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Former MD Governor Says Obama’s Record on Pardons is Shameful


Former MD Governor Says Obama’s Record on Pardons is Shameful


by Dr. Boyce Watkins

In a recent op-ed for the Baltimore Sun, former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich gave some interesting facts and data about the pardon process and whether or not President Obama is doing his duty on the matter.  Ehrlich was governor of the state from 2003 to 2007 and is a Republican.  Oddly enough, even this Republican feels that an injustice is being served by not using the pardon process to right some of the wrongs of the past.

Ehrlich noted that during the last week of 2012, there was a public lashing of the Pardon Attorney’s office for botching the case of Clarence Aaron, a black college student who was given a life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense in 1993.  Aaron’s life has been ruined, and the black man in the White House either doesn’t care or is so crippled by the constraints of conformity that he can’t even pretend to care.  Either way, Aaron and other young men like him will never get their lives back.

Ehrlich, who has a stronger record for pardons and commutations than even most Democratic politicians, openly asks why President Barack Obama, the liberal former “community organizer” is so afraid to use the power of the pardon.   He notes that most politicians avoid pardons and clemency, since there is very little to gain from doing so (other than *gasp* doing the right thing and serving justice).

But there is an urgent need to use pardon policy to correct wrongs from the past.  Sentencing law changes from the failed War on Drugs of the 1980s have left tens of thousands of Americans to rot in prison, with their families being ruined in the process.  No one understands this issue better than President Obama, the first African American to be elected to the White House.  The greatest concern at this point is whether or not the president has the courage to do things that show anything more than a symbolic reference to the black people who got him elected.

Ehrlich speaks to this matter more directly:

 1980s-era sentencing laws have led to historic incarceration rates in the U.S. The ugly facts speak for themselves:

•In 1980, the U.S. incarceration rate was 150 per 100,000 citizens; today, it’s 753;

•this rate of incarceration compares to 153 in Great Britain, 96 in France, and 90 in Germany;

•the U.S. now imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other country in the world.

Hopefully, a second term Obama administration will do the right thing. Our federal system houses many thousands of nonviolent drug-related offenders. Each inmate costs the taxpayers in excess of $28,000 per year. I believe the vast majority are no threat to reoffend. Their cases should be reviewed within the context of a newly invigorated federal review process.

The former governor makes the matter as plain as day by stating that “only one man can effectuate change,” that’s President Barack Obama.   To date, the president has pardoned fewer Americans than nearly any president in history.  The only presidents who didn’t pardon fewer people were the first president and two presidents who died before finishing their terms.  There is no excuse for protecting your personal interests when so many people are suffering.

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Those who seek to unconditionally defend any utterance or confusing action of this president without providing logical justification for their beliefs risk standing in the way of African American progress.  Those who excuse the Obama Administration’s inaction on the black unemployment crisis are as oppressive to black people as the Tea Partiers that we claim to despise.  Supporting the president is one thing, but forgiving, forgetting and ignoring an administration that provides only symbolism and very little substance shows a sad, destructive and borderline pathological addiction to white American validation.

The point here is that getting the big important job is impressive. But power means absolutely nothing if you are too much of a coward to use it.  Barack Obama, it’s time for you to stand up.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Black American Money.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.


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  1. Imhotep

    January 16, 2013 at 10:05 am

    No, some black folks think that all the guys in there for non-violent offenses deserve to rot and cost us more than a college education!! I am a manager on my job and when I see wrong I clean it up because that is the power vested in me. No illegal favors!! Just right the wrong and move on. If i was doing a bad job I would have been fired but i haven’t. When we get the power black folks, we must use it just like anyone else has to correct any wrong. MLK said it best”The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty of the bad people, but the silence of that by the good people” ,” In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends!” WE ELECTED THE PREZ BECAUSE WE WANTED DIFFERENT THAN WHAT THE WHITE BOY BEEN DISHING OUT AND IF HE IS TRULY OUR FRIEND, THEN HE WILL ACT AS A TRUE FRIEND DOES, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, AND STOP LETTING THOSE GERMAN JEWS DANGLE HIM LIKE A PUPPET…. MAAT…

    • The Shine Has Worn Off

      January 20, 2013 at 4:22 am

      It couldn’t be said any better than this ^.

  2. TWP

    January 16, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Don’t blame the President, blame the people who committed the crime. If you don’t want to risk going to jail, don’t run afoul of the law. He’s under no obligation to give people pardons for breaking the law. Nobody forced them to break the law. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

  3. Samantha

    January 16, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Where is there a law that he has to Pardon anyone. Historically most of the pardons have gone to people that don’t deserve it in the first place. How is it fair that rich and powerful people are pardon for crimes that have committed when millions of innocent people sit in jail fighting for a new trials. Some of you people need to really educate yourself before commenting .

