DIAGNOSING PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's too late to help us now!

FRIDAY, MAY 1, 2020

The question the Times wouldn't ask:
Long ago and far away, Rhonda Freeman published a lengthy discussion of the disorder known as malignant narcissism.

Her piece was written for Psychology Today—and actually, it wasn't that long ago. Johnson's report appeared in February 2017, the first full month of Donald J. Trump's tumultuous term in office.

Below, you see part of Johnson's description of the malignant narcissist. Again and again, she almost seems to be describing a well-known public figure of the present day:
JOHNSON (2/22/17): This condition reflects a hybrid or blending of narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders. Psychologist Erich Fromm termed the disorder in 1964. Psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg later delineated the symptoms of the condition and presented it as an intermediary between narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders.

Individuals with this profile can form connections with others. However, they process information in ways that can hurt society in general, but also the people who love or depend on them. Family, co-workers, employees, and others in their lives often have to walk on eggshells to appease a fragile ego and minimize the occurrence of their unstable, impulsive, or aggressive behaviors.

They lash out or humiliate others for infractions of even the most frivolous nature (for example, you gave an opinion that differed from theirs; you demonstrated confidence, and it made them look bad; you told a joke that involved poking fun at them).

For some, their grandiosity and protection of their fragile "true self" can be at such extreme levels that they will lie and give the impression that simply because they say it, that makes it reality. Many will become angered if their lies are challenged with truth or facts. Of course, this can create problems for the people close to them, as this pattern of behavior can easily veer into gaslighting.

Malignant narcissism is a blend of two disorders that pose problems interpersonally for their victims—narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders. It is not uncommon for others to feel anxious, intimidated by, and fearful of people with this condition. The combination of poor empathy coupled with aggression, hypersensitivity, and suspiciousness can bring pain to others.

Those who interact with malignant narcissists often consider them jealous, petty, thin-skinned, punitive, hateful, cunning, and angry. Given their shallowness, they are not regulated emotionally and have beliefs that swing from one extreme to the next.

Their decisions can hurt others, because they rank relationships and people based on superficial standards and categories. They want to land on top, even when pretending to be altruistic or engaging in an activity that should not be "all about them." They often view the world through a primitive binary lens (for example, winner/loser; smart/dumb; rich/poor; pretty/ugly; black/white)—all the while sustaining the belief that they are superior. This is likely associated with problems processing emotional information, which reflects faulty neurobiology.
According to Johnson, the person afflicted with this condition will lash out or humiliate others for even the simplest infractions.

People who suffer from this condition will lie, and will then become angry if their lies are challenged with facts.

Co-workers and employees often have to walk on eggshells due to the unstable, impulsive, aggressive behaviors of people afflicted with this condition.

The beliefs of people with this condition may swing from one extreme to the other. People who interact with them will regard them as petty, thin-skinned, punitive, angry.

People who suffer from this condition will typically want to land on top, even when they deal with something which shouldn't be "all about them." Through thick and thin, they sustain the belief that they are superior.

In the mind of the person with this condition, the world is made of winners and losers. Or so Johnson said.

For people who don't support President Trump, this may sound like a comically accurate portrait of our sitting president. Indeed, Johnson almost sounds clairvoyant, so accurately did she describe the ways President Trump is being described, this very day, by those who don't support him.

Who knows? Johnson may have been thinking of President Trump when she composed this portrait. At any rate, the last remark which we have posted brings the eternal note of sadness is, or so it says around here.

Johnson says that the destructive traits of people suffering from this condition are likely due to "faulty neurobiology." We don't know what that means, in part because topics like these are so rarely discussed within our mainstream discourse.

What exactly does it mean to diagnose someone this way? In what way is such a person in the grip of a mental "illness?"

What's the difference between a person with a major "personality disorder" and a person who simply has terrible values? Does this syndrome have some sort of biological cause? Can a person with this syndrome "help himself?" Where does this syndrome come from?

Questions like these are rarely discussed in our upper-end discourse. Within our occasionally unimpressive public culture, "sociopaths" are Hannibal Lecter, and everyone else is some version of normal.

Because these topics are discussed so rarely—because our perceptions in this area are so strongly shaped by Hollywood—we the people have little ability to discuss or analyze such topics. When someone like President Trump comes along, we possess few tools which help us discuss his highly peculiar behavior.

