January 14, 2023

When it came to surviving Covid, Trump was really Teflon Don

When it came to surviving Covid, Trump was really Teflon Don 
By Hal Brown

Click images below to enlarge.

The original photoshop was tweeted by Trump himself:

Below: The original Teflon don
About the photo of Trump:
I wanted to find a photo of Trump looking as bad as possible and an image search of "Trump looking bad" turned up this one taken by an official White House photographer. Here's an article about it.

This word leaped off the screen when I read this article in Medscape.


Which Treatments Improve Long-term Outcomes of Critical COVID Illness?

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Treatment with interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor antagonists or antiplatelet agents improves survival and outcomes at 6 months for critically ill patients with COVID-19, according to new data.

However, survival wasn't improved with therapeutic anticoagulation, convalescent plasma, or lopinavir-ritonavir, and survival was worsened with hydroxychloroquine.

"After critically ill patients leave the hospital, there's a high risk of readmission, death after discharge, or exacerbations of chronic illness," study author Patrick Lawler, MD, a clinician-scientist at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at University Health Network and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, told Medscape Medical News.

"When looking at the impact of treatment, we don't want to improve short-term outcomes yet worsen long-term disability," he said. "That long-term, 6-month horizon is what matters most to patients."

Remember this?

Of course anyone who isn't a brainwashed and brain dead Trump cultist can't forget this:

And then there's hapless Dr. Birx who has to forever live with these moments:

Then we had the publicity stunt which was meant to show both how invulnerable he was and how Covid was no big deal:
This is an excerpt:

In the midst of an aggressive course of treatment for coronavirus, President Donald Trump left the hospital with his security detail Sunday so he could ride in an SUV past supporters cheering him on outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

The short trip, where Trump waved to his supporters through the window while wearing a mask in the back of his SUV, was an attempted show of strength that displayed the President’s questionable judgment, his willingness to endanger his staff and the fact that he still does not seem to comprehend the seriousness of a highly contagious and deadly disease.

Trump’s doctors on Sunday provided concerning details about his condition to reporters – including two alarming drops in his oxygen levels. But the late Sunday photo op underscored that the chief concern for the President, who was furious at his chief of staff for telling reporters about his troubling vital signs, is projecting a commanding image to the public.

An attending physician at Walter Reed harshly criticized Trump’s Sunday drive-by as a risk to the lives of Secret Service agents who accompanied him in his SUV. 

“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity,” Dr. James Phillips tweeted.

The original Teflon don was Mafia boss John Gotti. He was given this nickname because of the way he avoided legal consequences for his crimes for so many years. He eventually was sentenced to life in prison. He spent the majority of his sentence in effective solitary confinement, allowed out of his cell for only one hour a day. This is how he spent the final years of his life at the US Penitentiary in Marion, ILL

It is a fortuitous coincidence that when referring to Trump with this moniker the word "don" has two meanings, don as the head of a crime family and "Don" as in Donald.

Not only has Trump followed in Gotti's footsteps when it comes to staying out of prison he managed to get elected president despite years of breaking the law. He proved to be Teflon in another way by avoiding dying when he contracted Covid prior to the development of vaccines.

It remains to be seen whether some of his off the rails behavior is a form of long Covid. There's no way to determine this now but one thing we can say for sure is that he's alive and kicking.

If Trump has an autopsy made public after he dies it is possible we will know whether Covid had invaded his brain. Consider, also from Medscape that 
The researchers said their work shows the virus "is capable of infecting and replicating within the human brain." They also said their results indicate the virus spreads via the blood early during infection, which "seeds the virus throughout the body following infection of the respiratory tract."

Can you imagine what would happen if Trump cultists learn that Covid has invaded Trump's brain, Trump who claimed he had the biggest brain, or as he put it a very, very large brain, also had, literally not figuratively, a very sick brain. 

Comment below or on Facebook or on Mastodon. You can make a reply on Twitter too.

January 13, 2023

More Schadenfreude: John Bolton, Trump, and DeSantis for President

More Schadenfreude: John Bolton, Trump, and DeSantis for President
By Hal Brown

I used two  John Bolton caricatures by the great DonkeyHotey in my blog today. I like the one on the right showing his incredible growing mustache. Mustache Maximus. How much bigger can you make it before it goes off the page? 

The story on HUFFPOST showing in the lower left above has nothing to do with John Bolton' s presidential announcement. Bolton is quoted saying that Trump “is the luckiest man in American politics" and that "this ought to be disqualifying to both of them" referring to the current and former president.

