Barnes: Does Mueller Indictment Mean Clinton Campaign Can Be Indicted for Chris Steele?

Robert Barnes, the author of this article is an acquaintance of mine.  He is a top attorney, respected and I would call him the real life Perry Mason of our time.  He always gets the bad guy—criminal or corporation.  That is why this article is so important.  His thought is that if Mueller could indict 13 Russians, when will GPSFusion and the Clinton campaign be indicted.  Read this thoughtful piece and send it to your friends—an excellent explanation of the process and the results that he expects.

“Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted foreign citizens for trying to influence the American public about an election because those citizens did not register as a foreign agent nor record their financial expenditures to the Federal Elections Commission. By that theory, when will Mueller indict Christopher Steele, FusionGPS, PerkinsCoie, the DNC and the Clinton Campaign? Mueller’s indictment against 13 Russian trolls claimed their social media political activity was criminal because: they were foreign citizens; they tried to influence an election; and they neither registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act nor reported their funding to the Federal Elections Commission.

First, if Mueller’s theory is correct, three things make Steele a criminal: first, he is a foreign citizen; second, he tried to influence an election, which he received payments to do (including from the FBI itself); and third, he neither registered as a foreign agent nor listed his receipts and expenditures to the Federal Election Commission. Also, according to the FBI, along the way, Steele lied…a lot, while the dossier he disseminated contained its own lies based on bought-and-paid for smears from foreign sources reliant on rumors and innuendo.”

Very important to read and pass on.  It explains what will probably happen—if Mueller is totally honest in his efforts.

hillary-clinton-biopics-cancelled-ftr

Does Mueller Indictment Mean Clinton Campaign Can Be Indicted for Chris Steele?

by Robert Barnes, Law and Crime,  2/17/18

Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted foreign citizens for trying to influence the American public about an election because those citizens did not register as a foreign agent nor record their financial expenditures to the Federal Elections Commission. By that theory, when will Mueller indict Christopher Steele, FusionGPS, PerkinsCoie, the DNC and the Clinton Campaign? Mueller’s indictment against 13 Russian trolls claimed their social media political activity was criminal because: they were foreign citizens; they tried to influence an election; and they neither registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act nor reported their funding to the Federal Elections Commission.

First, if Mueller’s theory is correct, three things make Steele a criminal: first, he is a foreign citizen; second, he tried to influence an election, which he received payments to do (including from the FBI itself); and third, he neither registered as a foreign agent nor listed his receipts and expenditures to the Federal Election Commission. Also, according to the FBI, along the way, Steele lied…a lot, while the dossier he disseminated contained its own lies based on bought-and-paid for smears from foreign sources reliant on rumors and innuendo.

Second, if Mueller’s theory is correct, three things make FusionGPS a criminal co-conspirator: it knew Steele was a foreign citizen; it knew, and paid, Steele to influence an election; and it knew, and facilitated, Steele neither registering as a foreign agent nor reporting his funding from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign to the Federal Election Commission.

Third, if Mueller’s theory is correct, then three things make PerkinsCoie a potential target: it knew Steele was a foreign citizen; it knew, and paid, Steele to influence an election; and it knew, and facilitated, Steele neither registering as a foreign agent nor reporting his funding from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign to the Federal Election Commission, by disguising its receipt of payments from the Clinton campaign as a “legal expense.”

Fourth, if Mueller’s theory is correct, then three things make the DNC a potential target: it knew Steele was a foreign citizen; it knew, and paid, Steele to influence an election; and it knew, and facilitated, Steele neither registering as a foreign agent nor reporting his funding from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign to the Federal Election Commission, by disguising its payments to Steele as laundered legal expenses to a law firm.

Fifth, if Mueller’s theory is correct, three things make the Clinton Campaign a potential target: it knew Steele was a foreign citizen; it knew, and paid, Steele to influence an election; and it knew, and facilitated, Steele neither registering as a foreign agent nor reporting his funding from the Clinton campaign to the Federal Election Commission, by disguising its funding of payments to Steele laundered through a law firm as a “legal expense.”

Don’t expect such an indictment. Mueller chose his targets because he knows they will never appear in court, never contest the charges, and cannot be arrested or extradited as Russian citizens. Mueller’s unprecedented prosecution raises three novel arguments: first, that speaking out about American politics requires a foreign citizen to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act; second, that speaking out about American politics requires a foreign citizen list their source and expenditure of funding to the Federal Election Commission; and third, that mistakes on visa applications constitute “fraud” on the State Department. All appear to borrow from the now-discredited “honest services” theories Mueller’s team previously used in corporate and bribery cases, cases the Supreme Court overturned for their unconstitutional vagueness. The indictment raises serious issues under the free speech clause of the First Amendment and due process rights under the Fifth Amendment.

Robert Barnes is a California-based trial attorney whose practice focuses on Constitutional, criminal and civil rights law. You can follow him at @Barnes_Law.

 

Steve Poizner Dumps Republicans, Runs as Independent for Insurance Commissioner

Is it possible that the Republican Party in California is going to save by someone running for office NOT as a Republican?  We already know that the best thing, next to the tax relief/jobs bill of Trump, to defeat congressional Democrats is San Fran Nan Pelosi.  Steve Poizner served as Insurance Commission in 2006-10—but always said the office should be and needs to be non partisan.  Running elections and regulating corporations is not partisan—it is following the laws passed by the legislature.

