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|"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark"
(I, iv, 90)
Softpanorama Classification of Toxic Managers
Psychopaths are real aliens, "people without conscience"
Note: This is page devoted to all IT professionals who suffer from psychopathic bosses. Only those who already suffered or still suffering from one of those types can understand the level of pain as well as stakes involved in dealing with such individuals.
According to some data sociopaths represent around three to five percent of our population. Most of them belong to so called non-violent, non-criminal type. But they are extremely socially toxic. The term psychopaths should probably be reserved for those sociopaths who are the violent, as well as ruthless predator types. The distinction line is fuzzy but still very important. We will mostly be talking about sociopath, while not always adhering to suggested terminology. Sorry about that.
If you are reading this page, you probably have problems with your boss or family member, or co-worker. Now what ? Actually the situation is bad, and you are really trapped, but it is not inescapable situation. You can and should escape. As old saying goes "Knowledge is power" and this is the area where this saying is literally true. Learning the ropes can help to find a way to escape, find way to defend yourself and your dignity, and to lessen the current pain.
It is important to understand that whose managers who produce living hell are not all created equal. But they have a common tendency to project their dissatisfaction with their life and emotional emptiness outward and ascribe it to others. If they succeed it is all them, but if they fail, it's your fault. Such people are organically incapable of trust, because everything they do is a facade, a lie, a Potemkin village.
The same Potemkin village as their family life, where wife and children at best are viewed as desirable possessions. They have utter contempt for other people, although they will use flattery, deceit and other means to create a dependency while they are using them. And after that is done, you will be discarded like an empty cardbox. In other words they are real sharks, endlessly seeking the prey to fill their emotional emptiness with possessions, be they things or other people. And they are literally insatiable in their needs, and are highly focused in their pursuit of them.
There two large group of dangerous managers who typically make the life of subordinates a living hell. We will call them "toxic managers".
1.Illogical Thinking: The lack of independent, critical thinking.
2. Highly Compartmentalized Minds: Authoritarians' ideas are poorly integrated with one another.
3. Double Standards : When your ideas live independent lives from one another it is pretty easy to use double standards in your judgments. You simply call up the idea that will justify (afterwards) what you've decided to do.
4. Hypocrisy: The leaders of authoritarian movements sometimes accuse their opponents of being anti-democratic and anti-free speech when the latter protest against various books, movies, speakers, teachers and so on.
5. Blindness To Themselves: self-righteousness.
6. A Profound Ethnocentrism: Ethnocentrism means dividing the world up into in-groups and out-groups…….in-groups are holy and good…out-groups are evil and Satanic.
7. Dogmatism: the Authoritarian's Last Ditch Defense: By dogmatism I mean relatively unchangeable, unjustified certainty. Loyal followers obey without questions…..
Both types are power hungry and have inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, etc." (see Understanding Borderline Rage), which serves as a vehicles of intimidation and can be carefully rehearsed. The key differential is the amount of deceit in daily interactions and about personal and family history. Manipulation and deceit are hallmarks of psychopathic personality. They live life as actors acting different roles depending on what is profitable and what helps to achieve their goals. Much like cult leaders (which who they have a lot in common) socialized psychopath are masters of creating an "artificial past" inventing their personal histories (including education, achievements, etc ) and sometimes even relatives as well as keeping victims from escaping. See The psychopath in the corner office for the list of traits that you need to try to match with to confirm this diagnose.
As this is not a psychiatry manual, we will use an umbrella term "toxic managers" for both corporate socialized psychopaths and (more numerous) authoritarian managers. That term actually allow us to avoid nitpicking about whether particular manager is real psychopath/sociopath, or something else and concentrate of patterns of behavior many of which are surprisingly common to "real sociopaths". For our purpose real psychological diagnosis is of secondary importance. It is methods to protect yourself from attack of such class of personalities that are of primary importance. In this sense the most dangerous subtype are female sociopath, as they use their gender as bullet proof vest to deflect any counterattacks. See some information about Hillary Clinton as guide
In this respect, what matter for us is the fact that both authoritarians and psychopath of various "denominations" are really dangerous predators of corporate jungles in general and IT jungles in particular. And they blend extremely well into the current environment within government and mega corporations.
As all of them there is one important encompassing feature: predation. Most individuals in modern societies are caught up in the perpetual struggle of striking a balance between pursuing their own interests and respecting others' rights. When their own pursuits take precedent over others, individuals typically feel some guilt or shame about their greed. But there is no such conflict inside sociopathic managers. They do not need to rationalize their exploitation of other, they simply feel they are entitled. Which makes them perfect predator of corporate jungles. When in power, they typically use their animosity to keep others in line. Often they create kind of cult of personality environment in which, like in Stalinist Russia, in order to survive, employees must identify with their aggressor or become one of the leader's victims (and please note that Joseph Stalin was a pretty charming personality in his narrow Politburo circle).
It goes without saying that presence of such individuals in the role of the manager puts a tremendous stress on his direct reports. Psychopaths are more that rare among general population and by some estimates represent over 1% of population and approximately 4% of managers. Authoritarians are more common and often constitute majority of middle managers in the corporation. So both university students and regular cubicle dwellers should better know your enemy as they might need to deal with them in their first or next "manager-subordinate" relationship. They (especially Authoritarians) might be present among your immediate or extended family too.
With those reservations, we would distinguish the following non-orthogonal types based on a single, dominant behavioral stereotype (for example all psychopath are bullies, but only bullies has this as a predominant feature). That's a crude and unscientific classification but it does has some practical value in dealing with this type of predators because our emphasis is of classifying and describing typical set of behaviors that those people use during "hunt" for prey. It is valuable to knew something about what to expect if you are on the receiving end of such a behavior. We will distinguish:
Authoritarians are more numerous and and while dangerious and toxic, they are less dangerous category in comparison with "real" phychopaths, especially micromanagers. If you boss fits the description you need to go to the church and light the candle. While your situation is bad and often justifiably can be called simply terrible, believe me it could be much, much worse (see below).
It is not always easy to detect authoritarian manager while not being his/her subordinates. Sometimes, like in romantic relations, it is quote difficult until it's too late. Typically authorititarian kiss up behavior can be polished to perfection and generally emogh equals he is often viewed as "normal" person. Trobles start only when you report to him.
Still there are som indicatins that are usful even when you are reporting to this jerk. In the latter case indications are useless, because you are already cooked :-(.
One of the few good indications of authoritarian personality are extreme right wing views (see Double High Authoritarians). In any case as soon as this guy/nice lady become your boss, "kick down" side of his/her personality will be demonstrated to you in all glory and you will have zero problems with the detection. The only problem is that it's too late ;-).
Also it is not necessary that authoritarian boss should be incompetent. First of all, while there is correlation between authoritarianism and low intelligence it is just a correlation. Some authoritarians are quite bright (for example, Bill O'Reilly -- a Fox News talking head to be more like double high authoritarian rather then a typical psychopath).
Another important trait that can be observed by outsiders and should warn you is that authoritarians tend to exhibit cognitive errors and symptoms of faulty reasoning. Specifically, they are more likely to make incorrect inferences from evidence and to hold ontradictory ideas that result from compartmentalized thinking. Moreover, they are typically unable to acknowledge their own limitations and assume responsibility for errors and blunders. Here is a short but very useful list from Our Church Administration is Critically Infected " Another Voice
1.Illogical Thinking: The lack of independent, critical thinking.
2. Highly Compartmentalized Minds: Authoritarians' ideas are poorly integrated with one another.
3. Double Standards : When your ideas live independent lives from one another it is pretty easy to use double standards in your judgments. You simply call up the idea that will justify (afterwards) what you've decided to do.
4. Hypocrisy: The leaders of authoritarian movements sometimes accuse their opponents of being anti-democratic and anti-free speech when the latter protest
against various books, movies, speakers, teachers and so on.
5. Blindness To Themselves: self-righteousness.
6. A Profound Ethnocentrism: Ethnocentrism means dividing the world up into in-groups and out-groups…….in-groups are holy and good…out-groups are evil and Satanic.
7. Dogmatism: the Authoritarian's Last Ditch Defense: By dogmatism I mean relatively unchangeable, unjustified certainty. Loyal followers obey without questions…..
I would put dogmatism higher as this is valuable test which works when this type of people report to you or are on the same level as you and the personality they present to you is their "fake", Potemkin village facade.
But other then that this is an excellent, simply excellent list. One missing, but important feature is that authoritarians are generally more favorable to punishment and control than personal freedom and diversity. When discussing political preferences, tor example, they are more willing to suspend constitutional guarantees of liberty such as the Bill of Rights. They also are more likely to advocate strict, punitive sentences for criminals, and they admit that they obtain personal satisfaction from punishing such people. See Authoritarians
Aggression in inherent in psychopath as a predator in corporate environment, and to tell that a psychopath is a bully is just to tell that the water is wet. So this is a sure sign that the boss is psychopath, but it does not help in classification of the set of behaviors that distinguish this particular predator from others. But for some sociopaths this pattern of behavior serves is the most favorite tactics that they use systematically. Those psychopaths have a distinct a tendency toward sadism and derive perverse gratification from harming others. They do like to hurt, frighten, tyrannize. They do it for a sense of power and control, and will often only drop subtle hints about what they are up to (this is also typical of authoritarians).
At the same time they systematically polish their aggressive, domineering manner in such a way to disguise any intimidation as legitimate corporate behavior and avoid coming under HR scrutiny for their behavior. Such pathological personalities always seek out positions of power, such as teacher, bureaucrat, manager, or police officer. You can also distinguish several subtypes:
I would like to stress it again that direct or indirect aggression is inherent in sociopath (a socialized psychopath) and to tell that a psychopath is a bully is just to tell that the water is wet.
US National Center for Education Statistics suggests that bullying can be broken into two categories:
Indirect bullying is more subtle and more likely to be verbal, such as the silent treatment, arguing others into submission, manipulation, gossip, staring, and mocking. While women can be as aggressive or even more aggressive then men they usually are more indirect. I would like to stress that gender differences in aggression are subject to review; human society is too complex and direct projection from animal world, for example, from great apes is of limited value. See important paper by Kaj Bjorkqvist Sex Differences in Physical, Verbal, and Indirect Aggression: A review of recent research
Accordingly, one should not expect women to develop and use exactly the same strategies for attaining their goals as men do. If strategies for aggression and conflict resolution are learned, not innate, then women are likely to learn different methods than men. Important aspects are power and capacity, not only physical, but also verbal, and social.
Human beings have nonphysical powers which are far beyond those of any other animal. Accordingly, human aggression has faces and forms, inconceivable within the realm of animal aggression. Extrapolations from animal studies are, therefore, misleading. Aggressive styles are also subject to developmental change during the life course. As indicated, animal aggression is mostly physical. Also among young children lacking verbal skills, aggression is predominantly physical.
Verbal skills, when they develop, are quickly utilized not only for peaceful communication, but also for aggressive purposes. When social skills develop, even more sophisticated strategies of aggression are made possible, with the aggressor being able to harm a target person without even being identified: Those strategies may be referred to as indirect aggression (Lagerspetz, Bjorkqvist, and Peltonen, 1988; Bjorkqvist, Lagerspetz, and Kaukiainen, 1992).
There are good reasons to believe that, as far as adult interpersonal conflict is concerned, physical aggression is really the exception, not the rule. Other means are more likely to be used.
Burbank (1987) reviews anthropological research on female aggression. She finds females of different cultures having a large potential of aggressive means to use in order to get even with their husbands, such as, e.g., locking them out of the house for the night: she regards this as an act of aggression. Burbank (1987) found females seldom to resort to physical aggression against their husbands, but they did so, occasionally. The most common reason was that their husbands had committed adultery. Burbank found, however, that women are much more often aggressive towards other women than towards men.
Here is one type from popular literature that fits the pattern:
The Fearmonger Boss. People do what a "fearsome" boss says because they're afraid of him, which actually encourages further intimidation. He always has a threat, and he constantly follows through with that threat in order to keep his employees acquiescent.
Often bulling behavior is combined with paranoia tendencies (paranoiac self-defense). Again this category is fuzzy.
See Bullies or aggressive psychopaths for more information
Paranoid managers are psychopaths for whom continual mistrust and misjudgment of environment dominates other (often no less pathological) personality features. Wikipedia defines paranoia in the following way:
Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis that denotes a personality disorder with paranoid features. It is characterized by an exaggerated sensitivity to rejection, resentfulness, distrust, as well as the inclination to distort experienced events. Neutral and friendly actions of others are often misinterpreted as being hostile or contemptuous.
Unfounded suspicions regarding the sexual loyalty of partners and loyalty in general as well as the belief that one's rights are not being recognized is stubbornly and argumentatively insisted upon.
Paranoid managers are suspicious, touchy, typically humorless, quick to take offense and slow to forgive, self-righteous (Which makes them remarkably similar to authoritarians and micromanagers). They are often argumentative and litigious. They seldom show tenderness and may avoid intimacy; often they seem tense and brusque.
Paranoid personalities find causal connections everywhere; for them nothing is coincidental.
They are constantly on guard and are hypersensitive to critique. That means that they often take offense where none is intended. Often they have problems with understanding humor. They appear cold and, in fact, often avoid becoming intimate with others. Often pride themselves on their rationality, objectivity and fairness. Paranoid managers rarely come forward to seek help from subordinates.
Often paranoia combines with "toxic incompetence" as they cannot make decision on time (analysis paralysis), insists of creating tons of useless documentation and due to this skip important project milestones, etc. Fear of exposure of paranoid manager is blended into a pattern of pervasive distrust and suspiciousness. An inability to trust, doubts about others' loyalty, distortion and fabrication of personal histories, qualifications and facts, misinterpretation, and bearing grudges unnecessarily are generally hallmarks of the disorder. Pathological and instinctive aggressive counter-attack, the need to control others is also a prominent feature. They like to collect evidence of subordinates. Paranoid managers often can be classified as "raw bullies", as in relations with subordinates they prefer to rely on brute force and direct intimidation.
For more information see Paranoids
Tendency to micromanage subordinates is often combined with paranoia and bulling in various (but of course lesser then those classified as bullies or as paranoid) degrees. It also pretty often demonstrate itself as a distinct condition close to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OSD).
Micromanagers are remarkably close to authoritarian personalities in patterns of behaviour and demonstrate typical for the latter category bouts of anger (Borderline Rage). Reverse is not true, some authoritarians avoid micromanaging. Micromanagers often have almost pathological neatness; the latter is especially typical for women. Often their hairstyle is distinctly refined.
Especially dangerous are paranoid incompetent micromanagers (PIMM) the type which we will study in more detail on a separate set of pages:
Micromanagers is one of the few areas were gender stereotyping might provide some survival benefits. Women tend to be more detail oriented, and female corporate psychopaths more often tend to behave like micromanagers. Female PIMM can be mean, evil, vindictive and quite petty.
If a female boss is insecure about her skills and abilities she is more likely to exhibit PIMM behavior. Female PIMM are usually more skilled in using indirect aggression, especially isolation.
Level of paranoia is elevated and often micromanagers simultaneously can be classified as paranoid managers. Among common traits are complete absence of trust in the staff, pathological need for control, pathologic dissatisfaction with results, and recurring "tantrums."
Many of PIMM can be also classified as bullies but again they, especially female PIMM, prefer indirect aggression to direct. Usually, female PIMM cultivate spying on subordinates and encourage "little birds" to rest on their shoulders and whisper all forms of gossip. This, these minions believe, ingratiates them to their bosses.
For more information see Micromanagers
The narcissistic bosses are characterized by troika of distinctive features:
Taking advantage of others, ruthlessness, an exaggerated sense of self-importance and entitlement, and arrogant or haughty behavior are other disctictive features.
There is not much hope for the poor shmucks toiling for the narcissistic personality-disordered boss who demands perfection, absolute loyalty, and 24/7 devotion to the job.
Narcissistic managers are not that different from other sociopathic manager types and also suffer from compulsive need for control ("control freaks").
Narcissistic behavior is dominated by compulsive desire to project highly positive image resulting in unstable behavior with emotional outbursts caused by insecurity and weakness rather than any real feelings of confidence or self-esteem. One interesting feature of narcissists is that their behaviour in family environment is often more brutal and tyrannical then with subordinates of the office. That makes they close to micromanagers.
|One interesting feature of narcissists is that their behaviour in family environment is often more brutal and tyrannical then with subordinates of the office. That makes they close to micromanagers.|
Typically they are oversensitive to criticism and do not accept slightest criticism from below. They often can be simultaneously classified both as bullies and micromanagers. As they need to steal all the achievements of subordinates to built their image they are typically "gatekeepers" who try tightly control all the communications channels with the superiors'. Can be quite paranoid and react inadequately on any threat to their projected image.
Typically they are oversensitive to criticism and do not accept slightest criticism from below
For more information see Narcissists.
Manipulative psychopaths are probably the smoothest of corporate psychopaths. Here we will mean a class of corporate psychopath who excels in manipulative behaviors including, but not limited to flattery and seduction. All psychopaths use this to a certain extent, but for this type this is a preferred tactic. Also they are typically talented actors and can wear their fake, "invented personality" with confidence and aplomb typical for great actors in movies and theater.
While manipulative behaviors including, but not limited to flattery and seduction are prominent, other features typical for corporate psychopath are usually present too. They are very similar to paranoid managers in their behavior toward subordinates, but unlike paranoids are capable to create a real smokescreen over their real personality by using flattery and seduction.
Unlike bullies they prefer indirect aggression to direct. They have tendency to play by the rules only as long as it suits them and break rules as soon as this is needed for achieving thier objectives. They are notoriously capable to exploit "grey" area in their favor. This distinguishes them from paranoids. Like narcissists they fear becoming less valued, if their underlings get any recognition for exemplary work. Manipulator bosses are backstabbers who'll go to frightening lengths to look good to their superiors at the expense of denigrating subordinates.
Typically have a dual personality syndrome and behave completely differently with superiors then with subordinates. Here is how they are described in one of Monster career self-help articles:
The Manipulator Boss
Also known as the Machiavellian boss, this type is extremely intelligent and one of the most dangerous. The manipulator boss is highly focused, very motivated, and always has a secret plan. He looks at people as a means to an end. The world is a giant pyramid and the apex is his. People he touches or runs over on the way to the top are casualties he writes off. If you work for a manipulator, watch your back. Your best bet is to be open and honest with him. Volunteer information. Your boss, who has long forgotten what truth is, will be left impressed by it.
For more information see Manipulator bosses or Machiavellian boss ("wolfs in sheep closing")
We need to distinguish between normal and abnormal incompetence. Normal or institutional incompetence is inherent in large bureaucracies and in reflected on Peter Principle and Parkinson law. In this case the manager was competent on some lower level of hierarchy but became incompetent after promotion or as often happens in IT due to loss of technical qualification in the current position.
But there is also other, abnormal incompetence, when a person got to his position due to some "institutional lift" (for example being close friend or relative of one of the higher level managers, or a secretary who is a mistress of the upper manager and was promoted to some technical position in IT department). This case is also called pathological incompetence or colloquially "empty suits".
It is usually quite toxic if such a manager is also aggressive. Unfortunately more often then not it is correlated with extreme aggressiveness as well as other personality problems -- most toxically incompetent managers are micromanagers or narcissists or bullies or some combination. No substance and not much style. Just very sharp claws and elbows.
Such managers are more widespread that this is assumed in Harvard Business Scholl publications: in a large organization competence is not the primary value. Politics, connections, and clever tactics can compensate for incompetence. The sad truth that they are pretty typical in large organizations for reasons completely different from The Peter Principle. In "bootlickocracy", the most incompetents are valued for "different reasons" and can easily propel themselves into a supervisory role.
Toxic incompetence is usually correlated with various other personality disorders and is prominent among corporate psychopaths. Common clues include:
For more information see Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers).
Psychopathic bosses are people that are so different from normal people that they can be truly called aliens. And those dramatic differences cannot be understood in terms of antisocial rearing or development. They operate using different set of assumptions, and it is the latter that makes them the natural "predators" of the corporate world, "criminals without criminal offences".
In corporate environment psychopath is the person who fails to recognize, much less to empathize with, the personal human dignity and rights of subordinates. That's why they are called "people without conscience". They do not feel remorse at lying or manipulating, and they typically lie without limit creating an elaborate edifice of their fake past. This "addiction to lying" (and related inconsistencies in their descriptions of their past) is probably the most telling early warning sign about psychopath. Typically they "invent" their past. They have trouble with teamwork for the same reason. They will say one thing to one person, and something different to someone else.
|As psychopaths are addicted to lying, they frequently contradict themselves. Typically they also enjoy harming and bullying others. In young age they are often cruel to animals...|
And it is difficult to understand how alien they are from "common people". To a certain extent they are insane. Please note that "sanity" does not mean perfection; it merely means sufficient engagement with the real world and society to allow us to survive both day-by-day and in the long term – thus "sane" individuals usually tend to obey traffic laws, learn from their mistakes and practical experience and, in the case of moral sanity, they recognize in others their worth and their capacity for joy and suffering. Psychopaths are by definition reckless. This actions aren't merely misguided, but often are clinically dysfunctional. That's why they often self-destruct.
Furthermore, sanity implies an ability of introspection: capacity to critically evaluate one's experience, to distinguish fact from fiction, and to tune behavior, to adapt to the real world. Insanity, by implication, suggests a significant level of detachment from reality and inability to change one behavior despite negative feedback from the environment. For example, a psychopath not only can't recognize the human worth and the capacity for pleasure and pain in others, he does not recognize any value of that. For him treating people like objects is "normal" and any empathy is for suckers. In this sense he/she is living in an "unreal", artificial world. Detached for reality world, the world were no empathy exits. It is often correlates with other psychological disorders such as paranoia.
|The presence or absence of conscience and related lack of emotions is a deep human division, arguably as significant as intelligence, race, and closer then many would think to gender differences.|
We don't know what makes psychopath ticks and how they acquire the set of behavioral patterns they demonstrate. So most of modern literature is limited to "traits based description". For extensive list of traits see The psychopath in the corner office. This "trait classification" method that prevails in the literature is very limited and in general should be considered unscientific. As such, it overlaps with "popular urban mythology". Still even mythology is better then nothing and we do not have any other approach that is really better.
You need to understand that those description are pretty much ad hoc. Reality is more complex and does not fit well within this rigid scheme. Often traits are intermixed in a unique way that defy classification. That's why you need really put an effort into studying your particular type and documenting his/her behavior to get some real insights into particular beast you are dealing with. One important variable partially omitted is the level of intellect (also low IQ is reflected in Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers) type). Often psychopaths have high or very high IQ.
There are probably several more important factors that were omitted. For example, gender differences are also very important and color psychopathic behavior in a unique way. See Female Sociopaths
Methods of attacks used by psychopathic bosses vary but one common is based on performance reviews. There are several traps there you can and should avoid. See Surviving a Bad Performance Review
The simplest way to get some additional insight would be checkpoint list based on typical traits displayed by psychopaths. See The psychopath in the corner office
For psychopaths the office environment is a theatre of war and like in any war ends justify means. So dirty tricks are ok as French proverb A la guerre, comme a la guerre implies. They are typically used by psychopaths without any constrains (spreading dirty rumors is the specialty of female sociopath and those skills are usually polished since childhood to perfection.). The greatest variety is observable from Machiavellians Manipulators but sophistication is typical for psychopath in general. See Machiavellians Manipulators Tricks.
You should remember famous saying that "War is a continuation of policy by other means" and don't overreact.
First of all, like in real war, there is a "fog of war" over the whole situation (i.e., you are facing incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement). Which complicate rational assessment of the situation so delays with the reaction and keeping your cards close to your chest might in many cases be not detrimental, but advantageous.
Actually studying war tactics which were discussed, for example, in famous Clausewitz On War (available free from clausewitz.com.) and The Art of War is not a bad idea. Among them (cited from Wikipedia):
There are several good books on the subject that you should definitely read. Stakes are so high that any additional ammo worth much more then its nominal cost. See a list of suggestions in Toxic managers: The Problem of Corporate Psychopaths. But again, you should took information provided with a grain of salt.
Watching films that depict psychopath also provide some additional insight and this way of study should not be overlooked. Unlike real events you can watch the film over and over again and that's enhance the understanding of specific tricks and attack methods. See Psychopaths in Movies.
Some behavior patterns are really easier to study via movies. This is especially true about female sociopaths. For example there is certain logic in outbursts of anger used by psychopath. They are not completely spontaneous, but more of a sign that you entered the territory they already staked. Or they want something that you refuse to give. The same is true for authoritarians (authoritarian rage). See Understanding Borderline Rage.
At the same time, being reserved is very important. One of the tactics used is to provoked you into a burst of your own impulsive behavior as this way psychopath can play victim, while being actually an aggressor. See Anger trap
Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov
Jul 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
With half the country seemingly triggered over the slightest injustice, microaggression or misgendering, a new study concludes that people with a high "proclivity to be offended" (PTBO) make terrible employees .
What is PTBO? According to the study, it's " a state-like tendency to be sensitive to customarily innocuous societal events and traditions ," such as " playing of the United States' National Anthem ," and is the "tendency to view an array of events and/or traditions as offensive." People with high PTBO "are likely to feel that social events or traditions to which they take offense also violate moral or equitable standards."
Dr. Jeremy Berneth, Associate Professor of Management at San Diego State University, asked 395 employees at seven US colleges what they thought about certain events receiving "substantial media attention" - including "17 items developed to assess the proclivity to be offended, eight moral outrage items, 11 microagression items and nine political correctness items."
The study found that easily triggered people are less productive, are prone to view their organizations as "less fair," and "consume a lot of time complaining about trivial matters . "
"The person offended by everyday occurrences diverts important and limited cognitive resources away from the client (and potential sale) towards a task-irrelevant stimuli ."
They also make terrible team players .
While one might think the tendency to become triggered would suggest social justice warriors are the most altruistic and helpful within an organization - "as their prescriptive morality dictates helping and providing for others " - the study finds that people with high PTBO are less likely to engage in "citizenship behavior," and that " PTBO negatively correlated with task performance and positively correlated with counterproductive work behaviors , suggesting not only that these individuals engage in fewer citizenship behaviors but also engage in behaviors managers and organizations want their employees to avoid."
derb , 29 seconds agoten_bagger , 3 minutes ago
Screeching entitled crybullies are unpleasant and useless in any context, they needed a study to determine that?vampirekiller , 3 minutes ago
It's called lack of emotional stability.dead hobo , 27 seconds ago
You've obviously never worked in company operated by queer line and staff. They're all easily triggered;
Jun 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
JohnH , Jun 27 2020 14:45 utc | 2
Biden is the intelligence services' ideal candidate -- an easily manipulated empty suit. There's a reason why charges of Biden wrongdoing are as easily dismissed as nonsensical charges against Trump and Russia get fabricated. And that reason is that the media is as happy to be manipulated as Biden.
Jun 09, 2020 | getpocket.com
Bullying knows no borders -- it occurs in every country in the world -- and its impact can last long after the incidents end. We asked people from the TED community who have firsthand experience of the problem to offer their best advice.1. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness
"Don't think that letting someone else know you're being bullied or asking them for help is a sign of weakness or that it's a situation you should be able to handle on your own. Going through it alone isn't a sign of strength on your part, because that's what the bully wants. They want your isolation, they want you to feel helpless, and if they think they got you in that position, then they're often emboldened. That was a mistake I made as a kid. It made things worse. When you don't reach out, you feel like nobody understands what you're going through and nobody can help you. Those monologues in your mind start getting louder."2. And telling someone about being bullied is not snitching.
-- Eric Johnson , sixth-grade teacher from Indiana and a TED-Ed Innovative Educator ( TEDxYouth@BHS Talk: How do you want to be remembered ?)
"Often, kids have this fear of what they call snitching. But if you feel significant stress when you come to school, if it's too hard for you to come into the building, or if you have the fear that someone will bother you by saying something or touching you inappropriately, then you must tell someone. This is not snitching -- you're protecting yourself."3. Surround yourself with allies.
-- Nadia Lopez , principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, Brooklyn, New York (TED Talk: Why open a school? To close a prison )
"Bullies tend not to want to bully someone when that person is in a group, so make sure you're with friends, people you trust and connect with. Knowing you have defenders around you who will stand up for you can really help."
-- Jen James, founding supervisor of the Crisis Text Line (Watch the TED Talk: How data from a crisis text line is changing lives from Crisis Text Line founder and CEO Nancy Lublin)
... ... ...
Rebekah Barnett is the community speaker coordinator at TED, and knows a good flag when she sees one.
May 30, 2020 | www.unz.com
anon  Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 29, 2020 at 6:39 pm GMT@Kevin Barrett Psychologists from the University of Kent carried out three online studies. Hundreds of people completed questionnaires on conspiracy beliefsKevin Barrett , says: Show Comment May 29, 2020 at 8:35 pm GMT
They showed conspiracies are likely to be attractive to narcissists
But while low self-esteem, narcissism and belief in conspiracies are strongly linked, it is not clear that one causes the other, they add
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3482408/Believe-conspiracy-theories-probably-narcissist-People-doubt-moon-landings-likely-selfish-attention-seeking.html@anon The people who hate conspiracy theories have such low self-esteem that they have to keep running rigged studies designed to make themselves look good and their victims look bad.Iris , says: Show Comment May 30, 2020 at 2:10 am GMT@anon
They showed conspiracies are likely to be attractive to narcissists
Indeed. Only a full-blown narcissist amd raving psychopath would dare presenting such a ludicrous conspiracy to the largest gathering of nations:
Apr 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com
Thousands of people march through London to protest against underfunding and privatisation of the NHS. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Images M y life was saved last year by the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, through a skilful procedure to remove a cancer from my body . Now I will need another operation, to remove my jaw from the floor. I've just learned what was happening at the hospital while I was being treated. On the surface, it ran smoothly. Underneath, unknown to me, was fury and tumult. Many of the staff had objected to a decision by the National Health Service to privatise the hospital's cancer scanning . They complained that the scanners the private company was offering were less sensitive than the hospital's own machines. Privatisation, they said, would put patients at risk. In response, as the Guardian revealed last week , NHS England threatened to sue the hospital for libel if its staff continued to criticise the decision.
The dominant system of political thought in this country, which produced both the creeping privatisation of public health services and this astonishing attempt to stifle free speech, promised to save us from dehumanising bureaucracy. By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced.
Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence.
Much of the theory behind these transformations arises from the work of Ludwig von Mises. In his book Bureaucracy , published in 1944, he argued that there could be no accommodation between capitalism and socialism. The creation of the National Health Service in the UK, the New Deal in the US and other experiments in social democracy would lead inexorably to the bureaucratic totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
He recognised that some state bureaucracy was inevitable; there were certain functions that could not be discharged without it. But unless the role of the state is minimised – confined to defence, security, taxation, customs and not much else – workers would be reduced to cogs "in a vast bureaucratic machine", deprived of initiative and free will.
By contrast, those who labour within an "unhampered capitalist system" are "free men", whose liberty is guaranteed by "an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote". He forgot to add that some people, in his capitalist utopia, have more votes than others. And those votes become a source of power.
His ideas, alongside the writings of Friedrich Hayek , Milton Friedman and other neoliberal thinkers, have been applied in this country by Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, Theresa May and, to an alarming extent, Tony Blair. All of those have attempted to privatise or marketise public services in the name of freedom and efficiency, but they keep hitting the same snag: democracy. People want essential services to remain public, and they are right to do so.
If you hand public services to private companies, either you create a private monopoly, which can use its dominance to extract wealth and shape the system to serve its own needs – or you introduce competition, creating an incoherent, fragmented service characterised by the institutional failure you can see every day on our railways. We're not idiots, even if we are treated as such. We know what the profit motive does to public services.
So successive governments decided that if they could not privatise our core services outright, they would subject them to "market discipline". Von Mises repeatedly warned against this approach. "No reform could transform a public office into a sort of private enterprise," he cautioned. The value of public administration "cannot be expressed in terms of money". "Government efficiency and industrial efficiency are entirely different things."
"Intellectual work cannot be measured and valued by mechanical devices." "You cannot 'measure' a doctor according to the time he employs in examining one case." They ignored his warnings.
Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control.
Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself.
Its perversities afflict all public services. Schools teach to the test , depriving children of a rounded and useful education. Hospitals manipulate waiting times, shuffling patients from one list to another. Police forces ignore some crimes, reclassify others, and persuade suspects to admit to extra offences to improve their statistics . Universities urge their researchers to write quick and superficial papers , instead of deep monographs, to maximise their scores under the research excellence framework.
As a result, public services become highly inefficient for an obvious reason: the destruction of staff morale. Skilled people, including surgeons whose training costs hundreds of thousands of pounds, resign or retire early because of the stress and misery the system causes. The leakage of talent is a far greater waste than any inefficiencies this quantomania claims to address.
New extremes in the surveillance and control of workers are not, of course, confined to the public sector. Amazon has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements and detect the slightest deviation from protocol. Technologies are used to monitor peoples' keystrokes, language, moods and tone of voice. Some companies have begun to experiment with the micro-chipping of their staff . As the philosopher Byung-Chul Han points out , neoliberal work practices, epitomised by the gig economy, that reclassifies workers as independent contractors, internalise exploitation. "Everyone is a self-exploiting worker in their own enterprise."
The freedom we were promised turns out to be freedom for capital , gained at the expense of human liberty. The system neoliberalism has created is a bureaucracy that tends towards absolutism, produced in the public services by managers mimicking corporate executives, imposing inappropriate and self-defeating efficiency measures, and in the private sector by subjection to faceless technologies that can brook no argument or complaint.
Attempts to resist are met by ever more extreme methods, such as the threatened lawsuit at the Churchill Hospital. Such instruments of control crush autonomy and creativity. It is true that the Soviet bureaucracy von Mises rightly denounced reduced its workers to subjugated drones. But the system his disciples have created is heading the same way.
George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist
Pinkie123 , 12 Apr 2019 03:23The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself.glisson , 12 Apr 2019 00:10
Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt.
The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood.
A corporate state emerges, free of the regulatory fetters of democracy. The final restriction on the market - democracy itself - is removed. There then is no separate market and state, just a totalitarian market state.This is the best piece of writing on neoliberalism I have ever seen. Look, 'what is in general good and probably most importantly what is in the future good'. Why are we collectively not viewing everything that way? Surely those thoughts should drive us all?economicalternative -> Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 21:33Pinkie123: So good to read your understandings of neoliberalism. The political project is the imposition of the all seeing all knowing 'market' on all aspects of human life. This version of the market is an 'information processor'. Speaking of the different idea of the laissez-faire version of market/non market areas and the function of the night watchman state are you aware there are different neoliberalisms? The EU for example runs on the version called 'ordoliberalism'. I understand that this still sees some areas of society as separate from 'the market'?economicalternative -> ADamnSmith2016 , 11 Apr 2019 21:01ADamnSmith: Philip Mirowski has discussed this 'under the radar' aspect of neoliberalism. How to impose 'the market' on human affairs - best not to be to explicit about what you are doing. Only recently has some knowledge about the actual neoliberal project been appearing. Most people think of neoliberalism as 'making the rich richer' - just a ramped up version of capitalism. That's how the left has thought of it and they have been ineffective in stopping its implementation.economicalternative , 11 Apr 2019 20:42Finally. A writer who can talk about neoliberalism as NOT being a retro version of classical laissez faire liberalism. It is about imposing "The Market" as the sole arbiter of Truth on us all.Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 13:27
Only the 'Market' knows what is true in life - no need for 'democracy' or 'education'. Neoliberals believe - unlike classical liberals with their view of people as rational individuals acting in their own self-interest - people are inherently 'unreliable', stupid. Only entrepreneurs - those close to the market - can know 'the truth' about anything. To succeed we all need to take our cues in life from what the market tells us. Neoliberalism is not about a 'small state'. The state is repurposed to impose the 'all knowing' market on everyone and everything. That is neoliberalism's political project. It is ultimately not about 'economics'.The left have been entirely wrong to believe that neoliberalism is a mobilisation of anarchic, 'free' markets. It never was so. Only a few more acute thinkers on the left (Jacques Ranciere, Foucault, Deleuze and, more recently, Mark Fisher, Wendy Brown, Will Davies and David Graeber) have understood neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives. Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation.manolito22 -> MrJoe , 11 Apr 2019 08:14
Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'. Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism. This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism. Because concepts of social justice are expressed in language, neoliberals are suspicious of linguistic concepts, regarding them as politically dangerous. Their preference has always been for numbers. Hence, market bureaucracy aims for the quantification of all values - translating the entirety of social reality into metrics, data, objectively measurable price signals. Numbers are safe. The laws of numbers never change. Numbers do not lead to revolutions. Hence, all the audit, performance review and tick-boxing that has been enforced into public institutions serves to render them forever subservient to numerical (market) logic. However, because social institutions are not measurable, attempts to make them so become increasingly mystical and absurd. Administrators manage data that has no relation to reality. Quantitatively unmeasurable things - like happiness or success - are measured, with absurd results.
It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal.
However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against.Nationalised rail in the UK was under-funded and 'set up to fail' in its latter phase to make privatisation seem like an attractive prospect. I have travelled by train under both nationalisation and privatisation and the latter has been an unmitigated disaster in my experience. Under privatisation, public services are run for the benefit of shareholders and CEO's, rather than customers and citizens and under the opaque shroud of undemocratic 'commercial confidentiality'.Galluses , 11 Apr 2019 07:26What has been very noticeable about the development of bureaucracy in the public and private spheres over the last 40 years (since Thatcher govt of 79) has been the way systems are designed now to place responsibility and culpability on the workers delivering the services - Teachers, Nurses, social workers, etc. While those making the policies, passing the laws, overseeing the regulations- viz. the people 'at the top', now no longer take the rap when something goes wrong- they may be the Captain of their particular ship, but the responsibility now rests with the man sweeping the decks. Instead they are covered by tying up in knots those teachers etc. having to fill in endless check lists and reports, which have as much use as clicking 'yes' one has understood those long legal terms provided by software companies.... yet are legally binding. So how the hell do we get out of this mess? By us as individuals uniting through unions or whatever and saying NO. No to your dumb educational directives, No to your cruel welfare policies, No to your stupid NHS mismanagement.... there would be a lot of No's but eventually we could say collectively 'Yes I did the right thing'.fairshares -> rjb04tony , 11 Apr 2019 07:17'The left wing dialogue about neoliberalism used to be that it was the Wild West and that anything goes. Now apparently it's a machine of mass control.'
It is the Wild West and anything goes for the corporate entities, and a machine of control of the masses. Hence the wish of neoliberals to remove legislation that protects workers and consumers.
May 21, 2020 | www.unz.com
"Nature seems made up of antipathies: without something to hate, we should lose the very spring of thought and action. Hatred alone is immortal." ~William Hazlitt, 1826
No human feeling has been more maligned, slandered, abused, and misappropriated in contemporary culture than the humble and dignified hatred. Wars have been declared against it. Legislation seeks everywhere to strangle it. It has been presented as the source of all evils, and as the great enemy of our time. This primordial emotion is the red-headed stepchild of our contemporary psychological spectrum and the exile of our political language, ever-present but covered up out of embarrassment, shame, or subterfuge. Entire categories of crime and speech have been segregated under the rubric of Hate, and set aside for especially harsh punishment. "Hate facts" are provable realities allegedly tainted with hate, and thus represent aspects of material existence deemed so awful they are denied despite their evident truth.
Hate, it would seem, just can't get a break. Few are willing to speak on its behalf, even among those classed primarily as "haters." The latter are apt to protest to deaf ears that they don't hate anyone but merely love their own kind. All of this denial and disavowal occurs despite the fact hate is as crucial to human existence, if not more so, as love. It is omnipresent. Without hate, you have no history and no literature, no passion and no capacity for action. The plot of the Iliad essentially revolves around the wait for Achilles to reach an optimal state of hatred that then morphs into martial ecstasy and final victory. Imagine Hamlet merely possessing a mediocre dislike of his uncle Claudius. Without Ahab's detestation of the whale there is no Moby Dick . Even if it were true that love makes the world go round, it would appear that hate greases the axle. It's time for an exploration from a justified hater.
The Genealogy of Postmodern Morals
The origin of the contemporary war on hate is worthy of some consideration. Religion, contra Nietzsche, doesn't offer a complete explanation. Take the Bible, for instance, which for the most part offers no injunction against enmity, intense dislike, or revenge except in cases of silent resentment in fraternal, co-ethnic, or communal relationships (Lev. 19:17, 1 John 3:15). The Hebrew god is said to be a hater of lying (Ps. 119:163) and the Psalmist professes to hate his enemies (Ps.139:22) with a "perfect hatred." Ecclesiastes (Ecc. 3:8) mentions, without judgment or further commentary, that there is "a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace." The entire history of the Jewish people can be read as involving a quite shameless hatred for the rest of humanity. The only exception in the Bible is located within the "love thy enemy" section of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:44) which, given that it was most probably written while the persecutions under Nero were ongoing, was likely inserted to both promote non-violent resistance and represent a further denial that Christians were a danger to Roman authority (alongside "render under Caesar" etc., also in Matthew). It sits uneasily with much of the rest of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, which makes Nietzsche's critique of the entirety of these religions as exemplifying unique slave moralities, based almost entirely on amplifications of the concepts of loving one's enemy and "turning the other cheek," seem rather tendentious.  I tend to concur with Roger Scruton's assessment of Nietzsche's fixation here that it was both "obsessive, if not tedious." See Scruton, A Short History of Modern Philosophy (1995).
Opposition to hatred, and being kind to one's enemies, can as easily be found among the ancient Stoics and the Buddhists. For Nietzsche, although he focused overwhelmingly on Judaism and Christianity, these were all positions of life-denial, weakness, and dishonesty. Certainly these responses were weaker than simply hating your enemy. For the Stoics, the goal was individual happiness, and resentment and intense dislike were viewed simply as burdensome barriers to that goal -- better to be rid of the enemy, yes, but also to be rid of negative feelings for them. For the Buddhists, the soft, supple branch that bends with the fall of heavy snow is more likely to survive winter than the brittle branch that resists and then snaps under increasing weight. Giving way, if necessary, to enemies, was therefore viewed as a form of tactical strength and a means to survival and happiness.
These positions are ultimately weak and evasive in my opinion, because they reject the principles of overcoming obstacles and engaging in direct competition with opponents. Hatred is only a psychological burden when it can't be fulfilled, thus involving not only hate of the other for their provocation, but hate of the self for the inability to obtain resolution. The mental burden of hatred is found predominantly in the latter, and many flee from it into perverse and ultimately insincere forms of forgiveness. When they "forgive their enemies" they are rather forgiving themselves for not overcoming their enemies .  This kind of thinking has expanded rapidly in modernity because justice has become an increasingly watered down and impersonal affair in which individual access to adequate retribution is frustrated. The Stoic and Buddhist approaches are therefore weak not simply because of their superficial rejection of hatred, but because their rejections are themselves evidence of intrinsic weakness in the rejector. If history tells us only one thing, however, it is that no man, and no religion, is immune to the arising of hate, and few escape it altogether. Differences in outward expression, in Christianity, Buddhism, Stoicism, or Judaism thereafter are mere points of tactics.
Unlike Nietzsche, I don't think specific answers for our current situation can be found so clearly in religion, or even in the distant past. Hate, and the flight from hate among the weak and cowardly, have been with us from the beginning of time, even if it is worsening in the present age. Contemporary hypocrisy and widespread dishonesty in relation to hatred is primarily a result of decadence in modernity...
anonymous  Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 7:28 pm GMT
@brabantian Sounds like this dolt plagiarized speech on war given by former NYT war reporter Chris Hedges.Art , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 7:33 pm GMT
Hate is found in most every scientific list of human emotions. Hate is natural. The universe put hate into our list of human options. Sometimes hate is needed to spur action. Most people are not inclined to violence. But there comes a time when violence is called for – and hate is appropriate.
Disgust is another human emotion...
Apr 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
John , Apr 17 2020 15:42 utc | 27Okay... he's not a psychoapath, Don. I'll settle malignant sociopathic narcissist, which means by definition and demonstration that he would not know empathy were it to leap up and smack him in the face. Liar? We can soften that too. He is a serial fantasists living in the worlds he creates and like a spoiled child demands, raging when his wishes are not instantly gratified.
His dictatorial moments would be familiar to anyone who ever worked at his jumped up mom 'n pop real estate shop. His blustering, bullying, blaming, bragging, bloviating, and berating are on display each day now at the late afternoon campaign commercial live-from-the-White-House. He's all yours Don.
Apr 17, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orglizard , Apr 15 2020 17:10 utc | 2if anyone wants to step outside the mind barriers being put into place, even at forums like MoA (I'm a long time reader, by the way, not one of the newbies who recently popped up), check out Gary Lachman's book Dark Star Rising, magick and power in the age of Trump.
though I can hear the scoffing already, I continue to think lots of people have a big blind spot in understanding power and how it's being executed because they don't want to consider silly sounding things like the occult.
it's taken me many long years and lots of reading to start wrapping my head around the twisted belief system of these sociopaths. I don't think it benefits anyone to underestimate what they are capable of, yet many of you here seem to be doing precisely that.
Jen , Apr 15 2020 20:34 utc | 45bevin , Apr 15 2020 21:08 utc | 53
Lizard @ 2 and elsewhere:
That different societies, even one as seemingly isolated as Yupik-speaking Inuit, can recognise sociopathic / psychopathic individuals may indicate that in the past there was some evolutionary advantage gained by the human species for societies to bring forth such people. Either that or the sociopathic mind is the price societies pay for human intelligence having developed over hundreds of thousands of years in particular ways that aided human survival.
Therefore we need to think of ways to spot sociopathic tendencies in children and young people, find out what is in their social backgrounds that encourages such tendencies, and do what we can to turn these tendencies into something different.
Does Western society produce more such individuals than others, and if so, why so? Why do sociopaths seem often to rise to the top in politics, the corporate world and other areas of human endeavour and culture? What is it about Western culture and values that favour the rise of these individuals?" I sometimes wonder if the true way to fix our broken world is to find a screening process for sociopaths/psychopaths and, once identified, either execute or sterilize them. we've been taking their top-down eugenics programs for decades now (centuries?). maybe what we need is a bottom-up program to rid our institutions of their influence.." lizard@26Mark2 , Apr 15 2020 21:30 utc | 58
Like most Nazi ideas this one, if put into practice again, would lead to the killing and ill treatment of large numbers of the most vulnerable persons. It is not some genetic failing that makes people nasty but life experience and environmental influences, particularly in their early years.
What lizard proposes is to act towards these people exactly as they have alleged to have acted towards others. This would not relieve society of the problem but augment it greatly.
As one sensible commenter points out the fault lies in a system of class rule and exploitation which schools people to lie, cheat and steal- so long as that system exists you might as well, like the Nazis, attempt to put an end to usury by killing Jews. Or to petty theft by killing Roma, or to threats to private property by killing socialists.
Anyone who believes in capital punishment and in the screening of the population in order to identify personality traits to be erased, is very likely to be a socio-psychopath (whatever either may be), himself. And deserves our sympathy and society's assistance in conquering the disease.Jen @ 45jason , Apr 15 2020 21:35 utc | 59
Interesting question's you raise there.
Strictly speaking psychopaths aren't 'mentally ill' if they end up in a mental institution they are not given the usual psychiatric drugs.
Psychopaths have a personality disorder. This is where it gets interesting and relevant to this debate.
Psychopaths can be born that way, but there is a nature or nurture debate. most importantly they can be trained .
Deception is a successful part of nature! With a huge number of examples. Young children naturally use many of the same techniques. But as they grow learn to suppress them.@53 Posted by: bevinTony , Apr 15 2020 21:42 utc | 60
indeed. people can learn and change for better or for worse.
sure there are real crazy fks out there. but like how things are, you can pick as many fights as you want,till you find yourself fighting the entire world. and then what? final solution? good intentions really do lead straight to hell when you take into account the details of how the plan is to be executed.....There are some pretty fundamental problems with the logic of a psycho witch hunt.David F , Apr 15 2020 21:43 utc | 61
- blaming a select few for everything (instead of looking in a mirror)
- doing x to stop someone else from doing x
- identity politics traps... etc etcThis conversation is going of the deep end really quickly. I am going to exit. Just for the record, I wasn't advocating any 'final solution'.Mark2 , Apr 15 2020 21:53 utc | 62
This is the core of humanities problem though, how to prevent the wrong people, namely socio/psycho people from obtaining the reigns of power. This has been the core problem before recorded history began. How to keep the wolves from being in charge of the flock. Enjoy, guys.Psychopaths have commen symptoms that the lay person can identify (not least in politicians and murders)Lozion , Apr 15 2020 22:10 utc | 66
1 they are very popular. You ask haw they seem to rise to the top? They are very good at borrowing power from people around them. Now look at the way Israel relies on American power.
Psychopaths have an infantile/ childish personality that a lot of people find attractive /magnetic ! Think Boris Johnson.
I hope people find this interesting and important in order to identify them, and avoid them.Lizard and others. If you have seen the documentary The Corporation, there is a segment where a sociopathic person is compared to the corporation entity and symptoms like anti-social behaviour, lack of empathy, etc. are common to both. With that said, dismantling the current status of corporations, effectively negating their existence and the equivalent of stopping sociopaths in society wont happen imo without resort to violence, unfortunately. Ways to change the system have been re-hashed @MoA so many times but I say again: Pitch forks & lamp posts, Mussolini style..Mark2 , Apr 15 2020 22:36 utc | 69Regarding psychopaths. Genraly speaking it's 'frowned apon' to push them off the ice !lizard , Apr 15 2020 23:13 utc | 74
Far better to expose them, study the individual, identify him for what he is and spread the word far and wide. Remember their power is an illusion.
Having said that im quite partial to the pitchfork approach as well. Best not dwell on that !
A User , Apr 16 2020 0:55 utc | 86
yes, very familiar with Gabor Mate. I would assume most of the people I worked with who had personality disorders had them in part due to trauma when they were younger. the first two years of development for a child is so critically important, even mild abuse primes them for addiction down the road. the more ACEs they have (adverse childhood experiences) also increases their chances of developing chronic health conditions. the sociopaths with power know this and are now psychologically traumatizing us on a mass-scale.
... ... ...As far as I know, based on experiences I have had or behaviours I have witnessed in others, the terms sociopath & psychopath which many use interchangeably, are labels we attach to two distinct groups of people.Australian lady , Apr 16 2020 2:19 utc | 94
The first group, who are the types most often found in the politics, snakes & ladders mazes are people totally focused on becoming the most powerful in their particular pond.
No method is verboten because no one counts apart from themselves. IMO this is a learned behaviour one which it may be possible to treat, although it wouldn't be very long before these types developed ways & means to manipulate the treatment system to their personal advantage. I have a friend who worked as an educational psychologist for many years who told me that back in the 1970's when he commenced his career, the accepted way of treating such personalities was to encourage them to go into business as an allegedly 'constructive' outlet for their type. By the 80's he was having a lot of doubt about that practice and he eschewed it entirely by the early 90's. Not because it didn't work, it most certainly did, be he had decided that the cost to the rest of us was too high so explored other interventions which were less successful but also less damaging.
Business and politics that is where we will find the classic middle class type who has suffered dehumanising experiences that cause him/her to believe survival is dependent on investing all effort into oneself, regarding everything else as disposable or food for power.
I've come to believe that some sort of vicious cycle has been triggered in many societies so that the existence of such types, the preponderance of them in many environments has caused even more to be created. Politicians or business-people who have no interest in how their actions impact negatively on others are creating more families where children are forced to experience suffering of a type which leads them to be dehumanised & the problem grows.
An intervention is required to break this cycle.
The other class of dangerous human I reckon is the result of the relatively random distribution in human populations of types who have an ability to hurt & kill others that springs from what some called the 'warrior gene'. Myself I doubt that the cause is that simple. For my money the randomness of this type would suggest that the birth of this personality is the result of more than one genetic source and possibly as with the political business type, also a result of some type of epigenetic action. Perhaps experiences of a parent, particularly the mother esp during pregnancy have affected the behaviour of the child.
It has always seemed to me that this type of sociopath is not susceptible to any treatment, their behaviour is just too hardwired. On the other hand killing them would be unjust since they have made no conscious choice to kill, the act was inevitable from the day they were born.
As others have commented setting about taking the lives of sociopaths for want of a better term, will only succeed in providing a training ground & a raison d'etre for other sociopaths.
