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Friday, November 21, 2014

How the argument against illegal immigration should be framed

Both Republicans and Democrats have always claimed to speak for the middle class, the backbone of the country. But in fact, the Republicans have by and large promoted policies designed to help the upper class, and the Democrats policies which helped the lower class (along with a few select cronies in the upper class).

As a result, the middle class has been squeezed from both ends. Blue collar wages are lower than they were 30 years ago, recent college graduates have had a much tougher time finding jobs than graduates in previous generations, and the percentage of the population receiving various forms of welfare (like food stamps) has increased, putting a strain on everyone else.

Obama's executive order on immigration -- which in the long run will only encourage more illegal aliens -- is just the latest nail in the coffin of the middle class.

Whichever party wants to truly help the middle-class will:

(1) Secure our borders, and not just pay lip service to that end.

(2) Abolish, or at least weaken, NAFTA (and the exporting of American jobs that has resulted in).

(3) Lower the corporate tax rate to the point where it is no longer economical for companies to do inversions. In the long run that will increase revenues from corporate taxes, the same way Reagan's lowering of personal income taxes resulted in more tax revenue.

(4) Make it less economical for companies based in the US to export jobs. Every time you phone the help department of a major company and are answered by someone speaking in an Indian or Filipino accent, that's a job which has been lost to an American. Every time you buy an article of clothing or computer which has been assembled abroad, that's another job lost to an American. If that requires tariffs, so be it.

And (5) balance the budget. In the long run, the only way for the US to escape its debt burden is to inflate its way out of it, and make no mistake, that is what will happen eventually. That hurts the middle class most. The rich, with their financial assets, have all sorts of ways of staying ahead of inflation. But the middle class, whose biggest asset tends to be the house they live in, do not. And the poor, who have almost no savings anyway, have no stake in ensuring that the dollar keeps its value.

I know I'm oversimplifying here, and I know that free trade has always been what's best for the world overall. But recently, more than ever, what's best for the world has not been what's best for this country, and it's time for this country to act in its own self-interest -- and the interest of the majority of its people.

China has four times the number of people in their military that we have in ours, but doesn't waste its manpower or money intervening in the civil wars of other countries, or "nation building," or trying to act like the world's policemen. And they have economic policies in place which benefit their country, period. That's why their economy has grown so much faster than ours in the past two decades, and thats why it's projected to overtake ours in the near future.

We are the only country in the Americas whose immigration policy is basically, "What can we do for you?" Every other country in this hemisphere asks, "What can you do for us?"

It's time for us to start acting more like our neighbors, and our competitors abroad. We can't afford not to.

Frankly, it doesn't look as if either party has the political will to do these things. But they are what needs to be done to save the middle class.

The more the middle class shrinks, the less the US will be like the US, and the more it will be like Latin America.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Dad forces 11-year-old daughter to swallow 104 cocaine capsules"

A counterpoint to the article linked in the previous post.

The tragedy is that people like that father often have as many, if not more, children, than people like the mother in the previous article. If there were only a way to prevent that.

My proposal: any man or woman convicted of child abuse, should, as part of their sentence, have their tubes tied so they can spawn no more. Alternatively, they should be kept in prison until they are past reproductive age.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Dutch Mom single-handedly rescues daughter from ISIS"

There aren't a lot of details, but it's still one of the most moving stories I've read in a while.

The new Puritans

On Saturday, a commenter ("Coco") related the following:

You've probably heard of the landing on the comet - I admit, I haven't been keeping up with space developments…'s a European venture, so the first I heard was on BBC News America. I don't know that it was scientifically such a breakthrough but it was a significant engineering achievement and, well, a neat trick! The probe landed on a speeding comet.

I guess it's a tic with me now, but I looked up pictures of the team to see whether it was "diverse" and sure enough, it was mostly white men. A few white women, which I have sexistically assumed are not doing the heavy lifting but are there doing "showcase" jobs. Maybe I'm wrong but that's my hunch.

As in these cases there were photos of the team when the landing occurred cheering. It seems the chief scientist, a working class Englishman, wore a shirt decorated with pictures of naked gals.

Some science writer feminist prune called him to task for this. She said it was "misogyny" and "no wonder there are so few women in STEM." He apologize, in tears. On twitter, the feminist prune, satisfied with her arson, wrote smugly, "Now can we all move on with our lives?"

I am speechless.

Well, I'm not speechless. The scientist should have told the feminist prune to go suck it. About the word "misogyny" - I have not heard this word so much as in the last two years. There is real misogyny in the world. I have for example just learned of a barbaric African custom called "breast ironing" where older women (it's always older women) try to prevent the developing breasts of young women. Then there is genital mutilation. Sickening.

I hate Western feminists. You shouldn't think that all women agree with them. We don't.

Thanks for outing up with my rant.

Here's the scientist, Dr. Matt Taylor (the girls are in fact not even naked, merely scantily clad):

After reading Coco's comment, it hit me: feminists are the new Puritans. These days we laugh at the Victorians and the Puritans as hopelessly outdated old fuddy duddies who didn't have the foggiest notion of how human sexuality worked, and had no inkling that one's sexuality is something to be enjoyed, and perhaps even celebrated, rather than repressed.

Today's feminists make those groups look positively enlightened.

Anytime a man lusts after a woman, the feminists say that he is "objectifying" her. The implication here is that he is somehow denying her humanity, and turning her into an inanimate object. It is in fact the opposite. Men evolved to lust after women, and to express that drive -- while complimenting a woman on her beauty at the same time -- is to acknowledge both of their humanity.

The only women whose humanity is being denied -- or at least, ignored -- are those whom men do not lust after. It hardly seems coincidence that those are the very women who usually end up as embittered feminists. They know they would look ridiculous if they complained that men weren't attracted to them, so instead they demand that men not comment on their attraction to any women.

