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October 28, 2005

Dancin’
Posted by Teresa at 01:59 PM *

Scooter Libby has been indicted on five counts, and has resigned his position with the Bush administration.

Comments on Dancin':
#1 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 02:26 PM:

I know Scooter. I've worked with him. He probably shouldn't have talked so much...and neither should I.

#2 ::: Patrick Weekes ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 02:28 PM:

I know this is just me being shortsighted, but I was really hoping for Rove... I know it's not guaranteed that he'll get off the hook, and I know that Libby has been involved in a lot of the badness, but... I really wanted Rove.

But this is a definite happy start.

#3 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 02:28 PM:

14 Across - Excuses. Six letters, starts with a “P”.

(I'd happily be wrong.)

#4 ::: sennoma ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 02:36 PM:

Avery's "excuses" is a verb, not a noun. Think "forgives". That took me an embarrassingly long time to work out.

I hadn't thought of that. I sure hope you're wrong Avery -- but I wouldn't bet against you.

#5 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 02:36 PM:

I hope that Libby goes to trial. I'd like to see the witnesses cross-examined in open court.

#6 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 02:43 PM:

Well, if we make it 7 letters instead of six, it works better. Part of the joy of English is that "excuses" and "pardons" can be either plural nouns or 3rd person singular verbs. Pardon is either a singular noun, or a verb, but not a 3rd person singular verb. The "clue" works much better both clue and answer match.

Anyway, I'm thrilled!

#7 ::: Sandy ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 02:51 PM:

Of course, pardoning hurts the Shrub politically. . . but it would be nice to see some jail time.

#8 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 03:06 PM:

Rove cut a deal (hopefully, not before he soiled himself, causing Fitzgerald to make a face and reconsider his offer).

Also, there’s no reason to believe this is the end of Fitzmas. In fact, Ii could be Fitzhanakah, from some rumors I’ve heard (but you know about those blogs and the rumors they peddle…)

#9 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 04:32 PM:

What I'm wondering is -- is it possible that more indictments could come later? If Libby, for example, rats out someone else in his testimony?

#10 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 04:36 PM:

What I'm wondering is -- is it possible that more indictments could come later?

Fitzgerald is hanging on to the grand jury, and says it's possible there will be more indictments. Who else is in his sights is a question, but I'm assuming that Rove is one of the possible targets. Cheney seems less likely as a target.

#11 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 04:44 PM:

Rove is still "under investigation." That means we can still hope. Since Bush knew about this two years ago and was reportedly all mad at Karl, I'm hoping the grand jury will name him as an "unindicted co-conspirator" the way the Watergate one did Nixon.

(For those of you (mostly overseas, I expect) not familiar with how this works, there's only one "grand jury" that can indict a sitting President, and that's Congress. And it's called impeachment. That's out of the question, unless we do way better in the 2006 elections than presently seems likely.)

#12 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 05:06 PM:

Fitzgerald is hanging on to the grand jury, and says it's possible there will be more indictments. Who else is in his sights is a question, but I'm assuming that Rove is one of the possible targets.

Yes!!!

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 05:11 PM:

I understand that Scooter didn't get indicted because of the actual crime that started this whole thing. Am I wrong? If not, I wonder if Fizgerald is keeping that indictment for pinning on a really big fish.

#14 ::: jim ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 05:17 PM:

Libby is resigning "to fight the charges brought against him." Does anyone know if Libby's a rich man? Criminal defense is expensive these days. And now he's given up his source of income.

I suppose there will be a legal defense fund set up by the Right. But they're already giving to Tom Delay and if there are more indictments to come from Fitzgerald, that'll be more claims on their generosity. I assume the "criminalization of conservative politics" line is to urge the base to contribute to legal defense funds, which suggests that contributions aren't coming in fast enough without such urging.

This is not to solicit sympathy for Libby, but I do worry about a legal system where indictment implies bankruptcy.

#15 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 05:45 PM:

Let the bastard twist in the wind, jim.

#16 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 06:25 PM:

Serge:

Yes, the indictments are on "fallout" charges.

But the document makes it clear that the original crime -- revealing the identity of an undercover agent -- WAS committed.

Fitzgerald is holding that back for round two.

In addition to sticking someone with that crime, a lot of people around the president could get charged with conspiracy.

Take your time, Fitz. Make 'em sweat. Don't let the bastards grind you down.