Many people believe that punishment is an essential part of a justice system because without it, everyone would behave as they do, maybe, but I doubt that as any normal human who has taken a life or even done something which has seriously damaged another, even when it appeared to be justifiable at the time, knows that the worst punishment is that which we give ourselves.
The most important issue is preventing the creation of sociopaths, succeed at that, break the cycle in a way which doesn't cause more to be developed would seem to me to be the most efficacious solution. We cannot go back in time to undo the damage such types bring about, but we can probably take actions now which prevent destruction in the future.
The first move would be to halt dog eat dog capitalism, reverence & respect for the wealthy who got where they are today by committing disgusting acts legal and/or illegal against their fellow humans. Obliterate the motivation as we obliterate the means - otherwise as long as the motivation exists some will keep probing the system for flaws until they find the means.
sorry bout the typos I have missed & the grammar errors but I've spent too long on this already.The psychiatric profession is a racket. Family and society aren't.Peter AU1 , Apr 16 2020 2:41 utc | 96
Societies and families however can get pretty dysfunctional. The proffering of solutions is a necessary hazard :people are attracted to finality, to utopias which demand compliance. Thanks to Karlof1 for his intelligent ruminations. (And I do love Tracy and Max's "money power", a very apropos concept). But I wonder just how "collectivity compliant" the American people are. I'll take Pam Ho's advice and not mention the word socialism, but can people who are trained to be instinctively adversarial, who take their exceptionalism personally, who are atomised yet vulnerable to group-think, who are raised and entertained on the most primitive Manichean values, be converted to think collectively? Some basic considerations are in order.
How about "humanity has no exceptionals"?
Karlof1 also mentioned the old, U. S. draft-based civilian military,and immediately F. Scott Peck(A Road Less Travelled, People of the Lie) came to my mind.
F. Scott Peck was a military psychiatrist, a Catholic convert, a seeker of truth and peace and a fervent believer in the benefits of a civilian military, draft-based. Many social ills originate from that decision to change to a volunteer army. Public oversight for instance.
And the public of all nations with armies should be asking their governments why they have bioweapons laboratories.Australian ladyben , Apr 16 2020 3:11 utc | 100
Your post reminded me for whatever reason of something I saw on television quite a few years back.
Segment of the show was interviewing people who were "expressing their individually". Expressing individuality was something of a fad at the time.
They all wore tatt's and body piercings and all looked the same. From what I could make of it they had to look up what to do to express "individuality" and copied what others did.A lady @ 94 said;"The psychiatric profession is a racket. Family and society aren't."john , Apr 16 2020 10:23 utc | 130
Take that to the bank. I've often thought that a degree in Psychology or Psychiatry is a licence to steal. They're performing a function any good friend could perform by listening and giving an opinion. Unless, you're in to semantics..Jen @ 45 says:john , Apr 16 2020 10:23 utc | 130 BG13 , Apr 16 2020 10:28 utc | 131
Does Western society produce more such individuals than others, and if so, why so?
apparently so...according to the Psychopathy Checklist .
America: breeding ground for psychopaths
for example, being born into a Buddhist or Shinto culture apparently diminishes the likelihood of sociopathy, though i'd wager that even these profound cultures that inherently value the interrelatedness of all living things are being diluted by a modern world. after all...
The proper time to influence the character of a child is about 100 years before he is born@ David F | Apr 16 2020 5:46 utc | 114William Gruff , Apr 16 2020 10:30 utc | 132
"Reading dostoyevsky was a real eye opener for me. 300+ years ago he was writing critically about social ills"
Make it 160 instead ... Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1881)re: psychopathsJen , Apr 16 2020 10:55 utc | 133
Q: What would the members of an entire society composed of psychopaths refer to themselves as? How would they describe themselves? How do they see themselves?
A: Exceptional rugged individuals.
Violence seems natural to victims of such psychosis. The video posted by JC @113 saddens and sickens me. To think that the violent psychosis has spread to Australia...
But then a quick glance at the history of Australia reveals that the degenerate psychosis has always been there as long as the place has been called "Australia" . Clearly Britain is the source of that contagion.John @ 130:William Gruff , Apr 16 2020 11:31 utc | 135
Japan has been a Buddhist / Shintoist / Confucian-influenced nation for hundreds of years, and yet that country has had its fair share of quite twisted psychopathic individuals over the years. I think there was one guy who even became a TV celebrity after he confessed to killing his European girlfriend and cutting her up, and consuming some of her flesh, and then spending time in jail. I believe he even wrote a book about his experiences.
In the 1930s also, Buddhist and Shinto religious leaders in Japan supported the fascist government and its militarist adventures. These religions had their extremist fanatical aspects; the phenomenon of kamikaze pilots who were often teenage boys made drunk and pushed into planes to go on suicidal missions probably has to be understood in the context of state Buddhism or state Shintoism at the time.
Even today, in Thailand, there are periodic scandals involving senior Buddhist monks caught having sexual affairs with women or underage partners, or gambling or using donations in corrupt ways.
Korean shamanism (it still exists) likewise emphasises the link between the material world and the spirit world; and yet it contributed to the downfall of former Sth Korean President Park Geun-hye - her shaman adviser was caught taking advantage of her connections with the President to enrich herself financially.
Eastern and other faith traditions with a holistic view of the world can only go so far in imbuing people with a definite ethics or value system.Jen @133Mµ , Apr 16 2020 12:59 utc | 139
...The problem with the Japanese in the run-up to WWII had little to do with their religion as few Japanese people, even if you go back a century, take any religion very seriously. The mind disease that afflicted the Japanese was much more familiar to westerners: a sense of "exceptionality" . They really and truly thought they were doing the world a favor by trying to remake it in their society's image. If such a thing were possible then they wouldn't even have been completely wrong about that, so the mistake they made is somewhat understandable. In fact, having an enlightened and relaxed attitude about religion was part of their sense of "exceptionality" , and they were (and are) right in that regard.@MoA teammigueljose , Apr 16 2020 13:56 utc | 147
re: psychopaths / sociopaths [ my first post :) ]
1] it is said that ~3% are born such [ ~Gaussian distribution ]
... [ and unfortunately necessary from evolutionary perspective ]
2] that would imply "final solution-izing" a whopping ~3%
... [ who would do "it", then what about the 'next' ~3% ]
3] if ~3% are 'nature/born', then perhaps ~3% are 'nurture/made'
... [ the 'nurtured ~3%' neg. training might be 'preventable' ]
4] the above 'nurtured', would require intervention ...
... for which, at the moment, there is not much hope.
For the above, I sincerely invite/implore the team to a fascinating
chat with Chris Hedges:
Pathology of the Rich
one example excerpt trimmed of many a poignant points:
It's very distasteful to see, because, you know,
I would go to the homes of friends of mine and
watch–and let's remember they're children, 11, 12 years old,
ordering around adults–their servants, their nannies.
The rich are different, because when you have that much money,
then human beings become disposable.
Even friends and family become disposable and are replaced.
And when the rich take absolute power,
then the citizens become disposable,
which is in essence what's happened.
There is a very callous indifference.
"So many insightful comments, I deeply appreciate B and you all. As a high school teacher and then guidance counselor for many years I worked with young people and watched them. Sociopathy is, like many conditions, from my viewpoint, on a spectrum: we are all on it. As is aspergers, which is a different spectrum. Those toward the extreme end of the sociopathic spectrum are know by teachers and staff in early grades, rich or poor. The rich usually go on to be very successful. The poor are on probation by 8th grade and end up in the prison and black market economy, also called gangs/organized criminal syndicates.Norwegian , Apr 16 2020 14:08 utc | 148
Some siblings are more sociopathic than others-- same mom, maybe same dad, often similar environment growing up. W. Bush vs Jeb would be one example. I would argue that W. is more sociopathic than Jeb. Jeb isn't necessarily a stellar human being but he's more sensitive and doesn't have the "mean" in him that his brother does. Trump sensed that-- being even more sociopathic than any of his competitors.
Obviously, an empire enocourages sociopathy. Any political change must include an understanding of greed and hate at a personal, family, community level and set up ways to identify and fight those tendencies. As I said, we all have some greed/hate/sociopathy. Start with that. Stay humble.@433 | Apr 16 2020 11:23 utc | 134oldhippie , Apr 16 2020 14:47 utc | 153
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Europe should offer a "heartfelt apology" to Italy for failing to help when the country became the first EU nation to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
That's easy to say when you are heartless. I would expect a psychopath to talk like that (I grew up with a psychopath step father).
The only thing that matters is what you do.Interesting discussion on sociopathy. Thank you lizard.
Sociopathy may or may not be heritable. Money is most certainly heritable. Land is most certainly heritable. Titles and position are heritable.
Child abuse is not heritable, however an abused child is quite likely to grow up to be an abuser.
It is not hard to come up with examples of how this works. Consider the ancient system of English 'public' schools. Bullying and sodomy have always been part of the curriculum. What sort of parent would send their child to a place where they would certainly be bullied and sodomized? A parent concerned with maintaining the family wealth, and the system that protects it. And so it goes.
Sociopathology comes back to money every time.
Oct 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
In a fiery speech announcing her decision, Collins ripped unsupported claims by Avenatti's client, Julie Swetnick, that Kavanaugh facilitated a Cosby-esque "gang rape" operation while in high school.
Some of the allegations levied against Judge Kavanaugh illustrate why the presumption of innocence is so important . I am thinking in particular not of the allegations raised by Professor Ford, but of the allegation that, when he was a teenager, Judge Kavanaugh drugged multiple girls and used their weakened state to facilitate gang rape .
This outlandish allegation was put forth without any credible supporting evidence and simply parroted public statements of others . That such an allegation can find its way into the Supreme Court confirmation process is a stark reminder about why the presumption of innocence is so ingrained in our American consciousness. -Sen. Susan Collins
Paracelsus , 38 minutes ago linkFBaggins , 1 hour ago link
I didn't really care much about the stuff alleged to have been done by Kavanaugh thirty-five years ago. Arguing with a close family friend I stated that there was nothing I found more tiresome than the old lawyers tactic of springing something on you at the last possible minute, leaving a steaming pile of turds in the middle of your desk, and then expecting to be taken seriously. Decorum? Rules of debate? How about the laws of discovery, sharing info amongst colleagues?
Just because this was not a criminal trial is no reason to throw out the rules for policy making, the nomination process, which both sides have adhered to in the past. People were comparing this to the Anita Hill fiasco during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. Delay, interrupt, stall, maximum media exposure. Never any evidence or criminal charges to point to.
In criminal trials there is the process of discovery by which the admission of evidence at the last minute is strongly ill advised, and can result in it being tossed out. Sen. Feinstein would be aware of all the rules and procedures, but she feels above it all.bh2 , 3 hours ago link
Hey Avenatti! If you and your client had any idea of what the truth is no one would every have heard of her or of you. Don't give us this ******** that you were just representing your client. If you had a brain you would have known she was FOS from the get go, and if you were honest you never would have represented her. So what is it? Are you just stupid or are you dishonest, or both?The Terrible Sweal , 3 hours ago link
People who make salacious claims unconfirmed or outright denied by their own named "witnesses" tend to get sued for defamation. And the lawyers they rode in on.
... ... ...platyops , 4 hours ago link
Three women advance fabricated allegations and the #resistance, Demonrats, Third Wavers and cucks blame one male lawyer.
They just can't learn.Debt Slave , 4 hours ago link
Michael Avenatti is not a nice man at all. He was a factor in making the accusations seem like a circus. No one takes him seriously as he slinks around the gutters.trutherator , 5 hours ago link
I sure am glad that Avenatti was stupid enough to represent a lunatic like Swetnick.RictaviousPorkchop , 6 hours ago link
Avenatti is the scapegoat. The Ford story was already fast breaking down, and the secret polygraph and the secret therapist notes and her ex-boyfriend should have made more noise in the Senate.
... ... ...KingTut , 6 hours ago link
This filth needs to be disbarred.inosent , 7 hours ago link
They embraced this puke and revelled in his garbage accusations. Now they need a scapegoat, and he's it. God forbid Feinstein get raked over the coals for screwing this thing up. The was a political hit, and everyone knew it. But the GOP are so spineless that a high-school-drunken-grope-fest brought them to their knees. Fortunately, the Dems stayed true to form and blew themselves up.
What I do not understand is how could they be so stupid as to endorse the Avenatti slime factory in the first place? TONE DEAF.Kidbuck , 5 hours ago link
Avenatti needs to be disbarred. To file a complaint for his breach of professional responsibility, suborning perjury, and engaging in acts of moral turpitude:
If enough complaints are filed with the CA state bar, he may get disbarred.
Attorneys ALREADY have a really bad rep. Part of professional responsibility is to uphold the integrity of the legal profession. The ONLY thing Avenatti did was to make every attorney look like a complete shyster sleazeball, which given I just took the bar exam and will probably become an attorney soon, I find immensely offensive.
Here is his license information:
http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Licensee/Detail/206929John_Coltrane , 6 hours ago link
The MSM gave these clowns face time and the morons of America watched and believed...TemporarySecurity , 5 hours ago link
The Demonrats used false sexual allegations against Roy Moore coupled with ballot box cheating (their typical mode) to win a senate seat in conservative Alabama. So, since their main national platform of open borders is so repugnant to any normal taxpaying voter, this is their only strategy. They simply got caught. All the allegations against both Kavanaugh and Moore were fabricated and the proof is the Soros' paid lawyers who represented them all. And Feinstein and Schumer conspired in this farce. And independent voters know it!
They're just pissed they got caught in their fraud and this energized the R. base which will lead to a red wave in a few weeks. And just think of the political commercial possibilities for any Demonrat senator hoping to prevail if they vote against Kavanaugh. I expect the final confirmation vote won't as close as the vote for cloture for this reason.MoreFreedom , 6 hours ago link
Be careful, Roy Moore was a different story. There was evidence including him saying he liked to date high school age girls as a 30 year old along with multiple other people who remembered what was alleged. Not just Democrat operatives. Morals were not that different then than now. Was he guilty of a crime no, could reasonable people still dislike his morals sure. I grew up close to that era and thought the college age kids hanging around HS girls was nasty. Moore verified as a 30 year old he liked them young.
Ford 0 corroborating evidence. By lumping in Moore with Kavanaugh you are giving credence to believe the victim because all you are following the "patriarchy" of believing the accused regardless of evidence.Totally_Disillusioned , 7 hours ago link
The Democrats have a long history of making last minute sexual misconduct allegations against their political opponents, always without any evidence or corroboration. And sexual misconduct allegations that pale in comparison to what a lot of Democrats have been alleged to do (rape allegations against Clinton, Kennedy having an affair that left a woman dead, John Conyers for settling sexual harassment allegations with taxpayer money, Hillary for trashing victims, or consider Weinstein and other famous/rich Democrat donors or newsmen). I'd bet most of these allegations against Republicans were simply made up for political purposes because they were plausible, couldn't be disproven, and couldn't be proven. Ford's allegations fit the pattern.
The charges are always last minute, to deny the accused an opportunity to defend themselves. Kavanaugh provided an excellent defense that would be good court room drama in a movie, when no one in the GOP was willing to defend him, and too afraid of being accused of not believing a victim and attacking them.
What's really going on are the Democrats in charge, are looking to deflect the attention from what they did, to Avanetti because Avanetti did the same, except the charges of his client, weren't believable, even though they couln't be proven or disproven. They don't want to take the blame, for what voters might do in the midterms.
One thing's for sure, you don't see Democrats calling for indicting and prosecuting false accusers. They're teaching people to bear false witness for their personal purposes.putupjob , 7 hours ago link
" Gang rape mastermind " might have been a bridge too far"
was this great or what?
avenatti gave the diversion, the clutter, the political sideshow so that all charges could be swept away and completely fake and uncorroborated. there was no provable basis for the ford charges, but the crazy swetnick stories simplified brooming the whole thing.
we can only hope that avenatti will be back in 2020, to run for president, and to come marching with his parade of **** stars and "wronged" women who spend all their time performing in strip clubs.
Oct 05, 2018 | smallbusiness.chron.com
If you are accused of harassment in the workplace, it is important to carefully consider your next moves. Your initial reaction might be to vehemently defend yourself against the claims; however, try to keep a cool and calm head and approach the situation professionally. The more hotly you protest the charges and the angrier you get, the less inclined people may be to listen to your side of the story. Talk to a Lawyer
Book a consultation with a lawyer. If the matter can't be resolved via simple mediation within the workplace, you have to be sure to protect yourself and your job. A lawyer can advise you of your legal rights and give you an idea of how to best proceed with such allegations presented against you.Write it Down
Provide a written account of what happened from your point of view. While this may differ from the account of the person claiming the harassment, it is important that you at least get your side of the story out. A written statement doing so gives human resources and/or management something to refer to during the investigation.Tell the Truth
Be honest. If you know you did what the accusers say you did, be honest and the ensuing punishment may be less harsh. Talk to your manager about what happened, admit to what you did wrong and provide solutions for how to avoid further incidents. Most important: stop the "harassing" behavior immediately. The situation may worsen if it continues, whether you feel it is actual harassment or not.Provide Witnesses
Provide an alibi and/or witnesses, if the claims are not true. If someone says you harassed them at a time when you know you were in a meeting or talking to someone in his office, then say so. Supply the name of any witnesses who can provide you an alibi. If there were other people around at the time that the alleged harassment took place, ask them to speak up on your behalf.Stay Calm
Avoid retaliating in any way. Particularly if you have been falsely accused, you may feel angry, frustrated and more emotional than usual because of what you are going through. Don't take any adverse reaction against the person that made the allegations or do anything that might be perceived as retaliatory.Draw Attention to Your History
Give an accounting of your track record with the company. If you've been accused of something you know you didn't do and you have a clean personnel file, explain to your manager that you've been with the company "X" amount of years, have never had a problem with another employee and have always treated others with the utmost respect. Your record could work in your favor.Consult with HR
Consult with your human resources representative to determine how to best proceed according to company policy. Explain your side of the story and focus on what you can do to resolve the matter quickly and focus on your job. A human resources rep might be able to mediate in the matter and get it settled without having to take things further; she may also advise you of the steps you need to take or explain that there is nothing more you can do while the company investigates.Tip
- Whatever you do, don't confront the accuser. This may provide additional fodder for the allegations against you and anything you say might be misconstrued and used against you later.
- Also, don't discuss the case with other people in the workplace, as the gossip may in turn spur the allegations against you.
Sep 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Victor Davis Johnson via NationalReview.com,
Truth, due process, evidence, rights of the accused: All are swept aside in pursuit of the progressive agenda.
George Orwell's 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is no longer fiction. We are living it right now.
Google techies planned to massage Internet searches to emphasize correct thinking. A member of the so-called deep state, in an anonymous op-ed, brags that its "resistance" is undermining an elected president. The FBI, CIA, DOJ, and NSC were all weaponized in 2016 to ensure that the proper president would be elected -- the choice adjudicated by properly progressive ideology. Wearing a wire is now redefined as simply flipping on an iPhone and recording your boss, boy- or girlfriend, or co-workers.
But never has the reality that we are living in a surreal age been clearer than during the strange cycles of Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
In Orwell's world of 1984 Oceania, there is no longer a sense of due process, free inquiry, rules of evidence and cross examination, much less a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Instead, regimented ideology -- the supremacy of state power to control all aspects of one's life to enforce a fossilized idea of mandated quality -- warps everything from the use of language to private life.Oceania's Rules
Senator Diane Feinstein and the other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had long sought to destroy the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. Much of their paradoxical furor over his nomination arises from the boomeranging of their own past political blunders, such as when Democrats ended the filibuster on judicial nominations, in 2013. They also canonized the so-called 1992 Biden Rule, which holds that the Senate should not consider confirming the Supreme Court nomination of a lame-duck president (e.g., George H. W. Bush) in an election year.
Rejecting Kavanaugh proved a hard task given that he had a long record of judicial opinions and writings -- and there was nothing much in them that would indicate anything but a sharp mind, much less any ideological, racial, or sexual intolerance. His personal life was impeccable, his family admirable.
Kavanaugh was no combative Robert Bork, but congenial, and he patiently answered all the questions asked of him, despite constant demonstrations and pre-planned street-theater interruptions from the Senate gallery and often obnoxious grandstanding by "I am Spartacus" Democratic senators.
So Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed unless a bombshell revelation derailed the vote. And so we got a bombshell.
Weeks earlier, Senator Diane Feinstein had received a written allegation against Kavanaugh of sexual battery by an accuser who wished to remain anonymous. Feinstein sat on it for nearly two months, probably because she thought the charges were either spurious or unprovable. Until a few days ago, she mysteriously refused to release the full text of the redacted complaint , and she has said she does not know whether the very accusations that she purveyed are believable. Was she reluctant to memorialize the accusations by formally submitting them to the Senate Judiciary Committee, because doing so makes Ford subject to possible criminal liability if the charges prove demonstrably untrue?
The gambit was clearly to use the charges as a last-chance effort to stop the nomination -- but only if Kavanaugh survived the cross examinations during the confirmation hearing. Then, in extremis , Feinstein finally referenced the charge, hoping to keep it anonymous, but, at the same time, to hint of its serious nature and thereby to force a delay in the confirmation. Think something McCarthesque, like "I have here in my hand the name . . ."
Delay would mean that the confirmation vote could be put off until after the midterm election, and a few jeopardized Democratic senators in Trump states would not have to go on record voting no on Kavanaugh. Or the insidious innuendos, rumor, and gossip about Kavanaugh would help to bleed him to death by a thousand leaks and, by association, tank Republican chances at retaining the House. (Republicans may or may not lose the House over the confirmation circus, but they most surely will lose their base and, with it, the Congress if they do not confirm Kavanaugh.)
Feinstein's anonymous trick did not work. So pressure mounted to reveal or leak Ford's identity and thereby force an Anita-Hill–like inquest that might at least show old white men Republican senators as insensitive to a vulnerable and victimized woman.
The problem, of course, was that, under traditional notions of jurisprudence, Ford's allegations simply were not provable. But America soon discovered that civic and government norms no longer follow the Western legal tradition. In Orwellian terms, Kavanaugh was now at the mercy of the state. He was tagged with sexual battery at first by an anonymous accuser, and then upon revelation of her identity, by a left-wing, political activist psychology professor and her more left-wing, more politically active lawyer.Newspeak and Doublethink
Statue of limitations? It does not exist. An incident 36 years ago apparently is as fresh today as it was when Kavanaugh was 17 and Ford 15.
Presumption of Innocence? Not at all. Kavanaugh is accused and thereby guilty. The accuser faces no doubt. In Orwellian America, the accused must first present his defense, even though he does not quite know what he is being charged with. Then the accuser and her legal team pour over his testimony to prepare her accusation.
Evidence? That too is a fossilized concept. Ford could name neither the location of the alleged assault nor the date or time. She had no idea how she arrived or left the scene of the alleged crime. There is no physical evidence of an attack. And such lacunae in her memory mattered no longer at all.
Details? Again, such notions are counterrevolutionary. Ford said to her therapist 6 years ago (30 years after the alleged incident) that there were four would-be attackers, at least as recorded in the therapist's notes.
But now she has claimed that there were only two assaulters: Kavanaugh and a friend. In truth, all four people -- now including a female -- named in her accusations as either assaulters or witnesses have insisted that they have no knowledge of the event, much less of wrongdoing wherever and whenever Ford claims the act took place. That they deny knowledge is at times used as proof by Ford's lawyers that the event 36 years was traumatic.
An incident at 15 is so seared into her lifelong memory that at 52 Ford has no memory of any of the events or details surrounding that unnamed day, except that she is positive that 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, along with four? three? two? others, was harassing her. She has no idea where or when she was assaulted but still assures that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were drunk, but that she and the others (?) merely had only the proverbial teenage "one beer." Most people are more likely to know where they were at a party than the exact number of alcoholic beverages they consumed -- but not so much about either after 36 years.
Testimony? No longer relevant. It doesn't matter that Kavanaugh and the other alleged suspect both deny the allegations and have no memory of being in the same locale with Ford 36 years ago. In sum, all the supposed partiers, both male and female, now swear, under penalty of felony, that they have no memory of any of the incidents that Ford claims occurred so long ago. That Ford cannot produce a single witness to confirm her narrative or refute theirs is likewise of no concern. So far, she has singularly not submitted a formal affidavit or given a deposition that would be subject to legal exposure if untrue.
Again, the ideological trumps the empirical. "All women must be believed" is the testament, and individuals bow to the collective. Except, as in Orwell's Animal Farm, there are ideological exceptions -- such as Bill Clinton, Keith Ellison, Sherrod Brown, and Joe Biden. The slogan of Ford's psychodrama is "All women must be believed, but some women are more believable than others." That an assertion becomes fact due to the prevailing ideology and gender of the accuser marks the destruction of our entire system of justice.
Rights of the accused? They too do not exist. In the American version of 1984 , the accuser, a.k.a. the more ideologically correct party, dictates to authorities the circumstances under which she will be investigated and cross-examined: She will demand all sorts of special considerations of privacy and exemptions; Kavanaugh will be forced to return and face cameras and the public to prove that he was not then, and has never been since, a sexual assaulter.
In our 1984 world, the accused is considered guilty if merely charged, and the accuser is a victim who can ruin a life but must not under any circumstance be made uncomfortable in proving her charges.
Doublespeak abounds. "Victim" solely refers to the accuser, not the accused, who one day was Brett Kavanaugh, a brilliant jurist and model citizen, and the next morning woke up transformed into some sort of Kafkaesque cockroach. The media and political operatives went in a nanosecond from charging that she was groped and "assaulted" to the claim that she was "raped."
In our 1984, the phrase "must be believed" is doublespeak for "must never face cross-examination."
Ford should be believed or not believed on the basis of evidence , not her position, gender, or politics. I certainly did not believe Joe Biden, simply because he was a U.S. senator, when, as Neal Kinnock's doppelganger, he claimed that he came from a long line of coal miners -- any more than I believed that Senator Corey Booker really had a gang-banger Socratic confidant named "T-Bone," or that would-be senator Richard Blumenthal was an anguished Vietnam combat vet or that Senator Elizabeth Warren was a Native American. (Do we need a 25th Amendment for unhinged senators?) Wanting to believe something from someone who is ideologically correct does not translate into confirmation of truth.
Ford supposedly in her originally anonymous accusation had insisted that she had sought "medical treatment" for her assault. The natural assumption is that such a term would mean that, soon after the attack, the victim sought a doctor's or emergency room's help to address either her physical or mental injuries -- records might therefore be a powerful refutation of Kavanaugh's denials.
But "medical treatment" now means that 30 years after the alleged assault, Ford sought counseling for some sort of "relationship" or "companion" therapy, or what might legitimately be termed "marriage counseling." And in the course of her discussions with her therapist about her marriage, she first spoke of her alleged assault three decades earlier. She did not then name Kavanaugh to her therapist, whose notes are at odds with Ford's current version.Memory Holes
Then we come to Orwell's idea of "memory holes," or mechanisms to wipe clean inconvenient facts that disrupt official ideological narratives.
Shortly after Ford was named, suddenly her prior well-publicized and self-referential social-media revelations vanished, as if she'd never held her minor-league but confident pro-Sanders, anti-Trump opinions . And much of her media and social-media accounts were erased as well.
Similarly, one moment the New York Times -- just coming off an embarrassing lie in reporting that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had ordered new $50,000 office drapes on the government dime -- reported that Kavanaugh's alleged accomplice, Mark Judge, had confirmed Ford's allegation. Indeed, in a sensational scoop, according to the Times , Judge told the Judiciary Committee that he does remember the episode and has nothing more to say. In fact, Judge told the committee the very opposite: that he does not remember the episode . Forty minutes later, the Times embarrassing narrative vanished down the memory hole.
The online versions of some of the yearbooks of Ford's high school from the early 1980s vanished as well. At times, they had seemed to take a perverse pride in the reputation of the all-girls school for underage drinking, carousing, and, on rarer occasions, "passing out" at parties. Such activities were supposed to be the monopoly and condemnatory landscape of the "frat boy" and spoiled-white-kid Kavanaugh -- and certainly not the environment in which the noble Ford navigated. Seventeen-year-old Kavanaugh was to play the role of a falling-down drunk; Ford, with impressive powers of memory of an event 36 years past, assures us that as a circumspect 15-year-old, she had only "one beer."
A former teenage friend of Ford's sent out a flurry of social-media postings, allegedly confirming that Ford's ordeal was well known to her friends in 1982 and so her assault narrative must therefore be confirmed. Then, when challenged on some of her incoherent details (schools are not in session during summertime, and Ford is on record as not telling anyone of the incident for 30 years), she mysteriously claimed that she no longer could stand by her earlier assertions, which likewise soon vanished from her social-media account. Apparently, she had assumed that in 2018 Oceania ideologically correct citizens merely needed to lodge an accusation and it would be believed, without any obligation on her part to substantiate her charges.
When a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, followed Ford seven days later to allege another sexual incident with the teenage Kavanaugh, at Yale 35 years ago, it was no surprise that she followed the now normal Orwellian boilerplate : None of those whom she named as witnesses could either confirm her charges or even remember the alleged event. She had altered her narrative after consultations with lawyers and handlers. She too confesses to underage drinking during the alleged event. She too is currently a social and progressive political activist. The only difference from Ford's narrative is that Ramirez's accusation was deemed not credible enough to be reported even by the New York Times , which recently retracted false stories about witness Mark Judge in the Ford case, and which falsely reported that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had charged the government for $50,000 office drapes.
As in 1984 , "truths" in these sorts of allegations do not exist unless they align with the larger "Truth" of the progressive project. In our case, the overarching Truth mandates that, in a supposedly misogynist society, women must always be believed in all their accusations and should be exempt from all counter-examinations.
Little "truths" -- such as the right of the accused, the need to produce evidence, insistence on cross-examination, and due process -- are counterrevolutionary constructs and the refuge of reactionary hold-outs who are enemies of the people. Or in the words of Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono:
Guess who's perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It's the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country, "Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing, for a change."
The View 's Joy Behar was more honest about the larger Truth: "These white men, old by the way, are not protecting women," Behar exclaimed. "They're protecting a man who is probably guilty." We thank Behar for the concession "probably."
According to some polls, about half the country believes that Brett Kavanaugh is now guilty of a crime committed 36 years ago at the age of 17. And that reality reminds us that we are no longer in America . We are already living well into the socialist totalitarian Hell that Orwell warned us about long ago.
- All Comments 30
NiggaPleeze , 10 seconds agoDebt Slave , 16 seconds ago
National Review? Really? Does it get more evil than them?Jkweb007 , 37 seconds ago
According to some polls, about half the country believes that Brett Kavanaugh is now guilty of a crime committed 36 years ago at the age of 17.
Well half the country are idiots but the important thing to remember in our democracy is that the idiots have the right to vote. And here we are today.
No wonder the founders believed that democracy was a stupid idea. But we know better than they did, right?herbivore , 1 minute ago
It is hard for me to believe 50% when in America you are presumed innocent till proven guilty. Is this the spanish inquizition or salem witch trials. If he floats he was innocent. I am shocked that people in congress would make statements, she must be believed, I believe he is guilty. These are people who represent and stand for the constitution that many died in the defense of life liberty and the persuit of happiness. It may be time for that mlilitia that our founding fathers endorsed. If Kavanaugh is rebuked for these accusation our freedom, free speech may be next.GOSPLAN HERO , 4 minutes ago
Peter Griffin knows what's what:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jiog8hrzigkTHORAX , 6 minutes ago
Just another day in USSA.opport.knocks , 20 minutes ago
One more confirmation that the so called "social justice warriors" -like last night's goons' who shamefully interrupted Senator Cruz's night out with his wife at a private restaurant- are Orwell's projected fascists!Aubiekong , 23 minutes ago
Bush 2 was in the big chair when he and his cabinet started the USA down the full Orwellian path (Patriot Act, post 911). Kavanaugh and his wife were both members of that government team.
If there is any reason to dismiss him, that would be it, not this post-pubescent sex crap.
If I was a cynical person, I would say this whole exercise is to deflect attention away from that part of his "swampy" past.CheapBastard , 15 minutes ago
We lost the republic when we allowed the liberals to staff the ministry of education...my new username , 23 minutes ago
My neighbor is a high school teacher. I asked her if she was giving students time off to protest this and she looked at me and said, "Just the opposite. I have given them a 10 page seminar paper to write on the meaning of Due Process."
So there IS hope.BlackChicken , 23 minutes ago
This is criminal contempt for the due lawful process of the Congress.
These are unlawful attempts and conspiracies to subvert justice.
So we need to start arresting, trying, convicting and punishing the criminals.Jus7tme , 22 minutes ago
Truth, due process, evidence, rights of the accused: All are swept aside in pursuit of the progressive agenda.
This needs to end, not later, NOW.
Be careful what you wish for leftists, I'll dedicate my remaining years to torture you with it.Duc888 , 29 minutes ago
>>the socialist totalitarian Hell that Orwell warned us about long ago.
I think Orwell was in 1949 was warning about a fascist totalitarian hell, not a socialist one, but nice try rewriting history.CheapBastard , 19 minutes ago
WTF ever happened to "innocent until PROVEN guilty"?
Schumer said before the confirmation hearings even began he would not let Kavanaugh become SC justice no matter what.
Dems are so tolerant, open minded and respectful of due process, aren't they.
Oct 05, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
Deltaeus , October 2, 2018 at 4:38 pm
Wow. I'm saddened that so many people carelessly toss aside the best parts of our civilisation such as the presumption of innocence. Accusers have to prove their charges.
Imagine Joe Lauria is accused by someone of something heinous. Anyone who doesn't like Joe can now comment on social media about how he looks like the type of guy who would do that. Anyone who disagrees with him might be motivated to do that. They can suggest psychological reasons for his atrocious behaviour. The accuser does not need to prove anything – just some lurid details and a tearful interview are enough, and the rest of us can no longer see his by-line without remembering all of the innocent children he molested.
See? What I just insinuated is completely untrue. Joe is an honest and good man, but anyone can smear him at any time and ruin his livelihood. Its easy. And Joe just made it easier with this article.
Please, think about what it is like to be unfairly accused. Perhaps in the abstract you can shrug, but talk to anyone who has actually been the victim of false allegations, and you will realise how powerless you are in that situation. Your only protection is the civilised idea that you are innocent until proven guilty, and if you destroy that, well, that would be a shame.
irina , October 2, 2018 at 10:53 pm
Have you ever experienced a false accusation ? I have, and I didn't even know it.
For many years, my mother in law sincerely believed that her grandson was not her son's child. This was patently untrue, but I was clueless because no one (we lived surrounded by her immediate family) told me, although the women all gossiped behind my back. You can only imagine how this affected all my familial relationships. She never did come clean about this situation (her thinking was affected by long term steroid use) but did eventually apologize to me (without precisely stating why) the year our son turned thirteen, at which point he started strongly resembling his dad (her son).
False accusations are a very serious thing, and we are accepting them all too glibly.
Dec 09, 2018 | www.rt.com
The #MeToo movement was supposed to make life easier for women in the workplace. It was all about respect and making real abusers pay a price for their behavior. But is it possible to have too much of a good thing?
One of the aims of the movement was to force a change in the conduct of men who said and did sexually inappropriate things in the workplace -- a concept which few people could quibble with. A year on from its beginnings, however, it seems the movement has morphed into something else entirely -- and ironically, it's hurting both men and women.
The 'Pence Effect' and 'gender segregation'
The #MeToo movement has taken down men across a wide spectrum of industries -- but so far, Wall Street has avoided a huge public scandal -- despite its reputation for being, well, a fairly sexist and male-oriented environment. So why has it escaped the #MeToo spotlight?Two female reporters for Bloomberg interviewed 30 Wall Street executives and found that while it's true that women might be afraid to speak up for fear of losing their careers, men are also so afraid of being falsely accused that they won't even have dinner, or even one-to-one business meetings with a female colleague. They worry that a simple comment or gesture could be misinterpreted. "It's creating a sense of walking on eggshells," one Morgan Stanley executive said.
Bloomberg dubbed the phenomenon the 'Pence Effect' after the US vice president who previously admitted that he would never dine alone with any woman other than his wife. British actor Taron Egerton recently also said he now avoided being alone with women for fear of finding himself in #MeToo's crosshairs.
I remember when a woman I was friendly/kind with perceived me as someone who wanted "more." She wrote me a message about how she was uncomfortable. I'm gay. https://t.co/7z0X7Dwzkp-- Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) December 4, 2018
All these extreme strategies being adopted by men to avoid falling victim to an unjust #MeToo scandal are creating a kind of "gender segregation" on Wall Street, the reporters say.
Hurting women's progress?
The most ironic outcome of a movement that was supposed to be about women's empowerment is that now, even hiring a woman on Wall Street has become an "unknown risk," according to one wealth advisor, who said there is always a concern that a woman might take something said to her in the wrong way.
With men occupying the most senior positions on Wall Street, women need male mentors who can teach them the ropes and help them advance their careers, but what happens when men are afraid to play that role with their younger female colleagues? The unintended consequence of the #MeToo movement on Wall Street could be the stifling of women's progress and a sanitization of the workplace to the point of not even being able to have a private meeting with the door closed.
Another irony is that while men may think they are avoiding one type of scandal, could find themselves facing another: Discrimination complaints.
"A Wall Street rule for the #MeToo era: Avoid women at all cost." https://t.co/TCGk9UzT4R "Secular sharia" has arrived, as I predicted here: https://t.co/TTrWY6ML34 pic.twitter.com/YpEz78iamJ-- Niall Ferguson (@nfergus) December 3, 2018
"If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint," Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison told Bloomberg.
Not all men are responding to the #MeToo movement by fearfully cutting themselves off from women, however. "Just try not to be an asshole," one said, while another added: "It's really not that hard."
It might not be that simple, however. It seems there is no escape from the grip of the #MeToo movement. One of the movements most recent victims of the viral hashtag movement is not a man, but a song -- the time-honored classic 'Baby It's Cold Outside' -- which is being banished from American radio stations because it has a "rapey" vibe.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
Sep 29, 2014 | www.theguardian.com
An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities
'We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited.'
We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces. But over decades of research and therapeutic practice, I have become convinced that economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you're reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.
There are certain ideal characteristics needed to make a career today. The first is articulateness, the aim being to win over as many people as possible. Contact can be superficial, but since this applies to most human interaction nowadays, this won't really be noticed.
It's important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know a lot of people, you've got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a major project. Later, people will find out that this was mostly hot air, but the fact that they were initially fooled is down to another personality trait: you can lie convincingly and feel little guilt. That's why you never take responsibility for your own behaviour.
On top of all this, you are flexible and impulsive, always on the lookout for new stimuli and challenges. In practice, this leads to risky behaviour, but never mind, it won't be you who has to pick up the pieces. The source of inspiration for this list? The psychopathy checklist by Robert Hare , the best-known specialist on psychopathy today.
This description is, of course, a caricature taken to extremes. Nevertheless, the financial crisis illustrated at a macro-social level (for example, in the conflicts between eurozone countries) what a neoliberal meritocracy does to people. Solidarity becomes an expensive luxury and makes way for temporary alliances, the main preoccupation always being to extract more profit from the situation than your competition. Social ties with colleagues weaken, as does emotional commitment to the enterprise or organisation.
Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in psychology it's known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other.
Constant evaluations at work cause a decline in autonomy and a growing dependence on external, often shifting, norms. This results in what the sociologist Richard Sennett has aptly described as the "infantilisation of the workers". Adults display childish outbursts of temper and are jealous about trivialities ("She got a new office chair and I didn't"), tell white lies, resort to deceit, delight in the downfall of others and cherish petty feelings of revenge. This is the consequence of a system that prevents people from thinking independently and that fails to treat employees as adults.
More important, though, is the serious damage to people's self-respect. Self-respect largely depends on the recognition that we receive from the other, as thinkers from Hegel to Lacan have shown. Sennett comes to a similar conclusion when he sees the main question for employees these days as being "Who needs me?" For a growing group of people, the answer is: no one.
Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens. An increasing number of people fail, feeling humiliated, guilty and ashamed. We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers, taking advantage of our social security system.
A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goal. For those who believe in the fairytale of unrestricted choice, self-government and self-management are the pre-eminent political messages, especially if they appear to promise freedom. Along with the idea of the perfectible individual, the freedom we perceive ourselves as having in the west is the greatest untruth of this day and age.
The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarised the paradox of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference. Yet, on the other hand, our daily lives have become a constant battle against a bureaucracy that would make Kafka weak at the knees. There are regulations about everything, from the salt content of bread to urban poultry-keeping.
Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, "make" something of ourselves. You don't need to look far for examples. A highly skilled individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy – unless those other things ensure success. A young woman who wants to become a primary school teacher is told by her parents that she should start off by getting a master's degree in economics – a primary school teacher, whatever can she be thinking of?
There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only changed. And that is precisely what has happened: a changed economy reflects changed ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us.Psychology Work & careers Economics Economic policy
- Sick of this market-driven world? You should be George Monbiot George Monbiot: The self-serving con of neoliberalism is that it has eroded the human values the market was supposed to emancipate 5 Aug 2014 1,877
- Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom Deborah Orr 8 Jun 2013 400
- Who's in control – nation states or global corporations? Gary Younge 2 Jun 2014 767
- Who can control the post-superpower capitalist world order? Slavoj Žižek 6 May 2014 454
- If you think we're done with neoliberalism, think again George Monbiot 14 Jan 2013 797
Feb 05, 2018 | www.truthdig.com
There will be no economic or political justice for the poor, people of color, women or workers within the framework of global, corporate capitalism. Corporate capitalism, which uses identity politics , multiculturalism and racial justice to masquerade as politics, will never halt the rising social inequality, unchecked militarism, evisceration of civil liberties and omnipotence of the organs of security and surveillance. Corporate capitalism cannot be reformed, despite its continually rebranding itself. The longer the self-identified left and liberal class seek to work within a system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls " inverted totalitarianism ," the more the noose will be tightened around our necks. If we do not rise up to bring government and financial systems under public control -- which includes nationalizing banks, the fossil fuel industry and the arms industry -- we will continue to be victims.
Corporate capitalism is supranational . It owes no loyalty to any nation-state. It uses the projection of military power by the United States to protect and advance its economic interests but at the same time cannibalizes the U.S., dismantling its democratic institutions, allowing its infrastructure to decay and deindustrializing its factory centers to ship manufacturing abroad to regions where workers are treated as serfs.
Resistance to this global cabal of corporate oligarchs must also be supranational. It must build alliances with workers around the globe. It must defy the liberal institutions, including the Democratic Party, which betray workers. It is this betrayal that has given rise to fascist and protofascist movements in Europe and other countries. Donald Trump would never have been elected but for this betrayal. We will build a global movement powerful enough to bring down corporate capitalism or witness the rise of a new, supranational totalitarianism.
The left, seduced by the culture wars and identity politics, largely ignores the primacy of capitalism and the class struggle. As long as unregulated capitalism reigns supreme, all social, economic, cultural and political change will be cosmetic. Capitalism, at its core, is about the commodification of human beings and the natural world for exploitation and profit. To increase profit, it constantly seeks to reduce the cost of labor and demolish the regulations and laws that protect the common good. But as capitalism ravages the social fabric, it damages, like any parasite, the host that allows it to exist. It unleashes dark, uncontrollable yearnings among an enraged population that threaten capitalism itself.
"This is a crisis of global dimensions," David North , the national chairman of the Socialist Equality Party in the United States, told me when we spoke in New York. "It is a crisis that dominates every element of American politics. The response that we're seeing, the astonishing changes in the state of the government, in the decay of political life, the astonishingly low level of political and intellectual discourse, is in a certain sense an expression of the bewilderment of the ruling elite to what it's going through."
"We can expect a monumental explosion of class struggle in the United States," he said. "I think this country is a social powder keg. There is an anger that exists over working conditions and social inequality. However [much] they may be confused on many questions, workers in this country have a deep belief in democratic rights. We totally reject the narrative that the working class is racist. I think this has been the narrative pushed by the pseudo-left, middle-class groups who are drunk on identity politics, which have a vested interest in constantly distracting people from the essential class differences that exist in the society. Dividing everyone up on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference fails to address the major problem."
North argues, correctly, that capitalism by its nature lurches from crisis to crisis. This makes our current predicament similar to past crises.
"All the unanswered questions of the 20th century -- the basic problem of the nation-state system, the reactionary character of private ownership with the means of production, corporate power, all of these issues which led to the first and Second world wars -- are with us again, and add to that fascism," he said.
"We live in a global economy, highly interconnected," North went on. "A globalized process of production, financial system. The ruling class has an international policy. They organize themselves on an international scale. The labor movement has remained organized on a national basis. It has been completely incapable of answering this [ruling-class policy]. Therefore, it falls behind various national protectionist programs. The trade unions support Trump."
The sociologist Charles Derber , whom I also spoke with in New York, agrees.
"We don't really have a left because we don't have conversations about capitalism," Derber said. "How many times can you turn on a mainstream news like CNN and expect to hear the word 'capitalism' discussed? Bernie [Sanders] did one thing. He called himself a democratic socialist , which was a bit transformational simply in terms of rhetoric. He's saying there's something other than capitalism that we ought to be talking about."
"As the [capitalist] system universalizes and becomes more and more intersectional, we need intersectional resistance," Derber said. "At the end of the 1960s, when I was getting my own political education, the universalizing dimensions of the left, which was growing in the '60s, fell apart. The women began to feel their issues were not being addressed. They were treated badly by white males, student leaders. Blacks, Panthers, began to feel the whites could not speak for race issues. They developed separate organizations. The upshot was the left lost its universalizing character. It no longer dealt with the intersection of all these issues within the context of a militarized, capitalist, hegemonic American empire. It treated politics as siloed group identity problems. Women had glass ceilings. Same with blacks. Same with gays."
The loss of this intersectionality was deadly. Instead of focusing on the plight of all of the oppressed, oppressed groups began to seek representation for their own members within capitalist structures.
"Let's take a modern version of this," Derber said. " Sheryl Sandberg , the COO of Facebook, she did a third-wave feminism thing. She said 'lean in.' It captures this identity politics that has become toxic on the left. What does 'lean in' mean? It means women should lean in and go as far as they can in the corporation. They should become, as she has, a major, wealthy executive of a leading corporation. When feminism was turned into that kind of leaning in, it created an identity politics that legitimizes the very system that needs to be critiqued. The early feminists were overtly socialists. As was [Martin Luther] King. But all that got erased."
"The left became a kind of grab bag of discrete, siloed identity movements," Derber said. "This is very connected to moral purity. You're concerned about your advancement within the existing system. You're competing against others within the existing system. Everyone else has privilege. You're just concerned about getting your fair share."
"People in movements are products of the system they're fighting," he continued. "We're all raised in a capitalistic, individualistic, egoistic culture, so it's not surprising. And it has to be consciously recognized and struggled against. Everybody in movements has been brought up in systems they're repulsed by. This has created a structural transformation of the left. The left offers no broad critique of the political economy of capitalism. It's largely an identity-politics party. It focuses on reforms for blacks and women and so forth. But it doesn't offer a contextual analysis within capitalism."
Derber, like North, argues that the left's myopic, siloed politics paved the way for right-wing, nativist, protofascist movements around the globe as well as the ascendancy of Trump.
"When you bring politics down to simply about helping your group get a piece of the pie, you lose that systemic analysis," he said. "You're fragmented. You don't have natural connections or solidarity with other groups. You don't see the larger systemic context. By saying I want, as a gay person, to fight in the military, in a funny way you're legitimating the American empire. If you were living in Nazi Germany, would you say I want the right of a gay person to fight in combat with the Nazi soldiers?"
"I don't want to say we should eliminate all identity politics," he said. "But any identity politics has to be done within the framework of understanding the larger political economy. That's been stripped away and erased. Even on the left, you cannot find a deep conversation about capitalism and militarized capitalism. It's just been erased. That's why Trump came in. He unified a kind of very powerful right-wing identity politics built around nationalism, militarism and the exceptionalism of the American empire."
"Identity politics is to a large degree a right-wing discourse," Derber said. "It focuses on tribalism tied in modern times to nationalism, which is always militaristic. When you break the left into these siloed identity politics, which are not contextualized, you easily get into this dogmatic fundamentalism. The identity politics of the left reproduces the worse sociopathic features of the system as a whole. It's scary."
"How much of the left," he asked, "is reproducing what we are seeing in the society that we're fighting?"
Mar 07, 2020 | getpocket.com
Stories to fuel your mind. "We rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst." Brain Pickings |
- Maria Popova
Art by Shaun Tan for a special edition of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales .
Thoreau wrote as he contemplated how silence ennobles speech . In the century and a half since, we have created a culture that equates loudness with leadership, abrasiveness with authority. We mistake shouting for powerful speech much as we mistake force for power itself. And yet the real measure of power is more in the realm of Thoreau's "fine things."
So argues UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner in The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence ( public library ) -- the culmination of twenty years of research exploring what power is, what confers it upon an individual, and how it shapes the structure of a collective, a community, and a culture. Drawing on a wealth of social science studies and insights from successful teams ranging from companies like Pixar and Google to restorative justice programs in San Quentin State Prison, he demonstrates "the surprising and lasting influence of soft power (culture, ideas, art, and institutions) as compared to hard power (military might, invasion, and economic sanctions)."
Life is made up of patterns. Patterns of eating, thirst, sleep, and fight-or-flight are crucial to our individual survival; patterns of courtship, sex, attachment, conflict, play, creativity, family life, and collaboration are crucial to our collective survival. Wisdom is our ability to perceive these patterns and to shape them into coherent chapters within the longer narrative of our lives.
Power dynamics, Keltner notes, are among the central patterns that shape our experience of life, from our romantic relationships to the workplace. But at the heart of power is a troubling paradox -- a malignant feature of human psychology responsible for John Dalberg-Acton's oft-cited insight that "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Keltner explains the psychological machinery of this malfunction and considers our recourse for resisting its workings:
The power paradox is this: we rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst. We gain a capacity to make a difference in the world by enhancing the lives of others, but the very experience of having power and privilege leads us to behave, in our worst moments, like impulsive, out-of-control sociopaths.
How we handle the power paradox guides our personal and work lives and determines, ultimately, how happy we and the people we care about will be. It determines our empathy, generosity, civility, innovation, intellectual rigor, and the collaborative strength of our communities and social networks. Its ripple effects shape the patterns that make up our families, neighborhoods, and workplaces, as well as the broader patterns of social organization that define societies and our current political struggles.
Much of what is most unsettling about human nature -- stigma, greed, arrogance, racial and sexual violence, and the nonrandom distribution of depression and bad health to the poor -- follows from how we handle the power paradox.
Art by Olivier Tallec from Louis I, King of the Sheep, an illustrated parable of how power changes us .
What causes us to mishandle the power paradox, Keltner argues, is our culture's traditional understanding of power -- a sort of time-capsule that no longer serves us. Predicated on force, ruthlessness, and strategic coercion, it was shaped by Niccolò Machiavelli's sixteenth-century book The Prince -- but it is as antiquated today as the geocentric model of the universe that dominated Machiavelli's day. What governs the modern world, Keltner demonstrates through two decades of revelatory studies, is a different kind of power -- softer, more relational, predicated on reputation rather than force, measured by one's ability to affect the lives of others positively and shift the course of the world, however slightly, toward the common good. He writes:
Perhaps most critically, thinking of power as coercive force and fraud blinds us to its pervasiveness in our daily lives and the fact that it shapes our every interaction, from those between parents and children to those between work colleagues.
Power defines the waking life of every human being. It is found not only in extraordinary acts but also in quotidian acts, indeed in every interaction and every relationship, be it an attempt to get a two-year-old to eat green vegetables or to inspire a stubborn colleague to do her best work. It lies in providing an opportunity to someone, or asking a friend the right question to stir creative thought, or calming a colleague's rattled nerves, or directing resources to a young person trying to make it in society. Power dynamics, patterns of mutual influence, define the ongoing interactions between fetus and mother, infant and parent, between romantic partners, childhood friends, teens, people at work, and groups in conflict. Power is the medium through which we relate to one another. Power is about making a difference in the world by influencing others.
In a sentiment that parallels Thoreau's wisdom on silence and shouting, Keltner adds:
A new wave of thinking about power reveals that it is given to us by others rather than grabbed. We gain power by acting in ways that improve the lives of other people in our social networks.
