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December 6, 2017

December 5 through ?

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Weds. Dec. 6, 2017

Here’s a good letter to The St. Louis Post Dispatch: America’s Great Divide Over Donald Trump which contrasts the views of Duty to Warn clinical psychologist  John Gartner and a Trump supporting behavioral psychologist who works with commodity traders. Her article, Trump Is Not Mentally Ill is such a fawning unprofessional piece I could barely read it. Here’s an example: 

Do not confuse your disgust with what you believe are his policies juxtaposed against those of his predecessor, which were so different. He’s been hit with everything in serial time; from vulva contact in a sexually colluding industry of both genders to being a liar to a fantabulous Russia concoction used by the FBI and its former director, James Comey, for politics to mental illness to ... on and on and on.

As each smearing has not been effective enough, a new one is tried. The loser? The country. Should there be any discussion or debate of mental illness regarding the president, I volunteer heartily to represent the president for the courageous man he is — a male with testicular fortitude. He is to be admired as a person who works exceptionally hard and who might be a role model for achievement were he not demonized so.
Frank Bruni, in this article today, presents insight into Trump’s personality.
Here’s the link. Click image to enlarge.

The Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio told me, “He has hangers-on and he has employees and he has other dependents, but I don’t think he has friends.” 

He’s too twitchily suspicious. Too vain. And so that twitchiness and vanity go unchecked. They metastasize.
I asked Tollin what a person unschooled in friendship might also be unpracticed at. “Compassion?” he responded. “Compromise? Those are things you learn from friendship.”
For Trump, “friendship” isn’t a two-way street. It’s a cul-de-sac. You can spin round and round there, in the shadow of his castle, or you can take your vehicle somewhere else.
 He gathers and discards allies at will. He acts to sate his own needs, unworried about the impact on others. For him they don’t fully exist. There’s no space for them, because he has never forced himself to carve it out.

“I think of it as an absolute void,” D’Antonio said. It’s no way to live, and it’s no way to lead.

Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post.

There are so many quotes that it can be difficult to choose a disturbing reference in the media to Trump’s mental illness stated in equivocating words. Here’s one from The New York Times:

Trump’s Endorsement of Roy Moore Points Up a G.O.P. Problem: Chaos

 "Mr. Trump’s improvisational, and often impulsive, political decision making has become so routine that Republican leaders now accept that there will be days when he suddenly endorses and telephones candidates, including one accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls.

Breaking: Trump isn’t Time’s person of the year, but he gets a dishonorable mention (HB):

Discussions of sexual harassment in polite company tend to rely on euphemisms: harassment becomes "inappropriate behavior," assault becomes "misconduct," rape becomes "abuse." We're accustomed to hearing those softened words, which downplay the pain of the experience. That's one of the reasons why the Access Hollywood tape that surfaced in October 2016 was such a jolt. The language used by the man who would become America's 45th President, captured on a 2005 recording, was, by any standard, vulgar. He didn't just say that he'd made a pass; he "moved on her like a bitch." He didn't just talk about fondling women; he bragged that he could "grab 'em by the pussy."
That Donald Trump could express himself that way and still be elected President is part of what stoked the rage that fueled the Women's March the day after his Inauguration. It's why women seized on that crude word as the emblem of the protest that dwarfed Trump's Inauguration crowd size. "All social movements have highly visible precipitating factors," says Aldon Morris, a professor of sociology at Northwestern University. "In this case, you had Harvey Weinstein, and before that you had Trump."

Megyn Kelly, the NBC anchor who revealed in October that she had complained to Fox News executives about Bill O'Reilly's treatment of women, and who was a target of Trump's ire during the campaign, says the tape as well as the tenor of the election turned the political into the personal. "I have real doubts about whether we'd be going through this if Hillary Clinton had won, because I think that President Trump's election in many ways was a setback for women," says Kelly, who noted that not all women at the march were Clinton supporters. "But the overall message to us was that we don't really matter.”
Donald Trump undeniably influenced the events of 2016, and in a way, the 2017 award is still about him. His name comes up multiple times in the cover story, from references to the Access Hollywood recording to the Women’s March, with one expert calling him a “visible precipitating factor” to the movement: his presidency and his blatant misogyny that have galvanized women more than almost anything else this year. One can’t help but read Time’s choice as a direct rebuke to the man sitting in the Oval Office. It’s a small, but powerful, consolation prize.

Dozier, 69, who has been pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach for 32 years, now says he’s lost respect for the president based on his actions in office.

The complete and unequivocal takedown of the Republican president comes from someone who’s been preaching the gospel of the Republican Party for decades, attempting to convince black voters that the party has far more to offer them than the Democrats.

Dozier said Trump has driven him away from the Republican Party — and is driving the Republican Party toward ruin. Dozier changed his voter registration on Tuesday, becoming a no party affiliation/independent voter after decades as a Republican. He said the only Democratic presidential candidate he voted for was Jimmy Carter in 1976, something he later regretted.

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017
Evening Edition:

As Trump has a mental meltdown, the sycophants around him doing nothing endanger us all

Corey Lewandowski stuns ‘The View’ with over the top rant about ‘killer’ Trump

Corey Lewandowski thinks he’s praising Trump. Instead he is giving us an insider’s view of Trump’s malignant narcissism:

Is Trump Crazy Like a Fox or Plain Old Crazy?


