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Cheney In Wonderland

I’ve been trying to write a post about Dick Cheney’s autobiography for weeks now. I highlighted every single demonstrably wrong thing that he said in the book, with the intention of debunking it all one by one. I even went as far as to read the awful George Tenet book that I couldn’t get through when it originally came out. I looked up statements from Colin Powell, Condi, and even George W Bush refuting Cheney’s claims. I was armed and ready to fire away at the book. But when I started writing that post, I realized that this approach was both pointless, and a waste.

It was pointless because any diligent follower of politics already knows the facts about Iraq, Bin Laden, and Katrina. It would have been a waste of a post because I would have to completely skip over the things that really struck me about Cheney in this book.

So I’m going to write a post about my impressions and observations of Dick Cheney, as a result of reading his book because I think it will make for more interesting reading.

The first thing that struck me about the book is that the prologue, the fucking prologue is the day of 9/11. Seriously, Dick? First of all, he obviously has no idea what purpose a prologue is supposed to serve. Secondly, the worst goddamned day in American history is the thing he’s salivating to talk about first?

I can’t understate how much Cheney gives the impression that he was running the show on that day. In his version of the story, he was literally calling all the shots because of “communication issues” on the president’s end. Don’t get me wrong, I tend to believe this account because I remember Bush’s famous “My Pet Goat” seven minutes. There was nothing in that performance that told me he was prepared to deal with a kid with a skinned knee, let alone a major attack on America. I just find it fascinating that Cheney chose to say what he did. Most people, after having served a president, have the decorum to never ever malign or damage that president’s reputation or authority in any way. Not Cheney. He’s classless and feels no loyalty or respect for Bush (you’ll see more evidence of this later). He has no qualms sharing an account that makes the president look like a hapless rube while Cheney “has everything under control”.

At one point during that attack on that day, Cheney actually gave the order to shoot down flight 93 after it had gone off course. I don’t have a problem with the order being given under those circumstances. I have a problem with the fucking vice president giving that order, because the guy who was never legitimately elected to be president in the first place can’t (unsurprisingly) handle the job. He claims that he had approval from the president to give that order, but that statement isn’t at all consistent with the lack of communication between the two of them throughout the day.

So there are a few things that struck me about Cheney’s upbringing. They mostly struck me as odd, given the political ideology he advocated for later in life. He talks about his father who, while struggling to make ends meet while getting through college, decides to take a civil service exam and subsequently takes a government job instead of finishing college. He then takes another, higher paying government job. At one point in the book, he writes (about his father)

He was also proud of the pension that came with federal employment – a pride that I didn’t really understand until as an adult I had learned about the economic catastrophes that his parents and grandparents had experienced and that had shadowed his own youth. I’ve often reflected on how different was the utterly stable environment he provided for his family and wondered if because of that I have been able to take risks, to change directions, and to leave one career path for another with hardly a second thought.So let me get this straight, Dick: the government came in on a white horse and saved your family in a much more overt way than it helps the average American and yet, you join the party whose aim is to destroy government because it’s never helped anyone?

At this point in the book, I’m realizing that naming him Dick was nothing short of prophetic.

Another interesting event: in 1959 Dick was awarded a full scholarship (which included room and board) to Yale. He ended up getting kicked out for getting shitty grades. What kind of asshole pisses off the gift of a free ivy league education? And my first question about the grant is, was it a federally funded grant?

When he got back to Wyoming from Yale, he took a union job where, “I was earning $3.10 an hour, which was good pay in those days, and picking up a lot of overtime and time and a half.” It’s nice to see you enjoying the benefits of union membership, Dick.

At some point, he decides to go back to school and enrolls at the University of Wyoming because they had to take him regardless of his shitty academic record, because he had graduated from a Wyoming high school. Let me work through all of this; so Dick went to a socialist, state funded school because the government had a mandate that they had to take him? This fucking asshole has been the beneficiary of government handouts and regulations his whole miserable life. But his sucking off the government teat didn’t end there. While he was in school, he earned some extra money by reading to a veteran who had lost his sight. Dick’s $1.75 an hour was paid for by the granddaddy of all socialist medicine; the veteran’s administration.

I honestly can’t comprehend how someone can have so much disdain for government when they have directly benefitted from its existence in so many ways. But not learning lessons from life is an ongoing theme in Dick’s life.

