The Good and the Bad: Libby Goes Free

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I am hosting a dinner for Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns tonight, and will report on the “on the record” portion later.
In other news, Scooter Libby will not go to jail. He will still have to pay a $250,000 fine and will be on 2-year probation. President Bush has commuted his sentence.
And the world turns. . .
— Steve Clemons

Comments

68 comments on “The Good and the Bad: Libby Goes Free

  1. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “Right now we are addressing the Israeli part in the special interest that also needs to be eliminated. So knock yourself out trying to sell crazy on the jewish and Israeli innocence in the ME, no one is buying.”
    Here’s my idea, Carroll: When someone posts something…a comment, link, quote…it’s open for discussion and criticism. That’s what I’ve done with your MW quote. I’m discussing what THEY said, and the problems I see with it. As to Jewish or Israeli innocence, I don’t assert it. But I do object to a reflexive, unthinking, often outlandish–and, in some cases, prejudiced– blaming of those two groups for US troubles, which, in fact, trouble me as much as you. All too often that’s the dish served here.

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  2. MP says:

    Thanks, Sandy.
    I appreciate your “wishes” and–believe me–share them.

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  3. Sandy says:

    Point taken, MP. And, I’m sorry about that. I realize I can’t see and experience these things as you do. It would be hard not to feel uncomfortable, I see that.
    I wish things were different. I wish none of this had ever happened.
    But my wishes aren’t horses….

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  4. MP says:

    I appreciate what you’re saying Sandy.
    I have no problem admitting that influential Jews are involved in a lot of the bad stuff going on. I’m not sure, however, why that’s more noteworthy than the ethnic backgrounds of the other folks, many of whom are more powerful than Perle, as I’ve pointed out.
    If Libby were a Protestant, would it make his acts any better? And if he were, would he be called a “stateless” person because he advocated a disastrous foreign policy? Would he be called a traitor? These folks are bad, but they aren’t PARTICULARLY BAD because they are Jewish, even if they have dual citizenship.
    (In fact, many lists of these dual citizens circulate, but frankly, I have no idea if they really are dual citizens, nor am I sure that that matters to what they do. Cheney, to me, appears to be the most right-wing, fascist really, of the bunch–and the most effective at wielding naked power–is he also a dual citizen?)
    It gets thick…and it also gets hard to tell truth from semi-truth from falsehood.
    I have no private line to the facts. However, when I see specious arguments–for example, what Ahamedinejad did or didn’t say or mean with references to Israel–or when links don’t really say what the posters claim they say–I feel a need to point that out.
    Go read about the American Firsters back in the 1930s and 40s sometime. Charles Lindbergh was a well known member. He made speeches about how the Jews were trying to lure America into the war in Europe–and should stop lest they suffer bad, but unavoidable, consequences at the hands of “good Americans” who know they have no business getting involved in foreign entanglements. You know, in retrospect, it’s easy to see the differences between then and now and to dismiss the comparison. But it’s also worth pointing out that “the argument” has precisely the same form as what you will read here on any number of posts. It really gives me the willies.

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  5. Sandy says:

    MP. No question about it — as I have said several times before myself — the Daniel Levy’s….and many others like him (David Corn, Eric Alterman, et al….are ALSO the “victims” for want of a better word at this moment ….of this period in history when the very far right crazies — in this case the Neo-Conservatives –have been allowed — used and listened to — by Bush, an evangelical (supposedly) so-called “Christian” and Cheney (who knows what?) and Rumsfeld, et al….who took over power in this country….in 2000. And, all along, wanted to “finish up some unfinished business” from back during Bush’s daddy’s reign ….and, (conveniently, too, for Israel)….wipe out Sadaam Hussein.
    The famous photo of Rumsfeld shaking Hussein’s hand …making a deal….back in the 80s….shows how two-faced all of it truly is. Whatever works….at the time. Filling the family coffers. Republicans and their sympathizers wail, “No fair! The left-wing peace-nikers….are so MEAN. Poor Libby! They’re just HATERS!” (It’s called “projection”.)
    Nevertheless, no doubt about it, this period in history — run by the Neo-Conservatives and right-wing Israelis — will also pass.
    Mel Gibson was drunk when he slurred, “Jews create all the wars in the world” or however it was he said it. But his bias — as a right-wing Catholic — obviously showed.
    So, I can well understand why you are worried about the backlash of all this EVIDENCE of what has been going on. I believe fair-minded, intelligent people know EXACTLY who is to blame….and DO NOT paint with any broad brush…over ALL people, Jewish, Christian, Muslim…based on what a few in power do. But that is, and should be a worry, understandably. Not everyone IS well read….or trying to be fair. A lot of people are angry. It is just all the MORE reason why more BALANCE is needed now. More SANITY. Beautiful young people are DEAD. For no reason.
    I just read some wild stuff today about Bosnia…that war in the 1990s — about the defense fund run then by Richard Perle and Douglas Feith….connected with the RIGGS BANK — Bush’s uncle Jonathan’s little venture….also connected to funding bin Laden…back then. and, Rahm Emanuel’s alleged involvement too. His dual citizenship with Israel.
    And, Lewis Libby, alleged to be a long-serving intel agent for the Mossad — he was lawyer for Marc Rich…another doosie. And, yes, Clinton pardoned him. Any guess what the Mossad had on Clinton??
    You see –it gets so thick….so deep….so dirty….there’s almost no end to it. That’s how pure corruption works.
    But ….eventually…..slowly….the truth surfaces……at least it always seems to…..and …..slowly….eventually…..people catch on. And something else happens. Though great damage is done.
    So, sorry, MP, right now is a period in history when some very influential Jewish people — hard right wingers — together with the so-called Christian people — ARE in charge …..of a whole lot…for now.
    No, not ALL Christian or ALL Jewish people must answer for what they have done.
    THEY do. THEY will have to answer. Some day.
    That is all that the reasonable, concerned people are asking, MP.
    That people like you — Daniel Levy already has — will admit to what these people HAVE done…..
    and begin to hold them responsible.
    Not just pretend it isn’t so. Or “wish” it isn’t so. Or try to say it isn’t.
    Like Tony Snow…..and David Broder…..and all the rest of the liars do ….so completely transparent.
    Steve said — “the world turns”. It just seems to be going SO slowly until Jan. 20, 2009, that’s all.

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  6. MP says:

    Sandy writes: “The facts are, the neo-conservatives are in power in this country. And, many of them — not all (Bush, Cheney, Woolsey, Rumsfeld are not) — are Jewish (including those, like Strauss, whose ideas they use.) And, they’re aligned with the right-wingers in Israel. Those are just facts, MP. Just facts. Not anti-Semitism. Look at who they are and what they stand for….what they “want”.
    I only had time to skim, but I get your point. No question the Neos are very influential, and some of them are Jewish and allied with the Likud. Yes, no question. But here are a couple of other points to think about: 1) The big players on your roster, and those with their HANDS on the LEVERS of POWER are, or were, the non-Jews. I mention this only because the Jewishness of the Neos is often raised as a concern.
    2) I seriously doubt that the US would have gone into Iraq simply because Israel wanted them to unless they had their OWN compelling reasons (in their terms) for doing so. Though, of course, the right-wing Israeli position does buttress their own.
    So, to say, that we are fighting “Israel’s wars” –as one often reads–strikes me as inaccurate and leaves the impression (inaccurate in my mind) that Israel simply conned this Administration into going to war–into doing something it didn’t want to do.
    Maybe so, but then you’re going to have to show me some proof that Sharon twisted Cheney’s and Bush’s and Rumsfeld’s arm like the devil who made them do it. Moreover, in the case of Syria, the record seems to show that the US wanted Israel to expand the Lebanon War into Syria–and Israel resisted. Moreover, the record seems to show that it is Israel that has wanted to talk with Syria while the US has asked her not to.
    All of this may seem like splitting hairs, but I think they are important hairs to split. This country, and many others, has a long history of “blaming the outsider” when they get into trouble, as we are now. Jews have been the perennial scapegoat for this kind of accusation, so I oppose it on principle.
    (Another point about “Israel’s wars.” It’s often pointed on these threads how diverse American political opinion is. Bush/Cheney don’t represent the vast majority of Americans, and yet they act in our name, and we are blamed, in a sense, for their actions. I think it’s worth pointing out from time to time that the same holds true for Israel, and maybe more so. Daniel Levy, whom Steve thinks highly of, and blogs here occasionally, was on Barak’s negotiating team at Camp David, and has a lot of highly informed, sensible, and moral things to say about the way forward–and he was once part of the Israeli government. Barak’s rival, Ayalon, put together a brief, but brilliant way forward with the Palestinian thinker, Sari Nusseibeh. These currents are all worth noting for their own sake, but also because they don’t fit the “Israel’s wars” meme.)
    As I’ve said elsewhere, I hold no brief for the Perles of the world. As a Jew, I’m ashamed of their behavior and what they’ve helped do to this country. And a little bit worried for my fellow Jews who may suffer a backlash. But I’m also pretty clear that a bunch of Protestant Americans and Catholic Americans and Black Americans also got us into this mess, and, in fact, held much more power than the Jewish conspirators, and so I’m not willing to give the Jews a double helping of blame unless they deserve it.

