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March 1, 2020

Hal Brown blog March 1 - 2020

Back to February

Mar. 13, 2020

We know Trump has the sickness of malignant narcissism. Want more proof, look at this tweet.

Back in the day—i.e., 2016—I always figured there were two big reasons to hope Donald Trump didn’t win the Republican nomination. The first and most important was his straight-up appeal to bigotry and xenophobia, which the other Republican nominees mostly didn’t share. The second was that he might nuke Denmark.
That was the joke, anyway, but it was just shorthand for Trump screwing up some kind of foreign policy emergency, getting himself deeper and deeper into a hole, and then somehow ending up in a war that no one wanted. Nobody thought this was especially likely, but still, it was a 1 percent risk that the other candidates didn’t pose.
Then Trump got elected and three years passed. No war. No real threat of a war, either. Maybe we were all wrong?

Nope. “War,” it turned out, was itself shorthand for an emergency that Trump’s personality would cause him to mismanage. And the emergency turned out to be a pandemic. At first, Trump’s narcissism prevented him from believing that anything could be seriously wrong while he was in charge. Then his xenophobia caused him to address the problem solely by closing off a border, even though no one thought that would work. That eventually morphed into Trump’s bullheadedness preventing him from admitting he was mistaken and changing tack. And that, in turn, has caused him to close yet more borders.

From Canada:
Even when the president finally, reluctantly came to admit the seriousness of the situation and awkwardly read a script from a teleprompter in a national address from the oval office last night to announce a 30-day ban on most travel from continental Europe, he could not resist stretching the truth one more time, falsely asserting that "we're making antiviral treatments available in record time." Actually, no such approved treatments yet exist.
In the face of a virus that the WHO has just declared a pandemic, Trump's brand of carnival show narcissism is deadly. It is a time when the world needs to believe its leaders and to be told the truth, particularly when you can find internet advice to drink bleach and when people like disgraced evangelist Jim Bakker (who served time in the slammer for fraud) are promotingunproven "cures."

There are not many issues where an effective, believable communications strategy is a matter of life or death. COVID-19 is one. The president of the United States is failing the test.

Mar. 12, 2020

Two heroes:
Rep. Katie Porter (watch this video!)
and Dr. Anthony Fauci:

How long will he last after this bluntly truthful testimony? ‘That’s really disturbing’: Dr. Fauci admits to Congress the administration’s ‘failing’ in the coronavirus response.

This is how he should have concluded his address:

Meghan McCain explodes on Trump as The View rips his coronavirus address: ‘This could be the silver bullet’ that takes him out

The View’s Meghan Mccain blasted President Donald Trump for his mediocre attempt to calm the nation during the coronavirus outbreak.

During the Thursday show, the co-hosts addressed the speech that was supposed to calm a fearful nation, but ultimately ended up being riddled with mistakes and inaccurate information.

McCain said that it did little to calm her fears.

“He does not inspire confidence. I could hear him breathing. could you?” said Behar. “Is there a microphone in his nostrils do you think? If he speaks of somebody who’s not in great health, and he’s been so exposed to a few people now who have had the coronavirus. He could come down with it.”

“The problem is when I watched it live like we all did, is he’s a politician that inspires anger really well,” McCain said. “If you want to get riled up and angry, he’s a politician who does it well. The ‘I feel your pain and fear,’ incapable of it. He could have been reading the phonebook last night. He should have been saying, ‘I understand Americans are scared.’ Have a Ronald Reagan-esque moment.”

(he began) … a new feature: the Spoiler Watch. It will track the campaign of vanity and self-aggrandizement the once-idealistic Sanders candidacy has now become. Everything Sanders does from this point on — until he eventually (hopefully) throws his support to Biden — will be to the benefit of a grateful President Trump.

Trump won the presidency, in part, because disaffected Sanders voters never embraced Hillary Clinton after the Vermont independent’s scorched-earth campaign in the 2016 primary. Now, he’s poised to do it again. He must not be allowed to succeed.
He goes on to write:
Sanders could have declared victory Wednesday and dropped out of the race. He has succeeded in pushing the Democratic Party to the left, and his differences with Biden are less about ends than means. As Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a Sanders supporter, said this week: “Bernie Sanders won the idea primary.”

Yet Sanders, instead, extends the fight.

