Tag: Psychology

Holy Shit! He’s Launching the Orbital Laser Satellites!

I am referring to Elon Musk, who is in the process of adding lasers to his massive StarLink internet satellite constellation.

I understand thatthe official line is that this a technology that involves communications capability, and no ability to do damage, but he would say that, wouldn’t he

Let’s look at the check list:

  • Trace of a vaguely German accent
  • Eccentric megalomaniac
  • Massive wealth
  • Space lasers
  • Expensive cars
  • Legions of fanatical followers
  • White Persian cat

For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, hide the Persian Cats!!!!

Of course, I know that the added lasers are to facilitate satellite to satellite communications, and that they are not a part of any weapons system ……… Yet.

But you have to admit that the Bond Villain aspects of Musk’s life are striking.

Who Knew that Minnesota Nice Meant, “Choking on Passive Aggressive Rage?”

Congratulations @PeteButtigieg! From roads to rail, there is so much to be done and I’m looking forward to working with you! I know you will bring both your big ideas & your local government experience to the job. John & I look forward to welcoming you & Chasten to Washington.

— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) December 15, 2020

Now this is an award worthy sub-tweet. 

I am amused.  It’s both a well deserved take-down, deeply nasty, and does not involve chucking office supplies at subordinates.

As I dislike both the author of the tweet and its subject intensely, I am simply amused.

Quote of the Day

While I’m thinking about the psychology of people, it has occurred to me that there is a generation of people in DC (politics, media, associated) who were youngish and had their peak formative moment when they helped to kill a million people in Iraq. What a high that must have been (those of us who paid a lot of attention then know just how high out of their gourds they all were on their righteous crusade).

Imagine being 25 and convincing yourself that you saved the world by helping to blow the shit out of so many people. Habit forming high.

Those chemicals start hitting their brains again every time the opportunity to blow up some other country presents itself.

Every “humanitarian intervention” is just another big line of coke.


This is the most coherent explanation of what drives the “Liberal Interventionist“.

They do this, despite always failing, because it gets their rocks off.

It’s a twisted juxtaposition of a psychotic need for a dopamine rush, and careerism.

The Affluenza Defense

In the latest twist in the fraud case against disgraced former head of Theranos Elizabeth Holmes, it appears that she is bringing in a high priced psychologist in an attempt to get out from under the charges against her.

This is pretty clearly an Affluenza defense, “I’m to young, too pretty, and too white to go to jail.”

She has a right to this defense, but the judge has made what is a routine ruling, that the prosecution has the right to conduct a psychological examination as well, and that they can tape her sessions, and if the prosecution is not playing to lose, a big if will a well connected white defendant, then they should be able blow this defense out of the water.

Holmes spending at least 5 years, and better yet a decade, behind bars is the singles best thing that should ever do for society:  Be an abject lesson to others who would rely on privilege to defraud people:

Elizabeth Holmes—the disgraced founder and ex-CEO of the now-defunct blood-testing startup, Theranos—may use a mental condition as a defense against a slew of federal fraud charges, according to a court document filed this week. Holmes and Theranos’ former president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani were charged in June 2018 with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Federal prosecutors allege the pair—who were romantically involved during the alleged crimes—engaged in conspiracy to defraud Theranos investors out of more than $100 million and defraud doctors and patients into falsely believing the company’s faulty blood-testing technology could reliably perform accurate health tests with just drops of blood from a finger-prick.

According to the court document filed this week, Holmes—who is now being tried separately from Balwani—notified the court last December that she plans to submit “expert evidence relating to a mental disease or defect or any other mental condition” that has bearing on the issue of guilt. The expert providing such evidence was named in the document as psychologist Mindy Mechanic, of California State University, Fullerton.

According to Mechanic’s faculty website, she focuses on “psychosocial consequences of violence, trauma, and victimization with an emphasis on violence against women and other forms of interpersonal violence.” The site also notes that Mechanic “frequently provides expert testimony in complex legal cases involving interpersonal violence.”

