Pardons and commutations signed on final day in officeClinton issued 140 pardons as well as several commutations on his last day of office (January 20, 2001). When a sentence is commuted, the conviction remains intact, but the sentence can be altered in a number of ways. Some controversial actions include the following:
- Carlos A. Vignali had his sentence for cocaine trafficking commuted, after serving 6 of 15 years in federal prison.
- Almon Glenn Braswell was pardoned of his mail fraud and perjury convictions, even while a federal investigation was underway regarding additional money laundering and tax evasion charges. Braswell and Carlos Vignali each paid approximately $200,000 to Hillary Clinton's brother, Hugh Rodham, to represent their respective cases for clemency. Hugh Rodham returned the payments after they were disclosed to the public. Braswell would later invoke the Fifth Amendment at a Senate Committee hearing in 2001, when questioned about allegations of his having systematically defrauded senior citizens of millions of dollars.
- Marc Rich, a fugitive, was pardoned of tax evasion, after clemency pleas from Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, among many other international luminaries. He was required to pay a $100 million dollar fine and waive any use of the pardon as a defense against any future civil charges that were filed against him in the same case. Critics complained that Denise Rich, his former wife, had made substantial donations to the Clinton library and to Mrs. Clinton's senate campaign. Emails uncovered during the course of the investigation revealed that her final donation was provided a year before Scooter Libby requested that she approach Clinton for a pardon. According to Paul Volcker's independent investigation of Iraqi Oil-for-Food kickback schemes, Marc Rich was a middleman for several suspect Iraqi oil deals involving over 4 million barrels of oil.
- Susan McDougal, who had already completed her sentence, was pardoned for her role in the Whitewater scandal; McDougal had served 18 months on contempt charges for refusing to testify about Clinton's role.
- Dan Rostenkowski, a former Democratic Congressman convicted in the Congressional Post Office Scandal. Rostenkowski had served his entire sentence.
- Melvin J. Reynolds, a Democratic Congressman from Illinois, who was convicted of bank fraud, 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice, and solicitation of child pornography had his sentence commuted on the bank fraud charged and was allowed to serve the final months under the auspices of a half way house. He had served his entire sentence on child sex abuse charges before the commutation of the later convictions.
- Roger Clinton, the president's half-brother, on drug charges after having served the entire sentence more than a decade before. Roger Clinton would be charged with drunk driving and disorderly conduct in an unrelated incident within a year of the pardon. He was also briefly alleged to have been utilized in lobbying for the Braswell pardon, among others. However, no wrongdoing was uncovered.
"I told my colleagues yesterday that the biggest ethical issue facing our country for the past three and a half years is the war in Iraq.
This unnecessary pre-emptive war has come at great cost. Nearly 2,900 of our brave troops have lost their lives and more than 21,000 more have suffered lasting wounds. Since the war began, Congress has appropriated more than $350 billion, and the United States has suffered devastating damage to our reputation in the eyes of the world."
After Pelosi's pick for the #2 spot, Jack Murtha, was soundly thumped 149-86, I wonder if she should have remembered that it's the conservative and moderate Dems who brought in the win on Election Day, not necessarily the "bring-'em-home-NOW's". Her highest priority, in her own words, is ending our involvement in Iraq, and what better way to keep it on the front burner than to throw her backing behind Murtha, even though she was not required to campaign for anybody for the post? After all, it was his "courageous leadership that changed the national debate and helped make Iraq the central issue of this historic election”.
Not to mention the fact that Pelosi defeated Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Murtha's opponent, for the position of minority whip four or five years ago--with the help of Jack Murtha as campaign manager.
Sticking up for friends might be a good thing, but Nancy seems to have backed the wrong horse in that race. Does the Murtha's thumping indicate that not all Democrats are cut and run, for example Hoyer, who at one point commented that a swift pullout "could lead to disaster"?
Kinda makes you wonder who Pelosi will support when it comes time to pick the Chair of the Intelligence Committee in the "the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress in history." The too-moderate Jane Harmon? Or one of only six federal judges to be impeached and removed from office, Alcee Hastings?
That's going to be fun to watch!
