Three Trump Takeaways

I know many of my friends are still reeling from Tuesday’s election results. I sympathize. Thus, allow me to provide a positive, locker-room-halftime-style pep talk that addresses some inconvenient truths.

First, I understand how you feel. I felt much the same way when former law school classmates gleefully taunted me after Hillary Clinton was declared the winner of the rigged Democrat primary. It is an unpleasant feeling. But we move on. We keep fighting.

Second, Trump won fair and square. And before you attack me, please understand, I am just as upset about that outcome as you are. Frankly, it seems like the most absurd and embarrassing moment in American political history to me. However, the fact remains that Donald Trump is our legitimate President-elect (typing that felt painful). And Trump won by a decisive margin of electoral votes, unlike G.W. Bush. The sooner we accept that reality, the sooner we can start fighting for a better future.

So, here are three election takeaways that are helping me stay positive about our situation:

  • Trump voters are not all racist monsters. I refuse to believe that. To me, it seems much more likely that 47.4% of American voters simply would not cast their ballot for a candidate who embodied the corrupt status quo at which they were so angry. To me, it seems likely that Americans, especially in the Midwest, are sick of working longer hours for less pay, and feeling like they have no voice in Washington. To me, it seems likely that these citizens wanted more than fear-mongering and false promises from a dishonest Washington insider. They likely felt desperate. And desperate people do desperate things, like vote for a complete scumbag with no coherent policy agenda just to send a message to the ruling elites. To me, this election seemed more like a referendum on the Democratic Establishment than a dress-rehearsal for facism.
  • Trump will fail. He is incompetent. The people around him are incompetent. His agenda (to the extent that he even has one) does not enjoy widespread support. He was only elected because the Democrats nominated a terrible candidate (sorry guys, but it’s objectively true). Unless Trump can do something to vastly improve the lives of the people who elected him, I seriously doubt he will enjoy the same level of support four years from now. And count me as skeptical that our President-elect will be able to deliver on his amorphous promise to “Make America Great Again.” This guy will be toast in four years. He’s not worth your fear.
  • Commit to fighting like hell to elect a real progressive in 2020. Trump actually did us a huge favor by taking out the establishment wings of BOTH major American political parties. Now, all we have to do is organize to defeat Trump in 2020 by electing a real progressive who will actually fight for the interests of working people. As noted above, this seems like a very attainable goal. Whether we bring the Democratic Party back to the people, or start something new remains to be seen. Either way, we already have the grass-roots infrastructure in place from Bernie’s campaign. We also have a number of strong progressive leaders like Tulsi Gabbard, Nina Turner, and Elizabeth Warren. I would be thrilled to see any one of them become our first woman President four years from now.

Instead of wallowing in an unpleasant present, let’s focus on where we want to take this country in the next four years, ten years, twenty years, fifty years, one-hundred years. Then, let’s mobilize, organize, and fight like hell to make that vision a reality.

Why the Kissinger Connection Matters

“Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia – the fruits of his genius for statesmanship – and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to Milošević.”
Anthony Bourdain, A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines

While Armchair Firebrand does not condone, endorse or encourage acts of violence, this publication certainly understands the sentiment Mr. Bourdain expressed in the quote above.

For me, the moment of truth on Hillary Clinton was when Sen. Bernie Sanders called her out for praising Henry Kissinger as her mentor during one of the primary debates.

At the time, my first thought was that Sen. Sanders overstepped because no Democrat Secretary of State would ever overtly state such a close relationship with a well-documented war criminal. Instead, Clinton replied by saying something to the effect of, “Yes, I take advice from him and I am proud to call him my friend.” My jaw hit the floor. It was like a spell had been broken.

For the first time, I actually started researching Clinton’s history, and was disgusted by what I found. Her record is disturbingly Nixonian, right down to the dirty tricks, militarism, and power-driven paranoia.

Given Ms. Clinton’s neoconservative foreign policy positions, it makes sense that G.W. Bush’s foreign policy team is lining up right behind her. That fact should give any responsible citizen pause.

Some Kissinger defenders seem to imply that the ends justified his destructive means. That argument makes me curious about what we actually gained from roughly 60,000 American deaths, over a million Vietnamese deaths, roughly a million Laotian deaths, and roughly 700,000 Cambodian deaths.

