Sunday, April 30, 2006

It's Just Another Day

It's deja vu all over again, as we recycle yet again into all the favorite leftist memes trumpeted by the media and acted out by the clueless. Eagerly awaiting Rove's iminent indictment because Fitzmas can come in May or June if they just believe; planning what to do and how fast to impeach when they are back in power; staging antiwar rallies for the morally impaired. But, of course, you can't question their patriotism, even if the enemy happens to agree with them--they'r all just speaking truth to power. There is, after all, no heroic deed that will go unspoiled by these wonderful people who know that we are all better off under their bright and shiny boots. They apparently can clearly see future (and can barely wait) but are utterly blind about anything in the present.

SC&A noticed the same thing and it's something that psychiatrists of their caliber should notice:
Mr Bush needs to be impeached. Mr Cheney shot his hunting companion as a 'warning. The war in Iraq was about oil and orchestrated by a 'certain,' hidden cabal. The bin Laden's and the Council on Foreign Relations are in cahoots. The Bush crime family family syndicate were in close contact with the Nazi's.

The events of 9/11 were orchestrated by the White House and 'certain' Jews. A plane never hit the Pentagon. Al Gore won the 2000 election, but was undermined by the secret Bush 'fixer,' James Baker. Secret plans to expand the war on terror abound. Civil rights in America will be suspended, shortly. We are moments away from the Bush White House annoucing their coup on America.

These are a few things espoused, believed and promoted by the far left. They are capable of recognizing and deciphering the conspiracies and events of our lifetime- unlike the rest of us.

Curiously, while the far left are adept at routing out the most hidden and buried of conspiracies, they seem unable to recognize the obvious. Their credibility is impugned with their inability to recognize what is out in the open, every day.

What Hamas, Iran's Almadinejad and Osama bin Laden say explicitly, doesn't ever seem to register.

Just another day.


ANOTHER DAY (Dedicated to SC&A; with apologies to Paul McCartney)

Every day he hears the morning news and rolls his eyes,
Listening to the bias
As reporters try to justify their lies,
It’s just another day.
Swimming in denial,
Drowning in their hate,
Dipping in the cesspool of projection.
Ah, it’s just another day.

On the evening news where all the talking heads opine
He really tries to listen
But just simply cannot bear the whine,

It’s just another day. du du du du du
It’s just another day. du du du du du
Lt’s just another day.

Ay
So sad, so sad,
Sometimes he feels so sad.
Hamas and Bin Laden keep threatening to kill,
But the far left's content to sit still

And, blame; You know who they'll blame;
You know what they'll say,
It's the same crazed things each day,
So sad.
Sometimes he feels so sad.

As he posts again to try to counteract their jive,
They make it so damn easy
For evil to regroup and thrive,

It’s just another day. du du du du du
It’s just another day. du du du du du
It’s just another day.

Ay
So sad, so sad,
Sometimes he feels so sad.
Hamas and Bin Laden keep threatening to kill,
But the far left's content to sit still

And, blame; You know who they'll blame;
You know what they'll say,
It's the same crazed things each day,
So sad.
Sometimes he feels so sad.

Every day he hears the morning news and rolls his eyes,
Listening to the bias
As reporters try to justify their lies,
It’s just another day.
Swimming in denial,
Drowning in their hate,
Dipping in the cesspool of projection.
Ah, it’s just another day.
Ah, it’s just another day. du du du du du
It’s just another day. du du du du du
It’s just another day.


Sometimes I feel so sad. The blindness and self-delusion are epidemic.

CARNIVAL OF THE INSANITIES

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Time for the weekly insanity update, where the insane, the bizarre, the ridiculous, and the completely absurd are highlighted for all to see! This has been a week of rare idiocy (as always!). So, if you want to remain sane, the best thing is to poke some fun at the more egregious absurdities.

Send all entries for next week's carnival to Dr. Sanity by 8 pm ET on Saturday for Sunday's Carnival. Only one post entry weekly per blogger, please. Thanks for all the submissions. I try to use as many as possible! SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!!!

1. Standing room only? No wonder airlines are going out of business.

2. Caught at the border. Don't you wonder why this isn't big news?

3. In case you were wondering, here are the top 10 ways to destroy the earth. And be sure to include buying Earth-friendly wheels! A serial joke?

4. Department of silly walks pictures

5. Philidelphians talk funny. You try saying "Schuylkill" and see how it comes out if you're from Delaware. And, how about that West Virginia justice?

6. The non-musical fruit, I guess.

7. Monkey business. Completely and totally bananas.

8. Kerry gets it wrong as usual; and thank god the UN has the courage to speak out about the rights of women. Yeah, right.

9. It's that time of year again. Even in Canada. Flushing retirement down the toilet is not a good idea.

10. Thanks a whole lot, Mom.

11. Reformed Arab terrorists speak out. Listen to them.

12. The myth of a "perfect" war.

13. Top 10 signs the secret CIA prisons story was a sting operation?

14. If you don't want to buy this; buy this one in protest!

15. Stop them before they "reform" again!

16. No heroic deed goes unspoiled by the left.

17. Evicting moral courage.


Carnival of the Insanities can also be found at The Truth Laid Bear's √úberCarnival and at the BlogCarnival.

***************************************

If you would like to Join the insanity, and add the Carnival of the Insanities button to your sidebar (clicking on it will always take you to the latest update of the Carnival), click on "Word of Blog" below the button to obtain the html code:




Heard the Word of Blog?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE FIGHTING KEEBEES !

Dr. Sanity has enlisted as a proud member of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists! Go over to Captain's Quarters and find out how you can join to fight evil with your keyboard!

Achieving military success in this war is necessary and I deeply honor those who have taken on this task. Let the lunatic left who are willing to sell out this country and all it stands for joke all they want about "chickenhawks" and such; but it is on the field of ideas that the war will ultimately be won or lost. The totalitarian leftists in this country have made common cause with the totalitarian Islamofascists on the right. Both seek to impose their tyranny on the world.

So, here's to the Fighting Keebees, who stand for TRUTH, JUSTICE, and the ultimate DEFEAT OF TYRANNY. [And, that includes all of you tyrants or tyrant wannabees out there in the blogsphere who are completely without a sense of humor; and/or who take those vapid and banal exhortations for "peace" so seriously you are unable to see that you represent the greatest threat to peace and freedom in the universe. All humorless and ideological cretins can just suck it up--because we mean you!]

We shall fight them on the op-ed pages, we shall fight in the worldwide web, we shall fight in the internet and in the blogs, we shall fight in the Democratic Underground; we shall never surrender!

ZARQAWI & BIN LADEN - A New Comedy Team



Who's on third?

THE COUNCIL HAS SPOKEN !

This week's winners in the Watcher's Council are now posted at the Watcher of Weasels . Every week the Council nominates posts from the blogs of the Council members, and posts from around the blogsphere. The Council then votes to select the "Best" of all these posts.

BEST COUNCIL POSTS:

First Place

Defend Dissent: Punish the Leakers Right Wing Nut House

Second Place (a two-way tie!)

Tired The Glittering Eye

Defining Terms: The Left ShrinkWrapped


BEST NON-COUNCIL POSTS:

First Place

The McCarthy File In From the Cold

Second Place

The Tragedy of George W. Bush The Belgravia Dispatch

Be sure to check out all the winners at the Watcher's Site! Great weekend reading.

Friday, April 28, 2006

REPRESSION AND THE MIRROR OF INSIGHT

Freud is reported to have said that the very act of entering into civilized society entails the repression of various desires, impulses and feelings.

Biologically, the human species is hard-wired to experience certain feelings, impulses and desires, that during the rise of human civilization have been more and more controlled by the executive function of the higher cognitive levels of the brain. While the more primitive instincts still remain a part of our biology and can be accessed when needed for survival, most societal relationships--and civilization itself requires that control be exercised.to the forces in our nature that are affiliative and which encourage relationships and the rise of civilization. In fact, human biology and its limitations determine, to a great extent, the nature of our social interactions--even more than we may think.

In contrast to Freud's insight, Karl Marx believed that, ". . . the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of social relations;" and that a change in the "ensemble of social relations" can change "the human essence." Another way of saying this assertion is that social interactions have a significant role in determining biology.

