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July 02, 2007


Ageement here, pw. As one commentator during the trial said: a member (I'm recalling here) of Fitz's team said there is an acronym when there is anxiety over the outcome and Libfib could win: it was fido, an acronym for fuck it drive on.

Sorry, I mean Sara.

Carthago delenda est. Forgive my attempt at Latin, I never took it. But wasn't this appended to every speech some orator gave?

Do we have three words that say it all?

Yep: Cheney mustbe destroyed.

Good post and the message is clear. It's not enough to be angry -- as I certainly am. This will take some standing up on the part of members of Congress who will absolutely have to carry this ball as the judicial branch of government is largely staffed by tools at the moment.

It would also help to have a press with some balls which was a key factor throughout the Nixon administration. The best and brightest journalists of a generation lined up against the war and against Nixon, sometimes at a great personal price, something you don't see as often in our greed-driven world. Today it's not enough to have dinner at Elaine's with the other great minds and maybe your profile in Esquire as your reward; you have to be putting millions in the bank, to boot. And that doesn't happen when the millions are being doled out by the people who are making it from warmongering.

I was around through Watergate -- living in DC and aware of every aspect of the case. What I think some people don't comprehend is how long the whole process took and how many set-backs there were along the way. Yes, the finish line was reached in a quick downhill slide, but months and months had gone by before that. I'm still haunted by the memory of some of the weird casualties like Martha Mitchell and some of the brilliant speeches by people like Sam Ervin and Barbara Jordan.

I think the fact that the Watergate break-in occurred at the end of Nixon's first term instead of the middle of his second was a key factor in forcing the resignation. Not many in Washington have the stomach for impeachment today and especially not when Bush will be out of office in 01/09, no matter what. It's not like we're looking at "four more years" as we were then. Still, I think the point that most needs to be made to our representatives is: it's the PRINCIPLE OF THE THING. There MUST be an accounting and we won't rest until it happens.

I've already written to my reps in both the state where I live now and the state where I lived longest and still own property. I;ve contacted Reid and Pelosi. I've called Rep. Waxman's office to convey my support and I've E-mailed Sen. Leahy, as he takes E-mail from non-constituents, something many don't do.

I will join the call-in to the White House tomorrow. Like they care. But that's not the point. The point is to get it on the news that the switchboard was jammed. I don't know how to get Congress to act except to make it UTTERLY CLEAR TO THEM that they must, make their lives miserable if they don't, and get the attention of the press that MILLIONS are mad as hell.

I've asked them all to consider articles of impeachment against Cheney. I think it's important for progressives to settle on exactly what we want and push with the same request from coast to coast. I'd vote Cheney out first. My feeling is that we only have time for one slice of this pie and that's the piece I want.

okay -- to make this a BIGGER
liability for the president, let's
gather the FACTS about his central
claim -- his claim, today, was that
the punishment was excessive.

that is simply not supportable.

let us, then, establish this as a lie.

i mean another one.

tonight, i've begun an unscientific, hap-
hazzard, and generally-meandering start
at cataloging some of the cases -- to
be updated from time to time -- i will
set forth cases that are similar
to, or less egregious than i. lewis
"scooter" libby's, and then list the sentences imposed

in each case, i will link the decision, so that
readers may judge for themselves whether
the conduct is similar, or less egregious.

[caveat: i will only add them as i run across
them in the course of my other readings. . .]

i think patrick fitzgerald's response, once
again, points the way forward. let us establish
that this sentence was in fact well-within the
range of similar criminal outcomes. then let
us ask the administration to explain covering
for the man who is protecting the vice-president,
and perhaps the president himself.

[or -- at least -- let's demand commutation
for all these other crooks and liars!]

more seriously, though. . .
please add to mine, in comments, if
you are aware of any precedents i ought
to mention/summarize. . .

thanks in advance.

Great question.

Part of the power of Hiss is that Communism=New Dealism=The government wants to take all your money (and make your kids go to school with Negroes) worked as an overarching narrative, one that combined an element of truth with an appeal to a certain set of American fears, and one that (however distortedly) reflected four decades of Democratic policies.

What counter narrative can paint a broad picture of Republican policies?

I think at the center has to be the imperial presidency.... a government that spies on citizens, lies to Congress, starts secret wars, spies on citizens, and holds itself up outside the rule of law.

Libby is only the latest, and arguably the least, in a series of rehabilitated Republican posterboys from Ollie North to Elliot Abrams to (whatsis name who was ambassador in Central America in the '80s and was then sent over to Iraq by Cheney.) In fact, Cheney should perhaps be seen as the connecting link...

