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Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Corruption]

This article is mis-titled.

TALLAHASSEE — The case against Tadrae McKenzie looked like an easy win for prosecutors. He and two buddies robbed a small-time pot dealer of $130 worth of weed using BB guns. Under Florida law, that was robbery with a deadly weapon, with a sentence of at least four years in prison.

But before trial, his defense team detected investigators’ use of a secret surveillance tool, one that raises significant privacy concerns. In an unprecedented move, a state judge ordered the police to show the device — a cell-tower simulator sometimes called a StingRay — to the attorneys.

Rather than show the equipment, the state offered McKenzie a plea bargain.

The article goes on to talk about a "confidentiality agreement" between the FBI and local authorities with relationship to this gear and how it works.  However, that article misses the point.

In the United States, along with most other nations, you must be licensed to emit RF (radio) energy in most cases.  There are specific exemptions for certain bands within certain requirements, which is why you can buy a WiFi "hotspot" over the counter and use it without a license, along with your computer that talks to it.

Your cellphone has to be tested and approved to comply with the limits of radio emissions, including personal safety limits.  Modifying that device, as it operates on a licensed band, is explicitly illegal.  Likewise, the cell tower transmitter must be and is licensed to the carrier, who has specific authorization to use the frequency bands they are using -- and in fact they paid for access to those bands.

A government agency is not immune from these requirements and as such operation of such a "StingRay" device by a federal, state or local law enforcement agency without said license or the explicit permission and involvement of the license-holder, including verification of its operation within legal limits regarding power level, splatter and interference with others is explicitly illegal.

We must not permit this sort of lawless behavior by so-called "law enforcement"; it makes a mockery of their oath to uphold the law and in fact renders them criminals on their own!  As such their remit to allegedly "enforce the law" evaporates the minute such an intentional act takes place.

When will you wake up, America, and demand that this crap stop?

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Oh boy....

One of the worst days of Douglas Dendinger’s life began with him handing an envelope to a police officer.

In order to help out his family and earn a quick $50, Dendinger agreed to act as a process server, giving a brutality lawsuit filed by his nephew to Chad Cassard as the former Bogalusa police officer exited the Washington Parish Courthouse.

The handoff went smoothly, but Dendinger said the reaction from Cassard, and a group of officers and attorneys clustered around him, turned his life upside down.

What happened next was an entirely-fabricated claim that he had assaulted the officer in question including several intentional acts of perjury by other persons there, many of them probably law enforcement officers as well.

The victim, fortunately, asked his wife and nephew to video the original act.  This video, it turns out, winds up being the only reason this guy is not facing decades in prison.

So here's the question raised in the Post, and by myself as well: Why aren't all the law enforcement officers who filed false reports still on the job and not facing felony charges?  Why aren't the witnesses facing felony charges?  Why aren't the attorneys who filed false reports, specifically the prosecuting attorneys, facing charges and disbarment?

These people all conspired together to try to railroad this man.  While I suspect he will win in his civil rights lawsuit the taxpayers will get that bill.

No folks, this is not good enough.  You or I would be staring down a racketeering prosecution if we tried this and facing decades in prison.

This crap must stop and everyone involved must do hard prison time.  If they don't then there is no reason for anyone to respect the so-called law because it is not in fact anything more than armed thuggery.

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These allegationsif true, underline a point I've made for a long time here in these pages: Corporations cannot be effectively "fined" since they can pass through the fine to others.  Only people (and partnerships, where direct liability exists) can be fined.

But Lee said he was mystified when Intuit repeatedly refused to adopt some basic policies that would make it more costly and complicated for fraudsters to abuse the company’s service for tax refund fraud, such as blocking the re-use of the same Social Security number across a certain number of TurboTax accounts, or preventing the same account from filing more than a small number of tax returns.

“If I sign up for an account and file tax refund requests on 100 people who are not me, it’s obviously fraud,” Lee said in an interview with KrebsOnSecurity. “We found literally millions of accounts that were 100 percent used only for fraud. But management explicitly forbade us from either flagging the accounts as fraudulent, or turning off those accounts.”

Here's the basic problem:

If you intend to rob a bank, hail a taxi and when you get into the cab tell the driver "here's a $20; take me to the bank so I can rob it", the cab driver goes to prison as an accessory before (and/or after) the fact to the crime you commit.  The same applies if the driver discerns, through his own internal security processes (e.g. he has a metal detector or camera and detects that you have a gun, and sees your hand-written hold-up note) that you're going to said bank to rob it and he knowingly facilitates your crime.

