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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I, Tonya, sociopath

It's been pretty sickening to watch the Hollywood-ization of Tonya Harding.

I haven't seen I, Tonya, and don't plan to, but from what I've heard, it's a complete whitewash of its subject.

I had no doubt back in 1994 that Harding had played a role in planning that infamous knee-capping incident, and have no doubt now.

The main reason I came to that conclusion is that she's such an obvious sociopath.

Harding could cry on command, and would do so at parties to entertain people. This is a sociopathic specialty. Harding employed that skill when she asked for a do over at the 1994 Olympics, claiming to the judges that the laces on her skates had broken. (They relented.)

Much of Harding's behavior could be described as uninhibited, reckless, and shameless.

In late 1994 Harding and ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (to whom she was married from 1990 to 1993) sold a sex tape to Penthouse for $400,000.

In 1995, Harding married Michael Smith; that marriage ended in 1996. (A short marriage is obviously no indication of sociopathy, but multiple short term marriages tends to be a yellow flag.)

In 2000, Harding was arrested by Portland police of throwing a hubcap at the head of then-boyfriend Darren Silver's head. She spent three days in jail for this.

From 2002 to 2004, Harding tried boxing professionally (her record was 3-3).

A few days ago, Harding was dumped by her agent/publicist Michael Rosenberg for having demanded that journalists who wanted to interview her about the movie not be allowed to ask about her past, and have to pay a "fine" of $25,000 if they did so.

How did Harding get to be this way? The Early Life section of her Wiki bio merely states:

Harding had a troubled childhood. She said that by the time she was seven years old, her mother had mentally and physically abused her.

The movie evidently tried to portray Harding as a victim of her background. That is, in a sense, true. But just about every sociopath is a victim of a loveless, and possibly abusive background.

It would probably be more illuminating to say that such people are products of their backgrounds, rather than victims of them.

From what I understand, the character portrayed in I, Tonya bears about as much resemblance to the real Harding as, looks-wise, Margot Robbie does to Harding.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Iranian protests

A friend sent this --

The extravagant lives of the 'Rich Kids of Tehran' are fueling Iran's protests — take a look 

-- last week. It's a series of photos of rich kids in Tehran flaunting their wealth.

The young men pictured are reminiscent of the kids on the TV show Growing up Gotti, if you remember that. Oil money, like Mafia money, always seems to make its possessors look gaudy, vulgar, and stupid.

And the young women are reminiscent of the Kardashians: rich, narcissistic, and entitled.

It's hard to have sympathy for the antifa types in the US; they swallow the Leftist propaganda whole and seem to resent the hard-working middle and upper middle classes as well as the rich. And, they tend to be narrow-minded and self-righteous.

It's a lot easier to sympathize with the protesters in Iran, where the wealthy get their money not by studying hard in school and then working hard at their jobs, but through corruption and by being in the right place when the oil money got divvied up. 

(Do you think any of the kids in those pictures actually "earned" their money in any halfway legitimate way?)

I can't claim to understand the Byzantine politics of the Middle East. I instinctively side with the more sophisticated, stable Shi'ites over the more volatile -- and medieval -- Sunnis.

But after looking at those pictures, it's hard to avoid the feeling that if you're rooting for the Shi'ite elite in Iran, you're basically rooting for the Gottis and the Kardashians. 

"A stranger disfigured herself in an acid attack, she told police. Then she confessed."

This is Munchausen's syndrome in action.

We should never lose sight of the fact that Munchausen's is nothing but an offshoot of sociopathy.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sometimes, you just know

A few days ago there was an article about missing University of Pennsylvania student, 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein:

This morning, it was announced that a high school classmate of his, Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, had been arrested in connection with his murder:

My immediate reaction upon seeing Woodward's face was: yep, he's guilty.

The article went on to describe exactly what made the police suspicious about Woodward, and it became pretty clear that they had a lot of evidence on him. But I hadn't read any of that when I jumped to my conclusion.

It's completely unfair, obviously, to "convict" someone on the basis of his face. And I believe in due process, innocent until proven guilty, etc.

But, sometimes, you just know.

Coincidentally, this morning there was another article on the murder of Devlin "Gazoo" Stringfellow, 48, the founder of white prison gang Public Enemy No. 1, in California State Prison in Sacramento:

The two suspects in his murder are fellow gang members Jacob Kober, 29, and Stephen Dunckhurst, 49. I couldn't find a picture of Dunckhurst, but here are a couple pictures of Kober:

I had the same reaction upon seeing Kober's face that I did when seeing Woodward's face. They both have so much aggressive animosity written into them that it leaves little doubt as to their character.

I know, sometimes scary-looking people turn to to be perfectly nice, and angelic-looking people are sociopaths.

But, sometimes, you just know. I notice this correlation between appearance and murderousness maybe around a third of the time, at least with white murderers.

With blacks, I don't. Three days ago Alabama football star Jesse Altman, 17, who evidently had scholarship offers from fifteen different colleges, was charged with murder, along with four other youths:

When I see pictures of blacks charged with murder, I'm often struck by how placid and expressionless their faces are. They may look unkempt, as if they hadn't washed their faces that morning. But they almost never have hatred and hostility etched into their faces the way some whites do.

