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    • Exchange Rates 101
      In light of the collapse of the Ruble I think it’s worth revisiting what controls exchange rates. Supply and Demand. Yeah, if you know something about the subject you’re probably shaking your head. Supply and Demand doesn’t set prices in many cases in the way that an Economics 101 course tells you. Such texts will [...]
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Dark Triad or Tetrad?

dark_triadPutting a finger on what’s going on in this country and the world in general since the financial crisis of 2008 has been slow going.  Part of that might be because when you are in the midst of it, trying to make a living and keeping your head above water, it’s difficult to see the forest from the trees.

Recently, I came across the term “dark triad”, which as I understand it is the convergence of three personality types: Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism.  It’s a real personality type.  I’ve gone over the traits of narcissistic personality disorder previously and it’s pretty clear to me that many of our financial overlords suffer from it to one degree or another.  But I’ve been puzzled about how it is that the narcissists managed to convince so many ordinary Americans to ignore their best interests. Something was missing. That is where I think the Dark Triad comes in and can explain why the airwaves are saturated by the pundits who encourage the worst behavior and thoughts, and why they can get away with it.

But there’s a new theory in town.  It’s called the Dark Tetrad.  The psychologists who are studying these negative personality disorders say that the fourth component is sadism.  I’m wondering if sadism is the natural outcome of the convergence of the previous three traits.  Is it cause or effect?  If it is true that cruelty results from the need to assuage our guilt for taking advantage of someone, wouldn’t it make sense that setting up a system that exploits other people will naturally lead to more cruelty?  But if a person feels guilt, wouldn’t that negatively correlate with psychopathy?  Doesn’t the quality of remorselessness, which is associated psychopathy imply sadism?  It feels like there is a PLS model just waiting to be constructed to figure out what the principal components are.  How do we know which qualities of the dark triad or tetrad can be derived from the others?

If there is anyone out there with more information on the Dark Triad or Tetrad, or has links to papers that don’t cost an arm and a leg (I like free), let me know.  I’m not a professional and only took one course in psychology (but I’m beginning to think that I should pursue a degree in the subject.  Just hit the tip jar at the upper left to help defray the cost of tuition.  Damn, if I were just Machiavellian enough, I could *make* you hit that tip jar.) so I’m going to have to rely on iTunes U, youtube and Kno to teach myself all the lingo.

Still, it might be worth the effort.  If we can figure it out, maybe we can develop a psychological vaccine.

One more thing: it looks like the Dark Triad is used to describe predatory men who use manipulation to mate, or at least a lot of the early papers seem to focus on “players”.  But I’ve often found that the metaphor of the player has been very useful to explaining what happened to the political system in 2008 especially the evolution of Democratic activists in support of whatever it is that infiltrated the party.  For example, what was the purpose of this?  I don’t think this picture was leaked:

Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau with HRC cutout after Obama victory.

I’m not picking on Democrats here. Republicans are worse and they’ve got a bigger megaphone. But there’s no doubt that something dark and malevolent snuck into the party while we weren’t looking.
 

How the Nouveau Riche Live: A Rambling, Angry Post by a Bitter Holdout

angry

For the past week, the media has been awash in stories about the incoming POTUS’ expensive tastes. We know he likes waffles, argugula, and $100 a pound ham, and that he shops at Whole Foods Markets, but that’s not the half of it. His obscenely expensive Inauguration celebration is going to cost about $170-$180 million.

What is Obama spending all that money on? According to ABC News,

The actual swearing-in ceremony will cost $1.24 million, according to Carole Florman, spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

It’s the security, parties and countless Porta-a-Potty rentals that really run up the bill.

The federal government estimates that it will spend roughly $49 million on the inaugural weekend. Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland have requested another $75 million from the federal government to help pay for their share of police, fire and medical services.

And then there is the party bill.

“We have a budget of roughly $45 million, maybe a little bit more,” said Linda Douglass, spokeswoman for the inaugural committee.

Some of the biggest expenses were a Bruce Springsteen concert (cost unknown) and $700,000 to keep the Smithsonian open late, God only knows why. And who is going to pay for all this extravagant partying? With the U.S. in an economic crisis that may turn out to be worse than the Great Depression, Obama has seen fit not only to spend stunning amounts of money on a party for himself, but also to collect that money from wealthy donors, most of whom contributed $50,000 each. Continue reading

Obacrats Can’t Be This Stupid

05burris-600Whoever thought maneuvering Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich into a position that allowed U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to officially criminalize machine politics-as-usual for political advantage has got to be the biggest neophyte yahoo rube to come down the pike since…Barack Obama.  Let’s review.  Barack Obama, the only African American in the Senate for two years, mysteriously generates enough money and clout to mount a successful run for the presidency out of a political environment so corrupt that “Lincoln would roll over in his grave,” how?  By being an all-around, all-American, above-board, swell, good guy, of course.  Sure.

Surrounded by his personal band of proselytizing disciples; Rahmbo the Emanuel, Valerie Magdalene, King David of the Astroturf, Antonin of Houses, and Jon, the Groper of Graven Images, to name a few, the Obamessiah scampered above the sewer waters of Illinois corruption as if they were a North Side private gymnasium treadmill.  As a fisher of men, He was often unfortunately touched, but not tainted by, the activities of the unworthy among those He assembled and attempted to make pure, as has been dutifully chronicled by the mainstream media Keepers of the Holy Book of the Obamessiah.  However, Barack remains the Reformer, bathed in the Light.

Clean, bright and articulate by resume, the recent machinations by the Combine Machine of the Obacrats are threatening to reveal enough cracks in the Obamirror of Righteousness to expose His Holy Stupid-as-a-Stumpness in a nationally broadcast Naivete Scene.  Did it never occur to the No Drama Obama crew that manipulating a fellow player not of their clique into a corner carried risks?

When one of their number, Antonin of Houses, stumbled and fell by the wayside, the Obasciples simply stepped gingerly, single-file around him, leaving him where he lay, disavowing him three times as they boarded the Obabus he rolled under when they continued confidently on their preordained journey to the Promised Land.  The Obamessiah did not lay hands upon him, nor did He absolve him of his sin; He simply denied knowledge of him as He brushed His Holy shoulders and allowed Himself to be driven on.  This was a Holy boo-boo.

For Antonin of Houses had special knowledge of Valerie Magdalene and the Obamessiah, and Antonin was pisseth.

Fast forward to the twenty-first century post-election ensconcement of the Obamessiah as President-In-Training Wheels.  Having written and disseminated his own Holy backstory to the Chroniclers, and having consumed their regurgitated praise to his overfill, the Obamesiah, drunk with his own Obamessiah-ness by proxy, allowed Himself to believe He, Jr. Father, Knew Best.  Thus began the chess match, whereby playing unopposed, the Obamessiah cleverly checkmated Himownself.

Seeing a way to eliminate his only real threat to absolute power in His own backyard, Barack of Hyde Park decided to continue to attempt to appear to levitate above the machinations of His betrayed Obasciple of the Houses,  and the locust-and-honey-eating way clearer, the crude Rod the Blagojevich, while shining His Holy Light upon their common evangelical activities, forgetting He too, was bathed in His Own Light.  Thus, He Screweth Himself.

Okay, enough of the Obamessiah allegory; it’s not only making me nauseous, I’m not nearly as good at it as John, South of Melrose over on Liberal Rapture or Gerald Baker; plus I need to be free to call bullshit without all this pseudo-Christian baggage.  So, let’s get back to brass tacks, shall we?

The fact remains that Obama screwed the pooch when he tried to play innocent while pointing the finger at Blagojevich.  Everybody in Illinois knew Blags was under investigation, he even hinted at the worst kept secret in politics the day before he was arrested.  Everybody also knew that even with Rezko’s making like a canary, Fitzgerald didn’t have enough to indict.  He still doesn’t.  But when the president-elect bats his exaggeratedly wide-open eyes and tilts his head in your direction when somebody else calls you a crook, people sit up and take notice.

Obama and company knew that if they dangled the vacant Senate seat plum just right while they dropped unsubtle hints that Fitzgerald was sure to pick up, the investigation against Blags was sure to intensify.  However, methinks they underestimated the existing intensity of the ongoing investigation.  Thinking that the tentacles would subsequently stretch out in all directions, they never considered that they already did, that it wasn’t just one Blagojevich phone that was tapped, and that more of their pre-cleanup involvement was already caught on tape.

