Welcome to Trumpworld, Suckers
As much as we want to believe that the judicial system is unbiased, sometimes we feel that an American judge hands down a decision based on a deep-seated bias. Feeling this way, can cause a loss of faith in the system, leading to the phrase, “this system is rigged.”
If you are wondering why the court always pronounces a duration of incarnation in terms of months, you wouldn’t be alone. The clue might be in the “time off for good behavior” policies and laws which are earned in monthly increments. When you looked at your phone and saw that Paul Manafort got 47, you might at first have thought it was 47 years. No, that was 47 months, sucker!
It’s obvious that Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis decided that the crimes leading to Paul Manafort’s conviction were not so bad. This judge was quite talkative during the trial and seemed to berate the prosecutors and editorial comments at every turn. Conservative Judge Ellis said in his ruling that Manafort led an “otherwise blameless life.” Really? Just to remind everyone, the recommended mandatory sentence of Manafort’s crimes is 19 to 24 years. That’s more like 200 months, but the guy got a sentence short of four years.
Let’s put this in perspective. Being caught in Florida with 20 grams or more of marijuana can mean a five-year or 60-month sentence. Why would Paul Manafort get only 47 months? The cynical mind might ask if Judge Ellis is a Republican. Is Judge Ellis anti-tax laws? White collar criminals are not always given such an easy sentence. Bernie Madoff got 150 years in prison. Was that decision because many of his victims were rich white people?
Manafort was found guilty of eight counts of bank and tax fraud by a jury of his peers, He stole from the US Treasury in the form of tax evasion and lies over decades. This decision will certainly pale in comparison to the upcoming sentence that will take place next week in the District of Columbia, where he pleaded guilty to witness tampering and conspiracy related to his illegal lobbying and money laundering. This surely sounds to me like he is a menace to society.
Judge T.S. Ellis did order Manafort to pay restitution of $6 to 35 million and undergo three years of “supervised release” after his nearly four years in jail. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but we all know where this is headed. President Donald Trump wants to pardon Paul Manafort because he thinks he’s a “good guy” and he is “very sad” about what has happened to him. This is based on Trump’s doctrine that “rats” are bad and people who “don’t flip” are good. But Trump has a political decision to make in this matter.
If Trump pardons Manafort, or any of his associates, before the 2020 election, he will risk that the central argument in the next election will be his seemingly lawless acts in a “law & order” administration. Trump fears not being re-elected, because the day after the inauguration of the new president could be the day Donald J. Trump is taken into custody. This next election for Trump might be the most important event in his life.
Paul Manafort is just another bottom feeder scumbag who has fleeced the political system and ignored the tax laws for his own benefit. Like Roger Stone and Dick Tuck, this ruthless, soulless human has bilked candidates around the world out of their money. You might say, “Let the buyer beware,” but there are some significant changes in US policy that were engineered by these self-serving bad guys. Our policy toward Turkey was massaged by retired General and convicted liar Michael Flynn. Paul Manafort manipulated the Republican platform taking arms away from our Ukraine ally. Also, Roger Stone, may have managed the Wikileaks damage from the US. Doesn’t all that sound like treason?
While the House of Representatives passed a resolution against hate and bigotry, the judge in the Virginia courthouse was, in a sense, giving Manafort a gift. Manafort will get more time, but he will serve only a little more than 600 days, not 47 months. If Trump gets re-elected, the first thing he will do is pardon all the criminals he likes. Welcome to the new rules of an evolving despot. The gangster in the White House simply doesn’t care about anything or anybody other than himself.
The President might claim vindication with Manafort’s light sentence, but Trump talks out of his ass most of the time so we can disregard his transparent use of social media. The artful use of the term “collusion” is code for “don’t flip.” You don’t need to be Alan Turing or Michael Cohen to know the subtle subtext of his hyperbole.
Most of the lies and misinformation Trump has transmitted should be reason for his impeachment. But don’t be discouraged, Trump, like Putin, won’t live forever and the worst case is that he will attempt to stay in office by declaring a national emergency. If this asshole gets re-elected, democracy must be on guard.
I take a severely cynical approach to the Manafort sentencing. Judge T.S. Ellis fell for the defendant in the wheelchair trick. Yes, the defense lawyers used the oldest ruse in the book. Like prisoners who ate soap to affect their health and get early release, Manafort ate rich foods all his life and now has gout in prison. Anyone who has tasted prison food knows there’s nothing in that slop that could give a person gout. If I was being even more cynical, I would suggest that Judge Ellis is jealous of the power given to a DOJ Special Counsel. He might see that investigative body as a threat to his own power. We will never know.
Next week will bring another act in this political passion play as Judge Amy Berman Jackson lowers the curtain on the witness tampering, illegal lobbying and money laundering case in Washington. Manafort hid $55 million from the IRS and was caught. He pleaded guilty because he knows that Trump’s pen is surer than another jury trial. Once again, the rich and powerful seem to have a different system of justice. How did this ever happen? Oh yeah, MONEY!
BRAND NEW BOOK ON AMERICA
Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs shows how we’ve wasted our GOLD on bad wars and corruption. While GOD is there for many people as a spiritual enrichment and the provider of glowing feelings, the truth is just praying and believing will not change our major arc. We don’t determine who gets a GUN. We aren’t sure if we have paramilitary groups ready to storm the White House or a White Castle. There is no control of weapons. The GOOFBALLS with the power constantly try to manipulate us into spending more money on bombs and tanks and wars. When all of our institutions are infected with neglect and fall in disrepair, we will only have ourselves to blame. This book is not an antidote for the left or right, it’s an accelerant to move the middle off their collective asses to go do something positive for America.