Did those deaths make the world any safer? Were our vital national interests ever really at stake in Indochina? In Iraq? In Afghanistan? In Libya? In Syria? Or do these disasters primarily serve the needs of well-connected energy conglomerates and defense contractors.

Kissinger’s illegal excursion into Cambodia led to the rise of Pol Pot, and the ensuing genocide that destabilized the region for decades. And then there’s Chile, East Timor, and Operation Condor to consider.

Kissinger’s well-documented actions go far beyond those of a usual Secretary of State. Christopher Hitchens, hardly a pacifist himself, makes a compelling case for Kissinger’s indictment as a war criminal.

It’s no wonder Mr. Bourdain feels the level of animosity towards Kissinger demonstrated in the quote above. The fact that Kissenger’s favorite disciple is already sounding the drums of war should alarm all Americans.

Breaking The Wheel

Fans of HBO’s hit drama Game of Thrones are surely familiar with Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen: The Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, and rightful ruler of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men. Lately, however, the Dragon Queen may have taken on a larger historical significance. To me, she seems to represent the restless spirit of the emerging progressive movement sparked by Bernie Sanders’ candidacy.

Earlier this season, Danaerys engaged in a strategy session with one of her advisers, the diminutive but formidable Tyrion Lannister. As they discuss the possibility of ruling without the rich, the Dragon Queen describes the Great Houses of Westeros as “spokes on a wheel” crushing those on the ground beneath them. The Khaleesi ends the conversation by declaring defiantly, “I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel.”

For twenty of the last 35 years, we have been ruled by either a Bush or a Clinton.  To me, neither House performed  well enough to deserve another term. And the conventional wisdom was that the 2016 election would be another showdown between these two decrepit Houses, before a certain orange-hued billionaire buffoon bloviated his way to the Republican nomination.

Thus, our two major parties also seem like spokes on a wheel, crushing the American People beneath them. This is especially true given the grim economic realities their failed leadership has brought us.

All evidence indicates that most Americans hunger for an alternative to the stale, two party status quo. In a 5/18 Data Targeting poll, 55% of Americans said they favor an independent challenger to Clinton and Trump. And according to a June ABC News/Washington Post poll, 70% of Americans view Donald Trump unfavorably and 55% view Hillary Clinton unfavorably.

The Democrat Party has made it clear they have no interest in embracing the grassroots, progressive movement Bernie Sanders ignited. Thus, it seems essential to seize this historic moment by channeling the passion and energy the Sanders campaign generated into a viable progressive third party.

Put simply, we are not interested in stopping the wheel by electing an Establishment Democrat for the third consecutive time. We want to break the wheel by relegating the two-party paradigm to the dustbin of history.

This year, Game of Thrones’ season finale ended with the Dragon Queen sailing across the Narrow Sea with her army of freed slaves, bent on liberating her homeland from a corrupt, repressive monarchy that fails to meet the People’s basic needs. Perhaps, this image will prove to be a harbinger of things to come, a peaceful political revolution resulting in real reform.

Dear President Obama, Please Visit Baton Rouge

Dear President Obama,

I applaud your decision to speak at the July memorial service for the five officers tragically slain in Dallas. Your thoughtful words offered comfort to a city left reeling from a terrible tragedy. Those words also made me recall the rousing eulogy you gave at the Emmanuel A.M.E Church following another tragic mass shooting last year in Charleston. The way you described the concept of grace that day was thoughtful, insightful, and inspiring. To me, that was one of the finest moments of your Presidency, and a proud moment for our country.

Accordingly, I respect you a great deal as a man of character and conviction, even though I have not always agreed with your decisions. I campaigned and voted for you twice, and I am proud to have defended you countless times against myriad slights, often baseless and ignorant. To me, you seem like someone who sincerely appreciates the value of human life, and empathizes with the suffering of fellow human beings.

Therefore, it is with the utmost respect that I implore you to visit the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana before your presidency ends. To me, it seems like a community still very much in need of healing. All video evidence of Alton Sterling’s shooting seems to indicate that his killing by local police amounted to summary execution. Witnesses have been intimidated and harassed. An entire community appears to be under siege by a militarized police force, armed with combat vehicles and assault weapons.

