June 20, 2017

The Surreal Summer of Trump Begins in-mid-June

Early June Posts here

New: Email me with private and public comments, or to be published submissions, or anything else here: halbrown@gmx.com Russian readers, I know you’re there. Send me an email and let me know who you are and what interests you on the blog.

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On the Psychopathology of Donald Trump: The Advanced Course - A new YouTube channel of videos 

Thursday, June 22, 2017
If God is sending messages to GOP dept:
 Crystal Grener, one of the two Capital Police officers who saved vehemently anti-LGBT Congressman Steve Scalese and other Republican congressmen is a married lesbian.

Quote of the day (so far) comes from Dahlia Lithwick, journalist and lawyer, on Slate.

 Lawyers who have been trained to answer to the Constitution first and their wealthy clients far later don’t want to be in the position of having to tell the world’s largest preschooler that sometimes no bendy straw for the juice box really means no bendy straw for the juice box. And lawyers who have done far more with their careers than Sherpa a “successful businessman” through multiple bankruptcies may have a hard time explaining to the president that no amount of money or power in the world can make certain judges and some courts disappear.
Make This Obstruction Thing Go Away 
Trump has always treated lawyers like hired help. As  president, he’s finally found attorneys who refuse to do his bidding.

More mind-boggling, jaw-dropping malignant off-the-rails narcissism dept. (Or, to be technicals, he’s turning narcissistic insult into narcissistic rage)

“They have phony witch hunts going against me,” Mr. Trump said nearly an hour into a speech that veered off script repeatedly. “All we do is win, win, win. We won last night.” 
The rally, Mr. Trump’s first since the end of April, served as a venting session for a pent-up president who has stewed and brooded from inside the gilded cage of the White House over attacks from investigators, Democrats and the news media, his interview schedule drastically pared down and his aides imploring him to stay off Twitter. 
Style-heavy and substance-light, the speech went over an hour: an epic version of the fact-challenged, meandering and, even for his detractors, mesmerizing speeches he gave during his upstart presidential campaign.  New York Times: Trump Turns Iowa Rally into a Venting Session

Weds., June 21, 2017
The psychology of Trump voters:

No regrets for Trump voters: The media needs to stop looking for buyers’ remorse 

Psychological research shows people are too tribal and afraid to admit they were wrong to regret their votes 

When will these people see? Those of us who are not in the cult of Trump keep tuning in to find out. How many times does he have to admit to obstructing justice in public? How many angry, incoherent tweets about the investigation before his guilty-acting behavior gets to them? How long do we have to wait for Trump’s biggest fans to call their friends and apologize for their votes?
Well, folks are going to have to keep on waiting because the answer to the question of when Trump voters will come around is somewhere between “a long, long time from now” and more likely “never.” 

Rachel Maddow Previews Bombshell Report Linking Trump to Putin-Connected Money Pouring into His Real Estate Deals

For Opera Fans:
More lighter views of Hell:

* Title this: The Good Queen and the Mad King.
* Stephen Hawking offers hope for our grandchildren.
* Spicer never talked with Trump about what he believes about Russian interference in the election. Really?
“The former FBI director said that without a doubt the Russians interfered,” (reporter who asked question) Yingst added. “Does the president share those views?
Spicer reiterated that he doesn’t know.
“I have not sat down and asked him about his specific reaction to them, so I’d be glad to touch base and get back to you,” he said, before quickly moving on as another reporter could be heard trying to interject, “Didn’t [Trump] say it was fake news, Sean? Didn’t the president say that Russia was fake news?”   

Meanwhile, I’m thinking…
at the gates of Hell. If I could draw I’d depict Trump as the Hellmouth.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 (Slow news day)

“We're certainly interested in any efforts the Russians made to influence our election,” says California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in the election. “There have been public reports, I think, that Jill Stein was also in Russia attending the RT function, so we’re going to need to look at any efforts the Russians made through whatever means to influence our elections." 
Stein didn’t just attend the gala—dressed in a shimmering silver shawl, she sat at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has barely disguised his glee at the political chaos that what he calls “patriotic” Russian hackers have unleashed in the United States. And she recorded a video from Moscow’s famous Red Square, in which she talked about “the need to rein in American exceptionalism” and replace “a U.S. policy based on domination”—words that sounded like they were ripped from Putin’s talking points. 
Stein isn’t sorry about any of it. She says she’d welcome the opportunity to testify before Congress and dismisses the idea that she was a spoiler or that her campaign was co-opted as a tool of Russian influence as Democrats’ “pathetic excuses” for losing the election.