Feminists even hate it when men look at women lustfully, and deem this "sexual harassment." Never in their wildest dreams did the Puritans ever think of castigating someone because of the way he looked at someone else.

Consider the recent incident where a young woman wore a skintight t-shirt and jeans meant to accentuate her curves and then flounced around Manhattan for ten hours, attracting comments from black and Hispanic males. The vast majority of women who wear this kind of clothing do so precisely to advertise their sexiness. (Why else wear clothing so uncomfortably tight?)

That majority would consider it frustrating if they walked the streets in a skintight outfit and didn't get male attention (otherwise known as "validation"). The feminists choose to ignore that dynamic and wail about how tragic it is that a woman cannot walk around without having men tell her she looks good. (Once again, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that the feminists' real resentment is that men don't find them attractive.)

The Puritans themselves seem to have preferred plainspoken (read: outspoken) folk. Was it not "Priscilla, the Puritan maiden," who -- according to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow -- said to John Alden, upon the occasion of Alden telling her that Captain Miles Standish wanted to wed her:

"If the great Captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me,
Why does he not come himself, and take the trouble to woo me?
If I am not worth the wooing, I surely am not worth the winning!"

And, as she eventually concluded: 

"Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" 

It's hard not to think that if Priscilla Alden were alive today, she would have nothing but contempt for the women of Hollaback.

Certain women's groups are now demanding the right to walk around bare-chested, just like men. To couple that demand with stern disapproval of men who look at women lustfully seems a bit, well, anomalous, to say the least.

Feminists want to be considered the equal of men, and to be hired as police, firefighters, and soldiers. Yet at the same time they want to be considered such delicate flowers that a dirty joke cannot be told in their presence.

(But isn't humor the best way to mock pomposity? Or am I somehow woefully misinformed, and the feminists are in fact known for their senses of humor?)

And what of the recent insistence that a woman must say "yes" to every stage of a seduction? This rule could only have been set by women who've never been seduced. What of the (majority of) women who prefer to play it somewhat coy and not appear wanton sluts to their suitors? Must they be vocal about their desires or otherwise have their fun be deemed rape? Do the feminists have any sense of what it's like to be a normal female?

That was a rhetorical question. On second thought, to call feminists puritanical is an insult to the Puritans.

They're really the new Shakers.

Monday, November 17, 2014

When liberals just don't get it

Yesterday, the NY Times ran an editorial, When Whites Just Don't Get It, Part 4. Author Nicholas Kristof bemoans the whites he knows who want to move beyond race, and who are angered at the eternal guilt they are supposed to feel for this country's history of discrimination.

From there Kristof launches into the case for how discrimination continues in this country. As proof, he cites the following two statistics: that non-Hispanic whites have a median household income of $58,270, compared to $34,598 for blacks, and that black life expectancy is four years shorter than that of whites.

Ergo, while whites are still benefitting from the black slave labor of the past, blacks are hurt by their association with whites.

Strangely, Kristof neglects to mention that financially, Asian-Americans do significantly better than whites. According to Wikipedia, the median household income of whites (including Hispanic whites) in this country is $54,857, whereas for Asian-Americans it's $68,088.

Why would Kristof ignore that disparity? And how would he account for it? Is it because Asians don't let whites into their country clubs to make those all-important business contacts? Because of yellow privilege? Kristof is certainly willing to advance social theories to account for the white-black gap, he must have some theory to account for this difference as well.

To find out just how much racism -- or, at least, contact with each other -- has helped or hurt the races in America, one must look outside America to see what the median average incomes are for whites and blacks elsewhere.

Here is a list from on the self-reported median household incomes of the ten richest and ten poorest countries:

Country                     Median Household Income

Norway                   $51,489
Sweden                     50,514
Luxembourg              52,493
Denmark                   44,360
Finland                      34,615
United States             43,585
Canada                      41,280
Australia                    46,555
Netherlands               38,584
Germany                   33,333

And here are the ten poorest:

Liberia                           781
Burundi                         673
Mali                             1983
Burkina Faso                1530
Madagascar                  1013
Sierra Leone                 2330
Rwanda                       1101
Benin                           1502
Togo                            1571
Zambia                         1501

Even a cursory glance at these statistics reveals that whites in the US are doing roughly the same, perhaps slightly better, than their European counterparts, whereas blacks in the US are doing far, far better than their counterparts in Africa.

As far as life expectancy in this country, according to the Kaiser Foundation, whites average 78.9, African-Americans 74.6, Hispanics 82.5, and Asian-Americans 86.5. Again, Kristof seems to have cherry-picked his data. Why do Hispanics have a life expectancy 3.6 years greater than whites? Brown privilege?

Is there some sort of discrimination practiced by Asians against whites which accounts for the gap between those racial groups of 7.6 years? Why is Nicholas Kristof not upset about that disparity?

Again, any such conclusions would be silly unless weighed against how each of those ethnicities do in other countries. Here are the top eleven countries for life expectancy, from the listing by Wikipedia:

Japan                    84.6
Andorra                 84.2
Singapore              84.0
Hong Kong             83.8
San Marino             83.5
Iceland                  83.3
Italy                      83.1
Sweden                 83.0
Australia                83.0
Switzerland            82.8
Canada                  82.5

(Ireland ranks 20th, at 81.4, and the UK ranks 27th, at 81.0.)

