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July 13, 2017

Is Trump mentally ill? C’mon, you still need to ask?

Early July posts here | Late June Posts Here | Early June Posts here Contact:

July 31, 2017
As if the Scaramucci news was’t enough for one day:

Excerpts: Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared a story, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”

The claims were later shown to be misleading.

The extent of the president’s personal intervention in his son’s response, the details of which have not previously been reported, adds to a series of actions that Trump has taken that some advisers fear could place him and some members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy.

As Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III investigates potential obstruction of justice as part of his broader probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, these advisers worry that the president’s direct involvement leaves him needlessly vulnerable to allegations of a coverup.

“This was . . . unnecessary,” said one of the president’s advisers, who like most other people interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. “Now someone can claim he’s the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn’t want you to say the whole truth.”

This is why I’m no fan of Gen. Kelly:
Not a link Click to enlarge
Not a link - click above to enlarge

Who Ate Republicans’ Brains? By Paul Krugman When the tweeter-in-chief castigated Senate Republicans as “total quitters”for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, they showed zombie-like relentlessness in their determination to take health care away from millions of Americans, shambling forward despite devastating analyses by the Congressional Budget Office, denunciations of their plans by every major medical group, and overwhelming public disapproval. CONTINUED

“It’s hard to believe that I can continually be shocked by the president’s behavior. But I am continually shocked by the president’s behavior,” said (Republican strategist and ABC political commentator Matthew) Dowd, a veteran of Pres. George W. Bush’s administration. 
“Donald Trump has a bizarre view of what it means to be a strong person,” he continued, “a bizarre view of what it means to be a strong person in this society, especially a strong man. To me, Donald Trump in his actions are a weak person’s idea of what a strong person is. The way you commit violence, how you act towards others, all of that. His idea of a strong person is bullying people. His idea of a strong police officer is mistreating people.” 
“He’s somehow launched himself back in the 13th century about what he views as a strong person,” Dowd concluded. 
The remarks echo commentators’ quips that Trump acts like a “stupid person’s idea of a smart person” and “a loser’s idea of a winner.” From: Trump’s Bullying Shows He Is ‘A Weak Person’s Idea of a Strong Person’

July 30, 2017
Fellow Duty Warn therapist offers primer on diagnosis for Trump:
Link above
DUTY TO WARN is "a society dedicated to the proposition that Donald Trump is too seriously mentally ill to competently discharge his duties as president and must be removed according to the 25th Amendment”.

So what do we mean by "mentally ill". We all agree that he has a severe psychological disturbance that makes him a danger to the country and the rest of the world, but you will find we use different names for it. Different schools of the Behavioral Sciences use different languages to describe someone like the Donald. In the comments below, I will give a basic explanation for the four most common terms used (Malignant Narcissist, Psychopath, Sociopath, and Anti-Social Personality Disorder with Psychopathic Features) Keep in mind, they all may just be DIFFERENT NAMES FOR THE SAME CONDITION. In the fifth post, you will find one psychiatrist's creative approach to assessing his unfitness.

NOTE: Ours is not a partisan issue. Here is a Republican showing that he understands what is going on--“What’s playing out is a psychological drama, not just a political drama or a legal drama,” said Peter Wehner, who was an aide in George W. Bush’s White House and has frequently been critical of Trump. “The president’s psychology is what’s driving so much of this, and it’s alarming because it shows a lack of self-control, a tremendous tropism. . . . He seems to draw psychic energy from creating chaos and disorder.”(WP article 6/23/17)

I like to watch the sassy sexy liberal Chelsea Handler on Netflix 

From Variety
Politicon: Trump, Genius or Lunatic? Clay Aiken Says Neither, ‘He’s a Narcissist’ by Clay Aiken, the singer, “Celebrity Apprentice” runner-up, and former congressional candidate.
Excerpt: Aiken added that Trump craves the attention — positive or negative — and conceded he was a “wonderful entertainer.” But he turned to his experience on “The Apprentice” to try to deconstruct how Trump thinks. On the set, Aiken said, Trump relied on cue cards. 
“I always noticed that when he would get to a point on the cue card that he actually understood what was going on, he would repeat it. He’d double down on it. And when I watched him do these speeches at these rallies — which he why he ran — when he gets to the speech and repeats something, it is because he has gotten to the place in the script where he realizes, ‘Oh. I understand what I am saying.” 
He added, “He took credit for firing people [on the show]. He didn’t know what happened during the day. I said a few times, he had a little TelePromoter in front of him on the table, and he’s running this country in the same way that he ran ‘Apprentice,’ which is producers are kind of telling him what is going on, and he is trying to make it look like he is getting something done. 

Like some kind of Shakespearean villain-clown, Trump plays not to the gallery but to the pit. He is a Falstaff without the humour or the self-awareness, a cowardly, bullying Richard III without a clue. Late-night US satirists find in this an unending source of high comedy. If they did not laugh, they would cry. The world is witnessing the dramatic unfolding of a tragedy whose main victims are a seemingly helpless American audience, America’s system of balanced governance and its global reputation as a leading democratic light.

As his partisan, demeaning and self-admiring speech to the Boy Scouts of America illustrated, Trump endlessly reruns last year’s presidential election campaign, rails against the “fake news” media and appeals to the lowest common denominator in public debate. Not a word about duty, service, shared purpose or high ideals was to be found in his gutter-level discourse before a youthful gathering of 30,000 in West Virginia. Instead, he served up a sad cocktail of paranoia and narcissism. It was all about him and what he has supposedly achieved against the odds. The Guardian


Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who Trump announced in a Friday tweet would be his new chief of staff, is perfectly in line with the brand that first brought Trump to campaign success: the idea that the world is a terrifying place full of people (mostly foreigners) who want to undermine social order and the American way of life, and that the tough American men who stand up to them shouldn’t be too closely questioned about how they keep those threats at bay.

That brand has succeeded for Trump — it’s made the right people happy (his base and the cable news networks that generate endless debate over inflammatory remarks), it’s made the right people angry (Democrats and people who go on cable news networks), and if it’s terrified certain groups, they’ve been people who don’t seem to matter to Trump (immigrants and black Americans who vote for Democrats). 
The appointment of Kelly — along with a speech Trump gave in Long Island on Friday afternoon that harkened back to the most chilling rhetoric of his campaign — is a sign that the Trump administration is rededicating itself to placing those ideas front and center. And it’s rhetoric that, even beyond the policy agenda it represents, invites violence into the crevices of American life. from VOX: Trump administration's Dark Reboot: With a new chief of staff, Trump's refocusing on his top priority: making America afraid again.

Sat., July 29, 2017
Trump kisses hero cop who helped save Rep. Scalise:
Read story

Scaramucci's wife files for divorce:  tired of his“naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end.”

Another quote. This is from Olivia Nunzi, Washington correspondent for New York Magazine. She was discussing how Trump was egging on a knife fight between Scaramucci and Priebus: "Donald Trump is easily boarded he, likes to preside over chaos.” Hayes chuckled and she said she meant this seriously. Chris th0ught for a second and nodded in agreement. Yet another element of his diagnosis, methinks.

The most recent discussion, this on CNN with host Michael Smerconish (a trial lawyer, strongly against diagnosing Trump saying that comments on Trump’s mental health would not hold up in court and would be dangerous). He debates one of the founders of Duty to Warn, John Gartner, PhD, and Prudence Gourgeuchon, MD a psychiatrist who doesn’t want to diagnosis; but does want to be able to speak up about what the public behavior of the president tells us about him.

Quote of the day (so far) from NY Times opinion writer Bret Stephens in "The No Guardrails presidency"

As Scaramucci said, paraphrasing a proverb, “The fish stinks from the head down.” Yes, it does, Mooch. And you’re merely the mouth.

Exclusive to my blog by psychotherapist and early member of Duty to Warn, Neil Friedman:
 (Not Fake News) - "This Fish Stinks from the Head Down"

(The other) morning on CNN Scaramucci said , when discussing leaks with Anthony Cuomo said that "The Fish Stinks From the Head Down". I couldn't agree more. Because the Biggest Fish in the Offal Orifice is the individual who by way of twitter is emitting the most malodorous stink of all. . . And its is this stinky man in the WH who is making it a almost impossible for others to do their jobs. . .

People leak for the same reasons a ship leaks. They leak because there are holes in the organization . Holes that are being drilled into it by the person who sits at it's head. . .Leakers are often driven by fear and they don't necessarily leak because they are out to take any one down . They leak because they fear they will go down with the ship and are reaching out fro a life line. 

So why don't they just quit? Some do but others don't, not because they have nefarious reasons for staying and want to sink the ship, but because they want to save the ship from a captain who is mentally unfit to keep it afloat. 

But, we might ask , are the leaks bringing the ship down or is the ship sinking under the weight of the Captains paranoid fantasies?