But -- if you are a corporation, and through your own internal processes detect that someone is nearly-certain to commit a crime, there is no criminal charge leveled even though your acts as a corporation facilitate or even are necessary for said crime to be committed.

We saw this during the financial blow-up.  Banks knowingly gave loans to people who lied about their incomes and they knew they were lying.  A person who claims to have $80,000 a year of income but works as a line cook at McDonalds is either lying or selling crack on the side.  Either way they're breaking the law and the bank that processes the app anyway, knowing this is making money facilitating the crime.  Then they made even more money selling knowingly bogus loans on to third parties.

Yet there were exactly zero criminal charges laid against these banks.  At worst there were "civil settlements" -- fines -- which are worthless as both a punishment and deterrent, since the corporation can simply pass that cost on to shareholders, customers or both.

The individuals who made the decisions were rewarded with bonuses, the officers and directors were not held accountable personally to any degree whatsoever and if and when penalties (which were rare) actually got assessed someone else paid them.

In the older days of partnerships for investment banks this didn't happen because the partners were personally liable for any fines assessed.  It came directly out of their pocket (and such could not be avoided due to the legal structure of the firm) and thus there was a hell of an incentive not to do things like that.  The problems arose immediately and durably as soon as these firms converted to "public" ownership.

But that problem didn't have to arise, just as it doesn't here.  The reason is criminal liability, which can attach not only to corporations but also to individual officers and directors.

Start charging the people responsible with being an accessory to the crime itself and this crap stops immediately.

Why isn't this done?

That's simple: There is no demand by you, as Americans, that it does.

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Fairfax County Police officials say Daniel Rosen was arrested by a county detective about noon at his Washington, D.C. home after he allegedly sought to arrange sex with a minor. The detective, a female officer working in the county's Child Exploitation Unit, had been posing as the minor in online exchanges with Rosen, police said. 

Rosen, who is the director of counterterrorism programs and policy at the State Department, was arrested and transported to a D.C. jail and charged with one count of Use of a Communications Device to Solicit a Juvenile.

So let me see.....

We have people with high-level classified access in our government, folks who we claim are counter-terrorism people keeping us "safe", and yet it appears that they are attempting to solicit sex with people who are underage.

Oh yeah, he's in his 40s too.

It appears that the Fairfax County folks who caught him were operating a unit that hangs around various places online where predators and kids are both known to hang out, and does their thing.  Being reasonably familiar with how these units operate I not only have no quarrel with that sort of operation it's one of the few times that I find "undercover" police work to be laudable rather than outrageous.

Sometimes the good guys do -- and should -- win.

Mr. Rosen, of course, is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proved guilty in a court of law, as is anyone else accused of a crime.  Let's see what the facts are as they develop in the courts.

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Oh, yet another smoking gun.

(Reuters) - U.S. health regulators have known since at least 2009 that the medical devices at the center of the "superbug" outbreak at UCLA can transmit lethal infections but have not recommended any new safety requirements, a lapse that threatens patient safety, experts in hospital-acquired infections said.

More than five years.

Further, it will only change now (if it does at all) because it's all over the news.

If you haven't been following this mess it's due to a device that is used in various surgical procedures that is inserted down the throat and contains a tiny camera and other instruments.  This is seen as a "breakthrough" device but the problem is that the device is hideously expensive, costing upwards of $40,000 each.  They are so expensive not because tiny cameras cost a lot of money (the one in your iPhone cost Apple about $5) but because there is no effective competition in the medical instrument space, just as there is no effective competition in most of the medical industry.

But now we add to the cost the fact that the device is hard to sterilize.  You can't put the unit in an autoclave because the camera would be destroyed by the heat.  This means it must be chemically sterilized through both antiseptic solutions and manual cleaning (e.g. brush and solution) which takes time.  That in turn means a hospital needs to buy more of the devices because of the downtime for cleaning of each after use.

And that, in turn, means that the minimum "required" amount of effort will be used for financial reasons -- an effort that has since 2009 been known to be insufficient and has resulted in the transmission of disease.

Don't worry folks, not only does the medical monopoly game get you up front with the charges, they pocket as much as possible rather than spending it on effective infection control and the government agency allegedly in charge of overseeing all of this does nothing for five years when that procedure is shown to be insufficient.

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