From The “Didn’t I Tell You To Stop Making Me Defend President Trump?” Files, An Ethics Alarms Popeye: More On The Joe Arpaio Pardon

I would prefer not to keep talking about the Joe Arpaio pardon, but the news media and the “resistance” won’t let the pardon go, because in the absence of anything legitimate giving them cause to scream for an impeachment, they have to latch on to whatever they can. So this is a Popeye: I’m writing it because, as the spinach-living cartoon sailor would say, “That’s all I can stands, cuz I can’t stands no more!”

Oh, before I forget: here’s what the Southern Poverty Law Center says about the pardon:

“By pardoning Joe Arpaio, President Trump has demonstrated his contempt for the rule of law and the racism at the core of his agenda. Arpaio, a Trump favorite on the campaign trail, is the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. He was convicted of criminal contempt of court for intentionally violating a federal court order prohibiting racial profiling. As a result of President Trump’s pardon, Arpaio will never be held accountable for his unconstitutional conduct.”

Following this logic, by pardoning drug dealers President Obama proved that at heart, he is a drug dealer. By pardoning Chelsea Manning, President Obama proved that sharing classified information with our enemies is at the core of his agenda. This is a “law center”  including such tripe on its website? It sounds like the legally ignorant accusation often made against defense lawyers (like Hillary Clinton) that they endorse the crimes, motives and values of their clients.

In a front page article on Sunday, the New York Times tried to break its own record for desperately trying to make a case for Presidential wrongdoing while still stating the undeniable fact that no wrongdoing had occurred:

  • The Times states, correctly, “that there is nothing in the text of the Constitution’s pardons clause to suggest that [Trump] exceeded his authority.” But it tracks down yet another law professor who has allowed the anti-Trump brain virus to swallow his integrity. Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard, claimed that pardoning Arpaio “would express presidential contempt for the Constitution.”

Good thinking. The President expressed contempt for the Constitution by engaging in an action described and enacted in the Constitution. A better argument, though still unfair, would be that President Obama was expressing contempt for the Constitution by not using its pardon power provision even once within his first 400 days in office.

  • More from the Professor: “Arpaio didn’t just violate a law passed by Congress…His actions defied the Constitution itself, the bedrock of the entire system of government.” Yes, and so what? If that same document gives the President an open-ended power to forgive any crime, and it does, then this is just huffing and puffing.

All Feldman is saying is that he doesn’t believe that Arpaio’s particular crime should be pardoned. When you’re President, Professor, by all means let that standard be your guide.

  • By saying Mr. Arpaio’s offense was forgivable, Professor Feldman added, Mr. Trump threatens “the very structure on which his right to pardon is based.”

Note to  Professor Feldman: Get help. The reason the President has unlimited pardon power is because, in the view of the Constitution’s authors, any offense IS forgivable. Presidents have pardoned traitors, those who have killed American citizens. They have pardoned terrorists, and a President of the United States who plotted to subvert justice and our democracy itself. No Harvard Law professor has made the claim that any of those offenses were unpardonable (that is, literally, unforgivable). Why is that? Well, a) Trump is special and doesn’t deserves to be judged by the same standards as other Presidents, and b) the Left hates Arpaio beyond all proportion, because of his opposition to illegal immigration.

  • The Times writes, “It was the first act of outright defiance against the judiciary by a president who has not been shy about criticizing federal judges who ruled against his businesses and policies.” If this pardon is “outright defiance against the judiciary,” then most pardons are. Almost all pardons erase a judicial sentence or verdict.

This is misleading, biased, inflammatory, unethical journalism.

  • The Times writes,

“Mr. Trump could pardon any of the subjects of the special counsel’s Russia inquiry, though some legal specialists believe he could increase his risk of prosecution if he is seen as abusing his pardon power.Were Mr. Trump to announce that he has pardoned himself, impeachment would remain possible. A prosecutor might also test the limits of the pardon power by indicting Mr. Trump notwithstanding such an announcement. That clash could lead the Supreme Court to weigh in on the limits of the president’s power to spare himself from punishment for criminal wrongdoing.”

