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July 03, 2007

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Pal2Pal (Sara)

Wow, did you all see this at Instapundit:

WHY DON'T AL QAEDA ATROCITIES GET MEDIA ATTENTION?

Because that might help Bush.

UPDATE: A journalist whose name you'd recognize emails:

Yon's story doesn't get attention because it is humiliating.

It is humiliating because it is obvious that we media – and our allies in the state department, the legal trade, the NGOs, the Democratic Party, the UN, etc., - can’t do squat about such determined use of force.

Our words, images, arguments and skills can’t stop the killing. Only the rough soldiers and their guns can solve the problem, and we won’t admit that fact because the admission would weaken our influence and our claim to social status.

So we pretend Yon’s massacre – and the North Korean killing fields, the Arab treatment of women, the Arab hatred of Israel, etc. - doesn’t exist, and instead focus our emotions and attention on the somewhat-bad domestic things that we can ‘fix’ with our DC-based allies. Things such as Abu Ghraib, wiretapping, etc. When we ‘fix’ them, then we get status, applause, power, new jobs, ego, etc.

Please don’t be surprised. We media are an interest group not much different from the automakers, the unions, and the farmers.

BarbaraS

Clarice

Thanks for the information. I guess it would be political suicide for Bush to fire this Nifong look-a-like Fitzgerald. I wonder why he is not investigating and trying real criminals? Maybe lower profile cases don't help political careers.

Rocco

I can't help but think about Wilson's words at EPIC.

"But I can assure you that that retired American ambassador to Africa, as Nick Kristof called him in his article, is also pissed off, and has every intention of ensuring that this story has legs."
clarice

It is a rare person who handed all this power and attention doesn't abuse it. He's not that rare bird.

Jane

You know we have been thru a lot together - and many of you long before I arrived - and most of it has been pretty bad.

I can't think of a better group of people to be with in good times and bad. So thanks to all of you. And I'm really really really happy to have a few days of the good, after so many months of the bad. Hell the good even cleans out the trolls.

BobS

Perhaps someone should ask Conyers about all the CAIR donations he gets from his Detroit district.

Bill in AZ

heh heh - DUmmies continue to implode... They appear to be upset - with Reid, Pelosi, etc, over Libby...

"The DUmmies still continue to suffer from extreme LDS (Libby Derangement Syndrome) due to the commutation of Scooter's prison sentence to such an extent that even Head DUmmie Skinner had to step in with this statement: "What is up with all the idiotic, over-the-top, foul-mouthed rants?" The THREAD Skinner is complaining about is so deranged that it is titled, "EAT S***. F*** Off. D**.[...]"

DUmmieFUnnies

Remember - PJComix wades into the DU swamp so you don't have to

BobS

And I apologize to the way more learned posters here, but lets face it, John Conyers, Harry Waxman, Pete Stark and Nancy Pelosi drink from the Dem goblet...not the American goblet.

Pal2Pal (Sara)

Maybe its the wine, but I laughed at the post Jeralyn has up. It says that the jury in the Jose Padilla trial showed up dressed in red, white and blue. First row red, 2nd white and 3rd blue.

Oh for the good ol' days of Valentine's hearts.

windansea

Happy Independence Day all. Remember how it all got started here.

Posted by: Soylent Red

copy that and Cheers :)

Pofarmer

Please don’t be surprised. We media are an interest group not much different from the automakers, the unions, and the farmers.

At least us farmers know bull sh!t when we happen upon it!!!

PaulV

Judy Miller question-or the dog that did not bark during the night,
1 Was there just never anything there?
2 Did Fitz just not bring it out on direct because he was incompetent?
3. Or did he not bring it out because there was someyhing hidden about Judy that would backfire on the whole case?

windansea

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush forced the CIA leak case into uncharted legal territory when he commuted the prison sentence of former White House aide I. Lewis ''Scooter'' Libby, a federal judge said Tuesday.

Bush eliminated Libby's 2 1/2-year prison term and left in place his two years of supervised release. But supervised release -- a form of probation -- is only available to people who have served prison time. Without prison, it's unclear what happens next.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton posed the question to Libby's attorneys and to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald: Does this mean Libby won't actually be required to serve supervised release? Should he just have to report to probation officials as if he spent time in prison?

The law, Walton said in court documents, ''does not appear to contemplate a situation in which a defendant may be placed under supervised release without first completing a term of incarceration.''

For now, it appears Libby is in legal limbo. Walton gave both sides until Monday to respond.

Jeff Dobbs

maryrose:
Of course going mano a mano with clarice over H&R is another story.

There is puhhhlenty of hit and run to go around.

I would never jeopardize my Clarice affection, but no reason not to have a mano a muchos manos here.

clarice

Well, I do hope those geniuses work out this great dilemma.

Happy FOurth!

Jeff Dobbs

Soylent:
There is a God. And He loves me.

And He loves me!

And there is a me. And he loves you too!

Jeff Dobbs

Clarice:
Happy FOurth!

I'm with Rick:
FELDMAN FOR THE FOURTH!!!!

And that would GUARANTEE a happy FOurth.

(oh and the the parade here starts at 10:30 MST tomorrow. It will be a happy "Fourth of July" regardless. But a happy "FOurth" generally only has one solution, per Rick, with my second, third, one-hundredth or whatever place in line I have to get to back the endorsement.)

Other Tom

Here's a helpful hint for the befuddled judge and the parties: nix the part about supervision.

Problem solved, n'est ce pas? That'll be $10,000.

SunnyDay

For now, it appears Libby is in legal limbo. Walton gave both sides until Monday to respond.

Posted by: windansea | July 03, 2007 at 11:25 PM
**************************

OMG< they won't quit, will they? Are they trying to force Bush to pardon Libby?

This is done all the time. People get probation rather than jail time. What am I missing?

SunnyDay

I can imagine Walton's reaction. A small man in a big position, overruled by someone he must hate.

Bush should mispronounce his name next time. :D

Pal2Pal (Sara)

I don't get it, does "supervised release" have some special meaning, like having to wear an ankle bracelet? Because if it does, then Libby's 30 months were actually 4 1/2 years. Otherwise, what is the difference between supervised parole and supervised probation. And since when do non-violent criminals have to clutter up the system with supervised probation? I would think the overworked probation officers would want to get rid of those case files and concentrate on the violent criminals and drug dealers.

Jeff Dobbs

SunnyDay: The sun just set here, but...

you light up my life....you give me hope....to carry on....you light up my days...and fill my nights, with song...it can't be wrong....when it feels so right....'cause you....you light up my life

Bill in AZ

You *know* that waltoon and fitz colluded and worked that out in advance because they knew what option Bush would take. I suspect they shouldn't play poker with Bush because Bush is already several plays ahead of them.

BobS: "And I apologize to the way more learned posters here, but lets face it, John Conyers, Harry Waxman, Pete Stark and Nancy Pelosi drink from the Dem goblet...not the American goblet."

It's not a goblet - it's the communal feedtrough of socialism.

RalphL

I'm watching the Olbermann repeat with the sound off. He really does look like he might blow up. Which couldn't happen to a nicer creep.

Dale in Atlanta

Please drop by the Blog, read, post a comment, bookmark us, and have a Happy 4th of July.

Regards,

Dale

www.rideitin.com

Carol_Herman

Paul V @11:25 PM. (It's still earlier in my neck of the woods.) And, I'd like to take a bite of that question.

Good lawyers are also able to help their clients dress for the occasion. And, they prepare them well. Judith Miller has the best defense attorney in all of DC. And, I'm sure he put her thru mock sessions.

I'm even pretty sure, that I'm willing to guess, that as soon as someone finds a way to get Fitz to stop; meaning no more subpeonas to anyone. Then? Why not think Judith Miller and Robert Bennett couldn't do a "he said/she said" book? He'd handle the legal angle. And, she's toss in what he know about Plame's ability to touch COVERT MONEY ... and, what the secret really was.

Why Judith's testimony was tossed, I think, is an example of her having a great tutor. Who took her through the ropes. Or more than likely, the mine field that exists when you're seated in the witness box.

As to lawyering skills, Robert Bennett probably tops all; so by definition he's better than Fitz.

By delaying publication of Miller's book, until after Libby's appeal has been dealt with; is one of the things that will still propel the sales of books, AFTA. Sometimes, it pays to have all the patience in the world. Keeps your enemies guessing.

Oh. And, Pinchie's New Yuk Times still pays da' bills. Judith Miller used her time in jail, well. She made the deals that count the most. Getting the paper of record to shell out millions! Got herself to square one.

WHen the games begin.

Carol_Herman

Well, windansea, that's interesting.

Seems Walton, like Fitzgerald, don't think the president has "ruling authority."

I actually thought he'd make Libby come to court with cash.

Reminds me, this question about "being incarcerated," it's like the person who claims to have been to haarvard.

Yeah. Visited the campus once. Walked on. Walked off. And, yet it lives in resume form.

Perhaps? Libby can go to a jail. Have the door opened for him. Maybe, even have Barbara Walters with him. Since in Walton's mind you need the sound of the "clank."

Hardly likely Walton can re-impose the sentence. But at some point people (even the Applets), would catch on that it's a silly exercise.

Perhaps? He'll just tell him to wear a bracelet? Martha posed with her's on in a fashion shot. I also think she showed the public that she could slip it on, and take it off. All those ballet lessons weren't for naught.

As to Walton "not knowing what to do," all I can is: Not the first time!

Happy 4th everybody.

RalphL

"As to lawyering skills, Robert Bennett probably tops all; so by definition he's better than Fitz."

Bennett made a hash of Paula Jones' lawsuit, probably because of his client. But a good lawyer should be able to convince a stubborn fool to do the safe thing. And reduce a sodomy charge to "following too closely."

Pal2Pal (Sara)

If they try and push this "supervised release" thing, I would bet good money that President Bush would say "enough is enough, give me the Pardon Pen, problem solved."

BarbaraS

Is Walton in some way trying to overrule Bush in part of this commutation through a technicality? Surely, he is not THAT stupid? But, of course, the dims never give up. Where there is a will, there is a way and God knows they have tried every way possible. But he may just be following orders from the source he obeyed during the trial.

What is it with this case? Is all of Washington trying to railroad this guy? Do they all look at Fitzgerald as some omnipotent prosecutor whose cases are all legitimate? I heard it would take 6 to 8 weeks to find a prison for Libby. Fox says a prison had already been selected and a number assigned. That was pretty fast work for the federal government that usually takes forever to find anything.

Carol_Herman

Sara, that's more Fitz/Walton's gambit than Bush's. He's got all the time in the world, now. As this plays out it runs into our next presidential election cycle. The Bonkeys, are sort'a like the doctor/terrorists. They planned well. But the only one that got toasted was one of their own. And, he was looking for Allah. Imagine his surprise, now, not to be dead.

All politicians learn how to deal with the "news" ... Like prize fighters learning to take punches. You can't be good if the first swing to the jaw throws you to the floor.

Ralph L, Paula Jones wasn't your typical "park avenue" client. I think Bennett was along for the ride. And, it was quite a trip, wasn't it?

Having seen LBJ and Nixon make political blunders; I'm used to seeing these big wrecks, now.

Bush, however, only manages his own mishaps. His opponents never land one on him. Which changes the political theatrics around, a bit.

At least from here on out, Bush should be doing better. That part of this comes from him being misunderestimated? Wouldn't be the first time that word got used.

Oh, I love the Other Tom's solution! So easy! But the $10,000 price tag seems high. Is that how much this stuff costs these days?

RalphL

Carol, Bennett was Clinton's lawyer, and BJ was probably running the show, with the help and support of the woman he loves, I mean Hillary!

Walter

TM,

Glad to have your take on the subject--as usual, dry wit beats foaming spittle.

And thanks for ridding the thread of mr. CHCH15. While dissenting points of view are often valuable, that avatar's continual use of foul language, offensive imagery, and complete failure to stay on topic was beyond annoying.

Clarice,

So, you're willing to put yourself through the meat grinder again?If you're for it, who can be agin' it? Clarice for the Fourth!

I suspect that the Ninth would drive OT to drink, but Kozinski could probably use the company (ideological, not ethanol-ogical, of course).

For kicks, let's see what happens when CboldT and Jane end up on the same panel. I think it'd be a hoot...

Posner for Stevens? Only if we can't pry Ms. Rogers Brown from the DC circuit.

windandsea,

now what? :)
Obviously, we follow the brand-new Fitzgerald obstruction investigation. What, did only the gullible believe John Dean's considered legal opinion?

Happy Independence Day to Libby and Soylent Red! And the rest of y'all.

SunnyDay

It couldn't be pure ego, could it? I think there are specific outcomes desired - one of them is a full pardon from Bush to Libby. Another is Libby to be so backed into a corner he tells them what they want to hear (believe is true?)


Elliott

Now that Walton has found an obscure and technical legal question he is eager to tackle, I think we have seen it all in this case.

Happy 4th of July to all fellow JOMers and many thanks to TM for providing us with both his superior blogging and a wonderful forum.

RalphL

I'm sure Fitz hoped a long prison sentence would make Libby squeal on Cheney or Bush, but what good would the uncorroborated testimony of a convicted perjurer be in a trial? So it was never about provable crimes, it was always political tuft-hunting.

SunnyDay

On June 5, 2007, the defendant was sentenced to a term of thirty months in prison and two years of supervised release as a result of his March 6, 2007 conviction on four counts of
perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to federal investigators. Judgment at 3-4; see 18 U.S.C. § 3583(a) (2000) (stating that “[tjhe court, in imposing a sentence to a term of imprisonment for a felony or a misdemeanor, may include as a part of the sentence a requirement that the defendant be placed on a term of supervised release after imprisonment”). In addition, the Court imposed a fine of $250,000 and a special assessment of $400 on the defendant. Judgment at 6.

