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August 3, 2017

August will be a slow Trump news month, NOT!

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

Monday, Aug, 14, 2017

The president aside, if your last name is Trump, whether it’s Donald Jr. (duped by a fake Julian Assange Twitter account a couple of days ago), Ivanka (story), or even Melania (below), you just can’t avoid stepping in the shit or getting a break. BooHoo

More on this story in Think Progress: 

African-American CEO resigns from White House council, cites Trump’s silence on white supremacy

EXCERPT: Merck is the only black member of Trump’s manufacturing council, according to the most recent list, and just three weeks ago, Trump called Fraizer “one of the great leaders of business in this country.”
CEOs Elon Musk of Tesla and Robert Iger of Disney resigned from Trump advisory councils in June after Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord, citing concerns about climate change. Six members of Trump’s HIV advisory council also resigned in June in protest.
Last night:

This morning:

Below: The language being used to describe
Trump’s behavior is increasingly referencing his mental instability.

EXCERPT: Trump said we could have a good solution or a bad solution in North Korea. When he was asked what would be a bad solution, he said, “I think you know the answer to that.”

Trump was asked if he was talking about war with North Korea. He answered, “I think you know the answer to that.”

Translation: Trump painted himself into a corner with his deranged tweet threats, and now he is trying to bluff his way out of it. Trump sounded like a mentally ill lunatic who doesn’t know anything. Donald Trump isn’t projecting strength when he bluff. He sounds like a crazed buffoon who believes that if he keeps repeating the same answer people will mistake his craziness for toughness.

Donald Trump’s tricks aren’t working. He a small mentally fragile man, who is being swallowed up by the world’s biggest stage. Trump’s performance would be worthy of laughter if he weren’t in the middle of pushing the world towards war.

You can consider my late summer page break photos from Boston a moment of zen in tumultuous upsetting times.

Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017
It’s long past Passover, but the latest effusions from Donald Trump bring to mind the question that begins that ritual: “Why is this president different from all other presidents?”

Would any past president have not understood the need to read the collection of racists, neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and the euphemistically labeled “white nationalists” out of the company of decent men and women, rather than make morally bankrupt talk of violence “on many sides” and dog-whistling about the need to “cherish our history”? Would any past president have compounded the felony with a dismissive, clumsy tweet? (“Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!”)

But then, we have never had a president, of either party, or any political persuasion, so utterly disconnected from any understanding of our national history, of the still-unresolved fights over what it means to be a “real” American. Nor have we ever had a president who combines staggering historical and political ignorance with language skills that rank him somewhere around a developmentally challenged 9-year-old.

The highest ranking member of the Trump administration says:
From the New York Times
while the “White House” desperately tries to play damage control 36 hours after the white supremacist violence:

This is the Twitter account of Vanguard America.
It denies man who drove into the crowd in Charlotte
was a member.  He is shown standing with them
carrying their shield in a photo in this story from
the Southern Poverty Law Center.
I wonder whether Twitter allow their
 account  it to stay online.
EXCERPT: “This isn’t about President Trump — this is about a level of violence and hatred that could not be tolerated in this country,” Mr. Bossert (White House homeland security adviser who was with Trump at Bedminster) told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “I was with the president yesterday, and I’m proud of the fact that he stood up and calmly looked into the camera and condemned this violence and bigotry in all its forms. This racial intolerance and racial bigotry cannot be condoned.”
Mr. Tapper responded by citing a white nationalist website that described Mr. Trump’s remarks as “really, really good.” He then asked Mr. Bossert: “Are you at least willing to concede that the president was not clear enough in condemning white supremacy?”
Mr. Bossert replied that Mr. Trump “didn’t dignify the names of these groups of people, but rather addressed the fundamental issue.”
Mr. Trump consulted a broad range of advisers before speaking on Saturday, most of whom told him to sharply criticize the white nationalist protesters. The president listened attentively, according to a person familiar with the discussions, but repeatedly steered the conversation back to the breakdown of “law and order,” and the responsibility of local officials to stem the violence.  From "White House Acts to Stem Fallout From Trump’s First Charlotteville Remarks” in the NY Times
More photos of the nighttime rally

… because many of my readers are interested
in medicine.
EXCERPT: The president could not bring himself initially to directly acknowledge the victims or distinguish between the instigators and the dead. He could not focus on the provocations of the side marching under a Nazi flag. Is this because he did not want to repudiate some of his strongest supporters? This would indicate that Trump views loyalty to himself as mitigation for nearly any crime or prejudice. Or is the president truly convinced of the moral equivalence of the sides in Charlottesville? This is to diagnose an ethical sickness for which there is no cure.

There is no denying that Trump has used dehumanization — refugees are “animals,” Mexican migrants are “rapists,” Muslims are threats — as a political tool. And there is no denying that hateful political rhetoric can give permission for prejudice. “It acts as a psychological lubricant,” says David Livingstone Smith, “dissolving our inhibitions and inflaming destructive passions. As such, it empowers us to perform acts that would, under normal circumstances, be unthinkable.”

If great words can heal and inspire, base words can corrupt. Trump has been delivering the poison of prejudice in small but increasing doses. In Charlottesville, the effect became fully evident. And the president had no intention of decisively repudiating his work. 

What do we do with a president who is incapable or unwilling to perform his basic duties? What do we do when he is incapable of outrage at outrageous things? What do we do with a president who provides barely veiled cover for the darkest instincts of the human heart? These questions lead to the dead end of political realism — a hopeless recognition of limited options. But the questions intensify.

QUOTE: Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer (D)  on CNN Jake Tapper show today.

"Our democracy has been through a lot in the last century. Our city has been through a lot in the last century. We have come in this country through McCarthyism, segregation, Jim Crowe, and we've come through stronger than before that, but what's going to happen now is that we're all going to stand together on this new effort and that begins with a city like Charlottesville, but it should include the president." 

"Look at the campaign he ran. Look at the intentional courting, both on the one hand all of these white supremacist, white nationalist groups like that, anti-Semitic groups, and then look on the other hand the repeated failure to step up and condemn, denounce, silence, put to bed, all of those different efforts just like we saw yesterday, and this is not hard."

“But to be honest, this is not about Donald TrumpI think this is about the United States of America, it’s about Virginia, it’s about Charlottesville.”

Is this a final straw among Republicans in realizing Trump has to go? It is hard to believe that most GOP members of Congress don’t know he is, at the least, mentally unstable and thus dangerously erratic and unpredictable. 

How can they assure his removal from office without directly saying it, and/or calling for impeachment or the 25th Amendment?

