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      There isn’t much to say that others haven’t, but let’s go through it anyway: There was never any chance that Darren Wilson would be charged; the prosecutor acted as defense attorney, not as prosecutor; A grand jury, for all intents and purposes does what the prosecutor tells it to; Doing the announcement at 8pm at [...]
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All Roads Lead to Jay

Patapsco Valley State Park

I’m talking about Serial again because, let’s face it, politics is pretty depressing right now. We’re like a bunch of alcoholics who haven’t hit bottom yet. Knowing that the bottom is coming is much less interesting to think about than who killed Hae Min Lee.

I won’t go over the new information that was presented today because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. But it is looking more and more like Jay is at the center of all of this. He had the means, that is Adnan’s car, cell phone and time. He also has an eyewitness to cleaning and disposing of the evidence in Jen Pusateri. He also knew where Hae’s car was parked. Lead police straight to it. His timeline is beginning to fall apart badly now. (listen to today’s episode for that)

So, what was Jay up to? If he didn’t actually kill Hae out of jealousy of Adnan and and to get Adnan away from his girlfriend Stephanie, he definitely knows who did it.  No doubt about it.

And what was he doing at Patapsco State Park in the middle of the afternoon around 4:30pm?

One other thing: What was Hae’s exact time of death? Hae was killed and left outside in the middle of winter. Her body must have been a little better preserved than usual. What were the contents of her stomach? What did she eat last and when? Where was all that stuff in her digestive tract? Where’s the forensics report on that?

Getting a jump on Serial,

The next episode of Serial downloads tomorrow and I’m getting an idea of what is really going on with this mystery.  If you don’t want to be spoiled, skip this post. You can also check out the Serial page on Slate in order to catch up with other listeners. I want to talk about who might have killed Hae Min Lee.

First, let me say that I really like the way Sarah Koenig has presented this story. She has had different professional experts look at the evidence, investigation and trial and that is a good thing. It’s important that the analysis converge at some point in order to ferret out the truth.

So far, the cell phone experts say that the call records presented at trial were inconclusive, the innocence project lawyers say the evidence presented at trial does not incriminate Adnan Syed, and the homocide detective consultant who specializes in interrogations says that the police may have made a deal with Jay in order to tie up the loose ends of their theory that Adnan did it. In short, it looks like Adnan Syed was a convenient suspect and the case was built to send him to jail using his “friend” Jay as the primary witness against him.

The one person who we know for certain is involved in the murder of Hae Min Lee is Jay. We know this because he was the person who lead police to the location of Hae’s car. There is no physical evidence linking Adnan with Hae’s body or the crime scene and nothing but circumstantial evidence linking him with the crime at all. The motive, that Adnan killed Hae because she caused him to violate his religious principles and then broke up with him, is silly. The evidence for that is dubious at best and in all other respects, his friends report that he got on with his life and other girlfriends while still remaining friends with Hae.

Let’s do what the innocence project lawyers suggest for a moment and take Adnan out of the picture. That leaves us with a couple of alternative explanations for who killed Hae.  The first is a yet unknown serial killer. There has been a suggestion that another murderer who killed a young woman Hae’s age less than a year before might have been the murderer. The problem with the serial killer theory is that it doesn’t explain Jay’s involvement in the Hae’s murder. The murderer of the previous victim was caught in 2002(?), so while this person might have killed Hae, there has yet to be a link back to Jay.

Jay might have been the killer. So far, he’s the only person directly implicated and he got off with two years of probation for hiding the body. Maybe Jay was forced to cooperate with hiding the body because the real killer threatened to expose Jay’s connection to illegal drug dealing. In other words, the murderer and Jay each had something on the other. Maybe the murderer threatened someone Jay cared about.

There have been other suggestions by both the innocence project team and the homocide investigator that seem to be converging.  That is, the person who killed Hae really hated her and/or Jay is trying to protect someone, i.e. the person who really killed Hae.  We have heard over and over again that Jay would have done anything to protect his girlfriend, Stephanie. We need to take a look at her.

