July 1, 2017

The Long Hot Summer of Trump

Late June Posts HereEarly June Posts here

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On the Psychopathology of Donald Trump: The Advanced Course - A YouTube channel of videos of interviews with noted psychotherapists by Dr. John Gartner. 



Monday, July 10, 2017


Too clever, too true:


Sub-context. If the meeting was really about adoptions (which is wasn’t), this isn’t a a touchy-feely story for the Kremlin:

Excerpt:


President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. initially defended his meetingwith a Russian lawyer connected to the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential campaign by saying that it was primarily about adoption — a seemingly innocent humanitarian issue.
Reinstating American adoptions of Russian orphans certainly seems like a far less serious matter than a meeting about, say, the removal of United States sanctions on certain Russian officials.
But from the Russian perspective, whether the younger Mr. Trump and his associates knew it at the time or not, the issues of adoptions and sanctions are so inextricably linked as to be practically synonymous. (Mr. Trump said in a later statement that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had also promised to give him compromising information about Hillary Clinton.)

Understanding the connections between adoptions and sanctions offers a lens into the worldview and foreign policy goals of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, and into how even a meeting that really did focus primarily on adoption would also have been about much more.
What connects the two issues? Leverage.
It might not seem obvious what sanctions have to do with American parents’ adoptions of Russian children, which is the topic that the younger Mr. Trump initially said Ms. Veselnitskaya wanted to discuss. Their connection comes down to one word: leverage.
The context is the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 American law that freezes the assets held in the United States by Russian officials responsible for human rights abuses. The law also bars these officials from receiving American visas. It was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a young Russian lawyer who died in pretrial detention after exposing a $230 million tax-theft scam perpetrated by Russian officials.
To the law’s backers, the Magnitsky Act was a way to strike a blow for justice. But to Mr. Putin, it seemed like an intolerable attack by the United States government against the stability of his own presidency.
Mr. Putin, though powerful, depends on the support of a small circle of powerful elites, in and out of government, who both keep him in power and help him enforce his will. In exchange, Mr. Putin sees that they are taken care of. The Magnitsky Act, by sanctioning some of those elites, sent a message that Mr. Putin might not be able to uphold his end of the bargain. CONTINUED
This is important:

Why three White House advisers might have wanted to leak a fuller account of Donald Trump Jr.’s Russian lawyer meeting.


Excerpts 

Roger CohenNew York Times: Donald Trump is a thug. He’s a thug who talks gibberish, and lies, and cheats, and has issues, to put it mildly, with women. He’s lazy and limited and he has an attention span of a nanosecond. He’s a "gene believer" who thinks he has "great genes" and considers the German blood, of which he is proud, "great stuff." Mexicans and Muslims, by contrast, don’t make the cut.  He’s managed to bring penis size and menstrual cycles and the eating habits of a former Miss Universe into the debate for the highest office in the land. 

Michael Arceneaux, The RootY’all’s president is one vacationing-ass bitch. It hasn’t even been a smooth full month into Tropicana Jong-il’s four-year term (insert laugh track here), and the man has taken every weekend off. To his credit, much like his racism, his xenophobia, his sexism, his narcissism, his creepy obsession with his daughter and his insecurities….

ABC political editor Chris Uhlmann, as described by Bronte Coy at News.com.au“It’s the unscripted Trump that’s real: a man who barks out bile in 140 characters, who wastes his precious days as President at war with the West’s institutions like the judiciary, independent government agencies, and the free press. Mr. Trump is a man who craves power because it burnishes his celebrity. To be constantly talking and talked about is all that really matters... and there is no value placed on the meaning of words, so what is said one day can be discarded the next.”

Rosa Brooks, Foreign Policy:  “….ethical concerns about the treatment of animals prevent us from literally installing a blindfolded monkey in the White House. With Donald Trump making decisions, however, we’ve got the next best thing."

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, in his foreword to Mark Singer’s 2016 book, Trump and MeThis was a gentleman who went on the radio to say of his former wife, “Nice tits, no brains.” His vulgarity was unstoppable and without limit. 

Paul Wood, The Spectator: "The White House is not a happy place." Television images show Trump getting to the lectern in the West Wing to make an announcement, then forgetting to make it and walking out; Trump’s critics paint a picture of the President as rambling, confused, irritable and prone to tantrums: the madness of King Donald.

