Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

My Photo
Location: New York City

A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The New York Times Agrees with Me!

Yesterday I wrote that Congress should “Impeach Alberto Gonzalez Already.” This morning I see that the New York Times editorial calls for his Impeachment. I guess that I am getting to be more mainstream or the mainstream is getting more radical.

Or the more obvious explanation is that this Administration is becoming too obvious for even the Main Stream Media to ignore!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Petraeus, the Last Lying General?

Probably not, but he is one of those we can identify.

Here is Mr. Rich from behind the wall:

Op-Ed Columnist

Who Really Took Over During That Colonoscopy


THERE was, of course, gallows humor galore when Dick Cheney briefly grabbed the wheel of our listing ship of state during the presidential colonoscopy last weekend. Enjoy it while it lasts. A once-durable staple of 21st-century American humor is in its last throes. We have a new surrogate president now. Sic transit Cheney. Long live David Petraeus!

It was The Washington Post that first quantified General Petraeus’s remarkable ascension. President Bush, who mentioned his new Iraq commander’s name only six times as the surge rolled out in January, has cited him more than 150 times in public utterances since, including 53 in May alone.

As always with this White House’s propaganda offensives, the message in Mr. Bush’s relentless repetitions never varies. General Petraeus is the “main man.” He is the man who gives “candid advice.” Come September, he will be the man who will give the president and the country their orders about the war.

And so another constitutional principle can be added to the long list of those junked by this administration: the quaint notion that our uniformed officers are supposed to report to civilian leadership. In a de facto military coup, the commander in chief is now reporting to the commander in Iraq. We must “wait to see what David has to say,” Mr. Bush says.

Actually, we don’t have to wait. We already know what David will say. He gave it away to The Times of London last month, when he said that September “is a deadline for a report, not a deadline for a change in policy.” In other words: Damn the report (and that irrelevant Congress that will read it) — full speed ahead. There will be no change in policy. As Michael Gordon reported in The New York Times last week, General Petraeus has collaborated on a classified strategy document that will keep American troops in Iraq well into 2009 as we wait for the miracles that will somehow bring that country security and a functioning government.

Though General Petraeus wrote his 1987 Princeton doctoral dissertation on “The American Military and the Lessons of Vietnam,” he has an unshakable penchant for seeing light at the end of tunnels. It has been three Julys since he posed for the cover of Newsweek under the headline “Can This Man Save Iraq?” The magazine noted that the general’s pacification of Mosul was “a textbook case of doing counterinsurgency the right way.” Four months later, the police chief installed by General Petraeus defected to the insurgents, along with most of the Sunni members of the police force. Mosul, population 1.7 million, is now an insurgent stronghold, according to the Pentagon’s own June report.

By the time reality ambushed his textbook victory, the general had moved on to the mission of making Iraqi troops stand up so American troops could stand down. “Training is on track and increasing in capacity,” he wrote in The Washington Post in late September 2004, during the endgame of the American presidential election. He extolled the increased prowess of the Iraqi fighting forces and the rebuilding of their infrastructure.

The rest is tragic history. Were the Iraqi forces on the trajectory that General Petraeus asserted in his election-year pep talk, no “surge” would have been needed more than two years later. We would not be learning at this late date, as we did only when Gen. Peter Pace was pressed in a Pentagon briefing this month, that the number of Iraqi battalions operating independently is in fact falling — now standing at a mere six, down from 10 in March.

But even more revealing is what was happening at the time that General Petraeus disseminated his sunny 2004 prognosis. The best account is to be found in “The Occupation of Iraq,” the authoritative chronicle by Ali Allawi published this year by Yale University Press. Mr. Allawi is not some anti-American crank. He was the first civilian defense minister of postwar Iraq and has been an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki; his book was praised by none other than the Iraq war cheerleader Fouad Ajami as “magnificent.”

Mr. Allawi writes that the embezzlement of the Iraqi Army’s $1.2 billion arms procurement budget was happening “under the very noses” of the Security Transition Command run by General Petraeus: “The saga of the grand theft of the Ministry of Defense perfectly illustrated the huge gap between the harsh realities on the ground and the Panglossian spin that permeated official pronouncements.” Mr. Allawi contrasts the “lyrical” Petraeus pronouncements in The Post with the harsh realities of the Iraqi forces’ inoperable helicopters, flimsy bulletproof vests and toy helmets. The huge sums that might have helped the Iraqis stand up were instead “handed over to unscrupulous adventurers and former pizza parlor operators.”

Well, anyone can make a mistake. And when General Petraeus cited soccer games as an example of “the astonishing signs of normalcy” in Baghdad last month, he could not have anticipated that car bombs would kill at least 50 Iraqis after the Iraqi team’s poignant victory in the Asian Cup semifinals last week. This general may well be, as many say, the brightest and bravest we have. But that doesn’t account for why he has been invested by the White House and its last-ditch apologists with such singular power over the war.

On “Meet the Press,” Lindsey Graham, one of the Senate’s last gung-ho war defenders in either party, mentioned General Petraeus 10 times in one segment, saying he would “not vote for anything” unless “General Petraeus passes on it.” Desperate hawks on the nation’s op-ed pages not only idolize the commander daily but denounce any critics of his strategy as deserters, defeatists and enemies of the troops.

That’s because the Petraeus phenomenon is not about protecting the troops or American interests but about protecting the president. For all Mr. Bush’s claims of seeking “candid” advice, he wants nothing of the kind. He sent that message before the war, with the shunting aside of Eric Shinseki, the general who dared tell Congress the simple truth that hundreds of thousands of American troops would be needed to secure Iraq. The message was sent again when John Abizaid and George Casey were supplanted after they disagreed with the surge.

Two weeks ago, in his continuing quest for “candid” views, Mr. Bush invited a claque consisting exclusively of conservative pundits to the White House and inadvertently revealed the real motive for the Petraeus surrogate presidency. “The most credible person in the fight at this moment is Gen. David Petraeus,” he said, in National Review’s account.

To be the “most credible” person in this war team means about as much as being the most sober tabloid starlet in the Paris-Lindsay cohort. But never mind. What Mr. Bush meant is that General Petraeus is famous for minding his press coverage, even to the point of congratulating the ABC News anchor Charles Gibson for “kicking some butt” in the Nielsen ratings when Mr. Gibson interviewed him last month. The president, whose 65 percent disapproval rating is now just one point shy of Richard Nixon’s pre-resignation nadir, is counting on General Petraeus to be the un-Shinseki and bestow whatever credibility he has upon White House policies and pronouncements.

