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  • The Libby Trial

    Posted by Jonathan on February 17th, 2007 (All posts by )

    Despite wishful thinking by some conservative pundits, the odds that Libby will be convicted, as reflected by the Intrade betting market, have been creeping up and are now around 70%. The bigger question at this point is whether President Bush will have the balls to pardon him.

    (This blog is an Intrade affiliate.)

     

    28 Responses to “The Libby Trial”

    1. Lexington Green Says:

      There should be a contract for a pardon.

      I’d speculate there is zero chance Bush will use up any of his neglibigle political capital on Libby.

      Subordinates are to be expended. That is how all presidents play it.

    2. James A Pacella Says:

      I could be wrong, but I dont see how a jury could find this guy guilty of perjury.

      Of course they way things have been going lately, I’m losing faith in a lot of things about this country that used to be true.

    3. Fred Says:

      Speaking of political capital, pushing a show trial uses up considerable political capital.

    4. Richard Lubbock Says:

      Bush will not muster the balls to pardon Libby because Bush secretes no testosterone at all. He’s an impotent. I could say more, but speech in pointless in this juncture. We can wait only for his term to fribble away into its natural futility.

    5. James A Pacella Says:

      Richard: who knows.. maybe protecting his friend (if the guy is his friend.. i dont know if he is) will get him to take some action and then he’ll be like “well that wasn’t so bad” and maybe he’ll do something else like close the southern border.

      (purely being facetious)

    6. Ginny Says:

      I haven’t paid much attention. The most depressing thing to me was that as an American I have been represented in foreign countries by someone as disgusting as Joe Wilson and been “protected” by a CIA who not only would hire someone stupid enough to marry him, but let her indulge in a little nepotism (either for money or fame or merely to muddy people with whom they didn’t agree). (I guess I don’t care much what other countries think, but I hoped we would have at least a little self-respect.)

      And I really hope Intrade is wrong – surely Libby is no more at fault than the parade of journalists who cheerfully encourage leaks far more dangerous than this one on a daily basis.

    7. Jonathan Says:

      Subordinates are to be expended. That is how all presidents play it.

      That’s the conventional wisdom. However, for Bush to allow a conviction to pass would encourage further attempts by his political opponents to use the law to hamstring his administration. Look at Iran-Contra. Reagan could have made the controversy disappear early on if he had said: “I’m the commander in chief and these guys were working under my authority.” By disavowing them he made more trouble for himself than if he had stood by them and taken some short-term heat. That’s hindsight, but sometimes it’s possible to learn from hindsight.

      I could be wrong, but I dont see how a jury could find this guy guilty of perjury.

      Could be. Maybe the Libby jurors are like the College of Cardinals when it elected the new pope. All the educated guesses turned out to be wrong, because no one who was guessing had any real information about what the cardinals were doing; the guesses were pure speculation. A criminal jury is a somewhat similar setup, in that we know very little about how the jurors are actually leaning in their decision making. But we probably know a lot more about predicting jury verdicts than we do about predicting papal elections. So I hope that you are right but I wouldn’t count on it.

    8. James A Pacella Says:

      >So I hope that you are right but I wouldn’t count on it.

      I hear you. It would just be fitting the way this year has been going if he was found guilty.

      I was on jury once for a car accident case. The experience of process and consesus building was horrible. I would pray to a diety of your choice that I will never have to be in such a circumstance.

    9. Jim Miller Says:

      Those who wonder how a jury could convict Libby should remember that it’s a Washington, DC jury. Juries there have done many amazing things, including deliberately acquitting murderers.

      The Bush administration does not have strong support in the District, as I am sure all of you know. As I recall, when they were questioning prospective jurors, they were trying to exclude those who had full blown Bush Derangement Syndrome, but letting those with only mild versions through. And even so, they had trouble getting a complete jury.

      And the dishonest converage of this controversy may well have made it impossible for Libby to get a fair trial in almost any metropolitan area.

    10. Mrs. Davis Says:

      If Bush asked Libby to lie to the DoJ and the Grand Jury he might get a pardon. But I doubt he did so I suspect Bush will look at it as a lawbreaker punished if he’s convicted.

      As to Bush cajones, we’re still in Iraq and we will be on Jan 8, 2009.

    11. James A Pacella Says:

      I dont understand the correlation between Bush’s cajones and those dates. (I can assume one for you, but I dont want to put words in your mouth)

    12. Lexington Green Says:

      What happens to Libby will have no impact on Bush. W’s approval ratings are in the basement, and his party and the country have moved on and are focused on the next election. The only way he will get any credibility to do anything is if there is visible progress in Iraq — which is impossible, since any progress will not be reported, even if it happened. Also, the Deomcrats know that the more that Iraq looks like Vietnam in its endgame, the better it is for them politically, so they are going to be pushing for an unambiguous defeat for the USA, while trying to keep that aspect quiet, though some of them are too stupid to keep it quiet, e.g. Murtha. The more Iraq is a catastrophe, the more it destroys the GOP’s long-held reputation of superior skill and reliability on security and defense issues. A helicopters-off-the-roof outcome in Iraq levels the domestic political playing field for the Donks, and they know it. Right now Bush is trying to push for some kind of respectable break-even appearance on our withdrawal, the Donks are trying to make sure it is a clear disaster. They recall 1974 and 1976, winning days for them in the wake of defeat in “Nixon’s War”.

