When Presidential Pardons Become an Exercise in Showmanship

U.S. presidents are afforded the legal right to pardon (or commute the sentence of) anyone they want to, at any time they want to. They don’t need a reason. They aren’t required to explain themselves. Still, such decisions often face public scrutiny, and President Trump has recently raised eyebrows over some of the individuals he has chosen (or is considering choosing) to help out with his legal authority.

Last Thursday, Trump announced that he would be pardoning controversial author/filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza for a felony guilty-plea over a violation of federal campaign-finance law. Months earlier, the president pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona who had been found guilty of criminal contempt of court relating to racial profiling.

These two have a few things in common, other than their unrelated run-ins with the law. Both are conservative-media celebrities, both are outspoken critics of the American Left, both are noted conspiracy theorists, and both are staunch supporters of President Trump.

And while we’re on the topic of celebrities, Trump also said this week that he is considering pardoning Martha Stewart, and commuting the sentence of disgraced former Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich (who’s still serving time for federal corruption over — among other things — the attempted sale of Barack Obama’s old Senate seat). Both are alumni of Trump’s old NBC reality show, The Apprentice.

Now, it would be silly to suggest that it’s a mere coincidence that of the several thousand individuals who go through the process of applying for presidential clemency, the ones Trump seems most focused on are provocative celebrity figures whose legal leniency would assuredly spawn lots of media interest and national discussion. Our president, after all, is a showman. He loves to generate mainstream attention. He loves to have lots of people talking about him. And that kind of thing is far less likely to happen when his pardoning powers are used to help some poor schmuck, who no one’s ever heard of, that got at unfair shake from our legal system.

That’s not to say that Trump won’t eventually get around to extending such grace to some of those unfortunate souls, like Matthew Charles from Tennessee, whose unjust situation seems tailor-made for a presidential commutation. But celebrities (the more provocative the better) are clearly Trump’s priority.

With that in mind, Mr. Charles does have one big thing going for him. Kim Kardashian (who’s been a vocal Charles advocate) recently met with President Trump at the White House, to discuss prison reform of all things. That celebrity link may well be the difference in whether Charles is sent back to prison (to finish his sentence) or allowed to live the productive, admirable life he’s been living on the outside.

But for now, it’s people like D’Souza, Blagojevich, and Stewart who are earning the president’s sympathies. And one could argue that they’ve done little (if anything) to garnish special consideration.

As The Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams reminded people in a recent piece, D’Souza (who reportedly didn’t even ask or apply for clemency) used straw donors to funnel an estimated $20k to a senate candidate. He never served any time for his crime other than in community confinement, and his continued insistence (long echoed by fellow media-conservatives) that he was targeted — for being an Obama critic — has never held water. Regardless, the White House’s stated rationale for commutation was that D’Souza was “a victim of selective prosecution”.

It should be noted that this “victim” hasn’t exactly suffered from his prosecution (which again, he plead guilty to). In fact, he’s been making a pretty good living off of conservative speaking engagements.

Rod Blagojevich is in prison not just for trying to sell Obama’s old senate seat, but also for shakedowns of multiple individuals and a children’s hospital. He epitomizes “the swamp” that Trump was supposed to have been elected to “drain,” despite the president’s insistence the other day that Blago was merely in prison “for being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know, that many other politicians say.”

And of course, Stewart, after her short prison sentence, has remained extremely wealthy and at the top of her professional game. She’s not exactly a damsel in distress.

None of this is to say that Trump’s interests on this front are particularly egregious. They’re not, especially in comparison to what other presidents have done over the years. Bill Clinton’s infamous pardoning of Marc Rich (the billionaire financier with ties to the Democratic Party) and Barack Obama’s commuting of Chelsea Manning’s sentence (she was convicted of espionage) are examples of far worse abuses. That goes without dispute.

Still, it sure would be nice if Mr. Trump (whose enthusiastic supporters insist is a champion of the forgotten man and a slayer of the elites) would resist the urge to treat his pardoning power like a story-line from a reality-television script. There are true victims of flaws and injustices in our legal system who are much more deserving of (and desperate for) his help.

