Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The rain has returned. Not quite as fierce as it was last week, but there was at least one solid frog drowner with a bit of rattle and flash. A dreary day and I’m in a dreary mood, so let’s get our words and go back to bed.

I suppose the most significant News of the day is all the pardoning and commuting of sentences of 11 people that Trump’s been doing all day. Dirty cop Bernard Kerik, crooked politician Rod Blagojevich, junk-bond thief Michael Milken, and shady business man Eddie DeBartolo. For the record, the latter was the one-time owner of the 49ers who was forced to step down once it was revealed he’d paid Edwin Edwards – former Louisiana governor and the crookedest thing to sleaze out of the Bayou since Huey Long – $400,000 for a riverboat license.

For the record, DeBartolo never saw jail while Kerik and Milken had served their time. Blago was still in the can, for trying to sell the senate seat eventually won by Barack Obama, so his 14 year sentence was commuted. He was also a former player on Trump’s reality show, the only thing he’d been successful to date, The Apprentice. Speaking of television, apart from DeBartolo, the other three were either Fox News regulars or, in Blago’s case, championed by the president’s precious. Of course, despite him being on Trump’s show, the guy claims he didn’t know Blago. And, who knows, he might not remember.

One interesting pardon was that of Paul Pogue, a construction company owner convicted of underpaying his taxes by around $473,000. Obviously, Trump empathized with this guy. However, that’s not all. Since he announced his run for presidency, Trump had pulled in over $200,000 from Pogue’s wife and son. So, that answer’s that.

Now. A lot of people have been getting huffy about this all day because that’s what we do. Conservatives, who’re just happy they have more men to call “sir” and fresh boots to lick, point out Clinton and Obama pardoning folks of, shall we say, dubious character. Mark Rich for the former and Oscar Rivera in the latter’s case. And, of course, conservatives still get huffy because they confuse “pardoning” with “commuting a sentence.”

Chelsea Manning, for example, had her sentence commuted by Obama. Her felony conviction for violating the Espionage Act, among others, still stands. Obama’s often accused by wingnuts who don’t bother to learn for pardoning something like 1,700 ne’er-do-wells when he commuted their sentences. Indeed, he’d gotten a record number of petitions for said commutations and the actual ratio was fairly low. It’s important to know this stuff.

So how does this fit into the grand scheme of things? Well, the idea that a Republican president would pardon/commute the sentences of Republicans shouldn’t come as a shock. Nor should the idea that Trump’s own dubious moral character plays into it all or that this is all gearing up for a mass pardon of all the folks who’ve been convicted due to his chicanery, a la Roger Stone. This is fairly standard behavior for all presidents – FDR pardoned over 1,200 people before he was through – and, indeed, is part of the Game. Furthermore, any member of the press, Democratic politician or nominal “Never Trumper” Republican who is shocked and dismayed by the president’s actions is either too naive to be involved in politics or a liar.

That all being said, it is interesting to watch how this is playing out. Attorney General Billy “The Pope” Barr did an interview the other day and made a big deal about how the president’s daily Twitter tantrums made it hard to do his job. To answer, Trump threw more tantrums unabated, though none really concerning Barr. That all being said, despite the leaning Trump demanded of the DOJ on the case involving Stone, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson is going ahead with the sentencing despite defense wrangling to get a new case.

Of course, Trump shit his pants over this, too, demanding a new case and implying Roger Mueller had something do with it all. He also said he might sue everyone that’s been mean to him, but that’s a load of bull. One of the few things that’s keeping this guy in office, apart from a Republican Party given heart and blackened soul to him, is that most of this stuff still isn’t out in the air.

So, that was today. Either a drop of water in a vast sea of corruption or another example of the particular horrors of the Trump Administration, take your pick. As I said, I’m gloomy as hell, partly due to the weather but mostly due to it looking increasingly likely Michael Bloomberg is going to buy the nomination and all the other candidates’ followers will be too busy fighting each other to stop him.

Ah, well. More rain tomorrow and then a little break until more rain. Otis wants to go out and it’s too wet. I tell him this too shall pass, but he never listens.

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