Bret Stephens: Um, was he ever on his rocker, Gail?
Look, I’ve gone back and forth on this question. If you look up old interviews he conducted 20 or 30 years ago (check out this video of his testimony to a congressional committee in 1991), what you find is a much more coherent thinker and verbally acute speaker than the man he is today. I’m not expert enough to say at what point mental decline slides into senility or dementia, but there’s clearly been a decline.

Gail Collins: Agree. But a lot of that is just arrogance. If you’d told the younger Donald Trump he was a future president of the United States, I doubt he’d have bothered to be coherent back then, either.
Plus in that congressional testimony he was reading prepared remarks, which always work better for him. Only problem is now he’s so full of himself he can’t stick to the script.

Bret: There’s also the matter of his emotional state. Again, I’m in no position to make a diagnosis but I’m not alone in suspecting that he meets most of the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. And the frequently unhinged and spasmodic tweets suggests a guy who isn’t in control of himself.

Below: Editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” Bandy Lee on MSNBC. 

In a nutshell.

Mueller’s Facts and Trump’s Make-Believe by Roger Cohen in the New York Times today


“Just tell them and they believe you.” That’s Trump’s credo. In the same way he believes women appreciate his “Grab-’em-by-the-pussy” approach. The president believes what he wants to believe.

With the power he has he thinks he can shape an alternate reality and persuade enough Americans of its authenticity to perpetuate his power. He believes he can turn Americans from citizens into apprentices. Apprentices, in his experience, are pliable to his whim.

In George Orwell’s novel, “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” the chief protagonist, Winston Smith, meets an acquaintance at an interrogation center and asks why he is there.

“To tell you the truth,” the friend replies. “There is only one offense, is there not?”
Truth telling is the fundamental, unpardonable offense in any unfree society. The only “truth” in a totalitarian system is lies. Trump attacks truth because he cannot bear the mirror it holds up to him, the emptiness it unmasks. He is drawn to the world’s despots, rather than its democrats, because they can make stuff up and get away with it.

If you missed it this morning: ‘They’re shocked the noose is tightening’: MSNBC’s Mika says Trump team doomed by cluelessness

Scarborough said Trump and his team thought lawmakers and government officials were “dumb local yokels” who could be bullied or manipulated.
“You’re just a bunch of hicks in Washington, D.C. — let the big city developers come in and we’re going to show you,” Scarborough said. “They wouldn’t listen to anybody, and they stumbled into one possible crime after another possible crime, and then Donald Trump goes into his mode. He thinks taking on Bob Mueller is the same as taking on Rosie O’Donnell — I’m dead serious, he does. He thinks this worked with Rosie O’Donnell, I’ll do this with (James) Comey, I’ll do this with Mueller. He has no idea that he’s going down.”

The Mind of Trump - Vanity Fair


“We’re in very dangerous territory,” said one source close to the White House.

Caught in the center of this Trump maelstrom is John Kelly, the former general-turned-chief of staff, brought in earlier this year to stabilize a warring West Wing and restrain the president from his worst impulses. Part of his initial strategy involved limiting the information that ended up in front of Trump, from news sources to people, even going so far as to reportedly keep Trump from entering the dining room at Mar-a-Lago. That worked—to a point. Several of Trump’s confidants outside the White House told The Wall Street Journal that now, if they wanted to get in touch with him, they simply call his wife, Melania Trump, and ask her to pass on messages to the president. “If I don’t want to wait 24 hours for a call . . . getting to Melania is much easier,” said one such confidant. Trump has also taken to asking his aides not to tell Kelly about his private phone calls (a request they declined at least once), and apparently has free reign on Twitter. “Believe it or not, I don’t follow the tweets,” Kelly said recently.

Though Trump’s colleagues were quick to emphasize to the Journal that Trump’s belligerence has not destabilized his relationship with Kelly, for whom he maintains a deep respect, Trump’s spiraling tantrums over the Mueller probe nonetheless have consequences for his staff. If they were paranoid that the plea deals of George Papadopoulos and Flynn would bring Mueller to their door, Trump’s tweets implicating himself have only put them further on edge. “They’re probably shitting bricks,” an attorney representing a senior Trump aide told Politico. “How can you not?”
The Atlantic has a long, revealing article about Mike Pence. I found this part the most interesting:

He was genuinely shocked by the Access Hollywood tape. In the short time they’d known each other, Trump had made an effort to convince Pence that—beneath all the made-for-TV bluster and bravado—he was a good-hearted man with faith in God. On the night of the vice-presidential debate, for example, Trump had left a voicemail letting Pence know that he’d just said a prayer for him. The couple was appalled by the video, however. Karen in particular was “disgusted,” says a former campaign aide. “She finds him reprehensible—just totally vile.”

Yet Pence might also have thought he glimpsed something divine in that moment of political upheaval—a parting of the seas, God’s hand reaching down to make his will known. Marc Short told me that in moments of need, Pence turns to a favorite passage in Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Short said, “Mike believes strongly in the sovereignty of God, and knowing that the Lord has a plan for him.”

Whatever God had planned for Mike Pence, however, it was not to make him the Republican nominee that weekend. Trump proved defiant in the face of pressure from party leaders. “They thought they were going to be able to get him to drop out before the second debate,” said a former campaign aide. “Little did they know, he has no shame.” Indeed, two days after the tape was released, Trump showed up in St. Louis for the debate with a group of Bill Clinton accusers in tow, ranting about how Hillary’s husband had done things to women that were far worse than his own “locker-room talk.”

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