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June 19, 2007


Apparently the most important cultural development to come from Vienna is a little bitty sausage. Forget the musuems, the opera, the classical music. Nope our world wouldn't function without the sausages....

give'm some well-deserved hell, e'wheel.

5 mil is all it takes to buy this government? I have 5 bucks, what can we do if we put up 5m?

Depressing, eh? The Beltway elite and their elegant parties, and people like Broder eating quail with Karl--that's where the real action is, that's where all the big decisions get made. And by the way, did you catch Richard Cohen's column? He must have picked up by mistake an OLD talking point fax from Karl. Cohen sez, re Scooter: "But the underlying crime is absent, the sentence is excessive and the investigation should not have been conducted in the first place. This is a mess. Should Libby be pardoned? Maybe. Should his sentence be commuted? Definitely.

Oh, definitely. Yep. Meanwhile lets all get back to looking the other way while our daughters and sons are slaughtered and maimed for a war that was started and sustained by lies. Blood is on Cohen's hands, and also on the hands of most of the Mainstream Media who went along with whatever Karl fed them.

I have been saying this for weeks, we need an anti-pardon blogswarm.

Exchanged comments yesterday in thread at FDL with Christy about the weirdness of Ol' 60 Grit O'Beirne's performance on behalf of Comstock's Crew on MTP this Sunday, one of the outside-the-cocktail-wienie-circuit efforts for the benefit of Team Libby. I'd asked her:

What I have been wondering is whether this is a sort of elaborate kabuki, wherein the OVP pays for widely disseminated calls for pardon, knowing full well that 1) it is absolutely NOT in his best interest for Libby to be pardoned, since a pardon not only requires an admission of guilt (thanks for the reminder, SP CPA) and waives Libby’s right to plead the Fifth Amendment, and 2) that the White House would also not want to pardon Libby for similar reasons and may already have agreed with OVP that this is not possible.

But in order to keep the neo-con and A*P*C members of the administration and base in line, they push this repeated yet mocking call for pardon, leading to a kind of cognitive dissonance from those of us watching from outside.

Does that make any sense?

SP CPA = Stephen Parrish, who pointed out that a Kentucky Supreme Court decision (p. 43) applied with clarification an earlier SCOTUS decision:

The United States Supreme Court first interpreted the pardoning power granted

by Article 11 in United States v. Wilson , 32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 150, 8 L.Ed. 640 (1833). In that

opinion, Chief Justice Marshall established four principles with respect to the operation

and effect of a presidential pardon: (1) a pardon exempts the person upon whom it is

bestowed from punishment for the crime pardoned; (2) a pardon is of no effect unless

is accepted by the person pardoned and (3) brought to the attention of the court in

which it is sought to be enforced; and (4) a pardon is subject to judicial review and


A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power intrusted

[sic] with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual on whom

it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has

committed; it is the private, though official act of the executive magistrate,

delivered to the individual for whose benefit it is intended, and not

communicated officially to the court.

It is a constituent part of the judicial system, that the judge sees

only with judicial eyes, and knows nothing respecting any particular case

of which he is not informed judicially; a private deed, not communicated to

him, whatever may be its character, whether a pardon or release, is totally

unknown, and cannot be acted upon. . . .

. . . A pardon is a deed to the validity of which delivery is essential,

and delivery is not complete without acceptance; it may then be rejected

by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have

discovered no power in a court to force it to him.

It may be supposed, that no being condemned to death would

reject a pardon ; but the rule must be the same in capital case and in

misdemeanors. . . .

[The pardon] may be absolute or conditional ; it may be controverted

by the prosecutor, and must be expounded by the court. These

circumstances combine to show, that this, like any other deed, ought to be

brought judicially before the court, by plea, motion or otherwise.

SP CPA noted in particular the bit I've bolded. This is so not over, but it looks like an exercise in futility on the part of a group of people who are clearly not in touch with reality. In light of Rutenberg's gossipy report, I suspect that someone in OVP and EO are making demurs and head nods, as if they are listening to the requests, but are clearly not going to do a damned thing for Libby. Would be lovely to see if there's a correlation in the volume of donations to the Libby Defense fund and all the kosher cocktail weinies served, but of course we'll likely never know. The piece de resistance in this kabuki would be for Libby to reject the pardon claiming that he wasn't guilty and would not therefore accept it; we should take odds on that outcome.

I wish i was an oscar meyer wiener,
that is what I'd truly like to be.
For if I were an oscar meyer wiener,
I'd get to watch the neocon traitors try to justify a pardon for scooter libby.

hmm, needs a little work on the last line.

Dickerson in Slate:

"But those I've talked to who know the president well and have worked for him predict a pardon for two reasons.

