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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Spoken like a sociopath

In February 2014 I pointed out that former NFL star Darren Sharper, who'd been accused of eleven druggings and seven rapes in four states, was also active in A Call to Men, an organization dedicated to preventing violence against women.

(Note the pink ribbon -- raising awareness of breast cancer -- on Sharper's lapel.)

The point of the post wasn't that it was surprising that a guy active in that organization would turn out to be guilty of sexual assault. It was that you should actually expect a sociopathic serial rapist to do something like that. What better cover for being a rapist than to pose as an advocate for women? It's not as if a sociopath is going to be bothered by his own hypocrisy.

It was a little like when Ted Bundy worked at that suicide prevention hotline.

Since then, Sharper has been convicted. (And it seems likely that the women who came forward represent only a fraction of the women Sharper assaulted.)

Yesterday, he was sentenced in California for the two druggings and two rapes he committed there.

What I found most striking about the AP article was what Sharper said to the judge in Louisiana when he was being sentenced there: that he "wanted to apologize a thousand times."

There's something peculiarly sociopathic about being so emphatic in one's phoniness.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The temperament to be President

For all that the Left talked about how Donald Trump does not have the right temperament, he's shown remarkable forgiveness in the three weeks since he's been elected.

Today he had a phone conversation with Michael Bloomberg, who had said during the campaign that "we must unite around the candidate [Clinton] who can defeat a dangerous demagogue," and that "I'm a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one."

Trump evidently decided to forgive, if not forget.

Mitt Romney said during the campaign that Trump was a "phony" and a "fraud."

Now Trump is reportedly considering Romney for Secretary of State.

During the campaign, Ted Cruz said that Trump "doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. The man is utterly amoral. You know, morality does not exist for him.”

Since the election, Trump has met with Cruz and is reportedly considering him for the Supreme Court.

None of those salvos went unreturned during the campaign, of course; in fact, it was often Trump who started the battles. 

But Trump's moves since the election are not those of a hothead. (Would Hillary have tried to mend fences with people who'd savaged her the same way?)

It's reassuring that Trump's been able to put his ego aside. (Who'd have guessed it from his Tweeting history?) These meetings were probably his advisors' ideas, not his; nonetheless, just agreeing to them was statesmanlike. 

Trump has also made some good tactical moves. Today he named Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation. (That seems to be one of those positions where you hear about the appointment and then never hear about the person again.) 

That was a neat three-fer. He got to tick off the "woman" box, the "of color" box, and Chao also happens to be Mitch McConnell's wife, so now Trump has the Senate Majority Leader in his pocket as well.

Naming Nikki Haley (above) as Ambassador to the UN was a nice twofer: a woman of subcontinental Asian descent. (Though she's got to be the whitest-looking Indian ever.)

And with loyalist Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (another position where you never hear about the person after the appointment), Trump now has a black Cabinet member as well. 

Alexander Pope once famously said, "To err is human; to forgive, divine." 

Nobody would accuse Donald Trump of divinity. But the forbearance he's shown since his election, combined with the Machiavellianism of some of his picks, bodes well.

Judging the intelligence of someone who doesn't care about intelligence

Most of the wits I've known have been stamped with the "smart" sign in one way or another: they did well on standardized tests, went to fancy schools, and pursued some career associated with above average IQs.

But, some of the wits have not.

I recently spoke with a 63-year-old woman who'd had some ambition when young, but who has spent the second half of her life working in clerical positions. She came from a dysfunctional background, and was never encouraged to pursue any sort of academic interest. She was also a beauty when young, and most people saw her primarily in that light.

I made some small suggestion to her about something which was bothering her. She replied, "Too late. Mental equilibrium has left the building."

My initial reaction was, hmm, clever -- I wouldn't have thought to phrase it that way.

She said other clever things as well.

And I found myself wondering, how smart is she? I probably understand more stuff than her; but, I've probably made more of an effort to. And I wouldn't have come up with that rejoinder, nor some of the others. So I really can't judge her intelligence.

Sometimes, a positive impression is largely a matter of not being familiar with the limits of the person's repertoire. But sometimes, there's a genuine, undeniable wit there. And you're left wondering.

Usually, it's all too easy to see someone's lack of intelligence.

When someone lacks logic, you can see their limits clearly.

When someone spouts cliches, or recites old jokes, and then looks proud, their lack of originality is painfully apparent.

When someone is only willing to harbor "respectable" opinions, you can see their lack of intellectual courage quite clearly.

When someone bases their opinions on fiction, technically speaking, they're crazy.

