Archive for the Cheney Category


In 1948, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote the unforgettable musical “South Pacific.” It starred Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin as lovers. Among the melodic offerings were such things as “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “This Nearly Was Mine.” Slipped into this epiphany was a song called, “You’ve Got to be Taught.” This little song was an anti-hatred offering. It has great meaning today, nearly 60 years later. Let me try to show you what I mean.

“You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.”

George Bush, Commander in Chief, Chief Executive, and Chief Decider for the whole world, speaks repeatedly of “the enemy.” I suspect that “The enemy” are the people opposing American forces in Iraq, but Bush never gives them a name. It is simply “the enemy.” We killed so many enemy soldiers today and we imprisoned some more enemies. I presume all of those are members of “the enemy” forces. But Bush never associates them with the name of a country or organization. They are just “the enemy.” I am an old soldier and I have trouble figuring out who is “the enemy.” Is “the enemy” people who disagree with Bush? Is the New York Times an “enemy”? Is “the enemy” all of the Arabs? In all of his pronouncements, George Bush has never named the enemy. We are simply asked to take it on faith that there is an enemy out there that we must wipe out. At this point, I am inclined to believe that the Arab race is in fact the enemy that Bush has in mind, but that is simply an old soldier’s intuition.

“You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.”

Richard Cheney, the Vice President of the United States, is often viewed as the man who led George Bush into invading Iraq. In his speeches to right-wing audiences and in his interviews with the most right-wing of all radio commentators, Cheney invariably refers to “radical Islamic elements who would establish a political caliphate extending from Spain through the Far East.” Now let us suppose that you are a 19- or 20-year-old American soldier in Iraq and you see an Arab come down the street. You do not speak his language and he does not speak yours. Are you going to thrust your rifle in his face and inquire of him, “Are you a radical Muslim element who is bent on establishing a caliphate from here to there?”

Of course, the Arab, not understanding your question, will shrug his shoulders, and under current conditions that makes him guilty and may cause him to have his head blown off. The American soldier may well think that he is carrying out the wishes of his commanders when he blows the head off of a young Arab man because he has failed to answer the question about being a radical Islamic Arab. It would seem, under the Cheney Doctrine, that every Arab is a radical one rushing headlong into establishing a caliphate. Being an Arab in Baghdad is just tough luck for our “enemies.”

“You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!”

Now let us consider that the young soldiers coming in to serve in the Army and the Marine Corps are taught by older soldiers who are not particularly literate. I can tell you this because I spent a good amount of time under those illiterate or nearly illiterate soldiers. They are the leaders who instruct our troops on who the enemy is. They are the ones who instruct the young troops to kick down doors and to humiliate the male members in front of their families.

And unfortunately, we recently learned that our troops are the ones committing the atrocities against the enemy which includes women and children. Simply put, the enemy is the Arab, those radical Muslim Islamists who wish to establish the caliphate. It must be the Arabs because they are only people opposing us.

The soldiers are melded into what is called a “comprehensive unit” and given a mission in Iraq to wipe out anything before them. In the Marine Corps, the motto is “No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.” When 19- or 20-year-old soldiers and marines get hyped up with this comprehensive unit business, and then perceive that the Commander in Chief and the Vice President have named a non-Christian enemy, it is fairly clear that the enemy is none other than all of the Arab race. So you see these young soldiers have got to be taught to hate. And it comes as no surprise whatsoever that our troops are involved in atrocities against Arab civilians. Hatred is a terrible thing and it is being taught to our young soldiers. Because of the leaders proclaiming that the enemy is our source of trouble, it is no wonder that these soldiers, imbued with the faith, find that every Arab needs to be killed. The original general in Iraq, General Tommy Franks, said repeatedly of Arab deaths that “We don’t do Iraqi body counts.”

Children who witness our conduct will hate us for the rest of their lives. And who can blame them?

I am an old soldier who understands a little bit about warfare and a little bit about hatred. I suppose for a long time, many of us came close to hating the Germans because of the operations of the Nazi war machine in WWII. Somewhere in the 1970s, I went to Munich with my friend Howard Davis, who likes to drink beer before noon. I do not care for beer, morning, noon, or night, but nonetheless we walked into this beer garden where there were tables about waist high where the beer could be placed and consumed while standing. A local came along and joined us. After a while he pointed to me and inquired, “Amerikanisher soldat?” I answered in flawless German, “Ja.” He then inquired, “POW?” Again, I answered in flawless German, “Ja.” He then went on to tell me in passable English that he had been a POW of the English for more than three years where he learned the English language. Before long it became clear that he was a very nice fellow. From that time on, whatever dislike I had of the German race tended to disappear. So you see the lesson in this case is that there is great merit in having beer gardens, even though I don’t drink much beer.

