ebonlock: (Monarch)
Kungfu Monkey draws the parallel between the Bush commuting of Libby's sentence and the concept of game exploits in this brilliant post:

The commutation, rather than being some canny half-measure some are calling it, is actually worse than a pardon. The President's saying "Fine, fine, I agree a jury of his peers found him guilty of multiple counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, but I don't think he should be punished for that." He's not even saying that he believes Scooter's innocent. He just doesn't think people like Scooter should have to suffer just because they're guilty.

What? What's that from the trolls? "Oh, but no, he'll be punished! He just won't do any jail time! He still has to pay the fine ..."

... which will be paid by rich conservative friends ...

"... and his conviction stays on the books, damaging his reputation."

... yes. yes. I'm sure the Think Tank or University posts he was counting on for future employment will suddenly drop him, as they have a strict policy against hiring felons. Maybe Cheney will loan him a tie for his appointment with the nice Catholic social worker who'll send him off to the car wash or janitorial placement agency. Despair for Thug-Life Libby.

Not to be a foul-mouthed blogger, but blow me.

Scooter Libby pays no fine, he suffers no damage to his employment prospects or his reputation among people he cares about. Jail was the only thing that would be any sort of payment for lying to a grand jury and obstructing justice. Now it's gone. I don't care how conservative you are -- that's just wrong. If you're down with this, you are way, way deep in the Crazification Factor.

This just hammers home my realization of what the Cheney Administration -- and yes, damn you this is the first time I've indulged in that neologism, and the first time I think it perfectly appropriate -- what the Cheney Administration has discovered. They have found the "exploit" within the United States Government. As I watched Congressmen and Senators stumble and fumble and thrash, unable to bring to heel men and women who were plainly lying to them under oath, unable to eject from public office toadies of a boot-licking expertise unseen since Versailles, it struck me. The sheer, simple elegance of it. The "exploit".

The exploit is shame.

Our representatives -- and to a great degree we as a culture -- are completely buffaloed by shamelessness. You reveal a man's corrupt, or lying, or incompetent, and what does he do? He resigns. He attempts to escape attention, often to aid in his escape of legal pursuit. Public shame has up to now been the silver bullet of American political life. But people who are willing to just do the wrong thing and wait you out, to be publicly guilty ... dammmnnnn.

We are faced with utterly shameless men. Cheney and the rest are looking our representatives right in the eye and saying "You don't have the balls to take down a government. You don't have the sheer testicular fortitude to call us lying sonuvabitches when we lie, to stop us from kicking the rule of law and the Constitution in the ass. You just don't. What's beyond that abyss -- what that would do to our government and our identity as a nation -- terrifies you too much. So get the fuck out of our way."

And to a great degree, the White House is right. You peel this back, and you reveal that the greatest country in the world has been run, for the last six and a half years, by men who do not give a shit about the Constitution, or fair play, or honesty. No, not just run by corrupt men, or bribe-takers, or adulterers or whatever, we could handle that --no we'd be admitting It Went Wrong.

There is a sizeable population in America that just does not, cannot wrap their head around the fact that the President may be a Bad Man who does Bad Things. He's President of America. We're Americans. We're the good guys. Remember, the Nixon mythos in America is that the system worked. "See, in America, even the President is not above the law."

These Suited Bastards know the fragile shell of American exceptionalism is all that's keeping a whole lot of people from processing that they're working too many hours for not enough money, and they either believe real reeaaaalll hard that they're living in the Shining City on the Hill or admit their lives are shit and they've been chumped.

Who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin' Congress?

I cannot help but think that as Nixon walked to the chopper, somewhere in the darkened hallways of the White House Dick Cheney shook his head, spit, and whispered: "Pussy."
ebonlock: (Tinkerbell)
Slate's got an excellent article up on Dick Cheney's impeachable acts that you should give a look see:

* The vice president asserted presidential power to create military commissions, which combine the functions of judge, jury, and prosecutor in the trial of war crimes.

* The vice president initiated kidnappings, secret detentions, and torture in Eastern European prisons of suspected international terrorists.

* The vice president has maintained that the entire world is a battlefield. Accordingly, he contends that military power may be unleashed to kill or capture any American citizen on American soil if suspected of association or affiliation with al-Qaida.

* Mr. Cheney has championed a presidential power to torture in contravention of federal statutes and treaties.

* He has advocated and authored signing statements that declare the president's intent to disregard provisions of bills he has signed into law that he proclaims are unconstitutional.

* The vice president engineered the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic surveillance program targeting American citizens on American soil in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

* The vice president has orchestrated the invocation of executive privilege to conceal from Congress secret spying programs to gather foreign intelligence, and their legal justifications.

* Cheney scorns freedom of speech and of the press. He urges application of the Espionage Act to prosecute journalists who expose national security abuses, for example, secret prisons in Eastern Europe or the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. He retaliated against Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, through Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, for questioning the administration's evidence of weapons of mass destruction as justification for invading Iraq.