As pundits have noted, it’s by passing legislation protecting the Mueller investigation. HB

Some Republicans who condemned the white supremacists while avoiding a direct attack on Trump - but clearly contracting their opinions with his:
The white supremacists and their bigotry do not represent our great country. All Americans should condemn this vile hatred. #Charlottesville
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) August 12, 2017
Nothing patriotic about #Nazis,the #KKK or #WhiteSupremacists It's the direct opposite of what #America seeks to be. #Charlotesville
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 12, 2017
Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesvillefor what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 12, 2017
Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) August 12, 2017
Their tiki torches may be fueled by citronella but their ideas are fueled by hate, & have no place in civil society.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) August 12, 2017
What " WhiteNatjonalist" are doing in Charlottesville is homegrown terrorism that can't be tolerated anymore that what Any extremist does
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) August 12, 2017
The hate & bigotry on display in #charlottesville is dangerous & cowardly.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) August 12, 2017
The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 12, 2017
This is bigotry. This is racism. These are views we as the American people should reject.
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) August 12, 2017
However, not Ted Cruz:
Americans must stand united in opposing those who aim to divide us through hatred and bigotry
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 12, 2017

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017

Update: 1 PM Oregon
Another questionable moment of attention lapse… he walked almost out the door after addressing the VA people and then was told the plan was for him to sign the bill inside. He said “oh, you want me to sign the bill here.” He then walked back, sat down, and signed the bill.
Kelly O’Donnell - on Trump’s remarks about Charlotte… conveyed no compassion, no condemnation of alt-right, uncomfortable while making remarks, bragging about himself, "a challenge for this president tonal to be a compassionate leader when there was a need for a moral note.” He created an expectation that he would take questions, but did not. He heard the word “white nationalism” from the reports as he walked out of the room and didn’t stop.
MSNBC_ notes Trump was saying there was bigotry on both sides.\
Kelly O’Donnell - he went to his prepared notes when he sounded more poetic. Then went back to his usual winging it. “If you watch you can see when he went to ad libbing” and "you could see how uncomfortable he was dealing with emotional issues. He’s reluctant to denounce white supremacists directly.” 
On the car crash into the counter-protests, he refused to say this was a terrorist act. This happened while I was at the coffee shop, I just learned about it now.

Car crash injures at least seven at Charlottesville's 'Unite the Right’ rally One dead, 19 injured.

The alt-right rally explained, it was a coming-out party for resurgent white nationalism in America

Weekend quote comes from Gail Collins in the NY Times:

It’s been an unnerving week, what with all the “locked and loaded” threats to North Korea from the White House. Meanwhile in Pyongyang, tens of thousands of people responded by waving their fists in the air and holding up slogans like, “Let’s become bullets and bombs devotedly defending respected Supreme Leader Comrade Kim Jong-un!”
This is the North Korean version of a presidential tweet.
I believe I speak for a great many Americans when I say I am scared as hell of a confrontation between the head of the strongest nation in the world, who once wanted to play the president in “Sharknado 3,” and a nuclear power dictator whose favorite house guest is Dennis Rodman. Trump Tweets Tough

My meeting with Donald Trump: A damaged, pathetic personality — whose obvious impairment has only gotten worse 

I didn't get his endorsement when I ran for governor — but the severely troubled man I met has only gotten worse, by Bill Curry

 He’d given himself a nickname: “the Trumpster,” as in “everybody wants to know what the Trumpster’s gonna do,” a claim he made more than once.
Note the topics

On the drive home, we all burst out laughing, then grew quiet. What the hell just happened? My first theory, that Trump was high on cocaine, didn’t feel quite right, but he was clearly emotionally impaired: in constant need of approbation; lacking impulse control, self-awareness or awareness of others. We’d heard tales of his monumental vanity, but were still shocked by the sad spectacle of him.

In 2016, the precariousness of Trump’s mental health was clear to all with eyes to see, but like extras in a remake of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” reporters averted their glances. The day after the election, they were all in a state of shock, like staff at an asylum who woke one morning to find that the patient who thought he was Napoleon had just been named emperor of France.

Like the language of politics, the language of psychology is imprecise; the term “sociopath” is as hard to nail down as “liberal” or “conservative.” What separates a serial liar from a pathological liar? Mere suspicion from paranoia? Righteous anger from uncontrolled rage? How do we ever tell mental illness from ill character? Our view of any antisocial behavior hinges on whether we view it through a moral, legal or therapeutic lens; to take a human life other than in self-defense is insane, and also criminal and, to many, sinful. Do we treat, punish or forgive? It’s so hard to say.

Durgin-Park is a centuries-old restaurant at 340 Faneuil Hall Marketplace in downtown Boston. The Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau states that it has been a "landmark since 1827", and it continues to be a popular tourist destination within Quincy Market
In keeping with its long history, the concept of Durgin-Park maintains the tradition of communal seating at long tables. The menu is designed to offer traditional New England-style fare with a concentration on seafoodschowders, broiled meats and boiled dinnersThe service is also a partial hold-over from the time of its founding as the waitstaff have been encouraged to adopt a "surly" attitude and "backtalk" the clientele. (When my wife took me there she didn’t tell me this and it was quite a surprise when the serving wench threw the utensils on the table and gruff asked for our order.) Another sign of its heritage is that it has only changed head chefs a handful of times in its history. (Wikipedia)
The Custom House Tower is a skyscraper in McKinley Square, in the Financial District neighborhood of BostonMassachusetts, in the United States. Construction began in the mid-19th century; the tower was added in the 1910s. Standing at 496 ft (151 m) tall, the tower is currently Boston's 17th-tallest building. As of 2016, it houses the Marriott Custom House Hotel.
The tower is part of the Custom House District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Remember, if you want to enlarge a photo here, just click it.

Friday, Aug. 11, 2017
Just online - this is pretty cool:

“The Unauthorized Psychoanalysis of Donald Trump” (2 pages) By James C. McIntosh, M.D.

Author of  “The Unauthorized Psychoanalysis of Rudolph Giuliani” 


As in the case of my first unauthorized psychoanalysis, this book is obviously just my personal opinion, no matter how professionally it is rendered. It is my opinion about a man many other professionals have already labelled as narcissistic, sociopathic or just plain crazy and dangerous.  In the case of Donald Trump, some of the brightest lights in white American Psychiatry and psychology have already gone on record labeling him as ill.

Psychologist John Gartner who taught psychology for 28 years at Johns Hopkins University began his article published in U.S.A Today with the words, “If you take President Trump’s words literally, you have no choice but to conclude that he is psychotic.”

In a letter to President Obama, Judith Hermann M.D., a professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Harvard University Medical School, who is also the author of former New York Times best-seller “Trauma and Recovery,” Nanette Gartrell, M.D., a former member of the faculty of Harvard University and Dianne Mosbacher, M.D., Ph.D., wrote, among other things, that Trump’s “widely reported symptoms of mental instability—including grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to slights or criticism and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality—lead us to question his fitness for the immense responsibilities of the office (of president of the United States).”  These psychiatrists went on to recommend that Trump, “receive a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation by an impartial team of investigators.”

Never mention fake hair in a psychiatric report

So the purpose of my book, deliberately overstated as a “psychoanalysis,” albeit “unauthorized,” is to offer a Black psychiatric perspective on a man who, if the U.S. was a hospital, could, in the manner of Hair Club CEO Matt Heinz, boast, “I am not just the CEO. I am a patient.”

Below - scroll right.