Also from HUFFPOST:

Bolton, a fierce Trump critic, predicted that the significant legal differences between the two cases would "get lost in the fog.” Now, he finds it hard to believe that Trump can be prosecuted for the Mar-a-Lago documents, regardless of the circumstances.

“I don’t see how a criminal case goes forward at this point,” Bolton said. “I just think it’s such a cloud over the prosecution.”

Why HUFFPOST featured John Bolton in this article  seemed odd to me at first but then I realized he is the only other announced candidate for president unless you count Ye.

When I saw this it was news to me even though it broke a week ago. I haven't been paying attention. I did a web search and found out that this wasn't exactly breaking news:

I clicked on the article on the right above based the word "ridiculous" in the title which was what I was thinking:

Click above for article
I am bolding the sections of the quotes below which I thought we telling.


Earlier today, John Bolton officially entered the 2024 U.S. presidential race with an announcement to the British media. Bolton, who was George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations during the Iraq War and Donald Trump’s national security adviser until he was fired via Twitter, insisted in his Good Morning Britain interview that this is not a joke or a shameless attempt to sell more books and boost his speaker fees. “I wouldn’t run as a vanity candidate,” he said. “If I didn’t think I could run seriously, then I wouldn’t get in the race.”

Here's the interview:

Trump called Bolton one of the dumbest people he's ever worked. Trump fired him in Sept. 2019 after they clashed on positions on N. Korea and Afghanistan. Bolton said that Trump's support within the party itself was in permanent decline.

The New York Magazine Intelligencier article concludes:

Is it possible that there are a few Republican voters who hate Trump, love U.S. military intervention, and think Ron DeSantis is insufficiently mustachioed? I suppose so. But Bolton winning the 2024 GOP presidential nomination feels less plausible than the idea that he’s dabbling in comedic performance art.

These are quotes from the NY Post article:

“If I don’t see that, I’m going to seriously consider getting in,” Bolton said at the time, later adding: “I think to be a presidential candidate you can’t just say, ‘I support the Constitution.’ You have to say, ‘I would oppose people who would undercut it.’”

On Friday, Bolton told the British broadcaster that he specifically wants to derail Trump, who has called his onetime subordinate a “liar,” a “dope” and “a disgruntled boring fool.”

Here's a one sentence article which has 985 comments which you can read here. 

This story was covered in India in Republic World. Here's a quote:

Bolton had made his aspirations known in December last year, when he suggested that he would run for president if no other candidate from the Republican party comes forward to slam Trump for his remarks on terminating the US Constitution. “I’d like to see Shermanesque statements from all the potential candidates. If I don’t see that, I’m going to seriously consider getting in,” he told NBC, adding that Trump’s statement should be enough for his disqualification for public office. ‘“I think to be a presidential candidate you can’t just say, ‘I support the constitution’. You have to say, ‘I would oppose people who would undercut it’,” he added. 

Bolton served as Trump’s national security adviser between April 2018 to September 2019. Previously, he believed that he didn’t bag the secretary of state post as Trump was not a fan of his mustache. Later on, in September 2019, Bolton left the Trump administration and said that he had quit. On the contrary, Trump said that he had been sacked from the job.

The Trump mustache rejection fits with this story: Trump Rejected Nikki Haley as Running Mate Over ‘Complexion Problem’.

While the country, possibly much of the world, is waiting with baited breathe for Ron "The Fairly Sane High IQ Malignant Narcissist Culture Warrior" DeSantis (read "Gov. DeSantis’ attack on New College isn’t about philosophy; it’s about votes")

 to declare that he's going to take on Donald "Bizzaro World" Trump I suppose HUFFPOST didn't have anyone else to quote in their article.

A few days ago I wrote about the Schadenfreude I experience watching McCarthy and the MAGA marauders in the House trying to deflect questions about George Santos.

I think that if we end up with a three-way primary season with Trump, DeSantis, and Bolton going hair to head to mustache it will be equally delightful to watch these three snipe at each other.

I wouldn't dismiss Bolton's candidacy as a joke the way New York Magazine did in calling it ridiculous. His announcing it on British TV could have been a savvy PR ploy if he thought he would get more extensive coverage in the United States by giving a long interview in England.

