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  #21  
Unread 01-20-2021, 09:35 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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My amoral former Congressmember is exactly the kind of person whom Trump would (and did) pardon. Whistleblowers like Snowden, not so much.

Trump’s 11th hour pardon of Duke Cunningham called ‘total disgrace’

Quote:
Ron Nehring, who was the chairman of the county Republican Party when Cunningham was prosecuted in 2005, blasted the move on Twitter.

“Providing a pardon to former Congressman Duke Cunningham is a total disgrace,” Nehring wrote. “I was San Diego GOP Chairman at the time. Cunningham sold his office in the sleaziest of ways, and lied about it to everyone. ‘Drain the Swamp.’ Yeah, right.”

Jon Fleischman, the former executive director of the California Republican Party and now the publisher of the website FlashReport, was also critical of the Cunningham pardon. “This SOB literally sold out America for cash, betraying his oath and our country,” he wrote on Twitter. “He didn’t deserve a pardon. He deserved to live in shame until the end of his days. Makes me sick to my stomach.”

Cunningham is now retired and living in Arkansas, where he moved after being released from prison in 2013 after serving an eight-year prison sentence for accepting bribes. He did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.

He pleaded guilty in 2005 to conspiracy and tax evasion. Cunningham admitted receiving $2 million in bribes that included lavish meals, fancy trips and other gifts as well as cash from defense contractors. In return he used his position in Congress to steer government contracts their way.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 01-20-2021 at 09:39 PM.
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  #22  
Unread 01-21-2021, 06:54 PM
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Kevin Rainbow Kevin Rainbow is offline
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I know Duke Cunningham very personally because I read about him in the news, and the news always knows what's best about a person, for example, the worst thing the person ever did. The news helps us treat a person as what he really is - a personification of a bad thing he did in the past, instead of the real fullspectrum human he is in the present.

It's impossible that Trump, or Duke's family, or anyone else could possibly know more about him than the news would report, any good, redeeming qualities, by which they could think him worthy of forgiveness. If they do find something good, that just means that they are evil too. Only someone who isn't approved by unbiased anti-trump factcheckers would think otherwise, namely a conspiracy theorist who is about to become a terrorist and therefore should be censored.
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  #23  
Unread 01-21-2021, 09:47 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Rainbow View Post
I know Duke Cunningham very personally because I read about him in the news, and the news always knows what's best about a person, for example, the worst thing the person ever did. The news helps us treat a person as what he really is - a personification of a bad thing he did in the past, instead of the real fullspectrum human he is in the present.

It's impossible that Trump, or Duke's family, or anyone else could possibly know more about him than the news would report, any good, redeeming qualities, by which they could think him worthy of forgiveness. If they do find something good, that just means that they are evil too. Only someone who isn't approved by unbiased anti-trump factcheckers would think otherwise, namely a conspiracy theorist who is about to become a terrorist and therefore should be censored.
We judge officials based on their actions. And a damned good thing, too. The alternative is to let those who are supposed to represent us do whatever they want without consequences.
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  #24  
Unread 01-22-2021, 02:13 AM
Brian Allgar Brian Allgar is offline
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Kevin, "He pleaded guilty in 2005 to conspiracy and tax evasion." I don't recall his lawyers pleading the fact that he was "a fullspectrum human being" in extenuation. How remiss of them!
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  #25  
Unread 01-22-2021, 09:47 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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"Cunningham admitted receiving $2 million in bribes that included lavish meals, fancy trips and other gifts as well as cash from defense contractors. In return he used his position in Congress to steer government contracts their way."

Kevin has a point about the fullspectrum thing. Cunningham did not merely take millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for steering millions of dollars of government contracts to his co-conspirators, but he also was the kind of guy who enjoyed fancy trips and lavish meals. Knowing that sort of humanizes him, doesn't it? There's a depth there that we shouldn't overlook.
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  #26  
Unread 01-22-2021, 10:21 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Oh yes, Duke Cunningham seems a delightful chap. From 1995:

https://youtu.be/5M2SQzA363A

Also, look at Bernie go! What a fucking legend.
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  #27  
Unread 01-22-2021, 12:57 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Kevin, perhaps it escaped your notice that the conservative Republicans [whose condemnations of their fellow conservative Republican, Duke Cunningham,] I quoted above are all, at least until recently, VERY strong Trump supporters.

They are criticizing Trump's pardon of Duke because they put their personal reputations on the line by defending Duke [and by characterizing the accusations against him as a politically motivated smear character assassination]--only to discover that Duke had lied to them and made them look like fools. [And they have also been concerned that going to prison didn't seem to have taught him any respect for the law.]

Not all negative press about conservative Republicans is a hit job by liberals, Kevin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Rainbow View Post
I know Duke Cunningham very personally because I read about him in the news, and the news always knows what's best about a person, for example, the worst thing the person ever did. The news helps us treat a person as what he really is - a personification of a bad thing he did in the past, instead of the real fullspectrum human he is in the present.
Kevin, forgiveness is a lot easier when there's at least a pretense of public contrition and repentance on the part of the offender. Duke hasn't even done that. He has remained shameless in every sense of the word. So yes, forgiveness is a struggle in this case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Rainbow View Post
It's impossible that Trump, or Duke's family, or anyone else could possibly know more about him than the news would report, any good, redeeming qualities, by which they could think him worthy of forgiveness. If they do find something good, that just means that they are evil too.
Duke's family didn't seem to have much positive to say about him, either.

The 2006 interview that Nancy Cunningham gave to tell-all queen Kitty Kelley has since been taken down, probably due to legal reasons. But portions of it were reported at the time:

Quote:
Cunningham said she has stopped taking many of her husband's calls from prison, but revealed that he now “claims he's innocent, that he's been railroaded by the government, that he shouldn't be in prison. He says he signed the plea agreement under duress.”
Note the complete lack of contrition on Duke's part. Textbook narcissism. Everything is someone else's fault. Never his own.

Not that Nancy Cunningham seems a much nicer person than her husband:

Quote:
In the interviews, the 54-year-old Cunningham laments the abrupt change in her life wrought by the scandal in which her husband admitted accepting more than $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. Instead of her five-bedroom, eight-bathroom Rancho Santa Fe home, she now lives with her 87-year-old mother in a small bungalow in an unspecified San Diego neighborhood described by one of her lawyers as “a real dump,” according to the article.
Wow. It's a shame that in rosier times, she never thought to fix up the "dump" that her elderly mother was living in.

But I digress:

Quote:
Her bitterness toward the former congressman is clear, most obviously from her insistence on referring to her estranged spouse as “Mr. Cunningham.” She told Kelley: “It's mentally distancing. As far as I'm concerned, he no longer really exists.”
Perhaps Duke's serial adultery was a factor in that bitterness. (Again, the shamelessness is staggering. Duke made a career of claiming to be Christian and being publicly outraged at the damage that homosexuality was supposedly doing to the institution of marriage, while regarding his own infidelities and the sexual assaults by the Tailhook scandal's aggressors as simply normal, excusable male behavior. Hypocrisy, much? As I recall, Jesus wasn't all that keen on religious hypocrisy.)

I do note that not even Trump could stomach giving Duke a full pardon. He's still supposed to pay the money back.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 01-22-2021 at 06:47 PM. Reason: Clarification in first two paragraphs
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