any of u still doubting that Dick Cheney is seriously deranged?...then, read this 1...
since Dick Cheney is coming to town soon, there has been lot's of postings here to get us
prepared for him, his friends, and the "Cheney experience". Clearly, for context of what all
has been posted here, the man is very imbalanced, to say the least. In the unlikely event
that someone out there still doubts this FACT, then here is one you've got to read....
repostings 4 u
His God and His Empire
Dick Cheney reveals his truth at Christmas
By Jeff Koopersmith
Jan. 2, 2004 -- NEW YORK (apj.us) -- I stumbled on a holiday card in my business mail last week.
It was from Dick Cheney, a man I have accredited as the most treacherous politician in America, but an American, our Vice President nonetheless and with due respect.
I was stunned but not bewildered by this quote from a speech by Benjamin Franklin on his Christmas card:
"And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"
What shocked me was that this elected official, only a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, was flaunting was seemed to be his private deal with God -- in a sense telling us that "He" (God) will aid us in building an American "Empire."
Most of us who have studied Mr. Cheney and the men and women on all sides of him do not need a lot of convincing that the Vice President is an "architect of the realm," a sultan of uber-sovereignty not only in terms of building the power of the United States as Vice President but also during his own life as a career legislator, advisor, and corporate chief.
He inexplicably moved his salary in a few years -- as he moved from Secretary of Defense to CEO of Halliburton (a company investigated constantly these days for one scandal after another) from less than $150,000 per year in today's dollars to more than $20 million per year.
Mr. Cheney surrounds himself with Neoconservative empire builders who alongside him, and in less than a decade, have destroyed America's credibility around the world, barely maintained the few alliances we have left through bribery or worse, and created a siege mentality in our country evidenced by tanks, troops, missiles, and giant concrete barriers surrounding monuments of freedom greeting grade school children from all around our nation as they tour Washington DC. These players include Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Condoleezza Rice, and current Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
The purpose of this essay is to discuss, in turns, God and Empire -- and to exhibit, through a historical eyepiece, the tomfoolery of such an impractical pursuit as empire building.
First, let me return to the Vice President's holiday card citation -- and a speech made by Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 28, 1787 when Franklin was already 81 years young. What Franklin accomplished that day, addressing George Washington amid that chaotic disintegrating constitutional convention fraught with temper tantrums and pressure built from attempting to construct a framework for a new nation, was a clearly argued call for prayer before congressional debate -- but not a plea for the integration of Church and State which Vice President Cheney, President George W. Bush, and, most notoriously, Attorney General John Ashcroft now might be accused of sponsoring or might like you to believe.
"In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor... and have we not forgotten this powerful Friend?
"Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?
"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?
"We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that 'except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.'
"I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, and conquest . I therefore beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one of more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service."
Franklin's proclamation on that day was not an entreaty to build an empire. Take note that Franklin reminded the august body, "... What is worse, mankind may ... despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, and conquest." Mr. Franklin declared that opening judicious deliberations with prayer was a blameless and helpful affair, but that establishing our American government by "chance, war or conquest, is not."
One wonders whether Vice President Cheney knowingly left out this latter part of Franklin's quote because it rang so disapprovingly true as regards his own policies in Afghanistan and Iraq -- where we are, most definitely, establishing governments by "chance, war, and conquest."
Mr. Cheney, often accused during his tenure in the Reagan and George H. Bush administrations of being a war monger, might also think about the fact that history very often conveniently places God at the right hand of the victor -- but in retrospect, not in prospect.
As Voltaire remarked in 1770, "On dit que Dieu est toujours pour les gros bataillons." ("It is said that God is always on the side of the heaviest battalions.")
Today Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and certainly Mr. Ashcroft would have you believe that we are a "religious" nation and that they are God-fearing, pious men. Their actions contradict this, of course -- unless one believes that the manifest destiny of the United States has now been extended by God to the globe and beyond into geographic perpetuity.
Are we prescribing our own demise as we seek to be a more Christian religious nation while at the same instant seeking to expand our empire? Yes, for our empire, by definition, is less Christian as it gets bigger.
Thomas Jefferson warned us of the consequences that men like George W. Bush and Richard Cheney may set into motion as they run embracing war when he, writing of the King of England, said:
"It is an immense misfortune to the empire to have a king of such a disposition at such a time. We are told and every thing proves it true that he is the bitterest enemy we have.... To undo his empire he has but one truth more to learn, that after colonies have drawn the sword there is but one step more they can take."
Jefferson could as easily have been describing George W. Bush, for like King George before him, the President is ignoring the fact that he has forced our would-be colonies to draw the sword, and others --once our allies -- to put their hands to the scabbard. As he presses further, and as Jefferson warned, there is but one step more that our targets can take.
That is open revolt against occupation.
The term "Empire" has been at once romanced and vilified. The current Queen Elizabeth's father, one more King George (the Fifth), was reported, by a politician, to have uttered these last words in 1936: "How is the Empire?
But the king's physician, Lord Dawson one might guess a more reliable source, wrote in his notes that day, that the last words George uttered were, "God damn you!"
That's far more believable.
Yet the idea of empire endures, so alluring to all mega-nationalists, to all the over-proud, and to all the falsely pious.
Empire and God seem inextricably linked for all time.
To paraphrase Voltaire again, some Neoconservatives proudly call America the most religious democratic nation which ought to be an empire.
I believe that by pursuing Mr. Bush's concept of "preemptive war" that she is no longer religious, nor American, nor an empire. ("Ce corps qui s'appelait et qui s'appelle encore le saint empire romain n'était en aucune manière ni saint, ni romain, ni empire."
