Tuesday, July 3, 2007


The neocons are crowing--while many commentators (including the prowar editorialists of The Washington Post) are pointing out that George W. Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence is dishonest. Bush said he respected the jury's verdict but then wiped out entirely the punishment, arguing the 30-month-long prison sentence was "excessive." (The fine hardly counts.) If the senence was indeed excessive, he could have cut the length of the jail stay. Instead, he gave Libby a pass. In any event, I'm traveling. More postings to come.

Posted by David Corn at July 3, 2007 09:12 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

No real surprise that dishonesty is rewarded in a criminal enterprise. Bush has now made the big admission that Libby did in fact lie - and the MSM is talking like the lie was just a minor technical error.

Keep up the good work.


capt said...

The Darksider

It took thirty years for “Frost / Nixon” to reach Broadway. Assuming that civilization survives and the Great White Way remains above water, we can expect “Cheney / Bush” to mount the boards sometime in the late twenty-thirties or early twenty-forties. The playwright and the actors, whoever they are, will have plenty to work with. The story of the scowling, scheming, domineering, silently sinister Vice-President and the spoiled, petted prince who becomes his plaything is irresistible—set in a pristine White House, played against an ominous, unseen background of violence and catastrophe, like distant thunder, and packed with drama, palace intrigue, and black comedy.

A thick sheaf of new material has lately been added to the Cheney folder. For four days last week, the front page of the Washington Post was dominated by a remarkable series of articles slugged “ANGLER: THE CHENEY VICE PRESIDENCY.” (“Angler,” Cheney’s metaphorically apt Secret Service code name, refers to one of his two favorite outdoor pastimes, the one less hazardous to elderly lawyers.) The series, by Barton Gellman and Jo Becker, occupied sixteen broadsheet pages and topped out at twenty thousand words. The headline over last Monday’s installment encapsulates the burden of the whole: “The Unseen Path to Cruelty.”

Some of the Post’s findings have been foreshadowed elsewhere, notably in Jane Mayer’s dispatches in this magazine. (See, especially, Letter from Washington, “The Hidden Power,” July 3, 2006.) But many of the details and incidents that Gellman and Becker document are as new as they are appalling. More important, the pattern that emerges from the accumulated weight of the reporting is, as the lawyers say, dispositive. Given the ontological authority that the Post shares only with the New York Times, it is now, so to speak, official: for the past six years, Dick Cheney, the occupant of what John Adams called “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived,” has been the most influential public official in the country, not necessarily excluding President Bush, and his influence has been entirely malign. He is pathologically (but purposefully) secretive; treacherous toward colleagues; coldly manipulative of the callow, lazy, and ignorant President he serves; contemptuous of public opinion; and dismissive not only of international law (a fairly standard attitude for conservatives of his stripe) but also of the very idea that the Constitution and laws of the United States, including laws signed by his nominal superior, can be construed to limit the power of the executive to take any action that can plausibly be classified as part of an endless, endlessly expandable “war on terror.”

More than anyone else, including his mentor and departed co-conspirator, Donald Rumsfeld, Cheney has been the intellectual author and bureaucratic facilitator of the crimes and misdemeanors that have inflicted unprecedented disgrace on our country’s moral and political standing: the casual trashing of habeas corpus and the Geneva Conventions; the claim of authority to seize suspects, including American citizens, and imprison them indefinitely and incommunicado, with no right to due process of law; the outright encouragement of “cruel,” “inhuman,” and “degrading” treatment of prisoners; the use of undoubted torture, including waterboarding (Cheney: “a no-brainer for me”), which for a century the United States had prosecuted as a war crime; and, of course, the bloody, nightmarish Iraq war itself, launched under false pretenses, conducted with stupefying incompetence, and escalated long after public support for it had evaporated, at the cost of scores of thousands of lives, nearly half a trillion dollars, and the crippling of America’s armed forces, which no longer overawe and will take years to rebuild.
The stakes are lower in domestic affairs—if only because fewer lives are directly threatened—but here, too, Cheney’s influence has been invariably baleful. With an avalanche of examples, Gellman and Becker show how Cheney successfully pushed tax cuts for the very rich that went beyond what even the President, wanly clinging to the shards of “compassionate conservatism,” and his economic advisers wanted. They show how Cheney’s stealthy domination of regulatory and environmental policy, driven by “unwavering ideological positions” and always exerted “for the benefit of business,” has resulted in the deterioration of air and water quality, the degradation and commercial exploitation of national parks and forests, the collapse of wild-salmon fisheries, and the curt abandonment of Bush’s 2000 campaign pledge to do something about greenhouse gases. They also reveal that it was Cheney who forced Christine Todd Whitman to resign as the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator, by dictating a rule that excused refurbished power plants and oil refineries from installing modern pollution controls. “I just couldn’t sign it,” she told them. Turns out she wasn’t so anxious to spend more time with her family after all.

