Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Libby Sentence Commuted, Joe Wilson Interview, UK Terror Plot, And Raw Politics (Monday's Show)

Hi everyone. Happy new week. So, we were supposed to be kicking it off from the border tonight, but other news has changed the plans. I can't say I'm complaining. Normally I like the field trips, but the immigration stuff is starting to feel like deja vu over and over. Of course I'm not at all happy about why the trip was scrapped. Actually, the real reason was UK terror plot news, but even that has been bumped back a bit because today Bush commuted Scooter Libby's sentence! Argh! Okay, yeah, those of us who have been watching these guys closely over the years pretty much knew something like this was coming, but still, damn man! You know? I guess those of us who believe in the rule of law are operating with a pre-January 2001 mindset. It just really sucks that someone (someone!) was maybe actually going to be held accountable for all the lies and deceptions and half truths that lead us into what is the biggest bloody quagmire since Vietnam...and now he's not even going to serve a day, much less 30 months. This is not a good day for America.

Anderson Cooper begins with the basics and then says, "the administration may hope this story doesn't get a lot of attention this holiday week. It will tonight on this program." You go, 360! Anyone else find it a little curious they quickly made this announcement now, when the news was wall to wall UK terror plot? Methinks they were hoping this whole commuting thing would just fade away, but it was even the lead on the evening news casts. Oops. We're then joined by Suzanne Malveaux live and she tells us it was quite a surprise. Eh, only in the timing really. She then informs us that Bush released a statement that said he repected the verdict, but thought the sentence was excessive and apparently the $250,000 fine and damage to his reputation would suffice. Oh yeah, because he's broke and friendless. I'm sure having the loyalty of the vice president is worthless. He'll never work in this town again! Sheesh.

Next up we're joined by out senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin for discussion. Anderson notes that Bush said the sentence was excessive but special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said it was within federal guidelines and he's wondering what's the what. Toobin says it was in the guidelines and he's all shocked because the adminstration has I guess previously been committed to those guidelines. Well sure, Toobin, when it wasn't one of their own being sentenced. Toobin then goes on some more about how shocked he is and says, "Maybe I'm just naive." Aw, Toobin, not maybe. I think I might make Toobin my shocked-naive guy. I already have The Gerg as my optimistic-for-no-foreseeable-reason guy.

They then note that Bush did have the power to do this and everything, but Anderson points out that commutations usually only happen after someone has started serving their time. Anderson then brings up the critics argument that none of this should have even happened since Justice knew who leaked Plame's name. Uh, no they didn't. That's why they had to investigate. And he lied under oath! That's a crime. Toobin does a bit of critic smacking down by pointing out that the whole thing was basically a republican run show, so it's not like this was some far lefty plot to get poor Scooter Libby. But that doesn't matter to some people, who will go to their grave claiming it was Joe Wilson himself who outed his own wife. Yep, that's been one of the arguments, people. Makes you a little sad, doesn't it?

Next up we're joined by Joe Wilson by phone and he must be having a busy interview day that's left him a little frazzled because he greets Anderson as "Scooter." Ha! Anderson, having much experience with awkward-as-hell Larry King hand offs, doesn't even blink. Joe tells us he's not surprised about the commutation because this adminstration is rotten from the top down. He's angry the sentencing guidelines aren't being used and the rule of law is being subverted. He also wonders if there was a quid pro quo and man, I'd like to know that too. Then Anderson brings up how critics say that there are laws about outing CIA officers and no one was charged with that. Joe tells Anderson that Fitzgerald addressed all that and he should go back and read the report.

I really don't blame him here for being terse. Bringing up that argument from the critics smacks of the fake balance we used to get with the global warming debate. The fact of the matter is there was a whole entire trial where it was established that the reason no one could be charged with the crime of outing Plame was because Libby lied and obstructed justice. I don't understand why 360 keeps bending backwards on this. They did it during Anderson's last interview with Wilson too. Anderson asks Joe what he wants from the president. "You mean, aside from an apology to my wife for what they have done to her and to her career?" Joe asks. That would be a nice start. Anderson asks if he thinks he'll get it. Bwah! Oh, Anderson. Yeah, Joe knows he's not getting any apology because "this president is really -- is not a very decent individual." Understatement of the year. But Joe would like to see documents related to the investigation released. Hm, good luck with that.

Moving on now to a Joe Johns "Keeping Them Honest" piece about the whole Plame outing and commutation. We learn that conservatives were lobbying hardcore for a pardon, but wouldn't you know that some of the people supporting Libby right now, such as non candidate Fred Thompson, were the same people screeching about the rule of law back when Clinton was being impeached. Hypocrisy? In Washington? Say it isn't so. We're also reminded that Bush promised to fire anyone who committed a crime and we're even shown the clip of when he said it. Yay, 360! And we're reminded that Bush campaigned on bringing truth and honesty to the White House. Maybe he'll get to that in his last year? This was a nice piece. I honestly didn't expect them to bring up half that stuff.

On now to an interview with Karen Hanretty, Republican strategist. Anderson asks if she buys Wilson's claim that Bush "short-circuited the system of justice and rule of law in the country." As you might guess, she does not buy that and she goes into stuff that Clinton did and basically challenges the Democrats to condemn the commutation. Anderson wants to know how the sentence can be seen as excessive if it's in federal guidelines. Karen completely doesn't answer the question and instead laughs about how most Americans don't even know who Scooter Libby is. Yes, because all of us out here in middle America are retarded and just like watching the pretty people on our tvs. Anderson then makes the very good point that, uh, what does that have to do with whether or not it's excessive?

