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28 October 2007


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Sidney O. Smith III

In re: the change in Cheney:

I offer the following quote from Dostoevsky:

"Tyranny starts as a habit; it has the tendency to, and generally finally does develop into a disease. I believe that habit may coarsen and stultify the very best of men, reducing them to the level of brutes. Blood and power make a man drunk: callous coarseness and depravity develop in him; the most abnormal phenomena become accessible, and in the end pleasurable to the mind and the senses. The human being and the citizen perish forever in the tyrant, and a return to human dignity, to repentance, to regeneration becomes practically impossible for him," - Fëdor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, "Memoirs from the House of the Dead".

Martin K

What I dont understand is his conduit of actual power. Isnt the vice-president supposed to be a lame duck officialy? How can it be that he wields such influence.?

I dont like this movie. At all.


I've been reading a new book about the rise and fall of the Prussian State.

Bush and/or Cheney talk about "appeasement" and wish to cloke themselves in Churchills mantle.

The mantle that fits them both much better is Kaiser Wilhelm, even down to the stumbling speeches.


By way of gaming ...


I suspect all those statements like "Dick Cheney is a changed man." and "I don't know THIS Dick Cheney" are accurate but untrue. I think they never knew Dick Cheney, who is a poker player and played them with his "Sphinx-like calm" [Greenspan] and that chocolate syrup, serpent-in-the-garden enchanter's voice.** [look up etymology of enchant]. I think he sat back inaccessible/unavailable and each made up (then became invested in) his own version of Cheney based on their own projections. I wonder how much correspondence there is among the various versions of "the old" Dick Cheney.

Consider that comb-over** of the seventies and the run for president. The Lord Protector is a vain and ambitious man. Not that there's anything wrong with THAT, of course.

Consider his phalanx of aging ephebes. He may not have had the mass media whatever-it-takes to appeal to the polloi, but he IS (I believe) a powerful seducer, and his venue is the conference (or poker) table. That year he spent flunking out at Yale was not wasted. He learned more playing poker than he ever would have in a classroom.

Only Rumsfeld, his Buckingham [Richard III's "other self, [his] counsel's consistory"], knew him true.****


** http://www.rubyan.com/politics/rumsfeld_cheney_1975.jpg

**** http://www.villagevoice.com/blogs/bushbeat/archive/images/rumsfeld-cheney-cake-copy-2-thumb.jpg



This 'new Cheney' business is overblown - Imo. Look back at Iran Contra and you'll find Cheney and Addington both saying Congressional laws were irrelevent. When he was at Halliburton, he was a weak CEO - depended on the quasi-socialism of government aid , then he bought a company was legacy asbestos costs - That made him more bitter about the law. 9-11 just was sugar on the fire.


I think pl is exactly right---Cheney has a very perverted view of the constitution and believes that it somehow created an all powerful, imperial president. This is quite clear from what we know of his days in the Nixon/Ford WH and his absurd views of executive power from his Bush I "service".

His pathetic tenure as a back benching conservative extremist in Congress (R-WY) developed his total contempt (if not outright hatred) for that institution, which he probably kept mostly to himself.

As for his foreign "policy", the colonel doesn't like to hear this, but Cheney is the oil boy---that's why he advocated the invasion, he certainly has no real interest in this neocon "spreadin' democracy" crap---he hates OUR democracy for goodness sake, and certainly our legislative branch.

For him, Iraq was about creating a new multi-generational executive military operation (the War on Terra), keeping the gas-guzzling SUVs and monster pick-up trucks of his suburban soccor moms and desolate western wastelands running 85 mph ("the American way of life is not negotiable"), and aiding his friends and financial backers in the oil bidness--and he may even receive financial gain via Haliburton to boot!

And Iran is just the final insane attempt to get that oil "we" ran under the Shah back in the ol' corral before Cheney waddles off the stage of world history.


The people who have empowered and been sandbagged by this rogue need the Cheney as changeling model. It spares the ego and salves the conscience.


Why is Cheney such a creep? Underbelly offered one possible explanation some months ago. Jim">http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/07/AR2007030702044.html">Jim Hoaglund at the WP echoed him.


Michael K.: “I dont like this movie. At all.”

I say: I wish this was a movie!

Walrus you said:

“The mantle that fits them both much better is Kaiser Wilhelm, even down to the stumbling speeches.”

Do you mean I or II. Because “I” and later Bismark brought the German people Healthcare? Personally, I can’t see GW/Dick doing the same for the U.S. So, that makes me think you must mean Wilhelm II.


You say: “What is the VP about? After long contemplation I have regretfully come to the conclusion that he just does not like our present form of government. pl”


You say: “The people who have empowered and been sandbagged by this rogue need the Cheney as changeling model. It spares the ego and salves the conscience.”

