Saturday, January 23, 2010

COTD: sOciopath

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60. maineman:

As a psychologist with almost 30 years of experience in psychodiagnosis, my read of the interview posted by zhombre is that this is the description of a sociopath.

I know narcissism is a longstanding assumption, and I don’t disagree with that, the two syndromes being closely linked. The difference seems to me to be susceptibility to stress. The sociopath is narcissistic but is likely to be less vulnerable to destabilization than a pure narcissist when the approval or adulation ceases. Take Marilyn Monroe when she lost her looks as an example of a classic narcissist.

Obama seems more arrogant to me than a garden variety political narcissist like Clinton, who was clearly able to regroup and make adjustments to keep the approval coming. There’s a megalomaniacal sense about this guy that makes me think he’s going to keep pushing with the expectation that he’ll prevail — not only has he always done so, but the stimulation derives from him beating the system and prevailing.

Shields Up

You wrote in Forbes in Oct 2008

I know Obama through our association at the University of Chicago Law School and through mutual friends in the neighborhood. We have had one or two serious substantive discussions, and when I sent him e-mails from time to time in the early days of his Senate term, he always answered in a sensible and thoughtful fashion.

And yet, for assessing the likely course of his presidency, I don't know him at all.

How can you say such a thing?

Read more ...

Epstein: It's very easy. Obama has the world's most perfect human disposition. He can sit in a room with you, he can listen to you, and he can talk to you, and you really get the sense of a man who is in complete self control.

But, that's the very feature that makes him so hard to read. He is so much in self control, that if he doesn't want you to know in a conversation what he is thinking, you can be there for 30 minutes and never be able to figure out what he believes.

The Day Obamacare Died

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Open Letter

Good Luck With That

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Message: I care, you bitter clingers!

Since his party lost the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat, pundits have been proclaiming President Barack Obama in need of a new message. As this week drew to a close, he offered some samples of what it will sound like.

Turning up the volume on the fiery populist rhetoric he’s been deploying against the Wall Street “fat cats” that have become a favorite target, Obama signaled that he intends to pursue new Wall Street regulations as well as health care reform, despite his party having lost its 60-seat supermajority in the Senate.

Of course, Obama played the faux-populism card in the 2008 campaign, too. The reality was a bit different.

Barack Obama’s first major step on the campaign trail — in December 2006 — was to Wall Street, where he snagged the backing of convicted inside trader George Soros and investment banker Robert Wolf, who became CEO of UBS Americas.

This is a concise RTWT about O's faux financial populism.

Being There

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It is so obvious it frustrates me that others are too ideologically or politically blind to admit it.  The reason the Democrats are in the shape they’re in today has to do with the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his obvious lack of leadership.

Let me give you the latest example found in a Politico article today.  It is, in fact, all about why the legislative agenda is in trouble and Democrats are skittish.

Congressional Democrats — stunned out of silence by Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts — say they’re done swallowing their anger with President Barack Obama and ready to go public with their gripes.

If the sentiment isn’t quite heads-must-roll, it’s getting there.

And they want the White House to step up — quickly — to help shape the party’s message and steer it through the wreckage of health care reform.

Shorter version: “Where’s the leadership from the President?”

You Have To Repeat Yourself A Lot

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Brutal.  And from the leftosphere to boot.


O Jack-sses And Dumbos

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If you were a normal human sitting at home having a beer and watching national politics peripherally, as normal people do until they focus on an election, chances are pretty good you came to see the two major parties not as the Dems versus the Reps, or the blue versus the red, but as the Nuts versus the Creeps. The Nuts were for high spending and taxing and the expansion of government no matter what. The Creeps were hypocrites who talked one thing and did another, who went along on the spending spree while lecturing on fiscal solvency.

In 2008, the voters went for Mr. Obama thinking he was not a Nut but a cool and sober moderate of the center-left sort. In 2009 and 2010, they looked at his general governing attitudes as reflected in his preoccupations—health care, cap and trade—and their hidden, potential and obvious costs, and thought, "Uh-oh, he's a Nut!"

Which meant they were left with the Creeps.


