Trump Jong-un

I prepared an entire post last night detailing some of the things Tr-mp has done since he assumed office—via executive orders that Republicans once condemned when the Kenyan issued them but suddenly find so constitutionally reassuring now that the Aryan’s name is attached. From his de facto tax on millions of “little guy” home buyers with FHA-backed mortgages—an order he signed before he took his first orange piss in the White’s House chamber pot by the way—to his attacks on Obamacare, his anti-abortion order signed while surrounded by fellow male Aryans, and other things that are just part of what will be a full-on assault on the New Deal and other programs that make for a more civilized country (which I will focus on as time goes by, as Republicans team with Tr-mp to realize their decades-old reactionary agenda).

I also was going to detail some other things happening, like a right-wing nut from Kansas, essentially owned by the Koch brothers, becoming the new CIA director, who may or may not revive those infamous “black sites” on orders from Tr-mp. Or the unsurprising story of how, throughout 2016,”Tr-mp Supporters Attacked, Harassed Or Plotted To Kill Muslims At Least 13 Times.” Or how the first bill Republicans in Congress will take up “is a sweeping anti-abortion bill that would make the procedure more expensive for women.” And on and on.

I scrapped that piece I wrote last night because of what happened this morning, when Tr-mp went off on Twitter announcing he “will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD…” Now, to their credit, almost all journalists this side of Herr Hannity pointed out that this whole thing is a Big Lie. There is obviously zero evidence for any significant voter fraud, especially on the scale Tr-mp is claiming. In fact, as some Democrats on television this morning pointed out, this whole Big Lie may very well be used as cover for eroding even further the voting rights of millions of Americans, especially if they don’t happen to be white. I am inclined to think that will be the end result, if not at the federal level, at the state level even beyond what has already happened.

But the biggest reason I think this Big Lie about voter fraud championed by Tr-mp is important is not just because of what it may lead to in the future, but what it tells us about the present. And by that I mean what it tells us about the state of Tr-mp’s mind. As I have said before, the man is sick. He is really, truly, sick in his head. I don’t mean that as provocative hyperbole. I don’t mean it as a partisan statement. I didn’t like Mitt Romney or his policies, but I never thought he was mentally ill. When I speak of Tr-mp being sick, I mean it as an honest interpretation of what we all have seen since June of 2015. I don’t think I need to go deep into that sordid history.

Obviously, I’m not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, and even if I were I couldn’t ethically make an official diagnosis of his disorder from a distance. But here’s what I can do as a citizen who has been paying attention: judge him by his public actions and behavior. I’m entitled to do that. And my judgment is that he, as a human being, is to be pitied as a man with a damaged mind. I don’t know why he is so damaged, whether it be something in his background or something in his brain chemistry. And I don’t know exactly what to call what is wrong with him. But something is definitely messed up. Something serious. And it is dangerous because his damaged brain can now do so much damage to others. Thus, just because I pity him as a sick human being, I still have to do everything I can to unpresident him.

Before you judge me for judging Tr-mp, go look at a helpful Wikipedia page called “List of people claimed to be Jesus.” The list starts in the 18th century with the founder of the Shakers, Ann Lee. The list includes Sun Myung Moon, who founded the Unification Church in South Korea in 1954. Moon died in 2012. Jim Jones is on the list, the cult leader from Indiana who encouraged members of his “Peoples Temple” to kill themselves and murder their children in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978. Of the 918 people who died at Jonestown, almost 300 of them were children murdered by their parents or others. David Koresh, leader of the Branch Davidian cult, is also on the list. He and dozens of his followers, and their children, were killed by a government raid in Waco, Texas, in 1993. All of the above people had some number of followers, people who believed in a messianic Big Lie.

The last name on Wikipedia’s list is Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez. He didn’t have any followers, as far as I know. Here is his entry:

In November 2011, he fired nine shots with an Romanian Cugir SA semi-automatic rifle at the White House in Washington D.C., believing himself to be Jesus Christ sent to kill U.S. President Barack Obama, whom he believed to be the antichrist.

Okay. At this point it is fair to ask why I bring up all these people in the context of Donald Tr-mp. After all, Tr-ump doesn’t claim to be Jesus or some kind of “prophet” of Jesus—although some prominent members of the Religious Right believe he was, indeed, sent by Image result for vote illegalGod to save America, and Reverend Franklin Graham, speaking at Tr-ump’s inauguration, said the rain that was falling was “a sign of God’s blessing.” 

Here’s why I bring up the sick people, some living and most long dead, on that Wikipedia list. It’s because almost all of us, if we were exposed to the words and deeds of those people, would, without having to consult a psychiatrist, judge them as sick. We wouldn’t pretend otherwise. We wouldn’t hesitate. We wouldn’t give them the benefit of any doubt. We could make such a judgment with our own common sense. And we certainly wouldn’t indulge or tolerate their fantasies and delusions if they held important jobs.