Should Trump be pitied as a person who is suffering from an "illness?" Or should be he assailed in moral terms, or perhaps as a "moron?" Within or primitive public discourse, such questions don't even exist.

What does it mean to be suffering from a (major) "personality disorder?" Our unimpressive mainstream culture rarely visits such a place.

That leaves us poorly equipped to deal with the question of Donald J. Trump. We liberals tend to lash out in anger at his behavior, even as people like Dr. Gartner say that he's in the grip of a syndrome which lies in or near the realm we refer to as mental "illness."

So it goes, this very day, among us "beaten children of the Earth." So it goes as we try to discuss the destructive behavior, and the apparently dangerous impulses, of President Donald J. Trump.

It's too late to develop the capacity to discuss Trump's peculiar behavior. At best, we may slowly develop the ability to discuss some similar public figure at some point in the distant future.

For today, though, we'll leave you with one final question. It steams from the editorial in which the New York Times decreed that journalists shouldn't discuss President Trump in psychiatric terms.

The editorial appeared on January 10, 2018. The editorial board was so immature and childish that day that they chose to publish their editorial under this childish headline:
Is Mr. Trump Nuts?
Then as now, the journalists couldn't put on their big boy [sic] pants and use their grown-up words. For current examples of such behavior, see Tuesday's report.

The editors wanted to know if Donald J. Trump was "nuts." Having displayed this second-grade level of sophistication with respect to concepts of mental health, the editors started like this:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (1/10/18): Is Donald Trump mentally fit to be president of the United States? It’s an understandable question, and it’s also beside the point.

Understandable because Mr. Trump’s behavior in office—impulsive, erratic, dishonest, childish, crude—is so alarming, and so far from what Americans expect in their chief executive, that it cries out for a deeper explanation.

It’s beside the point not because a president’s mental capacity doesn’t matter, nor because we should blindly accept our leaders’ declarations of their own stability, let alone genius. Rather, we don’t need a medical degree or a psychiatric diagnosis to tell us what is wrong with Mr. Trump. It’s obvious to anyone who listens to him speak, reads his tweets and sees the effects of his behavior—on the presidency, on the nation and its most important institutions, and on the integrity of the global order.
According to this childish group, Trump's behavior was so alarming that it "cried out for explanation." But any such (psychiatric) explanation would have been "beside the point!"

It would have been beside the point because "we don’t need a psychiatric diagnosis to tell us what is wrong with Mr. Trump." All we have to do is look at his public behavior.

Who needs an explanation? the editors said. We can see the way he behaves. Why should we go beyond that?

For us, the possible answer to that question is obvious. We'll state our answer in the form of a question:

If Trump is suffering from some major psychiatric disorder, might that make it more likely that he will behave in disastrous, unimaginable ways when the chips are down?

A person who simply has horrible values may pull himself back from the brink. But at the moment of truth, might a genuine sociopath throw the world over the edge?

In the end, at the moment of truth, might a person with the postulated disorder be crazily dangerous in a way which is hard to conceive? Might he be more crazily dangerous than a person who simply has horrible values?

Might his behavior go beyond anything we could imagine? We don't know the answer to that, and the childish editors—"Is Mr. Trump Nuts?"—weren't inclined to wonder or ask. They could conceive of no need to ask a specialist, someone with lifelong experience in such tragic realms.

They saw no need for further discussion, or for "expert" opinion. But so it has gone, for decades now, within our upper-end discourse.

Our high-end journalists just aren't super sharp. Our lives have long been in their hands.

All next week: Fumbling efforts to discuss Tara Reade's accusation


  1. "Might his behavior go beyond anything we could imagine?"

    Sure, sure, dear Bob.

    And I find it extremely likely that indeed He is the one who'd stolen your triangular hat, your emperor's epaulets, and your pantaloons.

    But don't worry, dear Bob, eventually it'll get better. Yes, it will, dear Bob, yes it will. Just calm down. Calm down, dear.

    1. Is that sarcasm, Mao?

    2. From: Russian regiments and officer corps in the first world war. › History of the Cossacks

      "Officer *epaulettes* ... a *triangular hat* . . . *pantaloons* with leggings."

      Note the terminology -- note the source -- costumes of the Cossacks indeed.

