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Tilting at Windmills

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July 5, 2007

PERETZ ON PLAME....I suppose if there were a competition for worst professional analysis of the Plame scandal and the Scooter Libby commutation, Marty Peretz's contribution would have to be the leading contender.

It was from the beginning a politically motivated case, as Dershowitz argues in this morning's Post, the appointment of the special prosecutor, the prosecutor's own obsessions, the case itself with the doubtful and understandably doubtful but diverse memories of many witnesses, including the defendant, the especially harsh sentence pronounced by the judge, the refusal of the appellate court to continue Libby on bail -- all of these were politically motivated. And, thus, in and of themselves, unjust.

I haven't the foggiest idea what any of this means. Libby was charged by a prosecutor appointed by a Republican administration, a criminal sentence was issued by a judge appointed by a Republican president, and Libby's appeal was heard by two more judges appointed by Republican presidents. The sentence was well within the guidelines of a Republican president's Justice Department. They're all in on some kind of partisan political scheme to undermine Bush? How? Why?

As Sullivan put it:

This is an argument? Marty does not provide a scintilla of evidence that any of these things was "politically motivated". Not one. How was John Ashcroft's appointment of a special prosecutor politically motivated? What exactly are Patrick Fitzgerald's unnamed "obsessions"? How is the sentence out of line with usual standards endorsed by the Bush Justice Department? How does Marty know that faulty memory as oposed to lying is why the jury convicted Libby of perjury? He knows none of these things. So he just repeats his assertions loudly, as if volume is a substitute for reason. It isn't.

I suppose there might be a less compelling argument than Peretz's out there, but I haven't seen it. I open the floor to nominations.

Steve Benen 10:19 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (68)

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Comments

I haven't the foggiest idea what any of this means.

That Marty's a drunk?

Posted by: calling all toasters on July 5, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Marty Peretz: New Republican.

Posted by: Furious on July 5, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Well, we are talking about Bush Republicans, so of course everything is partisan. I'm amazed that more people don't get that little detail.

Posted by: Levees Not War on July 5, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that he 1) uses a place with Ann Coulter banners, and 2) uses Alan Dershowitz to bolster his point immediately makes his analysis disposable.

Posted by: Kryptik on July 5, 2007 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

The whole Plame/Libby affair has brought out the worst in so many people, including those who should know better (Kinsley, Noah, Hitchens). But for those who have been borderline insane these past few years (Douchebagowitz, Peretz . . . OK, I'm being charitable), this has positively pushed them over the edge. My one prayer here is that the Libby pardon (let's call it as it really is), that the anger is sustained. I think it will be. And it should be the political graveyard of so many deserving hacks.

Posted by: MaxGowan on July 5, 2007 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

The conviction was politically motivated because that's what Al was told is the reason. Hey, this is as good as anything Peretz said.

Posted by: Kenji on July 5, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

In Peretz's worldview...

It's "politically motivated" if it's the outcome of the American political and legal process.

It's justice if it's in accordance with the current diktats of the reactionary wing of the Likud party.

That's about it, really.

Posted by: agum on July 5, 2007 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Peretz has lost whatever credibility he once had. He took the New Republic, once a reputable magazine of ideas, and destroyed it. It is now a magazine of whoredom for Israel. It stands for nothing else.

Peretz is an intellectual whore. He has no center, except to promote Israel. Israel today is a fascist state, making Peretz a fascist.

Posted by: POed Lib on July 5, 2007 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know how its stacks up, really, but the local righties here are all on a kick about how Armitage got away with blabbing to Novak because he--Armitage--is some kind of lefty Democrat.

WTF?

Posted by: folkbum on July 5, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

POed Lib: there's no need for trolling, we have enough of a problem here already. Israel isn't a fascist state quite yet.

The fundamental point about Peretz remains: none of the DOJ officials, prosecutors or judges involved are members of Peretz's NeoCon/reactionary Likudnik party.

Thus in his us-against-them worldview, the prosecution was political.

I wonder if he screens his auto mechanics, gardeners and dental hygenists for ideological purity.

Posted by: agum on July 5, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

"The sentence was well within the guidelines of a Republican president's Justice Department."

Not necessarily. Until Bush stepped in to commute the punishment, Libby was going to serve time. Only when he added in his personal touch, in other words, was the sentence for committing a crime in accordance with how the Bush administration usually operates: you can do the crime, but you won't have to do the time.

