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Create Your Own Luck

Is luck a state of mind rather than an outside force of nature? 

My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

More here.

Megan McArdle on Ethics

If you're going to lie and cheat people, don't put it in e-mail.  Or as one great criminal said: "Never write when you can speak, never speak when you can nod, never nod when you can wink."

McArdle's view is very common - and is one reason Western Civilization is collapsing.  It doesn't occur to people that if you're afraid of putting something in writing, then you shouldn't do that something you're afraid of putting in writing.

When people refuse to put things in writing, they are suspect.  Why are they afraid of someone reading this?  

Ethics is simple stuff. If you don't want other people to know about something, then don't do it.

I put everything in writing.  I save every e-mail.  Why?  Because I'm not a scum bag.  If I make a mistake, it will be an honest mistake.  There have been times where my recollection of something has been wrong.  I own my mistakes.  

When I e-mail someone the terms of a deal and they answer by saying, "Call me to talk about this," then there is nothing to discuss.  That person intends on cheating me.

Some people prefer to talk over the phone rather than has out details over e-mail.  This is especially true of people over 50.  In those cases, no big deal.  Still, the phone conversation is going to be followed-up with an e-mail.

If someone under 50 wants to discuss stuff over the phone, let's record the conversation.  Oh, you don't want to do that?  Why not?

I love it when people refuse to put things in writing.  It's the greatest "ethical tell" a person can give.  

Life often demands we do business with the unethical.  Most of us don't get cheated by the unethical - once we know not to trust the other side.  Anyone who speaks rather than writes, nods rather than speaks, and wins rather than nods is intending on cheating you.  Proceed accordingly.

Beware Bisom & Cohen and Mark W. Eisenberg

Anyone intending to do business with Bisom & Cohen and/or Mark W. Eisenberg of the Eisenburg Law firm should read this opinion from the California Court of Appeals.  In Day/Eisenburg, a lawyer who brought in a case was allegedly frozen out of the case:

Mark Plummer agreed with attorneys Andrew Bisom and Isaac Cohen in March 2003 to represent the Acosta family in the underlying personal injury suit....

Bisom & Cohen allegedly forced Plummer out of the case in April 2004, after he worked on it for over a year. They took possession of the case file and prevented him from performing his agreed-upon duties. Plummer notified defense counsel in the underlying case about his lien and asked to be named a payee on any settlement check

Although the frozen lawyer had an attorney's lien on the case, Bisom & Cohen and Mark W. Eisenberg were somehow able to cash a settlement check that included the frozen lawyer's name:

In May 2006, defense counsel told Plummer the case was settling for $1 million. Plummer waited for a month to receive his attorney fees from Bisom or Cohen. Plummer then contacted defense counsel, who stated the settlement check named Plummer as a payee and had been sent to Day/Eisenberg.

If the check listed Plummer as a payee, how did it get cashed without Plummer's signature?

Second, the correspondence between Day/Eisenberg and defense counsel in the underlying case tends to show Day/Eisenberg knew about Plummer's lien on the settlement funds before defense counsel disbursed the settlement funds — and urged defense counsel to circumvent it.... Third, the evidence tends to show Day/Eisenberg may have interfered with Plummer's lien by having both Day and Eisenberg endorse the settlement check, one with an illegible scribble. This may have been wrongful if it was done with the fraudulent intent to help Bisom negotiate the settlement draft without Plummer's endorsement.

Shady stuff.  If the allegations are true, it's outrageous behavior.  Fee sharing is not something new to the plaintiff's bar.  A person who brings in a case is entitled to a portion of the fee.  In this case, there was a written fee agreement giving the frozen-out lawyer a right to half of the fees.   End of story.  Or it should have been.

How did the settlement check get cashed without the lawyer's consent?  Again, the check listed the lawyer as a payee.  Somehow the check got cashed.

There doesn't seem to be an innocent explanation - especially when you consider that the lawyer had to sue after the check was cashed!  Obviously if the check had been cashed due to a "clerical error," then the lawyers would have gladly handed over the share of fees that a "clerical error" had caused them to add to their bank accounts.

