Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sound Like Someone You Know?

The following was taken from a website that compiled a summary of various articles on Sociopath/Psychopath/Anti-social Personality Disorder. The compiler did not take credit for the post nor affirm any copyright. I have condensed the article further. BOLD print is my emphasis.

Profile of the Sociopath: some of the common features found in various descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths.
Glibness and Superficial Charm 
Manipulative and Conning: They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims. 
Grandiose Sense of Self: Feels entitled to certain things as "their right." 
Pathological Lying :Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities.
Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt: Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way. 
Shallow Emotions: Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises. 
Incapacity for Love 
Need for Stimulation 

Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common. 
Callousness/Lack of Empathy 

Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature 

Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others

Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed. 

Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity 
Entrepreneurial Versatility 

Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them

Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them



Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired

Conventional appearance

Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life

Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)

Extreme narcissism and grandiose

May state readily that their goal is to rule the world

(Some of the above traits are based on the psychopathy checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare.) 

NOTE: In the 1830's this disorder was called "moral insanity." By 1900 it was changed to "psychopathic personality." More recently it has been termed "antisocial personality disorder" in the DSM-III and DSM-IV.

DSM-IV Definition 

Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a lack of regard for the moral or legal standards in the local culture. There is a marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules. Individuals with this disorder are sometimes called psychopaths or sociopaths. 

Antisocial Personality Disorder Overview (Written by Derek Wood, RN, BSN, PhD Candidate) 

Antisocial Personality Disorder results in what is commonly known as a Sociopath. The criteria for this disorder require an ongoing disregard for the rights of others, since the age of 15 years. Some examples of this disregard are reckless disregard for the safety of themselves or others, failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors, deceitfulness such as repeated lying or deceit for personal profit or pleasure, and lack of remorse for actions that hurt other people in any way.
People with this disorder appear to be charming at times, and make relationships, but to them, these are relationships in name only. They are ended whenever necessary or when it suits them, and the relationships are without depth or meaning, including marriages. They seem to have an innate ability to find the weakness in people, and are ready to use these weaknesses to their own ends through deceit, manipulation, or intimidation, and gain pleasure from doing so. 

They appear to be incapable of any true emotions, from love to shame to guilt. They are quick to anger, but just as quick to let it go, without holding grudges. No matter what emotion they state they have, it has no bearing on their future actions or attitudes. 

They rarely are able to have jobs that last for any length of time, as they become easily bored, instead needing constant change. They live for the moment, forgetting the past, and not planning the future, not thinking ahead what consequences their actions will have. They want immediate rewards and gratification. There currently is no form of psychotherapy that works with those with antisocial personality disorder, as those with this disorder have no desire to change themselves, which is a prerequisite. No medication is available either. The only treatment is the prevention of the disorder in the early stages, when a child first begins to show the symptoms of conduct disorder. 

The problem with [the psychopath’s] game is that we don't often play by their rules. Where we might occasionally tell a white lie, a psychopath's lying is compulsive. Most of us experience some degree of guilt about lying, preventing us from exhibiting such behavior on a regular basis. "Psychopaths don't discriminate who it is they lie to or cheat," says Seto. "There's no distinction between friend, family and sucker." 
Often they aren't even qualified for the job and use fake credentials to get it.

Even though we can't treat psychopaths effectively with therapy, it doesn't mean we can't protect ourselves, writes Hare. Willson agrees, citing the most important factor in keeping psychopaths at bay is to know your vulnerabilities. We need to "realize our own potential and maximize our strengths" so that our insecurities don't overcome us. Because, she says, a psychopath is a chameleon who becomes "an image of what you haven't done for yourself." Over time, she says, "their appearance of perfection will begin to crack," but by that time you will have been emotionally and perhaps financially scathed. There comes a time when you realize there's no point in searching for answers; the only thing is to move on. 

THE MALIGNANT PERSONALITY: (Taken in part from MW -- By Caroline Konrad -- September 1999) 

These people are mentally ill and extremely dangerous! The following precautions will help to protect you from the destructive acts of which they are capable. 

