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The Libby thing
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, July 03, 2007

As you know, QandO has, for the most part, avoided the Libby/Wilson/Plame thing. Frankly I think it is mostly a political tempest in a teapot.

Two points: No I don't think President Bush abused his office. If you don't want Presidents to have the power to pardon or commute, amend the Constitution. Otherwise, get over it.

Point two: While it is freakin' hilarious to watch the Netroots going bats over this I'd remind those on the right who are chuckling about it how bats the right went when Clinton slipped the impeachment noose.

Last comment: Just to say that other than among political junkies, this is pretty much a non-story to the rest of the population. That's not to say that certain candidates aren't going to attempt to make political hay out of it, but the reaction from most who hear their attempt will be "who?"

Last question: Do you think this is Bush's way of trying to heal the fractures in the Republican base?

UPDATE [Dale]: I find that my sentiments pretty much echo Orin Kerr's:
Nonetheless, I find Bush's action very troubling because of the obvious special treatment Libby received. President Bush has set a remarkable record in the last 6+ years for essentially never exercising his powers to commute sentences or pardon those in jail. His handful of pardons have been almost all symbolic gestures involving cases decades old, sometimes for people who are long dead. Come to think of it, I don't know if Bush has ever actually used his powers to get one single person out of jail even one day early. If there are such cases, they are certainly few and far between. So Libby's treatment was very special indeed.
Onthe other hand, for those who think this was some sort of political prosecution, brought on by Mr. Bush's political enemies, Kerr adds:
As I understand it, Bush political appointee James Comey named Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame leak. Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Fitzgerald filed an indictment and went to trial before Bush political appointee Reggie Walton. A jury convicted Libby, and Bush political appointee Walton sentenced him. At sentencing, Bush political appointee Judge Walton described the evidence against Libby as "overwhelming" and concluded that a 30-month sentence was appropriate. And yet the claim, as I understand it, is that the Libby prosecution was the work of political enemies who were just trying to hurt the Bush Administration.

I find this claim bizarre. I’m open to arguments that parts of the case against Libby were unfair. But for the case to have been purely political, doesn’t that require the involvement of someone who was not a Bush political appointee?
That, too, is correct, I think.
 
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It’s a favor to the Vice President. Libby’s gone from the top of the heap to someone to be remembered in scandal. That’s done more damage than any prison sentence could. It doesn’t bother me that the President did this — we all know that the elite have privileges the rest of us don’t — but it does bother me that so many Republicans seem to think that perjury isn’t a ’real crime’ or that in an investigation a prosecutor shouldn’t go after a perjurer just because it’s not the crime being investigated. It seems both Democrats and Republicans like to excuse their own when scandal erupts.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Do you think this is Bush’s way of trying to heal the fractures in the Republican base?
I think that’s a secondary goal at best. Bush rewards loyalty. Libby was on the front lines in what Bush probably views as more of a partisan battle rather than a criminal case.

Given that Libby wasn’t the original source of any leak (that was Armitage), and the rest depends on a lot of finger pointing by various semi-duplicitous media types, I certainly can’t get incensed by Bush’s decision.

And while I agree with Scott that perjury is a serious crime that should be punished, I take issue with the idea that it’s not at all relevant whether a crime was committed. I don’t think most people believe that police and investigators have the right to, in the absence of a crime, keep digging until they get somebody to be contradicted on something. Agents of the state will accumulate (with the best of intentions) all the power they can. Giving them such carte blanche to dig against anybody they take a dislike to cannot be a good thing.

I certainly agree that the average voter doesn’t care about this inside baseball Washington stuff. On a random survey, I’ll bet less than 10% of a typical random sample would even know who Scooter Libby is.

I’m reminded what a looter in the Rodney King riots said to a reporter. The reporter found the guy carrying shoes out of a shoe store, and asked him what he thought of the Rodney King story. The man replied "I don’t follow sports." Similarly, I suspect that the typical voter is about as likely to think Libby’s involved in some kind of sports scandal as to know he works for Bush.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
If you care so much about the constitution, maybe you should also care about the intent of those who wrote it, and how they related the power of executive clemency to that of legislative impeachment. Here’s a primer:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/watergatedoc_3.htm

Note especially the following comments from Mason and Madison:
In the same convention George Mason argued that the President might use his pardoning power to "pardon crimes which were advised by himself" or, before indictment or conviction, "to stop inquiry and prevent detection." James Madison responded:

[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds tp believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty...
This is exactly the situation in which we finds ourselves, and the authors of that constitution you so revere seem to have felt that it provides grounds for impeachment. No amendment to the constitution is necessary - only respect for it as written.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
This is exactly the situation in which we finds ourselves
You still think Libby’s perjury was to protect Bush/Cheney?

