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2018-04-10 10:14 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 283 references
[Comments enabled]  

It's never good when the FBI shows up with warrant in-hand and ransacks your place.  It's double-plus ungood when they do it at both your home and office at the same time.

Cohen, Trump's "personal attorney", had that happen yesterday and there are arguments that was the trigger for the monster sell-off last afternoon in the market, erasing what had been a big rally.


But let's remember that Cohen isn't just Trump's personal attorney the way most people think of one.  You and I consider an attorney we consult as someone who we talk with, who gives us legal advice, and if it comes to it, represents us in court. The conversations we have with an attorney are not subject to subpoena as you're entitled to talk to an attorney and lay out everything without the risk that your discussion will be used as a means of incriminating you.

But that "protection" doesn't extend to ordinary business relationships that you have someone execute for you; it's not possible to shield that simply by hiring someone to perform those jobs who happens to have the title "Esq", "Attorney-at-law" or "JD" as a tag on the end of their name.  Attorney-client privilege rests on what an attorney does, not the letters following his name.

Cohen has been Trump's "closer" for a very long time, pre-dating his time as President, including deals made outside the US.  And in this regard there is very real risk because an awful lot of the material he has is not attorney-client privileged.

Further to get that search warrant the FBI had to convince a Judge that they were likely to come up with evidence of violation of a criminal law through doing so and that merely subpoenaing the target was insufficient.  There are those who argue this was a pure harassment operation but remember -- they got a judge to sign off on it; this was not a mere "administrative decision" by some FBI folks.

I suspect what Mueller is after here lies either in violations of US sanctions law by Trump and his organization (potentially-serious criminal liability pre-dating the election) or worse some sort of bribery allegation unconnected specifically to sanctions -- that is the FCPA, which was passed in response to SEC inquiries in the 1970s when firms were caught engaged in "pay to play" scandals with foreign officials.  That law has a high standard for a violation; you must have shown at least "willful blindness" as opposed to mere suspicion.

If Mueller has uncovered conduct prior to the election that implicates the FCPA, particularly with regard to deals in either Russia or the Ukraine, the exposure could be quite-serious and personal both for Trump and Cohen.

Despite Trump's protests that this is a "witch hunt" the facts are that Congress passed this law (and Carter signed it) specifically to put a stop to what was, prior to that point, rampant and outrageous bribery of foreign officials by US persons and companies seeking to secure advantage which they could not obtain through free and fair competition.

That doesn't sound like a "witch hunt" to me and if that's where this is focused it bears on conduct pre-dating the campaign.  Do we really want someone to be able to break laws and then run for President as a means of shielding him or herself from prosecution for prior conduct?

That's not acceptable for Hillary, right?  It wouldn't be acceptable for Musk, Zuckerpig or Beelzebezos to do this either, right?


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2018-04-04 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 117 references
[Comments enabled]  

I'll answer that: You'd have to jail 43 other Democrat Congresscritters at the same time!

Every one of the 44 House Democrats who hired Pakistan-born IT aides who later allegedly made “unauthorized access” to congressional data appears to have chosen to exempt them from background checks, according to congressional documents.

Every one "chose"?

Oh really?

Exactly on what basis did they "choose" and why don't we have the DOJ looking into that and seizing whatever evidence is necessary to substantiate it?

Spare me the bull**** about Separation of Powers; there is no doctrine that says that giving uncleared people access to classified information irrespective of the means done when undertaken through clandestine access is permitted or lawful.

There is exactly one person who can unilaterally de-classify anything he or she wants, or share it with anyone: The President.  Everyone else, including Congress, must go through formal process to do so or the originator of the information must declassify it.

There appear to be felony violations of the law here, and they're pretty easy to charge and convict on too.  Of course Congress, including Lyin' Ryan, doesn't want to go anywhere near this because then we have to talk about all the other scams that run rife through Mordor on the Potomac.

Tell me again why you, Mr. or Ms. Common American, sit for this crap -- or why anyone in so-called "law enforcement" should expect or obtain any cooperation on anything from anyone given this rank and blatantly lawless behavior.

I'm waiting.....

