Was the best of the Bush admin really Cheney? The Washington Post story on Cheney's upcoming memoirs raise that question. Few close observers could have failed to notice the transition away from the dream team of the likes of Rumsfeld, Cheney and Ashcroft... to a White House that seemed to be run by Condoleeza Rice and a handful of minor weak figures like Gonzalez. This transition also saw marked changes in the administration's approach to the War on Terror and domestically.
Cheney's memoirs can only give us a snapshot of what really went wrong, and the internal conflicts that turned the Bush Administration from the most promising administration since the Reagan era into a neo-liberal weak-kneed government, which almost made McCain's candidacy look good by comparison. The internal conflicts that sabotaged the Iraqi reconstruction, beginning with the FBI and State Department taking over from the Pentagon are part of a larger puzzle, and will likely form the recurring story of how government infighting by a tenured bureaucracy sabotaged an administration.
The Post story is naturally heavily biased, but a Cheney emerges there who showed more loyalty and integrity than Bush did.
"In the second term, he felt Bush was moving away from him," said a participant in the recent gathering, describing Cheney's reply. "He said Bush was shackled by the public reaction and the criticism he took. Bush was more malleable to that. The implication was that Bush had gone soft on him, or rather Bush had hardened against Cheney's advice. He'd showed an independence that Cheney didn't see coming. It was clear that Cheney's doctrine was cast-iron strength at all times -- never apologize, never explain -- and Bush moved toward the conciliatory."
The two men maintain respectful ties, speaking on the telephone now and then, though aides to both said they were never quite friends. But there is a sting in Cheney's critique, because he views concessions to public sentiment as moral weakness. After years of praising Bush as a man of resolve, Cheney now intimates that the former president turned out to be more like an ordinary politician in the end.
Cheney's post-White House career is as singular as his vice presidency, a position he transformed into the hub of power. Drained of direct authority and cast aside by much of the public, he is no less urgently focused, friends and family members said, on shaping events.
The former vice president remains convinced of mortal dangers that few other leaders, in his view, face squarely. That fixed belief does much to explain the conduct that so many critics find baffling. He gives no weight, close associates said, to his low approval ratings, to the tradition of statesmanlike White House exits or to the grumbling of Republicans about his effect on the party brand.
John P. Hannah, Cheney's second-term national security adviser, said the former vice president is driven, now as before, by the nightmare of a hostile state acquiring nuclear weapons and passing them to terrorists. Aaron Friedberg, another of Cheney's foreign policy advisers, said Cheney believes "that many people find it very difficult to hold that idea in their head, really, and conjure with it, and see what it implies."
What is new, Hannah said, is Cheney's readiness to acknowledge "doubts about the main channels of American policy during the last few years," a period encompassing most of Bush's second term. "These are not small issues," Hannah said. "They cut to the very core of who Cheney is," and "he really feels he has an obligation" to save the country from danger.
Cheney's imprint on law and policy, achieved during the first term at the peak of his influence, had faded considerably by the time he and Bush left office. Bush halted the waterboarding of accused terrorists, closed secret CIA prisons, sought congressional blessing for domestic surveillance, and reached out diplomatically to Iran and North Korea, which Cheney believed to be ripe for "regime change."
Some of the disputes between the president and his Number Two were more personal. Shortly after Bush fired Donald H. Rumsfeld, Cheney called his old mentor history's "finest secretary of defense" and invited direct comparison to Bush by saying he had "never learned more" from a boss than he had as Rumsfeld's deputy in the Ford administration.
The depths of Cheney's distress about another close friend, his former chief of staff and alter ego I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, have only recently become clear. Bush refused a pardon after Libby's felony convictions in 2007 for perjury and obstruction of an investigation of the leak of a clandestine CIA officer's identity. Cheney tried mightily to prevent Libby's fall, scrawling in a note made public at trial that he would not let anyone "sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder." Cheney never explained the allusion, but grand jury transcripts -- and independent counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald -- suggested that Libby's false statements aimed above all to protect the vice president.
Last month, an account in Time magazine, based on close access to Bush's personal lawyer and White House counsel, described Cheney's desperate end-of-term efforts to change Bush's mind about a pardon. Cheney, who has spent a professional lifetime ignoring unflattering stories, issued a quietly furious reply. In the most explicit terms, he accused Bush of abandoning "an innocent man" who had served the president with honor and then become the "victim of a severe miscarriage of justice." Cheney now says privately that his memoir, expected to be published in spring 2011, will describe their heated arguments in full.
It would appear perhaps, that the best of the Bush Administration was really Dick Cheney. When Bush traded in Cheney for Condoleeza Rice, the Bush Administration and America lost.
Bush's support for Obama and Cheney's willingness to challenge Obama-- only make that all too painfully clear. Unfortunately America has long since abandoned serious leadership, for telegenic leadership. And that is how we ended up where we are now.
