Thursday, January 1, 2009

The sound of silence - The antithesis of freedom

To President Eisenhower, in January of 1961, this evil was a much greater threat to America than Castro's Cuba or Kruschev's Soviet Union. What exactly could have happened in the “military-industrialist” establishment that would have caused

Eisenhower to issue such a strongly worded warning? Improved machine gun production? Nope. Battleship production? Nope. Nuclear submarines? Nope. Proliferation of nuclear warheads? A concern of course, but a concern that most Americans were fully aware of.

No, obviously what caused Eisenhower such deep concern had to be something much more pervasively shadowy, dark and secret. Some new, covert, technology had clearly emerged that had the very real potential to provide certain individuals with the “acquisition of unwarranted influence” that in turn would “endanger our liberties or our democratic processes” (i.e., our free and fair election process). In other words, it had the clear potential to circumvent the voice of the people and completely empower un-elected power mongers.

Eisenhower, I would submit, was warning America about something called the “Sound of Silence”.

Eisenhower was an honest and patriotic American. Like Marine Corp General Smedley Butler, who decades earlier declared to Congress that “War is a Racket,” Ike knew that such absolute power and total covert control over the minds and hearts of individual citizens would corrupt society absolutely. He also knew and understood, as did the German philosopher Goethe: “No man is more hopelessly enslaved, than he who falsely believes that he is free.” Therefore, he issued his strong, concluding warning to America. Today, this author must do no less.

The Sound of Silence is a military-intelligence code word for certain psychotronic weapons of mass mind-control tested in the mid-1950s, perfected during the 70s, and used extensively by the “modern” US military in the early 90s, despite the opposition and warnings issued by men such as Dwight David Eisenhower.

This mind-altering covert weapon is based on something called subliminal carrier technology, or the Silent Sound Spread Spectrum (SSSS)Oliver Lowery of Norcross, Georgia, and is described in US Patent #5,159,703 — “Silent Subliminal Presentation System” for commercial use in 1992. The patent abstract reads: (also nicknamed S-Quad or “Squad” in military jargon). It was developed for military use by Dr.

“A silent communications system in which nonaural carriers, in the very low (ELF) or very high audio-frequency (VHF) range or in the adjacent ultrasonic frequency spectrum, are amplitude- or frequency-modulated with the desired intelligence and propagated acoustically or vibrationally, for inducement into the brain, typically through the use of loudspeakers, earphones, or piezoelectric transducers. The modulated carriers may be transmitted directly in real time or may be conveniently recorded and stored on mechanical, magnetic, or optical media for delayed or repeated transmission to the listener.”

In layman's terms, this device, this “Sound of Silence”simply allows for the unwarranted implantation of specific thoughts, emotions, and even prescribed physical actions into unsuspecting human beings. In short, it has the very real ability to turn human beings into mere puppets in the hands of certain “controllers,” or puppet-masters.

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Gross social happiness: 'Sociology has discovered "social capital" as a wonder cure'

In his extolled work "New Values for the Economy. An Alternative to Communism and Capitalism," the leading thinker in the cause of capital reification Christian Felber, co-founder of Attac Austria, celebrates how easily the economy can be turned to the better. With its sky-blue book cover, the book follows his earlier bestseller "50 Proposals for a Just World." "While most of the proposals are positive, they all encounter a common obstacle: the profit-interest of powerful corporations." Still this contradiction can be removed. The legislators (!) only need to give other goals to private businesses, rewarding them for their public interest instead of their profit making. Then the "hocus pocus" of the growth pressure in the economy would be unnecessary because one business would no longer have to realize a higher profit than the others or devour one another. The annihilation competition would be extinguished. Capital would change from an end to a good means.

