Thursday, July 05, 2007

From The Desk Of The Decider...

Below is the text of President Bush's announcement of his commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence, with added commentary in parentheses.

The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected Lewis Libby's request to remain free on bail while pursuing his appeals for the serious convictions (Ya think?) of perjury and obstruction of justice. (It happens all the time. Other than the fact that Libby is your friend, what’s special about this case? YOU seem to be obstructing justice now, Mr. President.) As a result, Mr. Libby will be required to turn himself over to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence. (Indeed, as many, many convicted Americans have had to do. That’s how the systems works, when it works.)

I have said throughout this process that it would not be appropriate to comment or intervene in this case until Mr. Libby's appeals have been exhausted. (They have not yet been exhausted; his appeal would continue while he was incarcerated.) But with the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision. (In a stunning show of arrogance, Bush basically admits that he was never going to allow his friend to do any jail time.)

From the very beginning of the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame's name, I made it clear to the White House staff and anyone serving in my administration that I expected full cooperation with the Justice Department. Dozens of White House staff and administration officials dutifully cooperated. (Actually, it was revealed in Congressional hearings in March that the branch of the White House that is tasked with investigating internal leaks, the Office of Security, never began an investigation, despite the fact Bush promised one. When asked to explain this, office director James Knodell basically shrugged his shoulders. Libby couldn't "recall" anything and Rove revisited the grand jury several times to "clarify" his statements. Sounds like a White House committed to getting some real answers, eh?)

After the investigation was underway, the Justice Department appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald as a special counsel in charge of the case. Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged. (Please save your halfhearted praise. Fitzgerald is the antichrist to most Republicants, and Rove and Gonzo probably would’ve had him fired had they been able to do so.)

This case has generated significant commentary and debate. (And it ain't over yet!) Critics of the investigation have argued that a special counsel should not have been appointed, nor should the investigation have been pursued after the Justice Department learned who leaked Ms. Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak. (I’m still waiting for my tax money back from Special Counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation of President Clinton, which cost millions and yielded nothing.) Furthermore, the critics point out that neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation. (Clinton was never charged with Whitewater, and the Paula Jones case was thrown out. He was charged with lying about an extramarital affair. Which isn’t excusable, but pales in comparison to the leak of potentially damaging national security information. So much for Cheney’s refusal to release documents out of concern for national security; his staff were already compromising it.) Finally, critics say the punishment does not fit the crime: Mr. Libby was a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service (I am a lowly copywriter with no priors; would you commute my sentence, were I convicted of a similar crime? Clearly one's chosen career impacts their ability to receive presidential clemency.) and was handed a harsh ("Harsh" is such a harsh word!) sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury. (Mr. Bush, who are these unnamed “critics” to whom you keep referring? I’m inclined to think they are your influential friends and colleagues. But should what the critics say even matter when justice is at issue? Do the courts take a public poll before passing sentence?)

Others point out that a jury of citizens weighed all the evidence and listened to all the testimony and found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstructing justice. (Who are these others? Everyone knows this happened. It’s not up for debate.) They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable. (Careful, Mr. President. You may be shooting yourself in the foot.) They say that had Mr. Libby only told the truth, he would have never been indicted in the first place. (Now we’re getting somewhere. Love the old devil’s advocate tact Bush is taking here, with discussing both sides before shitting all over one of them.)

Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important points. (“But when all is said and done, loyalty matters to me above all else. That, and protecting my own ass. Libby just knows too much about the inner workings of the White House to go to prison.”) I have made my own evaluation. (“Truth be told, I made it months ago.”) In preparing for the decision I am announcing today, I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case. (“But more important, I have weighed my desire to keep the status quo in the White House.”)

Mr. Libby was sentenced to 30 months of prison, two years of probation and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation. (It is within the court’s discretion to give the convicted a slap on the wrist or to throw the book at them. While they actually did the former, you appear to think they’ve done the latter. Way to second-guess our fair and impartial justice system! Home confinement must suck, too, when you live in a large home and already have people doing everything for you.)

