Category Archives: Legal

New York’s Schneiderman Accepts Red Cross’ “Trade Secrets” Excuse to Hide Sandy Spending

It’s not clear what to make of an attorney general who opens an investigation and then accepts lame excuses for maintaining secrecy from its target, in this case, the American Red Cross. We’re flagging this example because it exemplifies an effort by organizations to use “trade secrets” as a pretext for hiding more and more of their dealings with governments. This is absurd, since the premise of Federal and state Freedom of Information Act laws is that government records should be open to the public, and that includes records of entities doing business with government agencies. In other words, if you want to have government bodies as your customers, one of the costs of doing business is having your formal interactions with them subject to public review.

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Ignacio Portes: Paul Singer v. Argentina – A Thriller Reaches Its Climax

The protracted legal saga between Argentina and NML Capital, Paul Singer’s hedge fund, owner of a fraction of Argentina’s non-restructured, pre-2001’s default debt, went through a decisive moment last week, when the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear Argentina’s appeal. With the “stay” order lifted after the Supremes Court’s decision, Argentina faced a huge conundrum that needs solving before June 30th, when an interest payment on its restructured debt is due.

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Peter Van Buren: Shredding the Fourth Amendment in Post-Constitutional America

Yves here. Van Buren continues his examination of what he calls the “post-Constitutional era”. This post focuses on the loss of privacy, a presumption enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Van Buren describes how Fourth Amendment rights have been eviscerated in the post 9/11 era, such as by permitting the surveillance state to pour through millions of records using subpoenas rather than search warrants.

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Bill Black: Obama’s Latest Betrayal in Favor of the Big Banks: TISA

Yves here. I’ve taken the liberty of editing down Bill Black’s post slightly to bring readers more quickly to his correctly outraged discussion of the latest Wikileaks expose on a trade deal that has managed to go completely under the radar: the Trade in Services Agreement, otherwise known as TISA. We wrote about this troubling news when the story broke. Astonishingly, the mainstream media has taken no notice of this release. Black’s discussion is accessible to lay readers, and I hope you’ll circulate it in the interest of raising awareness of how the Administration intends to sell out the US to banks, Big Pharma, and other multinationals.

Black explains how TISA is designed to replicate, indeed, optimize the criminogenic environment that made fraudulent financial CEOs wealthy by “looting” “their” banks.

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Wells Smacked Down Over Bad Faith Arguments in Foreclosure Case

Even though foreclosures and bank servicing abuses have virtually disappeared in the eyes of the media, it’s quite a different story in the courtrooms of America. Banks continue to proceed with foreclosures, too many of which are based on bogus charges or other servicing abuses.

Fortunately, more and more judges seem to be recognizing bank bad conduct. Wells Fargo proceeded with a foreclosure on a clear bad-faith basis, and then made some eye-rolling arguments before a judge who is on to Wells’ game and is none too impressed.

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US to Fine BNP $8+ Billion, Suspend Access to Dollar Clearing

While it is refreshing to see the authorities man up a bit in dealing with a miscreant bank, it’s also critical to recognize that the US show of spine with BNP is all about the US tightening control over international payments. In other words, the harsh settlement is all about the US projecting its power overseas via financial services. It is not a precedent for how the authorities will deal with other types of bank

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Peter Van Buren: Taking Down the First Amendment in Post-Constitutional America

Van Buren continues his examination of what he calls the “post-Constitutional era”. He focuses on the steady erosion of freedom of speech, particularly in the media, including limits on the ability of journalists to protect sources to more self-censorship and increased antipathy towards reporting that involves the use of confidential material.

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Larry Summers’ Contradictory and Dishonest Defense of Administration’s Bank-Focused Crisis Response

Larry Summers, like Tim Geithner, wants the public to believe that rescuing banks and leaving citizens to rot was the right crisis response. But neither experts, nor people who followed the crisis, nor voters at large are buying what Team Obama is trying to sell.

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