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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How Do You Pick A Lawyer?

Ohhh. Here's a fun topic.

You need a lawyer. This means you have a problem. 

You need a problem-solver, a fixer.

You also need someone you can trust. That is, someone you trust to keep your matter confidential.

So what do you do next?

Keep reading, as the rest of the article is here


Police Street Protests: What's The Real Agenda?

There are tragedies, there are outrages, and then there are crises which are allowed to fester in order to advance an agenda.

So what is really behind the urban protests? Is it really about the stated reason of protesting police brutality, or is there much more?

Read the following analysis.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Obama Amnesty Ruled Unconstitutional: Read The Opinion

A federal district court judge found that the amnesty policy set forth in President Obama's November 2014 Executive Action was outside the scope of presidential authority and thus is essentially unconstitutional, according to an opinion in a criminal case just released Tuesday.

The Executive Action remains in place and other judges are free to uphold, recognize or enforce it, but this opinion means that District Court Judge Arthur Schwab, sitting in the Western District of Pennsylvania, will not do so.  And all judges' opinions are subject to appeal.

Notable from the opinion by District Court Judge Schwab:
This Executive Action "cross[es] the line," constitutes "legislation," and effectively changes the United States' immigration policy. The President may only "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed . . . "; he may not take any Executive Action that creates laws. U.S. Const., Art. II, § 3.
Later, Schwab wrote that as the Executive Action acted as legislation, it went beyond the executive's prosecutorial discretion. He further wrote that President Obama's contention that the "Executive Action was necessary because of Congress’s failure to pass legislation, acceptable to him... is arbitrary and does not negate the requirement that the November 20, 2014 Executive Action be lawfully within the President’s executive authority," which Judge Schwab found it was not.  

The opinion considered the applicability of the Executive Action to an illegal alien (a/k/a/ undocumented entrant), Elionardo Juarez-Escobar, who had already pleaded guilty to unlawful entry by a previously removed (that is, deported) alien. 

Juarez-Escobar illegally reentered in 2005 and only ran into trouble when he was caught driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.18%, or more than double Pennsylvania's legal limit of .08%. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Democratic Primary 2016: Connecting The Dots

This is a theory but I'm sticking to it.

Progressive / leftist (pick your term) organizers are apparently gearing up to challenge the presumptive Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

I say presumptive, because in some quarters she is anathema. As in, too centrist.

I also say that because I believe that these organizers are very good at the art of disinformation and practice it brilliantly, and much better than their counterparts on the "right" side of the political spectrum. 

In order to mount the successful challenge, the progressives (for lack of a better term or one which is most understood by the most readers) need to keep their armies organized. That is because the most effective army is one which is obedient, follows orders and keeps its collective eyes on the singular prize.

Winning.

(Attention, conservatives, this is where you fail!)

I believe the Eric Garner / Michael Brown protests are nothing more than a cover to keep the radicals, progressives, anarchists, socialists, Marxists, etc. all pumping, all active, and all involved so they can be mobilized to action at the right time.

Think of them as revolutionary sleeper cells. (Activate!)

BREAKING -- Here's my new term -- they're not leftists or progressives. They're revolutionaries! Got that?!

Think back to Obama's 2008 presidential election. Those armies of excited and generally young revolutionaries needed to be kept intact. That led the Obama campaign organization to quickly set up a new organization known as the OFA -- Organizing For America -- before even his inauguration. They wasted no time. This became the grassroots operation of the Obama re-election campaign, and is still intact albeit with a new but similar name: Organizing For Action. 

In the interim, you had the Occupy Wall Street movement and its affiliated copycat protests. Those groups all had the goal and fulfilled objective of attracting, collecting and retaining hard-core activists. Worker bees to "make the case." To change this country. To change the world. 

Detractors can deride them as human cannon fodder or useful idiots, but here's the rub: These people carry petitions. These people knock on doors. These people get in your face. And these people vote.

Now you have the protests citing the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. On the surface, these are protests against claimed police brutality.

In reality, these are merely exercises to identify more ground troops, keep existing troops organized, motivated and angry, and get them ready for action when ground organizing for suitably-revolutionary Democratic presidential primary candidates starts in the summer and fall of 2015.

How effective can these groups be?

Consider that strongly-liberal New York State had a popular Democratic incumbent governor from a political family and with 100% name recognition run for re-election last year.

Andrew Cuomo's opponent was a no-name law professor whose name was barely known outside of her classroom at Fordham Law School. 

But that professor, who previously was also a Howard Dean and Occupy Wall Street organizer, tapped into the revolutionaries. Zephyr Teachout got 33% of the Democratic primary vote statewide. 

And if you think she did better in the supposedly-more-liberal New York City, think again.

Street organizing pays off the most in low-turnout areas. Get this: Teachout won numerous low-population counties by substantial margins, revealing Democratic organization weakness.

In fact, Zephyr Teachout won over 40% of the primary vote outside of New York City.  Look closely at these county-by-county results.