And the bottom eleven countries:

Mozambique        48.7
Chad                  48.5
Congo                 47.4
Swaziland            47.3
Afghanistan         47.3
Zambia               46.9
Guinea-Bissau      46.7
Zimbabwe           46.6
Sierra Leone        46.2
Lesotho               46.0
Central African Republic 45.9

Once again, it seems that whites are doing roughly as well as their counterparts in Europe, whereas blacks in the US seem to have benefitted greatly from their proximity to whites. (Nicholas Kristof would undoubtedly be shocked to see these figures, given that blacks in Africa never had to live under Jim Crow.)

Obviously, diseases flourish in the tropics more than they do in colder climates, so that has an effect. And third world countries have poorer health care systems than do the developed nations.

But what accounts for the differences within the US? If it's white racism, how exactly do whites discriminate against Hispanics and Asians to make them live longer? Is it possible that there are differences in dietary habits and exercise between the groups? Might the levels of violence within each community have an effect? Are there genetic factors contributing to high blood pressure and the like that have an effect?

The great unmentionable here is, of course our diversity: our genetic diversity, to be precise. Might that also affect cognitive ability, which might in turn affect income and life expectancy?

As long as liberals like Nicholas Kristof refuse to accept that possibility, they will forever be penning silly editorials about how "racism" accounts for all differences in outcome. And they just won't get it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The clustering of sociopathic traits

An article in the NY Post today, The murder that became the oldest solved cold case in America, described how John Tessier was finally convicted of the killing of a 7-year-old girl that he committed as a 24-year-old back in 1957.

That a murderous pedophile is a sociopath goes almost without saying. But what was most striking about the article was how Tessier's life away from that murder exhibited both his sociopathic antecedents and his sociopathic traits.

The relevant excerpt:

The Tessiers, meanwhile [after the murder], presided over a house of horrors. All seven children suffered abuse by both parents. John, the eldest, abused all of his siblings, and along with his father, repeatedly and brutally raped his sister Jeanne. (Tessier has denied these allegations.)

After serving in Vietnam, Tessier settled outside of Olympia, Wash., and began an ignominious civilian life. He worked as a policeman until he was arrested for statutory rape; he pled down and avoided jail time. He was constantly in debt, married four times and completely estranged from his family.

Most sociopaths are either completely ignored by their parents or abused by them. (The most violent offenders tend to be abused.) John, as the eldest, probably took more abuse than the others, and also took those brutal lessons most to heart.

The Post characterizes Tessier's post-murder life as "ignominious" rather than "sociopathic." That is not an incorrect description. But if you look closely, his sociopathic nature is reflected in everything described in that second paragraph. 

That Tessier would want to work as a policeman is not atypical for sociopaths. There have been plenty of serial killers who've wanted a badge because they think it will make them above the law. Often, those serial killers, like Kenneth Bianchi, the Hillside Strangler, or Edmund Kemper, are turned down because police departments make an effort to screen -- not always successfully -- against sociopaths.

That Tessier would lose that job as a policeman because he had sex with an underage girl is also in keeping with his sociopathic nature. He uninhibitedly surrendered to his sexual impulses of the moment, not worried about possible consequences, and undoubtedly thinking he could beat the rap if he were ever brought up on charges. (Sociopaths always think they can fool others, even when they can't.)

Being constantly in debt is a not uncommon outcome for those who uninhibitedly surrender to their impulse purchases.

Multiple marriages, as this blog has pointed out in the past, are often a yellow flag for sociopathy. Think of it this way: neurotics, who are in many ways the opposite of sociopaths, often look at prospective spouses and see things which they know will wear on them in the future, and worry if their love will last. Sociopaths never love in the first place, so that's not a consideration. And they tend not to worry about the future, and like the idea of a legal hold on another person right now. Sociopaths with high sex drives probably also figure that marriage means a guaranteed source of sex, without any constraints on sex outside the marriage, at least for them.

And, of course, being completely estranged from one's family is a common outcome among dysfunctional families, especially when one has raped one's sister. (The next time you hear of a "dysfunctional" family, think of one where there's no real love.)

Sociopaths, when you look closely, always display all of the traits of sociopathy. So if you happen to know someone well enough to have seen just some of those traits, expect the full complement: dishonesty, glibness, impulsivity, recklessness, inability to love, disloyalty, irritability and aggression, irresponsibility, and lack of remorse. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What a great climate change treaty!

It emerged yesterday that the US and China, after nine months of secret negotiations, have agreed to a treaty on emissions: The US has agreed to reduced its emissions of heat-trapping gases by 26 to 28% by 2025, compared to 2005 levels.

China, on the other hand, has set a target for their emissions to peak in 2030, if not sooner. How much will their emissions increase between now and then? Two times? Four times? Who knows.

This just doesn't strike me as a great deal for the US. I understand that the US now has a much higher per capita pollution rate than any other nation. But this seems like a particularly one-sided "treaty."

Maybe, with Barack Obama at the helm, we can drive similarly hard bargains on other matters.

Perhaps we can force the Russians to agree to only double the number of nuclear warheads they have, if we halve ours. Yep, that'll show them Russkies.

Perhaps we can coerce the European Union to not increase their tariffs by eliminating all of ours.

And finally, let's bring Mexico to its knees by not enforcing our border with them and declaring amnesty for at least five million current illegal aliens.

Oh, that's right, Obama is already working on that.

Feminists bent on proving women unequal, Part II

In May of 2013 this blog pointed out some of the ways in which feminists -- not all women, just feminists -- unwittingly prove that women are not the equal of men. Last night I was reminded of yet another way.

I saw Gone GirlIt features various female characters who are ditzy, two-faced, or downright sociopathic, along with a couple of intelligent, level-headed, likable female characters.

As you may be aware, feminists have objected strongly to the portrayal of the female sociopath, saying she presents a bad image of women. The feminists seem particularly incensed because this sociopath wreaks her havoc in a uniquely female way, leveling unfounded accusations of rape, falsely posing as an abused woman, and taking advantage of naive men.