Not sure what to make of that.

Friday, January 12, 2018

What, exactly, is a "shithole?"

Someone once said to me, "Mel Gibson is what would happen if you just took a regular guy off the street, say, a good-looking cop, and made him a movie star."

(The definition of a "regular guy" being: one who thinks more like the masses than the elites, who scoffs at politically correct pieties, and who just blurts out whatever he's thinking.)

You could almost say the same of Donald Trump: it's as if America just decided to take a regular guy and make him President.

Yesterday, Donald Trump evidently asked lawmakers gathered at the White House to discuss immigration policy, "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?"

He then suggested that we should encourage more immigration from places like Norway, whose prime minister he had met with on Wednesday.

This is vintage Trump: blunt-spoken and tactless, but honest. Calling other countries "shitholes" is hardly statesmanlike. (Though, it must be said, it was the Democrats who reported that Trump used that term in what he undoubtedly thought was a private meeting.)

Now, of course, all the usual suspects are sputtering with outrage.

But, does Trump have a point?

Trump made his comment when legislators were discussing extending special protections to immigrants from Haiti, el Salvador, and various African countries.

The Oxford dictionary defines "shithole" as:

An extremely dirty, shabby, or otherwise unpleasant place.

Can an entire country be characterized that way?

Haiti's per capita GDP is $729 as of 2016, compared to the US's $57,466.

Its infant mortality rate is 48.2 deaths per 1000 births, far higher than the US rate of 5.8.

Haiti's literacy rate is 61%, compared to the 86% rate in the US.

In the 22 months following the end of the President Aristide era in 2004, the murder rate in Haiti reached 220 per 100,000 population, though it has since come down to closer to 60. In the US, it hovers roughly around 5.

These statistics certainly seem to add up to a "shabby or otherwise unpleasant place."

Not coincidentally, the average IQ in Haiti is 67, vs. 98 for the US.

And all of Haiti's statistics are remarkably similar to those of the sub-Saharan African countries. 

If you're from a country like Haiti, with its near nonexistent welfare, of course you want to come to the United States. Likewise, you'd want to emigrate from Africa to Europe. 

The principle seems to be, the more of a mess you've made of your own country, the more desperately you want to come here. 

The question is, will it be good for the US to have people from such countries come here? Will a group of immigrants with an average IQ of 67 be more of a boon, or a burden?

Some feel we shouldn't even be allowed to ask that question, that it's beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse. But is it really unpatriotic to ask if a policy is in this country's best interest?

Of course not; it's self-destructive not to ask.

And it's hard not to conclude that the only reason certain parties don't want that question asked is because the answer is so obvious. Every immigrant who comes to this country makes this country a tiny bit more like the country he came from. 

Donald Trump's not about to win any prizes for diplomacy. But by the standards of Western leaders, he's quite commonsensical about immigration. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Why I love Floyd Mayweather

Yahoo Sports ran an article yesterday titled Floyd Mayweather gives ignorant, vile response to question about #MeToo movement.

Its author, Henry Bushnell, tried hard to demonstrate his own sensitivity by scathingly criticizing Mayweather's response to a question from a female reporter:

We’re asking a lot of men, in light of the #MeToo movement, how men can grow in 2018.

Mayweather: The who?

The #MeToo movement. Women speaking out about sexual assault.

Mayweather: When you say “me too” … When somebody is like, “I got a Rolls Royce, I be like ‘me too.'” When somebody say they got a private jet, I say, “Me too. I got two. Me too.”

This is a very different —

Mayweather: Well, I didn’t know! My Me Too movement from the beginning was whenever somebody said what they have I’m like, “me too.” Somebody say they got a billion dollars, I say, “I made a billion dollars, me too.”

One thing you have to say for Mayweather: he is without guile. Bushnell, by contrast, just says whatever he thinks makes him look best -- like most whites.

From Wiki:

A noble savage is a literary stock character who embodies the concept of the indigene, outsider, wild human, an "other" who has not been "corrupted" by civilization, and therefore symbolizes humanity's innate goodness.

Mayweather's crass materialism probably disqualifies him from representing the ideal espoused by John Dryden and others. But he does remain uncorrupted by that aspect of civilization which requires people to pay lip service to the pieties of the day. 

Or, maybe, even to be aware of them.

Floyd "Money" Mayweather's personality consists largely of uninhibited braggadocio, greed, and an enjoyment of the good things in life.

But is that not how a "noble savage" would behave if you plunked him down in the middle of today's society: uninhibitedly, and with a lack of guile?

(Being a hunter-gatherer would not have precluded "greed": wanting the choicest cuts of meat, or more berries than anyone else, or the most attractive mate, or the best sleeping spot in the cave.)

And as long as we're judging Mayweather, what must also be weighed in the balance is that he's good-natured. There's nothing snarky or snippy about him. (Unlike, say, Bushnell -- or me.)

