Wednesday, March 07, 2007



Hasn't the vile and contemptible Cheney/Bush Regime done enough to destroy the lives of patriots like Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame? Apparently not in the mind of Libby's odious lawyer/wife Harriet Grant. According to today's N.Y. Daily News the vicious Grant was "spitting mad" when the verdict was read and 3 reporters heard her cursing up a storm: "We're gonna fuck them" she started shrieking, spittle running down her chin and hatred and bile oozing from every pore. I guess the bright side of being locked up in prison is getting away from a harridan like this.

Still, the chances of Cheney's Cheney-- reputed to be the nastiest and most vindictive asshole in all Washington-- ever serving a day in prison is as remote as... Bush and Cheney being impeached. Clearly, "Mr. Fall Guy" didn't turn on Rove or Cheney, as he could easily have done, in return for a guarantee of a pardon from Bush. Does anyone believe Bush will pay any attention whatsoever to calls by Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, Mary Landrieu, Dick Durbin, Howard Dean, and Nancy Pelosi to publicly pledge not to further corrupt the Justice system by holding out a pardon to Libby in return for his silence?

Right-wing figures are clearly angling for a pardon, led by "Straight Talk Express" slimebag John McCain, who smugly and ominously, blurted out the Republican strategy: "Did any Republicans call on [former President] Clinton not to pardon the aptly named Mr. Rich?" Does John McCain not take treason seriously? (In fact, if you've been wondering why Libby wasn't tried for treason, you're not alone. Click that "treason" link to get William Rivers Pitt's thoughts on it. ) Or is just too old and senile to understand what's going on around him? Does anyone really think McCain is even remotely fit to be president? Neocon propagandist John Podhoretz writes in today's New York Daily News that "a pardon is certain" and today's Wall Street Journal editorial page is already screeching that "The time for pardon is now." Joe Wilson thinks Bush has a certain conflict of interest here and that he should recuse himself and leave it up to the courts to decide.

The mainstream media is having a field day speculating on when Bush will pardon Libby and yesterday on MSNBC's Hardball David Shuster mentioned that "prosecutors continue to believe that Scooter Libby does have information about Vice President Cheney that would further the investigation, but prosecutors are not expecting Scooter Libby to flip and essentially try and cut a deal. Nonetheless, Patrick Fitzgerald made the point today of saying that the door is open if Libby has a change of heart, now that he has been convicted." That is exactly what the Bush Regime aims to head off by promising Libby a pardon if he just keeps quiet about Cheney's and Rove's connivance in this whole scandal.

According to Truthout "aides to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Congressman John Conyers, D-Mich., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said they were engaged in discussions Tuesday about the possibility of holding immediate hearings and subpoenaing Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to provide details of his nearly four-year-old investigation, and the evidence he obtained regarding the role Vice President Dick Cheney and other White House officials played in the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson. The aides requested anonymity because they were not yet permitted to discuss Congress's course of action in the matter publicly."

Most journalists pointed to Cheney as the real guilty party. After Fitzgerald himself made his "cloud over the vice president" speech, the media let loose. Today's New York Times explains how the trial cast Cheney "in the role of puppeteer, pulling the strings in a covert public relations campaign to defend" the Regime's web of lies meant to justify attacking Iraq  and to discredit a respected and patriotic critic. Howard Fineman from Newsweek, a guest on MSNBC, concurs: "I think it does put a gloss of legal process on what a lot of Cheney's critics have thought all along, which is that he was the stage manager in the leaks and the manipulation of intelligence before the war in Iraq. ... So it puts a legal seal of approval on a lot of accusations that have been made, because the prosecutor's whole theory here was that Scooter Libby's motive was to protect the man behind the curtain, and the man behind the curtain, sort of pulling all the levers of the leaks, was Dick Cheney."

