Now, Real Trouble
The Market Ticker - Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-02-14 09:10 by Karl Denninger
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Now, Real Trouble
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There's a lot of crazy in DC.

Most of the time crazy is the order of the day in that town.

But the Flynn fiasco is not in the crazy train mold.  It's real, and it's trouble.

As a private citizen, and not in possession of classified information, Flynn is entitled to discuss whatever he wants with whoever he wants -- up to a point.  That's this thing called the First Amendment, and it applies to people who advise the President but are not formally part (yet) of a Cabinet or otherwise "in" government.  I remind you that Trump, as President-elect, was not yet President.

The bad news is that there is an actual law on this -- the Logan Act.  It was passed in 1799, believe it or not, and it provides that nobody other than "authorized persons" may discuss policy with foreign governments.  Since the Executive is exclusively charged with conducting foreign policy and Trump was not yet President, nor was Flynn yet a Cabinet member, it certainly applied to him.

There are several problems, however, with the act -- the biggest being this pesky thing called The First Amendment.  I will note that nobody has ever been actually prosecuted for violating this act since it was passed -- and that may be why.  I will note that during Obama's term a bunch of Senators published an open letter to the Iranian government regarding an active and real controversy (Iran's nuclear program) and specifically stating that Obama, of course, had a limited time remaining in office -- never mind the fact that what he negotiated never passed the Senate as a formal treaty.  They were not indicted.

So what's the correct read on this?  Probably not that Flynn broke an actual enforceable law, because I suspect the Logan Act is unconstitutional and the government knows it.  They have never actually tried to lock someone up using it because they're pretty sure it will be challenged and spiked if and when they do.

However, this leads to two more problems.  First is the bludgeoning of people with threats to enforce a known unconstitutional statute.  That sort of thing is itself a crime, under 18 USC 242 (violations of civil liberties under color of law or authority) and also a civil cause of actual (42 USC 1983.)  Yet nobody is ever indicted and prosecuted under that law and the only people who can violate that law are those who are government employees of some sort -- by definition!

The second problem, however, is the lying itself.  That's always a problem.  This incident almost-certainly doesn't rise to any sort of criminal standard, because Flynn was never questioned under oath -- and his post is not subject to Senate confirmation.

There are those who are involved in a screamfest about the fact that "someone" (probably the CIA) monitored the phone call and that this information got out.  Well, the "got out" part may or may not be a problem (in other words, the motivation for that is to be determined, and it sure smells bad) but the monitoring part is both expected and routine in this sort of circumstance.

Conversations across a national boundary in which one or both parties are not US citizens enjoy exactly zero protection against "diplomatic" interception -- and that's a fact.  Not only is it a fact with regard to the United States but it's a fact in regard to virtually every other nation and its spying apparatus as well and this fact is as old as nations are themselves.

So give me a break on the screaming about that which has no reality behind it.

Does this mark "the beginning of the end" for Trump?  I doubt it.

But don't think for a second this doesn't indicate a serious problem -- it does, on two counts.

First, what sort of mental midget has a sensitive conversation on an open, unencrypted channel into a foreign nation with someone in their government -- and especially when that nation is Russia?  You have to be an utter imbecile to not fully expect that conversation to be intercepted and recorded.  The stunning lack of concern for OPSEC is beyond outrageous and reaches right up into Trump and his choice of Flynn.  To top that off you have him lying about it, which means he really thought he got away with it!  Flynn's actions brand him as a ****ing idiot who has no business anywhere near anything sensitive, say much less classified -- period

Second, it does call into question whether there was, or was going to be, a blackmail potential within his advisory chain.  That is a problem, and a very real one, if it exists.

Don't think for a minute that DC doesn't run on that sort of crap.  May I remind you of Dennis Hastert, who was Speaker of the House while concealing the fact that he apparently diddled some boys before entering Congress and then paid off one of the alleged victims later on.  I don't care that he paid off the victim, and I find it amusing that he got busted for structuring financial transactions to try to avoid detection of the payoff.

But there is utterly nothing amusing at all about what appears to be factual, and that is that Hastert was in the position to and did choose what bills came to the House Floor and were passed, and those that were killed, during the time in which material information on his alleged diddling of little boys was hidden from the public but known to certain others who were thus able to use that information to shape American policy and law.

We have no way to know if that did or didn't happen, and I will note for the record that exactly nobody has investigated that series of events to find out exactly what laws were passed, or not passed, as a result of Hastert being blackmailed.  It's possible the answer is "none" -- but the fact there was a very real opportunity and that Hastert later paid off the kid means that the question remains open.