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2018-04-01 11:23 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 253 references
[Comments enabled]  

This isn't stupidity, it's intentional

“What the hell is going on with conservatives in this country?” Levin asked. “We stand for government interference on a massive scale in the private sector?” Levin said that conservatives who don’t like how Google, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site treats them should stop demanding government action and compete in the free market.

Oh, "free market" eh?

You mean like when a company sells billions worth of services to the government on a no-bid basis and then uses that money to subsidize loss-making goods sales?

This effectively forces taxpayers to destroy the competitors of said firm.

It's name is Amazon, and what they're doing under any rational read of 15 USC Chapter 1 is a felony and has been for over a decade.  They don't even try to hide it; the facts are in their quarterly reports and trivially determinable by anyone who reads them.

They're not alone in this sort of behavior either.  There is no "free market" where compulsion and/or cost-shifting are "part of the deal."  The reason 15 USC Chapter 1 was passed was precisely this behavior by other firms in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  The Congress (and President) correctly decided that this was the exact antithesis of a free market and that through time and effort various firms would, if not prevented from doing so via prison sentences, combine both horizontally and vertically to preclude competition.

Through various means of conniving they would produce business structures that cross-subsidized loss-making operations that could be continued on an effective permanent, or at least very long-term basis.  This in turn made competition impossible since potential (and actual) competitors cannot continually sell at a loss and survive.

The worst cross-subsidization schemes envisioned were those where the subsidy-producing activity was one that was essential for people to participate in or even worse, sold to a government and thus compelled to be funded by the people themselves.

Right behind those schemes were ones in which intentional deception by the firm in question aimed at consumers formed their "competitive advantage."  During the time of President Lincoln this sort of thing was rampant; he was supposedly a user of all types of patent medicines, most of which were utterly worthless and none of which he actually used.  Today said "advertising" is all over Facebook and is courted by the company despite their both constructive and actual knowledge of the so-called "veracity" of said claims.

Then there's the sales tax issue.  This was settled in Quill, and yet Spamazon is a local entity in those states where it does not collect so-called "third party" taxes.  Their position is a scam and a fraud; I looked into this sort of structure some 20+ years ago when running MCSNet and having a desire to increase the hardware sales we did.  I got a rather stern lecture from our corporate legal folks on the potential (and likely) outcome for me as a small businessperson if I set up such a structure.  Thus, I didn't and we collected and remitted sales tax.

Why hasn't Amazon found its officers in the dock?  Size, period.

It is not a free market if the same structures and schemes are not available to the guy with $5 million (or $50,000, for that matter) in sales because he will go to prison and have his firm seized as are available to those with $100 billion in sales who does the exact same thing with impunity simply due to their "size" and the economic impact of JAILING their officers and shutting their operation down.

Note that every single time Amazon has been threatened with prosecution they have folded. I assert that's because they know they'll lose in court both civilly and criminally and yet they've managed to rob tens of billions of dollars this way over the last few years alone never mind the myriad businesses they have driven out.

When it comes to sales tax the situation is clear: If you have a physical presence in the state you must collect and remit it on all sales of taxable goods and services.   Period.  Amazon's claim on the "third party" sales is a factual lie; these parties are not mere "advertisers" or any such thing (where there would be no physical connection and thus no tax liability for Amazon) since all order processing, payment processing and of course the handling of the money, at minimum, goes through them as does all customer service and dispute resolution!  Since they have a facility (shipping dock, warehouse, office, computer data center, etc.) in virtually every state (whether owned under a "captive" LLC or otherwise) as soon as they touch either half of the order flow from so-called "third party" dealers -- the money or the goods -- they are obligated to collect and remit sales tax and always have been.


Then there's the even worse behavior that Amazon employs repeatedly; they use their privileged position to monitor the sales of third-party products through their site -- a privilege they get through those listings, payment processing and fulfillment involvement.  If they detect a particularly interesting product they then use that privileged information to ascertain where the product is ultimately sourced and attempt to cut their so-called "partners" out of the deal entirely, destroying those firms.  That is exactly the sort of behavior that 15 USC Chapter 1 makes illegal to even attempt as it is a blatant effort to constrain competition by removing competitors from the market. Any such action in an attempt to constrain competition is a felony and there are too many reports of this happening to list!  The number of prosecutions brought under that statute against Beelzebezos?  Zero.