They just haven’t had the benefit of being discussed on Fox and Friends.




Drug Cartels & Left-Wing Cults

We are told that the thousands of Central American kids streaming into America aren’t really illegal aliens, that, instead, they’re refugees from those Central American countries where the drug cartels rule. My brainstorm is that we stop worrying about Muslims killing Muslims in the Middle East and, instead, send our military to Honduras, Salvador and Guatemala, to wipe out their gangsters. Then the kids could safely return to where they came from.

Simultaneously, we could send the National Guard into Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Newark and Washington, D.C., to clean out our own gangs. Even Rand Paul couldn’t object to employing the military to defeat our native-born enemies, and make inner-city neighborhoods safe for law-abiding citizens.

Secretary of State John (“Mr. Ed”) Kerry and his European cohorts like to pretend that they are making progress with Iran because that is what negotiators, otherwise known as eunuchs with diplomatic immunity, do. I mean, everyone knows that you don’t need plutonium for any benign use of nuclear energy. But these lunkheads are so desperate to make it appear they’re earning their salaries and all those fancy meals at five star restaurants, that they’ve mastered the art of turning a blind eye to the 800-pound Islamic gorilla defecating in the middle of the room.

In the meantime, Barack Obama announces that we live in a world that has rarely been so tranquil. But, to be fair, that is probably how it appears to someone who spends his life on uncrowded golf courses or being surrounded by adoring acolytes at $30,000-a-plate fund-raisers.

It continues to astonish me how little coverage the media expends when the Palestinians fire rockets into Israel and how much moral outrage they muster when Israel, inevitably portrayed as the aggressor in the world press, eventually strikes back.

Inasmuch as warning civilians to evacuate buildings before a bombing also serves to alert the terrorists, these pathetic attempts by Israel to generate sympathy for their cause strike me as the height of foolishness. For one thing, the anti-Semitic American and European media will never be won over. For another, the terrorists in Gaza and the West Bank don’t wear uniforms, so, in a sense, the Palestinians are always able to maintain that even those firing missiles into Israel are civilians.

For the life of me, I have never understood why for the longest time, both Israel and the United States have refused to go into battle with the idea of winning a war and, instead, are only too happy to play for a tie.

At least Israel has never lacked for politicians who have had the ability to succinctly voice the differences between themselves and their enemies, and who also happen to speak English better than our own. It was Prime Minister Golda Meir who said that she hoped that one day “the Arabs would love their children more than they hate ours.” It was Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Abba Eban, who, in reference to peace negotiations between the two people, pointed out that “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” And it is the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently noted that “We’re using missile defenses to protect our citizens and they’re using their citizens to protect their missiles.”

The Democrats always respond to any mention of Obama’s plummeting approval numbers by pointing out that the numbers for Congress are even worse. That’s even sillier than comparing apples to oranges, which at least are both fruits. While it’s true that most people hold Congress in contempt, they tend to like their own representative. That’s why incumbents usually win re-election. The exception to that rule is when the people feel the president is doing a particularly lousy job, which explains why the Democrats not only lost control of the House and five seats in the Senate over the past four years, but why Obama is the only two term president in American history to garner fewer votes in his second election.

At this point, Obama is so toxic that the only way the Democrats have a chance of hanging on to the Senate is to cheat this November. They always cheat, but they will be more desperate than usual to keep Harry Reid in the driver’s seat. Therefore, they will not only cheat when counting the ballots, but will also use the more sophisticated approach of running one of their own in the general elections, a fraud who will self-identify as a Tea Party favorite, hoping to fool low information Republicans into splitting their votes. So if you happen to be one of those people who don’t follow politics religiously, do us all a big favor and stay home on Election Day.

The Senate Banking Committee is actually proposing legislation to secure home loans for the high risk (read: minority) community. This was the same sort of pandering that brought on the real estate bubble and the financial collapse of 2008. But, heck, that was all of six years ago, constituting ancient history so far as Harry Reid and the minority vote-trolling Democrats are concerned.

