PARDON

Here’s the thing: if you’re gonna be the fall guy, you gotta actually take the fall. I’m sure Scooter Libby is a nice man who worked hard for his client and – many suspect – has loyally protected higher ups in the White House. You can see why they wouldn’t want him to serve time for serving them. But if the game is that, as President, you can do something really bad, get someone to take the fall, and then commute that someone’s sentence, you can basically just do anything with impunity.

David: ‘I am a lifelong Democrat and I am very disappointed by President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence. However, I am angry by the hypocrisy shown by leading Democrats in complaining about it. Where were they when former President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich during the last hours of his presidency?’

☞ I hear you (and the many others who wrote with a similar sentiment), but I think there are two things wrong with this line of argument. The first is – assuming that the Marc Rich and Scooter Libby cases were equivalent – it suggests that when Republicans do something wrong, they cannot be criticized for it.

I suppose in a ‘tit for tat’ situation that line of reasoning could be fair – I stole your cookie so how can I credibly criticize you for stealing it back? But the Rich and Libby pardons are two entirely different, unrelated episodes. It’s possible to be justly critical of both.

But that brings us to the second point. The two cases are not equivalent. The Marc Rich case had little national significance, and one of the arguments that can be made – President Clinton made it – is that by allowing him to return to the U.S., the I.R.S. would then be able to go after the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes they claimed he owed. If the I.R.S. prevailed, the taxes would be collected and our Treasury enhanced.

And there were apparently other legal arguments on Rich’s side. Ironically, it was Scooter Libby who made them! According to this in the Wall Street Journal, Libby spent a year of his life trying to get Marc Rich pardoned. ‘Leonard Garment, who brought Mr. Libby onto the case in 1985, says that he believes Mr. Libby’s legal work helped set the stage for Mr. Rich’s eventual pardon.’

But even if you agree the Marc Rich pardon was a mistake – and it probably was – are the two cases even remotely equivalent? The Rich case had little national significance. The Libby case, by contrast, goes to the heart of the White House.

His work for Marc Rich was a lawyer using his talents to protect a client. He was working for Marc Rich. But in his White House role, he was on our payroll. He should have been working for us.

SURGE PROTECTORS

Gary Thompson: ‘If you’re interested in a product that works better than all other surge protectors, I’d recommend visiting zerosurge.com. Even though they’re not cheap (I bought three of them for my home), losing a computer, plasma TV or other sensitive electronic device can be far more expensive. Their products have a 0% failure rate. Spend a few minutes and read their testimonials and customer lists. It’s impressive.’

ADOPT-A-CLASSROOM

James: ‘I’m writing to ask a favor…to see if you could promote Adopt-A-Classroom on your site during the American Express Members Project voting.  We’ve been picked to be in the Top 50 (out of 7,000) with an American Idol style voting to determine the winner on August 7.  The winning idea receives a minimum of $1 million and up to $5 million.  Here is why I believe our programming is particularly timely and critical:  Now more than ever, in light of the most recent Supreme Court ruling that restricts the use of race to integrate public schools, it is critical for concerned citizens to focus on, and support our inner city schools, in order to level the playing field and provide much needed financial resources and moral support for inner city teachers and students.  If each one of us were to adopt one classroom, the collective impact would be monumental.  Teachers are in dire need of outside support to help their student realize their full potential and meet life’s challenges.

To learn how to support Adopt-A-Classroom in the American Express Members Project voting, visit www.adoptaclassroom.org/americanexpress.”

☞ Sure: but what about cleaning up Lake Winnipesaukee?  (If you miss that reference, you either don’t watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert – you are missing so much! – or you are even more ruthless in your TiVo commercial-skipping than I am.)  Anyway, Adopt-A-Classroom is great, so if you vote for Lake Winnipesaukee, that’s okay – but then go and actually Adopt-A-Classroom yourself.

LIVE!

Don’t forget to watch Live Earth tomorrow, 7-7-07 (at 7, Central time, 8pm Eastern time on NBC).

 

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