Why hasn't that been looked into?

I'll tell you why not: For the same reason that zero felony indictments have been leveled against the medical industry over what appear to be blatant 15 USC Chapter 1 violations -- a law that carries not only ruinous civil penalties but felony criminal penalties as well.

If you think this lack of indictment activity across nearly 40 years since the US Supreme Court killed the hope of "immunity" from same (in 1979) is some sort of "coincidence" you have an IQ smaller than my shoe size.  The overwhelming evidence is that said lack of indictment is in fact because too many people have ordered a very-illegal pizza, or something similar and equally bad yet it is concealed from public knowledge and thus they can be blackmailed with same and have been.

That, folks, is where you ought to focus your concern and attention when it comes to Flynn, and whether we dodged a bullet by getting rid of him or whether attempts, successful or not, had already been made to use that leverage.

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Flyanddive
Posts: 1998
Incept: 2008-10-10

Detroit
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I believe it is the end, unless Trump has the balls to prosecute what you stated above. We both know he doesn't. Or, he could simply become another Obama, and play golf for 4-8 years. Either way, that is a failed Presidency for what he was elected for.

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"I've seen people go into real poverty trying to pretend to be rich."
Fedwatcher
Posts: 1938
Incept: 2009-04-07

Southern California
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Politics is dirty business and always has been.

But in the past not all politicians were full-time politicians and had lives and jobs where they lived.

There was a time when there was no FBI and thus no J. Edgar Hover, no CIA, no NSA, no Internet, no TV in every house, no cell phones, no security cams.

Even when one set of newspapers was against you there was another set defending you.

Today we are at a peak in bad government.

The prior president set a peak in expensive vacations and a peak in expensive golf.

The current president may fall into the same escapes used by the former.
Bagbalm
Posts: 5221
Incept: 2009-03-19

Just North of Detroit
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F & D - I can't see Trump playing golf and killing time for even 4 years. He's used to a different world and thought process.
What I am afraid of is that we don't see any backing off from a systematic opposition to anything he does. These people are whipping themselves up into a frenzy every day. I don't think it is 100% controllable. You may have a handle on almost everyone in a mob, but almost isn't good enough.
The reason this makes me afraid is that I think there is a less than zero chance there will be some mob action that reaches the level of insurrection, or an assassination attempt obviously not the act of a lone wolf, bad enough to declare a state of emergency.
Every President from Eisenhower on has layered new emergency powers on top of old ones, until the President now has pretty much the power to do everything they want to accuse him of in reality and completely legally if invoked.
Go look up just how broad those powers are if you don't know.
The opposition seems unhinged enough to cross that line.
Tdurden
Posts: 507
Incept: 2015-01-29

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I don't think Trump could get lucky enough to have this Flynn thing turn into an Iran Contra 24/7 teevee sink hole. That would leave him more or less free do whatever he wanted with the Reid rule firmly in place and gop control of both houses. Without the filabuster, the dems won't even be an effective speed bump, much less and impediment cleaning house. But as Karl has pointed out many times, most of it is window dressing without cleaning out the monopolies and scrapping the laws that compell us to do business with congressional campaign contributors.

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"I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next 10 generations that some favors come with too high of a price." -Vir Cotto Babylon 5
Eli
Posts: 8471
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This is the problem of the modern surveillance state combined with the left overs of the previous administration working as spies for the establishment party wings of the dems and repubs.

I don't think Trump has much of a choice the people deep in the government are never going to give him a break. He can either be destroyed on his knees or he can go out standing, but either way they are going to after him. Even if he makes a deal they will humiliate him.

The better choice is to use what power he has reveal all the **** that really goes on and throw it into the fan. A good place to start is take down Bill and Hillary for the out and out thieves they are.

We will see.

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If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
George Orwell

Jfms99
Posts: 168
Incept: 2009-10-06

Msumelle, Ar
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The Logan Act was violated right after it was passed and has been continually throughout our existence as a country.

There are a plethora of examples over the life of this country where private citizens have been pressed into action to aid our government in unofficial back channels.

While Flynn may technically overstepped his bounds he was picked by Trump and was it really bad for him to unofficially talk to the Russians to feel them out? His enemies are splitting hairs here in my opinion.

The real bottom line is Hyperbolic atmosphere of Vicious Hate, Hypocrisy, and Mendacity that permeates D.C..

