Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rumor has it

Adele has a song "rumor has it", which tries to captured the mutable nature of rumors. I always get the last line wrong as to who is leaving who for whom, but one that popped in my head today was "rumor has it he's the one I'm leaving me for". I thought this quote apropos relative to a female friend of mine who is wrestling with her attraction to a narcissistic man who was quite awful. He was cheating on her, and trying to cheat on the woman he was cheating with. Some people are like that.

Corollary: it is sometimes appropriate to lie to others, but never to lie to yourself. I was going to publish that as a self declared bon mot, but will leave it here. I would call this my credo when it comes to the perceptual breathing portion of my "ethical" framework. Quotation marks because my ethics has no rules that govern anything but the inside of the individual's head.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Race

I have said this before, but I can be an asshole sometimes. I can rationalize it, as anyone with talent can rationalize anything, but that is the naked truth.

In my current living situation, I have a lot of black people around me. None of them scare me because they are ordinary, working people just trying to make it like me.

I will say, though, that I do get why black people feel oppressed sometimes. I was talking with a black guy in the bar today. He was the only black guy there, and I could just tell he was trying to blend, trying to belong. We had a nice conversation about Illinois football and basketball, and where he was from. Turns out I had driven through there earlier in the year.

In my comments on race, I want to be clear that there is one burning idea: if you are going to claim you are trying to improve the world, get the fucking thing right. Do it right, or get the fuck out of the way and let someone else lead.

The current people speaking for black Americans are not only not getting it right, they are causing an INCREASE in suffering. This suffering is very real. It is tangible. It is tears set in stone and forgotten and expressed in self destructive anger directed at they know not who. It is tears cried, and unpacified. It is fear, pervasive fear, inescapable fear, eternal fear, for which there is no ready solution.

I can be cold, but I am not cold. I want these problems solved, and it infuriates me to see lies told to cover up incompetence and indifference.

The hidden story of Trayvon Martin

As I say often, it is as important to look for things NOT said, as that are said. You see, it is very easy to direct dialogue that exists in such a way as to prevent dialogue you don't want.

In 2009, some 42 black kids under the age of 18 were murdered just in Chicago, most of them by other black kids. Premature death due to murder is an old story in the black community. I doubt things have improved under Obama's ballet dancer with a fondness for the F word. The numbers were roughly the same when I lived in Chicago back in the mid-nineties. I personally heard one murder. I was already on the phone with the police to report a fight, when I heard 4-5 gunshots, and saw kids running. In this case, it was self defense, as the kid who got shot had attacked the other with a chain.

My point, though, is that in the last month or so since Trayvon got shot, it is statistically likely that just in Chicago 3 or more black kids have been murdered.

Who is talking about this? You will note the story above is from a British newspaper.

One would think that a man like Barack Obama, who was without evidence presumed to care about ordinary black Americans--whose experience was entirely foreign to his own--would be interested in the things that might actually help black people improve their lives. You might think that he would, as an example, address black on black violence, that Michelle Obama might be traveling the country encouraging young black kids to stay in school, work hard, and not get or cause someone else to get pregnant.

I'm not seeing it. What I see is a very cynical desire to use the few scraps of actual racism that still exist to ignite fires of anger that he can USE to distract people from the fact that in almost every respect, life has become WORSE under him. Obamacare won't help the poorest of the poor: they already had Medicaid. His handouts will run out, and his overall economic policy is going to cause a disaster here which will hurt poor urban blacks the WORST, and FIRST.

There is no leadership in the black community that is effective because there are so many "liberals" whose sense of self and whose jobs DEPEND on their collective continued failure. They shout out, drown out those who want to say "we can do it", "we can solve our own problems". They call them Uncle Toms for what? For NOT wanting free handouts and preferential treatment. For valuing hard work and delayed gratificaiton over dependence on the Welfare Elite.

Did you know that "workers"--people who worked in factories--only constituted some 15% of the Russian population when Lenin led his coup?
[Edit: that is not much more than the 12% of our population that is black, and the principle involved is identical] Yet what he called his "revolution" invoked them. He needed them for propaganda. When he had them under his control, he smashed their unions, lowered their wages, increased their hours, eliminated what few safety standards there were, and sent to the Gulags anyone who disagreed with him. If you were tardy more than a couple of times, that alone was enough to get you sent to a labor camp.

People like Barack Obama PRAY--make that "wish fervently", as I would assume Obama is actually an atheist--for the resurgence of the KKK and similar groups. This Trayvon Martin case enables him not just to avoid dealing in an actually substantive way with black issues generally, it also mobilizes support for him on an issue that is of no intrinsic significance even for the BLACK community--since most of their violence is black-on-black--and which distracts from his colossal failure to justify his calls for people to follow him in the name of hope.

Even more generally, we borrow $120 billion or so A MONTH and there are no plans to stop this. Only Ron and Rand Paul have sane proposals on the table. The rest is bread and circuses. This month it is Trayvon Martin. Next month it will be something else. What it will NOT be is relevant to the actual problems of any but a very small group of Americans.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Trayvon Martin

I have no idea what actually happened when Martin was shot. I sincerely hope justice is done, one way or another, but would like to take the opportunity of this ruckus to ask one question: at the end of this process of demonstration, recrimination, verbal assaults, and purposive acrimony, will anyone have pointed out that black children from two parent homes have rates of criminality on par with the rest of the population; and that black children from single parent homes have rates of criminality on par with that of white children from single parent homes?

And that the LARGE gap in the rates of criminality between whites and blacks is entirely attributable to black cultural patterns that only emerged in this country following the so-called War on Poverty?

No, of course not.

At 12% of the population, blacks are some 40% of our prison population. This fact alone means that it is quite rational, in some neighborhoods, to watch black people more carefully than others. If you knew that people driving red cars were more than three times more likely to be criminals, it would be reasonable to watch the red cars more. The problem is not an unempirical, prejudicial racism based on a misunderstanding of black people; but rather a very real, easily verified FACT that black people commit crimes at much higher rates than everyone else.

The problem is not racism, but that this statistic is TRUE. The solution will not lie in forcing police to abdicate--or pretend to abdicate--their own daily experience of the world, but rather in addressing this higher rate of criminality, which as I have implied should in my view begin with addresssing rates of single motherhood and particularly teen pregnancy.

And to be clear, while no doubt rich white collar (as opposed to blue collar) criminals get away with crimes poor people would have been convicted of, there are far more white people living at the poverty level than black people, and they don't commit crimes at the same rate. Not even close.

I was thinking today that clearly there is an element of paternalism in the treatment of the left towards black people in this country. The converse of paternalism, of course, is infantilization, which is the demand that that community not grow up, not develop, not demonstrate a sense of self apart from that permitted by their self appointed leaders.

In all this, I see not just paternalism, but demented, narcissistic, ABUSIVE paternalism, or what I have often termed maternalism.

I would like to quote an excerpt from the book "The Drama of the Gifted Child", by Alice Miler:

What happens if a mother not only is unable to recognize and fulfill her child's needs, but is herself in need of assurance? Quite unconsciously, the mother then tries to assuage her own needs through her child. This does not rule out strong affection; the mother often loves her child passionately, but not in the way he needs to be loved. The reliability, continuity, and constancy that are so important to the child are therefore missing from this exploitative relationship. What is missing above all is the framework within which the child could experience his feelings and emotions. Instead, he develops something the mother needs, and although this certainly saves his life (by securing the mother's or father's "love") at the time, it may nevertheless prevent him, throughout his life, from being himself.

Could we not argue that this basic process is happening on two levels, that of the infant born, as so often happens, to an emotionally immature mother, who uses the child to meet her own emotional needs, creating inexplicable anger and sadness in the adult child, which is expressed either in misogyny (in men) and masochism (in women); and that this basic process ALSO describes the self defined "Liberals" who claim to be able to speak to the black condition and remedy it. They have been at this for 50 years, and things have gotten steadily worse. Poverty has not lessened, and some of the cities they have tried to "bless", like Detroit, more closely resemble the war zones of primitive and undeveloped countries.

I was reading the other day that a teacher told a black student to read some poem he had prescribed in a "more black" tone of voice. There is this great concern on the part of so-called black leaders to make sure that things remain a certain way, that black people devalue education, speak in ways likely to hinder their job prospects, and above all that they not follow the standard path of progression, that of the American Dream, that of hard, inter-generational work, with an eye to economic and social improvement.