First, to recognize them, keep the following guidelines in mind. 

(1) They are habitual liars. They seem incapable of either knowing or telling the truth about anything. 

(2) They are egotistical to the point of narcissism. They really believe they are set apart from the rest of humanity by some special grace. 

(3) They scapegoat; they are incapable of either having the insight or willingness to accept responsibility for anything they do. Whatever the problem, it is always someone else's fault. 

(4) They are remorselessly vindictive when thwarted or exposed. 

(5) Genuine religious, moral, or other values play no part in their lives. They have no empathy for others and are capable of violence. Under older psychological terminology, they fall into the category of psychopath or sociopath, but unlike the typical psychopath, their behavior is masked by a superficial social facade. 

If you have come into conflict with such a person or persons, do the following immediately! (The author is talking about personal acquaintances, not public figures)

(1) Notify your friends and relatives of what has happened 

(2) Inform the police.

(3) …if wealthy or politically powerful individuals are involved… include state and federal agencies as well and tell the locals that you have.

(4) Make sure that several of your friends have the information in the event something happens to you. If you are dealing with someone who has considerable money, you must realize that they probably won't try to harm you themselves, they will contract with someone to make the hit. The malignant type is a coward and will not expose himself or herself to personal danger if he or she can avoid it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Underlying Cause Of Our Anxiety: It Has A Name - Gaslighting

Came across several articles that finally describe what I have been feeling for months. That uneasy feeling that despite video proof, witnesses, fact checking, and science, we cannot seem to get out from under obfuscation, denial, and some nightmarish fog that is spreading over this nation. I don't normally repost entire published articles, but I'm doing so here along with some links. Read on:

Wikipedia: Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of manipulation through persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying in an attempt to destabilize and delegitimize a target. Its intent is to sow seeds of doubt in the targets, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.[1][2] Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to Gas Light, a 1938 play and 1944 film, and has been used in clinical and research literature.[3][4]

 CNN article:

Article from TEEN VOGUE       

      DEC 10, 2016 11:40AM EST

The CIA officially determined that Russia intervened in our election, and President-elect Donald Trump dismissed the story as if it were a piece of fake news. "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," his transition team wrote in a statement. "The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again'."
It wasn't one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history, so presumably that's another red-herring lie to distract from Trump treating the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States like it is some rogue blogger to be cast to the trolls. A foreign government's interference in our election is a threat to our freedom, and the President-elect's attempt to undermine the American people's access to that information undermines the very foundation upon which this country was built. It's also nothing new. 

Trump won the Presidency by gas light. His rise to power has awakened a force of bigotry by condoning and encouraging hatred, but also by normalizing deception. Civil rights are now on trial, though before we can fight to reassert the march toward equality, we must regain control of the truth. If that seems melodramatic, I would encourage you to dump a bucket of ice over your head while listening to “Duel of the Fates." Donald Trump is our President now; it’s time to wake up.

"Gas lighting" is a buzzy name for a terrifying strategy currently being used to weaken and blind the American electorate. We are collectively being treated like Bella Manningham in the 1938 Victorian thriller from which the term "gas light" takes its name. In the play, Jack terrorizes his wife Bella into questioning her reality by blaming her for mischievously misplacing household items which he systematically hides. Doubting whether her perspective can be trusted, Bella clings to a single shred of evidence: the dimming of the gas lights that accompanies the late night execution of Jack’s trickery. The wavering flame is the one thing that holds her conviction in place as she wriggles free of her captor’s control.

To gas light is to psychologically manipulate a person to the point where they question their own sanity, and that’s precisely what Trump is doing to this country. He gained traction in the election by swearing off the lies of politicians, while constantly contradicting himself, often without bothering to conceal the conflicts within his own sound bites. He lied to us over and over again, then took all accusations of his falsehoods and spun them into evidence of bias. 

At the hands of Trump, facts have become interchangeable with opinions, blinding us into arguing amongst ourselves, as our very reality is called into question.