Cheney, Gellman and Becker report, drew up and vetted a list of five appellate judges from which Bush drew his Supreme Court appointments. After naming John Roberts to the Court and then to the Chief Justice’s chair, the President, for once, rebelled: without getting permission from down the hall, he nominated his old retainer Harriet Miers for the second opening.
(“Didn’t have the nerve to tell me himself,” Cheney muttered to an associate, according to the Post.) But when Cheney’s right-wing allies upended Miers, Bush obediently went back to Cheney’s list and picked Samuel Alito. The result is a Court majority that, last Thursday, ruled that conscious racial integration is the moral equivalent of conscious racial segregation.

That unfortunate day in the duck blind wasn’t the only time the Vice-President has seemed more Elmer Fudd than Ernst Blofeld; last week, Cheney provoked widespread hilarity by pleading executive privilege (in order to deny one set of documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee) while simultaneously maintaining that his office is not part of the executive branch (in order to deny another set to the Information Security Oversight Office of the National Archives). On Cheney’s version of the government organization chart, it seems, the location of the Office of the Vice-President is undisclosed. So are the powers that, in a kind of rolling, slow-motion coup d’├ętat, he has gathered unto himself. The laughter will fade quickly; the current Administration, regrettably, will not. However more politically moribund it may become, its writ still has a year and a half to go. A few weeks ago, on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, the Vice-President issued threats of war with Iran. A “senior American diplomat” told the Times that Cheney’s speech had not been circulated broadly in the government before it was delivered, adding, “He kind of runs by his own rules.” But, too often, his rules rule. The awful climax of “Cheney/Bush” may be yet to come. ?


capt said...

What Happened Before The Big Bang?

New discoveries have been made about another universe whose collapse appears to have given birth to the one we live in today. They will be announced in the early on-line edition of the journal Nature Physics on 1 July 2007 and will be published in the August 2007 issue of the journal's print edition. "My paper introduces a new mathematical model that we can use to derive new details about the properties of a quantum state as it travels through the Big Bounce, which replaces the classical idea of a Big Bang as the beginning of our universe," said Martin Bojowald, assistant professor of physics at Penn State. Bojowald's research also suggests that, although it is possible to learn about many properties of the earlier universe, we always will be uncertain about some of these properties because his calculations reveal a "cosmic forgetfulness" that results from the extreme quantum forces during the Big Bounce.

The idea that the universe erupted with a Big Bang explosion has been a big barrier in scientific attempts to understand the origin of our expanding universe, although the Big Bang long has been considered by physicists to be the best model. As described by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, the origin of the Big Bang is a mathematically nonsensical state -- a "singularity" of zero volume that nevertheless contained infinite density and infinitely large energy.

Now, however, Bojowald and other physicists at Penn State are exploring territory unknown even to Einstein -- the time before the Big Bang -- using a mathematical time machine called Loop Quantum Gravity. This theory, which combines Einstein's Theory of General Relativity with equations of quantum physics that did not exist in Einstein's day, is the first mathematical description to systematically establish the existence of the Big Bounce and to deduce properties of the earlier universe from which our own may have sprung. For scientists, the Big Bounce opens a crack in the barrier that was the Big Bang.


*****end of clip*****

One more for us nerds.


David B. Benson said...

Emmm, Peach Mint!

But I suppose the Repugs in the Senate still aren't ready to vote for removal from office.

Both of them in the (formerly) White House.

Rather stained by now, douncha think?

capt said...

There is no impeachment for dick-taters and tyrants.