Goodness, Dick's been a very busy boy...
ebonlock: (Monarch)
Doghouse Riley is on fire today:

A week or so ago there was a Daily Show bit that revolved around Jon ticking off a litany of Bush administration crimes. Just the major ones. And I sat there thinking, "Gee, I forgot about that one...oh, that's right, they did that...those phone company records sorta slipped my memory, somehow...Wow, I..."

Isn't it obvious to everyone, now, that from Day One this was such a thoroughly criminal enterprise that swiping a candy bar at the convenience store counter while the clerk's back was turned was not beneath them? Isn't it clear that matters like the Hatch Act or the Presidential Records Act were less objects in their path than objects beneath their contempt? That the Attorney General's three-card monte spiel about presidents deciding which laws to obey was in fact a confession of a criminality so profound it beggars belief? If you cannot impeach George W. Bush at this point, tell me what the impeachment clause is for, aside from ginning up outrage over a blowjob. It is clear--it should be clear to diehard Republicans, let alone timid Congressional Democrats--that there was an intention to violate the laws of the United States from the earliest minutes of this administration. It's not only clear that the President has committed what qualify as High Crimes; it's clear that the phrase describes his administration in a nutshell. If George W. Bush is not impeached we owe the Past an apology and the Future a good reason not to defile all our graves. And we owe ourselves an Amendment: " 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors' shall not be construed to constitute impeachable acts unless it can be demonstrated beyond any possible doubt that such greatly exceed the typical daily outrages of the 43rd President.

If I smoked I'd definitely need a cigarette after reading that...
ebonlock: (Monarch)
Glenn Greenwald is all over the NSA wiretapping scandal in a must read post:

This continuous evasion of judicial review by the administration is much more serious and disturbing than has been discussed and realized. By proclaiming the power to ignore Congressional law and to do whatever it wants in the area of national security, it is seizing the powers of the legislative branch. But by blocking courts from ruling on the multiple claims of illegality which have been made against it, the administration is essentially seizing the judicial power as well. It becomes the creator, the executor, and the interpreter of the law. And with that, the powers of all three branches become consolidated in The President, the single greatest nightmare of the founders.
But beyond that, when the NSA scandal first broke, the administration’s principal political defense was to continuously assure Americans that they were eavesdropping only on international calls, not domestic calls. Many, many Americans do not ever make any international calls, and it was an implicit way of assuring the heartland that the vast bulk of the calls they make – to their Aunt Millie, to arrange Little League practice, to cite just a few of the administration’s condescending examples – were not the type of calls being intercepted. The only ones with anything to worry about were the weird and suspect Americans who call overseas to weird and suspect countries. If you’re not calling Pakistan or Iran, the Government has no interest in what you’re doing.

That has all changed. We now learn that when Americans call their Aunt Millie, or their girlfriend, or their psychiatrist, or their drug counselor, or their priest or rabbi, or their lawyer, or anyone and everyone else, the Government is very interested. In fact, they are so interested that they make note of it and keep it forever, so that at any time, anyone in the Government can look at a record of every single person whom every single American ever called or from whom they received a call. It doesn't take a professional privacy advocate to find that creepy, invasive, dangerous and un-American.
ebonlock: (Monarch)
But some leaks are *good* leaks:

Early in the case, Rove admitted to investigators that he outed Valerie Wilson’s identity to columnist Robert Novak — Novak was the first journalist to publish Wilson’s identity and the first to talk about it to investigators.

And last week, Karl Rove testified again he may have spoken about the Wilsons with Time Magazine’s Matt Cooper.

Rove said he denied that under oath for the first year of the investigation because of memory problems. A case of bad memory is Scooter Libby’s defense.

But in regards to Karl Rove, lawyers in the case say prosecutor Fitzgerald is still troubled by the timing of Rove’s rolling disclosures: it seems that Rove’s memory perks up with every new indication someone else will expose him. When Rove finally began to update his testimony in October 2004, it was just days after Cooper was first held in contempt for refusing to disclose confidential sources. And Rove did not give Cooper a clear waiver to testify until after Cooper’s appeals had been exhausted 9 months later.


MSNBC has learned new information about the damage caused by the White House leaks.

Intelligence sources say Valerie Wilson was part of an operation three years ago tracking the proliferation of nuclear weapons material into Iran. And the sources allege that when Mrs. Wilson’s cover was blown, the administration’s ability to track Iran’s nuclear ambitions was damaged as well.

via Firedoglake
ebonlock: (Tinkerbell)
Fafblog continues to kick my ass:

Q. Can the president eat a baby?
A. If that baby has suspected ties to al Qaeda, then it's the president's duty to eat it - for the sake of national security.
Q. The president doesn't want to eat sweet, delicious babies. He just wants to protect America from the growing threat of a rogue baby insurgency.
A. Exactly. And nobody will have more compassion for that succulent baby barbecue than him.
Q. How many non-terrorist babies would it be acceptible for the president to accidentally eat in the course of enforcing a rigorous terrorist baby-eating program?
A. First of all, the president would never ever eat a baby unless it was reasonably suspected to be affiliated with possible terroresque program activities. Second of all, do we really wanna start tyin the president's hands when he's tryin to protect everybody from jihadist babies? They could be Islamifying our country's drool supply as we speak!
Q. Sir, I demand the immediate establishment of a cabinet-level Department of Baby-Eating!
A. Just til we win the War on Terror, of course!
Q. And with our sophisticated baby-eating technology we should be taking the Terrorstani capital of Fearlamabad any day now!
A. Of course! But the actual occupation could last quite some time, you understand...
Q. Well, yes. But the fight has to be won. These people want to use terror to destroy our freedom.
A. And that's just un-American.
ebonlock: (Tinkerbell)
via Sadly No!:

