Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Interesting pardons

with 23 comments

Democrats are outraged that Trump has the power to pardon people. However, it’s nearly impossible for Trump do anything “unprecedented” with the pardon power, because just about everything you can think of has already been done.

Bill Clinton pardoned his brother, and Abraham Lincoln pardoned his sister-in-law.

And of course Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich who was a fugitive from justice and whose ex-wife was a big financial contributor to Democratic campaigns.

Jimmy Carter pardoned Peter Yarrow, of the group Peter Paul and Mary, who was in prison at the time for showing himself naked to a 14-year-old groupie and trying to have sex with her.

Andrew Johnson pardoned thousands of Confederate traitors. (It should be noted that Johnson was hated so much for being soft on the Confederacy that he became the first president to be impeached by Congress.) Also, right before he left office, Johnson pardoned a bunch of people who had been sentenced for their participation in the plot to murder President Lincoln.

Jimmy Carter pardoned hundreds of thousands of Vietnam draft dodgers as a class.

Of course we all know that Ford pardoned Nixon, but if Nixon has been unable to arrange that with Ford, could Nixon have pardoned himself? Trump pardoning himself is pretty much the only thing he could do that would be a presidential first.

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So anyway, good for Trump to demonstrate that he can pardon people. He should be pardoning more people. It demonstrates that he has the greater power to pardon as well as the lesser power to direct the FBI to stand down from an investigation.

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Trump should pardon Papadopoulos who apparently did nothing illegal besides tell what seemed to him like a little white lie to the FBI. (Lesson: never talk to the FBI without a lawyer!)

Trump should pardon Flynn because his alleged crime is a big nothingburger for which he would never have been held liable for not his involvement with the Trump campaign, and whether or not he’s even technically guilty is subjective.

Trump should pardon Manafort and his business partner in exchange for filling out amended returns and paying their back taxes.

Trump should pardon Julian Assange. Obama pardoned Chelsea Manning, so why shouldn’t Trump pardon Assange? Assange has offered to tell what he knows about where the DNC emails came from in exchange for a pardon.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

June 4, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Law

Yes, Trump can order DOJ to investigate stuff

with 27 comments

The fakestream media is saying that Trump can’t do that, and it’s totally false. The President is the boss of the executive branch, and Presidents have always ordered investigations. For example, Obama ordered investigation of George Zimmerman for the personal reason that Trayvon Martin looked like the son he never had.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 23, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Law

30-year-old who won’t move out of parents’ house

with 95 comments

Looks like the judge, today, signed an eviction order.

What happens to this guy after the police forcibly remove him from his parents’ house?

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The guy was smart enough to do his own legal research. Although not very good research, it probably indicates an IQ above 100. Too bad the modern economy has no use for people like him. Or maybe’s just too lazy to work. Probably, at this stage of no work history, the only kind of job he can get is a minimum wage retail job.

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Lots more info here:

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 22, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Law

Guido lawyer

For how much longer will this be a story?

I prefer to call him a guido lawyer rather than a “racist” lawyer, even though his B.A. in English from Johns Hopkins is a very non-Guido degree. You don’t have to be Italian to be a guido. There are Jewish guidos too!

The dumbest paragraph in the Washington Post article:

“Curious, how does a lawyer (years of studying and understanding Federal and State law) be openly racist? Especially in NY,” wrote one woman, identified as Sherry D. “That bias attitude doesn’t sit well and quite frankly, it’s hypocritical to promote on your website ‘Spanish, French and Chinese’ speaking.”

I don’t know what studying law has to do with having uncontrolled anger issues and disliking massive uncontrolled immigration.

* * *

His law degree from George Washington University is also non-guido. See my previous post about guido law. But as they say, you can take the boy out of Bensonhurst, but you can’t take Bensonhurst out of the boy.

* * *

I wish I could find more info about this guy. Where did he grow up? Is he married?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 18, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Law, Uncategorized

Classic post: Twelve Year Old Victim of Record Industry Lawsuit

First published September 10, 2003. This is the earliest example I could find of me writing a long post that’s interesting to read.

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The news story today is that a twelve year old girl from the housing projects was sued by the record industry for downloading music from the internet, and her parents had to pay $2,000.

I think I wrote in a previous blog entry about how the price of music has increased faster than the rate of inflation. Compared to the record albums I would buy when I was in high school, CDs today cost more money, even after inflation is factored in. This is despite the fact that all other things for sale in an electronics store have come down in price, and it probably costs a lot less to manufacture a CD than it used to cost to manufacture a vinyl record. So it’s not surprising that consumers have the sense that they are being ripped off. They are.

Defender’s of the music industry seem to have the notion that the music companies have some kind of God given right to a perpetual monopoly on their music. The right doesn’t come from God, it comes from Congress. The purpose of laws in general, and the copyright law in particular, is to benefit the public. The theory is that without the grant of a monopoly in the form of a patent or a copyright, inventors wouldn’t invent and artists wouldn’t create.

