"How high do you want me to jump?"
Since beginning this blog, LI has been giving friendly little heads ups to the governing class, that oh so cute but sometimes sorta ditzy elite. It is the Paris Hilton among governing classes: soulless, talentless, and smug. Alas, there are so many fronts to cover, fuck ups to point to, clockwork grinding busily bloodwards to worry about. Sometime LI falls behind!
And then there is Cheney. Lately, LI’s attitude towards Cheney is much like Police Inspector Dreyfus’ to Detective Clouseau. We get a physical twitch when the name comes up. Herbert Lom got a twitch in the eye. Us, we get an unbearably stiff neck. The stiff neck seized us, for instance, last night, when we read the first of what the Washington Post promises to be a series of articles about Cheney. We recommend reading it with two caveats.
One is that the whole this is, as always, sugared by the kissass establishment fear of ever stumbling upon a truth – so that, for instance, before telling us that Bush is basically following a program laid out by his odious fruitcake of a V.P., Barton Gellman lays on this bullshit:
“Cheney is not, by nearly every inside account, the shadow president of popular lore. Bush has set his own course, not always in directions Cheney preferred. The president seized the helm when his No. 2 steered toward trouble, as Bush did, in time, on military commissions. Their one-on-one relationship is opaque, a vital unknown in assessing Cheney's impact on events. The two men speak of it seldom, if ever, with others. But officials who see them together often, not all of them admirers of the vice president, detect a strong sense of mutual confidence that Cheney is serving Bush's aims.”
The choice of words in that paragraph – for instance, of Bush ‘seizing the helm’ – signals, well enough, what the message is to insiders (whose assessments we are magically supposed to listen to – never has a paper been so awestruck, so much about insiders as the Washington Post – it is the Teen People of Insiderville). It signals that we are coming close to a time when it is alright to actually say, hey, we are are ruled by a living embodiment of attention deficit disorder who is a cutout moved around by competing court circles, one of which is headed by a man of meager intelligence and no scruples, the ever thuggish Cheney. But respect before all things for our monarch!
Two is that, of course, as in all ‘news’ reporting, the series comes five years too late. The job of the newspapers, over the course of the reign of the Junta, is to report the truth only when it is too late to do anything about it. In the meantime, sedulously copying and diffusing the bullshit is the no. 1 aim of rags like the Post – hence, their nonsensical effort to insert propaganda about Iran in every story reporting American deaths in Iraq – the IED deaths will inevitably be followed by the accusation that they came from Iran. That there’s no proof for this, that Iran supplying Sunni insurgents with IEDs is about the stupidest lie that the White House and the D.C. clique has ever tried to broadcast, doesn’t matter. Nor will these reports ever include the phrase, financed by the Saudis. That’s an independent truth, it floats around without a sponsor, and unsponsored truths are poison to the papers – until, say, six years have passed.
The Cheney series comes on the heels of the brief headlining of a story that has been out there for years, namely, the Vice President’s illegal shielding of information from an obscure department designed to account and audit classified information. The Vice President has refused to disclose even that information that it has an obligation to, such as who works in the office of the Vice President and who visits that office. Disobeying the executive order, Cheney’s office made the unique defense that it was not part of the executive branch. This has caused much laughing and goofawing in the press, which saves its indignation for important things, like interviews with OJ Simpson. And then there is the soi-disant opposition…
Ah, that opposition. On the Crooks and Liars site I came across this youtube video of Senator Durbin’s reaction to the news that Cheney has claimed not to be part of the executive branch of government. It is as fine a piece of centrist performance art as you will ever see. Durbin summons up all the gravitas and eloquence of a wet hen finding out about Kentucky Fried Chicken for the first time. Warning to adults and children: watching this video can cause twitches, aches, and the longing to live in some other country far, far away. Durbin swales a perfectly easy case – Cheney has committed a crime and should be called to account for it – in such loads of fatty tissue pomposity, such unfocused verbiage, such a stump show of obsolete gestures, that you cannot watch it without knowing, immediately, that Cheney will get away with anything he damn well pleases. It reminds me of the old T.S. Eliot line, ‘this is the way the world ends/not with a bang but a whimper.’