Stephanie has been in the picture from the very beginning. She appeared in the first episode as a bit player. If Koenig were writing a mystery story, it would be best practice to introduce all of the suspects in the first fifty pages. That’s so that the readers are not lead on a merry chase throughout the story only to have the murderer appear in the last chapter without any relationship to the rest of the story. So let’s assume that the murderer has been introduced and let’s look at all of the other suspects. Let’s look at Stephanie. What do we know about her?

Stephanie is in the magnet program of a urban/suburban high school. She is bright, blonde, beautiful. She’s athletic. She runs, so presumably, she’s on the track team with Adnan. Hae is not on the track team that I can tell but she does play LaCrosse with Jay. Jay is not in the magnet program with Adnan, Stephanie and Hae. He is “gen pop”. Stephanie is out of his league in many respects. Jay is from a broken family. He lives with his grandmother. He’s poor. He deals drugs. His prospects are poor. Stephanie is going places. She has a scholarship.

On the morning of January 13, the day of Hae’s disappearance, Adnan goes to Jay’s house and tells him that he should get a gift for Stephanie’s birthday. Adnan has already given Stephanie a gift of a stuffed reindeer. He gives Jay his car and his cell phone. I don’t know but something about this part of the story just seemed weird to me. Koenig picks up on it in the first episode. It sounds like a convenient excuse. Why was Adnan so interested in whether Jay got Stephanie a present? Is it possible that Adnan had moved on from Hae to Stephanie? They were junior prom prince and princess after all.  They had a lot in common academically and extracurricularly. They were in AP Psychology together.

The biggest predictor in who you will fall in love with is proximity. Adnan and Stephanie are spending a LOT of time together. Jay is graduated, not in school and is more of an outsider looking in.

My next questions have to do with Stephanie’s relationship with Hae.  How well did Stephanie know Hae? Were they friendly? Was there any reason for Stephanie to fear Hae or something Hae knew about Stephanie? Where was Stephanie on the afternoon of Hae’s murder? I’d just like to know in order to eliminate her as a suspect. Also, was Jay seeing someone other than Stephanie? What kind of relationship did Jen Pusateri or “Cathy” have with Jay?

I suspect that there is a love triangle, quadrangle, quintangle going on here. Well, this is high school, after all. Hae was the unlucky victim, Adnan took the fall, but it’s the circle around Jay that knows who really killed Hae Min Lee. The circumstances leading up to or involving the murder threatened Stephanie in some way. Who were Jay’s connections and what did they have on him?

Gruber, Serial and Stupidity

Jonathan Gruber thinks you’re stupid.

Much has been made recently of Jonathan Gruber, ACA architect, giving away the game when he admitted that creating and passing the bill depended in part on the stupidity of Americans. There were also a lot of Democrats who relied on that. Even now, those of us forced in to buying these junk health insurance plans at inflated prices, or suffer a penalty that doesn’t fall on those blessed with employer based plans, are told to suck it up because it’s for our own good or the good of some other person. It’s funny that the moralizing seems to be falling on our heads all of the time but not on those people temporarily secure in their jobs that pay bennies. How is this different than the fundy Republicans who are always telling us that if something bad happens to us, it must be something we’ve done and not just a series of unfortunate events that have happened while they idly stood by and watched?

But I digress.

I won’t beat a dead horse about how the Obama administration has been counting on the stupidity of the people that voted it into office since 2008. The administration and it’s campaign managers are, after all, the “culture of smartness” that runs the finance industry. I think we are all on the same page about that now, are we not? Some of us came to that conclusion sooner than others, mainly because our former jobs consisted of sorting out patterns and data and not believing things that were not supported by evidence.  It doesn’t make us better people or smarter people but it does help just enough to know who’s bulls%^&&ing.

I have to believe that if Americans were better trained, they would have spotted the missing data when it came to Obama’s true opinions on the wars. They might have been more attuned to the misogynism coursing through the campaign stops. After the election, they might have noticed that the administration coasted on the Lily Ledbetter Act as if it ensured paycheck fairness when it clearly did no such thing. They might have made a bigger fuss about the fact that the Obama administration only tweaked slightly the Bush Conscience Rule until recently. Or that in spite of Obama’s evolution on LGBT concerns, federal contracts were still allowed to discriminate. They might have caught on sooner to the flaws with HAMP. Or holding the bankers accountable. You know, stuff like that.

