Saturday, June 30, 2007
This game is simple: I provide four news items and all you have to do is spot which of the Eight Principles of Incompetence are at work (whether alone or in combination). Post your answers in the comments of this entry -
Item 1: Senator John McCain will return to visit Iraq on Monday.Have fun and keep on rockin'!
Item 2: Prime Minister Harper awards Claude Bennett, a longtime Ottawa Conservative, a directorship seat on the board of the Royal Canadian Mint.
Item 3: A Mickey Mouse lookalike character on a Hamas-affiliated children's television program is beaten to death by an Israeli-like character in the show's final episode.
Item 4: Ann Coulter.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Brought to you by: Iron Maiden - Rock in Rio - "The Wicker Man"
Hand of fate is moving and the finger points to you
He knocks you to your feet and so what are you gonna do
Your tongue has frozen now you've got something to say
The piper at the gates of dawn is calling you his way
You watch the world exploding every single night
Dancing in the sun a newborn in the light
Say goodbye to gravity and say goodbye to death
Hello to eternity and live for every breath
Your time will come, your time will come
Your time will come, your time will come
The ferryman wants his money you ain't going to give it back
He can push his own boat as you set up off the track
Nothing you can contemplate will ever be the same
Every second is a new spark, sets the universe aflame
You watch the world exploding every single night
Dancing in the sun a newborn in the light
Brothers and their fathers joining hands and make a chain
The shadow of the Wicker Man is rising up again
Your time will come, your time will come
Your time will come, your time will come
Enjoy - and keep on rockin'!
(P.S. Oh yes, before I forget: we can now use videos on Blogger! Heheheheheh)
Thursday, June 28, 2007
(*: Office of the Unitary Regency of the U.S.A.)
Regent Cheney: going away or here to stay?
In my previous two articles, I elaborated on the now-established fact that Dick. B. Cheney installed himself as a Regent on January 2001, effectively creating the constitutionally unlawful Office of the Unitary Regency of the U.S.A. - complete with its Puppet Presidency.
Truth be told, it was after 9-11 that Cheney effectively made his move to firmly cement his Regency - driven by his intractable belief in Executive Supremacy. In other words, Cheney seized the opportunity that presented itself with the tragic events of September 11, 2001, in the same manner as he did when then-candidate Bush approached him for the vetting of running mates.
In this respect, Regent Cheney certainly fooled many of us (myself included, I must admit) into thinking that it was his Puppet President who represented a threat to the Constitutional Republic of the U.S. throughout all these years, when in fact he constituted the threat all along.
A stealthy, calculating Master Puppeteer indeed.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Including, of course, present-time - or current - history.
Hence the question which I now pose to you, good folks: is the OURUS an interregnum or a fait accompli?
Let us explore the possibilities, shall we?
Pros and cons that the OURUS is an interregnum:
It goes without saying that the OURUS is an unlawful and unconstitutional aberration - consequently, it must be removed somehow, thus rendering it a mere interregnum along the historical line of constitutional continuity. As I am writing this entry, the Congress is still debating an amendment to restrict the $4.75 million budget for the Vice President’s Office that is being held "constitutionally" by Cheney - thus seeking to effectively defund him. In principle, such a move would indeed go a long way in putting the Regent in constitutional check-mate - however, Cheney's alleged/potential access to monies marked for "vague items" (e.g. "black ops") or through other more dubious monetary sources would allow him to continue on, unimpeded.
There is of course the way of impeachment - which I happen to consider as being the perfectly constitutional and competent way to not only establish once and for all that Cheney's Regency is unlawful, but to effectively remove him from power. On the one hand, not impeaching Cheney would increase the bar of minimal requirements for impeachment so high, no one will ever be impeached. The same result will happen if representatives and the People simply "wait out" the rest of the Bush-Cheney term - or if criminal charges are actually brought up (the proceedings themselves, along with the usual stalling tactics, stonewalling and various legal delays, would certainly take quite a long time, no?). On the other hand, not impeaching Cheney will represent the ultimate expression of lack of democratic courage, principles and responsibilities. Unfortunately, too many (lame) excuses are being floated against impeachment. Furthermore, supporters/defenders of the Regent, both inside and outside the Congress, are advancing further reasons/arguments against impeachment - or even defunding, accountability or investigation, for that matter. Although momentum continues to increase on the side of those who are driving for impeachment, it remains to be seen if the Public and its Representatives have the patience, courage and determination to see this through.
Last, but not least, there is talk of the possibility that the Regent would simply abdicate (read: resign). There sure have been calls for it enough (three of many instances here, here and here). But really - who can force him into abdication? Certainly not his Puppet President, as some hope. Others have advanced the idea that GOP House members may put pressure on Cheney to resign. However, this is not only quite hypocritical of them, considering that many among them have aided and abetted him for so long, but we can guess what his answer might be ...
Pros and Cons that the OURUS is a fait accompli:
The only way that the OURUS might become a fait accompli would be through the use of a willfully mendacious military intervention in order to cement its rule once and for all. Indeed, the tools are already available: the Catastrophic Emergency Presidential Directive, in conjunction with the Patriot Act and the Military Commission's Act (as well as the gutting of the Posse Comitatus Act), could be used as the means to install the Cheney Regency as a bona fides dictatorship. Simply invoking Martial Law would do the trick - and do not count on SCOTUS, which he shaped, to actually rule against him. Would Regent Cheney go through this? Consider his love for Executive Supremacy, as well as his overtly displayed disdain for accountability and any restrains put on his cherished Unitary Executive beliefs (like the War Powers Act, as an example). Likewise, let us not forget that he was the Mastermind behind the policies of habeas corpus suspension, torture, indefinite detention and illegal eavesdropping. Hence, such a catastrophic and tragic outcome remains possible.