Bluntly, Mark Levin supports might makes right; he has zero interest in free markets or open competition and he quite-clearly doesn't give a flying **** about the rule of law either.  For this he has robustly earned one of my old-time favorites:


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2018-03-27 07:21 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 2396 references
[Comments enabled]  

So David Hogg was some hero citizen journalist who, despite bullets whizzing by when a gunman opened fire at the school he was attending, and while he was hiding in a closet he locked himself in, had the composure to pull his phone out and start interviewing students who believed they were about to all die.  This, of course, has been a big part of his appeal on CNN and elsewhere, including being a "leading voice" in these protests -- he survived, he was traumatized, etc.

Or was he?

In an interview from the "March for our LIES" protest he now claims he was at home -- not even present at the school -- and "rushed into the melee" to capture footage.

Oh really?  David Hogg rushed into an active crime scene?

We're now to believe now that the police (who clearly are and were worthless in Broward) let this kid into an active shooting scene so he could film classmates?

Folks, you've all been had.  I'm not one for conspiracies and the claims of "crisis actors" but this kid just outed himself as a flat-out, bald-faced liar who demands to subvert the Constitution.

Next question: Who's behind the bull**** with the money and influence since by his own admission everything else he's done thus far has been a lie.

The problem with lying is that you must keep your stories straight, which means you must remember each lie, who you told it to, and make damn sure you never contradict yourself or, if you do, that the people who you lie to can never compare notes.  In the world of today (and the Internet) this is damn near impossible so all you need to do if you believe someone is lying is wait for them to screw themselves.  Congratulations kid, you just did so.

Update: Did CBS "do you" by being sloppy -- or intentionally distort the truth in their "editing"?  And if they did so now did they do so before?  Remember that his original videos make clear he didn't do any such thing as take interviews at the time, simply by timestamp, yet he's been played as some hero. Oh by the way, Hogg has also claimed the gunfire started first, then the fire alarm was pulled.  Not so; the shooter, the police claim (remember a cop WAS on-site at the time and cowered in fear) pulled the alarm first for tactical advantage -- which does make sense.  Fog of war or intentional deception?  Good question.

So there was a nice big march.  Ok, all those kids can't rent hotel rooms or buy airline and bus tickets.  So who did?  Who arranged and paid for it?  Who provided the supervision since those under 18 can't do this on their own?  Ever send your kid on a field trip to somewhere out-of-county overnight?  I have and it's not a trivial exercise; there are waivers, parental permission required, documentation and more and none of it is cheap or easy.  That whole scheme was pure astroturf from the get-go; it had to be since ZERO of these teens can organize, pay for, and legally contract to set any of this up themselves.

One final point.  Given what we now know about the FBI's misconduct with regard to Hillary and other mass-shooting and mass-murder incidentsisn't it rather odd what Hogg's father had as his profession?  There's no motive to cover up malfeasance or worse is there?

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2018-03-27 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 150 references
[Comments enabled]  

One has to ask, given this....

The Orlando nightclub terrorist's dad was a secret FBI informant for more than a decade, prosecutors revealed, prompting questions about whether authorities may have missed warning signs leading up to the massacre.

The news, disclosed Saturday to lawyers representing the Pulse nightclub shooter's wife, Noor Salman, in her own terrorism case related to the attack, also led to immediate calls by the defense for a mistrial.

So once again we have outrageous prosecutorial misconduct.  Specifically, the prosecution had an obligation to disclose this during discovery before the trial began, and did not.

But the better question here is whether the FBI knew that the shooting was going to take place, was being planned, and deliberately ignored it or worse, even egged it on.

Remember, the FBI is accused of doing exactly that with the "Draw Mohammad" shooting where they were actively tailing the assailants and instead of arresting them before they opened fire they sat back and let it happen.

Oh, by the way, do you think this specific pattern of intentional inaction might have played out in Parkland and do you also think that David Hogg, who's father is a retired FBI agent, might be rather interested in dissembling because his father earned the money David enjoys working for an agency with multiple, known instances of intentionally ignoring people who intend to and do commit mass-murder?

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