#17 ::: Dave Trowbridge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 06:27 PM:

Libby was not indicted on the actual crime, and for that, I think, we can be grateful. It seems unlikely that he could have been convicted under the IIPA, since the evidential bar was set so high specifically to avoid creating an Official Secrets Act in this country. And prosecuting him under espionage statutes, as some have called for, would have set a precedent just as bad as an OSA. So good for Fitzgerald. Definitely a straight arrow who was interested in justice, but not at the expense of basic liberties.

#18 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 06:30 PM:

I know the President can only be indicted by the House in impeachment hearings, but what about Cheney? Can the Vice-President be indicted by a grand jury?

(Excuse for not knowing: (a) I'm on the wrong side of the Atlantic, and (b) I was only 8-10 years old when Watergate was going on.)

#19 ::: alkali ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 06:50 PM:

I was surprised that the indictment contained so many references to dinosaurs and sodomy.

Charlie Stross: The consensus view on that question is yes, the VP can be indicted.

#20 ::: Ian Myles Slater ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 07:08 PM:

Charlie Stross:

The Vice President is certainly subject to impeachment, as set forth in the constitution:

Article II, Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Of course, a Vice President, whose official duties are limited to presiding over the Senate (which in practice is an optional activity), would at first glance seem unlikely to be a target of impeachment proceedings under most circumstances.

For example, who would waste money on bribing someone with no executive or legislative authority? (Spiro Agnew was facing charges for offenses committed in state office.)

#21 ::: Rich McAllister ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 07:17 PM:

A vice president has been indicted: Aaron Burr, for shooting Alexander Hamilton.

As far as I know it's never been completely settled that a sitting President cannot be indicted. Nobody has ever tried.

#22 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 07:42 PM:

Wasn't Spiro Agnew indicted?

#23 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 08:00 PM:

I'm not American, and I'm not familiar with this presidential pardoning thing -- how does it work?

(Please tell me it's not the same as the medieval British system?)

#24 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 08:07 PM:

It seems unlikely that he could have been convicted under the IIPA, since the evidential bar was set so high specifically to avoid creating an Official Secrets Act in this country.

I have heard at least one Senator comment on this, saying the law needs to be looked at.
---
And now he's given up his source of income.

And how soon do you think he and Brown will end up at Halliburton?

#25 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 08:17 PM:

I don't know how the medieval British system worked, but in America, the pardon is a power the President may exercise at his discretion except in cases of impeachment.

Usually, a President will issue a string of executive orders just before leaving office that pardon his loyal friends and conspirators. When President GHW Bush pardoned all the Iran-Contra criminals, that was the one that got up my nose. Other pardons have been notorious.

President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon was particularly controversial.

#26 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 08:27 PM:

The folks at Daily Kos are Dancin' in the streets, or the aisles, or whatever. Lots of jubilation. I am also happy. But all W. has to do now is make the "right" Supreme Court appointment ("right" means smart, tough, appropriately conservative, and guaranteed to appeal to his base) and Libby will fade into the background while the slugfest goes on ... and it's a slugfest progressives will lose. It's a much more important fight.

I wonder who he's gonna pick?

But I am happy.

#27 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 09:56 PM:

It seems unlikely that he could have been convicted under the IIPA

Yet.

It is always funny to see conservatives suddenly start talking like ACLU-hugging soft-on-crime defense attorneys when one of their own is under the microscope.

#28 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 10:17 PM:

Fitzgerald, SFAIK, isn't 'hanging onto' the GJ. The current GJ's term has expired, and he didn't request an extension. Since the GJ's term had already been extended once, he might not have been able to request another one.

What happens now (and all I know about this I read on blogs, esp. Firedoglake and talkleft) is that a new GJ is empaneled. I don't know if it would be a GJ specifically to hear more on the Plame matter, or if it's a general GJ that just hears whatever comes up on the docket. (The GJ that just concluded wasn't a "Special" GJ chosen just for Plamegate.)

Fitzgerald also said that the rest of this case is mostly a matter of cleaning up a few outstanding issues. He said not to expect anything dramatic. I have no idea what he meant by that, since the only non-dramatic thing that could happen would be closing the case with no further indictments. I don't know how that jibes with Rove's indefinite status: his own attorneys say he's still in legal jeopardy - and indicting Rove would have to qualify as "dramatic."

