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Poor Paul Manafort, he gets blamed for everything he does

Saw this cartoon on mahablog (HT IvoryBill):

This was Trump’s argument yesterday, that if poor Paul hadn’t been caught up in Bob Mueller’s Javert like obsession with getting the president, he could have gotten away with all his crimes. Instead, he’s going to prison for 7.5 years.

I’m having difficulty wrapping my head around this. Mostly it’s because Democrats are supposed to be the party of people who are “open to experience” while scoring lower on the conscientiousness scale. But in these interesting times, we seem to have entered some parallel universe where Republicans don’t GAF about any illegalities their buddies do and Democrats have become our Jiminy Crickets. Oh sure, we might forget to take out our garbage but most of us don’t get caught up in bank fraud, money laundering and Ostrich leather jackets. We haven’t even started the convictions for conspiracy against the United States yet.

So, Trump’s “and he would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for you meddling kids” is very disturbing. “Do whatever you want as long as you don’t get caught” is not a good message for 4th graders.

For more on the Manafort sentencing and how bizarre the Trumpian argument for Manafort is, check out Stay Tuned with Preet Bharara where he goes over Amy Berman Jackson’s logic and Manafort’s lawyer’s ill advised response.

Also, Preet’s book comes out next week. I’ve got an audible credit. Hmmmm…

9 Responses

  1. This is the mafia. Friends get protected, enemies are rats and get jail or worse. People usually find movies about the mafia compelling yet horrifying. Now we’re seeing a mafia run the country. And far too many onlookers do not recoil in disgust and horror. Trump supporters seem to think that it would be fine if Trump pardoned Manafort, because…”he’s one of ours.”? “Libs will cry”? Manfort was found guilty on eight counts in Virginia (would have been 18, had not one confused juror misunderstood the law), and pleaded guilty in the cases in D.C. He stole about $30 million dollars from the government, and lived a career of corruption, deceit, and service to evil. And yet the media asks, “Will you pardon Manafort?” Why not, it’s all a game of power, right? If you have the pardon card, you’re supposed to use it to help your friends, right? In mafia land, that’s how it’s played, so since Trump is President, he gets to do mafia things. And don’t forget about Mark Rich! And Obama pardoned some people, too!

    Judge Ellis in VA made a mockery of jurisprudence by stating that Manafort had lived an otherwise blameless life. Ellis doesn’t like the Mueller probe, so decided that Manafort was a good person who just made a few mistakes, and that they were out to get him. He couldn’t just let him go, because the jury found him guilty, but he came close. We thought that we had built a system in America which was constructed to mete out justice in a fair way, even though we of course knew that there were flaws and unfairnesses. But now we are getting to a time where no one trusts the system, not the racial minorities, not the Whites, not anyone who doesn’t like a particular result in any sphere. That would leave us with “might makes right,” which is the Trumpian world view. We’ll see if Trump just starts pardoning all his allies. Not before the election, probably.

  2. White collar prosecutions are down. That’s a problem.

  3. Fortunately I finally saw GOODFELLAS recently, and it really gives me help in understanding Trump & Co. But in GOODFELLAS there is a great moral. They all turn on each other and destroy each other. This is certainly a good time for life to imitate art. Maybe too much to hope for.

  4. Well, we are now learning that, “Beto is charismatic, but he does not have any concrete policies, and if he didn’t win his Senate race, how can he win a national election?” (I actually heard words to that effect this morning, as I was briefly looking at news while trying to watch college basketball conference tournaments). And we hear that “Warren has policies, but they are not feasible.” And “Inslee is good with regard to climate, but you can’t win on one issue.” And, “Buttigieg is likeable, but no one has heard of him.” And, “Biden is known by most, but that’s not so good, because people can go after him on his record and statements.” And this is nine months before the first primary/caucus.

    This whole thing is either laughable or infuriating. The need for immediate news cable gratification as well as keeping the public entertained with something new, makes this like a reality show episode, where sometimes they apparently add nw contestants in the middle of the season, to give the viewers something fresh. This should be about the serious business of running the country. And while Democrats are required to lay out policy positions which are not only airtight, but feasible, Republicans don’t have to do anything but read their scripts. What were GW Bush’s policy positions as espoused in 2000? “Bring decency back to the White House”? And Trump knew nothing about anything, but he was the only one who could fix it. And the media thought that was fine.

