Posts tagged ‘Dick Cheney’

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.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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May 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm 393 comments

Dick, Are You Kidding Me?

Cheney's heart?I’ve been casually observing the former Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney as he embarks on his book tour for In My Time, his personal memoir covering some forty years of public life. I watched the softball interview he had with NBC’s Jamie Gangel. I saw a question or two from Matt Laurer, slightly tougher in tone. This morning Cheney got his toughest interview to date from the crew at MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”.

What absolutely floored me took place at the 19 minute 45 second mark when Mike Barnacle asked Cheney how he could let Osama bin Laden slip through his fingers at Tora Bora in 2001.

Cheney’s response was that the commander in the field felt that  “the locals could deal with that particular problem.” Excuse me? That particular problem? That particular problem was public enemy number 1, the man single most responsible for 9/11. How could we possibly leave his capture up to the “locals”? How could any commander in Afghanistan at the time not be under strict orders to do anything and everything to capture Osama bin Laden?

My suspicion is that the commanders weren’t given these priorities because the administration’s vendetta against Saddam Hussein was already in full swing and Osama bin Laden, our real enemy, was off our radar. What blows my mind is Cheney’s ability to go on national television without an ounce of remorse and admit to gross incompetence. Perhaps what is worse is that no follow-up question came from the “Morning Joe” panel. Something along the lines of “Dick, are you kidding me?”

Until some interviewer asks Mr. Cheney if he is afraid to leave the country  for fear of being prosecuted as a war criminal, I will consider his public grilling incomplete. The silver lining to this book tour would be if the proceeds from In My Time went to the survivors of the Iraq war dead. I won’t hold my breath. After all, we are talking about a man whose hunting buddy apologized for being in the path of Cheney’s bullets when he got shot in the face.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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September 1, 2011 at 7:44 pm 559 comments

My (Very) Early Predictions for GOP 2012

Inspired by a comment I made in one of my comment threads, fellow blogger Alfie prognosticated about whether or not Barack Obama will be challenged in 2012 by a Democrat. I thought I would return the favor by conjecturing on the GOP side of the 2012 Presidential race.

What follows in no particular order are some of the names already being bandied about for Republican nominees. I’ll grade them on likelihood of winning nomination if they decided to run and likelihood of beating Obama on a five point scale. 5 = Extremely likely, 1 = there’s a better chance of finding Nicole Simpson’s “real” killer.

Sarah Palin

We might as well get the elephant in the room over with. Palin is comparatively young, extremely savvy about controlling the media which she claims to disdain, and very charismatic as evidenced by the huge crowds she attracts on a regular basis. It is very hard to tell how brave her fellow Republicans will be in challenging her in the primaries should she choose to run. If they attack her too sharply they will alienate a major contingent of the dissatisfied electorate. She has proven that she will not buckle down and become knowledgeable on the issues. Still, I’m not sure this would seal her doom during primary season. In the general election, Obama (or any other Democrat for that matter) will clean her clock.
Nomination: 4
Election: 1

Tim Pawlenty

Watching paint dry is a more exciting experience than watching Pawlenty. With more interesting characters from which to choose, Pawlenty does not stand a chance.
Nomination: 2
Election: 1

Bobby Jindal

Bobby’s Republican response to one of Obama’s early Congressional addresses in 2009 was so awkward and embarrassing that it is hard to believe he could be a compelling challenger. He has been accurately compared to Kenneth the page in the sitcom “30 Rock”. This is another non-starter.
Nomination: 2
Election: 1

Dick Cheney

While the former Vice President has sworn he will not seek higher office, his nomination would present a choice of polar opposites for the American people. A Venn diagram depicting Cheney’s views vs Obama’s views would be two circles side by side with zero overlap. Cheney would get 100% of registered Republicans, Obama 100% of registered Democrats and then the fascinating exercise would be to see where the independents line up. For sheer drama, I’d pick Cheney as the next GOP candidate. One interesting question would be how much would his health play a role in his electability?
Nomination: 4
Election: 3