He is delivering, heaven knows. Like Mr. Bush, he has taken to comparing the utter stalemate in the Iraqi Parliament to “our own debates at the birth of our nation,” as if the Hamilton-Jefferson disputes were akin to the Shiite-Sunni bloodletting. He is also starting to echo the administration line that Al Qaeda is the principal villain in Iraq, a departure from the more nuanced and realistic picture of the civil-war-torn battlefront he presented to Senate questioners in his confirmation hearings in January.

Mr. Bush has become so reckless in his own denials of reality that he seems to think he can get away with saying anything as long as he has his “main man” to front for him. The president now hammers in the false litany of a “merger” between Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda and what he calls “Al Qaeda in Iraq” as if he were following the Madison Avenue script declaring that “Cingular is now the new AT&T.” He doesn’t seem to know that nearly 40 other groups besides Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia have adopted Al Qaeda’s name or pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden worldwide since 2003, by the count of the former C.I.A. counterterrorism official Michael Scheuer. They may follow us here well before any insurgents in Iraq do.

On Tuesday — a week after the National Intelligence Estimate warned of the resurgence of bin Laden’s Qaeda in PakistanMr. Bush gave a speech in which he continued to claim that “Al Qaeda in Iraq” makes Iraq the central front in the war on terror. He mentioned Al Qaeda 95 times but Pakistan and Pervez Musharraf not once. Two days later, his own top intelligence officials refused to endorse his premise when appearing before Congress. They are all too familiar with the threats that are building to a shrill pitch this summer.

Should those threats become a reality while America continues to be bogged down in Iraq, this much is certain: It will all be the fault of President Petraeus.

So, September and Petraeus’s report on the progress in Iraq is the time to evaluate all of this “Surge” stuff, etc. right? I think not!

We're in this All Together!

No matter how desolate as individuals we may feel we are in this World together. So, before it is too late let us start getting it together!

From a Distance!

Now I am not a Christian, or a member of any other organized religion. I am however a believer in Karma and the possibility of a higher being (I mean really Mother Nature has it all over us.) So, that said, recently I have been thinking about “what goes around comes around” and this song just resonated with me.

It is for all you believers out there.

Take a lesson.

Is it possible that Karma, or God’s Watching Us, is what is going on?

Rescue Me!

Being a member of the Reality-Based Community is becoming a real burden. It is becoming clearer everyday that being delusional and inattentive is the only way to remain calm and even what passes for sane these days.

So I have turned to Fontella Bass and I am asking her for help:

What are you doing to remain slightly sane?

Jumping Jack Flash with Whoopi and the Stones v. the Beatles

Back in the day there was a bit of a, shall we say, “rivalry” between those who were diehard Beatles Fans and the Stones Fans. It was a carryover of the Mods versus the Rockersrivalry” from across the pond.

I was a definite Beatles Fan, being Canadian and all, but I wasn’t opposed to the Stones as many of my contemporaries were.

So, when I saw Whoopi in “Jumping Jack Flash” it solidified my appreciation of the Stones and their Genius. This of course is also solidified by my standing next to Mick Jagger on Lexington Avenue and the East 70’s in his total Anglophone outfit of Cashmere Blazer, Cashmere Sweater Vest, and Cashmere Slacks and this was in the Eighties. He looks much healthier in real life than non-real life, just so you know. And I am an Anglophone, sad as that is.

Anyway, “Jumping Jack Flash” is one of my favorite movies. So these videos are a reminder of what I love about the Stones.

Beatles meet Jumping Jack Flash George Harrison and Leon Russel

And just because I love all things Whoopi, here is Ball of Confusion. Okay so it's not exactly the Temps, but I like it!

Impeach Already!

Either that or stop the torture! That AGAG continues to go before the Congress and show his, and the administration’s, absolute contempt (not just the legal kind) for its co-equal partner in government, and the American Public, is pure torture. It is the “Water-boarding” of the Country. I am becoming convinced that it is in contravention of Article III of the Geneva Conventions.

How much more is it going to take before Congress actually does something about this? We all know that he is not going to be allowed to resign. Bush and Company can’t allow that as AGAG is standing in front of the closet door to all of those skeletons. There is no level of embarrassment that Abu can be subjected to that will mean he is a goner. The only way to end this travesty is to impeach him. How obvious is that?!?

And the Beltway folks who keep calling for Bush to do something about this are just plain delusional and apparently not up on what has been happening for the last six years in BushLand.

So start impeachment proceedings against Alberto Gonzalez, or stop torturing us with his insulting performances in front of the public. Just exactly how much evidence do you need?

Enough Already!

Stolen from Cliff’s Place!

Take a trip over there and enjoy.

These are really two great videos.

Once you have visited Cliff’s Place you will return.

Thanks Paddy!

When Will Senator Lieberman Accept Jesus as His Savior?

If Glenn Greenwald is right, and he usually is, it should be soon!

Snark Alert:

Joe Lieberman is, of course, one of the very serious -- deeply, deeply serious -- sane and mainstream political figures. Agree or disagree, he is a real serious and thoughtful and mainstream political thinker.

Last week, as Philip Weiss noted yesterday, Lieberman was the honored guest of evangelical Minister John Hagee and the group he leads, Christians United for Israel. As the Press Release distributed by Very Serious Moderate Lieberman aide Marshall Whittman demonstrates, Lieberman gave a speech there which Weiss, with understatement, calls "shocking." More on that in a moment.

* * * * * *

Lieberman's political comrade, Rev. Hagee, is at once both an extraordinary figure and a common one. He is an evangelical minister who, as an amazing interview he gave late last year to NPR's Terry Gross reflects, believes that "Rapture" -- whereby all Christians literally disappear from earth upon the return of Christ, leaving all non-believers to suffer on Earth -- is "imminent."

Rev. Hagee believes that before Christ returns, the Bible contains prophecies a series of Middle East wars against Muslims. And he also believes that God has placed an absolute bar on the giving away of any Israeli land whatsoever, and thus categorically condemns plans such as the "road map" and the Gaza withdrawal as blasphemies against God. In the Gross interview, the following exchange occurred, beginning with a clip from one of Hagee's sermons:

Hagee sermon: "For those of you in Washington, Jerusalem is not up for negotiation at any time, for any reason, in the future, no matter what your raod map calls for. There are still people in this nation who believes the Bible takes precedence over Washington, DC."