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  2. It is interesting that Somerby highlights this sentence:

    "They often view the world through a primitive binary lens (for example, winner/loser; smart/dumb; rich/poor; pretty/ugly; black/white)"

    He highlights all of the example dichotomies except "black/white". Does Somerby not acknowledge that Trump thinks in racial terms, not just about winners and losers? Why does Somerby skip right over one of the most glaring of Trump's flaws, his race-baiting?

    It is an underlying binary thinking that results in such dichotomies, but Trump learned to be racist at his daddy's knee and he enacts his racial hatred in his policies and in his personal life. Because he does that, it is important to talk about Trump racism. This is as important to the people Trump governs as the other dichotomies i his thinking.

    1. We're back to imaginary "racism" now that all of the other lines of attack failed.

    2. You tell me, why wouldn't Somerby also highlight black/white? Why does he give Trump a pass on his racism?

    3. ANON@ 11:50
      I'll say it again and again:
      Trump is a liar, a thief and a racist.

      You know it; I know it; Trump knows it.
      As Bob would say: Puy on your big-boy pants; 'Fess up.

      That critique exempts Bob calling the Times "childish" because they refer to Trump as "nuts".
      He is "NUTS"!

    4. The professor writes in her comment,

      This is as important to the people Trump governs as the other dichotomies i his thinking.

      Why does she use the first person singular pronoun in a sentence about Trump’s thinking? Could she be telling us that in spite of all her virtue signaling, she’s really thinking the same thing that Trump does?

      Have you found the place in California licensing law where the APA code of ethics has been incorporated? Because I’ve had no luck finding it.

    5. From the CA.gov Dept of Consumer Affairs, Board of Psychology:

      "The 2019 Laws and Regulations book contains provisions from the California Business and Professions Code, Penal Code, Welfare and Institutions Code, Evidence Code, Civil Code, Family Code, Health and Safety Code, the Title 16, Division 13.1 of the California Code of Regulations relating to the profession regulated by the California Board of Psychology, the Board’s Disciplinary Guidelines and the American Psychological Associations Ethics Guidelines."

      Also, applicants for a license must, among other things:

      "e) Take and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the California Psychology Laws and Ethics Examination (CPLEE). For further information about the EPPP please visit http://www.asppb.net/?page=FAQs. For further information about the CPLEE, please review the Examinations section of the Board's web site at http://www.psychology.ca.gov/applicants/index.shtml"

      Note the law and ethics exam. It is based on the APA ethics. These are also taught as coursework in getting a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, which is also required for licensing. Hours of training are dictated by the APA for accreditation of doctoral programs.

      Your other question is about an obvious typo. I find this annoying, not cute.

    6. The actual source is here. But your cite took me there. Thanks. I was skeptical, but you're right for values of P="Psychological" in APA.

    7. Your other question is about an obvious typo. I find this annoying, not cute.

      You think I’m annoying? You ought to talk to my family and friends.

      No, wait. Just family. I don’t have any friends. Hmm, might be a connection there. Come to think of it, I sometimes annoy myself.

      But that’s as may be. What surprises me somewhat is your seeming total lack of self-awareness. Shouldn’t someone like you, presumably trained in psychology, have some insight into herself?

      Yes, of course you posted a typo, and yes, I seized on that trivial mistake to draw an unwarranted conclusion about your interiority. But — and here comes the point, so pay attention if you can overcome your annoyance with me —

      That’s. Exactly. What. You. Just. Did.

      A typo is a very likely explanation for finding the words “black/white” unemphasized by a bold font: TDH misplaced the tag “</b>” and prematurely ended his emphasis before he closed his list of contrasts. But you took this mistake as a sinister failure to “acknowledge” racism.

      Do you have any evidence for such a charge? The answer is that you have exactly as much as I do that secretly “deep down” you’re a Trump sympathizer.

  3. "It’s obvious to anyone who listens to him speak, reads his tweets and sees the effects of his behavior—on the presidency, on the nation and its most important institutions, and on the integrity of the global order."

    Obvious to anyone except tens of millions of people who feel he is doing a great job. Ie. not obvious to anyone.

    1. Even Trump supporters voted for him in spite of his obvious deficiencies. He made them a lot of promises.

    2. 10/;49,
      In spite of? They loved his bigotry, and he doesn't get 100 votes without it.
      Do people think Americans voted for him because he allows energy corporations to poison their water?