The strategy here is clear, her legal team will assert that her former business partner, and former personal partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani is a darkly complected man of South Asian extraction, who worked some sort of “Voodoo” over an innocent white girl, and made her defraud stupid rich folks.


In response to Holmes’ plans to provide mental health evidence, federal prosecutors requested that they should also be able to examine Holmes’ mental state and provide their own psychiatric evidence in court as a fair rebuttal.

The judge in the case, US District Judge Edward Davila of the Northern District of California, agreed with the prosecutors. As such, he ordered Holmes to undergo up to 14 hours of psychological testing and psychiatric evaluation by two government-appointed doctors over the course of two consecutive days. Davila also ordered that the government’s evaluation of Holmes be recorded on video—over Holmes’ objections. 

It’s nice that the judge made this ruling, and I really hope that the prosecution is serious about calling bullsh%$ on this strategy.

Don’t Accentuate the Positive

Ian Welsh makes a valid point, that there are times when negative emotions, even hate, are appropriate to the circumstances, and exhortations to eschew hate are self destructive:

There are no human emotions which are always bad. Every emotion is useful in certain circumstances. Emotions are bad when they provide incorrect guidance or they hijack you.


That said, even an emotion like hate has utility, if it’s correctly pointed. People like the person below have a problem.


Hate exists to tell you when someone is a threat, and you should do something about it. It often is hijacked, as with Americans thinking that foreign leaders like Putin are the primary threat, when it’s their own leaders who kill and impoverish them. When hate operates correctly, it points at actual threats.


Trump’s actually dangerous to a lot of people, and hating him is an appropriate emotion. Being consumed by it isn’t, but wishing that Trump would die of natural causes is entirely reasonable. (Granted, Pence might be worse, but you can hate him too.)

Emotions have purposes. Hate is meant to tell you who is a threat. Anger is meant to tell you that someone is doing something they really shouldn’t be doing. (This is one reason why, in spiritual communities which say one should never be angry, abusers manage to get away with abusing for a long, long time.) Jealousy tells you you’re falling behind and not living up to your potential.


Anyway, the main problem with hate and anger is that they are easily hijacked and hook onto targets who aren’t actually dangerous, but merely “foreign.” As with the companion feeling of loyalty, most of modern “leadership” is hijacking tribal emotions and pointing them in the wrong direction. Loyalty to Biden or Trump (both evil men who have done, and will do, horrible things) is insane unless you’re directly part of the gravy train.

We humans have very badly f%$#ed up our emotional guidance systems. They’re supposed to point you towards what’s good for you and warn you about what’s bad for you. Trump is bad for almost everyone, and so is Biden. So are most Democratic and Republican politicians, almost all CEOs of major companies, and so on and so forth.

So go ahead and hate them, just don’t let it be chronic or hijack your ability to make decisions. It’s definitely appropriate.

The people who are dangerous to you and who have, over 40 years, impoverished Americans, are your own leaders. Hate threats, they are a threat.

(%$# mine)

People who say that you should not hate are wrong.

You should watch yourself and make sure that your hate does not make you stupid.

Kanye Has Left the Building

Rapper, and celebrity nut job, Kanye West has ended his presidential run:

On July 4, Kanye West tweeted that he was running for president. It was treated as one of his typical grandiloquent pronouncements. The tweet sparked a lot of opinion pieces, cable news segments, and even a question in an Oval Office interview with Donald Trump. But most people brushed it off. In a follow-up interview with Forbes, West pledged, if elected, to run the White House like the nation of Wakanda from Black Panther. That remark seemed to reinforce the notion that this was just a lark. After all, West had previously compared himself to figures varying from God to Willy Wonka without attempting to establish the Kingdom of Heaven or manufacture an Everlasting Gobstopper.


On the morning of July 9, TMZ reported that West’s family was concerned that the billionaire rapper was suffering a bipolar episode based on his presidential aspirations. The well-sourced tabloid website added “our sources say his family and those close to him are worried, but they believe things will stabilize as they have in the past.”


Later that day, I talked to Steve Kramer. He is a get-out-the-vote specialist who runs a firm that also helps candidates get on the ballot. Kramer, who has worked mostly for Democratic candidates but has also had some Republican clients, told me that he had been hired to help West get on the ballot in Florida and South Carolina. He added that his understanding was that West’s team was “working over weekend there, formalizing the FEC and other things that they’ve got to do when you have a lot of corporate lawyers involved.”


This all seemed real enough, and I reached out to West’s publicist for a response. The initial response was to loop in another spokesperson on the email. West’s team then went dark. As I waited for a response, I followed up with Kramer who told me, “He’s out.”

I asked what happened. “I’ll let you know what I know once I get all our stuff canceled. We had over 180 people out there today,” Kramer said.

Is Vermin Supreme running this year?

He Is Turning into a Bond Villain

It’s increasingly clear that Elon Musk is a few bricks short of a load.

Between smoking weed on camera, tweeting out false buyout rumors, the whole submarine pedo libel thing, it’s clear that a guy who made his money by skirting a bank regulations it’s clear that he’s not what one would call a “Very Stable Genius.”

In the latest case Elon Musk launched into a diatribe against Covid-19 isolation measures at an Earnings Call.

This guy has been surrounded by toadies reassuring him of his special genius for years:

Elon Musk unleashed a diatribe against shelter-in-place orders, describing the public health measures intended to stem the spread of coronavirus as “fascist”, during an earnings call on Wednesday.

“This is not democratic,” he said of the orders, which he falsely characterized as stipulating that anyone who leaves home would be arrested. “This is not freedom – give people back their goddamn freedom.”

Musk’s rant came despite a relatively good earnings report for Tesla, in which the company beat analysts’ estimates for first-quarter revenue on Wednesday. It posted its third straight quarterly profit after recording a solid number of deliveries during the period, despite disruptions due to the pandemic.

Earlier on the call, Musk specifically cited the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order, which has prevented his factory in Fremont, California, from opening, as a concern.

He thinks that he’s a genius because he got rich through connections and luck.

This guy is a nut.

Not Enough Bullets

The masters of the world in Silicon Valley, as always, think that they are excused from the rules that us mere mortals have to follow.

In this case, they are ignoring the rules of basic biology, because they believe that they can disrupt their way out of a pandemic:

Michael Saylor does not often send all-staff emails to the more than 2,000 employees at Microstrategy, a business intelligence firm headquartered in Tysons Corner, Virginia. So the chief executive’s 3,000-word missive on Monday afternoon with the subject line My Thoughts on Covid-19 got his employees’ attention.

“It is soul-stealing and debilliating [sic] to embrace the notion of social distancing & economic hibernation,” Saylor wrote in an impassioned argument against adopting the aggressive responses to the coronavirus pandemic that public health authorities are advising. “If we wish to maintain our productivity, we need to continue working in [our] offices.”

As companies around the world adjust to the reality of the coronavirus pandemic, including by allowing their employees to work from home in compliance with the national guidelines of many governments, some executives are attempting to continue doing business as usual. The trend is notable in the tech industry, where computer-based work can generally be performed from anywhere, but where the culture has often rewarded innovative and “disruptive” leaders who buck conventional wisdom.

Saylor argued that the “economic damage” of social distancing and quarantines was greater than “the theoretical benefit of slowing down a virus” and suggested that it would make more sense to “quarantine the 40 million elderly retired, immune compromised people who no longer need to work or get educated”.


Elon Musk, billionaire chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, prompted considerable consternation when he tweeted, “The coronavirus panic is dumb” to his 32.3 million followers on 6 March. Despite widespread criticism of his message, which flew in the face of public health efforts to convince the general population to take the spread of the virus seriously, Musk has continued to downplay the threat.

“As a basis for comparison, the risk of death from C19 is *vastly* less than the risk of death from driving your car home,” Musk wrote in an email to SpaceX employees, according to BuzzFeed News. “There are about 36 thousand automotive deaths per deaths [sic], as compared to 36 so far this year for C19.”

