Posts Tagged ‘Dick Cheney’

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CONTENDER

November 19, 2009

As we approach the mid-term elections in 2010, it seems all of the focus is on the inevitable: the Democrats will lose seats in the House and Senate. The erosion of a president’s approval rating is also part of the political cycle. We Americans like diversity in our government. When one party controls both houses of congress and the White House, we get a little nervous.

Although the Republican Party is leaderless, the hardcore Conservative Movement has many leaders (*see the partial list below) and is pushing hard to cleanse the party of moderates. This is a HUGE mistake. Moderates attract independent voters. Without them, you’re left with the extremists in your party. By the time we get to the next Presidential Election, the number of people who call themselves independents will probably grow to about 40% of the voting population – not a good sign for the hard right or the hard left.

There’s been much discussion about who will be the Republican Nominee in 2012. Naturally, people go back to the names they know: Palin, Huckabee, Romney, etc. But there is a Republican you may not have heard about.

He’s fiscally conservative, voting “nay” on virtually every appropriations bill that comes up, including T.A.R.P. Obviously, he is already holding an elected office in congress. He is Pro-Life and pro-guns, including advocating for conceal carry laws. He seems to be moderate on climate and energy issues. He’s also seems to be down-the-middle on education issues, but does think “No Child Left Behind” is a good model for improving our schools. He’s very pro-military, possibly bordering on neo-conservatism.

According to Real Clear Politics, he’s considered a “dark horse” for a presidential bid in 2012, but I disagree. He knows how to raise money. (He’s sitting on $5.5M for his re-election bid next year.) He’s younger than most of the potential candidates, camera-ready, and could easily appeal to conservative independents.

Could he beat Obama in 2012? I doubt it – unless our President completely falls apart in his first term – an extremely unlikely scenario. But he could use the exposure in 2012 to make a very strong bid for the White House in 2016. Typically, second terms for Presidents are not as strong as first terms. Because of this, vice-presidents running for their boss’s position are not usually successful, historically speaking. Considering Biden will be 74 years old on November 20, 2016, there is a very good chance he won’t run for President. This would certainly create a scenario that could give a well-known, seemingly moderate Republican, a 50-50 shot at winning the White House. If Obama’s second term goes well, a Republican’s chance of winning decreases substantially against a formidable Democratic candidate.

The Republican I speak of is John Thune of South Dakota. 

Among the other “dark horses” mentioned in the Real Clear Politics article are Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.

There was one other “dark horse” mentioned: Dick Cheney.

Sincerely,

www.MichaelKontras.com

* Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Mike Huckabee, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, among others.

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DOOMSDAY DICK

May 15, 2009

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HE’S EVERYWHERE! HE’S EVERYWHERE!

HIDE THE CHILDREN!

BAR THE DOORS AND WINDOWS!

STOP WATCHING HIM ON TV!

I know the last line doesn’t fit, but it makes my point: how is it that the man who stayed in his “cave” for nearly eight years is now more visible than clouds during a thunderstorm?

Here are some highlights from Dick’s Doomsday Tour:

The former VP admits to authorizing torture.

Torture is ILLEGAL regardless of what Bush Administration lawyers concocted to the contrary. Calling it “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques,” does not make it legal. We have prosecuted and convicted people for torturing – specifically water-boarding. John McCain called water-boarding torture during the campaign of 2008 – he should know.  We’ve also prosecuted our own soldiers for water-boarding.

If you are one of the “…ends justifies the means…” crowd, then imagine your son or daughter in Afghanistan captured and tortured by the Taliban. Are the actions justified? Do they have a right to treat your child inhumanely? Do we have the right to ask them to spare your child this suffering? If so, on what basis? Is “what’s good for the goose” suddenly not good for the gander? And what about “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you?”

Scott McClellan says Bush knew everything. Dick Cheney said the same thing.

Dick Cheney believes that unless a President is impeached, he has not done anything illegal.

He says he would “talk” to congress, with pre-conditions – my term, not his.

