Trump’s Pardon of Bannon & Others

Every morning, I read a passage of dialog from the Broadway musical A Thousand Clowns. “I gotta know what day it is. I gotta know what’s the name of the game and what the rules are without anyone else telling me. You gotta own your own days and name ’em, each one of ’em, every one of ’em, or else the years go right by and none of them belong to you.”

I know that if I break a rule, I will have my day in court, and if found guilty of a crime, I will certainly do the time. With that in mind, it’s numbing and discouraging to realize that a single person in America has the power to overrule a judge or jury. The power to pardon was awarded to the United State president by our founding fathers. It was intended as a means of intercession when corruption, partisan political rancor or other such nonsense put an innocent person in jail. Things changed when President Gerald Ford gave Richard Nixon a preemptive pardon, which set an absurd precedent that a person who hasn’t even been convicted can be pardoned.

Beach Bum Bannon

Let’s examine the case of Steve Bannon, whom Donald Trump just pardoned. Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years, and after his military service he landed a plum job as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. In 1993, he became acting director of the research project Biosphere 2, which was a total failure because its hubristic, pseudo-scientific experiments never accomplished their mission.

Then, Bannon became an executive producer in Hollywood and between 1991 and 2016 he produced 18 films. Because of his early investment in Castle Rock Entertainment, which produced the phenomenally successful TV show Seinfeld, Bannon will never need to work again.

In 2007, Steve Bannon co-founded Breitbart News, the far-right website he described as “the platform for the alt-right.” In 2016, Steve joined Donald Trump’s campaign as the Chief Strategist, and then after the election he was named Senior Counselor to the President. That position latest only eight months when Trump realized that Bannon was a destructive force and dismissed him.

After Bannon left the White House, he and Trump continued to talk, and it seemed there was unity between the philosophies of the two men. In many post-White House interviews, Bannon was extremely supportive of his Frankenstein monster.

So, why does Steve Bannon need a pardon? It begins with this lead story in the in the August 20, 2020 edition of the New York Times, “Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former adviser and an architect of his 2016 general election campaign, was charged on Thursday with defrauding donors to a private fund-raising effort called ‘We Build the Wall,’ which was intended to bolster the president’s signature initiative along the Mexican border.”

Seven men In the Trump administration were charged and or convicted of felonies, including Paul Manafort, Michael T. Flynn, Michael D. Cohen and Steve Bannon. All of them except Michael Cohen were awarded pardons and will go free. Interestingly, Cohen turned on Trump publicly and reverse logic indicates if one says nice things or nothing about Trump, they’re awarded a get-out-of-jail card.

I get miffed and aggressive when I see someone get conned out of their hard-earned savings. I know people who have given their money to swindlers who claimed their investment would double or triple in months, but eventually learning they were the victims of a Ponzi scheme. Bannon attained large investments by using the President’s words that a wall was on the southern US border to protect against the murderous caravan that was coming to get us. Allegedly, Bannon and his co-conspirators skimmed millions off the top of those investments for themselves.

Why do I care that Steve Bannon was pardoned? It’s just my silly, middle-class mentality that people who hurt others should be punished. Even if they don’t go to jail, they should be made to pay back the money they stole and apologize to their victims. In the case of Bannon, none of that will happen now. I am even more frustrated because the broke-dick wall was erected too close to the river and parts of it washed out during a flood. Investment dollars were in the coffers and the wall failed to deliver on its promise of security. Bannon and his crew are just like those shyster aluminum siding sales guys who bilk families out of their savings.

I find the number of white-collar criminals on the Trump list of pardons interesting. It’s part of the Trump foundational philosophy that Mary L. Trump outlined so perfectly in her book about her uncle. Donald’s father Fred preached an anti-IRS, antigovernmental mantra that eventually led to his brainwashed son barking orders at his rabid followers to storm the Capitol Building.

Trump’s presidency enforced the heartfelt belief of many Americans that there are two rule books, one for the rich, entitled and connected and the other for everyone else. Here is something all those Trump-loyal Republicans need to realize; Today they must separate themselves from this man who just left the White House. They must disassociate the party from the man. As for Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, they are not Trump and would be wise to stop acting like him.

Unjust Judge Pirro

And just before I posted this, Trump remembered that he forgot one more person to pardon. This tweet was posted, “New: Trump has pardoned Al Pirro, who was convicted of tax fraud. Pirro has previously worked with Trump on real estate deals and is the ex-husband of Fox host Jeanine Pirro.” She must have called him and screamed “bloody Mary” murder when she saw that her husband’s name wasn’t on the list.

We must address the pardon power of the president for the future. The chief executive should have to stay the crime, the date range of when it was committed and why they gave the person a pardon. A simple, “I like his wife!” would do.

The seriousness of America’s situation would not be resolved with jail time for Steve Bannon, but for many of us that would be a positive indicator that justice works in America. The stench of Trump will take time to dissipate, but in the meantime, we should focus on the future. Let’s try to heal the hurt of a corrupt and useless president and let only good thoughts in. Let’s stop building the wall and joyously celebrate the reality that America survived a total fucking idiot of a president.

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  1. So much of the power Constitutionally bestowed on our presidents assumes a man of good will rise to the job. There is an application process for pardons followed in the past, calling for a formal request, a vetting of both the crime and criminal record of the application, and a demonstration of repentance. The idea was to make sure someone being pardoned was not a danger to society or likely to embarrass the forgiving head of state in the future. Like so many of the norms Trump trashed, the process of obtaining a presidential pardon was scraped to suit his needs, and he has demonstrated on many occasions that he is immune to embarrassment. I am not sure that we need to “reform” the pardon process. We need to elect better human beings to bestow it upon.

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