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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Stormy Daniels

Most of the articles covering the Stormy Daniels affair have highlighted the more salacious aspects of her relationship with Donald Trump, but it's worth reading her entire interview with In Touch Weekly, from 2011, five years before she was reportedly paid $130,000 to stay silent about her fling with Trump. (The IT interview was originally squashed.)

The interview left me with a couple of impressions. First, that Trump is pretty much a regular guy. (He's as vain in private as in public, but that's hardly a surprise.)

Secondly, and actually more interesting, is that Daniels herself is surprisingly intelligent, witty, and commonsensical. Most people think of porn actresses as substance-abusing bimbos from dysfunctional backgrounds, often for good reason. But Daniels has a good sense of who she is, has no illusions about her place in society, and completely "gets" Trump.

A few quotes from Daniels, in italics, with my comments in between in parentheses.

Stormy: ...I’ve never seen him drink. Maybe he doesn’t. I’m not sure. Which is funny because he has a vodka [brand]. I actually remember saying, “Aren’t you going to drink your vodka?” at a different party. So yeah, I don’t think he drinks. We hung out for a while. We talked. He asked me a lot of questions about my business. You know, the business I work in and how it works and how it functions. All like technical questions. He was very curious. Not necessarily about the sex or anything like that, but business questions. He kept showing me he was on the cover of a magazine that had just come out and it was some sort of money magazine, I wish I could remember which one it was. But he had it in the room and he kept showing it to me and I was like, “Dude, I know who you are.” He was trying to sell me, I guess. The first time I met him, the first couple of hours, he was very full of himself, like he was trying to impress me or something. But I do remember he just kept talking about this magazine that he was on the cover of, like, “Look at this magazine, don’t I look great on the cover?”

(Any doubts I had about whether Daniels was telling the truth about Trump disappeared upon reading that last line; his vanity is unmistakeable. This segment also confirms Trump's account of himself as a teetotaler.)

Stormy: We were talking about all sorts of things. I remember he asked me like, “I gotta ask you a question and I don’t want to get you offended” and I was like, “Trust me, you can’t.” I was expecting some sort of vulgar question and it wasn’t; it was something about how much money I make off the royalties of something. And then I remember saying to him, “Ok well I have a question for you and it IS offensive.” And I asked him about his hair. I was like, “Dude, what’s up with that?” and he laughed and he said, “You know, everybody wants to give me a makeover and I’ve been offered all this money and all these free treatments.” And I was like, “What is the deal? Don’t you want to upgrade that? Come on, man.” He said that he thought that if he cut his hair or changed it, that he would lose his power and his wealth. And I laughed hysterically at him.

IT: What did he say?

Stormy: He took it pretty well.

(Trump sees himself as Samson? That was news to me. At least he seemed to take Daniels' playful jab with more equanimity than he normally does when insulted.)

Stormy: Yup. And then he goes....“You know what? You’re really smart. You’re not dumb.” And I was like, “Thanks, d---. What does that mean?” And he goes, “You should be on [his show, "The Apprentice"]. And I was like, “Really? No, I don’t think so.” And he just kept thinking about it, I could see his little wheels turning. He goes, “No, it would be really, really good for you. People would think you’re just this idiot with blond hair and big boobs. You would be perfect for it because you’re such a smart businesswoman. You write and you direct and you produce and obviously you’re hot and you’re beautiful.” And I was like, “Well, it’s never going to happen. NBC is never going to let a porn star on.” And he was like, “I can make it happen.” And I was like, “You can’t. I dare you.” I was totally egging him on. And that was kind of like the thing, he was like, “No, we have to work on this for you.” And that was sort of what he tried to bait me with for an entire year. He was like, “We have to get together to talk about your appearance on.” But he was serious. I think when it hit him in the moment, he was like, “Yeah, this is going to be really good.” And it could have. Of course, it would have been sensational. He just kept pushing for it, pushing for it. And he was like, “Would you do it?” I was like, “You know what, I’m not going to waste my energy on thinking about it, but if you actually have the power to make it happen, then I’ll do it.”

Good for Daniels to not allow her hopes to get too high, and to recognize that NBC would balk at allowing a porn star on their show.

IT: And it was his idea?

Stormy: Oh yeah. 100%. It didn’t even occur to me before. Honestly, I have never watched the show, and I still haven’t watched the show. I travel too much to watch a lot of TV. I had to use the bathroom and I went to the restroom, which was in the bedroom. Like I said, it was a big suite. I could describe the suite perfectly. When I came out, he was sitting on the bed and he was like, “Come here.” And I was like, “Ugh, here we go.” And we started kissing. I actually don’t even know why I did it but I do remember while we were having sex, I was like, “Please don’t try to pay me.” And then I remember thinking, “But I bet if he did, it would be a lot.”

IT: This is what you were thinking during sex?

Stormy: Yeah, isn’t that horrible? But I remember thinking, “I hope he doesn’t think I’m a hooker.” Not that I have anything against hookers. I just personally have never done it. Still, I have no idea why I did it. Honestly, I really don’t.

IT: Were you attracted to him?

Stormy: Would you be? I was more like fascinated. I was definitely stimulated. We had a really good banter. Good conversation for a couple hours. I could tell he was nice, intelligent in conversation.

(You've got to love how realistic Daniels was when answering whether she was attracted to him; she described the dynamic when women meet a famous man perfectly.)

IT: Did you think the conversation would have led to what happened?

Stormy: Yeah.

IT: Going to the bathroom, did you think you were going to come out and encounter that?

