June 17, 2023

On wanting a president who loves me, hates the people I hate, and makes me feel really, really good about myself.

 On wanting a president who loves me, hates the people I hate, and makes me feel really, really good about myself.


By Hal Brown


Let’s get this out of the way. I don’t think President Biden personally loves me. I don’t think he hates the people I hate because he’s a better person than I am. I think to the extent he hates, he hates what the people I hate believe and what they want the country to become. 

 

When I see him on TV I feel admiration for him but he doesn’t make me feel good about myself. The closest to this is feeling that he is speaking for me.


The closest thing I’ve done to wearing a hat showing to the world how much I admire him is wearing the Ray-Ban 3025 aviator sunglasses which Biden wears.



My partner bought them for me. Being about his age, I’d like to believe they make me look as badass in mine as I think he does in his. Dream on, Hal.


When I watch videos of the attendees at Trump rallies and see interviews with them I am struck by the ways they demonstrate their feelings for him. The minimalists sport the ubiquitous red MAGA baseball caps with either the four letters or the words spelled out. 


No MAGA hat is too big. 



Giving Trump credit for popularizing four letters which started as an abbreviation and became a word that took on a life on its own here’s what Wikipedia has to say:


Make America Great Again" or MAGA[a] is an American political slogan which was popularized by Donald Trump during his successful 2016 presidential campaign. The slogan became a pop culture phenomenon, seeing widespread use and spawning numerous variants in the arts, entertainment and politics, being used by those who support and oppose Trump's presidency. Since its popularization in the 1980s, the slogan used by Ronald Reagan originally has been accused by some of being a loaded phrase. Multiple journalists, scholars, and commentators have called the slogan racist, regarding it as dog-whistle politics and coded language.


Of course at rallies no Trump outfit is too garish. 



No Trump flag is too outlandishly worshipful and bellicose.


Those wearing the most extreme outfits may hope they’ll have their pictures make the news or that they will get them interviewed by TV reporters.


What all these Trump supporters have in common in addition to their off-the-charts high regard for him, and in many instances their belief that he is as close to an infallible deity that a human being can become, is that when these people gather together they feel a bond with each other.


They are with “their people” which means that they not only all believe Trump is their god but that he, or perhaps "He" is a more appropriate way to use the personal pronoun, loves them and hates the people they hate. He makes them feel special. 


Even those who seem to follow his rallies around the country wearing t-shirts that say “blacks for Trump” can feel good about having Trump’s rally organizers make sure they are given seats behind him so they can be on TV. They are members of a minuscule minority of Blacks and it isn’t even clear whether they are aware of, or care about, Trump's actual beliefs about racial equality and his policies on addressing racial injustice.


Consider this:


The photo is from this article: 


You can easily find photos of many these people by doing a web image search. 


You can even find a few photos of men wearings t-shirts saying “gays for Trump." If I could interview any one person from a Trump rally I would like to interview one of these people. See Wikipedia about Gays For Trump.


Of course Trump hasn’t jumped all over the anti-woke agenda and engaged in the demonization of the LGBTQ+ community like DeSantis, but still Trump can hardly be considered a friend of this mostly Democratic voting group.


If I ever go to a Joe Biden rally you won't see me wearing a MAGA hat though I might have a Biden button on my shirt. I will, however, be wearing my Tilley hat and sporting my badass Biden Ray-Bans.




June 16, 2023

If coal represented ideas for my blogs and it was Christmas and Trump was Santa, he's dumping a sleigh load of creative coal down my chimney

Images from Wikipedia Commons, bottom modified by author adding coal to Santa's bag of gifts (look closely)

By Hal Brown, who doesn't even have a chimney and is Jewish...

When I get up in the morning I rarely have an idea for a blog entry. Trump's behavior often gives me one. This morning just looking at Raw Story gave me today's idea.

First I read 

'A deeply weird person': Morning Joe panelist ridicules Trump's newly revealed obsession

Watch first minute

"In addition to being a bad person, Donald Trump is a deeply weird person," he blurted as the entire panel burst into laughter. "Remember that point in the indictment where he's talking to Evan Corcoran, his lawyer, you know, about the 'pluck 'em out' conversation, and he's saying, 'I don't want anybody going through my boxes. I don't want you going through my boxes'?"

"It is almost a Gollum in 'Lord of the Rings moment,'" he continued. "He has a hoarding instinct about the documents. Some weird security blanket, some sort of -- it boosts his ego and reminds him that he actually somehow became president of the United States."

If you don't remember Gollum's line in the "Lord of the Rings" movie:

Click above to play
I didn't make this:


The next story I read was:

'Born with a very small brain': Trump trashes former chief of staff who called him 'scared' of jail

This article refers to a Trump Truth Social post, to which I added an insert below which I posted in comment to that article:

Click to enlarge, does not go to Truth Social


I won't torture you with yet another blog about Trump's psychopathology. If you missed it, I did this yesterday here:



 If you're curious, do the web search for "Trump mentally ill" and add my name.