When someone thinks you'll be interested in a two minute diatribe about their health status, well, enough said.

But when someone may not be interested in same things you are, or may have different opinions, but has clever ways of talking and different ways of looking at things, they seem smart. Are they? It's hard to tell.

Not entirely coincidentally, I witnessed the same woman change her opinion based on a fact she had been previously been unaware of. (Open-mindedness in a 63-year-old is probably even more impressive than plain old wit.)

That was a refreshing change from witless "intellectuals" too timid to think thoughts that are verboten.

One interesting corollary to all this is that black people tend to have good senses of humor. Despite a lower average IQ, they are better at saying funny stuff, and appreciating funny things.

And in that regard, the converse is also true: Northeast Asians may have the highest average IQs, but when was the last time you heard one of them say something genuinely funny?

(How does all that reflect on the woman? I don't know.)

I explored the somewhat tenuous relationship between IQ and a sense humor a bit here, six years ago.

In any case, clever people are fun. And, high IQ or not, it's sorta nice not to be able to see someone's limits. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Vanity and sanity

Whenever the subject comes up about our motivation to work out, my standard answer is the three word response above. Occasionally I'll add, "in that order."

(For some strange reason, rhymes always seem to imbue a statement with more meaning. Saying, "Oh, because I'm vain and because the endorphins elevate my mood" wouldn't have quite the same ring.)

Most men and women work out primarily in order to be more attractive. A lot of people will tell you they're doing it for their health, and that may be partly so. But usually, vanity is a much larger part of the equation; health is merely a side benefit.

Some will say, "I just enjoy the camaraderie down here at the gym," which is a little disingenuous. Maybe they do enjoy the social aspects of working out, but there is usually more warmth -- genuine or not -- to be had at the local bar.

But most answers you'll get are relatively honest. Some people will say something to the effect of, "Oh, this is the only way I can eat what I want." That is at least a tacit admission of vanity.

"I'm just trying to stave off old age" vaguely touches on all the motivations.

"I enjoy it" tends to be true among those who play a game like basketball for exercise.

"I like the way it makes me feel" and "It's a good way for me to burn off steam" and "I'm addicted to the endorphins" all express essentially the same, very real reaction that most get to exercise.

Statements like, "I have a bet with another guy at the office about who can lose more weight," or, "I want to beat my wife at a 10k" are usually true, and don't try to hide anything.

"I hate being this skinny" and "I hate being this fat," are exceptionally honest.

Few people will tell you, "It allows me to indulge in the fantasy that I'm younger than I am." But, with ex-jocks, that's often part of the equation.

Nobody ever says, "It improves my sex life." That would be true on two levels: it improves your appearance, and it improves the blood flow to your genitals. (If a guy ever tells you, "I exercise because it gives me better boners," you've met a truly honest man....and, maybe, someone with Aspergers.)

Of course, it's always tacitly assumed that you're at the gym at least partly for your sex life.

Some guys will actually admit to something along the lines of, "I like looking at the babes here," or, "This is a good place to meet women."

The real perverts -- men who do Pilates or yoga or take some other class filled mostly with women -- never admit to that. They'll always tell you they do it because they like that form of exercise. And the longer they go on about how and why they like that exercise, the bigger liars they are. (Not in every single case, but almost always.)

An earlier post described how you can tell practically everything about someone's personality from the way they work out. You can make a similar judgment from someone's explanation as to why he works out.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The mindset of someone acting as his own lawyer

The previous post mentioned that serial killer Steven Gordon acting as his own lawyer was a peculiarly sociopathic hallmark.

To fully fathom how different a sociopath is, put yourself in that situation for a moment. Imagine that you've committed a terrible crime, your life is on the line, and you need representation. Wouldn't your instincts be to put yourself in the hands of an expert, or at the very least, let one help you? In those circumstances, you need someone who knows the law, who knows the ins and outs of a courtroom, who has some sense of the local judge, and who's familiar with all the intricacies and technicalities associated with legal procedure. can do a better job.

When you board a commercial flight, is your instinct to saunter into the cockpit and say, "You can relax now, fellas. I'll take charge here. Don't worry, I've got this under control."

When you go into a dentist's office, are you tempted to say, "Just hold the mirror for me, I'd feel more comfortable drilling my own teeth"?

When you go for a colonoscopy, do you say, "Hey, don't bother with the anesthesia, I'll just put the tube in and cut off the polyps myself"?

When you see a couple of police officers making an arrest, do you step in and say, "It's okay guys, I'll take it from here"?

