Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Unbearable Darkness of Being Dick Cheney

by Sunnyjane

Jay Carney: Which president was he talking about?
The Gospel According to Dick Cheney is that President Barack Obama is everything from a naive weakling to a downright fool.  Oh, and the President would rather give people food stamps than build a strong military.  I"m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone who isn't tuned into Fox Noise 24/7 or addicted to the Drudge Report that the United States has the strongest military in the world.  And speaking of Drudge, how did he respond to the recent capture of the Benghazi consulate attack suspect?  He didn't.  Instead, his loyal readers were treated to a paragraph or two on the rising cost of meat, chicken, and fish.  No, really.

A brief background check of the former vice president is appropriate here.  Cheney has been skulking around conservative politics since the 1960s, and served as Gerald Ford's Chief of Staff during his brief tenure as president.  He went from there to being a five-term congressman from Wyoming, and afterward served as Secretary of Defense under George H. W. Bush, during which time he spearheaded the military action to defend Kuwait from Iraq's determination to annex that tiny country.  When Bill Clinton beat Bush One in the next election, Cheney hustled over to Halliburton to be chairman and CEO.  We all know how THAT turned out during the Bush Two incursion into Iraq.  When W won the election in 2000, he decided to gather many of his father's men together to help him steer the ship of state, so to speak.  I'm sure he thought it was a dandy idea, because he knew absolutely nothing about being a leader.  Bush had put Cheney in charge of finding a proper running mate for him, and Cheney decided he himself would be the best vice president in the whole wide world. 

It pays to have contacts.  In fact, it pays VERY well, indeed.
Cheney flunked out of Yale twice because he had a hard time adjusting to the school.  He finally got a bachelors degree in arts and a masters degree in political science from the University of Wyoming.  This rather lengthy college career suited him well, as he was able to get four student deferments to keep him out of Vietnam because I had other priorities in the '60s than military service.  It is inferred by some, um, liberal cynics that his first child, Liz, owes her life to the Vietnam war; she was born nine months and two days after it was announced that only fathers could dodge the draft be granted deferments. 

So let's just charge ahead and see who the fool is in this Middle East mess that the Cheney Bush administration created.

Hey, Guys, Let's Start a War with Iraq!
Hail, hail, the gang's all here!
In classic GOP style, the hypocrisy runs rampant.  In 1994, after the Kuwait/Iraq war, then-Secretary of Defense Cheney was questioned about why the U.S. didn't just go onto Iraq and take down Saddam Hussein's government  while we were there.  His response showed a distinct sanity: ...then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off.  Twenty years later, however, he's taking great delight in snarling that President Obama has abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.  [Victory?]  I guess Cheney forgot that it was George W. Bush who signed the Status of Forces Agreement, which literally threw the U.S. out of Iraq, before he left office. Cheney's op-ed rant prompted Harry Reid to respond, If there is one thing this country does not need is that we should be taking advice from Dick Cheney on wars. Being on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is being on the right side of history. 

All GOP Roads Led to Iraq

The popular spin from the 2003 White House is that Bush decided to declare war on Iraq for retaliation for 9/11.  They also pushed that they were protecting America's oil interests.  And that Saddam had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction.  And that Osama Bin Laden was hiding there.  And that the Iraqis had kidnapped Santa Claus -- you name it, there were plenty of reasons for the invasion, and any of 'em, all of 'em would do.

The truth, however, is much creepier.  According to a great 2004 article, in which W.'s biographer is quoted extensively, Bush-the-candidate was making plans in 1999 to invade Iraq: One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.  My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.  If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.  After 9/11, of course, he had a reason no one would argue with, and the rest is a sorry history.

Bush lied to the American people and to our allies.  The weapons inspectors had found no weapons of mass destruction.  He and his staff, including Dick Cheney, had ignored a series of urgent and potentially disastrous CIA reports that bin Laden was planning an imminent attack on the United States.

Vice President Dickless Cheney sleeps through CIA briefings.
They wanted to go into Iraq, and go into Iraq they did.

