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March 6, 2007

Scooter Libby verdict
Posted by Teresa at 11:38 AM * 118 comments

There’s a verdict in the Scooter Libby trial. It will be read out at noon.

CNN’s carrying it live. The website to monitor is of course Firedoglake, which has been on top of this story all along.

We can’t get CNN here. Let us know if anyone says anything startling.



That is, guilty on charges no. 1, 2, 4, and 5; not guilty on #3, Cooper/false statement to FBI.

Now let’s see whether Fitzgerald defers sentencing pending the guilty parties’ cooperation in other investigations.

Comments on Scooter Libby verdict:
#1 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:09 PM:

GUILTY! Oh, you've got that. Oh good. Still: GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:11 PM:

Firedoglake's hammered flat.

#3 ::: Christopher Turkel ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:14 PM:

I'd be surprised if he serves any prison time, with appeals and a pardon from Bush before he leave office.

#4 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:16 PM:

Count three was the weakest. Doesn't matter. Obstruction of Justice, and two counts Perjury is enough -- the making false statements charges are just icing.

Alas, it's also enough for the pardon, which I expect to be issued at 6PM CST on Friday.

#5 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:16 PM:

FDL went down even before the verdict was in. I was reading the chat at Gabbly, where it was being covered live.

I wish we were allowed alcohol during the work day; I'd go get a glass of champagne.

#6 ::: Emily W. ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:22 PM:

I think this calls for a celebratory beer. (It's too cold here to go out and get champagne.)

Here's hoping he's the first domino.

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Let's see how quickly the Shrub and his minions distance themselves from Libby -- and how quickly he's redefined as a loose cannon and a lone nut.

#8 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:28 PM:

George has no loyalty whatsoever to the people who work for him.

#9 ::: Janet Kegg ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:32 PM:

I went to to see what they have and was amused to see the "story highlights" box included the sentence "President Dick Cheney's ex-aide accused of perjury and obstruction of justice."

#10 ::: Janet Kegg ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:35 PM:

Sorry for the jumble on my post above. I was saying that the story included the "President Cheney" reference. My imbedding of the url went very wrong...

#11 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Janet @ #9: I have a good one saved from last week. Bay City Times (Michigan) with headline reading 'Local Man Will Stand Trial for Sodomy' next to photo of Cheney waving.

#12 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:39 PM:

It's almost worth watching Faux News to see how they spin this one. I mean, now that they can't play the story about Anna Nicole anymore...

#13 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:45 PM:

What a bunch of angry, hate-filled liberals!

Totally just kidding, except if you take those words and use the most positive connotations. Hooray!

#14 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:50 PM:

Ethan @13: This isn't anger, this is glee!

#15 ::: Janet Kegg ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Thanks for fixing my messed-up post. Alas, the missing vice was added quickly.

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Bush and Cheney may distance themselves from the fallen, but the more they do so, the less incentive those people have to continue protecting them.

#17 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Teresa #s 8 & 15: It will be interesting to see if rats start leaving the ship.

#18 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Let's hope Scooter's is the first of many!

#19 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:00 PM:

I am not, in any way, dancing a gleeful jig inappropriate to my age and dignity.

(Calving season, busy, also the jig leaves muddy footprints).

#20 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:04 PM:

It's dry and sunny out today, I found another nice PC left out by the dumpster, and now this!

#21 ::: Jeremy Hornik ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:09 PM:

What do you bet...

Libby appeals, remains out of jail. Appeal process takes at least 2 years. Bush pardons him in January of '09.

Any takers?

#22 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:10 PM:

Bush can't pardon him right away. He would have to wait until he's about to leave office. Libby faces the prospect of real tennis prison time, which might be too much for such a sensitive lad.

Sing, Scooter! Sing like Caruso! It's either that, or prison food.

#23 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:13 PM:

#20 wasn't there when I was writing my comment.

They could delay. If we had a real press corps, they could keep some pressure on him. There are already signs of division. "It wasn't my idea! *coughdickcough*..."

#24 ::: JCj ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:13 PM:

It's good to see justice served. However, it seems to me that Libby was the guy the Prez and the VP sacrificed to make this problem go away. (Teresa is right that this ought not inspire any actual loyalty within their lackeys.)

This is just the first step. I hope to see everyone who responsible for this leak prosecuted and convicted.

(BTW, I hope NPR has continued to assign Libby Lewis to cover the Lewis Libby story.)

#25 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:25 PM:

I see Teresa's "GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY" title and I find myself thinking of the Kryptonian Council just before they toss General Zod into the Phantom Zone.

#26 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:28 PM:

The BBC reports: "US President George W Bush "said that he respected the jury's verdict. He said he was saddened for Scooter Libby and his family," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino."

#27 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:28 PM:

In other equally portentous news, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo is calling the Senate Judiciary hearings on the fired prosecutors the most riveting hearings he's seen since Anita Hill. He's updating by the minute over at his place.

#28 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:33 PM:

Well, of course, he's saddened. That's one less layer between him and a trial of his own.

#30 ::: Shem ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:34 PM:

#24: What I think of is that classic Doonesbury strip with Mark Slackmeyer yelling "GUILTY! GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!" into his mic.

