Friday, April 24, 2009

If Mr. Cheney Wants To Be In The Spotlight . . .

Lately it seems that it's impossible to turn on the news without hearing former Vice President Dick Cheney lamenting the mistakes of the Obama Administration. He's accused the administration of "raising the risk of attack," called the releasing of memos related to sanctioned torture, disturbing," and even took issue with the fact that the President shook hands with Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez. It seems that Mr. Cheney is not content to simply ride off into the sunset and reap the financial benefits that he undoubtedly accrued from raiding the Treasury over the past eight years.

Exactly how many government contracts did Halliburton obtain?

Yes, it seems that our cranky ex-Vice-President wants to remain on the center stage as the defender of torture, imprisonment without basic legal rights and an isolationist. And I hope he does. Because every time, Mr. Cheney opens his mouth, he reminds us of the stark differences between his approaches and those of the current administration. He underscores that his politics are those of "security at all costs and human rights be damned." He brings to the forefront debate about what the United States really stands for.

Bravo, Sir. Bravo.

It is good and necessary to have these discussions. It is important to examine our founding principles and cultural values and it is equally important to examine our mistakes. I am grateful to Mr. Cheney for helping to keep these issues in the spotlight. He has reminded us that our fundamental concern as a nation is not just the economic woes of the moment, but rather, examining whether we have lived up to what and who we say we are as a nation.

Go forth examiners!

I encourage and advocate for investigation into things such as allegations of torture, the existence of secret prisons, suppression of legal representation for prisoners, and the legality of domestic wiretapping practices. I applaud the release of memos relating to these practices over the past eight years and frankly, would equally support the release of historical practises in this area. I desire accountability for violations of the law whether it be domestic or the Geneva Conventions. And I hope for one other thing . . .

I hope that when all is said and done, Mr. Cheney considers a colonoscopy the least thorough examination he has ever had.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Right Wingers Teabag Across America

It's tax day in American and in an effort to invoke images of the Boston tea party, protesters led by right wing commentators and complete with stages, sound systems and in one case, Ted Nugent, spontaneously gathered to protest "excessive taxation," bailouts and recent stimulus spending.

There are just a few small problems with the scenario.

First Problem: The protests lack authenticity.

While it is certainly valid to protest the size of the stimulus, or the fact that there have been corporate bailouts, it would ring more authentic had these same folks been protesting when President Bush did the same thing in September of 2008. Where was the outrage when former Goldman Sachs CEO and then current Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, directed billions of dollars to his former company? Where was the outrage when the cash was shelled out without oversight?

Perhaps they were teabagging in private that day.

Second Problem: The stimulus seems to be working.

Contrary to what teabaggers might have you believe, there are some positive signs in the economy. We're not completely out of the woods yet, but there are some good indicators. These include: profitable quarters at two key banks (Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo); stabilization of the dow which after dropping at the change of administrations is back around January 20th levels, in fact it's been trending back up; and the fact that several stimulus projects are not only done, but under budget and ahead of schedule.

What's a teabagger to do?

Third Problem: Most of the protesters will actually benefit from the President's tax policies.

That's right. As promised in the campaign, President Obama, has announced $120,000,000 in tax cuts, $2,500 in breaks for college and an $8,000 cut for first time home buyers. Hmmmm . . . I don't remember that last one when I bought my first house two years ago.

Sadly, some decided to augment their public teabagging activities with signs that proclaimed things such as: "Hang 'Em High," "Obama = Hitler," "We Are A Christian Nation," "Hey Big Brother Show Us Your Birth Certificate," "Stand Idly By While Some Kenyan Tries To Destroy America . . . Homey Don't Play Dat," and my personal favourite, "The American Tax Payers Are The Jews For Obama's Ovens."

It's tax day in America and, in every sense of the phrase, the right wing is revolting.