Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend

Nov 2 - Nov16, 2005
Issue #87

  ..Buffalo's Best Fiend
All Day Suckers
Getting fooled again
Allan Uthman

The Undoucheables
Even Fitzgerald can't cleanse media pussies
Paul jones

All Eyes on Greenland
Global Warming continues to warm the globe
Alexander Zaitchik
Scalito's Way
Supreme Court loses its swing
Donnie Dobovich
Nuclear Terror goes Primetime
But who's watching?

Russ Wellen

Why 2K?
Lucky 200th dead soldier wins free autopsy
Jeff Dean

Slaving You More
A brave new world right next to the salsa
N. Sorrenti
An Evening with Malcolm McLaren
We got to hang out with him & you didn't
Paul Fallon

Ask Kim Jong Il
Advice from the world's most colorful super-villain

Judy, Judy, Judy
An interview w/ Judith Einach, Buffalo's best hopeless Mayoral candidate
Vote for Helfer or He'll Kick Your Ass
The Buffalo News' Illogical Endersement

The BEAST Blog
Irresponsible vitriol on a near-daily basis

[sic] - Letters
Wide Right
Bills Football & other sports
Kino Korner: Movies
Michael Gildea
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
 Cover Page

Idiot Box
Perry Bible Fellowship
Bob the Angry Flower

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The Undouchables: Fitzgerald can’t cleanse media pussies - by Paul Jones

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has taken the critical first step toward bringing a member of the Bush White House to justice for revealing the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. So what?

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, described by his boss, Dick Cheney, as “one of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever known,” has been indicted for obstructing justice, making false statements to the FBI and lying to a grand jury. Cheney, in a statement following Libby’s resignation—which preceded the filing of charges by a matter of hours—gushed that Libby has “served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction.” I read those words with the incredulity one reserves for the specious claims of fortune cookies and late-night infomercials. I was certain Cheney had to be referring to some post held by Libby at a point far in the past, perhaps as a senate page or Boy Scout, or in a former life.

Yet, it turns out Cheney was indeed effusing without irony about Libby’s very recent exertions on behalf of the Bush White House. Indeed, everything about Mr. Libby is exactly as you’d expect. That literally infantile sobriquet, “Scooter”—evoking images of a mangy, tripodal coonhound—at first intimates a calculated incongruity, as though he desires to be underestimated. Something, it so happens, it would be difficult to do. According to an article by John Lyman of the Center for American Progress, Lewis authored or played a key role in some of the administration’s most dastardly, larcenous and lethally stupid stratagems in the run-up to, and aftermath of, the Iraq invasion.

Among other things, Libby was a central figure in “The Vulcans,” the group who “convinced the president that the U.S. should go to war in Iraq.” Which is the more disturbing imputation: that they compared themselves to a Roman deity or to Mr. Spock?  Libby reportedly “pushed Cheney to publicly argue that Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda and 9/11.” Similarly, he “prodded former Secretary of State Colin Powell to include specious reports about an alleged meeting between 9/11 terrorist Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence official in Powell’s February 2003 speech to the United Nations.” He also had a not entirely explained part in awarding one of the infamous no-bid contracts to Halliburton.

Quite a resume for someone not yet 60. Nor quite human.

Libby was seen limping around Capitol Hill on crutches last week, like a human metaphor. It’s tempting to think Cheney maimed him in a backroom hobbling session, just to ensure his continued fealty. Despite Cheney’s professed grief at Libby’s departure, it’s not hard to envision him having pushed “Scooter” onto a sword if the latter hadn’t sat so primly on one.

What of calls on the White House, from Republicans no less, to use the occasion of Libby’s exit to “overhaul” staff? If you don’t know the answer to that question, you might very well be a member of Washington’s incorrigibly dim press corps. Appalachians would be in awe of this administration’s inbreeding. It’s a wonder they don’t all have flippers and cyclopia.  No, Cheney paid Libby a great tribute by promoting two in-house personnel to carry on his prodigious bumbling.

Fitzgerald, for his part, is being compared in unrestrained newspaper profiles to Eliot Ness, famed agent of the Chicago Bureau of Prohibition, and leader of the cinematically mythologized “Untouchables.” Like Ness, Fitzgerald rose to prominence in Chicago attacking the mafia—Ness during the mob’s zenith, Fitzgerald at its nadir. Thus strained efforts to substantively link the two indicate, more than anything, the infantilized media’s alacrity to anoint, cede authority and responsibility to someone, anyone who might atone for the debacle they have so fecklessly enabled. Ness and his men are credited with toppling Al Capone—once the nation’s, maybe the world’s, biggest crime figure. Fitzgerald, on the other hand, as Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair suggested on Counterpunch.org, has been bathed in the spotlight for a relatively simple act: ensnaring a doltish apparatchik in the mesh of his own incalculably fatuous and untenable lies. And he appears content to plod methodically, unimaginatively ahead.

