Category Archives: Law

In Unexpected Twist, Judge In Flynn Case Asks Mueller For “Exculpatory Evidence”, by Tyler Durden

Judges rarely ask prosecutors for exculpatory evidence. It is even more rare when they do so on their own initiative, without a motion from the defendant, seeking exculpatory evidence. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The federal judge assigned to the criminal case against Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has ordered Special Counsel Robert Mueller to turn over any “exculpatory evidence” to Flynn’s defense team.

Oddly, however, Flynn’s legal team did not make this request. Instead, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued the order “sua sponte,” or at his discretion, invoking the “Brady Rule” – which requires prosecutors to turn over previously unfiled evidence that might have a material impact on a defendant’s case. Interestingly, two days before the order Mueller filed a motion for an agreed-upon protective order regarding the use of evidence in the case, including “sensitive materials,” provided to Flynn’s lawyers by the office of the Special Counsel.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan

As The Hill notes, Sullivan dinged federal prosecutors in the trial of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) for misconduct in failing to turn over exculpatory evidence.

The development has generated a significant buzz in conservative circles, with the implication being that perhaps Flynn might not have pleaded guilty in light of certain evidence. 

Judge Andrew Napolitano addressed Sullivan’s decision on Tuesday, saying The judge on his own, not in response to any application from General Flynns lawyers says, “By the way, I want all exculpatory evidence, evidence that could help Flynn or hurt the government turned over to Flynns lawyers.

Why would he we want that after General Flynn has already pleaded guilty? That is unheard of. He must suspect a defect in the guilty plea. Meaning, he must have reason to believe that General Flynn pleaded guilty for some reason other than guilt.

To continue reading: In Unexpected Twist, Judge In Flynn Case Asks Mueller For “Exculpatory Evidence”

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He Said That? 2/21/18

From  Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850), French novelist and playwright:

Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.

Sessions vs. Trump . . . vs. Us, by Eric Peters

Sessions and Trump are engaged in a doobieous, disjointed, battle. Sessions keeps reefering to a 2014 law he doesn’t like, and has asked Congress to rescind it. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Without consent, what have you got?

Just force.

The Constitution articulates the principle of consent – that “the people” agree to its terms and conditions – to be governed by it – and that without their consent, the government has no legitimate claim to govern them.

This is the principle at the bottom of the debate over medical marijuana – as well as the debate over recreational marijuana. If the people of a state consent to it, by what right does the federal government oppose it?

And it’s actually just one Fed – the attorney general of the United States, Jeff Sessions. He has personally decided to hurl thunderbolts and lightening at any state which dares to abide by the will of its people by decriminalizing the possession, sale and use of marijuana – whether for medical or recreational purposes. He has decreed that he – personally – will send federal hellhounds to prosecute those who legally – insofar as the laws of their state are concerned – defy his personal anti-pot animus.

But, he needs the funds to do so.

Mao was wrong. Power does not flow from the barrel of a gun. It emanates from the pockets of those with the money to buy the guns.

Take away the money and – effectively – you take away the guns.

That’s what Libertarian leaning Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California did back in 2014, when he put a rider in a funding bill that prohibits the DOJ’s inspector Javerts from going after marijuana users and sellers in states that have legalized the same – by denying them the funds to jihad.

Cue the angry ululations from Sessions. He is stomping his feet, demanding that the funding restriction be rescinded. He believes in the consent of the governed as much as another Republican – Abe Lincoln did.

And like Abe, he is determined to use force to impose his will upon those who do not consent.

But what gives the attorney general – or any other person – the moral right to deny consenting adults access to marijuana for medical or any other reason?

To continue reading: Sessions vs. Trump . . . vs. Us

On Closer Inspection, Debt of Bankrupt Spanish Construction Firm Grows Four-Fold, by Don Quijones

You often don’t know how indebted a struggling company is until it files for bankruptcy and creditors come crawling out of the woodwork. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

Spain appears to have a brand-new Abengoa — the imploded energy giant whose fabulous accounting tricks pushed creditors into a black hole — on its hands: Isolux was until recently a fairly large privately owned infrastructure company with operations spanning the globe.