Posted by: Brian on July 5, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that he 1) uses a place with Ann Coulter banners, and 2) uses Alan Dershowitz to bolster his point immediately makes his analysis disposable.

Dershowitz helped defend O.J., he really shouldn't be lecturing anybody about a supposed miscarriage of justice.

Posted by: haha on July 5, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Liberal used to be the Big Bad Dirty Word.

Not any more.

Republican is the Big Bad Dirty Word.

Has a ring to it.

Posted by: MEG on July 5, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

I heard a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board on NPR yesterday telling me that Valerie Plame was not covert. Man, they just never give up the lies even when categorically wrong. It's awesome to behold the depth of the dishonesty.

Posted by: Slothrop on July 5, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Who, outside of the blogosphere, is going to call any of these people on anything? The can say whatever they like, that Libby invented sliced bread, cured cancer, can leap tall buildings in a single bound -- literally, whatever they like -- and no one in the mainstream media will say a word about it, and Peretz, Dershowitz et al know it.

Imagine the foolish, nonsensical stuff that would come out of your mouth and keyboard if you could say anything you wanted with no accountability.

Posted by: Martin Gale on July 5, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

I've been running into that politically motivated case/prosecution idiocy for a long time now, and it still never ceases to amaze me how stupid anyone would have to be to actually believe this, let alone assume others will be stupid/ignorant enough to fall for this blatant a disconnect from reality. From the moment of the leak throughout the process to trial (the trial and sentencing happened after Congress shifted but otherwise it was GOP controlled in both chambers) the GOP had a lock on Congress and the Executive, and this was a top GOP WH personage that was indicted, prosecuted, and convicted. The presiding judge was a long time GOP judge appointed to his current bench by GWB following two preceding judicial appointments by Reagan and Bush41 respectively and a prosecutor appointed as an USA by GWB who was a political independent. How can that possibly be a political prosecution?!? For it to have been political it would have meant there was at some point influence improperly brought by the Dems into the process, the problem for GOPers is during the entire critical period the Dems had no power to do anything. Indeed, the GOP reveled in that powerless of the Dems throughout the first six years of the Bush43 Presidency (the 18 months in the first 2 years don't really count as 9/11/01 happened soon after the shift of power and for the rest of that session the Congress basically did as asked by Bushco in the name of fighting the "war on terror") and to see them now trying desperately to portray this as some sort of political witch-hunt is simply the height of absurdity.

I have to admit though this piece by Peretz is so far the the most craptasticular MSM piece I have seen on this travesty yet, but it is still early days yet and I am sure worse is yet to come.

Posted by: Scotian on July 5, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

This is one of those topics on which I actually want to hear what the trolls have to say, because maybe they can flesh out Peretz' ramblings. Without them, I'm at a loss as to what Peretz is alleging. Politically motivated? As has been pointed out everywhere, all the principals in the prosecution of Libby were Republicans. Does Peretz think Pat Fitzgerald is politically ambitious? Fitzgerald certainly didn't grandstand in the usual manner of crusading prosecutors (cough-cough Giuliani; cough-cough Ken Starr). Does Peretz think there was outside pressure on the process? The Washington press had, nearly to a man, weighed in on the heartlessness of good people like Libby being charged with a crime. I'm genuinely baffled as to what the "politically motivated" accusation is supposed to mean.

Posted by: kth on July 5, 2007 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Marty Peretz is the dumbest kind of trash whose only claim to fame is that he bought the New Republic as his private plaything after marrying a rich woman. Why waste one breath on that moron? He's old and he's dying and when he finally croaks we can go dance in the streets.

Posted by: Anon on July 5, 2007 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, you know how many in the MSM especially the Washington Press Corps were hostile to the Fitzgerald investigation because he compelled journalists to testify? It would not be unreasonable to think that part of the poor and inaccurate coverage since from them is because of that forcing other reporters to testify so they give him a harder time than is warranted. If this is the case though given what was revealed in the Libby trial the people they really should blame are Rove and Libby, because if they had not lied to Fitzgerald and claimed they got Plame's CIA affiliation from the reporters Fitzgerald would not have been put in a position where he would have to compel their testimony. So Libby and Rove use them as shields and stalking horses to hide how they really learned Plame's CIA affiliation and instead of blaming those that put them out there as stalking horses they blame the prosecutor. And is this is so wouldn't that be of a piece with the rest of this farce surrounding the treachery of the Plame exposure.