We need to refight Iran-Contra as doggedly as the Republicans refought Hiss-Chambers. Republicans lied and nuns died. Libby lied and who knows what secrets went free.

And the common denominator: The Republicans don't care about the will of the people. They care about themselves, their power, their perks.

They don't care about justice. And they don't care about the will of the people.

I emphasize the Will of the People and the Will of Congress because the challenge for the emerging Democratic majority will be to cow the Supreme Court into submission.... to take all the rage the Right stoked against the meddling, interventionist Supreme Court, and be prepared to harness it on behalf of FDR-style court reform.

Libby. Freed from prison, against the will of the prosecutor and the people whose trust he betrayed and justice he obstructed. Freed by a party that time and again puts its partisanship above justice.

The reason the Nixon resignation didn't clear the air is that Ford pardoned his guilty ass. I want a question at the next Dem presidential debate:

"Will you pledge that, if you are elected, you will not pardon any members of the Bush administration who are suspected, accused, or convicted of criminal activity?"

Anyone who doesn't say "AYE" does not get the nomination. And then one by one we nail them with RICO charges and lock them up for the rest of their lives.

i think patrick fitzgerald's response, once
again, points the way forward. let us establish
that this sentence was in fact well-within the
range of similar criminal outcomes.

This is a good strategy to keep the question alive and keeping the question alive is a good way to make hay.

The questions is whether the sentence was excessive. Even if it was - and I don't think it is, isn't a sentence of 0 months clearly insufficient?

The reason it is a good strategy is because 'excessive' is not a fact in evidence and furthermore it points to Bush's weakness, his decision making. He is not a reasoned decision maker. He frames the questio in terms of good and evil. Libby, in Bush eyes, is one of the good guys. Bush must have looked him in the eye and all that.

In other words, the guy that brought you "Hechuva Job Bronwie" is at it again. He is either delusional and out of touch or completely cynical. In either case, he's incompetent.

Remeber, he did withdrawal the Miers nomination. Maybe reviewing what that decision turned on is worth the effort.

I really think the way to go here is to keep the question alive:

"If 30 months is excessive then 0 months is clearly insufficient.

nolo -- there were three operative arguments for war. One was Niger was sending Iraq Yellowcake, and Joe Wilson's intervention was about knocking that for a loop. The second was aluminum tubes, and I think the Department of Energy's effort to address that with experts from Oak Ridge had the same effect.

The third was that Saddam would give bin Laden his WMD. That is a little more difficult to defeat, but most intelligence sources agree that while there may well have been contacts it never went beyond that.

The problem we have is simple, Both Biden, then Chair of Foreign Relations and Richard Gebhardt then Minority Leader in the House, co-sponsored the resolution to give the President war making powers on Iraq, and a lot of people have huge problems backing away from what was clearly a Democratic caucus decision. We have not dealt with those politics clearly yet -- they need dealing with. I actually feel that Bush's "ignore the lies" Libby decision makes it possible for the leadership to confess these mistakes, but it has not yet been said.

But sometimes politics is not all about the details -- I am asking that this case requires Libby be called out as Hiss -- and no one is brave enough to do it.

Libby is a modern day Hiss, a traitor and that's bad enough but Bush pardoned him and the only thing worse than being a traitor is pardoning one.

Yes, we keep going back to that cloud over the OVP. Why else would Libby do things that are so heinous for a public servant and officer of the court, except to protect something. Based on the evidence at trial that something would appear to have been his boss.

We now know that this boss has been repeatedly cavalier and perhaps even reckless in handling classified information. He has rebelled against the standard protocols for protecting such information, going so far as to seek the destruction of the office that should have monitored him, and to construct childish fancies of argument in support of his actions. This boss has even run his ship so loose that one of its members actually was convicted of passing documents to a foreign agent, something that had never before happened under a Vice President (and therefore under the chief of staff of a Vice President, as Libby was at the time).

It appears that Libby's boss is by turns careless or exploitive of the privileged information of the government depending on his personal needs, and in any case refuses to abide by the applicable rules and laws or to seek in the proper way to get them changed if he think it necessary. The cloud over the Vice President in connection with the betrayal of covert officer Plame is there because of actions that fit his general contempt for the responsibilities of handling information as we have seen it revealed elsewhere in clear daylight. And this is the boss that Libby, and now the President, think it justified to protect by lying, perjuring, and obstructing due investigations.

Yes, it should be pretty easy to affix Libby to this crowd quite firmly.

Another July, not all that long ago....

