February 2012 archive

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Outside the Veal Pen

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Heh.  National Occupy Leaders?

There aren’t any.

Quan says she’ll call national Occupy leaders

Will Kane,Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writers, San Francisco Chronicle

January 30, 2012 01:55 PM

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said today that she is going to call national leaders of the Occupy Wall Street movement and implore them to disown Oakland’s protest movement.

“I plan to call some of the national leadership of Occupy this week to say that the Oakland group is not nonviolent and has not agreed to be nonviolent,” Quan said in an interview on KCBS. “The national Occupy movement has said they are nonviolent.”

Rachel Lederman, a civil rights lawyer based in San Francisco who is working with the Occupy movement, said police have overreacted and have used excessive force, creating “an increasing level of confrontation with Occupy Oakland over the past several months” and that officers on Saturday had boxed in peaceful protesters.

She said some protesters had carried shields with them because “these young people have felt the need to protect themselves when they’re likely to be shot with so-called less-than-lethal projectiles.”

“What they are doing against the city economically is not nonviolent either,” she (Quan) continued on KCBS. “Every Saturday they are doing demonstrations and in my city that is my night of highest police need. They are taking away resources from my city and creating a situation that is making it more difficult for me to keep the city safer.”

“Well you guys used tear gas and batons too,” Quan said, referring to San Francisco. “I think it is a different time, I think it is how the media plays it. There is also probably a little misogyny and a little racism, when I looked at what happened in terms of how the national media portrayed it, and how Occupy’s internal media portrayed it.”


Martian Through Georgia

The End of the Rule of Law

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Title Law goes back over 5000 years and is literally the foundation of Law and the concept of Property and Ownership itself.  It’s highly ironic that Banksters and their excuse making apologists are so willing to dispense with it, otherwise how do you assert any privilege over those Communist Occupier types?

I mean, if anyone can forge a scrap of paper and foreclose on you…

Robosigning = Smoking Gun

By: Cynthia Kouril, Firedog Lake

Tuesday January 31, 2012 9:53 am

There are a few voices emerging suggesting that the current iteration of the %) AG settlement is somehow wonderful, or at least OK, because it only immunizes robosigning. “Only”, as if robosigning was some benign peccadillo, instead of a massive conspiracy to commit forgery and perjury that is systematically driving our population into homelessness AND continuing to drive down the value of our homes.

Peter Henning writing for NYTimes Dealbook thinks… that most of the bad guys will get off for lack of evidence.

(T)here certainly is a smoking gun, thousands of them, actually. They are the robo signed documents forged after the fact to try to create the false impression that the mortgages and notes were transferred to MERS and into REMICs in a timely fashion. Add to that the formation documents for MERS and the Pooling and Servicing agreements for the REMICs and you have a case that is VERY easy for a judge and jury to understand.

Even the normally laser visioned Matt Taibbi doesn’t get it. He thinks that robosigning immunization will only hurt the homeowners trying to stave off foreclosure from an entity that has no standing to foreclose, as if that wasn’t enough all by itself.

What both Henning and Taibbi are missing is that the easiest way for the pension funds and the hedge funds to win in court is to have a narrative that the jury can understand. Critical to that narrative is that the robosigned documents are of no legal effect; just like a forged dollar bill is of no legal effect and has no value once you realize that it’s counterfeit.

If this horrendous settlement is allowed to go through and sprinkle magic pixie dust on these forgeries and perjuries and by some alchemy that eludes me turn them into documents that can be used to “prove” what’s contained in them (thereby turning everything I ever knew about the rules of evidence inside out) then the pension funds and other purchasers of MBS will not be able to prove the truth, namely, that the REMICs they bought were empty or largely empty and that they are entitle to rescind that purchase.

If robosigning is immunized you screw millions of homeowners, but you also screw the very banks and hedge funds and pension plans that the 1% are so interested in protecting.

The deal sabotages everything because the robosigning is the smoking gun. No one resorts to creating fabricated documents unless they are desperate and know they have no other hope of winning. It’s the legal strategy equivalent of a Hail Mary Pass. Had the robosigning never been exposed, they might have gotten away with winning through perjury, but now that it is exposed, the idea of immunizing it is preposterous.

Each and every robo signed document is a crime.  A FORGERY!  There is no need to investigate, the document is right there in front of you.

Any Sort of Robo Signing Immunity Is a National Tragedy

By: Cynthia Kouril, Firedog Lake

Tuesday January 31, 2012 3:21 am

I am a HUGE fan of Matt Taibbi’s. HUGE. So it pains me to write this:

WTF is he calling giving a pass to massive -and easy to prove- fraud like robosiging a/k/a FORGERY, a “Victory” for the public? I think the man has lost his mind.