"It's hallucination all the times" says the commentator on MSNBC . "A psychotic individual " writes Michael Eigen " may become obsessed with body function and products, inhabiting a fecalized universe and smelling or seeing feces everywhere. . " Now don't get me wrong, I won't engage in wild diagnosis . But, it is interesting that these two who are so enamored by their own successes and personas are obsessed with "leaks". They see and smell "leaks" everywhere. They fear that the leaks are spoiling everything for them and it is never the president who is doing anything that could possibly be the source of the spoiling. . . .

 Trump,as he would have us believe is the last virtuous man, and while he may want us think he knows other virtuous men, once he feels they have crossed him he will go out of his way to tell us they are no longer the virtuous men he thought they were.

Instead of working to create a safe and stable work environment that might curtail the need to leak, The Big Fish adds to the instability by attacking and accusing others of not being loyal enough. Remember what we used to say when we were kids. "If you smelt it you dealt it". . 

A Narcissist will never admit to having any faults especially not "farting" But a narcissist will "fart" and while he's farting he will point at the smallest -weakest kid in the room and accsue him of being the source. This raises the question: Could it be that Trump is the source of all the leaks , either directly or indirectly ?

How loyal is loyal? For a narcissist there is only one way to be loyal and that is to surrender yourself to "him". For a narcissist no one is ever really trustworthy or loyal. Instead everyone is out to tear off his mask exposing his vulnerabilities and fears for all to see. 

The irony of all this is that when Trump feels most threatened goes on the offense and exposes his true self to us . and the "destructive forces that he strains to keep hidden in the depths of his unconscious come leaking out through the holes that perforate his fragile ego. . .

Fri. July 28, 2017

More and more journalists are catching on

Donald Trump’s State of Mind, and Ours

……. But this month, another professional association (unlike the American Psychiatric Association and their Goldwater Rule, ED) made clear that it takes a different stance. In a memo on July 6th, the American Psychoanalytic Association said that members are “free to comment about political figures as individuals.” The group said that it “does not consider political commentary by its individual members an ethical matter.”

Lance Dodes, a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, told me, “For those of us who have been fighting for just such a public statement, this is wonderful news.” He went on, “There is no patient, therefore no issue of confidentiality, privacy, or consent. And, as with oncologists commenting on John McCain’s cancer, there is no ethical need to have examined a person to have a medical opinion.”

For some mental-health practitioners, the ethical debate is a distraction from a larger point. In a forthcoming book called “Twilight of American Sanity,” Allen Frances, a professor emeritus at Duke University Medical College, argues that the more urgent concern is unravelling the national psyche that brought our politics to this moment. Frances told me, “We need to be looking in the mirror to see what’s wrong with us that would allow someone who is so unsuitable for the Presidency to rise to the highest and most dangerous office in the world. Trump’s psychology is far too obvious to be interesting. You don’t have to be a psychoanalyst to understand Trump. He’s the most transparent human being who ever lived. Giving it a name doesn’t explain it or change it.”

As Trump rages in the White House, the country has settled into a summer numbness. The protests have grown less frequent; the country has escaped to the beach; the latest cell-phone push notifications from news apps no longer produce a skip of the heart. Diagnosing that sense of permission and paralysis is an urgent problem, Frances said. “The instruments for dealing with Trump are political,” he added. “Psychological name-calling is an impotent avoidance of our responsibility as citizens, and it represents a failure to try to get insight into us, which is much more important.”

Trump to America’s Police Officers
Police should treat the people they arrest violently, President Donald Trump said Friday afternoon, encouraging cops to get “rough” when they toss people into a police vehicle.
Trump offered the praise for flagrant retributive violence by uniformed law enforcers during a wide-ranging speech to cops in Brentwood, New York. Officers present laughed and applauded in response.
“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddywagon, you just see ’em thrown in rough. I said please don’t be too nice,” the president said, to a murmur of chuckles.
“Like when you guys put somebody into the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand, like, don’t hit their head, and they just killed somebody, don’t hit their head,” he went on. “I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”
The police laughter grew louder, giving way to applause and cheers.

Trump praises police violence to audience of laughing cops

Leader of the free world endorses “rough rides” like the one that killed Freddie Gray.

On Trump’s Dangerous
Mental Illness
Today Age

From Amazon Review of upcoming book (below). The consensus view of two dozen psychiatrists and psychologists that Trump is dangerously mentally ill and that he presents a clear and present danger to the nation and our own mental health.
This is not normal.
Since the start of Donald Trump’s presidential run, one question has quietly but urgently permeated the observations of concerned citizens: What is wrong with him? Constrained by the American Psychiatric Association’s “Goldwater rule,” which inhibits mental health professionals from diagnosing public figures they have not personally examined, many of those qualified to answer this question have shied away from discussing the issue at all. The public has thus been left to wonder whether he is mad, bad, or both.
This will be published on Oct. 3, 2017
 IN THE DANGEROUS CASE OF DONALD TRUMP, twenty-seven psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health experts argue that, in Mr. Trump’s case, their moral and civic “duty to warn” America supersedes professional neutrality. They then explore Trump’s symptoms and potentially relevant diagnoses to find a complex, if also dangerously mad, man.
Philip Zimbardo and Rosemary Sword, for instance, explain Trump’s impulsivity in terms of “unbridled and extreme present hedonism.” Craig Malkin writes on pathological narcissism and politics as a lethal mix. Gail Sheehy, on a lack of trust that exceeds paranoia. Lance Dodes, on sociopathy. Robert Jay Lifton, on the “malignant normality” that can set in everyday life if psychiatrists do not speak up.
His madness is catching, too. From the trauma people have experienced under the Trump administration to the cult-like characteristics of his followers, he has created unprecedented mental health consequences across our nation and beyond.

It’s not all in our heads. It’s in his.

Friday, July 28,2017

Peggy Noonan
 in the
 Wall Street

Trump Is Woody Allen Without the Humor

Half his tweets show utter weakness. They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn. 

"The president’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive. It’s not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider. It is that he is weak and sniveling. It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity."

"He's not strong and self-controlled, not cool and tough, not low-key and determined; he's whiny, weepy and self-pitying," she wrote Thursday night in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. "He throws himself, sobbing, on the body politic. He's a drama queen.

"Actually his wife, Melania, is tougher than he is with her stoicism and grace, her self-discipline and desire to show the world respect by presenting herself with dignity. ... His inability — not his refusal, but his inability — to embrace the public and rhetorical role of the presidency consistently and constructively is weak.”

Both the Wall Street Journal and the N.Y. Post are
owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox New.



This sadism is not normal.
Commentary Chicago Tribune

Sally Yates: Protect the Justice Department From President Trump


The spectacle of President Trump’s now daily efforts to humiliate the attorney general into resigning has transfixed the country. But while we are busy staring at the wreckage of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ relationship with the man he supported for the presidency, there is something more insidious happening.

The president is attempting to dismantle the rule of law, destroy the time-honored independence of the Justice Department, and undermine the career men and women who are devoted to seeking justice day in and day out, regardless of which political party is in power.

If we are not careful, when we wake up from the Trump presidency, our justice system may be broken beyond recognition.

Over the past few days, many people from both parties have rightly expressed their dismay at how President Trump has publicly lambasted the attorney general, noting the president’s lack of loyalty to a man who has been consistently loyal to him.

And while this is indeed true, it misses the larger and more dangerous consequences of the president’s actions.


The strict separation between the Justice Department and the White House applies to even the most mundane of criminal investigations, and nowhere does it matter more than when the investigation reaches into the White House itself. In short, no one at the White House should have anything to do with any decisions about whom or what to investigate or prosecute. Period.
We must do more than rubberneck as we drive past this car crash. We all have a responsibility to protect our Justice Department’s ability to do its job free from interference. The very foundation of our justice system — the rule of law — depends on it.  $NY Times

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Excerpts from the astounding New Yorker article about a phone call from Scarmoochie:

Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon

He started by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. It escalated from there.

(Breaking: The NY Times announced they will publish this with no expletives deleted.)

On Wednesday night, I received a phone call from Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director. He wasn’t happy. Earlier in the night, I’d tweeted, citing a “senior White House official,” that Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with President Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity, and the former Fox News executive Bill Shine. It was an interesting group, and raised some questions. Was Trump getting strategic advice from Hannity? Was he considering hiring Shine? But Scaramucci had his own question—for me.
“Who leaked that to you?” he asked. I said I couldn’t give him that information. He responded by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. “What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over,” he said. I laughed, not sure if he really believed that such a threat would convince a journalist to reveal a source. He continued to press me and complain about the staff he’s inherited in his new job. “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” he said. “You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”

In Scaramucci’s view, the fact that word of the dinner had reached a reporter was evidence that his rivals in the West Wing, particularly Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, were plotting against him.
I asked him why it was so important for the dinner to be kept a secret. Surely, I said, it would become public at some point. “I’ve asked people not to leak things for a period of time and give me a honeymoon period,” he said. “They won’t do it.” He was getting more and more worked up, and he eventually convinced himself that Priebus was my source.
Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.” The issue, he said, was that he believed Priebus had been worried about the dinner because he hadn’t been invited. “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said. He channelled Priebus as he spoke: “ ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ”
“The swamp will not defeat him,” he said, breaking into the third person. “They’re trying to resist me, but it’s not going to work. I’ve done nothing wrong on my financial disclosures, so they’re going to have to go fuck themselves.”

Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.” (Bannon declined to comment.)
I got the sense that Scaramucci’s campaign against leakers flows from his intense loyalty to Trump. Unlike other Trump advisers, I’ve never heard him say a bad word about the President. “What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people,” he told me.
Scaramucci said he had to get going. “Yeah, let me go, though, because I’ve gotta start tweeting some shit to make this guy crazy.”
Minutes later, he tweeted, “In light of the leak of my financial info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept #swamp @Reince45.” With the addition of Priebus’s Twitter handle, he was making public what he had just told me: that he believed Priebus was leaking information about him. The tweet quickly went viral.

Scaramucci seemed to have second thoughts. Within two hours he deleted the original tweet and posted a new one denying that he was targeting the chief of staff.  The New Yorker 

If you’ve been reading this for awhile and don’t know why the Goldwater Rule is relevant, catch up here:
More Rushmore Tweets here
Excerpt: It’s also worth pointing out that in terms of its real-world enforcement, the Goldwater Rule is paper-thin; as written, it doesn’t even carry any penalties. “In principle the psychiatric association could file a complaint with a member’s state medical board,” writes Begley in Stat, but that “has apparently never happened.” So it’s unsurprising that some psychiatrists are simply ignoring it, opining about Trump in print or on TV. This has led to an unfortunate situation in which the only psychiatrists truly gagged by the rule are those who are conscientious enough to follow it in the first place. This probably skews the sample of psychiatrists willing to comment on Trump’s mental health so that it’s mostly those with relatively extreme opinions — that Trump is a clear and present danger to the republic, or that even bringing up the potential that he has mental-health problems is staggeringly out of bounds — taking part in the conversation. A more diverse range of voices would make that conversation more intelligent and less hysterical. 

Supporters of the Goldwater Rule are coming from a good place. Accusations that people are too mentally ill to do certain jobs, or to do them well, shouldn’t be hurled around willy-nilly, and can be stigmatizing in certain situations. Moreover, the last thing anyone with an interest in mental health should want is for every political debate in the U.S. to descend into an uninformed slugfest over over which candidate is “crazier.” But perhaps because these concerns are so colored by a single, unfortunate outlying event — that legally troubled, scientifically questionable issue of Fact magazine — some of them are overstated. In reality, it is very unlikely that credible psychiatrists would make public statements of concern about public figures’ psychiatric well-being in all but the most urgent cases, given the potential hit to their professional reputations. Those who would take these claims too far, who would politicize vital questions of mental health, would be drowned out and ostracized by their more professionally responsible colleagues. Overall, given how emotionally charged the debate over Donald Trump’s strange, frequently abusive behavior is, it would be useful to have more expert voices participating — the benefits clearly outweigh the costs. The psychiatric establishment should follow the American Psychoanalytic Association’s defiant lead and retire the Goldwater Rule altogether.

Ed. Note: Why have professional associations whose members are among the most qualified to weigh in on whether or not Trump is dangerously mentally refused to allow members to diagnose from a distance. Psychotherapists have more information about Trump’s personality than they would if he came in for a face-to-face assessment. Who better to explain what they see in Trump to justify a diagnosis of malignant narcissism? This is a form of rare and extreme narcissistic personality disorder with includes impulsiveness bordering on recklessness, sometimes sadistic bullying, lying, absolute lack of empathy, and many of the characteristics of a psychopath.

My opinions is that the leaders of both APA’s (psychiatrists and psychologists) want to maintain the illusion that they, and they alone are capable by dint of their training and degrees to pronounce someone psychologically unfit for a job. When it comes to Trump all any observer has to do is look up the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder to see he fits into every category that is listed. Then they can read about malignant narcissism and judge for themselves. From Wikipedia: According to the DSM-5, individuals with NPD have most or all of the following symptoms, typically without commensurate qualities or accomplishments:[7][10]
  1. Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from others
  2. Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
  3. Self-perception of being unique, superior and associated with high-status people and institutions
  4. Needing constant admiration from others
  5. Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others
  6. Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain
  7. Unwilling to empathize with others' feelings, wishes, or needs
  8. Intensely envious of others and the belief that others are equally envious of them
  9. Pompous and arrogant demeanor
Malignant narcissism is a psychological syndrome comprising an extreme mix of narcissismantisocial personality disorder, aggression, and sadism.[1] Often grandiose, and always ready to raise hostility levels, the malignant narcissist undermines organizations in which they are involved, and dehumanizes the people with whom they associate.[2]
Malignant narcissism is a hypothetical, experimental diagnostic category. Narcissistic personality disorder is found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), while malignant narcissism is not. As a hypothetical syndrome, malignant narcissism could include aspects of narcissistic personality disorder as well as paranoia. The importance of malignant narcissism and of projection as a defense mechanism has been confirmed in paranoia, as well as "the patient's vulnerability to malignant narcissistic regression".[3]
I think some professionals want to keep what they do a deep dark closely held secret, kind of like magicians sworn to never reveal how they do their tricks.

Weds. July 26, 2017
A short read for tonight from Heather “Digby” Parton: 

Donald Trump turns on Jeff Sessions — and the far right finally begins to see the president they elected 

Now that Trump is tormenting his most loyal follower on a daily basis, others around him can only wonder who's next.

Excerpt: Attorney General Jeff Sessions is so committed to his draconian white nationalist agenda that he’s willing to allow the president of the United States to repeatedly humiliate, denigrate and demean him in public rather than resign. And the president who made his name growling “You’re fired” every week on his reality TV show is reported to be unable to personally fire anyone in real life, so he’s instead displaying what MSNBC’s Chris Hayes has called “titanic levels of passive-aggressiveness” with his constant expressions of “disappointment” in his attorney general.
Donald Trump has always been a big fan of torture and according to Politico, that’s part of the fun for him here:
“He wants to fire him but he doesn’t want the confrontation,” said one adviser who frequently speaks to him. “He doesn’t mind the long negative storyline. He will torture him every single day.”
This person said Trump also wants to see how Sessions will respond to humiliation and has mocked his response so far.  ….  It’s embarrassing to watch at this point. This administration is a bad soap opera on a good day, and these two are the rival divas of the moment. But the drama obscures the serious issue that lies at the heat of this dispute. Our president is abusing the powers of his office to try to stop an investigation into Russian interference in the presidential campaign and his own possible complicity in the crime. 
Warning: This is Painful to Watch:

American Psychoanalytic Association Statement on “Goldwater Rule” Revised Statement

American Psychoanalytic Association Statement on “Goldwater Rule”
New York - July 25th, 2017 - The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) seeks to clarify statements made in a recent article in STAT.
APsaA is an autonomous mental health professional association which represents psychoanalysts from all mental health professions and academia. Our members include psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, psychologists, psychotherapists, and social workers. 
In an email to association members, our leadership did not encourage members to defy the “Goldwater Rule” which is a part of the ethics code of a different mental health organization, the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Rather, it articulated a distinct ethics position that represents the viewpoint of psychoanalysts. The field of psychoanalysis addresses the full spectrum of human behavior, and we feel that our concepts and understanding are applicable and valuable to understanding a wide range of human behaviors and cultural phenomenon. Our position statement regarding commenting on public figures is available here.
Some of APsaA’s members are psychiatrists, and some of these psychiatrists are members of the APA and other professional organizations.  Any member of a professional organization is responsible for following the ethics code of every organization they belong to.  APsaA has not made any statement that would intrude in the internal rules and governance of another organization.
Score one for homophobic Pence:

Trump Bows to Religious Right, Bans Trans Troops

Insiders say the move—pushed by Vice President Pence—was designed to achieve a political purpose, not an explicitly military one.

… and he would probably scare the bejesus out of Pence.

