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I continue to be confounded by the aggressively asserted notion that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr. deserves a pass on his conviction for perjury (“Let Libby scoot home free,” William F. Buckley Jr., Commentary, Wednesday).

Mr. Libby functioned at the highest level of the Bush administration, performing in accord with its stated objectives. He willingly accepted that role and the accountability it conferred.

The rationale for overlooking his perjury is that there was no underlying crime. It would appear, then, that all Mr. Libby had to do when asked whether he had ever told the press the name of Valerie Plame was to say yes. He would be home free, as is Richard Armitage, the man who first exposed her name to the media. Instead Mr. Libby, claiming memory lapse, lied.

Mr. Libby accepted what he believed were the perks of operating in the rarified atmosphere of the vice president’s office but rejects the responsibility component, as do all his defenders. He chose to run interference for his boss.

Running interference is a challenging and dangerous position. Sometimes you get hurt.

JOAN SALEMI

West Springfield

Farmers are shuckers, too

It is not surprising that National Corn Growers Association President Ken McCauley uses the term free market pejoratively (Reusable fuels: Good goal, good policy,” Commentary, Sunday), as it is the free market that stands in the way of his profit. Instead of allowing supply and demand to determine the price of corn, the corn lobby wants Congress to raise the price of corn, guaranteeing that growers reap record profits while consumers have to pay more for groceries.

In 2005, at the NCGA’s behest, Congress mandated that 7.5 billion gallons of bio fuels (in practice, corn-based ethanol) be incorporated into the nation’s fuel supply. Ethanol demand skyrocketed and with it, demand for corn. One result was higher gas prices. Another was higher bread prices.

But corn is also the primary feed for livestock, so the corn price increase has led to higher prices for beef, bacon, milk and eggs. Farmers are devoting more arable land to corn and less to other grains, leading to decreased supply and, therefore, higher prices for those grains.

Americans are paying on average 4 percent more for groceries because of this mandate. Greedy for more, the corn lobby wants to double the mandate to 15 billion gallons. If Congress accedes to Mr. McCauley’s demands, it will be putting his wealth before the welfare of the American consumer.

WILLIAM YEATMAN

Energy policy analyst

Competitive Enterprise Institute

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