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jberryhill's Journal
jberryhill's Journal
March 31, 2019

Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike...

...turns out to be pretty valuable...


For the fifth straight year, toll revenue and traffic was up on both the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, exceeding projections.

The Turnpike Authority, which operates both roads, reported a total of $1.788 billion in revenues for 2016, $1.57 billion of it from tolls.


If only Cathy had applied that interest.
March 31, 2019

Simple way for Americans to understand Theresa May this week

Befuddled by Brexit? You can still appreciate the political choices the UK faced this week.

Imagine if you will, Donald Trump saying, “Okay, I get it, you all think I suck. So I’m going to offer you a deal. Give me 10 billion dollars to find building a wall, and I’ll resign.”

Think about it. It does present something of an interesting choice.

But, they didn’t support her. So, she’s staying. In a complete reversal of ordinary political dynamics.
March 29, 2019

Cayman Islands Supreme Court Rules For Marriage Equality

Aside from its common perception as a tax haven, the Cayman Islands used to be an administrative unit of Jamaica. When Jamaica proceeded toward independence, the Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac) became a semi-autonomous British Overseas Territory. It has its own constitution, legislature and executive government, but is overseen by a Governor appointed by the Crown.

Because of the prominence of the financial industry, and the fact that many international banks and law firms rotate employees through Cayman (you can work there for 7 years as an expat, with the appropriate permit) from the UK and Canada, where marriage is between all persons, a problem had started to arise with married employees of foreign banks being able to get their spouses a residence permit on the basis of being the spouse of a person there on a work permit.

So, the first problem to tackle was carving out a limited exception to their immigration laws by which same sex spouses of foreign nationals present in the islands on a work permit would be recognized as spouses for the purpose of a residence permit. Otherwise, this would have caused a real problem with workplace equality rules for the banks themselves.

However, more recently, a Caymanian who was employed in the UK met her partner there, and sought to return to Cayman and obtain Caymanian status for her partner by marrying in Cayman.

This has caused no shortage of interesting discussion in Cayman which, like much of the Caribbean, is not what one would consider to be a welcoming society in that regard. Unlike Jamaica, in which gay sexual relations remain illegal and there is considerable violence against gays, Cayman has eliminated criminal penalties and is generally has more of an "act straight in public" level of tolerance. There are some 50,000 inhabitants of Cayman, and it's more like a small town, where everyone knows everyone else and has to get along somehow.

But after much hand-wringing, Bible-thumping and the usual things that go along with it, Chief Justice Smellie (yes, his name is Smellie) has finally ruled on the case of Ms. Day and Ms. Bodden Bush....


BREAKING: Chief Justice rules same-sex marriage is legal

Chief Justice Smellie ordered in his ruling that section 2 of the Marriage Law be changed to state “‘Marriage’ means the union between two people as one another’s spouses.”

He stated: “This Court is … bound not to allow the violation of the Petitioners’ rights to continue without redress. The Constitution, in its mandatory requirement that the Law be brought into conformity, must prevail. The Petitioners and their daughter are entitled to the indignities to which they have been subjected being put to an immediate end by the Court.”

The couple’s attorney, Ben Tonner, issued this statement after the ruling: “Chantelle and Vickie are delighted that their relationship has been recognised at long last. The Chief Justice’s decision demonstrates in unequivocal terms that the rule of law and the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom are alive and well in the Cayman Islands.”

And if you are a fan of "local news comment sections", this site gets the cream of the crop in Cayman:


March 27, 2019

Do you want to understand something important about people?


Top Google searches (as of February 2019)

The FIFTH-HIGHEST ranked search term on Google is.... "google".

Just let that sink in the next time you think you want to do something like organize a "general strike" over whether the Attorney General will release the findings of the Office of Special Counsel.

The FIFTH-HIGHEST ranked search term on Google is.... "google".

Can you imagine how many people have to be looking for Google - ON GOOGLE - for that to happen 85 million times in a month?