Even the World Bank is calculating wealth no longer only in GDP but increasingly including social criteria. In remote Bhutan, the absolutist-Buddhist kingdom, new happy democratic times appear. The sociologist, cultural anthropologist and extraordinary university professor Andreas Obrecht explored the cultural, social and economic effects of the electrification of this backward country carried out with Austrian development cooperation. In his radio feature (2008), he reported how the remote village population - that hardly came in contact with money - first learned to rightly value their work. To pay for the furnished electricity, they have to objectify themselves from now on in paid labor. This circumstance is registered pointblank as a success  by our researchers. Obrecht emphasizes how the "gross social happiness" begins to multiply. Like many others, he also speaks of spirituality in this connection. Sometimes it is of Buddhist origin but always involves solidarity with a greater whole arising through the new value community. Investment should be in social capital, which includes spirituality, and not in short-term pleasure.

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NKorean general threatens SKorea amid tensions

North Korea's defense minister accused the United States and South Korea on Tuesday of plotting war on the Korean peninsula and threatened to destroy the South if they attack.

Defense Minister Kim Il Chol said in a speech in Pyongyang that his army would reduce South Korea to a "sea of fire" unless "pro-American warmongers hell-bent on igniting another war" stop their "rash acts."

"A grave situation is prevailing on the Korean Peninsula due to the hostile policy of the U.S. imperialists and their followers," Kim said, according to the state Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea's communist regime from time to time issues such verbal salvos during periods of tension between the two states on the divided peninsula. It has made similar threats several times, including in late October, since a conservative government took office in South Korea in February pledging to get tougher with Pyongyang.

The bombast is regularly shrugged off in South Korea, which has lived with constant threats from the North for 55 years since the end of the Korean War.

Kim said the U.S. and South Korea were moving "to ignite a war of aggression," an accusation the North regularly levels against the security allies.

Both the U.S. and South Korea say that they have no intention of attacking and that regular military exercises are meant to prepare for any assault from the communist country.

In Seoul, a Defense Ministry official responded that he was aware of Kim's threat but said that the ministry would not raise the country's security posture. The official — speaking on condition of anonymity citing ministry policy — declined to elaborate.

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Did lame Congress enable Connell murder?

In many other countries this is kind of coincidence would have people spilling into the streets. The hotly disputed Ohio 2004 election count is what swung the election toward Bush, thus sealing our image in the world as fearful, hate-filled warmongers. 2000 came under the category "stuff happens." In 2004 the world saw us actually re-elect this monster.
 
There is really no question that Mike Connell's death has a smell of foul play that is apparent to anyone but the most Panglossian airhead. The fact alone that an experienced pilot's death came just before he was to explain, under oath, what appears to have been the rigging of the 2004 Ohio vote. But when you figure in that the plaintiffs' lead attorney in King Lincoln vs. Blackwell, Cliff Arnebeck, wrote a letter to Attorney General Mike Mukasey "seeking protection for Mr. Connell and his family from this reported attempt to intimidate a witness," well the smell gets worse than a week-old mackerel in the bedroom closet in the summertime. The letter said Rove warned Connell to "take the fall." And it doesn't stop there.

Ohio's CBS affiliate Action News 19 reported that Connell had been warned a couple of times not to fly. He had cancelled flight plans twice before. They have backed off from the report - gee, what Brown Shirt could have promised a nice weenie roast at the station, over a big bonfire?

Then you have motive. As Harvey Wasserman, the "conspiracy nut" who appears on Today, Nightline, National Public Radio, CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight wrote:

At 12:20 am on the night of the 2004 election exit polls and initial vote counts showed John Kerry the clear winner of Ohio's presidential campaign. The Buckeye State's 20 electoral votes would have given Kerry the presidency.

But from then until around 2am, the flow of information mysteriously ceased. After that, the vote count shifted dramatically to George W. Bush, ultimately giving him a second term. In the end there was a 6.7 percent diversion---in Bush's favor---between highly professional, nationally funded exit polls and the final official vote count as tabulated by Blackwell and Connell.

Mark Crispin Miller was saying a full two months ago, on Democracy Now, just after the judge ordered Connell to testify:

Yeah, this event in a courtroom in Columbus may be one of the most important things to happen in this whole election and may be one of the most important things to happen in American history. I mean, this sounds hyperbolic, I know, but it is true.

