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Bush Pardons 14, Commutes Two Sentences:

President Bush pardoned 14 individuals, and commuted the sentences of two others, today, including hip hop artist John Forte. Other prominent pardon seekers, including Michael Milken, and others seeking to have their sentences commuted, such as former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) and former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards (D-LA), are still waiting.

President Bush has been relatively restrained in his use of the pardon power during his presidency. As the Washington Post reports:

The president has used his broad pardon powers rarely during seven years in office, granting 157 pardons out of 2,064 petitions, and only six of 7,707 requests for commutations, according to an analysis by former Justice Department lawyer Margaret C. Love.
Nonetheless, many expect he will preemptively pardon past and present government attorneys who authorized the use of coercive interrogation techniques or other, potentially unlawful, counter-terror policies. Again from the Post:
In the background of the debate is how, if at all, Bush will respond to pressure from left-leaning interest groups and congressional Democrats, who are calling for criminal investigations of former administration lawyers and members of the intelligence community who eavesdropped on Americans without warrants and used harsh interrogation tactics against terrorism suspects.

President Abraham Lincoln bestowed such blanket amnesty on soldiers who took part in the Civil War, and President Jimmy Carter took similar action for people who resisted fighting in the Vietnam War between 1964 and 1973. But scholars disagree about whether the current president could preemptively pardon members of the intelligence community without naming them and specifying the conduct for which they would receive amnesty.

Matt_T:
Forte should be rotting in jail. He brought $1.4 million in liquid cocaine into the US with plenty of notice that such an act was illegal. If we're going to start pardoning drug defendants - probably a good thing, on balance - then we should start with drug users, not drug dealers and other profiteers. He was only pardoned because he's related to two famous and apparently sleazy people.
11.24.2008 8:01pm
DrGrishka (mail):
I wonder if a President can issue pardons "in pectore." I.e., a secret pardon to be used by the pardonee if and when needed. Or must a grant of pardon be recorded somewhere public to be valid?
11.24.2008 8:11pm
LN (mail):
<i>He was only pardoned because he's related to two famous and apparently sleazy people.</i>

It looks like he was pardoned because he went to Phillips Exeter Academy.
11.24.2008 8:13pm
Don de Drain:
DrGrishka--

I have been wondering about that point as well. It seems to be that a pardon would have to be recorded somewhere on official government records, where DOJ officials can verify that it was granted if the pardonee decides to invoke the pardon. Hopefully Bush knows better than to store the pardon records on RNC email servers.

And I would expect there would be some sort of written request for a pardon.

Plus, I recall something to the effect that the pardonee can accept or reject the pardon once offered. If that is so, there should be some sort of paperwork regarding acceptance or rejection in government records.

I've never pursued a pardon for anyone, although I have discussed such a possibility with several clients. I'd like to hear from someone who has first hand knowledge about the paperwork etc. that normally results in connection with seeking and the granting of a pardon and whether they think it would be possible to issue a pardon without the public knowing or without career DOJ officials knowing.
11.24.2008 8:31pm
DrGrishka (mail):
Don--

But I wonder what if the President hands a pardon to someone with official Presidential seal, signature and other fancy things that accompany such paperwork? Is that enough? It seems that in this case there is acceptance (after all, the pardonee takes the paperwork, and in any event, later presents it to a court as a shield). It also seems that authenticity wouldn't be that hard to establish.

(As an aside, I seem to recall that no acceptance of pardon is necessary. Even if it is rejected, it is still in force. I may be wrong).
11.24.2008 8:35pm
HoyaBlue:
I'm a big fan of Forte's music. The Score is one of the best albums of the 1990s.