You are batsh*t insane with BDS.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Last question: Do you think this is Bush’s way of trying to heal the fractures in the Republican base?
Oh no. This is Bush being loyal to someone who was loyal to him. Bush has shown that the base isn’t that important to him.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
This is exactly the situation in which we finds ourselves, and the authors of that constitution you so revere seem to have felt that it provides grounds for impeachment. No amendment to the constitution is necessary - only respect for it as written.
Well then that should be evident in the conviction.

Ooops ... nope.

Sorry.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
This is exactly the situation in which we finds ourselves, and the authors of that constitution you so revere seem to have felt that it provides grounds for impeachment. No amendment to the constitution is necessary - only respect for it as written
Well then go on. Get the nutroots to make the Dems impeach.

Work for impeachment or just shut your f**king mouth. That applies to everyone on the left. You’re in charge of congress now. You want Bush impeached? DO IT. Stop whining.

Go issue an IMPORTANT ACTION ALERT or something, get the process started.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Perjury to a grand jury is always serious, even if it turns out no evidence for a crime is found. Prosecutors cannot ignore that. The reason the Judge was so harsh was not political, but legal. Lying to a grand jury cannot be tolerated in principle.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Do you think this is Bush’s way of trying to heal the fractures in the Republican base?

Bush has a habit of doing what he thinks is right, and hang the consequences. I suspect this is just one more of those.

As to the posturing, It was almost amusing this morning to watch Lanny Davis on Fox news complaining about a "double standard" given the activities of Sandy Berger and Bill Clinton, to say nothing of his boss, Hillary...(Well, gee, I don’t know how those FBI files got there...). Apparently, the democrats have lost nothing in terms of chutzpah.

What Libby was convicted of had nothing whatsoever to do with the supposed original crime. I’m forced to conclude as I did at my own place... this is nothing but the democrats extracting a pound of flesh from the party opposite. And I will say to them:

If your need for a pound of flesh extends so far as to include conviction over a “crime” that had nothing to do with the original allegations which started that multi billion dollar investigation /fiasco /witch hunt… you remember, the one you never got any convictions on…then you have larger problems than sticking an old man in jail for 30 months is going to solve…... a man who, it should be pointed out, who has served his country faithfully for longer than most of you have been wasting air.





 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
"[O]ther than among political junkies, this is pretty much a non-story to the rest of the population."

Reduced to argument by assertion, eh? I used to enjoy this blog. It was a bastion of intellectual honesty in the cluttered maze of hackery that is most of the blogosphere. Your attempt to minimize the importance of this event, however, is pathetic and makes me think less of you.

No informed person can doubt the authority of a president to commute a criminal sentence. But having power is not a justification for exercising power, and lawful authority can surely be abused. Bush’s explanation for the commutation, that the punishment was "excessive", fails the laugh test. This was a political pardon, plain and simple.

Bush has made a mockery of our system of justice. A justice department run by Bush appointees authorized a Bush appointed prosecutor to investigate a possible crime. The case was tried by a Bush appointed judge in front of a jury of Mr. Libby’s peers. Upon reaching an unfavorable end-game, Mr. Bush short circuited the process and imposed the outcome he had decided upon long ago: that Mr. Libby would never serve a day in jail. In hindsight, it’s clear that the trial and appeals process was a sham.

It doesn’t take a "political junkie" to understand the fundamental unfairness and dishonesty of what President Bush did yesterday. Have a little more respect for the American public.
 
Written By: Nicholas Rogers
URL: http:
Perjury to a grand jury is always serious, even if it turns out no evidence for a crime is found
So, why isn’t Bill Clinton in jail, Scott?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
In spite of all the complaining on the Left, Bush is now on record as stating that the sentencing guidelines can be excessive. This is significant because his administration has strongly opposed any efforts to weaken the guidelines authority and (Clinton also) has argued that in fact, the guidelines are virtually always correct and should seldom be departed from.

The truth is, that there is very little about Scooter Libby’s case that differs from other run of the mill white collar cases under the federal system. Unlike what Bush claimed, such defendants virtually never have a criminal record and virtually never received jail time before the imposition of the sentencing guidelines. Bush has now publicly stated that the guidelines can result in excessive sentences and I expect to see many defendants and their lawyers using Bush’s language in future briefs. I also think that Courts of Appeal are likely to take Bush at his word and will begin to grant many more departures for defendants in general, given their often excessive nature.

So, those of us who believe the system is unfair should recognize that Bush has done a potential favor for all current and future defendants.
 
Written By: sponge joe
URL: http://
Bush has made a mockery of our system of justice. A justice department run by Bush appointees authorized a Bush appointed prosecutor to investigate a possible crime. The case was tried by a Bush appointed judge in front of a jury of Mr. Libby’s peers. Upon reaching an unfavorable end-game, Mr. Bush short circuited the process and imposed the outcome he had decided upon long ago: that Mr. Libby would never serve a day in jail. In hindsight, it’s clear that the trial and appeals process was a sham.
If things are as you say, why did Bush let a $200,000 fine stand? Why subject Libby to disbarment? Why let a felony conviction stand? If this is all as politically charged as you claim, why didn’t Bush just pardon Libby?

Here’s some facts that might jar your thinking: Libby will still pay a fine 5 times as large as the fine levied against Sandy Berger, and I’ll argue that Berger’s improper handling of classified material was far more serious than Libby’s perjury. Libby will pay a much greater penalty than Bill Clinton did, for roughly the same crime (the exception is that Libby didn’t subborn perjury).

All Bush did was remove the jail term from a sentence that remains very severe.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Bush’s explanation for the commutation, that the punishment was "excessive", fails the laugh test. This was a political pardon, plain and simple.

Bush has made a mockery of our system of justice. A justice department run by Bush appointees authorized a Bush appointed prosecutor to investigate a possible crime. The case was tried by a Bush appointed judge in front of a jury of Mr. Libby’s peers. Upon reaching an unfavorable end-game, Mr. Bush short circuited the process and imposed the outcome he had decided upon long ago: that Mr. Libby would never serve a day in jail. In hindsight, it’s clear that the trial and appeals process was a sham.

It doesn’t take a "political junkie" to understand the fundamental unfairness and dishonesty of what President Bush did yesterday. Have a little more respect for the American public.
First off, Bush could have simply released a statement of "I’m doing this because I feel like it." and that would have been that. His power to commute and pardon are absolute, and require no explination.

Second, he was RIGHT. Libby’s sentence was based largely on alligations never presented to the jury. Things he wasn’t convicted of, yet supposedly directly connected to his "crime" got him his sentence. That’s not right on a whole bunch of levels.

And if you want to get into "mockery of the system", go check a few of the folks Clinton gave full pardons to. Not just commuted sentences, but full pardons.

Then tell me Libby got an equal gift.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
First of all, Sandy Berger pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, which means he accepted guilt. Libby was found guilty of a felony after trial. Felonies by definition result in greater criminal liability and usually in greater jail time. People who go to trial are ineligible for a reduction in sentence for acceptance of responsibility. I think what Berger did was awful but it has zero to do with Libby’s matter.

I think that what Bush did is great. Once again, thinking that he is smarter than everyone else, Bush made his decision essentially without consultation and has come up with a decision that is a nightmare for the standard Republican argument on crime and something that will be a nightmare for prosecutors to deal with. Bush has come out and made all the arguments against the federal criminal justice system that many liberals and libertarians have been trying to make for years.

For those who are upset, look past Libby and be glad that many future defendants are likely to benefit from this.
 
Written By: sponge joe
URL: http://
This was a political pardon, plain and simple.
Which would seem to fit rather well, given that it was a political conviction.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Once again, thinking that he is smarter than everyone else, Bush made his decision essentially without consultation and has come up with a decision
I wish I had the omniscience claimed by far too many posters.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
"A justice department run by Bush appointees..."
Every administration cleans house in the justice department and puts in their own appointees.

It’s amusing how much the hatred for Bush clouds the ability of many people to see the big picture. It’s as if the Bush administration was the first in history to behave in a political manner. Apparently no one was paying attention before 2000.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Perjury to a grand jury is always serious, even if it turns out no evidence for a crime is found. Prosecutors cannot ignore that. The reason the Judge was so harsh was not political, but legal. Lying to a grand jury cannot be tolerated in principle.
When you’re for that with Clinton, I’ll regard you as being principled about it.

And who was his lil’ buddy he pardoned at the 11th hour?
 
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
The whole point of the Martha case was the proposition that sentences had to be upheld for the rich and powerful, as well as for the man in the street. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. With one powerful keystroke of his pen, Bush has indicated that such precepts were fiction. Thank you, George, for putting paid to the ridiculous notion that our system is in any way fair or just. As you said, it is virtually always excessive and many liberals and libertarians thank you for standing up for a point that we have been making for years. I look forward to the thousands of petitions that will soon be upon your desk and the media coverage thereof as you try to indicate how hundreds of similar outcomes are somehow different from Scooter’s.
 
Written By: sponge joe
URL: http://
This is exactly the situation in which we finds ourselves, and the authors of that constitution you so revere seem to have felt that it provides grounds for impeachment. No amendment to the constitution is necessary - only respect for it as written.
Well then that should be evident in the conviction.

Ooops ... nope.
How obtuse can you pretend to be? I know you’re not that stupid, are you really that blinded by ideology? When one obstructs justice one hides the crimes of oneself or others. The jury concluded that Scooter lied repeated and deliberately to cover up crimes either he or his bosses committed. Thats why they convicted him of obstruction of f@@$ing justice.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
You know, one more point, which was just pointed out to me via e-mail;
the democrats, supposedly, are all worried about our national security and it’s supposedly being compromised by the leak of the name of Valerie Plame.

