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Thread: Libby's sentance commuted

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    Member Member KafirChobee's Avatar
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    Default Libby's sentance commuted

    Tonight on PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer it was reported that Prez Bush has commuted the jail sentence of Scooter Libby, saying it was too harsh. Libby will still have to pay the $250K, and be on parole - but no jail time.

    Bet old Cheney was beating on his (Bush43's) desk 'til he agreed to save his little buddy Scooter from going to the big house.

    Oh, well. Most of us figured he'ld get off entirely at some point, so this is a compremise of sorts. Even if 67% of Americans wanted to see Scooter in jail. It seems that "justice for all", is just a bit better for some than others.
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    A couple of ironies to highlight:

    Bush as Governor was famously averse to pardons and commutations, even for prisoners on death row with plenty of evidence they were wrongly convicted. In fact, he refused to pardon or commute the sentence of a retarded man (reported to have the communication skills of a seven-year-old) scheduled for execution.

    As President, he has issued remarkably few pardons.

    It is also worth noting, strictly for irony's sake, that a Republican Congress believed that lying about a sexual affair was an impeachable offense, whereas today's Republicans believe that lying about a national security issue is a pardonable kinda thing.

    Clearly, the law is for other people.
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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Should you be able to pardon someone who committed a crime within your office while you are still in office? Surely it should be up to the next elected president at worst, and at best another branch otherwise it seems that the executive is a law unto itself... hardly a checks and balance thing is it...

    It would seem a good strategy to do all the dodgy stuff in the open right at the start and pardon right at the end... not exactly justice.
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    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Americans really should kick this two-party habit. It's obviously bad for one's health.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

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    Master Procrastinator Member TevashSzat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman
    Americans really should kick this two-party habit. It's obviously bad for one's health.
    Hmm... you are right, we ought to make it one party with ME as its leader jk
    "I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." - Issac Newton

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    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Hang on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. This might be the spark that lights the fuse to the fully-loaded cannon that is the frustration and outrage of the american people.
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

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    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    The only surprise here is that Libby's sentence was commuted instead getting an outright pardon. The outrage expressed is pretty comical though- our last president signed a stack of pardons longer than my arm (140) for his political flunkies on his last day office alone. This isn't even a pardon.

    Get a grip.
    Last edited by Xiahou; 07-03-2007 at 03:41.
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    Naughty Little Hippy Senior Member Tachikaze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    How does Bush get away with this stuff? Do US citizens understand who little control they have over their government? Or, should I say, how little control they want to take over their corrupt government?

    I'll bet when Bush is impeached and convicted he'll pardon himself and no one will stop watching sports or reality shows long enough to notice or care.

    We really might as well have a dictatorship.


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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Quote Originally Posted by KukriKhan
    This might be the spark that lights the fuse to the fully-loaded cannon that is the frustration and outrage of the american people.
    And we will do what, exactly, with that outrage? Nobody really wants an impeachment. I think everybody's resolved to riding this lame horse out, and getting somebody else in a year and a half who will (hopefully) clean up the mess.
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    Insomniac and tired of it Senior Member Slyspy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou
    The only surprise here is that Libby's sentence was commuted instead getting an outright pardon. The outrage expressed is pretty comical though- our last president signed a stack of pardons longer than my arm (140) for his political flunkies on his last day office alone. This isn't even a pardon.

    Get a grip.
    Surely then this highlights a weakness in the presidency itself rather than in any particular political party?
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    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Quote Originally Posted by Slyspy
    Surely then this highlights a weakness in the presidency itself rather than in any particular political party?
    Tough call. Pardons are a power that was very deliberately granted to the President, as chief executive, by our founding fathers- it's not some loophole that's being exploited- it's explicitly in the Constitution.

    Here's an informative article on the subject.

    If they're abused, the obvious recourse would be for voters not to re-elect the president. However, that was in the time before term-limits on presidents. Now, it seems that lame duck pardons (particularly last day in office pardons) seem to have become an unseemly tradition in the White House. After all, the president doing the pardoning already knows he won't be re-elected, so there isn't much to lose.
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    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur
    And we will do what, exactly, with that outrage? Nobody really wants an impeachment. I think everybody's resolved to riding this lame horse out, and getting somebody else in a year and a half who will (hopefully) clean up the mess.
    Fine question.

