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Monthly Archives: February 2014

We The People-So Far Behind We Think We’re In Front

I have come to the conclusion that too many people would rather talk about old people than listen to one.  That people are more interested in talking about disabled people than listen to the opinions of one.  And especially, that far more people are are interested in finding ways to blame the right for the plight of poor people in this country than in hearing what’s really wrong from… well, from a poor person. 

Even among the so call leading lights of the left on the social networks, far too many of those “lights” are way too busy making sure they improve or at least maintain their little spot in the pecking order of online mini-pundits than in being forced to admit that the people actually suffering through what they can only speculate on might have a valid opinion or two even if it disagrees with theirs.

indexFor an example, you can happen upon a Twitter thread involving four or ten people gushing over the Affordable Care Act (there are dozens of them every day) and acting as if PBO was the ultimate savior of humanity for having achieved it, yadayada.  And you can say something like “I have mixed feelings about it since I’ve actually LOST medical coverage over the past few years to help finance it” or whatever and, just like poor old Arlo in the police station in Alice’s Restaurant, “They all move away from you on the bench there.” because nobody wants to hear that their hero might not be perfect and that his “signature” piece of “landmark” legislation might have a few holes in it and left a few people… or even more than a few… behind with less coverage than before and, even more significant, less coverage at a higher price than the ACA provides to all those newly insured folks who were standing in line to be part of the historic occasion.

Me… I tend to look at all the compromises and giveaways and the stuff that was taken off the table before anyone had ever sat down, as losses, pure and simple.  You don’t win when you give your opponent 98% of what he wants before he even has to come to the table and then don’t get anything back.  There was never anything that made any sense in terms of actual “reform” other than universal single payer… just like all the other developed countries have… and to take it off the table without firing a shot and require nothing from the Republicans in return was… not so much a mistake but a signal to some of us that this was going to be yet another example of style over substance and political theater that in the end simply pitted one group of us against another with any gains for one requiring “offsets” from the other in order to make it at least appear to work.

Just like the “financial reform” that was introduced by the administration back about 2010 when they said beforehand that they wouldn’t be breaking up any of the offending institutions that “had” to be bailed out because they were “too big to fail” nor would any of the CEOs and other execs of any of thosemagic_dees banks and other institutions face prosecution for their part in the financial destruction of the country and that they would be free to go right on doing what they were doing with the addition of almost a trillion taxpayer dollars with which to invest in high yield schemes that made billions for their companies and millions for their top executives and institutional shareholders.  Yeah sure, most of them supposedly paid back the bailout loans, but only after having received billions in return on investment on monies that were supposed to be used to make banks safe for the public to walk into again.  If we’d had any balls, most of those profits would have gone into the treasury to pay for their next round of thievery which is already looming on the horizon. 

BankstersWhat happened when our government finally had to admit that many of the same companies that were being subsidized by the taxpayers with bailout loans were not only still paying their CEOS and other honchos hundreds of times more than the average working stiff makes but instead of using them to make loans available to consumers were investing them and then offshoring the bloated profits they were making on them in order to avoid paying taxes?  Why, we punished the person who brought it to light of course.  That’s what this administration may perhaps be noted most for when history passes judgment in the light of hindsight.  They were more apt to punish or help marginalize the people who exposed criminal actions than to prosecute those committing them. 

071113_revolving-door3Many of the prime time players in the machinations that ultimately brought this country down… far from getting what they actually deserve for doing so…  have been placed in positions of oversight over the very industries they served and as soon as they were done playing fearless leader, went right back to the those same industries which were in many casesGraph1 bolstered financially by the actions of these people with the added fillip of them having been paid by the very people whose interests they were working against…  Not a damned one of them has ever been called to account unless you want to count those mini-circus “hearings” for people like Jamie Dimon who basically told the people of the United States to go get screwed or Lloyd Blankfein who claimed to be doing “God’s work” by helping force more than half% of the population into abject poverty and scaring the water out of the middle class.

I’m sorry people, I’m neither happy nor satisfied when the President of the United States looks me in the eye… during an election campaign of course… and says he’s finally gonna get me piece of the pie that I’ve paid for and spent 47 years helping to bake only to find out later that Wall Street had been allowed to ship the pie to China again.  I didn’t like it when Reagan and the Bushes did it, I didn’t like it when Clinton did it and I don’t like it now, ESPECIALLY with the administration pushing TPP and on second thought, I’m NOT sorry for being pissed off about it.

The fact is that for many of us who are unfortunate enough to be considered part of the “lower” classes, things are simply worse than they were six years ago.  If you, in your so far secure little middle class niche,  can’t or won’t understand that then let’s just say your little nest in the 99% is obviously way farther up the food chain than mine is.

21448_cartoon_main You can blame it on the Republicans or the Tea Party all you want and yes they are hugely significant… hell, even the MOST significant… factors in what has gone on for six years but if they hadn’t existed Wall Street would have had to invent someone or something else just like them to do their job.  For once, just be objective enough to ask yourselves… if we had been going to see any real and meaningful reform in any of this.., why were and are there so many financial industry and global conglomerate CEOs, execs, lobbyists and such in the mid to highest levels of this administration and why are the institutions and individuals that have all but destroyed the “American Dream” for all but a tiny little fraction of the population still free to go right on doing it with the only really visible consequence that any of them might suffer as this shakes out being that the health insurance industry might only make five billion in profits this year instead of six?