A significant number of Republican voters may be sick of Trump's 20 of the same worn out tricks pony act and the increasing evidence he has become a ranting, raving, delusional drunk uncle. DeSantos and his culture war may not play well outside of Florida and deeply red states populated by a large number of bigots and morons.

Despite his mockable mustache John Bolton may look like the only adult left in the GOP candidate waiting room. In fact if MAGA Republicans give him a chance they may become enamored with the mustache. Leaving out Hitler, there are many examples nine of whom who are known not only for their accomplishments but also for their mustaches are shown below:

Bolton's reputation as a proponent of the U.S. being an aggressive international actor may play well with Republican voters. For example read:

He begins: Among the many unwelcome legacies of Donald Trump’s random walk through foreign and defense policy during his presidency, the resurgence of isolationism and know-nothingism in the Republican Party is among the most distasteful and dangerous. 
And he concludes: Isolationism has never entirely disappeared from the Republican Party’s fringes, and the Democrats’ leftist marches are perennial habitats for this virus. 
Trump, however, fostered a toxic environment within which the virus spread. More prosaically, years of neglect have left us with inadequate supplies of existing weapons, demonstrated currently, for example, by the pressure to supply Ukraine with anti-tank Javelin missiles without completely depleting our own arsenals. 
New weapons systems to outpace China in all combat domains are critically needed, to say nothing of what we and our allies need elsewhere in the world. In particular, we need a dramatically expanded, modernized Navy to deter and contain China in the vast Pacific and Indian Ocean expanses. 
We have wasted decades by not expanding and improving our national missile-defense assets, a requirement defensive by definition and one that even isolationists should be willing to support. 
Dominance in space and cyberspace is essential not just for military purposes but to keep the homeland alive and functioning during crisis or conflict situations. And as was evident well before Covid but has been inescapable since, we need resilient, sustained American production capabilities for national-security requirements, with no reliance on insecure foreign supply chains.
This is from his Twitter page:

The damage from isolationism is already evident, starting with the retreat from Afghanistan, a blundering, bipartisan flight from reality. This unforced error, the epitome of Trumpian isolationism, reflects disdain for the interests sacrificed.
The pursuit of U.S. interests remains the foundation of conservative national security policy. These interests are concrete: defending our territory and people; guarding commercial interests; access to resources; and reliable protection for our allies.
Among the unwelcome legacies of Trump’s presidency, the resurgence of isolationism is among the most dangerous. The GOP must urgently overcome it or there's little hope of advancing a larger agenda. Now is the time, no matter how difficult the fight.

January 12, 2023

Gen. Kelley called Trump dumb, immoral, ignorant, and lazy. Add this to the Dark Tetrad.

Gen. Kelley called Trump dumb, immoral, ignorant, and lazy. Add this to the Dark Tetrad.
By Hal Brown

DonkeyHotey has created uncountable caricatures of Trump, politicians, and others in the news, many of which are used on Crooks and Liars and other well known websites. I often find they capture the essence of Trump and use them in my blog, for example today. I spent a lot of time finding the right emojis for dumb, immoral, ignorant, and lazy and needed an image to put them on.

Click above to read article that prompted this blog

I am weary of writing variations of the same thing from my perspective as having been a psychotherapist for 40 years and analyzing Trump's psychopathology. Use DuckDuckGo to search my name and Trump delusional and the first three links are stories I wrote. Oh well, here's yet another.

Gen. John Kelley gives us another tetrad to add to an assessment of Trump in addition to the Dark Tedrad which is as follows:

The anti-social personality traits of narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism. Narcissism involves the tendency to be overly concerned with one’s self-image, Machiavellianism involves the tendency to be deceitful and manipulative, psychopathy includes callousness and lack of remorse, and sadism involves pleasure from inflicting pain on others.

This is an excerpt from RAWSTORY:

Michael Schmidt told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" about what Kelly learned about the former president and his abilities. Schmidt appeared Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to discuss the upcoming paperback edition of his book, Donald Trump V. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President, which includes new revelations from John Kelly.

"So when Kelly came in as chief of staff, he thought that the problem around Trump was that he was not staffed properly and they needed to create a process around him, and that's what the chaos of the first six months of the administration was about," Schmidt said. "But when Kelly comes in as chief of staff, what he realizes is that the problem is not just the fact that there's not a process and that he's not being staffed as well as he could, but that Trump himself was the problem, that Trump was far dumber and immoral and ignorant and lazy than he ever thought he was."