The blogs make a point of noting that Fitzgerald's other major investigations, esp. the one of Illinois' GOP, kept resulting in indictments long after the original GJ ended its deliberations, based on trial outcomes, with defendants making deals as part of plea bargains. So might be the case this time, too... if it goes to trial, or if Libby starts to plea bargain.

A Presidential Pardon is a distinct possibility - except that, apparently, Joe and Valerie Wilson are poised to file a civil suit, and a pardon doesn't apply to civil actions.

I highly recommend firedoglake and talkleft for information about possible future legal action.

#29 ::: saucyworchester ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 10:18 PM:

"This is not to solicit sympathy for Libby, but I do worry about a legal system where indictment implies bankruptcy."

Of course we need to remember that Mr. Libby was probably part of the planning process that so recently redefined bankruptcy so that it is no longer so easy to reach.

#30 ::: hrc ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 10:56 PM:

Jo, pardons can be granted by Presidents at any time, for any crime afaik. Usually Presidents wait until their last term is up to issue them b/c they are wildly unpopular. Bush 1 pardoned Reagan's Sec Def Casper Weinberger for Iran Contra convictions. But only after he lost the 92 election and was preparing to leave D.C.

#31 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 11:15 PM:

Lisa, you know how when you're trying to split a sizeable piece of wood, and you can't get your wedge to stick in it, you give it a good cut with your axe, and stick the wedge in that? If we're lucky, and I'm praying we are, Scooter Libby is that axe cut.

Charlie, to confirm the answer to your question, yes, a Vice President can be indicted by a Grand Jury. That's what led to the resignation of Spiro Agnew (whose name is anagrammatically equivalent to "grow a penis"; but never mind).

Presidents aren't susceptible to grand juries, but they can be nailed with a civil suit. Deliciously, the precedent for this is the Paula Jones case.

Casey, Fitzgerald is reputed to be the best prosecutor in the country. What he says in public -- and he says very little -- is far likelier to be intended to dislodge or knock off balance his current prosecutorial targets.

We'll see.

Saucy Worcester, the VRWC deliberately saw to it that many of Clinton's loyalists left government service with their personal finances in shambles. No White House in history has ever been so mercilessly prosecuted, nor so thoroughly exonerated, as the Clinton administration. It'll take a long hard road and years of misery before I'll feel sorry for the likes of Scooter Libby.

We don't know who Valerie Plame Wilson's intelligence contacts were, nor would it be proper for us to know; but for all we do know, there may be families out there right now who are bereaved because Libby outed VPW -- betraying his country's interests! -- in a low, mean, petty, vindictive act of political retaliation for her husband reporting the truth his government sent him to find.

There are prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and, Lord God Almighty, in the United States itself, who are never going to get a hundredth part of the fairness, conscientiousness, and scrupulous regard for the sanctity of the law, that Scooter Libby will be able to take for granted as he conducts his defense. What we do know is that a significant fraction of those prisoners were scooped up semi-randomly. They've gotten no mercy. And all along, Libby's been up to his ears in the counsels and actions of the administration that deprived those prisoners of freedom, justice, and in some cases their lives.

First, last, and always, the Bushies have done everything they could to rip off the national treasury. That's going to show up as higher taxes for pinched homeowners and single mothers and poor bastards trying by hard work and persistence to make something of their lives. The shortfalls are going to take bites out of health care, educational programs, the national infrastructure. We're talking about widows and children and the honest working poor, ripped off to make richer the handful of rich men who helped put them into office.

Is evil just a word? Because if it means anything real, that's what this man and his cronies have been doing.

I swear, I have neither mercy nor sympathy nor respect for their sufferings, except insofar as I'd give that much to any of my fellow children of God.

Paul Begala talks about this so much better than I do.

#32 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 11:31 PM:

Since my husband and I are not working due to the downsizing of various IT departments, I've been listening to CNN a lot. It affords me a great deal of amusement to listen to assorted people try to dodge having their own words shoved down their throats. If I walk into the room, not having heard any preceeding introductions, I know who's a Bush supporter and who isn't by who's frantically changing the subject. And who's pointing fingers at other people -- "they started it!!!!" And I thank God daily for computers and the internet, as someone said "I never said that" (or reasonable facsimile) and someone else pulls the exact quote, date, time and circumstances out of a database.

It's an amazing example of tap dancing sitting down.

#33 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 11:31 PM:

Saucy, most of that wasn't aimed at you. It was an explosion of sorts.

