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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
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RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
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Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
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Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Alan Breslauer on 7/3/2007 8:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

MSNBC's Dan Abrams looks up the definition of "Excessive" in the dictionary, reviews Justice Department guidelines for commuting prison sentences and evidences how Bush ignored all proper procedure in the Libby case, before concluding: "I fear this is another example of the disdain for the courts and for rules that attempt to ensure equal justice for all."

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Says 'Both Crossed the Rubicon Last Night', 'Even Nixon Knew When It Was Time to Go'...
By Margie Burns on 7/3/2007 6:25pm PT  

Blogged from D.C. by Margie Burns

In a pretty spectacular peroration tonight, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann delivered a ten-minute indictment of the president and vice president and asked Bush to perform one last act of patriotism: resign.

Complete transcript here, video at left.

Saying “Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign” and adding that Nixon’s resignation, belated though it was, ranked as one final action of nonpartisanship, Olbermann urged George W. Bush to emulate Nixon, “not for self, not for party,” but for the country.

Olbermann also prefaced his speech, in one of several promotional moments, with the comment that “No one is holding their breath on this, but frankly, were Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush true patriots, they would resign.”

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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'I Want to Know Who It Is' Said Commutator-In-Chief Before Failing to Launch an Investigation to Find Out
UPDATE: Refuses to Rule Out Pardon...
By Brad Friedman on 7/3/2007 9:50am PT  

Blogged by Brad on our way out of Nashville...

Looking back at the original CNN report from February 11, 2004, announcing that a Special Prosecutor had been assigned to the CIA Leak matter, it's clear that what Bush had said at the time is exactly what he meant...

WASHINGTON (CNN) --- President Bush said Tuesday he welcomes a Justice Department investigation into who revealed the classified identity of a CIA operative.

"If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush told reporters at an impromptu news conference during a fund-raising stop in Chicago, Illinois. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of."

Scooter has now been well "taken care of", so once again, George W. Bush has proven to be a man of his word.

Though his interest in "want[ing] to know who" may have leaked the classified identify of a covert CIA operative overseeing worldwide WMD networks may have been somewhat overstated. As we recently learned during sworn Congressional testimony, White House Security Chief, Joe Knodell admitted that they never bothered to launch an investigation into the matter.

"Leaks of classified information are bad things," the Commutator-in-Chief said, apparently just kidding, back in early 2004.

UPDATE: Not yet "taken care of" enough, Bush refuses to rule out a full pardon...

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Fitzgerald Unhappy, But Thompson and Guilliani Thrilled
As Bush Senior Prepares to Roll Over in His Grave...
By Brad Friedman on 7/2/2007 11:46pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Nashville...

Via TPM, the DoJ manual on Commutations:

Section 1-2.113 Standards for Considering Commutation Petitions
...
Requests for commutation generally are not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence. Nor are commutation requests generally accepted from persons who are presently challenging their convictions or sentences through appeal or other court proceeding.

And from Patrick Fitzgerald's reaction:

We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as “excessive.” The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.

Meanwhile, former Sen. Fred Thompson couldn't be happier:

I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children. While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the President’s decision. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life.

...And Guilliani joins him in standing firmly against National Security for America, and in favor of outing covert CIA assets:

After evaluating the facts, the President came to a reasonable decision and I believe the decision was correct.

George W. Bush's father, however, feels differently. Or, at least he did back in 1999 when addressing his former colleagues at the CIA...


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Two 'Democratic' Fox 'News' Strategists Agree Commuting Libby Sentence Was 'Right Thing to To Do'
By Alan Breslauer on 7/2/2007 10:25pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Filling in for Bill O'Reilly on tonight's Factor, Michelle Malkin ripped Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff for destroying the faith of the American people in our government's ability to enforce immigration laws. Later, she went after an immigrant advocate attorney who called for an end to the deportation of illegals, stating, "it is not a bumper sticker to say that we should enforce the laws that are on the books." Between the two, Malkin finds time to joke with "Democratic" Strategists, Kirsten Powers and Laura Schwartz, about Bush letting Scooter Libby "Off The Hook." Surprisingly, she appeared much less concerned with the law and order aspects of the Libby case.