It is obvious that nothing that really needs to done may really happen. Trump may get lucky to get two or three really important things accomplished. Otherwise we may as well prepare ourselves for the Collapse coming.
Thelazer
Posts: 116
Incept: 2009-05-11

Davenport, Fl
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I like to think of Flynn as being the sacrificial lamb....

Now "everyone" knows that there is a faction inside looking to do damage. Shortly those in the faction will be or are being exposed. Making them easily removed.

At least I hope.
Frat
Posts: 2067
Incept: 2009-07-15

NKY
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Echoing Bagbalm's comments above, my ongoing concern is that Trump can't fart without almost everyone in the media saying it was an attempt at biological warfare. Where was this all-consuming concern with ****ing security when the teleprompter-in-chief was in office?! We all know the answer, but dammit it irritates me to no end.

And... I actually think even moderate liberals are starting to feel the same way. Obstructing of Obama by Republicans? Well, sure, but they're pieces-of-****-politicians. It's expected (not to mention many of us opposed Obama's actions for the bull**** they were). I'm concerned with all the leaks - and I saw the (probably purposely inflammatory) term "Obama Loyalists." If there truly are a faction of such in the government, it's farther gone than I thought. Yearning for a past president to actually retake control of the government, so much so that you'll act on it? If true, bad mojo.

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We're ****ed. Where's Henry Bowman when you need him?
Dasman
Posts: 59
Incept: 2010-06-27

Lawrence, KS
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Seems like there's an information war going on between Trump and the Deep State.

If the trajectory and projects between the OSS (CIA) and International banking concerns is any indicator... along with what we know that Snowden pushed out into the open... the "Intel Community" (at least some factions within IC) are the real power base of the nation now.

It would be almost impossible to run the administration of a POTUS at this point without some insider help, from people that are disinclined to like Trump.

Anything can happen at this point... further and further into uncharted territory we go!

[****fan]
Tickerguy
Posts: 147938
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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Quote:

At least I hope.

Tastes like **** doesn't it?

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Winding it down.
Fedwatcher
Posts: 1938
Incept: 2009-04-07

Southern California
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"Bagbalm" and others believe that Trump will to some degree escape the Dark State and not become another "Obama".

I disagree. The "Dark State" has already won. Donald just has not realized it yet.

Does the Donald have the hart of a martyr and is willing to sacrifice himself and his family including his grandchildren?

I think not.
Quik49
Posts: 3845
Incept: 2007-12-11

ut
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Listen Larry Elder a bit today echoing this sentiment.
Didn't catch it all but what I did surprised me...

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Long Vaseline....

Dasman
Posts: 59
Incept: 2010-06-27

Lawrence, KS
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Fedwatcher, was having the same conversation with a friend who is well connected within the Special Operations community... as much as he's botched things... I believe Trump means well and is sincere...

...but he is surrounded by folks with questionable alliances.

Will he endanger himself and his own family, for the sake of the Republic? Maybe... but maybe not... given he won't even ruffle the feathers of the Medical Industrial Complex for the sake of the Republic.

It's gonna be a long year...

smiley
Eli
Posts: 8471
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Agree with everyone's comments on this situation.

This is nothing but the flexing of the muscles of the Surveillance/Police State.

Trump best bet is to go after their dirty laundry.

The forces that are against him are going to destroy him no matter what. He was not the candidate they approved.

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If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
George Orwell

Windsoflimbo
Posts: 1
Incept: 2016-11-13

Where the tides of madness swell
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It seems to me that a sure way to rise in power in the Kakistocracy that we've had going on for the past 40 years is simple: Do something horrible and trade your blackmailability for power (while also demonstrating your willingness to do anything no matter how vile). Soul selling at the deepest level. I think that's how we end up with Hasterts, Weiners, Podestas (allegedly), and the like.
Flyanddive
Posts: 1998
Incept: 2008-10-10

Detroit
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Looks like the attack wave is Flynn -> Conway -> Miller -> Bannon -> Trump. Conway is being banned by the news organizations today.

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"I've seen people go into real poverty trying to pretend to be rich."
Ktrosper
Posts: 3220
Incept: 2010-04-06

ft collins co
Online
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Was this a precision, targeted hit by the intel community? As in, Flynn was a direct threat to them and their power structure?

Or is this the indiscriminate action of a desperate, wounded animal - a target of opportunity? As in, hey look we got something on this guy... let's take him out simply to wound Trump!

KT

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The unexamined life is not worth living.-Socrates
The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.-Aristotle
Liberty exists now in the spaces government has not yet chosen to occupy.-Doc Zero
I anticipate that 10 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders will blow me this evening.-K.D
Keenan
Posts: 225
Incept: 2013-01-11

Western PA
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Was this a precision, targeted hit by the intel community?

