FORMER VP DICK CHENEY



FORMER VP DICK CHENEY


Breaking News —   Credit Chip Gibbons / History Al Jacobs

Yesterday marked one year since pro-Trump fanatics stormed the US Capitol under the belief that they could halt the counting of electoral votes and install the loser of an election as president. Democrats marked the occasion by remembering the breaching of the Capitol as an attack on democracy (featuring a bizarre musical interlude from the cast of Hamilton); 

Republicans were less eager to do so. During the official congressional ceremony, only two Republicans chose to attend. One was Liz Cheney, currently a US representative for Wyoming; the other was her father, Dick Cheney (as a former member of Congress, Cheney has lifetime congressional floor privileges). Numerous Democrats reportedly walked over to Cheney to shake his hand.

I find it difficult to put into words how shameful venerating Cheney like this is by anyone, much less the country’s supposed left-wing party — and it’s particularly jarring given that Cheney has dedicated his career to attacking democracy, the very thing the ceremony was supposedly in opposition to.

Cheney first began his career in government during the disgraced presidency of Richard Nixon, staying on into the Gerald Ford administration. While Nixon’s name is synonymous with the abuses of power of the imperial presidency, Cheney believed Nixon had gotten a raw deal. More importantly, he believed the power of the presidency had been too greatly diminished. He resented congressional attempts to put restrictions on the intelligence agencies, rein in the president’s ability to wage war without congressional consent, and make the executive branch more transparent.

Years later, George W. Bush tasked Cheney with selecting his vice-presidential running mate. Cheney selected himself. Cheney was only able to assume power after an absurd Supreme Court decision that halted a recount of the Florida elections on spurious grounds, thus handing the presidency to Bush. Whereas Donald Trump may have dreamed of stealing an election, Bush and Cheney actually did.

After the Septemeber 11 terror attacks stunned the nation, Cheney saw an opportunity to finally enact his decades-long agenda of restoring the imperial presidency. As documented by Jane Mayer, Cheney was instrumental to the cabal within the Bush administration that pushed the limits of executive power and spawned some of the worst human rights abuses in US history. One of the most dramatic moves by Cheney and his acolytes was to invent a new category of prisoners called “enemy combatants,” arguing that the Geneva Conventions, which govern the law of war, did not apply to them.

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And it wasn’t just warrantless wiretapping Cheney was a cheerleader for. He was a defender of the prison at Guantanamo Bay and the CIA’s torture program.

No one should downplay the crimes of Donald Trump. His erratic and demagogic behavior during the COVID-19 crisis and George Floyd uprisings, his greenlighting of police terror and white-supremacist violence, and his love of callousness and cruelty, even to migrant children, made him a real threat.

Yet compared to Dick Cheney’s crimes against democracy, Trump is an amateur. Cheney reduced nations to rubble, shredded the Bill of Rights, and enacted programs of surveillance, abduction, detention, and torture more in line with the state terrorism of military dictatorships than the norms of liberal democracy.   
To venerate Cheney, as Democrats in Congress did yesterday, is to show complete contempt for democracy.   On the other hand he has 


World Mourns - Cheney Lived — Bad Mans Bad Joke — Some Redemption  —  In another show of compassion, fans of Dick Cheney left flowers outside the hospital where he underwent another heart operation.  This was a biggie a transplant.   The displays of Ragweed, Poison Ivy, and night Blooming Jasmine contrasted nicely with the assortment of dolls with pins in them. That was then and now is now.  He spoke, here is a synopsis.

Asked about the Republican leadership's reaction to Jan. 6, Cheney said that the leadership did not resemble "any of the folks I knew when I was here for 10 years."

  • Cheney served as a Republican House member from 1979 to 1989, including stints as the Republican conference chair and the Republican whip.
  • When asked about Republicans' treatment of his daughter, who was ousted as conference chair last year, he said, "My daughter can take care of herself.”
  • The former vice president said in a statement later Thursday that he is “ Deeply disappointed at the failure of many members of my party to recognize the grave nature of the January 6 attacks and the ongoing threat to our nation.”
  • A former House member with lifetime floor privileges, he joined his daughter on the floor during a pro forma session of the House Thursday. 
  • There were roughly 30 Democrats in the chamber. Cheney participated in the prayer, pledge and moment of silence in honor of Jan. 6. No other Republicans were present. 
  • After leading the House in the moment of silence and adjourning the session, Pelosi chatted with the Cheneys.
  • Numerous House Democrats were lined up to shake hands with and talk to the former vice president.
  • Asked about the reception he received from members, Cheney said it was "great" to return to the Capitol. "They're doing a hell of a job, and I'm here to support it.” 
  • “The importance of January 6th as an historic event cannot be overstated. I was honored and proud to join my daughter on the House floor to recognize this anniversary, to commend the heroic actions of law enforcement that day, and to reaffirm our dedication to the Constitution.

