Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Do Joe Arpaio Fans Grasp That By Accepting Pardon He's Admitted Guilt?

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"BWAAHAHHAAAAA! Say it ain't so, Joe!"
When George Bush Sr. pardoned Cuban right wing terrorist Orlando Bosch, everyone with head screwed on straight knew it meant Bosch had accepted his guilt for multiple terror acts in the hemisphere.  This included the bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455 in October, 1976 which he planned with Luis Posada, e.g.

No one was fooled, at least those who didn't have brains jacked by disinformation.  Even Bosch himself in a later interview fessed up that "all Castro's planes were warplanes".   Meaning he was also entitled to blow a commercial flight out of the sky with 73 innocents, as well as a MIG- 21. As even former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh put it, Bosch was an "unrepentant terrorist."

The fact is that anyone given a pardon and accepting it immediately also dons the mantle of guilt. This applies to renegade scofflaw Joe Arpaio as much as Orlando Bosch.   In this case, Trump actually hung a millstone around his top butt kisser's neck. He clearly is unaware that the acceptance of a pardon is an admission of guilt.  Thus, by stupidly issuing a pardon for Arpaio on Friday night  Trump got him to confess his guilt by accepting that pardon.

Of course, errant fake news Trumpies and Arpaio cheerleaders will rabidly deny this, but that's no small wonder since they know little about legal and historical precedent anyway.  But if these deluded acolytes of Trump and Arpaio could bestir themselves to research it, they'd learn that 102 years ago the Supreme Court asserted "a pardon carries an imputation of guilt and acceptance of a confession of it."

No surprise then, that the one thing you won't hear from Presidents who pardon (like George Bush Sr. in the case of Orlando Bosch) is that the person pardoned did nothing wrong.  The reason? The person pardoned has just admitted guilt by accepting the pardon, as opposed to refusing it. 

Trump himself, two days ago, did himself no credit by offering a childish defense of his pardon of Arpaio more in line with a 10 year old making excuses.  In that presser, Trump didn't actually defend his pardon but attacked the "bad pardons' issued by previous presidents. He included cases that weren't pardons at all, again showing this buffoon's abysmal level of historical and legal education.  For example, granting of clemency is not the same as a pardon, say in the case of the clemency granted Bradley -Chelsea Manning by President Barack Obama.

Thus, the clemency was granted only after Manning had already served seven years. Noteworthy by its absence was any mention of Bush Jr.'s commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence, for perjury and obstruction of justice.  Again, a commutation of a sentence is not the same as a pardon. Bush Jr. refused  to actually pardon Libby because he didn't want to eliminate the finding of guilt - but he did want to eliminate the prison sentence. There is a difference which Trump, Arpaio cheerleaders and others appear not to grasp.

It is also noteworthy that Bush Jr. did not eliminate Libby's obligation to report to a probation officer for two years, or to cough up the $250,000 fine imposed. He also didn't eliminate Libby's actual sentencing before the commutation. Bush Jr. then clearly allowed the legal process to come to a conclusion. For all these reasons it is clear why Trump never mentioned the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence by his Repuke predecessor.

Why not mention the Libby commutation along with Obama's issuance of clemency for Manning? It seems an inconsistent omission. But to many it is fairly evident that Trump is saving the Libby precedent for when HE needs it. That is. for when he pardons someone in his administration - say Jared Kushner or others- for crimes to with money laundering, perjury or whatever the Trump-Russia collusion case.

But with the Arpaio pardon, Trump-  the Chief Scofflaw -  did something no other president has done, which was to step into a case between sentencing and conclusion - never allowing the case to arrive at its final reckoning.   More worrisome, Trump may be communicating to prosecutors - using this pardon - that he isn't bothered by potential indictments, say for obstruction of justice.  The problem with that is that the Arpaio pardon may be the last nail in Trump's coffin for impeachment at least, and maybe at least conviction for obstruction of justice.

Meanwhile, Trump was in Houston yesterday with his white "USA" hat, purely for the superficial optics. No sign of him hugging a crying mother, shaking a flood victim's hand or asking a senior how they were doing after a perilous recue. NO sign of empathy - only ego. The best this orange hued mutt could do was hold up a Texas flag as if that was going to solve all the state's problems. 

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