... an exploit can be defined as a case where a player knowingly uses a flaw in a game to gain an unfair advantage. In many concrete cases, it can be difficult to distinguish between cheats, exploits, and players who optimize their strategies for playing.
I'd been working on this post vis a vis the Gonzales situation. The DoJ situation, in it's own way, magnificent. They're averaging a DoJ resignation a week over the attorney scandal. The Attorney General himself appears like a clueless mall -based ambulance chaser every time he appears in front of Congress ...
... that's "I Don't Recall" 74 times. He appears either drunk, pathetic, inept or corrupt. Yet he's still in there. Plugging away. He's a walking joke, but he's still the top law enforcement official in America.
Then Scooter gets his sentence commuted. Oh, and just to make sure we're clear on where I stand here, let me paraphrase Glenn Greenwald --
" The Libby prosecution clearly was the dirty work of the leftist anti-war movement in this country, just as Cohen describes. After all, the reason Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed to investigate this matter was because a left-wing government agency (known as the "Central Intelligence Agency") filed a criminal referral with the Justice Department, as the MoveOn-sympathizer CIA officials were apparently unhappy about the public unmasking of one of their covert agents.
In response, Bush's left-wing anti-war Attorney General, John Ashcroft, judged the matter serious enough to recuse himself, leading Bush's left-wing anti-war Deputy Attorney General, James Comey, to conclude that a Special Prosecutor was needed. In turn, Comey appointed Fitzgerald, the left-wing anti-war Republican Prosecutor and Bush appointee, who secured a conviction of Libby, in response to which left-wing anti-war Bush appointee Judge Reggie Walton imposed Libby's sentence."-- there.
The commutation, rather than being some canny half-measure some are calling it, is actually worse than a pardon. The President's saying "Fine, fine, I agree a jury of his peers found him guilty of multiple counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, but I don't think he should be punished for that." He's not even saying that he believes Scooter's innocent. He just doesn't think people like Scooter should have to suffer just because they're guilty.
What? What's that from the trolls? "Oh, but no, he'll be punished! He just won't do any jail time! He still has to pay the fine ..."
... which will be paid by rich conservative friends ...
"... and his conviction stays on the books, damaging his reputation."
... yes. yes. I'm sure the Think Tank or University posts he was counting on for future employment will suddenly drop him, as they have a strict policy against hiring felons. Maybe Cheney will loan him a tie for his appointment with the nice Catholic social worker who'll send him off to the car wash or janitorial placement agency. Despair for Thug-Life Libby.
Not to be a foul-mouthed blogger, but blow me.
Scooter Libby pays no fine, he suffers no damage to his employment prospects or his reputation among people he cares about. Jail was the only thing that would be any sort of payment for lying to a grand jury and obstructing justice. Now it's gone. I don't care how conservative you are -- that's just wrong. If you're down with this, you are way, way deep in the Crazification Factor.
This just hammers home my realization of what the Cheney Administration -- and yes, damn you this is the first time I've indulged in that neologism, and the first time I think it perfectly appropriate -- what the Cheney Administration has discovered. They have found the "exploit" within the United States Government. As I watched Congressmen and Senators stumble and fumble and thrash, unable to bring to heel men and women who were plainly lying to them under oath, unable to eject from public office toadies of a boot-licking expertise unseen since Versailles, it struck me. The sheer, simple elegance of it. The "exploit".
The exploit is shame.
Our representatives -- and to a great degree we as a culture -- are completely buffaloed by shamelessness. You reveal a man's corrupt, or lying, or incompetent, and what does he do? He resigns. He attempts to escape attention, often to aid in his escape of legal pursuit. Public shame has up to now been the silver bullet of American political life. But people who are willing to just do the wrong thing and wait you out, to be publicly guilty ... dammmnnnn.
We are faced with utterly shameless men. Cheney and the rest are looking our representatives right in the eye and saying "You don't have the balls to take down a government. You don't have the sheer testicular fortitude to call us lying sonuvabitches when we lie, to stop us from kicking the rule of law and the Constitution in the ass. You just don't. What's beyond that abyss -- what that would do to our government and our identity as a nation -- terrifies you too much. So get the fuck out of our way."
And to a great degree, the White House is right. You peel this back, and you reveal that the greatest country in the world has been run, for the last six and a half years, by men who do not give a shit about the Constitution, or fair play, or honesty. No, not just run by corrupt men, or bribe-takers, or adulterers or whatever, we could handle that --no we'd be admitting It Went Wrong.
There is a sizeable population in America that just does not, cannot wrap their head around the fact that the President may be a Bad Man who does Bad Things. He's President of America. We're Americans. We're the good guys. Remember, the Nixon mythos in America is that the system worked. "See, in America, even the President is not above the law."
These Suited Bastards know the fragile shell of American exceptionalism is all that's keeping a whole lot of people from processing that they're working too many hours for not enough money, and they either believe real reeaaaalll hard that they're living in the Shining City on the Hill or admit their lives are shit and they've been chumped.
Who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin' Congress?
I cannot help but think that as Nixon walked to the chopper, somewhere in the darkened hallways of the White House Dick Cheney shook his head, spit, and whispered: "Pussy."
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