Read the whole thing and ruminate on how the insane folks are running the asylum!

Thanks to C&L.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No Kidding!

Most of us who work on the Public Defender end of the Criminal Justice System, such as it is, knew that the results for Private Attorneys vs. Public Attorneys was a non starter. So it is no surprise that Public Defenders get better marks for their defense efforts.

Here is the NYT’s article on the obvious:

Public Defenders Get Better Marks on Salary


Some poor people accused of federal crimes are represented by full-time federal public defenders who earn salaries, others by court-appointed lawyers who bill by the hour. A new study from an economist at Harvard says there is a surprisingly wide gap in how well the two groups perform.

Both kinds of lawyers are paid by the government, and they were long thought to perform about equally. But the study concludes that lawyers paid by the hour are less qualified and let cases drag on and achieve worse results for their clients, including sentences that average eight months longer.

Appointed lawyers also cost taxpayers $61 million a year more than salaried public defenders would have cost.

There are many possible reasons for the differences in performance. Salaried public defenders generally handle more cases and have more interactions with prosecutors, so they may have a better sense of what they can negotiate for their clients. Salaried lawyers also tend to have superior credentials and more legal experience, the study found.

The study will add a new layer to the debate over the nation’s indigent defense systems. In 1963, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that poor people accused of serious crimes were entitled to legal representation paid for by the government.

The federal system handles about 5 percent of all criminal prosecutions and is relatively well financed. The implications of the new study for the states may therefore be limited.

But more than half the states use a combination of public defenders and appointed lawyers, and most indigent defendants are not represented by staff public defenders at the trial level.

In the federal courts, roughly three-quarters of all defendants rely on lawyers paid for by the government, about evenly divided between salaried public defenders and appointed lawyers paid by the hour. Most of the rest hire their own lawyers, with about 2 percent representing themselves.

Before the new study, the debate over how best to provide poor defendants with adequate representation had largely concerned whether lawyers for indigent defendants were paid enough to ensure a fair fight with prosecutors. The debate did not much consider how the lawyers were paid, and whether that made a difference.

The new study looked at federal prosecutions from 1997 to 2001. It was performed by Radha Iyengar, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard, and presented as a working paper of the National Bureau of Economic Research last month.

Judge Morris B. Hoffman, a Colorado district court judge and a co-author of a 2005 study on the representation of indigent defendants, said the new study’s innovation was in its noticing that public defenders and appointed lawyers were assigned randomly in many federal judicial districts.

That meant, Ms. Iyengar wrote, that the two sorts of lawyers had “the same underlying distribution of guilt in the cases they represent and thus are equally likely to lose at trial.”

Court-appointed lawyers — known in federal judicial jargon as Criminal Justice Act panel lawyers — are needed when public defenders’ offices have conflicts of interest in cases involving multiple defendants. They can also fill in as the volume of prosecutions requires.

The vast majority of federal prosecutions end in plea bargains, and only about 5 percent of them reach trial. Ms. Iyengar found that court-appointed lawyers were slightly more likely to take cases to trial and slightly more likely to lose.

But her most important finding, given all the plea bargains, was that defendants represented by court-appointed lawyers received substantially longer sentences. That suggests that appointed lawyers are less adept at assessing which cases to pursue through trial and at negotiating with prosecutors.

Over all, defendants represented by court-appointed lawyers received sentences averaging about eight months longer. People convicted of violent crimes were given five more months, while those convicted on weapons charges received nearly a year and half more. But those convicted of immigration offenses received sentences that averaged 2.5 months less if represented by appointed lawyers.

Appointed lawyers took longer to resolve cases through plea bargains — 20 days on average, a 10 percent difference.

“These results appear consistent with the hourly wage structure,” Ms. Iyengar wrote, as that structure creates incentives for appointed lawyers to take longer to resolve cases.

She concluded that appointed lawyers impose an additional $5,800 in costs to the system for every case they handle.

Analyzing data from California and Arizona, the study found that appointed lawyers were less experienced and had less impressive credentials.

“The court-appointed lawyers tend to be quite young, tend to be from small practices and also they tend to be from lower-ranked law schools,” Ms. Iyengar said in an interview. “They have a smaller client base and fewer interactions with prosecutors.”

Judge Hoffman said a number of the study’s conclusions were unsurprising given that finding. However they represent their clients, less experienced lawyers tend to do less well in plea negotiations, in deciding which cases to take to trial and in trial outcomes, he said.

Jon M. Sands, the federal public defender in Arizona, said he did not recognize the picture painted in the study. Court-appointed lawyers, Mr. Sands said, “are seasoned and committed, and their sentences on the whole don’t vary that much from those obtained by public defenders.”

David Carroll, the research director for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, said the study’s most important point was economic. “There is,” Mr. Carroll said, “a cost savings in establishing staff public defender offices.”

My only comment is “DUH.”

What Duncan Said!

The Trouble With Our Discourse

I'd say that roughly speaking there are 4 kinds of people in this country when it comes to politics and current events (of course these are broad brush categories). There are the people who really don't pay any attention at all, and whose only real knowledge comes from passive absorption of random things that they happen to hear. There are the people who get all of their information from Limbaugh and the rest of the conservative media. There are the people who imagine that they're paying attention, and think that by listening to NPR and reading gullible idiots like Joe Klein they're "very informed." And then there are the readers of this blog who know what's really going on (joke).

It's the third category of people I worry most about how to reach. They're the ones who absorb and regurgitate Maureen Dowd's latest bon mot, or the latest bit of Washington "conventional wisdom," and think they're really on top of things. They aren't necessarily stupid people, they just haven't come to terms with the fact that the mainstream media is something to be treated with great skepticism.

No Shit!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Why So Few Movies About the Civil Rights Movement?

That’s the question Ann Hornaday asks today in the WAPO. I think that is a very good question. Coming of age in the 50’s and 60’s the two defining issues of the time were the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-War Movement. These two movements also came together quite often.