EXCERPTS: Which, of course — now we’ve reached the peak of the tower of folly — he probably will not get if Sessions goes, because no hatchet man will win easy confirmation, and until Sessions is replaced the acting attorney general will be Rod Rosenstein, the man who appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel in the first place!
So it’s basically madness all the way to the top: bad policy, bad strategy, bad politics, bad legal maneuvering, bad optics, a self-defeating venture carried out via deranged-as-usual tweets and public insults.
And if it were any other president behaving like this — well, rather than repeat arguments I’ve made before, I’ll (see the) quote Bloomberg View’s Megan McArdle, writing a few months ago in response to my admittedly extreme suggestion that Trump’s behavior might justify removal under the 25th Amendment.
Trump hasn’t had a stroke or suffered a neurological disaster, and his behavior in the White House is no different from the behavior he manifested consistently while winning enough votes to take the presidency.
But he is nonetheless clearly impaired, gravely deficient somewhere at the intersection of reason and judgment and conscience and self-control. Pointing this out is wearying and repetitive, but still it must be pointed out.
You can be as loyal as Jeff Sessions and still suffer the consequences of that plain and inescapable truth: This president should not be the president, and the sooner he is not, the better.
Trump’s LGBT supporters defend him after surprise military transgender ban Excerpt:

After declaring himself a noncombatant in one of the culture wars, President Trump, with strong support from religious conservatives, has joined the battle with aplomb.

So far, that hasn’t lost Trump any support from gay conservatives who argued that he was the gay rights candidate. Milo Yiannopoulos, the former Breitbart editor who co-hosted a “Gays for Trump” party at the RNC, said he was “delighted” that the president had made a smart and compassionate decision.

Trump in 2016: I 'will do everything' to protect LGBT communities
As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump said in a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland that he "will do everything" to protect LGBT communities from violence. (The Washington Post)

“You don’t help mentally ill trans people by sticking them on the front lines,” Yiannopoulos said. “You help them with therapy and drugs — though not, I have to stress, transition surgery. I only wish he’d gone further and banned women from combat units too, since the evidence clearly shows their presence is disastrous for both morale and performance. Baby steps?”

My comment (No. 6) APA vs psychoanalytic association

Submitted by Hal Brown on July 26, 2017 - 9:55am

This Psychology Today editorial is a minor tempest. It serves to give more publicity by giving to those therapists (a few of whom are psychiatrists) who have publicly exercised their belief that they have a duty to warn (DTW) about Trump being a dangerous impulsive malignant narcissist. I’m one of them, a retired clinical social worker, who began diagnosing Trump (on Daily Kos) almost a year and a half ago. 
The APA will never change their position, although I expect more members will disavow Goldwater publicly as psychiatrists become more alarmed about Trump. Every day there’s another reason to fear his impulsive narcissism (among other things). Today, he’s banning transgender soldiers from serving. He is lashing out in frustration at not being to derail the Russia investigations. He knows he is guilty and his presidency is in jeopardy. He is feeling attacked (a narcissistic insult in psychiatric jargon). Typically of those of his ilk in the realm of extreme narcissism, he finds a target and directs his anger at them. That’s narcissistic rage. 
By the way Psychology Today editors: this isn’t a misreport, it is a report that was accurate, but one that some people misinterpreted. Perhaps the article will generate more interest in Duty to Warn.
The 37,000 members of the American Psychiatric Association, on the other hand, do remain bound by the Goldwater rule. This has spurred one psychoanalyst, who has called into question Trump's emotional stability, to resign from the group in protest. Dr. Leonard Glass told the Psychiatric Times that the rule has become even stricter since Trump was elected to office by preventing psychiatrists from offering not just diagnoses but also opinions.
"My colleagues and I were shocked by what we felt was the APA's 'gag rule,' " Glass said, calling it "an unacceptable infringement on my right and duty to participate in public dialogue about issues that confuse the public and where the perspective of psychiatrists could be very relevant and enlightening.” From NPR

Arthur L. Caplan, PhD

July 25, 2017
Ed. note: My late wife would have agreed with this while she was dying from cancer. She knew her prognosis and would have liked to have been free to just let herself die. I never urged her to fight a hopeless diagnosis. I was as accepting as possible when she made her final decision to discontinue treatment, and as she knew she would, died five days later.  Her close friends supported her completely. However, her parents held onto hope and urged her to fight, and this caused her incredible distress. HB

Cancer Doesn't Care If You're a Fighter 

It is very common when learning that someone has been newly diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer that well-meaning family and friends weigh in with encouragement to fight. It is also unfortunate.
Cancer could not care less whether you are a fighter or not. What evidence there is does not show that adopting a fighting stance helps in terms of survival. I have seen many fighters die of cancer, and some who chose not to be seen as fighters live longer than others who did.
And there is an implication that if you are not a fighter, then you must be a coward or worse. This suggests that the only option available to anyone who is courageous is to choose to fight—to utilize every surgery, complementary medicine, chemotherapy, and experimental option. This is unfortunate as well, because it takes courage to decide not to battle fatal cancers, but rather to enjoy a better quality of life in the time that remains.
The latest example of this "you must be a fighter" ethic is John McCain.
The senator from Arizona just found out he has a glioblastoma, a very nasty form of brain cancer. Upon announcing his diagnosis, McCain was greeted by a chorus of friends and admirers urging him to fight and calling on him to be courageous in taking on the cancer. This is advice McCain does not need. Continued

Tues. July 25, 2017
The big news:

American Psychoanalytic Association Statement on “Goldwater Rule”

American Psychoanalytic Association Statement on “Goldwater Rule”
New York - July 25th, 2017 - The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) seeks to clarify statements made in a recent article in STAT.
APsaA is an autonomous mental health professional association which represents psychoanalysts from all mental health professions and academia. Our members include psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, psychologists, psychotherapists, and social workers. 
In an email to association members, our leadership did not encourage members to defy the “Goldwater Rule” which is a part of the ethics code of a different mental health organization, the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Rather, it articulated a distinct ethics position that represents the viewpoint of psychoanalysts. The field of psychoanalysis addresses the full spectrum of human behavior, and we feel that our concepts and understanding are applicable and valuable to understanding a wide range of human behaviors and cultural phenomenon. Our position statement regarding commenting on public figures is available here.
Some of APsaA’s members are psychiatrists, and some of these psychiatrists are members of the APA and other professional organizations.  Any member of a professional organization is responsible for following the ethics code of every organization they belong to.  APsaA has not made any statement that would intrude in the internal rules and governance of another organization.

Ed. Note: Members of the APsaA are physicians, psychologists and social workers.
Senators… and

Cable news…. emboldened 
to say Trump is mentally ill - and a huge shout-out to the executive committee of the American Psychological Association and STATNEWS.

And then there’s Trump Boy Scout “abuse."
Stunning narcissistic examples of Trump being Trump.

Fallout A Day Later: Trump “ buses" Boy Scouts.
Another perspective
A guide to Boy Scout ranks and badges, revised for Trump Scouts - Washington Post
“A scout is trustworthy, loyal. We could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.”
— Donald Trump, addressing the National Scout Jamboree
Here are a few more suggested tweaks to the Boy Scout system that can Make the Boy Scouts Great Again.
Opinions newsletter
Ranks (from lowest to highest):

Tiffany Scout: The most forgettable of the scouts. Emblem might have a fleur-de-lis, but no one can be sure, as this rank of scout has never been photographed or detected by the human eye.
Sessions Scout: Emblem is a picture of a Make America Great Again hat. You must learn how to tie yourself in knots (half-hitch, double hitch, sheet bend, trucker line, bow line) in the course of your testimony before the Senate.
Son ScoutEmblem is 1980s hair slicked back to give it the appearance of having been painted on. Ostensibly attaining this rank requires you to show leadership, but you don’t have to if you are a family member. Complete at least two fitness challenges.
Mar-a-Lago Scout: Must earn at least 18 Golf badges. Emblem is abandoned White House full of cobwebs.

Ivanka Scout: The highest rank of scout but one. No mistakes, ever. Must earn three Better Business badges and one Plausible Deniability badge. Emblem is a beautiful, morally compromised pump.  Continued

Stress and illness in the times of Trump, just when everyone needs affordable health care.

…The Mooccie Sideshow.
Psychiatry* group tells members they can defy ‘Goldwater rule’ and comment on Trump’s mental health

The statement, an email this month from the executive committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association to its 3,500 members, represents the first significant crack in the profession’s decades-old united front aimed at preventing experts from discussing the psychiatric aspects of politicians’ behavior. It will likely make many of its members feel more comfortable speaking openly about President Trump’s mental health.

The impetus for the email was “belief in the value of psychoanalytic knowledge in explaining human behavior,” said psychoanalytic association past president Dr. Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago. “We don’t want to prohibit our members from using their knowledge responsibly.”
And so the Trump White House lacks the “best people” and the best minds working on the problems of government. It lacks expertise while it undertakes a job that desperately needs expertise. That means more mistakes, from simple diplomatic goofs to major strategic and governing decisions. But worse than that is that the inability to fully staff an administration adds to a sense of illegitimacy that is settling over his presidency, one compounded by his scandals and eagerly fed by a media that believes it can tweet

almost anyone, even a president, out of a job. Trump has won the votes. With those and a modicum of sense, he should have been able to win over a sufficient portion of the political and governing class of his country. But he hasn’t. And it puts his foreign counterparts in the awkward position of having to deal with a president who is in charge but not really in control. Trump is a third-rate boss, and he’s increasingly running a third-rate administration. How long until it changes the United States itself into a third-rate power?

