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Cheney's Mask Slips

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    When Cheney s mask slips, it reveals Bush ; Nothing will persuade the president to drop his mentor from the team, not even an explosion of expletives
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2004
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      When Cheney's mask slips, it reveals Bush ;

      Nothing will persuade the president to drop his mentor from the team,
      not even an explosion of expletives

      When Cheney's mask slips, it reveals Bush

      Nothing will persuade the president to drop his mentor from the team,
      not even an explosion of expletives

      Sidney Blumenthal
      Thursday July 1, 2004
      The Guardian

      In Washington, political identities cultivated over decades can
      crumble in a minute. Vice President Dick Cheney presides under the
      constitution as president of the Senate and is addressed as "Mr
      President", but former representative Cheney is not a man of the
      Senate. (The Senate regards itself as distant from the House of
      Representatives as the Metropolitan Club is from the Horsefeathers
      saloon near the House side of Capitol Hill.)
      Cheney's executive branch credentials were as President Ford's
      wunderkind chief of staff and elder Bush's secretary of defence, but
      on the Hill he is remembered as the former house Republican whip
      during the Reagan period, his only previous elected position. In the
      house, the Republicans were then in the minority, and Cheney was the
      driver behind the scenes of the hard right, protector of obstreperous
      young reactionaries like Newt Gingrich, yet still presentable to the
      broader establishment as a respectable saturnine figure. Those who
      observed him operate in the house saw through his veneer, but he
      elevated himself by advancing the persona of the statesman.

      The self-control that had served him so long broke down in public on
      June 22 on the floor of the Senate during a photo session. As Cheney
      was posing with members, Senator Patrick Leahy ambled over. Leahy,
      the ranking Democrat on the judiciary committee, had recently been
      critical, along with other Democrats, of no-bid contracts in Iraq
      granted to Halliburton, the company Cheney had run and in which he
      still holds stock options and receives deferred compensation (despite
      his prior claims to the contrary). "Go fuck yourself," the vice
      president greeted him.

      Cheney's spokesman appeared to deny that those words had been
      spoken: "That doesn't sound like language the vice president would
      use." But Cheney raced onto Fox News to hail himself as courageous
      for emotional authenticity. "I expressed myself rather forcefully,
      felt better after I had done it." Then he elaborated that his
      ejaculation was an administration policy: "I think that a lot of my
      colleagues felt that what I had said badly needed to be said, that it
      was long overdue." Leahy's seeming civility, he explained, was just a
      charade: "I didn't like the fact that ... he wanted to act like, you
      know, everything's peaches and cream."

      A main source of Cheney's effectiveness and image of competence has
      been his ability to avoid putting his cards on the table. But in a
      moment of pique, he dropped the entire deck. His game face fell and
      his malicious streak broke through. Cheney's blandness had suggested
      he was deliberate, experienced and imperturbable. In the first Bush
      administration, victory in the Gulf war solidified that reputation.
      When the president was defeated, Cheney was not. He emerged from
      those ashes unscathed.

      Just as the elder Bush picked someone who might have been one of his
      sons, younger Bush chose a version of his father. Dan Quayle was
      light as a feather, another scion from a wealthy Republican family,
      the vice president as understudy. Cheney was to be the mentor of the
      Bush family's Prince Hal and widely believed to represent the old
      man's realism. In 2000, he was put in charge of selecting George W
      Bush's running mate, collected the private dossiers of potential
      candidates and chose himself. Asked who vetted Cheney's financial
      records, Karen Hughes, Bush's communications aide, replied: "Just as
      with other candidates, Secretary Cheney is the one who handled that."

      Bush's executive branch has been concentrated in Cheney. He has been
      as powerful as Quayle was irrelevant. It was Cheney who said to UN
      weapons inspector Hans Blix as he embarked on his mission to
      Iraq: "We will not hesitate to discredit you"; Cheney who personally
      tried to force the CIA to give credence to Ahmed Chalabi's fabricated
      and false evidence on WMD; Cheney who, along with Secretary of
      Defence Donald Rumsfeld (to whom he was deputy in the Nixon White
      House), undermined Secretary of State Colin Powell at every turn; and
      it is Cheney who is the neo-conservatives' godfather.

      It is worth remembering that Cheney's link to the neo-cons largely
      developed after the last Bush administration and was arranged by his
      wife, Lynne Cheney, cultural warrior on the right, former chairperson
      of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and resident scholar at
      the American Enterprise Institute, the principal neo-con thinktank.
      Even before his outburst, Cheney had come to stand for special
      interests, secrecy and political coercion. Under the stress of Bush's
      falling polls, he cracked.