Look, the securitization frauds are important, no doubt about it. However, the entities harmed by the securitizations, other banks, big pension funds, etc. all have armies of very competent lawyers to protect them in civil suits. In contrast, homeowners trying to stop a bank that doesn’t even have the paper work to show it has a right to throw them out of their houses have very few resources with which to fight.  They also often face state court judges who are disinclined to believe the homeowners. Without both civil AND CRIMINAL cases proving the robo signing, they will continue to be swindled out of their homes.

It’s not like robo signing is a thing of the past, it’s still going on. I’ve seen examples of robo signing executed within the last few months. The document mills have not closed down; what do you think all those people do all day long?

If Schneiderman signs on to this then the question of who rolled whom with this second mortgage task force is answered and all Americans will know that the last roadblock to banksters getting away with the biggest heist in history has been removed. We will also know that foreclosures will take off at breakneck speed and more homeowners than you can imagine, and their children, will be homeless.

That’s not my idea of a victory for anyone, except the 1%. No, Matt, immunity for robosigning will be a Tragedy For The Public.

Not even for the 1% Cynthia.  That’s my Rolex motherfucker.  Hand it over.

On This Day In History February 1

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

February 1 is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 333 days remaining until the end of the year (334 in leap years).

On this day in 1896, the opera La Bohème receives its premiere in Turin.

La Bohème is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La Bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio and conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then La Bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas internationally. According to Opera America, it is the second most frequently performed opera in the United States, just behind another Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly. In 1946, fifty years after the opera’s premiere, Toscanini conducted a performance of it on radio with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. This performance was eventually released on records and on Compact Disc. It is the only recording of a Puccini opera by its original conductor.

Origin of the story

According to its title page, the libretto of La bohème is based on Henri Murger‘s novel, Scènes de la vie de bohème, a collection of vignettes portraying young bohemians living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s. Although usually called a novel, it has no unified plot. Like the 1849 play by Murger and Thèodore Barrière, the opera’s libretto focuses on the relationship between Rodolfo and Mimi, ending with her death. Also like the play, the libretto combines two characters from the novel, Mimi and Francine, into a single Mimi character.

Much of the libretto is original. The main plots of acts two and three are the librettists’ invention, with only a few passing references to incidents and characters in Murger. Most of acts one and four follow the novel, piecing together episodes from various chapters. The final scenes in acts one and four, the scenes with Rodolfo and Mimi, resemble both the play and the novel. The story of their meeting closely follows chapter 18 of the novel, in which the two lovers living in the garret are not Rodolphe and Mimi at all, but rather Jacques and Francine. The story of Mimi’s death in the opera draws from two different chapters in the novel, one relating Francine’s death and the other relating Mimi’s.

The published libretto includes a note from the librettists briefly discussing their adaptation. Without mentioning the play directly, they defend their conflation of Francine and Mimi into a single character: “Chi puo non confondere nel delicato profilo di una sola donna quelli di Mimi e di Francine?” (“Who cannot detect in the delicate profile of one woman the personality both of Mimi and of Francine?”) At the time, the novel was in the public domain, Murger having died without heirs, but rights to the play were still controlled by Barrière’s heirs.

ACTA:The Backdoor to SOPA

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

As Wikipedia noted on its website after SOPA and PIPA were taken off the table, “we’re not done yet”. Guess what, they were right, we aren’t done yet and it’s even worse. While we turned our backs on this transparent president was busy working on a “trade” agreement that is even worse than both those bill. It has been in the works since before 2008 and is designed to bypass the constitutional requirement of Senate ratification by calling it an “executive agreement.” Negotiations were held in secret and kept form the public and congress under the guise of “national security.”

What is this “agreement”?

It is called ACTA, Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is a multi-country trade agreement that, according to Wikipedia:

{} is for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. The agreement aims to establish an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet, and would create a new governing body outside existing forums, such as the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, or the United Nations.

The agreement was signed on 1 October 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States. In January 2012, the European Union and 22 of its member states signed as well, bringing the total number of signatories to 31. After ratification by 6 states, the convention will come into force.

Supporting and negotiating countries have heralded the agreement as a response to “the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works”, while opponents have lambasted it for its potentially adverse effects on fundamental civil and digital rights, including freedom of expression and communication privacy. Others, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have derided the exclusion of civil society groups, developing countries and the general public from the agreement’s negotiation process and have described it as policy laundering. The signature of the EU and many of its member states resulted in the resignation in protest of the European Parliament’s appointed rapporteur, as well as widespread protests across Poland.

The negotiations for the ACTA treaty were conducted behind closed doors until a series of leaked documents relating to the negotiations emerged.

On 22 May 2008, a discussion paper about the proposed agreement was uploaded to Wikileaks. According to the discussion paper a clause in the draft agreement would allow governments to shut down websites associated with non-commercial copyright infringement, which was termed “the Pirate Bay killer” in the media. According to the leaked discussion paper the draft agreement would also set up an international agency that could force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide information about subscribers suspected of copyright infringers without a warrant.