This story has nothing to do with impeachment! No evidence has been found that suggests the President has committed any impeachable acts. The Times story is about the Joe Arpaio pardon. How can the Times justify suddenly piling tangential hypothetical on top of tangential hypotheticals in this article to get to a scenario where the Supreme Court has to determine whether President Trump can pardon himself for crimes as yet unalleged and undiscovered? Well, the reporter is Adam Liptak, the epitome of what Instapundit calls “Democratic operatives with bylines.” He’s not reporting here; he’s promoting a nakedly partisan narrative.

  • Here was my favorite part:

Most presidents wait for the waning days of their administrations to issue high-profile pardons of associates and supporters. President George Bush was about to leave office in 1992 when he pardoned Caspar W. Weinberger, a former defense secretary, for his role in the Iran-contra affair. President Bill Clinton, too, was almost out the door in 2001 when he pardoned Marc Rich, a fugitive financier whose former wife had donated to the Democratic Party and the Clinton library foundation.

Mr. Trump took a different approach. The Arpaio pardon was the first of his presidency.

How dare President Trump break with the tradition by not delivering the most controversial pardons while sneaking out the back door! Whatever one thinks of the pardon (it was a bad one), Trump deserves praise for not emulating Bush and Clinton (and Obama, who also made his most controversial pardons and commutations in his waning hours in office.).

  • Liptak misleadingly quotes the The Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney, which typically makes pardon recommendations, noting its process for considering pardon applications.

It generally requires a five-year waiting period, the office’s application instructions say, “to afford the petitioner a reasonable period of time in which to demonstrate an ability to lead a responsible, productive and law-abiding life.”

The department, moreover, usually recommends pardons only after an expression of remorse.

“A presidential pardon is ordinarily a sign of forgiveness,” the instructions say. “A pardon is not a sign of vindication and does not connote or establish innocence. For that reason, when considering the merits of a pardon petition, pardon officials take into account the petitioner’s acceptance of responsibility, remorse and atonement for the offense.”

But this is not the law. This is existing policy for sorting through pardon and commutation requests. The President is not bound by the policy. Pardon power resides within the office of the Presidency, and while it is pragmatic and reasonable to have an office to vet potential pardon cases–the President doesn’t have time to do it—the law does not require such a process, and the President is not neither ethicaly nor legally required to follow it in all cases or any cases. That “pardon officials” use the stated criteria, the President doesn’t have to, and past Presidents have not done so in the past. Richard Nixon, pardoned by President Fort, was never remorseful, and in fact insisted to his dying day that he did nothing illegal or wrong. That did not make Ford’s pardon illegal or unethical

  • Finally, the Times editors allow this speculative and misleading junk to sneak into the article:

Other responses to pardons are at least theoretically possible. One is political: Voters can punish presidents seeking re-election for pardons thought to be an abuse of power, as Mr. Ford learned. And presidents are subject to impeachment for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Nobody knows whether Gerald Ford’s pardon was the reason he lost to Jimmy Carter in the close 1976 race. There were so many other reasons. Some think the pardon gained Ford votes, since it spared a nation already sick of Watergate and traumatized by an extended crisis another long dose of Watergate misery. Personally, I was amazed Ford didn’t lose by a landslide: he was the only un-elected President since Washington to run for re-election (he had been appointed Vice President); he was a bland, uninspiring leader; the economy was a mess; he was gaffe-prone; and he made the head-exploding blunder in the debate with Carter of claiming that Poland wasn’t an Iron Curtain country. Liptak stating that Ford was punished for the pardon is stating speculation as fact.

Then back to impeachment. Once again, “the resistance” argues that President Trump can be legitimately impeached for doing what the Constitution and the law permits him to do.


44 thoughts on “From The “Didn’t I Tell You To Stop Making Me Defend President Trump?” Files, An Ethics Alarms Popeye: More On The Joe Arpaio Pardon

  1. It’s almost not even worth bothering with, Jack. Trump is going to go down in history as the most hated president of the modern era who faced not just the most determined, but the most vicious opposition. There’s almost nothing more you can say about it, except to journal It as it happens. I really thought it would tap out after the first few months, but it’s clear the other side is settling in for the long haul.