Only ugliness this way lies.

There will be more of the suggestions from Sanders’s supporters that the gaffe-prone Biden is senile. There will be more conspiracy theories about the hidden hand of the establishment — not actual voters — powering Biden’s victory. And there will be more of what Elizabeth Warren called the “organized nastiness” from Sanders’s supporters.

… and he concludes with writing that “every day Sanders delays the party’s healing is a contribution-in-kind to Trump.”

Mar. 11, 2020

‘Go take a nap, grandpa’: Internet reacts to Trump’s coronavirus address

Thanks Trump. I wouldn't have seen this Vanity Fair article if he hadn't tweeted about it.
Link above to Vanity Fair:
Limited number of articles per month fo free.

EXCERPTS from Gabe Herman's sources currently in the White House of with White House contacts:

“He is trying to control the narrative and he can’t.” 

“He wants Justice to open investigations of the media for market manipulation”. 

“He’s very frustrated he doesn’t have a good team around him,” a former White House official said. 

Trump thought the virus was “getting beyond Mick (Mulvaney)”.  

Trump said “Larry (Kudlow) didn’t want to have to take questions about coronavirus” “Larry’s not a doctor. How can he answer questions about something he doesn’t know?”

Trump found a willing surrogate in Kellyanne Conway, but Conway’s dubious claim on Friday that the virus “is being contained” only made the P.R. situation worse.

“Trump said afterwards that the lighting was bad. We need Bill Shine back in here. Bill would never allow this.’”

“There’s very little that fazes anyone now. He’s just now waking up to the fact that this is bad, and he doesn’t know how to respond.”

He’s privately terrified about getting the virus. “Donald is a famous germaphobe. He hates it if someone is eating nachos and dips a chip back in after taking a bite. He calls them ‘double dippers,’”...

Stories about Trump’s coronavirus fears have spread through the White House. Last week Trump told aides he’s afraid journalists will try to purposefully contract coronavirus to give it to him on Air Force One.

Trump has asked the Secret Service to set up a screening program and bar anyone who has a cough from the White House grounds. “He’s definitely melting down over this.” 

“He is going to resist until the very last minute. He may take suggestions to stop shaking hands, but in terms of shutting stuff down, his position is: ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’”


Former Trump voter switches to Democratic Party after attending president’s Michigan rally

Watch the following video of a former Trump voter at 1:14 mins. These are the voters the Democrats need. 

Coronavirus shows up Trump's compassion deficit - CNN

Whether he's throwing paper towels into a crowd amid death and devastation in Puerto Rico or mocking victims of sexual assault, Trump has shown himself to be callous with enough regularity that he has taught us to cringe when we see him in a moment where concern for others is required. Remember how he joked about crowd sizes when he visited a hospital after a mass shooting in El Paso? How about the time, at the beginning of his term, when he stood at a memorial for fallen intelligence officers and bragged about his own intellect?

Compassion, which is the opposite of narcissism, is as essential to the presidency as any trait and presidents of both parties have shown it often. We all remember the moving responses from Bill Clinton after the Oklahoma City bombing, George W. Bush after the attacks of 9/11 and Barack Obama after the Charleston church shooting. It is something we have relied on from our leaders. It is also the piece so often missing from Trump's response to difficult times. This is the man, who, a Huffington Post video showed, needed an emotional cheat sheet for a meeting with survivors of school shootings. That the prompts encouraged him to say, "I hear you," is all the evidence we need to know that the White House staff recognizes that the President struggles when it comes to compassion.

Mar. 10, 2020
This posting on Daily Kos was recommended 436 times (one of my highest ever) and so far has 153 comments, and was liked by Jennifer Senior .

A long insightful analysis:

Dana Milbank: As the coronavirus burns, Trump scores a perfect Nero - in Federal court.


(Judge) Walton wrote of Barr’s “misleading public statements": “The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr’s statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements, cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary.” 

He continued: “These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility.” Walton also said he has reason “to question whether the redactions are self-serving and were made to support, or at the very least to not undermine, Attorney General Barr’s public statements and whether the Department engaged in post-hoc rationalization to justify Attorney General Barr’s positions.” 
Such a rebuke by a court of an attorney general’s integrity is, legal experts say, without modern precedent. But it isn’t just a Barr problem.

