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Month: October 2019 (page 1 of 2)

Phil Drucker’s Rant for 10-29-19: “Howdy Rudy. The Fall Not So Wise Guy”


Today, I am going to discuss Rudy Guliani and his starring role in the soon to be a hit, made for the small screen not ready for prime time bit players mini-brained TV series “Ukraine.” Kind of like “Dallas”, but without the charm of big city homicidal oilmen or their slutty, backstabbing, petty gossipy, housewives of Texas wives. Coming soon to an impeachment inquiry near you.  

It has spawned my interest in a little known federal law I would venture a guess very few Americans, including most if not all of the Trump cabinet are aware of. I have always liked things that are obscure.

For example, I have been known to spend an inordinate amount of time looking for music that “no one” has ever heard of, much less heard. I was into “world music” before there ever was such a generic all-encompassing term. Back then, we called it “Nonesuch Music”, named after the label that released recordings from India (Ravi Shankar), Indonesia (Gamelan), Japan, (Koto) and so many other viable, vibrant and interesting musical communities not readily available on the radio or in your favorite chain record store. Licorice Pizza comes to mind, you might find a disc or two at Tower, but that was about it. Of course, today all the musical wonders of the universe, including sound recordings of Saturn’s rings are available via the Internet. NASA calls them “Spooky Space Sounds.”

https://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/features/halloween_sounds.html

I’m not sure the celestial sounds of our universe are going to make the Billboard Top 40, but it is somehow strangely reassuring to me they are available, for free, at the click of a mouse.

For those of you who have read this column before, you know I also have a penchant for obscure documents. In past Rants, I’ve explored such little known, but important, early American documents as the Fairfax County Resolves, a set of resolutions adopted in 1774 by Virginia. Written in part by George Washington and George Mason, the Resolves were Virginia’s “wish list” of political reform measures sent to King George in an effort to avoid a war for independence that, at least for the moment, neither side wanted. The Resolves also contains a rather testy and explicit threat to King George should he choose to continue to ignore the freemen of Fairfax County and their request (demand?) for the preservation of their Lives, Liberties and Fortunes.

“Resolved that this Colony and Dominion of Virginia can not be considered as a conquered Country; and if it was, that the present Inhabitants are the Descendants not of the Conquered, but of the Conquerors.”

https://www.loc.gov/collections/george-washington-papers/articles-and-essays/fairfax-resolves/

The Conquerors, you’ve got to love that. At least I do.

Now, I also re-confirm my similar predilection for somewhat less than what one might call common knowledge statutes, in particular, those addressing criminal law. And I prefer the white-collar variety. International is interesting. too. Graft and corruption in the smoke filled, possibly with a hookah these days, backrooms of golf courses and brothels. Ah, the life.  

So today, for your database and further entertainment, I offer up that little known federal law,the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The FCPA addresses American citizens both at home and abroad who seek to offer “gifts” and other “payments” to foreign officials in return for “special treatment” in their countries. In short, if it would be illegal to do it here, it’s also illegal to do it there.

To make a case under the FCPA you need to find a “causal connection” between three key elements;

  • The use of American “Interstate Commerce,” meaning phone lines, the Internet, even the US Post will do.
  • The Defendant offering something of “value” to a “foreign official”. The terms value and “foreign official” are defined broadly including persons including government officials and persons of political parties.
  •   The defendant knowingly, corruptly, or willfully sought to influence an official act or to secure an improper advantage.

Hence, our not-so-bright Star of the now-playing Ukraine series begat my interest in this vague, enigmatic, almost esoteric, Act regulating the actions of American citizens and their illegal attempts to gain an unfair, anti-competitive advantage by wrongfully influencing foreign businesses and governments?

Why, that would be the burgeoning presidential scandal in the Ukraine, also soon to be known as the subject matter of the first article of the impending presidential impeachment.

Rudy, if you are listening, forget about Hilary’s emails. You need to take a look at the FCPA, and fast. I’m thinking, you, as a private citizen and attorney have no particular immunity from prosecution under executive privilege or whatever mythic super power Trump might make up next. Quintessential fall guy if you ask me. Oh, and that bit about being crazy, the SDNY won’t fall for it, but I thought you might know that, considering you used to play an honorable role there.

 

Did you get your fill of Phil?