Monday, June 19, 2017
New Interview by John Gartner: Dr. Claire Pouncey a psychiatrist and medical ethicist argues the Goldwater rule itself is unethical

Sunday, June 18, 2017
I’m not meaning to be sexist or judge people by their appearance, but Trump wears his inner ugliness on the outside.
Nostalgia that will make to yearn for Obama: His first 100 days in 30 photos.
“You can count me out,” said an attorney who served in the George W. Bush administration and has turned down senior-level legal posts at several agencies, including the Justice Department. This attorney, like others who talked candidly about job offers from the administration, spoke on the condition of anonymity, either because their employers do business with the government or they fear retribution from Republican leaders. 
The attorney described an “equally incoherent and unclear leadership” at many agencies, in particular at the Justice Department, where the attorney characterized Sessions’s push for stricter sentences for drug crimes as “1982 thinking” that the Republican Party has largely abandoned. 
Another person in line for a senior legal post who pulled out after Comey’s firing said, “I decided, ‘What am I doing this for?’ ” 
He described a disorganized paperwork process that threatened to leave him unprepared for Senate confirmation, and said he was disgusted that Rosenstein was “hung out to dry” as the president claimed at first that the deputy attorney general orchestrated Comey’s firing. 
“You sit on the tarmac for quite some time, you see smoke coming out of the engine and you say, ‘I’m going back to the gate,’ ” he said.

Saturday, June 17, 2017
Take a humor break, scroll down to watch Chelsea Handler video.


Our national crisis is entering a decisive phase.
On Wednesday night the Washington Post reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating the president for possible obstruction of justice. Trump can complain forever about this being a witch hunt, but he brought this new problem entirely on himself. According to Politico, he’s obsessed:
Trump, for months, has bristled almost daily at the ongoing probes. He has sometimes, without prompting, injected “I’m not under investigation” into conversations with associates and allies. He has watched hours of TV coverage every day — sometimes even storing morning news shows on his TiVo to watch in the evening — and complained nonstop.
This is not a mentally healthy person. And just as he decided that Comey was a bad man, he has now decided that Mueller is as well.
Yet another example of how leaky the White House is:

Fri. June 16, 2017 Evening:
"Trump advisers and confidants describe the president as increasingly angry over the investigation, yelling at television sets in the White House carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy." Associated Press

 So much news and opinion today - here’s the best I could find (so far): 

New Today! Gartner interviews Zimbarto.

I wrote the following in March.

Comic Interlude:

THE BIG IDEA: If Donald Trump thought he could intimidate Bob Mueller, he thought wrong. 
A person who spoke with Trump on Tuesday told the New York Times that the president was pleased by the intentional ambiguity of his position on firing Robert S. Mueller as special counsel, “and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.”
If the president truly believes this, he fundamentally misunderstands what motivates the former FBI director – who has stood up to previous administrations and never swayed under political pressure.

Marines Corps veterans don’t scare easily. Mueller, 72, earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor for his gallantry in Vietnam before devoting most of the rest of his life to public service. Trump, 71, avoided military service by claiming a medical deferment for “heel spurs,” and he’s said that his “personal Vietnam” was avoiding sexually-transmitted diseases while sleeping around in New York. “I feel like a great and very brave solider," the president once told Howard Stern.  From The Washington Post.

Trump’s Derangement Deepens, by Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine.

And this crisis is more dangerous because the president has not only been trying to prevent or rig any such investigation for months — demanding personal loyalty from the FBI director, pressuring national intelligence officials to exonerate him before the inquiry is finished — but also continues to boast about this obstruction of justice as if there were nothing wrong with it at all.

Which brings us to Trump’s mental illness, by which I mean simply that he would not pass a clinical psych test for any other job in the country. Yesterday morning, the mad king tweeted: “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice.” He then called Mueller “a very bad and conflicted” individual. Later, like a spoiled child, he wondered out loud: “Why is that Hillary Clintons family and Dems dealings with Russia are not looked at, but my non-dealings are?”