There is a long list of receipts when it comes to Trump's lies. With the help of PolitiFact, clear-cut examples of deception include Trump saying that he watched thousands of people cheering on 9/11 in Jersey City (police say there's no evidence of this), that the Mexican government forces immigrants into the U.S. (no evidence), that there are "30 or 34 million" immigrants in this country (there are 10 or 11 million), that he never supported the Iraq War (he told Howard Stern he did), that the unemployment rate is as high as "42 percent" (the highest reported rate is 16.4 percent), that the U.S. is the highest taxed country in the world (not true based on any metric of consideration), that crime is on the rise (it's falling, and has been for decades), and too many other things to list here because the whole tactic is to clog the drain with an indecipherable mass of toxic waste. 

The gas lighting part comes in when the fictions are disputed by the media, and Trump doubles down on his lies, before painting himself as a victim of unfair coverage, sometimes even threatening to revoke access. 

Trump has repeatedly attempted to undermine the press, including such well-respected publications as the New York Times. He has disseminated a wealth of unsubstantiated attacks on the media, though this baseless tweet from April pretty much sums it all up, "How bad is the New York Times -- the most inaccurate coverage constantly. Always trying to belittle. Paper has lost its way!" 

As a candidate, Trump's gas lighting was manipulative, as President-elect it is a deliberate attempt to destabilize journalism as a check on the power of government. 

To be clear, the "us" here is everyone living under Trump. It's radical progressives, hardline Republicans, and Jill Stein's weird cousin. The President of the United States cannot be lying to the American electorate with zero accountability. The threat of deception is not a partisan issue. Trump took advantage of the things that divide this country, pitting us against one another, while lying his way to the Oval Office. Yes, everything is painfully clear in hindsight, but let’s make sure Trump’s win was the Lasik eye surgery we all so desperately needed. 

The good news about this boiling frog scenario is that we’re not boiling yet. Trump is not going to stop playing with the burner until America realizes that the temperature is too high. It’s on every single one of us to stop pretending it’s always been so hot in here.

There are things you can and should be doing to turn your unrest into action, but first let's empower ourselves with information. Insist on fact-checking every Trump statement you read, every headline you share or even relay to a friend over coffee. If you find factual inaccuracies in an article, send an email to the editor, and explain how things should have been clearer. Inform yourself what outlets are trustworthy and which aren’t. If you need extra help, seek out a browser extension that flags misleading sites or print out a list of fake outlets, such as the one by communications professor Melissa Zimdars, and tape it to your laptop. Do a thorough search before believing the agenda Trump distributes on Twitter. Refuse to accept information simply because it is fed to you, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. That is now the base level of what is required of all Americans. If facts become a point of debate, the very definition of freedom will be called into question. 

It will be far easier to take on Trump’s words when there is no question of what he’s said or whether he means it. Regardless of your beliefs, we all must insist on that level of transparency. Trump is no longer some reality TV clown who used to fire people on The Apprentice. He is the President of the United States.

The road ahead is a treacherous one. There are unprecedented amounts of ugliness to untangle, from deciding whether our President can be an admitted sexual predator to figuring out how to stop him from threatening the sovereignty of an entire religion. It’s incredible that any of those things could seem like a distraction from a greater peril, or be only the cherry-picked issues in a seemingly unending list of gaffes, but the gaslights are flickering. When defending each of the identities in danger of being further marginalized, we must remember the thing that binds this pig-headed hydra together. As we spin our newfound rage into action, it is imperative to remember, across identities and across the aisle, as a country and as individuals, we have nothing without the truth.


