Liz Cheney: The Chick of the Chicken-Hawk Should Just Go Away

First Obama is evil for wanting to send a positive message to our school children. Then he is evil for wanting to try to get the Olympics held here. Then he is evil for not outright rejecting the admittedly odd honor of the Nobel Peace Prize. Well, none of that should be too surprising since none of those issues reside in the sweet spot of conservatives. You would think though, that Obama honoring our war dead would be something that even our right-wing brethren could get behind.

Apparently not. On the radio, the former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter, whom MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell called Dick’s “pet attack dog”, found fault with the President’s recent visit to Dover Air Force Base to honor the war dead on their final trip home. She seemed to find it unseemly that the President be there “with the White House press pool”. This stupid excuse for a “patriot” neglected to mention that unlike during her father’s time, families of war dead can now request that cameras be present at their deceased loved ones homecoming. She also neglected to mention that the families who gave and did not give permission for the televised homecoming were unaware that the President would be there.

But Lawrence O’Donnell, who subbed for Keith Olbermann on MSNBC’s “Countdown” can tell the story much better than I can:

That’s right. Not only could Bush not be seen at Dover since he didn’t allow cameras there, but he was NEVER there himself to honor the war dead. Vice President Cheney, no doubt afraid to leave his undisclosed location, was also never seen at Dover in the seven years that he promoted the suicide mission that was the Iraq war. Liz says of the war dead that there is no greater sacrifice that someone can make to the nation. How would she know? Her father dodged military service not once but five times.

As I’ve suffered through the increasingly frequent appearances of Liz Cheney in the media, I got to wondering why we don’t ever see Cheney’s other daughter Mary. As you know, Mary is a lesbian. So I did some digging and found what I consider to be a very conflicted woman. With apologies to everyone who finds David Letterman’s recent behavior disgusting, I offer an unusually politically astute interview he did with Mary back in 2006.

Fascinating that Mary put her concern for national security above her own self-interest. Let’s face it, she supported an administration that wanted to amend the Constitution to outlaw same-sex privileges, not just marriage, but any legal protection for same-sex couples. In 2006, with her dad a lame duck VP, she then felt emboldened to write an autobiography calling for equal rights for gays and lesbians, when it was too late to really make a difference. I can’t criticize Mary because her dilemma was understandable. Just look at the brilliant defense her father gave her a year later when she announced she was expecting her first child:

While the Dick was delighted to be getting a new grandchild (who wouldn’t be?), he stopped short of denouncing his supporters who consider Mary Cheney an abomination. He accused Wolf Blitzer of dealing a low blow. Why couldn’t he have said Focus on the Family was full of crap? The organization insulted his daughter and he felt insulted by Wolf Blitzer! After several seconds of receiving the Darth Vader death stare, Wolf sheepishly backed off. I would have persisted. I would have asked Cheney why he was a lousy hypocrite. He cared so much for his grandchild that he would have supported legislation that made that grandchild an orphan upon the death of his daughter.
This is the twisted world of the Cheneys. Why haven’t we seen much of Mary lately? Has she wised up that her father is a disgrace to this country? Or perhaps, in her typically self-sacrificing way, she’s willing to let her “normal” sister do all the talking?  When it comes to talking, most ex-Vice Presidents, unless they are pursuing the Presidency, fade into the woodwork and certainly don’t disparage the current President on a regular basis. This goes double for Vice  President’s children.

Liz, take a cue from the former Vice President’s children whose names we don’t even know, and just fade away.

Rutherford Political Blogger Alliance


Clinton Tells Pakistan What They Need to Hear

Back in May, I wrote about my distrust of Asif Zardari, the President of Pakistan, who at the time was complaining that Americans let Osama bin Laden get away. While I have criticized the Bush administration for their ham-fisted handling of Afghanistan, I found Zardari arrogant, bitter, ungrateful and no friend of the United States.

With that as a backdrop,  I was thrilled to see Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tell the Pakistanis what’s what this week. Referring to high level Al Qaeda, such as Bin Laden, she said:

“I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to”

via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Has Intense Exchange With Students in Pakistan.

Then in an exchange with Pakistani students, Ms. Clinton added that the government has a choice on whether to be aggressive against terrorists or be apathetic:

“If you want to see your territory shrink, that’s your choice”

When criticized for the terms of money transfers from the US to Pakistan, Clinton told her audience they don’t have to accept our money.

During the campaign I was quite critical of Clinton based on what I felt were some underhanded moves on her part, but I must say I love Secretary of State Hillary ten times more than I loved candidate Hillary. As we send young men and women to die in Afghanistan, it is partly to keep the crazies from getting hold of Pakistani nukes. Pakistan better have some real skin in the game real fast and figure out who their friends are.

I doubt, from what I’ve seen of Zardari that we can trust Pakistan any further than we can throw them. It complicates our mission in Afghanistan greatly and makes the President’s imminent decision about our strategy there the most difficult one he has faced in his first year, and perhaps the most difficult one he will face in his first term.

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HCR: When is the Fight Worth It?

One of the roles of government is to make the country run efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately, government cannot be separated from politics. Politics, more often than not interferes with effective government. Such is the source of my dismay with the current health care reform (HCR) debate. There is much chatter about Obama needing a “win”. The suggestion is that any health care bill is better than none. With Joe Lieberman now endangering the prospects for passing the bill and with talk of an end run involving reconciliation, isn’t it time for us to take a sober look at what we’re fighting for?

A few nights ago, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow did a good job of articulating the various choices before us:

1. Robust public option: A government run reimbursement system similar to Medicare that forces private insurance companies to compete for customers.
2. The opt-out: Every state adopts the public option at first but gets a chance to opt out at a later time. (This creates the interesting scenario of seeing which states would have the balls to opt out after their residents have gotten a taste of the public option.)
3. The opt-in: Only states that want to use the public option have to. Does this go far enough to make affordable health care available to everyone?
4. The “trigger”: The public option gets enforced only after the insurance companies have had time to clean up their act and have failed to do so. Does anyone really believe the legislation could be written strictly enough for the trigger to ever get pulled?
5. No public option under any circumstances.

If the goal is to make insurance available to more people and at lower cost, then option 1 is really the only one that achieves this. Options 2 through 4 provide too much wiggle room to be effective. Option 5 is essentially the Baucus bill out of the Senate that simply puts more customers into the hands of a malicious insurance industry.

Has anyone noticed that all the debate is centered around expanding care to all at an affordable price but little debate revolves around reforming insurance “worst practices” such as exclusions based on pre-existing conditions.  Of course, this gets mentioned in Obama’s speeches and we hear story after story of insurance company abuses against their customers. But no one is fighting over that point. Maybe because only a callous fool would defend not insuring a baby because he was “too fat” or not insuring a woman because her pregnancy was considered a pre-existing condition.

What I fear is that while Washington fights over the money, we may lose important reforms that don’t cost us a dime (other than lowering insurance company profits a bit). I am no longer sure that I agree that any bill will do. I am not sure that the result we are awaiting is a flashy bill signing ceremony at the White House, another notch in Obama’s belt. Finally I am not sure that if reconciliation cannot get us option 1 (the only real option for availability and affordability) that it is worth it to go that route. To run an endgame around the system to get a sad compromise just increases the polarization in our government for no good reason, not to mention the fact that all these options don’t kick in for years to come.

I say if we don’t have the votes for option 1, then let’s strip out all of the affordability/availability legislation and draft a bill that simply regulates the insurance industry to stop abuses. Let’s make the regulatory legislation effective within 12 months. That will be a major step forward. With that done, we can build on that victory and get everything else we want down the line.

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