One key consequence of the fact that power is given to us by others is its reputational nature -- an insight both disquieting to the ego and comforting to the soul, for we are inescapably social creatures. Keltner observes:
Our influence, the lasting difference that we make in the world, is ultimately only as good as what others think of us. Having enduring power is a privilege that depends on other people continuing to give it to us.
"Enduring" is an operative word in Keltner's premise. The "power paradox" is paradoxical precisely because those who manage to wrest power forcibly by the Machiavellian model may have power, or perceived power, for a certain amount of time, but that amount is finite. Its finitude springs from the attrition of the person's reputation. But the most troubling aspect of the power paradox is that even if a person rises to power by counter-Machiavellian means -- kindness, generosity, concern with the common good -- power itself will eventually warp her priorities and render her less kind, less generous, less concerned with the common good, which will in turn erode her power as her reputation for these counter-qualities grows.
Keltner cites a number of studies demonstrating these tendencies empirically -- poor people give to charity a greater portion of their income than rich people, those in positions of power exhibit more entitled behaviors, people who drive expensive cars are significantly crueler to pedestrians at crosswalks, and so forth.
But in reading these alarmingly consistent studies, I had to wonder about one crucial confound that remains unaddressed: People in positions of power also tend to be busier -- that is, they tend to have greater demands on their time. We know from the now-iconic 1970s Good Samaritan study that the single greatest predictor of uncaring, unkind, and uncompassionate behavior, even among people who have devoted their lives to the welfare of others, is a perceived lack of time -- a feeling of being rushed. The sense of urgency seems to consume all of our other concerns -- it is the razor's blade that severs our connection to anything outside ourselves, anything beyond the task at hand, and turns our laser-sharp focus of concern onto the the immediacy of the self alone.
Art from Anne Sexton's little-known children's book .
We know this empirically, and we know its anecdotal truth intimately -- I doubt I'm alone in the awareness that despite a deep commitment to kindness, I find myself most likely to, say, be impatient with a fellow cyclist when I feel pressed for time, when I know I'm running late. Even Keltner's famous and tragicomical study, which found that drivers of expensive cars are most inconsiderate to pedestrians, might suffer from the same confound -- those who can afford expensive cars are typically people we would deem "successful," who also typically have far greater demands on their time. So could it be that a scarcity of time -- that inescapable hum of consciousness -- rather than an excess of power is the true corrupting agent of the psyche?
And so another paradox lives inside the power paradox -- the more powerful a person becomes, the busier and more rushed she is, which cuts her off from the very qualities that define the truly powerful. What would the studies Keltner cites look like if we controlled not only for power, but for time -- for the perception of being rushed and demand-strained beyond capacity? (Kierkegaard condemned the corrosive effect of busyness nearly two centuries ago.)
Still, Keltner's central point -- that power in the modern world is "gained and maintained through a focus on others" -- remains valid and important. He considers the conscious considerations we can make in order to bypass the perils of the power paradox:
Handling the power paradox depends on finding a balance between the gratification of your own desires and your focus on other people. As the most social of species, we evolved several other-focused, universal social practices that bring out the good in others and that make for strong social collectives. A thoughtful practitioner of these practices will not be misled by the rush of the experience of power down the path of self-gratification and abuse, but will choose instead to enjoy the deeper delights of making a lasting difference in the world. These social practices are fourfold: empathizing, giving, expressing gratitude, and telling stories. All four of these practices dignify and delight others. They constitute the basis of strong, mutually empowered ties. You can lean on them to enhance your power at any moment of the day by stirring others to effective action.
But "power" is one of those words -- like "love" and "happiness" -- to have become grab-bag terms for a constellation of behaviors, states, emotions, and phenomena. Noting that "a critical task of science is to provide clear nomenclature -- precise terms that sharpen our understanding of patterned phenomena in the outside world and inside the mind," Keltner offers elegant and necessary definitions of the distinct notions comprising the constellation of power in modern society:
POWER your capacity to make a difference in the world by influencing the states of other people.
STATUS the respect that you enjoy from other people in your social network; the esteem they direct to you. Status goes with power often but not always.
CONTROL your capacity to determine the outcomes in your life. You can have complete control over your life -- think of the reclusive hermit -- but have no power.
SOCIAL CLASS the mixture of family wealth, educational achievement, and occupational prestige that you enjoy; alternatively, the subjective sense you have of where you stand on a class ladder in society, high, middle, or low. Both forms of social class are societal forms of power.
In the remainder of The Power Paradox , Keltner goes on to examine, through a robust body of research bridged with intelligent insight, what we can do both as individuals and as a society to cultivate the qualities that empower us by empowering others and counter those that feed the most selfish and small-spirited tendencies of human nature. Complement it with Blaise Pascal's timeless 17th-century wisdom on the art of persuasion and philosopher Martha Nussbaum on human dignity and the nuanced relationship between agency and victimhood .
HT Shankar Vedantam / Hidden Brain
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
4 hours ago
Parasites are everywhere in the natural world, and many natural phenomena have counterparts in human society. Could there be such a thing as a human parasite? That is, a whole of people who benefit from the work of others, but do nothing themselves to contribute, and who harm others by existing.
Let's think through what hypothetical human parasites would do and ask if they could exist, just from first principles.
If there were such a thing as human parasites, their first priority would be to continue existing as parasites. They would want to stop others understanding they were parasites.
So in a modern society they would want to control the media and the other pillars of democracy - law, education, politics.
They would want to make it illegal to say that they were parasites. They would make sure it was the biggest taboo possible, actually.
They would create or invite other groups of parasites to weaken the host society further and prevent it from responding. They would make sure it was illegal to criticize those parasites, too.
They would make the whole concept of being a useless, noncontributing parasite into a sacred, untouchable value, just to make extra sure they were safe.
Of course, eventually, their weakened host society would fail to thrive because it was so drained of resources. It would eventually die. That is a risk that parasites always take.
So to find out whether parasites really exist, all we have to ask is: is there any group of people that own the media and are illegal to criticize?
Feb 20, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Timothy Hagios , 20 February 2020 at 05:57 PMThe question on my mind is which of these clowns has the highest probability of doing something stupid that ends in a major war, if not an apocalyptic one. IMO Biden, Buttigieg, and Sacagawea have sadistic/psychotic tendencies that make them the most dangerous candidates.
Sanders and Klobuchar strike me as the least violent.
The Monopoly Man possibly views warfare as something beneath the station of a financial aristocrat such as himself, which if nothing else might give him some immunity from feeling the need to prove how "tough" he is. I put Trump somewhere in the middle.
Jan 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.comNomuka • 15 hours ago • editedWell, it looks like I'll need to start contributing to NPR again. They are a little too woke for my tastes, but Pompeo is a liar, and frankly beyond the pale. A perfect representative of the current administration by the way. Kudos to NPR for standing up to him.TomG • 10 hours agoOne correction--instead of "by acting as if he is a petty despot" it should read "evermore blatantly showing the world the petty despot he is."bumbershoot • 10 hours agoFL_Cottonmouth • 9 hours agoThe Secretary of State has all of the vanity and arrogance of a diva, but none of the talent.
Hmm, that seems to remind me of someone else in this administration...Much like U.S. foreign policy, it seems that Mike Pompeo is going to ignore the facts and keep recklessly escalating the conflict. Surely he's aware that The Washington Post published the email correspondence between Ms. Kelley and press aide. This just makes him look like a coward.ZizaNiam • 9 hours agoFrom the Trump voter perspective, this journalist should feel lucky that she wasn't sent to Guantanamo Bay. All Trump voters think this way, there is no exception.Taras77 • 6 hours agoAbsolutely no longer any surprises about this pathetic individual!
Jan 20, 2020 | www.unz.com
Thomasina , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 8:02 pm GMT@Rev. Spooner I would highly doubt Trump has had sex with minors or raped women. It doesn't fit his MO. Crass, big-mouthed, a braggart? Yes, but not a rapist or a child abuser. Trump likes big, glamorous women who he can impress with his money, who make HIM look good, the type who come to him, not little girls who are frightened. He's into enticing women with his status.
The type who would want a frightened little girl (someone like a Bill Clinton) is a much more devious character. They're into power. They crave fear. "Look how powerful I am, they're frightened of me." Now this is a sick individual.
And no way Trump is a rapist. He doesn't have to be; it would be beneath him, in his mind.
Jan 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves Smith Post author , , January 14, 2020 at 12:31 pm
I would put it a bit differently. Trump's erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: "not agreement capable". That's what I meant by he selects for weak partners. His negotiating style signals that he is a bad faith actor. Who would put up with that unless you had to, or you could somehow build that into your price?
barnaby33 , , January 14, 2020 at 11:53 pm
Considering I doubt the Russians have ever honored a single deal they made, that's maybe not a good example!
Yves Smith Post author , , January 15, 2020 at 12:16 am
I have no idea who your mythical Russians are. I know two people who did business in Russia before things got stupid and they never had problems with getting paid. Did you also miss that "Russians" have bought so much real estate in London that they mainly don't live in that you could drop a neutron bomb in the better parts of Chelsea and South Kensington and not kill anyone?
Pray tell, how could they acquire high end property if they are such cheats?
Boomka , , January 15, 2020 at 6:38 am
somebody was eating too much US propaganda? how about this for starters:
"It is politically important: Russia has paid off the USSR's debt to a country that no longer exists," said Mr Yuri Yudenkov, a professor at the Russian University of Economics and Public Administration. "This is very important in terms of reputation: the ability to repay on time, the responsibility," he told AFP.
It would have been very easy for Russia to say it cannot be held responsible for USSR's debts, especially in this case where debt is to a non-existent entity.
Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
V , Jan 16 2020 4:55 utc | 208Piotr Berman | Jan 16 2020 4:04 utc | 206
Indeed. Escalation is the easy road to hell. De-escalation and working for peace requires skill and intellegence.
Very little of either seemingly emanating from the U.S...
U.S. diplomacy (non-existent) only comes from the barrel of a gun or the drone fired missile...
Jan 15, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Trump and the Mad Negotiator Approach Posted on January 14, 2020 by Yves Smith Trump's numerous character flaws, such as his grandiosity, his lack of interest in the truth, his impulsiveness, his habitual lashing out at critics, have elicited boatloads of disapproving commentary. It's disturbing to see someone so emotional and undisciplined in charge of anything, let alone the United States.
Rather than offer yet more armchair analysis, it might be productive to ask a different question: why hasn't Trump been an abject failure? There are plenty of rich heirs who blow their inheritance or run the family business into the ground pretty quickly and have to knuckle down to a much more modest lifestyle.
Trump's lack of discipline has arguably cost him. The noise regularly made about his business bankruptcies is wildly exaggerated. Most of Trump's bankruptcies were of casinos , and most of those took place in the nasty 1991-1992 recession. He was one of only two major New York City developers not to have to give meaningful equity in some of their properties in that downturn. He even managed to keep Mar-a-Lago and persuaded his lenders to let him keep enough cash to preserve a pretty flashy lifestyle because he was able to persuade them that preserving his brand name was key to the performance of Trump-branded assets.
The idea that Trump couldn't borrow after his early 1990s casino bankruptcies is also false. As Francine McKenna pointed out in 2017 in Donald Trump has had no trouble getting big loans at competitive rates:
The MarketWatch analysis shows a variety of lenders, all big banks or listed specialized finance companies like Ladder Capital, that have provided lots of money to Trump over the years in the forms of short-, medium- and long-term loans and at competitive rates, whether fixed or variable.
"The Treasury yield that matches the term of the loan is the closest starting benchmark for Trump-sized commercial real estate loans," said Robert Thesman, a certified public accountant in Washington state who specializes in real estate tax issues. The 10-year Treasury swap rate is also used and tracks the bonds closely, according to one expert.
Trump's outstanding loans were granted at rates between 2 points over and under the matching Treasury-yield benchmark at inception. That's despite the well-documented record of bankruptcy filings that dot Trump's history of casino investment.
The flip side is that it's not hard to make the case that Trump's self-indulgent style has cost him in monetary terms. His contemporary Steve Ross of The Related Companies who started out in real estate as a tax lawyer putting together Section 8 housing deals, didn't have a big stake like Trump did to start his empire. Ross did have industrialist and philanthropist Max Fisher as his uncle and role model, but there is no evidence that Fisher staked Ross beyond paying for his education . Ross has an estimated net worth of $7.6 billion versus Trump's $3.1 billion.
Despite Trump's heat-seeking-missile affinity for the limelight, we only get snippets of how he has managed his business, like his litigiousness and breaking of labor laws. Yet he's kept his team together and is pretty underleveraged for a real estate owner.
The area where we have a better view of how Trump operates is via his negotiating, where is astonishingly transgressive. He goes out of his way to be inconsistent, unpredictable, and will even trash prior commitments, which is usually toxic, since it telegraphs bad faith. How does this make any sense?
One way to think of it is that Trump is effectively screening for weak negotiating counterparties. Think of his approach as analogous to the Nigerian scam letters and the many variants you get in your inbox. They are so patently fake that one wonders why the fraudsters bother sending them.
But investigators figured that mystery out. From the Atlantic in 2012 :
Everyone knows that Nigerian scam e-mails, with their exaggerated stories of moneys tied up in foreign accounts and collapsed national economies, sound totally absurd, but according to research from Microsoft, that's on purpose .
As a savvy Internet user you probably think you'd never fall for the obvious trickery, but that's the point. Savvy users are not the scammers' target audience, [Cormac] Herley notes. Rather, the creators of these e-mails are targeting people who would believe the sort of tales these scams involve .:
Our analysis suggests that is an advantage to the attacker, not a disadvantage. Since his attack has a low density of victims the Nigerian scammer has an over-riding need to reduce false positives. By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select, and tilts the true to false positive ratio in his favor.
Who would want to get in a business relationship with a guy who makes clear early on that he might pull the rug out from under you? Most people would steer clear. So Trump's style, even if he adopted it out of deep-seated emotional needs, has the effect of pre-selecting for weak, desperate counterparties. It can also pull in people who think they can out-smart Trump and shysters who identify with him, as well as those who are prepared to deal with the headaches (for instance, the the business relationship is circumscribed and a decent contract will limit the downside).
Mind you, it is more common than you think for businesses to seek out needy business "partners". For instance, back in the day when General Electric was a significant player in venture capital, it would draw out its investment commitment process. The point was to ascertain if the entrepreneurs had any other prospects; they wouldn't tolerate GE's leisurely process if they did. By the time GE was sure it was the only game in town, it would cram down the principals on price and other terms. There are many variants of this playbook, such as how Walmart treats suppliers.
Trump has become so habituated to this mode of operating that he often launches into negotiations determined to establish that he had the dominant position when that is far from clear, witness the ongoing China trade row. Trump did in theory hold a powerful weapon in his ability to impose tariffs on China. But they are a blunt weapon, with significant blowback to the US. Even though China had a glass jaw in terms of damage to its economy (there were signs of stress, such as companies greatly stretching out when they paid their bills), Trump could not tolerate much of a stock market downdraft, nor could he play a long-term game.
Another aspect of Trump's erraticness is making sudden shifts, or what we have called gaslighting. He'll suddenly and radically change his rhetoric, even praise someone he demonized. That if nothing else again is a power play, to try to maintain his position as driving the pacing and content of the negotiations, which again is meant to position his counterparty as in a weaker position, of having to react to his moves, even if that amounts to identifying them as noise. It is a watered-down form of a cult strategy called love bombing (remember that Trump has been described as often being very charming in first meetings, only to cut down the person he met in a matter of days).
Voters have seen another face of Trump's imperative to find or create weakness: that of his uncanny ability to hit opponents' weak spots in ways that get them off balance, such as the way he was able to rope a dope Warren over her Cherokee ancestry claims.
The foregoing isn't to suggest that Trump's approach is optimal. Far from it. But it does "work" in the sense of achieving certain results that are important to Trump, of having him appear to be in charge of the action, getting his business counterparts on the back foot. That means Trump is implicitly seeing these encounters primarily in win-lose terms, rather than win-win. No wonder he has little appetite for international organizations. You have to give in order to get.
PlutoniumKun , January 14, 2020 at 7:08 am
I think this is pretty astute, thanks Yves. One reason I think Trump has been so successful for his limited range of skills is precisely that 'smart' people underestimate him so much. He knows one thing well – how power works. Sometimes that's enough. I've known quite a few intellectually limited people who have built very successful careers based on a very simple set of principles (e.g. 'never disagree with anyone more senior than me').
Anecdotally, I've often had the conversation with people about 'taking Trump seriously', as in, trying to assess what he really wants and how he has been so successful. In my experience, the 'smarter' and more educated the person I'm talking to is, the less willing they are to have that conversation. The random guy in the bar will be happy to talk and have insights. The high paid professional will just mutter about stupid people and racism.
I would also add one more reason for his success – he does appear to be quite good at selecting staff, and knowing who to delegate to.
timotheus , January 14, 2020 at 8:30 am
There is another figure from recent history who displayed similar astuteness about power while manifesting generally low intelligence: Chile's Pinochet. He had near failing grades in school but knew how to consolidate power, dominate the other members of the junta, and weed out the slightest hint of dissidence within the army.
Off The Street , January 14, 2020 at 9:17 am
To the average viewer, Trump's branding extends to the negative brands that he assigns to opponents. Witness Lyin' Ted , Pocahontas and similar sticky names that make their way into coverage. He induces free coverage from Fake News as if they can't resist gawking at a car wreck, even when one of the vehicles is their own. Manipulation has worked quite a lot on people with different world views, especially when they don't conceive of any different approaches.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 6:52 pm
Scott Adams touted that as one of Trump's hidden persuasionological weapons . . . that ability to craft a fine head-shot nickname for every opponent.
If Sanders were to be nominated, I suppose Trump would keep saying Crazy Bernie. Sanders will just have to respond in his own true-to-himself way. Maybe he could risk saying something like . . .
" so Trashy Trump is Trashy. This isn't new."
If certain key bunches of voters still have fond memories for Crazy Eddie, perhaps Sanders could have some operatives subtly remind people of that.
Some images of Crazy Eddie, for those who wish to stumble up Nostalgia Alley . . .
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 9:23 am
I would disagree with the "selecting staff" part. I can't really think of any of his appointees to any office while he is president that was a good pick. One worse than the other basically. Maybe in his private dealings he did better, but in public office it's a continuous horror show. Examples like Pence, Haley, "Mad Dog", Bolton, DeVos, his son in law, Pompeo. The list goes on.
Another indication how bad his delegation skills are is how short his picks stay at their job before they are fired again. Is there any POTUS which had higher staff turnover?
NotTimothyGeithner , January 14, 2020 at 9:45 am
Its a horror show because you don't agree with their values. After the last few Presidents, too much movement to the right would catastrophic, so there isn't much to do. His farm bill is a disaster. The new NAFTA is window dressing. He slashed taxes. He's found a way to make our brutal immigration system even more nefarious. His staff seems to be working out despite it not having many members of the Bush crime family.
Even if these people were as beloved by the press as John McCain, they would still be monsters.
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:43 am
It's not their values that make them a horror show, it's their plain inaptitude and incompetency. E.g. someone like that Exxon CEO is at least somewhat capable, which is why I didn't mention him. Though he was quite ineffective as long as he lasted and probably quite corrupt. Pompeo in the same office on the other hand is simply a moron elevated way beyond his station. Words fail and the Peter principle cannot explain.
The US can paper over this due to their heavy handed application of power for now, but every day he stays in office, friends are abhorred while trying not to show it, and foes rejoice at the utter stupidity of the US how it helps their schemes.
For me as a foreigner who detests the forever wars and most of the US foreign policy, this is a good thing: the more heavy handed, the more brutal, the more cruel, the more stupid the US policy is, the less is the chance for our euro governments to follow the US in today's war or other policy. So while I am sort of happy about the outcome, I don't see the current monsters at the helm worse than the monsters 4 years ago under Obama. In fact I detested them much more since they had the power to drag my governments into their evil schemes.
Evil and clearly despicable is always better than evil and sort of charismatic.
tegnost , January 14, 2020 at 11:29 am
For me as a foreigner who detests the forever wars and most of the US foreign policy, this is a good thing: the more heavy handed, the more brutal, the more cruel, the more stupid the US policy is, the less is the chance for our euro governments to follow the US in today's war or other policy.
Indeed, if you look at the trendline from the '80's to now, trump is, in some ways, the less effective evil.
James O'Keefe , January 14, 2020 at 1:17 pm
They are not inept and incompetent at what they are trying to achieve. The GOP has long sought to privatize government to help the rich get richer and harm anyone who isn't rich by cutting services and making them harder to get. Trumps picks are carrying out that agenda very well.
That he still hasn't filled 170 appointed positions is icing on the cake. See stats at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-administration-appointee-tracker/database/
rosemerry , January 14, 2020 at 4:47 pm
I feel exactly the same. Trump is just a huge crude extension of the usual "exceptional" leaders, much more transparent by not pretending he is any sort of representative of democratic and cooperative values claimed by his predecessors.
PlutoniumKun , January 14, 2020 at 10:05 am
But what I think is noticeable is that his worst high profile staff picks, while horrible people, are generally those who are under his thumb and so he has control of. But in the behind the scenes activities, they've been very effective – as an obvious example, witness how he's put so many conservative Republicans into the judiciary, in contrast with Obamas haplessness.
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:51 am
That is not a Trump thing, getting more judges is a 100% rep party thing and only rep party thing. Sure, he is the one putting his rubber stamp on it, but the picking and everything else is a party thing. They stopped the placement for years under Obama before Trump was ever thought about, and now are filling it as fast as they can. Aren't they having complicit democrats helping them or how can they get their picks beyond congress? Or am I getting something wrong and Obama could have picked his judges but didn't?
The people he chooses to run his administration however are all horrible. Not just horrible people but horrible picks as in incompetent buffoons without a clue. Can you show a evil, horrible or not but actually competent pick of his in his administration?
The only one I can think of is maybe the new FAA chief Dickson. Who is a crisis manager, after the FAA is in its worst crisis ever right now. So right now someone competent must have this post. All the others seem to be chickenhawk blowhards with the IQ of a fruitfly but the bluster of a texan.
fajensen , January 14, 2020 at 11:13 am
Gina Haspel? She is probably equally good with a handgun, an ice pick and a pair of pliers.
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 11:49 am
Is she effective? What has she done to make her a spy mastermind? She is obviously a torturer, but is that a qualification in any way useful to be a intelligence agency boss?
I have the suspicion Haspel was elevated to their office by threatening "I know where all the bodies are buried (literally) and if you don't make me boss, I will tell". Blackmail can helping a career lots if successful.
Thuto , January 14, 2020 at 11:18 am
The outcomes of incompetence and malicious intent are sometimes indistinguishable from one another. With the people Trump has surrounded himself with, horrible, nasty outcomes are par for the course because these guys are both incompetent and chock full of malicious intent. Instead of draining the swamp, he's gone and filled it with psychotic sociopaths.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:04 pm
Some time ago I heard Mulvaney answer the criticism about the Trump budget of the day cutting so much money from EPA that EPA would have to fire half of its relevant scientists. He replied that " this is how we drain the swamp".
Citing "corruption" was misdirection. Trump let his supporters believe that the corruption was The Swamp. What the Trump Group ACTually means by "The Swamp" is all the career scientists and researchers and etc. who take seriously the analyzing and restraining of Upper Class Looter misbehavior.
Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 12:28 pm
I limited the post to his negotiating approach. One would think someone so erratic would have trouble attracting people. However, Wall Street and a lot of private businesses are full of high maintenance prima donnas at the top. Some of those operations live with a lot of churn in the senior ranks. For others, one way to get them to stay is what amounts to a combat pay premium, they get paid more than they would in other jobs to put up with a difficult boss. I have no idea how much turnover there is in the Trump Organization or how good his key lieutenants are so I can't opine either way on that part.
Regarding his time as POTUS, Trump has a lot of things working against him on top of his difficult personality and his inability to pay civil servants a hardship premium:
1. He got elected over the dead bodies of just about everyone who counts in the Republican Party. He pretty much did a hostile takeover of the GOP. So his ability to draw on seasoned hands was nil. And on top of that, he is temperamentally not the type to seek the counsel of perceived wise men in and hanging around the party. The people he has kept around are cronies like Wilbur Ross and Steve Mnuchin.
The one notably competent person he has attracted and retained is Robert Lightizer, the US Trade Representative
2. Another thing that undermines Trump's effectiveness in running a big bureaucracy is his hatred for its structure. He likes very lean organizations with few layers. He can't impose that on his administration. It's trying to put a round peg in a square hole.
cocomaan , January 14, 2020 at 1:56 pm
I have no idea how much turnover there is in the Trump Organization or how good his key lieutenants are so I can't opine either way on that part.
Is it just me or does nobody know? Does it seem to anyone else like there has been virtually no investigation of his organization or how it was run?
Maybe it's buried in the endless screeds against Trump, but any investigations of his organizations always seem colored by his presidency. I'd love to see one that's strictly historical.
Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 2:10 pm
I am simply saying that I have not bothered investigating that issue. There was a NY Times Magazine piece on the Trump Organization before his election. That was where I recall the bit about him hating having a lot of people around him, he regards them as leeches. That piece probably had some info on how long his top people had worked for him.
ObjectiveFunction , January 15, 2020 at 2:30 am
Congratulations Yves, on another fine piece, one of your best. I might recommend you append this comment to it as an update, or else pen a sequel.
While Trump has more in common stylistically with a Borgia prince out of Machiavelli, or a Roman Emperor ( oderint, dum metuant ) than with a Hitler or a Stalin, your note still puts me in mind of an insightful comment I pulled off a history board a while ago, regarding the reductionist essence of Führerprinzip , mass movement or no mass movement. It's mostly out of Shirer:
Hitler ran the Third Reich by a system of parallel competition among bureaucratic empire builders of all stripes. Anyone who showed servile loyalty and mouthed his yahoo ideology got all the resources they liked, for any purpose they proposed. But the moment he encountered any form of independence or pushback, he changed horses at once. He left the old group in place, but gave all their resources to a burgeoning new bureaucracy that did things his way. If a State body resisted his will, he had a Party body do it instead. He was continually reaching down 2-3 levels in the org charts, to find some ambitious firecracker willing to suck up to him, and leapfrog to the top.
This left behind a complete chaos of rival, duplicated functions, under mainly unfit leaders. And fortunately for the world, how well any of these organizations actually did their jobs was an entirely secondary consideration. Loyalty was all.
Hitler sat at the center of all the resource grabbers and played referee. This made everyone dependent on his nod and ensured his continued power. The message was: there are no superiors in the Reich. There is only der Führer, and his favor trumps everything .
As you note, some of these tools (fortunately) aren't available to Cheeto 45 .
I hope this particular invocation of Godwin's avenger is trenchant, and not OT. Although Godwin himself blessed the #Trump=Hitler comparison some time ago, thereby shark-jumping his own meme.
Tomonthebeach , January 14, 2020 at 12:53 pm
It might be as simple as birds of a feather (blackbirds of course) flocking together. Trump seems to have radar for corrupt cronies as we have seen his swamp draining into the federal prison system. The few over-confident generals he picked, except for Flynn, finally caved when they realized staying was an affront to the honor code they swore to back in OCS or their academy.
lyman alpha blob , January 14, 2020 at 2:16 pm
The crooks in the Reagan administration were getting bounced seemingly every other day. Just found this from Brookings (blecchh) which if accurate says Trump has recently surpassed Reagan – https://www.brookings.edu/research/tracking-turnover-in-the-trump-administration/
I don't know how they selected staff in the Reagan years, but lately the POTUS seems to appoint based on who the plutocrats want. As has been noted Bary O took his marching orders from Citigroup if I remember right. I doubt if Trump had even heard of most of the people he appointed prior to becoming president. So at least some of Trump's turnover is due to him firing recommendations from others who didn't turn out how he'd like. That's one reason I didn't get all that upset over the Bolton hiring – I didn't think he'd last a year before Trump canned him.
My recollection of the Reagan years was that he had a lot of staff who left to "spend more time with their families"; in other words they got caught being crooked and we're told to go lest they besmirch the sterling reputation of St. Ronnie.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 6:57 pm
He early-on adopted the concept of "dismantle the Administrative State". Some of his appointees are designed to do that from within. He appoints termites to the Department of Lumber Integrity because he wants to leave the lumber all destroyed after he leaves the White House.
His farm bill is only a disaster to those who support Good Farm Bill Governance. His mission is to destroy as much of the knowledge and programs within the USDA as possible. So his farm bill is designed to achieve the destruction he wants to achieve. If it works, it was a good farm bill from his viewpoint. For example.
Ignacio , January 15, 2020 at 5:38 am
I would say that Trump, not acting in an intelligent way is doing very clever things according to his interests. My opinion is that his actions/negotiations with foreign countries are 100% directed for domestic consumptiom. He does not care at all about international relationships, just his populist "make America great again" and he almost certainly play closest attention to the impact of his actions in US opinion.
He calculates the risks and takes measures that show he is a strong man defending US interests (in a very symplistic and populist way) no matter if someone or many are offended, abused or even killed as we have recently seen. Then if it is appreciated that a limit has been reached, and the limit is not set by international reactions but perceived domestic reactions, he may do a setback showing how sensibly magnanimous can a strongman like him be. In the domestic front, IMO, he does not give a damn on centrists of all kinds. Particularly, smart centrists are strictly following Trumps playbook focusing on actions that by no means debilitate his positioning as strongman in foreign issues and divert attention from the real things that would worry Trump. The impeachment is exactly that. Trump must be 100% confident that he would win any contest with any "smart" centrist. Of course he also loves all the noises he generates with, for instance, the Soleimani killing or Huawei banning that distract from his giveaways to the oligarchs and further debilitation of remaining welfare programs and environmental programs. This measures don't pass totally unnoticed but Hate Inc . and public opinions/debates are not paying the attention his domestic measures deserve. Trump's populism feeds on oligarch support and despair and his policies are designed to keep and increase both. Polls on Democrats distract from the most important polls on public opinion about Trum "surprise" actions.
Trump will go for a third term.
Seamus Padraig , January 14, 2020 at 7:18 am
Trump has the rare gift of being able to drive his enemies insane–just witness what's become of the Democrats, a once proud American political party.
Eureka Springs , January 14, 2020 at 9:39 am
Democrats have long been (what, 50 plus yrs. – Phil Ochs – Love Me I'm A Liberal) exuding false pride of not appearing to be or sounding insane. Their place, being the concern troll of the duopoly. All are mad. If the Obama years didn't prove it, the Dems during Bush Cheney certainly did.
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:53 am
Yes, 50 years. Nixon played mad to get his Vietnam politics through, Reagan was certifiable
"My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever." "We begin bombing in five minutes." live on air.
vlade , January 14, 2020 at 7:38 am
I suspect only half of the post was posted? The last para seems to get cut in mid sentence.
I'd add one more thing (which may be in the second half, assuming there's one). Trump's massively insane demands are a good anchoring strategy. Even semi-rational player will not make out-of-this-earth demands – they would be seen as either undermining their rationality, or clearly meant to only anchor so less effective (but surprisingly, even when we know it's only an anchor it apparently works, at least a bit). With irrational Trump, one just doesn't know.
vlade , January 14, 2020 at 7:44 am
Or maybe not (re half posted), now that I re-read it.. More likely it's just me being sleep deprived today :)
GramSci , January 14, 2020 at 7:41 am
Classic predatory behaviors: culling the herd and eating the weak.
David , January 14, 2020 at 8:21 am
I think Trump understands that one of the basic tactics of negotiation (though forgotten by the Left(tm)) is to set out a maximalist position before the negotiation starts, so that you have room to make compromises later. Sometimes this works better than others – I don't know how far you can do it with the Chinese, for example. But then Trump may have inadvertently played, in that case, into the tradition of scripted public utterances combined with behind-the-scenes real negotiation that tends to characterize bargaining in Asia. But in domestic politics, there's no doubt that publicly announcing extreme negotiating positions is a winning tactic. You force the media and other political actors to comment and make counter-proposals, thus dragging the argument more in your direction from the very start. Trump remembers something that his opponents have willfully forgotten: compromise is something you finish with not something you start from . In itself, any given compromise has no particular virtue or value.
Michael Fiorillo , January 14, 2020 at 8:59 am
Yes, Trump does seem to be very good at getting to people to "negotiate against themselves."
chuck roast , January 14, 2020 at 9:52 am
and that is why Trump will eat Biden's lunch.
The Rev Kev , January 14, 2020 at 9:09 am
There is actually two parts to a negotiation I should mention. There is negotiating a deal. And then there is carrying it out. Not only Trump but the US has shown itself incapable of upholding deals but they will break them when they see an advantage or an opportunity. Worse, one part of the government may be fighting another part of the government and will sabotage that deal in sometimes spectacular fashion.
So what is the point of having all these weird and wonderful negotiating strategies if any partners that you have on the international stage have learned that Trump's word is merely a negotiating tactic? And this includes after a deal is signed when he applies some more pressure to change something in an agreement that he just signed off on? If you can't keep a deal, then ultimately negotiating a deal is useless.
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 9:28 am
The incapability of the US to keep their treaties has been a founding principle of the country. Ask any Indian.
Putin or the russian foreign ministry called the US treaty incapable a few years before Trump, and they were not wrong. Trump didn't help being erratic as he is, but he didn't cancel any treaty on his own: JCPOA, INF, etc. He had pretty broad support for all of these. Only maybe NAFTA was his own idea.
Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 12:31 pm
I would put it a bit differently. Trump's erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: "not agreement capable". That's what I meant by he selects for weak partners. His negotiating style signals that he is a bad faith actor. Who would put up with that unless you had to, or you could somehow build that into your price?
barnaby33 , January 14, 2020 at 11:53 pm
Considering I doubt the Russians have ever honored a single deal they made, that's maybe not a good example!
Yves Smith Post author , January 15, 2020 at 12:16 am
I have no idea who your mythical Russians are. I know two people who did business in Russia before things got stupid and they never had problems with getting paid. Did you also miss that "Russians" have bought so much real estate in London that they mainly don't live in that you could drop a neutron bomb in the better parts of Chelsea and South Kensington and not kill anyone? Pray tell, how could they acquire high end property if they are such cheats?
Boomka , January 15, 2020 at 6:38 am
somebody was eating too much US propaganda? how about this for starters:
"It is politically important: Russia has paid off the USSR's debt to a country that no longer exists," said Mr Yuri Yudenkov, a professor at the Russian University of Economics and Public Administration. "This is very important in terms of reputation: the ability to repay on time, the responsibility," he told AFP.
It would have been very easy for Russia to say it cannot be held responsible for USSR's debts, especially in this case where debt is to a non-existent entity.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:09 pm
In Syria, the Department of Defense was supporting one group of pet jihadis. The CIA was supporting a different group of pet jihadis.
At times the two groups of pet jihadis were actively fighting eachother. I am not sure how the DoD and CIA felt about their respective pet jihadis fighting eachother. However they felt, they kept right on arming and supporting their respective groups of pet jihadis to keep fighting eachother.
timbers , January 14, 2020 at 9:47 am
I'm just not impressed by Trump in any way.
He owes the fact he's President not to any skill he has, but to Democrats being so bad. Many non establishment types could have beaten Hillary.
And Trump owes the fact that he's not DOA in 2020 re-election again because Democrats are so bad. There are a handful of extremely popular social programs Democrats could champion that would win over millions of voters and doom Trump's re-election. But instead, they double down on issues that energize Trump's base, are not off-limits to there donors while ignoring what the broad non corporate/rich majority support. For example impeaching him for being the first recent President not to start a major new war for profit and killing millions and then saying it's really because something he did in Ukraine that 95% of Americans couldn't care less about and won't even bother to understand even if they could.
That leaves the fact he is rather rich and must have done something to become that. I don't know enough about him to evaluate that. But I would never what to know him or have a friend that acts like him. I've avoided people like that in my life.
Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 12:36 pm
Did you read the post as positive? Please read again. Saying that Trump's strategy works only to the extent that he winds up selecting for weak partners is not praise. First, it is clinical, and second, it says his strategy has considerable costs.
MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 14, 2020 at 4:35 pm
Understanding how it works is the first step in dealing with (or countering) it.
Someone above mentions Pinochet as being similar. I can't, just now, think of anyone* from history working the way he does. Can anyone name some?
*Except Shakespeare's Hamlet, or some Kung Fu masters, like Jackie Chan in his 1978 "Drunken Master," or earlier, the not as well-known 1966 film, Come Drink With Me, which was produced by the legendary Run Run Shaw (who lived to be 107, or maybe it was his brother), starring Cheng Pei Pei. The master becomes the master when, or only when, drunk. It reminds of the saying, 'method to the madness.'
And often what we perceive to be chaotic – in weather, nature, space or human affairs – is only so because we don't truly comprehend it. This is not to say it can not be in fact chaotic.
rd , January 14, 2020 at 6:54 pm
I find it interesting that the primary foreign entity who has played Trump like a violin is Kim in North Korea. He has gotten everything he wanted,except sanctions relief over the past couple of years.
However, Trump's style of negotiating with Iran has made it clear to Kim that North Korea would be idiots to give up their nuclear weapons and missiles. Meanwhile, Iran has watched Trump's attitude towards Kim since Kim blew up his first bomb and Trump is forcing them to develop nuclear weapons to be able to negotiate with Trump and the West.
ObjectiveFunction , January 15, 2020 at 1:36 am
But other than the minor matter of US 8th Army (cadre) sitting in the line of fire, the bulk of any risks posed by Li'l Kim are borne by South Korea, Japan and China. So for Trump, it's still down the list a ways, until the Norks can nuke tip a missile and hit Honolulu. So what coup has Kim achieved at Trump's expense, again?
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:13 pm
Today's Democrats want to destroy those social programs you cite. They have wanted to destroy those social programs ever since President Clinton wanted to conspire with "Prime Minister" Gingrich to privatize Social Security. Luckily Monica Lewinsky saved us from that fate.
A nominee Sanders would run on keeping Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid in existence. And he would mean it. A nominee Biden might pretend to say it. But he would conspire with the Republicans to destroy them all.
The ClintoBama Pelosicrats have no standing on which to pretend to support some very popular social programs and hope to be believed any longer. Maybe that is why they feel there is no point in even pretending any more.
Carolinian , January 14, 2020 at 10:08 am
Thanks for the shrewd analysis. The problem is that Trump appears to be morphing from the mad negotiator into someone who really is mad. I think he knows he screwed up with Soleimani and there's no taking it back, only doubling down. You can't talk your way out of some mistakes. Trump is shrewd, but not very smart and like most bullies he's also weak. He gets by being such an obvious bluffer and blowhard but when you start assassinating people and expect to be praised for it it's no longer a game.
False Solace , January 14, 2020 at 1:03 pm
If I were Iran I'd think really hard about scheduling something embarrassing to happen just before the election. Jimmy Carter was seriously damaged by hostages, why not Trump?
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:14 pm
Trump would simply bomb the hostages.
MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 14, 2020 at 4:52 pm
If you note and believe he tends to start out at the furthest position, the question then becomes, is this his most forceful action.
Is it the general plus collateral damage, and no more/no worse?
Or maybe he doesn't always start out at the far end. Then, people need to respond differently, if the aim is to play the man in this chess game.
Carolinian , January 14, 2020 at 4:59 pm
I'd say the solution is to give Trump the heave ho this November and not play his game of me me me. Indeed the Iranians seem to be biding their time to see what happens.
Trump was always only tolerable as long as he spent his time shooting off his mouth rather than playing the imperial chess master. This reality show has gone on long enough.
MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 14, 2020 at 5:10 pm
And to give Trump the heave-ho, we have to know how to play the man. (Then, Iran doesn't have to.)
But if we don't fully know – if he is unpredictable in how he starts out at the beginning – it makes the venture harder (but not impossible).
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:22 pm
Bearing in mind the fact that the DemParty would prefer a Trump re-election over a Sanders election, I don't think anyone will be giving Trump any heave ho. The only potential nominee to even have a chance to defeat Trump would be Sanders. And if Sanders doesn't win on ballot number one, Sanders will not be permitted the nomination by an evil Trumpogenic DemParty elite.
Even if Sanders wins the nomination, the evil Trumpogenic Demparty leadership and the millions of Jonestown Clintobamas in the field will conspire against Sanders every way they feel they can get away with. The Clintobamas would prefer Trump Term Two over Sanders Term One. They know it, and the rest of us need to admit it.
If Sanders is nominated, he will begin the election campaign with a permanent deficit of 10-30 million Clintobama voters who will Never! Ever! vote for Sanders. Sanders will have to attract enough New Voters to drown out and wash away the 10-30 million Never Bernie clintobamas.
OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , January 14, 2020 at 7:39 pm
Not sure he "screwed up" with Suleimani. He now has something to point to when Adelson and the Israel Firsters ring up. He has red meat for his base ("look what a tough guy I am"). He can tell the Saudis they now owe him one. He added slightly to the fund of hatred for America in the hearts of Sunnis but that fund is already pretty full. If they respond with a terror attack Trump wins because people will rally around the national leader and partisan differences will be put aside. Notice how fast de-escalation happened, certainly feels alot like pre-orchestrated kayfabe.
Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 6:42 pm
Mind you, there's no reason to think that this negotiation approach wasn't an adaptation to Trump's emotional volatility, as in finding a way to make what should have been a weakness a plus. And that he's less able to make that adaptation work well as he's over his head, has less control than as a private businessman, and generally under way more pressure.
marym , January 14, 2020 at 10:23 am
If someone doesn't care who/what they harm or destroy; or if the harm or destruction is the actual goal, it gives them freedom and power not available to someone with even a crumb-dropping neoliberal sense (or façade) of obligation toward anyone else or to anything constructive.
With Democrats being unwilling to scrutinize, it's not clear how much Trump and family are winning as far as personal fortune. In his public capacity he has little to show for his winnings that isn't some form of dismantling, destruction, or harm with no constructive replacement and no material benefits outside the donor class.
xkeyscored , January 14, 2020 at 2:47 pm
Trying to see things from Trump's perspective, while I don't know how his personal fortune is faring, his lifestyle doesn't seem to have suffered too much of a downturn. He still spends much of his time playing golf and hanging out at Mar-a-Lago. In addition, his name is known around the entire world, to a far greater extent than when he was a mere real estate crook or reality TV phenomenon. Which may be of greater importance to him than the precise extent of his wealth, let alone the fate of his country or the planet.
Wondering , January 14, 2020 at 10:48 am
Nice analysis, Yves. A welcome break from the typical centrist hand wringing "What norms has he broken this week?"
Next question: Given that our system allows for bloviating bullies to succeed, is that the kind of system we want to live under?
HH , January 14, 2020 at 11:43 am
I recall reading that Trump's empire would have collapsed during the casino fiasco were it not for lending from his father when credit was not available elsewhere. NYT investigative reporters have turned up evidence of massive financial support from Trump father to son to the tune of hundreds of millions throughout the son's career. So much for the great businessman argument.
carbpow , January 14, 2020 at 11:45 am
Trump is nothing more or less than a reflection of the mind set of the US people.The left wing resorts to the same tactics that Trump uses to gain their ends. Rational thought and reasonable discussion seems to be absent. Everyone is looking for a cause for the country's failing infrastructure, declining life expectancy, and loss of opportunity for their children to have a better life than they were able to achieve They each blame the other side. But there are more than two sides to most folks experience. If ever the USA citizens abolish or just gets fed up with the two party system maybe things will change. In reality most people know there is little difference between the two parties so why even vote?
Thuto , January 14, 2020 at 11:48 am
While it might work in domestic politics, this mad man negotiating tactic erodes trust in international affairs and it will take decades for the US to recover from the harm done by Trump's school yard bully approach. Even the docile Europeans are beginning to tire of this and once they get their balls stitched back on after being castrated for so long, America will have its work cut out crossing the chasm from unreliable and untrustworthy partner to being seen as dependable and worthy of entering into agreements with.
Jeremy Grimm , January 14, 2020 at 12:11 pm
This analysis of Trump reminded me of a story I heard from the founders of a small rural radio station. Both had been in broadcasting for years at a large station in a major market, one as a program director and the other in sales. They competed for a broadcasting license that became available and they won. With the license in-hand they needed to obtain investments to get the station on-air within a year or they would lose the license. Even with their combined savings and as much money as they could obtain from other members of their families and from friends -- they were short what they needed by several hundred thousand dollars. Their collateral was tapped out and banks wouldn't loan on the broadcast license alone without further backing. They had to find private investors. They located and presented to several but their project could find no backers. In many cases prospects told them their project was too small -- needed too little money -- to be of interest. As the deadline for going on-air loomed they were put in touch with a wealthy local farmer.
After a long evening presenting their business case to this farmer in ever greater detail, he sat back and told them he would give them the money they needed to get their station on-air -- but he wanted a larger interest in the business than what they offered him. He wanted a 51% interest -- a controlling interest -- or he would not give them the money, and they both had to agree to work for the new radio station for a year after it went on-air. The two holders of the soon to be lost broadcast license looked at each other and told the farmer he could keep his money and left. The next day the farmer called on the phone and gave them the names and contact information for a few investors, any one of whom should be able and interested in investing the amounts they needed on their terms. He also told them that had they accepted his offer he would have driven them out of the new station before the end of the year it went on-air. He said he wanted to see whether they were 'serious' before putting them in touch with serious investors.
juliania , January 14, 2020 at 12:22 pm
Sorry, assassination doesn't fit into this scenario. That is a bridge too far. Trump has lost his effectiveness by boasting about this. It isn't just unpredictability. It is dangerous unpredictability.
Yves Smith Post author , January 15, 2020 at 5:52 am
I never once said that Trump was studied in how he operates, in fact, I repeatedly pointed out that he's highly emotional and undisciplined. I'm simply describing some implications.
meadows , January 14, 2020 at 12:28 pm
If our corrupt Congress had not ceded their "co-equal" branch of gov't authority over the last 40 years thereby gradually creating the Imperial Presidency that we have now, we might comfortably mitigate much of the mad king antics.
Didn't the Founding Fathers try desperately to escape the terrible wars of Europe brought on by the whims and grievances of inbred kings, generation after generation? Now on a whim w/out so much as a peep to Congress, presidential murder is committed and the CongressCritters bleat fruitlessly for crumbs of info about it.
I see no signs of this top-heavy imperialism diminishing. Every decision will vanish into a black hole marked "classified."
I am profoundly discouraged at 68 who at 18 years old became a conscientious objector, that the same undeclared BS wars and BS lies are used to justify continuous conflct almost nonstop these last 50 years as if engaging in such violence can ever be sucessful in achieving peaceful ends? Unless the maintenance of fear, chaos and blowback are the actual desired result.
Trump's negotiating style is chaos-inducing deliberately, then eventually a "Big Daddy" Trump can fix the mess, spin the mess and those of us still in the thrall of big-daddyism can feel assuaged. It's the relief of the famiy abuser who after the emotional violence establishes a temporary calm and family members briefly experience respite, yet remain wary and afraid.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:34 pm
The maintenance of fear, chaos and blowback are exACTLY the desired result. Deliberately and on purpose.
Jeff Wells of Rigorous Intuition wrote a post about that years ago, in a different context. Here it is.
Edward , January 14, 2020 at 2:14 pm
In some ways Trump has a very Japanese style; everything is about saving face even if you are saying complete nonsense. You have to divine what his actual agenda is. However his approach to negotiation actually works in the business world, it is a disaster as diplomacy.
In trying to make sense of his foreign policy, though, there are hidden factors; some how deep state interests are able to maneuver presidents into following the same policies. What is happening behind the scenes? This manipulation may be contaminating his negotiations.
ian , January 14, 2020 at 7:12 pm
I saw an interview with someone (can't remember who) who had a great analogy for the relationship between Trump and the press: think of the press as a herd of puppies and Trump is the guy with the tennis ball. He tosses outrageous things out there, they all chase it. One brings it back, he tosses it again.
Why would he do this? My own take is that he invites chaos – he has a fluid style, changing his mind often, dumping people and the like which thrives in a chaotic environment. He likes to shake things up and look for openings.
It also helps him do some things quietly in the background, along with key allies. While everyone was foaming at the mouth over Russian collusion, he and Mitch McConnell were busy getting appellate judges confirmed.
I think it is a mistake to underestimate him – he is an unusual person, but far from stupid.
xkeyscored , January 15, 2020 at 5:42 am
It also helps him do some things quietly in the background
I think you've hit the nail on the head there.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:29 pm
There is a silver lining to that. If another term of Trump inspires the Europeans to abrogate NATO and put an end to that alliance and create their own NEATO ( North East Atlantic Treaty Organization) withOUT America and withOUT Canada and maybe withOUT some of those no-great-bargain East European countries; then NEATO Europe could reach its own Separate Peace with Russia and lower that tension point.
And America could bring its hundred thousand hostages ( "soldiers") back home from not-NATO-anymore Europe.
KFritz , January 14, 2020 at 10:17 pm
Kim Jong Un uses similar tactics, strategy, perhaps even style. Clinically and intellectually, it's interesting to watch their interaction. Emotionally, given their weaponry, it's terrifying.
Jason , January 15, 2020 at 9:15 am
Great post! The part about selecting for desperate business partners is very insightful, it makes his cozying up to dictators and pariah states much more understandable. He probably thinks/feels that these leaders are so desperate for approval from a country like the US that, when he needs something from them, he will have more leverage and be able to impose what he wants.
Aug 04, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
virgile | Aug 4, 2017 11:18:14 AM | 1"linear"?, I would say amateurish and often stupid! It seems that the USA cannot see far enough as it's submitted to regime changes every 5 years and decisions are finally left to powerful lobbies that have a better continuity.Sid2 | Aug 4, 2017 11:24:08 AM | 2
Provided the gross flaws of the intelligence, one has to wonder about the quality of the education in politics provided by Harvard and other expensive universities.. What they seem to learn very well there is lying.Moqtada had a million man army 10 years ago. He may still have it, in the "things do go astray" department.Sid2 | Aug 4, 2017 11:28:23 AM | 3"Linear" and all that is the mushy feel-good stuff on top of your arrogance. Kleptocracy only NOW putting down its roots? Come on. Let's get back to the 90's where it started. Vengeance for 9/11? Cover?somebody | Aug 4, 2017 11:32:33 AM | 4I think it is because US business is ruled by the quarter .Emily | Aug 4, 2017 11:36:18 AM | 5
So there may be long term plans and goals but the emphasis for everybody is always short-term.Second paragraph.JSonofa | Aug 4, 2017 11:43:23 AM | 6
'There are features of how the United States makes and executes foreign policy'
There was no need for the rest. The United States makes and executes foreign policy on the direction of Tel Aviv and to meet the demands of the MIC.
Nuff said - surely.You lost me at Walt Whitman or Barack CIA 0bama.Skip | Aug 4, 2017 11:44:16 AM | 7It seems the, "Mission Possible" of the alphabet agencies is not intelligence, but chaos. All's well in the world with them as long as the USSA is grinding away on some near helpless ME country. Drugs and other natural resources flow from and death and destruction flow to the unsuspecting Muslim targets.Simplyamazed | Aug 4, 2017 12:15:58 PM | 8
With America, you're our friend, (or at least we tolerate you) until you're not (or we don't), then God help you and your innocent hoards.
The organized and well scripted chaos has been just one act in the larger play of destroying western civilization with throngs of Muslims now flooding western Europe and to a lesser degree, USA. Of course, the Deep State had felt confident in allowing Latinos to destroy America...Trump has put a large crimp in the pipeline--one of the reasons he is hated so badly by the destructive PTB.Your analysis of linearity is interesting. However, you make what I believe is a critical error. You assume you know the objective and the path to follow and base your critique accordingly.aniteleya | Aug 4, 2017 12:33:51 PM | 9
It is entirely possible that the underlying objective of, for instance, invading Iraq was to win a war and bring democracy. Subsequent behaviour in Iraq (and Afghanistan) indicates that there might be (likely is) a hidden but central other objective. I do not want to state that I know what that is because I am not "in the know". However, much that you attribute to failure from linear thinking just as easily can be explained by the complexity of realizing a "hidden agenda".
Perhaps we can learn from history. Did the U.S. enter the First World War to save the world and democracy, or was it a game of waiting until the sides were exhausted enough that victory would be a walkover, the prize a seat at the center of power and the result that the U.S. could now take advantage of a superior position over the now exhausted former superpowers, having sat out the worst of the fighting and sold to both sides at a healthy profit?