#31 ::: Shem ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:36 PM:

Yeah, the one Phil just posted ... *feels silly*

#32 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:39 PM:

Swiped boldly from Gawker comments (because I'm not this clever):

"If it says Libby Libby Libby
on the Docket Docket Docket
he is Guilty Guilty Guilty
Put him in the Lockup Lockup Lockup"

#33 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:44 PM:

I had Mark Slackmeyer in mind when I posted that line.

#34 ::: Madison Guy ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:54 PM:

At last, they nailed him! Did Libby's PowerPoint slides help convict him? People rely on stories to enliven factual information with resonance and meaning. Packaging too much data as bullet points may confuse your audience. It may also convince them that you are trying to hide behind data, or that you are trying to manipulate them with bullet points because your story doesn't make any sense. Which, come to think of it, was probably true in Libby's case.

#35 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 01:58 PM:

I thinkI speak for (almost) all of us when I say,


#36 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Meanwhile, I found the following on First Draft today:

"...So far former US Attorney David Iglesias has testified that Rep. Heather Wilson and Sen. Pete Domenici called to pressure him to issue indictments against Democrats in New Mexico. Sen. Domenici called him at home (which was unprecedented) and specifically asked if any indictments would be issued before November, then hung up on him when Igleasias told him no. Domenici placed his call four to six weeks before Iglesias was fired. Rep. Wilson specifically asked about sealed indictments, which of course he could not discuss..."

Of course, it'd greatly sadden me if some of this you-know-what, upon hitting the fan, got splattered on the shirt of my district's Representative, Heather I-cried-when-I-saw-Janet-Jackson's-breast-on-TV Wilson.

#37 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:18 PM:

An interesting point just occurred to me. Fitzgerald is, I understand, known for his prosecutorial work in meticulously pulling apart criminal conspiracies. Convict one lesser figure, get him to turn and provide evidence, then go after the next, and the next, and the next...

Well, as we've seen now, this is a slow process. If it goes this way, and if it takes two more years to get to the next conviction - Bush will no longer be in a position to provide presidential pardons. Wouldn't that be a shame?

#38 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Libby got a conviction of obstructionism. It's like convicting the driver of the diversionary car of driving to endanger while ignoring massive looting and vandalism and theft and bribery and corruption and diversion of funds going on in every federal building and agency in the USA....

Libby is a diversionary tactic scapegoat at the moment, I want the "responsible" parties excised from one part of the US Government and relocated to Federal penetenciaries... (hmm, spelling of that looks wrong).

#39 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Serge, I assume it would "greatly sadden" you in the same sense that this verdict "greatly saddens" me...and that we'll both be dancing a very sad jig shortly, as we lift our (metaphorical in my case) sad glasses of sad, sad champagne.

#40 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Am I that transparent, Xopher?

#41 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Since Novak testified in Libby's trial that one of his leak sources was Rove (who did not come forward like Armitage), what are the odds that we will see an indictment for Rove in the near future? Why haven't we seen one yet? Is there more "behind-the-scenes" stuff I'm missing? Is outing an undercover agent not enough to get you arrested?

I had already typed all this when I read Clifton #36. Maybe that is what Fitzgerald is up to.

#42 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:34 PM:

Serge, I took you completely seriously. You would be heartbroken if splatter hit her shirt rather than her face.

#43 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Now watch, Libby will cop a plea, point the finger at some poor schmuck of a GS-9 assistant to the assistant, and walk off. Then he'll emulate Ollie North, and go on the lecture circuit. See, the system works!

#44 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Minor correction, Bruce - you can't cop a plea after conviction. Best you can do is bargain for a reduction in sentence.

#45 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:47 PM:

Kelly Shimmin @ 40

According to Salon Fitzgerald has announced he's closing down the investigation now. Maybe we should dance a sad jig.

#46 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:47 PM:

Sorry about the confusion, Diatryma. I was most definitely sarcastic about becoming disconsolate at the thought of Heather getting YKW on her shirt. (Or in the face. I'm not picky.)

#47 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:55 PM:

Bruce @ 44

No, he said it was inactive, until or unless more evidence or witnesses appear. Sounds like, if someone wants to talk, it's time to play ball.

#48 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:56 PM:

RE #37:

Libby was convicted of TWO counts of Perjury, in addtion to Obstruction of Justice (not "obstructionism" whatever the hell that is). Considering he can be sentenced to 30 years for the above, I'd call that pretty serious.

I've already emailed my Congresscritters, asking for a Congressional investigation of Cheney's part in outing a covert operative.

#49 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Paula @ #37 - It's penitentiaries, I believe.

Bruce @ #44 - That is sad. I hope it's not true.

PJ Evans @ #46 - I read that Fitzgerald said he doesn't expect any more indictments to come out of it now, on the Salon link. It wasn't a direct quote though, so I hope it was just a very inaccurate paraphrase.

#50 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 03:10 PM:

Kelley @ 48

From the press conference afterward, as posted at FireDogLake:
Is your investigation over now? Fitzgerald says that he does not expect to file any further charges. If information comes to light or if new information comes forward that warrants further investigation, we will do that. The case is now inactive. We are going back to our day jobs.