As a non-believer, for many years I have been an objective observer of the prejudices and hatreds that occur in religious organizations. The Moslems hate the Christians and the Jews and want to wipe them all out. I suspect that there is not much love lost on the Christian side as it relates to the Moslems. I am a fortunate guy in that my parents who attended primitive churches, such as the Nazarenes, the Pentecostals, and the Free-Will Baptists, simply referred to people in other faiths as those who could not join them in heaven. Significantly, my unschooled parents never taught me to hate. They felt sorry for all those Jews, Catholics, Episcopalians, et. al. who would not be admitted to heaven. But hatred was never part of that equation for me. But a good part of organized religion seems to be devoted to dislike or even unstated hatred.

So you see, hatred is a miserable human condition. It is a destructive condition but I fear that it is going to be with us for the rest of time. While it will be with us perhaps for many years to come, I suspect that Hammerstein and Rodgers were absolutely right when they contended in their little song that “You have to be taught.” That, my friends, is what George Bush is teaching. That, my friends, is precisely what Richard Cheney is teaching. And that, my friends, is what the Army and Marine Corps are teaching these young soldiers. In the long run, hatred will consume such soldiers.

In any case, it is instructive to review a song like “You’ve got to be taught.” It was written following the most horrible combat that the world had ever seen, that being WWII. Now, if you believe Mr. Bush and
Mr. Cheney, we are engaged in a war on terror. Again, as an old soldier, I suspect that when history is written, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney will be remembered for having taught us to hate. What a terrible epitaph.

June 26, 2006


First time I’ve heard it, but I’m a fan. I think “To hate all the people your relatives hate” is the line that stands out to me because it forces a “social” issue to be considered at a very personal level. “Society” isn’t the reason that you hate people — by and large, the culprits are probably your parents. Now that’s maybe a little bit different in the case of war, where dehumanization of the enemy is advanced as a military tactic to make it easier to pull the trigger, but I think your standard run-of-the-mill inherited hate is the more common problem.

It’s a sad irony that the start of the Caliphate that Cheney was talking about ended up forming out of the power vacuum we created with our series of cowboy invasions. And now Trump has just gotten it in his head that bombing things makes him popular, so god knows what comes next.


As most of you know, this old essayist and former solder has long believed that George Bush is a vile creature who is attempting to finish what Nixon started, which is to turn the United States into a Fascist theocracy. The litany goes on. A war brought on by Bush’s lying. The squandering of our treasury. The tax give-away to the wealthiest Americans. Running up debts that my grandchildren will have to pay. The attempted dismantling of social programs, such as Social Security, and Medicare. Then there is the Patriot Act under which Bush wants to read our incoming and outgoing mail to say nothing of snooping at libraries to see what books are read. There are also the Gitmo prisoners which a Department of Justice spokesman says we can keep locked up in “perpetuity.”

Simply put, Bush is a vile man who fled duty to his country in the Vietnam era by invoking his parents’ and grandparents’ influence to get him a safe slot in the Texas National Guard. If it had not been for his name, Bush would have been kicked out of the National Guard for dereliction of duty.

Bush’s vileness is exceeded only by Chaney, a loathsome creature. Chaney took five deferments to avoid military service saying that such service did not fit his “priorities.” Loathsome only begins to describe Chaney.

There is one other thought that should cause outrage among those who prize the rule of law. Bush contends that his presidency trumps all other considerations. It trumps, for example, established law. Bush becomes the Fascist dictator who decrees who shall be held in prison perpetually. All of this flows from Bush’s contention that he alone can name a citizen an enemy combatant which means imprisonment, no access to legal assistance with visits from family and friends banished. He has done this to Juan Padilla, an American citizen, for nearly three years now. When the courts, including the Supreme Court, rule against Bush, he stonewalls the rule of law and continues to hold that his bizarre dictatorship should prevail. He is supported by Alberto Gonzales who originated the concept. Bush, Cheney and Gonzales seek a return to the conditions that prevailed during the Middle Ages.

