Friday, July 06, 2007

The Plame Game (II)

The essence of blogging is to go where the big boys will/shall/or cannot go, and the whole Scooter Libby commutation thing is certainly being covered by anybody who is anybody among the big fish in the big media pond.

Nonetheless, the mid-week holiday has done little to temper the furor over Bush's giving the penitentiary keys to a guy who worked for him after promising to "get to the bottom" of the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson "outting" etc.

One of the points Al Gore makes in his latest book essay, "The Assault on Reason" is that we live in a one-way kind of democracy where citizens get hit with whatever the government has up its sleeve, but never really get to say or influence things in the other direction given the swelling of concentrated media and the way politics are played out through them.

Which is to say the highway scribe is choking on this whole business, having tried to leave a comment with the White House for three days only to be met with an interminable busy tone.

How convenient.

When the Department of Justice wants to nail your ass, it will spare no expense, but when it comes to sampling vox populi the White House feels no need to dig deeper and put in a few more phone lines, or contract out (read: privatize) a call center because it doesn't think the populi are entitled to a vox.

So highwayscribery's weighing in.

The White House and the punditry whom carry its brackish water are doing their best to guffaw at criticisms by Hillary Clinton of the president's irresponsible action regarding Libby.

"Look at everyone Bill pardoned," they say, and then note that each beneficiary was, Gulp!, a criminal, as if you could pardon anybody but a convict.

Of course, people have short memories. Back when Bush came to office they made much of the fact Clinton had pardoned international slimeball Marc Rich. The pardon, it turns out, was a product of the mysterious "talks" heads-of-state hold, the details of which we are rarely privy to.

In any case, the idea was that Ehud Barak, one-time Israeli prime minister, had asked for the pardon as a precondition to signing some failed peace agreement or other with the Palestinians.

Republicans were shocked, SHOCKED! at the news such things were done (to quote "Seinfeld") in the "high-stakes world of diplomacy and international intrigue."

They, of course, would be much different and blew smoke all over the place with assistance from "Time" magazine, which had one last Clinton cover declaiming "The Incredible Shrinking Presidency."

Of course, that was before w.'s implosion, the likes of which we have never seen in politics.

the scribe did not have a blog at the time of tainted transition to the Bush II regime. Had the technology been known to him, he'd have pointed out how Bush's dad pardoned a ton of Reagan administration stalwarts accused of getting into the business of arms-trading with Iran, of all countries, in an effort to overthrow the Nicaraguan government, which the Congress, on to them, had expressly forbade.

Wacky, the scribe knows, and thinks Keith Olberman's tirade on MSNBC framed things most clear: "And I accuse you now, Mr. Bush of giving through that vice president [Cheney] carte blanche to Mr. Libby to help defame Ambassador Joseph Wilson by any means necessary; to lie to grand juries and special counsels and before a court in order to protect the mechanisms and particulars of that defamation with your guarantee that Libby would never see prison."

Olberman's call for the president's and vice president's resignation is pretty strong stuff and will certainly alleviate the feeling someone has stuck a sock in your mouth, if you're as exercised (if not surprised) as the scribe is.

Harry Reid, says the move was "disgraceful," says, "The Constitution gives President Bush the power to commute sentences, but history will judge him harshly for using that power to benefit his own vice president's chief of staff who was convicted of such a serious violation of law. This action is nothing short of a continuation of the obstruction of justice begun by Scooter Libby."

Reid wants those who agree to sign his petition at "Give 'Em Hell Harry."

We did.

The White House response was the usual glib and snarky stuff from mouthpiece Tony Snow. You would think he was a blogger given the flippant way he deals with weighty matters of state.

Wilson whom, along with his wife, is at the heart of this whole thing was having none of Snow's snow, saying, "To claim that leaking the identity of a covert operative is simply part of the 'Washington culture' suggests a deep disdain for those patriots who risk their lives to protect our national security. Mr. Snow's comment was insulting not just to Valerie Wilson [nee: Plame], but to all covert operatives who believe that in return for their sacrifices, our government will do everything it can to protect them. A genuine and sincere apology from the White House -- not just to Mrs. Wilson -- but the entire intelligence community -- is long overdue."

Wilson knows better than to hold his breath.

Here are two examples of conservative hypocrisy on the issue of perjury, for which Mr. Libby was convicted, back when it was a Democratic Presidential on the spit:

Bill (gambling is a virtue) Bennett: "And we know that when a person testifies under oath that he doesn't remember something when in fact he does, he has committed perjury."

Henry (don't talk about my affair) Hyde, "If citizens are allowed to lie with impunity, or encourage others to tell false stories or hide evidence, judges and juries cannot reach just results. At that point, the courtroom becomes an arena for artful liars and the jury a mere focus group of choosing between alternative fictions."

That, as they say, is too rich.

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