#51 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 03:35 PM:

wow. I didn't think it'd happen.
Some things I'm quite happy to be wrong about.

#52 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 03:49 PM:

I'd agree with the "rats leaving the sinking ship" theory if Cheney weren't the kind of guy who can shoot a man in the face and have the victim apologize.

#53 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 04:43 PM:

Definition of obstructionism :

An obstructionist make the obstructionist's self an obstruction, and that constitutes obstructionism, making oneself an obstruction or causing obstruction.

Tossing Libby to Fitzgerald derailed the investigation of the crime of "who outed Valerie Wilson and who was/were responsible for the decision, if any, to out her?" Libby's trial got delayed past the election, which probably prevented the Democrats from getting a majority in the Senate to be able to override the skuzzes of the Executive Branch, who have corrupted the court system (note that a second person has been denied their day in court on the bogus basis of if there is a trial it would reveal information to the public that shouldn;t be revealed... the former FBI translator who was fired because she objected to mistranslations and marking of material "not of interest" by someone who had aparently had had ties to Al Qaeda as it turned out and refused to be silenced about the situation, was denied justice months ago in the lawsuit she was pursuing over wrongful termination. The presiding judge tossed the case on the basis of maintaining secrecy... which is bogus, since the previous translator was apparently an Al Qaeda rat who knew what the FBI had and who deliberately apparently made sure that the infomration wouldn't go further than his eyeballs...

#54 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 05:09 PM:

About time; I was beginning to fear we were going to be stuck with a hung jury.

I hope Fitzgerald has second thoughts about not filing other charges.

#55 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 05:24 PM:

Maybe Mrs Libby (who is herself a lawyer) will have a talk with him this evening, involving marriage, children, and a period of 18-to-36 months in prison (the likely sentence). On the other hand, he does seem to be very much attached to Darth Cheney, who is 'saddened' by the conviction.

#56 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 05:38 PM:

"Saddened" means "we're not going to try to do anything about it."

#57 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 06:22 PM:

Or, perhaps, saddened because he knows if Libby goes, he could be next?

#58 ::: Karen Sideman ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 06:24 PM:

#11, how will Faux spin this?

Daily Kos has a diary with a screen shot showing Brit Hume and an info graphic stating: Scooter Libbey found NOT GUILTY (of lying to FBI.) No mention of the other four charges...

#59 ::: C.E. Petit ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 07:02 PM:

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines recommended sentence range for Libby is 30-37 months, based on an offense level of 19 (12 for the highest basic offense, 3 for relationship to national security, 2 for obstruction, and 2 for multiple counts as related under the Sentencing Guidelines). That, however, is just a preliminary estimate, and doesn't allow for any downward adjustments. On the other hand, one almost never sees downward adjustments granted in perjury-type cases.

#60 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 07:21 PM:

And speaking of Cheney, do you realize the doctors are even now busily diluting his blood? Is there a risk, he asked slyly, that they might go too far and replace the ice water in his veins with straight Coumarin? (by the way, did you know that drug is related to the standard rat poison?) Oh, it's all just too symbolic. And how sad, he doesn't have Scooter to kick around anymore.

#61 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 08:16 PM:

I saw it when I was having lunch at Red Lobster (they have fresh fish on the menu now) at a table close enough to the bar that I could read the CNN closed captioning.

#62 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 08:42 PM:

How the hell is it that Bob Novak isn't in jail for outing an undercover CIA agent? Yes, everyone in the leak chain should also be in jail, but first and foremost, Novak was the one who blabbed all over his newspaper column about it.

#63 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Is it a crime for a journalist or random citizen to out an undercover agent, or does it require some kind of insider knowledge or security clearance? Even if it is, is it a crime that would get a conviction under these circumstances, and that would survive appeal? (And just how many bodies does Novak, who's been in Washington since Moses came down the mountain, know how to exhume, anyway?)

#64 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 10:31 PM:

Teresa #8,15:

I'd say he stuck with Rumsfield far longer than anyone would have expected, and appears to be pretty good about loyally promoting friends far past their abilities. Just ask Michael Brown and Harriet Meiers.

The guy's a lousy president, but I don't think disloyalty to his friends/supporters is one of his faults. Though I suppose if he leaves Libby in prison past 2008, we'll all learn something new. And in principle, I guess he could pardon him tomorrow, though I'd be pretty surprised to see that.

#65 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2007, 10:38 PM:

Novak didn't have a security clearance and wasn't a government official, so did not have "authorized access to classified information" within the meaning of S 421 subsections a&b of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. He could potentially have been prosecuted under subsection c, but you'd have to prove that he knew she was covert; that he had reason to believe it would harm the "foreign intelligence activities" of the US; and that he knew "the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such individual’s classified intelligence relationship".

That last bit in particular seems to me it would be damn hard to prove. He was told by multiple high-ranking United States officials that she was an agent; I can see how he could think the US wasn't taking affirmative measures to conceal her status.