Me playing pickleball


Sunday, July, 9, 2017
Preview of what I expect will be the lead story on MSNBC tomorrow:

КАПЕЛЬНАЯ, КАПЕЛЬНАЯ

Is Donald Trump Jr.’s Meeting the First Hard Evidence of Collusion With Russia?

The president’s son admits a Kremlin-aligned lawyer offered dirt on Hillary Clinton last year, and he reportedly took the meeting with the offer in mind.

















Now there appears to be some evidence supporting the thrust of the allegation.


In a scathing review of Donald Trump’s performance at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Australian journalist Chris Uhlmann says the US president managed to ‘isolate his nation, confuse and alienate his allies and to diminish America’. Speaking on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Insiders program, Uhlmann does not hold back his criticism of Trump, stating ‘we’ve also learned he has no desire and no capacity to lead the world’. He goes on to say Trump has diminished America and the world would miss it when it was gone

How Marco Rubio and other
Republicans use passages from
 the Bible, by Joel Baden,professor
 of Hebrew Bible at Yale
Divinity School. 













































Quote: In the movie version, they would have talked for a few minutes and then found an excuse to dismiss their foreign ministers and interpreters. At long last, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump would be alone and in private. Putin would look the American up and down, as proud as a father gazing upon his grown son. “We did it,” Putin might say softly, almost to himself. “We actually did it.”


Trump would reply, “It’s your greatest achievement, sir. I am your greatest achievement.” But the time for self-congratulation would be short. Their aides would be back soon. Hurriedly, Putin would give Agent Trump his next set of instructions, then hand him the state-of-the-art microdot camera he would need to photograph the most sensitive documents passing his desk in the Oval Office. Glancing towards the door, Putin would whisper: “Everything you’re doing – the crazy tweets, the attacks on the press – just keep doing it. Every day you’re in the White House, you’re making America weaker. Don’t stop.” From “Why Putin Loves Trump.”

Sat. July 8, 2017
This may be the biggest Trump slap in the face to the rest of the world:



You never know what will happen next with Trump.






Right: I find all the recent placebo studies fascinating and applicable to more than medicine.  Recent experiments show that in several conditions people improve even when they are told they are taking a placebo. If eating a kale based diet makes you feel good, fine. If homeopathic notions and lotions ease your pain, go for it. If your health care provider is an acupuncturist, chiropractor, naturopath, or alternative medicine doctor, remember, there are still lots of diseases that will sneak up kill you even while your brain is telling you that you feel better.
Russia’s foreign minister on Saturday defended his account of President Trump’s closed-door discussion with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
After the two presidents met Friday, Sergei Lavrov told reporters that Trump, after listening to Putin’s denial that he had overseen a hacking and disinformation campaign, had accepted those assurances and dismissed the U.S. investigation into Russian interference. Tillerson said at a separate news conference that Putin, along with the denials, had nonetheless agreed to bilateral talks to address preventing future interference in U.S. elections.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that Lavrov, asked about the differing accounts Saturday, said only: “Trust Lavrov. I don’t work for Tillerson.” Washington Post

Friday, July 7, 2017 Updated 1:30 PM Oregon Time

Daily Decline:

Trump Just Humiliated Himself By Zoning Out At G20 Meeting, British PM Saves Day

Welcome to the Duty to Warn club, Mika and Joe:


Co-host Joe Scarborough said that Trump’s tweet showed a level of delusion, as he said there was no way that Europeans at Friday’s G20 meeting were talking about John Podesta.
“I would dare say no one there is talking about that except whom Donald Trump is speaking to inside his brain,” Scarborough cracked.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski said that the tweet made her question the president’s state of mind.