On July 2, 2007, the President of the United States commuted the term of incarceration imposed upon the defendant by the Court, “leaving intact and in effect the two-year term of supervised release, with all its conditions, and all other components of the sentence.” Grant of Executive Clemency at 1. It has been brought to the Court’s attention that the United States Probation Office for the District Court of the District of Columbia intends to contact the defendant imminently to require him to begin his term of supervised release. Strictly construed, the statute authorizing the imposition of supervised
release indicates that such release should occur only after the defendant has already served a term of imprisonment. 18 U.S.C. § 3583(a) (stating that the defendant “[may] be placed on a term of supervised release after imprisonment”) (emphasis added). That is, despite the President’s direction that the defendant’s prison sentence be commuted and his term of supervised release remain intact, see Grant of Executive Clemency at 1, § 3583 does not appear to contemplate a situation in which a defendant may be placed under supervised release without first completing a term of incarceration. It is therefore unclear how § 3583 should be interpreted in unusual circumstances such as these, and the Court seeks the parties’ positions as to whether the defendant should be required to report to the Probation Office immediately, whether he should be allowed to remain free of supervision until some later, more appropriate time, or, indeed, whether the plain meaning of § 3583 precludes the application of a term of supervised release altogether now that the prison sentence has been commuted. Accordingly, it is hereby

ORDERED that the parties shall, by July 9, 2007, submit to the Court their respective positions regarding the application of § 3583 in light of the President’s commutation of the defendant’s prison sentence.’

SO ORDERED this 3rd day of July, 2007.

SunnyDay

but what good would the uncorroborated testimony of a convicted perjurer be in a trial?
****************************

With Fitzfong, all things are possible. Really, that's how he wins. Clarice and some others have pointed to cases where Fitz indicts the victim, then convicts on the testimony of the perp. He's a genius.

SunnyDay

...precludes the application of a term of supervised release altogether now that the prison sentence has been commuted.
********************************

I vote for this one!!

chch16

No Mr. Maguire the latest headline isn't that of course Criminal Bush will grant a pardon--after Libby loses his appeal. His appeal may hold up the Wilson's civil suit, but it will not hold up House or Senate Judiciary from calling Libby, allowing him to plead the 5th, granting him immunity pursuant to

Kastigar v. United States 406,US. 441 (1972) or 18USC § 6005.

Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. announced that he will be holding a full committee hearing next week titled, "The Use and Misuse of Presidential Clemency Power for Executive Branch Officials." The hearing will be held next Wednesday, July 11, at 10:15 am in the committee’s hearing room, 2141 Rayburn House Office Building.

"In light of yesterday’s announcement by the President that he was commuting the prison sentence for Scooter Libby, it is imperative that Congress look into presidential authority to grant clemency, and how such power may be abused," Conyers said. "Taken to its extreme, the use of such authority could completely circumvent the law enforcement process and prevent credible efforts to investigate wrongdoing in the executive branch."

The hearing begins next Wednesday, July 11 at 10:15 a.m. Eastern.

The hearing will be live blogged from FDL for all you paranoids who make up the facts.

JM Hanes

Walter:

I posted a reply to your comment back on the immigration thread, right when folks were moving on, of course. No need to respond, I just wanted to point it out in case you missed it.

topsecretk9

Che CHe is earning his Townhouae/DNC salary


- ever wonder what Tpownhouse pays? I'm guessing more than minimum, but then again maybe not. I mean, they obviously are going for quantity of quality

Elliott

Thanks for posting that, SunnyDay. I'd guess that the Probation Office will be permitted to proceed as planned.

It has been amusing watching Walton and Fitzgerald surpass themselves the past couple of days. Let's see if Russert (or Andrea Mitchell) can match them on Sunday. No Mitchell, no supervised release!

StephenC

If this is question of supervised release is unclear, then does it become a "close" question and get rolled into the appeal process?

chch16

Janice Rodgers Brown is one of the poorests jurists in the Federal System. Put a fork in her; she'd never get through Senate Judy as a Supreme.

Posner will never get there because if nothing else of his prolific publications.

Kozinski has not a prayer.

Confirmation hearings are run by the Democrats now. They are not about to let a right winged jerk like Janice Brown on the bench.

There are two of them that got buy because Leahy was naive and believed Roberts and Alito on overturning precedent when they have done that in several cases this term. That mistake won't be made again.

The question of supervised release could become part of the main appeal, since whoever loses in the hearing on July 9 will be sure to appeal it.

Libby's aristocratic backers have enough money to fund many appeals, including those who can't afford them or for whom the Fed. Defender's overworked case load can't provide all the motions for appeal that Scootie has had bought for him.

clarice

That leaves just me, OT and Jane. I can't speak for the other two but I can tell you I do do not have a proper judicial termperment.

And I need to smoke. A lot.

StephenC

Thanks for your response to my question about the appeal, chch16. Not sure it's a win lose for either side regardless of how it's decided except maybe higher up the food chain during any appeals.

StephenC

I suppose whether or not supervised released can be applied to someone not locked up first is a technical question of some interest but really there isn't any real world reason Libby couldn't follow whatever procedures the probation people normally impose on released prisoners. Perhaps all these highly educated and expensive folks could find better uses for their time?

MJW

Here's a legal question, that perhaps our resident attorneys can answer.

Various people on both sides of the debate have suggested either that Fitz sought, and Walton imposed, a long prison sentence in the hopes Libby would flip, or Bush pardoned Libby to prevent him from flipping. Is there some provision of the law that allows a prosecutor or judge to reduce an already imposed prison sentence to reward a cooperative witness? I was under the impression that under the new sentencing guidelines, prisoners were pretty much required to serve their entire sentences, minus the credit for good behavior.

MJW

(In the previous comment, instead of "Bush pardoned Libby," I should have said "Bush commuted Libby's prison sentence.")

StephenC

MJW,
Even if Libby had to serve his full sentence, the where and under what conditions can be highly variable. Or have I been watching too much Law and Order?

PeterUK.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY - FORGET STATE HEALTH CARE.

MJW

StephenC, that's a good point, though since the law specifically requires that the place of imprisonment be determined by (among other factors), "the nature and circumstances of the offense" and "the history and characteristics of the prisoner," I would hope that the options of threatening to assign Libby to a non-white-collar facility would be limited. I do suppose, though, that some white-collar facilities are cushier (relatively speaking) than others.

(Time sure is passing quickly lately. I select the option to remain signed into TypePad for two weeks, and, it what seems like just a few hours, apparently two weeks has passed and I must sign in again.)

chch16

I'm Not Shocked At This

JOMers and Their Base Not Putting Money Where They Put Their Mouth

July 4, 2007
Romney and Giuliani Trail Democrats in Fund-Raising


By ADAM NAGOURNEY

DES MOINES, July 3 — Two more Republican presidential candidates disclosed new fund-raising totals on Tuesday that underscored the tough political environment for their party and the big money advantage that the Democrats have built.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who led the Republican field in money raised in the first three months of the year, said donations to his primary campaign had dropped by a third in the second quarter, to $14 million from $20.5 million. Mr. Romney lent his campaign another $6.5 million out of his personal fortune to soften the impact of the decline in donations.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor, raised more in the second quarter than he did in the first: $17 million including $2 million that he can use only if he wins the Republican nomination, versus about $15 million. But unlike the first quarter, when his fund-raising operation was just getting up and running, his campaign was fully operational in the second quarter.

And while his performance from April through June put him in first place among Republicans, Mr. Giuliani trailed substantially behind the record sums raised by two Democrats, Senators Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. Mr. Obama raised a total of $32.5 million in the second quarter, and Mrs. Clinton about $27 million.

Mr. Romney and Mr. Giuliani released the figures a day after Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, reported that he raised less money in the second quarter than in the first, and said he would slash the size of his staff and focus his campaign on a few early voting states.

Put together, the results for the three leading Republicans amounted to a stark indication of a gap in enthusiasm and confidence between the two parties, driven in part by President Bush’s low approval ratings, the war in Iraq and the failure of any of the Republican candidates to emerge as a clear front-runner, strategists in both parties said.

The top three Democrats, including former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, raised $68.5 million over the past three months, compared with $48.7 million for the top three Republicans, according to the reports. Since the start of the year, the Democrats raised nearly 50 percent more than the Republicans, $144.3 million compared with $101.7 million. That includes money that the candidates can use in the primary and in the general election.

Historically, the second-quarter receipts tend to grow for presidential candidates as donors get more involved and take sides in the race. Aides to the Republican candidates — as well as Republicans not involved in the race — said that this year might be an anomaly because the campaign had gotten so intense so early, but they nonetheless expressed deep concern at the reports and what it said about the health of their party.

“It’s a combination of the president’s historically low approval rating and the overall state of affairs in Washington that is demoralizing Republicans and energizing Democrats,” said Scott Reed, who managed the 1996 Republican presidential campaign of Senator Bob Dole of Kansas. “It doesn’t mean it’ll make it all the way to 2008 Election Day, but that sure is the climate we are in now.”

Charles Black, a senior adviser to Mr. McCain, suggested that part of what was happening was that some donors were holding back to see if another Republican — in particular, former Senator Fred D. Thompson of Tennessee — would enter the race, as Mr. Thompson is expected to do formally in the next few weeks.

“The general mood is bad throughout the party,” Mr. Black said. “There are some donors that are used to giving money all the time, and there are a whole bunch of people who are more casual donors who need to be fired up. The Democrats on the other hand are totally fired up, intensely fired up against the president.”

Beyond the symbolism, the divergence in the fund-raising performance of the two parties — which also extends to the Congressional campaigns, where Democrats have also built a big cash advantage — is likely to influence basic strategic decisions by Republicans on matters like when to begin television advertising and where to compete.

In an early example of this, several Republicans said it was now clear that Mr. Giuliani and Mr. McCain chose to skip the straw poll in Iowa — a high-profile nonbinding vote by party activists in which Mr. Romney is investing heavily — because it could easily cost each campaign $3 million to compete.

Aides to Mr. McCain, offering new details of his campaign’s financial woes on Tuesday, said that the shortfall had forced them to dismiss 80 members of a staff of 120, putting him at a marked disadvantage in states like Iowa, where he had hoped for an early victory in the caucuses to propel him to the nomination.

Mr. McCain’s staff in Iowa has been cut in half to eight, compared with a staff of 16 in the state for Mr. Romney. Mr. McCain’s situation here has been aggravated by what his associates described as a clash between Mr. McCain’s national and Iowa headquarters that resulted in his state director, Matt Strawn, leaving the campaign.

One McCain aide, requesting anonymity in exchange for discussing the dispute, said that some of the people who had left the Iowa headquarters had done so in support of Mr. Strawn, and that the campaign was hoping to expand the staff here should money start coming in. Mr. Strawn declined to comment.

Mr. McCain’s aides said Tuesday that the senator was shutting down his Michigan state office. Given his financial difficulties, the aides said that Mr. McCain was almost certain to accept public money for his campaign, despite the sharp restrictions it would place on his spending in the primary and in the months leading up to the general election, as a way to be able to afford television advertising early this year. They said that would guarantee an infusion of about $6 million, based on what he has raised so far, and perhaps a total of $15 million by the time the caucuses start here in January.

Mr. McCain’s advisers said they were hoping he would, over the next six months, be able to raise $25 million, matching what he raised in the first half of the year. They acknowledged, though, that that would be difficult because donors would be reluctant to write checks to a campaign that appears to be in crisis.

“I wouldn’t be straight with you if I didn’t say there would be a significant initial drop-off from this,” said John Weaver, a senior adviser to Mr. McCain. “But our finance people are confident that if we show the kind of movement that we think we can, that we’ll get back on track.”

Some of the Democratic advantage appears to stem from the success the party’s candidates have had in tapping into grass-roots enthusiasm for dislodging the Republicans from the White House. Mr. Obama’s campaign has reported receiving donations from more than 258,000 contributors this year and raising $10 million online in the second quarter. More than 80,000 donors contributed to the Romney campaign in the second quarter, 50,000 of them for the first time; in the first quarter, 32,000 people contributed to his campaign.

For years, Republicans prided themselves on having a large base of individual donors while Democrats relied to a large degree on unregulated soft money donations that have now been banned. So far in this cycle, Democrats appear to be building vast databases of new individual donors who could be called on by the party for years to come.

Mr. McCain reported Tuesday that he had just $2 million in the bank to cover the operations of his campaign; Mr. Giuliani’s campaign said he had nine times as much, or $18 million, and no debt. Mr. Romney has about $12 million in cash on hand for use in the primary.

Mr. McCain’s aides declined to say what outstanding debt he would report. Mr. Romney’s decision to again invest his own money into the campaign — he lent it $2.35 million in the first quarter — was clearly intended to signal he was prepared to use his wealth to offset the bad fund-raising environment his party finds itself in. Mr. Romney has been plowing through his money rapidly, pouring much of it into an expensive early advertising campaign focused on Iowa and New Hampshire that has helped him to leads in recent polls there.
_________________________

Bush Rationale on Libby Stirs Legal Debate

July 4, 2007

By ADAM LIPTAK
In commuting I. Lewis Libby Jr.’s 30-month prison sentence on Monday, President Bush drew on the same array of arguments about the federal sentencing system often made by defense lawyers — and routinely and strenuously opposed by his own Justice Department.

Critics of the system have a long list of complaints. Sentences, they say, are too harsh. Judges are allowed to take account of facts not proven to the jury. The defendant’s positive contributions are ignored, as is the collateral damage that imprisonment causes the families involved.

On Monday, Mr. Bush made use of every element of that critique in a detailed statement setting out his reasons for commuting Mr. Libby’s sentence — handing an unexpected gift to defense lawyers around the country, who scrambled to make use of the president’s arguments in their own cases.

Given the administration’s tough stand on sentencing, the president’s arguments left experts in sentencing law scratching their heads.

“The Bush administration, in some sense following the leads of three previous administrations, has repeatedly supported a federal sentencing system that is distinctly disrespectful of the very arguments that Bush has put forward in cutting Libby a break,” said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who writes the blog Sentencing Law and Policy.

Perhaps inadvertently, Mr. Bush’s decision to grant a commutation rather than an outright pardon has started a national conversation about sentencing generally.

“By saying that the sentence was excessive, I wonder if he understood the ramifications of saying that,” said Ellen S. Podgor, who teaches criminal law at Stetson University in St. Petersburg, Fla. “This is opening up a can of worms about federal sentencing.”

The Libby clemency will be the basis for many legal arguments, said Susan James, an Alabama lawyer representing Don E. Siegelman, the state’s former governor, who is appealing a sentence he received last week of 88 months for obstruction of justice and other offenses.