The truth is Trump cannot abide any kind of investigation of his campaign or of himself by anyone. That would require him to defer to someone else, and his psyche cannot let that happen. (This is the core reason behind his refusal to release his tax returns.) The very idea of actually wanting inspection to clear his name simply doesn’t occur to him. After a lifetime of lying, fraud, debt, secrecy, and bankruptcy, his instinct is always to deny everything and to do all he can to subvert any smidgen of accountability or transparency. 

Right Turn

  Washington Post
President Trump’s inability to extend a better-than-usual public moment has been the telltale sign of his campaign and presidency. All those “pivots” and glimpses of “normalcy” have been swiftly followed by a reversion to his lifelong behavior — undisciplined antagonism, self-pitying and just plain lying. So it was on Thursday, less than 24 hours after the horrific shooting at the GOP congressional baseball team practice in Alexandria — and a much-praised speech and appropriate evening hospital visit to sit with injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) — that Trump reverted to attacking the special counsel, railed at Hillary Clinton (!) and, frankly, seemed once again unglued. 
Trump likely will become more unhinged as headlines dog him day after day, a parade of witnesses troop in to talk to the special counsel and the investigation metastasizes. 
If ordered to comply with document subpoenas, will he comply as Richard Nixon was obliged to do after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the tapes — or will he defy the order of one of those so-called judges and finally take his ball and stomp off for good?


This is not funny. This is not normal.
Trump is vainglorious, a personality trait that can be compelling for a character in a Shakespearean tragedy or a Greek play, but disastrous when channeled by the leader of a country.
Trump’s actions on Monday are but one more reminder that he is a plutocratic authoritarian with no regard or respect for basic norms of democracy or human decency. He leads a cult of personality whose members will not abandon him; he is backed by a political party that worships power and will abandon American democracy in order to advance its goals.

And Trump has repeatedly shown that loyalty to him should supersede loyalty to the Constitution. As such, it appears more likely than not that Trump committed impeachable offenses when he potentially obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey for refusing to stop an investigation of whether Trump’s inner circle had been infiltrated by Russian agents.

A story to watch
Link above
We know the power of the Republicans who chair the committees investigating Trump. That’s why this is a significant story.

Excerpt (emphasis mine)

Republicans are wary of Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) decision to launch a Judiciary Committee investigation into the firing of former FBI director James Comey. 
Grassley, the panel’s chairman, took the step this week partly at the urging of Democrats, but said that it’s his committee’s job to make sure there’s a firewall protecting the FBI from political influence.
“There should be no improper interference with FBI investigations to favor any elected official or candidate of either party,” Grassley wrote in a Wednesday letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
Grassley’s announcement took his Republican colleagues by surprise, and several said they are uncomfortable with the addition of yet another investigation that could target the Trump White House.

June 4, 2017

Early June. No surprise, Trump being Trump.

May Edition is here.

Thurs. June 15, 2017
My second Tweet to Trump. Hopefully the irony will be obvious (to everyone but him):

Not a link

Breaking News: My first Tweet to Trump!


The question has long been central to psychological research. In Freud’s id or Jung’s shadow, we see first attempts to identify what makes us tick in socially destructive ways. These first attempts, while admirable should not be the last word. We should continue to seek greater precision in identifying the features of the human condition that makes us go wrong at any scale from one-on-one relationships to worldwide society. Here’s my current guess.
It’s not the beliefs we hold but how we hold them—absolutely, as though we have discovered and integrated into our very being an airtight formula for deciding the right response to any situation we feed into the formula. It’s as though we envy computers their certainty. We may fear that people are becoming more like computers, but something in us also wishes we could be ones, programmed with the perfect formula for solving the mystery of living once and for all.
It’s not so much being a know-it-all as a solve-it-all. Give the authoritarian any problem and they’ll output the one perfect solution to it. Sometimes the formula is as simple as “less government is always the answer,” “the word of God is always the answer,” or “kindness is always the answer.” Sometimes it’s a far more complicated formula. No matter how complex it is, it’s absolute and final, the last word forevermore. Authoritarian leaders like Trump pretend they have such a formula. Authoritarian followers believe them.

So what is it about us that would find such formulas alluring, especially given their history of failing miserably? Why would we embrace them again and again like a beaten wife who keeps coming back for more?