As if we needed more proof Trump is a malignant narcissist - joking with the president of Guam about becoming famous:

"Don't worry about a thing," President Trump responded. "They should have had me eight years ago...I have to say, Eddie, you're going to become extremely famous. All over the world they're talking about Guam and they're talking about you."
"And your tourism, I can say this, your tourism is going to go up like tenfold with the expenditure of no money, so I congratulate you," Trump can be heard saying over the phone. "It looks beautiful, you know I'm's such a big story in the news. It just looks like a beautiful place.” From MSN Friday
Joy-Ann Reid gets it:

At what point is it fair and necessary to ask if this man, who was handed power by a minority of voters, is fit to wield it?

Trump talks in many ways exactly as Kim Jong Un does—in disjointed statements full of bellicose hyperbole. He blusters in a clear effort to shore up his flagging ego; to make himself seem strong when in fact he is weak; an isolated, morose figure lumbering from self-named golf course to self-named golf course and imprisoned by the office whose grandeur he cannot measure up to. He screams into the ether to try and push back the void, when the void is deep inside him. 
He is a bitter, angry, frightened man, cornered by prosecutors, rejected by a majority of Americans, declaring his leaking aides are merely fighting to prove who loves him the most and yet unsure which of his former lieutenants—or maybe even family members—will sell him out to save themselves. His dream of finally commanding global respect by becoming president of the United States and of besting his obsession, Barack Obama, has collapsed before his first year in office is even complete. 
His sycophant lieutenants believe the country should respond by lining upbehind the Narcissist in New Jersey, comparing his North Korea bluster to the Cuban missile crisis. In fact, it is the inverse: President Kennedy in that crisis answered Soviet brinksmanship, he didn’t provoke it. "Remove Trump From Office Before He Removes Us From Earth," Daily Beast

OMFG! Is Trump going to call for the Secret Service to investigate?

CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd warned that President Trump is agitating the government, saying during a Thursday afternoon interview with CNN anchor Jake Tapper that the U.S. government "is going to kill this guy."

Mudd, who served as deputy director to former FBI Director Robert Mueller, said Trump's defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin has compelled federal employees "at Langley, Foggy Bottom, CIA and State" to try to take Trump down.

"Let me give you one bottom line as a former government official. Government is going to kill this guy," Mudd, a staunch critic of Trump, said on "The Lead.” FromThe Hill

Click above

Snippets of Sociopathy

Writing in Mother Jones, Denise Clifton ( ) mused that while Trump’s “chronic duplicity” may be the consequence of a severe psychological disorder, “the 45th president’s stream of lies echoes a contemporary form of Russian propaganda known as the ‘Firehose of Falsehood’.”

Trump’s conduct riles up legitimate news outlets, such as Mother Jones and The Washington Post, and they report negatively on Trump, which feeds his paranoia, causing him to lash out.

Trump has an unusually abrasive personality and a lot of Washington insiders don’t like him.  He lashes out and they respond by leaking.

Meanwhile the Mueller inquiry will feed Trump’s paranoia. An already unstable President will become even more erratic.  Hold on tight!

“Even Trump is scared by what he’s saying,” Meyers quipped. “Look at him, he’s literally hugging himself.”
He went on to joke that the president’s aggressiveness could have been headed off in childhood.
“You know, maybe if someone else had hugged him 65 years ago, we wouldn't be here right now,” he said with mock sternness. Seth Meyers.
Are we (Californians) scared? Unnerved? Well, yes, a little. I’ll let Leon Panetta, the wisest of West Coasters and former secretary of defense, speak for us:

“You’ve got two bullies chiding each other with outrageous comments,” he told Politico this week. He worried that the bully in Bedminster may feel that the bully in Pyongyang is “attacking his manhood,” an age-old trigger for war. The similarities between the two of you are unavoidable: the preening, the insecurity, the pathological narcissism, the chronic lying, the bad haircuts. A West Coast Plea to Unstable President.

at 4;30 AM Trump wrote:

Kim Jung-Un: 잠기고로드 된 것은 무엇을 의미합니까? (jamgigolodeu doen geos-eun mueos-eul uimihabnikka? )
What does locked and loaded mean?

If you missed Lawrence O’Donnell last night:

Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017

As it says on the top of the page, you have to understand Trump’s psychopathology to know what a dangerous position he’s put the world in now.

Driven by deep unconscious insecurities as manifest in his malignant narcissism Trump is engaging in the only kind of reaction to feeling personally attacked he knows - escalate his attack back.  HB 

Who is the irrational leader, Kim or Trump? Must reading.

Trivia Tripp from the Mooch. (Do you recall who Linda Tripp is?) Okay, that was too easy, how about this for newshound: who is Beryl Howell? Well, dear readers, I know all of you are well-endowed in the smarts department, unlike a frighteningly large number of other Americans. How about this for the Annals of Scary Ignorance?

Little Harbor, Mass.

Weds. Aug. 9, 2017

Another quote, this from New York Magazine, today in Ignore our crazy president, US Tells North Korea.

"It is humiliating for the world’s greatest superpower to disregard its president as a weird old man who wanders in front of microphones spouting off unpredictably and without consequence. But at this point, respect for Trump’s capabilities is a horse that’s already fled the barn. New chief of staff John Kelly has supposedly instilled military-style order and message discipline into the administration, but Trump is unteachable. Minimizing the havoc means getting everybody to pretend Trump isn’t really president."

On MSNBC. Scroll down for story.

Despite claims to the contrary coming from the State Department, Trump’s “fire and fury” threat was improvised, another unfunny ad lib from the unhinged angry malignant narcissist. This isn’t a surprise to Duty to Warn therapists. Let’s hope it is a warning to those not yet convinced that Trump is dangerously mentally ill.

 The NY Times said the notes in front of him had to do with the opioid crisis.

As the photo shows the paper in front of him was a 3x5 card on top of a paper with a photograph. Good luck reading it:

 Excerpts: President Trump delivered his “fire and fury” threat to North Korea on Tuesday with arms folded, jaw set and eyes flitting on what appeared to be a single page of talking points set before him on the conference table at his New Jersey golf resort.
The piece of paper, as it turned out, was a fact sheet on the opioid crisis he had come to talk about, and his ominous warning to Pyongyang was entirely improvised, according to several people with direct knowledge of what unfolded. In discussions with advisers beforehand, he had not run the specific language by them, though he had talked over possible responses in a general way. NY Times


Neither camp advocated language like “fire and fury,” according to the people involved. Among those taken by surprise, they said, was John F. Kelly, the retired four-star Marine general who has just taken over as White House chief of staff and has been with the president at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., for his working vacation.
The president had been told about a Washington Post story on North Korea’s progress in miniaturizing nuclear warheads so that they could fit on top of a ballistic missile, and was in a bellicose mood, according to a person who spoke with him before he made the statement. His team assumed that he would be asked about North Korea during a scheduled media appearance tied to his opioid meeting, but Mr. Trump had not mentioned his comment during a conference call beforehand that focused on North Korea.