The Espionage Act might be stretched to cover him, but I don't want to live in a US where it would. I don't see how it wouldn't also cover the reporters who told us about the warrantless wiretapping, the secret CIA prisons, Abu Ghraib, etc. And as bad as a world where we know about those things is, a world where they're happening and we don't know would be worse.

#66 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 12:18 AM:

Talk about skewed, Fox News took the Libby verdict as an opportunity to make lemonade and celebrate the decision on point 3 -- screen shots of this insanity at both boingboing and maru.

#67 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 02:32 AM:

Todd Larason #64: ...the warrantless wiretapping, the secret CIA prisons, Abu Ghraib, bad as a world where we know about those things is, a world where they're happening and we don't know would be worse.

I can never shake the belief that we do live in that world. How much more don't we know about?

#68 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 08:39 AM:

While I wish for more, I think the best we can hope for is that this keeps Karl Rove busy, ducking for cover, until after the next election.

#69 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 08:46 AM:

Although, I think the best part of this trial and investigation are the documents that are now in the public domain showing just how fractured the West Wing really is, their thought processes, and how business is being done in one of the most secretive Whitehouses in a long time.

#70 ::: Darren Nash ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 09:02 AM:

What's the bet Fox News recasts Libby as a Democrat?

#71 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 09:08 AM:

Notice the hearings going on in the Senate, is it, about fired US attorneys, whose "unacceptable performance" seems to have consisted solely of either or both failing to quickly dig up any possible criminal charges to frame Democratic candidates for Congress with, and pursuing investigations into possible misdeeds by Republicans and their close associates.

Can Pete Domenici and Heather whoever, be charged with, at the very least, civil rights abuses of harassment?


The Republican oligarchy Congress last year, met a whopping 65 days... what a work ethic! The head of the House Rules Committee rewrote legislation at 1 AM and intentionally left out notification of Democrats that there were such meetings... and then the vomitous House Leadership last year, demanded an up-or-down instant vote on the rewritten legislation.... hypocrisy, no lack thereof, looking at the charades being played by Repugnants in US Congress -this- year.

Libby was -one- of the appartchiks carrying out a conspiracy policy which the outing of Valeria Plame was a piece of vicious payback for her husband "not being a team player" with the kleptocratic oligarchia. Anybody not colluding to further the financial profits of Halliburton, Dyncorp, Cheney and the Bush family, etc., whose actions and words so much as questioned the attitude that evangelizing Christianity should hold a special privileged place in US society and be given primacy, whose words and actions questioned neocon values and credo, whose words and actions questioned the wisdom and/or effects of getting embroiled in invading Iraq, whose words and actions put scientific objectivity and results as trumping personal credo and particular religious sectarian credo, was to be purged, with prejudice, belittled, marginalized, discredited, and SILENCED. l

And it's happened in the Justice [miscarriage of Justice...] Department, the halls of Congress, and the Oval Office is a charnelhouse of lies and spite and misrepresntation, false witness, and relgious bigotry.

#72 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 11:05 AM:

SFGate has a comic take on current events in today's Bad Reporter.

They also have an article on what the verdict might mean for Cheney's rep, and so does the NY Times (see their front pages online). Even the jurors apparently regard Libby with a certain amount of sympathy, as a fall guy taking the rap for the *real* Bad Guys.

#73 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 11:19 AM:

I hear that Denis Collins has a story up at Huffington Post on the deliberations, and it's supposed to be worth reading.

#74 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 11:38 AM:

I was pleased, and I'm not even an American...

#75 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 12:40 PM:

Conspiracies to defraud the government and mislead the population.... regarding outsourcing at Walter Reed Hospital, particularly,

"In fact, when the Army gave IAP a $120 million contract for administrative, managerial and operational services at Walter Reed, Pentagon watchdogs were investigating complaints that the company overcharged during Katrina and failed to meet ice delivery obligations"


Privatization of Services at Walter Reed Criticized

"... Walter Reed .... five-year $120 million contract given to a company called IAP Worldwide Services, which is operated by a former Halliburton executive. The Corporate Research Project is reporting IAP has close ties to the Republican Party. Ownership of the company is controlled by the giant hedge fund Cerberus, whose chair is former Bush Administration Treasury Secretary John Snow...."

#76 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 02:04 PM:

If you want to see some genuine bitterness about Bush and the neocons from the (intelligent, decent) right, check out some of the comments on Pournelle's blog. In particular about the chain of failures that likely led to the hospital scandal.

Nothing's too good for our troops....

#77 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 03:10 PM:

I still remember Jerry ranting about the "myth" of heterosexual transmission of AIDS.

No, I have not been over to Jerry's blog in a long time, and I don't know what's over there at present. Bitter types who feel betrayed by the r/u/l/e o/f t/e/r/r/o/r reign of the neocons get very little sympathy from me these days--those who conspired to put the neocons in and colluding in keeping them there and belittled or acquiesced or contributed to the belittling of any expressing doubts, much less outright criticism, about the neocons and their agenda.

