Hal Brown’s July blog
My photo blog is here. +++ Links to all the several dozen articles I cross-posted to Daily Kos with comments are here.
Saturday, August 6, 2016
What I’m working on this morning.
I read an opinion piece on CNN, Stop Calling Trump Crazy, the premise of which is that speculating about Trump’s psychiatric diagnosis stigmatizes those who do struggle with mental illness.
With what seems to be increasing frequency, each time Trump does something objectionable, too many of his opponents want to blame mental illness as a way to erode his electoral chances. Yet characterizing Trump as "crazy" relies on the stigma of psychiatric disabilities to make a point.
There are many grounds on which to criticize Donald Trump and to argue against his candidacy. But his mental health should not be one of them, because it's a strategy that appeals to bigotry.
I disagree. I don’t think reviewing the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and applying them to Trump and suggesting that having certain of them, to the level he does, preclude him from being fit to be president stigmatizes anyone with any psychiatric disorder including NPD.
Psychology professor Dan McAdams (read his CV), whose cover article in The Atlantic has made him a go-to person on TV talk shows. He refuses to diagnose Trump writing in The Guardian as his reason "I am not a clinician, and for me, medical labels affixed from afar provide little by way of insight into the structure and the meaning of a person’s life." He still addresses his temperament and says that he shows a combination of traits he’s never seen in a candidate.
I am (or was) a clinician whose job included diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders. While making a diagnosis of a public figure is somewhat controversial, and some here have commented that doing so is unethical, other have said that a mental health professional not doing so when they see strong evidence that someone is dangerous would be unethical.
While I agree that applying a medical label to someone provides "little by way of insight into the structure and the meaning of a person’s life” my purpose isn’t to have an existential understanding of Trump.
McAdams also said (I can’t find the reference) that he’s received criticism from other psychologists for not making a diagnosis, so he knows very well that he’s taking a less controversial position than he could. Of course, he’s as capable as any other mental health professional (and lay people as well) of plugging all the behaviors we’ve seen in Trump into the psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5).
This is what McAdams wrote in his most recent article about Trump, published today in The Guardian:
I recently wrote an extended psychological commentary on the life of Donald Trump. Rather than a clinical/psychiatric assessment, the profile drew upon scientific research in personality and social psychology. I scrupulously avoided diagnostic categories and attributions about mental health and fitness, for two reasons: (1) I am not a clinician, and (2) for me, medical labels affixed from afar provide little by way of insight into the structure and the meaning of a person’s life. My aim instead was to make psychological sense of Donald Trump’s life and personality, drawing upon some of the best ideas and research findings to be found in psychological science today.
First, Trump’s temperament profile – high extraversion and low agreeableness – derives much of its power from an underlying impulsivity laced with anger.
Second, Trump’s impulsive temperament style dovetails with his central life goal – the narcissistic aim of promoting Donald Trump.
In keeping with the narcissism, Trump finds it especially difficult to ignore his impulses and consider the exigencies of situations when he perceives a threat to the self.
Finally, there is Donald Trump’s philosophy of life, spelled out first in The Art of the Deal. It is a matter of principle for Donald Trump that when you are attacked, you hit back harder.
This is what McAdam’s told the Chicago Tribune:
Donald Trump is trapped by an angry, impulsive temperament that precludes his stepping away from the moment to survey what the situation demands of him. The trap tightens when the moment brings forth an insult to the self, no matter how trifling. And even when Donald Trump is able to emancipate himself from the moment and consider a situation from a more reasoned perspective, his philosophy of life manages only to reinforce his traits and his goals, imploring him to fight back ferociously, no matter how sympathetic or how tiny the opponent may be.
“[I was] trying to describe what this man is fundamentally about psychologically without resorting to diagnosis,” said the author, Dan McAdams, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University where he is also the director of the Foley Center for the Study of Lives. “Trying to be objective, trying to be dispassionate, and try to use principles from personality and developmental psychology to apply, to understand who he is and what he’s about.”Note he is stating that he is using principles from personality and developmental psychology. This is different from using principles from what is often called abnormal psychology or the study of psychopathology. He goes on:
‘…..What's behind the mask of Donald Trump?’
“That was hard to find. I spent a lot of time talking about the role: how he is as an actor, his high extroversion, his social dominance, his very low agreeableness.”
McAdams said when you look behind this so-called mask, you find a story about winning.