It’s the kind of thing the Obama administration is famous for.  It announces things, initiatives, changes, to make Americans think it’s doing something and then it quietly doesn’t really do them. It depends on your stupidity and the fact that you will quickly dismiss anyone they have previously labelled as a “racist” because the troublemaker and naysayer hasn’t gratefully accepted their portion of poisoned mushrooms. (Have you ever had to prove you’re not a racist? Go ahead and try it. The burden of proof is on the accused regardless of the motive of the accuser. You can be perfectly innocent and have hundreds of character witnesses. It only takes one person with a particular goal in mind and a very big microphone to ruin your reputation.)

Anyway, I keep wondering why it is that the people who should be better critical thinkers can be so clueless. Why is it so many of us keep falling for the same old lies and misdirection? Some of it can be attributed to the fact that we are herd animals and usually adopt the opinions of those people in our immediate cohort but it’s really quite puzzling how so many of us manage to screw up so often.

Take Serial, for example. The podcast is a little more than half way through its exploration of the murder of Hae Min Lee and the conviction of her former boyfriend Adnan Syed for the murder. I am a faithful follower and have come to the conclusion that Adnan Syed was not found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He shouldn’t be behind bars. He is not guilty for the same reason that Casey Anthony was not guilty for the crime of killing her daughter Caylee, and that is, there is no physical evidence tying Adnan to the crime and plenty of clues that someone else did it. In particular, Adnan’s friend, Jay, who was the prime witness in this trial, had the motive, the means and, most crucially, knew where Hae Min Lee’s car was parked. He lead police right to it.

Years later, Jay is refusing to talk to Sarah Koenig, Serial’s investigator, about the crime. But where Serial’s team, and many Slate readers, see this as Jay’s trying to move on past a painful period of his life, I see it as an attempt to avoid self-incrimination. After all, Jay was never tried for Hae’s murder and it’s possible that something he says will trip him up and revive the case, this time in a different direction.

But what really floors me is the number of Slate readers who are still not convinced that there’s been a huge miscarriage of justice in this case against Adnan. Two weeks ago, Koenig spoke to an innocence project type team and they all came to the same conclusion that I did. This case shouldn’t have come to trial. There wasn’t enough evidence. It looks like Adnan’s conviction and sentence of life in prison relied heavily on the fact that the jury was easily lead, impressed by in court demeanor and the fact that Adnan did not testify on his own behalf. There is also the very real possibility that the jury was influenced by ethnic, racial or cultural issues.

Then, there was something the innocence project lawyer said that stuck with me. She said that when reviewing this case, they needed to give Adnan back the presumption of innocence. Everyone is entitled to that in court. But in this podcast, we are starting with a presumption of guilt that Adnan must somehow overcome. The deck is stacked against him because he is always trying to prove a negative and it’s not difficult to come up with exceptions that don’t conclusively rule him out as a suspect. But what keeps getting buried in all this is that there is no physical evidence tying Adnan to the crime and very little attempt by the prosecution to come up with any. There’s not a single hair, clump of dirt or strand of DNA that links Adnan with the crime. Thousands of people in Baltimore can’t account for their whereabouts on the day of the murder. The only thing that links this one individual with the victim is a past relationship that ended amicably, the dubious account of a former friend and some inconclusive cell phone records. How do you send a 17 year old to jail for life without parole on that?

I get that the jury was fooled. But after all that we’ve heard in this case, it is baffling to me that so many presumably educated readers and listeners still have doubts. Don’t mistake what I’m asserting here. I’m not saying Adnan is innocent. I’m saying there’s not enough to go on to convict him and a disturbing amount of material to point to someone else. But the listeners are not looking at the evidence. They are all caught up in perceptions of likeability and innocence. And beneath it all is the frightening possibility that we have trained a generation of citizens to give equal weight to the other side even when the argument is full of holes. We have lost our ability to evaluate accurately. The concept that there must be something there or an innocent kid was thrown in jail does not automatically strengthen the case for doing so. Similarly, just because Jay is a well spoken, polite kid on the stand doesn’t mean he’s a good person.

