The World’s Most Powerful Man is Sick; He Has NPD—What That Means To You and Me

Donald Trump is ill; his behavior and words make that undeniable. He lashes out against enemies perceived and real. He lies constantly. He craves attention and approval. He displays no genuine empathy. He has no shame. He never takes the blame for anything. In his own mind, he has no faults. He exaggerates his accomplishments, and he always uses superlatives when describing his policies and actions—i.e. “I won the election by a landslide; “Biggest electoral win ever”; “Largest crowds ever at my inaugural”; “I will build the greatest wall ever”; “I will replace Obamacare with the best health care in the world”; “My cabinet is the greatest cabinet in the history of America.” He shows no humility or dignity; he must always describe himself in the most grandiose terms. If you’ve been wondering, like I have, what the hell kind of personality/psychological disorder afflicts our president, I am happy to provide the answer. I am reprinting the explanation from an article published by Karen Wehrstein of the Daily Kos:

“[Trump] is a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and [I will] spell out what that means in terms of what to expect from him and how to deal with it. Certainly the term ‘narcissist’ is being applied to him a lot, but most people don’t know the entirety of what that means, psychologically.

I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, but for personal reasons I have educated myself about NPD. It generally conceals itself and is little understood—but has a devastating effect on the lives of others close to the narcissist or to organizations he is involved with. Knowing NPD creates a coherent picture that explains Trump’s behaviors. That will help you not only understand Trump, but enable you to spot people with NPD who want to enter your life, organization, etc., so that you can act accordingly. This is an educational moment in history. It is very rare that the symptoms of NPD are on such massive public display.

If you find yourself completely baffled by Trump’s behavior, that’s because mentally-healthy people generally find NPD-rooted behaviors incomprehensible. The narcissist violates social norms that healthy people hold instinctively and therefore assume (usually correctly) that others hold—while at the same time he creates a semblance of normalcy, because being able to do so is part of the disorder. Because the rest of us cannot relate to, often cannot even imagine how a narcissist thinks and feels, it seems outside the realm of plausibility, and so his semblance of normalcy will fool us. Not only Trump voters but fellow Republicans and even Putin have shown signs of buyer’s remorse with Trump. That’s because he fooled them all. Narcissists can do that.

So, since he’s a textbook case, let’s hit the textbook. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) – the American Psychiatric Association’s guidebook for mental health diagnosis – gives diagnostic criteria for all mental illnesses. Between the fourth and fifth editions, the criteria for NPD changed, so I am going to use both to paint a fuller picture. If you’ve been following the presidential news for the last few months, you’ll likely be able to think of at least one and probably several examples of Trump demonstrating every single diagnostic criterion below.
From DSM-IV:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy.
1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. Believes he is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement
6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends
7. Lacks empathy
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes
From DSM-5
A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:
1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):
1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):
a. Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.
b. Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.
AND
2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):
a. Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effect on others.
b. Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others’ experiences, and predominance of a need for personal gain
B. Pathological personality traits in the following domain:
1. Antagonism, characterized by:
a. Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others.
b. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.

President Obama and others who have observed that Trump’s behaviors arise from an underlying insecurity are right, as per DSM-5 criterion A.1.a. above. Kossacks and others have figured out that the way to get under his skin is to is to point out how unpopular he is, because that works on narcissists. In fact any criticism does, because narcissists can’t handle criticism at all, cannot help but take it personally, as per DSM-5 criteria A.1. a & b both.

How else does this translate into behaviors?
Let’s start with the persona narcissists create. Because they lack empathy, they have to learn how to appear normal, which they do by rote-learning expressions and mannerisms from normal people around them. In fact, they are good at being charming; they learn what people want to hear and say it without regard to whether it is true. Because they are without moral qualms, they can come across as decisive, which normal people interpret as confident, and spontaneous, which normal people interpret as authentic. This is how Trump played the crowds at his rallies. None of it, however, is sincere; it is only for personal gain. There is no such thing as loyalty from narcissists; loyalty arises from the social norm of reciprocity, which is based on empathy, which they don’t have.