The thought of doing these things seems insanely arrogant.

That's the difference between you and a sociopath.

Now, admittedly, even sociopaths don't drill their own teeth, or pretend to be able to fly a plane (Frank Abagnale, upon whom Catch Me If You Can was based, appears to be the rare exception.) But the next time you hear of someone acting as his own lawyer, especially someone with no legal training, keep these analogies in mind.

And be aware, he's almost certainly a sociopath.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Another sociopath acting true to form

The NY Post ran an article today, Prosecutor likens accused serial killer to 'Jaws' shark, which had a couple of good examples of sociopathic behavior (apart from the serial killing).

The relevant excerpts:

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A convicted sex offender charged with raping and killing four Southern California women while he wore an electronic monitor was a predator like the shark in the movie “Jaws,” the prosecution said on the trial’s opening day Wednesday.

In his opening statement, Orange County Deputy District Attorney Larry Yellin said GPS and mobile phone data was used to track down Steven Dean Gordon and another man, comparing it to the hunt for the killer shark.

“‘Jaws’ is about a predator,” Yellin told jurors. “This case is about two. You are about to see the hunt.”

Gordon, 47, who is acting as his own attorney, declined to make an opening statement.

He and another sex offender, Franc Cano, 30, were wearing GPS tracking devices for prior offenses when they worked together to randomly target the women in 2013 and 2014, authorities said....

Gordon and Cano have pleaded not guilty to rape and murder with special circumstances. Cano’s separate trial hasn’t started. Both could face the death penalty if convicted....

Gordon confessed during grand jury proceedings, giving graphic details about picking up the women in his car with another registered sex offender, raping them behind an Anaheim paint and body shop where the men camped, and killing them, authorities said.

But the confession won’t be allowed at trial. The judge excluded it because Gordon told police he didn’t want to talk before launching into the elaborate account of the killings, Yellin has said....

DNA samples from Estepp’s body matched Cano’s and Gordon’s genetic material, authorities said....

Both men are registered sex offenders and were convicted in separate cases of lewd and lascivious acts on a child.

Okay, so Gordon (and undoubtedly Cano) are undoubtedly sociopaths, no dispute there. What's interesting is to see the other ways in which they show it. 

Gordon is acting as his own attorney. I keep seeing this time and again with sociopaths. Gordon is so incredibly arrogant he thinks, despite having had no legal training, that he would make a better lawyer than an actual lawyer.

There's a well known quote from Abraham Lincoln: "He who represents himself has a fool for a client." It might be more accurate to say, "....has a sociopath for a client." 

Note that Gordon confessed -- in great detail -- to the police immediately after he was caught, only to plead not guilty afterwards. He probably gave the police all those lurid details because he wanted to boast about his crimes, and, well, those guys just happened to be handy.

And consider, for a moment, how utterly shameless you'd have to be to actually brag about your sexually motivated murders. 

After confessing, Gordon subsequently pleaded not guilty. You have to be immune from embarrassment to give a complete confession, then plead innocent. Granted, a potential death sentence is enough motivation to do anything; but in the meantime, they have his DNA on the body.

If Gordon had an actual lawyer working for him, he would undoubtedly have been advised to try to work out a deal to avoid a death sentence simply by pleading guilty and offering to show where the other bodies could be found. 

Yet another way in which both Gordon and Cano demonstrate their sociopathy is that they have also been found guilty of child molesting. Sociopaths evidently have a much more wider-ranging, free-floating sexuality than do non sociopaths. Anyone who attacks both little girls and grown women is demonstrating polymorphous tastes. 

Finally, take another look at that picture of Gordon. He's not a particularly beastly-looking sort: he looks like a journalist worried about making a deadline. But he demonstrates, yet again, that sociopaths come in a full range of ethnicities, builds, and genders.  

Sociopaths never really go out of character. If you observe them closely, they'll give you all sorts of clues to that character. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The tea leaves

It's apparent from the composition of Trump's transition team that he values loyalty above all. He has surrounded himself with people who were loyal to him throughout the campaign: Rudy Giuliani, Ben Carson, Newt Gingrich, Peter Thiel, Kellyanne Conway, and Stephen Bannon. (Chris Christie was originally a member, but has been more or less pushed out, reportedly because he's letting a soccer mom go to jail for Bridgegate.)

Trump has even included Eric, Donald, Jr., Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner as part of his transition team as well:

You have to wonder if Barron felt left out.

In any case, it is apparent that the transition team is composed of loyalists who helped campaign for Trump. But whether Trump should appoint Cabinet-level positions based purely on this basis is another matter. Trump owes something to the people who voted for him as well.