Class Envy and Goldman Sachs

One Washington Post columnist argues that class envy explains the resentment towards Goldman Sachs:

For several years I've predicted that a new wild card in American life -- the presence of economic resentment at the bottom of the top 1 percent of our income distribution -- would become a powerful force for reform. The SEC's fraud case against Goldman Sachs may be the first shot in what I think of as the revolt of the "lower upper class."

As I don't live in New York or care about social scenes, it's hard to say if he's right.  Personally, I didn't know anything about Goldman Sachs until the bailouts.  The more I dug, the more obvious Goldman's criminality was apparent.  Crime is the title of this blog, and along with other degenerate subjects, a lifelong fascination.  I've spent three years studying Goldman Sachs, and marvel at the level of sociopathy.  Goldman bankers are the guys who would have been running the gas chambers in Nazi Germany - evil, but certainly worthy of study.

Had Goldman not received $13 billion in taxpayer money (that it turned around and gave to the same executives who required bailing out), I'd never have known about Goldman Sachs; nor would have made the destruction of Goldman Sachs my hobby.

The class envy angle, however, might be right.  I am upset that I hadn't thought of it myself.  I've used themes about fairness.  What's wrong with me?  Niggle the elitists by showing rubbing Goldman's success in their faces.  Brilliant!

So...Rich readers: Goldman bankers are richer than you.  And - unlike you - they do not deserve that money.  You are special and entitled to every dime you earn.  Goldman bankers do not deserve to be rich. 

None of you had any lucky accidents of birth.  You weren't born into good families that paid for your education.  You weren't born white or male in a society that tends to treat whites and males relatively well.  Everything you got is because of your hard work and diligence.

No lawyer or doctor has inflated wagers because a cartel restricts who can join the legal or medical professions.  When the government requires reasonable licensing restrictions to practice law or medicine, that's the government protecting people.  When the government bails out bankers to save the financial system, that's the government simply favoring bankers over doctors and lawyers!

Goldman Sachs is holding you down, forcing you to live like pikers on $250,000 a year.  Arm yourselves and meet me at 200 West Street, New York, NY.  You have nothing to lose but your chains!

Another Day in the Life of an Unethical Prosecutor: Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega

On August 12, 2009, an innocent man was arrested.  After several months of hotly-disputed litigation, the innocent man was finally free.  The police, prosecutors, and experts who were all lined up to send this innocent man to prison will face no consequences.  And so we have another story about the mundaneness of prosecutorial evil.

Before returning home to New York from Venezuela, Carlos Alfredo Simon-Timmerman stopped in Puerto Rico.  He was arrested for possession of child pornography - and he almost went to prison for it - even though a reasonable person could have discovered that the pornography was not illegal.

The man had in his possession: "Little Lupe the Innocent; Don’t Be Fooled By Her Baby Face."  The movie stared noted film actress Lupe Fuentes - who is also know as Wikipedia.  Since 2007, Lupe Fuentes has had a Wikipedia entry.  It's right here for anyone to see.  Anyone could have Googled the name of the alleged child pornography; found Little Lupe; and verified Fuentes' age.

Under 18 U.S.C. Section 2257, all porn producers are required to verify the age of a porn actress.  Every porn production company is required to have a custodian of records.  Under the law, these records must be made available for law enforcement to inspect.

Two months before the innocent man was arrested, Teravision signed Fuentes.  An article that appeared on AVN on June 10, 2009:

VAN NUYS, Calif. — Teravision today announced the signing of Spanish internet sensation Lupe Fuentes to an exclusive performing contract.

Previously known as "Little Lupe," Fuentes made herself a teen model sensation and gained international stardom online. Now, she is ready to parlay that into an even brighter career in the adult video arena.

(Link NSFW.)  Thus, there is no doubt than an American company would have conducted a Section 2257 verification of Fuentes.  No one can claim that there wasn't a way to determine her true age.