Mitt Romney

Since it is highly unlikely that we will have a booming economy in late 2011 and early 2012, Mitt Romney is the GOP’s economy pinch hitter. Romney, a successful businessman who saved the 2002 Winter Olympics games from financial ruin can claim some dollars and cents credibility. He also does very well in every GOP straw poll that has been conducted recently (CPAC and SRLC to name two). He has two major problems from my perspective. If health care reform is as polarizing in 2012 as it is now, Romney has some explaining to do since he championed a similar health care plan in Massachusetts while he was Governor. The “I was for it before I was against it” approach has not fared well in American politics. It also falls into Romney’s reputation as flip-flopper, firmly established during the 2008 primaries. In the general election, I think his Mormonism will definitely hurt him. My guess is that atheists find Mormonism the most detestable of faiths based on their history of racism. I suspect a good many Christians also don’t consider Mormonism a legit religion.
Nomination: 4
Election: 2

Ron Paul

Ron Paul does not stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting nominated much less elected. There is a simple reason why. He is truly the only one on the GOP side bucking the status quo. While America talks a good line about wanting change, the truth is the average American is change-averse. The further we get into Barack Obama’s presidency the more convinced I am of this. The change that Americans wanted to believe in when they elected Obama was really just a desire to return to normalcy (Warren Harding anyone?), i.e. getting back to work. That’s not real change. That’s just restoration of the status quo. Among Ron Paul’s more radical ideas is to bring virtually all our military forces home. He claims we currently are acting like an empire with troops installed all over the world. I have to tell you I like Paul if for no other reason than that he says stuff that is unpopular with the establishment. He also has a strong base among conservative youth. Still I don’t think he can galvanize enough support to be successful.
Nomination: 1
Election: 1

Newt Gingrich

It seems Newt wants to resurrect 1994′s Contract with America. While Newt is capable of the dumbass statement, such as when he told Jon Stewart that shoe bomber Richard Reid was an American citizen (he was not), overall Newt presents an intelligent alternative to an otherwise dullard bunch. One suspects that if Newt ran he would come to the table with concrete ideas. On the other hand, Newt has a bit of Hillary Clinton disease. When Hillary ran for the Democratic nomination she reminded everyone of the 90′s and there was a sense of been there done that. I think Newt has the same problem. He’s not fresh. Since Republicans have no problem with hypocrisy, the fact that he cheated on his wife while trying to get Bill Clinton impeached for fellatio will not hurt him in the primaries. However in the general election, I’m not sure various independent liberal groups will be so kind.
Nomination: 3
Election: 2

Jeb Bush

A good many people say that Jeb was the Bush son who should have been President. I can only base my opinion of him on the few times I’ve seen him speak and the fact that he was a very popular Florida Governor. He also speaks fluent Spanish, America’s second language. I’m impressed with what I’ve seen of Jeb so far. He is soft-spoken which gives him an air of intelligence. He lacks the dumbass swagger of his older brother George W. However he has one major obstacle — his brother George W. If the sour taste of Bush has faded from the American tongue or been replaced by the sour taste of Obama, then I truly think Jeb has a shot at it. He would have to walk the delicate line of “I’m not my brother” while not outright dissing his kin. If he can get past that obstacle, I think he has a chance. (Let’s not forget America’s infatuation with making history. If elected, Jeb would make George 41 the only President to have two sons become President.)
Nomination: 4
Election: 3

Tom Coburn

I haven’t heard anyone talk about Tom Coburn, Republican Senator from Oklahoma as a Presidential hopeful but I’m tossing his hat in the ring anyway. When Obama held his health care summit this winter, only two Republicans came to the table with intelligent sounding talking points. One was Paul Ryan, a numbers wonk. The other was Tom Coburn who at least appeared to be there to suggest alternatives and carve out a solution. Recently Coburn made waves at a town hall meeting when he accused Fox News of sensationalizing the health care debate and defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In an age of brain-dead partisan politics, Coburn impresses me as a “fair and balanced” solution man. His having been an anti-abortion obstetrician and Baptist deacon should only improve his cred among Republicans. Despite my general liking for the man, I’m not sure he has the charisma to survive a Republican primary or general election.
Nomination: 2
Election: 2

Now, I must reiterate that I would not vote for any of the above. Now it’s your turn. Which of these candidates would get your vote in either the primary or the general?

