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2018-03-26 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 175 references
[Comments enabled]  

This is an interesting story I've sat on for a few days, wondering if it would be revised to correct what appear to be obvious inaccuracies.  It hasn't been, which leads me to wonder if the reporting is in fact accurate -- and if it is....

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s government is seeking the extradition of a Brazilian man who was arrested by U.S. authorities in Florida, allegedly for shipping automatic weapons to the South American country.

Automatic weapons = machine guns.

Not legal semi-automatic guns -- machine guns.

The same specific claim -- that these were machine guns -- is repeated several times in the article.

It has not been legal to transfer any machine gun made after the mid 1980s to a civilian since the 1980s.  While it is legal to own a machine gun if you're a civilian doing so requires both that the weapon be made before the effective date of that legislation and that you obtain an individual transfer tax stamp from the BATFE for each such weapon.  As such there are damn few of them in circulation and prices are, as expected, ridiculously high.  I'll also note that there are something like two legally owned ones ever used in a crime (and one was by an ex-cop!) so these aren't the sort of weapons you would "worry about."

I recall the original story about 60 machine guns being found in a shipment of what was allegedly "pool heaters" in Brazil last June, which at the time appeared unremarkable to me.  South and Central America are full of various entities running around with guns, most of them illegal, and all the laws in the world don't seem to have much impact on their acquisition and use -- sort of like drug laws, you see.

But this puts a new spin on it because when he was busted apparently there were 40 more in his house.  This would imply that somehow this guy managed to get 100 machine guns in America.

Eight foreign stores were named selling the most high caliber guns that ended up in Brazil, with five located in Florida, although a store in Paraguay was the largest individual seller, the report said.

Uh, there are no stores in Florida (or anywhere else in the US) where you can just walk in and buy a machine gun.  There are some Class 3 licensed stores where you can acquire one if you have a ton of money and a lot of time for the paperwork, which must come back before you can have it -- a process that requires months at best and sometimes up to a year.  I personally find them to be interesting weapons but not worth the ridiculous expense -- mostly because actually going to the range to enjoy shooting one is a god-awfully expensive endeavor due to the rate at which they consume ammunition.  It's sort of like a large boat in that regard, which I owned for a number of years -- the acquisition and maintenance cost of the boat is one thing but the $1,000+ in fuel that it burns up every time you actually go to use it means you really need to like to fish for it to be worthwhile!  When diesel went from a buck and change a gallon to over three dollars said large boat got sold!

So my question is this: Did they really catch this guy with 40 machine guns?  If so, where did he get them?

I know where he didn't get them -- from a gun store in Florida.

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2015-09-20 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 548 references
 

I have written a number of articles related to various violent rage-monster style attacks over the years in this column; Newtown, Aurora Colorado and others.  These attacks, including others such as the infamous Columbine High School shoot-em-up-fest, have a common pair of thematic elements:

  • The assailants were all late adolescents or young adults.

    and

  • They were all taking, or were just taking, a particular type of anti-depressant called an SSRI.

Correlation is not causation and the plural of anecdote is not data.  However, the lack of such rage-monster incidents among other age groups, when these drugs are prescribed across the spectrum of ages, is extremely curious -- and troubling.

Now we have data, in the form of two studies. The first deals with an infamous Glaxo study known as "329", which was related to the drug Paxil; the US brought criminal charges against GSK and ultimately a $3 billion fine for its marketing of the drug to children and adolescents -- an "off-label" use that cannot be marketed under US law and which GSK claimed was supported by "remarkable efficacy and safety" demonstrated by this particular study.

The problem lies in what was found when the study data was re-analyzed -- specifically:

But according to the RIAT team, the effect of paroxetine was not significantly different from placebo for any prespecified primary or secondary outcome measure.

In other words the drug did not work.

But it gets worse:

In the CSR, serious adverse events (defined as an event that “resulted in hospitalization, was associated with suicidal gestures, or was described by the treating physician as serious”) were reported in 11 patients in the paroxetine group, five in the imipramine group, and two in the placebo group.