From a Cato Institute Policy report, we have the perfect example of a Marxist attempt to "change the human essence", or, alter human biology:
In June 2004 the communist North Korean government issued a statement to its starving citizens recommending the consumption of pine needles. Pyongyang maintained that pine needle tea could effectively prevent and treat cancer, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, cerebral hemorrhage, and even turn grey hair to black.

Tragically, human nature isn't at all as advertised, and neither is pine needle tea. According to the U.S. State Department, at least one million North Koreans have died of famine since 1995.

Marx's theory of human nature, like Kim Jong Il's theory of pine needle tea, is a biological fantasy, and we have the corpses to prove it.

Having thus dispensed with the inverted reality of Marx's theories of human nature, we can move on to explore how it is that civilization--and human interactions-- are able to develop when our basic instinctual urges are hardly conducive to either.

If we are at the mercy of primitive instincts and destructive emotions bequeathed to us by our animal ancestors, how have we managed to, not only work our way up from the mud, but to the exploration of the stars?

Freud suggested that repression was the key, but that is an incomplete answer.

The complete answer lies in the awesome beauty, creativity, and functionality of all the psychological defense mechanisms available to humans, of which repression is only one of many available strategies. These mechanisms, for all that they also must be fundamentally biological themselves, are also presumably "hardwired" into our brains and come into play to protect our perceptions of self and reality (i.e., consciousness) from overwhelming psychological trauma that may threaten.

The most psychologically healthy of these strategies are those those that allow us to transform the primitive instinctual energy of even the most destructive emotions into works of art or entertainment that give pleasure to others (sublimation and humor); or behavior that is socially beneficial (altruism, anticipation, suppression). People who achieve optimal psychological health are those who have come to satisfactory terms with their neurobiology. They are people who have learned to accept their anger, rage and other potentially deadly emotions and, instead of destructively acting out, repressing, denying or projecting; have creatively expressed those feelings in a way that improves life both for themselves and for others.

As I have discussed in previous posts on denial, projection, and paranoia; these immature and sometimes psychotic psychological defense mechanisms represent a creative synthesis by the individuals who use them; but only temporarily reprieve that individual from the consequences of reality. These defenses almost never serve the individual's interests in the long run; nor are they beneficial for one's interpersonal relationships with others or society at large.

In between the psychological healthy and mature defenses, and the seriously immature defense mechanisms, are a group of very commonly used psychological defenses that most normal people employ at one time or another. These are the neurotic defenses, which can have short-term advantages in coping, but often cause significant long-term problems in one's relationships, work, and happiness for people who use them as their basic style of coping with the world.

One such neurotic defense that I have discussed at length in this blog is displacement, which is one of the defenses at the root of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Under stress, and threatened with psychological trauma or the disruption of cherished beliefs, even basically psychologically healthy adults may retreat to dysfunctional and immature defenses.

I would like to explore for a moment how unconscious processes can be made conscious through the development of insight; and thus alter the self-destructive path that an individual or a group may sometimes be on.

I once had a very successful female patient named Susan, who was in her late 30's and was rising rapidly in her career; but who felt dissatisfied and fairly unhappy, not only in her career, but also in her personal life. In spite of her demonstrable capabilites, she felt inadequate and like she didn't deserve her wealth or status. Sometimes she felt like she didn't even deserve to live. Susan came to see me because she couldn't understand why she felt the way she did, and --unlike most of my patients--she didn't want medication. "Why can't I just be happy?" she wanted to know; so we proceeded to talk about her life to see if we could discover what might be going on.

Some weeks later, in a casual comment, Susan mentioned that she had never liked her younger brother when she was growing up. I looked up from my notes, surprised, because she had never mentioned her brother before.

"I didn't know you had a brother," I said. "Oh," she commented lightly, "he died. That's why I don't bring him up much."

Obviously she wanted to drop the subject, but I persisted. The brother who died was two years younger than she was, and had died when he was 16.

"How sad for you and your family! That must have been terrible for you."

Susan shrugged. "It was a long time ago now," she said.

I considered whether I should pursue this further, since she clearly didn't want to talk about it. I asked her if it bothered her to talk about it.

"Not really."

"Could you tell me what happened to him?"

What followed was a dispassionate account of a family trip with the two parents in one car; and the patient and her brother in the other on their way to the family cabin in the mountains. The brother became tired, and went to the back seat to sleep. Susan, who was new to driving, misjudged a curve and went into it far too fast, causing her to lose control. The car slid off the road, and rolled over twice. My patient was uninjured because she had been wearing a seat belt. But her younger brother, sleeping in the back had been thrown from the car and died instantly.

I was stunned. This was serious stuff, and I knew it could be and probably was the origins of Susan's disabling guilt about her life. Yet the patient had never mentioned it in the weeks before as we had talked about her life, and seemed completely unaware that it could be linked to the very situation for which she had consulted me. Even now, while telling me the story, she sounded like a disinterested observer, rather than an intimate player in the drama she described.

"That must have been so awful for you," I said gently.

She smiled brightly at me. "Well, I guess I only did what every big sister really wants to do to an obnoxious brother!" Her laugh was rather forced.

"I suppose its natural for an older sister to feel very upset and angry with a rather trying younger brother--I have two of them, so I certainly know about that.... But I don't believe for a moment that you would truly want him dead or that you would deliberately kill him....it was just a horrible accident, wasn't it?"

She stared at me for a moment, then burst into tears, with great gulping sobs that went on for more than 15 minutes, as I tried to console her the best I could. Yes, the accident was her fault. She had made a mistake and it resulted in her brother's death. But she hadn't wanted him to die; and she hadn't deliberately gone off the road in order to make her childish and angry feelings toward him come true.

For years she had carried around the terrible burden of guilt about her brother's death, telling herself that she had killed him, feeling that her anger toward him made it deliberate. Her parents, grieving themselves, had never thought to absolve her of the accident.

As you might expect, her unhappiness with her life and her overwhelming feeling that she didn't have a right to live was tied to this traumatic incident in her life. What followed in the weeks after her revelation and sudden insight into her unresolved guilt and grief was the beginning of a cure for the inexplicable unhappiness she suffered in her life.

Her belief that she didn't deserve to live was tied up with her childish --and normal--sibling feelings about her brother. But what had sealed her fate was magical thinking--a belief that just because she had some negative feelings about him, those negative feelings had been responsible for the car accident. It was difficult for her to come to the realization that even if she had had uniformly positive and loving feelings toward her younger brother, the accident in which he was killed because she was an inexperienced driver would have still taken place.

With time, she moved from this dramatic insight, to accepting that, while she might have been a poor driver, she wasn't a murderer. And that also, if her brother had made other choices (e.g., used his seatbelt; waited for another hour to go to sleep; etc.)he too might have survived the accident. Some guilt was appropriate for her to deal with. But the life-destroying guilt she was experiencing was far more than she deserved.

Her insight actually gave her back her brother. Since the accident many years before, she had avoided thinking about him, and had psychologically banished all thoughts--both good and bad--about him from her life. For the first time in many years she could remember happy times with him, and finally appropriately mourn him.

Insight is a wonderful thing. The power or act of seeing into a situation and apprehending the inner nature or motivation of one's self--especially the why--can be extremely liberating, as it was for Susan. Only by being aware of these kind of hidden truths and inner motivations can a person gain control over them and correct the behavior that they generate.

But insight can also sometimes be devastating. Susan's insight freed her from a life of unhappiness and made her guilt over her brother's death much more bearable. But there are situations where achieving insight and understanding the motives behind one's behavior (as well as what one can and cannot control) can generate deserved guilt and shame. That is when such emotions can be productive and initiate a change in behavior for the good. While it is painful to acknowledge horrible truths--but truths nonetheless-- such understanding of one's self is essential for personal growth and normal personality development.

There is an inner courage required to look at one's self in the mirror of insight and truly know the person looking back. All of us are capable of the most horrible behavior; just as we are capable of finding ways to rationalize it and cover it up or blame others for it. Psychological health requires that we look into that mirror frequently and understand our own motivations and behaviors and not flinch in recognizing the truth about ourselves.