Rather than contact the custodian of records, the prosecutor solicited two experts to give her the perjurious testimony she needed for a conviction.

Alek Pacheco, who works for U.S. Customs, claimed that he was an expert on child pornography.  According to Special Agent Alek Pacheco, Lupe Fuentes was between 13-14 years of age.  (See Affidavit.)

AUSA Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega also enlisted the help of Dr. Pedro R. Jaunarena:

Based on his numerous years of experience andtraining in treating children, Dr. Jaunarena will provide expert testimony regarding, but notlimited to, the age of the minors depicted in the images in the labels of the DVDs and in thevideo images found in the DVDs seized in relation to this case.

(Notice of Intent to Use Expert Witness at Trial.)  

Had Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega had her way, an innocent man would have been sent to prison for possession of child pornography.  This man would have been raped in prison, and for the rest of his life, he would have been a registered sex offender.  

Unlike Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega, the innocent man's defense lawyer exercised some diligence.  He researched the movie, finding the porn actress's MySpace page.  The lawyer contacted Ms. Lupes, who verified that she was over 18.

Full stop.

Rather than issuing a subpoena to verify the age of Ms. Lupes, AUSA Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega demanded that the adult porn actress personally appear in court.  Ms. Lupes had to fly from Venezula to testify in Puerto Rico.  

After hearing testimony and examining her passport, the trial court ordered the prosecutor to dismiss the charges.  

Monday morning will be business as usual for Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega.  She'll pat herself on the back.  "The system worked," she'll brag to colleagues.  After all, the innocent man did not actually go to prison.  That a prosecutor has an ethical duty to actually investigate cases and not indict innocent man will escape her.  In The System, prosecutors file charges and raise hell.  If your defense lawyer cannot protect you, what's it to them?

Yet the innocent man would have gone to prison had he not had an excellent criminal defense lawyer.  The innocent man would have gone to prison because the experts are not indeed experts; and because Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega and her team of federal investigators refused to actually investigate the alleged crime.

Although the innocent man spent two months in jail before being able to make bail, Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega will not even be given a reprimand.  She'll continue in her unethical ways, and there's nothing anyone will do to stop her.

No one, that is, expect defense lawyers.

The next time someone asks you, "How can you defend those people," ask them: "What if Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega had been prosecuting you?"

Henry Paulson Lied About TARP, Should be Indicted for Perjury

TARP was Supposed to Encourage Bank Lending.

Remember TARP?  The Trouble Asset Relief Program was sold to the American people as a way to resume bank lending to small businesses.  TARP's architect, Henry Paulson, was CEO of Goldman Sachs before becoming Treasury Secretary.

Hank Paulson said of TARP:

During the two weeks that Congress considered the legislation, market conditions worsened considerably. It was clear to me by the time the bill was signed on October 3rd that we needed to act quickly and forcefully, and that purchasing troubled assets – our initial focus – would take time to implement and would not be sufficient given the severity of the problem. In consultation with the Federal Reserve, I determined that the most timely, effective step to improve credit market conditions was to strengthen bank balance sheets quickly through direct purchases of equity in banks.

More lies here.  What happened after TARP?  USA Today reports:

Banks that received federal assistance during the financial crisis reduced lending more aggressively and gave bigger pay raises to employees than institutions that didn't get aid, a USA TODAY/American University review found.

In other words, Wall Street took your taxpayer money and started betting on the stock market.  While small businesses with productive business ideas cannot get credit, Goldman Sachs rolls the dice on the stock market.  

As the bailouts taught us, if Goldman Sachs wins its bets, then its bankers will receive record bonuses.  In fact, Goldman Sachs has already reserved $5.5 billion in bonuses for the first quarter of 2010.  If Goldman Sachs loses its bets, then crooks like Henry Paulson will ensure that we taxpayers bail them out again.

Wall Street Owns Democrats and Republicans.

Lest those of you who are still brainwashed and thus are partisans have forgotten: Goldman Sachs was Barack Obama's top campaign contributor.  Wall Street has also given more money to Democrats than to Republicans.  