That is, those who helped propell those who are in power in the Executive Branch and who propelled and kept in place those who were in power in Congress in the majority until start of the current Congressional session following the fallout of the November 2006 elections, get little to no sympathy from me if they're upset at the consequences and results of what the Executive Branch and the colluding Congress and the catspaw courts effected in 2001-2006 and effected going forward from the momentum and actions they took.

Translation--those who put the scum in and kept them there, were major contributors to the consequences. They colluded, they promoted, they acquiesced... bitterness does NOT make amends for their contributions to the messes.

Contributions to fixing the problems of all the tax money they didn't pay, would provide a LITTLE help, impeachment and conviction and huge fines on Cheney, etc., would help even more. It won't resurrect tens of thousands of dead Iraqis and thousands of dead foreigners dead from the misconceived ill-advised inane adventuring into Iraq, won't replacer themillions of burned volumesof books and archives, etc., but at least it would get those most responsible, OUT of any position to wreak FURTHER damage...

#78 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 03:17 PM:

Think about this: Libby's lawyers are going for retrial or appeal. This is going to take time, and it looks as if we have a fair wait for sentencint. From the Bush PoV, as long as it looks as though a pardon isn't needed, why risk the political fallout?

Libby isn't stupid. As long as he isn't in prison, there isn't going to be a pardon, and somebody has to pay the lawyers. But he has to protect Bush & Co to get the money, or a pardon if he needs one. In that, it's like organized crime.

But neither Bush nor Libby are part of a culture of criminal toughness. They don't have a reputation for being hard men, they're not part of a group with members already inside the prison, looking out for each other.

So if they can't protect Libby in prison without being obvious about it, it may come down to a choice between a pardon, and hearing him start talking to a prosecutor.

I know it's a far-fetched idea, but I wouldn't be surprised at a tragic accident, or an apparent suicide, once Libby is in prison. Think of Richard III and what happens to Clarence.

The last two Presidential elections have been close, and a Pardon might lose enough votes to make a difference. But can they afford to wait? Can they trust Libby?

#79 ::: Christopher Turkel ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 03:26 PM:

I just found this online. I didn't know one had to admit to guilt for the pardon to be granted:

"The United States Supreme Court has held that a pardon can be rejected, must be affirmatively accepted to be effective, and that acceptance carries with it an admission of guilt. Burdick v. United States, 236 U.S. 79 (1915). That Richard M. Nixon accepted his pardon is noted by Justice Stevens."

#80 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 04:24 PM:

Fitzgerald stopped with Libby and the trial's verdict, he said there was nothing more going to happen unless something happened to cause something else to happen. Gorge the Nth isn't going to make any initiatives that might undermine his already squishy standing, and the same congresscritters who are still in Congress from the last congressional session who blocked every attempt at investigation and criticsm of Gorge and his makes-Harding's-and-Grant's-associates-look-saintly-and-lacking-in-greediness associates, are being as uppity as humanly possible to continue the stonewalling and mutual benevolent of crooks protection racket... note the firings of attorneys by the fed lately and that the firings, again, look every bit as spiteful as the outing of Valerie Wilson because her husband publically questioned the fast track "evidence" used to foment invasion of Iraq.

#81 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 05:00 PM:

Dave Bell #77
a Pardon might lose enough votes to make a difference
Neither Bush nor Cheney cares. They're not running in the next election and they have no loyalty to the Republican Party as such, only to some of its more odious members. And as for Rove, I think he's not in such a good odor outside of the White House these days because he was unable to work his magic and keep the Congressional majority for the Republicans.

Classy bumpersticker of the week:
"Republicans for Voldemort"

#82 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 05:17 PM:

Congressional committee chairpeople could subpoena the grand jury materials plus whatever else Fitzgerald has and didn't use. It's legal. It's devious. And it might do the trick.

#83 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 05:44 PM:

albatross@63: I'd say he stuck with Rumsfield far longer than anyone would have expected, and appears to be pretty good about loyally promoting friends far past their abilities. Just ask Michael Brown and Harriet Meiers.

The guy's a lousy president, but I don't think disloyalty to his friends/supporters is one of his faults.

That's not loyalty. Those are business transactions, simple stubbornness, and/or bluffing.

#84 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 06:22 PM:

Albatross, #63: "The guy's a lousy president, but I don't think disloyalty to his friends/supporters is one of his faults."

To the contrary, the speed with which Bush disassociates himself from supporters when they become inconvenient is well-documented.

#85 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2007, 10:02 PM:

Patrick, thank you for that link. "Rick K" (comment 16 on that thread) made a very interesting observation that I am glad I read, because it makes a lot of sense, but which I will now attempt to get out of my head with boiling acid and a wire brush because there are some things about Bush I just never, ever, ever want to think about lest I never sleep again.

#86 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 12:23 AM:

Albatros: I've known Jerry for decades, and at Hallowe'en I heard him saying he wanted the Dems to win, so that the, unavoidable, failure in Iraq could be blamed on them, and the Republicans could once again be top dog for ages.

So his grief isn't all that compelling to me.


#87 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 01:20 AM:

Paula, #76: Hear, hear! Conservative bitterness is worth its weight in gold (think about it). Conservative action to pull these guys down and put them in prison where they belong would be worth something, but I don't expect to see it happen any time soon. They're content to wring their hands and moan.

