Sat, Jul

The War Criminal and the Carnival Barker


SAY WHAT? - Improbably, things just keep getting weirder. Even as the FBI raids "my beautiful home Mar-A-Lago," we have the mind-bending spectacle of venal, mendacious, murderous warmonger Dick 'Dr. Doom' Cheney - who lied us into war using junk intelligence, championed torture from "rectal re-hydrating" to waterboarding, and "would do it again" - emerging from the dark side to claim the moral high ground in a campaign ad for his daughter that eviscerates Orange Guy as a liar, loser, coward and greatest threat to the republic ever, except maybe for himself. So: Darth Vader trashing Gollum, Lord Voldemort ripping Elmer Gantry, Hannibal Lector torching The Joker. Yeah, no cognitive dissonance here. "In our nation's 246-year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump," says Dick at the start of a spot for Liz, who's trailing in her Wyoming primary against Harriet 'Big-Lie' Hageman for calling out Trump for the tin-pot, sociopathic buffoon he is. "He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters rejected him. He is a coward. A real man wouldn't lie...He lost his election and he lost big." Oof. Harsh.

To cheesy musak we think is meant to sound patriotic, Cheney adds, “Liz is fearless...There is nothing more important she will ever do than lead the effort to make sure Donald Trump is never again near the Oval Office.” Now, the conundrum. God love anyone, even named Cheney, working to make sure Donald Trump is never again near the Oval Office. 'Cause, hey, c'mon. This is the guy who, just in this week's disclosures, griped he wished his generals were more like Hitler's; had flunkies giving campaign data to Russian agents; evidently really did flush documents down his toilets; is still out here idiotically babbling; and when the FBI executed a search warrant Monday night, ranted hysterically on his low-rent Truth Social that "these are dark times for our Nation" because Mar-A-Lago is "under siege, raided and occupied" by the FBI in "a weaponization of the Justice System (by) radical left Democrats (that) could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries," also Russia Russia Russia scam, impeachment hoax, and her emails, also antique furniture. So absolutely, take him down by any means necessary and before it's too late, though it may already be.

Still. As one sage notes, if Satan criticized Donald Trump, his approval ratings would go up; now, with Dick Cheney, we get to test that theory. Thus do many Americans - six million at last count - find themselves in the unspeakably queasy position of agreeing with "this old bag of sins," the most powerful vice-president in U.S. history and much-loathed, self-aggrandizing, literally heartless war criminal who with his incessant lies and abuses of power paved the amoral way for Trump and who, at the end of his bloody tenure, just 13% of the country could abide. Today, despite the white cowboy hat signifying Good Guy he wears in the ad, many were pained to find themselves agreeing with Darth Cheney. "Hi," wrote one. "Someone please beam me back to my original universe. Thank you." And: "Wow, a stinging indictment from a legitimate war criminal - this guy Trump must be really bad." "No. Just, no. Shut up. How dare you?" wrote Charlie Pierce of the hypocritical vermin who "turned (us) into a nation that tortured." Cheneys and Trumps, he notes, represent comparable evils, a mere choice between "the seditious conspiracy of the bear spray and the mob and (that) of the black site and the waterboard."

And the electrodes, dogs, nudity, renditions, indefinite detention, "rectal re-hydration" for "medical reasons," aka rape - all on behalf of handing power to an illegally elected president, all perpetrated by a five-time draft-dodger's ceaseless lies, all while making millions in his blood lust for oil. Not only did he keep spewing lies - WMDs forever -  but he kept defending them. In 2015, he was still claiming "enhanced interrogation...kept us safe," and denouncing Obama for calling it torture. Christopher Hitchens, who volunteered to be (briefly) waterboarded: "If waterboarding isn't torture, there is no such thing as torture." "We did the right thing," said Cheney. "I would do it again in a minute." So sayeth the 2nd greatest threat to our republic - first to fellow-hunters - who only tried to overthrow other people's governments while murdering up to a million people. "I'm Dick Cheney," suggests one patriot to end the Trump ad, "and I should be in jail." Others: "Now do Bush...Please shut the fuck up...1,000,000 Iraqis." "Hey," one wrote, linking to an image of our atrocities. Even Steve Bannon chimed in. "Dick Cheney is a war criminal," he wrote, accurately. "His demon seed will be destroyed at the polls." And today marks the day Nixon resigned. Shakespeare, in The Tempest: "Hell is empty, and all the devils are here."

(Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email: [email protected])