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.

Shameless self-promotion…
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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).

Fox News

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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.

Fox News On Credibility: With Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, And Stuttering Jesse Watters

Bizarro World is contemplating a lawsuit against Fox News for infringing on their patented methods of presenting a worldview that is wholly inconsistent with reality.

Fox News

For more evidence of this credibility gap, get the acclaimed ebook:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault on Truth

Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, anchor Chris Wallace interviewed former vice-president Dick Cheney and asked him to comment on the NSA surveillance program. Cheney, after saying that he doesn’t “pay a lot of attention to what Barack Obama says,” and admitting that he’s “not a fan,” launches into this mind-boggling absurdity:

“The problem is the guy has failed to be forthright and honest and credible on things like Benghazi and the IRS. So, he’s got no credibility.”

For Cheney to impugn the credibility of anyone takes the balls of a wooly mammoth. It was Cheney who said that he knew exactly where Saddam Hussein was hiding his chemical weapons (“…in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”) It was Cheney who insisted that there was “overwhelming evidence” of a relationship between Saddam and al-Qaeda and that a meeting between 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence official was “pretty well confirmed.” It was Cheney who declared that Saddam “has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” None of these things were true, but the consequences of his lies were more than 4,000 dead American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians.

Also yesterday, on Fox & Friends Sunday, there was an Idiot-palooza fest with the three co-hosts. Let’s just let the kids on the curvy couch speak speak for themselves:

Clayton Morris: Let’s say that Snowden had spilled the beans during the Bush administration. How would this be different? I don’t think there’d be a hubbub like there is now. [Certainly not on Fox News, there wouldn’t]
Alisyn Camerota: And the mood and the days after 9/11 was possibly much more trusting of government. [Because people always trust government right after it fails to prevent the worst terrorist attack in history]
Jesse Watters: You didn’t really have that kind of credibility crisis during the Bush administration than the way you have right now. [See Dick Cheney above]

And not to be left out, the newest Fox News Contributor (actually just a retread who begged to return to the fold), Sarah Palin, appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to explain why the Obama administration cannot be believed or trusted to manage national security. Palin’s perspective on the issue of the NSA conducting broadly intrusive surveillance on innocent Americans was that it is perfectly OK if you like the administration that is doing the intruding.

These are the people Fox News has chosen to be their spokespersons for credibility. And while it may seem like an amazingly stupid choice, it isn’t really much worse than their regular lineup of hacks and fabulists. Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and the rest routinely spew rhetoric at least as demented as this. Just wait for the next appearance of contributors like Allen West or Donald Trump. Credibility is a word that none of these cretins can even define.

Obama’s IRS Probes Tax-Exempt Status Of Abortion Doctor’s Benghazi Tea Party

The media has been in a virtual orgasmic frenzy for the past 24 hours as reports come out about troubling behavior by government agencies. Make no mistake, what appears to have been done by individuals in the IRS and the Justice Department is of enormous concern to Americans who are justifiably suspicious of the potential for abuse of government power. There is good reason to be outraged by recent events and it is clear that there is such outrage from across the political spectrum.

An equal amount of outrage must also be directed at the idiotic people at the IRS who thought that what they were doing was helpful to progressive affairs. Not only does that sort of behavior contradict the most basic principles of liberalism, the high risk of discovery and subsequent scandal ought to have brought anyone whose common sense had lapsed straight back to reality. The damage done by this stupidity could not have been more successfully achieved if it were a deliberate plot by GOP plants in the agencies.

Jon Stewart

That is why the exasperation expressed by Jon Stewart last night (video below) was so appropriate. By committing some obviously nefarious acts of abuse, these miscreants have also made it harder to advance the rational and necessary legislative initiatives aimed at restoring jobs and economic growth, fixing the immigration system, implementing healthcare, battling terrorism, etc. It was bad enough when all we had to deal with was obsessively obstructionist Tea-publicans in congress, but now, as Stewart put it so well…

“This has, in one seismic moment, shifted the burden of proof from the tin-foil behatted to the government.”