Conversely, it is a well known fact that Regent Cheney's health is not one of his strong assets. Hence, why would he bother going through a (predictably not bloodless) coup, when he's not likely to reign for more than, say, ten years? Well, History shows us that there are always others more than willing and able to succeed despots and grab power for themselves. I would not be surprised if anyone among the Regent's men (past and/or present) would have no qualms at taking his place in holding the Office of the Unitary Regency of the U.S.A. - these people have shown themselves quite adept at formulating rationalizations (or duplicitous lies) to justify their actions - however mendacious - in the past. Such is the lot of incompetent human beings.
In closing - current History remains to unfold the conclusion of this saga, therefore eventually establishing whether the OURUS was an unconstitutionally aberrant interregnum or a pre-despotic regime-to-be. I am somewhat wishing that Regent Cheney will see the light and abdicate. Barring this, I fervently hope that he will be impeached - either way would preserve the Republic and the Constitution for which it stands.
In the meantime, it would do well for the citizens of the Republic to ask themselves this crucial question: why did we ever allow the election of a weak-minded and -willed candidate as President, along with a strong-minded and -willed candidate as Vice-President?
For I believe that such an instance not only constituted a first in the History of the U.S.A., but also caused - and facilitated - the ascension of the OURUS.
Let us hope that the lesson has been learned once and for all, and that it will not turn out to be a bloody one at that, eh?
Update: 06/28/2007 - Some folks are wondering whether America needs a Vice-President or not - but that is a wrong question to ask, just like this one. In any case, the obvious solution to prevent the ascension of another OURUS in the future is to amend the U.S. Constitution in order to clearly define the roles and limitations of the OVP, and voilà - problem solved (but that would require competence, i.e. patience, courage and determination, to do so). In the meantime, more people are waking up and rightly calling for the impeachment of Regent Cheney - that is good. However, the question can be asked: is there enough backbone out there to see this through? Meanwhile, here's more on how the Regent's SCOTUS has been gutting the U.S. Constitution - looks like authoritarianism is on the agenda, here ... no? I thought so ...
Update II: 06/29/2007 - Looks like I was right in characterizing Regent Cheney as a cold, calculating, authoritarian Master Puppeteer - case in point: this personal account. It also shows his Sixth Principle of Incompetence-driven primitive mind. On a related note: here is how I suspect Regent Cheney gets (at least part of) his monies to fund his OURUS and those secret ops at his behest (see above). With regards to the trashing of the U.S. Constitution by Puppet Bush and Regent Cheney, some are asking: "What went wrong? (...) Shouldn't this trigger some corrective mechanism? Shouldn't something be happening to reverse this? Why isn't SOMEbody doing someTHING? ". I've already written the answers to these questions here. In the meantime, more are pondering on the possibility that GOP House Representatives might go to Bush and demand the removal of Cheney - I say: not-gonna-happen (see above). As much as I wish for the impeachment of Regent Cheney to occur, it looks like the process is going to take too much time. Even if Congress plays hardball - especially since it looks increasingly evident that SCOTUS is indeed subservient to Regent Cheney. Consequently, it may be too late already - provided that Regent Cheney indeed exits the White House "gracefully", once January 2009 comes. Nonetheless, if impeachment does not happen, I'm afraid the U.S.A. will suffer the consequences of such infamy for decades and decades to come (see above). And last, but not least, a ray of hope by way of The Newshoggers: Theodore C. Sorensen, former speechwriter for JFK, wrote a hypothetical acceptance speech for the Democratic Party's nominee for President. Simply beautiful (and not to toot my own horn, but I was pleasantly surprised to recognize many of the themes I have been harping on about here, such as democratic lazyness, incompetence, denial/gutting of Kyoto, qualities of genuine leaders, politics of ignorance, fear and lies, the intellectual sloth-driven MSM, etc., etc., etc.). Now, if only ... (sigh).
Update III: 06/30/2007 - One more voice for the impeachment of Regent Cheney. It is to be hoped that a snowball's effect will be occuring soon enough, even if it may be too late already (see above). But come what may, it will be important for those who will have voiced, on the record, their support for impeachment - this could play a serious role, come the 2008 elections ...
Update IV: 06/30/2007 - By way of Politics Plus: here is a clear-cut example of intellectual sloth-driven non-thinking and lack of democratic courage about what it takes to impeach someone. The damage has been done indeed - most tragically enough. It would seem that Regent Cheney and his Puppet President will get away scott-free, after all ...
(Cross-posted at DKos, at Suzie-Q, at Progressive Historians, at Diatribune, and at Progressive Bloggers)
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
This is not a "Co-Presidency", nor is it a (misnamed) "Fourth Branch" of the U.S. government.
Rather, this is a Unitary Regency - Dick B. Cheney's Regency actually - which has been the de facto Executive Power behind the Puppet Presidency of George W. Bush since January 2001.
It is well known that Cheney is an ardent proponent of the Unitary Executive Theory. Alexander Hamilton expounded much on the necessity for a Unitary Executive in The Federalist Papers (No. 70; 03/18/1788):
"(...) all men of sense will agree in the necessity of an energetic (vigorous) Executive (...) The ingredients which constitute energy in the Executive are, first, unity; secondly, duration; thirdly, an adequate provision for its support; fourthly, competent powers (...) That unity is conducive to energy will not be disputed. Decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch will generally characterize the proceedings of one man in a much more eminent degree than the proceedings of any greater number; and in proportion as the number is increased, these qualities will be diminished (...) This unity may be destroyed in two ways: either by vesting the power in two or more magistrates of equal dignity and authority; or by vesting it ostensibly in one man, subject, in whole or in part, to the control and co-operation of others, in the capacity of counsellors to him."(Emphasis mine)
Therefore, the idea of a "Co-Presidency" runs counter to the very concept of a Unitary Executive - and as a matter of fact, Cheney's long-held core beliefs on this subject are so extreme that they can be summed up in two words: "Executive Supremacy".
