Showing posts with label GOP fascism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GOP fascism. Show all posts

June 23, 2023

Right's white might might make right fright: Serenity Now

 

I took the picture years ago at Little Harbor Beach in Wareham, Massachusetts.

By Hal Brown

I choose the above photo of a man fishing on the inlet to the salt marsh a short walk down from Little Harbor Beach in Wareham, MA as the screen saver on my laptop and iPhone, and for my Facebook page logo. When we lived in Massachusetts we went there almost every day in the warmer weather. Sometimes we kayaked from the beach to the Cape Cod Canal (see photo of me kayaking from Buzzard's Bay in 2010) which was about a half mile away. It was a place of serenity and fond memories. Under stress I often go there in my mind. 



As a therapist I recommend against the version of achieving serenity the way George's father did.

My title may be confusing. I'll explain. The white might, i.e. the power, of the far MAGA white nationalist part of the population might, i.e. "could" manifest itself, that is, become right, and thus cause people like me to become frightened.

The title is based on the aphorism on the origin of morality. The are both descriptive and prescriptive senses in which this phase is used. Descriptively, it asserts that a society's view of right and wrong is determined by those in power, with a meaning similar to "History is written by the victors". Prescriptively or normatively the phrase is most often used pejoratively, to protest tyranny. 

Another term for the concept is Kratocracy, from the Greekκρατερός krateros, meaning "strong".  Kratocracy is defined as government by those who are strong enough to seize power through force or cunning. It was coined by philosopher William Pepperill Montague (1883-1953). (Adapted from Wikipedia)

What led me to think of this was the pending case about affirmative action which is before the Supreme Court and the decision as is typical with controversial rulings could be handed down late on a Friday.

Prognosticators say that by the weekend there will be no more affirmative action. Saturday, you know if you've been paying attention to the news on MSNBC, is the first anniversary of the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

More morning moronic idiocy is being reported from the goopy GOPers in the House what with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) introducing resolutions “expunging” Trump’s 2019 and 2021 impeachments, respectively.

Add to this everything I wrote about yesterday in "Take Westworld and Stepford Wives robots and add a generous helping of crazy and you get the programmed House GOP" and my need for serenity, now, should make sense.

If you don't see the Disquis comment section below click here and go to bottom of the page

June 1, 2023

Does the GOP choice boil down to being between a psychopathic fascist or a sane one?

 By Hal Brown, MSW, Caricatures by DonkeyHotey


Click above to enlarge. 
The DoneyHotey caricatures show DeSantis looking sane
 and Trump looking more or less unhinged.

I use Creative Commons DonkeyHotey (pronounced Don Quixote) caricatures for many of my blogs. You can read more about him here and look at his website here.

Of course because I am one of the less acclaimed experts on Trump's psychopathology (scroll down to bottom of page for some of my articles), I was going to write about this Salon article which says what I've been writing about Trump since 2016:

Trials and triggers: Psychiatrists warn Trump's psychosis will grow "as he becomes more desperate"

The article is by Chauncey DeVaga, a Salon columnist who has written about Trump's psychopathology numerous times, and interviewed mental health professionals on the subject. He has, as far as I'm concerned, earned himself an honorary advanced degree in a clinical mental health profession.

His article begins with the Memorial Day Trump Truth Post:


I wrote about this post in "The malignant megalomaniac's Memorial Day message" here. Below is the DonkeyHotey caricature I superimposed over Trump's post for my illustration

In the current article, DeVega interviews two prominent psychoanalysts, Justin Frank and Lance Dodes, both of whom he has interviewed previously, and who have themselves published articles or books about Trump's dangerous psychopathology.

Here's the warning from Lance Dodes:

When a person has a chronic illness, we all know to expect recurrence of symptoms of that problem. Donald Trump is a permanent, chronic psychopath who has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to be empathic with other human beings, a frightening need to dominate, control and destroy others, an inability to tolerate criticism or accept any defeat, an utter disregard for facts and the truth, endless lying, and clear delusions, insisting things are true that are demonstrably and unquestionably false. As with other permanent conditions, these aspects of his psychopathic personality will not change.

Trump's behavior is worse now but that's only because we're seeing a peeling away of his façade as he becomes more desperate; his actions and speech will continue to show more of what he really is. He's already saying he will call out the National Guard to suppress dissent, as dictators have done forever, and it would be no surprise if eventually, like Saddam Hussein when he was finally put on trial, he shouts that he is the one true ruler and any effort to hold him accountable is illegal and immoral.