The selection of Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff was smart strategy. Priebus represents the establishment, but he will be a good conduit to Congress, whom Trump needs if he is to get anything done.

The appointment of Kellyane Conway and Stephen Bannon as senior strategists is a nod both to their loyalty and to the voters.

Ben Carson has been mentioned as a possible Secretary of Education, but it seems more likely given his background that he gets the Surgeon General position, a fitting reward for his loyalty.

And Trump is reportedly leaning toward Steve Mnuchin, an ex-Goldman guy and head of his campaign finance committee, as Treasury Secretary. This strikes a little bit of a discordant note given that Trump had criticized both Hillary and Ted Cruz for their Goldman ties.

Yesterday it emerged that Rudy Giuliani is the frontrunner for Secretary of State. It's hard not to greet that news with a little bit of dismay. This was supposedly leaked by someone high up in the Trump power structure, and so, as these things do, will probably turn out to be true.

Giuliani was a great US Attorney for the Second District of New York. Despite being of Italian descent, and despite (or because of?) his father having been a low-level gangster, Giuliani fearlessly went after the Mob, obtaining several high level convictions. He also went after Wall Street for insider trading, and obtained a couple of convictions there as well.

He was overrated as a Mayor. Crime levels in the New York City came down drastically under his tenure (from 1994 through 2001), and he deserves some credit for that, but he also benefitted from the nationwide waning of the crack epidemic, which peaked from 1990 to 1992. After 9/11, Giuliani gave a rousing speech, and was photographed with President Bush atop a heap of rubble at the site of the bombing, and in the nationwide surge in patriotism that followed, was hailed as "America's Mayor." (He gave a couple of speeches, that was all.)

Giuliani distinguished himself in the Presidential primaries in 2008 by being the biggest hawk in the field, no mean feat in a field that included eventual nominee John McCain.

One of the reasons that voters were enthusiastic about Trump in the primaries was that he was the first Republican who felt free to say that the Iraq War was a bad idea, and because he wants to cooperate with Russia in Syria. Hillary would have enforced a no fly zone over the country, which could have led to a confrontation with Russia. Obama's policy, up until a few days ago, was to support both anti-Assad and anti-ISIS forces, while Assad and ISIS fight each other; Trump rightly pointed out how illogical that strategy was.

Trump did say that he would try to undo Obama's nuclear pact with Iran. But he has not mentioned wanting to go to war with anyone beside ISIS.

It's hard to believe that Giuliani feels the same.

Giuliani would make a great Attorney General for the exact same reasons he'd be a horrible Secretary of State: he's a belligerent, confrontational guy who's unafraid to go after anybody. In fact, he often seems downright eager to go after people.

If he does get State, Giuliani would theoretically do Trump's bidding. But he'd also have Trump's ear, and on balance, he would push us in the direction of war. That would be a betrayal of the voters who elected Trump.

Let's hope the rumors are untrue.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Real voter intimidation

The NY Post briefly ran this article two days ago. It shows a video of an older white man being beaten by a group of young black men, because he voted for Trump. (It's not clear how they knew how he had voted; perhaps he had a Trump bumper sticker on his car.)

This is real voter intimidation.

Requiring an ID is not voter intimidation, anymore than it is airplane passenger intimidation. Or check casher intimidation. Or car driver intimidation.

You've never heard of those concepts because they're so silly. But, they're no sillier than voter intimidation.

Beating people up -- and that was a vicious beating, I suggest you watch the video -- is an entirely different matter.

This incident, of course, will never be reported by the New York Times, or the Washington Post, or CBS, CNN, or NBC. But imagine what the reaction would have been had the roles been reversed, and three strapping young white men had beaten an old black man for having voted for Clinton. It would be a national focus for weeks.

Imagine what the New York Times would have had to say:

"In an incident indicative of the kind of violence which Donald Trump has promoted, three young white men viciously attacked and beat an elderly black voter yesterday afternoon, as a young white woman urged them on. The sheer ugliness of this display of racism and voter intimidation harks back to the Jim Crow era, and America's long and ugly history of racial discrimination, violence, and lynching.

It's no coincidence that this type of behavior would be shown by Trump supporters, who have shown an ugly, nativist streak throughout Trump's divisive, hateful campaign. This absolutely horrifying video, which will shock any decent person to his core, gives the lie to those who say the Republicans, led by Donald Trump, do not practice voter intimidation. We now have incontrovertible evidence. All those voices screaming for voter ID laws because of paranoid delusions about "electoral fraud" ought now to be shamed into silence forever. 