  4. moonhead

    January 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    The economy is still in a bind. The unemployment rate for our people is still shamefully high. The dropout rate for our young people is ridiculous. The unwed birth rate is shameful. And the crime rate in our neighborhoods is absurd. But you want this President, to spend valuable time, and resources to pardon some damn criminals. It’s no wonder, why some of us are in the position that we are in. President Obama, was not elected to be the savior of Black people. His platform that he ran on, never included the freeing of criminals. He has not pardoned any criminal Black, White, or Green. There are hundreds of important issues that needs to be addressed, but freeing someone, who put themselves in situations, that they knew damn well could lead to them being incarcerated, is not one of them.

    • Derrick

      January 25, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      “He has not pardoned any criminal Black, White, or Green.”

      I see you’re still lying with that lizard tongue of yours. This is why you caucasoids and negroids hate me because I come with Truth and Facts!

      You are wrong again, you lying devil. Here’s the Truth:

      “According to statistics from the Office of the Pardon Attorney at the U.S. Justice…President Obama has only allowed 22 pardons.”



      Go spread your bullshyt at your kkk site!!!

  5. Greg

    January 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    He is scared of pardoning someone black. He must be scared of what white folks will say.

  6. Danny Boy

    January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Dr. Watkins, I’m sure you agree with your Republican colleague!! Yes, George W. Bush pardoned a lot of people, but mwho mwere they? They were basically political friends and Republican who had commited crimes of fraud and illegal acts to advance his political cronies!! Take people like Jack Abramoff, who wasn’t pardoned, but who shouls still be in jail!!

    Let’s talk about gun violence rather than pardons!! What did the good governor do to curb crime in Baltimore? Maybe he wants Obama to pardon some of his friends!! GET A LIFE, GOVERNOR!!

  7. Ran

    January 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I can’t wait for the second African American president. Maybe by that time we will be used to the idea and can treat him (or her) the way we do any other president. When we start talking about whether a president HAS to pardon anyone as opposed to talking about why he should pardon specific people, something is wrong. With the election of President Obama we learned a lot about how far white people still have not come in regards to their racism. What we also learned was how far we have not come from just being glad someone who looks like us is holding such a powerful position.

  8. Mike C. Okereke

    January 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    What I am seeing in President Obama is surprising to me too. The pardon issue is noticeably one of them. The choices he made in the two Supreme Court nominations, given the field of candidates, although good, but certainly makes me wonder aloud. The picture we saw him in during the Osama Bin Ladin raid, with his National Security team, or so, and where you, Dr. Watkins, correctly labelled him as the only colred guy in the group, also makes say Whoa? His current choices of the nation’s top cabinet positions, State department, The Pentagon, CIA, Treasury department, with hints that Attorney General Eric Holder may resign, are all making me to be very wide eyed. But I want gto keep my cool, and see how the the profile about his actions are emerging. But one thing is clear. Don’t call the President a racist. He is automatically immunized from that label. But Presidents Bush, Clinton, and the other 41 before them cannot get away without the splash of that ominous “you know what” label appended on their lapels.
    Like I stated, I want to keep my cool, read the tea leaves, not rock the boat, and see what President Obama’s emerging two
    term presidency profile would look like. God help him and America in this process.
    Mike C. Okereke

  9. matt carmody

    January 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Based on Obama’s performance there won’t be a second African-American president. After seeing Obama serve the interests of rich white oligarchs white independents won’t be too quick to vote for another black man. Why should they when it’s meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

    • The Shine Has Worn Off

      January 20, 2013 at 4:18 am

      I hope not. The election of this guy has blinded many of us. But beware of Cory Booker. He has really woooed the corporate elites and he is positioning himslef for something spectacular. I’m pretty sure the powers that be are proud of their current “boy” in office. After all this success, I know they’re going to be churning out corporate ruled black political puppets at a high rate.

  10. KSo4Real

    January 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    People are sooooo quick to judge. I guess you all nay-sayers believe everyone in prison has been convicted legally and rightfully so? Then tell me why so many people are being vindicated and released from jail and prison??? We have a flawed system, we have corruption at the highest level and some people are just at tje wrong place, at the wrong time.

    But of course, you nay-sayers won’t believe that until something happens to your perfect life, or the perfect life of someone you care about. The pardons were established for a reason, the same has everything else we use for the greater good.

    A big part of the problem in the world is negative, self-absorbed, hypocritical people who think only of themselves. Change your thinking and we you can change the world, or at least, be apart of the change.

  11. WILLIE

    January 16, 2013 at 5:53 pm


  12. David Jones

    January 16, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Boyce, the man is 3 months into 4 years as the President of the US. Granted he is off to disrespectful start in regards to black people..but we really cannot judge him until the end. I agree with Moonhead, there are many more pressing issues on the plate of the President and pardons wouldn’t be at the top of that list.

