So, will Roger Stone actually wear prison orange?

So, will Roger Stone actually wear prison orange?

From Politico:

“Roger Stone was sentenced Thursday to just more than three years in prison, a decision that raises immediate questions about whether President Donald Trump will pardon his longtime political confidant for what the president has decried as a miscarriage of justice.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down Stone’s 40-month sentence in a packed Washington, D.C., courtroom after spending more than two hours ticking through the twisted history of his case, which culminated last November with the GOP operative’s jury conviction on seven felony counts including lying to authorities, obstructing a congressional investigation and witness intimidation.”

From The Hill:

“Stone’s lawyers asked Jackson, an Obama appointee on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, for a new trial in a sealed motion submitted last week. Jackson said that Stone’s sentence will be delayed from going into effect until after the motion is settled.”

Granted, if Stone continues to act like a buffoon, then he should change hats.

Featured Image in Public Domain

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Roger Stone sentenced to 3 years 4 months in prison

Donald Trump’s longtime campaign adviser and friend Roger Stone has been sentenced by a judge to spend three years and four months in prison.

Now the only question is: so exactly when will Trump pardon him? NBC News:

“Roger Stone, a friend of President Donald Trump and longtime Republican campaign adviser, was sentenced to three years, four months in federal prison Thursday for obstructing a congressional investigation of Russia’s 2016 presidential election meddling.

“He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president,” Federal District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said before she handed down her sentence of 40 months, a $20,000 fine, two years of probation and 250 hours of community service.

Trump has called Stone’s prosecution a “disgrace,” but Jackson disagreed. “There was nothing unfair, phony, or disgraceful about the investigation or the prosecution,” the judge said.

“At his core, Mr. Stone is an insecure person who craves and recklessly pursues attention. Nothing about this case was a joke. It wasn’t funny,” she said.”

The Washington Post:

“In a lengthy speech before imposing the penalty, Jackson seemed to take aim at Trump, saying that Stone “was not prosecuted for standing up for the president; he was prosecuted for covering up for the president.” She also appeared to call out Attorney General William P. Barr, whose intervention to reduce career prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation she called “unprecedented.” But she said the politics surrounding the case had not influenced her final decision.

“The truth still exists; the truth still matters,” Jackson said. “Roger Stone’s insistence that it doesn’t, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the foundations of our democracy. If it goes unpunished it will not be a victory for one party or another; everyone loses.”

She added, “The dismay and disgust at the defendant’s belligerence should transcend party.””

Meanwhile, Trump was actively tweeting about the proceedings — which led some on the Internet to sarcastically say this means Attorney General William Barr will therefore resign. Reports surfaced this week that Barr had threatened to quit if Trump kept tweeting about ongoing cases.

“Trump, meanwhile, weighed in publicly from afar — again bucking Barr’s public and private warnings to stop talking about Justice Department criminal cases. In a tweet, the president compared Stone to former FBI director James B. Comey, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Trump has suggested that each of them should be charged.”

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Why Trump’s post-impeachment actions are about vengeance, not retribution

President Trump fired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for testifying in his impeachment trial.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

Austin Sarat, Amherst College

Since the end of his Senate impeachment trial, President Donald Trump has carried out a concerted campaign against his Democratic political opponents as well as members of his administration who cooperated with them.

A White House statement released immediately after the president’s acquittal seemed to foretell this campaign when it ominously asked, “Will there be no retribution?”

Reporters, commentators and Democratic politicians have all been using the language of retribution to describe Trump’s post-impeachment actions.

On Feb. 8 Adam Schiff, one of the House of Representatives’ impeachment managers, said, “President Trump is exacting his retribution, removing those who complied with subpoenas, came forward and testified about his misconduct.”

I am a scholar who studies the meaning of retribution and its role in punishment. and such descriptions do not seem quite right to me. President Trump’s actions are vengeful, to be sure, but they are not truly retributive.

What is retribution?

Many contemporary philosophers distinguish retribution from revenge and argue that retribution is the only legitimate basis of punishment.

To take one example, political philosopher Robert Nozick explains the essential features of retribution and the way it differs from revenge in his 1983 book “Philosophical Explanations.”

Retribution is not revenge.

In his view, retribution is a response to a “wrong,” while revenge “may be done for an injury or harm or slight and need not be for a wrong.”

The wrong to which Nozick refers, like the murder of an innocent person, always involves an unjust or immoral action.

Without such injustice or immorality, injuries, harms or slights cannot be called wrongs. The impeachment testimony of members of his administration might have injured the president, but injuries, harms or slights do not provide the basis for genuinely retributive punishment.

Nozick additionally notes that while retribution “sets an internal limit to the amount of punishment, according to the seriousness of the wrong … revenge internally need set no limit to what is inflicted.”

Others, such as the legal theorist H.L.A Hart, concur that retributive punishment must be proportional to the wrong committed. In their view, retribution is inextricably bound up with the desire to do justice.

Retribution also must be done impersonally and rationally with a guiding concern to give offenders what they deserve.