It is my sincere opinion that no worse blight has ever befallen black America, or COULD befall black America, than the people who claim they are trying to help them. These are people whose OWN identities DEPEND on certain, definitions of "blackness", and which react in abusive and violent ways to anyone who wants to redefine them. Look at Spike Lee calling Clarence Thomas "A handkerchief-head, chicken-and-biscuit-eating Uncle Tom".

Clarence Thomas is a symbol of what we should all strive to achieve. And he happens to be black. Because, however, he happened to have followed the path of hard work, self discipline, and higher education, he is not black.

What parent, I ask you, does not want their child educated? What parent does not want their child to be successful and admired for visible and useful achievement?

An abusive, narcissistic parent, that is who. This is who is running the so-called "civil rights movement", which might more accurately be termed the "let's keep blacks dependent on us forever" movement.

People solve problems, given the chance. The question is not why the black community has not advanced more than it has, but rather: what is preventing the formation of a GENUINE black community, able to address responsibly its own problems, and that is not based on the posturing of fools like Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Barack Obama, or Al Sharpton? Given the chance, this is exactly what would happen and it is to PREVENT this that there is so much demand for government intervention in the lives of black Americans.

Black Americans do not need their "leaders": their "leaders" need THEM.

Plainly, clinically, there is a strong dose of sadism in the narcissist, and that is nowhere more clear in the failures of the last 50 years to raise up the living standards, and overall quality of life, of black Americans. It is shameful. Absolutely shameful and disgusting.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Birth Certificate, again

I need to be doing something else, so I'll make this quick. First, from my Facebook:

Link discussing Joe Arpaio's committee's findings.

Were you aware that immigration files in the National Archives recording overseas arrivals into Hawaii are missing from the week of Obama’s 1961 birthday? Or that the clear evidence is that Obama's alleged birth certificate, and probably his Selective Service registration, was created digitally? Or that Arpaio's posse can both document newspaper articles in Hawaii at that time announcing foreign ...born babies, and that it also found two cases of foreign born babies being "announced" 3 years after their actual birth? The issue is not whether or not Obama can run, but whether or not there are any conservatives with intact testicles. It doesn't appear so. Fuck you Rush Limbaugh, goddamn narcissistic airbag. I don't want campaign strategy: if the fucking truth is out there, then intelligent people can make rational decisions, and if we are all stupid, then we are screwed anyway. Do your job right or go home. That's always been my motto.

I will add that I have no moral objections to anger. It is often counterproductive, certainly, but I would argue that people who are incapable of anger are incapable of goodness. You cannot be a good person if you are incapable of emoting. Likewise, if you constantly indulge yourself that is not good either.

Second link, in which a famous British non-conformist points out the obvious fact that our President has clearly posted a forgery on the internet, in the largely correct belief that the entirety of the American media complex finds it acceptable to be told baldfaced lies to their face.

I want to be clear: I don't see this issue as a way to sideline Obama. I don't care if he was born in Kenya. What I care about is: are our public figures capable of making decisions based on principle, with the principles here being not appreciating being lied to, and the illegality of violating the Constitution.

The "natural born citizen" was in there for a reason. It had meaning. It was meant to ensure at least minimal loyalty to the United States, and here we now have a President whose books may have been written by Bill Ayers, a man pictured standing on an American flag on 9/11 in the New York Times.

It's worth asking, given the recent account given by Ayer's mailman, that if he were sufficiently connected to provide assurances to Obama that he could be President 25 or so years before the fact, if Ayers and someone at the New York Times did not have inside informatoin on the attacks.

As I have argued--conclusively in my view--there MUST have been explosives at least in Tower 7. Given this, there was a much larger conspiracy afoot, and in my view it was one involving rich left wing activists, possibly with Russian Communist (Putin is still a Communist) support. Why could Ayers not have known of this?

Our Republic is in danger. In my view, the first and primary cause of that danger is cowardice on the part of people who should know better. If you give an inch, you will give a second inch. If you convince yourself that somes truths don't matter, you have convinced yourself that the Truth doesn't matter. In some cases, compromise is death.

If we fall, there will be a lot of finger pointing, and most of those fingers will belong to the guilty. Failure, too, is a group effort.

Individuation

It occurred to me this morning that we become fully human when we are capable of seeing and owning all the areas of our psyche in which we experience pain. There are rooms in all of our souls where things lie gathering dust, decade on decade. And the detriment to us is that, unseen, these rooms crowd out the possibilities of the ordinary day; they blunt our joys, by feeding our covert fears. They allow us to sleep more soundly, to feel less, experience less, LEARN less, be less, and finally to do less. This, in any event, appears to be my own situation.

In my view, no one else can mute your fears or dull your pain, finally. You can use people in various ways--sex, conversation, distraction--but they can never carry your cross for you; or to the point, help you put it down as unneeded, since you have learned its lesson.

Nor can they feel your joys for you. These, too, you can finally own, once you have cleared the dust from the windows of your soul, and let in the light. This is living.

Finally, I was sitting in my bar last night, alone in a sea of noise as I often am, utterly lost in the sort of trance I go into, and it occurred to me that the solutions to pain have to be specific. There is a barmaid at this place with a pierced nose--the African looking thing that goes through the cartilage separating the two nostrils--and who has apparently decided to stop washing her hair indefinitely so as to grow dredlocks. She is an attractive girl, and I wondered why she is doing this to herself. Why do we see so many "suicide girls", as I have seen these girls with the piercings and tattoos called?

As I see it--and I have to run and don't have time to delve more deeply--all of these self inflicted wounds serve the role of helping them feel their pain. They are unhappy. Many of them have likely been betrayed by lovers repeatedly, been demeaned without being offered any emotional sustenance in return. Some have probably been molested. Some had narcissistic parents who inflicted many internal wounds, wounds which they cannot diagnose, which hurt them without any possibility of combating the pain and fear without truly understanding what happened.

So they hurt themselves. They more or less cut themselves in what have been publicly accepted ways, just as Kurt Vonnegut once called smoking a socially acceptable form of suicide. And the tattoos and piercings multiply. The temporary relief gained has a soothing and thus addictive quality.

In my view, though, the only true cure will involve going back and consciously experiecing EXACTLY what led to their pain in the first place.

This is what I was doing last night, for myself, seeing how I was crushed. As I look at my life, I will be candid and admit it is a miracle that I have survived as a more or less psychologically normal human being. It is only thanks to a very strong will, and a very adaptive and agile mind that I survived.

As I process things, I get closer to being a bit more open. I expect some interesting changes this year. I have some good ideas, I think, and it is getting close to time to try them out.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Occupy Wall Street

If I were a member of GoldmanMorganAmericaFederalReserve, I would fund the Occupy Wall Street protesters. I would. It's money well spent. What you get people to do is run around in hysterical loops, vent their energy and frustration in very generic and completely harmless directions. If your enemy is everywhere, then that is where your energy goes. Finite energy spread infinitely is irrelevant.

There is in fact a 1%, and it may well be 1% of 1%, but if people are unable to disentangle corporations in general from those entities which create money from scratch, then nothing concrete or coherent can be done. Not only can it not be done, it cannot be ARTICULATED. It is literally the case that these OWS have the conceit of children that if they hold their breath, they will get their way. This is such a waste.

The Fed: some further thoughts

Consider for a moment that the institution which controls the value of our money, and which is empowered to create unlimited quantities of it to gift to whomever it wants, for any amount of time, is under the control of we know not whom. The Fed is a privately owned corporation, with stocks which more or less have to be offered by the institution itself to member banks, and which are non-transferable. As a privately owned corporation, it could be owned in part by any bank or even government in the world, although it seems likely most owners are domestic. It makes its policy decisions in secret, and without any consultation with any member of Congress, any business leader, or anyone outside of its system, which we must assume is run for the benefit of the members whose names--and thus interests--we are not allowed to know.

We can safely assume that Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America are large shareholders. Thus when we read that "The Fed announced X, Y, Z", we can subtitute "GoldmanSachsJPMorganChaseBankofAmerica" announced today. Or we can substitute "The representative body of the largest banks in America today announced. . .we are going to gift ourselves a lot of money. Or We are making plenty of money, and are going to stay the course. Or, the economy is doing well, a lot of value has been stored up, and we would like a sale. We are therefore going to dump our stock and bond holdings, deflate the currency, then buy things up at fire sale prices. These are their three principle operations.

