by Mentarch | 4/23/2008 05:16:00 PM
This three-parts series aims to illustrate why President George W. Bush, of the whole of his administration, as well as allies, enablers and supporters of said administration, represent absolute paragons of incompetence.

In Part I, the fear and arrogance inherent to incompetents were exposed - using President Bush's torture memo as a main example.

In Part II, the compulsive lying, hypocrisy and mendacity typically displayed by the Bush administration in order to hide or conceal their incompetence were discussed.

Herein in Part III, we discuss the need for absolute control and inevitable abuse of power by incompetents - using as prime example one Richard B. Cheney, Vice-President of the U.S.A.




One last time in this series, I offer you the 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.
Incompetents are ruled by expediency - driven by intellectual sloth, they seek the easiest routes to achieve whatever objectives they have set out to accomplish. To them, the end justifies the means - which include (of course) lying, cheating, or simply bending/twisting/ignoring the rules (or the law), all the while making perfectly quaint rationalizations, as well as giving themselves a deluded moral high ground (or authority), to justify their wrongdoings.

Furthermore, everything is about spin and truthiness, but never about facts and truth, where incompetents are concerned. It matters more for them to appear competent and "on top of things" (Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, anyone?) than actually doing something to correct/remedy their incompetence.

Even worse: when caught with their lies and wrongdoings, incompetents will simply deny their lies and further disassemble - in an obvious attempt at mudding the issue, at sowing confusion and thus fostering uncertainty. Aided and abetted by an equally intellectual sloth-driven incompetent media (more on this here), the politics of ignorance, fear, violence (war) and expediency rule the day.

For it is the incompetents among us who consistently promulgate violence as a solution for anything, to everything - especially when they themselves are gripped by fear.

And when such people constitute key government policy-makers, secretaries/ministers and executive Presidents/Prime Ministers, then a democratic society is doomed to slide slowly but surely into authoritarianism.

Why? Because only incompetents abuse power.

Which, of course, brings me to the matter of Richard (Dick) B. Cheney, Vice-President of the United States of America.

The man who established a de facto co-Presidency or, as I prefer to call it, the Office of the Unitary Regency.

For the last seven years are indeed the grand canvas of Dick B. Cheney, concealing himself all the while behind his Puppet President, George W. Bush.

Here are some salient items to support this point:
Right from the beginning, Cheney and Bush reached a "special understanding" with regards to the responsibilities and roles of the "Vice-Presidency";

Cheney not only chose himself as Bush's running mate, but he likewise gathered his own Cabal in addition to have had a heavy hand in picking the President's Men;

Cheney had his own spies, his modus operandi always being "never leave tracks";

Cheney has ever been completely involved in the formulation and execution of policy - in fact, 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 Bush;

On the tragic day of September 11, 2001, Cheney was swiftly 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";

After the 9/11 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;

Cheney always gets the last word before Bush made any "decision";

Cheney shaped foreign policy (Iraq, Iran), anti-terrorism policy, homeland security (the Patriot Act, the Military Commission's Act, the Catastrophic Emergency Presidential Executive Order, the Protect America Act, as obvious examples), domestic initiatives, energy policy, environment policy and economic policy;

Cheney literally ran National Security;

Cheney has been, all along, the driving force behind the White House policy of global warming denialism;

Cheney was the chief promulgator and instigator of the policies of torture and indefinite detentions;

When the 9-11 Commission received testimony from Bush: A) Bush and Cheney testified together; B) the Bush-Cheney testimony was not under oath; C) there were no records kept of their testimony; and D) said testimony occurred behind closed doors;

During the run-up to the Iraq War, who else but 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 (including the WMDs hype - which he orchestrated);

Cheney was the chief promulgator of the (non-existent) linkage between Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda and 9-11 - in fact, he has kept on harping this lie over and over again (how often has he gone on Meet The Press to pass on his talking points in favor/support for the Iraq occupation?) - even to this very day;

Cheney has been approving secret intelligence operations against Iran;

Cheney shaped SCOTUS by vetting nominees;

