By B. Rehak
Now, in the Oval Office in the West Wing of the White House,
center of the greatest government of the richest most powerful
nation the world has ever known, dwells George W. Bush, with
a 72% post-war approval rating. He's a beloved man at the
top of his game and just a heartbeat away from the presidency.
It appears that Vice President Dick Cheney has what some
call an unprecedented influence on Mr. Bush. If you like the
sound of this, then we're living under the greatest executive
management team Washington has ever known. If not, then consider
that maybe Dubya is just the advance man for the the Cheney-Halliburton
America by and for true patriots. Could this be?
Could Bush 43 be just the smiling, saluting face of USA,
INC., and it's actually Mr. Cheney, crafting the entire agenda
from an undisclosed location? Nifty reverse approach to the
usual Republican line up, Quayle out front.
Despite the economy, a lot of conservatives seem to be sleeping
better lately, so you'd best start to watch where all this
is actually headed.
In a vibrant two-party political system, a brave young voice
from the left would stand up in Congress to contest the hypocrisy
of it all, and no matter how loud all the interconnected special
interests shouted him down, the truth would win out in the
end and the whole country would head back toward the daylight
of a new freedom, and.... if all this appeals to you, enjoy
the classic films of Frank Capra.
Today's reality is that we live in a progressively more
intolerant and conservative America, and the folks on top
have an unprecedented variety of ways to reach and influence
the Big Dumb Mob.
The BDM consists of those unquestioning Americans under
the influence of whatever is big at the moment. They demand
we bomb the hell out of Iraq, but most folks couldn't find
it on a map. The BDM must be fed a diet of constant neocon
media patriotic thinking awash in the flag, mom, apple pie,
God, double headers, country music, etc. On Fox News Channel
tracers fly into the night sky, beautifully edited to a patriotic
country beat. Complex geo-politics become just a deck of weird
playing cards, which sell like hotcakes.
They'll use what always works on the BDM: fear and flag
To live on, the right must simply out-shout record
Federal deficits and bankruptcy filings, diminished civil
liberties, failed education and health policies, greedy deregulation,
diverted women's issues, friendly contributor no-bid deals,
etc. If the BDM buys the party line, they won't bother to
vote, and the right will have won by default.
Political change only occurs when the BDM finally gets pissed
off and acts. In 1992 they put Bush 41 out of office for his
economy. That won't likely happen again, because now they
can use the next War on Something Gooey to distract the BDM.
As the election approaches expect the drum-beat to drown out
debate. Duct tape sales will skyrocket, again.
Right now, the Administration has the BDM totally captivated.
Few candidates in the struggling "post-Democratic Party"
have openly questioned this Administration, lest they provoke
the BDM. Liberals dare not start questioning the Emperor's
new wardrobe, or media cross-ownership deals.
Could it be that a tiny, bitter, pious, intolerant, reactionary,
hypocritical subculture and their predatory patrons are running
the whole show and making millions? Now that would
be a coincidence.
Nothing unpleasant may be allowed to break this post-war
happy mood, like factual data flow to and from the 9-11 Commission,
the Government's own internal 9-11 investigation, the NASA
Shuttle crash investigation, and other negative vibes. Is
anything that actually happens ever again going to get past
this Administration without being fluffed and folded first?
One must wish the Republicans well, for they are surely
in complete charge of America now and all it represents in
today's world. On Fox News the USA story is one long glorious
Chevy/Budweiser/Hummer commercial with music by Elmer Bernstein.
In a lot of the world's media, folks seem to look at us and
just shake their heads. A lot of people who liked us are pissed
at us, and a lot of people who were pissed at us are now busy
wiring up their sons in suicide vests. No problem. The new
America is in a fighting mood!
The BDM likes its America with big balls. All human
debate is neatly reduced to patriotic slogans on a ball cap.
Glorious. Envision Wagner's "Nibelungen" as performed by the
cast of "Hee Haw."
Former corporate barons make odd public servants in a democracy.
The hottest multi-nationals are usually run as absolute dictatorships
by cunning, ruthless, nameless men who will lie, cheat, and
steal to win at any cost. Their raw power is unquestioned.
They buy and sell politicians and judges, diddle the media,
spy on their competitors, lie about scandals, reward idiots,
and blame the innocent. Such business practices would seem
a liability in an American government, but not lately.
The very largest corporations are seldom run by the face
guy alone. There are many hands at the helm. Sometimes the
leader is even out of the loop completely. If profits grow,
nobody cares. If profits fall, they dump the front guy and
Mr. Cheney has apparently used his talents to adroitly transform
the traditional political backwater that was the VP slot into
a conservative engine room, skillfully interacting with favored
media, the White House staff, the Courts, both houses of Congress,
and most of the richest people and companies in America, just
to make sure things are nice and tidy.
Mr. Bush as icon appears on TV in front of pre-made special
backdrops that have the key words of that day's target message
repeated for subliminal spin. "Jobs; Trust," "Homeland; Safe,"
"Bush; DoublePlusGood," etc. So, when all those different
conservative constituencies seem to speak directly on message
with one abiding voice in a typical 24 hour news cycle, it's
only a coincidence.
