Thursday, May 31, 2018

Pardon, schmardon: will tRump ever get around to Kevin Trudeau?

Imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, aka KT, aka Katie on this Whirled, has been pleading for many months with the Orange Oaf of Office, #NotMyPresident Donald J. tRump, to commute the ten-year prison sentence Katie is serving for criminal contempt of court related to false claims he made about his fatuous diet book, and to grant him a full pardon. I've written about this several times on this blog.

So far Katie's pleas seem to have fallen on deaf ears, despite his fans and friends inundating the White House with multimedia begging and whining and shameless sycophancy. One of the Free Kevin Trudeau contingent apparently received a form letter from the White House acknowledging some communication or other, but that seems to be the extent of it. And Katie and his pals perked up a bit when
Herr Twitler pardoned loathsome civil rights violator Sheriff Joe Arpaio (whom Katie professes to admire), but so far Katie continues to languish in the government sleepaway camp (Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery, Alabama) that he so fondly refers to as Camp Cupcake.

But look here, Katie and minions, maybe the time is ripe to step up the campaign. For tRump seems to be on a real pardon spree these days, with the latest-as-of-the-time-of-this-writing being
conservative wingnut Dinesh D'Souza, a former intellectual turned troll who in 2014 entered a guilty plea for campaign finance fraud. In case you're not familiar with D'Souza, who is loved by conspiracy nuts and Obama/Clinton haters everywhere, Slate gives a brief recap of some of the highlights of his storied career.
Dinesh D’Souza is a right-wing writer and speaker who began his career as an ostensibly respectable intellectual but has since become the familiar kind of relentless alt-right goon-troll who suggests, for example, that the Charlottesville white supremacist rally was staged by liberals and that Barack Obama is a “gay Muslim.” (You can click here to read an interesting piece, pegged to a D’Souza book about how the modern Democratic Party owes its intellectual foundations to Nazism, about how he is able to market transparently ludicrous ideas persuasively.) In 2014 he pleaded guilty to circumventing campaign finance laws by funneling donations to an (unsuccessful) New York Senate candidate through straw donors. And now he’s getting pardoned by the president!

opinion piece on CNN is just one of many noting a pardon pattern here.
The D'Souza pardon is all of a piece with two other presidential pardons made by Trump during his first 16 months in office. D'Souza, former Bush White House aide Scooter Libby and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio were all seen, by some elements within the conservative movement/Trump's base, as martyrs -- people unfairly persecuted by some combination of out-of-control Democrats and the "deep state."

"Bravo! @realDonaldTrump," tweeted Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. "Dinesh was the subject of a political prosecution, brazenly targeted by the Obama administration bc of his political views. And he's a powerful voice for freedom, systematically dismantling the lies of the Left—which is why they hate him. This is Justice."

D'Souza himself played into that idea with a tweet of his own. "Obama & his stooges tried to extinguish my American dream & destroy my faith in America,"
he tweeted. "Thank you @realDonaldTrump for fully restoring both."
Somebody call the waaahhhhmbulance!
Rolling Stone goes a little further into the issue, pointing out that this pardon is just the latest example of Herr Twitler abusing his pardon power.
Typically, someone seeking a pardon applies for one and the application is heavily vetted by lawyers at the Department of Justice. Trump just went ahead and did it. "Nobody asked me to do it," the president said of his D'Souza announcement. "I read the papers. I see him on television." The same applied for the Arpaio and Libby pardons as well.

"None of these pardons has gone through the vetting process and gone through the pardoning attorneys at the Department of Justice," Griffin says. "These have all been cases in which the White House has circumvented the conventional procedures and norms about pardons."

Each of these three pardons is red meat for the base. They've got the fingerprints of Trump's vindictive streak all over them. But above all, these pardons signal a growing willingness by Trump and his White House to use the power of the pardon in troubling new ways and for the benefit of political allies in legal trouble.
But it may not be just a political thing; there's a celebrity motif going on here too (including, notably, a Celebrity Apprentice theme), for Drumpf hinted today that he will also pardon Martha Stewart, who, though a Democrat and professed Clinton supporter, hosted the 2005 Celebrity Apprentice spinoff series, The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. He also said he was seriously considering commuting the sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is serving 14 years for corruption and, though also a Democrat, was a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice in 2010.

And just yesterday Trump
met in the White House with professional narcissist and personification of a hopelessly shallow culture Kim Kardashian, ostensibly to talk about "prison and sentencing reform," but mainly to hear her plea the case of a 63-year-old woman, Alice Marie Johnson, who was given a life sentence without parole for a first-time drug offense. I'm not saying that Johnson belongs in prison (she doesn't), or that Kardashian is wrong for embracing her cause (even predominantly useless celebrities are good for some things), but since she had Drumpf's ear anyway (and possibly his ogling eyeballs), I'm thinking that maybe she could have also tried to convince him that his support of the private prison industry is a really, really horrible thing. But I doubt that the conversation went that deep. As the writer of the New Yorker piece I linked to above noted:
What was most upsetting about Kardashian’s audience with Trump on Wednesday, then, was not its novelty. It was that, more than two years after Trump met with [Kardashian's husband Kanye] West, this type of meeting—this Boschian spectacle of horrors, this stand-in for the reflective, responsible work of actual public service—is, somehow, still happening.
While we're on the topic of horrible things, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to review Trump's pardon of the vile Sheriff Joe. If they uphold the pardon, it may go to the Supreme Court, and if it is upheld there... well, that could be another step towards the tyranny that wingnuts always feared under Obama but which is a looming reality under Drumpf.

But thinking about those things is kind of a downer, isn't it? (And to think that this Whirled was originally conceived as a humor blog...) Still, Kevin Trudeau's attempts to get Donald Trump's attention provide at least marginal comic relief in this grim reality show that we're all being forced to live thanks to a combination of ignorant voters, bigotry, hostile foreign meddling, and complicit news media who are taken in by celebrity. If Katie really wants to be freed and absolved by Cheeto Jesus, he needs to hitch his wagon to a real celeb.

And, sadly, former Apprentice contestant and long-time Trump brown-noser Troy McClain probably isn't an option. To begin with, as I've previously reported, several credible sources have indicated that Troy intensely dislikes Kevin, even though Troy benefited significantly from Trudeau's huge scam GIN (the Global Information Network). He continued to reap the rewards even after Kevin was sent to sleepaway camp and no longer had any involvement in GIN (on paper, anyway), and the GIN MLM scam had been pared down to a mere affiliate scheme. Troy, with the help of a few cohorts, had purchased GIN in 2014, and Troy was at the helm for a couple of years, re-branding it to something called "GINEvolve," though reportedly he was exceedingly unpopular among the remaining staff. But -- and I'd not yet reported this, and it's long overdue (mea culpa!) -- Troy departed GIN for presumably greener pastures late last summer when he and his cohort David Cohen sold their interest in GIN, and long-time Trudeau pals Blaine Athorn and Greg Kramer became the primary owners. So for several reasons, Troy probably isn't a guy that Katie could call on.

Still, he needs someone with some sort of celebrity connections that will capture the attention of the celeb-obsessed Thief Executive. It's not enough that
Katie has been kissing up to Trump for years, and has expressed some of the right-wing, xenophobic views that Trump and his base seem to embrace. Katie's problem is that despite being a legend in his own mind and the minds of his addled loyalists, he is simply not quite enough of a celebrity to get the president's attention. If is serious about getting pardoned by Trump so he can go back to committing wide-scale consumer fraud with fewer restrictions than he has in Camp Cupcake, he needs to find himself a Kardashian or some equally insipid fame whore, and get that person to set up an appointment with Trump to plead Katie's case.

After all, as the writer in the article linked to in the previous sentence concludes, "Presentation is everything in the Trump White House, even for pardons." Maybe especially for pardons.

This post was updated June 1, 2018 to include information about the Celebrity Apprentice connections and about Troy McClain and GIN. ~ CC

Addendum, June 4, 2018 ~ It could very well be that Herr Twitler ends up pardoning himself before he gets around to pardoning poor Katie. "I am the State, and the State is me!" Tyranny much?

PS ~ If you haven't visited the Salty Droid blog lately because you despaired of ever seeing a new post there, you're in for a treat. Jason is blogging again, his latest being a nod to yet more Trump-related media mayhem.

PPS ~ For that matter, my UK pal Longdog is blogging again after a months-long absence, noting that the stupidest and most evil man in Scamworld, cancer quackadoodle and former Kevin Trudeau buddy Not-Doktor Leonard Coldwell, has once again changed his "credentials."

 PPPS ~ And while we're at it, an even more infrequent blogger, my husband Ron Kaye, recently wrote again on his RevRon's Rants blog. Show him a little love and send some comments.

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