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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April 14, 2010 at 12:47 pm 112 comments

Hot Pants and KSM: The Difference Between Good and Bad Prosecution

The recent revelations of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab cooperating with authorities after he was read his Miranda rights was music to the ears of anyone who believes in our criminal justice system. Abdulmutallab is the would-be Christmas bomber who tried to bring a flight down over Detroit by detonating an explosive in his underpants. This, so far has been a case of beautifully executed pre-prosecution procedure. Immediately after being taken into custody, Hot Pants was interrogated for about 50 minutes until it was determined that the pain drugs he had been administered would interfere with credible information. One can only assume, unless the interrogators were completely incompetent, that this 50 minutes of questioning centered around any possible ticking time bomb scenario. Was he a one-off? Did he have partners planning to down other planes? News reports indicated that Umar was more than forthcoming in this initial round of questioning. My guess is after this first interrogation, a ticking time bomb scenario was deemed unlikely.

When the next round of interrogation began, Umar was read his Miranda rights and basically allowed to “lawyer up”, which he did. The cries of conservatives were heard across the land. A missed opportunity to get more intel. But guess what? Good prosecutors know how to get information and once they leveraged the influence of  Umar’s family and possibly took a death sentence off the table, Hot Pants began spilling the beans yet again. Not a drop of water touched Umar’s head. No loud music. No sleep deprivation. Just good old-fashioned law enforcement work.

Unfortunately, this puts the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) in sharp contrast and has forced me to revisit the arguments of conservatives and in particular my conservative readers. Back in November, I wrote about the KSM case and in my eagerness to discard eight years of Bush lawlessness I did not see the noose I was tying around my own neck.

  • I can find no evidence despite a fairly exhaustive Google search that KSM was ever read his Miranda rights.
  • KSM was not arrested in the United States nor was he arrested by foreign law enforcement and extradited here. He was captured in Pakistan as a POW.
  • KSM was tortured on at least 183 occasions.

These facts alone make this a defense attorney’s wet dream. To top this off, we have assurances from everyone from Attorney General Eric Holder to the President himself that KSM will be convicted and executed. Now every prosecutor brags about how he will secure a conviction, but in this case “innocent until proven guilty” is nothing but a farce. How can we say that we are holding up our justice system as a beacon of light to the world and in the same sentence make the verdict and punishment a forgone conclusion? We might as well summarily execute him and save the time and money. (As a side note, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s about-face on this matter based on cost is incredibly lame. Justice has no price tag.)

Back last November when I was waving my American justice flag, David Feige of Slate painted an even bleaker picture of the KSM prosecution. He stated that no matter how righteous our intentions, there is not a judge or jury in this country, even at the appellate levels, who would allow KSM to go free, no matter how prejudicial the evidence against him. This has ramifications going far beyond KSM’s conviction. It sets dangerous precedent for many prosecutions down the line:

…there is no judge in the country who will seriously endanger the prosecution. Instead, with the defense motions duly denied, the case will proceed to trial, and then (as no jury in the country is going to acquit KSM) to conviction and a series of appeals. And that’s where the ultimate effect of a vigorous defense of KSM gets really grim.

At each stage of the appellate process, a higher court will countenance the cowardly decisions made by the trial judge, ennobling them with the unfortunate force of precedent. The judicial refusal to consider KSM’s years of quasi-legal military detention as a violation of his right to a speedy trial will erode that already crippled constitutional concept. The denial of the venue motion will raise the bar even higher for defendants looking to escape from damning pretrial publicity. Ever deferential to the trial court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will affirm dozens of decisions that redact and restrict the disclosure of secret documents, prompting the government to be ever more expansive in invoking claims of national security and emboldening other judges to withhold critical evidence from future defendants. Finally, the twisted logic required to disentangle KSM’s initial torture from his subsequent “clean team” statements will provide a blueprint for the government, giving them the prize they’ve been after all this time—a legal way both to torture and to prosecute.

Hence with the inevitably corrupt prosecution of KSM, we open the door to corruption down the line in other trials, and we ultimately justify all the short cuts and indiscretions of the Bush era that we had hoped to repudiate.

