Scooter Libby fell on his sword for Vice President Cheney, Author of the book ‘Angler’ Barton Gellman said on MSNBC tonight. Cheney said today that President Bush should have pardoned Libby, former aide of the Vice President. Gellman told Rachel Maddow that Cheney was the source of the leak in the Valarie Plane affair and Cheney believed he should back the man who protected him. President Bush refused to pardon Libby and that has been a bone of contention between Cheney and Bush. This was virtually a declaration of war according to Maddow.
Here is a Bloomberg story on the issue back in 2007.
“Bush Faces `No-Win’ Pressures to Pardon Convicted Cheney Aide
By Edwin Chen
June 29 (Bloomberg) — President George W. Bush is likely to pay a political price if he decides to pardon convicted vice presidential aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby — or if he decides not to pardon him.
With the start of Libby’s 2 1/2-year prison term looming, Republican stalwarts who are the president’s last source of political support may revolt unless he quickly pardons the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. If Bush does act, he would violate Justice Department guidelines, alienate much of the public and run the risk of cover-up charges.
“This is a no-win situation for Bush,” said David Gergen, who advised Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
Libby, 56, was convicted in March of obstructing justice, perjury and making false statements to investigators probing the 2003 leak of Central Intelligence Agency agent Valerie Plame’s identity. Unless a federal appeals court delays his sentence, he will be required to report to jail by late July or mid-August.
Libby was “railroaded,” said Paul Weyrich, head of the Washington-based Free Congress Foundation, a small-government educational group. David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, based in Alexandria, Virginia, said Libby got a “raw deal” and has been left to “twist in the wind.”
Keene calls on Bush to display the same loyalty to Libby that he’s shown to his friend Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose handling of the dismissal of eight U.S. prosecutors has prompted lawmakers to call for his resignation.
“It tells you what a deep, dark, dank un-spinnable hole Bush is in when he has to pardon a guy to appease 30 percent of the country,” said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane, a former aide to Vice President Al Gore.
A pardon might also raise fresh questions about whether Libby had been acting at the request of his superiors. “I think he sort of took one for the team,” said Weyrich.
Meanwhile, actor Fred Thompson, a former Tennessee senator and an undeclared candidate, said Libby “absolutely” should be pardoned. Thompson has lent his name to a lobbying campaign that’s raising money on Libby’s behalf. Arizona Senator John McCain and several others say it is premature to weigh in.
Bush and Cheney have so far said little about their intentions toward Libby. White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino said Bush “felt terrible” for Libby and his family.
Bush has granted fewer pardons — 113 — than any president in the past 100 years, while denying more than 1,000 requests, said Margaret Colgate Love, the Justice Department’s pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997.
In addition, Bush has denied more than 4,000 commutation requests, and hundreds of requests for pardons and commutations are still pending, Love said.
A quick pardon for Libby would go against Justice Department guidelines, which recommend that a supplicant wait five years after conviction or release from confinement before seeking a pardon. On the other hand, there’s no requirement that a president wait; President Gerald Ford pardoned his disgraced predecessor, Richard Nixon, shortly after taking office in 1974, and before Nixon was convicted of anything.
On Hardball they are saying Scooter Libby took a bullet for Cheney. Cheney the guy who has a weak heart and can barely handle the stress of any job certainly seems to be healthy enough to stick around Washington to play the devils advocate. Cheney seems to be his own devil.
Today there was a major raid on politicians and Rabbis in New Jersey and New York.
This from ‘Vos iz Neias’ a Jewish community blog site.
“New York - Part of the FBI raid this morning are 11 men from Brooklyn NY.
About 30 other officials from New Jersey were arrested in a wide-sweeping corruption probe by the FBI.
The criminal complaints allege that the suspects were involved in corruption and money laundering. some of the suspects are Rabbis, and operators of Check cashing business in NYC.
Due to many rumors, VIN News has decide to publish the names to avoid false information circulating in the community.
Arrested were, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, Schmulik Cohen, Levi Deutsch, Binyomin Spira, Yeshayahu Ehrental, Mordchai Fish, Rabbi Of Brooklyn Congregation Sheves Achim, Lavel Schwartz, Yoely Gertner, Abraham Pollack, Naftoly Weber, Rabbi Saul Kassin Chief Rabbi of Sharee Zion, a synagogue located on Ocean Parkway.”
Here are excerpts from the Wall Street Journal Article today.
By AMIR EFRATI, SUZANNE SATALINE and DIONNE SEARCEY
New Jersey has never been short of corruption scandals, but the one that unfolded yesterday was surprising even by the standards of the state that inspired “The Sopranos.”
