To Tell the Truth

Several times today Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” asked the same question about the Senate intelligence report on torture. I call dibs because I thought of this same question earlier in the week.

How can the Democrats and the Republicans on the same committee look at the same evidence and come to such different conclusions?

What perhaps bothers me more than any “war crimes” we may have committed is the inability to get at the truth. Dick Cheney says the torture report is “crap”. Dianne Feinstein says it’s gospel. Is one of them a liar? Are they both lying?

This seems to be a constant nowadays. It seems that for at least 50% of news stories “reasonable people can disagree”. Maybe I’m nostalgic but I seem to remember a time when there was such a thing as facts. Now we hear stats like the unemployment rate that even I don’t believe and I’m not a crazed conspiracy theorist.

How can we get anywhere when we can’t agree on a basic set of facts?

Postscript: The Strange Parallel Universe of War

In the discussion thread of the previous essay, I suggested that war is by definition illegal. Its primary features are murder and destruction. These acts are illegal in any civilized country and immoral in most religions. But in the context of war you can kill a man if he wears the uniform of the enemy. Nowadays uniforms don’t even matter. If our spies tell us you’re the enemy, we will drone you with zero consequences.

We have “military courts”. If a soldier commits a crime, he’s tried in a military court. We are not talking military infractions such as insubordination. We are talking assault and rape. Just yesterday I saw a story about military sex offenders who never end up in the civilian sex offender registry.

In our discussion of torture we hear people say in the context of post-9/11, torture was “something else”. What context justifies rectal feeding or letting a prisoner die of hypothermia?

All is fair in love and war. When it comes to war, this should send a chill down our spine.

What do you think? The bar is open.

Fox – Fair and Balanced – Seriously

Far left manifesto Daily Kos beat me to the punch with the headline “Pigs Fly – Megyn Kelly Slams Cheney”.

I was sitting away from the TV when I thought I heard Fox’s Megyn Kelly ask blowhard ex VP Dick Cheney the question any self respecting journalist would have asked him but lacked the guts to. But it could not be. This was Fox, the network that single handedly powers the mechanical heart of Darth Cheney. I had to see it with my own eyes.

Alas, it was true. Dick Cheney, the heartless Tin Man to Bush’s brainless Scarecrow, got his ass handed to him just when he thought he was in his safe place. Since 2009, Bush ’43 has shown nothing but class. It might be modesty about his self-perceived accomplishments or shame about his obvious failures. It matters not. Bush has been a true patriot, honoring the Presidency, if not Obama, with his silence.

The same cannot be said for Dick Cheney, one of the architects of the most expensive and deadly boondoggles in recent history. The man just can’t shut up. His latest pronouncement about Obama in the Wall Street Journal topped all previous examples of arrogant self delusion.

Rarely has a U.S. President been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.

Megyn Kelly threw his words back in his face, confirming what every honest American already knew.

But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir. You said there were no doubts Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You said we would greeted as liberators. You said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005. And you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to, quote, ‘rethink their strategy of Jihad.’ Now with almost a trillion dollars spent there with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say, you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?

Cheney’s answers to Kelly were predictable and not worth inclusion here. Suffice it to say he is unable to accept responsibility for the grave injury he inflicted on his country. The phrase found in much of the coverage of his Op-Ed is “unmitigated gall”.

The bottom line is that in a fifteen minute interview Megyn Kelly transformed Fox News from partisan hackery to serious journalism. She also laid to shame every other network without the balls to put Cheney in his place – to his face.

There are those who say Cheney and his merry band of neo-cons from the dawn of this century shouldn’t even be allowed to spew their bullcrap on TV. I disagree. Bring them on and let’s have more folks like Megyn Kelly expose them for the dangerous fools they are.


For the full Kelly video and more Fox commentary go here.

A GOP Delusion: The Radical Obama

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve argued with some wingnut about how radical President Barack Obama is (or in reality isn’t), I’d be a very rich man. It’s cool to find someone who can summarize the points neatly with a bit of snarky humor thrown in for good measure.

In Bill Maher’s latest rant on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”, Maher lays out the case for the GOP delusion of a radical Obama. For starters, since Maher is a standup comic, he tours America all the time. He sees “real” Americans every day. And guess what? Nothing has changed. It’s the same damn America it was under Bush. People work, go to church, go to the mall and buy Justin Bieber tickets. With Bill’s help, let’s look at the things Obama hasn’t done that might have classified him as radical.


  1. Pulled the troops out of Afghanistan.
  2. Medicare for all.
  3. Ended the war on drugs.
  4. Cut the defense budget in half.
  5. Turned Dick Cheney over to the Hague.

Now let’s look at some of the radical things he has done:

  1. Cut taxes and spending — how radical!
  2. He didn’t break up the too big to fail banks.
  3. More oil drilling under Obama than ever.
  4. Dow 7949 to 12000 with record profits for corporations … how socialist!!

As Maher says, the GOP needs to paint the picture of Obama that justifies their hatred. The fact that it is based in fiction seems beside the point.

So the choice this November, my friends, is between a moderate liberal and moderate conservative pretending to be a right-wing nut job. Have fun at the polls but don’t be deluded.

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