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November 30, 2017

Finally people are getting serious about the 25th Amendment

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Thursday Nov. 30, 2017
First, a moment in memory of Jim Nabors:

Back to Trump on the Brink 

From Eugene Robinson “This Is Getting Worse" in Washington Post:

One of the things that first drew attention to Trump as a presidential candidate was his public speaking style — free association, basically, with no discernible filter between brain and lip. Follow one of his speeches and you can track how his mind works. On Monday, at a White House ceremony honoring Navajo code talkers, he bizarrely slipped in his “Pocahontas” slur against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who wasn’t there and had nothing to do with the event. On Wednesday, at a Missouri rally touting the tax bill, he came to a line about how it would add “rocket fuel” to the economy, paused a second, and then reprised his “rocket man” insult of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom Trump went on to call a “sick puppy.”

Kim’s state-controlled media has called Trump an “old lunatic.” That the rival nuclear-armed leaders speak the same language is not comforting.

Maybe Trump is rattled by the Great Reckoning on sexual harassment and assault. Maybe he is worried about the steamrolling Robert S. Mueller III investigation. Or maybe his mental state is just deteriorating.

Whatever the problem is, it’s serious — and it’s getting worse.

Excerpt from Salon:

Recently, psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee told Salon's executive editor Andrew O'Hehir, "We believe that Mr. Trump, in the office of the presidency, poses a danger to the public, and in fact the international community."
"Assessing dangerousness is actually more about the situation and not just about the person, whereas a diagnosis would be about the person and stays with the individual," Lee continued. "So, a certain individual may be dangerous in a certain position of power and not dangerous in another situation."
Salon's Chauncey DeVega spoke with Dr. John Gartner, a former assistant professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, who told him that the president "is a narcissist, paranoid and demonizes anyone who opposes him."

"Trump has an antisocial personality and exhibits signs of sociopathy. Sadism is another part of this dynamic. These are people who truly get pleasure from harming and hurting and degrading other people…… This is the greatest psychiatric emergency in the history of the United States and maybe in the history of the world, but we can do nothing about it. Because Trump is the president, we can’t call the police and have him evaluated, Gartner said.


"That people close to him say is mentally unfit, that people close to him during the campaign told me had early stages of dementia.

Scarborough said the country is closer to war on the Korean Peninsula than most Americans know.
"We heard this months ago, that we are going to have a ground war in Korea, they believe that inside the White House for a very long time," Scarborough said.
"If this is not what the 25th Amendment was drafted for," he added, referring to the amendment that covers presidential succession and the response to a president with disabilities.
Ed. Note: There are three possible explanations for Trump being delusional. He may be in the early stages of dementia. He may be heading into having a psychotic break. Or, third, he could be a combination of the two. HB

Updated article: Excerpt

But White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders effectively said that it did not matter whether the President was spreading genuine videos or not, since he was trying to make a point about the threat of Islamic radicalism.
"Whether it is a real video, the threat is real," Sanders said.
In the end, the President's recent unrestrained conduct also leaves the public with serious questions to consider -- for instance in his preference on many occasions for conspiracy theories over objective truth.
At some point, he might be forced to come before the world and explain why such a potentially bloody war in Asia is necessary.

But his habit of creating alternative realities and eroding trust could come back to haunt him.

Excerpt: (emphasis added)
In the wake of yet another unhinged, conspiracy-mongering, morning tweetstorm from the president, the New York Daily News‘ editorial board published a piece claiming President Donald Trump is suffering from a form of poor mental health-induced “mania.”
While the paper is known to be New York City’s more liberal publication, seriously questioning Trump’s mental capacity and referring to him as a “madman” — in the literal sense of the term — is still striking.
The editorial board wrote the following in their op-ed today:
“After his latest spasm of deranged tweets, only those completely under his spell can deny what growing numbers of Americans have long suspected: The President of the United States is profoundly unstable. He is mad. He is, by any honest layman’s definition, mentally unwell and viciously lashing out… The sheer strangeness of Trump’s behavior leads us to conclude that we are witnessing signs of mania.”

The paper went onto state Trump “is not well” and his fitness for office is only getting worse. “Before our eyes, the President is spinning in a Tasmanian devil’s rage about American news networks,” they wrote.


