President of Vice – uh, Vice-President Dick Cheney spoke to the Wyoming convention of Boys State, that venerable civic organization, Sunday. As usual, he lied:
Active citizenship is a duty, it’s not a chore. Getting involved in public affairs, whether it’s local, state, or national, takes hard work, it takes discipline, and occasionally it takes sacrifice. But it’s also one of the most interesting, exciting, and rewarding ways to spend your time. And along the way you’ll meet some of the finest people you’ll ever know. (italics mine)
On that same day, The New York Times published an editorial noting Cheney’s latest acts of citizenship:
The Associated Press reported that Mr. Cheneyâ€™s office ordered the Secret Service last September to destroy all records of visitors to the official vice presidential mansion â€” right after The Washington Post sued for access to the logs. That move was made in secret, naturally. It came out only because of another lawsuit, filed by a private group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, seeking the names of conservative religious figures who visited the vice presidentâ€™s residence.
This disdain for accountability is distressing, but not surprising. Mr. Cheney has had it on display from his first days in office, when he refused to name the energy-industry executives who met with him behind closed doors to draft an energy policy. (italics mine)
The Times also noted Cheney’s utter disdain for the rule of law and for the system of checks and balances that those silly Founding Fathers created in what he evidently considers “that piece of TP” known as The Constitution:
In a similar way, Mr. Cheney seems unconcerned about little things like checks and balances and traditional American notions of judicial process. At one point, he gave himself the power to selectively declassify documents and selectively leak them to reporters. In a recent commencement address, he declaimed against prisoners who had the gall to â€œdemand the protections of the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States.â€ (italics mine)
Meanwhile, he told the kids:
I hope each one of you will keep your interest in politics throughout your years in school and beyond. If you like it, make time for it — opportunities are likely to come your way. If you work hard, follow through on your commitments, and show yourself to be honest and trustworthy, people are going to notice and they’re going to want associate with you. (italics mine)
Of course, as “the paper of record” points out, Cheney left out an important part of political association – selfish personal gain through privatization of our government jobs – including his own:
Just as he pays little attention to old-fangled notions of the separation of powers, Mr. Cheney does not overly bother himself about the bright line that should exist between his last job as chief of the energy giant Halliburton and his current one on the public payroll.
From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Cheney received â€œdeferred salary paymentsâ€ from Halliburton that far exceeded what taxpayers gave him. Mr. Cheney still holds hundreds of thousands of stock options that have ballooned by millions of dollars as Halliburton profited handsomely from the war in Iraq.
Reviewing this record â€” secrecy, impatience with government regulations, backroom dealings, handsome paydays â€” it dawned on us that Mr. Cheney is in step with the times. He has privatized the job of vice president of the United States. (italics mine)
But of course, all this wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been “drafted” to serve as Vice-President – well, that’s what he told the kids, anyway:
Running for my current job as Vice President in 2000 was a notion that came out of the blue, and, obviously, it was somebody else’s idea. I was not a volunteer. (italics mine)
I don’t know whose idea it was, but I hope to hell that person never has another. And then, inadvertently, I’m certain, in closing the Dick (italics mine) offers us all some sound advice:
The freedoms we enjoy, the rights we exercise, all the privileges of living in this nation — none of these can ever be taken for granted. We have them because the people who came before us stood up for them, defended them, and when necessary, fought for them. And it’s our duty to pass along to the next generation the free, strong, and secure nation that was passed along to us. All of us must do our part — and it starts with being active, informed citizens. (italics mine)
Let’s all take the Vice-President’s advice – maybe we can start to take back our government and stop the corporatocracy he’s been so intent on installing in its place.