Morning Report 11/13/05The Vise President


Cheney bunch talks about freedom but puts the squeeze on us



Why do you think they call it a C-clamp?


Don’t blame the elderly for their confusion over the Bush regime’s crackpot Medicare drug program.

Blame U.S. CEO Dick Cheney for putting the squeeze on us — call him the vise president. Even those of you whose boss is a Jewish carpenter ought to get that play on words.

But who’s playing? Cheney, our lobbyist for torture, is serious. The rogue elephant, who regularly denounced the Equal Rights Amendment — women’s rights in the U.S. — has now placed his daughter Liz Cheney at the State Department, where she and Paul Wolfowitz‘s gal pal Shaha Ali Riza are supposedly fighting for women’s rights in the Arab world.

I noted on November 11 that these two pol molls are spending $50 million to “promote” democracy overseas.

But Liz Cheney is also in charge of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which has already spent $300 million on “reforms.” Here’s a snatch from the State Department’s story on this:

Describing MEPI’s activities, she said nearly $300 million has been spent during the past three years to support economic, political and educational reform, and the empowerment of women. She said the funds are supporting more than 140 programs in 14 countries.

Exactly how has that third of a billion simoleons been spent? Only three months ago, the Government Accountability Office weighed in with pretty heavy criticism.

It doesn’t take much reading between the lines of this government agency’s typically cautious prose to see that MEPI’s lavish spending has been poorly monitored — and that, typical for a Cheney’s contempt for auditors, daughter Liz is smugly disputing that criticism.

In its August 8, 2005, report, whose 43 pages came and went with little notice in the press, the GAO summarized its findings this way:

GAO recommends that, to improve project monitoring, the Secretary of State ensure that MEPI managers (1) clearly delineate, document, and communicate monitoring roles and responsibilities; (2) systematically obtain, maintain, and communicate complete information on all MEPI projects; and (3) regularly assess progress in these areas. State and USAID agreed with GAO’s recommendations. State disagreed with the extent of our finding that it could not with certainty evaluate its projects’ performance. However, State said that it intends to improve its monitoring of MEPI projects.

Translation: Cheney’s daughter doesn’t have a plan to monitor the projects, doesn’t get info on the projects in any systematic way, and doesn’t do any assessment of their impact.

The State Department’s response, which did not bear the signature of Liz Cheney, even though she’s in charge of the program — plausible deniability is important, after all — was to congratulate the GAO for recognizing the fine work that, in State’s words, MEPI has “effectively launched.”

The GAO picked up on that bullshit but quick, noting in its comments on page 35:

1. State commented that it agreed with GAO’s conclusion that the Department of State has effectively launched MEPI reform programs.

However, GAO did not audit the effectiveness of MEPI projects and did not present such a conclusion in this report.

2. State commented that our report recognized that MEPI had established effective partnerships with other bureaus at State, with other U.S. government agencies, and with a wide range of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including the private sector.

However, our report did not present such a conclusion. Our report describes rather than assesses the relationships between MEPI and other U.S. government and nongovernment entities.

Sounds like another scandal brewing over at MEPI’s headquarters. And it sounds similar to the Bush regime’s great planning for post-invasion Iraq.

Whatever did happen to the billions of dollars allegedly mishandled by our pasha Jerry Bremer? And what about the other facet of the oil-for-slush scandal: the $400 million in cash handed out by our military muckety-mucks in the Commanders Emergency Response Program? For some other unforgivable figures, see this list.

Feeling queasy? You need medication. Good luck getting it. The regime’s new Medicare drug program is another disaster in the making.

Two paragraphs in this morning’s New York Times story by Robert Pear about this drug mess speak volumes, although the story itself is typically devoid of analysis and context:

Asked about beneficiaries’ confusion, Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, said: “Health care is complicated. We acknowledge that. Lots of things in life are complicated: filling out a tax return, registering your car, getting cable television. It is going to take time for seniors to become comfortable with the drug benefit.”

Paulette Dibbern, a retired State Farm insurance agent in Wichita, said the government was not emphasizing an important fact about the new benefit: “You must go out and shop for a drug plan and buy this coverage from an insurance company.”

Just try to remain calm in the face of sales tactics from the drug companies and insurance industry while you’re trying to get drugs to treat your hypertension.

Jesus wept.

It’s typical of the ruthless and inept business policies of the country’s increasing dangerous CEO, Dick Cheney. Just as it did in, say, the Iraq debacle and the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal took a bad situation and made it worse.

This is the guy who, before he became vice president, saddled Halliburton with billions of dollars of asbestos-lawsuit liabilities. The company had to maneuver through bankruptcy court and get laws passed to get rid of that albatross. And it took the lucrative Iraq war to liberate Halliburton.

But let’s not dwell on that. One key to understanding Cheney is to go back to his self-anointing as George W. Bush‘s running mate. The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer, in a brilliant 2004 dissection of Cheney’s performance at Halliburton, wrote:

In the spring of 2000, Cheney’s two worlds — commerce and politics — merged. Halliburton allowed its C.E.O. to serve simultaneously as the head of George W. Bush’s Vice-Presidential search committee. At the time, Bush said that his main criterion for a running mate was “somebody who’s not going to hurt you.” Cheney demanded reams of documents from the candidates he considered. In the end, he picked himself — a move that his longtime friend Stuart Spencer recently described, with admiration, as “the most Machiavellian fucking thing I’ve ever seen.”

Fast forward to August 3, 2000, when Bush and Cheney “accepted” the GOP nomination. Dave Andrusko of the National Right to Life Committee could barely contain his little soldiers he was so gleeful:

Completing a wonderful week for the cause of unborn babies, Texas Gov. George W. Bush used the occasion of his acceptance speech tonight to reiterate his strong opposition to abortion. Bush’s nationally televised speech came the night after former Congressman and Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney delivered his maiden speech as Bush’s pro-life running mate.

Andrusko quoted Bush as saying:

“Most of all, we must teach our children the values that defeat violence. I will lead our nation toward a culture that values life — the life of the elderly and sick, the life of the young and the life of the unborn.”

Mighty strong words from the hangingest governor in U.S. history.

The elderly, the sick, the young, and the unborn. Well, one out of four ain’t bad, right?

Five years later, the Bush regime has needlessly sent more than 2,000 young Americans to their deaths in Iraq, not to mention thousands of Iraqi children. I can’t help thinking about those elderly, sick people in the New Orleans hospitals and nursing homes who died from the malign neglect traceable to Bush’s toxic clown Mike Brown. That was while the Cheney administration was losing the one race it didn’t care about. And now we have the Medicare drug program.

As the August 2000 story from the anti-abortion lobby proudly pointed out, Cheney’s voting record as a congressman (from 1979 to 1988) was “100 percent pro-life”:

During his time in Congress, Cheney expressed support for a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution to guarantee the right to life of all human beings, regardless of their stage of development. (However, no such amendment came to a vote during his tenure in the House.)

And it won’t, either.

What’s truly funny in light of current events, however, is Dick Cheney’s opposition to the ERA. Andrusko wrote:

In 1983, Cheney voted against House approval of the proposed federal “Equal Rights Amendment,” partly on the basis of the House Democratic leadership’s refusal to permit consideration of an “abortion-neutral” amendment to prevent the ERA from being used as a pro-abortion legal weapon.

As the Bush regime continues to implode, suckers may be unborn every minute. It might help to know that Dick Cheney now supports women’s rights — when the women are his daughter and Wolfowitz’s girlfriend, and the rights include spending millions of dollars of public funds with no public accountability.