Peace and Civil Rights Protests of 1967

Posted Aug 11, 2005

Demonstrators protest the Vietnam War from Central Park to San Francisco to Rome, featured alongside Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

So, though these movements were integral to our cohort’s experience they have not been treated exactly equally in the mass media and by that I mean Hollywood’s exposition.

Soon after Vietnam was ended there were several Big Main Stream Movies about our Nation’s experience in that War. In 1978 there was The Deer Hunter, and in 1979 there was Apocalypse Now. Then in the Eighties there were more Big Main Stream Movies. In 1986 we got Platoon, in 1987 there was Full Metal Jacket and in 1989 we had Born on the Fourth of July. There is in fact a site for the Vietnam War Movie Genre.

Yet for movies about the Civil Rights Movement which is, I would proffer, far more important to our Country’s History not only is there no such compilation and genre site, there also are few and far between any movies about one of the most central events in our history.

The two major movies about that time are by Spike Lee. First in 1992 is his Malcolm X and then in 1997 is 4 Little Girls. Both of these films were exceptional. Now I point to these and not others as the main characters in Lee’s films are actual Black folks and not White folks as the movers of the narrative. Now it is possible that I am giving other movies short shrift. If so let me know. But these are the two that stood out for me. There are others I am sure but not major movies which were backed by the Main Stream Media in the same way Big Movies about our Vietnam experience were.

So, why the difference in the treatment of two of the most important movements in our country which coincided in the 60’s? Is it because of race and the American Corporate Media is afraid to deal with it? And how can it be that there is no Big Main Stream Media Movie about Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Read Ms. Hornaday’s piece. It is well worth the time and the questions that she raises.

I remember Roots in 1977 and that seemed to be a Blockbuster. But maybe it is different if you can sit in your own home and not pay for a ticket?

Do you have any answers?

I’m Shocked I Tell You!

So, on the front page of the Washington Post this morning we see this headline:

Gonzales Was Told of FBI Violations
After Bureau Sent Reports, Attorney General Said He Knew of No Wrongdoing

Read All About It!

Gee, Abu lied to Congress. Wow, that is indeed shocking. It is also shocking that the FBI abused its use of National Security Letters and our famously intrepid and well known Attorney General of Integrity knew about it, did nothing about it, and then lied about it to Congress and the American Public.

Yep, I am shocked!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Once Upon America.

"No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices."
- Edward R. Murrow

This is how John Cory starts his essay at Truthout.org. He is so on the mark. So, here is his essay intact:

And so it goes. The 4th of July is here with its parades and "what America means to me" essays, and picnics and fireworks, and all those pretty speeches about freedom and democracy and the true meaning of Independence Day. But it is all a facade. A lie.

Modern America now spies on its citizens, conducts warrantless wiretaps, suspends habeas corpus, creates "free speech zones" to corral protestors out of sight of sensitive royal eyes, and politicizes the very justice system meant to protect people's rights by turning it into a fraternity of God-fearing Republican conservatism. Neocon America rewards hate speech with celebrity, reviles the very immigration that built this country, and sells out to the highest lobbyist while poisoning its people. Preemptive war trumps truth, and death is glorified by those who never have to sacrifice an ounce of flesh. America has become the personal ATM machine of Bush and the GOP while their corporate cronies line their pockets with the lives of our loved ones.

Washington is no longer that "shining city on the hill," but rather a dismal swamp cloud of shadows that slink about in swirls of deception. The people's house is a piceous cavern of razor black secrets that shred the Constitution with every breath. And those charged with defending the Constitution - defending the Bill of Rights - scurry around in frantic search for the cheese of compromise and campaign contributions.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Americans have become orphans of the great silence.

Democrat and Republican alike have forsaken representation of the people and the people's will. The latest polls show that 77 percent of Americans want the troops home from Iraq. And still the politicians argue for more time, maybe more money, maybe there is a way to support the troops without confronting the GOP machine. Congressional approval is at the same depressing nadir as that of George Bush. The people voted for change and got nothing but wimpy words and bluster and more political petulance - and more death and destruction.

America needs leadership, not Congressional co-conspirators or senatorial somnambulists. We need inspiration, not desperation. Edward R. Murrow said: "We hardly need to be reminded that we are living in an age of confusion - a lot of us have traded in our beliefs for bitterness and cynicism or for a heavy package of despair, or even a quivering portion of hysteria. Opinions can be picked up cheap in the market place while such commodities as courage and fortitude and faith are in alarmingly short supply."

I'm not a smart guy, nor educated in the fine political arts, but here's the deal: it's time to wake up and step up, dear Democrats. Plan all you want to take Congressional seats in the '08 elections - but be prepared to pay the price for inaction today. Nothing is off the table. Nothing. Ever.

Push the subpoenas to this White House. Don't fold. Don't whine. Don't run. And while you push the subpoenas to find the truth, fashion your spending bill that America supports, the one with the timetable for bringing our loved ones home. And then push that the day after you push the subpoenas. And when Bush vetoes the spending bill, shout it from the nearest blog and rooftop, that George Bush just vetoed America. Vetoed the will of the American people. And push for another vote.

And then generate the bill to bring back the Draft. That's right, the Draft. If Bush's war is so damned patriotic that he keeps recycling the troops over and over - then it is the patriotic duty of every American son and daughter to be drafted and serve. And when Bush vetoes that, remind America that the war is not all that patriotic, and certainly not for everyone - just those that Bush picks to die in the sandbox of incompetence and violence that is Iraq.

And then you start impeachment procedures against Bush and Cheney and Rove. You push the hearings that must be shown to all the American people - the voters - the ones who live and die at the hands of these ruthless, greedy thugs and power-hungry politicians.

And when you are called un-American and unpatriotic, point your finger at Bush and Cheney and remind everyone of Ronald Reagan, who said: "Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty." And that, my Democratic friends, is all the bipartisanship this country needs. The words of Dr. King should be your comfort. "When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative."

It is the 4th of July. Celebrate Independence Day by repeating the words of George Bush when he addressed the UN Assembly on September 21, 2004. "The desire for freedom resides in every human heart. And that desire cannot be contained forever by prison walls or martial laws, or secret police. Over time, and across the Earth, freedom will find a way."

Any other choice and we become a story that begins, "Once upon America there used to be democracy and freedom"


John Cory is a Vietnam veteran. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with V device, 1969 - 1970.