#34 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 11:34 PM:

Paul Begala talks about this so much better than I do.

Frankly, I'm more impressed & moved by the passion behind your words than his experiences.


Regarding wedge tactics, one quote that struck me enough to blog comes from Digby, who pointed out:

In the Governor Ryan case remember, Ryan was the 66th person indicted --- partially on the basis of testimony of his closest aide
And that testimony only came after said aide (a) was found guilty and sentence to six years, and (b) Fitzgerald started squeezing (as in threatening legal action against) the guy's mistress.

Fitzgerald is tough. He laid out all the evidence for prosecuting the leak itself, but didn't. I've seen speculation he's holding that as added incentive in plea bargain negotiations...

And he has a history of starting with small fry and working his way up to the ringleaders. And this time, he started with Scooter Libby.

#35 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 11:36 PM:

Teresa:
No. I don't feel much sympathy for Libby either, nor for any of the WH folks. They wanted their jobs and made the decisions that took us to war, including the decisions to tell lies about WMD and uranium and Al Queda's non-existent connections with SH. I heard Fitz's press conference today; he's impressive. If there's more to get I think he'll get it.

I just wish I could be persuaded that it will make much a difference, long-term. It won't keep W. from putting someone whose judicial philosophy I loathe on the Supreme Court, and it won't end the war. One difference it may indeed make is in the outcome of the mid-term elections. If more indictments come down or if Libby actually goes to trial, it may reverse some Republican gains and may actually tip the Senate close to or over the line -- make it Democratic again. Probably that can't happen in the House -- though I do love the thought of Nancy Pelosi as Majority Leader.

As for Libby -- not to worry, those of you who are concerned for his welfare. I am sure he has a pension. And he will never go hungry a day in his life.

#36 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 11:41 PM:

Correction: Sorry, I meant Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. [It's been a long day.]

It's Barbara Boxer who would be Majority Leader of the Senate in MY fantasyland.

#37 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 12:10 AM:

mythago: It is always funny to see conservatives suddenly start talking like ACLU-hugging soft-on-crime defense attorneys when one of their own is under the microscope.

Oh, you mean the way they suddenly discovered that Singapore's laws were right out of the Middle Ages when Barings went under and it looked like one of their own would have to spend time in an Oriental prison, possibly even getting corporal punishment for his offenses?

The old line was that a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged. But it's been a fact for decades that a [moderate/neolib/I-can't-think-of-a-suitable-expletive] is a conservative who has just discovered the law applies to him. Conservatives think they'll never have to sleep under bridges or beg for bread, and "stealing" is what somebody else does (cf Screwtape's observation that a bribe becomes a "tip" or "present"), but there are still laws to constrain the evil that they do.

#38 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 12:32 AM:

Sometimes a liberal is a conservative who's discovered that the us-and-them line is drawn higher than he'd ever thought it was, having looked up and seen it hovering there, far above his head.

#39 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 12:43 AM:

I'd say that this is definitely the thin end of the wedge, and it's looking more and more likely that Rove will be getting something too, if simply because Scott McClellan said that both Rove AND Libby told him that they hadn't outed Plame, and now Libby has been indicted on charges that he DID TOO, and it will look rather funny for Rove to not get perjury and obstruction of justice charges of his own. But it's good strategy to deal with Libby first, then to go on to the bigger fish of Rove, even if Rove's charges don't have any extra candy sprinkles.

I find it rather cheering that presidential pardons don't cover civil suits, and I'm looking forward to that as well.

#40 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 01:00 AM:

Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small.

--Friedrich Von Logau, tr. H.W. Longfellow (though I get the feeling most people here already know that)

#41 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 01:29 AM:

I'm dancing, but I'm dancing cautiously, because I can't trust that it's going to go anywhere--that a jury will convict, that there will be more indictments, that this horrid administration will be ground into dust--preferably before Bush can appoint anyone to the Supreme Court. Oh, what the hell. Right now I'm dancing.

#42 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 02:04 AM:

"It won't keep W. from putting someone whose judicial philosophy I loathe on the Supreme Court, and it won't end the war."

It might...the more credibility these people loose, the harder it becomes for them to maintain party discipline. If the Senate deadlocks until '06, we may get a few more Democratic senators, and be able to hold the line on the Court. The damn war...it's the tar baby; even Juan Cole thinks a US presence there for some time to come is probably the best we can do. oh, man, are we ever losing this one.

