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I don’t even know where to begin with the latest on the Cheney front. I mean, back at the beginning of the current administration, he claimed he did not need to disclose information about his secret energy meetings because they fell under the cloak of executive privilege, but now he is claiming he is not a part of the executive branch as far as National Archive recordkeeping requirements are concerned. It’s all rather disingenuous.
What it really comes down to is that he doesn’t want anyone to know what he is doing.
And what is he doing? All sorts of nasty things, apparently, as you know if you’ve been reading the news lately. It seems like Dick Cheney’s fingerprints are all over just about every shady, controversial, or constitutionally questionable action the current administration has taken. Torture? Wiretapping? Habeas corpus? Iraq? Plamegate? Department of Justice shenanigans? Destruction of records and logs? It all keeps coming back to Dick Cheney.
Over the past few years, of course, individuals within the executive branch (and I include Dick Cheney in their number, even if he doesn’t) have been working steadily to erode our rights as citizens of the United States. Invading our privacy, limiting our freedoms, reading our e-mails, listening to our telephone conversations, you name it, they’re doing it these days. All in the name of protecting us against the terrorists of course. But we’re told not to fret — as long as we aren’t breaking any laws, we have nothing to worry about.
If that is indeed true, I fear that there is only one conclusion that can be drawn about Dick Cheney’s refusal to provide any information to the various government officials that have been requesting it from him: he is attempting to hide or destroy evidence of various high crimes and misdemeanors committed by himself and members of his staff. After all, using the administration’s own logic, if he weren’t breaking any laws, he wouldn’t have anything to worry about, right?
Which is just one more reason why I feel that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
Courtesy of Wonkette. Be sure to read their commentary before watching the video, or you might miss what you need to be watching for. No need to have the volume up if you’re at work, as the clip is taken from Albanian TV and is thus not in English. Hilarious.
And furthermore, I think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
P.S. The watch has not yet made an appearance on eBay, at least under any combination of President, Bush, watch, wristwatch, or Albania. Of imbecile, for that matter.
Do you suppose that it pisses off the Iranians that we still call the Persian Gulf that?
I should note that my description of terror management theory is grossly over-simplified (in spite of this post’s probably excessive length). I focused only on those aspects of the theory and research that seemed most relevant to my political concerns, and left out many other aspects of the theory and the research to date.
Terror management theory is in fact a very rich and complex theory that attempts to explain human behaviors and emotional responses in a wide variety of settings, not merely their responses to terrorism or in a political arena. Much of the research, for instance, focuses on the interaction between mortality salience and reactions to the “other” – that is, people who are in some fundamental way different from the individual being studied. These aspects of the theory are also very important on a social and political level, and I hope to spend some time on other aspects of the research in later posts. Terror management theory also concerns itself with the effects of factors like self-esteem, stereotypes, and competing worldviews in a variety of situations. I hope to write about some of these factors in later posts, because they are relevant both to understanding the overall theory and some of its political implications. I opted not to include these factors in my original post because, let’s face it, it was more than long enough given the material I did include.
In the mean time, if you want to learn more about the theory, I do recommend checking out both the book I mentioned (see the reference table at the end of this post) or some of the articles I cited in the post. The Wikipedia entry on terror management theory is quite short but has some of the basics and, unlike many of the academic journals I cited, is readily available to anyone with an internet connection. You can also try running the term “terror management” and/or any of the author names I mention (if only for the fun of typing Pyszczynski) in a search engine like Google for additional information on the subject, though I cannot vouch for the accuracy of information found that way.
And furthermore, I think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
Kudos, by the way, to New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, who yesterday reminded us that while the threat of terrorism is real and often preventable (and an appropriate threat for our government to take steps to prevent), it is not the biggest threat facing most of us in our day-to-day lives, and that people need to stop all the fear and hysteria. Far more people have died of things like cancer, automobile accidents, and gunshot wounds in just the last year than in all the terrorist attacks (foreign or domestic engineered) that have taken place on our soil in the last ten years.
Terrorist attacks naturally capture our attention because, like Bruce Willis movies, they involve lots of explosions and action and may result in a large number of casualties in a very short period of time. And of course, if there ever is a bona fide nuclear attack in a major population center, it might even exceed the number of deaths from all other sources combined for that year. Such a scenario is indeed chilling.
But if we live every day in constant terror of such events, and give up many of the things that have made this country better than probably any other country in the world – things like our constitutional rights and civil liberties – then truly, the terrorists have already won.
And furthermore, in case there is any confusion on this point, I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
In my previous post, I outlined some of the principles of terror management theory, and described the theory’s implications for American politics. But despite the length of my post, I left out one very important point that I really wanted to emphasize.