This is why I submit (again) to you, good folks, that Dick Cheney sought nothing less than such Executive Supremacy. Some (myself included, until recently) may call this an Imperial Presidency, I now prefer to call it a Regency - because this was the true objective that Cheney had for himself all along: to be the true Head of State of the U.S.A., ruling quietly behind a Puppet President which acted as concealment and facade.
To this effect, the inept Bush must have been a dream come true for would-be-Regent Cheney, back in 2000, when the former approached the latter for guidance and counseling in the vetting of potential running mates. After all, Bush's propensity for minimal workload and eager willingness to delegate constituted a golden opportunity for Cheney's complete involvement in the formulation and execution of policy. Ergo: Bush was the perfect Puppet for the Master Puppeteer. Consequently, Cheney seized the occasion and chose himself as Bush's running mate.
To paraphrase Hamilton and, to some extent, Harvey C. Mansfield: decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch are the characteristics of a vigorous Unitary Executive. It goes without saying that Regent Cheney followed this axiom to the letter. Allow me to provide a few examples to support this:
Decision: Regent Cheney made the decision that terrorist suspects held by the U.S. were to be stripped of access to any court and be confined indefinitely without charges, in order to be tried, if at all, in closed military tribunals. The Regent made his Puppet sign the Executive Order and thus the deed was done. This is only one example. Among. So. Many.
Activity: Regent Cheney shaped and enacted (through his Puppet President) foreign policy (Iraq, Iran), anti-terrorism policy, homeland security (the Patriot Act, the Military Commission's Act, the Catastrophic Emergency Presidential Executive Order, as obvious examples), domestic initiatives, energy policy, environment policy and economic policy. He also shaped SCOTUS by vetting nominees. And. So. Much. More.
Secrecy: Regent Cheney gathered his Cabal of the Regent's Men (nearly all of which he picked himself), he had his spies and his motus operandi was to "never leave tracks" (so that his unlawful Regency ever remain effective, hidden and secure). Just the fact that it is only now that we are learning of the reality of this Office of the Regency of the U.S.A. is proof enough that secrecy, spying and deniability were an integral part of Regent Cheney's "characteristics" as a "vigorous" Supreme Executive.
Dispatch: Whether through monies marked for "vague items" (e.g. "black ops") or through other more dubious monetary sources, Regent Cheney has been approving secret intelligence operations against Iran - most likely by contracting private intelligence ops firms. I think we can legitimately ask the question: what else?
Last, but not least, I ask another question: isn't it strange that George W. Bush never professed any belief in, let alone displayed knowledge of, the concept of the Unitary Executive prior to 2001 (at least, to my knowledge)?
My answer to this question is: it is not strange at all, because he got "educated" on this concept only after he became Regent Cheney's mouthpiece and Puppet.
And to those who like to claim that "President" Bush charted his own way since 2001, I reply to them with a final question: how is it, then, that Cheney always got his way in the end?
In conclusion, the Office of the Unitary Regency of the U.S.A. was installed on January 2001, complete with a Puppet President to ensure its cover.
This was indeed never a "Co-Presidency", nor a "Fourth Branch" (it is the media which is supposed to be the 4th Branch of government), but rather a bona fides Regency.
Woe to the Republic ...
Update: 06/27/2007 - While the OURUS (Office of the Unitary Regency of the U.S.A) continue its typical despot-like obfuscating, disassembling and issue-confusing, more admirers/supporters of Regent Cheney become emboldened to come out of the woodworks. At the same time, more continue talking about "Fourth Branch" and thinking that defunding will do it (wrong on both counts). Lastly, looks like private contractors flourished under the Unitary Regency - I wonder how many of them are intelligence private firms?
Update II: 06/28/2007 - Via Digby, more people are calling for the impeachment of Regent Cheney.
Update III: Sydney Blumenthal published an opinion at Salon about Cheney's "Imperial Vice-Presidency". He misses the point: this is not an Imperial Vice-Presidency, but a bona fides Unitary Regency. Let's call things for what they truly are, shall we?
(Cross-posted at DKos, at Suzie-Q, at Diatribune, at Progressive Historians, and at Progressive Bloggers)
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
A Cancer On The Body Democratic: two updates;
Of Puppets, Puppeteers And Regencies: two updates.
Oh, and by the way: beware one and all, because my blog's rating is apparently
(From Mingle2 - Blog Rating)
dick (4x) death (2x) abortion (1x)
(Well, it is certainly not my fault if Regent Cheney's nickname is "Dick" - Oops! I did it again! - and I certainly was not aware that those two other words were deemed offensive within any serious rating system - especially since my specialized scientific field of research is ... programmed cell death! Hmmmm ... why do I suspect those paragons of virtue - being sarcastic here - known at the "pro-lifers" are being afoot here? And stranger still: I know I used the words "heck" and "hell" a couple of times - so, why am I not being given a slap on the wrist for this? *wink* Have a good one, folks, and don't forget to laugh ... however drab things may be.)
Monday, June 25, 2007
Welcome to the Cheney Regency of the United States of America! (Hope you've been enjoying yourselves ...)
The continuing revelations seemingly coming out from everywhere, and concerning Vice-President Richard "Dick" B. Cheney, not only bring to light the utter mendacious incompetence of the White House's ruling Cabal, but reveal a terrible truth underlying the Presidency of George W. Bush: that the latter indeed acted all along the puppet to the former.