“It’s far more important than if he’d just pardoned Libby,” Ms. James said, as forgiving a given offense as an act of executive grace would have had only political repercussions. “What you’re going to see is people like me quoting President Bush in every pleading that comes across every federal judge’s desk.”

Indeed, Mr. Bush’s decision may have given birth to a new sort of legal document.

“I anticipate that we’re going to get a new motion called ‘the Libby motion,’ ” Professor Podgor said. “It will basically say, ‘My client should have got what Libby got, and here’s why.’ ”

As a purely legal matter, of course, Mr. Bush’s statement has no particular force outside Mr. Libby’s case. But that does not mean judges will necessarily ignore it.

No one disputes that Mr. Bush has the authority under the Constitution to issue pardons and commutations for federal crimes. But experts in the area, pointing to political scandals in the Reagan, Truman and Grant administrations, said Mr. Bush had acted with unusual speed.

“What distinguishes Scooter Libby from the acts of clemency in the other three episodes,” said P. S. Ruckman Jr., a political science professor who studies pardons at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill., referring to Mr. Libby by his nickname, “is that in those episodes they generally served their time and some other president pardoned them.”

Mr. Bush repeated yesterday that he had found Mr. Libby’s punishment to be too severe. But experts in federal sentencing law said a sentence of 30 months for lying and obstruction was consistent with the tough sentences routinely meted out by the federal system.

“On what legal basis could he have reached that result?” asked Frank O. Bowman III, an authority on federal sentencing who teaches law at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said of the commutation. “There is no legal basis.”

Nor is there a reason to think that the Justice Department has changed its position about the sentencing system generally. Indeed, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said last month that the department would push for legislation making federal sentences tougher and less flexible.

Similarly, in a case decided two weeks ago by the United States Supreme Court and widely discussed by legal specialists in light of the Libby case, the Justice Department persuaded the court to affirm the 33-month sentence of a defendant whose case closely resembled that against Mr. Libby. The defendant, Victor A. Rita, was, like Mr. Libby, convicted of perjury, making false statements to federal agents and obstruction of justice.Mr. Rita has performed extensive government service, just as Mr. Libby has. Mr. Rita served in the armed forces for more than 25 years, receiving 35 commendations, awards and medals. Like Mr. Libby, Mr. Rita had no criminal history for purposes of the federal sentencing guidelines.

The judges who sentenced the two men increased their sentences by taking account of the crimes about which they lied. Mr. Rita’s perjury concerned what the court called “a possible violation of a machine-gun registration law”; Mr. Libby’s of a possible violation of a federal law making it a crime to disclose the identities of undercover intelligence agents in some circumstances.

When Mr. Rita argued that his 33-month sentence had failed to consider his history and circumstances adequately, the Justice Department strenuously disagreed.

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, posted a copy of the government’s brief in the Rita case on his blog yesterday and asked, “Why is the president flip-flopping on these criminal justice decisions?”

The Justice Department also took a hard line last year in the case of Jamie Olis, a midlevel executive at the energy company Dynegy convicted of accounting fraud. The department argued that Mr. Olis deserved 292 months, or more than 24 years. He was sentenced to six years.

Sentencing experts said Mr. Libby’s sentence was both tough and in line with general trends.

“It was a pretty harsh sentence,” Professor Berman said, “because I tend to view any term of imprisonment for nonviolent first offenses as harsh. But it certainly wasn’t out of the normal array of cases I see every day.”
__________________________

Bush Is Said to Have Held Long Debate on Decision

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG and JIM RUTENBERG

WASHINGTON, July 3 — Before commuting the prison sentence of I. Lewis Libby Jr., President Bush and a small circle of advisers delved deeply into the evidence in the case, debating Mr. Libby’s guilt or innocence and whether he had in fact lied to investigators, people familiar with the deliberations said.

That process, in weeks of closely held White House discussions, led to the decision to spare Mr. Libby from a 30-month sentence rather than grant a pardon. But Mr. Bush, defending the move Tuesday, left the door open to a pardon in the future.

“I weighed this decision carefully,” the president told reporters after visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. “I thought that the jury verdict should stand. I felt the punishment was severe, so I made a decision that would commute his sentence but leave in place a serious fine and probation. As to the future, I rule nothing in or nothing out.”

The decision brought a storm of criticism, as well as a new investigation on Capitol Hill. Representative John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced Tuesday that he would hold a hearing next week to examine “the use and misuse of presidential clemency power” for executive branch officials.

The White House deliberations in the case of Mr. Libby, a key architect of the war in Iraq who served as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, were scattered throughout Mr. Bush’s regular business over the past several weeks, an administration official said.

That description, along with the accounts of two Republican allies of the White House, illuminated a process that was almost clinical, with a detailed focus on the facts of the case, which stemmed from an investigation into the leak of a C.I.A. operative’s identity. Mr. Libby was accused of lying to investigators and was convicted on four felony counts, including perjury and obstruction of justice.

Because the deliberations were so closely held, those who spoke about them agreed to do so only anonymously. But by several different accounts, Mr. Bush spent weeks thinking about the case against Mr. Libby and consulting closely with senior officials, including Joshua B. Bolten, the White House chief of staff; Fred F. Fielding, the White House counsel; and Dan Bartlett, Mr. Bush’s departing counselor.

“They were digging deeply into the substance of the charges against him, and the defense for him,” one of the Republicans close to the White House said.

The second Republican said the overarching question was “did he lie?”

Mr. Bush has not publicly offered his conclusion to that question, nor have his aides. In his statements about the commutation, the president has said only that he respects the jury’s verdict and that his interest was in reducing what he regarded as an overly severe sentence.

“I felt like some of the punishments that the judge determined were adequate should stand,” Mr. Bush told reporters Tuesday. “But I felt like the 30-month sentencing was severe, made a judgment, a considered judgment, that I believe is the right decision to make in this case, and I stand by it.”

In issuing his commutation order on Monday, Mr. Bush left intact Mr. Libby’s conviction, a $250,000 fine and the two years of postprison supervised release that were ordered by Judge Reggie B. Walton of Federal District Court.

But the details of the president’s order raised procedural questions in court.

Judge Walton said Tuesday that the law did not allow for imposing a period of supervised release on an individual who had not first completed a jail sentence. He asked the lawyers for both sides to submit briefs next week on whether Mr. Libby should have to submit to supervision by the probation office.

Mr. Bush has issued 113 pardons and commuted four sentences, including Mr. Libby’s, during his presidency, but no act of clemency has been as controversial as the Libby decision. The C.I.A. leak case raised impassioned questions about the administration’s flawed intelligence leading up to the Iraq war, and whether officials at the highest reaches of the White House, including Mr. Cheney, ordered the leak of the identity of the operative, Valerie Wilson, to discredit her husband, a war critic.

Both critics of the administration and supporters of Mr. Libby viewed him as a fall guy in the case, and Mr. Bush had been under intense pressure from conservatives to issue a pardon, which constitutes an official act of forgiveness.

Pardons are typically reviewed by the Justice Department and sent to the president for a final determination. But a former administration official said that in this case the White House had sent a message of “we’re not going through the usual pardon scrub, we’re going through this one ourselves.”

The process was delicate. Karl Rove, the chief White House strategist and one of Mr. Bush’s closest and longest-serving aides, had been implicated in the leak investigation, and it was unclear how extensive a role he played in the deliberations.

The special prosecutor in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, ultimately decided not to pursue charges against Mr. Rove. Some Republicans said they believed that Mr. Rove steered clear of the pardon discussions, perhaps because his participation would have been awkward.

“I talk to Karl a lot, and I just never got any sense that he was involved in that at all,” said Vin Weber, a Republican former congressman who said he believed that Mr. Libby should be pardoned.

Mr. Weber also said he was concerned about Mr. Bush’s statement Tuesday, in which the president said he believed that the jury verdict should stand. “It disturbs me,” he said, “because the president has set himself up for more criticism if indeed he does issue a full pardon, which I think he should.”

Another question that remained open Tuesday is to what extent Mr. Cheney participated. Aides to the vice president have said he regarded Mr. Libby’s conviction as a tragedy, but people close to Mr. Cheney said they did not know what conversations, if any, the vice president had with the president about the commutation decision.

The White House was besieged by criticism over the decision Tuesday. Before Mr. Bush spoke at Walter Reed, his press secretary, Tony Snow, fended off an unruly press corps, whose members demanded to know why Mr. Libby had received special treatment. Mr. Snow insisted that he had not, saying the case had been handled in a “routine manner.”

“The president does not look upon this as granting a favor to anyone,” Mr. Snow said, “and to do that is to misconstrue the nature of the deliberations.”

Neil A. Lewis contributed reporting.

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Yo Dr. Maryrose baby--Given your years in providing health care--how'd you and Dr. Sara exactly fix the health care system? Given your long fight to take care of all types of patient demographies, please give us some of the inside baseball.

What's it like after years in an emergency room taking care of patients?

Tell us about the time you broke down an OR door to get the rib cutters to do open heart message to keep a 16 year old alive so a neurosurgeon could evacuate his epidural.

How about the 6 year old who was electrocuted and drowned in the bathtub where her little brother grabbed a hair drier that was forgotten and plugged in by the bathtub and turned it on and stuck it in the water as a gun and electrocuted his sister who then drowned that you rescuscitated and saved her life who was the head nurse's little girl who later graduated at the top of her class.

Are those bad ole democratic Congress people invoking ole 18USC 6005 to put the Scootie traitor in jail?

And your benificent Republicans who provided consistent tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%--the Bob Nardellis who hosted Bush at his home are worried about social security for all those who are barely surviving--right?

We want to hear the details of how your Republican base--with Bill Frist M.D. rammed a bill through a secret conference committee and denied Medicare drug competitive bidding.So what follows is a list of health care legislation reforms that Congress should pass, but won't. And why won't they pass these? Because too many powerful corporations and influential non-profit organizations actually depend on diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease for their continued existence. America has become a disease economy that needs to keep the disease racket running just to post decent economic activity gains. And no politician who wants to stay in office will dare recommend that Americans should actually be taught how to stay healthy and prevent disease. A healthy population would devastate conventional medicine, the cancer industry, drug companies and health care jobs.

Government regulators claim to support free trade in every area imaginable: corn, computers, software, automobiles and even steel. But when it comes to medicine, U.S. regulators feel they need to enforce a U.S. monopoly market that deprives consumers of choice and makes free trade illegal.
Just try to buy meds from a Canadian online pharmacy, and you'll see what I mean. The FDA practically considers you a criminal for buying drugs at cheaper prices in another country.

From the FDA to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), U.S. regulators are determined to enforce a monopoly market of pharmaceuticals -- a drug cartel. While all other citizens around the world pay more competitive prices for their drugs, U.S. citizens have been singled out as the ones who are supposed to pump up the profits of Big Pharma by paying as much as 569,000% markups on prescription drugs (that number is not a misprint). See my book, Natural Health Solutions and the Conspiracy to Keep You From Knowing About Them to see even more evidence that reveals the true organized crime behavior of today's drug industry giants.

It is especially interesting that the FTC, which claims to protect consumers, has made absolutely no effort whatsoever to end the pharmaceutical monopoly in the United States. If anything, the FTC seems a lot more interested in eliminating competition to pharmaceutical companies by threatening sellers of nutritional products or alternative medicine products. Together with the FDA, they've turned the United States into a health wasteland, where consumers are forced to pay profiteering prices for synthetic chemicals that only harm their health while being denied access to the natural products that could actually save their lives.

How would you change the health care cuts that the Bush administration has rammed through a Republican dominated Congress? How are you going to fix this?

Bush Administration Plans Medicare Changes


July 17, 2006

By ROBERT PEAR
WASHINGTON, July 16 — The Bush administration says it plans sweeping changes in Medicare payments to hospitals that could cut payments by 20 percent to 30 percent for many complex treatments and new technologies.

The changes, the biggest since the current payment system was adopted in 1983, are meant to improve the accuracy of payment rates. But doctors, hospitals and patient groups say the effects could be devastating.

Federal officials said that biases and distortions in the current system had created financial incentives for hospitals to treat certain patients, on whom they could make money, and to avoid others, who were less profitable.

Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, said the new system would be more accurate because payments would be based on hospital costs, rather than on charges, and would be adjusted to reflect the severity of a patient’s illness. A hospital now receives the same amount for a patient with a particular condition, like pneumonia, regardless of whether the illness is mild or severe.

Medicare pays more than $125 billion a year to nearly 5,000 hospitals. The new plan is not expected to save money, but will shift around billions of dollars, creating clear winners and losers. The effects will ripple through the health care system because many private insurers and state Medicaid programs follow Medicare’s example.

Dr. Alan D. Guerci, president of St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, N.Y., said the new formula would cut Medicare payments to his hospital by $21 million, or 12 percent. “It will significantly reduce payments for cardiac care and will force many hospitals to reduce the number of cardiac procedures they perform,” Dr. Guerci said.

A coalition of patient organizations, including the Parkinson’s Action Network and the Society for Women’s Health Research, told the government in a letter that the new system “could have a devastating impact on payment for critical treatments for seriously ill patients, with reimbursement for some essential procedures cut as much as 30 percent.”

The basic payment for surgery to open clogged arteries, by inserting a drug-coated wire mesh stent, would be cut by 33 percent, to $7,590. The payment for implanting a defibrillator, like the one used by Vice President Dick Cheney, would be cut 23 percent, to $22,000, while the payment for hip and knee replacements would be reduced 10 percent, to $14,500.

“This is a bit of a catastrophe,” said Dr. Herbert Pardes, president of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. In its zeal to cut the profits of doctor-owned specialty hospitals, including cardiac hospitals, Dr. Pardes said, the government has inadvertently hit many nonprofit academic medical centers.

Drug and device makers have been lobbying Congress and the Bush administration to delay the changes to allow further analysis. Device makers are scheduled to meet with top White House officials this week. More than 200 members of Congress have signed letters supporting a one-year delay.

Peter L. Ashkenaz, a spokesman for the Medicare agency, said officials had received the letters but could not comment because they were working on a final regulation, to be issued in a few weeks.

Hospitals and members of Congress are also complaining about the role of a government contractor that helped develop the new payment system and now stands to profit from it.