Posted by: Scotian on July 5, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

And they're trying to disappear Fitzgerald's considerable reputation into the bargain, which is a nice added bonus.

Thanks for nothin', Mister-I-take-my-resposibility-to-justice-seriously. Listen, we need a good man for a situation that's developing in the Aleutian Islands. How soon can you be ready?

Posted by: floppin' pauper on July 5, 2007 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian, glad to see you're back. Like the Schiavo affair and the Foley affair, this makes swing voters swing towards the Democrats, just as you say, in my opinion.

It would be interesting though, if someone noted Sen. Clinton's criticism of the Libby commutation, asked her to elaborate her philosophy on presidential pardons, and then asked her what she thought of the Marc Rich pardon, the FALN pardon, and a few others of Pres. Clinton's that have aroused ire.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on July 5, 2007 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Steve: " suppose there might be a less compelling argument than Peretz's out there, but I haven't seen it. I open the floor to nominations."

I nominate anything said by ex-liberal, Al or egbert.

: "Dershowitz helped defend O.J. ..."

And don't forget Newport, Rhode Island's paragon of community virtue, Claus von Bülow. That particular defense allowed Alan Dershowitz to become a Hollywood celebrity as author of the best-selling "Reversal of Fortune", which later as a movie also garnered an eventual Academy Award for Jeremy Irons, whose pretentious and gold-digging Herr von Bülow sounded a little too eerily like Henry Kissinger, which of course was a perfectly subtle cinematic metaphor that allowed the audience to correctly deduce that von Bülow was in fact a completely amoral and self-absorbed asshole -- but that's another story.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on July 5, 2007 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Dershowitz just can't stand the fact that Fitzgerald stood on rock solid principle and still won. Dershowitz needs the limelight so badly that he will take any argument to get people talking about him. And Peretz is a big enough putz to repeat Dershowitz's absurd "arguments."

I remember when I used to think guys like Dershowitz got to their respected positions by consistently brilliant insights. I read his argument yesterday and was simply shocked at how utterly transparent and pathetic it was. If that type of argumentation works in US courtrooms, we are just too damn stupid to survive as a country.

Posted by: HungChad on July 5, 2007 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

What exactly are Patrick Fitzgerald's unnamed "obsessions"?

That's easy. Fitz is obsessed with bringing the guilty to justice, and is thus an enemy of the GWB admin and their fellow travelers and apologists.

Posted by: Disputo on July 5, 2007 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares?

Who reads the New Republic, let alone critique what they say? It's like feeding the trolls ...

Posted by: LarryK on July 5, 2007 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

...as if volume is a substitute for reason. It isn't.

Oh, that's good...

Posted by: elmo on July 6, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Marler, your bringing up the Rich pardons is nothing but a red herring. Clinton pardoned someone whose conviction was opposed by a varied group - Israeli leaders, Republican lawyers, and advocates for wealthy tax cheats (though, to be fair, there is considerable evidence that Rich's creative accounting was legal at the time). There is simply no evidence that there was anything amiss with the Rich pardon. This was investigated, like every other Republican manufactured scandal, by Republicans and there was simply insufficient evidence to even present to a grand jury. You've got nothing.

As to the rest, present an actual case, rather than smearing through innuendo. There is simply no evidence that Clinton's pardons were corrupt. Bush's pardon of one of his administration's cronies for crimes committed in furtherance of Bush Administration goals is, quite obviously, obstruction of justice.

Put up, or shut up.

Posted by: heavy on July 6, 2007 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Hey guys, this is slightly off topic, but it occurs to me that if all of us spent as much time talking like this to our friends and neighbors, to our representatives, to our local media, telling them what we expect from the president, the vice president, the media, and congress, something would change.

Call Pelosi:

202-225-4965

Call Reid:

202-224-3542

ask for impeachment. make your voice heard.

I called my Texas reps today, all republicans, and told them it was their duty as Americans to bring articles of impeachment against the President and Vice President.

We know this is correct. We know Bush's commutation of the sentence of a man who obstructed an investigation into his administration is the clearest example of obstruction of justice there is.

Call your congresspeople. You can find them here:

http://www.house.gov/writerep/

All of us are articulate enough to make these arguments to people outside our circle of friends. Tell your congressperson what you think. Tell Reid and Pelosi.