 "Within a few days, he becomes terrified because here he is, the top staffer to the president of the United States, and he's realizing that the president of the United States is far more limited and potentially dangerous than he ever thought, and at that point, there was no one else to call," Schmidt added. "He was -- it was just him and Trump, and he basically spends the next 18 months trying to manage Trump as much as he could.

I don't know what to call being dumb, immoral, ignorant, and lazy. 

Add these personality traits to being an extreme narcissist prone to outbursts of rage when he feels attacked, a psychopath who has engaged repeatedly in criminal and antisocial behavior without remorse or empathy for those victimized, a sadist who takes pleasure in causing and observing the suffering of other, and believing that any means however unscrupulous can justifiably be used in achieving political power, i.e. Machiavellianism. 

While looking at Trump through the lens of my being a retired psychotherapist I have to add that if Trump believes some of the things he says he believes he is also showing signs of having a delusional psychosis. Read my blog from a a few days ago:

I characterize Trump as being a witches brew of toxicity emanating a deadly miasma which is intoxicating to members of his cult who unfortunately represent a base of voters that GOP politicians must pander to lest they risk not being elected. 

Those who should know better, who should realize that he, to reference another psychological concept, is a malignant narcissist. This includes the same traits of the Dark Tetrad. It is defined an extreme mix of narcissismantisocial behavioraggression, and sadism. Grandiose, and always ready to raise hostility levels, the malignant narcissist undermines families and organizations in which they are involved, and dehumanizes the people with whom they associate. 

A person with malignant narcissism exhibits paranoia in addition to the symptoms of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Because a malignant narcissist's personality cannot tolerate any criticism, being mocked typically causes paranoia.

The social psychologist Erich Fromm first coined the term "malignant narcissism" in 1964, describing it as a "severe mental sickness" representing "the quintessence of evil". He characterized the condition as "the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity"

If one objectively adds up all that we know about Donald Trump we see that there as only a few aspects of personality that makes him different than despotic genocidal leaders like Hitler and Putin responsible is three of the four characteristics described by Gen. Kelley: his being dumb, ignorant, and lazy. Of the four what he has in common is being totally immoral.

Almost irrelevant to governing is the observation made by NY Times columnist Jennifer Senior that Trump is a preening narcissist (I wrote about this here). Historic despots haven't always been as narcissistic as Trump. Idi Amin and his garb comes to mind and Putin liked to be photographed bare chested or practicing martial arts.

Below from Schmidt's book: It was raining and Trump told Kelley he didn't want to go.He didn't want his hair to be ruined, and he didn't understand why he should go to a memorial site for troops who had been killed. "They lost" he told Kelley.... and then he went on to call them losers and suckers.

January 11, 2023

Santos leads the GOP in eliciting Schadenfreude, no doubt more to come

 Santos leads the GOP in eliciting Schadenfreude, no doubt more to come
By Hal Brown, MSW

UPDATE: Jan. 29:

Original blog:

There's no word in English, or any other language for that matter, for the German word Schadenfreude. Following the German convention it is often capitalized, which is good since it means it doesn't need further emphasis here, although I am tempted to put it in bold. 

I experienced a delightful feeling of Schadenfreude when I read this article:

As far as I'm concerned, and I expect other Democrats too, the longer George Santos stays in the House the better. I am sure that many or most of the House Republicans wish he would just go away as quickly and quietly as possible. They may be able to sideline him but I have no doubt that he will make himself accessible to reporters eager to cover his every utterance. "If it bleeds, it leads" certainly applies to Santos, and he's hemorrhaging.

I am also watching reporters catching House Republicans being asked about Santos and enjoying watching them squirm as they deflect the questions.
Below top center, Steve Scalise:
Like Icarus, he is flying too close to the Sun

I don't think it is wishful thinking to be convinced that Santos will not be the first Schadenfreude inducer as the House Republicans in the Freedom Caucus, more appropriately called the Free-to-Be-Crazy Caucus, grind the necessary business of the House to a screeching halt as they go full-steam ahead on their vengeance train. 

I don't wish death or literal injury on anyone but I am reminded of incidents like this when a train went much faster than the tracks would support.

The more-or-less not mentally unbalanced GOP House members like Jim Jordan, for all his grimacing, screaming, and screeching may have stories like this written about him...

compared to the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert. and Matt Gaetz he's an exemplar of mental stability.

The Schadenfreude with Jordan probably won't come with his swatting at hallucinatory flying pigs during a televised hearing which he chairs. While I'd like to see him turn into a quivering mass of incoherence when one of the Democrats nails him I doubt it will happen. 

