This is a blog with my opinions on politics, psychology, and other subjects. My posts are sometimes serious and sometimes snarky. I'm a retired MSW clinical social worker/psychotherapist and mental health center director who was also a cranberry farmer. Scroll archives on bottom of page to see previous blog stories. There are new ones added almost every day, although if I don't have anything original to say I try not to say anything at all.
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.
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!
His message can be summarized in just the first two and the last paragraphs.
Donald Trump aspires to be a warlord. He publicly admires despots, tyrants and other authoritarian leaders who kill their enemies and take away the rights of anyone who oppose them. Mental health professionals have repeatedly warned that Donald Trump is likely a sociopath with an erotic attraction to violence and mayhem.
He has repeatedly shown that he has no regard for the rule of law, democracy, human rights or other restrictions on his behavior. He encourages his followers and allies to engage in acts of terrorism and other violence on his behalf. The most notable example came, of course, on Jan. 6, 2021. To this point, Trump has been limited by his cowardice. He prefers to have others engage in violence on his behalf instead of directly ordering such acts or participating in them himself.
This was the lead story in Salon this morning:
By way of comparison this was the lead on FoxNews' website this morning:
Alas, Salon's influence is less than nil when it comes to swaying opinion among the people whose eyes to the growing menace of Trumpian fascism in America couldn't be more tightly closed.
I am alway interested in what other mental health professionals have had to say about him, particularly the only one who knows him up close and personal. Chauncy DeVega quoted Mary Trump in his story.
I wanted to put her words into an illustration showing an angry Trump so I looked "angry Trump" up on DuckDuckGo and the Salon article came up first:
Click above to enlarge
Here are the words I wanted to highly with the photo:
Chauncey DeVega concludes his article as follows:
Aspiring warlord Donald Trump has told America and the world exactly what he and his movement intend to do. Unfortunately, the mainstream news media and other hope-peddlers have deluded themselves into thinking that it's all a misunderstanding or harmless hyperbole. We should take Trump at his word. On these issues, he does not prevaricate or tell lies. It will do no good to protest that you couldn't possibly have known. We all knew this was coming, and now it's here.
If the crisis to democracy isn't here right now it certainly is around the corner. Like Putin having amassed his troops for their so-called military exercise on the borders of Ukraine, Trump has readied his soldiers to do battle. The signs are there. How big do they have to get?
Whether it's the Boy Scout motto, Miguel de Cervantes, or the proverb "to be forewarned is to be forearmed" the message is the same...
The proverb "to be forewarned is to be forearmed" should be applicable to Donald Trump. For proverb and idiom mavens (from this website):
Many idioms that have no obvious source are often referred to, for no good reason, as 'old proverbs'. 'Forewarned is forearmed' has a genuine claim to be called such, as it dates from at least the end of the 16th century, and could be much earlier. The Latin saying 'praemonitus, praemunitus' loosely translates as 'forewarned is forearmed'. There's no evidence to show that the English proverb is merely a translation of the Latin though. The two sayings could easily have originated independently.
The meaning of the proverb is quite straightforward and literal - so long as it is understood that forearm is here the archaic verb meaning 'to arm in advance', rather than the noun forearm, that is, the part of the arm between the elbow and wrist. The saying is so straightforward in fact that it was originally simply 'forewarned, forearmed'. It is found in that form in Robert Greene's A Notable Discovery of Coosnage (a.k.a. The Art of Conny-catching), 1592:
"forewarned, forearmed: burnt children dread the fire."
Stories of the day that piqued my interest.
This article came out in February. It is now even more relevant than it was then:
“I strongly supported Obama for President,” Elon Musk tweeted late last month, part of the spree of ideological comments accompanying his continuing takeover of Twitter, “but today’s Democratic Party has been hijacked by extremists.” Around the same time, he set the social-media platform ablaze by reposting a cartoon showing a stick figure comfortably on the center-left in 2008 redefined as a right-wing bigot by 2021 because the left-wing stick figure had raced way off to the left. Then this week, he expressed the same kind of thought in the abbreviated style for which the site is famous: “Twitter obv has a strong left wing bias.”
And now, at last, we have the news that he’s likely to allow Donald Trump to tweet freely once again.
All of these comments and promises align the country’s richest man with the rightward side in our culture war. But though I don’t know Musk — I’ve never interviewed him or hung out with him in any secret billionaire lair — I think I know enough about him, and I know enough Silicon Valley people like him, to suggest that neither his tweeted self-descriptions nor the criticisms being lobbed his way capture what’s distinctive about his position and worldview.