Article 1, section 9. Endeavoring to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favored treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Liberals and Progressives are too busy tamping down the embarrassing emotions, especially anger, so that they can appear "rational." but as Drew Weston points out, voters vote based on emotion rather than reason. Recognizing this is not putting voters down. It is recognizing that they are using a major inherited method of thinking and deciding how to act that is a part of the human mind.

It is part of the human mind for good reasons. Evolution selected for that process in a creature that suffered through massive changes in environment and enemies quite frequently. We ignore emotional decision-making at our peril.

Reason is how our leaders are expected to govern, but emotion is how they are elected. Liberals and Progressives are so damned busy explaining how thew will govern that they hand off the election wins to the right-wing-Yahoos who play on voter emotion much better.

How are we going to use the Scooter Libby commutation (and it will become a Pardon on Bush's last day in office when it means that Bush no longer has to fear Libby's testimony before Congress - count on it!) if everyone we know keeps turning to us and saying "You're being too emotional. Get a grip."?

We belong to a culture in which acting based on strong anger is severely looked down on, and it is assumed that if we look angry that the voters will similarly look down on us.

Anger has a purpose. Emotion in general tells us what rational options should have priority of action, and failure to express that anger alienates voters because they don't know what drives our politicians. But the human mind can only deal rationally with about 7 concepts at one time. Emotions are a rational mechanism for determining what threatens us when there are a lot more than just seven items to attend to.

Until we get over the avoidance of the appearance of anger and emotion, we are not going to be able to use the Libby sentence commutation against the real threats to America, the conservative Republicans.

I very much enjoy the contributions by the legal minds here - it helps me frame issues, like this one, in the real-world terms of the "Business" of politics rather than merely the emotions engendered by injustice. That said, I wonder at the validity of claiming executive constitutional privilege by an executive who has overwhelmingly disregarded the framework of that same constitution. It seems like appearing in court with "Dirty hands". I.e., how can one claim a benefit of a system of governance repeatedly and demonstrably rejected by that same individual?

Like asking the court for justice in regards to an individual who stole the bike you stole.

Thanks Sara. I hope Congress and Fitzgerald move forward together to question Libby in open session. If Libby attempts to take the Fifth, subpoena Cheney. If Cheney ignores the subpoena, impeach his sorry ass.

I think y'all are missing Sara's point. We don't need logic - all the logical people are already with us. We can't convince the lizard-brains - that 28% is just beyond hope. What we need is a direct emotional hit on those who know but can't make up their minds and those who don't know and, so far, don't care. We need a bumper sticker, not an op-ed. Just because the Rethuglicans are better at 'tagging' than we are, and just because most of their tags are lies, should not stop us from creating a truthful, effective tag. Or we need to find out who Jeff Gannon was servicing on his overnights at the WH.

The following suggestions are too long and it's getting late, but perhaps the ideas will strike some genius potential out there. IMHO class warfare is a good way to go, but so is popular culture.

"Paris went to prison because her friends aren't as rich as Scooter's."

"Paris Hilton is more of a man than Scooter Libby."

"Bush would have pardoned Alger Hiss."

"Driving while Black, up against the wall;
Treason while White, no time at all."

Well, you get the idea.

Can Congress subpoena the Grand Jury testimony that Fitz compiled?
It seem that the best way to understand it all now is to see what Fitz saw, and thus know why he did what he did. The President seems to feel that the crimes are not sufficiently bad to warrant punishment, so it should be fine for all that to come out anyway.


These guys (Bush, neocons) are truly staring at the abyss. The ultimate mishandling of the empire. Not Katrina and homeland security but Asian debt
and decades of subjugating the 2nd and 3rd world for their resources, thrown away - Christ, they couldn't even handle the world bank, our institution. That's the real global story. Imagine if America hand surrendered in WWII - that's what these guys (we) are facing, through sheer idiocy. This is the Suez Canal x100 for America. The coup against a downs syndrome president by a nearly silent villain is complete and it is disastrous on the world stage.

If this were Nicaragua, things would have been taken care of by now.

Argonaut gets it and has a great example - Paris Hilton. If we keep on saying "But even Paris Hilton did time," I think that can sink in with people who are only marginally informed about this case.

Argonaut, I agree Dems/liberals desperately need a better soundbyte strategy. Per Albert Fall and litigatormom on the prior thread, however, Bush's "commutation," (NOT a pardon) confirmed that Scooter was never the "great man, loyal soldier," that he and Cheney wanted everyone to think. Scooter is a white collar thug who told Cheney that he would not spend one day in jail. Bush's commutation confirms that Bush knows if Scooter implicates Cheney, Cheney will testify that it was Bush who ordered it and orchestrated the later cover-up. Whether that's accurate or not, it's way too close to an IIPA violation for Bush to stomach.