Aside from the myriad of Bush’s failings, there is an overwhelming belief in many American minds that Bush’s intellectual ability is severely limited. It is his paucity of intellectual ability that leads to his bullying. When he can’t do the bullying himself, he leans on gut fighters like Bernard Kerik, John Bolton and the thrice married Guiliani. Bush worships their bullying, mistaking it for toughness. An intellectually limited man such as Bush is unable to call on logic or reason. Perhaps we should feel sorry for dimwits who confuse bullying with reasoned thought. But this dimwit has killed 100,000 Iraqis to say nothing of more than 1700 Americans as well as dead troops from the so called Coalition. Being dumb is one thing. When thousands of people are murdered because of Bush’s ignorance, that is quite another.

As evidence of Bush’s intellectual limitations, you may notice that for every event, Bush has a script that he must read from. When he departs from his script, disaster awaits him. When he complained that the public “misunderestimates” him, he is on familiar ground. Earlier in June when Amnesty International said our prisoner of war facilities were a “gulag,” Bush and his lapel pin wearing flag pals went ballistic. They had a script that said, “Absurd.” Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld and Madame Rice all read the required word, “Absurd.” Chaney adlibbed “Ridiculous.” Way to go, Chaney.

Ah, but soon Bush got tangled up in his jock strap. He attempted to become a lexicographer.

Leaving his script, he was attempting to say that prisoners at Gitmo hated us and would tell all kinds of lies if it hurt the U.S. Bush said about the prisoners, “People that had been trained in some instances to DISASSEMBLE – that means, not to tell the truth.” He got back on script by saying, “And so it was an absurd report. It just is. I mean it really is.”

When my bicycle needs fixing, it is DISASSEMBLED. When water won’t go down the drain, plumbers DISASSEMBLE the sink. When the lawn mower fails, it is DISASSEMBLED. My best guess is that the Yale and Harvard “educated” Bush was trying out a new word that was miles from his vocabulary. Perhaps the word he was groping at was DISSEMBLE, but he missed by a mile. No other public figure has such a desire to exhibit his gross ignorance.

There is no advertising salesman in the world who would ask the public relations authorities at Yale or Harvard to sponsor an ad saying, “We educated George Bush.” My guess is, that if such an ad salesman showed up on their campuses, he would be shot, and no jury outside of Mississippi would even make an attempt to convict them.

There is one other failing which Karl Rove and the White House inner circle must recognize. When Bush went to London at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth, he refused an invitation to address the British Parliament. He did so because of heckling remarks coming from the audience. Bush’s brain simply cannot stand interruptions and disagreements. He has no capacity to deal with dissenters as he reads his speech. It is all he can do to pronounce the words that are written for him. And those words are kept small so he can pronounce them. NUC-U-LAR, for example.

Obviously, after a night or so at Buckingham Palace, Bush refrained from walking the streets of London because he knew he would meet a storm of protestors. So the President of the U.S. visiting his ancestral home in England, slipped in and slipped out in a well guarded convoy to his tax supported aircraft. Obviously, he gave no press interviews because British journalists don’t lie down as in the United States. Bush’s trip to see the Queen was a mysterious affair.

Bush’s intellectual shortcomings are reflected in his campaigns and in his drive to upset the Social Security program. Attendance at a Bush rally is a matter that calls for strict controls. The invitees are exclusively Republican. They have been vetted and are prepared to ask Bush during the discussion period, “Mr. President, why are you so nice? And why is your wife so nice? And we love your daughters.” This garbage passes for political discourse. After each meeting, Bush who is preaching exclusively to the choir, pronounces the meeting a great success that will make our democracy stronger.

The simple fact is that Bush’s intellectual ability is so severely limited that he will avoid those who seek to ask him a real question.

Do you remember during the 2004 presidential debates, Bush wore a radio receiver on his body. He was so dumb that he had to have help in spite of the risk that the watching public would know about his ignorance.

Bush’s father was accused of waking up on third base and believing he had hit a triple. His son is quite a bit worse. By holding his “preach to the choir, Republican-only meetings,” Bush is very much like the baseball player who hits line drives and home runs in BATTING PRACTICE. Batting practice pitchers are always instructed to throw pitches down the middle of the plate so that the hitter can practice hitting to right, pulling the ball or he may want to improve his bunting. These are medium fastballs that are in baseball terminology, “grooved.” Curve balls, sliders and fade-away pitches are banished during batting practice.

Bush is like a batting practice hitter. Line drives to all fields off batting practice pitchers make Bush feel superior. Who said that a “C” minus student couldn’t be as good as the Phi Beta Kappa toadies. If Bush has trouble handling the medium speed fast balls, the pitcher slows it down. Bush hits to all fields. Bush says that he is better than anyone else. Ah, but when Bush goes up to the plate in a real game, he says “NUC-U-LAR” and “DISASSEMBLE” and “MISUNDERESTIMATE.” He strikes out!

