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Showing posts from August 30, 2014

Fox News is tearing us apart: Race baiting and divisiveness hits disgusting new low

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[Night after night, Fox News doubles down on hate. Whether George Zimmerman, Bundy or Ferguson, it just gets worse. "...white victimization — and thus rallying around victim/heroes — is the cornerstone of Fox News’ programming, even as it’s embraced the ideology that racism has been eradicated (never mind the actual facts), and concluded that the real racists are those who still talk about race." *RON*]

Paul Rosenberg, Salon, 28 August 2014

The continuing right-wing effort to make a hero out of Michael Brown’s killer, Darren Wilson, may not turn out so well, if the past is any guide. Remember Cliven Bundy? Donald Sterling? George Zimmerman?

Just because liberals don’t like someone doesn’t mean he should automatically be a hero to conservatives. There was a point when even the National Review seemed to recognize this — editor Rich Lowry once wrote a column titled “Al Sharpton Is Right,” about the need for charges to be filed against Geo…

The Cyber-Terror Bank Bailout: They're Already Talking About It, and You May Be on the Hook

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[Have we just given bank CEOs an incentive to secretly leak their passwords to "cyber-terrorists" for a share of the take? *RON*]

By Carter Dougherty, Bloomberg, 29 August 2014
Bankers and U.S. officials have warned that cyber-terrorists will try to wreck the financial system’s computer networks. What they aren’t saying publicly is that taxpayers will probably have to cover much of the damage.

Even if customers don’t lose money from a hacking assault on JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), the episode is a reminder that banks with the most sophisticated defenses are vulnerable. Treasury Department officials have quietly told bank insurers that in the event of a cataclysmic attack, they would activate a government backstop that doesn’t explicitly cover electronic intrusions, two people briefed on the talks said.

“I can’t foresee a situation where the president wouldn’t do something via executive order,” said Edward DeMarco, general counsel of t…

The criminalisation of American business

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[On corporate settlements in the US. Companies must be punished when they do wrong, but the legal system has become an extortion racket, and the consequences of crime have simply become a cost of doing business. And yet, read the article carefully to detect its slant -- Seen any banksters in orange jumpsuits doing the perp walk? No? So what is this criminalization of which you speak? *RON*]
Anonymous, The Economist, 30 August 2014

Who runs the world’s most lucrative shakedown operation? The Sicilian mafia? The People’s Liberation Army in China? The kleptocracy in the Kremlin? If you are a big business, all these are less grasping than America’s regulatory system. The formula is simple: find a large company that may (or may not) have done something wrong; threaten its managers with commercial ruin, preferably with criminal charges; force them to use their shareholders’ money to pay an enormous fine to drop the charges in a secret settlement (so no…

The Price of Corruption

Click here to visit a page where you can download this study.

[This paper made me think of the classic formulation by Ian Welsh: "[Politicians sell out cheap] because it's not their money. It's like selling your neighbor's car for twenty bucks." *RON*]

Usha Rodrigues, University of Georgia Law School, August 25, 2014

UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-23

Abstract:

The Supreme Court recently held that campaign contributions under $5200 do not create a “cognizable risk of corruption.” It was wrong. This Essay describes a nexus of timely contributions and special-interest legislation. In the most noteworthy case, a CEO made a first-time $1000 donation to a member of Congress. The next day that representative introduced a securities bill tailored to the interests of the CEO’s firm.

Armed with this real-world account of how small-dollar campaign contributions coincided with favorable legislative action, the Essay reads McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission…

Hillary Clinton talks NSA and privacy, data security, tech jobs in San Francisco

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["There's no doubt we may have gone too far in a number of areas, and those [practices] have to be rethought and rebalanced." The moment you hear a politician use the word "may," you know that everything that follows consists entirely of weasel words. *RON*]

 By Rachel King for Between the Lines, ZDNet, 28 August 2014

SAN FRANCISCO---Privacy and security are in a necessary but inevitable tension, reflected former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while speaking at data storage and software provider Nexenta's OpenSDx Summit on Thursday.
Proposing this debate has been going on in the United States since the days of the Founding Fathers (with Clinton trading out "privacy" for "liberty"), Clinton observed how concerns over privacy reached a fever pitch following the revelations about the National Security Agency last year.

"There's no doubt we may have gone too far in a number of areas, and th…

An austerity revolt has broken the French government. Will the EU follow?

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[Though the chaos in France will be swiftly resolved, time is running out to save the eurozone and EU from their economic fault lines. Dissent against austerity is taking more radical steps to quell, and this dissent is almost certain to return in some form. *RON*]

John Palmer, The Guardian, 25 August 2014

If there were any lingering doubts about the seriousness of the crisis hanging over the future of the euro – and potentially of the European Union itself – the shock announcement of the dissolution of the French government should remove them.

The tensions within the French socialist government have been building up for months as the economy has threatened to “double dip”. But it has been public criticism by the French economy minister, Arnaud Montebourg, of Paris’s compliance with eurozone austerity which has led President Hollande to call for the formation of a new government.

The irony is that some of the fears expressed by Montebourg about …