24 June 2018

Snakes In Suits - Psychopaths and Cunning Predators in Positions of Power

“They often make use of the fact that for many people the content of the message is less important than the way it is delivered.

A confident, aggressive delivery style - often larded with jargon, clichés, and flowery phrases - makes up for the lack of substance and sincerity in their interactions with others ... they are masters of impression management; their insight into the psyche of others combined with a superficial - but convincing - verbal fluency allows them to change their personas skillfully as it suits the situation and their game plan.

They are known for their ability to don many masks, change 'who they are' depending upon the person with whom they are interacting, and make themselves appear likable to their intended victim.

Psychopathic workers very often were identified as the source of departmental conflicts, in many cases, purposely setting people up in conflict with each other.  The most debilitating characteristic of even the most well-behaved psychopath is the inability to form a workable team."

Paul Babiak and Robert Hare, Snakes in Suits

First, let me say that I am aware of the recent paper that seeks to 'measure' the level of psychopathy in various cities and put forward a list.   I read it, and found the methodology used to be wanting in anything like objective rigor.

I also have a bias against specifically diagnosing individuals or groups at a distance, especially by using anecdotes and non-quantified impressions, which are often just selective experience and bias.

This can be 'fun' to read and share, especially when they are used to confirm popular cultural or group bias.  And there is rarely a lack of people who are willing to engage in such faux analysis for paychecks or clicks.

I am also not hinting around that Trumpolini or any other particular popular figure is a psychopath.  It might be feasible to spot a sociopath at a distance, by the kinds and qualities of their behaviours.  But I could not presume to make such a specific diagnosis like psychopathy at a distance.

Although it does seem fairly evident that Trump himself is a narcissist— many politicians and popular figures who did not become famous by accident may be.  I mean, the guy is a flamboyant New York real estate developer and reality TV star.   The key question in this regard is 'what kind?'

A psychopath is someone who has an organic brain disorder that causes them to lack empathy and what we call conscience.  A sociopath is someone who knows what is right and wrong, but have learned to ignore their feelings and turn off conscience for their own purposes.  They may have been desensitized by childhood abuse, or a prolonged series of traumatic experiences.

So why bring this topic up at all?   

Because it strikes at the heart of all those Utopian schemes that assume that people are naturally good and rational.   Many people are.  But there is a significant portion of the population that is not.  And in order to curtail their destructive tendencies laws and regulations are created and enforced.  And when those laws and justice itself is under assault, which is almost always, the answer is to reform the system of law, not to abolish it.

Cunning predators are not afraid of chaos and lawlessness.  They count on it.  It serves their needs.  And so they foment it as a part of their overall assault on society, and the social fabric.  All that matters to them are their own lusts and powers. 

And the average person is at a disadvantage at the hands of a demagogue, because they cannot even imagine someone who they think are like themselves being that coarse, that out of proportion, that evil.  But over time they can be desensitized and lied to long enough so that they too can become less than human, compartmentalized, and tolerate monstrous things that would ordinarily horrify them.

This is from sources on the web, and is based on Robert Hare's psychopathy checklist.
1. Look for glib and superficial charm. A psychopath will also put on what professionals refer to as a 'mask of sanity' that is likable and pleasant.   It is a thin veneer.

2. Look for a grandiose self perception. Psychopaths will often believe they are smarter or more powerful than they actually are.

3. Watch for a constant need for stimulation. Stillness, quiet and reflection are not things embraced by psychopaths. They need constant entertainment and activity.

4. Determine if there is pathological lying. A psychopath will tell all sorts of lies; little white lies as well as huge stories intended to mislead. Psychopaths are gifted or dull, high functioning or low performing like other people. An untalented psychopath may harm a few; a highly talented psychopath may lay waste to nations. The difference between the psychopath and others lies in their organic lack of conscience and empathy for others. The sociopath is trained to lack empathy and conscience. The psychopath is a natural.

5. Evaluate the level of manipulation. All psychopaths are identified as cunning and able to get people to do things they might not normally do. They can use guilt, force and other methods to manipulate.

6. Look for any feelings of guilt. An absence of any guilt or remorse is a sign of psychopathy.  They will often blame the victim.  They will rarely admit that they were even wrong.

7. Consider the level of emotional response a person has. Psychopaths demonstrate shallow emotional reactions to deaths, injuries, trauma or other events that would otherwise cause a deeper response. Other people are satisfaction suppliers, nothing more.

8. A lack of empathy. Psychopaths are callous and have no way of relating to others in non-exploitative ways. They may find a temporary kinship with other psychopaths and sociopaths that is strictly utilitarian and goal-oriented.

9. Psychopaths are often parasitic. They live off other people, emotionally, physically, and financially. Their modus operandi is domination and control.  They will claim to be maligned or misunderstood to gain your sympathy.

10. Look for obsessive risk taking and lack of self-control. The Hare Checklist includes three behavior indicators; poor behavior control, sexual promiscuity, and behavioral problems.

11. Psychopaths have unrealistic goals or none at all for the long term. Either there are no goals at all, or they are unattainable and based on the exaggerated sense of one's own accomplishments and abilities.

12. Psychopaths will often be shockingly impulsive or irresponsible. Their shamelessness knows no bounds. You will ask, what were they thinking? And the answer was, they weren't because they did not care.

13. A psychopath will not genuinely accept personal responsibility. A psychopath will never admit to being wrong or owning up to mistakes and errors in judgment, except as part of a manipulative ploy.   They will despise and denigrate their victims once they are done with them.  If they have any regret it is that their source of satisfaction supply has ended and they must seek another.

14. Psychopaths lack long term personal relationships. If there have been many short term marriages, broken friendships, purely transactional relationships, the chances the person is a psychopath increase. Watch especially how they treat other people in weaker positions and even animals.