Weds., June 14, 2017
He may not be mad, but a growing number of commentators allege that Trump is suffering from dementia, or is mentally subnormal, or is suffering from a personality disorder of some kind.

Excerpt: The only formal and legal way of removing President Trump and restoring strong and stable government is by impeachment. But as with many other aspects of the 18th-century Constitution by which the United States is still governed, this may prove a long, complicated, and difficult process. Republican members of Congress are understandably reluctant to spend many months removing a Republican president. And in the end, an attempt at impeachment may not succeed. 
But that still leaves other options. If Trump rules through what is in effect the modern American equivalent of a royal court, then perhaps it is the courtiers, as in so many examples from history, together with his family, who might have to get together and remove him, or at the very least, neutralize him. The incoherence and inconsistency of his tweets and his speeches (unless they are written for him in advance and unless he sticks rigidly to the text) has prompted speculation that this has happened already. 
Only a few weeks into his presidency, Steve Bannon was being described by many journalists as “President Bannon.” Now that he himself seems to have been sidelined, it looks increasingly as if Trump’s family, with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump alternating at the fore, is beginning to take over the show. If Americans prove incapable of deposing their debilitated president, they may soon earn the mild relief of one, or more, informally appointed American regents.

Who is Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)? If the name is familiar, he’s the House majority whip who was embroiled in controversy when, in 2014, it came out he spoke at a white supremacist conference in 2002.

Just announced, to be published in October:
Edited by psychiatrist Bandy Lee, who organized the Yale Duty to Warn Conference.

On the advisor to the leader of the Free World

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Late edition: 
From The Washington Post: Is Trump Making America Mentally Ill?

Today, about a third of the nation’s population seems to be suffering from a reality discernment malfunction. Have they been ingesting mushrooms plucked from bull dung? Drinking water spiked with credulity-enhancing chemicals?  
Thus, when President Trump speaks in his fourth-grade, monosyllabic, syntax-challenged verbiage, they hear lyrical lucidity. When he brags that he has accomplished more than any other president, save for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his starry-eyed minions nod their approval. Exactly no major legislation has been passed by Congress since Trump took office. 
As Trump himself said, he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and they’d still love him. 
This is the definition of reciprocal madness, which seems to have spread to the highest levels, as witnessed Monday in the strangest Cabinet meeting in American history.
But what to make of the rest of these Americans who seem unburdened by such concerns? Or this president, who still can do much harm? More than two dozen top psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental-health experts hope to provide some answers with a book due out this fall — “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” 
They don’t diagnose Trump, which ethically they can’t do without examining the patient. They do, however, discuss his symptoms, which lead them to conclude that Trump is a “complex, if dangerously mad, man.” They also propose that his mental illness is affecting the nation’s mental health as well. 
These experts will likely learn what many journalists have discovered: Only the already convinced will read the book, and the rest will remain convinced of their certitude. The trouble is that when one is daily immersed in clouds of distraction, it’s difficult to recall what “normal” looks like. 

It’s not normal:
"For Mr. Trump, the line between whim and will is always thin. It is often erased in moments of anger, when simmering grievance boils over into rash action, exemplified by his firing of James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, after a weekend of brooding at his resort in Bedminster," N.J.  From New York Tines article on Trump considering firing Mueller Trump Stews, Staff Steps In.


I can’t exactly say I watched the entire Jeff Sessions testimony. I did sit in front of the TV but he was so boring I fell asleep several times. The only exchange that woke me up was Sen. Kamala Harris taking Sessions to the woodshed, and being admonished by Republican Chair Burr to shut her cheeky mouth.

This turned out be the story of the day:

 I have no doubt that Sessions had conversations with Trump before and after the election that if revealed would be damaging to the president. Dr. Borowitz.

Jeff Sessions walks the tightrope: Compromised attorney general must try to shield his boss and protect himself 

Sessions is in a tough spot: He must prove his loyalty to Trump while explaining his own deeply troubling conduct 

Mon. June 12, 2017
How normal is this first paragraph?