Mission Accomplished -- NOT

Twenty-one days after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush landed with tawdry drama on an aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego and declared that the mission in Iraq had been accomplished.  It's hard to say what that accomplishment was, since Saddam Hussein wasn't even captured until seven months later.  Cheney sat in his West Wing office grinning like a fool at the whole phoney spectacle.

It's 2014, Iraq Begins to Implode, and the Right Goes Nuts

I'm too chicken to fight in a real battle, so I'll growl real loud and frighten the President to death.

Like rabid hyenas, the big talkers came roaring out of their flea-infested dens and decided to chew the hide off President Obama.  Chief amongst this pack of Feliformia suborders was Dick Cheney, trying for all his worth to rewrite history and regain some of the respect he never had in the first place.  It hasn't worked out very well for him.

The internet has a long memory, and some in the mainstream media -- including, oddly enough, Fox News -- and a long list of liberal bloggers have taken him on for his barefaced lies and blatant hypocrisy.

The New York Times: This, from the man who helped lead us into this trumped-up war, searching for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, a war in which some 4,500 members of the American military were killed, many thousands more injured, and that is running a tab of trillions of dollars.       

The Washington Post:  When it comes to being wrong about Iraq, Dick Cheney has been in a class by himself. It was Cheney who said, “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."

Just last week, Cheney stated that Barack Obama has stated repeatedly the terrorist threat is gone, we got bin Laden. That’s clearly not the case. That’s not the truth.

What the President very clearly said, on May 1, 2011: The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda. Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad. 

When called out by Jonathan Karl recently for saying that the President is deliberately trying to undermine America's global standing, Cheney danced the backward shuffle and said that he meant no disrespect.  Uh huh.

Give your useless new heart a rest, Dick, and let the adults handle the situation.  You screwed up the country once; no one is going to let you do it again.

And a little bonus:  Kevin McCarthy, the new House Majority Leader, is also clueless on the subject.  When asked by Chris Wallace what the President should do about the situation in Iraq, McCarthy used the word strategy about fifty times and came up empty.  

End Note



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Romney 2016: Is the GOP Daft, Demented, or Desperate?

by Sunnyjane

Romney 2012:  I was more liberal than Ted Kennedy!  But later, I was severely conservative!

In a desperate attempt to regain a modicum of political relevancy, Mitt Romney has begun to insert himself into the 2016 Republican mess as its official Elder Statesman.  Since there is, to be sure, a decided leadership void in that party, he may as well give it a go.  At least he won't lose that contest to a black guy, eh?

Officially announced as Mitt Romney's Third Annual Policy Summit and Leadership Retreat, a few of the wannabe-the-candidate crowd went to Utah last weekend to be pimped out to more than three hundred of Mitt's monied pals.  Frankly, I don't understand why the Republican Donor Class is willing to throw their money at this pathetic group of losers -- Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Rob Portman, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and Susana Martinez -- but maybe they just liked the idea of a three-day picnic paid for by Mitt Romney.  Conspicuously absent was Ted Cruz; perhaps he'll make next year's retreat.  I dunno.

Mitt kicked off the conference with a rousing speech about the lack of leadership in Washington, blah, blah, blah.  So rousing was his speech, in fact, that it immediately prompted Joe Blowhard Scarborough to declare a Draft Romney 2016 movement.  It is particularly odd that MSNBC's Tea Party mouthpiece was even there, given the damning-slamming editorial he wrote for Politico on Romney's, ahem, inadequacies just seven weeks before the 2012 election: Who told Mr. Romney to issue a political broadside against the commander-in-chief the day after a U.S. ambassador was murdered? And who decided that Romney would use his general election campaign to stand for absolutely nothing?  The Wall Street Journal described this ideological listlessness as a “pre-existing decision.”  Scarborough went even further, writing: Laura Ingraham slammed his campaign for its fecklessness. Ingraham argued that if Republicans couldn’t win this year, they should shut the party down.  She's right.  Ouch!  That should have left an indelible mark.