    • Can’t wait until the next topic of hyperventilation.

      1) electoral college
      2) Trump-Russia, where time and again the left has soiled itself blowing shaky accusations wah out of proportion
      3) confederate statues, where time and again the Left’s unofficial armed mob, ‘antifa’, has demonstrated over and over again that it is far more dangerous than the handful of ‘alt-right’ morons.
      4) Joe Arpaio
      5) what’s next? Melania’s shoes were a favorite of the most hyperventilating. Fortunately that didn’t catch on with the rest. Any prognosticators on what the next reason Trump must go down is going to be?

        • And breaking: State Department compels Russia to close San Francisco consulate and several consular annexes elsewhere in response to Russia closing one of ours in Russia.

          Gosh that Russian puppet Trump does everything the Russians want.

          • They are too countless to catalogue, Tex. Hiring and then firing staff and advisors. Neil Gorsuch. Muslim travel ban. The size of his inauguration crowds. Paris Climate accord exit. Telling Macron’s wife she looked good. Not using Camp David. Using Camp David. Going to Mar A Lago. Playing golf. Having the nerve to respond to provocative questions. Changing spokespeople.

    • I think it’s even odds that he wins a second term, especially if the Democrats run Warren, Bernie, or one of the other midgets. It will be very hard to argue that a two term President was also the most hated.

      • Warren has said she won’t run, at least for now. Sanders is not going to run again, he is technically a loser, and, although he would carry all the college towns, that’s not enough and they know it. Forget the other tomato cans who ran last year (O’Malley, Chaffee, Webb). 2020’s Democratic candidate could come from the following: Corey Booker, Andrew Cuomo, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown. Would any of them make it? Maybe.

        • Agree. Someone fresh and without much of a record. The Obama strategy: Be a blank canvas upon which voters can project what ever they hope or think you might be. You know: Hope and Change.

          • Actually it was Ted Kennedy (D-Hell) who told him “run now, before you have a record” and the rest is history. I wish they’d avoid these dumb slogans, although I will cop to almost buying a “Make America Great Again” hat in VA last year. I decided against it because at the time (mid-September) I didn’t think Trump had a prayer and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by backing a loser.

          • I worked under Booker his entire time here. He’s not that impressive when he has to talk TO you rather than AT you, and, like Obama, he becomes very sullen and vindictive when he can’t have it all his own way. Still, he is young, charismatic, and black, and could be seen as an Obama 2.0.

            • 1. Obama’s stock keeps falling as the full measure of his incompetence is known. I think he killed the prospects for another black man as President for at least a generation.

              2. Booker has a lot of baggage. And he’s not as good as Obama in public.

            • He has a long record of fabricating stories and anecdotes, something like Ronald Reagan, except he’s much worse at recovering when he’s caught. Obviously this would not be huge handicap against Trump—but it would be in the nomination battle, as the Democrats do not need another candidate with honesty issues.

              • He also has a tendency to do reckless things, like dash into a fire ahead of the firefighters to grab a headline, and do just bloody obnoxious things like refuse to buy toilet paper for City Hall when the City Council wouldn’t confirm his plan to create a new utilities authority so he would have more bond issuance authority.

      • I hear Hillary is again in the offing… she has name recognition going for her, so there is that.

        Oops, she is telling tales out of school, blaming her side for her loss… wonder how that will turn out?

  2. “Then back to impeachment. Once again, “the resistance” argues that President Trump can be legitimately impeached for doing what the Constitution and the law permits him to do.”

    When it comes right down to it, the resistance is dead wrong with their impeachment claims and the smart people in the resistance know it’s bull shit even though they are still pushing it, so what is the resistance really going do to get rid of Trump? There are laws and congress that will prevent them from impeaching him and there are plenty of bullets that prevent them from physically dragging him out of the oval office, so what are their real options? If the laws won’t let them legally get rid of Trump, then the laws must be at fault; if Congress won’t allow him to be impeached, then Congress must be at fault; if they cannot change the laws via legislation, then the legislative body must be at fault; if the courts can’t find a way of removing him from office, then the courts are useless to them; what real options do they have left?