One has to have a certain amount of controlled savagery to make a living with one's fists, as Mayweather did. And there's a certain nobility -- and bravery -- in the way Mayweather risked injury every time he entered the ring.

Personally, I find both those qualities far more appealing than false piety.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Are the Trump children spoiled?

After Friday's post about Trump's possibly having seduced the wives of his friends, commenter LBD pointed out:

All his children are mentally and physically healthy, productive people. None of them smoke cigarettes, they aren’t big drinkers (although Eric owns a winery) and all have chosen decent spouses (boyfriend in Tiffany’s case, and Barron is only twelve).

Also, even though Ivana despises Marla to this day, she has always treated Tiffany kindly and sought to include her in family events. The older kids don’t take it out on their half sister either, although her mom wrecked their childhood home. Lots of decency going on in that clan despite the dad’s egocentrism.

I replied:

True, it doesn't seem to be a dysfunctional family, even as the kids do seem a little spoiled.

LBD then replied:

Spoiled? Despite the family wealth they have all worked full time throughout their adult lives. Not trustafarians by any means. No drugs, no rowdy behavior, no extended adolescense. Opposite of spoiled by my reckoning.

LBD is right, of course. But I then explained what I meant:

I don't mean spoiled in the sense that they're club kids, or wastrels, but spoiled in the sense that they had it easy because they were the boss's kid. After college, Donald Trump Jr. spent one year bartending in Aspen before joining the Trump Organization. Ivanka spent one year at Forest City Enterprises before joining the Trump Organization. And Eric actually joined it while he was in high school. When you're the boss's son -- or daughter -- your career is going to be different. Not only do you not have to be concerned about being fired -- a constant, lurking threat for most people -- but other people kiss your ass for no other reason than who your father is. And with all that comes a certain sense of entitlement. Trust me, I've known people like this, and their experience of life is far different than yours or mine. They never had to kiss ass, never had to worry about their jobs, never even had to worry about being promoted. In my book, that's spoiled. Maybe not spoiled rotten, but spoiled.

I'd put Steve Mnuchin in this category too. He started at Goldman around the same time I did, but there was never any doubt that -- as long as he was passably competent -- he would make partner, since his father, Robert Mnuchin, was on the management committee of Goldman at the time. (John Weinstein, the former managing partner, also had two sons who joined the firm, and there was never much question about their eventual ascendancy either.) 

Frankly, Donald Trump himself falls into this category as well, having essentially taken over his father's real estate company.

But while I don't admire the Trump children, I have nothing against them, either. Ivanka, whose nose job and breast implants have made her look a little like a Russian stripper --

-- has always been a dutiful daughter. (And Russian strippers can look awfully good.)

I don't see Javanka championing the populism that propelled Trump into office, but I also suspect that their political influence may be overestimated. (This may change over the course of the next few years, though.)

Donald Trump Jr., too, is devoted to defending his father, though he tends to do so with the same hotheaded impetuousness that characterize his father's Tweets. This could eventually get Junior in trouble. He reminds me little of George W. Bush during his father's Presidency.

Eric Trump, while a little colorless, is also loyal. He's the kind of guy who, if not for his last name, you'd never have taken notice of in high school. But you can't hold that against him.

One group of people you almost never hear about -- and have to give credit to for that reason -- are Donald Trump's surviving siblings. Can you recall hearing a single interview with a single one of them since he first announced his run?

None have sought to capitalize on their connection. (And there is a long list of black sheep from Presidential families who have: think Billy Carter, Neil Bush, Hugh Rodham, and Roger Clinton.)

For that, we should probably be grateful.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"Cameron didn't have a 'bromance' with Obama and thought he was a narcissist, claims former adviser"

From an article in yesterday's Independent:

David Cameron believed Barack Obama, a man with whom he appeared to share a warm and respectful relationship that even verged on a so-called bromance, was one of the “most narcissistic, self-absorbed people” he ever met, according to the ex-Prime Minister’s former strategy chief.

Steve Hilton, who was one of the former Premier’s closest advisers until they parted ways over his support for Brexit and tougher immigration laws, said...“My old boss, former British prime minister David Cameron, thought Obama was one of the most narcissistic, self-absorbed people he’d ever dealt with.”

“Obama never listened to anyone, always thought he was smarter than every expert in the room, and treated every meeting as an opportunity to lecture everyone else. This led to real-world disasters, like Syria and the rise of Isis....”

Mr Cameron and Mr Obama worked together on a variety of issues over the course of around six years. They were often photographed playing basketball and ping pong. Mr Cameron once said of his US counterpart: “Yes, he sometimes calls me ‘bro’.”

Mr Obama also threw his support behind Mr Cameron’s campaign to remain in the EU. Visiting in Britain in April 2016, he said it was up to Britons to decide whether or not to stay in the EU. Yet he said he feared the country would move to the “back of the queue” in any trade deal if it left.

A spokesman for Mr Cameron denied Mr Hilton’s claims.

“This does not represent David Cameron’s opinion at all and could not be further from the truth,” he said in a statement.

