Friday, March 23, 2007

Yet another empty "Bush Hater" claim

Yet again, we see the "Bush hater" meme taken out, used when there is clearly nothing else one can say and one doesn't want to just let the facts be said without opposition.

In response to an article about the lying Karl Rove on Salon (detailing why such a proven liar, especially one who has shown he will even lie under oath, needs to be transcribed and put under oath if you are to have any chance of getting the truth out of him), I saw a comment from an anonymous coward:

Why not just say. . .

I hate Bush. . . as opposed to trying to put together a structured argument. At least you wouldn’t look so snide.

1. Would someone please clarify a point for me; is it, is it not true, that the President is entitled to fire federal prosecutors at his will, for whatever reason he chooses.

2. If the answer to question 1 is yes, is this “scandal” then reduced to “the reasons given for the firings were inconsistent”? . . . they were lies?

3. Joe, you continue to discuss Karl Rove and his role in the Valerie Plame “scandal”. Why can’t I find outrage directed toward Richard Armitage, the guy who actually leaked her name to Robert Novak? I remember people claiming that Karl Rove put people’s lives in danger by exposing Valerie. Their anger (and supposed concern over Val’s co-workers) doesn’t seem to translate to Armitage. Why not?

4. If learning the truth is vital for the survival of our democracy, shouldn’t we know why Sandy Berger jammed classified documents down his pants and stole them from the national archives? Remember the “oh that’s just Sandy” line? Talk about a cute explanation. Where’s your outrage over that?

Like I said, why not just leave it as “I hate Bush”. . . you could type less, save electricity, and get closer to being carbon neutral. It would be the truth. You're filled with hate.
-- No Name Given

And that just annoyed me so much, so I responded:

To answer you:
1. Yes, the president can hire and fire at will. But that does not mean he can fire for ANY reason - for instance, firing attorneys for not filing charges in a case where there is no evidence (but would be politically advantageous) or for filing charges in a case where there IS evidence (because it was a political ally) is NOT allowed, and in fact, could be a crime - obstruction of justice, for one. Having operatives call and ask about sealed indictments is also a crime.

2. Even if there were no legal problems with what happened around the firings, lying under oath is a crime, and also begs the question - why lie under oath and risk prison unless there is something you are trying to hide? Administration officials committing felonies to hide something is a big deal and bears further investigation.

3. What Armitage did or did not do has nothing to do with whether or not Rove lied under oath. This article was about why one can't trust rove. Nice try to dodge that and ignore that point.

4. Funny how basically every crime committed by any Republican from now until the end of time will be ignored because hey, someone from a former administration, who isn't even in any government position anymore, might have stuffed some papers down his pants. I guess you're right, let's just let Bush and Rove execute anyone they don't like because, hey, it's justified by shouting "Sandy Berger took some pieces of paper!"

That, or you can just shout "Bush hater" and then you ignore the main argument, which was that Rove is a proven liar, even when he's under oath. I note how you did NOT address what the whole article was about. Usually that is a sign that one has no refutation, so I guess that shows just how strong your position is. I think the phrase "quicksand" is appropriate for what you are standing on.


I doubt that the poster will read my response or even care that I wrote it - they obviously are just posting GOP talking points in an attempt to side-step the issue. I sometimes wonder if we should put together a talking-point exposure channel, just to track where they come from, what they are, and to refute them as they come - so every time someone uses one the utterer can be shot down with a reference back to the source of the bullshit.

UPDATE: He actually responded:

To Disgusted

1. Thanks for the response. I’m not a lawyer. I still don’t really understand what crime, if any is alleged. I do think, however, that crimes should be investigated by a special prosecutor, or even an impeachment. Not by grandstanding politicians. They work for themselves, not us.

Rove and Miers could be interviewed. At the conclusion of the interviews subpoenas could be issued. The democrats are going straight for the subpoenas. Why? . . . they want to grandstand.