That is the only way we can begin the process of change that leads to solving problems and personal growth. Recognizing the problem by looking at ourselves in the mirror is the first hurdle that must be overcome. Admittedly, it is not the only hurdle; but without it individuals and societies go off careening off in all the wrong directions--directions that will never lead to the recognition or acceptance of reality, and so can never lead to effective solutions. In psychiatry we refer to this abiiity to look in the mirror and see what and who is reflected back at us truly as "insight". Ultimately, the development of self-awareness and psychological insight are the keys to solving most human dilemmas that lead to our own unhappiness and misery--both in individuals and societies.

It is likely that true evil never looks into that mirror; never questions their own motivations and always sinks to using the most immature and infantile coping mechanisms. That inability to acknowledge any degree of responsibility for their behavior; or to see clearly into their own souls--particularly on a societal level is responsible for much of the human misery, genocide, and brutal behavior we witness all around the world.

And that is the ultimate purpose of, and necessity for, Justice -- to impose insight on the blind; force awareness of the consequences of behavior; and to reflect reality for those who refuse to look in the mirror. Susan was not guilty of murdering her brother; yet she was punishing herself anyway for having had the kind of negative thoughts any normal person has about someone she is close to. Like most normal people, she had mixed feelings abaout him--loving and hating him simultaneously. In her case, she needed to look into that mirror to see the good--her love for him--which had been blocked out by her guilt at his death.

Gagdad Bob in discussing infantile omnipotences and its consequences when one is no longer an infant (i.e., when one is a member of the left), makes this cogent observation:
What sets humans apart from the animals is not just our ability to know reality, but our even more striking ability to not know it--to create patently erroneous systems of thought that we then inhabit, and which actually compromise our survival prospects. No lion ever entertained the idea that it might be healthier to live on grasses rather than flesh. Penguins don’t decide to live near the equator, where it isn’t so cold. But the UN thinks that lots of talks and meetings will make the threat of a nuclear Iran go away. Liberals really think that Saddam and his satanic spawn would never, ever, have obtained nukes.

Only human beings can hold ideas that are completely illogical and self-defeating.


We may not be able to help which defenses our egos deploy in every situation. Sometimes, when reality is threatening enough or our conflicts are intense enough, even the most mature individual may find him or herself using the more immature defenses like denial and projection. What matters is that we make a practice of examining our own behavior and appreciating the underlying issues and motivations that drive it. Or to put it another way, we reflect on those subtle factors that may be controlling our behavior outside our completely conscious awareness (and therefore our control) and make them fully conscious. This is looking into that mirror of the soul and when done honestly leads to insight and self-awareness. This process is the "holy grail" of psychotherapy; and we mental health professionals are forever encouraging our patients to go on such quests of self-discovery--even if they can sometimes lead to emotional pain.

Because, by making the unconscious conscious, we gain control over our lives and are able to make choices and attack problems based on a clear view of reality. Yes, we may make the wrong choice, or screw up in dealing with the problem even so; we may even discover some unpleasant truths about ourself. But when our psychological defenses are distorting or obscuring reality to begin with, we are far more likely to ignore a problem or pretend that it doesn't exist and then suffer even more serious consequences.

Even the most maladaptive and/or primitive psychological defenses that bring us and others a great deal of unhappiness and misery, through insight, can evolve into mature and adaptive responses to the world that both enhance and protect our lives.

Human beings are remarkable creatures. Sometimes their capacity for self-deception and delusion seems unlimited; and sometimes their incredible creativity and ingenuity in coping with all the trials and travails that life throws at them is worthy of appreciation and even awe.

UPDATE: If you want to see the primitive psychological defenses at work, follow this link to an interview with Robert Fisk--who is in so much denial (among other defenses) it is simply ludicrous. He manages--all on his own--to give himself a thorough fisking. (hat tip: Tim Blair and The Corner)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

RADICAL ACCEPTANCE

Today I learned about an important psychological concept known as "RADICAL ACCEPTANCE". It is based on the idea that suffering is a combination of pain and the non-acceptance of reality.

Radical Acceptance is composed of three components:

(1) reality is what it is;

(2) everything has a cause;

(3) life can be worth living, even when there is pain

It occurs to me that radical acceptance has been exactly what is missing from the left and the Democrats for approximately the last 5+ years. To be precise:

(1) George W. Bush is the President of the U.S. and will continue to be the President of the U.S. until 2008.

(2) He was duly elected to that position in the 2000 and 2004 national election.

(3) In spite of this horrible and tragic truth, you need to let go of your hate and get a life. Simple dislike is perfectly psychologically healthy.

Just thought I'd pass on some of the important things I'm learning, since they might help some poor person suffering from BDS to transition to ordinary human pain.

It's the least I can do.

NARCISSISM AND SOCIETY

Because I'm stuck in a conference all day, I though I would recycle what I consideer to be one of my best posts on Narcissism. This is Part I in a Three-part series. Links to the other two parts are below.

[Part II is here; and Part III is here.]

For some years now, I have been thinking of way to reconcile my observations on human nature and psychology with my understanding of economic and political systems. Since I first studied it back in the 70's and 80's, I have thought that one particular psychological theory--Kohut's Psychology of the Self (as presented in his books and writings, particularly The Analysis of the Self and The Restoration of the Self )-- has some important implications for understanding why certain political systems are successful and compatible with human nature and why some are grossly incompatible with it.

So at the beginning of this essay I will make the following disclaimer: the basic ideas discussed about the Psychology of the Self belong to Heinz Kohut; and the political applications of his theories and concepts are my own thoughts. Don't blame Kohut for any errors or misstatements!

I also apologize in advance for the use of some esoteric psychiatric language. In general, I have mostly tried to explain the ideas as simply as possible (believe it or not!). My hope is that it can generate some discussion and debate.

What is Narcissism ?
I think we should start at the beginning. The term "narcissism" was coined by Sigmund Freud, who named the phenomenon after the Narcissus in Greek mythology. Narcissus was a handsome young man who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo who loved him. As a punishment, the gods doomed him to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus pined away and changed into the flower that bears his name. (Incidentally, Echo also wasted away until she was just a whisper, barely heard).

The clinical syndrome of Narcissism (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is described in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association as: "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy."

According to the DSM-IV, the disorder begins by early adulthood and is indicated by the subject exhibiting at least five of the following:
1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance
2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or
ideal love
3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement
6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends
7. Lacks empathy
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes

Everyone has some Narcissistic traits, and a certain amount of Narcissism is a necessary and healthy thing. What’s different about the personality disorder is that the symptoms are prominent and persistent over time and pervade every aspect of the person’s existence. It can be very disabling in extreme cases; and in others those who have this personality can make the people around them thoroughly miserable, since some narcissists can be manipulative, predatory and completely lacking in empathy. Narcissists are notoriously spiteful and vicious and usually alienate anyone close to them.

Why is Narcissism Important?

All over the world, on a daily basis we see the horrible results of Narcissistic behavior. Individuals and groups; religions and nations act out their Narcissistic rage at various insults--real and imagined-- and people suffer and die for the purpose of the grandiosity of the tyrant, or the glory of the religion. It has been said that the 20th century was the “century of the Narcissist”, but the 21st is well on its way to outdoing the horrors of the past as a seeming epidemic of malignant Narcissism caused by a crushing of human nature and the human spirit--all for the purpose of serving the self-aggrandizing vision of the few.

Tim Hall of the NY Press writes:

Narcissism is hot. In the wake of the dot-com implosion and recent business scandals, many are focusing their attention on what otherwise might have remained an obscure psychological disorder. Much of the New Economy bubble seems to have arisen from narcissism run amok: The grandiosity of crooked executives and their haughty contempt for business and accounting procedures; the relentless manipulation of (and by) investors, analysts, and employees; the utter lack of empathy for others; the complete and total denial of any wrongdoing when everything fell apart.
For many on the Left side of the political spectrum, it is axiomatic that Narcissism is inextricably linked to business, Capitalism, individualism, and the pursuit of profit. The Left has idealized certain social and political systems because they suppressed the individual and elevated the state, insisting that individuals had no right to exist for their own selves, but only to serve others.