“But with Democratic Party voter registration holding steady for decades, Republican registration has fallen over the last two decades from about 35 percent of voters to about 25 percent. Many of the GOP registration losses re-registered as Independents, who rose from 12 percent in 1997 to 25 percent recently, according to the Secretary of State.

Poizner is a brilliant tech entrepreneur, having worked for Boston Consulting Group and amassed a $1 billion net worth from by starting and then selling three Silicon Valley companies involved in global mapping, cyber-security, and big data analytics.

Poizner told SFGate.com blog that running for state insurance commissioner as a candidate unaffiliated with any political party, “really fits the post. There’s no room for partisan politics.” He added, “The insurance commissioner needs to be fiercely independent.”

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

Steve Poizner Dumps Republicans, Runs as Independent for Insurance Commissioner

Chriss Street, Breitbart, 2/19/18

The California Republican Party’s decline continues, as former GOP Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is dropping the party affiliation to run again as an independent.

Poizner and incumbent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006 were the last successful Republican candidates on the party’s slate to win a statewide office.

Poizner ran for governor in 2010, but he was defeated in the Republican primary by first-time candidate Meg Whitman, who spent a record $71 million of her own money to win by a margin of 2 to 1.

Many rank-and-file California Republicans were disgusted that a Silicon Valley billionaire could apparently buy her way onto the Republican Party establishment ticket while being soft on illegal immigration, pro-choice, and a Goldman Sachs board member.

Whitman spent another $73 million of her own money in the general election, but she was crushed 54 percent to just 40 percent by Democrat Attorney General Jerry Brown.

California has historically had a higher registration percentage for Democrats than Republicans since the 1930s. But since the end of WWII, 6 of the 10 state’s governors have been Republicans, and one Democrat governor was also recalled by voters.

But with Democratic Party voter registration holding steady for decades, Republican registration has fallen over the last two decades from about 35 percent of voters to about 25 percent. Many of the GOP registration losses re-registered as Independents, who rose from 12 percent in 1997 to 25 percent recently, according to the Secretary of State.

Poizner is a brilliant tech entrepreneur, having worked for Boston Consulting Group and amassed a $1 billion net worth from by starting and then selling three Silicon Valley companies involved in global mapping, cyber-security, and big data analytics.

Poizner told SFGate.com blog that running for state insurance commissioner as a candidate unaffiliated with any political party, “really fits the post. There’s no room for partisan politics.” He added, “The insurance commissioner needs to be fiercely independent.”

The strategy directly targets independent voters for the June primary, and could mean he will be one of the top two vote-getters to qualify for the November general election.

Poizner racked up victories for consumers in his four years from 2007 to 2011 in office, including handling property claims for the 2007 San Diego wildfires, slashing the department’s discretionary operating budget by 13 percent, and overseeing 2,800 fraud arrests associated with the California Disability Insurance Fund.

Despite not running as a Republican, Poizner is a favorite of the party conservatives and Tea Party members. Poizner’s 2010 governor primary campaign received the endorsement of hard-core conservative Republican Congressman Tom McClintock.

Democrat State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) is the leading Democrat running for California Insurance Commissioner, and Insurance Agency Owner and serial candidate Peter Kuo is the only Republican running for the post.

 

Colman: LAND-GRAB OPPONENTS PRESS AHEAD

My hometown of Simi Valley has a two story limit for commercial, industrial and apartment buildings.  If SB 827 becomes law, the State of California will force us to have eight story apartment building an NO parking mandated.  Imagine living in an eight story apartment, with all the families and not a single parking space mandated.

Under SB 827 if the State determines your town does not have enough “affordable” housing, it will mandate the development of them—where the STATE wants, not the community.  Traffic, schools, parking, density, crimes, all will be negatively affected.  Once it passes, the Leftists in marin, Beverley Hills and San Mateo are going to scream—among their multi-million homes will be slum housing forced on them by government.

Specifically, SB 827 would prevent local communities from interfering with housing construction within one-quarter mile of a frequently used bus route or one-half of a mile of a train station.  In the bill’s designated zones of control, a local community’s regulations would be barred in such areas as building heights, number of housing units, and provisions for parking spaces. 

     The sponsor of SB 827 is State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).  The bill’s co-sponsor is State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). 

This is the Democrat Party—the State controls your community.

Jerry Brown state of the state

LAND-GRAB OPPONENTS PRESS AHEAD

By Richard Colman, California Political News and Views,  2/20/18

 

     Opponents of a State of California plan to grab the land of local communities are pressing ahead. 

     At a meeting in San Francisco on Feb. 17, approximately 25 people showed up to state their unequivocal opposition to State Senate Bill 827 (SB 827). 

     SB 827, if enacted, would allow the State of California to control a local community’s land near a railroad station or a bus route. 

     Specifically, SB 827 would prevent local communities from interfering with housing construction within one-quarter mile of a frequently used bus route or one-half of a mile of a train station.  In the bill’s designated zones of control, a local community’s regulations would be barred in such areas as building heights, number of housing units, and provisions for parking spaces. 

