Quantcast

Nation Topics - Society | The Nation

Topic Page

Articles

News and Features

Despite all the palaver, the denouement came quickly.

The editors of The New York Times Magazine had a good idea recently.

Students heading for DC are bringing more than a toothbrush and a change of underwear.

Scheduled for April 30, the Millennium March on Washington for Equality--the fourth national lesbian and gay rally on the Mall--may sound like your standard, good old-fashioned mass march on Wash

While the public has been napping, the American university has been busily reinventing itself.

Can you top this? seems to be the theme of the escalating police scandal in Los Angeles.

That the mainstream media are increasingly conservative and gossip-driven is not exactly news.

In California, as in most states, any election aftermath involves a wan hunt for silver linings. As always, it's hard to find them.

The Control Equipment such as Voltage Regulators, Auto Transformers, Oil Circuit Breakers, Panel Board, etc., was designed by and supplied by General Electric Company.

The media coverage of the Clinton pardons has been so biased,
overblown and vituperative as to call into question the very purpose of
what currently passes as journalism. It is difficult to recall a more
partisan, one-sided hatchet job.

Surely, even the faintest sense of fairness would compel a comparison
of former President Clinton's actions with that of his predecessors and,
as Rep. Henry Waxman pointed out at a recent hearing to a largely
indifferent Washington press corps, Republican Presidents have more than
matched the outrages of Clinton.

Forget Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard M. Nixon, which, while
effectively short-circuiting an ongoing probe of possibly the most
egregious behavior of any US President, can be rationalized as a
healing gesture. Nixon had accomplished much, and he was by then a broken
man. We can also overlook Ronald Reagan's pardon of Yankee owner George
Steinbrenner, who had pleaded guilty to violating election laws.

But unforgivable is what former President George Bush did. He
protected himself--a former Reagan Administration official--in an ongoing
investigation when he pardoned Reagan's Defense secretary, Casper
Weinberger, and the rest of the Iran/contra gang of six.

At the time, Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh bitterly charged
that "the Iran/contra cover-up, which has continued for more than six
years, has now been completed"--by presidential fiat. Walsh called it
"evidence of a conspiracy among the highest-ranking Reagan Administration
officials to lie to Congress and the American public" and said that, "in
light of President Bush's own misconduct," he was "gravely concerned"
about Bush's decision to pardon others.

Bush could easily have been said to have covered up his own potential
culpability--far short of anything Clinton has been accused of doing in
his pardon of Marc Rich or anyone else. Nor did the Bush Iran/contra
pardons pass the one-more-pardon-before-leaving-the-White-House "smell
test" so liberally applied to Clinton's pardons; the pardon came after
intensive lobbying by former Reagan aides and many last-minute White
House meetings.

As for pardoning drug dealers, so upsetting when ordered by Clinton,
again why no comparison with Bush's similar and arguably more offensive
pardon of that nature? Bush's pardon of Aslam Adam, a Pakistani heroin
trafficker serving a fifty-five-year sentence, would seem more startling than
Clinton's pardon of an LA Latino from a sentence one-fifth as long.

And, OK, let's talk about Marc Rich. Let's compare his pardon to that
of another financier, Armand Hammer. If Rich bought his pardon, he at
least felt the need to employ the precaution of funneling a contribution
through his ex-wife, as some charge. Hammer was considerably more
blatant. Not only had he pleaded guilty to the charge of making illegal
campaign contributions but also, when pardoned from that offense by Bush,
he forked over two gifts of $100,000 to the GOP as well as to Bush's
inaugural committee.

Those represented fresh contributions to an incoming administration
that could continue to bestow favors--not, as with Clinton, to a
soon-to-be ex-President's library. But if it is library contributions
that now so fascinate, why did House Government Reform Committee Chairman
Dan Burton turn down ranking Democrat Waxman's request that the records
of contributions to Republican Presidents' libraries also be subpoenaed?

And imagine the outcry if Clinton had pardoned an immigrant exile
accused of masterminding an airline bombing that cost the lives of seventy-three
people, including twenty-four teenage members of an Olympic fencing team. Yet
that is what George Bush did in acceding to the requests of his son, Jeb,
to pardon Orlando Bosch, gaining Jeb support in Miami's exile Cuban
community.

The most serious of Clinton's pardon excesses, that of former CIA
Director John Deutsch, does not rise to that level, but it is odd that it
has not been criticized. By pardoning Deutsch, Clinton ended an inquiry
into how sloppily top secrets are handled at the highest level. The
Clinton Administration had held former Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee in
solitary confinement for mishandling data that wasn't even classified as
secret at the time. It was Lee and not Deutsch who deserved a pardon. But
that would have meant enduring criticism, and Clinton only does that for
well-connected people.

What Clinton did in catering to the wishes of his rich backers was
probably less motivated by library gifts than by misplaced compassion for
well-heeled but seedy people. That makes it all the more depressing, for
one would have hoped that someone who came up the hard way would know
that the filthy rich don't deserve special favors. But the rich pay the
piper, and no matter who's in the White House, Presidents do dance.

So it is, and so it always has been. The presidential pardon is a perk
of office, which has only the function of exonerating those the judicial
system would otherwise continue to condemn. It is a power begging to be
abused, but no more so by Clinton than many a Republican President who
preceded him.

Blogs

A Dickensian year when food stamps were cut and bankers got everything they wanted

December 24, 2014

Before Ismaaiyl Brinsley killed two police officers, he shot Shaneka Thompson. That matters more than law enforcement’s blame game.

December 23, 2014

Andrew Johnson’s and Bill Clinton’s impeachment trials; obituaries for Theodore Roosevelt, Vladimir Lenin and Winston Churchill; the beginnings of the Prague Spring and the Arab Spring—and all of it before the end of January!

December 23, 2014

We all should mourn the deaths of Liu and Ramos—but that mourning doesn't mean we become less critical of the police as a violent and racist tool of oppression.

December 22, 2014

From the classrooms to the streets, the movement keeps growing.

December 22, 2014

Fighting for breath when police and media are declaring war against a peaceful movement could not be more pressing.

December 22, 2014

Ariyana Smith lay on the court for four and a half minutes before her team’s game on November 29. She did not know that she would be the first in a historic movement of athletes speaking out against police violence.

December 19, 2014

Walmart to pregnant women: choose between a healthy pregnancy and a job.

December 19, 2014

Here's to a new year!

December 19, 2014

Katrina vanden Heuvel joins Stephen Colbert and friends for one last song.

December 19, 2014