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Unlimited Pardon Power and Five Other Impossible Things Before Breakfast

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message David Swanson       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Alice squinted as she peered up through the rabbit hole at sunlight wondering how many books she might have to stand on to be able to climb back out.  She hadn't even begun to make up her mind when she was completely distracted by a large elephant on a motor scooter who grabbed her with his trunk and stuck her on the back seat as he sped off down a dark gravel path.

The strange thing about the motor scooter was that it was a rental, and the elephant explained that he had rented it in a deal involving "unlimited mileage."  That was written down very legally in a signed contract, so naturally the elephant had decided to drive backwards in time in order to put on as many miles as possible before next Tuesday.  This meant both that Alice was getting younger every mile they progressed and that the tires had long since worn off, and the scooter was riding on bare wheels now.

Alice was unable to say anything back to the elephant as they rode and he chatted, but before long he stopped in front of an All-You-Can-Eat buffet restaurant, and they both got out.  Alice didn't know how they'd gotten there, since her kidnapping by the elephant would be happening in the future, but she knew that she was hungry.  Alice intended to take full advantage of the all-you-can-eat arrangement.  She filled up three plates with food before she was full, but the elephant out-did her.  He ate most of the available food without bothering about a plate, and then ate the stack of plates too, before starting on the chairs and tables.  Tragically, the elephant also ate the cooks and waiters, so the food stopped coming.  

After that, the elephant was arrested and put on trial, but acquitted of cannibalism on the grounds that the restaurant had said "All You Can Eat" in three-foot letters.  Alice didn't stick around for the trial, but bought an unlimited travel ticket with which she rode around on busses for the next four years until she was back to her previous age.  

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When Alice emerged from the rabbit hole, she found that her family and all of the townspeople she'd known had been slaughtered by White House staffers following the instructions of the president.  The murderers didn't face a trial as the elephant had, because the president simply pardoned them before anyone even had a chance to suggest it.

"But wait," said Alice, "how can he pardon people for crimes he told them to commit?  Once he's done that, there are no more crimes and no more laws.  So there must, then, be no more pardons."  

Alice was overheard making this exclamation by a creature stranger than any she'd ever before encountered, a creature called a lawyer.  The lawyer explained that the president's pardon power was unlimited.  The lawyer knew this to be so because no court had ever limited the president's pardon power.  

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Alice asked the lawyer his name five times before understanding that it was John Yoo, and that he wasn't insisting on knowing her name first.  Yoo told Alice that she had much to be thankful for.  "First of all," said Yoo, "we killed everyone while you were away.  Second of all, we've united the land, or what's left of it -- all the lawyers agree about unlimited pardon powers.  And third of all, you should be very pleased that you have no testicles."

This last remark confused Alice, but the chainsaw didn't.  She turned and ran as fast as she could, and out of the corner of her eye she caught an image of George W. Bush in a priest's robes chasing after her and Yoo and shouting: "I'm gonna pardon you, Yoo!  I'm gonna pardon you, Yoo, but you have to let me watch her suffer!"


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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)

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