On Tuesday, thousands of factory workers at Tesla’s plant in the San Francisco Bay area reported to work, despite a “shelter-in-place” order that was supposed to shutter all “non-essential” businesses. Musk told factory employees to stay home “if you feel the slightest bit ill or even uncomfortable”, the Los Angeles Times reported. By Tuesday afternoon, the local sheriff’s office announced that Tesla was not an essential business and could only maintain “minimum basic operations”.  (As an aside here, Musk will get a multi BILLION dollar payoff in the next few months if he manages to juice the stock price sufficiently)


Another billionaire, venture capitalist Tim Draper, tweeted on 14 March, “The fear is far worse than the virus. The governments have it wrong. Stay open for business. If not, so many more people will die from a crashing economy than from this virus.” 

The masters of the universe believe that their personal gains outweigh the health of the rest of society, because they are a bunch or nasty-ass psychopaths.

And Now, the Panic

Despite the fact that there will be a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) on Tuesday, the Federal Reserve slashed short term interest rates to 0% this afternoon.

Needless to say, this is not the the action of people who are keeping their sh%$ together:

The Federal Reserve announced on Sunday it would drop interest rates to zero and buy at least $700 billion in government and mortgage-related bonds as part of a wide-ranging emergency action to protect the economy from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The moves, the most dramatic by the U.S. central bank since the 2008 financial crisis, are aimed at keeping financial markets stable and making borrowing costs as low as possible as businesses around the country close and the U.S. economy hurtles toward recession.

The Fed, led by Chair Jerome H. Powell, effectively cut its benchmark by a full percentage point to zero. The benchmark U.S. interest rate is now in a range of 0 to 0.25 percent, down from a range of 1 to 1.25 percent.

In addition to rate cuts, the Fed announced it is restarting the crisis-era program of bond purchases known as “quantitative easing,” in which the central bank buys hundreds of billions of dollars in bonds to further push down rates and keep markets flowing freely. The Fed is also giving more-generous loans to banks around the country so they can turn around and offer loans to small businesses and families in need of a lifeline.

I’m not sure why the fact that the Fed is panicking is supposed to reassure markets.

Why You Don’t Hire or Promote Torturers

The CIA torture fetishists are not realists, nor do they show competence or perspective.  Rather, they spend their lives trying to force the world to comply with their own paranoid and twisted version of reality. (Paraphrasing from an online post, whose sourc I cannot find)

Appearing on a video screen was Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director, who was monitoring the crisis from the agency’s headquarters in Northern Virginia. In the days before General Suleimani’s death, Ms. Haspel had advised Mr. Trump that the threat the Iranian general presented was greater than the threat of Iran’s response if he was killed, according to current and former American officials. Indeed, Ms. Haspel had predicted the most likely response would be a missile strike from Iran to bases where American troops were deployed, the very situation that appeared to be playing out on Tuesday afternoon.

Though Ms. Haspel took no formal position about whether to kill General Suleimani, officials who listened to her analysis came away with the clear view that the C.I.A. believed that killing him would improve — not weaken — security in the Middle East.

This is why Obama should have jailed CIA torturers instead of promoting them.

Sadism Works as an Explanation

Specifically, they derive pleasure from the misery of “the other” that they have deemed unworthy:

I understand why it’s hard for normal people to believe that white evangelical Christians are sadists. Normal people have never been, as I was a long time ago, on the inside of that shadowy religious world. But the sooner they understand this, the sooner normal people will see that white evangelical Christian support for Donald Trump isn’t rooted in hypocrisy, contradiction or merely straying from the straight and narrow. The reason they support a fascist president is simple: They’re sadists.

The word “sadist” is off-putting. I get that. But if you’re thinking of sex, you’re thinking in the wrong way. If you’re thinking of “pleasure,” as in sexual pleasure, you’re thinking the wrong way. The pleasure white evangelical Christians derive from the suffering of human beings deemed less human than they are is not about sex. It’s about the pain, humiliation or even violence out-groups deserve by dint of being out-groups. Gay men, for instance, deserve their punishment because they are gay. Punishment for being gay is “divine justice.” From such “justice” comes pleasure—which is sadism.