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  7. MP says:

    Carrolll, I’ll leave aside all the talk about alcoholism and my bias. The notion that there are unbiased folks writing here is laughable. You’ve come to your conclusion after studying the matter, and so have I. Yes, I am Jewish, but I’m hardly a raving Zionist and didn’t grow up in Zionist household, or even one where the Holocaust was dinner table conversation. My Dad drove a Mercedes (when he finally made some dough) and pooh-poohed all talk of anti-Semitism. If you’re going to cut me out because I’m Jewish and must be biased in favor of Israel, then the Palestinian perspective should be cut out too, because they obviously have a bias as well. It should be obvious by now that virtually NO ONE who cares about this issue is completely objective–we ALL leave out uncomfortable facts.
    To your post…
    MW: “”Moreover, Palestinian terrorism is not random violence directed against Israel or ‘the West’; it is largely a response to Israel’s prolonged campaign to colonize the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
    ME: So then why was there terrorism against Israel prior to 1967? Why didn’t the Arab countries open their arms to Israel, their fellow “Semites,” BACK THEN?
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Carroll: Well duh?…open their arms?…..c.o.l.o.n.i.z.a.t.i.o.n of Palestine even back then..comprend vous? Palestine in 1937..56,000 jews….Palestine in 1948…600,000 jews.
    Okay, but look at MW’s comment, and the point of it, which is what I was responding to. They were saying that P terrorism was provoked by the situation in the West Bank and Gaza. My response is simple: No; it predates that, which is true. MW’s explanation is inadequate, on the face of it, regardless of the number of degrees they hold.
    I could also have added, in response to them, that OBL’s initial plaint were US troops on Saudi soil, not the P-I conflict, though that was added pretty quickly, given its usefulness as a rallying cry in the Arab world.
    If you want to go back to 1947, then, in essence, you’re calling into question the legitimacy of Israel per se. That is your right, of course, and is basically what Ahmadinejad is doing when he calls for elections among Palestinians, “overlooking” the fact that there is another people there with a right to self-determination.
    Going back to 1947 is tricky, Carroll. You fall into line with the extremist Palestinian position–no Israel. It’s quite siimilar to the extremist settler position–no Palestine. Fine, I’m sure, for venting, but overall, not conducive to a REAL solution to the conflict, as elusive as that has been up to now.
    You also overlook my larger response to the MW quote: It’s fine to say “if X, then Y,” but you still haven’t answered whether X was the right thing to do in the first place. I don’t think we want a foreign policy which is simply reactive to what other nations want. To be sure, we’ve gone WAY to far in the other direction, but there should be a balance…and that is what my question was pointing to.

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  8. pauline says:

    Bushwacker people admitting that they don’t know the meaning of “equal justice under the law”.
    from this afternoon’s White House press briefing:
    Q Scott, is Scooter Libby getting more than equal justice under the law? Is he getting special treatment?
    MR. STANZEL: Well, I guess I don’t know what you mean by “equal justice under the law.” But this is a unique case, there’s no doubt about that. And we have said that there are a lot of people on all sides of this issue who’ve made good points. The President took a very measured approach to it. He believed that the jury verdict should be respected and — but he did feel that the sentence was excessive, in terms of jail time. But this is a unique case, and there’s no doubt about that.
    Q Scott, why, if the President thought the sentence was excessive, why didn’t he simply reduce it? Why do away with the entire sentence?
    MR. STANZEL: Well, I think the President thought that the penalty — the fine, the probation, the felony charge — were all very significant penalties. And so that’s why — I’m not going to get into a gaming out of whether zero to 30 and somewhere in there was — is the right place, but the President thought that the fine was excessive — or the jail time was excessive, and that’s why he commuted the sentence.
    Q Even one day would have been considered excessive?
    MR. STANZEL: The President commuted the entire sentence.
    Q So a single day in jail for lying and obstructing justice, in a federal case, is excessive?
    MR. STANZEL: The President believed that 30 months, the sentence that was given — one day wasn’t given, 30 months was.
    Q Right, but it’s not the 30 months that he thought was excessive, it was the entire sentence.
    MR. STANZEL: It was the —
    Q — any time in jail.
    MR. STANZEL: He commuted the 30-month sentence. So what the President believed was 30 months was excessive, and he respected the jury verdict, and the jury verdict also put in place — found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice, which are serious charges, and those are addressed by the $250,000 fine and the probation and the felony charge.
    Q Can you tell us if reducing the sentence was even considered?
    MR. STANZEL: I’m not going to even speculate about internal deliberations. So the President made very clear his views in the two-page statement and in his comments the next day.

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  9. Kathleen says:

    I’m with you, Sandy, very, very sad.
    And, with you, Carroll, wondering what it is that we can DOOO about it?
    Perhaps Larry Flynt will offer another reward for anyone who can produce another spotted blue dress. With all the focus on the nightly news shows about celebrity sluttiness, it seems only personal peccadillos can undo a politician.
    Or, maybe we could get John Edwards’ hair stylist to do Dennis Kucinich’s hair. We might get more people on board HR 333 and impeach us some bastards. Hell, I’d pay for it myself if having better hair days would help Kucinich be taken more seriously. He has, afterall, been right all along. In his case, a spotted blue dress might actually help his image.
    Sorry, I jest.
    Freeway Blogger has a great sign:
    Impeach Bush for Blowing the Job.

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  10. Sandy says:

    On the face of it, it WOULD seem preposterous — that a country of this size and resources….would be influenced to the extent that it is in its foreign policy….by the small country of Israel, or that is, its right-wingers.
    But, MP, please read this:
    http://antiwar.com/orig/giraldi.php
    June 27, 2007
    Neoconned Again?
    That the rhetoric used to justify war against Iraq sounds eerily similar to the case being made to start a war against Iran and Syria is not purely a coincidence….”
    The facts are, the neo-conservatives are in power in this country. And, many of them — not all (Bush, Cheney, Woolsey, Rumsfeld are not) — are Jewish (including those, like Strauss, whose ideas they use.) And, they’re aligned with the right-wingers in Israel.
    Those are just facts, MP. Just facts. Not anti-Semitism. Look at who they are and what they stand for….what they “want”.