Dick Cheney is never going to testify under oath to congress. He has no respect for the institution. He’ll have to be subpoenaed by a Federal Prosecutor under threat of incarceration before he raises his right hand in a courtroom.

The Obama Administration is making us less safe?

The argument that the Bush-Cheney Administration kept us safe is flawed. Let’s not forget: OUR COUNTRY WAS HIT – FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER – DURING THE BUSH-CHENEY YEARS. We now know the attacks on September 11, 2001 could have been prevented had the warnings not been ignored. But don’t take my word for it. Read for yourself:

Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, Article 4, Article 5, Article 6, Article 7, Article 8, Article 9, Article 10   

CheneylooksatBushIn addition, we also know that Bush and Cheney had every intention of invading Iraq, one year before the invasion took place, thanks to the Downing Street Memos, and this exhaustive report from the Washington Post on the memos. Continued research reveals far more than I’ve indicated here.

 

Once we invaded Iraq, Cheney went into hiding – revealing the character of a morally bankrupt coward – not a patriot, as he would have us believe.

The idea that he is somehow concerned about the safety of our country is laughable. From his five military deferments to his fear-based tactics as VP that led to the death of 4,500 (and still counting) of this country’s finest in an unnecessary “war,” it is obvious that Cheney is only concerned about one thing – Dick Cheney.

In case you’re wondering:

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My military eligibility years were during the Vietnam War. I was classified 1H and would have gone in the Army had my number been called in the draft lottery.

Because I was older than the 18-year-olds that were picked first, I was never called. I was against the war, to be sure, but I did not try to hide from military service. On a very personal and sad note, I lost a good friend in that war. Another friend that did make it back was never the same after his tour. He came home with deep psychological issues from all of the violence, death and destruction that he witnessed.

As I’ve said before, the truth always reveals itself no matter how hard people try to hide it. The title of this post only reflects what Cheney is saying, and not what he is really doing.

His motive for speaking now is clear to me. He’s sees himself as the defendant in what I hope will be a case against him for war crimes. Cheney is trying to influence the jury pool – TV and radio audiences – before the trial begins.

At a time when the Republican Party is trying to find its voice, the last thing it needs is a fear-mongering, draft-dodging, hypocrite who’s trying to stay out of jail. Saying that Rush Limbaugh is a better Republican than Colin Powell doesn’t help either.

For all Cheney’s efforts to defend the use of torture, there is far more evidence that it is indefensible. And now, investigations have begun.

Cheney’s daughter, Liz, has joined the tour. She mentions that others may be talking to their lawyers, which is why no one else is coming out to defend her father. (Note the 3:21 mark in the video.)

None of us knows where this will end. What we do know is our credibility as the world’s beacon for peace and hope must be restored. We should always persevere until the truth is fully revealed and the rule of law is applied to all involved.

In much the same way when I grew up, I want future generations to grow up in a country they can be proud to call home.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

PS – A special thanks to Maureen Dowd for the “Doomsday Dick” title idea. 

 

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THE OSTRICH SYNDROME

April 11, 2009

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As we embrace the ninth year of the new millennium, we are experiencing inevitable and necessary shifts in our social, economic and cultural infrastructures. Many of us are thinking “out of the box” while others are trying to keep us in it. We are seeking new ideas that go beyond ideology and what’s been the norm in the past. We are questioning, and rightly so, our business and elected leaders and their collective authority. More importantly, we are not influenced nearly as much by the blather coming from some portions of the media. In other words: we’re waking up.

Some of us have been here before. As a musician and a teenager of the 1960s, I grew up during a time of significant societal changes. There were big changes in music: Elvis Presley’s restricted “moves” in his performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

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The “British Invasion” spearheaded by The Beatles.

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The anti-war protest songs of Buffalo Springfield and Sgt. Barry McGuire.

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The American auto manufacturers made big changes with a new generation of automobiles that revolutionzied the industry. Up until then, the family sedan dominated sales.

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Then, by simply changing the body styles of their mid-sized coupes, they introduced a never-before-seen style of American automobiles that took the country by storm.

