Judging From His Clemency Record, Obama Likes Turkeys 10 Times As Much As People

The Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly notes that President Obama "has pardoned almost as many turkeys as drug offenders," which is pretty appalling but actually understates how bad Obama's clemency record is. All of the 11 drug offenders pardoned by Obama had completed their sentences years before, while the 10 turkeys he has pardoned (counting the two today) escaped their "sentences" entirely. Obama has not done anything comparable for any human beings, and he has shortened the sentence of exactly one drug offender, even though he and his attorney general concede that thousands are serving unfairly long prison terms.

If we limit the analysis to offenders whose punishments have been reduced by Obama, his ratio is 10 turkeys to one person. Another enlightening comparison: Attorney General Eric Holder's recently announced change in charging practices, if fully implemented by federal prosecutors, could result in shorter sentences for about 500 drug offenders each year. That's just 2 percent of all the federal drug offenders who are sentenced each year, but it is still 2,500 times as impressive as Obama' commutation record.

Reilly also gives the president too much credit when he says "Obama has granted the fewest pardons of any modern president." The truth is the Obama has pretty much the worst clemency record ever. He granted fewer pardons and commutations in his first term than any other president, except for George Washington (who probably did not have a lot of applications during the first few years of the nation's existence) and two presidents, William Henry Harrison and James Garfield, who died shortly after taking office. This year he issued 17 additional pardons. But judging from numbers compiled by P.S. Ruckman Jr., a professor of political science at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois, that did not improve Obama's standing. Compared to other presidents who served two terms, he is still doing abysmally bad. He makes Richard Nixon look like a softie.

Obama still has three years to redeem himself. National Journal's Ron Fournier urges him to try. Fournier, who like Reilly uses the turkey pardons as a peg, focuses on Weldon Angelos, who is serving 55 years for possessing a gun during three small-time marijuana sales. There are many other potential beneficiaries of clemency, including federal prisoners serving absurdly disproportionate life sentences and all the crack offenders who were sentenced under rules that Obama and almost every member of Congress have recognized as unjust.

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  • ||

    The boss beat you to it, dude.

  • GILMORE||

    BUSH WUZ WORSER

  • ||

    Why would Obama pardon anyone? These people were convicted in our nation of laws by our ever wise government. Obviously, since government does not make mistakes, these people are getting exactly what they should be getting, not a minute more or less.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I think there's an actual element of this in his approach to clemency. I've seen in other lefty quarters a reluctance to criticize even manifestly harmful government policies because they fear that acknowledging that government is anything short of perfect would bring the whole damn thing down.

  • bassjoe||

    Don't let your dogma blind you.

    This is a problem beyond standard right/left classification. Even with blatant proof that a conviction was wrongly-attained and a convict is actually innocent, district attorneys refuse to revisit cases. This probably wouldn't be a problem if DA's and others responsible for keeping people incarcerated weren't popularly elected; God forbid they be tarred as "soft on crime" for releasing a clearly innocent person.

  • John||

    It is sadly beyond right and left. But, it seems that Texas is the one state that is serious about doing something. The Dallas DA has done real work freeing innocent people who were victimized by that previously sorry office. And Texas actually sent a former DA to jail, albeit for only ten days, for suppressing exculpatory evidence in a trial that resulted in an innocent man spending 25 years in prison.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Good call on the Dallas DA. And he has done this in a very competitive political environment (Watkins if the first Democratic DA in Dallas County in a while).

    I would also point to North Carolina's creation of their Innocence Inquiry Commission, a state agency whose mandate is to investigate possible instances of actual innocence of convicted offenders, created in another up-for-grabs political environment under Democratic governor Easley. Pennsylvania followed suit soon afterwards.

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...sent a former DA to jail, albeit for only ten days, for suppressing exculpatory evidence in a trial...

    Immunity should always be qualified by intent. Faking or suppressing evidence should always be a crime. It's sickening that it's not.

  • ||

    The thanks Craig Watkins got for his good work on conviction integrity was a Federal investigation. I tend to believe it's an attempted railroading.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    That's a tough one - Mr. Watkins may well have done some improper things in bringing criminal charges against others, or may have, as alleged, done this mostly at the behest and planning of a large donor, and if so, that's a problem.