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But Wall Street didn't cause the collapse — government did . And this call for tougher rules is yet another attempt to escape blame. All Glass-Steagall did was let bank holding companies buy into investment banks. What undermined the financial system was a fanatical application of rules aimed at getting banks to lend as much money as possible to facilitate homeownership among minorities.

It was the government, not Wall Street, that created the subprime market by compelling banks to make bad loans and urging Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to cash out the banks by putting more and more of the toxic mortgages on their balance sheets.

hasn't given a thought to limiting, let alone blocking the proposed expansion of, the Community Reinvestment Act that started it all. Or to reining in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-created monsters that aided and abetted the meltdown.

No, the Obama administration is back on its quest to take control of as much of the private economy as it can.

The Best Option

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More fundamentally, even if the logistics can be mastered, the President's plan would not have prevented the credit chaos of 2008. Bear Stearns was not a bank, could not borrow from the Fed's discount window and wasn't even all that big, yet the government still wouldn't let it fail. Under Mr. Obama's new rules, Goldman might simply decide to sell its bank—yet investors and its own traders would still assume it is too big to fail. That problem still needs to be addressed.

Mr. Obama also keeps peddling the illusion that the entire crisis was caused by the bankers. But the root cause was a credit mania, courtesy of the Federal Reserve. The mania was concentrated in the housing market, courtesy of Congress and several Presidential Administrations.

If we are going to have a Fed and a political class as reckless as we have, then we need a more comprehensive answer to financial risk. Bankruptcy for risk-takers who bet wrong is the best option.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Put Them Out Of Your Mind

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But is Obama to blame?

Of course not.

You are, champ.

Obama's like Reverse Jesus. You will, collectively, assume his sins so that he is cleansed and untainted.*

* Yes, I know there's another word for "Reverse Jesus."

I don't think that's really a good thing to say.

When I was in college, some guy -- a transgressive sort of guy, a guy who liked causing reactions and doing shock value stuff to spook the "straights" -- was goofing around, claiming he was actually the Anti-Christ, to this guy who was Christian.

The Christian guy was just shrugging along at how silly it was.

Eventually the Transgressive Guy said, "How do you know I'm not the Anti-Christ?"

The Christian guy smiled. "Easy. Satan wouldn't be so fat."

So funny. Transgressive Guy, to his credit, busted a gut at that too.

Anyway, if you had suspicions Obama was the Anti-Christ, put them out of your mind. Satan wouldn't be such a fuck-up.

There you have it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Did I Forget To Mention That Hockey Stick? (Part 84,937)

Smith also discovered that in California, only 4 stations remain – 1 in San Francisco and 3 in Southern LA near the beach, and rightly observed that:

“It is certainly impossible to compare it with the past record that had thermometers in the snowy mountains. So we can have no idea if California is warming or cooling by looking at the USHCN data set or the GHCN data set.”

That’s because the baseline temperatures to which current readings are compared were a true averaging of both warmer and cooler locations.  And comparing these historic true averages to contemporary false averages -- which have had the lower end of their numbers intentionally stripped out – will always yield a warming trend, even when temperatures have actually dropped.

And Who Would That Be?

More pushback:

But officials who have worked on the issue
said Blair was wrong on almost every count. Abdulmutallab couldn't
possibly have been questioned by the HIG because the unit doesn't exist
yet. The task force had recommended it be created to handle the
questioning of "high value"  Qaeda leaders who might be captured
overseas—a criterion that clearly doesn't apply in Abdulmutallab's
case. But the proposal is still being reviewed by the National Security
Council, and the actual unit has not yet been created. 

And we learned from FBI Director Mueller's
questioning that responsibility for the decision to switch gears from
intelligence collection to criminal processing lies with an unnamed
high-ranking official at the Department of Justice.

So who is the unnamed DoJ official?

Crony Capitalism Corruption Coincidences

And Democrats wonder why the American people are upset??

BTW, instead of calling this "crony capitalism", I'd call it "creeping fascism."
Nothing to see here. Move along now...