The new system is based on a commercial product developed by 3M Health Information Systems, a unit of 3M, the Minnesota-based technology company. In July 2005, the Bush administration awarded a “sole source contract” to 3M, to analyze whether it was feasible for Medicare to use a payment system modeled on the 3M product. The company said yes.

Influential members of Congress, including Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, the chairman of the Finance Committee, have objected to Medicare’s reliance on a proprietary system controlled by a single company.

A competing company, Ingenix, said, “The contract was awarded to 3M without the solicitation of competitive bids.” Moreover, Richard H. Anderson, chief executive of Ingenix, a unit of UnitedHealth Group, said that 3M had a conflict of interest because it was evaluating its own proprietary software as the basis for a new Medicare payment system.

The software analyzes the characteristics of each patient and assigns the case to a “diagnosis related group,” which in turn determines how much the hospital will be paid.

In recent weeks, 3M has sent out marketing materials that urge hospitals to buy 3M software and use 3M experts to help them “make a successful transition” to the new Medicare payment system.

Richard F. Averill, research director of 3M Health Information Systems, said the sole-source contract was justified and denied that his company had a conflict of interest. As an inventor of the 1983 payment system, Mr. Averill said, he and his colleagues at 3M know more about it than their competitors.

Moreover, Mr. Averill said in an interview: “The contract required us to use the 3M system in our analysis. There was no evaluation of alternatives.”

The goal of the new payment system is to pay hospitals more accurately for the cost of care. But Jayson S. Slotnik, director of Medicare policy at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a trade group, said that payments would, in many cases, be less accurate because the government had relied on old hospital cost reports and claims data that did not reflect the use of new technology.

Without a delay, Mr. Slotnik said, hospitals can expect to see a 35 percent reduction in Medicare payments for stroke patients treated with clot-busting drugs. The basic payment for such cases is now $11,578.

It is no surprise that the Greater New York Hospital Association, which represents many teaching hospitals in a high-cost area, objects to the new system. But hospitals in North Dakota are also concerned.

Arnold R. Thomas, president of the North Dakota Healthcare Association, said the new system would cause “radical shifts” of money among the state’s 52 hospitals. “The effects would be rather random and inequitable,” Mr. Arnold said.

When hospitals lose Medicare revenue, they often seek higher reimbursement from private insurers. J. Brian Munroe, vice president of WellPoint, one of the largest private plans, said he feared that the Medicare changes “will introduce a significant amount of disruption to the commercial health insurance marketplace, driving up health care costs and causing marketplace confusion.”

chch16

Clarice writing a book would be like Paris Hilton fixing a cerebral aneurysm.

chch16


Through the Looking Glass, Darkly

By Dana Milbank

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

-- Jabberwocky, 1871.


I'm sure that the vice president may have expressed an opinion, but the fact is, the president understands the -- and he may have recused himself; I honestly don't know.

-- White House press briefing, yesterday.


Lewis Carroll had nothing on the Bush White House of 2007.

The president and his aides have been trending toward the margins of reality for some time now, but with this week's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison term, the administration's statements dissolved into nonsense.

President Bush, fielding questions yesterday after visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed, declared that "the jury verdict should stand" -- and then, in answer to the same question, said he was open to vacating the verdict by granting Libby a full pardon.

Logic suffered a more serious challenge when Bush press secretary Tony Snow, in his briefing, made the following points about Libby's case:


· That Bush wasn't "granting a favor to anyone" but that the case got his "special handling."


· That it was not done for "political reasons" even though "it was political."


· That it was handled "in a routine manner," yet it was also "an extraordinary case."


· That "we are not going to make comments" on the case, even though Bush had already issued a 655-word statement commenting on the case.

And if that makes sense to you, beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch.

"You're insulting our intelligence," one of the reporters advised Snow.

"How can you stand there with a straight face?" queried CBS News's Bill Plante.

That Snow was standing there at all was an act of courage. His hair is thinning and his frame is gaunt from his battle with cancer, and he has a port in his chest into which chemotherapy drugs are injected. And Bush has made things increasingly difficult for Snow since the press secretary took the job 15 months ago. The president's popularity has plunged into the 20s, he has lost both houses of Congress, the Iraq war is a debacle, and his vice president has attempted to remove himself from the executive branch. Richard Nixon had been the standard by which presidential failures are measured, but even Nixon was not this low this long.

Snow was late for his briefing yesterday, so one of the cameramen stood on the podium and did an impersonation of the gravelly-voiced spokesman. "We figured the president's ratings were so low at this point that it didn't matter if we commuted his sentence," the impersonator announced.

That may well be true, but the real Snow couldn't come out and say that. Instead, he crossed his ankles behind the lectern and established his opening position: that "the president does not look upon this as granting a favor to anyone."

"Why shouldn't it be thought of as a bestowal of a favor," asked Plante, "when there are dozens of other people who would probably make the same case that their sentences were too heavy and should have been commuted?"

"Well, I'm not sure that there are dozens of others," the spokesman ventured.

Indeed, there aren't dozens. "There are more than 3,000 current petitions for commutation," ABC's Ann Compton informed the spokesman. "Will all 3,000 of those be held to the same standard?"

Snow cut his losses. "I don't know," he demurred.

Ken Herman of Cox News Service tried to get Snow to justify his claim that the Libby commutation was handled by the book. "How could it not be extraordinary to grant something to someone who didn't even ask for it?"

Snow ultimately surrendered to Herman with a shrug.

He got similarly entangled when April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks asked whether the White House planned to apologize for the leaking of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity.

First, Snow suggested there would be no apology because of the "considerable controversy about the facts." Next, he asserted, without evidence, that Bush had already apologized. Finally, he made Ryan an offer. "I'll apologize," he said. "Done."

"No, it's not," said an unsatisfied Ryan. "That's flippant."

But flippant was about the best Snow could do, deprived as he was of solid talking points.

CNN's Ed Henry asked why Bush adviser Karl Rove, now known to have leaked Plame's identity, was not being held to Bush's promise in 2004 to fire anybody involved in the leak.

"We are not going to make comments in detail until the legal process is over," Snow parried -- only to be reminded by several reporters of Bush's two-page statement on the case from Monday, and the prosecutor's view that the case is done.

Snow needed a new line. Rove "was not, in fact, indicted on anything," he offered.

"You've changed the standard," Henry pointed out.

Snow retreated. "When we get final clarity on this through the judicial system, I'll answer the question."

The borogoves were all mimsy. "Have we exhausted this?" Snow inquired.

"Yes," Cox News's Herman answered, "we're pretty exhausted."


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Bush and Cheney walk, too
Even as the president confesses that Scooter Libby engaged in a cover-up -- after all, that was the verdict -- he completes the ultimate obstruction of justice in the Plame affair.

Bush and Cheney walk, too
Even as the president confesses that Scooter Libby engaged in a cover-up -- after all, that was the verdict -- he completes the ultimate obstruction of justice in the Plame affair.

By Sidney Blumenthal

Jul. 03, 2007 | In the Plame case, as in nearly every matter, Vice President Dick Cheney controlled and directed the flow of information that shaped the decision making of President George W. Bush. When Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times columnist, published "Missing in Action: Truth," on May 6, 2003, referring to but not mentioning by name former Ambassador Joseph Wilson as one who conducted a mission to Niger, where he found no evidence of Saddam Hussein seeking to purchase yellowcake uranium for nuclear weaponry, Cheney furiously launched the effort to discover Wilson's identity and to discredit him. He ordered I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, his chief of staff, to head the operation. Libby's frenetic activity triggered a secret State Department investigation and memo that identified Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a covert CIA operative.

Cheney aroused President Bush to the danger from Wilson. A handwritten note by Libby that surfaced in his trial revealed that Bush raised his concern about the Kristof column in a subsequent June 9 meeting. The next day, the State Department memo "Niger/Iraq Uranium Story" began circulating within the administration. On June 12, Cheney identified Plame to Libby, and Libby went hard to work. Within three days, he discussed Plame with five officials. On July 6, after Wilson published a New York Times op-ed disclosing that the rationale the president gave for the war was premised on false information, an enraged Cheney ordered Libby into high gear. Cheney also secured Bush's concurrence for Libby to leak selected parts of the still-classified National Intelligence Estimate on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction to New York Times reporter Judith Miller on July 8. Bush, therefore, was deeply involved. But what did the president know, and when did he know it?

Bush's commutation of Libby's 30-month prison sentence for four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice was as politically necessary to hold his remaining hardcore base for the rest of his 18 months in office as it was politically damaging to his legacy and to the possibility of a Republican succession. It was also essential in order to sustain Libby's cover-up protecting Cheney and perhaps Bush himself.

The sole reason that Bush offers for the commutation -- that Judge Reggie Walton's sentence was "excessive" -- is transparently false. Indeed, the sentence meets the normal guidelines for such a crime. "The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country," said Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor. "In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws." Nothing is irregular or extraordinary about the length of the sentence, except the person receiving it.

It was not the judge who exceeded the sentencing guidelines; it is the president who ignored federal standards for commutations, by which it is customary that the convicted person serve some time before being eligible. Dishonestly appealing to the letter of the law, Bush's spirit of impunity is masked as benevolence and mercy.

Even as Bush attacked the judgment of Walton, his own appointee to the federal bench, he acknowledged Libby's guilt, declaring: "I respect the jury's verdict." Even as Bush engages in juridical nullification, he does not seek jury nullification. By confessing that Libby was engaged in a cover-up -- after all, that was the verdict -- Bush establishes his own motive. In brief, Bush's act ratifies Libby's cover-up. The "cloud over the vice president" that the prosecutor decried will never be dispelled. Cheney -- and Bush -- walk, too.

Libby had to have understood, without a word ever being passed, that leniency of some sort would be granted. His steadfast cover-up was encouraged by his intimate knowledge of the methods of Cheney and Bush. The fine he must pay -- $250,000 -- is meaningless because he will certainly not be paying it himself. His legal defense fund, supported by the friends of the president and vice president, boasts a treasury of $5 million. He has been well taken care of.

The pardon is the one monarchical power that the framers of the Constitution assigned the presidency. But they placed one restriction, that it could not be exercised for impeachment. In other words, the president could not use his power to pardon himself. Bush is entirely within his narrow right to use the pardon power in the Libby case. But it violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the law governing that power because it is a consummate gesture of self-exoneration, at least if the vice president is an "entity within the executive branch." Bush rewards Libby's cover-up, thwarting the investigation into Cheney's and perhaps his culpability. Bush's commutation is the successful culmination of the obstruction of justice.

Since 1776, on every July Fourth, the Declaration of Independence has been posted in public places, published in newspapers and read aloud. Its bill of particulars contains these two passages defining royal tyranny and justifying revolution:


He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. ... For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments.

Happy Fourth.

___________________________


Lewis Libby owes his freedom to our corrupt political elite

Glenn Greenwald


Tuesday July 3, 2007

That Lewis Libby has been protected by George Bush from the consequences of his crimes only highlights how corrupt and broken our political system is. It reveals nothing new. This is the natural, inevitable outgrowth of our rancid political culture, shaped and slavishly defended by our Beltway ruling class and our serious, sober opinion-making elite.

The disasters and rampant lawlessness and fundamental erosion of our country's political values and institutions are exactly what Fred Hiatt and David Broder and Time Magazine and Tim Russert and Tom Friedman and the New Republic geniuses have spent the last six years protecting, enabling and defending. We have the country we have -- one in which our most powerful political leaders are literally beyond the reach of the law in every sense, where we casually invade and bomb and occupy countries that have not attacked us, where our moral standing in the world has collapsed with good reason, where we are viewed on every continent in the world as a rogue, dangerous and lawless nation -- because we are ruled by a Beltway elite and political press that is sickly and cowardly and slavish at its core.

That Dick Cheney's top aide, one of the most well-connected neoconservatives on the planet, is protected from the consequences of his felonies ought to be anything but surprising. That is the country that we have. It is a result that is completely consistent with the "values" that define official Washington. No other outcome was possible.

The Plame investigation was urged by the Bush CIA and commenced by the Bush DOJ, Libby's conviction pursued by a Bush-appointed federal prosecutor, his jail sentence imposed by a Bush-appointed "tough-on-crime" federal judge, all pursuant to harsh and merciless criminal laws urged on by the "tough-on-crime/no-mercy" GOP. Lewis Libby was sent to prison by the system constructed and desired by the very Republican movement protesting his plight.

But our political discourse and media institutions are so broken and corrupt that Bush followers (and their media enablers) feel free to make the completely-backwards and fact-free claim that the Libby prosecution was driven by "partisan" and "political" motives -- as though it was a mirror image of the Clinton persecution driven by Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and a purely partisan Republican prosecutor -- because they know that there is no such thing as a claim too false to be passed on without real objection by our vapid, drooling press corps.

For the right-wing political movement that has spawned the Bush disasters of the last six years, the exoneration of Lewis Libby was not merely something they supported. It was much more than that. It was a matter of the greatest importance. That is because Libby is a True Believer, a loyal member of their cult. Seeing him in prison would be humiliating, would make them feel weak and defeated at the hands of the Enemy (defined as "anyone who opposes them"), which is the worst outcome there is.

The only "principle" they have is that their movement is Good, those who oppose it Evil, and loyal members of their movement -- and especially its Leaders -- must never have their power checked or limited in any way. One who serves at Dick Cheney's side cannot possibly be in prison. Literally, there is no crime their Leaders can commit which will render them unwilling to defend and justify it. The overriding priority is that they remain strong and powerful, immune from the constraints of the law.

Hence, the country's right-wing movement made the defense of Lewis Libby one of its most impassioned causes, and one of the leading candidates seeking to lead it -- Fred Thompson -- made exoneration of this convicted felon one of his principal missions over the last two years. And he does so while running around spitting out tough and righteous sermons about the need to restore the "rule of law": "It is a sad irony that a nation that is so dedicated to the rule of law is doing so much to undermine the respect for it," he said in the very same speech where he urged Libby's pardon. One of the prime defenders of Lewis Libby has the audacity to say such things with a straight face because he knows how broken our political and media institutions are.

But the most significant disease highlighted by the Libby travesty is also the most obvious one. We have decided to be a country in which our highest Republican political officials can break the law freely, without any real consequence. In the United States, the law does not apply to the President and his closest aides. And there is one fact after the next which proves that.