  • Discrediting you by making other people think that you’re crazy, irrational or unstable.
  • Using a mask of confidence, assertiveness, and/or fake compassion to make you believe that you “have it all wrong.” Therefore, eventually, you begin to doubt yourself and believe their version of past events.
  • Changing the subject. The gaslighter may divert the topic by asking another question, or making a statement usually directed at your thoughts, e.g. “You’re imagining things—that never happened!”  “No, you’re wrong, you didn’t remember right.”  “Is that another crazy idea you got from your (family member/friend)?”
  • Minimizing.  By trivializing how you feel and what you think, the gaslighter gains more and more power over you, e.g. “Why are you being so sensitive?” “You don’t need to get angry over a little thing like that!” “I was just joking around, why are you taking things so seriously?”
  • Denial and avoidance. By refusing to acknowledge your feelings and thoughts, the gaslighter causes you to doubt yourself more and more.  For example, “I don’t remember that, you must have dreamt it!” “You’re lying, I never said that.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re changing the subject.”
  • Twisting and reframing. When the gaslighter confidently and subtly twists and reframes what was said or done in their favor, they can cause you to second-guess yourself—especially when paired with fake compassion, making you feel as though you are “unstable,” “irrational,” and so forth.  For example, “I didn’t say that, I said _____” “I didn’t beat you up Johnny, I just gave you a smack around the head—that’s what all good fathers do.”  “If you remember correctly, I was actually trying to help you.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

And Now...A Word From Matt

How the next administration could destroy LGBT progress made with the help of Obama - and likely will:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tribute to Bronski Beat Keyboardist Larry Steinbachek Dead at 56

Bronski Beat was being played in the bars/discos in the 80's when I was going through my "gay adolescence" and spending lots of time making up for lost time. "Smalltown Boy", "I Feel Love", "Tell Me Why", great gay sound.

See Joe My God for more YouTube video/audio selections.

A Time To Write To Our Washington Folks

Please fell free to use any all all of the following letter to congresspersons.

This will go out in tomorrow's mail. I have already remitted a brief email to our congresspersons and this is my detailed follow-up:


We are writing you as private US citizens and residents of New Mexico to urge you to do everything in your power and official capacity as our New Mexico Senators/Representative, to resist any and all attempts by the Republican leadership to craft, advance, bring to a vote, or enact any form of legislation that would repeal or destroy the progressive advances of the Obama Administration, including but not limited to:
  • any attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or privatize Medicare
  • attempts to eliminate any hard won and legitimately affirmed LGBT rights, 
  • any action to reverse or eliminate laws, regulations and programs that recognize climate change or protect the environment or natural resources.
Further and more specifically:

We also urge you to resist, question, scrutinize and hold accountable any and all potential cabinet appointees. 

In the same vein, we would strongly urge you to thwart any nominee to the United States Supreme Court who has demonstrated racial prejudice, misogyny, anti-LGBT bias, or who has preconceived notions about social and political issues which are likely to come before the court. 

Please speak to the congress for us and many others in denouncing the agendas of such nominees and appointees whenever there is any evidence of racism, anti-LGBT discrimination or hatred, climate change denial, or other potentially destructive beliefs apparent in their resumes, history, past behavior or public statements.

We also urge resistance to any legislation, which, in the guise of “religious freedom,” would deny LGBT citizens their rights to marriage equality, military service, public accommodations, commerce, employment, or human services. 

We ask you to resist any and all legislation that would allow certain fundamentalist and conservative religions the special right to deny liberty and freedom and particular aspects of full citizenship to LGBT citizens. 

Further we support legislation which would secure the equal and just rights of all citizens; that would flatly reject any religious or “moral” test or give weight to the tenants of any particularly vocal belief system; freedom of religion must include all religions, not all of which share identical beliefs, and accommodate as well, those who adhere to no religion.

We also appeal to you to thwart any attempts by the new administration to single out individuals for special scrutiny or observation or surveillance based on religion, race, national origin, political affiliations, sexual orientation or gender identity.

In addition, we urge you to support re-establishing nation-wide fair and just voting rights by reversing the blatant gerrymandering and restrictions put in place by Republicans to disenfranchise minority voters; and to work to ensure that all voting districts in every state are drawn fairly and equitably and that voting laws are not restrictive.