I took a break from writing this to put together the illustration on the top of the page and then went back to Raw Story and saw two new stories on the top of their page:


Article one here and article two here.


From yesterday:

Click to read article (my addition to image)


What does it say about someone facing serious felony charges that could result in imprisonment that he acts in such self-defeating ways? Is he weird or mentally ill? I believe that in Trump's case there's an overlap.

Most of you know about, or have read the best selling book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. There's another book some of you are no doubt familiar with. This is "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" by  neurologist Oliver Sacks.


 I'm not suggesting that Trump has a  highly unusual and bizarre neurological condition like the patients in Sacks' book, but his behavior is definitely weird. 

I think the yet to be written book which would describe Trump could be titled "The Weird, Bizarre, Self-Defeating, Dangerous, Disastrous Case of the Man Who Mistook Himself for God."


Addendum:

Trump is called lots of names by his critics. For example, Rick Wilson of The Lincoln Project just called him a low, loathsome, corrupt, venal, mendacious scumbag here.. Idiot is another example:

Click to read article

"Donald Trump looks like an idiot on this one," said contributor Elise Jordan. "He had a chance, he had a do-over, couldn't bring himself to do it. At the end of the day, if you're arguing about the refs, if you're arguing about the DOJ and FBI, you're losing."

What does idiot mean?

An idiot, in modern use, is a stupid or foolish person.

'Idiot' was formerly a technical term in legal and psychiatric contexts for some kinds of profound intellectual disability where the mental age is two years or less, and the person cannot guard themself against common physical dangers. The term was gradually replaced by 'profound mental retardation', which has since been replaced by other terms.[1] Along with terms like moronimbecileretard and cretin, its use to describe people with mental disabilities is considered archaic and offensive.[2] Moral idiocy refers to a moral disability. From Wikipedia

What does an idiot look like? You can see the photo Raw Story used above. This is the illustration in Wikipedia. 
Here's another (see Amazon)







June 15, 2023

On the psychopathology of Donald Trump: John Kelly says Trump is scared sh-tless but there's fear one experiences and fear one represses

There's a reason why Edvard Munch's "The Scream" is the second most famous painting after the Mona Lisa. It represents an all too human, and all too normal reaction, to existential horrors. https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20160303-what-is-the-meaning-of-the-scream

By Hal Brown, MSW

Update Aug. 15, 2023: I just read this article and say the reference (my bold):

Perhaps he's setting himself up to plead diminished mental capacity after a slew of recent posts on his favorite social media platform that sound like a horrible cry for help. Call it the wailing of the banshees or whatever else you want, but Trump now seems the living embodiment of Edvard Munch's famous 1893 painting in oil tempera, pastel and crayon, "The Scream." He is out there with only his Kool-Aid drinkers beside him as he melts down into a puddle of sweat, makeup and a Rodney Dangerfield suit. From: 

Donald Trump has gone off the deep end for real: He's a danger to humanity, Salong Aug 10, 2023

Who would have thought we'd see profane words in headlines with dashes or asterisks referring to a presidential candidate, president, or former president. Probably the best known is a word which also is what you call a domestic cat.

Now we are reading that Trump's former chief of staff, John Kelly, is using a colloquial expression to describe extreme fright speculating that this is how Trump feels.

If you made it to middle age without being this scared, consider yourself lucky. You may have been this frightened if you were in combat or entering a burning building to fight a fire, but soldiers and fire fighters are trained to deal with this. Likewise, medical professionals like members of surgical teams deal dispassionately with life threatening emergencies.

Most people are not trained and thus prepared to handle this level of trauma. For example they may be sitting in a bomb shelter in Ukraine, or be an African villager who is victimized by genocide, or a Kansas farmer watching a tornado bearing down on his house, or much more commonly an ordinary person hearing a dire medical diagnosis for yourself or a loved one. 

In these and similar situations if you are like 99.99% of the world's population you will experience being really, really scared. You may feel more frightened than you knew was possible.

You will feel this viscerally. Your mind will react with the flight or fight response, but you will often be unable to do either.  You will probably experience a range of decidedly unpleasant physical reactions.

Then we have Donald Trump who, while very few people think will actually end up in prison, is actually facing charges which if convicted could end him up behind bars. 

He's already experienced the loss of freedom for the first time in his life. The closest most people have come to knowing how this feels is during a traffic stop. Even though you aren't under arrest during a traffic stop, or being questioned by a police officer in another situation, for that period of time you are not free to simply leave until you are told you can do so.

Trump has been under arrest now. Despite the fact that he was surrounded by lackeys they could leave if they wanted to do so. He couldn't. 

He didn't suffer what an ordinary suspect would have gone through when being booked. I have seen this from the point of view of a police officer (I was a reserve officer for 20 years). I helped arrest countless drunk drivers and observed the booking process in the county jail. This included mugs shots, finger printing, breathalyzer tests, and being put in one of several small cells behind the booking desk. (Our jail didn't house drunks together in what is often called the drunk tank.)