Executives, such as The Rigases of Adelphia Corp; Samuel D. Waksal, the socialite founder of ImClone Systems; Dennis Kozlowski, of Tyco International; Scott D. Sullivan of WorldCom; and Ken Lay of Enron, typify the ugly Narcissist of the business world with his or her extreme grandiosity; selfishness of unbelievable proportions; and complete lack of empathy towards the people they cheated. While the majority of businessmen are ethical and honest individuals, only a few “bad apples” are needed to demonstrate the havoc that malignant Narcissism in the business sector can wreak.

But what is not generally or readily seen (either on the Left or Right) is the flip side of "selfish" or "grandiose" Narcissism-- and that is what I will call Narcissism rooted in idealism, rather than selfishness, or "idealistic" Narcissism. This second kind of Narcissism (the flip side of the coin, if you will) is less obvious to an observer, since it is disguised with a veneer of concern for others. But it is equally—if not more—destructive and causative of human suffering, death and misery. Both kinds of Narcissism are a plague on the world; and both are well-traveled avenues for limiting freedom and imposing tyranny. The "grandiose" Narcissism is the stimulus for individual tyrants, while the "idealistic" Narcissism leads to groups imposing their will on others. We will talk more of this in Part II.

First, I need to explain what healthy Narcissism is and how it develops. The political and economic implications follow after the foundation is set.

Healthy Narcissism and Kohut’s Psychology of the Self

This part of my discussion is based on the theories of Self Psychology by Heinz Kohut. Kohut was a psychoanalyst (he died in 1981) whose controversial theories had a considerable impact on psychiatry and psychoanalysis. He was an innovative thinker (and a rather opaque writer) who broke with Freud in some important areas. His ideas have influenced me tremendously, both in the way I approach patients and understand their concerns, as well as the way I treat them. Every day in my psychiatric practice I see the truth of his ideas in the interactions I have with my patients; and in the interactions of my patients in society-at-large.

Freud’s view of Narcissism can be summed up by saying that true psychic health requires a complete dissociation from the primary Narcissism inherent in the infant and child. The individual during his or her development tries to find and maintain a form of self love that is compatible with healthy relationships with other(this is called “object relations” in psychiatry).

The bottom line is that Freud considered Narcissism quite negatively. He saw it as only associated with severe pathology and considered it the antithesis of being able to achieve normal and healthy relationships.

Some have referred to Kohut’s Psychology of the Self as "psychoanalysis without original sin"—i.e., the “original sin” that Freud considered Narcissism. One of Kohut’s breaks with Freudian tradition is that he considered Narcissism affirmatively, as an essential part of the Self; and described how it develops in the healthy individual.

What is the “Self”? The “Self” can be thought of as a content of the mental apparatus; a structure within the mind that has continuity in time and a specific location. The “Self” is therefore analogous to how one represents other people within the mind. Some people mistake the “Self” with Freud’s concept of “Ego”, but “Ego” (along with “Id” and “Superego”) are agencies of the mind, rather than a specific content of it. “Identity” can be thought of as the Self’s socio-cultural position in the world.

A healthy Self has two fundamental and equally important parts:

1) Self-Esteem – or a sense that one has a right to Life and success; ambition; a healthy exhibitionism and comfort with one’s body. This part of the Self supplies the instinctual fuel for ambition and purpose; and for enjoyment of Life’s activities.

2) Ideals – a belief in something outside the “Self” that guides and gives meaning to one’s Life. Having ideals make developing one’s goals in Life possible. It is this part of the Self that also makes healthy interpersonal relationships possible.

The development of BOTH parts is essential to psychological health. When one part develops at the expense of the other—it has grave consequences for the individual and society.

The Diagram below summarizes the normal development of the Self; and as you can see, there are two equally important and parallel lines of development that have their origin in human biology and dependence of the infant on an adult for survival during the first years of life.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The infant is born with what is called “Primary Narcissism”. Mothers know that the newborn child is not able to differentiate between the Mother (referred to as “Other”) and himself (referred to as “Self”). For example, the Mother's breast is treated by the infant initially as a part of himself. Slowly over months and years, the child begins to differentiate himself from the Mother; and as he goes through normal biological development he becomes more and more independent and self-sufficient.

At some point, the Self and the Other--once "perfectly" merged--are now two distinct objects. This important process of separation-individuation is facilitated by the normal shortcomings(i.e. imperfections) in maternal care, which spur the child's development as an individual. For example: baby demands food, but mother is unavailable right now and doesn’t feed baby until her schedule permits (but doesn’t let him starve either!). Such natural and normal imperfections of empathy with the child are actually healthy. I won’t go into a full discussion of this, but suffice it to say that the Other must not be too perfect, nor too imperfect, as either extreme carried on for too long will interfere with the developing Self of the child.

It is because of the slow separation of Self from Other that the two developmental lines come into being. The first line Kohut refers to as the “Grandiose Self”(or idealized self image) and the second is referred to as the “Idealized Parent Image”. Both of these images represent psychological attempts to save the original experience of "perfection" by the infant when the Mother (Other) and the infant (Self) were “one”.

The “Grandiose Self” will develop over time (if not disrupted) into healthy Self-Esteem; and the” Idealized Parent Image” will eventually lead to the development of Ideals that give meaning to the individual’s life; and to healthy interpersonal relationships.

In Part II, I will discuss how-- when either or both of these two developmental lines are disrupted during the child's development (either through biology or environment)--they can seriously impact the individual, his/her family and even the wider society. It is my contention that these two developmental lines suggest a powerful reason why individuals may be attracted to one type of political system or another, and I will also discuss the implications of that.

WASTED

I want to apologize to everyone for being so out of the loop this week! The conference I am at is actually an intensive training session that lasts all day--and, in addition to taking the training, I am the person in charge of the conference details and organization. Hence, I'm way behind in my blog reading and I have hundreds of unread email messages.

To top it all off, my daughter's spring soccer season started this evening and I had to rush from the conference to pick her up and take her 50 miles to her game. Frankly, I'm wasted! (The Boo informs me that is an "old-fashioned" term; nevertheless it is descriptive of my current emotional and physical state).

I've been checking in during our 15 minute breaks and lunchtime, but really have only had about an hour in the morning to get a few posts up. The conference will be over on Friday at 4pm and hopefully, things will get back to normal around here by the weekend!

Until then, I'll be posting lightly, so check out some of the blogs in my blogroll.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

SOCIALISTS GO APE

This is brilliant. In one creative and strategic move, the socialists have managed to come up with yet another special protected victim group that they can champion; and at the same time they have found a population on which they can practice their next social experiment! You might vaguely recall that the last big experiment managed by this group resulted in considerble death and misery for the species that was foolish enough to let them practice their variants of dialectical materialism upon. But that is soooo 20th century! And pre-postmodern.

In this brave new world, our new victim group will undoubtedly all be gently expected to register to vote as Socialists. In the U.S., they can join the Democratic Party which specializes in the downtrodden (marching in solidarity with the socialist fringe); and works very hard to keep the downtrodden down and trod upon so they'll continue to vote for Democrats. It is a symbiotic relationship.

And consider this: why settle for being multicultural when you could be multispecial (even the word evokes the fundamental rightness of the concept!)

As the press release notes:
"Today only members of the species Homo sapiens are considered part of the community of equals. The chimpanzee, the gorilla, and the orangutan are our species's closest relatives. They possess sufficient mental faculties and emotional life to justify their inclusion in the community of equals."

But since we know from experience that some are a bit more equal than others; the new members of our community of equals will welcome the benevolent overlords who have their best interests at heart and only want to make sure they get their fair share of the pie. They'll probably work real cheap at jobs no human would like to do For a preview, check out how useful the zombie dead are at the end of Shaun of the Dead. I think most of the zombies shared 100% DNA with humans!

Jeff Goldstein notes that we humans actually share even more of our DNA with mice; so in all fairness, maybe that species should be granted rights by the UN first.

Perhaps their love of cheese and mazes would qualify them in the community of equals? You could check out the details of their mental faculties and emotional life with Slartibartfast.

