Saturday, April 17, 2010

Is Barack Obama Mentally Ill?

Back in August '08 I blogged that Barack Obama showed signs of sociopathy.  Since I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist, there is no specific reason to trust my call, which was based on intuition derived from various business dealings. Since then I've learned that there is no clinical diagnosis of "sociopathy." Rather, the term is used loosely to suggest psychopathy.  But there is no reason to trust the judgment of psychiatrists or psychologists, who are notoriously incompetent.  A famous book on this subject is Thomas Szaz's Myth of Mental Illness, in which Szaz argues that the term mental illness is vacuous. Szaz's book has become a classic.  In other words, is there really any meaning to terms like psychopath or sociopath?

I interviewed Paul Babiak on workplace psychopaths for the AICPA Career Insider newsletter. Babiak coauthored with Robert Hare a great book on workplace psychopaths, Snakes in Suits.  If you are a Sopranos fan you may recall the name Robert Hare from the third or fourth to last Sopranos episode, when he is quoted at a dinner that Dr. Melfi gives for her psychiatrist friends that leads to her reading an article that in turn leads to her dropping Tony Soprano as her patient.  It must be something of a kick for a researcher to be quoted on the Sopranos.

The psychopathic model that Babiak and Hare develop in their book about workplace psychopaths does not fit Obama.  However, I do not doubt for a moment that most politicians have elements of psychopathy that take the form of conscienceless lying; the ability to send people to their deaths for frivolous reasons; the ability to adopt policies that they know to be wrong but that satisfy popular opinion, and the like.

President Obama seems to have a bit more of this psychopathic quality than most politicians, although in different ways.  There is an alternative diagnosis.  Soon after I wrote my blog Gagdad Bob, a blogger and professional psychiatrist, suggested that Obama suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, which  is probably true of the majority of politicians.  More recently, Live Leak quotes Roger Simon who claims that Obama is mentally ill and his illness is getting worse.  Live Leak writes:

"A recent case in point was Obama's bizarre and meandering 17-minute, 2,500-word answer to the simple question about how he could justify raising taxes for ObamaCare during a recession when citizens are already overtaxed. Obama's wildly inappropriate answer left the audience stunned and led commentator Charles Krauthammer to mockingly say, "I don't know why you are so surprised. It’s only nine times the length of the Gettysburg address, and after all Lincoln was answering an easier question, the higher purpose of the union and the soldiers who fell in battle."

Moreover, points out Live Leak, Obama laughed during a televised discussion of Americans losing their homes.   More recently Obama's discussions about the Tea Party demonstrations have been incoherent and confused.

There seems to be a risk of a serious breakdown that could impact Americans in various important ways.  Too bad no one checked his birth certificate.

Tea Party Racism

Massachusetts Tea Partiers Should Vote Libertarian in 2012

If Massachusetts conservatives and supporters of small government want to send a message in 2012 and not waste their vote, the best way to do so would be to vote for the Libertarian Party rather than Scott Brown.  Having been snookered earlier this year into having spent precious resources to elect a "Progressive," anyone who favors small government ought to see to it that the Brown drama has a denouement.  The Libertarian Party is a preferable alternative to Brown, who just snubbed the Tea Party after it had helped him so much.  Should the Libertarian Party get 20% of the Massachusetts vote, that would send a message at least as loud to the politicians in Washington as was Brown's Pyrrhic victory.

Lessons from Scott Brown

It has become evident that Scott Brown, who won election with widespread national support, snookered the Tea Party members who backed him last fall.  His victory sent a message, but it was a Pyrrhic victory and a vacuous message.  The only one who benefited from all the excitement was Brown himself.  The Daily Caller notes:

"When asked about his general views on Tea Partiers, Brown — whose election in January has been hailed a sign of the power of the conservative grassroots activists — rejected the premise that the protesters concerned with runaway government spending should be solely credited with putting a Republican in the Massachusetts Senate seat for the first time in decades.