The problem is, Donald Trump seems incapable of shame. But he should be held to account for these types of incidents, given his direct appeals to racism and xenophobia and sexism. He has encouraged these displays of overt racism with his tone and ill-chosen words. And now, tragically, the haters have sprung forth and answered his call to violence.

If this presages the spirit of the Trump administration, people of color, gays, women, Muslims, and everybody else who doesn't conform to Donald Trump's idea of what a "real American" is are no longer safe. Donald Trump has now officially declared open season on minorities. 

I grieve for the future of America."

But, it didn't quite happen that way. It was a black-on-white attack, because the white voted for Trump.

So, all we hear are crickets.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Todd Kohlhepp

A new serial killer has been discovered and arrested in South Carolina. From ABC News:

A South Carolina man killed at least seven people in a hidden crime spree that lasted more than a decade and only was uncovered when police rescued a woman chained at the neck in a storage container, authorities said Saturday.

Todd Kohlhepp accepted responsibility for an unsolved 13-year-old massacre one day before the 13th anniversary of the deaths that stumped authorities, said Sheriff Chuck Wright, first elected a year after the murders.

Kohlhepp, 45, confessed to the deaths of the owner, service manager, mechanic and bookkeeper of Superbike Motorsports, a motorcycle shop in Chesnee, in Spartanburg County....

Wright says Kohlhepp also showed law enforcement officers Saturday where he says he buried two of his other victims on his 95-acre property near Woodruff....

Kohlhepp was released from prison in Arizona in 2001. At 15 years old, he was convicted of raping a 14-year-old neighbor at gunpoint and threatening to kill her siblings if she called police. Kohlhepp had to register as a sex offender.

But that didn't stop him from getting a South Carolina real estate license in 2006 and building a firm.

Wright said "it's strange" that Kohlhepp managed the pretext of a normal life for so long.

Here's Kohlhepp's mug shot when he was arrested for rape at age 15:

(He doesn't exactly look wracked with guilt at having held that 14-year-old girl at gunpoint and raping her.)

Here is a picture of the advertisement for Kohlhepp's South Carolina real estate firm:

And here is picture of Kohlepp after his recent arrest --

-- proving, once again, that leanness is everything when it comes to looks. He now looks a little like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:

In any case, we know that Kohlhepp is a sociopath, no mystery there. To me, the two most interesting things once you hear about a new serial killer are, first, what was his childhood like, and secondly, in what other ways did he express his sociopathy?

This local Fox News report gave a sense of what he'd been like as a child:

[Kohlhepp] pleaded guilty to kidnapping in the Arizona case and has been registered as a sex offender since then. His prison sentence started a year later in November of 1987 and continued until his release in 2001... 

Kohlhepp’s case was moved from juvenile to adult court. Dozens of pages of documents address his behavior as a young child through his teenage years. The judge who moved the case to adult court had a scathing summary of Kohlhepp and his behavior, calling Kohlhepp “behaviorally and emotionally dangerous.” He went on to write, “At less than the age of 9, this juvenile was impulsive, explosive, and preoccupied with sexual content. He has not changed. He has been unabatedly aggressive to others and destructive of property since nursery school. He destroys his own clothing, personal possessions and pets apparently on whim.”

That report includes a psychiatrist’s report that said he had “emotional difficulties and poor impulse control.” It said Kohlhepp underwent counseling for many years in South Carolina and Georgia, from the time he was 8 or 9 years old.

The report also included statements about Kohlhepp's relationship with his mother, who resided in Spartanburg at the time. Kohlhepp had lived with her until the he went to live with his father in the mid-1980s, when the kidnapping occurred: “Mrs. Kohlhepp states that Todd has experienced emotional, behavioral problems for as long as she can remember.” She said these problems went back to 15 months of age. She also mentioned that Kohlhepp had made several threats to harm her and to kill himself prior to the 1986 crime.

The report went on to say, “There is also mention made of Todd destroying his bedroom with a hammer; destroying other children’s projects; hitting other children; cloroxing a goldfish; shooting a dog with a BB gun; being dismissed from the Boy Scouts because he was too disruptive; shredding his own clothes.”

Family trouble was another common theme in the court document. It stated Kohlhepp did not have much of a relationship with his biological father until he went to live with him in the 1980s. His mother had re-married and there were also issues with his stepfather.

A quote from his father was also included in the report, stating "The only emotion Todd seems capable of showing is anger."

