Petition: make the FBI explain why they didn't bring criminal charges against bank execs

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Last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren published an open letter to FBI director James Comey observing that, in revealing details of its investigation into the Clinton email scandal, the Bureau had seemingly abandoned its longstanding policy of not sharing its deliberations, meaning that there was no longer any reason to keep secret its reasoning for not bringing criminal charges against the bankers who did trillions of dollars' worth of damage to the world economy, sparking wars, starvation, and personal ruin for millions of people. Read the rest

L.A. judge admonished for mistreating prospective jurors

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The L.A. Times reports that L.A. County Judge Edmund W. Clarke Jr. was admonished after abusive remarks to prospective jurors in a 2014 murder trial. His "misconduct demonstrates a pattern of discourteous and undignified treatment of jurors," wrote The Commission of Judicial Performance, in a 34-page report that details several examples of belittling people in his courtroom who were too poor or Spanish for his tastes.

... [two] jurors wrote how much money they had in the bank and each amount was less than $50.

“It’s an impressive and convincing figure,” Clarke told one of the jurors, according to the commission.

“Thank you for not sharing it,” the juror replied.

“Well, every one of these lawyers spent more than that on lunch today,” he said.

“Great,” the juror sarcastically replied.

As soon as the juror exited the courtroom, the judge announced that she had listed her bank account balance as $25

It's not the first rodeo in Clarke's courtroom: he was disciplined in 2013 for misconduct toward a defendant, and the Commission adds that he "has shown a very limited appreciation of the impropriety of his conduct." Read the rest

Arkansas lawmaker who pushed law protecting right to video police is arrested for videoing an arrest

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Officer Jeff Thompson of the Little Rock Police Department arrested Arkansas state Representative John Walker for recording their treatment of a black man who had been put in handcuffs during a traffic stop. Read the rest

Hundreds of cops misuse databases yearly, says report

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An investigation by the Associated Press found 675 police officers were jailed or disciplined for misusing police databases from 2013 to 2015, and that's just the ones who were caught.

Read the rest

California ends statute of limitations on rape, but it won't apply retroactively

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Prompted by allegations made against celebrity Bill Cosby, California is ending its 10-year statute of limitations on rape.

Current California law requires prosecution for rape to begin within 10 years of the alleged offence, with some exceptions. Under the new legislation, SB813, there will be no time limit. The change will also apply to crimes for which the statute of limitations has not expired as of 1 January 2017.

Senator Connie Leyva, who introduced the bill, said it told victims of sexual assault that they could seek justice "regardless of when they are ready to come forward".

"Rapists should never be able to evade legal consequences simply because an arbitrary time limit has expired."

Historical cases (such as many of Cosby's victims) are not addressed in the bill, as it will not apply retroactively to crimes that reach the 10-year-limit before Jan 1, 2017. Which is to say, Dec 31, 2006 is the last date for crimes to escape the new legislation.

The U.S. has a patchwork of state-level sexual assault laws, with 43 applying a statute of limitations to rape. The lengths differ widely: Minnesota has the shortest, at 3 years, whereas Ohio's is 20 years. Read the rest

Wells Fargo execs will lose a few millions out of the hundreds of millions they got for abetting massive fraud

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Wells Fargo's Board of Directors have finally exercised their right to claw back part of the hundreds of millions of dollars taken home by two senior executives who were compensated on the basis of the fraudulent earnings the bank took in while opening 2,000,000 secret accounts in their customers' names, taking money out of those customers' real accounts to pay for the fees and penalties accrued by the fake accounts, and trashing their customers' credit in the process. Read the rest

Ex-Wells employees who were fired for NOT committing fraud launch $2.6B lawsuit

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When four named whistleblowers came forward to reveal that they'd been illegally fired from Wells Fargo for reporting that the company was experiencing widespread fraud, it was deja vu all over again: Wells also punished whistleblowers who sounded the alarm during the subprime crisis, and was thus so totally compromised that they needed a $36B taxpayer bailout. Read the rest

The AI Now Report: social/economic implications of near-future AI

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The National Economic Council convened a symposium at NYU's Information Law Institute in July, and they've released their report: 25 crisp (if slightly wonky) pages on how AI could increase inequality, erode accountability, and lead us into temptation -- along with recommendations for how to prevent this, from involving marginalized and displaced people in AI oversight; to increasing the diversity of AI researchers; to modifying the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act to clarify that neither stands in the way of independent auditing of AI systems. Read the rest

Glenn Reynolds apologizes for saying drivers surrounded during street protest should "Run Them Down"

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Glenn Reynolds, blogger, USA Today contributor and law professor, had an answer for drivers who found themselves surrounded during protests in Charlotte over the police killing of a black person: "Run Them Down." It was not a very good answer: he was temporarily suspended from Twitter, got in hot water with his editors at USA Today, and his university made clear they considered it an embarassment to the faculty. And so apologies are born.