At one point, he and Lynne are engaged so he starts saving money for their honeymoon. He gets a bad case of food poisoning and has to go to the hospital. He didn’t have any insurance, so he had to spend all of the money he had saved on medical bills. Here’s another example of Dick’s imperviousness to learning from facts and life experience. There are three kinds of people in the world; the kind that can empathize with people, even though they’ve never been in their shoes; the kind that can empathize with people only if they’ve been in their shoes; and then there’s Dick, the kind that have been in your shoes, but still want you to go fuck yourself because they’re wearing much more expensive shoes now. Look Dick, you didn’t have insurance because you couldn’t afford it. How about you learn something from that experience and apply that to your political ideology?

Another part that I found fascinating was when he talked about his draft dodging. The dodging wasn’t interesting, the way he ignored it was. Here’s everything he said about it, in its entirety:

Shortly after I began work on my PhD, I had turned 26 and was no longer eligible for the draft. In the days when I had been, I had received deferments as a student and father. Earlier, when I was doing line work, I had been classified 1-A, but draft numbers were low and I wasn’t called. If I had been, I would have been happy to serve.

I find it fascinating that there’s no emotion or explanation here at all. He doesn’t explain the deferments, doesn’t talk about how the possibility of drafted made him feel, nothing. Just says that he deferred (he left out that it was 5 times), and then contradicts his actions by saying that he would have been happy to serve. Okay Dick, that sounds plausible. And again, this is a guy who was terrified of dying in a battle. One would think that those days of worrying about getting drafted would have occurred to him when his administration started a war and an occupation. But no, not Dick! He’s got some kind of fucking Kevlar vest that deflects wisdom and learning.

Another interesting part – he’s talking about Nixon’s chances of getting reelected in 1972. He writes:

Richard Nixon’s reelection was far from a sure thing. It looked very much as though the war in Vietnam, which he had said when he was campaigning in 1968 he knew how to end, would be an issue in 1972. Meanwhile, the hefty bills for Lyndon Johnson’s determination to fight the war in Vietnam and fund his great society had come due.

There were two components I found interesting there. First, he had already had experience getting a president who kept pushing for an unpopular war reelected. But the second part is more important. His lack of self awareness in talking about Johnson’s “hefty bills” being due is unfuckingbelievable. This asshole went on to serve in an administration that never bothered to pay for a fucking thing they passed is whining about cleaning up after someone else’s financial mess? Seriously Dick?

A particularly galling part of the book is when he talks about the speech President Ford gave, announcing that America was done with Vietnam. He writes:

I remember distinctly that when he spoke those words, some people in the audience wanted to cry and some wanted to cheer, but there was an unmistakable sense of relief for all of us that transcended one’s view of the war. Indeed, even for me, and I had supported the effort, hearing the president say those words was welcome in a way it’s hard to describe. We had lost more than fifty-eight thousand young Americans in the war, and Vietnam had divided us as a nation for so long. The war in Southeast Asia had ended in an awful way, but at least it ended. It was over.

I was fucking livid, reading that paragraph and thinking about what he had pushed to do with Iraq. Either the emotion he speaks of here is complete bullshit, designed to make him appear to be less of a robot, or he learned jack shit from that experience. Are you picking up a pattern yet?

This post is already very long, so I’m going to get to the rest of the book in part 2, which is disturbing and twisted in a completely different way than part 1.


Suck It, NeoCons!

18 days
0 RPGs
0 IEDs
0 Drones
0 Tanks
0 Patriot missiles
0 Guns

And a democracy was born.

Were you paying attention, Bill Kristol? How about you, Dick Cheney? Hello, Wolfowitz? Does anyone believe that any of the signatories to the mission statement for PNAC (project for the new American century) aka the neocons paid any attention to what happened in Egypt today?

I hope so, but I doubt it. We watched a democracy develop over the course of two and a half weeks, in a place that hasn’t seen democracy in over thirty years! This was amazing, and I’m overjoyed to have been around to watch it happen.

This one happened without an armed opposition. Democracies aren’t always born peacefully, but they’re always born when the people are ready to fight for it.

Democracy isn’t something that can be foisted on people. It’s something that they must seek out and fight for when they’re ready for it. It’s earned, it’s not imposed. No amount of weapons can make democracy happen where it’s not ready to.

We have now reached the $750,000,000,000 mark in Iraq. How’s that democracy working out over there? We’re about to “celebrate” the eighth anniversary of the beginning of that war.

Eight fucking years, and 3/4 of a trillion dollars! Compare that to 18 days and $0. And who got the better result? Who got the job done in a more dignified way? Did you notice that we didn’t see see Hosni Mubarak’s sons’ dead bodies displayed, in a show of testosterone? Did you notice that there were no cell phone videos of Mubarak being barbarically hanged? Did you notice the dignity with which this all happened?