I didn’t come up with the term. Richard Rorty did. I’m only pushing it as far to the fore as I can, because I don’t think normal people understand what they are facing, and if they don’t understand, they will keep treating sadists as if they have a legitimate place in a liberal democracy. Cruelty is the point, as Adam Serwer powerfully and famously put it in The Atlantic. But normal people must understand the animating force behind that cruelty. Sadists are sadistic not because they are cruel. It’s much simpler than that. They are cruel because being cruel to people deserving cruelty feels good.

I’m still considering the arguments, but the thesis is consistent with the actual observed events, and appears to have a significant predictive properties, which puts it a step above string theory.

Stephen King is a Portrait of Dorian Gray

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) sparked a new uproar Wednesday after making incendiary comments about rape and incest, with Democrats — including multiple presidential candidates — rushing to condemn the controversial lawmaker.

King made the remarks while speaking to the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, on Wednesday, where he sought to defend anti-abortion legislation with no rape or incest exceptions. “What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” the lawmaker said.

“Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that,” he added.

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.) tore into the Iowa Republican, suggesting his past and recent remarks made him unfit for Congress.

“As I’ve said before, it’s time for him to go. The people of Iowa’s 4th congressional district deserve better,” Cheney said.

Republicans are not outraged because the statement is outrageous, they are terrified that King’s comments reveal their true inner selves.

Stephen King is the mirror that they cannot bear to see.

Kim Jong-un Isn’t Crazy, Just Evil

When allegations that DPRK leader Kim Jong-un had his half brother, Kim Jong-nam, murdered in a Malaysian airport, first surfaced, the general response was to assume that the Kims are just crazy.

After all, what possible reason could he have to whack his own flesh and blood?

Well, if said half-brother is a CIA asset,  which technically means that he is working with people trying to overthrow you, it’s a reason.

In fact killing an exiled relative who is trying to overthrow you has a lot of historical precedent.

It doesn’t meant that Kim Jong-un isn’t a nasty piece of work, but it does mean that he is sane, which is reassuring, because a rational adversary is more predictable.

This is Pathological

One of the people on Trump’s short list for “Immigration Czar” is Kris Kobach.

The New York Times has gotten its hands on his demands in order to accept position, and, Even by the Standards of the Trump Administration, he has shown himself to be a psychopathic narcissist:

Access to a government jet 24 hours a day. An office in the West Wing, plus guaranteed weekends off for family time. And an assurance of being made secretary of homeland security by November.

Those were among a list of 10 conditions that Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, has given to the White House if he is to become the administration’s “immigration czar,” a job President Trump has been looking to create to coordinate immigration policy across government agencies. The list was described by three people familiar with it.

The list was submitted by Mr. Kobach in recent weeks as he discussed his interest in the job. Other conditions included having a staff of seven reporting to him, “walk in” privileges to the Oval Office, a security detail if deemed necessary and the title of assistant to the president.

He would need access to the jet, he said, for weekly visits to the border and travel back to Kansas on the weekends. The existence of the list has become known among officials in the Trump administration, some of whom were taken aback by what they regard as its presumptuousness.

(emphasis mine)

Seriously, there is something deeply and profoundly wrong with this guy.

This is F%$#ed Up and SH%$

Steve Schmidt, part of the team that gave the world Sarah Palin, was on the Words Matter podcast, and stormed off in anger after being challenged for his support of coffee billionaire Howard Schultz.

The twist to this story is that Steve Schmidt is the one of the founders the Words Matter podcast, so he walked off his OWN PODCAST.

What a lame ass punk:

Anti-Trump strategist and pundit Steve Schmidt is feeling the heat from all sides since his client, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, announced on 60 Minutes that he might run for president as an independent. The reaction from Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans was overwhelmingly negative, putting Schmidt on the defensive and costing him his MSNBC punditry perch as long as he is advising Schultz on entering the race in 2020.

