Obama Extends Executive Clemency
The President of the United States is granted the
power to pardon people who have been accused or
convicted of crimes. That power is given to the
President in the United States Constitution,
Article II, Section 2. The actual wording:
"The President shall have power to grant reprieves
and pardons for offenses against the United States,
except in cases of impeachment."
Traditionally, a president issues Executive Clemency
pardons each Christmas of each year with the most
well-publicized and controversial pardons taking
place a few days before a President leaves office.
That is why the news of last night's three pardons
announced during Obama's weekly Wednesday evening
radio address was so stunning.
The executive pardons were made in the midst of
Presidential challenges which include getting the
economy on track, acting as Commander in Chief of
America's war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq, and
performing the hundreds of other tasks which Mr.
Obama is tending to during his first 100 days in
The first pardon did not come as a surprise to me.
It was a long time coming, and represents an act of
supreme justice. I've written about Leonard Peltier's
unfair incarceration, and President Obama has
repayed a political favor by acting upon a vow
made to Hollywood mogul David Geffen early in his
I first wrote about Leonard Peltier on May 15, 2000:
The second man granted Executive Clemency is Jonathan
Pollard, an American who has been in prison for 20+ years.
Pollard was an intelligence officer working for the Navy.
He discovered that information vital to Israel's security
regarding Iranian and Syrian biological, chemical, and
nuclear capabilities was being withheld from Isrrael.
Pollard shared that information with Israeli intelligence
experts and has been in prison ever since. See:
Make no mistake about it. Pollard's release is a political
action and part of a Hilary Clinton brokered deal that is
in the works in the Middle East regarding the establishment
of a Palestinian Nation. Israel gets a favor, Israel makes
a concession. That's just politics.
The third Executive Pardon came as a complete surprise
to me and many others. I believed that Bernie Madoff
would remain in prison for the rest of his life. I cannot
undersand why Mr. Obama freed a man who hurt so many.
It was within Presidental power to do so, and I can
understand his argument that Bernie Madoff no longer
has the ability to hurt anybody else ever again.
Still, our justice system exists to punish people
who commit such crimes as a future deterrant against
similar crimes from being committed. I feel that
Obama made the first really bad decision of his
Presidency by freeing Madoff.
Furthermore, President Obama might even read today's
notmilk column and realize that it is all complete
nonsense based upon today's very silly very special
date. So, for those of you who I fooled, I can only
say, Gotcha. See you next year.
For those of you who were not fooled by my first
day of the fourth month joke, fogive me. I'll try
harder in 2010.