    3. Yes, some people do love his bigotry (reprisals against people of color is one of his promises). Others clearly see his wrongs but expect that he will help them financially. They think Trump is clever to outsmart the libs and they expect to gain from his dismantling of regulations and encouragement of business interests.

      They drink bottled water and don't worry about anyone except themselves.

      I know a guy with an immigrant Asian wife who voted for Trump because he identifies with his supposed business prowess and thought the country would rise economically under Trump. I asked him how he could vote for someone who mistreated women and he said, I see your point and understand why you won't vote for him, but he is going to help my business. This guy is a nice person, on a personal level.

      They compartmentalize Trump's other actions and vote their own perceived self interest.

    4. The guy with an immigrant Asian wife sounds like the boardrooms of the MSM.

    5. McConnell.

  4. "Johnson says that the destructive traits of people suffering from this condition are likely due to "faulty neurobiology." We don't know what that means, in part because topics like these are so rarely discussed within our mainstream discourse."

    Somerby doesn't know what it means to have faulty neurobiology -- only because he doesn't read anything that comes out of the fields of neuroscience and psychology. And whose fault is that?

    Too busy re-reading Wittgenstein?

    1. Psst! Professor, we may know quite a bit about faulty neurobiology when it comes to organic brain disorders like epilepsy. But that's not true of most things in the DSM-V. Let's not pretend that the ignorance is TDH's here.

    2. If Somerby says he doesn't know what "faulty neurobiology" means, it is because he has read nothing in that field.

      Deadrat, you switched the topic from not knowing what "faulty neurobiology" means to not knowing the neural basis for all disorders.

      The DSM describes observable behavioral symptoms. It has nothing to do with neurobiology. The prefix "neuro" refers to brain function. That means it is neuroscience, which is the study of neurons and the brain, not behavior. The two fields work closely with each other, but they are not synonymous.

    3. Deadrat, you switched the topic from not knowing what "faulty neurobiology" means to not knowing the neural basis for all disorders.

      This illustrates another thing that puzzles me. You can’t seem to follow the thread of an argument. I am often confronted by the kind of non sequitur that appears above.

      Let’s see if we can pin this down.

      TDH quotes extensively from an article about a syndrome called “malignant narcissism.” The author was Rhonda Freeman and appeared in the 2/22/17 issue of Psychology Today. (The words appear to be Freeman’s, but TDH credits them to “Johnson.”)

      Now malignant narcissism isn’t a diagnosis in the DSM-V, but Freeman says, “This condition reflects a hybrid or blending of narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders,” which are — 301.81 and 301.7, respectively.” So we’re talking about the kind of behavior-based mental disorders contemplated by the DSM-V.

      Freeman concludes that the problems of MN are “likely associated with problems processing emotional information, which reflects faulty neurobiology.” (Emphasis mine.)

      TDH then says, “We don’t know what that means.” That is, what does it mean to say that problems with processing emotional information arise from faulty neurobiology?

      Yes, the DSM describes, as you say, “observable behavioral symptoms.” Yes, as you say, the prefix neuro-“ refers to brain-cell function. Yes, the former is, as you say, largely divorced from the latter.

      But it’s Freeman who connects them, and it’s this connection that TDH finds puzzling. TDH could take your criticism to heart and forgo re-reading Wittgenstein to study neuroscience and psychology, and he still wouldn’t know the connection between neurobiology and DSM descriptions in general and MN in particular.

      Because nobody knows.

      Why is any of this unclear to you?

  5. All these criticisms of Trump come down to his manner of speech. His actual actions have been sensible and highly intelligent.

    1. This is manifestly untrue. Trump's punitive actions toward immigrants arise from his thinking that these are inferior people. But these are actions that affect real people, not words.

    2. His manner of speech is easily the best thing about Trump.

    3. David, you mean like demanding a quid pro quo from Democratic states in return for federal disaster relief aid?

      "I need a favor though"

    4. @10:51 The Constitution requires the President to take punitive actions against people who violate federal laws.

      The Presidents to criticize are those take the law into their own hands by choosing not to enforce immigration law.

    5. Trump is mistreating legal immigrants and people who are seeking asylum (under our laws) who have done nothing wrong, violated no federal laws.

      Previous Democratic presidents did enforce immigration law, especially Obama. No Democratic candidate for office, and no elected Democratic President has advocated for open borders, and none has ignored enforcement of immigration law.