SCAPEGOATS OF THE MODERN WORLD

Who is to blame for the terrorist attacks in Dahab? The Israelis, of course!
Retired General Salah al-Din Salim, an Egyptian researcher at the Strategic Studies Institute in Cairo, said that it could not be ruled out that the Israeli Mossad was involved in the terror attack in Dahab.

"The Mossad's ability to penetrate the Bedouins in Sinai is known," Salim said in an interview with al-Jazeera. (Roee Nahmias)


The Big Pharaoh blogging from Egypt reports that:(hat tip: The Belmont Club)
The poll above was posted on Egypt's number one web portal Masrawy.com. The question asks people whom they think was behind the bombings in Dahab yesterday. 48.9% of the respondents so far think that the Israeli Mossad was behind the terrorist attack. 4.2% believe it was Al-Qaeda and 21% think it was the work of internal terrorist groups.

The above poll is a clear indication of the trouble we as a nation are in. Up till now the vast majority among us and especially among our intelligentsia don't want to admit that we have a terrorist problem in our society, in our currently practiced religiosity. Up till now we don't want to look in the mirror and see what's wrong with us and with our culture. This is the reason why I don't see light at the end of tunnel anytime soon as far as our Arab/Islamic world is concerned.


The poll cited by him shows that almost half of all Egyptians believe that Israel's Mossad is behind the attacks. I heard one Egyptian official on TV ask plaintively, "Why would Muslims kill other Muslims?"

Why indeed. I suppose he believes that the carnage inflicted by Al Qaeda and Zarqawi in Iraq is also a clever Jewish plot to destabilize Iraq. The unwillingness of Islam to face it own brutality and uncontrollable murderous rage is merely the primitive denial of projection and paranoia. It allows them to continue their self-deception that Islam is a religion of peace and that they are victims of the rage and insidious plotting of nefarious forces.

The definition of a scapegoat is "one that bears th e blame for others; one that is the object of irrational hostility."

Scapegoats are common when the psychological defenses of denial and projection are being used. Projection, to quickly remind you, is the psychological process of attributing one's own unacknowledged or unacceptable feelings, thoughts and behaviors to others.

The Arab world has this defense mechanism down pat. One of the expressions of a shame culture is the rampant psychological projection and refusal to accept responsibility for the atrocities committed in the name of Islam. Not only are we regularly subjected to imams, religious leaders, and leaders of Muslim states stating even now that 9/11 or the London bombings were not committed by Muslims; they also regularly blame the Jews for such acts. In this way they can avoid the shame of taking responsibility for evil.

The Arabs and the Islamic world are certainly not the only ones who have a marked preference for scapegoating the Jews rather than take responsibility for their own actions, feelings and thoughts. It is, in fact, a worldwide phenomenon.

The Jews--as exemplified by Israel--are the favored scapegoats of the modern world.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mixed Messages

THE TOXICITY OF SLOPPY THINKING

As I mentioned before, the recent 9th Circuit Court decision regarding Harper v. Poway Unified School Dist., represents one of the greatest threats to our individual liberty in quite a while. Eugene Volokh has some further thoughts on a judge who would willingly uphold the constitutionality of pro-Taliban speech, but considers criticism of homosexuality as unprotected by that same constitution:
I'll say it again: Under existing First Amendment precedents, there is a viewpoint-neutral First Amendment exception for disruptive speech in schools. Sometimes speech that's hostile based on race, religion, or sexual orientation -- as well as speech that offends people for a wide variety of other reasons -- might indeed lead to substantial disruption, and thus might be restricted.

But this is at least a facially viewpoint-neutral standard that potentially applies to speech on all perspectives, and doesn't categorically cast out certain student viewpoints from First Amendment protection. While the standard isn't without its problems, it is at least basically consistent with the First Amendment principle of "equality of status in the field of ideas." And there are quite plausible arguments that the government as K-12 educator should have still broader authority over speech in public schools (though this too would be a viewpoint-neutral First Amendment exception). What bothers me is the Ninth Circuit's newly minted viewpoint-based First Amendment exception, which singles out certain ideas for lack of constitutional protection.


This is the sort of sloppy thinking that we've come to expect from many of the politically correct, multicultural crowd. It is disconcerting to see that the cognitive style that encourages thinking of that sort is pervasive in our culture and even in the judiciary--a place that we depend on to be free from the changing passions of the culture and champions of reason.

Ah well. Yet another institution done in by the political rhetoric and absurd fallacies of postmodern thought.

We are slowly being poisoned by the toxic effect this philosophical mutation has on reason, reality, and individual freedom.

GEORGE W. BUSH, DISSIDENT; JOHN F. KERRY, OPPORTUNIST

Natan Sharansky on George W. Bush, dissident:
There are two distinct marks of a dissident. First, dissidents are fired by ideas and stay true to them no matter the consequences. Second, they generally believe that betraying those ideas would constitute the greatest of moral failures. Give up, they say to themselves, and evil will triumph. Stand firm, and they can give hope to others and help change the world.

Political leaders make the rarest of dissidents. In a democracy, a leader's lifeline is the electorate's pulse. Failure to be in tune with public sentiment can cripple any administration and undermine any political agenda. Moreover, democratic leaders, for whom compromise is critical to effective governance, hardly ever see any issue in Manichaean terms. In their world, nearly everything is colored in shades of gray.

That is why President George W. Bush is such an exception. He is a man fired by a deep belief in the universal appeal of freedom, its transformative power, and its critical connection to international peace and stability. Even the fiercest critics of these ideas would surely admit that Mr. Bush has championed them both before and after his re-election, both when he was riding high in the polls and now that his popularity has plummeted, when criticism has come from longstanding opponents and from erstwhile supporters.

With a dogged determination that any dissident can appreciate, Mr. Bush, faced with overwhelming opposition, stands his ideological ground, motivated in large measure by what appears to be a refusal to countenance moral failure.

I myself have not been uncritical of Mr. Bush. Like my teacher, Andrei Sakharov, I agree with the president that promoting democracy is critical for international security. But I believe that too much focus has been placed on holding quick elections, while too little attention has been paid to help build free societies by protecting those freedoms--of conscience, speech, press, religion, etc.--that lie at democracy's core.


Those who persist in portraying Bush as some evil mastermind, the Bushitler etc. etc. etc. who is determined to undermine American democracy and freedom are so far gone with BDS and out of touch with reality that they have lost all perspective and judgment.

Bush certainly has many failings and is by no means perfect. But on the issues of freedom and democracy -- he is a light in the darkness and voice in the wilderness compared to most people who presently identify themselves as "progressives" and "liberals".

President Bush's domestic policies are not particularly brilliant and may even be simplistic and obvious. When you observe President Bush you see what you expect: a normal man muddling along.

Many have accused me of idealizing President Bush, and while it is true that since 9/11 I admire him quite a bit, I hardly idealize him. On the contrary, what I find compelling about him are his obviously ordinary human qualities. He strikes me as a very REAL person--not a slick "persona" created by an ad agency; or a "celebrity" onto whom we project our own fantasies.

Nor is he a professional opportunist (who was against the war before he was for it and then against it again)--i.e., someone who believes whatever is necessary to get votes.

Bush does not pretending to be intellectually superior and can easily make fun of himself. Nor does it seem to matter much to him that everyone doesn't totally adore him. He tackles hard problems head on (which most politicians lack the courage to do) and perseveres in trying to fix them. He indeed "muddles along", misspeaks, and even screws up from time to time; but he presses on and actually gets things done.

With Bush, WYSIWYG. With John Kerry what you see today has nothing to do with what you will see tomorrow. Some will say that shows Kerry is "flexible" and "nuanced". I suggest that it shows that Kerry has a moral compass that only points in one direction--toward John Kerry. Bush thinks for himself; Kerry thinks of himself.

Certainly, no one is obligated to love or admire any US President. People have a right to dislike anyone they choose, including the POTUS. But the hatred of this president goes far beyond anything we have ever seen or recorded. And why? Because he is real; because he takes a stand; and because he dares to believe in something as politically uncorrect as the universality of the human desire for freedom.

