Quid Pro Quo still the core of Trump’s version of justice

A lawyer for Julian Assange has claimed in court that President Donald Trump offered to pardon Assange if the WikiLeaks founder agreed to help cover up Russia’s involvement in hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee.

Assange’s lawyers said on Wednesday that former Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher offered Assange the deal in 2017, a year after emails that damaged Hillary Clinton in the presidential race had been published. WikiLeaks posted the stolen DNC emails after they were hacked by Russian operatives…

Edward Fitzgerald, who was representing Assange in court, said he had evidence that a quid pro quo was put to Assange by Rohrabacher, who was known as Putin’s favorite congressman.

Fitzgerald said a statement produced by Assange’s personal lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, included a description of “Mr. Rohrabacher going to see Mr. Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange… said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks.”

Is there no one remaining in the GOP who still cares in the least for our Constitution, the rule of law, respect for standards constructed over decades and centuries? I’ve known a fair number of conservatives in my lifetime who I would consider to be honest men and women. They were willing to stand up for the same rights that allowed for radicals, folks like me from the Left side of the political spectrum, to fight for my beliefs. Now, the party of American conservatism throws any standards they held – onto the garbage heap of history.

Their only rationale apparently is greed.

Move to pardon Bayard Rustin will display more than apologies

The nation can count on the veil drawn aside from the discrete racism, homophobia, all the private bigotries of American conservatives and today’s Republican Party.

Ten years before the March on Washington in 1963, Bayard Rustin was arrested…Rustin — who would later go on to become one of the most prolific organizers of the civil rights movement, including as the mastermind behind the March on Washington — wasn’t booked for his activist work, however. He was arrested over his sexuality.

That January night in 1953, Rustin was having sex with another man in a parked car in Pasadena, California. He was jailed on a “morals charge,” and served about two months in jail. The offense landed him on the sex offender list.

The charge cost him jobs, and though Rustin didn’t necessarily hide his sexuality, it was used against him. Former Sen. Strom Thurmond, a segregationist, read Rustin’s arrest record on the Senate floor and used it to delegitimize the civil rights movement, calling him a “pervert.

“If that wasn’t enough, the record was reportedly supplied to Thurmond by J. Edgar Hoover, who at the time was the director of the FBI.

Now, California lawmakers are attempting to right the wrong.

RTFA for a sense of what needs to be done.

What the article doesn’t confront is the range of opposition this simple act will encounter. Please, don’t be naive and think that pulling at the thread of bigotry tied to American conservatism will only release a modicum of honesty and justice for Bayard Rustin. The stink of racism and homophobia within the minds and lives of America’s rightwing heart is only disguised, diminished in its perception – not its roots and persistence.

Mohamed Morsi issues wholesale pardon for political protesters

Egyptian protesters detained and tried in incidents relating to the country’s uprising have received a blanket pardon from the president, Mohamed Morsi, to mark his first 100 days in office.

All felony convictions or attempted crimes “committed to support the revolution and its goals” were to be pardoned, the decree stated, with the exception of murder cases.

The pardon covers the period from the onset of the revolt against the regime of Hosni Mubarak on 25 January 2011 through the army-led transitional period that ended on 30 June 2012, when Morsi assumed office.

…”He might sincerely see that the people he is pardoning did a lot to bring him to power. Without the revolution there wasn’t a chance that Morsi would be president, and it wouldn’t have happened without the support and participation of the Egyptian people,” said Elijah Zarwan…

…The pardon will not extend to those detained during the clashes at the US embassy in September when irate protesters breached the embassy walls after the release of a film in the US deemed offensive to Islam and the prophet Muhammad…

Good politics, good sense and a good start to a new era. Let’s hope Egypt can continue on a course to democracy and progress.

No pardon for Billy the Kid


Hope he grows the beard back

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, on his final day in office Friday, did not pardon legendary outlaw Billy the Kid.

It was a very close call,” Richardson said from his office in Santa Fe when announcing he “decided not to pardon Billy the Kid,” one of New Mexico’s more infamous native sons, on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Richardson said his decision was based in part on ambiguity surrounding the record in which territorial Gov. Lew Wallace agreed to pardon Billy the Kid — real name Henry McCarty but also known as Henry Antrim and William H. Bonney — in exchange for the outlaw’s testimony in a range war killing, but later reneged on his promise.

