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    09 March 2007

    Libby can not be pardoned under rules for executive clemency

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    From the Office of the Pardon Attorney:
    1.2 Eligibility for filing petition for pardon.
    No petition for pardon should be filed until the expiration of a waiting period of at least five years after the date of the release of the petitioner from confinement or, in case no prison sentence was imposed, until the expiration of a period of at least five years after the date of the conviction of the petitioner. Generally, no petition should be submitted by a person who is on probation, parole, or supervised release.

    Of course the president, and especially this president, can do as he pleases. The elder president Bush did, as did Clinton. Now it's the current president Bush's turn. However, Mr. Bush claimed early in his administration (February 2001):
    ...should I decide to grant pardons, I will do so in a fair way. I'll have the highest of high standards.

    So does the "highest of high standards" permit the president to engage in (gasp!) executive activism? My money's on yes, it never stopped him from pardoning the turkey did it?

    [UPDATE 3/11/07] A few interesting points to throw out there as we debate whether or not Libby will get the pardon and forever link this scandal to the White House.

    In the comments we're directed to this article (h/t Agricola) which gives us a brief history of the politics of pardons. Looking at Bush Jr:
    Bush has issued just 113 pardons during his six years in office. A flurry of pardons often comes at the end of a presidency, like they did, controversially, during President Clinton’s final days. But presidents used to issue 100 or more “clemency actions” a year, according to the Justice Department.

    During his six years as governor of Texas, Bush granted fewer pardons — just 18 — than any governor had since the 1940s. One of those pardons he came to regret. In 1995, Gov. Bush gave a pardon to Steven Raney, a deputy constable who had a 1988 marijuana conviction. But Raney was later accused of stealing cocaine in a drug bust.

    As governor of TX and in the wake of Clinton's pardoning of Marc Rich, Bush Jr. has been timid with his pardoning. In a 1 February 2007 interview with Neal Cavuto, Bush was pushed to define his pardon policy in reference to the boarder control agents who shot a Mexican drug dealer. In this case Bush appears to point to the JD guidelines:
    “You know, I get asked about pardons on a lot of different cases. And there’s a procedure in place,” he said at first. When Bush added that he has been telling members of Congress who have contacted him about the matter to “look at the facts in the case,” Cavuto followed up: “So what are you saying?”

    “I’m saying … there is a process in any case for a president to make a pardon decisions. In other words, there is a series of steps that are followed, so that the pardon process is, you know, a rational process,” the president answered.

    All tealeaves from a separate case, but whatever. I guess it all depends on how he views "the facts in the case."

    Posted by Geoff

    08 March 2007

    Newt Gingrich acknowledges extramarital affair

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    Fresh from the AP
    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged he was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group.

    As the article mentions, Newt is a potential Republican presidential candidate. This begs the question: Will the conservative right permit "secondary" fidelity?

    According to Grover Norquist, the conservative movement allows for redemption of past record, just like high school students who make abstinence pledges after having sex in the past. In other words, "secondary virginity." Mr. Norquist says, "[i]t is a big movement in high school and also available for politicians."

    Posted by Geoff

    07 March 2007

    Not getting it, and doing it well

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    Agricola had his It's OK if you are a Republican hat on a little to tightly today. So tight that this came out onto his blog. A post calling for the exoneration of convicted felon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby at the very most and a 'we feel so sorry for you Scooter' letter writing campaign at the very least. In this task he quotes a news article (oh wait a minute!!! This is an...) editorial for his 'factual' response. ThinkProgress.org provides a thorough fact-checking of WaPo's claims some of the right wings more popular talking points:
    CLAIM: Libby’s guilty verdict was “propelled not by actual wrongdoing.”
    FACT: The Post Editorial Board Highlighted The ‘Seriousness’ Of Perjury Charges Against Clinton. In a Jan. 22, 1998 editorial, the Washington Post write, “The allegations against President Clinton are allegations of extremely serious crimes. … Subornation of perjury is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison.” On Feb. 2, 1998, the Post wrote that the “seriousness” of the charges against Clinton had “to do much more with possible perjury than with sex.” And on Dec. 13, 1998, the Post wrote: “There is no question that President Clinton committed grave offenses and aggravated them by refusing to acknowledge either the offenses themselves or their seriousness.”