But that guy deserves to be in jail.
11.24.2008 8:37pm
tsotha:
Do these sorts of things usually come with an explanation? As in "I am issuing this pardon because ______." I'm willing to bet many of the pardons executives (state and federal) had out are, for lack of a better word, just. But not all of them.
11.24.2008 8:42pm
mrdj:
The question above reminds me of the hanging scene in 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'. As they were about to be strung up Delmar protests ''But we got pardoned by the Governor hisself. It went out over the radio.''
The Sheriff responds ''Well, we ain't got no radio here!''.
11.24.2008 8:53pm
Malvolio:
If we're going to start pardoning drug defendants - probably a good thing, on balance - then we should start with drug users, not drug dealers and other profiteers.
Uh, why? The drug users are effectively the employers of the drug dealers, they are providing the money. Shouldn't they be the ones held responsible, sort of a respondeat superior?
11.24.2008 9:02pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
3 niggling points

1. "relatively restrained" -- relative to what standard? Bush's father is the only modern President more stingy with the pardons.

2. John Forte -- mandatory sentences do result in injustice, and there's no other avenue of appeal, but the pardon. Forte may well have been innocent in the common, non-legal sense of the term, and the sentence does seem disproportionate.

3. The Constitution authorizes the President to grant "reprieves and pardons", but says nothing about amnesty. Lincoln's amnesty proclamations, which promised pardons to those meeting certain conditions, including the swearing of an oath of loyalty, were pursuant to an explicit legislative authorization from Congress. Congress had legislated penalties for treason and insurrection, and had also authorized the President to grant blanket amnesty by proclamation. So, the Washington Post's citation of President Lincoln granting blanket amnesty might not be on point, with regard to the Constitutional provision.
11.24.2008 9:17pm
Guest101:
Issuing pardons to government attorneys would eliminate any Fifth Amendment privilege against cooperating with subsequent DOJ/Congressional inquiries, would it not? Something tells me that taking the possibility of criminal convictions off the table wouldn't do much to deter a Democratic administration from conducting investigations into the goings-on of the Bush administration-- in fact it might even perversely encourage such inquiries since oversight hearings are less likely than criminal investigations to be persuasively cast as partisan witch-hunts. And the political damage to the GOP would be the same regardless of whether convictions are ultimately obtained-- indeed, it might be worse if it appears that Bush abused his powers to shield his loyalists from liability from severe and systemic violations of the law.
11.24.2008 9:19pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
What makes you think that "political damage to the GOP" would result from such investigations?

I think you overestimate public sympathy for accused terrorists. The public is not the left side of the commentators here.
11.24.2008 9:29pm
neurodoc:
Why should Randy "Duke" Cunningham be in the running for a pardon? Because he was a decorated pilot in the Vietnam War before he went on to be a thoroughly corrupt congressman? I would be shocked if Bush pardoned him.
11.24.2008 9:35pm
John Moore (www):

What makes you think that "political damage to the GOP" would result from such investigations?


Damage to the United States would result from such investigations. This is the reason Ford forfeited his election chances by pardoning Nixon.
11.24.2008 10:11pm
Cornellian (mail):
Bush could set up a Marbury v Madison situation by putting the pardons in writing then leaving them in his desk drawer until after his term expires. Then one of the pardon recipients could bring suit against Obama's Secretary of State to compel him/her to deliver the pardon. Can law school Con Law profs look forward to an Addington v. Clinton?
11.24.2008 10:36pm
traveler496:
A Freakonomics-style look at pardons based on a statistical analysis of objective factors which correlate w/ a requested pardon being granted would I suspect be very illuminating.

Do some states require governors to provide rationales? If so "whether a rationale was required" would be a particularly interesting regression parameter to include in such an analysis.

Conceivably such an analysis has been done already. On the off chance that it has, I'll hazard a guess at one of its conclusions: When the executive is required to provide a rationale, this somewhat reduces the correlation between objective measures of a requestor's economic and political influence on the one hand, and the success of their pardon request on the other.
11.24.2008 10:42pm
second history:
The DOJ pardon and commutation regulations state:


Generally, commutation of sentence is an extraordinary remedy that is rarely granted. Appropriate grounds for considering commutation have traditionally included disparity or undue severity of sentence, critical illness or old age, and meritorious service rendered to the government by the petitioner, e.g., cooperation with investigative or prosecutive efforts that has not been adequately rewarded by other official action. A combination of these and/or other equitable factors may also provide a basis for recommending commutation in the context of a particular case.


Of course, this does not stop an end run commutation or pardon that the President wants to do without going through the DOJ. However, I believe it extremely unlikely that Bush would pardon/commute Duke Cunningham's sentence. It certainly wouldn't meet the DOJ standards. And it would be like, say, Clinton pardoning Marc Rich.
11.24.2008 11:14pm
jccamp (mail):
Cunningham isn't "in the running" for a pardon. He has applied for one. There was nothing in the story to suggest Bush was even considering a pardon for him.
11.24.2008 11:15pm
Tatil:

2. John Forte -- mandatory sentences do result in injustice, and there's no other avenue of appeal, but the pardon.

I have a hard time believing that a few well connected people are the only ones suffering from such injustice. Even if there are not enough votes to change the legislation, an honest executive would direct his AGs to charge them with lesser crimes, instead of granting pardons to a few lucky ones.
11.24.2008 11:16pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I have a hard time believing that a few well connected people are the only ones suffering from such injustice.

Exactly. It's kind of reminiscent of the well-connected drug dealer that Clinton pardoned (which was drowned out in the Marc Rich hoopla).

It seems the war on drugs suddenly becomes unjust when it hits the friends and social equals of politicians.
11.25.2008 12:41am
Eli Rabett (www):
Mandatory minimum sentences frequently lead to unjust sentences, esp if a prosecutor overcharges (and they often do) which is why there should be many more pardons. IEHO when a judge imposes a sentence and says that he regrets having to do so, that case should automatically go to the pardon attorney in the DOJ
11.25.2008 12:46am
Bruce Wilder (www):
Eli Rabett: "Mandatory minimum sentences frequently lead to unjust sentences, esp if a prosecutor overcharges . . ."

In the federal system, court loads are managed by plea bargaining. People, who are actually guilty, are undercharged in exchange for being cooperative with expedited procedures. If someone insists on a trial, as Forte did, then they are overcharged, with the full consequence in sentencing.

Tatil: "an honest executive would direct his AGs to charge them with lesser crimes, instead of granting pardons to a few lucky ones."

Sort of a moot point, isn't it? We're talking about a President, who has imprisoned lots of people without charging them with anything. Oh, yeah, and tortured more than a few.
11.25.2008 1:24am
a knight (mail) (www):
Bruce Wilder - GHW Bush was "stingy" with his pardons?
George Bush served as vice president through the Reagan presidency from 1981 to 1989. In January 1989, he succeeded Reagan as President. It was in his capacity as President that Bush committed what will likely become his most memorable act in connection with Iran/contra. On December 24, 1992, twelve days before former Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger was to go to trial, Bush pardoned him. In issuing pardons to Weinberger and five other Iran/contra defendants, President Bush charged that Independent Counsel's prosecutions represented the "criminalization of policy differences."

The criminal investigation of Bush was regrettably incomplete. Before Bush's election as President, the investigation was primarily concerned with the operational conspiracy and the careful evaluation of the cases against former National Security Adviser John M. Poindexter and Lt. Col. Oliver L. North of the National Security Council staff, prior to their indictment in March 1988. This included a review of any exculpatory material that might have shown authorization for their conduct. In the course of this investigation, Vice President Bush was deposed on January 11, 1988.

A year later Bush was President-elect, and OIC was engaged in the intensive preparation for the trial of North, which began on January 31, 1989. After the completion of the trials of North and Poindexter and the pleas of guilty of retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord and Albert Hakim, OIC broadened its investigation to those supporting and supervising Poindexter and North. This investigation developed a large amount of new material with which it intended to question President Bush. His interrogation was left to the end because, as President, he obviously could not be questioned repeatedly. It was Independent Counsel's expectation that he would be available after the completion of the 1992 Presidential election campaign.

In light of his access to information, Bush would have been an important witness. In an early interview with the FBI in December 1986 and in the OIC deposition in January 1988, Bush acknowledged that he was regularly informed of events connected with the Iran arms sales, including the 1985 Israeli missile shipments. These statements conflicted with his more extreme public assertions that he was "out of the loop" regarding the operational details of the Iran initiative and was generally unaware of the strong opposition to the arms sales by Secretary of Defense Weinberger and Secretary of State George P. Shultz. He denied knowledge of the diversion of proceeds from the arms sales to assist the contras. He also denied knowledge of the secret contra-resupply operation supervised by North.