The other day I received a joke email that stated that Chicago is famous for three things: Pizza, Gangsters and Corrupt politicians. It concluded: One thing that can be said with certainly is that Obama is definitely not a pizza.

For my part, it occurred to me that Dinesh D’Souza titled his book and movie: “America: Where Would the World Be without Her?” and that a similar book could be titled “Barack Obama: Where Would the World Be without Him?” It would be a very short book, as the obvious answer is: a whole lot better off.

Finally, you may have heard that the Selective Services System mailed out 14,000 notices to Pennsylvania men born between 1893 and 1897. When I heard about it, I naturally assumed they were being notified that their appointments at the VA were finally being scheduled. It turned out they were being ordered to register for the draft.

A while back, TV recruiting commercials were telling us that the modern Army isn’t your father’s Army. No, I guess not. Apparently it’s your great-great-grandfather’s Army!

Burt’s Webcast is every Wednesday at Noon Pacific Time.
Tune in at K4HD.com His Call-in Number is: (818) 570-5443

©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.




The World Cup Runneth Over

I have no interest in soccer. Just as I have no interest in most events staged during the Olympics. And, frankly, I don’t get why any American feels the need to tune in every four years to watch the World Cup or synchronized swimming.

I just find it profoundly stupid to sit and watch a game played with a ball in which you can’t use your hands. I’m not suggesting it isn’t a display of great stamina, but so is the marathon. What’s more, as with soccer, marathon-running is a sport in which scoring is apparently frowned upon. But I don’t hear about a lot of people spending hours on end watching other people run 26 miles for no particular reason.

Still, when a car passed me here in L.A., at a time when both Mexico and the U.S. were still in competition, and the driver had two Mexican flags waving from his back window, I was infuriated. I had no way of knowing if the schmuck had snuck across the border or if his family had been in L.A. for a hundred years.

What I do know is that if you live here and get to take advantage of all this wonderful nation has to offer — even with Obama in the White House and Harry Reid running the Senate as his own personal fiefdom — you don’t root for the other guys. It’s just a matter of good manners, no matter who the other guys happen to be. And that’s the case even if the competition involves something as pointless –- both literally and figuratively — as soccer.

Speaking of things that annoy the heck out of me, I have never been able to figure out why people such as Cassius Clay, Lew Alcindor and Stokely Carmichael, decided that the best way to express their dislike of America was to change their names to Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kwame Ture. Anti-American bigotry is bad enough, but when you combine it with historical ignorance, you’re really establishing your credentials as a bottom-feeder. Is it possible that these three lunkheads were unaware of just who it was that was rounding up and placing the shackles on their ancestors in Africa? Could it be they simply didn’t recognize that their name-change was the equivalent of a Jew’s deciding to call himself Goering, Eichmann or Hitler?

On the other hand, when you think of the advantages they had by being born in the U.S., perhaps it was their way of expressing their appreciation to the Muslims and Arabs who even today are widely involved in the slave trade. Nah, I don’t think so, either.

I know that liberals take pride in being regarded as pacifists. But it’s worth noting that it was warfare that brought about our freeing ourselves from English rule; that it was warfare that freed the slaves in the South; and it was warfare that stopped Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in their bloody tracks. On the other hand, it’s war-fear that allowed the Soviet Union to gobble up and cannibalize Eastern Europe for half a century and is today allowing Islamic barbarianism to expand its disgusting domain.

Speaking of Muslims, it recently occurred to me that the followers of Muhammad are a lot like the typical American teenager. They’re full of false pride, otherwise known as self-esteem, although they have accomplished nothing, invented nothing and created nothing. And if it weren’t for what others have produced, Muslims wouldn’t even be able to blow up themselves and their innocent victims with those bombs to which they’ve become so addicted.

In the meantime, we have the president and his would-be successor continuing to make public spectacles of themselves. Barack Obama actually had the gall to announce: “By every economic measure, we are better off now than we were when I took office. You wouldn’t know it, but we are.” Now if he were speaking to Michelle, I might buy it, but apparently he was actually addressing the American people. Or “the folks,” as he likes to call us when what he really means is “you boneheaded suckers.”