Well, Donald Tr-mp holds the world’s most important job. And among the countless other lies and conspiracies he has peddled over the years, he has told us more than once—as President of the United States now—the absolute lie that millions of votes were cast illegally in 2016’s presidential election. His press secretary told us on Monday the following, when asked about that delusion:

The President does believe that, I think he’s stated that before, and stated his concern of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have brought to him.

Unable to cite any of those imaginary studies or offer any imaginary evidence, Spicer, after reporters kept pressing him, continued to maintain that Tr-mp “has believed that for a while based on studies and information he has” and hinted that the new administration might investigate what amounts to a delusion in Tr-mp’s mind. Today at another presser, Spicer suggested there might be something like a “task force” to look at election fraud that, again, is in the imagination of a disturbed man and some of his equally disturbed followers, like Alex Jones and others at Infowars, which is the “source” for many of Tr-mp’s delusions.

I just want to make this clear. We can all see that Tr-mp is peddling a Big Lie. There isn’t any debate at all about that. The question is why is he doing it? There are two possibilities: 1) He either knows it is a lie, in which case he is purposely trying to deceive millions and millions of Americans—and others around the world living in wobbly democracies themselves—as a way of protecting his already-damaged ego, or 2) He actually believes the Big Lie, in which case he is dangerously gullible and deluded. Which is worse? Either way he is, as I said, a disturbed man.

I like the way Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior advisor to President Obama, put it in a Tweet today:

Here’s where we are: Trump is deeply disturbed, his aides enable him, and the US government now makes policy to alleviate his insecurities

You can see how dangerous it is to have a man in charge of a lethal military, not to mention lethal nuclear weapons, to be so disturbed that policy makers and aides have to worry about alleviating his insecurities. But that’s the world in which we now live. We literally have to worry that Tr-mp doesn’t wake up one day and see something on CNN or kim-jong-unsome other cable news outlet that pisses him off—which outlets he reportedly watches day and night—to such a degree he does something that used to be unthinkable but no longer is.

Even without a medical degree, we who have watched Tr-mp closely for months and months can see he isn’t normal. He isn’t tethered to reality in important ways. His behavior, fairly or unfairly, has been compared to Hitler. He has received a lot of well-deserved criticism for praising Vladimir Putin and has been compared to him in style. But perhaps closer to the truth is that his authoritarian impulses and his emotional instability are more like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, who, as reported, also has thin skin:

North Koreans have been warned of strict action if they make any satirical comments directed at their leader Kim Jong-un or his governance. In a bid to clamp down on criticism, the isolated nation told its citizens to not use sarcasm even in their everyday casual conversation for they “will not be forgiven”.

Authorities reportedly organised mass meetings across the country to issue warnings.

We are a long way from becoming a rich version of North Korea, obviously. But we are not a long way from having a leader whose skin is so thin he overreacts to the slightest criticism, whose ego is so fragile and vulnerable that his focus is on counter-punching and vengeance, whose mind is so disordered and detached from reality that he encourages wild conspiracies and “alternative facts,” whose press secretary has said in trying to defend him that “sometimes we can disagree with the facts.” We may be light years away from being North Korea, but we are only a stone’s throw from having a leader who would feel at home governing such a place.

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17 Comments

    • Ahh! I hadn’t seen that but I have seen Kander on a number of shows. I have met him a couple of times and I went away very impressed. I have advocated for his ascendancy to the leadership of the DNC. Despite what Michael Moore and others who cheer for other candidates, I think Kander is the perfect person to lead the opposition to a Tr-mp presidency and its aftermath. He knows what it takes, as a soldier-politician from a now-red state, to bridge the gap between the solid blue states and the more rural states. He can help our party understand that our message of inclusiveness and cultural diversity and social justice should be wedded to a message to the working-class (whites and people of color) who feel the Democratic Party is a Johnny One-note party that ignores their concerns. I like the fact he is actively getting out there and making a splash in the left-of-center media. Maybe it will propel him to a position of leadership in the Democratic Party.

      Duane

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      • Is he actively seeking the leadership position? I think it is necessary to have someone like him in leadership as he represents a faction of the party that is under-served (and possibly voted for Tr_mp because of this), don’t you think? I think you may be on to something with this….

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        • Dawn,

          I don’t think he is “actively” seeking it, but he hasn’t run away from the suggestion. He told Politico he was “open to it.” There is a small contingent on Twitter pushing for it (“Jason Kander for DNC“) who started in November. I believe most of the speculation began with fierce anti-Tr-mper Norm Ornstein. He argued that the position needs someone in it full-time, someone like Kander.