  

HISTORY  — “Hubris”, the true story of the lies Dick (Darth) Cheney brought to the table. The distortions and mistruths he championed costing 190,000 dead, 7000 American soldiers and other combatants, almost three trillion dollars we know of and 50,000 wounded.  The truth is out now and the coverup exposed.  He should have been charged with Treason for lying to Congress, the American people, the President and the world. 

Filled with news-making revelations that made it a New York Times bestseller, Hubris takes us behind the scenes at the White House, CIA, Pentagon, State Department, and Congress to show how George W. Bush came to invade Iraq - and how his administration struggled with the devastating fallout.  

Hubris  connects the dots between Bush's expletive-laden outbursts at Saddam Hussein, the bitter battles between the CIA and the White House, the fights within the intelligence community over Saddam's supposed weapons of mass destruction, the outing of an undercover CIA officer, and the Bush administration's misleading sales campaign for war. Written by veteran reporters… 

Michael Isikoff  and David Corn, this is an inside look at how a president took the nation to war using faulty and fraudulent intelligence. It's a dramatic page-turner and an intriguing account of conspiracy, backstabbing, bureaucratic ineptitude, journalistic malfeasance, and arrogance. Available at Amazon.


The Media Plays A Role  —  False gods, read Exodus, your time will come.  Who are these spinners and what are their qualifications? It will surprise you to know many of them have no political experience, nor military served time, no college or higher learning, but consider themselves experts in the fields.  

They all start in Radio.  Why Radio? Simple you can hide. You may start in talk radio where no one sees your face so you can wear your uniform and not be seen, recognized or assaulted. That must be "where the expression talk is cheap came from".  Makes sense to me. If you said some of the things they said to someones face, they would in some cases be lying horizontal on the ground. 

In TV, we start with an introduction to media, not necessarily journalism.  Pretty faces and lots of prompters make anyone into a faux journalist.  The real journalists have one commodity these folks don't have…integrity.

Radio attracts a lot of folks who are dissidents  they too hide when they express themselves and frankly violence sells on talk radio as the only other stations on AM are fundamentalist religionists who are even more boring…. read on, it was this combination of radio and TV that sold the war to the American people and most of it was never verified.


DRAFT DODGER
When Cheney became eligible for the draft, during the Vietnam War, he applied for and received five draft deferments. In 1989, The Washington Post writer George C. Wilson interviewed Cheney as the next Secretary of Defense; when asked about his deferments, Cheney reportedly said, “I had other priorities in the '60s than military service”.  

Cheney testified during his confirmation hearings in 1989 that he received deferments to finish a college career that lasted six years rather than four, owing to sub-par academic performance and the need to work to pay for his education. Initially, he was not called up because the Selective Service System was only taking older men. 

When he became eligible for the draft, he applied for four deferments in sequence. He applied for his fifth exemption on January 19, 1966, when his wife was about 10 weeks pregnant. He was granted 3-A status, the "hardship" exemption, which excluded men with children or dependent parents. In January 1967, Cheney turned 26 and was no longer eligible for the draft.

Note:  Though I respect the office of the Vice-President this man should have been arrested for treason, murder, lying to Congress and the people of the United States. 

A TRUE WAR CRIMINAL
“US doesn't prosecute its war criminals. It honors them” — Glenn Greenwald.   The truth in Greenwald’s quote, and the sentiment, is felt around the world as former Vice President Dick Cheney was honored Thursday.  

A white bust was created that now sits at the US Capitol, bought and paid for by the American people.  The event brought out Cheney’s poignantly true “partner in crime,” former President George W. Bush.  

Someone had commented it should be covered with a dirtied diaper.

Sarah Lazare at Common Dreams remarks: The ceremony was the first public appearance of Cheney and Bush together since Jon Meacham's biography of George H.W. Bush was released in November.  

George Bush 41 is quoted criticizing Cheney for being “hard-line,” “ Iron-ass,” and "knuckling under to the real hard-charging guys who want to fight about everything, use force to get our way in the Middle East."

George Bush 43 made light of the comments about the former vice president, who has recently used his considerable media platform to rail against the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, declare he is unapologetic about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and call for military escalation towards ISIS.

Lazare reports that when Bush told his father about the Cheney ceremony, Bush said “send my best regards to old iron-ass.”  How about “old torturer” or “old murderer” or “old war criminal?” 

Dick Cheney is responsible for the deaths of over 7,200 US troops—and reportedly hundreds of thousands innocent civilians.  All of my spirituality leaves me when I think of Dick Cheney. The world damage he created, and the lives he destroyed is beyond forgiveness, much less worthy of an honor.   Shame on US for allowing this man to walk free.  


In The Past Decade  —  Cheney’s company Halliburton was involved in a kickback scheme that prompted Halliburton to fire two workers and reimburse the Pentagon $6.3 million. Yea, two guys just happened to skip with millions. Sacrificial lambs. additionally, the possible overcharging for food services which Halliburton reimbursed the Defense Department for nearly $30 million. Halliburton has set aside $141 million to pay other possible reimbursements.

