OK, Blago was only a commuter. Photo: The Publicity Agency, Creative Commons license 2.0

Donald Trump was feeling merciful today, so he did us a favor though and granted clemency to a load of famous crimers, including former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik, former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., and fraudy inside trader Michael Milken. Kerik, Milken, and DeBartolo all received full pardons, while Blago only had his 14-year sentence commuted, allowing him out of prison but leaving his conviction for trying to sell an appointment to the US Senate seat that had been held by Barack Obama.

Trump also granted clemency to a number of less well-known people, including some women convicted of drug offenses, who appear to have actually turned their lives around in prison. It is not yet known whether the women were insulted by being included in a clemency spree with those scummy fraud men.

The Chicago Tribune's headline for the story was a masterpiece of pointed omission:


On his way to a West Coast campaign trip that will feature three big slob picnics over four days, Trump told reporters,

Yes, we commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich [...] He served eight years in jail, a long time. He seems like a very nice person, don't know him.

Trump denies knowing him? Crom only knows what sort of hinky business deals they may have been up to! Trump had reportedly been talking about helping out Blagojevich for years, although some Republicans, quaintly enough, urged him not to because the former governor's scheme sure looked swampy. Pardon me (and he will) but the swamp is full of Democrats and never-Trumpers only, not people like Blagojevich who were on "Celebrity Apprentice."

Bernard Kerik, who like Trump pal Rudy Giuliani got and then squandered a lot of public goodwill for the NYPD response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, pleaded guilty in 2009 to multiple counts of tax fraud and obstruction of justice; the judge who sentenced him actually gave Kerik 48 months in prison, more than the sentencing guidelines, saying Kerik's abuse of his office over the 10 years he was commissioner had done "immeasurable" damage to the public trust, and that "the guidelines don't take fully into account the operatic proportions of this case."

Milken, the "junk bond king" who was convicted for securities fraud and tax evasion in 1990, was originally sentenced to 10 years but later had his sentenced reduced to two years; Trump cited Milken's support in raising funds for cancer research as one reason for erasing his conviction.

The White House statement on the pardons and commutations called Milken "one of America's greatest financiers," and portrayed him as an Ayn Rand superman who was only accused of crimes because he was too smart for the puny mortals who went after him:

His innovative work greatly expanded access to capital for emerging companies. By enabling smaller players to access the financing they needed to compete, Mr. Milken's efforts helped create entire industries, such as wireless communications and cable television, and transformed others, like home building. Mr. Milken's work also democratized corporate finance by providing women and minorities access to capital that would have been unavailable to them otherwise. In 1989, at the height of his finance career, Mr. Milken was charged in an indictment alleging that some of his innovative financing mechanisms were in fact criminal schemes. The charges filed against Mr. Milken were truly novel. In fact, one of the lead prosecutors later admitted that Mr. Milken had been charged with numerous technical offenses and regulatory violations that had never before been charged as crimes.

Get that Medal of Freedom ready, kids!

And the football guy got dinged for trying to bribe then-Louisiana Gov. Edwin "Vote for the crook; it's important" Edwards to get a riverboat gambling license and then covered it up. Honestly, who among us hasn't?

On March 12, 1997, he met Mr. Edwards for lunch in California and handed over $400,000 that the former Louisiana governor had demanded for his help in securing a license. The next day, the Gaming Board granted the license. A month later, federal agents raided Mr. Edwards's house and office, seizing the $400,000.

DeBartolo never went to jail, but was on two years' probation. He also hosted a pre-inauguration party for several Trump associates in 2017, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Bribery, insider trading, securities fraud, selling favors, abuse of office, tax evasion — what's not for Donald Trump to like?

Mind you, none of this should be taken to suggest that Donald Trump is thinking about pardoning Roger Stone, because he says he hasn't given it any thought, so for sure he hasn't. The New York Times reports he's been talking with advisers about clemency for Stone, but that's obviously not true and the Times should go to jail for lying and never be pardoned.

So it was a pretty good day for several people who really like fraud and money, which proves that if you you make a mistake and have powerful friends, you'll be taken care of. After all, it's not like any of these guys did anything really bad, like illegally crossing the border and asking for asylum. That gets you locked up forever, and your conversations with a therapist can be used to portray you as a violent gangbanger.

Now, who wants tax cuts?

No? How about an OPEN THREAD?

[NYT / CNBC / ABC News / White House / Photo: The Publicity Agency, Creative Commons license 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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