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  11. Carroll says:

    Posted by MP at July 4, 2007 02:47 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    MP, your arguements in favor of Israel and AIPAC like so many in the zionist camp, are always like those of a alcoholic …first you deny you have a drinking problem and then you reach for every piece of straw and “rationalize” that if you do it’s everyone’s else fault because they are all “against you” and therefore your drinking is someone’s or everyone else’s fault, not your own.
    Well sooner or later even reasonable people have to turn their back on your sickness, leave you to your own devices and protect themselves from the havoc it causes in everyone’s else’s lives.
    And you can play with your bullet points replies but they don’t even address the real points and are incomplete to put it politely and full of straw.
    You are too baised and too Israeli to be objective about the Israeli part in US ME policy and you are certainly no match for realist like M&W…so let’s call you an israeli yahoo.
    This for instance makes absolutely no sense:
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    “Moreover, Palestinian terrorism is not random violence directed against Israel or ‘the West’; it is largely a response to Israel’s prolonged campaign to colonize the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
    ME: So then why was there terrorism against Israel prior to 1967? Why didn’t the Arab countries open their arms to Israel, their fellow “Semites,” BACK THEN?
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Carroll: Well duh?…open their arms?…..c.o.l.o.n.i.z.a.t.i.o.n of Palestine even back then..comprend vous? Palestine in 1937..56,000 jews….Palestine in 1948…600,000 jews.
    And this one:
    >>>>>>>>>
    M&W via Carroll: “The terrorist organizations that threaten Israel do not threaten the United States, except when it intervenes against them (as in Lebanon in 1982).
    ME: Even granting this to be true, which I don’t, it doesn’t answer the question whether we SHOULD have sent a peacekeeping force to Lebanon, does it, which I (silly me) thought was for the benefit of the Lebanese?
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Carroll: well now you are showing your dumbness. peace keeping forces were sent to Lebanon in 82 to “keep peace and seperate the Israelis from the Lebanon forces”…duh?..again. They were not sent to be on or protect either side. Although we all know what the Israelis did to the US peacekeeping forces to provoke them and to the Lebanon forces and how it culminated in the attack on US peacekeepers.
    If you want to talk about the oil interest talk about it…put up some info on something besides your defense of all things israeli. The Oil factor is old and well known and has been pointed out since the begining and is not a contridiction to the Israeli factor. Right now we are addressing the Israeli part in the special interest that also needs to be eliminated. So knock yourself out trying to sell crazy on the jewish and Israeli innocence in the ME, no one is buying.

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  12. MP says:

    M&W via Carroll: “The terrorist organizations that threaten Israel do not threaten the United States, except when it intervenes against them (as in Lebanon in 1982).
    ME: Even granting this to be true, which I don’t, it doesn’t answer the question whether we SHOULD have sent a peacekeeping force to Lebanon, does it, which I (silly me) thought was for the benefit of the Lebanese?
    Moreover, Palestinian terrorism is not random violence directed against Israel or ‘the West’; it is largely a response to Israel’s prolonged campaign to colonize the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
    ME: So then why was there terrorism against Israel prior to 1967? Why didn’t the Arab countries open their arms to Israel, their fellow “Semites,” BACK THEN?
    More important, saying that Israel and the US are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: the US has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around.”
    ME: But this essentially is to legitimize terrorist attacks on the US by virtue of the alliance AND to say the US shouldn’t do anything that pisses off anyone else–as Kathleen pointed a while back–lest they come after us.
    “There were several reasons for the war in Iraq. The desire for American control of oil, the belief that Washington could build puppet states in the region, and a real, if misplaced, fear of Saddam Hussein played a part in the current disaster. But it was also strongly shaped by the notion that what is good for Israel is good for the United States.”
    ME: And, of course, it is ONLY the Israeli connection that concerns M&W. If there truly were “several reasons” for the war, there’d be concern shown here about those reasons, but there isn’t.
    “And when Baghdad was taken in April 2003, the Israeli government immediately began to push for an attack on Syria. The lust for this attack has waned, in no small part because the Americans don’t have enough troops to hang on in Iraq, much less launch a new occupation.”
    ME: Actually, most of the reports, including some posts by, I believe D Levy on this site, showed that it was the US that was pressuring Israel to attack Syria, not the other way around.
    “The alliance between Israel and the United States has culminated after 50 years in direct U.S. military involvement in the Middle East.”
    ME: In other words, the only reason the US is involved in the ME is Israel. What utter garbage. You mean, the Shah was installed simply for Israel’s benefit? That the US went into Kuwait solely for Israel’s benefit? That we installed our military in Saudi Arabia for Israel’s benefit? Horseshit.
    “The weakening of the United States, economically and militarily, is giving rise to new centers of power. The U.S. economy, mismanaged and drained by the Iraq war, is increasingly dependent on Chinese trade imports and on Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasury securities.”
    ME: In case this is too tough for anyone, here’s the translation. If the US wasn’t Israel’s ally…and therefore hadn’t gone into the ME…the Chinese wouldn’t be tanning our hides in trade. Once you’ve got the Israeli connection down pat, the world suddenly becomes simple and clear! No wonder Carroll likes this. She can understand it, and so can the yahoos.
    Bingo…Israel…the root of ALL the US’s troubles.
    Amazing, isn’t it? A country maybe 50 times as large and powerful as Israel, if not more so, is single-handledly responsible for its economic, military, and probably social demise. All engineered by a group of people who are MAYBE 2% of 2% of the American population, if that.

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  13. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “What sets AIPAC apart is it lobbies for a “foreign country”..made up of people who pledge alleigence to a foreign country….and have no regard for the interest of the United States and would indeed use up every resource of the US and it’s people in pursuit of their religious or ethnic alleigence to a foreign country.”
    Bullshit. But not unexpected.