 If not, give these a whirl:

Druckerreport.com/blog

@DruckerPhilip

Instagram: Philip_Drucker

THE NEW-RIGHT BIKER Violent Voice of Fascism


For all the big type of the headline, this is actually a very small ‘article’… it’s but a single column, comprised solely and only of a motorcycle gang member’s recruitment pitch.  However, we felt its portent loomed large… that it was, in actuality, a real and developing threat to our democracy.
Of course, at that time, if the mainstream papers had come to the same conclusion they were unlikely to put it in print for the public. Therefore, you can read our Los Angeles Free Press Front Page from all the way across the street.
And, a mere 22 years later, the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Organized Crime and Criminal Intelligence, backed us up with their release of the Report given that year at the National Law Enforcement Intelligence Units’ Seminar. However, there was a caveat to that release – “The information contained in the report is for the restricted use of law enforcement personnel only.”.
2 chuckles from it, maybe 3. The first, it was the 1945ish transplanted Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington who brought the violent motorcycle gang culture to sunny California. That begat 2 terms you hear nowadays, but may not know of their use back then: the acronym OMG (for Outlaw Motorcycle Gang), and the 1948 moniker of “the 1 percenters”.
These 2 terms are still used by law enforcement agencies and the gangs themselves; they are definitive terms. In other words, strictly speaking, they both agree that these motorcycle clubs are outlaws – they neither belong to nor abide by the rules of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) – and that only one percent of motorcyclists belong to those clubs.
But the broader understanding, per the recruitment pitch published here and a wide variety of contemporary documentation, is that
*they don’t ‘just’ rue the the rules of the AMA, they intentionally break them – and many others.
*Violence IS their way. In fact – within that ‘broader understanding’, “1%er” actually designates a dangerous human being (i.e. re: that ‘other documentation’ – there’s even instruction for emergency room personnel not only on how to handle, for their own safety, a wounded MCG Member – apparently frequent patients – but so that they don’t set off the ‘family’ that follows! Respect for each gang’s own ‘culture’ – their customs of greeting one another, the pecking order of members, the status of women, and so on – and their ‘colors’, including symbols, jackets, and patches worn with pride, i.e. a ‘1%er'(for prone to violence), could be the difference between safe and very, very sorry.
*Most chilling, they maintain a military order, and White Supremacy then, now, and forever is their goal.
It was for these reasons that we choose this particular story as our lead back in 1969. And why, on this 50th year anniversary, we can add it to our long list of remarkably prescient articles: MCGs are now an even greater threat to our democracy.
Explain that?
OK, but first, and only for a moment, let’s go back to 1948, California… just so you’re not left up in the air about what happened to those Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington. In Fontana, practically in our backyard, tho the LA FP did not arrive in LA till 1964, some of those Bastards got together and formed the Hells Angeles. And by 1966, the 3 other OMGs – the Pagans, the Outlaws, and the Bandidos – of the Big Four, were all up and running, as well. The chance to nip a bad seed in the bud was gone.
So today, besides the hundreds of ‘Charters’ of these Clubs here in America – and their nearly half a million Members – there are hundreds of Charters around the world. In fact, since 1969, the year of this Issue, the Hells Angeles themselves have established more than 300 Charters in Europe alone. Charters were issued in Australia by the end of the 70’s, in South America by the mid 80’s, in South Africa by the early 90’s and, in 2009, their first one was issued in a Muslim country, Turkey. Of course, other countries came on before ’69 – New Zealand in 1961, for example – and many in the 2010’s. And, remember, this is just the Hells Angels’ worldwide expansion.
Two more of the Big 4 OMGs also have, in total, hundreds of international Chapters. Then there are the dozens upon dozens of OMGs that are homebodies, mostly established in the central and western states. While the remaining 1 of the Big Four – the Pagans – have simply laid claim to the entire East Coast – and Puerto Rico.
It all comes together now, in 2019, with greater relevancy like this:
While our 1969 article exposed that the principles of MCGs were the antithesis of American values and warned that if their recruitment drive were successful our democracy was in danger, at that point, the MCGs were separate entities. In fact, they were at war with one another. Their commonality was limited to the above factors, and just one more – their crime was, mostly, petty, their trade marked by brutality, they had no business models to develop. In the ’70’s, still as warring entities, small time activities of prostitution, theft, and ‘protection, turned into larger enterprises. The Big Four, either through their large territorial claims and/or their international connections brought illicit drug dealing to the fore, and there was enough money to make laundering it into a business of its own. In sum, but still as separate gangs, they came into the 2000’s with more than a billion dollars in annual revenue.
Could they have made more as one big, happy family? Seems likely, but just as unlikely that any club would give up its ‘culture’, ‘colors’, or ‘territory’ to any other club. I will venture to say that while we saw that recruits to each club would rip holes in the fabric of communities, tearing down the rights of locals who were ‘different’, the gays, the black, the immigrated – the anybody but white – I don’t believe that when this article was first published that we ever imagined that here, in America, there would ever be a leader who could possibly bring all of the MCGs together, unite them in purpose. It would be synergistic, a force greater than the power of the individual entities, to the benefit them all. It would be transformative. It would present a clear and present danger to the entire nation IF, as we did imagine, their membership grew.
But there was no such leader in mind. Now, there is…

