The following was originally published by Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker
The Rule Of Law
By Karl Denninger
You don’t understand why The Ticker has faded to black?
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.
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.
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?
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 discussionwith 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 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.
If I, as an ordinary person, fire a gun I own every single round that comes out of the barrel until it comes to rest. Even if I am perfectly justified in drawing and firing that weapon if I shoot an innocent person I remain responsible for the round that did not go where I intended it to and the results of same. Now contrast this with the police of any stripe, who may fire indiscriminately, emptying weapons containing dozens of rounds even into targets that are facially wrong such as a pair of women in a truck when they are seeking a man in California, and yet they are never held accountable for the damage those rounds do to either person or property.
How many people are dead in Orlando not as a result of a terrorist but rather due to the rounds fired by police, along with their intentional 3+ hour delay in entering the building? Where are the manslaugher (or felonious assault) charges for the persons who were hit with wildly-sprayed rounds from police weapons during that breach? Why has there been no accounting for those rounds and the persons killed by them? Why is there never any accounting for said rounds fired by the police wildly and with outrageous disregard for innocent persons in the vicinity? You or I would be charged immediately for such a flagrant display of gross negligence, likely with multiple felonies.
If that’s not enough the shooter in Dallas was cornered — “treed” if you will, isolated in a parking garage from which he could not escape. Rather than wait him out and arrest him, then go through this entire pesky “due process” thing including a trial and sentence even though he was not presently shooting at anyone the police instead mounted a bomb on a robot and blew him up. You got that folks? Yeah, he was obviously guilty as hell but if you catch someone having just killed your daughter and he’s cornered in your shed, either out of ammo or choosing not to shoot at that time, you cannot blow the shed up rather than arrest him! Due process of law? What’s that?
You idiots cheered that on too and yet what you just invited the next guy to do is throw a grenade or make damn sure he has a really BIG bomb with him instead of surrendering when cornered! If one person has no right to due process of law THEN NEITHER DOES ANYONE ELSE — including the cops.
Folks, all of what has gone on of late is traceable and chargeable to the destruction of The Rule of Law. The destruction of millions of American’s financial status, their wealth, their freedom, their health and frequently their very lives are destroyed because CERTAIN PEOPLE, namely the rich, politically powerful, those wearing a “blue” costume of some sort or those who happen to run big corporations can and do whatever they wish and are simply not prosecuted for violations of the law that you, I, or anyone else would be and are.
When you back a bear into a corner it will attack you because it perceives that as the only remaining course of action that it has available to it other than death.
We created the conditions under which drug dealers resort to shooting each other because we made the consensual act of trade in and consumption of certain substances a crime, and by doing so denied them any other recourse under the law for disputes among themselves.
They are at fault for shooting at one another but it is our responsibility because we intentionally removed their recourse to the law.
We created the conditions under which millions of Americans, most of whom are not drug dealers, believe they have no recourse to the law through our willful and intentional acts and then we sit still, swill beer and post on Facebook when the fact that ordinary Americans have no recourse to the law as soon as someone rich, powerful or wearing a costume who wants to screw them is shoved in our faces instead of demanding that all of this crap stop. That message – “you have no recourse” -has been driven in day after day as every “important person”, cop or company you care to name pulls some stunt that would result in anyone else facing down an immediate felony indictment and walks away laughing or, equally as bad, collects hugs, donuts and, for corporate executives, million dollar bonuses.
Specifically, and in reference to recent events, it is our refusal to demand that police officers be held accountable for every round they fire just as is any other person.
It is our refusal to demand that those in political power who perjure themselves are prosecuted while if you lie you go to prison for obstruction of justice.
It is our refusal to demand that the cops who claimed they had video footage of an innocent man shooting and plastered same all over the media when they knew they did not be prosecuted for intentionally causing him to be subjected to death threats and have his reputation destroyed while if he had told the slightest untruth to said cops he would have been charged with obstruction, lying to investigators or both. Worse, instead of tendering that demand and sticking to it we bring the cops donuts, pay for their lunches and post all sorts of laudatory crap on social media, cheering on the lies!
It is our refusal to demand that an officer who claims to pull over a car for a broken tail-light when both lights are clearly illuminated on the dashcam video and then shoots said motorist be immediately brought up on murder charges and as prime evidence of his guilt we use his intentionally false statement that he was stopping the car for a broken taillight.
It is our refusal to demand that police officers who steal property under so-called “civil forfeiture” when they have no actual offense they can charge the owner with be prosecuted and imprisoned for grand theft and the entire department so-involved dismantled for Racketeering, exactly as you or I would be if we all got together and held people up at gunpoint claiming that they had committed some crime, stealing everything they owned.
It is our refusal to demand that executives in the medical and pharmaceutical industries face the music for conduct that facially appears to violate hundred-year old anti-trust laws that not only mandate a decade long prison sentence for said executives they come with company-ruining fines big enough on a per-count basis to destroy any corporation that pulls this crap.
It is our refusal to demand that all of the “finance professionals” who sold mathematically impossible schemes in the pension and insurance space to teachers, police officers, firemen and others go to prison and have their firms confiscated for promising that which is impossible.
And it is our refusal to hold accountable all in a given role who are aware of this rank corruption, have taken an oath to uphold the law and have violated that oath by either not doing their job directly or sitting silently while others refuse to do so. It is illegal for a person to be associated with Daesh even if they do not personally commit a terrorist act. Given that fact why can any member of a police force or other government agency, whether federal, state or local, cover up or refuse to investigate blatantly unlawful behavior without everyone involved in same being charged as co-conspirators when the law clearly defines that someone who acts as an accessory before or after the fact is equally liable.
If this issue — the utter destruction of The Rule of Law — is not addressed now there is a very real risk that the spiral of events that has been growing, first slowly and now exponentially, could erupt into literal war within our own nation.
If it does you had better get up and look in the damned mirror because it is the collective inaction and refusal to demand the restoration of the Rule of Law by the American people that has and will lead to this outcome. There is no violent repression — by police or anyone else — that can stop it.
Only restoring the Rule of Law so everyone has equal recourse to the law will stop and reverse what is otherwise inevitable.
It is for this reason that I have decided that for the present I am going to go enjoy whatever time is left in a reasonably-peaceful society here in America instead of writing for your consumption, for I neither believe that this relatively-peaceful state of affairs will persist for long nor do I believe any material number of people will lift a single finger to do anything about it other than whining on so-called “social media.”
Eight years is enough time to see whether or not there is any indication that any material percentage of the public gives a good damn and absent a marked change in the evidence my verdict is in.
Han was not wrong in his assessment of the state of Rule of Law in the Star Wars Universe. We must not, as a society, allow that assessment among people in this nation to continue on the path it is on here in the United States or the outcome will be the same.
Karl Denninger is the author of Leverage: How Cheap Money Will Destroy the World in which he discusses the ill-use of leverage and how it is destroying the global economy, as well as where all of this will lead. The result is ugly: the value of everything—including gold—falls, and even personal safety is at risk in a world where there is limited money even for essentials like food and fuel.
More From Karl Denninger:
Surviving A Mass Shooting: This Is What You Must Do If Confronted By An Assailant Who Is Intent On Killing You
An 11 Year-Old Demonstrates Gun Control: “Not Only Good Judgment But Also Good Marksmanship, Striking Only the Intended and Lawful Target”
All The Prepping In The World Is Immaterial If You Don’t Survive Long Enough For Your Supplies & Planning To Matter
The Impending Catastrophe: “It’s Not Difficult To See This Coming”