Almost thirty years ago, the American people reacted with fury and horror over revelations by the Church Committee that every administration in prior decades had been spying on Americans for completely improper purposes. In response, they enacted a law, through their Congress, making it a felony for any government official to eavesdrop on Americans without judicial approval, punishable by 5 years in prison for each offense. Since 1977, it has been a felony in the United States for political officials to eavesdrop on Americans without judicial warrants.

But in December of 2005, The New York Times revealed that George Bush had been breaking this law -- committing felonies -- every day for the prior four years. And when he was caught, he went on television and proudly admitted what he had done and vowed defiantly to continue doing it. And our wise and serious Washington media establishment shrugged, even applauded. They directed their fury only at those who objected to the lawbreaking. The GOP-controlled Congress blocked every attempt to investigate this criminality -- with virtually no outcry -- and then set out to pass a new law making this criminality retroactively legal. In response to revelations that the President was deliberately breaking the law, official Washington fell all over itself figuring out the most efficient way to protect and defend the President's crimes.

Ever since Gerald Ford, with the support of our permanent Beltway ruling class, pardoned Richard Nixon for his crimes -- followed naturally by the current President's father shielding his own friends and aides from the consequences of serious criminal convictions for lying to Congress and deliberately breaking its laws, with one of those criminals then appointed with no objection by his son to run Middle East policy from the White House -- we have been a nation which allows our highest political officials to reside beyond the reach of law. It is just that simple.

And over the last six years, that "principle" has been extended to its most extreme though logical conclusions. This administration expressly adopted theories -- right out in the open -- which, as it its central premise, states that the President is greater than the law, that his "obligation" to protect the nation means that nothing and nobody can limit what he does, including -- especially -- the laws enacted by our Congress, no matter how radical and extreme that conduct is.

In response to this most audacious declaration of Presidential Omnipotence, our Sober Guardians of Political Wisdom shrugged. Those who objected too strenuously, who used terms such as "criminal" and "lawlessness" or who raised the specter of impeachment -- the tool created by the Founders to redress executive lawbreaking -- were branded as radicals or impetuous, unserious partisan hysterics. The only crime recognized by official Washington is using impetuous or excessively irreverent language to object to the lawbreaking and radicalism of the Leader, or acting too aggressively to investigate it. That is the only crime that triggers their outrage.

Even with an overarching Ideology of Lawlessness explicitly embraced by their President right in front of their faces -- an ideology used to torture people, to detain people in "law-free" dungeons around the world, even to abduct our fellow citizens on U.S. soil and put them into a black hole for years without any charges or even contact with the outside world -- our political establishment stood by him, supported him, insisting that he and his Vice President were serious, responsible men acting under difficult circumstances to protect us, and that the only ones deserving of true scorn were those who were overzealous in their criticisms of the Leaders.

The President and his followers know that they can apply completely different rules to themselves, and freely break the law, because our Washington establishment, our "political press," will never object too strenuously, or even at all. Over the last six years, our media has directed their hostility only towards those who investigate or attempt to hold accountable the most powerful members of our political system -- hence their attacks on the GOP prosecutor investigating the Bush administration's crimes, their anger towards the very few investigative reporters trying to uncover Washington's secrets, and their righteous condemnation towards each of the handful of attempts by Congress to exercise investigative oversight of the administration.

The political press -- the function of which was envisioned by the Founders to investigate and hold accountable the most politically powerful -- now fulfill the exact oppose purpose in our country. They are slavishly protective of our highest political officials, and adversarial only to those who investigate, oppose and seek to hold those officials accountable. Hence, in official Washington, the Real Villains are Patrick Fitzgerald, Ken Silverstein, Russ Feingold and his Censure resolution, Pat Leahy and his disruptive subpoenas -- our Beltway elite reserves their venom for those who want to turn the lights on what our most powerful political officials are doing.

What kind of country do we expect to have when we have a ruling Washington class that believes that they and their fellow members of the Beltway elite constitute a separate class, one that resides above and beyond the law? That is plainly what they believe. And we now have exactly the country that one would expect would emerge from a political culture shaped by such a deeply insulated, corrupt and barren royal court.

In Federalist No. 70, Alexander Hamilton described the defining power of the King which made the British monarchy intolerably corrupt: "In England, the king is a perpetual magistrate; and it is a maxim which has obtained for the sake of the public peace, that he is unaccountable for his administration, and his person sacred." Thomas Paine proclaimed in Common Sense "that so far as we approve of monarch, that in America THE LAW IS KING." But little effort is required to see how far removed we now are from those basic principles.

It it no surprise that we have political leaders who are corrupt and abuse their power. Our whole political system is premised on the expectation that this will happen. But that expectation was accompanied by the attempt by the Founders to create as many safeguards and checks on those abuses as possible. Over the last six years, all of those safeguards have failed completely.

We have a radical and lawless government that has run rampant over the last six years precisely because the institutions designed to stop that abuse have not only stood idly by, but have actively defended and participated in it. We actually have a press corps that holds, as its central belief, that our highest government officials should be free of investigation and accountability. In every country ruled by a lawless government and a corrupt political and media elite, powerful political officials do not go to prison for crimes. That is why convicted felon Lewis Libby will remain free.

UPDATE: Behold the pure derangement pervading our country's right-wing movement, as displayed today by National Review commentator and right-wing radio talk show host Mark Levin:

The Commutation

The way I see it, Lewis Libby was about to become a political prisoner and the president prevented that.

As Harper's Scott Horton noted yesterday in a superb post (and I return the sentiment Horton expressed in the first paragraph of his post today), the neocon mentality is quite similar to the core tactics of the KGB, whose modus operandi Horton knows well from his years of defending democracy and human rights advocates in the former Soviet Union:
Moreover, this episode tells us one of the most deeply guarded truths of the Inner Party of the Neocon movement, namely: the ends justify the means. That is, to accomplish a goal accepted by the Inner Party, you are entitled to do anything -- break the law, by all means, and indeed set the law into oblivion if you can. That explains the fate of the Geneva Conventions, which were, alas, simply inconvenient -- they got in the way of the notion that no rules can stand between us and the accomplishment of our objectives.

For the Nietzschean Neocon man (let's call him Ubermensch or perhaps even better, Scooter Libby), there are no rules; they exist for the people of the herd. And that explains the indignation when the rules for the herd are applied against Scooter.

Apropos of Horton's "Doppelganger" comment today, I documented precisely this neocon corruption several weeks ago by noting that neocons believe that no other neocon should ever be punished or otherwise held accountable for anything they do -- see e.g., Scooter Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, Conrad Black, AIPAC officials charged with espionage, Elliot Abrams, etc. etc.

But this belief in intrinsic legal immunity extends to the entire Bush movement (which has become virtually synonymous with "neoconservatism"). That is what explains the literally endless defense not merely of individual acts of illegality, but of the claimed power to break the law in general. They are an authoritarian movement which believes only in its own power. By definition, none of its Leaders can ever be guilty of anything because to be a Leader of that movement means, by definition, that their actions are always for the Good and that anything which impedes those actions -- whether it be ethics, political principles or the law -- are unjust.

chch16

"Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign"
From Iraq to Scooter Libby, Bush and Cheney have broken America's trust and stabbed this nation in the back. It is time for them to go.

By Keith Olbermann

Jul. 04, 2007 | Finally tonight, as promised, a Special Comment on what is, in everything but name, George Bush's pardon of Scooter Libby.

"I didn't vote for him," an American once said, "But he's my president, and I hope he does a good job." That -- on this eve of the Fourth of July -- is the essence of this democracy, in 17 words. And that is what President Bush threw away yesterday in commuting the sentence of Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

The man who said those 17 words -- improbably enough -- was the actor John Wayne. And Wayne, an ultra-conservative, said them when he learned of the hair's-breadth election of John F. Kennedy instead of his personal favorite, Richard Nixon, in 1960.

"I didn't vote for him but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job." The sentiment was doubtlessly expressed earlier. But there is something especially appropriate about hearing it, now, in Wayne's voice: The crisp matter-of-fact acknowledgment that we have survived, even though for nearly two centuries now, our commander in chief has also served, simultaneously, as the head of one political party and often the scourge of all others.

We as citizens must, at some point, ignore a president's partisanship. Not that we may prosper as a nation, not that we may achieve, not that we may lead the world, but merely that we may function.

But just as essential to the 17 words of John Wayne is an implicit trust, a sacred trust: that the president for whom so many did not vote can in turn suspend his political self long enough, and for matters imperative enough, to conduct himself solely for the benefit of the entire republic.

Our generation's willingness to state "We didn't vote for him, but he's our president, and we hope he does a good job" was tested in the crucible of history, and earlier than most.

And in circumstances more tragic and threatening. And we did that with which history tasked us. We enveloped our president in 2001. And those who did not believe he should have been elected -- indeed those who did not believe he had been elected -- willingly lowered their voices and assented to the sacred oath of nonpartisanship.

And George W. Bush took our assent, and reconfigured it, and honed it, and shaped it to a razor-sharp point and stabbed this nation in the back with it.

Were there any remaining lingering doubt otherwise, or any remaining lingering hope, it ended yesterday when Mr. Bush commuted the prison sentence of one of his own staffers.

Did so even before the appeals process was complete. Did so without as much as a courtesy consultation with the Department of Justice. Did so despite what James Madison -- at the Constitutional Convention -- said about impeaching any president who pardoned or sheltered those who had committed crimes "advised by" that president.

Did so without the slightest concern that even the most detached of citizens must look at the chain of events and wonder: To what degree was Mr. Libby told, "Break the law however you wish -- the president will keep you out of prison"?

In that moment, Mr. Bush, you broke that fundamental compact between yourself and the majority of this nation's citizens, the ones who did not cast votes for you.

In that moment, Mr. Bush, you ceased to be the president of the United States. In that moment, Mr. Bush, you became merely the president of a rabid and irresponsible corner of the Republican Party.

And this is too important a time, Sir, to have a commander in chief who puts party over nation. This has been, of course, the gathering legacy of this administration. Few of its decisions have escaped the stain of politics. The extraordinary Karl Rove has spoken of "a permanent Republican majority," as if such a thing -- or a permanent Democratic majority -- is not antithetical to that upon which rests our country, our history, our revolution, our freedoms.

Yet our democracy has survived shrewder men than Karl Rove. And it has survived the frequent stain of politics upon the fabric of government. But this administration, with ever-increasing insistence and almost theocratic zealotry, has turned that stain into a massive oil spill.

The protection of the environment is turned over to those of one political party who will financially benefit from the rape of the environment.

The protections of the Constitution are turned over to those of one political party who believe those protections unnecessary and extravagant and quaint.

The enforcement of the laws is turned over to those of one political party who will swear beforehand that they will not enforce those laws.

The choice between war and peace is turned over to those of one political party who stand to gain vast wealth by ensuring that there is never peace, but only war.

And now, when just one cooked book gets corrected by an honest auditor, when just one trampling of the inherent and inviolable fairness of government is rejected by an impartial judge, when just one wild-eyed partisan is stopped by the figure of blind justice, this president decides that he, and not the law, must prevail.

I accuse you, Mr. Bush, of lying this country into war. I accuse you of fabricating in the minds of your own people a false implied link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. I accuse you of firing the generals who told you that the plans for Iraq were disastrously insufficient. I accuse you of causing in Iraq the needless deaths of 3,586 of our brothers and sons, and sisters and daughters, and friends and neighbors. I accuse you of subverting the Constitution, not in some misguided but sincerely motivated struggle to combat terrorists, but to stifle dissent. I accuse you of fomenting fear among your own people, of creating the very terror you claim to have fought. I accuse you of exploiting that unreasoning fear, the natural fear of your own people who just want to live their lives in peace, as a political tool to slander your critics and libel your opponents. I accuse you of handing part of this republic over to a vice president who is without conscience and letting him run roughshod over it.

And I accuse you now, Mr. Bush, of giving, through that vice president, carte blanche to Mr. Libby to help defame Ambassador Joseph Wilson by any means necessary, to lie to grand juries and special counsel and before a court, in order to protect the mechanisms and particulars of that defamation with your guarantee that Libby would never see prison and, in so doing, as Ambassador Wilson himself phrased it here last night, of becoming an accessory to the obstruction of justice.

When President Nixon ordered the firing of the Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the infamous "Saturday Night Massacre" on October 20th, 1973, Cox initially responded tersely, and ominously.

"Whether ours shall be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and, ultimately, the American people."

President Nixon did not understand how he had crystallized the issue of Watergate for the American people. It had been about the obscure meaning behind an attempt to break in to a rival party's headquarters, and the labyrinthine effort to cover up that break-in and the related crimes.

And in one night, Nixon transformed it. Watergate -- instantaneously -- became a simpler issue: a president overruling the inexorable march of the law, insisting -- in a way that resonated viscerally with millions who had not previously understood -- that he was the law.

Not the Constitution. Not the Congress. Not the courts. Just him. Just, Mr. Bush, as you did, yesterday.

The twists and turns of Plamegate, of your precise and intricate lies that sent us into this bottomless pit of Iraq; your lies upon the lies to discredit Joe Wilson; your lies upon the lies upon the lies to throw the sand at the "referee" of prosecutor Fitzgerald's analogy, these are complex and often painful to follow and too much, perhaps, for the average citizen.

But when other citizens render a verdict against your man, Mr. Bush, and then you spit in the faces of those jurors and that judge and the judges who were yet to hear the appeal, the average citizen understands that, Sir.

It's the fixed ballgame and the rigged casino and the prearranged lottery all rolled into one, and it stinks.

And they know it.

Nixon's mistake, the last and most fatal of them, the firing of Archibald Cox, was enough to cost him the presidency. And in the end, even Richard Nixon could say he could not put this nation through an impeachment. It was far too late for it to matter then, but as the decades unfold, that single final gesture of nonpartisanship, of acknowledged responsibility not to self, not to party, not to "base," but to country, echoes loudly into history.

Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign. Would that you could say that, Mr. Bush. And that you could say it for Mr. Cheney. You both crossed the Rubicon yesterday. Which one of you chose the route no longer matters. Which is the ventriloquist, and which the dummy, is irrelevant. But that you have twisted the machinery of government into nothing more than a tawdry machine of politics is the only fact that remains relevant.