You see, I am aware of anecdotal evidence that awareness of terror management theory can actually change individuals’ reactions to those lovely death primes the research relies on. Certainly, I have found that my own awareness of the theory has changed the way I watch the news, and in particular it has changed the weight I give to various political assertions by members of the current administration.
But I am not drawing solely on my own experience in making this assertion, even though I am unaware of any published study that would support it. Rather, I am relying in part on unpublished whisperings among the graduate students at one of the academic institutions where much of the research into terror management theory has been conducted.
First, you must understand that much of the research in this field (as is the case with nearly all psychological research) is performed on undergraduate college students, usually those enrolled in undergraduate psychology courses. There is a very good reason for this, of course: undergraduates are a convenient research population, and they will usually participate without pay in exchange for a few extra credit points in their psych classes.
On at least one of the campuses where much of the research into terror management theory takes place, the graduate students who collected the data complained that they had gotten reputations among the current crop undergraduate psychology majors for always working on terror management studies, and the students participating in the studies would be looking for the death primes as soon as they saw the graduate students conducting the research. Suddenly, the researchers had trouble getting statistically significant results, even in cases where all previous research suggested that the present study should produce such results. In other words, awareness of terror management theory at least partially nullified the effect of the death prime. As a result of this, the grad students had to start going to other college campuses in the area to seek research participants.
It is for this reason that I have devoted so much time researching and writing my post on the politics of terror management. (Though the post ostensibly responds to Olbermann’s recent piece on the nexus of politics and terror, I have actually been working on it for some time and only made the changes that address his piece in the last two days.) I hope that my post on the subject, and a few others I have planned, will spark a discussion of terror management theory in the blogosphere, and that that discussion will eventually reach the mainstream media. It is my hope that, by increasing voter awareness of terror management theory and its implications, the ability of politicians to manipulate those voters with fear will be reduced.
Please note that I am not claiming there is no reason for us to be concerned about future terrorist attacks. The events of 9/11 made it plain that we are vulnerable to attacks on American soil, and it is appropriate for our government to devote significant resources to preventing future attacks. My point (and hope) is that voters should be able to make their decisions about which candidate(s) would be best to lead our country into a post-Bush future and undo the damage he has done to our country and our standing in the world arena free of the sort of emotional manipulation that we have been subject to in the recent past. Knowledge is power, and in the present instant, knowledge of terror management theory confers the power to resist manipulation by those who hope to use the theory to manipulate us with fear tactics.
And furthermore, I believe that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
Well, the big news of the day, of course, is that the judge handed down a sentence in the Scooter Libby case. Thirty months in jail for lying under oath. And my oh my look at all the people who came out to write letters of support for Our Boy Scooter, according to Kos: Kissinger, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Bolton, Perle, and Feith. And who didn’t write one? Darth Cheney.
Of course the sentence will be appealed, with debate about whether Libby should be allowed to remain free pending that appeal. And the possibility (probability?) of a presidential pardon looms as well, though probably not until Dubya is on his way out the door.
Let’s all take a few minutes to remember what this is all really about, though, shall we?
What started it all was Ambassador Joe Wilson reporting, based on his investigation, that he didn’t believe claims that Iraq was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium in Niger were credible. This took place during the run-up to the Iraq war, in late 2002, and Wilson’s report contradicted the story our beloved president and his minions were trying to sell us all at the time, which was that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction. He was trying to convince us of this, and of Saddam Hussein’s love for al Qaeda, so that he could justify an invasion of Iraq to make the Middle East safe for Halliburton.
Wilson’s report undermined the president’s efforts in this venture, of course, so someone in the White House set out to discredit and retaliate against Joe Wilson. Part of that retaliation involved the leaking of Wilson’s wife’s status as a covert CIA agent, putting not only his wife, but her intelligence network — OUR intelligence network — at risk at a time when we desperately need whatever intel we can get.
The people who are pleading for leniency for Scooter Libby seem to think that his crime — lying under oath — is such a minor thing that he should receive no more than a mere slap on the wrist.
Let’s all remember that Scooter Libby’s crime was really just a small part of a much larger crime: the Bush administration’s manipulation of intelligence and public opinion to start a war of aggression against a country that was not really developing weapons of mass destruction, was not really allied with al Qaeda, and was not really a threat to the United States. A war that has killed thousands of Americans and tens of thousands (more likely hundreds of thousands, we just don’t have any way of counting accurately) of Iraqis –many of them innocent Iraqi civilians.
Do you think his crime was such a minor thing? I don’t. I think the real crime is that Scooter Libby is the only person to have been charged in the whole mess so far.
And by the way, I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.