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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Keep America Paranoid

Keep America Paranoid
Image © Austin Cline
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Liz Cheney is such a mixed blessing. On the one hand, she says and does things which reveal the truth of what so many Republicans really believe; on the other hand, her tactics are effective, which means she causes real damage to American politics and culture. It's like she's revealing a cancerous tumor, then before it can be cut out, she feeds it so that it metastasizes and infects the rest of the body politic.

What Liz Cheney does best is inspire fear. She doesn't inspire anyone to reach higher, to be better, or to improve the world around them. All Liz Cheney preaches to the public is that they need to be afraid of anything and everything around them. Her latest efforts, the "Keep America Safe" ads, are designed to specifically inspire fear that the Justice Department employs lawyers who represented the legal interests of human beings held by the government in Guantanamo Bay.

How insecure does a conservative have to be in order to genuinely fear the possibility that people at the Justice Department strive to serve the impartial interests of the law, the Constitution, and Justice for All?

Even Some Conservatives...

Although the conservative movement and Republicans have an impressive degree of "message discipline," there are still a few issues which reveal some of the fault lines between conservative factions or interest groups. Liz Cheney's "Keep America Safe" ads have become one such issue: some conservatives are striving mightily to justify what she's doing while others — mostly lawyers — are objecting strongly on principled grounds.

I don't think it's a coincidence that it's lawyers — and specifically lawyers who have been active in the courts trying cases — who have been at the forefront of conservative criticism of Liz Cheney. These conservatives understand what Liz Cheney and her supporters either don't get or just don't care about: America's justice system depends upon an adversarial relationship where lawyers zealously defend clients' interests against the government, even when their clients are guilty.

This system forces the government to meet high standards of proof in front of impartial judges and juries. Justice is not guaranteed in this system, but it's more likely than in a system where the government has unchallengeable, unreviewable power to decide a person's fate without anyone to represent the rights of the accused. Anyone who favors the latter sort of system over the former can only be afraid that the government doesn't have a strong case and thus wants the game to be rigged against the accused.

This is exactly how conservatives — and not a few liberals — have tried to structure the system surrounding Guantanamo Detainees. They are accused of being "enemy combatants" and "dangerous terrorists," and thus undeserving of formal charges, legal representation, and a hearing in front of an impartial judge. Unfortunately, denying them all this means that the government never has to prove that these people really are so terrible that they need to be denied any basic legal rights. It's a rigged system which benefits the interests of the powerful.

Will It Work?

We shouldn't even have to ask the question — of course Liz Cheney's efforts here will work. No, they won't "work" in the sense of single-handedly forcing a major change of direction in government policies, but they will "work" in the sense of raising suspicions, raising fears, and raising distrust — all of which can, over time, force changes in government policies. Isn't that part of why Obama is reversing course on so many campaign promises regarding Guantanamo and the detainees?

Liz Cheney's ad certainly has a lot of fertile ground to work with. Americans already distrust defense lawyers who get clients off on technicalities. Americans already distrust Muslims and brown foreigners. Americans distrust the government generally on a lot of levels.

I suppose that having this stuff done out in the open is better than having it done more subtlely because when fear mongering is as blatant as Liz Cheney's, it's hard for the media to entirely ignore what she's doing. Despite that, so many "journalists" are treating her fear-mongering as if it were a legitimate argument and deserves to be taken seriously. Imagine how bad things would be if Liz Cheney knew how to use a scalpel instead of a hammer.

Liz Cheney & Joe McCarthy

I almost hesitate to bring up the obvious parallels to the tactics of McCarthy, but it's precisely the fact that the parallels are so obvious that is important: why don't more journalists point this out? Why don't more journalists explain the specific parallels and what the consequences were for people during the McCarthy era, thus helping and informing those who have a vague sense that there is something "McCarthy-like" about the Cheney ads but who are unsure of the details?

The parallels with McCarthy are way too obvious to be genuinely ignorant of or to justifiably ignore, but few have tried to cover that angle in any depth. This is thus more than just a simple error of omission and suggests deliberate malice. What I mean is that to ignore those parallels requires effort rather than understandable ignorance and that effort must stem from some goal or agenda that the "journalists" are acting on behalf of. It's obviously not in the interests of the public to not be informed of such an obvious resurgence of McCarthyite tactics, so whose interests are the media promoting?


  1. Good job comrade, "Americans already distrust defense lawyers who get clients off on technicalities." Yes, By God, Just because they beat the confession out of the suspect, he still confessed didn't he? I think we're all just sick of people beating a system designed to keep the less "productive" members out of our face and way. Thanks for reinforcing that truth about all the technicalities we just need to get beyond all that crap about "due process," no man above the law (one of my favorite pet peeves), etc.,

  2. Thanks for another fine manly diatribe, General. We need more fine men like you here in Christian America to stand up to those women who won't keep in their place. Perhaps a bit of water-boarding would teach Miss Cheney to keep her mouth shut and stop scaring the citizens of our fine, God-fearing Nation!

  3. It doesn't just stop with lawyers, it goes on to affect many other parts of our society. What about traffic police who don't pull over every single brown person? Why do they get to slack? And what about people who have bad thoughts? Why aren't we going after them? Until everybody has been tortured and buried in a pit how can we know that we are safe? Those pitiful lawyers can try to protect the rule of law, and they might succeed for a time, but that won't stop The Spawn of Cheney.


  4. Thank you for writing an entire column without mentioning the possibility of incest between Liz Cheney and her father whosenamemustnotbementioned.

    SO MANY liberals make references to some kind of sick Daddy fixation Liz must have, to spend so much of her life burnishing the reputation of America's former realPresident. When you read about things like how she sat in on interviews between the Darklord and his biographer, holding two tape recorders to make sure the scribe didn't misquote him, prompting her Big Daddy with references to obscure incidents in his past -- Liz knows her daddykins' life better than he does! -- and sneaking him into her dressing room at the CPAC kkkonvention... You've heard the saying "She's just not that into you?" Well, Liz is waaaaay into her daddy.

    And many of your fellow revolting liberals imply that there's some kind of nauseating incestuous relationship between Liz and her Daddydick. Even if it's not the physical act of lust between MILFy blonde Liz and the snarling, bald, paunchy-but-powerful old man -- get the image of that happening right out of your heads! -- liberals say it's like a mental incest, with the daughter so wrapped up in her father's existence.

    So good onya, Cline, for not using "incest," "Liz Cheney" and "her father" in the same sentence. Because only the most deranged liberal would want people to wonder about something as vomit-inducing as Dick Cheney getting all grunty and sweaty with his not-lesbian daughter. Banish that thought from your mind, everyone!

  5. if I wasn't crying because of the deplorable state of this nation I would be laughing after reading this post and the oh so astute comments that have been rendered herein without satire where would we be thank you Jesus for your soul saving humor

  6. The good Sister in Christ, Liz Cheney is merely following in the footsteps of Gregory XI and Torquemada. Clearly, we ought to be able to see and appreciate this.

    Why, with any luck at all, she will one day be vice-president herself, in charge of these United States, and then we will have the full benefits of her righteousness in our everyday lives!

  7. Liz Cheney and Sarah Palin for co-vicepresidentresses!!!!!


We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.