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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

50 Days in Office:I am Scared and Angry

The mind of an empty nester is really quite fascinating. This morning, I am flipping between the joy of having 4 freshman college students visiting for spring break and the frustration of having a pathological narcissist serving as our President. But wait, shouldn't it be the other way around?...shouldn't the girls be frustrating me by acting wild, demanding and self-centered and the President acting prudent, responsibly and not spending my future grand kids money so freely? My world seems upside down or maybe, sideways.

Yesterday, my daughter and her friends invited me to tag-along on a visit to the town of Sedona. I love Sedona and always welcome showing this spectacular place with out-of-town guests. (Pictures to follow later on today...every one's still sleeping to grab their cameras and share the pictures) If America's youth is anything like this group of girls, then this country has absolutely nothing to worry about. They are:


These attributes may be due to excellent parenting. But they are also:

Good schooling, perhaps. I would like to think that they represent the majority of youth today. You know....the ones we never hear about on the news or on TV reality shows.

On the other hand, I read an email this morning discussing the findings from Sam Vaknin a psychologist who is one of the leading experts on narcissism (and author of 'Malignant Self Love'). He describes President Obama this way:

"I must confess I was impressed by Sen.Barack Obama from the first time I saw him. At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident - a wholesome presidential package. I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor that was unsettling. His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words. Obama's speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history. Never a politician in this land had such quasi "religious" impact on so many people. The fact that Obama is a total incognito with zero accomplishment, makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming. Obama is not an ordinary man. He is not a genius. In fact he is quite ignorant on most important subjects." ......."Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist." ....."or he may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)".

The email explains, 'When you are a victim of a cult of personality, you don't know it until it is too late. One determining factor in the development of NPD is childhood abuse'. "Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations," says Vaknin. "Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia, a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white)grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995".

Then it goes on to say, 'One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and do not deserve their attention........If an issue raised in the Senate does not help Obama in one way or another, he has no interest in it. The "present" vote is a safe vote. No one can criticize him if things go wrong. Those issues are unworthy by their very nature because they are not about him'.

To further ruin my day, it said, 'Narcissists are often callous and even ruthless. As the norm, they lack conscience. This is evident from Obama's lack of interest in his own brother who lives on only one dollar per month.....A man who lives in luxury, who takes a private jet to vacation in Hawaii, and who has raised nearly half a billion dollars for his campaign (something unprecedented in history) has no interest in the plight of his own brother. Why? Because, his brother cannot be used for his ascent to power.........A narcissist cares for no one but himself. This election is like no other in the history of America. The issues are insignificant compared to what is at stake. What can be more dangerous than having a man bereft of conscience, a serial liar, and one who cannot distinguish his fantasies from reality as the leader of the free world? I hate to sound alarmist, but one is a fool if one is not alarmed. Many politicians are narcissists. They pose no threat to others...They are simply self serving and selfish........Obama evidences symptoms of pathological narcissism, which is different from the run-of-the-mill narcissism of a Richard Nixon or a Bill Clinton for example. To him reality and fantasy are intertwined. This is a mental health issue, not just a character flaw. Pathological narcissists are dangerous because they look normal and even intelligent. It is this disguise that makes them treacherous......There is no insanity greater than electing a pathological narcissist as president'.

His head is not in the right place, if you ask me. No telling where his heart is. I want to believe that he truly wants to help this country and simply has a different approach than I would use. But old mind wanders back to the college girls......

Our youth deserves better than we are setting them up for with these massive spending bills and slow-growth proposals. Whether it all gets passed by the stalwarts in Congress, we had better make it up to these kids some day in the future. Simply put, they deserve better.

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Blogger The News Writer said...

I don't think I'd take the word of a self-promoter and self-described narcissist who says on his own Web site that he is not a mental health professional and only a qualified mental health professional can make a diagnosis of NPD and who has never met Barack Obama on the president's mental state.

Be patient. These are very different times than any we've been through before. What we know is that the policies of the past 30 years got us here -- we've got to be bold, probably far bolder than we're being now, to change it.

March 10, 2009 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger beth said...

News Writer: I will try to be more patient and takes Sam's words with a grain of salt, but the policies of the past 30 years brought us great wealth, prosperity and happiness and 1982 felt much worse than today; it was just less publicized by the media back then.

March 10, 2009 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger The News Writer said...

Ah, but the policies of the last 30 years didn't bring everyone great wealth -- just those who were willing to bend the rules to get there. Or to borrow themselves into oblivion. Or those who were already on their way. The rest of us -- and that's an awful lot of people -- have fallen farther behind with every year.

The spread between CEO salaries and hourly worker pay, for example, jumped from 42 to 1 in 1980 to 310 to 1 in just 18 years. Estimates are that it's more than 500 to 1 now. And that’s significantly higher than other developed countries.

Same goes for prosperity and happiness. It wasn't all happy-happy-joy-joy, which my memories of those years say is indeed how the media portrayed it. I remember trying to do stories about potential pitfalls of the new economic policies and being turned down emphatically -- stories that today have come true.

