Patterico's Pontifications

2/19/2020

My Prediction for the Roger Stone Sentence: 30 Months; UPDATE: Maybe Not

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:14 pm



I predict 30 months. I don’t think she’s going to impose the eight-level enhancement for the threats to Credico — and his little dog too. For sure, I don’t think she will impose the two-level enhancement for his social media shenanigans. I think she will see the other two-level and three-level enhancements as overlapping and will impose only the three-level enhancement of those two. Instead of offense level 29, I’m thinking offense level 17: a range of 24-30 months, and she imposes the sentence at the top of the range.

It could go as high as 37 months. So my range is 24-37 months, with my prediction being 30 months.

We’ll find out tomorrow.

Trump is going to pardon him anyway.

UPDATE: The sentencing hearing is going on now but I would be surprised at this point, based on what I have been reading, if the judge gives a sentence as low as I had predicted. It looks like she is inclined to hammer Stone — and the Government as well, for the fiasco involved in submitting two different memos. You will be reading a lot more about this hearing in the news today.

Democratic Debate #212 – Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:31 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Two things: I really don’t have anything great to say about the Democratic yahoos who will be on stage tonight, and I really don’t know how many Democratic debates there have thus far, but it sure seems like there have been 3 too many. Tonight’s debate is coming from Las Vegas, and will air on NBC and MSNBC.

The candidates on stage:

1 – Joe Biden, who came out uh, swinging against Michael Bloomberg’s latest ad:

Meanwhile, Biden’s firewall is reportedly crumbling:

The former vice president has long touted his support among black voters. Earlier this month, the one-time unrivaled front-runner told reporters that “not a single person has won [the Democratic nomination] without overwhelming support from the black community, overwhelming, overwhelming. So here’s the deal… right now I am far and ahead of everybody in the African-American community. It’s the base of the Democratic Party.”

And after two lackluster fourth- and fifth-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively — the two overwhelmingly white states that hold the first contests in the presidential nominating calendar — senior campaign adviser Symone Sanders stressed that “it would be a mistake for anyone to write Biden and our campaign off before people of color have had their say in this election. You know people of color — black folks, Latino voters — are the base of this party.”

But according to an ABC News/Washington Post national poll released Wednesday morning, Biden’s support among black voters plummeted from 51 percent in January to 32 percent this month.

2- Mike Bloomberg, who shares a malfunctioning moral compass with Donald Trump, apologized for his “stop and frisk” policy (conveniently) before he announced his candidacy, and then this week, apologized for it for the first time on the campaign trail. This at the launch for “Mike for Black America” in Houston:

There is one aspect of approach that I deeply regret, the abuse of police practice called stop and frisk. “I defended it, looking back, for too long because I didn’t understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids. I should have acted sooner and faster to stop it. I didn’t, and for that I apologize.

Bloomberg’s camp also warned that if the other candidates didn’t drop out, Bernie Sanders might be unstoppable. They should drop out of the race before Super Tuesday, not him.

3- Pete Buttigieg, who, when recently was presented with the opportunity to publicly condemn infanticide, was unable to make such a judgment, somehow found it within himself to make a judgment about Christians who vote for Trump:

During a Tuesday night CNN town hall, moderator Erin Burnett asked Buttigieg if he thinks it remains impossible for a true Christian to support the president. Before quoting Buttigieg’s previous remarks on the president’s evangelical support, Burnett prefaced her question, “To the point you talk about God not belonging to any kind of a political party … Do you think it is impossible to be a Christian and support President Trump?”

“Well, I’m not going to tell other Christians how to be Christians, but I will say [that] I cannot find any compatibility between the way this president conducts himself and anything that I find in Scripture,” Buttigieg said, to which the audience applauded.

“Now, I guess that’s my interpretation, but I think that’s a lot of people’s interpretation, and that interpretation deserves a voice.”

4- Amy Klobuchar, who you also might know by her Spanish name, Elena, was twice unable to correctly name the President of Mexico this week. Surely that is right up there with not knowing what Aleppo is, right? Further, Klobuchar’s former staff members are still waiting for her mea culpa over the poor treatment they received from her:

You ate lunch with a comb, the story goes, to humiliate a staffer who failed to deliver a fork with your salad. You have not denied throwing things at employees, which raises question about your temperament and self-control, issues that have no place in any executive suite, much less the White House.

Those on either side of her tonight on the debate stage should be prepared…

5- Bernie Sanders, who suffered a heart attack last year and promised full disclosure regarding his medical status, announced that he would not be releasing any more records related to his health. Also, his national press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, made an on-air false claim that Bloomberg “suffered a heart attack in the past.” She later claimed that she misspoke.

[Ed. There is a report about Bloomberg, Sanders and their health at The Forward, and the title of it made me laugh: Two Old Jews Argue Over Whose Arteries Are Worse”.]

6- Elizabeth Warren, the only faux-Native American in the group, remains a walking-talking hypocrite. The candidate, who has condemned her competitors for “sucking up to billionaires,” is now willing to accept money from billionaire Michael Bloomberg if she is the nominee:

Then:

“I didn’t fund my campaign by sucking up to billionaires and spending 70% of my time on fund raising,” said Warren, repeating a common campaign theme of hers. “I’ve already been to 31 states and Puerto Rico. We now have offices in 30 states and are bringing in volunteers. This is a campaign that’s built for the long haul because it’s a campaign from the heart.”

Now:

Burnett followed up about the issue of billionaires involved in the 2020 election, noting Warren’s comments earlier tonight criticizing the self-funders and PACs. “And you know Mayor Bloomberg is obviously out there now, spending a lot of money and he has said if he’s not the nominee he’s willing to support whoever is.”

“Good!” said Warren.

“If that’s you, would you take his money?” asked Burnett.