A term like “conservative” doesn’t fit the Tesla tycoon; even “libertarian,” while closer to the mark, associates Musk with a lot of ideas that I don’t think he particularly cares about. A better label comes from Virginia Postrel, in her 1998 book “The Future and Its Enemies”: Musk is what she calls a “dynamist,” meaning someone whose primary commitments are to exploration and discovery, someone who believes that the best society is one that’s always inventing, transforming, doing something new.
If you think this sounds uncontroversial, think again. First, the dynamist may not care where novelty and invention spring from: Unlike the purist libertarian, he might be indifferent to questions of public versus private spending, happy to embrace government help if that’s what it takes to get the new thing off the ground — and happy to take that help from regimes like Communist China no less than from our own. And he may be willing to risk much more than either the typical progressive or the typical conservative for the sake of innovation. Political principle, social stability and moral order are all potentially negotiable when discovery alone is your North Star.
Full disclosure: I have a Twitter account which I primarily use to try to promote stories I post on my blog.
I fully expect Musk to allow Trump to resume tweeting. Aside from the negative of handing a victory of sorts to Trump, there are two positives. The lesser is that if he personally invested money in Truth Social that is gone since that platform will immediately go under. The greater positive is that every time he tweets something off the wall or outrageous (which will be most of the time) there will be numerous sarcastic, scathing, and snarky replies, some with contemptuous, mocking, and ridiculing illustrations which will be posted in articles about his tweet.
Related from BuzzFeed
We were on...
"Have you ever had a friend who’s had one of those on-again-off-again relationships, like a less cute Ross and Rachel situation?"
.... it was easy to imagine Republicans launching apoplectic broadsides in response to Biden’s sweeping and progressive pardons. The public would inevitably hear tired clichés about Democrats being “soft on crime” and failing to appreciate the seriousness of “gateway drugs.”
And yet, in the wake of Biden’s announcement, the Republican National Committee had literally nothing to say about it. The National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee weresilent, too.
To be sure, it’d be an exaggeration to suggest that all Republicans sat on their hands. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who routinely complains that not enough Americans are behind bars, made sure to register his disapproval yesterday. So did one of Fox News’ prime-time hosts.
But by any fair measure, the GOP apparently thought that the smart election season move yesterday would be to let Biden’s pardons go unmentioned.
My own opinion on this is that the timing coming prior to the November elections is smart. Biden has been characterized by the Right as being old and out of touch with the younger generations which these days seems to mean anyone not on Social Security. In the case of marijuana there are numerous potential voters left, right, and center who have used it in the past or who currently used it. Whether any of them are inclined to vote Republican might change their mind based on this issue alone is hard to say. However, it can't hurt and it may very well help some Democrats in close races.
"...if God Himself actually tells you (to kill someone), and He’s like, 'Hey, I am the ultimate governor of all of life, and I have judicially said that person is going to die, and I’m telling you to do it,' yeah," Winger said. "Now, historically, as a Christian, do I expect this to happen? Not really.
He later backtracks:
"So, as a Christian, in principle, if God tells you to kill someone, yes, you should. It’s God."
"But in practical reality, I really don’t expect this to happen," he continued. "Not that there could never be an exception, but if anybody comes up to me, and says, 'God told me to kill so-and-so,' my default is to think they’re probably wrong, because there’s a lot more weirdos out there than there are people that God is telling to do something like that. There’s my answer."
Basically he's saying that it is "weirdos" who hear God telling them to kill people. In fact, anybody who actually hears voices whether they believe they come from God or a teapot is mentally ill. It doesn't matter whether the voices tell them to adhere to Christian values or run naked in the street, they are still auditory hallucinations.
This is bad news for the FBI and in particular Trump appointee FBI Director Wray:
Masters was asked, point blank, if he thought the 2020 election was “stolen” or “rigged—in any way, shape, or form—enough to keep Donald Trump out of the White House,” and Masters replied:
I suspect that if the FBI didn’t work with Big Tech and Big Media to censor the Hunter Biden crime story, yeah, I suspect that changed a lot of people’s votes. I suspect President Trump would be in the White House today if Big Tech and Big Media and the FBI didn’t work together to put the thumb on the scale to get Joe Biden in there.
She said ""The Trump team is basically daring the DOJ, once again, to come get him and we'll see what the DOJ does."
