Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Scootin' On By....

So what did Cheney threaten to do if Bush took no action on Libby? And the commutation bought Scooter's eternal silence about what, exactly? Lots of interesting questions that will probably remain unanswered. We do know that because of Libby's crimes, we'll never get the whole truth about one of the most duplicitous episodes in U.S. history: the false pretense for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

We also know now that Congress must find a way to restrict permanently the executive's ability to grant clemency. It won't be easy. But the Libby precedent will make the pardon process little more than a get-out-of-jail-free card for rogues willing to commit crimes involving war and national security with the tacit understanding that, if discovered, they will do less time behind bars than Paris Hilton. The key, of course, is timing and the executive's lack of accountability. At the very least, the White House's unfettered ability to intervene after a presidential election and before the next administration takes office must be eliminated. While that wouldn't have affected Libby's case, it would likely reduce beat-the-moving-van outrages like Marc Rich (something that, like most of Clinton's misdeeds, seems laughably insignificant now). In their next debates, the Republican and Democratic candidates should be asked about Bush's decision and the possibility of restricting the executive's power in this area. Get them on the record. Hang millstones where appropriate.

Last, if the Libby commutation is any indication of Bush's own sense of accountability at this point and Cheney's remaining influence, can there be much doubt about what comes next vis-à-vis Iran?

41 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wondered what you would have to say about the Libby mess, and you did not dissapoint. As usual.

I was not surprised, except possibly at the timing. I fear what the next 18 months are going to bring. Heaven help this country.

7/03/2007 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Orwell sums it all up folks: "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."

7/03/2007 12:35 PM  
Blogger KS said...

Trivia time: anybody remember who Marc Rich's lawyer was?

7/03/2007 1:09 PM  
Anonymous mary said...

I wish it were so. But I wouldn't hold my breath. I thought the Iran-Contra pardons would wake people up to this particular abuse of executive power. Not only did this not happen, but the Iran-Contra criminals did not suffer any discernible consequences (Elliot Abrams, anyone?).

And, if David Brooks's column is any indication, there's no shame on the right. Wow, he really goes to town on the trivialities of the Joe Wilson angle (and I thought it was the left blogosphere that is lacking in decorum or civility . . . ).

7/03/2007 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Jeff in Texas said...

We are being run by a criminal gang. Nothing more or less than that.

I also have the fear that one morning in the next 18 months we will wake up to the news of US bombs falling on Iran. God help us.

7/03/2007 3:33 PM  
Anonymous * said...

KS-

In the irony of ironies:

"Scooter" Libby.

7/03/2007 4:30 PM  
Anonymous wtf said...

That's the GOP for you--making excuses for criminals and setting them free.

7/03/2007 4:37 PM  
Blogger Grodge said...

Marc Rich's attorney? Who cares.

In the realm of pardons, nothing compares to Poppy Bush granting clemency to Cap Weinberger BEFORE he was even convicted!!

An obvious attempt to prevent his need to testify and implicate Poppy in Iran-Contra.

Boy Bush is bad, but this is a learned behavior.

7/03/2007 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"one morning in the next 18 months we will wake up to the news of US bombs falling on Iran. God help us."

How about the Unitary Executive decreeing that we cannot change "Preznits" in a time of war.
Guliani tried to hold as Mayor of NYC after 9-11 and delay elections.
I would not put it past these cretins.

judyo

7/03/2007 9:25 PM  
Anonymous RW said...

ks was being ironic. One of Marc Rich's attorneys was (drum roll please) Lewis "Scooter" Libby: What goes around the beltway comes around the beltway, usually after suitable mastication.

Despite the apparent cynicism (I confess) we may have stepped over a boundary of some kind here, something akin to the boundary I felt break after Katrina: There is a point where something that was once considered a bug begins to look like a feature -- less government becomes poor governance, executive privilege becomes obstruction of justice -- are we there yet?

7/03/2007 9:27 PM  
Blogger Grodge said...

Scooter was Marc Rich's attorney? Now that is interesting.

The bug vs. feature analogy is poignant. The first 6 months of the next administration will be determinative as to whether the next president can turn this ship around.