Next: falsehood. Honesty is also a social norm based on empathy, so narcissists feel no need to hold themselves to it. Falsehood serves two functions: 1) manipulating people into furthering the narcissist’s aims (e.g. making promises he never intends to keep); 2) maintaining his own delusion of superiority, e.g. insisting he is liked more than he is, or rebutting good arguments with false ones. The media is debating whether Trump’s tales of a record-breaking inauguration audience and 3-5 million illegal votes are lying or delusion. Knowing what I do of NPD, I would say it’s delusion. Trump will cling to it and keep it in the news even at the risk of damaging his own credibility, because it engages his central, very strong motivation, and he lacks the empathy to see how it will damage his credibility.
Because narcissists are so insecure at heart they can be control freaks, and the male of the species in particular can be authoritarian. Hence, executive orders that are likely unconstitutional as well as absurd. In a “love” relationship (because narcissists lack empathy, which is central to love), he can seek to dictate every aspect of his partner’s life, including that she conform to his standard of beauty. Thus he feels free to wander into the dressing room of a teen beauty pageant to “inspect the goods,” and you’ll see a certain uniformity among the Trump women in style of dress and even length of hair. I think he is likely giving them strict orders.

At the same time, there will be impulsiveness, moodiness and disorganized thinking. A narcissist is really a six-year-old in a grown-up body, lacking reason and ruled by emotion; recall Melania Trump’s comment that she had to look after two boys, one being Barron, the other, Donald. People have suspected Trump’s reversals and word-salads could indicate ADHD, but these are indicators of NPD, too.

In his exploitiveness, the narcissist violates social norms concerning appropriate boundaries, whether those boundaries are codified in conflict-of-interest prohibitions, investment loan contracts, business contracts, sexual assault laws or what-have-you. The narcissist basically feels that rules are for him to set, not obey. This includes even the rules of logic, such as “base your decisions on facts.”

Projection characterizes how narcissists describe people who oppose them. They will “project their own negative introject,” in Freudian terms, i.e. ascribe their own wrongdoing and faults to other people, whether it be criminality (“crooked Hillary”), lying or a rigged election. I have come to assume that whatever Trump accuses someone else of doing, he is doing or has done himself.

Competitiveness and envy result from others apparently outdoing the narcissist, e.g. President Obama drawing large inauguration crowds. He, and everything he’s touting, has to be the biggest, the best, the huuuugest.

Rage and vindictiveness result from the narcissist’s wishes being thwarted which, of course, life does fairly often, quite naturally. It is a primal rage, like a child’s; hence Trump’s angry style of speaking and noted obsession with getting even. One reason the golden shower story went so viral; Americans have come to know Trump well enough to see it is plausible. Rage translates into hate, which can manifest as racism, sexism, and homophobia.
So how to deal with a narcissist? To put it very bluntly: don’t. There really is nothing to do with these people but to disassociate with them. They bring nothing but harm and suffering. However, if you are stuck with one, there are ways to handle it:
1) Avoid being disillusioned: have very low expectations. Here are things never to expect from a narcissist: honesty, loyalty, reciprocity, change due to the gravity of a position, reasonableness in negotiation, learning through experience, maturation, adaptability, courage, ability to handle adversity, aspiration to genuine excellence, genuine altruism, humility, guilt or shame for wrongdoing, equanimity, sincere gratitude, sincere appreciation, sincere praise, admission that he is wrong, returned favours or improvement of the condition. In Trump’s case, you can’t even expect normal laughter or a smile that goes up to his eyes. Prognosis is poor because narcissists think all problems are caused by other people and so generally don’t seek treatment. Many people, even ones as smart as President Obama, expected Trump to settle down some once he was president. I knew he wouldn’t. He actually is not capable of doing so.
2) Do not normalize. Healthy people have a tendency to give the benefit of the doubt, in part because they simply can’t believe a narcissist is the way he is. It is standard operating procedure for him to use that to gaslight you; normalizing is gaslighting yourself. Recognize and accept that he is the way he is, that it’s due to mental illness and that he will not change. This is what the mainstream media most needs to learn about Trump.
3) If you are trying to figure out why he would do something, ask yourself, “How might it be motivated by a need to feel significant or important?” Discount all other motivations. Your questions will be answered.
4) Keep interactions distant. Don’t depend on a narcissist for anything; never make yourself vulnerable to a narcissist. Don’t loan him money or do work for him without 100% payment upfront.
5) Expect those around him to be damaged. They are either brain-washed into being extensions of him, parroting his thoughts, or faking same for personal gain, or bewildered by the madness. Expect chaos in any organization he leads: good people will resign in disgust or be fired, while marginal people ascend to powerful positions.
6) Do not attempt to reason with or educate him. It doesn’t happen.
7) Manipulate him by using his disorder. Flattery will get you everywhere; convince him that your idea was his brilliant one and he’ll run with it. Trump’s campaign staff learned to do this. But if you’re too honest for that:
8) Get rid of him as fast as possible. How?
a. Stop giving him what he so desperately needs. Once a narcissist realizes someone is no longer a source of approval, admiration and adoration, he’ll be off like a shot looking for the next sucker.
b. Expose him. Narcissists also tend to flee when they realize people are onto them. I am actually expecting Trump to flame out fairly soon, perhaps within weeks, because he is revealing that his condition makes him unable to deal with losing the popular vote, drawing a small inaugural audience, being mocked by SNL or greeted with protests wherever he goes. The media are beginning to talk openly about his mental illness; how will he handle that?