#88 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 01:49 AM:

Lee #86 brought my attention back to Paula's brilliant, smart, angry, great comments at #76, where I noticed one bit I hadn't before.

Paula, you said that nothing can "resurrect tens of thousands of dead Iraqis," which would be true, except that there are hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis. The last estimate I saw was October of last year, and it was around 650,000.

When the world is the way it is now, it's easy to understate the degree of horror.

#89 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 03:14 AM:

Yes. The number of ~600,000 Iraqi deaths was hotly disputed at the time of the report last year, but even very 'conservative' <ahem> estimates would have them up around 100,000 by now.

I don't remember if that counts in people who aren't directly killed in some kind of violence, but who die at a statistically higher rate because of the disruption to health services, transport, and other infrastructure, like electricity, clean water, etc.

But then, I think Vietnamese deaths, both North & South, during the war there add up to between two and three million. This is between 40 and 60 dead Vietnamese for each USian one, if my memory and calculations are correct. Don't know how this compares to the rate in the current contretemps.

#90 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 09:55 AM:

#85 Terry:

I know he thinks the Democrats are be even worse than the current crop of Republicans, and I'm not suggesting using him as a voting guide, but it's interesting to me to see bitter disapproval of Bush coming from the right as well as the left. And the reasons for the bitterness are striking as well. Among other things, it looks to me like the Republicans are going to be paying the price for Bush and the neocons' dumb decisions for a long time to come.

And it's pretty easy for me to sympathize with someone who's bitter that ideologues took over the country and ran our military and foreign policy into the ground, since that's how I feel, too.

Couldn't the same statements have been made about someone on the left who was disgusted with Clinton's slimy sex scandals? (The last six years make me long for such small concerns.)

#91 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:12 AM:

I deliberately wrote "tens of thousands" because of the dispute about "collateral damage effects" deaths... I can easily believe that the grim reaper's toll is heading rapidly to the million plus mark, but the same stonewallers and naysayers who guard against any true investigation and assignment of blame and trying to make true progress to fixing what can still be fixed, won't accept "soft" death counts... they are the same sorts who counted "progress" in Vietnam by the -alleged- bodycounts of "Vietcong"... but they don't accept statistical estimates of effects of contaminated water, spread of disease from deterioration in medical care, etc. etc. The current crop of naysayers regarding how vile the whole Iraqi (mis)Adventure is, are NOT people who have much use for statistical analysis or anything else that relies on -math- beyond a tangible number line for people who consider the Rapture is more realistic that quantum mechanics...

#92 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Ugh. More good points that make me go ugh, Paula.

#93 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:17 AM:

Isaiah was writing allegorically from an allegorical dream more than 2500 years ago... He might be an ancestor of mine but I'd still like to know how bastardized Isaiah allegory turned into Christian Credo for those who don't have the excuse of "my ancestors have been toting those writings around since the dawn of history."

#94 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:20 AM:

#86 Lee:

It's fun to gloat when the other side screws themselves over, especially when they've been pretty nasty doing it. But serious conservatives have been increasingly unhappy with the Bush administration and the neocons, and with some part of the right's intellectual and moral leadership. That has consequences that are both interesting and important.

And most of us have been disappointed in people we've trusted, in politics and in life. I find it pretty easy to sympathize with those who hoped for more from Bush and company than corruption and incompetence and ideological filters keeping out any view inconvenient reality, though I didn't expect much from him. I feel a lot of sympathy for those who have had their party screwed over by a bunch of ideologically blinded fools, since I've had my country screwed over by the same bunch.

Although the scale of bad behavior was way different, a lot of liberals were deeply disappointed in Clinton, both for policy reasons like welfare reform and support for the death penalty and the CDA, and for the sex scandals and general smarminess. Though Clinton wasn't my guy either, I also found some sympathy for them, too.

#95 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:02 AM:

re albatross #93:

I find it pretty easy to sympathize with those who hoped for more from Bush and company than corruption and incompetence and ideological filters keeping out any view inconvenient reality

I don't--I expected the corruption and incompetence and ideological filters "based on past performance" ... I had some vain hopes that the Schmuck wouldn't be as abominable as I was apprehensive he would be... I was wrong, he was even worse that I was apprehensive of. I didn't expect invasion of a sovereign country based on falsified evidence and wishful thinking and lies and hubris, I didn't expect such total breathtaking malfeasance in administering the invaded-under-false-pretenses country, and I didn't expect propping up of tyrants just as bad as Taliban in Afghanistan, post-invasion of Aghanistan... and I didn't expect such arrant wilful ignorance of the biggest imminent threat to the wellbeing and domestic prosperity of the USA as Osama bin Laden PROMISING attacks on the USA, with a total failure for the first NINE MONTS of the Bush tyranny, to BOTHER with the Schmuck BOTHERING to listen to anyone express concern that Osama bin Laden's operatives were planning an operation of spectacular mass atrocities on sovereign US territory...