This puts us between a rock and a hard place. KSM cannot get a “fair” trial in our criminal justice system. Any conviction he receives in a military tribunal is subject to Supreme Court challenge and overturn. The final alternative is to hold KSM indefinitely as a POW and release him to his home country once we defeat them at the end of the war. Oh, but wait a minute. There is no country with which we are at war. We are at war with a criminal phenomenon that will always exist. The war has no end. And so it follows that KSM’s incarceration has no end.

This brings us back to the folly of the war on terror. It reinforces what I have maintained for months now — terrorism is a crime and should be treated as a criminal matter. The reason Hot Pants will be successfully prosecuted is that he was treated like a common criminal. That is the way to achieve justice in America.

For KSM, there may be no true justice and the survivors of the victims of his crimes may never get closure. This is the true legacy of the Bush/Cheney endless war.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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February 3, 2010 at 9:33 pm 227 comments

No Siege Mentality, DICK

Yesterday, President Barack Obama addressed the nation on the findings behind the Christmas Day attempted attack on the US by Al Qaeda. A couple of facts still astound. First that eight years after Richard Reid used PETN, a powerful explosive, in an attempt to down a plane, we are still unable to detect PETN being concealed in the clothing of would be terrorists. While Obama indicated we would step up our efforts to detect this explosive, isn’t that too little, too late? How is it possible that we allowed eight years to pass without closing this known vulnerability?

The other astonishing element just came to light recently and was not addressed by the President. Apparently, we did not know Abdulmutallab had a visa because his name was misspelled by a State Department data entry clerk. In an age where Google can do a “fuzzy search” and even suggest alternatives to you when it thinks you’ve misspelled a search word, how can our security infrastructure be so limited?

However, the more important part of the President’s speech concerned tone, not facts. In what may or may not have been a direct response to the rabid ravings of former Vice President Dick Cheney, the President said (interjections added by me):

Here at home, we will strengthen our defenses, but we will not succumb to a siege mentality [DICK] that sacrifices the open society and liberties and values that we cherish as Americans, because great and proud nations don’t hunker down and hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust [DICK]. That is exactly what our adversaries want. And so long as I am president, we will never hand them that victory.

We will define the character of our country, not some band of small men intent on killing innocent men, women and children [DICK].

And in this cause, every one of us — every American, every elected official — can do our part. Instead of giving in to cynicism and division, let’s move forward with the confidence and optimism and unity that defines us as a people, for now is not a time for partisanship, it’s a time for citizenship [DICK], a time to come together and work together with the seriousness of purpose that our national security demands.

That’s what it means to be strong in the face of violent extremism [DICK]. That’s how we will prevail in this fight. And that’s how we will protect our country and pass it, safer and stronger, to the next generation.

Perhaps my memory fails me but in the wake of 9/11 all I remember is a lengthy report being issued. Granted Bush declared with empathy from a bullhorn “we hear you” but he never addressed the nation about our culpability in 9/11. I’m not talking about any climate that we may have created to make parts of the world hate us. There is no justification for the horrible acts of that day. I’m talking about our security failures in protecting the country.  Wouldn’t it have been refreshing to see Bush say:

This terrible attack on America could have been averted with better security. At the very least, we should have taken more seriously a memo entitled “Osama bin Laden to attack America”. I feel a grave responsibility for this massive loss of life and I pledge to you, the American people, that we will do better.

Of course, that speech was never made. Bush was always hard pressed to find fault with any of his policies or lack thereof. He can now rely on the revisionist history being offered by the likes of brain-dead twit Dana Perino who talks about how “we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.”

Well fortunately folks there is a new sheriff in town, an adult who talks to us like adults and who takes responsibility when we mess up.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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January 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm 46 comments

Top Five RL Posts of the “Decade” Plus One More Dick Slap

I’m stealing an idea from political blogger Sensico today and I’m going to review the top 5 of my blog posts for the “decade” just ending. I place “decade” in quotes because I’ve only been blogging since September of 2007. Still, here you are, the posts that have received the most “hits” since I started.