    The psychologically obsessed anti-Trump resistance is not going to stop, what are they going to do? How are they going to accomplish their goal of removing Trump from the office of the President?

    Really think outside the box about this.

      • ZMan, they will try to re-capture majorities in the House and Senate and then impeach him and convict him. Of SOMETHING. That’s the serious plan. Not very likely to be achieved, but that’s the plan.

        • Other Bill wrote, “ZMan, they will try to re-capture majorities in the House and Senate and then impeach him and convict him. Of SOMETHING. That’s the serious plan. Not very likely to be achieved, but that’s the plan.”

          What happens when that serious plan fails and fails miserably?

          To the psychologically obsessed anti-Trump resistance there is only one possible end; when all “legal” ends justifies the means attempts fail, what’s next?

  3. There were some good reasons why Ford didn’t lose by a landslide running against Jimmy Carter: The economy was all ready a mess when he became President thanks to Watergate and the ending of the Vietnam War. He also stood tall in his handling of the Mayagüez incident. The characterization of Gerald Ford as a bumbling fool was a creation of Chevy Chase who later apologized for his mocking Saturday Night Live skits on Ford

    • I looked up a number of the people and cases mentioned in that article. In each of the first five I noticed that no one of them was in any sense clear-cut. One man who died in custody was under the influence of meth and was abusive and very hard to handle.

      The case of the Latina girl who was brought into the country by her illegal parents and who committed a felony that will keep her from applying for amnisty (under an Obama program) is a deliberately tearful case designed to evoke pity.

      I know at least something about Latino psychology and it is fair to say that because they are often powerless in their own cultures that they make use of the sob-story and group-shaming to protect their rights (sometimes legitimately I should say). My impression from a rather quick glance over this material is that there is a sub-text here. One has to attempt to get to the sub-text to then be able to see what is going on.

      It seems that Arizona is making efforts to reverse the illegal immigration trend. This requires political and also social will. Because it deals with human life, and illegals who are after all just trying to get by, to live, to prosper, it makes for a great ‘human interest story’ when the Evil Authority comes down on them. Everyone knows that if you villify the enemy, describe him as a ‘Nazi’, that you can gain a great deal of emotional ground with people.

      And just as you use these tactics to support your meta-political position, so too do those who see themselves as victims here. And the ‘victims’ team up together, and get lawyers, and make a big ruckus, and play to people’s heart strings, and attempt to win their case through shaming and villification.

      The key, for me in any case, is your use of the term ‘evil’. Not bad, or cruel, or illegal, but you feel that you have the right to use the ultra-moral term ‘evil’. It is strange to see how this is used and most often by the ‘progressives’. They really do have God On Their Side! And God whispers to them that this one is evil, and that one is evil …

      I am sure that in the eyes of Mexico and Mexicans that anyone who stops their illegal penetration of the US will also be seen as ‘evil’. For a country to define and defend its borders, and its culture I should add, and to make it difficult and even impossible for illegal immigrants to set up shop with no obstruction, is made to seem a ‘moral evil’.

      My limited research indicates that the most of the hatred of Arpaio began with his hard stance against illegal immigration (2005). But I think that the democratic establishment also hates him because of his stance on Obama’s birth cirtificate. I would imagine that his armed posse to help in immigration operations did not go over too well either. The Wiki page has a litany of other issues which implicate him for different things. I do not know how one would get to the bottom of all those insinuations. Are some of them true? How would one know? A great deal of this appears to be innuendo. But for many that is all you really need: innuendo. The reason seems to be because the Really Just have a special line of communication with God and the Angelic Kingdom and they just know when someone is truly evil. It’s an interesting moral racket they have going… 😉

        • It just occured to me that the refusal to even listen to a counter-argument, and to harshly judge the one who makes it, and to refuse at the outset to hear it, can only be related to the epistemological position of truly special knowledge.