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  14. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican at July 4, 2007 01:21 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes, the US will fall apart first. That will be the price of americans regaining control of their country. So faster please.
    “Pay any price, bear any burden”..JFK
    “This too will end”…….unknown
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    “Terrorism is not a single adversary,” John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt wrote in The London Review of Books, “but a tactic employed by a wide array of political groups. The terrorist organizations that threaten Israel do not threaten the United States, except when it intervenes against them (as in Lebanon in 1982). Moreover, Palestinian terrorism is not random violence directed against Israel or ‘the West’; it is largely a response to Israel’s prolonged campaign to colonize the West Bank and Gaza Strip. More important, saying that Israel and the US are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: the US has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around.”
    Middle Eastern policy is shaped in the United States by those with very close ties to the Israel lobby. Those who attempt to counter the virulent Israeli position, such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, are ruthlessly slapped down. This alliance was true also during the Clinton administration, with its array of Israel-first Middle East experts, including special Middle East coordinator Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk, the former deputy director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, one of the most powerful Israel lobbying groups in Washington. But at least people like Indyk and Ross are sane, willing to consider a Palestinian state, however unviable, as long as it is palatable to Israel. The Bush administration turned to the far-right wing of the Israel lobby, those who have not a shred of compassion for the Palestinians or a word of criticism for Israel. These new Middle East experts include Elliott Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, the disgraced I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and David Wurmser.
    Washington was once willing to stay Israel’s hand. It intervened to thwart some of its most extreme violations of human rights. This administration, however, has signed on for every disastrous Israeli blunder, from building the security barrier in the West Bank, to sealing off Gaza and triggering a humanitarian crisis, to the ruinous invasion and saturation bombing of Lebanon.
    The few tepid attempts by the Bush White House to criticize Israeli actions have all ended in hasty and humiliating retreats in the face of Israeli pressure. When the Israel Defense Forces in April 2002 reoccupied the West Bank, President Bush called on then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to “halt the incursions and begin withdrawal.” It never happened. After a week of heavy pressure from the Israel lobby and Israel’s allies in Congress, meaning just about everyone in Congress, the president gave up, calling Sharon “a man of peace.” It was a humiliating moment for the United States, a clear sign of who pulled the strings.
    There were several reasons for the war in Iraq. The desire for American control of oil, the belief that Washington could build puppet states in the region, and a real, if misplaced, fear of Saddam Hussein played a part in the current disaster. But it was also strongly shaped by the notion that what is good for Israel is good for the United States. Israel wanted Iraq neutralized. Israeli intelligence, in the lead-up to the war, gave faulty information to the U.S. about Iraq’s alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. And when Baghdad was taken in April 2003, the Israeli government immediately began to push for an attack on Syria. The lust for this attack has waned, in no small part because the Americans don’t have enough troops to hang on in Iraq, much less launch a new occupation.
    Israel is currently lobbying the United States to launch aerial strikes on Iran, despite the debacle in Lebanon. Israel’s iron determination to forcibly prevent a nuclear Iran makes it probable that before the end of the Bush administration an attack on Iran will take place. The efforts to halt nuclear development through diplomatic means have failed. It does not matter that Iran poses no threat to the United States. It does not matter that it does not even pose a threat to Israel, which has several hundred nuclear weapons in its arsenal. It matters only that Israel demands total military domination of the Middle East.
    The alliance between Israel and the United States has culminated after 50 years in direct U.S. military involvement in the Middle East. This involvement, which is not furthering American interests, is unleashing a geopolitical nightmare. American soldiers and Marines are dying in droves in a useless war. The impotence of the United States in the face of Israeli pressure is complete. The White House and the Congress have become, for perhaps the first time, a direct extension of Israeli interests. There is no longer any debate within the United States. This is evidenced by the obsequious nods to Israel by all the current presidential candidates with the exception of Dennis Kucinich. The political cost for those who challenge Israel is too high.
    This means there will be no peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It means the incidents of Islamic terrorism against the U.S. and Israel will grow. It means that American power and prestige are on a steep, irreversible decline. And I fear it also means the ultimate end of the Jewish experiment in the Middle East.
    The weakening of the United States, economically and militarily, is giving rise to new centers of power. The U.S. economy, mismanaged and drained by the Iraq war, is increasingly dependent on Chinese trade imports and on Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasury securities. China holds dollar reserves worth $825 billion. If Beijing decides to abandon the U.S. bond market, even in part, it would cause a free fall by the dollar. It would lead to the collapse of the $7-trillion U.S. real estate market. There would be a wave of U.S. bank failures and huge unemployment. The growing dependence on China has been accompanied by aggressive work by the Chinese to build alliances with many of the world’s major exporters of oil, such as Iran, Nigeria, Sudan and Venezuela. The Chinese are preparing for the looming worldwide clash over dwindling resources.
    The future is ominous. Not only do Israel’s foreign policy objectives not coincide with American interests, they actively hurt them. The growing belligerence in the Middle East, the calls for an attack against Iran, the collapse of the imperial project in Iraq have all given an opening, where there was none before, to America’s rivals. It is not in Israel’s interests to ignite a regional conflict. It is not in ours. But those who have their hands on the wheel seem determined, in the name of freedom and democracy, to keep the American ship of state headed at breakneck speed into the cliffs before us.”

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  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Just give it enough time and rope to hang itself and they will all be gone or marginalized into the proper cult category, the AIPAC’ers, the christian evangelicals, all of them.”
    This nation will fall apart first. Yesterday. By this time next year Cheney will have instituted his second trifecta, and we will be living in an undeniable domestic police state, engaged internationally in the massive slaughter of the world’s Muslim population.
    Can’t happen here, right?
    Just watch.

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  16. Carroll says:

    POA writes: “Your insistence that AIPAC is like any other lobby still holds that distinction.”
    Unfortunately for your “argument,” AIPAC DOES function largely like any other large lobby, albeit often more effectively. Interestingly, Walt and Mearshimer, patron saints of the anti-Lobby proponents, agrees with me in large part. For example…
    The Israel Lobby’s power flows from its unmatched ability to play this game of interest group politics. In its basic operations, it is no different from interest groups like the Farm Lobby, steel and textile workers, and other ethnic lobbies. What sets the Israel Lobby apart is its extraordinary effectiveness.
    — “The Israel Lobby, ” p. 16
    OTOH, EE’s comment really WAS stupid–not to mention false and offensive–or, if you prefer Steve’s wording, just plain silly.
    Posted by MP at July 4, 2007 10:29 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Actually..
    What sets AIPAC apart is it lobbies for a “foreign country”..made up of people who pledge alleigence to a foreign country….and have no regard for the interest of the United States and would indeed use up every resource of the US and it’s people in pursuit of their religious or ethnic alleigence to a foreign country.
    And they lobby for war by the US against Israel’s enemies. Something that not even the industrial war complex does knowing they could never sell war to the US citizens based on it being good for their stockholders.
    But it won’t last, it will eventually blow up in their faces as these types of cabals always have thruout history. Just give it enough time and rope to hang itself and they will all be gone or marginalized into the proper cult category, the AIPAC’ers, the christian evangelicals, all of them.

    Reply

  17. MP says:

    POA writes: “Your insistence that AIPAC is like any other lobby still holds that distinction.”
    Unfortunately for your “argument,” AIPAC DOES function largely like any other large lobby, albeit often more effectively. Interestingly, Walt and Mearshimer, patron saints of the anti-Lobby proponents, agrees with me in large part. For example…
    The Israel Lobby’s power flows from its unmatched ability to play this game of interest group politics. In its basic operations, it is no different from interest groups like the Farm Lobby, steel and textile workers, and other ethnic lobbies. What sets the Israel Lobby apart is its extraordinary effectiveness.
    — “The Israel Lobby, ” p. 16
    OTOH, EE’s comment really WAS stupid–not to mention false and offensive–or, if you prefer Steve’s wording, just plain silly.

    Reply

  18. easy e says:

    “Surely one of the stupidest things that’s been said on these threads in a long, long time.”
    Posted by MP
    Not really. Your insistence that AIPAC is like any other lobby still holds that distinction.
    Posted by: PissedOffAmerican at July 3, 2007 11:32 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Touche’ MP.
    Couldn’t have said it any better myself, POA……….thanks.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Surely one of the stupidest things that’s been said on these threads in a long, long time.”
    Posted by MP
    Not really. Your insistence that AIPAC is like any other lobby still holds that distinction.

    Reply

  20. JonU says:

    Tough on crime attitude pushed by conservatives.
    Prosecutor appointed by Bush.
    Judge appointed by Bush.
    “Sentence too harsh (and I reserve the right to completly pardon him later)”.
    Anyone else see the disconnect?
    “And the world turns…”
    That’s a sad attitude to have. And a telling example of how out-of-touch the Washington insider/media/politico culture is with the rest of the country. More people like you Mr. Clemons, should be more upset with this turn of events.
    Do you have any idea how much this strengthens in many “common” Americans’ minds that the Washington insiders view themselves as above and beyond the rest of us?

    Reply

  21. pauline says:

    CNN legal analyst: ‘Pardons are poison to presidents’ reputations’
    07/03/2007
    Filed by David Edwards and Muriel Kane
    Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin spoke with CNN on Monday about the Scooter Libby commutation, saying, “Maybe I’m just naive. I was totally shocked by this, because pardons are poison to presidents’ reputations. … And for the president to violate Justice Department guidelines … to help a White House insider when he’s helped so few other ordinary Americans in this way was just astonishing to me.”
    Toobin explained that although the president has the constitutional right to ignore the Justice Department guidelines, which state that commutation should be offered only after someone has served part of their sentence, he has always followed them in the past. “Whenever you go outside the guidelines, that’s when you get into trouble,” Toobin said.
    “This was hardly some sort of Democratic operation,” Toobin concluded. “Practically everyone involved in prosecuting or judging Lewis Libby was a Republican.”

    Reply

  22. MP says:

    EE writes: “That puts TWN in the same company as the MSM, including Fox News.”
    Surely one of the stupidest things that’s been said on these threads in a long, long time.

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    Posted by Sandy at July 3, 2007 02:53 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s hardcover book on the Israeli Lobby and Israel is due out September 4th…459 pages.
    Everyone should buy several copies and mail them to their politicans…boxed with a dead fish inside….that is the only message the Israeli and congressional mafia understands.