I respect the jury's verdict. (Apparently you don’t.) But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. (Two and a half years for treason, likely with time off for good behavior? And if it is "excessive," why not reduce it rather than remove it altogether?) Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend 30 months in prison. (Basically, the only part of the sentence with any teeth in it.)

My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. (Actually, it removes the harshest part of the sentence.) The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. (He has only himself to blame.) His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. (Fuck his family. I’m thinking the trite “He [Hubby/Daddy Libby] should have thought of that before…” is fitting here.) He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant and private citizen will be long-lasting. (Not to worry, folks. One of his many high-powered friends will give him a job in a think tank somewhere.)

The Constitution gives the president the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. (“In other words, I am the decider. And I’ve decided to give my friend a free ride.”) It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby's case is an appropriate exercise of this power. (Considering the source here – a man who authorizes torture, throws out habeas corpus and goes around legal procedures to spy on average Americans – his view about what is an appropriate abuse, er, exercise of power is highly suspect.)


kate said...

Hey Pete!
Your comments were great here... my fav... 1.(ya think?), followed by, 2.(Careful, Mr. President. You may be shooting yourself in the foot.) and a close 3rd. (Fuck his family....)

Happy 4th!

Pete Bogs said...

hey, kate! good to see you here... long time no chat...

Bird said...

haha! damn fine deconstruction of our man shrub's statement.

i'm waiting for the pardon.

should we take bets?

Mara said...

Came across this blog by accident.

Another left winged over zealous loony bin.

she said...

but what about vanille's meme bogshond? and you too boyed! i posted mine like a good little blog mate.
hey kate.

mara come back! and ask for the hell pig!

LeftLeaningLady said...

Great job, Pete! Having you considered becoming a Presidential speech writer? :-) I like your take better than dubya's!

Pete Bogs said...

bird - this "staggered" pardon actually helps Libby because he can now take the Fifth in his civil suit... bastid!

mara - that's no way for a fan of Jon & Vangelis to talk!

she - I told Vanille that'd have to wait, as this timely post had to come first... next week...

LLL - we'll see who's president next before I apply!

she said...

who in the hail is jon and vangelis? you dont mean that irritating syntho bladerunner shyt do ya?

bogs, i figure i got half the baby picture story already. i mean, you probably have the same hairdo. *howl*

i *learnt* today how clinton worked it out. he plead guilty and cut a deal when he lied. that was long before he pardoned the FALN killers of 6 americans; maimers of a hundred and some change more. nobody ever has a comment on that one. just one of 140. grrherhaha.

still hopin on the post about why the libs i like to read (bogs, boyed, vanille, LLL) dont like hillary. i am sincere. why not hillary? thats a post i really want to read.

Mara said...

J & V probably show my maturity.

I just happen to think Americans have more to worry about than Scooter Libby and a bloody head job (now you bring Bill up).

Dont get me wrong now. I dont like George Bush one iota. His Iraq policy like is Presidency suck.


You people (US) are there now (Iraq). Took my country with you (Auss) as our Prime Minister has his head so far up Georgy's arse he will need major surgery to remove it.

Back to the story line

The way out of Iraq is the way to go. You yanks whinge and whine and carry on about Iraq, especially the left but.. Wheres the plan ? Where's Botox Nancy and her grand plan? Along with the rest of you. Ideas instead of hot air guys and moaning about something that has already happened aint going to help things.

she said...

mara: you might enjoy the conversation on bogs' previous post. it addresses some of your comments.

"you people" ..when a sentance starts like that you KNOW a dig is comin'. don't sugar coat it mara tell us how you really feel.

Mara said...

"you people" is a rude comment. apologies to you and you and you.
habit. it is a common saying here.

in saying that, it is so frustrating to watch from afar.

the stupidist things matter and the serious issues that nobody really has an answer for are brushed aside or complained about.

the country is imploding before your very eyes thru political correctness, idealogy that does not make sense, right down to illegal immigration.

divide and conquor - bin laden has that right at least, its working.

Pete Bogs said...

she - I am undecided on a candidate, but I think Hillary's got a few strikes against her just because of her last name...

mara - she is right, some of the comments on my previous post connect with that you wrote - including why we're so damned angry about the Libby situation...