So why so little interest on the part of Democrats in the leaker, Richard Amrmatage?

Is it because he’s harfer to tie in with the maximum effort to pile revenge on Dick Cheney?



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
as to B. Clinton’s current liberty:

Clinton was impeached, tried and found not guilty by the Senate. As a matter of law, the matter ended there. The loss of the bar license was a collateral matter.

as to Berger, he pled out. If the (Bush) DOJ didn’t like the sentence, they shouldn’t have given him the deal.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Bill Clinton should have been removed from office and Scooter Libby should have gone to prison. Neither happened due to partisanship. It’s as simple as that.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
At the time I thought Clinton’s crime did not warrant removal from office. But in retrospect, I think my view was driven more by distaste for the partisan and personal attacks on Clinton (they are also the reason his approval rating shot up) than the reality of the situation. In hindsight a precedent should have been set that Clinton was removed. But David S. is right — the partisan nature of these cases means that one side excuses perjury because "it was about sex and a witch hunt" and the other because "no crime was found and it was a witch hunt." The reality is in our system people as high up the food chain as Libby and Clinton tend not to have to suffer the consequences of their actions the same way average folk do.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Bithead: you miss the point. I’m not objecting to the propriety of politically motivated uses of the clemency power. I’m pointing out that Bush’s explanation for this decision (an "excessive" sentence) is false and misleading.

On a related note (pay attention, Grimshaw), my pointing out that the DOJ is run by Bush appointees was not meant as an indictment of the DOJ; it was meant to counter the ridiculous and oft repeated counterargument that Bithead makes, to wit, that Libby’s was a political prosecution. This argument, of course, makes no sense, unless you are accusing Fitzgerald or Judge Walton of being covert democratic operatives...which I don’t understand to be the case.

The prosecution was not, in any commonly understood sense, political. The sentence handed down was not, as Bush would have you believe, "excessive".

The issue that spongejoe raises is interesting, but ultimately I think he is mistaken. Bush did nothing to change the law of federal sentencing, nor did he give federal courts any reason to think that he (or future presidents) would be interfering with sentences deemed "excessive" on a regular basis. This is a one time shot that does nothing to advance the interests of future criminal defendants (unless, that is, they’re good buddies with the president).
 
Written By: Nicholas Rogers
URL: http:
Bithead: you miss the point. I’m not objecting to the propriety of politically motivated uses of the clemency power. I’m pointing out that Bush’s explanation for this decision (an "excessive" sentence) is false and misleading.
Oh, I think I’ve got the point, your arguments notwithstanding. The prosecution was purely political. Period. Full stop.

the prosecution was excessive, so no surprise that the sentence would be.
Of course, if I suddenly start seeing a bunch of leftists getting together and demanding jail time for bill Clinton and for sandy Berger.... at which point I could be persuaded that there’s some merit to the whole thing. But you know as well as I that ain’t gonna happen.

And again, I point to the idea that if this was all about the league, why the noninterest in Richard Armitage? I mean, if this was supposed to be about the leak and how it endangered , supposedly, our national interest in terms of security, why is it we’re not seeing calls from the democrats to go after Armitage?

The reason, point blank, is that Armitage can’t beat I’d directly to the administration, and therefore doesn’t make it just enough political target. Thus proving the whole thing was political from the get go.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Bithead, you are out of touch with reality again. Perjury is illegal. The prosecutor had to convince a Grand Jury, and a Jury. The Judge could rule on any misconduct, and by all accounts acted in accord with the law.

Your attempt to re-direct attention to Armitage suggests you know that Libby was guilty, that perjury to a grand jury needs to be investigated in any event, and that it was not political. The reason there is no interest in Armitage is because this is a legal matter and Prosecutor determined Armitage committed no crime he could prosecute. Not everything is partisan, Bithead, at least not in the real world.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
How obtuse can you pretend to be? I know you’re not that stupid, are you really that blinded by ideology? When one obstructs justice one hides the crimes of oneself or others. The jury concluded that Scooter lied repeated and deliberately to cover up crimes either he or his bosses committed. Thats why they convicted him of obstruction of f@@$ing justice.
Good lord man, the comment wasn’t even about Libby.

Just as you did with the Surge, you don’t read closely and consequently you go off half-cocked.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Which would seem to fit rather well, given that it was a political conviction.


No. It wasn’t, as Orin Kerr has argued persuasively:
As I understand it, Bush political appointee James Comey named Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame leak. Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Fitzgerald filed an indictment and went to trial before Bush political appointee Reggie Walton. A jury convicted Libby, and Bush political appointee Walton sentenced him. At sentencing, Bush political appointee Judge Walton described the evidence against Libby as "overwhelming" and concluded that a 30-month sentence was appropriate. And yet the claim, as I understand it, is that the Libby prosecution was the work of political enemies who were just trying to hurt the Bush Administration.