      Bush still strains to project optimism and cast the Democrats as
      demagogic pessimists. His campaign this week produced a
      commercial, "John Kerry's coalition of the wild-eyed", that featured
      snippets of Al Gore, Howard Dean, Michael Moore and Kerry criticising
      Bush. Interspersed among the Democrats was a frothing and saluting
      Adolf Hitler. Bush's apparent remake of the Springtime for Hitler
      number from Mel Brooks' The Producers is partly an attempt to counter
      the box office success of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Running
      against Hitler is also an effort to transform the sober Kerry, not
      Cheney, into the "wild-eyed" threat.

      Perhaps the grandest political gesture Bush could make would be
      dropping Cheney. When Cheney bursts through his mask, he reveals not
      only his own face, but Bush's. "The idea of dumping Cheney is nuts,
      makes no sense," one of Cheney's political advisers told me. "One of
      the reasons he's there is they don't have someone to anoint as a
      successor." After all, where would it leave Jeb Bush in
      2008? "Dumping Cheney would be seen as a sign of weakness. Cheney is
      very popular in the party." The Bush campaign's premise depends on
      turning out the maximum Republican vote. Bush can no more repudiate
      Cheney than he can repudiate himself. Cheney will never hear from
      Bush the words he hurled at Leahy.

      · Sidney Blumenthal is former senior adviser to President Clinton and
      Washington bureau chief of salon.com



      Cheney Firm Gets Taxpayer Money

      Former Halliburton insiders have come forward with new allegations of
      waste of taxpayer money.


      New Halliburton waste alleged
      Former company auditor: `It's just a gravy train'
      By Lisa Myers
      Senior investigative correspondent
      NBC News

      Updated: 9:57 a.m. ET July 01, 2004The Pentagon has already awarded
      Halliburton Co., the controversial military contractor, deals worth
      up to $18 billion for its work in Iraq. But now former Halliburton
      insiders have come forward with new allegations of massive waste of
      taxpayer money.

      Marie deYoung, a former Army chaplain who worked for Halliburton, was
      so upset by attacks on the company she e-mailed the CEO in December
      with a strategy on how to fight the "political slurs." But today,
      after five months inside Halliburton's operation in Kuwait, deYoung
      has radically changed her opinion. "It's just a gravy train," she

      DeYoung audited accounts for Halliburton's subsidiary KBR. She
      claims there was no effort to hold down costs because all costs were
      passed on directly to taxpayers. She repeatedly complained to
      superiors of waste and fraud. The company's response, according to
      deYoung was: "We can be as dumb and stupid as we want in the first
      year of a war, nobody's going to care."

      DeYoung produced documents detailing alleged waste even on routine
      services: $50,000 a month for soda, at $45 a case; $1 million a month
      to clean clothes — or $100 for each 15-pound bag of laundry.

      "That money could have been used to take care of soldiers," she said.

      DeYoung also claims people were paid to do nothing. Mike West says
      he was one of them. Paid $82,000 a year to be a labor foreman in
      Iraq, West claims he never had any laborers to supervise. "They said
      just log 12 hours a day and walk around and look busy," he said. "OK,
      so we did."

      Both deYoung and West have since left the company. Pentagon
      documents obtained by NBC News support the whistleblowers' charges.
      In December auditors complained of Halliburton's "serious
      deficiencies," including "lack of cost control and cost
      consciousness." Some examples:

      Purchase of hundreds of high-end SUVs and pickups, loaded with
      options like CD players, which "most KBR employees do not need."

      "Duplication ... and gold-plating" in purchases of computers and high-
      tech equipment.
      Halliburton employees living in 5-star hotels.

      The company declined an interview but suggests in an e-mail to NBC
      News that critics are politically motivated: "When Halliburton
      succeeds, Iraq progresses. Sadly, a few people don't want either of
      those results."

      Halliburton also said the soda problem has been "corrected," and the
      laundry charges are being investigated, but insists it's "absolutely
      not true" the company is cavalier about taxpayer money.

      Whistleblower deYoung thinks the problem is obvious. "They're using
      the war as an excuse, but it's not the war," she said. "It was very
      bad management."

      Pentagon auditors apparently agree. They're withholding $186 million
      from the company and threatening to hold back even more unless
      Halliburton corrects the problems.

      © 2004 MSNBC Interactive



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