'I didn’t live up to my own standards, and I didn’t meet USA TODAY’s standards. For that I apologize.' ... Those words can easily be taken to advocate drivers going out of their way to run down protesters. I meant no such thing, and I'm sorry it seemed I did. What I meant is that drivers who feel their lives are in danger from a violent mob should not stop their vehicles.

The value of a Tennessee higher education reaffirmed! Read the rest

Wells Fargo fired the whistleblowers who reported massive fraud, and that's a crime

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CNN Money has found multiple whistleblowers from Wells Fargo who were willing to go on the record and report that they were fired in retaliation for coming forward to report the massive fraud in which Wells Fargo employees opened up 2,000,000 fake accounts in their customers' names, raiding their real accounts to open them, then racking up fees and penalties, and trashing their customers' credit ratings. Read the rest

Execs with long coporate crime rapsheets stand up for Apple's tax evasion and "the rule of law"

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The EU has ruled that Apple has to pay taxes on the billions it laundered through Ireland by pretending that an empty room with no employees was the company's "head office," a move that has enraged the Business Roundtable, which has sent a letter calling on the EU to respect the "rule of law," whose five signatories have all presided over acts of shameless lawbreaking. Read the rest

Canadians: you have until Oct 7 to weigh in on using voting machines in national elections

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"Canadians have until October 7, 2016 to provide their feedback to the Parliamentary Special Committee on Electoral Reform, which is studying the possibility of national online voting, along with having consultations about using electronic voting machines in national elections." Read the rest

Italy on the verge of the stupidest censorship law in European history

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After a string of high-profile cyberbullying and revenge-porn incidents, the Italian Chamber of Deputies has put forward a bill that will do nothing to prevent these abuses, and everything to allow for rampant, unaccountable censorship of the Italian internet, without rule of law or penalty for abuse.

Republican election officials block restrictions on foreign spending in US elections

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Once I got my green card this year, I was allowed to make the same campaign contributions as any US citizen: $2700 per candidate. But thanks to the three Republican members of the Federal Election Commission, who refused to even allow an agenda item to begin discussions to commence planning for limits on wholly-foreign-owned corporations making unlimited donations to super PACs, offshore oligarchs living abroad can go on spending tens of millions to influence the outcome of US elections. Read the rest

Tommy Chong asks Obama to pardon him for his bullshit drug paraphernalia bust

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Lou Cabron writes, "Tommy Chong has a funny monologue about his 2003 arrest. When federal agents bang on his door and ask if he has any drugs, he says 'Of course I do! I'm Tommy Chong!' But that's just his way of making a point -- that they didn't have a warrant for drugs. Their warrant allowed them to search for glass pipes. (Yes, they actually had a warrant to search for glass.) Read the rest

Trump "plans" to make Peter Thiel a supreme court judge

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Billionaire trumpkin Peter Thiel's got a law degree and pays lawyers a lot of money to destroy his enemies, so who better to occupy the vacant spot on the Supreme Court of the United States?

Donald Trump has made it clear he will nominate Peter Thiel to the Supreme Court if he wins the presidency, Thiel has told friends, according to a source close to the PayPal co-founder.

Trump “deeply loves Peter Thiel,” and people in the real estate mogul’s inner circle are talking about Thiel as a Supreme Court nominee, a separate source close to Trump told The Huffington Post. That source, who has not spoken to Trump directly about Thiel being nominated to the Court, cautioned that Trump’s offers often fail to materialize in real life.

It’s not clear whether Trump has indeed offered to nominate Thiel ― only that Thiel has said Trump would nominate him and that Trump’s team has discussed Thiel as a possible nominee. Both sources requested anonymity, given that Trump and Thiel have each demonstrated a willingness to seek revenge against parties they feel have wronged them. In Thiel’s case, he secretly financed lawsuits against Gawker.com with the intention of destroying the publication. He succeeded, and his role in the assault was only revealed in the final stages.

Thiel got rich building PayPal and went on to more success as a venture capitalist.

A conservative who occasionally affects the hamfisted libertarianism of people nerdy enough to read one long book when they are a child (but not nerdy enough for it to have been Anarchy, State and Utopia), Thiel complained about women getting the vote, believes that democracy and freedom are incompatible, thinks Lord of the Rings is a parable about economic freedom as the source of human happiness, yet finds taxpayers' money an excellent lining for his own pockets. Read the rest

Interview with teen botmaster whose lawyerbots are saving people millions

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Joshua Browder, the teenaged botmaster whose Do Not Pay bot is helping drivers save millions by challenging NYC and London parking tickets and assisting UK homeless people who are applying for benefits, sat down for a chat on the O'Reilly Bots Podcast (MP3). Read the rest

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