Reading the judge’s evisceration of Barr, I noticed how the phrases — “lack of candor,” “self-serving,” “post-hoc rationalization,” “calculated attempt to influence public discourse … in favor of President Trump” — define the day-to-day activities of the Trump administration in areas far beyond the attorney general’s shenanigans.

The same lack of candor that Walton saw in Barr is now causing confusion and panic as Trump and his political lieutenants paint a picture of the spreading coronavirus that is utterly at odds with what the nation’s public health experts are saying... 

Trump administration orders immigration courts to immediately remove coronavirus posters


The Executive Office for Immigration Review, which falls under the Department of Justice, told all judges and staff members in an email Monday that all coronavirus posters, which explain in English and Spanish how to prevent catching and spreading the virus, had to be removed immediately. 

“This is just a reminder that immigration judges do not have the authority to post, or ask you to post, signage for their individual courtrooms or the waiting areas,” wrote Christopher A. Santoro, the country’s acting chief immigration judge in a mass email to immigration court administrators nationwide. 

“Per our leadership, the CDC flyer is not authorized for posting in the immigration courts. If you see one (attached), please remove it. Thank you.” 

The email comes after the National Association of Immigration Judges — the union that represents U.S. immigration judges— sent a message to immigration judges suggesting that they post a coronavirus precaution flyer produced by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in public areas of the courts.


An annual intelligence report that has been postponed without explanation by President Donald Trump’s administration warns that the U.S. remains unprepared for a global pandemic, two senior government officials who have reviewed a draft of the report tell TIME.

The office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) was scheduled to deliver the Worldwide Threat Assessment to the House Intelligence Committee on Feb. 12 and the hearing has not been rescheduled, according to staffers and members of the House and Senate intelligence committees. The DNI’s office declined requests for a comment on the status of the report. Democratic staffers say they do not expect the report to be released any time soon.

The final draft of the report remains classified but the two officials who have read it say it contains warnings similar to those in the last installment, which was published on January 29, 2019. The 2019 report warns on page 29 that, “The United States will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support.”
The 2019 warning was the third time in as many years that the nation’s intelligence experts said that a new strain of influenza could lead to a pandemic, and that the U.S. and the world were unprepared. “Although the international community has made tenuous improvements to global health security, these gains may be inadequate to address the challenge of what we anticipate will be more frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases because of rapid unplanned urbanization, prolonged humanitarian crises, human incursion into previously unsettled land, expansion of international travel and trade, and regional climate change,” the 2019 threat assessment warned.

Rather than acting on these recurrent warnings and bolstering America’s ability to respond to an outbreak, the Trump administration has instead cut back money and personnel from pandemic preparedness.

Trump and GOP mount coordinated campaign to paint Biden as senile

The president settles on a schoolyard strategy to take out his likely general election opponent.

Mar. 9, 2020

You be the judge. The Senate is going to investigate Hunter Biden. Here's his first interview. See what you think abut how he handles himself.

The doctor with the stupid grin
Redfield, head of the CDC, is an evangelical Christians who has been associated with HIV research for many years, going back to the 1980s. Redfield has been involved with Children's AIDS Fund International, which lobbies for abstinence-only sex education around the world.

* I wonder whether if those who shook his hand come down with coronavirus were given a contact number to call to alert the White House that Trump was exposed.h he Secret Service agent's don't look too happy.

Here are 7 brutal comments from experts about Donald Trump’s mental stability

Mar. 8, 2020

Some of my thoughts:

Trump will try to take every precaution to keep from getting it so it will be interesting to see what precautions, if any, he takes if he actually ends up holding rallies. Just walking to the podium puts him in proximity to airborne coronavirus. Is he going to order the Secret Service to monitor people for symptoms before they enter the rally site including taking their temperature, or just those who get to be within a certain distance from him? That actually makes sense but doesn't prevent someone who is contagious but hasn't developed major symptoms yet from passing on the disease. The fact is that the virus is more likely to spread to those attending the rally than to the president. But there is a concern that members of the Secret Service could contract it from them.
TRUMP'S CRAZY FANTASY WORLD, EXCERPT: And it has become common among his attackers to say the president is deranged, suffering from malignant narcissism.
............... We can vividly see in this crisis how close to the surface Trump’s id is and how easily he cleaves to delusions. He personalizes everything so much that when things go bad, he can only see it as an attack on him by the forces out to get him.
He seems psychologically incapable of dealing with a virus that is complex and uncertain. The virus will be in every community and needs truth, honesty and intelligence — all absent from the unstable Trump, who at his core is a frightened boy and pretender.