Recently, I had call to send my friend Michael Medved an email, suggesting he stop telling his radio audience that Hillary Clinton is a nice person simply because he liked her when they were both at Yale. As I pointed out, that was four decades ago. She has since married Bill, been the First Lady of both Arkansas and the United States, been a senator, a secretary of state and become a multimillionaire.

It seemed to me that Medved was either being hopelessly naïve or going out of his way to let us all know that he had once been on a first-name basis with Mrs. Clinton, not that I would think that was something a conservative talk show host should ever brag about. As I reminded him, back in those days, he and I had both been registered Democrats. So why on earth would he imagine that she hadn’t changed even more dramatically than we had since those long ago school days?

This afternoon, when I tuned in to his show, I heard him proclaiming Hillary brilliant because she had been a successful lawyer. Well, for one thing, a person can be both a success in his or her chosen profession and an ignoramus. For another, calling her a successful lawyer is a lot like calling Barack Obama a constitutional scholar simply because that’s what he calls himself, or his wife a successful hospital administrator. Michelle was pulling down $350,000 at a Chicago hospital because her husband was an up-and-coming politician in the Illinois legislature.

As for Hillary, she married Bill when she was 27 years old. When she was 28, her husband became the governor of Arkansas. Does anyone, including Michael Medved, think you have to be Antonin Scalia to be a successful lawyer when your hubby is running the state?

Speaking of Mrs. Clinton, she keeps insisting that she and Bill accrued $150 million by “dint of hard work.” When you realize that these Herculean labors consisted of putting their names on books written by lesser mortals and delivering $250,000 speeches written by hacks to the various wolves of Wall Street they pretend to revile, you begin to wonder if Hillary has already gone into her folksy campaign mode and is pronouncing “didn’t” as “dint.” The fact is she hasn’t done a lick of actual work since completing her college thesis, a devotional dedicated to Chicago’s thuggish community organizer, Saul Alinsky.

Speaking of Alinsky, I got to see “America,” Dinesh D’Souza’s tribute to this nation, the other night. It is quite different from his earlier “2016: Obama’s America,” in which he exposed Obama as the anti-American creep he is. This time around, like the appreciative immigrant he happens to be, D’Souza both defends and lauds his adopted land in a way that most native-born Americans never would, lest they be regarded as cornball and labeled xenophobic.

D’Souza not only proves that America is not the oppressive, imperialistic, cesspool constantly condemned by the contemptible likes of Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Michael Moore, Jeremiah Wright, Mr. Alinsky and, unfortunately, Barack Hussein Obama, but that it remains, in spite of the traitors and haters among us, the shining city on the hill Ronald Reagan claimed it to be.

Burt’s Webcast is every Wednesday at Noon Pacific Time.
Tune in at K4HD.com His Call-in Number is: (818) 570-5443

©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.




“Impeachment, the VA & the NFL” and “Pandering Used To Be A Crime”

A very bright reader of mine wrote, calling for Obama’s impeachment. Although I share his concern for the harm the man has caused America and the world, I wouldn’t like to see the GOP once again crawl out on that very precarious limb armed only with good intentions and a chainsaw.

As I see it, it is the one sure way the Republicans can blow the midterm elections. Most people don’t want to see election results, no matter how wrong-headed they are, overturned by sore losers. As we saw in Bill Clinton’s case, he became more popular than ever when people viewed him as a martyr. And in Obama’s case, in spite of a general dislike of his policies, the split when it comes to him personally is dead-even.

For another thing, the Senate Democrats would never vote to impeach Obama, so why should the Republicans blow a very good chance of sending Harry Reid out to pasture in November? Playing Russian roulette is always a very bad idea, especially when there are bullets in every chamber.

Whereas the GOP stands to make political hay out of Benghazi, the IRS and the VA scandals, an impeachment would essentially trivialize them. If you think the non-Fox media is ignoring these matters now, you can imagine what it would be like if they had an unpopular impeachment with which to distract the loons and zombies who make up a large segment of the voting public.

I say it is far better if Obama spends his final two years as the lamest of lame ducks, devoting his time to working on his golf game and signing book deals, than being in a position to place another Kagan or Sotomayor on the Supreme Court.