Revenge, in contrast, is personal, passionate and often excessive. Because of these qualities, vengeance, as Nozick puts it, “involves a particular tone, pleasure, in the suffering of another…” Likewise, political theorist Judith Shklar contends that revenge is “uniquely subjective, not measurable, and probably an unquenchable urge of the provoked heart.” She too argues that “it is the very opposite of justice.”

In a study published in 2008, psychologist Kevin Carlsmith and his colleagues tried to explain the excessive quality of revenge. They found that the pleasure in the suffering of another, about which Nozick writes, is ephemeral, leading to recurring efforts to derive satisfaction by ratcheting up the pain inflicted or making others suffer.

The history of retribution theories

Efforts to distinguish retribution from revenge can be traced back to Greek philosophers. Over time retribution became more popular, moving from a position of doubt among the ancients to full embrace by the end of the 18th century.

Socrates treated retribution as “ignoble and irrational: It piles harm upon harm without accomplishing anything good.” Plato thought retribution was too primitive a motive to justify punishment. Aristotle, in contrast, saw a place for it in a just society.

Just before the dawn of the Enlightenment, thinkers also embraced retribution as a form of justice that would civilize and tame the human quest for vengeance.

The English philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon, writing in 1625, argued that “Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.” Bacon associated retribution with divine justice and extolled its “magnificence.”

Eighteenth-century philosophers Immanuel Kant and G.W.F. Hegel are well known for their embrace of retributive punishment and their critiques of vengeance.

“Only the Law of retribution,” Kant wrote, “can determine exactly the kind and degree of punishment; it must be well understood, however, that this determination must be made in the chambers of a court of justice and not in your private judgment.”

Trump’s revenge

Distinguishing retribution from revenge helps clarify Trump’s post-impeachment actions, such as abruptly ending the National Security Council assignment of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and recalling European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

Since his impeachment acquittal, President Trump has been punishing many of those he perceives as foes.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Trump is striking out at his perceived enemies because of their disloyalty to him, not because they did anything unjust or immoral.

Many condemn Trump’s kind of politics and bemoan the damage it does. But calling his actions retributive is not accurate. From my perspective, they are simply vengeful and should be described as such.

[Insight, in your inbox each day. You can get it with The Conversation’s email newsletter.]The Conversation

Austin Sarat, Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Trump ignores outcry and tweets on ally’s court sentencing

Washington (AFP) – President Donald Trump on Thursday brazenly ignored his attorney general’s plea to stop tweeting about ongoing court cases, again expressing displeasure with how his longtime ally Roger Stone is being treated in court.The president questioned the “fairness” in a tweet to his nearly 73 million followers, right as a Washington, DC, federal judge was opening Stone’s sentencing hearing.Stone was convicted in November of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House of Representatives investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to…

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US officials tell Bernie Sanders Russia is trying to help his campaign

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Friday warned Russia to stay out of American elections after a newspaper reported U.S. officials had told him Moscow was trying to help his campaign.Sanders said in a statement he did not care who Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to be U.S. president.”My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do,” said Sanders, a senator from Vermont.The Washington Post, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter, said U.S. officials had told Sanders about the Russian effort a…

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The Best Hope For Moderate Democrats

Democrats are starting to fear Senator Sanders rise in the polls. If former Vice President Biden loses in South Carolina, a Sanders candidacy may be all but inevitable. Currently the biggest weapon the GOP has against Buttigieg is lack of experience. If Mayor Buttigieg were to serve in a Biden administration as a Vice President or Attorney General for even one term, this obstacle would be obliterated. It is rare for a party to hold onto the White House for longer than eight years, but it is also rare to lose it after just four. If elected, Biden would probably be only a one term president. A member of an incumbent administration would be a shoo-in for the nomination. Even if Senator Klobuchar was Biden’s Vice President, Mayor Buttigieg could perhaps serve as Biden’s Attorney General. If he could serve in a Biden administration for one term, Buttigieg would have much more experience and a better chance of winning future elections.

Some claim former Mayor Bloomberg is a moderate alternative. Bloomberg himself portrays himself as a moderate. In terms of topics like health care or foreign policy, Bloomberg is moderate. However, in other issues including education, Bloomberg deals in extremes, as Bloomberg increased standardized testing in NYC schools during his time in office. Bloomberg also proved himself to be extreme in the subject of the war on obesity by attempting to implement his soda tax on New York City. The Bloomberg administration also issued a bake sale ban in New York City. In terms of social engineering, Bloomberg is no moderate.

The major reason for the difficulty Biden is facing is how the moderates are taking away each other’s votes. The best remaining option for moderate Democrats is for Mayor Buttigieg and Senator Klobuchar to endorse Biden as soon as possible. It may appear they don’t need to take this step yet. They don’t. For their careers, they could hold on longer. However, in terms of building the best moderate choice to win the nomination and defeat President Trump (as well as making them a much stronger presidential candidate in the future) they should endorse Biden right away.