People need to understand that Quantitative Easing 2, in which something like $700 billion in US Bonds were bought up, masked the decreasing value of our Treasury notes. Given ordinary supply and demand, which are oriented around value seeking and following equilibrium between price and value, the interest rates that the US would be paying on its debt would be rising steadily. Things do not get expensive suddenly: it happens gradually. Homes lose their value over time. Cars lose their value over time.

But this gradual increase, which of course would also imply the increasing risk of default which is plainly present, has not happened. The devaluation of our national stock, the value of the word of the American government, is happening silently, invisibly.

This means that the Fed is at this very moment positioned to radically alter the cost of our debt. If they dumped their holdings, we could see a multiple point spike in the cost of our borrowing within a month or two. It is that bad. And as I have mentioned, there would be no reason we could assume that George Soros himself is not a member of the Federal Reserve.

I will end by refuting a stupid idea one sees here and there, which is that because the "governing body" of the Fed is appointed by Congress that some sort of control exists over the Fed.

The meetings happen in secret. Nobody from Congress can or does attend. Nobody can gainsay their decisions, and most of the time we don't even know what those decisions are. Do we know who got the $700 billion or whatever in QE2? Of course not.

The American experiment has been a noble one, but we cannot endure this abuse of power indefinitely.

Please use your brain.

Ayers and the Mailman: the IMPORTANT part

As I posted a couple days ago, a mailman for the parents of Bill Ayers--who were of course rich, making Ayers a spoiled rich boy--commented that he met Barack Obama at the Ayers home a decade or more before Obama claims he first met Bill. At that time Obama claimed he was going to be President, on this guys account.

Here is the question that needs to be asked: with whom did he make contact in New York that he had that confidence? We know virtually nothing about Obama's Columbia years. We can't even verify that he went there. We have his word for it, and he seems plainly to a truth-optional human being.

David Rockefeller, Jr? The intersection of the Federal Reserve and political radicalism? Who was it? Who has the power to create a twenty year plan to put an undocumented alien in the White House, who can then insert cronies like Leon Panetta into our intelligence and defense networks, who in turn can make sure the right people are in the right places?

Just how foolish are we Americans? There is no courage required to put your head in the sand, and to the extent that courage becomes an extinct virtue, we have no hope, no reason for hope. People who know things need to make decisions. To do otherwise is de facto treason, in my view.

Every horror of the Communists was preceded by exhortations about justice, freedom, and democracy. They say what they need to say, but in the end all the leaders want is power.

As an end note, I was thinking about this yesterday: Vladmir Ulyanov (changed to Lenin when he joined the cult and surrendered his personality) is arguably responsible for more human death than any human who ever lived. All the Communist atrocities of the 20th centuries--and those which may still be planned--can be laid at the feet of the man who led the first Communist coup (to call it a revolution is of course to misrepresent what actually happens in Communist take-overs) and who created the Comintern that enabled so many more coups around the world. Some 100 million dead can be reasonably directly attributed to him.

And again: for WHAT? Communism is just sadeism implemented into a political regime.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nausea

I have been trying a new psychotherapy out on myself--always be your own guinea pig--and it seems to be working. I have a benchmark for myself, and when I achieve it, I will post the method and results.

For the moment, I was in the grocery store, and by habit I am one of these fast moving, impatient, irritable people. Someone who has a blog called the Goodness Movement should not be like this, but regretably I am how I am, and not yet how I ought to be. The best I can do most days is recognize it and tone it down.

Yet, today, the thought popped in "no nausea". Now, I don't ever feel nausea. I don't get sick with anything. I don't even get headaches from hangovers. But I thought about it, and I think for some people--the number is hard to estimate since we are less than fully honest with one another--life is something to be feared, and holding back in anxiety a "rational" reaction to this fact. I do this. I always have. I literally think it started in the womb.

But these reactions must ALWAYS be considered as habits that are provisional, mutable, and which can be altered. It does not matter if literally every waking moment of your life you have had some feeling: it can still be reduced in size, and quite possibly erased as a significant factor in your life. No matter what neuroscientists tell us, I will believe the brain remains plastic, potentially, for the duration of our lives.

That wasn't the point I wanted to make though. The point I wanted to make was this: Jean Paul Sartre, in his "Nausea", was pointing to a psychosocial dysfunction not "out there", not existential in the human condition, but rather something that was definitive FOR HIM. He claimed we choose our own emotions, but one is hard pressed to see why if this is the case he would choose anxiety and nausea.

Rather, I think we need to look at him as a malignant narcissist, almost certainly raised in an emotionally detached and yet emotionally demanding family, and who reacted with clinical narcissism of his own.

Virtually everything he wrote had one purpose: elevating him in the eyes of the masses. Yet, one could easily see clinical sadism in a philosophy which condemns you to freedom without giving you any idea what to do with it; which equates authenticity with morality, and both with anxiety and angst; which in the end insists on perfect conformity to a political doctrine oriented around what I term Cultural Sadeism, of which the Stalinism Sartre and de Beauvoir admired so much was an excellent example.

Why are these people studied by philo-sophers, "lovers of wisdom"? Can not all "philosophies" in some measure be reduced to the psychologies of their creators, UNLESS they are practically valuable in some measurable way for the general population?

Few thoughts.

Better link for the Ayers Postman article

http://www.wnd.com/2012/03/postman-ayers-family-put-foreigner-obama-through-school/?cat_orig=us

Interesting that the Drudge link was disabled.

Obama, added thought

It may literally be the case that our President is a Kenyan born Indonesian national who has been living and working in the United States illegally for 20 or more years, and who could literally be deported for it. He could also likely be arrested for fraud because of his use of a false Social Security card.

On that last point, to be clear, if he used that number to apply for work with a roofing or landscaping company, he would not be hired, as it doesn't pass muster as a valid SSN.

In researching this last, though, interestingly, just in the LAST THREE YEARS courts have started deemphasizing the criminality of using a false SSN.

You have to KNOWINGLY use SOMEONE ELSE's number, or put someone else's name on there. If it is just fake, then it's not that big a deal, if it has your name on it.

All the same, if we survive this period of history in freedom and the truth comes out, I think it will be astonishing how little we knew about a man we entrusted all our secrets to.

Obama and Ayers family

In another example of how little we know about Obama, a postman who had Bill Ayers family home on his route describes meeting a young Barack Obama back in the 1980's, who told him that he was going to be President, and who said that the Ayers (who were quite wealthy and left wing) were putting him through school. For her part, Ayers mother described him as a "foreign student", which makes sense, since the last citizenship we can confirm is Obama's Indonesian citizenship, listed on a school application that is extant (perhaps because record scrubbing is harder overseas).

Here is a link, that appears to be getting interfered with by unknown internet forces: http://www.wnd.com/2012/03/postman-ayers-family-put-foreigner-obama-through-school/

Here is another link: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/03/what_the_mailman_knows_about_ayers_and_obama.html

For those who have been watching this issue, it comes as no surprise. Ayers got Obama into the Chicago political scene in the Annenberg Foundation, and it has long been speculated that they must have had a prior relationship.

A credible case can be made that Ayers was the actual author of both of Obama's books, since Obama is a dunce and almost certainly could not have written them alone.

I would like, however, to focus on one small detail, the fact that Ayer's father--a very successful business executive--thought with absolute certainty that he could speak and act for the ordinary working man, without even ASKING ANYONE what it was they needed or wanted.

This basic conceit is that of the narcissist, who thinks their way is the only way, and that whatever makes THEM feel better, must be good for EVERYONE. They literally conflate their own sense of satisfaction with the general good. This is a universal trait among totalitarians; and remember in this regard that Bill Ayers and his group talked openly about murdering ten million Americans. This is the man who may have done more than any other to put Obama in our highest office.

One wonders, if we do lapse into tyranny, if there is one member of the Supreme Court or Congress--whose job it long has been, among others, to ensure the qualifications for office of Presidential candidates--who will feel shame in having failed so utterly. There are many fingers.

But anyone, anywhere, who failed to do their job, is responsible. Period. There is no ambiguity in this. Personally, at the back end of a successful defense of our freedoms in the civil war that may yet come, I would have a lot of people shot, and many more jailed, as de facto traitors. I don't care what the cause of their cowardice is: it is unAmerican, and unequal to the traditions laid down by those who died for us. Anyone whose inaction causes injustice or tyranny is guilty of complicity.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Discipline

It is best to avoid falling into all forms of fixity: postural, behavioral, cognitive, emotional. The world is much richer when you are able to greet every dawn as a unique miracle, to be approached as an individual, one-time, not to be repeated event.