Major conservative paper wallops Trump with brutal editorial blasting his coronavirus debacle

In an absolutely scathing editorial in the conservative Washington Examiner, Executive Editor Philip Klein eviscerated Donald Trump for his handling of the growing coronavirus epidemic — saying the actions taken by his administration are proof the president is woefully unprepared to handle a crisis.
Under a blunt headline stating, “Coronavirus is exposing Trump’s unsuitability to handle a crisis,” Klein writes, “President Trump’s bombastic style has served him well through many stages of his political career, but as the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout the United States, it is exposing how deeply unsuited he is to deal with a genuine crisis that he can’t bluff his way through.”

Trump refusing to halt MAGA rallies as coronavirus surges

How big is the danger? It depends who you ask.


Now is the time to go on the offense — against Trump, Jennifer Rubin, Wash. Post

It is not simply that Trump is an ignorant narcissist; rather, the concern is that his ignorant narcissism poses a risk to the country — one that brings us to the brink of war with Iran, emboldens Russia and leaves the United States vulnerable to a pandemic, which in turn may bring on a recession.
Perhaps some voters who cast their ballots for Trump in 2016 did not realize how bad he would be once in office, or they had bet on the Republicans restraining him. Maybe they deeply loathed Hillary Clinton. Now there is no excuse to keep him in power. And Bloomberg’s bottomless wallet should pay for ads to blanket the airwaves reminding them just how dangerous he is.

Mar. 7, 2020 Local Oregon: Four new cases.

Click to see my tweet

As Americans Continue To Get Coronavirus, Trump Shows He Doesn’t Really Care except about himself and that he's so smart he could have been a doctor

None of these facts stopped the president from patting himself on the back as he bragged about being as smart as the public health experts tasked with handling the situation.
“People are really surprised I understand this stuff,” Trump said during a press briefing at the CDC. “Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability.”

A House committee should investigate this: How testing failures allowed coronavirus to sweep the U.S.


The right wanted to destroy the "administrative state": Coronavirus is why we need it, Salon

For three years, Trump has destroyed the federal government from within. Now we begin to see the true price. It is not merely Trump's ignorance and imbecility that creates a country unprepared and ill equipped to deal with a health problem, but the entire ideology that underwrites his incompetence. 

Many Americans, perhaps most, appear to view the president as a public intellectual or shock-jock media personality. Voters increasingly pledge their loyalty to a candidate who not only articulates what they want to hear, but does so in the way they want to hear it. One problem with this reduction of the presidency — one among many — is that it eliminates nearly everything that the federal government does from political consideration. 
Donald Trump gains support from his congregants, rather than loses it, when he excels in the only role that he is capable of performing — a weird combination of dive-bar drunkard, unable to filter the stream of pollutants that move through his mind and out his mouth, and Fox News talking head. A former reality television star and a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, Trump represents the culmination of "infotainment," the process that has dragged politics from the Lincoln-Douglas debates down to relentless name-calling, bloviation and lies.

Trump's mental state — not Biden's — is the real concern, mental health professionals say

Cape Cod Canal

Mar. 6, 2020
Hardly anybody read this Daily Kos story. However, it is gratifying when the subject of my story did read it:
His reply: "Their loss."

Donald Trump Triggers Furious Backlash Over ‘Go To Work’ With Coronavirus Claim, and one tweeted reply stands out because it is so true. The people who take his advice are his voters!

This of course is merely my opinion: We need experts in addition to Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee to share the spotlight when publicizing issues related to how Trump's psychopatholgy is dangerous. Just because she edited the book "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump" doesn't make her the only one who is qualified to make statements about this. Editing a book is not the same as writing a book.
Besides, being interviewed in a progressive website like Salon is preaching to the choir, most of whom by now what with articles and interviews by Chauncey DeVega and Igor Derysh have become redundant.

What we need is for our continent of eminent mental health professionals to break out of the confines of liberal media and take their message to the general public. They should try to get published in USA Today like John D Gartner did.