To some, your decision to pass over the grieving communities of Baton Rouge, and Falcon Heights, Minnesota where Philando Castile was also tragically killed by local police, may seem to imply that our government values blue lives more than black lives.

Clearly, that is not what you believe in your heart. I am merely suggesting how the situation may seem to our fellow Americans living in marginalized communities across the country who feel under siege by an aggressive, militarized police force that often seems to kill with impunity. You have the opportunity to do for those communities  what you did when you stood before that congregation in Charleston last year, and joined them in song.

To me, taking a stand for the inherent rights and dignity of all human beings by offering some quantum of solace to communities who suffered tragic losses at the hands of law enforcement will have a tremendously positive impact on your legacy. Doing so would also constitute a step forward for our country, as we come together to move forward as one nation and one people.

 

The Moral & Spiritual Case for Dr. Jill Stein

After enduring two major party conventions and weeks of campaigning, the choice seems clear: do we want a President who will persecute undocumented immigrants and people of color here at home, or a President who will drop bombs on civilians in the Middle East, and escalate tensions with a nuclear armed Russia abroad? In other words, do we want a disastrous domestic policy that destroys lives, or a disastrous foreign policy that destroys lives? This false choice presents quite a quandary for those of us seeking a candidate who represents our moral and spiritual values.

Armchair Firebrand draws a stark distinction between deeply held religious beliefs and deeply held spiritual beliefs. The former often implies an almost cult-like devotion to a dogmatic set of rules, while the latter generally applies to much broader principles regarding the nature of existence, the human condition, and the universal brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity. Additionally, religion is often associated with an opposition to science, while spirituality generally embraces science, and explores its boundaries.

Armchair Firebrand values human life as precious above all else. Therefore, Armchair Firebrand makes no distinction between American lives, Palestinian lives, or Russian lives. To this publication, killing civilians abroad in the name of an endless “war on terror” that serves only the interests of the military-industrial complex, is worse than promoting an insanely restrictive immigration policy, which would seem to have very little chance of being implemented for a host of constitutionalsocioeconomic, and political reasons.

That’s no kind of choice. Armchair Firebrand fundamentally rejects a system that attempts to box the American People into such an absurd choice. Thus, Armchair Firebrand proudly endorses Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein as the only candidate who represents this publication’s moral, political and spiritual values.

For instance, Dr. Stein is the only candidate in the Presidential race who stands for an aggressive response to climate change by getting us off fossil fuel by 2030. Dr. Stein also advocates strongly for a Green New Deal jobs program providing 20 million good jobs to replace and repair our crumbling infrastructure. Moreover, Dr. Stein believes in universal healthcare as a right, not a privilege, and in making public colleges and universities tuition free. These bold stances reflect the moral and spiritual values for which Armchair Firebrand stands.

Armchair Firebrand strongly believes that voting for a candidate who represents one’s values and interests is the very essence of democracy. Dr. Stein represents Armchair Firebrand’s values and interests. Therefore, she has earned this publication’s strong endorsement.

 

 

Volcker Rules

No issue is more critical to ensuring our nation’s long-term economic health than addressing America’s dysfunctional financial regulatory system. Unfortunately, like so much legislation lately, the Obama administration’s economic reform agenda has fallen victim to prolonged partisan gridlock in the Senate.

However, it looks like bank reform has finally found its champion: Former Federal Reserve chairman and current chief of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Paul A. Volker.

Volcker deserves to be commended for his role in shaping legislation that, according to The New York Times, “Would ban banks that take federally insured deposits from investing in hedge funds or private equity funds and from making trades that are for the benefit of the banks, not their customers, a practice known as proprietary trading.”

As stated in the U.K.’s Telegraph, the act will also, “block banks from takeovers that would give them in excess of 10% market share.”

Modeled on the Depression era Glass-Steagall Act, the so-called Volcker Rule would play an essential part in preventing financial institutions from becoming “too big to fail” and prohibit them from engaging in the sort of risky trading practices that brought about the financial crisis in the first place.