  13. James Bell

    January 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    It amazes me that a Republican would even be concerned with the plight of a black man being mistreated by a system that he helped create and maybe even has profited from. It also amazes me when Black people shout out the “we” put him there.. Really?? It concerns me that so many Black voices and newsletters such as this one will be so quick to lead the efforts of downgrading our president in these negative tones. If President Obama just pardoned the people that proved they’re not guilty, wouldn’t change or fix the systems. And then those that have the nerves to call any Black man a coward!! Grassroots of Chicago to the highest office on earth is a coward?? A Harvard Grad and wife that could earn great wealth without being a public servant a “coward”?? Please, anyone who has ever called Barak Obama is a ‘IDIOT’!! Yes anyone.. If you have then please look in the mirror and call yourself an IDIOT!! Many of you expect for him ‘a contitutional lawyer’ to repeat the wrongs of previous presidents instead of trying to correct the wrongs within the rights of the constitution.. This maybe the last African American president in my lifetime, so I will support him and pray for him with100% of my efforts! The president is suppose to be colorless, religiousless and prejudiceless in order to serve all with fairness.. The plight of the Black man’s course in America has been rerailed by the Black men in America!!

    • Satchel

      January 16, 2013 at 11:54 pm

      Nice trying to bring some sanity into this discussion. There are only 4 living people who has held the position of POTUS. We should save our comments for things we know, the presidents job is way above our pay grade. We should concentrate on our local politics before trying to tell the president what he can do. Find out who your congressmen, police chief and mayor is and put some pressure on them.

    • The Shine Has Worn Off

      January 20, 2013 at 4:38 am

      James Bell I hate to say it but you are the perfect example of a totally clueless clown. A person with blind allegiance to someone for historical reasons with no awreness of that person’s true character. You love beautiful lies and smoke and mirrors. Your fawning over the Obama’s has totally washed away your understanding, if any, of the well oiled imperialist machine that is the U.S.A.

      Enjoy your slumber.

  14. Terrell

    January 16, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    OBAMA is not the man I thought he would be. I want my (1) vote back. He would not even pardon TROY DAVIS.

  15. byron lee

    January 16, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    This president simply will only act on anything if a good % of whites want him to. Please get it through your thick skulls; President Obama is not going to do anything to help black people specifically. That is because he feels he has to please white or gay, or Jewish people. He has 96% of blacks’ support! And the majority of those would support and defend absolutely anything he does or does not do. This includes virtually ever black celebrity too. He is not going to do anything he is not forced to do. So what if black unemployment is higher than ever. So what if the black murder rate is higher than ever. So what is black incarceration is at an all time high. So
    what is police brutality against blacks is as bad as ever. And, with all these drone attacks and wars, yet no criticism from those who love him yet no criticism from those who love him.

  16. Dave

    January 16, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Dr. Watkin’s is dead on with his assessment.
    One has to really ponder the affects and the effects of the symbolism of a brown man with
    parents of mix racial background be enough to
    allay the historical egregious wrong(s) (chattel
    slavery) impose on The Black American; in addition to the terror heaped onto the freed chattel via the withdrawal of Union Army less than 10 yeats post reconstruction. On the heels of afformemtioned history of bondage, another 100 years of (Jim/Jane Crow), with less than 50 years of the descendants of chattel having the right to vote

  17. moonhead

    January 17, 2013 at 1:24 am

    I know that all of you that seek pardons for convicts, believe that you are judges, and actually believe that you definitely can tell if someone is innocent, or guilty, but President Obama, nor any other President has the same ability that you have, to see into a crystal ball. Mr. Obama, did not run for attorney general. Mr. Obama, did not run for district attorney. In fact, Mr. Obama, didn’t run for any job in the justice department. So how in the hell would he know who is innocent, or not? President Obama, was not appointed as a federal judge, nor as a associate justice on the supreme court. His job, is to govern the entire United States, not to pardon someone convicted of a crime, merely because some people believe that they may be innocent, or because they have the same pigmentation that he has. If you believe that these people are really innocent, and have been unfairly judged, contact your congressman, or take their case to the supreme court. Take your grievances to the courts, or the justice department, not to the President of the United States. President Obama, is not your father, your lawyer, your priest, or your damn buddy, and he don’t owe you a damn thing more, than he owes the rest of the country.

  18. Derrick

    January 17, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Notice the albino turkey!

    O’Drama only gave one brother a pardon out of 16 people!!!

    This mulatto loves caucasoids, and white albino turkeys, who he will not kill to eat!!! I remember when turkeys and chickens were BLACK!

