Could Trump Be Prosecuted for Leaks Under New Department of Justice Directive?

The still nascent presidency of Donald Trump is rife with controversies and scandals. His financial conflicts of interests and unsavory connections to Russia have dominated his short tenure in office. Additionally, he has produced no legislative accomplishments. Most notably, the failure of his efforts to kill ObamaCare went down in flames. He has made no progress on immigration, taxes, terrorism, or his lame-brained border wall.

Rod Rosenstein Fox New

However, Trump regularly signals what issues are of most importance to him. And judging by the frequency of his tweets, it has little to do with matters critical to the nation. Rather, he is variously obsessed with either the media, last November’s election, or the torrent of White House leaks. Most experts agree that leaks occur when an organization is in disarray. But in Trump World it is blamed on a shadowy conspiracy of “deep state” saboteurs.

On yesterday’s edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (video below). Much of the segment specifically addressed the question of leaks and what the Justice Department intends to do about them. Wallace sought to follow up on remarks made last week by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Those comments sparked some controversy for implying that journalists could be targeted for prosecution. Rosenstein walked that back a bit in the following exchange:

Wallace: Some of the people who engage in leaks, I don’t have to tell you, are not the members of the so-called ‘deep state’ or faceless bureaucrats inside intelligence agencies. They are White House officials. They are members of Congress. If you find any of them have committed these leaks – have disclosed classified information – will you prosecute?
Rosenstein: “What we need to look at in every leak referral we get, we look at the facts and circumstances. What was the potential harm caused by the leaks? What were the circumstances? That’s more important to us than who it is, than who is the leaker. So if we identify somebody, no matter what their position is, if they violated the law and that case warrants prosecution, we’ll prosecute them.
Wallace: Including White House officials and members of Congress?
Rosenstein: Including anybody who breaks the law.

If Rosenstein can be taken at his word, Donald Trump may be in even more trouble than previously thought. Leaks from any administration are made for a variety of reasons. It may be because someone is genuinely concerned about a course of action and has no other recourse to alter it. Sometimes a leaker is angling for position or acting out of vengeance. And sometimes leaks are deliberate attempts by the White House to disseminate information that it wants disseminated.

For example, Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s short-lived communications director, recently outed his boss as a leaker. During an interview on CNN, Scaramucci defended Trump’s reluctance to concede that the Russians were responsible for hacking during last year’s election. He even offered “evidence” by way of an anonymous insider:

“You know, somebody said to me yesterday — I won’t tell you who — that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it.”

That, of course, is grade AAA bullshit. Professional spies may be good at what they do, but they are not infallible. Scaramucci is suggesting that the Russians are so superior in their clandestine operations that their American counterparts are helpless yokels, incapable of facing off against the almighty Ruskies. But more important was what Scaramucci said next. After CNN’s Jake Tapper challenged Scaramucci’s hypocritical use of an anonymous source, the Mooch spilled the beans:

“How about it was – how about it was the President, Jake? I talked to him yesterday. He called me from Air Force One.”

So here we have a White House official admitting that the President was the source of a leak that disclosed inside information. Trump’s observations about the capabilities of Russian intelligence ought to be regarded as top secret. But this business was aired on national television at the behest of Donald Trump. On another occasion, Trump leaked classified data to Russian diplomats visiting the White House. This leak may have put intelligence assets of an ally at risk of discovery or termination.

Who knows what else the President might have leaked. Handing out information that advances the administration’s interest is an ago-old tactic. Dick Cheney did it to plant the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And Trump has his own media operation headquartered in the White House and led by Breitbart News chairman, Stephen Bannon. Remember, this is the same guy who used to call newspapers and pretend that he was a publicist working for, well, himself.

So if Trump is later found to be the source of leaks to the media, will the Department of Justice keep their word and prosecute him? That’s an open question for the time being. They have not been especially anxious to pursue criminal investigations of the President. And, of course, Trump remains poised to fire anyone he thinks is getting too close to the truth. In the end, it may only be possible to obtain justice with a truly independent counsel, or a Democratic congress. Stay tuned.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

John McCain Says Trump Admin’s Rhetoric Was ‘Partially to Blame” for Chemical Attack in Syria

Donald Trump’s demonstration of impotent machismo last week is beginning to get the scrutiny it deserves. The national press initially fawned over his missile attacks on Syria, suggesting that he had finally become “presidential.” It was an embarrassing display of the media’s war fetishism.

Donald Trump

It didn’t take but a few hours for reality to set in regarding the wisdom (or lack thereof) of Trump’s pointless aggression. The bombed airstrips were back in use the next day, and there was no perceptible impact on Assad’s barbarism.