Trump White House Tests a Nation’s Capacity for Outrage - NY Times


GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Remember that time President George W. Bush told his attorney general to investigate Al Gore for his “crimes”? Or President Barack Obama called for a Justice Department prosecution of John McCain?
Neither did that, of course, nor has any president in modern times sought to prosecute the candidate he beat at the ballot box. But when President Trump publicly declared last weekend that his Justice Department should investigate Hillary Clinton, his exhortation generated relatively little reaction.
Indeed, when he repeated it on Twitter on Monday, more attention was paid to the fact that he described his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, as “beleaguered” — a condition that, if true, was due in large part to Mr. Trump himself, who last week said that he regretted appointing Mr. Sessions because the attorney general had recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.
After six months in office, Mr. Trump has crossed so many lines, discarded so many conventions, said and done so many things that other presidents would not have, that he has radically shifted the understanding of what is standard in the White House. He has moved the bar for outrage. He has a taste for provocation and relishes challenging Washington taboos. If the propriety police tut tut, he shows no sign of concern.
As the head of the executive branch, Mr. Trump can legally order investigations started or stopped, his advisers say. Most modern presidents have considered that off limits. But Mr. Trump’s defenders say he is justified given what they characterize as a politically charged atmosphere that has twisted routine interactions with Russian to delegitimize his election and impede his administration.
“As a policy matter, I would’ve said a few months ago that it was a bad idea,” said David B. Rivkin Jr., a former Justice Department official under Republican presidents. “But with what’s going on in the Russia investigation, I am not sure that this is true anymore.”

Mon., July 24, 2017

One you probably missed. From Malta!

The recent G20 meeting held in Germany gave journalists an ideal opportunity to scrutinise the behaviour of the various world leaders attending this conference. Not surprisingly the contents of what was discussed seemed to be less important than the behaviour of the participants.
Theresa May wanted to ensure that she secured some trade concessions from major trading countries following Brexit.
Angela Merkel knows she has to face a major electoral test in September and wanted to be seen as the most reliable leader in the EU.
Donald Trump’s objective was to repeat his now meaningless slogan of making America great again.
Click for story
But it was his strange behaviour that generally attracted the attention of the media.
Australia journalist Chris Uhlmann’s commentary on the G20 was given major coverage on a global level especially in the US. Uhlmann said Trump had shown no desire or capacity to lead the world and was himself the biggest threat to the values of the west.
“He was an uneasy, lonely, awkward figure at this G20 gathering and you got the strong sense that some leaders are trying to find the best way to work around him.”
But is Trump’s social awkwardness in major global conference a real cause of concern? The answer is that the US President’s behaviour cannot be attributed simply to social awkwardness. Uhlamnn’s gives another insight into Trump’s possible personality disorder.
“‘He is a man who barks out bile in 140 characters, who wastes his precious day as President at war with the west’s institutions like the judiciary, independent government agencies and the free press”.


  • In internal conversations, Trump has recently pondered the idea of nominating Giuliani, a stalwart of his campaign.
  • Even before last week's blast at Sessions in a New York Times interview, Trump had expressed fury at Sessions — also one of the first prominent Republicans to back the Trump campaign — for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. 
  • And in a Monday morning tweet, Trump referred to "our beleaguered A.G." not investigating Hillary Clinton.
  • As Axios reported Saturday, Newt Gingrich — who also went all-in with the Trump campaign — may take a more visible, frequent role as a defender as Trump girds for battle with special counsel Bob Mueller.
…the leaks about Giuliani and Gingrich are revealing in four ways: 
  • Trump wants to surround himself with enablers and junkyard dogs, as we saw with the selection of the pugilistic Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director.
  • Presidents like the personnel equivalent of comfort food — people with whom they have a long, happy history. Presidents often find they can only really trust people they knew before they took office, since it's hard to trust new people at the pinnacle of power.
  • Rudy and Newt were both overlooked in the first round of administration picks. By reviving some of his original band members, he's able to blame other people for his problems. 
  • And the West Wing conversations show that Trump originals can always come back. Paging Chris Christie!
Corrie Lewandowski on TV again. Ugh. Meanwhile: 

The Opinion Pages |  OP-ED COLUMNIST

The Kook, ‘the Mooch’ and the Loot

On Friday, a “president” with no political experience brought on a communications director with no communications experience.
Trump tapped Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street snake investment huckster, to be the new communications director, a move that caused Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who The New York Times reported “vehemently disagreed with the appointment,” to resign.
So, let me get this straight: Spicer was just fine with regularly walking out to that podium to spew and spin Trump’s lies, but hiring “the Mooch,” as Scaramucci is known, was the back-breaker? O.K., whatever, Sean.
This illustrates best what is wrong with this communications shop, and by extension, this administration: No one is concerned with the truth; they are only concerned with their own trajectories.

Nothing about this White House communications department was ever about communicating. On the contrary, it has always been about deception, concealment and equivocation. Informing the public was never the mission. Flattering Trump was the mission. But in the end, Trump will never be satisfied, because successful communications for him is to get people to buy his pack of lies, and that isn’t really working the way it once did. Continued
Our favorite beach, Little Harbor on Buzzard’s Bay

Sunday July 23, 2017

Quote of the Day comes from Anthony Scaramucci:
In 2015, Scaramucci appeared on the Fox Business Network to talk about politics. They played a clip of Donald Trump attacking “hedge fund guys.”
Scaramucci responded with an extended rant against Trump, calling his new boss “another hack politician” and “anti-American.” He said Trump’s rhetoric is “very, very divisive.”He wasn’t done.
“[I]t’s very very divisive. I’ll tell you who he’s going to be president of,” he said, looking into the camera, “you can tell Donald I said this, the Queens County Bullies Association. You gotta cut it out now and stop all this crazy rhetoric spinning everybody’s heads around.”
Another host interjected that it was rich that Scaramucci finally drew the line with Trump’s rhetoric on “hedge fund guys,” after everything Trump had said about women.
Scaramucci agreed with her.
“I don’t like the way he talks about women, I don’t like the way he talks about our friend Megyn Kelly, and you know what, the politicians don’t want to go at Trump because he’s got a big mouth and because [they’re] afraid he’s going to light them up on Fox News and all these other places,” he said. “But I’m not a politician. Bring it. You’re an inherited money dude from Queens County. Bring it, Donald.”He repeated the last line of that line of argument for emphasis.
Scaramucci accused Trump of being a “Democratic plant” for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“Stand here and prove otherwise,” Scaramucci said, again turning to the camera to address Trump directly. He criticized Trump for “splitting classes” which he said was right out of Clinton and Warren’s playbook.

He ended the segment saying “this nonsense is going to end, and I predict it’ll end before Thanksgiving.” Think Progress

“Demolition” The daily line break images are cropped from my 20,000 saved photos. Below, this one in context.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Again, Trump redefines what’s normal 

Emphasis added (last two paragraphs): Speaking aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, Trump extolled the virtues of the “wonderful, beautiful but very, very powerful” nuclear-powered warship — “We will win, win, win,” he said, “we will never lose” — but also decried the budget compromise known as sequestration, which requires mandatory and corresponding military and domestic cuts.
Trump promised to try to restore higher levels of military funding but also urged the crowd of about 6,500 — many in uniform — to help him push this year’s budget, in which he said he will seek an additional $54 billion in defense spending, through Congress.
“I don’t mind getting a little hand, so call that congressman and call that senator and make sure you get it,” he said, to applause. “And by the way, you can also call those senators to make sure you get health care.”
But Trump’s brief appeal created a potentially awkward tableau at a commissioning event intended to be ceremonial — a commander in chief offering political remarks, and what could even be construed as an order, to the naval officers he commands. Wash. Post.

Quote of the Day:

Trump believes laws are for the little people. Pardon power and absolute lack of morals make for a toxic, lawless cocktail.
All politicians lie and obfuscate, but it's rare to see an operator who cares not one whit about the appearance of impropriety. Ryan J. Reilly at the Huffington Post offers a laundry list of ways Trump ignores the laws that bind the rest of us, and presidents who came before:
Examples abound. Does Trump have massive conflicts of interests? Well, the president is exempt from conflict-of-interest laws. Do officials think Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, shouldn’t be given permanent security clearance? Well, Trump has the power to grant him clearance anyhow. Does someone want to sue Trump for his actions before he became president? Well, his lawyers say they can’t (a questionable claim). Did Trump violate the law? Well, the sitting president is immune from prosecution.

This is not a president who abides by the law or thinks it applies to him. So much investigation into pardons and mudslinging at this stage of the game suggests a tremendous wrongdoing may be revealed. It’s just unlikely we’ll be able to do much about it. From Alternet 

Point - Counterpoint on Goldwater Rule from July 20, 2017 Psychiatric Times

Just heard on MSNBC: What can Congress do if Bob Mueller is fired?
If the GOP inexplicably develops an ethical core, they pass a new special counsel law (link) and then can appoint him as a Independent Special Prosecutor, emphasis on independent.