Me, I'm wondering if the sveedish chef is going to be making the next supreme court appointment.

#43 ::: Greer Gilman ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 04:24 AM:

From the Grauniad:

"Mr Rove found Mr Bush as a gland-handing good ol' boy trading on his family name and his charm."

At last! A real scandal.

#44 ::: Greer Gilman ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 04:37 AM:

Here, if they haven't caught it. Sixth 'graph from the bottom, not counting Backstory.

#45 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 09:35 AM:

In the last couple of weeks, I've seen stories of Fitzgerald's investigators talking to the Wilsons' neighbors, asking if they knew what she did for a living. The neighbors apparently thought she was an energy analyst.

This apparently is intended to take care of 'it was talked about that she worked for the CIA'. Those who used that excuse are probably in range of Fitzgerald's indictments.

#46 ::: hrc ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 12:19 PM:

Teresa, Paul Begala's essay is flawed by his failure to come clean and list HUD Secretary Cisneros' conviction for lying to the feds about his hush payments to his mistress. He was forced out of his appointment as a result and the investigation is still ongoing (which is a travesty).

I am as happy as most others that at last some justice is being done to these m****f**ers, but we should be truthful when we speak of the past, else we become like those we seek to hold responsible.

#47 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 12:22 PM:

but I do worry about a legal system where indictment implies bankruptcy

This is not a problem that suddenly developed with Mr. Libby (as I'm sure you knew, and didn't mean to imply otherwise). It annoys me to no end that the cost of lawyers is only considered a problem with rich people or corporations pay it.

#48 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 12:41 PM:

Teresa wrote that "...Presidents aren't susceptible to grand juries, but they can be nailed with a civil suit. Deliciously, the precedent for this is the Paula Jones case..."

One more thing they can blame on Bill Clinton.

As for their being evil, I remember posting here some time ago on that subject. I had reported a disagreement I have with my wife (besides her not liking to be around when the Three Stooges are on TV): I say that Dubya is evil, but she objects that you can't be evil AND stupid at the same time.

#49 ::: Paula Kate ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 01:35 PM:

Two thoughts on Harriet Miers:

Perhaps W decided that he just might need his trusted personal attorney at his side someday soon.

And if she were on the Supreme Court when any of this bubbled up there, she would of course have to recuse herself.

On further thought, naw, she was probably just a stalking horse all along....

#50 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 01:53 PM:

I find it interesting that the anti-Clintonites bring up every accusation made by the press, by Congress, by anybody, not the shorter list of things investigated, not the much shorter list of indictments/charges, nor the even shorter list of convictions. What I also find interesting is those Clinton-listers don't ever answer the question: How does that affect what's going on now? When it's used by the talking heads, the opposition starts sputtering and talking in incomplete sentences.

#51 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 01:54 PM:

Serge: Of course one can be both stupid and evil. Evil is often rooted in pride and jealousy, which may easily be found in George III's innermost being. (What, you thought he was the only one who could see into people's hearts?)

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 02:14 PM:

Or evil, at least in the atheistic meaning I rely upon, is when people don't give a damn what harm their actions may cause, even if they didn't plan on causing harm. Thus, yes, Dubya's an evil son of a you-know-what. (I don't use the 'B' word because it's sexist and because it's an insult to my three girl dogs.)

A few years ago, when Bill was still the Prez, my wife Susan Krinard saw something posted by someone on SFWA's women list about how Bill was evil. I can't remember if that person had explained the basis for that assertion, but it didn't meet the criteria according to Susan Shwartz, who took that person to task for it. Which goes to show that one must never mess with anybody named Susan.

#53 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 03:41 PM:

I would say most of the clearly evil people I've met have been really stupid as well.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 04:23 PM:

In MA Foster's book Waves, there's a passage about evil, in which (paraphrasing it mightily) it's said that most people expect evil to be ugly and malformed, whereas it usually looks like the neighbor from down the street, or someone else perfectly reasonable.

#55 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 04:50 PM:

Of course, except for Bush, I don't think that the rest of the gang is stupid. They're smart, but they've let themselves arrogant. Which one could say breeds another kind of stupidity.

#56 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 04:52 PM:

well this is a common assertion isn't it, the banality of evil, how evil does not look ugly and malformed and so forth, if we're actually speaking of physical looks here then yes, evil people look like everybody else generally. If we're saying that evil itself resembles good I would probably like to have a little more to go on than just that.