    Reply

  24. Sandy says:

    I agree completely, easy e.
    And, Carroll, my answer — not that anyone has the courage – is:
    http://tinyurl.com/2v5oln

    Reply

  25. easy e says:

    People of influence, institutions, beltway elite, etc., who continue to reject the notion of impeachment (Cheney or Cheney/Bush) are directly or indirectly COMPLICIT in the crimes that have occurred by this administration.
    That puts TWN in the same company as the MSM, including Fox News.
    Sad.

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    Glenn Greenwald:
    “we have been a nation which allows our highest political officials to reside beyond the reach of law. It is just that simple.
    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.
    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. ”
    >>>>>>>>>>
    That’s it in a nutshell.
    So what do we do now? Expect another election of more of the same Beltway Elite to cure the problem?
    I am seriously asking…Just what do we do now?
    Anyone have any suggestion?

    Reply

  27. Sandy says:

    It feels like we’re living in some science fiction world where things have gotten so bad….have deteriorated so much…under Bush/Cheney…..that the young people coming up will have never had a chance to know what it is really like for the leaders of this country to actually be devoted to….believe in….solid principles such as …..duty….honor….country. Rule of Law. Our Constitution.
    What they see instead is pure cynicism (and worse) at work — everyone looks out for #1. That’s what makes “the system” work. That’s what drives things in the United States. Profit, “privatize”, what’s in it for ME, CYA…
    The idea of devoting oneself to a cause “larger than oneself” is not modeled (Steve may disagree with me) anywhere any longer to any great extent in the major institutions that make up this country. They all seem to have ulterior motives for operating. We no longer have a real justice system. Justice? For whom?
    The so-called “Christian right” evangelicals go around the world selling “abstinence” …not condoms….to prevent the scourage of AIDS. Intelligent Africans hearing Laura and Jenna Bush’s messages about that expressed their incredulity …and alarm. Do as I say….not as *I* do. The M.O. that is being modeled…worldwide.
    Tony Blair becomes a “peace” envoy to the Middle East. Who among conscious/sentinent humans could take that seriously?
    The new secretary of the U.N. is connected with the Moonie cult, and Rupert Murdock continues to stalk the world, taking over whatever he can that is in his path.
    The mainstream media is ignored and met with skepticism by anyone who knows anything and values truth and integrity.
    The U.S. military….having…once again…been manipulated, used, and run into the ground….will take decades to rejuvenate. The sorrow of the families of the lost and maimed kept hidden as much as possible from public view. Go shopping. Don’t worry your “beautiful mind” about such things.
    The big corporations continue to pay their CEOs shocking amounts….even when the enterprise is close to bankruptcy… while the little guys and gals are losing their homes and going on food stamps….(if they haven’t been cut).
    Michael Moore touched the surface of the health care situation.
    What do YOU believe our young people make of all this? How will it affect the adults and leaders of the future they will become?
    I am overwhelmed by feelings of deep sorrow this 4th of July.

    Reply

  28. David N says:

    At yesterday’s Bergen/L? event, someone got up for a question and mentioned the current regime’s campaign to spread democracy in the Middle East.
    I almost laughed out loud. Before they give Iraq and the rest of the ME democracy from the barrel of a gun, shouldn’t these mafiosi spread some democracy along the banks of the Potomac?
    Bush talks about freedom, which to him means everyone doing what he tells them to.
    He talks about democracy, which means everyone doing what he tells them to do.
    He talks about allies, which means other countries doing what he tells them to do.
    He talks about responsibility, which means everyone being responsible to him.
    He is a shill, a willing and clueless dupe, to the real threat to our country, the corporate powers working to trash the Constitution in the name of unlimited power and profits. Cheney knows who he works for, which makes his impeachment both necessary and far more important that impeaching Bush. I have outlined elsewhere how the Dems can do this, but they lack both spine and forebrain.
    Heil Bush!!

    Reply

  29. Matthew says:

    The actual slogan in 2000 was: “He will bring honor and dignity back to the White House….(suckers!)”

    Reply

  30. pauline says:

    Here’s the scootin’ liar’s timeline. I just love how so-called conservative repubs claim no real crime was committed. So they ask, “what’s the big deal about what bush(wacker) did?!” (Limbaugh is blabbing right now on the airwaves what a great thing bushwacker has done for all conservative Americans by commuting the scootin’ liar’s sentence.)
    Hey, we all obstruct justice, make false statements to the FBI and perjure ourselves under oath to a grand jury, right!?
    By The Associated Press
    Mon Jul 2, 7:22 PM ET
    A timeline of events leading up to the commutation of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s 2 1/2-year prison sentence. Libby was convicted and sentenced for lying and obstructing an investigation into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s name.
    2003:
    _Jan. 28: President Bush asserts in his State of the Union address: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
    _March 19-20: The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq begins.
    _May 6: New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof reports that a former ambassador, whom he does not name, had been sent to Niger in 2002 and reported to the CIA and State Department well before Bush’s speech that the uranium story was unequivocally wrong and was based on obviously forged documents.
    _May 29: Libby asks Marc Grossman, an undersecretary of state, for information about the ambassador’s travel to Niger. Grossman later tells Libby that Joseph Wilson was the former ambassador.
    _June 11 or 12: Grossman tells Libby that Wilson’s wife works at the CIA and that State Department personnel are saying Wilson’s wife was involved in planning the trip. A senior CIA officer gives him similar information, as does Cheney’s top press aide, Cathie Martin, who had learned it from CIA spokesman Bill Harlow.
    _June 11 or 12: Cheney advises Libby that Wilson’s wife works at the CIA.
    _June 13: Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward interviews Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage for a book. Armitage tells Woodward in a taped interview that Wilson’s wife works for the CIA.
    _June 14: Libby meets with a CIA briefer and discusses “Joe Wilson” and his wife, “Valerie Wilson.”
    _June 23: Libby meets with Times reporter Judith Miller. During the meeting, Miller says, Libby tells her that Wilson’s wife might work at a bureau of the CIA. Libby denies saying that.
    _July 6: The New York Times publishes an opinion piece by Wilson under the headline “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” and he appears on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Wilson said he doubted Iraq had recently obtained uranium from Niger and thought Cheney’s office was told of the results of his trip.
    _July 7: Libby meets with then-White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. Fleischer says Libby tells him that Wilson’s wife works at the CIA and that the information is “hush hush.” Libby denies that.
    _July 8: Libby meets with Miller again. She recalls Libby saying he believes Wilson’s wife works for the CIA. Libby denies telling her that.
    _July 8: Columnist Robert Novak interviews Armitage, who tells him that Wilson’s wife works for the CIA. Novak says this was confirmed the next day by White House political adviser Karl Rove.
    _July 10: Libby calls NBC newsman Tim Russert to complain about a colleague’s news coverage. At the end of the conversation, Libby says, Russert tells him that “all the reporters know” that Wilson’s wife works at the CIA. Libby says he was surprised to hear that. Russert denies saying it.
    _July 11: Fleischer, on a presidential trip to Africa, tells two reporters that Wilson’s wife works for the CIA. Rove tells Time Magazine’s Matthew Cooper that Wilson’s wife works for the CIA.
    _July 12: Libby speaks to Cooper and confirms to him that he has heard that Wilson’s wife was involved in sending Wilson on the trip. Libby also speaks to Miller and discusses Wilson’s wife and says that she works at the CIA. Libby claims he told Cooper and Miller he only knew about Plame from talking to other reporters.
    _July 12: Walter Pincus of The Washington Post says Fleischer tells him that Wilson’s wife works at the CIA. Fleischer doesn’t recall that.
    _July 14: Columnist Novak reports that Wilson’s wife is a CIA operative on weapons of mass destruction and that two senior administration officials, whom Novak did not name, said she suggested sending her husband to Niger to investigate the uranium story.
    _Sept. 26: A criminal investigation is authorized to determine who leaked Plame’s identity to reporters. Disclosing the identity of CIA operatives is illegal. A short time later, Armitage tells investigators that he may have inadvertently leaked Plame’s identity to Woodward.
    _Oct. 14 and Nov. 26: Libby is interviewed by FBI agents.
    _Dec. 30: U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald in Chicago, an aggressive career prosecutor, is named to head the leak investigation after then-Attorney General John Ashcroft takes himself out of the case to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
    2004:
    _January: A grand jury begins investigating possible violations of federal criminal laws.
    _March 5 and March 24: Libby testifies before the grand jury. In a tape of his testimony, Libby tells jurors that he forgot the information about Plame working for the CIA until he heard it from Russert. Anything he told reporters, he says, was just chatter passed on from that conversation.
    2005:
    _Oct. 28: Libby is indicted on five counts: obstruction of justice and two counts each of false statement and two counts of perjury.
    2006:
    _Sept. 7: Armitage admits he leaked Plame’s identity to Novak and to Bob Woodward of The Washington Post. Armitage says he did not realize Plame’s job was covert.
    2007:
    _Jan. 16: Jury selection begins in Libby’s trial.
    _Jan. 23: Prosecution and defense lawyers make opening statements to the jury and U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton.
    _Feb. 20: Prosecution and defense attorneys make closing statements.
    _Feb. 21: Jurors begin deliberations.
    _March 6: Jurors return guilty verdicts on charges of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI. A not guilty verdict was returned on one count of lying to an FBI agent.
    _June 5: Walton sentences Libby to 2 1/2 years in prison.
    _June 14: Walton refuses to delay Libby’s sentence.
    _June 19: Libby asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to delay his sentence until deciding the appeal of his conviction.
    _June 28: The U.S. Bureau of Prisons assigns Libby an inmate number; he becomes federal inmate No. 28301-016.
    _July 2, 12:19 p.m. EDT: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit announces its decision refusing to delay Libby’s prison sentence.
    _July 2, 5:25 p.m. EDT: President Bush commutes Libby’s sentence, sparing him from a 2 1/2-year prison term. Bush leaves intact a $250,000 fine and two years probation for Libby.