Stormy: That he was going to be in bed? No, I just had to pee. So anyway, the sex was nothing crazy. He wasn’t like, chain me to the bed or anything. It was one position. I can definitely describe his junk perfectly, if I ever have to. He definitely seemed smitten after that. He was like, “I wanna see you again, when can I see you again?”

(Again, Trump as regular guy.)

IT: Was the sex romantic?

Stormy: It was textbook generic. It wasn’t like, “Oh my God, I love you.” He wasn’t like Fabio or anything. He wasn’t trying to have, like, porn sex.

IT: Did he say anything to you during?

Stormy: Nothing freaky. Like, “Oh yeah, that feels good. That’s amazing.” You know. It was one position, what you would expect someone his age to do. It wasn’t bad. Don’t get me wrong.

(This falls somewhat short of Marla Maples' famous quote about Trump, "Best sex I ever had," but it's not damning, either.)

Stormy: ...That’s when he broke the news to me that it almost went through but there’s somebody that had a problem and it got vetoed and blah blah blah. I was like, “I told you, you couldn’t make it happen.” I was pretty annoyed. He kept rubbing my leg and was like, “You know, you’re so beautiful. I love your little nose, it’s like a little beet.” I go, “Did you say a beet? Like, what the f---?” I started giving him a hard time about it. And he goes, “No, no, no, no! It’s majestic. It’s a very smart nose, like an eagle.” I was like, “Just keep digging, dude. Keep digging that hole.” Like I said, we had this banter...

(I've thought of porn stars as a lot of things before, but never witty. But give Daniels credit. At one point she reportedly considered running for the Senate in Louisiana, and had been planning to use the campaign slogan, "Stormy Daniels -- Screwing People Honestly.")

IT: How do you feel about all this — the broken promises? What’s your take?

Stormy: I don’t really know. I don’t have any animosity or whatever.

IT: Do you feel like a fool for believing him?

Stormy: No. I wasn’t like going around telling everybody, “Oh my God, I’m going to be on.” It’s not like I bought into it 100%. I was challenging him to make it happen. I figured my shot was 50-50 even though he swore up and down it was 100. It’s not just him. I never really get my hopes up on big stuff like that.

Again, good for Daniels for staying on an even keel for not getting visions of sugar plums, for not holding a grudge, and for maintaining her sense of humor throughout. The interview isn't quite enough to change my general opinion of porn stars, but it's easy to be won over by Daniels. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sports journalists

Pangur recently commented, after the post about Floyd Mayweather:

Bushnell sounds like a standard issue sports journo, a breed even lower than most journos, if that's possible. I especially despise sportswriters, in part because they seem even more p.c. than normal journos, for a variety of reasons. 

I agree with Pangur, and have a theory why that's so.

Sportswriters have the same set of biases that other journalists do. Most are, after all, "well-educated" ("well-brainwashed" might be more accurate, especially since most had soft majors like sociology and English and journalism).

And they are surrounded by like-minded people at the newspapers where they work.

And in the same way all politicians dream of being President, all journalists dream of becoming the kind of featured editorialist who weighs in on all the most important issues of the day.

They tend to become a little bored with sports because after a while, there are only so many ways you can report on how games turn out.

So, they squeeze politics into an arena where they simply don't belong. And those of us who want to follow various sports are force fed a bunch of left wing politics with our box scores.

The best example of this is probably ESPN, which has supported BLM, praised Colin Kaepernick, decried "Islamophobia," and supported gay marriage. They've also decried sexism -- while hiring only good-looking women.

The average sports fan doesn't mind a little sex appeal with his sports, but it detracts from his enjoyment of the game to be given a lecture at the same time.

I'd be happy to excuse Henry Bushnell, the sportswriter who wrote that Floyd Mayweather article, on the basis that he's young and naive and recently brainwashed. But the idea that an athlete is going to have a well thought out opinion on the #Metoo movement is as silly as thinking that some actress whose primary qualification is good looks shouldtell us which Presidential candidate to vote for.

It's not the athlete, or the actor, who's at fault here. It's the journalists who ask them these ridiculous questions, and then take their answers seriously.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I, Tonya, sociopath

It's been pretty sickening to watch the Hollywood-ization of Tonya Harding.

I haven't seen I, Tonya, and don't plan to, but from what I've heard, it's a complete whitewash of its subject.

I had no doubt back in 1994 that Harding had played a role in planning that infamous knee-capping incident, and have no doubt now.

The main reason I came to that conclusion is that she's such an obvious sociopath.

Harding could cry on command, and would do so at parties to entertain people. This is a sociopathic specialty. Harding employed that skill when she asked for a do over at the 1994 Olympics, claiming to the judges that the laces on her skates had broken. (They relented.)

Much of Harding's behavior could be described as uninhibited, reckless, and shameless.

In late 1994 Harding and ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (to whom she was married from 1990 to 1993) sold a sex tape to Penthouse for $400,000.

In 1995, Harding married Michael Smith; that marriage ended in 1996. (A short marriage is obviously no indication of sociopathy, but multiple short term marriages tends to be a yellow flag.)

In 2000, Harding was arrested by Portland police of throwing a hubcap at the head of then-boyfriend Darren Silver's head. She spent three days in jail for this.

From 2002 to 2004, Harding tried boxing professionally (her record was 3-3).

A few days ago, Harding was dumped by her agent/publicist Michael Rosenberg for having demanded that journalists who wanted to interview her about the movie not be allowed to ask about her past, and have to pay a "fine" of $25,000 if they did so.