On Face the Nation (video below), host John Dickerson asked Sen. John McCain about the strike. McCain indicated his general support for military action and the “message” it would deliver to Assad and other brutal tyrants. However he also noted that the failure to do any sustained damage rendered the mission ineffective. But McCain went on to express an even more startling opinion regarding Trump’s first act as Commander-in-Chief:

Dickerson: Do you think the administration did anything to encourage this behavior by the Syrians by saying that the Syrian people would determine Assad’s fate? And that removing him is not a priority? Things that were said before the use of chemical weapons?

McCain: I think it probably was partially to blame. And Secretary Tillerson basically is saying the same thing. After kind of contradicting himself and then saying the same thing, argues vigorously for a plan and a strategy.

That’s a rather damning assertion coming from a senior Republican and chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. It’s the sort of blame that Republicans usually reserve to malign President Obama. But it isn’t the first time that a Republican has observed the potential harm of weak leadership. Former Vice-President Dick Cheney, seeking to ramp up the fear quotient during George W. Bush’s reelection, said this:

“Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness.”

The unintended implication of that is that the 9/11 terrorists perceived weakness on the part of Bush which invited them to attack. The same could be attributed now to Assad perceiving such weakness in Trump. After all, after Obama forced Assad to relinquish the chemical weapons he had at the time, Assad never tried to use them again during Obama’s tenure. It wasn’t until Trump came into office that he felt he could risk it.

It’s more than a little curious that both Bush and Trump had a foreign policy crisis early in their terms. In Bush’s case, he was suffering from low poll numbers and much of the nation didn’t consider him legitimate due to the Florida election controversies and the Supreme Court eventually deciding the presidency. His invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq bolstered his public image. Similarly, Trump has the worst poll numbers ever for a new president. And now he has an excuse to start another war. Does this prove anything conclusively? Nope. I’m just sayin. Particularly in light of this tweet by Trump in 2012:

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

In Defense Of The Pre-9/11 Mindset: 2016 Edition

[On September 11, 2006, I wrote an essay about how the American perception of its place in the world supposedly shifted after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. I reprint it here today because, sadly, it’s still true. And in the midst of a historic election wherein one candidate has made fear his brand it seems worthwhile to revisit these thoughts]

9/11

In September of 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney, in a sinister demonization of Democrats, warned that…

“if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again, and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and it will fall back into the pre-9/11 mindset, if you will, that in fact, these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we’re not really at war.”

The Pre-9/11 Mindset is much maligned as mindsets go. Disdain is heaped upon it as if it were a discarded hypothesis. There is now a stigma associated with a worldview that was perfectly acceptable 24 hours prior. And a cadre of power hungry fear merchants is restlessly hawking the notion that everything we thought we knew has withered into irrelevance. The Post-9/11ers propose that an imaginary line has been drawn that illuminates the moral and intellectual differences between those who stand on one side or the other. So what exactly does it mean to be 9/10ish?

I remember clearly what was on my mind. I was still upset that a pretend cowboy, whose intellectual marbles rattled around vacantly in his 2 gallon hat, had gotten away with stealing an election. I was recalling, with renewed appreciation, an era of domestic surplus and international cooperation. Or as The Onion headline put it when Bush was first elected, “Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over.”

9/11 was undoubtedly an unwelcome milestone in American history. But the idea that everything changed on that day is shallow and puerile. The history of human civilization reveals that we simply do not change that much from one century to the next. And the events that actually do precipitate change are rarely the ones we presume them to be. There was terrorism before 9/11. There were birthdays and funerals and parking tickets and snow cones and life’s everyday extraordinary spectrum of pleasure no matter how painful.

What changed was that a nation that was once perceived to be inviolable and courageous was now seen as vulnerable and afraid. Like a child lost in a crowd, America was searching for a guardian, but what we got was no angel. As President Bush took to the mound of rubble for his megaphone moment, he was not alone. He was accompanied by a media that sought to construct a hero where none stood. I must admit that it was an ambitious undertaking considering the weakness of the raw material. They took an inarticulate, persistently mediocre, dynastic runt, who on September tenth was considered by many to be Crawford’s lost idiot, and transformed him into a statesman overnight. The enormity of this achievement underscores the power of the media.

My Pre-9/11 Mindset was thrust into fear on that transitory day because I knew that the imbecile we were stuck with in the White House was incapable of reacting appropriately to the threat. I remember vainly trying to persuade previously reasonable people that if they thought Bush was a moron the day before, there was nothing in his breakfast that infused him with wisdom on that sad morning.