A separate DCAA audit which accused KBR of overcharging by $61 million for gasoline delivered to serve the civilian market in Iraq last year. Halliburton has said the charges were proper. Right... like I believe them.  Critics say Halliburton is an example of war profiteering by companies friendly to the Bush administration. Company and administration officials say politics had nothing to do with Halliburton's contracts in Iraq.


CIA Leak Scandal (Guess Who Blabbed)  —  Plame affair - CIA leak grand jury investigation and United States v. Libby.  On October 18, 2005, The Washington Post reported that the vice president's office was central to the investigation of the Valerie Plame CIA leak scandal, for Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was one of the figures under investigation.   Following an indictment, Libby resigned his positions as Cheney's chief of staff and assistant on national security affairs.   On September 8, 2006, Richard Armitage, former Deputy Secretary of State, publicly announced that he was the source of the revelation of Plame's status. Armitage said he was not a part of a conspiracy to reveal Plame's identity and did not know whether one existed.

In February 2006, The National Journal reported that Libby had stated before a grand jury that his superiors, including Cheney, had authorized him to disclose classified information to the press regarding intelligence on Iraq's weapons.  

March 6, 2007, Libby was convicted on four felony counts for obstruction of justice, perjury, and making false statements to federal investigators. In his closing arguments, independent prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said that there was "a cloud over the vice president”, an apparent reference to Cheney's interview with FBI agents investigating the case, which was made public in 2009. 
Cheney lobbied President George W. Bush vigorously and unsuccessfully to grant Libby a full Presidential pardon up to the day of Barack Obama's inauguration, likening Libby to a "soldier on the battlefield".


Failed Assassination Attempt  (Better Luck Next Time Fellas) — 2007 Bagram Airfield bombing  On February 27, 2007, at about 10 am, a suicide bomber killed 23 people and wounded 20 more outside Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan during a visit by Cheney. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and declared that Cheney was its intended target. They also claimed that Osama Bin Laden supervised the operation.  

The bomb went off outside the front gate while Cheney was inside the base and half a mile away. He reported hearing the blast, saying "I heard a loud boom...The Secret Service came in and told me there had been an attack on the main gate."  The purpose of Cheney's visit to the region had been to press Pakistan for a united front against the Taliban.  


Who Really Ran The  White House?  —  Cheney has been characterized as the most powerful and influential Vice President in history.   He has been characterized as a “War monger and cold hearted bastard”  yet his  supporters and critics of Cheney regard him as a shrewd and knowledgeable politician who knows the functions and intricacies of the federal government.  Which is a nice way of saying he knows how to beat the system.  

He also liked to stay close to the bone, one sign of Cheney's active policy-making role was an office near the House floor for Cheney in addition to his office in the West Wing, his ceremonial office in the Old Executive Office Building, and his Senate offices (one in the Dirksen Senate Office Building and another off the floor of the Senate).  Nothing got passed him.

Barack Obama could of used Cheney who actively promoted an expansion of the powers of the presidency, saying that the Bush administration’s challenges to the laws which Congress passed after Vietnam and Watergate to contain and oversee the executive branch—the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Presidential Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act and the War Powers Resolution—are, in Cheney's words, "a restoration, if you will, of the power and authority of the president”.   But when Barack Obama exercises those rights, Cheney is out there plummeting him with his unique kind of bitting rhetoric.


Power Hungry Surfaces In A Documentary  — In June 2007, the Washington Post summarized Cheney’s vice presidency in a Pulitzer Prize-winning four-part series, based in part on interviews with former administration officials. The articles characterized Cheney not as a "shadow" president, but as someone who usually has the last words of counsel to the president on policies, which in many cases would reshape the powers of the presidency. 

When former Vice President Dan Quayle suggested to Cheney that the office was largely ceremonial, Cheney reportedly replied, "I have a different understanding with the president." The articles described Cheney as having a secretive approach to the tools of government, indicated by the use of his own security classification and three man-sized safes in his offices plus whips and chains, running water and boards, portable generators and other assorted devices.

The articles described Cheney’s influence on decisions pertaining to detention of suspected terrorists and the legal limits that apply to their questioning, especially what constitutes torture.  Obviously this was a man of medieval institutional  thinking pertaining to questioning and he would rewrite the laws if needed as to their usage.

U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Colin Powell's chief of staff when he was both Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the same time Cheney was Secretary of Defense, and then later when Powell was Secretary of State, stated in an in-depth interview that Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld established an alternative program to interrogate post-9/11 detainees because of their mutual distrust of CIA.

The Washington Post articles, principally written by Barton Gellman, further characterized Cheney as having the strongest influence within the administration in shaping budget and tax policy in a manner that assures "conservative orthodoxy." They also highlighted Cheney’s behind-the-scenes influence on the administration’s environmental policy to ease pollution controls for power plants, facilitate the disposal of nuclear waste, open access to federal timber resources, and avoid federal constraints on greenhouse gas emissions, among other issues. The articles characterized his approach to policy formulation as favoring business over the environment.

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