The captain walks to the other guy and offers him the same. He accepts and the captain lights his smoke as well.
"Do you have any last words?" the captain asks.
"Yeah," says the second guy, "Why don't you take this cigarette out of my mouth and shove it up your butt?"
"Geez Charlie, are you nuts?" the first guy says, "We're in enough trouble as it is!"
If anything demonstrates just how screwed we are, it's last night's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence. The administration has declared itself above the law and, if you want to hold anyone to account for their lawlessness, well, good luck with that.
The White House has just sent a message regarding investigations and subpoenas and oversight -- Congress can do anything they want, but no one in this White House is going to get anything other than a slap on the wrist.
Democrats, seemingly unaware of how screwed we are, are still timid about impeachment. And impeachment's the only way to bring these people to justice. Dems look at the polls, see they're taking a nosedive, and conclude they're in enough trouble as it is. Why make trouble?
Never mind that this swift slide began the moment they caved into the president on funding the Iraq war. The american people didn't elect them to be cautious, they elected them to actually do something.
Of course, Bush didn't actually pardon Libby, the pretense of punishment is still there. And a commutation doesn't preclude a future pardon. He'll get one -- I'd bet good money on it. The commutation was a legal manuever to protect the White House.
On June 9, 2003, just one day after his national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, got beaten up on the Sunday shows for claiming no one in the administration knew that the Niger intelligence was bunk, George Bush expressed concern about the allegations. Scooter Libby passed on that concern to vice president Cheney. Bush's concern set off a chain of events that ended up in the outing of a CIA spy, Valerie Plame, and the indictment and conviction of Scooter Libby.
Yesterday, George Bush attempted to prevent that chain of events from continuing any further. He commuted Scooter Libby's 30-month sentence. Rather than serving time in jail, Libby will remain free, with a fine and probation as the only remaining punishments for lying and obstructing a criminal investigation. But the real effect of Bush's actions is to prevent Libby from revealing the truth about Bush's - and vice president Cheney's - own actions in the leak. By commuting Libby's sentence, Bush protected himself and his vice president from potential criminal exposure for their actions in the CIA Leak. As such, Libby's commutation is nothing short of another obstruction of justice.
See, if Bush had actually pardoned Libby, he'd lose a defense in further investigations. It most likely would've been like Gerald Ford's 'for any crimes related to' pardon of Richard Nixon. Being cleared of all consequence, Scooter would not have been able to plead the fifth. This way, the fifth is still open to him. Once everyone's in the clear, then Scooter will get his pardon. I guarantee it. In fact, the White House has come just short of admitting it.
President Bush's decision to commute the sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby doesn't mean he is not open to hearing an appeal for a pardon, White House press secretary Tony Snow said Tuesday.
"The reason I will say I'm not going to close the door on a pardon is simply this: that Scooter Libby may petition for one. But the president has done what he thinks is appropriate to resolve this case," Snow said, adding that a request isn't on the table.
Bush's assertion that the commutation was because the sentence was too harsh is such obvious BS. As the governor of Texas, Bush let more death row inmates fry then any governor before him, To buy Bush's explanation, we have to believe he thinks 30 months as a federal inmate at Camp Cupcake is a terrible hardship, but an eternity of dead is a breeze.
The right has been positively jubilant about the news. Undeclared presidential candidate Fred Thompson -- the candidate most like George W. Bush -- called the commutation 'a great relief to [Libby], his wife and children.' I'm sure it is. The problem is that there's no reason in hell why I should care about Libby's 'relief.'
Before I close this up, let me shoot down what may be the lamest argument in Scooter's defense -- that there was no 'underlying crime.' First off, who cares? Since when does someone have to commit two separate offenses before one of them counts? Second, the problem with obstruction of justice is that, by hindering the investigation, it makes it difficult to determine the facts. If you're really good at obstruction, you could hide a murder. Scooter's interference made it impossible to determine if there was an 'underlying crime' and who committed it [subliminal voice: Dick Cheney].
Finally, anyone who smiled when they found out that Martha Stewart was sent up for obstruction gets to shut the hell up about 'underlying crime.' All charges other than obstruction were thrown out in that case. Stewart spent time in prison in exactly the same situation for exactly the same crime that Scooter Libby would've. How much do you want to bet that most of those all bent out of shape over the lack of an 'underlying crime' didn't even think about it when Stewart was convicted?
Bush has always talked about 'sending messages.' We can't do this because it'll send the wrong message or we have to do that because it'll send the right message. Right or wrong, Bush has sent a message to America; "We are above the law and you can go screw yourselves."
The only remedy for a lawless administration is impeachment. Otherwise, the law is without consequence. Investigate and probe all you like, but there's no way anyone will ever be held to account. Bush is absolutely shameless and will hand out commutations and pardons like candy, no matter how transparent the reasons. Impeachment is the only process that the president has no say in whatsoever and that's exactly why it's the only process we can use to bring back consequence to these lawbreakers.
Of course, Democrats will look at Scooter's commutation and figure they're in enough trouble as it is.
Technorati tags: politics; crime; scandal Fred Thompson; Bush's commutation for Scooter Libby proves that he has no use for American law