"'Did the Tea Party movement help me? Sure they did. So did 1.1 million other people in my state and so did others across the country,' Brown said.

"He added: 'So to have one particular party take credit — I’m appreciative. But I had a big tent in my election.'

"On Wednesday, Brown was noticeably absent from a Tea Party rally in Boston, leading some to question whether he’s snubbing a group without whose help he’d unlikely have won office. The senator was said to be busy in Washington attending a hearing on the Iranian nuclear program."

What were the effects of the Brown victory?  The widespread support for Brown was motivated by the belief that his election would send a message about the health bill. Many Tea Partiers devoted scarce resources to supporting him.  Brown's election sent a message, but the health bill was passed into law anyway.  Hence, the message sent was empty.  The real effect was that one more "Progressive" is now in office.

Who snookered the Tea Party? How were they duped? It seems that they allowed their imaginations to get the better of their sense of reality.

Glenn Beck has done a good job of questioning Brown post election.  But many conservatives were excessively supportive of Brown pre-election.  For instance, National Review wrote an article several weeks before the special election stressing the importance of Democrats' super majority (which turned out not to be true) and characterizing Brown as "anti-spending" and "anti-Washington," "perfectly suited to the political moment," which was surely an overstatement.

Brown's was the briefest political moment on record.  Normally readers learn much from every issue of  National Review, but NR blew it on Brown.  More realistically, at the time of the election "The Moderate Voice" called Brown an "independent."  The Moderate Voice added "he came to the race knowing exactly what he had to do in order to win as a Republican in this part of the country."

As well, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air Blog asked:

"do we really need another former state Senator with next to no experience in national politics on a major-party ticket?  Brown has a good sense of fiscal conservatism, but falls closer to Rudy Giuliani than to Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin on social issues, which is one of the reasons Rudy got an invite to Massachusetts and prominent social conservatives did not."

I would question Brown's substantive credentials as a fiscal conservative.  I don't see how Brown differs very much from the majority of Democrats.  And as Morrissey points out, if Brown aims to get re-elected, he needs to kowtow to the voters of the Socialist Commonwealth of Taxachussets.

Conservatives are not exempt from the American tendency to engage in fads and crazes, or as Charles Mackay called them in 1841, "popular delusions and the madness of crowds."  Perhaps the mistaken emphasis on Brown's election was due to the mistaken belief, revealed in NR and Morrissey's blog, that the super-majority made a critical difference.  In fact, few of us would have known better, and those who did were probably professional politicians who did not mind squandering the Tea Party's resources.

If anything, the Brown incident should alert Tea Parties around the country that national races are risky; that national leadership cannot be and ought not to be trusted; and that a great deal of learning and experience will need to be gained over time if the Tea Party is to become an effective movement.

It ought to make little difference to Tea Parties if Brown is reelected in two years.  But if Tea Parties learned that initial appearances are frequently deceiving in politics; that scarce resources should be expended cautiously; and that a Republican from Massachusetts is probably a RINO, then much has been gained.  As was quoted in Conan the Barbarian, "the blow that does not break the back strengthens."

The Democratic Party's Stimulus Has Failed

The Ways and Means Republicans have released the numbers below via e-mail.  While Mr. Obama and his colleagues claimed that there would be across the board job increases following the stimulus, one year later there have been across the board losses in job numbers.  I wonder how their assumptions about the fianncial impact of health care will turn out.  In the 1930s and 1970s the Democrats claimed that Social Security would pay for itself.  The Baby Boomers believed them in the 1980s.  Now, they see diminution of their retirement prospects.  How much socialist lying ought America tolerate?  How many failed programs? How much waste? How much ignorance?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Extremists Recruit Indoctrinated Students

H/t Contrairimairi:

Summer Jobs! Stand Up Against Right Wing Extremism! (Chicago)

Date: 2010-04-13, 11:10AM CDT
Reply to: see below

The progressive movement has gained extraordinary momentum over the last two years. We have begun to overturn the destructive polices of the Bush era, taken major steps towards building a green economy, and just recently passed a historic health care reform package.
However, far right extremists like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck continue to use fear tactics to derail progress. At such a critical time we cannot let them and other right wing zealots overturn the progress that has been made or block the progress that is left to come.