    CLAIM: Calling it a “sensational charge,” the Post writes that there was “no evidence that [Plame] was, in fact, covert.”
    FACT: CIA, Former Colleagues, And Special Prosecutor All Report That Plame Was Covert. The CIA filed a “crime report” with the Department of Justice shortly after Novak’s column, stating that an undercover agent’s identity had been blown. Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer, said “Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. … All of my classmates were undercover.” Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found that Plame had indeed done “covert work overseas” on counterproliferation matters in the past five years, and the CIA “was making specific efforts to conceal” her identity.

    CLAIM: The Post claims that senior White House officials had not “orchestrated the leak” and that the trial “provided convincing evidence that there was no conspiracy to punish Mr. Wilson by leaking Ms. Plame’s identity.”
    FACT: Cheney’s Point-man — Libby — Carefully Leaked Plame’s Identity To Reporters, White House Staff. In an article published on Jan. 26, 2007, Post writers reported “Vice President Cheney personally orchestrated his office’s 2003 efforts to rebut allegations that the administration used flawed intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.” As of that effort, handwritten notes prove that Cheney assigned Libby to be the point man for disseminating the information about Plame’s identity, which he revealed to reporters Judith Miller and Matt Cooper. Libby also enrolled Ari Fleischer and Karl Rove in his effort to disseminate Plame’s identity.

    CLAIM: “It would have been sensible for Mr. Fitzgerald to end his investigation after learning about Mr. Armitage. Instead, like many Washington special prosecutors before him, he pressed on, pursuing every tangent in the case.”
    FACT: Armitage told the truth; Libby refused to. Indeed, it was “sensible” for Fitzgerald to pursue Libby and question why the Vice President’s chief of staff could not tell him the truth, while Armitage could.

    A few more things: First, he perjured himself. Had I or any one of you done that, we would be held accountable, at least I would hope. This idea -- that you approach judicial proceedings with honesty and transparency -- provides the foundation of our judicial system, which is the only branch of this great government that seems to functioning appropriately these days. Clinton was guilty and the system failed. That's too bad. Wilson's assertions may be questionable, but they are not on trial and they were not criminal. But let me get this straight... According to some conservatives, lying about a blow job is an impeachable offense, but lying about outing a CIA agent focused on issues of national security is much ado about nothing? Not to mention that she had nothing to do with the '16 words' or the war in Iraq, but she was a 'soft target' that allowed the administration to get at Mr. Wilson. It becoming clear... Party before country, got it.

    Second, this was an issue of national security. No matter how operational Plame was, she was at some time serving our country, doing our nations dirty work. Her identity is was a state secret. Her life and the lives of other around her depended on that secrecy. There are names of dead agents, some from as long as 50 years ago, that the government continues to conceal for that very purpose. It is that important. If one wants to sacrifice that in order to protect themselves or the policies and people they support, so be it. But know that that point of view, that action, is not in the national interest.

    Third, it is beyond ignorant to suggest that someone who lied regarding a matter of war, a war that was not necessary and that has squandered uncountable national treasure, should be given a note of leniency. Again, I suspect this goes back to the party before country mind-set.

    And finally, ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV May have his flaws but he was no "junior diplomat." To suggest this is a tacit admission that you have no idea what you are talking about. Ask George H.W. Bush if he was a "junior diplomat." This suggestion -- all of them -- is/are astonishing, and it comes from the man who earlier this week wrote that "the superficiality of [insulting those that have a different opinion]... reveals the lack of serious thought and the weakness of the argument." Well put.

    Posted by Geoff

    06 March 2007

    Where is the appology to the victim Mr. President?