What I think will occur over time is that these hearings and investigations, especially the ones on the so-called weaponization of the federal government (read why this is the most dangerous) and Hunter Biden turn into Snipe hunts. I call it Schadenfreude delayed. When it happens...

.... for Republicans, and not in a good way... it will be a nightmare filled sleep they can't wake up from.

Updates: I really hoped George Santos would stay in the House for as long as possible, his being there causing rizik tsores (Yiddish for huge suffering) for Republicans. Now it looks like his days may be numbered. The Nassau County GOP called on him to resign. This makes it harder for House GOP to dodge the issue. 
I wonder who the aide by his side, who gets in the elevator with him, is.

January 10, 2023

Amanda Marcotte Said It All About The GOP House But Her Title Put It Mildly

 Amanda Marcotte Said It All About The GOP House But Her Title Put It Mildly
By Hal Brown

The lettering above comes from one of the images used to promote one of the versions of the Ray Bradbury novel of this name.

I was resting in bed after waking up this morning and thinking about writing something about what the next two years has in store for the country as the GOP turns the house into Benghazi on a malevolent mixture of steroids and psychedelics.   

Then I read this republished Salon essay by Amanda Marcotte on RAWSTORY.  (I like reading Salon articles on RAWSTORY because the later has a comments section and the former doesn't. If you prefer you can read this piece on Salon here.)

If it was up to me I would have changed the title of her essay. Instead of 

"Call it the Conspiracy Theory Congress: Things are about to get dangerously weird on Capitol Hill"

 I would have changed it to 

Call it the Conspiracy Theory Congress: Things are about to get treacherously weird on Capitol Hill

Amanda Marcotte addressed everything I was thinking and more better than I ever could.

I urge you to read what she wrote. I thought I'd bullet-point some of what stood out and it apropos that the word "bullet" in this term used in this particular context has another meaning. These are bullets aimed at the heart of our democracy.

  • The antics of various House committees, as they work hand-in-glove with Fox News to create and disseminate right wing conspiracy theories, will make an epsiode of Infowars seem downright sober-minded.
  • Having realized that they'll likely never get their desired ends through democratic means, they've determined democracy itself must go. And make no mistake: McCarthy and other GOP leaders are only too happy to go along with the program.
  • ...the current iteration of the GOP is functionally a fascist party and adheres to the knee-jerk fascist distaste for thinking, rational debate, and above all, letting facts guide your decision-making.
  • ...they will use the immense power and resources of the U.S. Congress to be a bullshit-generating machine. 
  • The hearings publicizing the conspiracy theories will be framed as "investigations," but no one should be fooled. The Republicans behind these lies, much less the right wing "journalists" who will elevate them, know full well it's all nonsense.
  • The purpose of these exercises in fantastical story-telling is, if anything, more diabolical than an old-fashioned desire to fool people. It's about a larger assault on truth itself, or more specifically, on the value that truth has in our society. The goal of the "alternative facts" crowd is to make truth no more relevant than lies.
  • The next two years of "hearings" will be much of the same: Lots of insinuations and false accusations, as well as incoherent ramblings that only make sense to those who are already well-versed in right wing conspiracy theories. Little, if any, effort will be put toward making any of these outlandish stories or conspiracy theories convincing. They aren't really meant to be believed. They are meant to alter the American relationship with reality so people lose all faith that the difference between true and false matters at all.
This all doesn't strike me as merely dangerous. I don't think it is hyperbole to say that treachery is what we as a nation is facing. 

Addendum 1: This is the second time I used an illustration form Something Wicked The Way Comes in a story. This is from May, 2016:

Addendum 2:

For whatever reason, Chris Hedges, the author of 

America's theater of the absurd: Our politics has become an endless carnival

Last week's power struggle between warring factions of charlatans, con men and "influencers" was only the beginning

 in Salon  decided to put, or allow to be poorly photoshopped, a clown nose onto President Biden as if he is cut from the same fascistic clothe as Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump. 

He wrote: The billionaire class, for the most part, prefers the mask of a Joe Biden, who broke the railroad unions. But it also knows that the goons and con artists on the far right will not interfere in its disemboweling of the nation.
This is the only reference to Biden in his essay. 

This is an example of bothsidesism. He isn't comparing apples and oranges. He's comparing an apple with a small bruise with a pit of venomous vipers.

Click "Read more" to continue.

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