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May 11, 2018

May 11-12, 2018

Back: May 9-10, 2018

May 12, 2018 New: My essays from when I wrote a weekly politcal column for Capitol Hill Blue circa 2009. || Archive of Daily Kos articles || 

Jonathan Swan 1 hour ago

My Daily Kos Story today: 

ONLINE TOOLS: Google News email alerts for Trump, narcissism, dementia, and 25th Amendment

This regular Daily Kos reader always has something negative to comment whenever I post something about Trump and his being psychologically unfit to be president. This is his latest and my response:

I have no doubt that Trump is unfit to be POTUS: his long and public history of criminality should be glaring disqualifiers for the position of POTUS.
Every time I hear about Duty to Warn and those who claim that Trump has a mental illness, I am reminded of the dark days of the campaign of 2016.
I am sure many here a dkos remember the fall of 2016, when the media was full of reports that Hilary Clinton may be unfit to be president because of Parkinson’s Disease.  Remember that?  How some pundits and even a few medical doctors claimed that a couple of highly selective (and/or highly edited and manipulated) video clips of HRC’s public appearances proved that HRC was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.  For her part, HRC denied that she had Parkinson’s Disease, and referred interested parties to the results of her own medical exam which reported no evidence of Parkinson’s Disease.  Despite her denials and those of the medical experts who had directly examined her, conservatives continued to report that HRC was ill because it was politically convenient for them to say that.
Now I don’t know if HRC has Parkinson’s Disease or not.  But I do know there is a way to objectively and definitively “rule in” or “rule out” a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease (PD).   PD arises when dopamine-producing neurons in the Substantia Nigra of the brain die off: this neuronal loss in this specific area of the brain can be identified histologically — if neuronal loss is present in this region of the brain, a diagnosis of PD is confirmed; if no neuronal loss is present, a diagnosis of PD is incorrect.
Sadly for Duty to Warn, Trump, and our honest political discourse, there is no possible way to “rule in” or “rule out” any of the things those associated with Duty to Warn say about Trump’s supposed mental illness: no possible way to “rule in” or “rule out” a diagnosis of Narcissism, Malignant Narcissism, Personality Disorder, Psychopathy, Anti-Social Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, etc.  That is because, despite 50 years of a dedicated effort to do so, neuroscientists have not been able to identify any physical or physiological pathology associated with any psychiatric illness (with the debatable exception of fibrillary plaques and tangles in Alzheimer’s Disease).  So unlike the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, there is no way to objectively and definitively confirm a diagnosis of any psychiatric illness.  What we have instead are the opinions of those associated with Duty to Warn, not empirically verifiable facts of science. 
Trump should be removed from office because of his criminal behavior.  But neither Trump, Sec. Clinton, nor anyone else deserves to be falsely pilloried in public with allegations of an unprovable illness.

My answer:

Hugh, good to see you are still out there as a naysayer to those dozens of highly qualified mental health professionals who have in various ways said that Trump is psychologically unfit for office. They range from the most famous persons to weigh in on Trump from the world of psychology, Robert Jay Lifton and Philip Zimbardo, to the hitherto lesser-known but also highly qualified shrinks with numerous publications like Lance DodesJohn Gartner, and Bandy Lee. As for me, I just went to Michigan State, was the director of a small mental health center, and write on Daily Kos. I have never had a major publication.
I hope you read what  I posted by Bill Moyers and Robert Jay Lifton, and have read some of what the shrinks besides yours truly have written, if not the book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.


Morning Thoughts:

Art, of course, is politically powerful and much needed in this era. I particularly like the New Yor Daily News covers featuring Trump because each is a mini-billboard displayed on hundreds of newsstands across the five boroughs of New York City. Oftentimes they are created at night for breaking news Trump travesties so they can be printed to hit the newsstands for the morning commuters
There are many other examples of great Trump cover art, Time, Newsweek, and The New Yorker for example. And then there’s Der Spiegel. This cover has a compelling backstory. Consider this Washington Post story, This Der Spiegel Trump cover is stunning, from Feb. 2017. 
Edel Rodriguez came to the United States from Cuba as a political refugee in 1980. Like many immigrants, he was angered by President Trump's executive order temporarily banning entry to the United States for travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world.
“I was 9 years old when I came here, so I remember it well, and I remember the feelings and how little kids feel when they are leaving their country,” Rodriguez said. “I remember all that, and so it bothers me a lot that little children are being kept from coming to this country.”
Unlike most immigrants, however, Rodriguez channeled his anger into a piece of art that is now on the cover of one of the world's leading magazines. 
His art the the Statue of Liberty head the cover on the upper left. 