When the group declared bankruptcy last July, its cash flow in Spain was barely enough to cover a month’s operating costs. The group had a a total workforce of 3,884 and 119 infrastructure projects under development of which 39 were still operational and the remaining 90 had been halted.

The company tried to reduce its debt addiction through agreements with investment funds but they fell through. It also made two attempts to go public, in Brazil and Spain. Both failed.

The bankruptcy proceedings affected seven subsidiaries. At the time, the company stated that it owed €405 million to suppliers, that its total financial debt — including those companies not included under the Spanish Insolvency Act filing — was €1.3 billion, of which €557 million was associated with project financing, and that the total deficit on the group’s balance sheet was about €800 million.

Turns out, according to the bankruptcy receivers, the shortfall is actually €3.8 billion — four-and-a-half times the company’s original estimate — and the group’s total debt, at €5.7 billion, is over €4 billion more than the amount stated by the company 10 months ago.

This amount does not include the group’s dual or contingent liabilities. The receiver’s report concludes that the current situation will probably culminate in the liquidation of the entire group.

How did all this come to pass? According to the receiver’s report, the collapse of the real estate bubble in Spain and the drastic reduction in public work tenders during the crisis led Isolux to massively expand its international operations, as many large Spanish companies did in the aftermath of the housing bubble collapse.

To continue reading: On Closer Inspection, Debt of Bankrupt Spanish Construction Firm Grows Four-Fold

State Property, by Robert Gore

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal wrung from the trauma of the 1930s a lasting legacy of economic and social reform, including the Social Security Act, new banking and financial laws, regulatory legislation, and new opportunities for organized labor. Taken together, these reforms gave a measure of security to millions of Americans who had never had much of it, and with it, a fresh sense of having a stake in their country.

From the dust jacket description of Freedom From Fear, The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945, David M. Kennedy, Oxford University Press, (1999)

When one man’s security becomes another man’s chain gang.

The above paragraph concisely sums up conclusions about the New Deal that can be found in thousands of textbooks, histories, and articles. You can guess that the tome (it’s 858 pages, SLL has not read it) reflects the reigning academic ideology, an impression furthered by its Pulitzer Prize. Pulitzers are awarded to fans of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New deal, not critics. If the latter stood a chance, Amity Shlae’s fine critical analysis, The Forgotten Man, A New History Of The Great Depression, might have received one.

Putting food on the table has a large place in human history. So too do governments. More often than not, they’ve worked at cross-purposes. Governments don’t produce, they take. Whatever they take means less food, and everything else, for those from whom they take it.

One man’s government-bestowed security is another’s government-bestowed insecurity. There weren’t enough plutocrats to fund the New Deal. It reached into the pockets of people who were only an economic rung or two above its beneficiaries. The money taken from a taxpayer might have meant deferred truck maintenance or no trip to the doctor for his sick daughter.

Someone always pays, either present taxpayers or, when the government borrows the money and doesn’t default, future ones. During the New Deal many Americans wouldn’t accept assistance from private charities, but would from the government. Voluntary charity was rejected but the proceeds of involuntary forced taking were not.

The “measure of security” created an insecurity among those who funded it that went far deeper than the knowledge that the government now had first claim on their income and wealth. Income and wealth are products of how one spends one’s time and effort, of how one lives one’s life.

Roosevelt reversed America’s fundamental premise, never fully realized, that one’s life is one’s own. It was never explicitly stated, but implicitly each American’s life became state property. That is the fundamental premise of socialism and the true price of that “measure of security.” Freedom from fear for some necessarily means fear of the government for many.

Where has the idea that we are each owned by the government, our lives to be disposed of as it pleases, taken us? President Eisenhower warned of the military-intelligence complex (MIC). What he didn’t foresee, or at least didn’t warn of, was the redistributive complex.