As I look at my own history, and learn, it occurs to me that it is quite possible to pass from birth to death without ever learning how to learn. It is in fact so common that it might be termed the default outcome.

There was a long time I wanted to be in the military. I enlisted in the Air Force when I was about 19, but they wouldn't take me. I got booted out of MEPS. I tried to get into Marine ROTC, but they would not take me either. My eyesight was too poor.

As I see now, what I wanted was an external framework to build within me the rigidity to avoid facing my emotional conflicts. When you are in a behaviorally small, conformist, and demanding environment, the little voices inside of you can readily be silenced. And having once done it, I think many people cross lifetimes like that.

Please do not get me wrong: there is huge value in self discipline. All the spiritual traditions and most cultural traditions are in accord on this. We read that some one third of CEO's nationally are former Marines. That is a huge number.

The point I am trying to make pertains to me, certainly, but I suspect others as well. It is that we need to beware of easy fixes to deep emotional conflicts. As annoying as it sounds, particularly for men, sometimes we do need to admit a lack of control, a lack of the ability to form a clear plan of action, and even a lack of genuine hope that things will get better. I think that admitting these things is how light gets back in.

I have "Don't whine/don't complain/don't make excuses/Never quit" tattooed on me. I get the desire to refuse to "wallow". It has kept me going. The first three come from John Wooden's father. But to the point, he clearly came from a wholesome, loving family, in which everyone felt they belonged, and in which there was clarity as to roles.

Genuine, useful discipline comes from a well tempered desire for the pleasures of accomplishment. It is a simple extension of the perception that most things in life that are worth having require work and delayed gratification.

The type of discipline which is bad is that in which no deep emotional expression is allowed (anger and envy likely being OK for most men, but nothing else), and in which the focus is on work precisely to keep this from happening. You can be a highly successful lawyer, or doctor, or business executive like this, and yet still feel misery, and feel the need for "hits" of power, prostitutes, and booze to silence that inner voice that is starved for attention and recognition.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bon Mot

Persistent failure can only be the mark of persistence.

Narcissism and Culture

A parent who is narcissistic wants their child to be just like them, to be an extension of them, and, in the spirit of latent but very real violence, to serve as the repository for all of the unprocessed emotional needs they feel the need to "outsource". In a broken child, the parent/child is an emotional complex in which neither exists fully.

I was thinking, though, about traditional cultures. Let's take a Sikh family from the Punjab. There are certain expectations for both boys and girls, certain ways of being, of dressing, of relating to others. There are certain beliefs that one is expected to share, and ritual and traditional roles to play.

Is a father's demand that his son internalize these roles narcissistic? No, in my view, for the reason that these are generalized roles, and the son is being acculturated for inclusion into a tribe, a group of people who share the same ideas and values. The "narcissism", and I am expanding the word here, is that of the WHOLE GROUP.

In our Western family, we have one father, one son, and a tribe of two (I am simplying the numbers for clarity; self evidently there are usually mothers, siblings, grandparents, etc.). In our Punjabi family, we have a tribe that is quite large, probably in the millions, although of course there are likely hundreds of sub-tribes, which account for regional variations of various sorts which are both class and geographically determined.

Given this setup, I got to thinking about ethics. For a Punjabi Sikh, there are certain absolutes. Values are listed on a proverbial card, and there is no need for individuals to interpret them, outside the legal parameters provided in their culture. Right is right and wrong is wrong, and the sanction for ignoring either BEGINS with social exclusion and shame.

In a two person monad, where one person has effectively stolen the spirit of another, there is no ethical content whatever, outside conformity to the mutable wishes of the pupper master. This, I would submit, is roughly the cultural substrate of what gets called multiculturalism or moral relativism.

Now, the broader point I wanted to make is that I don't think any ethical absolutes with very specific content (thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife) will INVARIABLY result in what is best for all involved. I therefore reject moral absolutes.

Yet, plainly judgement is often needed. If you are unwilling to speak up, you are at some point going to contribute to evil.

Historically, morality was encoded in external behavioral codes. But today I would reference our psychological culture and submit better is possible.

Specifically, I have somehow wound up in a position where I am again reading self help books and benefiting from them. This is a surprise.

You read "he said this, and I felt that, harkening back to when I . . ." and on some level I want to shout "shut the fuck up and deal with it."

Yet, when I look at my own behavioral limitations, I plainly need this sort of thing. Where in some other day and age I would have been told who to be and how to be, now I must create an autonomous self that makes its own decisions based on chosen principles.

I would submit this is progress. The moral ideal is for each individual to interact with every other individual not as subject to external absolutes, but as subject to the well being of both individuals. Morality is something that is constantly negotiated, with no final answers possible or desirable.

We are currently in a stage culturally where we (the westernized world generally) have rejected many external behavioral standards--particularly those associated with religion--but lack collectively the psycholgical maturity to negotiate with one another in substantive ways. Practically, people trade one set of absolutes for another. Try reasoning with a dogmatic leftist or atheist. It can't be done.

In my view, leaving behind the chains of absolute moral codes is a good thing, but that brings the problem of narcissism to the fore.

Let me offer another thought on this topic. In large measure, narcissism is the result of unprocessed emotion, things felt by the child that the man lives but cannot remember.

Prior to all the technology surrounding us, most people spent a lot of time in silence. In silence, you cannot still persistent thoughts. I think a credible argument can be made that many people stop short their emotional development process simply because they CAN, because the endless distractions made available to modern man work effectively to silence unwanted emotion. What is Twitter, but a way to reach out to others and kill time, without saying anything substantive, or truly connecting with anyone? It is emotional styrofoam: plastic, dry, tasteless, lifeless.

Thus in a time when we need to be becoming more emotionally intelligent, we are getting dumber. This is not a necessary outcome.

Overall, we do seem to be much less brutal than previous generations of humankind. The cultural/tribal narcissism that enabled, say the conquest of the American Indians, or the Chinese invasion of Tibet, has largely faded. The old tribal bonds have loosened.

We do need to look forward, though, to something new, untried, and likely better than anything we see looking backward. Those who would return us to Feudalism are acting as narcissists, unable to differentiate between their own emotional need for control and order, and what is actually needed by humankind.

This is rambling, as I tried to incorporate multiple ideas, but I am tired and do not want to edit it. What normally in any event happens with me, is the same ideas will get developed on separate lines, and posted on at a later date. Hopefully this is useful to someone.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Excellent video summary of the Federal Reserve

A fifteen year old outshines 99% of Ph.D's in economics.

I'm not big on videos, but if that is how you prefer to learn, please watch it, then share it. He has literally isolated the entirety of our economic and following political problems.

I posted some time ago on the social costs of the Federal Reserve/Fractional reserve banking system. They include virtually every source of suffering extant in our nation today, including poverty, unemployment, racism, unaffordable healthcare, and the national debt.

My own solution is a bit bolder than just going back to something we had before, but getting just this knowledge out generally will change our political landscape, and hopefully get the bastards in New York at some point under control. There is a thin line between being a dreamer and being stupid. In this case, he has proposed nothing but a return to the latter half of the nineteenth century, in which the value of our labor rose steadily. This is demonstrable, empirical fact.

Virtually every economic idea has been tried at some point. The only one that works every time is free markets and sound currency.

The only one that in my understanding has never been tried is 100% reserve banking. I have no desire to abolish banking in the form of actual capital accumulation and the charging of interest. I have a desire to abolish banks risking MY money for their own profit, particularly when they also ask me for MORE money when they lose it. Our system is nuts.

1984

Look at this article, then read the rest.

I think it is important to note that the various dystopian scenarios--1984, We, Brave New World--should not be seen as having suddenly come into being, but as having been accepted gradually, with the acceptance of each step being so much more emotionally easy than active resistance, that soon the framework is in place. This is the essence of Fabian gradualism: the frog in the boiling pot. Large s...egments of 1984 are already upon us. We look at the internet as freeing us, and it does do that, but it also eradicates the possibility of freedom from spying. The government can already turn on your cell phone invisibly and use it as a bug. If your computer is on, and on the internet, they can see it, and everything on your computer. If you have a cell phone, they know where you are.