    However, they have little to go on - at least publicly, only circumstantial evidence and Watkins not answering certain questions (and depending upon the answers, his claim of privilege may or may not be true).

    I would guess this means the FBI is also investigating Lois Lerner?

  • GILMORE||

    "government does not make mistakes"

    That's one way of looking at it.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.....stakes.jpg

    I see it more as the pure-bureaucrat-instinct, which is "if I don't get a lot of credit for it, it probably isn't worth doing"; or, "I will never do anything to undermine my other faithful bureaucrats - what if these LA prosecutors were my donors?? Needs to protect the family". The actual reality of "people suffering in prison" is as meaningless to him as "people who dont' vote democrat"

  • ||

    OT: if the GOP is the Stupid Party, can we all Jersey the Stupid State?

  • From the Tundra||

    Yes we can.

    Is that news chick holding a Blackberry?

  • ||

    Yeah, I thought DC was the last bastion of Blackberry usage (the Feds have to be one of RIMs only remaining customers). Guess I was mistaken.

  • John||

    I don't mind my blackberry. It lets me get to my email and I find the keyboard easy to type on. I wouldn't want it as a private phone. But as a work email checker it is fine.

  • ||

    But as a work email checker it is fine.

    Care to venture a guess how much taxpayers paid for that sort of high-tech functionality? I'm glad my office got rid of our shared Blackberry. The thing was a fucking albatross.

  • Almanian!||

    "ALLLLLLLLLBATROSS! ALLLLLLLLLLLLBATROSSS!!"

    "I'll take two!"

    "I've only got ONE, ya cocksucker!"

    /Monty Python

  • From the Tundra||

    See, this is precisely what separates HnR from the pretenders.

    "It's a bloody seabird, it's not any bloody flavor!"

  • John||

    At my office they have a plan that charges by the minute. No shit. They don't have an unlimited plan.

  • ||

    Not to mention the cost of the device itself. I don't think the government knows about bulk deals, judging by other technology buys I've heard about.

  • flye||

    My work finally allowed me to trash my Blackberry Torch in favor of an iPhone. Superior in every single way, especially for its primary uses of email and calendar.

    It would be worth spending up to 5 days in jail if I could find the person responsible for the blackberry touch screen keyboard and punch them in the mouth.

  • Almanian!||

    lulz

    I just declined further consideration for a position a headhunter contacted me about.

    One of the "requirements" was "able to be contacted via Blackberry in emergencies".

    "Uhhhh....you can just call my stupidphone, since I don't have a smartphone...but I ain't got no Blackberry, yo..."

    That wasn't the reason I declined further consdieration. That it's based in "7-round magazine" New York, was, in fact, the deciding factor. But it wasn't exactly a "selling point", either.

  • ||

    BBM is available for iOS and Android now.

  • Hugh Akston||

    "It's like Grindr for lawyers!"

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    When I read that, my mind was only aware of definition number 2.

  • ||

    Yeah, every time I see it, my first thought is inappropriate, my second thought is "oh right the RIM" product, and then I revert to inappropriate thoughts.

  • Zeb||

    I am able top be contacted by Blackberry at any time. I just choose not to exercise that ability ever.

  • Almanian!||

    We can't have cameras on our work phones cause SECRETS AND DESIGNS - actually necessary.

    Do you know how hard it is to get phones without cameras? We basically have to custom order...what do I have now...Motorola phones, which Motorola removes the cameras from.

    So I call it my Stupid Phone.

    And - nature of my work is such that I have been and will be contacted at home at all hours of the day, any day - and that's fine. CALL ME!

  • Generic Stranger||

    Whatever you say, Blondie.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Can't have camera at work... on call all the time...

    you're a high priced hooker?

  • John||

    It has been for a while I think. What is sad about these sorts of laws is that all they do is provide police a reason to fuck with minorities and poor people. You can pull someone over and say "i saw him eating" and thus not worry about probable cause. I bet I could drive all the way up the Jersey Turnpike eating and as a respectable looking white person in a nice car never worry about getting pulled over. These laws are totally unenforceable and nothing but a license for cops to fuck with minorities. And they are passed and supported by liberals who wake up every day certain in the knowledge that only they stand in the way of the country putting black people back in chains.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yup. Politicians who want to get the Do-something! idiot vote. IIRC, there are existing laws against reckless driving, and most driving while texting comes under that. Banning driving while smoking is just moronic.

