By commuting the prison sentence yesterday, Bush allows Scooter to use the Fifth Amendment as a defense if Congress subpoenas him. That means of course that he won't spill the beans on the story he perjured himself over. Bush today said, "As to the future, I rule nothing in and nothing out," according to the Associated Press. And you read it first here, the reason Bush will pardon him is so poor Scooter will be able to earn a living for his family, and so must be allowed to practice law or return to being the good public servant.
[This Postscript on 7-12-07 regarding this paragraph. There is some great commentary from Hunter at Daily Kos : (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/7/4/13229/49416). Hunter essentially details how the cover up will play itself out. Good piece.]At least today we can still call him a convicted felon.
Maybe January 19, 2009 (the current office holder’s last day in office) will go down in the annals of our history as “Janteeth”, d’ya think maybe? (“Juneteenth” is the 19th of June, 1865 when the slaves in Texas finally found out they officially had been emancipated on January 1 of 1863 and that the war between the states was over. It's an official Texas state holiday. It's so familiar. Texas slaveholders, partisans, guerillas, and government a month after Lee surrenders not letting on, not telling the truth.)
Poor Scooter and his fambly, says Dubya, they don’t need to suffer, the thirty-month sentence was so so excessive. And all the while the Bush Department of Justice is pushing Congress for the imposition of mandatory minimums. Guess what Scooter received? Why yes, a mandatory minimum for perjury and obstruction of justice. (Fearless Leader says he respected the verdict, remember.)
[Postscript of 7-4-07: My mistake, and a bad one. I have done further checking on the sentencing, and have found that the recommended minimums were much less. Here's some summary from USA Today:And the sentence came from a conservative law and order Bush appointee, Judge Reggie Walton, who was following the guidelines for the mandatory minimums. Appropriately, Judge Walton is keeping his silence. But I can imagine what he’s saying in private.
Libby qualifies for a lighter sentence than the 15 to 21 months recommended by federal sentencing guidelines, says the U.S. district court's probation office. The office, which filed its recommendations in court papers, cites Libby's public service, damage already done to his career and the fact he was not charged with or convicted of the "underlying crime" for which he was investigated. . . . . Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald recommended a harsher sentence for Libby: between 30 and 37 months. Libby, Fitzgerald says, "corrupted a truth-seeking process" by lying "repeatedly and blatantly" to FBI agents and grand jurors about his role in revealing Plame's CIA affiliation. The fact Libby was a high-ranking government official — chief of staff to Vice President Cheney — merits more, not less, punishment, Fitzgerald wrote.
Sorry for the error.]
Let’s not forget that Libby had been prosecuted by a Republican-appointed Assistant Prosecutor. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald disputed Bush's assertion that the prison term was excessive. Libby was sentenced under the same laws as other criminals, Fitzgerald said. "It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals."
The Reagan appointee on the three-judge panel, David Sentelle, said the sentence should be carried out immediately. Interesting. The second judge, David Tatel, was appointed by Clinton and is considered liberal, and the third judge, Karen Henderson, was appointed by Dubya. Henderson is a “balanced jurist, not partisan in any way,” according to Christopher Banks, a lawyer and a professor of political science at Kent State. Banks, according to the New York Sun, has studied the political leanings of the court, and further, told the Sun's reporter that “the political impact of the case is likely to be less of a factor than the court's unreceptive attitude to most appeals by criminal defendants. The judges ‘tend to be very deferential especially in criminal matters, unless there's an egregious error,' the professor said.”
So with that background, one can only come to the conclusion that the fair and balanced panel thought that Libby should serve his time as a convicted felon. Of course, the idiot wing of the Plutocracy will laud the commutation, and outdo themselves looking to praise The Decider. (As someone commented, The Republican candidates figure that it’s a bullet they dodged now before getting into the oval office. Whew, breathes Trudi Giuliani.) Cowards and scoundrels, all of 'em.
Oh that’s right, Fred Thompson, TV star from Law and Order, about to throw his conservative hat into the Republican ring, was on Scooter’s defense committee. What a paragon and partisan of justice he is!
What I really want to know is how does James Carville lives with himself these days? Mary Matalin, his wife, is working on that defense committee. It’s a long way from Carville’s Had Enough? and Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future, which he wrote with Paul Begala. But then, you can even see Carville’s signature on the letter his wife wrote in support of the Scooter, in which she described how Scooter’s fate was traumatizing their children. (http://www.blogger.com/www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/%20years/2007/0605071libby10.html).
It’s enough to gag a maggot, as a favorite someone of mine used to say.
So I would imagine Scooter won’t even have to worry about coming up with the fine for a quarter of a million dollars. (Perhaps a legal scholar can tell me if Scooter gets the money back when he is pardoned?) They’ll find a way, I am sure, and probably with retroactive interest so that we taxpayers foot the bill. Them that’s got shall get and the rich are very different from you and me.
All my conservative friends thought—and probably still do think--that Republicans stood for Law and Order. (See Republican Patrick Fitzgerald’s quote above.)
The stench, my god, the stench!