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'Our Carceral System Laid Bare': Trump Pardons Cronies Stone and Manafort as DOJ Proceeds With Lame-Duck Execution Spree

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/12/24/our-carceral-system-laid-bare-trump-pardons-cronies-stone-and-manafort-doj-proceeds


Free men have to do their own thinking, because a sociopath can be found anywhere.


You have to hand this one to Trump. If he has accomplished anything in his tenure, it is a giant goddamn lesson in American Civics.
Trump has laid bare before us all of the flaws in our system. Just in case no one has been paying attention for the last 245 years, these facts should be abundantly clear now.
Much of what our government does is not based in any fact or law. It’s simply tradition, a gentlemen’s agreement if you will. But now we know all it takes for a gentlemen’s agreement to fall apart is for one party to begin to ignore it.
The American senate is, at the same time, the most powerful elected body in the world, and the most dysfunctional.
Our electoral college is a joke.
People of color and women were never meant to share power in the US.
Our presidency has the power of a monarch.
The rich have always been in charge.
Until those things are fixed, nothing will fundamentally change.


Any chance that the Trump administration is ḟüçӄed up enough to maybe execute Stone and Manafort whilst pardoning Lisa Montgomery and Corey Johnson


Time to eliminate the Electoral College & the Pardoning power of the President.
The pardoning power must not be used as a free pass out of jail to generate political favors, no there must be a strict set of guidelines to be able to grant a pardon. Further, I would say that the Pres may be able to submit a list of pardonees, but that it must be justified and approved by another group…let’s have some check on this power…

Another example of the collapse of the legitimacy of the US Government…Trump again abuses the power of the Presidency for personal gains, another crime committed. No one will speak out because they too are benefiting, so much corruption…


Agreed. No pardons for the depraved, the violent predators, those who steal from the public purse, or those who abuse their public office.


As we celebrate the season of Light this Light has to be born in our own hearts to make a crucial difference in the lives around us. There is only evidence of deep darkness in the hearts of these conscienceless individuals. Tragic. My thoughts will be with all those human beings about to be executed.


And I still keep reading on social media all the posts saying things like “He and his family will be in jail as soon his term ends.”

As if. No former president has ever gone to jail nor ever will, no matter how corrupt. It’s a good ol’ boys club, and will never change.


I wish I could disagree, but I cannot. You are right; this “good ole boys club” has deep roots, and it will never really change, not without some extreme revolution and total rebuilding of this “society”


Spot on assessment. We do not live in any form of a functioning “Democracy”; we never have. As Chris Hedges once pointed out in one of his talks, this “system” was designed as a “closed system”, excluding all except white men with land and money/privilege. And Trump, indeed, has done us a favor; he has laid bare the facade of a fair and functional government and shown us how one power-hungry, narcissistic, empty-souled sociopath, when availed of the halls of this system, can totally upend any semblance of due process and democratic fairness.
We are on our own and it shows, maybe for the first time in 200 years, just how separated “we” the people are from those who sit at the pinnacles of “elected” office


this is exactly what power wants, which is why no one “progressive” should ever support it.

yes, it’s easily abused. Trump’s not the first (although these days, you’d think he invented political cronyism if the “press” were to be believed).

yet, the point of this power is still solid–a departing president is the least encumbered authority in this system, and the one most likely to right a wrong without having to consider the politics of such an act. That is what the pardon was intended for. To remove that power is to remove that future possibility.

This is why it’s always a poor course of action to make sweeping policy changes on the instance of a singular abuse.

Our inclination to overreact to every alarm is itself alarming to me.


Good points all. The very fact that we had to pass actual constitutional amendments to end SLAVERY and give people of color and women the right to vote was/is a testament to the shortsightedness, arrogance and cruelty that our exalted founding fathers possessed.
The single biggest line of bullshit ever written was “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal”
Our founding fathers were as racist and out of touch with realty as we accuse Donald Trump of being.


The Trump crime family is taking care of its own, and anyone is surprised? Move on, nothing to see here.

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Thus the question remains, how does a free people change what is proven to be a cancer on our democracy?
This plight we now face, due in large part to a quite probably psychopathic president exposing the flaws and the ills we have managed to ignore for so long, must be addressed obviously. I freely admit I see no panacea or short term solution, though I am certain we all can draw up a list of what needs addressing.
That women’s rights and those of minorities have been, and continue to be addressed deserves better than the short shrift you seem to give the changes made over the decades in that area. My opinion.
But the real problem, as ever, lies with the voting public.

“Institutions are, in a moral sense, impotent unless they are supported by the sense of responsibility of living individuals.” Albert Einstein

From far too many refusing to vote, to far too many voting on single issues, allowing religion to dictate voting preferences, letting racism and bigotry in all forms to sway allegiances, being swayed by adrenaline filled anger instead of rationality, all allowing someone as obviously unfit as Donald Trump to assume an office he is no way qualified to hold. Or , for that matter to remain loyal to an oath breaking, anti democracy figure like McConnell…

“If they can convince you of absurdities, they can coerce you into atrocities.” Voltaire

The question remains, and I have seen it posed in many ways and enough to understand that most know full well what is wrong with our governance, how to alter or restore our democracy so it serves all?