Tell the White House:

202-456-1111

We can make this happen. We can change this before more harm is done.


Posted by: Deron Bauman on July 6, 2007 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Here, pretty much in full, is Dershowitz' own idiot "argument" that the judges acted "politically":

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 after 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. What the judges did was also political, but that was entirely improper, because judges are not allowed to act politically.

I don't know how to express just how stupid this argument is.

Let's just assume Dershowitz' basic premise, that the judges' motivation to require that Libby go to jail immediately was that they didn't want him to wait until the appeals process was exhausted, because by then Bush's term would end, and Bush would pardon Libby.

What on earth is political, in any relevant sense, about this motivation? If they thought it was important that Libby do some actual jail time, isn't the obvious explanation that they simply thought that he deserved real jail time, and didn't want to see justice cheated by a pardon from Bush (which even Dershowitz admits was political)? Wouldn't their interest in such a case be precisely one of preventing a miscarriage of justice? If, because of a potential political act by someone else interfering with the carrying out of justice, they must do something to forestall that subversion of justice, how does that render their decision as "political"?

Really, Dershowitz is completely out of the rational game here. Over time, it seems, his own hackery has managed to completely lobotomize him; there have been just too many shocks to the neural system.

The man is not aging well.

Posted by: frankly0 on July 6, 2007 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

No one pardoned by Clinton had the goods on him that could have made him a guest of Leavenworth. Libby has those goods on BushCrimCo - all of the corrupt bastards - and he would have spilled. Just look at him. He ain't hard. That he was let off the hook so quickly, is just blood in the water. He confirmed that it is worse than all but the most ardent conspiracy theorists thought.

And for the last damned time: Libby was Marc Rich's attorney when the pardon was secured.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 6, 2007 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Dershowitz teaches at Harvard?

I mean, at Harvard??

Posted by: frankly0 on July 6, 2007 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

Deron Bauman: Did it. Immediately. And posted it as an open letter on my site.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 6, 2007 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

The prosecution hindered people who were trying to kill Muslims. For "liberals" like Peretz and Dershowitz, that's all that need be said for them to pick sides.

Posted by: luci on July 6, 2007 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl: you rock.

I did too.

Now, everybody else do it. And no fucking around.

Posted by: Deron Bauman on July 6, 2007 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

The whole Plame/Libby affair has brought out the worst in so many people, including those who should know better (Kinsley, Noah, Hitchens). But for those who have been borderline insane these past few years (Douchebagowitz, Peretz . . .

Yeah, it's kinda brought out the Monarchists; they exist in both parties.

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 6, 2007 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

OT: another six Canadians killed in Afghanistan. That brings the total to 66. For comparison, California, a state with a population slightly larger than Canada, has lost 33(the most of any American state). I fear your rush to Iraq has put this war in jeopardy too.

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 6, 2007 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

Luci beat me to it. To say that Dershowitz has dual loyalties is to be too kind. From Libby to Pollard, Dershowitz has never met a traitor to the US that he didn't fully embrace, as long as their treachery was committed in furtherance of the Zionist/neo-conservative cause.

Posted by: Disputo on July 6, 2007 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

I fear your rush to Iraq has put this war in jeopardy too.

Ya think?

Lay those Canadian deaths right at the feet of the Cheney admin, who never intended to eliminate AQ or the Taliban from Afganistan to begin with.

Posted by: Disputo on July 6, 2007 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Btw, Dershowitz is the reason I no longer read the Huffington Post. Not only do they post his bigoted swill, but they delete any comments that criticize him.

Posted by: Disputo on July 6, 2007 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Marler-- Just for your information all of the FALN convicts had served at least 19 years in prison by the time Clinton commuted their sentences.

Bush is the first president ever to have commuted a sentence before the convict had actually served any portion of the sentence.

Equivalent cases? Hardly.

It's my guess, and its only a guess, that maybe you just don't like Clinton or something, you strain so hard to find something he did wrong. Well I don't like Bush, and you see I have a great advantage over you insofar as it is unnecessary for me go mining for tenuous threads to stitch together into "facts" in order to make it appear that Bush did something wrong. It's all right out there in full blatant glorious exposure for anyone with a brain not addled by Clinton hatred (or Clintons hatred) to see.