The Madman With Nuclear Weapons is Donald Trump, Not Kim Jong-un

If you don’t subscribe to the Washington Post, read this story on HUFFPOST

Excerpt: FBI agents raided the Alexandria home of President Trump’s former campaign chairman late last month, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials, according to people familiar with the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Federal agents appeared at Paul Manafort’s home without advance warning in the predawn hours of July 26, the day after he met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The search warrant was wide-ranging and FBI agents working with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III departed the home with various records.
The raid came as Manafort has been voluntarily producing documents to congressional committees investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The search warrant indicates investigators may have argued to a federal judge they had reason to believe Manafort could not be trusted to turn over all records in response to a grand jury subpoena.
It could also have been intended to send a message to President Trump’s former campaign chairman that he should not expect gentle treatment or legal courtesies from Mueller’s team.

Psychology Today column: 60,000 Psychologists Say Trump Has "Serious Mental Illness"

Mental health group gathers signatures calling Trump "psychologically incapable”

The group "Duty to Warn," founded by influential psychotherapist Dr. John Gartner, has gathered nearly 60,000 signatures from mental healthprofessionals on a petition calling for the removal of Donald Trump from office due to "serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States." The group hopes to reach its goal of 75,000 signatures before planned multi-city town hall meetings on October 14.

"A representative government like the United States requires the public to trust the words and actions of its leaders, and to hold those elected leaders accountable. What are we to make of this latest apocalpytic threat from Trump? No one knows. And that’s precisely the problem with having a pathological liar as president."  Liar-in-Chief’s nuclear saber rattling - AlterNet

Scotland - 

Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017

     "North Korea best not make any more threats to the US. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Donald Trump
    At least the madman Idi Amin did;t have nuke, these two madmen do.
    Excerpt: (Emphasis added)

    Analysis: Words with consequences? 

    Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington:

    Donald Trump said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "has been very threatful, beyond a normal state". So he responded with language that goes well beyond a normal statement for any US president.

    Perhaps Mr Trump believes that no hyperbolic threats should go unmatched or that apocalyptic warnings are the only ones the North Korean leadership will understand. Perhaps he - intentionally or not - is pursuing a Nixonian "madman" style foreign policy, where adversaries will tread lightly to avoid triggering the wrath of an unpredictable US commander-in-chief. 

    When the leader of the world's greatest superpower, the only nation ever to have used nuclear weapons on an enemy, talks of unprecedented "fire and fury", however, those words have consequences.

    So, General Kelly was supposed to control him?

    President Donald Trump issued an extraordinary ultimatum to North Korea on Tuesday warning Pyongyang not to make any more threats against the United States or they will "face fire and fury like the world has never seen," during a photo op at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
    "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen... he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before," he said. CNN
    This should be the biggest bad news of the day on all but Fix News tonight. They will put a positive spin on it. That is unless the missiles have started flying by this evening. This wasn’t even in an early morning Tweet. His grammatically tortured words were said while addressing reporters, not that this makes any difference. Either way, it is about the most ill considered and dangerous thing he has said. In this instance I have the impression he intended to threaten North Korea with the might of the United States, or Kim with the vast strength of himself personally. “Don’t mess with me, or I’ll destroy you!” 
    Ari Melber just called what he said “unusual rhetoric,” and amazingly generous description.
    And amazingly, this extraordinary statement occurred during a photo-op during Trump’s so-called working vacation at one of his golf clubs. 

    Do I need to point out how dangerously crazy pandering to the president’s narcissism is? 
    Excerpt: These sensitive papers, described to VICE News by three current and former White House officials, don’t contain top-secret intelligence or updates on legislative initiatives. Instead, the folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful. One White House official said the only feedback the White House communications shop, which prepares the folder, has ever gotten in all these months is: “It needs to be more fucking positive.” (Emphasis added) That’s why some in the White House ruefully refer to the packet as “the propaganda document.”

    Watch Monday night show here
    Joy Reid did a great job filling in for Rachel Maddow, but she returns from her vacation tonight.

    Click to enlarge

    Monday, Aug. 7, 2017

    The author of the following is novelist Richard North Patterson. He begins this article with quotes from familiar Duty to Warn therapists (John Gartner, Lance Dodes, Robert Jay Lifton, among others) about Trump’s malignant narcissism, and then goes on to add perceptive insights of his own. He demonstrates a complete understanding of Trump’s psychopathology. 

    EXCERPT: Based on his public behavior, ever more psychiatrists assert that Donald Trump is emotionally impaired. In doing so, they raise the gravest of questions: what are the implications of such a judgement?
    In essence, these psychiatrists argue that a profound and disabling character disorder is the organizing principle for Trump’s uniquely erratic conduct in office. John Gartner of Johns Hopkins states flatly: “Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president.”
    To the same effect, three other prominent professors cite Trump’s “grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to criticism, and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality... “A letter signed by 40,000-plus mental health professionals invokes the constitutional provision for removing a president “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
    This ardent but controversial chorus expands on the professions’ “duty to warn” those to whom a patient poses an imminent threat. Psychiatrists who deem Trump unfit to serve employ varied lenses. One leading psychoanalyst cites the essential requirements of the Army’s Field Manual for Leader Development: “Trust”; “Discipline and self– control”; “Judgment and critical thinking”; “Self-awareness”; and “Empathy.”
    Others point to the elements of narcissistic personality disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, these include unwarranted self-importance; fantasies of unlimited success; a belief that one is special and unique; a craving for excessive admiration; a deep sense of entitlement; a penchant for exploitation; and absence of empathy for others.
    The ultimate value of the psychiatric profession’s warning is to challenge the delusion that Trump can be controlled.
    Taken together, these professionals argue, such traits create a presidency captive to Trump’s pathology. Narcissism, says Dr. Julie Futrell, “impairs his ability to see reality…” Yale’s Robert Jay Lifton opines that Trump “can’t bear the humiliation of being exposed as wrong...”
    One inevitable result, argues Dr. Lance Dodes of Harvard, is his pervasive and destabilizing mendacity: “the lies he tells others… and those he tells himself.” Leonard Glass of Harvard cites Trump’s “inability to tolerate divergent opinions”; “vindictiveness”; “repeated complaints of being victimized”; and” chaotic emotional needs” which overwhelm “his capacity for deliberative, thoughtful problem-solving.”

    Donald Trump has a sickening fetish for cruelty

    Trump is basically a 71-year old kid delightedly melting ants under his magnifying glass.

    Excerpt:  Trump clearly has a maudlin fetish for cruelty. Given his pattern of humiliating both friend and foe, the president's brain is occupied with little else than Electoral College results and revenge fantasies. Trump is basically a 71-year old kid cackling in delight as he melts ants under his magnifying glass. Only these ants are attorneys general, senators, FBI directors and governors.Naturally, Trump's supporters think toying with people's dignity is a show of strength — but it is the exact opposite. He's a weak leader who wastes what little political capital he has settling personal scores. With apologies to Winston Churchill, Trump remains an immodest man with much to be modest about.
    And it's just a matter of time before he's under Vladimir Putin's magnifying glass.

    You say tomhatoes, I say tomatoes, you say lib'rals, I say liberals.

    Why did someone recently change the photo on Trump’s Twitter account? I think this is Nikki Haley shown speaking. The meeting is at FEMA. Brock Long is the head of the agency, but I don’t see him in the photo.  (Click image to enlarge)
    Read latest Tweets

    Aug. 6, 2017
    Sunday Psychology: Why Trump is a psychopath.

