November 26, 2014
Nearly a year into clemency initiative, turkeys remain more likely to get Prez Obama pardon than people
As detailed in this AP story, headlined "Obama Defends Legal Authority — to Pardon Turkeys," there was much jocularity at the White House today as President Obama continued the White House tradition of giving executive grace to a couple of feathered friends:
President Barack Obama has issued an executive action that some of his Republican opponents may be hard-pressed to disagree with — sparing Thanksgiving turkeys from the dinner table.
In the spirit of the holiday, Obama on Wednesday took "action fully within my legal authority, the same kind of action taken by Democrats and Republican presidents before me," to pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey, a 49-pound bird named Cheese. He also spared an alternate turkey, a 47-pounder named Mac. Both came from Cooper Farms in Oakwood, Ohio.
"If you're a turkey, and you're named after a side dish, your chances of escaping Thanksgiving dinner are pretty low," Obama said at the annual event, which drew international media coverage. He was accompanied by his daughters, Malia and Sasha, who declined his invitation to pet the birds. "No," Malia said....
"So these guys are well ahead of the curve. They really beat the odds," he said of Mac and Cheese. Obama last week announced a series of highly anticipated executive actions immigration that have left Republicans crying "fowl."
Joking about his poultry action, Obama said: "I know some will call this amnesty. But don't worry. There's plenty of turkey to go around." Later Wednesday, Obama took his family to a neighborhood food pantry to donate a pair of turkeys "that didn't make the cut."...
At the pardoning ceremony, Obama referenced news reports that questioned the wisdom of the turkey pardon tradition and said "it is a little puzzling that I do this every year." But Obama said he enjoys the tradition because "with all the tough stuff that swirls around in this office, it's nice once in a while just to say 'Happy Thanksgiving,' and this is a great excuse to do it."
Presidents as far back as Abraham Lincoln spared turkeys, according to the White House. President George H.W. Bush granted the first turkey pardon in November 1989.
At the risk of being a holiday party pooper, I cannot help but note that it has now been a full 10 months since the Obama Administration publicly announced (as detailed here) that it was eager to identify low-level, nonviolent drug offenders for possible clemency relief. Since that time, however, the President has granted clemency to a grand total of one prisoner and now to two turkeys. Thus, as I have said often in the past and will continue to say unless things change dramatically, President Obama's clemency record to date to be not merely disappointing, but truly disgraceful.
A few of many recent and older posts concerning federal clemency practices:
- "White House Seeks Drug Clemency Candidates" ... like Weldon Angelos and Chris Williams?
- Justice Department formally announces its clemency initiative plans and guidelines
- Is Prez Obama likely to grant clemency to "hundreds, perhaps thousands" of imprisoned drug offenders?
- New Slate pitch for Prez to use clemency powers to address crack sentencing disparities
- ProPublica reveals more ugliness in federal clemency process
- ProPublica urges next AG to "Fix Presidential Pardons"
- "Presidential Pardons Heavily Favor Whites"
- Investigation reveals (shockingly?!?!) that politicians and politics impact federal pardons
- DOJ audit of federal clemency process with sound and fury signifying nothing
- Updated numbers on President Obama's disgraceful clemency record
- "Obama's Mercy Dearth"
- Los Angeles Times calls out our "no-pardon president"
November 26, 2014 at 07:23 PM | Permalink
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As a whole, especially given the number of turkeys raised for slaughter in this country, not quite -- http://www.justice.gov/pardon/index.html
His policy here is worthy of strong criticism & some senators (perhaps blog fav Rand Paul) should use the nomination of the new A.G. to bring it up in part because if there was more public pressure, it might be more likely to change this situation. One that probably is a result of not simply Obama just being a hard-hearted sort.
Posted by: Joe | Nov 27, 2014 11:47:23 AM
Obama (or more likely, his handlers) is a tactitian first and foremost. If he releases anyone well before he leaves office, and said person commits an atrocity, that would look bad on him and perhaps affect his performance while he's still in office. Therefore, he will wait until 2017 just prior to leaving office for good.
If a GOP president is elected and Congress stays completely in control of the GOP, look at Obama doing a blanket release of thousands of inmates in January 2017 prior to the inauguration, then getting the press to spin the blame on the GOP.