Now, the smartest president in the room and his gang have been interviewed in a pay-to-play scam and have proclaimed their innocence, just like Blagojevich, just like Bill Richardson.  Though Blago has been arrested, before his alleged crime could criminally implicate anybody else, he hasn’t been indicted, he was released on a paltry bond, and he remains free to exercise his duties as governor.  And, now that he has done just that, the Obacrats, who for their own nefarious reasons, swept Obama to power, are desperate to get Blags to nullify himself, since they know they have no legal, or moral, authority to do so.  They also know now that Blagojevich knows it, too; by making the appointment, the Obacrats are not only rendered impotent, they’ve handcuffed  and prevented themselves from exercising any power they might once have wielded.  For, even if they impeach Blago, or he now resigns, there’s nothing that would make Roland Burris’ appointment to the Senate retroactively invalid.  From Politico:

The Democrats’ preferred solution to the Burris problem is for the Illinois Legislature to impeach Blagojevich, paving the way for Democratic Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn to take his place and appoint someone other than Burris to Obama’s vacant seat. But even that could create a legal headache, legal observers say, since the Burris appointment would still be pending.

“Even if Blagojevich is impeached, that doesn’t undo all the actions he has taken as governor,” said Andrew Raucci, a former chief justice for the Illinois Court of Claims and now a Chicago-based attorney.

Democrats say that if Burris hasn’t been seated by the time Quinn takes over, he could name someone else to the seat by rescinding Burris’ certification papers.

Burris was having none of it. At a news conference at Chicago’s Midway Airport, the former Illinois attorney general testily said to reporters, “Why don’t you all understand that what has been done here is legal? I am the junior senator from Illinois, and I wish my colleagues in the press would recognize that. All the drama — I guess it keeps you all in a job.”

And, to make bad matters worse, not only is Burris adamant that he is the junior senator from Illinois no matter what ticky-tack maneuvers the Obacrats try to pull, the potential criminalization of day to day political manipulation makes every satellite in the Oba-universe vulnerable.  Just ask Bill Richardson.

The best laid plans of mice and men, gang aft aglae.

I wonder if Jon “the Groper” Favreau wrote this?

Charlie Pierce of the Boston Globe (who is known around town for drinking heavily and seldom bathing) writes:

Ever wonder who helps President-elect Barack Obama sound so uplifting, so eloquent? North Reading’s Jon Favreau, all of 27, tops the list.

So uplifting, so eloquent…

h/t to Hillbuzz for the video

Conflucians Say- Forcing Favreau

No, we haven’t forgotten.  Jon Favreau still has to go.  There are so many reasons for him to leave the White House that I really have to wonder why Obama hasn’t done it yet.  It almost seems like he is gearing up for a war on women, along with his slavish media whores.

So, here’s another good reason to add to the pile, which includes the very real danger he poses to Hillary’s role as Secretary of State: he creates a hostile work environment for his female co-workers.  If he acts this way at a party, that kind of gossip gets around.  And if he stays at the White House. he might as well be strutting with impunity.  He won’t be held accountable for anything.  Very, VERY bad situation for his female co-workers who may be subject to mockery and derision by the likes of Favreau and his drinking buddies.  It’s very hard for any woman to be taken seriously and deliver on the job when her suggestions and work are not given the attention or respect they deserve. Now, they will be faced with an extra degree of intimidation because as a gender, they are held to a higher standard than Favreau and his buddies.  Is this really the message Obama wants to send?   So, Favreau has to go.  I still think he would learn a lot at State working for a hard working, intelligent, disciplined, dedicated Hillary Clinton.  *Hint-hint*

Heidi Li of is raising money to buy an ad to call attention to Favreau.  If you want to get in on the action, check out this page at PUMAPac and let’s shove Favreau out the door and into Foggy Bottom.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

And join me tonight at 10 PM EST for Conflucians Say on PUMA United Radio, PURrrrr

Wednesday: For Sale- Senate Seat, like new, barely used

Kudos to myiq2xu for coming up with that ad copy.

The Governor of Illinois sounds like he’s a bit tetched.  He’s a megalomaniacal, power hungry, corrupt pol in deep, deep denial.  His approval ratings are hovering right down there with George Bush.  And he *knows* he may be recorded when he flat out asks for a quid for his pro quo.   What made him so damn cocky? 