“Sure,” replied Warren.

Moreover, Warren, who has nothing but disdain for big money in politics in politics, including super-PACs, now finds herself with a super-PAC supporting her campaign. Does she refuse the money? What, is this your first day in politics?:

Persist PAC, formed on Friday, will begin airing its first ad on Warren’s behalf on Thursday. The super-PAC has booked $796,000 in television and cable time in Nevada, more than twice the $323,000 that Warren’s campaign is spending, according to Advertising Analytics.

Finally, here are the findings of a few top national polls this week, via Axios:

Washington Post-ABC News:

Sanders: 32% (up 9% since January)
Biden: 16% (-16%)
Bloomberg: 14% (+6%)
Warren: 12% (even)
Buttigieg: 8% (+8%)
Klobuchar: 7% (+4%)

NBC News-Wall Street Journal:

Sanders: 27% (even since January)
Biden: 15% (-11%)
Bloomberg: 14% (+5%)
Warren: 14% (-1%)
Buttigieg: 13% (+6%)
Klobuchar: 7% (+2%)

NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist:

Sanders: 31% (up 9% since December)
Bloomberg: 19% (+15%)
Biden: 15% (-9%)
Elizabeth Warren: 12% (-5%)
Amy Klobuchar: 9% (+5%)
Pete Buttigieg: 8% (-5%)

–Dana

Trump Sells Pardon to Father of Donor

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am



Donald J. Trump issued a slew of pardons yesterday, mostly to people whose cases had been showcased on Fox News. There is at least one case, though, in which Trump’s attention may have been focused on something else: the eternal buck.

Paul Pogue, a construction company owner who pleaded guilty to underpaying his taxes by $473,000 and received three years probation, was issued a full pardon and clemency by the president.

According to FEC filings, Pogue’s family has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct contributions and in-kind air travel to the Trump Victory Committee. Beginning in August 2019, Ben Pogue—CEO of Pogue Construction and son of Paul Pogue—and his wife Ashleigh made over $200,000 in contributions to the campaign.

In August alone, Ben Pogue donated $85,000 to Trump Victory while Ashleigh Pogue contributed $50,000 that month. The following month, Ben Pogue made an in-kind air travel contribution of $75,404.40. The couple also made several large donations to the Republican National Committee and each donated $5,600 to Donald Trump for President Inc.

On the day of their first donation to the Trump campaign, Ashleigh posted an Instagram photo of her and her husband posing with Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, at the Hamptons.

Prior to the Pogues’ sudden significant donating spree to Trump and the Republicans, the couple was not seen as big campaign spenders, having donated a few thousand dollars for Paul Ryan’s congressional campaign in 2017 and $5,400 for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s 2016 Republican presidential run.

I bolded the language about the donation to Santorum because oddly enough, Santorum was a big advocate of the pardon, as was a Texas politician to whom Pogue himself had donated:

Among those who advocated for Pogue’s clemency, according to a White House statement, were former Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. When Santorum ran for president in 2016, Pogue was a member of his national finance committee.

In Texas, Pogue gave $10,000 to help Paxton fight felony charges of securities fraud that have shadowed him since taking office in 2015. Paxton has pleaded not guilty and the case has been at a standstill for years. Campaign finance records also show that Pogue has donated to other GOP officeholders in Texas, including former Gov. Rick Perry and state Sen. Angela Paxton, the attorney general’s wife.

Ah well. That’s how politics works: you scratch my back, I scratch yours let you commit crimes and get off scot-free. A similar thing happened recently in Kentucky, when outgoing Trumpist governor Matt Bevin issued a raft of pardons, including a pardon for a murderer whose family had been big donors:

In one case, Bevin pardoned a man convicted of homicide. That man’s family raised more than $20,000 at a political fundraiser to help Bevin pay off a debt owed from his 2015 gubernatorial campaign.

. . . .

Another of Bevin’s pardons was of Patrick Brian Baker, who was convicted in 2017 of murdering Donald Mills and tampering with physical evidence, among other charges.

As the Courier-Journal also reports, Baker’s family “raised $21,500 at a political fundraiser last year to retire debt from Bevin’s 2015 gubernatorial campaign.” Baker’s brother and sister-in-law also donated $4,000 to Bevin campaign, according to a state election finance database, the paper reports.

. . . .

Baker was sentenced to 19 years, but served just two. His sentence was commuted to time served and a pardon only for the charges connected to the conviction.

Baker’s confederates, whose involvement in the crime was far less serious, are still rotting in prison.

[Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie] Steele noted Baker served two years of a 19-year sentence on his conviction for reckless homicide, robbery, impersonating a peace officer and tampering with evidence.

Steele, who, like Bevin, is a Republican, also cited the fact that two of Baker’s co-defendants are still in prison.

“What makes Mr. Baker any different than the other two?” he asked.

Well, the families of the other two donated nothing. That’s different, isn’t it?

In Kentucky, top lawmakers called for a special prosecutor to investigate potential corruption by Bevin. The Senate minority leader in Kentucky, a former prosecutor, explained that cash appears to have been the sole reason for Bevin’s pardon of Baker:

McGarvey highlighted the difference in treatment of Baker and the other co-defendants still in jail, adding that “the balance in your bank account cannot determine your access to justice in the commonwealth of Kentucky.”

“The fact that we have someone who was convicted of killing someone in front of his wife at his home who pulled the trigger, but the people who drove him away from that crime are still in jail… it defies any rational explanation how that happens,” McGarvey said.

Oh, there’s a rational explanation, all right. It’s just a corrupt rational explanation.

Meanwhile, Trump’s selling of pardons is a one-day story; a blip on the screen for the most harassed president in American history, if not the most oppressed creature in the entire universe for all time.


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