    Issuing pardons/commutations is within his pervue, with precedent leading back to the other GW (Washington) and the Whiskey Rebellion, so not impeachable. They've all done it, Whig, Democrat, Progressive and Republican, usually at the end-of-term, as "get a grip" Xiahou referenced.

    We reelected this guy because we thought we needed continuity during a crisis, and the other guy, war-vet or not, didn't seem to have the intestinal fortitude to do the job.

    Keeping him in office implied a level of high trust and confidence that his actions and words reflected the will of the people. "Do what you must do, within the law, to keep us safe and free." And ignorant, if you buy Tachikazi's lament.

    This action, this uncharacteristic commutation of jail time for a clearly criminal offense - every bit as justified as Paris Hilton's driving unlicensed, for which the silly girl served her time - breaks that trust, that special confidence we repose in our CinC.

    If Scooter gets off, so should the GI's and Marines and Air Forcemen and Sailors who've been convicted of crimes commited in the line of duty, as they understood it; an idea as antithetical to americanism as dictators, jack-booted stormtroopers and collective property ownership.

    I neither endorse nor predict armed uprisings over this. I DO predict that this action will tip the balance, making the presidency even weaker than in the Carter years, rendering our word abroad laughable, and domestically automatically suspect. It will make our 20-somethings even less trusting of the perfectly good system that has evolved, and ultimately,

    make us more vulnerable to attack physically (due to the inherent dithering of congress), and more vulnerable to our freedoms being thwarted, in the name of protecting us from that physical threat.

    All in the name of personal loyalty.

    Sorry. That's not enough for me when the fate of a country is at stake.
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

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    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    I think KurkiKhan is making way too much of this. As I've already covered, pardons (which this isn't) have a time-honored tradition and are entirely legal under the Constitution- for good or ill.

    As a political move, it's actually a good one- which is a refreshing change from the Bush White House. He had nothing to lose by doing so, and stood to gain a little by doing it. People who hate Bush will still hate Bush- nothing is going to change that. The people who don't care about "Plamegate" still won't care- which is probably the largest group. And those that thought Libby was railroaded by Fitzgerald, will be undoubtedly pleased by this.
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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    I take it a few more then the President can commute a sentence (for instance a judge).

    Back to Pardons...should the President only be able to Pardon while they are 'fully' in office... say when another President has been elected but not taken the throne (so to speak)... during that period the outgoing President cannot make Pardons?

    Or should Pardons be checked and balanced? Should they be able to vetoed on a 2/3s majority of House and Senate? Okayed by the Judiciary?

    Should it have to be co-signed by the Vice President (he has the most to lose as he potentially has 2 terms to get elected to President up his sleeve)?

    I'm just interested to see if you guys can sort out this issue before we become a republic ourselves... may 30, 40 years from now, so take it easy while you decide.
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    RIP Tosa, my trolling end now Senior Member Devastatin Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Maybe Scooter and Marc Rich can bunk together in the Lincoln bedroom this Summer...Oh and by the way, this isn't the pardon (had to repeat it even though no one is listening), but don't let your frenzy derail your ignorant ravings.
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/ar...TICLE_ID=21595
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    I think Pape raises an excellent question. If the power to pardon (and commute, of course, Dave) is universally acknowledged to be abused by second-term Presidents, how could we check or balance that power without unduly weakening the Executive? How do we create a structural impediment to abuse?

    And Dave, just out of curiosity, how would a "frenzy" derail "ignorant ravings"? I'm having a hard time picturing this ...
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Quote Originally Posted by KukriKhan
    Fine question.

    Issuing pardons/commutations is within his pervue, with precedent leading back to the other GW (Washington) and the Whiskey Rebellion, so not impeachable. They've all done it, Whig, Democrat, Progressive and Republican, usually at the end-of-term, as "get a grip" Xiahou referenced.

    We reelected this guy because we thought we needed continuity during a crisis, and the other guy, war-vet or not, didn't seem to have the intestinal fortitude to do the job.

    Keeping him in office implied a level of high trust and confidence that his actions and words reflected the will of the people. "Do what you must do, within the law, to keep us safe and free." And ignorant, if you buy Tachikazi's lament.