Comparing Clinton's pardons and commutations to Bush's commuting of Libby's sentence is ludicrous. As has been pointed out numerous times in this thread and others, Marc Rich and the FALN didn't have the goods on Clinton, they weren't pardoned, or had their sentences commuted, to keep them quiet; there was no hint of obstruction of justice. With Libby, on the other hand, it is eminently understandable that a person might suspect he was snatched from the door of a cell as a reward for keeping quiet.

Posted by: Dave Howard on July 6, 2007 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

Forget Dershowitz. Forget Peretz. They are both Zionist zealots and the only people who take them seriously are other Zionist zealots -- which, admittedly is a bit of a problem for fostering peace in the Middle East, but the issue at hand here and now is salvaging what remains of American democracy.

Instead, heed well people like Deron Bauman above, who cousels calling ALL your congress people, as well as the White House, and respectfully (as possible) conveying your outrage @ (1) Cheney/Bush despotism and (2) congress's utter lack of meaningful action in its constitutional role of overseeing the executive branch of the government.

Personally, I sent all my representaives emails. The addresses are a snap to locate, for example (because I live in California) a simple google of "Senator Feinstein" or "Speaker Pelosi" and their web pages with contact info come right up at the top of google.

Do it now, and for heaven's sake just get over kvetching about jongoist know-nothings like Peretz and Dershowitz -- the latter of whom, sadly enough was once a respected Voice in our American discourse, but the former of whom, near as I can determine, has always been a monomaniacal jerk.

Posted by: teknozen on July 6, 2007 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

Marty's no "Smarty."
He's just an idiot with a rich wife and a printing press.

Would that I were so lucky! Or you...

Posted by: Victor Small on July 6, 2007 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

Two words Bill did it!

Two more words Bush Sr did it!

Two more words Jimmy Carter did it!

See, it isn't political at all!!

It's childish!

Posted by: But he did it too! on July 6, 2007 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

OT

Ya think?

'Kay. 'Kay. My hands are up.

You caught me being disengenous for rhetorical effect (or perhaps to non-effect).

But can't lay this one fully at Cheney's feet. Ultimately, we chose to go along for this ride.

Marty does not provide a scintilla of evidence

Who needs stinkin' evidence when you're a neocon? Evidence is for those rebutting your claims.

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 6, 2007 at 4:45 AM | PERMALINK

Here's an alternate summary:

The whole enchilada appears to be that Joe Wilson, a State Department has-been so obsessed by his own vanity that he outted his own wife and who a year earlier said uranium was sought by Iraq in Africa before he said it was not sought by Iraq, was used as a cheap, throwaway dirty trick by the Kerry campaign to dupe lazy pseudojournalists from the NYTimes, Newsweek, WaPo, Time, and NBC, which led Senate Democratic politics-is-a-dirty-game-players like Chuck Schumer, to push for a rabid, unfettered special prosecutor like Fitzgerald, who, in a previous life bested by attorney Scooter Libby, then broke all the DOJ rules in fruitless a hunt to bring down Dick Cheney, and whose investigation immunized the wrong people and didn't follow up the simplest leads that would have lead to Richard Armitage, the original leaker of non-covert operative Valarie Plame Wilson's identity, who likely leaked Plame's relationship to several journalists because of a turf war with the CIA, an organization that, like State, also has leaked like a sieve whenever the bureaucrats disagreed with the administration, and that, like State, has yet to be held accountable by the equally irresponsible Department of Justice. Fitzgerald aped Nifong in Durham by ignoring the evidence that Armitage had been the original leaker and committed prosecutorial malfeasance by boosting his Democratic career aspirations by chasing Libby in order to get Rove and eventually Cheney. Fitzfong may get the AG job in a Clinton Inc. administration for his "non-political" ministrations.

Ultimate Irony: Billy Jeff intoning against the Libby commutation after Libby was Marc Rich's lawyer---the Marc Rich that Billy Jeff pardoned after massive cash-flow for his library and other non-political ministrations from Rich's wife Debbie. Sophocles or Shakespeare would have trouble with all the backstairs goofiness in the aftermath of promoting the prosecution of "process crimes" by Fitzfong.

There's plenty of blame to go around. And how does Sandy Berger fit into this picture?

Posted by: daveinboca on July 6, 2007 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK

Here's an alternate summary

for an alternate universe.

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 6, 2007 at 6:03 AM | PERMALINK

Dave in boca...

That was either brilliant satire, or you need to drive 'round to the Baynard-Woop Home For The Mentally Deranged some pleasant Sunday and introduce yourself.