And that is what will give him a well-deserved place in human history.

I'm sure that drives the deranged Bush haters nuts.

LIVING IN A GANGSTA'S PARADISE

Check out this article about Hugo Chavezland and what a gangster's paradise it has become. Here's an excerpt:
On April 11 2006, Mexican authorities seized 5.5 tonnes of high purity cocaine in Ciudad del Carmen's airport. On August 3 2005, Dutch tax authorities and the sea harbour police seized 4.6 tonnes of cocaine in Rotterdam, the largest ever haul in the Netherlands. On October 13 2005, Spanish police seized 3.5 tons of cocaine in a fishing boat bound for Spain. On September 16 2005, 691 kilograms of cocaine were seized in the Tuscan port of Livorno, Italy. On December 14 2004, 1.141 tonnes of cocaine were seized in two separate operations in Kenya, the largest ever seizure in Africa. On May 16 1999, a Saudi prince, Nayef bin Sultan bin Fawwaz Al-Shaalan, smuggled 1.993 tonnes of cocaine into Paris on his personal aircraft under diplomatic immunity.

Aside from these major drug hauls, in most cases the greatest ever made in each of the countries, countless individuals have been arrested in European and North American airports for attempting to smuggle drugs. It is by no means coincidence that all the aforementioned cargos, huge or modest, originated in Venezuela; neither is it the periodicity of the apprehensions, which are in an ever augmenting curve.

Venezuela, under Hugo Chavez's tenure, has become, for all intents and purposes, a gangster's paradise. Drug traffickers, wanted terrorists and criminals seem to be able to live quite comfy under the lenient watch of a Venezuelan administration that has characterized itself for being totally immersed in the destruction of the country's institutions and international agreements to which it once formed part.

This is the man beloved by Cindy Sheehan and the mindless minions of the left.
Since Hugo Chavez has become president in 1998, the toll of violent death from crime has been multiplied by three. Violent crime has become the number one cause of death for young men between 15 and 25 year old. The weekend roll of death reads more like the death toll of a civil war than what 'normal' crime would read. Caracas has become the most violent capital of the Americas. The government seems helpless, bereft of ideas, or, worse, welcoming such a disaster that distracts people from the other woes that we suffer at the hand of the regime.

Check out the link because it shows tens of thousands protesting the Chavez regime. Chavez is a thug. Is this any surprise to anyone except the left, who are deaf, dumb, and blind when it comes to tyranny? They're usually too busy planning their little marches against America and Capitalism; and for Peace and Harmony to bother getting upset by the likes of Saddam and Fidel and Hugo.

Confronting real tyrants takes real courage.

Publius Pundit has more, as does this site. (hat tip: Free Thoughts)

Monday, April 24, 2006

CLOSE YOUR EYES

The Fjordman has a really impressive and extremely depressing piece up at the Gates of Vienna. In it, he discusses the ongoing devolution of Scandanavia into the leading edge of Eurabia:
This week, Olav Versto, political editor of the largest newspaper in Norway, VG, supported the decision to keep sending money to the Palestinian Hamas government. VG as a newspaper was created during the resistance to Nazi occupation during WW2. It is a sad day for this country and this continent when institutions that fought Nazi Germany end up appeasing the anti-democratic forces of our age. Darkness is descending upon Europe when Europeans are no longer safe in their own cities from harassment by Muslim immigrants, and the only thing our so-called leaders do about this is recommending a 500% increase in the number of Muslims by letting Turkey into the EU, giving more money to Islamic terrorists and working to silence “Islamophobia” by their own people. But remember, Eurabia is a conspiracy theory only American simpletons believe, and Fjordman is just a racist, right-wing nutcase. Our state-sponsored Leftist newspapers tell us so, so it must be true. Close your eyes and think of Arafat, and everything will be fine.

The essay must be read in its entirety to understand how western societies--such as those in Sweden and Norway-- are being destroyed from within as the multicultural and politcally correct mindset of the leadership has already let in the barbarians in the gate; and it is just a matter of time now until control is passed to their new overlords and jihadist masters.

It is a cautionary tale for those of us in America; particularly those who would like to close their eyes and pretend that it can't happen here.

But it can and is.

WE WILL EXTERMINATE YOU !

Does that sound familiar? With the most recent release of Osama Bin Laden's threats against America and the West, it finally came to me he and his Al Qaeda thugs remind me of! I don't know why I didn't make this connection sooner, since I am a big Dr. Who fan (going back twenty years or so).

The Daleks are a ruthless extraterrestrial race bent on universal conquest and domination, utterly without pity, compassion or remorse. Their most infamous battlecry is "EX-TER-MIN-ATE!", with each syllable individually screeched in a frantic electronic voice (to hear the battlecry of the daleks, click here and run your mouse over the picture of the dalek).

Except for the "extraterrestrial" part, I think it is an accurate description of jihadis in general. The daleks have a mutant core of living material from which all emotion toward others not of their race has been bred out. They are surrounded by a metallic casing (that looks like a salt or pepper shaker) containing all the various lethal devices that allow them to kill (In jihadi terms, that would be represented by the various injunction in the Qu'ran regarding jihad and infidels).

Bin Laden is the emporer dalek, sitting in his cave on life support.

Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!

BLOGGER TROUBLES AND WORK RESPONSIBILITIES

There has been a problem with Blogger most of the day and my post from early this morning is now just showing up.

I don't know if the problem is now fixed or if it will return. I will be in a conference all week from the wee hours of the morning until 5 pm each day. As I mentioned before, I will try to get a post up early each morning, and will be posting in the evenings.

If Blogger cooperates, I should still be able to post a few times a day and then things will be back to normal on Friday when the conference is over.

TOUCH AND GO !


It's time for Dr. Sanity to practice a few touch and go's around the mental health blogsphere--or "psychsphere" if you prefer! What follows are some of the topics my fellow mental health professionals are blogging about.

In "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Rationality", GM at GM's Corner starts out discussing aging and cognitive decline; and then segues into the irrationality of many politicians; takes on the MSM, and finally the rampant BDS infecting the left. Obviously a great post since he quotes both ShrinkWrapped and myself!

Meanwhile a short hop over brings us toShrinkWrapped's site where a discussion of drugs, sex, rock and roll, and suicidality is underway. An excerpt:

The idea that we can proceed through life as if we are forever young, sustained by our adolescent sense of omnipotence and invulnerability, represents a form of suicidality masquerading as grandiosity. An adolescent who sniffs Cocaine at 19 may be troubled, may be destined for much more trouble in his future, but still is likely to survive his experimentation intact and has the chance to mature and repudiate the false euphoria that the drug offers in return for genuine life enhancing accomplishments. The aging depressed baby boomer risks his body and mind in return for an illusion of youthful power, freedom, and fleeting euphoria. They have chosen to avoid dealing with maturation in favor of a regressive return to the simplicity of drug intoxication. It is terribly sad, harmful to themselves and to their loved ones, and almost always ends in tragedy.
neo-neocon has a terrific post up about the Euston Manifesto--which is one positive sign that some people on the left have not completely lost sight of their liberal--and pro-freedom-- origins.

The super-sized profits at McDonald's are the topic at Dr. Helen's; and she thinks that if you want to take care of your health, you better take some responsibility --whether at McDonald's or Tofu Heaven. This dovetails nicely into what Dr. Bliss at Maggie's Farm is blogging about, as she takes on two economists who claim they can solve the problem of human unhappiness! They wish! Isn't it interesting that many people seem to think that our health and our happiness can only be achieved by government control?

Assistant Village Idiot meanwhile uses something he learned about marital therapy to understand some bloggers' attitudes towards certain presidents in a post titled "Always and Never".

And now, can you guess where we've touched down by this quote?

So the question is, in being inexplicably conceived and burped out of the cosmic voidgin, has time written us a check that eternity cannot cash? Is no body allowed to cross the phoenix line, or may we purchase a luxury corps at pentecost? Is the rend redeemable on our mirromortal garment, or are we nilled to a blank?
That's right! We've arrived at One Cosmos, the home of Gagdad Bob and his alter ego Petey. Bob only takles the BIG issues of life, the universe and everything! But he does it in a joyful style and has a lot of pun fun doing it! On this visit he's writing about "Gresham's Other Law: Bad Monkeys Drive Out Good".