    Reply

  31. TokyoTom says:

    Mr. President, thank you so, SO much for making us all PROUD to be AMERICANS!
    Your commuting of Libby’s sentence really helps us to hold our heads up high, in the face of corrupt and vicous despots around the world.
    No doubt they are all learning lessons about democracy, the rule of law and the greatness of America.
    What a wonderful gift you have given us Americans – and the rest of the world – right in time for our “independence day” celebration!
    Thanks again, Mr. President.

    Reply

  32. TokyoTom says:

    Thank you, Mr. Bush, for this birthday present that can make us SOO PROUD! to be AMERICANS.
    Yes, we can hold our heads us high, while vicious dictators around the world laugh at us and take comfort that we have been reduced to their level.
    Yes, thank you very much, Mr. President.

    Reply

  33. rich says:

    There’s only one responsible, non-disingenuous response to this: for self-proclaimed “radical centrists” to admit that impeachment was the first and only response to George W. Bush. Four years ago. And impeachment remains the only viable option. Politically viable.
    Commuting Libby’s sentence is incontrovertible proof that impeachment advocates were right. And right the very first time they raised the issue.
    The “center” cannot hold, and “centrists” cannot hold, without acknowledging that a) the Constitution exists, b) it’s not a hypothetical document, and c) ‘public service’ is not an anything-goes-as-long-as-I-can-get-away-with-it game. “Centrists” cannot hold without PRACTICING a politics that is responsible, that insists on upholding the rule of law.
    A “Center” that does NOT uphold the central shared values of this country–isn’t a center at all. It’s something else entirely. And it will cease to exist when it loses sight of that shared ground, on the pretense it is being ‘reasonable’ or ‘moderate’–when it is exposed as none of those things.
    The problem for dogmatists of bipartisanship is reasonableness and integrity. Bill Clinton’s House prosecutors set the standard for impeachment very, very low. Where are all those Principled Men now? Why haven’t centrist, partisan Democrat, media pundit, and think-tanker alike held Republican feet to the fire over this egregious Double Standard, over the PERFECTLY legit (pure & simple) argument impeachment?
    Two UNAVOIDABLE Lessons:
    When Bush says ~”dictatorship wouldn’t be so bad, as long as I’m the Decider. And I’m the Decider”–HE MEANS IT. This is a longstanding pattern. The naive refusal by DC Elites to believe him on these points is a fatal error on th order of Greek Tragedy. But Bush’s saying so AT ALL should have been THE hair-trigger for impeachment, right then and there. Why that is True and IF it is somehow, SOMEHOW UNCLEAR, I’ll say this Very Politely: Letting it pass sets a dangerous precedent, Constitutionally. And BOTH Bush’s statements and the willingness to let it pass unmentioned and uncorrected and unpenalized is tantamount to treason. Either men of good faith occupy office and practice a politics that adheres to the Constitution–OR lawyers and politicians have free reign to compromise every REASONABLE understanding of the law—and eat this country alive in the process. There’s just no two ways about it.
    And this clearly extends to SCOTUS: remedial reading is in order, starting with Dr. Seuss. From “Justice” John Roberts on down to every last law student, “Horton Hears a Hoo” has to be assigned reading. Horton is like the Constitution: “I mean what I say and I say what I mean!” Only Disingenous Sophists of the worst order could so betray the meaning and practice of America, so profoundly, as have lawyers who believe everything is open to argumentation: I submit Exhibits A) the Democratic Congress, B) the Bush Precedentry, and C) the Roberts Supreme Court. I rest my case. Happy July 4th!
    The Lesson: When citizens, your readers, or “shrill” (i.e., vocal) Americans use the word impeachment, they are NOT TO BE dismissed. They know hor$e$hit when it’s being fed to ’em.
    You need to ask: Just who is being unreasonable here? Just who is being “shrill”? or uncivil? It’s not those opposed to Bush. It’s not those who critique the DC Establishment. It’s not who are, rightly, angry. It’s not even the kid with the ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ banner (if justices could die of disingenuousness, that legal opinion would’ve done in all six in seconds flat).
    Faced with Bush’s behavior, there should’ve been a freakin uproar. Bush is, tacitly or not, positing a tyranny. Ignoring that sets a precedent. Pandemonium is infinitely preferable to precedent. Infinitely.

    Reply

  34. sdemetri says:

    Juan Cole makes an interesting point.
    http://www.juancole.com/
    Commuting Libby’s sentence really gives a pardon to Cheney and Rove.

    Reply

  35. Linda says:

    While I agree with almost everything above, I also think there are real actions, rather than just being upset, that people can take because the best hope for justice and uncovering the facts now is the Plame/Wilson civil litigation that names not just Libby but also Armitage, Rove, and Cheney as defendants.
    Donations to their litigation fund can be made at http://www.wilsonsupport.org. One of their lead attorneys is Erwin Chemerinsky of Duke Law School, one of the very best constitutional lawyers in U.S. Check him out at http://www.duke.edu/fac/chemerinsky.

    Reply

  36. Frank says:

    This democrat majority congress sucks big time. At least this congress should take a stab on impeaching Cheney, if only to salvage some self respect. To do nothing is to be complicit in what this administration has done and is doing..
    If nothing is attempted, history will marvel at why lying about blow jobs warrants impeachment, but lying about reasons to go to war did not.Let history record the republican legislative members of the congress and the senate, continue to support a president who has done more harm to this nation, and to the world, than Osama ever dreamed of..
    Bravo Kucnich, keep trying…You have given refreshing meaning to the words “profile of courage”.