Mike Connell is-has been named as Karl Rove's computer guru since 2000. The lawyers in the case refer to Connell as a high-IQ Forrest Gump, because he's been on the scene of every dubious election we've had over the last eight years, starting with Florida 2000.

As a result of Ohio's 20 electoral votes going to Bush in 2004, the administration was able to complete its destruction of the Constitution, break the law countless more times, and keep spending the kind of money in Iraq which would pay for a couple of $700 billion bailouts at no further cost to us.

Hey, this is what happens when you have a congress that starts out its term by putting "impeachment off the table." By never, ever, ever holding these people accountable, they start to think they can get away with anything. I venture that Connell might still be alive had a good, let's-just-set-a-couple-of-things-straight impeachment hearing been held at some point, win or lose, over vote-rigging, an open admission of having authorized torture, the kidnap and torture of an American citizen, Jose Padilla, under a laughable theory of wartime powers that last forever, illegal NSA spying, betrayal of a covert American agent...can we blame them for thinking they can get away with anything? And this too.

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CIA, Mossad infiltrated Muslim organizations

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli intelligence - Mossad - have infiltrated Muslim organizations like Hamas in Palestine, Hizbullah in Lebanon and the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in Indonesia, says an Indonesian intelligence expert.
"It is clear that the CIA and the Mossad have infiltrated such organizations and have done much more than that," Sayed Abdullah, who operates an intelligence services firm in the Indonesian island of Maluku's, told IslamOnline.net.

He asserted that the spy agencies "demonstrated their capacity to control these organizations with the murdering of two Hamas leaders in a month and that is enough to understand what they are up to."

Abdelaziz Rantissi, Hamas new leader in the Gaza Strip, was assassinated late Saturday, April 17, in an Israeli air strike.

This came less than a month after an Israeli strike helicopter fired three missiles at 67-year-old wheelchair-bound Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin after performing the dawn prayers in a mosque near his home, killing him and at least eight others.

"It is obvious the CIA and the Mossad, assisted by the Australian Special Action Police (SAP) and the M15 of England, are all working towards undermining Muslim organizations in an attempt to weaken the Muslims globally," he charged.

Sayed said that the assassination of Rantissi was planned and done with the intent to hurt the Palestinian resistance movement and the Palestinians.

He asserted that the Israelis would not have carried out such an act if they were not certain of the aftermath of this attack.

"They know, for a certain reason, that they have control of the Hamas now and they are now forcing the organization underground which will eventually make it difficult for the Hamas to press on with Intifada.

"The Hamas leaders must come to accept the fact that however sophisticated the weaponry, the enemy needs moles, spies from within the organization to undermine it and they can also rest assured that the enemy knows who the Hamas leader in Gaza is at this moment," he said.

Several Hamas leaders have vehemently repudiated claims that the resistance movement has been successfully penetrated by the Israeli enemy.

They admitted, however, that Israeli moles remain a cancer eating away at the Palestinian body.

"It is difficult to believe but this is how it works for the enemies of the Muslims in Palestine and elsewhere. Their intelligence is working day and night to break down any resistance groups around the world, including those in Palestine and indeed in other Muslim countries too," opined the Indonesian expert.

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Pope decries self-interest in economic crisis

Pope Benedict XVI yesterday warned that the world was swimming toward ruin if self-interest prevails over solidarity during tough economic times for rich and poor nations.

[ ... ]

Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his Chistmas message said the world would have been better in terms of justics if Jesus Christ was presiding over the affairs of the world.

 "Jesus the Son of Mary is the standard-bearer of justice, of love for our fellow human beings, of the fight against tyranny, discrimination and injustice," Ahmadinejad said.

The fiery Iranian leader, who has angered Western countries with his sharp comments on Israel, nuclear power, and the role of the United States in the world, delivered the Alternative Christmas Message on Britain's Channel 4.

The network, called the event a "traditional alternative to The Queen's Christmas Day broadcast."

The thrust of his words and the overall message contained religiously inclusive rhetoric, such as his congratulating "the followers of Abrahamic faiths, especially the followers of Jesus Christ, and the people of Britain." And his words conjured a hopeful future.

