Roger Stone asked for a judge’s removal. It may be more fuel for a Trump pardon, experts say. “You knew this was coming”

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                   los cabrónes

Climate change is drying up the Colorado River, putting millions at risk of ‘severe water shortages’ ~ CNN

The Colorado River — which provides water to more than 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles — has seen its flow dwindle by 20 percent compared to the last century, and scientists have found that climate change is mainly to blame.

The Colorado River wraps around Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona. A new study finds that this vital river is in grave danger due to rising temperatures.

The researchers found that more than half of the decline in the river’s flow is connected to increasing temperatures, and as warming continues, they say the risk of “severe water shortages” for the millions that rely on it is expected to grow.
For each 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit of warming averaged across the river’s basin, the study found that its flow has decreased by nearly 10%. Over the course of the 20th and early 21st centuries, the region has already warmed by an average of roughly 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
The study also examined the impact that action to curb pollution of heat-trapping gases could have on the river’s water supply.
Some decrease in the flow is likely no matter what actions are taken, but without any cuts to emissions, the report says the river’s discharge could shrink by between 19% and 31% by the middle of this century.

Scientists say climate change is mainly to blame for declines in the Colorado River's flow.

The study — conducted by US Geological Survey scientists Chris Milly and Krista A. Dunne and published Thursday in the journal Science — adds urgency to efforts to protect one of the country’s most vital rivers.
The Colorado River starts high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming, before snaking its way across the Southwest on its way to the Gulf of California.
But by the time it arrives there, its flow is reduced to a trickle, says Brad Udall, a senior climate scientist at Colorado State University who has studied the Colorado River basin for 30 years.
En route, water is diverted to supply major cities like Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego, as well as farms in the US and Mexico that grow the vegetables that feed millions around the world.
All told, Milly and Dunne say the river supports around $1 trillion of economic activity each year.
“Without this river, American cities in the Southwest would dry up and blow away,” Udall said.
However, the river’s problems start well before it reaches people’s faucets.
Global warming is taking a severe toll on the snowpack that feeds the river, the scientists found. As temperatures increase, snow cover in the region is declining, meaning less energy from the sun is reflected back into space and more warms the ground as heat.
This triggers a vicious cycle that leads to even more evaporation and therefore, less water supply.

Colorado River under pressure: How long can it keep flowing?

The river’s flow has also been diminished by a severe drought that’s spanned much of the last two decades, leaving its two main reservoirs — Lake Powell and Lake Mead — barely half full.
Access to the Colorado River’s water has long been a contentious issue among the seven states that rely on it.
Last year, a new deal was reached that will govern the rights to it until 2026, but Udall says negotiations will get under way later this year to determine how to divvy up the water in a drier, more arid future.
Udall says these new findings show that the only way to save the river is by addressing the root cause of the problem: climate change.
“The science is crystal clear — we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions immediately,” he says. “We now have the technologies, the policies and favorable economics to accomplish greenhouse gas reductions. What we lack is the will.”
~~~~
The Colorado River winds its way along the West Rim of the Grand Canyon in the Hualapai Indian Reservation on Jan. 10, 2019, near Peach Springs, Arizona.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The Colorado River winds its way along the West Rim of the Grand Canyon in the Hualapai Indian Reservation on Jan. 10, 2019, near Peach Springs, Arizona. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The 4 Most-Brutal Moments for Mike Bloomberg During the Nevada Debate ~ RollingStone

The billionaire had his ass handed to him in his first showdown against his fellow candidates

Democratic Presidential candidate, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, looks on at the start of the ninth Democratic presidential debate at the Paris Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 19 February 2020.Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, USA - 19 Feb 2020

Mike Bloomberg looks on at the start of the ninth Democratic presidential debate, at the Paris Theater in Las Vegas.

ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

 

Mike Bloomberg made his debut on the debate stage Wednesday night. To put it kindly, it did not go well.

The former New York mayor has spent hundreds of millions of dollars of his personal fortune to buy his way into relevancy in the Democratic primary, but he appeared wholly unprepared for the onslaught of attacks from his fellow candidates in Las Vegas.