Their host, of course, denied that he had any interest in running for president a third time, but it sounded a bit like Dick Cheney in the Republican 2000 campaign who was put in charge of finding the best running mate for George W.  Of course, he ended up deciding that he was the best man for the vice presidential job.  Let that be a warning, GOP.

Of course, Scarborough was not the only one at the Summit who thought Mitt should run again.  George Schultz, Reagan's secretary of state, said of Romney, I wish we could call him Mr. President!  Jesus.

Other than scoring A+ on his Obama Bashing for Idiots 101 course in the nineteen months since November 2012, Mitt has had no political accomplishments whatsoever.  We are left to assume, therefore, that he obviously did wondrous things during that pathetic campaign that makes Republicans believe he could win in 2016.

The Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare

I will repeal and replace Obamacare on Day One of my presidency!
Fortunately for fourteen million Americans, Day One for Mitt Romney never came to pass.  The number of people enrolling in the ACA grows every day.

In addition, insurance companies who initially declined to participate are clamoring to jump in for their piece of the pie.  This is great news, as it enlarges the free-market thingy that conservatives are always running on about, and it will continue to bring down the cost of premiums.  Uninsured rates are falling in many states, and at California State University campuses, the uninsured students rate dropped by over sixty percent.  Remember, the GOP meme was that young people would not sign up for the President's signature healthcare act.  Heh.

Obamacare has also finished Mitt's work for him in Massachusetts, where the uninsured rate in that state is nearly at zero.

Wrong on Obamacare, Mitt.  Ya gonna repeal it on Day One, 2017?  Good luck with that.

Romney's Complete Geopolitical Failure

Everyone in the GOP seems to have a remarkably negative sense of geopolitics.  In 2008, John McCain made reference to the Iraq-Pakistan border.  Well, no, John; there's 750 miles between Iraq and Pakistan.  Then he responded to a question on whether he would meet with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, I have a clear record of working with leaders in the hemisphere that are friends with us, and standing up to those who are not.  And that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region.  Um, Zapatero was the prime minister of Spain at the time. 

So along comes 2012, and Mitt warned that Syria is Iran's route to the sea, as if Iran were a landlocked country.  Actually, they have over a thousand miles of coastline, and there's that little blob called Iraq between the two countries.  And militarily speaking, when Mitt whined in the last debate that our Navy was smaller than it was in 1917, President Obama had to school him on the fact that we no longer had to use bayonets and horses, that today we had aircraft carriers and submarines.

And we all know how disastrous Mitt's A Fool's Trip Abroad was; he came back not upbeat, but beat up.  And everybody knew it.

McCain and Romney sound almost as goofy as Sarah Palin, who thought we should bomb the country of Islam for being so, you know, Islamic.  (OK, I made that up, but it could have happened.)     

Reducing the Deficit, Romney Style

The only thing you have to know about this subject is that Romney actually thought he could reduce the deficit by killing Big Bird cutting funding for PBS.  



November 29, 2012: No, Mitt, you may NOT sit at my desk.  Good-bye, now.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The GOP Base Clings to Their Guns and Bibles to Kill Innocent Americans

by Sunnyjane

Sadly, it's a profitable era in which to be a mortician.
On Sunday, June 8, Amanda and Jerad Miller decided they would kill some people.  It is unknown if they were actively seeking out police officers or if they just happened to spot a police cruiser in the parking lot of CiCi's Pizza establishment.  It really doesn't matter; two women are widows and four children are fatherless.  

In 2012, Jerad Miller wrote in a post for far-right wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones's Infowars: For the most part, I’m a law abiding citizen.  I believe in God’s law.  You know the ones.  Dont steal, dont murder, etc.   Further into his poorly spelled me-as-victim rant, he said, So, do I kill cops and make a stand when they come to get me?

No police officers were coming to get him, so he went to get them -- just in case, I guess.  I dunno.  

These people make my head hurt.