With a circulation of 800,000, Der Spiegel is one of the largest weekly magazines in Europe 
The most recent Der Spiegel cover was shown on MSNBC last night.


May 11, 2018 (Below: My review of La Piloto, the show I am binge-watching on NetFlix)

George Will's wordsmithing sets a high standard - my Daily Kos story today

Trump is no longer the worst person in government - WaPo by George Will


My current NetFlix binge is La Piloto, a 2017-18 Spanish language subtitled Univision crime soap opera. Here are some fragmented thoughts about it:

I couldn't find a review of La Piloto on an English language website. There are some in Spanish so I decided to post my thoughts in a fragmented review and use Google to translate it to put it on a fan Facebook page.

----- SPOILERS!-----

I am on episode 69 watching on Netflix here in Oregon. The show is a Univision soap opera. It has the excellent production values, beautiful scenery, the most screen chewing over- acting possible, and the sappiest repetitive soft piano music for the love scene soft-focus flashbacks. 

When I started watching I kept waiting for the story to wrap up and for the many psychopaths to get killed or caught. Finally, after 20 or so hours of viewing when they all kept escaping I checked and discovered there are 80 episodes. I keep wanting to give up in frustration but am hooked. 

I was happy to see Capitán Argüelles the crooked cop, shot, although it was sad that his honest police officer son Raul finally discovered this had to shoot him in self-defense, and got paralyzed in the shootout. 

At last Óscar, trafficker chief John's younger brother, is dead, because he was too dumb to learn how to parachute properly. Poor Óscar whose barely concealed erotic love for John could never be returned in kind.*

It is frustrating to see how utterly gullible the heroes are. Why couldn't they see the numerous clues that Zulima was betraying them? Only Yolanda's mother Estela saw through her. Estela is the winner of the most narcissistic mother award. I keep wanting Yolanda's beloved Auntie Rosabla or Yolanda doesn't slap her silly.

It was fun to watch honest Federale police lieutenant and the heroes partner, Mónica Ortega, discover by necessity her inner-badass when she ends up in prison and inmates she arrested were trying to kill her. Now she's the queen of the prison.

What makes the storyline so impossible is the numbers of times John Lucio and  Colonel Santamaria are able to escape. Come on, Óscar being able to sneak onto the DEA airplane to free the escape artist John. John should have been wrapped in chains with multiple locks which couldn't be opened until he got to Miami.

Of course, the story is driven by the obsessions three men have with Yolanda. John's was so gullible to believe Óscar that she betrayed him and then wanting her dead was quite a stretch to believe possible.

More credible was the psychology of the most psychopathic bloodthirsty character Colonel Santamaria. He is an absolute psychopath with no redeeming features. His relentless quest for revenge because Yolanda spurned him was ridiculous. 

The other total psychopath happens to be a woman. Zulima, whose treachery from trying to get John to kill Yolanda to actually murdering Amanda was finally exposed to all the women partners she betrayed in episode 70. Heroine Yolanda thought they were best friends until Zulima tried to shoot her in the episode I just watched. As that episode ended she stole a light plane and Yolanda was chasing her in another airplane.

I am starting to like Arley Mena, the number three in the Lucio gang, because he obviously regrets shooting his girlfriend Amanda  (who Zulima killed) and wants to take care of his baby. 

I can't wait to see how this ends. The big question, assuming Yolanda stays out of prison, is whether she will end up with John, or put another way, who Dave Mejia will end up with, Yolanda who somehow avoids not going to prison or the wrongly convicted Mónica who will certainly get out of jail.

I think Mónica would be best for him because her love is the deepest.  