1. Obama, Racism and Inevitable Self-examination September 18, 2009: For someone who planned to write about racism very seldom, I wound up returning to the issue several times over the past year. What prompted this post was the Glenn Beck inspired September 12 Tea Party protest and specifically some of the blatantly violent and racist signs on display at that protest. I got a couple of things wrong here. First I used Jimmy Carter as a righteous source of outrage without doing sufficient research to determine that Carter’s own political career was not racially spotless. Second, I think (and I hope) that the main stream media and I both got it wrong regarding the real threat of these people. Ultimately, I think these folks are angry folks letting off steam. Every angry crowd attracts nutjobs and it is very easy to focus on them to the exclusion of the harmless. Some folks in the tea party movement have valid concerns and others are sixth grade dropouts eager to be seen on TV. Either way, I think rumors of the country’s imminent civil war were greatly exaggerated.

As a trivial side note, this article attracted someone claiming to be in one of the pictures I posted and threatening to sue me if I did not remove his photo. I complied but not before writing to tell him what a coward he was. If you’re gonna stand in public with a sign threatening violence to America, you should have the guts to be called out on it.

2. The John McCain Female Woman Haters Club July 31, 2008: This is one of my favorite posts, a combination of legitimate outrage and poking a stick in the eye of conservatives everywhere. The sad back story to this post is that it was one of the first of my articles that went through the roof on web traffic and when I examined the phenomenon more closely I discovered people were surfing for pictures of the women, in particular one of Nancy Pfotenhauer.

Nancy Pfotenhauer

So here I was thinking that folks were enjoying my ridicule of self-loathing women when in fact they were probably a bunch of men in the mold of National Review’s Rich Lowry looking for GOP women to fuel their masturbatory fantasies. Oh well, I guess sex sells.

3. Another Fine Moment for Republicans September 10, 2009: September was a rough month for Obama supporters. This article was prompted by the performance of perhaps the most ignorant man in the United States House of Representatives, Joe Wilson. Not only did Joe have the unmitigated gall to call a sitting US President a liar to his face during a joint session of Congress, he wasn’t even right on the facts. The health care legislation being promoted by Obama specifically ruled out care for illegal aliens but not according to genius Joe. The facts of the incident pale in comparison to the overall phenomenon that this President is not deemed worthy of respect in even that most dignified of settings, the Congressional chamber.

Then again, the Chamber has taken some other hits this year, from Dem Representative Alan Grayson saying that the GOP wants you to die to GOP Representative John Shadegg using a baby as a political prop. It is confounding that we pay these folks’ salaries!

4. Is An Effigy No Longer Good Enough? September 24, 2009: I had to chuckle that this one made the top 5. This shoot first, ask questions later post of mine concerned the census worker who was found dead in Kentucky with the word “Fed” scrawled on his chest. The only defense I can make for this post is that I was suffering from “the country is about to be torn asunder” dementia. History (very short-term history) would prove that the dude killed himself and made it look like a murder for the insurance money. I still claim a 98% batting average on my posts (or in Obama’s words, I give myself an “A-”) but this article clearly was dead on arrival.

5. Sarah Palin Just Wants to Help October 10, 2009: This was the biggest surprise of all as I checked my traffic statistics. Usually, my cartoons are not popular but I soldier on since I have fun producing them. I can only guess that this one got lots of hits because any article about Sarah Palin will attract Googlers. Heck, I could have had a headline that said “Sarah Palin Just Farted” and I would have been guaranteed at least 200 hits. In a country that grows dumber with each passing year, Sarah Palin has become its queen.

Feminism has hit either a nadir or a zenith depending on your perspective. Now, instead of intelligent women having to fight to be heard, dumbass and/or crazy women attract huge followings. Whether it is beauty pageant contestants Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean or certifiably insane nutjobs like Michele Bachman, women are making headlines daily. You sure have come  a long way baby! (I never dreamed I would love Hillary Clinton but at least she is out there proving that hard-working intelligent women can succeed gloriously in this society.)

An honorable mention:
One of my articles came in eighth in traffic hits but performed spectacularly “overseas”. I cross-post my articles to a couple of other places and on one of them, Best of The Blogs, my article Time to Impeach Barack Obama received more than 34,000 hits. The traffic was in direct proportion to the anger I felt as I wrote the post. I had put up with a lot of Obama bashing but when the Right declared it was unsafe for our school children to hear an address from their President, I very nearly blew a blood vessel.

