Friday, September 13, 2013

The strange personality of K. Rudd

It was clear to me for years that Rudd was a psychopath and the diagnosis suggested below is essentially a refinement of that.  The diagnosis was certainly confirmed by Rudd's amazingly egotistical "concession" speech on election night (pic above)

The people who knew him best  -- his own party -- were always leery of him and many disliked him from the start.  It was only his vote-winning psychopathic charm that finally caused them to make him leader. Rather amazingly, however, their disquiet about him grew rather than waned after his 2007 election win.  So they eventually fired their own Prime Minister.  And it was only when they were absolutely desperate over Gillard's disastrous poll numbers  that they gritted their teeth and brought Rudd back at the last moment in 2013.  Altogether an amazing saga centred around the defective being that is K. Rudd.  It is a great mercy that the alternative to Rudd was a thoroughly decent man: Tony Abbott

A Liberal party document provided by a friendly psychiatrist suggested Rudd was held together by one key strut: an absolute conviction of intellectual superiority over everyone else.

Held deep within the top strategy group of the Liberal war room was a document which gave a name and a diagnosis to the personality of Kevin Rudd. It was a document provided to the Liberal’s strategy team on an informal basis by a psychiatrist friendly to the Liberals after Rudd had returned to the Labor leadership on June 26. In a nutshell, this document offered an arm’s-length diagnosis of Rudd as suffering a personality disorder known as “grandiose narcissism”.


The document was not shown to Abbott, but rather remained within the strategy group as an informal check-list, often as a tool for comparison after Rudd had already behaved in ways that the Liberal strategists believed could be leveraged to their advantage. The Liberal war room had reached its own conclusions about Rudd long ago, based on his public behaviour and the damning revelations of his colleagues.

But the document provided an affirmation that the snapshot of the enemy on which a fighting campaign was based had a context. It listed recognisable symptoms and behavioural patterns linking Rudd’s personality to the clinical symptoms for grandiose narcissism – drawing conclusions about Rudd’s mindset. It also proposed tactics to leverage Rudd’s personality.

Describing grandiose narcissism as less a psychiatric disease and more a destructive character defect, the document suggested Rudd was held together by one key strut: an absolute conviction of intellectual superiority over everyone else. “Kick out that strut and he will collapse; basically he is a self-centred two-year-old in an adult body. Prone to wanting everything – now! If not, then he has a two year-old’s tantrum.”

Rudd, the document went on, was vulnerable to any challenge to his self-belief that he was more widely-read, smarter and more knowledgeable than anyone else “on the planet”. Such a condition of grandiose narcissism would make Rudd obsessively paranoid, excessively vindictive – “prepared to wait years to get revenge”, and “a spineless bully” who would strike an easy target; he would predictably be excessively sensitive to personal criticism. If publicly goaded, he could easily have a “mega tantrum”. If described as “stupid”, such a personality would mount an almost impenetrable intellectual defence. If undermined in front of an audience, with his intellect undermined, Rudd could be prone to “narcissistic rage”.

“Later, in attempts to repair the damage, he will claim, in the calmest, coolest and most reasonable way, that his meltdown occurred because those around him are ganging up on him to prevent him from ‘saving Australia’ or some other such grandiose concept.

“Kevin’s explanation for the meltdown will run something like this: ‘Under the difficulties I face trying to save this country from the terrible threats facing it, any reasonable person would have naturally reacted the way I did.’ And then, blah blah, with grandiose ideas of being the country’s saviour.”

Rudd would be threatened by a rival in any of his fields and would be obsessively paranoid and ready to retaliate to real or perceived threats; he would suffer from excessive suspicion. This could be tactically exploited, the document suggested, by promoting the idea that Rudd was merely a caretaker prime minister, to be terminated by colleagues once the election was won.


Inside the Liberal war room the document explained why Rudd “knew best” and “why he had to take over” again as prime minister. And while the document went to explaining behaviour, it also aided the development of pressure points against Rudd – such as pushing the notion that he was full of flimflam, an accusation designed to undermine a superiority complex. The document was a confirmation that many of the tactics and strategic assessments in the war room were on the mark. It crystallised a view of Rudd rather than creating a framework, confirming views of his likely behaviour – a crucial weapon in the psychological warfare of an election campaign.

While Labor fed a storyline (ultimately proved incorrect) that the enemy, Abbott, was so disliked as to be unelectable, the Liberals fed a storyline (ultimately proved correct) that the enemy, Rudd, was so assured of his own superior ability that his campaign would become mired in chaos as he micro-managed and displayed suspicions of those outside his own small cult circle.


We all want a conservative national leader

Ross Gittins probes the national unconscious

At last. God's in his heaven and all's right with the world. The rightful rulers of this country are back in charge, so now things can only get better. You think I'm joking? I'm not.

We see the Liberals - the party of the bosses - as the party best suited to run the country.

Sometimes enough of us feel sufficiently rebellious to install Labor - the party of the workers - but this leaves many of us uncomfortable and yearning for the return of the masters. And when, sooner or later, it becomes clear Labor isn't doing well, no one is terribly surprised and we rush back to the security of our pater familias.

You don't understand anything about the underlying forces of Australian politics until you understand that.

It applies particularly to the economy. For decades pollsters have asked people which side of politics is better suited at managing the economy. And for decades the almost invariable answer is the Coalition.

