The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

No Underlying Crime

Single Payer Watch

Following on this morning's link to the smackdown of Wolf Blitzer by Michael Moore, here is Moore's point by point refutation of the "fact-checking" done by CNN. Will CNN apologize? Don't hold your breath. You may also listen to a longer, very interesting and intelligent discussion of single payer health care in other countries, Moore's film, and the political stranglehold on our choices in this Fresh Air interview from NPR.

Hypocrites Watch

Well, some of the phone records of the "DC Madam" have been released, and guess who's on the list? You guessed it, a "pro-family" Republican from the deep south, senator David Vitter from Louisiana. Just as "scratch a homophobe, reveal a homosexual" is becoming an almost unbroken rule of thumb, so too is "scratch a morality-spouting right-winger, reveal an adulterer". It seems that like just as many psychology students enter the field to work on their own problems, right-wing authoritarians appear to be guilty of all the problems they are accusing the populace of having. Your favorite Republican in a twist about gay marriage? That was an important issue for Mark Foley and Ted Haggard. Are they clutching pearls over Clinton's affair? Like Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, and Henry Hyde, you can be pretty sure they are playing "hide the subpoena" with some young aide of their own. Vitter is no exception. Glenn Greenwald outlines his political/sexual history:

So, to recap: in Louisiana, Vitter carried on a year-long affair with a prostitute in 1999. Then he ran for the House as a hard-core social conservative family values candidate, parading around his wife and kids as props and leading the public crusade in defense of traditional marriage.

Then, in Washington, he became a client of Deborah Palfrey's. Then he announced that amending the Constitution to protect traditional marriage was the most important political priority the country faces. Rush Limbaugh, Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich supported the same amendment.

As always, it is so striking how many Defenders of Traditional Marriage have a record in their own broken lives of shattered marriages, multiple wives and serial adultery. And they never seek to protect the Sacred Institution of Traditional Marriage by banning the un-Christian and untraditional divorces they want for themselves when they are done with their wives and are ready to move on to the next, newer model. Instead, they only defend these Very Sacred Values by banning the same-sex marriages that they don't want for themselves.

What was Vitter's response to Clinton's Lewinski affair? Well, he was stepping into Bob Livingston's congressional seat in 1998, after Livingston was denied the Speaker of the House position because of his "baroque" sexual excesses and resigned.

"I think Livingston's stepping down makes a very powerful argument that Clinton should resign as well and move beyond this mess," he said.

I wonder if he feels that way now. The CNN story on Vitter is entitled "Senator Sorry after number appears on D.C. Madam's List". Like all Republicans, he is sorry because he finally got caught. And, I would add, he was a sorry son of a bitch before that as well.

Federal Penury Watch

Thanks to Gary for this story, which reveals that the surge is only transferring our tax dollars into Halliburton and Black Water's pockets at the rate of $12 billion per month. Using our rule of thumb, that is $120 of my money per month to finance this outrage.

Libby Lies Watch

Today, our local newspaper published a letter to the editor which parroted one of the most common right wing lines with regard to Scooter Libby and his Technicolor get out of jail free card: that there was no "underlying crime" because prosecutor Fitzgerald already knew that Richard Armitage had leaked Valerie Wilson's covert status to Robert Novak when Libby was questioned. The logic seems to be that Libby's lies were therefore immaterial to the investigation of the crime, and could not technically be perjury.

Note that this is the reason that Clinton was never indicted of perjury. His testimony on a consensual affair with Monica Lewinsky was deemed immaterial to whether he had sexually harassed Paula Jones. And though right wingers continue to falsely claim that Clinton was "convicted" of perjury, he was never even charged.

However, used as a defense of Scooter Libby, this argument, which I have heard spoken and seen written by dozens of Bush apologists since his commutation of Libby's sentence, is incredibly retarded. That it is now being repeated by the sheep in the public indicates just how supine (or absent) the defenders of logic are in our public dialog.

The correct answer to this argument, which I have yet to see anyone effectively spell out, is that Fitzgerald, by the time he was questioning Libby in front of a grand jury, was not investigating the leak to Robert Novak any longer. He was investigating a criminal conspiracy made up of at least nine separate criminal acts.

Please see this chart prepared by the House Oversight Committee, showing the known flow of the knowledge of Valerie Wilson's undercover status through the CIA, the White House, and the State Department, out to people in the press. From people who have security clearance, to people who don't. Each of these transfers of information from the federal government to reporters was potentially a crime. That Novak, a shill for right wingers for decades, would be the first to rush the information into print, should surprise no one. The leaks were:

1) Ari Fleischer to Walter Pincus
2) Ari Fleischer to David Gregory
3) Ari Fleischer to John Dickerson
4) Libby to Judith Miller
5) Libby to Matt Cooper
6) Rove to Matt Cooper
7) Rove to Novak
8) Armitage to Novak
9) Armitage to Bob Woodward

The fact that Fleischer made an immunity for testimony deal with Fitzgerald indicates that Fitz was investigating far more than the leaks to Novak. (And by the way, note that none of the flying monkeys ever brings up the Rove to Novak leak). Any idiot can see that these Chatty Cathys were engaged in a coordinated effort to blow Wilson's cover, and that that effort was most likely coordinated from above, almost surely by Cheney and approved by Bush.

Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice because he prevented Fitzgerald from moving up the ladder to Bush and Cheney. It is that simple. And Bush commuted his sentence in another act of obstruction to keep it that way.

So when you hear someone repeating this tired lie, remind them that there were at least eight other criminal acts that were being investigated, all leading back to Dick.

Humor Watch

You may enjoy this funny, but ultimately sad, compendium of our dear leader's greatest moments caught on tape.

Torture Watch

Finally, this great quote on torture from a blog commenter: "The key distinction between you and the guy you are torturing is that he might be innocent, but you are not."


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