Friday, July 21, 2017

He’s Trump’s new communications director. But his past tweets show contrary views.

By now I expect you’ve all heard Anthony Scaramucci’s gushing over how he loves Trump in the press conference today. Beyond over the top! Sounded like he could have been talking about Dear Leader Kim.
What gives? Does he really feel this way or is he playing into Trump’s narcissism for his own gain? 
I find it hard to believe a man with the massive ego of Scaramucci would bow down and publicly  kiss Trump’s ________________(fill in the blank) in an interview he knew would be aired repeatedly. 
(This begs for a segment on Saturday Night Live.)

I put this on Daily Kos. Check out the comments.  Here’s a creative one:

I see a little silhouette of a man
Scaramucci, Scaramucci will give Trump fellatio?
Thunderbolt and lightening,
very very frightening to me.
Gallileo Gallileo
Gallileo Gallileo
Gallileo Fellatio
Trump’s just a rich boy, Mooch really loves him
He’s just a rich boy, from a rich family
Give him some more love from Scaramucci
Easy come, easy go will you let Spicey go?
Bismillah! No, Trump will not let Spicey go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! Trump will not let Spicey go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! Trump will not let you go. (Let me go!)
Trump will not let you go. (Let me go!)
Never let Spicey go (Never, never, never, never let him go)
Oh oh oh oh
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh, mama mia, mama mia (Mama mia, let Spicey go.)
Trump has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me.

Read more here:

Spicer quits amid White House feud

The beleaguered press secretary resigns after Trump settles on Scaramucci (PHOTO ABOVE) for communications director, splitting aides.
On the latest revelations:
Duty to Warm (about Trump’s mental illness) events nationwide rallied for October 14th.

Of course the biggest news broke last night about Trump rare display of good manners uttering the words “pardon me.” But here's an article more along the lines of psychology, which is the primary focus of this blog.
Democrats and progressives turned to wider and more reputable sources.


As the campaign crested, right-wing media was churning out a fount of propaganda, CJR (Columbia Journalism Review) said, saying its disinformation epitomized “the paranoid” in our politics.
“What we find in our data is a network of mutually reinforcing hyper-partisan sites that revive what Richard Hofstadter called ‘the paranoid style in American politics,’ combining decontextualized truths, repeated falsehoods, and leaps of logic to create a fundamentally misleading view of the world,” CJR said. “‘Fake news,’ which implies made of whole cloth by politically disinterested parties out to make a buck of Facebook advertising dollars, rather than propaganda and disinformation, is not an adequate term. By repetition, variation, and circulation through many associated sites, the network of sites make their claims familiar to readers, and this fluency with the core narrative gives credence to the incredible.”
Needless to say, CJR believes the right’s fact-averse, hyper-partisan hate-mongering is extremely dangerous for American culture and politics. That’s because wide disinformation erodes the prospect of governing based on compromises. If there’s any silver lining to CJR’s analysis, it is that red and blue America still “pay attention to traditional media, following professional journalistic practices, and cross-reference what they read on partisan sites.”
But there is no going back to a simpler, pre-internet past. Today’s press must recognize “it is operating in a propaganda and disinformation rich environment,” CJR said. “Rising to that challenge could usher in a new golden age for the Fourth Estate.”
CJR ended its report on that upbeat note. For the rest of us, its research and reporting tell us it is no accident that Breitbart’s Steve Bannon is in the White House as Trump’s senior strategist. He helped put Trump there by fanning an unheralded wave of dark propaganda and opening a Pandora’s Box that is not about to be closed.

On the Lighter Side
More serious:

ExxonMobil blatantly violated U.S. sanctions on Russia when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson led the oil company, U.S. authorities alleged on Thursday. The Treasury Department slapped Exxon (XOM) with a $2 million fine -- the maximum allowed under current law -- and said the company had "demonstrated reckless disregard" for the requirements of the sanctions.

Thursday, July 20, 2017
Catch this on Rachel Maddow:

My Daily Kos story today:

Even Hitler Had Dogs Dept:

From The Economist:

Daily chartA key White House post remains unfilled: First Pet

It may be time for Donald Trump to find a four-legged friend (Or a two-legged friend, or a fish…. people are said to pick pets that look like them. Perhaps he should get a blobfish.)

Excerpt: The last pet-less leader in American history was Andrew Johnson, who left office in 1869 and is best-known for being one of only two presidents to be impeached (the other, Bill Clinton, had a dog and a cat). According to the Presidential Pet Museum, the White House has been home to over 300 animals, ranging from dozens of dogs, horses and birds to the occasional bear, tiger and alligator. Theodore Roosevelt had by far the most impressive menagerie: while in office, the famed outdoorsman and conservationist cared for some 50 animals, including a badger, a barn owl and a one-legged rooster. Although animals are beloved by Americans of all political stripes, their appeal in the Oval Office has not been quite so bipartisan: Democratic presidents have averaged six pets each compared with nine for Republican ones.

Latest updates

See all updates
Facing growing criticism for running a chaotic administration and for murky links between his campaign and election-meddling by Russia, the president could do with the companionship of a pet in a notoriously lonely job. For one thing, it would never leak secrets to the press (parrots notwithstanding). Harry Truman, the president from 1945-53, is often credited with saying “if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
On the news about Sen. John McCain’s cancer.

He has the kind of brain cancer which is what killed Teddy Kennedy, Beau Biden (and my mother when she was 44). McCain's prognosis for life expediency depends on whether it has spread or not: 
"Primary glioblastoma is the most common. It starts out as a grade 4 tumor and is very aggressive.Secondary glioblastoma starts as a grade 2 or 3 tumor, which grow slower. Then it becomes grade 4. About 10% of glioblastomas are this type. They tend to happen when you're 45 or younger. “ WebMd  

Despite maximum treatment, the cancer usually recurs. The most common length of survival following diagnosis is 12 to 15 months with less than 3% to 5% of people surviving longer than five years. Without treatment survival is typically 3 months. It is the most common cancer that begins within the brain and the second most common brain tumor after meningioma.
About 3 per 100,000 people develop the disease a year. It most often begins around 64 years of age and occurs more commonly in males than females. Immunotherapy is being studied in glioblastoma with promising results.(Wikipedia)
I don’t see him returning to the Senate anytime soon, though he can choose to remain a Senator and make his voice heard from a distance. He can also attend Senate votes in person if he is able. As the Washington Post said: "McCain’s absence would also deprive the Senate of its moral conscience on many key issues, particularly in the ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign’s potential involvement in Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.”My hope and hunch is that McCain won’t resign, most because he’s a fighter. He also may want to keep Gov. Jan Brewer from appointing an arch conservative Trump supporter as his replacement. 
It’s possible that his role model for assuring his legacy in the face of a terminal disease is that of Teddy Kennedy whose dying days are described here.

After Diagnosis, Determined to Make a ‘Good Ending’

Obama’s Anger Translator Is Back With A Blunt Message For Trump

“Everyone of you all in the White House has lost your damn mind.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Chris Mathews just played this 1936 speech by FDR. The last line is a classic.

Excerpt: "You have to be able to see through it. In other words, if you can't see through that wall—so it could be a steel wall with openings because you have to see what's on the other side of the wall," the president explained. "And I'll give you an example. As horrible as it sounds, when they throw over the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don't see them—they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It's over. As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall.”

So this is the problem Trump envisions: You're hanging out on the border, being a regular good American, enjoying the solar panels in the middle of the desert, or whatever, and some drug trafficker catapults (this part is real; ) a big bag of coke over the wall. You're dead! If only you could have looked through the wall! Oh well.

It's important to note that even in this insane fantasy, transparent border walls would not save you. What if the catapult was really far away? Or what if you were looking at your phone?

There are a lot of valid arguments to be made about why Trump is completely unfit for the presidency. But the most alarming one is that he really seems to have no idea about what's going on in the world. According to him, , Barack Obama has a mysterious past, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is a "war zone," Obama wiretapped him, and he won the popular vote.

Trump could be lying about all these things, of course, but regardless of whether he's espousing his actual beliefs, what he says is still completely moronic. The more likely scenario is that Trump really believes most or all of these "facts," and is going around thinking about the dangers of opaque walls and ISIS hotels. It would be funny, except he's the president.  From VICE

He was an athlete, not now. 