From this basis of technology, a more or less perfect surveillance state can and has been built, largely on the basis of needing to combat "terrorists" who seem nowhere to be found. I thought those who argued in 2001 that the attacks would be used to build a surveillance state were being paranoid, but I no longer believe that. Power that can be abused, WILL be abused. This power has been accrued, so absent aggressive and effective Congressional utilization of our Bill of Rights to combat it, the next step is a certainty. When, I can't say, but it is not a question of if.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Post on Bloomberg

As I mention from time to time, I can never rely even on topical and polite posts to make it through moderation, so since I take the time to type them, I repost them here so I'm sure they will at least appear somewhere. Here is the original link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-14/watch-bernanke-s-little-inflation-capsize-u-s-amity-shlaes.html

Inflation is a vitally important topic. As an extension of the overall concept of monetary policy, I think it is at the core of what everyone needs to know about economics.

Here are a couple of vital points, generally missed by the public and the people who are supposed to understand these things:

1) Inflation is always wealth transfer. It moves, invisibly, the ownership and value of real goods and services from one place to another. Take the case of Weimar Germany. The inflation was VASTLY helpful to the German government, German industrialists, and to everyone who owned means of production. All of them had borrowed enormous amounts of money in the war, and all of them were able to pay their debts easily in inflated notes. Quite simply, absent the inflation if the early 1920's, the Third Reich could never have been created. People forget that the inflation was brought under control nearly instantly by a man named Hjalmar Schacht, who I think we might call the German Keynes, simply by pegging the value of the mark to something outside Germany. I think it was initially tied to the pound or dollar, then some value of gold.

Inflation was created to transfer wealth from ordinary Germans, in the form of a tax they did not understand, then stopped when that transfer was complete. As I understand the matter, the only reason they did not also pay off their war reparations was because those had to be paid in gold and other real goods.

2) Even though the Fed is uniquely empowered to create money, per se, most price inflation is created as a result of the fractional reserve banking system. Every dollar the Fed creates can, in a hot economy in which a lot of people are borrowing money, create some 20 more dollars as a result of bank pyramiding. That is how Bernanke can increase our money supply by a third or more, and us still not see price inflation. What the Fed does is primary, though.

I deal with these topics at greater length in a treatise I collated for the Occupy Wall Street people. It includes a proposal to democratize inflation to pay off all of our debts. Inflation normally only benefits power elites, but it is a double edged sword, whose polarity can be reversed. Here is that treatise: http://www.goodnessmovement.com/Page23.html

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ron Paul Third Party Run Suggestion

I keep reading where Paul will torpedo Romney. I don't think this is the case, since virtually all Ron Paul stickers I see are accompanied by other bumper stickers I would normally associate with the Left. There are plenty of tree huggers who love him because he will undo the Patriot Act, and stop what they see as the fascism that started with Bush.

Yet, the fact remains that he has made the boldest, most inclusive CONSERVATIVE proposals in my lifetime to reduce the government, reduce spending, and redistribute power to more local jurisdictions.

Why not make a deal? Why not select a DEMOCRAT as a running mate? Why not work out some hybrid, quid pro quo platform that gets conservatives most of what they want, but also gets the left something they want?

As I keep saying, if we can enact a sound monetary policy, everything else will work itself out. I actually think that given Capitalist innovation in conditions of monetary stasis, that something like Socialism is affordable, because wealth would be generalized.

On the extreme end, of course, you have my Capitalist Revolution, but if that is ever discussed seriously, it will be because we are hanging at the end of a rope over hungry sharks. Still, that is on our itinerary, so it is not out of the question. It worked for Weimar Germany--for SOME people, of course--so why not us?

Edit: here's the campaign slogan: "Storm the Center!!!!"

The way forward

We only need two things to solve our domestic political problems: sound money, and true Liberalism. Everything else will sort itself out.

Sound money means that rates of private property ownership are increasing generally, rather than in very small segments. Most people should own their own houses by the time they are 40, and have no problem saving for retirement. I deal with this in my financial treatise.

Genuine Liberalism is the notion that no final answer as to the nature of right and wrong is possible short of God himself making a public appearance. Given this, the task of "moralizing" is to be distributed as widely as possible. In our own system, moral decisions not dealt with in the Bill of Rights (and abortion plainly was not dealt with in the Bill of Rights) were to be resolved by the States. This would include drug policy, abortion, prostitution, euthanasia, social "safety nets" (or not) and even in my view labor laws.

Since the freedom of movement is guaranteed in the Constitution, if people don't like the direction their State is taking, they can vote with their feet. In this scenario, power is local and thus much more accountable. It matters far less who we elect as President, since his main task is dealing with foreign nations, and not dictating to us domestically.

Is abortion right or wrong? I don't know. In my own system of "ethics", it needs to be dealt with on a case by case basis. If I am fully honest, my personal answer is "sometimes yes, sometimes no".

But this problem--and life generally--needs to be a matter for much smaller groups of people to decide.

All of our problems are solvable. The solutions are obvious and in front of us. We may destroy ourselves anyway, but not because it was our only option.

My post at the Huffington Post

I don't know if this will ever make it through. They claim they want dissent--the FAQ is quite reasonable, even matronly--but in my experience they equate actual dissent with trolling, so my IP address may be blocked. I know I've been kicked off there at least once, but can't remember which computer it was. What gets me kicked off most leftwing sites is suggesting they are intolerant. Yes, the irony is tangible: it walks, it talks, it does Elvis renditions.

Regardless, they were on target with this editorial. Here is my comment that may only appear here (note: censorship is so common with me that I invariably copy what I've written before posting it, since even on right wing sites my comments often disappear):

I recently defined the Federal Reserve as: "a private corporation consisting of large banks, which is operated by and for the benefit of the banks, and whose principle activity is transferring wealth from American citizens to itself on an as-needed basis."

What people fail to realize is that when you read that Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and others are donating as much to Obama as to Romney as to Bush, that this is the FED donating that money. These banks literally OWN the Fed, which was chartered as a private corporation, which issued non-transferable stock to invitation-only banks.

No President, Republican or Democrat, has ANY control over what they do, or even any way of KNOWING what they are doing. The Chairman has to report to Congress periodically, but until Bernie Sanders managed to put at least some reporting provisions in place in the Wall Street "Reform" Bill (which was written, sponsored and more or less paid for by the banks reference above, with the exception of this provision), we got NOTHING. The only way we know about this $12 trillion that they wrote checks for is because of that provision.

What caused the inflation of the 1970's? Almost certainly conscious Fed policy, for which of course their solution was the granting of greater powers, which they got in 1979-80.

In my view, if we can solve the problem of sound currency, our problems with unemployment, crime, healthcare, etc. will disappear.

Beautiful post from the Huffington Post

Tom Mullen Editorial: how the Fed steals for the 1%

I have no way of assessing my readership, but if you are a Democrat or Socialist, you can trust the Huffington Post to represent your views, and at least one of them has reached the same conclusions Murray Rothbard reached back in the 1960's, and others even in the 30's. This is a beautiful thing.

Please share, share, share this editorial. Put it on your Facebook page. Post it over at the Daily Kos, or Media Matters, or wherever your internet wanderings take you. Share, share, share it. We all need this information desperately.

We are separated as a nation in issues like how to pay for healthcare, the extent and importance of military action, unemployment, and other such issues. Most of them could readily be solved if we had sound currency. We would have no unemployment. Healthcare would be readily affordable.

And when it comes to the military, our fear is not so much a terror attack, as it is the effect of that terror attack on our financial structure. Given a sound financial structure, we could deal with things as they develop. There is no question at all in anyone's mind that we could end the lives of every Iranian within hours. There is no question we could invade and occupy their nation, if we so chose. We are so much militarily more powerful than every nation on Earth, that there is NO chance of a successful general invasion, making one-off attacks our principle concern.

To do the math for you, we lost some 1,500 people on 9/11. We have lost at least 4 times that just in soldiers since then.

All of us have common cause to question the Fed, audit it, and in the end, end it.

My proposal for doing so is contained in this treatise, which I collated for the Occupy Wall Street protesters: http://www.goodnessmovement.com/Page23.html

Gold: two points

One: buying gold is short selling the dollar. There is no other way to look at it, in my view. Had you bought a ton of gold in 1812, you would have lost a third of your money in the last two centuries. Had you put it in the stock market, you would have realized at least a tenfold increase in constant dollars, and likely much more.

These rough stats are from Thomas Sowell's "Basic Economics", which is excellent in everything but his treatment of the Fed. He understands it, and fractional reserve banking, but does not connect the dots. This is a persistent failure across the board with all economists not willing to endure being called cranks.