There was a time during the term of the Hawke-Keating government when the economy was doing well and Labor was ahead on this question. But such times are the exception. Normally, Labor judges its success just by the extent to which it has narrowed the gap with the Libs.

It follows that the more the economy is seen as the dominant issue of federal politics - as it has been since Gough Whitlam's day - the more the Libs are seen as the natural party of government.

No one believes this more fervently than business people, of course. Business is always uncomfortable with a Labor government, but the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government proved much less adept at maintaining good relations with business than the Hawke-Keating government.

So much so that the economist Saul Eslake has noted "the extent and depth of antipathy among the business community towards the present [Labor] government - which goes way beyond the normal inclination of most business executives or owners towards centre-right governments".

A big part of the problem was Labor's resort to the language of class conflict, starting with its decision to rename the original mining resources rent tax as the resource "super profits" tax.

New governments always enjoy a honeymoon with the electorate and a lift in business. But this time it's hoped the turnaround in business confidence will be big enough to lead to a recovery in non-mining business investment, which has been weak for several years.

The resources boom and its high dollar, the end of the housing credit boom and the return of the more prudent consumer, and the continuing digital revolution mean that, although the economy has been travelling well enough overall, various industries have been hard hit by "structural change".

Most of these structural pressures are beyond the influence of government policy. That's particularly true of retailing, which includes a lot of small businesses and has been doing it especially tough.

The temptation for hard-pressed business people to blame their troubles on a Labor government has been irresistible. The change of government will make them a lot happier. And the more confident business is about the future, the better it's likely to do. The test will come when businesses realise their underlying problems haven't gone away.

Business people are usually highly critical of anyone seen to be "talking down the economy". But, we've learnt, this ethic applies only when the Coalition is in government. Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey were talking the economy down for at least three years, and many business people were publicly agreeing with them.

Of course, the assumption that Liberal governments always manage the economy well - that, in Abbott's revealing phrase, it's in their DNA - is wrong, just as the assumption that Labor governments are always bad at it is wrong.

The hope that all our problems will evaporate now the good guys are back in charge is wishful thinking.

But that doesn't stop our deeply held assumption to the contrary - an assumption shared by both Liberal and Labor politicians - from having real effects on our behaviour. One of the surprising truths of economics is that, to some extent, our expectations are self-fulfilling.

And already the budget and boat-people crises are over.


WasteWatch: Sport Barrelling; Food Grants; Guns.

Well, the 2013 election campaign has run its course and Australia now has a new government. While this election was not the spendathon of some past contests, it was not without its waste.

Kevin Rudd had something of a fixation on sport during the campaign. One of his thought bubbles was to give $166,000 to the Robinvale & District Motorcycle Club, to upgrade their 'Arena X Track.' An 'Arena X Track,' for those wondering, is a small stadium where riders race off-road motorcycles on artificially constructed dirt tracks.

Another of Rudd's thought bubbles was to spend $15 million on 'detailed design work' for the proposed Stadium Northern Australia in Townsville. But that's only loose change because the company in charge of the development, Townsville Enterprise, want another $150 million from the government over the next five years.

Sadly, the Coalition Government may be just as trigger happy with your hard-earned dollars. Their recently announced policy to tackle crime includes a $100 million boost to Customs to crack down on illegal gun imports. We think this policy had more to do with shoring up the Western Sydney vote than in tackling Australia's already low level of illegally imported firearms.

After finishing his crusade on illegal firearms, Prime Minister Tony Abbott will look to sweeten Tasmania's flailing economy with a contribution of $16 million to Cadbury for 'factory upgrades.' With profits approaching $170 million globally, we think Cadbury can finance its own upgrades.

But Cadbury is not the only food producer feeding on the public teat. If you don't remember what a Chiko roll tastes like, you will surely remember the famous red-leather-clad Chiko Chick on a motorbike.

NSW Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner recently announced the NSW Government would provide a substantial rescue package to the Bathurst factory which produces our beloved Chikos.

With a new federal government in power and a steadily eroding budget position, WasteWatch will be working overtime to hold this government to account.


NT Unions want prisoners to be paid up to twice the normal (award) rate

The Northern Territory branch of the United Voice union says a program that allows prisoners to work at a central Australian salt mine for award wages is akin to slave labour.

The Territory Government says low-security prisoners are being trained for work at a potash project near Curtain Springs because the company had trouble recruiting staff.

It is not known how many prisoners are working at the site, which is about 250 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs.

The Country Liberal Government introduced its Sentenced To A Job program for prisoners in Territory jails earlier this year.

They can work on both public and private projects, but only inmates in the lowest security classifications can take part in the scheme.

Of their earnings, 5 per cent goes to a victims' assistance fund and $125 a week is deducted to cover their board costs in jail.

The prisoners get $60 a week in spending money, and the remainder of what they are paid is put into a trust fund and they are paid a lump sum when released from custody.

But Matthew Gardiner from United Voice says concerns have been raised by miners.

"We've had some miners in those different areas we represent coming forward, and they're a bit worried because of these large mining companies who actually quite happily use undercutting of labour and undercutting of wages to try and maximise their profits while driving down the different areas," he said.

"If anyone's working in this sector, regardless of where they come from or what they've done, they should be paid at market rate.

"This is the fair rate that's been done between employers and employees over a long period of time.

"It shouldn't be an award rate. No one in the mining sector works on award rate.

"Currently the award rate for the area is around $16 an hour, whereas someone who works off the award rate would be working about $35 an hour."


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