Water Man Spouts

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Cause of Democracy

{1} "Why now, blow wind, swell billow, and swim bark!
The storm is up, and all is on the hazard."
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

In the days since President Bush commuted Scooter Libby’s sentence, there has been a strong, negative response in newspapers and on the cable news shows. The White House expected that there would be opposition to Bush’s action, and had prepared ways to try to spin the story while it is receiving attention. More, they anticipate that as a result of their spin, and of the nature of the media, that it would fade from the front pages by this Sunday’s evening.

The White House has attempted four tactics to spin the story: the first is to say that President Bush’s action upset the Libby supporters who wanted a full pardon, as well as those who believe he should not have taken any action; second, they have administration puppets spew the same lies about "no underlying crime," "Armitage leaked," "the prosecution was political," and "Plame wasn’t covert"; third, they attempt to frame the issue in terms of Bill Clinton; fourth, they say that the public really doesn’t care about the case.

Our job is to the focus on the Plame scandal. We can do this in a number of ways. These include writing letters to the editors of newspapers, and to our elected officials in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Let’s take a closer look at what tactics are available to us.

{2} "A man may build himself a throne of bayonets,
but he cannot sit on it."
Dean Inge

Numerous papers across the nation have had editorials that have criticized the president for commuting Libby’s sentence. Because newspapers provide the public with an opportunity to participate in on-going discussions on important issues that television and radio generally do not, we have the ability to keep this issue in the news.

There are three good reasons for each of us to write a "letter-to-the-editor" this weekend. Editors like to have people respond to their editorials. The LTTE section is one of the most popular parts of any newspaper. And this administration is counting on you to lose interest in the case, and not write any LTTE.

LTTE are more likely to be published and read when they are short and simple. Three paragraphs will usually do: start by identifying the topic; discuss the problem; and end with your opinion. When possible, get family members and/or friends, and coordinate a letter-writing campaign.

The Plame scandal provides us with numerous issues to focus on. Among the issues that we should focus on are these:

Cronyism: the commuting of Libby’s sentence was clearly part of the "good old boys" system that most citizens resent;

The Plame scandal was part of the administration’s lies that brought us to war in Iraq.

Valerie Plame was covert, and the republican puppets have lied to the public for 4 years about that.

The investigators believed there were two possible underlying crmes: exposing a covert agent’s identity, and also espionage.

Judge Tatel noted in 2006 that the case had national security implications, prosecuting for perjury and obstruction equaled prosecuting the underlying crimes.

Congress needs to investigate VP Cheney’s role.

The Wilson’s civil suit can lay all the cards on the table.

The leaking began long before Armitage spoke to Novak

{3}"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
Arthur Conan Doyle, Silver Blaze

We should also be calling, e-mailing, and especially writing our elected officials in the House and Senate, and asking them to take action on the Plame scandal. Congress needs to hear from all of us: it doesn’t matter if you request that they investigate, that they impeach, or that they investigate and consider impeaching. The important thing is that every elected official hear from the general public on this issue.

The most obvious target of any investigation is Vice President Dick Cheney. He is one of the most unpopular figures in our nation’s history. Not only will democrats find him a popular target for investigations, but most republicans recognize that Cheney is, even more than Bush, a ball-and-chain on their party.

The commuting of Libby’s sentence removed the leverage that Mr. Fitzgerald had, to try to get Libby to tell the truth about what went on between Cheney, Rove, and himself in the spring and summer of 2003. Libby did not want to go to prison. In fact, in the weeks before he was actually indicted, Libby’s attorneys had attempted to reach a plea deal with Mr. Fitzgerald. Libby rejected it, because of the amount of time Mr. Fitzgerald insisted upon. Libby’s superiors in the White House knew about this, and his sentence appears to have been commuted in order to insure he remained silent.

Congress has the ability to take the steps needed to allow Mr. Fitzgerald to provide them with all of the information his investigation found, rather than just what is on the public record. They need to be encouraged to take that step.

More, as Mr. Fitzgerald has noted, the public record has information that should be of interest to congress. For but one example, the 6-10-03 State Department memo from Carl Ford, Jr to Under Secretary Grossman, regarding Joseph Wilson and the Niger yellow cake investigation, notes that, "Joe went to Niger in late 1999 in regard to Niger’s uranium program, apparently with CIA support." The majority of those in the House and Senate will understand the significance of this, even if it has been largely ignored in the media.

{4} "The mental muscles of democracy have begun to atrophy."
Al Gore, The Assault on Reason

The people in this administration are counting on us to sit like bumps on a log while they hijack our democracy. It’s time that we send a clear message that this isn’t going to happen. We need to exercise those "muscles of democracy" that Al Gore speaks of, which are found in Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights. We need to make our voices heard in the media, and in the halls of congress. Let’s roll.


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