     The sponsor of SB 827 is State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).  The bill’s co-sponsor is State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). 

     SB 827 is designed to alleviate a shortage of so-called affordable housing in California. 

     The bill is opposed by the Sierra Club and the League of California Cities. 

     There is a debate over whether state-mandated housing plans will lead to more affordable housing.  In an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 12, Paul Kupiec and Edward Pinto, both of the American Enterprise Institute, argued that setting aside new housing units to “. . . sell or rent at below-market prices to low-income households . . .” will ultimately ” . . . increase the cost of housing for everyone else.” 

     To take a somewhat simplified example, suppose a governmental agency required the construction of 10 new housing units, four of which were to be given away free.  If each housing unit were to cost $500,000, the developer would need $5 million to cover his total costs.  (Ten multiplied by $500,000 equals $5 million.)  If four housing units were to be given away free, then, to cover his costs, the developer — whether a for-profit entity or a nonprofit organization — would need to generate a total of $5 million from the remaining six units.  Each of the six remaining units would cost $833,333. 

The question can asked:  How many housing buyers who are not low-income individuals can afford to pay $833,333 for a new home? 

Under the tax law passed by Congress and signed into law on Dec. 22 by President Donald Trump, federal tax deductions for new homes are to be limited.  The tax law allows $10,000 to be deducted for state-local taxes (such as property taxes).  The law also limits the deduction for mortgage interest to loans not exceeding $500,000.  If a buyer of a new home costing $833,333 were to take out a loan equal to 80% of $833,333, the loan would be for $666,667 — an amount in excess of $500,000. 

According to The Wall Street Journal piece, the concept of “inclusionary zoning” (plans to have a certain amount of new housing set aside for low-income people) “has been implemented by 886 communities, nearly 90% of which are in California, Massachusetts and New Jersey.” 

According to the editorial in the Berkeley Daily Planet (Jan. 6), State Senator Wiener in a 2014 election campaign received 50% of his campaign contributions from such interests as real estate, real-estate law, architects, interior design, the building trades, technology companies, and attorneys for technology companies. 

The group that met in San Francisco on Feb. 17, is in the process of creating a name for itself and devising strategies to oppose SB 827. 

The group, which appears to be growing in size, will meet again on Mar. 10.

 

Madera County. Next Great Region of the State.

Over the years I have spent a great deal of time in Madera County.  I have run several campaigns countywide, involved in countywide issues, like the proposed casino.  This is a small county, with a Board of Supervisors consisting of nice people that could never get elected to the Board in most of the big counties in the State.  This is a county with a DA that has abused employees and the Board, has personal problems.  The Board, decent, but small town—and the DA has been investigating four of the five for corruption.

The city of Madera is impoverished, both financially and in leadership.  It may be corrupt, but difficult to tel lif the decisions made were well intentioned or purposely done to destroy the community.  About 12 years ago there was an attempt to build a casino on the out skirts of the City of Madera—on Ave. 17 and a half (yup, that is the off ramp)  Today an AM-PM is on one corner and a hotel on another.  But, we are told they will build a world class resort/spa/casino.  Madera as the next great region?  First it takes great leadership.

“Whether that happens will be determined in Madera County, on the north side of the river from Fresno. There, a new city, consisting of multiple large planned communities, is finally under construction after decades of planning and litigation.

The city has no name and incorporation could be decades away. But within a generation, its population could grow to more than 100,000 people; by mid-century, it might double Madera County’s current population of 150,000.

This area is partly owned by Frank Bigelow—a former Madera Supervisor and a current GOP Assembly member.  It is on the other side of the County from where the casino could be built.  Great region?  Lots of permits to go.

Farm workers farming

Could a New River City Transform California?

Along the San Joaquin, Madera County Is Building Thousands of New Homes—and Perhaps Shaping the State’s Next Great Region

By Joe Mathews, Zocalo Public Square,  2/19/18

 

Could the San Joaquin River, long a dividing line in the heart of California, unite the state in pursuit of a more metropolitan future for the Central Valley?

Whether that happens will be determined in Madera County, on the north side of the river from Fresno. There, a new city, consisting of multiple large planned communities, is finally under construction after decades of planning and litigation.

The city has no name and incorporation could be decades away. But within a generation, its population could grow to more than 100,000 people; by mid-century, it might double Madera County’s current population of 150,000.

And that is just on the Madera side of the river. On the Fresno side, the county is developing open space, the city of Fresno’s north side is growing, and the city of Clovis is expanding to its south and east. Rising together, the new Madera city, Fresno, and Clovis could come to constitute a tri-cities area in the center of California, offering a new model for the state’s long-neglected interior.

If the new Madera and expanded Fresno and Clovis cities could cohere into a stronger region by mid-century—and that’s an “if” as big as the Valley floor—greater Fresno could transform from a relatively poor backwater of 1 million-plus into California’s answer to Austin, an inland country metropolis of 2 million or more capable of spreading the Golden State’s coastal prosperity to its dusty interior.