Main Characters:

  • Livia Brito as Yolanda Cadena: The series' protagonist, her dream is to become an airplane pilot.
  • Arap Bethke as John Lucio: He is an airplane pilot, has an airplane company with his brother Oscar and uses it as a front for his illicit business. He teaches Yolanda everything about aviation.
  • María Fernanda Yepes as Zulima / La Bruja: She is the best friend of Yolanda, works in Central America Air as stewardess.
  • Alejandro Nones as Óscar Lucio: He's John's brother.
  • María de la Fuente as Mónica Ortega: She is assisting Dave in the DEA's investigation and the Mexican government against Central America Air and the Lucio brothers.
  • Verónica Montes as Lizbeth Álvarez: She is one of Yolanda's aides, working as a stewardess in Central America Air.
  • Natasha Domínguez as Amanda Cuadrado: She is one of Yolanda's aides, working as a stewardess in Central America Air and for Yolanda as her helper to commit illicit business.
  • María Fernanda García as Estela: She is Yolanda's mom.
  • Mauricio Aspe as Arley Mena: He is one of the helpers of the Lucio brothers, Amanda's lover and Guillermo's father.
  • Stephanie Salas as Rosalba: She is Yolanda's aunt.
  • Arturo Barba as Zeky Gilmas: He is the main manager of Central América Air and partner of the Lucio brothers.
  • Tommy Vásquez as Coronel Santamaría: He is a Colombian guerrilla lieutenant.
  • Macarena Achaga as Olivia: She is Yolanda's chief of security and help with the use of weapons.
  • Juan Colucho as Dave Mejía: He is an agent of the DEA that tries to imprison the Lucio brothers and to eliminate the company Central America Air.


* Is Oscar Lucio supposed to be gay? This is translated from a Spanish website:

Alejandro Nones talks about Óscar Lucio's homosexuality in 'La Piloto'

The 41-year-old Venezuelan actor enjoyed the recordings of the series, having fun being a misogynist, sick and delinquent man.

by Raquel Sanz

Alejandro Nones, the Venezuelan actor, is happy to give life to the villain Óscar Lucio in 'La Piloto', a violent, misogynist and gay guy: "He has been a wonderful character, a very complex character, who has never declared himself homosexual , it is clear that it is, "he said exclusively for Univision Entertainment.

"As an actor, I am very clear that I have to tell stories, with the greatest possible credibility, and from that, the audience decides with which part of the character they identify. I commit myself in body and soul with my characters, "confessed Nones, who is currently living in Mexico, waiting for another project.

Grateful for the challenge of being able to interpret such a complex man, he explained where the fortune is of having found something like that in his career.

"For Óscar Lucio, his homosexuality is an element that is there without being explicit. I did not make a character that was clearly one way, but I played a man with many demons and unhappy and as a result of the cancer that detected him, life changed him in many ways, "the character is totally removed from his reality, because Nones is a man in love and chivalrous, who currently has a relationship with a woman, who has nothing to do in the middle.

Alejandro None talks about the very sexy photo shoot he did for a magazine

A few weeks after the end of the 'La Piloto' broadcasts on Univision, Alejandro thanked the public for the favorable response, he even told us that a second season could possibly be recorded, "I am grateful and pleased that the audience received it so well. . It is likely that there will be a second season. They have not told us anything with that clarity, they're just rumors so far. "

Talking about drug trafficking, did not generate any problem for production, for the actor it was about telling a story where there is also love and dreams to be fulfilled.

"I see it as a narco-trafficking story, a story of dreams and love where some of the most important characters are inside the illicit business. Drug trafficking is a sensitive issue that affects Latin American society and portrays a reality. "

Back: May 9-10, 2018

May 8, 2018

May 9-10, 2018

Thurday, May 10, 2018

My Daily Kos story today:

Morning thoughts:

Trump was in is glory meeting the three hostages at 2 AM, the three great folks captured, accused of various crimes against the regime, and just released. How does he know they were great folks, meaning ordinary innocent men? Maybe in fact, they were spies. In fact, it would be good to know we actually managed to get spies into NK. Not great spies since if they were great they wouldn't have been captured.

Meanwhile in today's news, in the ABF media world (anywhere but Fox) it turns out that Pence basically said what Nixon said about it being time to get the Watergate investigation over. MSNBC and hopefully other stations are replaying Nixon and Pense back to back. 