The central thing to understand about narcissists is that their need for “narcissistic supply” – feelings of being significant, important and adored – overrides all other considerations, including empathy and all the human norms that arise from it, because their delusion is to equate narcissistic supply with survival—same as a drowning victim might drown their rescuer. Some narcissists, having flashes of realism as some of them sometimes do, have described narcissistic supply as a far stronger addiction than heroin.

It’s a throwback to the helplessness of early childhood, where not being considered important and lovable by parents is a genuine threat to survival. Thus a narcissist is always trying to soothe an all-encompassing internal terror, and no amount of narcissistic supply can ever soothe it entirely. This is the inner hell in which Donald Trump lives, and which he now has the ability to externalize onto the United States of America and the world.”

Liberals Don’t Get It; Trumpites Are A Different Animal

There’s a scene in the TV series “The Sopranos” where Dr. Melfi, Tony’s psychiatrist, is told by her husband that “there is no cure for a sociopath…they are animals.” It suddenly dawns on Dr. Melfi that all of her years spent working to help Tony have been for naught. Psychoanalyzing an animal is pointless. Talk therapy does not help. Meds don’t help. Trying to understand them is pointless. Ascribing normal human standards to their behaviors is an exercise in futility. In the end, one must realize that they can’t be persuaded, shamed, or cajoled to do the right thing. They have no conscience or morality. They are concerned only with themselves, and they live to prey on others.

This is what liberals do not understand about Trumpites. We try to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that their anger is somehow justified. We look for justification for their irrational hatred of Hillary and Democrats. We hope that Trump’s language and behavior are just a means to a better end. We delve into sociological causations for the disaffection of the white working class. We make excuses for college-educated females who voted for Trump. We desperately search for a glimmer of sensibility in half of all voters supporting a compulsive liar, sexual predator, tax cheat and business fraud.

Liberals, please listen. There is no humanity in a Trumpite. Stop attributing human qualities to non-humans. They are animals, devoid of compassion, empathy and concern for the greater good. They live, breathe and think only for themselves. The rest of us are merely marks in their con games. Like their leader, they use humans as a way to get what they want for themselves. And they couldn’t care less if others are happy, safe or prosperous as long as they are. Take Obamacare, for example.

You know why they want to rip it apart? It’s not because they have some deeply and thoughtfully considered socioeconomic objections, or that they see a better way of implementing universal care. No. It is simply because they do not want others, especially those beneath them, to be cared for. The well-being of others makes them furious, especially if their tax dollars contribute in some small way to that abomination. Even if Trumpites have their own wealth and comfort, they do not want others to share in the same abundance. For what is the point of being prosperous if others have it too? Remember, animals fend for themselves. Sociopaths are merely snakes on the prowl, not beneficent do-gooders.

Gun obsession is another example of the sociopath’s self-centeredness. In his view, the world is a jungle, and a weapon gives him the advantage. The animal seeks to intimidate and cow others, and he assumes that all others are animals too…ones from which he needs to be protected. It never enters a Trumpite’s head that liberals want everyone to be protected, that the greater good is served by keeping guns out of irresponsible hands, that liberals want humanity to exist on a higher plane of shared decency and respect. For the animal there is no such plane. There is only the jungle. There is only me.

Liberals, wake up. Trumpites are animals. Conscienceless, amoral, hateful, brutal, and completely devoid of remorse. (If Democrats had won the election despite losing the popular vote by millions, they would have felt guilty. But not these animals.) Stop treating them like they are human. Call them out for what they are. Shame them for their shamelessness. Be relentless in pointing out their inhumanity. And don’t forget, you cannot appease an animal. You cannot compromise with it; you cannot work with it. It will bite your head off as soon as you turn your back on it.