I find this claim bizarre. I’m open to arguments that parts of the case against Libby were unfair. But for the case to have been purely political, doesn’t that require the involvement of someone who was not a Bush political appointee?
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Giving them such carte blanche to dig against anybody they take a dislike to cannot be a good thing.
That is a laughable thing to say.

This is the LEAST investigated President in history on the heels of the most investigated President in history.

We don’t have evidence that crimes were committed by the President, but there is reason to believe that there may have been crimes committed. You don’t investigate AFTER you have evidence, you prosecute AFTER you have evidence, you investigate when you have suspicion.

So far, Congress has not embarked on a fishing expedition, ala the discovery phase of the Paula Jones trial against Bill Clinton, they have asked for documents relevant to the firings of the federal prosecutors. If there has been no wrongdoing, these documents will not become evidence in a prosecution, but witholding testimony, refusing to testify under oath, and refusing to allow written record of testimony by principals in this case does not serve the Office of President, or the Constitution, and only serves the President if there is evidence to hide.

Executive Priviledge is not, and should not be what the administration is making it out to be, if it were, then we no long have co-equal branches of government, we have an elected dictator.

The Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of the doctrine of Executive Priveledge in United States v. Nixon, but only to the extent of confirming that it can be invoked when the oversight of the executive would impair that branch’s national security concerns.

Concerns about the ability to keep secret the advice given to the President is decidely NOT a national security concern. In fact, I would venture to suggest that people who advise the president whould do so with the full expectation that their words will one day be made public.

Perhaps then the President would no longer get such awful advice.
If your need for a pound of flesh extends so far as to include conviction over a “crime” that had nothing to do with the original allegations which started that multi billion dollar investigation /fiasco /witch hunt… you remember, the one you never got any convictions on…
Your kidding right? The $100M investigation was at the behest of Republicans, and it occured with the express goal of voiding the results of a national election. When an honest judge on the three judge panel that names special prosecutors would not appoint a partisan prosecutor, he was replaced. When an honest Republican prosecutor found that Bill Clinton committed no crimes, he was replaced.

This President has not had not had 1/1000 of the resources set upon him to find wrongdoing that Bill Clinton had arrayed against him, and the tragic thing is that while Bill Clinton did not warrant the investigations, Bush is far more deserving of some deeper looks into what has been going on in the White House.

Clinton won a war and balanced the budget, and all of the investigations found no criminality.

Bush has lost a war and blown the budget and there have yet to be any investigations 7 years into his Presidency.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Constitutionally speaking, I do not think the President should have this power - even if the power is used properly. Let say an injustice in the system occured - either because of an unjust law passed by Congress or unjust judicial activism.

But if the President grant a pardon or commute a sentence to correct the injustice; the unjust law would remain on the book, or unjust judicial activism would be forgotten or ignored. Not allowing the President the power to pardon would force us, the people, to take action by pressuring Congress to change the law or pressuring Congress to impeach judge - and in doing so solving the root problem.
 
Written By: Minh-Duc
URL: http://
Constitutionally speaking, I do not think the President should have this power - even if the power is used properly
Then change it! Until then, it doesn’t matter whether you think he should have this power or not. It is his by law. To change the law, as I understand it, in this case it would require an amendment to the Constitution.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Bithead, you are out of touch with reality again. Perjury is illegal.


So, when may we expect you’re calling for jail time for Bill Clinton, Scott?
Your attempt to re-direct attention to Armitage suggests you know that Libby was guilty
it means nothing of the kind. What it means is that what the democrats said they were going after, in other words who leaked the name, suddenly became less of a priority than was what I suspect to be the original priority; going after the white house or the vice president.

I mean, why is this supposed to be about the namely King or not? If that’s the case if it was about the name leaking then why not go after the leaker, whose name was already in Fitzgerald’s hand before any of this started?
The reason there is no interest in Armitage is because this is a legal matter and Prosecutor determined Armitage committed no crime he could prosecute.
In which case the investigation should have ended at that point. Instead, what we’re left with is a fishing expedition, trying to bring down somebody /anybody associated with this white house. What we are talking about is purely political prosecution. And that you can’t see that, rather clearly indicates which one of us is out of touch with reality. As if there was ever any doubt that it is you.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Your kidding right? The $100M investigation was at the behest of Republicans, and it occured with the express goal of voiding the results of a national election
If you’re talking about impeachment, there’s no way that can void the results of a national election, and there wasn’t a Republican who claimed it would. That you claim it was the express goal of the Republicans speaks volumes about your partisanship. (By the way, the Starr investigation cost $40M, not 100.)
Clinton won a war and balanced the budget, and all of the investigations found no criminality.
You are kidding, right? Did you know that 13 people went to jail in the Whitewater investigations? Did you know that Clinton admitted to committing perjury and allowed himself to be disbarred as a result? Just how did Craig Livingstone come into possession of FBI files for 950 people? That’s a whole lot of criminality.