I’m old and maybe not quite as sharp as some of you or even as sharp as I myself might have horese traderonce been but dammit even I can still recognize a wind broke horse when I see one.  I never bought one back in my horsey days and I’m not buying one now.  You can have freedom or you can have unbridled capitalism but there’s no way you’re gonna get both.

CarsYou keep electing leaders solely on party affiliation or… worse yet… on your perception of a candidate’s personality… like you’re buying a used car or aluminum siding based on how slick the patter and how brightly the salesman’s teeth flash when he smiles at you… and you’re gonna deserve exactly what you get.  Unfortunately, your kids and grandkids won’t and that’s who’s going to pay the ultimate price.  I’ve been saying it ever since I realized that “Cowboy” George W. Bush was nothing but a damned Connecticut goat roper and and I’m sticking to it, at least for the foreseeable future.

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Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Personality Types and Politics

In preparation for a post on how our our basic personalities constitute the basic controlling factor in regard to the position in which we are most likely to wind up on our “political spectrum”, I was doing a little research on some of the various quirks and traits that help to define an individual persona as pertains to a person’s core belief system and I came across the following definition of a narcissist at one of my favorite encyclopedia/dictionary sites:

Narcissism is the pattern of traits and behaviors which involve infatuation and obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one’s gratification, dominance and ambition.  

On the outside, a narcissist appears to have higher than average self-esteem. Paradoxically, the narcissist’s self-esteem is [actually] lower. For the narcissist, self-worth comes from the belief that he/she is superior to his/her peers; it is not enough to be “okay” or “pretty good,” the narcissist can only feel worthwhile by being the best. It is this struggle of the narcissist to convince others of his/her superiority that results in the outward appearance of high self-esteem, and the inadequacy that the narcissist feels from not being the absolute best that results in the narcissist’s [actual] low self esteem. In addition to fragile, exaggerated self-esteem, narcissists are also characterized by a lack of empathy, that is, a lack of sensitivity to the feelings of others. These traits are present in most people to some degree but severe narcissism may warrant a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder.

So of course, the next step was to look up  this narcissistic personality disorder.  Interesting findings there too.  Fore example:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder that is characterized by extreme feelings of self-importance, a high need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. NPD can be considered as a pathological form of narcissism. It is estimated that 0.7-1% of the general population are afflicted with NPD. Most people with NPD (50-75%, according to the DSM) are men.

This jibes with my personal experience as I’ve known a few narcissistic types personally in my day and been exposed indirectly to many more in my years on line, and it seems to me that roughly nine out of ten… of at least the most vociferous and demanding of attention… have been males. 

A narcissistic personality disorder as defined by the DSM (see DSM cautionary statement) is characterized by an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts. Five (or more) of the following criteria are considered necessary for the clinical diagnosis to be met:  

    • Often feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, and demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).  The person may be obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion.
    • The person with NPD may be firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions).  They often require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wish to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).
    • They often feel entitled, demanding automatic and full compliance with their unreasonable expectations for special and favorable priority treatment and may be “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., use others to achieve his or her own ends.  They’re most often devoid of empathy and may even express pride in being so. Unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others, they most often choose the path that is likely to bring the most attention to themselves.
    • They are often constantly envious of others and may seek minimize the accomplishments or situations of others, largely by directing attention away from those others and to themselves or attempting to marginalize or even hurt or destroy the object of their frustration. Can suffer from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as they believe that others feel the same about them and are likely to act similarly.  He or she may behave arrogantly and haughtily actually feeling superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, “above the law”, and omnipresent (magical thinking). May anger quickly when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he considers inferior to him or otherwise unworthy.

If you take a good look around you today you start to realize that virtually any and all positions of authority, influence or power are being filled by people who display an inordinate number of those symptoms.  Many of the so called movers and shakers in the “blogosphere” and on the social networks… I could name at least two prime examples from my own limited circle of experience on Twitter alone… display many of the major symptoms. 

A certain amount of Narcissism is a requirement for anyone who intends to spend their existence in the public eye, but never in our history has it been carried to the pathological extremes we see today.  This kind of personal self obsession… especially among those we choose to lead us… is a sickness that borders on a a deadly pandemic.  If ever you want to express a death wish just choose a pathological narcissist to act in your interests.  Mitt Romney was a perfect example of virtually everything I’ve described in this post and his election would have been tantamount to instant suicide for the working classes and while I’m not about to risk the wrath of the O-bots by suggesting that even their beloved Messiah suffers from his own version of the syndrome, I will state without reservation that most of the people he has chosen to surround himself with do.

Our media has become the laughing stock of the planet because the entire function of providing information to the public been taken over by pathological narcissists whom Wall Street can control simply by adroit manipulation of their overblown sense of self worth.  Why else would someone like Chuck Todd have risen to a position of responsibility in any news organization?  How else would people like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin even have jobs in our society or a bloated hog like Rush Limbaugh make millions by simply pimping institutional hate to the ignorant masses?

We’ve truly allowed the inmates to get control of the asylum folks and in doing so we’ve taken the punch line right out of that stale old joke.  When it actually becomes an asylum, as this country has today, it’s no longer a joke but merely another inescapable truth.  Politicians don’t seek office to serve the American people, they seek office as a means of obtaining what they feel is rightfully theirs by virtue of their innate superiority to the rest of us.  The day we finally get that through our heads and stop looking at politics as some kind of junior grade popularity contest between competing personality cults is the day we finally start doing something about the situation we all profess to abhor.  Until then we’re just fodder for enhancing the self esteem of a the 1% and their overly pampered lap dogs.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Uncategorized