Invading Afghanistan and Iraq gives the U.S. a dominant role in the center of the Asian continent, the position coveted by Britain, Russia, France and the Ottoman Empire during the Great Power rivalry leading up to the Great War. It can be seen as partial success in a policy of encirclement of Russia and China. Redefining the Afghanistan and Iraq wars along these lines make them look more successful, not less, however odious we may thing these objectives might be from moral and international law perspectives.Russia learnt a huge lesson from their experience in Afghanistan. There they retreated in the face of a violent Wahabist insurgency and paid the price. The Soviet union collapsed and became vulnerable to western free-market gangsterism as well as suffering the blowback of terrorism in Chechnya, where they decided to play it very differently. A bit more like how Assad senior dealt with the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980's.john | Aug 4, 2017 1:14:02 PM | 10
Russia knew that if ISIS and friends were allowed to destroy Syria like the Mujahadeen had done in Afghanistan, then it would only be a matter of time before blowback would come again to Russia.
Russia's involvement is entirely rational and in their national interest. It should never have come as a surprise to the US, and the US should shake off their cold war propaganda and be grateful that people are willing to put their lives on the line to defeat Wahabist terrorism. Russia has played a focused line with integrity. Many Syrians love them for this, and many more in the Middle East will likewise adopt a similar line.Jackrabbit | Aug 4, 2017 1:26:29 PM | 11In other words, the linear mindset blocks out all non-conforming realities in the present and those contingent elements which might arise in the future
you mean non-conforming realities like the rule of law, and possible future contingencies like war crimes tribunals?
i kinda skimmed this piece, but it seems to me that trying to write some kind of rational analysis of a US foreign policy without mentioning the glaring fact that it's all absolutely illegal strikes me as an exercise in confusion.Brenner: Washington never really had a plan in Syria.jsn | Aug 4, 2017 1:31:06 PM | 12
Really? Firstly, the author's focus on successful implementation of policy is misguided. That the Iraq War was based on a lie, the Libyan bombing Campaign was illegal, and the Syrian conflict was an illegal proxy war does not trouble him. And the strategic reasons for US long-term occupation of Afghanistan escapes him.
Although he laments the failure to plan for contingencies, the words "accountable" and "accountability" never appear in this essay. Nor does the word "neocon" - despite their being the malignant driving force in US FP.
The bleach in Brenner's white-washing is delivered with the statement that Washington never really had a plan in Syria. Seymour Hersh described the planning in his "The Redirection" back in 2007(!):The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.Lastly, Brenner's complaint that Obama has been "scape-goated" as having created ISIS conveniently ignores Obama's allowing ISIS to grow by down-playing the threat that it represented. Obama's called ISIS al Queda's "JV team" and senior intelligence analysts dutifully distorted intelligence to down-play the threat (see below). This was one of many deceptions that Obama took part in - if not orchestrated (others: "moderate rebels", Benghazi, the "Fiscal Cliff", bank bailouts).
In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January , Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is "a new strategic alignment in the Middle East," separating "reformers" and "extremists"; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were "on the other side of that divide."
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House GOP task force: Military leaders distorted ISIS intel to downplay threatAfter months of investigation, this much is very clear: from the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2015, the United States Central Command's most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the command's intelligence products to downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq" . . .
The Joint Task Force can find no justifiable reason why operational reporting was repeatedly used as a rationale to change the analytic product, particularly when the changes only appeared to be made in a more optimistic direction . . .The US is playing checkers, the Russians Chess. We shall sanction them until they learn to play checkers.Enrico Malatesta | Aug 4, 2017 1:31:39 PM | 13aniteleya | Aug 4, 2017 12:33:51 PM | 9Duncan Kinder | Aug 4, 2017 1:33:14 PM | 14
There have been many lessons for the Russians since Afghanistan, two that Russia was directly involved with were the 90's break-up of Yugoslavia in the 90's (and the diplomatic invention of R2P) and the Chechen turmoil of the last decade.
Russia has also benefited through the non-linear analysis of US diplomacy failures of the last two decades. Russia has created a coalition backing up their military entry into the Middle East that allows achievement of tangible objectives at a sustainable cost.
But b's article is about the US's dismal diplomacy that is exacerbating its rapid empire decline and it does very well to help explain the rigid lack of thought that hastens the deterioration of US influence.This article makes a lot of good points, but I didn't really grasp exactly what "linear" thinking is. OK. Venezuela very well may be turning into a situation. What is the "linear" approach? What, instead, would be the "non-linear" approach? This article cites many "linear" failures. It would be helpful also to learn of some non-linear successes. If not by the United States then by somebody else.Duncan Kinder | Aug 4, 2017 1:38:51 PM | 15Let me clarify my prior posting. This article seems to be asserting that the United States has attempted to pound the square peg of its policy objectives into the round hole of the Middle East. I pretty much agree with that idea. But how is this "linear," as opposed to "bull-headed"? How does being "non-linear" help with the pounding? Would not adapting our policies to pound a round peg instead be just as "linear" but more clever?PavewayIV | Aug 4, 2017 1:46:40 PM | 16Thanks for posting these great observations by Michael Brenner, b.nonsense factory | Aug 4, 2017 2:00:27 PM | 17
The link to his bio on University of Pitsburg site is broken and the page is gone, but it still exists for now in Google's cache from Aug. 1st here . His bio can also be found under this ">https://www.theglobalist.com/united-states-common-man-forgotten-by-elites/">this article from The Globalist
Everything I've read of Dr. Brenner that I've stumbled across is brilliant. My only gripe with his work is that he always describes multiple aspects of psychopathy in his observations of U.S. foreign policy and the Washington ruling elite, but never goes as far as to conclude the root of all our problems are psychopathic individuals and institutions, or a culture of psychopathy infesting larger groups of the same, e.g., Washington elite, "The Borg", etc.
While he is quite accurate in describing the symptoms, one is left with the impression that they are the things to be fixed. Linear thinking in a U.S. foreign policy of aggression? Absolutely, but it's pointless to 'fix' that without understanding the cause.
Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise. Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe.
Does anyone in Washington REALLY want to 'save' the Persians and 'rebuild' Iran as they imagine America did post WWII to German and Japan? Or is the more overriding intent to punish and destroy a leadership that will not submit to the political and commercial interests in the US? Of course the U.S. fails to deliver any benefits to the 'little people' after destroying their country and government - they are incapable of understanding what the 'little people' want (same goes for domestic issues in the U.S.).
The U.S. government and leadership do not need lessons to modify their techniques or 'thinking' - they are incapable of doing so. You can't 'talk a psychopath into having empathy' any more than you can talk them out of having smallpox. 'The law' and voting were intentionally broken in the U.S. to make them all but useless to fix Washington, yet a zombified American public will continue to use the religiously (or sit back and watch others use them religiously) with little result. Because we're a democracy and a nation of laws - the government will fix anything broken with those tools.
In a certain sense, I'm glad Brennan does NOT go on about psychopathy in his articles. He would sound as tedious and nutty as I do here and would never be allowed near Washington. I'll just be grateful for his thorough illustration of the symptoms for now.@8 simply amazed, on this:Makutwa Omutiti | Aug 4, 2017 2:13:20 PM | 18Your analysis of linearity is interesting. However, you make what I believe is a critical error. You assume you know the objective and the path to follow and base your critique accordingly.
First, this is more an analysis of military failure to "do the job" that Washington "strategic thinkers" tell them to do, and the reasons why it's such a futile game. In our system of government, the military does tactics, not strategy. And the above article, which should be passed out to every politician in this country, isn't really about "the objective".
For example, the military was told "Go to Iraq, overthrow Saddam, everything will work out once we get our contractors and corporations in after you." Paul Bremer's CPA and his "100 Orders" were supposed to fix everything. But the Iraqis objected strenuously to the oil privatization selloff (and the rest of it) and the insurgency was launched. Okay, the military was told, break the insurgency. In comes the CIA, Special Forces, mass surveillance - what comes out? Abu Ghraib torture photos. The insurgency gets even stronger. Iran ends up winning the strategic game, hands down, and has far more influence in Iraq than it could ever dream of during the Saddam era. The whole objective, turning Iraq into a client state of the U.S. neoliberal order, utterly failed.
Here's the point I think you're missing: the Washington strategists behind all this are batshit crazy and divorced from reality. Their objectives have to be rewritten every few years, because they're hopeless pipe dreams. They live and work and breathe in these Washington military-industrial think tanks, neocons and neoliberals both, that are largely financed by arms manufacturers and associated private equity firms. As far as the defense contractors go, one war is as good as another, they can keep selling arms to all regardless. Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria - cash cows is all they are. So, they finance the PR monkeys to keep pushing "strategic geopolitical initiatives" that are really nonsensical and have no hope of working in the long run - but who cares, the cash keeps flowing.
And if you want to know why the Borg State got firmly behind Hillary Clinton, it's because they could see her supporting this agenda wholeheartedly, especially after Libya. Here's a comment she wrote to Podesta on 2014-08-19, a long 'strategy piece' ending with this note:Note: It is important to keep in mind that as a result of this policy there probably will be concern in the Sunni regions of Iraq and the Central Government regarding the possible expansion of KRG controlled territory. With advisors in the Peshmerga command we can reassure the concerned parties that, in return for increase autonomy, the KRG will not exclude the Iraqi Government from participation in the management of the oil fields around Kirkuk, and the Mosel Dam hydroelectric facility. At the same time we will be able to work with the Peshmerga as they pursue ISIL into disputed areas of Eastern Syria, coordinating with FSA troops who can move against ISIL from the North. This will make certain Basher al Assad does not gain an advantage from these operations. Finally, as it now appears the U.S. is considering a plan to offer contractors as advisors to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, we will be in a position to coordinate more effectively between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army.
It's all nonsense, there's no FSA just Al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates, plus the Kurdish proxy force is a long-term dead end - but it keeps the war going. A more rational approach - work with Russia to defeat ISIS, don't worry about economic cooperation between Syria and Iran, tell the Saudis and Israelis that Iran won't invade them (it won't), pull back militarily and focus instead on domestic problems in the USA - the think tanks, defense contractors, Saudi and Israeli lobbyists, they don't like that.
Regardless, it looks like end times for the American empire, very similar to how the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1980s, and the last days of the French and British empires in the 1950s. And good riddance, it's become a dead weight dragging down the standard of living for most American citizens who aren't on that gravy train.Brenner is trying to mislead us with bombastic terminology like "The Linear Mindset". The root cause of America's problems is what Michael Scheuer calls Imperial Hubris: The idea that they are Masters of the Universe and so they have omnipotent power to turn every country into a vassal. But when this hubris meets reality, they get confused and don't know what to do. In such a case, they resort to three standard actions: sanctions, regime change or chaos. If these three don't work, they repeat them!Justin Glyn | Aug 4, 2017 2:51:51 PM | 20
Politicians are mere puppets. Their real owners are the 1% who use the Deep State to direct policy. Among this 1% there are zionists who have enormous influence on US Middle Eastern policy and they use the neocons as their attack dogs to direct such policy. This hubris has caused so much pain, destruction and death all over the world and it has also caused America so much economic damage.
America is waning as a global power but instead of self-introspection and returning to realism, they are doubling down on neocon policy stupidity. Putin, China and Iran are trying to save them from their stupidity but they seem to be hell-bent on committing suicide. But I hope the policy sophistication of Russia, China and Iran, as well as their military capabilities that raise the stakes high for US military intervention will force the Masters of the Universe to see sense and reverse their road to destruction.There's a lot in both this piece and the comments. In a sense, I wonder if the core issue behind the Neocon/Imperial mindset isn't a complete inability to see the other side's point of view. Psychopathy, short-termism (a common fault in businesspeople), divorce from reality and hubris are likely a good part of it, as somebody, Paveway IV, Makutwa and nonsense factory put it, but the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda. Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality". It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster every single time.Piotr Berman | Aug 4, 2017 3:13:05 PM | 21I would paraphrase critics of b that he (she?) has fallen into linearity trap: one point is the resources spent by USA on wars of 21-st century (a lot), the second points are positive results (hardly any), and an intellectual charge proceeds from A to B.Geoff | Aug 4, 2017 3:36:33 PM | 22
However between A and B there can be diversity of problems. We can stock enough gasoline, run out of potable water. And indeed, you can encounter pesky terrain. I recall a family vacation trip where we visited Natural Bridges National Monument and we proceeded to Arizona on an extremely straight highway through pretty flat plateau. Then the pavement end, and the acrophobic designated driver has to negotiate several 180* hairpins to get down on a cliff flanking Monument Valley. After second inspection, the map had tiny letters "switchbacks" and a tiny fragment of the road not marked with the pavement. Still better than discovering "bridge out" annotation on your map only when you gaze at the water flowing between two bridge heads. (If I recall, during late 20-th century Balkan intervention, US military needed a lot of time to cross Danube river that unexpectedly had no functioning bridge where they wanted to operate. Landscape changes during a war.)
That said, military usually has an appreciation for terrain. But there are also humans. On domestic side, the number of experts on those distant societies is small, and qualified experts, minuscule. Because the qualified ones were disproportionally naysayers, the mere whiff if expertise was treated as treason, and we had a purge of "Arabists". And it was of course worse in the lands to charm and conquer. Effective rule requires local hands to follow our wishes, people who can be trusted. And, preferably, not intensely hated by the locals they are supposed to administer. And like with gasoline, water, food, etc. on a vacation trip (who forgot mosquito repellent!), the list of needed traits is surprisingly long. Like viewing collaboration with Israel supporting infidels as a mortal sin that can be perpetrated to spare the family from starvation (you can recruit them, success!), but it has to be atoned through backstabbing (local cadres are disappointing).Great analysis! This is an excellent example for why I read MOA at least once a day and most of the comments! There's something of a sad irony that Trump has made at least some kind of effort to thwart the neocons and their relentless rush toward armageddon, seeing as how lacking in any real intellectual capcity they all seem and with Trump at the helm?PavewayIV | Aug 4, 2017 3:41:38 PM | 23
Mostly tptb, our political class, and the pundits for the masses, seem all to exhibit an astonishingly dull witted lack of true concern or humanity for anybody anywhere, and in my years on earth so far, at least in America, they have inculcated in the population very dubious ethical chioces, which you would think were tragic, and decisions, which you would believe were doomed, from the wars being waged, to the lifestyles of the citizenry especially toward the top of the economic ladder, and I don't know about others here but I for one have been confronting and dealing with these problems both in family and aquaintances for my entire adult life! Like the battle at Kurushetra. At least they say they "have a plan," scoffingly.
Where is chipnik to weigh in on this with his poetic observations, or I think long ago it was "slthrop" who may have been bannned for foul language as he or she raged on at the absurdities that keep heaping up exponentially? I do miss them!
Oh well, life is relatively short and we will all be gone at some point and our presense here will be one and all less than an iota. An awareness of this one fact and its implications you would think would pierce the consciousness of every human being well before drawing their final breath, but I guess every McCain fails to realize until too late that the jig is up?Justin Glyn@20 "but the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda."Peter AU | Aug 4, 2017 3:46:58 PM | 24
The propaganda part is inventing, manufacturing and embellishing some embodiment of evil that must be defeated to liberate their victims and save humanity. That's the cover story, not the underlying purpose of U.S. aggression.
Neocons do not believe that exclusively as a goal in itself - it merely dovetails rather nicely with their ultimate obsession with control, and it's and easy sell against any less-than-perfect targeted foreign leader or government. Irrational demonization is the embodiment of that propaganda.
The methods of ultimately controlling the liberated people and their nation's resources are cloaked in the guise of 'bringing Western democracy'. Methods for corrupting the resulting government and usurping their laws and voting are hidden or ignored. The propaganda then turns to either praising the resulting utopia or identifying/creating a new evil that now must also be eliminated. The utopia thing hasn't worked out so well in Libya, Iraq or Ukraine, so they stuck with the 'defeat evil' story.Apart from psychopathy in US leadership, the US has no understanding, nor respect of, other cultures. This is not just in US leadership, but in the exceptional people in general. It shows up from time to time in comments at blogs like this, and is often quite noticeable in comments at SST.
That it why the US in its arrogance has failed in Syria, and Russia with its tiny force has been so successful.
Makutwa Omutiti | Aug 4, 2017 3:51:17 PM | 25The essence of imperial hubris is the belief that one's country is omnipotent; that the country can shape and create reality. The country's main aspiration is to create clients, dependencies and as the Godfather Zbigniew Bzrezinski candidly put it, "vassals".Such a mindset does not just appreciate the reality of contingency; it also does not appreciate the nature of complex systems. The country's elites believe that both soft and hard power should be able to ensure the desired outcomes. But resistance to imperial designs and blowback from the imperial power's activities induce cognitive dissonance. Instead of such cognitive crises leading to a return to reality, they lead to denial amongst this elite. This elite lives in a bubble. Their discourse is intellectually incestuous and anybody that threatens this bubble is ostracized. Limits are set to what can be debated. That is why realists like John Mearsheimer, Steve Walt, Michael Scheuer and Stephen Cohen are ignored by this elite even though their ideas are very germane. If other countries don't bow down to their dictates, they have only a combination of the following responses: sanctions, regime change and chaos. The paradox is that the more they double down with their delusions the more the country's power continues to decline. My only hope is that this doubling down will not take the world down with it.
Dec 13, 2019 | www.unz.com
G. Poulin , says: December 11, 2019 at 9:37 pm GMTSo if propaganda is so easy and effective, remind me again why democracy is such a great idea?
Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm -> JohnH... , December 03, 2019 at 04:55 AMCorrupt socio-paths like Comey, Mueller, Holder, Lynch, Clintons, Schumer., Pelosi, Brookings swampers...... run by the 'owners'!im1dc -> kurt... , December 03, 2019 at 11:01 AMJefferson did the same to Adams and both of them did the same to Alexander Hamilton. Nothing new here except for the means and scale.
We live in this Democratic Republic experiment and sometimes we get upsetting results in the short term that are averaged out in the long term.
Fingers crossed...Heart Crossed...Prayers
Michael N. Moore , says: at 12:13 pmIn my opinion the most under-reported event of the Iraq war was the suicide of military Ethicist Colonel Ted Westhusing. It was reported at the end of a Frank Rich column that appeared in the NY Times of 10-21-2007:Michael N. Moore , says: February 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm
"The cost cannot be measured only in lost opportunities, lives and money. There will be a long hangover of shame. Its essence was summed up by Col. Ted Westhusing, an Army scholar of military ethics who was an innocent witness to corruption, not a participant, when he died at age 44 of a gunshot wound to the head while working for Gen. David Petraeus training Iraqi security forces in Baghdad in 2005. He was at the time the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq."
"Colonel Westhusing's death was ruled a suicide, though some believe he was murdered by contractors fearing a whistle-blower, according to T. Christian Miller, the Los Angeles Times reporter who documents the case in his book "Blood Money."
Either way, the angry four-page letter the officer left behind for General Petraeus and his other commander, Gen. Joseph Fil, is as much an epitaph for America's engagement in Iraq as a suicide note."
" 'I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars,' Colonel Westhusing wrote, abbreviating the word mission. 'I am sullied.' "As per the request of James Canning for more information on Col. Ted Westhusing, please see:thefatefullightning , says: June 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm
Or the book "Blood Money" by T. Christian Miller"The tiny pink candies at the bottom of the urinals are reserved for Field Grade and Above." --sign over the urinals in the "O" Club at Tan Son Nhut Airbase, 1965.Terrence Zehrer , says: July 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm
Now that sentiment, is Officer-on-Officer. The same dynamic tension exists throughout all Branches and ranks.
My background includes a Combat Infantry Badge and a record of having made Spec Four , two times. If you don't know what that means, stop reading here.
I feel that no one should be promoted E-5 or O-4, if they are to command men in battle, unless they have had that life experience themselves. It becomes virgins instructing on sexual etiquette.
Within the ranks, there exists a disdain for officers, in general. Some officers overcome this by their actions, but the vast majority cement that assessment the same way.
What makes the thing run is the few officers who are superior human beings, and the NCOs who are of that same tribe. And there is a love there, from top to bottom and bottom to top, a brotherhood of warriors which the civilian population will forever try to discern, parse and examine to their lasting frustration and ignorance.
It is the spirit of this nation [Liberty, e pluribus unum and In God We Trust ] that is the binding filament of it all. The civilians responsible for the welfare of the armed services need to be more fully aware of that spirit and they need to bring it into the air-conditioned offices they inhabit when they make decisions about men who know sacrifice.But the Pentagon is excellent at what it does – extort money from the US taxpayer. I call it treason.
"Massive military budgets erode the economic foundation on which true national security is dependent."
– Dwight Eisenhower
Nov 29, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
Victor Lustig, who was born in Bohemia in 1890, was a child of unusual charm and imagination. He used these talents in unique ways during his life.
Taking advantage of his mastery of several languages, he tricked the passengers of ocean liners steaming between Paris and New York City, making them believe that he had a money-making machine.
He sold the machine at the exorbitant price of $30,000. Over 12 hours the machine would produce two $100 bills. As Lustig's supply of those bills was limited, once they were finished, the machine ceased producing them. When the buyers realized what had happened, Lustig was long gone.
Lustig's most remarkable feat, however, was still ahead. After reading in a newspaper an article that dealt with the problems the city of Paris was having in maintaining the Eiffel Tower, Lustig adopted the persona of a city's high government official. In that capacity, he sent a group of six scrap metal dealers an invitation to discuss the possibility of selling the Eiffel Tower for scrap.
One of the dealers bought the tower, and Lustig left for Vienna with a suitcase full of cash. The dealer was so humiliated that he decided not to complain to the police. Thus Lustig became one of history's most notable impostors. Until now. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Cesar Chelala
Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article "Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims."
Nov 27, 2019 | www.crosswalk.com
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." Matthew 7:15 What does "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" mean? Sometimes the truth can get twisted in this life. Blurred. Manipulated. Lines get crossed. Things once seen as black and white may start to appear grayer. It may seem harder to recognize what's true or what's false. What's light and what's dark? At the heart of the battle, we face every day, is a real enemy who prowls around seeking someone to devour. ( 1 Pet. 5:8 ) He'll stop at nothing to gain new ground. He and his forces have quoted God's words since the beginning of time, twisting it, trying their best to manipulate the truth, their main goal only to deceive and lead astray. They know who God is and the Bible says they "shudder" in fear at His name. ( James 2:19 ) They know that God alone will be victorious and no matter what traps are used today to try to distract us away from Him, in the end, they will not win. Many times the wolf disguised in sheep's clothing knows God's Word better than we thought, crafting and twisting it so much, we might even find ourselves feeling confused over what real truth is anymore. So how can we see through their deception to protect ourselves? The best way to expose the false lies of the enemy is to know the Truth of the One voice who matters most. Know the real and you'll know what is false. One way federal agents are trained to detect counterfeit money is by learning how to spot what is "fake," by understanding first what is "real." They study real money, for hours and hours, every part of it. They know it so well when the counterfeit is set before them, they immediately know that it's false. Because they know the real thing. And so it is with us. As we keep pressing in to know God, who is real, who is Truth, and we set our minds on His Word, spending time there, meditating on it, eventually we become very trained in detecting the "fake." How to Spot a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: 5 Reminders from God's Word 1. Watch out. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Matt. 7:15 God reminds us in His Word to "watch out," "beware," to stay awake. He knows and understands how difficult it can be to fight this spiritual battle. Some days we get weary, or we get so busy and distracted, we're not watching anymore for ways we might get tripped up. But he tells us, "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." 1 Cor. 16:13 He desires the best for us and knows how important it is for us to live aware. He freely gives us his strength and protection to stand strong each day, he will never leave us defenseless on our own. 2. Know the real and you'll know the fake too. "You will recognize them by their fruits " Matt. 7:16 God's Word is clear, it says they'll be known by their fruits. Not by how much money they have. Not by how many followers they have. Not by how many books they have written or the great things they have done. They'll be known by what fruit exists in their lives. Is there love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control? Are they sharing the gospel of Christ, and pointing others to the forgiveness and freedom that He alone can bring? What do they say about who Jesus is? What do they believe about the authority of God's Word? We may have to look more closely than what is on the outside. The world often views "success" and popularity differently than how God sees. What's at the heart? Eventually, the truth of who they are will be brought into the light. "He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart." 1 Cor. 4:5 We can trust His word to be true and rely on Him for guiding us. 3. Know God's word and you'll know when it's being twisted and manipulated. "For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds." 2 Cor. 11:14-15 Sometimes deception may be hidden well, manipulated and cunning, for the Bible makes clear that even Satan disguises himself as light. If we don't know His truth, we will never know when we're being deceived. Study it. Meditate on His words. Guard them in your heart. "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Ps. 119:11 Press in close to God. Spend time in His presence. Pray, talk to Him, listen to His voice through His word. Staying close to His side, living under the protection of His armor and covering, helps us to know when we're staring straight into falsehood. 4. Trust the discernment and wisdom of God's Spirit living through your life. " false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time." Matt. 24:23-25 God gives us His Spirit to guide us in discernment and wisdom. "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth " John 16:13 He wants more than anyone, for us to be guided by Truth. He tells us "I have told you ahead of time," so that we will be prepared and watching. Walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh. We don't have to wander through life blindly, unsure of what's true and what's not. When we're daily asking for his leadership and direction, submitting to his authority over our lives, we can trust the leadership of His Spirit. When feeling unsettled or sensing something is just not "quite right," we can press in close to Him, knowing He's faithful to guide us. 5. Surround yourself with other believers you know and trust. "Knowing this scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires." 2 Pet. 3:3 Use caution in who you listen to and choose to take guidance from. Sometimes when we're in a place where it's hard to see clearly, maybe because of our own pressing worries or cares, we need a trusted friend who can speak the truth in places we need to hear. This is often true in marriage. Learning to listen to one another and take into consideration what the other might be sensing or discerning can often have great power in saving us from a heap of trouble up ahead if we'll only heed the warnings that someone we love may speak our way. "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." Prov. 11:14 Recognize that sometimes believers may simply disagree. It doesn't necessarily mean that one is a "false teacher," but only that both might be doing their best to follow God's Word and what He's leading, they just may not agree on everything. We see this in Scripture and we see it all around us today. Let's not waste time-fighting against ourselves, but recognize who the real enemy is. We can choose to give each other grace and kindness. We can hold on to what matters most, and pursue unity in the body of Christ. Standing strong together, on Christ the Solid Rock. "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32 Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel , for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also at http://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel . Publication date: November 10, 2015
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.
Nov 08, 2019 | crookedtimber.org
England's ruling pathology; Boarding School Syndrome
by Maria on November 7, 2019 George Monbiot writes movingly about how the habit of Britain's (well, mostly England's) upper middle and upper classes of sending their children to boarding school from the age of seven onward causes profound emotional damage and has created a damaged ruling class. He's not the first to notice this. Virginia Woolf drew a very clear line between the brutalisation of little boys in a loveless environment and their assumption as adults into the brutal institutions of colonialism. It's long been clear to many that the UK is ruled by many people who think their damage is a strength, and who seek to perpetuate it.
I was at a talk last week about psychoanalysis and The Lord of the Flies. The speaker convincingly argued that much of what happens in that story happens because most of the boys have been wrenched from solid daily love before they were old enough to recreate it. It's a pretty compelling lens to see that novel through and it reminded me of a teaching experience from a couple of years ago.
I was teaching a post-grad course on politics and cybersecurity and did a lecture on the Leviathan and how its conception of the conditions that give rise to order embed some pretty strong assumptions about the necessity of coercion. Basically how if you're the state and in your mind you're fighting against the return of a persistent warre of all against all, your conception of human behaviour can lead you to over-react. Also some stuff about English history around the time of Hobbes. I may have included some stills from Game of Thrones. During the class discussion, one person from, uh, a certain agency, said that yes, he could see the downside, but that Hobbes was essentially how he viewed the world.
Listening again to the tale of sensible centrist Ralph, poor, benighted (but actually very much loved by his Aunty and from a solid emotional background) Piggy, the little uns, and the utter depravity of it all – and also having forgotten the chilling final scene where the naval officer basically tells Ralph he's let himself down – something occurred to me.
Lord of the Flies is many people's touchstone for what would happen if order goes away, even though we have some good social science and other studies about how, at least in the short to medium term, people are generally quite altruistic and reciprocally helpful in the aftermath of disaster. Lord of the Flies is assumed by many to be a cautionary tale about order and the state of nature, when in reality it's the agonised working out of the unbearable fears of a group of systematically traumatised and loveless children.
Lord of the Flies isn't an origin story about the human condition and the need for 'strong' states, though we treat it as such, but rather is a horror story about the specific, brutalised pathology of the English ruling class.
Matt 11.07.19 at 9:27 am ( 1 )How common is boarding school for the upper middle/upper class in England these days? (that's a real question, not rhetorical – I have no idea.)Saurs 11.07.19 at 9:40 am ( 2 )
I checked out Hobbes's childhood, because I couldn't remember it well, other than that he was born prematurely because of the Spanish Armada (his mother famously "giving birth to twins, him and fear".) It turns out his mother died when he was young, he was semi-abandoned to a relative who sent him (I think) a boarding school, and then to Oxford at 15. So, the theory fits him, I guess.
Henry Sidgwick and (I think) Matthew Arnold wrote about the evils inflicted by such schools even before Woolf, no doubt from first-hand experience.They, or some of them, are "rescued" by a walking, talking symbol of an imperial army who justified its genocide and colonization as a "civilizing" force. Yet here are our lovely white sons, murdering one another under the shadow of a mighty military vessel their government built for the domination of isles like this and to enable the exploitation of its inhabitants, nod nod wink wink. It is at this point the naval officer gets his Alanis Morissette moment.Z 11.07.19 at 10:18 am ( 5 )@Maria Lord of the Flies isn't an origin story about the human condition and the need for 'strong' states, though we treat it as such, but rather is a horror story about the specific, brutalised pathology of the English ruling class.SusanC 11.07.19 at 12:43 pm ( 6 )
Yes! (For my pre-adolescent self, oblivious of the peculiarities of any national ruling class, it appeared to be the projection of the brutality of the social system, not a depiction of what happens when it disappears, and so were planted the first seeds of anarchism, I guess.)The horror movie The Lesson (directed by Ruth Platt) is an interesting commentary on Lord of the Flies: two schoolboys are imprisoned and tortured by a crazy teacher. (In the tradition of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wolf Creek II, etc.)librl 11.07.19 at 1:12 pm ( 8 )
As with many horror movies, you can tell how its going to end right from the start (especially given the Lord of the Flies references), but that doesnt detract from it.It is or has been an essential feature of several social systems (Sparta comes to mind obviously) that the children of the ruling class are treated brutally so they would reproduce that brutality towards the lower classes and other enemies.Donald 11.07.19 at 2:05 pm ( 9 )C.S. Lewis despised the cruelty of his boarding school. As a conservative Christian of his era he thought homosexuality was a sin but in " Surprised by Joy" he says ( in homophobic language) that the affection people found in homosexual relationships was one of the few bright spots in what was otherwise a horrible experience. He thought the pride and cruelty and backstabbing and lust for power were much worse than what he saw as the fleshly sin of gay sex.Harry 11.07.19 at 2:37 pm ( 10 )
He also has some harsh satirical takes on colonialism in his first space novel, so there might be a connection there as well.PatinIowa 11.07.19 at 4:30 pm ( 12 )"How common is boarding school for the upper middle/upper class in England these days? (that's a real question, not rhetorical – I have no idea.)"
I don't have actual data to hand, but I do know boarding schools went into rapid decline in the 1990s and 2000s, as the children of people who grew up in the 60s and 70s reached the age. There are very few boarding-only schools, but a lot with a few boarders and plenty of non-boarders. Private school attendance has remained pretty constant though.
Eton College is about a 5 minute walk from Windsor Castle, but I imagine William and Harry boarded (probably to avoid the bloody security involved in getting into the Castle).This assumes, of course, that the family automatically provides a more nurturing environment. As feminism is teaching us, bit by bit, that's a huge assumption.steven t johnson 11.07.19 at 5:47 pm ( 13 )
I assume we wouldn't have to work too hard to generate a list of tyrants and authoritarians who grew up stable families, where one or both parents were abusive, and even where both parents were, as they say, "good enough."
Ayn Rand grew up in a fairly stable-looking family, at least from on-line bios. Of course there was a revolution during her teens, so who knows?Some other literary comments? Matthew Arnold's father, Thomas, was a figure in Tom Brown's School Days, as he was headmaster when Hughes, the author, actually attended Rugby. One of the characters in that, Flashman, was the Flashman of the Fraser series of novels. The British school novel is back with us with the Harry Potter series of course.Chris Bertram 11.07.19 at 6:20 pm ( 14 )
It seems highly unlikely The Lord of the Flies was not intended to express the eternal human condition, especially since it is about the rotten souls even of schoolboys who were privileged to be etc. But as to Monbiot, it's not entirely clear to me that actually being wealthy or aristocratic, especially landed wealth, isn't a way of life that has quite as much to do with the psychology of the English ruling classes as child hood rearing practices.I was sent to a prep school in the Peak District at the age of 8 in 1967. It was ferociously cold and we were expected to play outdoor sports wearing only 1 layer. The headmaster was replaced by his 27-year-old son after a sexual indiscretion with a matron within a few months of his arrival (it was a family business) and the new headmaster used corporal punishment a great deal. I think I received over 100 strokes of the gym shoe from him between 67 and 72. On one occasion in winter, when I accidentally hit a teacher with a snowball, I was knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly on the floor by him and efforts were made to prevent me informing my parents. The very worst occasion was when a cleaner discovered that someone had shat in a bucket and the whole school was assembled so that the headmaster could demand that the culprit confess. No confession was forthcoming so we were all made to stand motionless in lines in the car park in the hot sun. Anyone who moved was taken from the line, beaten, and returned to it. All these children were aged 7-13.ADAM ROBERTS 11.07.19 at 6:33 pm ( 15 )
The boarding school I moved to in 1972 was much better for me at least. I was never beaten (though others were), though the general appearance and ambiance was not unlike Lindsay Anderson's If Needless to say, in both schools there was a good deal of bullying among the boys and a fair amount of violence and torture. In the latter school, several teachers later went to prison for sexual offences against children and it was well known at the time I was there that some of them had a penchant for attractive boys. Fortunately, I wasn't.Futher to Chris's (horrible!) experiences, I could add my own also from the 1970s (and into the very early 80s), although I didn't go a boarding school but a state grammar day-school. There wasn't a culture of violence, and caning was not school policy; but there was quite a lot of verbal and physical violence nonetheless. One day, during class, I was chatting with friends at the back of Chemistry one day and the teacher threw a board-rubber (thick wooden handle with a felt pad attached) at my head to shut me up. It hit me over my right eye and cut me quiet deeply: I still have the scar. There were also lots of cuffs, slaps, and so on, plenty of wounding sarcasm, several sexually dodgy teachers. My take, looking back, was that it wasn't boarding as such that was behind all this, but the fact that many of the older teachers (the Chemistry teacher for instance) were of the generation to have fought in WW2, and that this experience had damaged them in some quite deep, lasting way; and had certainly casualised them where aggression and violence was concerned.oldster 11.07.19 at 7:08 pm ( 16 )The pathology is larger than the boarding schools, which never trained more than a small fraction of the population. The other factor is: how did their pathology ramify throughout the ranks?J 11.07.19 at 7:12 pm ( 17 )
If Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, then Trafalgar was won in the workhouses of London and Manchester. We must ask: what conditions of society made it possible to keep thousands of poor uneducated men in the penal and worse than penal conditions of serving in a man o' war for months on end? Why was mutiny as rare as it was, given that life on shipboard had (as Dr. Johnson said) all of the discomforts of life in prison, with the additional danger of drowning? What was life on shore like, that men sometimes volunteered to serve?
So the story may start with the boarding schools, and they may have set the tone, but the full story is closer to the story of Sparta, where an entire society is geared towards domination.Has anyone ever done some sort of comparison study of English Boarding schools and Canada's Indigenous Residential schools?Chris Lay 11.07.19 at 8:30 pm ( 19 )
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Indian_residential_school_system#ConditionsThe OP strikes me as broadly correct, and as rhyming with this recent essay in n+1 that frames American collegiate greek life as a cycle of abuse that produces the sort of abusers who are capable of running an empire: https://nplusonemag.com/issue-34/essays/special-journey-to-our-bottom-line/RobinM 11.07.19 at 8:53 pm ( 21 )To my surprise I once encountered a former Fife, Scotland, primary school teacher in North Dakota, of all places, who told me the following.J-D 11.07.19 at 9:11 pm ( 22 )
One of his pupils was a nasty, brutal little bully whom he'd punished, as was the norm in Scottish schools in those days, by striking the boy's hands with a leather strap. The boy's response was to tell the teacher he would have to deal with his dad on the following day.
The next morning the teacher, standing at the school door, saw the boy coming accompanied by his father, a rather large coal miner well known in the area as a Communist militant. "Did you belt my boy," the man asked. "Yes," said the teacher. "Did he deserve it," the man asked. "Yes," said the teacher. "You did the right thing," said the man who then turned and walked away.
In other words, I'm glad Adam Roberts (@15) and oldster (@16) have done their bit towards shifting the conversation away from the childhood miseries of the privileged few towards a wider concern with a society in which brutality was -- and is -- widespread and widely accepted by perpetrators and victims alike.http://crookedtimber.org/2019/11/07/englands-ruling-pathology-boarding-school-syndrome/#comment-769421novakant 11.07.19 at 10:09 pm ( 23 )
I think Golding believed he was saying something eternal about the human soul.
Confirmed by Golding himself in the essay 'Fable', specifically dealing with questions about The Lord Of The Flies , in which he wrote that experience in the Second World War compelled the conclusion that men produce evil the way bees produce honey.I remember watching and listening to "The Wall" (and Monty Python' s "The Meaning of Life") as a teenager and asking myself: "what on earth is their problem?" – I really didn't get it, because everything seemed so alien and medieval to me.Alan White 11.07.19 at 11:11 pm ( 24 )A hearty second on the terrific post Maria (if I may). But I have to say that many of these comments about boarding school are truly shocking to me, a product of Northern California public education that, while certainly not socially perfect, makes me more grateful than ever for it. And as I've said before, this is why CT continues my education even in retirement!Jack Morava 11.08.19 at 12:02 am ( 25 )readings for extra credit:Faustusnotes 11.08.19 at 12:02 am ( 26 )
- George Orwell: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Such,_Such_Were_the_Joys
- Robert Musil: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Confusions_of_Young_%C3%B6rlessWithout wanting to detract from the point of the OP (which I agree with) it's worth bearing in mind that British non boarding schools (state and private) in the 1970s and 1980s were nasty and brutal and the British model of parenting at that time (children should be seen but not heard) was pretty loveless. Savile was roaming the halls of hospitals in the 1980s raping children and he wasn't picking on the kids of the ruling class. So when we see damaged politicians today it's not just boarding school that did it. (I say this as someone who went to state schools in the uk in the 1970s and 1980s then moved to oz in 1986 and the difference was huge).Chetan Murthy 11.08.19 at 12:28 am ( 27 )
Does anyone know if corbyn went to boarding school? Because on top of everything else he seems personally to be a decent guy.
As a further aside I would mention that the Golding view of society is also part of the reason that so many modern libertarians and liberals think that all laws and social norms are backed up by coercive power. Their entire education precludes then believing people might pay taxes or follow traffic laws because they want to cooperate with each other.librl @ 8: I found this series of posts on Sparta to be quite interesting: https://acoup.blog/2019/09/27/collections-this-isnt-sparta-part-vii-spartan-ends/joel hanes 11.08.19 at 3:52 am ( 28 )
One of this theses is that the Spartan "education" system was really a system for the indoctrination of child soldiers (in the modern meaning) and with all the abominations that that entails.I'm a little surprised that no one has yet mentioned Orwell's "Such, Such Were The Joys"John 11.08.19 at 3:56 am ( 29 )
http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/joys/english/e_joysThere is a lot of truth to this essay but it seems to me that the problem is hell-deep more pervasive than indicated.What if most/all of our his-story is driven by the individual and collective suppressed rage of childhood abuse, which was, and still is the norm throughout the world. Four websites which illuminate the situation:craig fritch 11.08.19 at 3:57 am ( 30 )
The second and third sites are linked to this site: http://www.ttfuture.org
And of course the work of Alice Miller the author of For Your Own Good. Plus the book Spare the Child by Philip Greven which is especially relevant to fundamentalist Christians in the USAAs a long time schoolteacher in a northern Canadian community, I recognize the common culture of the English boarding school and our residential schools. The brutality, sexual assaults and complacent do-gooding. Officially, good intentions, but the reality far messier. However a big difference is the racist assumption of "improvement".Peter T 11.08.19 at 5:10 am ( 32 )
But paramount was the fact that very young children were torn from families for years at a time, some never again seeing family.
The result is suicide, substance abuse and damaged childrearing capacity. Very different from cruel domination of the lower classes and colonial subjects.An interesting side-note is that the people who actually built British 'success' were mostly not the product of boarding schools, but the sons of families much lower in the class stratum. The navy, the East India Company and the merchants of London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Bristol were run by these, while the upper classes were often an incompetent but domineering veneer.
Nov 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
johnberesfordtiptonjr , 9 hours ago linkhhabana2112 , 8 hours ago link
Trump exhibits all of the characteristics of a psychopath-
- glibness/superficial charm
- grandiose sense of self worth
- need for stimulation/prone to boredom
- pathological lying
- lack of remorse or guilt
- shallow emotional response
- callous/lack of empathy
- parasitic lifestyle
- poor behavioral controls
- promiscuous sexual behavior
- early behavioral problems
- lack of realistic long term goals
- failure to accept responsibility for their own actions
- many short term relationships
- juvenile delinquency (his father had to put him in military school... but, of course, not the REAL military)
Tell me that Trump doesn't manifest all of the above.
In addition, with regard to the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, he created a sadistic and humiliating fantasy about the incident. Besides being an obvious psychopath, he has sadistic thoughts about vanquishing his enemies. That's why engages in childish name calling "Little Marco Rubio," etc. Or his comments about Beto O'Rourke "He quit like a dog," etc.
Congratulations Trump cultists, you've elected a madman and it couldn't be more obvious.bloofer , 6 hours ago link
I will take him over the Clinton's, Obama, Beto, Biden, Warren, etc. They're worse.
Your post displays symptoms of psycho-social disorders too numerous to catalog. Psycho-social disorder: "A psychosocial disorder is a mental illness caused or influenced by life experiences, as well as maladjusted cognitive and behavioral processes." I assume this is trauma-related, and probably originated prior to the 2016 election, which merely triggered incompletely processed and longstanding "daddy issues," as well as issues with low self-esteem caused by having long demonstrated broad-spectrum sub-optimal functionality.
Oct 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,
" Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths . I think you would find no expert in the field of sociopathy/psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder who would dispute this... That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow -- but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one."
- Dr. Martha Stout, clinical psychologist and former instructor at Harvard Medical School
Twenty years ago, a newspaper headline asked the question: " What's the difference between a politician and a psychopath? "
The answer, then and now, remains the same: None . There is no difference between psychopaths and politicians. Nor is there much of a difference between the havoc wreaked on innocent lives by uncaring, unfeeling, selfish, irresponsible, parasitic criminals and elected officials who lie to their constituents , trade political favors for campaign contributions, turn a blind eye to the wishes of the electorate, cheat taxpayers out of hard-earned dollars, favor the corporate elite, entrench the military industrial complex, and spare little thought for the impact their thoughtless actions and hastily passed legislation might have on defenseless citizens.
Psychopaths and politicians both have a tendency to be selfish, callous, remorseless users of others, irresponsible, pathological liars , glib, con artists, lacking in remorse and shallow.
Charismatic politicians, like criminal psychopaths, exhibit a failure to accept responsibility for their actions , have a high sense of self-worth, are chronically unstable, have socially deviant lifestyles, need constant stimulation, have parasitic lifestyles and possess unrealistic goals.
It doesn't matter whether you're talking about Democrats or Republicans.
Political psychopaths are all largely cut from the same pathological cloth, brimming with seemingly easy charm and boasting calculating minds . Such leaders eventually create pathocracies: totalitarian societies bent on power, control, and destruction of both freedom in general and those who exercise their freedoms.
Once psychopaths gain power, the result is usually some form of totalitarian government or a pathocracy. "At that point, the government operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups," author James G. Long notes. "We are currently witnessing deliberate polarizations of American citizens, illegal actions, and massive and needless acquisition of debt. This is typical of psychopathic systems , and very similar things happened in the Soviet Union as it overextended and collapsed."
In other words, electing a psychopath to public office is tantamount to national hara-kiri, the ritualized act of self-annihilation, self-destruction and suicide. It signals the demise of democratic government and lays the groundwork for a totalitarian regime that is legalistic, militaristic, inflexible, intolerant and inhuman.
Incredibly, despite clear evidence of the damage that has already been inflicted on our nation and its citizens by a psychopathic government, voters continue to elect psychopaths to positions of power and influence.
According to investigative journalist Zack Beauchamp , "In 2012, a group of psychologists evaluated every President from Washington to Bush II using 'psychopathy trait estimates derived from personality data completed by historical experts on each president.' They found that presidents tended to have the psychopath's characteristic fearlessness and low anxiety levels -- traits that appear to help Presidents, but also might cause them to make reckless decisions that hurt other people's lives."
The willingness to prioritize power above all else, including the welfare of their fellow human beings, ruthlessness, callousness and an utter lack of conscience are among the defining traits of the sociopath.
When our own government no longer sees us as human beings with dignity and worth but as things to be manipulated, maneuvered, mined for data, manhandled by police, conned into believing it has our best interests at heart, mistreated, jailed if we dare step out of line, and then punished unjustly without remorse -- all the while refusing to own up to its failings -- we are no longer operating under a constitutional republic.
Instead, what we are experiencing is a pathocracy: tyranny at the hands of a psychopathic government, which " operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups ."
Worse, psychopathology is not confined to those in high positions of government. It can spread like a virus among the populace. As an academic study into pathocracy concluded , "[T]yranny does not flourish because perpetuators are helpless and ignorant of their actions. It flourishes because they actively identify with those who promote vicious acts as virtuous."
People don't simply line up and salute. It is through one's own personal identification with a given leader, party or social order that they become agents of good or evil.
Much depends on how leaders " cultivate a sense of identification with their followers ," says Professor Alex Haslam. "I mean one pretty obvious thing is that leaders talk about 'we' rather than 'I,' and actually what leadership is about is cultivating this sense of shared identity about 'we-ness' and then getting people to want to act in terms of that 'we-ness,' to promote our collective interests. . . . [We] is the single word that has increased in the inaugural addresses over the last century . . . and the other one is 'America.'"
The goal of the modern corporate state is obvious: to promote, cultivate, and embed a sense of shared identification among its citizens. To this end, "we the people" have become "we the police state."
We are fast becoming slaves in thrall to a faceless, nameless, bureaucratic totalitarian government machine that relentlessly erodes our freedoms through countless laws, statutes, and prohibitions.
Any resistance to such regimes depends on the strength of opinions in the minds of those who choose to fight back. What this means is that we the citizenry must be very careful that we are not manipulated into marching in lockstep with an oppressive regime.
Writing for ThinkProgress , Beauchamp suggests that " one of the best cures to bad leaders may very well be political democracy ."
But what does this really mean in practical terms?
It means holding politicians accountable for their actions and the actions of their staff using every available means at our disposal: through investigative journalism (what used to be referred to as the Fourth Estate) that enlightens and informs, through whistleblower complaints that expose corruption, through lawsuits that challenge misconduct, and through protests and mass political action that remind the powers-that-be that "we the people" are the ones that call the shots.
Remember, education precedes action. Citizens need to the do the hard work of educating themselves about what the government is doing and how to hold it accountable. Don't allow yourselves to exist exclusively in an echo chamber that is restricted to views with which you agree. Expose yourself to multiple media sources, independent and mainstream, and think for yourself.
For that matter, no matter what your political leanings might be, don't allow your partisan bias to trump the principles that serve as the basis for our constitutional republic. As Beauchamp notes, "A system that actually holds people accountable to the broader conscience of society may be one of the best ways to keep conscienceless people in check."
That said, if we allow the ballot box to become our only means of pushing back against the police state, the battle is already lost.
Resistance will require a citizenry willing to be active at the local level.
Yet as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , if you wait to act until the SWAT team is crashing through your door, until your name is placed on a terror watch list, until you are reported for such outlawed activities as collecting rainwater or letting your children play outside unsupervised, then it will be too late.
This much I know: we are not faceless numbers. We are not cogs in the machine. We are not slaves.
We are human beings, and for the moment, we have the opportunity to remain free -- that is, if we tirelessly advocate for our rights and resist at every turn attempts by the government to place us in chains.
The Founders understood that our freedoms do not flow from the government. They were not given to us only to be taken away by the will of the State. They are inherently ours. In the same way, the government's appointed purpose is not to threaten or undermine our freedoms, but to safeguard them.
Until we can get back to this way of thinking, until we can remind our fellow Americans what it really means to be free , and until we can stand firm in the face of threats to our freedoms, we will continue to be treated like slaves in thrall to a bureaucratic police state run by political psychopaths.
fudly , 4 minutes ago linkIs-Be , 13 minutes ago link
"There is no difference between psychopaths and politicians."
Could have just left it at that.BiloxiMarxKelly , 18 minutes ago link
The solution, dear Zerohedge, is to pass a law demanding any official's psychological profile for public scrutiny. (By humans and by our superiors, Artificial Intelligence.)
(I think Is-Be just cracked a funny.)Max.Power , 27 minutes ago link
http://www.ponerology.com/herbivore , 29 minutes ago link
The problem of democracy is that too many are unbelievably naive, and even more are poorly educated.
That's why propaganda always works, regardless of how absurd the narrative is.IntercoursetheEU , 29 minutes ago link
"Psychopaths and politicians both have a tendency to be selfish, callous, remorseless users of others, irresponsible, pathological liars , glib, con artists, lacking in remorse and shallow".
And the people who elect them are colloquially known as dumbasses.Manthong , 32 minutes ago link
The countries with the best psychopaths win ... they call it history.SocratesSolves , 22 minutes ago link
Gimme a break.
Just because they do not care about hurting people, are irritable, narcissistic, avaricious and lascivious does not mean they are psychopaths.
They are morally superior.Four chan , 22 minutes ago link
Bravo! The inner workings of psychopathy. All is justified. Included the Joker cults 911 mass murder with dancing after the fact. I want to see real dancing Israelis now. Dancing like hell to try to save their own murderous lives now. That's what we do with murderers out here in the west. We line them up and watch them DANCE for their lives.Manthong , 21 minutes ago link
one could say gods chosen, or is this lie where the false sence of entitlement began?PrintCash , 32 minutes ago link
They are doing "God's work".
Don't worry about the slave trading, usury or death count thing.Epstein101 , 35 minutes ago link
What I find hilarious is the psychopathic politicians/bureaucrats/cia-fbi types/all matter of deep staters getting upset at Trumps words/tweets/style.
Pilfering the country for profit perfectly ok. Unseemly (by their standards) speech or tweets are not.
See, while they are pilfering Uncle Sam, ie you, they do it with charm (one of the strongest signs of a psychopath) and manners. What a narcissist/psychopath fears most is being outed as a fraud. And unfortunately, as long as Washington DC plays nice, throws in some lines about American values, helping the less fortunate, helping the kids, the majority fall in line with their pilfering, and whatever they want goes.
What they fear most about Trump is he hurts their Big Government brand. Either by his rhetoric, his logic, his investigative actions, or his brassness. This also includes Republicans, who only fell in line when the base forced them to fall in line.SocratesSolves , 18 minutes ago link
Big Tech Oligarchs' Best Tool for Censoring the Internet: The ADLOmni Consumer Product , 37 minutes ago link
Just another *** shell game
Ahh, now we're talking about topics of substance:
There is no form of government, no perfect "ism" that can withstand the real-world effects of psycopaths at the top.
Until that problem is solved, history will continue to repeat.
Oct 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
October 17, 2019 • 26 Comments
The way we design systems that elevate psychopaths to positions of leadership have been causing problems throughout history, writes Caitlin Johnstone.
By Caitlin Johnstone
D ue to a very painful and disturbing revelation in my personal life I have had the unfortunate occasion to spend the last several days thinking a lot about psychopaths and what makes them tick. I don't want to get into the hairy details at this time, but I would like to share some of the more general thoughts that have been coming up here on the matter.