          Logic, the analysis of arguments, quantitative reasoning, objective evaluation of evidence, fair-minded consideration of opposing views —modes of thinking central to intellectual life — these are rendered irrelevant when thinking and reasoning — seeing — have been overtaken by emotionalism.

          I am not saying that you specifically suffer from this problem or necessarily any more than anyone else. My contention is that meta-political issues underlie all our positions and our arguments. Self-knowledge, in the best of worlds, involves detailed self-understanding.

          When one has special access to ultimate distinguishing epistemology, one only needs to assert.

          OK, I am going back to sleep now …

        • First Witch: When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

          Second Witch: When the hurly-burly’s done / When the battle’s lost and won.

          In confronting ‘progressivism’ there seem to be two options. One is a superficial response such as sarcasm or ridicule. But this is ineffective. I say that hyper-liberalism (I define this as an unmooring of classic and sound liberalism from its root and ground in reason) and hyper-progressivism can only be countered if one is capable, intellectually and also morally, of fully understanding what produces them. In my own case — not sufficiently prepared for the task — I have to back-track into time-zones and cultural-zones of which I have no direct knowledge.

          In my case the book ‘A War for the Soul of America’ (Andrew Hartman) is a research tool. Along with YouTube, an amazing tool for seeing the people and the debates and the speeches and the events that have shaped American politics and culture in the postwar era, I can directly watch the crucial encounters and conflicts that lead directly to the ethical conversation that is going on in this ethics blog. Paglia and Faludi on Phil Donahue in 1992; talks by Leonard Jeffries on ‘the control of the African mind’; Derrick Bell (Obama’s professor) on ‘racism in America’ and the ‘Marxist foundation of critical race theory’; Anita Bryant, Phyllis Schafly; Jerry Falwell, George Lincoln Rockwell, Irving Kristol: it is all there to be seen. Gay Rights activism, opposition to the Vietnam war, the psychedelic concerts, the Haight Ashbury and intoxicated Hare Krishmas dancing in the park: it is unreal that you can research all thse things and see them, feel them.

          But just to see it all, and hopefully to understand some of the foundations of these people’s arguments and their activism, is not enough. If you just observe it, you are likely in its flow. You are being moved along by it, you are held in it and it determines you. But what is it? What is all this motion and movement? What is being aimed for? And what has been achieved? If I wished to put my foot down at some point and stop the careening forward movement, where would I place my foot? In what would I seek stablitity? On what would I establish a ground? And how would I go about establishing certainty?

          Therefor, to define a ‘true conservatism’ is a radical project in relation to the motion of history. And that is why, within the context of this Blog, you (Chris) are valuable to me. You show me ’emotional reasoning’. You show me a meta-politics that has a foundation in what is felt, not in what is thought. You define values on the basis of what you feel is true and right, and when you attack others — those who seem to oppose you and who often do oppose you — the attack is emotional but then also emotional-moral. It is almost as if the ‘battle’ going on, which penetrates into all areas, is between intellect and emotion. Or intellect that establishes rules and regulations for the emotions and the desires vs. a will to overcome the intellect, to topple ‘patriarchy’, and in that process literally destroy and tear down what has been built over centuries.

          The cultural wars can only be understood when the two poles are clearly explained and defined. The battle is definitely over ‘the soul of America’. And America is far more than just America because it has tremendous power in the world. But what horribly complicates all of this is that the American nation, the nation itself, is controlled not democratically but para-democratically. That is, there is a ‘shadow government’ and a ‘deep state’ with interests and intentions that seem to have little relationship to ‘the American soul’ or really to ethics and to morals. This is the NSA-State: a power-complex that is deeply concerned for, and involved in securing, its own power position along with the military and economic interests that it serves. It does not care either about me (conservative moralism) nor you (progressive activism).