I am very skeptical this comes from Trump's team of lawyers telling him what they know is in his best interests. It may be another "team" of sycophants. If he hears it from his lawyers they are telling him what he wants to hear. I think this comes form Trump and is absolutely predictable because he is a malignant narcissist with seriously impaired judgment. He revels in the thought of a confrontation where he, in his grandiose delusional state, which he thinks he will win. He's bought into his own propaganda, into the iconography produced by artists hawking their wares to his cult.
Here's a name from the past that I bet you forgot about:
Articles that piqued my interest as I find them today on bottom of page. Previous stories in sidebar archive.
Adapted screen shot from "24"
Trump has expressed violent thoughts and fantasies from telling audiences to beat up anti-Trump protesters to saying he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.
Psychologically he's a malignant narcissist, a man without conscience or empathy who has grandiose fantasies you can see in lifestyle with the gilded trappings more appropriate to an old-time emperor or king than a U.S. president.
We know Trump lives in world where alternate reality and reality gets mixed up.
We know he doesn’t read and loves to watch TV.
We know it seems like he lives in episodes of The Twilight Zone.
He also may identify with characters he sees as heroic in TV shows which play on his machismo and his paranoia.
His cult has picked up on this as demonstrated by the number of depictions of him as Superman or Rocky:
And even as Captain America:
I wonder if there's a collection of this memorabilia among the documents the FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago (or "Mar-a-Uh-Oh," see below).
Perhaps Trump watched "24" where Jack Bauer saved the world in 24 hours, often by using torture.
In fact, Trump has said he believes torture works and he has endorsed its use:
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump stepped up his defense Wednesday of enhanced interrogation techniques when dealing with terror detainees, saying “torture works.”
“Of course waterboarding is bad, but it’s not like chopping off heads,” Trump said at a campaign event in Bluffton, South Carolina.
The billionaire businessman has repeatedly defended the use of waterboarding in recent days since he mentioned it at a Republican debate earlier this month. Trump wrote an op-ed in USA Today on Monday saying he wouldn’t “take anything off the table” when interrogating terror detainees, but Wednesday’s remarks were the first time he embraced the word “torture.” CNN Politics
It happens that Jack Bauer used waterboarding on "24"...
Today we have this from "Morning Joe" as reported on RawStory:
He understands he can't win, so what is he doing now?" Scarborough continued. "His rhetoric is becoming more violent, he's embracing QAnon conspiracy theories, he's actually boiling down his supporters, not doing what any politician who would want to win would be doing. He's boiling down support to find people that will support him for an overthrow of the federal government. That's my belief, and oh, wait -- that's what he tried to do on Jan. 6, just a couple of years ago. Just look and see what he's doing and ask yourself, why would he come out and try to get the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate killed? Why would he talk about a death wish in all caps? Why would he make a racist slur against a former member of his Cabinet who happens to be Mitch McConnell's wife? Why would he embrace QAnon conspiracy theories? Why would he keep, again, getting more and more radical when he knows it will only drive down the support?"
"The clear answer, as he supports the election deniers, is he wants to succeed in 2024 in the way he failed in 2020," Scarborough concluded, "and he's obviously ready to use violence to do that."
Here's a report from MSNBC:
Excerpt about Trump' s Truth Social post:
As a substantive matter, nearly all of this was gibberish — Trump seems convinced that the Green New Deal is being implemented, reality notwithstanding — but it was the “death wish” phrasing that stood out. Against a backdrop of elected officials facing violent threats without modern precedent, the former president apparently thought it’d be wise to publish a message that looked an awful lot like a threat
To the surprise of no one, no GOP leaders stepped up over the weekend to defend McConnell or Chao. The party also made no effort to criticize Trump’s racist comments.
In fact, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida made some Sunday show appearances yesterday and was repeatedly asked if he’d denounce the former president’s latest tantrum. He refused, sticking instead to vague platitudes.
Trump’s dangerous “death wish” rhetoric will continue so long as Republicans, paralyzed by fear, continue to look away.
The Hill summarizes a Wall Street Journal editorial. The paper is owned by Rupert Murdoch and their opinion represents the thinking of the editorial board. They call his posted remarks reckless and condemn his using the term "death wish" regarding Mitch McConnell.