The bottom line is that the current president of this country is a wealthy moron. Intellectually, he might be equipped to be a bullying patrolman in a rural town in Texas. Ah, but his gutlessness might even get in the way on such an assignment. Maybe he could qualify as a guard at a jail in the environs of Waxahachie, Texas, but no one can be sure. All we know is that Bush has no intellectual capacity to be the Chief Executive and the Commander in Chief of the American military. And that is the world’s hard luck.

That loathsome SOB Chaney is here to save the day. In the midst of all the bombings and deaths in Iraq, old loathsome has said, “The insurgency is in its last throes.” Bush never disagreed. There is one oversight in that the insurgents seem to have a dramatically opposite view. Perhaps if the insurgents could say “DISASSEMBLE” in Arabic, they might agree with Chaney. But the insurgents have a better grasp of their language than Bush and Chaney have of English.

Calvin Trillin, who writes poetry about current events had this to say about Chaney and the “last throes” in the July 4, issue of The Nation.


When rockets fly and battle smoke is thick
It’s good to hear from “Five Deferments Dick.”
He’s always sure. He knows what warfare is –
Enough to know it’s not for him or his.
Insurgents somehow, though they’re in the throes,
Kill more GIs – but no one Cheney knows.

Bush and Chaney who predicted that the Iraqis would welcome us with roses and chocolates, are now reduced to lamely contending that the insurgency is in its last throes. They might wish to tell a mother or a father or a wife or a sweetheart, that if we had avoided this ill conceived war, their soldier boy would not have died an agonizing death. As the born-again Bush would say, “We need to disassemble the last throes of this Holy war. Let us pray.”

June 20, 2005

Pop can always be counted on to put together a solid metaphor. I like the idea of a batting practice slugger. And yet, I’m compelled to extend it to our current Republican overlord. He shows up to batting practice (when he’s not at his country club in Florida), drops the bat on his own foot, blames the media, then storms off back to Florida. This most recent thing is a good example, where he wanted to distract the country from his administration’s increasingly obvious ties to Russia, so he accused Obama of wiretapping him. When no evidence could be found for this claim, the best he can do is to say that by “wiretapping” he didn’t mean “wiretapping.” Nobody made him tweet those tweets, just like nobody made him brag about sexual assault. He does these things unprompted but somehow continues to get away with them, usually by distracting everyone with yet another scandal. I wonder if that cycle is sustainable.


Richard Cheney is the rotund and sparsely beloved Vice President of the United States. The civilized world regards him with no affection whatsoever.

During the last week of November, Mr. Cheney had a bout with atrial fibrillation. This is a cardiac condition that, if left untreated, could result in grave damage to the heart muscle and perhaps injury or death to the person who owns that heart muscle. Atrial fib is a common occurrence among cardiac patients. Once it is properly diagnosed it can be remedied by having a cardiologist apply an electric current to the heart and shock it back into its proper rhythm. To the person who owns a heart with atrial fib, the sensation is that of an engine missing fire on several cylinders and perhaps backfiring on some of the others. All things considered, atrial fib is not a desirable condition.

Mr. Cheney has had several bouts with atrial fib. The latest diagnosis was made and, after he was transported to a hospital and given the shock treatment, the rhythm in his heart was restored. From that point forward, we are told that his heart purred like a three-cylinder engine or like a Lawn Boy power mower. According to White House sources, the same people who brought you weapons of mass destruction and “mission accomplished,” Mr. Cheney went home from the hospital, shaved, and appeared in his office at his usual 7:00 AM starting time. It is quite likely that Mr. Cheney appeared at his office to guard against Congressman Henry Waxman making further inroads on the Valerie Plame CIA outing case. Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald had promised Waxman that he would give him the papers in that case. But we find now that Cheney and the White House have blocked that move.

In any case, Mr. Cheney, with his heart rhythm fully restored, resumed thinking about the war in Iraq. You may recall that at the beginning, Mr. Cheney assured us that we would be welcomed as liberators and further down the line, he counseled us that the insurgency was in its final throes. I suppose that a person in his position, with all the pressures on him, is entitled to make a few monumental mistakes. However, when Mr. Cheney entered the vice presidency, he found that the Bush administration started to pee away trillions of dollars that the Clinton administration had in the Treasury. Mr. Cheney assured the rest of us, including the financial community, that “deficits don’t matter.”