    Trump’s malignant pattern: He woos people, rips them off and then abandons them — and he won’t stop 

    Trump has followed the same manipulative script over and over again, in politics as in business. We're the marks.

    Ed. Note: Most Duty to Warn therapists choose to diagnose Trump as a malignant narcissist, a term generally interchangeable with the disorder described in these two articles.


    There was also the matter of how Trump justifies the prospective discarding of associates, and how he lays predicates for wooing, ripping off and discarding the next crop of eager, willing victim/accomplices. (“I think it is very unfair to the president,” Trump said of Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation — the only ethical option he had.) But the how of this intended discarding can only be appreciated in terms of the larger pattern — a pattern that has received far too little notice, given how much attention has been given to Trump’s mental health, or lack thereof. 

    The cycle referred to is most insightfully described in the book “Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work,” by criminal psychologist Robert Hare, whose checklist has revolutionized the understanding of psychopathy, and industrial psychologist Paul Babiak, an expert on the corporate environment. Psychopathy is not the same as anti-social personality disorder (APD), the book explains. “The difference between psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder is that the former includes personality traits such as lack of empathy, grandiosity, and shallow emotion that are not necessary for a diagnosis of APD. APD is three or four times more common than psychopathy in the general population and in prisons.” 

    There’s been a great deal of commentary about Trump’s apparent psychological abnormalities, but “Snakes in Suits” describes a particular pattern that stands out for the combination of clarity it brings to bear and the broad scope of action it describes. This pattern consists of a three-phase game plan many psychopaths in corporate settings use a when engaging with victims, “a natural outgrowth of their personality” that is often more automatic than consciously planned: 
    First, they assess the value of individuals to their needs, and identify their psychological strengths and weaknesses. Second, they manipulate the individuals (now potential victims) by feeding them carefully crafted messages, while constantly using feedback from them to build and maintain control. Not only is this an effective approach to take with most people, it also allows psychopaths to talk their way around and out of any difficulty quickly and effectively if confronted or challenged. Third, they leave the drained and bewildered victims when they are bored or otherwise through with them.
    Whether or not Trump qualifies as a psychopath or a malignant narcissist (they are closely related), he has a long public history of behavior patterns that fit this description, even though he has never worked in a normal corporate organization, the setting described in the book. Those qualifications, which would loom large for any therapist treating Trump, pale in comparison to the similarities that matter to us as citizens. Trump has traversed the trajectory described countless times, with customers, business associates, lawyers and wives. Why shouldn’t he do the same with everyone in the political world as well? And if he actually does deviate from the pattern for some reason — which is always a possibility — understanding his behavioral baseline will still be crucial in making sense of that departure from it.

    Put aside implicit racism in the Trump administration, we are seeing the most manifest racism in and around the White House than in modern history. For example, read what Amanda Marcotte has to say in Salon today. This serves a dual purpose. It is red meat to his base and it is a distraction from the Russia investigation so effective that nationally it hasn’t even risen to the level of a scandal for a broad segment of the population.

    White House: Even by Trump standards, the racism was dialed to 11 

    Trump's overt racism isn't aimed at liberals — it's about distracting his base away from the Russia scandal 

    Excerpt: Donald Trump is too dumb to be trusted to butter his own bread, but one thing his limited brain is capable of understanding is that tickling the racist impulses of much of white America makes them cheer for him. This explains the dizzying escalation of white supremacist gibberish emanating from the Trump administration over the past week. Trump is afraid he’s losing his proverbial “white working class” base and believes his best bet to win them back is to remind them that he shares their hatred and distrust of people they view as racially or ethnically Other. Unfortunately, he’s probably right.

    A lot happened during the unofficial White Supremacy Week at the White House, so it’s a bit hard to keep up. The festivities kicked off last Friday, July 28, when Trump went to Long Island to give a speech to assembled police officers in which he painted immigrants as criminals and recommended police brutality, to great applause. On Tuesday of last week, the Justice Department announced it would focus resources on fighting discrimination against white people in college admissions, shoring up the racist myth that undeserving people of color are “stealing” opportunities from more deserving whites. On Wednesday, the White House rolled out, with great fanfare, a proposal to cut legal immigration in half, which was clearly meant to prioritize white and/or English-speaking immigrants over others. It doesn’t take much sleuthing to figure out why all this is happening right now. The Russia investigation is heating up and there’s irrefutable proof that Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner attended a meeting with Russian operatives for the express purpose of undermining Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Trump practically apologized to Russia after being forced to sign a bipartisan sanctions bill, which does nothing to dispel fears that Vladimir Putin is pulling Trump’s strings. Prominent firings and subsequent leaks — which are probably linked — have further reinforced the public understanding of just how corrupt and incompetent our president is.  CONTINUED

    My online comment:

    I don't mind your snarky desriptions. In fact, I like them. Aside from a few trolls you write as does your snark-pal on Salon, Digby (and Maureen at the NYT) with an audience largely of those already highly critical of Trump. Put aside implicit racism in the Trump administration, we are seeing the most manifest racism in and around the White House than in modern history. When you ask whether Trump’s antics are sincere or calculated I agree that the answer is both. Let's not forget that his primary drive is to satify his grandiosty and addiction to adoration - the cheers are likecrack cocaine to him, both parts of his malignant narcissism. Trump is as dumb as a sack full of rock cocaine. To add to what you wrote, he understands what gets his base excited (from racism, to the fake press, to Hillary) because it gets him excited - it floods his brain with dopamine. This is so true: "If anything, his incuriosity and stupidity are an asset when it comes to connecting with his base. Clever people might overthink this — Trump just goes out and says the vile, empty crap he’d want to hear. It generally works."

    If you haven’t seen Chelsea Handler’s weekly show on Netflix — check this out. 

    Aug. 5, 2017

    Once again, here’s David Brooks, a Republican who “gets it” about Trump’s being mentally unfit. Today he describes Trump’s malignant narcissism.

    Trump’s Enablers Will Finally Have to Take a Stand

    Emphasis added.

    Over the past few days, Trump has destroyed this middle ground. He’s exposed the wet noodle Republicans as suckers, or worse. Trump has shown that he is not a normal candidate. He is a political rampage charging ever more wildly out of control. And no, he cannot be changed.

    He cannot be contained because he is psychologically off the chain. With each passing week he displays the classic symptoms of medium-grade mania in more disturbing forms: inflated self-esteem, sleeplessness, impulsivity, aggression and a compulsion to offer advice on subjects he knows nothing about.

    His speech patterns are like something straight out of a psychiatric textbook. Manics display something called “flight of ideas.” It’s a formal thought disorder in which ideas tumble forth through a disordered chain of associations. One word sparks another, which sparks another, and they’re off to the races. As one trained psychiatrist said to me, compare Donald Trump’s speaking patterns to a Robin Williams monologue, but with insults instead of jokes.

    Trump insults Paul Ryan, undermines NATO and raises the specter of nuclear war. Advisers can’t control Trump’s brain because Trump can’t control it himself.

