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Jeffrey Feldman Headshot

Get Out Of Jail Free!

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What a shocker (yawn).  President Bush announced, today, his decision to commute the 30-month jail sentence of criminal fibber and erstwhile best-boy to Dick Cheney, a.k.a. "I'll-show-you-my-rap-sheet-if-you-show-me-yours" Lewis Libby.

The pathetic aspect of this disgusting travesty--I mean the Bush Presidency, not the Libby case--is President Bush attempting even in this announcement to run a PR scam on the American public. 

What is it this time?  For some reason, President Bush--who has the power to commute a sentence for whatever reason he chooses--wants the American public to believe that he "weighed" the circumstances and arguments of the case and came to a sound conclusion--as if hidden in that brush-clearing head of his there lurks some kind of judicial mind.

Yeahright.

Is there anyone--anyone, that is, besides the terminally brainless Tucker Carlson--who actually believes that Bush plucked "I-know-all-the-dirty-secrets-that-can-bring-you-down" Lewis Libby from the iron jaws of jail for any other reason than, well...to make sure he keeps his lying mouth shut on the encyclopedia of felonies and crimes committed by Bush and Cheney? 

But before anyone is truly outraged at the act of commuting the sentence of a public official who lies--by a party who spent a gazillion dollars running a sham impeachment process for a public servant who lied--take a minute to read the official White House statement.

In it we find cynicism brought to new heights as Bush pretends he made a judicial decision and then bemoans the suffering of the Libby family and claims that a tarnished reputation is punishment enough for this crime.

Here's the official statement (emphasis added by me)--you might want to put away any sharp objects, lest you be moved to hurl them at your computer screen (even sans sharp objects, you'll probably feel like hurling after reading this):

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

___________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                        July 2, 2007

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected Lewis Libby's request to remain free on bail while pursuing his appeals for the serious convictions of perjury and obstruction of justice.  As a result, Mr. Libby will be required to turn himself over to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence.

I have said throughout this process that it would not be appropriate to comment or intervene in this case until Mr. Libby's appeals have been exhausted.  But with the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision. 

From the very beginning of the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame's name, I made it clear to the White House staff and anyone serving in my administration that I expected full cooperation with the Justice Department.  Dozens of White House staff and administration officials dutifully cooperated. 

After the investigation was under way, the Justice Department appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel in charge of the case.  Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged. 

This case has generated significant commentary and debate. Critics of the investigation have argued that a special counsel should not have been appointed, nor should the investigation have been pursued after the Justice Department learned who leaked Ms. Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak.  Furthermore, the critics point out that neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation.  Finally, critics say the punishment does not fit the crime: Mr. Libby was a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service and was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury. 

Others point out that a jury of citizens weighed all the evidence and listened to all the testimony and found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstructing justice.  They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth.  And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable.   They say that had Mr. Libby only told the truth, he would have never been indicted in the first place.

Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important points.    I have made my own evaluation.  In preparing for the decision I am announcing today, I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case. 

Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine.  In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation. 

I respect the jury's verdict.  But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive.  Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison. 

My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby.  The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged.  His wife and young children have also suffered immensely.  He will remain on probation.  The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect.  The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.

The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted.  It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby's case is an appropriate exercise of this power.

# # #

The first highlighted section is Bush's attempt to frame what he has done in this commutation of sentence--a.k.a., "cronyism"--as the product of some kind of judicial process.  First he says that the jurors "weighed" the evidence and listened to testimony, then in the next paragraph he says that he "weighed" the circumstances and arguments of the case. Same thing,  right?  Wrong.  It's just a sleight of hand by Bush to package this whole thing in some kind of judicial sounding wrapper.

Worse than that, though:  it is a cynical attempt at misdirection on the part of Bush--and you can bet that the right-winger burlesque is going to pick it up.

Even more cynical (if that's even possible) is the attempt by Bush to suggest that "I-lied-and-will-still-get-a-multi-million-dollar-book-deal" Lewis Libby will somehow be damaged by the fines and the tarnish to his reputation as a lawyer. 

Puh. Leese!

Here's how it will go down for "I-do-Dick-Cheney's-bidding-and-he-takes-care-of-me" Lewis Libby:  He will pay the measly $250,000 fine (which is measly for these guys), he will forgo luxury golf vacations abroad for two years (oh...the humanity!) and then when it is all over, he will get a $10 million book deal outlining how liberals framed him as part of their plan to destroy America by siding with the terrorists (it's true, you know...I do it everyday).  Then, by sheer force of his powerful writing, "I-see-no-shame-in-making-a-fortune-off-crimes-against-the-Constitution" Lewis Libby's book will become a best-seller, thanks to the help of the Republican publishing machine that is powerful enough to make sure  even blathering idiot Ann Coulter stays atop the best seller list.  And then, with gobs and gobs of money already in his bank account, FOX will give "I-lied-for-a-living" Lewis Libby a TV talk show with some smarmy title like "THE REAL TRUTH with your host Scooter Libby."

Get out of jail free!  And then make lots of money.

That's what long-term damage will look like for "I-spit-on-the-Constitution" Lewis Libby.  It just breaks my heart thinking about it.  All that long term damage...and stuff. 

Ah, well.  My heart goes out to "I-have-friends-who-ignore-the-law" Lewis Libby and his immensely suffering family.  I just can't imagine anyone has suffered as much as them during this whole ordeal.

Except...maybe...Valerie Plame.

(who??)

(cross posted from Frameshop)

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