Mara said...

I understand why you are angry.

But, it is the President's decision and of course needs to be questioned - to a point.

Why stop at Scooter? That is what I never really understood in the first place.

Yes, there should be questions about the Iraq " War of Delusion ". However soldiers are dying, billions of tax payers money is going down the gurgler.

Question is at this time - Whats more important now? How you got there or how to fix the problem.

I happen to think the latter comes first and there is too much time wasting, back stabbing, drama, drama and more drama which overshadows the real problem.

Madam Whitehouse and names. So fucken what. Men will do, what men will do. It's like bringing up Bill and the Headjob everytime the right has no answer.

Pull the soldiers out? Impossible at this stage and as much as I dislike your stubborn President I have to agree with him there. "now" not back then.

Solution? Where's the Botox grandma and her (and her gang of Merry men) solution? Nancy Pelosi is as full of shit as the rest of them. Sitting with the Syrian President a couple of weeks ago in a headscarf. Give me a break. Better still give the American people a break.

Watching from afar, I just don't understand you people sometimes.

Whilst at times entertaining and quite funny, its not really is it?

Whose the smart one so far?

Bin Laden. The American's are giving him exactly what he wanted.

Indecision, in fighting, back stabbing, wasting billions of $$ blah, blah, blah.

she said...

mara: i wasnt offended by "you people" just noting with amusement how that phrase is always a prelude to a steamer

i don't disagree with your observations. in particular the tyranny of political correctness. and no question we are being divided by several outside forces along with the aid of our own lying media and the backstabbers in washington.

bogs that was probably a better question for bird she had such a visceral response to hillary.

i like ron paul but he doesnt have a prayer. he should run as an independent constitutionalist.
hes too conservative to be a republican.

Pete Bogs said...

mara - Pelosi has been much criticized for the visit to Syria... funny, because a month later Rice was dealing with Iran and Syria... this stuff is only treason until consternatives (BogsSpeak) decide it's a good idea...

Mara said...

hope I reading you right here blog leader but

"until consternatives (BogsSpeak) decide it's a good idea..."

ok. when you say so.

Pete Bogs said...

mara - it's true... they criticized Dems for dealing with the enemy, then Condi met with them a few weeks later... hypocrisy much?

PS: it's great to have some views from OZ here again... we used to have a number of Antipodes as regulars...

Mara said...

I know. However, the difference is that Ms Botox went on her own accord with no permission from congress. What she achieved who knows?

It was embarassing to watch.

She set out to embarass her own and your President. Like him or not you have to respect the office he stands for, not sit with the man that probably had or still has connections with the bastards that hit on 9/11, 7/7, Bali, Madrid. (or knows exactly whats going on)

You're American, you stick together in times of war, like it or not.

Thanks for the Aussie compliment.

We're next, we have been lucky so far. I feel it is a matter of time before something big happens here.

Being "girt by sea" has advantages eh?

Pete Bogs said...

mara - I take a different view of this Syria visit... the Iraq Study Group and everyone else who's actually looked at the problem determined that, like it or not, we have to engage the other powers in the region... diplomacy sometimes means sitting down at the table with people you despise... Nancy has no love for Syria, but knows that with the president refusing to do his job - and that is what he's doing - someone had to... Bush insists on going it alone, to the peril of our troops, Aussie troops and the rest of the coalition...

Mara said...

I agree to disagree.

Point is, love Syria or hate it she should not have gone and embarrassed not only "the office" of the President but the American people as well.

Can you imagine that woman being 3rd in charge, actually taking charge. My perception of her is self centred and false. The Dems could have done a lot better than that. I dont think she has a clue,
except when the next NAMBLA march is on. ( and that comment has nothing to do with gay people, I am no biggot ). She marches because it grabs attention for her.

She seems false.

Personally if anybody was going to visit the Syrian President from the left, I would have sent Bill Clinton or believe it or not Teddles Kennedy. Diplomatic, professional, well versed and definately not false. And yes, controversial but who cares .. boys will be boys, right?

Oh those hormones .. hehehe

Aunty Belle said...