In 1991 and 1992, Independent Counsel uncovered important evidence in the form of withheld documents and contemporaneous notes that raised significant questions about the earlier accounts provided by high Administration officials. The personal diary of Vice President Bush was disclosed to Independent Counsel only in December 1992, despite early and repeated requests for such documents. This late disclosure prompted a special investigation into why the diary had not been produced previously, and the substance of the diary.

Walsh: Iran/Contra Report; Chapter 28: George Bush
11.25.2008 2:11am
davod (mail):
"Sort of a moot point, isn't it? We're talking about a President, who has imprisoned lots of people without charging them with anything. Oh, yeah, and tortured more than a few."

Bruce. Stop it.

There was nothing illegal with keeping people at Guantano when Bush did it. The Supreme court had to reverse its own precidents to give these people the right to a trail.

Tortured a few? By what measure?
11.25.2008 4:48am
RPT (mail):
"Davod:

Tortured a few? By what measure?"

Good comment. By any reasonable measure, almost everyone there was tortured.

Yes, it was illegal when it was done; the USSC decision did not make new law.
11.25.2008 7:20am
corneille1640 (mail):

Bush could set up a Marbury v Madison situation by putting the pardons in writing then leaving them in his desk drawer until after his term expires. Then one of the pardon recipients could bring suit against Obama's Secretary of State to compel him/her to deliver the pardon. Can law school Con Law profs look forward to an Addington v. Clinton?

The case would likely differ from Marbury v. Madison in at least one particular: Justice Roberts would deliver the opinion of the Court, with 4 concurring opinions and 4 separate dissents.
11.25.2008 7:25am
TRE:
highly unlikely we will see pardons relating to the WoT. What better way to reinvigorate the republican party than to have congressional democrats stick some intelligence / military people up on trial.
11.25.2008 7:39am
a knight (mail) (www):
TRE - The Republican Party: hoping to score political points by defending torturers of humans, detained under the Colour of Authority Imparted by The American Flag, and who were never convicted of any crime in a tribunal process that afforded due process of law?

Contemporary Conservatism's Moral Relativism Is Vilely Repugnant.
11.25.2008 8:07am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
davod:

Tortured a few? By what measure?


By the Bush administration's own "measure." Bush has declared, via his State Dept, that sleep deprivation and using water to asphyxiate are both forms of torture. (His State Dept made those declarations in the context of condemning certain other countries for using those techniques.) At the same time, there is ample reason to be believe that we have used those methods on our captives.

And then there are stories like the one about Dilawar. A government coroner said we beat him so badly his legs were "pulpified ... I've seen similar injuries in an individual run over by a bus." Dilawar was beaten to death even though "most of us were convinced that the detainee was innocent." Obviously what Dilawar experienced is torture by any standard.

The penalties that were applied are so lenient that they can't be considered anything other than a joke. Three months in prison for beating an innocent man to death? Now that's what I call an unwarranted 'pardon.'
11.25.2008 8:24am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
A bit more detail about sleep deprivation. We do that, and it was authorized by Bush (via Executive Order). FBI emails proving this are discussed here, and can be read here and here.
11.25.2008 8:33am
Eli Rabett (www):
Bush could set up a Marbury v Madison situation by putting the pardons in writing then leaving them in his desk drawer until after his term expires. Then one of the pardon recipients could bring suit against Obama's Secretary of State to compel him/her to deliver the pardon. Can law school Con Law profs look forward to an Addington v. Clinton?


And Obama could burn them. Who would believe Bust? If Bush keeps them, how does he prove that the pardons were granted beforehand?

More to the point, Eli's dad had a scofflaw friend who got hauled into court with a hundred parking tickets. When asked how he plead, he said "For mercy". We need justice in the system, we need mercy. Both are appropriate.
11.25.2008 8:52am
Bob from Ohio (mail):

sleep deprivation


Yes, I'll concede torture under law. Good luck convincing the American people that sleep deprivation is torture as they define it.