“I think it’s the motto of his life story: to win, to drive hard, to be number one,” he said. “I think he wants to win this election, but I’m not sure that he really wants to be president.”
McAdams says Trump’s combination of extreme extroversion and very low agreeableness does not look like a recipe for presidential success when you compare his traits to those of past presidents. But, he says the findings aren’t inherently negative.
“In terms of the personality, you could argue, ‘Yeah, low agreeableness, maybe that’s a good thing because then you don’t get swayed when you’re doing negotiations, you don’t get swayed by sentimentality,’” McAdams said. “So you could put a positive spin on this. I don’t want to suggest that it’s necessarily negative.
What I learned this morning: The McGurk Effect
On her show “Morning Joy” Joy Reed was discussing campaign advertising. She replayed the Trump ad supposedly showing Hillary saying “we are going to raise taxes on the middle class.”
In this ad the words are shown at least with under the image. She said that there’s research showing that people will hears something other than what is actually being said if at the same time the words are shown. She said "this is called the McGuck Effect, look it up.”
This effect may be experienced when a video of one phoneme's production is dubbed with a sound-recording of a different phoneme being spoken. Often, the perceived phoneme is a third, intermediate phoneme. For example, a visual /ga/ combined with an audio /ba/ is often heard as /da/. Further research has shown that it can exist throughout whole sentences. The effect is very robust; that is, knowledge about it seems to have little effect on one's perception of it. This is different from certain optical illusions, which break down once one 'sees through' them.
Study into the McGurk effect is being used to produce more accurate speech recognition programs by making use of a video camera and lip reading software. It has also been examined in relation to witness testimony; Wareham & Wright's 2005 study showed that inconsistent visual information can change the perception of spoken utterances, suggesting that the McGurk effect may have many influences in everyday perception. http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/McGurk_effect
The McGurk effect is a perceptual phenomenon that demonstrates an interaction between hearing and vision in speech perception. The illusion occurs when the auditory component of one sound is paired with the visual component of another sound, leading to the perception of a third sound. The visual information a person gets from seeing a person speak changes the way they hear the sound. People who are used to watching subbed movies may be among people who are not susceptible to the McGurk effect because they have, to some extent, learned to ignore the information they are getting from the mouths of the "speakers". If a person is getting poor quality auditory information but good quality visual information, they may be more likely to experience the McGurk effect. Integration abilities for audio and visual information may also influence whether a person will experience the effect. People who are better at sensory integration have been shown to be more susceptible to the effect. Many people are affected differently by the McGurk effect based on many factors, including brain damage and other disorders. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McGurk_effect
Friday, August 5, 2016
Consider the source of these words:
In sharp contrast to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump has no experience on national security. Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief.
These traits include his obvious need for self-aggrandizement, his overreaction to perceived slights, his tendency to make decisions based on intuition, his refusal to change his views based on new information, his routine carelessness with the facts, his unwillingness to listen to others and his lack of respect for the rule of law.
The dangers that flow from Mr. Trump’s character are not just risks that would emerge if he became president. It is already damaging our national security. From this NY Times OpEd “I Ran the CIA Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.”
Michael J. Morell was the acting director and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2010 to 2013.
Read article on Daily Kos
Read article on Daily Kos
Thursday, August 4, 2016
It’s just 60 seconds, so it’s worth a watch:
Not the “yuge" news of the day, but….
|Article in Vanity Fair|
|From Vanity Fair|
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
The day the country realizes that Trump is not just unhinged, not just temperamentally unfit to be president, but that he has a severe personality disorder. Read Daily Kos comments on this story here.
“I was down there and I watched our police and our firemen, down on 7-11, down at the World Trade Center, right after it came down,” Trump said. “And I saw the greatest people I’ve ever seen in action.”
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Who knew 30 years ago? Garry Trudeau did…
I’ve never seen Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau interviewed before he was on Rachel Maddow for an extended interview last night. Hopefully we’ll see more of him now that his book featuring the Trump Doonesbury comic strips dating back to 1987 has been published. The timing couldn’t be perfect. If anybody thinks Trump can do a presidential pivot and change his personality “Yuge!” should be required reading.
Here we we the very same egomaniacal Donald Trump on the world stage today. I have to echo what more and more commenters are saying - Trump is not normal. He never was. He never will be.
“Doonesbury is one of the most overrated strips out there. Mediocre at best.”
