Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Donald Trump Jr.’s Cartoonish Campaign Conspiracy

July 13, 2017

Donald Trump Jr.'s Cartoonish Campaign Conspiracy
So this Ivy-League-educated New York millionaire frat boy gets an email from a British music promoter and professional fat guy he met at a Moscow beauty pageant, who tells him a Russian government attorney he knows through a Russian pop singer client has dirt on the political opponent of the millionaire’s daddy that she got from the Russian chief federal prosecutor. “I love it,” responds the millionaire New Yorker, and forwards the email to his brother-in-law and his poppa’s campaign manager, and they all meet with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower, in violation of federal campaign law, and they don’t tell anyone until after they win the election. The Big Apple frat boy then incriminates himself via twitter and hires a trombone-playing mob lawyer to defend him.

Natasha Fatale: “What do you think?”
Boris Badenov: “I think he is as dumb as a sack of hammers.”

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Image (“Boris Badanov gets Donald Trump Jr.’s email” after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson), by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Montana Wrestles With the First Amendment

May 25, 2017

Montana Wrestles With the First Amendment
In Montana on Wednesday, a reporter attacked Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte with dangerous questions about the deadly House healthcare bill, so the candidate responded by body-slamming the journalist to the ground and punching him. Knowing Montana, that should get the GOP hopeful a victory in today’s special election as well as a Gallatin County misdemeanor conviction.

After all, Montana voters already elected a dangerously impulsive rich guy who hates the media and press freedom to the White House, so adding another one to Congress should be a snap.

More:

“Fox News crew ‘watched in disbelief’ as Montana’s Greg Gianforte ‘slammed’ and ‘began punching’ reporter,” Fred Barbash, Washington Post

“Three Montana newspapers rescind Gianforte endorsements after alleged body-slamming incident,” Louis Nelson, Politico
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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Comey Filed a Memo of Trump’s Obstruction Request

May 17, 2017

Comey Filed a Memo of Trump's Obstruction Request

“President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

‘I hope you can let this go,’ the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

The existence of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.

Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. The memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

— “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation,” Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

More:

“Notes made by former FBI director Comey say Trump pressured him to end Flynn probe,” Devlin Barrett, Ellen Nakashima and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

“U.S. lawmakers want to see Comey memo on Trump meeting,” Bill Trott and Peter Cooney, Reuters

“Chaffetz demands Comey-Trump memos in letter to FBI,” Heather Caygle, Politico

“Senate Intel Committee Wants Comey Memos And Testimony,” Allegra Kirkland, TPM Livewire

“Law professor: ‘If the allegations are true, Trump has committed a serious federal crime,’” Dylan Matthews, Vox

“Another Bomb Drops: Initial Thoughts on Trump Asking Comey to Kill the Flynn Investigation,” Helen Klein Murillo, Jack Goldsmith, Susan Hennessey, et al., Lawfare

“Is Trump guilty of obstruction of justice? That depends …,” William Yeomans, The Hill

“What Is Obstruction of Justice? An Often-Murky Crime, Explained,” Charlie Savage, New York Times

“Legal analysts: Trump might have obstructed justice, if Comey’s allegation is true,” Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

“A Short History of Presidential Obstruction of Justice,” Jon Schwarz, The Intercept

“Donald Trump has committed the exact offense that forced Richard Nixon to resign,”
Updated by Dylan Matthews, Vox

“Comey’s Memo Is the Smoking Gun of Donald Trump’s Watergate,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“GOP Rep. Justin Amash on Comey memo: if true, there are grounds for impeachment,” Tara Golshan, Vox

“‘I think we’re in impeachment territory,’ says David Gergen, former aide to Nixon and Clinton,” Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

“Is the Comey Memo the Beginning of the End for Trump?” David Remnick, The New Yorker

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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White Collar Crime Risk Zones

May 8, 2017

White Collar Crime Risk Zones

White Collar Crime Risk Zones uses machine learning to predict where financial crimes will happen across the U.S. The system was trained on incidents of financial malfeasance from 1964 to the present day, collected from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a non-governmental organization that regulates financial firms.

The system uses industry-standard predictive policing methodologies, including Risk Terrain Modeling and geospatial feature predictors, which enables the tool to predict financial crime at the city-block-level with an accuracy of 90.12%.

Predictive policing apps are designed and deployed to target so-called “street” crime, reinforcing and accelerating destructive policing practices that disproportionately target impoverished communities of color.”

