Posted by Owen at 2144 hrs
On its website, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Force said: “The Premier of the Cayman Islands, McKeeva Bush (57), has been arrested and is currently detained in police custody in connection with a number of ongoing police investigations.”
While the case isn’t funny at all, this exchange was.
Posted by Owen at 2051 hrs
U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman considered Masri’s younger age, mental health and stress from his mother’s sudden death in accepting the sentence worked out between prosecutors and his lawyers – 9 years and 10 months in prison.
However, she also ordered that he be under supervised release for 20 years following his release from prison.
Masri’s lead attorney, Thomas Anthony Durkin, had opposed the unusually lengthy supervised release, noting his client would be an old man by the time he was no longer under court supervision.
“With all due respect, 50 years old is not old,” Johnson Coleman said. “You’ve still got a lot of time left.
But Joshua Dratel, another Masri attorney, pointed out that Masri would be nearly 60 by the time he was free of the court restrictions.
“Still not old,” the judge said.
There’s a reason top executives haven’t gone to jail for engineering the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Some bankers are just too big to convict.
The latest example came Tuesday with British global banking giant HSBC’s agreement to pay a record $1.9 billion – about six weeks’ worth of the bank’s profits - to settle money-laundering charges with U.S. prosecutors. The deal ends a three-year probe into accusations of a widespread, multi-year string of illegal transactions violating sanctions against Iran and Latin American drug lords.
Five years after a wave of risky mortgage bets cratered the banking system and sent the global economy into recession, the banking industry’s players have paid or agreed to pay billions of dollars fines and restitution. But not a single senior executive from the biggest banks has gone to jail.
“That’s what has everyone so frustrated .... We’re on the back end of this crisis and there have not been meaningful prosecutions of individuals,” said Boston University law professor Cornelius Hurley, who heads the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law.
HSBC negotiated a five-year deferred prosecution agreement with the government, under which charges will be dropped if it prevents future violations.
High-profile convictions of the biggest banks face another familiar hurdle. In their settlement with HSBC, prosecutors had to carefully weigh the impact a conviction might have on the world’s third largest bank. A criminal conviction would have dealt a serious—if not fatal—blow to one of the critical nodes in the global capital network while Europe’s banking system is on shaky ground.
Five years after the crisis began unfolding, the global banking system is even more vulnerable to banks that are “too big to fail,” after the biggest companies acquired weaker players crippled by the 2008 collapse.
“If you look at the pre- and post-numbers as far as concentration in the financial services industry, it’s way more concentrated than it was in 2007,” said Hurley. “They’re humongous in terms of their threat to the system.”
That threat was supposed to be reduced or eliminated by Dodd-Frank, the sweeping financial regulatory reform package enacted by Congress in 2009. But Hurley says the government has yet to bring big banks to heel.
Of course. It’s the only tactic he knows.
(CNN) - Jimmy Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said Tuesday he expects Michigan unions and lawmakers to break out into “civil war” after the state legislature passed right-to-work bills that would weaken unions’ power.
“This is just the first round of a battle that’s going to divide this state. We’re going to have a civil war,” Hoffa said on CNN’s “Newsroom.”
Here’s some good news!
Posted by Owen at 1931 hrs
West Bend is open for business construction.
Mayor Kraig Sadownikow and members of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation announced that West Bend is the state’s first “certified in Wisconsin site” on Monday morning. The designation, granted after a meticulous application process, alerts potential businesses to the viability of settling in the city.
“We’re trying to encourage businesses to locate and expand within our fine state,” said WEDC interim CEO Reed Hall. “Having a certified site like this available, sometimes people refer to these sites as ‘shovel-ready.’” The Certified in Wisconsin Site program is an aspect of Gov. Walker’s “Ready, Set, Build” initiative designed to attract businesses to the state. West Bend officials had to submit an application to become certified, outlining qualifications like available land, utilities and transportation infrastructure; environmental assessments; zoning; and availability of a labor force.
“The process to gain site certification was ... very thorough, very detailed,” Sadownikow said. “To be the first in the state of Wisconsin shows the strategic importance of West Bend. We really are the complete package of location (and) infrastructure.”
The site itself is the West Bend Corporate Center, a business park behind the Walmart off of Paradise Drive. The site, owned by Continental Properties, stretches to Highway NN in the south and from Highway 45 to 18th Avenue east to west.