The Blood-Soaked Hands of the NRA and the Gun Industry
But it sounded real good at CPAC!
Joseph Wilcox, a Wal-Mart shopper on that fateful killing day, bought into the NRA myth that a good man with a gun can stop a bad man with a gun.  His funeral will be held in a few days.

The gun industry -- a fourteen billion dollar a year business -- relies on the NRA for their lobbying expertise.  This has been going on since 2005, when congress passed a law protecting gun manufacturers and sellers from being sued due to death or injury for which their products were responsible.  It shouldn't take a rocket science to figure out which party held the majority in both the House and the Senate in 2005.

The ability to sue the producers and merchants of these killing machines would dramatically decrease this senseless violence.  But the GOP relies on the NRA for campaign support; in 2012, the organization spent $87,253 against Democrats and $664,531 for Republicans.

My head hurts.

The Games People Play Will Kill You

There's a lot of that going around.
A responsible gun owner in Indiana decided to play the always amusing gun-game with his  fiancée’s three-year-old son.  He forgot his gun was loaded and shot the boy in the head.  He died.

The responsible gun owner was charged with felony child neglect and the prosecutor called it an unfortunate incident.  

Did I mention that my head hurts?

End Note

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Far Right Still Can't Work and Play Well with Others

 by Sunnyjane

I've been punked -- again.  I actually believed that we would have a couple days of Republican Tea Party sanity and I could write a post that didn't have to call out their idiocies.  Alas, such was not to be; there seems to be no end to it.  The Tea Party is still calling a lot of the shots -- they're like that adorable litter of puppies you brought home and didn't bother to discipline right from the beginning: for a while it's terribly amusing, and then they become snarling, snapping ankle-biters who destroy everything you hold dear. 

We might as well jump right in and see what they've been up to for the past week or so.

What in the Hell is Wrong with Kentucky Politicians?

Git yer muskets, boys, Obamacare and Same-Sex Marriage is a-comin' over the mountains!
At the risk of insulting otherwise normal Kentuckians, I must say you are bedeviled by the most peculiar politicians in the country -- and they're not all Republicans.  Mitch McConnell doesy-doed to the right to win the primary over Matt Bevin, and now he's doing the two-step back toward the middle -- well, as middle as McConnell can possibly go.  Obamacare has him confused, you see, because even though he has promised to rip out the country's first healthcare program root-and-branch, he understands that going on half a million Bluegrassers are feeling pretty A-OK about having affordable health insurance for the first time in their lives.  So, he's announced that while he's still going to do his garden surgery on the ACA, he'll be glad to leave Kynect -- the state's health exchange program -- alone because, after all, the two are not connected.  Now is Mitch stupid, or does he think the citizens of his state are stupid?  And then there's Rand Paul, who thinks the whole thing about keeping Kynect and repealing Obamacare is a technical question.  Democrat Alison Grimes, who wants to win McConnell's seat in the senate, keeps peeking around her hoop skirted petticoat to see which way the wind is blowing on the issue -- which is exactly what Mitchie and Randy want her to do.  Good Lord, Alison, don't bother to call them out on this idiocy by telling the voters that Paul and McConnell will take their healthcare away from them.   

But it doesn't end there.  Democratic Governor Steve Beshear is in court defending his state's decision to continue the ban on same-six marriage because -- wait for it -- same sex couples can't produce children and he's concerned that not having couples produce children will be detrimental to increasing the state's population.  What!  He governs one of the poorest states in the nation and he wants more of the same?      

Perhaps this, um, strangeness is due to the fact that Kentuckians live in a two-time-zone state; that might tend to make you sort of weird, I admit.

Here a Gun, There a Gun, Everywhere a Gun-Gun

But if you had Obamacare, your insurance might pay for a penis pump.
The narrow-minded -- and small-membered -- population in this country have gone off the freaking rails with their God-given right (huh?) to carry weapons of mass destruction in public.  They pay no attention to the adage of Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.  Folks trying to sip their lattes or scoff down their burritos have protested to the point that businesses in open-carry states have had to post signs on their doors saying Leave Your Penis Extender in Your Vehicle, Idiot.

