Monday, July 02, 2007

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

In general I don't get worked up over politicians and political staff people getting into trouble and having to serve time. I think Randy Cunningham got what he deserved and probably should have gotten a longer sentence than he did but at least he was punished for selling his political influence and general corruption. The Florida congressman who wrote E Mails to pages was at least disgraced and lost his Congressional seat for his actions. Richard Nixon had to live with his disgrace until he died. These are instances where the high and mighty get their comeuppance for their transgressions.

Today "Scooter" Libby was denied his freedom while his case is appealed. In my opinion this a grave injustice when one compares his his "crime" to that of Sandy Berger. Berger stole classified documents from the National Archives during the hearings of the 911 Commission where he was a witness. Not only did he steal the documents, he was caught doing it and after giving several lame excuses such as (I was pulling up my socks and the papers just jumped in) or (I had a hole in my pants and used the paper to keep my butt from showing). Obviously the scenarions I cited here are ficticious but his excuses were every bit as far fetched. Then on top of stealing Classified documents he hid them under a construction trailer.

Compare Berger's crimes to Libby's saying he didn't remember who told what to whom or when regarding the "outing" of Valarie Plame and in my opinion the punishment doesn't fit the crime. Libby gets a prison sentence and Berger gets a fine and some civic service.

On top of all of the above, the Special Prosecutor knew from the beginning who really "outed" Valarie Plame but chose to seat a grand jury at great expense to the government and then proceeded to conduct a witch hunt. There are several things about this case that leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.
1) Valarie Plame was not undercover as defined in CIA procedures and practices when she was "outed". By definition you can't "out" someone who is already "out".
2) As soon as Fitzgerald learnd who had actually "outed" Plame, the stated reason for his appointment was null.
3) Joe Wilson used the whole sordid affair to promote his own personal intrests and to make a great deal of money accusing the Administration of conspiring to "out" Plame for revenge.
4) Plame and Wilson scooped up a book deal about the whole "non- crime" and stand to make a lot of money.
5) Not only did Libby get a jail term and a large fine, his career is ruined.

Meanwhile back at the ranch. Berger voluntarily relinquishes his law liscense in order to avoid testifying in follow on investigations regarding the way the Clinton administration dealt with terrorist threats.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't have a great deal of regard for Libby. For that matter, I have little use for any 40- 50 year old man who allows himself to be called Scooter or Billy or Jimmy or any childhood name. I also don't care much for sycophants who hang around the fringes of power.

What irks me about this whole thing is the double standard. Berger in effect commits burgularly(sp) and gets a mild tap on the wrist and Libby forgets some unimportant detail about a non crime and gets hammered.

The whole double standard thing really gets my shorts in a wad. Clinton fires all of the Federal Prosecutors and not a word is said, Bush fires 8 or 9 and the entire Democratic party has conniptions. Go figure.

Chuck

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