Of course, such a transformation would require extensive regional planning of the sort that has been little seen in Fresno. It would require establishing new and more effective governance arrangements and funding for regional transportation, economic development, water management, recreation, and air quality. In short, it would require something just short of a revolution in California governance, and in thinking about what city governments do.

Transforming greater Fresno also would require collaboration between local governments that have spent decades using lawsuits to stall the growth of their neighbors. Madera County’s development has only recently gone forward after fights so bitter that the governor’s office intervened.

Indeed, the very structure of California, and its land-use planning, works against turning Fresno into a region, never mind a powerhouse. In our state, local jurisdictions are weak and have little power to raise their own revenues; they are incentivized to compete with other cities, often using questionable subsidies, in the chase for developments and the taxes they bring. In the Golden State, cooperating with neighboring municipalities is for saps.

The battles between the San Joaquin Valley’s cities have been especially hard-fought, since those municipalities are weak even by California’s diminished standards. (Madera County doesn’t even have a parks department.) The game is: support development that provides revenue for your city, while spreading the costs—in traffic, water and air quality—onto your neighbors.

That has inspired nearly constant litigation. To take just two examples: The city of Fresno sued Madera County to block the new river development plan until it got a tax-sharing agreement that would compensate it for impacts like traffic. In retaliation, Madera County sued Fresno to block a new shopping center, claiming it would siphon off shopping dollars and sales taxes that should go to Madera.

Most, but not all, of such litigation is now over, offering an opportunity to build together. Potential collaborations could include a stronger and more resilient water infrastructure (the new Madera developments tout their water efficiency), a joint powers authority that could raise revenue to improve access to the river itself, and a regional transportation network. That network ought to reach as far south as Visalia, and north, across the river into Madera, along both the Highway 41 and 99 corridors.

Another problem is the lack of local government brainpower. The area’s municipalities in particular need more personnel with training and experience in regional planning. The existing regional planning includes some collaboration on trails and water treatment, but it is still too irregular and unimaginative.

That’s why the big and bold development in Madera is so promising. The county on Fresno’s northwestern flank is saying via its big new developments that it doesn’t want to be small, poor, and isolated anymore. That’s the message all of greater Fresno needs to embrace.

Indeed, Madera County is pitching its new developments as a huge step forward for central California: master-planned communities with trails and schools and job centers and water facilities wrapped in, providing the greater density and smaller lots of more urban living.

The signature project, now under construction, is Riverstone, with acres of commercial space and nearly 6,600 homes of various sizes across six themed districts, along Highway 41, best known to most Californians as a road to Yosemite. “The new-home community of Riverstone,” boasts one brochure, “will be a celebration of California living where people of every generation can enjoy the relaxed and informal spirit of the Golden State.”

Other developments in the pipeline—with names like Tesoro Viejo and Gunner Ranch—are supposed to offer a similar approach, and county officials say they are likely to be incorporated one day as the county’s third city (after Madera city and Chowchilla). These developments are close to river-adjacent Fresno County projects—like a town-size development near Friant Dam.

“This is going to be a new town and we have this opportunity with a blank canvas to do it right,” Madera County Supervisor Brett Frazier recently told local television.

Much could go wrong. If the new river city doesn’t produce promised jobs and inspire better transit, the expanded development could fuel sprawl, add to air pollution, and turn Highway 41 into a traffic nightmare.

Successful regionalization will require outside help. The state’s climate change regime must prioritize infill development in central Fresno, so that the urban core isn’t weakened as people move to the new river city. The ongoing revival of Fresno’s downtown needs the added momentum of the state’s high-speed rail project, which is already under construction across Fresno County (a signature rail bridge is being built across the river, linking Madera and Fresno in another way).

Greater Fresno badly needs high-speed rail to provide connections to Northern California and Southern California, making it an affordable crossroads between two world-class regional economies.

And Fresno has a large population of undocumented immigrants who are desperate for legal status so they can advance themselves, and their region, economically.

You should not bet the farm on the grand project of turning greater Fresno into the next great region. But if Madera’s new development can inspire progress in that direction, the state would have reason to celebrate—and perhaps call the new river city Future Town, CA.

 

300 MORE Jobs Lost in California

This is becoming a trend.  Home Depot and Lowe’s are hiring lots of people—but at low and minimum wage.  As Guv Brown said, we are heading into a recession.

“TreeHouse Foods Inc. (NYSE: THS) of Oak Brook, Illinois, says it is closing its food processing plant in Visalia, firing 294 workers in the process.

The doors will be locked by the end of March of next year, the company says. The plant primarily produces pretzels and cereal snack mixes.”

At what point will the Governor and Democrats understand this is a problem?

Jobs

TreeHouse closing Visalia plant

Central Valley Business Times, 2/19/18

  • Nearly 300 workers to lose their jobs
  • The plant makes pretzels and cereal snack mixes

TreeHouse Foods Inc. (NYSE: THS) of Oak Brook, Illinois, says it is closing its food processing plant in Visalia, firing 294 workers in the process.

The doors will be locked by the end of March of next year, the company says. The plant primarily produces pretzels and cereal snack mixes.

Pretzel production will be moved to other TreeHouse manufacturing facilities prior to the plant closure. The company says the plant closing is part of a restructuring program announced last August to reduce its cost structure.