--Donald Trump, 1989
He tried to warn us. Ever since the release of the first Trump-for-President trial balloon in 1987, Doonesbury’s Garry Trudeau has tirelessly tracked and highlighted the unsavory career of the most unqualified candidate to ever aspire to the White House. It’s all there--the hilarious narcissism, the schoolyard bullying, the loathsome misogyny, the breathtaking ignorance; and a good portion of the Doonesbury cast has been tangled up in it. Join Duke, Honey, Earl, J.J., Mike, Mark, Roland, Boopsie, B.D., Sal, Alice, Elmont, Sid, Zonker, Sam, Bernie, Rev. Sloan, and even the Red Rascal as they cross storylines with the big, orange airhorn who’s giving the GOP such fits.
Garry Trudeau is the “sleazeball” “third-rate talent” who draws the “overrated” comic strip Doonesbury, which “very few people read.” He lives in New York City with his wife Jane Pauley, who “has far more talent than he has.”
Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau saw Donald Trump coming
Best photoshops of the day:
Monday, August 1, 2016
Just so you know:
|Even the thesaurus doesn’t fully describe the character of the man who wants to be president.|
|Lost in the news cycle because of Trump’s double and|
triple downing on his attacks against the Khans.
Read "Trump's Ukraine statements reveal staggering
ignorance, frightening duplicity, or both"
Morning TV: Trump surrogates dance away from directly addressing his insensitive remarks about Khan family.
|Trump has a different standard for how his|
male surrogates look than his female ones.
|Katrina Pierson known mostly for appearing|
on TV with her bullet necklace ..
Amazing how his surrogates scramble to translate all of Trump’s outlandish, unhinged utterances.
Mark Cuban Rips Jag-Off Trump
"Leadership, leadership is not yelling and screaming and intimidating, right?" Cuban said during a campaign stop in Pittsburgh on Saturday. And he didn't hold much back."You know what we call a person like that, the screamers, the yellers, the people who try to intimidate you? You know what we call people like that in Pittsburgh? A jag-off. Is there any bigger jag-off in the world than Donald Trump?” (Cuban is a real multibillionaire who is star of reality show Shark Tank.)
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Quote without comment:
“Let’s elect a sane and competent person”) "And I hit the ball a lot longer, a lot better.”
Take that Fox News Department:
Fox cut away from the DNC when Mr. Khan was speaking. Now Trump’s obscenely insensitive and bigoted reaction, and his lame damage repair, and the Khans remaining in the spotlight in subsequent interviews, forces Fox to reluctantly cover the story. Of course the other network shows have justifiably put this matter with the Khan family and Trump’s heartless reaction (as Jonathan Alter just put it) are focusing on what this says about Trump. Hillary, wisely, didn’t jump on Trump for this, but instead expressed puzzlement and left it up to others to draw their conclusions.
Like every Democrat who writes or speaks about Trump, whether online or to friends, we find it difficult to find words to describe his latest outrages. I think Ezra Klein put it well here:
Trump listened to a speech by the bereaved father of a fallen Muslim soldier and used it to slander the fallen soldier’s family. That was his response. That is his character.
At this point, I honestly don’t know what to say. I don’t have new language for this, I haven’t found another way of saying this isn’t okay, this isn’t kind, this isn’t decent. Instead, I’ll note James Fallows’s response.
He quotes Joseph Welch, speaking to Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954.
"Until this moment," he said, "I think I never really gauged your cruelty.” link
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Stooping even lower department:
Just when you wonder if Trump can stoop any lower, and get away with this, he disparages the parents of a Muslim soldier, who sacrificed his life to save others.
Trump Responds To Father Of Killed American Soldier,
Can’t Name A Single Sacrifice
Speaking with ABC, the Republican nominee also took on Khan and his wife, Ghazala, suggesting she wasn’t allowed to speak at the convention.
“If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me,” Trump said.
Ghazala Khan was in tears as she spoke about her son during an interview on MSNBC’s “The Last Word” on Friday. She said she told her son, “’be safe, and don’t become hero for me, just be my son, come back as a son.’ He came back as a hero.”
Trump also suggested that Khan’s remarks were not his own but were written by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In fact, Khan told The Huffington Post Friday the DNC allowed him to say whatever he wanted.
