All hail the Cheeto King

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I’ve been writing for a while that Donald Trump suffers from the mental disorder of acute narcissism as defined by the Merriam Webster medical dictionary. Last week the eminent psychiatrist who literally wrote the manual on diagnosing narcissistic personality disorder, a professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Duke University Medical College, Dr. Allen Frances, sent a letter to the New York Times rebuking a group of renowned American mental health professionals who think Trump’s mental condition makes him unfit to serve as president.

Thirty-five psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, while acknowledging they were in breach of professional rules against evaluating public figures, deemed Trump’s unstable mental condition too threatening too ignore.

Their letter to the NYT asserted:

“Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behaviour suggest a profound inability to empathise. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

“In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.”

In a subsequent letter, Dr. Frances told his colleagues that saying Trump is mentally ill is unfair to those who truly are.

His words are also worth repeating:

“Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabelled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.

“Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither).

“Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.

“His psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab. The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological.”

I stand corrected by Dr. Frances, which allows me to go back to calling Trump a Mango Megalomaniac and an Evil Orange Clown without fear of disrespecting the mentally ill.

But what does it say when calling the U.S. President mentally ill is deemed an insult to those who suffer from mental disorders.

It says there are a hell of a lot of dangerous fruit cakes in the Divided States of America.

Watching interviews with Trump supporters, some of whom look normal on the outside, is to see mass delusion. These people still believe their Mango messiah is the best thing since chicken-flavoured Cheetos.

  • They listen to his compulsive boasting and hear a plain-talking man of the people who will help them become the winners they have never been.
  • They see chaos in the White House and dismiss it as a vast media conspiracy.
  • They watch as their leader praises America’s arch enemy Russia and see a friend in dictator Vladimir Putin, in direct opposition to what most of them have believed since their childhoods in the nation’s hollows, swamps and trailer parks.
  • They listen as Donald Trump tells them the election he won was rigged and see millions of brown illegal voters streaming to the polls.
  • They hear about the Bowling Green massacre and insurrection in Sweden and reach for their guns.

The greatest threat to America is not immigrants, refugees, ISIS, Korea or even Russia. Instead it exists within its own borders in the heads of tens of millions of American citizens, heavily armed delusional fanatics who view an ignorant, incompetent, paranoid Reality TV star and pathological liar as the saviour who can transport them back to a time that never was, except in their distorted imaginations.

I ask again: Sane Americans, what have you allowed to happen on your watch? And more importantly: What are you going to do about it?

 

 

In and Out Like Flynn

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You have to give Donald Trump his due. He makes great alternative reality TV.

A new storyline every day.

The latest episode involves the man he hand-picked to be his National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign after denying he contacted the Russian Embassy to talk about the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration before assuming office. He held the post for 24 days, the shortest such tenure in American history.

Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Deplorables: Forget about the travel ban and insist on extreme vetting at the White House.

Trump knew about the lie on Jan. 26 after officials in the intelligence community informed the White House that intercepted transcripts of the conversation indicated sanctions had been discussed and expressed concern that Flynn might be blackmailed to keep that information quiet.

Trump sat on the information for 18 days as Flynn continued to take part in sensitive security briefings. He refused to comment after a Washington Post story came out confirming Flynn’s lie, saying he hadn’t heard anything about the reports.  As late as Feb. 13 his Propaganda Minister Kellyanne Conway went on television to say Trump had full confidence in Flynn. An hour later, after news surfaced that Trump had long been aware of the lie, his Press Secretary contradicted Conway by saying that Flynn’s status was under evaluation.

A few hours later Flynn submitted his letter of resignation using suspiciously Trump-like hyperbole by predicting that despite his unprecedented departure Trump’s presidency would go down as one of the greatest in U.S. history. The letter acknowledged that he ‘inadvertently misled’ Vice President Mike Pence.

Talk about an alternative fact. Let’s call it a lie.

Wow. Are we still in the first month of the Trump administration?

The Narcissist-in-Chief reacted to the scandal by Tweeting that the real story should be the illegal leaks coming out of government agencies.

Donald Trump prides himself on being a straight shooter who talks to his followers in language they understand, which sometimes means speaking at grade school level.

Let’s lay out what happened in plain language even a ‘bad high school student’ can understand.

Trump chose Flynn despite the misgivings of many people about his temperament and management abilities. He was rewarded for supporting Donald Trump when it looked like he couldn’t win and was on the front lines at Trump rallies shouting “Lock her up.” He was fired from a high-ranking intelligence job in the Obama administration.