UPDATE FROM BRAD 7/3/07: I believe it's worth underscoring Alan's point above. The two Fox 'News' analysts interviewed by Malkin, claiming that commuting Libby's sentence was "the right thing to do" are both identified as "Democratic" strategists. Incredible. Only on Fox...

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From Throwing Sand in the Umpire's Eyes to Throwing Out the Umps
By Margie Burns on 7/2/2007 8:05pm PT  

Guest blogged from D.C. by Margie Burns

The total commutation of Libby’s sentence should put an end to any questions, if any remain, about whether the Bush-Cheney cabal is completely crooked.

Briefly: the published statement for public consumption that the president found Libby’s sentence “excessive” is transparently false. If he had merely found the sentence excessive, he could have commuted it PARTLY. Two and a half years could have been reduced to two, or to one and a half, or to one year. It could have been drastically commuted to six months, or to three months.

That did not happen. Instead, George Walker Bush elevated smarmy propagandists like Byron York over federal judges. He elevated Charles Krauthammer over three U.S. Circuit Court Judges appointed by three former presidents. (Not that Krauthammer’s first reaction after Libby was indicted was to defend Libby. Au contraire: Krauthammer took the line, on ABC’s Inside Washington, that Libby’s actions were the work of one man, namely Libby. Neocon loyalty at work – until the echo chamber pulled Krauthammer back in line.) Bush elevated rightwing talk show hosts, the creepy National Review, Fox television and Rupert Murdoch's media empire and the now-moribund PNAC over the U.S. justice system.

Typical for him, that.

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Alan Breslauer on 7/2/2007 3:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer




Bloomberg reports that, "George W. Bush commuted Lewis 'Scooter' Libby's 2 1/2-year prison sentence in the CIA leak case, sparing him from punishment the president called 'excessive.'" It seems W. changed his mind in the last four months about respecting jury verdicts involving serious matters as seen in the video above. Or, maybe the White House had given up all hope of restoring "honor and dignity," and thus felt it had nothing to lose.

UPDATE: RAW STORY has more details, reaction. This is amazing. But what else is new? Revealing the identities of covert CIA assets is now just fine, apparently.

UPDATE FROM BRAD 10:54pm PT: A short message from Bush's dad. Sent to him from 1999 when he was speaking to his former colleagues at the CIA. Li'l Bush, apparently, disagrees...


(Hat-tip to BRAD BLOG commenter "PatriotNW")

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And A Video Flashback To Bush Stating That Scooter Libby's Conviction Must Be Respected
By Alan Breslauer on 6/24/2007 12:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

UPDATE: Because of a technical glitch we are in the process of correcting, the videos in this post cannot be viewed in Firefox. In the meantime, suitable alternatives include Internet Explorer, Safari, Ominweb and Opera.

UPDATE: Problem fixed. Video should now work fine in Firefox et al.



Roger Simon takes Mitt Romney to task on Meet The Press this morning for waffling on the issue of pardons. Romney, who never issued a pardon while serving as Governor of Massachusetts out of respect for jury verdicts, now thinks that Scooter Libby is deserving of a pardon from the current White House occupant. As Simon wrote in his syndicated column this week:

"And Romney's true standard seems to be: No pardons for nobodies. Somebodies can catch a break."

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 6/17/2007 11:45am PT  

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Judge Walton Tells the Court That He Has Been Getting Letters and Phone Calls Threatening Himself, Family
Two Appeals Specialists Are Added to the Defense Team...
By Margie Burns on 6/14/2007 7:38pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG
*** by Libby/CIA Leak Trial Correspondent Margie Burns

From Prettyman Courthouse, DC, for the bail hearing today of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, where I sat in on the hearing on motions for his pending appeal. Those motions, to keep him free on bail, were unsuccessful as the judge ruled against the defendant.