In other words the rate of serious adverse events including suicidal gestures was more than five times higher in the group receiving the drug than those receiving placebo -- on a drug that didn't work.

Has this paper been retracted?  No.  Has anyone gone to jail for what certainly appears to be impossible to explain away as "accident" or even "ordinary negligence"?  No.  How many young people are dead as a result and why aren't the people responsible for this under indictment as accessories before the fact on negligent manslaughter charges?

But if you think that is bad then you're really going to like this -- which also bears on SSRIs:

From Swedish national registers we extracted information on 856,493 individuals who were prescribed SSRIs, and subsequent violent crimes during 2006 through 2009. We used stratified Cox regression analyses to compare the rate of violent crime while individuals were prescribed these medications with the rate in the same individuals while not receiving medication. Adjustments were made for other psychotropic medications. Information on all medications was extracted from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register, with complete national data on all dispensed medications. Information on violent crime convictions was extracted from the Swedish national crime register. Using within-individual models, there was an overall association between SSRIs and violent crime convictions (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.19, 95% CI 1.08–1.32, p < 0.001, absolute risk = 1.0%). With age stratification, there was a significant association between SSRIs and violent crime convictions for individuals aged 15 to 24 y (HR = 1.43, 95% CI 1.19–1.73, p < 0.001, absolute risk = 3.0%). However, there were no significant associations in those aged 25–34 y (HR = 1.20, 95% CI 0.95–1.52, p = 0.125, absolute risk = 1.6%), in those aged 35–44 y (HR = 1.06, 95% CI 0.83–1.35, p = 0.666, absolute risk = 1.2%), or in those aged 45 y or older (HR = 1.07, 95% CI 0.84–1.35, p = 0.594, absolute risk = 0.3%).

Got that?

About 3% of the young people, that is, age 15-24, who were prescribed these drugs had a violent crime conviction that appears to be linked to them taking the drug -- a rate approximately double that of the next age cohort and double that of someone not consuming the drug at all.

There was no statistical increase, however, in older patients.

Considering the seriousness of violent offenses and the fact that this measures only convictions (and we know not everyone who does an evil thing gets caught or is convicted) this is an outrageous increase in risk, particularly when you combine it with the above study that appears to show that at least one of the drugs in this class is not effective in patients in this age group -- that is, it doesn't work.

So we have here a drug that appears, from these studies, to literally provide no benefit but it does create a material number of rage monsters.

Further, that the drug was worthless in terms of efficacy and was also dangerous was known long ago.

Oh, and it makes the companies that produce these drugs and the physicians that prescribe them billions of dollars too.

Exactly why aren't all of the executives associated with this and those who put together and published the original studies under indictment as accessories before the fact for those who have committed suicide -- or homicide -- while on drugs that appear to be worthless for the condition prescribed?

Come talk to me about how wonderful our medical and judicial systems are and why anyone in America should have respect for either of them when everyone involved in this crap has been brought to justice.

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Well well, what do we have here.

America needs more judges like James Fensom. Yesterday, the Panama City (Florida) adjudicator threw out felony drug charges against alleged pot dealer Jeffery Gage after depositions revealed that the police officers who arrested Gage had broken the law in order to make their case.

In his ruling (which you can read in full below), Fensom called the actions of the Bay County Sheriffs Office "outrageous...shocking, [and] disturbing," and declared that they "simply cannot stand."

From the record the cops not only illegally attached a tracking device to the suspect's car without a warrant but then twice trespassed to change the batteries in it, and worse, lied about it under oath while giving depositions to the defense and intentionally withheld the information from the defense.

That's illegal.  The premise of a public and fair trial requires that you be able to face your accuser, and that inherently includes having full access when defending yourself to the evidence against you.  When law enforcement intentionally destroys data that would tend to incriminate their own behavior and then conceals that fact your rights have been violated.

Why did they withhold the evidence?  That's easy -- it clearly demonstrated their illegal conduct and would have led to the exclusion of the evidence and search, without which the case collapses.

It's nice to see a judge that is willing to hold the cops to the letter of The Constitution.