      Trump has broken American laws by putting people into camps where they are separated from their children, where their health is neglected, they cannot communicate with legal representatives or relatives, and they are frequently abused without being able to leave or defend themselves.

      Trump goes out of his way to make life difficult for legal immigrants and has taken every opportunity to shut down legal immigration, despite hypocritically letting his wife's parents become citizens.

    6. David,
      Which of Trump's six bankruptcies is your favorite, and why?

    7. "His actual actions have been sensible and highly intelligent."

      Some have. Some haven't. Remember, you only see things in economic terms and don't care about basic human morality if it conflicts with your limited, economic-based views of success

    8. "His manner of speech is easily the best thing about Trump."

      It certainly does distinguish Him, in an extremely positive way, from scripted robotic law-firm-vetted focus-group-tested liberal zombie clowns.

    9. Yes, pathological lying is very refreshing. Who wants truth tellers?

    10. When Trump reads from the teleprompter, he is the most robotic person I've ever seen, when he isn't stumbling over words. They put him on script because when he is spontaneous he always puts his foot in it.

    11. @11:44 A person who cares about basic human morality would have noticed how well poor black and Hispanic Americans fared under Trump's policies. Such a person would notice how Democratic policies failed these groups.

    12. That's my exact point. How did they poor fare well?

    13. "The Constitution requires the President to take punitive actions against people who violate federal laws."

      How is pardoning Mike Flynn for lying to the FBI a "punitive action"?

    14. David,you fascist prick, Trump wipes his fat lying ass with the Constitution every fucking day.

      What federal laws are you referring to?

      I suppose you would be just as complacent and approving if a Democratic president decided to withhold disaster relief to NC or Alabama the next time a hurricane swings through, until they abandon their racist unconstitutional gerrymandered districts? You're cool with this then? Cause I can't ever fucking remember a Democratic president using a national disaster to extort the various states, you fucking fascist prick.

    15. noticed how well poor black and Hispanic Americans fared under Trump's policies

      Yeah, they're dying at a very high percentage compared to rest of the population, and losing their jobs quicker also. Is that what you mean David, you fascist prick?

    16. As these same people care for the COVID-19 Victims.

      LBJ "failed" these people for who he fought so they could vote.
      AS did Jimmy Carter; Gerry Ford; Barack Obama; Bill Clinton.
      Yes-Gerry Ford.
      GW Bush, who I did NOT vote for is a decent man. His father GHW Bush used Willie Horton to win.
      When Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy in Philadelphia, Mississippi he was whistling at you DinC. And you heard the whistle.
      As LBJ foresaw when he told the Congress "We shall overcome" so did Southern Democrats become
      Republicans. Several Republicans and Democrats repented. Some on their death beds: George Wallace; Lee Atwater; Robert Byrd. GHW Bush became a friend of Obama.
      So DinC you can continue to lie to yourself.
      Maybe you will change on your deathbed
      What does your actuarial tables tell you?

    17. It's not his fault. He has been systematically bled of any ability to see the world in moral human terms outside of economic ones. Ie. he isn't concerned that drug overdose rates, depression rates etc are at an all time high because these human issues are not calculated by our government. For all I know, all those overdoses are good for the GDP which may lead people to make outlandish claims about how terrific the poor are doing. Etc. Etc. He's a victim of a dying culture of greed.

      It's interesting. Say if the economy added 250,000 jobs in January, one has remember 6,000 people died of drug overdoses that month. Shouldn't we subtract that number from the jobs number since there are six thousand less people alive and hence employable?

    18. Please remember to take into account that DAinCA is an idiot. Nothing he says contains any truth and is simply the regurgitation of right-wing talking points that he has swallowed whole

      States do not “take the law into their own hands” by refusing to enforce immigration law. Immigration law is strictly the domain of the federal government, and by a principle of our federated system called anti-commandeering, it is forbidden to the federal government to require states to enforce federal law.

      This principle goes back to the writing of the Constitution and finds its force in the 10th Amendment. It’s clearest expression is found in the SCOTUS case Prigg v Pennsylvania (41US539), which held that the states could not be required to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Cases concordant with that ruling continue into modern times.

      States cannot actively hinder federal officers from enforcing federal law. State laws that conflict with federal law have no force. States may choose to aid the feds in enforcing federal law, but they may not be required to do so.