Indeed. Now, along with wingnuts like Michelle Bachmann, Louis Gohmert, and Ted Cruz, we have every psychotic from Alex Jones to Glenn Beck to Ted Nugent insisting that they were right all along when they said that Obama was a reptilian space alien sent here to breed. Never mind that their delusions are just as schizoid today as they were yesterday, they are basking in the limelight created by a few low-level dumb-asses who have nothing to do with the bigger agenda our nation needs to pursue.

Not to be left out, Fox News is all over these wannabe scandals. They are interviewing Darrell Issa about the AP phone records without disclosing that Issa voted against the bill that would have made such seizures unlawful. They hosted Dick Cheney on Sean Hannity’s program to say that Benghazi is “one of the worst incidents, frankly, that I can recall in my career.” And remember, his career encompasses Nazi concentration camps and nuclear bombings in Japan, as well as those for which he bears some personal responsibility, like 9/11.

Some news outlets have made the effort to demonstrate that these sort of IRS transgressions were not invented last week. During the Bush administration there were abuses like these on multiple occasions. Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon has enumerated a few: The IRS threatened to revoke the tax-exempt status of the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena following an anti-war sermon; The IRS audited the NAACP after its chairman criticized President Bush; The IRS audited and threatened to revoke Greenpeace’s tax-exempt status.

As for Fox News, they also did a report on the over-reaching of past presidents. And look at who they identified as violators:

Fox News - IRS Presidents

Fox managed to find two Democratic presidents (Kennedy and Clinton), who were never found to have done anything unlawful or even unethical via the IRS, and matched them up with one of histories most flagrant criminals (Nixon) whose abuse of IRS power is well documented and even recorded on tape. And somehow, George W. Bush, despite the cases noted above, was left out of Fox’s report entirely. Fair and What the Fuck?

Later in the day, Fox moved on to the story about Bloomberg News snooping on the users of their financial terminals. What could be more unsettling than the prospect of a powerful media institution secretly monitoring your private Internet and telecommunications activities?

Fox News - Bloomberg

Perhaps it might be a private media institution secretly hacking into the phones of thousands of individuals, including politicians, celebrities, and even a murdered schoolgirl. That, of course, is what Rupert Murdoch’s enterprise has admitted doing, but was never covered with the enthusiasm as Fox is now covering the story about their competitor, Bloomberg.


So for the foreseeable future, American news viewers are going to be bombarded with a flurry of sensationalistic stories bursting with speculation and hyperbole. We are already seeing reports that crunch together some of these affairs into conspiracies that assume a role by President Obama that no one has yet proven exists. Fox’s Neil Cavuto devoted a segment of his program to imply that the malfeasance in the IRS’s tax-exempt division will somehow spill over to the group that audits elements of ObamaCare, although they are not even remotely affiliated. The upshot of this conspiracy dementia is that if anyone in any agency does something untoward, then everyone in every agency is guilty.

What’s truly unfortunate is that the investigations into the failings that led to these abuses at the IRS and elsewhere, investigations that are warranted and could be beneficial, will undoubtedly distract both the media and the political class from working to resolve the many serious issues our nation is facing. So instead of creating jobs, protecting and educating children, addressing immigration, or pursuing terrorists, we will be inundated with ever more stories about Benghazi, the IRS, and Jodie Arias-style crime dramas.

If and when we get back to more substantive matters that affect the lives of real people, the scent of scandal will linger and further hamper progress. Consequently, without efficient and effective management of recent events, the nation may have to accept a period of stagnation, which is not what we need right now. And those jerkwads at the IRS are largely responsible for screwing over every citizen who had hoped that the country could move forward just a little bit. I hope they (figuratively) fry.

The Alaska Mistake Mouths Off: Sarah Palin Finally Responds To Dick Cheney

Sarah PalinIt took 72 hours, but Sarah Palin has finally responded to the blunt assessment of her by former Vice-President Dick Cheney. Palin visited the friendly territory of Fox News, and her old pal Greta Van Susteren, to swing back at Cheney who told ABC News that her selection as John McCain’s running mate was “a mistake.” Cheney does have a gift for understatement.

