Monday, September 05, 2005

Sick (Updated)

I am so angry. So frustrated.

Having watched this crazy-making administration over the past 5 years has been a horrible experience. This latest tragedy, where Bush can take personal responsibility for hundreds, if not thousands of deaths, is beyond the pale. And please, I'm not just taking partisan potshots. I'm taking about this man and how he approaches his world.....and us.

Let's start with a diagnosis from afar. This is a tricky proposition, but I'll put up the description, and let you be the judge.

In the mental health field, disorders are grouped into disorders that are "neurotic", that is short term and the result of some immediate circumstance; and "personality disorders", which are long term ways of functioning in the world. Bush, and his administration as a group, fall into the second category. This kind of behavior can only occur with a pathologically sick individual who exhibits this behavior (via the Diagnositic and Statistical Manual, version IV):
Diagnostic Criteria (DSM IV)

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

3. Believes that he or she is "special" and unique 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, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
Sound familiar? Remember, you only need five to qualify. Bush is hitting on all cylinders. And I can think of literally hundreds of examples of this behavior over the last five years.

Now let's take a look at how this plays out when this personality is a leader and is faced with failure.

Do you expect to be honored as great, and do you see yourself as special when you do nothing (at best) and are incompetent (at worst)?


Do you use the suffering of others for your own ends?


Do you have compassion for the victims?

Nope. (Fake at best)

Are you arrogant and haughty?


Do you take personal responsibility?


Take a look at the typical Bush political strategy for dealing with any controversy, but particularly for the New Orleans disaster. They've blamed everyone else....but themselves.

This, from a conservative syncopate using taking talking points right from Rove's mouth:

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

by Robert Tracinski

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?


What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. And they don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.


People living in piles of their own trash, while petulantly complaining that other people aren't doing enough to take care of them and then shooting at those who come to rescue them—this is not just a description of the chaos at the Superdome. It is a perfect summary of the 40-year history of the welfare state and its public housing projects.

The welfare state—and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages—is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.
There's plenty more trash where this came from. This article simply represents one of the bolder statements of the Bush administration's talking point that it's the victims fault. After all, the victims are simply hordes of black folk who never work, are lazy and shiftless sitting on the stoop of a government built tenement all day sluggishly smoking. That is...unless they're the ambitious drug dealers driving around in tarted up white cadillacs.

Do you feel the compassion?

But wait. What about this couple who didn't make it out of New Orleans?:

Arthur Silber
“Me and my wife, we were living paycheck to paycheck, like most everybody else in New Orleans,” Eric Dunbar, 54, said Saturday.


He offered a mini-tutorial in the economic reality of his life.

“I don’t own a car. Me and my wife, we travel by bus, public transportation. The most money I ever have on me is $400. And that goes to pay the rent. And that $400 is between me and my wife.” Her name is Dorth Dunbar; she was trying to get some rest after days of peril.

Dunbar estimated his annual income to be about $20,000, which comes from doing graphic design work when he can get it. Before the storm, when he and his wife estimated how much money they needed to flee the city, he was saddened by the reality that he could not come up with anywhere near the several thousand dollars he might need for a rental car and airfare.

“If I took my wife out to dinner, it was once a month,” he said, sounding as if even those modest good times had come to an abrupt end. “We’d go to Piccadilly’s. Never any movies. Really, it’s a simple life. I go to work, come home, talk to my wife, go to bed, then back to work again. A basic existence.”
Arthur goes on to highlight many of these type of stories. You've seen em'. They're all over the news and internet if you open your eyes (and your not narcissistic or sociopathic).

Now we get confirmation of who's running the administration P.R. show...the perfect mix of a sociopath, you know what those are, (another whole dissertation of it's own) working in the service of a narcissist:

In many ways, the unfolding public relations campaign reflects the style Mr. Rove has brought to the political campaigns he has run for Mr. Bush. For example, administration officials who went on television on Sunday were instructed to avoid getting drawn into exchanges about the problems of the past week, and to turn the discussion to what the government is doing now.
Oh...and behind the scenes Karl. Don't forget to use/screw the co-dependent press and the cocktail crowd to blame everyone for poor George's fuck ups.

Finally, in a larger sense, I've heard this talking point pushed ad nauseum:

Digby:, who sarcastically puts the conservative position into perspective:
The government's job is to give money and recognition to charity organizations, not to actually do anything except encourage people to start a telephone prayer tree or squeeze their eyes shut tight and wish with everything they have not to die. After all, everybody wants the government out of their lives.
Well, I personally would like to see churches and locals put together the resources to rescue a half a million people stranded on rooftops over many square miles of flooded ground, repair levee's, distribute a population of several million including ALL the elderly/sick/disabled people, provide housing and life sustenance for these same folks, clean up New Orleans and restore order.

And this is just the very short list.

Yeah, right.

Those in the American public who continue to support this administration and it's cast of characters are simply dysfunctional family members who are damaged in their own ability to act as adults, and would rather follow and defend the leadership of those who are arrogant and liars. The degree of Bush's continued support is a measure of just how sick our society is.

UPDATE: Just go read.


At 11:20 AM, Blogger Jage said...

Amen! Fantastic post,my friend...

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Fancy Pants Elitist said...


At 1:22 PM, Blogger Lynne said...

Excellent post and the picture of Narcissus is perfect for this.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Greyhair said...

Thanks. I was hoping everyone would know who the pic was.


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