In commuting Scooter Libby’s prison sentence, “President Bush drew on the same array of arguments about the federal sentencing system often made by defense lawyers — and routinely and strenuously opposed by his own Justice Department.” Last month, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the Justice Department “would push for legislation making federal sentences tougher and less flexible.”
In an extended Special Comment tonight, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann called on President Bush and Vice President Cheney to resign. He concludes his commentary with this:
We of this time–and our leaders in Congress, of both parties–must now live up to those standards which echo through our history: Pressure, negotiate, impeach–get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our Democracy, away from its helm.
For you, Mr. Bush, and for Mr. Cheney, there is a lesser task. You need merely achieve a very low threshold indeed. Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed, on August 9th, 1974.
And give us someone–anyone–about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne, and say, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”
Watch a portion:
BBC correspondent Alan Johnston “has reportedly been freed from kidnappers in Gaza after almost four months in captivity.”
Climate Progress notes that Independence Day fireworks are being canceled due to worsening droughts. “The record droughts around the country have nixed fireworks in a half dozen states.”
The Drudge Report headline blares “No Fireworks.” As USA Today reports:
“From a fire standpoint and a safety standpoint, it was an easy call,” Burbank Fire Chief Tracy Pansini says. He recommended calling off fireworks at the Starlight Bowl because they’re launched from a mountainside covered with vegetation that’s “all dead.”
The record droughts around the country have nixed fireworks in a half dozen states. What will happen to July 4th’s over much of the country if as predicted in an April Science article, we have “a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest“?
Here are some of the places canceling fireworks this year:
In this week’s edition of bizarre right-wing quasi-journalism follies, The Weekly Standard gets Kimberly Kagan to team up with “surge” plan creator Fred Kagan to write a cover story hailing the surge:
The new strategy for Iraq has entered its second phase. Now that all of the additional combat forces have arrived in theater, Generals David Petraeus and Ray Odierno have begun Operation Phantom Thunder, a vast and complex effort to disrupt al Qaeda and Shiite militia bases all around Baghdad in advance of the major clear-and-hold operations that will follow. The deployment of forces and preparations for this operation have gone better than expected, and Phantom Thunder is so far proceeding very well. All aspects of the current strategy have been built upon the lessons of previous successful and unsuccessful Coalition efforts to establish security in Iraq, and there is every reason to be optimistic about its outcome.
No word on why Robert and Donald weren’t available to cosign the piece.
President Bush has signed an executive order that “would require regulators to show that private markets had failed to address a targeted problem before they went after it themselves.” It would also give political appointees in an “obscure White House office” “greater authority over how federal regulations are written.” Next week, the Senate is set to vote on legislation blocking the order, which the House has already passed.
I think this business of signing Rashard Lewis to a maximum contract is madness. They could use this as an example in a class on the “winner’s curse”. Cap management matters in this league, a lot. You just can’t be throwing that kind of money at a sub-par rebounder who’s terrible at defense no matter how good a shooter he is. John Hollinger begs to differ:
Plus, with Billups and Carter intent on re-signing with their respective teams, Lewis was the single best “portable” free agent available. Getting the No. 1 guy rarely fails as a free agent strategy; even if Lewis somehow fails to live up to his Seattle numbers, the Magic still are getting a quality player.
Larry Hughes is laughing all the way to the bank on the basis of this theory.
This morning, the WSJ reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is “seeking to build bipartisan political support for a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq by moving toward withdrawing significant numbers of troops from Iraq by the end of President Bush’s term.” As TPM’s Spencer Ackerman notes, “it’s basically a trade-off: cut the surge short in order to stay in Iraq indefinitely.
I guess I’m glad that after relentlessly propagandizing on Scooter Libby’s behalf, Fred Hiatt has decided that commuting the entirely of Libby’s sentence was the wrong thing to do, but I would have traded that small concession to reality for them not making reference to Libby’s “long and distinguished record of public service.” What record? What distinction? As best I can tell, Libby has done exactly two things in government service — he’s worked for Paul Wolfowitz and he’s worked for Dick Cheney.
Wolfowitz performed so poorly at the job of Deputy Secretary of Defense that George W. Bush decided to bump him to the World Bank in order to get him out of his administration, from which post he was later fired due to a combination of corruption and mismanagement. Hilariously, of Libby’s two patrons Wolfowitz is the less embarrassing one. Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Libby were all, of course, intimately involved in the fraudulent selling of the Iraq War and the idiotic “planning” for the post-war occupation of Iraq. In their most noteworthy previous collaboration, Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Libby all collaborated on the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance that proved to be so addled that President George H.W. Bush disavowed it.
There’s a record of service here, but it’s not distinguished. Indeed, at 11-12 years it’s not even all that long. Joe Wilson had a long career of distinguished service. Valerie Plame had a long career of distinguished service. Libby had a medium length career that mostly lacked distinction and involved the occasional — but extremely accute — lapse into catastrophe, before he found himself resigning because he’d been caught breaking the law.