This summer, we are taking to the streets and going door-to-door in 18 cities across the country to activate our communities and take this country back, one person at a time.
If you are looking for a job this summer that is going make a huge impact at this critical moment in our country's history, tackling issues like protecting human rights, fighting to protect our civil rights and liberties, ending global poverty, and working toward a better America, then call us NOW!

Don’t let Sarah Palin win. Apply today.

Grassroots Campaigns is currently interviewing candidates nationwide for Canvass Director and Assistant Director positions. If you are interested, please email your resume and cover letter to jobs@***.com or visit our website www.*** and you can apply online.

Positions available in Washington, D.C., New York, NY, Boston, MA, Philadelphia, PA, Columbus, OH, Chicago, IL, Minneapolis, MN, Indianapolis, IN, St. Louis, MO, Denver, CO, Austin, TX Seattle, WA, Portland, OR and Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Pasadena and San Diego, CA.
Grassroots Campaigns past and current clients include: Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Equality California, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Democratic National Committee, Political Action, RePower America, Working America, Common Cause, and the Center for American Progress.
  • Location: Chicago
  • Compensation: $1200-2200
  • This is at a non-profit organization.
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • Phone calls about this job are ok.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Day at the Police Academy

I spent this afternoon at the NYPD's Police Academy on 20th Street between second and third avenues. The executive training department asked me to provide an hour and a half lecture on team building and human resource management to the Captain's Leadership Effectiveness Training Program, which is given to newly promoted precinct captains.  There were about 15 new captains in the group and they were obviously excited about their recent promotions.  Many excellent points were raised.  I have been lecturing at the Police Academy once per year.  I hadn't done my usual executive training seminar because I'm on my Sabbatical, but someone requested that I do this instead.  One of the interesting things I learned today is that crime rates have been sharply cut in New York over the past twenty years. Since 2000 the crime rate has been cut by 60%, including both property and violent crime.  The head of the training program told me that policing has vastly improved in productivity because of new technology.  When I lived in Astoria, Queens in the 1980s, auto theft was common.  That particular crime has been reduced by 90% since then, to less than 10% of the level it was.  The size of the police force has been cut by one fourth since 2000, but crime has been reduced by 60%.  The NYPD is doing a great job.  I am never disappointed by the uniformed services.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

80 Attend First Mountain Tea Party Meeting

Early arrivals to the first Mountain Tea Party meeting

101st Assembly District candidate Don Wise

The first Mountain Tea Party meeting at the Phoenicia Rod and Gun Club was a success. Approximately 80 attended. Individuals from as far away as Delaware and Greene Counties joined in the festivities. Al Higgley donated hot dogs, and coffee and cookies were served. I gave out an article that I had written on the Obama administration's spending.  The Democratic Party's media claim that Obama is a moderate, but objective statistics show that he has radically increased spending.

Chris Johansen, chairman, opened the meeting with an overview. Chris requested participants to describe their concerns. Chief among these were excessive taxes, increasing government, New York State's ongoing decline, and a failed president. Attendees recognize that the socialist policies of the Obama administration and New York are the source of economic failure.

An African-American participant said that he attended because he was tired of being the only one he knows who is allowed to criticize President Obama. If anyone who is not African American criticizes Obama, this gentleman said, his supporters in the media accuse them of racism.  He said that it is a tragedy that the first African American president had to be a communist.  Glenda McGee added that Obama is not black--he's red.