Speaking of Obama bashing, how can I end 2009 without one more slap at the Dick, Cheney. This hateful, ignorant prick of a man lacks the dignity of a former Vice President as he verges on treason with his constant heckling of our Commander-in-Chief. A true patriot would actively (and privately) campaign for Obama to make him an advisor where he could have some influence on policy. But Dick Cheney is not a patriot. 9/11 transformed Dick Cheney from a hard-working servant of America into a paranoid wreck incapable of setting well thought out policy. One reason Dick probably hasn’t offered his services to the Obama administration is  that he knows they don’t want a war criminal in their administration. Cheney is the crazed gorilla throwing his own dung at passers-by.

Sadly, conservatives who desperately need to know the truth behind Cheney’s latest criticism of Obama are too biased to watch the following video. You see, there is no doubt that MSNBC is as partisan on the left as Fox News is on the right. But there is a difference. MSNBC tells truths while Fox promulgates lies, shamelessly and repeatedly. Still, I ask every intelligent reader of this article to watch the following video of Rachel Maddow’s analysis of Cheney and tell me that it is not bullet proof.  She shows Cheney and the GOP for the hypocrites that they are. Will 2010 bring more honest and reasoned debate? I doubt it but we can always hope.

Happy New Year!

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

December 31, 2009 at 6:39 pm 36 comments

Is Barack Obama an American?

No, I have not lost my mind. I have not become a “birther”. President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961 (incidentally the same year I was born in New York City), is a citizen of these United States and is a legitimate President. What I want to address here goes beyond the facts of his birth. I want to get an angle on the constant “he’s not one of us” theme that we hear. I want to get beyond the obvious suspicions of racism and go a bit deeper, or since the argument is fairly obvious, perhaps not that deep. You be the judge.

On Sean Hannity’s Fox News broadcast former Vice President Dick Cheney made the usual ass of himself but one of the things he said can be examined more closely.

Cheney says, “this is a guy who … does not share that view of American exceptionalism that most of us believe in.” Let’s put aside the disrespect inherent in “this is a guy” (he’s your damn President DICK), and look at the statement. Obama does not believe that America is exceptional. One could look, as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews did, at Obama’s keynote speech at the Democratic convention in 2004 where he says that his story could only happen in America, and see that Obama thinks our country is special. But does he see this in an academic, almost clinical way? Does he feel it viscerally?

Let’s rewind a few months to see Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz’s assessment:

The president has a problem. For, despite a great election victory, Mr. Obama, it becomes ever clearer, knows little about Americans. He knows the crowds—he is at home with those. He is a stranger to the country’s heart and character.

He seems unable to grasp what runs counter to its nature. That Americans don’t take well, for instance, to bullying, especially of the moralizing kind, implicit in those speeches on health care for everybody. Neither do they wish to be taken where they don’t know they want to go and being told it’s good for them.

via Dorothy Rabinowitz: Obama’s Tone-Deaf Health Campaign – WSJ.com.

Dorothy says Obama is a “stranger to the country’s heart and character.” A similar perception to that of the former Vice President. Is Obama simply a victim of this assessment or has he contributed to it in some way?

I think there is an intuitive answer that demonstrates Obama’s contribution to this perception. From the time he was born until he graduated from high school, Barack Obama lived outside the mainland United States. I would argue that Hawaii, just barely a state in 1961, was hardly representative of the “American experience” and of course, Obama spent several years in Jakarta, Indonesia. Twenty years after his graduation from an exclusive Hawaiian high school, he wrote in their bulletin, “The opportunity that Hawaii offered — to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect — became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear.” [1] I think we could safely argue that although mostly raised by his Kansas bred grandparents, Barack Obama got anything but a typical mid-west white bread view of America.

I believe that having not lived in the mainland United States until college, that Obama had an objective view of our country atypical of most of our other Presidents. In Obama’s world view, America might be special, but not necessarily “better” than other civilized countries. America might be a land of virtue and ideals but not the be-all end-all barometer of morality. On the contrary, America could be capable of doing the wrong thing. America could be imperfect. America could need improvement.

I believe that Obama’s objective view of our country, much from the perspective of an outsider (even more outside than the average black man), makes his love for our country appear less visceral. America likes its Presidents to reek of Americana, whether it’s Abe Lincoln splitting logs or Eisenhower or Kennedy bravely defending their country in war. Obama comes to us with a different story. A story of an outsider who wants to fix the problems that the insiders may be too blind to see. Such outsiders do not usually engender affection from the insiders.