(emphasis mine)

The United States already signed ACTA on October 1 in 2011, just before SOPA and PIPA started to get attention. On January 26, 2012, the European Union and 22 of its member states signed as well. After ratification by six member states, the convention will come into force.

As reported by TechDirt, the Obama’s “US Trade Representative (USTR) has made it clear that it has no intention of allowing Congress to ratify ACTA, but instead believes it can sign it unilaterally”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), for a long time the sole opponent of PIPA, sent a letter to President Obama in October expressing his objections:

Although the USTR insists that current U.S. law, and its application, conform to these standards, there are concerns that the agreement may work to restrain the U.S. from changing such rules and practices. As you know, the executive branch lacks constitutional authority to enter binding international agreements on matters under Congress’s plenary powers, including the Article I powers to regulate foreign commerce and protect intellectual property. Yet, through ACTA and without your clarification, the USTR looks to be claiming the authority to do just that. [..]

The statement by the USTR confuses the issue by conflating two separate stages of the process required for binding the U.S. to international agreements: entry and implementation. It may be possible for the U.S. to implement ACTA or any other trade agreement, once validly entered, without legislation if the agreement requires no change in U.S. law. But, regardless of whether the agreement requires changes in U.S. law, a point that is contested with respect to ACTA, the executive branch lacks constitutional authority to enter a binding international agreement covering issues delegated by the Constitution to Congress’ authority, absent congressional approval.

At the conclusion of the letter, Sen. Wyden requested that the President formerly declare that ACTA is not binding on the US. Somehow, that may not happen.

On the bright side, apparently, President Obama has found an issue where there is bipartisan agreement as Republican Congressman Darrell Issa (CA) called ACTA even more dangerous than SOPA:

As a member of Congress, it’s more dangerous than SOPA. It’s not coming to me for a vote. It purports that it does not change existing laws. But once implemented, it creates a whole new enforcement system and will virtually tie the hands of Congress to undo it.

This video from Inf0rmNati0n expalins how ACTA will effect us as individuals.

So what can we do to stop this? Get out your keyboards and man your cell phones. Call and email the White House and your elected representatives and tell them “Don’t Mess With The Internet.

Here are two petitions to sign

Please Submit ACTA to the Senate for Ratification as Required by the Constitution for Trade Agreements

End ACTA and Protect our right to privacy on the Internet

“listen drink”


I studied under the Gardners of “Washoe the chimp learns American Sign Language” fame.  For awhile, I even lived on the former Nevada divorce ranch where the chimps (including Tatu, Dar, and Mojo) lived, long after the chimps pulled stakes and moved to Washington, but “their signs” were all around, the chimp cabins full of toys, “robo-chimp” graffiti in barns, the tree-house, and pastures where the chimps threw rocks at the horses.

The Gardners told fantastic stories, including the coining of phrases by chimps, such as “listen-drink” for the alka-seltzer served one New Year’s Day.

Trixie once explained a great ape strength experiment employing a large garage door spring attached to a wall.  The gorilla put his pinkie into the bolt-hole at the end of the spring and stretched it out effortlessly.  The chimp grabbed on with both hands, feet against the wall, and managed considerable, yet considerably less distension than the gorilla.  The orangutan simply dismantled the apparatus, bolt by bolt.

Allen once described a troop of domesticated primates that had a vending machine (a kind of Skinner box, really) at its disposal.  Once the smaller, smarter guy figgered out how to operate the machine for treats, the bigger guy would just punch the smarter guy around, rather than watching and learning.

At some point was the story of “Basso,” the chimp at the Frankfurt zoo who could add numbers, or rather, point to the correct answers from choices painted on wooden plates when asked sums (auf Deutsch).  The experimenter was asked how Basso could do arithmetic, and he replied that of course chimps can’t do arithmetic!  He reads my mind.

Great stuff.  But the best thing they ever did for me was to disabuse me of the notion of the Law of Effect.  Now, go back to your wars of aggression and financial collapses.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Subdued 2

Late Night Karaoke

Florida Republican Primary Open Thread

Sigh, by the lateness and brevity you can see my general level of interest.  Polls just closed in the eastern part of the State, but they won’t report results until the panhandle closes at 8 pm ET.

Many outlets are releasing their exit polling and all I have to say about the whole fiasco is this- Gingrich, win or lose, is doing far, far better than the high priced pundits predicted before South Carolina.

They’re idiots.  They don’t know anything.

Elite my ass.  You’re objectively less informed and dumber if you watch them so why do you do it?

If you want to kill brain cells my best advice is to get really drunk.  Power drill lobotomies also work.

(Note: Easily imitable acts are satire and intended to be interpreted sarcastically, not seriously.  I do not advocate home brain surgery.)

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