It is nearly July Fourth, Mr. Bush, the commemoration of the moment we Americans decided that rather than live under a king who made up the laws, or erased them, or ignored them -- or commuted the sentences of those rightly convicted under them -- we would force our independence and regain our sacred freedoms.

We of this time -- and our leaders in Congress, of both parties -- must now live up to those standards which echo through our history. Pressure, negotiate, impeach: get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our democracy, away from its helm.

And for you, Mr. Bush, and for Mr. Cheney, there is a lesser task. You need merely achieve a very low threshold indeed. Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed on August 9th, 1974.

Resign.

And give us someone -- anyone -- about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne, and say, "I didn't vote for him, but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job."

chch16

Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who is an expert on federal criminal sentencing policies, said it is "hypocritical and appalling from a president whose Justice Department is always fighting" attempts by judges and lawmakers to lower the punishment called for under federal sentencing guidelines. Berman said Bush's message amounted to "My friend Scooter shouldn't have to serve 30 months in prison because I don't want him to."

chch16

Bush: 33 Months Reasonable For Rita, Not Libby

By Laura McGann -

July 3, 2007, 5:57 PM

Yesterday Don Siegelman's lawyers weighed in on the parallels between their client's case and Scooter Libby's. Vietnam and Gulf War veteran, Victor Rita's case is another with interesting similarities.

Last month the Supreme Court heard Rita's appeal for a lighter sentence after being convicted of perjury and giving false statements. At the time, the Bush Administration wrote a friend of the court brief in support of upholding the sentence.

Rita's lawyers argued that the 33-month sentence he received was unreasonable, much like the conclusion President Bush drew in the case of Scooter Libby. Libby, like Rita, was also convicted of perjury and lying and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Both men were working for the government when the committed their crimes and both maintained their innocence even after conviction. One significant difference between the two cases is that Rita had previously been convicted of a similar crime.

In Rita's case, the Supreme Court upheld his sentence finding the sentence reasonable.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DL) flagged Bush's apparent change of heart on what constitutes a reasonable sentence:

The questions we should all be asking ourselves today are: Why is the President flip-flopping? Why does Scooter Libby get special treatment?"

Poppy

I told you Keith olbermann told chch16 what to say, and apparently, what to think.

If MSNBC, Chris Mathews and Shuster are your icons for telling the truth, you are in a sorry state.

Did Olbermann ever call for Clinton to resign??

Olbermann was completely on the other side last time, comparing Starr (Fitz) to nazis,,,no Nazi references to Fitz.

http://newsbusters.org/node/6637

Poppy

Olbermanns words are hollow rhetoric when you know he defended Bill Clinton and attacked Starr, Gingrich and Fox News as Nazi's. The guy isn't playing with a full deck, but neither apparently is chch.

MSNBC is like a daily retelling of the CBS National Guard forgeries story. They can barely remember which lies they told the day before. Foertunaly, just the hardcore left watch them anyone except for those that tune in for a laugh.

If you get a chance, Keith and the gang love to get e-mails reference his favorite web site:

http://www.olbermannwatch.com/archives/2006/12/keith_olbermann_2.php

Apparently chc16 has in blocked on her computer...

Poppy

Chch16, you're really showing your true colors. Olbermann is the same guy who last week pooh poohed the Terrorist attack in England and told us it was just an attempt to scare us.

He put on Larry Johnson, who told us 2 months before Sept 11th that we here in America had nothing to fear from terrorism.

These are your intellectual heroes, your sources for news? Are you kidding us?

JM Hanes

Apparently chch finally ran out of his own ideas.

Poppy

I post this to show the absolute lunacy of Keith Olbermann and anyone that actually listens to him:

OLBERMANN covers the terror attack as the THIRD story of the night.

The London bomb scare. A car discovered overnight in Piccadilly Circus, filled with canisters of propane and gasoline and nails, possibly to be detonated by a remote device, possibly a second vehicle connected to it.

OLBERMANN: And how did they find it? Did a detainee crack? Did an illegal wiretap hit paydirt? No, an ambulance crew helping a guy who fell down in a nightclub saw smoke coming out of the car.

LARRY JOHNSON, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The mechanics of this, you got dozens of surveillance cameras blanketing this area, might be the most-photographed area in the world, as the cars are parked. There‘s 50 gallons of gas in the first car, camper-sized canisters of propane, meaning they‘re used by campers, and some nails. What happens if you actually manage to spark this device?

JOHNSON: It‘s going to do a lot of damage to the interior of the Mercedes, but it‘s not—this is not one of the car bombs or truck bombs we see going off in Iraq.

I mean, what‘s really striking about this, Keith, is, today you had two nonbombs in London, and we had at least five bombs in Baghdad, in which U.S. soldiers were killed in one of those. So it‘s just—I think it‘s sort of out of proportion. This was an incendiary, this was not a high explosive.

OLBERMANN: I‘ve read and heard nothing in any of the coverage here, nothing in these news conferences, about a detonating device apart from a cell phone. What was supposed to cause this thing to blow up? Because if we can put together car bombs with half a tank of gas and some propane and an old cell phone, then every drunken Hollywood starlet is a potential car bomber, isn‘t she?

JOHNSON: Right. Well, I think the fuel, the petrol, the 50 gallons, if you set that on fire, that fire can spark an explosion in a propane tank. But I‘ve seen those go off, and when they go off, it‘s an enormous boom. It splits the tank. But you‘re not going to get fragments and projectiles like a hand grenade going off. So you wouldn‘t want to be in the car when it happened, but, you know, if somebody was within, you know, 20, 30 feet of it, they would have ear damage, but not much more.

OLBERMANN: So we‘re not talking about shrapnel, then?

JOHNSON: Correct. This is not a shrapnel-causing device. And clearly, the folks who put this together, you know, we‘re looking at yuppie terrorists, at a minimum. They can afford a Mercedes, but they couldn‘t afford enough money to get a decent class in how to make a bomb that would actually go off. Thank God.

OLBERMANN: Or steal one.

JOHNSON: Thank God.

OLBERMANN: Yes, or steal one, as has been (INAUDIBLE) implied here by the police. But what does alarm you about this, other than the media‘s kind of nodding-head doll coverage of this?

JOHNSON: Well, I think the other thing that alarms me about it is that we‘re so ho-hum when we have this body count piling up every day in Baghdad, where daily there are bombs, car bombs, truck bombs going off, and everyone is like, Well, OK, you just get used to it. And you have a nonevent in London, and we‘re going to battle quarters and beginning to give the old hairy eyeball to every Muslim, when it‘s not even clear yet that -- You know, all we know is that these were people who could afford a Mercedes. That‘s the extent of what we know about this so far.

OLBERMANN: The practical stuff that maybe should be worrisome, obviously, there are terrorists, there are people who want to do horrific things. No question about any of that. But the idea that we need to fight the terrorists in Iraq, got to fight them there so they don‘t follow us here, whatever this was in London today, they were already presumably there, unless this was the graduating al Qaeda bomb squad class, which they need remedial work. I mean, does that logic about fighting them there instead of here even hold together slightly tonight?

JOHNSON: No, not at all. In fact, what we know is that the U.S. conflict over there, U.S. involvement over there, is aggravating the problem, not calming it. So I think what we need to do is continue to rely upon good intelligence, good police work, but ultimately, you know, neighbors watching out for each other.

OLBERMANN: Where, besides you, are the skeptics who know what they‘re talking about in this? Is there a problem with expertise on television about terrorism that nine out of 10 guys who come on TV have a vested interest in there being terrorism, otherwise their counterterrorism companies wouldn‘t exist any more?

JOHNSON: Keith, we saw about three years ago General Richard Myers, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, say that the threat of terrorism was the greatest threat we‘ve faced in this country in the United States since the Civil War. And what we know factually is that fewer than 50,000 people, not just Americans, but all people worldwide, have died from international terrorism since 1968. We lose 50 million people plus in World War II, and we have someone like General Myers saying that this is the greatest threat?

It‘s a threat, but we need to put it in its proper perspective and go back and remember the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It‘s the fear. If we allow the fear to conquer us, and allow the fear to drive us to do things like allow Guantanamos, like allow torture, then we ourselves become victims to that very thing which we say we‘re trying to fight.

And that‘s—you know, I think big deep breaths, remain calm, and let‘s stop with some of the alarmist behavior.

OLBERMANN: Larry Johnson, former CIA officer, former counterterrorism officer. Great thanks, Larry. We appreciate it.

JOHNSON: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: But remember, no matter how much the government might scare you, keep buying products.
----------------------------------------
Of course the Brits actually did track down the terrorists from their cell phone calls, touche' Keith.

And notice how Keith agrees that car bombs in Baghdad (A war zone with hundreds of thousands of combat troops) is the same as a downtown British street.

chch16

Poppy--

I understand that Republicans don't do oral sex. They just do the next wife and the next one after that like Fred Thompson until they are at the Family Values level--3rd Mistress--first two wives kicked to the curb--looks like they're taking their grandaughter out for a chocolate fudge sunday or for a new lesson on the pole.

There was a cigar that Clinton used to make Monica Lewinsky happy.

Clinton was tried and he was convicted and he lost his law license. Your party tried to impeach him, but failed in the Senate who acquited him of Impeachment.

I remember the angry marchers into the Senate. I have pointed out the contrasts in great detail here but you read selectively, or have a good deal of trouble with reading comprehension.

Clinton's blow job as they call it, did not threaten this country. The CIA has said clearly along with the Republican run (and chaotic) DOJ in papers filed with the Court, that Libby lied and covered up for essentially the Vice President. Your Justice Department made clear there was a shadow on the OVP, and now the President who has kept the pansie out of jail to protect himself.

Whether this will work is in question.

Let me clarify what is going on here for you--but I doubt if your reading comprehension can metabolize it.

And again, if I were any of you, I'd be damned concerned about not only for the first time in many years how far behind Republican candidates are in fund raising, but the number of people involved making a contribution when they can.

This isn't the usual tax break upper echelon Bob Nardelli type Bush contributors, but rather people giving a few bucks, hundreds of thousands of them. I have posted your fund raising lagging above.

Is the Poppy fortune devoted to any of your loser candidates, including the supposed "front runner" who has been too frightened to enter the race because he would then have to cough up some positions?

My intellectual heros don't write political columns--they write literature. These columns are accurate versions of reality--a place your delusional brain hasn't been since prenatal times as far as I can tell.

Olbermann is someone you should keep watching. No one, not me or Olberman minimizes what happened in England and Scotland, and I'm as well as the JOMers particularly distressed that apparently so many medical doctors who are supposed to be intensely focus on saving lives, and saving what is very hard to duplicate and not very well appreciated until it gets sick in the human body (in my experience over the years) were involved in these plots--about six if I count correctly maybe more.

Olbermann and many people are focused on the hypocritical way that the Bush administration takes advantage of terrorist attacks that aren't on U.S. soil. It's not about connecting dots for real security for them; rather it's about political capital gains.

I don't see much to admire in Ken Starr--he wasted a lot of my money and came up pretty dry. His employee Brett Kavanaugh, Bush's counsel on the D.C. Circuit bench is now under investigation for having lied to Congress--something that is considered a job requirement for a Republican in this administration.

Why aren't you upset about the 35 or so Republicans--I can make an accurate list--who are in prison or going.

Delay may be serving two terms soon and they will be concurrently.

Here's a sort out for you from The Next Hurrah:

"All the involvement of Cheney and Bush in the Plame outing--which explains why Bush didn't want Libby to lose his ability to refuse to testify.

On June 9, 2003, just one day after his national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, got beaten up on the Sunday shows for claiming no one in the administration knew that the Niger intelligence was bunk, George Bush expressed concern about the allegations. Scooter Libby passed on that concern to vice president Cheney. Bush's concern set off a chain of events that ended up in the outing of a CIA spy, Valerie Plame, and the indictment and conviction of Scooter Libby.

Yesterday, George Bush attempted to prevent that chain of events from continuing any further. He commuted Scooter Libby's 30-month sentence. Rather than serving time in jail, Libby will remain free, with a fine and probation as the only remaining punishments for lying and obstructing a criminal investigation. But the real effect of Bush's actions is to prevent Libby from revealing the truth about Bush's - and vice president Cheney's - own actions in the leak. By commuting Libby's sentence, Bush protected himself and his vice president from potential criminal exposure for their actions in the CIA Leak. As such, Libby's commutation is nothing short of another obstruction of justice.

[snip]

There are many unanswered questions about the roles of the president, the vice president, and Libby in the leak of Valerie Plame's identity. Did Bush really ask Libby to take the lead on all this? Did the president declassify Plame's identity so Libby could leak it to the press? Did Cheney learn - and tell Libby - that Plame was covert? Those questions all point squarely at Bush and Cheney personally. But because of Bush's personal intervention, he has made sure that Scooter Libby won't be answering those questions anytime soon.

Here's my Guardian column explaining all the involvement of Cheney and Bush in the Plame outing--which explains why Bush didn't want Libby to lose his ability to refuse to testify.

On June 9, 2003, just one day after his national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, got beaten up on the Sunday shows for claiming no one in the administration knew that the Niger intelligence was bunk, George Bush expressed concern about the allegations. Scooter Libby passed on that concern to vice president Cheney. Bush's concern set off a chain of events that ended up in the outing of a CIA spy, Valerie Plame, and the indictment and conviction of Scooter Libby.

Yesterday, George Bush attempted to prevent that chain of events from continuing any further. He commuted Scooter Libby's 30-month sentence. Rather than serving time in jail, Libby will remain free, with a fine and probation as the only remaining punishments for lying and obstructing a criminal investigation. But the real effect of Bush's actions is to prevent Libby from revealing the truth about Bush's - and vice president Cheney's - own actions in the leak. By commuting Libby's sentence, Bush protected himself and his vice president from potential criminal exposure for their actions in the CIA Leak. As such, Libby's commutation is nothing short of another obstruction of justice.

[snip]

There are many unanswered questions about the roles of the president, the vice president, and Libby in the leak of Valerie Plame's identity. Did Bush really ask Libby to take the lead on all this? Did the president declassify Plame's identity so Libby could leak it to the press? Did Cheney learn - and tell Libby - that Plame was covert? Those questions all point squarely at Bush and Cheney personally. But because of Bush's personal intervention, he has made sure that Scooter Libby won't be answering those questions anytime soon.

