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Sore-Loser Governor’s Last Act: Pardons for Hundreds – Including Killer Whose Family Raised $21,500 for Re-Election

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Outgoing Tea Party Republican Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky has now pardoned hundreds of convicts since he lost a close re-election race one month ago. Among those benefitting from his exit are five convicted killers and other violent felons. One of the men receiving a pardon just happens to have family members who hosted a high-dollar fundraiser for the governor’s re-election campaign this past summer.

Gov. Bevin issued 428 pardons in the month before leaving office this week under objection. Bevin wanted to challenge the election results but Kentucky does not have a law mandating it and he was unsuccessful.

41-year old Patrick Brian Baker received an unconditional pardon from his 19-year prison sentence this week after being convicted in 2017 “of reckless homicide, first-degree robbery, impersonating a peace officer and tampering with physical evidence,” The Times-Tribune reports. The victim’s wife and three children were in the home when the acts  occurred.

Saying, “I’ve never seen a more compelling or complete case … the evidence was just overwhelming,” Judge David L. Williams had lamented at sentencing the convicted felon could be imprisoned for only 19 years.

“I believe it would be a miscarriage of justice to do any less,” Williams added. “It’s 19 years because that’s all I can give you…if I could give you more, I would.”

But as Newsweek reports, “Baker’s brother and sister in law, Eric and Kathryn Baker, hosted a fundraiser for Bevin at their home in Corbin, Kentucky, in July last year,” according to The Courier Journal. They raised a whopping $21,500. The pair added $4000 to the pot as well.

Baker’s co-defendants are not receiving pardons, despite the fact it was Baker who pulled the trigger.

Others receiving pardons “include one offender convicted of raping a child, another who hired a hit man to kill his business partner and a third who killed his parents.”

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

 

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US Dept. of Defense Bans LGBTQ Pride Flags at Military Bases

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The United States Department of Defense will not allow LGBTQ Pride flags to be flown at military bases, in direct contradiction to policies across the executive branch, from the White House to the U.S. Department of State.

The Pentagon says it will “maintain existing policy for the display of unofficial flags” and “not grant an exception to display the Pride flag,” CNN reports.

That policy is a Trump-era policy. Under his predecessor, President Barack Obama, the LGBTQ Pride flag was allowed.

In 2020 Defense Secretary Mark Esper banned any “unofficial” flags, a reported attempt to ban Confederate flags.

The Confederate flag is the flag of a treasonous and traitorous group of Americans who fought the United States of America. The LGBTQ flag is a non-political, non-partisan flag that represents a segment of the American people and their allies.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin plans on participating in Pride Month events next week, and “encourages all commands to likewise find ways to recognize the service and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community in defense of this nation,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

Kirby says the decision to not allow the LGBTQ Pride flag to be flown does not “in any way reflect on the respect and admiration we feel for all our LGBTQ+ personnel in and out of uniform.”

 

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Facebook Will Allow Donald Trump to Return After 2 Years and an Assessment Despite ‘Severe Violation of Our Rules’

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Facebook has just announced Donald Trump, the former president who incited an insurrection and was “indefinitely banned,” will be allowed to return after a two-year period, if he passes an assessment at that time. The two-year period gives Trump just enough time to flood the social media platform with advertising dollars should he run again for president. He could be eligible to return in January 2023.

“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols,” Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said in a statement Friday as ABC News reports.

Trump was banned from Facebook for having “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.”

Facebook indefinitely banned Trump on January 6, the day of the Capitol Hill insurrection he incited.  An independent review board created by Facebook upheld that ban saying: “Given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence, Facebook was justified in suspending Mr. Trump’s accounts on January 6 and extending that suspension on January 7.” 

But Facebook appears to suggest that the former president has a right to be on their platform, and an irrevocable, permanent ban is nearly impossible.

“At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded,” Clegg says in the Facebook statement. “We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest. If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.”

“When the suspension is eventually lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts.”

Trump was impeached twice, and is currently facing at minimum several criminal investigations.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.

 

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AZ Republicans Move to Strip Dem Secretary of State of Election Defense Duties – and Ability to Fly LGBTQ Flag

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Arizona Republican lawmakers on Tuesday moved to strip the state’s chief elections officer of one of her most important election duties: defending the state’s elections in court. Republicans have been waging a war against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, who opposes the Senate Republican President’s Cyber Ninja “recount.”

“Political score-settling is not supposed to be part of the budgeting process, but you will have a hard time convincing Democratic members of the House Appropriations Committee of that,” is how Arizona’s ABC 15 News reported the latest development.

“On Tuesday morning, the Appropriations Committee stripped Secretary of State Katie Hobbs of her ability to defend election lawsuits. It gave the power exclusively to the Attorney General.”

The Arizona Attorney General is currently a Republican.

And to show that this is absolutely a power grab, stripping the Secretary of State of that critical election responsibility expires at the end of Hobbs’ term.

While they were busy attacking Hobbs, Arizona Republicans also struck back at her for daring to fly the LGBTQ pride flag from the Capitol Museum in 2019.

According to ABC 15, her decision to fly the flag on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall during Pride month “infuriated both the Speaker of the House and the Senate President,” both Republicans. Republicans forced it to be removed almost immediately.

On Tuesday Republicans not only moved to strip her of her ability to fly the flag from the Capitol Museum, they moved to strip her of her entire oversight of the Capitol Museum.

ABC 15 notes the entire legislation will have to approve these changes, but given the GOP majority in the Arizona legislature – 16-14 in the Senate, 31-29 in the House – it probably will pass.

Hobbs issued a statement slamming Republicans:

 

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