“You know, that does make you wonder what’s going on,” she said. “I’ll leave it right there. But a lot of questions people have about this president, what’s going on in his head… It’s so wildly out of place that you can’t help but think, ‘What is wrong with him?’” Read article
This is one of President Trump’s most bizarre tweets yet — for 3 reasons

Excerpt
1. It fails the smell test spectacularly: Okay, even if we grant that perhaps foreign leaders are talking about Russian hacking of the 2016 election or even second-guessing how it was dealt with, this would be an extremely specific and insider-y thing to zero in on. Podesta, who was Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, hasn't really been in the news for months, nor has the Democratic National Committee's decision not to turn over its servers. Perhaps the leaders might be talking about President Barack Obama not doing more about Russia before the election after Trump broached the topic Thursday, but this is weirdly specific fare for leaders at the Group of 20 summit.
2. The FBI requested the servers: There is no indication that the CIA, which deals with foreign intelligence and surveillance, was involved.
3. Podesta wouldn't have had control over this decision: He was not a DNC official, and even if you argue that Clinton's campaign could have exerted control over such a thing, she wasn't the Democratic nominee when the situation came to a head.

Trump’s most recent Tweets: Trump Claims ‘Everyone’ At G20 Summit Is Talking About John Podesta


More reson to subscribe to both the NY Times and the Washington Post. This is from Michael Gerson:

How to handle an unhinged president

Excerpt:

What we are witnessing is not a new age in presidential communications. It is an ongoing public breakdown. And the question naturally arises: Is this the result of mental dysfunction?

Most psychiatrists are (understandably) uncomfortable with diagnosing from a distance. And the particular diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder requires significant impairment — which is a hard case to make of a figure at the pinnacle of American politics.


And yet. There are judgments that must be made about the fitness of leaders. Citizens are under no ethical obligation to be silent when they see serious dysfunction. The challenge here is not merely the trashing of political norms. The main problem is the possibility that America has an unbalanced president during a period of high-stakes global testing. This is not a clinical diagnosis. It is a civic and political judgment, made necessary by the president’s own words and acts.

 Trump holds a job that requires, above all else, the ability to unite and steady the nation in a time of crisis. There is no reason to believe he can play that role.
Much of the prudence and courage required to confront this problem will need to come from Republicans and conservatives. Where to start? How about refusing to play down revolting lunacy?

… or on watching the video, it looks like it might be a friendly very fast triple or quadruple tap… he also patted him twice on the back in another scene, and if you watch closely then Putin very rapidly points his finger at Trump…. secret code????
….
THE RIGHT WING 

To understand Trump, we must understand that voters don't vote their self-interest; they vote their values.
By George Lakoff /  AlterNetJuly 6, 2017, 7:16 AM GMT
George P. Lakoff is an American cognitive linguist, best known for his thesis that lives of individuals are significantly influenced by the central metaphors they use to explain complex phenomena.
Excerpt:
 Why do conservatives love Trump (who harms them) and hate health care (which helps them)? It makes more sense when you consider the conservative moral hierarchy.
The conservative moral hierarchy:
  • God above man
  • Man above nature
  • The disciplined (the strong) above the undisciplined (the weak)
  • The rich above the poor
  • Employers above employees
  • Adults above children
  • Western culture above other cultures
  • America above other countries
  • Men above women
  • Whites above nonwhites
  • Christians above non-Christians
  • Straights above gays
Sound familiar? 
On the whole, conservative policies flow from the strict father worldview and this hierarchy. Trump is an extreme case (he wants to be the ultimate strict father), though very much in line with conservative policies of the Republican party.
(Bear in mind that many, if not most conservatives are bi-conceptual, that is, “moderates” in that they have a strict father major worldview together with a nurturant minor worldview on some issues or other. Those moderating issues vary from person to person. But in their major worldview, they fit the strict father pattern.) 
The Two Questions 
1. Why don’t Trump supporters turn against Trump even though he is doing things that hurt them (like taking away their health care)? 
Most Trump supporters have strict father morality. It determines their sense of right and wrong. They see Trump as bringing America back to their values in a powerful way, making their values respectable and in line with the way the country is being run. Trump’s presidency has given them self-respect. Their self-respect is more important than the details of his policies, even if some of those policies hurt them. On the whole, they like the way he has restructured the government and what he is doing throughout the government. 
2. Why do Republicans hate the Affordable Care Act, and why are they so transparently acting to give wealthy people a tax break by making health care unaffordable? 
Strict father morality insists on a particular notion of self-responsibility. Being taken care of by the "government” is seen as immoral because it gives the government an authority above strict father principles. The care given by the Affordable Care Act itself violates the moral sense and the very identity of conservatives, even those who benefit greatly from it.