It is said that hindsight is 20/20 - and with regards to the present subject of this article, this saying could not be more à propos.
Nonetheless, the signs were there all along - right from the beginning of the 2000 elections which would eventually lead to the instalment of the Cheney Regency.
Indeed - although Dick Cheney was "chosen" to help candidate G.W. Bush in vetting prospective running mates, he ended up Bush's choice after outlining himself the "proper" qualities and credentials best suited as a running mate for the would-be President. Cheney even moved out of Texas in order to be "legit" in the eyes of the 12th Amendment of the US Constitution.
And thus the stage was set for the ascension of the Master of Puppets.
During the 2000 elections campaign, I became suspicious that some sort of "fix" was in with regards to one member of the opposing team running against the Bush/Cheney ticket. My alarm bells rang out the moment that Cheney, through an aide, praised the qualities of Joe Lieberman - Al Gore's running mate. It was therefore not surprising to me when an "overtly amenable" Lieberman allowed Cheney to posit numerous assertions unchallenged, during the 2000 V.-P. debate. My alarm bells rang even louder when Lieberman refused to relinquish his Senate seat in order to run a parallel campaign for his re-election as CT Senator - and I was far from surprised when he ended up "parting" with Gore along the way through the 2000 campaign (he even stood against challenges to prevent Republicans from recounting votes). From then on, and as we know all too well, Lieberman would become a staunch supporter of the Bush administration on virtually every single decision and issue, including joining in the rattling of sabers in support of an Iran War - and he was well repaid when Cheney himself went out of his way to support him, thus ensuring Lieberman's 2006 win in CT ... as an "independent".
It was, however, after the "SCOTUS-approved" 2000 win by the Bush/Cheney ticket that I began to suspect the true respective roles of Bush and Cheney within their "covenant". Indeed, as Bush announced the composition of his cabinet, it became obvious that nearly all of the nominees were acquaintances, if not long-time friends, of Cheney. In fact, I remember my mind undergoing one double-take after another, wondering whether we were indeed in January 2001 and not still in the 1970's, 1980's or 1990's - the common denominator throughout these decades being none other than Richard B. Cheney.
I was therefore not that surprised when Bush "gave" free reign to Cheney in crafting the National Energy Policy - whereby Cheney assembled his own "Cheney Energy Task Force", personally hand-picking its (at the time) unknown members and conducting its meetings out of the public's eyes and ears. It seemed to me indeed that this was quite the responsibility and power for ... a "mere" Vice-President.
However, the clincher for me was what happened on that tragic day of September 11, 2001. Cheney was swifly rushed to the White House bunker, advising Bush from there while the President did the runaround in Air Force One. Cheney even gave authorizations to shoot down "hostile aircrafts", while the President was ... "away". And after the dust settled, it was Cheney - not Bush - who ended up being secured in an "undisclosed location", in order to remain so for long periods of time, out of public view. That is when all of this, put together, told me (as well as to many among you, I have no doubt) that "Cheney is more important than Bush".
This axiom thereafter got confirmed time and again. For example, during the run-up to the Iraq War, who else but Dick Cheney made that infamous speech to the Nashville convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, thus marking at the time the first major statement from the White House regarding the Bush-Cheney administration’s Iraq policy. Cheney was moreover the chief promulgator of the (non-existent) linkage between Saddam Hussein, Al'Qaida and 9-11 - in fact, he has kept on harping this lie to these days (how often has he gone on Meet The Press to pass on his talking points in favor/support for the Iraq occupation?). Then came the 9-11 Commission - and lo' and behold, it was insisted upon that A) Bush and Cheney testify together; B) Cheney was to handle most of the questions; C) the Bush-Cheney testimony was not to be under oath; D) there were to be no records of their testimony; and E) said testimony was to occur behind closed doors.
However, Cheney's secretive, shadowy Regency finally began at last to come under the light of scrutiny through the Valerie Plame Wilson affair ("Plamegate") - which culminated with the trial and conviction of I. Lewis Libby. The Regent's impenetrable armor began to show numerous cracks during that period.
And from then on, the flood gates opened to fully reveal Cheney's unlawful Regency of the United States of America. A few items of note:
Right from the beginning, the soon-to-become Regent Cheney and the "President" reached a "special understanding" with regards to the responsibilities and roles of the "Vice-Presidency";
Regent Cheney held the true executive power in the shaping of policies or in the making of decisions, whether openly or through duplicity, and with the "approval" of his Puppet President;
Consequently, Regent Cheney always got the last word before his Puppet President made any "decision";
Of course, Regent Cheney was, all along, the driving force behind the White House policy of global warming denialism;
Likewise, Regent Cheney was the chief promulgator and instigator of the policies of torture and indefinite detentions;
It goes without saying that the Cheney Regency "is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch", and thus is not obligated to account for anything;
Of course, by extension from the Cheney Regency, the Puppet Office of the Presidency is likewise exempt from any accountability;
And last, but not least, supporters/friends of Regent Cheney agree that it is perfectly reasonable that the Regency ever remains outside of the Law and of the US Constitution.
Through it all, it is therefore no wonder that poor, little Puppet George W. felt compelled to shout for all who would listen that he is the "War President", the "Decider", or the "Commander Guy", even going as far as to prance in flight suits and such (in this respect, I suppose little Puppet Georgie must be quite disappointed at not being the Commander-in-Chief anymore, being replaced to this effect by a soon-to-be-installed War Czar).
Henceforth rejoice, my dear American friends! For since January 2001, you have been living under the Regency of the United States of America, with Richard B. Cheney as your benevolent Regent, and George W. Bush playing the Puppet President.
