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Kanye Was Wrong about GWB

President Bush dished out a bunch of pardons yesterday, and you’d expect them to go to Republican sleazeballs like Randy “Duke” Cunningham and Jack Abramoff. After all, cronyism has been a hallmark of this administration, and every president hands out some sleazy pardons at the end of his term: it’s a vile Beltway tradition.

Instead, W decides to pardon John Forte.

Huh!?!?!

Whoever saw this one coming wins a cookie.

forte

WASHINGTON — President Bush granted 14 pardons and commuted two prison sentences on Monday, but the benefactors included none of the big names who had become the topic of speculation as Mr. Bush leaves office.

Mr. Bush has been relatively sparing in his use of pardons compared with past presidents, and the latest round of actions continued that pattern.

The closest any of the defendants came to celebrity was John E. Forté, a hip-hop artist and backup singer to Carly Simon who was convicted of aiding and abetting in the distribution of cocaine. (Ms. Simon put up the bail of $250,000 for Mr. Forté when he was arrested in 2001 at Newark International Airport.) Mr. Forté was sentenced to 14 years in prison, but Mr. Bush commuted the remainder of his sentence.

Amid a flurry of recent clemency requests that reached historic levels, a number of high-profile defendants have looked to Mr. Bush for help. They included Michael Milken, the former junk bond king convicted of securities fraud; Marion Jones, the former Olympic sprinter convicted for lying about her use of performance-enhancing drugs; Randy Cunningham, the former California congressman sent to prison in a bribery scheme; and John Walker Lindh, an American who pleaded guilty to serving with the Taliban.

There has also been growing speculation in Washington that Mr. Bush might issue blanket pardons to government officials and intelligence officers who took part in counterterrorism programs like Qaeda interrogations, to protect them from the threat of criminal prosecution.

But none of that came to pass on Monday. Those issued reprieves had been found guilty of mostly garden-variety offenses; one recipient, Leslie O. Collier, was issued a pardon for a 1996 conviction for the unauthorized use of a pesticide in killing bald eagles. Others who received pardons had been convicted of income tax evasion, unauthorized acquisition of food stamps, drug offenses and bank embezzlement, among other offenses.

While we can’t say the same for his appointment of heads of large government agencies, you have to credit Pres Bush for judicious use of the pardoning stamp.

Now, John Forte’s case WAS something of a cause celebre, and he was aggressively defended by Carly Simon, whose son Ben Taylor was Forte’s roommate at Phillips Exeter. Yet Carly Simon doesn’t strike us as a Republican insider, and if anything the Andover/Exeter rivalry might have worked against Forte here.

Nope, it pretty much seems like W just did the right thing here.

Maybe it was unlikely advocate Orrin Hatch that turned the tide: ““Now is the perfect opportunity for John to be given the chance to provide positive benefits to society through his considerable musical talents,” Hatch wrote to Bush in a January 2007 letter.

What kind of bizarro world have we entered here?? What’s next, O. Hatch and GWB taping a Stop Snitchin’ video??

Forte’s crime was to act as a go-between on what turned out to be a drug deal; Forte claimed ignorance, although one suspects he had to know what was up on some level, since he was being paid huge money to pick two girls up from the airport. Forte intended to use the money to finance a solo record.

Knowledgeable or not, however, this is exactly the kind of “crime” that represents the worst fallout of the endless, futile War on Drugs. Taking down relatively innocent go-betweens and prosecuting them like drug dealers is an absurd waste of resources, to say nothing of a miscarriage of justice.

So kudos to the POTUS for pardoning a guy who’s definitely done all the time he needs to do.

Kanye West claimed that George Bush doesn’t care about black people, but here he pardoned a rapper convicted of a drug offense; Sean Hannity would go insane if Obama did this. Nope, it seems like the real scoop is that GWB doesn’t care about poor people or a competent federal government. He obviously has a decent amount of love for black people.

Now all we need is a Fugees reunion with Forte producing a few tracks…oh yeah, we forgot, they tried this already and it didn’t work because Lauryn Hill is insane. (Sorry ladies.)

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About Alpine McGregor
Just like you, man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. All in the game, though, right?

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