Two: when we were on the fractional reserve gold standard, our government bought the gold, did it not? We the People bought the gold, either through the allocation of taxes, or through the Federal Reserve creating money for the purpose, and hence taxing us indirectly through inflation.

This gold, then, belongs to Us. When is some Senator or other elected official going to have the balls to ask what happened to it? Nixon just ended the tenuous gold standard we have been on since Bretton Woods, but did not speak as to what was going to be done with the gold.

Why can't we sell it on the open market to defray our debts? This is literally a trillion dollar question. Who has the balls to ask it besides me?

If we start down this path, I think everyone knows a stinking can of worms will get opened, but it is one that NEEDS to get opened.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Fed

When we see that Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks are donating to both the Romney and Obama campaigns, what we need to read is that the FED is donating to these campaigns.

Most people do not understand that the Fed is a private corporation, whose stocks are (or were: we have no way of knowing) sold on an invitation basis only to banks on an Approved list. It is a corporation that operates to the benefit of the shareholders, which is to say the banks comprising it.

The exact membership is secret. Even though the Fed controls our money supply, and thus the value of our money, and the value of our work and production, we know next to nothing about it. This is farcical.

What is clear, though, is that they are perfectly fine with either Obama or Romney. They are also, therefore, with the United States continuing to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars every month. After all, they are the ones doing much of the loaning, generally with created money.

As I think about it, when you create money, if you loan it to banks, it is inflationary. This because the banks loan out 90% of it, then 81% of it, and so on. If you want to make big money without creating inflation, you need some entity that can suck it up and use it. That entity is the United States Government.

Effectively, then, money is being transferred from the taxpayer, via the Fed, to the government, in the form of eventual, if mild, inflation, and the member banks of the Fed are making large amounts of money on this process.

I may be in error on this, but I suspect the reality is close to this.

More generally, I would like to offer the definition of the Fed as: a private corporation consisting of large banks, which is operated by and for the benefit of the banks, and whose principle activity is transferring wealth from American citizens to itself on an as-needed basis.

Think about this with me. When the Fed uses its Open Market buying power to create money, it adds to the money supply. This is inflationary, and thus constitutes a wealth transfer. When it uses the Discount Window to create money, it underwrites the process of fractional reserve banking, which itself is inflationary, and thus constitutes wealth transfer.

It is a Goebbelsian triumph of these nearly infinitely rich banks that they have kept up this fraud for nearly 100 years. All of us are the poorer for it.

Gas Prices

It is stupid to blame Obama for today's gas prices. It will, however, be unavoidable blaming him for prices once we reach a point where the Keystone pipeline--which is entirely funded by private enterprise--would have been built.

Most people have short memories. I don't.

Edit: as I note on the side there, I reserve the right to challenge and change my own opinions. As I saw noted elsewhere, Obama has in fact put a stop to all domestic oil exploration. This cannot but have had an effect on oil production, and hence supply, and hence price.

Frankly, if the entirety of Alaska fell into the ocean tomorrow, I would spend the rest of my life in ignorance of this fact, outside of news reports. I don't care about the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. It is a blizzard blasted, end of the world nothing-land, which we can and should use to ease oil prices.

As far as memory, apparently I forgot what I forgot. I need to try to remember that this happens.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ron Paul Third Party Run

It seems to me that if no major member of our political establishment is willing to address our out of control spending in a substantive--or even meaningful--way, that Ron Paul ought to give serious thought to a third party bid.

Logistically, of course, you lose the support of a party apparatus with long experience. Regretably, though, that experience is not in the political expression of principle, but rather in getting people elected who have a certain letter next to their name, and about whom we can infer little else.

The history of third party bids is not good. Perot, arguably, gave Clinton the Presidency, as Teddy Roosevelt certainly gave Wilson the presidency (only one Democrat having been elected otherwise since Abraham Lincoln, the Democrats having been blamed for the Civil War, which was of course a valid claim).

Yet, the history of financial disasters is not one of gradual declines from top to bottom. Rather, a tipping point is reached in which an apparently steady state, stable situation, suddenly tips over. Other than the people who consciously cause such events, no one can predict when they may happen. What we can certainly say is "WE ARE VULNERABLE". We have points in which attack is possible, and thus at some point likely.

Only Ron Paul has the integrity to acknowledge the fact that we cannot continue to borrow trillions a year, and that increases in taxes do nothing but validate the enormous expansion of our government that has happened under Bush and Obama. We spend $2 trillion a year in Clinton's last year. Obama this year wants to spend some $3.5 trillion. This is not a problem of undertaxation, but rather vastly excessive spending.

There is no correllation between GDP and government. The second need not expand pari passu with the first. It is always a false correllation when people try to explain away spending as a percentage of GDP. The fact of the matter is that every time the government grows, our freedoms shrink. This is inevitable, since all the bureaucrats hired with our money have to find something to do, or they are out of cushy jobs with fantastic benefits.

In my view, it would be a huge mistake for him to run as a Libertarian. Most people--which I will here define as me, with the perhaps overly presumptive assumption that this belief is shared widely--view Libertarians as either hippies upset that marijuana is illegal, or Ayn Rand zealots who have read Atlas Shrugged ten times and memorized large sections of the dialogue.

Something like the "Save America" Party, or Fiscal Sanity Party, or something on those lines would be good. It would be interesting to see that if he brought out a sizable following, if he would be invited to debates. I suspect not, but TV is not the only medium for the communication of information.

It really does seem to me we are being asked to choose the pace of our failure, and ignored entirely as to whether or not that is the outcome we want. Our problems are solvable and preventable. That so few are working with integrity to protect us does nothing to change this obvious fact.

Vlad Putin, Narcissism, and the public sphere

When I saw Putin crying when he won, the only thing I could think of was Sally Fields also crying, and saying "you like me" in her Oscar acceptance speech.

Look at this man, who misses no chance to show the world how wonderful he is. He is in my view a clinical narcissist. He is someone who quite literally lacks the emotional ability to differentiate his own well being from that of the country as a whole. He assumes that what is good for him, what makes him feel good, powerful, whole, must perforce be good for Russia.

This basic dynamic, I increasingly believe, is ubiquitous in our public sphere. Lenin was a narcissist, as were Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot. FDR was, as was Kennedy, and as likely is Bill Clinton, and categorically beyond any possibility of doubt Barack Obama.

Such people seek power because they need attention, or what some psychologists call "narcissistic supply".

Last night I dreamed of meeting Oprah. She said "glad to meet you", and I responded "glad to meet you also". She said "you don't mean that", which was true, as I am not a fan, but I responded honestly "that is half true", but that was not good enough for her, and she showed me the door.

She is not the sort of person who can suffer half acceptance. If you are not fully in the thrall of admiration for her, she doesn't want you around. She needs to be "loved"--I put it into quotation marks, for the reason that narcissists, lacking a self, are not able to receive or grant actual love--just as does Putin. In Putin's case, being a man, being feared is sufficient, but I suspect he wants to admired as well for his virtue, good looks, and just general awesomeness he is quite willing to stage manage in order to improve. Does anyone seriously think he just happened to find an ancient urn while scuba diving? Of course not. Many of his photos are probably improved or even created digitally.

Does Putin feel an actual need to improve his nation, or Oprah to improve human lives? Yes, to the extent it makes THEM look good, and gets them more narcissitic supply. People miss the point that you can do actual good works for the wrong reasons. They also miss the point that if actual good works are not the goal, then wide deviations between rhetoric and reality are not just possible, but virtually inevitable.

Leftism is tailor made for narcissists, since it is big on high minded rhetoric, and indifferent to actual outcomes. They don't care what happens as a result of their policies, since because they are perfect, whatever they do must be perfect, and anyone who says otherwise is either a liar and/or an enemy. Since "the people" chose them, then their enemies are the enemies of the people. If "the people" oppose them, then they obviously oppose them in error, meaning that someone out there--Trotskyites, Capitalist running dogs, the Koch brothers--must have gotten to them and corrupted their minds.

This basic concept, linking narcissism with political aspirations, governing style, and overall worldview, is an interesting one with much potential. I have seen the word megalomania used, but most narcissists do not think big enough for us to want to use that word. It is hard to think of Oprah as a megalomaniac, even if the term is appropriate, but not as someone who is self involved to such a high degree that she manifests ample signs of clinical narcissism.