How did Harding get to be this way? The Early Life section of her Wiki bio merely states:

Harding had a troubled childhood. She said that by the time she was seven years old, her mother had mentally and physically abused her.

The movie evidently tried to portray Harding as a victim of her background. That is, in a sense, true. But just about every sociopath is a victim of a loveless, and possibly abusive background.

It would probably be more illuminating to say that such people are products of their backgrounds, rather than victims of them.

From what I understand, the real Harding bears about as much resemblance to the character portrayed in I, Tonya as she does, looks-wise, to Margot Robbie.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Iranian protests

A friend sent this --

The extravagant lives of the 'Rich Kids of Tehran' are fueling Iran's protests — take a look 

-- last week. It's a series of photos of rich kids in Tehran flaunting their wealth.

The young men pictured are reminiscent of the kids on the TV show Growing up Gotti, if you remember that. Oil money, like Mafia money, always seems to make its possessors look gaudy, vulgar, and stupid.

And the young women are reminiscent of the Kardashians: rich, narcissistic, and entitled.

It's hard to have sympathy for the antifa types in the US; they swallow the Leftist propaganda whole and seem to resent the hard-working middle and upper middle classes as well as the rich. And, they tend to be narrow-minded and self-righteous.

It's a lot easier to sympathize with the protesters in Iran, where the wealthy get their money not by studying hard in school and then working hard at their jobs, but through corruption and by being in the right place when the oil money got divvied up. 

(Do you think any of the kids in those pictures actually "earned" their money in any halfway legitimate way?)

I can't claim to understand the Byzantine politics of the Middle East. I instinctively side with the more sophisticated, stable Shi'ites over the more volatile -- and medieval -- Sunnis.

But after looking at those pictures, it's hard to avoid the feeling that if you're rooting for the Shi'ite elite in Iran, you're basically rooting for the Gottis and the Kardashians. 

"A stranger disfigured herself in an acid attack, she told police. Then she confessed."

This is Munchausen's syndrome in action.

We should never lose sight of the fact that Munchausen's is nothing but an offshoot of sociopathy.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sometimes, you just know

A few days ago there was an article about missing University of Pennsylvania student, 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein:

This morning, it was announced that a high school classmate of his, Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, had been arrested in connection with his murder:

My immediate reaction upon seeing Woodward's face was: yep, he's guilty.

The article went on to describe exactly what made the police suspicious about Woodward, and it became pretty clear that they had a lot of evidence on him. But I hadn't read any of that when I jumped to my conclusion.

It's completely unfair, obviously, to "convict" someone on the basis of his face. And I believe in due process, innocent until proven guilty, etc.

But, sometimes, you just know.

Coincidentally, this morning there was another article on the murder of Devlin "Gazoo" Stringfellow, 48, the founder of white prison gang Public Enemy No. 1, in California State Prison in Sacramento:

The two suspects in his murder are fellow gang members Jacob Kober, 29, and Stephen Dunckhurst, 49. I couldn't find a picture of Dunckhurst, but here are a couple pictures of Kober:

I had the same reaction upon seeing Kober's face that I did when seeing Woodward's face. They both have so much aggressive animosity written into them that it leaves little doubt as to their character.

I know, sometimes scary-looking people turn to to be perfectly nice, and angelic-looking people are sociopaths.

But, sometimes, you just know. I notice this correlation between appearance and murderousness maybe around a third of the time, at least with white murderers.

With blacks, I don't. Three days ago Alabama football star Jesse Altman, 17, who evidently had scholarship offers from fifteen different colleges, was charged with murder, along with four other youths:

When I see pictures of blacks charged with murder, I'm often struck by how placid and expressionless their faces are. They may look unkempt, as if they hadn't washed their faces that morning. But they almost never have hatred and hostility etched into their faces the way some whites do.

Not sure what to make of that.

Friday, January 12, 2018

What, exactly, is a "shithole?"

Someone once said to me, "Mel Gibson is what would happen if you just took a regular guy off the street, say, a good-looking cop, and made him a movie star."

(The definition of a "regular guy" being: one who thinks more like the masses than the elites, who scoffs at politically correct pieties, and who just blurts out whatever he's thinking.)

You could almost say the same of Donald Trump: it's as if America just decided to take a regular guy and make him President.

Yesterday, Donald Trump evidently asked lawmakers gathered at the White House to discuss immigration policy, "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?"

He then suggested that we should encourage more immigration from places like Norway, whose prime minister he had met with on Wednesday.

This is vintage Trump: blunt-spoken and tactless, but honest. Calling other countries "shitholes" is hardly statesmanlike. (Though, it must be said, it was the Democrats who reported that Trump used that term in what he undoubtedly thought was a private meeting.)

Now, of course, all the usual suspects are sputtering with outrage.

But, does Trump have a point?

Trump made his comment when legislators were discussing extending special protections to immigrants from Haiti, el Salvador, and various African countries.

The Oxford dictionary defines "shithole" as:

An extremely dirty, shabby, or otherwise unpleasant place.

Can an entire country be characterized that way?

Haiti's per capita GDP is $729 as of 2016, compared to the US's $57,466.

Its infant mortality rate is 48.2 deaths per 1000 births, far higher than the US rate of 5.8.

Haiti's literacy rate is 61%, compared to the 86% rate in the US.

In the 22 months following the end of the President Aristide era in 2004, the murder rate in Haiti reached 220 per 100,000 population, though it has since come down to closer to 60. In the US, it hovers roughly around 5.