Kohlhepp also had problems in the classroom. The court documents mention an evaluation performed by Spartanburg County School District 3 in 1982 when Kohlhepp was a student there. The evaluation stated Kohlhepp talked out in class, destroyed material, had temper outbursts and was defiant. The evaluation said his intelligence appeared to be in the gifted range but that he had pronounced emotional difficulties.

The troubled youngster had even undergone psychological treatment. The documents state Kohlhepp was admitted to the Georgia Mental Health Institute in 1980 because of his hostile and aggressive behavior.

The judge’s report summed up his feelings about Kohlhepp and his behavior saying he was “extremely touchy and defensive" and that Kohlhepp "gets others extremely angry at him."

"He is extremely self-centered with high levels of anti-social personality functioning, and likely continuing aggressive behaviors toward others in the future,” said the judge. “Twenty-five months of the most intensive and expensive professional intervention, short of God’s, will provide no protection for the public and no rehabilitation of this juvenile by any services or facilities presently available to the Juvenile Court.”

All this shows the antecedents for his later murderous actions. But it doesn't explain why Kohlhepp was the way he was. If his problems started at fifteen months, as his mother stated, then they could well be be organic rather than environmentally-caused. The bit about killing animals is chilling; that is part of the triumvirate of childhood behaviors that psychologists say characterize later serial killers. (The other two behaviors are late stage bedwetting and pyromania.)

As far as the other ways he manifested his sociopathy, the ABC News article had a few clues: 

"I was the only one he let over there, I think because I laughed at his jokes and listened to him," [his neighbor Scott Waldrop] said....

Kohlhepp has a house about 9 miles away in Moore, where neighbor Ron Owen said Kohlhepp was very private, but when they did talk across the fence, he was a "big bragger."

Kohlhepp liked to talk about the money he made day trading online, for example, and about his two BMWs. He recently told Owen, 76, that he'd spent $80,000 on the chain link fence.

Sociopaths like to surround themselves with people who will laugh at their jokes, and act impressed by their exploits and money. They like yes men.

And they have no inhibitions. Not about boasting. Not about spending their money on flashy possessions. Not about destroying others' property. Not about torturing their pets. Not about eating so much food they turn into 300 pounders. And not about killing and kidnapping, either, should that be their inclination.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Karen McDougal vs. Huma Abedin

An article in the NY Post yesterday claimed that the National Enquirer, owned by American Media, Inc, bought exclusive rights to, and then refused to publish, a story about Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate of the Year, who has claimed an affair with Donald Trump while he was married to Melania. The article featured this picture:

It does seem likely that an affair did take place. There are pictures of the two of them together --

-- and few men could resist a woman who looks like that. For her part, McDougal probably saw Trump as someone who could get her into the Miss Universe pageant or onto The Apprentice.

The scuttlebutt is that David Pecker, CEO of AMI and longtime friend of Donald Trump, smothered the report as a favor to Trump.

In any case, the point of this post is not the extramarital nature of Trump's affair. Hillary was rumored to have had affairs with Vince Foster and Webb Hubbell, and it is widely assumed that she and Huma Abedin are now an item:

Hillary seems to have been attracted to someone who is her opposite number physically: dark, relatively lean, and youthful. (Bear in mind, Huma has worked for Hillary in some capacity or other since she was in college.) Huma, for her part, was undoubtedly entranced by her proximity to such a famous person.

But what conclusions can we draw from these relationships, other than that Trump, as a heterosexual billionaire, has had access to better-looking women than Hillary has?

One way to look at it would be to say that Hillary is less superficial than Trump, less interested in bedding a woman purely for her aesthetic appeal.

That may be true. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that if McDougal turned up on Hillary's doorstep, eager to work for her campaign and equally eager to jump into bed with the candidate, that Hillary would say no.

Huma, a graduate of George Washington University, is probably a little more cerebral than Karen, a fitness model and motorcycle enthusiast:

Maybe this means that Hillary is more interested in intelligent female sexual partners than Trump is.

Hillary's relationship with Huma has endured for 20 years now, whereas Trump's affair with McDougal reportedly spanned only 10 months. You could view this as evidence of steadfastness. Or, as having to settle for what you can get.

All of these things can be weighed in the balance when judging the two candidates, though, realistically, these relationships are but a minor point when considering whom to vote for.

But in a larger sense, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the two women represent, in microcosm, the candidates' visions of what they want this country to be.