Now, do not fret - instances of Unitary Regents acting as the true power behind heads of state-in-name-only abound throughout History ("Mayor of the Palace" would likewise be an appropriate analogy). In any event, nothing special/new here.
Unfortunately, as a consequence of your democracy-sleepwalking through the last eight years or so, you all have been likewise acting the puppets to the Master Puppeteer - big time.
So, my friends - how does it feel to find yourselves awakening to your worst nightmare?
I can only hope that the Catastrophic Emergency Presidential Directive, invoqued in conjunction with the Patriot Act and the Military Commission's Act, will not be be used as the means to enact the Sixth Principle of Incompetence in an attempt to cement the Cheney Regency as a bona fides dictatorship ...
Update: 06/25/2007 - Much later this afternoon, a Dkos diary was published advancing the idea of a "co-Presidency" type of deal between Bush and Cheney. The misnamed concept of "Fourth Branch" of government is likewise advanced, including the possibility of it blackmailing Bush into compliance (I say "misnamed", because the Fourth Branch is supposed to be the media - but I digress). Interestingly, the author ponders: "But its nagging at me that there's something more here. And the truth may be very, very ugly." Do tell - hence, why I still insist that what we are actually dealing with here is a de facto unlawful Regency ... Besides, when one considers Bush's less than competent tenure as Governor of Texas and his even worse record as a businessman, what better Puppet President could Regent Cheney have as an bona fides tool? I rest my case.
Update II: 06/26/2007 - As I mentionned already herein, the unlawful Cheney Regency ascended on January 2001. Not surprisingly, and as typical of would-be despots, Regent Cheney already considered himself there and then above Constitutional Laws. Of course, the most insipid arguments are being used to this day in order to support such outrageous claims - the Master Puppeteer is nothing but consistent.
On another related item, some say that Bush can stop Cheney - I answer "wrong" to this, because Bush is the Puppet acting as the facade and cover for the Regent and Master Puppeteer. If Bush were ever to do something about Cheney, that would be the same as a criminal patsie selling out his Boss handler(s) - he would be himself in (very) hot criminal waters nonetheless ... at the very least. Therefore, although still in the realm of possibilities, I would not expect Bush to move against Cheney (in fact, I would fall off my chair were he to do just that!).
Also related: defunding Cheney may work in the short term - but let's not forget that there is a lot of monies out there that have been allocated for "black ops" and other such "vague" items (including outright dubious, external monetary sources of funding) ... and these would surely become the new sources of support for the day-to-day operations of the Office of the Regency. The only and sure way to remove the Regent (barring an armed revolution should he use force to remain in power) is to proceed with impeachment - not doing so would increase the bar of minimal requirements for impeachment so high, no one will ever be impeached. There can be no excuses here, folks. The same result will happen if representatives and the People simply "wait out" the rest of the Bush-Cheney term. Either way, not impeaching Cheney will represent the ultimate expression of lack of democratic courage, principles and responsibilities (one glaring and pathetic example here of a mauviette who should be ashamed of calling himself a citizen - talk about the lamest excuses against impeachment!). Some among the media are asking "Has the Vice-President gone too far?" - this is the wrong question. The real question the MSM should be asking is: "Have we indeed been living under a Regency all along?"
That's a definite motive for impeachment/removal from power right there, folks.
(Cross-posted at DKos at Diatribune, at Suzie-Q, at Progressive Historians, and at Progressive Bloggers)
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Alternative title: The Root Of All Our Problems - In Real Life And In The Blogosphere.
Democracy is slowing rotting away. There is not only a cause for this wasting disease, but as well a potential cure - if we commit ourselves with courage, diligence and determination to apply such a cure.
Intellectual sloth is a human character flaw with numerous ramifications, and which constitutes the gravest threat to our democracies.
On the one hand, intellectual sloth pushes any person who is afflicted by it to wallow in ignorance, finding security in absolute ideologies, philosophies of thoughts, tenets of faith, various dogmas or views of the world, without seeking to understand them fully or even less to question them. In turn, ignorance festers fear which, as we know all-too-well, acts as a powerful motor in driving irrational thinking and actions. Furthermore, a person afflicted with intellectual sloth refuses to accept any fact of reality which confronts, rattles, or even invalidates, the comfort of one's “convictions”. To this effect, such a person will be often deluded by intellectual vanity, being arrogant, if not contemptuous, towards anything and anyone that confronts his/her ignorance generated by intellectual sloth.
On the other hand, a person afflicted with intellectual sloth is continually in search of the quick-and-easy and of instant gratification - in fact, he/she craves such things. Incidentally, a person afflicted with intellectual sloth is egocentric, selfish, greedy and covetous, even paranoid, in his/her immature search for facility and instant gratification. Consequently, intellectual sloth-driven people invariably become slaves of expediency. That is also why such persons will all too often want (consciously or not) to be serviced an opinion, like being served fast food, rather than to make the effort of actually forging an informed one for themselves - they search for easy and absolute answers.
In short, intellectual sloth transforms a supposedly adult (and thus mature) person into an irresponsible, reactionary, judgement-impaired, and comfort-craving child or adolescent, who lives only in the “now” while remaining blind to “yesterday” and “tomorrow".
Therefore, intellectual sloth renders those afflicted by it incompetents - as thinking, reasoning human beings, as well as in dealing/composing with reality (or at least in trying to understand it).
One direct consequence of the prevalence of intellectual sloth is not only voter indifference and apathy, but as well the complacent acceptance of the "dumbing down" (and disinformation) of the news and of the political discourse - after all, journalists and politicians are from the same culture as the voters's ... thus our current tabloid journalism and politics (Assault on Reason, anyone?).