Forget Salon, forget The NY Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, etc. These readers already know Trump is psychologically unfit and by now they know why.

I think there is a point of diminishing returns which we, those in the media, have already reached. I include myself with my literal hundreds of articles I posted on Daily Kos about the various aspects of Trump's malignant narcissism.

The word is finally filtering down into public consciousness. Consider my stories yesterday and the day before (links in comment).

We would do better to write letters to the editors of our local papers speaking as therapists who can make our case from the area of our expertise.

Here's some advice to break the reflexive habit of touching your face. It is the science based substitution of a risky habit with a safe one. It is usually used by behavioral psychologists to help people break a habit like the craving of eating sweets with eating an apple instead. 

People often have an itch on their face or especially if they have allergies, their eyes, which they scratch without thinking. In fact, merely thinking of an itch on your face can trigger the perception of one.

What you need to learn is instantly to recognize the itch and stop the reflective action of scratch (ah, the instant relief!) and distract yourself by scratching someplace else like the monkeys below.

You can discover a new pleasure in the head scratch which can be used to show how smart you are when pondering the existential questions of life, or where you put your house keys.

Mar. 5, 2020

This is what I see as the slipperiness of Bernie: Sanders Deflects To ‘People Of Color’ When Pushed On Lack Of Black Support

Quote: Now history is repeating itself. And this time around, it’s magnified by Trump’s pathological narcissism, which leads him to treat anyone bringing bad news as an enemy, and his sociopathic unconcern about telling black-is-white, up-is-down lies. from Dystopia Journal #39: Heckuva Job

Video diversions

Indi Wire and my streaming video reviews of the Amazon Prime NAZI hunting Al Pacino movie

This is from IndiWire:  Hunters” is the kind of black-comic thriller that takes a common phrase like “eat shit” to the literal extreme, but couches its outrageous moments in historical import. Al Pacino isn’t just spoon-feeding poop to a random bad guy — he’s shoveling shit into a suspected Nazi. If that sounds like a wish you want to see fulfilled, Amazon’s historical-fiction series will serve it up, time and time again, though it’s worth noting this is actually one of the more low-key (and less inventive) torture scenes. The review was written after only five episodes. I wonder if it would have been more critical if the reviewer saw the final 10.

My review:  I can’t beIieve I watched all 10 episodes mostly because I needed a break from Trump but also I was in awe at how cartoonish it could become on such a serious sober subject of the Holocaust and Nazi's trying to establish the Forth Reich. 

What with the dance scene at the amusement park, the hallucinations, and flashbacks I wondered how far the plot could go without the story jumping the shark without being eaten by the shark it was jumping so many times the toothy Selachimorpha had to have water ski marks etched into its heterocercal tail and dorsal fin. 

No spoiler here, but I have to say the the final scene actually surprised me because not only did the show jump merely the shark, it buried the skis firmly into the heart of the hapless shark. 

If it is renewed I really can’t see how far they can go into total comic-book land.

How Elizabeth Warren took down Mike Bloomberg and Chris Matthews

Lot's has been written about this regarding breaking other pervasive bad habits (eating sweets, smoking, etc) however the face touching or scratching is instantaneous and almost reflexive. Therefore success will take work. You have to identify the feeling like an itch on your face or a sense that your eyes are dry and substitute a distracting physical response like, as shown in the drawings, scratching your head. For me the back of my neck works.

A very rare day about two years ago with snow on the ground where I live in Portland, OR

Mar. 4, 2020

Hal's snarky tweet of the morning:

Harry Reid: Joe Biden is the Democrat best equipped to oust Trump and stabilize America

Joe Biden represents the starkest possible contrast to Donald Trump. There is no one better to right the wrongs of the past four years than this man.

Harry Reid
Opinion contributor

As Trump continues peddling hate, division and cruelty, both rhetorically and in his policies, we need a candidate steeped in empathy and compassion — someone who is truly gifted at bringing people together. Joe Biden has experienced unimaginable tragedy in his life, and those experiences made him one of the most empathetic and compassionate people I have ever known. After Trump’s apathy, narcissism, hate and division, America needs a president who can reestablish America’s focus on justice and compassion in an administration and its policies.
Donald Trump represents the worst in American politics. He embraces and exploits America’s basest instincts. To defeat him, we need a candidate who represents the best of America — and everything that Trump isn’t.
History will remember Trump as the nation’s worst president. We must unite behind the candidate who is not only the best equipped to win, but also able to lead us past Trump’s dark chapter in American history.
That candidate is Joe Biden.