What makes Obama so incredibly vile has less to do with his various policies or even his appointing the likes of Van Jones, Valerie Jarrett, John Kerry, Kathleen Sebelius and Chuck Hagel, to positions of authority, but the zeal with which he has used hatred and envy to divide Americans. For nearly six years, he has done his utmost to ignite feuds between men and women, the rich and poor, whites and blacks, citizens and illegal aliens and even atheists and believers. Obama and his sock puppet sycophants claim to be pacifists at heart, but they only oppose war when it’s against America’s actual enemies in Russia, North Korea and the Islamic world.

What’s happening at the VA is shameful, but it is also inevitable. Once a federal bureaucracy is involved, the results are certain to be dreadful. It’s not because the people involved are all loathsome, but because they happen to be civil servants. As a result, they don’t feel the need to be personally responsible because they don’t share the same dread of being fired as those employed in the private sector.

That is why I second the motion that the VA should be terminated and that our military veterans should have the same health plans as members of Congress and those civil servants at the VA who apparently learned their book-keeping skills at the feet of those crooked accountants working for the Mafia.

Another solution to the problem of veterans having to wait months, even years, to receive medical treatment is for them to become criminals. I mean, you never hear of an imprisoned felon being denied healthcare, do you? Hell, convicted traitor Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning even gets to have a sex change operation, compliments of Uncle Sam. And as you may recall, Private Manning’s military service was pretty much limited to swiping state secrets.

On a related matter, someone recently sent me an email letting me know that he sympathized with those poor people who do the work that others refuse to do; are forced to trek endless miles in desert heat; are forced to live in cramped and unsanitary conditions among people who speak a foreign language; are sometimes separated from their loved ones for years at a time; and who, after all that, are expected to survive on a minimum wage The kicker is that he was referring not to illegal aliens, but to the members of our military.

Wouldn’t it just make sense if instead of wasting $360 billion-a-year providing aid and comfort to those sneaking across our border, we spent it offering solace to our vets and to rebuilding our diminished military?

A group of retired football players are now trying to gang-tackle the NFL, claiming that they became unknowingly addicted to pain killers because their former teams made them play with injuries they didn’t even know they had. While it’s true that my interest in professional football rivals my interest in macramé, but do these mugs really expect me to believe they didn’t know they had broken bones or that it wasn’t the fear of losing those multi-million dollar contracts that had them popping pills like peanuts? They just better hope I don’t wind up on the jury.

In conclusion, I wish to atone for the many insults I have directed at felines over the years. On occasion, I have even been guilty of comparing them to the French. Now, thanks to the heroics of Tara, the bewhiskered heroine who saved the little boy who was being mauled by a large dog, I must change my ways.

Although my first instinct was to suspect that Tara, knowing about all those surveillance cameras in the neighborhood, had bribed the dog to misbehave, I have concluded that my wife has been right all along and that some cats are every bit as admirable as most dogs.

So, a toast, ladies and gentlemen, to Tara, formerly renowned as Scarlett O’Hara’s plantation, but now a cat among cats, a credit to her species.

In fact, if I had my way, Tara would be flown to our nation’s capital, where her next heroic assignment would be to clear out the scores of rodents presently nesting in the White House.

PANDERING USED TO BE A CRIME

To get an idea of how vile and corrupt the Democrats are, you merely have to consider the five Democrats that Nancy Pelosi has appointed to Trey Gowdy’s special committee investigating the Benghazi massacre. Not one of them was among the seven House Democrats who voted to form the committee.

That means that not one of them had the slightest wish to find out why Ambassador Stevens didn’t receive the additional security he begged for; why the administration spent weeks blaming a silly video for the four deaths; why not a single terrorist has been brought to justice; or why Obama has stonewalled Congress for the past year and a half.

Instead, the five Democrats, including such liberal zealots as Elijah Cummings and Adam Schiff, have worked to derail earlier hearings. On top of which, Lanny Davis, lifelong consigliore of the Clintons, has announced he is putting together a “truth squad” whose job it will be to spin whatever facts the committee comes up with, the better to ensure Hillary’s coronation in 2016.

