If you’re inclined to feel sorry for General Flynn, don’t.
18 U.S.C. § 219(a) provides that:
Whoever, being a public official, is or acts as an agent of a foreign principal required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 or a lobbyist required to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 in connection with the representation of a foreign entity, as defined in section 3(6) of that Act shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.
A retired military officer is a “public official” for the purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 219. See here at footnote 5.
Now, read the indictment of Bijan Rafiekian, a/k/a “Bijan Kian” and Kamil Ekim Alptekin. As you do, recognize that “Person A” is General Flynn.
Then remember that this is the same individual who led a mob-like crowd to shout about the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, a former Secretary of State, “Lock her up!”
(BTW, the “Truth Campaign” was the original working title for the campaign that Flynn et al. were working on for the Turkish government. The name of the campaign was later changed to “Operation Confidence.”)
New York marijuana law should include reparations, supporters say. Pot stores are coming to New York, but Cuomo won’t say what they’ll look like. Could weed save New York‘s awful subways? Cuomo may include marijuana legalization in budget proposal next month.
Will New Jersey vote this year on legalizing weed? It all depends on a big meeting this week. What will New Jersey get from legal weed taxes? Vote on New Jersey legal marijuana unlikely by the end of the year, top Dems say. Expungement debate threatens to hold up New Jersey marijuana legalization.
Connecticut progressive caucus to push for marijuana legalization.
Marijuana legalization seems headed to Minnesota, but it’s unclear when.
US states hope legalized marijuana will solve their pension crisis. When the makers of Marlboro and Corona get into marijuana. Ron Paul: Marijuana federalism’s time has come. Does the law require the Drug Czar to lie about legalization? Marijuana legalization is working; most in US are on board. Ending weed prohibition hasn’t stopped drug crimes.
Jon Caulkins foresees dirt-cheap weed, THC appetizers, and a big impact from Canada.
Some Canada cannabis vendors are selling placebo weed oils, researchers say.
New Zealand embraces medical marijuana with new law, now campaigners set sights on broader legalization.
Strains over Thailand legalization of marijuana.
I have uploaded the opinion handed down this evening by the U.S.D.C. for the Northern District of Texas (O’Connor, J.) overturning the ACA. Needless to say, I thought that the decision was important enough that it should be uploaded even before I had an opportunity to read it. Thus, I cannot summarize it or comment upon it at this point.
I am not clear on the current procedural posture of the case. For instance, it does not appear that the court issued some sort of relief to the plaintiffs that would, without a stay, either immediately stop the ACA or give a right to an appeal without further proceedings in the district court.
I will update as matters are clarified.
The classic Dickens novels usually end with the central character finally finding a proper place in the world after years of hardship and misadventures. R.F. Delderfield’s To Serve Them All My Days takes the opposite approach of having a character with a tragic backstory find his proper place on the very first page, and spending the rest of his life realizing it. In 1980, BBC tapped Andrew Davies (later to pen prior RBC recommendation House of Cards) to adapt the novel to the small screen, and the result is a fine 13 part miniseries that I recommend to you this week.
The series opens with shell-shocked, limping, wan, Welshman David Powlett-Jones (John Duttine) returning from the horrors of the trenches to apply for a teaching post at Bamfylde boarding school in Devon. The wily, gentle, headmaster Algy Herries (endearingly played by Frank Middlemass) sees potential in the traumatized young man and hires him as a teacher. Surrounded by better educated, better born, men, Powlett-Jones initially struggles with that peculiarly Welsh working class admixture of pride and insecurity. But he slowly begins to find his footing, largely because he develops positive relationships with Algy as well as with a lonely, cynical, yet also compassionate senior housemaster (Alan MacNaughtan). He also grows to understand and be respected by the boys, despite not sharing their class background nor their politics.
David’s life is also shaped profoundly by three women he loves over the years, each of whom is emblematic of a different historical age. Beth Marwood is the perfect Victorian helpmate (indeed too perfect, she is the most flat character in the series unfortunately for Belinda Lang, who does her best). She is followed by the sexually liberated Julia, who has a flapper sensibility even though her horizons are limited by the social and occupational constraints placed on women in the 1920s. In the 1930s, Christine Forster arrives in a David’s life as a powerful person in her own right both psychologically and politically, facing down sexism while running for Parliament.
This series really grew on me episode by episode. In part that was due to Duttine’s layered performance as a lost, angry, and tentative person becoming over many years completely at home at Bamflyde, invested in life, and deservedly confident of his abilities. I also appreciated that some characters who started out as stereotypes, like Carter the failed soldier turned teacher (Neil Stacy) and the icy martinet headmaster Alcock (Charles Kay) became better-rounded over time. But the most rewarding feature of the series — as in virtually all drama — were the rich human relationships brought alive by a worthy script, directors, and cast.