Speaking of telegenic, the Diversity Czar (isn't it funny how Obama's Czars seem to have a habit of functioning like real life Czars) has a great plan to basically crack what's left of the media and turn it into a wholly owned government corporation.
Mark Lloyd, newly appointed Chief Diversity Officer of the Federal Communications Commission, has called for making private broadcasting companies pay licensing fees equal to their total operating costs to allow public broadcasting outlets to spend the same on their operations as the private companies do.
Lloyd’s hope is to dramatically upgrade and revamp the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through new funding drawn from private broadcasters.
Along with this money, Lloyd would regulate much of the programming on these stations to make sure they focused on “diverse views” and government activities.
Of course taxing companies at the rate of their operating costs, means that private broadcasters would have to spend twice as much to stay in business as they do now. With a bad economy, poor advertising and a declining market-- this is a formula for driving many stations and companies out of business entirely. Which is the point.
The primary target would of course be "right wing enemies" like the Sinclair Group or Clear Channel, but overall it would help drive companies out of business, making way for NPR and liberal talk stations funded by government money. Essentially imagine PBS and NPR with the kind of power and influence wielded by the BBC. That's the aim and the target here.
The Jerusalem Post meanwhile uncovers some of the other "J Street" donors besides George Soros. J Street if you will remember is a left wing anti-Israel lobby masquerading as a Pro-Israel lobby, in the same way that the Klan claimed to be a friend of the black man. Since the Jpost article seems to be down, go to IsraPundit to read the whole story
The J Street political action committee has received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from dozens of Arab and Muslim Americans, as well as from several individuals connected to organizations doing Palestinian and Iranian issues advocacy, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Additionally, at least two State Department officials connected to Middle East issues have donated to the PAC, which gives money to candidates for US Congress supported by J Street . The organization describes itself as a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby pushing for more American involvement and diplomacy in resolving the Middle East conflict.
Arab and Muslim donors are extremely rare for other organizations that describe themselves as supporters of Israel as J Street does, Jewish leaders at organizations across the political spectrum told The Jerusalem Post. Because most of these other organizations are not PACs, however, US law does not require them to release their donor lists. J Street ’s non-PAC arm also does not release a complete list of contributors.
But some of the contributors play key roles in the organization. The finance committee’s 50 members - with a $10,000 contribution threshold - include Lebanese-American businessman Richard Abdoo, a current board member of Amideast and a former board member of the Arab American Institute, and Genevieve Lynch, who is also a member of the National Iranian American Council board. The group has also received several contributions from Nancy Dutton, an attorney who once represented the Saudi Embassy in Washington .
Smaller donors include several leaders of Muslim student groups, Saudi- and Iranian-born Americans, and Palestinian- and Arab-American businessmen who also give to Arab-oriented PACs.
In other words, J Street is actually funded at least in part by the Arab Lobby. This can be no real surprise, as left wing anti-Israel groups typically stock up on funds from the Muslim world and European governments. Peace Now is a living example of that. But it does help tear some of the rest of the mask off J Street's ugly face.
For all the howling about AIPAC and the Israel Lobby, it's rather clear that the other side, including George Soros and the Iranian and Saudi governments prefer to hide their lobbies behind other fronts-- including behind the J Street front. And there can be less argument now that J Street employees, are employees of groups and nations that want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. The J Street agenda is to help them do it.
As the poet said, you gets what you pays for.
From another perspective on Israel, the Spectator has a book review of George Gilder's The Israel Test. I have not read the book, but based on the review, there is an overstatement of how socialist Israel was and how free market Israel is today. Israel is very European in many ways, and its economic pathways resemble what has happened in some European nations, as the struggle between a socialist and a free market economy has led to chaos and compromises.
Israel has become more visible as a high tech market, but that is because of changes in the technology market as a whole, have made it easier for Israelis to participate. The consumer oriented gadget culture and the internet have made Israeli companies into bigger players, and Israeli advances, including instant messaging have played more of a role abroad. The result has been a mixed blessing, because paradoxically that same boom has also brought greater emphasis on materialism and subverted a lot of Israeli politics, as the likes of the Bronfmans or various Russian ogilarchs throw their weight around and begin pushing their own political agenda on Israelis. Paradoxically this has made Israel more politically vulnerable, which has helped kick off the European boycotts as a pressure tool.
Meanwhile at Tundra Tabloids, Chavez admits that the Iranians are using Venezuela as their playground.
Chavez and Iran are both in the tyranny business, as well as in the terrorist business, and they have major religious differences, as Chavez worships at the altar of socialism, and Iran at the altar of Islamic capitalism, but both agree on the need to destroy America and American allies such as Columbia and Israel.
Meanwhile Aish has a piece on one of the hidden Converso Jewish families in Venezuela.