All this scrutiny might seem like body shaming if it weren’t for Trump’s own obsession with appearances. This is a man, who at 71, has not lost his appetite for a good slap at someone else’s looks, whether it’s Marco Rubio’s stature, Mika Brzezinski’s chin-tweak, Kim Kardashian’s baby weight or the girth of one of his beauty-pageant winners. Only last week, he broke diplomatic protocol to tell Brigitte Macron, the French first lady, “You’re in such good shape … beautiful.”
“Here’s a guy who is constantly appraising other people and using that as a measure of social worth, but not taking care of himself,” Trump biographer Tim O’Brien told me. “That’s a revealing thing; there’s a little bit of self-loathing here.” Added O’Donnell: “You see the side-by-side pictures of presidents from the beginning of their terms to the end. They age, their hair turns gray. Think of what he’s going to look like.”
Donald Trump was once an athlete, a star first baseman, in fact. In high school at the New York Military Academy, he was, according to his coach, talented enough to be drafted. But Trump headed off to Fordham instead of pursuing a pro career because, as he put it, “there was no money in it.” At Fordham, he tried out for the football team as a punter, but quit after suffering an ankle injury and settled for a spot on the squash team (he later transferred to Penn). And despite his athletic background, Trump received a medical deferral from the Vietnam War for bone spurs in 1968.

DuckDuckGo news search is better than Google News when you search merely two words: Trump & unfit; check it out.

Monday, July 17, 2017
From the NYT Sunday Magazine (scroll left and right for full image)
Here’s a very good article about David Brook’s OpEd about Trump being an infantalist.

Do Trump’s Tweets show a continued mental deterioration? You be the judge.
"Trying to make lemonade out of lemons, President Donald Trump used Twitter Sunday morning to hype up a poll that showed him at a record-low 36 percent approval rate.
While most presidents might prefer to avoid bad numbers like that, Trump seemed to be quite pleased as his administration lurches from scandal to scandal with no real policy triumphs to show after six months in office.
Showing a flare for math, Trump also rounded his 36 percent approval rate up to 40 percent, writing: “The ABC/Washington Post Poll, even though almost 40% is not bad at this time, was just about the most inaccurate poll around election time!” Alternet

Sunday, July 16, 2017
Annals of Legal Mumbo-Jumbo:

In Interview, Trump Lawyer Jay Sekulow, blames the Secret Service

According to two sources familiar with Secret Service protocols, the lawyer’s characterization of the agency is misleading…. duh, they only screen for weapons not subversives.



In his interview with ABC White House reporter Jon Karl on Saturday, Sekulow, a longtime Trump ally and a member of his personal legal team, asserted that if Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin were such concerning figures, the Secret Service should have prevented them from entering Trump Tower. Sekulow made several misleading statements, according to current and former Secret Service officials who spoke to HuffPost.
KARL: But do you accept what we heard from the president’s pick to run the FBI, that what should’ve happened there, you know, a situation where you have representatives of a foreign government offering assistance to ― in an election, that what should’ve happened is that the FBI should’ve been notified?
SEKULOW: Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in. The president had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me.

Donald Trump is a total love god — at least to his supporters. How does the left fight that?

Excerpt: The average American is not politically sophisticated. Moreover, Americans in general do not have high levels of engagement with or interest in politics and public policy. The average American also reasons backwards from conclusions he or she has already made about political matters, in essence selectively finding and processing information to justify decisions. Many Americans are also “siloed”: they self-select into groups and communities of like-minded people. This echo-chamber effect is especially pronounced among American conservatives and right-leaning independents.
Donald Trump and the Republican Party have mastered the use of white racism, white victimology and white grievance-mongering to win elections and shape public policy. Trump simply amplified the Republican Party’s “dog whistles” into an air raid siren. Republican voters are trained to follow its beckoning. 
There is an additional explanation for the slavish devotion shown by Trump’s followers toward their Great Leader that is often overlooked by more traditional types of political analysis. Trump’s followers may actually be in love with him.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

On the Messy Psychology of Trumpism: Deception, the Right, and Neoliberal Trauma

By Jeff Shantz
In fascism, the monsters of childhood come true.
– Theodor Adorno

Rumors swirling around Washington
that Kushner outed Donald Jr. to
divert attention from himself. LINK
EXCERPT: Trump is an agitator rather than an insurrectionist. The agitator focuses on groups who can be targeted. The agitator does not want followers to think too much.
There is an attempt to individualize the mob in the form of the figure. The figure will tolerate reality for them. What they cannot tolerate, the figure can and will.  He speaks to discreet self-identified groups who identify in terms of losers (in trade, globalization, internationalism, metropolitanism, etc.) but not as classes. Agitation uses emotional tools to reinforce the power structure. The agitator differs from revolutionaries and reformers.
Trump is an over-inflated narcissist. He appears, on surface, to have none of the insecurities his followers are trying to escape. He is the mirror they look into and wish to see themselves. He is appealing to people who otherwise feel powerless. Secondary narcissism stimulates feelings of belonging and loss. Trump, unlike his followers, exhibits no self-questioning, no self-doubt. This is a great relief to his supporters. He is shameless, he has no shame. Refusal to feel shame is a guide to people. Trump expresses a politics of shame and a politics of repugnance.
Fascism promises certainties. It promises a return to more easily understood or familiar conditions for sectors of the population who feel threatened with loss of standing or position (these are often middle strata groups that feel economically insecure or threatened with decline rather than the poor).
Regular folks who support Trump (even as he represents elite interests) can see Trumpism as making the country great again while they are largely able to continue on with their lives. It does not ask much of them but promises much (even if it never delivers on those specific promises). The imagined community or imaginary love of a powerful leader emerges as an outlet for repressed drives even if the program is not realized. Charismatic nationalism offers narcissistic gratification and an outlet for repressed drives against the externalized other.

Joy Reid, No. 1 (Video)

Joy Reid  No. 2 - Essay


So This Is What American Greatness Really Looks Like?

Another week of new low after new low. If this is what making America great looks like, God help us when it arrives.

This week, Garry Kasparov, former Russian chess champion and perennial critic of Vladimir Putintweeted about what autocrats do when caught: “1: Deny, lie, slander accusers. 2: Say it was a misunderstanding. 3. Boast and say ‘What are you going to do about it?’” CONTINUED

The Projection President The Atlantic

Months into his tenure, Trump still responds to controversies by lobbing the same charges at his opponents.

Fri. July 14, 2017

Once a  Russian Spy Always a Russian Spy - Does anybody with any sense believe there’s any such thing as a former Russian counter-intelligence officer?
Click divider images to enlarge

Thurs. July 13, 2017
This was the lead story n Rachel Maddow: 

Trump Lawyer Marc Kasowitz Threatens Stranger in Emails: ‘Watch Your Back , Bitch’

After hearing Rachel Maddow discuss our recent story about Kasowitz, a man emailed the attorney urging him to resign. Kasowitz responded with threats and profanity.

Junior makes his first Time cover.

The main (cringeworthy) comment to come from Trump in Paris, to Mrs. Macron: 

"You're in such good shape, beautiful.” Video

Online critics of sexist woman objectifying Trump are coming up with responses they wish Brigitte Macron had made. Here’s my contribution: "Votre femme est aussi adorable, si sexy et à la mode, elle pourrait être un modèle ou une escorte."

Is Donald Trump Mentally Ill? Part 2 - 5 Professors of Psychiatry Say Donald Trump is “unraveling” and Call on Congress “to remove him from office” HuffPost

The letter:

To Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives:

Since the election of 2016, each of us has warned against President Trump’s alarming psychological instability, which has been apparent in his repeated failures to distinguish between reality and fantasy and his erratic responses to stress and crisis. We were also concerned about his tendency to become enraged at the slightest criticism. 

The signs of the president’s unraveling are stark, and they are contributing to his inability to govern: his failure to guard against hacking of our elections and related threats to national security, his decimation of the State Department and other vital government agencies, his irrational, unilateral withdrawal from the world’s commitment to prevent catastrophic climate change, his intemperate exploitation of the presidency to enrich himself and his family, his unremitting threats against a free press, his vitriolic verbal assaults against anyone (especially any woman) who questions his actions or state of mind, and his imposition of false narratives whenever the truth casts him in a bad light.

The power of the presidency has accentuated Mr. Trump’s failings with devastating effects. His psychological isolation – including his tenuous relationship to reality – has led to the dangerous isolation of the United States from the rest of the world.

Our Constitution has provisions for removing any president who is unable to discharge the duties of office. For the sake of our country and the world, we urge our elected representatives to summon their courage so that lawful steps can be taken to end the Trump presidency.

  • Judith L. Herman, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
  • Robert Jay Lifton, M.D., Professor Emeritus, CUNY, and Lecturer in Psychiatry, Columbia University
  • Nanette Gartrell, M.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco (1988-2011)
  • Dee Mosbacher, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Community Health Systems, University of California, San Francisco (2005-2013)
  • Bandy X. Lee, M.D., M.Div., Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine.

On MSNBC: "Why is the president of France waiting around for this amount of time for the president of the United State to arrive.” Trump is at the American Embassy. My thoughts exactly. Another power move by Trump. And, take a look at those 80 horses.
Not to be outdone: Walking into the museum Trump puts his hand on Macron’s back briefly, seconds later Macron puts his hand on Trump’s back and taps him two or three times.  