    This action, this uncharacteristic commutation of jail time for a clearly criminal offense - every bit as justified as Paris Hilton's driving unlicensed, for which the silly girl served her time - breaks that trust, that special confidence we repose in our CinC.

    If Scooter gets off, so should the GI's and Marines and Air Forcemen and Sailors who've been convicted of crimes commited in the line of duty, as they understood it; an idea as antithetical to americanism as dictators, jack-booted stormtroopers and collective property ownership.

    I neither endorse nor predict armed uprisings over this. I DO predict that this action will tip the balance, making the presidency even weaker than in the Carter years, rendering our word abroad laughable, and domestically automatically suspect. It will make our 20-somethings even less trusting of the perfectly good system that has evolved, and ultimately,

    make us more vulnerable to attack physically (due to the inherent dithering of congress), and more vulnerable to our freedoms being thwarted, in the name of protecting us from that physical threat.

    All in the name of personal loyalty.

    Sorry. That's not enough for me when the fate of a country is at stake.
    This really isn't that big of a deal man. To be honest, no one aside from the political junkies care. Watergate, this is not.

    And take a deeper look at the case, this guy actually didn't deserve the jail time.

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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    For those who are deep in the throes of terminal frustration and disgust with the current President, here's a Firefox add-on that may bring you comfort.

    -edit-

    Quote Originally Posted by PanzerJager
    To be honest, no one aside from the political junkies care.
    Not sure if that's accurate. Reports are that the White House shut down their "comment line" (202-395-0805) today. Could be a coincidence, I suppose.

    A blogger sums it up nicely:

    The dirty unwashed masses who populate our juries are fit to judge each other, but evidently not the ruling class. David Broder can breathe a sigh of relief that People Like Him are safe from those overly zealous US Attorneys who might want to hold them accountable to the same absurd standards that the little people must live by.

    How quaint.

    Anybody else think that Libby had an understanding with the Executive that jail time = I talk? There was a telling quote from an insider that Bush didn't want to intervene in the process "until he had to."
    Last edited by Lemur; 07-03-2007 at 07:34.
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur


    Not sure if that's accurate. Reports are that the White House shut down their "comment line" (202-395-0805) today. Could be a coincidence, I suppose.

    Rush Limbaugh's phone lines are swamped every day, but that doesnt mean he's got even 1% of America interested in what he's saying or doing.

    But who knows, you may be right. We'll just have to wait and see how this plays out.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    It is a pardon, to say it's not is just using spin & semantics to distort reality. His "parole" is nothing to him, no punishment whatsoever.

    I knew this would happen with Libby.

    Yet another example of how if you are rich & famous in the USA, you can break any law and never ever do hard-time for it. Even if you do go to prison it is not a real prison experience in gen pop.

    This Libby atrocity ranks right up there with OJ, Robert Blake, Paris Hilton etc. etc.

    America has a two-tier justice system.

    As for this:

    This action, this uncharacteristic commutation of jail time for a clearly criminal offense - every bit as justified as Paris Hilton's driving unlicensed, for which the silly girl served her time
    She didn't serve her time in a normal prison in gen pop, like any non-rich and non-famous person would have to. So to simply say "she served her time" with the connotation attached that everything is fine in her case, does not seem correct.
    Last edited by Navaros; 07-03-2007 at 10:36.

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    Insomniac and tired of it Senior Member Slyspy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou
    I think KurkiKhan is making way too much of this. As I've already covered, pardons (which this isn't) have a time-honored tradition and are entirely legal under the Constitution- for good or ill.

    As a political move, it's actually a good one- which is a refreshing change from the Bush White House. He had nothing to lose by doing so, and stood to gain a little by doing it. People who hate Bush will still hate Bush- nothing is going to change that. The people who don't care about "Plamegate" still won't care- which is probably the largest group. And those that thought Libby was railroaded by Fitzgerald, will be undoubtedly pleased by this.
    I don't get it. If it isn't a pardon then what is it? If it isn't a pardon then how is it legal under the constitution? Does the President have extra-judicial powers beyond that of issuing an official pardon?
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    Member Member KafirChobee's Avatar
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    Question Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    A full pardon is still possible, probably inevitable in say 12-17 months (if not sooner).