Somaticism

I have long felt that conventional psychotherapies are between barely useful and harmful. The problem, as I see it, is that people focus on discussing emotions, rather than processing emotions. You can discuss the feeling you had when your mother or father did x, y, or z to you, and what you felt, until it's your turn to die, and increase your emotional well being little or at all.

Everything you have done and felt is encoded in your body, both in your "static" posture (there of course is no such thing, which is why Moshe Feldenkrais invented the work "acture"), and in your decision making and sentimentation (if that is not a word, well now it is) throughout the day; in your movement, in other words.

Logically, if the problem is encoded somatically, there is where the solution arises, and no conventional psychotherapeutic schools incorporate it, other than in the form of Autogenics, which to my mind is missing some key components.

I will have more to say, but an analogy I would draw to close this post is in the use of lacrosse balls to soften hardened, unresponsive muscle tissues. You lay on them and consciously seek out areas of pain, then FOCUS on those. The end result is greater responsiveness, and a DECREASE in pain.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rick Santorum

If I were a member of the power elite, I would be putting big money on Rick Santorum right now. It's a can't lose proposition. If he fails in the General Election, as appears overwhelmingly likely, you get Obama again, who is deep in their pockets, and more or less reliable, provided one can ignore his lack of intelligence (he probably genuinely thinks he won the election on his merits).

But if Santorum by some miracle wins, his mandate will revolve around social issues, which are highly energizing for many conservatives, and which have NOTHING to do with addressing the on-going attacks on our liberties--particularly the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights--and which ignore entirely the increasing consolidation of power and money (related, obviously) in fewer and fewer hands.

Since he will make no cuts in spending, the Fabian "miracle" will continue to progress apace, and he will be irrelevent to the continued implementation of a global system of government. He is no conservative: this is obvious. He's a Catholic school boy whose moment may well have come as a result of conscious manipulation of the political process. If one is unwilling to grant that, it is abundantly clear that he has made the most of opportunities handed him with peculiarly auspicious timing.

Look around you. Look at your freeways, your Taco Bells, your post office, your grocery store. Look at the choices on your cable television, the gun in your closet, the freedom to pick up and move any time you want, to marry who you want, to raise your children as you choose. Ponder upon the fact that, today, you can go anywhere and do anything within reason you like.

All of this is perishable. None of it will endure forever. This is a historically immutable fact. Forget it at your peril.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Inspiring entrepreneurs

Here is a simple idea which is guaranteed to work: people who start companies pay no corporate taxes for their first two years. They pay income tax on their personal earnings, as of course do their employees, but the organization itself pays nothing.

The more companies that get started, the more jobs get created, and the more taxes get paid. This is simple enough. It is complicated by the fact that most scum sucking bureaucrats are unintelligent, unimaginative cowards who simply cannot grasp the balls needed to plunge your savings into a risky venture.

I will add that government bureaucracies are literally the mirror image of productive private ventures. Where private ventures can only grow by creating added benefit for society, bureaucracies grow precisely by expanding the domain of their control, and by sucking money out of the private sector in so doing. They exist at the expense of the actually productive members of society. Ayn Rand had that part right enough.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Copyright

This should be clear, but I have no desire to make money from any of my writing. Scratch that: of course I want to make money. Everybody wants more money.

HOWEVER, it also pleases me to think that people might appropriate some of my ideas into their own work, and push it out into the world that way. Effectively, if I let people "steal" my ideas, they get out more efficiently. Therefore, I renounce all rights to anything I've published on the internet.

It would actually make me happy to see something literally cut and pasted from my website in some philosophical magazine, or political website, or wherever. I see traces of such, I think, already, but can't remember if I have posted on this, and wanted to make my intent, and the legal status from my perspective of my work, completely clear.

Fat

Logically, if overeating is emotional--and the simple carbohydrate/fat combination clearly works in the short term as an anti-anxiolytic--then one could reasonably posit that the gain of fat is associated with unprocessed emotions. This is a thesis seen often enough.

Logically, though, this would also mean that LOSING that fat permanently would require either the processing or complete suppression of those emotions. This is an interesting fork.

It is obvious that the science of nutrition was corrupted in the mid-1980's, largely through the work of a hack named Ancel Keys, and that the empirical basis for recommending low fat diets quite simple does not exist. Given that the adoption by the Federal Government of this idiotic idea corresponded nearly immediately with endemic rises in rates of obesity, we can I think with accuracy assume that much of our problem arose simply from bad ideas implemented by a central governing authority.

But I think there is more to it. There are now half a dozen or more, more or less low carb diets out there. It started with Atkins, but you have Protein Power, Carb Addicts, the Zone, South Beach, Paleo, and many others. The information is out there.

We assume that sedentary behavior causes obesity at least in children. They are sitting around playing video games or watching TV. Could we not also posit, however, that what is really going on is what might be termed "emotion-avoidance", and that rather than be active socially they are using the numerous solipsistic caves created by modern technology in effect to prolong adolescence, and that this failure, in turn, creates the emotional NEED for the sorts of food that cause obesity?

As I understand the science, there is close to no link between obesity and physical activity. The excessive storage of adipose tissue--fat--is hormonally regulated. If you tweak those hormones, you initiate the use of fat as a fuel source, and eventually lean out. The process is very reversible, even, as I understand the matter, in diabetics.

Thus, we have twin cultural issues. On the one hand we have people like Michelle Obama in positions of power and influence working hard to spread scientifically disproven ideas about the nature of obesity.

On the other hand, though, we have a cultural need for the use of food as a sopophoric and emotional tranquilizer, which leads inexorably to metabolic effects.

These are of course large problems, but as I try to do, I will suggest at least some possible solutions.

First, the Federal Government needs to get out of the business of telling us what to eat. It is one thing to arrogate power that was never granted by the Constitution. It is another, worse, thing, to take that power and lead people in the WRONG DIRECTION. Quite literally, had the Surgeon General never rendered any opinion at all, we would be much better off. This is a common enough outcome when Statists prevail.

Secondly, I would like to see this curse of cultural narcissism brought into the light. I feel strongly that our nation is riddled with self centered parents who bring children into the world who feel the need to hide. Those children, in turn, never develop fully emotionally, and when they have children, the cycle repeats.

Banning things is simplistic, and fails to get at the root problem.

More generally, we need better ways of processing things emotionally. As may be obvious to more perceptive readers (I assume not all the hits on my site are from spam engines or whatever they are called, so I assume I do have readers), I was at one time the kid sent to all the shrinks.

What do you do there? You describe feelings, and put labels on the situations that gave rise to those feelings. By and large, this process is useless. The only useful advice any shrink ever gave me was to exercise (I was never medicated, but I'm sure I would have been in today's world). The only psychology book that gave me any persistently useful advice was Martin Seligman's Learned Optimism, in which he describes in effect the "blocks" to depressive attacks. It gets you leverage over emotions that would otherwise sweep in and out like waves beyond your control.

It has long been my goal to develop something that actually worked. My dominant hypothesis is that you get at emotional issues where they reside: somatically. Clearly, some patterns of thinking are more useful than others, so I certainly do not reject cognitive therapy. Clearly as well, some psychological maladies do progress to (or begin as) organic, mechanical problems with nervous system wiring, so I do not reject the work of psychitrists in using various anti-psychotics.

Depression, though, clearly does not result from a deficiency in anti-depressant medication, as some people more or less unconsciously seem to assume. It is not "out there". It is "in here", in our cultural space, and is an artifact and outcome of how we move within our social space. It seems to me our culture is some combination of walls that are excessively permeable, and walls which cannot be bridged by any means at all. For example, you cannot achieve genuine empathy from a narcissist, but for their part they are only too happy to overlook your own personal boundaries.

Somatically, what seems to work for me is feeling feelings without labeling them. I look back imaginatively to some place or situation, and just remember what I was feeling, who I was. I do this without judgement. If someone hurt you, you just feel the hurt. There is no need to reinforce anger at them. If you feel anger, feel the anger. Often, if you look carefully, you will find residual love for people that hurt you. Many people overlook this, since it is not expected cognitively, and is illogical.

There are no illogical feelings: if you feel them, you must acknowledge them to remain whole, and psychologically reactive and healthy. This is an important point.

I do real time inventories during the day. I will pause periodically to simply listen to my body, and make an inventory: I feel anxiety about X, anger about Y, my back hurts (always: I have scoliosis), I believe I need to eat, and I keep thinking obsessively about Z. I make no effort to make any of this go away. If you acknowledge it, it diminishes in importance, even if it does not fade away fully.

