Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Let Spot be among the last

Aren't you going to say anything about Scooter Libby, Spotty?

Not much need to, grasshopper. Others have already done it better than Spot would. In particular, a couple of members of the bar.

Glenn Greenwald:

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

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

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

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

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

Spot commends that last paragraph, especially, to Doug Tice. You're right, Glenn—either that or the Doug Tices of the world are so breathtakingly stupid that they actually believe there is a comparison. Greenwald continues:

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

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

Yes, you have to wonder whether David Broder, Tom Friedman, Tim Russert, or Doug Tice has the insight to cover a grass fire!

Scott Horton:

Moreover, this episode tells us one of the most deeply guarded truths of the Inner Party of the Neocon movement, namely: the ends justify the means. That is, to accomplish a goal accepted by the Inner Party, you are entitled to do anything—break the law, by all means, and indeed set the law into oblivion if you can. That explains the fate of the Geneva Conventions, which were, alas, simply inconvenient—they got in the way of the notion that no rules can stand between us and the accomplishment of our objectives. For the Nietzschean Neocon man (let’s call him Übermensch or perhaps even better, Scooter Libby), there are no rules; they exist for the people of the herd. And that explains the indignation when the rules for the herd are applied against Scooter.

Some of you, boys and girls, have probably figured out that Spot is reading Chris Hedges' American Fascists. In authoritarian movements, identification with the group and its feelings of superiority permit members to consider outsiders üntermenschen, unworthy of regard, less than fully human, and the objects of political and physical violence. Group members are to be protected at all costs. This is the pathology that permits the right wingers to scream for the exoneration of Scooter while overlooking or trying to justify the damage that the White House crowd did to our national security apparatus. Back to Horton:

So how to dispose of the legal process that was commenced against Libby? The answer was simple: politicize it. Insist that every step taken against Libby was a part of a political vendetta. Granted this required some ingenuity—after all, the prosecutors and judges involved were Republicans or at least Bush appointees. But these are inconvenient truths, easily swept aside—and the arguments ricocheted through the pages of Neocon journals through yesterday, when the July the Fourth fireworks came out prematurely. Perhaps they were simply too absurd to be joined, but I salute Orin Kerr who yesterday offered some of the most penetrating analysis yet of the delusional criticism that comes from the Neocons:

The Scooter Libby case has triggered some very weird commentary around the blogosphere; perhaps the weirdest claim is that the case against Libby was “purely political.” I find this argument seriously bizarre. 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? Who are the political opponents who brought the case? Is the idea that Fitzgerald is secretly a Democratic party operative? That Judge Walton is a double agent? Or is the idea that Fitzgerald and Walton were hypnotized by “the Mainstream Media” like Raymond Shaw in the Manchurian Candidate? Seriously, I don’t get it.

Spot can't help but compare this with the words of the nebbish owl at Powerline:

In the Libby case, there are several factors that militated in favor of commuting the sentence (and made out an arguable, though less compelling, case for a pardon). The two most important factors are Libby's public service and the fact that, at the time Libby made the false statements in question, the prosecutor already knew the answer to the question he had come to Washington to investigate. Indeed, it seems likely that but for the high profile and political context of the investigation, the prosecutor would not have asked Libby these questions. In addition, it may also be relevenat [sic] that Bill Clinton was never prosecuted for committing perjury with respect to matters where, unlike here, the facts were not yet known.

There is literally nothing that the sycophants won't say.

No comments: