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2017-12-02 13:15 by Karl Denninger
in Flash , 822 references
[Comments enabled]  

Oh oh....

 by tickerguy

Two dumb things here.  First, Trump is stupid enough to own and use an iPhone.

But second, and not-at-all tongue-in-cheek, is the content of this tweet.

If Trump fired Flynn knowing Flynn had lied to the FBI and then attempted to get Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn's conduct (which he has also admitted to doing, which there is documentary evidence of, and which occurred after he fired Flynn) then Trump knew at the time he asked Comey to "let it go" that Flynn had committed a felony offense.

Does that meet the formal definition of Obstruction of Justice?

Sure looks like it to me, and Trump just appears to have admitted it in public.

Mueller no longer needs to prove why Trump fired Comey as the President just admitted to having actual knowledge of a felony crime and it is known that after he fired Flynn he attempted to get the investigation into said crime killed as the Comey memo on same is both contemporaneous and a legally-admissible official record.

Oops.

PS: Nixon, anyone?  Oh, and if you're wondering why Mueller would give Flynn a "get out of jail free" card when he likely has a number of things he can get him on and the lying alone is enough to lock him up you may have just discovered why Mueller was perfectly happy to let Flynn walk.

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2017-12-02 07:11 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 468 references
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That would be "never", right?

You'd think I'd killed a cat on national television yesterday with my article on where Trump sits right now in regard to Flynn's guilty plea.  The claims of incipient (in other words, "you're guilty even though you haven't done it yet") bad faith on my part, including "wow, man, I'm gonna archive this post before you change it" crap on Twatter, never mind the hate-email, rivaled that which I got back when I started the series on Obama and his little document forgery exercise.

Never mind more than 10 years of reporting on political sleaze in this country on both sides of the aisle.  I call 'em like I see 'em, and who gets pissed off about that doesn't bother me in the least.

Here's the real issue and why it's barely worth the time to write on anything any more.  Despite utterly irrefutable evidence, as it's been admitted, that Hillary not only broke the law when it comes to classified information our government has, in prison right now, people it has jailed for doing far less than she did, some of whom were active service members that never let any of the information travel beyond their personal devices (unlike Hillary who both did and intended to -- cough-Huma-cough-cough), despite clear evidence and admissions that our own FBI and BATFE intentionally ran guns into the Mexico, including weapons that were then used to murder a border agent, despite proof that Herr Clinton sold targeting technology to the ****ing Chinese in exchange for illegal campaign contributions in the 1990s while knowing at the time that the Chinese had stolen an advanced nuclear warhead design from us not one economic or political retributive action was taken in response and in fact hundreds of billions a year in trade deficit has continued to accumulate since under every single Administration and Congress forward, both Republican and Democrat.

The fact of the matter is that irrespective of any of this there has not been one response by anyone in the American public that is not partisan horse****.

Not one.

There has been no concerted economic effort (legal, I remind you) to demand that this crap stop instantly under pain of economic and political destruction.

There has not been one concerted economic effort (legal, I remind you) to demand and enforce over the last two election cycles that those "big three megacap silly valley enterprise" (that would be Google, Facebook and Twitter) which in the last election cycle had their employees display a 96.7% to 98.9% preference in campaign contributions for Hillary Clinton stop censoring fully half of the opinion in this nation or they will be legally and economically destroyed by said censored half through targeting every single one of their advertisers and other economic partners they rely on to remain in business, never mind their employees and families who made those political contributions. Every single one of these individuals and firms are fair game legally, economically and socially when they abuse their political preference and amplify same through corporate visages either as owners or employees to silence dissenting voices.

Instead the attack any time someone points out that yes, sleaze and tolerance of same crosses the aisle (like, for example, the 1995 "Abuse your Sexatary Act") and is damned near unitary in our Government is directed at the person who points out same by those same partisan hacks who remain silent when their own side does the same ****ing thing.

I wake up this morning to McConnell's grinning visage as he just horse-****ed America once again with the Senate's "tax cut" bill that in fact monstrously increases tax preference for hedge funds and their "2 and 20" profits when the owners of same's personal capital is NOT at riska tax preference zero common Americans will ever be able to take advantage of.  This is one of the biggest and most-blatant quid-pro-quo campaign "contribution" scams in history and yet half the country is cheering it on and letting it go forward without so much as a whimper.  That son-of-a-bitch McConnell should have been hauled off the floor of the Senate in irons and yet.... where are handcuffs?  The passed package was and is a fraud yet it will obviously be signed into law and you will be immediately abused through higher deficits (much higher; I remind you the CBO always gets this wrong, and always does so in one direction -- they understate the deficit impacts every single time due to the rules on how they "score" bills), teased with a little scrap of bacon on the table while these *******s eat the whole steak in front of you.  While the Democrat side of the aisle have and will scream (but do nothing) the Republican side, including all the Trumpers, will cheer their own demise as the health care monopolies feast on your fat-ass diabetic carcass and asset-strip you to your underwear.

Let me know if and when the paradigm shifts but as far as I can tell that is a lost cause and so is what was America.

America isn't a place, it's an idea.