The largest segment of the meeting consisted of Assembly candidate Don Wise's speech. Don made a number of excellent points and the audience seemed engaged. However, Don slipped toward a pro big government position, in the audience's opinions, when he said that taxes on cigarettes should be increased. Lively pro-freedom arguments kept the evening on track.  Historically, one of the great pro-freedom presidents, Martin van Buren, was born not too far from Shandaken in Kinderhook, NY. The pro-freedom legacy is still alive here.  Many in the audience are well versed in libertarian thinking. Few New Yorkers understand this line of thought and most lack the necessary open mindedness to educate themselves.

I had been expecting 30 attendees in our rural community.  80 surprised me, and much of the credit must go to Chris and Cindy Johansen.  As well, Paul Smart's article in  the Woodstock Times and Olive Press helped gain attention.

God bless the Tea Party and God bless the United States.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Sue" O'Malley Defames Karkhanis in "India Abroad" Newspaper

Susan "Sue" O'Malley had sued her colleague Sharad Karkhanis for satirizing her teaching at Kingsborough Community College.  In fact, the "Queen of Release Time" hardly taught at Kingsborough, having received a nearly zero-course teaching load in return for fruitless bureaucratic duties for CUNY's university senate. 

Alleging defamation but calling her own accusations "silly" in the pages of the New York Sun, O'Malley demanded $2 million from Karkhanis, a dashing and spry, but retired, librarian. O'Malley dragged the case along for several years, costing Karkhanis $20,000,and ultimately settling without an apology or damages.

Astonishingly, O'Malley has now defamed Karkhanis in the pages of a newspaper for Indian expatriates, India Abroad.  O'Malley accused Karkhanis of "Internet stalking".  This is a lie.  Karkhanis never stalked her.  She is alleging sexual misconduct to Karkhanis, which ought to be considered libel per se.

Karkhanis ought to sue O'Malley for this defamatory remark.  It will ruin his retirement and eliminate any hope of his returning to the lectern.  The damages must amount to at least....$2 million.

Kingston/Rhinebeck Tea Party Meeting an April Surprise

Tom Santopietro continues to surprise Tea Party participants as to his gracious and perceptive leadership.  The Tea Party meeting last night at the Town of Ulster Town Hall was well attended, with about 50 participants. The discussion centered on the upcoming demonstration next Thursday.  Ignoble left wingers have been encouraging each other to infiltrate and ruin the Tea Party demonstrations.  They do not see a parallel between themselves and the harassment the left received from the FBI in the 1950s.
Now that the FBI and the left are allies under the dictatorship of Fuhrer Obama, the left revels in its dictatorial authority as it did in the Soviet Union and China. When the victim of authoritarian tactics, the left reaches for the Constitution, but once achieving power, the left burns it and all concern for human rights.

An attorney attended the Tea Party meeting and gave extensive advice as to how to handle goosestepping left wing harassers.  Last year a leftist stood behind the group carrying an insulting sign over the Tea Partiers' heads.  Suppression of the speech of others is par for Fuhrer Obama and his supporters.

As well, there were extensive discussions about the group's endorsement policies, the education committee reported.

Quite a few new members attended.  Chris Johansen was there as was a reporter, Paul Smart, editor of the Olive Press.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Michael Knox Beran's "Descent of Liberalism"

Michael Knox Beran has an excellent article in the current issue of National Review entitled "Descent of Liberalism" (h/t Jim Crum). Beran traces the origins of today's socialist ideology to the social engineering concepts in Comte and Marx.  He shows that liberalism, based on individualism and voluntarism, has been replaced on the left, with compulsory, social engineering.  The commitment of "liberals" to social engineering had been tempered by the residue of 19th century liberalism, but commitment to the vision of experts bestowing privileges on various groups, whether because they are oppressed or simply economically powerful, gradually overwhelmed interest in freedom.  Today's left is directly antagonistic to liberalism and to the ideals of the Whigs and of rights on which the nation is founded.  As well, economic interest as among highly paid government employees motivates the left's obsessive fixation on state power and control over the individual.  With respect to the specific issue of economic interests of government employees, Beran notes:

>Champions of public-sector workers commend their commitment to public service in the language of republican virtue. But in offering their political support to sympathetic candidates in exchange for lucrative compensation packages, a number of the public-sector organizations have engaged in a politics that savors of corruption. Their allegiance, like that of the Praetorian Guard in Gibbon’s Rome, can be purchased only by those contenders for power who are willing to bestow what Gibbon called a “liberal donative” out of the public purse.