It’s depressing. We just don’t seem to have the collective IQ to think our way out of most deceptions.

What is the purpose of Serial anyway? Why take a case so badly flawed and present it as a real mystery? What if the real mystery is why couldn’t the justice system figure this out? What if Koenig is out to expose something else entirely? Why are we so stupid? And is it leading to punishment and injustice on a grander scale?

The problems with mergers

No nuts for you.

Tim Wu at the New Yorker wrote a piece about the all too predictable outcomes when United merged with Continental back in 2010.  There were sharp increases in fares in newly uncompetitive markets and a gradual decline in overall service.  I think the decline goes back even farther than that when United eliminated or sharply reduced pensions for flight crews and pilots back in the early naughties.  I remember distinctly the beaten down and depressed looks of the flight attendants on one of the flights I took from Philadelphia to Denver when I was on my way to a conference. When asked, the flight attendant made some remark to the effect that she had lost a lot in retirement benefits. It felt like we were hurtling towards Soviet era customer satisfaction with poorly compensated and indifferent flight attendants. Was this really what United wanted its customers to experience: a demoralized employee workforce, fewer services and a plethora of new fees, the profits from which were not going to the employee pension fund?

By the way, Tim, that ritualized abuse that you feel Americans are experiencing after the approved mergers of airlines and cable companies, for example?  I call it “exploitative profit mining”.

Then I saw that the New York Times Magazine was doing a big story on the lack of productivity in drug discovery (which I have been predicting for years now) and maybe it was time to go back to “trial and error”.  Now, I’m not going to say they’re wrong because we have tried proteomics, genomics, combinatorials, target based drug design, RNA interference and a whole lotta other “omics” type technologies and none of them have pulled off the “immaculate reception” to save the game that they promised to deliver.

But the thing that really made me laugh was the idea that any bean counter is going to let the R&D division go back to “trial and error”. My last impressions of the industry just before Pharmageddon was that “trials and errors” were distinctly money wasting activities. First, there was no metric that could be applied that could accurately determine exactly how many trials would be necessary to achieve the desired outcome. Secondly, there was the negative word “error”. Error implies failure, not a measurable objective, like a lead in the pipeline. To MBAs and the finance industry that now direct drug discovery research, it is important to minimize negative outcomes like errors, nevermind that it is the way the scientific method works and that we learn as much from error as success. Errors are the way we eliminate dead ends and turn our attention to more promising avenues. It’s how we work the kinks out of all those “-omics” technologies. Whatever. Executives would much prefer “predict and succeed”, which is theoretically a better use of time and money but rather less like science.

We might also try to eliminate the mergers and acquisitions of the drug companies by bigger drug companies, a trend that has interrupted project after project in the last two decades and caused the elimination of entire therapeutic areas. The increase in mergers occurred at the same time that biology is undergoing a 21st century scientific revolution. The finance industry’s unchecked enthusiasm for trading drug companies like baseball cards has blighted many promising new technologies and the careers of thousands of highly trained scientists, hence, no new blockbuster drugs. We probably do not need to conduct any additional trials and errors in merger experiments before we kill off the field entirely.

Just my non-MBA opinion but the lack of blockbuster drugs in the pipeline was entirely predictable fifteen years ago by those of us who experienced the joys of constant M&As. Maybe the bigger problem is that the MBAs never asked those of us in the trenches about the effect of mergers on productivity. Hmmm, one can only imagine why…

Derek Lowe and his insider commenters weigh in on the New York Times Magazine as well.