Strangely, the feminists have not objected to the other female characters. If I were the type of woman whose sense of personal self-worth was wrapped up inextricably with that of every female character I saw on screen, I'd be far angrier about the portrayal of the ditzy, gossipy neighbor, or the airheaded Nancy Grace parody, or the trailer trash robber. The main sociopath is, while evil, is also intelligent, inventive, and capable.

But what's most telling is simply that the feminists have chosen to complain in the first place. Movies are, after all, fictional entertainment. And they simply wouldn't be entertaining if they didn't feature a wide variety of both male and female characters spanning the gamut from saintly to evil.

Should there be a rule that all the bad people must be men and women can only be portrayed in a positive light?

Imagine if men objected to negative portrayals of men.

"We at the National Organization of Men object to the portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. The invidious stereotype that most serial killers are male feeds into the kind of sexism which hurts the self-image of impressionable young boys."

"We would like to register our unhappiness with the character of Sergeant Barnes in Platoon. That most war criminals are male is a pernicious cliche which has haunted men since the dawn of time. It would be far preferable if those soldiers who do happen to be men were shown to be acting in a more positive, peaceful spirit of cooperation."

"NOM does not approve of the character Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. These films promulgate the ancient, outdated canard that men are responsible for most of the violent crime in this country. We demand that in the future Freddy be portrayed as a giving, caring, and compassionate person."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sociopath alert: Marie Napoli

The NY Post ran an article yesterday about the wife of a rich lawyer whose vengefulness against a woman who had an affair with her husband knew no bounds.

Paul Napoli was one of the two chief partners of Napoli Bern, a law firm which claims to have won over $3 billion as litigators. He had an affair with a junior lawyer at the firm, Vanessa Dennis. When Napoli's wife Marie found out about the affair, she got hold of Dennis' personnel file in order to find out who her husband was.

Marie subsequently text messaged him about the affair: "tell ur hoe 2 stop f- -king my man, we got a family . . . I’ve been watching that slut. She needs to back off.”

A lot of wives, if their husband has an affair with a married woman, would take revenge by informing the woman's husband about it. It's only natural, if a woman has caused trouble in your marriage, to want to cause a similar amount of trouble in the other woman's marriage. Marie Napoli's language is stronger than most would use, but so far her behavior falls within the bounds of what might be considered normal.

Dennis was fired from Napoli Bern on May 2, 2013.

But, that wasn't enough for Marie. According to the Post:

She e-mailed Dennis on May 12, 2013, saying, “just so we are perfectly clear I have full access to all the work/office e-mails and contacts of yours, and be rest assured I am not afraid to use them.”

She also threatened to follow her “like a scarlet letter.”

Later that day, Napoli e-mailed again with a note that said: “Happy Mothers Day! Oh yea I should say happy motherless day. Tick tock.”

Dennis had previously told Paul Napoli that she might not be able to have children….

Even after Dennis moved to Texas, the alleged harassment continued. Marie Napoli sent handwritten letters tucked into Christmas cards to the wives of Dennis’ new bosses labeling her a “sex addict” and even describing Dennis’ private body piercing. She warned, “if I were you I would not let her near my husband.”

Napoli sent messages to everyone on LinkedIn associated with Dennis’ new firm. She tried to “friend” Dennis’ Facebook friends and those of her husband and posted comments under photos of Dennis calling her a slut.

The young lawyer was even followed as she drove around Houston, according to an e-mail she received detailing her movements.

In early January 2014, Dennis got out of the shower in her Houston apartment to find her back door open and her cat, Padme, gone. She received a series of texts on Jan. 27, 2014, written as if from Padme, with one saying, “How do u think I got out . . .”

(Marie Napoli)

Dennis and her husband have since split.

In April, Dennis filed a defamation suit in state Supreme Court against the Napolis, Marc Bern and Napoli Bern. Preliminary paperwork indicates she is seeking at least $9 million.

The Napolis, who were briefly estranged, are now together, and Paul Napoli told The Post he supported his wife’s actions “100 percent,” adding he saw nothing wrong “with confronting a person that there was an affair with.”

“Everything my wife said in any e-mail whether it sounds terrible or not was all true and was all factually correct,” he said from a Manhattan hospital room, where he is recovering from a bone-marrow transplant….

Marie Napoli filed her own legal action Friday, claiming Dennis enticed her husband into having sex on the Chicago business trip in violation of the “Illinois Alienation of Affections Act.”

While Paul Napoli was being treated for leukemia, Marie Napoli continued to comment on the Facebook pages of Dennis’ friends into June and July 2014...In one post, she said that she had cancer last year, that her “husband was emotionally vulnerable” and that Dennis took advantage of that vulnerability and pursued him.

“This woman has no boundaries,” she wrote.

That, of course, is pure projection: Marie Napoli is the one who knows no boundaries: a sociopath's desire for vengeance never knows any bounds.

Marie, of course, has ample motive not to divorce her husband, as it might interfere with her lavish lifestyle. Both she and her husband seem to completely absolve him of any blame in the affair. For Marie to choose to see her husband as "emotionally vulnerable" rather than "horny" is willfully obtuse, at best.

And note the way Paul describes Dennis as "a person that there was an affair with" -- not "a person I had an affair with."

(I'm not sure whether Paul Napoli himself is a sociopath; there were a few indications in the article that he could be, but the evidence on his wife's character is more complete.)

Kidnapping (and killing?) the cat is, of course, straight out of Fatal Attraction. Involving an innocent animal in your trail of destruction involves a degree of viciousness which is alien to most non-sociopaths.

Given Marie Napoli's other actions, I have to wonder if she actually had cancer; sociopaths have been known to falsely claim the disease purely to gain sympathy.