Or maybe there's are contending factions within the intel community, a real world version of the Mad Magazine "Spy vs Spy" as former Rep Dennis Kucinich suggested in his appearance on Fox News:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j_ZfKmc....

Dee Cee is increasingly evoking the manner & flavor of the USSR era Kremlin.
Flyanddive
Posts: 1998
Incept: 2008-10-10

Detroit
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Ktrosper, it's impossible to know what is really going on. But if I had to guess, they are trying to further divide the country to provoke a violent response. The people in power need to shred the Constitution, displace dollar reserve status, as the American voter has too much world power in their eyes.

What the dumbass public doesn't realize, is they are in the streets demanding that they be financially raped for life, or have their lives cut short on the battlefield of some 3rd world ****hole.

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"I've seen people go into real poverty trying to pretend to be rich."
Lenguado
Posts: 1970
Incept: 2010-01-12
A True American Patriot!
Orlando, FL
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My question is, Do we even know WHAT the actual content of the conversation(s) was? I have yet to see an (supposed) actual transcript. I have heard lots of allusions as to what the content was - hence the implied threat of blackmail - but not a single piece of conversation content or an actual charge has been made, as far as I know.

For all we know, the Russian contact may have asked something like, 'So what does Trump intend to do about the sanctions?' To which Flynn may have replied, 'Well, I can't discuss that yet,' and completely forgotten about it as being inconsequential. And then when asked about it, didn't recall it - or said something truthful in his thinking like, "I never discussed sanctions." But the transcript does say that the subject was brought up.

We don't know anything about what was actually discussed - as far as I know. Lots of insinuations though. At this point, I would think that we should have specifics if there was anything to it.

I'm not making excuses for or being an apologist for anything Flynn has done. He may well have overstepped the bounds. If he did, then this was the correct action. But until someone comes out with ACTUAL proof of what was said and done, I'm going to take the administration's word that nothing illegal was done here. However, if that is disproven, - - - well, let's just say that any further support of Trump will pretty much go POOF!

My take is that the left and the deep state have wanted Flynn's scalp from the second his name was mentioned as National Security Advisor. He just happens to have been caught - in the ILLEGAL release of wiretapping information (ok to release the info on the foreign party, but I believe it is illegal to release that of the US Citizen) - as a vendetta by an anti-Trump someone in the NSA / intel community.

All that said, I pretty much agree with Gen here (if the charges are true), but my biggest concern here is the public release of the fact that the wiretapping was done to apparently, make a political point.

FWIW

Not to mention that in my book, once the PUBLIC charge of possible blackmailing was put out there - that pretty much negates any threat of said blackmail being effective.

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I just realized... they aren't saying, "Keynesian Economics"
they're saying "Kenyansian Economics". Grass Huts for everyone!
smiley
Welcome to historys first Double Dip Depression
Flyanddive
Posts: 1998
Incept: 2008-10-10

Detroit
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Government workers are toxic, I would privatize as much as I could.

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"I've seen people go into real poverty trying to pretend to be rich."
Magus
Posts: 2392
Incept: 2008-05-04

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Lenguardo - no transcripts but this just hit the wire a bit ago

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2....

"Intelligence Official: Transcripts Of Flynn's Calls Don't Show Criminal Wrongdoing....The official also says that there are recordings as well as transcripts of the calls, and that the transcripts don't suggest Flynn was acting under orders in his conversations."

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"There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved."

-~~Ludwig V
Jwm_in_sb
Posts: 1725
Incept: 2009-04-16

California Desert
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"A good place to start is take down Bill and Hillary for the out and out thieves they are. "

Yep...I said much the same when the all Russians Hacked the Election bull**** was launched right after the election. If Trump doesn't have Sessions or a proxy take her out, then none of this is going to stop. NONE OF IT. If that message is not conveyed to the Clintons, Podestas, Brock, Obama, then they will destroy any chance of the Trump Administration addressing real issues and the election will have been in vein. Did any of you see Hitlery's tweet about Flynn and the reference to Comet Pizza and fake news? Yeah...a message needs to be sent.

TAKE HER OUT NOW....STOP ****ING AROUND.
Tickerguy
Posts: 147938
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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He.
Is.
Not.
Going.
To.
Do.
It.

GET YOUR MOUTH OFF HIS DICK.

It looks NASTY and tastes WORSE.

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Winding it down.

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