  • ||

    I'm afraid to read the comments on the original Facebook posting (posted by our local DC NBC affiliate). I can just picture "Safety trumps everything!" and "Great idea!" from people who you just know eat and/or smoke in their cars, but don't think the law will ever apply to them because they're very safe drivers.

  • Zeb||

    I thought NJ already had a law that you had to have both hands on the wheel unless you were doing something necessary to driving like shifting gear. Maybe I'm thinking of something else.
    Banning smoking while driving woudl not only be an unreasonable intrusion, it would be down right counterproductive. You want a bunch of pissed off smokers on the road, desperate to get to where they can smoke again? For a lot of smokers, the car is the only enclosed place left to smoke in.

  • Generic Stranger||

    You'll just have to carpool and hotbox it in order to get your fix.

  • MJGreen||

    I might respect Obama if he decided at the last minute not to pardon the turkey, and had it butchered right there in front of everyone. That would make up for the "If you like your healthcare" lie, at the very least.

  • John||

    Go ninja and take its head off right there in front of the White House press corps. Even I would have to respect that.

  • From the Tundra||

  • Hugh Akston||

    Pardon it and then have the CIA put a bag over its head and rendition it to a black site where it will be tortured to death and then dumped in the ocean. The most Obama Thanksgiving ever.

  • ||

    I wonder if turkey tastes better when it dies in terror the way dog does.

  • Killazontherun||

    I wonder if turkey tastes better when it dies in terror the way dog does.

    Somehow that escaped my knowledge. My sister accidentally ate dog at a party when she was stationed on Guam. As the world's biggest dog lover, she still brings it up thirty years later shaking in terror.

  • ||

    Yeah, that's the nasty part about Korean dog soup. Terrified dogs are claimed to be tastier, so they're killed by being put in a sack and kicked to death. Younger Koreans are aghast at this and the production and consumption of it is plummeting as the older generation dies off.

  • gimmeasammich||

    Which is the opposite of rabbits. Apparently a rabbit that was calm tastes better, so they are separated from the others so they don't hear it scream. They are then stroked along the back to make it even more calm, then you gently pull its hind legs and ears in opposite directions to pop the spine.

    Kind of fucked up, which is why I prefer to just shoot.

  • ||

    This comment cheered me up out of my doldrums considerably. Thanks, Hugh.

  • Hugh Akston||

    :: Tips hat:: Happy to oblige ma'am.

  • Almanian!||

    Get the Kilcher's from "Alaska The Last Frontier" to butcher a turkey AND a bear live.

    I'd think more of Our President (PBUH) if he did that...

  • John||

    And you guys wonder why I would vote for Sarah Palin for President. She would go hunting, make the press corps follow her and then gut a deer or elk right in front of them. She would have a stag's head installed over the press secretary's podium. It would four or eight years of non stop pearl clutching and shock from the various douche bags in the press corps. I would be priceless.

  • Almanian!||

    You have presented me with a compelling vision....

  • gimmeasammich||

    If that was all that she accomplished in her presidency, I'd be happy as well. Too bad she would fuck other shit up in the meantime.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Maybe - but I'm not sure how she would be remotely as bad as what we have now.

    & I for one could care less who McCain added - McCain/Feingold was reason enough not to vote for him. For me, he could've selected the most libertarian perfect candidate as VP and I still would've voted against him.

    I mean what an idiotic idea for a guy who pretends to love freedom - restricting political speech.

  • Gray Ghost||

    She would go hunting, make the press corps follow her and then gut a deer or elk right in front of them.

    Don't tell me you've already forgotten this interview she did. Unlike the linked video, the footage I remember seeing didn't have the blurred out bits.

    Hey, it's factory farming. No one ever claimed it was pleasant. Probably not the backdrop I'd have picked if I was an up and coming political figure, but whatever. A Palin presidency would have been a different sort of hilarity than the Obama one's turned out to be.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    I hadn't seen that one but I almost just had a stroke when he said the squeamish should look away. Like really you're going to force another being to experience that and you can't even stand the discomfort of watching it? The level of shitbag people can be is unbelievable.