An extremely high level of vindictiveness almost always spells sociopathy. Sociopaths are often just filled with hatred, that hatred needs an outlet, and woe to the person who crosses them.

Pursuing Vanessa Dennis to the ends of the earth undoubtedly made Marie Napoli feel like an avenging angel, but in fact she is more like a harpy from hell.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Last Action Hero

The Last Action Hero was a flop when it was released in 1993, and at the time even the critics didn't like it. I never understood why. It's one of the cleverest, funniest films I've ever seen.

Audiences seem to prefer the dull, predictable True Lies, which was released the next year. (Which I also don't understand.)

The Last Action Hero is both a satire of action films and an homage to them. That's a tricky balancing act, but the movie pulls it off. It has dozens of beautiful women, over the top villains, and comic book violence. It also features an extremely macho hero who spouts lame puns, improbably survives multiple dangerous situations, and leaves a trail of destruction in his wake.

We see and experience the movie through the eyes of a young boy who is an avid movie buff and uses them to escape from the mundaneness of his everyday life. There's a hilarious scene at the beginning where his junior high school English teacher screens an old black and white version of Hamlet, and he fantasizes about what Schwarzenegger would do with the role.

The Last Action Hero not only makes fun of Schwarzenegger movies, it makes fun of Schwarzenegger himself for his greed. (Schwarzenegger plays along gamely.) There's even an inspired scene where the Schwarzenegger action hero meets Schwarzenegger the actor -- and disapproves of him. (It makes sense in the context of the movie.)

I've never seen a movie which so mercilessly picks apart Hollywood cliches. I've also never seen one which so romantically evokes the magic of movie-going.

Watch it, and you'll understand.

It's available on Netflix.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Voter fraud, Voter ID, and fearmongering""

An excellent article by Thomas Sowell on electoral fraud.

And there are plenty of ways to commit fraud Sowell hasn't mentioned. In 2012, a number of Philadelphia city wards reported 99% voter turnout, with 100% of the vote being for Obama. Generally, 70% is considered good turnout for an election, and historically, turnout in the inner cities has been less. So how did all these wards get 99%? It strikes me that it would be awfully easy for the people working those wards to simply check off the names of people who didn't show up to vote and simply fill out their ballots for them.

Or how hard would it be to have people whose job it is to transport paper ballots to a central counting spot to conveniently "lose" the votes for a certain candidate.

How hard would it be to rig an electronic voting machine? There were plenty of reports of people who thought they were voting for one candidate seeing that they had "voted" for another when they tried to use these machines.

How closely do the registrars check to make sure that all of the people who have died recently have been purged from the voter rolls?

As Joseph Stalin said, "It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How dumb is it to give someone the benefit of the doubt because he's handsome?

Here's a follow up to yesterday's post about whether it's fair to dislike someone because of his face.

A recent article from Yahoo News highlighted a second "hot mug shot guy," Sean Kory, on the left:

Jeremy Meeks, on the right, got a fair amount of publicity a few months ago when his mug shot appeared and he was touted as a potential model. Meeks is a gang member from Stockton, California who's spent time in jail for grand theft and most recently was arrested on weapons charges.

Kory was just arrested this past weekend. According to Yahoo News:

Sean Kory, a 29-year-old from Santa Cruz, was at the city's annual Halloween parade on Friday when police say he spotted [someone dressed as a Fox News reporter], voiced his opinion about the cable news network, grabbed the victim's microphone prop, proceeded to run the microphone on his crotch, and pummeled the victim with an aluminum tennis racket. The victim, who was not hurt, alerted police, who nabbed the suspect as he was attempting to flee. Kory was arrested and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail.

In other words, he's a complete asswipe.

Kory is remarkably good-looking, though, in a Johnny-Depp-as-Captain-Jack-Sparrow sort of way. Both men have the good cheekbones that blacks often have, but also have enough white blood (I'm guessing slightly over 50%) to give them blue eyes and sculpted features.

Two post ago, I gave a somewhat mixed reply to the question of whether it's unfair to dislike someone because of his face. This time, the answer is simpler: it's incredibly stupid to give the benefit of the doubt to a beauty (of either sex).

(And if you look at the comments after that Yahoo article, the most "liked" comments were those which  expressed disgust with the women who made gushing comments about the two men.)

That said, it's something we all do.

Beautiful women will always make a man's better judgment go haywire, and good-looking men, to a lesser extent, can do the same to women.

The good news here is that both Kory, 29, and Meeks, 30, should lose their looks within ten years. Dumb and impulsive guys generally don't take care of themselves, and if you don't pay attention to diet and exercise, you'll likely be a mess by 40.

You could call that poetic justice, in a way, but since justice delayed is justice denied, as they say, that conclusion would be inaccurate. The better news, I suppose, is that both of these guys are too moronic to take much advantage of their looks while they have them. 

"Mommy blogger throws autistic son off bridge: cops"

This article appeared in the NY Post yesterday. A few excerpts:

A mommy blogger told police that the voices inside her head told her to hurl her 6-year-old son off the side of a bridge Monday.

Oregon mom Jillian McCabe, 34, was standing on Yaquina Bridge about 10 miles north of her hometown, Seal Rock, when she dialed 911 to report that she had tossed her little boy over the side and killed him...

The McCabes also wrote “Autistic London,” a blog about their experience raising their son. “What gets me through the day & stops me from pulling a Thelma & Louise,” read the title of one of McCabe’s archived posts from April 2012.

In the posting, the wife and stay-at-home mom describes several things that help “get her through” life — including her husband, family and friends. She also lists simple things like dark chocolate, cardio and famous quotes which help her deal with her struggles, as well. 