The Republicans, instead of capitalizing on the Democrats deep and long-standing connection with Wall Street, are questioning why the SEC has filed a civil lawsuit against Goldman Sachs for fraud.  Republicans are also resisting any reform of Wall Street.  (Though make no mistake: The Democrat's Wall Street reform proposal is anything but.  Moreover, Goldman Sachs literally drafted the reform.)  The Republican party, too, is the enemy of the people.

There is no Greek nor Jew; black nor white; Democrat nor Republican.  There is Wall Street and then there is the rest of us.

When will you mature enough to put aside petty disagreements, and take on the real enemy of the American people?  

It's time for a cease fire.  Put aside the social issues for two years.  I have my views on abortion, illegal immigration, gun control, and many others.  None of these issues are going to matter once the economy collapses again.  Put aside what is unimportant and focus on what is important.  We can start fighting over this stuff again in 2012.  

John McCain Must be Voted Out of Office for Supporting TARP/Wall Street Theft.

Any candidate who accepts Wall Street money must be voted out of office.  This means traitors like Arizona Senator John McCain, whom Goldman Sachs richly rewarded for his support of TARP.   I am personally supporting J.D. Hayworth - who has many serious issues; but none of that matters now.  Senators like John McCain must be punished for their lies and treason.  McCain, like Henry Paulson, supported TARP.  Therefore, McCain is a traitor unworthy of office.

The American people must send a message: You're either with Wall Street, or you're with the American people.  If you're in with Wall Street, then you'll be out of office.

The only thing stopping change is you.

Porn Actress Saves Wrongfully Accused (UPDATED)

Be careful what you bring into Puerto Rico:

New York native Carlos Simon-Timmerman bought a DVD of adult film star Lupe Fuentes at a flea market while vacationing in Venezuela, only to be stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico on his way home where he was arrested and charged with illegal possession and transportation of images involving minors.

This is all the "proof" needed to keep an innocent person in prison:

Simon-Timmerman spent two months in jail prior to the court case because a Special Agent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement had testified that Fuentes was “definitely” under the age of 18 in the video, as well as testimony from a pediatrician that had deemed her 100% underage; both of which Fuentes proved wrong when she showed up in court.

While the story does not have a money shot, it does at least provide a happy ending.

UPDATE: I just pulled the docket sheet, (Download False Charges Docket Sheet) and am looking to blog more on this.  The man was arrested in September, 2009, and the case was set for trial.  The guy was living in terror and facing a trial for a crime he did not commit. 

This case also illustrates that there is no presumption of innocence.  The Court and the unethical prosecutor who wrongly prosecuted a man demanded that he prove that the porn actress was over 18.  They made her fly across the country, and provide an ID and passport.  The defendant, in other words, was forced to prove his own innocence before the Court would dismiss charges.

The unethical prosecutor in this case is noted below:

Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega 
United States Attorneys Office, District of Puerto Rico 
Torre Chardon Suite 1201 
350 Chardon Ave 
San Juan , PR 00918 
Fax: 787-766-5398 

The Doctor who was prepared to send an innocent man to prison - and who was deemed an "expert" by the unethical prosecutors, is: Dr. Pedro R. Jaunarena, Pediatrician, M.D., F.A.A.P.

UPDATE 2: The case facts are worse than first reported.  The porn star is know as Little Lupe (Wiki).  Anyone who had done a small bit of research could have found out that she was over 18.  Indeed, the defendant's lawyer contact Little Lupe through her MySpace page.  

Under 18 U.S.C. 18 U.S.C. 2257, all American porn producers are required to verify the age of their porn actresses.  Since Little Lupe produced porn in the United States, any number of producers would have been able to establish that she was over 18.

Thus, Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega is an unethical prosecutor.  Rather than do some a simple investigation, she relied on the junk science testimony of an FBI agent, and a doctor.  Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega should be disbarred, and her experts should never be allowed to testify in another criminal trial.