The field of Democrats essentially took turns teeing off on Bloomberg’s wealth, his history of sexual harassment, his Republican past, his racist mayoral tenure, and more. Bloomberg stumbled through retort after retort, drawing boos and groans from the audience on multiple occasions. Meanwhile, his opponents — particularly Elizabeth Warren, who landed several punishing blows — were cheered.

Here are four of the most notable exchanges.

1. Warren goes for the jugular out of the gate, calls Bloomberg an “arrogant billionaire”

Warren teased on Twitter earlier this week that she planned to go after Bloomberg in Las Vegas. She didn’t waste any time.

 

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

Marfa’s Answer to the Collapse of Local News: Coffee and Cocktails

 

Can drinks, community events and the occasional wedding subsidize small-town journalism?

The Sentinel is a cafe and cocktail bar that happens to have a newsroom attached to it.
Credit…Jessica Lutz for The New York Times

By

 

MARFA, Texas — When Landrie Moore was looking for a venue for her destination wedding, she knew she wanted a space that really reflected life in this small, remote desert town.

Her guests would be coming from as far as Ecuador and England, and Ms. Moore, 35, who works for a boutique hotel firm, hoped to provide a memorable and authentic experience for those travelers. When you visit a new place, she said in a phone interview, “you want to feel like a local.”

Which is why she decided to get married mere feet from the office of The Big Bend Sentinel, the region’s oldest newspaper (where I worked as a reporter in 2014 and 2015).

Ms. Moore’s wedding, in June, was the first of five held last year in the Sentinel, a cafe and cocktail bar in the newspaper’s newly renovated office building. The space is perhaps the most visible sign that The Big Bend Sentinel is under new ownership: Maisie Crow and Max Kabat, two transplants from New York, took over last year from Robert and Rosario Halpern, the paper’s publishers of 25 years.

“We kind of saw us in a way,” Mr. Halpern said of the couple.

Copies of the paper are spread throughout the retail space.
Credit…Jessica Lutz for The New York Times

 

“Buy a newspaper?” Mr. Kabat, 37, recalled thinking when the Halperns first approached him and Ms. Crow about a potential sale. “What are we, idiots?” Their background is in consulting and documentary filmmaking. (The New York Times is a producer of a forthcoming film by Ms. Crow.)

Since 2004, nearly 20 percent of local papers in the United States have folded or merged, according to a 2018 study by the Hussman School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina. In many cases, publishers have been replaced by a narrow network of large investment groups that have acquired hundreds of failing newspapers.

But Marfa is no ordinary town, and its newsweekly has been a pillar of the community for nearly a century — long before Marfa became cool. The Big Bend Sentinel’s pages are pasted up with major issues of the day (the death of Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court justice, on a nearby luxury ranch, for example, and the possibility of a border wall just 60 miles away) alongside valedictorian announcements, photo spreads of homecoming events and advance coverage of the town’s many festivals.

Before Mr. Kabat and Ms. Crow took over, the paper ran solely on an ad sales and subscriptions. “It was able to sustain itself on a shoestring, but we wanted to expand the potential,” Ms. Crow, 38, said. They hoped to bring locals closer, physically, to the institution covering their hometown.

So they bought the building previously occupied by Padre’s, a dive bar that went out of business in 2016, and before that, a funeral home, and began renovations.

“We had to sage the whole place,” said Callie Jenschke, whom the couple hired to handle interior design.

The paper’s publishers wanted to create a space where locals could work and tourists could recharge.
Credit…Jessica Lutz for The New York Times

 

She recognized that there was a familiar Marfa aesthetic that tourists had come to want and expect — “a nomadic austerity mixed with the warmth of the desert,” in her words — and married that with Scandinavian influences, including concrete floors and Hans Wegner chairs, while preserving the original adobe brick and plaster walled facade.

All the furniture had to be movable and multifunctional, Ms. Jenschke said, “because they didn’t really know how it was going to be used.” It could be a co-working space, Mr. Kabat and Ms. Crow thought initially, then decided a subscription model would go against their goal of inclusivity.

