Sometime during the day Tuesday, June 5, 2007, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, will find out whether he is being sentenced to jail for allegedly making a false statement to a grand jury investigating whether someone in the Bush Administration deliberately leaked the identity of a formerly - supposedly - undercover CIA agent.
Despite what you may have heard on the news, no one was convicted of leaking the identity of an undercover CIA agent, because the person at the center of the controversy, a CIA worker named Valerie Plame, was not an undercover agent, and her identity had been known to friend and foe alike for more than a decade. So that little detail fell by the wayside, but along the way, during one of a seemingly endless series of appearances before a federal grand jury that literally couldn't find anything else to indict anyone else on, Libby made a statement one time that contradicted a statement he made another time.
Libby was tried before a jury in Washington, D.C., that included a journalist, which was the first mistake. Libby said he never knowingly made a false statement, but did have a memory lapse. But during the trial his lawyers failed to convince a judge to allow them to show that the chief witness against Libby, NBC TV news personality Tim Russert, also had had memory failures of the exact same nature that Libby claimed.
That tactic is called "impeaching" a witness, which merely shows that the testimony may not be as solid as it appears, and is used in legal defenses if at all possible. Since the judge didn't allow Libby's lawyers to expose the flaws in Russert's testimony, that alone should be the basis for an appeal.
And an appeal is exactly where this needs to go. Actually, this case needs to go right down the tubes because it has been a political circus from day one, not a real example of government corruption. It is a total waste of taxpayer money, not to mention the tens of thousands of man hours that have been wasted by people who are supposed to be working for the public.
Frankly, I think George Bush should have stood up for Libby immediately upon hearing that he was convicted by a tainted jury, and pardoned him right then and there. That would have been the manly thing to do, that would have been the presidential thing to do, and that would have been the right thing to do.
Unfortunately, President Bush, who is perpetually portrayed as fiercely loyal to people close to him, slammed the door in Libby's face and says he will wait until the legal process plays out before making a decision. I know, I know. Bush has inside political advisers, courtiers if you will, whispering in his ear that it might be politically risky to pardon Libby now, and he might suffer in the polls, and the Democrats and their Public Relations firm, the American media, will go on about it endlessly.
Tough. I wonder what these brainiacs who clothe themselves as presidential advisers were telling him about Ted Kennedy's immigration bill that Bush is supporting like a teeny-bopper at her first boy-band concert?
Unfortunately for Libby, the sentencing comes before the appeals, and Libby apparently is short of funds, which has prompted a fund-raising drive by his supporters.
I usually would throw appeals for help from people inside the D.C. beltway right into the circular file, based on the unwillingness of said inside the beltway people to listen to or help out the rest of America when we need it. But I received just such an appeal the other day from Mary Matalin, who is well known as a solid and respectable voice for common sense in Washington.
I read the appeal from the Libby Legal Defense Trust and decided I would send them a check. (P.O. Box 96418, Washington, D.C. 20090 in case you'd also like to help out.) I decided to do this because I also value loyalty, and virtually all the loyalty I have seen in this case comes from Libby, and none of it is going back his way.
I don't think he did a damn thing wrong, the prosecutor knew nearly from the outset that the fake "leak" in the fake Plame case didn't come from him, and Libby is being made a scapegoat. I don't like seeing people who have devoted their entire lives to serving the American public getting screwed by the American government, so I'm going to help out as best I can.
You'd think a guy in Libby's situation would have a ton of big-bucks fat cats running in to write huge checks for him, but the funding appeal says even a $25 donation would be really nice, which just goes to show you that in D.C., loyalty is to the position not the person. Since Libby no longer has the position, the "supporters" who hung around him for years, laughing at all his jokes and telling him how much they admire him, are no longer to be found.
OK. We'll help. Screw those fair weather hypocrites.
Now, while we're on the subject of President Bush and loyalty, what the hell happened to his loyalty to us, the American public, especially those of us who have stood by him thick and thin? What is going on with this incredibly insufficient, flawed immigration bill, and why the big rush to push it through Congress, consequences be damned?
Anyone who has spent any time at all observing the Washington political scene has to know that something far more than meets the eye is going on behind the scenes, as evidenced by the people who are allying themselves behind the bill.
First is Ted Kennedy, the Senate's ultimate liberal, who is getting high praise from Fred Barnes executive editor of The Weekly Standard, who can pretty accurately be described as the quintessential conservative. Then Kennedy himself is praising George Bush, which pretty much convinces me to go out in my backyard and build a really big boat. And then Bush is praising the bill.
This isn't right, the world has turned upside down, the earth has reversed the direction of its rotation, and I'm not buying it!
What really hurts though, is that Bush is finally coming out of his shell, swinging the big bat, fighting hard and tough, which we have wanted him to do for years as the political circuses continued non-stop in D.C. But he is blasting the very people who put him into office twice!
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
People have a right to question this bill. The government apparently has no idea whatsoever how many illegal aliens already are in this country - the figures now range from the 11 million used only a month ago to as many as 20 million now. The methodology for identifying criminals - aside from the fact that they are here illegally - in their midst is flawed to the point of being laughable, it allows undesirables to slip into the country permanently, and it doesn't give anywhere near enough time to do thorough background checks - just for starters.
Americans have the right to question this bill without being labelled bigots!
Something is hidden behind this bill and a consortium of Washington insiders is pushing hard as hell to get it passed before the public is let in on what it is. That is my assessment and I make that assessment based on nothing more than long experience with politicians, but I'll bet a dinner at a good restaurant that I'm right on the money.
Politicians don't make unholy alliances such as we are seeing on the immigration bill without an overriding reason for it.
The sad thing is that they aren't letting the rest of us in on what is behind this sudden rush to pass a bill that contains loopholes big enough to drive a truck through. Bush should have trusted his countrymen on the real reason for invading Iraq - the terrorists we had beaten in Afghanistan were migrating there to set up a new base of operations with Saddam's consent - instead of going to the Untied Nations with that WMD garbage.
And Bush should trust us now to do the right thing about the immigration bill. We aren't stupid as the beltway insiders apparently believe, and we can make some pretty good decisions when called on and given ALL the facts.
But the immigration bill is flawed, Scooter Libby is getting screwed over, and President Bush isn't trusting us. To me that is the ultimate disloyalty.
Monday, June 04, 2007