    Here is the report from PBS:
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/j...bby_07-02.html

    and here is CNN's coverage which includes Bush's comments, and Snow's spin:
    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/07/...tml#cnnSTCText

    Look cnn is messing with me, so go to where it directs you and click on the Scooter link - it will get you to a pic of his face and that will get you to the story I intended to show. so solly.

    The latter also shows what each of our Prezs' have done - Ike to Bill. Dubya looks like a woose, but he hasn't reached the end of his tenure so he may atleast beat his Daddy, yet. Ike rules btw.
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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    I find this laughable and tragic, simultaneously. Go read up on Mark Rich, then we'll talk about outrageous acts by sitting presidents. As for Scooter Libby going to the Big House for 3 years, maybe if the Democrat sitting on the bench had used one ouce of reason when sentencing him, Bush would have let the sentence stand (such as, oh, I don't know 6-9 months, which is the usual going rate for lying to a federal grand jury).

    Folks, Scooter Libby DID NOT leak Valerie Plame's name. Richard Armitage did, and then Karl Rove went around making certain everyone got the message. Scooter Libby got convicted of lying about what he remembered after he got dragged in front of a grand jury by that C%#KS%^KER Fitzgerald for the fifth time.

    I hope and pray none of you ever get dragged in front of a grand jury by a hostile prosecutor operating well beyond any bounds of reason (and yes, before somebody says his name, Ken Starr counts here as well).

    To me, this entire story ranks right up there with the Duke Lacrosse case. Actually, I'll give Mike Nifong the benefit of the doubt that he actually started out believing in what he was doing. Fitzgerald wanted to skin the hide of the highest ranking Bush official he could get his hands on and nail it to the barn door. That's not justice.
    Last edited by Don Corleone; 07-03-2007 at 21:24.
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    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    It does rather sound like perfectly normal US political partisanism though.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    As for Scooter Libby going to the Big House for 3 years, maybe if the Democrat sitting on the bench had used one ouce of reason when sentencing him, Bush would have let the sentence stand (such as, oh, I don't know 6-9 months, which is the usual going rate for lying to a federal grand jury).
    Yeah, damn those Democrats! Oh, wait ...

    Bush political appointee James Comey named Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame leak. Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Fitzgerald filed an indictment and went to trial before Bush political appointee Reggie Walton. A jury convicted Libby, and Bush political appointee Walton sentenced him. At sentencing, Bush political appointee Judge Walton described the evidence against Libby as "overwhelming" and concluded that a 30-month sentence was appropriate. And yet the claim, as I understand it, is that the Libby prosecution was the work of political enemies who were just trying to hurt the Bush Administration.

    Judge Reggie Walton was appointed by the Great Leader, as was everyone else involved in the case. But don't let the facts get in the way ...
    Last edited by Lemur; 07-04-2007 at 01:21.
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    Arena Senior Member Crazed Rabbit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Oh please, Lemur. The dems were going crazy about 'Fitzmas' before Libby got tried. We all know being appointed by Bush does not make one a Republican.

    whereas today's Republicans believe that lying about a national security issue is a pardonable kinda thing.
    A national security issue? Are you aware of what he was found guilty for?

    I don't get it. If it isn't a pardon then what is it? If it isn't a pardon then how is it legal under the constitution? Does the President have extra-judicial powers beyond that of issuing an official pardon?
    It's commuting - Bush isn't pardoning him for his crime, but changing his sentence to a lesser one.

    Don C said he was convicted for what he said after being put in front of a Grand Jury for the fifth time - now why wasn't the prosecutor satisfied with the first four times? 2.5 years is a long time in prison for having a bad memory.

    CR
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    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    So, where were you guys?

    I'm out there in the street, face painted blue, 'Don't Tread on Me' flag unfurled and flapping furiously in the wind, chanting: "Up with America! Down with King George! Up with America! Down with King George!" at the top of my lungs for 2 hours. Finally, Mrs K walks out...

    "Honey?..."

    "...n with King George!... er, huh?

    "Sweetie, come inside. I don't think anyone esle is coming."

    "But this is important. Up with Amer..."

    "They don't care. It's no big deal to them."

    "Really?"

    "Really."

    "Damn"

    "Come in and have some pie, Dear."

    ----------------------------------

    So; I'll pick more popular fights next time.