These statistics certainly seem to add up to a "shabby or otherwise unpleasant place."

Not coincidentally, the average IQ in Haiti is 67, vs. 98 for the US.

And all of Haiti's statistics are remarkably similar to those of the sub-Saharan African countries. 

If you're from a country like Haiti, with its near nonexistent welfare, of course you want to come to the United States. Likewise, you'd want to emigrate from Africa to Europe. 

The principle seems to be, the more of a mess you've made of your own country, the more desperately you want to come here. 

The question is, will it be good for the US to have people from such countries come here? Will a group of immigrants with an average IQ of 67 be more of a boon, or a burden?

Some feel we shouldn't even be allowed to ask that question, that it's beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse. But is it really unpatriotic to ask if a policy is in this country's best interest?

Of course not; it's self-destructive not to ask.

And it's hard not to conclude that the only reason certain parties don't want that question asked is because the answer is so obvious. Every immigrant who comes to this country makes this country a tiny bit more like the country he came from. 

Donald Trump's not about to win any prizes for diplomacy. But by the standards of Western leaders, he's quite commonsensical about immigration. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Why I love Floyd Mayweather

Yahoo Sports ran an article yesterday titled Floyd Mayweather gives ignorant, vile response to question about #MeToo movement.

Its author, Henry Bushnell, tried hard to demonstrate his own sensitivity by scathingly criticizing Mayweather's response to a question from a female reporter:

We’re asking a lot of men, in light of the #MeToo movement, how men can grow in 2018.

Mayweather: The who?

The #MeToo movement. Women speaking out about sexual assault.

Mayweather: When you say “me too” … When somebody is like, “I got a Rolls Royce, I be like ‘me too.'” When somebody say they got a private jet, I say, “Me too. I got two. Me too.”

This is a very different —

Mayweather: Well, I didn’t know! My Me Too movement from the beginning was whenever somebody said what they have I’m like, “me too.” Somebody say they got a billion dollars, I say, “I made a billion dollars, me too.”

One thing you have to say for Mayweather: he is without guile. Bushnell, by contrast, just says whatever he thinks makes him look best -- like most whites.

From Wiki:

A noble savage is a literary stock character who embodies the concept of the indigene, outsider, wild human, an "other" who has not been "corrupted" by civilization, and therefore symbolizes humanity's innate goodness.

Mayweather's crass materialism probably disqualifies him from representing the ideal espoused by John Dryden and others. But he does remain uncorrupted by that aspect of civilization which requires people to pay lip service to the pieties of the day. 

Or, maybe, even to be aware of them.

Floyd "Money" Mayweather's personality consists largely of uninhibited braggadocio, greed, and an enjoyment of the good things in life.

But is that not how a "noble savage" would behave if you plunked him down in the middle of today's society: uninhibitedly, and with a lack of guile?

(Being a hunter-gatherer would not have precluded "greed": wanting the choicest cuts of meat, or more berries than anyone else, or the most attractive mate, or the best sleeping spot in the cave.)

And as long as we're judging Mayweather, what must also be weighed in the balance is that he's good-natured. There's nothing snarky or snippy about him. (Unlike, say, Bushnell -- or me.)

One has to have a certain amount of controlled savagery to make a living with one's fists, as Mayweather did. And there's a certain nobility -- and bravery -- in the way Mayweather risked injury every time he entered the ring.

Personally, I find both those qualities far more appealing than false piety.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Are the Trump children spoiled?

After Friday's post about Trump's possibly having seduced the wives of his friends, commenter LBD pointed out:

All his children are mentally and physically healthy, productive people. None of them smoke cigarettes, they aren’t big drinkers (although Eric owns a winery) and all have chosen decent spouses (boyfriend in Tiffany’s case, and Barron is only twelve).

Also, even though Ivana despises Marla to this day, she has always treated Tiffany kindly and sought to include her in family events. The older kids don’t take it out on their half sister either, although her mom wrecked their childhood home. Lots of decency going on in that clan despite the dad’s egocentrism.

I replied:

True, it doesn't seem to be a dysfunctional family, even as the kids do seem a little spoiled.

LBD then replied:

Spoiled? Despite the family wealth they have all worked full time throughout their adult lives. Not trustafarians by any means. No drugs, no rowdy behavior, no extended adolescense. Opposite of spoiled by my reckoning.

LBD is right, of course. But I then explained what I meant:

I don't mean spoiled in the sense that they're club kids, or wastrels, but spoiled in the sense that they had it easy because they were the boss's kid. After college, Donald Trump Jr. spent one year bartending in Aspen before joining the Trump Organization. Ivanka spent one year at Forest City Enterprises before joining the Trump Organization. And Eric actually joined it while he was in high school. When you're the boss's son -- or daughter -- your career is going to be different. Not only do you not have to be concerned about being fired -- a constant, lurking threat for most people -- but other people kiss your ass for no other reason than who your father is. And with all that comes a certain sense of entitlement. Trust me, I've known people like this, and their experience of life is far different than yours or mine. They never had to kiss ass, never had to worry about their jobs, never even had to worry about being promoted. In my book, that's spoiled. Maybe not spoiled rotten, but spoiled.

I'd put Steve Mnuchin in this category too. He started at Goldman around the same time I did, but there was never any doubt that -- as long as he was passably competent -- he would make partner, since his father, Robert Mnuchin, was on the management committee of Goldman at the time. (John Weinstein, the former managing partner, also had two sons who joined the firm, and there was never much question about their eventual ascendancy either.) 

