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The Rule Of Law*

by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:

Seriously folks? You don’t understand why The Ticker has faded to black?

REALLY? Let me start with this: Why do drug dealers shoot each other on street corners?

Answer: Joe the drug dealer cannot call the cops and tell them that Jack the drug dealer ripped him off and sold him a bag of oregano instead of weed. Joe also can’t sue Jack. Thus, when the threshold of his tolerance is crossed Joe has only the use of direct force available to him because he has no recourse to the law to settle his dispute with Jack.

The FIRST foundation of civil society is The Rule of Law. Without it there is literally nothing other than the Law of the Jungle, commonly known as “he who has the biggest teeth (or the most guns) and is willing to use them first wins.”

Let me remind you that Han Solo, who is widely regarded through the Star Wars series as a hero, shot first at Mos Eisley. George Lucas edited that in the second release of the film (and later had to put it back after fan outrage) but it is a fact that Han shot first in the original theatrical release. Why did Han shoot first and kill Greedo? Because he knew there was no Rule of Law and he had no recourse to the law, which incidentally was later proved to be an exactly correct expectation when he was made an ornament in Jabba’s castle.

Now I want you to stop reading, go get an adult beverage or a cup of coffee, and think long and hard before you continue reading about the above.

Why?

BECAUSE THE ABOVE IS THE ISSUE THAT, IF WE FAIL TO ADDRESS IT IN THE PRESENT TENSE, RUNS THE RISK OF RESULTING IN AN IRREVOCABLE SERIES OF EVENTS IN THIS COUNTRY UP TO AND INCLUDING POSSIBLE CIVIL WAR.

Did you go get your drink, consume it, and think?

Good — you may now continue.

This site was founded back in the early part of the financial crisis, spring of 2007 to be exact, because the Rule of Law was being blatantly disregarded — specifically, with regard to “Prompt Corrective Action” and banks that were paying out dividends with fictitious earnings.

Did anyone go to prison for doing that? No.

Did anyone go to prison for selling “good investments” to clients that they described in their own internal emails and on recorded internal conference calls as “vomit” and “dog squeeze”? NO.

Did anyone go to prison for claiming to Congress (and all testimony to Congress is under oath) that they were “adding liquidity” to the system during the meltdown when I found, in public records, that in fact over $60 billion was pulled from the system into the maw of Lehman’s collapse? That facially appears to be perjury, incidentally. The answer is again NO.

Did anyone get prosecuted for the felony of perjury in filing literally hundreds of thousands of knowingly false documents in foreclosure actions across the country? NO.

How many hundreds of thousands of Americans lost jobs and homes as a direct result of this? How many lives were ruined? Now ask this: How many people were made whole on the damage they suffered as a result of these acts, all of which were facial violations of the law?

NONE.

It is broadly illegal to price-fix via any mechanism where market power exists. So says 15 United States Code, Chapter 1. Go read it. Virtually the entire US Medical System operates on business models that are facially in violation of that section of law. The latest outrage is an off-patent device called an “Epipen” used for severe allergic reactions; if you need one and don’t have it you have a very good chance of dying. They cost about $60 10 years ago, and are about $100 today anywhere else in the world. Except here in the United States — where they’re $400, and if you get on a plane, buy a bunch and bring them back to sell (to make a profit and undercut the price) you go to prison. The exact same sort of price-fixing with the direct support of the US government and FDA is present in virtually every area of medical practice — from drugs to devices to hospitals. All of this facially appears to be illegal; were I to even have had a discussion with a competitor on fixing pricing when I ran my Internet company that would have been a federal offense.

How many people are dead — broke — or both as a direct result of these practices? There is an entire industry that accounts for nearly one dollar in five spent on all items in our economy and it has multiplied its share of spending by a factor of roughly six through the use of these tactics. You, I and everyone else in the country are being overcharged by a factor of five times as a result, it’s destroying the Federal budget and has or will destroy state and local budgets also. You can’t run a car repair shop without quoting prices before you start turning wrenches and yet it is essentially impossible to get a price, nor to bind the hospital to any figure they give you, for a procedure before it is done.

What did you see this last week with James Comey? The head of the FBI – the nation’s top police officer – stood at the podium and described, facially, a felony violation of the law, which I remind you does not require intent, and then said “no prosecutor would bring the case.” Then, one business day later, he sat in Congress and described knowing that a second felony violation of the law, perjury, had taken place and yet he insisted that he needed a “referral” to “investigate” it.

Folks, if you were being interviewed because the cops thought you robbed a bank and on your kitchen table was a bale of marijuana do you think they’d need a “referral” to bust you for the weed? You know damn well the handcuffs would be on you in seconds, so why weren’t they on Hillary?

Next, if there was no intent as Comey claimed he could not find why did she lie repeatedly, both to the public and Congress, about the presence of classified information on her server? You don’t lie about something you aren’t trying to hide and you don’t hide something that doesn’t incriminate you! Prosecutors argue this every single day before juries and get thousands of convictions every year on exactly that basis — the accused lied about something they did and that lie is evidence that they knew what they were doing was wrong as that’s the only reason to lie about it!

Another section of the same law attaches liability to anyone who is involved in these acts and fails to report them. That facially involves Bill and Chelsea Clinton as well as Hillary’s entire senior staff! This issue is, again, not just limited to Hillary’s conduct. As persons with security clearances (with the possible exception of Chelsea) they all were aware of the law and their positive obligation to immediately report any breach of security of classified information, and failure to do so is a criminal offense.

Finally, contrary to Comey’s assertions (which were also a lie, and since they were made to Congress were also Perjury, a felony violation of the law) there indeed are people who not only have been but are being prosecuted for quite-similar violations of the law with regard to classified data. Specifically there are service members who have been arrested, not just demoted or had their security clearances revoked, for putting classified information on unauthorized devices. One, Kristian Saucier, faces 20 years in prison; there is no apparent public evidence that this individual ever allowed anyone outside of trusted Navy circles to see the images. Comey made the blanket statement that the government does not prosecute people who do not give said information intentionally to our enemies; his statement before Congress was a lie.

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