So far, the city has the only certified site in southeastern Wisconsin. The next-nearest location will be in Beaver Dam. WEDC Communications Manager Tom Thieding said that eight other certified sites would be announced in the next two weeks. Of the 27 communities that applied this year for certification, only nine received it.
Awesome. It’s always good to see liberty spreading.
CHICAGO (AP) — In a major victory for gun rights advocates, a federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down a ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois — the only remaining state where carrying concealed weapons is entirely illegal — and gave lawmakers 180 days to write a law that legalizes it.
In overturning a lower court decision, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban was unconstitutional and suggested a law legalizing concealed carry is long overdue in a state where gun advocates had vowed to challenge the ban on every front.
“There is no suggestion that some unique characteristic of criminal activity in Illinois justifies the state’s taking a different approach from the other 49 states,” Judge Richard Posner, who wrote the court’s majority opinion. “If the Illinois approach were demonstrably superior, one would expect at least one or two other states to have emulated it.”
My column for the Daily News is online. Here it is:
A partisan nonpartisan election
Justice Roggensack facing exceedingly liberal field
While it is still a bit early, the tenor of the upcoming Wisconsin Supreme Court race is becoming clear. It’s going to be bitter, dirty and partisan.
Justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court are nonpartisan and serve 10-year terms. In April, one justice is up for re-election.
Justice Patience Roggensack has announced that she is running for a second term. This is the catalyst for what has become yet another critical political skirmish for the future of Wisconsin.
Currently the Supreme Court is composed of seven justices, of whom four are considered to have a conservative judicial philosophy. Justice Roggensack is one of those four.
This is why the upcoming election holds so much importance. The liberals of Wisconsin, having been trounced in the last election with the Republicans being elected by the people the control the executive and legislative branches of government, are seizing on the Supreme Court as their last hope for advancing their socialist utopia.
Justice Roggensack was elected to the Supreme Court in 2003. She is the only current member of the court who has served as a judge on the Appellate Court. In 10 years, her rulings have never invited controversy, but look for her challengers to warp that reality.
While we are still a few weeks from knowing who will officially challenge Justice Roggensack, some interesting contestants have advanced their names. Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi has expressed interest in running for court. Readers might remember that it was Judge Sumi who struck down Act 10 in Dane County and was overruled by the Supreme Court.
Marquette professor Ed Fallone has announced he is running. I’ve met and debated Fallone once. While I think he’s a good fellow, looking at his legal career as a professor, I question his qualifications or mettle to serve on the greatest court in the state.
The last candidate making noise is Vince Megna. He made some news last week by admitting himself to be an ardent Democrat who opposes Voter ID. This comes as no surprise. Megna strikes one as a classic hippie.
After graduating from law school in 1973, he floated off into a non-descript music career before relatively recently drifting back into Wisconsin as a famed “lemon law lawyer.” In the recent recall election, Megna furthered his own vanity and liberalism by running trite Internet ads against Gov. Scott Walker.
While such behavior may be acceptable for a lefty lawyer, or a rightly blogger, it hardly becomes someone seeking a seat on the highest court in the state.
While Megna’s candidacy seems like an improbable farce, it portends a new dynamic in court races. While the Supreme Court candidates have always been nonpartisan and the judicial ethics code mandates that they not make “pledges, promises or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of the office,” Megna is openly challenging that doctrine.
Megna is advancing the notion that justices are naturally biased. They have opinions and pre-conceived notions well before a case land on their desks. He is advocating a partisan judiciary.
On the one hand, Megna is right. People, by their very nature, have biases and preconceived notions that will direct their judgments in all things – including on the bench.
At the same time, we strive for an ideal of a judge who can set aside those personal biases and rule based on the letter of the law – as set forth by the elected representatives of the people in the legislature. Clearly, a Justice Megna would make no such allowance and, instead, would supplant his judgment for that of the Legislature. A person who openly lauds their partisanship is not suitable to serve as a Supreme Court Justice.
Megna’s comments also bring forth the perennial argument as to whether Wisconsin should elect its Supreme Court Justices or appoint them as the federal government does. Appointed judges are arguably more impartial because they are beyond the reach of fickle swings of voter opinion, but elected judges are more accountable to the people who are subject to their rulings.
While such esoteric arguments may be the purview of academics and philosophers, we have a real election for a Supreme Court Justice in a few months in which the electors of Wisconsin will have to choose. Choose wisely.
(Owen B. Robinson, a West Bend resident, is a blogger who publishes at http://www.bootsandsabers com. .His column runs Tuesdays in the Daily News.)