It is interesting that psychopathy should have reached a dark tentacle into my life in the way that it did, given that the three years I've been at this gig have been spent writing more and more about the way our world is run by calculating manipulators who are devoid of empathy. I often say that we have found ourselves ruled by psychopaths because we have a system wherein (A) those who are willing to do anything to anyone are rewarded with immense wealth, and (B) immense wealth translates directly to immense political power . Add in the fact that studies have shown that wealth itself kills off empathy and compassion, and you've got yourself a perfect recipe for a plutocratic dystopia dominated by antisocial personality disorder.
I'm not really interested in getting into the specific clinical diagnoses of psychopathy and sociopathy for the purposes of this discussion. What I'm talking about here is a specific slice of humanity that is neurologically wired in such a way that they experience the world more as a series of puzzles which can be manipulated around to get them whatever they want regardless of who it hurts, rather than experiencing a world full of fellow sentient beings with whom you can have deep, meaningful connections and interactions. Not all people who are diagnosed as psychopaths are high-functioning enough to manipulate people at high levels, and not everyone who manipulates people in this way would necessarily be diagnosed as a psychopath or even a sociopath. Feel free to mentally substitute whatever term you prefer.
Whatever you want to call it, people who have this condition (and are able to avoid prison) tend to do quite well for themselves by our society's standards. Because they don't see other people as anything other than tools and resources, they don't let empathy and compassion stand in their way when viciousness and exploitation will help them achieve their goals. Because they don't value connections with other people, they don't see narratives and descriptions as paths toward deeper understanding, but as tools which can be twisted and distorted in order to secure themselves more wealth, status, sex, or whatever else they want. They quickly rise to the top in corporate and financial settings, in media institutions, in government agencies, and in politics. In modern society this ability is a natural advantage that the rest of us simply cannot compete with.
But it's not just our current iteration of society which elevates psychopaths to the top. A casual glance through recorded history all around the world reveals an essentially unbroken track record of genocide, slavery, torture, exploitation and degradation as far as the eye can see, with the driving characters time and again being depraved dominators, conquerors and mass murderers. Research some of the horrors that were inflicted upon the Aboriginal people of Australia and the indigenous populations of the Americas and you'll see that the whole thing was driven by a total lack of empathy for those human beings. Throughout history our main problems have been caused by the way we keep designing systems which elevate psychopaths to positions of leadership, who then go on to make psychopathic decisions.
Given the fact that people who are indifferent to truth or human suffering have always been so adept at ascending to power positions, it's hard to even imagine a society where we don't find ourselves ruled by psychopaths. George R.R. Martin set out to tell a story about a cast of characters all vying for power in an epic game of thrones, and that story wound up being populated almost entirely by psychopaths and sociopaths. It makes for a compelling tale because it's very believable based on what we all know deep down about human behavior patterns, but it's also a relentless assault on the audience's empathy center.
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So, what can be done, then? How can we ordinary, feeling, caring human beings protect ourselves from this segment of the population which has been driving us into disaster after disaster since the dawn of civilization before they get us all killed?
Psychopathic leaders have never had any trouble figuring out how to get rid of segments of the population who they deem problematic: they round them up and exterminate them. This would obviously be out of the question for many reasons, not the least because in order to implement it we'd need to become psychopaths ourselves. We'd be "curing" the sickness by becoming the sickness. Passing a bunch of laws against manipulation and deception wouldn't work either. Manipulators actually love rules and laws, because they can figure out how to manipulate them and use them to their advantage. Julian Assange is currently awaiting extradition hearings in Belmarsh Prison because a bunch of psychopathic manipulators decided to pretend that it was very, very important to respect a series of laws and rules ranging from bail protocol to whistleblower source protection to government bureaucracy to embassy cat hygiene, and they were able to engineer a result that just so happens to look exactly the same.
I've seen some people advocating mandatory brain scans for anyone seeking a leadership position. It is true that a psychopath's brain shows up differently from that of the rest of us on a PET scan, and it is possible to envision a future where the collective is so aware of the pernicious dance between psychopathy and power that such a policy might be set and enforced. The problem of course is that manipulators manipulate, and there are many ways to manipulate one's way around such a system; they've been inserting themselves into unofficial leadership positions for ages, for example, for which they'd never need to be tested. Plutocrats, advisers and propagandists are all in unofficial leadership positions.
Maybe you've got your own ideas about this, but I personally can't think of a single solution to the fundamental problem of psychopaths inserting themselves into positions of power which doesn't involve drastic, unprecedented changes in our civilization and our culture. Even if you completely tore down capitalism, ended plutocracy and replaced the entire system with a government-planned economy, you would still have positions of power and the absolute certainty of psychopaths manipulating their way into those positions sooner or later.
The Earth rise from the Moon. (Photo taken by Apollo 8 crewmember Bill Anders)
I'm talking about changes as drastic as the end of anyone having any power over anybody at all. A society where the idea of having power over anybody became so culturally taboo that even an unequal power dynamic between spouses would be seen as outrageous and ugly, to say nothing of governments or police forces. Such a society is very far from what we've got now, but it would surely be a very inhospitable environment for psychopathy. There would be no positions of leverage for one to manipulate their way into in order to force others to give them what they want, and if you started trying to create one everybody would immediately point at you and yell "Hey! What are you doing? Stop that, that's weird! If you want something from us you need to form consensual collaborative relationships with us, just like we're all doing."
It's also possible to imagine a culture in which manipulation is seen as an unacceptable taboo which immediately draws public backlash in the same way. In such a culture, children would learn from the youngest age what honest and sincere interaction looks like, with examples of deceit and manipulation clearly illustrated for them in all forms as something gravely disordered. Advertising would cease to exist in such a society, as would propaganda in all its forms. And psychopaths would be like fish out of water, because manipulation only works when it isn't recognized as such.
One can also imagine a culture which values empathy, compassion and helping others instead of valuing wealth, accomplishment and conquest. In such a culture we'd see the ability to connect with people and work for the good of the whole elevated, rather than seeing the ability to do whatever it takes to claw your way to the top of the heap elevated. In such a society psychopathy would actually be an immense disadvantage, rather than an immense advantage.
And that, in my opinion, would be the marker of a healthy society: one in which psychopathy and sociopathy become grave mental handicaps that the afflicted need to actively seek help for. A society that is so empathic and collaborative that having a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder isn't such a big deal because your neighbors work with you and help you with what you need rather than pushing you to conform and achieve, while having psychopathy or sociopathy is a debilitating disorder which will turn you into a pariah sleeping on park benches if you don't get help. Right now we have the opposite: people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other serious mental illnesses are treated like worthless hindrances to a society which values achievement over empathy, while psychopaths and sociopaths almost never seek help unless it's court-ordered .
A healthy society would flip this. It would reward the things psychopaths are unable to do, and it would reject the things that psychopaths excel at. We can actually look at what psychopaths are and are not good at, and from there kind of reverse-engineer an idea of what a wholesome society would look like.
Is such a society possible? I don't know. I recently put together some evidence which seems to suggest that our species may be on the verge of a drastic shift in consciousness, which would be the only facilitating agent I can think of that would make such massive cultural changes feasible. We seem to be headed for either huge changes or extinction relatively soon, so if there's a future humanity on the other side of what's coming, it likely exists because it made extraordinary changes in both its behavior and in its relationship with the phenomenon of psychopathy. We'll either make the jump or we won't.
Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium . Follow her work on Facebook , Twitter , or her website . She has a podcast and a new book " Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers ."
Adam Halverson , October 18, 2019 at 10:44
Well-written article by Caitlin Johnstone – it reminds me somewhat of the article where she details dealing with a narcissist. (One takeaway from that – don't try to beat them at their own little game, because it probably won't work.)
The key issue with the idea of rooting out psychopaths and sociopaths is this – who leads this process? If one isn't careful, it could be another psychopath or sociopath! At the very least, we definitely need a cultural change away from radical liberalism. (Generally speaking, anything "radical" is bad and ought to be rejected.) The movement must be free of any ASTROTURFING – no fake, self-enriching movements designed to look like something, which turns out to be more of the same at its core. We've seen hundreds of these in the past several years, and the funding behind these movements typically can be traced to the wealthiest financiers. Of course, it's usually easier said than done.
The media has led the way in cultural changes in this country – without going into too much detail, it's all going exactly according to the plan created by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which included some adherents of the malignant Frankfurt School (the purveyors of "Cultural Marxism"). Social media, in particular, is a highly pernicious influence. Helping to implement these systems are factions within the Deep State (largely the intelligence) and oligarchs within the media as well as moneyed interests. Tied into all of this in very intricate ways is rampant stock market speculation, and the incredibly dangerous derivatives bubble, which would create chaos if it were to ever burst.
Now, just to be clear, I do support the idea behind hard work, and that people who do so should be rewarded. We do need a capitalist system with the necessary regulations (yes) that promote healthy competition and free enterprise, but with an adequate social safety net. I don't accept the " Democratic Socialist" idea of forced asset forfeiture or taxation of latent assets, but the necessary regulations can help move much of that money in the right direction, in a way that all (or at least most) could benefit. Our biggest challenges include ending stock buybacks, reining in offshore tax havens, and curbing speculation that leaves taxpayers exposed to all kinds of unnecessary risk.
Lastly, I'll just say this – the cultural pessimism by surrogates of radical liberalist factions (which includes the Democratic Party) doesn't do anything to make the whole situation better. If you want to destroy a society, pollute the minds of the youth, insert all sorts of nonsensical sophist ideas into the minds of people, and convince everyone that we're all somehow inherently evil or selfish. Words like "racist," "sexist," "homophobic," and the like are being abused to advance exactly the agenda set forth by the Congress for Cultural Freedom. When we're conditioned to distrust others and think others are bad people, we become selfish, divided, and are less willing to help. Selfishness and self-enrichment somehow becomes a good thing. Ultimately, though, a house divided cannot stand, and everyone suffers.
I think I've got the ball rolling even further here – I'd like to hear some thoughts and ideas!
Gary Weglarz , October 18, 2019 at 10:21
In our collective past, our tribal small group ancestors had powerful ways to deal with psychopaths, with those who simply refused to abide by the values and mores of the larger group. Psychopaths could be banished and thus expelled from the group, or even "accidentally" fall of a cliff on a hunting expedition in more extreme cases. The communal, "group welfare first" focus of tribal societies didn't offer much refuge for the psychopaths who inevitably were born into them but endangered the group with their behavior.
No so with our current societal myth system of individualist greed based "me first" capitalism, where it would seem the only "shared value" is "anything for a buck." Capitalism, having associated ANY notion of "communal good" as a human and humane "value" with the dreaded and demonized communism, has created a myth system that rewards greed and criminal behavior and the possession of power over masses of one's fellow humans. It is a system made for and by the psychopathic personality. The Western notion of "human nature" as selfish, brutish and violent is in truth the perfect "projection" of the psychopathic personality as well as the perfect "justification" for psychopaths to act the way they do. It creates a world in which bringing about the deaths of a half-a-million Iraqi children can be publicly claimed to be "worth it" without protest, without an outcry and without any "banishment" from our society. We will "collectively" reclaim the communal values needed for a humane "shared future," or we humans will find no future worth living.
Annie , October 17, 2019 at 22:40
I don't disagree with Ms. Caitlin that psychopaths are basically in charge. In my book only a psychopath could sit around and discuss where the next drone strike will occur knowing full well innocents will also be slaughtered, not to mention creating false narratives to destroy whole countries.
However I would not like to envision a world where no one exerts any type of power over others. That kind of world would perhaps wind up even worse.
Nothing wrong with parents exerting power over their children, or teachers exerting power over their students, or the police protecting us from your everyday kind of sociopath, or bosses exerting power over their employees, because power is not in and of itself a bad thing, but an abuse of power is.
Sherwood Forrest , October 17, 2019 at 20:16
I'm glad Caitlin got through her ordeal with a psychopath/sociopath. I hope she'll gain more comprehension from her examination of how people without empathy ruin life for the rest of us. I'm taking a risk commenting on this tragedy and on Caitlin's theories. My experience does not exactly mesh with hers in that I think I've seen individuals who compartmentalize their lives so that they are deviant in some settings and reciprocating in others. Likewise I think I've seen people change from cooperative and kind to deviant, and think I've even interacted with a few who matured or healed out of their disturbing attitudes and behaviors.
If these observations were not so then megalomania could not result from the accumulation of power or wealth, the combat soldier could never return to family life, the egomaniac could not learn from trauma or failure, and we could never see human vulnerability in authority figure who live to regret. Much of philosophy and fiction writing would not be possible if it were not for these paradoxes.
So while Caitlin's models accurately express the outrage of a younger person experiencing serial disillusionment they may be too simple and reactive as a basis for anticipating a better culture. Victims can find fulfillment in forgiveness. When I've forgiven perpetrators of cruelty against me has been my greatest personal growth spurts. Not that I forget, or that I trust those offenders again, but I don't let their infractions completely shape my perceptions. All of us who survive take inventory of our remaining abilities an do our best to recover.
Another dimension of the sociopath problem is that we are social beings who need one another. The individual is limited in stamina and strength so that their impact would be small without friends and co-workers. Even the intellectual depends upon the body of work that came before. We find that in small, simple communities the people tend not to allow any individual to rise very high. Contrast that with the idea that we might colonize the cosmos (a bad idea I think) so that a few chosen ones have a disproportionate amount of resources devoted to their coming launch while everyone else is left behind. (Makes me cry about Simone Biles). My fondest memories are of campaigns for the good (lost and won) in which I bonded with other devotees and gave my all. And in the best of these no one stood out, but all shared their doubts and weaknesses, realizing we can all be selfish and irrational at times.
Knowing that our economy is mostly unfair we should watch to see who is in trouble by no great fault of their own and stealthy attempt to assist in considerate ways. Knowing theater institutions victimize the weaker we should always be prepared to object when we see injustice. And so on and so forth. Everyone must start from their current situation and try to do right. Caitlin fears that any collective could become a lynch mob against bad actors, and she's correct but letting the evil actor off no matter how powerful they are can only doom us. Bertolt Brecht was likely one of the most disillusioned persons of the 20th Century, but you always find him advocating to make distributive justice real. Can we aspire to that?
Sherwood Forrest , October 18, 2019 at 09:55
Psychos love endless discussion. It protects them from accountability.
The idea of nations/countries is negated once the populace is eliminated from the power loop.
When communities have power they will provide accountability without Facebook and Twitter.
Descending back to lower forms of consciousness is a bad idea because it gives validity to sociopaths who have reopened settled issues.
So don't stand for the national anthem, and don't read "the American Conservative."
Adam Halverson , October 18, 2019 at 10:11
Religion can be good, when it is not corrupted by political influences or the like. Theocracies may have seemed like a good idea at first – in theory – but are ultimately doomed to fail at some point due to the corruption and exploitation of religious dogma for political gain (e.g. Wahhabiism).
Religion has its place in society, and it is necessary. However, it becomes problematic once it is used as a weapon to infringe upon the rights of others, or is corrupted as a tool of manipulation
Feb 23, 2015 | www.unz.com
"I have always liked the 'monster within' idea. I like to think of zombies as being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters." -- George Romero
The most heinous thing a human can do is eat another human. Fear of cannibalism along with the other two great taboos, incest and inter-family violence, are the bedrocks of human culture. Without these taboos there is no human civilization, yet zombie cannibals are everywhere, from the most popular TV shows in the US and Europe to the most played PC games. Everywhere we look there is a zombie dragging his feet looking for human prey. The ubiquitous nature of this meme of semi-human creatures that survive only by breaking the most fundamental of human taboos is a clear indicator of a collective cultural pathology.
Humans must not only kill and eat plants and animals to survive, we must make sure they keep coming back so they can be killed and eaten again and again. Life needs death; we must kill to live, and eventually we all wind up as someone else's food. This paradox lies at the core of the world's religions and mythologies and the fear/repulsion of eating other humans is the keystone of our culture, without it we turn on ourselves and self-annihilation ensues. The zombie meme is a modern myth pointing to a deep fear of self-destruction.
The great psychologist and mystic Carl Jung was asked if a myth could be equated to a collective dream and he answered this way, "A myth is the product of an unconscious process in a particular social group, at a particular time, at a particular place. This unconscious process can naturally be equated with a dream. Hence anyone who 'mythologizes,' that is, tells myths, is speaking out of this dream."
If a person had a recurring nightmare that she was eating her family it would be a clear symptom of a profound psychological disturbance. Cultures don't dream, but they do tell stories and those stories can tell us much about the state of the collective psyche.
Many of the themes in our popular culture are conscious story telling devices with the definite purpose of social engineering/control, but others seem to just emerge from the collective unconscious like the stuff of dreams. The zombie meme is clearly of the latter variety. It's pointing to a fear that something has broken in our culture and what awaits us is a collective psychotic break of apocalyptic proportions.
In the 1950's there were widespread fears of a communist takeover that expressed themselves through films like The Village of the Damned or the Invasion of the Body Snatchers . But the zombie meme exposes something much darker in our collective psyche. The fundamental taboo around cannibalism is a pillar of human culture, yet the zombies are obsessive cannibals and we can't seem to get enough of them.
What does this new archetype of a cannibalistic apocalypse reveal about out culture? By nature archetypes point to transcendent themes that evade definition. They are not symbols that have a clear equivalent, they can only point in the general direction which in the case of the zombie meme is the inverting of some of our most sacred myths and the embracing of our most horrid taboos.
The zombie meme emerged onto the American consciousnesses with George Romero's 1968 cult classic, The Night of the Living Dead . The archetype was invigorated with Danny Boyles's 2002 film, 28 Days Later which introduced an important new element: the apocalypse.
The meme reached maturity in 2010 when AMC launched The Walking Dead, now the number #1 show on US television for viewers between the ages of 18 and 49. The Walking Dead was created by Frank Darabont, director of The Shawshank Redemption, and is based on a comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The key to the success of The Walking Dead is the dystopian zombie apocalypse in which the story unravels, allowing it to outperform even the ultimate social opiate, Sunday Night Football .
This is not simply an American phenomenon. In France the series The Returned (French: Les Revenants) has been very popular with both viewers and critics. The Returned puts a fascinating twist on the return of the dead- they just start walking home after having been dead for many years as if nothing had happened. The BBC's In the Flesh focuses on reintegrating zombies, victims of PDS (Partially Dead Syndrome). World Z had Brad Pitt save the world from fast moving zombies on the big screen and Mel Brook's son Max even wrote a book titled The Zombie Survival Guide.The Inverted Christian Mythos
In one episode of The Walking Dead the zombies are seen shuffling under the arch of an episcopal church inscribed with a passage from the gospel of John, "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life". Over a billion Catholics in the world regularly transform bread and wine into what they believe is the actual flesh and blood of their savior, Jesus of Nazareth, and eat him. Catholics believe this sacramental right gives them eternal life. In the zombie meme, the infected humans die and are born again but not unto salvation but into a hell of insatiable appetites and mindless meandering.
The Christian myth is agricultural; Christ is killed, buried, and comes to life three days later as the seed emerging from the ground, just as the moon hides for three days behind the sun each month, only to be born again. Christ's body is the 'sacred' meal, the sacrificial food of the gods, his blood is their elixir. The Catholic acts as the god receiving the sacred meal and by doing so gains the eternal qualities of the gods by breaking the most embedded of human taboos -- the eating of human flesh. It's certainly a curios paradox that the sins of man are forgiven by committing cannibalism, as Catholic doctrine clearly states that Jesus was both man and God and the transubstantiation of the Catholic mass physically changes the bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Jesus.
As the Christian myth begins its third millennium, is the zombie meme telling us that this religious story is no longer viable ? Are billions of 'zombies' eating flesh and drinking blood but finding no nourishment? The vast majority of Western people have a profound belief in science and science tells us that the story of Jesus is not to be taken literally, yet our churches insist that the 'myth' of Jesus is historical. The Christian software no longer works as the science 'virus' has rendered it useless.
Myths are other people's religions and for Westerners in need of spiritual 'food' the Eastern systems of yoga and Buddhism, which don't depend on dogma that contradicts science, seem to be more palatable to their scientific worldviews. Unfortunately, those 'programs' where written for a machine other than modern Western man.
Joseph Campbell described believing in a literal, historical God as someone eating a menu believing that they were really eating the food. One clear component of the zombie meme is the spiritual starvation we are experiencing in the West. We are eating the menus so the speak- old, meaningless books written by foreign peoples from far off places thousands of years ago, and they give us no nourishment.
Another essential quality of the zombie is its unquenchable hunger. No amount of flesh and blood seems able to quench the longing to consume live human flesh. Modern man has a similar problem- no amount of money, sex, gadgets, job titles, drugs, entertainment, pornography, art, religion or gurus seem able to quench our thirst. We live in constant hunger.
If we equate the zombie 'hunger' for flesh to the human desire for money, the comparison becomes almost uncanny. Most adult humans spend most of their day either making money or spending it while being constantly bombarded with propaganda/advertising to keep them hungry.
From the most humble street vendor to the billionaires on CNBC, no one seems to ever have enough money. Zombies need to eat live human flesh and money is at its core, human labor. Our craving for money is really the craving for the work of others, for the sweat and blood of millions to furnish us with unlimited amounts of food and consumer goods.
The vast majority of Westerners have ceased to create anything tangible. Only one in five Americans actually produce anything. Eating what one produces on a farm or trading manufactured goods for food connects us to life. But when people spend ten hours hours a day in an office looking at a computer screen and two hours in traffic, somehow eating, and living, become abstract. What are we actually doing to create the food , heat, and the shelter we need?
Our hunger for food and things far outstrips our practical needs and has become the cause of our ever more obese, angry, unsatisfied society while our spiritual hunger leaves us addicted, chasing empty consumer thrills. There is no end to what can be consumed and there is never enough for even those with billions; we always need more.Zombies Don't Surf
Zombies don't think, they simply move in big herds looking for their next meal, reminiscent of the herds piling up behind the doors of malls on Black Friday. Curiously, the only way to kill them is to shoot them in their least vulnerable point, their brains.
Modern man is almost entirely without out any practical skills. He doesn't know how to grow food, hunt animals or build a house. He uses all sorts of electronic tools whose core technologies he doesn't really understand and which he doesn't have the slightest idea how to fix.
This set of circumstances is a recent development in human history, beginning in the 18th century and growing exponentially in the last 30 years during the information revolution. We are helpless slaves to technologies we don't understand and to media that programs us to believe all sorts of propaganda designed to keep us from actually thinking critically.The Zombie Apocalypse
Dawn of the Dead -- 2004 Re-make
At least since the time of Christ, western man has been waiting for one apocalypse or another. Be it the return of Christ, the turn of the millennium, nuclear war, killer meteorites or UFO's, apocalyptic fears are nothing new to us. Yet it's no coincidence that just as the zombie took over prime time with The Walking Dead , the term 'preppers' began to appear. The intensity of apocalyptic thinking has noticeably increased in the last few years as shows like Doomsday Preppers is the most watched program in the history of the National Geographic Channel.
The latest wave of apocalyptic furor to take over the US is not based on fears of nuclear war or the return of Jesus, but on the collapse of the financial system which gave us a shot over the bow in 2008. We are so far removed from any practical and productive activities that if the extremely complex financial and logistical infrastructure of the world gave way, how would we survive? If our stores were suddenly empty how many people in the West would be able to produce food, fuel and shelter? The vast majority of us are so far removed from the practical necessities of life that we are in a very real sense, mindless, insatiable, endlessly consuming zombies.
Not only do we not understand the technologies we use, we seem to trust that the complex systems that maintain us will continue working seamlessly even as doubts grow over the people who brought us the sub-prime debacle, the Iraq War and quantitative easing (QE). What would happen to the world supply chain if the confidence in the dollar as a reserve currency were lost? Is the ever increasing gap between rich and poor about to explode into all out class/race war? A key element of the zombie meme is the underlying fear of societal collapse.The Myth is Dead
Sometime after Galileo but before Newton, science lost the need for meaning. For Galileo the universe, including the earth, was alive but by the time of Newton it was a dead machine. The importance of this shift cannot be overestimated. Galileo was describing something that was alive, that had a soul, a soul humans participated in, but by the time of Newton and the Enlightenment we were existing in a cold universe. The world went from breathing like a mother to ticking like a clock.
From the earliest known cave paintings made over 40,000 years ago to the mystery schools of pre-Aryan Europe through to medieval Christian Europe, the West has been guided by profound mythical stories.
Science can give us answers to almost all our questions, yet in the end its meaninglessness is disquieting. Science gives us technologies and deep understandings of the mechanics of the universe, but it's unwilling to the breach the topic of meaning. We are asked to live for cliches, consumerism, hedonism or fundamentalism. Rejecting science is absurd but embracing it is deadening.
If we were able to understand our own religions in the same spirit that we decipher the religions of others (myths) while embracing science (with its limitations), than maybe we could find our way to a new myth that would shed meaning on our cold world. But myths emerge, they are not consciously created, and for the moment we wade in the void of knowing how but not why. We consume but are never filled, we seek but we do not find.
We are all zombies.
Endgame Napoleon , says: March 1, 2019 at 6:42 pm GMTWhen I clicked on it, I thought the article might be about zombie corporations, which are so debt-laden that the interest on their loans eats up their profit.
These central bank-infused zombies live on printed dollars, given to them by elites in the form of no-interest loans from central banks. Some of the zombie corps use their Fed welfare to devour other corporations, cannibalizing the smaller-fry corporations.
They show no mercy with the employees of the guppy corporations that they swallow, firing most of the “expensive,” low-wage American workers, but keeping the prize assets of the little fish to beef up their books until the next Fed infusion.
The zombies often hire mostly citizens and noncitizens in a position to accept rock-bottom pay, thereby dragging down wages to trash-can-scouring levels for 40 years in country’s described as First World oases, as opposed to Third World s ****** s.
The welfare-qualified, womb-producing immigrants hauled into places like Zombie Corps, USA by the millions, can afford to accept low wages from zombie corps because of wages that are supplemented by government when they stay under the earned-income limits for welfare while churning out US-born kids in a single-breadwinner household.
This serves the interest of bottom-feeding zombies.
A low-wage workforce that gets free EBT food, housing assistance, monthly cash assistance, electricity assistance and up to $6,431 in refundable child tax credit cash that increases with every US-born kid they birth can afford to undercut the citizen labor pool by accepting the skimpy, paltry, part-time gruel that the zombies feed to their servants, calling it wages.
Zombies also often have a no-guaranteed-pay / no-benefits wing of employees who are subjected to a lot of expensive, recurring hoop-jumping, like licensing tests and fees, and while they are held to quotas, they never know whether or when they’ll be paid after working their cans off to meet the quotas.
They can’t just produce kid after kid that they cannot afford to feed to boost up their wages by means of what recipients of government aid call “the system.” They can’t just work part time or in temp jobs, collecting welfare that bridges the gap between what zombie corps pay and what the living expenses of their employees cost during months when their traceable income does not exceed the welfare programs’ earned-income limits.
They have to hump it, working long hours to meet the quota numbers, sometimes incurring a lot of expenses beyond just the government-imposed ones, while cheerfully listening to a line of bull from zombie corps’ managers, trying to smooth over the fact that zombie corps save money by withholding pay from their many contract employees, a group that also pays the employer’s part of SS tax, doubling the amount of SS tax that they pay compared to other employees.
Zombies also cut their expenses by offshoring tons of manual-labor jobs to Third World countries with pools of low-cost workers.
Most of their blood-draining cost cutting is the human kind, but not the kind of cost cutting that trims the globetrotting budgets of highly-paid managers, coordinating multiple, costly convention trips per year to posh hotels in Europe with their highly-paid wives in their family-friendly, absenteeism-friendly jobs.
Except for the CEO’s $300-million-per-year salary and the salaries of top managers in six figures or multi six figures, zombie corps cut their human-expense budgets to the bones.
They throw some bones to their low-wage, but welfare or spousal-income supplemented back-office mom employees, in the form of libertine, above-firing absenteeism privileges and many mom-themed work parties, like Baby-Mommy-Look-Alike-Bulletin-Board-Decorating contests. But, these too, are budget affairs—potlucks catered by the crony-mom employees themselves.
Zombies save money on human labor any way they can, including by hiring mostly employees who do not need for the wages alone to cover their major household bills due to their unearned income from a spouse, child support or the elaborate monthly welfare system, in addition to bigly child tax credit checks from the progressive tax code.
Even though they cut, cut, cut the human-labor side, to survive, the zombies still have to drain blood from the taxpayers via the central bank.
TaoRider , says: March 18, 2015 at 2:15 pm GMTExcellent discussion of the state of western culture as symbolized by the Zombie myth. Looking into the mirror can be upsetting to some. I personaly gave up Catholicism for my better mental health. If however it gives you meaning, then I am happy for you.J1234 , says: March 19, 2015 at 3:59 am GMTZombies are like sleep dreams and fairy tales -- they can easily be interpreted psychologically in a variety of ways. And usually are. There usually seems to be at least a shred of insight in most interpretations. Anxieties about population and inescapable mortality are a couple of other more obvious dots that can be connected in zombie fiction.Bill Jones , says: April 28, 2015 at 1:43 am GMT
Oh, and then there's the matter of the zombies' different skin color, different facial features (generally perceived as being ugly and menacing), extremely low intelligence, the complete lack of morals and the inevitable violence that occurs whenever they're in large groups -- whatever correlation that might have with any modern day population in the civilized world. I suspect this is a big part of the appeal of zombie fiction. My evidence? How is it that zombies are killed? With magic? Stakes in the heart? Silver projectiles?
No they're killed with plain ol' guns. With lead bullets. The same down-to -earth way we imagine we would dispatch their real life counterparts, should it ever come to that. Fantasy zombie talk I encounter at gun ranges and forums often strikes me as being a sublimation of this very real anxiety. Remington even has a zombie shotgun. And it ain't for huntin' ducks or using as a prop in a horror movie." "A myth is the product of an unconscious process in a particular social group, at a particular time, at a particular place. This unconscious process can naturally be equated with a dream. Hence anyone who 'mythologizes,' that is, tells myths, is speaking out of this dream."Doug nope , says: May 4, 2015 at 7:37 am GMT
Hence the Myth of 9/11.
Held the Nation in sway for almost 15 years now.The recent American "zombie apocalypse" craze is really a subconscious expression of life in a modern, ideologically, culturally and socially atomized country. Behind every seemingly friendly person you meet is a potential shambling monster waiting to be revealed, who depending on their hidden personal politics and beliefs, has the potential to gravely harm you and your livelihood through guilt by association etc, and thus must be treated with the utmost caution.
The Walking Dead resonates with young people because they can relate. To survive in this post-modern multicultural wasteland where there is no such thing as the common good they all must find their "group of survivors" ie; the highly stylized social niche groups of nerds, hipsters, punks etc that have developed in place of the old American monoculture.anonymous Disclaimer , says: May 12, 2015 at 11:23 pm GMT
-- Zechariah 14:12-13, ca. 520 BC@White Guy In Japan " The vampire symbolizes seduction "
A Spanish doctor noted, several years ago, that descriptions of human vampires are close matches to descriptions of humans dying of rabies -- fear of bright light/mirrors, hypersensitivity to strong smells (eg garlic), aggression, biting, hypersexuality and sexual assault, the association with bats (common rabies vectors) and of course, those who are bitten or raped are likely to become vampires themselves.
Whoriskey , says: June 6, 2017 at 6:02 pm GMTRabies used to be called hydrophobia – after a key symptom. Vampires reflect the sympyon in their reaction to holy waterAnonymous [AKA "lol from NK"] says: October 12, 2017 at 1:37 am GMTThese girls constantly looking at their phones, and people doing what the media and school make them to believe is also a zombie status.Anonymous [AKA "jambaloney"] says: February 28, 2018 at 3:49 pm GMT
See, the guys next to you? Is using some kind of pill, is a zombie, bcse the brain stop working, the whole nation is drunk, now, this is why something is wrong around you.
Good luck.Kratoklastes , says: March 8, 2018 at 2:25 am GMT
I think this is very well written and the main idea is clear and should be well considered by anyone who thinks critically. The “zombie” phenomenon is definitely a newly emerging metaphor people relate to that may well be transforming into a myth...Anon  • Disclaimer , says: November 22, 2018 at 3:09 pm GMT
The Universe does not have any meaning, and neither does life. Religion is fabricated meaning. It supposes itself to offer a explanation, which we find to be both ridiculous and meaningless upon investigation.
It is very difficult for a goodly proportion of humans to accept that the universe is so big and old and cold and dark, that it simply doesn’t care about a few hairless apes on a small wet rock near an unimportant star. They really do struggle with that.
And once human societies developed the ability to produce above subsistence (even slightly), that gave the charlatans their way of earning a living.
You see, I would take the bit I quoted, and I would go further: that the people who profit from the fabricated meaning, know full well that it’s fabricated – and that especially includes the originators of each set of silly stories.
I am reminded of a great quote by R. G. Ingersoll:
Why did ‘god’ so organise things, that a murderer could transfer his sins to a lamb, and then sacrifice the lamb as a sin offering?
Because priests love mutton .The conscious/unconscious relation (civilized society/zombies) can be found yet oje more time in the stated ethics/actual ethics (legal laws) pair.
You can break someone’s psyche (“heart”) with betrayal and lying, and while most will say it’s distasteful, no-one asks for such issues being covered by criminal or anti-violence laws (nor are the perpetrators socially shunned and shamed).
Sep 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
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https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=4777 Incentives (And Sociopaths) Rule The World
by Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 22:25 0 SHARES Authored by Michael Krieger via The Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
Ryan Murphy, an economist at Southern Methodist University, recently published a working paper in which he ranked each of the states by the predominance of -- there's no nice way to put it -- psychopaths. The winner? Washington in a walk. In fact, the capital scored higher on Murphy's scale than the next two runners-up combined.
"I had previously written on politicians and psychopathy, but I had no expectation D.C. would stand out as much as it does," Murphy wrote in an email
On a national level, it raises the troubling question as to what it means to live in a country whose institutions are set up to reward some very dubious human traits. Like it or not, we're more likely than not to wind up with some alarming personalities in positions of power.
– From last year's Politico article, Washington, D.C.: the Psychopath Capital of America
One of the most frustrating aspects of modern American politics - and the culture in general - is our all encompassing fixation on the superficial. It's also one of the main reasons I have very little interest in presidential politics, which basically consists of a bunch of billionaire friendly puppets auditioning to become the next public face of imperial oligarchy. Though I understand the desire for quick fixes, our focus on highlighting and mitigating only the symptoms of societal decay as opposed to the root causes, ensures we'll never achieve the sort of positive paradigm-level shift necessary to bring humankind forward.
The truth of the matter is incentives rule the world, and if we look at some of the most pernicious and predatory areas of our socio-economic reality, including (but not limited to) the financial sector, the defense industry, intelligence agencies and healthcare, we find a slew of incentives that handsomely reward sociopathic behavior, while penalizing ethical, conscious action beneficial to society at large. Notice it's always the whistleblowers who end up imprisoned or hunted down.
In the economic realm, if we think about the idea of a competitive free market, the primary reason the profit incentive exists and is widely accepted is the implicit understanding that people should be incentivized to create a product or service that benefits the public at large. While we still have remnants of this at play within the modern U.S. economy, much of the "wealth" attained these days is a direct consequence of rent-seeking, parasitic behavior and corruption of one kind or another. The reason is pretty simple. It's incentivized.
When you have a financial fraud crime spree like the one witnessed earlier this century and your response is to bail out the criminals and ensure no executives go to jail, it's essentially a gigantic bell ringing in the ears of every scoundrel on the planet. It's open season for sociopaths. The Obamas weren't super wealthy when Barack became President, yet they're now worth an estimated $40 million (likely more given the size of their real estate purchases). The same thing happened to the Clintons. They've reportedly earned $240 million since Lolita express frequent flier Bill left office.
The most surefire way to succeed in America today is to be a high-functioning sociopath who scratches the backs of other high-functioning sociopaths. As such, the most pressing problem at a root level is that our economy and society incentivizes sociopathic behavior by systematically funneling sociopaths into positions of unaccountable power. If this sounds insane it's because it is. The very structure of how our society functions is in fact insane.
These are the people running the show. They infect every country, every industry, every government. All the halls of power. Until we figure out a way to marginalize humanity's sociopaths rather than hand them the reins of power globally, we'll continue to repeat the current pointless, destructive cycle.
I'm certain the current mainstream political discussion in the U.S. isn't serious because so few people are focused on the structure of society itself. There's very little focus on incentives, on the fact that our entire economy functions as a promotion mechanism for sociopaths. No amount of tinkering around the edges is going to dramatically transform the human experience into something more positive until we figure out a way to make society itself resistant to sociopath takeover.
Significantly, one of the most in your face examples of sociopath dominance relates to imperial military policy, which has nothing to do with national defense and everything to do with national offense. It's simply about utilizing state murder to advance power and profit for a few. The incentives are completely backwards, which is why it never gets better.
There are few things a human being can do more evil and depraved than lying a nation into war, yet that's precisely what the proponents of the Iraq war did. More significantly, what consequences have befallen the proponents of that war? Increased fame and fortune in most cases. In fact, one of them is currently the leading contender for the Democratic Party nomination for President.
When you incentivize murderous behavior, you get more of it. Those who stand to benefit most from war should also have the most to lose, but our current system functions in the exact opposite way.
All that said, perhaps the most concerning instance of perverse incentives in society today can be found in the relationship between the national security state and average citizens. The way it works, and it's rapidly getting worse, is you the individual have zero right to privacy while the national security state can classify what the CIA director ate for lunch. Those with the most power are subject to the least transparency, while the powerless masses are subject to mass surveillance. This unaccountable, authoritarian structure will continue to ensure the worst people alive end up in the highest echelons of power. What self-respecting sociopath wouldn't be attracted to a system where you get to exercise total dominance over hundreds of millions of people with zero accountability? It's like bees to honey.
If you build a house with a bad foundation you're going to have problems. The same thing can be said about civilizations. We need to admit we live a world that incentivizes the worst amongst us to attain all meaningful positions of power.
Begging a sociopath for scraps of food might help you survive another day, but it won't result in sustainable long-term progress. We need to see sociopaths for the societal cancer they are and completely reorient our incentive structure in order to reward conscious, cooperative behavior as opposed to ruthless parasitism. Change the incentives and you'll change the outcome.
* * *
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besnook , 17 minutes ago linkBetrayed , 17 minutes ago link
the sackler family of purdue pharma fame epitomizes the mindset of true sociopathic behavior necessary for success in western capitalism. the family has killed tens of thousands of their customers for want of a few more shekels. Their first response to the hundreds of lawsuits holding them responsible for their behavior was a warning that if a settlement they can agree to is not met then they will declare bankruptcy and no one will get any money. They just declared bankruptcy and are still selling murder.darteaus , 27 minutes ago link
Funny how stories like this skate all around the perimeter of who's running this psychopathic **** show but can't mention the name.
(((They)) own the Banks, Media, all political Whores including Trump, the educational brainwashing system, are knee deep in treason against our country.
"Incentives (And Sociopaths) Rule The World"
I hope this is not news to anyone on this forum.
Sep 06, 2019 | www.thenarcissisticpersonality.com
Narcissists & the Compartmentalized Life (Part 1/2)
... .. ...
Invariably, online definitions describe compartmentalization as a defense mechanism that a person uses to keep certain beliefs and relationships separated from one another so that they don't conflict. For those who are particularly good at it, like narcissists and sociopaths, it means being able to get away with just about anything including keeping one lover from ever finding out about another or from lies ever becoming truly tangled.
Compartmentalization is what narcissists do before, during, and after a Discard. Compartmentalizing is how the narcissist keeps partners (or only certain partners) from ever meeting his friends and family members. Compartmentalization is the perfect explanation for how the narcissist can just leave you without giving a fuck why your history with a narcissist means absolutely nothing why he appears to simply vanish during a silent treatment and why he's so adept using the Cell Phone Game to keep you at arms length even when you think you are "together".
Imagine the narcissist's twisted head as being like a building that contains a whole bunch of empty rooms – or compartments – to which he is the only key holder. Over time, the narcissist fills these compartments, each with a single scenario from his life and each scenario having little or no knowledge about the existence of the other compartments. By carefully keeping tabs on the contents of each compartment and by controlling all levels of communications and interaction, the narcissist keeps the potential for conflict and confrontation to a bare minimum as he moves from one to the other. The biggest benefit, of course, to compartmentalization is that the narcissist can behave one way while visiting one compartment and behave completely differently when visiting another.
And since the narcissist is a pretender extraordinaire and master chameleon, the fact that he's has to basically lie through his teeth during each visit isn't even an issue. In fact, that's the easiest part of the strategy!
In another article series on this site called A Sociopath Exposes the Narcissist , I use actual pieces of blog posts written by a very popular online sociopath to prove my point about how a narcissist thinks . To prove my point about compartmentalizing, I'll use yet another blurb from that same blog:
For me, my Game Theory is not only one fashion of handling life, it's also the concept of compartmentalization. As many people have commented, trying to keep everything in order (in regards to the lies, half-truths, manipulations, "games," etc.) would be exceedingly difficult (for a sociopath/narcissist). And it would be, if the sociopath's mind operated as a normal person's. Everything in my mind is organized sort of like folders (compartments) and folder groups that you might find in, say, Windows Explorer; everything has its place. When a situation presents itself or I am with a certain friend or friend(s), I simply "open" up that folder and behave accordingly.
When one's mind is organized in such a way that no thought co-mingles with others, you don't have the problem of "remembering all of the lies," because you have everything you need neatly stored away, waiting to be accessed at the right time.
This same concept of compartmentalization applies in all walks of (my) life, whether it be love, friendships, work, etc. Another benefit to compartmentalizing is that it enables oneself to keep track of "friend circles", thus ensuring that none of these circles cross in any way; this can allow for you to more easily adapt to any number of given situations per friend circle. For example, for each different personality, I just find another lover (in addition to or instead of one you may already have). I find myself involved in many different circles, but almost as a ghost; I can walk in and out of these circles almost unnoticed and never be missed.
To imagine life as a narcissist, we must imagine ourselves moving in and out of these compartments whenever it served a beneficial purpose. A narcissist might have separate compartments for you, his other girlfriend(s), his work relationships, his family life, his guy friends, his time at the gym or in the band or at the bar or home alone at his apartment.
Then, when it's convenient, he just moves in and out of the little rooms like a snake, carefully closing the door behind him when he arrives and also locking it tight when he leaves.
He might be giving you the silent treatment while hanging out in the compartment next door and you won't even know it. Or he can be having a regular sex life with three different women who all think that they're his only girlfriend. When a person is a pathological liar and has no empathy, sympathy, guilt, or remorse, compartmentalization is the way to go!
The fact that a narcissist is capable of having a long-term relationship with one person while carrying on a similar affair with one (or more) other persons is a constant source of angst for all of us. And I believe it's not the cheating itself that is the biggest issue but rather the narcissist's lack of conscience/emotion that appears to go with it. How does he do it without feeling a single thing? When confronted with an affair, my ex was able to fake remorse for only a day or two before he threw up his hands in exasperation and screamed "Get over it! I just didn't think it was any big deal!" Excuse me? No big deal? This way of thinking, of course, isn't normal because even an asshole knows that cheating is hurtful. But the narcissist, in his non-emphatic way of thinking, doesn't see it that way. So, as hurtful as my ex's response was to me, he was actually telling me a snippet of truth but at the time, I sure didn't see it that way either and it caused me great distress.
In Part 2 of this article series I'll go into depth about the lack of emotion and empathy in the narcissistic personality and how it works in perfect sync with the art of compartmentalizing.
Aug 25, 2019 | www.unz.com
Kolya Krassotkin , says: August 24, 2019 at 8:40 pm GMT@renfro That mixture of grandeur and victimhood has always reeked of sociopathy to me.
The sociopath believes he's above other men: God, history or fate has chosen him, and others are beneath him and exist for his benefit, their wants, desires, hopes and dreams being of trivial consequence. Plus, the sociopath, when caught in the aftermath of his crimes, blames other and refuses to accept responsibility for his actions.
Aug 06, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Rob , Aug 5 2019 22:04 utc | 58@Tonymike (14) ..."get rid of the sociopaths who are the ultra rich."
Of course, they became ultra-rich by being sociopaths. That is practically a requirement for attaining great wealth. (Also inheritance) So the question becomes: how to get rid of sociopathy? I have no answer, as sociopaths exist in every system and society--capitalist, socialist, religious, secular, you name it. To mash together two classic rock songs: You say you want a revolution; meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Jul 30, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Originally from: Marianne Williamson is Right America is Addicted to Antidepressant Drugs
... ... ...One of the first major drug "breakthroughs" was Prozac. Prozac acts like a stimulant but masks depression. Two books should be mentioned here: Listening to Prozac by Peter D. Kramer, wherein the author promotes the wonder drug, suggesting it as the answer to some of the great problems of human psychology; and Talking Back to Prozac by Peter and Ginger Breggins, in which the authors analyze and raise questions about the drug's approval process, questioning what it might mean in terms of public safety. Examining their case histories and side effects, Prozac seems fatally flawed, undeserving of the public's confidence.
For the last several years or so, many of our mass murder episodes have been perpetrated by those who have been on psychotropic drugs, either antidepressants or drugs for attention deficit disorder. (Even drugs to quit smoking can be harmful, such as Chantix, which is 18 times more likely to be linked with violence compared to other drugs, according to Time .) These drugs are being prescribed, urged on parents by frustrated schoolteachers, with the acquiescence of those who stand to make profits, all without regard to the side effects that can emerge in shocking ways.
One side effect, or intended effect, is that the patient becomes "disconnected" -- loses his capacity for empathy. This, apparently, is one way to numb him against psychological pain and depression. But it doesn't bode well for the long term, whether in personal relationships, parenting, working, or socializing. And worst of all, it opens the door to a possible eruption of public violence in the future. This possibility alone should give us pause in accepting drugs as a solution to our pain.
... ... ...
Sally Morris is a Minnesota writer and musician. Her articles have appeared in the Dakota Beacon, the New Americana, and the American Thinker, as well as her local newspaper, where she wrote a series of interviews with World War II veterans. When not writing, she is performing on the Celtic harp.
Jul 25, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Michael Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
Perhaps, at long last, a serial rapist and pedophile may be brought to justice , more than a dozen years after he was first charged with crimes that have brutalized countless girls and women. But what won't change is this: the cesspool of elites, many of them in New York, who allowed Jeffrey Epstein to flourish with impunity.
For decades, important, influential, "serious" people attended Epstein's dinner parties, rode his private jet, and furthered the fiction that he was some kind of genius hedge-fund billionaire. How do we explain why they looked the other way, or flattered Epstein, even as they must have noticed he was often in the company of a young harem? Easy: They got something in exchange from him , whether it was a free ride on that airborne "Lolita Express," some other form of monetary largesse, entrée into the extravagant celebrity soirées he hosted at his townhouse, or, possibly and harrowingly, a pound or two of female flesh.
– From the New York Magazine article: Who Was Jeffrey Epstein Calling?
An honest assessment of the current state of American politics and society in general leaves little room for optimism regarding the public's ability to accurately diagnose, much less tackle, our fundamental issues at a root level. A primary reason for this state of affairs boils down to the ease with which the American public is divided against itself and conquered.
Though there are certain issues pretty much everyone can agree on, we simply aren't focusing our collective energy on them or creating the mass movements necessary to address them. Things such as systemic bipartisan corruption, the institutionalization of a two-tier justice system in which the wealthy and powerful are above the law, a broken economy that requires both parents to work and still barely make ends meet, and a military-industrial complex consumed with profits and imperial aggression not national defense. These are just a few of the many issues that should easily unite us against an entrenched power structure, but it is not happening. At least not yet.
We currently find ourselves at a unique inflection point in American history. Though I agree with Charles Hugh Smith's assessment that " Our Ruling Elites Have No Idea How Much We Want to See Them All in Prison Jumpsuits, " we have yet to reach the point where the general public is prepared to do something about it. I think there are several reasons for this, but the primary obstacle relates to how easily the citizenry is divided and conquered. The mass media, largely owned and controlled by billionaires and their corporations, is highly incentivized to keep the public divided against itself on trivial issues, or at best, on real problems that are merely symptoms of bipartisan elitist plunder.
The key thing, from a plutocrat's point of view, is to make sure the public never takes a step back and sees the root of society's problems. It isn't Trump or Obama, and it isn't the Republican or Democratic parties either. These individuals and political gangs are just useful vehicles for elitist plunder. They help herd the rabble into comfortable little tribal boxes that results in made for tv squabbling, while the true forces of power carry on with the business of societal pillaging behind the scenes.
You're encouraged to attach your identity to team Republican or team Democrat, but never unite as one voice against a bipartisan crew of depraved, corrupt and unaccountable power players molding society from the top. While the average person living paycheck to paycheck fashions themselves part of some biblical fight of good vs. evil by supporting team red or blue, the manipulative and powerful at the top remain beyond such plebeian theater (though they certainly encourage it). These folks know only one team -- team green. And their team keeps winning, by the way.
When scanning the news most days, I see a constant amplification of wedge issues by mass media, blue-check pundits and even many in the so-called alternative media. I see people increasingly being encouraged to demonize and dehumanize their fellow citizens. Anyone who voted for Trump is automatically a Nazi, likewise, anyone who supports Sanders is an anti-American communist. The reality is neither of these things is even remotely true, so why are people so quick to say them?
Why is most of the anger in this country being directed at fellow powerless Americans versus upward at the power structure which nurtured and continues to defend the current depraved status quo? I don't see any upside to actively encouraging one side of the political discussion to dehumanize the other side, and I suggest we consciously cease engaging in such behavior. Absolutely nothing good can come from it.
Which is partly why I've been so consumed by the Jeffrey Epstein case. For once, it allows us to focus our energy on the depraved nature of the so-called American "elite," rather than pick fights with each other. How many random Trump or Sanders supporters do you know who systematically molest children and then pass them off to their wealthy and powerful friends for purposes of blackmail?
The Epstein case shines a gigantic spotlight on just how twisted and sociopathic the highest echelons of U.S. society have become. This is exactly what happens when you fail to put wealthy and powerful super predators behind bars. They get more brazen, they get more demented and, ultimately, they destroy the very fabric that holds society together. We are in fact ruled by monsters.
Unfortunately, by being short-sighted, by fighting amongst ourselves, and by taking the easy route of punching down versus punching up, we allow such cretins to continue to rape and pillage what remains of our civilization.
If we can truly get to the bottom of exactly what Epstein was up to, I suspect it has the potential to focus the general public (beyond a few seconds) on the true nature of what's really going on and what makes the world tick. Revelations of such a nature could provide the proverbial tipping point that's so desperately needed, but this is also why the odds of us actually getting the whole story is quite low. There's simply too much at stake for those calling the shots.
* * *
Side note: I've been consistently updating my Epstein twitter thread as I learn new information. I suggest checking back in from time to time.
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Ali Tarpate , 23 minutes ago linkgiovanni_f , 32 minutes ago link
> ...f urthered the fiction that he was some kind of genius hedge-fund billionaire
He wasn't - he was set up by Mossad
Mossad Epstein Connection
Notice the Bronfman involvement...He–Mene Mox Mox , 35 minutes ago link
If we can truly get to the bottom of exactly what Epstein was up
1. We can't.
2. Epstein was in the business to set up people with kompromat material ...
3. ...and did it for someone else , it appears as he was protected from above for many years.
4. These " elses " won't allow that the support of the Americans to forever fight Israels wars gets shattered.
5. I expect operation diversion & coverup soon. My hunch is that they will pull a 9/11 hoax as a last resort if things get out of hand fast.
6. They did it in the past, they will do it in the future.
7. Human lives don't matter to them.Give Me Some Truth , 14 minutes ago link
Michael Krieger said: "It's sad and mind-boggling how easy it is to divide and conquer the American public. Manipulating the masses in this country is trivial. The next few years will not be pretty".
Despite all the news of how the elites have manipulated the American public, it still goes on, unabated. Americans, for the most part, are dumb and fat couch potatoes. They are not going to rise up against their elite masters, because they don't have the wherewithal to do so. So, the show continues on, and the elites don't seem to have anything to worry about, and do as they will.
If Americans were truly energetic about reigning in the abuses of the elites, they would have done so back in the 1870's, when Mark Twain wrote about the Gilded Age Elites. Here it is, 149 years later, and nothing has changed in America today. The elites still rule, and everyone else is an indentured servant. Of course, there are benefits for the elites to keep the American masses dumbed down, and letting them lead couch potato life styles. Doing so, keeps them in power.phillyla , 38 minutes ago link
I suspect it was the CIA or FBI. But the goal was to keep Acosta from investigating Virginia Roberts' claims. If authorities did this they would have had to investigate Prince Andrew.