But some of his remarks reflected Ahmadinejad's trademark bluntness.

"If Christ was on earth today undoubtedly he would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers," he said.

"If Christ was on earth today undoubtedly he would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over.

"If Christ was on earth today undoubtedly he would fight against the tyrannical policies of prevailing global economic and political systems, as he did in his lifetime."

The alternative address tradition, which began in 1993, has included remarks from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, an injured Afghan war veteran, a survivor of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and Marge from the television show "The Simpsons."
The network notes that "relations between Iran and the West" will play "a central role in world affairs" in the coming year.
"As the leader of one of the most powerful states in the Middle East, President Ahmadinejad's views are enormously influential. As we approach a critical time in international relations, we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view," said Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs.

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The full text of a Christmas message from Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

"In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful.

"Upon the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, Son of Mary, the Word of God, the Messenger of mercy, I would like to congratulate the followers of Abrahamic faiths, especially the followers of Jesus Christ, and the people of Britain.

"The Almighty created the universe for human beings and human beings for Himself.

"He created every human being with the ability to reach the heights of perfection. He called on man to make every effort to live a good life in this world and to work to achieve his everlasting life.

"On this difficult and challenging journey of man from dust to the divine, He did not leave humanity to its own devices. He chose from those He created the most excellent as His Prophets to guide humanity.

"All Prophets called for the worship of God, for love and brotherhood, for the establishment of justice and for love in human society. Jesus, the Son of Mary, is the standard-bearer of justice, of love for our fellow human beings, of the fight against tyranny, discrimination and injustice.

"All the problems that have bedevilled humanity throughout the ages came about because humanity followed an evil path and disregarded the message of the Prophets.

"Now as human society faces a myriad of problems and a succession of complex crises, the root causes can be found in humanity's rejection of that message, in particular the indifference of some governments and powers towards the teachings of the divine Prophets, especially those of Jesus Christ.

"The crises in society, the family, morality, politics, security and the economy which have made life hard for humanity and continue to put great pressure on all nations have come about because the Prophets have been forgotten, the Almighty has been forgotten and some leaders are estranged from God.

"If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers.

"If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over.

"If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would fight against the tyrannical policies of prevailing global economic and political systems, as He did in His lifetime.

"The solution to today's problems is a return to the call of the divine Prophets. The solution to these crises is to follow the Prophets - they were sent by the Almighty for the good of humanity.

"Today, the general will of nations is calling for fundamental change. This is now taking place. Demands for change, demands for transformation, demands for a return to human values are fast becoming the foremost demands of the nations of the world.

"The response to these demands must be real and true. The prerequisite to this change is a change in goals, intentions and directions. If tyrannical goals are repackaged in an attractive and deceptive package and imposed on nations again, the people, awakened, will stand up against them.

"Fortunately, today, as crises and despair multiply, a wave of hope is gathering momentum. Hope for a brighter future and hope for the establishment of justice, hope for real peace, hope for finding virtuous and pious rulers who love the people and want to serve them – and this is what the Almighty has promised.

"We believe Jesus Christ will return, together with one of the children of the revered Messenger of Islam and will lead the world to love, brotherhood and justice.

"The responsibility of all followers of Christ and Abrahamic faiths is to prepare the way for the fulfilment of this divine promise and the arrival of that joyful, shining and wonderful age.

"I hope that the collective will of nations will unite in the not too distant future and with the grace of the Almighty Lord, that shining age will come to rule the earth.

"Once again, I congratulate one and all on the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. I pray for the New Year to be a year of happiness, prosperity, peace and brotherhood for humanity. I wish you every success and happiness."

~ Guardian ~

Arsonists attack banks, cars in Greece

Arsonists attacked at least 10 banks and two car dealerships around Athens early Thursday amid New Year celebrations in the Greek capital, police said.

No injuries were or arrests were reported by authorities. The extent of the damage caused in the attacks was not immediately clear.

Police had braced for violence at New Year following serious riots earlier this month over the police's fatal shooting of a teenage boy.

At Athens' main Syntagma Square, about 200 pro-Palestinian protesters staged a peaceful demonstration during the New Year celebrations.