At the outset, I believed Mr. Cheney implicitly. I concluded that if deficits don’t matter, my quarterly payment of income tax to the government would fall in that category of non-applicable deficits. At the beginning, the Feds were polite to me, pointing out that if I did not make my contribution, they would be unable to pay salaries to the President and the Vice President and to members of Congress. The people at the Internal Revenue Service were not enthusiastic about my reference to Mr. Cheney’s “deficits don’t matter.” In the end, they proposed to send the FBI and the CIA to Short Hills to have me flown to Syria or Egypt, where waterboarding is merely the start of an “enhanced interrogation procedure.”

When my real estate taxes came due here in Millburn Township, I asked the tax collector, Jerry Viturello, “If deficits don’t matter, why am I making this payment to you?” He replied that if I failed to make the payment, the Millburn cops would be there shortly to have me thrown out on White Oak Ridge Road, a very busy street.

So you see that if deficits don’t matter, it must apply only to big shots, such as Mr. Cheney and his cohorts. After having been rebuffed by the federal government and by the Millburn tax collector, I called my old friend Jake Birdsall, who is the resident philosopher in the city government of a town called Peculiar, Missouri. Jake is a gravedigger by trade, but he lectures at the Peculiar County Community College on philosophy. I told Jake, the philosopher/gravedigger, all of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Cheney’s belief that deficits don’t matter. Almost immediately, Jake offered his cogent viewpoint to me. Jake said, “Any man who says that deficits don’t matter is as full of spit as a Christmas goose.” Obviously, I had to sanitize the operative word in the early part of that sentence because my essays are used as textbooks in the Peculiar County Seminary. We can’t have prospective men of the cloth uttering vulgarities that have been with us since the beginning of time. So the final word is that, as Jake framed it, “Anyone who says that deficits don’t matter is as full of spit as a Christmas goose.” Jake also pointed out that deficits have consequences, terrible consequences.

We are learning about those consequences right now. The value of our dollar is so low that we will soon be down there with the Mexican peso. The British pound that used to trade at one dollar and a half now costs us two dollars. The European Euro which opened at about seventy cents now takes a dollar and a quarter to buy one. The Canadian dollar, which in my lifetime has never exceeded seventy-two or seventy-three cents, is now worth ten or fifteen cents more than the American dollar. Jake the philosopher, is absolutely correct about Mr. Cheney being as full of spit as a Christmas goose. He is even more correct when he says that attitudes like Cheney’s are utter madness. Every time we buy gasoline, wine, cheese, or any other commodity, those consequences are obvious.

So much for Mr. Cheney, his atrial fib, and Jake’s assessment of his financial acumen.

At the moment there are two other individuals of American renown who come to mind at this sitting in the first week of December. The first is Senator Larry Craig, the Senior Senator from the great state of Idaho. I am sure that you are aware that Senator Craig has confessed to and tried to “unconfess” the act of making a homosexual pass at an undercover officer in a Minneapolis airport men’s room. When he tried to “unconfess” that act, he merely intensified the efforts of the Boise Idaho Statesman, a newspaper, to investigate whether he was in fact a homosexual. Please bear in mind that this corner here has no debate about homosexuality. They can lead their gay life and I can lead mine without interference from anyone. The point is that Senator Craig has uniformly voted against every bill that would even remotely benefit gay people. Simply put, Craig is a hypocrite in the extreme.

Now Craig has stirred up a hornet’s nest, and the newspaper from the capital city of Idaho has produced at least four or five men who have told the newspaper that they had sexual encounters with the great and glorious Senator Craig. They not only told of those encounters but they described the details, which would not make the approved reading list in the Peculiar County Seminary. In point of fact, Craig has been caught dead to rights. All of this simply goes to show that Jake, the gravedigger/philosopher, was absolutely right when he said, “Actions have consequences.” In the Craig case, those consequences might involve his departure from public life earlier than the January 2009 date that he had proposed.

There is one other thought about a man who has stirred up the newspapers and is now suffering the consequences. That of course would be Rudolph Giuliani. Mr. Giuliani, who is the reputed leader among voters for the Republican nomination for President in 2008, is in fact a sordid spectacle among New Yorkers who can remember his term in office. While he was in office, he had an affair with his so-called “public relations director,” whom he installed in a high-level position in the New York City Visitor’s Bureau. She remains there today. But beyond that, Mr. Giuliani entered into an affair with a woman who had a summer house in the Hamptons. The affair went on for quite some time and she is now his third wife.