During the 2004 campaign, liberals contended that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's experience in Vietnam as a ground soldier made him an expert on the Iraq war, but now, by Belzer's reasoning, soldiers and Marines actually on the ground in Iraq have no credibility. Belzer is a conspiracy theorist who authored the 1999 book, “UFOs, JFK and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe.” His NBC bio notes that “he hosted and produced The Belzer Connection, a series of conspiracy-theory prime time specials for the Sci-Fi Channel.” On the March 17 Real Time with Bill Maher, produced at CBS Television City in Los Angeles and aired live on HBO at 11pm EST, Belzer and Ros-Lehtinen were joined on the panel by liberal writer Michele Mitchell. Belzer had a boisterous audience on his side during this exchange with Ros-Lehtinen which I attempted to transcribe, impeded by the frequent talking over each other:Keep reading to get the transcription. He even ticked off Mahrer, which is quite a trick in itself. Maybe it was the chemtrails.
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan police killed four protesters on Tuesday in some of the worst violence to erupt over satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad which have provoked a deepening crisis between Europe and the Muslim world. Fresh protests erupted in the Middle East, Asia and Africa on Tuesday over the cartoons as leaders urged restraint and struggled to contain the protests, some of which in recent days turned from peaceful to volatile and bloody. In Iran, locked in a nuclear stand-off with the West and which has cut trade ties with Denmark where the cartoons were first published, a crowd pelted the Danish embassy in Tehran with petrol bombs and stones for a second day. After rioters set Danish missions ablaze in Syria and Lebanon at the weekend, the European Union presidency issued a strongly-worded warning to 19 countries across the Middle East that they are obliged to protect EU missions. Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller called his Iranian counterpart "and demanded in clear terms that Iran does all it can to protect the embassy and Danish lives," a spokesman said. Depicting the Prophet is prohibited by Islam but moderate Muslims, while condemning the cartoons, have expressed fears radicals are hijacking the affair which has developed into a clash over press freedom and religious respect. Militants in Iraq have called for the seizure and killing of Danes and the boycott of Danish goods over the cartoons, one of which depicts Mohammad wearing a turban resembling a bomb with a fizzing fuse. In London, there were placards demanding the beheading of those who insulted Islam. In a new twist, Iran's best-selling newspaper on Tuesday launched a competition to find the best Holocaust cartoon. Denmark said on Tuesday that the violent protests raised concerns for the safety of its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan but that it had no plans to withdraw them. British troops were ordered to the Afghan town of Maymana after crowds attacked a NATO base of Norwegian troops with guns and grenades and police opened fire bringing the protest death toll in the Middle East and Asia to nine. F-16 warplanes flew overhead in a show of force while the Norwegians fired tear gas, rubber bullets and warning shots, managing to restore order by early evening. Norway was the second country to publish the cartoons.All this over some not-very-well-drawn CARTOONS????????????????? And this is NOT all about "dissing" Islam, either. This isn't all about religions and co-existence and everyone living happily ever after. These protesters are not just demanding that we respect Islamic rules and customs. They are demanding that we LIVE by them, and that's something completely different--as well as not very damned likely. UPDATE: InstaPunk and Dr. Sanity have some great thoughts on humor--or the lack thereof.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An American teenager ran away to Baghdad over Christmas and survived probably the most dangerous destination in the world before being packed off home by the U.S. military, U.S. officials said on Friday. Farris (Bueller?) Hassan, the 16-year-old son of Iraqi immigrants to Florida, showed up at the Baghdad bureau of an American news agency on Tuesday and recounted a tale of foolhardy daring by a would-be journalist on a far-fetched school project, the Associated Press said in a report on its unlikely visitor. Unable to speak Arabic, the dangers of his predicament began to dawn on him when he went out of his hotel looking for food and had to pull out his phrase book.And we worry about kids' drinking parties up here, or our little Ferris Bueller's days off? Can you imagine that phone call to his parents? "Hi son, where have you been?" ...long pause.... "You're WHERE????" (Not to mention, I want to read THAT report on "What I did for Christmas vacation"!!!)
"Weapons of mass destruction: The presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq puts at risk the health and safety of all Iraqis. The U.S. Government offers rewards to Iraqis who give specific and verifiable information that helps Iraqis rid their country of these dangerous materials and devices."
I am really hoping no jokester decides to send in my license plate numbers. Maybe it's time to give up the "WMD" plates and get boring, impossible-to-remember tags.