      Potentially, Mr. Bush could embark on other initiatives and get some traction that way. But he seems unable to do that, or unwilling. His focus has shrunk to Baghdad and Anbar province. His recent Clintonian deal with NK shows that he has no cards left to do anything.

      (This piece, about the Russian diplomacy in the Middle East, show how the vultures are circling to take advantage of the new world order, post-Iraq, with the American hegemon in disarray and without friends in the region. Iraq is looking to be less like our second Vietnam and more like the Anglosphere’s second Singapore.)

      So, basically, there will be no important initiatives coming out of the presidency until probably the Spring/Summer of 2009. We are on autopilot, with the nearest thing to direction coming from Speaker Pelosi and Rahm Emmanuel, et al. until then.

    13. Robert Schwartz Says:

      An old trial lawyer once told me that there is a 10% chance that a jury will do anything. Nonetheless, a lot will depend on the summation and the charge. Further, there will be an appeal if there is a guilty verdict. I’ll bet there is enough on appeal to require a new trial, which is very unlikely.

      I think, Wells’ decision to put neither Cheney nor Libby on the stand is a sign that he thinks the prosecution has not done much damage.

      As far as a pardon goes, I would not expect one until December 2008.

    14. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Things are very SAD all around.

      And they are far from over in Iraq. By summer it will look very different for a lot of reasons.

      While the MSM can fail to report actual progress, it cannot report deterioration or failure to improve if there has been progress. The story will fade from view to be replaced by the next story if things improve. But if the war does improve, Presidential candidates who have stood by it will drive the point home and the press will not be able to bury their statements in debates and ads.

      While Bush may not start any new initiatives, Emmanuel, Pelosi, Murtah can do very little direction setting short of defunding or revoking authorization for the war. It’s Bush’s war and nobody will touch it with a 10 foot pole till 2009. Pelosi doesn’t ahve the votes or the guts to defund the war.

    15. Lexington Green Says:

      “…it cannot report deterioration or failure to improve if there has been progress.”

      As long as ANY Americans are getting killed, that is all that will get reported.

    16. Pat Says:

      Forget Intrade. Read Tom Maguire at Just One Minute and pay attention to Clarice Feldman’s posts and comments.

    17. Jonathan Says:

      Maguire is the principal pundit I had in mind. He is generally insightful. The problem is that he is arguing from logic and evidence. The jury, as Jim Miller reminds us above, is drawn from a jurisdiction where people are disproportionately likely to be hostile to Administration officials, and isn’t necessarily using those criteria.

    18. capitano Says:

      If I were betting, I would bet that there is at least one principled juror who paid attention to the evidence and will follow the jury instruction on reasonable doubt. It only takes one.

    19. flaiii Says:

      I bought in at 60 — its now at 61.4 (not 70)…on intrade, a price of 60 is not overwhelmingly a ringer for victory.

    20. Christopher Fotos Says:

      I wonder to what extent the traders get their information about the trial from Dreaded Mainstream Media. I mean heck, the jury could convict, I have no idea. But when you compare mainstream reporting with what’s come out on some Plamaniac sites like Tom Maguire’s Just One Minute, you get a radically different view of what’s come into evidence, the performance of various witnesses, etc. Do most traders know that a previously unknown FBI interview with Tim Russert credits him with saying,in contradiction to his testimony, that he couldn’t rule out that Valerie Plame came up in his conversation with Libby?–a conversation that is a keystone to Fitzgerald’s case? I could provide several more significant examples like that. My point isn’t to argue the case here–I just wonder about the source of their impressions.

    21. Anonymous Says:

      The whole trial is a 3 ring circle
      jerk, and only pushed to slam Bush.
      The people energizing this hate the
      president so much they are willing
      to harm the country.
      It is ludicrous LIbby is being tried on such a ridiculous charge.
      The prosecutor knew from the git go who so-called outed Plame hiding this fact.
      Why isn’t he being investigated?
      I’d say the prosecutors had to scrape the bottom side of the barrel
      looking for anything to attack Bush and his admin.

    22. Anna Jane Says:

      Who the heck cares? Libby’s a nobody in a trial about nothing.

    23. Alain Says:

      You mean the same futures markets that were predicting that the GOP would keep control of the Senate?

    24. Jonathan Says:

      The futures market may have spoken but the (actual) volume was like a whisper. When fewer than 3000 contracts trade in any market, the demographics could be all blue, like blue skies and wishful thinking. Money on the line doesn’t make it real or even plausible.

    25. A Second Hand Conjecture Says:

      Will We See the Efficient Market Hypothesis at Work?…

      As the “Scooter” Libby trial draws to a close, speculation abounds as to the final outcome. According to Chicago Boyz (HT: Insty), the Intrade betting market sets the chances of Libby being convicted at around 70% for.
      Despite wishful …

    26. Greg D Says:

      So, have you bought some of that action? If not, why not?

    27. Jonathan Says:

      -Jonathan 6:21 AM isn’t me. Contra his assertion, experience shows that money on the line does make it more likely that the market’s distillation of collective opinion is accurate, even if trading volume is low.

      -I’m not trading this. Why? Because I’m less keen on political trading for myself than I am on political trading as a source of information. Because I don’t think I know enough to have an edge here. And because if I were in the market I would probably spend too much time following it, relative to the size of the bet that I would make.

    28. Midas Oracle .ORG » Blog Archive » Scooter Libby Trial: InTrade Probabilities vs. Tom Maguire's Insights Says:

      […] At Chicago Boyz, you’ll see a debate (in the comments) on prediction markets vs. legal experts (in particular, Tom Maguire). […]