The costs to close the Visalia facility are expected to be approximately $21 million, of which approximately $8 million is expected to be in cash. Components of the charges include non-cash asset write-offs of approximately $13 million, employee-related costs of approximately $3 million, and other closure costs of approximately $5 million.

 

Lower Paid Jobs Exploding in California

California, according to the old and confused Guv Brown may be headed into a recession.  My home County, Ventura, is already in a recession.  Seneca in Modesto is closing down, 265 folks losing their jobs.  But, if you want low pay jobs, California is the place.

“Home Deport and Lowe’s announced this month that they are looking to hire thousands of people in California. The home improvement stores said its looking to fill positions in anticipation of a busy spring season.

Nationwide, Home Depot plans to fill more than 80,000 positions while Lowe’s plans to fill 53,000 jobs.

For Home Depot, job seekers can go to careers.homedepot.com/retailjobs for a list of seasonal and permanent opportunities in their area. Candidates are encouraged to use the website to self-schedule in-person interviews.

Nationally they are hiring over 133,000 people.  So on a national level anyone that wants a job can have it.  This is just from two companies.  More to follow.

TheHomeDepot-1.svg

Job Alert: Home Depot, Lowe’s Hiring Thousands In California

The home improvement stores are on a hiring spree.

By Hoa Quách, Patch Staff,  2/19/18

CALIFORNIA — Home Deport and Lowe’s announced this month that they are looking to hire thousands of people in California. The home improvement stores said its looking to fill positions in anticipation of a busy spring season.

Nationwide, Home Depot plans to fill more than 80,000 positions while Lowe’s plans to fill 53,000 jobs.

For Home Depot, job seekers can go to careers.homedepot.com/retailjobs for a list of seasonal and permanent opportunities in their area. Candidates are encouraged to use the website to self-schedule in-person interviews.

“Just as we’re continuously evolving to meet the changing expectations of our customers, we’re harnessing new technologies to do the same for job seekers,” said Tim Hourigan, executive vice president of human resources, said in a press release. “This consumer-like experience helps us hire the best talent to serve our customers.”

Those looking to work for Lowe’s, can attend the company’s hiring day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at its stores. Candidates interested in a full-time, part-time or seasonal role can visit any of Lowe’s 1,700-plus U.S. stores to participate in open interviews and learn more about working at Lowe’s.

“Our employees are the heart of our business and make a difference for the customers and communities we serve every day,” said Jennifer Weber, Lowe’s chief human resources officer. “Lowe’s is a great place to build a career, and we’re excited to host our largest-ever job fair to introduce people to our culture. We’re looking to hire customer-centric and service-minded people who are passionate about being a part of something bigger.”

Those who can’t make it to the open house can tune in to a Facebook Live event on the Lowe’s Careers channel at 2:15 p.m. EST on Feb. 21 to hear more from Weber about building a career at Lowe’s.

 

Should Government Own and Run Golf Courses?

Is it the role of government to own and run a golf course?  How about stadiums, convention centers or bus systems?  The first role of government is to protect the citizens—but in city after city, cops are being fire, or get a 10% cur—like in Oroville—are no increase, like in Simi Valley.  All for the same reason, to finance the collapsing CalPERS.

Now the City of Lindsay, famous for its olives, is thinking of leasing for $1 a year, its nine hole golf course.  Stockton, a city on the verge of bankruptcy, is thinking of selling its two golf courses for housing and retail shops.

It is time government end its role as an entrepreneur and return to governing.  What do you think?

Golf course

 

Another Valley city may ditch its golf course

 

  • Lindsay says it’s too costly to maintain
  • Local businessman might take it over

Central Valley Business Times,  2/19/18

The city of Lindsay, in Tulare County, is the latest Central Valley city to say its municipal golf course is too much of a burden.

But rather than close it, Lindsay officials are talking with a local businessman about operating the nine-hole course. Under consideration is leasing the land for a dollar a year to the businessman.

To the north, the city of Stockton is still mulling whether to close both of its 18-hole golf courses. Under the plan being considered, Swensen Golf Course would be sold to developers for housing and retail space.

Bill Would Boost Privacy For California Marijuana Customers–Just Pretend

Those that are buying legal marijuana in California now what privacy—they do not want folks to know they are buying the weed, though legal.  When you think about it, why not, we do not have records on those buying alcohol, condoms, pornography or a loaf of bread—except if you buy any of this things with a credit card or in a grocery store.  Then lots of folks know what you are buying.  Look up the location of a local store selling marijuana and your browser will start showing you lots of stores and weed products.  Privacy—not if you use the Internet or a credit card.

Assembly Bill 2402 would ban retail marijuana shops from selling customer data to third-party vendors without the customer’s consent.

Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley, said the bill would block employers from obtaining information about an employee who buys marijuana.

“The focus of this piece of legislation is around privacy,” Low said. “So, while now cannabis is legal in California, there are many individuals who want to make sure that cannabis and their use of cannabis is not made public for many reasons.”

If they look up the address of the local weed shop, it is public if done via Internet.  Pass AB 2402 to make you feel good—but worthless if you are buying weed.  In todays world if you do not want people to know, your best bet is not buying it—or buy it on the street corner—it will be cheaper, no taxes.

