuted for money laundering:

"Large banks are protected from indictments by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory. Indicting a big bank could trigger a mad dash by investors to dump shares and cause panic in financial markets, says Jack Blum, a U.S. Senate investigator for 14 years and a consultant to international banks and brokerage firms on money laundering.

The theory is like a get-out-of-jail-free card for big banks, Blum says.

'There’s no capacity to regulate or punish them because they’re too big to be threatened with failure,' Blum says. 'They seem to be willing to do anything that improves their bottom line, until they’re caught.'"

It is time to declare our independence from Wall Street.  They are funding the criminal organizations that are murdering innocents in Arizona.  One can believe that while the War on Drugs is immoral, drug cartels are evil.

The banks are funding the drug cartels, and the United States Department of Justice has agreed to allow it.

The government has explicitly stated that banks are above the law.  It is now up to the people to enforce the law.


Attitude: The Difference Between Prison and Jail

Telling this audience that attitude is often the difference between state prison and county jail is preaching to the choir.  Lest you have wayward clients, be sure to pass this story along:

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego judge postponed a sentencing hearing Thursday for a former mixed-martial arts championship fighter, saying his behavior inside and outside the courtroom warranted prison not probation.

Jon Koppenhaver, who legally changed his name to War Machine, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury. The case stems from altercations at a Point Loma bar in February and a Pacific Beach bar in March. He also admitted he violated probation on a previous case.

War Machine, 28, was expected to be formally sentenced in accordance with a plea bargain Thursday, but Superior Court Judge David Danielsen said he was “inclined not to honor the plea agreement,” given the statements War Machine had made to the Probation Department, his assertion in court Thursday that he had not read the terms of the plea, and a series of Twitter messages posted online before he was booked into jail last month.

“This really is a state prison case,” Danielsen said.

War Machine pleaded guilty July 1 and agreed to report to county jail to begin serving a yearlong stint as a condition of probation. The judge allowed the mixed-martial artist to report to jail July 16 so he could participate in a professional fight scheduled a week earlier.

Prosecutors agreed not to ask for additional jail or prison time at the sentencing if War Machine complied with the order.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon filed a document Thursday containing several expletive-laden “tweets” posted on War Machine’s Twitter page in which he apparently rails against the court system, minimizes his role in the bar fights and laments having to serve a jail term.

One of the tweets reads, in part, that it “doesn’t pay to win in a street fight ... it doesn’t even pay to defend yourself our county has gone soft. We need a civil war!”

If you can believe it, there's more here.


KGB Agent: "How To Brainwash A Nation"

In this remarkable video, a KGB agent explains how the popular media is able to brainwash an entire nation.

  1. Demoralization
  2. Destabolization
  3. Crisis
  4. Normalization

I have grown less interested in talking to people, because they are unable to comprehend the truth.  This is because people watch television.  You are what you eat, and your brain is the product of its perceptions.  Americans consume data bits from television each night.

As Yuri Bezmenov explains: "Exposure to true information does not matter anymore.  A person who is demoralized is unable to assess true information.  The facts tell nothing to him - even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures."

The average American can't walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded.  How then can anyone ascend to the heights - as truth is always only to be found above us?


Wall Street and the Declaration of Independence

In light of the bailouts, we should re-read the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Does the federal government represent you?  Or Wall Street?

Republicans are going to displace Democrats.  In anticipation of this displacement, Wall Street has double-downed on the GOP.  Doesn't his mean that Wall Street will remain in power, and thus electoral forces cannot push back its power?

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Wall Street has been bailed out of every economic disaster in the past century.  How much longer must this train of abuse and usurpation be?

Like King Henry, Wall Street has:

refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

No one on Wall Street has been indicted for destroying the economy.  Goldman Sachs paid a mere civil fine (less than five days of trading profits) for manipulating the market, and bringing ruin to the American public.

Wall Street has

forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

Financial reform is a joke and a lie.  Nothing on Wall Street will change after passage of Obama's financial (non) overhaul.

Wall Street has

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

Meetings are held in secret.  Lobbyists outnumber you.  Ordinary Americans are not allowed to influence legislation, due to Wall Street's army of lobbyists.

Wall Street has

impos[ed] Taxes on us without our Consent.

Did you support the bailouts?  Did anyone you know support the bailouts?  Yet Wall Street received tax dollars despite overwhelming opposition from the American people.  Stealing your tax dollars is no different from a direct tax.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

As with other Americans, we have tried to overthrow Wall Street lawfully.  We voted for Barack Obama, who promised hope and change.  Instead, he continued George W. Bush's bailouts.  We voted for Republicans, who promised to fight against Wall Street for us.  Instead, Wall Street bought off the GOP.

Under the logic of document upon which Americans celebrate each year, the time for a Revolution is near.  Prepare yourselves, because the American people are awakening from their too-long slumber.