Thankfully, in America animals are still outnumbered by human beings. Appeal to human beings’ decency and sense of righteousness. And stop trying to figure out Trumpites. Sociopaths are incurable.

Wait Until Trump Voters See How Trumpism Will Affect Them

Like petulant children, tired of being scolded for their bad behavior and words, Trump voters gave humane, decent adults everywhere a great big middle finger in this election. Now, like the giddy misanthropes they are, they gleefully watch as liberals like me tear their hair out. This is what they wanted all along–vengeance for being fact-shamed by Democrats; for having to squelch their racist inclinations; for stifling their urge to ridicule the disabled and the mentally impaired; for having to tell their racist jokes in private; for having to reduce women to sexual objects. They entered the ballot booth as assassins of civility, not protectors of democracy. Trumpers couldn’t care less about democracy. Democracy impels them to accord respect to the other–the other gender, the other race, the other religion, the other sexual orientation. They see no benefit for themselves in the greater good, and finally they have found their hero…someone who embodies what they stand for: self-serving, short-term ego gratification, without a shred of social conscience or open-mindedness.

But the day is coming, sooner not later, when the Trumpers will regret the havoc they have unleashed, because they have to live and work in Trump’s America too. They have to send their kids to school in Trump’s America. They have to serve in Trump’s military. They have to pay taxes to support CEOs like Trump. And when they’ve finally gotten their fill of Trumpism and they begin to criticize President Donald, they’ll have to live in fear of Trump’s reprisals. If there is one thing we know Donald loves to do it’s get even with his enemies.

The Trump victory gives permission for schoolyard bullies to resume their reign of terror, and most Trumpers send their kids to public schools. The Trump victory validates the boss who uses his power to intimidate and sexually harass employees, and most Trumpers are in jobs where they are vulnerable to their superiors’ power. The Trump victory emboldens the local gun nuts to open carry at school picnics; even conservatives like picnics. The Trump victory is likely to bend the tax code even more radically in favor of the super-rich, and history tells us corporations and the rich are not going to share any part of this obscene windfall with Trumpers. The Trump victory legitimizes illiteracy and stupidity; Trumpers should prepare for the American education system to sink to a new low under Donald. The Trump victory comes with a pledge of foreign aggression and military adventurism; it will be the Trumpers who fight and die in these wars. The Trump victory, by his own words, opens up the nuclear option; neither Trumpers nor anyone else will survive a nuclear war.

To Trumpers who read this blog: I know, I know…you’re thinking, “He’s just another liberal elite scolding us.” That’s right, I am. You should have listened to me, to all of the liberals, when we tried to warn you. A couple years from now, you’ll realize you were wrong, and have deep regrets for the mess you’ve made. But you’ll never admit it, because, like your leader, you don’t have the decency or humility to ever admit you were wrong. Like the bratty kids you are, you never learn. Your childish behavior follows you into adulthood, and four years from now we, the adults, will have to bail you out again.

But for now, don’t come running to me. He’s not my president; he’s yours. And you’ll have to pay the consequences for what you’ve done.

Thom Hartmann Names Names of Senate Republican Gun-Lobby Whores

While Congressional Democrats conduct a righteous gun control “sit-in,” and 92% of the American people long for common sense gun reform, you may wonder who exactly are the people blocking an assault weapons ban and voting to arm terrorists? Well, wonder no more. Thanks to a crusading liberal author and talk-show host, we now have the names of the Republican man-servants of the NRA.

Thom Hartmann, in an article he wrote for Op-ed News, exposes the diabolical corruption:

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the NRA contributed a total of more than $36 million to 50 Republican senators over the course of their careers, according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund. And there are 10 Republican senators, representing 10 percent of the votes in the Senate, who have gotten an average of $3 million apiece over the course of their careers. These include veteran lawmakers like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has brought in at least $1.3 million over his 30-year career; Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who have each received $1.4 million over their careers; and Pat Roberts from Kansas who has gotten nearly $1.6 million over the last 20 years. Sen. John McCain tops the list, though, by raking in nearly $8 million from the NRA over his 30-year career in the Senate.