Yeah, democracy only works when people want it. You can’t shove it down peoples’ throats when they’re not prepared for it. I’ve said this before in other posts, but it bears repeating; I believe that people are the same all over the world. We all fundamentally want the same things. We want to live freely and comfortably. We want the opportunity to be able to feed our families and live in peace. I believe that there isn’t a country in the world that won’t eventually move toward democracy. But they have to move in that direction in their own time, unmolested by outside forces.

This notion that we can “spread” democracy is asinine! Democracy is a system of governance, not an STD.

When people want it, they always get it. We just need to learn to stay the fuck out of the way and let it happen naturally. We need to refocus our resources here, on our own citizens and trust that everyone will come around to our way of life because we’ve demonstrated it’s better.


Dick Cheney Is A Scared Little Girl

We’ve had it wrong for years. Dick Cheney isn’t Darth Vader. He’s a scared little girl who is afraid of his own shadow (do vampires cast shadows?). This is a belief that I’ve held for years and the more I listen to him, the more I read about him, the more convinced I am that I’m right.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, a former top aid to Colin Powell came out last week and revealed that Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush all knew that hundreds of men that were held at gitmo were innocent. Read the full article here.

None of this amounts to a shocking revelation to anyone that has been paying attention to how the Bush administration handled the “war on terror”. We’ve known for years that most of the people that landed in gitmo were turned in for a bounty. There was no intelligence gathering involved in this operation. Anyone that turned anybody in as a “suspected terrorist” promptly received a $5,000 reward with no questions asked. It didn’t take long for Afghans and Pakistanis to realize that they can make some quick cash and take care of their rivals by simply turning them in as terrorists. This was a lazy, stupid, and ineffective way to conduct a “war” (or two).  This approach isn’t keeping anyone safe, it oppresses people in order to create an illusion of safety. We could eliminate nearly all drunk driving fatalities in the US if we instigated a law that would prohibit anyone from driving their cars after 9 pm. Does that sound like a good plan to anyone?

I believe that each of the top ranking buffoons that were involved in designing this approach on the “war on terror” had different motivations. I want to focus in on Cheney because he fascinates me more than any of the other players in this comedy of errors.

For the past ten years, we’ve heard nothing but dire warnings coming out of Dick Cheney. He’s afraid of of everything and everyone, and he’s trying really hard to make us afraid as well. Unlike Karl Rove, I believe that Dick Cheney sincerely believes what he’s saying. Why do I believe that? Because of the infamous underground bunker and the blurring out of his residence on Google maps. Trust me, this guy is one giant pussy with serious daddy issues!

I believe that Dick Cheney has always had an authoritarian personality but somewhere along the line, madness set in to compound the problem. Watch this video of him in 1994:


That is not the batshit crazy paranoiac we’re afflicted with today. Something inexplicably horrific happened to him between 1994 and 2000. 1994 Dick Cheney doesn’t have that crazy look in his eyes that 2002 Dick Cheney has.

As perplexing as the transformation is, that’s not the most confusing occurrence in this whole situation. The thing that confuses me the most is the inverted reality of the republican party. I don’t understand why everyone thinks of republicans as the “tough guys” when it’s clear that they’re all a bunch of scared little girls. For eight long years, republicans in Wyoming were crapping their pants with fear of another terrorist attack. Here’s a newsflash Wyoming; NO ONE IS COMING TO GET YOU. You’re not important enough to “get”. Terrorism is about creating the most impact with the fewest resources. You could bomb ten square miles in Wyoming and only amass a casualty rate of three. You’re simply not worth going after. Same goes for you, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, and every other pussy inhabited state in middle America. I’m not trying to denigrate these states (I know, imagine how bad it would be if I was). I’m simply pointing out that as a rational person, I understand where the likely targets for future attacks are.

I moved to Manhattan after 9/11. I did so believing then, as I do now, that New York is most definitely going to suffer another terrorist attack. We’ve endured the only two foreign attacks on US soil, and we’re prepared to endure more if we have to. We understand that we are the highest of high value targets. I know many, many people that were here in New York when 9/11 happened. Guess what? They’re all still here. What’s more, 74% of us in Manhattan voted for John Kerry in 2004. 83% of us voted for Barack Obama in 2008. So why are liberals seen as weak when conservatives are regarded as tough and strong?

We have it all completely backwards. Liberals became increasingly impervious to Dick Cheney’s prophecies of Armageddon with each passing year of the Bush administration while conservatives cowered in fear.

You’re just a fucking frightened little girly man, Dick Cheney. And I hope that America wakes up and sees you for who you are because as much as you’re loathed in the world, you’re still being overestimated.