"You represent 325 million people whose lives are literally in your hands, and we are facing a showdown with a nuclear power and you have somebody inside the White House that the New York Daily News says is mentally unfit; that people close to him say is mentally unfit; that people close to him during the campaign told me had early stages of dementia.
“When are we supposed to say this?” Scarborough asked. “After the first nuclear missile goes? Is that when it's proper to bring this up in polite society?"
As for Trump's tweet directed at Scarborough, his fiancé Mika Brzezinski read a statement that she said she wrote:
Today the president crossed another deep and disturbing line with his attacks on Joe. The chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America advanced a false conspiracy theory to intimidate the press and cause a chilling effect on the First Amendment.
Joe and I are not intimidated. And his bizarre behavior contravenes both the Constitution and basic moral judgment.

Brzezinski said that is all they would have to say on the matter.
Weds. Nov. 29, 2017
Ed. Note:
Evening —
Today was a day when the mainstream media realized they have a moral obligation to warn. 

Following up on the NY Times and Washington Post stories about Trump thinking the Access Hollywood tapes weren’t of him, and that he is still obsessed with where Obama was born, major news outlets like CNN and Newsweek are questioning his sanity. Make no mistake, being delusional is a psychotic characteristic. 

MSNBC is liberal, and I won’t torture myself by watching Fox News, but there in between news as Matt Laurer and the North Korean missile launch they are devoting substation time to the delusional story.

With some irony, both stories easily segue into the Trump too delusional to be president story. The sexual predatory stories lead to discussion of Trump denial of his sexual history, and the N. Korea story leads to discussion of whether he’s the president to oversee our nuclear arsenal. 

The MSNBC in-depth coverage began last night of The 11th Hour with Brian Williams. Scroll down to watch the video. 24 hours later Lawrence O’Donnell had Duty to Warn psychiatrist Lance Dodes, MD on discussing the chance Trump is having psychotic episodes.

Being discussed on The 11th Hour with Brian Williams:

Screen shots, not a link
Lance Dodes on DTW on Lawrence O’Donnell —  Mostly accurate but some paraphrasing below, I can’t type that fast.

Lance Dodes: Trump is close to psychosis when he is stressed. When he denies reality, most people have trouble understanding this. The simple explanation is that he’s not in control of himself. This is what we mean when we say someone is psychotic or briefly psychotic.

Trump is on the border when they are under stress they slip into delusional thinking.  Enormous present danger to us when on brink of declaring nuclear war. 

Lawrence notes how he is constantly dong things against his self-interest and that he can understand it in light of his having no control.

Dodes says "this is a sick man, he is truly very sick, although this is not surprising” noting that (Duty to Warn) has predicted this. "I would not be surprised to see him try to fire the Supreme Court... or start a nuclear war. He needs to protect himself from what he sees as an existential threat by denying reality."


“That he is decompensating. That’s a psychiatric term, but what it means in simple terms is he is losing his grip on reality,” Schartz suggested. “His reality testing is really poor and I believe that’s exactly what’s going on.”
“You have known him for quite some time,” Melber noted. “When you see Donald Trump today, when you see what he’s saying that is false, is it about what you saw then or do you see a change?”

“There is a pretty dramatic change. He is more limited in his vocabulary, he is further from, as I said, this connection to what is factual and real. He is more impulsive, he is more reactive,” Schwartz observed. “This is a guy in deep trouble.”
“We need to be really bringing in psychiatrists because this is a man who is deeply mentally ill and literally, I know that two different people from the White House — or at least saying they they were from the White House and it turned out to be a White House number — who have called somebody I know in the last several weeks to say, ‘we are deeply concerned about his mental health.’”

“Wait a minute,” Melber interrupted. “You’re saying you have knowledge of people calling from a White House line raising that question? Why would they do that? How do you know? 

“I know because I know the person that they called and this is a person who I absolutely trust, who has great integrity,” Schwartz answered. 


After his latest spasm of deranged tweets, only those completely under his spell can deny what growing numbers of Americans have long suspected: The President of the United States is profoundly unstable. He is mad. He is, by any honest layman’s definition, mentally unwell and viciously lashing out.
Some might say we are just suffering through the umpteenth canny, calculated presidential eruption designed to distract the nation from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, or perhaps from unpopular legislation working its way through Congress.