Approximately 11:30 this morning, U.S. District Court in DC, Judge Reggie B. Walton: “In the interest of full disclosure,” Walton says quietly, “and this may be a sign of the times we live in,” in the wake of his ruling which sentenced Libby to prison, “I have received a number of angry, mean-spirited phone calls and letters regarding the sentence” – “including wishing bad things on me or my family.” – “At first I threw them away, but then I got more letters, even more hateful than the others.” So now, “I’m preserving them – in the event that something does happen [some harm to the judge, presumably]” – the perps can be caught.

The times we live in, indeed. Chalk another smarmy mark up for the noise machine.

On to the bail hearing today: the judge refers to a lengthy footnote in the most recent defense motion which lists a number of convicted criminals who are out on bail – “that list of people out on bail, in white-collar crime cases” [everybody from Martha Stewart on down, out on bail while pursuing appeal] – “I hope that footnote is in there not just because of some assumption that people released pending appeal will include all white-collar defendants.” – “I can’t buy in on that,” Walton says, taking the position that white-collar defendants should be treated the same way as blue-collar defendants, and neither kind of defendant should count automatically on being released on bail pending appeal...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Twelve Distinguished Law Professors Concerned About CIA Leaker, Nostalgic for Firing Special Counsel
Even as AP Reports a Woman Facing a Possible Three Year Sentence for Filching Toilet Paper...
By Margie Burns on 6/12/2007 8:06pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG
*** by Libby/CIA Leak Trial Correspondent Margie Burns

On November 29, 2005, the Boston Globe ran a nice Letter to the Editor by Mr. Ralph West of Philly, under the headline “REMOVE CANCER IN ADMINISTRATION”:

...It is just as important as ever that the metastasized cancer of corruption in the Bush administration be removed, if possible...If a Robert Bork does not emerge to fire Fitzgerald, we may yet get to the truth of the Valerie Plame Wilson affair...

Mr. West's concerns may now have come to fruition, The BRAD BLOG has learned, as "a Robert Bork" has emerged --- in fact, Robert Bork himself --- along with eleven other law professors from some of the nation's most highly regarded law schools, and Pepperdine, to file an amici brief in the Scooter Libby perjury and obstruction of justice case in order to argue that the Special Prosecutor's assignment to the case was unconstitutional...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Defense: Libby Was Never Charged With the Underlying Crime, Should Not Have to Serve Time
Judge: I Just Cannot Buy In On That as Good Social Policy, There is a Price to Pay for Not Telling the Truth...
By Margie Burns on 6/6/2007 11:05am PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG
*** by Libby/CIA Leak Trial Correspondent Margie Burns

As the headlines report, yesterday Judge Reggie Walton, U.S. District Court of D.C., sentenced I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to 30 months in prison and fined him $250,000 following Libby’s conviction on four counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to a grand jury in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case. In the crowded courtroom where I sat were the defense and prosecution teams; a front row of prominent Libby supporters including lobbyist and former DOJ spokesperson Barbara Comstock, Republican commentator/advisor Mary Matalin, Republican polemicist/attorney Victoria Toensing; Libby’s wife and friends; and full pews of press and spectators.

Defense attorney William Jeffress brought out some new items at the sentencing hearing: 1) CIA public affairs officer Bill Harlow had a “conversation” with Bob Novak that “didn’t come in” at the trial; 2) back in 1998 Valerie Plame was brought back to the United States, Jeffress asserted, because it was “feared her cover had been blown”; and 3) Mr. Wilson had conversations with “almost total strangers” in which he revealed his wife’s employment. Actually, that last item has been suggested before by the ‘noise machine’ (David Brock’s phrase).

If the past is any guide, we shall see these items again in coming weeks/months; the question is whether they will be recycled by the echo chamber or outsourced to the MSM. (Former WH staffer David Gergen said on NBC News last night that the president will be under HUGE pressure to pardon Libby, thus applying pressure). Will Bob Woodward divulge behind-the-scenes discussions about these items, like sinus medicine in a time-release capsule, over the next six or eight months or in a book published around the time Libby’s appeal is argued?