First: Dick Cheney. The vice president may not be winning as many foreign-policy battles as he used to, but Libby's fate is a highly personal matter for Cheney. He will ask Bush for a pardon, and he is unlikely to back down. If Bush resists, Cheney could argue that his close aide Libby should not go to jail while Karl Rove, another key figure in the scandal, has been protected by Bush and the administration.

The second reason Libby will walk is President Bush's dismal approval rating. The number of people who would be angered by a pardon who haven't already abandoned the president could fit in an airport shuttle bus. Given the conservative defections from Bush over his support of immigration reform, a pardon of Libby -- which would be popular with conservatives -- might actually improve his approval ratings. Libby's conviction is seen as such an outrage among conservatives that one former Bush aide suggested 'the consequences of not pardoning, if Scooter is led away in shackles, will be uglier than pardoning.'"

Is it just me or does #2 sound like a ridiculous non-starter? These arguments are typically tri-part. Dickerson couldn't get past one.

I see #2 as Bush's #s are so low that a pardon won't hurt. That it may help with the major Kool-Aid set is a possibility.

My question is based on the discussion - that seems to have shifted from pardon to commutation. If the punishment is commuted but there is no pardon, does that mean Libby still has 5th Amendment rights?



In that case, commuting the sentence seems like a no-brainer for the WH - Libby skips prison w/out putting the conspirators in jeopardy, the base is happy, and the talikning points - "He was wrong to lie but there was no underlying crime".

Sucks for me. Public servants indeed!

Several commenters over at First Draft mention that Bush has no power to commute a sentence--that the power to commute is exlusively the right of the judiciary branch (presumably the Supreme Court?). If this is correct, then it would seem that all these "commute Libby's sentence" op-eds are just so much PR, since Bush can't do anything about commutation anyway.

Dan Froomkin writes lin ast Friday's column under the heading Griffin Watch

Griffin... gave a talk at the University of Arkansas' Clinton School of Public Service yesterday.

After ruing his decision to enter public service, he briefly addressed allegations that he was involved in "caging" during the 2004 election.

... writer Greg Palast has claimed Griffin, former research director for the Republican National Committee, was involved in such a scheme.

... "Former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin said Thursday that allegations that he had participated in voter suppression 'are completely and absolutely false... This is all made up of whole cloth,' he said. 'I didn't cage votes.'"

Here is video of a part of Griffin's denial.

But how, then, to explain these e-mails mistakenly sent to (and then archived by) the spoof Georgewbush.org site? The e-mails quite clearly show Griffin thanking another operative -- "thank you, perfect," he writes -- for sending him spreadsheets called Caging.xls and Caging-1.xls, both of which seem to contain lists of voters in Jacksonville whose mail was returned.


Neil: I can see Timmy now...

"Oh, you were talking about THOSE spreadsheets. No no no, those aren't VOTER caging lists. They're lists of... people who keep... er, chickens. In cages. Chicken farmers. And since farmers are traditionally republicans, we had data on people with cages, because they were likely to be Republicans, and we wanted to encourage them to vote.

It's all perfectly innocent."

This Libby stuff is all so over the top and out of proportion--after all, the guy not only committed the crime of lying to the FBI and grand jury, which does not require an "underlying crime" just an investigation to ascertain the facts, and he helped drive the country into war on a false sales job to that we could kick some Arab butt and show how macho the US of A was--that it really makes you wonder.

As I said before, I think what is going on is that these people can't admit to themselves that Scooter lied to the Feds, because then they would have to admit that he also lied to the American people, and they swallowed it whole and propogated those same lies, with the result that the US is now exposed as a helpless giant with a military machine of limited utility in an age of assymetric warfare, leaving us all less safe and nearly friendless (except bor Blair and Israel).

Heckuva job, neo-cons and also-conneds.

I love the Dickerson smackdown. That guy is A) mad he's too dumb to have missed the Ari F. leak and B) mad nobody thinks he's interesting enough to be considered a conflicted media figure like Judy Miller, Tim Russert, Bob Woodward, etc.. Did everyone see Dickerson's piece on the Libby pardon - the one where he got the central animating fact of his dramatic closing paragraph exactly backwards?

From Slate.com:
"In 1987, Reagan's Labor Secretary Ray Donovan famously asked after his acquittal on larceny and fraud charges: "Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?" He worried that the sensational coverage of his indictment* would always overpower the smaller news coverage of his exoneration. One way for Libby's supporters running for president to restore his good name would be to send him a job application now.

Correction, June 18, 2007: The article originally and incorrectly said that Ray Donovan was convicted on larceny and fraud charges. He was only indicted."