Jack Kemp at the American Thinker proposes a Great Bubbie Rebellion
To remedy this situation, I propose the senior bubbies/grandparents in Florida start a Great Bubbie Rebellion of 2010 and 2012. This would consist of telephoning their grandchildren who hectored them last November to inform the youngsters that if they don't vote against the Democrats and their exclusionary health care plans in 2010 and 2012, that the grandparents will disinherit them and stop sending them money for their car insurance or perhaps the grandmotherly supplement to their unemployment insurance like they now do.
If this met with laughter by the callow youth, they should be further told that if and when an Obama healthcare plan comes into effect - and the seniors are denied coverage for a hip replacement or a pacemaker, the grandparents, if well enough, will fly to Costa Rica or India or South Africa for the operation they might need and stay a while on vacation, eating up the inheritance their grandchildren were counting on to finance their grad school education where they would learn to better express disdain for those "greedy Republican yuppies."
To emphasize the limited choices and desperation of what ObamaCare could create for these grandparents - and to get through to the youngsters - the grandparents could quote a line from Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," saying, "When you ain't got nothing, you've got nothing to lose." For if no hospital in the US would pay for a needed pacemaker, the grandparents would, indeed, have nothing to lose.
So I am calling on all Republicans that have at least as much testosterone as Gov. Sarah Palin (all women have a bit) to stand up to the Death Panels and the Great Schlep emotional blackmailing youths of 2008 and show them that it's payback time. If you aren't into revenge, consider it Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Time, so to speak. If you are going to die soon or sooner, you might as well do it fighting for your dignity.
Zei Gezint, Bubbie. You should be well, Grandma and Grandpa.
At the American Grand Jury, the day of the red shirts
Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together.
After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who’d been invited to sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was heading home.
No, he responded. Heading out I asked?
No. I’m escorting a soldier home.
Going to pick him up?
No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq, I’m taking him home to his family.
The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn’t know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier’s family and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days.
I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, Thank you.. Thank you for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do.
Finally and in conclusion, Lemon Lime Moon has two timely posts on the uses of propaganda, first with Propaganda Reform
Words are powerful things and can change your perspective on any subject if you don't look carefully at things. It's important to realize propaganda and then read around it. I thought it might be good to list the techniques of propaganda because they are being used today more than at most other times. Socialists and communists are pro's at propaganda.
1. Bandwagon: make people feel they are alone if they don't jump on the bandwagon and support what you say.
2. Assertion:Presenting something as an absolute fact by the energetic and enthusiastic and repeated way you say it...even if its a bald faced lie.
3.Pinpointing your enemy: enemies lists. Turning one group into the full on enemy. Using language and terms that vilify . Repeatedly using terms for someone or a group that pinpoints them as the target enemy.
4.Stacking the Cards: Presenting only the pro's about a subject even when there are more con's than pro's.
5. Just us Plain Folk: Presenting yourself as one of the people, just a plain common fellow, nothing special so that you can "fit in" with everyman.
6. Transferring: In this you link a subject you wish to promote with something else that has a good reputation or conotation or is respected. This covers over the evils of the subject.
7.Call Them Names: call your opponents evil names. Said loud enough and long enough they will stick and everyone will come to have a bad feeling about them just based on the common perception you create.
8.Least Offensive Idea: You present two ideas , both not good and then present the one you really wish to push forward as the lesser of the two evils. You make it look as if it's the only option people can choose, the only way out of a (perceived) bad situation.
9.Glittering Generalities: This is using buzz words and statements to make people think the best of things.
Like, "you want to fight for the United States, don't you?" Here US is the glittering generality. How can anyone say no?? "You aren't against motherhood and apple pie are you?"
10. Testimony: Call up eye witnesses to the success and/or failure of what you are putting forward. You want real sob stories for these, even if you have to make them up or twist the truth to get them to sound real.
11. Stereotyping: Reduce everything to good vs evil.
For instance.. Nancy Pelosi's saying that all tea parties are really just nazi rallies.
And Propaganda "Scare Tactics"
The headline reads: Obama says health care critics use 'scare tactics' .
And, true to how propaganda operates that statement is itself a "scare tactic". Indeed the whole idea of health care "REFORM" is a scare tactic. The entire idea of trotting out supposed "victims" of the US health care system is a scare tactic based on half truths, innuendo and outright lies.
The article goes on to tell us that Obama urged people "not to listen to those who seek to "scare and mislead the American people." "For all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary is if we do nothing,".
It further goes on to describe the audience as "friendly". This ensures lots of applause and the false view that everyone except the weirdos supports him. Everyone but those whom Pelosi and friends call Nazi agitators and who decry dissension as "Un-American". Dissension and opposition are as American as apple pie.
Again both articles are worth reading. As are all those linked above. Sell you all Saturday Night.