The appeal will follow next week’s hearing on bail. For now, the question immediately before the court is how soon Libby should go to prison....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Judge Includes $250,000 Fine, 400 Hours Community Service
By Desi Doyen on 6/5/2007 9:06am PT  

Details on the sentencing are at Firedoglake.

We hope to have more on the sentencing later today from BRAD BLOG D.C. Correspondent Margie Burns, who is at the sentencing hearing this morning (and who hopes also to get to the Schlozman and Graves testimony in today's Senate Judiciary Committee, as well).

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By Brad Friedman on 5/30/2007 3:35pm PT  

And they say there's not a vast rightwing conspiracy?

Glen Greenwald at Salon details dozens of no-uncertain-terms statements from Fox "News" and the near entirety of the wingnut blogosphere asserting that Valerie Plame was "not covert" in her role as a CIA agent. Despite myriad evidence for years, Plame's own sworn testimony to Congress, the admission by CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden, and a court-filing last Friday which included an employment record from the CIA stating that she was, in fact, covert at the time she was outed by members of the Bush Administration, the sorry bunch of operatives who control the mainstream media, and a huge chunk of the blogosphere, refuse to admit they were simply wrong from the get-go. Period.

Says Greenwald today:

Many people who listen to right-wing commentators such as these get their "news" about the world primarily, even exclusively, from these sources. And these sources, knowing that, routinely create their own self-affirming though wildly warped realities, in the process denying the most established facts or asserting propositions for which there is no factual basis.
...
They had no basis at the time for making such statements. But, as they so often do, they made them anyway, because those statements helped to defend the Leader and bolster their political agenda. Most of all, they know that their readers will trust what they say even when those statements are demonstrably false.
...
These falsehoods are never acknowledged, let alone retracted, because they are a critical part of the role they play.

Just a few of the dozens of examples (most linked to the original sourcing over there) supplied by Greenwald...

  • Fred Barnes, Fox News Special Report: "She wasn't even a covert agent or anything."
  • Mark Levin, National Review: "Despite all the hype, it appears that Plame works a desk job at the CIA...it didn't make her a covert operative when Bob Novak mentioned her in his July 14, 2003, column."
  • Washington Times Editorial: "[W]hen columnist Robert Novak first mentioned in passing that Mrs. Plame worked for the CIA, she was not functioning as a covert agent."
  • Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds: "[I]t seems as clear as anything in this affair that Valerie Plame was not a covert agent the day before Novak's column."
  • Rich Galen, Republican strategist, CNN's Situation Room: "She was not a covert --- and we call them officers, not agents. . . We're arguing whether or not she was a covert agent at the time and I'm saying she was not."
  • Alexander Haig, CNN: "[Plame] was really a bureaucrat and not a covert operator."
  • John Hinderaker, Powerline Blog: "Scooter Libby mentioned the name of a non-covert CIA employee, Valerie Plame."
  • Barbara Lerner, National Review: "[S]he was not a classified agent because she was not covert."
  • Robert Novak, CNN's Crossfire: "Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operative"
  • Fox "moderate" Mort Kondracke, Special Report with Brit Hume: "[S]he was not a covert officer, she was not a covert agent"
  • Laura Ingraham, Hannity & Colmes: "[T]hey knew that this was not a situation where Valerie Plame, at this point in time, at least, was a covert agent."
  • William Bennett, The O'Reilly Factor: "When this information was supposedly leaked about Valerie Plame, everybody went nuts. Turns out she wasn't covert."

It goes on and on, but you get the idea. Do the retractions and corrections similarly go on and on? Hardly. We've yet to see a single one. It's appalling. Imagine the circumstances had John Edwards or John Kerry or Hillary Clinton exposed the name of a covert CIA operative to the media. Would there be calls for treason trials from the same wingnut apologist-sphere? You bet.

We'll also await the many trolling dopes who have posted comments on these pages over the years, claiming that Plame was "not covert," to post their retractions here. We'll not hold our breath.