Frankly, Donald Trump himself falls into this category as well, having essentially taken over his father's real estate company.

But while I don't admire the Trump children, I have nothing against them, either. Ivanka, whose nose job and breast implants have made her look a little like a Russian stripper --

-- has always been a dutiful daughter. (And Russian strippers can look awfully good.)

I don't see Javanka championing the populism that propelled Trump into office, but I also suspect that their political influence may be overestimated. (This may change over the course of the next few years, though.)

Donald Trump Jr., too, is devoted to defending his father, though he tends to do so with the same hotheaded impetuousness that characterize his father's Tweets. This could eventually get Junior in trouble. He reminds me little of George W. Bush during his father's Presidency.

Eric Trump, while a little colorless, is also loyal. He's the kind of guy who, if not for his last name, you'd never have taken notice of in high school. But you can't hold that against him.

One group of people you almost never hear about -- and have to give credit to for that reason -- are Donald Trump's surviving siblings. Can you recall hearing a single interview with a single one of them since he first announced his run?

None have sought to capitalize on their connection. (And there is a long list of black sheep from Presidential families who have: think Billy Carter, Neil Bush, Hugh Rodham, and Roger Clinton.)

For that, we should probably be grateful.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"Cameron didn't have a 'bromance' with Obama and thought he was a narcissist, claims former adviser"

From an article in yesterday's Independent:

David Cameron believed Barack Obama, a man with whom he appeared to share a warm and respectful relationship that even verged on a so-called bromance, was one of the “most narcissistic, self-absorbed people” he ever met, according to the ex-Prime Minister’s former strategy chief.

Steve Hilton, who was one of the former Premier’s closest advisers until they parted ways over his support for Brexit and tougher immigration laws, said...“My old boss, former British prime minister David Cameron, thought Obama was one of the most narcissistic, self-absorbed people he’d ever dealt with.”

“Obama never listened to anyone, always thought he was smarter than every expert in the room, and treated every meeting as an opportunity to lecture everyone else. This led to real-world disasters, like Syria and the rise of Isis....”

Mr Cameron and Mr Obama worked together on a variety of issues over the course of around six years. They were often photographed playing basketball and ping pong. Mr Cameron once said of his US counterpart: “Yes, he sometimes calls me ‘bro’.”

Mr Obama also threw his support behind Mr Cameron’s campaign to remain in the EU. Visiting in Britain in April 2016, he said it was up to Britons to decide whether or not to stay in the EU. Yet he said he feared the country would move to the “back of the queue” in any trade deal if it left.

A spokesman for Mr Cameron denied Mr Hilton’s claims.

“This does not represent David Cameron’s opinion at all and could not be further from the truth,” he said in a statement.

“David Cameron’s views on President Obama - whether in public or in private - are the same: he considers Barack Obama a hugely accomplished president, a great partner for Britain and a good friend to our country and to him personally.”

Gee, I wonder which version of this story is true. One guy has specific details that dovetail perfectly with Barack Obama's personality, and the other, who wouldn't want his personal feelings to disrupt international relations, has his spokesman issue a standard boilerplate denial.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

"Trump claims he's 'a very stable genius'"

When Donald Trump first announced in 2015, I didn't think he had a chance. But I was increasingly hopeful as his populist platform struck a chord with the electorate, and was overjoyed when he beat Hillary.

This country needs to defend its borders (an issue that not even other Republicans dared broach before Trump). We needed a lower corporate tax rate to discourage companies from moving abroad. We need to force China to practice fair trade. We need a Supreme Court with more Constitutionalists. We need to support the police, rather than discouraging them from doing their jobs.

And it's high time someone in a position of power scoffed at the censorship that political correctness has imposed.

The price we pay for a President with these views is, well, Donald Trump's personality.

It's a small price to pay, given the issues at stake. But it is a price.

Yesterday, in response to the publicity over Michael Wolff's book, Donald Trump said:

“Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart....I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star . . . to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius . . . and a very stable genius at that!”

In a six-year-old, such childish grandiosity would be cute. In an adult, it's not.

It's certainly not the way we want our President to behave, not only because it's embarrassing, but because it makes him less effective. (Why needlessly give your enemies so much ammunition?)

But, once again, a real sociopath would hide his ego behind a curtain of insincere modesty. Trump seems incapable of that.

I know, it's a little pathetic that at this point I'm defending Trump by saying, well, at least he's not a sociopath, he's only extremely narcissistic -- assuming the story in the previous post isn't true.

That's awfully faint praise.

But sometimes it takes someone with the ego of a narcissist to be willing to speak the truth about certain things. And it's his ego -- as well as a certain impetuousness -- that has allowed Trump to blurt out things about immigration and so on that many would not dare to, for fear of being declared an apostate by the false idols of the media.

It takes a bold, narcissistic personality not to be cowed by their collective vituperation.

So, looking at it from another angle, maybe we should be grateful for Trump's lack of circumspection.

Friday, January 5, 2018

"Trump thought bedding friends' wives made 'life worth living: book"

I have no idea whether this story is true, and the author of the book it quotes from, Michael Wolff, evidently has a history of being less than truthful.

But if it is true, I have to reconsider whether Donald Trump is a sociopath.

I've said in the past that he's a narcissistic personality with ADHD. I generally agree with him politically, but can't deny that he's boorish, boastful, thin-skinned, easily distracted, and not particularly articulate. Of course, none of that spells sociopathy.