“David Cameron’s views on President Obama - whether in public or in private - are the same: he considers Barack Obama a hugely accomplished president, a great partner for Britain and a good friend to our country and to him personally.”

Gee, I wonder which version of this story is true. One guy has specific details that dovetail perfectly with Barack Obama's personality, and the other, who wouldn't want his personal feelings to disrupt international relations, has his spokesman issue a standard boilerplate denial.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

"Trump claims he's 'a very stable genius'"

When Donald Trump first announced in 2015, I didn't think he had a chance. But I was increasingly hopeful as his populist platform struck a chord with the electorate, and was overjoyed when he beat Hillary.

This country needs to defend its borders (an issue that not even other Republicans dared broach before Trump). We needed a lower corporate tax rate to discourage companies from moving abroad. We need to force China to practice fair trade. We need a Supreme Court with more Constitutionalists. We need to support the police, rather than discouraging them from doing their jobs.

And it's high time someone in a position of power scoffed at the censorship that political correctness has imposed.

The price we pay for a President with these views is, well, Donald Trump's personality.

It's a small price to pay, given the issues at stake. But it is a price.

Yesterday, in response to the publicity over Michael Wolff's book, Donald Trump said:

“Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart....I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star . . . to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius . . . and a very stable genius at that!”

In a six-year-old, such childish grandiosity would be cute. In an adult, it's not.

It's certainly not the way we want our President to behave, not only because it's embarrassing, but because it makes him less effective. (Why needlessly give your enemies so much ammunition?)

But, once again, a real sociopath would hide his ego behind a curtain of insincere modesty. Trump seems incapable of that.

I know, it's a little pathetic that at this point I'm defending Trump by saying, well, at least he's not a sociopath, he's only extremely narcissistic -- assuming the story in the previous post isn't true.

That's awfully faint praise.

But sometimes it takes someone with the ego of a narcissist to be willing to speak the truth about certain things. And it's his ego -- as well as a certain impetuousness -- that has allowed Trump to blurt out things about immigration and so on that many would not dare to, for fear of being declared an apostate by the false idols of the media.

It takes a bold, narcissistic personality not to be cowed by their collective vituperation.

So, looking at it from another angle, maybe we should be grateful for Trump's lack of circumspection.

Friday, January 5, 2018

"Trump thought bedding friends' wives made 'life worth living: book"

I have no idea whether this story is true, and the author of the book it quotes from, Michael Wolff, evidently has a history of being less than truthful.

But if it is true, I have to reconsider whether Donald Trump is a sociopath.

I've said in the past that he's a narcissistic personality with ADHD. I generally agree with him politically, but can't deny that he's boorish, boastful, thin-skinned, easily distracted, and not particularly articulate. Of course, none of that spells sociopathy.

And no matter how hard the MSM tried to put a negative spin on all of Trump's words and actions, I just couldn't see any sociopathy in him.

But if he actually talked to his friends and tried to draw them out about their sex lives while he had their wives secretly listening on a speakerphone, then that's a level of perfidy could only be reached by a sociopath.

Again, I'd emphasize, it's not necessarily true. (If it's not true, it's a new low even for the MSM.)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Dave Chappelle's two new specials

There were a few newspaper articles which came out two days ago about one of Dave Chappelle's new Netflix specials, The Bird Revelation. All of them focused on a brief part of his 45 minutes standup session, his take on the Louis C.K. scandal.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the article:

Dave Chappelle tackles Hollywood’s sexual harassment allegations in his new Netflix stand-up — taking aim at one of the five women who accused Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct...

Chappelle, 44, went on to address C.K.’s incident with writer Abby Schachner, with whom he masturbated while on the phone. She told the New York Times that it was “one of the things that discouraged her from pursuing comedy.”

“One lady said, ‘Louis C.K. masturbated in front of me, ruined my comedy dreams,'” he said of
Schachner. “Word? Well then I dare say, madam, you may have never had a dream. Come on man, that’s a brittle spirit. That is a brittle-ass spirit, that is too much, this grown-ass woman.”

He continued, joking that Martin Luther King probably wouldn’t have given up his “dream” if Louis C.K. masturbated in front of him.

“Show business is just harder than that,” Chappelle said, bringing up Schachner again. “Them women sound…they sound weak. I know that sounds f–ked up, I’m not supposed to say that, but one of these ladies was like, ‘Louis C.K. was masturbating while I was on the phone with him.’ B-tch, you don’t know how to hang up a phone? How the f–k are you going to survive in show business if this is an actual obstacle to your dreams?”

This is Chappelle at his best: brutally honest and funny, while pointing out the silliness of certain sensibilities.

I watched both specials. The first, Equanimity, started out great, but ended up with a less-than-funny, preachy speech about Emmett Till.

The second, The Bird Revelation, is where he made the Louis C.K. comments. It was a good show, though those comments may have been the highlight. And once again, Chappelle went on at length about how hard blacks have had it in this country, as if we haven't all heard the entire litany hundreds of times before: the Atlantic crossing, slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow. 

