Sunday, September 28, 2014

Too Big to Jail

Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Fortune -- Eric Holder's Business legacy
    "in recent years Holder has certainly been punishing banks with unprecedented civil fines and penalties."
    "The attorney general secured no big-name convictions from the financial crisis."
  • New York Review of Books -- Judge Rakoff On the Financial Crisis
    U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, a former chief of the business fraud unit of the Manhattan U.S., conveys his slack-jawed disbelief that the “colossal frauds” the government has alleged in so many civil cases could not also have engendered at least one successful criminal prosecution.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Harry Reid's Plot to Keep the Senate

Politico -- Harry Reid's Plot to Keep the Senate

"The Senate plans to adjourn Thursday until after the elections, avoiding many hot-button votes over changing Obamacare, illegal immigration and taxes. It caps a yearlong effort by Senate Democratic leaders who have the singular focus aimed at bolstering the reelection chances of senators from battleground states — namely Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alaska, New Hampshire and Colorado."

"Reid has scheduled votes on a politically populist agenda devised by Schumer aimed at forcing Republicans to block bills aimed at wooing students, women, seniors and the middle class. Democrats have repeatedly put forth bills that have little chance of passing — like on increasing the minimum wage, gender pay equity, contraception access and student loan assistance. And even when there are efforts they actually support — such as Obama’s executive action on immigration — Democratic leaders have lobbied the White House to punt on the issue to avoid hurting their vulnerable incumbents and candidates in red states."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

GlobalPost - Independence from the United Kingdom

Supreme Court October 2014 Term Preview

  • Supreme Court October 2014 Term Preview

    "This Term could be among the most momentous in recent history. Petitions for certiorari have been filed by five states raising the question whether prohibitions on same-sex marriage are constitutional. If, as seems likely, the Court agrees to decide that issue, it will be an historic term."

    "Another issue of major importance that may be granted this Term is whether persons who obtain health insurance on the federal exchanges are eligible for subsidies. There is already a petition for certiorari from the Fourth Circuit’s decision approving the subsidies, and the D.C. Circuit recently granted rehearing en banc to resolve the question. It is uncertain whether the Court will hear the case this Term, or even whether the Court will opt to hear it at all. But if the Court does take the case, it will be another blockbuster."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

ICANN Proposed By-law Changes. Post Your Comments.

How naive can we be about the importance of information control for autocratic and totalitarian governments such as Russia and North Korea?

  • WSJ - The Internet Power Vacuum Worsens

    “The Obama administration plan to give up U.S. protection of the open Internet won't take effect for a year, but authoritarian governments are already moving to grab control. President Obama is learning it's as dangerous for America to create a vacuum of power in the digital world as in the real one.”

    Much of the blame for the splintering of the multistakeholder system lies with Mr. Obama's naïveté in putting Internet governance up for grabs. He underestimated the importance of Washington's control in maintaining an open Internet—and the desire among other governments to close the Internet. And there still is no plan to keep Icann free from control by governments.

  • CirlceID - Radical Shift of Power Proposed at ICANN Putting Govts in Primary Decision Making Role

    ICANN is accepting public comments on this proposal until 14 September and reply comments until 6 October 2014 via the email address

  • Eurasia Review - ICANN and GAC Proposed By-law Changes Analysis

    "I suspect that, the above perceptions, which have been long standing, could be the trigger to dilute the almost ’absolute powers’ of the ICANN board and make it more amenable to accept and implement any or all advice from the GAC. The attempt, in this proposed change of bylaw, could be an attempt to show that governments acting in concert through the GAC, finally have a more ’pertinent and forceful’ role and insulate itself from the supposedly unquestionable independent decisions of the ICANN board."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reconsidering the Death Penalty

  • CS Monitor - Convictions for N.C. men overturned

    - Why There has been an uptick in exonerations.

    In the past 25 years, more than 1,300 convicts have been exonerated of the crimes for which they were wrongfully convicted. Last year alone, 87 individuals were found to have been wrongfully convicted, a peak since the database began in 1989.

    While the availability of new DNA analysis techniques has played a role in dozens of exonerations – as was the case with the two brothers – the uptick appears to be largely fueled by a shifting legal climate in the United States, in which law enforcement officials are investing more resources in reviewing old cases, Elizabeth Barber reported for the Monitor earlier this year. In many cases, she wrote, that means that prosecutors are turning the microscope on their predecessors:

    “During the past 25 years, almost 60 percent of the wrongful convictions for homicide in the US are associated with official misconduct, according to data from [a National Registry of Exonerations report]. Moreover, 17 percent of those exonerated originally pleaded guilty. In most cases, the defendant had accepted a plea bargain for a reduced sentence. In other incidents, the exonerated convict had been a victim of coercive interrogation techniques.”

  • NY Times - The Innocent on Death Row

    The exoneration of two North Carolina men who spent 30 years in prison— one on death row — provides a textbook example of so much that is broken in the American justice system. And it is further evidence (as though more were needed) that the death penalty is irretrievably flawed as well as immoral.

Monday, September 1, 2014

KGB and Communists tactics in Crimea and Hong Kong

  • Crimea seizes Ukraine oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky's hotel

    Russian-backed bailiffs in Crimea have seized a luxury seaside hotel complex linked to one of Ukraine's richest businessmen, Ihor Kolomoisky.

  • Hong Kong's democracy debate
  • Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, says that "the ultimate aim" is to elect the chief executive "by universal suffrage".

    The Chinese government has promised direct elections for chief executive by 2017. But in August 2014 China's top legislative committee ruled that voters will only have a choice from a list of two or three candidates selected by a nominating committee.

Russian Advances in the Ukraine

“Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said his country was "close to a point of no return - full scale-war" with Russia.”
“The crisis in Ukraine began in November last year when pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned a deal with the EU in favour of stronger ties with Russia.”