          My view is that one has to orient onself in relation to this situation. Para-democratic power owns, controls, influences and largely determines the nation. I think everyone knows this, more or less. Therefor, to define a morality and an ethics one has to take what this means into consideration. I admit that in my own case, since these understandings are relatively new, I do not know what to do, or say, nor how to act in relation to this. It invites nihilism though.

          I wish I knew better how to conclude! All that I can say is that this blog with its essential ethical and moral questions has been a big influence as I try to get clear about my own position.

        • A quote from a review of ‘A Better Guide Than Reason: Federalists and Anti-Federalists’ by Mel Bradford:

          “Bradford also wrote about the tensions between the North and the South by remarking that much of the North viewed themselves as members of the New Jerusalem and looked upon the South as another country to be subdued into a thing called a nation. Bradford derides Lincoln’s Gettysburg address as sheer demagoguery equating the birth of the nation with the birth of Christ and that the speech, coupled together with Julia Ward Howe’s Battle Hymm of the Republic made for a blatant case of millennialism.”

          A couple of comments here (which surely everyone has been waiting for!) What interests me is how Progressivism as it manifests itself popularly seems to be a manifestation and extension of the zealotry of those who see themselves as activists in the New Jerusalem. I cannot help but see them as religious acolytes who serve a non-religious hyper-religious position! It will require a Harold Bloom to explain it…

          The other part of that is the idea is that the New Jerusalemites understand themselves, at a level that underpins thought, to be justified in *subduing* ideas, people and regions that are not in accord with its missions. They are like a plague of grasshoppers!

          To define a ‘true conservatism’ must be and can only be to go back over these specific historical instances and, quite literally, revise them in one’s own mind! Therefor, this places emphasis on the sort of mind, the quality of mind, and the strength of spirit of one who can do this. Against that ‘sort of mind’ stands another and a conformist mind which, in one way or another, simply repeats the conventions that undergird our present. This is the easiest thing to do because it does not really require critical analysis nor even much spiritedness. The aliment that conformism requires is emotional assent. The Battle Hymn of the Republic becomes the folk song becomes a background drone becomes a metaphysical mantra that moves millions.

          I would now suggest that the idea of ingesting The Red Pill is to be located in a reactionary stance, a critical state of mind which reacts against ‘what has come to be’. I would suggest that in its most brutal — and brute — manifestations that we now see coming forward such revisionists of American history, critics of ‘globalism’ and ‘multiculturalism’, activists who come out of the woods and swamps to protect Southern Heritage, and then also in the rising concern among the white demographic and its self-concern for its demographic (body) and its country, with the opposition to non-white immigration, et cetera; that these crude manifestations and inarticulate and confused ideological positions are a necessary and required aspect of arriving at a sound philosophical and historical position that can become, and needs to become, the activism of the present.

          To recover that ground could only involve a rought ride and a confusing time.

          I find this excuciatingly difficult personally. The reason is because in order to define what I understand as higher intellectual ground I have to confront webs and morasses of emotionalized reasoning which has made in-roads into my own person. Kind of like vines and weeds that are semi-parasitic, they have interwoven themselves into the way I see and understand people and society, and how I see and interpret history. It takes a careful and time-consuming project to clear them away, but even then they remain in ghostly form.

          I especially suggest, because I honestly think it true, that here on this blog among this class of ‘decision-makers’ and those wtih above-average educations and with social standing, that the will to conform is strong. To define an intellectual position that can stand up to *your* critical shaming (which is often what it amounts to) is not at all easy. To create a platform of conservative thought that might be able to function powerfully and yet creatively now and for the future means that I have to deconstruct you: what made yous yous. To insinuate that *your* thinking or your epistemological positions are flawed — or conventional — is to kick a hornet’s nest. It really makes people angry I have noticed!

          There is an amazing and very contentious ideological battle going on. There seems to be a mass-effort to contain it, to rein it in, to control it, to turn down it’s heat, to channel it into appropriate directions. Above all to keep things moving in conventional channels. Yet something has been opened up, something has been uncovered. I simply do not understand it enough to be able to say definitively what *it* is.

          But my position is not much worse than anyone else I read! 😉

Leave a Reply to texagg04 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.