Chappelle, like many blacks, talks about all this as if he himself had experienced it. (Note how often the proverbial "we" is used when describing this history.) But Chappelle was born in 1973, the dawn of the affirmative action era, an era during which whites were mostly afraid of blacks, not the other way around. Most of the whites he's known have undoubtedly tiptoed around him, deathly afraid that they might somehow appear racist. 

Blacks now so desperately want to be offended, to find some evidence of racism, that they have been reduced to searching for "microaggressions" in order to explain how they've been "held back."

Talk about a brittle-ass spirit. 

Left unmentioned by Chappelle are what life was actually like back in Africa, IQ differences, crime rates, etc. But those don't fit into The Narrative, so they must be ignored.

Another thing I wish he'd address is his own steroid use. You'd think a guy who's honest about his own masturbation habits might mention the elephant (-sized muscles) in the room. Given his talent, he could probably get some great material out of that.

In all fairness to Chappelle, there's a lot of pressure on black comedians to be loyal to their community. Chris Rock originally made his name by making fun of black people. (Remember his line, "The best place to hide money from a n****r is in a book"?) But then Rock came under a lot of criticism by blacks for being a Tom, so he changed his act; and not entirely coincidentally, he stopped being as funny.

Chappelle has undergone these same pressures (which he obliquely refers to in his act). So now he talks about Emmett Till, and so on. And, again not entirely coincidentally, he's not all that funny when he does so.

But overall, both Chappelle specials are worth watching, and when he's funny, he's great. You just have to get past the occasional preachiness.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Left vs. natural instincts

The more you see of Leftists, the more you realize that what they are really trying to abolish is human nature -- pretty much at every level.

They have done their best to attach labels to many of our most basic instincts, labels which make them sound like either mental illnesses or moral failings.

Being mildly repulsed by homosexuals is a natural enough feeling for most guys, and there's a strong evolutionary reason for men to feel this way. But Leftists claim that men who are put off by gay guys suffer from a disorder, homophobia.

A phobia is an extreme, irrational fear. Yet I know of no heterosexual man for whom seeing a gay guy induces the same sort of sweaty-palmed, heart-pounding panic that, say, a turbulent airplane flight or a nearby rattlesnake does.

We're constantly told that gay men can't help but be attracted to other men, and that only clueless conservatives would regard homosexuality as a "lifestyle choice." Yet when heterosexual men are attracted to slender women but not fat ones, they're lambasted for their patriarchal sense of beauty. Yet heterosexual men can't help whom they're attracted to anymore than homosexual men can.

Once again, it's a natural instinct which is at fault.

(By the way, are gay men ever faulted for not being attracted to "bears?" I don't think so.)

When men are attracted to women, then, by definition, they see those women as sex objects. But this, too, is now considered a mortal sin. It is "dehumanizing" and "chauvinist."

The Left is at war with our instincts.

Should anyone suggest that a woman would be better off if she lost weight, that person has engaged in "fat shaming." (Somehow, this concept doesn't apply to similar suggestions to men.)

For boys to be hyperactive and have short attention spans is quite natural; it's how boys evolved to learn (they didn't evolve to sit still in a schoolroom for six or seven hours a day). Yet the teaching establishment, which generally runs both liberal and female, has labeled their natural rambunctiousness as attention deficit disorder. And it feels these boys must be medicated.

Feeling loyalty to and sticking up for your own tribe is a natural instinct; any group which didn't feel this way would have gone extinct long ago. Yet while the Left encourages every other group to do this, they hate it when people of European descent do it.

Not only is this hypocritical, it goes against one of the most basic instincts we have.

Recognizing patterns is one of the most basic forms of human intelligence; in fact, most IQ tests incorporate pattern recognition. And being leery of a group which is hostile to your culture and also more likely to commit terrorism is basic pattern recognition. Yet the Left has labeled this, too, as an extreme and irrational fear: Islamophobia.

Being afraid of a group more predisposed towards violence is also the most basic, necessary kind of self-preservation instinct. But that is now equated with a moral sin, racism.

There is no group in human history which has wanted to share their territory with invaders; yet those who aren't in favor of turning the West into the world's dumping ground -- which goes against every human instinct -- are also now painted as morally wanting by the Left.

Basically, what Leftist doctrine boils down to is that four million years of human evolution has programmed us the wrong way.

But unfortunately -- or fortunately, depending on your point of view -- our deeply rooted instincts are not about to change to accommodate the intellectual fashions of the moment. Especially not when those fashions are so transparently hypocritical.

The Left has overplayed its hand; and its reward is Donald Trump.

It's hard not to suspect that he's just the beginning.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Trump in a nutshell

Donald Trump was in the news again this morning for having said “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”

He misspoke, of course. The President has the right to pick an Attorney General who is like-minded. And every AG is, ultimately, answerable to the President. But the DOJ is, theoretically at least, an independent institution.

The DOJ administers the US Marshalls Service, the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the ATF, and the DEA. And each of those organizations not only enforce, but also adhere to the rule of law.