He has been at Trump’s side throughout the campaign and during the transition and first 24 days of the Presidency as a trusted advisor. Flynn contacted the Russians and told them not to sweat the sanctions imposed by President Obama for helping Trump win the election. He told the Russians it wouldn’t be long until Trump relaxed the latest sanctions and Vladmir Putin knew he could look good by not retaliating with his own sanctions as every Russian administration had done in past similar circumstances. The next day Trump praised Putin, Tweeting that he was very smart.

When Trump found out Flynn’s calls had been recorded he did nothing, hoping that the embarrassing information could be contained. Flynn accompanied him to Florida for weekend meetings with the Prime Minister of Japan and continued acting as his National Security Adviser right up until the evening of his resignation.

When the story broke, Trump focused on the leaks instead of the lie, ignoring the inescapable real fact that if the Washington Post hadn’t published the information Michael Flynn would still be the National Security Advisor, lies be damned.

This should be shocking stuff for all Americans. How many lines have to point from the White House to the Kremlin before Congress and the Senate put partisan politics aside and stand up for the country by launching an independent investigation.

Let’s put things in point form for those who don’t comprehend things as well as Donald Trump, who told an audience last week that nobody comprehends things better than him. Another whopper that in his alternative world make him the smartest person on the planet.

  • Russia wanted Donald Trump to be President and they interfered in the U.S. election to get him to the White House. Think about that, bad student. Why would Russia want Trump?
  • Trump publicly encouraged the Kremlin to hack the Democrats during his campaign.
  • His campaign chair Paul Manafort was fired when his ties to Russia came into question.
  • The FBI has corroborated certain details from a dossier compiled by a highly credible former British intelligence agent suggesting the Russians may have compromising information on Trump. They are looking deeper.
  • Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, arguably the most important post in the cabinet, was awarded the Medal of Friendship from Russia for oil deals he made while head of Exon Mobile.
  • Trump’s now disgraced pick for the highly sensitive position of National Security Advisor appeared at Putin’s elbow at a dinner celebrating the state controlled television network for which Flynn provided paid commentary.
  • Before assuming the National Security Advisor job, Flynn contacted the Russians to give them the heads up on what to do about Obama’s sanctions for interfering in the election, violating a longstanding U.S. tradition of ‘one President at a time’ and possibly contravening the Logan Act.
  • Trump then praised Putin for not reacting to the sanctions calling him smart.
  • Flynn lied about the call to the Russians the American people, saying sanctions were never mentioned.
  • When given the opportunity to call Putin out for being the murdering, thieving, thug the world knows him to be, Trump told a huge pre-Super Bowl audience that Putin’s tactics were no worse than things the U.S. had done, flabbergasting even Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and outraging hawkish Republicans.
  • Flynn came clean only when he realized the FBI had transcripts of the call, saying he couldn’t remember if sanctions came up.
  • Trump kept Flynn at his side, and sent his top aide Kellyanne Conway to express his full confidence in Flynn 17 days after he was informed of the lie.
  • Flynn resigned hours after the second Washington Post story broke about the Department of Justice informing Trump that Flynn lied.
  • The next day Press Secretary Sean Spicer, doled out a serving of alternative facts, telling assembled media that Trump acted decisively and has been very tough on Russia.

My fellow North Americans, good students and bad, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… well… Adults living outside the U.S. are seeing the bigger picture here. Your President is mentally ill. At the very least he may have real business or personal reasons for being soft on Russia. As it was so vociferously communicated at a Town Hall meeting in Utah, make your representatives in Congress and the Senate “Do their jobs.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Liars Club

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Not a month in and it’s crystal clear to all but Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters that the man Americans entrusted with the most powerful job on the planet is delusional.

Trump lives in a world of alternative facts. He sees multitudes of illegal voters that nobody else sees. He lies so much his surrogates have taken to referring to the utterances of the 70-year-old billionaire business tycoon as if he’s a misunderstood teenager. They berate the press for misinterpreting tweets and justify his daily gaffs with circuitous deflections and pivots that leave listeners wondering if they have stepped through the looking glass.

Here’s a sampling of first month falsehoods that can be proved wrong by a simple Google search..

  • His inaugural crowd was the biggest ever. Period. False
  • Three to five million people voted for Hillary Clinton illegally depriving him of the popular vote. False
  • The bizarre claim that he’s been on the cover of Time more than anyone. False.
  • The media is involved in a conspiracy not to cover terrorism. False.
  • The media created a feud between Trump and the U.S. intelligence community. False.
  • The murder rate in the U.S. is the highest in 45 years. False.
  • His travel ban went smoothly, inconveniencing only 109 people. False.
  • The raid in Yemen, which resulted in the deaths of civilians, including women and children, and an American soldier, and the loss of a $70 million airplane, a mission which failed to capture its principle target, was a success. False.
  • All polls that are unfavorable to the Trump administration are Fake News. False.
  • Americans don’t ‘care at all’ about his tax returns. False.
  • Mexico will pay for the wall. False.