Jprichva--also in Boca.

Posted by: jprichva on July 6, 2007 at 6:20 AM | PERMALINK

Re Martin Peretz: the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. Why else write this piece. He got what he wanted, people like Benen are talking about him.

Posted by: TJM on July 6, 2007 at 6:51 AM | PERMALINK

Perets is wrong. You have to go back to the context in which Plame's cover was blown.

It was not 'politics' At the time, America faced a threat of immeasurable gravity -- the possibility of the GOP losing the White House.

Faced with two threats -- nuclear proliferation and losing a election -- and assessing their respective dangers, the choice was a wise one.

No one thinks rolling up Brewster-Jennings was a good thing, but the alternative -- higher marginal income tax rates and gay marriage -- was simply too horrible to contemplate.

Posted by: Ann Hack on July 6, 2007 at 7:19 AM | PERMALINK

This is one of those topics on which I actually want to hear what the trolls have to say, because maybe they can flesh out Peretz' ramblings. Without them, I'm at a loss as to what Peretz is alleging. Politically motivated? As has been pointed out everywhere, all the principals in the prosecution of Libby were Republicans.

Who can resist? The gist of the argument is that not all politics are partisan politics, so it is simplistic to think of this as Reps v. Dems.

Re-read the WaPo series on Dick Cheney's sharp bureaucratic elbows - do you think no one ever pushed back? Ashcroft, e.g., apparently was shockingly rude and dismissive of the VP in some meeting about torture or detainment. And around the time of Comey's arrival (backed by Schumer) in fall 2003, Yoo was out and the DoJ pushback from OLC on torture, detainment, and the NSA was beginning (Comey had his hospital showdown with Gonzales in March 2004 - was he really a Gonzales/Cheney/Liby fan in Jan 2004?)

So a BushMen faction was out to quash the OVP, starting with the chief of staff and, if luck was with them, bagging Dick as well. Libby lied not to spare Dick legal trouble (the Pres can declassify, and had delegate power to the VP on the uranium story; as of 2003, Libby did not fear impeachment of a wartime VP) but to spare him embarrassment - there were rumblings that Bush would pick a potential successor for the 2004 ticket and dump Dick Coronary.

As to Judge Walton, he gave Libby max time to provoke a quick pardon and spare himself the embarrassment of being reversed on appeal. The commutation did not eliminate that cloud from his horizon.

All that said, I can't quite weave the appeals court into this as masterfully as Dershowitz. But if you think of factional infighting as "politics" (and why not - what are all these primaries about?) then the BushMen cabal out to gut the VP helps explain why Libby ended up in the dock but not Rove, Armitage, or Fleischer - Armitage, for example, famously "forgot" his leak to Woodward; Fleischer, his lunch with Libby notwithstanding, only leaked *after* his boss and Bush's confidante, Dan Bartlett, talked about the INR memo on Air Force One with Ari listening.

Who were they protecting - Powell, Bush? Can't you just feel the conspiracy?

Hope that helps.

Posted by: Tom Maguire on July 6, 2007 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

-- all of these were politically motivated.

It’s the twilight zone, because perhaps it WAS politically motivated, but not by liberals.

Imagine if you will...

That his political motivation is between old the style conservatives mantra and the neo-con loyalist Bushie Republican. It's the "anything goes" new style of Republicanize - the style that David Brooks, Broder and all the Murdock talking heads belong too. Indeed who does Rich Lowry preach too these days?

It's a loyalist creed that believes "if it bothers Bush - then it must be anti-Republican" and therefore not conservative.

The NRO isn’t aligning itself with the base of the party, "the voters" but rather as Bush Devotees. A bunch of radical zealots or neo-cons from the party of Bush, and not party the of conservative voters. Bush is NOT the essence of conservative behavior unless conservative behavior has become "lie at all cost" and any stated truth shall be know of as "liberal media".

If US government is "derived" from the will of the voters, than strange isn't how today's Repugs don't seem to think they need voters to stay in office. I mean if folks like Reggie Walton, Ashcroft and even Colin Powell can't find anything in common with today's GOP, it's because the GOP isn't The Grand OLD Party anymore is it?