2. What officials committed felonies? What crimes? We just concluded a long investigation into the Valerie Plame leak. The result was Scooter Libby was found guilty of lying and obstructing justice during the investigation (not for leaking anything). Serious crimes for which he should be punished. . . . If Karl Rove is still guilty of something (other than you hate him), why no indictment?

3. You’re right. Armitage’s actions do not undo anything Rove did. The reason for my question (which you didn’t answer) was to point out that Joe Conason, and other critics don’t appear to care about the underlying principles. They just want to skewer, quench their hate.

4. Crimes by Republicans should not be ignored. Please clearly state the crime committed with regard to the firing of the federal prosecutors. In my opinion, stealing classified documents (and destroying them) is at least as significant as what Scooter Libby did. Look at the press coverage of the two events. I think the amount of coverage is related to who the media hates more, as opposed to the seriousness of the crime. My opinion.

Let me put it this way, I think Scooter Libby got what he deserves. I think Sandy Berger did not.

Hey I almost forgot, what about that guy that stuck $90k in his freezer? What committee did he just get appointed to? When is the house going to subpoena
-- No Name Given

And I responded:

1. I am a lawyer, but that doesn't necessarily make me a legal expert on this issue. That said, I think you miss the point. Congress is not a prosecutorial body. They are, however, a co-equal branch of government that is tasked with providing oversight of the other two branches. As part of their oversight function, they need to gather facts from the other branches. That's what the subpeona power is for. That's why they swear people in and have them testify - to assure that people show up, and that they tell the truth. Anything less than that, like a non-sworn interview behind closed doors, is something Congress could do as a courtesy, but is not part of their official oversight powers.
Is there grandstanding involved? Its politics. The main reason they want oaths and transcripts is that they have been lied to already, multiple times, on this subject. If you were trying to get truthful information after repeated lies, you'd want an oath and transcript, I'm sure. I know I would. More to the point, unless Rove has something to hide, you'd think he'd welcome the chance to clear the air by testifying under oath, in public. He's certainly not shy about speaking in public.

2. The officials that committed felonies were those who testified before Congress and lied about the firings, Gonzales being one. Lying like that is a felony. And again, you bring up a red herring. The criteria for being called to testify before Congress under oath is NOT prior conviction or indictment for a crime. It is about oversight. So whatever crimes Rove has or hasn't done have nothing to do with whether or not it is legitimate to call him to testify. He has information relevant to this inquiry. That's all that is relevant.

3. You offer another non-sequitor. This was an article about why one would want to talk to Rove only when he was under oath and trascribed. Anything outside of Rove is irrelevant to that issue and therefore irrelevant to the article. Armitage has no information to offer about this issue, he has no reason and no need to testify, he will not be called to testify. So it would be rather absurd to throw him into an article about how Rove lies and should be under oath when questioned. One does not need to hate Rove to come to the rational, empirical conclusion that he is a liar.

4. You brought up a completely unrelated topic. Again, tell me how what Sandy Berger did has anything to do with whether or not Rove is a liar. The articlew as about how Rove is a liar. I see this again and again -any time a Republican does something bad and gets caught at it, or is otherwise criticized, someone brings up Sandy Berger. Get a new talking point. This one is tired and pointless. As a lawyer, I can tell you, when one is being prosecuted, bringing up the crimes or accused crimes against others in unrelated incidents is not only not done, but not allowed, because it is irrelevant, and only relevant evidence is admissible. I think that's why the GOP hates the courts so much - their usual empty-talking-point PR tricks don't work there, and so they lose.

Sandy Berger, whatever he got, is irrelevant to this discussion. And I would think it is a much bigger media story when you have wrongdoing by someone CURRENTLY ACTIVE IN GOVERNMENT, like our Attorney General, committing crimes, than some guy who hasn't been in office for 5 or 10 years stuffing documents down his pants.

As for your $90K - well, again, what does that have to do with Rove lying? I think you are trying to do everything you can to avoid that basic issue, because you know Rove is a liar and so you have no response to that basic fact.

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