The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Dick Cheney

Good morning, MB has a well-deserved day off.  Here’s my offering to the Widdershin world this fine Labor Day.

Some say consistency is a virtue.  If that is true, the intellectually lazy are extremely virtuous.  They always, without fail, endeavor to draw false equivalencies between Republicans and Democrats which is always easier than addressing the issues at hand.EZ PZ lemon squeezy

Doubtless there are some equivalencies between the parties, but in one area there is no parity.  Where there is no comparison is playing to the cheap seats on policy.  There is nary a bit of competition there – Republicans win going away.

Democrats almost always end up proposing functional policies usually centering on raising taxes and increased governmental regulation.  On the flip side, Republicans, more often than not, proclaim everything is easy-peasy – all you need is a little common sense to solve any problem no matter the complexity.

Republicans get out the Ronaldus Maximus Ouija board, recite the “government is the problem” incantation, and gleefully celebrate with those “ignorance is bliss” glazed-over googly eyes.

When I hear the rationale of “there are no easy answers, only simple solutions,” I start breaking glass so that I may take a nice, relaxing crawl through it.  The basis of this cockeyed notion is that understanding how government works isn’t necessary and is actually a hindrance to getting things done.

When I hear willful ignorance celebrated in such fashion, I have one of three thoughts:

  1. I gotta try functional alcoholism, it seems fun;
  2. Incest products say the darndest things; or
  3. Someone needs to water those idiots.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, but admittedly, not as much time as I have spent trying to figure out why John McEnroe is the spokes-toenail for Jublia anti-fungal medicine, but I digress.  Here are a few examples of what happens when you start believing you are the first person ever to think up crazy stuff.

Not exactly the same telephone poll, but a nice picture nonetheless...

Not exactly the same type of telephone poll, but a nice picture nonetheless…

Carly Fiorina

Hewlett-Packard went through a definite evolution during Fiorina’s tenure.  It went from a venerable institution to a “Hellish Pit” where 30,000 people got canned while she overpaid billions for a merger with a legacy business enjoying a downhill luge run.  Add to those fun facts, on the day Fiorina was fired, HP’s stock went up 7%.

Fiorina’s next great idea is turning every policy question into an “American Idol” type dial-in poll on everyone’s smart phones.  Here’s the problem with that brain-trickle.

Not everyone has a smart phone.  Not everyone cares to have a smart phone.  And having a bunch of uninformed, unintelligent, and unwitting people voting on stuff is redundant – that’s why we have Congress.

Chris Christie

Chris Christie’s big idea is tracking all immigrants like FedEx packages.  Here’s the slogan that would be on the walls of Immigration and Customs Enforcement break rooms:  When your immigration program has to be absolutely, positively the most insane in the world, try tattooing Thirteen Million people.

A girl gets her very first Christie immigration box...

A girl gets her very first Christie immigration box…

Christie’s lap band has obviously slipped down around his small intestines because he’s filling up with enormous amounts of crap.  Here’s a news flash – packages, unlike people, don’t have free will and unless you are having a minor touch of delirium tremors, packages don’t walk around either.

So in order for Christie’s grand FedExigrant plan to work, there seem to be two alternatives:

  1. Stuff all immigrants into cardboard boxes (in a major concession air holes are likely to be allowed); or
  2. Assign each and every immigrant a personalized FedEx-type watcher.

I’m relatively positive Christie isn’t the first person to have thought of this idea, but the other people who thought of it couldn’t write it down because they were restrained by leather straps.

The Wyoming Nesting Dolls, the a.k.a. the Cheneys

In their new book, Dick and Liz have made everything exceedingly simple.  They’ve given us a checklist of really good stuff to do.  For instance:

  1. We have to teach our children about the benefits of using thermonuclear devices;
  2. We have to constantly remind ourselves that Gitmo is, in essence, a Club Fed where waterboarding should be happening on the half-hour out on the lanai; and
  3. Conquered people, like the Iraqis, love having our boots on their throats as a sign of endearing foreplay.