It’s true that Eisenhower’s complex, to which we’ll add the intelligence agencies, accounts for spending of around $1 trillion and runs a global empire. However, that’s only about one-fourth of the federal budget. The redistributive complex spends most of the other three-fourths. Also keep in mind that a substantial, but hard to quantify, portion of MIC spending is nothing more than redistribution to military and intelligence personnel and contractors that neither defends the US nor projects its power.

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are the three largest programs in the federal budget and account for just under half of total spending. Perhaps because its trust funds are mislabeled, many people believe that Social Security is set up like a private pension fund (Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund) or a private insurance fund (Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund).

Nothing could be further from the truth. Private pension and insurance funds take in contributions and invest them. If their contributions and investment returns are sufficient, they can pay their obligations. The Social Security Trust Funds are strictly pay as you go: this year’s taxes fund this year’s payments. Taxes in excess of obligations go into general government funds in exchange for interest-bearing government IOUs. Without changes in existing law, payments are projected to exceed taxes in fiscal year 2020.

Taxpayers do not “earn” their Social Security benefits any more than they “earn” a refund towards the end of their life on their income taxes. Legally, Social Security taxes are indistinguishable from income taxes. They both fund the government, are not invested to earn a return, and are certainly not kept in trust for the benefit of the taxpayer.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Social Security benefits are a revocable promise from the government, not a contract like a pension or insurance policy. (Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603 (1960)). Contracts are a hallmark of freedom. Reciprocal obligations would put a crimp in the government’s ownership of your life. Slaves don’t get contracts.

Slave might be a distasteful term for some, so they may use serf. However, medieval serfs usually only had to turn over about a quarter of what they produced. Local, state, and the federal government income, property, sales, and inheritance taxes take far more than that from many of the nation’s most well-compensated and wealthiest taxpayers.

One can quibble over actual percentages, but that obscures the most important point: the government can take 100 percent if it wants. Presumably at that point most people would call it slavery. Even with first call on the nation’s income, the government is still over $20 trillion in debt.

Nothing says state property like putting people’s health and lives at the mercy of the government. Socialized medicine gives the government life or death power. The “single payer” calls the shots. Doctors and nurses become government functionaries, practicing “medicine” in accordance with bureaucratic decree. These procedures will be followed, these vaccines administered, these treatments allowed, and these drugs prescribed. These surgeries are “necessary” and will be performed when we can schedule one of our overworked surgeons. These surgeries are “elective,” go to the back of the line. These surgeries are “cosmetic,” you’re shit out of luck. And so on…

No surprise that socialized medicine is the Holy Grail for the redistributive sect or anyone bent on bankrupting the country (there’s quite a bit of overlap). Need justifies theft, the proceeds of which are redistributed to the government and its voter beneficiaries. The producers who complain, resist, or stop producing are greedy. The politicians and bureaucrats are altruists. The beneficiaries are blameless victims. When it all falls apart, nobody saw it coming.

Here’s an eleven-word summary of the thousand-plus pages of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: collectivism and the morality of coercive altruism are destroying the world. Rejecting that morality is the necessary first step for reversing the trend. Each individual’s life is his or her own property, not the state’s. Establishing that right means intellectual and physical battles that are quintessentially self-defensive: defending the inviolable right to one’s own soul, mind, body, and productive effort—a defense of self.

Don’t fight those battles and some day there might be another class of surgery: mandatory surgery. As you’re wheeled into the operating room, just before the anesthetic kicks in, you’re told that your vital organs are being harvested for transplantation. You’re getting on in years, there’s a shortage of transplantable organs, and yours will save the life of someone who can make a greater contribution to the collective good. If you bought into the collectivists’ morality, you have no right to complain or resist. Someone else needs your organs, after all, and it’s your duty to accept your fate.