“Mr. Trump’s apologists claim he merely meant Mr. McConnell has a political death wish, but that isn’t what he wrote,” The Wall Street Journal editors wrote. “It’s all too easy to imagine some fanatic taking Mr. Trump seriously and literally, and attempting to kill Mr. McConnell. Many supporters took Mr. Trump’s rhetoric about former Vice President Mike Pence all too seriously on Jan. 6.”
The editorial also references Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who told The New York Times that she wouldn’t be surprised if a lawmaker gets killed amid a heightened threat environment.
A peripheral question I have is related to Trump's psychology. This is whether putting "death wish" in all caps in a Truth Social post means Trump is deliberately sending a message to violence prone members of his cult that he is essentially issue a fatwa against Mitch McConnell or is expressing his own fantasy of the powerful Senate Minority Leader, and major thorn in his side, being physically attacked or worse.
There is no doubt among members of Trump's cult there are some who are mentally ill and some who are so unswervingly loyal to him that they want to become martyrs to him and his cause and that they would at the least consider trying to assassinate someone they thought Trump wanted eliminated.
Regardless of Trump's conscious or unconscious intent the fact of the matter is that, as the title in Steve Benen's article indicates, Trump's rhetoric is dangerous and could lead to violence.
After I got the idea of calling Trump's gaudy golfatorium Mar-a-Uh-Oh I saw this column in the Washington Post with the word in the title:
The premise of the column is that polls may misrepresent who likely voters will vote for.
This isn’t just about a single poll or a single state. I regularly talk with pollsters and campaigns, and I hear a common lament: Trump voters distrust pollsters and the media that reports on poll results, and simply won’t participate, out of protest or paranoia.
Or, if they do respond, they might present a problem that has long vexed political pros: social desirability bias, wherein people answering a poll-taker’s questions tend to shade their opinions and provide what they perceive as the socially acceptable answer.
Trump supporters might have the added worry of being attacked for frankly stating their views. Stories of those affiliated with Trump being arrested, subpoenaed, doxed or mocked — with Trump providing angry amplification — result in a lower social trust of strangers inquiring about political views.
The undercounting of voters who lack college degrees could mean also missing some Democratic-leaning Black and Hispanic voters too, of course, but they make up a much smaller portion of the electorate and, in any case, don’t tend to share the protest-or-paranoia mind-set that makes Trump-friendly Republicans difficult to poll.
One national pollster has called these under-polled Trump supporters “submerged voters” and the term seems apt, given how much can occur underneath the whitecaps of a roiling political seascape. He isn’t alone. Other pollsters have told me they share this view, and even their diligent efforts to counteract the effect — such as moving away from phone calls toward more online surveys and oversampling known GOP voters — have been unavailing.
FiveThirtyEight polling maven Nate Silver challenges the presumption that 2022 polling inaccurately favors Democrats, but acknowledges that his organization’s modeling “actually assumes that current polling probably does overstate the case for Democrats.”
One thing seems obvious: Until most voters trust the institutions and individuals in the political sphere, submerged voters will sink ever-deeper, not surfacing until Election Day, to cast their previously untracked votes.
As articles which pique my interest are published today I will post them below. I want to thank new readers of my blog from the United States and other countries and note that my previous stories are all in the archive sidebar.
Bret Stephens makes a case of Biden pardoning Trump for the Mar-a-Lago documents theft, Gail Collins counters.
Bret: A pardon does a few things. First, as you suggested, it denies Trump the martyr card. Second, it humiliates him and tacitly requires him to recognize Biden as the legitimate president. Third, it saves the Justice Department from a potentially very tricky prosecution that it very well might not be able to win. And finally, it returns the public’s gaze to the far more important issue, which is Trump’s culpability for Jan. 6, which has oddly fallen off the radar screen.
On the downside —
Gail: Sorry, my bottom line is no no no no no. Don’t love the idea of trying him at all, but as I see it, the man is a criminal, and we can’t just say that doesn’t matter because he used to be in the White House.
Give me your final thought and then let me ask you about the other Big Republican Guy, the governor of Florida.
Bret: If Trump faces prosecution for the documents, it all but guarantees that no Republican will challenge him in a primary if he decides to run again. But if Biden pardons him, he will be a more diminished figure, making it likelier that he will face a real challenger. And given the choice — a miserable one, I will admit — I’d much rather see The Ron as the Republican nominee than The Don.
In an interview with Rolling Stone published on Sunday evening, former D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone delivered an expletive-laden rant against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the likely next Speaker of the House if Republicans win control of Congress in November.