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/full-throttle-bikers-for-trump-has-big-plans
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/02/bikers-for-trump-support-laconia-motorcycle-week

Phil Drucker’s Rant for 10-22-19: “Hack-ack-ack-ack”


Today, I start with a simple, easily answered question followed by another inquiry that at this moment appears to be of infinite complexity.
Q1: Does the word “cyber” appear in the black letter text of the US Constitution? The answer is an easily ascertainable and definite “no.” The closest early American touchpoint we have is Ben Franklin’s kite/key trying to catch lightning in a bottle lucky he didn’t electrocute himself experiment into the working of electricity.
Q2: Should Congress begin legislating for the cyber realities of tomorrow that I would argue are already here today? My answer would be not only “yes,” but I would emphatically add as soon as possible, and in no instance later than the beginning of the 2020 Presidential election. Our very lives and future as a planet may depend upon it.

So, where do we start? I would start with the redefinition of a word that does appear in the Constitution. War, as in Congress’ power to declare.

Congress has not officially declared war since June 5, 1942 when, by joint resolution, both houses of Congress declared war on Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.

https://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/history/h_multi_sections_and_teasers/WarDeclarationsbyCongress.htm

Since that time, Presidents from Truman to Kennedy to Bush have referred to their lack of actual Congressional approval to assume the role of acting commander in chief has been “politely” sidestepped by using a series of euphemisms for War. Truman called the Korean War a “police action” sanctioned under the auspices of the United Nations.

https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/korean-conflict

In 1964 Congress passed the “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution” that authorized the president to take all necessary measures, including “the use of armed force” in the fight against the perceived threat of Communist domination in South East Asia.

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1961-1968/gulf-of-tonkin

In 2002, Congress passed the “Iraq Resolution” as an “Authorization for Use of Military Force” and away went George “I’m a war president” Bush No. II.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/107/hjres114

Not an actual Congressional Declaration of War in sight.

Regardless of what they may call it, it is essential Congress assert its power to include declarations of war with computer programs, viruses, hackers, and bots taking the place of soldiers battling on the field of cyberspace. The sooner the better. It is cyber suicide not to.

Everything is computerized including many of the classic attack targets of all-out war. More importantly, we are vulnerable. What would happen if the following, all online and subject to cyber-attack were disrupted or taken “off-line”? It could happen.

· Power Grids
https://www.techtimes.com/articles/245271/20190908/first-of-its-kind-cyberattack-hits-us-power-grid-report.htm

· Water
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/checkpoint-washington/post/foreign-hackers-broke-into-illinois-water-plant-control-system-industry-expert-says/2011/11/18/gIQAgmTZYN_blog.html

· Communications
https://fcw.com/articles/2018/03/28/csric-diameter-ss7-cyber.aspx (G5?)

· Economic/Online Retailers (aka life without Amazon)
https://www.statista.com/statistics/183755/number-of-us-internet-shoppers-since-2009/

https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2019/03/26/millennials-online-shopping/

Why I dare say we’d be reduced to reading the LA Free Press by candlelight (the “paper” edition, that is!). In-light-of the likelihood of a severe cyber interruption with our basic functions of life, I would posit all the fuss concerning hacking into social media sites, Facebook is, if not misplaced, a bit over the wrought top. But interference with our elections? That is a different matter entirely. How can we ensure the basic accuracy, reliability and integrity of our elections? Let me ask you another question, this time a not so simple one.

What is more troubling, the FACT that Russian interfered in our 2016 Presidential election, or that the benefitted candidate has every intention of “aiding and abetting” a foreign nation (Russia) to do it again in 2020?
I would opt for the latter. In an effort to stop what we know is going to happen, may I suggest the Constitutional remedy most readily available? Treason. Treason is the only criminal felony defined in the Constitution. All we need to employ it against Trump and his merry band of traitors when they are “aiding the enemy” is a declaration of war.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiii

Constitutional treason by aiding the enemy is judicially interpreted as only possible during a time of declared war. In short, meaning you need an identified, declared enemy to aid or abet. So, before the next election cycle, why not declare cyber war against Russia? Before all the fun and games and well, treason begins. We have already seen and felt the effects of Cyber War. It is a real and serious threat to our democracy. Isn’t it time we began to take it seriously? Before it’s too late, again?