#57 ::: hrc ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 05:48 PM:

Evil to me is personified by the John Huston character in Chinatown.

#58 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 06:03 PM:

Regarding evil: I believe it has to do with choices.

"the attempt [to "marry" Heaven and Hell] is based on the belief that reality never presents us with an absolutely unavoidable "either-or"; that, granted skill and patience and (above all) time enough, some way of embracing both alternatives can always be found; that mere development or adjustment or refinement will somehow turn evil into good without our being called on for a final and total rejection of everything we should like to retain. This belief I take to be a disastrous error. You cannot take all luggage with you on all journeys; on one journey even your right hand and your right eye may be among the things you have to leave behind. We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the center; rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork you must make a decision.... Good, as it ripens, becomes continually more different not only from evil but from other good."

C. S. Lewis
Preface to The Great Divorce

#59 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 06:16 PM:

In roleplaying terms:

Bush's crew rolled 16 for Intelligence and 4 for Wisdom.

Man, how I wish they nailed Rove. Maybe they're waiting until Monday, when the door between the worlds is open and his own will come to claim him when Scroll of Indictment is read in his presence.

#60 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 07:25 PM:

Meet the new Scooter. Same as the old Scooter.

I hope Fitzgerald stays off small planes until this is over.

#61 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 09:09 PM:

Man, how I wish they nailed Rove. Maybe they're waiting until Monday

They're waiting to see if Libby will role. Or, for the truly cynical, how far.

#62 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 10:38 PM:

hrc: Evil to me is personified by the John Huston character in Chinatown.

When I think about evil, the first movie character to come to mind is Harry Lime, from The Third Man.

"Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare?"

That line says a lot about the kind of attitude that would allow someone to, for example, blow a CIA employee's cover solely for a momentary PR boost. There are days when I wonder how many people in Washington would take Harry's money.

#63 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 10:50 PM:

Most evil people are stupid, but the smart ones do a disproportionate amount of damage.

#64 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 12:55 AM:

For an interesting taxonomy of this, see Cipolla's The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity.

#65 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 01:22 AM:

I wonder if Brad DeLong saw that somewhere; it would explain his occasional use of quadrants when describing behavior.

#66 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 01:26 AM:

As for defense lawyers costing money, it didn't seem to hurt James Tobin, Bush's 2004 campaign chairman for New England; the RNC is paying his legal bills to defend against charges of conspiracy to prevent Democratic voters from getting to the polls in 2002 (by spamming Democratic get-out-the-vote phone banks).

Of course, the RNC says they have a zero-tolerance policy for such activity. Sounds like they have a bit more of...a $722,000-tolerance policy, perhaps.

(Two other people involved have already pled guilty; I guess they didn't merit spending over $722,000 for their defense lawyers.)

#67 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 01:55 AM:

I'm dancing, but I'm almost speechless. Here we are in a nasty war that's a quagmire, with inflation starting to raise its head and a political scandal created by the Administration's dirty tricks. Sheesh. I've lived through this once already, thank you, and I don't need 1973: The Sequel.

This thought crystallized while I was reading the article that
Greer Gilman recommended
, above. The fourth paragraph above Backstory begins with:

Meanwhile, almost every sentence uttered by the hapless White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, in recent days, has been engineered to convey the message that it was business as usual on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Ron Ziegler, another hapless White House spokesman, started with
'a third-rate burglary attempt'
and eventually reached, 'This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative.'

From where I'm sitting, this looks like deja vu all over again.

#68 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 07:39 AM:

Lizzie L's quote from C.S.Lewis got me wondering about something.

It's not my imagination, is it, that people with Lewis's attitude toward religion and Good/Evil are way more likely to be Democrats than Republicans?

#69 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 07:51 AM:

One more thing about Good/Evil... Or rather about what's right vs what's wrong...

A couple of years ago, I finally saw the movie The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. There was one scene that really struck me. George Smiley is explaining what needs to be done and his gaze takes on a wistful air as he says:

"Sometimes we have to do some very wicked things."

I've never read the novel the movie is based on, but I have read others by Le Carre and Smiley's comment is one I've seen running thru those: sometimes we have to commit revolting acts, but we must never enjoy them and never forget WHY we commit those acts.

Is that also the attitude of Democrats who serve in the military? I've never served, but that does seem to be the big difference towards War (any war) between the Democrats and the Republicans.