    He would’ve been glad to have KILLED a Black turkey!!!

  19. Paul

    January 17, 2013 at 10:10 am

    President Obama — like ALL black people in so-called powerful positions — do what the white people who PUT them in those powerful positions tells them to do.

    Black people did not select or finance or elect President Obama. We need to get over that self-delusion asap, and start asking ourselves why would the most powerful white people in the U.S. want a black president at this time?

    What are they planning to do that they want black people — in particular, President Obama to be blamed for. Of course, he isn’t going to help black people. That’s not what he’s there to do!

    We a

  20. Norman hensley

    January 17, 2013 at 11:36 am

    The gave out more pardons because their more republican crimminals who are republicans in jail.
    Im sure the president will award more pardons in his second
    Term.i wish his admininsration had inditected chaney and rumsfield.

  21. Jack Johnson

    January 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I would like to have the voting rights act reinstated for life and not have to be signed and then re-signed every so many years. Whats that about? Europeans come here and gain citizenship and are able to vote for life but not us, not the people who bled and died to build this crap from the ground up! Obama and the
    Congressional Black Caucas (Clueless, I like that) could at least instigate the bill.

  22. Debbie

    January 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Please don’t talk about president Obama . While you we’re in office I wrote you trying to get help for my son which is a black male lock up in Kentucky of all places with him being my only son and me being un employed could not see him because I didn’t have the money but not to mention he is a state prisoner .don’t throw stones until you check your back yard.

  23. corbin56

    January 18, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Obama looks like he’s baptizing the turkey instead of pardoning it.

  24. DAD

    February 3, 2013 at 10:15 am

    To: Danny Glover / All Other Blacks in America, Caribbean, Africa / Worldwide Blindly In Love With Barack Obama.

    As you speak in blind support of Obama and against those speaking out against Obama / Opponents of Gun Control / Second Amendment Advocates many of whom in untold substantial numbers are black people, I don’t know but fully doubt if the vast majority of you even realize, let alone know, that:

    The USA Gov’t, CIA, CFR, Tri-lateral Commission, UN, State Dept., Bilderburg Group, Wall Street, Federal Reserve, U.S./European Big Biz, and Vatican Jesuit Genera Are Resurrecting/Achieving as You Remain Asleep Huge Wide Scale New Black Slavery, Death, Genocide, & Aparthied via Deliberate Destruction of African Americans’ Economic Gains via Deliberate Long Term Entry/Distribution of Cocaine/Heroin/Guns in Black Communities, Development/Introduction of HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Heavy Promotion of Black/White Interracial Procreation, Promotion of False Post-Racial America on Heels of Advance Packaging/Selection/Financing of America’s First 1/2 Black/White Elitist Puppeted POTUS Strategically Picked to Bail Out Wall Street, Manage USA’/Europes’ Instigation of Domino Civil Uprisings/Wars in African/Middle East Countries, Further Erode U.S. Constitution/Public School Education System, Ignore Highest Ever Long Term Black American Unemployment, Manage Rapid Expansion/Privatization of USA Prison Industrial Complex Big Biz/Oversee Preparation of FEMA Hold Camps / Marshal Law Nationwide, Forced Removal of Blacks from Major U.S. Cities Nationwide via Financial Terrorism/Oppression, Greater Oppression/Hijacking of Haiti, Destruction of The Africa Union (AU) Movement, / Further Iron-Fist Control, Destabilization, / Ultimately Recolonization of Africa Again to Resurrect on Huge Scale New Economic/Education/Social Black Aparthied, Slavery, and Genocide.

    Read Information Below Authored By Poster “Big Will” Re: HIV Deliberate Development. Also Read:“The Isis Papers” by AA Female Dr. Frances Cress Welsing.

    HIV is synthetic. It has been developed over a number of years and it has an affinity for people of color. What the science and medical evidence concludes is that the HIV enzyme seeks out a receptor site in the blood of the Black genome. The receptor site is the CCR5 Delta 32+ (positive) gene that all people of color have. In the same sense, on the other end of the spectrum, is the 15 percent Caucasian population of the world, which is CCR5 Delta 32-(negative) gene. That means that under no circumstances, whether HIV came through the air, intravenous drug usage or any form of s****l activity, would the virus be transferable in Caucasian sector of the world’s population, which is basically of northern European descent.

    It is speculated by some experts that, in a worse case scenario, 85 percent of the world’s population could potentially perish under these designer viruses and designer synthetic biological agents. What we’re looking at here—because of this identified gene of the Black genome, this CCR5 Delta32+ (positive)—we are potentially looking at the eradication of all people of color. The bible states “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” The true devil doesn’t wear red tights, a cape with horns protruding from his forehead instead, the devil incarnate are diabolical Caucasian scientist (men and women) in white lab coats.

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