Under the police laws of New York City, the mayor and his wife and children are entitled to round-the-clock protection by the police department. Mr. Giuliani has now stirred up the New York Daily News, a Republican paper, to the point where it is reporting on all of the events that took place during the grand affair with the current Mrs. Giuliani. Having twenty-four-hour protection by the New York City police department is not without some cost. While Mr. Giuliani was snuggling and cooing with Mrs. Nathan, his mistress, in her condo in the Hamptons, the New York City police detectives who accompanied him were collecting regular and overtime pay. According to receipts, those same cops were treating themselves to man-sized steaks and chops.

Obviously, the New York city police department became involved in substantial expenses while they were guarding Mr. Giuliani while he billed and cooed with Mrs. Nathan in the Hamptons. To cover these expenses, the costs were assigned to obscure New York City departments. For example, the Loft Commission had more than its share. The Loft Commission, I suppose, has to do with regulations concerning building lofts. Now that these expenditures have come to light, there is a scent of blood in the water. Rudy’s explanation for these expenses is thoroughly lame. He contends that the New York police department is slow in paying its bills but that the Loft Commission, for example, is quick to pay its bills. Hence he had the expenditures sent to that commission with the people who run lofts eventually trying to collect their money from the police department. Ray Kelly, the current Police Commissioner in New York, says that this is preposterous. Equally preposterous is Giuliani’s claim that it was the police department, not himself, that suggested round-the-clock protection for Mrs. Nathan shortly after this sordid affair began.

The point that is being made here is the same one with respect to Cheney and deficits and with Senator Craig and his hypocrisy. In the first place, “you don’t stir up a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.” Mark Twain made those remarks in the year 1900. They are as appropriate today as they were then.

Beyond buying ink by the barrel, there are consequences. Giuliani’s poll readings have been taking a beating in the race for the Republican nomination for the presidency. When the full extent of Giuliani’s gaffs become obvious to the rest of the United States, it is my belief that he will have a difficult time in becoming the Republican nominee for the presidency.

Before this essay ends, it should be pointed out that while he was romancing Mrs. Nathan, Giuliani held a news conference during which he fired his wife. Donna Hanover heard the news and was stupefied. But in fact he shed her as his second wife and took on the twice-divorced Mrs. Nathan. Losing a wife as lovely as Donna Hanover is another consequence of his actions.

Two other thoughts come to mind here. One involves the former police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, who is now under a sixteen-count indictment from the federal government. If there is a more disreputable character in this saga, it would be Bernie Kerik. But he has endorsed Mr. Giuliani’s story of assigning expenditures to an obscure commission within the city government. Curiously, the Comptroller says it just ain’t so.

Secondly, Mr. Giuliani has earned the endorsement of Pat Robertson, the preacher who says that he regularly talks to God. At the time of the September 11 disaster, Pat Robertson announced that God permitted the destruction of the World Trade Center because New York City permitted homosexuals to live their lives without discrimination from the authorities. According to Robertson, that’s why the World Trade Center was knocked down and why the Pentagon had its damage too.
Mr. Giuliani has gladly accepted the endorsement of Pat Robertson and even went to his headquarters in Virginia to get it. Does this man’s pandering have no limit?

There you have, in the cases of Cheney, Craig, and Giuliani, three instances where consequences have mattered. For every action, there is a reaction, which is the principle that brother Newton proposed at the beginning of time. Upon closer examination, this old former soldier and essayist must conclude that all three of those clowns are indeed as full of spit as a Christmas goose.

December 3, 2007
Essay 275
Kevin’s commentary: In an essay full of awful people, I’m glad we got to be introduced to the philosodigger/graveosopher. He seems like a great dude and I would have been happy for him to take over the the job of pretty much any politician mentioned above.


When politicians of the Joe McCarthy type insist that English is the only language to be spoken in this country, they are missing a glorious opportunity for words of other languages that make the English language more colorful. One of those words is chutzpah, which I assume is Hebrew in nature or perhaps even Yiddish. I do not pretend to be an expert on the language of the Hebrews but my belief is that chutzpah represents rudeness or the unwarranted assertion of authority and priorities. Some would define it as nerve which Molly Goldberg would pronounce as “noive.” If a long line is formed while waiting for movie tickets, for example, and a person comes along who insists upon going to the head of that line, it is chutzpah. When someone enters an expensive restaurant and states his desire to sup on a small salad with ice water, that is another demonstration of chutzpah.

This past week saw two or three demonstrations of chutzpah in the extreme. Bill Clinton, the former President who has now become the ward heeler extraordinaire of American politics, appeared before a collection of veterans from a VFW post in Charlotte, North Carolina. He delivered himself of these remarks:

I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics.