If I'm wrong, my apologies.

#70 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 08:22 AM:

When I think about evil, the first movie character to come to mind is Harry Lime

Who demonstrates that evil can be charming and witty without being any less evil. And the recent report in The New York Times about how the sales of fake malaria drugs are killing children shows that Harry either had a twin or that the sewers of
Vienna are more topologically complex than I'd thought...

#71 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 09:09 AM:

An interesting story on what probably was going on:
Fall Of A Vulcan

The title has nothing to do with ears.
Cheney may be a target also.

#72 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 02:09 PM:

Everyone's running Sunday commentary pieces about all this, but I particularly liked those in the "Insight" section of SFGate: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/artlist.cgi?key=IN&directory=/c/a/2005/10/30. Kept me reading for ages.

#73 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 03:04 PM:

Linkmeister: I wonder if Brad DeLong saw that somewhere

Given that Cipolla is/was
a) a Big Name in economic history* and
b) a professor in Brad DeLong's own department**

it's virtually certain that Prof. DeLong is familiar with this.

* Even I've read Cipolla's Before the Industrial Revolution, and I have only a layman's familiarity with the subject.
**Cipolla was at Berkeley in the '70s, I haven't the faintest idea if they overlapped.

#74 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 09:51 PM:

When it comes down to it, Libby, Rove, and Cheney had no need to know that Plame was an operative unless she'd been captured and they had to give the President input on how to handle the situation.

Now they've threatened national security because she knows the name of other operatives who currently remain on the job. If she's ever taken hostage or prisoner by interests contrary to our nation's, we'll have only Libby, Rove, and Cheney to blame for whatever she might reveal or do they still expect her to take a poison pill?

All three should be put on trial for treason. Bush should be impeached if he does not push for or support trials for their actions.

#75 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 09:52 PM:

Bob, thanks. Sometimes my ability to discern a connection astonishes me. ;)

#76 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 10:24 PM:

Now they've threatened national security because she knows the name of other operatives who currently remain on the job. If she's ever taken hostage or prisoner by interests contrary to our nation's, we'll have only Libby, Rove, and Cheney to blame for whatever she might reveal or do they still expect her to take a poison pill?

That isn't the major problem.

The major problem is that every person that she's talked with in her career is now jeopardized -- if any of them are foreign nationals at the very least they've lost their security clearances, their jobs, or worse, even if all they talked about with her was the weather. The company she worked for was revealed as a CIA front; all of its projects are now blown. Everyone else who worked there can be reasonably suspected to be a CIA officer. All of their contacts have also been burned. This has already happened. It isn't something that can be fixed by putting her in the witness protection program.

No need for an unfriendly power to get their hands on Ms. Plame physically. This leak has already caused a great deal of damage.

Where did it cause that damage? In the areas of finding and containing weapons of mass destruction. This foolishness has already harmed not only the CIA and its activities, it has made all of us less safe.

#77 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 10:37 PM:

The company she worked for was revealed as a CIA front; all of its projects are now blown. Everyone else who worked there can be reasonably suspected to be a CIA officer.

What, if anything, can be done with Novak, since he was one of those who out her and the front company publicly? (I'd put him on a nice safe beat, like obituaries.)

#78 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 10:53 PM:

Can Mr. Novak be prosecuted some way? Just a thought.

#79 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 11:01 PM:

In a alternate universe something righteous would happen to Robert Novak, but I suspect he's cooperated all the way with the grand jury and probably made the case that he had no idea VP was covert.

#80 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 11:12 PM:

My problem with Novak is that he'd been used the same way by Rove once before, during one of the Shrub's earlier campaigns. It doesn't, or shouldn't, require being a genius to figure that if X is telling you that Y is a CIA agent, that X doesn't have the best interests of Y (or you either) in mind.

#81 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 02:13 AM:

This is wearying. It's hard for me to believe (well, no, really it isn't, except in a Why is there evil in the world kind of way) that this is the first time that The Media is asking themselves if the tactics of this administration might be A Bit Inappropriate.

Well, yeah. We have people with the entire power of the federal government behind them slashing and burning and the fourth estate not covering it because, well, it might get in the way of Our National Goals.

Our? Where do you get Our from? What us do you people belong to that you knew about this crap from the beginning but you didn't feel that you could share it lest the little people be influenced to vote wrong?

I firmly believe that anyone who had the power to get this stuff out there back before the elections when it might have made a difference owns a piece of this mess.