What transpired since has, regrettably, proven me right. We toppled the Taliban but let the 9/11 commander escape. Now the remnants of the Taliban are rising again and creating havoc in an unprepared and unstable Afghanistan. We were misled into an unrelated conflagration in Iraq via fear and deception. Now tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been liberated – liberated from the confines of their physical bodies. It’s too bad that these liberated corpses will be unable to march in the parades celebrating their liberation. A world that had nothing but sympathy for us after 9/11, is now repulsed by our arrogance. At home we are paying for our adventures by burdening the next few generations with a record debt. And we pay a much greater price in the cost of lost liberties, courtesy of a despotic cabal in Washington that has more trust in fear than it does in our Constitution.

The historical revisionists that cast the Pre-9/11 Mindset as a pejorative are blind to its inherent virtue. The Pre-9/11 Mindset honors civil liberties and human rights. It recognizes real threats and inspires the courage to face them. It demands responsibility and accountability from those who manage our public affairs. It condemns preemptive warfare and torture. The Pre-9/11 Mindset is not consumed with fear, division, and domination. It is rooted in reality with its branches facing the sunrise.

The Pre-9/11 Mindset is superior in every aspect to the Post-9/11 apocalyptic nightmare that has been thrust upon us. Its adoption is, in fact, our best hope for crawling out from under the shroud that drapes our national psyche. Vice President Cheney also said that…

“Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness.”

If that’s true, then the terrorists must have perceived the weakness of the Bush administration and considered it an invitation to launch their attack. How do you suppose they perceive us now? They’ve seen the passage of the Patriot Act that limits long-held freedoms. They’ve seen our government listening in on our phone calls and monitoring our financial transactions. They see us lining up at airport terminals shoeless and forced to surrender our shampoo and Evian water. They see us mourning the loss of our sons and daughters who are not even engaged in battle with the 9/11 perpetrators. They see us as fearful and submissive. Is this not emboldening the terrorists for whom this perception of weakness will be seen as yet another invitation to attack?

Yes, I have a Pre-9/11 Mindset and it is not a yearning for a simpler bygone era of harmony. You could hardly call the maiden year of this century simple or harmonious. I have a Pre-9/11 Mindset because I’ve had it all along; all through the Post-9/11 defeatism and scare-mongering; through the war posturing and false bravado; through the sordid attempts to divide Americans and vilify dissenters; through the bigotry and arrogance of those who believe that their way is the right way and the world will concur as soon as we’re done beating it into them. I have a Pre-9/11 Mindset because I have not let the Post-9/11 Mindset infect my spirit with its yearning for a bygone era that more closely resembles the Dark Ages than the Renaissance.

Pre-9/11 Mindset Post-9/11 Mindset
Enduring Peace Perpetual War
Prosperity Poverty and Debt
Civil Rights The Patriot Act
Human rights Torture
Accountability Corruption
Reality Fear

I have a Pre-9/11 Mindset because I have a mind, and I use it.

Hillary Clinton Launches 2016 Presidential Campaign And The GOP Goes (Even More) Nuts

Here it is. To absolutely no one’s surprise, Hillary Clinton announced that she is running for President of the United States of America with a video (below) that features a cross section of Americans engaged in readying themselves for a variety of life’s challenges.

The launching of the campaign comes after weeks of the sort of teasing that every candidate does prior to making their candidacy official. It also comes after weeks (years) of vitriol from Republican pundits and politicians determined to turn Clinton into a comic book villain who aspires to thrust the world into darkness. That isn’t hyperbole. Just yesterday at the NRA’s annual conference, Wayne LaPierre literally made that charge saying that “Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair forced upon the American people to endure.”

Recalling all of the predictions of doom and gloom spewed by Republicans alleging that President Obama was the harbinger of the Apocalypse, it hardly seems newsworthy to note that they are just as adamant, and delusional, about Clinton’s alleged desire for the decline of western civilization. You can almost hear Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell paraphrasing himself with regard to making Obama a one-term president.”

McConnell/Clinton One-Term

That legislative strategy did not work out very well for the Republican Party. Nor did the relentless fear mongering about how Obama’s policies would kill jobs, tank the economy, abolish liberty, increase domestic terrorism, and generally destroy America. Those thunderous accusations landed with a resounding squeak that culminated with former Vice-President Dick Cheney declaring that Obama was “the worst president in my lifetime without question.” He obviously forget his former boss, as well as all of the facts.

Republicans aren’t wasting any time tarring Clinton with the same brush. This is a trend that started long ago. In fact, two years ago News Corpse reported that the GOP had already begun their campaign to “Impeach Hillary” way before the election, or even any campaigning. Republicans are so terrified of Hillary Clinton that they are promoting Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

As for Clinton, she appears to be taking a more populist tone than last time around. Her focus on middle class citizens working hard to manage the important things in life – family, career, community, security – will put her in good standing with average Americans. She emphasized that her campaign would be about people, not herself. That was the overarching theme of the video in which she doesn’t even appear until two-thirds of the way through. And when she does appear she advances that theme saying that…

“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.”

