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Obama’s Meaningless New Year’s Gesture


By Stephen Lendman

Obama exhibits con man duplicity in his role as a convenient imperial front man - selected for this reason, serving wealth and power interests exclusively.

The reliable Saker calls him “exceptionally weak and even clueless.” He performs the role assigned him, his public actions and comments carefully scripted - an agenda based on deceit and contempt for fundamental rights everyone deserves.

A shameless NYT New Year’s eve editorial headlined “Obama’s Trickle of Mercy,” saying he commuted scores of mostly illicit drug related sentences on grounds of “justice and fairness” - along with pardoning two individuals for financial crimes.

On the one hand, Times editors called his actions “drops in very large bucket.” A “few dozen grants” ignore “9,000 applications for commutations that have not been acted on.”

On the other and most important, Times editors entirely ignored thousands of political prisoners languishing unjustly in America’s global gulag, including notables in domestic prisons, many serving longterm sentences despite having committed no crimes.

Obama has done nothing throughout his tenure to reverse acts of gross injustice and order restitution for victims.

Noted political prisoners like Mumia Abu Jamal, Oscar Lopez Rivera, Leonard Peltier, Chelsea Manning, Muslim charity Holy Land Foundation principles Shukri Abu-Baker and Ghassan Elashi, Aafia Siddiqui, Dr. Rafil Dhafir, Ramsey Muniz, and numerous others may either die in prison or leave eventually in poor health because of denied or seriously compromised medical care and overall treatment.

Obama continues doing nothing responsibly, nothing to relieve their suffering, nothing to reverse gross injustices. Scattered clemencies given to a handful of victims on the cusp of a new year ignore the greater problem - and the power of the presidency to address it.

The Constitution’s Article II, Section 2, Clause I states: “The President…shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”

A reprieve commutes a sentence. It doesn’t negate guilt, whether just or unjust. A pardon eliminates convictions entirely. It can be issued any time - straightaway after an alleged offense or after a full sentence is served.

In Federalist No. 74, Alexander Hamilton argued that “humanity and good policy (require) the benign prerogative of pardoning” - to mitigate harsh criminal code policy.

In United States v. Wilson (1833), Chief Supreme Court Justice John Marshall said “(a) pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed. It is the private, though official act of the executive magistrate.”

Commutations and pardons are constitutionally authorized actions. Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to Vietnam War draft evaders.

Ford pardoned Richard Nixon of involvement in the Watergate scandal. US political prisoners are contemptibly treated.

On December 31, 2013, wrongfully imprisoned world renown human rights lawyer/advocate Lynne Stewart miraculously was granted a compassionate release on medical grounds after being disgracefully denied.

In poor health battling cancer, otherwise she might have died before completing her unjust 10-year sentence - begun in November 2009.

Thousands of nameless, faceless victims continue languishing in the world largest gulag prison system, the shame of the nation, a blight on the conscience of officials permitting its existence - a punitive system virtually never showing compassion or mercy. Rare exceptions prove the rule.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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