If you prosecute President Bush and CIA/military people for sleep deprivation or waterboarding KSM, you likely have a legal case, but the politics will be totally on the defendant's side.

Not to mention that while Americans are being prosecuted, Gitmo prisoners will be being released. Make for good comparisons.

Unlike the leftys here, Obama and his advisors know that the politics are unpredictable and the upside is low for them. President Bush knows that they know.

That is why no trials under Obama and no pardons by President Bush.

I imagine there will be congressional witchhunts investigations. Let them come.

The politics of Congressional hearings may not be what the witchhunters investigators think they are either. Remember Ollie North?

John Yoo may not be a sympathetic figure but I imagine some CIA types might be.
11.25.2008 10:49am
PLR:
[A hypothetical Duke Cunningham pardon] certainly wouldn't meet the DOJ standards. And it would be like, say, Clinton pardoning Marc Rich.

Rich also ponied up $10 million to the Feds. I rather doubt Duke has that kind of cash lying around.
11.25.2008 11:15am
Dave N (mail):
Rich also ponied up $10 million to the Feds. I rather doubt Duke has that kind of cash lying around.
Ah, so you saying that pardons should involve financial considerations?

(Not that either Duke Cunningham or Marc Rich deserves a pardon of any kind)
11.25.2008 11:42am
Eli Rabett (www):
OK, so we prosecute John Yoo and not the CIA types. Prosecutorial discretion and all that.
11.25.2008 12:05pm
Dave N (mail):
Eli Rabbett,

Under what specific statute would you prosecute John Yoo? Or are you in favor of prosecuting lawyers merely for giving legal advice with which you disagree?
11.25.2008 12:08pm
PLR:
Ah, so you saying that pardons should involve financial considerations?

No.
11.25.2008 12:14pm
Crust (mail):
In other pardon news:
In the pen next to the two turkeys that will be driven to President Bush next week are nearly a dozen alternates, who will be being processed at about the same time the president receives his Thanksgiving turkey from the Hills. While President Bush will pardon the turkeys he receives, Subway customers can look forward to enjoying a tasty turkey sandwich from those beautiful alternates.
I imagine they'll be more careful with the video than Governor Palin was though.
11.25.2008 12:24pm
PLR:
Under what specific statute would you prosecute John Yoo?
I'll guess 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2340A(c).
11.25.2008 12:36pm
Dave N (mail):
PLR,

I would guess that, too. Except that such a charge against Yoo makes no sense. He was asked to provide a legal opinion. Others disagree with the opinion, obviously. But unless you can somehow prove that Yoo knowingly acted in bad faith then you have no crime.
11.25.2008 12:46pm
Hoosier:
jukebox

You're just bitter because Bush refused to pardon you for that matter involving you and the Swedish Bikini Team. And while I admit I would have done the same as you, given the chance, it DOES appear that it's illegal to dispense that much whipped cream in the vicinity of a national monument.
11.25.2008 12:47pm
Milhouse (www):

I imagine they'll be more careful with the video than Governor Palin was though.

Why would they be? The video did Palin nothing but good, by exposing her critics as the hysterical idiots they are. There was nothing in the least embarrassing about the video, and those who pretended it was embarrassing made fools of themselves.
11.25.2008 1:51pm
davod (mail):
"Rich also ponied up $10 million to the Feds."

If he was pardoned why the need for the $10 million.
11.25.2008 1:57pm
Crust (mail):
Milhouse:
The video did Palin nothing but good
OK, then. I'm sure it would do nothing but good for Bush too. After he is finished pardoning the two lucky turkeys, he should be videotaped talking in front of the slaughter of the dozen unlucky alternates. That's just the thing to appeal to the kind of people who like to watch cutesy turkey pardonings.

Hey, his approval ratings could hardly go lower. Maybe it is worth a shot.
11.25.2008 3:00pm
tsotha:

In the federal system, court loads are managed by plea bargaining. People, who are actually guilty, are undercharged in exchange for being cooperative with expedited procedures. If someone insists on a trial, as Forte did, then they are overcharged, with the full consequence in sentencing.