Thursday, July, 6, 2017



MIND GAMES - DAILY BEAST

How Ex-Spies Think Putin Will Sucker ‘Sociopathic Narcissist’ Trump

KGB, CIA, and FBI veterans say Russia’s leader is well-positioned to dominate America’s president in their one-on-one meeting.

Excerpt:

Putin, a former KGB operations officer, will not just be practicing interpersonal diplomacy, they say. He’ll be putting his tradecraft as a spy to work. His main asset: Trump’s massive, delicate ego
It won’t just be the expected flattery, from the spies’ perspective, though flattery is key to dealing with the “sociopathic narcissist” tendencies one ex-CIA interrogator sees in Trump. Putin is likely to stoke Trump’s ire, encourage him against his perceived enemies and validate his inclinations – particularly the ones that move U.S. policy in the directions Putin wants. 
Nowhere are the stakes higher than in Moscow. The Trump-Putin meeting, say Russian politicians and Putin’s former KGB colleagues, is an overdue opportunity to equalize the Washington-Moscow relationship. 
“Putin,” one-time KGB general Oleg Kalugin told The Daily Beast, “he has been in power for so many years and, by character, he knows how to handle things and how to outsmart others, including presidents of the United States.”
Courtesy of this blog - Awkward.
And how about this? THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O'DONNELL 7/5/17

25th Amendment: Is Trump fit to serve?

There is renewed interest in the 25th Amendment after Trump’s recent tweet attacks. Lawrence O'Donnell talks to psychiatrist Dr. Prudence Gourguechon who evaluates Trump's recent behavior using criteria set forth in the U.S. Army Field Manual. Duration: 9:29

The president looked thoroughly disoriented this weekend. Some believe he was "sundowning."

Weds. July 5, 2017
Special: How an artist can survive in the era of Trump.


 These are by artist Heather Sommers. They are the first five entries to her Facebook page Centaur Chronicle. Heather is the daughter of my friend Craig Sommers who told her about my blog. Three more pieces are in the works. This art is her way of "pushing back." It helps her not feel victimized. I am glad to help her publicize her work. All sculptures are ceramic, and range in height from 11” to 21”.





Donald Trump's tweets will trigger talk about his mental health, says former Australian prime minister - Telegraph, UK


Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Is this confusion a sign of dementia? Watch how he walks right by the presidential limo and seems not to know where he is going.

In their final conversations during the transition, Barack Obama issued a stark warning to Donald Trump: North Korea presents the most urgent, alarming, and bedeviling threat you will confront as head of the free world. Axios
More proof (as if we need it) that Trump just doesn’t get it:
Here’s what I think. 

This “guy” is the leader of North Korea, arguably the most powerful and backwards country in the world. He is seen as a patriot by many in his country, though it’s impossible to poll the average citizen. Most likely members of the army and the favored few and their families admire, if not worship him. Trump’s calling the nuclear tests and missile launches “nonsense” is a naive attempt and and a minimization. While it is unlikely Kin Jong-un would start a nuclear war, his actions could easily lead to Trump’s withdrawing from the nuclear disarmament treating and starting a new nuclear arms race.

Such a mocking Tweet is Trump’s style. If he had to Tweet he should have written something like this:




Excerpt:


Discussion progressed apace. The Virginia Plan was accepted as a basis for debate.
We were making great strides in regards to the responsibilities of the executive until Benjamin Franklin entered very agitated and with the following proposals, vis.
  • that provision must be made in the event that the chief executive wished to spend the majority of his time engaged in striking balls with clubs and endeavoring to make them fall into small holes at variable distances from the initial striking point
  • that provision must be made in the event that said executive wished to conduct all his business from a place where he had access to such a diversion
  • that if the chief executive wished continually to make derogatory remarks about women provision ought to be made for that lest it detract from the running of affairs of state
  • that …
At this point Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania arose from his desk and escorted Mr. Franklin home to bed, as his brain was evidently addled with strong drink.
Tuesday, May 29

We continue to discuss the responsibility of the chief executive: Shall there be one man or a coalition of three?

Benjamin Franklin said that it did not matter if it was one man or three men provided that we made provision that it not be one man, a creepy guy who ran a conspiracy website and the first man’s son-in-law, and Gouverneur Morris again escorted him to bed with the fervent wish that he should not disrupt proceedings on the morrow.