ALLOWING those who were vigilant--two FBI agents asking for permission for the resources/permission/warrants to follow-up their discoveries of foreign national taking flight lessons for commercial aircraft which foreign nationals didn't want to learn how to land to do their jobs, instead of their bosses (and just WHO told their bosses to tell the agents to drop the investigations? WHY has NOBODY even in the press demanded answers for -that-???!!) telling them to cease and desist, would likely have outed the conspiracy, or at least, caused an abort with the leadership realizing that the US Government was being pro-active and VIGILANT.

But Schmuck's "leadership" PROHBITED such investigation, and far from rewarding vigilance, stomped on it... and the result was the devastation of the World Trade Centers, thousands murdered, air traffic in the USA snarled for days, civil rights removed from US citizens and all foreign nationals so much as transiting the USA, implementation of police state mentality attitudes and policies, disappeared US citizens and disappeared foreign nationals in gulags for days, weeks, months, years; a war conceived in bigotry and political agenda and an occupation carried out in corruption and incompetence and to the misery, much death, violence, loss of world heritage, and plummetted standards of living of the occupied countries....

In Afghanistan before the invasion, girls were sold into marriage at the age of 12. After, the age DROPPED to EIGHT YEARS OLD! (NPR interviews, also see I think). Before the invasion, Taliban banned girls from education. After, in various areas controlled by various US-backed warlords, the same thing is happening. In other others, where the schools were reopened to allow girls in, the schools got BOMBED and once again closed down, what wasn't outright turned into splinters and rubble, becoming too dangerous as a site for attack, to keep open...

#96 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:06 AM:

I don't think that telling newly anti-W conservatives "This is all your fault!" is terribly helpful. Just quote 1 Samuel viii.18:

And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

It's faith-based, you see. Much more appropriate.

#97 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:28 AM:

#95 ajay: *ouch*

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:30 AM:

ajay @ 95... and the LORD will not hear you in that day

Jack Lord?
(Cue to the theme music for Hawaii 5-0)

#99 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:40 AM:

#83 Patrick:

Rumsfield and Bolton make an argument in the other direction. He fought fairly hard for Ashcroft as Attrney General (the job you get by losing the election to a dead guy), but probably more because he didn't want to set up a pattern of having to please Congress with his appointments. Though Mike Brown and Harriet Meiers probably don't make such a good argument, as they were pretty quickly discarded once they became serious liabilities. And I don't suppose Jack Abramoff's calls get patched straight through to the Oval Office anymore.

Hmmm. The evidence seems somewhat mixed. Who has he really thrown aside once they became inconvenient, who was a direct employee or friend? Meiers is probably a good case; I can't think of another off the top of my head.

#100 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:50 AM:

albatross, as somebody who was disappointed with Clinton, I'd like to point out the differences, as I see them.

Clinton betrayed us most on a personal matter - having an affair, and lying about it under oath.

Bush betrayed us most on an affair of national concern - deliberately starting a war for personal and political gain, lying to us about it. He then compounded this crime by conducting the war as a matter of political gain and financial looting, which has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and will almost certainly cost at least 1 million people's lives (for the end result of making Saddam's regime look not so bad, I fear).

#101 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:56 AM:

I went and read Pournelle's comments during the election last year, and I've got to say that the Brain Eater will be moving on soon, for lack of food. Aside from blaming things on 'neocons', thinking Rumsfeld is not to blame, and looking forward to blaming the Democrats, his piece de puke was:

"One of the reasons for not going into Iraq in the first place is that the United States is not an empire. A punitive expedition to Iraq would have been popular in the wake of 911, as was the Afghanistan adventure. "

G*d-d*mn. A 'punitive expedition to Iraq?!?!?!
Somebody once wrote that if one is confused by the way a right-winger talks about 'Arabs', or 'Moslems', etc., try replacing their references with the term 'sand-n*gger'. Then, their writing will probably make more sense (as in 'some of them killed a bunch of us; let's kill a bunch of them - whichever ones we can kill most easily').

#102 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 01:05 PM:

Clinton did NOT have penis-into-vagina "sex with that woman."

So, he did NOT tell a falsehood under oath. The definition of "sex" is the issue there, the legal one he was using, did NOT include blow jobs.

#103 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 01:51 PM:

Terry 85: I can't imagine how you didn't kick him in the balls. I'm glad you didn't, only because you might have gotten into trouble.

#104 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Why does anybody give a bleep about what Pournelle has to say about anything?

#105 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 02:14 PM:

Waxman's committee is going to look into the Plame affair! (That's 'Oversight and Government Reform'.)

Excuse me, I have to go encourage my congressperson some more.

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 02:28 PM:

Serge 103: Mystifies me too. I'm certainly never buying any of his books again.

#107 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 02:44 PM:

Xopher... I stopped buying his books a loooong time ago.

#108 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 02:55 PM:

I find it hard to dredge up sympathy for conservatives who profess buyer's remorse, because the vast majority of them were so enthusiastic -- nay, gloating -- after 2000.

Remember the smug talk about "gelding" democrats so they'd be content with their permenant minority status? It wasn't a neocon who said that. It was one of the many movement conservatives who came out of the election with sticky hair and stained skin from repeatedly sticking their entire heads in Rove's Kool-Aid bowl.