Abedin was born in Michigan, but at age two her parents moved to Saudi Arabia, where Abedin lived until age 18, spending her formative years absorbing strict Muslim values. Her mother is the editor of the Journal for Muslim Minority Affairs, which was funded by Saudi national Abdullah Omar Naseef, who also funded al Qaeda. Huma herself worked there

Abedin's marriage to Anthony Weiner was likely a sham from the start, a cover for her relationship with Hillary. And she likely views the Midwest -- where she was born -- as flyover country, nothing more.

McDougal, on the other hand, is the Midwest. She is of Cherokee, Irish, and Scottish descent, and spent her formative years in Indiana and Michigan. From Wikipedia's description of her early life:

McDougal studied tap dance and ballet as a child. Her childhood dream, prior to teaching and modeling, was to become a ballerina. She attended River Valley High School and became a cheerleader, band member, color guard, volleyball and softball player, as well as Michigan state champion clarinet player for 4 years in a row in high school. Her high school nickname was "Barbie" due to her wholesome sweetness. After graduating high school in 1989, she attended Ferris State University at Big Rapids, Michigan, majoring in Elementary Education.

After Ferris State, McDougal's life took some unlikely turns: she essentially ended up making a career out of her looks, as some beautiful women do. But at heart, she is as American as cheerleading, Harley Davidsons, and Playboy centerfolds.

This seems to be what Trump finds appealing (even if he didn't select McDougal for all of those reasons).

Huma Abedin represents Hillary's America: increasingly LGBT, increasingly Muslim, and increasingly composed of aggrieved minority blocs demanding special privileges.

Take your choice.

Friday, November 4, 2016

What does their attitude toward Danney Williams say about the Clintons?

The story of Danney Williams, who has long claimed to be Bill Clinton's son via a black prostitute, has been gaining some traction recently. This article in the Daily Mail from a month ago provides several interesting photographs:

There does seem to be a resemblance, and his mother claims that she had no other white clients at the time Danney was conceived, and "regularly" had sex with Clinton.

This raises a number of questions:

Why does Bill not consent to a DNA test?

Would Bill's attitude toward his son, if he is indeed his son, be any different if Danney were white?

What does Hillary have to say about this? Isn't she at all curious as to whether Chelsea might indeed have a half-brother?

And what does it say about Hillary's real attitudes if she is courting the black community for their votes but simultaneously gives the cold shoulder to a member of her own extended family, possibly in part because he is black?

Election fraud

A friend just sent this article about a California man who found 83 unused ballots, each with a different name on it, but all with the same address -- the two bedroom apartment of an 89-year old woman who lives in the same complex.

The ballots were returned to the Post Office, but it's hard to imagine any way in which this wasn't intended to be a purposeful fraud.

This follows on the heels of NYC Board of Elections Commissioner Alan Schulkin admitting that voter fraud is rampant in New York City, that voters from certain (black, Hispanic, and Chinese) neighborhoods are bused around to vote several times each.

And there have been some reports that some voters who tried to vote Republican had the voting machines switch their votes to Democrat.

We'll probably hear a lot more of these types of reports by the time election season is over.

In the meantime, don't forget, asking voters to show an ID is racist!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

On starting a new job

I recently heard from a friend who is starting a new job. He said:

I think I feel about most jobs/professions the way some people feel about romantic relationships: it doesn't take me long to get the lay of the land and at that point the intellectual challenge seems to just fizzle out. And once that happens, I lose most of my motivation to do the 'good worker' thing. I swear, this is my revelation of the year. I've felt that way about every position I've ever held -- every single last one. Even when I worked with published authors and renowned 'experts,' I distinctly remember getting that familiar feeling: "Ah, so that's the way the game is played here." Every single time. 

So with this new job, I have a different attitude. I'm just going to stay humbly grateful for a decent-paying, relatively flexible position that doesn't leave me bored out of my mind....

I'll vouch for this guy: he is extremely intelligent, and has spent his life somewhat underemployed, working at jobs where he must inevitably have been far more intelligent than his bosses. (He didn't say this; it's just my assumption.) And, like all employees who are smarter than their bosses, he has felt all of the frustrations and even contempt that situation usually entails.

One of the things people who are starting a new job will say most frequently is, "Oh, I really like the people there!" (The subtext is always, "They're not like those assholes at my old job!") And every time I hear that, I think, well, that's just because you don't know them that well yet.

It always reminds me of that old joke:

Q: What's the definition a normal family?

A: One you don't know well.

It's like, as my friend said, starting a new romance. Things are always best at first, when you don't know each other that well yet. Then, once you each become acquainted with each other's weaknesses, and discover the limits to each other's repertoire, the infatuation tends to fade.