Samantha Power votes for Biden, praises his 'empathy and decency'


The foundations of a progressive policy platform are empathy and decency, which @JoeBiden embodies to a truly rare extent,” Power tweeted Tuesday. “These qualities are also the antithesis of the narcissism and cruelty of @realDonaldTrump. The contrast will be stark.”

"@JoeBiden is running not to go back in time or to 'unite' w/ a @GOP that now cares more about itself than the country," she added. "He is running to bring America to a place where we care for one another, where everyone is seen and included & where government has your back when you stumble."

Clickbait title: Trump has trapped us all in a nightmare whirlwind — but he’ll eventually jump ship - by Tom Engelhardt, but you have to get to the very end to find out about him jumping ship. 

Cutting to the chase: 
Now, to be honest with you, I’m sick of both Donald Trump and the fake news media. No, I mean it.  Sometimes, I dream of bringing back my long-dead parents and showing them our Trumpian world in which, for instance, Americans fight a range of endlessly unsuccessful wars across a remarkable swath of the planet. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is indulged in its urge to recreate a militarized version of the Cold War, including a new multi-trillion dollar nuclear arms race; a world in which, however — and this would have been beyond comprehension to them — “infrastructure week” in Washington, the very idea of putting significant sums of money into rebuilding the crumbling basics in this country, has become little short of a joke. Oh, and of course, I’d have to tell them that, since their deaths, we — some of us at least — have accepted that the planet itself, thanks to the burning of fossil fuels, is now overheating in a radical way.
There is, however, one thing I’ve never doubted about The Donald: that, as he did with his five flaming, bankrupt casinos in Atlantic City in the early 1990s, when the moment comes, he’ll jump ship in the nick of time, money in hand, leaving the rest of us to go down on the USS Constitution (with no get-out-of-jail-free card in sight).
Pardon me? Don’t count on it. Pardon you. I wouldn’t hold my breath. But pardon him? You bet! Consider it a done deal.

A U.S. Embassy Refused to Test Exposed Staff for Coronavirus

Symptoms of bureaucratic blindness: Tokyo embassy employees who visited infected America patients from the cruise ship Diamond Princess were told they didn’t need tests.

Mar. 3, 2020

Ed. Comment about above tweet:  There is lots of speculation that Trump is on Adderall or some other drug, but I think the adoration from rally crowds is his drug of choice and also to a lesser extent the narcissistic gratification and self-affirmation he gets from sycophants who come to worship at the White House.

Shrinks understand the underlying and unconscious self-doubt that fuels this. We understand that whatever anxiety that manifest itself (is experienced) is short-lived because Trump has no coping mechanism to deal with anxiety besides anger. He uses twitter and reports are has rage attacks to vent.

However he needs a self-soothing mechanism. Because he is a malignant narcissist incapable of empathy or of experiencing the real love of others whereas a merely neurotic person might turns to a spouse or someone very close to them, he has nobody. As Justin Frank and others have pointed out he is emotionally isolated and walled off.

What happens when he can't get his fix?

“He is infantile. He’s dominated by impulses, by suspicion, by a need to always win, by a fantasy that he has to do everything himself, which is what you see in children when they say: ‘Don’t help me, mommy. I’m going tie my own shoes.’ Then you wait for 45 minutes for the shoes to get tied before you can get out of the house. He’s, like, anti-dependent.”

Donald Trump: the making of a narcissist

Does he think Trump is capable of feeling love? “No. He needed his first wife, Ivana, but once they got together he really needed her to be subservient to him, like many men do. So I don’t know about love or real, deep concern for her wellbeing. Love involves being able to have ruth, as opposed to being ruthless. Being able to feel concern and care, and I just don’t think he had that.

“I also don’t think he ever felt loved and I think that’s also partly why he tweets so much and has to say ‘I’m getting an A+ as president’ so often, because if he didn’t get love outside, he’s going to compensatorily love himself. ‘If don’t get love from you guys, I know I’m the best.’”