(Judging from her picture, Jillian used more dark chocolate than cardio.)

If McCabe actually heard those voices in her head, then she is genuinely schizoid. But if she is just claiming to have heard them, then she could well be a sociopath who is just setting up an insanity defense. 

My guess is that she's genuinely crazy, though. If she was devoted enough to her son to write a blog about him, had a good relationship with her husband, and phoned 911 herself to report what she had done, chances are she's not a sociopath. 

(A sociopath would have been far more likely to try to make it look like an accident. Or she would have set it up to make it look as if her husband murdered the son, so she could have rid herself of both of them at the same time; and then would have phoned 911 only to report that her son was missing.) 

Another possibility is that she is on the autistic spectrum herself; it does, after all, run in families. The current generation of kids is probably over diagnosed when it comes to the milder forms of autism, such as Aspergers. But the previous generation was undoubtedly underdiagnosed, especially given that Aspergers wasn't even formally recognized in official psychological manuals until the 1990's. 

What caught my eye about the headline above was, of course, the word "blogger." When I read the article I couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed at this one additional piece of evidence that bloggers tend towards insanity. Or, at the very least, weirdness. 

A friend, who in the pre-internet era would write occasional letters to the editor, once told me that he had heard that writing letters to the editor was the first sign of incipient insanity. 

Writing a blog is probably the closest thing to writing letters to the editor. So I kinda wish my friend hadn't told me that. 

Anyway, if McCabe does try to mount an insanity defense, maybe she can use her blog as Exhibit A.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Is it unfair to dislike someone because of his face?

The TV show Blacklist was recommended to me recently, so I watched a couple episodes on Netflix. The premise of the show is that a criminal mastermind, played by James Spader, knows all about crimes the FBI doesn't even realize have been committed, and has connections to all of them. The other main character, a young female FBI agent, played by Megan Boone, spends half of her time histrionically demonstrating how upset she is at various plot developments, and the other half gruffly barking out orders to other FBI agents. (How many new hires behave that way?)

I didn't like the show. But, I have to admit, part of the reason for that is because I can't stand James Spader's epicene, smug face. To see him is to want to punch him. For me, at least.

We've all been taught that hating someone because of the way he looks is the height of unfairness. No one has any choice about the face he was born with, we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, etc, etc.

Ergo, I must be extremely superficial.

But what if the face does say something about the person? Is it possible to discern character from a face?

What do you see in Spader's face? To me, he looks soft, and spoiled, and conceited, an maybe a little coy. Not a winning combination.

I could be wrong. Maybe he's hard, and tough, and brutally honest with himself. (If he is, he does a great job of hiding it.)

The role Spader plays on Blacklist is that of a supercilious guy. And yes, one shouldn't mistake the actor for his role.

But was it typecasting?

The role Spader may have been most famous for before was in Sex, Lies and Videotape, another Spader vehicle which just didn't do anything for me. And I can vaguely recall being put off by his face even back then. Here he is as a younger man:

There's something about that carefully arranged hair and those dandified clothes and that air of self-importance that, well, makes me sympathetic to violent people.

With those feminine cheeks of his, Spader actually reminds me of Linda Kozlowski from the Crocodile Dundee movies:

Come to think of it, I found her off-putting as well.

That's probably unfair. If you get to know someone, after a while you'll simply associate their face with their personality, and like or dislike them accordingly.

But sometimes, you don't have to wait to get to know them: their narcissism just emanates from their faces, as Ted Cruz and Barack Obama demonstrate here.

Obviously, it's unfair to dislike someone because he's ugly, or because of his ethnicity, or because of his mix of hormones. No one has any control over those things.

But if it's because his face broadcasts smugness, that's different.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Football strong!

Both the NY Times and the NY Post carried articles about the forfeiture of a football game today by the California University of Pennsylvania because five of their players were arrested for beating and then stomping a 30-year-old man outside a restaurant near campus. The man was left with severe brain injuries and is in the intensive care unit of Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

The NY Times actually ran the mug shots of the five players, surprisingly enough:

As the five players ran off and got into their car after stomping their victim, they chanted, "Football strong!"

How exactly does a five-on-one beating prove machismo, or constitute grounds for pride, or in any way establish the superiority of football?

If anyone can explain this to me, please do; I'm at a complete loss.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Liberals as hybristophiliacs

Occasionally you'll hear of people who are attracted to infamous serial killers. Ted Bundy attracted a lot of female attention, as did Richard Ramirez ("the Night Stalker"). Each of these men was responsible for the gruesome deaths of many women. Yet the women who flocked to their trials, wrote them letters, and in a couple cases even married them, were convinced of their innocence.

Those women suffer from hybristophilia.

For an example of this type of thinking, look at the last 50 or so comments on the Prison Pen Pals VII (which I also referenced in the previous post), from women who believe that sociopathic serial rapist and double murderer Frederick Baer is in fact a wonderful guy. You can try to reason with hybristophiliacs, but no matter how you present the facts to them, they will stick by their fact-free, logic-proof beliefs.

Hybristophiliacs are not necessarily bad people themselves; in fact, they are often the opposite, as people who are willing to believe the best of everybody tend to be. But they are terminally, and seemingly willfully, naive. And they like to reassure themselves with the kinds of bromides the commenters on that post did. ("Love never fails," "Who of you is without sin cast the first stone," etc.)

Meanwhile, they will viciously castigate anyone, like me, who would dare point out the truth about a Frederick Baer. 

Liberals who prefer to view various interest groups as innocent victims seem to suffer from a slightly milder form of hybristophilila. For instance, on their attitudes towards Muslims.