Rise of the Nones (and other things Democrats should pay attention to but probably won’t)

David Campbell, Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, gave an interview to Mormon Stories just before the midterm elections. He discussed the rapidly rising number of people, especially Millenials, who chose to not have a religious identification. They’re called Nones. What’s surprising about the Nones is that they are responding to politics when they say they have no religious affiliation. Apparently, they are so disgusted by the religious right and its alliance with the Republican party, and its the socially backwards, environmentally unfriendly policies, that they would rather have no religion at all. In other words, religious Republicans are God’s worst PR nightmare. Well worth a listen. Check it out here.

Other things:

Maybe it’s not clear to the rest of the Democratic party but the primary focus of the Republican party is economic. They don’t like taxes, paying for education for the lower classes, or labor. That whole weekend thing ruined the last century for them. If Americans end up living like factory workers in Bangladesh, what’s that got to do with them?

Democrats are all about saving the planet and moving forward. But there is a rift in the Democratic party. It became painfully clear in 2008 when the party ditched its “old coalition” for the “creative class”. (New readers should go back to the beginning of this blog in January 2008 to see how this happened) Can I stop here and say that to the Masters of the Universe, the designations “old coalition” and “creative class” are meaningless? If you don’t have the money to go to Davos, you don’t count and neither does your Ivy League degree. Sooner or later, you will wear the livery.

So, anyway, I saw on the NYTimes where the Republicans are going to play up this rift. They are going to aggressively push for the Keystone Pipeline and the rollback of EPA regulations. I predict that the “creative class” is going to frrrrreeeeeaaaaak out. Cue the tearing of garments and gnashing of teeth.

Meanwhile, the “old coalition” is suffering from wage stagnation. And before the creative class loses interest in this issue, it should go read Derek Lowe’s blog In the Pipeline about what wages are like for the people who do the real creative innovation in the biotech industry. The finance industry (foolishly) thinks it can hire a bunch of newly minted Harvard post-docs and pay them well to do a bit of lab work before they are shunted into project management where they will direct a bunch of foreign CROs. For this, they will be paid handsomely- at about the same rate as the medicinal chemist with 20+ years of lab experience and an incalculable advantage in actually, you know, getting a project through the research phase. But I digress.

So, there is the rift. And Republicans are going to drive a truck right through it. The most vocal Democrats with the biggest mics are going to be screaming bloodily murder about the pipeline and ignore the wage slaves. That will play directly into Republicans’ hands.

Now, I’m not saying that the pipeline is not important and I am not a climate change denier but what Democrats really, really need are more people who identify with them and care about these issues. And the best way to get no pipeline and better environmental policy is to make sure that those people at the bottom of Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs are satisfied to the level that they can focus on pipelines and climate change. They need to get their heads out of worrying about their paychecks before they can concentrate on the EPA. To do that, the Democrats have got temporarily put their screaming about the environment on hold and focus with laser like intensity on eroding labor standards, wage stagnation and an artificially created unemployment crisis where too many people are on the verge of losing their jobs all the time.

Can they do it? I am optimistic. Just repeat after me: “It’s the economy, Stupid”. Take the power to divide us away from Republicans. Do not stop until you win. THEN shut the pipeline down.

The First Breakout Duggar?

My bet has always been Jessa and I might be right.

Let me back up and say that I don’t watch 19 Kids and Counting on a regular basis. For one thing, I cut the cord so any Duggar stuff I get is from YouTube.  But even with YouTube, it’s a bit much. And it’s intensely boring, if such a thing was possible. But every now and then, a Duggar girl starts to court and my curiosity is piqued, so I go back to some of those earlier videos and try to get a feel for the personality, what little is allowed to express itself.

I’ve been tracking Jessa for awhile now. Jinger has her own FreeJinger humanitarian campaign that was a response to her facial expressions and stated desire to move to New York City someday, a notion that was promptly squashed by her parents.

Jessa always looked like a spring that has been wound too tightly. Her “jurisdiction” in the Duggar household is organization. This girl would make a good general. Instead, she’s been stuck with this holier-than-thou family and their zillion kids and no way to get a decent education or go to work. Here and there in the videos, one Duggar or another has dropped hints that, unlike Jill, who was the perfect child and family valedictorian, Jessa was, to put it bluntly, a pain in the ass. She’s willful.  In DuggarWorld, that’s almost the worst sin.  It’s hinted that she’s difficult to get along with and that her husband Ben Seewald could have a balancing effect.