(In an interesting side note, Eliot Ness served for a time in the 1940s as chairman of Diebold Corporation, at the time a manufacturer of safes and vaults, and today the maker of electronic voting machines accused by many of having conspired to secure Ohio’ electoral votes for President Bush in the 2004 election.)

Fitzgerald was adamant that the prosecution of Libby is “not about the propriety of the war.” He cautioned that “people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.’’ The San Francisco Chronicle quoted his averment, explicitly disabusing anyone nurturing fanciful notions, that the case merely concerns “whether some person, Mr. Libby, lied or not.’’ You have to marvel at his ability to cut through the procedural minutiae and actually recall the name of the man he has indicted.

This, supposedly, is what reporters, pundits and his colleagues mean when they refer to Fitzgerald, with apparent admiration, as “incorruptible.” Listening to the special prosecutor, you get the sense he could make a story about a tryst with conjoined Thai acrobats a snooze. The papers seem oddly cognizant of this, going so far as to point out Fitzgerald decompresses with “extreme sports in exotic countries and pints of Guinness,” as Scotland’s Sunday Herald put it. Rest assured, citizen taxpayers, he undertakes these unimpeachably vigorous and manly pursuits “only briefly,” and only “at the end of a case.” You’ll be getting your money’s worth.

Fitzgerald, then, embodies all of Ness’s puritan, mirthless, ascetic instincts without approaching any of his righteous fury. Ness had an archenemy in Al Capone, a ruthless bootlegger and unrepentant thug, in whom he recognized a palpable, implacable bane; and against whom, Ness understood, inaction would have been fatal for society. The special prosecutor, painted as indefatigable and ambitious, is staring right at the brittle façade of slapstick malversation and proposes to do…nothing. Would that Fitzgerald were Ness reincarnate. No, there isn’t likely to be any swift, condign justice. No White House raid, no figurative hail of bullets. Not even the nearly anticlimactic equivalent of a tax evasion trial. This is bad theater and even worse government.

This prosecution, while legally and ethically significant for its own sake, is merely the latest stop on the rhetorical Mobius strip circumnavigating the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It is the equivalent of whispering in pig Latin: “Ixnay on the ustificationjay for arway.”

Fitzgerald has only slightly and unpromisingly hinted he may eventually seek an indictment of Karl Rove. Many liberal observers are slavering to see Rove, Bush’s porcine superego, roasted because of his crucial importance to the president. Even that scantly propitious development won’t bring the country any closer to confronting its costly iniquities overseas. Lyman insists the loss of Libby is a “huge blow” to the White House. What precisely are the standards on this inverted shit scale? How can losing one of the principle architects of an unmitigated disaster be deemed a loss? How can this ship of fools be any more rudderless?

If Fitzgerald has any plans to trade on whatever notoriety might accrue to him, he’s probably thinking small: a run for office, perhaps. He’d be up to the task. In the wake on Libby’s indictment, Senator John Kerry, the erstwhile Democratic presidential candidate stand-in and all-around paragon of ineffectuality protested. “Not only was America misled into war,” he said, “but a Nixonian effort to silence dissent has now left Americans wondering whether they can trust anything this administration has to say.’’ Kerry always fulminates just loud enough to be quoted and tries vainly to essay gravitas. He uttered those words ostensibly without the slightest idea what they implied. He is Cato without consequence. But Kerry suffers from a common debility afflicting all the nation’s lawmakers—maybe the nation itself—satisfied to abdicate loftier responsibilities in favor of what is near or niggling. As Matt Taibbi pointed out in these pages, our congress consists of individuals who think pursuing Rafael Palmeiro for his steroid lies redounds to their great credit.  Fungible with making the president answer for criminal misdeeds resulting in the loss of American lives.

At what juncture will Mr. Fitzgerald be in the meticulous, adroit and exceedingly complex prosecution of Mr. Libby when the death toll in Iraq reaches three thousand? How far along will the case be when we invade another nation on similarly finagled reasoning? Filing endless motions, poring over discovery, perhaps even calling the complicit gastropoda of Washington’s media elite to ooze onto the witness stand? Let’s not be hasty. These things take time.

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