— White Collar Crime Risk Zones,” Sam Lavigne, Francis Tseng, and Brian Clifton, The New Inquiry

Use it online and read the white paper.

Related:

“Why big-data analysis of police activity is inherently biased,” William Isaac and Andi Dixon, The Conversation

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Mike Flynn’s Russian Headslapper

April 26, 2017

Mike Flynn's Russian Headslapper
           General Mike Flynn: “D’oh!”

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, failed to seek permission or inform the U.S. government about accepting tens of thousands of dollars from Russian organizations after a trip there in 2015. There are also questions about $530,000 in consulting work his company performed for a businessman tied to Turkey’s government.

“Personally, I see no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R, UT-3), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D, MD-7 ) added that failure to file information on such payments is a felony. The Oversight Committee’s request for Gen. Flynn’s files was rejected by the White House.

Before Donald Trump hired Mike Flynn as his National Security Advisor and then ousted him, Gen. Flynn was known for shouting “Lock her up!” at Trump campaign rallies.

More:

“Flynn probably broke the law by failing to disclose foreign payments, House Oversight leaders say,” Karoun Demirjian, Washington Post

“What Law Is Michael Flynn Accused of Violating?” Brendan Morrow, Heavy

Updates:

“Flynn was warned not to accept foreign government payments,” Chad Day and Stephen Braun, Associated Press

“Top Pentagon watchdog launches investigation into money that Michael Flynn received from foreign groups,” By Dan Lamothe, Washington Post

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‘Downton Abbey’ Ex-Congressman Indicted on 24 Counts

November 16, 2016

'Downton Abbey' Ex-Congressman Indicted on 24 Counts

A federal grand jury has indicted former Congressman Aaron Schock on 24 criminal counts that include theft of government funds, wire fraud, making false statements, and filing false tax returns. Once a Republican star, he used federal and campaign funds to support a lifestyle of personal trainers and personal photographers, a stylish wardrobe, charter plane and helicopter trips for Hawaiian surfing, tango-dancing in Bueno Aires, glacier jumping in Patagonia and a plush Downton Abbey-themed Capitol Hill office with a $5,000 chandelier.

The Washington Post ran a feature on the office, and questions were raised. Mr. Schock resigned from Congress during an ensuing ethics inquiry, but an FBI investigation followed, and the Bureau’s findings were sent to the grand jury which has now returned the indictments. Looks like media coverage of Aaron Schock will be resuming shortly. Hope he’s still got the wardrobe for it.

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Chris Christie: Unindicted Co-Conspirator?

November 10, 2016

Chris Christie: Unindicted Co-Conspirator?

With the conviction of two former aides in the “Bridgegate” trial last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been cast in an “unflattering light,” to quote the Wall Street Journal. The governor denies prior knowledge of the politically motivated plan that tied up traffic on the George Washington Bridge for four days, but the conviction of his former aides validates the existence of a conspiracy, and another aide took a plea deal. Gov. Christie cancelled weekend campaign appearances with GOP candidate Donald Trump after the verdict.

Governor Christie now heads President-elect Trump’s transition team. Maybe he’ll be named Secretary of Transportation since he knows so much about bridgesbuses, highways, rail transit, and tunnels.

More:

“After the Bridgegate Verdict, Chris Christie Comes Off As the Guiltiest of All,” Andrew Rice, New York Magazine

“Reminder: Trump Believes Own Transition Chairman Was Involved in Bridgegate, Which Is Now Officially a Felony Conspiracy,” Ben Mathis-Lilley, Slate

Update:

“Pence Replaces Christie as Head of Trump Transition Team,” Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg Politics

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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This Is How It Happens

November 7, 2016

This Is How It Happens
This is how it happens.

It’s election season and you’re a candidate. You mobilize armed supporters and tell them to watch polling places in minority neighborhoods because ethnic minorities are rigging the election against you. That’s how it works in the Third World, where elections are violent. In the U.S., voter intimidation is against the law, but one presidential candidate thinks that’s the way to “Make America Great.”