The protesters chanted slogans and burned flags of Israel, the United States and the European Union.

~ International Herald Tribune ~

SAIC announces acceptance of Greek Command, Control, Communications, Coordination, and Integration (C4I) system

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) (NYSE:  SAI) announced today that the Greek Government formally accepted the Command, Control, Communications, Coordination, and Integration (C4I) system designed to address public safety and security needs of the Greek Police, Fire Brigade, Coast Guard and Ambulance Service. The system was initially delivered in July 2004 in connection with the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. SAIC has since enhanced the system, addressing Greek post-Olympic security needs. With acceptance of the system, ownership and risk of loss transfers to the Greek State, and SAIC becomes entitled to financial consideration as specified in the contract.

"System acceptance is an important milestone in the implementation of this state-of-the-art system, and properly recognizes the tremendous efforts of the Greek State and SAIC to deliver an effective solution," said SAIC executive vice president and project director Donald H. Foley.

The C4I Contract has an aggregate contract value of approximately $322 million. In addition to providing the C4I system, SAIC will provide integrated logistics support of the system through 2013, and cellular network services until 2014, under the C4I Contract.

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Analyses of the fearmongering pathology

From Political misuses of psychiatry- Part !- "diagnosing Dubya"


As a practicing psychiatrist who writes on political subjects, I notice how psychiatric thinking and terminology has pervaded our culture. It's very useful in helping people who are genuinely mentally ill, but often obfuscates situations which are not properly in the domain of psychiatry.

"Diagnosing Dubya"- is the title of a widely circulated piece I wrote in October 2002 http://www.counterpunch.org/wolman1002.html . It was written when Bush was talking about invading Iraq WITHOUT consulting either Congress or the UN.

At the time, the piece helped to highlight how extreme Bush's position was, and to peel off the Teflon coat which he donned after 9-11 the previous year. Soon thereafter, sanity prevailed, and Bush consulted both bodies, getting a green light from Congress and ignoring the red light from the UN.

Now, 4 years later, people are still diagnosing Dubya. KAthryn Wurmser argues that he is a dry drunk and can't help himself. http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1230-21.htm
A Formal Intervention with a Dry Drunk President
by Katherine van Wormer

Others argue that he has ADD. Or he's psychotic, lost in a fantasy world, and should be removed from office on psychiatric grounds.

None of this addresses the systematic lying and hypocrisy which Bush shows. Nor does it explain why the power brokers in Washington continue to cooperate with him. If he were truly disabled mentally, they would have gotten rid of him long ago. But Bush has survived a devastating election, and gone on to escalate in Iraq, with the cooperation of the "opposition" party, even though the Democrats got a clear mandate from the electorate to get us out of there ASAP. Instead, the Dems have again increased the funding for the occupation, and seem likely to go along with the troop "surge" that Bush is pushing. More dead Americans and Iraqis, more hemorrhaging of the treasury, while Carlyle and Halliburton (Bush and Cheney) get richer.

All the evidence points to a diagnosis of sociopathic personality disorder, which is psychiatrese for EVIL. Bush is a master manipulator and liar, and has systematically accumulated so much power that the loss of his electoral base does not matter. He has entangled so many Democratic Congresspeople in his web of corruption that exposing him risks exposing them to criminal charges as well. We don't know what hooks Bush has into Congress, what sort of blackmail and bribery has gone on, but there is no other explanation for the reluctance of Pelosi et al to challenge him in any meaningful way, given the will of the people they are supposed to represent.

Using psychiatric terminology to describe a demagogue who is destroying the legal basis of government- the Constitution- and plundering the treasury is not only confusing, it diverts the focus of the public from Bush's criminal behavior, where it properly belongs. Instead, people play the intellectual game of diagnosis, which has no possible political application. There is no precedent in this country, that I know of, for removing a high official from office on the basis of mental illness. If the American Psychiatric Association (APA) were to petition Congress to consider impeachment on the basis that Bush is insane, this could conceivably lead somewhere, but the APA is tied into the pharmaceutical companies, which are among Bush's main supporters and beneficiaries, so this will not happen.