          Kander has been appearing on TV. A lot. And he’s been doing a lot of traveling. Dan Pfeiffer, Obama’s former senior adviser, mentioned Kander in a tweet. He seems to be doing the legwork necessary to get his name out there more seriously for consideration. I hope he just comes out and says he wants the job at some point.

          As to whether he represents a “faction of the party that is under-served,” that is part of the debate going in within the party right now. Some on the left don’t want a Kander type because they don’t see the party’s weakness as a failure to attract rural white, working-class voters. Most of them think we have lost such voters and any attempt to get them back will result in a breakup of Obama’s broader coalition. I happen to think Kander is the perfect combination of what we need. He has his feet in a rural state like most of Missouri is, and his head in tune with progressive values. I think he can sell those values to a few more voters (we won’t do much better than Obama did in 2008, for sure) in important states without compromising them. He did as much here in Missouri, but we are now basically Louisiana, as sad as that is.

          Duane

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  1. Excellent observations. And true, not just alternatively true, but the real-deal true. In fact, I wrote a couple of op-eds for the Glob last summer on this very topic.

    Anyway, I found this earlier this morning as a response to one of my Facebook buddies. Seems appropriate here.

    2 Timothy 3:1-9 (NKJV): “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.” Last Days? Perilous Times? Ruh-Roh

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    • Excellent, Herb. You obviously know I have a soft spot for such stuff, as an ex-evangelical.

      I want to say, though, that there are plenty of people out there, from the fundamentalist camp that believes in a convoluted interpretation of biblical eschatological texts, who believe that Tr-mp will usher in the End Times, the “Last Days,” as your quote suggests. These are scary people. And when you went to vote in November, so did they. And, I hate to say it out loud, their vote counted as much as yours. Sad!

      Duane

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  2. Judy Kappeler

     /  January 25, 2017

    Every single thing that Donald Trump does is in line with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. It doesn’t sound that bad because we overuse the word narcissist and narcissistic to describe people that are merely self-centered. Since about July when I first read the description, I have read more on the topic, and observed his public behavior. He is absolutely predictable within the framework of narcissistic personality disorder. I am amazed that the press does not look into this more deeply. The Atlantic had a article on it last summer, but The author downplayed it its severity.

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    • Judy,

      I appreciate the link and the effort here. And I appreciate the idea that non-professionals have some ability to assess mental competence, even venture a guess about the presence of mental illness of some kind.

      I started out way back when, in my criticism of Tr-mp, reluctant to render an opinion as to his twisted mental state, even though, given what I had read and seen and heard, I suspected (read: knew) his behavior was way outside the norm. Then his behavior became so egregious that I had to call it out openly. To put it bluntly: We wouldn’t go under the knife of a surgeon who, during an office visit, said he believed in voodoo, or said the “spirits of Baal” would guide his scalpel. We have common sense that can be used to evaluate what we see in Tr-mp. We don’t need a technical diagnosis, from a professional in the field, of what is wrong with him. We can see he is sick, mentally ill, if you want to put it that way, whatever the technical name for his disorder is.

      I don’t know if Tr-mp ran “to spite Obama.” That seems plausible to me on one level. But if you look back at his past interviews, it seems his disordered ego always entertained the idea that he should run for president. It just so happened that this time, due to a perfect storm of events (Comey, Russians, the Stein left, etc.), he actually won. And I don’t think we should overlook the fact that in a democracy without a strange “electoral college,” he would have been defeated and gone into folklore as a goddamned (pardon the word, but I mean it only as an intensifier, not a theological statement) loser.

      Duane

       

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  3. Judy Kappeler

     /  January 25, 2017

    Here is one video, not by professional but well done, using the description of NPD and examples. There are more on YouTube but I chose this one because it was short and concise. Please watch it and spread the word. We are not going to influence him or change him. Another excellent thing to watch is the biography of him on frontline which includes his childhood and the humiliation that he suffered when Barack Obama roasted him at the White House press banquet in 2011. I swear he ran just to spite Obama.

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    • I came to think during the campaign that DT was slyly manipulating the media by his outrageous statements. It was obviously working, this free attention. There was precedent with Hitler and Goebbels. But, in the worst possible outcome, it turns out he wasn’t faking. This is the real DT. I think your take on NPD is right on the money, Judy.

      There is a fine line between mental illness and variations of mental adaptability. I believe many sociopaths adjust to living in society. It appears to me, in fact, that many are successful in business simply because of their condition. A lack of empathy for other people and abnormal behavior can easily pass for toughness. DT would appear to be an extreme case. Under normal conditions one would think that well-adjusted people around such a person would attenuate his excesses, but in this case he has surrounded himself with others like himself, Steve Bannon among others. We are in for a rocky ride.