The conservative party isn't recognizable anymore and I seriously doubt armchair pundits like Broder, Brooks or Rich Lowry could even tell you want conservtives stand for these days. They would first have to go ask Bush for the definition – but as we all know, Bushie’s definitions are often subject to change anytime Bush wants to change the meaning of whatever it was he met to say.

And you seen it time and again - some Republican or Republican pundit takes a stand against Bush - but they always get back in line with the Bush think - The GOP doesn't know how think outside the Bush. Funny how Broder's last column was about NOT listening the people - dumb voters that they are, have no clue as how wonderful the Bushie really is.

Posted by: Me_again on July 6, 2007 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Tom Maguire: the conviction and sentencing of Libby was all political because the authorities involved, while all Republicans, were not "loyal Bushies". Only if they were all loyal Bushies might justice have truly been served.

Yeah, this argument would make you an idiot too, Tom Maguire.

Posted by: frankly0 on July 6, 2007 at 7:55 AM | PERMALINK

I seriously doubt armchair pundits like Broder, Brooks or Rich Lowry could even tell you want conservatives stand for these days.

I can -- winning.

It's the only thing.

"Conservative" is the name of a team -- being a 'conservative' these days has all the intellectual content of being a Milwaukee Brewers fan.

Vince Lombardi has done from beyond the grave what Stalin, Hitler, and half-a-dozen plug-uglies couldn't do -- destroy the Republic.

Name another language where 'loser' is commonly used as an insult.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 6, 2007 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

Dubya learned from his dad the value of using the powers of presidential pardon and commutation to buy the silence of fellow criminals who get caught lying their asses off to a grand jury. Poppy used it when Cappy Weinberger lied like a rug about the elder Bush selling stolen Hawk missiles to Iran, like a good war profiteer does.

Impeachment is the only correct Constitutional remedy in these cases.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 6, 2007 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

Pathetic.

I'd cancelled my subscription to TNR during their bizarre pro-Iraq War phase in 2003, but was toying with renewing the subscription.

Thanks for the reminder of why I left, Marty. You're a fucking moron.

Posted by: TR on July 6, 2007 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Why does a dog lick himself? Because he can. Why does Bush commute Libby's sentence? Because he can.

Posted by: daveb99 on July 6, 2007 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

So a BushMen faction was out to quash the OVP, starting with the chief of staff and, if luck was with them, bagging Dick as well.

Is this supposed to be some sort of defense? Assuming this were true, it would be an even greater indictment of the administration as a whole. One administration faction deliberately outs a covert agent and then lies under oath to stop "embarassment" of the OVP. The other side responds by setting up a "political" kangaroo court to prosecute the leaker.

Even on its own terms, this narrative makes the administration out to be a criminal pit of snakes, bashing one another through extralegal means to the detriment of the national interest. It's as good an argument for impeachment as anything the anti-Libby partisans have come up with.

Posted by: jimBOB on July 6, 2007 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Oops, there was supposed to be a close italics tag after "defense."

Posted by: jimBOB on July 6, 2007 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Matthew Marler wrote: It would be interesting though, if someone noted Sen. Clinton's criticism of the Libby commutation, asked her to elaborate her philosophy on presidential pardons, and then asked her what she thought of the Marc Rich pardon, the FALN pardon, and a few others of Pres. Clinton's that have aroused ire

Again with the Clenis, eh, Marler?

I'll see your "aroused ire" and raise you "perptrated a cover-up," you mendacious Bush apologist.

Posted by: Gregory on July 6, 2007 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with TR.

I'd let my TNR subscription lapse a short while ago, but was all set to re-up. I then came across Peretz's proud admission that he was a member of the Libby Defense Fund. I have no problem with differing points of view in a publication like TNR, but I draw the line at willful denial of reality. Asserting that Libby's trial and sentencing were somehow "politically influenced" is on the same intellectual level as stating that dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark.

No more money to TNR from me until Peretz is off the masthead.

Posted by: bluestatedon on July 6, 2007 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Dershowitz teaches at Harvard? I mean, at Harvard??

Frankly, we're all a little embarrassed.