President Obama voiced his approval for the measure in January and, as The Times reported, its supporters include, “five former Treasury secretaries, elder statesmen like William H. Donaldson and John S. Reed and prominent investors like George Soros.”

Testifying before the Congressional Oversight Panel on Thursday, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit also endorsed the rule, “Banks should operate as banks, focused completely on serving their clients.” Pandit also spoke up in favor of, “regulations that promote transparency, particularly in the derivatives markets.”

“We are selling 40 percent of the company…We are breaking it up…This is a different company,” Pandit continued. After offering this rare mea culpa, he also acknowledged that “Citi owes a large debt of gratitude to American taxpayers.”

Not only is this Wall Street CEO’s honesty refreshing, but his observations also demonstrate how vital the Volcker Rule is to ensuring that financial institutions don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

Pandit concluded his testimony by backing improved safeguards for consumers of financial products, “Recent experience reinforces the truism that what is best for consumers is also best for the financial system and the economy. I strongly believe that consumer protection can and should be strengthened at the federal regulatory level.”

Unfortunately, Congressional Republicans don’t share Pandit’s view and they’re fighting the creation of an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency with all their might.

As The New York Times observed, “Most Republicans object to a new freestanding regulator with broad authority, while most Democrats back proposals to create a regulator that can operate with substantial independence.”

As a compromise, Senate Banking Committee chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) suggested burying the agency within the existing framework of the Federal Reserve.

However, even this major concession isn’t enough to satisfy Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), the Banking Committee’s ranking Republican. “It doesn’t matter that much whether it’s housed in the F.D.I.C., housed at Treasury or housed at the Fed…I think it will be a no-go for the Republicans,” Shelby said.

The senior senator from Alabama’s stubborn refusal to adopt common sense consumer protections provides further evidence of the Republican Party’s prime directive: protecting the interests of large banks, corporations and the rich at everyday Americans’ expense.

Housing the proposed agency within the Federal Reserve is a watered down half-measure at best and even that’s not enough to satiate the GOP’s unquenchable thirst for obstruction.

After all, this is the same agency that turned a blind eye to the dubious derivatives trading that ultimately led to our recent financial collapse. There’s no evidence that the Fed would fair any better the second time around.

This sentiment was echoed by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who said on Wednesday, “I’d have to be convinced that the culture of the Fed has gone through some radical change,” before consenting to Dodd’s concession.

Perhaps Times columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman said it best, “The only way consumers will be protected under future antiregulation administrations — and believe me, given the power of the financial lobby, there will be such administrations — is if there’s an agency whose whole reason for being is to police bank abuses.”

Passing a financial regulatory reform bill that includes both the Volcker Rule and an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency is essential to securing our nation’s economic stability.

The statements of a former Federal Reserve chairmen, five former Treasury secretaries, a Wall Street CEO, at least one U.S. Senator and a Nobel prize winning economist all attest to this. Richard Shelby and his fellow Republicans owe the American people an explanation as to why they obtusely refuse to accept these crucial reforms.

An Exercise in Rhetoric

Thursday’s health care summit was what it was: an exercise in rhetoric. Republicans reprised their familiar routine of propaganda and political theater. Democrats dug in, sticking mostly to the same talking points they’ve been repeating for over a year now. And the President persistently attempted to bridge the gaps and break the deadlock between them, to no avail.

The G.O.P.’s resident prop-comic, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), sat perched behind a mountain of paperwork comprising the Senate health care bill; a hackneyed jibe that prompted President Obama to call Cantor out, “When we do props like this…these are the kinds of political things we do that prevent us from actually having a real conversation.”

Unfortunately, it was obvious from Senator Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) opening remarks onward that Republicans never intended to have a real conversation about health care. Rather than focusing on areas of potential agreement, like medical malpractice reform, the senator chose instead to misrepresent the facts about health insurance premiums.

Alexander audaciously declared that, “for millions of Americans, premiums will go up.” However, his standpoint fails to account for the ample federal subsidies that will bring down overall costs for most Americans buying health insurance on the open market.

As New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman observed, “The ‘price of a given amount of insurance coverage’ would fall, not rise — and the actual cost to many Americans would fall sharply thanks to federal aid.”