Are Republicans prepared for the possibility that President Trump’s abuses of power could continue their slide to depths of madness or autocracy that make the current moment look relatively tame by comparison? This isn’t meant as a rhetorical question. It is genuinely unclear — from the public statements of Republicans and the reporting on their private deliberations — whether they envision a point at which Trump’s conduct could grow unhinged enough, or threaten serious enough damage to our democracy, to warrant meaningful acknowledgment, never mind action. From Trump is likely to get much, much worse. Here are a few big things to watch for, Washington Post


New Yorker GIF cover

Psychological insights in layman’s terms:

Sun. June 11, 2017
Alt-universe Dept:
The pro-Trump interpretations also do not take into account new questions that Comey’s testimony raised about the actions of key members of the administration, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, according to Philip Allen Lacovara, a former U.S. deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department who served as counsel to the Watergate special prosecutors. 
“Comey’s testimony lays out a case that a prosecutor could regard as sufficient to demonstrate that the president did engage in an obstruction of justice,” Lacovara said. “None of that was undermined by the oral testimony that Comey gave.” 
Even as Comey characterized Trump as a liar in testimony seen by more than 19 million people, Trump’s version of events has persisted largely unquestioned in conservative circles. Trump’s supporters and Republicans in Washington have moved quickly to defend him based primarily on the narrow argument that he did not violate the law.

Video Dept.

How the Babadook became the LGBTQ icon we didn’t know we needed

How terrorizing a white Australian family became an act of queer defiance.

This is on Amazon Prime and Netflix. I have two more episodes of the amazing thrill filled and startling new season of “Orange in the New Black” to watch. It's a tour deforce of acting. Then I will watch this. Rotten Tomato critics gave it a 98% score.

Review: I watched the movie. I waited to read this article until afterwards. Since I knew the title of the article as I watched the movie I kept trying to figure out how the Babadook monster became an LGBTQ icon. I really couldn’t. 

As the movie progressed I figured out the monster was two things. It was a psychological manifestation of the mother’s unconscious and horribly unacceptable wish that he son rather than her husband died in the car crash.  

It also was the child’s reaction to the death of his father in a car crash on the way to the hospital while his mother was in labor.  My interpretation is consistent with those expressed by the critics I read on Rotten Tomatoes. It is a move about grief. As a widower and psychoanalytically psychotherapist I saw it as a powerful symbolic story of the nightmare of unresolved grief over the death of a spouse and parent. 

Reading the article, I still admit that I only “kind of” get it how the LGBTQ community reads their own take into the monster. However, if some members of the community want to claim the Babadook as an icon, and say it was LGBTQ for various reasons having nothing to do with grief and the unconscious, they are ignoring the fact that grief knows no sexual orientation.

Morning Trump Tweets
Apparently the “cowardly” refers to Comey testifying that he was uncomfortable when Trump ask his dropping Flynn investigation. Interesting dynamic that this leads to Trump disparaging Comey by saying he is cowardly… and why the quotes? So much boils down to Trump’s psychopathology.

Sat. June 10, 2017
Quote of the Day:
“Should I take one of the killer networks that treat me so badly as fake news—should I do that?” Donald Trump said on Friday afternoon, at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden. It didn’t matter which correspondent he called on. Every one of them wanted to ask about the same thing: the testimony that the former F.B.I. director James Comey had given on Thursday. “Go ahead, Jon,” he said, gesturing toward Jonathan Karl, of ABC News. Since he took office, the President’s personality hasn’t changed much, but his King Lear tendency is deepening. Before Karl could ask his question, Trump started musing aloud. “Be fair, Jon,” he said. “Remember how nice you used to be before I ran?” The New Yorker
June 5&12 New Yorker

Friday, June 9, 2017
A break from Trump: Debate the ethics of this

Does a Dying Mafia Killer Deserve Hospice Mercy?

He once ordered an enemy’s young son dissolved in acid. Now Italy’s courts are fighting over whether a barbaric Sicilian capo should get the right to die with dignity.

Thursday, June 8, 2017
Quote of the day (sort of) 
“The president is not a liar. No, I can definitively say the president is not a liar. It’s frankly insulting that that question would be asked.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Other senators pointed out the subtle distinction between a boss telling his employee he hoped that something would be done and telling him specifically to do it. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) compared it to a stickup man with a gun saying that he hoped a victim would turn over his wallet. Sen. Angus King asked Comey if the former director “[took] that as a directive.” Comey said he did, using the literary analogy of King Henry II, who apocryphally asked about Archbishop Thomas Becket, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” Becket was dispatched to his Creator within short order. Washington Post

Longtime observers say Trump’s behavior with Comey fits lifelong pattern

Secret deals, threats a part of his New York repertoire

Reports suggest president is buckling under the pressures of governance and a looming investigation.
Many psychologists and experts have argued his personality displays clear narcissim and a tendency to be disagreeable, though it's impossible to truly diagnose the president based off public speeches and his apparent short-temper. Still, it’s clear more than ever the weight of presidency and new developments in the investigation into his campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russian Kremlin are making Trump angry.
And when Trump is angry, he tends to fire, whether it be through firing his aides or firing off tweets. 

