Thursday 5 July 2007

Presidential prerogative, pride and persuasion

Pardon me, forgive them

Whilst I do not in anyway condone the way in which an active secret agent was exposed to discredit her husband, I think the case that was built up against Lewis "Scooter" Libby was chasing after the wrong things.

He was charged and convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice as a peripheral issue to the case of who really revealed that Valerie Plame was an agent.

However, I am amazed at the prerogative of the President who regardless of what the courts have decided can exercise the power to commute, forgive or pardon the convicted with the judiciary having no recourse to appeal that decision. Clemency is an amazing demonstration of humanity and mercy.

The United States Constitution, Article II, Section 2 states - ... and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

Interestingly, this is a power that the President has not exercised with too much political patronage 76 pardons and 4 commutations, none however for murders or heinous crimes, which is understandable.

So, Lewis "Scooter" Libby had the jail portion of his sentence removed by presidential reprieve and though the probation and fines remain, the President has not ruled out a complete pardon - Lewis simply has to continue to be a good boy to obtain grace and find mercy which is in the gift of the President.

With such power can come serious abuse, but I think Presidents have been quite disciplined with the use of this instrument even though there has been controversy about this half-pardon and the Clinton pardoning of Marc Rich - it is still the President's prerogative - take it or leave it.

My son, the President

Then President Putin went visiting George W. Bush and isn't it a pleasure to have an ex-President seeing his son become President; we might call that Presidential pride. George W. Bush has put his father George H. W. Bush to work on a number of projects as the Indian Ocean Tsunami fund with Bill Clinton. My heart warmed when he had his father greet and receive Vladimir Putin for their informal summit at the blue-blooded family retreat of Kennebunkport - Our dear Dubya is no red-necked Texan cowboy with a ranch, he was born with a gold spoon in his mouth and he wore silver slippers around the house.

The Olympic Linguist

However, President Putin had a stop-over in Guatemala where he pushed the case for Sochi the Black Sea resort in Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics in impeccable English and French charming IOC members and jetting off before the vote of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). For months, I had been wondering about the adverts for Sochi and then suddenly there were adverts for PyeongChang, South Korea - it took a while for me to realise we were being subliminally programmed for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Strangely, I never knew Salzburg, Austria was in the race till they were eliminated yesterday.

Sadly, for PyeongChang, they are now second-time losers for the hosting of the Winter Olympics - strategy back to drawing board, I could not help but notice that within minutes of the announcement the PyeongChang advert was played again by BBC World - what cruel irony - I seemed to subconsciously have name-recognition for Sochi, that is how effective their campaign was, whilst I thought PyeongChang was in China - Go figure.

In the end, it was Presidential appeal that put this in the bag for Sochi and good luck to them before the environmentalists get all excited and destroy the games as their clamour destroyed the livelihoods of the Inuit in seal-hunting without consideration for alternative means of income.

Those rotten single-issue advocates who never consider the consequences of their actions apart from achieving their selfish narrow interests in the guise of saving our planet - even the planet needs people who can live their lives without townies imposing ideal values on traditional folk.

I digressed - this was about the presidential prerogative for pardons, presidential influence and appeal through persuasion and not to forget the presidential pride of seeing ones offspring do well.

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