3/30/08

Good News, Bad News

Good News: This writer has great analytical skills. Read all three articles.

The reader is therefore asked to give this careful consideration because the eternal vigilance necessary to protect our liberty is better served by reasonable suspicion than by enduring trust or inattention.

Amen.

Bad News: These three articles together make a very compelling case for an imminent attack on Iran resulting in the declaration of a national emergency.

When might Bush declare a national emergency under NSPD-51? My own guess would be Spring 2008, after Bush is “forced” to attack Iran, perhaps with nuclear weapons, and Iran then fails to cooperate, attacking US ships in the Gulf and Mediterranean instead of accepting our offers of assistance. Or this might come after a UN Security Council resolution authorizing boarding Iranian ships for inspection, thereby creating an opportunity for a casus belli the Bush administration has been transparently pressing to create. Even if Iran denied Bush his basic objective by refusing to be goaded into reacting beyond its own borders, the resulting global economic chaos and spontaneous popular reactions beyond Iran to such attacks could compel Bush to invoke NSPD-51, quite apart from whatever our new enemy might undertake.

On the other hand, under NSPD-51 any provocation of Bush could lead to him creating a pretext for declaring a national emergency. For example, Ralph Nader quotes Massachusetts Rep. John W. Olver (D), who has a PhD from MIT, when presented with the votes of 13 Town Meetings [real Town Meetings, not the media events staged for candidate performances] in Olver’s congressional district calling for impeachment of Cheney and Bush, Olver responded that he opposed any impeachment move against Bush because “the current autocratic executive [Bush] would attack Iran from the air, declare a national emergency, institute martial law, and call off the 2008 elections were the Democrats to initiate impeachment.” Or, perhaps we have a national emergency for as yet unknown reasons, maybe in the late summer when likely replacement administrations are judged by Bush/Cheney to be unacceptable; and then, as the national emergency begins to unravel, we attack Iran. The essential assessment is that we have reached a point where the possibilities are vast and unpredictable precisely because its all up to Bush; he is The Decider.

…Should Bush declare a national emergency and begin exercising the many powers available to him in law, as well as the ever expanding “inherent” powers he claims by fiat, our nation could swiftly cross into a world increasingly difficult to predict, largely beyond our national experience, except perhaps for our revolution and civil war, subject to ad hoc, unchecked decision making, with genuine rule of law no longer an available guide. It would likely become increasingly difficult, in the absence of reliable information, to understand and deal with the originating crisis, however real or contrived. And to distinguish it from the difficulties arising from the declaration of a national emergency itself.

However, this sort of thing has occurred in many countries, with much the same result likely here: a self-sustaining crisis, in which the chief rationales for continuing the national emergency are the effects of the national emergency themselves, compounded by errors in governance and crimes by those who seized power, sustained by supporters profiting from it and their fear for what would happen to them should they end it.

There’s so much more in these articles.

The political calculus informing the decision to declare a national emergency would include the assumption that a state of crisis would itself provide substantial support, however temporary, among the populace for the nation’s leadership, as it always does. However, the endemic level of distrust toward the current government, and Bush in particular, is such that resistance to starting a war with Iran or to staging a coup d’├ętat by national emergency would likely spread once begun and be difficult to contain. This, however, is more relevant is assessing the likelihood of either a wide refusal of orders or a general insurrection rather than in predicting Bush’s appreciation of the situation before he acts.

In other words, Bush has proven time and again that he does not behave like a normal person. Whether this results from his own psychopathy, from hidden agendas, from the control of others, or from some combination of these things doesn’t much matter. The point is that just because many people consider a course of action crazy (e.g. starting preemptive wars) does not at all mean it won’t happen. We have recent history to guide us. What’s crazy and immoral to you and me may strike Bush, Cheney and others as deliciously exciting and profitable.

That’s the problem with psychopaths - they don’t experience normal human emotions and constraints. Remember, they comprise 6% of the population and can achieve high levels of success and power. This tiny slice of the human population has caused untold suffering throughout history. They will continue to do so if we let them.

Imagine - if you can - not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.

And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.

Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.

You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.

In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.

You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered.

How will you live your life?

Chances are you will live it like any number of people: with cut-throat enthusiasm to seek your own gratification regardless of the cost to others. Six percent of the population is roughly one in every 30 people. Once you realize that these people exist, and they have always existed, and that given sufficient intelligence and opportunity they will naturally rise to positions of power, then you begin to understand what’s really wrong with the world. Psychopaths rule the world, and they have no intention of relinquishing control.


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