    Now, four years after the media completely ignored Hillary’s carefully crafted policy statements, in favor of exploring her cough, her laugh, her emails, the same media will criticize Democratic candidates for having either “vague” or “unfeasible” ideas. Against that, Trump is going to tell us about the wall, about immigrant hordes, his insane economics, along with the oh-so-entertaining insults and names he will call the Democrats. It makes it all hard to watch or follow, outside of voting and perhaps sending money to some candidates. I sent a lot pf money to Hillary, I feel worn out by all of that, I do not currently have anyone I am excited about, but Beto might be good, and I like Inslee’s ideas about how to help fight climate change. Mostly, I want Hillary to run again, which she will certainly not do. I want Sanders gone, that is my big wish right now. And Biden may have the best chance to win, but I really do not look forward to hearing him preach to everyone about how to act. Too bad Sherrod Brown chose not to run. Is Stacy Abrams still considering it?

  5. Happy Pi Day! 😛

  6. Willliam,

    I’d love for Hillary to run again but I also don’t want to see her endure the unbelievable crap spewed at her daily by a misogynistic press, republicans and the bernie bros. And you know they will attack her if she did run again. The misogyny still runs deep and wide.

    It’s too soon for Beto to run. He should have been patient, instead of doing a bernie instead of allowing his ego to take over by falling for the adoration of his followers in Texas. I like Beto, but if he were to win (not likely) his first words would be “What do I do now?” (Uppity Woman made that observation and I am stealing it from her because it’s right on). Beto should have run against John Cornyn and took the time to acquire more experience, just like Hillary did.

    I live in Texas and voted for Beto but the reality is he ran against a guy who is not well-liked in Texas, Ted Cruz. He did as well as he did because Cruz is the epitomy of “unlikeability”. Even Jim Hightower, who has been deep into Texas politics since before Ann Richards became governor said that Beto should have run against John Cornyn instead. Hightower doesn’t believe Beto is ready either.

    The most important factor that always gets lost on white guys running for president is that guys like Beto and Sanders are just not qualified to be president. Charisma and likeability are not how we should measure the person who is vying for the most complex and powerful job in the world. We just keep lowering the standard to accommodate men who feel that no matter what their background or experience is still believe they are qualified to be president! It’s another version of the male attitude “I, alone, can fix it” mantra.

    If Beto is worthy of serious consideration by the media and others, then Stacy Abrams certainly should be if she decides to run, because she ran a much tougher race in Georgia which has absolutely no history of supporting black women running for high office. Not to mention that she had to deal with election fraud as well but did extremely well anyway against this obstacles! Beto did not have the same overwhelming obstacles that she did because he is male, white and cute, and ran in a state that revers men, so he could be expected to do well in Texas. Had Beto been a woman, had the same likeability and charisma and raised the same amount of money, she would not have done as well against Cruz simply because despite his being a jerk, he is male.

    The media is labeling Beto an “obama-esque” candidate. I didn’t vote for obama in 2008 because, he too, was not qualified. I predict that the media is going to fluff beto’s and sanders pillows all through the primary just like they did obama’s. They won’t push them on their lack of details about the policies they propose (Beto doesn’t have any) but will focus primarily on their “likeability” factor and how much they are loved by their cult like followers. We all know that none of the women will be considered “likeable enough” by the media, republicans, the bernie and beto bros just like they did with Hillary. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Klobuchar and Harris are much more qualified than Beto (and sanders) but they have not received the same accolades from the media. I refuse to endure another episode of “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” That’s insanity and haven’t we been down this road enough already?

    I will not be fooled again, so will not vote for any of the men as president (they can be VP!) because in the past when it comes to remembering the women who helped get them there, we are systematically relegated to the back of the bus and forgotten. Enough already.

    • Kathleen, it is hard for me to really get excited about any of these candidates, even though I would take any one of them, if they were likely to win. Hillary was infinitely more qualified than Obama, but the Democratic leadership was so excited about the idea of an African-American president, that they actually rigged things, with regard to key primaries in Michigan and Florida. And so we got eight years of Obama, better than a Republican, except that the Republicans took over all levels of government during that period, plus stole a Supreme Court seat, plus took money from Russia to run against Democrats for president and senate seats. That would not have happened had Hillary gotten two terms from 2008-2016. So I try to figure out which of these candidates could both win, and be an effective president, and it’s not an easy calculation.