Sigmund, Carl & Alfred versus the environmentalists. It's no match. The three analysts simply overwhelm:

How deeply can one hate oneself? Can we hate ourselves to death?
If you look around the liberal blogosphere and what passes for liberal thought today, we are all going to die soon. Global warming, use of fossil fuels, and depletion of fresh water by humans, are but a few examples of how we are ruining everything, forever. James Howard Kunstler solemnly states that 'this is a much darker time than 1938, the eve of World War II.' Jared Diamond (we wrote about his book, Guns, Germs and Steel) has a new book out, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, in which he places us on the precipice of a total societal collapse. These writers and the media are bombarding us with doomsday scenarios. Oil depletion, global warming, bird flu, are the result of human selfishness, cruelty and moral depravity.
Read the whole piece! Shrinkette is blogging about medical marijuana and how all patients using it seem to attribute side-effects and other problems to something else! Interesting.

Also extremely interesting is a discussion at Not Really A Cowboy about how legless snakes might have evolved from lizards. Cool pictures.

Time to swing around and return to home base!

**NOTE: Blogging will be light-to-non-existant until later tonight; as I'm going to be in a conference all week from the wee hours of the morning until after five pm. I'm going to try to get a post up before I leave each morning (a tribute to my obsessivenss)--but I'm not guaranteeing anything!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A TRAP ?

By now you know about Bin Laden's latest audio propaganda masterpiece; which the news media everywhere gleefully reports has the cave-dweller "denouncing" the west and it's crusade against Islam. And, oh yeah, he's really really upset at the peacekeepers in Darfur and wants jihadis to go there and fight.

DARFUR?

According to Walid Phares atThe Counterterrorism Blog who summarizes the ten main points made in the audiotape; point number three is:
Sudan: The Bashir Government is failing in stopping the Crusader War in Sudan. The Crusaders (Britain) has pushed the southerners (Blacks) to separate. The US has armed them and is supporting them. And now, because of tribal tensions in Darfour, the Crusaders are planning on intervening there. We are calling on the Jihadists to fight them in Darfour and Southern Sudan.


Apparently, there was no mention made of Iraq. Tigerhawk goes on to suggest that Darfur is Bin Laden's little way of "changing the subject."

But, let's not underestimate the guy. He and Zawahiri have been capable of thinking long-range and strategically to achieve their objectives. Instead, let's consider the possibility that by bringing up Darfur, which has practically fallen off the radar of the West by all accounts, even as the slaughter continues there; Bin Laden had a purpose in mind.

Remember, Al Qaeda has a long relationship with Sudan. In 1991, after Bin Laden was expelled from Saudi Arabia, he established headquarters for al-Qaeda in Khartoum, Sudan. It was from here that he took his first actions against American interests; attacking military personnel in Somalia, followed by a number of other terrorist attacks.

In 1994 Sudan—under pressure from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.—expelled bin Laden, who moved his base of operations to Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Afghanistan is lost.

This latest audiotape suggests by its omission of Iraq (which was the centerpiece of Bin Laden's the war on the Crusader two and a half years ago) that the Al Qaeda leader now realizes that Iraq is also lost to him unless he wants to kill lots of fellow Muslims. (NOTE: I give Bin Laden more credit for facing the truth than I give the MSM and the left, who are completely unable to see this reality).

Does Bin Laden expect that Darfur is going to be the next battleground in his jihad against the infidel--or, is he actually hoping that it will? Is this tape, in fact, designed to lure the West to finally taking action in Darfur?

If so, why? What does Bin Laden know about Darfur that we don't; and that makes him think it would be more successful than Iraq has been?

In February, 2006, the UN requested the US:
...to contribute troops to a UN peacekeeping force in Sudan's western Darfur region. The US currently provides logistic support (mostly airlift) to the African Union peacekeeping and monitoring force in Darfur. The European Union, Russia, and to a limited extent China, can provide some airlift, but the US is the only nation with the capability to provide sustained, long-range logistical support to a large force in eastern Chad and western Sudan. By "large force" we mean at least 15,000 to 20,000 troops with supporting helicopters and light armored vehicles.


I don't know the status of that request. But I suspect that Bin Laden is desperate to engage Americans. His entire PR campaign has been losing ground because of Zarqawi's reckless attempts to disrupt Iraq. Zarqawi has certainly been able to kill lots of Muslims and destroy important mosques, but the American death toll has been in decline for some time and Bin Laden knows that if he doesn't kill Americans, then he is in danger of losing his public support--both in the Arab world, and from the anti-American left that supports him.

Is it possible that he has resources (e.g., chemical or biological weapons; and personnel) already established there that have been put into place over the last several years when attention has been focused elsewhere? Is that his ace in the hole with regard to Darfur?

Or, does he see that Darfur would be considered by tpical American sentiments to be a perfect place to intervene militarily as Iraq winds down--a place where we can act out our rescue fantasies and show the world the "do-gooder" qualities that Bin Laden and his ilk consider our weakness?

I'm just asking these questions because it seems psychologically interesting to me that Darfur is centerstage again (quite suddenly from our perspective) in Bin Laden's worldview. I guess what I'm asking is: would we be playing into Bin Laden's gameplan if we intervened in Darfur; i.e., is it a trap?

Austin Bay has more; as does Instapundit.

CARNIVAL OF THE INSANITIES

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Time for the weekly insanity update, where the insane, the bizarre, the ridiculous, and the completely absurd are highlighted for all to see! This has been a week of rare idiocy (as always!). So, if you want to remain sane, the best thing is to poke some fun at the more egregious absurdities.

Send all entries for next week's carnival to Dr. Sanity by 8 pm ET on Saturday for Sunday's Carnival. Only one post entry weekly per blogger, please. Thanks for all the submissions. I try to use as many as possible! SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!!!

1. RX: Take these two music videos, and call me in the morning. They're both really infectious in a good way.

2. What an amazing coincidence! Mary McCarthy looks just like Scooter Libby in this AP Photo! Speaking of the MSM, here's a headline that was on the front-page in red, all-capital letters. No attribution. Just stated as fact. But they regret it, so it's ok. Why ask why? If it doesn't advance the cause of the left, it isn't likely to make headlines.

3. A new meaning for the phrase "stiff competition"! Why do smart companies make dumb decisions?

4. It's like yo Zarks where u at?

5. Faculty politics with the addition of AK-47s and IEDs? Uh oh.

6. Apparently Allah will be upset if jail toilets face Mecca. There's just no pleasing some gods.

7. Be wary of door-to-door doctors... Be wary of these terms

8. It's all Bush's fault! But on the other hand, 50,000 innocent Americans died under Clinton! Where's the outrage?

9. This is all caused by gas? Interesting. This is all caused by foam (and its in my old stomping ground at Ellington Field in the Clear Lake area of Houston)

10. All good economic news is really bad, you see.

11. Communist chic. PC insanity. A peek at the future.

12. Meet the new Press Secretary -- Mr. Stick Figure ! Or, maybe it's this guy ! And, while I'm doing introductions, prepare to welcome your new overlord.

13. No question about it--boys are EVIL ! It's their emotional wiring, I guess. Girls are perfect, I guess. And in this case, the emotional wiring is apparently even better than perfect -- those evil heteronormatives....

14. Which is worse: Tornados ? or Ninjas in the heartland ?

16. Generals who oppose Rumsfeld... And here is the only conclusion that can be logically drawn from the latest words out of the mouth Iran's deranged president. Meanwhile, here's a start on the PC list of saints and sinners in the world.

17. The world's unsexiest man? I think I'd go with John Kerry. At least the duck is funny. Kerry is also bad for your brain.

18. Politics is religion. And that kind of religion is good; but religion religion is bad. Does that answer your question? If you're confused, the subject of this report is always good for a laugh.