Instead, they landed on a cafe/bar where locals could work and tourists could recharge. They would rent the kitchen space to local cooks to serve food throughout the day. And though they wouldn’t make money off the food itself, they could turn a profit on drinks. Eventually, there would be requests to rent the space for private events.

On a visit in the fall, the morning crowd lined up for coffee, served in hand-thrown clay mugs and with the option of organic oat milk. By early afternoon, the bar offered watermelon ranch waters for happy hour. Newspapers were scattered on the surfaces of the space.

Yep! They make newspapers here.
Credit…Jessica Lutz for The New York Times

 

Next door, the Big Bend Sentinel’s staff squeezed into a dimly lit room just a fraction of the Sentinel’s size. Now and then, the two full-time reporters dropped into the cafe to refill their mugs.

A relic of the old office remains: a neon sign spelling out “newspaper.” In the evenings, when the light is turned on, the office glows red from within.

Sometimes the reporters work out of the Sentinel, which functions as a kind of public square. “It’s a great way to keep my finger on the pulse and get new leads and find stories,” said Abbie Perrault, 27, the managing editor.

For legal reasons, Ms. Crow and Mr. Kabat have decided to keep the businesses separate on paper. In Texas, any business with a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission license for serving alcohol is subject to warrantless searches by law enforcement, and they didn’t want to take that risk with the newsroom.

Max Kabat and Maisie Crow, the publishers of The Big Bend Sentinel, opened the cafe/bar to subsidize the paper’s operational costs and bring the community closer to its reporting.
Credit…Jessica Lutz for The New York Times

 

Still, the couple sees the Sentinel as a natural extension of the paper. During editorial meetings, the staff discusses greenlighting private events. When a political candidate asked to rent the space to host a meet-and-greet, they declined, concerned it might violate the ethics of the newspaper.

Since Ms. Crow and Mr. Kabat took over, they have expanded the newspaper’s digital platform, which has seen a 7 percent increase in traffic, Mr. Kabat said, and broadened its photographic coverage. At the newspaper’s sister publication, The International, which the couple also owns and which serves the largely Spanish-speaking neighboring border town of Presidio, every article is now translated into Spanish. They added a crossword puzzle and Sudoku to both papers, too.

The newspapers still sell ads, which account for the majority of revenue. But with additional income from private events and day-to-day drink sales, the publishers have been able to keep yearly subscription costs steady: $50 for area residents and $60 for anyone outside.

“If people come in and buy a coffee and buy something from our shop, rent the space, buy a cocktail, whatever it is, their dollar isn’t just going to that,” Ms. Crow said. “Their dollar is going to support something larger.”

The Energy 202: Utah’s Slickrock Trail is ‘the most famous bike trail in the world.’ The Trump administration may lease it for oil.

February 19 at 8:00 AM
THE LIGHTBULB

 

 

By Dino Grandoni and Juliet Eilperin

It’s one of the best-known mountain biking trails in the world. But the Trump administration may lease it for oil and natural gas drilling.

A preliminary proposal from the Bureau of Land Management to auction the right to drill under Utah’s Slickrock Trail has left cyclists, residents and even the state’s Republican governor wondering why the Trump administration is considering undercutting what has become a major source of tourism revenue for the region.

For more than half a century, the trail has drawn mountain bikers from around the world eager to ride its undulating and otherworldly sandstone hills.

“It really is the most famous bike trail in the world,” said Ashley Korenblat, chief executive of Western Spirit Cycling, a mountain bike outfitter based in the nearby city of Moab. “It was one of the first places that was really identified as an incredible place to ride a mountain bike.”

The nearly 6,600 acres that could be leased in June in southeast Utahrepresent just a fraction of the millions of acres of federal lands and waters the Trump administration has auctioned to oil and gas drillers in an effort to boost domestic energy production.

But the two proposed parcels in the Sand Flats Recreation Area, which surrounds the 9.6-mile bike trail, have sparked controversy in Utah’s Grand County even before the federal government starts accepting comments Thursday. The BLM has not yet finalized the list of parcels to be included in the June auction. And if offered, the two Sand Flats parcels would come with a stipulation requiring the lease holder to find a suitable location on nearby state-owned or private land from which to horizontally drill for the fossil fuels.