Wednesday May 30

We have determined that the executive is to be filled by a single gentleman and now move on to the legislature and the judiciary. We have determined a supreme court, independent of both the legislature and the executive. The president will suggest judges, but the legislature must confirm them.

Benjamin Franklin again entered agitated with numerous proposals, namely the suggestion that if the members of the majority party of the legislature would not move to fill a vacancy on the supreme court until a president could be elected from said majority party, that this would be bad and ought not to be allowed.
“Shouldn’t we put something in there saying, ‘that’s a jerk move’?” asked he.


I escorted him home. His brain was much fevered, and I took great pains to reassure him that this would not be, as there was no party system, nor would any partisan fervor distract the legislature from ensuring that the best man was selected for the job. 

Or woman, he babbled, but he was at that point quite far gone. Continued

While this is satire, it is true that Franklin anticipated a Trump-like president:

 At the Philadelphia ConventionBenjamin Franklin noted that, historically, the removal of "obnoxious" chief executives had been accomplished by assassination. Franklin suggested that a proceduralized mechanism for removal—impeachment—would be preferable. Wikipedia


Monday, July 3, 2017
Excerpt:

Trump takes such glee in conflict, and cares so little for standards of decency or compassion, that his assailants often diminish themselves by betraying their own values out of desperation. But this isn’t just true of Trump’s assailants. It is true of all of us. To consistently engage with Trump is to be diminished by him. And we have all been diminished by his presidency. 
We are diminished when our president lies, and even more so when we begin taking his habitual lying for granted. The New York Times published a comprehensive list of falsehoods Trump told since taking office and found it wasn’t until March that Trump went a full day without saying something flatly untrue. The absence of public dishonesty, for Trump, is usually driven by an absence of opportunity to be publicly dishonest. “On days without an untrue statement, he is often absent from Twitter, vacationing at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, or busy golfing,” the Times found. 
We are diminished when our president uses cyberbullying as a communications strategy, spending his mornings picking childish fights on Twitter and coming up with insulting nicknames for his enemies. It is impossible to imagine the firestorm that would have followed Barack Obama or Bill Clinton mocking a television anchor’s plastic surgery. But in this White House, press officers justify the president’s insults by saying he “fights fire with fire.” The president is teaching our children that bullies win so long as they never, ever back down.


(Not about Trump) Talk about adding insult to injury!

Sunday, July 2, 2017
This is, once again, beyond the pale - especially coming from Trump’s homeland security advisor:

Before he got to D.C., Trump
 was used to media that could
 be bought, sold and bartered
with. He is not built for
this hostile environment and it
 shows in his deteriorating
psychological state. Even though
 he’s in the safest space of all,
 he’s not in a safe space.
Cruella de Trump by Maureen Dowd, NYT, Excerpts:
But as some women anchoring cable shows call for the women in the Trump administration to rise up in protest, I say: Let’s not narrow it to sexism.
It’s even more troubling than that. It’s cruelty on a Grand Guignol scale, both in Trump’s heartless tweets and in his mindless salesmanship of the Republicans’ heartless budget. When Trump called the House health care bill mean, he knows whereof he speaks. He’s the King of Mean. Pathetically, , Trump mistakes cruelty for strength.
The 71-year-old president’s pathological inability to let go of slights; his strongman reflex to be the aggressor and bite back like a cornered animal, without regard for societal norms; his lack of self-awareness about the power he commands and the proportionality of his responses; his grotesque hunger for flattery and taste for Tony Soprano tactics; his Pravda partnership with David Pecker, the head honcho at The National Enquirer, which has been giving Trump the Il Duce treatment while sliming his political opponents, the “Morning Joe” anchors and Megyn Kelly — these are all matters that should alarm men and women equally.
****
I gave Trump the benefit of the doubt after his comment on Megyn Kelly about “blood coming out of her wherever” when he claimed he meant her nose. But later, a longtime Trump associate told me that Trump had practiced that line before he said it on CNN and that it was meant to evoke an image of Kelly as hormonal. 
Of course, since Trump and some of those close to him have such an elastic relationship with the truth, and since some staffers have been known to feed journalists false details just to mess with them, you can never be sure of anything that comes out of this White House.
Except the cruelty.


