Marijuana Store

Bill Would Boost Privacy For California Marijuana Customers

Chris Nichols, Capitol Public Radio,  2/19/18

California’s recreational marijuana customers would gain a measure of privacy under a new bill introduced at the state Capitol.

Assembly Bill 2402 would ban retail marijuana shops from selling customer data to third-party vendors without the customer’s consent.

Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley, said the bill would block employers from obtaining information about an employee who buys marijuana.

“The focus of this piece of legislation is around privacy,” Low said. “So, while now cannabis is legal in California, there are many individuals who want to make sure that cannabis and their use of cannabis is not made public for many reasons.”

Similar restrictions are already in place for medical marijuana customers.

The bill has no ability, however, to prevent federal authorities from seizing customer information. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Perhaps the bill’s biggest protection would be slowing the flow of unwanted junk mail.

“If you shop at retail stores, you magically start to get emails and snail mail from other similarly focused retail stores,” Low added. “And so we wanted to make sure that we don’t do that with cannabis without consent.”

Lawmakers will hold a hearing Tuesday Feb. 20 to get an update on the state of legalization in California. The hearing is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Capitol, Room 4202. It will be streamed live on calchannel.com. Testimony is expected from those in the cannabis industry plus law enforcement, health and agriculture officials.

PolitiFact California recently examined privacy concerns in the age of legal marijuana, and answered questions in a Pot 101 article about what’s legal and what’s not under the state’s marijuana law.

 

How A Plea Reversal From Michael Flynn Could Uncover More Federal Corruption

Did Robert Mueller withhold information from the Flynn attorneys and the courts.  Looks like it.  Did the FBI, DOJ and CIA lie to the FISA Court—that is no longer in doubt.  The only question left is who will be indicted for the fraud on the FISA court and will Mueller or other be disbarred for withholding evidence.  From almost the day after the Flynn guilty plea, the courts knew that Mueller and his attorneys lied about the evidence.

“To recap: On November 30, 2017, prosecutors working for Mueller charged former Trump national security advisor Flynn with lying to FBI agents. The following day, Flynn pled guilty before federal judge Rudolph Contreras. Less than a week later — and without explanation — Flynn’s case was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

One of Sullivan’s first orders of business was to enter a standing order, on December 12, 2017, directing “the government to produce to defendant in a timely manner – including during plea negotiations – any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment.” Sullivan’s standing order further directed the government, if it “has identified any information which is favorable to the defendant but which the government believes not to be material,” to “submit such information to the Court for in camera review.”

That means on day one, the Flynn Team knew that Mueller had more information.  Now the court is demanding it be given.  This is why Flynn wants to retract his guilty plea—fraud and corruption by the Mueller Team.  Anybody surprised?

Trump state of the union

How A Plea Reversal From Michael Flynn Could Uncover More Federal Corruption

Did Robert Mueller’s office withhold other evidence in Michael Flynn’s prosecution, either from the FISA court or from Flynn’s attorneys? There is reason to believe so.

 

By Margot Cleveland, The Federalist,  2/19/18

On Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order in United States v. Flynn that, while widely unnoticed, reveals something fascinating: A motion by Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea based on government misconduct is likely in the works.

Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence,” Washington Examiner columnist Byron York detailed the oddities of Flynn’s case. The next day, former assistant U.S. attorney and National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy connected more of the questionable dots. York added even more details a couple of days later. Together these articles provide the backdrop necessary to understand the significance of Sullivan’s order on Friday.

What’s Happened in the Michael Flynn Case So Far

To recap: On November 30, 2017, prosecutors working for Mueller charged former Trump national security advisor Flynn with lying to FBI agents. The following day, Flynn pled guilty before federal judge Rudolph Contreras. Less than a week later — and without explanation — Flynn’s case was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

One of Sullivan’s first orders of business was to enter a standing order, on December 12, 2017, directing “the government to produce to defendant in a timely manner – including during plea negotiations – any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment.” Sullivan’s standing order further directed the government, if it “has identified any information which is favorable to the defendant but which the government believes not to be material,” to “submit such information to the Court for in camera review.”

Sullivan enters identical standing orders as a matter of course in all of his criminal cases, as he explained in a 2016 Cardozo Law Review article: “Following the Stevens case, I have issued a standing Brady Order for each criminal case on my docket, updating it in reaction to developments in the law.” A Brady order directs the government to disclose all exculpatory evidence to defense counsel, as required by Brady v. Maryland. The Stevens case, of course, is the government’s corrupt prosecution of the late senator Ted Stevens—an investigation and prosecution which, as Sullivan put it, “were permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence. . . .”

While the December standing order represented Sullivan’s normal practice, as both McCarthy and York noted, Flynn had already pled guilty. In his plea agreement, Flynn agreed to “forego the right to any further discovery or disclosures of information not already provided at the time of the entry of Flynn’s guilty plea.” On Wednesday, however, the attorneys in the Flynn case presented the court an agreed-upon protective order governing the use of the material — including sensitive material — the special counsel’s office provides Flynn. This indicates Mueller’s team will not fight Sullivan’s standing order based on the terms of Flynn’s plea agreement.