Posted by: Stefan on July 6, 2007 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Libby's Pardon: America's Flag in Disgrace
--cognitorex--
Dick Cheney and George Bush are a disgrace to our country. They are skillful liars as are all psychopaths. In fact lack of concern for community or democratic values as in putting oneself above the law combined with habitual lying defines psychopathy. It defines Cheney and Bush.
I personally don't think Scooter is a psychopath on the order of Cheney and Bush. I believe he lived in an environment where lying and duplicity were practiced daily on the most egregious levels. Living in this environment day in and day out, he had little practical knowledge or experience that there could or might be even one possible iota of repercussion for bold faced lying. Lacking the snakelike skills of a Cheney or Bush he blew it.
That Scooter, the person, should not have to spend years in prison strikes a sympathetic chord with me.
That Scooter, the representative of an administration that adheres to no moral system in the pursuit of power and economic gain, should avoid justice makes me vomit.
I think we should fly all American flags upside down* until these mendacious psychopaths are escorted out of the White House, one way or the other. Better yet perhaps, would be to visit or demonstrate in D.C. and simply leave flags at the White House gates and the Supreme Court building. This, turning in of the flags, will represent that the Red, White and Blue is used only for propaganda by Bush, Cheney and the neocon party and it no longer represents American values.
It has been disgraced.
Bumper stickers of an upside down flag would be a good national campaign , a visible symbol of shame and outrage.
* (original post suggested flying flag at half mast which by popular acclaim has been amended to fly flag as a distress signal, i.e. upside down. Thanks to the many amendees!)

Posted by: Craig Johnson on July 6, 2007 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Poor Marty Peretz threw his thoughts in a blender and they got all mixed up. It was Scooter's commission of his crimes that was politically motivated not the prosecution of his politically motivated crimes.

Posted by: Tom Hulse on July 6, 2007 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Imagine the foolish, nonsensical stuff that would come out of your mouth and keyboard if you could say anything you wanted with no accountability.

Posted by: Martin Gale

You're right!

George Bush, Richard Cheney and Karl Rove are honorable, praiseworthy men.

(Please don't hold me accountable for typing that.)

Posted by: slanted tom on July 6, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK
....I am sure worse is yet to come. Scotian at 11:23 PM
Wait not, here are some more: Here's an astonishing commentary by tribalist neo-con lunatic, Alan Dershowitz. (dersh@law.harvard.edu)


And the completely insane Mark Levin (info@landmarklegal.org) said :

"The way I see it, Lewis Libby was about to become a political prisoner and the president prevented that."

Those poor poor victim neo-cons, beset upon by all those fools who simply don't understand how noble, dedicated and unselfish they are as they go about their work destroying democracy and instituting endless war in the Middle East.

Yup, political prisoners they are. No crime, no treason, nothing but the purest of motives. Honest! [/sarcasm]

It would be interesting though, if someone noted Sen. Clinton's criticism of the Libby commutation…. MatthewRmarler at 11:55 PM

Of course, rightist hacks like Snow and others still strive to create equivalencies of pardons when only Bush 41 and 43 acted to protect themselves from the possible testimony of their underlings. Few who condemned Clinton so vehemently have taken the same position about BushBush.

Posted by: Mike on July 6, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

You can also add that the people doing the investigation as to whether Libby had broken any laws were all Bush appointees.

The President has been humiliated. That's all dems have to say.

Posted by: Daryl on July 6, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

When you're a neocon like Marty everything against you is politically motivated. Look at Mark Steyn's defense of Conrad Black during his trial, it's the same thing or Elliot Abrams and the "criminalizing policy differences" defense. In neocon world, nothing is ever against the law so long as you were well-intentioned.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on July 6, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Peretz's poodle dog James Kirchick has now taken the next step by announcing (without any explanation) that Bush was "exercising his constitutional duty" by pardoning Libby: http://www.tnr.com/blog/the_plank?pid=123143 . As I just told Andrew Sullivan, it is long past time he stopped moaning and completely cut his connection with these -- literally -- crazy people.

Meanwhile, today's American Research Group poll (ARG in the past has shown, at most, a mild Democratic bias) shows the voters opposed to the commutation by almost 3 to 1 (including almost half of Republicans), and favoring Cheney's impeachment by a 6-point margin and Bush's by a 2-point margin: http://americanresearchgroup.com/ It begins to look as though Bush may now have his own Saturday Night Massacre. The chances that they will be impeached (let alone convicted) is, of course, still remote -- but the Dems are cretins if they don't use this issue to beat the brains out of the 2008 GOP Presidential candidates. (Unless, of course, they nominate Hillary, in which case the issue will be completely neutralized... It really is time to stop regarding the Clintons as anything but a sleaze and his enabler.)

Posted by: BruceMoomaw on July 6, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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