Ford took their Falcon and turned it into the Mustang in 1964-65.

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A year later, Chevy followed suit with the Nova and created the Camaro.
Sales skyrocketed for both companies.

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Also, for the first time in my life, we as citizens started to really question our leaders, especially after the assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The complacent living of the 1950s was quickly ending. We became more aware and less gullible. We began understanding how federal policies affected all of our lives – in this country and around the world. It was, to say the least, a monumental shift in this nation’s history.

There were those who said that because we were questioning “authority” our country was (to quote one of my relatives) “…going to hell in a hand basket!” They were happy with the status quo. I remember hearing “What’s wrong with the way things were when I was growing up?” They wanted America to be as it was portrayed on TV shows like Father Knows Best, Leave It to Beaver and The Andy Griffith Show.

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But the reality of America was far different. Once many of us became aware that there were aspects of American life that were not so pleasant for many of our citizens, we started re-thinking much of what we had been raised to believe. Leadership that opposed this new-found awareness stuck their “heads in the sand” when it came to addressing the large issues around our changing social environment. As far as they were concerned, the way things “used to be” is the way things should be – there’s no reason to change. Call it the The Ostrich Syndrome.

Since then, many of this country’s leaders have intentionally divided us along social, economic and cultural lines. Much of this division has been perpetuated by politicians, using variations of this “used to be” theme to get elected. It’s also been used by religious leaders to draw the line between “right and wrong.” This is why we often hear statements like “We’re losing the moral foundation this country was built on!” and “We need to get back to what made this country great!”

I’ve yet to hear anyone give a clear explanation for what is meant by these statements. For me, they have the sound of “coded” rhetoric. (Note to self: Make this a future rant.)

When I hear these and similar statements, it’s obvious that those who would lead us back are actually fearful of moving forward – a symptom of The Ostrich Syndrome. Their fears become religious mantras and campaign slogans, tapping into a narrow segment of our population. This segment doesn’t care about what is occurring beyond their personal lives. They don’t want to be bothered. If someone or something threatens to “disrupt” their tiny part of the world with the introduction of new social concepts, they become fearful, angry and defensive. Politicians, religious leaders and portions of the media have tapped into this fear with great success.

Yet, as I write this R&O, I see positive signs that we are finally starting to move away from The Ostrich Syndrome.

There is an interesting phenomenon occurring among those who want us “back in the box.” They are starting to say and do the most ridiculous and outrageous things imaginable to garner attention. In the past I’ve talked about Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, so we won’t go there.

But how about a new concoction of “crazies?”

Allow me to introduce you to the insanity that is Glen Beck.

Throw in a layer of Dick Cheney.

Add another one of Newt Gingrich.

And top off with Michelle Bachman.

Add sprinkles of your other radical “favorites” as desired. Allow FOX News to serve it and violá – a new “crazies” masterpiece that is guaranteed to satisfy even the most extreme elements in the Republican Party.

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Why all this angry, fear-mongering, attention-seeking behavior? They’re losing ground! Most Americans have moved beyond this lunacy. The “crazies” are pulling out all of the stops in a last-ditch effort to remain relevant. It’s the fourth quarter, only a few seconds left on the clock, they’re on their own 5 yard line and they’re down by 8. What’s left? The “Hail Mary” pass. That’s it! Rather than get their heads out of the sand and do the hard work of re-educating themselves to new plays, they keep saying and doing variations of the same things over and over again – only louder, in more venues, more often, and with bigger props.

Much like a child throwing a temper tantrum, these acts of desperation seldom affect the rational observer. They do, however, have the possibility of inciting the non-rational, fringe elements of our society into a fear-based anger – which could result in violent behavior – all under the banner of Patriotism. For now though, they’re just making some noise. As far as I’m concerned, they are as worrisome as a cloudy day.

America, we’re starting to “get it.” Those that have been here before know there is pain in the process. We also know that we’ll be stronger and wiser as the pain subsides.

Change is inevitable, often difficult, and always for the better.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com