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The Man Who Wasn’t There

detective-face sheer luck sherlock

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. — Sherlock Holmes

Think about this for a moment:

Trump’s new intel chief makes immediate changes, ousts top official
Brooke Seipel / The Hill

—  President Trump’s new acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, has already made major changes at the agency, including ousting the No. 2 official.

—  Former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and his deputy, Andrew Hallman, resigned on Friday. According to The New York Times, Grenell told Hallman, who has worked for national intelligence and the CIA for three decades, that his service was no longer needed.…

Please note that the new “acting” director has ZERO experience in intelligence, whatsoever.

I say that because the “media” seems to have forgotten that deductive logic is also factual. The question: What does this mean? is not purely confined to the Op-ed pages, nor has it ever NOT been part of the journalist’s  Who What When Where Why.

If Trump were a traitor, working for Russia, the first thing he’d do is to cripple the intelligence community in their abilities to counter the hacking.

Oh wait. Did I say that out loud?

All right, riddle me this:  Has Trump EVER made a move on foreign policy that WASN’T perfect for Vladimir Putin’s New Russian Empire goals?

Heck, he even handed over a US base in Syria to the Russians, in essence. He managed to hand over Turkey to the USSR. To continue his annexation of Ukriane not only without much opposition (save for from Congress) but, provably withheld military aid as the House managers proved beyond a treasonable doubt.

GUILTY treason

The point being that even l’Affaire Ukraine has Putin’s best interests all over it.

So, the acting Intel chief (who coordinates, Post 911 ALL seventeen US intelligence agencies) briefs congress on Russia’s renewed and more sophisticated attack on the US elections, including ratf**king the Democratic primaries. And is promptly fired.

His replacement is a political hack with zero experience in intelligence, and not necessarily noted for having any.

The FIRST THOUGHT of journos?

Trump has appointed a loyalist!


OK. But the obvious loyalty here is to Putin and his Troll Farm, not to Combover Caligula  —  who is weirdly, albeit less bloodily replicating the actual Caligula’s three-and-a-half year reign: after a major illness, “Little Boots” initiates a series of “revenge” removals and executions, falsely believing that he has been poisoned, as had his sister been “poisoned” and not that he was ill. Since he was poisoned then it was a plot, and therefore all the plotters must be punished. This is eerily similar to what Turkey’s Erdogan does after a failed  coup attempt against himself, arresting more than ten times the number of persons proven to have been involved in the coup attempt.

Caligula, however, seemed sincere in his lust for vengeance; Erdogan seems more opportunistic in his use of the coup attempt to solidify and consolidate his increasingly ultimate power within the Turkish state …

Which brings us, by commodius vicus of recirculation to Trump Castle and environs

Trump, too, has gone off on a spree of revenge/retaliation moves, but this does not necessarily  fall into that category. Indeed, Occam’s Razor suggests the Putin connection, less than some desire to rob congress of its Constitutionally-mandates oversight abilities (although that enters into the mix as well, AND falls into the “helping Putin” line of endeavor much more neatly).

Occam’s Razor: “Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate,” or “Plurality must never be posited without necessity.”  

i.e. the simplest explanation is the best explanation. 


Now, exceedingly clever readers will note that Occam’s Razor is NOT a law of logic, nor of science, but it is an artificial construct, a paradigm (like “objectivity“) which has been of infinite and invaluable use in the history of science and philosophy.

Then again, the exceedingly clever readers probably checked out five paragraphs ago, so this explanation will not have entirely been in vain.

Sherlock and Occam:  Trump’s moves INVARIABLY benefit Putin, whether they benefit Trump or not. Therefore, Trump is controlled, in some wise, by Putin.

Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

kompromat trump

Now: that being the case, it ought to be factored in, at least as an assumption, every time some action is taken that ACTIVELY DAMAGES US NATIONAL SECURITY, don’tcha think?




Oh, heck, go back to sleep.

They’re caucusing in Nevada, and that’s the only news that actually matters.

Otherwise, what would the talking heads have to do and blather about and talk around and over and under and even occasionally about, and might have to report actual NEWS to us on the “twenty-four-hour” cable news networks that serve up about fifteen minutes’ worth of actual hard news a day?

Occam’s Razor is a clear impediment to a medium whose raison d’être seems to be the endlessly gilding of the lily.

(Or styrofoam coffee cup if no lilies are available.)

The [New York] Times also reported that [acting Director of National Intelligence] Grenell — who was only officially tapped into the role on Thursday and who says he will not be the nominee for the full-time role — also made a slew of his own new hires on Friday, including an expert on Trump conspiracy theories … [who] has reportedly been given permission to “clean house” at the agency….  [The Hill, ibid.]

DNI temp hire purges professionals and hires conspiracy moonbats?

That doesn’t help Putin? Oh, sorry. We were trying to sleep here.

So let’s just drop it comrades. Da? Da!



Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door… (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away…

Hughes Mearns
(public domain)


Cross-posted from his vorpal sword (where it is known as “Shaving with William of Occam”)

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