So Trump's statement, which implied emperor-like powers for himself, was quintessentially Trumpian: he just blurted out whatever came to mind.

After making that comment, Trump must have realized he had gone too far, because then he backtracked with, “But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.”

That sentence, too, was Trumpian, at least in terms of grammar and syntax.

But in a roundabout way, Trump's blundering style also shows that he's not a sociopath.

Barack Obama obviously did, and Hillary Clinton obviously wouldn't have hesitated to, use the levers of power for purely political means, in an underhanded way.

But neither would ever have blurted out that they had that right. Both of them would have paid lip service to the rule of law, and would have expressed absolute abhorrence at the very thought that they might ever make a devious end run around it.

They are both natural liars, far too slick to make such a faux pas.

Trump, by contrast, is not nearly as schooled in the ways of Washington, where you never say what you mean and where blurting out the truth is considered the worst type of gaffe.

He may be a buffoon, but he's not sociopathic. And that makes him more trustworthy, if at times embarrassing.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The antisocial nature of investing

The recent rise of Bitcoin has highlighted the seamier side of investing. With certain investments, you're implicitly rooting for ugly things. With Bitcoin, for instance, you're on the side of the drug cartels which want to be able to make large cash-equivalent transactions without banks involved. You're on the side of corrupt dictators who want to keep their ill-gotten gains when they flee their countries. And you're on the side of anyone who doesn't want to pay taxes.

Very few investors would admit to this publicly, but they're effectively hoping for the cartels and dictators to thrive and provide a demand for Bitcoin.

If you invest in cigarette companies, like Philip Morris, you essentially want more people to become addicted to cigarettes. As Warren Buffett said about Philip Morris back in the 80's, "It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It's addictive. And there's fantastic brand loyalty." (He later declined to invest because he didn't want the bad publicity; but he was right in his analysis.)

If you invest in a defense company, like Raytheon or Lockheed Martin or General Dynamics, you're rooting for war, never mind the collateral destruction. You've come part of the military industrial complex. (Most of us associate that phrase with the student protests of the 1960's, but the man who coined that phrase was actually President Eisenhower, who knew whereof he spoke.)

But it's not just the cigarette and defense companies -- the traditional villains -- whose investors root against humanity.

If you invest in an oil company, you're rooting for the price of oil to go up. If that means war breaking out in, say, Nigeria or Iran or Saudi Arabia, so be it. The more destruction, the more money you make (assuming your company doesn't have wells there).

Either way, you're certainly hoping that there's a lot of demand for oil -- even if that means more pollution.

If you invest in a biotech, you're basically rooting for more people to get whichever disease your company can cure. And, you don't want their drug to be so effective that it can completely cure the disease, but to be something patients need to rely on for the rest of their lives.

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston this past August, 35 people lost their lives. But the flooding also damaged a lot of cars, which needed to be replaced -- and GM stock went up!

If you invest in a leveraged volatility index like UVXY, or a short ETF like SDS, you want the stock market to take a big fall -- meaning, you want a lot of people to lose money, since that's what would cause your stock would go up.

In fact, any time you invest in any company, you're essentially rooting for its rivals to fail, even if that means that their employees lose their jobs and their investors lose their money.

This might present a moral quandary for some people.

(It doesn't seem to for me.)

Monday, December 25, 2017

"Rosie O'Donnell tells Paul Ryan he's going 'straight to hell'"

At times, Rosie seems to be a one-woman juggernaut designed to educate the world about borderline personality disorder.

According to the NY Post:

The fierce opponent of President Trump and the newly-passed GOP tax plan lashed out at Ryan on Twitter.

“paul ryan – don’t talk about Jesus after what u just did to our nation – u will go straight to hell,” O'Donnell wrote Monday.

“U screwed up fake altar boy,” O’Donnell added...

It’s the latest Twitter war for the ex-View host.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro reported an obscene tweet O’Donnell posted about him last week that said “Suck my d___ Ben,” according to Fox News.

Borderlines never seem to have the slightest doubt that they are on the side of goodness and light and that their opponents are, well, going straight to hell. 

And because they are always so completely convinced of their own righteousness, they are utterly uninhibited with their words and actions, since they always consider them justified.

I've never been a Paul Ryan fan. I don't like the way he tried to undermine Trump in 2016, I wish he hadn't lowered the maximum individual tax rate, and I don't like the way he lied about his marathon time. I don't even like his dishonest-looking face or his Eddie Munster hairline:

But if he's headed for eternity in a hot place, he and Rosie will probably have plenty of time to get better acquainted. 

Rosie is larger than life, 200 pounds of constant, unrelenting, unmitigated fury. And since she makes good copy, the press continues to cover her. As long as they do, we might as well let our education continue. 

(It just hit me who else has borderline personality disorder: Rose McGowan. The constant, unrelenting fury, the complete lack of doubt that she is in the right, and the complete lack of inhibitions in savaging people she sees as her enemies are pretty good indications.)