This essay is a challenge to all actual patriots to action. Our Nation demands our doing the right thing to protect our values as enumerated in the U. S. Constitution which is the very foundation of America.

What are you going to do?

Early Amy on Jules.

A young Dinah Washington:

Yes, indeed!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

American Values in a Red State

There are times when I am so glad that I live in a Blue State and not a Red State. Okay, election years are a given. But, when I see reports like this I have to wonder what exactly are the Red State folks talking about when they tout their values:

Shoppers step over stab victim

July 04, 2007 12:00am

AS A stabbing victim lay dying on the floor of a convenience store, five shoppers, including one who stopped to take a photo with a mobile phone, stepped over the woman.

The June 23 incident, captured on a store surveillance video, received scant news coverage until a columnist for The Wichita Eagle, in the US state of Kansas, today disclosed the existence of the video and its contents.

Police have repeatedly refused to release the video, saying it is part of their investigation.

"It was tragic to watch," police spokesman Gordon Bassham said. "The fact that people were more interested in taking a picture with a cell phone and shopping for snacks rather than helping this innocent young woman is, frankly, revolting."

LaShanda Calloway was stabbed during a fight at the store, but it was not part of a robbery, Bassham said. It took about two minutes for someone to call police to report the crime, he said.

Calloway, 27, died at a hospital from her injuries.

"The lack of concern for humanity over this young woman's life is deeply troubling," Bassham said.

Bassham said the district attorney's office would have to decide whether any of the shoppers could be charged.

It was uncertain what law, if any, would be applicable. A state statute for failure to render aid specifically refers only to victims of a car accident.

Two suspects have been arrested in the stabbing. Cherish M McCullough, 19, was charged with first-degree murder.

Another suspect, who turned himself in a few days later, had not yet been charged today, according to the Sedgwick County prosecutor's office.

Eagle columnist Mark McCormick said he learned about the video when he called Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams to ask about a phone call he had received from a reader complaining about a Police Department policy that requires emergency medical personnel to wait until police secure a crime scene before rendering aid.

"This is just appalling," Williams told the newspaper.

"I could continue shopping and not render aid and then take time out to take a picture? That's crazy. What happened to our respect for life?"

Makes you proud to be an American doesn’t it?

Fred Fielding is not Harriet Miers!

All this flap about “Scooter’s” commutation and not a full pardon seems to me to be missing the genius of Fred Fielding. As we all know after the November 2006 elections in which the Dems gained control of both houses of the Congress and thus Subpoena Power, Harriet Miers, who was good enough for the U.S. Supreme Court, was jettisoned as the White House Counsel and replaced with a real lawyer, Fred Fielding. Now, Ms. Miers may have been good enough for the Supremes according to this White House, but not good enough to stand between this White House and a Congress who understood its obligation under the Constitution to do Oversight and maybe, even maybe, using a Subpoena or two. No indeed, the White House wanted an actual lawyer and Fred Fielding is indeed a real lawyer and not some fawning faux lawyer sycophant.

So, the move to commute “Scooter’s” sentence and not pardon him seems to me to be a genius move by Fred Fielding the White House, non-sycophant and actual lawyer, Counsel. First as “Scooter” is no longer facing an orange jumpsuit and those group showers he is less likely to want to cozy up to the Prosecution and tell tales out of school that might limit his, shall we say, exposure to the other inmates in that pesky Federal Correctional Facility. Second, and most importantly to the Principals in this Scandal, the commutation also keeps intact his ability to claim the Fifth Amendment right to not testify, and thus incriminate himself and others, in those intrusive Congressional Hearings because his appeal is still pending. I know, I know, this Administration is so interested in upholding the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Rule of Law.

A Pardon as I understand it would wipe out the conviction and all of the rights of self-incrimination, and the incrimination of others, say Cheney and Bush, etc., having to do with the crimes he was convicted of.

So, this commutation lessens “Scooter’s” pressure to commune with the Prosecution and thus lessen his time with that “criminal element” in a Federal Facility which might make him uncomfortable and expose him to “real crime and punishment” and thus might possibly make him more likely to talk. Not to mention his probable silence also protects the “Principals” of the crime he was convicted of, “Obstructing Justice,” from having to face the same.

Yes folks, this is the genius of having an actual lawyer as a Counsel in the White House (and between you and a subpoena and a Congressional Hearing). Fred Fielding kept George W.’s father from the same fate in Iran-Contra and this apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Fred Fielding is no Harriet Miers, and George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney are so thankful for that, the Supreme Court not withstanding.

Pardon to come in January 2009.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Pro-Choice for Ever!

Now even though I am one of those women who believe that all women should have the choice when it comes to bearing a child, I also have grave misgivings about abortion. I have to admit that I am a parent who has had an illegal abortion and a legal abortion. I am also a woman who doesn’t believe in amniocentesis as a prelude to abortion. So, I was particularly taken with Melinda Henneberger’s Op-Ed in the New York Times in which she takes the Democrats to task for not being a Big Tent as to the Abortion Issue and for their reaction to Carhart in particular.

Though I am Canadian, I was raised in the United States and for the most part I am a creature of its Culture. Also, I have struggled with this Culture and I pride myself on recognizing misogyny and paternalism when I see it. Justice Kennedy’s opinion in Gonzalez v. Carhart is a clear example of legal misogyny and paternalism at its worst. The idea that women don’t know what is best for their families, themselves, their lives, and their health is so insulting as to be beyond all notions of patriarchal control in this century. That a women’s life shouldn’t be a consideration in a medical procedure is beyond the pale.

As to the “Democratic” and “Pro-Choice” response to this assault on women’s health and life it is clearly consistent with the Democratic and Pro-Choice stance: Women should have a choice and their lives and health should be part of the decision making process that they and their doctors should take into consideration when coming to their final determination.

This position is about Choice! That strikes me as clearly Big Tent and not limited to the position of the “Right-to-Life” which is not about choice and is about a limited tent.

I know many a “Right-to-Lifer” who is “Anti-Choice” and consistently votes that way, and yet admits privately that they would have an abortion if they had to as their circumstances would be different from the usual and average woman who has an abortion.

So, though I believe that abortion is not an absolute and I certainly disagree with some reasons to have an abortion, I trust women and their physicians to make that decision. And I believe that is why my position and that the position of most Democrats is “Pro-Choice” is because they believe in “CHOICE.” The Democratic Party as I see it does not believe in dictating an absolutist position but in allowing a nuanced and Big Tent position. I don’t know of any Democrats or Pro-Choice Advocates who would insist that a woman should have an abortion, but I know many a “Right-to-Lifer” who would deny a woman choice.

I know many a Democrat who votes consistently for Democrats who are not absolutists on the Abortion Question. I don’t know any Pro-lifers who vote for anyone other than Abortion abolitionists who have such a nuanced vote.

So, I have to wonder just which party is the Big Tent on the Abortion Question?

Who is Ms. Henneberger talking about, or is she just talking shit and obfuscation?


Bush and Omerta

I think that this Robert Parry piece is an appropriate follow-up to Frank Rich’s “Scooter’s Sopranos Go to the Mattress” column.

Here is the intro and you should really, really read the rest.

In years to come, historians may look back on U.S. press coverage of George W. Bush’s presidency and wonder why there was not a single front-page story announcing one of the most monumental events of mankind’s modern era – the death of the American Republic and the elimination of the “unalienable rights” pledged to “posterity” by the Founders.

The historians will, of course, find stories about elements of this extraordinary event – Bush’s denial of habeas corpus rights to a fair trial, his secret prisons, his tolerance of torture, his violation of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, his “signing statements” overriding laws, the erosion of constitutional checks and balances.

But the historians will scroll through front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post and every other major newspaper – as well as scan the national network news and the 24-hour cable channels – and find not a single story connecting the dots, explaining the larger picture: the end of a remarkable democratic experiment which started in 1776 and which was phased out sometime in the early 21st century.

How, these historians may ask, did the U.S. press corps miss one of history’s most important developments? Was it a case like the proverbial frog that would have jumped to safety if tossed into boiling water but was slowly cooked to death when the water was brought to a slow boil?

Or was it that journalists and politicians intuitively knew that identifying too clearly what was happening in the United States would have compelled them to action, and that action would have meant losing their jobs and livelihoods? Perhaps, too, they understood that there was little they could do to change the larger reality, so why bother?

As for the broader public, did the fear and anger generated by the 9/11 attacks so overwhelm the judgment of Americans that they didn’t care that President Bush had offered them a deal with the devil, he would promise them a tad more safety in exchange for their liberties?

And what happened to the brave souls who did challenge Bush’s establishment of an authoritarian state? Why, the historians may wonder, did the American people and their representatives not rise up as Bush systematically removed honorable public servants who did their best to uphold the nation’s laws and principles?

One could go down a long list of government officials who were purged or punished for speaking up, the likes of Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson and Deputy Attorney General James Comey.

Now you have read the whole piece and because you are an actual citizen and Patriot who actually cares about the United States of America you are going to take action right?

So, who have you written to and called today? And when people you know start spouting bullshit you countered it how? Because your Omerta enables their Omerta!

Just asking?

Grace Under Fire!

I really, really, like Jonathan Turley! So when I saw this I just had to post it as a follow up to the post about David Feige on Prosecutorial Misconduct. I just knew where he was going after reading the second paragraph:

It was an extraordinary scene when Michael B. Nifong, the district attorney in Durham, N.C., took the stand to defend his law license after his failed crusade to convict innocent Duke University lacrosse players of gang rape. He had no more success with his own defense. After being disbarred for "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation," he was suspended from his job last week and now faces a possible lawsuit in civil court.

What's most remarkable about the whole scene, though, is how rare it is. Nifong's misconduct was hardly unusual: Some of the most high-profile cases in history have involved strikingly similar acts of prosecutorial abuse. But instead of being punished, the worst violators are often lionized for their aggressive styles -- maybe even rewarded with a cable television show.

Mr. Turley goes on to reveal many of the historically well know examples of Prosecutorial Misconduct in which the prosecutor isn’t prosecuted.

And finally he goes where I knew he would go:

Consider the career of Nancy Grace. Before becoming a CNN and Court TV anchor, she was a notorious prosecutor in Alabama. In a blistering 2005 federal appeals opinion, Judge William H. Pryor Jr., a conservative former Alabama attorney general, found that Grace had "played fast and loose" with core ethical rules in a 1990 triple-murder case. Like Nifong, Grace was accused of not disclosing critical evidence (the existence of other suspects) as well as knowingly permitting a detective to testify falsely under oath. The Georgia Supreme Court also reprimanded her for withholding evidence and for making improper statements in a 1997 arson and murder case. The court overturned the conviction in that case and found that Grace's behavior "demonstrated her disregard of the notions of due process and fairness and was inexcusable." She faced similar claims in other cases.

You might have expected Grace to suffer the same fate as Nifong. Instead, she has her own show on CNN, and the network celebrates her as "one of television's most respected legal analysts." On TV, she displays the same style she had in the courtroom. (In the Duke case, her presumed-guilty approach was evident early on, when she declared: "I'm so glad they didn't miss a lacrosse game over a little thing like gang rape.")

The Grace effect is not lost on aspiring young prosecutors who struggle to outdo one another as camera-ready, take-no-prisoners avengers of justice. Grace's controversial career also shows how prosecutors can routinely push the envelope without fear of any professional consequences. Often this does not mean violating an ethics rule, but using legally valid charges toward unjust ends.

Once again, thank you Mr. Turley for pointing out the obvious that isn’t all that obvious to the public. Keep up the good work.

Beverly Sills


1929 - 2007

James Capozzola

1962 – 2007

Via Susie

Glenn Greenwald, as Always!

Here is the whole thing, so you don’t have to watch that pesky ad:

Lewis Libby owes his freedom to our corrupt political elite

The lawbreaking and radicalism of the last six years are the natural byproducts of our Beltway opinion-makers.

Glenn Greenwald

Jul. 03, 2007 | (updated below)

That Lewis Libby has been protected by George Bush from the consequences of his crimes only highlights how corrupt and broken our political system is. It reveals nothing new. This is the natural, inevitable outgrowth of our rancid political culture, shaped and slavishly defended by our Beltway ruling class and our serious, sober opinion-making elite.

