Stinking to High Heaven

Michael Flynn is an admitted felon. He pled guilty, and reiterated his guilty plea under oath–twice. He has served no time, he has paid no penalty and he has shown no remorse for his crimes against the nation–crimes that threatened to undermine American national security at the very highest levels.

So of course he gets a pardon by Donald Trump, which has occurred, of course, not because Donald Trump has any particular sympathy for Michael Flynn, but rather because Donald Trump is bound and determined to engage in a cover-up to protect himself. The reason Flynn gets a pardon is because Flynn was loyal and because Flynn might have certain goods on Trump, and as we know, Trump is all about self-preservation. The law, has nothing to do with this pardon. Justice, has nothing to do with this pardon. The notion that Flynn paid some sort of price for his crimes and shows any sorrow or regret for those crimes has nothing to do with this pardon, and is an utterly laughable claim.

Perhaps the only other incentive for this pardon–in addition to Trump’s need for self-preservation–is Trump’s desire to burn down and destroy the federal government in an appalling and despicable act of spite, as he leaves the White House in disgrace and defeat. It is easy to ascribe this arsonist’s impulse to pique and anger over having lost to a candidate Trump derided as being both senile and a criminal mastermind of some kind, but Trump’s governmental arson-spree is also designed to wreck the incoming Biden presidency from the very outset. In the midst of a pandemic, in the midst of an economic crisis, in the midst of deep division and a fraught national security situation, Donald Trump is aiming to destroy government because he is butthurt over the fact that he lost to Joe Biden. Lives will be lost as a consequence.

This is sickening. This is appalling. People who do this sort of thing and the people who cheer it on do not deserve to be considered decent human beings. And be assured that there are many more unkind things I can write about such people.

And of course, there will be more pardons; of Manafort, of Bannon, possibly of Roger Stone, who has already gotten a commutation of sentence, and possibly of others who merit no pardon whatsoever. I trust and hope that anyone and everyone who has urged us in recent days–including those connected with the incoming Biden presidency, right up to the president-elect himself–that we ought to forgo any and all investigations or indictments of Trump administration officials not covered by pardons designed to obstruct justice, will stop pushing such a stupid argument. I have written this before and will write it again: I did not vote for Joe Biden so that he will allow high crimes and misdemeanors to go unpunished by an independent Justice Department that can still go after those whose crimes are not covered by presidential pardons designed to obstruct justice. Of course, one earnestly hopes that state and local prosecutors will also go after Trumpian criminals for violations of non-federal crimes; it is worth remembering that presidential pardons do not obviate the charging of state and local crimes.

The Trump presidency has shown that impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate are not sufficient deterrents against a president determined to commit crimes. Impeachment and conviction have always been difficult to bring about (something that we knew even before the Trump presidency, given the fact that Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton–two impeached presidents–were never convicted in the Senate), and as long as an incumbent president has at least 34 United States senators in his/her pocket, he/she can do just about anything he/she wants, no matter how unlawful and outrageous. The Trump presidency has shown that the electoral college has outlived any usefulness it might have had in the past. Joe Biden is well on his way towards winning the popular vote by 7 million votes, and yet–others have pointed this out and this is extraordinary to contemplate–a shift of a mere 78,000 votes (this is not a typo) in a handful of states would have shifted the election to Trump, notwithstanding a resulting 6,922,000 popular vote margin favoring Biden. And now, the Trump presidency has shown that the pardon power–useful though it may be–should not be in the hands of one person, including (especially?) when that one person is the president of the United States. Significant changes to our Constitution need to be made in order to stop abuses of law and democracy, and while I do not expect those changes to take place anytime soon, if ever–amending the Constitution is tough to do, after all–the difficulty inherent in amending the Constitution does not alter or dilute the fact that the Constitution desperately needs amending in order for us to be able to answer Benjamin Franklin’s challenge to keep this republic.

A penultimate point: The acceptance of a pardon carries with it an imputation and express acceptance of guilt, per Supreme Court precedent. I recognize that ignorant and stupid Trumpenvolk–but is there any other kind?–are not eager to admit that particular point, but by accepting a pardon from Donald Trump, Michael Flynn reaffirmed yet again that he is guilty of the crimes to which he pled guilty. Multiple times. Under oath.

Finally, this: If this writing makes it seem as though I am angry, that is because I am angry. And if you aren’t angry, I have to wonder about your ethics, your integrity, your intelligence, your patriotism, and whether you even have a pulse.

(Photo Credit.)

(Cross-posted here and here.)

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