Exactly which war did Clinton win? The one where we still have troops stationed in Kosovo?
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
No, Bithead, you don’t understand that perjury to a grand jury is a serious matter, and needs to be investigated. Read Dale’s post where he notes that every figure involved was a Bush appointee; if it were a political prosecution, it was from Republicans! You see, any prosecutor would continue if he found evidence of perjury and lying to a grand jury. It’s how our system works. *eyes rolling*
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Steverino: you’re right about Kosovo. That military action was a failure, but the Clinton PR machine painted it as a success. At that time Republicans like Trent Lott were critical of the war, noting that one could support the troops and oppose a military action.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
No, Bithead, you don’t understand that perjury to a grand jury is a serious matter, and needs to be investigated. Read Dale’s post where he notes that every figure involved was a Bush appointee; if it were a political prosecution, it was from Republicans! You see, any prosecutor would continue if he found evidence of perjury and lying to a grand jury. It’s how our system works. *eyes rolling*
So it’s only serious when Republicans are involved. Got it.

In the meanwhile, should we apply that equally to Democrats commit perjury? You keep dodging that point, not surprisingly.

The other point that you seem to miss, and Dale with you, is that there are republicans, and then there are republicans. We do not all speak with one voice... unlike the Democrats of the last 40 or so years. ... we’re not in lockstep.

As for the validity of clemency, we’re reminded that Chuckles The Clown Schumer wanted Clemency for convicted spy, Jonathan Pollard. The folks at the Corner remind us of the conditions for that clemency...
“If three conditions are met: ‘no danger is posed to society, real contrition is shown and the sentence is disproportionate to others who have committed similar crimes.’”
Hmmm. Interesting how the good senator isn’t willing to apply those standards today. Nor, for that matter, are you a suspect.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
/a suspect/ I suspect/
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
No, Bithead, you don’t understand that perjury to a grand jury is a serious matter, and needs to be investigated.
No, Erb, you don’t understand. Fitzgerald wasn’t investigating perjury, he was investigating a leak to the press regarding the identity of a CIA employee’s name and a possible violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Libbey’s alleged perjury occurred during the course of that investigation. One of the many problems with this whole matter is that Fitzgerald knew who the leaker was the day he was appointed as special counsel yet he continued with a pointless fishing expedition that failed to turn up evidence of the crime he was charged with investigating.
Clinton was impeached, tried and found not guilty by the Senate. As a matter of law, the matter ended there. The loss of the bar license was a collateral matter.
Francis, you don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about. Impeachment carries no res judicata or collateral estoppel effect upon subsequent criminal prosecution. Clinton’s impeachment was political and was carried out by the legislative branch of the federal government. Criminal proceedings are performed by the judicial branches of federal and state governments. The authority, procedures and sanctions associated with each branch of government are different.

Clinton’s impeachment was political as was his acquittal in the Senate. He could have been prosecuted for perjury and obstruction of justice, and according to all of the outraged liberals on this blog and elsewhere, he apparently should have been.
 
Written By: Anonymous
URL: http://www.qando.net
Captin Sarcastic wrote:
"Clinton won a war and balanced the budget...".
Others are addressing the war portion.
I will address the budget.
Clinton did not (repeat, NOT) balance the budget.
The debt went up every year that Clinton was in office:
09/30/2001 5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000 5,674,178,209,886.86
09/30/1999 5,656,270,901,615.43
09/30/1998 5,526,193,008,897.62
09/30/1997 5,413,146,011,397.34
09/30/1996 5,224,810,939,135.73
09/29/1995 4,973,982,900,709.39
09/30/1994 4,692,749,910,013.32
09/30/1993 4,411,488,883,139.38
09/30/1992 4,064,620,655,521.66

I the budget was balanced the debt would not go up. If there was a surplus the debt would be reduced.
http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt.htm
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
No, Erb, you don’t understand. Fitzgerald wasn’t investigating perjury,
Of course he wasn’t investigating perjury! Perjury to a grand jury happens during an investigation of some crime. At that point the perjury becomes a crime itself regardless of where the rest of the investigation leads. When it does, any good prosecuter will not let it pass!

There is a reason why a Republican appointed Judge was angered at Libby and gave him a large sentence. What he did was blatantly illegal, deserved punishment, and any prosecutor worth anything would not let perjury pass. Anonymous, if you think he had to be investigating perjury for this to count, you have no idea how our judicial system works.