Updated 1:12 PM ET, Sun July 2, 2017
Excerpt:

McMahon (famed wrestling promoter and friend of Trump) grasped early on that playing on peoples' fears and anger was a ratings goldmine. Booing is a powerful thing. Uniting behind a common enemy has real resonance. That McMahon created cartoon villains -- broad-brush sketches of what made people afraid or upset -- was besides the point. That it worked was the whole point.
Trump traffics in this same sort of approach. He is a famed -- by his own account -- counter-puncher. He does better when there is something or someone to run against. 
In the 2016 campaign, that was easy; he had "Crooked" Hillary. But, as president, Trump has struggled to find an enemy. The Republican-controlled Congress? Meh. The leaderless Democratic party? Not so much.
What he has turned to then is the media. And he has worked aggressively to paint journalists as not only biased and "fake" but also as a stand-in for the so-called "elites" Trump supporters detest. If Trump was running the WWE, he would create a wrestler who was a reporter. That character -- call him Clark Can't -- would have gone to Harvard, would work for CNN or The New York Times, would wear glasses and would spend the time before each match lecturing the crowd about how they need to be more politically correct. (In truth, the character would likely be a huge success as a villain.)
There's one crucial difference between what Vince McMahon does and what Donald Trump does, however. McMahon is the CEO of an entertainment company whose lone goal is to make money for that company. Donald Trump is the president of the United States, whose salary is paid by taxpayers and whose job is to represent a nation of 300 million people stateside and in the world community.
Pro wrestling is fake. Being president isn't. Trump seems not to know or care about that distinction.
Related to what Rep. Ted Lieu Tweeted, every time one of Trump’s loony lying spinners uses phrases like “mentally ill” in a sentence saying Trump certainly isn’t mentally ill (or a thug for that matter ) it may remind some Trump supporters that they should review the evidence before them.

While defending those tweets on ABC's “Good Morning America,” Conway went so far as to question the news media's patriotism.
“If you go back and you look at what is said about this president, a lack of policy coverage, there are personal attacks about his physicalities, about his fitness for office, he's called a goon, a thug, mentally ill, talking about dementia, armchair psychologists all over television every single day,” Conway said. “George, it doesn't help the American people to have a president covered in this light. I'm sorry, it's neither productive nor patriotic. The toxicity is over the top.” Washington Post.

Sat. July 1, 2017

Good night all, don’t let the Trump-bugs bite

Portland News:

THE RIGHT WING 
The local Republican Party will use volunteers from two far-right militia groups to provide security from "leftist violence."

'I Don't Think She's Going to Put up With It': MSNBC's Mika Hints That Pal Melania May Bail on Trump Soon

Link above from Think Progress
Is marital trouble brewing in the White House?
Quote: “You can’t have someone who is so easily played in such an important and dignified position. He is certainly humiliating the office of the presidency in the eyes of many Americans, and most certainly in the eyes of the world,” she said.
She went on to say that she knows First Lady Melania Trump, who issued a statement on Thursday defending the president’s attack.

“I haven’t talked to her in months, but if my gut is right, I don’t think she’s going to put up with it much longer. I know nothing. That’s just my instinct and I go with my gut and my gut’s always right. I’m just telling you, Melania’s got the worst job in the country and I don’t think she wants do it a lot longer. I think she will do it for as long as she has to for her son, and that’s it,” Brzezinski said.
So you don’t have to click on Trump’s Twitter:



Quote of the day: “Yes, once again Donald Trump has taught this nation a valuable lesson: you can never be too rich to be white trash. And you know, a little advice, Mr. President, a good rule to live by: if you’re going to go after a woman’s appearance, first make sure you’re not a fat old man with orange face paint pretending to be a blond at the age of 71. Who’s a blond at 71? Mika Brzezinski, you do crazy things to delay aging, says the man who glues dryer lint to his head.” Bill Maher

From interview with Maggie Haberman:

“The Leakiest White House I’ve Ever Covered”


The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman explains why so many Trump staffers are confiding in reporters.