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CIA Argues The Public Can’t See Classified Information It Has Already Given To Favored Reporters, by Will Racke

It’s kind of a tricky argument: that classified material the CIA has leaked to the press should nevertheless stay classified and out of public view. From Will Racke at dailycaller.com:

Intelligence officials can selectively release classified information to trusted journalists while withholding the same information from other citizens who request it through open records laws, CIA lawyers argued Wednesday.

In a motion filed in New York federal court, the CIA claimed that limited disclosures to reporters do not waive national security exemptions to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies frequently deny records requests on the basis of protecting sensitive national security information, one of nine exemptions written into the federal FOIA law.

The case stems from lawsuit against the CIA by New York-based independent journalist Adam Johnson, who had used FOIA to obtain emails between the agency’s public information office and selected reporters from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and The New York Times. The emails the CIA provided to Johnson were redacted, leading him to question why he was not allowed to see the same information that had been given to uncleared reporters.

Johnson challenged the redaction in court, arguing that the CIA, once it has selectively disclosed information to uncleared reporters, cannot claim the same information is protected by a FOIA exemption.

The judge in the case appeared to find Johnson’ argument compelling. In a court order last month, Chief Judge Colleen McMahon of the Southern District of New York said FOIA laws do not authorize limited disclosure, to favored journalists or otherwise.

“In this case, CIA voluntarily disclosed to outsiders information that it had a perfect right to keep private,” she wrote. “There is absolutely no statutory provision that authorizes limited disclosure of otherwise classified information to anyone, including ‘trusted reporters,’ for any purpose, including the protection of CIA sources and methods that might otherwise be outed.

McMahon also said it didn’t matter if the journalists in question published the information they received, only if the CIA waived its right to deny the information.

“The fact that the reporters might not have printed what was disclosed to them has no logical or legal impact on the waiver analysis, because the only fact relevant to waiver analysis is: Did the CIA do something that worked a waiver of a right it otherwise had?” she wrote, asking CIA lawyers to come up with a stronger defense for non-disclosure.

To continue reading: CIA Argues The Public Can’t See Classified Information It Has Already Given To Favored Reporters

Freedom and Capitalism: The Cure For Sexual Misconduct, by Anders Ingemarson

Competition has opened up the entertainment industry and news media…and given victims of sexual harassment in those industries more employment options if they go public. From Anders Ingemarson at separatestateandtheeconomy.com:

Yes, yet another article about the depravity of entertainment, media and political high rollers! Don’t despair—we’ll cover an angle that deserves more attention: the fact that freedom in general, and capitalism—with total separation of state and the economy—in particular, provides the best long-range protection against predatory sexual behavior.

Rob Tracinski of The Federalist made the point a few weeks ago at the height of the Harvey Weinstein affair:

“For those like Weinstein who are out in the private sector, we need to leave people as free as possible to speak and publish so they can criticize and expose the corrupt elites, which is the only thing that eventually stopped him. And we should leave the economy as free and vibrant as possible so that people have more ways to get around creeps who like to set themselves up as gatekeepers whose favor you have to curry if you want to get ahead.”

A major reason why so many media and entertainment personalities are being exposed now is the radical reshaping of their industries. Since the dawn of the internet, and especially since bandwidth became abundant and cheap enough to allow for streaming to a screen near you (flat-screen, laptop, tablet, phone, etc.), competition has dramatically intensified and become more diversified for both the delivery (cable, satellite, phoneline, wireless, broadcast) and content (Netflix, Amazon and others entering the field). Gone are the days when the power was concentrated to three major broadcast networks and a few studios.

With the power diluted, the incentives to protect the Harvey Weinsteins of the world have been reduced. Women pursuing an entertainment or media career have more professional options than they used to, meaning that both “coming out” about the past and saying no in the present are less likely to be a death sentence for their careers.

And main stream media journalists, feeling the competition from bloggers and other online writers, are being forced to throw some caution to the wind to stay relevant. Caution that previously contributed to the cover-up of sexual misconduct that supposedly “everybody knew about” but nobody exposed.

To continue reading: Freedom and Capitalism: The Cure For Sexual Misconduct