Etc., etc., etc.
It is well known that Dick B. Cheney is an ardent proponent of the Unitary Executive Theory. This is quite understandable, considering his own demonstrated authoritarian streak. But what really let loose Regent Cheney as we have come to know him in the last seven years was the primal fear he has been living under since that fateful day of September 11, 2001. In his own words (emphasis mine):
"In a sense, 9/11 changed everything for us. 9/11 forced us to think in new ways about threats to the United States, about our vulnerabilities, about who our enemies were, about what kind of military strategy we needed in order to defend ourselves." - 12/22/2003;

"I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we (now) live in demands it." - 12/20/2005;

"I do believe that especially in the day and age we live in, the nature of the threats we face, the President of the United States needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired, if you will, in terms of the conduct of national security policy." - 12/20/2005;

"Either we're serious about fighting the war on terror or we're not. Either we believe that there are individuals out there doing everything they can to try to launch more attacks, try to get ever deadlier weapons to use against us or we don't. The President and I believe very deeply that there is a hell of a threat." - 12/20/2005;

"Given modern technology, given the development of the extremist Islamic movement, if you will, given their desire to get their hands on ever deadlier technology to use against us and their willingness to strike virtually any place in the world, it's foolish for people to think we can walk away from a situation like Afghanistan or Iraq and be secure in own homes. We've learned on 9/11 in the United States that that's really not the case." - 02/23/2007;

"Clearly, our administration has been dominated by the events of 9/11 and the aftermath. That has clearly become front and center in terms of our concerns and we spend our time, how we spend our resources." - 02/23/2007;

"(The terrorists are) still out there trying hard, but it has been over five years now. And we have disrupted attempts to launch further attacks against the United States. And that's not been an accident -- a whole raft of strategies and policies behind that in terms of being aggressive, going overseas, going after the terrorists and terror-sponsored states; the measures we've taken at home to improve our security arrangements, to reorganize our intelligence capabilities, to establish our Terrorist Surveillance Program and financial tracking programs, other things that we've been able to do that have helped us (...)" - 02/23/2007;

"I think the thing that some people mistake for, or categorize as "Cheney's changed" sort of analysis, is 9/11. And 9/11 did have, I think, a remarkable impact on the threat to the United States on what we were required to deal with as an administration. I deal with it every day. I look at the intelligence reports every day." - 04/14/2007.
Dick Cheney did change profoundly after 9/11 - those who knew him came to hardly recognize him anymore. However, 9/11 was merely an excuse for him to fully unleash his incompetence:
We all know the saying: 'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely'. However, how many among us actually realize that this adage is nothing more than an excuse for incompetence in wielding, or exercising, power?

For 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.

Why is this so? Because, their petty minds are blind to the principle that factual power constitutes that which serves not only to better our own personal lives, but to improve those of others as well. We are indeed the keepers of our brothers, our sisters, our families, our relatives and our neighbors: this is a plain and simple verity, which also happens to define the very essence of Humanity.

It is not coincidence that incompetents invariably forget - or deny - such a fundamental truth.
Combine this to the inherent petty arrogance and vanity of incompetents (i.e. they are right because they think so, and they confirm it to themselves), as well as their primal fear of being exposed for what they are, one understands why incompetents surround themselves with like-minded incompetents.

All of this put together also explains four other observations with regards to the behavior of incompetents:
1) discussions among incompetents invariably constitute echo chambers of self-gratifying reinforcements of opinions, reasonings and/or justifications (regardless of however much factless and paranoid fantasy-based such opinions might be based upon to begin with);

2) any "consensus" achieved among incompetents constitute the opinion(s) of those who argue the most forcefully/loudly - and not of those who offer the most valid and fact-based arguments;

3) incompetents prefer to do whatever they do under the cover of concealment and/or secrecy, abhorring transparency and accountability;

and, directly à propos to the subject at hand herein, 4) incompetents not only need to have absolute control over everything, but greatly admire such authoritarian behavior in others (which they view as "true" leaders).
Hence, thanks in large part to his forceful personality, coupled with the veritable nexus of incompetence that was the White House, begining with George W. Bush, Cheney acted like a bona fides authoritarian Regent, imposing an atmosphere of intimidation in the White House whereby dissenting opinions means dismissal, experts are routinely dismissed as not credible and "inconvenient" facts are dismissed - if only because Cheney convinced himself that he is right.