Why Bombshells Are Likely Ahead

With a protective order in place, Flynn’s attorneys should start receiving the required disclosures from the special counsel’s office. There is reason to believe these will include some bombshells.

First, we know from the recently released GOP House Intelligence Committee memo and the Grassley-Graham criminal referral of Christopher Steele, the FBI and DOJ withheld significant (and material, in my view) information in seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. There is cause to believe the FISA court was connected to the criminal charge filed against Flynn because Contreras, who recused less than a week after accepting Flynn’s guilty plea, “is one of just three FISA court judges who sits in the District of Columbia, where it is likely the Trump-Russia FISA warrants were sought.”

Was other evidence withheld, either from the FISA court or from Flynn’s attorneys in negotiating a plea? Again, there is reason to believe so, given the players involved and the facts already uncovered.

Remember, the special counsel charged Flynn with lying to FBI agents on January 24. While the charge did not identify the FBI agents involved, we know that Peter Strzok conducted the January interview that eventually led to the criminal case against Flynn. Strzok formed a part of Mueller’s team until he was removed following the discovery of hostile text messages concerning Trump, including a planned “insurance policy” should Trump win the White House.

Obama political holdover Sally Yates’ involvement in the case raises additional concerns. While Strzok and Mueller initially indicated they believed Flynn had been truthful, Yates, while serving as acting attorney general, had directed Strzok to interview Flynn and had pushed for charges against Flynn under the Logan Act. Another member of Mueller’s team, Andrew Weissmann, is likewise suspect given his praise for Yates’ refusal to defend Trump’s travel ban. Weissmann remains a part of the special counsel’s team, notwithstanding calls for his ouster.

Mueller must now provide Flynn all exculpatory evidence: Significantly, if the information is favorable to Flynn but the special counsel’s office believes it is immaterial, government attorneys must nonetheless provide the evidence to Sullivan to allow him to make the call. In other words, Mueller’s team cannot unilaterally decide what evidence matters, as the Department of Justice did in applying to the FISA court for a surveillance warrant on Page while withholding the key fact that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee paid for information crucial to the application.

This Whole Thing Could Bring further Abuse to Light

No one knows yet what the evidence will show. However, there are enough shady characters involved to believe there will be something of significance. Then what?

Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor and author of “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice,” writes that Flynn should withdraw his guilty plea and suggests that Sullivan, as “the country’s premier jurist experienced in the abuses of our Department of Justice, . . . is the best person to confront the egregious government misconduct that has led to and been perpetrated by the Mueller-Weissmann ‘investigation’ and to right the injustices that have arisen from it.”

Friday’s order suggests Sullivan is ready to do just that. That order consisted of an updated standing order detailing the government’s obligations under Brady. On the surface, Friday’s order seems inconsequential, but in comparing the December 12, 2017, version to the February 16, 2018, version, one substantive change stood out.

It was subtle, but significant given the posture of this case: The revised version added one sentence specifying that the government’s obligation to produce evidence material either to the defendant’s guilt or punishment “includes producing, during plea negotiations, any exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession.”

While it is impossible to know whether Sullivan modified the standing order in response to special concerns in the Flynn case, it differs from the model text he included in his 2016 article, as well as the standing order he used most recently in a criminal case from August 2017. It is significant because it indicates that, if the government did not provide Flynn material evidence during plea negotiations, Flynn has grounds to withdraw his plea.

Sullivan’s revised standing order made that point clear, too—well, at least for Flynn’s lawyers. To explain: The Supreme Court has never addressed the question of whether a defendant may withdraw a guilty plea if the prosecution withholds exculpatory evidence during plea negotiations. The lower federal courts are split on this question. In his revised standing order issued on Friday, Sullivan dropped a lengthy footnote, detailing the case law and setting forth his position that, if material exculpatory evidence is withheld during plea negotiations, a defendant is entitled to withdraw his guilty plea.

Flynn’s attorneys now know what to do should Mueller’s team disclose such evidence. After the spanking Sullivan gave the prosecutors in the Stevens case, Mueller is on notice as well.

Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School as well as a former full-time faculty member and current adjunct professor for the college of business at the University of Notre Dame.

 

State to ban wasteful uses of water, but it won’t actually save that much

Today State water officials, non elected, no one really knows who they are, are about to take over your use of water.  If you disagree, no problem, it does not matter.  They are not elected and only the Governor can fire them.  Watch out, the Brown drought era regulations are coming back.  Remember, we enough water, it is government policy holding us back from using it.

“What is the state proposing to ban?

  • Watering your lawn so much it runs off into the street

  • Using a hose to wash your car, unless it has a nozzle or shut-off device

  • Washing your driveway or the sidewalk with clean drinking water

  • Any non-recirculating fountain that uses clean drinking water

  • Watering your lawn within 48 hours after “measurable” rainfall

  • Serving drinking water in restaurants without asking first

  • Irrigating grass in medians and between the street and the sidewalk

  • Hotels automatically providing fresh towels: they must ask whether you want to re-use your towel

Wait a minute. Didn’t the state do this before?”

Yes, did it before and it did not work—only more rain helped, because Guv Brown refused to stop water flowing into the ocean and continued to give fish the water you need.  I bet this is the first time you heard that government is again going to regulate the use of your water.  Fake News would prefer to lie about Trump than tell the truth about policies.  Angry yet?

