The Rule Of Law – It’s not what you do…It’s who you know.

People are going to be having fun with the convoluted logic of this step by President Bush right up until he is facing judgment himself.

In commuting Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr.’s 30-month prison sentence on Monday, President Bush drew on the same arguments about the federal sentencing system often made by defense lawyers — and routinely and strenuously opposed by his own Justice Department.

Critics of the federal sentencing system have a long list of complaints. Sentences, they say, are too harsh. Judges are allowed to take account of facts not proven to the jury. The defendant’s positive contributions are ignored, as is the collateral damage that imprisonment causes the families involved.

On Monday, Bush made use of every element of that critique in a detailed statement setting out his reasons for commuting Libby’s sentence — handing an unexpected gift to defense lawyers around the country, who scrambled to make use of the president’s arguments in their own cases.

Given the administration’s tough stand on sentencing, the president’s arguments left experts in sentencing law scratching their heads.

“The Bush administration, in some sense following the leads of three previous administrations, has repeatedly supported a federal sentencing system that is distinctly disrespectful of the very arguments that Bush has put forward in cutting Libby a break,” said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who writes the blog “Sentencing Law and Policy.”

So the President who has never met a death sentence he didn’t like felt the sentence of his friend was too harsh. Now the conservative chattering class feels he didn’t go far enough because of the lose of status to Libby if his appeal fails…Come on guys, Scooter will never have to work again. Someone out there in the Bush Leagues will make sure he is taken care of for life. They always do…

Source: Libby commutation confounds experts | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Wishing You a Happy 4th…and 5th, and 6th…

The external world, so fascinating, so infinite in its variety, has us firmly in hand and thoroughly mesmerized. Lasting happiness is almost ours – over there, just ahead of us, right around the next corner. When we round that corner and find it has eluded us, something in us says, “Keep running! It’s just around the next corner.” Finally, our life becomes a continual pilgrimage around corners. Such is human credulity that even after rounding a thousand corners, we still say, “The thousand and first, that is the corner.”

If we believe that happiness arises only when some external condition is fulfilled, we consign ourselves to a perpetual state of discontent. For even when our expectations are fulfilled, sooner or later the little voice inside starts again, “More! More!” It is this habit, this almost mechanical fixation of the mind, that keeps us forever chasing rainbows, until at last we begin to suspect that the kingdom of heaven is within.

Source:The Thought for the Day is today’s entry from Eknath Easwaran’s Words to Live By.
(Copyright 1999 and 2005 by The Blue Mountain Center of Meditation.)

July 3rd – today will be 15…

Can you imagine what must have been going on behind the scenes on this day all those years ago in Philadelphia? The discussions, the arguments, the compromises all to commit…treason. Each and every signer of the Declaration of Independence was putting his head in a noose for what he believed in. After the resolution of independence passed the Continental Congress on July 2nd, the debate and the discussion over the wording went on for two days until the Declaration of Independence was accepted late in the evening on July 4th, 1776.

It appears that the threat of death has a beneficial influence on the prose that pours forth from the quill…

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands, which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

(continue reading on Wikipedia)

Keep those words in mind tomorrow as you celibate the birthday of this nation.

Have a safe and happy 4th…

the ramblings of my brain over that first cup… and other meanders