We have learned from years of the Whitewater investigation that where there’s smoke, there isn’t necessarily fire.  It could very well be that Barack Obama had no interactions with his personal Jim McDougal regarding the disposition of his senate seat.  But those of us who witnessed how the primary was stolen from Hillary Clinton already know how corrupt Mr. Obama is.  A man who gets $600,000,000 in campaign contributions, some of them from untraceable pre-paid credit cards and manages to buy superdelegates to flip and whose campaign organization threatens various states to withhold funds from downticket races if their delegates don’t switch sides, has more than enough experience with buying his way to the top. Some stupid Obamaphiles and media types will say that’s just hardball politics and everyone does it.  But when money and favors exchange hands in order to bump someone out of the way and gain you an undeserved advantage is viewed by the skeptical eye of Patrick Fitzgerald, it looks a lot like corruption- and it’s illegal.

Barack Obama is already as corrupt a politician as Rod Blagojevich.  But as to *this* indictment,  this is no failed real estate deal where innocent people are getting caught up in a political vendetta.  This is the selling of a US Senate seat coming on the heals of one of the most brazenly  corrupt primary and general election seasons I have ever seen in my life.  And Patrick Fitzgerald is no Ken Starr but there is a very real possibility that in little more than a month from now, he could be out of work if Barack Obama chooses to replace him.  Now why would he want to do that?

And Rod Blagojevich is a little bid mad, un poco loco en la cabeza, unpredictable and curiously reluctant to step aside during his indictment.  Oh, the things he knows.

So far, the only good that seems to have come out of this is that Jesse Jackson Jr. will probably not be going to the Senate:

Even before Mr. Obama was elected president, Mr. Blagojevich was recorded telling an adviser on Oct. 31 that he was giving greater consideration to one candidate (described only as Senate Candidate 5) after an approach by “an associate” of that candidate who offered to raise $500,000 for Mr. Blagojevich, while another emissary of the Senate hopeful offered to raise $1 million. “We were approached ‘pay to play,’ ” Mr. Blagojevich said on a recording.

But prosecutors, who have made it clear that the investigation is continuing and who issued a plea on Tuesday for people to come forward with information, warned against drawing any conclusions about the true roles of candidates or anyone else in Mr. Blagojevich’s plans. And they emphasized repeatedly that the affidavit made “no allegations against the president-elect whatsoever.”

Several people among the half-dozen whose names have been suggested publicly as Senate possibilities did not respond to requests for interviews. Others, including Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr. and Mr. Jones of the State Senate, who has been one of Mr. Blagojevich’s few allies in Springfield, issued statements expressing shock over the accusations, but they did not answer requests for interviews.

“If these allegations are proved true, I am outraged by the appalling, pay-to-play schemes hatched at the highest levels of our state government,” said Mr. Jackson, who had openly expressed interest in Mr. Obama’s old job and who met with Mr. Blagojevich, whom he is not known to be close to, for 90 minutes on Monday afternoon to discuss the post.

Cry me a river, Mr. Jackson:

I guess we should be grateful that he only offered a bribe and didn’t threaten the state of Illinois with making their legislative agenda dead in the water if the governor didn’t appoint his niece.

Still, what goes around comes around.

Lest we forget

Lest we forget

In other news, DeeDee Myers, President Clinton’s former press secretary, is pretty steaming mad over the Favreau picture:

What’s bugging me is his intention. He isn’t putting his hand on her “chest,” as most of the articles and conversations about the picture have euphemistically referred to it. Rather, his hand—cupped just so—is clearly intended to signal that he’s groping her breast. And why? Surely, not to signal he finds her attractive. Au contraire. It’s an act of deliberate humiliation. Of disempowerment. Of denigration.

And it disgusts me.

Oh, I know: If Hillary can get over it, why can’t I? Her spokesman, Phillipe Reinnes, tried to make light of the incident. “Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon’s obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application,” he told the Washington Post in an E-mail. Obviously, she has no interest in making a federal case out of this particular incident, particularly as both the Clinton and Obama camps work on letting bygones be bygones. She has to pick her battles, and for her this ain’t a hill worth dying on.

But there is a larger issue at stake. At what point does sexist behavior get taken seriously? At what point do people get punished in ways that suggest this kind of behavior, this kind of thinking, is unacceptable? At what point do we insist there will be consequences? Clearly, that didn’t happen during the recent presidential campaign, when Hillary was—as I guess she is now—fair game. The press, the pundits, and the public could say things about her (“She’s a shrew!”) and to her (“Iron my shirt!) that were over-the-top sexist—yet got almost no reaction.

Indeed, Ms. Myers, where do we draw the line and hold people accountable?

KEEP THE PRESSURE ON GROPERGATE!