Republican consultant Scott Reed calls it a catastrophe for Cheney, who is already less admired by the American public than any know figure short of Paris Hilton. "The trial has been death by 1,000 cuts for Cheney. It's hurt him inside the administration. It's hurt him with the Congress, and  it's hurt his stature around the world because it has shown a lot of the inner workings of the White House. It peeled the bark right off the way they  operate." Even ole Scotty McClellan, Bush's former press flack, got into the mix: "It does change things in the public's perception to some extent when a former high-level administration official is  found guilty of a crime. It raises more questions in people's minds and  increases their suspicions," although, as Candy Crowley pointed out on CNN yesterday, "It's hard to see how a terrifically weakened president is any more weakened by this." Is his 28% approval rating going to fall to 27%?


Here are some nifty talking points to use with your wingnut friends who don't see what the fuss is about concerning our Irving's conviction.--Ken

"Libby committed his crimes to cover-up the role of his boss and to protect his own position in the attack on Wilson. At base, then, the reasons for war were the scandal. . . . [His conviction] is a damning condemnation of the Bush White House belief that the ends justify the means and its aggrandizement of absolute power. Ultimately, this is a verdict that can never be erased from the history of the Bush presidency."
--Sidney Blumenthal, on the Guardian website

Libby lied, troops died

Sidney Blumenthal

March 6, 2007 10:00 PM

The conviction of I Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, on criminal charges of obstruction of justice and perjury brings only a partial conclusion to the sordid political tragedy that is the Bush presidency. Yet the judgment on this matter goes to the heart of the administration. The means and the ends of Bush's White House have received a verdict from the bar of justice.

Foreign policy was and is the principal way of consolidating unchecked executive power. In the run-up to the Iraq war, professional standards, even within the military and intelligence agencies, were subordinated to political goals. Only information that fit the preconceived case was permitted. Those who advanced facts or raised skeptical questions about sketchy information were seen as deliberate enemies causing damage from within. From the beginning, the White House indulged in unrestrained attacks on such professionals. Revealing the facts, especially about the politically-driven method of skewing policy, was treated as a crime against the state.

For questioning the undermanned battle plan for the invasion of Iraq, Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki was publicly humiliated by neoconservative Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and then cashiered. For disclosing negligence on terrorism before the Setempber 11 attacks, counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke was accused by then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice of acting purely out of motives of personal greed to promote his recently published memoir. For exposing the absence of rational policymaking in economics as well as foreign policy, Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill was threatened with an investigation for allegedly abusing classified material. Once he was intimidated into silence, the probe was dropped.

In the aftermath of former ambassador Joseph Wilson's revelation that the most explosive reason given for war against Iraq - that Saddam Hussein was seeking yellowcake uranium in Niger to fuel nuclear weapons - had no apparent basis in fact, the Bush White House revved into high gear against the critic. Wilson, however, was even more dangerous than the others because he was a witness to the false rationale for the war.

As Libby's defense counsel insisted, Scooter was merely one of many in the White House assailing Wilson's integrity. Others, including Bush's political strategist Karl Rove, were involved. To a degree, the smear campaign was for a time successful, fueled by the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee and elements of the Washington press corps. But the trial exhibits - documents entered by the special prosecutor - knocked down every single one of their falsehoods.

Libby's defenders argued that there was no underlying crime. He was not charged with revealing the identity of Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife, as a covert CIA agent, which was a charge raised by the White House gang in an effort to prove she sent Wilson on his Niger mission - another of the lies spread about him.

But Libby committed his crimes to cover-up the role of his boss and to protect his own position in the attack on Wilson. At base, then, the reasons for war were the scandal.

Libby was no mere factotum. He was a central member of the neoconservative cast of characters, who began as a protégé of Wolfowitz and was elevated to the role of Cheney's indispensable man.

Libby's conviction not only indelibly stains neoconservatism. It is a damning condemnation of the Bush White House belief that the ends justify the means and its aggrandizement of absolute power. Ultimately, this is a verdict that can never be erased from the history of the Bush presidency.

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At 6:49 AM, Blogger MR said...

Quite frankly I've found this Libby business very complicated, and a bit boring. Thankfully, Stephen Colbert explains it to me in this video:


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