Trump ally and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is asking the BLM to defer leasing the two parcels, one of which would cover over 60 percent of the trail itself. “The Governor appreciates the unique beauty of the Slickrock area and wants to ensure that nothing is done that would be detrimental to the visitor experience or local water quality,” Herbert spokeswoman Anna Lehnardt said in a statement Tuesday.

“There are so many, many parcels in Grand County that have been leased for oil and gas that have not yet been developed,” Niehaus said. The five-member Moab City Council passed a resolution last month opposing leasing the two parcels in the Sand Flats.

 

Now those outside the county are taking notice. A group of 80 outdoors companies, including  Clif Bar and the backpack makers Kelty and Dakine, wrote in a letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that inclusion of the Slickrock Trail in the oil and gas auction was “an astounding move that threatens one of the most iconic recreation experiences in the country.”

In a statement Tuesday, BLM’s Moab field manager Nicollee Gaddis-Wyatt said the agency understands “that the public has concerns about some of the parcels that are currently under internal consideration” for the June lease sale.

“We are committed to supporting recreation and protecting natural resources in the Moab Field Office and to listening to our neighbors and representatives in the local community,” she said. “The BLM has not yet made a final decision regarding what parcels will be proposed for sale.”

The Sand Flats Recreation Area, which is jointly managed by the BLM and the county, attracts more than 191,000 visitors a year and generates $700,000 in revenue for the county government, according to Mary McGann, chairwoman of the Grand County Council. The controversial parcels were nominated for auction by an anonymous individual or company.

In a statement, BLM Utah spokeswoman Kimberly Finch said her office works closely with field and district staff on quarterly lease sales. “BLM Utah does not discuss internal discussions and deliberative decision-making between the field and state office,” she said.

There are other concerns besides the bike trail.

Moab is a hub not just for mountain bikers also for visitors to Arches National Park, which attracted more than 1.6 million parkgoers in 2018. The bright light from any nearby flaring off excess gas may spoil the star-speckled sky over the nearby park, which draws astronomy buffs for its awe-inspiring views of the Milky Way.

“Grand County has no alternative drinking water source,” McGann said.

The residents of Moab have fought this battle before. Late into George W. Bush’s last year in office, the BLM tried leasing tens of thousands of acres near Arches and Canyonlands national parks in Utah before backing down because of public outcry and a lawsuit.

 

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

On Being – Krista Tippett, Interviews Sandra Cisneros author of ‘A House of Her Own’ ~ one of my favorite Latina scribes … rŌbert

Sandra Cisneros

A House of Her Own

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~ LISTEN ~

The House on Mango Street by Mexican American writer Sandra Cisneros has been taught in high schools across the U.S. for decades. A poetic writer of many genres, she’s received a MacArthur “genius grant,” a National Medal of Arts, and many other accolades. Cisneros grew up in an immigrant household where it was assumed she would marry as her primary destiny. In this warm and lively conversation with a room full of Latinx teens, she gives voice to the choice to be single — and, single or not, to know solitude as sacred.

Bloomberg’s Billions: How the Candidate Built an Empire of Influence ~ NYT … a long but good article

By Alexander Burns and

 

In the fall of 2018, Emily’s List had a dilemma. With congressional elections approaching and the Supreme Court confirmation battle over Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh underway, the Democratic women’s group was hosting a major fund-raising luncheon in New York. Among the scheduled headline speakers was Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor, who had donated nearly $6 million to Emily’s List over the years.

Days before the event, Mr. Bloomberg made blunt comments in an interview with The New York Times, expressing skepticism about the #MeToo movement and questioning sexual misconduct allegations against Charlie Rose, the disgraced news anchor. Senior Emily’s List officials seriously debated withdrawing Mr. Bloomberg’s invitation, according to three people familiar with the deliberations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In the end, the group concluded it could not risk alienating Mr. Bloomberg. And when he addressed the luncheon on Sept. 24 — before an audience dotted with women clad in black, to show solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault — Mr. Bloomberg demonstrated why.