EXCERPT: At a rally in North Carolina on Monday night, this actually happened: President Trump ripped into a resurgent Joe Biden by claiming he bungles facts and often appears confused.
Yes, Trump suggested the former vice president is mentally unfit for the presidency.
Let it be noted that this came only hours after Trump held an open session on coronavirus, at which he stumbled over the concept of vaccines and seemed to suggest he has no idea that clinical trials are required for medications.

And this came at a time when the administration’s coronavirus response has been marred by Trump’s own all-consuming pathologies. Trump’s initial instinct was to rage at the media for treating him unfairly, to deny the outbreak’s seriousness because it might rattle the markets and to decline to bring in an outside coordinator in part out of fear of that person’s disloyalty.
Does Trump really want to open the door to a debate over mental fitness for the presidency?

Task Force Expert Instantly Contradicts Trump On ‘Quick’ Coronavirus Vaccine — Again --- and Twitter piles on


Portland,  Or

MAR. 2, 2020


Mar. 1, 2020

I changed my title:

Cult-Like Ignorance is Death: Trump and the Coronavirus

Excerpt (first use of the term criminogenic I've seen):

This criminogenic administration poses a serious threat to the nation and the globe. If there is anything to learn from an earlier time about governments wedded to ignorance, racism, anti-intellectualism, racial cleansing, and the glorification of ultra-nationalism, it is now. Trump and his merry band of incompetent lackeys are symbols of a necropolitics that is wedded to destruction, violence, greed, falsehoods, and the needs of capital. Terminal idiocy, cult like absolutism, bottomless ignorance, and unbridled arrogance and narcissism have given rise to a form of neoliberal fascism and a culture of cruelty unlike anything we have seen since the 1930s. This is what neo fascism looks like when it ignores social needs for the demands of cravenly loyalty and the accumulation of power and profits. Trump is a menace and danger to the world not just the United States. Obsessed with loyalty, he hates competing centers of power,  ravages public health services in favor of his free market, privatization, and deregulation while putting unqualified political hacks such as White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow in important positions of leadership. Ludlow recently claimed that the spread of the virus was almost airtight contained in spite of growing evidence to the contrary.

Nazi Germany once showed us what the end of humanity looked like. Trump and his followers have revived that threat. Trading on a culture of fear, lies, false promises, massive anxiety, and the demand for unconditioned loyalty, Trump thus far has managed to keep his neoliberal fascist administration, afloat, in spite of his repeated acts of domestic terrorism—violence waged against the populations he is supposed to represent. The coming crisis may prove his undoing. Let’s hope one byproduct of this crisis is what Walter Benjamin once called “profane illumination” leading to massive collective resistance. One place to begin might be to take seriously Bertolt Brecht’s argument that it is impossible to condemn fascism without condemning capitalism.

I watched this interview with Chris Matthews and Sen. Elizabeth Warren and I thought immediately that he was off way base and that she was correct in confronting him. I also thought she did it well. Now this, and another remark, are causing well deserved consequences to this stalwart at MSNBC who earns $5 million a year.

Numor break (my word for humor that isn't really funny) from SNL

This is behind the Daily Beast paywall but Alert summarizes it: GOP strategist lays out his plan for Obama to help snatch the White House away from Trump


Washington State Probing Troubling Coronavirus Outbreak In Nursing Home

I added to my earthquake (aka "The Big One") emergency food supply early yesterday morning to beat the crowds. Pandemic food can go in the fridge. Since I live in an excellent 500 resident senior continuing care facility should we be quarantined  the staff will assure we are well fed, but I wanted to have my own supply.

Just saying: If you type virus, microbe, or bacteria into a text message you will get this emoji.

Cape Cod
Feb. 29,2020
My tweet, click to enlarge, he called it a hoax yesterday and tried to take it back today:
Trump: “Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that … coronavirus. We did one of the great jobs, you say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’ They say, ‘Oh, not good. Not good.’ They have no clue. They don’t have any clue.  … They tried to beat you on ‘Russia, Russia, Russia,’ that didn’t work out to well. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything. They tried over and over. They been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning, they lost, it’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax.”
Click to enlarge

Donald Trump’s war on coronavirus is just his latest war on truth | Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