Did you get your Phil?

Druckerreport.com/blog
@DruckerPhilip
Instagram: Philip-Drucker

[Ed.’s Note: Today is the day that Professor Philip Drucker graduated from being a Guest Columnist on ‘Today’s Rant’ to ranting on his own at ‘Phil Drucker’s Rant’.  Not only is his quick rise as a thinker of note notable, but he is now among the past notable Columnists of the LA Free Press.

To wit (as some legal scholars might say), here are some of them: Charles Bukowski, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Gene Youngblood, Harlan Ellison, Lawrence Lipton, Liza Williams, and Paul Schrader.]

Today’s Rant for 10-15-19: “Separation of Church & State: Keep the Wall! Keep the Wall!”


Gray Renee Copyright 2019

Today, I start with a simple question. Does the term “Separation of Church & State” appear in the US Constitution? The answer is “no.” The first recorded use of the phrase comes from a letter sent by newly elected president Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut.
https://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html

Jefferson’s letter was sent in response to the Danbury Baptist Association’s concern over the lack of an explicit provision in Connecticut’s State Constitution protecting an individual’s free exercise of religion and from the establishment of a state sponsored and/or approved government religion.
https://jeffersonpapers.princeton.edu/selected-documents/danbury-baptist-association
In response to the DBA’s concerns and, no doubt, in part to the affects of his nascent presidency being compared by the Baptists to;
“…the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine & prevail through all these States and all the world till Hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the Earth.”

I mean, how can you say no to that? Jefferson shortly, happily, thereafter, assured the Baptists;
“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

Perhaps the concerns of the Danbury Baptists were a bit premature for when looking back on the history of our First Amendment giants, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Mason, these enlightened thinkers, though not atheists or agnostic themselves, were not likely to favor a Henry VIII style unification of religion and government functions. You see, the problem with a singular entity (Church of England) capable of both hanging you for treason while simultaneously ordering your excommunication and eternal hell damnation for your speech, both sedition and blasphemy, in opposition to let’s say a new tax on hogs…well, you get the picture. Or at least our Founding Fathers did. Build the wall indeed.

This is also, in part, why the First Amendment is multifaceted. It contains five distinct clauses, the Establishment, Free Exercise, Free Speech, Free Press, Assembly and, one “inferred” right to Free Association. These six, in total, guarantees of free religion and speech and the interplay between the two are, in the minds of the Framers, necessary to the creation and continuance of a democracy. A nation of free thinkers and believers capable of reading the Constitution and the Bible, Torah, Koran or whatever religious text they so choose and interpret the social, political, theological implications for themselves and to vote accordingly. Damn that Gutenberg! What was he thinking when he printed his Mainz Bible. The masses of humanity reading for themselves? Blasphemy! Or, so it was. But not no more. Maybe.

Recently, there has been a movement of one, for now, within the Supreme Court. Clarence Thomas, who will no doubt go down in history as one of our worst Supreme Court Justices has, for some reason, without any real law or, quite frankly, logical basis, begun asserting, for the most part in his dissents, the I guess somewhat novel, if not naïve idea that the US Constitution does not ban individual states from “sponsoring” certain individual religious sects, and they, in fact, can establish a state mandated “preferred” religion. You know, establish a state religion. Think Utah providing direct assistance to the LDS Mormon Church and no other. Perhaps restricting and/or outright banning the practice of “competing” or “lesser” religious faiths. According to Clarence, it could happen.

Clarence, who does not ask questions at oral argument and throughout most of his career has been recognized as Scalia’s “sidekick” and let’s say is hesitate to assert his own opinions from the bench (perhaps he was right and it was for the best), has been asserting that while the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause does ban Congress from establishing a national religion, it does not apply to the states.

In Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014), a case involving prayer at town meetings, in a separate opinion, Thomas points as evidence for his conclusion that six, count ‘em six whole states still maintained state sponsored religions at the time the Constitution was ratified and get this bombshell, that Massachusetts didn’t “officially” disestablish their state religion until 1833. Check out the recordings of oral arguments in the case at:
https://www.oyez.org/cases/2013/12-696

Further, in 1833 the Fourteenth Amendment had yet to be ratified (1868). You know, the post-civil war Amendment that binds the States to the same standards as the Federal government? As a Supreme Court Justice, you’d think Clarence would know that. Maybe he could watch Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” on Netflix. That would, apparently, be the more appealing method as it would appear Clarence does not like to read, particularly when it comes to Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists or the US Constitution. Perhaps the Danbury Baptists were not too hasty in their reservations, just a century or so early.

U Want More?

Druckerreport.com/blog
@DruckerPhilip
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