In order for her to follow through on that, she will have put some distance between herself and the big money interests with which she has long been associated. She will have to work for stricter banking regulations that prohibit them from ever again becoming “too big to fail.” She will have to pursue policies that correct the imbalances that have produced the worst economic inequality in history. She will have to support efforts to get money out politics. In short, she will have to appeal to the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party. We’ll see how that plays out.

In the meantime Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and the Republican National Committee, have already released rebuttal videos making predictably venomous criticisms of Clinton. Paul may have won the Dipshit Award for Political Hackery with his laughably lame anti-Hillary store on his website. Don’t miss the limited edition, non-functional, Hillary Clinton hard drive he is selling to his idiot supporters for $100.00. Did I mention that it is non-functional? That’s the Republican Party for you, and it’s emblematic of their economic doctrine: Shell out lots of money for shit that don’t work. This is gonna be a fun campaign.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

2015: Happy News Fears Day

We made it. It’s 2015 and with the new year stretching out before us there is a sense of new hope. At least the hope that 2015 will be nothing like 2014.

Happy New Fears Day

If there is one word that summarizes the media take on life in America for 2014 it is FEAR! Nothing was spread thicker than the notion that we are all living on borrowed time as some looming threat hangs precariously over our heads. Here is a brief retrospective of some of the frightening scenarios that haunted us over the past year and that were feverishly promoted by right-wing media.


Lindsey Graham Is Afraid That We Will “All Get Killed Back Here At Home”

The Chairman of the Panic Caucus has got to be South Carolina’s GOP Senator Lindsey Graham who warned Fox News that “This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.” Of course, Graham never specified how this national massacre would be carried out, nor what Obama should do about it. But never mind that. Just get back in your bunker and try to tune in Alex Jones on your ham radio.


Unhinged Fox News Reporter Warns Of Immigrant Children Trained By ISIL To Kill Us

On an episode of Fox News’s “Bulls and Bears,” host Brenda Buttner introduced a segment warning about “the ISIS border threat we may all regret if we don’t stop it now.” But Stealing the thunder of prominent members of the Psycho-Chicken Little Society was Fox regular Tracy Byrnes. Her hysterical assessment that ISIS is already here led to a pronouncement that terrorists will “infiltrate the minds of children and […] so many of these kids are trained to hate us and potentially kill us.” So if you know what’s good for you, you will start knocking off any unfamiliar children in your neighborhood before they get you.


Dick Cheney Warns of Gizmo-packing Terrorists plotting to blow up Fox News

Dick Cheney, (News Corpse’s Dick of the Year) has once again made news with his unrelentingly pessimistic vision for America. Emerging from his bunker in an undisclosed location in order to raise money for his new SuperPAC, Cheney joined the Curvy Couch Potatoes on Fox & Friends to warn Americans that “there will be another attack. And the next time, it’s likely to be far deadlier than the last one.” Fox’s Steve Doocy agreed with Cheney and elaborated saying that “in a couple of months one of them [terrorists] could be walking in front of our building with some sort of gizmo to wreak havoc.” So all along it is Fox News that has been the target of the terrorists.


A Ton of ObamaCare Navigators Are Criminals

Over at Fox Nation, they posted an item culled from the ultra-conservative National Review Online that alleged that people recruited to assist citizens with ObamaCare enrollments are a “fishy” and unsavory collection of outlaws. And except for the fact that the evidence they cite doesn’t corroborate their claim, it’s pretty scary narrative. The truth is that by portraying ObamaCare as a thinly-veiled assembly of hustlers just waiting to exploit innocent health insurance consumers, Fox is just continuing their “Fright Offensive” to scare people away from exploring the many benefits of the program and, thus, doom it to failure.


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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.


Ebola Terror Threat? The Best Fox News Horror Story Since Boob Bombs

One of the most over-hyped pseudo-threats of the year was the one alleging that Ebola would decimate America. PolitiFact named the phony crisis their “Lie of the Year.” Expanding on that fallacy, Fox News is among the many media outlets who attempted to unduly frighten the American people by speculating that terrorists are going to embrace Ebola as a mechanism for their homicidal escapades. Of course, anyone with any knowledge of biology is aware that Ebola would be an awful candidate for weaponized bioterror. What’s more, immediately after the election on November 4th, the Ebola pandemic was miraculously cured.