As for the remainder of this administration? It's just an effort to run out the clock... on Iraq, on subpoenas, on investigations.

Thankfully for Bush, the congressional Democrats aren't capable either, so it looks like the Bushies will escape with all the players only slightly scathed but unjailed.

7/03/2007 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rw--

yes, there was a mechanical click for me with the commutation and I see it as an obvious act of obstruction of justice.

the administration and its supporters see themselves as aristocrats completely beyond law.

7/03/2007 11:47 PM  
Anonymous Lord said...

When will our national nightmare end? Oh yes, 2008.

7/04/2007 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" When will our national nightmare end? Oh yes, 2008. "


If we're lucky.

7/04/2007 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, don't get your hopes up...especially if the GOP nominee (whoever he may be) shows signs of tanking. King George may decide that since no one fitting can take his place, he'll stay on for a couple more years.

7/04/2007 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody Happy 4th?

I am very much afraid that we as a nation have no future. Our ship of state has hit the Bush iceberg and we are slowly sinking. It may take a number of years, but this ship of state is done for.

No one seems to realize just how much damage in every way has been done and there is no will or strength in this country to do the hard and right stuff necessary.

Our reputation has been destroyed and it will never recover. Even among young americans there is the same attitude as abroad that we are the most dangerous nation of the world and I personally cannot say that they are wrong.
I have lived more than 2/3 of my life span and this is not the country I grew up in.
We have become a mean spirited brutal and blood thirsty nation. We believe that killing arabs or anybody that gets in our way is OK and that they have the same value, maybe, as our pets. We respect no one and nothing except the almighty dollar and that is not what it once was.

Our government does what it wants or better said what the corporations want and if the environment goes to hell we do not give a damn. The 5% of the population that count with our government has forgotten the lessons of the french revolution and global warming will affect us and kill us all equally.

I watch with sadness what is happening and feel sorry for the young for they will inherit HELL.

7/04/2007 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Marc Rich pardon isn’t so laughably insignificant. See:

http://www.sandersresearch.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=86&Itemid=100 [Sophists and Other Scoundrels. Part 2: Scooter Libby’s Client, Marc Rich, By Linda Minor, Oct 27, 2005, sandersresearch.com]

"Power comes from controlling vital and strategic commodities. The countries which are the sources of those commodities must, therefore, be dominated and not allowed to exercise any form of independence or nationalism."

7/04/2007 6:31 PM  
Blogger LFC said...

The talk about bombs falling on Iran reminds me that the administration has made multiple accusations that Iran is responsible for the deaths of soldiers in Iraq. Cheney knows that he can't get Congress to approve an attach on Iran, so he's trying to make the case that it's simply an extension of the fight in Iraq.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

7/05/2007 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerning Scooter, I am surprised by the Left's view of "justice." Scooter's convicted crime is lying about "who knew what and when" concerning Valerie Plame. He did not actually "out" her.

If having had his conviction fully upheld is the sort of "victory" the Left seeks to gloat over, I'm at a loss for words. What would it have really proved? Concerning the pre-war Iraq intelligence, 'nothing.'

If they could find real criminals, and convict them about intelligence issues, fine. But why express such sorrow over Scooter's commutation? So trivial. Considering Patrick Fitzgerald knew before the investigation started about R. Armitage's involvement, but never brought charges against Richard, it makes Scooter's conviction look like nothing more than the product of an insidious witch hunt to make the left feel better about themselves and their political perspectives on Iraq. Sigh. The loss of any real concern over "justice." Next time find a real witch and a real issue.

7/05/2007 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They can't get people like R. Armitage and others because Scooter lied and obstructed justice. Why is that so hard to understand?

7/05/2007 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not so, Richard has openly admitted his leak.

7/05/2007 6:31 PM  
Anonymous John B. said...

They didn't want Richard, because he was anti-war all along! He wouldn't have been an adequate scapegoat.

7/05/2007 6:34 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Scooter and Cheney should be strung up by the neck and hung until death. They orchestrated this whole charade to make it about perjury. Rather than say treason...using a forged document to claim that Iraq was a nuclear threat and seeking to start a war under false pretenses. Or having the vice presidents office set up a parallel intelligence branch called the office of special plans...to drum up fake data so Powell can go disgrace himself in front of the UN. (serves Powell right...a man I once admired...for lying with snakes) Another treasonous offense.