I suggest that people refrain from psychiatric diagnosis where Bush (and Cheney) are concerned, and concentrate on the moral issues of good and evil, right and wrong, accountability for criminal behavior, justice.



From The psychopathic origins of Bush/GOP wars, torture, and injustice

Delusions are typically associated with 'psychoses' --schizophrenia, global psychopathology. I am inclined to assign Bush and his supporters into one of two camps: those who are truly 'delusional' and those who exploit delusions for political gain, i.e, those who know better but tell the lies anyway knowing that they will be eagerly lapped up by those whose belief in them is irrational and symptomatic.

Yet another category are those 'Republicans' who may know better but for emotional reasons choose to support Bush. It was Republicans of this sort who supported the disastrous economic policies of Ronald Reagan, 'trickle down' theory, in particular, because it made them 'feel good about themselves'. The tax cuts, they willfully believed, would not merely make them even richer but monies not paid in taxes would somehow 'trickle down' and assuage them of the guilt they might have felt about being petty, greedy, intellectually dishonest members of a self-absorbed and 'psychopathic' elite of 'Right Wing Authoritarians'.

The last string of studies I want to lay before you ... concerns authoritarians' willingness to hold officials accountable for their misdeeds. Or rather, their lack of willingness--which catches your eye because high RWAs generally favor punishing the bejabbers out of misdoers. But they proved less likely than most people to punish a police officer who beat up a handcuffed demonstrator, or a chief of detectives who assaulted an accused child molester being held in jail, or--paralleling the trial of US Army Lt. William Calley--an Air Force officer convicted of murder after leading unauthorized raids on Vietnamese villages.

...

If some day George W. Bush is indicted for authorizing torture, you can bet your bottom dollar the high RWAs will howl to the heavens in protest. It won't matter how extensive the torture was, how cruel and sickening it was, how many years it went on, how many prisoners died, how devious Bush was in trying to evade America's laws and traditional stand against torture, or how many treaties the US
broke. Such an indictment would grind right up against the core of authoritarian followers, and they won't have it. Maybe they'll even say, "The president was busy running the war. He didn't really know. It was all done by Rumsfeld and others."

--Altermeyer, op cit

Applying standards inequitably must surely stem from the observed inability of 'conservatives' to infer accurately, in other words, think logically. I've often charged that 'conservatives' work backward from conclusions, in a biased search for supporting premises. Moreover, Dick Cheney is a text-book example, quashing facts that would lead one to conclusions not liked by the conservative 'authoritarian' in power. Just recently, Cheney has moved to quash a report that supports critics of the Bush administration with regard to the greenhouse effect.

"This is the story of a White House and vice president's office that work together to squelch information, to squash it, to stop it from getting to the public so that there would be no information out there, so that there wouldn't be a push for them to act," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who appeared with Burnett at a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Boxer accused White House Press Secretary Dana Perino of lying about the redaction of Gerberding's testimony and engaging in a cover-up.

--Cheney Wanted Cuts in Climate Change Testimony, Boxer Claims Cover-Up, ABC News

Thus --not only will conservative infer incorrectly from any given set of premises or facts, they will work backward from cherished shibboleths (like 'supply side economics') in bias search for premises to support the conclusions they've already embraced either through ignorance, prejudice or malice. Failing that, conservatives like Dick Cheney, will work actively to suppress information that supports or proves opposing conclusions. It is in this mindset that we find the origins of the GOPs attack on the Bill of Rights.

Altermeyer found the inability of 'conservatives' to be measurable; in fact, he says, conservatives have a problem with 'evidence' in general. This is an issue that seems especially relevant to the debate about 'torture', a debate in which the 'conservative' defense of Bush is flatly indefensible.

Authoritarian followers aren't going to question, they're going to parrot. After all, in the ethnocentric mind "We are the Good Guys and our opponents are abominations"--which is precisely the thinking of the Islamic authoritarian followers who become suicide bombers in Iraq. And if we turn out not to be such good guys, as news of massacres and the torture and murder of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers, by the CIA, and by the arms-length "companies" set up to torture prisoners becomes known, authoritarian followers simply don't want to know. It was just a few, lower level "bad apples." Didn't the president say he was sickened by the revelations of torture, and all American wrong-doers would be punished?