    :)

    signed,

    Kukri, Quixote, Khan
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  28. #28
    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Quote Originally Posted by Crazed Rabbit
    Oh please, Lemur. The dems were going crazy about 'Fitzmas' before Libby got tried. We all know being appointed by Bush does not make one a Republican.
    But as it happens, that judge's connections and patrons are Republicans. Hard to believe they'd take a screaming Democratic activist under their wing. And it's a bit rich to complain about a vast, liberal conspiracy when every actor in the drama was appointed by the Great Leader.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crazed Rabbit
    A national security issue? Are you aware of what he was found guilty for?
    Perjury and obstruction of justice in a case that dealt with the outing of a covert asset. Spin that as you please.

    Kukri, I caught some news tonight, and there was talk of "widespread outrage," so don't feel completely lonely. But I think Xiahou is right in that positions have hardened to such an extent that this latest bit of cronyism won't make a big difference.

    Where it will change things, however, is in the courts. Apparently Bush's dismissal of a Federal perjury sentence as "excessive" has lit up the boards across the nation, where lawyers and convicts are screaming "Me, too!"

    By yesterday morning, in fact, Mr. Bush’s arguments for keeping Mr. Libby out of prison had become an unexpected gift to defense lawyers around the country, who scrambled to make use of them in their own cases.

    “The president of the United States has come in on his own and said, ‘30 months is not reasonable in this case,’ ” said Susan James, an Alabama lawyer representing Don E. Siegelman, the state’s former governor, who is appealing a sentence he received last week of 88 months for obstruction of justice and other charges.

    “It’s far more important than if he’d just pardoned Libby,” Ms. James said, as forgiving a given offense as an act of executive grace would have had only political repercussions. “What you’re going to see is people like me quoting President Bush in every pleading that comes across every federal judge’s desk.”

    Indeed, Mr. Bush’s decision may have given birth to a new sort of legal document.

    “I anticipate that we’re going to get a new motion called ‘the Libby motion,’ ” Professor Podgor said. “It will basically say, ‘My client should have got what Libby got, and here’s why.’ ”
    Last edited by Lemur; 07-04-2007 at 06:50.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

  29. #29
    Member Member KafirChobee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Someone (CR) mentioned that the Bush appointments for U.S. attorney positions were not based on political party. All I can say is, "What planet you been living on the past 6 years?" All Bush's appointees to all government positions have been Republican - they went so far as actually putting it in their request for employment - which was suppose to be illegal. Also they required an oath of loyalty. I mean, name the Democrat on his staff, in his cabinet, in the Justice Department - anywhere.

    The reason for not prosecuting the real culprits in this case of devulging a CIA operatives name? Well, lets be real - the original US attorney got a promotion and ceased further inquiries. Unfortunately, for Scooter, some issues had already been raised and he got caught up in it.

    Not to worry though. Unless Bush pardons everyone concerned - we got a few years to prosecute them. Limitations and all that - so you will see the justice you crave CR. After all the next AG may not be as understanding as Gonzales. Heck, he may even know the Constitution.
    To forgive bad deeds is Christian; to reward them is Republican. 'MC' Rove
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  30. #30
    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Libby's sentance commuted

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    6-9 months, which is the usual going rate for lying to a federal grand jury.
    This appears to be wrong as well, Don. ABC News interviewed a passel of former prosecutors, and they generally agreed that Libby's sentence was on the high side, but well within the norm for Federal perjury convictions. Furthermore, the Supreme Court just heard a case about a remarkably similar conviction, and ruled that sentences within Federal guidelines are presumed to be reasonable. Libby's defenders clearly know more than the judge, the jury, or the Supreme Court.

    Libby's sentence appears in line with other cases.

    The Supreme Court recently upheld a 33-month sentence for Victor Rita, a Marine and Army veteran convicted of lying to authorities in connection with an illegal gun investigation.

    Rita received more than 35 awards and medals for his military service, according to court papers. The courts rejected his argument that he should have received a lesser sentence because of his record of military service — a similar argument to that made by Libby's lawyers.

    "It's hard to say that Rita's crime is worse or even as bad as Libby's crime," said Douglas Berman, a sentencing law expert at Moritz College of Law.

    And the most damning quote, from former prosecutor John Barrett:

    "For many people, this may have been the first time they are acquainted with the fact that this is the way federal laws work," Barrett said.
    Last edited by Lemur; 07-04-2007 at 07:23.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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