What’s most troubling about this small sampling is Trump’s preoccupation with and willingness to lie about petty things like the inauguration and the number of appearances on the cover of Time. Classic symptoms of his mental disorder. Acute narcissism.

As I said in a previous blog, I am no longer making fun of Donald Trump’s swooping comb-over, mango-tinted face and gilt-edged taste in furniture in deference to his mental disorder.

That said, his precarious grasp on reality puts not only America but the entire world in jeopardy and he must be held to account.

Listening to Trump sycophants on CNN deflect, pivot, spin, whirl and disassemble in rambling off-topic answers to specific questions is infuriating to viewers with an interest in facts. Here’s a suggestion for Jake Tapper’s next interview with Propaganda Minister Kellyanne Conway. Conduct the interview as if you were performing a lie detector test, in which the examiner pointedly does not allow the subject to ramble on. Pose the above list and insist on a simple yes or no answer to the truthfulness of Trump’s statements, with the provision Conway can only prevaricate when the test is complete. If she refuses to be interviewed under this stipulation take away her platform.

Watching Donald Trump parade his ignorance and incompetence with complete disregard for how his behaviour is perceived by sane people should elicit sympathy for a sick mind. His first month in office would be a sad joke if the consequences weren’t so deadly serious.

Take his latest assertion that Americans don’t understand the ‘tremendous threat’ posed by terrorism, in part because the media has an agenda to keep the populace uninformed. ‘You know why,’ he told his bewildered audience mysteriously. He alludes to the grave danger he recently learned about from the same intelligence community he likened to the Nazi regime when it came to investigations into his campaign’s links to Russia.

Trump might as well be the propaganda minister for ISIS in that he is helping them accomplish their main goal, which is to create undue fear in their enemies.

Think about it. In Trump’s alternative world Americans are living in great peril of imminent death at the hands of bad dudes and hombres who travel to the States with evil intent. The reversal of his travel ban by a ‘so-called judge’ leaves the country vulnerable to murder and mayhem and if anything happens it will be the fault of the judiciary.

The facts say otherwise. Refugees and immigrants already go through extreme vetting and Americans are more likely to be struck by lightening than to die at the hands of a foreign-born terrorist.

The strategy behind terrorism is to instill fear and demoralize an enemy you can’t defeat militarily by hitting soft targets. The terrorist, by definition, seeks to magnify the risk by the prominence and randomness of the attacks. Trump is doing everything he can to further that purpose by ratcheting up the threat factor. ISIS leaders must be peppering the sky with bullets in celebration of their new-found propagandist.

Yesterday, in a showy meeting with law enforcement officers at the White House, Trump went back to a familiar refrain. He cited a spike in the murder rate in a few American cities and then falsely inflated it to the worst killing spree in 45 years. He insinuated that it’s unsafe to walk American streets. I recently spent five months driving throughout the U.S., traveling to major cities like Washington, New Orleans, Memphis and Phoenix and not once sensed danger.

Donald Trump’s malignant mind operates in a maelstrom of fear. Lurking in every corner of his alternative world are nefarious  people out to get him or to put one over on him. The list is varied and growing longer by the day. It includes the media, the intelligence community, the fired acting U.S. attorney general, ‘weak’ Republican senators and congressmen, all Democrats, the Chancellor of Germany, the Chinese, the Mexicans, the Muslims, the Prime Minster of Australia, federal judges, Hollywood  liberals, the National Parks Service, Saturday Night Live, Nordstrom’s.

The one notable not on the list is Vladimir Putin, the dictator who murders dissenters and muzzles the press while robbing his country blind. He shrugs off Putin’s transgressions as if they were misdemeanour parking violations, oblivious to the optics of comparing U.S. wrongdoings to the thug’s foul deeds, even as an investigation is underway to determine if Putin is blackmailing him.

Your narcissist President is fear-mongering to promote himself as the only person who can save the country. The truth is that the biggest danger facing America is the rot from within that propelled a madman into its highest office. Americans have long been self-delusional when it comes to their place in the world as evidenced by the millions who worship a man who tells them he will put America First.

Americans yearn for recognition of their rightful place at the top of the world hierarchy, a spot they feel entitled to by no less than the blessing of God. In their collective myopia, they fail to see what the rest of the world has always known. Throughout a sullied 240-year history during which the country sat out the first years of two World Wars while its allies took the beatings, a history that encapsulates slavery, genocide, civil war, exploitation of impoverished nations, plundering of world resources, assassinations, military adventures that have left millions homeless or dead, America has always put itself first.