Fox News Reports, As Fact, The Missing Libyan Planes Hoax

And closing on a more bizarre note, it should surprise no one that Fox News broadcast a story that is nothing more than a hoax perpetrated by wingnut bloggers and a coalition of disreputable pseudo-news sources. But Fox’s Jon Scott was not deterred by those facts as he introduced the segment saying…

“A potentially terrifying scenario is playing out as we approach September 11. Nearly a dozen airplanes are missing – flat out missing – from an airport in Tripoli, raising new fears of the possibility of another terror attack from the air.”

In reality every allegedly missing plane was accounted for and all credible sources repudiated the claims. For this completely made up story Fox News relied on the reporting of the Washington Free Beacon, an ultra-rightist conspiracy theory disseminator that is affiliated with Republican operatives and the Koch brothers. And even after the story was thoroughly debunked, Fox never issued a retraction.


One thing is abundantly clear from the editorial tenor of Fox and other media outlets: Fear was the main product of the media in 2014. There is an obvious effort to keep the American people in a constant state of the shivers. Either that or the media has simply determined that horror programming is the path to higher ratings. In any case they are behaving irresponsibly and have something in common with our foreign enemies. They are, by definition, terrorists:

Terrorism (ter-uh-riz-uh m): noun – The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. [See Fox News]

And HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody!

Who Is The 2014 Dick of the Year? You Get One Guess

It is with profound relief that we bid farewell to 2014, a year that was consumed by Ebola panic, the rise of ISIL, and the midterm political wrangling with all of the animosities and hyperbole that go along with it. And so to send this year into the anus of history, we pay tribute to the one person who most obnoxiously exudes the foul stench of loutish, self-aggrandizing repugnancy, in the service of lies, discord, and worldwide misery. News Corpse presents…

The 2014 Dick of the Year

Considering all of the worthy candidates, and there were many, there is only one who rises to the level of boorishness required to walk away with the prize. And, conveniently, he was anointed at birth with the name for which the prize is known. He is our very own Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney. Here are a few of the memorable episodes in the Cheney melodrama that secured his victory in the competition for this award.


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The Senate Intelligence Committee published its executive summary of their findings after an exhaustive investigation into the use of torture by the CIA and other national security agencies during the Bush administration. The report detailed the horrific tactics employed that were a clear violation of both domestic and international law. The New York Times saw the report as justification for bringing the culpable parties to trial for their crimes and specifically singled out Cheney. Cheney’s response?

“The report’s full of crap.”

This coming from the man who said that it was “pretty well confirmed” that the 9/11 terrorists were working with Saddam Hussein; that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger; that aluminum tubes could only be used for nuclear centrifuges; that we would “be greeted as liberators” upon invading Iraq; and who still believes that Hussein was hoarding weapons of mass destruction. Cheney’s defense of his misconduct was a thinly veiled play for pseudo-patriotism wherein he asserted that publishing the facts about these atrocities was more damaging than committing them.

Dick Cheney CIA Torture


Always one to encourage fear and foreboding, the Dark Prince of Halliburton made certain that his pessimism was broadcast to the masses who could then be as frightened of the future as he is. So in his media tour to announce the launch of his very own SuperPAC, Cheney once again predicted a flaming demolition of untold thousands of Americans.

“I think there will be another attack. And the next time, it’s likely to be far deadlier than the last one.”

Uh oh. How many thousands of victims does Cheney foresee in his apocalyptic prophecy? How many towering infernos will crumble to the ground? And how imminent is this catastrophe? Well, if the past is any indicator of the future, America can breathe a sigh of relief, because Cheney has been predicting doom for many years with a profound measure of inaccuracy. And his latest prognostication that Al Qaeda has acquired havoc-wreaking Gizmos that they plan to detonate in front of the Fox News building is just as likely to fail.

Fox News - Dick Cheney


Following a speech by President Obama at West Point, Cheney hobbled over to Fox News to tell Sean Hannity that Obama is “a very, very weak president. Maybe the weakest, certainly in my lifetime.” It was discussion that could have been viewed as an invitation to terrorists to launch an attack as soon as possible. But in addition to the near treasonous rhetoric, Cheney re-wrote history to his liking, while mangling it beyond recognition.

“Remember there was a time back in the eighties when the United States was supporting the Afghan Mujaheddin against the Soviets. We had help from others doing that. We ultimately succeeded and then everybody turned around and walked away from Afghanistan. And, of course, then they had a civil war, the Taliban came to power. Ultimately Osama Bin Laden found safe haven there.”

Is it possible that Dick Cheney is so irredeemably delusional that he’s forgotten that Osama Bin Laden was the Mujaheddin leader that the U.S. was supporting in the fight against the Soviets? Bin Laden didn’t just find safe haven in Afghanistan, as if he stumbled over it. He was instrumental in toppling the previous government and installing a friendly new regime (the Taliban), with aid from the Reagan administration. But perhaps the most stupifyingly brain-dead remark in the whole bitch session with Hannity, was Cheney’s assessment of Obama’s grasp of history:

“It’s as though he wasn’t even around when 9/11 happened.”