Anybody who has watched Schmidt on MSNBC, or saw the portrayal of him in the 2012 HBO movie Game Change, knows that he operates on a pretty short fuse. Just how short, his two longtime friends and podcast partners, Adam Levine and Elise Jordan, found out when they sat down last Tuesday to interview him on their show Words Matter about Schultz’ just announced potential presidential bid and Schmidt’s role as the chief adviser to the Starbucks founder in it.

Jordan, an alum of the George W. Bush White House and the Rand Paul presidential campaign, outlined the ground rules that everything would be on the record, and that Schmidt would be treated no differently than any other guest even though he was a founder of Words Matter, along with Jordan and Levine, another Bush veteran and media pro who’d worked with NBC superstar Tim Russert. Things were tense. Schmidt had said that he wouldn’t be involved in any presidential campaign, but that he would be leading a 501c4 dedicated to building a third party movement funded by Schultz, “movement” being the key word in their mind. He gave no heads-up to Jordan and Levine about Schultz’s announcement.

Schmidt railed at having to defend himself on his podcast with a stream of curses a source present in the studio said consumed six minutes. Told that listeners were castigating him for joining an effort that could help re-elect President Trump and that he owed them answers, Schmidt finally settled down enough to take about 30 minutes to answer questions from Jordan, normally his co-host, and Levine, the executive producer.


That prompts Levine to ask the question that evidently hits a nerve. “Will Derek Jeter or another athlete not hit another home run because they’re going to get taxed at 70? What’s the economic behavior that he thinks is anti-growth, other than his own pocket?”

“This is bullshit,” Schmidt exclaims. “I’m not doing this.”

“Steve, you’ve got to answer the questions,” Levine says.

“I’m not,” and with that Schmidt slams down his headset and abruptly ends the interview. He threatened legal action against the studio if the interview airs, according to a source involved in the discussion. When his legal threat failed, he offered to buy the recording, according to the source. The studio refused.

This man is a candy-ass  pissant, but he gave us Sarah Palin, so this is no surprise.

If It’s Too Dicey for a Literal Vampire………

Elon Musk’s self dealing between SpaceX and the Boring Company has alarmed even actual vampire,* and psychopath, Peter Thiel.

He is aggressively using SpaceX resources on his next big thing:

Elon Musk’s tunnel-digging venture, the Boring Co., is being pulled into the billionaire entrepreneur’s controversial practice of spreading overlapping assets across his disparate technology firms.

On Tuesday, the Tesla Inc. TSLA -3.27% chief is set to unveil a test tunnel developed by the Boring Co., the first of what Mr. Musk imagines as a futuristic series of high-speed underground highways to alleviate traffic.

The entrance of the two-mile-long Boring test tunnel is being constructed in Hawthorne, Calif., at the headquarters of another Musk-controlled company, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., partly by SpaceX employees using equipment purchased with SpaceX funds, people familiar with the matter said.

The arrangement alarmed some longtime investors in SpaceX, including its largest outside backer, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, some of the people said. The investors learned in recent months that despite the diversion of SpaceX resources and staffing to the fledgling Boring startup, it was Mr. Musk who was in line to receive almost all of any future profits, these people said.

The investors questioned SpaceX about why their investment dollars into a company ostensibly devoted to launching satellites and carrying humans to Mars were instead partly used to start a separate company that principally benefited Mr. Musk. When the Boring Co. was earlier this year spun into its own firm, more than 90% of the equity went to Mr. Musk and the rest to early employees, the company has said.


The SpaceX board never voted on devoting resources to Mr. Musk’s new venture.


The Boring Co.’s unusual inception is illustrative of how Mr. Musk defies the conventions of traditional corporate chieftains and sometimes supports his business empire by shuffling finances between companies.

“Defies the conventions of traditional corporate chieftains,” huh?

I think that technical term, of course, is fraud and embezzlement.

ToMAYto/ToMAHto, whatever, I guess, because these days, the motto is, “Let Bond Villains be Bond Villains.”

Listen to the cat, listen to the cat.

*I do mean this characterization of Thiel literally.  He is literally a vampire who wants to use the blood of the young to extend his lifespan.