Quite possible. But Occam’s razor, and the sheer strangeness of Trump’s behavior, leads us to conclude that we are witnessing signs of mania.
I have resisted for a long while commenting at length on the president*’s possible mental state, in large part because long-distance psychological speculation always revolted me. (Remember Charles Krauthammer, a trained psychiatrist, speculating about Al Gore’s mental health? I do.) But the fact that these stories are leaking out now is a pretty good indicator that the people in and around this president* are worried about him. From The New York Times:
One senator who listened as the president revived his doubts about Mr. Obama’s birth certificate chuckled on Tuesday as he recalled the conversation. The president, he said, has had a hard time letting go of his claim that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States. The senator asked not to be named to discuss private conversations. Mr. Trump’s journeys into the realm of manufactured facts have been frequent enough that his own staff has sought to nudge friendly lawmakers to ask questions of Mr. Trump in meetings that will steer him toward safer terrain.
“Journeys into the realm of manufactured facts”?

Jesus, take the wheel.
Another excerpt from Newsweek Today:

While some have portrayed the mistruths as a political strategy, it is far more than that, according to a former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Lance Dodes.

“He is a far more sick person than people realize or want to realize,” Dodes, who like Gartner was a contributor to the book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, told Newsweek. “To say for example that he is even a con man is way too benign. He loses track of reality when it comes to a challenge to his sense of himself, which is extremely fragile. It’s out of his control—he is not clever like a fox, he is just very, very sick.”


Washington (CNN)Donald Trump potentially has millions of lives in his hands as the threat of a devastating war with North Korea swiftly escalates.
Yet the President of the United States is raising new questions about his temperament, his judgment and his understanding of the resonance of his global voice and the gravity of his role with a wild sequence of insults, inflammatory tweets and bizarre comments.

Brian Williams videos from last night:
Sam Stein, Ashley Parker and Peter Baker on The 11th Hour with Brian Williams are talking about whether Trump is clinically delusional, about him creating a reality and believing it. 

Not only the Access Hollywood tapes, but now again in private
is questioning whether Obama was really born here.

No shrinks here, but all are bluntly talking about Trump’s bizarre behavior and how his episodes are leaking to the press because those around him are worried. The leakers say “ Trump privately harbors conspiracy theories."

They are all shaking their heads in disbelief about Trump followers being willing to believe Trump faked his brith certificate. Watch the two segments here.

...Excerpt: (Emphasis added)

The prevailing interpretation of Donald Trump, shared by all his enemies and many of his allies, is that he is a con man. It is a theory that explains both his career in business and politics, and has carried through his many reversals of position and acts of fraud against customers and contractors. It remains quite plausible. But new reporting has opened up a second possibility: The president has lost all touch with reality.
The Washington Post and New York Times have accounts from insiders suggesting Trump habitually insists upon the impossible in private. He does not merely tell lies in order to gull the public, or to manipulate allies. He tells lies in private that he has no reason to tell. He still questions the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth, despite the birth certificate. He insists voter fraud may have denied him a popular vote triumph. He tells people Robert Mueller will wrap up his investigation, with a total vindication of the president, by the end of the year.
He questions whether the Access Hollywood tape, on which he was recorded boasting of sexual assault, is even him. (Both the Post and the Times describe Trump repeatedly denying the validity of the tape in private, “stunning his advisers,” as the Times puts it.)
It is of course entirely possible that Trump is lying to everybody, including his own staff. But the lies in these articles do not always fit into any pattern of rational self-aggrandizement. Trump tells senators or his aides the Access Hollywood tape is not him, but they don’t believe him. He has no reason to bring up the birther fabrication in private.

If Trump actually has the ability to convince himself of his own lies, it would suggest a possibility far more dangerous than even his critics have previously assumed. He might be in the grip of a mental health issue, or at least one more serious than mere sociopathy. And the mutterings that he might need to be removed from office through the 25th Amendment could grow more serious than many of us expected.

Regular readers may think I wrote this. I didn’t. However, I couldn’t have said it any better. HB

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