Sara - I like your analogy. To answer a couple of questions you raised a couple of threads below. No, I cannot see that this would have any impact on the Wilson civil trial judge, unless it was to totally spook him by the shear lawlessness of the Bushies and the ends they will go to to protect themselves on this case; ergo, the result is that any influence would not be that you are looking for. Secondly, no the timeframe for the decision on the motion to dismiss in the Wilson civil case is not, unfortunately, overdue. Six months would be about right for the DC District on a civil motion from my understanding, so I would expect it in September or so maybe. Last motion I did like that out here took nearly a year to receive the written decision. Because of the burgeoning criminal dockets, Federal District trial courts are very backed up and slow on civil cases, and by law, criminal actions take precedent. Lastly, there most certainly is an ability to take the 5th in a civil case. It can be taken as an admission against the individual asserting the privilege on the issue claimed, but there is an inviolate right to do so as long as the right exists, and it certainly still does for Scooter. Personally, I think that the only reason Bush did not pardon Libby, as opposed to commuting the sentence, is exactly this reason and Bush will issue a full pardon on his way out the door.

Just saw/heard at TalkLeft your interview today! You hit all the important points! wow what a day

Partly that is because we did not know (as Progressive Liberals) how to turn the object of the quest (Nixon) into the kind of political symbol that Hiss became in the Conservative realm.

We also need to hammer them about St. Ronnie's dealings with terrorists.

Bush's "commutation"...confirmed that Libby was never the "great man, loyal soldier" that he and Cheney wanted everyone to think
This is a good point because even Bush had to realize that Libby was guilty as sin. Among the first emotions I had was relief that Bush was not going to listen to the yahoos slobbering for a pardon.
However, everyone would know that Bush commuted the sentence in part because this was someone he knew. If this was anyone but Scooter Libby, convicted of the same crime in the same personal situation, Bush might not even know about the case in order to commute it.
I think the Scooter Libby--Alger Hiss analogy is that Republicans believe in the responsibilities of government only when it has to do with making war, keeping secrets, and creating a mystifying web of secrets. Fitzgerald (and also the US Attorneys who were fired) behaved with honor and integrity, and you can argue that Armitage did, too. Once he realized what he had done he turned himself in. But no one can believe that the people at the highest levels behaved with honor and integrity unless you believe that they had to do it to keep the war in Iraq going.

Outside the JOM comments section, no one can believe it...

I just want to wear a black armband and fly my flag at half staff this week in mourning for the rule of law and the constitution. I wore one at my graduation, when Nixon was President and we were still in Vietnam. I'd love to see the black armband come back as a silent expression against what's going on -- Iraq, the Libby commutation, the US attorney matter, the refusal of the Bush White House to be accountable, the greed that's lining pockets in the face of tragedy (911, Iraq, Katrina, you name it), the trashing of the dollar and our economy, the despoiling of our planet.
Maybe that's not what you had in mind, Sara, but this morning it's all I can think about.

Perhaps tomorrow those of you flying the flag would consider flying it upside down? Google ~flag upside down~ and decide. I would love to put out "F#$% Bush" signs, but we all know that obscenity will get you in more trouble than, say, treason. Personally, I am considering installing a large flag pole in order to fly the flag upside down until Bush and Cheney are gone.

Back to my point about Hiss. I have in recent years adopted an agnostic position on his guilt, migrating there from a "he was framed" posture. My reason, a decent bio on Josephine Herbst a leftie Journalist during the 30's who dithered all her life apparently about making public just what she knew. For some reason that bio moved my mind.

If they had found evidence on Hiss that covered Wartime, they would have indicted him for treason, and shot him at dawn. When we finally got FOIA, someone asked for the contents of the famous pumpkin papers and found much of them contained engineering drawings for rubber inflatable life rafts. A really fancy secret, but something Hiss being in the Department of State had little to do with. But it is just the kind of thing around which Soviet Industrial Espionage was focused, the idea being to save the costs of R & D.

But Hiss got two convictions for perjury in his second trial, and he served most of four years, even though Dean Acheson served as his character witness. Then he sold girdles, and later business stationary. No Kennedy, Johnson, Carter or Clinton was nagged into a pardon. No partisian campaign was launched to make the point he had largely been destroyed as part of an effort to do in the New Deal and make FDR at Yalta into a juicy target. My "Libby is Hiss" notion is about attempting that. Agreed, different times, different issues, but same political culture.

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