15. Psychopaths are often versatile in their criminality. Psychopaths are able to get away with a lot, and while they might sometimes get caught, the ability to be flexible and adaptable when committing crimes is indicative.

22 June 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - Calm Before the Storm - Truth to Power

"And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Luke 1:17

This weekend we will be remembering the Nativity of John the Baptist, one of those who spoke truth to the powerful, righteousness to the lawless, and gave hope to the suffering many.

Stocks finished weakly, roiled again by Trump's threat to impose a 20% tariff on all European automobile imports.

Gold and silver finished slightly higher on a weaker US dollar.

There will be an option expiration for precious metals on the Comex next Tuesday the 26th.

A little over 250,000 ounces of gold showed up in Hong Kong to relieve the relatively short supply there.

Physical gold is moving from West to East.

The economic data releases next week may provide some input to the markets. I have included the calendar for next week below.

Need little, want less, and love more. For those who abide in love abide in God, and God in them.

Have a pleasant weekend.

21 June 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - Slow Motion Run on Physical Gold For Delivery Continues - Dow PBR

"The new London Gold Pool slow motion run on physical gold since 2013 (see latest Russian CB gold buying today) remains in full effect, w/latest COMEX registered inventories hitting lowest levels in 3 yrs, & COMEX owners/oz hitting 185x, highest since late 2015."

Luke Gromen

It's good to see that I am not the only one who seems to be noticing this and publicly commenting on it.  The big physical gold demand has been coming out of what Nick Laird calls 'the New Silk Road' which includes China and India.

Gold and silver were unchanged on the day, as the US Dollar DX Index slipped below the 95 handle in the afternoon.

The drawdown in Physical Gold eligible for immediate delivery has continued its decline. There was a large addition in Hong Kong that was immediate taken off, and then some again.

I am not quite sure what this sharp decline in this particular physical gold category means.  It could be some big players protecting their own stash of physical during a scheduled price takedown on paper.  Or it could be the long awaited reckoning the the thinness in the gold float.

The last time we tracked a shortage in the 'gold float' the gold pool was able to fill the void with gold taken from a South American country that had gotten into a jam. Let's see what they pull out of a hat, or points south, this time around.

I noticed today that Nick's gold chart accounts are 'suspended.'  I am looking into this.  He hosts some of the best data and charts on every aspect of the precious metals around.

Stocks continued their decline to areas that would be considered short term support.

With the replacing of GE by Walgreens Drugstores in the Dow Jones Industrials, one might take a look at its composition and question how 'industrial' it might be. Or as Frank Booth in the movie Blue Velvet might have put it:  "Industrials!   F**k that s**t!  Pharma, Banking, Retail!!"

Markets were concerned by the earnings warning from Daimler, as an indication of trouble in the global markets and the effects of a trade war.

There will be a precious metals option expiry on the Comex next Tuesday the 26th. The silver contract is much more active for July, but gold is in an interesting situation now and may see more antics designed to shock people out of their paper claims, which appear to be a bit over the top again.

Have a pleasant evening.

20 June 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - Surprising Decline By Half In Physical Gold For Immediate Delivery in NY

"What is good? All that enhances the feeling of power, the will to power, and the power itself in man.  What is bad? All that proceeds from weakness.  What is happiness?  The feeling that power is increasing--that resistance has been overcome.  Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but competence.

The first principle of our humanism is that the weak and the failures shall perish. And they ought to be helped to perish. What is more harmful than any vice? Active pity for all failure and weakness— christianity."

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

Ephesians 6:12

“A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death— the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, and murders that we are not going to be judged.”

Czesław Miłosz

Stocks were doing well today as investors continued to pile into the 'relative safety' of the small caps of the Russell 2000.

Big cap tech put its moonshot in place, but fell off into the close.

The Dow continued its string of losses, the longest since March 2017.

This may be late stage blowoff top action. We'll have to keep an eye on where we go with this next.

The market was cheered that Trumpolini signed an order putting some modification into the wholesale separation of immigrant children from their parents. The manner in which he phrased the words around this were interesting. Like Obama he seems able to look at something that he has done, and address it in the non-involved third person.

I think caution in US equities is advisable, and it may be time to take some profits off the table, especially if we get the kind of initial drop and breakdown with a failure to recover that I had been discussing with examples from history yesterday.

I'll let you know if I see a major tsunami warning, but even now caution is advisable.

The Dollar was a little higher with gold and silver off a bit.

I was a little surprised to see the dual drop in gold marked available for delivery on the Comex. Gold in the NY warehouses dropped by half to only 230,000 ounces!

This matches up with a similar drop in the gold in the inventory in Hong Kong. Let's see what happens next there. I will be curious to see what amount of gold shows up in Hong Kong to meet delivery demands there.

There will be an option expiration next week on the Comex, that is not likely to be consequential for gold. August is the month for gold trading action.  It may be of more interest for silver.

Bloomberg had some transmission problems in my area in the last hour, and so I flipped over to CNBC. Now I recall why I had stopped watching that infomercial channel some time ago.

I found a short article titled A 'Zero Tolerance' Immigration Primer that is worth reading for some insight into the current situation.  The vileness and bald-faced hypocrisy of what is going on is probably worse than we think. 

Two of my wonderful goddaughters came over for a visit today. We (they) did a nice job tidying up some things that did not meet with their approval. I have to admit that I lack their touch. Like my son, they are my joy and my consolation.

People are funny.  They just don't get it.  They think that they are in the know, that they are some kind of superior beings, and that they are winning the game.  They don't even understand what the game is really all about.   It can be almost heart-breaking to see what they do to themselves and to others, for less than nothing.  For what does it profit a man...

Need little, want less, love more.  For those who abide in love abide in God, and God in them.

Have a pleasant evening.