The USA's political leaders knowingly started a war under false pretenses. We are the Good Germans. We just sat there and let them do it. Clinton paved the road and Bush did the driving. Has nothing to do with liberal/conservative. It has to do maintaining power and control for our political elites. Everybody knows we have become an immoral empire. Nobody is willing to talk about it and face up to it. Instead we get into this liberal/conservative bit so we don't have to face up to what we are. It's the other sides fault!!!! There are no sides. You send your tax dollars to DC no matter who has power. It is us and it is them. Us being the citizens not benefiting at the tax trough and the them being the politicians and the groups feeding at the trough.

Why is it a big deal? It really isn't. If it wasn't Cheney lying us into war it would have been someone else. Cheney just needed to cover his own butt. Wilson's statement to the press caused a stir. If that caused an inquiry into where the forged document came from and how it was used to add fuel for the war...bad things for Mr. Cheney. Better to ought Plame and cover it up...perjury is easier to defend than treason. Cheney and Libby sat down and decided this course of action. Libby was told not to worry...we'll pardon you if you are convicted. After all this is over...nobody will be talking about the forged documents anymore and how we had the stupid president claiming Iraq was looking to nuke us in his State of the Union speach.

7/05/2007 7:08 PM  
Anonymous RW said...

The Espionage Act of 1917 and the Intelligence Identities and Protection Act of 1982 could both apply in Libby's case and I'm still rather surprised at least one of them didn't. In the case of the former law the Reagan administration's successful (1984) prosecution of Samuel Morrison for sending several classified satellite photos of Russian warships to Jane's Defense Weekly established the precedent that it was: (a) unnecessary to prove intent, (b) unnecessary to prove severity of impact and (c) unnecessary that a hostile or foreign power be involved; that is, a security leak by itself, regardless of intent or severity, is sufficient to convict.

Morrison received a two-year jail term in 1985 which he served. He was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001.

Fitzgerald was (and is) too able a prosecutor to be second guessed but I confess to being genuinely curious as to why he didn't prosecute Libby for violation of the Espionage Act as well as perjury and obstruction of justice. There is no question in my mind that Libby should have served his term regardless -- it is idiotic to argue that the crime he covered up was minor -- he lied to a grand jury and obstructed justice and that's more than enough for a flogging. C'mon now, we're not talking about weak-kneed Libruls here: If Dubya can joke about putting a woman to death then an underling's relatively mild prison term wouldn't muss his hair and arguing the sentence was 'excessive' frankly comes across as pretty punk ...unless there was a much greater crime that Libby must be prevented from talking about.

The bigger question remains, will a sufficient number of Republican congressmen accept what they already know to be true and act accordingly: The current POTUS and VPOTUS may have violated their respective oaths of office and this alone, regardless of their intent or purpose, must be investigated as it would constitute a high crime and misdemeanor if proved.

7/05/2007 8:26 PM  
Blogger Enlightened Layperson said...

Since the Constitution gives the President unlimited power of pardon, I don't think there is anything Congress can do about it short of an amendment. The only check on the President's power of pardon is shame, and this one is impervious to it.

7/06/2007 1:41 AM  
Blogger KS said...

The president may have unlimited power to pardon but he did not pardon Libby, Bush commuted the sentence. Does Bush have unlimited power to commute?

7/06/2007 11:16 AM  
Blogger Grodge said...

So much is being made of Libby's pardon and comparing it to Marc Rich's pardon. How does this compare? It doesn't.

The more appropriate comparo is with Cap Weinberger and Poppy Bush. Both Weinberger and Libby committed felonies that indirectly undermined our national security. They allegedly lied to grand juries to protect their bosses. Their bosses may well have implored them to commit the acts for which they were later pardoned.

Neither of these apply to Marc Rich.

7/06/2007 11:16 AM  
Anonymous annbca said...

And did you realize that Libby was once Rich's lawyer, working on the case for his pardon? Check out paperback edition of "Hubris" p. 237 by Isikoff and Corn. The irony is stunning

7/11/2007 12:36 AM  
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