  • John||

    One of the great pleasures of a Rand Paul Presidency is that I honestly think he would use the hell out of his commutation power such that at the end of his term a lot fewer black men would be in prison than at the beginning. Just imagine the pleasure of endlessly throwing that fact in Progs' faces. For me at least, it would never get old.

  • ||

    If that happened, it would be so. fucking. awesome. But I won't hold my breath, either for a Paul Presidency or him not acting like most other politicians.

  • John||

    I think he would disappoint in many ways, all politicians do. But I do think that both him and his dad are real Christian do gooders. And for that reason I think it is likely he would use his commutation and pardoning power like no one else ever has.

    It just goes to show how stupid the GOP is. After 8 years of being totally fucked over by Obama, the black community might rethink a few things if the Republican President who followed Obama really did set captives free. But no way would the GOP establishment ever support such a thing.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Republicans are turning criminals loose in our communities! They don't care about black people!"

    I'm just making that talking point available for whenever it may be useful.

  • From the Tundra||

    You're probably right, but there are several old school Rs in my office who have really dig Rand. Mildly shocking, to be sure. As to acting like most other pols, at least he hasn't pulled a Jeff Flake flop (yet).

  • ||

    Jeff Flake. Ugh.

  • From the Tundra||

    A Reason favorite at one time. Conspicuously absent now, huh? I wonder what kind of porn habit the NSA confronted him with to make him turn so quickly.

  • Killazontherun||

    I wonder what kind of porn habit the NSA confronted him with to make him turn so quickly.

    More like the porn he did as a butt chugging serenade singing naked cowboy.

  • ||

    He's clearly an unprincipled hack. But the way the winds are blowing in the GOP, he bet on the wrong horse. Hope he gets fucked by the libertarian upwelling within his party (though that's not likely given his district - the ever-authoritarian Maricopa County and his illustrious colleague Wacko Bird McCain).

  • Killazontherun||

    This, double gag.

  • Zeb||

    If I were president, I'd pretend I was going to pardon the turkey but then at the last moment wring it's neck with my bare hands.

  • Almanian!||

    Ya got my vote!

    Wait - I don't vote.

    Never mind.

  • flye||

    If I were president, I'd hand this whole event off to Vice President Rob Ford.

  • sloopyinca||

    Our Presidents pardon Turkey every year we don't acknowledge their holocaust against the Armenians.

  • Almanian!||

    Wow - for someone whose kid's name is Reason....

    Can we make that part of the drinking game?

  • Andrew S.||

    I say no. It's not like we need more excuses to drink in order to numb away the pain.

    Wait, that's exactly what we need. Or at least what I need. I say add it.

  • Killazontherun||

    Look as President, I can't pretend to give a damn about much of anything that happened one hundred years ago. Anyone who wants to re-fight the Civil War all over again is a certifiable fruit cake, so lets get on with carving this turkey.

    [CHOP. Cute little gobbles gurgling in blood bubbles. Crowd applauds the new Thanksgiving tradition. Liberal media miffed, Episiarch plots to assassinate President Killaz for his rollingly rampant use of alliteration.]

  • Killaz||

    There, been meaning to get around to that for a year now.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Glad to know you stopped running.

  • Killaz||

    I think I have eluded the posse for now.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    FACT: It costs more to keep a turkey housed on death row than it does to keep it imprisoned for life.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    It's a fake.
    All the previously-pardoned turkeys are dead.
    Seriously. Even CNN knows it.

  • Andrew S.||

    It's obvious from the "sent to live on a farm" part. Isn't that what you tell naive kids so they don't get sad about their dog dying?

  • Andrew S.||

    [Alternate reply I should have thought of before]

    I should've known something was up when the last three turkeys were named Whitman, Price and Haddad.

  • Enough About Palin||

    Barack Obama: [to the turkey, whispering] You know what woke you up? You just had your throat cut.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    This is the same stupidity Stephen Colbert was spouting back in 08/09 when Cali passed prop 2 and 8. Has Obama eaten these prisoners? Cut their throats or boiled them alive? Probably not.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Obozo couldn't even pick which bird to pardon himself. He threw it up for a vote.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog.....ing-turkey

    Or elections have consequences.

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