"What's good for General Bullmoose is good for everybody!"
With the possible exception of Gerald Ford, nobody ever
liked being Vice President. The first one, John Adams, declared
it, "the most insignificant office that ever the invention
of man contrived or his imagination conceived." The more colorful
John Nance Garner said the job "...isn't worth a pitcher of
warm spit." Roosevelt laughed, "I would a great deal rather
be anything, say professor of history, than Vice President."
The great Daniel Webster rejected the job with, "I do not
propose to be buried until I am really dead." Harry Truman
called the VP job "about as useful as a cow's fifth teat."
Richard Nixon said, "It just is not possible in politics
for a vice president to chart out his own course," but there
has never been a vice president like Dick Cheney. He's the
only VP ever with document classification power. He can now
hide any paper or reality he wishes to behind a Top Secret
America has had 46 vice presidents. The VP must be at least
35 years old. Duties include presiding over the Senate, breaking
tie votes, replacing a President removed from office, and
going to funerals. The VP lives in a beautiful Washington
compound that once housed the Naval Observatory.
Mr. Cheney was born on January 30, 1941 in Lincoln, Nebraska,
and raised in Casper, Wyoming. He graduated from the University
of Wyoming in 1965, with a degree in political science. He
has a wife, Lynne, and two daughters. He's a Methodist. He
had three heart attacks, in 1978, 1984, and 1988, and underwent
a quadruple bypass in 1988 at age 47.
He's had an interesting career path:
Late '60s, early '70s: Held several mid-level posts in Nixon
1975-77: Chief of Staff to Gerald Ford.
1978-89: Six-term Republican congressman from Wyoming.
"A strongly conservative voting record," says the Washington
1989-1993: Secretary of Defense to President George Bush
1995-2000: Chairman & CEO of Halliburton, a large energy
equipment and construction firm based in Dallas, Texas.
2001-present: Vice president of the United States.
Like many conservatives of his time, Mr. Cheney cycled from
public service when the Republicans were in, to more profitable
pursuits when they were not. After leaving DoD, and with little
practical business experience, he was made CEO of Halliburton,
which then became an even bigger recipient of Government work.
His web site bio says he "has had a distinguished career
as a businessman and public servant, serving four Presidents
and as an elected official. Throughout his service, Mr. Cheney
served with duty, honor, and unwavering leadership, gaining
him the respect of the American people during trying military
He's at http://www.whitehouse.gov/vicepresident/.
His site doesn't mention that Mr. Cheney also got very
rich from his time at Halliburton. Coincidence. Absolutely.
Since even before Mr. Bush's 2000 election squeaker was
being arranged in the Supreme Court, Mr. Cheney obviously
had his ear. Now, more than halfway through their first term,
Mr. Cheney seems to be the man behind the man.
To Democratic questions of "Who's in charge?" come Republican
answers of, "What's it to you? Don't you know terrorists are
everywhere? Are you a patriot? Those shoes look foreign. Do
you live in this neighborhood? May we see your papers please?"
Hey, it works. It always does, for a while.
Mr. Cheney's meetings on energy policy in the months before
9/11 are among the most closely held secrets in this administration.
He seems to have a finger in every pie. One hopes he is very
good at what he does. Good or not it will take us a generation
to find out what our government was really secretly
planing for us this week.
Mr. Cheney and a select group of his equally patriotic friends
have reportedly been connected to a lot of very interesting
business and government coincidences since even before taking
office. The Military Industrial Complex that Ike warned us
of in 1960 was a mere shadow next to the current power monolith
backing these people. This is more than conservative ideology,
more than the Lord's holy will: this is big bucks!
The far right has something they've never had - their own
Mr. Cheney is very bright, but he's riding the tiger, and
the awkward questions continue. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
(D-CA) suggested yesterday on CNN that hanky-panky might have
been involved in awarding an open-ended contract worth up
to $7 billion to Halliburton via their Kellogg, Brown & Root
subsidiary without the impediment of competitive bidding.
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman said in early April
that Kellogg, Brown & Root got the contract because of an
earlier winning bid in December 2001 to pre-position firefighting
assets in the area. The Army has now acknowledge the deal,
which has no actual set limits on time or money, allows the
subsidiary to actually operate Iraq's oil fields and distribute
Iraqi oil. Everybody involved has repeatedly denied influencing
the way the Corps awarded the contract.
As to who is actually in charge, try to imagine anything
getting past Mr. Cheney that would offend big oil, big money,
big religion, or upset Saudi Arabia, Israel, Wall Street,
the NRA, Mr. Falwell, Mr. Robertson, Mr. Scaife, Mr. Bauer,
or the other true patriots.
It is just a coincidence that Mr. Lay of Enron will never
do the perp walk.
If America's voters don't realize Vice President Cheney
is actually the man to watch next Election Day, then they
don't know Dick.
The Republicans are really counting on that.
Brian Rehak is a writer in southern California and can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org