Saturday, December 20, 2008

Who Controls The Present ...

“Who Controls the Present …”

by Mort Malkin

Naram-Sin took the conquests of his grandfather, Sargon I, past mortal ultimacy. He declared himself to be the “King of the Four Corners of the World” and wore a horned helmet, a signet of deity.

Five thousand years later, the great historian Louis XIV, tried to do as well with “L’Etat c’est moi.” He was called the Sun King, a reference likening him to Helios the sun god. He ruled as an absolute monarch, mistakes and all.

In the 20th century Richard Nixon was as memorable, “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” It was satire writ large, except the rest of the country saw as attitude, not parody. Nixon was soon teleported from the White House to his home in California via resignment.

Now we are up to the 21st century. Although it is less than a century since the last absolutist, we have another in our midst. Rich Cheney (courtesy of having been the CEO of Halliburton in the nineties) has tried to establish the unitary executive, that anything the President does, legal or illegal, is within his authority as Commander In Chief. Especially if the President is wooden George, Cheney’s puppet. But, the Constitution says the President is Commandeer In Chief of the Armed forces, not of the civilian population. For Cheney the Constitution is an inconvenience that can be disregarded, except for the Second Amendment.

A few of Cheney’s pronouncements of late have confirmed his truity to the line of succession from Naram-Sin to Richard Nixon. In two separate interviews, a couple of years apart, his succinct responses to questions of the lack of public support brought answers of a) “That won’t stop us” and b) “So?”. More recently, he said he was right about everything in the last eight years. He said that even if there were no WMDs found in Iraq, he would have invaded because Saddam could have been thinking about such weapons in the future. He also said that waterboarding was appropriate to extract information from enemy combatants, whether it did or not. He also, also said the Guantanamo detention center should be kept operational for the foreseeable future.

Also, also, also. he said in a deposition before a federal court that “the Vice President alone may determine what constitutes Vice Presidential records versus personal records.” He insisted it is within his power to determine “how his records will be maintained, managed and disposed, and all are actions that are committed to his discretion by law.” That means in colloquial legalese, “L’etat, c’est moi.”

The saving grace is that Cheney strangely thinks that history wll judge him as a wise man. He may want to keep the records undestroyed so he will be vindicated by the historians of the next generation.

Perhaps the best judgment came from his wife. When Dick joked that he was nicknamed “Darth Vader,” Lynne quipped “It humanizes you.” Truth in humor!

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