In the course of the interview Palin went out of her way to insult Cheney by saying that his remarks about her were the result of his having been “convinced” of a “false narrative” by “the lamestream media.” Cheney may be many things (many terrible, frightening things), but he does not tend to swallow prepackaged media presentations. Rather, he is more likely to invent them himself. Nevertheless, Palin tossed out her usual word-salad saying…

“Here’s where the mistake would have been, Greta, I believe. It’s had I not answered the call. I was honored to get to run for Vice President of the United States alongside Senator John McCain. I was honored to accept the nomination from the GOP.”

Palin seems to think that the mistake Cheney referenced was that she accepted the VP nomination, rather than McCain offering it to her in the first place. That sort of incoherent misunderstanding validates Cheney’s opinion of her. But Palin wasn’t finished. She went on to glorify herself and the sacrifice she undertook to become a major party candidate for vice-president.

“It would have been a mistake to have hunkered down, just lived that luxurious, if you will, comfortable lifestyle in Alaska.”

Of course, we now know that Palin gleefully exploited the notoriety she attained from the nomination. She peddled her books and speaking engagements. She signed a multimillion dollar deal with Fox News. She starred in laughably inept reality TV programs. She increased her net worth many times over, yet recalls wistfully her “luxurious” lifestyle in Alaska. Is anyone really buying this tripe?

In Defense Of The Pre-9/11 Mindset: Reprise II

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 reprinted it in 2008 because it seemed that so little had changed.

I am reprinting it again today because it addresses some recent occurrences that I could not have anticipated, but apparently did. Most notable the creation of Glenn Beck’s ludicrous 9/12 Project. It’s purpose, according to Beck, was to remind us all of how we felt on the day after the World Trade Center attack. He describes his recollection as one that was full of unity and hope. Was he still on drugs?

My recollection is below. Suffice it to say that it is infused with more fear, confusion, and disgust, at what just occurred. If Beck had named his project after 9/22 or 10/3, after we had some time to compose ourselves and shape a forward vision, it might have made more sense. But on 9/12 most Americans were shocked, trembling, and seeking answers. It is not a day to which they would want to return.

And so…my defense of the Pre-9/11 mindset:

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.

Nine years later there is still a scar on our nation – both literally in the form of a vacant lot where the World Trade Center towers used to stand, and figuratively in the still smoldering biases of those who seek to divide.

The sad fact that there is a deranged preacher in Florida who can command the attention of the media and the government with an idiotic prank involving burning Qur’ans ought to make us think long and hard about whether those institutions are serving us. And the protracted debate over whether a non-mosque can be built two blocks from ground zero is just another reminder of how deeply some of our citizens are consumed by prejudice and hate. Not to mention how little regard they have for our traditional values and our Constitution.

Nine years later there is still a scar on our nation. And we still have a long way to go.

This Is A Big Fucking Deal?

President Obama signed the Senate health care bill into law this morning. While it is not the bill I would have written, it was still an historic moment that achieved something that 18 previous presidents failed to achieve.

But for much of the media, led by Fox News, the hot topic of the event was that VP Joe Biden whispered a congratulatory remark in the President’s ear:

“This is a big fucking deal.”

The President’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, reacted quickly to the growing hysteria in a tweet saying, “And yes Mr. Vice President, you’re right…” But this brewing scandal may yet overtake the frenzy surrounding the health care bill itself. I wonder if the President’s critics were just as incensed when then-VP Dick Cheney told Sen. Patrick Leahy to “Go fuck yourself.” right on the Senate floor?

And let’s not forget the time that Cheney pointed to a New York Times reporter at a campaign rally and whispered to George Bush “There’s Adam Clymer — major league asshole.” To which Bush responded, “Yeah, big time.”

My response to the media reaction to Biden’s remarks: This is a big fucking deal? Really?

Dick Cheney’s Campaign Of Treason Is Unraveling

Since at least last May, I have been unveiling the efforts of extremist right-wing politicians and pundits to signal our enemies in Al Qaeda that now is the time to strike (See: The Republican Advance Team For Terrorism). They have been waving their arms excitedly and shouting to anyone who will listen that America is less safe and, therefore, vulnerable. They have been partnering with their pals in the press to make sure that the message gets out. And they know full well that the enemy is paying attention.