Being called on her BS then apparently breaks Karen because suddenly she's calling Clinton president. Anderson corrects her with the simple words, "President Bush," but I don't think she even notices because she's busy talking about people that are worse than Scooter Libby. Anderson notes that Bush said he would fire the leakers and since Rove was a leaker, he wonders if he's on his way out. Karen, who has been inappropriatedly laughing throughout this whole interview, says no and that Richard Armitage was the leaker anyway. Anderson then correct that, duh, there were two leakers and one was Rove. But at this point Anderson has had enough and the interview ends there. If it was a phone call I think he would have hung up on her. Anderson was on top of his game for that one. Probably because he was annoyed either due to the laughing or the fact that the woman had no freaking idea what she was talking about.

Next up we've got Candy Crowley and Bill Schneider for more of the commutation possible fallout. We're played a clip of Clinton going off about it and then Anderson notes that her husband actually issued more pardons and commutations than Bush. 360 doesn't take sides, you see. I know this because Anderson has told me 5,000 times tonight. Seriously, what's up with that? An uptick in hate mail? Anderson wonders if it's a risky strategy for Clinton to be so vocal about the commutation. Candy says no because Bill Clinton's pardons are in the past and she's playing to the primary crowd anyway. Then she reads us some bytes from other candidates. Bill thinks Americans are going to see this commutation as special treatment for someone who's well connected. You think?

Transitioning now to an Anderson piece on the UK terror that went down this weekend. We learn that on Friday a Mercedes-Benz packed with fuel and nails was found in London and then another one was found a few blocks away. Both cars were defused and an investigation begun. Then on Saturday a Jeep Cherokee filled with propane gas crashed into a terminal at Glasgow's International Airport and burst into flames. Britain (bridden) has raised their terror alert level to critical, which is the highest. The suspects seem to be foreign born and some of them are doctors. Does this mean we have to declare a war on doctors now? Okay, I know terrorism is real and this is serious, but honestly I just can't see clutching my pearls over people like this. I purposely avoided the coverage this weekend because I am so done with being afraid of this crap. We have to be vigilant, but terror cannot be beaten because it is not even a noun. Terror is a tactic. If you're not afraid, it doesn't work.

Peter Bergen then joins us for discussion and explains that actually these kind of people are picking up their tactics from Iraq. So our war is teaching them. Oh, yay. Actually Peter laid this all out back in March in Mother Jones. You should check it out. According to his findings there has been a seven fold increase in attacks around the world since the Iraq invasion. We're fighting them there so...we can fight them everywhere else too apparently. Anderson points out that the adminstration probably doesn't want to focus on this fact. Yeah, I'm guessing not. Peter notes that you can really see the Iraq tactics being picked up in Afghanistan. They may not have had their promised spring offensive, but the Taliban is making up for it with IEDS and suicide attacks, something they didn't use to do at all. And Afghanistan is supposed to be our success story.

Next up we have a piece from David Mattingly, who I see has recovered nicely from being beat up by a carp. Now CNN is going to try to blow him up. Okay, not really. Apparently there's been some skepticism about how much damage those cars filled with nails and fuel would actually do. Perhaps emails were sent. Ahem. Anyway, CNN has hired some guys to blow up a car, so we can see what it would have looked like if the guys in the UK actually knew what they were doing. The only change is that they're going to use metal nuts instead of nails in order to avoid flat tires in the area. Well, they're very considerate fake terrorists, aren't they? When the explosion happens they make David hang out in a reinforced bunker a half a mile away and then...kaboom! And I gotta say, my first thought was, "eh."

What's funny is that in the intro to the piece Anderson tells us, "we're about to show you just how powerful those car bombs really were," so I'm under the impression that it's mass damage. Then after the explosion David tells us that basically the main thing would have been the fire and really, "bombs like this are made really for one purpose only, and that's for igniting fear and spreading panic." Okay then. So, actually, they're not that effective. To be fair to 360, tonight's coverage was fairly muted, but from what I saw of Friday's show, they were in unnecessary freakout mode. My advice to you dear readers, when one of these attacks or threats happens, get your news online or something for the day. Cable news does nothing but initially poison with fear.

Coming back from commercial we're rocking out to "Money For Nothing" from Dire Straits, another reject of 360's campaign song contest. Not a terrible choice, I suppose. We then move into "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman and...hey, Tom's outside! Actually, he's in Iowa because that's where the action is regarding 2008. We also learn that Giuliani is all over this London thing. There's really something wrong when a terrorist attack is a plus for your campaign. Just saying. Also, Tom tells us Gore apparently wanted to see the "Sopranos" finale so bad that he actually had a Hollywood friend deliver him a copy in a locked metal case just before he took off for a flight to Turkey. Hey, he finally got to put something in a lock box! Hee. The Shot tonight is Bush and Putin fishing, and I have to say, the camera work kind of screams crazy stalker. Also, weren't we on the verge of a new cold war not that long ago? Guess they got over it. That'll do it. The show was good. B+


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