NYT’s Fabulous Post-Scriptum. . . Libby Edition!

Just go read it all — Mr. Cheney, in full regalia, and full of all that made him perhaps the least likeable politician. . . Ever.

There is no doubt in my mind that the attempt to pardon Scooter was purely quid pro quo. I am thankful that Bush 43 didn’t do so — for what ever reason.

That may be the only good news in the whole murderously sad story. Do go read it all.

“. . .George W. Bush’s refusal to pardon I. Lewis Libby at the end of his presidency caused Dick Cheney to lash out: ‘‘You are leaving a good man wounded on the field of battle. . . .”

I am truly glad to turn my back on this chapter of American Executive Branch history.


Wyoming’s Republicans: “Daughter’s A Cartpetbagger, Just Like Her Father”. . . Hilarious!

It comes as scant surprise that Mr. Cheney’s older daughter is as divisive — even within her own party — as Mr. Cheney was/is. It seems she’s trying to out-muscle a well-liked, long serving Senator in Wyoming. A Cheney acting brashly, and against advice? “Well. . . I’m shocked. Simply shocked.” Or not so much.

The only reason the long-standing, and well-liked Mr. Enzi would “be in any difficulty is if there’s a weird group of Republicans who think compromise is akin to communism,” said Alan Simpson, a legendary figure in Wyoming Republican politics. That sort of “difficulty” is of Mr. — and Ms. — Cheney’s making, at the moment.

Here is a bit of the Times reporting on it, from Jackson Hole, on it — do go read it all:

. . .What has startled some people here is not just the fact that Ms. Cheney is seemingly trying to nudge Mr. Enzi into retirement, but that she appears to be doing so with a hand from her father.

The former vice president and Mr. Enzi have been friends since the 1970s, when Mr. Cheney was Wyoming’s at-large congressman and Mr. Enzi was the mayor of Gillette. They became closer, Mr. Enzi recalled, over a shared passion: fly-fishing. The two were on the same team competing in a popular annual One Fly tournament — fishing with the same fly lure all day — in the Snake River.

But Mr. Enzi said he had not recently heard from the man he calls his “good friend.”

“I would expect that he’d call before she declares,” Mr. Enzi said of Mr. Cheney. . . .

If Ms. Cheney feels the need to blend in with the locals, it may be because of the carpetbagging charges her father faced when he moved back here from Washington in 1977 after working for President Gerald R. Ford. . . .

As I say — hilarious! Good luck Ms. Cheney!

Jim Comey To Head FBI: Obama’s Karmic Victory, For Five AUSAs

This is perfect — per the NYT, tonight.
Karma is a wheel, yes?

. . .Mr. Comey, 52, was chosen for the position over the other finalist for the job, Lisa O. Monaco, who has served as the White House’s top counterterrorism adviser since January. By choosing Mr. Comey, a Republican, Mr. Obama made a strong statement about bipartisanship at a time when he faces renewed criticism from Republicans in Congress and has had difficulty confirming some important nominees. . . .

As deputy attorney general in the Bush administration, Mr. Comey was a critical player in 2004 in the dramatic hospital room episode in which the White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, and Mr. Bush’s chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., tried to persuade Attorney General John Ashcroft — who was ill and disoriented — to reauthorize a warrantless eavesdropping program. . . .
Well done Mr. Obama! [2006 era background here.]

Letter To Cheney (And Bush) Must Be Read. Today.

I’ll simply note that the mistakes that led to these lessons ought not be consigned to the dustin of history.

They were avoidable — and most of all, they were foreseeable.

I am sorry so many had to die to make them plain.

I am sorry Mr. Cheney failed us all. Now go read the letter, in full — but here’s a bit:

. . . .I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love.

I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire. . . . .

On the other hand, perhaps we failed one another, by re-electing him.

Here endeth the sermon.

Secret Service Agents Have Qualified Immunity: SCOTUS, In Howards

Here is a pdf of the full opinion (just handed down), but I will quote from Ginsberg’s concurring opinion — as it will be useful in any future such cases:

. . .Thus, the “causal connection [a plaintiff must establish in a retaliatory-prosecution case] is not merely between the retaliatory animus of one person and that person’sown injurious action, but between the retaliatory animusof one person and the action of another.” Hartman, 547 U. S., at 262. This “distinct problem of causation” justified the absence-of-probable-cause requirement we recognized in Hartman. Id., at 263 (Proof of an absence of probable cause to prosecute is needed “to bridge the gap between the non prosecuting government agent’s motive and the prosecutor’s action.”). See also id., at 259 (“[T]he need toprove a chain of causation from animus to injury, with details specific to retaliatory-prosecution cases, . . . provides the strongest justification for the no-probable-cause requirement.” (emphasis added)).

