Now, Real Trouble
The Market Ticker - Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-02-14 09:10 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 757 references Ignore this thread
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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