Dick Cheney is the de facto leader of this forward brigade. He outlined the theme over five years ago when he said:

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

And ever since Barack Obama took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Cheney and his comrades have endeavored to produce the very perception of weakness about which he pretended to warn. The question is, how does announcing to the terrorists that our nation is weaker make us safer? Are they just pasting a big bulls eye on America and hoping for an “I told you so” moment? I desperately hope that that’s not the case, but there aren’t many other plausible explanations.

Finally, some in the media are beginning to recognize the danger into which Cheney et al are leading us:

Keith Olbermann: “We are at war,” Dick Cheney came down from Mt. Megalomaina to announce, “and when President Obama pretends we are not it makes us less safe.” If Mr. Cheney believes we are at war, then he, as the most recent former occupant of the vice-presidency is under the strictest obligations to put aside his case of terminal partisanship and rally to the support of his president at a time of war. Instead his remarks not only give encouragement to the enemies of this country, they give them an exact measure as to how successful they have been in damaging our freedoms.

Jonathan Alter: The problem I think we have now is sort of crystallized by former Vice-President Cheney’s role in this debate. I think that he has actually gotten to a place where he is actually emboldening the terrorists.

It’s about time that these traitors are called to account for their actions. If they believe that our country is at risk, they should consult privately with the administration and/or national security officials to alleviate that risk. They could work behind the scenes to close any security gaps and contribute to enhancing our safety without alerting the enemy to our alleged shortcomings. They certainly should not be coaching the opposing team from the sidelines.

It is bad enough that Americans have had to surrender so many basic freedoms in the face of terrorist threats. And every new attempt results in another knee-jerk response to prohibit an otherwise ordinary activity. This continually tightening noose of restrictions that we are forced to endure can only be celebrated by our enemies. They know they can alter our way of life and each time they do they gain encouragement to proceed. As I wrote in my 2006 ode to the Pre-9/11 Mindset:

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?

We need to find a way to defend ourselves that protects both our lives and our way of life. We cannot allow terrorists to take control of our daily affairs. When they observe the effect of their attacks, even those that don’t succeed, they regard it as a victory. They cheer as we establish ever more restrictive and intrusive policies that cost us billions of dollars. They see themselves as winning tactically and at the same time draining our financial resources, which is a prime objective of theirs.

This is unacceptable. And the irresponsible, unpatriotic actions of Dick Cheney and company play right into the hands of the enemy. It is good to see Olbermann and Alter honestly discuss the vile and reckless behavior of these rightist thugs. It would be even better if more of the media were equally as candid. But this is a start and it should be encouraged. Because if the Cheneys of the world have their way it will be a dark world indeed.

Republicans Are To Blame For Terrorism

On Christmas day the passengers of a plane bound for Detroit narrowly missed a catastrophe. At this time there is still much that is unknown about the attempted act of terrorism, the culprit, or his affiliations. But one thing is clear: It is all the Republican’s fault.

Republicans Screw AmericaIs that too hyperbolic an assertion so soon after the incident occurred? Of course it is. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from asserting that very same claim against Democrats with all seriousness. In a cynical and self-serving search for blame, it only took a few hours for Republicans to start throwing charges at President Obama.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) was asked Sunday if it was fair to blame Obama. Without hesitation he answered, “Yeah, I think it really is.” Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) fingered the unionization of airport security workers and the closing of Gitmo, along with the standard allusion to appeasement. And scads of right-wing bloggers piled on the Transportation Security Administration and Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano.

A closer look at the circumstances preceding the attempted attack paint an entirely different picture. For instance it is DeMint who has been personally blocking the President’s TSA chief appointment for months. House Republicans, including most of their leadership, just voted against funding for explosives detection systems and other aviation security measures. And the House recently passed a Republican-authored bill to ban the use of the full-body scanners that many are claiming could have prevented this incident.

The most damning evidence of the Republicans guilt is seen in the rhetoric they’ve employed for many months that casts Obama as weak and our nation as more vulnerable than ever. They seem to be signaling to Al Qaeda that now is the time to strike. Take note of what Dick Cheney said about this five years ago:

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

And ever since Obama took office Cheney and other Republican officeholders and pundits have been striving to manufacture such a perception. Some examples:

Cheney: It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness and would make the American people less safe.