March 25, 2019

CALIFORNIA federal prosecutors indict Michael Avenatti (in addition to NY)


According to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint in this case, Avenatti negotiated a settlement which called for $1.6 million in settlement money to be paid on January 10, 2018, but then gave the client a bogus settlement agreement with a false payment date of March 10, 2018. The affidavit states that Avenatti misappropriated his client’s settlement money and used it to pay expenses for his coffee business, Global Baristas US LLC, which operated Tully’s Coffee stores in California and Washington state, as well as for his own expenses. When the fake March 2018 deadline passed and the client asked where the money was, Avenatti continued to conceal that the payment had already been received, court documents said.

Avenatti also allegedly defrauded a bank in Mississippi by submitting to the lender false tax returns in order to obtain three loans totaling $4.1 million for his law firm and coffee business in 2014. According to the affidavit, Avenatti obtained the loans by submitting fabricated individual income tax returns (Forms 1040) for 2011, 2012, and 2013, reporting substantial income even though he had never filed any such returns with the Internal Revenue Service. The phony returns stated that he earned $4,562,881 in adjusted gross income in 2011, $5,423,099 in 2012, and $4,082,803 in 2013, according to the affidavit. Avenatti allegedly also claimed he paid $1.6 million in estimated tax payments to the IRS in 2012 and paid $1.25 million in 2013. In reality, Avenatti never filed personal income tax returns for 2011, 2012 and 2013 and did not make any estimated tax payments in 2012 and 2013. Instead of the millions of dollars he claimed to have paid in taxes, Avenatti still owed the IRS $850,438 in unpaid personal income tax plus interest and penalties for the tax years 2009 and 2010, court papers state. The affidavit also alleges that, as part of his loan applications, Avenatti also submitted a fictitious partnership tax return for his law firm.


Full Complaint:


You know, the next time someone has FACTS which you don't like, it might we worth debunking them, instead of just telling that person to shut up.
March 20, 2019

Jury Finds Roundup Caused Cancer

In the continued attack on the courts and other institutions of law, a fairly mundane evidentiary ruling and an admonishment from a judge about that prior ruling was, among the DU legal brain trust, proof-positive of the generalized corruption and untrustworthiness of the federal courts:


A few weeks ago, despite a mixed bag of rulings for or against either side, as is normal in litigation, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the primary Monsanto RoundUp litigation decided to violate a pre-trial ruling, and was rebuked by the judge for doing it.

This, naturally, meant the judge was bought-off, the fix was in, and the usual litany of accusations intended to erode and undermine confidence in the rule of law generally.

The silence from those quarters is deafening, now that the jury has ruled on the first phase of the trial - causation:


San Francisco jury rules Monsanto's Roundup caused Sonoma Co. man's lymphoma


Tuesday’s unanimous jury decision in San Francisco federal court was not a finding of Bayer’s liability for the cancer of plaintiff Edwin Hardeman. Liability and damages will be decided by the same jury in a second trial phase beginning on Wednesday.


Bayer had claimed that jury was overly influenced by plaintiffs’ lawyers allegations of corporate misconduct and did not focus on the science.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria called such evidence “a distraction” from the scientific question of whether glyphosate causes cancer. He split the Hardeman case into two phases: one to decide causation, the other to determine Bayer’s potential liability and damages.

Under Chhabria’s order, the second phase would only take place if the jury found Roundup to be a substantial factor in causing Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The jury found that it was on Tuesday.

March 19, 2019

SDNY Documents Expose Avenatti As Cheap Liar

Stormy Daniels' ex-lawyer Michael Avenatti has made it a regular part of his empty boasting to claim that he and/or his ex-client are responsible for the criminal investigation or prosecution of Michael Cohen.

The documents released by the SDNY in connection with the search warrants executed against Michael Cohen make it crystal clear that, as some have been posting on DU for quite some time, Michael Cohen was under investigation LONG before Avenatti ever met Daniels to take her for the malpractice ride that has resulted in her owing Trump $293k and having her contract and defamation cases dismissed.

Word began leaking out about the NDA in December 2017. In point of fact, the Tahoe romp was known about in 2016 because the model who they invited to come to the hotel room had already spoken to the press. The story didn't catch legs because Daniels would not comment on it at that time, having taken the $130k not to talk about it. Reporters following up on the story in 2017 were quite taken by her reluctance to comment at all, and by January 2018, the WSJ published an article about the payment from Cohen. This led Cohen to threaten Daniels with arbitration in late February, and she met Avenatti at that time and filed her first suit in the first week in March.