So, how well does this work out for people who are actually innocent? I hope we all appreciate the sacrifice they make for the good of the system as they're headed off to jail for life on 145 separate charges.
11.25.2008 4:03pm
tsotha:

Hey, his approval ratings could hardly go lower. Maybe it is worth a shot.

Bush's historic unpopularity has nothing to do with the WoT and everything to do with spending. You would expect a Republican to be unpopular with Democrats and liberal independents, so the real difference is Republicans and conservatives. He could get up to the mid forties just by pandering to the base, something he doesn't doesn't feel any need to do.

Congressional Stalinesque show-trials would be gross political stupidity for the Democrats, as the people who like his WoT policies but hate his spending would feel compelled to rally around him.
11.25.2008 4:21pm
TLove (mail):

Congressional Stalinesque show-trials would be gross political stupidity for the Democrats, as the people who like his WoT policies but hate his spending would feel compelled to rally around him.


It would be gross stupidity for another reason. At least part of the reason for the collapse of the Roman polity was the practice of each new emperor to put his contesting contemporaries, and those connected with the prior regime, on show trial. Of course, what happened when the current regime fell? more show trials by the successors.

Why wasn't Kruschev executed by Breznev? Because Breznev wanted a nice retirement on the Black Sea too.

The Dems should move on very quickly, unless they think they really can try to emulate Chavez style vote fraud (which isn't working out for him too well either). Setting a show trial precedent will bite you on the *ss eventually.
11.25.2008 6:10pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
tsotha: "Bush's historic unpopularity has . . . to do with . . . spending."

Losing two wars, screwing up the aftermath of Katrina, shaming the country before the world, alienating our allies, and destroying the banking system and the economy, while more than doubling the national debt -- Bush has been nothing if not an overachiever. How you can pick "spending" out from that pile of . . ., I have no idea.

Maybe Bush will pardon himself -- that would be a curiousity in a man who can't admit a mistake, but sure makes a lot of doozies.
11.25.2008 6:16pm
George B TX (mail):

Bush's historic unpopularity has nothing to do with the WoT and everything to do with spending. You would expect a Republican to be unpopular with Democrats and liberal independents, so the real difference is Republicans and conservatives. He could get up to the mid forties just by pandering to the base, something he doesn't doesn't feel any need to do.


Basically correct regarding out of control spending and loss of conservative support. In addition, the Katrina flailing didn't help. However, in my opinion the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court was the last straw for many conservatives. Bush appears to have permanently lost the support of many conservatives at about the time of the Harriet Miers debacle and his popularity never recovered.
11.25.2008 7:10pm
tsotha:
Losing two wars, screwing up the aftermath of Katrina, shaming the country before the world, alienating our allies, and destroying the banking system and the economy, while more than doubling the national debt -- Bush has been nothing if not an overachiever. How you can pick "spending" out from that pile of . . ., I have no idea.

Because most of what you've written isn't actually true. So far the score count on wars is a win for us in Iraq and no decision (yet) in Afghanistan. I think Iraq is probably psst screwing up, but Afghanistan could still go bad without sufficient follow-through on Obama's part.

"Alientating our allies"? Yes, yes, so alienated they went and replaced their anti-American leaders with pro-American leaders.

The "screwing up the aftermath of Katrina" point is ridiculous by historical standards - the federal government's response to Katrina was the most vigorous ever for a hurricane. That meme was a complete fabrication based on a fantasy world that only exists in Democratic talking points and the NYT. But I repeat myself.

The "destroying the banking system and the economy" is something that's been going on since the late '70s when the government got into the business of forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn't pay it back. Bush's big mistake there is being the guy in office when the music stopped. Could he have prevented the crash? No. Could he have done more to lessen the severity of the crash? Sure, but I'd like to point out he was trying to get Congress to regulate Fannie Mae in 2004 only to have the proposed changes killed in Committee by Christopher Dodd. The idea Bush alone is responsible for 30 years of credit inflation is just silly.

As for "doubling the national debt"... well, that was my point. That's something I think is both true and legitimately a result of Bush's policies. In retrospect we should have realized "compassionate conservatism" was just a euphemism for "liberal", but we didn't.