“You’ve gotta go out, and you’ve gotta get your friends, and you’ve gotta get everyone you know and you’ve gotta watch your polling booths, because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania, certain areas. I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about. So, go and vote and then go check out areas because a lot of bad things happen, and we don’t want to lose for that reason. We don’t wanna lose, but we especially don’t wanna lose for that reason. So go over and watch, and watch carefully. Because we’re gonna win the state of Pennsylvania, and if we win Pennsylvania, we take back the White House.”
Donald Trump, Manheim PA, October 1, 2016

“So important that you get out and vote. So important that you watch other communities, because we don’t want this election stolen from us.”
Donald Trump, Ambridge PA, October 10, 2016

More:

“Militia group calls on members to patrol polls on Election Day,” Kevin Sullivan, Washington Post

“Oath Keepers Founder Rallies Members To Watch Polls On Election Day,” Allegra Kirkland, TPM Livewire

“Specter of election day violence looms as Trump spurs vigilante poll watchers,” Lois Beckett and Oliver Laughland, The Guardian

“Roger Stone Group Planned To Send Out Poll Watchers With Fake Credentials,” Allegra Kirkland, TPM Livewire

“What Causes Some Elections to Go Violent?” Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

“Voting under the gun: elections and conflict around the world,” Thomas Flores, SIPRI

(more…)

Lochte Wins Olympic Gold In Frat Boy Moves

August 22, 2016

Lochte Wins Olympic Gold In Frat Boy Moves

Ryan Lochte, champion Olympic swimmer and America’s Sexiest Douchbag, is in the news, but not for winning his 12th Olympic medal in Rio. He went to a party at Rio’s Casa França with swim team pals Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger and they got drunk. On their way back to the Olympic Village in the wee hours of August 14th, they had their cab driver stop at a gas station in Rio’s Barra da Tijuca neighborhood so they could take a pee. The restroom door was locked, but boys will be boys and nature abhors a full bladder, so they broke down the door and trashed a soap holder, a mirror, and a “Please Do Not Enter” sign. Two impatient athletes peed against a wall. In other words, just another boys night out for privileged American jocks.

But this didn’t go over so well in upscale Barra da Tijuca. An armed security guard appeared, and the drunken bros paid about $51 toward the damages before their taxi was allowed to pull away.

Ryan Lochte (“So Sexy, So Dumb“) had a short-lived reality TV show called What Would Ryan Lochte Do? In this case what he did was lie, as any spoiled frat boy would. When the teammates got back to the Olympic Village, they claimed they were robbed of $400 at gunpoint by crooks masquerading as police, and Ryan Lochte even told that lie to his mother.

This all fell apart when security video surfaced showing that the four had their wallets when they passed through metal detectors on their return to the athletes village. Surveillance footage from the gas station even showed them breaking down that door.

Swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were pulled off a US-bound plane in Rio on August 17th and questioned by police. Teammate Jimmy Feigen was forced to pay $11,000 to a Brazilian charity before he was allowed to leave the country. And Ryan Lochte, in the true spirit of “I’m-a-celebrity-get-me-outta-here,” left Rio on August 16th, before any of that happened.

So after the 2016 Olympic Games observed their closing ceremonies, the people of Rio remember how America’s spoiled millionaire athletes trashed their city and its reputation and taxed its already overburdened justice system. And total bro Ryan Lochte went back to his 130 pairs of shoeship-hop-tropical-frat-boy wardrobe, and a T-shirt that says “I am Ryan Lochte. Google Me.” Only now when you Google “Ryan Lochte,” you’ll get the word “liar.” That’s one Lochte Olympic record that will never be broken.

(more…)

New York Plagued by Ice Cream Rustlers

August 16, 2016

New York Plagued by Ice Cream Rustlers
New York City was once known as “A Summer Festival” but this year, with Climate Change, the the Big Apple’s summer is big, hot, sweaty mess. And now there are ice cream thieves.

Shoplifting swarms have been emptying retail freezers at Manhattan CVS, Duane Reade, and Gristedes chain stores. Thieves steal the $6.00 containers of Häagen-Dazs, Ben and Jerry’s, and Talenti ice cream and sell them cheaply to corner stores, which retail them for $5.00.

Things are so bad this summer that John Catsimatidis, billionaire owner of the Gristedes grocery chain, is offering a $5,000 bounty for the arrest of ice cream rustlers. So get your posse together, ride them varmints down, and get the reward. Quick, before it melts.

More:

“Ice cream bandits are wreaking havoc on NYC supermarkets,” Reuven Fenton and Linda Massarella, New York Post

“So Maybe Don’t Buy Ice Cream At A Bodega,” Nell Casey,  Gothamist

Update:

“Stolen, Sold and Savored: Ice Cream Is a Hot Commodity in Manhattan,” Michael Wilson, New York Times

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Image (“Lady With an Ice Cream Sundae, after d’Agesci”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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