If they found her to be truthful, they might even have to arrest Prince Andrew (can you imagine this happening?). Or at least ask him to testify in a trial.
If the truth came out, this would humiliate the British nation, and Great Britain was (still is) one of America's most important allies in the "war on terror" and all our other neocon initiatives.
Acosta was essentially told to "back off" Prince Andrew (not necessarily Epstein, who was best buddies with "Andy.")
This doesn't mean Israel intelligence was not involved in some way. It just means that American intelligence was involved, or wanted to protect key people. Hell, they still do.
We can be almost certain that the exact same thing that happened with Acosta is happening right now. Some prosecutor is being told to "back off. Don't go here. Focus only on Epstein and Epstein only."
This is why Ghislaine Maxwell has not been charged and will not be charged. This is why the FBI has not raided Pedo Island or Pedo Ranch. This is why Epstein's four "co-accomplices" have not been charged.
Prosecutors have again been told that "intelligence" is saying that it's okay to do this (charge Epstein with sex crimes), but NOT okay to do this (investigate and arrest any fellow predators).Obamanism666 , 45 minutes ago link
It isn't just the elites and we need to stop pretending it is
"Child sex trafficking which is the buying and selling of women, young girls and boys for sex, some as young as 9 years old, has become big business in America. It is the fastest growing business in organized crime and the second-most-lucrative commodity traded illegally after drugs and guns.
Adults purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States.
It's not just young girls who are vulnerable to these predators, either.
According to a 2016 investigative report, "boys make up about 36% of children caught up in the U.S. sex industry (about 60% are female and less than 5% are transgender males and females)."
Who buys a child for sex?
Otherwise, ordinary men from all walks of life. "They could be your co-worker, doctor, pastor or spouse."
https://www.groundzeromedia.org/7-17-19-apex-predator-den-of-vipers-heart-of-darkness-w-ed-Opperman/Give Me Some Truth , 53 minutes ago link
If Epstein was muslin would this be a crime? Of course not it would be part of Muslim Culture. Look into the Abuse done to young girls in the Rotherham abuse case. BTW I am no sticking up for Epstein but the ruling elites and certain minorities are treated different from Joe and Jane PublicGive Me Some Truth , 26 minutes ago link
The headline for this story is great:
"The Epstein Case Is A Rare Opportunity To Focus "On The Depraved Nature Of America's Elite"
This IS a "rare opportunity' for Americans to do just this (focus on how deprived our elite leaders really are).
If Americans really started to do this, for an extended period of time, and got, you know, kind of pissed off about this state of affairs, we might even throw all the bums out. We might really "drain the swamp."
So this is a BIG story. Potentially.
Of course, the Powers that Be are going to do everything they can to make sure Americans do NOT focus on this story for too long. Or that the "narrative" is controlled. (For example by focusing only on Epstein, not his hundreds of depraved buddies and corrupt institutions).
I've been posting for 10 days that there are "too many" of these people. And they are too powerful.
Seems to me if authorities went after one of the "johns," they would have to go after ALL of the "Johns." And this includes Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, former senators, governors, CEOs, secretaries of the treasury, bankers, etc.
It's the massive numbers of possible offenders that is probably keeping all of these people "safe."
And I still think Prince Andrew is the biggest fish the authorities don't want to humiliate/charge.
Even more so than Clinton. Half the country would throw a party if Clinton was charged. But in the UK, 90 percent of British citizens would be mortified and greatly embarrassed if one of their Princes was proven to have done all the things that have been alleged he did.
Jul 20, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
"Psychopathic workers very often were identified as the source of departmental conflicts, in many cases, purposely setting people up in conflict with each other. The most debilitating characteristic of even the most well-behaved psychopath is the inability to form a workable team."
Paul Babiak and Robert Hare, Snakes in Suits
Jul 10, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
deFLorable hillbilly , 2 hours agoSergeA.Storms , 2 hours ago
It all goes back to those stolen FBI files that ended up in HRCs possession in the first week of BCs presidency.deFLorable hillbilly , 2 hours ago
900+ if I recall correctly. Then Travelgate and the list over 50 years is extraordinary for any criminal...wish we could talk to Barry Seal...Lord Raglan , 2 hours ago
I'm thinking it's a "Foundation Sponsor".
absolutely true. Great memory. Good for you! 450 FBI files of Congresspeople that were lost for 3 years and then wound up found in HilldeKunt's White HOuse Office...........
Jun 27, 2019 | ahtribune.com
First we have Boris 'I-am-a-passionate-Zionist' Johnson, the hot favourite to become the UK's prime minister. His biographer Sonia Purnell, who worked alongside Johnson as a journalist, writes in the Sunday Times that he's "temperamentally unsuitable to be trusted with any position of power, let alone the highest office of all, in charge of the UK and its nuclear codes".
She talks of his terrible mood swings "triggered by the slightest challenge to his entitlement or self-worth" and says he has "the fiercest and most uncontrollable anger" she has ever seen. This confirms what many of us feared. And we wonder how those who mix with him in the parliamentary party could possibly back him for top leadership.
Ian Birrell in the ' i ' discusses his lack of discipline - turning up to Cabinet dishevelled, unprepared and cluching the wrong papers, and his notoriously poor grasp of detail. "It is strange that anyone might see this bumbling and toxic buffoon as the person to lead a divided Britain amid delicate negotiations."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com
SteB1 -> MickGJ , 6 Mar 2012 07:37
Really? Cameron is too far to the left to even get on the Democratic ticket in America: if he proposed his healthcare reforms in the States he'd probably be assassinated.
I think you are mistaking what Cameron says, with what he does. Cameron has obviously realised that in the UK the frothing at the mouth bonkers ideology of the new right in the US wouldn't go down too well with the public, and would make the Tories toxic and unelectable. So he has chosen the strategy of speaking as though he were a woolly "wet" Conservative, whilst actually following the agenda of the new right.
One of the things about psychopaths, is that because they have no real values, they are very good at using charm and disingenuous specious arguments to justify their agenda. You appear to fail to take into account how the healthcare issue is seen very differently in the UK than the US. If Cameron had a US style healthcare policy, our current PM would probably be Gordon Brown, facing a minority Conservative opposition.
This is the whole thing about this psychopathic worldview, it aims to achieve its objectives by hook or crook. So with a more receptive public it will be more open about its objectives, whereas in a culturally different environment, it will use stealth to achieve its aims.
This is how psycopaths operate, they are all things to all people, even though the agenda they follow is the same.
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com
iwouldprefernotto , 6 Mar 2012 11:33Brilliant piece. Rand's philosophy is the philosophy of the psychopath, but you can see its appeal: it absolves her acolytes of the need to care. It must feel tremendously liberating, if you're that way inclined (i.e. a self-proclaimed ubermensch with a serious empathy deficit.)OldHob -> postcolonial , 6 Mar 2012 11:32
I remember reading an interview with Harry Stein, author of 'How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy: And Found Inner Peace'. He said that becoming right-wing made him realise that he didn't have to worry about everything constantly. I'm fairly sure that you can be a liberal without perpetually flagellating yourself for the sins of the world.Her writing may as well be used to legitimise the business methods of Montana in Scarface, and a loveley example of the Rand thought processes, here now, in the present day - The Russian version of capitalism......Gangsterism is about right. The morals of the shark tank.tomcmc , 6 Mar 2012 11:22"Rand's is the philosophy of the psychopath, a misanthropic fantasy of cruelty, revenge and greed."butchluva -> EnglishroG , 6 Mar 2012 11:13
In a nutshell, Mr Monbiot.
Her definitions and descriptions are certainly consistent with a clinical diagnosis of psychopathy.
Chilling to think that some policymakers treat this poison as a bible to inform their world view.I think she just hated herself and never grew up and projected that onto everyone else. (The teenage boys analogy is apposite.) It is central to right-wing (and ultra-religious) mindsets that everything that happens in the world is somebody else's fault, never theirs, they relinquish any responsibility for or role in any social problems or dynamics, especially and ironically those things to do with the way they are. They are the ultimate victims and this is a kind of psychosocial infantilism. They talk a lot about the need for 'personal responsibility' (in theory) because they don't have any, and act the opposite. They need a spurious 'objectivism' to hide behind, a 'reality' separate from human consciousness (as another contributor correctly identified) because of a crushing insecurity. Their superiority complexes are an ultra transparent and futile warding off of crippling feelings of inferiority. It is an abject, and dangerous state of mind. Fortunately many people who go through this phase grow out of it, they have a dark night of the soul, flashes of insight into themselves, are forced to face their shit and become better people or whatever. People like Ayn Rand, err, don't. Sad.gixxerman006 -> Kairolocus , 6 Mar 2012 10:56Opps, I'll try that again....weathereye -> Kairolocus , 6 Mar 2012 10:49
6 March 2012 1:55PM
Rand was a creep. Her personal life was a train wreck. Described in biographies as cruel, megalomaniacal, ungrateful and tasteless, she surrounded herself with a cult of loyal followers. She made a cuckold of her husband and humiliated him in public when he began suffering from dementia. She was addicted to amphetamines. By all accounts, she was not a very nice person. After William Edward Hickman kidnapped and dismembered a 12-year-old girl, she wrote admiringly of the state of mind that could engage in such an atrocity:
"Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should". Hickman had "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people."
This echoes almost word for word Rand's later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: ' He was born without the ability to consider others .'"
It's amazing that this drug-addled, adulterous, cruel & utterly graceless individual is held in such regard by a significant chunk of right-wing America.
Her athiesism alone would bar anyone else from a moments consideration nevermind such veneration.
Her appeal it seems to me is in offering superficial answers in an utterly certain way that allows for no question or time spent (in Objectivist terms 'wasted') considering alternates (ie the pure demigogue).
Sadly that sort of rubbish has an appeal to a certain (usually male) adolescent mindset......and in a nation where the media is devoted to treating its populace as if they were late teen/early 20-somethings all their lifes it doesn't surprise me she has a small but noteable following.
Given the way the UK is being pushed to discard our own & embrace American 'pop' culture I wouldn't be surprised to see something similar begin here either.
Sadly.Kairolocus , 6 Mar 2012 08:55
she wrote admiringly of the state of mind that could engage in such an atrocity:
it is striking that the human population appears to maintain a level of psychopathy, rather as some deleterious genes are persistent despite their selective unfitness for the group and their prtogressive removal and disappearance being advantageous. I guess that rather like e.g. haemophilia, psychopathy needs to be recognised for what it is, and its maladaptiveness treated and contained as well as possible. There is a lot of rather florid social-behavioural/economic-political disorder around at present in a very chaotic human environment. There are plenty more Rands waving their GOP flags right now.Rand was a creep. Her personal life was a train wreck. Described in biographies as cruel, megalomaniacal, ungrateful and tasteless, she surrounded herself with a cult of loyal followers. She made a cuckold of her husband and humiliated him in public when he began suffering from dementia. She was addicted to amphetamines. By all accounts, she was not a very nice person. After William Edward Hickman kidnapped and dismembered a 12-year-old girl, she wrote admiringly of the state of mind that could engage in such an atrocity:
"Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should". Hickman had "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people."
This echoes almost word for word Rand's later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: 'He was born without the ability to consider others.'"
Jun 20, 2019 | www.newsweek.comJimmy Kimmel Says Trump Shows Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Throughout history, people who have gained positions of power tend to be precisely the kind of people who should not be entrusted with it. A desire for power often correlates with negative personality traits: selfishness, greed and a lack of empathy. And the people who have the strongest desire for power tend to be the most ruthless and lacking in compassion.
Often those who attain power show traits of psychopathy and narcissism. In recent times, psychopathic leaders have been mostly found in less economically developed countries with poor infrastructures and insecure political and social institutions. People such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq, MuammarGaddafi in Libya and Charles Taylor in Liberia.
But modern psychopaths generally don't become leaders in affluent countries (where they are perhaps more likely to join multinational corporations.) In these countries, as can be seen in the U.S. and Russia, there has been a movement away from psychopathic to narcissistic leaders.
After all, what profession could be more suited to a narcissistic personality than politics , where the spotlight of attention is constant? Narcissists feel entitled to gain power because of their sense of superiority and self-importance.
Those with narcissistic personalities tend to crave attention and admiration and feel it is right that other people should be subservient to them. Their lack of empathy means they have no qualms about exploiting other people to attain or maintain their power.
Meanwhile, the kind of people who we might think are ideally suited to take on positions of power -- people who are empathetic, fair minded, responsible and wise -- are naturally disinclined to seek it. Empathetic people like to remain grounded and interact with others, rather than elevating themselves. They don't desire control or authority, but connection, leaving those leadership roles vacant for those with more narcissistic and psychopathic character traits.Different types of leader
Yet it would be misleading to say it is only psychopaths and narcissists who gain power. Instead, I would suggest that there are generally three types of leaders.
The first are accidental leaders who gain power without a large degree of conscious intention on their part, but due to privilege or merit (or a combination). Second are the idealistic and altruistic leaders, probably the rarest type. They feel impelled to gain power to improve the lives of other people -- or to promote justice and equality, and try to become instruments of change.
But the third are the narcissistic and psychopathic leaders, whose motivation for gaining power is purely self-serving.
This doesn't just apply to politics, of course. It's an issue in every organisation with a hierarchical structure. In any institution or company, there is a good chance that those who gain power are highly ambitious and ruthless, and lacking in empathy.
Narcissistic leaders may seem appealing because they are often charismatic (they cultivate charisma in order to attract attention and admiration.) As leaders they can be confident and decisive and their lack of empathy can promote a single-mindedness which can, in some cases, lead to achievement. Ultimately though, any positive aspects are far outweighed by the chaos and suffering they create.
What is needed are checks to power -- not just to limit the exercise of power, but to limit its attainment. Put simply, the kind of people who desire power the most should not be allowed to attain positions of authority.
Every potential leader should be assessed for their levels of empathy, narcissism or psychopathy to determine their suitability for power. At the same time, empathetic people -- who generally lack the lust to gain power -- should be encouraged to take positions of authority. Even if they don't want to, they should feel a responsibility to do so -- if only to get in the way of tyrants.Models of society
This might sound absurd and impractical, but as I suggest in my book, The Fall , it has been done before. There are many tribal hunter-gatherer societies where great care is taken to ensure that unsuitable individuals don't attain power.
Instead, anyone with a strong desire for power and wealth is barred from consideration as a leader. According to anthropologist Christopher Boehm, present-day foraging groups "apply techniques of social control in suppressing both dominant leadership and undue competitiveness."
If a dominant male tries to take control of the group, they practise what Boehm calls "egalitarian sanctioning." They team up against the domineering person, and ostracize or desert him. In this way, Boehm says, "the rank and file avoid being subordinated by vigilantly keeping alpha-type group members under their collective thumbs."
Just as importantly, in many simple hunter-gatherer groups power is assigned to people, rather than being sought by them. People don't put themselves forward to become leaders -- other members of the group recommend them, because they are considered to be experienced and wise, or because their abilities suit particular situations.
In some societies, the role of leader is not fixed, but rotates according to different circumstances. As another anthropologist, Margaret Power, noted : "The leadership role is spontaneously assigned by the group, conferred on some members in some particular situation One leader replaces another as needed."
In this way, simple hunter-gatherer groups preserve stability and equality, and minimise the risk of conflict and violence.
It's true that large modern societies are much more complex and more populous than hunter-gatherer groups. But it may be possible for us to adopt similar principles. At the very least, we should assess potential leaders for their levels of empathy, in order to stop ruthless and narcissistic people gaining power.
We could also try to identify narcissists and psychopaths who already hold positions of power and take measures to curtail their influence. Perhaps we could also ask communities to nominate wise and altruistic people who would take an advisory role in important political decisions.
No doubt all this would entail massive changes of personnel for most of the world's governments, institutions and companies. But it might ensure that power is in the hands of people who are worthy of it, and so make the world a much less dangerous place.
Steve Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Beckett University , U.K. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article . Views expressed in this article are the author's own.
Share Opinion Politics Psychology Narcissism Donald Trump
Jun 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The latest threat to impose new tariffs on imports from Mexico shows that Trump is interested in using economic threats and punishment mainly to pick fights, and then once he has picked the fight he cites the conflict he started as proof of how "tough" he is. He sets conditions that other governments cannot or will not meet, and then seeks to penalize them for "failing" to agree to unrealistic terms.
The problem isn't just that Trump is liable to reverse course and sabotage his own agreements once they are made, but that other governments have absolutely no incentive to make an agreement with him in the first place.
Trump never offers positive incentives for cooperation, but relies instead on inflicting economic pain in an attempt to bully the other government into submission. Of course, bullying tactics tend to backfire, especially when the bully's demands seem impossible or unreasonable.
georgina davenport , says: June 4, 2019 at 10:49 pmYes, any clear minded American patriots should be talking about abuse of power by Trump, not just obstruction of justice.
His primary method and strategy is to be thuggish and bullish, then lie his way out of the consequences. The fact that he can continue to behave as he did is because he has yet to experience the consequences of his actions.
... ... ...
May 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Madhouse , 2 hours ago linkUBrexitUPay4it , 1 hour ago link
Mr. Trump is a sociopath, in that he meets every diagnostic criterion for the official diagnostic term "Antisocial Personality Disorder." The fact that this is a personality disorder, rather than simply a single symptom such as anxiety or depression, means that all his actions are signs of this severe, continuous, mental disturbance.
To understand his actions, it is essential to keep in mind that sociopaths have only one goal: to enhance themselves, and that in pursuing their self-interest, they lack both normal human empathy for others and a normal human conscience. Cheating, conning, lying, stealing, threatening are all done with no remorse.
When stressed with facts that would require them to admit failure, or even that others know more or are more capable than them, sociopaths lose track of reality, becoming delusional with insistence on the truth of what they psychologically need to maintain their superior view of themselves. Indeed, nobody matters except to the degree they can serve the sociopath's personal needs.
There are two major risks from Mr. Trump:
First, there is a serious risk that he will start a war to distract the country from his multiple failures and his attempts to become a one-man ruler. This is most likely to occur as he is stressed by challenges to his position as President. Other tyrants have plunged their nations into war, sometimes by creating an international incident as an excuse, to avoid internal disputes and solidify power.
Second, there is a serious risk of his destroying democracy in this country. He has already eroded it by attacking the principle of balance of powers, attacking the judicial system and the Congress, attempting to gather all power to himself. He has tried to destroy our free press by claiming that its criticisms of him are "fake news" and that a free press is the enemy of the people. These are well-known tactics of would-be tyrants, and are signs of sociopathy with his single-minded concern for himself and absence of conscience or concern for the feelings or lives of anyone else.
Dr. Lance Dodes, Harvard Psychiatrist . Salon Magazine, March 4, 2019.CaptainObvious , 1 hour ago link
Delete the name "Trump", and insert any other politicians name, from any party, and that nonsense would read just as sensibly. It would also cover most "academics".
Dude, you're posting some drivel from ******* Salon on this website and you expect to be taken seriously? Maybe that works with your friends on Daily Kos or Mother Jones, but that **** doesn't fly here.
May 13, 2019 | www.theguardian.com
MindandHeart -> ADamnSmith2016 , 13 Sep 2016 06:57ADamnSmith: Yes, I'm a psychologist. You've pretty much nailed it. I'd add that one of the major reasons narcissistic sociopaths are dangerous is that they lack empathy for others.
May 09, 2019 | www.youtube.com
During a Senate Intelligence hearing, things got heated between Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Republican senators on the committee.Liz Tunks 1 day ago
" Subscribe to MSNBC: http://on.msnbc.com/SubscribeTomsnbc
Kamala Harris Is a BULLY. She never lets the person she is questioning to Answer the Questions . I can't stand her.
Carrot Top 1 day ago Y
es or no sir??/?? ...she doesn't even wait for a response. Clearly she has major emotional issues.
brian kingman 2 hours ago
Kameltoe Harris is rude, and lacks the skills necessary to be a Senator
philip gensler 4 hours ago
She slept her way into government sleeping with Willie Brown ex San Francisco mayor Diane Byers 7 months ago Lol what a low class, bottom feeding , smirking ghetto rump!!!!
Ronnie Williams 4 hours ago
She has no civility or decorum. She tries to trip people up.
scott albert 1 year ago
She's lucky the Chairman didn't publicly reprimand her when she raised her eyebrows and then talked over the top of him when he told her to suspend. She's just a bully
Michael Kuhl 7 months ago
The Home-wrecker (Harris) should be in jail, not the Senate (look up Willie Brown, then do a little research on how Ms. Harris was GIVEN her Senate seat). You will be amazed.
Angela Hagerman 8 months ago
Looks like Kamala is taking lessons from Maxine Waters
Tommy Rocket 1 year ago
MSNBC.. what you are saying is completely untrue. Sessions was trying to answer her questions honestly and when Kamala Harris realized she was not going to get the answer her engineered question was designed to achieve, she immediately pressed on with her next question without giving Session the chance to finish.
Typical smoke and mirrors witch hunt over something that just does not exist. I would love to Kamala Harris question Lorreta Lynch... it would last for 48 hours
Kathi Culbreth 7 months ago
Harris is the most ENTITLEMENT MINDED, disrespectful, without integrity hack at this hearing! Please vote her out
Joe Pyne 1 year ago
She seems to have a problem with CIVILITY.
ar1793 7 months ago
I live in California. Harris is an embarrassment to us all!!!!
Marcfj 3 months ago (edited)
The woman is neither as intelligent nor as talented as she would have us believe.
nemo227 7 months ago
This happened in 2017 but Kamala is a very slow learner. Today, 9/13/2018, and she is STILL the same Kamala "bully" Harris. Is she working for the citizens or simply trying to make political points?
Matthew Panko 1 year ago
I have listened to her a few times now and her pattern never changes. I personally think she is a very Rude person.
May 08, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Rau Kenneth , 1 month agoTony Kuli , 1 week ago
Pretty sure psychopaths will not feel embarrassment or humiliation, only rage and vengeance.
Its good to see where the Narcissists are working ....CNN looks more and more like an asylum for these types!
Jan 28, 2018 | www.youtube.comJeanne Stjohn 1 month ago
Congress is a waste of tax money, they have no power, so obvious! Criminal leaders just lie to them, knowing they can't do a thing and most of them are paid off anyway, they don't want to do anything! Elections are rigged, so they don't have to worry about, "we the poor, lowly people!" We are not even in the equation!
Giorgio Cooper 1 month ago
Why is this pathological liar Hillary still running around free ?? Isn't lying to Congress a felony ??? If this lowlife is simply above the law lets change the laws !
Ann Martin-Frey 1 month ago (edited)
Prosecute everyone of them that knew and allowed even the smallest bit of knowledge and make every one of them ineligible for their pensions. They do not deserve those pensions, they stole them, treasonous acts against your government does not make you eligable..they do not deserve it!!
Kathie Logan 2 months ago
Not only a habitual serial liar but a career Criminal! Hillary and Bill have been involved in illegal manners for over 40 years! Hillary stated it best last year during the time of the election!. " If Donald Trump becomes president, WE WILL ALL HANG!" She finally told the truth!
Pamela Dunford 1 week ago
She absolutely thinks she is untouchable because not one person has been brave enough and bold enough to take her down the Clinton's have been corrupt and evil from child good and they were taught from NWO that they will never be taken down go child rob steel kill do everything in the power we Give you both and bring me all glory!!! We will let you control the United States as long as you want!!!
All the connected deaths that embrace the Clinton's and not single piece of evidence is kept found or stored that it doesn't come up missing so they sit back and allow these foreign governments to take over major areas and promote child sex trafficking who're houses with kids being sold to any man with air in his lungs!
Every corrupt person was praised and given more power!!! Hillary sat back and knew of all the raping that bill was doing to kids teenagers young ladies boys young men and she never blinked an eye!!! If a simple tax paying citizen was to pull the bullshit that Hillary has pulled in front of Howdy that citizen would be see the lights day until Jesus came and took us home to Heaven!!
She gas lied straight face looked him dead in the eyes and laughed at the bengahzi deaths that She is on record having him killed she laughed and she didn't Give a f*** about killing him and leaving his remains behind but my question is why hasn't she been arrested booked finger printed and mugshot took with a huge bond or mot and put behind bars until you beat the f******truth out if her??? I would get the death penalty she wouldn't and hasn't gotten a contempt of court for not complying with mr. Gowdy
CB 2 weeks ago
Hillary Clinton actually says in this video that half of Trump supporters are "deplorable". That is equivalent to roughly 25% of the American population! That constitutes a very strong statement from someone who wants to be president of The United States.
To say that 80 million people are "deplorable" IS TRULY DEPLORABLE!!! After hearing this I can't really understand WHY she got even a single vote!
tropolite 3 weeks ago
This is a fantastic mosaic of the state of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. It is absolutely clear that she is an habitual liar, corrupt to the extreme and has absolutely no credibility.
I'd love to see Mr Gowdy take the gloves off and take her down. She must be removed from the public as she is a menace. She is the mother of deplorable.
Apr 15, 2019 | www.nydailynews.com
"Narcissism impairs the ability to see reality," said Dr. Julie Futrell, a clinical psychologist... "...Advisers point out that a policy choice didn't work? He won't care. The maintenance of self-identity is the organizing principle of life for those who fall toward the pathological end of the narcissistic spectrum."
... ... ...
The psychological warning signs? "Scapegoating ..., degrading, ridiculing, and demeaning rivals and critics, fostering a cult of the Strong Man who appeals to fear and anger, promises to solve our problems if we just trust in him, reinvents history and has little concern for truth (and) sees no need for rational persuasion."
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
- Believe that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high-status people.
- Requires excessive admiration.
- Has a sense of entitlement.
- Is interpersonally exploitative.
- Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
- Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
I wrote in 2010 at SST on the characteristics and dangers associated with narcissistic leadership. "Bad Blood' by John Carreyrou chronicles the rise and fall of Theranos, a Silicon Valley healthcare startup founded and run by Elizabeth Holmes, a card carrying narcissist if ever I saw one.
This book, in my opinion, paints such a detailed and comprehensive picture of the way these creatures operate that I thought it worthwhile to bring it to the attention of SST members who may doubt my warnings of the dangers of allowing such folk near the levers of power in business and, worse, Government.
I read this book over two nights and it unfortunately brought back my own experiences of working for a narcissist to the point of causing sleeplessness and indigestion.
Under the direction of the charismatic Holmes, Theranos burned through some $900 million in investors funds before being found out in 2015. Their blood testing business was a sham that endangered patients. The company's key business strengths were the "reality distortion field" Elizabeth Holmes projected over investors and directors and the twin weapons of secrecy and fear they wielded over their employees.
Disbelievers my argue that start up companies sometimes require desperate measures to stay afloat and that you cannot make an omelette, etc. etc. However the pattern of behavior at Theranos was ingrained and consistent - "an orchestrated litany of lies" as a judge has said in another matter.
If you wish to perhaps be a little forearmed against the day that you perhaps must engage with one of these creatures it would be well to understand the cautionary tale of Theranos. https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Blood-Secrets-Silicon-Startup/dp/152473165X https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2010/05/walrus-on-narcissistic-leaders-.html
jnewman , 3 hours agoThis is a similar personality type with a different set of risks. These people are common in finance and medicine: https://www.theatlantic.com...Godfree Roberts , 8 hours agoIn the absence of a moral filter, says Martha Stout, "Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths...That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow–but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one."
My study of Chinese government revealed an important truth -- one that explains much about that country's rapid rise: they find our amateur, promise-driven, personality-based governance repulsive. They would no more vote for amateur politicians than for amateur brain surgeons. To them charm, good looks, quick wits and rhetorical skill signify shallowness, instability and glibness. Altruistic politicians have been fundamental to Chinese governance for two millennia.
Their political stars have always been experienced, scholarly, altruistic problem-solvers chosen on merit after decades of testing.
In 1000 AD, during our Dark Ages, with just one scholar-official for every eight thousand citizens, China was harmonious, technologically advanced and prosperous. Emperors and dynasties came and went while loyal, disciplined–often courageous–civil servants lived far from family, serving in remote regions under terrible conditions.
Confucius' moral meritocracy and the rigors of the job discouraged sociopaths and officials integrity, efficiency and entrepreneurial energy made China the most advanced civilization on earth.
So highly do the Chinese esteem their best politicians that they deified one whose legacy, a water diversion project, has repaid its capital investment every twenty-four hours for 2,270 years. Millions visit his shrine, which is built overlooking his masterpiece, every year to offer incense and sincere thanks.
The altruistic tradition is remembered in a Singapore Government White Paper, "The concept of government by honorable men who have a duty to do right for the people and who have their trust and respect fits us better than the Western idea that government power should be as limited as possible."
And would-be members of China's Communist Party take an oath to "Bear the people's difficulties before the people and enjoy their fruits of their labors after the people". They often fail, obviously, but at least they've got something to shoot for–and a standard that the other 1.3 billion non-members can hold them to.
 The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout Ph.D.
 The Doctrine of the Mean
Mar 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
"The idea has been allowed to take hold in the army that general officers are a race apart, not subject to the norms of ordinary life and that nothing should limit their ambition, not even common sense. " It seems quite clear from this and other articles, that the ROE are about covering General officers backsides, and nothing else.
What is killing the Army is exactly the same disease that is killing the American economy and has killed American politics, and it is spreading internationally. That disease is the promotion or election of officials, be they Generals, CEO's or Congressmen who have a variant of narcissistic personality disorder.
People so affected may be intelligent and hard working, but they cannot empathise with anyone. Normal human emotions, shame, love, fear, embarrasssment, etc. are a mystery to them.
Such folk self select for high office because they will do anything to get ahead without the slightest qualm, and that includes lying, cheating, character assassination, backstabbing and outrageous flattery of their seniors. They mimic whatever behaviors they need to exhibit to get ahead, but they don't "own' those behaviours.
At the core of them, there is a gaping hole where empathy for their fellow humans should be. Furthermore, since only a narcissist can or will work for a more senior narcissist, once the infestation starts it multiplies and filters up and down through the organisation. Based on what I've read about the levels of frustration, lack of morale and junior officer turnover, I believe, it may be safe to say that Petreaus and McChrystal are afflicted this way and most probably many officers below them and elsewhere in the Defence Forces as well.
Since McChrystal no doubt thinks of his troops as no more than a pack of valuable hunting dogs, why would he possibly consider muzzling them with restrictive rules of engagement to be a problem? "I mean it's not as if we actually have to succeed in doing good in this god forsaken country, it's not as if the troops have to care about what is happening, I just need to construct the illusion of success in Afghanistan sufficient to get my next promotion. Why can't the troops see things that way as well?" If you wish to read about an extreme example of this type of behaviour look no further than the case of Capt. Holly Graf, whose narcissistic abilities allowed her to rise to command of a Navy cruiser. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holly_Graf
To put it another way, the disease that permitted Goldman Sachs to sell bonds to investors while at the same time secretly betting that the value of said bonds would fall is one and the same as that affecting the Army. The absolute give away, which I have not yet heard of in the Army, is the mistreatment of subordinates. Of course the reason for the infestation of these folk in senior management is our well meaning efforts to end discrimination. Unfortunately discrimination on grounds of character is now forbidden, and solid evidence of good character provided by peers and subordinates is the only way to avoid promoting narcissists. To put it another way, there are people I was at school and university with who were rotten then and are rotten now, but today such evidence is inadmissible in promotion decisions. If you want a depiction of a Narcissist in high office, look no further than Australias current Prime Minister:
"The third example highlights Rudd's nascent contempt for most of the people who work for him and occurred days after his stunning election win. Staff who had gathered for a briefing on their responsibilities were told their Great Leader would address them. They were all on a high after the victory, but their excitement soon turned to dismay. They didn't get a version of the true believers speech; instead, Rudd had one clear message: if any of their bosses stuffed up, it would be on their heads. They were the ones who would pay the price. He told them they would be given their lines every day and their job was to ensure they and their bosses stuck to the script. They were not to put a foot out of line. Or else. No mistakes or deviations would be tolerated. Thank you and good night. Oh and the f-word, which Rudd loves dropping almost as much as the c-word, featured prominently in his little lecture. Old hands who had worked for previous Labor administrations didn't hang around for very long after that. One referred to him not by name but as "the megalomaniac from Queensland"."
There is no cure for this disease until moral character is once again assessed before promotion decisions are made. Walrus
Posted at 01:07 AM | Permalink
walrus , 9 years agoThank you all for your comments. I think I need to expand a few thing s alittle further.Norm Mosher , 9 years ago
Narcissism is not "Self Love", narcissism is a love of "reflected" love from others. Narcissus fell in love with his reflection in the pool. While Narcissism is an essential part of all our personalities in the NPD disorder the demand for constant narcissistic stimulation from other people consumes all other desires.
Now many people who suffer from this condition sublimate this need through hard work and apply great intelligence to it as well. However there is a huge cost because of the character defects Narcissism causes - chief of which is an inability to empathise with normal human beings.
There has been serious discussion in management theory that NPD sufferers can be valuable sometimes as managers can make ruthless but necessary business decisions. However that cynical observation has to be balanced against the damage and loss of staff and morale such a manager inevitably causes.
A classic example of Narcissistic behaviour was provided recently by the Chairman of an Airline, that for a whole year had ruthlessly worked to lower wages and employment conditions for its workers. At Christmas time she gave some Forty senior managers each a $600 bottle of wine (Penfold Grange Hermitage). Can anyone not imagine the multiple negative effects of such a gesture on the ordinary airline staff?
It is too big a task to catalogue the everyday examples of people with this condition. The movie stars and celebrities for example whose private lives, as seems normal with Narcissists, are a smoking wreck. Tiger Woods is a classic case.
However when we start talking about elected officials, or would be elected officials like Sarah Palin, we can see the serious implications. Australias Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for example has micromanaged a series of massive policy failures at home and now craves his narcissistic sublimation by impressing foreign dignitaries on every available occasion, earning him the nickname "Kevin 747" for his propensity to jet off overseas to speak at the U.N., confer with President Obama, etc. His bad, narcissistic, style of decision making has cost the nation a lot of money.
In the case of President Obama, what can we say about some one caught making an off the cuff remark about "The Special Olympics" or who was caught ogling a girl who was not much older than his own daughters? Do we see a pattern here?
I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the "Suicidal Statecraft" that destroy nations is a by product of narcissistic leadership - for example "The Habsburg Provocation" to "The honour Of France" that started the Franco - Prussian war.
At the General Officer Level, what can one say about Patton? A brilliant charismatic leader and strategist? What does the incident of the shell shocked soldier say? McArthur? Petreaus? The supposedly sleepless McChrystal? I don't know.
By way of contrats, and Col. Lang will take me to task on this, I was struck on reading Gen. Schwarzkopfs autobiography, by his apparent high degree of empathy with the average soldiers, even if he appeared far more uncompromising with the officer corps. I also was struck by his solution to logistical squabbling between Corps commanders in the lead up to Gulf war One - a field promotion of his logistics Chief from a Two Star to a Three Star General. Such a solution would be anathema to a narcissist.I am amazed at a discussion of narcissistic personality disorder that to this point, at least, has not mentioned today's poster child for this disorder -- Sarah Palin.anna missed , 9 years agoIt would seem that narcissism is rooted in the notion of individualism, in that it expresses a love for the self over the group. Interestingly and ironically, wasn't it the Catholic Church that championed individualism in the post dark ages era, as a mechanism/method to disassemble the collectivist mentality of Germanic tribalism -- while at the same time replacing it with their own hierarchical social/religious authority structure.Sidney O. Smith III , 9 years ago
I think what Walrus says is essentially true, but would be better said by including the social context by which narcissism or the cult-ification of individualism could be seen as generating its own kind of social order, or social hierarchy based upon meritocracy, or the illusion of merit when equated with raw power.
Or perhaps in better words, individualism or narcissism must be seen in the context of being its own hierarchical social structure, with its own construct of social (not individual) values that are internalized an acted upon by its participants.
And maybe, this why the "effects" of narcissism are so widespread and endemic in all of our institutions.At least in the civilian world, there is an aspect to this personality trait that is not emphasized in Walrus' comment. A few -- not all -- of those with a narcissistic personality traits are brilliant. Megalomania is one of the pathways to creativity, albeit it usually ends w/ some kind of tragedy.Maureen Lang , 9 years ago
You can bring these people down, imo, and beat them at their own game but expect career sacrifice and do not expect fanfare. And I would never under estimate their extreme talent.
Can't say about the military world nor do I want to know. But it sure seems to be that General Bragg at Chattanooga fulfilled a lot of Dr. Dixon's categories in the article mentioned by S.Henning.
I don't understand all this hoopla about the greatness of Confederate Generals. Seems to be painting with too broad a stroke. Foote does a magnificent job debunking the myth as he continually details the shortcomings of various Confederate Generals. Where was Joe Johnston when Pembleton was suffering in the beleaguered city? Why isn't Ft. Bragg named Ft. Longstreet?Arun,VietnamVet , 9 years ago
Re: SST wardrobe malfunction- seems it's just too much to ask that these seals, statuary, etc. be left as they are by prudish pols (John Ashcroft, anyone?)
Personally, my idea would be if a change simply must be wrought, let's go in the other direction & have Virtus' appearance match the one on the 1776 VA four dollar note:View HideRules of Engagement are simply the manifestation of tasking a bureaucracy, whose only purpose is to killing the enemy, to construct a puppet popular secular colonial government. It can't be done. "Winning Hearts and Minds", all over again.Arun , 9 years ago
There must be something that draws people to power who never learn from the past. On the 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, there have been news stories that comment on the Vietnamese culture and their resistance to foreign Invaders. Yet, not one has mentioned the real hard nosed fundamentalist culture that has defeated every invader and has never been conquered, the Afghans.Off-topic, but it would seem that Sic Semper Tyrannis has had a wardrobe malfunction - at least according to the Virginia Attorney-GeneralPatrick Lang , 9 years agoRoyGRoy G , 9 years ago
Yes. plWell put. I didn't know about Holly Graf, and found her story interesting.The Wikipedia article about her included this:Stanley Henning , 9 years ago
Captain Graf's awards include a Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and Meritorious Service Medal with one bronze service star.
I'm not military, but that's some fairly heavy heroic hardware, especially for a seaman, no? Isn't the medal quest a game tailor made for narcissists?The leadership conundrum is a crucial issue. It also brings to mind Norman Dixon's Psychology of Military Incompetence (1975), which I used to recommend to officers working under me in situations that reflected the problem. There is a good summary of this book at the following link:JohnH , 9 years ago
http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/publications/pointer/journals/2004/v30n2/book_review.htmlUnfortunately I think that narcissism has always been the flip side of leadership. Most of us don't need the fawning adulation of our peers. And most of us have enough self-awareness to preclude us from exuding the self-confidence necessary for selection as a leader.rick , 9 years ago
Narcissism and the accompanying tendency to put self-interest above public interest is why the founding fathers instituted a system of checks and balances. Unfortunately, leaders find ways to circumvent or disable checks on their authority over time.HOW DO THESE MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE GET THEIR JOBS????J , 9 years ago
Oh. Wait. Never mind. The Americam People are the victims here...that's right.
I forgot that for a minute and in forgetting that it seemed for a second like the American People might get the behavior out of politicians that they consistently reward at the ballot box. How silly of me.Walrus,Jane , 9 years ago
We have had to witness this plethora of Narcissism being carried to the extreme ever since 911. Instead of holding accountable those responsible for failing to do their duties, the Narcissists in both our Congress and White House decided to create 'more' Narcissistic 'castles in the sand' with their DHS, TSA, NORTHCOM, etc.. I can understand to a point DOD deciding to create NORTHCOM, but I had always thought that was what NORAD was for. Alas, no NORAD accountability, heaven forbid. Let's create more $$$ sank-holes like TSA, and America's very own version of an internal NKVD force known as DHS (as what many of my fellow Americans refer to DHS as).
While the Narcissists in our White House and Congress eat their crumpets and drink their tea, everyday people who do show signs of human life inside them (i.e. emotions, moral instincts,etc.) continue to be downtrodden by these bands of Narcissists who have in effect altered the food chain. Accountability and responsibility are not in their Narcissist dictionaries.Our moral instincts are not logically consistent. A recent classic experiment shows that people would, without hesitation, hypothetically choose to flip a switch causing a speeding train to ploy into one person rather than into a group of people. But if the only way to stop the train was to shove the fat man next to them into its path they wouldn't do it even though doing so would produce one death rather than many.alnval , 9 years ago
It seems probable that in a combat situation a person of normal instincts would even more strongly favor the guy next to him and and tend to kill more freely to protect him even though in an insurgency situation the ultimate success would seem to rest on generating s little hatred among the populace as possible by killing as few bystanders as possible. Hence both the restrictive rules of engagement and the sickening taste they leave in the mouth of those required to act to risk a buddy for a bunch of strangers.
You can reach restrictive rules of engagement by either route: a deep empathic understanding of the human emotions of the insurgent population OR by an ant farm view which simply assigns no value to human life and emotions -- your own side or the others -- but simply sees ROE as the best means to success.Col. Lang:
An intriguing thesis and one with which I'm sure many would agree.
To keep it from turning into a never-ending and unresolvable debate, Walrus' argument would be strengthened significantly were he to describe the behavior and measurement techniques to be used to assess 'moral character' and the criterion to be used to determine the validity of the assessment results.
Feb 24, 2019 | www.theatlantic.com
...Samantha was diagnosed with conduct disorder with callous and unemotional traits. She had all the characteristics of a budding psychopath.
Psychopaths have always been with us. Indeed, certain psychopathic traits have survived because they're useful in small doses: the cool dispassion of a surgeon, the tunnel vision of an Olympic athlete, the ambitious narcissism of many a politician. But when these attributes exist in the wrong combination or in extreme forms, they can produce a dangerously antisocial individual, or even a cold-blooded killer. Only in the past quarter century have researchers zeroed in on the early signs that indicate a child could be the next Ted Bundy.
Researchers shy away from calling children psychopaths; the term carries too much stigma, and too much determinism. They prefer to describe children like Samantha as having "callous and unemotional traits," shorthand for a cluster of characteristics and behaviors , including a lack of empathy, remorse, or guilt; shallow emotions; aggression and even cruelty; and a seeming indifference to punishment. Callous and unemotional children have no trouble hurting others to get what they want. If they do seem caring or empathetic, they're probably trying to manipulate you.
Researchers believe that nearly 1 percent of children exhibit these traits, about as many as have autism or bipolar disorder. Until recently, the condition was seldom mentioned. Only in 2013 did the American Psychiatric Association include callous and unemotional traits in its diagnostic manual, DSM-5 . The condition can go unnoticed because many children with these traits -- who can be charming and smart enough to mimic social cues -- are able to mask them.
More than 50 studies have found that kids with callous and unemotional traits are more likely than other kids (three times more likely, in one study) to become criminals or display aggressive, psychopathic traits later in life. And while adult psychopaths constitute only a tiny fraction of the general population, studies suggest that they commit half of all violent crimes. Ignore the problem, says Adrian Raine, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, "and it could be argued we have blood on our hands."
Researchers believe that two paths can lead to psychopathy: one dominated by nature, the other by nurture. For some children, their environment -- growing up in poverty, living with abusive parents, fending for themselves in dangerous neighborhoods -- can turn them violent and coldhearted. These kids aren't born callous and unemotional; many experts suggest that if they're given a reprieve from their environment, they can be pulled back from psychopathy's edge.
But other children display callous and unemotional traits even though they are raised by loving parents in safe neighborhoods. Large studies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere have found that this early-onset condition is highly hereditary, hardwired in the brain -- and especially difficult to treat. "We'd like to think a mother and father's love can turn everything around," Raine says. "But there are times where parents are doing the very best they can, but the kid -- even from the get-go -- is just a bad kid."
Still, researchers stress that a callous child -- even one who was born that way -- is not automatically destined for psychopathy. By some estimates, four out of five children with these traits do not grow up to be psychopaths. The mystery -- the one everyone is trying to solve -- is why some of these children develop into normal adults while others end up on death row.
A trained eye can spot a callous and unemotional child by age 3 or 4. Whereas normally developing children at that age grow agitated when they see other children cry -- and either try to comfort them or bolt the scene -- these kids show a chilly detachment. In fact, psychologists may even be able to trace these traits back to infancy. Researchers at King's College London tested more than 200 five-week-old babies, tracking whether they preferred looking at a person's face or at a red ball. Those who favored the ball displayed more callous traits two and a half years later.
As a child gets older, more-obvious warning signs appear. Kent Kiehl, a psychologist at the University of New Mexico and the author of The Psychopath Whisperer , says that one scary harbinger occurs when a kid who is 8, 9, or 10 years old commits a transgression or a crime while alone, without the pressure of peers. This reflects an interior impulse toward harm. Criminal versatility -- committing different types of crimes in different settings -- can also hint at future psychopathy.
But the biggest red flag is early violence. "Most of the psychopaths I meet in prison had been in fights with teachers in elementary school or junior high," Kiehl says. "When I'd interview them, I'd say, 'What's the worst thing you did in school?' And they'd say, 'I beat the teacher unconscious.' You're like, That really happened? It turns out that's very common."
We have a fairly good idea of what an adult psychopathic brain looks like, thanks in part to Kiehl's work. He has scanned the brains of hundreds of inmates at maximum-security prisons and chronicled the neural differences between average violent convicts and psychopaths. Broadly speaking, Kiehl and others believe that the psychopathic brain has at least two neural abnormalities -- and that these same differences likely also occur in the brains of callous children.
The first abnormality appears in the limbic system, the set of brain structures involved in, among other things, processing emotions. In a psychopath's brain, this area contains less gray matter. "It's like a weaker muscle," Kiehl says. A psychopath may understand, intellectually, that what he is doing is wrong, but he doesn't feel it. "Psychopaths know the words but not the music" is how Kiehl describes it. "They just don't have the same circuitry."
In particular, experts point to the amygdala -- a part of the limbic system -- as a physiological culprit for coldhearted or violent behavior. Someone with an undersize or underactive amygdala may not be able to feel empathy or refrain from violence. For example, many psychopathic adults and callous children do not recognize fear or distress in other people's faces. Essi Viding, a professor of developmental psychopathology at University College London recalls showing one psychopathic prisoner a series of faces with different expressions. When the prisoner came to a fearful face, he said, "I don't know what you call this emotion, but it's what people look like just before you stab them."
Why does this neural quirk matter? Abigail Marsh, a researcher at Georgetown University who has studied the brains of callous and unemotional children, says that distress cues, such as fearful or sad expressions, signal submission and conciliation. "They're designed to prevent attacks by raising the white flag. And so if you're not sensitive to these cues, you're much more likely to attack somebody whom other people would refrain from attacking."
Psychopaths not only fail to recognize distress in others, they may not feel it themselves. The best physiological indicator of which young people will become violent criminals as adults is a low resting heart rate, says Adrian Raine of the University of Pennsylvania. Longitudinal studies that followed thousands of men in Sweden, the U.K., and Brazil all point to this biological anomaly. "We think that low heart rate reflects a lack of fear, and a lack of fear could predispose someone to committing fearless criminal-violence acts," Raine says. Or perhaps there is an "optimal level of physiological arousal," and psychopathic people seek out stimulation to increase their heart rate to normal. "For some kids, one way of getting this arousal jag in life is by shoplifting, or joining a gang, or robbing a store, or getting into a fight." Indeed, when Daniel Waschbusch, a clinical psychologist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, gave the most severely callous and unemotional children he worked with a stimulative medication, their behavior improved.
The second hallmark of a psychopathic brain is an overactive reward system especially primed for drugs, sex, or anything else that delivers a ping of excitement. In one study, children played a computer gambling game programmed to allow them to win early on and then slowly begin to lose.
Most people will cut their losses at some point, Kent Kiehl notes, "whereas the psychopathic, callous unemotional kids keep going until they lose everything." Their brakes don't work, he says.
Faulty brakes may help explain why psychopaths commit brutal crimes: Their brains ignore cues about danger or punishment. "There are all these decisions we make based on threat, or the fear that something bad can happen," says Dustin Pardini, a clinical psychologist and an associate professor of criminology at Arizona State University. "If you have less concern about the negative consequences of your actions, then you'll be more likely to continue engaging in these behaviors. And when you get caught, you'll be less likely to learn from your mistakes."
Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.comAnonFromTN , says: February 4, 2019 at 8:12 pm GMT@Harold Smith
I think your folly is that you are trying to rationalize greed. Greed is irrational, we inherited it from our irrational aggressively territorial cousins, monkeys. Remember Soros: he looks like he died a couple of weeks ago (I wish he did), but still grabs for more loot and resents those who get in his way, including Trump. When greed is powerless, it is simply ridiculous. When greed has power, it becomes evil.
That's the downside of so-called market economy: the driving force is greed (apologists like to call it profit, bit semantics don't change the matter). Unregulated greed, like unregulated power of wind (hurricanes) and water (floods), is destructive, whereas properly regulated it can produce some good.
You also ignore the fact that all those MIC profiteers don't really want WWIII. They want to keep stealing huge amounts of taxpayers' money on military contracts. For that they scare the common folk with dangers that do not exist and regale them with "patriotic" BS they don't believe in. Deep down they know that to enjoy their loot they must stay alive: unlike pathetic politicians, the gods do not take bribes.
As to those people throwing rocks from the overpass of I-75, I think "Beavis and Butt-Head" answers your question. Hopeless stupidity of people totally lacking imagination, when it becomes active, is evil. But the people themselves are just unimaginative morons.
So, my point is there is no such thing as evil per se, there is greed and stupidity (often the combination of the two) that leads to evil actions.
AnonFromTN , says: February 4, 2019 at 11:32 pm GMT@Harold Smith
Greedy elites are liars and mass murderers because they have no moral scruples: they would think nothing of lying or murdering people just to get more money. If they can enrich themselves by doing something good, they won't pass up that opportunity, either.
You can call them evil, if you wish, but that worldview is the dead end: if there are inherently good and inherently evil people, you simply cannot do anything about that. You can promise rewards or punishments in the afterlife, but that would not prevent any crimes or get murdered people back to life here on Earth.
If you look for causes of evil behavior instead, you have a chance to minimize or eliminate those causes, thereby minimizing evil behavior. That does not negate the spiritual nature of humans, unless by "spiritual" you mean supernatural.
So, from my perspective, the views you propound are essentially defeatist. Personally, I do not think anyone is inherently predisposed to good or evil, you have to look for motives. Then you have a chance to motivate good behavior and demotivate evil one.
However, let me tell you what I tell my students: if you are conventionally religious, you don't want to discuss religion with me.
Jan 22, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
"A confident, aggressive delivery style - often larded with jargon, clichés, and flowery phrases - makes up for the lack of substance and sincerity in their interactions with others ... they are masters of impression management; their insight into the psyche of others combined with a superficial - but convincing - verbal fluency allows them to change their personas skillfully as it suits the situation and their game plan.
They are known for their ability to don many masks, change 'who they are' depending upon the person with whom they are interacting, and make themselves appear likable to their intended victim."
Paul Babiak and Robert Hare, Snakes in Suits
"All my life I have been fighting against the spirit of narrowness and violence, arrogance, intolerance in its absolute, merciless consistency. I have also worked to overcome this spirit with its evil consequences, such as nationalism in excess, racial persecution, and materialism. In regards to this, the National Socialists are correct in killing me. I have striven to make its consequences milder for its victims and to prepare the way for a change. In that, my conscience drove me – and in the end, that is a man's duty."
Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, Lawyer Executed in Plötzensee Prison on 23 January 1945
"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Minister Executed in Flossenbürg Camp on 9 April 1945
'We cannot hope to affect the conscience of the world when our own conscience is asleep.'
Carl von Ossietzky, Journalist Died in Berlin-Pankow under Gestapo custody , 4 May 1938
"Only people can be truly ugly, because they have free will to separate themselves from this [creation's] song of praise. It often seems they will drown out this hymn with cannon thunder, curses, and blasphemy. But I have realized they will not succeed. And so I want to throw myself on the side of the victor."
Sophie Scholl, Student Executed in Munich by guillotine , 22 February 1943
"This elite-generated social control maintains the status quo because the status quo benefits and validates those who created and sit atop it. People rise to prominence when they parrot the orthodoxy rather than critically analyze it. Intellectual regurgitation is prized over independent thought. Voices of the dispossessed, different, and un(formally)educated are neglected regardless of their morality, import, and validity. Real change in politics or society cannot occur under the orthodoxy because if it did, it would threaten the legitimacy of the professional class and all of the systems that helped them achieve their status."