And no matter how hard the MSM tried to put a negative spin on all of Trump's words and actions, I just couldn't see any sociopathy in him.

But if he actually talked to his friends and tried to draw them out about their sex lives while he had their wives secretly listening on a speakerphone, then that's a level of perfidy could only be reached by a sociopath.

Again, I'd emphasize, it's not necessarily true. (If it's not true, it's a new low even for the MSM.)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Dave Chappelle's two new specials

There were a few newspaper articles which came out two days ago about one of Dave Chappelle's new Netflix specials, The Bird Revelation. All of them focused on a brief part of his 45 minutes standup session, his take on the Louis C.K. scandal.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the article:

Dave Chappelle tackles Hollywood’s sexual harassment allegations in his new Netflix stand-up — taking aim at one of the five women who accused Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct...

Chappelle, 44, went on to address C.K.’s incident with writer Abby Schachner, with whom he masturbated while on the phone. She told the New York Times that it was “one of the things that discouraged her from pursuing comedy.”

“One lady said, ‘Louis C.K. masturbated in front of me, ruined my comedy dreams,'” he said of
Schachner. “Word? Well then I dare say, madam, you may have never had a dream. Come on man, that’s a brittle spirit. That is a brittle-ass spirit, that is too much, this grown-ass woman.”

He continued, joking that Martin Luther King probably wouldn’t have given up his “dream” if Louis C.K. masturbated in front of him.

“Show business is just harder than that,” Chappelle said, bringing up Schachner again. “Them women sound…they sound weak. I know that sounds f–ked up, I’m not supposed to say that, but one of these ladies was like, ‘Louis C.K. was masturbating while I was on the phone with him.’ B-tch, you don’t know how to hang up a phone? How the f–k are you going to survive in show business if this is an actual obstacle to your dreams?”

This is Chappelle at his best: brutally honest and funny, while pointing out the silliness of certain sensibilities.

I watched both specials. The first, Equanimity, started out great, but ended up with a less-than-funny, preachy speech about Emmett Till.

The second, The Bird Revelation, is where he made the Louis C.K. comments. It was a good show, though those comments may have been the highlight. And once again, Chappelle went on at length about how hard blacks have had it in this country, as if we haven't all heard the entire litany hundreds of times before: the Atlantic crossing, slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow. 

Chappelle, like many blacks, talks about all this as if he himself had experienced it. (Note how often the proverbial "we" is used when describing this history.) But Chappelle was born in 1973, the dawn of the affirmative action era, an era during which whites were mostly afraid of blacks, not the other way around. Most of the whites he's known have undoubtedly tiptoed around him, deathly afraid that they might somehow appear racist. 

Blacks now so desperately want to be offended, to find some evidence of racism, that they have been reduced to searching for "microaggressions" in order to explain how they've been "held back."

Talk about a brittle-ass spirit. 

Left unmentioned by Chappelle are what life was actually like back in Africa, IQ differences, crime rates, etc. But those don't fit into The Narrative, so they must be ignored.

Another thing I wish he'd address is his own steroid use. You'd think a guy who's honest about his own masturbation habits might mention the elephant (-sized muscles) in the room. Given his talent, he could probably get some great material out of that.

In all fairness to Chappelle, there's a lot of pressure on black comedians to be loyal to their community. Chris Rock originally made his name by making fun of black people. (Remember his line, "The best place to hide money from a n****r is in a book"?) But then Rock came under a lot of criticism by blacks for being a Tom, so he changed his act; and not entirely coincidentally, he stopped being as funny.

Chappelle has undergone these same pressures (which he obliquely refers to in his act). So now he talks about Emmett Till, and so on. And, again not entirely coincidentally, he's not all that funny when he does so.

But overall, both Chappelle specials are worth watching, and when he's funny, he's great. You just have to get past the occasional preachiness.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Left vs. natural instincts

The more you see of Leftists, the more you realize that what they are really trying to abolish is human nature -- pretty much at every level.

They have done their best to attach labels to many of our most basic instincts, labels which make them sound like either mental illnesses or moral failings.

Being mildly repulsed by homosexuals is a natural enough feeling for most guys, and there's a strong evolutionary reason for men to feel this way. But Leftists claim that men who are put off by gay guys suffer from a disorder, homophobia.

A phobia is an extreme, irrational fear. Yet I know of no heterosexual man for whom seeing a gay guy induces the same sort of sweaty-palmed, heart-pounding panic that, say, a turbulent airplane flight or a nearby rattlesnake does.

We're constantly told that gay men can't help but be attracted to other men, and that only clueless conservatives would regard homosexuality as a "lifestyle choice." Yet when heterosexual men are attracted to slender women but not fat ones, they're lambasted for their "patriarchal" sense of beauty. Yet heterosexual men can't help whom they're attracted to anymore than homosexual men can.

Once again, it's a natural instinct which is at fault.

(By the way, are gay men ever faulted for not being attracted to "bears?" I doubt it.)

When men are attracted to women, then, by definition, they see those women as sex objects. But this, too, is now considered a mortal sin. It is "dehumanizing" and "chauvinist."

The Left is at war with our instincts.

Should anyone suggest that a woman would be better off if she lost weight, that person has engaged in "fat shaming." (Somehow, this concept doesn't apply to similar suggestions to men.)

For boys to be hyperactive and have short attention spans is quite natural; it's how boys evolved to learn (they didn't evolve to sit still in a schoolroom for seven hours a day). Yet the teaching establishment, which generally runs both liberal and female, has labeled their natural rambunctiousness as attention deficit disorder. And it feels these boys must be medicated.