Weds. June 7, 2017
Do you want to work on your graduate degree in Trumpology? Of course you do! Here’s the first class, and this is the second:

Evening edition: My Take on Comey releasing his opening statement a day early:

Pundits are saying — and who am I to argue  — that Comey has done this (apparently he didn’t have to do so) to stick it in Trump’s eye. This makes it a bombshell before his testimony and makes it a two day story. The talking heads on MSNBC are saying they expect more bombshells tomorrow when Comey answers questions he expects will come from the Democrats. Dan Rather: "Donald Trump is afraid that the investigations are going to reveal something that is very, very harmful to him…. what is the president af

Tuesday June 6, 2017

Just watching Chris Hayes and how he noted that Trump has two ways of describing “periods of time.” One is a long period of time and the other is a short period of time. I wondered how his staff, and the staff’s of other shows and media, could search for these examples. He played clips of many examples. I found several websites that publish every Tweet Trump’s ever made. Here’s one from the LA Times.  I just found a story on Buzzfeed about a site that has not only the Tweets, but every word he’s made in public.
I recommend that those who are interested in just about
the best elucidation of Trump’s psychopathology watch the half hour video below  or on YouTube here.

Monday, June 5, 2017 

Ex-Bush official, conservative Havard law professor unloads on Trump: He ‘infects the legal soundness of everything his admin does’

This is the first of a planned series of podcasts that Duty to Warn founder Dr. John Gartner is posting to YouTube. In them he will be discussing Trump’s psychopathology and unfitness for office with mental health professionals. Here he talks to clinical psychologist Harry Segal (see profile below).

Clinical psychologist Harry Segal, a senior lecturer in psychology at Cornell and at Weill Cornell Medical College, supervises an intensive field practicum for pre-clinical students, teaches a course on community psychology, and gives the main lecture course on clinical psychology, Introduction to Adult Psychopathology. Segal also advises students on clinical careers and, as a faculty member at the medical school in New York City, supervise psychology interns and post-docs at the Paine Whitney Mood and Anxiety Disorders Clinic.
Harry holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Columbia University and two PhDs, one in English literature from Yale University and one in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan. His research interests include the uses of narrative in clinical assessment; adolescent psychopathology; lifespan development; connections between the creative and therapeutic processes; and psychodynamic approaches to literary texts. (Read "Segal discusses how psychotherapy works" in NYC lecture.)

Trump is out of control: Gene Robinson, Washington Post
Excerpts: The statements President Trump issued on Twitter in recent days lead to a chilling conclusion: The man is out of control.

I know that is a radical thing to say about the elected leader of the United States, the most powerful individual in the world. And I know his unorthodox use of social media is thought by some, including the president himself, to be brilliant. But I don’t see political genius in the invective coming from Trump these days. I see an angry man lashing out at enemies real and imagined — a man dangerously overwhelmed.
We already knew that Trump had a narrow mind and a small heart. Now we must wonder about his emotional stability, his grasp of reality, or both.
Fact-checked Trump’s remarks Oliver said: “What are you talking about? They were happy because they secured a landmark victory for the future of the planet, you fucking egomaniac.” He goes on to play videos of examples Trump being unable to string thoughts together and egomaniacal.