Seriously? This is coming from the de facto head of an administration that, both literally and figuratively, was not around when 9/11 happened. They ignored an intelligence report with the actual headline “Bin Laden Determined to Strike In U.S.” This arrived a month before 9/11, while President Bush was on a month-long vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Then, while allowing Bin Laden and other Taliban leaders to escape, they started another war in Iraq that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Dick Cheney


When Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced a sensible cut to the Pentagon’s budget as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were winding down, Cheney called his pal Sean Hannity to feverishly sound the alarm that Obama was plotting to make America militarily impotent. It was a charge that he couldn’t supoort with substance, so he resorted to his impending doom routine that he has perfected over the past several decades. And in this instance he even managed to throw hungry Americans overboard.

“[Obama] would rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military.”

Of course, that also happens to be the position of most of the American people. Currently approaching $700 billion dollars, the U.S. defense budget is greater than the combined military budgets of the next ten largest spenders. And even after making the proposed cuts, we will still be allocating more money to defense than China, Russia, the UK, Japan, France, and Saudi Arabia combined.

In addition to the obvious logic of cutting spending when we have the opportunity, it is a policy that is favored by most Americans. This is particularly apparent when compared to the public’s support for programs that benefit the needy. A majority of Americans (59%) favor maintaining spending on programs for the poor over deficit reduction. But when asked about maintaining defense spending, a majority (51%) would rather cut the deficit.

Fox News


There are certainly more examples of Cheney’s dickish and deserving accomplishments this year. But these are more than enough to establish his righteous place in the Dick Hall of Fame. As we begin a new year, Cheney will be the one to beat for the many contenders who enviously eye his throne. But look for Jeb Bush, Glenn Beck, Ted Cruz, and Sarah Palin, to make strong moves for their own slice of immortality.

What Dick Cheney, Fox News, And Other Torture Apologists Are Missing

The release of the report on the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program (aka torture) produced by the Senate Intelligence Committee has incited Republicans, Fox News pundits, and warhawks from the Bush administration to respond with unrestrained fury. They have resorted to accusations of political motivation and reckless disregard for possible future harm that public knowledge of these activities might cause. But there is a key consideration that they seem desperate to avoid: If honestly acknowledging and condemning torture could put Americans at risk, maybe we shouldn’t be torturing people.

Dick Cheney CIA Torture

The torture apologists appear to be more upset by the disclosure of their brutality than by the brutality itself. And even as the report concluded that “enhanced interrogation” (which is like calling rape “enhanced fornication”) was ineffective and produced nothing of value to our intelligence or military missions, the right continues to blindly defend the practice and falsely claim that it prevented terror attacks and led to the capture of terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden. It did not.

The chief apologist among the torture advocates is, and has always been, former Vice-President Dick Cheney. In responding to the news of the CIA torture report’s release Cheney blasted it as “a terrible report, deeply flawed,” adding “The report’s full of crap.” This coming from the man who said that it was “pretty well confirmed” that the 9/11 terrorists were working with Saddam Hussein; that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger; that aluminum tubes could only be used for nuclear centrifuges; that we would “be greeted as liberators” upon invading Iraq; and who still believes that Hussein was hoarding weapons of mass destruction. None of those assertions were true, which casts a decidedly negative hue on the accuracy, or honesty, of his pronouncements.

In a particularly curious exchange that Cheney had with Fox News anchor Bret Baier, they addressed the report’s revelation that President Bush asked that he not be informed about the secret detention centers where the torture was being conducted. Cheney denied that saying “there was no effort on our part to keep him from that.” Which raised the question: Who is Cheney referring to when he says “on our part?” Was there a clandestine national security apparatus that included the Vice-President, but not the President?

Pretty much everybody on Fox News slammed the report, and the decision to release it, as a political stunt that would hurt the country. But it requires a massive quantity of self-deception to ignore the inherent harm that is caused by authorizing acts of torture in the first place. The fact that there is so much hysteria on the right over the disclosure is itself evidence that the practice should never have been permitted.

The whole argument that Americans will be put at risk by this disclosure is phony on its face. The terrorists already knew that the U.S. was torturing people. They knew it from personal experience and the accounts of their comrades. The repercussions from that were already being observed with the attacks on U.S. facilities overseas and executions of American citizens.

The only people who were not being informed about the torture program were the American people. And therein lies the real concern by the torture apologists on the right. It isn’t the alleged risk to Americans at the hands of terrorists that worry them. It’s the risk to Republicans at the hands of voters that they fear.