FYI: I’ve changed day by day page dividers to photos I’ve taken.

Weds. July 12, 2017
Excerpt: Let me make a statement that on its face seems farfetched but on closer inspection is the godawful truth: Donald Trump remains secure as president because Republicans have normalized his craziness in their own minds and would like you and I to do the same although the assault on American democracy by he and his family is beyond the pale.

The question of whether Trump is mentally ill is such well trod ground by now that the answer is beyond obvious. Of course he is. What may be less obvious, especially to the Make America Great sycophancy, is the reality that the pathologies that make him so dangerously unsuitable to be president — chief among them a malignant narcissism and inability to separate reality from fantasy — are manifestations of that craziness.

Trying to normalize Trump’s aberrant behavior has become something of a cottage industry, sometimes even among pundits and reporters who should know better, and nowhere more so than portraying his tweeting as merely pushbacks from a fighter who dishes out more than he gets as opposed to what they really are: Windows into a manifestly sick soul. Continued

All Andy needed was the title, but here’s an excerpt:

Even though he anticipates “just terrific” ratings for his impeachment, Trump said that he did not expect the media to provide an honest accounting of his audience size.

“They’re going to lie and say that a lot of people who watched my impeachment didn’t watch, and that’s going to be very bad and unfair, but it’s not going to change the fact that my impeachment will be a great impeachment, a really beautiful impeachment,” he said.
Just an observation:
The Daily Kos.reader comments on this are interesting.

A new perspective from Ireland:

Trump: Philosopher Mogul

Failed ideas and premonitions from Marcuse, Kant, Plato and Nietzche find a tremendous home 

A group of United States mental health professionals has expressed concern about the mental health of Donald Trump. Psychologist Dr John Gartner said: “We do believe that Donald Trump’s mental illness is putting the entire country, and indeed the entire world, in danger. As health professionals we have an ethical duty to warn the public about that danger”.

But what about duty to warn about his philosophy? Let us imagine that four famous dead philosophers, Herbert Marcuse, David Hume, Immanuel Kant and Plato, have been resurrected, and applied themselves to Trump. More unlikely, let’s pretend Trump opens himself to his philosophical side.


A group of United States mental health professionals has expressed concern about the mental health of Donald Trump. Psychologist Dr John Gartner said: “We do believe that Donald Trump’s mental illness is putting the entire country, and indeed the entire world, in danger. As health professionals we have an ethical duty to warn the public about that danger”.

But what about duty to warn about his philosophy? Let us imagine that four famous dead philosophers, Herbert Marcuse, David Hume, Immanuel Kant and Plato, have been resurrected, and applied themselves to Trump. More unlikely, let’s pretend Trump opens himself to his philosophical side.

Herbert Marcuse is very, very worried

In his famous 1960s book ‘One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society’, Herbert Marcuse described the Happy Consciousness, the amoral product of the technocratic age, in which “guilt feeling has no place”. A person with such a deficiency, Marcuse says, “can give the signal that liquidates hundreds and thousands of people, then declare himself free from all pangs of conscience, and live happily ever after”. Trump, No?

David Hume warns not only about Trump, but his followers too

David Hume, the apostle of scepticism, might also have something to say about Trump’s dangerous personality cult. In Hume’s essay ‘That Politics may be reduced to a Science’, citing the political vagaries of humanity, he declared “should be sorry to think that human affairs admit of no greater stability, than what they receive from the … characters of men”. In other words, Hume as a professional historian, would declaim the folly of Trump thinking that only he – just one leader – could fix America’s problems – an assertion that history tends to mock. And being an astute moralist, and observer of human nature, Hume would also have questioned why Trump’s followers were gullible enough to be fooled by overbearing bombast into heralding him as the master problem solver.

Kant: Donald Trump is my worst nightmare

Immanuel Kant would have been disgusted by Donald Trump, appreciating in him the philosopher’s worse nightmares. For Kant integrity, honesty and consistency were everything. Trump would be akin to a philosophical pornographic website (we assume that our reborn Kant is up-to-the-minute).
Kant had a dim view of an exclusive focus on sex. In his lectures “Duties towards the Body in Respect of Sexual Impulses”, he notes:
“Sexual love makes of the loved person an object of appetite; as soon as that appetite has been stilled, the person is cast aside as one casts away a lemon which has been sucked dry… Taken by itself it is a degradation of human nature…”.
Donald Trump, of course, engaged, as Kant would now be aware, in just such degradation: from beauty-contest-sponsorship to casual sexism and alleged real-life gropings. Kant might agree with Michael Moore, who noted that this predation explain why Trump rejects global climate treaties. Sexual predation against women and corporate predation against the environment are part of the same amoral game, which he characterizes as “crimes against humanity”.

Plato: how democracy evolves from oligarchy and into fascism

Plato steps in to remind us that he warned us in his Dialogues what would happen in a society that overvalued wealth, when its oligarchic rulers were unable to wield their power effectively. The people would first replace it with democracy but then, in an over-zealous pursuit of freedom to the extent of subverting democracy elect someone who played on their wishes, resulting in mob rule and/or tyranny. Plato would cite in evidence the “Make America Great Again” concept, wall-building and xenophobia.

Then the rest of classical philosophy jumps on the wagon

Of course cynical Machiavelli would find in Trump a soul-mate, with ethics suspended in the interest of means that justify the end. The Old Testament would provide backing for much of Trump’s unsubtle Schopenhauer pessimism and apocalypiticism (which may explain why some religious evangelicals surprisingly support him). In Hobbes, with his depressing view of humanity and life, Trump may find his champion: the problems of political life mean that a society should accept an unaccountable sovereign as its sole political authority.

But the most real prediction of Trump comes from Nietzsche. Nietzsche was particularly hostile to ‘Losers’ and would have appreciated Trump’s contempt as well as his perception of himself as a sort of ‘Superman’, buy act and birth. Trump and Nietzsche agree to promote the master morality over the slave morality. With the death of God, comes the loss of any universal perspective, of any coherent sense of objective truth. In ‘Daybreak ‘Nietzsche began a “Campaign against Morality”, identifying himself as an “immoralist. In Beyond Good and Evil, Trump finds justification for his view that evil is not the opposite of good. It impels his disdain for humanism. And Nietzsche grounds Trump’s sense of an Übermensch, of the superiority of the American, whose country he wants to make great again.
Trump agrees this philosophy stuff is for winners, and they hold a colourful party in one of his weekend retreats. The while history awaits the renewal of its worst mistakes.
By Thomas White

Do you know who Gob Bluth is? I didn’t. Now I do. If you’re an Arrested Development fan you already know.

As the hapless Don Jr. — the Gob Bluth or Fredo Corleone of a family conspicuously short on Michaels — protested in his own defense, the Russian rendezvous we know about came before (though only slightly before) the WikiLeaks haul was announced. So the Trump team presumably assumed that it involved some other Hillary-related dirt — some of the missing Clinton server emails that Trump himself jokingly (“jokingly”?) urged Russian hackers to conjure and release, or direct evidence of Clinton Foundation corruption in its Russian relationships. 

On drive from Boston to Portland using timer on my Nikon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
NBC News Exclusive

Russian Lawyer Who Met With Trump Jr.: I Didn’t Have Clinton Info They Wanted (video)


When asked how Trump Jr. seemed to have the impression that she had information about the Democratic National Committee, she responded: 
“It is quite possible that maybe they were longing for such an information. They wanted it so badly that they could only hear the thought that they wanted.” 
Trump Jr. has confirmed that the meeting occurred, saying in a statement to The New York Times that he attended "a short introductory meeting" with the lawyer, where the topic of conversation was primarily about adoption. 
On Monday, Trump Jr. seemed to confirm that he had been offered information about Hillary or her campaign but insisted that nothing untoward in the meeting had occurred. 
“Obviously I'm the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent... went nowhere but had to listen,” he tweeted, seemingly sarcastic.

America hits peak anti-intellectualism: Majority of Republicans now think college is bad 

Republicans say no to college: It's the only institution viewed in more sharply partisan terms than the media… EXCERPT: Has America hit peak anti-intellectualism? 

Aside from the election of Donald Trump, a businessman born into wealth whose only notable expertise is in reality television, there is now more evidence that the right-wing’s long game of denigrating U.S. institutions to reshape political discourse is succeeding. A new Pew Research Center poll released on Monday revealed that there is one U.S. institution perceived through a larger partisan divide than even the media: It’s college. 
For the first time, a majority of Republicans think that colleges and universities have a negative impact on the country. Fifty-eight percent say that colleges “are having a negative effect on the way things are going in the country,” according to Pew. In other words, the Wall Street banks are more popular with Republican voters than Stanford, Harvard or the University of Akron.

The light at the end of a tunnel 

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:


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.


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“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:


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