Primitive hairlines, Part V

An Arizona father, Robert Anthony Resendiz --

-- got frustrated with his crying son and bent him until he stopped crying. The son, six months old, is now in the hospital but is not expected to survive with his massive internal injuries.

(Bring back the Old Testament.)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Borderline Personality Disorder alert: Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O'Donnell was in the news recently for having offered $2 million apiece to Senators Jeff Flake and Susan Collins to vote against the tax bill. In another tweet, she offered $2 million to any Republican Senator who would vote no. This may or may not have been an illegal offer of a bribe; opinions on that seem mostly determined by one's political outlook.

In any case, after seeing the picture accompanying the article, it occurred to me that I'd never seen a picture of O'Donnell where she's wearing a normal smile. In every situation where she's supposed to smile, she's wearing a weird forced grimace instead. Here are a few examples of that:

Rosie with adopted (and now estranged) daughter Chelsea:

Rosie and first wife Kelli Carpenter (their marriage was annulled the year they got married):

Rosie and second wife Michelle Rounds, to whom she was married for three years:

Google-image "Rosie O'Donnell smiling" and you won't find a single picture of her actually doing that.

I've seen people with Aspergers who, when they're supposed to smile, just open and widen their mouths instead. But O'Donnell doesn't have Aspergers.

I've also seen sociopaths who never smile. But that tends to be more of a dominance thing, a statement that everyone else is there to please him, and show him they like him, not vice versa.

But O'Donnell's not a sociopath, either. She's not charming, nor is she a skillful liar, nor is she a con artist. And if she were a sociopath she'd have more self control, and would know how to simulate, at least for a short while, decency.

Nor is she an ordinary narcissist, since she never appears happy with herself -- witness her inability to smile.

But she obviously has some identifiable syndrome. The way she flies into rages, her never-ending, countless spats, and the fact that none of her relationships last for any length of time all point to an extremely difficult personality.

It has to be borderline personality disorder.

She's just constantly in a rage, and it appears to be something she has no control over. (The Left tries to apply the label "hater" to the Right all the time, but if you want to see what a real hater looks like, look at the pictures above.)

She was an extremely demanding boss, as former staffers on OWN's The Rosie Show seem to be more than willing to attest. She constantly belittled her staff and changed her mind about what she wanted.

Before that, in 1996, she had her own daytime TV talk show on NBC. When it started, she announced that she wanted to be known as the "Queen of Nice" (in contrast to Leona Helmsley, the hotelier who at the time was known as the "Queen of Mean"). But that didn't quite square with the fact that O'Donnell fired four separate executive producers in her first year on the show.

If she had fired just one, it would be possible to believe the producer was incompetent, or otherwise lacking. If she'd fired two, it still might be possible. But once the number got to three, it became pretty obvious that the producers weren't the problem. At four, there was no room for doubt.

What really made that galling was her public pose as the "Queen of Nice." That was about as credible as the crush she claimed to have on Tom Cruise.

According to Wikipedia, there is a "strong correlation between child abuse, especially child sexual abuse, and development of BPD." O'Donnell claims that she was sexually abused as a child.

One of the hallmarks of BPD is fear of abandonment, and O'Donnell's mother died unexpectedly of cancer when Rosie was 11.

Neither of these things are her fault, of course. But that doesn't help the people she regularly lashes out against.

Borderline Personality Disorder is an ugly disease, and Rosie is its poster child.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

I don't understand Bitcoin

The Bitcoin frenzy of the past few weeks has been hard to fathom. A lot of people have compared it to famous bubbles of the past, such as the tulip bulb frenzy in the 1600's, or the insanity of 1999 and 2000.

But I can't even categorize it that way, since I don't understand it. As Janet Yellen said recently, since it's not government-issued, it has no backing, nobody has any responsibility to redeem it, and there's no military to protect it.

Nonetheless, like everyone else, I'm gnashing my teeth that I didn't invest in it earlier. (And, like everyone else, I'm sorta secretly hoping it collapses.)

But, in the meantime, I've decided to issue my own currency. I'm going to call it the "Craig." You have my word, it's officially Just Not Said-approved. I'm going to sell a hundred coins, at a million dollars apiece. I promise, I'll never sell any more than that.

You can use it to finance drug deals, spirit your wealth out of Zimbabwe, or pay off gambling debts.

Step right up, folks.

Congressional hypocrisy

It emerged recently that Congress has paid off staffers who've complained about sexual harassment, but as of one day ago, the Congressional Compliance Office still refused to release the names of the Congressmen on whose behalf those payouts had been made.

That secrecy is a scandal in and of itself. But it's even worse that those harassed were paid off with taxpayer dollars. You and I paid for those Congressmens' misbehavior.

When Congress passed Obamacare, they exempted themselves from its requirements, and kept a more generous package for themselves. 

Congress has even exempted themselves from insider trading laws.

And there are several other laws that Congress is exempt from, including the Freedom of Information Act

Why is there not more outrage about this double standard? It's not even a partisan issue; the anger should be universal.