To you all I say, “Yes,” and this is why this is my first read of the day.

Regards and thanks to all,


frank durkee

Perhaps it is as simple as Lord Actons' dictum:"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".
That was his coda to a life time of depth study of aspects of Western history, especially its religious and idealogical history.

hat was his coda to a life long study of Western history.


It looks like Rumsfeld had to flee Paris in order to avoid war crime prosecution.

I wonder if Cheney will likewise have to give up travel to Europe.


Walrus @ 4:21 pm:

I have long thought that the parallels between GW Bush and Wilhelm II are uncanny. Neither would have acceded to the leadership of his country had it not been for the circumstances of his birth. Each assumed leadership at a time when his country was at the top of its game and its future looked bright, albeit not without clouds on the horizon. Neither was very well educated although each had excellent educational opportunities of which he didn’t take much advantage. Each had a chip on his shoulder that derived from an unsuccessfully suppressed awareness of the happenstance of his position, together with widely expressed misgivings as to whether he was up to the task. In the Kaiser’s case the doubts arose from his penchant for the exaggerated martial posturing with which he tried to compensate for the physical disability that was a result of his difficult birth. Mr. Bush’s were driven by dyslexia in his youth followed by a the glaring lack of accomplishment during the dissipated third and fourth decades of his life.

Each broke sharply with the foreign relations policies of his immediate predecessors. Soon after ascending the throne following the three-month reign of his dying father, the new Kaiser fired Count Otto von Bismarck, the extraordinarily able statesman who had assembled the modern German state under his grandfather, the first Wilhelm, and pursued a ‘saber-rattling’ policy that over time was a major cause of the destabilization of the system of alliances that had been in place, leading eventually to an hitherto unlikely, hostile alliance among Great Britain, France and Russia.

As is not uncommon on the American scene, the George W. Bush team that replaced an outgoing administration of the other party assumed that its immediate predecessor, the Clinton Administration, had done nothing right in the international arena. Beyond that, however, the new Bush team also turned its backs on the center-right foreign policy stance of the previous Republican administration headed by the new president’s father, George H. W. Bush. Wilhelm II destroyed his country's then-existing form of government, the Prussian monarchy. Bush is well on his way to destroying the American democracy and all it stands for at home, and much of its former influence abroad.

I don't however, see much of a parallel between Cheney and the Kaiser.


there was a good story on PBS last week on Dick and what he learned in the Nixon years and how to get around the laws this time -- if you haven't seen it, i recommend watching it now available online

"Cheney's Law" on Frontline


After long contemplation I have regretfully come to the conclusion that he just does not like our present form of government. pl

I arrived at (what is perhaps) the same conclusion quite a while back. The political construct of the "war on terror" resonates too much with similar formulations proposed by the "second wave" of latin american dictatorships in the 1970s. The existence of these regimes, starting in Uruguay in 1973, followed a few months later by Chile in september 1973 and Argentina in 1976 supposedly was a response to imminent threats from "terrorist" groups.

That was the era of the Cold war, but the only threat that could be invoked with any seriousness was that from "barbudos" or "cuban infiltrators". Given the precarious state of the Cuban economy since the '59 revolution and the state interests of the Soviet Union which did not need successful revolutions in South America that required extensive economic support, that stated threat made about as much sense as the threat from the current band of barbudos in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Cheney who was in or around the DoD at that time must have learned from that playbook.

Should we worry about the possibility of a radio broadcast in the next 18 months from "Interim President Cheney" .

What, me worry?

Different Clue

If a feeling or a hunch has no specific evidence to back it up, is it still a reasonable or at least plausible feeling/hunch? I am impressed with a feeling I have seen other commenters
express on other blogs. It goes like this...
When Nixon announced his bombing-of-Cambodia campaign, campuses erupted in angry protest. Four students got killed at Kent State. It didn't save Nixon's presidency from the Watergate which came later. What if Cheney thought to himself: "if we had killed thousands of students, we would have kept a lid on things"? What if Cheney hopes that bombing Iran will be his "bombs over Cambodia" moment, his big opportunity to spark the domestic protests he needs to kill thousands of Americans and put a permanent lid on things? Whatever the neocons and the
petrocons might want, what if Cheney himself wants to bomb Iran for the same reasons which led the Argentine Generals to invade
the Falkland Islands?

Clifford Kiracofe

What change in Cheney? Comment is correct above that Cheney and Addington revealed their political ideology at the Iran-Contra time.

The ideology is supported by the theory of the "Unitary Executive" and was included in Cheney's remarks in the Iran-Contra Hearings record.

The ideology stems from several sources but primarily from Carl Schmitt, the German Nazi legal theoretician whom I have mentioned before in several threads. This is Nietzschean. And a form of Caesarism.