Those - in the end - demand less eloquent corrections.


micki said...

For me, one of the most distressing aspects of bush's commutation of Scooter's prison sentence is that it is an arrogant, egregious abuse of power. Sure, he has the constitutional power to commute sentences but he did it in a case involving a top adviser -- both bush and cheney are implicated in the SAME investigation.

bush DECIDES that Libby's punishment was excessive when the sentence was imposed in accodance with sentencing guidelines -- IN FACT IT WAS THE MOST LENIENT SENTENCE AVAILABLE UNDER THE RANGE OF THE GUIDELINES!

capt said...

Libby walks and effin Paris Hilton does more time than Scooter.

There are a few in prison right now living out multi-year terms for a few joints.

Prison population in the USA went up 4% (I think) last year - the fasted in recorded history.

"The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced."
~ Frank Zappa


Gerald said...


Dear Posters:

I want to share with you a great experience I had today with my wife. We went to see Michael Moore’s movie, “SICKO.” It is a great film. Please do not miss seeing this movie!

What struck me was that other countries have a “We” mentality and Nazi America with her hate machine, the Nazi Americans, have a “Me” mentality. The other countries do not mind paying more taxes for universal health care because everyone benefits.

Michael Moore does a great job with this film. He mentioned that a man with a website that strictly attacks him for various reasons has said that his website was folding because his wife needed an operation that would cost $12,000 and his health insurance would not pay for the operation. Michael Moore sent the man a $12,000 check anonymously for his wife’s operation. The man’s website with Mr. Moore’s donation has not folded and he has continued to attack Michael Moore.



Gerald said...

Bush's Tookie

Our judicial system makes me puke!!!

Gerald said...

I'll see you at the bill signing

I forgot to mention that in Michael Moore's film, SICKO, he says that the government controls us by fear and by demoralizing the people.

capt said...


A report by the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics
(Ver. 1, published July 2, 2007)

Quick Summary:
In addition to the punishment imposed by the judge, a misdemeanor conviction for possession of marijuana can trigger automatic bars on educational aid, a bar on serving as a foster parent, denial of federal housing assistance, revocation or suspension of occupational licenses, and suspension of one’s driver’s license. A felony conviction (for example, growing a marijuana plant) can result in all of these sanctions, and more.

If marijuana offenses are considered less of an affront to civil society than violent crimes such as murder, rape, or kidnapping, or even less of an affront than other drug offenses, our study shows that this consideration is rarely found in any of the collateral sanctions. A person convicted of growing marijuana (a felony in most states) is often subjected to the same, and sometimes greater, collateral sanctions than a person convicted of murder, rape, or robbery.

This report examines these sanctions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and ranks the jurisdictions in order or severity. The report's table of contents is below, with links to each section.


*****end of clip*****



capt said...

The first step in a fascist movement is the combination under an energetic leader of a number of men who possess more than the average share of leisure, brutality, and stupidity. The next step is to fascinate fools and muzzle the intelligent, by emotional excitement on the one hand and terrorism on the other. (Bertrand Russell: Freedom, Harcourt Brace, 1940)

"Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false." : Bertrand Russell

Dogma demands authority, rather than intelligent thought, as the source of opinion; it requires persecution of heretics and hostility to unbelievers; it asks of its disciples that they should inhibit natural kindliness in favor of systematic hatred. - Bertrand Russell, Unpopular essays


"Philosophy should always know that indifference is a militant thing. It batters down the walls of cities and murders the women and children amid the flames and the purloining of altar vessels. When it goes away it leaves smoking ruins, where lie citizens bayonetted through the throat. It is not a children's pastime like mere highway robbery." : Stephen Crane

Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of a private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. (FDR: message to Congress proposing the monopoly investigation, 1938)


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

David B. Benson said...

I'm suspicious.

New PM in Britian and immediately some fumbled car bomb attempts.

Or, Libby has to do jail time, the prez (is going to) commute him and immediately some fumbled car bomb attempts.

MI5? (Bond, James Bond)


I'm suspicious. In the 1950s and 1960s the French police and intelligence agencies did some thoroughly nasty things, often in opposition to gvmnt policy.

In the 2000s? Well, I'm suspicious...

capt said...

New Thread