1. Sign the Pumasphere Petition and Send it to Friends and Family:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Fire-Jon-Favreau/

2. Send an email to the obama transition team, demanding that Favreau resign!

vjarrett@barackobama.com

3. Call Transition Headquarters:

202-540-3000 press option # 2 for a live person

Tuesday: Jon Favreau Must Go

I was very disappointed in James Carville’s remarks last night.  He condoned, even praised the “boys will be boys” attitude of Mr. Favreau and his buddies.  I hope that Carville sits a minute in thought over this one.  Here’s why Favreau must go:

  1. Because Favreau is now the face of the Obama administration.  Everytime Obama opens his mouth, we will see Favreau and his frat boy drinking buddies acting like young macho thugs.  He is writing the words for the President of the United States.  Obama’s credibility is already compromised with us.  Every time Obama pulls out the hopey-changey shtick from now on, we’re going to know that it came from the mouth of Jon Favreau.
  2. Because it means that Obama has no real understanding of the kind of discrimination and behavior that women are subjected to in public, at work or in the family.
  3. Because Hillary Clinton is not the only one disrespected by it.  Jon might as well be groping all of our breasts.
  4. Because the longer it sits out there, the more it looks like Obama is insensitive to the disrespect shown towards women.  We already know this but we think it is time for Obama to get with the program and shows us that he gets it and will not tolerate male adolescent fantasies of degrading powerful women.
  5. Because dismissing groups like The New Agenda as a bunch of female whiners sends a strong message that women’s priorities are inconsequential to Obama.
  6. Because Obama stole the primary with hooligan idiots like Favreau and we want these idiots punished.

Either Obama is going to be the president for all of us or he’s going to be the president for only males.  He’s either going to respect all of us or only the people with Y chromosomes.  We already know that our primary votes didn’t count.  Keeping Favreau on as his head speechwriter is the biggest “Fuck you” I think he could be sending us right now. At this point, the best thing Obama can do is replace him and send Favreau to State where he can undergo some sensitivity training.

We are watching and we’re not going away.

Contact the obama transition team and demand that Jon Favreau resign.

copy and paste these email addresses into your message:

vjarrett@barackobama.com

info@barackobama.com

prowl@pumapac.org

howarddean@dnc.com;
deanh@dnc.org; info@hillpac.com; donna@brazileassociates.com; tflourno@aft.org; germonda@dnc.org; griffinassoc1@aol.com; alicehuffman@sbcglobal.net; hickes@msek.com

CALL THE OBAMA TRANSITION TEAM AND DEMAND THAT JON FAVREAU BE FIRED!

202-540-3000 press option # 2 for a live person.

Item #2: What the Hell was Ted Kennedy implying in this message to Governor David Paterson?

The elder Kennedy (D-Mass.), who’s battling brain cancer, has sent word to Gov. Paterson’s office that Caroline Kennedy, 51, has contacts and family connections that would mean legislation affecting New York would receive prompt attention, family sources said.

Here’s how I interpret this: “Nice attention all your legislation is getting in the Senate.  You wouldn’t want anything to *happen* to it”.  This is extortion plain and simple.  “Hire my niece and you get attention and connections to make your legislative fantasies come true – or else.”

Now that I think back on it, there have been 2 times when the Democratic party has gone off the rails in recent history and in both cases, Ted Kennedy was involved.  The first was in 1980 when he initially refused to back down at the convention when he was far, FAR less entitled to a floor fight than Hillary Clinton.  Actually, Hillary Clinton won the primaries.  This is an easily proven fact.  She was denied her party’s nomination in large measure by Ted Kennedy.  But in any case, it was Kennedy’s machinations and temper tantrum which led to the creation of the superdelegate system.

But this last child and permanent baby of the Kennedy clan isn’t finished stamping his foot and demanding his way.  Now, he’s insisting his niece, who has never expressed an interest in national politics before, jump ahead of several more deserving women.  And it sounds very much like he’s willing to use extortion to get his way.  No Caroline, no attention to your legislative agenda.  Niiiiicce.

If you can’t say something nice about someone, say nothing at all but it is past  time for Ted Kennedy to retire.

Let Governor Paterson know you want an experienced politician who has earned her right to be Hillary’s replacement.

To Write To The Governor:
David A. Paterson
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

518-474-8390

To Email The Governor:
Click here to email the Governor.

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS.
Responses may be sent via the U.S. Mail.

For Information on Legislation:
Please access the New York State Legislative
Session Information page at
http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us

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