After the latest shooting in California, Joni Ernst was asked if she would take down her gun-riddled campaign ads.  She responded to the effect that shooting six people was an unfortunate accident, but her ads proved that she's a Second Amendment advocate, so, NOPE, she would not take down those ads.

Joe Not-a-Joe-Not-a-Plumber puffed himself up and declared that his right to own a gun was more important that some dead kid.  He then doubled down on that and said guns were for hunting down politicians who would take away his freedoms; obviously another male idiot lacking muscle in the family-jewels department.

Some yahoo in Alabama decided he needed his handgun and two magazines of ammo to vote in a recent Republican (naturally) primary.  Since a church was acting as the polling place for said primary, there was a sign on the door that clearly stated that guns would not be allowed.  He protested.  To no avail.  A deputy was called.  Voter put his gun back in his truck.  He's going to complain.  So there!  Hmpf!

The NRA initially wrote on its blog page that carrying weapons around just for the attention it garnered its owners was weird.  In about two days they walked that back, blaming the confusion on a hapless staff member.   

There's a Pond in Texas That's Missing its Scum

Holmes and Cruz: Racist Comrades in Arms
If the mere sight of this individual doesn't make you want to hurl your cookies, you might want to seek professional counseling.  No, seriously. 

Because President Obama refused to negotiate on a House budget that would repeal the Affordable Care Act last year, Canadian Senator Senor Rafael Edward Cruz got himself in a snit and decided to shut down the United States government for seventeen days -- to the tune of about $24 BILLION.  He then refused to admit his prominent role in that fiasco, blaming Obama and Harry Reid.   Fast forward: Rafael Edward now is taking full credit for the shutdown, and believes that, because of his leadership, the shutdown is going to allow the Republicans to take over the Senate and increase their membership in the House.

Oh, he's also spewing the meme that because the Democrats are trying to get an amendment to override the Supreme Court's decision on campaign spending, that they're going to ban books and movies.  Yes, seriously!  

On the Lighter Side...

 A new study just released says that Americans learn more about the news from Stephen Colbert than they do from mainstream news channels.  What does that tell us?

Joni Ernst won the Republican primary election in Iowa.  Now she's one step closer to going  to Washington to shoot a hog and castrate Obamacare -- or something like that.  However, Steve Lonegan did not win in New Jersey, which couldn't have been a outcome time for him, given that he's a real loser.  Why, the last time he lost, he rudely pushed his wife's hand off his shoulder during his concession speech.  I guess that taught HER a lesson, by golly!

Don't touch me, bitch!
With their math teacher's help, sixth graders in Massachusetts have sent the Department of Education a bill for more than $1,600 as payment for being used as guinea pigs to test the Standard of Learning exams for a private company.  Now that's thinking, kids!

And speaking of guinea pigs, there's a home schooling expert who believes that sex education is a liberal plot to desensitize children to sex.  This leads to no bonding in marriage, which leads to unstable and broken marriages, and when that happens, they all vote Democratic.  Instead, she recommends letting kids see guinea pigs doing it, because you can't really see anything: You really couldn’t see anything because they’re big, furry little fuzzball things. I mean, that’s why there isn’t guinea pig porn movies.  (Pardon me, but you can't make this shit up.)

And speaking of sex, Pat Robertson believes that if your husband washes dishes, you owe him a roll in the hay.  No word on what you owe if he only puts the crockery in the dishwasher.

Good news!  If God tells him to, Herman Cain will run for president in 2016.  I guess Herb didn't get the text messages God sent him in 2012.

Some anti-gay Christian groups are refusing to accept mail with Harvey Milk postage stamps on it.  Well, that will certainly show those gays a thing or two!

Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time GOPer Terri Lynn Land, who's running for something or other in Michigan, became so flustered while being questioned by reporters that she exclaimed, I can't do this!   Ain't that a hoot?

End Note