And Bithead, political party is irrelevant when it comes to a crime like this. It applies to Democrats and Republicans equally, that’s the point! You are trying to make something partisan which should not be. And since it was Republican appointees involved, you have absolutely no leg to stand on if you try to claim it was a Democratic witch hunt.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Anonymous: Total debt is not an indicator of a balanced budget; other things affect debt. Here is a chart showing deficit and surplus from 1960 to 2007. Johnson had the last balanced budget (last year in office) until Clinton in the late nineties. The largest deficits were in the past few years (though these figures are not adjusted for inflation). Clinton’s budgets had a net surplus.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And Bithead, political party is irrelevant when it comes to a crime like this
Scott, you’re the one that brought up the fact that Fitzgerald is supposedly a republican, in an rather transparent attempt to give the prosecution and conviction validity.

When I give you an answer that you have no comeback for now suddenly political party is irrelevant.

The fact of the matter is, this was a partisan fight from start to finish and you know it, being nothing but partisan, yourself.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
From my own place, tonight: (Pay attention, Erb, you might learn something... but I doubt it)


-1-

It’s a rare event indeed when I come down on the same side as the flaming liberal, Alan Dershowitz. And , that rare occasion, which I’ll slice to a couple paras with added emph by myself:


The outcry against President Bush’s decision to commute Scooter Libby’s sentence is misplaced. President Bush acted hours after the U.S. Court of Appeals denied Libby bail pending appeal. That judicial decision was entirely political. The appellate judges had to see that Libby’s arguments on appeal were sound and strong — that under existing law he was entitled to bail pending appeal. (That is why I joined several other law professors in filing an amicus brief on this limited issue.) After all, if he were to be sent to jail for a year and then if his conviction were to be reversed on appeal, he could not get the year back. But if he remained out on bail and then lost the appeal, the government would get its year. In non-political cases, bail should have and probably would have been granted on issues of the kind raised by Libby.


But the court of appeals’ judges, as well as the district court judge, wanted to force President Bush’s hand. They didn’t want to give him the luxury of being able to issue a pardon before the upcoming presidential election. Had Libby been allowed to be out on appeal, he would probably have remained free until after the election. It would then have been possible for President Bush to pardon him after the election but before he left office, as presidents often do during the lame duck hiatus. To preclude that possibility, the judges denied Libby bail pending appeal. The president then acted politically. But the president’s action — whether right or wrong on its merits — was well within his authority, since pardons are part of the political process, not the judicial process.


Keep in mind, dear reader, Dershowitz is a Democrat. If he were making a totally political argument, from his point of view, he’d be arguing that the sentence was not stiff enough , and should be imposed immediately, or at least he’d mouthing what Erb’s been mouthing. Notice, please, he’s doing neither.


In the end, Dershowitz got this one right. The question in my mind, is how many of his fellow democrats will heed his advice.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I think Fitzgerald was not a partisan, per se, but an overzealous prosecutor, the kind who thinks they have to get some conviction or look bad. He also likes the press. We’ve seen similar things with Nifong, Starr, etc.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I think Fitzgerald was not a partisan, per se, but an overzealous prosecutor, the kind who thinks they have to get some conviction or look bad. He also likes the press.
That’s more in line with my own thinking on the matter. Though my general distaste for lawyers who live in their own legal world that equates "what’s right" with "what they can get in court" may bias me to believe it.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Bithead, you apparently defend perjury. You think it’s not a serious crime. I disagree.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Is that what you think Dershowitz is doing, Scott?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Scott Erb,
The data from the CBO in the chart you linked to is a partial accounting and does not account for trust fund money owed (ie Enron accounting).
The hard numbers I provided from the Treasury Department include those debts that the CBO did not.

The debt went up each year. There was no surplus and no balanced budget.


 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
The debt went up each year. There was no surplus and no balanced budget.
Fine, using real math, the budget was not balanced, using government math it was, in either case, President Bush is a long, long way in the wrong direction when compared to Clinton.

You get the point here, don’t you?

Things under Clinton, pretty good, $100M in investigations.

Okay, I’ll adjust it to $80M

Things under Bush, pretty crappy, no investigations.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Dershowitz is a hack, who has been supporting the President on this one and filing a brief in favor of Libby. I don’t take him seriously.

Bottom line: Perjury to a grand jury is serious, Libby committed a crime. No prosecutor can let that go, a judge and jury (the Judge a Bush appointee) agreed. You want to excuse perjury, you want to try to make a real crime seem less by throwing out partisan politics. Any prosecutor confronted with Libby’s lies had to continue. Libby’s sentence was commuted, but he was humiliated, his career effectively ended, and it brought shame to the office of the VP. All done by Republicans, not Democrats.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Anonymous:

Compare revenues and outlays:
http://www.cbo.gov/budget/historical.pdf

Note also "total." There were surpluses.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
One point I forgot: the total debt figures cited by ’anonymous’ include things not considered part of the budget for each year.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Again, you are using the CBO numbers. As I pointed out above, the CBO numbers do not include borrowed trust fund monies as part of the debt, Erb.
That is what Enron did.