“Then there are the junior lawmakers, like Tom Cotton from Arkansas, who has only been serving in the Senate since last year and has already received $1.9 million in money from the NRA and its buddies. And in just the first two years of serving in office, Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy has brought in $2.9 million for his votes against gun regulation, while Iowa’s Joni Ernst brought in $3.1 million, Cory Gardner from Colorado has brought in $3.9 million and Thom Tillis has gotten $4.4 million.

“Considering the fact that the NRA has spent over $16 million on five freshmen senators alone, and considering the fact that half of the members of the Senate have gotten donations of some size from the gun lobby, it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that our lawmakers won’t pass popular gun control legislation.

“If we ever do want to see common-sense gun control legislation passed, we need to get money out of politics, we need to overturn Citizens United and we need to get the corrupting influence of corporate lobbyists out of our political system. Because as former President Jimmy Carter has pointed out, we’re no longer living in a democracy where US politicians listen to the will of the American people.”

 

Will Stephen King’s 11-22-63 Get It Right? I Have Low Expectations

I’ll watch Hulu’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s time-travel fantasy, 11-22-63, with an open mind, but I have no reason to believe that King has done any serious research into the JFK assassination. And without doing so, one cannot expect to come close to grasping the diabolic, complex, yet flawed, covert operation which took Kennedy’s life…much less the enormous consequences of the murder of the century. I confess I haven’t read King’s book, but I’ve been told that he grapples with the universal question: what would America have been like had JFK survived Dallas? Well, for starters, there would have been no Vietnam War. This is not conjecture on my part. This is fact, despite what establishment liars (and LBJ apologists) like Doris Goodwin and Robert Dallek say. Just days before Kennedy died, he told close associates that he intended to withdraw all American military personnel (mostly advisory staff in 1963) from Vietnam. JFK’s assistant press secretary Malcolm Kilduff told author James Douglass that, “There is no question that he [JFK] was taking us out of Vietnam. I was in his office just before he went to Dallas and he said that Vietnam was not worth another American life. There is no question about it. I know that firsthand.”

Kennedy signed National Security Action Memo 263 just one month before his death. It laid out plans for complete withdrawal of American military presence in southeast Asia by 1965. Just days after JFK was murdered, Lyndon Johnson signed NSAM 273 which, in essence, reversed Kennedy’s NSAM 263. The war lasted a decade and cost America a fortune in lives, money and prestige.

Without Vietnam, there would have been no student protest and campus unrest in the 1960s. It’s possible that an American counterculture would have never arisen. Imagine a decade of peace and progressiveness instead of turbulence and violence. For that matter, imagine peace being the overriding principle around which our society is constructed. Instead of war. If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we have been at war or under the threat of war, since 11/22/63. War means profit, and in the half-century since Kennedy’s death war profiteering has been unabated. We have become so inured to it, that it seems unnatural to not be ruled by the oligarchs who have profited from war: Halliburton, alone, has poisoned and corrupted our democracy for more than 50 years. Its own executive, Dick Cheney, was the driving force behind the unsanctioned, illegal and immoral Iraq War. But more than this, the very fabric of American democracy has been shredded by the new oligarchy which has arisen from the obscene and bloody profits of war. It is hard to find an unsullied politician (especially Republicans, for whom greed and self-interest are practically requirements for membership); every ordinary citizen knows that the country is being run for the sake of the rich. The fix is in, and apathy is widespread.

The roots of distrust in our government and in our way of life can be traced back to Dallas and that bloody day. So when King, or anyone, tries to fairly represent that period, the stakes are enormous. It is easy for the unthinking and the dishonest to dismiss Kennedy’s death as an accident of history. Devoid of historical significance. But the truth is, it was the turning point of America. We cannot shrink from its ugly truth and its profound meaning, and this requires artists and historians of courage and knowledge.

For it is not just that American democracy was overthrown on 11-22-63; war and war profiteering became our way of life. But it’s deeper than that. There are two Americas now: both equally despicable and abhorrent. There’s the official government and the secret government, each equally culpable and invested in protecting the other’s closeted skeletons. There’s the official media and the new “home-brewed” social media; suspicious of one another, and each willing to spin a lazy narrative of lies. There’s official history and real history…never the time traveler shall meet. There’s the official version of JFK’s assassination and the real version. The former espoused by the uninformed or the complicit; the latter infiltrated by co-conspirators and disinformationists. The oligarchy which oversees this mess reaps the benefits of dividing and conquering. Much of the damage done at the behest of the oligarchs was accomplished by CIA agents infiltrating every realm of American life.