Stormwater

State to ban wasteful uses of water, but it won’t actually save that much

Emily Guerin, KPCC,  2/19/18

You’ve seen them: the sprinklers that only water the sidewalk, or the people who let the hose run while they wash their cars. On Tuesday, state water officials are expected to vote to ban those and other wasteful uses of water—for good. But the catch is, it won’t actually save that much water.

Here’s what you need to know about the new rules.

What is the state proposing to ban?

  • Watering your lawn so much it runs off into the street
  • Using a hose to wash your car, unless it has a nozzle or shut-off device
  • Washing your driveway or the sidewalk with clean drinking water
  • Any non-recirculating fountain that uses clean drinking water
  • Watering your lawn within 48 hours after “measurable” rainfall
  • Serving drinking water in restaurants without asking first
  • Irrigating grass in medians and between the street and the sidewalk
  • Hotels automatically providing fresh towels: they must ask whether you want to re-use your towel

Wait a minute. Didn’t the state do this before?

Yes. Between June 2014 and April 2017, these restrictions were in place as part of California’s emergency drought response. During that time, Governor Jerry Brown also asked for a mandatory 25 percent reduction in water use statewide, something that had never been done before. He did this because the drought was the state’s worst in 500 years.

The Instagram account This Green Lawn documented wasteful water uses during the drought.

So why did the prohibitions go away?

They ended last April when Governor Brown called off the drought after a historically wet winter. More snow fell in the Sierra Nevada last winter than in the previous four winters combined. But he warned residents not to become complacent.

“This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,’’ Brown said in a statement. “Conservation must remain a way of life.’’

To that end, Brown issued an executive order asking the State Water Resources Control Board and other state agencies to come up with a long-term plan to use water more wisely. Making permanent the prohibitions on wasteful uses of water is one of the first steps.

How much water will the regulations save?

Not very much, actually. The last time they were in place, during the drought, they were only responsible for one percent of the total water saved, or as much as about 18,000 California households use in a year.

“They’re not in and of themselves going to lead to huge reductions in the amount of water used,” said Max Gomberg, the water conservation and climate change manager at the State Water Resources Control Board, “but the I think benefit beyond what we estimate the savings to be is also just in that public education and awareness aspect.”

Seeing someone hosing down a sidewalk sends a message that water is neither a valuable nor a scarce resource. The state wants to avoid that perception. In addition, not every city in California has conservation rules on the book. By passing statewide rules, it ensures everyone, everywhere, will have to think about saving water.

How will these new rules be enforced?

Currently, cities and water agencies can only enforce local water conservation ordinances. But a bill in the Assembly, AB 1668, would allow them to enforce the new state rules.

In cities that already have local conservation rules, like Santa Monica and Los Angeles, “water cops” drive around looking for sprinklers spraying wildly, for water running into the street, or for other things that break the rules. They also respond to tips. But LA only has three cops for the whole city, and Santa Monica has one, and they tend to focus on information and education more than penalizing people for breaking the rules.

“I think enforcement can be difficult,” said Tracy Quinn, a water policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. We want to make sure people are cognizant of what is water waste and take efforts to avoid it.”

What else is being done to save water in Sacramento?

Although the state’s ban on wasteful water is largely about messaging, there are plans to figure out more substantial ways to save water long term.

Two bills, AB 1668 and SB 606, would ratchet down water use in cities by setting a limit of 55 gallons per person, per day for indoor use (for context, residents of Huntington Park and East Los Angeles consume less than that, total, indoors and outdoors).

But the bigger problem is outdoor use, which is where half of urban water goes in California. Here, the bills would set limits for how much you can use that depend on where you live. So a hot, suburban community like Riverside, with big houses on large lots, would get to use more water than Santa Monica, a denser city with smaller homes and lots in a cooler, coastal climate.

How much are cities doing on their own to save water?

It really depends on the city. After the Governor called off the drought last April, some Southern California cities backed off of conservation, and saw their water use rebound quite a bit. Cities like Santa Paula, Montecito, Vernon, Santa Barbara and the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District saw their water use spike more than 25 percent between May and November 2017.

But other cities kept up their water-saving ways. The California Water Service Company of Antelope Valley slashed water use more than 40 percent even after the drought was called off. And Perris and Big Bear each cut their use by more than a third.

In Los Angeles, water use only rose seven percent during that time. And that’s likely because the city decided not to back off their own conservation rules, like limiting outdoor watering to three days a week.

“This is how we are defining ‘water conservation as as a way of life,’” said Rich Harasick, a senior assistant general manager of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, referencing the Governor.

Harasick said the city is unlikely to ever return to the days when Angelenos could water their lawns whenever they want. And that’s because LADWP is expecting to have to provide water to another 400,000 people in the next 20 years.

“The way we’re going to provide that water is basically to lower the demand, lower the amount of water everyone uses,” he said.

Harasick said banning, and enforcing, wasteful uses of water is a small part of that overall effort. A larger focus is continuing to slash outdoor water use through rebates to remove grass, and to focus on switching out high water using appliances, like washing machines.