As for the Kaiser thing, well just recall that the Kaiser went into exile and a republic was established. Therefore, a new concept of leadership was developed by certain circles. This was the "Fuhrer Prizep" of Haushofer and Schmitt and their ilk. Dictatorship within a republic. The republican Fuhrer replaces the monarch and becomes the dictator owing to "emergency" circumstances.

The Unitary Executive theory is a restatement and adaptation of this Fuhrer Prizep for an American audience and setting.

Sinclair Lewis, studying Europe at the time and particularly Mussolini's Italy, wrote the novel "It Can't Happen Here" (1935) to illustrate the potential situation for the US.

Rumsfeld and Cheney were profoundly influenced by Leo Straussian thinking back in the 1970s during the Ford era. So what does one expect?

Changed Cheney? Sorry, I don't buy that not so clever disinformation line. Cheney, as a Straussian, would mask his innermost thoughts and put on a deceptive public facade...this is the esoteric method Strauss taught.

And Cheney is not the fundamental problem we confront. IMO he serves as an instrument of a broader political faction in which George Shultz and his circle play an important role. We saw this in the past during the 1930s with the bi-partisan "American Liberty League" crowd.

Cold War Zoomie

I'm no historian but I think we've survived people like this before. Wasn't Hamilton a believer in a strong central government, especially a strong Executive?

Federalist Party

Supposedly, John Jay said "The people who own the country ought to govern it."


Cheney in 1994:

"Because if we’d gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.

Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it — eastern Iraq — the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.

It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq."

Where was Cheney in between then and now? He was in Texas working in the oil industry. This would logically lend itself to the "it's all about the oil" theory.

I suspect Dick Cheney is as mad at a hatter. His arteriosclerosis (or any one of his vascular maladies) finally damaged his cognitive functioning. Trying to find other reasons for his aberrant behavior is probably pointless.

Michael Torpey

Cheney is a chowder head with power. His power is derived from Bush, the VP has NO power but what he's given. The republic will be well rid of these two jackasses.

Brian Hart

If one compares George Washington with Bush-Cheney we see one that served the public with personal sacrifice, the other sees the public as subjects to be led and exploited.

In a word, the word is 'contempt' for others with Cheney. He serves no one but himself.

Worse than contempt for Congress is contempt for the constitution and the public they are sworn to protect.



Given your view of Arab (or is it Mideast? or Muslim?, or all three?)traditions when it comes to "diplomacy" I was curious who you thought, or who is perceived, in the region, to have surrendered at the Camp David Accords? And if your answer is "neither"...why was this negotiation the exception to the rule?


I could guess at which personality traits and life experiences have mainly shaped the behavior of Richard B. Cheney, and how much, but I could come up with nothing that would make my questions go away.

How can a man whose staying alive depends on a pacemaker not have a different perspective on what has lasting importance? How can he not have some intellectual humility and a sense of his personal fallibility? How can he not think more of the sufferings and deaths of others?

How can Cheney not observe that the elimination of Fourth Amendment protections can affect persons of all socioeconomic classes, all political parties, and all social, corporate, and political stations?

Why does Cheney wish to concentrate power in the executive branch to the detriment of the legislative and judicial branches when such a change only makes sense (albeit wicked sense) in a one-party government experiencing a power grab by one or a few leaders? How can he believe that his party will not, when another party wins the presidency, find expanded functional powers of the President insufferable? Is he ultimately in favor of one-party government?

John Moore

PBS's Frontline ran a program about Cheney and his views that answers the questions people have about why Cheney is Cheney:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/cheney/. The URL will take you to their page and you can watch the program online and read the interviews. David Gergen's interview is perceptive.


Why speculate. Character is fractal.

What's he about?

Consider his huntsmanship.

michael savoca

Reballancing the constitutional authority to declare war only to congress as envisioned by the framers, and limiting the emergency war powers of the president.. is not a complete fix for the terrifying mess our country is in but it's a beginning...

This bold congressman as noted below, with others, is stepping forward.

October 25, 2007 - 7:10PM


"WASHINGTON — Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina has introduced a bill to prevent the use of U.S. military force in war without the consent of Congress.

The bipartisan legislation would amend the United States War Powers Resolution of 1973, which was passed in response to the extended Vietnam War.

Jones submitted the bill Sept. 25 and announced it Thursday at a press conference with three of five co-sponsors. One of them, Rep. Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts, a Democrat, is a member of the House subcommittee on foreign affairs which will first hear the bill. Also present were Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, both Republicans. The other co-sponsors are Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii and and Rep. Robert Brady of Pennsylvania, both Democrats."

If you agree please join me in calling and emailing our elected representatives to support this proposed legislation...and pray.

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