Quote of the day:
Joseph Schmitz, a foreign policy adviser to Trump, denied there was any direct relationship between the campaign and the Kremlin. “We had to negotiate with Joseph Stalin when we had a common enemy called Hitler,” he said. “Bill Clinton went on vacation in Russia when he was a Rhodes scholar. That’s a fact. If anyone is in bed with Russia, it’s the Clintons.” “Donald Trump and Russia: a web that grows..” The Guardian
Ezra Klein says what I’ve been hoping to hear more of from the media:
But in this year’s presidential election, the difference is more fundamental than that: The Democratic Party is a normal political party that has nominated a normal presidential candidate, and the Republican Party has become an abnormal political party that has nominated an abnormal presidential candidate. Read moreAnd while most Republicans fear Democrats keeping the White House enough to unhappily support Trump, it’s worth listening to what they’ve said about him.
Ted Cruz called Trump a "pathological liar," "utterly amoral," and "a narcissist at a level I don't think this country's ever seen."
Rick Perry said Trump’s candidacy was "a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded."
National Review, the flagship journal of American conservatism, said Trump "is a menace to American conservatism."
Rand Paul said Trump is "a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag. A speck of dirt is way more qualified to be president."
A list like this could go on, and on, and on. But here’s the point: These aren’t normal political condemnations. This isn’t normal political language. Republicans know they’ve nominated a dangerous man. They tried to warn their voters in the strongest terms possible that Trump is unqualified, untrustworthy, and amoral.
Michael Bloomberg, the former Republican mayor of New York City, put it simply in a speech endorsing Clinton. "Together, let's elect a sane, competent person," he said. That is what an endorsement sounds like when the choice shifts from left versus right to normal versus abnormal.
Friday, July 29, 2016
Breaking news - why are the Democrats hacker targets?
Second Democratic organization hacked! First the DNC and now the DCCC. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on Friday confirmed reports that it had been hacked, saying the breach is similar to the one that hit the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Hillary and Tim should continue to take a page from the Trump book of innuendo and strongly suggest that he must have something to hide since it is so easy to instruct your accountant to release his taxes. I can think of a few sarcastic lines about this, unless they are hand-written and need to be scanned into PDF format.
In fact, I think that most people figure he does have something to hide. Is it something he didn’t do, like give to charity, or doesn’t have, like several billion dollars, or something that he DID DO, like try to deduct an expensive gift to Putin as a business expense?
Will there be a post-convention bounce? Stay tuned.
Some Trump surrogate, one of those rotund men he has on Morning Joe periodically, criticized Hillary by saying “I doubt she drives her own car…." (uhh-oh he must have thought as he quickly added “I guess Donald Trump is driven around.” Really?
Thursday, Day Four, July 28, 2016
Star Power on Day Four:
|Singing You’ve Got a Friend written by her old friend James Taylor.|
Generally considered the best take-downs of Trump on day three:
|Also in the news from N. Korea,|
“U.S. has crossed the red line,
relations now on a war footing."
“I’m a New Yorker, and I know a con when we see one!"
“Let’s elect a sane, competent person,” he said.
The normally soft-spoken owner of Bloomberg financial-news service excoriated his fellow New Yorker, labeling him a “dangerous demagogue,” a hypocrite, a con, and—slashing at the core of Trump’s self-worth—a horrible businessman.
“Throughout his career,” Bloomberg said in his prime-time address. “Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies and thousands of lawsuits and angry shareholders and contractors who feel cheated and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off. Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us!”
“Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy!”
Bloomberg said America is greater than Trump suggests and needs a better president than Trump could be. “I understand the appeal of a businessman president. But Trump’s business plan is a disaster in the making,” he said.
“The bottom line is: Trump is a risky, reckless, and radical choice. And we can't afford to make that choice!”
Millions of people are seeing the National Enquirer front page (scroll down); but this is what millions of New Yorkers are seeing today on newsstands:
It gets worse, and beyond belief… Trump seemed to back Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea:
Donald Trump’s call on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails Wednesday resulted in widespread criticism. But his comments on Crimea, coupled with ones he made last week on NATO, are likely to have greater significance if he is elected president in November.
The question came from Mareike Aden, a German reporter, who asked him whether a President Trump would recognize Crimea as Russian and lift sanctions on Moscow imposed after its 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian territory. The candidate’s reply: “Yes. We would be looking at that.”