“I will be putting more money into supporting women candidates this cycle than any individual ever has before,” he declared.

It was not an idle pledge: Mr. Bloomberg spent more than $100 million helping Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. Of the 21 newly elected lawmakers he supported with his personal super PAC, all but six were women.

The decision by Emily’s List, to mute its misgivings and embrace Mr. Bloomberg as a mighty ally, foreshadowed the choice Mr. Bloomberg is now asking Democrats to make by anointing him their presidential nominee.

Michael R. Bloomberg speaking about gun violence at an event in December, days after announcing his presidential bid.Chet Strange for The New York Times

 

 

There are, after all, numerous dimensions to Mr. Bloomberg’s persona and record that give Democrats pause. A former Republican who joined the Democratic Party in 2018, Mr. Bloomberg has long mingled support for progressive causes with more conservative positions on law enforcement, business regulation and school choice. He has often given voice to views that liberals find troubling: Over the past week, Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign was on the defensive over past recordings that showed him linking the financial crisis to the end of discriminatory “redlining” practices in mortgage lending, and defending physically aggressive policing tactics as a deterrent against crime.

Yet in a primary campaign defined by Democrats’ hunger to defeat President Trump, Mr. Bloomberg is also offering himself up as a person singularly equipped to do so — a figure of unique standing and resources, with a powerful set of alliances and a fearsome political machine to draw on. His political rise has become a test of the impact one man’s wealth can have when he applies it to the political system with driving sophistication.

In less than three months as a candidate, Mr. Bloomberg has poured more than $400 million, and rapidly counting, into the campaign. But that figure pales in comparison with what he spent in prior years, positioning himself as a national leader with presidential ambitions.

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

Trump wants $1.5B over 10 years to revive US uranium mining ~ AP

11 minutes ago
This April 11, 2015, photo provided by EcoFlight shows the White Mesa Uranium Mill near Blanding in southeastern Utah. The Trump administration is asking Congress for $1.5 billion over 10 years to build up a U.S. uranium stockpile, saying it wants to break an over-reliance on foreign uranium that undermines U.S. energy security. The White Mesa facility is one of the sites where production could be ramped up under the proposal. (Dom Smith/EcoFlight via AP)

 

 

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Trump administration is asking Congress for $1.5 billion over 10 years to create a new national stockpile of U.S.-mined uranium, saying that propping up U.S. uranium production in the face of cheaper imports is a matter of vital energy security.

But some Democratic lawmakers, and market analysts across the political spectrum, charge that the Trump administration’s overall aim is really about helping a few uranium companies that can’t compete in the global market. Demand for the nuclear fuel has languished worldwide since Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster. U.S. uranium production has plummeted 96% in the last five years, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday.

“It’s not the responsibility of the taxpayer to bail out an industry, whether that’s uranium, solar, coal, what have you,” said Katie Tubb, a senior energy policy analyst at the conservative Washington Heritage Foundation.

The Energy Department said the plan would boost work for at least a couple of the U.S. West’s nearly dormant uranium operations, although residents near one of the mines say they fear an increase in radioactive threats.

“Whatever Trump does, we’ll be standing our ground to let the people know that we’re not going to give up,” said Yolanda Badback, a resident of White Mesa, a town of about 200 people who are members of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe near a uranium mill in southern Utah.

Trump’s plan would need approval from a highly partisan Congress. Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has opposed Trump’s effort to make domestic uranium mining a strategic issue, His aides said they needed to see more details from the administration on the stockpile proposal.

Demand for nuclear and coal power sources has fallen against marketplace competition from ever-cheaper natural gas and renewable wind and solar. Trump has been unable to stop a string of coal and nuclear power plant closings.

The U.S. nuclear industry has sought help from the Trump administration, including asking for taxpayer subsidies to promote use of U.S. uranium. U.S. nuclear power plants in 2018 got 90% of their uranium from Canada, Kazakhstan and other foreign suppliers and only 10% from U.S. mines.