Federal agents swept across New Jersey and New York on Thursday, charging 44 people — including mayors, rabbis and even one alleged trafficker in human kidneys — in a decade long investigation into public corruption and international money laundering.
The key to the investigation: a real-estate developer who became an informant after being arrested on bank-fraud charges in 2006, according to a person familiar with the case. The developer, Solomon Dwek, wore a wire for the Federal Bureau of Investigation while offering to bribe New Jersey mayors and other public officials, that person said.
A lawyer for Mr. Dwek didn’t respond to requests for comment.
While the state has a long history of dirty politics — in Newark alone, three ex-mayors have been convicted of crimes unrelated to the latest sweep — the scale of the allegations shocked veterans of New Jersey’s political crises.
“This is not only a black eye, but this fans more cynicism,” said Gene Grabowski, a crisis manager who has represented New Jersey clients in graft probes. “It validates this idea that New Jersey is a setting for ‘The Sopranos.’”
The arrests in the public-corruption portion of the probe included the Democratic mayors of Hoboken and Secaucus, Peter Cammarano III and Dennis Elwell; Republican state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt; and Democrat Leona Beldini, the deputy mayor of Jersey City.
A woman who picked up the phone at Mr. Van Pelt’s office said, “Mr. Van Pelt was arrested today and is out of the office.” His lawyer declined to comment.
Mr. Cammarano’s lawyer said he “intends to plead innocent because he is innocent.”
After her court appearance, Ms. Beldini said she didn’t violate taxpayers’ trust and declined to comment further while leaving the courthouse. Mr. Elwell and his lawyer declined to comment.
Arrests on the investigation’s money-laundering side include several rabbis in New York and New Jersey, said Ralph Marra Jr., acting U.S. attorney for New Jersey. The arrestees appeared in federal court in New Jersey Thursday afternoon.
Corruption among the politicians was “a way of life,” Mr. Marra said. “They existed in an ethics-free zone.”
The probe includes a bizarre sideshow: the alleged trafficking of human kidneys, a lucrative, illegal industry and not one that’s typically showcased alongside political shenanigans.
In the course of the investigation last year, Mr. Dwek came into contact with an alleged organ trafficker, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, and told him Mr. Dwek’s uncle needed a new kidney, according to court papers. The two men discussed how Mr. Dwek would pay a $160,000 fee to buy a kidney from a donor in Israel, documents show. According to the complaint, Mr. Rosenbaum described himself as a “matchmaker.”
Mr. Rosenbaum couldn’t be reached for comment. A person who answered the phone at his residence declined to comment.
This federal investigation grew out of two previous cases and dates back to 1999, according to the FBI. It culminated at 6 a.m. Thursday with more than 200 FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents making arrests and executing search warrants throughout the state, said Weysan Dun, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark office.
In all, 29 people were caught up in the public-corruption part of the probe. Fifteen were implicated in the investigation into money laundering, including Mr. Rosenbaum, who was charged with conspiring to broker the sale of a kidney.
Court documents quote a number of incriminating wiretap recordings involving New Jersey politicians — some prominent names, others known only in their small communities. For example, according to court documents, on April 27, FBI agents caught an incoming call from former Jersey City council candidate Guy Catrillo to a consultant’s cellphone. The consultant asked Mr. Catrillo: “Did you get the money from [Mr. Dwek] when we saw him the other day?”
Mr. Catrillo replied: “Yeah, I took care of that. Yeah.”
Mr. Catrillo’s office didn’t answer the phone Thursday.
Mr. Dwek, a 36-year-old religious-school head and philanthropist from Monmouth County, N.J., was at the heart of the investigation. He began his career as a small-time real-estate developer whose investors included friends and relatives in the Syrian Jewish community. Three years ago he was charged with defrauding PNC Bank of $25 million and remained free on a $10 million bond.”
There is more. It is pretty damning. But then this is New Jersey, and well we all know about Jersey. The problem is that it is not just New Jersey, look at what is going on in Washington DC right now.
This from the NPR website.
Drug Firms Pour $40 Million Into Health Care Debate
by Andrea Seabrook and Peter Overby
“The pharmaceutical industry for years has been one of the most effective and powerful lobbying outfits in Washington”
Jerry Avorn, Harvard Medical School
Millions of dollars are pouring into Capitol Hill this summer, as lobbyists jockey to have their clients’ interests represented in three major pieces of legislation just beginning to take shape. The objects of the lobbyists’ attention: massive bills on health care, banking regulation and energy.
We have the most expensive health care system in the world, yet millions are uninsured. President Obama is asking Congress to find a way to extend coverage to every American. Can it be done?