Mitt Romney: It’s the very kind of thinking that left America vulnerable to the attacks of Sept. 11th.

Joe Scarborough (MSNBC): I knew by the second day that America was less safe.

Laura Ingraham (Fox News): I think you can make a pretty compelling case that we’re less safe today.

John Boehner: I think this is a pre-9/11 mentality, and I think it’ll make our nation less safe.

Karl Rove: They’re doing the wrong thing for our country, they’re doing the wrong thing for our men and women in uniform, and they’re making us less safe.

David Gregory (Meet the Press): But do you agree with the vice president when he says that the country is less safe under President Obama?
Newt Gingrich: Absolutely.

In other words, “Come on down, Al Qaeda. The door’s wide open and we’re sitting here playing tiddlywinks.” I first asked this question last May:

“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 appears from the Republican’s response to this latest incident of terrorism that my speculation was sadly on target. It appears that the only things the right are interested in are bashing Democrats, announcing alleged security flaws, and gloating when the unthinkable (almost) happens. That is not a recipe for national security. And if they don’t cut it out, they are going to regret the consequences which will be tragic and entirely their fault.

Dick Cheney: Human Events’ Conservative Of The Year.

Award season is in full swing, and the latest recipient of a year-end tribute is former Vice-President Dick Cheney. Human Events magazine has named Cheney “Conservative of the Year.”

Dick Cheney - The End Is Near

To be sure, this commendation lacks stature. After all, last year’s winner was Sarah Palin. Chosen to pen Palin’s accolades was the professional conservative controversialist, Ann Coulter. In her attempt to praise Palin, Coulter wrote such back-handed compliments as…

[1] Who cares if Palin was qualified to be President? [2] Palin was a kick in the pants, she energized conservatives, and she made liberal heads explode. [3] Perhaps Palin’s year is 2012, but I would recommend that she take a little more time to become older and wiser.

Pretty much the only positive thing Coulter could find to say about Palin was that she was a “genius at annoying all the right people.” While annoying people is a subject that Coulter has some familiarity with, it still begs the question, with friends like Coulter, who needs enemas?

Cheney fared little better with regard to the selection of his advocate. The honor of fluffing Cheney fell to former United Nations Ambassador, John Bolton. Bolton begins his plaudits by enumerating a list of things Cheney is NOT doing:

He is not running for President or any other office. He has not formed a PAC or a D.C. lobbying firm. He is not dishing on former colleagues, not spreading gossip, not settling scores.

Those, however, all sound like things that last year’s honoree, Palin, IS doing, and about which Bolton apparently disapproves. It’s rather telling that Human Events had to settle for someone they admit is so completely out of the political limelight. It speaks to the absence of credible leaders warming up in the conservative bullpen. The rest of the article makes a case very similar to the one Coulter made for Palin. It is basically an argument that Cheney was an effective thorn in the new administration’s side. To conservatives, that is what constitutes qualification for a prestigious award. Not setting policy, or advancing ideas, or accumulating support, but by being a nuisance. Bolton does end on a positive note by summing up Cheney’s attributes as a loyal public servant, saying he is…

“…a very experienced, very dedicated patriot, giving his fellow citizens his best analysis on how to keep them and their country safe.”

I’m not so sure that having Cheney’s “best analysis” is particularly comforting. I mean, this is the guy under who’s watch the nation suffered its worst act of terrorism ever. It’s the guy who led America into an unnecessary war justified by lies. And it’s the guy who has consistently been the herald of doom and worse, a virtual advance man for Al Qaeda. By repeatedly proclaiming his view that our country is less safe under President Obama, and therefore more vulnerable, Cheney and his cohorts are effectively inviting another terrorist attack. How does announcing to our enemies that he believes our nation is becoming weaker make us safer? Does he even care? Or is he just pasting a big bull’s eye on America and hoping for an “I told you so” moment?

In any case, I give you Richard Bruce Cheney – Human Events’ Conservative of the Year. I suppose it’s the best they could do.