These would have been outrageous indignities for him. Instead he was treated like the celebrity he was.

Even so, Trump has had the experience of not being free, albeit for a very short time.

The following is from The Washington Post (subscription) 

Trump greets arraignment with showmanship in bid to upstage charges

The former president, in growing legal peril, faced down the most serious threat to his personal liberty and political future like just another day on the campaign trail

The almost celebratory display on Tuesday, clashing with the more typical sobriety of court proceedings, highlighted Trump’s instinct to face down federal charges with the same bluster he marshaled against previous threats to his business and candidacy, and to project strength for his supporters, constructing an alternate reality where he is not in deepening legal jeopardy.


“He’s scared s---less,” said John Kelly, his former chief of staff. “This is the way he compensates for that. He gives people the appearance he doesn’t care by doing this. For the first time in his life, it looks like he’s being held accountable. Up until this point in his life, it’s like, I’m not going to pay you; take me to court. He’s never been held accountable before.”

Kelly is assuming that he knows what Trump is feeling. What ought to be recognized as a known unknown is whether what Kelly calls compensation is something Trump is aware of. He may be exercising what mental health experts consider the most primitive of all psychological defense mechanisms, denial.



To the extent Trump is engaging in denial he is more and more unmoored from reality and closer to becoming clinically delusional. A defendant who becomes so psychotic that they can't participate in their own legal defense might be referred to a psychiatric treatment facility until they are rational enough to do so.


Trump ignored at lawyers who gave him good advice. One was the lawyer Christopher Kise, who he paid a $3 million advance. He told him his best course of action was to settle with the DOJ on the documents case. 


This is from The Washington Post (subscription)


Trump rejected lawyers’ efforts to avoid classified documents indictment

The former president was not interested in attempting to negotiate a settlement in the classified documents investigation

The attorney, Christopher Kise, wanted to quietly approach Justice to see if he could negotiate a settlement that would preclude charges, hoping Attorney General Merrick Garland and the department would want an exit ramp to avoid prosecuting a former president. Kise would hopefully “take the temperature down,” he told others, by promising a professional approach and the return of all documents.



But Trump was not interested after listening to other lawyers who urged a more pugilistic approach, so Kise never approached prosecutors, three people briefed on the matter said. A special counsel was appointed months later.

In addition to Kise, "former Trump attorney Alex Cannon in the fall of 2021 repeatedly urged the former president to return documents to the National Archives, according to the report, which notes that he repeatedly admonished him that he was required to do so."

 (reference)


Instead will seek out those like conservative activist Tom Fitton who isn't even a lawyer. Fitton told him he should fight the DOJ because he had every right to keep the documents.


Consider the following, from The Washington Post article first cited:


Trump has wanted to show, according to his advisers, that he is ready to fight — instead of looking downtrodden and glum — as he appeared in court Tuesday. The advisers, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private interactions, have said in the past that few things bother him as much as news accounts of his surly mercurial moods and occasional volcanic temper.

“It’s fine,” Trump said when asked about his mood in a right-wing radio interview on the eve of his arraignment.

“You sound like you’re in great spirits,” the host, Howie Carr, concluded.

“I am,” Trump said. “I’m just fighting for the country.”

Having "surly mercurial moods and occasional volcanic temper" are signs of mental decompensation, of psychopathology. They suggest his defense mechanism of denial is failing him. But then the bravado demonstrated in the answer to Howie Carr and his other "what me worry" behavior in addition to his attacks of his accusers show that he is walking on thin brittle ice (representing his personality) over shark infested waters.

To quote Harvard psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Lance Dodes from Lawrence O'Donnell last night:

"... as Trump's legal troubles continue to grow, he will "look worse and worse. That is the psychiatric explanation. He is fundamentally different from normal people. We'll see more and more of that" 

Indeed, Trump is truly different from normal people. Not only that, there are no indications that this behavior will change which means we will see more and more abnormal behavior from him.

The best thing for Trump, if convicted, could be that he actually does become severely mental ill and like Joe Bananas, John Gotti, and perhaps most appropriately Larry Flynt the publisher of Hustler Magazine, he could end up in the federal  Department of Corrections medical facility in Springfield, Ohio:


Update:

Click above to read article.



Addendum:

Hardly anybody clicks on what I tweet but I still usually put links to my blogs there. I was doing this today and looked down my Twitter page and was amazed to see that the tweet I made to publicize one of my favorite photo manipulations got thousands of impressions or views. 

Click above to enlarge without going to Twitter





Compassion doesn't count ballots: Biden does the moral thing on immigration and it will hurt him with many voters. All Trump needs now is his own Willie Horton. by Hal Brown, MSW

In the news today a top story  (read article)  is that President Biden has once again demonstrated that he has a heart and good sense when i...