Sunday, 12 July 2020

posse commutatus

In a further signalling of the end of the judicial branch as an independent, meaningful entity for the American polity, Donald Trump announced that he would commute the sentence of his long-time political operative and cartoon villain Roger Stone (previously)—who was convicted for obstruction of justice during a congressional inquiry into foreign meddling in the US electoral process—with Trump’s aside, a stage-whisper confirming that he ordered a cyberattack during the 2018 mid-terms against Russia’s Internet Research Agency, something which was probably not meant for public disclosure but nothing matters and Trump probably felt sharing this offensive maneuver justified freeing his dirty bag friends while undermining the justice system further.
These pro forma courts and show-trials are the underpinnings of a dictatorship and is not just establishing one set of rules for allies and another standard for opponents, but is moreover making law and enforcement arbitrary and subject to petty whims and flattery, not what legal standards are meant to be at all in a functioning and robust society.  While this pardoning does not vacate Stone’s conviction or vindicate his behaviour, it does mean that he will spend no time in prison—ostensibly a dangerous place for one of an advanced age with COVID-19 ravishing the inmate population, though it’s perfectly safe for children to return to schools for the academic year in the fall with no plans in place to make the institutions safe for students. The commissioner really needs to flash the Bat Signal right now.