Quotable Quotes:

But does any of it matter? The president, backed by his party, is talking nonsense, destroying American credibility day by day. But hey, stocks are up, so what’s the problem? 
Well, bear in mind that so far Trump hasn’t faced a single crisis not of his own making. As George Orwell noted many years ago in his essay “In Front of Your Nose,” people can indeed talk nonsense for a very long time, without paying an obvious price. But “sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.” Now there’s a happy thought. NYT "Making Ignorance Great Again" by Paul Krugman

The urgent need for Trump’s resignation or impeachment couldn’t be greater. There are legal mechanisms to avoid Trump continuing on and, like Bush, possibly rebranding himself as a war president. While it’s important for the investigators to be deliberate and thorough, Trump’s presidency is creating irreparable damage to the system as well as America’s stature as a superpower, so a bit of investigatory hustle is in order. Our president thinks his job is to be the most famous cable news pundit (or troll) in the world, not realizing that blurting 140-character comments isn’t the purview of the president and only serves to badly embarrass the nation. There are people who get paid to scream semi-coherent gibberish on television. Presidents have a far greater responsibility and their words matter. If Trump wants to be a pundit, I’m sure Fox News will gladly pay him to wedge his copious girth between Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade on “Fox & Friends.” But that’s not his job. Yet. It should be. His presidency is, itself, a crisis and he needs to go — now, before he gets a chance to reset his scoreboard with a major tragedy.  Bob Cesca, Salon

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Click image to enlarge

MSNBC, at least, is covering the question as to whether Trump’s post-London Bridge terror attack Tweets were appropriate. Of course, for Trump they are not surprising for reasons anybody reading this blog understands. “Everything is about me."

Sat. June 3, 2017
Excerpts from this insightful article:
Trump is constantly battling feelings of shame and humiliation. We know that because he is frequently expressing “disgust.” Disgust is a way to keep shame at a distance. It’s a way of saying that something bad isn’t inside, it’s outside, and disgust warns us to keep away from it. Trump can barely contain expressions of disgust and contempt. 
During the campaign we saw this defense emerge in regard to women; he was disgusted, for example, by Hillary’s use of the bathroom during their debate at Saint Anselm College, and fulminated about Megyn Kelly’s bloody secretions after she was tough on him in their first debate. Even Trump’s alleged sexual preference for “golden showers” during a sexual tryst in a Moscow hotel speaks, if true, to his struggle with shame. A sexual fetish like this is his attempt to overcome feelings of disgust by enacting a disgusting scenario (being urinated on) but scripting it so that everyone is sexually excited rather than repelled. 
Trump is obviously extremely vulnerable to feeling shamed and humiliated. Moreover, I would argue that, in general, he finds women to be essentially and especially disgusting and avoids getting too close to these dangerous feeling by using women as things. Relationships with things are safer than actual intimacy and exposure.
A 700 page diversion
As President, however, he finds himself under constant hostile scrutiny, and this scrutiny threatens his defenses. He is constantly compelled to preemptively reassert his invulnerability, his power and greatness, which come across as what they are:  boorishness--a braggart desperately trying to save face.  
If reports are true, Trump frequently loses his temper, striking out and blaming others for chinks in his narcissistic armor. Of course he does. His outbursts are a belated attempt to master and control an environment that is relentlessly whispering—actually, at times shouting--that he’s a bad, inferior, defective man. He can’t stand being the helpless victim of these whispers and shouts. He’ll do anything to shut them up—fire press secretaries, obstruct justice, bribe allies, anything to restore the moat defending him against criticism. 

It is Trump's gift to future biographers that he makes so little attempt to hide his psychological issues, but the desire to avoid being laughed at truly stands out. Perhaps there was some childhood trauma that led to this obsession, a schoolyard incident in which a bully pulled down Donny's short pants to the guffaws of the other tots (particularly the girls!). It would be only fitting if Trump, the world's foremost avatar of anxious masculinity, lived in terror of women's laughter, but he seems concerned with everyone's laughter, whether it comes from people or governments. As much as he cares about winning and getting the better of someone, defeat is marked by the ultimate humiliation of being laughed at. 
Yet ironically, no president in history has ever been laughed at as much as Trump. Long before he ran for the White House he was considered a cretinous buffoon, one of the world's least serious people trying to convince everyone how serious he is. Even Trump's cartoonish hair, which looks like what you'd get if you put three separate comb-overs into the Large Hadron Collider and smashed them together at the speed of light, seems to be in large part an effort to avoid being laughed at for being bald. 
And today there is without a doubt not a single human being on planet Earth who is laughed at more than Donald J. Trump. He's laughed at by ordinary people and by other politicians, by the rich and the poor, by Americans and residents of other nations, by Christians, Muslims, and Jews, by one and all. The Center for Media and Public Affairs, which has tracked the jokes in late-night monologues for years, found that in his first 100 days Trump was the target of over 1,000 jokes from Fallon, Kimmel, Colbert, et al, on pace to easily surpass the record set in 1998 when in the midst of the irresistibly salacious Lewinsky scandal the hosts told 1,700 jokes about Bill Clinton. Comedy Central even commissioned a weekly show starring a Trump impersonator, so viewers can laugh at him for an entire half hour at a time.