Klaus On Uncriticizable Dogma

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Taxing Congress

First, I was really surprised how adamantly opposed Buffett was to the bank tax. I wasn't shocked so much because it's such a great idea. Actually, I think it's a pretty ridiculous idea, for the same reason that Buffett does. He says about the tax:

No, I don't understand that. If it's some kind of a guilt tax or something of that sort because banks were among the whole United States that were saved back in 2008, everybody was taken care of then. And the banks, basically, somebody like Wells, it's cost them a lot of money to be in the TARP and it was basically forced upon them.
Or if you look at Fannie or Freddie. Are you going to go and tax the members of Congress who ran Freddie and Fannie?

O Avatars And Moonbats

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Tun Mahathir bin Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, reveals what delusional dimwits Charlie Sheen and Rosie O'Donnell have surmised all along — the Muslim atrocities of September 11 may have been staged.

Opines Mahathir:

I am not sure now that Muslim terrorists carried out these attacks. There is evidence that the attacks were staged.

How does he know?

If they can make Avatar, they can make anything.

Likewise, if an unhinged kook like James Cameron can get the whole planet to watch his dopey leftist propaganda, people can swallow anything.

Mahathir is also miffed that Comrade Obama hasn't managed to rid the world of Israel. With even nuts like this turning on him, Dear Reader won't need his teleprompter to tell him that his days of coasting on hype are over.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Dark Future

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Sweet Land of Liberty, this was once called; and it will be again — provided our current government is run out of Washington. Under Comrade Obama, America is dropping like a stone on the Index of Economic Freedom.

This year, of the world's 20 largest economies, the U.S. suffered the largest drop in overall economic freedom. … Scores declined in seven of the 10 categories of economic freedom. Losses were particularly significant in the areas of financial and monetary freedom and property rights. Driving it all were the federal government's interventionist responses to the financial and economic crises of the last two years, which have included politically influenced regulatory changes, protectionist trade restrictions, massive stimulus spending and bailouts of financial and automotive firms deemed "too big to fail."
North Korea shows us our dark future if we don't reverse course.

Excuse Me With Whipped Cream On Top?

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Earlier today Denis Blair, Director of National Intelligence testified at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing into the Christmas Day Bomb plot that the bomber should have been placed in the administration's interrogation program for high-value suspects but wasn't.

"That unit was created exactly for this purpose," Blair told the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “We did not invoke the HIG in this case. We should have.

Tonight via Keep America Safe we find out that the DNI Blair has changed his story.

My remarks today before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs have been misconstrued. The FBI interrogated Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab when they took him into custody. They received important intelligence at that time, drawing on the FBI's expertise in interrogation that will be available in the HIG once it is fully operational.

Excuse me? We don't currently have an operational program to interrogate individuals deemed to be of high value?

BJ II Department

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The White House National Security Council recently directed U.S. spy agencies to lower the priority placed on intelligence collection for China, amid opposition to the policy change from senior intelligence leaders who feared it would hamper efforts to obtain secrets about Beijing's military and its cyber-attacks.

The downgrading of intelligence gathering on China was challenged by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair and CIA Director Leon E. Panetta after it was first proposed in interagency memorandums in October, current and former intelligence officials said.

Hillary IS the SecState after all. She couldn't be doing nothing even though it looks like it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In His Truck

Dear GOP
PLEASE Let Scott Brown Give the response next week to Obama’s State of the Union Address…
…In his truck.

For You

Senator Teddy Kennedy’s car is dragged by a wrecker out of Poucha Pond in the morning on July 19, 1969. (Ytedk)

Radio host Rush Limbaugh commented on Scott Brown’s win tonight.
Radio Equalizer reported:

This one’s for you, Mary Jo.

The Tallest Midget

My sources at these firms tell me they’re all aware of the obvious: The news clips, the stories, the TV segments about the hearings all focused on Blankfein’s absurd AIG defense or his explanation of how it’s OK to screw your customers because they’re “professional investors.” How about Dimon’s reasonable suggestion that banks should be able to fail, as long as they don’t flush the entire system down with them, or Mack’s mea culpa that Wall Street risk-taking was at the heart of the financial crisis?