      Yes, Beto is very inexperienced, but of course we saw Trump try to make that a virtue, and the media did not mind at all, as they devoted about 40 actual minutes during the entire campaign, to discussing issues. I might disagree with you on Harris, but I’m still willing to be convinced. She has been senator for two years, before that was AG of California. Her key issue so far seems to be criminal justice reform, which is just not high on my list of priorities, though it is important. First for me is doing something about climate change. Next is gun control. Then election reform, making sure everyone who chooses to can vote. And the economy. Many issues, but I have not yet seen Harris stake out any specific positions in that regard , and what his her competence on the myriad of foreign relations issues we face? Warren has positions, particularly on economic equality, but I don’t think she can win a general election, plus last time she said that the primary was rigged, which I do not forget. Klobuchar has the most experience, but no traction so far, and she also took a gratuitous shot at Hillary for “not campaigning enough in the Midwest,” which I think is ridiculous, when she should have been giving credit to her. Booker is okay, but again not much in the way of specific positions thus far, plus he’s preachy. Biden is really preachy, plus he’s all about “let’s work together,” which is an impossibility right now, plus Pence is not a good guy, plus people saying that he’ll only be in for four years, and then his handpicked VP will run next, is not a good way to go. Why throw away the likelihood of a two-term Democratic president, as well as let him pick his successor?

      Abrams was impressive last campaign, so we’ll see. I cannot stand Sanders, and he is at the bottom of any list I would have. Most of the attacks on other candidates are coming from his supporters. I have never been one to be excited about “charisma,” I would prefer someone like Adam Schiff or even Sally Yates, who are just very intelligent, sober, and careful. But many voters want the wow factor. The odds are in favor of either Biden or Harris getting the nomination. Neither really appeals to me, and I don’t think that either would do any kind of great job advancing the things I care about. But of course the alternative is so awful, that I’ll have to make do with any of them. One other comment: JFK was not known as any kind of great or liberal senator, he had looks and articulateness, good intelligence, and of course immense money behind him.

      • Regarding Klobuchar, I really don’t think the statement she made re: spending time in Wisconsin was meant as a diss to Hillary. I think she got swept up in the excitement of her initial announcement and her natural and ancestral affinity toward Wisconsin and othe midwestern states. I had wished she had chosen her words more carefully and focused her ire at the very likely fraud that occurred in Wisconsin and Michigan by Trump and the Russians, but she did not. Also, anger is not her strong suit. She is understated.

        I am very disappointed that the media seems to be completely ignoring Klobuchar after serving her with the seemingly undeserved cloak of mean boss. She has a lot to contribute. I am also very disappointed that Brown has bowed out, but he likely very realistically saw the writing on the wall. I am not impressed with Beto and his mystical ability to speak in quasi tongues, by his own admission. His words just fall from the sky in some miraculous avalanche.

        • Lililam, well observed. Klobuchar was one of my more preferred choices going in, but I must admit that the story about how she treated her aides, did bother me, though of course it could have been overstated; and I do not trust the NYT, sadly enough. I agree that she could and should have talked about the disenfranchisement. It almost seems that in the game of “let’s blame everything on Hillary,” it is not helpful to the blamers to even look at the massive number of people in key states who were illegally kicked off the voting rolls for having a similar name to someone else in another state.

          I also favored Brown, and it is a shame that he is not running. I thought there was actually a path for him, the pragmatic working class advocate. The way this is shaping up, it seems that as always, the first two states, Iowa and New Hampshire, will have an even more disproportionate impact than usual, because someone who doesn’t finish in the top three, will be discounted by the media. Iowa is of course a caucus state, so who knows who will win there? My hunch is that Harris will surprise and come fairly close. I assume that Biden would win Iowa. In New Hampshire, Sanders has an edge, but Biden could win, and Warren would almost have to win. In South Carolina, I assume that Booker or maybe Harris would win, unless Abrams runs.

          Biden will get a decent share of the vote in every state, even if no one really is thrilled by him, so he’ll pile up delegates. Sanders will do worse than his followers think, but he has unusual sources of money, and he never concedes anything. Then I think there is room for at most two others to stay in. Harris and…Beto? Booker? Klobuchar? The way in which Democrats apportion the vote makes it less likely that someone like Klobuchar could get a big boost by winning a few Midwest states, because the votes will be so split up. And do not forget the Donna Brazile rule, that Black-dominated districts get more delegate votes (she doesn’t say it that way, she says that districts which had a higher percentage of Democratic votes in the general election deserve to get more delegates, which makes no logical sense), so that helps any African-American candidate. That Brazile rule probably gave Obama 80 or so more delegates than he would have gotten in 2008, had it been one person one vote.

          Also, remember how Hillary would win primary after primary in 2008, but only get four or five more votes per state, while Obama would win caucuses by 70% or so, and pile up delegates in that way? It still greatly upsets me to even consider it. In this case, Biden probably figures that getting at least 25% of the vote in each state, will put him ahead of everyone else, and then he hopes that enough of them drop out, so that he can get up to 35-40%, and then win by attrition. It used to be different, of course. If you have never seen the movie of Gore Vidal’s play, “The Best Man,” you would very much enjoy it, as would everyone here, though probably all have seen it.

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