Those are three of Dick and Liz’s best suggestions for taking a big red eraser to history.

Anchor babyAnd then there’s the Donald…

Donald Trump is gum on your shoe without any of the fun.  His whole world is completely binary:  You are a winner or you are a loser.  You are a One or you are a Zero.  It just so happens unless you are spawned from his orange-hued loins, you are a loser.

How about this little nugget if you are looking for the apex of Mt. Hypocrisy?  Four of Trump’s five children are children of immigrant mothers.  So after Donald cobbles together his little continent dividing wall, his next immigration solution will undoubtedly be his personal fertilization of all anchor babies.  Rest assured, they will be beautiful, they will be winners, and he will love and cherish them.

Voltaire said, “To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.”  From what we’ve seen so far in this presidential race, there’s plenty of world-class stupid, not much in the way of manners, and little hope for national success.  Voltaire, just like the rest of us, wouldn’t be amused.


Your thoughts on any subject are enthusiastically encouraged.


Amnesia is one of the most popular plot devices in fiction.  It can wipe away history in a couple of paragraphs – clean, convenient, and efficient.  Jason Bourne or the Drew Barrymore character in 50 First Dates provided an entertaining catalyst for manipulating the story line. Oblivion

The limitation of amnesia is that it doesn’t erase the memories of everyone.  In real life, the impact of amnesia and brainwashing can lead to disastrous results.  Just ask Tania, the urban guerrilla, who was first known as Patty Hearst before her unfortunate forced conscription in the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Our friend Jeb! seems to be suffering from a rather colossal case of amnesia.  Tuesday night at the Reagan Library (where better to be kissed by the amnesia fairy) Jeb! decided to go full monty on the Iraq War and ISIS.  Given the severity of the amnesia, it appears Jeb! might be gunning for an endorsement deal from Aricept or Namenda because he doesn’t seem to be at all hindered by reality brought to you by the capital letter ‘R’.

Bush Reagan LibraryThe whole premise of Jeb!’s speech — that brother Dubya’s war strategy was brilliant, while Obama’s foreign policy created the Islamic State — is so convoluted it defies logic.  That is, it defies logic unless you season it with a heaping helping of amnesia.

First of all, The Islamic State is the successor organization to al-Qaida’s Iraqi affiliate, which formed shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2003.  The very same invasion we were lied into through an orchestrated symphony of deception by that great conductor of such things Dick “Rotmymanhoodoff” Cheney.

Furthermore, Jeb!’s account of the withdrawal as a “case of blind haste” omitted the fact that it was brother Dubya who had set the withdrawal date of 2011 in an agreement he signed in 2008 with the Iranian muppet, Nouri al-Maliki.  By 2011 it wasn’t like we had just gotten there, we had been in Iraq since May 2003 – 2003 when flip phones were the rage and Bruce Jenner was best known for being an Olympian.   Bush meh

When Obama and Hillary took office in 2009 they had few, if any, good options.  In the simplest terms, if a railroad engineer causes a train wreck, you don’t blame the folks who come afterward to fix the tracks.  Jeb! in his decidedly finite wisdom wants to blame the track-fixers instead of the reckless, errant engineer.

ISIS grew from the terrorist faction al-Qaida in Iraq.  And where did AQI come from you ask?  AQI simply didn’t exist before the 2003 U.S. invasion.  In addition, the ill-advised disbanding of the Iraqi military in 2003 led to a fracturing of the country which eventually fomented into former Sunni members of the military forming insurgent groups later coalescing into ISIS.

So Jeb!’s attempt at rehabilitating the failed Bush legacy of perhaps a half million lives lost and a wasted Two Trillion Dollars is quite a heavy lift.  In explaining such amnesia inspired endeavors, Dean Koontz wrote, “When my wits fail me, I resort to self-deception.”  He presciently wrote those words in a book entitled Brother Odd, so in the case of the Bush boys, I have three thoughts:

Oh brother1. Odd is a comparative term, so I have no idea which Bush boy is “odder”;

2. I have absolutely no idea which one could be characterized as having “wits”; and

3. Self-deception seems to be a well-worn, time-honored Bush family tradition.


Take the conversation in any direction you might like and don’t forget to have a great weekend.