Hence, the "it's all about me", "not in my backyard", "who cares? ", "we're the best", "not my problem", "we're good, they're evil" and other such selfish, uncaring, absolutist and/or uninformed attitudes that have been prevailing among the citizenry since at least the 1980's.
Case in point - I give you these two poll questions (and results):
Gallup Poll. March 11-14, 2007. N=1,009 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
"How closely have you been following the news about the recently completed trial of Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, the former vice presidential aide: very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at all?"
Very Closely: 13%
Somewhat Closely: 30%
Not Too Closely: 26%
Not At All: 29%
CBS News Poll. May 16-17, 2006. N=636 adults nationwide. MoE ± 4.
"How much have you heard or read about the special investigation into the possible leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity to reporters in 2003? Would you say you have heard or read a lot, some, not much, or nothing at all?"
A lot: 18%
Not Much: 23%
And there you have it. Essentially the same question was asked twice, almost a year apart each time, and in both instances we are faced with the sad reality that less than 50% of Americans paid significant attention to this grave scandal.
Not convinced that this applies to all (current) major scandals? Then try this for size:
CBS News/New York Times Poll. April 20-24, 2007. N=1,052 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).
"How closely have you been following news about the recent firing of several U.S. attorneys by the Justice Department? Have you been following it very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at all?"
Very Closely: 15%
Somewhat Closely: 35%
Not Too Closely: 36%
Not At All: 13%
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. April 18-22, 2007. N=1,508 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
"How much, if anything, have you heard about the firing of eight federal prosecutors and questions about how Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the White House handled the firings? Have you heard a lot, a little, or nothing at all?"
A Lot: 33%
A Little: 44%
Should we be surprised then that the poll answers to the follow-up question (or similar questions), "Do you think Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should resign or otherwise lose his job over the issue of the firings, or not?", were less than 45% (on rough average) for the resignation/removal of Gonzales?
Should we likewise be surprised that only 39% of Americans favor impreachment for Bush and Cheney - despite everything that has been revealed/reported/analyzed/discussed so far? Or that only 49% of Americans "believe" in evolution?
Call it scandal fatigue. Blame the MSM and the politicians as well, if you will.
But I call this intellectual sloth-driven incompetence as citizens.
As I wrote before: "We prefer to wallow body and mind into reality-tv shows and the local version of American Idol (Canadian Idol in Canada and Star Académie in Québec). Thus, therein now lies our democratic passion, whereby we discuss, analyze and evaluate which participant to support and then vote for him/her".
But, to do such things in the exercise of our duty as citizens of democracies? Forget it. We act like ostriches in the face of it. It is too complicated. Too discouraging. Too unsettling.
And don't you dare blame the Media Corporations - since they have no qualms at yanking shows that have poor ratings, why do you think they keep serving tabloid infortainment, news, reality shows, game shows and other such tripe? Because. These. Have. High. Ratings.
The intellectual sloth-driven search, if not need, for instant gratification craves entertainment - on TV, in movies, in music, in videos and in games. This in turn is the root cause for tabloid news and politics - a society-wide dumbing down. That is why (and how) Bush was elected in 2000 and again in 2004. That is why most candidates (GOP and/or Democratic) are often timid, "dumb and dumber" or "uber triangulators". We face the same problems in Canada with regards of our main political parties.
They are only responding (or trying to respond) to. The. People.
Unfortunately, the same problem has crept up in the blogosphere - and yes, including the progressive one.
Take for example the blogging tip of "keep it short and straight to the point" (not my forte, obviously!). Or the idea that "Blogs can have a shopping mall effect: everyone goes there because everyone goes there (...)"
In other words: the blogosphere not only enables but also (knowingly or not) encourages instant gratification.
Case in point: remember the backlash against Democratic representatives posting diaries at DKos, demanding that they actually leave Dkos (one example here), after the war funding bill was passed? How many took their ball and went home (one example here)? Or those who rant and rave because there is no impeachment of Bush and/or Cheney "now"? Yes such things are very disappointing, if not maddening, but such destructive backlash constitutes (sorry to say this) intellectual sloth-driven immaturity. It is short-sighteness. It is incompetence.
Consequently, such is my diagnosis: we are faced with a highly metastizing cancer on the body democratic, and it is called intellectual sloth. Heck, this cancer has spread through the whole body society already.
And it is this cancer that must be fought/eradicated, at its very root.
The solution? I wrote about it before: "Education. Yes, it is through education that the character flaw which is intellectual sloth can be countered (...) the inculcation, beginning in childhood and throughout the educational process, of the need for questioning, for reasoning, for discerning, for gathering information, for contextualizing, for criticizing, for evaluating/re-evaluating, for thinking - in short, for the need of intellectual activity - constitutes the best vaccine against intellectual sloth".
It is a given that this solution requires time and much effort. But it is the only one which will effectively fight and eradicate this metastizing cancer that is intellectual sloth, and which is destroying not only our body democratic, but also our bodies politic, economic, and society.
As I am fond of saying: "Living in a democracy is a right and a responsibility. And yes, this responsibility requires effort. But which is better: having your back bent by the effort required to keep on living in a democratic society, or letting leave for complacency and find yourself one day with a back bent under a totalitarian regime (however benevolent it may be)?"
Or, if you prefer: Patience trumps expediency. Patience and determination are the hallmarks of competence as citizens.
This recent DKos diary (one example among an ever increasing number of such examples) illustrates what I mean by this: patience and determination in convincing people and representatives (a clear majority at least) of the need for investigations leading to impeachment.
The same can, should, and must be done to enact the means necessary to eradicate intellectual sloth.
In the meantime, we must continue to expose, document and discuss incompetence - but we must also be willing to get off from our couches and convince those outside of the blogosphere to join in, or at least to make the effort to keep themselves critically informed. At the same time, we must keep organizing and pressuring to make the changes required to save the gravely ill patient that is society - and stop acting like intellectual sloth-driven immature adolescents while so doing.