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Is Dick Cheney Inviting Terrorists To Attack Fox News With Havoc-Wreaking Gizmos?

Former Vice-President and grimacing cyborg, Dick Cheney, has once again made news with his unrelentingly pessimistic vision for America. Emerging from his bunker in an undisclosed location in order to raise money for his new SuperPAC, Cheney joined the Curvy Couch Potatoes on Fox & Friends to elaborate on a foreboding prediction issued last night on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program:

Cheney: “I think there will be another attack. And the next time, it’s likely to be far deadlier than the last one.”

Uh oh. How many thousands of victims does Cheney foresee in his apocalyptic prophecy? How many towering infernos will crumble to the ground? And how imminent is this catastrophe? Well, if the past is any indicator of the future, America can breathe a sigh of relief, because Cheney has been predicting doom for many years with a profound measure of inaccuracy. His unfulfilled prognostications escalated after the election to the presidency of an African-American, Muslim, socialist from Kenya, back in 2008. Cheney was met on the couch by the stupendously imbecilic Steve Doocy who seems to think that the terrorists are targeting Fox News:

“And your worry is even though that what’s going on with Iraq is way over there that they bring it here because a lot of those people, the terrorists, have American passports. You know, in a couple of months one of them could be walking in front of our building with some sort of gizmo to wreak havoc.”

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Gadzooks! Al Qaeda has acquired havoc-wreaking Gizmos that they plan to detonate in front of the Fox News building. Impeach Obama! Where Doocy got the idea that there are terrorists in Iraq with American passports he never bothered to say. It’s just another one of those dangling fear-sicles that Fox deploys to keep their audience in a constant state of the shivers.

The problem with Cheney’s misfortune-telling is that it is a thinly veiled message to America’s enemies. And Cheney might be the first to agree if he weren’t a lying scumbag with ulterior motives aimed at defaming liberals and fattening his wallet. Recall that it was Cheney who said that…

“Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness.”

While intended as a swipe at the newly inaugurated President Obama, that peculiar remark was actually a de facto admission that Al Qaeda perceived weakness in the Bush administration nine months after it had assumed power and, thus, took it as an invitation to attack on 9/11. Cheney has spent the last six years exploiting every opportunity to disparage America’s defenses. He was joined in this pursuit by what I called “The Republican Advance Team For Terrorism.” The question is “Why?” As I wrote in that 2009 article…

If you were a terrorist, what would you make of all of this talk? Would it embolden you? Would you view it as an invitation? What point are Republicans trying to make? If they really believe that America’s defenses are weakening, is there a strategic purpose to broadcasting that to our enemies? […] How does announcing to the terrorists that they believe our nation is becoming weaker make us safer? Do they even care? Are they just pasting a big bulls eye on America and hoping for an “I told you so” moment?

It remains true today that Cheney’s public maligning of the ability of the United States to ward off its enemies is irresponsible in the extreme. It reflects a not-so-latent desire to inspire the very sort of attack that he is pretending to warn against. His own words regarding “the perception of weakness” affirm his intentions. Cheney is virtually advertising that America’s guard is down so now would be good time to attack. And even though he’s wrong, the consequences could still be disastrous, because even an aborted terrorist attack could produce casualties.

If Cheney and his associates at Fox News really cared about this country, they wouldn’t be openly soliciting harm. So that tells us all we need to know about their pseudo-patriotism.

It’s Official: Dick Cheney Has Lost His Freakin’ Mind

Last night on Fox News, Sean Hannity welcomed Dick Cheney to the program by accusing President Obama of “apologizing for America” during a speech at West Point where the President repeatedly extolled our nation’s exceptionalism. Having set a decidedly negative tone, Hannity commenced the interview with a question that was merely a set up for Cheney to agree with Hannity’s oh-so-patriotic opinion that “America is in decline.” Cheney obliged with an opening rant that included his judgment that Obama is “a very, very weak president. Maybe the weakest, certainly in my lifetime.”

Dick Cheney

This represents the unique brand of pseudo-patriotism practiced by rightist hacks like Hannity and Cheney who regard the acknowledgement of past mistakes, and the lessons learned from them, as sacrilege, but are comfortable maligning the country and its leaders as being mired in weakness and decline. And Cheney doesn’t mince words either. The man who openly lied in order to wage a phony war in Iraq that cost the lives of thousands of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, is now calling Obama’s foreign policy “stupid” and “unwise.”