Now tell me that supposed favorite daughter Hillary Clinton is a sure bet to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Hillary Clinton isn't even a lock in her own adopted home state. 

If legitimate political scion / incumbent Andrew Cuomo couldn't crack 60% against no-name Teachout and barely-on-the-ballot Randy Credico, are you sure Hillary would win a contested New York primary?

Particularly if the establishment vote gets split a few ways and the revolutionaries all pack their support for one candidate?

Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer and strategist. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Like A Rolling Stone: When Reporters Get Duped

The journalism industry is being targeted for not properly vetting its sources. The newest Ground Zero for this movement is the recent Rolling Stone investigative piece which the magazine is now questioning.

Some commentators are blaming the news media for the falsity of the story (if that is the ultimate conclusion). This is wrong.

The blame for a false allegation lies with the liar, not the person who is lied to. So, don't blame the victim!

Blame the liar. Better yet, as sunshine is the best disinfectant in all instances of fraud, corruption and crime: Expose the liar.

In some quarters, the news media is ripped as being "irresponsible" or "partisan." But this misses the essence of the news media.

The news media is a business, first and foremost.

Because it is a business, and not a public trust, it does not have responsibilities to the public. (Arguably, such responsibilities lie with publicly-funded news media organizations like National Public Radio.)

The news media is about eyeballs. And that's how it should be.

Sensationalism, and arguably irresponsible or jumping-the-gun practices like poor sourcing, may make for short-term gains. Journalistic fraud like the Jayson Blair debacle years ago can ruin a career. What's happened to Jayson Blair, by the way?

Credibility ultimately drives eyeballs, and commercial revenue follows.

Blaming reporters for "getting it wrong," or believing a fraud, is wrong. Worse would be a move to make the reporters or their news media outlets legally responsible. Even worse, you could face a chilling of the First Amendment by erecting a legal standard making journalists the guarantors of the truthfulness of their sources. The reporters get duped just as easily, and when they're working for peanuts, you're talking about young, green and naive reporters. Those reporters will take enough of a reputational hit for being fooled, particularly in an industry with cutthroat competition and ease-of-entry for new bloggers and news websites. An unintended consequence of this blame game will be to chill news-reporting activities, drive out some organizations, reduce bonafide investigative reporting and turn it into the very exclusive province of investigative lawyers working for private clients (in other words, people like me) and issuing reports only to private audiences (i.e., clients).

When sunshine is the best disinfectant, the solution is to have more reporting, more disclosure, and more news media competition. Targeting the reporters will be a tremendous mistake in the wrong direction.

Friday, December 5, 2014

New Bitcoin Protection Bill Introduced In Congress

Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas and the House Ways and Means Committee introduced a bill to protect Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and digital currencies from changes in federal tax law while the bitcoin and blockchain technologies are studied further.

Here is a copy of the bill, H.R. 5777.  Rep. Stockman has credited me with drafting virtually the entire bill (my draft had additional material on a proposed commission to study the technology, which was omitted from the introduced bill).

Comments are welcome. 


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Are New York Islanders Padding Attendance Figures?

Some very strange anomalies in reported attendance figures for the New York Islanders hockey club, namely, similar numbers for crowds for different games, when seating capacity is not an issue.

In 2013-14, they had five crowds end with "008," three with "108," three with "888" and four ending with "922." Seating capacity doesn't explain it - the Islanders play at the Nassau Coliseum which officially seats 16,170. These digital similarities cannot be a coincidence. (Evidence: See http://www.hockeyattendance.com/te…/new-york-islanders/2013/.) 

(This type of apparent padding has been suspected in the past. See this 2005 article reporting on a largely empty Continental Arena for New Jersey Devils' games.  And years ago, I saw the gross ticket revenues reported in a franchise's prospectus -- the team was going public -- and those numbers required either sharp discounting or absolute giveaways of tickets in order to avoid a conclusion of serious crowd padding.) 

Other seasons also have evidence of this trend. In 2014-15, there have been at least two crowds (one was tonight) ending with "888." Oh, and in 2012-13 there were four crowds ending with "22" and two crowds ending with "888."

Are the Islanders trying to make Nassau Coliseum crowds look bigger in order to induce a Coliseum renovation? Are the Islanders looking far down the road or hedging their bets, perhaps at a return to Nassau Coliseum if Barclays Center (to which they move in the fall of 2015) exercises a reported "out clause" in the team's new lease after five years? 

The implications of the numbers game, and the reported arena out clause, suggest the Islanders' future in New York is not secure -- not contractually at least. (It is highly unlikely the team would move out of the New York area, for the simple reason that it would lose a lucrative cable television contract, and that comes straight off net cash flow, thus destroying the team's potential out-of-market valuation and potential sale price.)

These are just questions, but the reported attendance figures raise legitimate questions. As nothing occurs by random and it is highly unlikely (like, Earth-getting-hit-by-asteroid-unlikely), explanations are warranted.