I stand by my original post. If not for the spending Bush's popularity would be in the low 40s, at worst. The fact that Democrats and Democratic leaners really, really, really, really don't like Bush is not very relevant.
11.25.2008 9:13pm
Anon Pardon Applicant (mail):
I'm an upcoming pardon applicant; sentenced to probation in Federal court for selling a gun to a guy who had a felony conviction during a BATF "virtue testing" scheme... I was 22.

I have zero other offenses (not even a traffic ticket), have done substantial community service (both prior and subsequent to my conviction), have a good family, completed college, work hard (even though my conviction has almost entirely eliminated the prospect of meaningful employment from my life).

Unfortunately, I'm not a well connected man. I don't have any friends that are senators or governors... The people who signed the requisite character affidavits are "unimportant" blue collar workers; my closest and dearest friends.

I cannot afford to pay 'pardon consultants' to assist the process. I cannot afford to donate enough money to any political party to be noticed and potentially, gain the favor of- or at least, a sympathetic ear with- someone who might be able to make a difference and get my application seen.

This has crushed my life. All I want to do is move on; be allowed to work at a good job, be allowed to go hunting with my dad, be allowed to feel that the weight is off my shoulders and I've been 'forgiven'. But it won't ever happen.

The pardon system was originally conceived in an era when "federal prosecutions" were basically high treason and piracy. In todays age- an age where Federal Authority extends to every inch of our life and the Feds prosecute people for anything and everything- the notion that one must seek relief from a sitting American President for selling pot, fudging on their taxes is just totally unrealistic and, in my opinion as someone who is 'living it', morally wrong.

I'm not important enough to be pardoned while I'm still a young, vibrant person. The best I can hope for is that I live long enough for a 'token pardon' as an old man.

Completely and absolutely rendering someone onto the periphery of society for the rest of their lives isn't a 'fair consequence' for a mistake. The high-horse riders who say "well, you should've thought of that before you..." aren't being fair, forgiving or reasonable, given the lifelong, unintended consequences that are imposed.

Sorry, dad. I don't think I'll be able to make duck season anymore.
11.25.2008 10:59pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bob:

Good luck convincing the American people that sleep deprivation is torture as they define it.


I wasn't trying to make a point about political considerations. My point is that Bush is s hypocrite, because his administration classifies sleep deprivation as torture, but only when other countries do it.
11.26.2008 8:35pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier:

You're just bitter because Bush refused to pardon you for that matter involving you and the Swedish Bikini Team.


I'll get over it. Meanwhile, Bush is pissed on account of how he ended up with the Bulgarian Bikini Team, while I got the Swedes.

Not too many people know about Bush's escapades with the Bulgarians, so please keep it under your hat. Although I hear Borat may have secretly filmed it.
11.26.2008 8:35pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
tsotha:

that's been going on since the late '70s when the government got into the business of forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn't pay it back. Bush's big mistake there is being the guy in office when the music stopped


Thank goodness Bush did nothing to encourage that process. He was just an innocent bystander. It much have been some other George W. Bush who issued a press release that said this:

Expanding Homeownership. The President believes that homeownership is the cornerstone of America's vibrant communities and benefits individual families by building stability and long-term financial security. In June 2002, President Bush issued America's Homeownership Challenge to the real estate and mortgage finance industries to encourage them to join the effort to close the gap that exists between the homeownership rates of minorities and non-minorities. The President also announced the goal of increasing the number of minority homeowners by at least 5.5 million families before the end of the decade. Under his leadership, the overall U.S. homeownership rate in the second quarter of 2004 was at an all time high of 69.2 percent.


Hat tip to a commenter here.
11.26.2008 8:44pm
Hoosier:
jbg

"I'll get over it. Meanwhile, Bush is pissed on account of how he ended up with the Bulgarian Bikini Team, while I got the Swedes."

I just don't see what the big deal was 'bout that: A little depiliation, plus some vodka all around . . . Heck, I'd hit that.
11.27.2008 9:03am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
"A little depiliation"

I love it when you talk dirty.
11.27.2008 9:34am
Hoosier:
I love it when you talk dirty.

That's what she said.

(But not to me.)
11.28.2008 12:35am