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    Today President Bush expressed disappointment and sorrow in the verdict handed down to former White Hose aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

    Seems like Mr. Compassionate missed something, like an apology to the victim?

    Ambassador Joe Wilson:
    I also learned today that the president was quoted as saying that he was sorry for Mr. Libby and his family. I wish that he would express his sorrow for what has happened to my wife, whose career was destroyed as a consequence of this, and also to the service people of this country who are fighting in a war that now very clearly was justified by lies and disinformation.

    Posted by Geoff

    05 March 2007

    New : Globalterroralert.com Cybercast

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    On the heels of his excellent interview in Salon, Evan Kohlmann has finally put together a video Cybercast. Unfortunatly this doesn't appear to be a podcast... yet.

    Be sure to check it out if you're into CT stuff, he's got clout.

    Here are some snips from the Salon articleinterview:
    Would al-Qaida have blown up the mosque if the U.S. wasn't in Iraq?

    There wouldn't be an al-Qaida in Iraq if the U.S. wasn't there. The story of al-Qaida in Iraq begins in 2003. We handed al-Qaida exactly what it was looking for, a real war in the Middle East where it could lead the way. Al-Qaida is like a virus. It goes for weak victims and it uses conflicts to breed. Iraq gives al-Qaida a training ground, a place to put recruits in combat. If they come back from battle, you have people who have fought together, trained together, you have a military unit. As Richard Clarke has said, it was almost like Osama bin Laden was trying to vibe into George Bush the idea: "Invade Iraq, invade Iraq." This was an opportunity they seized with amazing alacrity. As brutal and terrifying as what they've done is, you have to acknowledge they capitalized on an opportunity that we handed them.

    What happened to the U.S. message of democracy?

    It totally failed. The idea of Western-style democracy in Iraq doesn't appeal to anyone. It was our own myth. We thought that if we get rid of Saddam Hussein, people would come together and celebrate and democracy would reign throughout the Middle East. The people who thought that up are people who think Iraq is like Texas. Iraq is not Texas. To Iraqis, tribal affiliations, religion and family mean a lot more than saying, "I'm from Iraq." You know we're doing a bad job of communicating our own message when we're losing the propaganda war to people who cut other people's heads off on camera. Think about it: People in one of the most Westernized countries in the Middle East would rather trust al-Qaida than the United States. That's a terrible sign of things to come.
    Is a surge of 21,000 new U.S. troops going to help?

    I don't think any number of new troops is going to help unless we're going to station troops on every single corner of every single street in every single city in Iraq. The problem is the insurgents are not just a foreign force. You're talking about such a diverse organization and network, where even major groups, when their leaders are killed or captured, still persist. They're self-sustaining operations.

    Look at Fallujah. In late 2004, we pumped that place full of overwhelming military force. We went block by block, street by street, and liquidated the place. We got rid of all the insurgents. We chased al-Qaida out of there. That was undoubtedly a military victory. But was that the end of al-Qaida? No, it moved to other cities, established bases in Ramadi, Samarra and Mosul. And Fallujah itself? It was relatively stable but in the past year has started to fall apart. And once again, insurgents are attacking Fallujah.

    Read it all here...

    Posted by Geoff

    04 March 2007

    The True Cold Heart and Closed Mind of American Conservatism?

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    Watch conservatives defend the internment of 120k Japanese during WWII and recommend the same for Muslim Americans presently, blame lack of conservative production in resent years on -- wait for it -- the Republican party (like these conservatives have anywhere to go besides the Republican party), express shock at Republicans talking about immigrants and immigration in the way that they do, see a Tancredo booster cover up his confederate flag lapel pin because he doesn't want to be filmed wearing it, see the right once again bring the tired old claim that Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican (made by the National Black Republican Association, which was represented by none other than a white man), of course there was Mitt Romney's praise of Ann Coulter just before she goes out and implies that John Edwards is a "faggot" to roaring applause.

    So one question arises: Are you a conservative and if so, is this why?

    Posted by Geoff


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