“I think at night, when the lights are turned off, Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan have some pretty choice words to say about the fact that they have to hang on Kevin McCarthy’s wall,” Fanone told Alex Morris. “They did some f*cking above-average things. And they’ve got to adorn the wall of this f*cking weasel b*tch named Kevin McCarthy, with his fake f*cking spray-on tan, whose f**king claim to fame, at least in my eyes, is the fact that he amassed a collection of Donald Trump’s favorite-flavored Starburst, put them in a Mason jar, and presented them to f*cking Donald Trump. What the f*ck, dude?”
Michael Lindell, the founder of MyPillow and a regular presence at Trump's rallies, is fighting a $1.3 billion defamation suit filed in federal court by US Dominion, the company that manufacturers voting machines used in several battleground states.
Lindell's effort was denied by a Trump-appointed U.S. District judge last year. When Lindell appealed, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the case was not ready for review. Lindell asked the Supreme Court to rule that he could immediately appeal in order to avoid "long and expensive" court proceedings.
This is an excuse to repost the image I made for my blog post yesterday:
I'm not a cartoonist so I rely on InPixio and BeFunky to make most of my illustrations. Here's what political cartoonist Ann Telanaes posted on Twitter and in her The Washington Post column today:
According to the conservative commentator, what McCarthy has planned is nothing less than to "Benghazi" the Bidens, by which she means hold endless hearings while harassing the president with an impeachment threat as a way to disrupt the second half of his four-year term. At the root of it all, Carpenter explained, is hopes that by harassing the Bidens they will increase their chances in the 2024 presidential election whether Biden is on the ticket or not.
I wrote about the Supreme Court yesterday (here). I expect we'll see more articles about them as their new session brings one horrific decision after another. Here's what one of my favorite columnists had to say today:
The Supreme Court's public-opinion nosedive might be related to the fact that one prominent justice is married to someone who actively promoted the Big Lie and sought to overturn the 2020 election.
All those opinions came virtually on top of each other at the end of the court's spring term, and its approval rating sank precipitously right after that. But the more recent nosedive in public opinion is likely also connected to the fact that one prominent justice is married to someone who was heavily involved in the post-election Big Lie campaign, and perhaps with illegal attempts to overturn the election. Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, was interviewed last week by the House Jan. 6 committee, and reportedly said that she still believes the 2020 election was stolen. That all might be considered a case of very poor judgment by the spouse of a Supreme Court justice, if it weren't for the fact that Thomas has refused to recuse himself from any cases pertaining to Donald Trump — and has consistently supported Trump in pretty much every instance. Furthermore, the public has gradually become aware that Thomas and the other justices aren't required to adhere to any clear ethics rules or standards — because there aren't any.
This should be interesting. Damnit, just I could say this about all or most of the case they will run on this term:
The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear two cases seeking to hold social media companies financially responsible for terrorist attacks.
Relatives of people killed in terrorist attacks in France and Turkey had sued Google, Twitter, and Facebook. They accused the companies of helping terrorists spread their message and radicalize new recruits. From HuffPost
I don't believe that Trump is going to plea bargain. I think he could go to prison, but it is more likely that he will serve home confinement. In all likelihood, he will be convicted of multiple felonies. I don't know if there's ever going to be a perp walk, but I don't think it's a fantasy either. There's a good chance that Trump will end up with a felony conviction. I know he has cut deals in civil cases, but that's just writing checks. To reiterate, I do not believe that Trump will plead out. This all goes so much to the core of Trump's identity that he will try to tear the country apart before he settles one of these criminal cases.
Donald Trump will incite violence on his behalf. He will try to pretend it is something spontaneous. Does Trump have enough power and influence over his followers to threaten the republic? I don't think so. But I do think it's enough to be dangerous. Trump has enough influence that people could get hurt.
WASHINGTON (AP) — GOP Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire said Donald Trump is "crazy" and joked that if the former Republican president was admitted to a mental hospital, "he ain't getting out!"
Sununu skewered Trump during the Gridiron Club's spring dinner Saturday night, an annual Washington gathering featuring skits and speeches from Democrats, Republicans and journalists that are expected to "singe" but "not burn" the capital's political elite.
"He's (expletive) crazy!" Sununu said in salty remarks that roasted members of both parties as well as the Washington journalists who cover them. The governor added: "The press often will ask me if I think Donald Trump is crazy. And I'll say it this way: I don't think he's so crazy that you could put him in a mental institution. But I think if he were in one, he ain't getting out!"