Oh dern..another whiz bang jaw an' I'se been AWOL.

Looky sweet thangs, ya'll is tiresome on this Scooter Libby thang--yaa' is leavin' out the juiciest parts;

First, it ain't no pardon, jes' a commuted sentence--in other words, the pres agrees Libby is guilty of perjury.

Second, Fitzgerald had his pants on fire fer Libby from the git-go. Doan ya'll remember that it were Libby who defended the ingamous MArc Rich--and Fitz was the c'mon!

Ya'll KNOWS that Fitz was jes' givin' Libby one whale of a payback...after all, BEFORE the perjury, Richard Armitage had confessed to Fitz that he (Armitage) had leaked the info to Novak.

Third, that dumb Bush didn't even git no money outa the deal fer the commuted sentence (not a pardon). Looky, how dumb can a man be? I mean, after all, Clinton got Marc Rich to donate a cool million to the clinton library in exchange fer the pardon (not a commute, a real pardon)...and oh , yeah, another 500 K from another pardoned buddy, John Deutch (sp?).

Of course, we doan know how much money CLinton snagged when he pardoned his cabinet member (HUD Chair) Henry Cisneros...

An' what do ya'll bet that even more cash crossed a Clinton palm when he pardoned Susan McDougal fer her Whitewater conviction? ANd then, goodness me...let's not fergit that Clinton's own brother was pardoned, and ...oh yes, Hilary's brother....

Oh mercy, what a Pardoner's Tale. (or, in Clintonese, TAIL)

Bird said...

i'm working on a post about why i hate hilary. it's quite difficult - because i lapse into ad hominem attacks and unsubstantiated claims. ugh. but i'll post it - honest!

mara - botox pelosi - hahahaha! i like that - hysterical. but why must we focus on the physical features of women politicans? (pelosi's eyebrows, hilary's hair and chunky thighs, etc.). where's the substance?

Mara said...

I dunno Bird.

Because I am a woman and thats what woman do.

Pick up on physical features before anything else.

As suggested getting away from Scooter - it is a documented fact that woman will vote on physical appearance. Perhaps thats why Bill Clinton is so popular. He is charismatic and I'd give him a head job any ole day. And there'd be no evidence left for Hillary to find out about.

But Hillary - I dont like either. I used to like her and I do still admire her but I don't like her. Why? No not thunder thighs. Trust.

She could handle the job though. Fancy Nancy is a different kettle of fish. Actually Nancy is a nothing.

I have wondered though what Hillary Clinton thinks of Nancy Pelosi. I wanna reakon along the same lines as I do.

Woman without substance your Nancy, unless its a poisonous chemical of course.

Mara said...

Now I got all the URL.

This "bird" doesn't seem to like Hillary either.

Pete Bogs said...

mara - I wish you'd been around months ago when we were talking about Pelosi and Syria... kind of old news now, especially since Condi had started to deal with the terrorists herself...

aunt b - this never was about who's given out more pardons than anyone else... I've stated I this commutation is as good as... takes out all the actual penalty... did you it took about two days for Libby to write up a check and pay his fine in full? wow, that must have really set him back...

this two-part post (on to new things next week) was always about accountability for this White House - and they have a lot to account for... it looked briefly like someone would finally face justice, and it was predictably denied...

consternatives always cry "partisan witch hunt" whenever one of theirs is in trouble... remember gentlemen with the names of DeLay and Cunningham? it's basically a tactic to avoid discussing facts... and consternos have cried "wolf" so many times that the tactic has lost all credibility...

Aunty Belle said...

Facin' up to accountability? Honey, did ya' think the Clintons ever did that?

AIn't sayin' Libby was innocent of perjury (but he did not out Plame), but really now---neither side of the aisle is much ter write home about.

Mara said...

The new things being Scooter's full pardon, no doubt?

It's coming.

And then there is the DC Madam scandal. ( if there really is one )

Infinitesimal said...

what was not transcribed, however, was the presidents final statement... which he uttered to the side, as if to someone in a place of control.

What he said was:

"Can I have my baseball cards and bubblegum back now boss?"