The disasters and rampant lawlessness and fundamental erosion of our country's political values and institutions are exactly what Fred Hiatt and David Broder and Time Magazine and Tim Russert and Tom Friedman and the New Republic geniuses have spent the last six years protecting, enabling and defending. We have the country we have -- one in which our most powerful political leaders are literally beyond the reach of the law in every sense, where we casually invade and bomb and occupy countries that have not attacked us, where our moral standing in the world has collapsed with good reason, where we are viewed on every continent in the world as a rogue, dangerous and lawless nation -- because we are ruled by a Beltway elite and political press that is sickly and cowardly and slavish at its core.

That Dick Cheney's top aide, one of the most well-connected neoconservatives on the planet, is protected from the consequences of his felonies ought to be anything but surprising. That is the country that we have. It is a result that is completely consistent with the "values" that define official Washington. No other outcome was possible.

The Plame investigation was urged by the Bush CIA and commenced by the Bush DOJ, Libby's conviction pursued by a Bush-appointed federal prosecutor, his jail sentence imposed by a Bush-appointed "tough-on-crime" federal judge, all pursuant to harsh and merciless criminal laws urged on by the "tough-on-crime/no-mercy" GOP. Lewis Libby was sent to prison by the system constructed and desired by the very Republican movement protesting his plight.

But our political discourse and media institutions are so broken and corrupt that Bush followers (and their media enablers) feel free to make the completely-backwards and fact-free claim that the Libby prosecution was driven by "partisan" and "political" motives -- as though it was a mirror image of the Clinton persecution driven by Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and a purely partisan Republican prosecutor -- because they know that there is no such thing as a claim too false to be passed on without real objection by our vapid, drooling press corps.

For the right-wing political movement that has spawned the Bush disasters of the last six years, the exoneration of Lewis Libby was not merely something they supported. It was much more than that. It was a matter of the greatest importance. That is because Libby is a True Believer, a loyal member of their cult. Seeing him in prison would be humiliating, would make them feel weak and defeated at the hands of the Enemy (defined as "anyone who opposes them"), which is the worst outcome there is.

The only "principle" they have is that their movement is Good, those who oppose it Evil, and loyal members of their movement -- and especially its Leaders -- must never have their power checked or limited in any way. One who serves at Dick Cheney's side cannot possibly be in prison. Literally, there is no crime their Leaders can commit which will render them unwilling to defend and justify it. The overriding priority is that they remain strong and powerful, immune from the constraints of the law.

Hence, the country's right-wing movement made the defense of Lewis Libby one of its most impassioned causes, and one of the leading candidates seeking to lead it -- Fred Thompson -- made exoneration of this convicted felon one of his principal missions over the last two years. And he does so while running around spitting out tough and righteous sermons about the need to restore the "rule of law": "It is a sad irony that a nation that is so dedicated to the rule of law is doing so much to undermine the respect for it," he said in the very same speech where he urged Libby's pardon. One of the prime defenders of Lewis Libby has the audacity to say such things with a straight face because he knows how broken our political and media institutions are.

But the most significant disease highlighted by the Libby travesty is also the most obvious one. We have decided to be a country in which our highest Republican political officials can break the law freely, without any real consequence. In the United States, the law does not apply to the President and his closest aides. And there is one fact after the next which proves that.

Almost thirty years ago, the American people reacted with fury and horror over revelations by the Church Committee that every administration in prior decades had been spying on Americans for completely improper purposes. In response, they enacted a law, through their Congress, making it a felony for any government official to eavesdrop on Americans without judicial approval, punishable by 5 years in prison for each offense. Since 1977, it has been a felony in the United States for political officials to eavesdrop on Americans without judicial warrants.

But in December of 2005, The New York Times revealed that George Bush had been breaking this law -- committing felonies -- every day for the prior four years. And when he was caught, he went on television and proudly admitted what he had done and vowed defiantly to continue doing it. And our wise and serious Washington media establishment shrugged, even applauded. They directed their fury only at those who objected to the lawbreaking. The GOP-controlled Congress blocked every attempt to investigate this criminality -- with virtually no outcry -- and then set out to pass a new law making this criminality retroactively legal. In response to revelations that the President was deliberately breaking the law, official Washington fell all over itself figuring out the most efficient way to protect and defend the President's crimes.

Ever since Gerald Ford, with the support of our permanent Beltway ruling class, pardoned Richard Nixon for his crimes -- followed naturally by the current President's father shielding his own friends and aides from the consequences of serious criminal convictions for lying to Congress and deliberately breaking its laws, with one of those criminals then appointed with no objection by his son to run Middle East policy from the White House -- we have been a nation which allows our highest political officials to reside beyond the reach of law. It is just that simple.

And over the last six years, that "principle" has been extended to its most extreme though logical conclusions. This administration expressly adopted theories -- right out in the open -- which, as it its central premise, states that the President is greater than the law, that his "obligation" to protect the nation means that nothing and nobody can limit what he does, including -- especially -- the laws enacted by our Congress, no matter how radical and extreme that conduct is.

In response to this most audacious declaration of Presidential Omnipotence, our Sober Guardians of Political Wisdom shrugged. Those who objected too strenuously, who used terms such as "criminal" and "lawlessness" or who raised the specter of impeachment -- the tool created by the Founders to redress executive lawbreaking -- were branded as radicals or impetuous, unserious partisan hysterics. The only crime recognized by official Washington is using impetuous or excessively irreverent language to object to the lawbreaking and radicalism of the Leader, or acting too aggressively to investigate it. That is the only crime that triggers their outrage.

Even with an overarching Ideology of Lawlessness explicitly embraced by their President right in front of their faces -- an ideology used to torture people, to detain people in "law-free" dungeons around the world, even to abduct our fellow citizens on U.S. soil and put them into a black hole for years without any charges or even contact with the outside world -- our political establishment stood by him, supported him, insisting that he and his Vice President were serious, responsible men acting under difficult circumstances to protect us, and that the only ones deserving of true scorn were those who were overzealous in their criticisms of the Leaders.

The President and his followers know that they can apply completely different rules to themselves, and freely break the law, because our Washington establishment, our "political press," will never object too strenuously, or even at all. Over the last six years, our media has directed their hostility only towards those who investigate or attempt to hold accountable the most powerful members of our political system -- hence their attacks on the GOP prosecutor investigating the Bush administration's crimes, their anger towards the very few investigative reporters trying to uncover Washington's secrets, and their righteous condemnation towards each of the handful of attempts by Congress to exercise investigative oversight of the administration.