Is Barack Obama an American? Well, yes he is but he is a different kind of American. He is an American who believes you can be special and still be equal to your peers, showing them respect and apologizing when you’ve done them wrong. America is a proud country, proud to a fault. Humility, on an international scale runs, as Ms. Rabinowitz puts it “counter to its nature.” Hence she and Dick Cheney will probably never understand what a good American Barack Obama really is.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

December 10, 2009 at 2:02 am 126 comments

Even Republicans Think Cheney is a …. Well, You Know

A week or two ago, the daughter who won’t go away, Liz Cheney suggested her Dad a possibility for President in 2012. Well don’t worry too much my friends. A Washington Post poll of almost 500 self-identified Republicans (or Republican-leaning) listed the folks who most represent Republican values. Sarah Palin was at the top of the list (yikes) but Liz’s pop did not make the published list. Liz need not completely despair. Apparently, Daddy did get a vote … yes, one vote.

It looks like even Republicans think that Cheney is a Dick.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

December 1, 2009 at 12:55 am 52 comments

The Prosecution of KSM: Unintended Consequences

The stench of hypocrisy rising from the gut of conservatives over the weekend is overwhelming. You see, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM for short) and four other 9/11 terrorists would be tried in the Southern District of New York Federal court. Now we know the GOP is all for good old-fashioned American justice. Perhaps if a Republican administration had made this decision, we’d be hearing about what a proud moment it will be when these thugs get their just deserts in the city they tried to bring down. But alas, the Attorney General in a Democratic administration made the decision and now it is damn near treason!

The folks who want to impeach Obama just for breathing, list a bunch of imaginary horribles for why a federal trial is a bad idea. It makes New York vulnerable. That’s the claim of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (“America’s Mayor”, cough, cough). Of course he didn’t feel that way when the original World Trade Center bombers were brought to justice in New York. Giuliani was all for it then. Rudy also conveniently ignores that Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th 9/11 hijacker was tried and convicted in Virginia and Virginia still stands today, never remotely in danger of any terrorist strike.

Conservatives who are the first to scream and shout about the beauty of our constitution and criminal justice system seem to have suddenly lost all faith in it. What if KSM gets off on a technicality? Well let’s face a practical reality here folks. KSM has so many pending charges against him that if he beats the first charge (not likely), he’ll go right back into custody awaiting trial on the next charge. You won’t see KSM enjoying soul food at Sylvia’s any time in the near future.

So what is really bothering our conservative brothers? What is the “technicality” that really has them apoplectic? Well you see, our country which prides itself on the rule of law, shouted most loudly from the rooftops by chest beating right-wingers, was a baaaaaaad boy over the past eight years. We did nasty things to our prisoners during that time. Some call it torture but just about everyone can agree it was nasty. Now under the rule of law any evidence obtained from a prisoner who suffered under your watch, usually gets tossed out during a trial. As luck would have it, these fanatical thugs left an evidence trail so long and so obvious that convictions will be easy even with the smell of torture in the air. But nevertheless, just the thought that our behavior may be on trial has conservatives in an uproar.

The truth is any public scrutiny of what we did to these defendants while in custody will be an unintended but completely deserved consequence of a federal trial. Dick Cheney and his band of 24 devotees acted with such blatant disregard for international law, that their supporters are now crapping in their pants at the thought that we may have rendered KSM and other Gitmo detainees un-prosecutable. I believe Eric Holder has found a path toward conviction that detours around Cheney’s shenanigans.

There is satisfaction and dare I say justice in watching conservatives squirm right now. What they have claimed was perfectly legal treatment of detainees suddenly has them worried about how legal it will appear in a real court. Richard Nixon once told David Frost (I paraphrase here) that nothing the President does can be illegal. That was the arrogance that informed the Bush administration. Over the next couple of years of prosecutions, we liberals will show the world how our criminal justice system is supposed to work and in so doing, we will atone for the sins of the past eight years.

We will walk it like conservatives talk it. That is poetic justice indeed!

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

November 17, 2009 at 1:17 am 88 comments

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.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

October 31, 2009 at 1:09 am 210 comments

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