That task force’s findings are expected within two weeks. Trump’s budget proposal would be part of an effort “to put the United States back in the nuclear game around the world,” Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told reporters Monday.

While Trump has called propping up U.S. uranium mining essential to national security, the Energy Department acknowledged in its budget presentation that “no immediate national security need has been identified” for the uranium reserve. The same document contends that the funds aren’t meant to “disrupt market mechanisms.”

“That is exactly what it is designed to do,” said Luke J. Danielson, president of Colorado-based Sustainable Development Strategies Group, which advises foreign governments about mineral policies.

“The history of the government of trying to subsidize the energy sector and pick winners and losers is abysmal,” Danielson added.

Many Democratic lawmakers have challenged Trump’s security argument for domestic uranium. Existing uranium reserves and production and trade with allies Australia and Canada were already adequate to securing the U.S. uranium supply, Rep. Alan Lowenthal, a California Democrat, said last year.

The nuclear industry welcomed Trump’s project. “It’s a good step to show that the administration recognizes the strategic value” of the U.S. nuclear industry, said Nima Ashkeboussi, director of fuel cycles programs at the Nuclear Energy Industry trade group. “We expect more good signals to come out” with the upcoming report from Trump’s nuclear fuels task force.

Energy Fuels Inc., a Canadian-owned company with an office in Colorado, called the Trump proposal “a good lifeline for the industry.” Spokesman Curtis Moore acknowledged that the company is likely to benefit since it has operating mines in east-central Wyoming and southern Utah.

Late Thursday, the mining company announced it was selling stock and putting the nearly $17 million in proceeds into its mining operations in Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas and elsewhere in response to Trump’s 2021 budget.

Moore said the program should lead to production of 2.5 million pounds of uranium per year. U.S. uranium mines produced less than 174,000 pounds in 2019, according to Thursday’s Energy Information Administration report. That’s down from 4.9 million pounds in 2014.

Energy Fuels recently laid off nearly one-third of the company’s 79 employees at the White Mesa Mill in Wyoming and La Sal Complex mines in Utah, he said.

At another mine, the Nichols Ranch facility in east-central Wyoming, nearby residents participate in a yearly protest walk to draw attention to negative impacts the mine has on an otherwise wide open and remote stretch of land.

Former mine owner Uranerz Energy Corp. in 2014 agreed to pay a $5,000 state fine for two spills that year of more than 30,000 gallons (114,000 liters) of uranium-bearing solution.

___

Knickmeyer reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and business writer Dorothea Degen in New York contributed to this report.

Roger Stone Knows Trump’s Secrets. That’s Why He’ll Avoid Prison ~ RollingStone ~ This guy is Funny !

Attorney General Bill Barr is doing his best Deputy Dog routine for the president, but the fate of Trump’s underlings is inescapable

Roger Stone sits in a vehicle while leaving federal court Washington.

Roger Stone sits in a vehicle while leaving federal court in Washington.

Julio Cortez/AP/Shutterstock

It’s not every day that a degenerate former swinger and serial scumbag who built a career based on a single line of bullshit and self-fellation so constant and vigorous that it is practically a yogic art form stands before the bar of justice, but here we are. Roger Stoneis, as he loves to be, in the center of a national political scandal, and with his sentencing approaching in just days, Stone hoped the Trump “Justice” Department would save him from a well-deserved sentence of seven to nine years in prison.

Stone earned the recommended sentence not because he is a Trump ally, but because he threatened witnesses, lied to the court and to the House of Representatives, and got caught. Worst of all, he threatened Judge Amy Berman-Jackson online, defied various gag orders, and engaged in his usual rat-fuckery. He made the mistake of thinking that Judge Berman-Jackson is as gullible as the claque of hangers-on, wanna-be catamites, and scumbag errand boys with whom Stone usually surrounds himself.

The Trump media has been bleating for two days now that the original sentence recommended by the career Justice Department officials that Stone serve his twilight years breaking rocks, stamping out license plates, and working in a prison call center was a massive miscarriage of justice, a horror beyond words and reason, and a grim penalty for a wee, decrepit old dandy barely able to totter to the stand in his own defense.