Kristine Mattis, The Cult of the Professional Class
"What is more disturbing to our peace of mind than the unconditional loyalty of members of totalitarian movements, and the popular support of totalitarian regimes, is the unquestionable attraction these movements exert on the elite, and not only on the mob elements in society. It would be rash indeed to discount, because of artistic vagaries or scholarly naivete, the terrifying roster of distinguished men whom totalitarianism can count among its sympathizers, fellow-travelers, and inscribed party members.
Politically speaking, tribal nationalism always insists that its own people is surrounded by 'a world of enemies,' 'one against all,' that a fundamental difference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind lonjg before it is used to destroy the humanity, of man."
Hannah Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism
"Mounting a campaign against plutocracy makes as much sense to the typical Washington liberal as would circulating a petition against gravity. What our modernized liberal leaders offer is not confrontation but a kind of therapy for those flattened by the free-market hurricane: they counsel us to accept the inevitability of the situation."
Thomas Frank, Rendezvous With Oblivion
"There is a lack of critical assessment of the past. But you have to understand that the current ruling elite is actually the old ruling elite. So they are incapable of a self-critical approach to the past."
Ryszard Kapuściński, Writing About Suffering
"Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love. In a modern economy it is impossible to seal oneself off from injustice. If we have brains or courage, then we are blessed and called on not to frit these qualities away, standing agape at the ideas of others, winning pissing contests, improving the efficiencies of the neocorporate state, or immersing ourselves in obscuranta, but rather to prove the vigor of our talents against the strongest opponents of love we can find."
Julian Assange, Witnessing
Jan 22, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
"A confident, aggressive delivery style - often larded with jargon, clichés, and flowery phrases - makes up for the lack of substance and sincerity in their interactions with others ... they are masters of impression management; their insight into the psyche of others combined with a superficial - but convincing - verbal fluency allows them to change their personas skillfully as it suits the situation and their game plan.
They are known for their ability to don many masks, change 'who they are' depending upon the person with whom they are interacting, and make themselves appear likable to their intended victim ."
Paul Babiak and Robert Hare, Snakes in Suits
Jan 13, 2019 | www.amazon.com
Mosleys unease with all these claims had grown since that morn- ing's discovery. For one thing, in his eight months at Theranos, he'd never laid eyes on the pharmaceutical contracts. Every time he inquired about them, he was told they were "under legal review." More important, he'd agreed to those ambitious revenue forecasts because he thought the Theranos system worked reliably.
If Elizabeth shared any of these misgivings, she showed no signs of it. She was the picture of a relaxed and happy leader. 'Ihe new valuation, in particular, was a source of great pride. New directors might join the board to relied the growing roster of investors, she told him.
Mosley saw an opening to broach the trip to Switzerland and the office rumors that something had gone wrong. When he did, Elizabeth admitted that there had been a problem, but she shrugged it off. It would easily be fixed, she said.
Mosley was dubious given what he now knew. He brought up what Shaunak had told him about the investor demos. They should stop doing them if they weren't completely real, he said. "We've been fooling investors. We can't keep doing that."
Elizabeth's expression suddenly changed. Her cheerful demeanor of just moments ago vanished and gave way to a mask of hostility. It was like a switch had been flipped. She leveled a cold stare at her chief financial officer.
"Henry, you're not a team player," she said in an icy tone. "I think you should leave right now."
There was no mistaking what had just happened. Elizabeth wasn't merely asking him to get out of her office. She was telling him to leave the company -- immediately. Mosley had just been fired.
Jan 12, 2019 | www.amazon.com5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, horrifying, and richly detailed account of corporate ambition gone awry. May 22, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase I started this book and could not put it down. It's a horrifying true story of a driven entrepreneur whose only overriding goal was to become insanely rich. And she would do anything, any unimagineable thing, to get there.
Elizabeth Holmes leveraged her family's high profile connections to draw in early investors and supporters, who were not very inquisitive on details, nor very skeptical in nature. Drawing on the good name and reputation of these early supporters, she was able to build an impressive roster of other supporters with stellar reputations in tech and venture capital circles. From there, it was just a matter of stage managing the house of cards she was building.
Holmes crafted a Potemkin village that had fooled investors, customers, and visiting dignitaries. Her product demonstrations were outright theater, staged managed illusions worthy of David Copperfield. Theranos employees in on the ruse were assured it was just temporary, until the actual product could be perfected and the results repeatable. That day would never come. Those on the outside who also worked in this field had well founded and grave doubts about how Theranos could be touting a product that seemingly defied both logic and physics. Their suspicions, proven to be correct, was that it was too good to be true.
Without a trace of guilt or regret, she induced powerful tech workers to leave lucrative careers at other major tech firms, giving up millions in stock options, to come work for Theranos, surely knowing the whole thing would collapse one day. When skeptical board members asked to see data affirming the effectiveness of their product, Holmes would defer, saying those papers were in perpetual legal review. Some employees, when they were no longer useful to her, or deemed disloyal, were immediately and unceremoniously marched out.
This is a real life thriller, the story of someone who is a true diabolical movie villain. Holmes is portrayed vividly as a paranoid sociopath who could also be disarming, charmingly manipulative, utterly ruthless and devoid of conscience. This is a tale of corporate greed and lack of regulatory oversight gone all awry.
Elizabeth M. Rogers 5.0 out of 5 stars The Impossible Revealed May 21, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified PurchaseVery interesting read about the fraud that is Elizabeth Holmes. For those of us in the clinical lab industry, we knew that all the tests she claimed could be performed accurately and less expensive from a capillary sample was just simply not true. It was just a matter of time for the truth about her and the impossibility of what she claimed, to finally be revealed. Great investigative reporting John Carryrou!
lb136 VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars The tale of the naked empress May 25, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified PurchaseThe first time I saw her was in the New York Times monthly "T" magazine. She was a young blonde with big blue eyes clad in black. I poured myself another drink and checked out the article on her.
Turned out she was one of those Silicon Valley bright young things--name of Elizabeth Holmes, and she was supposed to be "one of the five visionary tech entrepreneurs who is changing the world." Her game had something to do with blood tests. Seemed she'd started one of those companies that "disrupt" business. Companies they call Unicorns that start up with over a billion and hope to sucker the average Joe into buying stock in them. I admit this one made sense to me--blood tests are big business, and this Holmes seemed to have found a way to run blood tests for multiple conditions on one device, and simply by taking blood with a finger prick. No more needles in the vein.
I'll level with you. I didn't see how it was at all possible, but this was the mid teens, and I was just getting used to putting my credit card in a slot in the machine instead of swiping it through. Always something new, right?
So I mentally tipped my hat to her and went on with my life. And then faster than Aaron Judge can loft one out of the park, the Times issued a correction. There was some question about whether her technology worked at all. And before I could even bundle up the print magazine for recycling she had been disappeared from the web version. So now I repegged her as a grifter and thought no more about her until I read . . .
"Bad Blood." John Carreyrou is the reporter who had written the Wall Street Journal article that took down the Empress of Silicon Valley. He takes you through the story and paces it like a film noir suspense tale. You know the kind--the one where you know who the bad guys are from the starter's gun and you wait to see how they get caught. He begins in the middle with one of Holmes's signature firings. She would abruptly fire anyone who began to catch on and/or didn't show enough adoration. Then he takes you quickly through her early years (she dropped out of Stanford to start working on her invention--a portable blood-testing machine that never did work properly) and on to the founding of her company. He describes her blue eyed unblinking stare, her unusually deep voice (that, too, seems to have been put on), and those black turtlenecks that came from her adoration of Steve Jobs.
This Elizabeth, too, had a Raleigh--but she made the mistake the Virgin Queen never did: this dude was her lover, too. And she made him #2 in her company. Nearly all saw through him, and feared him. Together they made the mistake of not letting employees in the various departments communicate with those in other departments, which made research and development complicated more than somewhat (yes, they did actually try to create this portable blood test machine the big con started only when they realized they couldn't do it).
With charm, guile, promises, and an impressive board (Secretary of Defense Mattis and Henry Kissinger were once on it) that had no voting power she had secured contracts from Safeway and Walgreens for walk-in wellness clinics, and kept getting investors to hand money over to her. She finally went public. So Holmes had to produce . . . something. But she couldn't. And with that, the whole thing started to unravel. Some of the people she hired realized the tests weren't working -- healthy patients tested positive for conditions they didn't have. Or vice versa.
And they ratted her out . . . to Carreyrou, who exposed her in The Wall Street Journal. At that point, at about the two-thirds mark, the author, previously writing in third-person omniscient, takes over the narration in the first person as the con comes crashing down.
Even though you know how it turned out, it's all very suspenseful, filled with people departing the company escorted by armed guards, lawyers practiced in the arts of intimidation who've been given more power than perhaps they deserve, and a few people with the courage to expose fraud--fraud that could have harmed people.
In the epilogue Carreyrou wonders if Holmes "fits the clinical profile" of a sociopath, but states he will "leave it to the psychologists to decide." Then while conceding that "she had a vision she genuinely believed in," he adds that "there's no question that her moral compass was badly askew." He concludes: "Her ambition was voracious and it brooked no interference. If there was collateral damage on her way to riches and fame, so be it."
NOTES AND ASIDES: Per IMDb: A film version based on this book is "in development." Adam McKay ("The Big Short") will direct. I'm sure you will easily guess who will be playing Holmes.
Beau's Mom 5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling page turner about the rise and rapid fall of the first female billionaire tech entrepreneur May 27, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified PurchaseI have followed Mr. Carreyrou's brilliant series of articles in the Wall Street Journal on Theranos over past several years, and signed up for the book as soon as it was published. This is his first book, and it does not disappoint. It is a suspenseful read that I tore through in just a few days. The story of Elizabeth Holmes is an extremely compelling one, and I understand that Jennifer Lawrence is being considered to play her in a future film. Holmes' single-mindedness, charisma and powers of persuasion are epic, but ultimately her lack of knowledge, morals and or any true empathy for patients are her undoing. What the future holds for her will be very interesting to see.
My only complaint about the book, and it is a minor one, is that one of the most powerful stories from the WSJ was not told in its entirety. There was a published story about Tyler Shultz, the grandson of George Shultz, that went into far more detail about how he resisted the incredible pressure that the Theranos attorneys put him under. His grandfather refused to side with him, and at first his parents refused as well, but they eventually realized that he was right and mortgaged their home to pay for his legal defense. The bravery of that young man in his early 20's, to stand his ground against the most powerful law firm in the country, his former Secretary of State grandfather and his own parents, moved me to tears. It is worth searching for that story online. I feel confident that Mr. Carreyrou will score a third Pulitzer for his reporting on Theranos.
Dennis Mabrey 5.0 out of 5 stars They need to do jail time.... the whole lot of em. May 29, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified PurchaseFew people mentioned in this book come out looking good. Holmes, her wacky boyfriend Sunny, Holmes's brother and his 'Frat Pack', and certainly the 'great men' on the board of directors such as George Shultz and Henry Kissinger who really performed no oversight of Holmes's and Sonny's actions in any way. They are all a big bunch of despicable clowns with broken moral compasses.
However, there are some good people here... one of whom is Shultz's own grandson who was one of the whistleblowers. It is a bit of a sad story to read that George Shultz sided Theranos over his own grandson. A number of engineers and lab workers came out and told their stories as well and we should be thankful they did. The shoddy lab conditions produced test results that misdiagnosed many people.
And then there was David Boise.... the 'super lawyer' who hired people from Black Cube (former Israeli agents) to go out and spy and intimidate people. There is a special place in hell for lawyers and I am sure there will be an even more 'special place' for the likes of David Boise.
If you think everyone around you is a sociopath you might not want to read this book. It will only confirm your suspicions. That said...I could not put the book down. I read it in one night until the sun came up.
Graham M. Flower 5.0 out of 5 stars Description of an Extreme Corporate Culture that created its own inevitable downfall. June 6, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified PurchaseI read this book because I know one of the professors whose lab she was associated with at Stanford. Its a pretty fascinating story. I've worked in tech for 39 years and for about 7 different tech companies. I've seen some workplaces that have some of the silo problems described here and some organizations that were quite dictatorial but I've not seen an organization that had the extreme intolerance of dissent that this one had. The author does a good job of mapping out the landscape. An extremely persuasive Ceo who was able to charm powerful people and leverage them into giving her credibility and a culture internally of extreme suppression of dissent.
I've never experienced anything like the sorts of tactics used on departing employees to prevent them from commenting on the internal issues. In my experience the management is primarily focused upon not having an employee take proprietary secrets out the door and clearly this is a problem that has occurred, but here the Ceo and Coo seem to have wanted to suppress negative information that included just negative comments about the general state of development of the devices and even wanted to prevent employees from taking documentation of their own complaints about internal views about things like the robustness of laboratory practices that had little real proprietary value to the company.
In the end Ms Holmes missed a key lesson from her idol Steve Jobs, the product has to work and it has to work well if you are going to disrupt an entire industry. It sort of looks like Elizabeth followed an electronics or software playbook (in the extreme) while not completely recognizing that this wasn't going to fly in the medical space.
It is true that dictatorial organizations that suppress dissent tend to become heavily politicized with leaders who are removed from problems at the bottom and sycophantic middle management and they tend to have higher levels of turnover as this one did.
i'd say that Mr Carryrou does an excellent job of bringing out the pathologies of this organization from the point of view of the bulk of employees, what cannot completely be discerned is exactly how disconnected the leadership really was here. It is amazing that Ms Holmes was able to charm so many important people for so long. In the end it was the reality of the poor performance of the product that showed up, and it is fairly obvious that even had this author not started the fall, the fall from grace was inevitable.
YumYum 5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! May 28, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified PurchaseOh my- this is a fantastic book. It is a quick read because it is so fascinating. I've followed Holmes since she was on the cover of magazines wondering just what she was doing. I've worked on an IRB committee (research ethics),and the entire time I was reading this book I was shocked at the lack of ethics on the parts of almost everyone in the story. They KNEW they were going to use this machine; they knew it wasn't ready; they knew Holmes was lying and deceiving and then ritually firing people who found her out, but not ONE person went to the FDA or even the SEC or FBI or whomever to say it was a fraud? And it was quite a fraud. One that was using human beings in its testing. The writing is compelling, and the story is so unreal that you can hardly believe it is true. Somehow it seems to boil down to greed. If this were fiction, you'd laugh in spots at how preposterous it seems. But it isn't fiction. It is a terrible saga of deception and manipulation, and it proves that when money is involved, people see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear.
Drwo 5.0 out of 5 stars Whatever You Should Be Doing, You Will Probably Blow It Off to Finish This Book June 18, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified PurchaseThis book is a mixture of jaw dropping hubris, charisma run amok, and the gullibility of those who should know better.
For those unfamiliar with this story, the short version is: Elizabeth Holmes, 19 years' old, drops out of Stanford to form a company and then raises hundreds of millions of dollars based on her vision of how a single drop of blood tied to proprietary technology could revolutionize medical diagnostics. The original vision became an almost beside the point issue to keeping everyone, including her board members and employees, in the dark about failure - and failure it was.
The long story, this book, explains how the company, Theranos, valued at something like $9B at it's height in 2012 and 2013, went to zero because the technology Elizabeth was selling to investors didn't actually exist. Frightening in its scope, Elizabeth Holmes presented herself as a brilliant inventor, scientist and entrepreneur, a photogenic genius out to make people's lives better.
The private Elizabeth, paranoid and secretive, created a bizarre work environment where highly educated, qualified professionals were fired for attempting to explain something she needed to know but didn't want to hear, or to express any opinion counter to her own. She then threatened them, sending many into debt defending lawsuits made from whole cloth. Installing her boyfriend as overseer, neither of them having any scientific qualifications or training, neither had real interest in building a team to work towards a shared vision. Hundreds of millions of investor money were swallowed up with no resulting innovation. At first, they obscured, then they lied and kept right on lying.
Although investors always risk disappointment, it's doubtful many expected a company with hundreds of millions of dollars to work with accomplishing nothing at all. Unlike Bernie Madoff, who kept his scam close to the chest, Theranos hired specialists, at one time as many as 800 employees, and then refused to let them work together.
John Carreyrou, relentless in his pursuit of this story, stood up to the constant threats and produced brilliant research and what should be a cautionary tale for future board members, employees and investors, encouraging them to do some rudimentary investigation before taking the "Well, he drank the kool-aid, so it must be good," attitude, but they probably won't.
Stealthy 5.0 out of 5 stars LOCK HER UP! August 28, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified PurchaseMy neck is sore from shaking my head, left-to-right, in total disbelief of all that happened with Elizabeth Holmes, Sunny Balwani and Theranos. What a piece of work! I kept telling my husband about this book and he finally said, "Stop! I'm going to read the book for myself."
Elizabeth Holmes: narcissistic, a sociopath, suffering from delusions of grandeur, paranoid, a mean bully, retaliatory, a pathological liar, exploitative and downright ruthless. She is living proof that 85% of workplace bullying comes from Women.
The high-powered people that were totally Bamboozled by this woman is just incredulous – George Schultz, James Mattis, Henry Kissinger, executives at Walgreen's, Safeway and too many others to mention here. Their level of incompetence and blind trust makes them look pathetic.
Bravo to Tyler Schultz for standing up against the face of evil: Elizabeth and Sunny at Theranos, their high powered and intimidating attorneys, his parents and his grandfather, George Schultz.
The book was easy to read. Despite having a HUGE cast of characters, they were easy to keep track of and John C. did a great job reminding the reader of who this person was if mentioned later in the book. The technical lab stuff was clearly explained and easy to follow.
I agree with another reviewer that we will be needing a sequel. Even if we catch pieces of the future of this saga here and there via the TV news, newspapers, magazines, Mad Money, "60 Minutes, etc., it just isn't the same until it is all pulled together like you did in this book. You did a fantastic job! I can't wait to see you interview Elizabeth from prison just like Diana Henriques did with Bernie Madoff.
Wittgenstein 5.0 out of 5 stars The Art of the Con June 7, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified PurchaseRead this book. Or, rather, start to read it and you will never put it down. While I knew vaguely that the Silicon Valley wunderkind Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos had run into major regulatory problems, I had no idea of the breadth and depth of the fraud she and her co-conspirators committed. The Wall Street Journal reporter who first broke the story has now written a page turning report that not only damns Holmes, but also people she fooled into supporting her such as the current Secretary of Defense and two former Secretaries of State. And for those who believe, as I do, that David Boies' incompetence in Bush v Gore cost Gore the election, will not be surprised to learn that he was one of the principal enablers of the fraud not just as her attorney, but as a major shareholder and Board Member. I repeat, read this book. One last point that the author and more importantly his original sources emphasize -- this was not just a financial fraud, but a fraud that put patients' lives at risk. Scary. So when you hear about some magical new medical solution, make sure your BS meter is well tuned before you buy into the claims.
Jan 06, 2019 | www.alt-market.com
With the exception of military tacticians acting in defense against an aggressor, con men are predominantly sociopaths. In order to carry out a "grift" against innocent people, an extreme lack of empathy is required. Understanding the mind and motivations of sociopaths and narcissistic sociopaths makes it possible to identify them faster and allows us to see their con games ahead of time.
In terms of social control, elitist con men are highly preoccupied with preventing spontaneous organization of rebellion. But this does not always involve the outright crushing of dissent. Instead, the elites prefer to use co-option and misdirection (con games) to lure rebellious movements to focus on the wrong enemy, or to trust the wrong leadership.
I am often reminded of the infiltration of the Tea Party movement by neo-conservatives in the years after the 2008 election. Neo-con-men exploited the desire among Tea Party activists for mainstream legitimacy and more widespread media coverage. They gave the activists what they wanted, by injecting their own political puppets into the movement. It did not take long for the Tea Party to abandon its initial roots in individual sovereignty and the Ron Paul campaign and adopt a decidedly statist tone. The smart people left the movement early and went on to launch their own efforts, but the goal of the establishment had been accomplished -- the grass roots organized threat of the Tea Party was no more.
That said, the principles of conservative economics, small government and personal liberty remain entrenched in the American psyche and continue to grow. These ideals have a life of their own, and almost seem to act autonomously at times from any particular group or leader.
Jan 05, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
The Rev Kev , January 3, 2019 at 5:09 am
I think that the most ominous part of this article is where it is mentions that the Government gave a £13.8m (US $17.4) contract for ferry services between Ramsgate and Ostend in Belgium but that this company has no ships or any experience whatsoever in running a Channel service. In fact, it only came into existence about two years ago well after the Brexit referendum. A quick check shows that this company was awarded the contract without prior publication of a call for competition because of the "extreme urgency brought about by events unforeseeable for the contracting authority" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seaborne_Freight ). Yeah, right! With 85 days left until Brexit, the Government has to really start getting its ducks lined up and making some tough calls. It may not be so but decisions like this make you wonder if this is a case of mates being taken care of by someone in Government and that this will be the trend after Brexit kicks in.
paul , January 3, 2019 at 5:56 am
That has always been the hallmark of this administration (to use the term very loosely), look at the 'help to buy scheme' and how it was a direct subsidy to the building industry's owners.
The minister in charge, grayling, is a serial incompetent and genuine z grade genetic landfill. In a reasonably sane world he wouldn't be put in charge of running a bath.
Brexit will just be a means to an end for the venal morons presiding over it. A way to continue austerity, rip the remaining copper out of the public realm e.g.privatise the NHS (even further) and put scotland back in its box.
larry , January 3, 2019 at 7:15 am
grayling, is a serial incompetent and genuine z grade genetic landfill. In a reasonably sane world he wouldn't be put in charge of running a bath.
Brilliant take on Failing Grayling.
Oct 24, 2015 | The Guardian
"Phoning in sick is a revolutionary act." I loved that slogan. It came to me, as so many good things did, from Housmans, the radical bookshop in King's Cross. There you could rummage through all sorts of anarchist pamphlets and there I discovered, in the early 80s, the wondrous little magazine Processed World. It told you basically how to screw up your workplace. It was smart and full of small acts of random subversion. In many ways it was ahead of its time as it was coming out of San Francisco and prefiguring Silicon Valley. It saw the machines coming. Jobs were increasingly boring and innately meaningless. Workers were "data slaves" working for IBM ("Intensely Boring Machines").
What Processed World was doing was trying to disrupt the identification so many office workers were meant to feel with their management, not through old-style union organising, but through small acts of subversion. The modern office, it stressed, has nothing to do with human need. Its rebellion was about working as little as possible, disinformation and sabotage. It was making alienation fun. In 1981, it could not have known that a self-service till cannot ever phone in sick.
I was thinking of this today, as I wanted to do just that. I have made myself ill with a hangover. A hangover, I always feel, is nature's way of telling you to have a day off. One can be macho about it and eat your way back to sentience via the medium of bacon sandwiches and Maltesers. At work, one is dehydrated, irritable and only semi-present. Better, surely, though to let the day fall through you and dream away.
Having worked in America, though, I can say for sure that they brook no excuses whatsoever. When I was late for work and said things like, "My alarm clock did not go off", they would say that this was not a suitable explanation, which flummoxed me. I had to make up others. This was just to work in a shop.
This model of working – long hours, very few holidays, few breaks, two incomes needed to raise kids, crazed loyalty demanded by huge corporations, the American way – is where we're heading. Except now the model is even more punishing. It is China. We are expected to compete with an economy whose workers are often closer to indentured slaves than anything else.
This is what striving is, then: dangerous, demoralising, often dirty work. Buckle down. It's the only way forward, apparently, which is why our glorious leaders are sucking up to China, which is immoral, never mind ridiculously short-term thinking.
So again I must really speak up for the skivers. What we have to understand about austerity is its psychic effects. People must have less. So they must have less leisure, too. The fact is life is about more than work and work is rapidly changing. Skiving in China may get you killed but here it may be a small act of resistance, or it may just be that skivers remind us that there is meaning outside wage-slavery.
Work is too often discussed by middle-class people in ways that are simply unrecognisable to anyone who has done crappy jobs. Much work is not interesting and never has been. Now that we have a political and media elite who go from Oxbridge to working for a newspaper or a politician, a lot of nonsense is spouted. These people have not cleaned urinals on a nightshift. They don't sit lonely in petrol stations manning the till. They don't have to ask permission for a toilet break in a call centre. Instead, their work provides their own special identity. It is very important.
Low-status jobs, like caring, are for others. The bottom-wipers of this world do it for the glory, I suppose. But when we talk of the coming automation that will reduce employment, bottom-wiping will not be mechanised. Nor will it be romanticised, as old male manual labour is. The mad idea of reopening the coal mines was part of the left's strange notion of the nobility of labour. Have these people ever been down a coal mine? Would they want that life for their children?
Instead we need to talk about the dehumanising nature of work. Bertrand Russell and Keynes thought our goal should be less work, that technology would mean fewer hours.
Far from work giving meaning to life, in some surveys 40% of us say that our jobs are meaningless. Nonetheless, the art of skiving is verboten as we cram our children with ever longer hours of school and homework. All this striving is for what exactly? A soul-destroying job?
Just as education is decided by those who loved school, discussions about work are had by those to whom it is about more than income.
The parts of our lives that are not work – the places we dream or play or care, the space we may find creative – all these are deemed outside the economy. All this time is unproductive. But who decides that?
Skiving work is bad only to those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
So go on: phone in sick. You know you want to.
friedad 23 Oct 2015 18:27
We now exist in a society in which the Fear Cloud is wrapped around each citizen. Our proud history of Union and Labor, fighting for decent wages and living conditions for all citizens, and mostly achieving these aims, a history, which should be taught to every child educated in every school in this country, now gradually but surely eroded by ruthless speculators in government, is the future generations are inheriting. The workforce in fear of taking a sick day, the young looking for work in fear of speaking out at diminishing rewards, definitely this 21st Century is the Century of Fear. And how is this fear denied, with mind blowing drugs, regardless if it is is alcohol, description drugs, illicit drugs, a society in denial. We do not require a heavenly object to destroy us, a few soulless monsters in our mist are masters of manipulators, getting closer and closer to accomplish their aim of having zombies doing their beckoning. Need a kidney, no worries, zombie dishwasher, is handy for one. Oh wait that time is already here.
Hemulen6 23 Oct 2015 15:06
Oh join the real world, Suzanne! Many companies now have a limit to how often you can be sick. In the case of the charity I work for it's 9 days a year. I overstepped it, I was genuinely sick, and was hauled up in front of Occupational Health. That will now go on my record and count against me. I work for a cancer care charity. Irony? Surely not.
AlexLeo -> rebel7 23 Oct 2015 13:34
Which is exactly my point. You compete on relevant job skills and quality of your product, not what school you have attended.
Yes, there are thousands, tens of thousands of folks here around San Jose who barely speak English, but are smart and hard working as hell and it takes them a few years to get to 150-200K per year, Many of them get to 300-400K, if they come from strong schools in their countries of origin, compared to the 10k or so where they came from, but probably more than the whining readership here.
This is really difficult to swallow for the Brits back in Britain, isn't it. Those who have moved over have experiences the type of social mobility unthinkable in Britain, but they have had to work hard and get to 300K-700K per year, much better than the 50-100K their parents used to make back in GB. These are averages based on personal interactions with say 50 Brits in the last 15 + years, all employed in the Silicon Valley in very different jobs and roles.
Todd Owens -> Scott W 23 Oct 2015 11:00
I get what you're saying and I agree with a lot of what you said. My only gripe is most employees do not see an operation from a business owner or managerial / financial perspective. They don't understand the costs associated with their performance or lack thereof. I've worked on a lot of projects that we're operating at a loss for a future payoff. When someone decides they don't want to do the work they're contracted to perform that can have a cascading effect on the entire company.
All in all what's being described is for the most part misguided because most people are not in the position or even care to evaluate the particulars. So saying you should do this to accomplish that is bullshit because it's rarely such a simple equation. If anything this type of tactic will leaf to MORE loss and less money for payroll.
weematt -> Barry1858 23 Oct 2015 09:04
Sorry you just can't have a 'nicer' capitalism.
War ( business by other means) and unemployment ( you can't buck the market), are inevitable concomitants of capitalist competition over markets, trade routes and spheres of interests. (Remember the war science of Nagasaki and Hiroshima from the 'good guys' ?)
"..capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt". (Marx)
You can't have full employment, or even the 'Right to Work'.
There is always ,even in boom times a reserve army of unemployed, to drive down wages. (If necessary they will inject inflation into the economy)
Unemployment is currently 5.5 percent or 1,860,000 people. If their "equilibrium rate" of unemployment is 4% rather than 5% this would still mean 1,352,000 "need be unemployed". The government don't want these people to find jobs as it would strengthen workers' bargaining position over wages, but that doesn't stop them harassing them with useless and petty form-filling, reporting to the so-called "job centre" just for the sake of it, calling them scroungers and now saying they are mentally defective.
Government is 'over' you not 'for' you.
Governments do not exist to ensure 'fair do's' but to manage social expectations with the minimum of dissent, commensurate with the needs of capitalism in the interests of profit.
Worker participation amounts to self managing workers self exploitation for the maximum of profit for the capitalist class.
Exploitation takes place at the point of production.
" Instead of the conservative motto, 'A fair day's wage for a fair day's work!' they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, 'Abolition of the wages system!'"
Karl Marx [Value, Price and Profit]
John Kellar 23 Oct 2015 07:19
Fortunately; as a retired veteran I don't have to worry about phoning in sick.However; during my Air Force days if you were sick, you had to get yourself to the Base Medical Section and prove to a medical officer that you were sick. If you convinced the medical officer of your sickness then you may have been luck to receive on or two days sick leave. For those who were very sick or incapable of getting themselves to Base Medical an ambulance would be sent - promptly.
Rchrd Hrrcks -> wumpysmum 23 Oct 2015 04:17
The function of civil disobedience is to cause problems for the government. Let's imagine that we could get 100,000 people to agree to phone in sick on a particular date in protest at austerity etc. Leaving aside the direct problems to the economy that this would cause. It would also demonstrate a willingness to take action. It would demonstrate a capability to organise mass direct action. It would demonstrate an ability to bring people together to fight injustice. In and of itself it might not have much impact, but as a precedent set it could be the beginning of something massive, including further acts of civil disobedience.
wumpysmum Rchrd Hrrcks 23 Oct 2015 03:51
There's already a form of civil disobedience called industrial action, which the govt are currently attacking by attempting to change statute. Random sickies as per my post above are certainly not the answer in the public sector at least, they make no coherent political point just cause problems for colleagues. Sadly too in many sectors and with the advent of zero hours contracts sickies put workers at risk of sanctions and lose them earnings.
Alyeska 22 Oct 2015 22:18
I'm American. I currently have two jobs and work about 70 hours a week, and I get no paid sick days. In fact, the last time I had a job with a paid sick day was 2001. If I could afford a day off, you think I'd be working 70 hours a week?
I barely make rent most months, and yes... I have two college degrees. When I try to organize my coworkers to unionize for decent pay and benefits, they all tell me not to bother.... they are too scared of getting on management's "bad side" and "getting in trouble" (yes, even though the law says management can't retaliate.)
Unions are different in the USA than in the UK. The workforce has to take a vote to unionize the company workers; you can't "just join" a union here. That's why our pay and working conditions have gotten worse, year after year.
rtb1961 22 Oct 2015 21:58
By far the biggest act of wage slavery rebellion, don't buy shit. The less you buy, the less you need to earn. Holidays by far the minority of your life should not be a desperate escape from the majority of your life. Spend less, work less and actually really enjoy living more.
Pay less attention to advertising and more attention to the enjoyable simplicity of life, of real direct human relationships, all of them, the ones in passing where you wish a stranger well, chats with service staff to make their life better as well as your own, exchange thoughts and ideas with others, be a human being and share humanity with other human beings.
Mkjaks 22 Oct 2015 20:35
How about don't shop at Walmart (they helped boost the Chinese economy while committing hari kari on the American Dream) and actually engaging in proper labour action? Calling in sick is just plain childish.
toffee1 22 Oct 2015 19:13
It is only considered productive if it feeds the beast, that is, contribute to the accumulation of capital so that the beast can have more power over us. The issue here is the wage labor. The 93 percent of the U.S. working population perform wage labor (see BLS site). It is the highest proportion in any society ever came into history. Under the wage labor (employment) contract, the worker gives up his/her decision making autonomy. The worker accepts the full command of his/her employer during the labor process. The employer directs and commands the labor process to achieve the goals set by himself. Compare this, for example, self-employed providing a service (for example, a plumber). In this case, the customer describes the problem to the service provider but the service provider makes all the decisions on how to organize and apply his labor to solve the problem. Or compare it to a democratically organized coop, where workers make all the decisions collectively, where, how and what to produce. Under the present economic system, a great majority of us are condemned to work in large corporations performing wage labor. The system of wage labor stripping us from autonomy on our own labor, creates all the misery in our present world through alienation. Men and women lose their humanity alienated from their own labor. Outside the world of wage labor, labor can be a source self-realization and true freedom. Labor can be the real fulfillment and love. Labor together our capacity to love make us human. Bourgeoisie dehumanized us steeling our humanity. Bourgeoisie, who sold her soul to the beast, attempting to turn us into ever consuming machines for the accumulation of capital.
patimac54 -> Zach Baker 22 Oct 2015 17:39
Well said. Most retail employers have cut staff to the minimum possible to keep the stores open so if anyone is off sick, it's the devil's own job trying to just get customers served. Making your colleagues work even harder than they normally do because you can't be bothered to act responsibly and show up is just plain selfish.
And sorry, Suzanne, skiving work is nothing more than an act of complete disrespect for those you work with. If you don't understand that, try getting a proper job for a few months and learn how to exercise some self control.
TettyBlaBla -> FranzWilde 22 Oct 2015 17:25
It's quite the opposite in government jobs where I am in the US. As the fiscal year comes to a close, managers look at their budgets and go on huge spending sprees, particularly for temp (zero hours in some countries) help and consultants. They fear if they don't spend everything or even a bit more, their spending will be cut in the next budget. This results in people coming in to do work on projects that have no point or usefulness, that will never be completed or even presented up the food chain of management, and ends up costing taxpayers a small fortune.
I did this one year at an Air Quality Agency's IT department while the paid employees sat at their desks watching portable televisions all day. It was truly demeaning.
oommph -> Michael John Jackson 22 Oct 2015 16:59
Thing is though, children - dependents to pay for - are the easiest way to keep yourself chained to work.
The homemaker model works as long as your spouse's employer retains them (and your spouse retains you in an era of 40% divorce).
You are just as dependent on an employer and "work" but far less in control of it now.
Zach Baker 22 Oct 2015 16:41
I'm all for sticking it to "the man," but when you call into work for a stupid reason (and a hangover is a very stupid reason), it is selfish, and does more damage to the cause of worker's rights, not less. I don't know about where you work, but if I call in sick to my job, other people have to pick up my slack. I work for a public library, and we don't have a lot of funds, so we have the bear minimum of employees we can have and still work efficiently. As such, if anybody calls in, everyone else, up to and including the library director, have to take on more work. If I found out one of my co-workers called in because of a hangover, I'd be pissed. You made the choice to get drunk, knowing that you had to work the following morning. Putting it into the same category of someone who is sick and may not have the luxury of taking off because of a bad employer is insulting.
Dec 16, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com
ShaunNewman -> Mauryan , 23 Aug 2016 20:59Exploitation is high on the priority list of any Tory government, wealth should be distributed much more fairly than it currently is. The tories only serve the rich, they have no time or empathy for the poor.
Empathy and compassion are vacant in the tory philosophy of the world. These two components make up a psychopathic personality.
Dec 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com
Egoistic individuals win against altruistic individuals. Altruistic societies win against egoistic societies. Everything else is commentary.
... ... ...
A friend of mine works for a TV station. When 9/11 hit, he confided in me that champagne corks were hitting the ceiling at his workplace. I wasn't particularly shocked at this revelation, and I don't assume anybody will be, but I think it speaks volumes about the way culture works nowadays. It is no longer a band tying us together for which we feel thankful and are ready to make sacrifices to, because we have been systematically overloaded with unnecessary information to stimulate our desires, and we have been taught that every thing and everybody can be easily replaced, so we tend to think nothing really matters. But things weren't always like this.
The premise of this book is that we live in a declining culture. To me, that is apparent every day. I work with electronic appliances that people depend upon, but nobody wants to know how they function, what is damaging, or how you can repair them. Even official jobs that are advertised as "maintenance" consist of not actually repairing stuff, instead focusing on selling new stuff. This can be safely ascribed to an idea put forth by neo-liberalism: that everybody can be replaced, because it's not important how the work is done as long as it's done at all. People in leading positions want to think like that because it makes their job easier, so they tend to ignore any evidence to the contrary.
And of course that is a way to make money and waste resources, so in our current world it is "successful". But we all know resources are limited, And of course that is a way to make money and waste resources, so in our current world it is "successful". But we all know resources are limited, and if the only way to be successful is by wasting limited resources, that success is, by definition, limited. And it is not only material resources that are wasted, but human resources as well. People think "doesn't matter, there are too many people on this planet anyway", but when people feel wasted, they develop negative feelings.
To cope with that, there is another whole industry of diversion, media, drugs, you name it, and that works very well, I know. But nowadays, there is a certain unease in the air, some people feel like they are led to the slaughterhouse , because we know, about 40% of us are going to be replaced by robots, and we don't know what will happen, other civilizations have tripped over less already. There might be a civil war coming, that's what fascists and Isis are rooting for, or a robot-led police state, that's what the top 1% are rooting for, one thing we do know is: democracy is helplessly taking it in the ass from capitalism.
So some people turn to activism. I will not lie: I value my life too much for that kind of bullshit. And I really think it isn't necessary. But I don't want to deter anybody from engaging in such behavior. Only we have to stay aware of the powers at be, and we can learn from history. When the fascists took over Germany, they made use of census data acquired decades before which listed people who were disabled, gay, which they proceeded to fill their concentration camps with. Now compare that with the data that is collected in our time and imagine a similar regime change. You don't have to look very far; the people of Turkey experienced something in that vein not long ago. Several similar examples can be found throughout history, so you should be aware of the possible consequences of activism.
But what's the alternative, you ask? I've given that some serious thought for decades, and this book is just one of several ways to give you an idea...
From the book flap:
I also strongly recommend you learn to trust people. It makes life so much easier and allows you to focus on your own development instead of worrying what other people might think. Even with the occasional disappointment, life is just so much more fun that way than by being paranoid. While we are on the subject of trust, which is obviously a foundation for all relationships, it s also a major perk derived from them. Nowadays, people tend to think that relationships are means to exploit other people to gain money (although we all know it's a bubble), status or to let them do your work for you. And then they wonder and complain why other people do die same shit to them. So let me put it in very basic words: it doesn't matter whether you believe in god.
As long as you are part of society, you might just as well consider the people around you as your collective god, because you aren't able to live without them, especially if shit starts hitting the fan. Our current culture is self- conscious enough to realize it has no long term perspective, that's why we tend to admire the con men and vote them into power. But thinking ahead, it's obvious that this will lead us nowhere. So when the next bubble bursts, people who are revered today might find their heads put on sticks. In this light, it becomes apparent that the true value of relationships is honing your sense who you can trust how much, and that is something you need regardless of what culture you live in, even more when it crumbles beneath your feet.
Dec 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
IMO Trump has no real use for a chief-of-staff in the White House.
I heard Anthony Scaramucci (the little guy who was in the WH for a couple of days) say on TeeVee yesterday that Donaldo has his own way of doing things that involves establishing a "hub and spokes" system and that he needs people he trusts and who accept his personal judgment, judgment based on his own "feel" for situations.
I have seen this kind of methodology many times before in the world of sole owner entrepreneurial business. In that world egotism is king and the owner/wheeler dealer stands alone surrounded by underlings and consultants. For him they are nothing. They are expendable assets who exist only to serve his egocentric will and interests. They are there to be useful to him and can be disposed of whenever they are not. Trump operates exactly that way. Subordinates are disposable at will. Institutions mean nothing to such a man. He needs a secretary to run errands for him, not a chief-of-staff who will inevitably wish to be a "player." Anyone who takes the job is a fool.
In this context the case of the Trump announcement, a year in advance of his term's end, of a replacement for the CJCS, General Joseph Dunford USMC is interesting. Trump has announced that General Mark Milley, the present US Army Chief-Of-Staff, will succeed. The question is - why announce now? And why announce this now with a "footnote" to the effect that the "transfer" date will be announced at some future unspecified date? Milley is a loquacious, big, and energetic man who is reportedly quite good at the backslapping, locker room chit-chat that Trump is comfortable with. He undoubtedly has made a good impression on Trump in personal contacts and impression is all important in dealing with Trump.
OTOH Milley is really not like Trump. He is an Ivy League product of Princeton and Columbia Universities, is widely read in history, is personally as brave as a lion on the battlefield and has a record of working well within the institutions of the armed forces for systematic re-structuring of the Army. I will guess that the president doesn't really know much about Milley. IMO he will inevitably and quickly be displeased with Milley when he is CJCS.
So, why has Trump done this? My present theory is that DJT is displeased with Dunford and wishes to hold over his head the threat of quick dismissal . This is a close analogy of the way people like Trump operate in business where it is routine to undermine subordinates for the purpose of creating insecurity leading to prostrate submission to the throne. pl
Walrus , 8 hours agoGreat analysis. I don't see Trump as malicious in his behaviour (nor perhaps do you), it's just the way he has successfully navigated the property development shark tank. He loves his country and I think he will be forgiven for a lot if he succeeds in perhaps not completely draining the swamp but desiccating and shrinking it a bit.Pat Lang Mod -> Walrus , 6 hours ago
Trumps is not the only way to do business. There is an Australian property development billionaire (Frank Lowey) who seems to have succeeded in that field by crafting exceedingly subtle "win/win" solutions, not the "win/lose, sturm und drang" Trump productions.I don't see him as malicious either. He has an occupation induced personality deformity. I agree that if he succeeds in some of these initiatives, a lot of this will be forgiven and forgotten. Yes you can do this on a win-win basis. In my experience the Guggenheims do that.DianaLC , 11 hours agoI had never heard of the "hub and spoke" method of business management. Very interesting. You wrote: "He needs a secretary to run errands for him, not a chief-of-staff who will inevitably wish to be a "player." I have worked in that "secretary" position for a very small consulting firm. I can still hear in my head my name being yelled and having to drop everything to run in and figure out what new and important task I had to accomplish.akaPatience , 5 hours ago
I had been hired to proofread the consultant's documents because no one nowadays teaches "correct grammar." I did that, but much of my time was spent finding things and information and people that he needed.
BTW, whatever happened to Nixon's secretary?I pretty much agree with this assessment of entrepreneurs. It's been my experience, not only as part of a mid-western mom and pop commercial real estate company, but also as a resident who literally lives on a Main Street lined with small businesses, that entrepreneurs are often know-it-all types who would have great difficulty surviving in a business that didn't consistently permit them to have their own way, all the while tolerating their difficult personalities. It seems many entrepreneurs rely on family members to varying degrees.smoothieX12 , 6 hours ago
I have no way of knowing if Trump's intuition is based in part on B movies, but it is surely based on his many-decades of experience in real estate development, primarily in cut-throat NYC, which likely accounts for his pugnacity and desire for loyalty. Long ago, someone sagely warned me that the first 3 letters of "contractor" spell CON.
I'll never forget the very first time I visited New York as a young girl, and a SoHo shop keeper mocked me for speaking too slowly. It's a different world, lacking in gentility...Pat Lang Mod -> smoothieX12 , 6 hours agoand who accept his personal judgment, judgment based on his own "feel" for situations
Considering the fact that this often goes under the title of intuition (with intuition also defined as educated guess), I am afraid there is very little "educated" in Trump's intuition, or "feel" for that matter.Yes. Intuition is high speed reasoning based on a massive store of data and experience. "Fingerspitzengefuhl?" The problem with Trump's "feel" is that it is based on B movies and similar quality sources. In the military context this describes someone in whom knowledge has become capability and who understand a battlefield by looking at it.Bill Herschel , 6 hours agoAs long as you include all organizations under the umbrella term "business" this is exactly accurate. Spend some time in an academic department.Pat Lang Mod -> Bill Herschel , 6 hours ago
The other descriptive that I like is that these, usually men, wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night thinking of nothing except how to maintain their position. Trump must be a very worried man at this stage. Worried and explosively temperamental. Who can he please? He needs to toady to someone, and thus far the only people he's been able to toady to are VVP and Kim. So, more campaign rallies and appearances on Fox. Not enough to keep him going. Wartime President?I was the Professor of the Arabic Language and Middle East Studies at West Point. That is the oldest college of engineering in the US. It is not the same. There, my colleagues were trying to screw me. It was not the bosses, head of department, dean, etc. In the entrepreneurial sole owner setup the owner seeks to intimidate you to hold power over you.MP98 , 7 hours agoYou're right about the technique for getting rid of subordinates. I worked for many, many years in a piranha tank and saw this behavior up close.Pat Lang Mod -> MP98 , 6 hours ago
It was explained thusly: "He was sold to the board and has a friend on the board, so I'll make his life miserable until he gets the message." Outright firing (except for cause) can get messyI understand but I am talking about companies where there is no board, i.e., private companies which choose not to have an executive board.MP98 -> Pat Lang , 6 hours agoSole proprietorships usually have another dark side - family members. Your analysis of Trump's "style" seems spot on. Every day (sometimes every hour) is a new "adventure."Walrus , 8 hours agoBTW, according to his autobiography, Herman Neumann, (Herman the German) VP for aircraft engines at GE, had a sign on the office wall behind his desk: "Feel Insecure".widowson , 11 hours agoCol. Lang:
I appreciate all the insights this site provides, but none maybe greater, personally, than your comments above: I've spent the last 15 years working at single proprietor consultancies in a sales capacity, and my current boss treats me exactly as you pointed out above.
I have fought the notion that his constant creation of insecurity on my part was intentional. I've harbored these thoughts in my own personal wilderness for many years, but have never heard someone else discuss the same issues before. Sometimes a diagnosis has a clarifying value in its own right!
Nov 22, 2018 | www.amazon.comForeword to the book by Laura Knight-Jadczyk
... ... ...
Nowadays the word "psychopath" generally evokes images of the barely restrained - yet surprisingly urbane - mad-dog serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, of Silence of the Lambs fame. I will admit that this was the image that came to my mind whenever I heard the word; almost, that is. The big difference was that I never thought of a psychopath as possibly being so cultured or so capable of passing as "normal". But I was wrong, and I was to learn this lesson quite painfully by direct experience. The exact details are chronicled elsewhere; what is important is that this experience was probably one of the most painful and instructive episodes of my life, and it enabled me to overcome a block in my awareness of the world around me and those who inhabit it.
... ... ...
If there is a psychological theory that can explain vicious and harmful behavior, it helps very much for the victim of such acts to have this information so that they do not have to spend all their time feeling hurt or angry. And certainly, if there is a psychological theory that helps a person to find what kind of words or deeds can bridge the chasm between people, to heal misunderstandings, that is also a worthy goal. It was from such a perspective that we began our extensive work on the subjects of narcissism, which then led to the study of psychopathy.
Of course, we didn't start out with such any such "diagnosis" or label for what we were witnessing. We started out with observations and searched the literature for clues, for profiles, for anything that would help us to understand the inner world of a human being - actually a group of human beings - who seemed to be utterly depraved and unlike anything we had ever encountered before. We found that this kind of human is all too common, and that, according to some of the latest research, they cause more damage in human society than any other single so-called "mental illness". Martha Stout, who has worked extensively with victims of psychopaths, writes:
Imagine - if you can - not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken. And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools. Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless. You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.
In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world. You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered. How will you live your life? What will you do with your huge and secret advantage, and with the corresponding handicap of other people (conscience)? The answer will depend largely on just what your desires happen to be, because people are not all the same. Even the profoundly unscrupulous are not all the same. Some people - whether they have a conscience or not - favor the ease of inertia, while others are filled with dreams and wild ambitions. Some human beings are brilliant and talented, some are dull-witted, and most, conscience or not, are somewhere in between. There are violent people and nonviolent ones, individuals who are motivated by blood lust and those who have no such appetites.
... Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all. If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people's hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people. With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction....
Crazy and frightening - and real, in about 4 percent of the population.
... The prevalence rate for anorexic eating disorders is estimated a 3.43 percent, deemed to be nearly epidemic, and yet this figure is a fraction lower than the rate for antisocial personality. The high-profile disorders classed as schizophrenia occur in only about 1 percent of [the population] - a mere quarter of the rate of antisocial personality - and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the rate of colon cancer in the United States, considered "alarmingly high," is about 40 per 100,000 - one hundred times lower than the rate of antisocial personality....
The high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound effect on the rest of us who must live on this planet, too, even those of us who have not been clinically traumatized. The individuals who constitute this 4 percent drain our relationships, our bank accounts, our accomplishments, our self-esteem, our very peace on earth. Yet surprisingly, many people know nothing about this disorder, or if they do, they think only in terms of violent psychopathy - murderers, serial killers, mass murderers - people who have conspicuously broken the law many times over, and who, if caught, will be imprisoned, maybe even put to death by our legal system. We are not commonly aware of, nor do we usually identify, the larger number of nonviolent sociopaths among us, people who often are not blatant lawbreakers, and against whom our formal legal system provides little defense.
Most of us would not imagine any correspondence between concerting an ethnic genocide and, say, guiltlessly lying to one's boss about a coworker. But the psychological correspondence is not only there; it is chilling. Simple and profound, the link is the absence of the inner mechanism that beats up on us, emotionally speaking, when we make a choice we view as immoral, unethical, neglectful, or selfish. Most of us feel mildly guilty if we eat the last piece of cake in the kitchen, let alone what we would feel if we intentionally and methodically set about to hurt another person. Those who have no conscience at all are a group unto themselves, whether they be homicidal tyrants or merely ruthless social snipers.
The presence or absence of conscience is a deep human division, arguably more significant than intelligence, race, or even gender. What differentiates a sociopath who lives off the labors of others from one who occasionally robs convenience stores, or from one who is a contemporary robber baron - or what makes the difference between an ordinary bully and a sociopathic murderer - is nothing more than social status, drive, intellect, blood lust, or simple opportunity. What distinguishes all of these people from the rest of us is an utterly empty hole in the psyche, where there should be the most evolved of all humanizing functions. 
We did not have the advantage of Dr. Stout's book at the beginning of our research project. We did, of course, have Robert Hare and Hervey Cleckley and Guggenbuhl-Craig and others. But they were only approaching the subject of the possibly large numbers of psychopaths that live among us who never get caught breaking laws, who don't murder - or if they do, they don't get caught - and who still do untold damage to the lives of family, acquaintances, and strangers.
Most mental health experts, for a very long time, have operated on the premise that psychopaths come from impoverished backgrounds and have experienced abuse of one sort or another in childhood, so it is easy to spot them, or at least, they certainly don't move in society except as interlopers. This idea seems to be coming under some serious revision lately. As Lobaczewski points out in this book, there is some confusion between Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder and Sociopathy. As Robert Hare points out, yes, there are many psychopaths who are also "anti-socials", but there seem to be far more of them that would never be classified as anti- social or sociopathic! In other words, they can be doctors, lawyers, judges, policemen, congressmen, presidents of corporations that rob from the poor t< give to the rich, and even presidents.
In a recent paper, it is suggested that psychopathy may exist in ordinary society in even greater numbers than anyone has thus far considered:Psychopathy, as originally conceived by Cleckley (1941), is not limited to engagement in illegal activities, but rather encompasses such personality characteristics as manipulativeness, insincerity, egocentricity, and lack of guilt - characteristics clearly present in criminals but also in spouses, parents, bosses, attorneys, politicians, and CEOs, to name but a few (Bursten, 1973; Stewart, 1991). Our own examination of the prevalence of psychopathy within a university population suggested that perhaps 5% or more of this sample might be deemed psychopathic, although the vast majority of those will be male (more than 1/10 males versus approximately 1/100 females).
As such, psychopathy may be characterized ... as involving a tendency towards both dominance and coldness. Wiggins (1995) in summarizing numerous previous findings ... indicates that such individuals are prone to anger and irritation and are willing to exploit others. The)' are arrogant, manipulative, cynical, exhibitionistic, sensation-seeking, Machiavellian, vindictive, and out for their own gain. With respect to their patterns of social exchange (Foa & Foa, 1974), they attribute love and status to themselves, seeing themselves as highly worthy and important, but prescribe neither love nor status to others, seeing them as unworthy and insignificant. This characterization is clearly consistent with the essence of psychopathy as commonly described.