Anyway, this guy seems to have had all of that anticipated. But he's also right to have his stated attitude of humble gratitude for a steady income and flexible hours.

(I'm not betting his attitude will necessarily last, but as of now, it's a good one to have.)

And, at least he won't be disappointed as he becomes better acquainted with his coworkers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A better legislative body

My son recently showed me a video of Maria Katasonova, jokingly telling me she is his "future wife:"

She is evidently running for some office in the Russian sector of the Ukraine. It reminded me of how the Russian Duma is far sexier than its counterpart, the US Congress. They have three time Olympic super heavyweight wrestling champion Alexander Karelin:

We have Paul Ryan:

They have 7' 2" former heavyweight boxing champion Nikolai Valuev:

We have Mitch McConnell:

The Russians elect those most masculine of men, champions in the combat arts. The odds are that Fedor Emelianenko (below, at right), whom many consider the greatest mixed martial artist ever, will eventually find his way into the Duma as well:

At a certain level it seems silly. How does a career of physically subduing other men prepare one for the intricacies and intrigues of the Russian national legislature? Obviously, it doesn't. But at another, more primal level, it makes sense. These men are natural leaders, the kind who would have led their tribes back in the Stone Age, and as such, are the types whom the Russians instinctively feel would be best at defending against, or, perhaps conquering, other tribes.

Like, you know, the Ukrainians. Or the Americans.

Eastern Europeans in general have a more primal -- maybe primitive would be a better word -- view of the world. I wrote here, two years ago, about how they want an inspiring warrior fighting for them.

Who's to say that's dumber? Some of the politicians we have, like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, come across not just like duplicitous little sleazes, but wimps to boot. They're not exactly inspirational.

The Russians have a different attitude toward women politicians. They would never elect, say, a Ronda Rousey. They prefer femininity. Here, for instance, is Mariya Kozhevnikova, who represents the district of Tomsk in the Duma:

Days after winning her seat, Kozhevnikova, a member of Putin’s United Russia party -- no dummy she -- said, “I’ve seen Putin close up several times and I want to say that this man has very strong vibes.”

(I predict a bright future for her in politics.)

Here is former rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, a recent State Duma Deputy:

Here is Alena Arshinova, also a State Duma Deputy:

(Is it any wonder our Congressional approval ratings languish in the single digits?)

Here is Natalia Polonskaya, Minister of Justice for Crimea:

And here is Janet Napolitano, our recent Secretary for Homeland Security, who during her tenure stated that returning veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were a top security threat to the US:

It's often said that Washington DC is Hollywood for ugly people. But there's no reason it has to be that way. It's not as if any of our politicians have any original thoughts anyway. It's economists, or staffers, or even pundits who come up with the fresh ideas. Politicians are merely actors who have the ideas they've been fed at the tips of their tongues and are good at coming across earnest.

In Russia, following the goings on in the Duma must be like watching a particularly steamy soap opera. In the US, following what's happening in DC can be as dry as reading the Congressional Record. On filibuster day.

In the US, the voters will reject you after a whiff of scandal. In Russia, they have no interest in electing you unless you're the type who'd attract scandal. (Alina Kabaeva is widely rumored to be Putin's paramour and the mother of his love child.)

So.....Megan Fox for Senator!

George Clooney for.......uh, never mind.

The Russians don't elect male actors anyway; they prefer warrior-types.

Such a philosophy would actually make it easier to fulfill our national ideal of multiculturalism, too, as black sports stars are not exactly rare. Think of what an appealing candidate OJ Simpson could have made. In the most crucial vote of all, after he had obviously murdered his wife, all those black jurors still voted to acquit him. Think what his electoral appeal might have been had he not cut Nicole's and Ron's throats.

Americans tend to prefer football, basketball, and baseball to the martial arts. Recent heavyweight boxing champions Shannon Briggs, Deontay Wilder, and Charles Martin are not household names over here. Yet certain basketball stars need only be identified by one name. Perhaps there's a place in Congress for Shaq, or Magic, or Kobe. Or Kareem, who's actually turned out to be fairly thoughtful.

Still, basketball stars do not project quite the same sort of primal ferocity that fighters do. So maybe it's time to turn to the growing world of MMA. Some of those guys look pretty good in suits:

Randy Couture for Senator!

Brock Lesnar for Governor!

And, here, in a nod to traditional boxing.......Mike Tyson for President!

When we have the wisdom to elect men like these (and women like those pictured above), then, and only then, will we have truly won the Cold War.