Senator Alexander wasn’t the only Republican stretching the truth, either. In the midst of the proceedings, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) issued a statement insisting that, “Democrats’ job-killing health care proposals do not implement a single major GOP reform that would lower costs for families and small businesses.”

Boehner produced absolutely no evidence supporting his claim that the Democratic plan is “job-killing” and his assertion that Republican ideas have been excluded from reform proposals is utterly false. Monday, the White House released an eleven-page plan incorporating ideas from Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) as well as the Republican Study Committee.

It’s also worth noting that the Republican health care plan touted by Boehner covers only three million Americans over ten years at a cost of sixty-one billion dollars. That is a far cry from the comprehensive reform our nation desperately needs.

While his colleagues strutted and preened for the cameras, Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) revealed the G.O.P.’s true colors. Yesterday, Bunning single-handedly obstructed an otherwise unanimous Senate vote on extending jobless benefits to thousands of unemployed workers nationwide.

When Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) implored Bunning to approve the measure, the Republican simply replied, “Tough shit.” If that behavior wasn’t shameless enough, Bunning then lamented that his own intransigence caused him to miss the Kentucky-South Carolina college basketball game.

Bunning’s callous indifference to the plight of everyday Americans struggling to make ends meet exposes the Republican Party’s prime directive: unwavering commitment to defending an unsustainable status quo that rewards and protects the rich at the expense of those less fortunate.

Behind a facade of phony fiscal fortitude, the G.O.P. blindly obstructs legislation essential to our economic recovery, hoping that this cynical strategy will return them to power.

Moreover, by repeatedly refusing to engage in a serious exchange of ideas, Congressional Republicans fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth behind health care reform: that it is an economic and social necessity.

The Recovery Act is Working

A few weeks ago, in a statement typical of his party’s propensity for propaganda, newly-minted Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) forcefully asserted that the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package, “hasn’t created one new job.”

The problem with Brown’s declaration is that it’s objectively false. On Wednesday, the New York Times published a piece on the bill’s far-reaching impact. The results expose just how deceitful and irresponsible the senator’s remarks were.

According to Times columnist David Leonhardt, the world’s top economic research firms: IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Economy.com agree that, “the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs.”

Leonhardt then added, “The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.”

Unless Senator Brown has a Ph.D in macroeconomics that he’s neglected to inform the public about, I’m inclined to believe these leading economic experts. I’d also challenge the senator to reveal his methodology for researching and subsequently condemning the stimulus.

I suspect the only facts Brown needed to reach his conclusion were that a Democratic Congress passed the bill and a Democratic President signed it into law. For Republicans, that’s enough to oppose any piece of legislation these days, regardless of its importance or effectiveness.

Critics of the bill, like Brown, often cite the fact that it hasn’t sparked a complete economic turnaround in the year since it took effect. However, this is an unreasonable expectation. As of October 2009, only 19% of the $787 billion stimulus fund had been spent and most of that amount came in the form of tax benefits.

As a matter of fact, the stimulus package was never meant to initiate a miraculous, immediate transformation of our entire economy. The Obama administration defines the bill’s purpose as threefold: “to create new jobs as well as save existing ones; to spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth;” and finally, “to foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending.”

In other words, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is a time-release formula rather than an overnight remedy.

While unemployment remains high, the administration has clearly succeeded in saving and creating jobs, as demonstrated by the aforementioned Times data. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the stimulus bill also achieved its goal of cultivating genuine economic growth.

And, last year, the White House made a $27 billion down payment on overhauling our nation’s dilapidated infrastructure. Over the next few years, billions more will be paid out for this essential investment in our nation’s future.

Far from being a boondoggle, every additional dollar spent on improving infrastructure actually creates $1.57 in economic activity. This provides an added incentive to fix America’s pockmarked roads, crumbling bridges, leaking dams and levees as well as fund many other worthy projects.

On the issues of transparency and accountability, the administration suffered some small-scale setbacks. The most high-profile of these occurred early this year when conservative bloggers discovered that some funds recorded on Recovery.gov were attributed to congressional districts with incorrect or non-existent zip codes.