Have you ever received a large denomination gift card from a place at which you would never, ever, not in a million years, darken the doors?  You can’t regift because no one you know would ever shop there and to boot, you hate to shop.

About ten years ago, I was given a large gift card from Cabela’s.  I don’t hunt, fish, trap, or otherwise find myself aroused at the thought of proving my manhood by inflicting pain upon sensate beings with brains the size of peas.  Call me crazy, I just can’t bring myself to kill for pleasure, but what to do with the two hundred, fifty dollar gift card?

Inside a Cabela's...

Inside a Cabela’s…

If you don’t know, Cabela’s is quite the experience.  Every once living creature has been stuffed and taxidermied into an eternal, glassy-eyed stare, not unlike the look given when Sarah Palin is asked, “What magazines do you enjoy?”

Staring eye-to-eye with a stuffed bipedal polar bear in a frozen state of hors d’oeuvre salivation is not my idea of a fun shopping excursion, but I had that gift card burning a hole in my pocket.  And so I shopped, randomly selecting things with reckless abandon since it didn’t cost me a thing.  There was no consequence to my actions – it was a legalized “drive-by looting” with a $250.00 cap.  It didn’t hurt me, it didn’t hurt the animals, and it was a free space in the great capitalist continuum.

That is exactly what is happening on the historic Iran nuclear deal.  The Republican presidential hordes, along with the Republican congressional swarm of pitchfork wielders, have a free space – it costs nothing for them to roll around on the floor gnashing their chompers for all to witness.  They can pander, aggrandize, exaggerate, and disassemble.  They can appeal to the basic instincts of the peacock-brained crowd.  Reckless abandon doesn’t cost them a thing.  Having an iota of expectation for them beyond that is the equivalent of believing Cabela’s will soon be a petting zoo.  Ain’t gonna happen.

Either inside a Cabela's or the mind of a Neo-con...who knows?

Either inside a Cabela’s or the mind of a Neo-con…who knows?

As I listen to the likes of Tom Cotton, who, after thirty-seven minutes in the Senate, was cued-up to denounce the agreement two nanoseconds after it was announced, I hear Rumsfeldian double-speak.  Cotton, unburdened by not having read a word of the agreement, is enigmatic of the voices who banged the drum for invading Iraq in 2002 and 2003.  Then there’s Lady Lindsey almost tripping over a malfunctioning hoop skirt to declare in full breathless vapors, “I do declare this is the unkindest thing that cad who calls himself Obama has ever done.”  Then there’s Jeb! the always excitable boy who declared, “No one should ever make deals with dictators!”  He should know from bargaining with dictators since he is genetically programmed to do so given both his father and brother did that exact thing when they were the Bushes potted at 1600.

I won’t even try to get into the nuance and minutiae of the agreement since like all climate change denying Republicans, “I’m not a scientist.”  What I am is a “long-memoried librul” who finds utter disgust in hearing the same “mushroom cloud, me Tarzan, them Jane, testosterone-infused, horse hockey” last heard thirteen years ago when we waltzed into a quagmire costing perhaps a half million lives and wasting three trillion dollars.

Iran Uranium enrichment

Boil the criticisms of these clowns down to the nubbins and what you have is, “If I was the President, I could have gotten a better deal,” a logic like, “If a bullfrog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass each time he jumped.”  Most of these jokers have never negotiated a used car, but they somehow believe somewhere hidden in their hubris lies a shrewd negotiator capable of besting Putin, the Chinese, the Iranians, Germany, France, Great Britain, and the EU all at once.  Let’s just say these “wannabe” stellar negotiators won’t be driving off with any new floor mats in their 1972 Gremlins and Chevettes.