Nice asterisk asshat. Libby doesn't need his reputation restored because HE WAS CONVICTED. It wasn't the court that sullied his reputation - it was his own actions, actions which a jury of his peers found him guilty of beyond a reasonable doubt. If Libby is pardoned without an admission of guilt and Bush says the conviction was any kind of injustice it will be Fitzgerald and Walton that will be searching for an office to get their reputation back - their fine names having been smeared by a bunch of weenie eating freaks who didn't hear the evidence of the case except over drinks at parties hosted by friends of the accused. That's some racket.


That is some priceless smackdown, yourself.

It seems to me that the "We can't let Scooter go to prison!" club is a combination of the mendaciousness of the press in having been exposed as willing mouthpieces for the Administration, as well as what Digby has chronicled so well, the feeling that Scooter and the Gang of 500 are an aristocracy to whom the rules do not apply. I have noticed the same phenomenon in the Conrad Black trial, who has been accused of the same thefts of shareholder money that were the cause of very long prison sentences for the heads of Tyco and Worldcom, yet outside of the British press, has been the recipient of generally favourable newscoverage, and the inevitable "Fitzgerald is a rogue prosecutor, he is criminalizing (insert "politics", "business", "good reporting", etc.) I can't help but think that the combination of Fitzgerald as prosecutor, a good neocon like Conrad and the "consulting fees" he has regularly made to "journalists" like David Frum and George Will, as well as directors fees to Richard Perle and Henry Kissinger, have helped his coverage.

But in addition to press bribery, these guys think that they are really immune aristocrats. Conrad himself said it in an email defending his use of Hollinger funds to go to Bora Bora with his wife, Barbara Amiel:

"...We have to find a balance between an unfair taxation on the company and a reasonable treatment of the founder-builder-managers. We are proprietors, after all, beleaguered though we may be. I am not prepared to re-enact the French Revolutionary renunciation of the rights of nobility."

Conrad Black - the worst (former) Canadian of all time!

Ishmael -- which brings up an interesting question. Conrad is not only a neo-con but a corporatist, a la Cheney; he is the kind of person who believes he is not only entitled but entitled by virtue of his wealth. Your comments regarding consulting and directors fees make me wonder if Conrad believes he can simply buy his way out of trouble, the way that corporations typically do.

Thinking along those lines, is what we are seeing reported from the cocktail-wienie-circuit a bidding war? Are the neo-cons trying to pony up enough money not only to ostensibly pay for lawyers' fees, but enough money to purchase the favor of Bush? Is it possible that Bush would throw in the towel and expose himself and OVP by pardoning Scooter, provided he knew there was enough money in the fund to buy brush-cutting years in Paraguay? It's a stretch, but so is Scooter's worthiness for a pardon.

Is there anybody left in the voter rights division at the DOJ who a law-abiding citizen would trust to investigate former USA Griffin's involvment in Caging.xls and Caging-1.xls? Doesn't the secretary of State in Florida have an obligation under the law to investiate?

Rayne - I truly would not be surprised to see Dick Cheney spend his retirement years in Dubai, safely away from international arrest warrants, but I don't think the Scooter shakedown on the cocktail circuit is for anything other than his legal fees. I think the recent revelations of literally billions of dollars going to Bandar Bush for the BAE deal (a BIG deal, admittedly, but still in the scheme of things, only one transaction resulting in $2 billion dollars going into a slush fund controlled by Bandar) shows that the capos like Big Time and Shrub will not suffer for money when the time comes to spend more time with their families. I read somewhere the other day that the run-up in oil prices from $20 to $70 a barrel over the Bush years has raised the net worth of the Saudi oil fields by tens of trillions of dollars. Scooter's cocktail parties are like holding a bake sale when the real money is considered.


I would expect Cheney and Rumsfeld to spend their days close to each other and their houses (not official residence) are that way now. And in time Wolfowitz to move close by too, but he is still relatively young.

They are all very close.

Sort of a "good ol' boys club."

Jodi - The only way it would matter to me if Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were close to one another would be if they were sharing the same cellblock. (Sorry gang, found a spare troll biscuit in between the couch pillows and couldn't resist).

EW If Libby goes to jail what happens to allof that 5M $? I know the lawyers get some but does Libby get anything left over whaen he gets out?

I wonder if the conservative blue collar workers think they would get a pardon or such loyal support from OVP or any one for that matter if they lied to a GJ? Libby's a crook pure and simple.

That Politico article appeared on the 35th anniversary of the Watergate break-in.

Jail to the Chief!!

"That Politico article appeared on the 35th anniversary of the Watergate break-in."