...

Sitting in the jury room of the Port Angeles, Washington court house in 1989, Mary Wegmann might have felt she had suddenly been transferred to a parallel 76 universe in some Twilight Zone story. For certain fellow-jury members seemed to have attended a different trial than the one she had just witnessed. They could not remember some pieces of evidence, they invented evidence that did not exist, and they steadily made erroneous inferences from the material that everyone could agree on. Encountering my research as she was later developing her Ph.D. dissertation project, she suspected the people who "got it wrong" had been mainly high RWAs. So she recruited a sample of adults from the Clallam County jury list, and a group of students from Peninsula College and gave them various memory and inference tests. For example, they listened to a tape of two lawyers debating a school segregation case on a McNeil/Lehrer News Hour program. Wegmann found High RWAs indeed had more trouble remembering details of the material they'd encountered, and they made more incorrect inferences on a reasoning test than others usually did. Overall, the authoritarians had lots of trouble simply thinking straight.

Intrigued, I gave the inferences test that Mary Wegmann had used to two large samples of students at my university. In both studies high RWAs went down in flames more than others did. They particularly had trouble figuring out that an inference or deduction was wrong. To illustrate, suppose they had gotten the following syllogism:

All fish live in the sea.
Sharks live in the sea..
Therefore, sharks are fish.

The conclusion does not follow, but high RWAs would be more likely to say the reasoning is correct than most people would. If you ask them why it seems right, they would likely tell you, "Because sharks are fish." In other words, they thought the reasoning was sound because they agreed with the last statement. If the conclusion is right, they figure, then the reasoning must have been right. Or to put it another way, they don't "get it" that the reasoning matters--especially on a reasoning test.

Authoritarians do not 'infer' well; in other words, as a class, they lack critical thinking skills, logic! They are often fail to execute simply syllogisms.

A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".

As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.

All of them "preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality".

Republicans are demanding to know why the psychologists behind the report, Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition, received $1.2m in public funds for their research from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

The authors also peer into the psyche of President George Bush, who turns out to be a textbook case. The telltale signs are his preference for moral certainty and frequently expressed dislike of nuance.

"This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes," the authors argue in the Psychological Bulletin.

One of the psychologists behind the study, Jack Glaser, said the aversion to shades of grey and the need for "closure" could explain the fact that the Bush administration ignored intelligence that contradicted its beliefs about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The authors, presumably aware of the outrage they were likely to trigger, added a disclaimer that their study "does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false".

Another author, Arie Kruglanski, of the University of Maryland, said he had received hate mail since the article was published, but he insisted that the study "is not critical of conservatives at all". "The variables we talk about are general human dimensions," he said. "These are the same dimensions that contribute to loyalty and commitment to the group. Liberals might be less intolerant of ambiguity, but they may be less decisive, less committed, less loyal."

--Study of Bush's psyche touches a nerve

How about we teach people while they are still in school real critical thinking skills! Now --that would surely shake up the political landscape and blast holes in the 'conventional wisdom', It would also put more than a few loudmouths, pundits, and poll-impaired consultants out of a job! Somehow --the message must be made clear even to conservatives, in language that they must understand: torture is not OK! EVER! It is immoral and it is a war crime! Bush is culpable and should be prosecuted.



From The Psychopathology of the Republican

The Republican psychology, or psychopathology, is borne of fear and weakness and, thus promulgates both. As one of our strongest Presidents, a Democrat who won a real war with a legitimate enemy said, "The only thing to fear is fear itself." Well, today, in light of the continual "boogeymaning" of the country, we might paraphrase President Roosevelt. "The only thing to fear is fear itself and those who stoke it and those who profit from it. In other words, the only thing to fear is . . . those who reject the basic goodness of man, those who huddle in St. Paul this week and many of those who call themselves "Republicans".

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