There are loads of articles explaining the deal here, here, here, and here.  There is none better than this one, explaining the sheer folly of those who, as they did with Iraq, believe bringing Iran to heel will merely take a couple of bombing missions and we can call it good in a matter of hours.  Remember when Darth Cheney said we would be greeted as Iraq liberators with flowers at our feet?  Well, he and his ilk are again proclaiming, “The only bad war is one we haven’t yet started.”

Iran reducing Uranium Stockpile

These war-lusting ninnies believe if they say it in their hermetically sealed conference rooms at the Heritage Foundation, it will suddenly be made so in the sands of the Middle East.  Their inanity exterminated the only counter-balancing top line predator in the region, thereby unleashing the hegemonic wiles of the hard-line, America-hating, Iranian Shiite mullahs.

Unlike the run up to the Iraq War, if there is one good byproduct in this whole episode, it is that Netanyahu can’t depend upon the mouths of Bushites to call for war.  There is no corner in the Oval Office in which Bebe can hide this time – he has to be the one out front saying, “America, I have another little errand for which I need to borrow your military and your treasury.”  Netanyahu is overplaying his hand when a majority of Americans want a negotiated deal.

Iran Nuclear facilities allowed to operate

Next year I hope the voters remember the Republicans who tried to give us an Iranian gift card and convince us it was a free space without consequence.  Losing untold lives and trillions of dollars has a tendency to leave scars – we best remember their cause.

As always, your thoughts on any subject are encouraged and welcomed.


For a simpleton such as myself, the release of the long-awaited Senate Report on the CIA’s use of torture has been singularly unsatisfying. The report, authorized by a 14-1 vote of the Intelligence Committee, was limited to nothing more than a review of the CIA’s own “traffic” consisting of internal documents and email among the CIA’s own officers.

The report wasn’t exhaustive. It wasn’t all-encompassing. It wasn’t an in-depth investigation with sworn testimony by Rattlesnakethose in decision-making roles. It was only a recapitulation of what the CIA was saying to itself taken from contemporaneous communication among CIA functionaries. From the six million pages of raw material a six thousand page report was generated and from that a six hundred page executive summary was spawned.

This Himalayan mountain of material has produced the same-old tired cacophony of James Bond/Jack Bauer’esqe excuses for what took place in secret prisons around the globe. I’ve learned nothing and I bet you haven’t either.

At the end of the day, this entire debate is simply about “values”. For most of us that debate was settled by the time we were in the second grade. Let me explain.

The following is an exercise I have used with thousands of leadership students in order to drill down on the concept of values. After taking a good long look at the photo above, think about and then answer the following questions.

If you were taking a hike and saw that creature fifteen yards in front of you would you go out of your way to avoid it?

If given the opportunity, would you forego the opportunity to touch, hold, and pet that creature?

Would you forbid your son or daughter from keeping that creature as a household pet?

Would you kill that creature if you saw it ready to strike a family member or friend?

Likewise, would you kill that creature if you saw it ready to strike an unsuspecting unknown stranger?

Finally, would you capture that creature, place it in captivity, and systematically torture it to death?


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Good afternoon Widdershins.

Have you caught Soccer World Cup fever? I seem to have some natural immunity to the fever, but that doesn’t mean I’ll pass up a life lesson from the “beautiful sport”.3 Japanese Fans cleaning Stadium

In the opening round of the World Cup, Japan lost to the Ivory Coast 2-1. The Japanese fans, instead of burning couches, overturning cars, or generally rioting, saluted the victory of the Ivory Coast by quietly cleaning up the mess left in the stadium. That’s right, the Japanese fans solemnly picked up the trash left behind in the stadium in deference to the victory of the Ivory Coast. The Japanese were humble in victory and most gracious in defeat. There’s a lesson there.

For a moment, let’s imagine you are moving across the country. You are moving to a small community about which you have little or no information. You and your spouse take a trip to this community to investigate and learn as any prudent Widdershin would.

You first search out a bank and an investment manager. You meet an investment manager and ask their advice. The manager advises you to go into debt and tell your employer to reduce your salary. Taken aback, you ask the manager, “What kind of strategy is that? Has that ever worked?” The manager replies, “It’s always our strategy. It’s what we tell everyone. While it hasn’t worked for anyone yet, we are true believers and if we just stay the course, we believe it will work eventually.”

