Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from Chris Hedges….
Chris Hedges calls CounterPunch “the most fearless, intellectually rigorous and important publication in the United States.” Who are we to argue? But the only way we can continue to “dissect the evils of empire” and the “psychosis of permanent war” is with your financial support. Please donate.
Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
Don’t want to donate through PayPal?
Then click here to donate through our secure server.
To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
Martha Stewart vs. Scooter Libby
Not surprisingly, President Bush has commuted Scooter Libby’s sentence to ensure that he doesn’t have to serve one day in jail. While Bush undoubtedly would have desired to wait until after the November 2008 elections to pardon Libby, the U.S. Court of Appeals put the quietus to that hope by refusing to delay Libby’s incarceration pending the outcome of his appeal. Thus, Bush’s timetable for keeping Libby happy was accelerated. My hunch is that Bush will still issue a full pardon just before leaving office in January 2009.
The order of clemency serves a valuable function, the same function that the pardons that Bush’s father issued in the Iran-Contra scandal served: it buys a virtual guarantee of silence.
Recall the Watergate scandal. If the presiding judge in that case, Judge Sirica, had not imposed high sentences on the Watergate burglars, the probability is that the scandal would never have been uncovered. Faced with the prospect of going to jail for many years, some of the Watergate burglars began cooperating with the prosecutors by disclosing the criminal wrongdoing within the Nixon administration.
If Libby conspired with other high U.S. officials (e.g., Vice President Cheney) to commit perjury in the Plame case, what happened in Watergate is now unlikely to happen here. With Bush’s order, Libby has little incentive to cooperate with the prosecutors if there was in fact a conspiracy to commit perjury.
Bush said that the only reason for his order of commutation was that Libby’s sentence was too long, despite the fact that a 2-year sentence for perjury by a high federal official doesn’t seem inordinately high. By commuting the sentence to 0 time in jail, Bush is effectively saying that any time in jail for perjury is too much time. Oh? What about Martha Stewart, Mr. Bush? She received a 5-month sentence for lying to a federal official. Why didn’t you commute her sentence to 0 time in jail? If you thought her sentence was fair, then why didn’t you at least match Libby’s sentence to hers?
And while we’re on the subject of excessive sentences, what about the cruel and harsh sentences given to drug offenders? Why not commute those, Mr. Bush? After all, you and other government officials have destroyed people’s lives with your multi-year sentences arising out of your silly, nonsensical, never-ending, fruitless war on drugs. For example, consider the case of Anthony Papa, a 29-year-old father who was made to serve 12 years for delivering a $500 package of cocaine in a federal sting operation. Whose rights did he violate, Mr. Bush? And he’s just one example. There are tens of thousands of others who are rotting their lives away in prisons all across the land because of the beloved and failed war on drug. Why not commute their sentences too?
Let’s face it: There are two sets of justice in this country–one for the federal elite and the other for the private-sector peons whose labor, ironically, provides the tax-paid sustenance by which the federal sector survives and thrives.
JACOB HORNBERGER is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.