Friday, June 2, 2017

From Dana Milbank in the Washington Post: 
For the last fortnight, Trump has presented himself to the world as the caricature of the ugly American: loud, boorish and ill-informed. For nine days in Europe and the Middle East, Trump shoved, hectored and lectured, betraying confidences and demonstrating an ignorance of world affairs.  
The French president applied a crushing grip to Trump’s tiny hands to show that he wouldn’t be bullied, and the German chancellor suggested that Europe may need to go it alone after 70 years, without its suddenly flaky ally. The pope gently conveyed disdain. 
Trump would have been humiliated if he were capable of feeling shame, but on some level even he must have known he was being dismissed, for he responded as he does when ridiculed — with still more cartoonish bluster.

“Steve Bannon was running around from — according to my sources, bragging to journalists a month and a half ago that he didn’t have to worry about Kushner and he was going to sideline Kushner because of Russia, that he had information on the Russian investigation, and that he was going to sideline Jared Kushner,” Joe Scarborough said.

Below: WV Residents: If you’ll wear one of these pins let me know and I'll buy 10 for $10.


Democrats keep sending letters to government agencies requesting information — but the Trump White House is instructing those agencies to completely ignore them.

Quote of the morning:
“Yes, it was her fault she lost. I have found the hard way that a gift all women can give to themselves is self-awareness, and I hope she finds some soon.” ,” Kellyanne Conway said of Hillary Clinton in Manhattan. “

Thursday, June 1, 2017
Evening Edition:
On Lawrence O’Donnell - Trump as “psychologically troubled as Nixon” — so just how “troubled” was Nixon?

Richard Nixon ate dog biscuits, got looped on martinis, walked the beach in his suit and lace-ups and spied on Ted Kennedy. Secret Service agents reveal Tricky Dick's bizarre behavior before he resigned 40 years ago

  • Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace from the Oval Office on August 9,1974 before he could be impeached over the Watergate scandal
  • 'Searchlight,' his Secret Service code name, was depressed and paranoid, according to a new book
  • He quit playing golf, and declared it was 'a game for lazy bastards'
  • Nixon and wife Pat traveled in separate compartments on the plane and slept in separate bedrooms 
  • Agents describe the time Nixon's pals hid a totally naked young lady holding a bottle of champagne in their trunk, as a present for the president
  • But, says one agent, 'Nixon never got a piece of tail in his life'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2717322/Richard-Nixon-ate-dog-biscuits-got-looped-martinis-walked-beach-suit-lace-ups-spied-Ted-Kennedy-New-book-reveals-Tricky-Dicks-bizarre-behavior-forced-resign-presidency-40-years-ago.html#ixzz4ioGC8Tn0
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Not a link

From Slate: We the Victims 

Trump’s Paris accord speech projected his own psychological issues all over the American people.

Not a link
"The mystery of Trump's 'covfefe.'"
Neurological diagnosis from a distance From New York Times
In the study, to be published this week in the journal Brain and Language, researchers at Arizona State University tracked a steeper decline in vocabulary size and other verbal skills in 10 players who spoke at news conferences over an eight-year period, compared with 18 coaches and executives who had never played professional football and who also spoke in news conferences during the same period.
Conversation requires a series of mental steps, starting when the brain identifies the words needed to express an idea. The brain arranges the words in a recognizable order before the individual moves muscles to articulate speech. 
(Emphasis added) As neurologically healthy individuals age, measures of the complexity of their use of words and vocabulary remain stable or even increase until about the mid-70s. But the study found a distinct difference in language changes between groups of players, coaches and executives over time.
Her (Eric Trump’s wife who  is active in an animal rights group called the Beagle Freedom Project). father-in-law isn’t really into pets, which is now looking like a good thing. Given the way he operates, if Trump had, say, a cocker spaniel it would probably now be deputy secretary of agriculture. Oh Dear, The Trumps keep Multiplying by Gail Collins, NYT