Commenter Steven, regarding the recent post on Street harassment, said:

Another interesting liberal contradiction is that they have a lot of unrestrained contempt towards Christian conservatives for their conservative social and moral positions and at the same time bend over backwards to defend Muslims and Islam, which is probably even more illiberal. It seems that while Muslims are a minority in the west and they (the liberals) don't have a real taste of what Islam is like, their wish to defend a minority is the overwhelming consideration.

He's right. Political correctness calls for very strict protocols about what you're allowed to notice and comment on and what you're not. And that, of course, depends entirely on which groups you're talking about: are they a favored "victim" group, or are they the bad guys, i.e., white males?

One has to twist oneself into an intellectual pretzel to work up a head of steam against men who would say "Hey babe" or "You're beautiful" to a woman on the street while simultaneously defending a group which would cut the clitorises off little girls, forbid them from getting an education, cover them in burkhas, and commit honor killings.

And, just like the hybristophiliacs who insist that Frederick Baer is not a sociopath, liberals will insist that Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent of cop-killing, or that Michael Brown was a "gentle giant," despite all evidence to the contrary.

Also like hybristophiliacs, liberals tend to subscribe to the kinds of bromides which can fit onto bumper stickers. ("You can't hug your child with nuclear arms," etc.)

And, like the women who love Frederick Baer, liberals will spew venom on those who would dare to contradict their beliefs with unwanted facts.

Liberals, like hybristophiliacs, see only what they want to.

And the more I see of them, the more I am convinced their thought process is akin to that mental illness.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's not just women who suffer from hybristophilia

The men who are doing this should be embarrassed.

But people who suffer from hybristophilia tend to be immune from embarrassment (and sanity), as a look at the last 50 or so comments on this post show.

Street harassment

One of the more unintentionally funny videos to come out recently is from Hollaback!, a feminist group devoted to ending the sexual harassment of women on the streets. To that end, they used a hidden camera to take this video of a young woman in a t-shirt and jeans walking around the streets of Manhattan for ten hours and having various men make various overtly or vaguely sexual comments.

At the end of the video it says that the verbal street harassment involved "people of all backgrounds." But if you listen to the voices on the video, they're almost exclusively black or Hispanic. (They wouldn't have bothered to include that disclaimer if the evidence of the tape didn't indicate otherwise.)

It's a little funny that while "Hollaback!" is a shortened form of "holler back," this young woman does nothing of the sort. And one has to wonder what sort of reaction she, or other women, would get if they actually hollered back at the men who make such comments.

Personally, I don't see these men as being all that harmful. Some women -- though not the women of Hollaback! -- actually find it flattering. None of those men were about to rape the young woman; she was never in any real danger. The fellow who walked alongside her for five minutes was a little creepy, but even he, at least on a public street, didn't really represent a danger to her. Most of the men were merely obnoxious-but-harmless morons.

Nonetheless, it would be interesting to see the fallout be if all those women who protest about wanting to "take back the streets" -- as if the streets ever belonged to them in the first place -- changed their slogan to "take back the streets from loudmouth black and Hispanic men," which, given the evidence of this video, would not be inaccurate.

(No one is suggesting that white guys never harass women, and the video did capture one white guy who seemed to say "good evening." But for most white guys to act as forward as the young black and Hispanic men on this video, they need to get drunk first.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sociopath alert: John-Roger Hinkins

Two days ago the NY Times ran an obituary for cult leader John-Roger, who died last week. I'd heard about him years ago, and got the distinct odor of sociopathy back then. But he hadn't been on the radar for a while, so I had forgotten about him. Seeing the obit reminded me of what he was all about.

The verdict of sociopathy won't come as any shock to those familiar with Hinkins. But there were so many familiar -- in his case, flamboyantly -- sociopathic patterns to his life that it's worth reviewing.

Hinkins was most famous as the founder of the Movement for Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA, pronounced, "Messiah"). Founding a cult is, if not a red flag for sociopathy, at the very least a yellowish-red flag. (Offhand, I can't think of a single cult leader who wasn't a sociopath.)

Hinkins' Messiah complex was evident from the other organizations he founded as well.

From Wikipedia:

In 1976, he founded Koh-e-nor University, later renamed the University of Santa Monica (USM), a private, unaccredited institution offering master's degrees in Spiritual Psychology and Consciousness, Health & Healing, and a doctoral degree in Spiritual Psychology. John Roger serve[d] as the chancellor of the University.

In 1977, Hinkins founded the Peace Theological Seminary & College of Philosophy (PTS) as an educational non-profit organization for MSIA students to undertake undergraduate workshops, courses and retreats, and also postgraduate programs. The school, which is ecumenical and non-denominational, offers a Master and Doctorate degree in Spiritual Science. Its headquarters is home to the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens. Hinkins received his doctorate in Spiritual Science from this organization, and is its President….

(What kind of person founds a college, and then awards himself a doctorate from it? One has to wonder about the impartiality of the professors who reviewed his thesis.)

In 1979, Hinkins founded the Heartfelt Foundation, a volunteer-driven, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving and assisting people in any form of need.

(The "Heartfelt Foundation?" If there's one thing that sociopaths don't do, it's feel with their hearts -- which, of course, is why they feel obliged to advertise that they do.) 

In 1982, Hinkins founded the Institute for Individual and World Peace (IIWP), a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to studying, identifying, and presenting the processes that lead to peace. IIWP owns and operates the Windermere Ranch, a 142-acre property in the Santa Ynez Mountains that is used to breed and train Arabian horses.

There's often grandiosity written right into the titles of the organizations that sociopaths found. The narcissism inherent in thinking that you are the one capable of raising people's "spiritual inner awareness," or in thinking that you are the man qualified to bring "individual and world peace" to humanity is not only apparent, but overwhelming. 

And spiritual inner awareness, philosophy, and inner peace are the kind of squishy topics that a glib sociopath can expound endlessly on. 