The series isn’t perfect. The 12th episode features a subplot about anti-Semitism that is disappointingly carmelized and should have been dropped, one of the revelations in the final episode isn’t set up well enough in earlier episodes to have the desired impact, and throughout the series isn’t much to look at in terms of sets or camerawork. But it’s almost impossible to put 11 hours of film together and not have some weak spots.
To Serve Them All My Days is the sort of literate, solid entertainment upon which the BBC’s reputation for high quality drama rests. Make yourself a pot of tea and get watching.
Today, America Media, Inc. (“AMI”) the parent entity of the National Enquirer entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. I have posted it here. I suspect that, due to the sentencing of Michael Cohen, the AMI agreement will not get as much attention as it deserves. It is, however, a blockbuster.
The agreement has as an exhibit a two-page “Statement of Admitted Facts” that provides, in part, as follows:
- “In or about August 2015, David Pecker, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AMI, met with Michael Cohen, an attorney for a presidential candidate, and at least one other member of the campaign [presumably Donald Trump]. At the meeting, Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate’s relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided. Pecker agreed to keep Cohen apprised of any such negative stories.” Statement of Admitted Facts, ¶ 3.
- “In or about June 2016, an attorney representing a model and actress attempting to sell her story of her alleged extramarital affair with the aforementioned presidential candidate contacted an editor at the National Enquirer. Pecker and the editor called Cohen and informed him of the story. At Cohen’s urging and subject to Cohen’s promise that AMI would be reimbursed, the editor began negotiating for the purchase of the story. On June 20, 2016, the editor interviewed the model about her story. Following the interview, AMI communicated to Cohen that it would acquire the story to prevent its publication.” Statement of Admitted Facts, ¶ 4.
- On or about August 5, 2016, AMI entered into an agreement with the model to acquire her “limited life rights” to the story of her relationship with “any then-married man,” in exchange for $150,000. It was also agreed that AMI would feature her on two magazine covers and could publish over one hundred magazine articles authored by her. AMI agreed to pay the model $150,000 — substantially more money than AMI otherwise would have paid to acquire the story — because of Cohen’s assurances to Pecker that AMI would ultimately be reimbursed for the payment. Despite the cover and article features to the agreement, AMI’s principal purpose in entering into the agreement was to suppress the model’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election. At no time during the negotiation for or acquisition of the model’s story did AMI intend to publish the story or disseminate information about it publicly. On or about August 10, 2016, AMI sent $150,000 to an attorney representing the model. Statement of Admitted Facts, ¶ 5.
- At all relevant times, AMI knew that corporations such as AMI are subject to federal campaign finance laws, and that expenditures by corporations, made for purposes of influencing an election and in coordination with or at the request of a candidate or campaign, are unlawful. At no time did AMI report to the Federal Election Commission that it had made the $150,000 payment to the model. Statement of Admitted Facts, ¶ 8.
As reported in an article by Eric Wemple in the Washington Post, Tucker Carlson: Trump Is a Crime Victim,
Trump apologist Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson is quoted as follows:
Remember the facts of the story. These are undisputed: Two women approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money. Now, that sounds like a classic case of extortion. Yet for whatever reason, Trump caves to it and he directs Michael Cohen to pay the ransom. Now more than two years later, Trump is a felon for doing this. It doesn’t seem to make any sense. Oh, but you’re not a federal prosecutor on a political mission. If you were a federal prosecutor on a political mission, you would construe those extortion payments as campaign contributions. You’d do this even though the money in question did not come from or go to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Then you’d claim that Trump and Michael Cohen violated campaign finance law because they didn’t publicly disclose those payments, despite the fact that disclosing them would nullify the reason for making them in the first place, which was to keep the whole thing secret. That is the argument you would make, both in federal court and through your proxies on cable television. It is insultingly stupid but because everyone in power hates the target of your investigation, nobody would question you, and that’s what’s happening right now.
(Emphasis in the WaPo original.)
Based on the Statement of Admitted Facts in the AMI matter, we now know:
- As to Karen McDougal, at least, there was no extortion involved. Rather, she simply wanted to profit from her relationship with Trump. It was Trump’s agent, acting on Trump’s behalf, who brought the matter to Trump’s attention. McDougal never requested money from Trump, did not know that AMI was acting as Trump’s agent, and expected the full and complete story to make its way in the public domain. Manifestly, she was not being paid for her public silence, but rather for her willingness to use the AMI publications to broadcast the story.
