July 9, 2007

I dreamed that I could do the job that others hadn't done
I dreamed that I was uncorrupt and fair to everyone
I dreamed I wasn't gross or base, a criminal on the take

unknown, william burroughs

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"In the wake of Our Great Leader's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence, Republican talking heads have had just one straw to clutch at - the infamous 'Clinton did it too' defense. Clinton committed perjury! Clinton gave out dubious pardons! Whatever. If the 'returning honor and integrity to the White House' administration wants to claim that at its best it's the same as the Clinton administration at its worst, that's fine with me. It must be a disappointment to the people who voted for them, but there you go.

"Let's recap:

"Bill Clinton was brought before a grand jury after a years-long investigation into the contents of his underpants, an issue that most reasonable people thought was a frivolous waste of time but conservatives considered to be of the utmost importance. (So much so, in fact, that some of them considered Clinton's anti-terrorism efforts to be a distraction from his penis.) As part of a deal to end the investigation Clinton later admitted that he lied about his affair before a grand jury and thus avoided criminal prosecution. Closing the investigation, Ken Starr's successor Robert Ray said, 'This matter is now concluded. May history and the American people judge that it has been concluded justly.'

"Scooter Libby was investigated by the FBI after the CIA complained that members of the Bush administration had leaked the identity of a covert CIA operative during a time of war, an issue which most reasonable people thought was potentially a serious breach of national security and conservatives considered to be of no consequence whatsoever. During the investigation Scooter Libby lied to the FBI, refused to cut a deal, pleaded not guilty, and was subsequently convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice by a jury of his peers and sentenced to 30 months in prison by a Bush-appointed judge.

"All the conservative pundits I've seen on TV this past week seem to be utterly confused by this. For example, the other day Kate O'Beirne actually argued that Scooter Libby's conviction was bogus because 'we don't have an admission of perjury and obstruction of justice, like we do in Bill Clinton's case.' The fact that Bill Clinton was never prosecuted (although he was impeached by the House and later acquitted by the Senate) but Scooter Libby was actually tried and convicted seemed to have completely escaped her. Scooter never admitted it so he must be innocent! He's an honest man, not like that lying judge and jury! Er, hello?

"Perhaps if Libby had followed Clinton's example and owned up to wrongdoing he wouldn't have been prosecuted either - or at worst gotten his sentence reduced to, oh, I don't know, probation and a fine. But he thought he could weasel his way out of it, and he was mistaken.

"So since King George decided to spare his former assistant from having to spend a single day in jail for his crimes, I thought this week it might be interesting to compare some quotes by conservatives past and present (along with a few news items) to find out how well they're doing with that whole returning honor and integrity to the White House thing."

--- related: Atrios pulled up a David Broder column discussing the Bush 1 pardons. The article is dated January 1993. Read the whole column. Here is the pertinent section:

"Today, many of those newspapers are condemning Bush for pardoning Weinberger and for failing to acknowledge the wrongdoing in the Iran-contra affair. They should look to their own behavior before they cast stones.

"And so should we all. The voters were outraged by the petty finagling of the House bank scandal, but forgive far more serious breaches of trust. Until this society is prepared to condemn and to shun those who abuse their governmental authority, there is no point in having special prosecutors or others trying to squeeze these cases through the criminal justice system.

"We don't need more convictions and pardons of government officials. We need scorn and shame for those who violate their oaths of office. And that is a penalty that the American people -- and only the American people -- can invoke." [emphasis added]

* "Now that a certain portion of mankind does not believe at all in the existence of the gods, a rational legislation ought to do away with the oaths." -- Plato -- 2,310 years before an act of the United States Congress added the phrase under God to the Pledge of Allegiance.


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