Lees and Orts

We’ve just finished Part 7 of the Intercept’s David Dayen’s The Penny Stock Chronicles. Read for yourself how “they’ have given up even pretending the game is rigged…

Lees and Orts

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended from the bench for telling probate judges to defy federal orders regarding gay marriage.

It’s the second time Moore has been removed from the chief justice job for defiance of federal courts – the first time in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ) issued the order Friday suspending Moore from the bench for the remainder of his term after an unanimous vote of the nine-member court.

“For these violations, Chief Justice Moore is hereby suspended from office without pay for the remainder of his term. This suspension is effective immediately,” the order stated.

The court found him guilty of all six charges of violation of the canons of judicial ethics. Moore’s term is to end in 2019, but because of his age, 69, he cannot run for the office again.

Moore is filing an appeal to…wait for it…the Alabama Supreme Court.

Lees and Orts

File this one under “Doh!”

Police officers across the country misuse confidential law enforcement databases to get information on romantic partners, business associates, neighbors, journalists and others for reasons that have nothing to do with daily police work, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Criminal-history and driver databases give officers critical information about people they encounter on the job. But the AP’s review shows how those systems also can be exploited by officers who, motivated by romantic quarrels, personal conflicts or voyeuristic curiosity, sidestep policies and sometimes the law by snooping. In the most egregious cases, officers have used information to stalk or harass, or have tampered with or sold records they obtained.

No single agency tracks how often the abuse happens nationwide, and record-keeping inconsistencies make it impossible to know how many violations occur. But the AP, through records requests to state agencies and big-city police departments, found law enforcement officers and employees who misused databases were fired, suspended or resigned more than 325 times between 2013 and 2015…

Lees and Orts

A report by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation reveals that the largest mercenary army in the world, Blackwater (renamed Xe Services, then “Academi“) clandestine intelligence services, was sold to the multinational Monsanto.

Because, you know, agriculture NEEDS hardened mercs to deal with GMO activists.

Lees and Orts

It turns out the CIA and Blackwater were using a variety of “enhanced interrogation” technics we were unaware of, to include electric chairs. At least, the CIA threatened to use them. I’m sure they were just for shock value…

Lees and Orts
Remind me again as to why there weren’t more prosecutions of the banks and financial houses in the wake of The Big Recession?

Big Data — those sprawling algorithms that can track and predict patterns in human behavior — often conjures up fears of a big-brother police state. But those same data-sets could be harnessed to uncover and expose Wall Street excesses.

That’s the implication of two new new academic studies about the financial crisis. One study suggests politically connected executives traded on non-public information about the government’s subsequent bailout after the crisis hit. The other suggests that despite their claims to the contrary, many bank executives understood the risks they were taking in the lead-up to the crash, and sold their personal holdings in their firms before the crisis hit.

The findings emerged as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, is demanding a formal investigation of why the Obama administration did not more forcefully prosecute financial firms after the crisis.

The first paper used publicly available information to chart the possibility that individuals with close ties to regulators and politicians engaged in insider trades in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

“Politically connected insiders had an information advantage during the crisis and traded to exploit this advantage,” concluded the study by researchers at the University of Colorado, Stanford University, the University of Navarra and the University of Pennsylvania. The study zeroed in on those who made trades after the announcement of the government’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which bought up so-called “toxic” assets — mortgages and securities that had plummeted in value.

Crunching data from 7,300 corporate officers at 497 financial firms eligible to get cash from TARP,  the researchers found political connections paid off — big time.

“We looked at bank boards who had a director or officer who had work experience, current or past, at a bank regulatory agency, the Senate or the House, and we found that the boards of those banks that had those political connections traded more heavily during the financial crisis,”  explained Daniel J. Taylor an accounting professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, in an interview with the school’s business journal.

In other words: while the government was supposedly deciding in private who would get TARP funding, politically-connected individuals traded as if they already knew the outcomes of those decisions — before the decisions were made public. That information translated into cash: The politically connected saw between 4-5 percent return in just three days. Those with political connections also traded more than three times the average volume in the 30 days leading up to the announcement of who would get how much in bailout funds.

Lees and Orts

Lees and Orts

2 thoughts on “Lees and Orts”

  1. I think having a mercenary army on call is a prudent step for Monsanto, just in case their new breed of weaponized hybrid zombie corn develops self awareness and starts to get all uppity.

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