    Reply

  37. pauline says:

    “Marc Rich (born Marc David Reich on December 18, 1934) is an international commodities trader. He fled the United States in 1983 to live in Switzerland while being prosecuted on charges of tax evasion and illegally making oil deals with Iran during the hostage crisis.
    He received a presidential pardon from United States President Bill Clinton in 2001, which required him to pay a $100 million fine before the charges would be dropped.
    On January 20, 2001, hours before leaving office, President Bill Clinton granted Rich a presidential pardon. Since Rich’s former wife and mother of his three children, socialite Denise Rich, had made large donations to the Democratic Party and the Clinton Library during Clinton’s time in office, Clinton’s critics alleged that Rich’s pardon had been bought. Clinton explained his decision by noting that similar situations were settled in civil, not criminal court, and cited clemency pleas from Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
    During hearings after Rich’s pardon, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who had represented Rich from 1985 until the spring of 2000, denied that Rich had violated the tax laws. . .”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Rich
    Scooter Libby lawyering for Marc Rich? Why isn’t that just one lying firster helping out another lying firster?!

    Reply

  38. SmellaRat says:

    Punchy is right.
    Imagine a system by design to allow those in power to break the law. That is what we have via the ability for the chief executive to pardon.
    Think about it. I believe most people just glaze over when they read or hear the oft-stated “equal under the law”. The pardoning power puts a big asterisk after EVERY law. “You shall not do X*” where “* = unless the president says its OK”. This assumes that the president in principle is supposed to apply this unbelievable power reasonably–we have to take this on faith. Does anyone on this board have FAITH in George W Bush? Can we guarantee that the dolt-laden American electorate will not vote another tyrant into power? There is no check on this. This is a short-circuit in the circuit of laws.
    In effect a pardon-based system becomes a system of custom justice. By design then we have a special set of rules that apply to the friends of the pardon-power wielding ruler and don’t apply to others. The is only natural: people close to the president are obviously more on his radar screen than ordinary citizens. By the failings inherent to human nature pardoning will NEVER be delivered fairly or evenly. Via the power of pardoning we are NOT equal under the law.

    Reply

  39. jon says:

    Bush now owns Scooter’s crime.
    Perhaps he acted out of compassion for Scooter. More likely, he didn’t want Scooter to roll over on Karl, Cheney, or himself. That would be inconvenient. Scooter might have had something to say about one or two other crimes that he might have been tempted to trade for a reduced sentence.
    But the timing surprises me. I had expected Bush to wait as long as he could, till the appeal was over, till Scooter had served a month or two, until after the election. The timing suggests that Bush was in a bit of a hurry to buy that priceless silence. Something more important than showing Putin he can roll the same way. Something happened that we can’t see.
    Now that Bush has demonstrated his utter contempt for the Justice Department, the Judiciary, Congress, the covert operatives of the US government, and the public, he should expect reciprocal treatment.
    Congress has an obligation to make Bush pay a price for his high-handedness. If Congress will not act across the board to pin the administration’s ears back it will deserve its’ sinking poll numbers. Kucinich’s resolution to impeach Cheney look more compelling every day.
    With this act, Bush has declared open warfare on the country. He will not be deterred easily. Remember that this is the crowd that assumed that a permanent Republican majority was their birthright. They will seek to retain power regardless of the cost or damage to the country. They will not relinquish their grip on any portion of it, it will have to be pried away piece by piece. There is no time to delay.

    Reply

  40. Punchy says:

    This really sets an ugly precedent. From now until Jan. 2009, any and all Bush Admin. hacks will have free reign to break the law. They will have no incentive to follow rules.
    The message is this–do whatever you want, anyway you can, and if you get caught, you won’t spend a minute in jail.
    I suspect this will get very, very ugly.

    Reply

  41. liz says:

    The President of the United States just slapped every undercover CIA officer in the face. Bush is insulting as the day is long because not only does he not understand how to protect America, he is destroying America. He is a traitor and should be immediately removed from office.
    Does everyone realize how when Ms. Plame’s name was released, entire networks that have been established over years, went down. End of story you see.
    We will never recover from this lousy rotten President.

    Reply

  42. Marcia says:

    If the consequences of his acts were not so gruesome Bush would be a clown. There are the lies, the posturing and now a pardon to keep the lid on a can of worms.
    He does not possess the qualities of a tragic figure so will remain as a dim-witted puppet among the dregs of history, an appropriate figure to embody a crumbling empire, surrounded by a pretorian garde as he frantically bicyles and clears brush to keep his hand off the bottle.

    Reply

  43. Carroll says:

    Psychopathy Checklist
    Definition
    The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person’s psychopathic or antisocial tendencies. People who are psychopathic prey ruthlessly on others using charm, deceit, violence or other methods that allow them to get with they want. The symptoms of psychopathy include: lack of a conscience or sense of guilt, lack of empathy, egocentricity, pathological lying, repeated violations of social norms, disregard for the law, shallow emotions, and a history of victimizing others.
    >>>>>>>>
    In case you didn’t know 4% of the population is estimated to be psychopaths. Experts say that may be higher due to the fact that many go undetected because normal people find it hard to conceive of psychopaths operating at all levels and classes of society and tend to think of them as mostly convicted serial killers or other types of criminals.
    Going by the experts figures that means there are 12 million true psychopaths in the US…we know at least 6 are in the WH.

    Reply

  44. ... says:

    that means he is from the main wing of the dumbo party – roll over and play dead being their regular mode of operation.

    Reply

  45. S Brennan says:

    I don’t think that the following really matters as the Democratic front runner Obama has signaled that impeachment is off the table due to his political desire to be president, however as a historic tidbit it is interesting no?
    “…[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds [to] believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty…
    Madison went on to [say] contrary to his position in the Philadelphia convention, that the President could be suspended when suspected, and his powers would devolve on the Vice President, who could likewise be suspended until impeached and convicted, if he were also suspected.”
    I think the other thing Obama has signaled…for all his lofty rhetoric…he is from the roll-over and play dead wing of the Democratic party.

    Reply

  46. radicalc says:

    Bush-Cheney have their law and the rest of us pay for our transgressions . Those two (and the third Libby) have sold the American people down the river and one way or another need to get their come-uppance . Lying to Congress – incompetence in stratgeic thinking – can be laid at their door – they should go to jail for it but I can see the smirks shining through the EOB walls .
    America has criminal leadership .

    Reply

  47. ... says:

    poa’s 9pm doesn’t belong to him.. check the url he left at the bottom of the post.

    Reply

  48. peg says:

    please — POA 09:00 PM — could i PLEASE use your comment as an LTE in my small-town RED newspaper??
    i have no gift of writing, and would sure appreciate that comment as one of my own.

    Reply

  49. Carroll says:

    Well I am not surprised at all…nothing the neocon crowd does surprises me…it’s the nature of the beast.
    I have been saying for 3 years that this whole crew needs to be whacked, killed, assassinated, whatever…..I don’t care what office they pretend to hold they are nothing but criminals, mafia and traitors.
    And congress will do nothing. The dems are loving this…justice is beside the point in the US now.
    Everyone is soooooo worried and has talked soooooo long about “losing” this democracy…well, look around, it’s been gone a long time.
    BURN WASHINGTON TO THE GROUND AND START OVER

    Reply

  50. Frank says:

    Kucinich who??
    The only statesman in congress who is trying to do something about this continuing insult.
    Words are cheap. Now we await with baited breath words from our elected representatives on how they feel about the Libby commutation?? I just can’t wait to hear how they feel, and then…. do nothing.
    Lets give a cheer to Steve for all his past words of insight about what Kucinich is trying to do.

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  51. Brigitte N says:

    I like this site very much but I am stunned that Steve Clemons mentions the pardoning of Libby as if it were the normal state of affairs. Here we have a crew in the White House and administration that continues to be above the law while insisting that they go after those violating the law.
    I guess I am naive–but even after nearly seven years of this–I am still surprised–certainly more than Mr. Clemons seems to be

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  52. Dennis says:

    Make no mistake about it; it is for these moments that the Bush administration has packed the Supreme Court and to replace Attorney Generals with “good Republican”.
    Bush has just given the finger to justice, to judges and to the American people.
    You don’t have to be a blind conservative not to see it, just an ignorant one to deny it.