    He also cannot be contained because he lacks the inner equipment that makes decent behavior possible. So many of our daily social interactions depend on a basic capacity for empathy. But Trump displays an absence of this quality.

    In the early morning hours of November 9, 2016,
     God told Frank Amedia that with Donald Trump
     having been elected president, Amedia
     and his fellow Trump-supporting “apostles”
     and “prophets” had a new mission.
    Thus was born 
    POTUS Shield, a network
     of Pentecostal leaders devoted to helping
    Trump bring about the reign of God in America
     and the world.

    If you watch MSNBC or CNN you’ve seen this clip a dozen times, and you recognize this man. I think it would be interesting to have someone interview him.
    I’ve already seen this four or five time in the last hour. A skit on SNL with interviews with this man and perhaps a few of the others in the background could be hilarious.

    Heard on several TV shows, that Trump is leading America down a rabbit hole, my thought: Indeed, a rabbit hole leading to a world designed, not by Lewis Carroll, rather by Dante.

    Aug. 4, 2017

    "I do this one thing: I do long, detailed, context-driven narratives about things that are going on in the news. I did that before, and I’ll be doing it when this time period is over. People have an appetite for that now. I’m assuming that I’m like a fad diet…. something that involves no vegetables. Every night there's a chance to fail, the ratings failure, the content failure, if you get something wrong — or, God forbid, you accidentally burn a source. Or drop an f-bomb." Interview with Glamour

    Quote of the Day (apropos of the Thursday Trump adoration rally) thanks to a member of Duty to Warn:

    And he’s busy Tweeting today.
    "one must be a great feigner and dissembler. a deceiver will always find someone willing to be deceived."
    ~~~ chapter 18, The Prince by Machiavelli


    Consider not merely what Trump Tweets, but whose Twitter feeds he follows and then chooses to re-Tweet. In the re-Tweet today, on the first day of his vacation, he’s still obsessing about how bigly he won the election.
    Read Article: This is the real, albeit photoshopped, cover.
    From Newsweek: "The USA has been run too long by people who know the issues. People that watch the news on TV, read books, generally pay attention... well, no more. 'Cause now it's time that WE had a say in the future of America. Family...the Bundys are gonna elect a President.” Al Bundy, on “Married, With Children."

    Below: Poetic Justice, as this is published after the infamous transcript of the phone call Trump had with Australia’s PM Malcolm Turnbull.

    (Published here yesterday)

    EXCERPT: In the late 19th century, Sigmund Freud’s colleague Wilhelm Fleiss successfully diagnosed an illness in one of Freud’s relatives, without even having met them. Freud was so impressed by Fleiss’s “diagnostic acumen” that he went on to advocate the method in certain circumstances.

    Freud would write that diagnosing someone without personally examining them was acceptable where the features of certain disorders, such as paranoid schizophrenia (then known as dementia paranoides), made the interview process counterproductive. Here, Freud noted that “a written report or a printed case history can take the place of personal acquaintance with the patient”.

    Now, a controversial debate about the ethics of diagnosis at a distance or long-distance diagnosis has arisen in the US. It has come about as commentators have proposed that President Donald Trump suffers from narcissistic personality disorder(NPD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), among other conditions.

    Sigmund Freud believed diagnosing people without examining them was appropriate in some circumstances.Wikimedia Commons

    Health professionals have weighed in as well. Psychotherapist and former assistant professor of psychiatry John D. Gartner has been particularly vehement in his assessment of the President. Gartner asserts that Trump suffers from malignant narcissism, a specific manifestation of NPD. 
    According to the DSM-5 — the authoritative psychiatric manual — this condition is characterised by various “traits of antagonism”, including “manipulativeness, deceitfulness, [and] callousness”.

    This writer interviewed several therapists I haven’t read before.

    EXCERPT: Boy who fell in love with himself

    Dr. David Reiss, a San Diego psychiatrist in private practice, also draws a distinction between diagnosing an acute mental disorder — such as depression, anxiety, or paranoia — and speaking about a public figure’s personality traits.
    “I agree with [the] Goldwater [rule] that you don’t diagnose an acute disorder without evaluating someone because there could be many different causes for a certain behavior, and you really can’t tell,” Reiss told Healthline.
    But identifying personality traits exhibited by someone in the public eye is a different story, especially today when there is so much media coverage available.
    “When you have a huge amount of data — press conferences, speeches, rallies, etc. — I think it’s perfectly legitimate to discuss the implications of those behaviors,” said Reiss.
    In a recent article for the Huffington Post, Reiss, and colleague Seth Davin Norrholm, PhD, talked about one particular aspect of Trump’s personality — narcissism — as well as the implications of this for Trump’s presidency.
    This personality trait gets its name from the ancient Greek legend of Narcissus, the beautiful boy who fell so in love with his own reflection in a pool that he fell into the water and drowned.
    Reiss admitted that in the article they come “pretty close to the line” of diagnosing a narcissistic personality. 
    But he emphasizes that “it’s not really diagnosing it, as much as saying, ‘This is the persona that’s presented to the public and this is the persona that’s acting.’”
    Without personally interviewing Trump, Reiss depends upon what he’s been able to glean from the media, Twitter, and other sources.
    So could Trump be completely different behind closed doors? 
    Reiss said it’s possible, but chances are he’s not.
    “If he’s not a narcissist, he’s playing a damn good one on TV,” Reiss joked.
    This particular personality trait could also explain Trump’s meandering, politicized speech to the Boy Scouts last month.
    “Everything he does in public is geared toward building up his own self-esteem,” said Reiss. “He has no sense of his audience. He has no sense of implications. He has no sense of consequences.”
    It might also explain Trump’s penchant for lying about matters both large and small. 
    Like this past week, when he said he received laudatory phone calls from the head of the Boy Scouts and the president of Mexico. The White House recently admitted that both statements were untrue.
    As to whether Trump has dementia — which is often mentioned in news stories — Reiss said that “there are surely some indications, but there can be so many different explanations for that. So I make no comment on that.”
    In case you missed this… Republican strategist and former McCain campaign advisor on the "11th Hour” last  night. They were discussing  rally speech today and Steve was pulling no punches. "Abnormal", "authoritarian" "dangerous" "we are not a banana republic”. 


    As a doctor, I believe that questions about Donald Trump's mental health now need to be met with investigation

    Context is important, and mental health problems aren't always dangerous for a person's job – but in the depths of my own depression, I wouldn't consider myself safe to practice. Equally, imagine your father has a heart attack and then decides to go back to his job as a pilot of a commercial airliner early. What is your responsibility?

    Research out of UC Santa Cruz sheds new light on the president's dizzying rise to power.

    Aug. 3, 2017

    Remember the phone call Trump had with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull?

     We knew didn’t go well, but not how bad it was. Now we know:

    Jan. 28, proved more combative than the call the day before with President  Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico . Mr. Trump said he had been told that he had to accept refugees held by Australia on the islands of Nauru or Manus for more than three years.

    Trump “Somebody told me yesterday that close to 2,000 people are coming who are really troublesome. And I am saying, boy that will make us look awfully bad. Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really, it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you, by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground.”