After the bank, you go visit the local school. You meet the principal who proceeds to tell you that the school teaches creationism, little science, and the lunchroom continues to look like a 7-11 because it’s what the children like to eat.

Leaving the school, you visit the community center to get a feel for the community’s diversity. To your surprise, everyone pretty much looks just like you. You’re told that the community likes the current demographic makeup just fine and the community discourages “other” people from immigrating.

You stop by the hospital to see the healthcare available and the emergency room is full of people waiting to be seen. You casually ask the admission clerk, “Has there been an accident,” to which he replies, “No, that’s just normal around here since we don’t believe in expanding Medicaid. Don’t worry though, since this is all uncompensated care, no one ever notices the increases on their private insurance to pay for it.”

From there you go visit City Hall where you are fortunate enough to meet the Mayor for a chat. The Mayor is just a bundle of energy and quickly peppers you with a series of questions, “What’s your religion? We are almost all Christians here, but some of my best friends are…” she trails off. “Are you business owners,” she continues, “If you are you’ll be happy to know there’s no corporate income tax here because business is job one around these parts.”

Trying to hold back a riverJumping in while the Mayor is taking a breath, you ask, “What is the biggest issue facing the city?” The Mayor then tells you about a water project on a nearby river. The city decided about ten years previous to put a dam across the river to hold back the flow and increase the comfort level about the water supply. You ask, “Did it work?” The Mayor then explains, “The professionals told us we were going about the project all wrong and trying to do the project on the cheap. We didn’t listen.  We knew better. We’ve been at it for ten years now, but we are doubling down. We know we are right. We will fight that river and eventually we will change the laws of nature.”

Would this be a city where you would choose to live?

I bet not. Just the same, this is the current iteration of the vision of the Republican/Tea Party for the country. Offering the same tired economic policy proven wrong both here and aboard. Under the rubric of choice, the schools offer anything but choice. The policy offerings: No immigration, no plan for healthcare even though the inaction costs us all, corporate largesse, and in terms of foreign policy, doubling down on the worst foreign policy decision in modern history despite every scintilla of evidence pointing in the opposite direction.

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Good afternoon Widdershins.

Isn’t irony wonderful?  It’s just life’s little way of chucking you gently under the chin and making sure you are paying attention.  Often irony is subtle, but then we hit a rough patch and it is as irritating as a thong made from an emery board.  Sometimes these rough patches are as confusing as Miley Cyrus publicly committing hari kari of Hannah Montana or vice versa.  I fear we are in the midst of a rough patch.

Fitness Irony

It strikes me as particularly ironic those who were the most adamant in their opposition to Obamacare last week are now outraged at the prospect of it taking a moment longer to buy life-sustaining insurance on a website than it does to buy Twilight: The Saga of Two Pasty Actors in Need of Acting Lessons on Amazon.

It strikes me as ironic and infinitely regrettable the anti-healthcare warriors Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert, Gary Neugebauer, Pete Sessions, Steve Stockman, and John Culberson, all represent Texas.  Texas, the state dead last in providing access to healthcare where one in four people are without it and ten million people have pre-existing illnesses, including 1.6 million children with pre-existing conditions like asthma or diabetes.

It strikes me as ironic Ted Cruz yammers ad nauseam about his righteousness in denying healthcare because 2 million people have logged on to a website and signed a petition when 2 million people represent 0.6 of 1% of the country’s population and is roughly the number of Twitter followers of Adam Lambert, a runner-up on American Idol.

It strikes me as ironic the Tea Party ostensibly stands for heightened  governmental transparency and yet is funded by a virtual phalanx of Brothers Koch shadowy, money-laundering organizations like Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Action for America, Tea Party Patriots, Center to Protect Patient Rights, The 60 Plus Association, American Commitment, Generation Opportunity, Concerned Women for American Legislative Action, and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEX).

