Friday, May 22, 2009

Malignant Distortion

The mainstream media appear to have for the most part fallen for Dick Cheney’s framework setting the context for his malicious lies suggesting the Obama Administration has made America less safe. Nothing could be further from the truth, but if one starts down the road of discussing whether waterboarding works, one has already fallen into Cheney’s trap.

I strongly recommend Jack Goldsmith’s 5/18 The Cheney Fallacy which says it all far better than I ever could. Cheney is deliberately fabricating (borrowing from the Karl Rove playbook) concepts that simply make no sense. The GOP, desperate to criticize Obama no matter what, is dangerously following Cheney’s approach by appealing to fear of Armageddon. That such fear will continue to win elections is a long shot.

As Goldsmith documents, Obama has not dismantled or weakened a single security measure protecting this country. NOT ONE. The hype about Guantanamo is just that, hype. The hysteria regarding these prisoners lacks the slightest rationality. One has cause for greater fear towards some of the creatures already contained in our maximum security prisons. The Unabomber (PhD Mathematics) machined his own screws and parts for his meticulously crafted bombs. BTK got off while slowly strangling a nine year old girl. Of course the GTMO folks need to be carefully considered on a case by case basis, which our president will do. GOP assertions that we are setting them free in the US with a gun and ammo store allowance are just ludicrous.

For reasons I can’t quite fathom, Cheney is lying, distorting the truth, and forwarding a conversation that borders on treason. The fear mongering "less safe" language he now throws at the Obama Administration in fact applies almost equally to the second term of the Bush Administration. Everything Cheney is doing is a malignant distortion that has nothing to do with serving this country and everything to do with serving himself per his delusional version of reality.

By the way, prolificity may suffer over the next couple weeks. The road trip is now T minus a week. As a hint of what I’ve been doing the last few days, anyone want to buy a house?

I recommend getting Liquid Nails out of your hair before it dries.


Blogger The Navigator said...

Tobin Harshaw at the New York Times has a good article that includes material from others as well that match what you are saying.

This makes Cheney’s grandstanding, and especially the Republican fear mongering, all the more confusing. In addition to the party of "no" I think they are the party of "bitch." They just can't STFU.

The use of the 1964 daisy ad about Guantanamo is just stupid, but again I am confused, since they aren’t going to air it on TV, which means that it flies on TV only inside of news shows, and it flies on the internet. Doesn’t that miss its target audience?

Whoever that is.

5/23/2009 9:31 AM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

The _lack_ of change from Bush policies vis-a-vis Guantanamo and civil liberties issues in general is the single biggest concern I have with the Obama administration. Lots of elegant words, followed by inelegant actions.

5/23/2009 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So in other words, all of this dueling speech nonsense is about packaging and window dressing, and in fact Obama has changed little (except adopted more sophisticated language about it all) and Cheney is totally lying for no reason other than reputation.

For a former vice-president to falsely declare that a current president is endangering the nation sounds like treason to me.

5/23/2009 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Treason is any attempt to overthrow the government or impair the well-being of a state to which one owes allegiance. Cheney is guilty as hell.

Never mind everything he did as VP. His current actions threaten to undermine the nation's resolve and unity in the face of the next terrorist event. Even if Obama is perfect, another attack is not only possible, but probable eventually. Not caring about the good of the country, Cheney is willfully butchering national resolve for his own perceived self interest.

It is disgusting. If Cheney gets his way, when the next event occurs, instead of unifying for the sake of national interest, like we did in 2001, the country will dissolve into an hysterical and dysfunctional bipartisan screaming frenzy.

MSM needs to figure this out and expose Cheney for the evil, malignant, self-serving demon that he is.

5/23/2009 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

Even Tom Ridge publicly disagrees with Cheney on this. Not that I hold Tom Ridge in high esteem, but still...

5/23/2009 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Cindy said...

I despise Cheney as much as anyone, but I take issue with Goldsmith's article and think he misunderstands what Obama is really facing or doing.

He does not seem to understand the new world. In fighting terrorism, the front line is political as much as military. Tanks and artillery and armies are actually a smaller part of the solution. Far more than Vietnam, it is about hearts and minds, and Obama gets that.

You dismiss Obama's changing the discourse as "window dressing" or "packaging" or "elegant words" as not being substantive. You are SO WRONG.

I could not agree more with the criticisms of Cheney at this post and comments, but I think Obama is navigating an extremely difficult course about as well as is possible.

5/23/2009 10:47 PM  
Blogger Framer said...

Sirocco is spot on. For all of his protesting and moral preening there is little to no actual change in detainee policies from the Bush administration. Obama's ACTUAL positions on the matter are much closer to Cheney than they are to you.

If you think otherwise you are wishing rather than watching.

5/24/2009 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


So if Obama hasn't changed anything, why is Cheney screaming that the country is less safe?

I don't get it.

5/24/2009 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Didn't you read the post? CHENEY IS LYING.

That's the whole point.

5/25/2009 11:56 AM  
Blogger Framer said...

The point is that Obama has now read the same material Bush and Cheney read and is keeping their same policies in place, AND YET he is telling you all everything is different. And faced with the evidence that is as clear as the nose on your faces, you choose to believe him anyway.

