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First the good news: Our former president was complaining that, among all the top secret documents that the unhinged mavericks in the FBI pilfered from his stash in Florida, were copies of his medical records.

Once again demonstrating the otherworldly grasp on reality that has become his trademark, he wasn’t concerned about what they might find out about his health. He posted that he is an “absolutely perfect physical specimen.”

Now, don’t you feel better about the shape you are in?

Among the not-so-good items: A Florida federal judge has granted the ex-president his wish. (Remember, folks, Florida is the place where Walt Disney World rakes in millions of dollars granting wishes.)

Before I go any further, I would like to point out that there doesn’t seem to be any dispute from either side that the former president took a number of top secret documents with him when he left Washington after President Biden’s win. That, in itself, would mean that you and I — right now — would be cooling out heels in Leavenworth, not claiming to be indignant because the FBI made him look like a “slob” by photographing the stolen papers on the floor of the room.

Judge Aileen Cannon has given the go-ahead to the ex-president’s request to appoint a special master to take a look at the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago last month. Judge Cannon, perhaps in her haste to send a belated thank you note for her appointment to the federal bench, chose to overlook the fact that law enforcement officials have already closely scrutinized the documents.

The move is in keeping with the playbook that our former chief executive has used throughout his life. When they have you in a corner, stall, stall, stall.

During a career that makes Bernie Madoff look like an upstanding business model, he counted on his adversaries to run out of money or patience or oxygen before a case was settled. It may have worked with the carpenter he cheated out of paying for the work he had done in the failed Atlantic City casino, but it ain’t gonna work with the United States Justice Department.

Republicans are certainly hoping that the stall will last at least until after the elections in November. If there is anything that the members of the GOP, most of whom have been steadfast in the slavish support don’t need, it is more evidence of malfeasance on the part of the most malfeasant-prone man in the country’s recent history.

Cannon’s decision should have surprised no one. I am sure she was carefully chosen. She is one more in a battalion of under-qualified people elevated to positions where their ideological bias will have a marked effect on American society for generations to come. (Need I even mention the current Supreme Court?)

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We can thank the Federalist Society, of which Cannon has been a member since 2005, and Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for their unwavering efforts to politicize the nation’s courtrooms by installing judges who will tow the conservative line no matter how much it conflicts with legal principles.

Real justice, however, may finally be catching up with Steve Bannon, one of the sleazy characters in an administration that was teaming with them. In a classic example of birds of a feather, Bannon was one of the former president’s advisers. He was previously convicted of contempt of Congress, only to be pardoned like a lot of the aforementioned sleazy characters who did the bidding of our previous president.

Bannon, who likes to bill himself as a populist crusader, was hauled off a luxury yacht by federal authorities in 2020 and charged with pocketing more than $1 million in donations from the nice people who wanted to contribute money toward constructing the wall along the southern border of the United States.

Tyrants, even would-be tyrants, are big on walls. Our former president wanted that wall more than Cinderella wanted to go to the ball.

Steve Bannon and his cohorts at WeBuildTheWall, Inc. promised that none of the nice people’s hard-earned money that was intended to keep … you know, those people out would find its way into their own pockets. “I won’t take a penny from these donations, not a penny,” he said with his best we-the-people fervor. (There’s a contrary part of me that thinks than anyone dumb enough to send money to a conman deserves to lose it.)

Both Brian Kolfage, a co-founder of WeBuildTheWall and an Air Force veteran, and Andrew Badolato, a Florida financier, pleaded guilty to federal charges in April.

Bannon was released without bail after his arraignment on charges including money laundering, conspiracy and fraud.

“It’s all nonsense. They will never shut me up,” Bannon said as he left the Manhattan courthouse. That might be true, but the audience is considerably smaller when the broadcast originates from a prison cell.

A final note: The long, long reign of England’s Queen Elizabeth II came to an end with her passing on Sept. 8. I have always thought that the royal family was an exorbitantly expensive institution to maintain, but the British probably feel the same way about Hollywood, a comparison that is appropriate on many levels. If the immediate family surrounding the Queen sometimes degenerated into something reminiscent of a bad romance novel, Elizabeth always carried the responsibility that was thrust upon her with the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952 selflessly and with a dignity that persuaded even the most cynical among us that she was entitled to be referred to with majestic adjectives.

The double rainbows that appeared over London after her death might seem a bit hokey, but no one deserved them more.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for Vermont News & Media. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of Vermont News & Media.


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