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    • Thank you for your responses Duanne and Jim,
      My purpose in writing to you and others is to bring attention to NPD as it applies to Trump in the hopes that he can be stopped. I have several friends who are psychiatrists and psychologists and everyone seems on board with the diagnosis. However, they cannot really come forward without threatening their professional standings or maybe even their license. One of them even went so far as to say Trump’s emotional age is three years old. I would like to know what the procedure is in such a situation if the president is mentally ill. I doubt that he could be impeached for this particular diagnosis, but my friend suggest that there is something more than the NPD.
      I am frustrated with the TV journalists who refer to this diagnosis, but then go on to expect DT to be reasonable and logical… seemingly forgetting the framework of this condition. Trump is not capable of rising above things. Trump is not capable of letting things go that involve his ego. He still running for office. He won but he has to have won totally, and the facts that say that he didn’t HAVE to be wrong. He’s willing to spend billions of tax dollars to investigate voter fraud, when in fact there’s much more proof of voter suppression. And all this is the focus rather than looking at briefings and other business (other than signing papers and tweeting)
      I don’t like Pence, or the idea of him leading our country either, but as an unbalanced person, Trump is more dangerous. He hasn’t been in office for a week, and is already making enemies for out country (Mexico). Many people in the written media agree with us but there doesn’t seem to be a plan. It does seem like more and more people are talking about it though. I wish CNN and MSNBC would have a resident psychiatrist (perhaps retired so as not to jeopardize a career) sitting next to the host, sort of like an interpreter. The host reports the latest Trump absurdity, and the psychiatrist describes the psychological element behind the act or quote. Anyway gentlemen, here is a more in-depth, though somewhat redundant, article on the subject.

      http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/what-top-fbi-profiler-taught-me-about-extreme-narcissists-donald-trump

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      • Judy, his medical “disorder” hasn’t changed in his lifetime, so it isn’t going to now. One would think it would be obvious to the most casual observer. The problem now is political and the question is whether the GOP will have the guts to impeach him before he gets us into another war or launches a nuclear weapon.

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        • Yessir, but there is no insight or courage on the current Right. Btw: a few weeks ago you recommended the Amazon TV show: The Man in the High Castle. Fascinating and disturbing. Thanks.

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      • Judy,

        I think it was this morning when I heard a guest on CNN mention a psychiatrist from Johns Hopkins who believes Tr-mp has “malignant narcissism.” The CNN host quickly shot that down. But here’s an excerpt from an article about it:

        One of the nation’s top psychologists just broke one of his profession’s ethics rules to give President Donald Trump a professional diagnosis.

        John D. Gartner, a psychotherapist who teaches at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, told US News that he believes Trump has “malignant narcissism,” which is incurable, and different from narcissistic personality disorder. Gartner violated the “Goldwater Rule” of the psychology profession, in which a diagnosis of a public figure without personally examining them, and without their consent, is considered unethical.

        “Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president,” Gartner said, citing his movements and behavior, pointing out the president’s tendency for grandiosity, sadism, aggressiveness, paranoia, and anti-social behavioral patterns.

        “We’ve seen enough public behavior by Donald Trump now that we can make this diagnosis indisputably,” Gartner added.

        Indeed, the diagnosis fits the bill of Psychology Today’s definition of malignant narcissism, which, when described, sounds like Donald Trump almost to the letter. Carrie Barron, M.D., who wrote the magazine’s blog on Malignant Narcissism, says the disorder “renders these individuals scary, dangerous, and ruthless.”

        Malignant Narcissists will go to great lengths to achieve their aim. They can be intelligent, high functioning (hold an important job for example) soft-spoken, charming, tearful/seemingly emotional, gracious, well mannered, kind and have the ability to form relationships. They may lie, falsely accuse, dramatize, smear, cheat, steal, manipulate, accuse, blame or twist to get what they want and feel justified in doing so. Because they are entitled, egocentric and desperate, they do not experience it as wrong. They are determined to gratify their wishes and furious if thwarted. Their desire can be so consuming that there is little comprehension of, respect for or ability to empathize with the other. They lack guilt or remorse and tend to feel or pronounce that it is they who have been mistreated.

        President Trump’s aides previously reported that their boss watches an excessive amount of television, mostly out of obsession for how he is perceived by the media. Salon’s Matthew Rosza compared the timestamps of Trump’s tweets about topics in the news and found that they coincided with the airing of various network news programs talking about those same subjects.

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  4. I’m not sure we ARE far away from being a (currently) rich North Korea. The Chancellor — err, President — DID want to have Kim-style rocket launchers and tanks in his inaugural parade.

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    • The difference is that, someone, I don’t know who he or she or “them” were, said, uh, no. Not happening. For now, that is our saving grace. It’s not guaranteed to stay that way, however. Thus, the fear.

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