Because the search was executed in April 2018, Avenatti realized he could claim that he and/or Daniels had something to do with the Cohen investigation. He could get away with this lie, because federal prosecutors are professionals, unlike grandstanding carnival barkers. He briefly made a nuisance of himself in the SDNY proceedings, until the judge asked him whether he wanted to be a lawyer or a sideshow. He chose sideshow and left.

It was obvious then that the referral to the USAO-SDNY from Mueller didn't just happen within a matter of less than a month, but for the DU Avenatti Fan Club members who STILL don't understand that Avenatti's been lying to them, it is now perfectly clear that not only was Cohen featured in the Steele dossier, but the feds had been executing warrants against his emails, banking records, etc., going back to July 2017:


Federal authorities investigating Russian interference in the presidential election obtained search warrants for emails of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, beginning in July 2017, according to documents released Tuesday that provide a glimpse into the earliest stages of the inquiry into the president.

The documents show that Mr. Cohen’s business dealings had already been the subject of an extensive investigation by the time F.B.I. agents conducted a highly public raid on his home and office nine months later, in April of last year.

They also show how little the public knew about the Russian investigation in real time as prosecutors zeroed in on Mr. Cohen, revealing some of the investigative steps they took to obtain evidence through search warrants in Washington and New York.

John Fry, a career IRS investigator is now going to prison for letting Avenatti talk him into illegally obtaining bank records which the investigators already had.

Sucks to be him.

March 13, 2019

Stormy Daniels slams Avenatti, says Cohen is 'dumber than herpes' at DC event


WASHINGTON – Stormy Daniels called it “adorable” that ex-lawyer Michael Avenatti said he fired her during a speech to women at a private DC social club on Tuesday night.


She hinted in Washington that their interests hadn’t been aligned.

She said that “her lawyer” had wanted the non-disclosure agreement she signed to not talk about her alleged 2006 hook-up with President Trump to be deemed illegal so that he could pursue deposing the president.

“That was his agenda,” she explained. She said she just didn’t want to pay the $20 million penalty for breaking the NDA.


Imagine that. A lawyer who was spending his time getting his mug on TV wasn't looking after his client's interests. Gosh, who could have guessed that, right?

But if she just wanted to keep the $130k, talk about 90 seconds of bad sex, and not pay the $20M, then how was she going to find out about the parking lot thug?

March 9, 2019

On The Right Wing Talking Point That The VA Case "Had Nothing To Do With Russia"

It seems that a number of DUers have bought into Trump's framing that the Manafort case in Virginia had nothing to do with Russia.

It's kind of astounding, given the attention that was paid on DU to the hearing last may in which Manafort was challenging the authority of the prosecution on the premise that it was outside of the special counsel's scope.

Let's recap what you should know if you were paying attention:

1. This case was brought by the special counsel.

2. The special counsel's jurisdiction is limited to things having to do with the Trump campaign and Russia.

3. Manafort tried to get this thing dismissed on the basis of the right wing talking point you are repeating - that it has nothing to do with Russia.

So, yes, in order to get this show rolling, the connection with Russia was required to be proven.

That was the point of the argument in the transcript I posted to you already.

Here is how Ellis ruled on that issue, which was required to be proven:


In sum, ¶ (b)(i) of the May 17 Appointment Order makes clear that the Special Counsel’s investigation into the payments defendant received from Russian-backed Ukrainian officials was authorized because the investigation involved potential links between a Trump campaign official — the defendant — and the Russian government via the Russian-backed Ukrainian President. The May 17 Appointment Order also confirms that the Special Counsel was authorized to prosecute the crimes alleged in the Superseding Indictment because evidence of these alleged crimes was uncovered as part of the Special Counsel’s aforementioned investigation.

If anyone has trouble understanding that ruling, please let me know.

Again, there was a shitload of excitement on DU at the time, so it is amazing to me that people forgot that, yes, the prosecution had to prove that this case had something to do with links between the Trump campaign - i.e. its chair - and Russia - i.e. the source of the funds over which Manafort committed tax evasion.

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