In the recent episode featuring Jill’s wedding, Jessa seems to have partially given up the pretense of loving the Duggar life.  She expresses dismay at the idea that Jill is going to start popping out babies. (she is) She tells her dad that if he stands in the way of her marriage with Ben Seewald that she’ll elope. She says it in a “kidding on the square” manner. It’s surprising that the TLC cameras kept that in because I thought it was a big tell. It’s becoming more and more clear that her courtship with Seewald was more lusty than her sister’s purer than Ivory Soap courtship with her new husband.

Then there was the root beer float comment.  Jinger goes on and on about how everyone at Jill’s wedding got their root beer floats and they were delicious. Then Jessa says with deadpan sincerity and perfect timing, “I don’t like root beer”. In other words, she’s not anything like the other Duggars and she doesn’t mind telling you that.

So, this was the kid who has been acting the part for 21 years but may be fed up. She’s not really cut out to be a Duggar. It’s not her thing.

She married last week. It was a bit of a surprise but in Duggar World, courtships are long and engagements are short. That’s to keep you from feeling each other up before the big day. I’ve found it a little weird that they would allow Jessa to court Seewald in the first place. They’ve got an older unmarried daughter who isn’t courting. Ben is only 18 or 19 and it’s clear that his interest is carnal. Well, maybe not exclusively but it’s hard to miss. She’s hot and has an amazingly photogenic face. So, I’m guessing that the Duggars figured it’s better to marry her off quickly than to let her get into trouble.

But then the big day arrives and Jessa struck her first blow at independence from the Duggar family. They said their vows, the pastor pronounced them, and Jim-Bob gave the official go ahead for Ben to kiss his daughter and they said NO.

They decided, like the rest of the sane world, that their first kiss is intimate and they needed privacy.  Imagine that, a DUGGAR finally sticks up for her right to have a moment to herself without a sibling minder, or chaperone, without a million people watching.  She decided that she could make up her own mind as to what was good for her without someone else imposing their expectations on her.

It came as a surprise to the rest of the church and Jim-Bob. I hope they were applauded. I know I certainly did when I read about it. So, Jessa and Ben didn’t kiss in front of a crowd of screaming fundies. Instead, they left the altar unkissed and made out in a room of the church after the ceremony. Rumor has it they had sex there too but that’s ridiculous. But what difference does it make what they did? It’s none of our business and none of their parents’ business either.

And if Jessa and Ben still end up being a couple of sanctimonious churchy types, I don’t expect it to last long. She’s already waaaaay ahead of some of her siblings in her mind. The crack has been open and Jessa is making a run for it.

BTW, Jessa posted a very unDuggar like lusty photo of her and Ben kissing.  It’s absolutely wonderful.

Ferpetessakes, will the real Democratic party please grow up??

Well, that didn’t take long. According to the New York Times, Hillary is supposed to come to the rescue of the Democratic party going into 2016:

In the coming weeks, Hillary Rodham Clinton will stop delivering paid speeches. She will embark on an unofficial listening tour to gather ideas from the business community, union leaders and others. And she will seek advice from such far-flung advisers as an ad man in Austin, Tex., behind the iconic “Don’t Mess With Texas” campaign and a leading strategist at a Boston-based public affairs consulting firm with ties to the Kennedys.

The Democratic debacle in Tuesday’s midterm elections has put new urgency on Mrs. Clinton’s efforts to create a blueprint for a 2016 presidential candidacy, including exploring White Plains as a possible national headquarters and digesting exit polls to determine what the midterm results could mean for the presidential electoral map

A number of advisers saw only upside for Mrs. Clinton in the party’s midterm defeats. Before then, opinions had been mixed about when she should form an exploratory committee, the first step toward declaring a presidential candidacy, with some urging her to delay it until late spring.

No pressure or anything.