You know, there were a few paleocons who objected to Bush's Big Adventure in Iraq. But their grouching was drowned out by the jingoism and triumphalistic smuggery from the pundits and politicians.

#109 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Hmm, Born Again fiscal conservatives??!!

And now, the REAL reason for the changing of the name of WASHINGTON National Airport--Washington's Farewell Address advised the national leaders to not get involved in foreign wars....

#110 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 05:24 PM:

Paula #108: yes, and look how well people have listened to Eisenhower's warning about the Military-Industrial Complex (under new management at Halliburton). Oh, wait, Eisenhower was a general, and real conservatives (i.e., neos) don't listen to generals.

#111 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 05:27 PM:

Paula #92 — ???
[*] please

#112 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 05:32 PM:

Mez, I suspect Paula means that the current Mis-Administration is hell-bent on bringing on the End direct violation of Jesus' own pronouncement: "No man shall know the day and the hour..."

#113 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 06:04 PM:

#100 Barry:

I don't really mind reading stuff from people I don't agree with, if they raise good points and make me think. Pournelle does that.

I don't know the context for the punitive expedition comment, but it looks like he was saying "popular," not "a good idea." That's clearly true--9/11 gave Bush the grounds to invade an Arab country, if he pushed it. I think a lot of Americans liked the idea of seeing some Arabs die for the 9/11 attack, even if they had nothing to do with the Arabs that carried off the attack. (He would have had a much harder time justifying, say, invading Venezuela from the post-9/11 mood. Americans aren't very good at geography, but they're mostly clear that Venezuela doesn't have all that many Arabs.)

And it seems to me that Powell had the right response to this--if we go in and destroy the current government, we're rightly going to be seen as responsible for putting something decent in its place. Somehow, the people inside the white house came to believe that this wouldn't be hard, and they appear to have ignored most of the professionals who thought this was nuts.

#114 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 06:44 PM:


Yep, they're not on the same scale. Bush's reign makes me wish for the days when screwing the help and bombing the odd pharmaceutical factory to push it off the front page was bad behavior. Or when Clipper, the CDA, the FBI file scandal, and some apparently-politically-motivated IRS investigations of his enemies were examples of scary misuses of executive power.

Bush isn't even in the same league. Go ask Jose Padilla, or the guys in Guantanamo, or the guys we've held and tortured in secret prisons, why. Or the ghosts of all those Iraqis who've died in the simmering civil war since we invaded. Or the ones from the thousand or so people who died in Katrina.

#115 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:18 PM:

Albatross, #93: [S]erious conservatives have been increasingly unhappy with the Bush administration and the neocons, and with some part of the right's intellectual and moral leadership. That has consequences that are both interesting and important.

That's exactly the point Paula and I are trying to make. Unhappy, yes, we're seeing plenty of that. Consequences? Not so much.

It's the same thing as all the love-based Christian leaders (of which I do not doubt there are many) NOT standing up when Falwell, Dobson et al. say something truly obnoxious and saying, "Hey now, wait a minute! These guys do NOT speak for all of Christianity." As long as you continue to let the extremists have the floor unchallenged, they do speak for you. And all the "conservative bitterness" hereabouts doesn't seem to be translating into any kind of action.

Interesting, also, that so many of the same voices which were howling for Clinton's impeachment over a perjury charge are now yelling just as loudly for Libby's pardon on one. I guess perjury isn't a crime any more.

Ajay, #95: Slam-dunk! 1 Samuel 18, check...

#116 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 01:11 AM:

Mez, 110:

I was referring to Isaiah's vision that included of bodily resurrection of the dead.

albatross 112:

Afghanistan is not an Arab country, it's far from the Arabian pennisula. The population is overwhelmingly Islamic, but they're not Arabs. Some of Iraq is Arab, some of Iraq is Kurdish. Iran's not Arab. Saudia Arabia is Arab, Yemen is Arab, Kuwait is, etc. There are a billion or so Moslems in the world, spread mainly in much of Africa, the Arabian pennisula and land bridge across into Asia and Asia Minor and some bits of the Balkan pennisula, spread across the bottom half of Asia to various parts of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Rim -- Indonesia and the Phillippines, for example. Islam followed the trade routes around the Indian Ocean and out to the Pacific.

#117 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 09:38 AM:

Has anyone else noticed the wonderfully on-target Political Animals series in this week's "Non Sequitur" cartoons? It nails many current stances, mostly on the right but some also apply to the left. (I get this via the Washington Post cartoons online, and the archive there goes back to Monday for anyone who needs to catch up.)

#118 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 02:42 PM:

Lee #114:
As long as you continue to let the extremists have the floor unchallenged, they do speak for you.

Note that this statement is just as true for the Moslem world as it is for the (Christian) Western world. And when two competitive cultures are both spoken for by extremists, we have the initial prerequisites for an ideological or religious war, than which there is no more ferocious.

The good news is that there are people of good will in both worlds who are beginning to speak out publicly against the extremists on their own side. The bad news is that we're running late; the war may already have been scheduled.

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