It led to the withdrawal of all four of the prosecutors, and the resignation of one. Barr’s bull-in-a-china-shop efforts on Stone’s behalf were comically absurd, driven by a Trump tweet, and will no doubt land him in front of congressional committees for a full political rectal exam in the immediate future.

But they were also par for the course in his role as the chief enabler and defender of this president. Barr has been systematically choking out every investigation of the Trump administration since he killed off Bob Mueller, and has no intention of stopping.

Like Trump, Barr is unbound, uncontrolled, and has no fear of congressional power.  He doesn’t care about the scummy appearance of his actions; it’s a feature of Trumpism that anyone engaging in any action defending this president will be praised for it on the presidential Twitter feed and on the Presidential News Channel. The shamelessness is a feature, not a bug.

As Trump seeks to settle scores, terrify future witnesses, and generally act out all the fantasies in his authoritarian spank bank, Barr is his chief fluffer. Trump’s fantasy of having another Roy Cohn has come to life, with all of Cohn’s mendacity and amorality, but in a size 54 stout from Men’s Wearhouse.

Stone deserved everything in the first sentencing memo. Every minute. He deserves to be dragged from the courtroom in shackles and issued his itchy, federal-prison poly-cotton orange scrubs. Karmically, he deserves it because he was one of Trump’s lifelong enablers, and because once Trump was elected, Stone trafficked in the most lunatic and corrosive conspiracy theories under the sun. Stone’s gift for sleaze-bag political tactics was always that — tactical. He was great at piling on a wounded victim (see Elliot Spitzer), but it was Trump who kept Stone afloat for decades.

Of course, Stone likely won’t serve his full hitch, because Trump and Barr know that without a pardon Stone will squeal like a rat in a blender, proving that Trump lied to Mueller and about the details of the Trump-Stone-WikiLeaks connections. Stone sure as hell deserves his time in the graybar hotel for reasons of both ordinary and moral justice, and Judge Berman-Jackson has also likely had enough of Stone’s weapons-grade bullshit and may treat the revised DOJ sentencing letter as the political trash it is.

In some ways there’s a terrible and largely unremarked symmetry to the role Barr has played as Trump’s Roy Cohn. In the early days of his career, Stone was a bagman and dogsbody for the infamous Cohn, who served as an early Trump attorney and fixer in New York. Cohn, one of the most repellent and degenerate stains on America’s political landscape, was a perfect role model for both Trump and Stone.

In the late 1990s, I once asked the famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) New York political operator Ray Harding about Stone. Harding was a man who knew where all the bodies — literal and metaphorical — were buried. He looked across his desk from behind a cloud of unfiltered-Camel smoke and said to me, “Roger parlayed one line of bullshit into a career. The only person who buys his bullshit is that moron Trump.”

At least some justice has come for Fort Lauderdale’s most prominent Penguin cosplayer and sleaze-ball boulevardier already. Trump left his former confidant hanging for two years, reducing Stone to penury in a one-bedroom apartment. Even if Trump pardons him, Stone will never work in politics again at any serious level — not that he did anyway.

He’ll never get out from under his legal bills. His speaking circuit appearances at local Republican clubs in Florida often bring in tens of dollars, and it’s gonna take longer than Stone has on this Earth to catch up. His days as a provocateur are over. He may get a hit or two on Infowars or OANN, but he’ll never be in the big green rooms again. His days without having the mark of “felon” — pardoned or not — branding him are over.

For Stone, one of the tragedies is that the world of campaigning has moved on from dumb, dirty tricksters like him; Trump will likely never allow him back into even his outer circle because Stone brings nothing of value to a modern campaign. He will never sit at the high table of the Orange King with his old status. Even a man of Stone’s unlimited chutzpah will never be able to wink and nod his way to convincing any but the most slack-jawed Trump fans he still has the confidence of the president.

The attention he craves will, on its best days, come as a form of pity. Stone’s last whisper of power and influence is gone, and no matter what happens next week, he’s going to bear the lifelong stain of a man who spent time in prison for crimes he gleefully committed.

Long sentence or short, everything Trump touches dies — even his most loyal henchman.

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