19. Do you just love America like he does? Or, like she does?

20. How could we forget this tragic anniversary?

21. Nathan Hale Mary Pass? Football rivalries , spys and a great pun.


Carnival of the Insanities can also be found at The Truth Laid Bear's √úberCarnival and at the BlogCarnival.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Conspiracy Theory Tidbit ***UPDATED***

Here's a tidbit I just discovered for any conspiracy theorists out there. This information just appeared today (and is listed as updated on 4/22/06)in the Wikipedia article on Sandy Berger:
Berged [sic] selected Mary O. McCarthy for a top intelligence position at the National Security Council in the Clinton administration. McCarthy was reportedly fired by the Central Intelligence Agency in April 2006 for leaking classified information to journalists.
For the record, I am not a conspiracy theorist. However there is a pattern slowly emerging with regard to the deliberate undermining of national intelligence and foreign policy since 9/11 that is striking.

I will have more to say about this in the next few weeks.

UPDATE: Mark Levin has some comments:
Well, as of this morning (Saturday) most of the big media don't care. They're fixated with the weather and gas prices — and anything else that will divert the public's attention from the stunning revelation that a Sandy Berger crony has apparently been leaking top-secret information from her high post at the CIA. The media will continue to downplay this story as they cover-up their own role in exposing our nation's secrets, including the supposed existence of CIA prisons in Europe. She'll be called a "whistleblower" and praised as some kind of patriot (a patriot, in the eyes of the media, is anybody who undermines this administration and the war effort by leaking national security secrets to them). They will downplay that McCarthy was a Clintonoid who somehow managed to land a top post at the CIA, ultimately winding up in the CIA's Inspector General's Office, from where she could monitor CIA internal investigations of, well, leaks, among other things.

The news spin, to the extent attention is being paid to this by the big media outlets, is that McCarthy's firing is unprecedented! Or it's Bush's fault! In one of the most absurd comments by any newsman anywhere, Newsbusters.org notes that Bob Schieffer of CBS Evening News asserted that “it is no secret that the current administration does not like its people hanging out with news reporters without permission” and he described the firing as “a first — a dubious first, to be sure.” Here. Is this guy for real?


Let us see if this gets anywhere near the coverage that la affaire Plame generated in the media. It is already being completely discounted and rationalized as nothing serious by the usual dim bulbs that spin left. (AJ Strata has a big round-up). These are the same guys who continue to hyperventilate about Plame.

Both discounting and rationalization are techniques used by those in denial; and which I discuss in my series on dealing with psychological denial.

UPDATE II: Varifrank--who appears to be seeing some of the same connections as I do is asking some excellent questions. Here's a sample but go read them all:
4. How many "dots" are not being "connected" because half of the CIA is sitting in its cubicles frothing at the mouth in hatred over the words "President Bush". How many people have died due to someone elses Bush Derangement Syndrome?

5. At what point does the actions of someone like McCarthy stop being a "Leak" and start being a form of "shadow government"?

6. Its supposed to be the "Central Intelligence Agency", not the "Central Policy Agency". We didnt elect you Dr. McCarthy, you are not "the decider"; its not your call.

7. If a person will violate their security oath for political revenge, what wont they do?

8. What strikes me as most interesting about this case is that it appears that Dr. McCarthy has close working relationships with many people in the "anti-Bush" community and the Democrat party. Is this just a leak, or part of an attempt at a soft "coup"?


UPDATE: III: Hmmmmmm. Does it begin to seem like pieces of a puzzle are falling into place...?

UPDATE IV: UPDATE IV: Ace asks if it might have been McCarthy who sent Wilson to Niger! Gee, I should have named this post: "Mary McCarthy: The Missing Link"....

TALIBANI ELECTED

Good news from Iraq and for Iraq today:
Iraq's parliament elected incumbent President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, for a second term on Saturday as politicians began putting together a national unity government after four months of political deadlock.

Talabani, who has spent most of his life fighting for the cause of the Kurds in northern Iraq, is the first non-Arab president of an Arab country.

"This is the new Iraq. The new Iraq is an Iraq for all," Talabani told the parliament in a brief acceptance speech.

"Iraqi unity is sacred for all, so we should all work to reinforce this national unity."


I hope this is represents the next step in the development of a new Iraq that promotes life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all its people.

For much more, Omar at Iraq the Model has a play by play description of the Iraqi Parliament's activities today.

ALLIED WITH THE TRUTH

Wretchard at The Belmont Club has an excellent round-up of reaction to the CIA firing of Mary McCarthy for leaking classified information to the press. He comments:
Here's the problem as I see it. The leaky and politicized intelligence system has made it difficult to judge the truth value of any proposition. Did the Plame affair damage national security? Did Ms. McCarthy's actions damage national security? Is there someone lying dead in a gutter because somebody talked? The answer to those questions about the intelligence agencies is going to be answered by the intelligence agencies themselves. And so we come full circle to the modern version of the Cretan Paradox: which asserts that when a Cretan says 'all Cretans are liars' all logical roads lead to a contradiction. How then to know the truth about the lies? When intelligence agencies -- and I use that word broadly to encompass the press, which is the civilian intelligence system -- are politicized, then even our knowledge about our knowledge becomes uncertain.


This statement circumspectly approaches what I think is one of the fundamental issues of our time. When our knowledge about what we know becomes corrupted; when reason and logic appear to be inapplicable; when all we are seemingly left with is our emotions or feelings to guide us to "truth"; then "truth" becomes whatever each person or group happens to believe--and thus is not "truth" at all.

Human nature being what it is, there is always a powerful temptation to block out the implications of logic and reason when those implications force you to confront something unpleasant about your own beliefs. Any evidence that threatens those beliefs will simply be erased from one's knowledge base in favor of continuing to cling to the belief system. Dostoevsky wrote once in a letter that, "If anyone had written to me that the truth was outside of Christ, I would rather remain with Christ than with the truth."

And he basically summarizes the fundamental position of many people committed to secular, as well as traditional belief systems. As more and more sophisticated epistemological strategies for attacking reason, logic, truth and reality, are developed on the political left; we all find ourselves in a never-ending spiral of distortions, lies, betrayals, and escalating emotions.

Gagdad Bob wrote something the other day that I think relates to this issue:
I remember studying the psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg in graduate school, who is an extraordinarily lucid and deep thinker. A woman in class commented that he seemed rather cold, harsh and judgmental in discussing psychopathology. The brilliant Dr. Panajian was somewhat taken aback. How can truth be anything but compassionate? Truth precedes the good. Compassion is "doing the truth."

No, this does not mean that you clobber the patient over the head with it, with “sadistic interpretations.” Nevertheless, one of the enduring lessons I learned from Dr. Panajian is that in therapy you must always ally yourself with the epistemophilic part of the patient that deeply wishes to know the truth. For we have a healthy and uncorrupted part of our soul that yearns for truth, but other nocturnal parts that wish to deny it because they live by night.

A "good" (not in the moral sense) patient is someone who is so hungry for truth that they are able to tolerate its catastrophic impact without taking it out on the messenger. For others, it may take years of spadework to allow the truth to seep in. For them, unvarnished truth is not compassionate. But neither is allowing the Lie to stand, so it's a delicate balance.


As a therapist, I often conceptualize what I do in exactly this way. I see myself as allied with the truth in general; and with the truth-seeking part of each patient in particular. Patients may indeed need validation of their feelings; but even more than that, they need to be able to objectively evaluate reality and see the truth--no matter what they may be feeling. In other words, showing empathy for a patient's plight and acknowledging their feelings about their situation may provide them with transient validation and be helpful in establishing a good short-term relatinship with them; but if you are not also "doing the truth",then you are not going to help their lives improve in the long-run.

Compassion is not sitting around, crying and hugging them as they avoid the truth; it is bringing them to that truth, and standing with them in all their pain as they confront it.

Sometimes all you can do is ally yourself with the truth, and make a committment to uncover it, no matter what unpleasantness it leads to.

There are some serious betrayals of all that this country stands for going on right now. The body politic is confused and hurt and does not know where to turn or who to believe. They are being manipulated by those they trusted to bring them the truth; and instead have brought them postmodern rhetoric and a never ending circle of paradoxical accusations and hysteria.

In order to return to psychological health, the lies and distortions that support and encourage these betrayals need to be confronted and exposed and a committment to reality and the truth reaffirmed.