A similar causation problem will not arise in the typical retaliatory-arrest case. Unlike prosecutors, arresting officers are not wholly immune from suit. As a result, a plaintiff can sue the arresting officer directly and need only show that the officer (not some other official) acted with a retaliatory motive. Because, in the usual retaliatory-arrest case, there is no gap to bridge between one government official’s animus and a second government official’s action, Hartman’s no-probable-cause requirement is inapplicable.

Nevertheless, I concur in the Court’s judgment. Officers assigned to protect public officials must make singularly swift, on the spot, decisions whether the safety of the person they are guarding is in jeopardy. . . .

Disappointing — but not unexpected — after hearing the tenacity of the questioning, in favor of the agents, by the majority of the SCOTUS, and hinting that there was — at the time of the incident (2006) no “clearly established right” of which the Secret Service agents should have been aware. . . all of which was seen as likely to doom Mr. Howards’ claim.

This may be the last entry — the likely end of this particular blog.

What If Dick Cheney Received Trayvon Martin’s Heart?

Following up on my thoughts immediately below — I wonder whether Mr. Cheney would feel/experience anything, differently, at some visceral level — a level he couldn’t really put into words — if it were to turn out that his new heart came from an entirely innocent, unarmed and harmless teenager, one who happened to be black in the wrong neighborhood. [Would he be kinder. . . gentler, to the African American nurses doubtlessly tending to him — compassionately, and selflessly — right now?]

In short, what if Mr. Cheney’s new heart. . . came from young Trayvon Martin’s body?

What a novel that would make. Truly, though, recipients not all that infrequently report craving the some of the same foods, and even thinking similar thoughts, to those their donors were reported to have/hold. What a world that would be, now?

Mr. Cheney’s “Change” Of Heart — Insert Your Own Joke Here

Actually. . . please don’t.

First — I won’t joke about this one (and here is how I have genuinely, and consistently, felt about it, in the past). I do wish him continued health. I do want him to see the longer shadows of his legacy — and read, within that Roman light — how history (with more temperance) will ultimately mark him down. I don’t expect it will be gentle — but I do expect he should have to know it, before he goes.

And even so, I cannot help but wonder whether — as many such transplant patients self-report — Mr. Cheney will now begin to feel the echo of his donor’s emotions (and the sort of emotions many transplant patients report feeling), simply for having the DNA and thus the stored chemical memories of another’s emotional experiences, coursing through his blood-stream, and reaching his brain-stem, synapses, and cerebral cortex, some 87,000 times a day, every day, for the rest of his existence here.

Will those chemicals change his perspective at all? That is an interesting, if somewhat unscientific question. We will look for evidence of it, and we hope anyone granted the right to interview him would plumb him for reactions along these lines — it would be a fascinating human interest story.

In any event, unfortunately, from the New York Times article, this morning — even with this very intensive intervention, the longer-term survival statistics, for people over 55 (Mr. Cheney will be 72 this year) undergoing a heart transplant, are not particularly encouraging:

. . .A 2008 study in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery found that outcomes were significantly worse for older patients. For patients over 55, the study found, 63 percent were still alive five years after their transplant, 48 percent survived a decade and 35 percent were living 15 years later. . . .

[And, as to his legacy — in what reads as the Times’ foretelling of how it will deliver his eventual obituary:]

. . .In a government career with few parallels, Mr. Cheney, who was vice president for all eight years of Mr. Bush’s presidency, has been chief of staff to President Gerald R. Ford, represented Wyoming in Congress and served as defense secretary under the first President George Bush. He is widely considered to have been among the most powerful vice presidents in American history. . . advocating an aggressive assertion of presidential power.

He was a lightning rod for critics of the Bush administration, and his influence as vice president during Mr. Bush’s second term was considerably diminished. . . .

We will genuinely wish for his full recovery — but we have been down this very same path with older patients, and know that his odds are lower than 50-50, for a full recovery.

He may well live long enough, however, to read — from a hospital bed, somewhere in Virginia — that his long-time hunting buddy, Justice Scalia, has penned an opinion freeing him from the possibilty of a deposition in the 2006 Beaver Creek, Colorado retaliatory arrest for protected free expression case, captioned as Howards. My bet is that the Supreme Court’s opinion on that matter will be handed down before the end of June 2012. I wonder whether he’ll feel any empathy for Mr. Howards, with his new heart (from an ordinary donor — a part of the 99% — like Mr. Howards), when that day comes. We shall see.