So you see that Bill Clinton says that only his wife and Senator McCain love this country and have its best interests at heart. He excluded Barack Obama from loving this country and having its best interests at heart. This is not the first instance where the Clinton campaign has ascribed virtue to itself while excluding Mr. Obama.

The remark about love of country and having its best interest at heart is chutzpah in the highest sense. But what made it hard to fathom is that these remarks were delivered to an audience of VFW members by a notorious draft dodger. Bill Clinton never served a day in the uniform of any of the military services of the United States. Yet in the heat of this campaign he elected to question the love of country of the opponent of his wife. Could it possibly be that the fault of the opponent of Mrs. Clinton is a man of African-American descent?

In earlier comments from the Clinton campaign, Mrs. Clinton has said that only she and Senator McCain had passed the test for commander-in-chief. Again, Barack Obama was excluded even though Mrs. Clinton has no military credentials of any kind.

During the primary campaign in South Carolina, Bill Clinton elected to play the race card by minimizing the victory of Mr. Obama by saying that even Jesse Jackson won that primary several years ago. The point is to minimize Mr. Obama’s achievement by saying that he is the black candidate, so no one should expect much to come of his success.
Mr. Obama is a candidate for the Presidency of the United States and is not necessarily the black candidate any more than Clinton’s wife is the female candidate.

The net result of the Clinton campaign is that they are willing to destroy their own party unless Mrs. Clinton prevails. This is the sort of conduct that we have come to expect from George Bush and from Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. The Clinton campaign is clearly suggesting that if she does not prevail, she would prefer to see McCain as the presidential choice rather than the black and white candidate, Mr. Obama. There is selfishness, rudeness, and chutzpah at every step in the Clinton campaign of recent months.

On the same Good Friday, it turns out that the most wonderful Vice President in history, Mr. Cheney, was in Iraq and was accompanied by Martha Radditz, the ABC correspondent. When Martha Radditz told Cheney that 70% of the American public opposed the war in Iraq, Cheney’s only comment was “So?” In the language of the street, Mr. Cheney’s response of “So?” amounted to nothing less than “Up yours.” That remark has typified Cheney’s deplorable conduct while he has been our most wonderful Vice President for the past seven or eight years. His conduct qualifies him for membership in the chutzpah hall of fame.

Finally, we have Mrs. Clinton’s recitation of a visit to Bosnia where she contends that snipers were in the vicinity and that it was necessary, in getting off the plane, to run for the cars to take them to safety in the hangar. Unfortunately, a reporter from The Washington Post accompanied Mrs. Clinton on that trip and he reports that there were no snipers. Instead, at the foot of the steps as she deplaned, there was an eight-year-old girl with a bouquet of flowers to present to Mrs. Clinton. By dressing up this story with snipers, The Washington Post this Easter morning presented her with four Pinnochios for that epochal tale. You will recall that in the children’s story, the more falsehoods Pinnochio spoke, his nose grew longer. In The Washington Post exercise, a total of four Pinnochios is the end of the line. And that is exactly what The Washington Post gave Mrs. Clinton’s story about the snipers.

As an old soldier and a man who volunteered for service in World War II, I deplore what has happened in the Clinton campaign’s attempt to prevail over Barack Obama. Obviously they will stop at nothing, even if it means the destruction of their political party. John McCain, on the other hand, has shown some limited restraint with respect to questioning the patriotism of his opponents and their devotion to the best interests of this country. Is it too much to ask that Mrs. Clinton and Bill Clinton, her wandering husband, should show the same restraint? Apparently, that is not the case.

On Sunday, which was Easter in the Christian calendar, Bill Richardson, the Governor of New Mexico, referred to the thought that the Clinton brand of politics is “gutter politics.” It is all of that and I hate to see a lovely word such as chutzpah becoming associated with this campaign. Chutzpah is a wonderful term which I hope survives this miserable campaign by the Clintons.

March 27, 2008
Essay 301
Kevin’s commentary: Well, they lost. Glad it turned out alright. Honestly though as much as I like Bill, we really don’t need another Clinton in the white house. Let’s get some new blood. Also, regarding the whole succeed-or-self-destruct philosophy, Pop failed to account for a Republican party which was throwing the race even harder, and sundering its own base even more deeply.

Oh, and the “so” comment is infuriating. Screw that guy.