If a Democrat is elected president, probably a lot less will be released, and only those who can help, not hinder, the Democrat agenda.
Posted by: Eric Knight | Nov 29, 2014 11:55:57 AM
"only those who can help, not hinder, the Democrat agenda"
A few people were already granted relief. Some more will probably next month and upcoming years. As these things go, the end of the term is likely a period where more than before would be added to the mix. Not all of these will simply be a matter of what is "hindering" or not a certain "agenda."
Anyway, there are enough potentials that for which there is an about zero chance of them committing some "atrocity" among the thousands of people he can commute their sentences or pardon. It is a special case, but one person I'll be looking for in 2017 is Chelsea Manning. Keeping her in prison past 2017 would be to me gratuitous. I'm not with some of my brethren at being appalled he was convicted. But, the length of the sentence, yes.
Posted by: Joe | Nov 29, 2014 12:19:42 PM
Note: the pronoun use was advisable. Wikipedia notes the day after sentencing was the time a press release was released regarding "Chelsea" Manning. If it was known before the conviction, I duly note that, but as a mere member of the public, I'll use the former marker.
Posted by: Joe | Nov 29, 2014 12:23:36 PM
To: Whom it may concern, *(Regarding Humans and Post Conviction Relief / Rights Restoration of the Unexoneratables)
Full Pardons - for / based on Innocence (despite being Presidential and / or Gubernatorial) are not worth the paper they are printed on when devoid of: a verbal & published public apology addressing the wronged and those documented as being responsible for the Team Effort, listing their full names. When the Applicant 'is' and can show / prove that he / she is 100% Not Guilty (that's Innocent for the snarks), good luck locating an: attorney / lawyer / professor / project / senator / state Rep. / mayor / president that's willing to assist you in righting the wrong if your claim (Application) is classified as: Non-DNA, Non-Death Row related & considered Closed / Inactive. When one takes into consideration the Applicant must have exhausted all direct appeals prior to seeking help, it's just not happening, due to the majority of the wronged having cases disposed of via: The TapOut (stopping and / or avoiding a jury trail all the way to verdict in order to Take the Plea).
Once it's swept under the (DCC) - Doesn't Qualify Carpet, you have basically lost 6 months to a year of your life providing everyone information that they are already in possession of (Criminal History Reports, Finger Prints, Police Incident Reports, Police Booking Photos, Certified Case files). For those that have never had the opportunity to take a peek under the Rigged carpet, you are are in for a treat if you explore Texas's Board of Pardons & Paroles (Clemency Section) Rules). Rules designed to discourage and prevent Applicants from the very moment of requesting an Application all the damn way to being required to obtain Letters of Recommendation(s) with unanimous decisions of the three original trial officials (Sheriff, DA, Judge). Three individuals having absolutely no incentives or duty to reply much-less agree in writing that they and / or their predecessors engaged in a conspiracy, where a false arrest was allowed to morph into a wrongful conviction. You are out of your frigging mind if you believe that the Rs' will jump at chances to right wrongs committed by Ds'. You are out of your frigging mind if you believe that the Ds' will do the same. As for the Ls' & Inbetweeners, they are simply R's & D's in place to fake-out the voting public and make or break bills.
*If any good can come from decades of mandatory participation in a Rigged Game, one can only hope & pray that the Pardon is reserved for the Guilty as Hell and the Public Apology is automatic for those vetted and shown to be Not Guilty despite a Team Effort to obtain convictions that utilize juries on the front end, only to release them at lunch recess with a: Thank you for your service and a check.
*In closing: Fuck a Pardon. If you are Not Guilty and can prove it and apply to receive a piece of paper issued from a politician that's devoid of an apology, you are in possession of a worthless yet framable piece of paper. If the issuer just happens to be connected to corruption, you will be in possession of a damn joke. And for that, I am very thankful that Bush-Wacker 2 & Perry the Puppet-Master both denied me Full Pardons - for / based on innocence and Regular Pardons (filed on my behalf by the Clemency Section staff). I wouldn't accept either form even if the President were to personally delivered it, 'if' it was not accompanied with a published public apology and named names.
Thomas R. Griffith
PNG: of Texas
Posted by: Thomas R. Griffith | Nov 30, 2014 2:25:15 PM