Excerpt: I’ve covered New York City government for years, I covered state government in New York for years, and I’ve covered other municipalities. This is really unheard of. It’s almost as if the staff and the Trump White House uses reporters as a reality testing measure. I think because the perspective from inside the building can feel somewhat distortive sometimes, so you see a lot of people reaching out and it’s obviously not just to us. It’s also the Washington Post, it’s also to Politico, and it’s also to CNN, it’s also to other publications.
The level of chaos and dysfunction within this West Wing is high and it’s not just who’s up, who’s down, staff imaginations. It is the story of how this president governs and manages and that’s very important, so we spend a lot of time on that.
You said “reality testing measure”? What do you mean by that? That someone inside the White House feels like they have a distorted perspective and so they call you?
Yeah, I think that therapists … therapists? Sorry. I think reporters are often therapists for—
That’s an interesting slip, Maggie. That’s an interesting slip.
I’m very tired. I think reporters are often therapists for people working on campaigns, right? This would not be the first campaign where that happened, although it did. I think it happened on the Clinton side of the equation, too, but I do think you have a lot of people inside the White House who feel the need to essentially get a reality check. “From your perspective, is this blah, blah, blah?” Or, “This weird thing is going on in here.”
What is your sense of what the people inside the White House, and this is a generalized question, you can answer it however you like, but what is your sense of what they make of their boss and his leadership style?
I think it depends on who you’re talking to. Remember, most of the people in this government have no previous administrative experience before in a White House, right? They don’t really have a huge basis for comparison. Most of them I would argue are beginning to see that this is not typical, this is not how a White House normally functions. I think that the stress …
Well, it’s only 2017. They’re finally realizing this, OK, that’s good.


Look, I think that sometimes looking into the abyss can be hard and so I think that a lot of people, it has taken some time, but I think most of them recognize for better or worse, that this is not a typical White House. Most of them also recognize that Trump seems to both foster and tolerate an astonishing amount of chaos, taking place right beneath him. I think it is anxiety provoking.


Friday, The Fall-Out from the Deranged Anti-Woman Tweet (June 30, 2017)

Trump and I (and no doubts many others who don’t usually get up at 5AM in the Pacific time zone) watched Morning Joe today. Here’s what Trump Tweeted:

"Fragile, impetuous, childlike ego”
 Mika Brezinski


Mika Brzezinski, a co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said on Friday morning that President Trump’s tweets targeting her betrayed “a fragile, childlike ego” that was a profound concern.
Ms. Brzezinski said she believed the tweets were in response to a segment on the show that addressed fake Time magazine covers that Mr. Trump had made up and displayed at his country clubs.
She said she knew he would be “tweaked” by the joking but that it was “unbelievably alarming that this president is so easily played.”

Her co-host, Joe Scarborough, said: “We’re O.K. The country’s not.”  Trump’s childlike ego New York Times

****
President Trump launched personal attacks against us Thursday, but our concerns about his unmoored behavior go far beyond the personal. America’s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president. We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show, “Morning Joe.”
The president’s unhealthy obsession with our show has been in the public record for months, and we are seldom surprised by his posting nasty tweets about us. During the campaign, the Republican nominee called Mika “neurotic” and promised to attack us personally after the campaign ended. This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas. “Trump is Not Well" by Joe and Mika in the Washington Post.
And, not that it should matter, Mika says she’s never had a facelift, and this is how she looked at Mar-a-Lago:
"She did have a little skin under her chin tweaked, but this was hardly a state secret. Her mother suggested she do so, and all those around her were aware of this mundane fact." (WaPo OpEd by Joe and Mika)
NY Times OpEd columnist Gail Collins, who according to Trump is a "dog and a liar" with the "face of a pig," says Trump " has no more discernible self-control than a 10-year-old bully who works out his failure to pass third grade by tormenting the little kids on the playground."

And, this from CNN







I wonder why Rachel Maddow has escaped Trump’s Tweet hate. Perhaps he won’t watch her show. For example last night: 

I will end with the closing paragraph of Michelle Goldberg’s essay from Slate:

If there is the barest sliver of consolation, it’s that Trump appears almost as miserable and anxiety-ridden as we are. He’s losing the tiny bit of control he had. It’s better for Trump to show us all who he really is than to let his lackeys pretend he’s remotely worthy of his office. Every time he tweets, he reveals his presidency as a disgusting farce. Let’s hope he keeps doing it.

Trump No Longer Seems Able to Hide His Raw Misogyny. Good.