That response is likely to spread much cheer through Russia—already buoyant about the prospect of a Trump victory in November. But it could spread at least an equal amount of dread in the former Soviet republics. In a matter of two weeks, the man who could become the next American president has not only questioned the utility of NATO, thereby repudiating the post-World War II security consensus, he also has seemingly removed whatever fig leaf of protection from Russia the U.S. offered the post-Soviet republics and Moscow’s former allies in the Eastern bloc. The Atlantic
Wednesday, Day Three, July 27, 2016
ON the checkout aisle at Freddie’s: National Enquirer “reveals” Trumps secret plan to defeat Hillary. He will reveal:
1) her “lesbian shenanigans
2) that she spent time in a mental hospital after Bill had sex with a woman at their engagement party
3) that Bill has a son from his affair with childhood sweetheart Dolly Kyle Browning named Anthony Peterson
4) more about Monica
5) that the Clintons have a $100 divorce pact that assures they will stay married during the campaign
6) that there are audio recordings of staffers warning Gennifer Flowers to lie
7) that there’s a secret recording and transcript of Bill’s meeting with Loretta Lynch that has him cutting a deal to assure Hillary doesn’t go to prison in return for Lynch remaining on at Attorney General
Full Frontal's Samantha Bee recaps the cringe-inducing lows of the 2016 Election thus far in a scathing stroll down memory lane.
Tuesday, Day Two, July 26, 2016
Some stations cut away from this so you may have missed it:
Featured in the video: Aisha Tyler, Alan Cumming, America Ferrera, Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Chrissie Fit, Connie Britton, Elizabeth Banks, Ellen Greene, Esther Dean, Eva Longoria, Garrett Clayton, Hana Mae Lee, Ian Somerholder, Idina Menzel, Jaime King, Jane Fonda, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, John Michael Higgens, Josh Lucas, Julie Bowen, Kathy Najimy, Kelly Jackle, Kristin Chenoweth, Mandy Moore, Mary McCormack, Mary-Louise Parker, Mike Thompkins, Nikki Read, Rachel Platten, Renee Fleming, Rob Reiner, Shelley Regner, Sia, TR Knight..
On the Bernie or busters:
Bernie or bust really means Bernie or Trump. When participants in the Okalhoma Land Rush in 1889 said "Oklahoma or bust" they knew that "or bust" might mean getting killed by the indians whose land they were stealing with government sanction. Now the "or bust" means giving the election to a proto-fascist.
UPDATE: Bernie just told his supporters that it is now “Hillary or bust.” Now somebody has to convince these holdouts that there are two meanings of “or bust.” There's the personal, the “I plan to pack my bags and go home” or bust. And most significantly, there’s the giving the election to Donald Trump “or bust."
I doubt this hopefully small minority saying they may vote for Trump will ever be convinced to vote for Hillary. It is interesting from a psychological perspective to listen to them. These people aren’t reacting emotionally to Bernie’s losing. They have what they believe to be rational reasons for considering voting for Trump.
New Yorker article Excerpt (emphasis mine):
|From “White Plight” in The New Yorker|
Monday, DNC Convention week, July 25, 2016: Are angry Sanders supporters telling pollsters they will vote for Trump, and will they really vote for Hillary? Let’s hope so.
Sunday, July 24, 2016 First watch:
….a window into a reality that has a lot of liberals and Democrats just as nervous: thousands of people who gathered in Cleveland this past week — and many more around the country — actually believe the scary rhetoric that spewed from the stage of Quicken Loans Arena. Wherever the ideas originated, they are not just talking points to the millions of Americans who made Donald Trump the leader of the Republican Party. They are “facts.” “Boy, that’s a scary thought,” said Mike Huey, a bluff, friendly 56-year-old from Illinois who was nevertheless willing to sport a button that read “Life’s a bitch. Don’t vote for one.”He was among many Trump supporters asked by The Huffington Post in Cleveland how they would feel if Clinton wins, and the country becomes Hillary’s America. Many of them expressed fear, and not just your garden variety fear of political disappointment, but more your arm-yourself-to-the-teeth kind of fear. “Well, I would run to the store as fast as I could and get as much ammo as I could and buckle down,” said Pamela Nicolay, a central Californian who last voted for a president when it was Ronald Reagan. HuffPoFirst read reaction: On reading these words in a Huffington Post article…
it hit me that for Trump, and apparently his supportersPREVIOUS PAGE