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  53. Marky says:

    As several people have noted (e.g. Marcy Wheeler), commuting the sentence rather than pardoning Libby amounts to obstruction of justice. With Libby’s conviction still standing and open to be appealed, he is eligible to invoke the 5th amendment still. If he were pardoned, he would have no 5th amendment protection on the Plame matter, because he wouldn’t need it.

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  54. ... says:

    poa 8:29 – right on.

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  55. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Above the law
    Bush, Cheney balk at subpoenas, classified information oversight
    It was not a good week for democracy. You could argue that the magnifying glass being put over the White House by Congress last week was well-timed for those with eyes on a presidential election just 16 months away. Political posturing … manufacturing headlines … drawing attention away from their own failed efforts.
    However, that would be too convenient a reaction to what is really going on in our nation’s capital, especially in light of what has been occurring within President Bush’s administration.
    The level of disregard for our Constitution, boundaries of the branches of our government and the American people themselves has never been so low. There has been so much occurring without the approval of the American public — at so many levels — it is simply staggering. (And even more difficult to keep track of it all.)
    It’s about time that members of Congress stood up to defend our Constitution earnestly.
    When an investigation began into whether the firing of U.S. attorneys under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was retribution for their inability to toe the party line, it raised more questions. According to testimony by former deputy attorney general James B. Comey to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales and the president’s chief of staff, Andrew Card, snuck around him in 2004 to pay Attorney General John Ashcroft a visit when he was in the hospital. Their purpose was to urge him to reauthorize the secret wiretapping program — Comey had rebuffed reauthorization while he was filling in for Ashcroft during his hospitalization.
    Speaking of the illegal wiretapping of Americans, on Wednesday the Senate Judiciary Committee sent subpoenas to Vice President Dick Cheney and the Justice Department for what chairman Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vermont, called “stonewalling of the worst kind” against its efforts to investigate the actions of the National Security Agency. The secret wiretapping by the NSA was first disclosed in December 2005. To date, the parties subpoenaed have refused to comply with nine formal requests for documents over the past 18 months.
    On another front (or affront), for the past four years Cheney has been refusing to comply with the National Archive Information Security Oversight Office’s routine oversight of classified information handled by his office. The office was naturally upset that it could not perform this routine procedure. When a protest was raised, Cheney threatened to have the unit abolished. On Wednesday, Cheney’s office stated that he was not technically part of the executive branch and therefore not required to produce the documents for the National Archive.
    Since when? Such extraordinary efforts to maintain secrecy about his actions send up all sorts of red flags.
    On Thursday, Bush joined the controversy by invoking executive privilege in regard to efforts to retrieve White House documents and testimony in regard to the firings of those U.S. attorneys.
    White House press secretary Tony Snow spun the efforts of Capitol Hill Democrats back toward them by accusing at a press conference that they were trying “to make life difficult for the White House. It also may explain why this is the least popular Congress in decades, because you do have what appears to be a strategy of destruction, rather than cooperation.”
    “Strategy of destruction” — that’s an interesting turn of phrase. By the actions of this White House, you could also claim it’s applying that phrase toward the U.S. Constitution.
    http://tinyurl.com/224lpk

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  56. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Why in God’s name would this suprise anyone? You currently have Rice, Gonzales, Bush, and Cheney ignoring Congressional subpoenas. You have assholes like Barack Obama announcing publicly that he doesn’t think Bush has met the standard of “grave and intentional breeches of the president’s authority”. You have this sick satanic piece of shit Cheney declaring himself outside the Executive branch. And you have six years of this corrupt, criminal, and inept administration completely avoiding accountability for crimes and malfeasance on a scale that makes it hard to even recall the individual transgressions. And you have these cowardly mewling sold out cowards like Pelosi and Reid telling Bush and Cheney that they need not fear impeachment.
    When Steve ran the commentary about Libby’s sentence, I commented that Libby would never see a day in jail. Anyone that expected him to go to jail hasn’t been paying attention these last six years. These people in the Bush Adminstration consider themselves above the law. And why shouldn’t they? After all, these frauds in Congress consider themselves above the law as well. To indict Bush, they would need to indict themselves. And an indictment of Bush would make their own future abuses and crimes harder to practice.
    This country sucks right now, and is in far greater danger than Steve is apparentlly willing to admit on a blog such as this one. We ABSOLUTELY no longer have a representative government. Our only option at this point, to reclaim our nation, is massive unrest and dissent. And Bush has spent the last six years laying the foundation of power and the enactment of laws that allows him to violently oppose any such dissent with military force, and the incarceration of citizens while withholding their access to legal representation, by simply laying a label on them.
    Wake up America, there has been a coup in Washington, and we are now the citizens of a fascist nation. Not only can it happen here, it IS happening here.

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  57. ... says:

    i agree with emptywheel bushs act is an obstruction of justice. i wonder if any lawmakers in the usa care anymore.. bush and this admin has done this so regularly, they must think they can always get away with it.

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  58. erict says:

    KaLo and the rest of the Neo– Fascist at the Corner will squeal like pigs, and spin so fast, they’ll effect the earth’s rotation.
    It is amazing that they have not been shamed into silence– constant propaganda that at its core is against the rule of law, democracy, the Constitution and American international and security interests.
    Even Mussolini would winch at their brazen and shameful corruption.

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  59. Jeany says:

    I think Bush owes Congress and the American people an explanation; how does he justify this, esp. the BS about commuting the sentence instead of the outright pardon now. If he’d pardoned Skater, he could be made to go to Congress and testify who he was covering for.
    And excuse me, Skater’s wife and kids are too rich and too white to miss the hubby/daddy? Huh?

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  60. justintime says:

    The Bush/Cheney crime syndicate is desperately covering its tracks.
    This time it’s obstruction of justice for the outlaw president.
    Impeach him now!

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  61. ... says:

    i always thought of bush as a dictator.. this confirms it… i wonder if those weak kneed democrats under puddleosi will do anything.. my guess is no.. it must be a real embarrassment to be an american as the 4th of july rolls around having a dictator for a leader.

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  62. Linda says:

    Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson’s civil suit against Libby (Cheney, Armitage, and not sure who else) now will be center stage.
    He wasn’t pardoned, just had his jail time commuted. And the Republican base does not want to impeach Bush or Cheney. They wanted this for Libby.

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  63. springboard says:

    The idea of Libby doing less time than Paris Hilton kid just…disgusts me.
    What a slap in the face to America’s Secret Services.

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  64. profmarcus says:

    scooter libby is a member of the elite, someone who’s done the bidding of the elites, and done it well and without complaint… but, more than that, he doesn’t put his pants on one leg at a time, and, even more importantly, his shit don’t stink like the rest of us here in the peasant class… the proper rewards have to be given to members of the royal court…
    http://takeitpersonally.blogspot.com/

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  65. Robert Morrow says:

    I think this is ridiculous. No way should Scooter Libby have been pardoned. Bush is only doing this because he has zero political capital. I mean zero. Bush has so little power that I don’t think the Left really wants to impeach him any more, now that the Republican base wants to impeach him, too.

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  66. caitlyn says:

    So Libby still has to pay a $250,000 fine. I expect that donations will come in pretty quickly for that. Will sources be public knowledge or will the donors be able to hide behind some privacy restriction? Will Libby pay income tax on the funds that are given to pay off his fine? Will donations by foreign governments be allowed?
    It looks like Libby got his commutation without ever having to admit wrongdoing.
    How can anyone claim we are a nation with equal justice under the law when the president lets his underlings off the hook (I am anticipating that conservatives and, possibly, foreign countries will pay off his fine and that he will get a pardon just before Bush leaves office.

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  67. semper fubar says:

    But we’re still a nation of laws, right?

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  68. Nicholas weaver says:

    Ohh, blessed be the Democrats, for they shalt grow much political hay with this…
    And here we were thinking he’d be in the slammer until November 5th, 2008

    Reply

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