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28 December 2014


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Col. Yes, the GOP is notoriously grateful and open handed when crimes committed by their leadership are publicly "forgiven." Think there's any chance that all those incarcerated (by the feds) for the sale/use of recreational drugs in the Old Dominion could be liberated, too?
What about the General Assembly? Might these open handed and generous folks be prevailed upon to set free those wrongfully imprisoned? What about putting Lady Macbeth (for that's how the Gov.'s folks [Southren gentlemen all] have characterized Maureen from early in the process)into some mental facility, to give the deal at least the appearance of serving justice, without regard for class or capital holdings?


Pirate Laddie

"Lady Macbeth" sounds about right to me and her children. pl

different clue

Pardoning Governor McDonnell could well be the right thing to do for its own sake. If so, I would hope Obama does it for that reason in isolation.

The cooperation Obama seeks from Republicans is cooperation to achieve things which are bad for the country. He wants Republican help in getting the Free Trade Treason Agreements ( TPP, TTIP, etc.) passed over the dead political bodies of whatever Democrats may genuinely oppose these agreements. He wants another try at cutting Social Security and setting it up for eventual privatization. He wants to further cement Obamacare into place and prepare it for the eventual transformation into pure Heritage Care which the Republicans will devote themselves to upon taking all three Branches. I would rather see the gridlock hatred between Obama and those Republicans who dislike him personally continue and deepen.
For the sake of the national body political-economic I have to try making a living in, and for the sake of the Social Security which I have been paying into all this time as a partial guarantee of dignified austerity in my old age. Obama wants the Republicans to help him take those things away from me and destroy my future. I hope he never gets that help.


"Lady Macbeth" never struck me as a character worthy of Portia's Solmonic judgement and wisdom. That said, there do seem to be a fair number of pardons and commutations of sentences by many I would not deem worthy of Portia's judgement from Nixon to Rich to Libby to name just several spanning the two parties.

robt willmann

Here are some pardons and commutations granted by president Obama.

December 17, 2014--


December 19, 2013--


March 1, 2013--


November 21, 2011--


May 20, 2011--


December 3, 2010--


I read somewhere that Obama was being pretty stingy with pardons, and that Mitt Romney, when governor of Massachusetts, had pardoned maybe zero.

I found it on Mitt Romney. Here he is in an interview saying that he pardoned no one when he was governor of Massachusetts; starting at 8 minutes, 38 seconds to 9 min., 57 sec. of the video--


Fortunately, Romney did not win the presidential election in 2012. He is a man ignorant of what happens in the application of criminal law and procedure in the judicial system.



So, its all or nothing for you. Republicans ruined Christianity for you? All prisoners should be released if any are to be pardoned? Southern gentlemen are to be scorned as hypocrites? Are the Democrats not too moderate for you? Is McCauliffe the political schemer and friend of Wall street not too impure for you or are you just too extreme for real life? pl


No, Col. Republicans ruined the foundations of democratic politics for me. I was involved in several GOP acts of political malfeasance and betrayal back in the late 60's and have been particularly sensitive to similar actions in the decades since.
I see no relation between politics and Christianity -- politics and morality or ethics, sure, but not a particular flavor of religious poison. I've known more than a few (I was going to say "enough") "Southren gentlemen" and they are generally no more (or less) hypocritical than those from other parts of the country, more the pity.
I've a soft spot in my heart (some might say my head) for rapscallions and scoundrels, and my few job-related encounters with William Jefferson Clinton, both during & after his years in the WH, have left me deeply torn over the betrayal of the working and lower classes engineered by his DLC and the concomitant surrender of America to the oligarchs that dominate both political parties.
I fear you may feel otherwise regarding the desirability of a return to a non-financialized and less cosmopolitan political atmosphere. And yeah, I may well be too extreme for real life -- or what passes for it in these end days.


Pirate Laddie

I am deleting the last paragraph. I agree that it is simply the right thing to do and politics should not enter into it. As for me, all I still believe in is summed up in "Dover Beach." De financialize life? My God be still my heart. SWMBO complains because if "Shark Tank" comes on the boob tube I leave the room. I spent ten years in international business and hated every day of it. I was good at it and am ashamed for that. I chose public service for a life but was driven out after 32 years by careerist enemies. I now see you more clearly. pl


Well, "definancialize" the business side of life, including politics -- a return to making things rather than monetary ("bankerish") shenanigans. Glad to be of service & I agree with you about "Shark Tank," there's enough of that off the screen.


I am sorry but I just do not see why President Obama would pardon this couple before they served any of their sentence.

I did not follow this case much but have picked up some illuminating information from Wikipedia and the National Journal.

Mr McDonnell spent many years in government and politics, he's a attorney and served as Virginia's Attorney General, he himself accepted sizable gifts and his daughter says that his wife had known problems for years.