In his personal dealings, however, Hinkins demonstrated anything but inner peace. In the 1980's and 1990's, several disenchanted former members of Hinkins' cult began to expose the inner workings of the cult. (Disgruntled former associates tend to have a clearer view of cult leaders than do his current acolytes.) 

According to Wikipedia:

Dissidents in the organization say Hinkins employed covert listening devices at MSIA's Santa Monica headquarters to support his claim of possessing extrasensory perception. One disenchanted member claimed "What people thought was J-R's clairvoyance was just his cunning and deceitful information gathering."

(This sort of dishonest trickery is, of course, the province of sociopathic con men.)

Susan and Wendell Whitmore, who joined MSIA in the early '70s, finally decided to leave MSIA in 1983 after several male staff members confessed during an informal group discussion that Hinkins had used spiritual threats and promises to coerce them into having sex with him. The Whitmores claim that MSIA members had been led to believe that Hinkins had taken a vow of celibacy, and therefore did not question the series of attractive young men that stayed in his house. "He always had someone sleeping in his bedroom at night, supposedly to protect his body while he was out of it," says Whitmore. Former MSIA members charge that staffers who submitted to their leader's sexual advances were promoted to positions of authority and were praised by Hinkins for their spiritual qualities. Ex-MSIA member Victor Toso, said that although he was not homosexual, he consented to Hinkins's requests for sex because he feared being expelled from the MSIA staff. "Whenever we fell out of line, having another sexual encounter with him was sort of required to seal us back in the brotherhood," said Toso.

(Taking a public vow of celibacy is the type of thing a sociopath would do to prove that he is "pure of heart," and also that he is better than other people. Completely ignoring that vow is, of course, also sociopathic behavior. Thinking that you're fooling others when you're not is another sociopathic behavior pattern. Coercing others into having sex with you is yet another sociopathic specialty. And rewarding those who do have sex with you with positions of authority is also something you'd expect from a sociopath.) 

Wesley Whitmore, Wendell's twin brother and also former MSIA staffer, recalls that in "contrast to his public behavior, Hinkins in private was often angry, vindictive and bizarre, occasionally shouting that he was under attack from negative forces." He and his wife said that their devotion to Hinkins kept them from addressing these issues.

(The gap between one's public and private behavior is never wider than it is with a sociopath.)

According to Susan Whitmore, MSIA defectors hesitated to challenge Hinkins publicly even after leaving the movement "because we were made to be afraid." She claims that Hinkins would declare that people who questioned him had placed themselves "under the Kal (a devil-like spirit) power and its field of negativity, known as the Red Monk," and would essentially be warning that members who associated with defectors risked spiritual disaster. Whitmore alleges that one woman was told she had had a miscarriage because she had hugged one of the defectors.

(Witch doctor is the perfect occupation for a sociopath.)

The Whitmores also claim that after they left MSIA, their cars were vandalized, they received obscene letters accusing them of homosexuality, and phone calls in which threats were made on their lives. Similarly, Eve Cohen, the daughter of ex-MSIA ministers Matthew and Ellen Cohen, and at the time a teenager, received a letter graphically alleging that her father had had sexual acts with other men. The letter claimed to be from a friend of Eve's in Los Angeles.

(You don't have to be a sociopath to accuse others of what you yourself are guilty of, but sociopaths probably do this more than most. And actually sending a letter to the daughter of a former member does rise to a sociopathic level of vindictiveness. The usual sociopathic desire for control is quite apparent here as well.)

Religion academic and writer David C. Lane claims that in the fall of 1983, after he called Hinkins, who at that time he considered to be a friend, to get his response to the allegations of plagiarism, sexual manipulation, and charlatanism that had been raised by other friends, he was subjected to a series of threats, including several made against his life and the lives of his friends/informants. His home was subsequently ransacked and a number of his research files were stolen. He claims that documentary evidence implicates John-Roger with the robbery, as well as with implementing a smear campaign including threats against Lane and other of his critics. This included setting up a front organization called the "Coalition for Civil and Spiritual Rights", an act which was eventually traced directly back to Hinkins.

(Can you imagine yourself breaking into a home of someone who considers himself your friend, ransacking it, and stealing research files? No? That's because you're not a sociopath.)

John-Roger Hinkins. 
David Koresh. 
The Reverend Jim Jones. 
Charlie Manson.
L. Ron Hubbard. 
Warren Jeffs. 
Yahweh ben Yahweh (Hulon Mitchell). 

Messianic sociopaths all.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Worth vs. net worth

It often seems that the quality of a person is inversely correlated with the amount of money they have to spend to have a good time. If someone is self-sufficient enough to be content with a book, or some exercise, or a walk, he's far better off than someone who needs fancy distractions to enjoy himself.

People who will consider only expensive entertainment generally have more financial resources than inner ones. Expensive concerts, fancy vacations, lavish gourmet meals, and high-priced wines are all enjoyable. But really, how much more enjoyable are they than the less expensive varieties?

The message here is not dissimilar to that of the post about people who need distraction, but the focus here is on the expense.

If you feel diminished because you have to eat at a cheaper restaurant, or because you have to ride in a cheaper car, or because you're taking an inexpensive vacation, it's too late: you're already a diminished human being.

The only thing here that really reflects on you is the extent to which you think these things reflect on you.

The Kardashians are a great example of this type. (Bruce Jenner would make a more appealing woman than those whiny, spoiled, stupid sisters.)

The ironic thing is, the people who feel the need to spend lots of money often don't enjoy themselves all that much even while they are. They always seem to be able to find something that doesn't live up to their exacting standards, something that leaves them feeling unfulfilled.

There's a certain poetic justice there.