Sirocco at least can see it. Of Cheney and Obama, one says the policies are right and should stay in place, the other says the policies are wrong, but secretly (well, a secret for those who want to delude themselves) keeps them in place, and tells everybody how evil Cheney was for using the same measures.

You tell me who is being honest.

5/25/2009 8:02 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...


You choose to believe him anyway.

What do you mean? I cited the not very Obama friendly Goldsmith article that forwards the notion that little has changed, and the comments here also acknowledge this.

I think Cindy, however, makes a good point that the FRAMING is important, and generating new context is not necessarily lying.

In mostly symbolic moves, Obama is formally ending waterboarding (which had already ended) and closing Gitmo (already desired by the Bush administration), because it has become a toxic symbol that promotes terrorist sentiments. Obama is being smart.

Cheney is the one claiming Obama has implemented real changes that have made the country less safe. That's the lie.

5/25/2009 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First: Check out the Columbia Journalism Review article of 2004 indicating how the entire media had to retract all their stories about "Curve Ball" when they realized they had been duped "in toto" by Chalabi and his phony I.N.C. defectors. Media fair and balanced? Funny huh?
Second: Remember when we used to play clips of Al Jazzera on our evening news, just to get Americans all lathered up in fear? Do you all recall one of the quotes of Bin Laden that was flashed all over the world..the one where he stated;
"I will destroy the Western worlds financial markets" Anyone remember that bustery comment? So why would we get attacked again when the first one worked? Is is possible that the ground war is a red herring?

5/26/2009 12:27 AM  
Blogger Framer said...


I didn't mean to single you out individually, I was speaking more to the comment by anonymous.

And as for the moral goodness of renaming things we don't like to make them "different". It is crap meant for rubes, and you are no rube.

Waterboarding is a complete red herring. It was used extremely sparingly, and if they continued to waterboard the guy who beheaded Daniel Pearl with a buck knife every morning before breakfast I would certainly lose no sleep over it.

I can also guarantee you that Gitmo is going nowhere. Do you think the 90 vote rebuttal by the senate was actual? No way is the vote that lopsided without Obama's approval. The latest Rasmussen poll is up to 49% for keeping Gitmo open and climbing. Something "outside of his control" will make it impossible for Obama to move on Gitmo, and he will be "very disappointed." and many will lap that up.

And as far as Obama making things less safe, I believe that selectively revealing intelligence for obviously partisan political advantage is ALWAYS a dangerous road to go down. Obama was doing backflips about this during his speech trying to justify why he revealed some things but not others. Cheney is on the right side of the issue here.

5/26/2009 8:53 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

Anon @ 12:27 AM,
I remember that comment very well about destroying the US economy. Well, 9/11 was just the catalyzing event for the Bush Administration to do what they were going to do anyhow and that is invade Iraq. And, of course, they believe in "free markets" where coporations destroy the planet and rule the world with greed and impunity.

With or without Bin Laden, the Republicans were going to destroy the US economy. It was just simply the LOGICAL CONCLUSION of a domestic policy based on runaway greed and incompetence and a foreign policy based on world domination. Neither one could have possibly worked.

I really wish there was a place called HELL in some kind of afterlife because that is where they all belong (including their supporters, every last one of them.)

5/26/2009 9:38 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Agreed with Framer & Sirocco. President Obama is a constitutional law expert, & while STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF the Bill of Rights, he explained that he reserves the "right" to hold prisoners indefinitely and without charge & he intends to create an executive-branch-run, military tribunal system.

Hey, I guess he really is a fan of Lincoln. I just didn't think he was a fan because of the suspension of habeas corpus.

Cheney is only doing his support of "Cheneyism" speeches as a CYA for his expected trial. He's terrified of a criminal prosecution & is trying get people arguing about whether the support of torture "could be" in the best interests of US security. That starts by getting people scared that they are in danger.

Listen carefully to Cheney's speeches. He's not just talking about torture, he's also talking about possible truth commissions, dangers of prosecuting prior administrations & trying to have those top secret memos showing the "successes" of torture released. It's all about building a defense for himself.

5/26/2009 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen probably offers the best explanation regarding Cheney's motivation. It has nothing to do with the best interests of the country.

Cheney is serving himself (as always) and working to either prevent any action against him or better his defense should such action occur.

He deserves to be executed for treason and war crimes, which of course is not going to happen.

My view of Obama is more in line with x4mr and Cindy. He is managing a conversation with the big picture in mind, working to repair international image and relationships ruined by the Bush administration.

5/26/2009 11:50 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

I once read an article about Cheney where the author suggested Cheney's motivations are not derived from evil, but instead only from deep paranoid fear.

Fear of retribution, prosecution, & death.

The article focused on Cheney's strong endorsement of a nationwide mandatory smallpox vaccine policy. That when Cheney was confronted with the information that the smallpox vaccine itself would cause a few hundred deaths, he declared that anyone in the White House and their families would be exempt from taking the vaccine. Bush eventually overruled Cheney. Bush took a vaccination but Cheney declined a voluntary vaccination due to concerns about it's effects.

It also claimed from several sources that Cheney hiding in his "undisclosed locations" during security alerts were his own choosing and not a WH policy or secret service directive.

5/26/2009 2:51 PM  

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