The lesson?  Do not cooperate with law enforcement -- they will and do lie whenever it suits them right up until a Judge tosses their case.  

There's no reason to cooperate with or assist those who will intentionally violate your right to due process of law.

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Oh, so the banks don't just bilk investors and rip off municipalities, they also help Mexican Gangs run drugs?

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 admission came in an agreement that Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wachovia struck with federal prosecutors in March, and it sheds light on the largely undocumented role of U.S. banks in contributing to the violent drug trade that has convulsed Mexico for the past four years.

That's nice.  Guns and ammunition cost money - lots of it.  Getting that money requires some means of transporting it and "laundering" it.  For that, we turn to the largest financial institutions in the world, who, it turns out, have never been prosecuted for these felonious acts.

Wachovias blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations, says Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor who handled the case.

Blatant disregard?  Sounds like something you'd say at a sentencing hearing, right?  Well, no....

No big U.S. bank -- Wells Fargo included -- has ever been indicted for violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any other federal law. Instead, the Justice Department settles criminal charges by using deferred-prosecution agreements, in which a bank pays a fine and promises not to break the law again.

No Capacity to Regulate

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.

Theres no capacity to regulate or punish them because theyre too big to be threatened with failure, Blum says. They seem to be willing to do anything that improves their bottom line, until theyre caught.

Indeed.

Facilitating drug-running is just one small part of it.  There's also ripping off municipal governments, such as the Jefferson County sewer deal in Alabama.  There's bid-rigging in the GIC market.  And, of course, there's laundering money for violent Mexican drug cartels, who used that money to buy automatic weapons (no, not from America - from China, Venezuela and even from corrupt Mexican law enforcement officials!) with which they then shoot civilians and government officials who refuse to be corrupted.

Oh, and it's not just Wachovia accused in this story.  It's also Western Union and Bank of America.

Workers in more than 20 Western Union offices allowed the customers to use multiple names, pass fictitious identifications and smudge their fingerprints on documents, investigators say in court records.

In all the time we did undercover operations, we never once had a bribe turned down, says Holmes, citing court affidavits.

Very impressive.

To make their criminal enterprises work, the drug cartels of Mexico need to move billions of dollars across borders. Thats how they finance the purchase of drugs, planes, weapons and safe houses, Senator Gonzalez says.

They are multinational businesses, after all, says Gonzalez, as he slowly loads his revolver at his desk in his Mexico City office. And they cannot work without a bank.

Yep.

And we have a banking system that, in the United States, has insulated itself from having to obey the law or be prosecuted for violating the law by threatening the government.

Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke in 2008, remember?  "Tanks in the streets, martial law"?

Dateline September 21, 2008

Gee, it's not enough to steal from ordinary Americans, it's not enough to rip off state and city governments, it's not enough to rig bids in the municipal bond markets, we must sit still while these institutions literally make possible funding criminal gangs that are committing murder.

There's a name for this folks.

Formally this sort of thing is supposed to be called "Operating A Continuing Criminal Enterprise", or "OCCE":

The FBI defines a criminal enterprise as a group of individuals with an identified hierarchy, or comparable structure, engaged in significant criminal activity. These organizations often engage in multiple criminal activities and have extensive supporting networks. The terms Organized Crime and Criminal Enterprise are similar and often used synonymously. However, various federal criminal statutes specifically define the elements of an enterprise that need to be proven in order to convict individuals or groups of individuals under those statutes.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute, or Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1961(4), defines an enterprise as "any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity."

The Continuing Criminal Enterprise statute, or Title 21 of the United States Code, Section 848(c)(2), defines a criminal enterprise as any group of six or more people, where one of the six occupies a position of organizer, a supervisory position, or any other position of management with respect to the other five, and which generates substantial income or resources, and is engaged in a continuing series of violations of subchapters I and II of Chapter 13 of Title 21 of the United States Code.

WHERE ARE THE ******N COPS AND WHY DO WE AS AMERICANS SIT STILL FOR THIS CRAP?

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