The National Journal says the governor accepted

"a personally engraved $6,000 Rolex watch.

In exchange, a Virginia Cabinet member testified that Williams was given unusual access to the governor's office."


"Federal prosecutors initially offered McDonnell a plea deal, which would have convicted McDonnell on just one count of felony fraud and avoided any charges for his wife. McDonnell rejected the offer."


Wikipedia notes the usual denial of all charges (even though $120,000 was paid back)" "In 2013, McDonnell repaid more than $120,000 to Williams and apologized for bringing "embarrassment" to the state. McDonnell insisted he did not break the law and vowed to fight "these false allegations." It also mentions the sentencing recommendation: "Senior U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer has set sentencing for January 6, 2015. The US Probation Office has recommended sentencing between 10 years and 1 month to 12 years and 7 months."


McDonnell had his chance for a single charge against him.

Didn't he gamble and lose? If 10-12.5 years is excessive, I don't think that 0 time served is right either. Who else would be offered that under the circumstances?

By the way, we have a similar "No I didn't - Yes I did" case up by me, a Congressional Rep. Grimm who had denied the many charges against him in connection with a failed business; denied all; said he'd resign if convicted; just put in a plea and now refuses to resign because, he says, the things he's accused of happened before he got to Congress.

It's the same story, replayed over and over by people in both parties.


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You are devoid of compassion. PL

ex-PFC Chuck

Different Clue:
I wholeheartedly with your framing of the three so-called "trade agreements" as Free Trade Treason Agreements. They call for the abject surrender of broad swaths of what has heretofore been the sovereignty of the United States, at both the federal and state levels, to large corporations. It's mind boggling that the support for these negotiations, which are being undertaken in great secrecy, are almost unanimously supported by both Republican caucuses in Congress, considering that their party is the one most outspoken on sovereignty issues. Not that there isn't considerable support for them on the other side of the aisle as well, but at least there's some vocal opposition there.

Just within the past few days a big chunk of the draft text of the least known of these three abominations, the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA), was leaked and it's appalling on many levels. Here's a link to an overview of it:

different clue


If President Obama were to pardon Governor and First Lady McDonnell . . . and nobody else, then that question would occur to others and with growing force. So even in the terms of your comment, pardoning the McDonnells alone now could become a chance-raiser over time for those other potential pardons of which you write.

Certainly, if the McDonnells are not pardoned, the chances of those other pardons ever being granted will not be thereby improved.

nick b


You are such a passionate defender and advocate for the Commonwealth, that I am surprised you would give a pass on lawful punishment to the McDonnells after the disgrace they brought to Virginia and what you once described to me as "Mr. Jefferson's seat". I see no benefit to society in a lengthy incarceration of the McDonnells, but surely some sentence is deserved. Is it not?


No I am not devoid of compassion.

I just do not see anything here that makes these defendants so special that they should receive a presidential pardon without doing a day of prison time.

The cost of US elections and the burden of raising money is simply crushing and is ruining our democracy and governmental functioning. Taking care of the people and actual governance have taken a backseat that is so far distant from the Money in the front seat in many cases that they are all but forgotten.

Running for office has become a truly terrible experience, as far as I can tell. That means more and more candidates who have the ability and willingness to go through the election gauntlet will turn out to have character and ethical failings or Achilles heels of some sort.

I would like us to do things that would reduce the chances that we have more Gov. McDonnells coming to grief in the future.


Regrettably, we live in a zero tolerance society. Mercy is viewed as weakness.

"...in forgiving one is forgiven..."

The Moar You Know

Hmmm. Really torn about this.

We are a society of laws, first and foremost. Contemplate purchasing real property in a nation that does not have rule of law as a central principle and you'll quickly come to see the value in maintaining the rule of law.

A great many problems with the Republic today can be traced to the catastrophic decision to pardon Nixon. Lawbreaking by those in trusted positions should never be forgiven and we are, as a society, are far poorer for having done so back in 1975.

McDonnell did commit crimes, and I find the decision to go with the "blame the bitch" stratagem (as it has been known for a long time in one of my former fields of employment) is despicable at best. Mr. McDonnell could have chosen to act as a man and a guardian of his marriage. He, if what is being asserted is true, abdicated both roles.

On the other hand, I see literally no, as in zero, gain to society by sending this guy to prison. I'd be far happier if there was simply a way for him to never be eligible for public office or service again and leave it at that.

I'd prefer to see a conditional pardon, with the conditions I outline above regarding public office, granted to McDonnell, but it should be by Virginia's governor and not the President. The President of the United States should not be involved in what was a state crime, unless the state demonstrates an abject failure to deliver justice. This has not been proven to be the case yet.