Those statements were drowned out by Blankfein’s defense of the indefensible. Goldman may have been the best of a bad lot, as Blankfein said, but that’s like saying it’s great to be the tallest midget in the room.

The Bystander

As I understand the Democratic narrative of today's election, as explained by Robert Gibbs and others, Scott Brown's victory is the result of voter anger. That anger, in turn, is the understandable result of President Bush's policies. Thus, George W. Bush is responsible for the election of Scott Brown. President Obama is just a bystander.

Message Sent

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Not that it will be received of course...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Social "Justice" And Ghost Towns

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The American Left looks at the authoritarian government of Communist China with a mix of wonder and envy. New York Times columnist Thomas Freidman, Professional Teleprompter Reader Barack Obama, and even the America-hating trolls who infest the comments of this weblog openly admire the way Chinese autocrats crush the little people under the treads of progress --- often literally. And they wish the American government could do the same --- abolish property rights, wipe out entire towns, push dissidents into re-education camps --- at least when "progressives" are in power.

Building a city in the middle of nowhere that no one wants to live in is pretty insane, but is it more insane than progressives in the USA borrowing billions from China to bailout the banks after they forced the banks to extend billions in bad mortgage loans to people who couldn't repay them in the name of "social justice?" You tell me.

Is Friedman just not smart enough to know that he's pining for Las Vegas and Florida?

But It Ain't Going To Happen

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Returning to the gloomy job and wage predictions, when those who expect the worst talk about jobs and pay, what they're really talking about is investment. Their funereal views of our economic future are rooted in the notion that stateside investment will dry up such that wages and job opportunities will become less bountiful.

If so, what looks unfortunate is easy to fix. There are no jobs without investment, so the easy answer is to reduce the cost of same through reduced capital gains taxes, and most important, the issuance of a stable dollar the value of which will be a magnet for capital around the world. Jobs are the easy part--if only the Obama administration actually focuses on what's presently driving down investment.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Science" Update

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This gets worse and worse – or better and better, depending on which side of the man-made global warming scenario you come down on.  This time it is the Himalayan glaciers:

A warning that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it.

It has also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was “speculation” and was not supported by any formal research.

Yet it found its way into a science journal, and later was included in the IPCC’s 2007 report as an alleged scientific finding? How many scientists signed that report?

That’s science? That’s what we should base life-changing political policies on?

Not Too Far Off?

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The movement has continued to pick up speed since then. This month, a diplomat at an Iranian embassy in Europe openly told me that the time of "justice and freedom" is coming. His time scale was "the next few months." This would have been an extraordinary statement for a loyal servant of the Islamic Republic to make anywhere, much less in an embassy reception hall, which is probably bugged.

"The disillusionment within the regime is sometimes stronger than the disillusionment of the ordinary people, because these are people who had traveled outside Iran, to Europe, and knew a different level of life,"
There was nothing random about my friend's electronic glasnost. When I wrote back asking what he had done while I was in jail, I got back a one-line plea to allow him "an opportunity" in the future to explain. Perhaps this opportunity is now not too far off.

Even If Enough Chicago Dead Vote To Beat Brown This Is Pretty Amazing

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A REPORT FROM THE SCOTT BROWN RALLY AT WORCESTER: “It’s an absolute mob scene. The police have closed off the streets. It’s mind blowing. The hall is already full, and it holds 3,000 people. There may be another 1,000 people outside.”

Meanwhile, reader Sean Fitzpatrick writes: “Pictures don’t do justice. Nothing like this in Mass since JFK. Worcester rally starts in thirty minutes and the streets are already packed.” Here’s a pic.


UPDATE: Fitzpatrick sends another picture from inside the hall, and comments: “If the Brown campaign were worried that they wouldn’t fill the hall then they needn’t have. It is standing room only and the hall management is concerned about OVERcrowding.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Meanwhile, reportedly, Coakley can’t fill a hall. “Martha Coakley and Barack Obama held a rally today in Boston. They couldn’t fill the hall. . . . It holds 3,000 and frankly only 2,000 to 2,500 showed up.”