Feeling loyalty to and sticking up for your own tribe is a natural instinct; any group which didn't feel this way would have gone extinct long ago. Yet while the Left encourages every other group to do this, they hate it when people of European descent do it.

Not only is this hypocritical, it goes against one of the most basic instincts we have.

Recognizing patterns is one of the most basic forms of human intelligence; in fact, most IQ tests incorporate pattern recognition. And being leery of a group which is hostile to your culture and also more likely to commit terrorism is basic pattern recognition. Yet the Left has labeled this, too, as an extreme and irrational fear: Islamophobia.

Being afraid of a group more predisposed towards violence is also the most basic, necessary kind of self-preservation instinct. But that is now equated with a moral sin, racism.

There is no group in human history which has wanted to share their territory with invaders; yet those who aren't in favor of turning the West into the world's dumping ground -- which goes against every human instinct -- are also now painted as morally wanting by the Left.

Basically, what Leftist doctrine boils down to is that four million years of human evolution has programmed us the wrong way.

But unfortunately -- or fortunately, depending on your point of view -- our deeply rooted instincts are not about to change to accommodate the intellectual fashions of the moment. Especially not when those fashions are so transparently hypocritical.

The Left has overplayed its hand; and its reward is Donald Trump.

It's hard not to suspect that he's just the beginning.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Trump in a nutshell

Donald Trump was in the news again this morning for having said “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”

He misspoke, of course. The President has the right to pick an Attorney General who is like-minded. And every AG is, ultimately, answerable to the President. But the DOJ is, theoretically at least, an independent institution.

The DOJ administers the US Marshalls Service, the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the ATF, and the DEA. And each of those organizations not only enforce, but also adhere to the rule of law.

So Trump's statement, which implied emperor-like powers for himself, was quintessentially Trumpian: he just blurted out whatever came to mind.

After making that comment, Trump must have realized he had gone too far, because then he backtracked with, “But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.”

That sentence, too, was Trumpian, at least in terms of grammar and syntax.

But in a roundabout way, Trump's blundering style also shows that he's not a sociopath.

Barack Obama obviously did, and Hillary Clinton obviously wouldn't have hesitated to, use the levers of power for purely political means, in an underhanded way.

But neither would ever have blurted out that they had that right. Both of them would have paid lip service to the rule of law, and would have expressed absolute abhorrence at the very thought that they might ever make a devious end run around it.

They are both natural liars, far too slick to make such a faux pas.

Trump, by contrast, is not nearly as schooled in the ways of Washington, where you never say what you mean and where blurting out the truth is considered the worst type of gaffe.

He may be a buffoon, but he's not sociopathic. And that makes him more trustworthy, if at times embarrassing.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The antisocial nature of investing

The recent rise of Bitcoin has highlighted the seamier side of investing. With certain investments, you're implicitly rooting for ugly things. With Bitcoin, for instance, you're on the side of the drug cartels which want to be able to make large cash-equivalent transactions without banks involved. You're on the side of corrupt dictators who want to keep their ill-gotten gains when they flee their countries. And you're on the side of anyone who doesn't want to pay taxes.

Very few investors would admit to this publicly, but they're effectively hoping for the cartels and dictators to thrive and provide a demand for Bitcoin.

If you invest in cigarette companies, like Philip Morris, you essentially want more people to become addicted to cigarettes. As Warren Buffett said about Philip Morris back in the 80's, "It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It's addictive. And there's fantastic brand loyalty." (He later declined to invest because he didn't want the bad publicity; but he was right in his analysis.)

If you invest in a defense company, like Raytheon or Lockheed Martin or General Dynamics, you're rooting for war, never mind the collateral destruction. You've come part of the military industrial complex. (Most of us associate that phrase with the student protests of the 1960's, but the man who coined that phrase was actually President Eisenhower, who knew whereof he spoke.)

But it's not just the cigarette and defense companies -- the traditional villains -- whose investors root against humanity.

If you invest in an oil company, you're rooting for the price of oil to go up. If that means war breaking out in, say, Nigeria or Iran or Saudi Arabia, so be it. The more destruction, the more money you make (assuming your company doesn't have wells there).

Either way, you're certainly hoping that there's a lot of demand for oil -- even if that means more pollution.

If you invest in a biotech, you're basically rooting for more people to get whichever disease your company can cure. And, you don't want their drug to be so effective that it can completely cure the disease, but to be something patients need to rely on for the rest of their lives.

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston this past August, 35 people lost their lives. But the flooding also damaged a lot of cars, which needed to be replaced -- and GM stock went up!

If you invest in a leveraged volatility index like UVXY, or a short ETF like SDS, you want the stock market to take a big fall -- meaning, you want a lot of people to lose money, since that's what would cause your stock would go up.

In fact, any time you invest in any company, you're essentially rooting for its rivals to fail, even if that means that their employees lose their jobs and their investors lose their money.

This might present a moral quandary for some people.

(It doesn't seem to for me.)

Monday, December 25, 2017

"Rosie O'Donnell tells Paul Ryan he's going 'straight to hell'"

At times, Rosie seems to be a one-woman juggernaut designed to educate the world about borderline personality disorder.

According to the NY Post:

The fierce opponent of President Trump and the newly-passed GOP tax plan lashed out at Ryan on Twitter.

“paul ryan – don’t talk about Jesus after what u just did to our nation – u will go straight to hell,” O'Donnell wrote Monday.

“U screwed up fake altar boy,” O’Donnell added...