Now, I am a man, and historically uncomfortable with what I was raised to consider the "feminine" process of feeling. Feeling is what girls do. If a conversation with a partner starts with "I feel that you. . ", then get ready to be uncomfortable with this whole mishy-mashy mush about sentiments, when I could just be reading a book and smoking a cigar--or, really, ANYTHING else. Many men, I think, are like this, and professions like law enforcement or the military readily support this basic predisposition of avoiding feelings.

(It is actually interesting that if you do get to the emotional core of soldiers and the like, they are almost childlike in their enthusiasms and generosities; this is because they never ended their emotions, but rather retained them more or less intact from childhood, in my view).

This basic ideas, that of feeling feelings, I got from Tarthang Tulku's "Kum Nye" books, which I have found very useful. I have had difficulty with it at times, since feelings come up that more or less create emotional indigestion and heartburn for me. Since I can keep them from my consciousness, I often do. But you cannot progress as a human being without developing skill in feeling. The goal is not to not feel anger, as people supposedly on the spiritual path often assume. The goal is to see the role of anger, see its value, and also to see its pitfalls, and to only use it when it is the most contextually appropriate response.

Finally, I have been interested in some time in the process of "Autogenic Abreaction" of Johannes Schulz and (Wolfgang, I believe?) Luthe. Basically, you teach people to relax deeply, then let them have images drift by, which they describe to the therapist. The transcripts read more or less like real time accounts of dreams. They apparently got some therapeutic relief through these methods for their patients.

What I have found in myself is that there are bridges of emotion I must cross to become deeply relaxed. All sorts of things--unprocessed emotions, avoided feelings--come up, and prevent full relaxation. There must, then, I think be a continuum, in which you process feelings at the same time you are learning deep relaxation. You achieve success not when you feel nothing, but when you feel happy, fulfilled, open, but not naive.

Few thoughts for a Sunday.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tubaforms

If we visualize the world as a sort of undifferentiated gray cloud, then a tubaform is a lens which, when we look through it, causes patterns to emerge. They may or may not of course be accurate, but particularly if the pattern remains over time--over motion--then provisional truth claims can be reasonably reliably made.

Have to run, but thought I might clarify that. I may not have, but it is a small effort in that direction.

The Rise of the Narcissist

I have recently begun reading about Narcisstic Personality Disorder, and am finding that this particular prism--Tubaform, I have called this sort of thing--can be used to create order in many places.

Consider that a primary trait of narcissists is the need for attention and power. Logically, these traits--the need for these outcomes--will lead to greater efforts at attaining professional recognition and political power than would be the case for people without the disorder.

Logically, in a free society, this will lead over time to narcissists occupying much of the top strata of society.

Consider further that most historical democracies only last perhaps 200 years. This was the case, roughly, with the Athenian democracy, and roughly the case with the Roman Republic.

What one would expect to see, and what one does see particularly in true democracies like that of Athens, is the rise of the demagogue. Who is the demogogue? That person who says WHATEVER he needs to say to keep the people behind him. His motto is "the voice of the people is the voice of ME" (vox populi, vox ecco? I am no Latin scholar), where he silently substitutes God for "me". He is not thinking long term. He does not care where the antics forced on him by the need to stay in front of a mutable mass of ridiculous human beings leads him. He is led, but he is for his purposes the leader, which is to say the object of attention.

Look at our current political scene. We have hordes of people either crying out to be the ones to "save America" by pursuing short-sighted, failure-certain policies, and it is difficult not to believe that on some level they KNOW IT.

This is the core reason why there are so few principled politicians: principled people do not survive, and in most cases lack the drive of the narcissists to be in power.

When we look at most Republicans, what we mostly need to see are intelligent narcissists who crave power for its own sake, who like being in the limelight, and who may believe somewhat the bullshit they peddle about caring about the national debt, and blah, blah, blah, but who are quite willing to forget what they "believe" if it means risking losing out on continuing to walk in the halls of power.

On the Left, there is a double layer of narcissism. They have the same desire as Republicans to stay in power, but they also believe, truly believe, the counterfactual claim that socialism improves human lives. They can't explain the failure of Detroit and other cities, who were targeted with their supposedly "best" policies, to thrive, but they don't care. They inhabit a magical world--one of the traits of narcissists--in which failures need not be explained, and if they are, all one needs do is blame someone else. Narcissists never take responsibility for anything.

I truly believe that BOTH Obamas are clinical narcissists. So is Nancy Pelosi. So is Harry Reid. But so too, in all likelihood, is much of the Republican leadership.

Look at our cultural heroes: movie stars and rock stars. It is considered a great compliment to say someone is a "rock star". What does this mean? He is universally loved. We are deifying on some level the people who are emotionally the most shallow, least principled, and least able to offer us positive examples of how to live our lives with internalized senses of meaning.

Reality TV panders to this dynamic. I have not watched the show, but it seems obvious to me that every major person on Jersey Shore is likely a clinical narcissist.

More generally, the phenomenon of reality TV has long seemed to me to be symptomatic of a generalized cultural failure. Standards of conduct are no longer self evident. Children in many cases acculturate themselves through osmosis, which include mimetic repetition of what they see on TV. Lacking an internalized inner direction and sense of self, they try to find their way by watching other people. This is what narcissists do: lacking empathy and a sense of self, they must depend on environmental cues to pretend to be incorporated into the social space, which in fact they are not and can never be.

When one considers that we are now two generations down the road from the "Me Generation", it also becomes attractive to speculate that no previous generations of Americans has ever been exposed to such pervasive parental and social selfishness and self preoccupation, and that what one expects in particular from the children of narcissists has become generalized.

What one expects to see are latent and apparently inexplicable rage. This is quite obviously present in our culture.

One expects to see inexplicable but recurrent bouts of depression. Check.

One expects to see feelings of rootlessness, shallowness, and unreality, caused by lacking a core sense of self. This is much harder to measure, but I think one could reasonably look at our pop culture and infer the presence of these traits as well. For those who have traveled, it is hard not to feel on some level a greater sense of the gravity of life in other countries. That has been my own experience, at any rate.

We have not always been like this. We were serious, sober, generous and idealistic in a good way 50 years ago.

Solutions: as I see it, the only block to this dynamic is the firewalls intended by our Founders, which is to say constant and structural obstacles to the consolidation of power either locally or nationally. States had the right to make moral decisions, but within the limits set by the Bill of Rights. As Madison argued, correctly I believe, the only realistic block to what I would term the rise of the narcissist is to put the narcissists in competition with one another, and prevent any of them from ever winning finally.

Our Supreme Court has failed us badly. This much is clear. Having arrogated to themselves the right of judicial review--not granted in the Constitution--they finally used it to enact law, and thereby began what is to my mind what may in the end be the decisive wound to the walls intended to protect us.

Of course there are ways to rectify this. I have been arguing for years that we need a Constitutional Amendment granting either the Senate or Congress as a whole the right to overturn Supreme Court decisions by a two thirds majority.

We of course further need to return to the era before the New Deal, when States could and often did provide safety nets for their citizens, but without Federal Government support.

Of this I am certain: given the capacity for collecting power, the narcissists who seek and win power will continue to aggregate it until they have it all. Every step in that direction is bad for psychologically normal people who just want to live and let live. Narcissists cannot do that. They do not live, and therefore need victims, or what is termed "narcissistic supply".

Actually, one last note: one can see in vampires, werewolves, and zombies another expression of this dynamic. Vampires are not alive, but they need the blood--here, the attention--of others.

Werewolves are the concrete expression of rage which appears without warning, and in otherwise normal people.

Zombies are people who have lost a sense of self, of self direction, of purpose. They are the result of being exposed to narcissism as children. They have not stopped moving, but they lack a sense of unity as in-dividuals.

All thoughts worth pondering, in my view.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Aggregating

All of us can be broken, over some period of time. There is no doubt of this. The question is: do you stay broken? Life, to me is that aggregating bit of energy, that pulling together towards order, and its opposite is not pulling apart, but disorder at its basic, primitive level.

I could put it this way as well: if the Darwinians were right, then there could be no life. It is a self contradicting system, in that it rejects at the outset the possibility of intelligence within life; and yet it needs it to explain it.

Superficial people will misunderstand this. I retain hopes for a new "life science" actually worthy of the name.