>Liberal the donatives certainly are. The average salary of federal workers rose in 2009 to $71,206, a figure that does not include bonuses, overtime, fringe benefits, pension accruals, and the priceless gift of all-but-absolute job security. Some 19 percent of the civil service received salaries of more than $100,000. (The average private-sector wage in the same year was $40,331.) The federal government, Cato Institute scholar Chris Edwards observes, has become an “elite island of highly paid workers.” Liberalism is being devoured by the monster it created.

The article is wonderfully written and historically astute.  Take a look.

Tea Party Rally Call

H/t Phil Orenstein.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Open Letter to the Southern Poverty Law Center

Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center

Dear Mr. Dees:

I am a former donor to the Southern Poverty Law Center. During the late 1980s and 1990s I donated for several consecutive years and received an autographed copy of your book as well as a phone call from your wife on one occasion. I am writing now to say that I profoundly disagree with your attacks on the Tea Party and urge you to consider that you have congratulated state violence while attacking those who would defend themselves from it. I now find myself agreeing with a judge years ago who claimed that there is no difference between your organization and the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups. The judge, I recall, was removed from the case he was adjudicating, and now I would like to be removed from your mailing list if I have not been already.

Socialism is inherently violent, as is all government. Government is by definition organized violence. The claim that because government is the most powerful perpetrator of violence its violence is legitimate is nonsensical mysticism. It is not necessarily the case that respect for government minimizes violence. In the case of the Soviet Union, communist China and Cuba, public acceptance and cowardice in the face of state violence permitted the extent of violence to greatly exceed what would have occurred had there been a Lockean revolution that replaced the violent socialist state with a limited state.

The US government has reached the tipping point, and Barack Obama is pushing it there. You may disagree, but your disagreement does not make you non-violent. It simply means that you accept and welcome state violence. It means that you are advocates of violence.

There is more. Barack Obama has associated with violent felons such as William Ayers, who planted a bomb in Chicago. Thus, President Obama himself has associated with violence. This is in contrast to the non-violent Tea Parties. The factual data does not trouble you. You continue to support Barack Obama despite his association with violence, yet you continue to imply on your website that people in the Tea Party are violent. You engage in deception.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is thus a violent organization that serves state violence. It is not enough that the US government dominates the television and print media, to the point where many of us have simply stopped paying attention to its blatant, foolish lies. Your organization, having been effective in reducing the Klan's influence (a result I applaud) now chooses to back state violence.

Please remove my name from your records. Your organization is a disgrace.


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Federal Budget in 1 Minute, 38 Seconds

Contrairimairi just sent this excellent video on entitled "Visualizing Obama's Budget Cuts."  I can't embed it but take a look here.  It's worth it.

De Russy Exposes Orwellian Speech Codes

In a recent article, Candace de Russy exposes the Orwellian speech codes, in effect systematized lies, that the media and President Obama use in discussing terrorism.  The MSNBC Democratic Party spokesman Chris Matthews and his supervisor, Barack Obama (who in turns reports to Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman of Goldman Sachs), refuse to call terrorists terrorists.  Obama's Office of Management and Budget  "has instructed Defense Department staffers to use the term 'Overseas Contingency Operation' in place of  'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror.'" 

Clearly the United States, once a nation committed to common sense and open debate, is increasingly an authoritarian nation riddled with left wing speech codes and suppression.