The political press -- the function of which was envisioned by the Founders to investigate and hold accountable the most politically powerful -- now fulfill the exact oppose purpose in our country. They are slavishly protective of our highest political officials, and adversarial only to those who investigate, oppose and seek to hold those officials accountable. Hence, in official Washington, the Real Villains are Patrick Fitzgerald, Ken Silverstein, Russ Feingold and his Censure resolution, Pat Leahy and his disruptive subpoenas -- our Beltway elite reserves their venom for those who want to turn the lights on what our most powerful political officials are doing.

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.

In Federalist No. 70, Alexander Hamilton described the defining power of the King which made the British monarchy intolerably corrupt: "In England, the king is a perpetual magistrate; and it is a maxim which has obtained for the sake of the public peace, that he is unaccountable for his administration, and his person sacred." Thomas Paine proclaimed in Common Sense "that so far as we approve of monarch, that in America THE LAW IS KING." But little effort is required to see how far removed we now are from those basic principles.

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.

We have a radical and lawless government that has run rampant over the last six years precisely because the institutions designed to stop that abuse have not only stood idly by, but have actively defended and participated in it. We actually have a press corps that holds, as its central belief, that our highest government officials should be free of investigation and accountability. In every country ruled by a lawless government and a corrupt political and media elite, powerful political officials do not go to prison for crimes. That is why convicted felon Lewis Libby will remain free.

UPDATE: Behold the pure derangement pervading our country's right-wing movement, as displayed today by National Review commentator and right-wing radio talk show host Mark Levin:

The Commutation

The way I see it, Lewis Libby was about to become a political prisoner and the president prevented that.

As Harper's Scott Horton noted yesterday in a superb post (and I return the sentiment Horton expressed in the first paragraph of his post today), the neocon mentality is quite similar to the core tactics of the KGB, whose modus operandi Horton knows well from his years of defending democracy and human rights advocates in the former Soviet Union:

Moreover, this episode tells us one of the most deeply guarded truths of the Inner Party of the Neocon movement, namely: the ends justify the means. That is, to accomplish a goal accepted by the Inner Party, you are entitled to do anything -- break the law, by all means, and indeed set the law into oblivion if you can. That explains the fate of the Geneva Conventions, which were, alas, simply inconvenient -- they got in the way of the notion that no rules can stand between us and the accomplishment of our objectives.

For the Nietzschean Neocon man (let's call him Ubermensch or perhaps even better, Scooter Libby), there are no rules; they exist for the people of the herd. And that explains the indignation when the rules for the herd are applied against Scooter.

Apropos of Horton's "Doppelganger" comment today, I documented precisely this neocon corruption several weeks ago by noting that neocons believe that no other neocon should ever be punished or otherwise held accountable for anything they do -- see e.g., Scooter Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, Conrad Black, AIPAC officials charged with espionage, Elliot Abrams, etc. etc.

But this belief in intrinsic legal immunity extends to the entire Bush movement (which has become virtually synonymous with "neoconservatism"). That is what explains the literally endless defense not merely of individual acts of illegality, but of the claimed power to break the law in general. They are an authoritarian movement which believes only in its own power. By definition, none of its Leaders can ever be guilty of anything because to be a Leader of that movement means, by definition, that their actions are always for the Good and that anything which impedes those actions -- whether it be ethics, political principles or the law -- are unjust.

-- Glenn Greenwald

Thank you Glenn and get his new book Tragic Legacy, because “How Would a Patriot Act?

Time for A RICO Indictment?

For quite sometime I have been thinking that the recent incarnation of the Republican Party is nothing more than a criminal conspiracy, from the K Street Project to the Bush Administration and all that came in between and will continue into the future. The commutation of “Scooter’s” sentence is just the icing on the cake (pardon to come in January 2009). It is good to know that I am not the only one calling Oliver Stone.

Dan Froomkin’s column is dedicated to the Libby Commutation as well it should be. And Mr. Froomkin has a very good summary up front before he documents the atrocities via the MSM.

Here is just a taste:

During the course of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's trial for obstruction of justice and perjury, we learned a lot about his bosses.

Incremental discoveries that didn't garner major headlines nevertheless added to what we know -- and can reasonably surmise -- about Vice President Cheney and President Bush's role in the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity, which was revealed during the course of the administration's defense of its decision to go to war in Iraq.

We know, for instance, that Cheney was the first person to tell Libby about Plame's identity. We know that Cheney told Libby to leak Plame's identity to the New York Times in an attempt to discredit her husband, who had accused the administration of manipulating prewar intelligence. We know that Cheney wrote talking points that may have encouraged Libby and others to mention Plame to reporters. We know that Cheney once talked to Bush about Libby's assignment, and got permission from the president for Libby to leak hitherto classified information to the Times.

We don't know why Libby decided to lie to federal investigators about his role in the leak. But it's reasonable to conclude -- or at least strongly suspect -- that he was doing it to protect Cheney, and maybe even Bush.

Why, after all, was special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald so determined to get the truth from Libby and, barring that, to punish him for obstructing justice? Prosecutorial ethics preclude Fitzgerald, a Bush appointee, from answering such questions. But the most likely scenario is that he suspected that it was Cheney who committed the underlying crime -- that Cheney instructed Libby to out a CIA agent in his no-holds-barred crusade against a critic. (See my Feb. 21 column, The Cloud Over Cheney and my May 29 column, Fitzgerald Again Points to Cheney.)

All of this means that Bush's decision yesterday to commute Libby's prison sentence isn't just a matter of unequal justice. It is also a potentially self-serving and corrupt act.

Was there a quid pro quo at work? Was Libby being repaid for falling on his sword and protecting his bosses from further scrutiny? Alternately, was he being repaid for his defense team's abrupt decision in mid-trial not to drag Cheney into court, where he would have faced cross-examination by Fitzgerald? (See my March 8 column, Did Libby Make a Deal?)

This would explain to me why the defense team failed to put on a defense of Irving Lewis “Scooter” Libby, you know Mark Rich’s lawyer. And if this is actually accurate, as it makes sense in retrospect, it would suggest a criminal conspiracy.

Just saying!

Read the rest of the column it is very insightful as Froomkin always is.

Liberty and We the People Indeed!

Go read Christy’s post on Liberty and We the People. And listen to Chet Atkins while you do. You won’t be sorry.