  • Trump has nodded in a similarly conspiracist direction, tweeting that the media are doing all they can “to make the Caronavirus [sic] look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible”. That reference to the markets is key. 
  • And so his first instinct is that of the Manhattan hustler-hotelier loudly assuring guests that the strong smell of burning coming from the ground floor is merely the chef trying out a new barbecue rather than a sign that the building is on fire. Crucial to that effort is talking loudly over the fire marshals, or even gagging them altogether.
  • You could see that when Trump spoke in the White House briefing room, brazenly contradicting the experts by his side. 
  • Note the fate of Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. On Thursday he dared say that “we are dealing with a serious virus” with a higher mortality rate than regular flu. That was deemed insufficiently upbeat for the great leader. According to the New York Times, “Dr Fauci has told associates that the White House had instructed him not to say anything else without clearance.”
  • The new mantra, it seems, is to be one of Trump’s favourite phrases: repeated again on Thursday: “Nobody really knows.” That could be the motto of post-truthists such as Trump, conveying the hope that voters will become confused, concluding that no truth is ever even possible, and that in the fog of information and rumour it’s best simply to trust the man in charge. That’s what Trump wants every American to believe, about coronavirus and everything else for that matter: nobody really knows.
Their drawing is worth 1000 words:

Below: The latest book about Trump, Sink in the Swamp
We'd originally pitched the title, "Another S**tstorm in F**ktown: The Donald J. Trump Odyssey." We, or at the very least I, earnestly wanted that to be the title of the book. In my point of view, it is an appropriate title for a book about the current political era. Now, everybody involved in the decision-making process actually had a sway over this—book agents or people working for the publisher 100 percent vetoed that title. The compromise was that "Another S**tstorm in F**ktown" is the title of the first chapter of the book. You can't get everything in life, but there's compromises to be had.

What would you do if Trump defender and Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight called you, mistakenly believing you were Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and shared his ideas to help President Trump win re-election? Would you let him talk or inform him he had the wrong number? How would you react if Rudy Giuliani suddenly texted you, claiming he was being held hostage on an airplane by Robert Mueller, who wouldn't release him until he ratted out Trump? Would you laugh it off or write about it?

These are just a small fraction of the experiences that Daily Beast reporters Asawin "Swin" Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay lay out in their new book about covering Trump World, "Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump's Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington." Suebsaeng and I spoke about the book recently on "Salon Talks."

"Sinking in the Swamp" is a no-holds-barred look at the reporters' first-hand experiences of covering all things Trump. As Suebsaeng details, Trump's Washington hotel is "swamp central," where administration officials and their dubious allies flock to show their loyalty, while in essence paying tribute to their leader by spending lavishly at the hotel he owns.

Suebsaeng and Markay also detail their hilarious interactions with Trump's best-known defenders in the media — some of whom I've had run-ins with as well — from Sebastian "Dragon of Budapest" Gorka to Dan "Own the Libs" Bongino. They also reveal who the two biggest liars in TrumpWorld are — and that's a stiff competition.
Despite this buffet of hucksters, liars and all around ethics-free sleazebags, Suebsaeng makes that the most dangerous person of all is the swamp's proprietor, Donald J. Trump. And if he wins again in November, no one can predict how deep, dark and dangerous that swamp will become. Watch my "Salon Talks" with Asawin Suebsaeng here, or read a transcript of our conversation below, lightly edited for length and clarity.

Trump Touts Border Wall In Face Of Coronavirus: ‘Border Security Is Health Security’

“You’ve all seen the wall is going up like magic,” he continued, saying they’d “have 500 miles built by very early next year.” 
“We will do everything in our power to keep the infection from entering our country. We have no choice,” Trump said. “Whether it’s the virus that we’re talking about or many other public health threats, the Democrat policy of open borders is a direct threat to the health and well-being of all Americans… Now you see it with the coronavirus.”
“When you have this virus... or any other problem coming in. It’s not the only thing that comes through the border,” Trump said. “And now just using this — so important, right? So important.”
Dr. Celine Gounder — a clinical assistant professor of infectious diseases at New York University and host of the podcast “Epidemic” — said Trump’s remarks “show a real lack of understanding on the way diseases spread.” 

Mike Huckabee Sickens Twitter Users With Coronavirus Scenario Involving Donald Trump

The former GOP Arkansas governor used a bonkers analogy to take aim at “the left & media.” It backfired.

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