It is a long and winding road indeed - but competence as citizens requires (nay: demands) this from all of us.
After all, our revolutionary participatory democracy is not just about ranting and raving, eh?
Update: 06/25/2007 - 41% ... the proportion of Americans who still believe there is a link between Saddam Hussein and 9-11. Q.E.D. ... once again.
Update II: 06/26/2007 - Remember this poll from 2005? By a margin of 50% to 44%, Americans favored impeachment of President Bush should it be revealed that he lied about the war in Iraq. And what has happened since then? Nothing. Zip. Nada. The cancer has spread so much, looks like it is time to activate the democracy life-support machine folks ...
(Cross-posted at DKos at Suzie-Q, at Diatribune, at Progressive Historians, and at Progressive Bloggers)
Saturday, June 23, 2007
After further research, thinking and pondering, I now feel confident to present to you my final, "official", Eight Principles of Incompetence:
Zeroth Principle: Incompetence is driven by intellectual sloth.
First Principle: Incompetence surrounds itself with incompetence.
Second Principle: Incompetence is ethics-impaired.
Third Principle: Incompetence abhors transparency and accountability.
Fourth Principle: Incompetence does or says anything to defend itself.
Fifth Principle: Incompetence always supports incompetence.
Sixth Principle: Violence is the last refuge of incompetence.
Seventh Principle: Incompetence is nothing but consistent with itself.
Allow me to explain succinctly each principle, along with a few examples in support of each.
Zeroth Principle - As I have written before, "Intellectual sloth is a human character flaw. It pushes any person who is guilty of it to wallow in ignorance, finding security in absolute ideologies, philosophies of thoughts, tenets of faith or various dogmas, without seeking to understand them fully or even less to question them. A person guilty of intellectual sloth is constantly in search of the quick-and-easy and instant gratification (...) Incidentally, a person guilty of intellectual sloth is egocentric and selfish, even greedy, in his/her immature search for facility and instant gratification. Furthermore, such a person refuses to accept any fact of reality which confronts, rattles, or even invalidates, the comfort of one's “convictions”. To this effect, such a person will be arrogant, if not contemptuous, towards anything and anyone that confronts his/her ignorance generated by intellectual sloth".
To this, I also added that one who is afflicted with intellectual sloth is often deluded by intellectual vanity and invariably becomes a slave of expediency. Furthermore, everything is about image and appearance, instead of substance. Truthiness, instead of truth. All of these characteristics underlie incompetence - whether as nations, as communities, as citizens, as blue-collar/white-collar workers, as parents, and/or as thinking, reasoning human beings. In short, intellectual sloth transforms any adult person who is guilty of it into an irresponsible and reactionary child or adolescent, who lives only in the “now” while remaining blind to “yesterday” and “tomorrow". Such a person thus becomes incompetent - in dealing/composing with reality, or in at least trying to understand it.
Examples in support: Religious fundamentalism; Trent Lott (R-MS)'s "brilliant" idea of an electrified fence to curb illegal
First Principle - Incompetents do not realize their own incompetence (intellectual vanity, remember?) and rarely recognize de facto competence in others. In addition, the incompetent distrusts anyone who shows signs of actual competence, should he/she somehow recognize it, because competents not only make the incompetent look bad, but are most likely to question him/her. Furthermore, incompetents find security and comfort in echo chambers - consequently, loyalty to self, as well as to same ideology/beliefs/party, overrides all considerations in the incompetent's petty mind (i.e. cronyism rules). To this effect, incompetents will seek to bring all those around them to their level. Therefore, incompetents are always surrounded by like-minded, and likewise, incompetents. In addition, in this context, incompetence always rewards incompetence. Some call this "functionning inside the bubble", I call it "herd mentality" (especially in the context of the Fifth Principle).
Examples in support: The neoconservatives' dismissal of "science", "objectivity", and "truth" as guises for an ulterior, leftist agenda; From the Bush administration: Harriet Miers, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, Michael Brown, et al.; The Washington Beltway social circle of MSM/punditry elites; And, again, so many other examples, which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including in virtually all of my previous entries).
Second Principle - Consider the characteristics bestowed upon incompetents by their intellectual sloth, as outlined in the Zeroth Principle, along with what I have written before: "(...) it is a fact that those individuals who are 'corrupted' by power are inevitably revealed at their core to be selfish, greedy, covetous, paranoid or fearful. Consequently, these use power expediently as a tool for the wasteful satisfaction of their every whim, want and need, or as a weapon to aim recklessly at their outwardly-projected inner demons. In short: only incompetents abuse power". Incompetents cheat, lie, misuse, "backstab" and abuse anything and everything in order to get their way - and they always make perfectly quaint rationalizations, as well as giving themselves a deluded moral highground (or authority), to justify their wrongdoings. In other words, incompetents are morally hypocritical and ethically impaired, because of their intellectual sloth-driven reasoning/emotional immaturity, egocentricity, intellectual vanity/intolerance, and slavery to expediency.
Examples in support: Have fun with this Google search and this one as well; It goes without saying that there are so many examples, which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including in virtually all of my previous entries).
Third Principle - When you take into account the Zeroth, First and Second Principles, it becomes all too clear why incompetents prefer to do whatever they do under the cover of concealment and/or secrecy ... and thus why they abhor transparency and accountability. Not surprisingly, whistleblowers, which are inherently viewed as "traitors", constitute a veritable danger in the intellectual sloth-driven paranoid, petty minds of incompetents.