    Mr. Turnbull explained that the deal did not require the United States to take 2,000 people but it was important for the United States to live up to its commitment. 

    Turnbull “This is a big deal. I think we should respect deals.”

    Trump “Who made the deal?” Obama?”

    Turnbull “Yes, but let me describe what it is.”

     (The United States had agreed only to consider accepting up to 1,250 refugees, but each of them would be subject to vetting and could be rejected. The people at issue were economic refugees, mainly from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said, not criminals or terrorists.)

    Trump “Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?”

    Turnbull “It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people-smugglers, we have to deprive them of the product.”

    (Australia by policy, he said, refuses to accept refugees who arrive by boat because it would encourage smugglers to keep charging desperate people to bring them there.)

    Trump “That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.”

    Turnbull  “I am asking you as a very good friend. This is a big deal. It is really, really important to us that we maintain it.”

    Trump “Malcolm, why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me. I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. (Going along with the deal) “puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.” Emphasis added

    Mr. Turnbull repeated that it was only 1,250 people, each of them subject to vetting.

    Trump “I will be honest with you, I hate taking these people,” Mr. Trump said. “I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.”

    Turnbull “I would not be so sure about that.”

    Trump “Well, maybe you should let them out of prison. I am doing this because Obama made a bad deal.”

    Turnbull “But I can say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal.”

    Trump “This is a stupid deal. This deal will make me look terrible.”

    Turnbull “Mr. President, I think this will make you look like a man who stands by the commitments of the United States.”

    Trump “O.K., this shows me to be a dope… I am not like this but if I have to do it, I will do it, but I do not like this at all.”

    He said that he worried that the terrorists like those who killed Americans in Boston, San Bernardino and New York could be admitted to the country: “I am going to get killed on this thing.”

    Turnbull “You will not."

    Trump “Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer.”

    You don’t have to have read Freud to understand how sadistic people use so-called humor to hide their true intention which is to hurt or insult. Here’s a quote from  Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large:

    Anyone who has said something impolitic in front of other people is familiar with this tactic. I was joking! Don't you get it!? Man, you don't have a sense of humor!
    Recent Tweets are making the news.
    But, remember this old axiom:
     A joke is truth wrapped in a smile.

    Trump utilizes the I'm-joking-but-not-really strategy all the time to keep people
     -- allies and opponents -- off balance.
     And to explain away things like seemingly advocating police to be more violent toward criminals. 
    Does he mean what he jokes about? Or is he actually joking? No one knows except Trump. Which is how he likes it. And which is dangerous since many of his supporters don't think he is joking. Not at all.  From: Donald Trump Likes to Joke About Things That Aren’t Funny.
    My take on this:

    Mother Jones: Trump’s chronic duplicity may be pathological, as some experts have suggested. But what else might be going on here? In fact, the 45th president’s stream of lies echoes a contemporary form of Russian propaganda known as the “Firehose of Falsehood.”

    In 2016, the nonpartisan research organization RAND released a study of messaging techniques seen in Kremlin-controlled media. The researchers described two key features: “high numbers of channels and messages” and “a shameless willingness to disseminate partial truths or outright fictions.”
    The result of those tactics? “New Russian propaganda entertains, confuses and overwhelms the audience.”

    Indeed, Trump’s style as a mendacious media phenomenon resonates strongly with RAND’s findings from the study, which also explains the efficacy of the Russian propaganda tactics.

    Me: I think Trump is a pathological liar. He has admitted in his books that he uses hyperbole for effect. He thinks it is a part of the art of the deal which he invented. I think he uses lies for self-aggrandizement, and in service of his malignant narcissism more often than his lies are well thought out in advance. I believe his lies have the effect of the kind of Russian propaganda as described in this article.

    Trump has achieved a win-win. His pathological lying has been very effective with his base as a propaganda device, even as his critics lambast him for his record breaking string of lies.

    Putin’s Boring Tweets

    Aug. 2, 2017
    Evening Edition
    Think Like a Shrink Dept: Analyze These!
    NY Times 2 hrs. ago:

    The calls appeared to be the latest evidence that the president, who prefers impromptu storytelling to a fact-checked script, is willing to shade or even manufacture events to suit his preferred narrative — even when the story is easily disprovable and of little consequence.

    “He’s been lying his whole life, almost reflexively, and it’s almost as if he finds it more satisfying and easier than to speak with precision,” said Michael D’Antonio, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who later wrote a biography of Mr. Trump, “The Truth About Trump.” “When he was a kid, he lied about whether he hit a home run or not, and when he was a young man, he lied about how tall Trump Tower is — how many floors it is and the actual floors in feet — and he lied about which beautiful women were interested in him.”

    Mr. Trump has written about how he bends the truth when it suits his purposes, asserting in his 1987 book “The Art of the Deal” that “a little hyperbole never hurts.”
    “People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular,” Mr. Trump wrote then. “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”

    The major difference now, Mr. D’Antonio said, is that as president Mr. Trump is fact-checked assiduously. “Those Calls to Trump? White House Admits They Didn’t Happen.

    I doubt Trump wrote any of this of this, except the last paragraph where he added a narcissistic flourish of his own.

    Statement by President Donald J. Trump on Signing the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”

    Today, I signed into law the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” which enacts new sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. I favor tough measures to punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang. I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization.

    That is why, since taking office, I have enacted tough new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and shored up existing sanctions on Russia.

    Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies.

    My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies – who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions – regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.

    Still, the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together. The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.

    Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.

    Further, the bill sends a clear message to Iran and North Korea that the American people will not tolerate their dangerous and destabilizing behavior. America will continue to work closely with our friends and allies to check those countries’ malignant activities.

    I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.
    I have to wonder where the term malignant came from considering the Duty to Warn shrinks have all be describing the form of narcissism he has as malignant. 

    Robert J. Samuelson is an economic columnist for the Washington Post, but this essay demonstrates an excellent grasp of Trump’s malignant narcissism:
    For months, Trump’s behavior has posed a riddle. Why is he so self-destructive?….. In fact, we’ve been asking the wrong question. It has been widely assumed that Trump’s behavior must reflect some political logic. He is, after all, the nation’s most important politician. His every move must aim to bolster his popularity and agenda. Although this sounds reasonable, it doesn’t fit the facts. Trump’s nonstop outbursts alienate, usually needlessly, countless voters: precisely the people he needs to broaden his support.

    But the mystery vanishes once we realize that Trump’s motives, rather than advancing some grand political strategy, are deeply personal. He can’t control himself. In his mind, silence means obscurity, which is unbearable, especially when ending it is only a tweet or two away. It doesn’t matter what he says — whether it is true or false, relevant or irrelevant to the issues — as long as he stirs passions and dominates public discussion.

    Superficially, the odds of Trump being impeached by the House and convicted — ousted from office — by the Senate are long….. 

    Still, nothing can be entirely discounted. That’s the reality Kelly faces as chief of staff. Trump is an extreme exhibitionist in a calling — politics — where exhibitionism is normal. His addiction to incendiary tweets will be hard, though not impossible, to break. It may defy political or legal logic — indeed, it places him at further risk, because he may get himself in legal trouble or say something hugely unpopular. But it satisfies his need to “own” the news cycle.

