I last wrote about BKUTK at $420. (Two years earlier, at $340.) Recently, I bought a little more at $464. These are non-voting shares but otherwise the same as BKUT, currently quoted at $570 bid, $650 asked. As I don’t usually take the time to vote anyway, I like that that my $464 shares are all but identical to shares someone is willing to pay $570 for — and that no one is willing to part with for less than $650.
In a vaguely similar vein, I bought more SPRT yesterday at $2.30. As recently noted, the company appears to have more than $2 a share in cash and short-term securities; an operating business that could be worth a buck or more; $120 million in NOLs that could be worth yet another dollar; and activist shareholders who recently bought in at $3 hoping for a good gain. So it may not have much downside from here (famous last words!); and given what savings accounts are paying these days, the extra risk could be worth taking.
Der Spiegel sparks controversy with its cover depicting our President beheading the statue of liberty.
It editorializes: “The United States president is becoming a danger to the world. It is time for Germany and Europe to prepare their political and economic defenses.”
. . . Germany must stand up in opposition to the 45th president of the United States and his government. That’s difficult enough already for two reasons: Because it is from the Americans that we obtained our liberal democracy in the first place; and because it is unclear how the brute and choleric man on the other side will react to diplomatic pressure. . . .
It is literally painful to write this sentence, but the president of the United States is a pathological liar. . . . He is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of power. . . .
Among the things that counted as true progress during the 20th century were multilateralism and free trade. The world has become so complex that no single country can solve the major problems on its own — that was our recognition. Organizations like the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, NATO and the EU were all created for this reason. None of these organizations is perfect, but they are what we launched — and we do need them. Bannon now wants to wipe them away, and either Trump is executing Bannon’s intentions or he shares them.
. . . The fact that the United States, a nuclear superpower that has dominated the world economically, militarily and culturally for decades, is now presenting itself as the victim, calling in all seriousness for “America first” and trying to force the rest of the world into humiliating concessions is absurd.
The Germans are understandably sensitive to leaders suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, given their history. Some find parallels to 1933 concerning. (“They argued he would grow more reasonable once in office and that his cabinet would tame him. . . . “) And while it would be a mistake to read too much into it — who knows why he chose to do this? — I continue to be ever so slightly freaked out that our president literally kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside.
Nell Ziehl, chief of planning, education and outreach for the Maryland Historical Trust, writes about Coping With Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the White House. (After which I append a list of the world’s foremost narcissists.)
I want to talk a little about narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve unfortunately had a great deal of experience with it, and I’m feeling badly for those of you who are trying to grapple with it for the first time because of our president-elect, who almost certainly suffers from it. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1) It’s not curable and it’s barely treatable. He is who he is. There is no getting better, or learning, or adapting. He’s not going to “rise to the occasion” for more than maybe a couple hours. So just put that out of your mind.
2) He will say whatever feels most comfortable or good to him at any given time. He will lie a lot, and say totally different things to different people. Stop being surprised by this. While it’s important to pretend “good faith” and remind him of promises, as Bernie and others are doing, that’s for his supporters, so *they* can see the inconsistency. He won’t care. So if you’re trying to reconcile or analyze his words, don’t. It’s 100% not worth your time. Only pay attention to and address his actions.
3) You can influence him by making him feel good. There are already people like Bannon who are ready to use him for their own ends. The GOP is excited to try. Watch them, not him. President Obama, in his wisdom, is treating him well in hopes of influencing him and possibly averting the worst. If he gets enough accolades for better behavior, he might continue to try it. But don’t count on it.
4) Ultimately, he will betray anyone who tries to get close to him. It might take a while, though, so we can’t count on that.
5) He only cares about himself and those he views as extensions of himself, like his children. (People with NPD can’t understand others as fully human or distinct.) He desires accumulation of wealth and power because it fills a hole. (Melania is probably an acquired item, not an extension.) He will have no qualms *at all* about stealing everything he can from the country, and he’ll be happy to help others do so, if they make him feel good. That is likely the only thing he will intentionally accomplish.
6) It’s very, very confusing for non-disordered people to experience a disordered person with NPD. They do not observe social conventions or demonstrate basic human empathy. It’s very common for non-disordered people to lower their own expectations and try to normalize the behavior. DO NOT DO THIS AND DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS, ESPECIALLY THE MEDIA, TO DO THIS. If you start to feel foggy or unclear about this, step away until you recalibrate.
7) People with NPD often recruit helpers, referred to in the literature as “enablers” when they allow bad behavior and “flying monkeys” when they perpetrate bad behavior on behalf of the narcissist. Although it’s easiest to prey on vulnerable or malicious people, good people can be unwittingly recruited. It will be important to support good people around him if and when they attempt to stay clear or break away.
8) They like to foster competition for sport in people they control. Expect lots of chaos, firings and recriminations. He will probably behave worst toward those closest to him, but that doesn’t mean (obviously) that his actions won’t have consequences for the rest of us. He will punish enemies. He may start out, as he has with the New York Times, with a confusing combination of punishing/rewarding, which is a classic abuse tactic for control. If you see your media cooperating or facilitating this behavior for rewards, call them on it.
9) Gaslighting — where someone tells you that the reality you’ve experienced isn’t true — is real and torturous. He will gaslight, his followers will gaslight. The GOP has been gaslighting for 30 years. Learn the signs and find ways to stay focused on what you know to be true.
10) Whenever possible, do not focus on the narcissist or give him attention. Don’t circulate his stupid tweets or laugh at him — you are enabling him and getting his word out. (I’ve done this, of course, we all have… just try to be aware.) Pay attention to your own emotions: do you sort of enjoy his clowning? is this kind of fun and dramatic, in a sick way? You are adding to his energy. Focus on what you can change and how you can resist, where you are. We are all called to be leaders now, in the absence of leadership.
Finally, a list of some famous narcissists. Bare-chested Putin is not yet on it for some reason, but Stalin is.
Quote of the Day
I like to buy [stock in] a business any fool can run because eventually one will.~Peter Lynch
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