Examples in support: The Office of the Vice-Presidency under Dick Cheney: a few of numerous examples here, here, here and here; The US Federal government hid a $1.3 trillion loss last year; Try also this Google search for size; And once again, it goes without saying that there are so many other examples, which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including in virtually all of my previous entries).
Fourth Principle - Because of the previous four principles, incompetents never take responsibility for their wrongdoings, or those of other incompetents within their "circle". This is what I wrote before: "Incompetents will do and say anything to defend themselves and other incompetents, including disassembling, obfuscating, lying and blaming others". Here's something else that I also wrote previously: "They lie, they misrepresent, they use decoy arguments and make ad hominem attacks. For them, the use of duplicity, of secrecy, of arguments of (non-existent) conspiracy, of fact (and non-fact) selectivity/cherry-picking, of quacks/fake experts, as well as putting forth logical fallacies, are simply means to an end." For incompetents, everything is about spin and truthiness - never about facts and truth. Even when they are blatantly caught, incompetents continue to react and reason with their intellectual sloth-driven infantile/adolescent immaturity - they will deny that they did anything wrong or that they have lied, then they will blame/attack (read: character assassinate) their "accusers". I call this: "Lie and Cry".
Examples in support: Tony Snow on Bush's veto of the last stem cells research bill: "This is the President putting science before ideology"; Today's pearl of wisdom from Gen. Petraeus in support of the never-ending Iraq occupation; The White House on Cheney having exempted his office from a presidential executive order designed to safeguard classified national security information: "It’s a little bit of a non-issue"; I provide more examples here and here; Also, have fun with this Google search; And yet again, there are numerous other examples which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including virtually all of my previous entries).
Fifth Principle - Because of the "herd mentality" of incompetents (see First Principle above), they will always support and/or rabidly defend other incompetents - after all, in the incompetent's paranoid and petty mind, if one of his/her "kin" is allowed to be exposed, then surely he/she would be next! Consequently, incompetents use profusely the Fourth Principle (above) whenever other incompetents require support, protection or defense.
Examples in support: The (infamous) 109th Congress's tacit support of the Bush administration; I also give you Plamegate; Again, dixit the White House on Cheney having exempted his office from a presidential executive order designed to safeguard classified national security information: "It’s a little bit of a non-issue"; Again, I provide more examples here, here and here; And yet again, there are numerous other examples which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including virtually all of my previous entries). Caveat: because of their inherent intellectual sloth-driven mendacious nature, incompetents have no qualms turning against another incompetent, should this poor sap be utterly (and hopelessly) exposed - as a result, other incompetents will use (again) the Fourth Principle profusely to "distance" themselves from another such "terminally-besieged" incompetent individual (a current case in point discussed here, as one example among many).
Sixth Principle - (This axiom originates from the works of Isaac Asimov). Here is what I wrote before: "Intellectual sloth reaps ignorance. In turn, ignorance festers fear which, as we know all-too-well, acts as a powerful motor in driving irrational thinking and actions. Furthermore, fear is quite expert in the exercise of nullifying any semblance of intellectual and emotional maturity in people – in other words, fear transforms a supposedly adult (and thus mature) person into an irresponsible, reactionary, judgement-impaired, and comfort-craving, child or adolescent. One who searches for easy and absolute answers (...) And such intellectual sloth, through the fear which it causes in those people guilty of it, eventually brings in turn the incapacity (or lack of willingness) to deal face-to-face with the unknown and the uncertain. Thereafter, the table is set at last for intolerance and hate to arise: the eternal and real justifications (although never self-admited) behind violence in any of its shapes or forms".
To this, I later added the following: "Ignorance breeds fear. Fear fosters hate. In turn, hate leads inevitably to violence (...) when will we acknowledge the fact, once and for all, that it is the incompetents among us who consistently promulgate violence as a solution for anything, to everything? (...) we must strive to forget nevermore that rationalizations supporting the use of violence - other than the need for the rightful exercise of self-defense when set upon by a genuinely clear, present and immediate danger - invariably constitute deceitful fabrications meant to conceal, disguise or justify incompetence ... including our very own for embracing such mendacity." Ergo: violence is the last refuge of incompetence.
Examples in support: The beating to death in Texas of an innocent (Mexican) man following a simple car accident; The Iraq War; The recent "conquest" of the Gaza Strip by Hamas; Michael Graham's solution to counter the positions of Hillary Clinton and Michael Moore; The prevalent rattling of sabers for an intervention against Iran (with more examples of such insane rattling discussed here, here, here, here and here, among many others); Last year's reckless bombing of Lebanon by Israel; And yet again, there are numerous other examples which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including many of my previous entries). Heck - just scan through the History of Humanity, while you're at it ...
Seventh Principle - As long as incompetents do not acknowledge their affliction with intellectual sloth, they will stubbornly refuse to change. Some people call this hubris. To this effect, incompetents are known to repeat the same mistakes again and again, because of their arrogance and utter fright at being exposed for what they truly are - and thus, they find themselves unknowingly enacting Franklin's, and/or Einstein's, very definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Examples in support: Go back to those examples given for the previous principles. Also, there are numerous examples which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including virtually all of my previous entries). Heck - and as I have written before - simply keep on reading/watching/following the news - this principle is likewise being verified again and again, day in and day out ... in fact, all Principles presented herein will be verified over and over.
So, there you have it - my Eight Principles of Incompetence.
I have presented these to you in the humble hope that henceforth you will "amuse" yourselves at spotting them (whether singly or in combination) whenever you read/watch the news - at least, I know I will ...
Peace - and keep on rockin'.
(Originally posted on 06/22/2007. Time-stamp modified to 06/23/2007 in order to act as a "re-post")
(Cross-posted at DKos at Suzie-Q, at Diatribune, at Progressive Bloggers, and at Progressive Historians)