‘I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of the matter to an end. One year of Watergate is enough.’ 1974 State of the Union address

"Israeli fighter jets struck dozens of Iranian targets in Syria overnight, Israeli officials said, following soon after what the Israeli military described as an unsuccessful Iranian rocket attack against its forces in the Golan Heights." NY Times This leads me to wonder why, if Iran really did this, whether this was a response to Trump pulling out of the nuclear deal, a move which Netanyahu enthusiastically supports. 

Well said: "Like a bloated, portly fake billionaire rolling off a hooker after a hot 45 seconds of passionate sex, Donald Trump’s ardor for Rudy Giuliani seems to have cooled." From "Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump: This Will End Badly. And Probably Soon." Daily Beast story

Pro-Trump lawyer freaks after being questioned on Michael Cohen’s sleaze - watch video

Weds. May 9, 2018

Ed. Note:

The bloodluster-in-chief is Donald Trump. As a psychotherapist, I have tried to get a sense of what goes on his mind. Most of you know how child therapists take very seriously what children draw, and with adults projective tests can often tease out psychopathic violent fantasies. I would like to see a collection of drawings Trump made as a child.

Excerpts (emphasis added):

• Trump just tweeted that it might be time to “take away credentials” from some news media. He cited a report claiming that “91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake).” Trump explicitly defined all merely negative stories about him as “fake.” This is basically a declaration that the news media’s efforts to hold him accountable are inherently illegitimate, or at least are grounds for retributive action. Is Trump even capable of imagining that criticism of him flows from the crucial institutional role the press plays in our democracy? This sort of thing isn’t mere bluster: It has convinced a majority of Republicans that the press is the “enemy of the people.”

• The Senate Intelligence Committee just released a report finding that Russia waged an “unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign” against the United States’ voting infrastructure. The larger context: Trump has failed to organize a strong response to future Russian electoral sabotage, because he is reluctant to acknowledge that it happened at all in 2016, as that would diminish the greatness of his victory. This puts Trump at odds with members of his own administration who regard the fact of Russian interference “as objective reality,” putting future elections at risk out of sheer megalomania.

Again and again and again, independent reporting has revealed that when the decision-making rubber hits the road — that is, when the actual process kicks in of weighing pros and cons, and complexities and contingencies, and upsides and downsides for the country — other factors have intruded: Trump’s rage over something else. His desire to please his base. His fear of appearing weak. His megalomania. At what point can we say that Trump’s decision-making has become detached from any meaningful effort to act in accordance with any conception of what is good for the country? It’s a question that deserves more airing.

A major story to follow:

John Bolton and Mike Pompeo Are Headed for a Clash Politco

They may seem like kindred spirits, but their personal interests are totally different. That makes them destined for rivalry.

The Special Counsel's Office Has Been Looking Into Payments To Michael Cohen's Company Since Last Year - Buzzfeed 

Ed Note: Think of your favorite guilty pleasure food. For me it's New York style pizza, my late spouse's homemade lasagna, meat loaf, and pancakes with blueberries fresh off one of our bushes. That's how delicious it would be if the Stormy Daniels / Micheal Cohen revelations turned out to be linked to Trump Russian collusion.

Trump Just Publicly Threatened to Throw Media Out of the White House for Not Being Nice Enough to Him The president mused about it on his favorite social media platform.

Ed. Note: I lost count months ago of how many times I was stymied in my attempts to find words appropriate to describe Trump's authoritarian and/or psychopathological actions. I have exhasted the thesaurus. There are simply no words yet. However I believe that years from now Trumpian will have the same meaning that Hitlerian does today. Think Progress notesBut there was also a major tell in Trump’s tweet. Perhaps more explicitly than he ever has before, by writing “negative (Fake),” the president made explicitly that he considers all negative coverage of him to be fake.