And here's a link to my appearance on Democracy Now this morning.

AMY GOODMAN: Your response to the commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence? He won’t serve a day in jail.

MARCY WHEELER: It’s not surprising in the least. George Bush and Dick Cheney couldn’t afford the risk that Libby would flip on them rather than go do jail time, but it is pretty disgusting, I think.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain that. What do you mean they couldn’t afford him to flip on them?

MARCY WHEELER: Well, the whole point of the obstruction of justice was that Libby was refusing to answer certain questions that really pointed right towards especially Dick Cheney, but even George Bush himself. The best example is that after reading Joe Wilson's op-ed, Vice President Cheney ordered Scooter Libby to leak something to Judy Miller. And then, following that, Scooter Libby proceeded to leak Valerie Plame’s identity and the contents of the CIA report on Joe Wilson’s trip. Now, Scooter Libby says that he was ordered to leak the NIE, the National Intelligence Estimate, but that doesn’t make any sense, given the rest of his story, so it seems logical and probable that Dick Cheney in fact ordered Scooter Libby to leak Valerie Plame's identity, but by lying, Scooter Libby has protected the Vice President from any kind of criminal implication from his actions.

AMY GOODMAN: And how does President Bush wiping out his jail time protect Bush and Cheney?

MARCY WHEELER: Well, in some ways, the commutation is actually worse than a pardon, because with a commutation, Scooter Libby still retains his Fifth Amendment privileges. So if John Conyers tomorrow called up Scooter Libby and said, “We’ve got to talk. I’d like to know exactly what happened when Dick Cheney ordered you to leak something classified to Judy Miller. I want to know whether President Bush actually did declassify it or whether Vice President Cheney was just making that up” -- he does that, and Scooter Libby just says, “I plead the Fifth,” and we still don’t get -- “we” as American citizens don’t get to understand what our president and what our vice president did to retaliate against somebody who was just exercising his First Amendment speech rights.

The Only Thing Clinton Hid was a Blow Job and a Soggy Cigar
by emptywheel

Digby's all over Tim Noah's latest idiocy.

Clinton was impeached and he faced the music. He was tried and acquitted according to the rules of the constitution. Bush, on the other hand, just used his plenary power to commute a sentence to cover his own bad deeds and keep one of his own aides from having to pay the price for his crimes. He has used his power for this one man when he has been the stingiest president in history for pardons and commutations.

There's just two things I'd add. First, Noah, like everyone else who supports Bush's commutation, is ignorant of basic facts in the case, and basic facts of law. First, as Team USA demonstrated, the Probation Officer ignored mandatory enhancements when it recommended 15 months to Libby. Once Walton put in the mandatory enhancements, 30 months was in fact the minimum in the range. So Libby, in fact, was sentenced to the minimum recommended sentence for his range. Second, it is not "routine" for someone to get bond pending appeal. Again, as Team Libby demonstrated, Congress has made it clear that the "routine" should be that a convicted felon go straight to prison. Ignorance, Tim, is not a sound basis for a winning argument.

More importantly, though, Noah pretends--as all shameless pundits do--that Libby was convicted solely of lying. "Just like Clinton," Noah wants you to believe. And if Clinton gets away with it, so should Libby.

Nuh uh, Tim. Clinton was hiding two things: a blowjob between consenting adults, and a soggy cigar. Embarrassing, surely. But not a full-fledged investigation into the actions that resulted in the exposure of a CIA NOC. The reason Libby got his 30 month sentence was not, as Noah would have you believe, because Libby lied about Dick. Libby got his 30 month sentence because he prevented us from learning about Dick's role in outing Valerie Wilson. You know: the really dangerous Dick, the one who would out a CIA spy as ugly retaliation for exposing his lies."

Poppy when Fred Thompson was getting a blow job from other women while still married to his wife, was the country threatened? Were you harmed? How about when Rudy 911 who is beginning to sink like McCain who is out of the race now was getting his blow jobs from women who worked with him in NYC and his current wife and was still married?

Republican Family Sex values right?

And those 450,000 embryos that are being thrown away, while the best stem cells, and among the medical community and in the medical literature I can assure you because I have been reading it voraciously for years out of necessity, there are no comparisons of any other of the rather pathetic stem cell lines to embryonic.

I understand that goofey people think they advance abortion, but I cannot understand what the virtue is and ethics are of throwing the 450,000 embryos away--and frankly, I don't see Ann Coulter opening up her legs and having any of those embryos implanted into her uterus. I have to confess the idea of even one little Coulter is worse than watching all the Omen sequels.

chch16

Bully For Him

by digby

Tim Noah says Bush did the right thing. In fact, he says "bully for him." His reasoning is that Walton did give poor Scooter an excessive sentence and that was wrong because he, Tim Noah, believes that Clinton committed perjury and he got away with it.

That whole impeachment trial acquittal thing in the Senate and that whole guilty beyond a reasonable doubt thing in Walton's courtroom are irrelevant because Noah just knows Clinton committed perjury over a couple of furtive blow-jobs in a hallway which means Scooter Libby and his pals should be able to lie to federal prosecutors. If not, well then, life would just. not. be. fair.

Here's what I wonder. Noah thinks that the sentence was too harsh and Walton was irritated by all those death threats and smarmy character tributes and whatnot. Let's say that's correct. Is there any reason that Bush could not have let Libby serve, say 15 months --- half of what he got --- before commuting his sentence? How about six months? Two months? If it really was a matter of a "too harsh" sentence, is it really reasonable to say that he should not get any jail time at all?

Apparently so. You see, even though Libby was convicted in a court of law, he can't serve even a day in jail, because Clinton was ... acquitted. Noah writes:


No fair-minded person can deny that the previous president committed perjury about Monica Lewinsky while serving in the Oval Office. The country knew it, and it let him get away with it. Does that mean no government official should ever again be prosecuted for perjury? Of course not. But it does mean Walton should have wondered whether he was imposing a double standard in treating Libby more harshly because Libby worked in the White House. Is it really fair to treat White House aides more harshly than presidents?


The country backed Bill Clinton because it was obvious that he was being pursued by a shrieking band of harpies over an inconsequential, sexual indiscretion, which anyone in his right mind would have lied about in that perjury trap of a deposition for that pathetic set-up lawsuit. The reason Clinton was supported by most Americans was because most of them understood exactly what had happened and they didn't think he merited the punishment of being forced from office. (They also didn't like the fact that the Republicans were trying to say their votes and support for this president were irrelevant. )

The Libby matter, on the other hand, was a national security investigation in the wake of the worst terrorist attack in history. Libby lied repeatedly and blatantly to the FBI and Federal prosecutors when the stakes were very high and the entire Department of Justice was on high alert. Telling the truth about spilling the names of CIA agents could have real consequences.

Clinton was impeached and he faced the music. He was tried and acquitted according to the rules of the constitution. Bush, on the other hand, just used his plenary power to commute a sentence to cover his own bad deeds and keep one of his own aides from having to pay the price for his crimes. He has used his power for this one man when he has been the stingiest president in history for pardons and commutations. When he was governor, a woman who had completely reformed in prison was mocked when she begged for her life. He had no compassion for her or any of the 152 people whose death warrants he signed without even giving more than five minutes consideration. He said those people were all guilty --- no mitigating factors even entered his mind. Lord knows how many pleas for commutation and pardons he's ignored since he's been president.

But poor little Scooter can't even spend a month in jail. He can't even spend a day in jail.

And apparently, as predicted, that's just fine with a good portion of the DC establishment. The oh-so-jaded political observers like Tim Noah see this whole thing as some sort of partisan game of tag. Let the plebes natter on about the following the rules --- we'll call the play by play and let the little people know who's "winning." From their perches atop the commentariat they smugly dismiss the concerns of average Americans who are enraged that these people keep cheating and getting away with things that ordinary citizens and even powerful Democrats could never dream of getting away with --- they relentlessly smear their opponents with the filthiest lies, they stage partisan impeachments, they steal elections, they illegally start wars and make up novel authoritarian theories of governance --- and then they use their powers to excuse their minions from the consequences of these actions if they happen to get sloppy and get caught. None of them ever pay. Ever.


Update: For a real treat, read David Brooks' take on it. Everybody's a clown but him --- Republicans and Dick Cheney and dirty hippies alike. The only answer is to put this foolishness behind us. Again. Like always.

Poppy

Olbermann also rails against the GITMO detentions, FAILING to mention that the British:

1. Had requested we show pictures of suspects to GITMO detainees to see if they recognize them from terrorist training camps.

2. We had released British subjects from GITMO who had returned to the Jihad and were involved in attacks after their release.

Good work Keith, you got ever comment wrong.

chch16

Independence Day: The Drama of Bush and Libby (12 Letters)

July 4, 2007

Independence Day: The Drama of Bush and Libby (12 Letters)
To the Editor:

Re “Bush Commutes Libby Sentence, Saying 30 Months ‘Is Excessive’ ” (front page, July 3):

As a social studies teacher in the Bronx, I have always taught my students that the American system of justice is based on the ideal that the law is supposed to treat all Americans the same.

This is what happened when the vice-presidential aide I. Lewis Libby Jr. was convicted by a jury of his peers, yet Mr. Libby’s sentence was commuted simply because he was politically connected to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Mr. Libby may have won a commutation, and the radical right may have won a sense of vindication, but the biggest loser in this case is the American concept of equal justice under law. Richard Kavesh

Nyack, N.Y., July 3, 2007

To the Editor:

On Monday afternoon, my wife and I went to Philadelphia to visit Independence Hall and learn more about the notable events surrounding the founding of our country. On Monday night, I returned home to learn that the president had commuted the sentence of I. Lewis Libby Jr., a convicted criminal.

To see how far this presidency has fallen from the Tree of Liberty planted in 1776 is truly shameful and troubling. George Alexander

Princeton, N.J., July 3, 2007

To the Editor:

President Bush has burst his own presidential bubble.

Unlike the actors at the last performance of a short-lived flop, Mr. Bush has decided well before the last performance to burst the bubble and give up any pretense of being able to lead any except his core supporters (and where he might lead them is certainly unclear).

In bursting his own bubble with the Libby commutation, Mr. Bush has declared his own Independence Day: he will do what he wants, not what the country expects from its leader.

Jesse Feiler

Plattsburgh, N.Y., July 3, 2007

To the Editor:

Re “Bush Commutes Libby Sentence, Saying 30 Months ‘Is Excessive’ ” (front page, July 3) and “Soft on Crime” (editorial, July 3):

As a left-leaning individual and a solid Democrat, I am somewhat upset by President Bush’s decision to commute I. Lewis Libby Jr.’s prison sentence, but I am not outraged as many nationally prominent Democrats are by this decision. I think that Mr. Libby was essentially a “fall guy” for higher-ups like Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney.

It is important to remember that Mr. Libby will remain a convicted felon, will have to serve probation, pay a hefty fine and will probably never be able to practice law again, so he certainly isn’t getting away without punishment. A true injustice would be committed if, on his way out of office, President Bush were to pardon Mr. Libby. Carolyn Conley

Berwyn, Pa., July 3, 2007

To the Editor:

When George W. Bush was governor of Texas, he presided over more than 150 executions. In more than one-third of the cases — 57 in all — lawyers representing condemned inmates asked then-Governor Bush for a commutation of sentence, so that the inmates would serve life in prison rather than face execution.

Some of these inmates had been represented by lawyers who slept during trials. Some were mentally retarded. Some were juveniles at the time they committed the crime for which they were sentenced to death.

In all these cases, Governor Bush refused to commute their sentences, saying that the inmates had had full access to the judicial system.

I. Lewis Libby Jr. had the best lawyers money can buy. His crime cannot be attributed to youth or retardation. He has expressed no remorse whatsoever for lying to a grand jury or participating in the administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the war in Iraq. President Bush’s commutation of Mr. Libby’s sentence is certainly legal, but it just as surely offends the fundamental constitutional value of equality.

Because President Bush signed a commutation, a rich and powerful man will spend not a day in prison, while 57 poor and poorly connected human beings died because Governor Bush refused to lift a pen for them.

David R. Dow

Houston, July 3, 2007

The writer is a professor at the University of Houston Law Center who represents death row inmates, including several who sought commutation from then-Governor Bush.

To the Editor:

Re “Soft on Crime” (editorial, July 3):

When will this country — which still holds the potential for great things — again have a president worthy of the position? Capable of uniting us, rather than dividing us? Capable of inspiring the best in us, rather than demonstrating the worst in us?

John Glicksman

McMurray, Pa., July 3, 2007

To the Editor:

I believe that I. Lewis Libby Jr. was guilty and that his sentence was just, but I support President Bush’s decision to commute that sentence. The trial of Scooter Libby exposed the administration’s aggressive and underhanded campaign to discredit Joseph C. Wilson IV for his courage in exposing its lies about the intelligence on Iraq.

Scooter Libby did commit perjury about how Valerie Wilson’s name was leaked to the media. But he did not do so alone, or without orders.

Whether Mr. Libby spends time in jail or not, the public now knows the truth about what this administration has done. For President Bush to have allowed Mr. Libby to be the scapegoat for his administration’s wrongdoing would have been dishonorable in the extreme.

At least Mr. Bush had the moral courage to let the fall guy off the hook and take the heat for doing so.

Rebecca Riehl

Mendham, N.J., July 3, 2007

To the Editor:

David Brooks suggests, in “Ending the Farce” (column, July 3), that President Bush got it exactly right when he commuted the perjury sentence of I. Lewis Libby Jr. Perhaps he did, for him. This has been a lawless presidency all along, and President Bush has not changed his stripes.

Yet Mr. Brooks misses the larger point in calling the Libby case a farce. That case was always about the willingness of this administration to punish anyone who dares to question its authority to act as it pleases.

Administration officials outed Valerie Wilson to get back at her husband for blowing the whistle on forged evidence for going to war with Iraq, and they will stop at nothing to destroy those who oppose them and let their supporters off whatever hook may (temporarily) hang them up.

Jay Parini

Weybridge, Vt., July 3, 2007

To the Editor:

Yes, President Bush did indeed end the farce by commuting Scooter Libby’s sentence. Now, the corruption, duplicity and arrogance of the present administration are out in the open for all to see.