Along the same lines, it strikes me ironic when FreedomWorks, the premier Tea Party grassroots organization trumpeting fiscal responsibility, has to borrow $1.0 million to continue operations and then spends $1.0 million to be a sponsor of Glen Beck’s internet teevee channel.

It strikes me as the height of irony when the Koch O’Nuts have only had to spend a half-billion dollars to convince the average Fox-hypnotized voter to vote against their own interests in order to support the varied Koch interests like the $100 Billion they stand to profit from the Keystone XL Pipeline.  Of course, that’s barely $50 Billion per brother.

Croc eating a croc

Another player in the Koch O’Poops menagerie is Mark Needham, the 31-year old CEO of Heritage Action whose sworn allegiance is to the free market and privatization of all things.  Needham has never worked a day, not an hour, in the private sector having joined the Heritage Foundation straight out of college.

It strikes me as ironic the body double of Barney Rubble, Sean Hannity, is on a channel whose tagline is “Fair and Balanced” when he aired segments about downtrodden couples decrying the ACA when it appears none of the couples had taken the time to find out the ACA either didn’t apply to them or will afford them better coverage at a savings of over a $1,000 a month.

And probably the most irritating irony warranting a shout-out — after weeks of vehement political warfare over giving the poorest of the poor potential access to healthcare is this week’s debut of the self-congratulatory new book by Dick Cheney about his health travails, Heart:  An American Medical Odyssey.

The irony:  The nightmarish medical odyssey for millions of poor Americans is not now nor has it ever been about heart.

This is an open thread.

I have watched with a growing sense of deja vu as the Military Industrial Complex gears itself up to sell yet another quagmire in the Middle East to the bleary-eyed American public. Look, there’s John Kerry on the TeeVee saying there’s proof of chemical weapons use in Syria!

Unveiling a U.S. intelligence report on Syria’s use of chemical weapons, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Friday the evidence shows President Bashar Assad’s government killed at least 1,429 of its own citizens in a “crime against humanity” that demands an international response.

Kerry, trying to overcome doubts about the Obama’s administration’s anticipated military strike on Syria, said the intelligence community has documented with “high confidence,” from “thousands of sources,” that Syrian forces prepared for days to attack entrenched rebel forces and then, on Aug. 21, fired gas-filled shells that killed at least 426 children, as well as adults.

“This is evidence,” Kerry said in an appearance at the State Department. “These are facts. The primary question is what are we … going to do about it?”

Wow. Dare I say that this evidence appears…indisputable?

“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass  destruction.” – Dick Cheney, August 26 2002

Six days before the  U.S. sent troops to Iraq, Cheney said “We believe Iraq has, in fact,  reconstituted nuclear weapons” [Meet the Press, 3/7/03]. This echoed his June,  2002 speech in which he said the same thing. He made these claims while offering  no evidence, and despite the fact that “the CIA sent two memos to the White  House in October voicing strong doubts about a claim President Bush made three  months later in the State of the Union address that Iraq was trying to buy  nuclear material in Africa” [Washington Post, 7/23/03]. As ex Cia  analyst Ray McGovern has asserted , falsified documents which were meant to show  that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein regime had been trying to procure yellowcake uranium  from Niger can be traced straight back to Cheney’s office.

According to  McGovern, former CIA Director George Tenet told his “coterie of malleable  managers” at the CIA to create a National Intelligence Estimate “to the terms of  reference of Dick Cheney’s speech of August 26, 2002, where Dick Cheney said for  the first time Saddam Hussein could have a nuclear weapon in a year, he’s got  all kinds of chemical, he’s got all kinds of biological weapons.”

Here’s how widespread this reaction must be: When I searched for the Dick Cheney quote, I clicked on a link to CNN from 2002. The link re-directed me to the home page of CNN, which had this headline: “Kerry on Syria: This isn’t Iraq, we’ve got the proof.” The comparisons are that obvious.

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Blog Archive

March 2019
« Feb    

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
22 months to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan


Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

Trump spam

IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put


Awrite! Here’s your damned wall

Dems are coming for ya