Monday, December 18, 2017

A conversation with a psychopath

I had an interesting conversation last week with a commenter who told me he was a psychopath. It took place after the Murder victims' ages post from December 2012 if you want to see it in its entirety. (There are no other comments on the post.)

Mark (his pseudonym) started out by saying he was researching Cluster B personalities, but in fairly short order admitted that he was a psychopath. He took pains to explain the difference between psychopaths and sociopaths:

The documentaries I Youtubed all roughly say that Psychopaths are not evil per say but are simply the most CAPABLE of harm and evil SINCE they are essentially robots that mimic human emotions brilliantly (thus avoid being exposed) and SINCE they think the most rationally and logically that therefore they're armed with the best arsenal of necessary skills to commit the MOST destructive and MOST efficient harm/evil; think of Arnold Schwarzenegger from the movie terminator. After all Psychopaths unlike Sociopaths plan and execute their crimes/schemes with deadly efficacy and efficiency leaving little to no evidence behind all the while achieving precisely what they desired. Sociopaths tend to be very messy with their evil endeavors with poor planning and poor results since they act with impulse and Rage.

These documentaries frequently mention that most Psychopaths don't use their 'superior logic' for evil but rather to obtain an advanced career and/or become rich & famous eg. wall-street big shot, Hollywood superstar, genius scientist or clever politician.

This is in contrast to Sociopaths/MNs who are very sensitive to how people perceive them (Psychopaths are mostly indifferent to how people perceive them) MNs/Sociopaths unlike Psychopaths are rather highly emotional and they use intense rage and impulsiveness as opposed to total calculating logic to commit harm/evil (this causes a lot of mess for them) and most importantly they are proudly and willfully evil. On a site note: paradoxically Sociopaths/MNs are capable of empathy for a small circle of people of their choosing in contrast to Psychopaths who literally have empathy for no one.

I replied:

I know there are people who liked to distinguish between sociopaths and psychopaths, saying that psychopaths were born that way because of their abnormal brain circuitry, whereas sociopaths basically became that way because of the (relatively loveless or even abusive) way they were brought up. I don't subscribe to that distinction.

For all practical purposes, since they act exactly the same, they ARE the same. I'm not an expert on the physiology of the brain, and I don't doubt that abnormalities in the frontal lobe can cause people to act more like sociopaths...

I'm more interested in behavior than brain physiology (that's just another way of saying I know little of the latter), so I don't make the distinction between sociopaths and psychopaths. What you've described above (in terms of who gets away with crimes, who achieves success, and so on) is basically the difference between high-IQ and low-IQ sociopaths. 

We argued the point a bit, then agreed to disagree. I admit, though, that by the end of the conversation I had moved a step in his direction.

One of the interesting things Mark said is that he's not really into music, which made sense. If, as Tolstoy said, music is the shorthand of emotion, then since sociopaths lack the full range of emotions, a lot of music's effect will be lost on them. Certainly the types of songs which are supposed to evoke inchoate romantic longing and sentimental journeys are not going to stir them. 

When I thought about it, I realized that the two sociopaths I've known best -- I had extended contact with both -- never expressed the slightest interest in music, nor did they ever play any when I was around them. 

I asked Mark what happened when he met another psychopath. (It has always been my impression that fireworks will erupt, as both are essentially alphas who will not abide the presence of another encroaching on their territory.) He said that he could usually pick them out just from their body language. Psychopaths will often just fix someone with a cold, reptilian stare (my words, not his) and essentially just wait for the other person to flinch. And most non-psychopaths will blink, in fairly short order, and feel obliged to end the silence with some kind of talk.

I found that fascinating. I had always figured that sociopaths recognized each other the same way the rest of us recognize them, by gradually figuring out from their words and actions what they are. Evidently the process is much shorter.

Mark also said that when he did come across another psychopath, he basically just avoided him.

Of course, once someone tells you he's a psychopath, you have to put up your defenses. There are only two possibilities in that situation. If he's lying about being a psychopath, then he's a liar who can't be trusted. But if he's telling the truth about being a psychopath, then he's a liar who can't be trusted. Either way....

But strangely, I got the sense that Mark was being relatively truthful with me, and much of what he said rang true.

Mark also said that he enjoyed trolling. That certainly fits with the literature on the subject, that a lot of trolls are sociopaths or otherwise Machiavellian personalities.

But he also said he wasn't going to troll me, and was complimentary on a number of occasions. When I told him I'd have to write off his flattery as psychopathic manipulation, he seemed amused.

It was a little strange having a civil, almost friendly conversation with an admitted psychopath. I devote a sizable portion of the blog to the proposition that sociopaths are the scum of the earth, yet here I was chatting away with one almost as if we were buddies. Knowing that he's a psychopath, I'd never want to meet him, as no possible good could come of it. But on this blog, as in real life, I try to act towards others as they act towards me, which I guess means...that I'm easily manipulated.

Anyway, I now consider myself more educated on the subject of sociopathy -- or psychopathy. I'd never been aware of the music thing before, but it makes perfect sense. And the bit about psychopaths recognizing each other right off the bat just from their body language made sense too.

The entire conversation is after this post.