Because of all the other scandals landing at the feet of Obama, it is easy to lose sight of one of his biggest. That would be the red carpet that Obama and Eric Holder have rolled out for illegal aliens. Although they keep talking about 11 million illegals living in the shadows, anyone who doesn’t rely on decades-old statistics knows the number is certainly north of 20 million.

Recently, Congressman Joe Garcia (D-FL), shortly after being caught eating his own earwax, said that (allegedly) low crime rates in border cities with lots of immigration workers (aka illegal aliens) “is proof that communism works.”

Until we receive a lab analysis, we can’t actually prove Rep. Garcia wasn’t noshing on his own brain.

Speaking of people who should undergo brain scans in order to establish they actually have one, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg dared to compare black Republicans to those Jews who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII. The fact is that aside from his statement being vilely racist, the only actual similarity between the two groups is that their numbers are similarly infinitesimal.

If Mr. Steinberg wishes to come up with a better analogy, he should compare left-wing benefactor and one-time Nazi collaborator George Soros to such notable anti-Israelites as Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel and John Kerry.

When you consider the cowardice and intolerance displayed by one college after another as they take turns denying notable conservatives the opportunity to deliver commencement addresses and collect honorary degrees, you come to better understand why a four-year degree is called a BS.

It’s one thing to be cowardly, another to be stupid. It’s a given that political candidates don’t tend to be the most noble of individuals, but how is it that we wind up with Republican Senate candidates like the woman in Oregon who has a record of stalking an ex-husband and an ex-boyfriend and some cluck in Kentucky who makes campaign stops at cock fights and dog fights, and then defends the events as part of the American tradition?

For that matter, how does Dinesh D’Souza, who has made his distaste for Obama crystal clear in his writings and his films, then do something as dumb as break the campaign laws by using other people to conceal his illegal contributions to a friend running for the New York Senate? The fact that his friend lost her election only compounds the arrogance and stupidity.

I know that a lot of people, including conservatives, like Michelle Obama. I’m not one of those people. Like the symbol of the Republican Party, I never forget. In her case, one of the things I’ll never forget is that this ungrateful recipient of Affirmative Action announced that until her husband won the nomination in 2008, she had never been proud of America.

And I, for one, am getting sick and tired of the First Nanny telling everyone what they should eat. The result of her campaign is that schools are being forced to provide lunches that are salt-free, fat-free and, essentially, taste-free. Quite predictably, tens of millions of dollars in tax-provided food is being dumped in school trash bins, proving once again that you can lead a kid to broccoli, but you can’t make him eat the stuff.

Heck, Michelle can’t even get her own husband to toe the line. Every time I see him feeding his face, it’s either a cheeseburger or an ice cream cone. The truth is that his choice of food is the only thing about him that I recognize as being even slightly in sync with American values.

Like the ghost that showed Ebenezer Scrooge how bleak his future would be unless he changed his ways, the scandal swirling around the Veterans Administration is showing us in graphic terms what the future holds for all of us under ObamaCare.

Anyone who believes the federal government can run anything anywhere but into the ground can start out by explaining how a monopoly such as the Postal Service can continue losing money when they’re allowed to charge half a buck to deliver a one-page letter half a mile away.

Speaking of money, I think I see a way out of perpetual poverty for the poor and a way to cut down on the taxes the rest of us have to kick in to perpetuate the loony welfare system. Instead of adopting highways or the occasional African baby, I think Hollywood celebrities and other wealthy liberals should start adopting poor Americans and taking them into their homes. When you consider the size of the places the likes of Arianna Huffington, George Clooney, Warren Buffet, George Soros, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Ted Turner and Al Gore, call home, they probably wouldn’t even notice another eight or nine freeloaders sharing their digs.

And, best of all, even if they did, they’d be afraid to complain, lest their addle-headed colleagues got the idea they lacked the compassion gene or, worse yet, began to suspect them of being closet conservatives.

Burt’s Webcast is every Wednesday at Noon Pacific Time.
Tune in at K4HD.com His Call-in Number is: (818) 570-5443

©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.