Unfortunately, nations being taken over by psychopathic dictators is common in human history. It happened in Germany, in Iraq, in Russia, and for centuries earlier all over the globe. It could certainly happen to us unless enough people recognize that Trump is psychologically just another Hitler, Stalin, Saddam or the other malignant tyrants throughout history.

It is important to consider, as DeVega does in the conclusion to his article, the following points, with my bold added for emphasis:

  • The picture is clear: As the 2024 presidential campaign begins in earnest, Donald Trump will become more dangerous, violent, threatening, unhinged, and his true horrible self, further unmasked and unleashed if such a thing is even possible.
  • Unfortunately, because of its horse race coverage and other failed norms and approaches to the news and politics in a time of democracy crisis and ascendant neofascism, the American news media will continue with its failed fixations on the "heroes" and "villains" and "winners and losers" of the week, month, and election cycle. In practice, this means that the American mainstream news media will desperately try to find a "normal" Republican character to juxtapose with Donald Trump's increasing extremism and radical threats to American society and democracy.
  • As of now, the mainstream news media has decided that the more "reasonable" and "sane" and "traditional" Republican is Gov. Ron DeSantis. In reality, DeSantis is as least if not more dangerous than Donald Trump. Both are neofascists who want to destroy America's multiracial pluralistic society. The choice between them is a false one because the outcome will be the same: the American people will be made to suffer even more as the fascist fever dream nightmare and its culture of cruelty takes hold even more and threatens to become permanent.

As national candidates there are two opposite personality rather than policy factors which would make it difficult for Trump and DeSantis to defeat President Biden. 

  1. Trump is crazy
  2. DeSantis is boring

While Trump and others want to depict President Biden as doddering and dull he is really anything but. His embracing the moniker Dark Bandon really reflects who he is. Read NPR article.

I think Biden in his Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses, the same glasses Tom Cruise wears in his Top Gun movies, makes him look like the badass he is.


With Trump it is what is described in the DeVega article. He is, to use colloquial terms, unhinged, unmoored from reality, and a tantrum throwing toddler. He is more likely to behave in increasingly abnormal ways as the primary season progresses. If this happens it will gradually lead some of his current supporters to see DeSantis as less risky choice fearing Trump will decompensate even more especially if he feels he is losing what he thought was his iron grip on the nomination. 

DeSantis will pounce of this weakness and try to out-Trump by adopting a vicious manic style of grandiose narcissism and braggadocio. He is well aware that Trump is a showman adept at riling up his cult with what passes for performance art.

DeSantis knows he comes across and stiff and unlikable. I predict he won't bother trying to change this because he knows that while personally boring his war on woke is the most exciting thing he has to offer. 

Addendum:

In the psychological weeds, explaining sociopath and psychopath, the two words often used to describe Trump and DeSantis.

The current official diagnosis for those who used to be called sociopaths and psychopaths, and still are by most people, is anti-social personality disorder. In common usage psychopath is used to describe someone worse, more brutal, than a sociopath. The current definition of antisocial personality disorder is as follows. I put a T for Trump and a D for DeSantis after the deceptions I think are applicable to each off them.

  • Clinical criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersFifth Edition [DSM-5])

For a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, patients must have

  • A persistent disregard for the rights of others (T and D)

This disregard is shown by the presence of  3 of the following:

  • Disregarding the law, indicated by repeatedly committing acts that are grounds for arrest (T)

  • Being deceitful, indicated by lying repeatedly, using aliases, or conning others for personal gain or pleasure (T)

  • Acting impulsively or not planning ahead (T is impulsive)

  • Being easily provoked or aggressive, indicated by constantly getting into physical fights or assaulting others (With T using verbal aggression)

  • Recklessly disregarding their safety or the safety of others (T and D)

  • Consistently acting irresponsibly, indicated by quitting a job with no plans for another one or not paying bills (T not paying bills)

  • Not feeling remorse, indicated by indifference to or rationalization of hurting or mistreating others (T and D)

Also, patients must have evidence that a conduct disorder has been present before age 15 years. Antisocial personality disorder is diagnosed only in people  18 years.

Patients with antisocial personality disorder may express their disregard for others and for the law by destroying property, harassing others (T, in writing and verbally), or stealing. They may deceive, exploit, con, or manipulate people to get what they want (eg, money, power, sex). (T) They may use an alias. (T did this)

These patients are impulsive, (T) not planning ahead and not considering the consequences for or the safety of self or others. As a result, they may suddenly change jobs, homes, or relationships (T with marriages and affairs). They may speed when driving and drive while intoxicated, sometimes leading to crashes. They may consume excessive amounts of alcohol or take illegal drugs that may have harmful effects.