Cheney went on to criticize Obama for pulling out of Afghanistan with the peculiar charge that “he hates to use military power.” Is that supposed to be in contrast to Cheney’s infatuation with it? Clearly, he believes that the United States should remain eternally deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and any other country he feels like dominating. And he seems to have no perspective over time of the consequences of his war mongering. In fact, the lessons he believes we should have learned from pre-war Afghanistan are sharply removed from historical reality.

“Remember there was a time back in the eighties when the United States was supporting the Afghan Mujaheddin against the Soviets. We had help from others doing that. We ultimately succeeded and then everybody turned around and walked away from Afghanistan. And, of course, then they had a civil war, the Taliban came to power. Ultimately Osama Bin Laden found safe haven there.”

Is it possible that Dick Cheney is so irredeemably delusional that he’s forgotten that Osama Bin Laden was the Mujaheddin leader that the U.S. was supporting in the fight against the Soviets? Bin Laden didn’t just find safe haven in Afghanistan, as if he stumbled over it. He was instrumental in toppling the previous government and installing a friendly new regime (the Taliban), with aid from the Reagan administration. But perhaps the most stupifyingly brain-dead remark in the whole bitch session with Hannity, was Cheney’s assessment of Obama’s grasp of history:

“It’s as though he wasn’t even around when 9/11 happened.”

Seriously? This is coming from the de facto head of an administration that, both literally and figuratively, was not around when 9/11 happened. They ignored an intelligence report with the actual headline “Bin Laden Determined to Strike In U.S.” This arrived a month before 9/11, while President Bush was on a month-long vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Then, while allowing Bin Laden and other Taliban leaders to escape, they started another war in Iraq that had nothing to do with 9/11.

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Finally, it is also important to note that the president that Cheney regards as the weakest in his lifetime is the one who had to clean up the failures of the Bush/Cheney administration. That included disposing of Bin Laden (and dozens of other Al Qaeda operatives), who evaded Cheney’s reach for eight long years. And now that Obama is committed to ending the wars that Cheney and Bush started without having an exit plan, he is being criticized by Cheney as weak? That’s a little like setting your house on fire and then shouting epithets at the firefighters who show up to put it out.

Let Them Eat Bombs: Cheney And Hannity Favor Military Bloat Over Feeding The Poor

With the Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has proposed a new budget that recognizes the realities of the current needs of the military establishment. Since we will no longer be fighting multi-front battles it makes sense to reduce the size of the military forces, focus on cutting wasteful programs, and direct scarce resources to modernization.

However, at Fox News any proposal advanced by President Obama or his administration must be immediately criticized as an attempt to weaken the nation and surrender it to our enemies. Consequently, when Hagel came forward to announce that our current Army “is larger than required to meet the demands of our defense strategy,” Fox reached out to war monger Dick Cheney to rebuke any effort to cut spending and reduce the deficit (something conservatives usually slobber over).

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Cheney called into the Sean Hannity show with a predictable complaint that Obama’s budget would be “dangerous,” but he failed to demonstrate why. He simply asserted that Obama “would rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military.” Of course, that also happens to be the position of most of the American people.

Currently approaching $700 billion dollars, the U.S. defense budget is greater than the combined military budgets of the next ten largest spenders. And even after making the proposed cuts, we will still be allocating more money to defense than China, Russia, the UK, Japan, France, and Saudi Arabia combined. Yet somehow Cheney and Hannity believe that this would make America more vulnerable, and that it would be unpatriotic to reduce expenditures. It should be noted that neither Hannity, nor Cheney, served in the military, but Hagel is a decorated veteran.

In addition to the obvious logic of cutting spending when we have the opportunity, it is a policy that is favored by most Americans. This is particularly apparent when compared to the public’s support for programs that benefit the needy. A majority of Americans (59%) favor maintaining spending on programs for the poor over deficit reduction. But when asked about maintaining defense spending, a majority (51%) would rather cut the deficit.

And if that weren’t enough, the right-wing sheds crocodile tears over the welfare of veterans who might be impacted by defense budget cuts, but they utterly ignore the fact that “900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP [food stamps] to provide food for their families.” The conservative mindset that pictures all food stamp recipients as lazy moochers cannot comprehend the fact that many veterans are beneficiaries as well.

In the discussion with Hannity, Cheney complained that those in the administration “act as though it’s like highway spending and you can turn it on and off.” What exactly does he mean by that? Is he saying that once defense spending is turned on it can never be turned off? Or that if turned off, no new spending could ever be allocated? Obviously that’s nonsense. It is like any other allocation in the budget. It is determined by need and available resources. And right now we need more resources directed to domestic highways and infrastructure than to foreign adventures in warfare.

That’s the reality based on rational defense analysis and the priorities of the American people who are footing the bill. But leave it to Fox News to take a hard-line militaristic stance that ignores the wishes of the people in order to attack the president they hate so fiercely.