An idea sold out to a bunch of spineless screaming and willful tolerance of fraud, theft and abuse so long as it comes from the "correct" side of the political aisle.

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2017-12-01 20:19 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 153 references
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I just noted Amazon doing this as they popped up a "notification" on my phone, and I've seen many others (including Mobile Nations, a widely-read "phone" website which includes Crackberry) doing it as well. (Yes, I had forgotten the app was still on there.  It's not any more!)

Amazon is running a "giveaway" promotion where you have a chance to win.  These are legally sweepstakes (not "contests" -- games of skill, or "lotteries" -- games of chance in which you pay to play) and must comply with both State and Federal laws.

Some states -- such as Florida -- have bonding requirements in some instances.  A whole bunch of people ignore that, but you ought not to because if a Florida resident can "play" you're in violation if you don't comply with it no matter where you physically are.  Florida is not the only state with such requirements either.

But leave the state-specific stuff aside; let's look at the general rules that apply everywhere, which I know a fair bit about because we did these from time to time at MCSNet.

First, the game must be of chance.  That is, it must truly be unbiased and random in terms of choosing winners.  You don't have to be able to prove lottery-style random number generators are used (picking tickets out of a hat by someone unrelated who turns their head is sufficient) but you cannot bias the outcome to favor some entries over others.  If the game involves skill then it's an entirely different thing (a "contest") and different laws apply.

Second, something of value has to be able to be won.  Since nobody would play if there was no "prize" this is usually not very difficult to figure out....

And third, the player may not be required to provide consideration in exchange for his or her entry.

This last one is where the minefield is with regard to these current sweepstakes.

You may notice that the ones you get in the mail (like the old Publisher's Clearing House or the NRA's fairly-frequent "Win 21 Guns!" ones) all say "no purchase required to win."  So does Amazon's.  That's because if you have to buy something to enter then it's a lottery and those are generally illegal (there are exceptions -- like raffles at various non-profit functions -- but none apply to the general business entity putting them out there for the public.)

But "consideration" under the law is not merely the payment of money -- it's anything of value.

It used to be that some states had ruled that forcing someone to put a postage stamp on an entry was consideration!  This was why you'd see things like "Void in Blah" on the "Sweepstakes" you'd get in the mail from Publisher's Clearing House years ago -- it was illegal for you to have to spend anything, including a stamp on an envelope, to enter.  Some jurisdictions have ruled that since Internet Access is not free if you have to sign into an Internet site that is consideration.  This used to be more-common back when I was running MCSNet; I have no idea if any jurisdiction would consider that a problem today, but it gives you some sort of idea of the scope of the issue:  In short the scope of what is "consideration" not only varies from state to state it is a hell of a lot broader than you think it is.

For example, the following is probably illegal:

"Click here to enter; no purchase required.  One entry per person.  Gain additional entries (5) by liking us on Facebook (button here), gain 2 entries by tweeting the contest (button here), etc."

The latter gives someone better odds in exchange for something of value to the site owner -- additional traffic and exposure.  Similarly, a sweepstakes that gave you a second entry for bringing someone to the store in the mall with you would likely be illegal as well because additional customer traffic is of value to the store or mall.

Well, here's the Amazon app's display:

 by tickerguy

This is questionable at best just like the "five extra entries for liking us on Facebook" since all of those "features" have value to Amazon in that they either (1) provide more data to them on your shopping habits or (2) are likely to directly lead to a purchase.

The original "click to enter" solicitation is probably (provided there's an "other than by loading our app" means of entry) legal, since it does not require that you provide consideration.  The giving of additional chances to win in exchange for doing something that is of value to the vendor is almost-always not legal, as that turns the sweepstakes into a lottery.

I have seen a crazy proliferation of these sorts of "sweepstakes" over the last number of months, but with the holiday season being full-bore they're coming fast and hard now and nearly all of them that I've seen of late contain features like the above that I would not have dreamed of attempting back in the 1990s because if I had I would have expected to be sued out of existence by the State Attorney General, the FTC or both.

That our nation no longer has a Rule of Law, no longer has a functional Attorney General and no longer has a functional Federal Trade Commission, the latter two of whom should be after this like stink on **** never mind all the State Attorneys General, is why this crap goes on and you continue to be exploited in this fashion today.

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2017-12-01 15:46 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 416 references
[Comments enabled]  

This is a lot worse than the Trumpers are letting on.

First, let's dispel the complete and utter crap that's flying around: Mueller can't indict Trump.

That was pretty-well hashed out during Nixon's Presidency; even after it was known that he was involved in the Watergate Burglary at a level that could have led to an accessory charge he still wasn't indictable.  Nor was he indictable for obstruction either when he destroyed the tapes.

But, in this case, that's not the end of the issue.  Mueller can indict anyone who conspired with Flynn, who he just gave a "no felony time" free pass card to, other than Trump.  I would not be shocked at all if there's a wink-wink nod-nod that with cooperation that won't even be recorded as a felony conviction either.

No prosecutor does that unless he thinks he can get more and better.  Therefore Mueller does and the target isn't Trump since he can't indict him and he knows it.