Patients with antisocial personality disorder are socially and financially irresponsible. They may change jobs with no plan for getting another. They may not seek employment when opportunities are available. They may not pay their bills, default on loans, (T) or not pay child support.

These patients are often easily provoked and physically aggressive; they may start fights or abuse their spouse or partner. In sexual relationships, they may be irresponsible and exploit their partner and be unable to remain monogamous. (T)

Remorse for actions is lacking. (T and D) Patients with antisocial personality disorder may rationalize their actions by blaming those they hurt (eg, they deserved it) or the way life is (eg, unfair). (T) They are determined not to be pushed around and to do what they think is best for themselves at any cost. (T)

These patients lack empathy for others and may be contemptuous of or indifferent to the feelings, rights, and suffering of others. (T and D)

Patients with antisocial personality disorder tend to have a high opinion of themselves and may be very opinionated, self-assured, or arrogant. (More T, but to a lesser extent D)  They may be charming, voluble, and verbally facile in their efforts to get what they want. (T)

You can see that Trump meets the criteria more than DeSantis does.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Click images to read a sample of articles I published from Capitol Hill Blue (list) where I was a columnist, from Daily Kos where I was a community poster (list of some 1700 posts not all about Trump), and from my own blog.




Daily Kos, June 16, 2020








January 17, 2023

GOP in center of circular firing squad

GOP in center of circular firing squad
By Hal Brown

THE TITLE of the article below SAYS FRAGILE, I'd add "fractious about to fracture" to this title, and change the photo (click to see how below) - this dark triad, this danger to democracy if they have power, fighting among themselves can only instill hope for those who fear they will bring a fascist autocracy (MAGAism and America First) to the country.

I made my own version of the photo used to illustrate the article. Click above to enlarge. Here's the meaning of Dark Triad.

Also on RAWSTORY:

'Don’t be ugly!' Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert quarrel noisily in House restroom


The article in Daily Beast is behind a paywall but you can see their illustration:

We all watched the soap opera of the fight over McCarthy's nomination to be Speaker of the House which included an actual attempted assault.

One would think that this travesty for Republicans would have taught them a lesson about public fighting and even supposedly private bathroom outbursts of acrimony.

Too bad Debbie Dingell didn't take and share a video of the so-called noisy quarrel. It was called a near-screaming match between Greene and Boebert. Classy person that she is, Dingell said "what happens in the ladies room stays in the ladies room."

Who actually reported the incident - since apparently it was't Dingell, hasn't been reported. It would be interesting to know who it was, especially if it was a Republican.

I don't see any avenue for the leaders of the GOP to remedy the situation by holding their version of the Mafia's Apalachin Meeting which was held to stop the feuding between various Mafia families. (It would have succeeded had not the police noticed all the out-of-state cars headed into a sleepy village and raided the meeting.)

The sociopaths in the Mafia knew what was best for their greater good. Not so with the sociopaths in the GOP because their narcissism overrides their good sense.

The self-defeating actions of the Republicans don't just involve individuals. For example as Thom Hartmann reports in "House Republicans are playing with fire" in Rawstory+ "the House Republican threat to crash our economy if Democrats don’t agree to gut aid to higher education, the EPA, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid... are playing with fire and appear to be blissfully ignorant of how destructive it could become." He writes:

Will this be our entre into Strauss and Howe’s “Fourth Turning”? Will House Republicans provoke a worldwide repeat of the Republican Great Depression that, history suggests, could easily lead the planet into another world war? 

Anybody who thinks cooler heads will prevail like they did in 2011 doesn’t know these Republicans. 

If they’re willing to offer excuses for Trump trying to overthrow the government of the United States, there truly are no guardrails to protect our nation from their avarice, stupidity, and willingness to destroy America for personal and political gain.

Buckle up. We’re in for a wild ride.

The term circular firing squad comes to mind thinking of what the Republican Party has devolved into. Ready, aim, fire!

_________________________

Related from Salon:

Heroes and villains: Fascists now control Congress — we can't afford to pretend otherwise


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

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.

Amazing! Trump just got some bigots pissed off. By Hal Brown, MSW

  I had to read the RawStory article shown above three times to figure out what happened. Trump was showing his supposed support for law enf...