We urge you to support LGBT rights, to protect the right of gay, lesbian and 
transgender individuals to marry, serve in the military and to be free from 
discrimination and harassment. 

We also urge you to include protecting the right of Transgender individuals to self-expression and self-defined identity and to educate those among you to the fact that transgender individuals do not pose a threat to women or children and that draconian laws not only do nothing to protect women and children, but they also, if adhered to, would have undesirable consequences for trans and cis-gendered persons as well.

We support efforts to protect women’s health care options and not allow the Republican and conservative religious forces to restrict most or all access to health care for middle income, poor and low income women based solely on one aspect of that care.

We urge you to maintain laws and programs that protect our precious environment, land, oceans, wildlife, natural resources, national parks and monuments and other environmentally sensitive resources and to educate those among you about the real effects of climate change and the role of human activity as a causal factor.

We urge you to help ensure that immigrants, legal or not, are treated fairly and with both mercy and justice and to find reasonable and compassionate solutions for such individuals and their families.

We also urge you to thwart any attempt to initiate a witch-hunt against, or any further investigation of, Hillary Clinton.

In summary, we are asking you to be vigilant for us, to speak truth to power, and to fight for our democracy, which is not only being threatened from without, but by many of those from within who were elected, more or less democratically, to defend it.

Thank you for your service.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Architectural InDigestion

I haven't blogged in a while and despite the endless daily fodder for political commentary, I am very tired and weary of politics and the warnings about the impending end of times.

So I will talk about my ordinary life in Cochiti Lake, and my always astute observations about class and wealth.

Every now and then, someone drops off old magazines at the mail room in the village. I welcome the donations to my bathroom library and scoff them up whenever I see them: The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Time, National Geographic, New Mexico, and this past week, for the first time, several hefty editions of Architectural Digest.

So, as usual, I grabbed five or six of the magazines and took them home to leaf through them.

Now, I can appreciate interesting architecture - maybe not as much as some people - but I have an artistic gene, so I do take notice of form and color and design. I would argue that I have an innate sense of  Feng shui - without resorting to metaphysical explanations - and I appreciate the orderly placement of objects to please the eye and to create a comfortable, calming space.

But there was very little in AD to peak my interest. Architectural Digest seems to be more about over the top opulence than architecture.

The editors must feel obligated to display the most hideous, uncomfortable furniture, irritating patterns, ill-colored decor and useless objects known to man, just because the furnishings, designs and items carry a pretentious, hyphenated Franco-Italo-Espanola name of some "famous" artist, company, or designer I never heard of.

One article touted a wall covering made of concrete and "authentic" banana tree bark. (Like, beware of any designer who uses "unauthentic" banana tree bark in their concrete wall coverings.)

But it was one particular article that made me laugh, mockingly, and made me realize what different worlds we peons live in.

I will quote, emphasis in Bold is mine:

Standing in the soft glow of his perfectly pastel two-story waterfront home in Florida George Lindemann says "I didn't want a white house. I have two young girls whose favorite color is pink and because they live with two dads and two brothers I am always looking for ways to empower them. So I made pink my favorite color too." 

After local architect Ellen T. Shulman completed the 7000 square-foot tropical modern home on one of Miami Beach's Sunset Islands, Lindemann the son of entrepreneur George Lindemann, turned to his neighbor and close friend, Susan Bell Richard, who advises an impressive list of artists and designers, to zero in on the precise shade of pink. "She's a brilliant colorist," he explains, "and she knows the light on the island, having lived here for 30 years." Together they spent two years reviewing exactly 74 samples of pink paint. "We painted swaths of the house with different shades and drove the boat by throughout the day to see how it looked at every hour." The resulting hue is not unlike the sand on Harbor Island in the Bahamas. 

Our entry "Courtyard" - a very fine architectural feature of our 1100 square-foot home.
It took us 5 minutes to pick the perfect shade of sunset
when we had our stucco painted and sealed.
The resulting hue is not unlike the hue before it was painted.
Four-piece outdoor furniture from ALDI's Supermarket


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