The numbers I provided incude a full accounting of all monies borrowed.
No, surplus, no balance. Debt went up each year. Accounting tricks don’t count.
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
Since there are so many creative and exciting ways to account for federal debt, I look at the interest paid on debt. If it increases, and it has, that would seem to be a pretty good indicator that debt has increased. An interesting thing I found is that interest on the national debt, according to source 2, is that it decreased for a time around 2000. Source 3 is one of the seemingly contradictory graphs depicting national debt that can be found at FRED. FRED(Federal Reserve Economic Data), by the way, is an excellent source for all your economic data needs. If you check out all its data on federal debt you will find, as I indicated, graphs and data to support both positions. When dealing with gov’t. debt, you really have to be specific about your definition of debt. That is why I go with interest payments.

1).http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/ir/ir_expense.htm

2).http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/FYOINT/chart?cid=5&fgid=&fgcid=&ct=&pt=&cs=Large&crb=on&cf=lin&range=Max&cosd=1939-07-01&coed=2005-10-01&asids=+%3CEnter+Series+ID%3E


3).http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GFDEBTN?cid=5
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/FYGFD?cid=5
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The bottom line is how much money is owed, when all is accounted for. This is what the treasury dept numbers show.

Any data and graphs showing otherwise are flawed. They include things like trust fund money as part of the income, with out including it as money owed.

This would be like wanting to buy something that costs 15 dollars, but only having 10. So 6 dollars is borrowed, and the item is purchased.

The purchaser now has 1 dollars. Can the purchaser claim a surplus?
I suppose they could. But in fact the purchaser is in debt, because the purchaser owes money (6 dollars of which they have 1).
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
The bottom line is how much money is owed
Is there any math that anyone wants to stand behind that says that Bush has dramtically increased deficits and debt while Clinton reduced deficits, if not actual debt?

Remember the point here... Bush and the Republican Congress going the wrong way.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Then tell me Libby got an equal gift.
Does anyone seriously think that Libby will not get a full pardon at the end of Bush’s term?

This was simply an intermediate step prompted by the decision that Libby would have to begin his sentence during the appeals process. The original tactic was to keep him out of jail during the appeals process, drag that process until after November of 2008, and then grant him a full pardon. The only difference in this scenario is that Bush had to tip his hand a little early, but he won’t show all his cards until the pardon in late ’08.

It’s a foregone conclusion, and anyone that believes otherwise is fooling themselves.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
No, that is not the point here. The point here is your false claim, which you admitted was wrong, but which is now being defended by Erb.

Whether you have some other point, is irrelevant to what I have said.
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
The point here is your false claim,
No, that is what you want to divert the point to. I accept you assertion that the government math that clearly and loudly proclaimed balanced budgets is flawed. So in deference to that fact, I have restated the assertion within the guidelines you assigned.

So you can either continue to argue a tangential point that I do not take issue with and avoid the relevant point, being that Bush and the Republican Congress have blown the budget while Clinton and a Republican Congress reversed the trend of increasing deficits.

I suspect you will choose to continue arguing the minutia so as to avoid the point.



 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
I have acknowledged that you accept that your claim was wrong, Captin Sarcastic.
You know, in the part of what I said that you did not quote.
As I pointed out, Erb has taken your false claim and started defending it.

You are now irrelevant to what is being discussed between Erb and myself (and timactual).
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
You are now irrelevant to what is being discussed between Erb and myself (and timactual).


So your excuse for focusing on an aside is that someone is willing to argue with you about it?

Erb, see what happens if you cede this point and then point out that relevant fact that Clinton was moving the deficit in the right direction and Bush has moved it wildly in the wrong direction.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
he relevant point, being that Bush and the Republican Congress have blown the budget while Clinton and a Republican Congress reversed the trend of increasing deficits
How is this relevant to the topic of this thread?

If Bush had completely eliminated the national debt over the past 6 years, would that make a difference on his commutation of Libby’s sentence?
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Sarcastic, you made an error. It was corrected. You acknowlegded the error.

That is now done and over with.

Erb however is defending your false statement.

You are now irrelevant to that discussion. Erbs defense is what is being discussed.

If you don’t like it, tough. Try to get Erb to admit to the facts, and not to continue, not me.

The rest of your nonsense is addressed by others, discuss it with them.




 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
The total debt figures include money supply (legal tender notes, etc.) It is documented that there were surpluses in the Clinton administration, claims to the contrary are simply wrong — you have to go with the budget, not take into account non-budgetary/fiscal factors.

Anyone claiming there was not a balanced budget by the end of the Clinton administration is objectively wrong.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Anyone claiming there was not a balanced budget by the end of the Clinton administration is objectively wrong.
MY opinion is that if the entire Social Security surplus is not spent on retiring debt, then we don’t have a balanced budget, but the government uses different methodologies to determine whether there are deficits or not, so I am not sure it is possible to call anything about our budget objective.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Not about Libby?!?

To what exactly do you pretend "This is exactly the situation in which we find ourselves" refers?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://

 
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