Dover Bitch

Friday, June 29, 2007

Is our Cheney learning?

In my quiet, but urban neighborhood, after the sun goes down, you don't hear a lot. Pretty much any sound you hear is the result of a human. The loudest noise invariably comes courtesy of the LA Times, who, I'm convinced, deliberately remove the mufflers from their delivery vehicles.

Unless the earth does something to remind you that you are on it, it's easy to forget that's the case. Despite the most obscenely expensive 3-D computer-animated weather reports on the local news, you could go months without hearing a forecast here and it would have absolutely no impact on your life. The only time I've seen more than 12 stars in the sky here was after the 1994 Northridge earthquake knocked out all the power.

Last night, I was lured outside by an eerie conversation. Under the light of a nearly-full moon, I discovered that the nonsensical blathering was actually a pair of insane cats. I had no idea they could make noises like that.

What a relief. For a moment, I was convinced that Tucker Carlson and Jonah Goldberg (another example of the LA Times amplifying a dull roar) were continuing their bromidic paean to Dick Cheney right outside my door.

Asked by host Tucker Carlson why some critics have such a strong distaste for Cheney, Goldberg offered this penetrating analysis:

I have no idea. I truly have no idea. I like Dick Cheney — love to have a beer with the guy. I think he is a smart, serious man in American life. I think one of the things that bothers them is he doesn’t care. … He looks like he should be eating a sandwich while he’s [giving a speech]. That’s just the sort of matter-of-fact, eating lunch over the sink, oh yeah and by the way, here’s my view of the world. I love that!

As it turns out, the cats might not have just been howling at the moon. They might have been inspired to join our lunar companion in the Carlson-Goldberg celebration:

It's hard to know what these events really are, but if they're the result of gas seeping from the interior, we might learn some interesting things about the Moon by studying them. Like most people, I normally think of the Moon as a dead, unchanging place, but if it's outgassing from time to time, that view may not be so accurate.

Glenn Greenwald, typically, wrote a brilliant post about the segment:

But I want to focus on one specific exchange between Tucker and Jonah as they explored the Greatness of Dick Cheney:


GOLDBERG: And you know, but I do think that what Cheney has learned after a lifetime in Washington as a power player, is that the person who holds the secrets has power. And he is using that for what I would say, or probably what he believes to be certainly good ends. A lot of people disagree on that, but he's trying to do best as he can and he sees holding onto power as a tool to do that.

That, of course, is the defining mentality of the Authoritarian Mind, captured in its purest essence by Jonah. Our Leaders are Good and want to protect us. Therefore, we must accept -- and even be grateful -- when they prevent us from knowing what they are doing. The less we know, the more powerful our Leaders are. And that is something we accept and celebrate, for our Leaders are Good and we trust that the more powerful they are, the better we all shall be.

The part that jumps out at me in that jewel of wisdom from Goldberg is the word "learned." I guess we're finally discovering what, exactly, Cheney "learned" at the "refresher courses on ethics and handling classified materials" everybody in the administration was ordered to attend back in 2005.

Cheney "learned" that adhering "to the spirit as well as the letter of all rules governing ethical conduct" is the same thing as accumulating even more power for himself.

As was the case with "[t]he British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," the Cheney administration has disabused me of the notion that something had to actually happen for you to "learn" that it did.

After all, I also "learned" that our government was created with three branches.

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