The present investigation sought to answer some basic questions regarding the construct of psychopathy in non forensic settings ... In so doing we have returned to Cleckley's (1941) original emphasis on psychopathy as a personality style not only among criminals, but also among successful individuals within the community.
What is clear from our findings is that (a) psychopathy measures have converged on a prototype of psychopathy that involves a combination of dominant and cold interpersonal characteristics; (b) psychopathy does occur in the community and at what might be a higher than expected rate; and (c) psychopathy appears to have little overlap with personality disorders aside from Antisocial Personality Disorder....
Clearly, where much more work is needed is in understanding what factors differentiate the abiding (although perhaps not moral-abiding) psychopath from the law-breaking psychopath; such research surely needs to make greater use of non forensic samples than has been customary in the past. 
Lobaczewski discusses the fact that there are different types of psychopaths. One type, in particular, is the most deadly of all: the Essential Psychopath. He doesn't give us a "checklist" but rather discusses what is inside the psychopath. His description meshes very well with items in the paper quoted above.
Martha Stout also discusses the fact that psychopaths, like anyone else, are born with different basic likes and dislikes and desires, which is why some of them are doctors and presidents and others are petty thieves or rapists. "Likeable", "Charming", "Intelligent", "Alert", "Impressive", "Confidence- inspiring," and "A great success with the ladies". This is how Hervey Cleckley described most of his subjects in The Mask of Sanity. It seems that, in spite of the fact that their actions prove them to be "irresponsible" and "self- destructive", psychopaths seem to have in abundance the very traits most desired by normal persons. The smooth self-assurance acts as an almost supernatural magnet to normal people who have to read self-help books or go to counseling to be able to interact with others in an untroubled way. The psychopath, on the contrary, never has any neuroses, no self-doubts, never experiences angst, and is what "normal" people seek to be. What's more, even if they aren't that attractive, they are "babe magnets".
Cleckley s seminal hypothesis is that the psychopath suffers from profound and incurable affective deficit. If he really feels anything at all, they are emotions of only the shallowest kind. He is able to do whatever he wants, based on whatever whim strikes him, because consequences that would fill the ordinary man with shame, self-loathing, and embarrassment simply do not affect the psychopath at all. What to others would be a horror or a disaster is to him merely a fleeting inconvenience.
Cleckley posits that psychopathy is quite common in the community at large. His cases include examples of psychopaths who generally function normally in the community as businessmen, doctors, and even psychiatrists. Nowadays, some of the more astute researchers see criminal psychopathy - often referred to as anti-social personality disorder - as an extreme of a particular personality type. I think it is more helpful to characterize criminal psychopaths as "unsuccessful psychopaths".
One researcher, Alan Harrington, goes so far as to say that the psychopath is the new man being produced by the evolutionary pressures of modern life. Certainly, there have always been shysters and crooks, but past concern was focused on ferreting out incompetents rather than psychopaths. Unfortunately, all that has changed. We now need to fear the super- sophisticated modern crook who does know what he is doing - and does it so well that no one else knows. Yes, psychopaths love the business world.The study of "ambulatory" psychopaths - what we call "The Garden Variety Psychopath" - has, however, hardly begun. Very little is known about subcriminal psychopathy. Some researchers have begun to seriously consider the idea that it is important to study psychopathy not as a pathological category but as a general personality trait in the community at large. In other words, psychopathy is being recognized as a more or less different type of human.
"Uninvolved with others, he coolly saw into their fears and desires, and maneuvered them as he wished. Such a man might not, after all, be doomed to a life of scrapes and escapades ending ignominiously in the jailhouse. Instead of murdering others, he might become a corporate raider and murder companies, firing people instead of killing them, and chopping up their functions rather than their bodies." (Harrington)...
... [T]he consequences to the average citizen from business crimes are staggering. As criminologist Georgette Bennett says, "They account for nearly 30% of case filings in U.S. District Courts - more than any other category of crime. The combined burglar)7, mugging and other property7 losses induced by the country's street punks come to about $4 billion a year. However, the seemingly upstanding citizens in our corporate board rooms and the humble clerks in our retail stores bilk us out of between $40 and $200 billion a year."
Concern here is that the costume for the new masked sanity of a psychopath is just as likely to be a three-piece suit as a ski mask and a gun. As Harrington says, "We also have the psychopath in respectable circles, no longer assumed to be a loser." He quotes William Krasner as saying, "They - psychopath and part psychopath - do well in the more unscrupulous types of sales work, because they take such delight in 'putting it over on them', getting away with it - and have so little conscience about defrauding their customers." Our society is fast becoming more materialistic, and success at any cost is the credo of many businessmen. The typical psychopath thrives in this kind of environment and is seen as a business "hero". 
Hervey Cleckley actually comes very close to suggesting that psychopaths are human in every respect - but that they lack a soul. This lack of "soul quality" makes them very efficient "machines". They can write scholarly works, imitate the words of emotion, but over time, it becomes clear that their words do not match their actions. They are the type of person who can claim that they are devastated by grief who then attend a party "to forget". The problem is: they really do forget.
Being very efficient machines, like a computer, they are able to execute very complex routines designed to elicit from others support for what they want. In this way, many psychopaths are able to reach very high positions in life. It is only over time that their associates become aware of the fact that their climb up the ladder of success is predicated on violating the rights of others. "Even when they are indifferent to the rights of their associates, they are often able to inspire feelings of trust and confidence."
The psychopath recognizes no flaw in his psyche, no need for change. Andrew Lobaczewski addresses the problem of the psychopath and their extremely significant contribution to our macrosocial evils, their ability to act as the eminence grise behind the very structure of our society. It is very important to keep in mind that this influence comes from a relatively small segment of humanity. The other 90-some percent of human beings are not psychopaths.
But that 90-some percent of normal people know that something is wrong! They just can't quite identify it; can't quite put their finger on it; and because they can't, they tend to think that there is nothing they can do about it, or maybe it is just God punishing people.
What is actually the case is that when that 90-some percent of human beings fall into a certain state, as Lobaczewski will describe, the psychopaths, like a virulent pathogen in a body, strike at the weaknesses, and the entire society is plunged into conditions that always and inevitably lead to horror and tragedy on a very large scale.
The movie, The Matrix, touched a deep chord in society because it exemplified this mechanistic trap in which so many people find their lives enmeshed, and from which they are unable to extricate themselves because they believe that everyone around them who "looks human" is, in fact, just like them - emotionally, spiritually, and otherwise.
Take an example of how psychopaths can directly affect society at large: the "legal argument" as explicated by Robert Canup in his work on the "socially adept psychopath". The legal argument seems to be at the foundation of our society. We believe that the legal argument is an advanced system of justice. This is a very cunning trick that has been foisted on normal people by psychopaths in order to have an advantage over them. Just think about it for a moment: the legal argument amounts to little more than the one who is the slickest at using the structure for convincing a group of people of something, is the one who is believed. Because this "legal argument" system has been slowly installed as part of our culture, when it invades our personal lives, we normally do not recognize it immediately. But here's how it works.
Human beings have been accustomed to assume that other human beings are - at the very least - trying to "do right" and "be good" and fair and honest. And so, very often, we do not take the time to use due diligence in order to determine if a person who has entered our life is, in fact, a "good person". When a conflict ensues, we automatically fall into the legal argument assumption that in any conflict, one side is partly right one way, and the other is partly right the other, and that we can form opinions about which side is mostly right or wrong. Because of our exposure to the "legal argument" norms, when any dispute arises, we automatically think that the truth will lie somewhere between two extremes. In this case, application of a little mathematical logic to the problem of the legal argument might be helpful.
Let us assume that in a dispute, one side is innocent, honest, and tells the truth. It is obvious that lying does an innocent person no good; what lie can he tell? If he is innocent, the only lie he can tell is to falsely confess "I did it". But lying is nothing but good for the liar. He can declare that "I didn't do it", and accuse another of doing it, all the while the innocent person he has accused is saying "I didn't do it" and is actually telling the truth.
The truth, when twisted by good liars, can always make an innocent person look bad, especially if the innocent person is honest and admits his mistakes.
The basic assumption that the truth lies between the testimony of the two sides always shifts the advantage to the lying side and away from the side telling the truth. Under most circumstances, this shift put together with the fact that the truth is going to also be twisted in such a way as to bring detriment to the innocent person, results in the advantage always resting in the hands of liars - psychopaths. Even the simple act of giving testimony under oath is a useless farce. If a person is a liar, swearing an oath means nothing to that person. However, swearing an oath acts strongly on a serious, strongly on a serious, truthful witness. Again, the advantage is placed on the side of the liar.
It has often been noted that psychopaths have a distinct advantage over human beings with conscience and feelings because the psychopath does not have conscience and feelings. What seems to be so is that conscience and feelings are related to the abstract concepts of "future" and "others". It is "spatio-temporal". We can feel fear, sympathy, empathy, sadness, and so on because we can imagine in an abstract way, the future based on our own experiences in the past, or even just "concepts of experiences" in myriad variations. We can "see ourselves" in them even though they are "out there" and this evokes feelings in us. We can't do something hurtful because we can imagine it being done to us and how it would feel. In other words, we can not only identify with others spatially - so to say - but also temporally - in time.
The psychopath does not seem to have this capacity.
They are unable to "imagine" in the sense of being able to really connect to images in a direct "self connecting to another self' sort of way.
Oh, indeed, they can imitate feelings, but the only real feelings they seem to have - the thing that drives them and causes them to act out different dramas for the effect - is a sort of "predatorial hunger" for what they want. That is to say, they "feel" need/want as love, and not having their needs/wants met is described by them as "not being loved". What is more, this "need/want" perspective posits that only the "hunger" of the psychopath is valid, and anything, and everything "out there", outside of the psychopath, is not real except insofar as it has the capability of being assimilated to the psychopath as a sort of "food". "Can it be used or can it provide something?" is the only issue about which the psychopath seems to be concerned. All else - all activity - is subsumed to this drive.
In short, the psychopath is a predator. If we think about the interactions of predators with their prey in the animal kingdom, we can come to some idea of what is behind the "mask of sanity" of the psychopath. Just as an animal predator will adopt all kinds of stealthy functions in order to stalk their prey, cut them out of the herd, get close to them, and reduce their resistance, so does the psychopath construct all kinds of elaborate camouflage composed of words and appearances - lies and manipulations - in order to "assimilate" their prey.
This leads us to an important question: what does the psychopath really get from their victims? It's easy to see what they are after when they lie and manipulate for money or material goods or power. But in many instances, such as love relationships or faked friendships, it is not so easy to see what the psychopath is after. Without wandering too far afield into spiritual speculations - a problem Cleckley also faced - we can only say that it seems to be that the psychopath enjoys making others suffer. Just as normal humans enjoy seeing other people happy, or doing things that make other people smile, the psychopath enjoys the exact opposite.
Anyone who has ever observed a cat playing with a mouse before killing and eating it has probably explained to themselves that the cat is just "entertained" by the antics of the mouse and is unable to conceive of the terror and pain being experienced by the mouse. The cat, therefore, is innocent of any evil intent. The mouse dies, the cat is fed, and that is nature. Psychopaths don't generally eat their victims.
Yes, in extreme cases of psychopathy, the entire cat and mouse dynamic is carried out. Cannibalism has a long history wherein it was assumed that certain powers of the victim could be assimilated by eating some particular part of them. But in ordinary life, psychopaths don't normally go all the way, so to say. This causes us to look at the cat and mouse scenario again with different eyes. Now we ask: is it too simplistic to think that the innocent cat is merely entertained by the mouse running about and frantically trying to escape? Is there something more to this dynamic than meets the eye? Is there something more than being "entertained" by the antics of the mouse trying to flee? After all, in terms of evolution, why would such behavior be hard-wired into the cat? Is the mouse tastier because of the chemicals of fear that flood his little body? Is a mouse frozen with terror more of a "gourmet" meal?
This suggests that we ought to revisit our ideas about psychopaths with a slightly different perspective. One thing we do know is this: many people who experience interactions with psychopaths and narcissists report feeling "drained" and confused and often subsequently experience deteriorating health. Does this mean that part of the dynamic, part of the explanation for why psychopaths will pursue "love relationships" and "friendships" that ostensibly can result in no observable material gain, is because there is an actual energy consumption?
This suggests that we ought to revisit our ideas about psychopaths with a slightly different perspective. One thing we do know is this: many people who experience interactions with psychopaths and narcissists report feeling "drained" and confused and often subsequently experience deteriorating health. Does this mean that part of the dynamic, part of the explanation for why psychopaths will pursue "love relationships" and "friendships" that ostensibly can result in no observable material gain, is because there is an actual energy consumption?
We do not know the answer to this question. We observe, we theorize, we speculate and hypothesize. But in the end, only the individual victim can determine what they have lost in the dynamic - and it is often far more than material goods. In a certain sense, it seems that psychopaths are soul eaters or "Psychophagic".
In the past several years, there are many more psychologists and psychiatrists and other mental health workers beginning to look at these issues in new ways in response to the questions about the state of our world and the possibility that there is some essential difference between such individuals as George W. Bush and many so-called Neocons, and the rest of us.
Dr. Stout's book has one of the longest explanations as to why none of her examples resemble any actual persons that I have ever read. And then, in a very early chapter, she describes a "composite" case where the subject spent his childhood blowing up frogs with fire-crackers. It is widely known that George W. Bush did this. The subject is also described as graduating college with a С average - which Bush did at Yale - so one naturally wonders ...
In any event, even without Dr. Stout's work, at the time we were studying the matter, we realized that what we were learning was very important to everyone because as the data was assembled, we saw that the clues, the profiles, revealed that the issues we were facing were faced by everyone at one time or another, to one extent or another. We also began to realize that the profiles that emerged also describe rather accurately many individuals who seek positions of power in fields of authority, most particularly politics and commerce. That's really not so surprising an idea, but it honestly hadn't occurred to us until we saw the patterns and recognized them in the behaviors of numerous historical figures and, lately, including George W. Bush and members of his administration.
Current day statistics tell us that there are more psychologically sick people than healthy ones. If you take a sampling of individuals in any given field, you are likely to find that a significant number of them display pathological symptoms to one extent or another. Politics is no exception, and, by its very nature, would tend to attract more of the pathological "dominator types" than other fields. That is only logical, and we began to realize that it was not only logical, it was horrifyingly accurate; horrifying because pathology among people in power can have disastrous effects on all of the people under the control of such pathological individuals. And so, we decided to write about this subject and publish it on the Internet.
As the material went up, letters from our readers began to come in thanking us for putting a name to what was happening to them in their personal lives as well as helping them to understand what was happening in a world that seems to have gone completely mad. We began to think that it was an epidemic, and, in a certain sense, we were right. If an individual with a highly contagious illness works in a job that puts them in contact with the public, an epidemic is the result. In the same way, if an individual in a position of political power is a psychopath, he or she can create an epidemic of psychopathology in people who are not, essentially, psychopathic. Our ideas along this line were soon to receive confirmation from an unexpected source: Andrew Lobaczewski, the author of the book you are about to read.
I received an email as follows:Dear Ladies and Gentlemen.
I have got your Special Research Project on psychopathy by my computer. You are doing a most important and valuable work for the future of nations ...
I am a very aged clinical psychologist. Forty years ago I took part in a secret investigation of the real nature and psychopathology of the macro-social phenomenon called "Communism". The other researchers were the scientists of the previous generation who are now passed away.
The profound study of the nature of psychopathy, which played the essential and inspirational part in this macro- social psychopathologic phenomenon, and distinguishing it from other mental anomalies, appeared to be the necessary preparation for understanding the entire nature of the phenomenon. The profound study of the nature of psychopathy, which played the essential and inspirational part in this macro- social psychopathologic phenomenon, and distinguishing it from other mental anomalies, appeared to be the necessary preparation for understanding the entire nature of the phenomenon.
The large part of the work, you are doing now, was done in those times ... I am able to provide you with a most valuable scientific document, useful for your purposes. It is my book "Political Ponerology - A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes". You may also find copy of this book in the Library of Congress and in some university and public libraries in the USA.
Be so kind and contact me so that I may mail a copy to you.
Very truly yours!
Andrew M. Lobaczewski
I promptly wrote a reply saying yes, I would very much like to read his book. A couple of weeks later the manuscript arrived in the mail.
As I read, I realized that what I was holding in my hand was essentially a chronicle of a descent into hell, transformation, and triumphant return to the world with knowledge of that hell that was priceless for the rest of us, particularly in this day and time when it seems evident that a similar hell is enveloping the planet. The risks that were taken by the group of scientists that did the research on which this book is based are beyond the comprehension of most of us.
As I read, I realized that what I was holding in my hand was essentially a chronicle of a descent into hell, transformation, and triumphant return to the world with knowledge of that hell that was priceless for the rest of us, particularly in this day and time when it seems evident that a similar hell is enveloping the planet. The risks that were taken by the group of scientists that did the research on which this book is based are beyond the comprehension of most of us. Many of them were young, just starting in their careers when the Nazis began to stride in their hundred league jackboots across Europe. These researchers lived through that, and then when the Nazis were driven out and replaced by the Communists under the heel of Stalin, they faced years of oppression the likes of which those of us today who are choosing to take a stand against the Bush Reich cannot even imagine. But, based on the syndrome that describes the onset of the disease, it seems that the United States, in particular, and perhaps the entire world, will soon enter into "bad times" of such horror and despair that the Holocaust of World War II will seem like just a practice run.
And so, since they were there, and they lived through it and brought back information to the rest of us, it may well save our lives to have a map to guide us in the falling darkness.
Nov 19, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
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I wanted to bring this to your attention. My husband had a conversation with a young friend of ours who is a recent college grad. He has been working at [a major retailer] for the last year. I'm not sure what his title is, but we have encountered him at the store. He is a great worker and has earned a number of company awards for his performance. He related to my husband that he had had a conversation with a friend at work about the use or non-use of transgender pronouns. He took the position that he would not feel comfortable doing this.
He was later called into his manager's office and reprimanded. The manager told him that someone had overheard his conversation (manager wouldn't say who), and that he had made this person feel "unsafe". Our friend was written up for this, transferred to another store a long distance away, and suffered other severe sanctions! He was a bit naive to have engaged in this conversation at work, but good grief!
Yes, under communism, the slightest infraction was met with overwhelming punitive force. People were taught that they had better be afraid at all times, because one mistaken word, said in front of the wrong person, could mean their lives would change forever.
The reader goes on:
I am currently reading "The Gulag Archipelago", and there are some very obvious common threads between what happened in the early Soviet days and what we see today: freedom of speech being attacked, publications shut down completely because the editor published material written by people who were out of favor with the party, people put on trial and their past associations (before the revolution) and families of origins being used against them, defense lawyers being threatened with prison for the very act of defending those whom the state had deemed its enemies, etc, etc. The major difference that I see is that, in this age, it is mostly the corporations (along with schools and smaller government entities) who are acting in the place of the state to force people to toe the line in their thoughts and speech.
Yes, I'm working on a book proposal now about this very thing. You cannot trust anybody in these workplaces. Companies are forever wanting to do "team-building," but everything about the woke workplace compels those with any common sense to consider everyone around them a potential threat.
The reader went on to talk about her husband's experience in his workplace at a major international corporation. I can't speak in any detail about that, at her request, but she talked about how the Human Resources Department conducted a survey of all employees to find out their viewpoints on LGBT issues and allyship -- which have nothing at all to do with the company's business. Employees weren't compelled to respond, but if you did not respond, HR took note. It all goes in your file. I've heard this from other readers too, about their companies.
The reader said that her husband knows how to work around all this, and will probably be okay, at least until retirement. It's their children that she worries about:
We talk about these issues. Every time something new a happens, I tell them to ask, "What's next?", because something is always coming next. Even still, I believe it will take a miracle for them to resist this relentless indoctrination. I sometimes laugh to myself (not without sadness) when I see those commenters on your blog who still insist that there is "nothing to see here", and things aren't as bad as you're making it out to be. I am amazed that these people continue to say this in the midst of very fast social changes that are affecting real people every single day in ways that would not have happened even three years ago. We're heading for very dangerous times.
I'm going to start a new category of blog posts: "The Woke Workplace". Send me your accounts of political correctness run amok in your office. If you want me to edit any details out for privacy's sake, say so.
RinTX November 19, 2018 at 6:06 pmSMK , says: November 19, 2018 at 6:28 pm"Employees weren't compelled to respond, but if you did not respond, HR took note. It all goes in your file."
It is imperative that no one be allowed to refuse to wear the ribbon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iV8X8ubGCc
"I sometimes laugh to myself (not without sadness) when I see those commenters on your blog who still insist that there is "nothing to see here", and things aren't as bad as you're making it out to be. I am amazed that these people continue to say this in the midst of very fast social changes that are affecting real people every single day in ways that would not have happened even three years ago. "
Most of these "nothing to see here" commenters are [neo]liberals that approve of and support these social changes. They are just trying to gaslight the rest of us into not noticing what is right in front of our noses.I believe it will take a miracle for them to resist this relentless indoctrination.SMK , says: November 19, 2018 at 6:33 pm
Homeschool or die.I sometimes laugh when I see those commenters on your blog who still insist that there is "nothing to see here"MikeS , says: November 19, 2018 at 6:50 pm
Look, many of us lived this many decades ago, so don't see anything new.
Many of us have held our tongues our entire careers. There have been taboos about many subjects that are obviously true, but you just don't say anything. Just like an entrepreneur keeps his political opinions to himself to not offend is customers, I can keep my mouth shut to make a buck. I've worked totalitarian companies for decades so none of this crap even raises my blood pressure.
In fact, I kind of enjoy watching middle-class women freak out when their ox is finally gored. Why? They've been a large part of the political force that has led to this situation as women entered the workforce. I'm always careful not to denigrate woman's sports, or abortion, or gays, or incompetent female bosses. Welcome to jungle, ladies, when you try to keep trans out of your bathrooms.
I look at the silver lining: there is so much incompetence due to this homosexual/feminist/political crap it's actually a great opportunity for competent guys (who live in the real world, natch) to keep the lights on for an expensive price. Good help is now very hard to find everywhere.The Left made a brilliant insight when it realized it could implement the dictatorship via good old all-American institutions like Corporations, Schools, and Churches (all much respected, at one time, by conservatives and most normal people) instead of the bad old State. Even today, naïve conservatives think the country will get better if anti-normal Corporations (which is about all of them now) get reduced regulations and taxes. This has got to be one of the most brilliant political jiu-jitsus in history.William Dalton , says: November 19, 2018 at 6:58 pmHe is great worker who has earned a number of awards for his performance. Well, why on Earth didn't he tell his manager that he would not accept the transfer and that the manager must either rescind the order or lose him as an employee. Moreover, he should make it clear that he does not feel "safe" in a working environment which seeks to police its employees for their political and social opinions.Brendan , says: November 19, 2018 at 7:05 pm
If Christians and other sane workers in America do not push back, and support one another in doing so, when accosted by workplace stupidity and caviling groupthink they will surely be subjected to it more and more. Stop telling America this is a battle we have lost. If there are companies which are committed to the policies of absurdity there are still certainly others that are not. It won't take more than a few years of such episodes of repression making headlines for Americans to discern for what companies they will choose to work and those they will not. Christians will find safe havens enough, and they will find politicians enough to elect to office who will guarantee them legal protection.This is an escalation of a trend that has been ongoing for some time. Not that it isn't a meaningful escalation, but it's also part of a larger and longer trend towards overt politicization of workspaces.Johnathan F , says: November 19, 2018 at 7:07 pm
I am not unused to it. My policy for many years has been to offer no opinions at work on any topic that could in any way be controversial socially, culturally or politically -- I just don't participate in those conversations, or, if I can't manage that, I simply nod and smile and don't really contribute to the conversation. Of course I will share my opinions about things that aren't touching one of those areas, but inside those areas I just steer clear and keep my opinions to myself.
The escalation here is in having to affirm things (even if it isn't technically mandatory) in order to avoid being branded as a dissenter from social orthodoxy. That is a serious escalation, I agree. It has not happened in my workplace yet. If it were to happen, I would probably grit my teeth and fill the thing out the way the company would prefer, and that would be that. Let them think they have more support than they really do.Looks like my comment was deleted I'll repost:kgasmart , says: November 19, 2018 at 7:38 pm
Leaving out personally identifiable information. My current employer has the following groups: Women & Allies, Pan-Asian & Allies, African American & Allies, Hispanic & Allies, and finally LGBT & Allies. Does anyone notice a group who's missing? I'll give you a hint, it's the only other possible category of race/gender/sexual orientation not already listed. These groups are constantly pushed as THE networking opportunity within the company. Managers and executives run the groups and make it clear that if you want to be recognized in the organization you need to put yourself out there through one of these groups.
As a (TRIGGER WARNING) straight white man, it appears my only option is to attach myself to one of the above groups as a groveling ally. Maybe if I did that I would be able to signal to my peers that I am part of their "class".
However I am not part of their class; while most of my coworkers (regardless of race) spent their childhood taking Japanese language instruction and study abroad trips to France, I was working in restaurants and in construction so I could pay my rent while I went to a poor kids university.
A lot of your commenters laugh at this kind of wacky corporate signaling, while others react with fear for the future. I can only speak for myself and a few other straight white men when I say our reaction is anger.I work in a troubled industry (to say the least) and about a year ago there was a company-wide conference call where the CEO was talking about our strategy going forward, how we planned to retool and shift gears to navigate the increasing headwinds, etc.TheSnark , says: November 19, 2018 at 7:38 pm
At the end of his presentation they opened the floor to questions, and the very first question was: "Do we have a social justice mission?" From the tone of the commenter, you could tell immediately she thought we should indeed have a "social justice mission." The CEO fumbled through a few sentences about diversity and opportunity, he was clearly caught off guard.
But I thought: Here this industry (media) is struggling to survive, and the very first priority among younger employees is social justice.
If this industry's primary mission is social justice over "just the facts ma'am," then this industry is doomed. But I definitely get the idea the younger crowd would just as soon drive the business into the ground as work for a company that wasn't sufficiently "woke."And the liberals wonder why so many white guys voted for Trump.Fran Macadam , says: November 19, 2018 at 7:56 pmJim in Ohio , says: November 19, 2018 at 8:07 pm"I look at the silver lining: there is so much incompetence due to this homosexual/feminist/political crap it's actually a great opportunity for competent guys (who live in the real world, natch) to keep the lights on for an expensive price. Good help is now very hard to find everywhere."
No, incompetence is rewarded. The woke political opinions count more than anything else in a nation that's outsourced making things, which is no longer thought important Paper pushing requires no particular competence at all, and the paper pushers are now ascendant.
No longer can managers tell the difference between a good job and a bad job, except the bad job is more profitable for them.
I have to say, that if the Russians really were as malevolent as they make them out to be, God help us.I find all of this very odd.JonF , says: November 19, 2018 at 8:11 pm
I've worked in IT for a number of large companies in Ohio, some of whom have their national headquarters here. They all have progressive policies in terms of hiring and all that, but the guys who run things in practice are generally conservative white men in their 40s and 50s.
I think this is less a matter of imposed ideology by hardened ideologues than a matter of wanting to avoid lawsuits by the actual fanatics.
It's the same reason we're forced to endure HR seminars on what is and what is not appropriate physical contact in a work environment. A pat on the back that lasts for too long or is placed a half inch too low will result in a lawsuit.
Why bother with the hassle? Make your policies as strict as possible so that someone with a petty grudge has no grounds should they decide to sue.And now for a word from Common Sense, though I can already tell from the comments above the Panicky Horde will reject it and run around screaming "The sky is falling!". But here goes:
Only about 5% of the population is Gay or Lesbian. a far smaller percent is Trans. I've had "G" and "L" coworkers, but never a "T" person. I expect this be true of most people here. If you are working at a small to mid sized employer there will be neither the personnel nor the budget to allow for any sort of extravagance along these lines (nor for other trendy causes: businesses exist to make money after all and in our day they are especially stingy about lavishing funds on mere staff). You will find some of it at larger employers, but even there the primary mission to make money for the shareholders. Can anyone dispute that? When I was at Big Wall Street Bank, the Baltimore office, with about 1000 employees, hosted a Women's Group, a Black Employees' Group, and yep, a GL group (again, no "T" anywhere in evidence there). Each group held an annual fundraiser for a decidedly non-political Worthy Cause: the women for breast cancer (they did a spaghetti luncheon for the office), the Black group for the local animal shelter, and the GL group for a meals on wheel type of charity, with a bake sale. The latter named of these was a "movable" event: the folks brought the goodies around the office for purchase on carts. Most of us did buy something: sweets in the afternoon! There was a Russian guy in our area– he bought nothing. Why not? Maybe he had no cash on him that day, maybe he had dietary issues, maybe he disapproved of the group and never mind the innocuous charity the money went to. Whatever: nothing came of that.
One note of caution here: I am speaking about private employment only. I am not making a comment about circumstances in public employment, including academia as I have no experience there.
Nov 17, 2018 | www.quora.com
dmond Lau , former Engineer at Google (2006-2008) Answered Aug 26 2010 ·
Upvoted by Venkata Rajesh Mekala , Engineer at Google (2016-present) and Piyush Khemka , worked at Google
Google schedules their performance reviews twice a year -- one major one at the end of the year and a smaller one mid-year. This answer is based on my experience as a Google engineer, and the performance review process may differ slightly for other positions.
Each review consists of a self-assessment, a set of peer reviews, and if you're applying for a promotion, reasons for why should be promoted to the next level. Each review component is submitted via an online tool. Around performance review time, it's not uncommon to see many engineers taking a day or more just to write the reviews through the tool.
In the self-assessment, you summarize your major accomplishments and contributions since the last review. You're also asked to describe your strengths and areas for improvement; typically you'd frame them with respect to the job expectations described by your career ladder. For example, if you're a senior engineer, you might write about your strengths being the tech lead of your current project.
For peer reviews, employees are expected to choose around 3-8 peers (fellow engineers, product managers, or others that can comment on their work) to write their peer reviews. Oftentimes, managers will also assign additional individuals to write peer reviews for one of their reports, particularly newer or younger reports who may be less familiar with the process.
Peers comment on your projects and contributions, on your strengths, and on areas for improvement. The peer reviews serve three purposes:
An additional part of the peer review is indicating a list of engineers that are working below the level of the peer and a list of engineers that are working above the level of the peer. These factor into a total ordering of engineers within a team and are used to determine cutoffs for bonuses and promotions.
- They allow your peers to give you direct feedback on your code quality, your teamwork, etc., and to give direct feedback to your manager that you don't feel comfortable directly sharing with the employee.
- Along with the self-assessment, they feed into your manager's decision regarding your performance rating, which determines your yearly bonus multiplier.
- If you apply for a promotion, the peer reviews also become part of your promotion application packet.
If you're applying for a promotion during a performance review cycle, you're given an additional opportunity to explain why you should be promoted. A key part to a strong application is explaining with specific details and examples how you're achieving and contributing based on the expectations of the next level in the job ladder.
Nov 17, 2018 | www.quora.com
Nanci Lamborn ,
Pretty naive, pro-management, view...
Reviews should never (ever ever ever) be a surprise to either party (ever). If there is something in your review that was never brought up before, ask why your manager waited until now to bring it up instead of addressing it in the moment. Have an uncomfortable discussion (yikes! YES. have an uncomfortable dialogue about it). Uncomfortable doesn't mean ugly or yelling or fist pounding. We don't like conflict, so we don't like asking people to explain why they chose to act in a certain way when we feel wronged. Get over that discomfort (respectfully). You have every right to ask why something was put in your review if it was a surprise.
Does the company as a whole actually give a crap about reviews? Are reviews used to make decisions on what departments to trim/cut and who is at the bottom? Are they used for financial decisions? (none of those uses is good by the way). Or do they sit in a file gathering dust? Has anyone ever actually pulled out someone's performance review from 2 years ago and taken action on it? If none of these things are true, while the bad review is still crappy, perhaps it's less of an issue overall.
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If the comments are more behavioral or personal, this will be tougher. "Johnny rarely demonstrates a positive attitude" or "Johnny is difficult to work with" or "Johnny doesn't seem to be a team player" - for statements like this, you must ask for a detailed explanation. Not to defend yourself (at first anyway) but to understand. What did they mean exactly by the attitude or difficulty or team player? Ask for specific examples. "Please tell me when I demonstrated a bad attitude because I really want to understand how it comes across that way". BUT you MUST listen for the answer. If you are not willing to hear the answer and then work on it, then the entire exercise is a waste of time. You have a right to ask for these specifics. If your boss hesitates on giving examples, your response is then "How can I correct this issue if I don't know what the issue is?"
... ... ...
Lastly, if all of this fails and you're not given a chance to discuss the review and you truly believe it is wrong, ask for a meeting with HR to start that discussion. But be sure that you come across with the desire to come to an understanding by considering all the issues together professionally. And don't grumble and complain about it to colleagues unless everyone else is getting the same bad review treatment. This situation is between you and your manager and you should treat it as such or it can backfire.
Nov 17, 2018 | www.quora.com
David Spearman , I operate by Crocker's Rules. Answered Feb 26, 2015 Yes if and only if you have documentation that some factual information in the review is false. Even then, you need to be careful to be as polite as possible. Anything else is unlikely to get you anywhere and may make your situation much worse.
Aug 05, 2014 | blog.idonethis.com
This post was written anonymously by a current Google and former Microsoft employee. It details the author's perspective on her first-hand experience with Google's performance management review system.
"Confidence thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live."
–Franklin D. Roosevelt
Institutions are built on the trust and credibility of their members. This maxim holds true for employees and their employers just the same as it does for citizens and their government. Whereas the electoral process in modern democracies allows you and me to rate our government's performance, performance rating systems make employees the subject of evaluation. In both cases, however, faith in the integrity of the process is the only thing that ensures order.
Managing a performance rating system that motivates, rewards, and retains talented employees across an organization tens of thousands large is a grueling, never-ending challenge. How does an organization balance values core to its DNA and its continued success -- merit, openness, innovation, and loyalty -- all while maintaining perceptions of fairness?
I've worked at both Microsoft and Google and seen both tech giants fight this battle with complex formulae, peer awards, and strict curves .
Numerical ratings were originally born out of a desire for precision. Performance buckets were born out of an inability to defend the precise scores. As of November 2013, Microsoft eliminated its forced curve rating system. And in April 2014, Google followed suit.
All four performance rating schemes follow a similar cadence: employees are given a rating relative to their peers on a quarterly basis. This is done in secret and potentially never shared with employees. On a semi-annual basis, summary assessments are shared with a selective set of examples (of work and behavior) that articulate and reinforce the rating. Then employees are made aware of the bonuses, salary raises, and stock grants they will be awarded. The rewards are decided unilaterally regardless of the dialogue that takes place during the review, and next chance to check in and reassess is six months away.First-Hand Observations
As someone who has lived through cycles of the ever-evolving performance evaluation and rating mechanisms at these tech giants, a few observations emerge:Forced curves undermine the spirit of collaboration and foster a mindset of hoarding pie instead of expanding it
There are particular specialized organizations that benefit from having a defined numerical goal. For example, a quarterly sales quota is a very clear measuring stick, as are portfolio returns, bugs resolved, or customers satisfied. But absent specific, level measures of productive output, large firms face the uphill battle of linking performance to rewards.
When you force fit a curve to the array of employee responsibilities, which vary in scope and complexity, it becomes virtually impossible for one lowly employee to pinpoint what distinguishes "good" from "poor" or "great".
I've found myself asking, "Did I score well because I put in the hours or because I got an easy draw?" Or, "Is managing a profitable line of business more merit-worthy than building a floor for a failing business?"
In my experience , people managers suffer through this ambiguity just the same. Despite the wealth of data they have about their direct reports, they're unable to articulate the rationale (or broader context within the cohort) underlying the numerical scores they assign. And in the absence of transparency or an understanding of how individual contributions compare to team success, self-preservation rules supreme.
And even with the recent moves away from strict numerical curves, there remains a finite pool of awards to be distributed, which doesn't reflect the mentality they're trying to foster.Celebrating performance through evaluation cycles (quarterly, semiannually, annually) creates a sense that everyday work does not matter
The climb toward credible ratings grows steeper when you divorce an accomplishment from recognition with an annual or semiannual review. The emotional impact of a successful presentation or a new policy is nowhere to be found in a set of six-month-old notes. Worse still, seeing changes to compensation or a performance rating system in response to months old polling data address past concerns (and possibly the concerns of past employees).Even data-rich, data-loving companies shy away from being transparent about how they arrive at individual ratings which produce a perception of arbitrary assessment and a false notion of precision
How do employees adapt and improve if they aren't working at the trading desk or privy to examples of exceptional performance? They turn to Glassdoor, HR brochures, or worse of all, personal anecdotes to bolster their own assessment of whether they are receiving a "fair" deal. Unfortunately, not one of these third party sources has the nuanced understanding of an employee or his/her team necessary to provide context. What's often left is a broken, trust-less relationship.Performance rating systems are reactive and intended to buoy the ship against alarming trends in survey data and rates of attrition; improvements and tweaks are subject to lengthy implementation cycles
Employers seek to improve their performance rating systems and do so by soliciting regular feedback from their employees. The intention is that a system designed in collaboration will better serve all and engage employees. Where these good intentions run awry is at the implementation stage -- it takes at least one quarter for to synthesize feedback and evaluation potential changes. The feedback loops for employee performance as well as the performance review system are out of sync with actual job performance and employee sentiment.How to Do Better
So what can these firms do to win the war for credibility? Be transparent . Throw open the doors and share the notes. Make measurement and compensation public. Have peers drive the rating process. The power of transparency is well understood. There are already measures in place to build engagement among employees and alignment within teams:
- Empowering employees to reward one another
- Have everyone share in company profits (e.g. stock awards or profit sharing)
- Create awards for exceptional team performance (e.g. working across divisions or elevating the division through combined efforts)
- Pool risk vertically (e.g tying manager performance to team performance)
Increased context and knowledge builds comfort and trust for employees and managers alike. When employees know how they're measured, there's less room for suspicion. And when they know can connect the dots between individual performance and team success, there's greater job satisfaction.
Ultimately, the goal of a performance rating system is to reward and retain capable employees by keeping them happy and feeling like they have a fair deal.
Transparency goes a far way toward lending credibility to the process and building commitment to the company, but it isn't a silver bullet. Giving employees greater flexibility in what they take on and the efforts they lead also builds a sense of ownership and commitment. Opportunities such as 20% projects (wherein employees spends 20% of their time working on something about which they're passionate) or cross-organizational initiatives (e.g. building a volunteering program) are excellent examples of empowering employees through choice. But there's room for this notion of self-direction to go even further -- a completely open allocation (e.g. 100% self-directed time) or letting employees choose their manager are two programs I would certainly sign up for.
What it boils down to is that employees want to know how they are being evaluated and want to know that they're making conscious choices. Because while you vote with a punch card at the election booth, in the workplace you vote with your feet.
Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt • 4 years ago ,
Good points. Two of my children, boys with STEM degrees from 1st tier colleges (CS and ME), just changed jobs to get away from the culture at the ones where they worked. Each to a more flexible, small environment - I'm hoping it will work.
Nov 03, 2018 | www.rako.com
In an advanced research or development project, success or failure is largely determined when the goals or objectives are set and before a manager is chosen. While a hard-working and diligent manager can increase the chances of success, the outcome of the project is most strongly affected by preexisting but unknown technological factors over which the project manager has no control. The success or failure of the project should not, therefore, be used as the sole measure or even the primary measure of the manager's competence.
Putt's Law Is promulgated
Without an adequate competence criterion for technical managers, there is no way to determine when a person has reached his level of incompetence. Thus a clever and ambitious individual may be promoted from one level of incompetence to another. He will ultimately perform incompetently in the highest level of the hierarchy just as he did in numerous lower levels. The lack of an adequate competence criterion combined with the frequent practice of creative incompetence in technical hierarchies results in a competence inversion, with the most competent people remaining near the bottom while persons of lesser talent rise to the top. It also provides the basis for Putt's Law, which can be stated in an intuitive and nonmathematical form as follows:Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.
As in any other hierarchy, the majority of persons in technology neither understand nor manage much of anything. This, however, does not create an exception to Putt's Law, because such persons clearly do not dominate the hierarchy. While this was not previously stated as a basic law, it is clear that the success of every technocrat depends on his ability to deal with and benefit from the consequences of Putt's Law.
Nov 03, 2018 | www.zdnet.com
Gravyboat McGee , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 9:00 PMFour years in GTS ... joined via being outsourced to IBM by my previous employer. Left GTS after 4 years.
The IBM way of life was throughout the Oughts and the Teens an utter and complete failure from the perspective of getting work done right and using people to their appropriate and full potential. I went from a multi-disciplinary team of engineers working across technologies to support corporate needs in the IT environment to being siloed into a single-function organization.
My first year of on-boarding with IBM was spent deconstructing application integration and cross-organizational structures of support and interwork that I had spent 6 years building and maintaining. Handing off different chunks of work (again, before the outsourcing, an Enterprise solution supported by one multi-disciplinary team) to different IBM GTS work silos that had no physical special relationship and no interworking history or habits. What we're talking about here is the notion of "left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing" ...
THAT was the IBM way of doing things, and nothing I've read about them over the past decade or so tells me it has changed.
As a GTS employee, professional technical training was deemed unnecessary, hence I had no access to any unless I paid for it myself and used my personal time ... the only training available was cheesy presentations or other web based garbage from the intranet, or casual / OJT style meetings with other staff who were NOT professional or expert trainers.
As a GTS employee, I had NO access to the expert and professional tools that IBM fricking made and sold to the same damn customers I was supposed to be supporting. Did we have expert and professional workflow / document management / ITIL aligned incident and problem management tools? NO, we had fricking Lotus Notes and email. Instead of upgrading to the newest and best software solutions for data center / IT management & support, we degraded everything down the simplest and least complex single function tools that no "best practices" organization on Earth would ever consider using.
And the people management paradigm ... employees ranked annually not against a static or shared goal or metric, but in relation to each other, and there was ALWAYS a "top 10 percent" and a "bottom ten percent" required by upper management ... a system that was sociopathic in it's nature because it encourages employees to NOT work together ... by screwing over one's coworkers, perhaps by not giving necessary information, timely support, assistance as needed or requested, one could potentially hurt their performance and make oneself look relatively better. That's a self-defeating system and it was encouraged by the way IBM ran things.
The "not invented here" ideology was embedded deeply in the souls of all senior IBMers I ever met or worked with ... if you come on board with any outside knowledge or experience, you must not dare to say "this way works better" because you'd be shut down before you could blink. The phrase "best practices" to them means "the way we've always done it".
IBM gave up on innovation long ago. Since the 90's the vast majority of their software has been bought, not built. Buy a small company, strip out the innovation, slap an IBM label on it, sell it as the next coming of Jesus even though they refuse to expend any R&D to push the product to the next level ... damn near everything IBM sold was gentrified, never cutting edge.
And don't get me started on sales practices ... tell the customer how product XYZ is a guaranteed moonshot, they'll be living on lunar real estate in no time at all, and after all the contracts are signed hand the customer a box of nuts & bolts and a letter telling them where they can look up instructions on how to build their own moon rocket. Or for XX dollars more a year, hire a Professional Services IBMer to build it for them.
I have no sympathy for IBM. They need a clean sweep throughout upper management, especially any of the old True Blue hard-core IBMers.
Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org
When it comes to employment claims, studies have found that arbitrators overwhelmingly favor employers. Research by Cornell University law and labor relations specialist Alexander Colvin found that workers win only 19 percent of the time when their cases are arbitrated. By contrast, they win 36 percent of the time when they go to federal court, and 57 percent in state courts. Average payouts when an employee wins follow a similar pattern.
Given those odds, and having signed away their rights to go to court, some laid-off IBM workers have chosen the one independent forum companies can't deny them: the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That's where Moos, the Long Beach systems security specialist, and several of her colleagues, turned for help when they were laid off. In their complaints to the agency, they said they'd suffered age discrimination because of the company's effort to "drastically change the IBM employee age mix to be seen as a startup."
In its formal reply to the EEOC, IBM said that age couldn't have been a factor in their dismissals. Among the reasons it cited: The managers who decided on the layoffs were in their 40s and therefore older too.
Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org
Cindy Gallop , Thursday, March 22, 2018 10:24 AMThis makes for absolutely horrifying, chills-down-your-spine reading. A modern corporate horror story - worthy of a 'Black Mirror' episode. Phenomenal reporting by Ariana Tobin and Peter Gosselin. Thank you for exposing this. I hope this puts an end to this at IBM and makes every other company and industry doing this in covert and illegal ways think twice about continuing.Daisy S Cindy Gallop , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •Agree..a well written expose'. I've been a victim of IBM's "PIP" (Performance Improvement Plan) strategy, not because of my real performance mind you, but rather, I wasn't billing hours between projects and it was hurting my unit's bottom line. The way IBM instructs management to structure the PIP, it's almost impossible to dig your way out, and it's intentional. If you have a PIP on your record, nobody in IBM wants to touch you, so in effect you're already gone.Paul Brinker Daisy S , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •I see the PIP problem as its nearly impossible to take the fact that we know PIP is a scam to court. IBM will say its an issue with you, your performance nose dived and your manager tried to fix that. You have to not only fight those simple statements, but prove that PIP is actually systematic worker abuse.dragonflap Cindy Gallop , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •Cindy, they've been doing this for at least 15-20 years, or even longer according to some of the previous comments. It is in fact a modern corporate horror story; it's also life at a modern corporation, period.Maria Stone dragonflap , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •This started happening in the 1990's when they added 5 years to your age and years of service and ASKED you to retire.Matt_Z , Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:01 PMAfter over 35 years working there, 19 of them as a manager sending out more of those notification letters than I care to remember, I can vouch for the accuracy of this investigative work. It's an incredibly toxic and hostile environment and has been for the last 5 or so years. One of the items I was appraised on annually was how many US jobs I moved offshore. It was a relief when I received my notification letter after a two minute phone call telling me it was on the way. Sleeping at night and looking myself in the mirror aren't as hard as they were when I worked there.Jennifer , Thursday, March 22, 2018 9:42 AM
IBM will never regain any semblance of their former glory (or profit) until they begin to treat employees well again.
With all the offshoring and resource actions with no backfill over the last 10 years, so much is broken. Customers suffer almost as much as the employees.
I don't know how in the world they ended up on that LinkedIn list. Based on my fairly recent experience there are a half dozen happy employees in the US, and most of them are C level.Well done. It squares well with my 18 years at IBM, watching resource action after resource action and hearing what my (unusually honest) manager told me. Things got progressively worse from 2012 onward. I never realized how stressful it was to live under the shadow of impending layoffs until I finally found the courage to leave in 2015. Best decision I've made.Herb Jennifer , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
IBM answers to its shareholders, period. Employees are an afterthought - simply a means to an end. It's shameful. (That's not to say that individual people managers feel that way. I'm speaking about IBM executives.)Well, they almost answer to their shareholders, but that's after the IBM executives take their share. Ginni's compensation is tied to stock price (apparently not earnings) and buy backs maintain the stock price.Ribit , Thursday, March 22, 2018 8:17 AMIf the criteria for layoff is being allegedly overpaid and allegedly a poor performer, then it follows that Grinnin' Jenny should have been let go long ago.Mr. Hand Ribit , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •Yes! After the 4th of those 22 consecutive quarters of declining revenues. And she's no spring chicken either. ;-)DDRLSGC Ribit ,Especially these CEOs who have ran their companies into the ground for the last 38 years.owswitch , Thursday, March 22, 2018 8:58 AMJust another fine example of how people become disposable.DDRLSGC owswitch
And, when it comes to cost containment and profit maximization, there is no place for ethics in American business.
Businesses can lie just as well as politicians.
Millennials are smart to avoid this kind of problem by remaining loyal only to themselves. Companies certainly define anyone as replaceable - even their over-paid CEO's.HiJinks DDRLSGC
The millennials saw what happen to their parents and grandparents getting screwed over after a life time of work and loyalty. You can't blame them for not caring about so called traditional American work ethics and then they are attacked for not having them when the business leaders threw away all those value decades ago.
Some of these IBM people have themselves to blame for cutting their own economic throats for fighting against unions, putting in politicians who are pro-business and thinking that their education and high paying white collar STEM jobs will give them economic immunity.
If America was more of a free market and free enterprise instead of being more of a close market of oligarchies and monopolies, and strong government regulations, companies would think twice about treating their workforce badly because they know their workforce would leave for other companies or start up their own companies without too much of a hassle.DDRLSGC HiJinks
Under the old IBM you could not get a union as workers were treated with dignity and respect - see the 3 core beliefs. Back then a union would not have accomplished anything.Doesn't matter if it was the old IBM or new IBM, you wonder how many still actually voted against their economic interests in the political elections that in the long run undermine labor rights in this country.HiJinks DDRLSGCSo one shouldn't vote? Neither party cares about the average voter except at election time. Both sell out to Big Business - after all, that's where the big campaign donations come from. If you believe only one party favors Big Business, then you have been watching to much "fake news". Even the unions know they have been sold out by both and are wising up. How many of those jobs were shipped overseas the past 25 years.DDRLSGC HiJinks ,No, they should have been more active in voting for politicians who would look after the workers' rights in this country for the last 38 years plus ensuring that Congressional people and the president would not be packing the court system with pro-business judges. Sorry, but it is the Big Business that have been favoring the Republican Party for a long, long time and the jobs have been shipped out for the last 38 years.
Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org
Bob Gort , Saturday, March 31, 2018 9:49 PMAge discrimination has been standard operating procedure in IT for at least 30 years. And there are no significant consequences, if any consequences at all, for doing it in a blatant fashion. The companies just need to make sure the quota of H1B visas is increased when they are doing this on an IBM scale!900DeadWomen Bob Gort , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •Age discrimination and a myriad other forms of discrimination have been standard operating procedure in the US. Period. Full stop. No need to equivocate.Anon , Friday, March 30, 2018 12:49 PMWait for a few years and we can see the same happening to "millenials".
And the women who run these companies are as shallow and ruthless as the sociopathic men.
Oct 29, 2018 | features.propublica.org
Stauffenberg , Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:21 PMIn the early 1980's President Regan fired the striking air traffic controllers. This sent the message to management around the USA that it was OK to abuse employees in the workplace. By the end of the 1980's unions were totally emasculated and you had workers "going postal" in an abusive workplace. When unions were at their peak of power, they could appeal to the courts and actually stop a factory from moving out of the country by enforcing a labor contact.
Today we have a President in the White House who was elected on a platform of "YOU'RE FIRED." Not surprisingly, Trump was elected by the vast majority of selfish lowlives in this country. The American workplace is a nuthouse. Each and every individual workplace environment is like a cult.
That is not good for someone like me who hates taking orders from people. But I have seen it all. Ten years ago a Manhattan law firm fired every lawyer in a litigation unit except an ex-playboy playmate. Look it up it was in the papers. I was fired from a job where many of my bosses went to federal prison and then I was invited to the Christmas Party.
What are the salaries of these IBM employees and how much are their replacements making? The workplace becomes a surrogate family. Who knows why some people get along and others don't. My theory on agism in the workplace is that younger employees don't want to be around their surrogate mother or father in the workplace after just leaving the real home under the rules of their real parents.
The American workplace is just a byproduct of the militarization of everyday life. In the 1800's, Herman Melville wrote in his beautiful book "White Jacket" that one of the most humiliating aspects of the military is taking orders from a younger military officer. I read that book when I was 20. I didn't feel the sting of that wisdom until I was 40 and had a 30 year old appointed as my supervisor who had 10 years less experience than me.
By the way, the executive that made her my supervisor was one of the sleaziest bosses I have ever had in my career. Look at the tech giant Theranos. Silicon Valley and Wall Street handed billions of dollars to this arrogant, ignorant Millennial Elizabeth Holmes. She abused any employee that questioned her. This should sound familiar to any employee who has had an overbearing know-it-all, bully boss in the workplace. Hopefully she will go to jail and a message will be sent that any young agist bully will not be given the power of god in the workplace.
Oct 26, 2018 | craigmurray.org.uk
Here – apart from sniffing and a runny nose – from a treatment website is a list of some of the mental symptoms of cocaine abuse. An interesting take on the reckless Khashoggi assassination?