Recovery Board spokeswoman Cheryl Arvidson addressed the issue, “many recipients entered the wrong congressional district in their reports. This mistake caused us no end of headaches and confusion in the news media, as some reporters mistakenly believed that money had disappeared into “phantom’’ districts.”

Put simply, these errors were little more than glorified typos. But that doesn’t mean Arvidson takes them lightly, “We have now installed internal logic checks in FederalReporting.gov that will prevent such recipient mistakes. If a recipient’s district does not match the zip code entered into a report, the system will not allow the recipient to submit the report until the correct congressional district is entered.”

In addition to the zip code snafu, there were also a few, sporadic instances of Social Security fraud as well as the inevitable rash of sleazy, get-rich-quick-schemes advertising “free stimulus money.”

Despite these minor missteps, the fact that anyone with an internet connection can track the allocation and distribution of resources nationwide constitutes an exceptional degree of public access, especially compared to the previous administration’s penchant for secrecy.

Arvidson’s press release also demonstrates genuine commitment to the principles of “unprecedented transparency and accountability” that the bill aspires to.

So, there you have it. One year on, the Recovery Act is well on its way to accomplishing all of its stated objectives. Next time the junior senator from Massachusetts speaks out of turn, I suggest he do his homework beforehand.

Biden Strikes Back

Yesterday, after suffering years of media portrayal as a gaffe-prone gaffe-machine and incessant lampooning by humor magazine The Onion (to hilarious effect), Vice President Joe Biden finally struck back.

This Sunday’s political talk show circuit revolved around the debate between Biden and his predecessor Dick Cheney. Their discussion spanned three networks, focusing mostly on the Iraq War and national security policy.

The current and former Vice Presidents squared off in separate segments on NBC’s Meet the Press and ABC This Week, respectively. Then Biden delivered his decisive rebuttal, live on CBS’s Face the Nation.

After almost seven years, the War in Iraq has cost over 4,000 American troops and nearly 100,000 Iraqi civilians their lives, not to mention the countless others scarred for life or the trillions of dollars squandered.

Despite those grim facts, Cheney still refuses to admit that invading and occupying a sovereign nation-state under false pretenses constituted poor judgment on the Bush administration’s part. On the contrary, he actually demanded a “thank you” from his successor.

As he often does, the former Vice President also cited the 2007 troop surge as an example of his administration’s “success” in Iraq. However, this is a half-truth at best.

While the surge was an integral part of our Iraq War policy, it was the Sunni Awakening movement in Al-Anbar province that turned the tide in our favor.

If anyone should get credit for this reversal of fortune, it’s General David Petreus, former Commanding General in Iraq, current chief of U.S. Central Command and architect of our military’s counter-insurgency strategy. He’s the one who deserves a “thank you,” not Bush or Cheney.

On the national security front, Cheney hammered the Obama Administration for prosecuting Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the alleged Christmas Day bomber, as a criminal terrorist instead of an enemy combatant.

This designation ensures that his case will be heard in civilian court rather than before a military tribunal. According to the former Vice President, trying suspects in this fashion will make America “less safe.”

Biden responded by exposing the obvious hypocrisy in Cheney’s accusation, pointing out that Abdulmutallab has been treated exactly the same way that convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid was back in 2001.

Then Biden went on the offensive, challenging the Bush administration’s dismal record of trying terror suspects in military court. Of the three defendants who were eventually brought before these tribunals, he noted, two went free and are currently “walking the streets.”

Meanwhile, over three hundred convicted terrorists are currently locked up in American prisons, having been found guilty in federal court during the Bush years. By comparing these results, the more effective strategy becomes obvious.

“He’s not entitled to rewrite history. He’s not entitled to his own facts,” Biden said of Cheney before declaring him to be “factually, substantively, wrong on the major criticisms he is asserting.”

As to what his predecessor’s motivations might be for obscuring the truth, Biden correctly concluded that, “He is either misinformed or misinforming.”

It’s refreshing to see a Democrat, especially one as high-profile as the Vice President, finally come out swinging in the fight against Republican propaganda. In doing so, Joe Biden also struck a forceful blow against those who seek to characterize him as bumbling and incompetent. Above all, he bolstered my belief that our current administration will soon make good on its promise of change.