June 17 [Watergate Break-in Day] is my birthday. Until 1972 it was boring ole "Battle of Bunker Hill" day. No more. I cherish it!!

darclay--on the $5m I may be wrong but I think with the appeal Scooter is going to blow through that number and then some, if he hasn't already. First of all, these lawyers are shockingly expensive. Second, I think you pay Wells to keep you from getting convicted, so that's what the $5m is for. (Does Wells charge by the teardrop? Just askin!) But then you lose, and your time and costs go way up when you're making your appeal. So now the team (LDT--Libby Defense Team) added Robbins at the last minute. Does he charge time-and-a-half for being the guy who wasn't at the trial, so he can feel okay about badgering Reggie? i.e. a special rate to come in the day before? Put it this way, if one of us needed "that guy," would we have to pay extra? And is there a one-time charge for "I was there!" on Alito's opinion on Morrison? Just askin!

But the good news is that the A.I. provides their estimable service for free. Along with all the cocktail wienies you can eat!

FWIW, I have been told that the Libby appeal (a 122 page .pdf) has been filed. However, I can't find it on PACER, and I was actually sly enough to check both the Criminal and Appellate levels. However, that exhausted my PACER skills.

MT,You got style girl!

"EW If Libby goes to jail what happens to allof that 5M $? I know the lawyers get some but does Libby get anything left over whaen he gets out?"

Maybe Libby could use some of that money while he is in the slam, you know, so he can buy his own cigarettes rather than trading favors! If I had more money I would buy Scooter six packs a day, if he would promise to smoke them!

OK, I have it now.

/Shameless Self Promotion.

BREAKING -- but expected. . .

well -- scooter's ace appellate
team just filed their notice of
appeal -- we learn only a few things
from it -- and i've enumerated them,
along with an image of the full-one
. . .

take a look. . .

no pardon -- no winers. never.

Hey EW I love the cocktail wennie referrence so much for light blog

The arguments in that brief look awfully thin to me....

The memory expert claim is particularly galling. After 3 months of watching this administration's top managers lie to Congress about how they can't remember anything, with varying degrees of lying convincingly, it is ludicrous to think that Scooter should be able to claim on paper that his memory is faulty (backed by expert testimony), but not have his claim put to the test by the jury.

". . .no pardon -- no weeeeeeeners. never."

that's what i meant to say. damn.

Unless the Appeals Court stays the sentence, (NPR is saying several judges have to recuse themselves from service on this panel because of past associations with Liddy) I think in a few weeks Liddy will hear the gates clang behind him. Why???

Bush, if anything, doesn't change his mind or mantra, and all along he has said two things -- anyone who leaked will be held responsible, and he or his spokesperson has said the process has to run. The man is not famous for re-evaluating his basic assumptions or even thinking his assumptions through to an end point.

Now -- I suspect what we are looking at here is some very polite bullying on the part of insiders who know a thing or two, and implied in what they are saying in public is the threat to reveal things Bush does not want made public. I see much of this polite pressure as the veiled fist of those who are quite capable of Mafia style reprisals, and at this juncture the only protection Bush has is a posture of being devoted to the consistency of his past statements. He can continue to try to govern on the basis of Faith -- which does not look kindly on a change of mind -- or he can kiss the rings of the Godfathers, and take ownership of Libby's acts, committed in loyality to the power center Bush once represented, but no longer does.

If he Pardons -- well Waxman already is well underway with investigations of matters related to the Plame outing, and Waxman would not hesitate to call a pardoned Libby for a full review under oath and with no 5th amendment protections should he accept a pardon, an admission of a need for a pardon, or guilt. And it remains possible the Wilson's civil suit will live and eventually subject many more in the WH to depositions, civil trial, and financial penalities. In other words, for Bush, a Pardon concludes very little. Letting Libby go to the Hosscow, potentially lets things die down till Jan, 2009 when he could safely compassionately pardon, and give Libby back 12 months of life on the outside. Money can be raised to give Libby a seat in a Think Tank on his return from Prison, it can be held in trust under some cover or other, and be sufficient to keep him quiet given that he has few other options. But as John Dean frequently tells us, the worst of all possible worlds would be if Bush actually talked to someone about the deal.

So -- if Libby goes to the slammer, the little wennie boys and girls could turn on Bush. They could start talking out of school. We could see more leaks, but these about Bush's incompetence or worse. But could Bush survive such a storm if he predicates it all on Faith and Process? I think he could fake it and survive to January 2009. At this juncture, I suspect that is his goal. Neo-con's and Corpartists are not a big voting block -- but the Faith folk can sustain him for at least a year and months.

And why did Rod Portman resign today? Says it is about more time with family -- they need a new excuse, something about wanting to tour all the roller coasters in the country or such like.

Dear Richard Cohen:

If "the dark art of politics" is best kept in the dark, is there any reason for "The Washington Post" to publish a daily newspaper? Couldn't they get by with just a weekly leaflet discussing the hair styles of all of the Democratic presidential candidates?


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