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Monday, July 02, 2007

American Plutocracy
Posted by Jill | 7:02 PM
As Jeffrey Toobin so succinctly pointed out on CNN this afternoon, there are thousands of people in prison doing time for obstruction of justice -- and only one of them received what is the first step towards a pardon -- Scooter Libby.

The very same Republicans who pushed George W. Bush to pardon Scooter Libby are the ones who attempted to impeach Bill Clinton for the same crime -- obstruction of justice. Today, with the defense of Bush's decision, the Republican Party made very clear that they believe in two systems of justice -- one for Republicans, and one for everyone else.

Toobin also debunked Bush's claim in his press release (because he is too damn chickenshit to actually face the press in creating his dual system of justice) that Libby's sentence was "excessive", pointing out that the judge imposed the sentence well within the same federal sentencing guidelines that this administration defends in cases not involving high-profile Republican administration operatives who know where all the bodies are buried.

The logic appears to be that with Bush having lost the Reagan Democrats and the Independents and the Latinos and everyone but the hardest core 27% that constitutes the Christofascist Zombie Brigade, he had nothing to lose by commuting Libby's sentence, presumably in exchange for Libby's silence. But with today's bizarro WaPo article portraying Bush's psychopathology in full glory showing that all he cares about is his legacy, it's hard to imagine that his legacy is going to be helped by this move today. Depending on what Scooter knows and what beans he might have spilled had Bush not intervened, however, his own legal situation after leaving office may have been helped.

It's interesting to go back in time and look at what a high-profile Republican, Rep. Henry Hyde, had to say about the rule of law during the Clinton impeachment:

Now, as a lawyer and a legislator for most of my very long life, I have a particular reverence for our legal system. It protects the innocent, it punishes the guilty, it defends the powerless, it guards freedom, it summons the noblest instincts of the human spirit.

The rule of law protects you and it protects me from the midnight fire on our roof or the 3 a.m. knock on our door. It challenges abuse of authority. It's a shame "Darkness at Noon" is forgotten, or "The Gulag Archipelago," but there is such a thing lurking out in the world called abuse of authority, and the rule of law is what protects you from it. And so it's a matter of considerable concern to me when our legal system is assaulted by our nation's chief law enforcement officer, the only person obliged to take care that the laws are faithfully executed.


What concerns me most deeply in sorting out the many arguments here is the significance of the oath. When the president performs the public act of asking God to witness his promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, that is not trivial. Whether it's a civil suit or before the grand jury, the significance of the oath cannot and must not be cheapened if our proud boast that we're a government of laws and not of men is to mean anything. I submit it means everything. It was purchased for us by the lives of countless patriots, some of whom are resting across the Potomac River in a cemetery, but all of whom put the nation's good ahead of their own.

Exactly. This is about more than Scooter Libby. The larger picture here is of a president and his vice president who clearly were the string-pullers behind the outing of an NOC CIA operative who was working in areas that were obviously sensitive ones for the Bush Administration's case for war, a war that they entered into and for which they gained support by lying to the American people. And they continue to lie to this day.

But because they are Republicans, the rule of law is now meaningless.

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