Mr. Cheney and certainly Mr. Bush have locked our nation into an arpeggio of thought: God, Commerce, and Empire (or Imperialism). We must all believe in a deity, knock together lots of money, and distribute our ideals like so much seed in the droppings of birds.
Even Adam Smith warned, in 1776:
"To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers, but extremely fit for a nation that is governed by shopkeepers."
Yes, we are today a nation of shopkeepers, attempting to slowly but certainly piece together several billion new "customers" through a deceptive impress we call the "global economy." And yes, we are governed by these shopkeepers as well. They are the members of the Business-Industry Political Action Committee and those who run their own internal PACs as well. They are managing this nation, in the guise of Bush and Cheney -- by bribing them and all politicians run by shopkeepers, so help me.
William Blake, perhaps the greatest scholar of both the 18th and 19th centuries spoke to our greed and to empire writing in his notebook in 1810, "Empires flourish till they become commercial, and then they are scattered abroad to the four winds."
Messrs. Bush and Cheney should not wish for increasingly wide American domain and towering and unassailable riches. Their goal, as suggested by Montaigne in the 16th Century, should be to love themselves more than that. For those who seek empire and wealth cannot possibly love themselves -- and that is so clear on the faces of these men.
Have you ever looked closely at these faces? They are faces of evil, even as they accuse the Axis of Evil. Mr. Bush appears as might a teenage boy who has been smacked on the jaw or the side of the head repeatedly by a cruel parent. He smirks like Leave it to Beaver's Eddie Haskell. Many political and social observers have written things similar. He slurs his words, evidencing a dry drunkenness. He couldn't possibly like himself.
Mr. Cheney, with his perpetual sneer -- a face full of arrogance veiled with a cheap, gruff sense of humor and a posed-so-lovely wife -- couldn't possibly love himself either. It would be far too humiliating.
Richard Perle, who appears almost on his last legs with disease, black circles crawling under his pupil-less eyes, is perhaps the most obvious of this genus. Is he dying from his evil -- or thriving?
So many of these men and women surround our President and have surrounded past presidents -- and could not possibly love themselves. Thus they seek pleasure in adoring "things" and unprecedented power.
The British chief Calgalus, speaking of the Romans in Agricola, warned, "To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace."
Today Mr. Bush would have us believe that to ransack, appropriate, kill and bomb the cradle of civilization into a wasteland is something done from "peace" and that this makes it acceptable to engage in empire building.
This is not acceptable.
Washington has become a giant toilet into which all the indolent and shiftless are now beguilingly flushed, much as in Conan Doyle's "London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained."
Frightening portents are these words echoing from the past.
I remind Mr. Cheney that an empire is nothing more than selfishness, self-centeredness, insensitivity, lack of consideration, and disdain for another and another's nations.
In fact, I wonder if Mr. Cheney thought to read about empire before he juxtaposed a single sentence, taken out of context, with thoughts of Jesus Christ and his birthday.
In fact, I could find only one positive remark about "empires" past, believing that history is the only sometimes-reliable reflection of truth. The single quote was from William Morris Hughes -- a past and controversial Prime Minister of Australia -- then a member of the British "empire" who said, cloyingly, "Without the Empire we should be tossed like a cork in the cross current of world politics. It is at once our sword and our shield."
Hughes was hawk and known within his own first party as "a rat."
Yet recall Ishmael Reed's hilarious antidote to Hughes' when he wrote, "The descendants of Holy Roman Empire monarchies became feeble-minded in the twentieth century, and after World War I had been done in by the democracies; some were kept on to entertain the tourists, like the one they have in England."
Will the United States, like Edward Bond's England, send "all our bored abroad" and acquire an "empire as punishment"?
I am loathe to cite Albert Camus to make my point for fear that my e-mail inbox will be clogged with facile and puerile Neoconservative derision, but the brilliant existentialist pointed out that "Germany collapsed as a result of having engaged in a struggle for empire with the concepts of provincial politics."
Could Mr. Bush's politics be more provincial and unsophisticated?
Malcolm Muggeridge enlightened us writing about the British empire, "The truth is that a lost empire, lost power and lost wealth provide perfect circumstances for living happily and contentedly in our enchanted island."
It appears that a plethora of reasoning warns against collecting an empire as we Americans have been, and instead begs to release it for fear of its burden -- something we are learning more of every day.
For example, Mr. Bush will be long out of office when the trillion dollar price tag comes to be paid by my son and his wife and children -- it is they and their peers that will see the folly of empire most clearly. His empire building will not impact him, nor his privileged offspring, nor theirs.
To leave you, however, in better New Year sprits, let me reference two men who could not be farther apart in style, yet who both chose to speak of "empire" and "air- conditioning" concurrently.
The first, Gore Vidal, wrote in "At Home in Washington, DC" (1987):
"I date the end of the old republic and the birth of the empire to the invention, in the late thirties, of air conditioning. Before air conditioning, Washington was deserted from mid-June to September.... But after air conditioning and the Second World War arrived, more or less at the same time, Congress sits and sits while the presidents -- or at least their staffs -- never stop making mischief."
The second, Garrison Keillor, wrote in "Lake Wobegon Days" a year later:
"It was luxuries like air conditioning that brought down the Roman Empire. With air conditioning their windows were shut, they couldn't hear the barbarians coming."
The air-conditioned, super-cooled United States government did not think it important enough to make certain our armed forces were not sweltering in the Mesopotamian desert inferno, and the families of our soldiers, far less rich, are now sending air conditioners they purchase and ship at their own expense to Iraq to keep our boys and girls cool.
Vidal and Keillor are illuminating and entertaining -- but, on the other hand, who has the courage to pull the plug on this White House?
JEFF KOOPERSMITH is a political consultant, opinion research authority, policy analyst, and self-described "renegade lobbyist."
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