This is far worse than 1982, and I suspect it's probably worse than the 1930s, although in some very distinct ways. If it were the same, the infrastructure would already be in place -- at least the parts of it that haven't been taken down in the last 30 years -- to help us get out of it.

No, I'm afraid most of this is very new. We've never had a situation in which the bankers so completely let greed run their business -- and had politicians colluding with them to make it all possible.

Look at the rise in foreclosures. Sure, an awful lot of them are from folks who never should have been in the loans they're in. But they bought the line of the last 30 years that Americans can have whatever they want (and pay for it later). Add in a healthy portion of unscrupulous brokers and bankers looking to make extra dough, and that's how you get a fully baked crisis.

Other people were just fine in their loans. Until the housing bubble burst and their houses lost value. And the economy started sliding and they lost their jobs. And then they were diagnosed with cancer or were hurt when they fell from a ladder while doing home repairs -- and now didn't have insurance to cover it.

Some people haven't lose their jobs but ran into trouble when they got sick or injured and didn't have enough insurance to make sure they didn't sink.

And there are millions of people who are just one catastrophic illness away from bankruptcy. Medical bills, by the way, are the most common reason for people filing bankruptcy.

And all of this -- all of it -- is what happens when your economic policy is to make it possible for some people to make billions while ignoring other people who lack the resources to do the same.

And that's not about "socialism" or "communism" or "redistributing the wealth" or anything else that gets tossed about to obfuscate the real issues.

The truth is that some people in America are economically disadvantaged due to no fault of their own. It just isn't true anymore -- if it ever was -- that anyone could do anything here. I think it probably was more possible a century or more ago, when life itself was much more simple, we had a significantly smaller population and corporations hadn't been encouraged to close up manufacturing in this country and set it up overseas where it's cheaper and they didn't have to consider things like child labor laws, environmental laws and other labor issues. That, too, is a product of the last 30 years.

But these are very, very different times. Technologically different, job market different, family structure different. The extended families that once took care of each other don't exist anymore -- and can't, given how our entire way of life has long ago left the agrarian realm and moved into the world of rents and utilities and mortgages and such.

And those "good old days" weren't all that good either -- long hours, little pay, still struggling to get by. Dental care? Forget it. Preventative care? No way. College education? Don't count on it.

For a while, it looked as if things were changing. Then came the 80s, me first decade. The natural progression led us to where we are now.

This is a monumental mess. It's going to take a while to turn around, and it's probably going to take some trial and error to find out what will work. What won't work, though, is what's been going on for the last three decades. Which is why I cringed so badly about the bank bailout stuff -- it didn't work, at least I didn't think so. Warren Buffet says it did, actually, and staved off a complete financial system collapse. If that's really the case, then I imagine if AIG and Merrill Lynch and the others hadn't squandered away their part of the bailout on frivolous nonsense -- if our government had been paying attention -- then maybe we'd be in better shape now.

So maybe a bailout with all hands on deck will work. But there needs to be some changes here.

Like what David Sirota said -- if it's too big to fail, it's too big to be in private hands.

Sorry, Beth. I think I've gotten carried away. But nice place you've got here.

March 10, 2009 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

I'm still part of his cult following, sorry! ;) Have fun with the spring breakers and try not to get too wild.

March 10, 2009 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Raf said...

oh dear, beth. I find this whole thing to be extremely worrying. I was a fan of obama, without knowing anything at all about him or his policies (sorry hehe) but simply because of his youth-targeted campaign and the fact that so many young hollywood celebs that i loved were campaigning for him. And also because he was black and that seemed monumental somehow. I know, i'm really digging a hole for myself hehe. But now, i just feel fooled. =(

March 11, 2009 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Michele Renee said...

Thanks for posting this. I am going to read it with my husband.
LOL, my word verification is: sanism

March 12, 2009 at 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

well mom, fortunately most of these attributes you have listed are ones ive gained from just being your daughter.

March 12, 2009 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Margo said...

Good for you taking a stand! I'm still in the wait and see mode with Obama. Some of what he has said and then done, or not done is quite disturbing.

On the other hand, that Sam Varkin guy is extreme, and not an expert. There are varying degrees of NPD, I believe, and all who have it aren't evil. Also, many presidents and leaders have narcissistic tendencies without having the recently coined "disorder".

I personally don't think great wealth only came to those who bent the rules. We only hear about the bad ones. In every society that is based in capitalism, there will be some incredibly wealthy people. Last I checked, this doesn't make them by definition bad. Without successful businesses, there are no good jobs. Government isn't the answer. Money isn't going to start growing on trees, no matter how much we keep printing. We've had all kinds of policies both good and bad over the past 30 years.

Granted, oversight is a huge problem in the banking industry and a lot of that falls directly in W.'s lap. But on the other hand I doubt anyone will argue that the welfare system started under Lyndon Johnson was anything but a massive failure. That that the two G. Bush's and Reagan caused all of this is a rhetorical fallacy. No one president or party is to blame. Obama didn't win by a landslide... there are a lot of moderate folks out there who aren't either far right or far left. Just wanted to bring another point of view to the discussion! provocative post!

March 16, 2009 at 5:25 PM  

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