I must weigh in with a comment that the idea that such a pardon would somehow improve Obama's relations with the GOP is hopelessly naive. The GOP, in the person of Mitch McConnell, made their stance with regard to President Obama quite clear in the first week of his taking office. When you open relations by flying Santa Anna's red flag, there's really no room for either party to maneuver after that step has been taken. I understand that McConnell was upset at the time, but some things take on a life of their own and simply cannot be unsaid.

There's not going to be any conciliation between the two, nor should there be.


The Moar You Know

The McDonnells were tried and convicted in federal district court for a federal crime. pl

cville reader

I have a lot of sympathy for the McDonnell family--particularly the children. I am not so sure that Mrs. McDonnell has mental problems, but I believe she was the instigator for most of the charges. She always seemed a rather inappropriate first lady to me.

I wonder though, if many people would even be discussing a pardon if the tables were turned-- say, for example, if the governor was a woman, and her husband's business dealings had led to corruption charges.

Somehow, I think not.


cville reader

Maureen McDonnell had no "business dealings" with the business creep. She foolishly accepted gifts from him and her husband even more foolishly let her do it. pl

Bob R

The quality of mercy will remain very strained.

McDonnell has done no more and no less than all politicians who provide access to donors and promote the products of their constituents. I recently went to a fundraiser for a US Senator from Virginia who unabashedly provided his donors with Virginia whiskey from Purcellville, Virginia barbecue from the Southside and Virginia wines from Albermarle (all donated t0, and promoted by the politician, of course).

McDonnell accepted gifts, to be sure, but there is no evidence that either he or his wife ever asked for them as the "quid" for the "quo". This was an error of judgement and an ethical lapse, but not a crime.

There is most likely little chance that Obama will pardon McDonnell. McDonnell has been abandoned by Republicans who almost knocked out a sitting US Democratic Senator from Virginia with the McDonnell issue having no impact on the voting electorate. He has never had any relationship with Obama, can not provide funding for Obama's presidential library a la Marc Rich, and I can not see the President lifting a finger for him. No "gentle rain" will fall upon his brow to wipe away the stain.

Nancy K

I don't feel I'm heartless either and I don't feel either should be pardoned at this time. They are a lot of men and women in prisons all over the country who did not live the good life as the McDonnell's did and could not afford good attorneys as they did. I would rather see a young person who was sentenced to long prisons sentences for marijuana use pardoned than these two. And believe me it has nothing to do with the fact that they are Republicans and I am a Democrat. I feel any politician who thinks is is okay to take bribes or gifts illegally should pay the price for it.


I am a Virginia citizen, voter, and taxpayer. I agree with you - the McDonnell's did what they did and had the luxury of great legal defense and guidance. If the rule of law still retains a shred of meaning, they must serve some time. There are hundreds of people convicted or who plead out (regardless of actual guilt or innocence) to comparatively minor violations (including drug violations) every year that end up doing harsh sentences. Perhaps deservedly, perhaps not. But for well-educated and groomed leadership figures to be pardoned without serving time would be an injustice and an affront to hardworking play-by-the-rules types and run-of-the-mill offenders alike. Where is the mercy for everyone else?

different clue

ex-PFC Chuck,

Thank you. I feel a little more hopeful and a little less lonely to find the thoughts of others running in similar directions. The blog Naked Capitalism has been following the TPP and TTIP for some time now, and the TISA just lately; with as much granularity of detail as is possible given the conspiratorial cone of silence maintained around the secret negotiations towards these secret agreements. NaCap's analysts and commenters are deeply hostile to these agreements, as am I.

When McConnell and Boehner talk about the possibility of bipartisan cooperation with the Democrats on certain issues, they mean bipartisan cooperation between the BigBiz Republicans and the Wall Street Democrats to achieve these agreements the way Obama wants and the way Obama expects to be handsomely rewarded for after leaving office. There are some "Democratic" Democrats who affect to oppose these agreements, but who knows if that pose is more than just a pose? There are some Tea Party Republicans who oppose these agreements for genuine reasons of National Sovereignty and Economic Independence.
I suppose the first battle line will be drawn at Fast Track, which the Free Trade Conspirators desperately want in order to prevent any skeptical Congressfolk from publicly discussing any particular aspect of these secretly negotiated agreements once they have been signed.
The Pelosis among us will say "we have to pass it to find out what's in it" just as they said of Obamacare. So Fast Track would be the first thing to try preventing for now. (I realize this is drifting pretty far away from the issue of pardoning Governor and First Lady McDonnell).



I am pleased to see that you describe yourself as a Virginia "citizen," because it is thus that you are described in the US Constitution. I think that Bob R and I (he is an old friend) do not see that what the McDonnells did as having been properly designated as a federal crime. I see this as being an instance of the criminalization of politics. This is in gross contrast to someone who dealt drugs, embezzled, murdered, etc. pl

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