Heads in Nantucket will be worn bowed this year. Or not.

#82 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 07:15 AM:

Round and round we go, Jonathan Carroll reminds us in today's San Francisco Chronicle.

#83 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 09:22 AM:

James, I agree that those others you mentioned are already exposed and compromised. I was just pointing out that there remains the possibility of even more damage occurring because of what and who she knows outside of the obvious projects and individuals she associated with.

Speaking of Novak, yes, he should be prosecuted despite the fact that he's been cooperating because he should have known better than to reveal such information.

#84 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 10:51 AM:

Serge, thanks for the link to the Carroll column. Dave, should be and will be are only sometime neighbors. Novak's moral cred (what there was of it) is sunk and possibly his journalistic cred as well. That may have to do.

Alito, now. I'm not dancin', not at all.

#85 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 11:29 AM:

As mentioned above, the cover of Plame's fake company has also been blown, and Novak blew that in his article specifically. People who aren't under cover don't usually go to the trouble of handing out business cards for fake companies, and as Jim pointed out, everyone else who worked for that fake company has had their cover blown as well.

At very least, I'd like to see Novak grilled live on CourtTV. One thing I'd like to ask him is "When Rove/Libby/Nameless-Source at the White House told you that Valere Plame worked for the CIA but everybody knew this as an 'open secret,' did you call Ms. Plame to confirm the veracity of both statements, and if not, why not? Isn't this standard reporting? Did you ask your source at the White House where they'd heard this 'open secret' so you could go interview those other folk too?"

#86 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 12:15 PM:

I would have thought that judt the fact that Rove/Libby/nameless-source tells you that someone is working for a front company would set off all kinds of alarms, and make you think that maybe this is not something you should be telling the world.
I suppose that if you were on a first-name basis with Rove/Libby/nameless-source, your better-judgement neurons might have been disconnected.
This suggests that Rove/Libby/nameless-source probably is a major security risk and should have had their clearance revoked about August 1 last year.

#87 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 07:48 PM:

Julia: I firmly believe that anyone who had the power to get this stuff out there back before the elections when it might have made a difference owns a piece of this mess.

Have you not read Molly Ivans? Both books, quite a long list of opinion pieces? "Shrub" was out before the 2000 election. I do believe John Dean's "Worse than Watergate" was out before the 2004 election (whether or not you like John Dean, he did a hell of a documentation job). "Bush at War" by Bob Woodward was out in 2002. "Plan of Attack" by Bob Woodward was out in 2004, along with Richard Clark's "Against All Enemies." Both should have been out early enough to influence the election.

It made no difference at all. All polls I saw before the 2004 election reflected the complete inflexability of either side. Any quote replayed in video was "pulled out of context" or "you didn't understand the full implications of ..." I also know someone that even now says "you don't understand what's really happening." He shrugs off any information, fact or theory, that doesn't match his world view - and I mean literally shrug and say "that doesn't matter."

And I read/heard more than one "letter to the editor" or "email to CNN" where readers/listeners would say "yeah, Bush did those things... but I still think he's a good guy." or "yes, but I don't think he really meant what he said." Quite a lot of people were quoted as saying "I will vote for Bush because I like his Christian ethics." (All I can say is Jesus must be cryin' his heart out.)

When those of us who saw the wolf cried out, we were told there was no wolf, and we watched in horror as people turned their backs on the sharp teeth. There were those with wolf-drool on their shoulders who said the wolf did not exist.

The information was out there. It was not heeded.

#88 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2006, 11:03 AM:

"Who demonstrates that evil can be charming and witty without being any less evil."[in reference to Harry Lime]

Well, he demonstrates that movie characters can be charming and witty without being any less evil.

But all the people I've ever met that I would characterize as evil have not been charming or witty, but stupid, boring, and well-liked.

#89 ::: Serge sees less unintelligible spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 06:09 PM:

Wow. And I managed to spell 'unintelligible' correctly.

#90 ::: John Houghton sees repetative SPAM attack on ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 10:44 PM:

not with the stars.

#91 ::: LMB MacAlister is intrigued! ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 11:52 PM:

I mean, xhamster.com merits at least a quick look-see.

#92 ::: Serge sees cam spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 09:51 AM:

Naked cams? Dromadaries?

#93 ::: Serge sees paris spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 07:33 PM:

Is Paris burning?

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