It’s the latest Twitter war for the ex-View host.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro reported an obscene tweet O’Donnell posted about him last week that said “Suck my d___ Ben,” according to Fox News.

Borderlines never seem to have the slightest doubt that they are on the side of goodness and light and that their opponents are, well, going straight to hell. 

And because they are always so completely convinced of their own righteousness, they are utterly uninhibited with their words and actions, since they always consider them justified.

I've never been a Paul Ryan fan. I don't like the way he tried to undermine Trump in 2016, I wish he hadn't lowered the maximum individual tax rate, and I don't like the way he lied about his marathon time. I don't even like his dishonest-looking face or his Eddie Munster hairline:

But if he's headed for eternity in a hot place, he and Rosie will probably have plenty of time to get better acquainted. 

Rosie is larger than life, 200 pounds of constant, unrelenting, unmitigated fury. And since she makes good copy, the press continues to cover her. As long as they do, we might as well let our education continue. 

(It just hit me who else has borderline personality disorder: Rose McGowan. The constant, unrelenting fury, the complete lack of doubt that she is in the right, and the complete lack of inhibitions in savaging people she sees as her enemies are pretty good indications.)

Primitive hairlines, Part V

An Arizona father, Robert Anthony Resendiz --

-- got frustrated with his crying son and bent him until he stopped crying. The son, six months old, is now in the hospital but is not expected to survive with his massive internal injuries.

(Bring back the Old Testament.)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Borderline Personality Disorder alert: Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O'Donnell was in the news recently for having offered $2 million apiece to Senators Jeff Flake and Susan Collins to vote against the tax bill. In another tweet, she offered $2 million to any Republican Senator who would vote no. This may or may not have been an illegal offer of a bribe; opinions on that seem mostly determined by one's political outlook.

In any case, after seeing the picture accompanying the article, it occurred to me that I'd never seen a picture of O'Donnell where she's wearing a normal smile. In every situation where she's supposed to smile, she's wearing a weird forced grimace instead. Here are a few examples of that:

Rosie with adopted (and now estranged) daughter Chelsea:

Rosie and first wife Kelli Carpenter (their marriage was annulled the year they got married):

Rosie and second wife Michelle Rounds, to whom she was married for three years:

Google-image "Rosie O'Donnell smiling" and you won't find a single picture of her actually doing that.

I've seen people with Aspergers who, when they're supposed to smile, just open and widen their mouths instead. But O'Donnell doesn't have Aspergers.

I've also seen sociopaths who never smile. But that tends to be more of a dominance thing, a statement that everyone else is there to please him, and show him they like him, not vice versa.

But O'Donnell's not a sociopath, either. She's not charming, nor is she a skillful liar, nor is she a con artist. And if she were a sociopath she'd have more self control, and would know how to simulate, at least for a short while, decency.

Nor is she an ordinary narcissist, since she never appears happy with herself -- witness her inability to smile.

But she obviously has some identifiable syndrome. The way she flies into rages, her never-ending, countless spats, and the fact that none of her relationships last for any length of time all point to an extremely difficult personality.

It has to be borderline personality disorder.

She's just constantly in a rage, and it appears to be something she has no control over. (The Left tries to apply the label "hater" to the Right all the time, but if you want to see what a real hater looks like, look at the pictures above.)

She was an extremely demanding boss, as former staffers on OWN's The Rosie Show seem to be more than willing to attest. She constantly belittled her staff and changed her mind about what she wanted.

Before that, in 1996, she had her own daytime TV talk show on NBC. When it started, she announced that she wanted to be known as the "Queen of Nice" (in contrast to Leona Helmsley, the hotelier who at the time was known as the "Queen of Mean"). But that didn't quite square with the fact that O'Donnell fired four separate executive producers in her first year on the show.

If she had fired just one, it would be possible to believe the producer was incompetent, or otherwise lacking. If she'd fired two, it still might be possible. But once the number got to three, it became pretty obvious that the producers weren't the problem. At four, there was no room for doubt.

What really made that galling was her public pose as the "Queen of Nice." That was about as credible as the crush she claimed to have on Tom Cruise.

According to Wikipedia, there is a "strong correlation between child abuse, especially child sexual abuse, and development of BPD." O'Donnell claims that she was sexually abused as a child.

One of the hallmarks of BPD is fear of abandonment, and O'Donnell's mother died unexpectedly of cancer when Rosie was 11.

Neither of these things are her fault, of course. But that doesn't help the people she regularly lashes out against.

Borderline Personality Disorder is an ugly disease, and Rosie is its poster child.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

I don't understand Bitcoin

The Bitcoin frenzy of the past few weeks has been hard to fathom. A lot of people have compared it to famous bubbles of the past, such as the tulip bulb frenzy in the 1600's, or the insanity of 1999 and 2000.

But I can't even categorize it that way, since I don't understand it. As Janet Yellen said recently, since it's not government-issued, it has no backing, nobody has any responsibility to redeem it, and there's no military to protect it.

Nonetheless, like everyone else, I'm gnashing my teeth that I didn't invest in it earlier. (And, like everyone else, I'm sorta secretly hoping it collapses.)

But, in the meantime, I've decided to issue my own currency. I'm going to call it the "Craig." You have my word, it's officially Just Not Said-approved. I'm going to sell a hundred coins, at a million dollars apiece. I promise, I'll never sell any more than that.

You can use it to finance drug deals, spirit your wealth out of Zimbabwe, or pay off gambling debts.

Step right up, folks.