From “JFK and the Unspeakable” page 197: “The consequences in the early 1960s, when Kennedy became president was that the CIA had placed a secret team of its own employees through the entire U.S. government. It was accountable to no one except the CIA, headed by Allen Dulles. After Dulles was fired by Kennedy, the CIA’s Deputy Director Richard Helms became this invisible government’s commander. No one except a tight inner circle of the CIA even knew of the existence of this top-secret intelligence network…[it] constituted a powerful, unseen government within the government.”

The CIA didn’t stop there. We now know that its agents infiltrated the fields of rocket science, the military, the media, drug experimentation and sales, war operations, foreign governments, and publishing. It is part of the secret cabal whose purpose is to keep the truth from us, for the truth is dangerous.

I predict that King’s film will, in the end, become another pillar in the house of lies that prevents us all from seeing who we are and from where we came.

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming/dp/098882907X

Documentary on MLK’s Murder is Full of Misinformation and Fact Gaps

AHC (American Heroes Channel) is now running a documentary called “Justice For MLK: The Hunt For James Earl Ray.” It purports to tell the story of how Dr. Martin Luther King was killed and how his alleged assassin was captured. But it’s long on myth and short on relevant facts. It adds little to the historical record, but like a comforting fairy tale it tries to assuage our nagging doubts about the ubiquitous lone-gunman myth used to explain away all ’60s assassinations. Like in the JFK and RFK killings, legitimate evidence exists to inculpate conspirators and covert operatives in MLK’s killing, but this evidence is ignored. Instead Gerald Posner, the prevaricating viper who gave us “Case Closed,” is dragged out once again to spew disinformation. (Side note: Posner physically resembles a snake; he has dark, lifeless eyes and a misshapen cobra head. So my description is not an unfair ad hominem attack; his soulless, sickening servility to the intelligence establishment notwithstanding.)

It’s what’s missing and unexplored that gives us pause. For instance, the FBI is presented as dogged, relentless pursuers of King’s killer despite the fact that J. Edgar Hoover despised MLK. Hoover once wrote a letter to King imploring King to cease his bestial sexual perversions or commit suicide. (I do not know if Hoover wrote this letter while dressed in woman’s clothing and in the arms of his homosexual lover, but one can speculate.) Hoover’s FBI was more likely to pin a medal on King’s murderer than apprehend him. In fact, the arrest of James Earl Ray took months, supposedly because Ray was a master criminal who deftly used many aliases and false documents to evade capture. The truth is, Ray was a petty criminal with a low IQ who could not cross the street without help from powerful interests. Moreover, much like Lee Harvey Oswald, he had no known motive for killing King. Ray’s own brother swore that James Earl was no racist.

There are other problems. How did Ray know where King was staying in Memphis on April 4, 1968? With a police dragnet surrounding the Lorraine Motel, how did Ray, presumably with rifle in hand, rent a room a short distance from the Lorraine without arousing suspicion? Immediately after King was shot, how did Ray escape the police dragnet so easily? What were military intelligence officers and FBI agents doing in the immediate vicinity of the Lorraine as the shot rang out? (Even the slithery Posner admits shadowy government agents were in the area.) Why did these agents and law enforcement run away from the flop house from which the shot was fired, even as all those near King were pointing directly at the flop house as the source of the shot?

Ray supposedly escaped in the most recognized and noticeable vehicle of the day, a white 1966 Ford Mustang, yet no Memphis cop or FBI agent saw it evade the many roadblocks thrown up just minutes after the assassination. The AHC documentary claims that a kid on a CB radio misled authorities. Sounds more like the Keystone Kops were running the investigation. Or maybe there was no genuine effort to catch anyone.

Ray was finally identified and detained two months later on the day after RFK died in Los Angeles. Ray, who spent time in LA before the King murder, might have been a roving patsy. A rootless nobody with low-level intelligence connections unwittingly waiting for his puppeteers to pin a murder on him. These wandering CIA patsies did exist. Lee Harvey Oswald was the most prominent one. There were others–Gordon Novell, Thane Eugene Cesar, Gerry Patrick Hemming, and Thomas Arthur Vallee to name just a few.

The bottom line is this: If you believe it is mere coincidence that the three most powerful voices on the left in the 1960s were all gunned down by lone gunmen without any tangible motive, you are quite naïve. Or you are a Posner.