Category Archives: Politics

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.”

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.”

 

Senate Republicans Vote To Arm ISIL, Ravage The Middle Class, Make The Rich Richer, And Deprive Millions Of Access To Health Care

The U.S. Senate, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Koch brothers and the National Rifle Association, made a stand for violence, poverty and sickness in America the other day.  That’s right, in the wake of another gun-violence bloodbath, Republicans searched their souls, hearts, and collective conscience…and, realizing, they had none of those things, voted to make all Americans (except the very wealthy) more susceptible to death and financial ruin.

 

The timing of the Senate vote is, well, cruel to say the least.  At a moment when the blood of San Bernardino victims is not yet dry, Republicans refused to restrict gun access for those on the national terror watch list.  Think about this for a moment.  Right-wing politicians are okay with arming known radical Muslims, even though these same politicians regularly complain that Obama is doing nothing to stop known radical Muslims.  Does it not occur to right-wingers that disarming terrorists might be a good first step to stopping home-grown terrorist attacks?  As Hillary Clinton so eloquently stated, “If suspected terrorists are too dangerous to allow on planes, they should not be able to own guns.”

 

But when did Republicans ever let logic, sensibility, and compassion creep into their world view?  Their brand is stupidity.  Their priority is ignorance.  Their values are warped.  They are more concerned with pleasing their NRA overlords than they are with keeping guns out of the hands of ISIL.

 

San Bernardino will bring new howls about mental illness being the source of violence, but this claim has no basis.  According to Joshua Holland, a writer for The Nation magazine, “We don’t yet know what set off this latest bloodbath, but we know a lot about gun violence in America.

We know that our mental-health care system is indeed broken. But the gun lobby’s ubiquitous claims that fixing it will address the scourge of gun violence are merely a distraction from the real issue. Epidemiological studies show that the vast majority of the mentally ill aren’t violent. They tend to kill themselves at a disproportionate rate. Duke University psychiatrist Jeffrey Swanson told Health Day that people suffering from those kinds of mental-health problems are responsible for only 4 percent of the gun violence in America. Ultimately, talking about mental illness obscures the real problem: We’re awash in firearms and refuse to take the steps needed to keep them out of the wrong hands.  Perhaps the most frightening thing we know about gun violence comes from a study conducted by researchers at Duke, Harvard, and Columbia that was published earlier this year in the journal Behavioral Sciences and the Law. It found that almost one in 10 Americans who have access to guns are also prone to impulsive outbursts of rage. Among this group are almost 4 million people who carry their guns around in public and say they ‘have tantrums or angry outbursts,’ ‘get so angry [that they] break or smash things’ and lose their temper and ‘get into physical fights.’ The researchers also found that those who own many firearms are significantly more likely to exhibit signs of uncontrollable anger than people who own just one. The authors of the study noted that very few among that group had been diagnosed with the kinds of mental illness that would be unearthed in a standard background check. They say that we need to start restricting gun ownership based on whether people have a history of violence, not on diagnosed mental illness.”

 

God save us from angry, impulsive, gun-toting Americans…because the Republicans never will.

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

That Lying Witch Fiorina Now Has Blood On Her Hands

Domestic terrorist Robert Dear revealed his true motives for shooting up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last week when he uttered, “no more baby parts.”  Where could he have gotten the absurd notion that this clinic was involved in selling baby parts?  Only one place I know of…the black hole of lies called Carly Fiorina.

Fiorina, if you don’t know (and I’m sorry I do), is a right-wing witch’s brew of hateful disinformation, who sputters the most outrageous things from her filthy hole in a desperate attempt to raise her poll numbers from the non-existent to the barely visible.  In this abhorrent season of sociopathic Republican debates, where one idiot tries to outlie the other, Fiorina is the token female prevaricator, and she wants her whoppers to stand out.  In one debate she shrilly screamed about a Planned Parenthood videotape showed babies being harvested for their body parts.  No such video exists; Carly the Witch made it up.

A harmless lie, some may say.  But not when dangerous right-wing psychopaths, like Dear,  hear it and believe it.  Murdered citizens is what you get.  Republicans have claimed Dear was not politically motivated, but his ex-wife divulged the truth.  Dear, she said, “…has targeted the reproductive health organization before.” In an interview with NBC News, Barbara Mescher Michaux said Robert Dear put glue in the locks of another Planned Parenthood clinic when they were married more than 20 years ago. She characterized him in an affidavit she filed to divorce him in 1993 and in her Tuesday interview as a violent, isolated man. “For him to plan this and go there, he meant to go there,” she said. “There is no doubt in my mind. He is very right wing.”

No word on whether Robert watched the Republican debates.  But it’s a good bet that he got his information from Carly.  She has staked out the “anti-PP baby parts” platform, and now she has to own it.  Republicans must realize that when they spout hatred and lies that they are fueling the lunatic fringe to act out.  Nuts with guns are their most rabid constituents.  Domestic terrorists are aching for a reason, even a false one, to compensate for inadequacies by shooting someone.  Their white-hot anger needs only someone light the match.

Unfortunately, Fiorina is devoid of any conscience or compassion.  She has distanced herself from the shootings and any blame for the bloodshed.  Now I wish she would distance herself from us.  Please mount your broomstick and fly away, Carly.  Or perhaps someone can just throw a bucket of water on her.

Scientists Finally Fact Check The Republicans; They All Flunk

This Republican presidential campaign cycle has sunk to new lows.  Stupidity is a virtue.  Ignorance is a blessing.  Believing in myths raises one’s poll numbers.  Hatred is rewarded.  Intolerance is applauded.  Violent threats are encouraged.  Warmongering is all the rage.

The attributes which make one suitable to win the Republican nomination are ones that a troglodyte would be proud of.  They would make a circus clown blush.  Even elephants have more sense.  Sociopaths have more compassion.  Imprisoned felons are more qualified for high office.  Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne are smarter.

What does this say about Republican voters?  Well, if the candidates reflect their followers’ values, GOP voters are viciously angry, criminally uninformed, heartless, soulless, hate-filled white Christian extremists.  Lacking the conscience necessary to qualify as human beings, the candidates pander to this base and say the most outrageous things.

Recently, a panel of scientific experts was convened to fact check what Republicans have to say about climate change.  What a great idea.  Finally, smart people calling out stupid people and the stupid things they say.  The Republicans graded out as imbeciles.  The harshest comments were reserved for Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

“This individual [Cruz] understands less about science (and climate change) than the average kindergartner,” Michael Mann, a Pennsylvania State University meteorology professor, wrote of Cruz’s statements. “That sort of ignorance would be dangerous in a doorman, let alone a president.”

Harvard scientist Jim McCarthy, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, called Trump’s comments “nonsense,” while Emmanuel Vincent, a climate scientist at the University of California, Merced, said, “the candidate does not appear to have any commitment to accuracy.”

I suggest we convene panels of experts in all areas to fact check each moronic utterance that emits from Republican mouths.  At each Republican debate [when will they ever end?] let’s gather religious historians, constitutional scholars, law professors, crime statisticians, economic wizards, and foreign policy experts to call “bullshit” on every Republican whopper.  The fate of America, and the globe, should not be left to a bunch of ruthless jackals and inveterate liars.