None of this is really news, of course. At least to those smart enough to seek out real news here. But to the rest of the world, carrying on blithely ignorant of the historic treason that has been and is being carried out by our own Government, this all would likely come as a shock. Fortunately for the wingnuts, none of this will even be a story for our corporate MSM.

RELATED: Be sure to read Greenwald's weekend story about a more recent similar embarrassment for the armchair Sam Spades of the wingnut blogosphere, and the lack of apologies and retractions thereof when they were revealed to be wrong. Again. As well, please see Eric Boehlert's February article detailing how the Washington Post aids and abets the fact-challenged rightwing blogosphere truth-haters, like Michelle Malkin and friends, while almost completely ignoring those of us who actually bother to diligently take the time to base our reporting on independently verifiable reality.

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Prosecutor Suggests Strong Evidence that VP Oversaw Libby's Cover Up of Outing of CIA Operative Plame-Wilson
Covert Status Confirmed (Yet Again)...
By Brad Friedman on 5/29/2007 5:28pm PT  

Dan Froomkin in Washington Post [emphasis ours]:

Special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald has made it clearer than ever that he was hot on the trail of a coordinated campaign to out CIA agent Valerie Plame until that line of investigation was cut off by the repeated lies from Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
...
[W]hen his motives have been attacked during court proceedings, Fitzgerald has occasionally shown flashes of anger --- and has hinted that he and his investigative team suspected more malfeasance at higher levels of government than they were able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

In Friday's eminently readable court filing, Fitzgerald quotes the Libby defense calling his prosecution "unwarranted, unjust, and motivated by politics." In responding to that charge, the special counsel evidently felt obliged to put Libby's crime in context. And that context is Dick Cheney.

Froomkin's eminently readable report goes on to cover admissions (yet again) from Fitzgerald which demonstrate that Plame was indeed covert when she was outed --- for the first time in the history of the country --- by our own Government, much less members of the Executive Branch possibly as high as the Vice-President or even higher.

MSNBC reports on the new covert status confirmation (yet again) for Plame, describing a newly declassified employment record released by the CIA, which (yet again) underscores the point:

The employment history indicates that while she was assigned to CPD [Counterproliferation Division], Plame, "engaged in temporary duty travel overseas on official business." The report says, "she traveled at least seven times to more than ten times." When overseas Plame traveled undercover, "sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias --- but always using cover --- whether official or non-official (NOC) --- with no ostensible relationship to the CIA."

We look forward to the outpouring of corrections and retractions from disgraced GOP attorney/disinfo expert, Victoria Toensing, and her many ass clown supporters in the rightwing blogosphere who reported otherwise --- in no uncertain terms --- for years on end. Those apologies will be coming in any second, no doubt, since the wingnuts are always so very good when it comes to their appreciation of journalistic ethics and the like.

Froomkin's WaPo report focuses on Cheney's involvement in leaking the name of the covert CIA asset, quoting from Fitzgerald's recent court filing: "The evidence at trial further established that when the investigation began, Mr. Libby kept the Vice President apprised of his shifting accounts of how he claimed to have learned about Ms. Wilson's CIA employment."

And this: "[T]here was an indication from Mr. Libby himself that his disclosures to the press may have been personally sanctioned by the Vice President."

He quotes much more on what Fitz had to say in his filing which drew a bead most directly, for the first time, onto the man who still calls himself Vice President of the United States and concludes the point with this:

I suspect that people looking back on this story will see it with greater clarity: As a blatant --- and thus far successful --- cover-up for the vice president.

Give it a read for all of that, as well as the amusing argument the defense is now making about why the letters of support for Libby that they've had sent to the Judge, requesting leniency, should not be released to the public (Hint: It's those nasty bloggers again!)

UPDATE: Plame's former CIA classmate Larry Johnson, an ex-spook himself, takes a well-deserved victory lap which begins: "Victoria Toensing, Cliff May, Byron York and the other rightwing apologists who have long insisted that Valerie Plame Wilson was not undercover have some 'splaining' to do." Uh, yeah. But don't hold your breath, Larry.

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