Trump fans freak out on right-winger Matt Drudge for warning against president’s ‘fake news crusade’

May 7, 2018

May 7-8, 2018

BACK, May 5-6, 2018 | New: My essays from when I wrote a weekly politcal column for Capitol Hill Blue circa 2009. || Archive of Daily Kos articles

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Quote of the day from Joe Scarborough this morning about Rudy Guiliani: “I can mention this: Everybody around Donald Trump said he was drinking too much — Donald Trump suggested as much — that was two years ago. And the fact that Donald Trump brought this guy in two years later despite his own reservations about him, almost two years ago, that’s not any, it’s not 3-D chess. That’s not even checkers, that’s a monkey throwing poo against the wall, and it doesn’t usually turn out well.”

Hey  Donald, you can see what's inside by buying a copy online. Here's the subscription link.

I rushed to get a story about this on Daily Kos before someone beat me to it.

Girlie magazine history: Trump, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have this in common.

The Daily Beast offers a few tidbits but no photographs. So, sorry Donald, you will have to shell out $10.99 to see them.
By the end of the day, we will discover how many journalists have read the article. We can only hope that Stormy said something in the interview that would justify a reporter asking Sarah Sanders about it in the next press conference. 
What can you say when there’s an article in Newsweek like this?
From an article in the Washinton Post quoting Rick Wilson: “I’ve road-tested a ton of different insults for Donald Trump, and this is the one that seems to have a little bite to it,” he said. (It’s true: The man once called Trump an “epic douche-canoe” on CNN.) The nickname captures the “Weird affectation of this guy, with his fake skin and his fake hair” as well as the “Creepy, messianic … Jonestown aspect of his followers,” said Wilson.
A Cheeto, as it turns out, is an evocative metaphor, and politicians and activists across the spectrum bring up the dusty orange snack when they want to conjure up a certain image of their opponents: That they’re junky, artificial, bad for you, bad for America and likely to leave you with crumby fingers and a weird aftertaste.
Adult film star Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) has been inundated with requests since alleging she had an affair with President Donald Trump in 2006, but surely none stranger than the crowd who asked her to stamp on Cheetos during her "Make America Horny Again" tour.
In an interview with Penthouse released on Tuesday, Daniels says a crowd of gay men holding bags of Cheetos paid her $20 to crush the orange snacks underfoot, in what appears to be a sly reference to the president’s shade of fake tan.
“Money was exchanged, Cheetos were scattered, and the hardworking porn star turned international news story ground them to orange powder beneath her high-heeled stripper shoes,” an extract from the interview, shared by The Daily Beast, reads.  NEWSWEEK
I can imagine Rachel Maddow trying to find new words to describe how she feels about how our body-politic (so to speak) has degenerated to the degree that a Penthouse Magazine cover is making the news. 
In a surreal way this is probably the most politically significant girlie magazine article since Jimmy Carter admitted he had lust in his heart in a Playboy interview.
What Christ taught about most was pride, that one person should never think he was any better than anybody else. The thing that’s drummed into us all the time is not to be proud, not to be better than anyone else, not to look down on people, but to make ourselves acceptable in God’s eyes through our own actions and recognize the simple truth that were saved by grace. I’m not trying to commit a deliberate sin. I recognize that I’m going to do it anyhow, because I’m human and I’m tempted. And Christ set some almost impossible standards for us. Christ said, I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust has in his heart already committed adultery. I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times. This is something that God recognizes I will do–and I have done it–and God forgives me for it.
Not all of Bill Clinton’s admitted and alleged lovers made it into the news. I never heard of most of these women: Bill Clinton's Loves & Hookups. Of course, there never was a whisper of a rumor that any of Bill’s peccadillos was non-consensual.
As for Melania, this has to be adding insult to injury. Not only does she have to deal with her own feelings about her husband’s infidelities and the sexual assault accusations which I think she thinks are true, but she has to worry that Baron may manage to see the images online from his friends while he’s at school. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

And, then there's Rudy:

John Oliver: Trump And Giuliani Have Something In Common And It’s Gross, HUFFPOST Rudy Giuliani’s confusing media appearances over the past week, in which his attempts to defend President Donald Trump backfired, have some wondering what happened to the once-respected former mayor of New York City.John Oliver revealed the answer on “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday. “Nothing,” he explained. “He was always this awful.” Then, Oliver took a look back at the lowlights of Giuliani’s career before concluding that the former mayor and current president were basically ”two versions of the same person.”