All Things Considered, July 23, 2009 · One of the most powerful players in health care is a group called the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA. It represents just 32 brand-name drug companies, but it has so much influence that when Congress passes a bill, PhRMA almost always gets its way. One big reason why: PhRMA and its members have spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress as lawmakers work to overhaul health care.
Any firm that spends significant money lobbying Congress has to file a quarterly report. Monday was the deadline for the second quarter, providing a chance to peer into three critical months in the health care debate: April, May and June. That’s when Congress really got down to business with health care.
In those three months, PhRMA spent just over $6 million, which breaks down to about $2 million a month.
But the reports filed by the companies that belong to PhRMA reveal that during this same period, all but a few of them were running their own lobby shops as well. The drug maker Pfizer alone spent $5.5 million. Amgen, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline spent about $3 million each.
Add it all up and you get this: In those three critical months, PhRMA and its member companies spent $40 million lobbying Congress. That’s more than $3 million each week.
PhRMA declined to speak to NPR for this story. Four of its biggest members turned down or did not respond to interview requests.
More Lobbyists Than Congress Members
There’s something else drug companies bought with that $40 million: people.
PhRMA alone has 29 people lobbying for it. In the graphic on this page, you can dig into the reports, and you’ll find that PhRMA also hired 45 different Washington, D.C., lobbying firms to represent it in those three months of the second quarter.
Most of the drug companies that belong to PhRMA are running their own lobby shops as well, plus the biggest ones have also hired dozens of D.C. lobbying firms.
So think about it this way: There are far more people in Washington representing one party of the debate — the big drug companies — than there are members of Congress working on the health care bill.”
What can I say. Money talks and that is a lot of money.
One more time on the issue of the stupid Cambridge cops. Today at work one of the people brought up the President’s “stupid” comment in a production meeting at work. This guy was a rabid supporter of the cop’s position. I noted that I could understand the Presidents statement based on my own experience with cops. He went on about how he read the police report and said that I was “talking Black Helicopters”. That led to a twisted conversation about how on 9/11 a missile was launched at the Pentagon, and the moon landings were faked. This to me indicated mixed up mental processes in the public mind. People simply have no way of being able to identify what is reasonable and what is irrational. I don’t know if it is a result of poor educations, paying attention to media that lies and misleads or simply sloppy and wishful thinking on the part of people who have had their dreams dashed so many times that they are willing to simply absorb whatever they choose to accept as being valid and letting the truth take a pass.
I blame the media, the education system and a culture that accepts mythology as good enough as a substitute for factual information.
I know when I joke around, I assume I am joking about stuff that is common knowledge. But now I realize more and more that people simply don’t know. What did they learn in school? No wonder we have such a dysfunctional government. If people knew what was going on or at least cared enough to find out what the facts ore, we wouldn’t have embarrassments like the Birther movement, people who believe that Obama was born in another country. How mistrustful of the government have people become that they will believe that the government would fake a Presidents place of birth?
That is the really scary thing. It is not about a birth certificate. It is about a basic sense that in our country the government lies to the people. Many people simply think that the country has been hijacked by an elite that doesn’t care about anybody but their own clique.
I am guilty of the same thing, when I say there is a capitalist elite running the country, I am sayint that the nation has been taken over by a class that has a certain interest that may or may not be in the interest of the Republic. Is my argument based on delusion or fact? Is my argument simply an opinion or is it an analysis based on reality. That is what you have to ask me and that is what I have to prove if I am not to be simply a left wing equivalent of the Birthers.
In fact Birthers could be seen as the right wing version of the left wing belief that Bush stole the elections of 2000 and 2004. But the fact is that the president was selected by the Supreme Court in a procedure that was not specifically constitutional. Gore could have contested it but he chose not to. Just as the former Senator of Minnesota contested the election of the current Senator Franken. There is the right to legal challenge when the vote is close or contested. In the election of 2000, ultimately it was proven that Gore won the popular vote but we do not elect the President of the United States by popular vote but by the electoral college. The strange thing is that the Supreme Court is not part of that process.
It is interesting that there are people who are saying that this president is illegitimate because he is not a citizen.
Tonight G. Gordon Liddy says on Hardball that Barak Obama was born in a hospital in Mombasa, Kenya. When Chris Mathews showed a copy of Proof of Live Birth from the State of Hawaii, Liddy said it was not a birth certificate. The State of Hawaii says they do not give out copies of birth certificates, they give out Proof’s of Live Birth. The Governor of the State of Hawaii says he has seen the original of the Birth Certificate.
What we have is a breakdown in trust in the government of this country. We have become a Nation of interest groups. This is not class war, this is Mafia rule, the godfather that people trust is the one they back. It is a matter of blood, instinct, greed and fear. What happened to truth, justice and the American Way?