- Carlson’s contention that the payments were not campaign contributions is palpably false. As ¶ 4 of the Statement of Admitted Facts states: “At the meeting, Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate’s relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided. Pecker agreed to keep Cohen apprised of any such negative stories.” In other words, from the very beginning, even before it was known that McDougal was willing to publicly disclose her story, Trump, Cohen, and Pecker planned to put her story or any similar story within a cone of silence in order to aid the campaign.
Distilled to its essence, with regard to McDougal at least, (1) Trump was not the victim of an extortion attempt and (2) the payment of hush money to McDougal was a deliberate and calculated campaign violation.
Oh, yeah. We know that Tucker Carlson is nothing but a dishonest Trump apologist.
As every Brit knows, on March 29 2019, 109 days from now, the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. (Unless the remaining 27 member countries stop the clock, a well-used Brussels device). What happens if there is No Deal and the UK crashes out with no agreement in place with Brussels on anything? Inconvenience? A reduction in trade until new and better deals are made with say the USA?
Kent Council Council is responsible for the area leading to Dover docks and the Channel Tunnel. They are Tories but have studied the consequences.
A no-deal Brexit could cause major disruption across Kent, with gridlock on the roads around Dover, rubbish not being collected, children unable to take exams and rubbish piling up on streets [….] The registration service for weddings could also be affected and bodies could pile up in morgues because of traffic gridlock, Kent county council warned in an update on no-deal contingency planning.
So it’s more or less the zombie apocalypse, without weddings too. Their nightmare is that as the trucks (queuing for new customs checks at the ports) pile up on the two access highways, the M2 via Canterbury and the M20 via Maidstone, enterprising truck drivers will take to the side roads until these are jammed solid too. I suppose the council could buy electric bikes, so the plucky morgue staff can infiltrate past the stranded German trucks, in the 1940 spirit of Dad’s Army. That doesn’t help the garbage trucks, the hearses, or the wedding limousines though. Apocalypse it is.
What the council is trying to do with these horror stories is to get Whitehall to do some serious contingency planning for a truck rationing scheme that would cut in well before the vehicles reach Kent. What has Whitehall been doing these last two years? The excuse for general drift has been “we are too busy with Brexit”.
Why should the crash-out be so bad? Continue Reading…
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Could Minnesota be next to legalize marijuana?
North Carolina legislature to consider marijuana legalization in 2019.
Missouri lawmaker files marijuana legalization bill after voters approve medical cannabis.
As Altria eyes pot, Philip Morris ignores peer pressure. Altria invests $1.8 billion in cannabis company Cronos. Navigating cannabis legalization 2.0. Major alcohol association briefs Congress on marijuana legalization. In 90-second clip, Fox & Friends pushes string of misleading claims about marijuana. Investing in marijuana dispensary stocks could be a big mistake.
Capitalistic US faces fight with Canada for cannabis supremacy. US–Canada cross-border dispatches on the state of cannabis legalization. In Canada, you can study marijuana production for college credit. Why moldy weed is a problem in Canada and how to fix it. Pot is so hot in Canada that firms are importing workers. Netherlands master weed growers are flocking to Canada
Given the momentous events concerning the various criminal investigations of Trump, an important opinion by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit may go virtually unnoticed.
The ruling comes in the case of East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump. That’s the case I posted earlier in which the District Court (per Tigar, J.) issued a nationwide injunction against enforcement of the rule that, together with Trump’s proclamation, had the effect of making “any alien who enters the United States across the southern border at least over the next ninety days, except at a designated port of entry, is categorically ineligible to be granted asylum.” The appeals court, by a 2-1 majority, maintained in place the TRO. You may recall that it was Judge Tigar’s initial decision that caused Trump to go off on a rant against the Ninth Circuit.
So, today was a bad day for Trump:
- He was presented with prosecutors clearly closing in on him and his family for their criminal activities.
- The stock market continued its downward course.
- His first Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was so critical of Trump that Trump had to Tweet: “Rex Tillerson didn’t have the mental capacity needed [to be Secretary of State]. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell.”
- And, finally, the Ninth Circuit blocked him from causing harm to immigrants seeking asylum.
What have I missed?
Revised and Updated I’ve revised and updated this post. Below, you will find the links to all three of the filings by the prosecutors today in the Cohen case and in the Manafort case.
As noted earlier, presumably tomorrow or Sunday, I will be uploading the transcript of Comey’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
Further Update: Comey Transcript
As promised, here’s the Comey Transcript. I have not had the opportunity to review it, but I understand that it is redacted.