And the weaker-willed incompetents surrounding him - from Bush to Rumsfeld to Rice to Powell, et al. - acted as echo chambers and followed suit.

For indeed, every single "talking point" (i.e. enacted policy) we've ever heard out of the White House, especially with regards to Iraq, Iran, torture, FISA, and so on, has originated from Regent Cheney and his office. Even after said talking points were shot down and left for dust, only one person has ever continued to keep them alive: Dick. B. Cheney.

Again, a few examples:
The good old (and proven false) "al Qaeda-Saddam Hussein-Iraq" link (see Part II of this series) - guess who still claims this to be true?

Bush accuses Democrats of allowing FISA to expire (02/16/2008) - guess who keeps on pushing the same fallacy?

Bush advances a new justification for staying in Iraq: preventing al Qaeda from acquiring control of Iraqi oil (03/18/2008) - one guess who came up with this?

Bush advances a newer new justification for the Iraq war: Iran (04/14/2008) - care to guess who had already laid this one out and has kept at it all along?
(By the way: George W. Bush never professed any belief in, let alone displayed knowledge of, the concept of the Unitary Executive prior prior to 2001 (to my knowledge), until he got "educated" on this concept only after he became Regent Cheney's mouthpiece and Puppet - but I disgress)

Hence, Cheney reasons, decides and decrees - and thus all must obey and follow suit, because he is right damn it, regardless what reality says otherwise.

And recognized as a "true leader" by his fellow incompetents , follow suit Bush and the rest of the White House did.

Why, to this day he is still admired for his authoritarianism ... by other incompetents, that is (two examples here and here).

In this respect, Cheney's arrogance and vanity know no bounds - typical of incompetents - and which are quite eloquently crystallized by this simple, dismissive interrogative of his: "So?"

Or, let us hear it from his own words:
"At times, you must feel like you’re at the center of events, but no one’s really paying attention to you. You understand the world better than anybody, but no one wants to hear it. Now you know exactly what it’s like to be Vice President."
Alternately, let us remember also the justifications which were first parotted out of the White House (but came from him) concerning the accountability of his office:
It "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, to anyone.
The same kind of echo chamber legalese gymnastics as used to justify torture, the gutting of habeas corpus, illegal electronic surveillance, gutting of the 4th amendment, the Patriot Act, the Military Comissions Act and the Protect America Act - among numerous "accomplishments".

All because incompetents strive to operate in secrecy, are morally and ethics impaired, and abhor transparency and accountability.

Above all, they need to be in complete control not only of their fellow incompetents surrounding them, but especially of everyone else - those that are susceptible to question them. In other words:
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".
Fear.
Need for expediency.
Lack of morals and ethics.
Vanity and arrogance.
Lack of responsibility.
Denial of mistakes.
Duplicity.
Mendacity.
Denial of reality.
Rejection of accountability.
Authoritarianism.
Abuse of Power.

Incompetence.

Thus I give you Dick Cheney and his incompetent followers in the White House - including his own Puppet President, George W. Bush -, resulting in the last seven years of disastrous wars, legalized torture, gutting of the constitution, secret military tribunals, legalized (illegal) electronic surveillance, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, etc. - including a potential war with Iran.

But I also give you the Congress of 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006, as well as all those in the traditional media who have cheered on or played the conspicuous "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" monkeys, along with all those other supporters, allies and enablers of the Cheney-Bush regime.

One can only expect that such confluence of incompetence elected to office again and again constitute an anomaly which will be recognized as such by historians of tomorrow.

One can only expect that the American people have learned, once and for all, to recognize incompetence and that, from now on, will never hesitate to act swiflty to dismiss out of office said incompetence.

But when one observes the current "free ride" given to the Joe Liebermans and John McCains of the land, one wonders with dread whether the lessons have been truly learned indeed.

For in the end, the real buck stops with We The People.

Mea culpa, mea culpa vox populi - as I have come to say all too often over the last seven years ...


(Cross-posted from APOV)

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