To a large extent this is true. Would a drug company invest tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions, of dollars in researching a new drug if they weren’t allowed to profit from it? The probably wouldn’t. Would someone spend two years writing a book if they couldn’t profit from it? They might just for the sake of vanity. No one is paying me to write this blog. When I wrote an editorial column for the Arizona State Press, I was paid only $15 per column, I didn’t do that for the money. Nevertheless, we can agree that a lot of books might not be written without copyright protection.

But how long should the protection be? Drug companies invest tens of millions into developing a new drug, even though the patent system only gives them twenty years of protection. (The issue is a little bit more complicated than that, but the purpose of this blog entry isn’t to explain the minutia of intellectual property law, so let’s call it twenty years.) Why do artists need over a hundred years of copyright protection? Would an artist think “after I am dead I won’t be able to profit any more from this, why bother?” No, no one in their right mind would think like that. I don’t see a good reason why copyrights should grant any more than twenty years of protection, just like patents. Twenty years is a plenty long time to profit from your published work. Artists don’t need protection seventy years after they are dead (which is what the current law provides).

Public libraries have been around in this country back when we were still owned by the British. In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin wrote about founding the first public library. Anyone can go to the library, and read the books there for free, but people still publish books nevertheless. No one says we should do away with libraries, because it benefits the nation that people have access to books that they don’t have to pay for.

The question I didn’t ask yet is this: would musicians still create music if there were no copyright laws to protect them? And the answer to this question is yes they would! Very few musicians actually make any money from selling CDs. I’ve known several musicians, and they all made their money from doing live performances. In the absence of copyright law, musicians would still have an incentive to release their music to the public, because if they become famous they can make millions of dollars giving live concerts in large arenas, and the only way they can become famous is if they get their music out to the masses.

When we buy a CD, the musicians actually get very little of the money we spend on it. Most of the money goes to the music company, and most of the costs incurred by the music company go towards marketing and not towards the production of the music. So when we buy a CD, we are mostly paying the music companies for the service of telling us what to buy! That’s a service that I could do without. Maybe, without copyright protection, the quality of music would actually increase. Instead of relying on expensive marketing campaigns to become popular, musicians would actually have to rely on the quality of their music.

The copyright laws have ceased being about benefiting the public as a whole. They exist to benefit special interests who donate millions of dollars to politicians. It’s clear that with much less protection, artists would still create, but the public would better be able to enjoy their creations without having to pay exorbitant fees to the special interest music and publishing industries.

We also need to acknowledge that, with respect to recorded music, technology has made enforcement of the copyright law no longer viable. We see this because truly everybody is violating it. I don’t hold the girl in the housing project responsible for doing anything wrong, because when I was a teenager in the 1980s, we used to make tapes of our friends’ records. And I still make copies of CDs. (I don’t bother to use KaZaA or those other file-sharing programs because it doesn’t seem worth the hassle, given that I prefer listening to whole CDs rather than just individual soundtracks and that I now have enough money that I can afford to buy any CD that I really wanted.)

According to an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal , “[m]any entertainment executives say privately that they have been unable to stop their own children from using KaZaA and other file-sharing services.” Truly everyone is illegally copying music if this includes the entertainment executives’ own children.

The issues are similar to the speed limit laws that I recently discussed. The fact that everyone copies music indicates that the overwhelming majority believe that it is not wrong to do it. Any law that everyone violates is a bad law that shouldn’t exist. We should rewrite the laws so that what the twelve year old girl from the housing project did isn’t illegal. Yes, this might mean that certain people in the music industry would be financially less well off, but they wouldn’t be the first, or the last, group of people to be hurt by new technology. Just as we didn’t shed too many tears for the people working in the typewriter industry who lost their livelihood because everyone started using word processors, neither should we be too concerned about the people in the music industry. Because under the current system, they are enriching themselves unfairly at the expense of the rest of us.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 17, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Law

Michael Cohen

We now know that Mueller’s accusation of “bank fraud” against Michael Cohen was completely bogus, because bank fraud is lying to the bank to borrow money that can’t be paid back. But Michael Cohen was raking in millions of dollars as a high paid lobbyist/consultant, so it was certainly not a problem to repay a $130,000 check written against a home equity line of credit that was already backed by the value of his home anyway.

Of course it’s disgusting how much money there is in what Cohen is doing, but you can be damn sure that if Hillary had won the election instead, there would be people in her orbit raking in just as much money.

In retrospect, it shouldn’t be surprising that a guy with a law degree from a bogus school like Cooley is going to be sleazy. Sleazy, but as far as I know, legal. As you ought to know from reading my blog, the only way to make real money in today’s economy is from value transference and not by creating value yourself. Our whole economy is sleazy.

But the question unanswered by the fakestream media is how did Stormy’s lawyer get all of this information? Did he break any laws by giving it to the media? What’s his goal in doing this? Is he really acting in Stormy’s interests?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 10, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Law

Cohen – Giuliani

Probably what happened:

When the news media finds out about the Stormi Daniels payment, Cohen tells a little white lie that he thinks will protect Trump, he says he paid Stormi himself with his own money. That never made any sense to anyone. Who would pay out such a large amount of money without expecting any reimbursement for it?