That's bad, not good, because the likely target is one of Trump's closest and the highest-probability targets include either one of his kids or their spouse (e.g. Kushner.)

I remind you that a conspiracy charge only requires some sort of act of involvement and a predicate act to complete a felony, which Flynn just admitted to.  So the predicate act is there, now we only need the involvement of another person that in some way furthers the offense.  That's a damned-broad brush he's got there and it's before we get to a potential obstruction charge.

That's where the risk is -- along with whether Trump would immediately pardon any of those people if Mueller indicts them.

This much I'm sure of: Trump's prediction that this thing will over by the end of the year, given that Mueller just gave Flynn a "get out of jail free" card, appears to me to have a probability of zero.

PS: Twitter is all ablaze with the Trumper horse**** about ABC's retraction being dispositive -- that the contact was after the election (but prior to inauguration.)  Nope.  The Logan Act, constitutionally infirm or not (it has not been struck) still applies until inauguration day if there was a policy-setting or interfering component to the conversations.  Does the ABC "retraction" change the corner case potentials?  Absolutely, but none of the above that I wrote earlier was predicated on a belief that corner case occurred, which if you've read anything I've written on this since before the election you know has been my position -- that is, I have never believed there was a quid-pro-quo for Russian election interference within the Trump campaign.  The issue is, and remains that obstruction (of which "lying to the FBI" is a lesser-included if you want to get down to brass tacks) is usually what fells politicians and to the extent that an attempt was made to obstruct the investigation it remains a problem -- potentially an impeachable one for Trump and an indictable one for those close to him.

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2017-12-01 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Foreign Policy , 186 references
[Comments enabled]  

Yes, I know the problem is difficult.

I know there are no good answers.

I know that any military solution is not only fraught with risks, but is likely to result in tens of thousands of casualties and might lead to nuclear fireballs.

Nonetheless we must cut the crap.  Either North Korea (and by extension every other nation) has the right to possess nuclear weapons or it does not.

Either we and other nations have the right to determine who can "join" the nuclear club or we do not.

It's binary, when you get down to it.

Nobody wants to take it on in this regard, but we must.  We must because the same situation applies today to Iran.  Tomorrow it will be Sudan or for that matter Venezuela.  The principles are the same; either a sovereign nation has the right to possess any technologically-possible means of defense and offense within its military or it is not a sovereign nation with the right of self-determination.

This a pock-marked and ugly road, yet one we have steadfastly refused to travel since the US and then the USSR both detonated dozens of nuclear bombs and flew dozens of ICBMs in test.  France, Great Britain and others followed.  China stole warhead designs and technology from the US and then Bill Clinton gave them even more in their alleged "civilian" purchase of radar technology which our state department knew had dual use, allowing them to take what was a "city destroyer" (accurate within a few miles) and turn it into a nuclear bunker-buster (accurate to within a few feet.)

In exchange for China's theft and deception we gave them wide-open access to our markets and worse, looked the other way while they stole trillions worth of intellectual property in the years that followed -- theft that continues without consequence to them to this very day.

Never mind Gadaffi, who did accede to US demands regarding weapons and then was sodomized and killed when we decided we didn't like him anyway.

So either blow Mr. Rocketman to Hell right here and now or shut the **** up Mr. President when it comes to North Korea.

You know good and ******n well that I'm right about all of the above and that all of it, especially the Chinese part, came about because your predecessors and our Congress are all spineless pussies who can't be bothered with anything called "national security" and haven't been since Pearl Harbor.

Stealing a nuclear warhead's design, which is exactly what the Chinese did, would have led them to be instantly and permanently barred from trade if anyone in our government gave a **** about national security.  Clearly we didn't, and clearly we don't.  You, Mr. President, are just as dickless as your predecessors in this regard.  You're far more concerned about "cheap chineesium goods" than you are about whether or not our military assets can be reduced to ash by said Chinese.

North Korea has now fired a  missile that can hit damn near anything north of the Equator.  That includes any city in the United States.  May I remind you that since China has refused to cut them off they probably have the Loral technology that the Clinton Administration sold in return for $500,000 in illegal campaign donations.

Not only did nobody ever go to jail in our government for that (most-especially Herr Clinton) there has never been any shutdown of Chinese trade and banking with the US either, including incinerating their Treasury holdings -- all of which we could have done in response.

Not that it really matters whether they have that radar technology when it comes to hitting cities; it's only important if you need to blow up a bunker, where missing by a mile means you make a lot of noise and blow fallout all over the place but the bunker survives.  Washington DC, on the other hand.....

To those who are "Trumpers", you're out of your ****ing mind.  What will the DOW trade at if DC glows in the dark?  Or Chicago?  Or New York?  Or Atlanta?  Or San Francisco?

Can't happen eh?  Oh yes it can -- right here, right now.  That launch make it quite-clear that while we're not certain they can launch something and have it survive re-entry a "can't be sure" is a rather poor thing to rely on when we're talking ICBMs and nuclear warheads.

Make up your mind folks -- either every nation has the right to these weapons or not.  If so, then shut the **** up when both Iran and Venezuela build them, along with every third-world hellhole you can find.

Because they will.

Like this piece?  Come check it out here (All The Suns)

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