I return to the opinion that no short term solution is at hand, and that most are simply unwilling to do the work to bring about solutions, sad as that may be. In the end all depends on our citizenry:

“All just power is derived from the consent of the governed.” John Locke

As I have noted , ad nauseum perhaps, my own preference is to work for the growth of third party politics ,which, I believe, enures a broader range of expression of the will of the people instead of the will of the corporate. But others may believe that working within one of the two major parties seems best , more power to them. Work being the key.

“In a democracy, the highest office is the office of citizen.” Felix Frankfurter

We are hundreds of millions controlled by a very few who own our government. Until and unless we recognize that we have the power, we will not use it.

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“Let us hear no more of confidence in man, but let him bound by the chains of the constitution.”
James Madison wrote that and I believe it applies to this situation regarding pardoning authority.
The law has to be followed. No exceptions. While you should not be tried, convicted or sentenced by a single individual, that power should most certainly not be afford in pardoning and clemency as well. We now see what that system has turned into. And all it took was one spoiled little rich debutante in the form of a Donald Trump make light of it.
If our Presidency is permitted to be an all powerful monarch, what is the point of having elections and laws in the first place?


Absolutely. Despite all those wonderful words our founding documents, we have never been a democracy. This nation was arguably never meant by our founding fathers to be a majority rule proposition. And we never have been.
And now we live in a nation where over 2/3rds of the voting age adults want a single payer healthcare system, higher taxes and regulations on the rich and their corporations, good public schools, less war, legal marijuana, voting rights, a massive infrastructure project, immigration reform, and an aggressive effort to alleviate global warming. Yet, once again, when the votes were counted, we voted for another POTUS and congressional leadership that doesn’t even come close to reflecting those values. But in truth, nobody like that got past the utterly corrupt primary system. And they never will.
Just look at our government now. It’s exactly what the founding fathers envisioned. Made up of only select people from America’s upper crust, or some one enjoying their support. All there in Washington and our state capitals for one purpose. Maintain the status quo.
The people have risen up in small numbers over the generations, in the form of abolitionists, pro union advocates, suffragettes, civil rights activists and anti war protestors. Concessions were eventually made to all of those groups, a phony sense of prosperity followed, and then the power of each movement was forgotten. For there to be real consequential and permanent change in Feudal America, I’m afraid a new revolution is needed. Changing this system from within has always proven to be a fools errand.
And then there is this ultimate reflection of what’s wrong with the American body politic. “I could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.”
What the Trump years have shown us is that Jay Gould was right then, and probably now as well. That is why it’s not just the politicians and big business that must change. The System must change, or we won’t survive.

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That’s half of why I’m so disappointed in CD and the “progressives” here. The other half of my disappointment is the near universal failure here to recognize how and why the media has manipulated everyone to despise Trump.

It’s not because he’s uniquely disgusting. He’s not. It’s because his psychopathy is so overt and so easily recognized that he, as you say, exposes the system. The system can tolerate any degree of criminality but it can’t tolerate widespread awareness of that criminality. That’s why Trump had to go.

It should be obvious to any rational progressive that GW Bush was far worse than Trump. (It is obvious to Caitlin Johnstone and the majority of her readers.) GW Bush gave us Iraq, Afghanistan, Dept. of Homeland Security, Patriot Act, and an infinite number of horrors that persist to this day. His response to Katrina shows he would have handled Covid no better than Trump. GW Bush’s major regret about his presidency: he failed to privatize Social Security. Nothing Trump has done sinks to the level of what Bush did.

And yet people here hate Trump and many miss GW Bush. Why? Because they’ve been manipulated to do so. A few people here get it: they see things clearly. But the majority of CD’ers are blind to that manipulation. They refuse to accept it. They think that Trump was some sort of unprecedented monster. They hate him on a deeply personal level. (And it’s deeply scary how the media is able to achieve that effect so easily.) But GW Bush was much worse. Obama and Clinton weren’t that much different. Trump belongs among his peers, except for his crudity.

Trump was potentially a huge asset to progressives in generating widespread disgust for the way our system works. We needed that level of disgust in order to force necessary changes. Progressives were given an unparalleled gift to move the public where it needs to go. They threw that opportunity away.


I am in possession of too many quotes to negate the altruism of our Founders, if one understands the times in which they lived. They were, many, of them, aristocrats raised under Kings , Queens or Emperors certainly. They lived in acceptance of slavery ( exempting Jefferson who, while a member of the Virginia Legislature tried to free his slaves but was thwarted by a hastily contrived tax on each slave freed) and class.

Yet there are writings explicitly warning of the power of corporations, extolling basic freedoms ( granted the pool of those entitled to them was awful by our current standards). The fault lies, not in our stars, but in ourselves, to cite a writer you may have heard of…

I agree with much of what you relate, how can one not see the flaws and faults? But I vehemently refuse to follow you into the hopelessness you seem to project, that way only ensures we remain within it. That you enumerate the wishes of a great majority of our fellow citizens actually is a good sign. After all, if the will of the people is towards such reform then a path remains open to achieve them.

It ain’t gonna be easy, but it is possible …why not work for change rather than gnash one teeth and rend ones clothing…?


here in southern california one of the men who arranged the 2016 trump tower meeting “fell” while taking an evening walk and died from his head injury. manafort better watch his back

some historians have advanced the argument that the constitution was a counterrevolutionary document designed to regain and solidify minority rule (lots of unruly behavior those days i.e. shay’s rebellion)