I will acknowledge that there are many people in the country who have been waiting six long years for her to jump back into politics.  But the Democrats are the most messed up party I have ever seen.  They have the strategic thinking of two year olds who insist on doing things themselves but want a parent around to save them after they find they’ve messed up and are throwing a fit about it.

And there will be some Democrats who will never accept her even while they grudgingly admit there is no one else who has her cachet.  They’re still convinced that she’s a corporatist and a neoliberal.

Can I just say right here that I will be very disappointed if bloggers and their audiences continue to use these words?  If given a choice, I would much prefer to work in a corporate lab. That’s because I wouldn’t have to negotiate for services with every other part of my project team. I could just walk down the hall and ask the guy in analytical or medicinal chemistry or whatever if I could join their queue. Some industries work better in corporate environments. They get more stuff done. Does that make me a corporatist? That being said, the MBAs who run some of these corporations should be in jail. But the Democrats screaming “Corporatists!” aren’t differentiating. I find it disturbing. It’s the same with the word “neoliberal”. What exactly does that mean or is it a catch all for anything you don’t like? In other words, stop using these labels and think through your issues with any candidate, not just Hillary.

As I was looking up stuff on narcissism and how the narcissist operates, I came across the term “triangulation”. This is not the same triangulation that Dick Morris advised Bill Clinton to do after his party lost midterm elections. No, this refers to the practice of narcissists to keep otherwise allies from speaking to one another. For example, if there is a narcissist in your family, you will find him/her by looking at the number of people who are not speaking to one another. Narcissists hoard secrets and other valuable pieces of information.  In order to control relationships between people, the narcissist acts as an intermediary and uses these secrets to influence the perceptions of people in the relationship. Before long, no one is speaking to anyone. Everyone is either hurling accusations or becoming defensive. There are a lot of hurt feelings. The family becomes dysfunctional and the narcissist has achieved her goal. No one communicates except through her.

The solution to this is pretty straightforward: cut out the narcissist. But for some peculiar reason, that’s very hard to do. They tend to be the people who *seem* so credible.

We are being manipulated by some of the most selfish people on the planet. They bought the party back in 2008, installed their enabler, got him to go easy on them, and they continue to stir up trouble between the various parts of the Democratic party.  We can not talk to one another about Hillary without accusations flying and defenders becoming angry and bitter.

Look, I don’t care if you personally like Hillary Clinton. All I’m interested in is if you can judge fairly. Right now, I can’t see how that is going to happen. Is she corrupt? If not, will she make a good president? Those are the only two questions I am asking right now.

I’m not expecting her to save the party’s bacon. It seems to me that the Obama administration and it’s supporters have asked the Clintons to do this one too many times over the past six years and then they turn around and continue to beat the s^&* out of both of them in the comments section of every blog continuing to divide us up into two camps. This is exactly what I would love to see if I were a selfish, narcissistic power addict. No one is getting along. The scapegoat always tries to do the right thing for the party and then gets trashed.

Note that I didn’t say the scapegoat is perfect. One thing we should all be on our guard against is the way bad people manipulate good people by sowing mistrust. There’s nothing that works so well as the need for perfection. We Democrats are a bunch of sanctimonious Angel Clare’s in this respect, turning up our delicate noses at the merest hint of political acumen or ability to raise money. But political acumen is how politicians get things done and they all take money because to do otherwise means they can’t run. The questions that should be asked are who is giving the money, how much are they giving with respect to each candidate and what are they getting in return?

If Democrats had been more critical in their thinking in the spring of 2008, the party might have been more robust right now. But in any case, Hillary is human. She’s not the party’s mother. It is time for the party to grow up, figure out who its real friends are and stop listening to every Ivy league male grad student activist who was in elementary school when Bill Clinton supposedly sold out poor people and single handedly revoked Glass-Steagall while causing global warming. Likewise, if Hillary doesn’t make it all better instantly after the party insisted on doing it all itself for six years, that’s just too damn bad. There are people, like myself, who have taken huge economic hits because the person in charge after the financial collapse was a politically inept neophyte and we’re disgusted with the way the so-called “creative class’s” messiah has performed.

We don’t have time for that kind of immaturity anymore.

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