Logic has taken one brutal beating recently from Condoleezza Rice and from our former Vice President, Mr. Cheney.  For example, this past week, which was the last week in April, Madame Rice, addressing a group of Stanford University Students, was asked about waterboarding.  She provided an answer that was convoluted as well as full of holes.  In essence, it was sort of a syllogism.  Madame Rice said that the President (George W. Bush) had authorized the use of “advanced interrogation techniques.”  That was her major premise in this syllogism.  The minor premise was that these techniques had been carried out by members of the CIA and other agencies of the American government.  The conclusion to this syllogism was that because “these techniques” were authorized by the President they were in accord with American law and custom.  I strongly descent from this conclusion.

I dislike having a dispute with a gentle lady like Madame Rice but I must point out that the so-called “advanced interrogation techniques” include waterboarding.  Waterboarding has been universally described as torture by many governments including our own.  People have been executed for carrying out this piece of torture.   Yet it seems that Madame Rice says that if the President authorized it, it is therefore proper and legal.  I gag at this thought.


The second thought has to do with Dick Cheney.  You may recall that he was the Vice President of the United States who predicted that the war in Iraq would be of very short duration.  He also predicted that the Iraqis would welcome us as liberators.  Midway through the war, Cheney announced that the people who objected to our presence were in the “final throes of their insurgency.”  And, finally, Mr. Cheney is the man who said that “deficits don’t matter.”  May I say that Mr. Cheney is a consummate fool?

Now it appears that as soon as Mr. Obama was sworn in to the Presidency, Mr. Cheney, in concert with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, two television commentators, have set out to destroy the legitimacy of his election.  In Mr. Cheney’s case, he has continued to defend the idea that Obama is exposing this country to great risks.

If you take Cheney’s contention and reduce it to a syllogism, it might run sort of on this order.  His major premise is that this country was protected during the eight years of Bush’s Presidency by the fact that we had advanced interrogation techniques in place.  His minor premise is that Barack Obama is doing away with those techniques, which most of us consider torture.  His conclusion, therefore, is that the United States is courting a great danger simply by having Mr. Obama as its President.

During the eight years when Mr. Cheney was in power, he was greatly in favor of the so-called advanced interrogation techniques.  For example, after we had captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he was waterboarded 183 times during the month of March, 2003.  Two of Mohammed’s partners were waterboarded similarly during that period.  In the case of Mr. Mohammed, it appears that he was waterboarded on the order of three times per day during the entire month of March.  And this is called “advanced interrogation techniques.”   I know a little about military service and I will tell you that this is nothing other than torture.

To buttress his case, Mr. Cheney has trotted out his wife Lynn, who promptly got into a fight with Nora O’Donnell of MSNBC who cut the interview short.  Dick Armey then came to the defense of Cheney.  You may recall that Armey was a member of the House of Representatives from Texas and eventually rose to its leadership.  He is known mainly for his idea that oversight of our financial institutions should have been abandoned.  He has no military expertise whatsoever, certainly nothing on the interrogation of prisoners.

It seems to an independent observer such as myself that in the case of Ms. Rice and Mr. Cheney, logic has taken one brutal beating in their defense of “advanced interrogation techniques.”  Both of them have to know that every independent observer will conclude that such techniques involve nothing less than torture.  But what they seem to be saying is that if the President of the United States says that we don’t engage in torture, as Bush did say, then the people who carry it out have no responsibility whatsoever.  Again, I gag.  And I apologize for the assault on logic and decency when it comes to the remarks of Madame Rice and Mr. Cheney.

Now, as to the title of this piece, Cheney has been around Washington for a long time, first as a Representative in the House from the state of Wyoming.  He has been chief of staff to one of the Republican presidents as well as Defense Secretary to another and finally, of course, he served for eight years as the Vice President of this country.  In all of those jobs, Cheney exhibited no sense of humor whatsoever.  His only attempt was to say about an opponent’s thought that “you can put lipstick on a pig, but in the final analysis it is still a pig.”  I don’t find a lot of humor in that statement but it seems to convulse Mr. Cheney.

My final thought is that perhaps if Cheney and Rice were to become commentators on the Fox Television Network, they could abuse logic endlessly.  And it would have the endorsement of perhaps 20 to 25% of the American electorate.  Perhaps they could tell more stories about lipstick for pigs, which might be enjoyed by their audience.



May 2, 2009

Essay 382


Kevin’s commentary: The lipstick is the label “advanced interrogation technique.” The pig is torture.

If I recall correctly, this was also a favorite saying of Palin. There’s some Republican strategist out there who is positively convinced that it’s brilliant.