The decision was exactly right because the Decider revealed the double standard that is standard operating procedure for this administration. Linda Metzke

Concord, Vt., July 3, 2007

To the Editor:

Disdainful of the Scooter Libby prosecution, David Brooks describes it as a farce in five acts. Mr. Brooks explicates each of these five acts, characterizing the first four as absurdities and the fifth, when Scooter Libby’s sentence is commuted, as a return to sweet reason.

Yet Mr. Brooks doesn’t account for the most important scene in this drama, the one in which Mr. Libby lies to the grand jury and perjures himself. As in the great classical dramas, the downfall of the hero is brought about by not by external events but by his own flawed character. That is not farce but tragedy.

Or would be tragedy if Mr. Libby were held accountable for his actions. Instead, he is protected by powerful patrons and gets a pass on his deceit and hubris. Macbeth should have been so lucky. John Duffy

Notre Dame, Ind., July 3, 2007

The writer teaches English at the University of Notre Dame.

To the Editor:

I knew I could count on David Brooks to mention the one name ignored in the rest of the coverage of the Scooter Libby story: Richard Armitage.

Mr. Armitage’s admission to being the source of the leak of Valerie Wilson’s C.I.A. status (missing from your timeline) is the reason the investigation should never have happened in the first place.

Instead, we had to watch a three-year harassment of the Office of the Vice President — what a sorry waste of court time and taxpayer money, not to mention a good man’s career.

Margaret McGirr

Greenwich, Conn., July 3, 2007

To the Editor:

David Brooks treats the Libby case as much ado about nothing. That detachment is possible only if he ignores the heart of the matter, which is that the nation was dragged into a war costing tens of thousands of lives (Iraqi as well as American) by an administration that apparently lied and then tried to cover up the lies.

What is farcical about that?

Manfred Weidhorn

Fair Lawn, N.J., July 3, 2007


Poppy

ChCh16, you can just provide a link, you don't need to post entire articles.

And on the Bush cummutation. On of the biggest issues on Libby's appeal is whether Fitz was porperly appointed. The only person who could appropriately answer that question is the head of the executive Branch.

If Bush determines his DOJ overreached and the Fitz appointment violated the Constitution, he has every right to fix the mistake.

PeterUK.

A bombing on a constricted area like a London Street is horrendous,there are thousands of square feet of plate glass windows,the buildings are more substantial than most in Baghdad,the blast and all the fragments are channeled up and down the street.
Those bombs were designed as incendiary weapons,the effect on a street full of young people would have been horrendous.
Larry Johnson should be interned.

PeterUK.

Mr Maguire,
This cretinous piece of shit chch16, is spamming your site out of existence.

chch16

For the first time in many months, the July 3, 2007 Saturday Wall Street Journal has an article on Libby that is actually not on the op ed or editorial page.

"Sparring Libby Cuts Two Ways Bush Allies Applaud but 2008 Candidates May be Ones Punished"

Ummmm Ya think?

Pofarmer

Is there a problem with expertise on television about terrorism that nine out of 10 guys who come on TV have a vested interest in there being terrorism, otherwise their counterterrorism companies wouldn‘t exist any more?

That's the intellectual position of Olberman? No wonder I don't watch the network news anymore.

chch16


The Last Bunch of Bush Bullshit

by Phoenix Woman @FDL

"The White House press corpse is dutifully passing on without comment the Bush Junta’s pronouncement that Bush allegedly hasn’t ruled out a pardon for Scooter Libby.

Of course, we know why Tony Snow Job and Company are reciting this nonsense: They want to pretend that Bush, in defying righty demands for a full pardon (which he will), is somehow being a brave steely-eyed rocket man who dares to flout his base.

The reality is, of course, that a pardon - a full no-qualifications pardon - is the last thing that Scooter Libby will get. Why? Because, as Marcy and Christy have pointed out, a full pardon strips away Scooter’s ability to hide behind the Fifth Amendment when asked to testify under oath about Bush’s and Cheney’s involvement in outing Valerie Plame.

Unless Bush and the gang invent some new variation of the full pardon that doesn’t keep Scoots from pleading the Fifth (which is highly unlikely), a full pardon is the LAST thing that they will do in Scooter’s case. The LAST thing.

So, all you righties banging the “Pardon Scooter” drum: Give it a rest. It ain’t gonna happen. It was never about being nice to Scooter, but about being nice to his bosses."

Granting limited immunity as I have pointed out many times in either a Congressional, Senate hearing or Grand Jury and forcing Libby to testify or go to prison for contempt, is another route to getting to the truth of covering for Cheney and Bush, and making the traitor do prison time.

chch16

Is there a problem with the ignorant Bush administration who has never been able to follow a messenger or staff person from Al Jazeera to and from the Bin Ladin camp when the videos are delivered?

Getting Bin Ladin will mortyre him and just be a drop in the ole bucket, but it makes this administration look 6 years stupid, and as for "Mission Accomplished"--that's typical of the death and failure this administration has brought this country in the middle of a Civil War with no army or government in Iraq after years.

chch16

It'll martyre him as well.

chch16

And could martyr him as well.

windansea

yes you coulld find a fantasist

like Jeff

But if Bush simply commutes Libby's prison sentence without effectively vacating Libby's conviction, the appeals process goes forward and Bush and Cheney continue to have their rationale for not answering the press' questions. This strategy would also have the added benefit for Bush of eliminating the chance, however remote, that under the pressure of prison time away from his family and abandoned by the White House he served loyally, Libby himself would tell the true story of his own and others' conduct.

link

chch16

In other words, the news is cheering for tragic events?

As the Eagles have sung, "if it bleeds, it leads."

The media has been asking superficial questions and lying down for most of the Bush administration, afraid to question them incisively for the entire time to date.

The Bush administration has given them a lot of terrorism to cover and its presence in Iraq creates exponentially more.

windansea

guess who?

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to what is clearly a politically motivated and totally senseless resolution. We are a Nation of laws, and if any matter is abundantly clear by our Constitution, it is that the President has the sole and unitary power to grant clemency. Is there any Member that does not understand that? Every President has the sole and unitary power to grant clemency…Now the reason that he has the power to grant clemency is that it is that the President is uniquely positioned to consider the law and the facts that apply in each request for clemency.”

ye...Conyers, speaking against a resolution condeming Clinton for pardoning terrorists.

windansea

Conyers yesterday:

"In light of yesterday's announcement by the President that he was commuting the prison sentence for Scooter Libby, it is imperative that Congress look into presidential authority to grant clemency, and how such power may be abused," John Conyers said. "Taken to its extreme, the use of such authority could completely circumvent the law enforcement process and prevent credible efforts to investigate wrongdoing in the executive branch."

Poppy

windansea,

That was back when Conyers had REQUESTED Clinton commute hundreds of sentences of drug dealers. He has a right to change his mind...or not have a mind.

chch16, please provide a factual explanation of how Libby saying he was told about Plame by Russert has anything to do with Iraq. It would be nice if one Liberal could spend the time to actually outline how you get from here to there.

In addition, if you really believe Plame was covert and was outed, why aren't you faulting Fitz for failing to get Armitage?

Even the judge admitted there was NO evidence that Libby even suspected Plame was classified, let alone covert.

Here's a starter course for you:

- There's no evidence Libby knew Plame was either covert or even classified.

- There's no evidence Cheney told Libby to out her.

- There's no evidence Bush told Cheney to tell Libby to out her.

- Wilsons OP_ED was full of lies, the adminstration had every right to refute.
Why did the NYT print the lies to begin with?

- The Niger intelligence was not even one of the top 10 reasons the CIA thought Iraq was still pursuing a Nuclear program and wasn't even on the list of reasons the CIA thought Iraq had WMD.

- The entire WMD canard was cooked up during the Clinton years with Clintons boy Tenent at the CIA.

- Bush didn't even have a single appointee at the CIA, it was still a Clinton appointee/hire organization for most of Bush's Presidency.

Poppy

chch16,""as for "Mission Accomplished"--that's typical of the death and failure this administration """

ACTUALLY CHCH16, OLBERMANN DISAGREES WITH YOU AND AGREES WITH BUSH THAT THE TROOP BANNER WAS IN FACT CORRECT.


http://www.olbermannwatch.com/archives/2007/05/olbypocrisy_kei_1.php

windansea

Conyers defense:

That was then, this is now...

Poppy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxPkq8TCOJ8

Olbermann sides with Rosie...American troops ARE the terrorists....

Poppy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-AkS6XHwDE

Other Tom

"Bennett made a hash of Paula Jones' lawsuit, probably because of his client."

He certainly did. I have never understood why Clinton didn't simply allow his default to be taken--legalese for just ignoring the lawsuit and allowing judgment to be entered for the plaintiff. At that point the plaintiff proceeds to establish the amount of damages owed, the defendant pays, and that's the end of it. What damages could Paula Jones have proved? It would have been a pittance.

And unlike a nolo contendere plea in a criminal case, where a default judgment has been entered against a defendant he is not deemed to have admitted liability. Clinton would have been free to say, "contesting this lawsuit would have placed an enormous drain on my time, and I just could not do that while discharging my duties as president. I think this woman is deranged, and I know her charges to be false. But let's move on [so to speak]."

Surely Bennett floated this idea with Clinton--or did he? If so, was Clinton simply too stubborn to proceed that way, electing to lie and get himself impeached instead? One of the great mysteries...

Happy Fourth!

cboldt

-- What damages could Paula Jones have proved? --

None. Zero. The Court concluded that she had no damages, and that was what Jones was appealing. Therefore, any lies Clinton told about his conduct with others (tending to indicate untoward use of power) were 100% immaterial to the outcome of the Jones case, because no matter what the lies were, Jones had no damages.

PeterUK.

"Olbermann sides with Rosie"

Rosie O'Lbermann?

Other Tom

As I recall, Clinton's testimony about his conduct with others was required by statute, without regard to whether it indicated untoward use of power. The statute--signed by Clinton himself with great fanfare--makes a sexual harrassment defendant's prior sexual history discoverable. (This was nakedly peddled as some sort of score-settling for the long-time practice of trashing the female rape complainant, and Clinton yukked it up with the feminists when he signed the bill.)

In any event, had he allowed his default to be taken, there would have been no testimony, no lies, no sanctions, no impeachment. Somewhere down the road someone will shed some light on why this wasn't done--maybe.

Jane

Why exactly are the terms of Libby's release any of Walton's business? Is that what the department of probation/parole for? I've never heard of a Judge interfering with that role. Has anyone else?

Jeff Dobbs

Wish you were here.

Affectionately yours,
hit and run

PeterUK.

For chchi

cboldt

-- Why exactly are the terms of Libby's release any of Walton's business? --

Because the sentence, including supervised release, was an imposition of Judge Walton's making; and now he wonder's if the statute he relied on in applying supervised release has been rendered inapplicable by executive action.

He doesn't want to apply a penalty that he can't by law apply.

chch16

Poppy--

I just finished a 10K and I may have to get back to you a little later--then I ran my dog a couple miles.

LOL upon LOL. Too funny. It's also funny to see a few mired in the base lawyers I know who are good and have worked on both sides of the fence leave their ability to think analytically at the door.

Scooter did far different things than get information from Russert.

I think though that Russert is one of the most patently patronizing soft ball interviewers on MTP I've ever seen. He kowtows and does not ask tough questions to administration officials--never has never will.

Tim was very disingenous in his behavior in another way, and he showed a total lack of ethics. But you sure are swalling your base's hook line and sinker as to Libby.

First of all, though he does not practice, Russert did graduate law school. He knows better. It is clear fact that he told an FBI agent about a Juoy 2003 conversation with little ole Scootie, then gave an affidavit to a D.C. District Court judge which said he wouldn't testify about that very conversation because "it was confidential." Wells asked him point blank if he disclosed in the affidavit that he had already disclosed his conversation with Libby to the F.B.I. I enjoyed watching Russert squirm. You can buy the trial transcript now (Murray Wass' book for $12.95 at the bookstore or on line). You might like that.

"Did you disclose in the affidavit to the court that you had already disclosed the contents of your conversation with Mr. Libby," asked Theodore Wells, one of Libby's attorneys.


"As I've said, sir —" Russert began.

"It's a yes-or-no question," Wells interrupted.

"I'd like to answer it to the best of my ability," Russert said.

"This is a very simple question. Either it's in the affidavit or it's not," Wells said. "Did you disclose to the court that you had already communicated to the FBI the fact that you had communicated with Mr. Libby?"

"No," Russert said.

And I said LOL when I heard that exchange. Typical of Russert.

Of course Russert and Libby have different versions of their conversation as to whether Russert told Libby about Wilson. I don't think you were there. I wasn't either.

Russert has one credibility advantage. He doesn't work with the scum in the Bush administration who have been caught lying so many times.

He doesn't work with 50-70 people who laundered their emails on the RNC servers which I would have seized if I were Congress and had forensic experts pull the information off that had probably not been written over at one time, but now who knows.

The account of Russert being disingenous is here:

Libby's Defense Challenges Credibility of NBC's Tim Russert

However: I agree with this account as the truth from empty wheel:

The Scooter Libby Trial: The Russert Charges

How 'bout that Venus Williams? She's hot today--playing flawlessly.

JJ

Repeatedly posting long articles without making a single argument from them is silly.


Ignatz Ratzkiwatzki

In any event, had he allowed his default to be taken, there would have been no testimony, no lies, no sanctions, no impeachment. Somewhere down the road someone will shed some light on why this wasn't done--maybe.

You're looking in the wrong place OT. The answer does not lie in the law but in the psychology of the individual, as Jeeves liked to put it.
Clinton is a quintessential narcissist and they can never let any challenge or possibly embarrassing revelation stand unanswered, even if answering it will lead to their own destruction. Take it from a guy who has spent the last five years mopping the courtroom floor with one of these nutjobs.

Rick Ballard

"Somewhere down the road someone will shed some light on why this wasn't done--maybe."

The lip sucker and his consort had been sweeping crap under the rug for many years - why would he think that he couldn't get away with it? He had already gotten away with rape, why would he think that a little weenie wagging would cause problems?

That was yesterday - the question today is: To whom beside Rezko did Obama rent himself? Was it only real estate hustlers or was he available to other scammers?

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Wilson/Plame