We knew that the NSA was feeding intercepts to John Bolton (collected from 10,000 US citizens), and recently we also learned that the NSA has been conducting thousands of warrantless wiretaps, which could easily have been obtained legally. Something's starting to smell a bit like an enemies list.

Another question this raises is whether any super-secret Patriot Act detentions stemmed from super-secret, warrantless NSA spying. One reason to set up secret tribunals off the legal grid is, of course, that the evidence shown in them need not be disclosed -- and vice versa, in various interlocking ways. Plus, add torture to the mix, and you have all the necessary parts in place for a classic, functioning apparatus of political...well, 'terror' is such a harsh word. And luckily, we still have posse comita... Um. Otherwise the military...

Just saying. It really makes you step back a pace and think, "Wow, couldn't that be abused in terrible ways in the hands of an irresponsible administration, should one ever come to power."

Amanda at Pandagon takes the argument a bit further:

I suspected that the right wingers would come pouring out to find bullshit justifications for King George's proclamation putting himself above rule of law, and sadly, my suspicions are proving true. I'm incredibly grateful to Scott Lemieux for addressing the hands down most irritating Bush defenders--the so-called "libertarians". I have to admit, I'm disappointed. I always hold out hope that people who dare call themselves libertarians but voted for Bush will once in awhile take substantial pro-liberty positions for kicks if nothing else, but to no avail.
One of the top 2-3 rhetorical devices on the right is to assume the zero sum game and work out from there. This is, I think, justified by assuming that one is being "realistic" and that anyone who argues for actually improving society is a pie-in-the-sky idealist. Call it creating a false conflict or whatever you want, but it underpins a lot of "hardnosed" conservative arguments.
Introducing these false conflicts is also an awesome way to get people's eyes off the prize--if people think the debate is about whether national security or civil liberties are more important, they are less likely to notice that these sort of decisions are made without respect to either and instead for the purpose of consolidating power.

And Doghouse Riley posits:

• Bush approved warrantless spying on US citizens.

Excuse me for asking, but this administration believes it doesn't have to obey the laws of the Space-Time continuum; whatever gave anyone the impression they were concerned with what mere words mean?

• New York Times sat on the story for a year before publishing it.

I think I've said this before, but if your car won't start and you take it to a mechanic who finds that the battery is dead and tells you to come back in an hour, and you do but then he tells you the alternator is bad, too, you'd chalk it up to bad luck. If you went there daily for two years and every single time the simple problem had a much more expensive problem behind it you might get suspicious. Why does anyone bother asking Bill Keller for an "explanation" at this point, when the process involves shouting into Karl Rove's pocket so Keller can hear you?

• Keller: "It is not our place to pass judgment on the legal or civil liberties questions involved in such a program ."

That's funny, it seems to me that sitting on the story is the one way you're guaranteed to be passing judgment. I thought your news reporters were highly trained in reporting stories without passing judgment. At least I think that's what I've heard. You can lower the pocket flap now, Mr. Rove. Thanks.
ebonlock: (Tinkerbell)
Doghouse Riley sums up the War on Terra (tm) to date and the breaking Lincoln Group scandal, in comments on World o' Crap:

Ho ho hold up a minute. First, we invent the name al-Qaeda in the 90s, which may or may not have had the effect of creating a SPECTREsque global organization of Evil out of a few pissed-off mujahideen. Then, faced with an insurgency we didn't foresee, we may or may not have decided to designate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who may or may not be dead, as its titular head, one whom we say we believe is a close associate and ally of the guy who heads what might or might not be al-Qaeda, assuming he or it have survived, which we believe to be the case because the CIA--which may or may not have done the inventing--has confirmed that the recent videos they showed us are recent.

Then, for emphasis--because there might be some Americans who are still confused by this--we decide this Zarqawi, who may or may not be missing a leg and/or a head, assuming he had two or one to begin with, as the case may be, may or may not lead an organization called "al-Qaeda In Iraq", although no one else, assuming they exist, uses the name, and this, plus a captured floppy disk which we allegedly captured in several places as it was or wasn't being taken by courier to al-Qaeda Not in Iraq Headquarters (oddly, despite their masterfully nefarious internet operations, they have to lug floppies around in order to communicate), the contents of which we might have had translated by someone who didn't read Arabic because we're short on those.

So now, if I'm not mistaken, we're forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to combat what may or may not be a fictional creation of our own making because he's making people think he's more powerful than he is?

Yep, that about sums it up.


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