    In this sense, Trump can be seen as the strongest and most determined advocate of impeachment. If he must flirt with impeachment to retain his command of the media, so be it. As a practical matter, he might see impeachment (though not conviction) as acceptable. He would be automatically in the spotlight every day for months. He would have a new arena in which to fight and “win.”

    Perhaps subconsciously, this is his goal: Impeach me, please! (Emphasis added)

    My photo, Daily Beast story:
    Story: Donald Trump’s 3 A.M. Phone Call Is Coming

    "The way Trump governs himself when America isn’t under overt attack should sober you. The prospect of how he’ll respond when we are should terrify us all."

    The story in The Daily Beast, “Donald Trump’s 3 A.M. Phone Call Is Coming” made me think about who could get to Trump quickly enough to stop him from having an unstrained fit of narcissistic rage on hearing of some provocation that could destabilize the world, if not start a war. Who can be there in person in minutes at 3:00 AM or on weekends. Ideally a stable and rational Chief of Staff John Kelly, as sadistic and lacking in empathy as he is, could have staff monitoring both the news and Trump’s Tweets not only doing the normal working hours, but 24 and 7. 
    That could be the most important job: deciding when to interrupt or even wake up General Kelly.
    Then Kelly would need to decide when to physically intervene.
    I got to thinking that short of actually moving into a residential suite in the White House, he’d need to be living minutes away. When seconds might count, a speedy golf cart could whisk that bathrobe clad chief of staff to the White House, and the physically fit Marine general could run into Trump’s bedroom, wrestle him to the ground, and pry his hands off the nuclear “football.”

    I put this on Daily Kos. Some of the comments are funny.Here are this first on them.

    Time to fire up that transporter we got from the Roswell aliens.

    Sad to say, this is the exact scenario offered to me by a Trump voter for why it WAS OK to vote for someone they knew was completely bat shit- “If he tried to do anything, the Generals would restrain him.”  Good to know that their original back up plan is a Constitutional Crisis.

    It puts a Pink Pantheresque scene in my head, with Trump/Clouseau and Kelly/Cato stalking each other around the West Wing.  The former oafishly trying to get his hands on the nuke case, the later leaping out from behind a curtain with a deft chop to the wrist.

    I’m sorry, that is just so...not funny.

    If you missed Trump ghostwriter on Morning Joy during the primary: AM JOY 10/23/16

    Donald Trump’s ghostwriter speaks out

    Tony Schwartz, who wrote Donald Trump’s best-seller ‘The Art of the Deal,’ reveals his detailed perspective on what motivates the GOP nominee based on the lengthy amount of time he spent with him while developing the book. Duration: 12:36

    Aug. 1, 2017


    Pundits can't resist a man in uniform, but there are already signs his tenure will be a short one.
    What Digby says:

    Trump predicted on Monday that Kelly “will go down, in terms of the position of chief of staff, as one of the greatest ever.” But the minute things go sideways or Kelly tells him something he doesn’t want to hear or Jared and Ivanka whisper complaints in his ear, Trump will turn on him. He knows that Kelly wanted to resign in protest against his behavior. The president will never be able to get that out of his mind and will never fully trust Kelly because of it. I’d guess that the general’s not long for Trumpworld.
    What I say:

    Kelly, who has no deficit in the go department, may think the can change the undisciplined and reckless behavior of Trump by a combination of judiciously rendered command authority and appealing to Trump being a rational player.
    Since Trump is not rational, but driven by his psychopathology, this approach is doomed to failure.

    Since Kelly was closely associated with Trump during the campaign as Gen. Flynn was, he hasn’t had the chance to related to him on a daily basis face-to-face, in private meetings.

    If Kelly knows anything at all about personalty disorders and the diagnostic assessments made of Trump by the Duty to Warn therapists, he’d know any attempts to change the chaos creating behavior of Trump is futile.

    I think the only two questions about Kelly’s tenure on the job is whether he’ll quit in frustration before it’s too late to save his own reputation, or whether Trump will fire him.

    Two from the New York Times:
    America is on its way to a full-blown constitutional crisis.
    Over just a few days last week, President Trump and his allies stepped up attacks on Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the campaign’s connections to Russia. They tried to push Attorney General Jeff Sessions out of office. They thought out loud about whether the president can pardon himself.
    This all points to the same conclusion: Mr. Trump is willing to deal a major blow to the rule of law — and the American Republic — in order to end an independent investigation into his Russia ties.
    It is tempting to picture the demise of democracy as a Manichaean drama in which the stakes are clear from the start and the main actors fully understand their roles: Would-be dictators rail against democracy, hire violent thugs to do their bidding and vow to destroy the opposition. When they demand expanded powers or attack independent institutions, their supporters and opponents alike realize that authoritarianism has arrived.
    There have, in fact, been a few times and places when the villains were quite as villainous, and the heroes quite as heroic. (Think Germany in the 1930s.) But in most cases, the demise of democracy has been far more gradual and far easier to overlook.

    David Brooks Must Read. “Before Manliness Lost Its Virtue"
    An Excerpt:

    So the Greeks took manliness to the next level. On top of the honor code, they gave us the concept of magnanimity. Pericles is the perfect magnanimous man (and in America, George Washington and George Marshall were his heirs). The magnanimous leader possesses all the spirited traits described above, but he uses his traits not just to puff himself up, but to create a just political order.
    The magnanimous man tries to master the profession of statecraft because he believes, with the Athenian ruler Solon, that the well-governed city “makes all things wise and perfect in the world of men.” The magnanimous leader tries to beautify his city, to arouse people’s pride in and love for it. He encourages citizens to get involved in great civic projects that will give their lives meaning and allow everybody to partake in the heroic action that was once reserved for the aristocratic few.
    The magnanimous man has a certain style. He is a bit aloof, marked more by gravitas than familiarity. He shows perfect self-control because he has mastered his passions. He does not show his vulnerability. His relationships are not reciprocal. He is eager to grant favors but is ashamed of receiving them. His personal life can wither because he has devoted himself to disinterested public service.
    The magnanimous man believes that politics practiced well is the noblest of all professions. No other arena requires as much wisdom, tenacity, foresight and empathy. No other field places such stress on conversation and persuasion. The English word “idiot” comes from the ancient Greek word for the person who is uninterested in politics but capable only of running his or her own private affairs.
    Today, we’re in a crisis of masculinity. Some men are unable to compete in schools and in labor markets because the stereotype of what is considered “man’s work” is so narrow. In the White House, we have phony manliness run amok.
    Talking to a former GOP member of Congress:
    Him: Look. How long do you think it will be before everyone in Washington knows he’s flipping out? I don’t mean just weird. I mean really off his rocker. Me: I don’t know. Him: No all that long. Me: So what are you telling me? Him: They don’t have to plot against him. It will be obvious to everyone that he’s got to go. That’s where the twenty-fifth amendment really does comes in. Me: So you think… Him: Who knows? But he’s losing it fast. My bet is he’s out of office before the midterms. And Pence is president.

    I only read Hal’s blog for the day-divider photos.