Billy the Kid testified but “Wallace didn’t keep his end of the bargain,” Richardson said, and the criminal, romanticized by oral tradition and Hollywood, later shot and killed two deputies…

Richardson said a decision about Billy the Kid’s fate in this matter was important because “this is America’s history” and the issue has festered since 1881.

Legend says Billy the Kid killed 21 men but it is generally accepted that he killed between four and nine before he was shot to death by Sheriff Pat Garrett at the age of 21.

This is a special chuckle here in New Mexico. As well as Governor Bill plays the media in New Mexico, he games the national and international media-types even more thoroughly.

He’s been playing the Billy the Kid card for eight years and every time he gets coverage from the BBC to Pravda.

Meanwhile, the TV stations down in Albuquerque tried to climb on board with online polls for viewers – and got fewer than a thousand responses.

That’s OK, though. Next week our shiny new Republican governor takes office and she can start increasing the unemployment numbers with the state employees she will lay-off. Newspapers and TV will forget about the Lincoln County wars for another decade or so.

Cop killer freed early by Mike Huckabee – UPDATED


“Easier to change the Constitution than…to change the word of the living god”

Maurice Clemmons, a convicted armed robber being hunted for the killing of four police officers, was released early from prison by former Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee.

In 2000, Maurice Clemmons had served 11 years of a 95-year sentence for a string of robberies and other crimes when it was commuted by the then governor of Arkansas.

On Sunday, in an apparently random attack, Clemmons, 37, allegedly walked into a coffee shop in the suburb of Lakewood, near Seattle, and opened fire on the officers as they sat catching up on paperwork before the start of their shift…

The suspect, who has a long criminal history as well as mental health problems which have convinced him he is the Messiah, had allegedly boasted to friends on Saturday that he intended to kill police officers just days after being bailed on a child rape charge.

Mr Huckabee was accused of granting too many commutations and clemencies during the 2008 presidential nomination battle, in which he was the runner-up to John McCain

“Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington state,” said Mr Huckabee.

Court papers indicate that Mr Clemmons is delusional and mentally unstable. He had once forced his wife and young relatives to undress on the grounds that the world was “going to end soon and that he was Jesus”, said a police report.

He also believes he can fly and was once seen jumping around in his back garden, trying to take off.

It’s praiseworthy in some Christian quarters that they take care of their own. So, don’t be surprised when a truly Christian and compassionate conservative releases a violent looneybird from prison with most of his sentence unserved.

UPDATE: Shot and killed by Seattle police. The cop-killer – not the professional Christian.

Will there be a lawless outcome to a lawless war?


Horrors! He fist-bumped Santa Claus.
Daylife/Reuters Pictures

Is George Bush preparing to give himself a presidential pardon? On first hearing, the idea sounds utterly incredible and outrageous. How can the head of a state in which respect for the law remains an active part of the national DNA even contemplate such an arbitrary and shameless act of apparent lawlessness? Amnesties and pardons of this kind are the stock-in-trade of tinpot dictators, not constitutional leaders. And yet …

A Bush pardon would be a sensational final act to the most divisive presidency in modern America. But he certainly has the power to grant it. Article 2 section 2 of the US constitution gives the president the power to grant reprieves and pardons. The US courts have traditionally interpreted this power widely, to include amnesties, conditional pardons and blanket pardons. And all presidents have used the power – Harry Truman’s 1,913 pardons is the postwar record…

Not even Richard Nixon pardoned himself. It fell to his hapless successor Gerald Ford to announce, a month after Nixon’s resignation in August 1974, that it was time to draw the line. Nixon had been at the centre of “an American tragedy in which we all have played a part”, Ford announced in a broadcast. “It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must.”

There were a few occasions when I thought that even George W. Bush wouldn’t be crass enough, egregious, ignorant enough to try to get away with something the American people wouldn’t eventually catch him out with. He always proved me wrong.

I won’t be surprised if he tries this one.