What Cohen didn’t realize was how the media would never never never drop the issue, and maybe he naively though Mueller’s purpose was to investigate Russia when in reality he’s investigating anyone associated with Trump whom he thinks he can put in jail for any reason, just to punish them for being associated with Trump. Probably Cohen wasn’t even thinking about campaign finance implications of the payment. Campaign finance law is obscure and non-logical and not something that a real estate and contracts lawyer from a TTT law school would normally know anything about.

So Mueller, who does know about campaign finance law and how to use it against people to put them in prison, and with the help of liberal Trump-hating judges, gets a wiretap on Mueller and then eventually the warrant to take every record they could find in all of his offices. So Mueller knows by now everything there is to know about how and when Trump paid Cohen, so Trump and Giuliani and perhaps other lawyers on his team decide it’s better to get out front on the issue and change the story.

But despite all that, I still think that Giuliani screwed up and maybe he’s going senile, or at least is too old to have the self discipline to control his message.

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Legally, this is a total bullshit area. They couldn’t convict anyone in the John Edwards case, and this is looks a lot less like illegal campaign contributions. There’s less money and all of it Trump’s personal money. It’s impossible to prove that this was a campaign expenditure and not an expenditure to keep his wife from finding out about his infidelities.

In the John Edwards case, on the other hand, it is kind of fishy that people are voluntarily paying millions of dollars just because they like Edwards so much, obviously they expected some benefit out of it after Edwards was in office.

When you look at the PURPOSE of campaign finance laws, to prevent public officials from owing favors to rich donors, Trump doesn’t owe anyone any favors because he pays a guy with whom he has an employer/employee sort or relation for doing his job, using his own personal money to make the payment. And even though $130,000 sounds like a lot of money to regular people, it’s nothing to a billionaire.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 4, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Law

Neil Gorsuch goes liberal: Sessions v. Dimaya (2018)

The court, in a 5-4 ruling in which President Donald Trump’s conservative appointee Neil Gorsuch joined the court’s four liberal justices, sided with convicted California burglar James Garcia Dimaya, a legal immigrant from the Philippines.

The court upheld a 2015 lower court ruling that the Immigration and Nationality Act provision requiring Dimaya’s deportation created uncertainty over which crimes may be considered violent, risking arbitrary enforcement in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

He didn’t stay conservative very long. The next Justice Souter?

Justice Thomas writes an excellent dissent. With Scalia dead, Thomas holds the torch common sense. Link to PDF of decision:

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 17, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Immigration, Law

Alan Dershowitz comments on Michael Cohen warrant

I believe we would have been hearing more from civil libertarians— the American Civil Liberties Union, attorney groups and privacy advocates — if the raid had been on Hillary Clinton’s lawyer. Many civil libertarians have remained silent about potential violations of President Trump’s rights because they strongly disapprove of him and his policies. That is a serious mistake, because these violations establish precedents that lie around like loaded guns capable of being aimed at other targets.

I have been widely attacked for defending the constitutional rights of a president I voted against. In our hyperpartisan age, everyone is expected to choose a side, either for or against Trump. But the essence of civil liberties is that they must be equally applicable to all. The silence among most civil libertarians regarding the recent raid shows that we are losing that valuable neutrality.

Alan Dershowitz is one of the few honest liberals who is able to distinguish between who he would prefer to be president and the rule of law.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 10, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Law

More about the Michael Cohen warrant

The more I think about this, the more I am outraged that this search warrant against Michael Cohen is total bullshit.

1. There’s a payment that reeks of being a blackmail payment. Normally, it’s the person doing the blackmail that’s investigated as a criminal, not the victim paying the blackmail. And certainly not the victim’s lawyer!

2. “Bank fraud” involving a loan is only something that’s normally prosecuted when someone gives false information to a bank so that they can borrow money they don’t intend to pay back, or won’t be able to pay back. There’s no evidence I know of that Michael Cohen couldn’t pay back the loan, he’s a rich guy. He just saw the line of credit as a convenient source of $130,000 (with tax deductible interest) which I presume he didn’t have readily available in a regular checking account.

3. As far as this being an illegal campaign contribution, why isn’t anyone investigating the $22 million paid to Hillary Clinton for giving speeches? The millions donated to the Clinton Foundation by the very Russian entities lobbying to buy a controlling interest Uranium One? This $130,000 is small time stuff in comparison. And it seems more like an advance to Trump the person not his campaign, by a guy who worked for Trump and had been paid very well by Trump for nine years at the time.

4. How was Muller able to get a warrant? Some Trump-hating journalists think it must mean there is secret information we don’t know about that the judge who issued the warrant found compelling. Nope, the answer is that there is such burning hatred of Trump among the elites, including the judge, that they would issue a warrant against a lawyer in violation of attorney-client privilege in order to punish Trump and anyone they think helped him to become President, even though such a warrant violates the rules they follow for everyone else.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 10, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Law

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