  6. Somerby today argues that we should consider Trump's personality not his behavior, because his personality produces his behavior. Then he blames journalists again, without ever suggesting what our nation should do about someone with Trump's personality.

    Let's put this in a another context. If the police know that a person has anti-social personality disorder, should they lock him up in anticipation of any crimes he might be likely to commit? His personality makes him more dangerous, so should he be preemptively jailed? Or do the police have to wait until a crime is actually committed and someone is harmed?

    If it seems like police should be able to put people in jail for their personalities, then go right ahead and remove Trump from office for his personality disorder. No need to wait and see if he does something wrong.

    Fortunately, we don't yet have thought police and we don't limit people's opportunities for what we think they might do in the future.

    Trump is unfit for the presidency because of what he has already done in the past. His record suggests that he was unfit and shouldn't have been elected. But Trump was put into office not by the populace but by a group of similarly socipathic oligarchs (American and Russian) who saw that Trump would let them rob us blind and run roughshod over the common good, so they invested in his presidency and broke laws to put him into office.

    Breaking laws and hurting people is a shortcut to personal gain. That is true in any society. The people who are willing to do such things do get ahead, unless we institute police and take control over those who break laws. We don't know how to do that on a national level without damaging our democratic system.

    Journalists have been talking about Trump's misbehavior. There are plenty of grounds for removing Trump. I believe that if there is a fair election, Trump will not be reelected. It remains for everyone to vote and for our leadership to ensure that voting will be fair. That is happening across the country.

    Meanwhile, Somerby thinks there is some good in talking about Trump's personality. I believe this is a distraction and agree with those who are focusing on his behavior, past and present. Behavior is all we can hold people accountable for.

    Somerby doesn't understand that personality is not destiny. No matter what one's neural substrate, people can choose how to behave and that is why people are held responsible for their actions. We cannot change our physiology, but we all learn what our culture expects of us and we can choose our actions. Even Somerby.

    1. Even Joe Biden, who raped an employee.

    2. He denies that he did that. He deserves the benefit of the doubt pending investigation.

    3. I think she said he put his finger in it.

    4. 11:47, pull the other one.

    5. Here is a comment by Andrew Cockburn on Daily Kos:

      "I have seen many real sexual harassment cases in my career. There are two things that always happen.

      First, the harasser never targets just one woman just one time. This is how he interacts with all women all the time if he thinks he can get away with it. If he is powerful he may intimidate his victims into silence, but once the allegations start past victims start speaking out.

      Second, the senior women in the organization always know what is going on. The victims are usually afraid (sometimes with good reason) to go to the boss but they will often confide in a senior woman. I always thought I was approachable, but when one of my guys started annoying interns in the lab they complained to a woman scientist who brought the case to me. I didn’t have a clue but all of the women in the building knew about it.

      If Biden had a history of attacking female staffers in the Senate the women senators would know about it. Why did Kirsten Gillibrand and then other women senators immediately jump all over Al Franken? I have no doubt that they had already heard much more than what came out publicly.

      Nine Democratic woman senators have endorsed Biden, including Gillibrand. Hillary Clinton served in the Senate with him and has endorsed him. They know that there is nothing to this."

    6. Pussyhat dembots need to add a finger to their attire.

    7. You can read the Mayer Newyorker article for some other ideas about why Gillibrand jumped all over Franken.

    8. Well this is easy to refute. I was a victim of relentless and extreme harassment and did not tell the senior women who I know would have defended him, nor do I know if he harassed others although many women did sleep with him including women in the workplace.

      It wasn't flattering and it wasn't anything except disgusting but there was no good option between reporting and losing my job. One of the reasons is that misinformation like this spreads so a victim knows she won't be believed and the wagons will be circled.

      These "always" declarations by a man are false and mean nothing.

    9. Yeah, good catch.

      I don't think those are "declarations by a man", rather they are declarations by dembots, but yes, "always" in that text from 12:43 PM is transparent and blatant bullshit.

      Very good, let them squirm, and pass the popcorn.

    10. @1:36 In no organization have I seen senior women defend men against sexual harassment complaints. Sometimes they don't have power to do much, but they don't typically stand with the men, in my experience.

      "although many women did sleep with him including women in the workplace"

      If you refused this man's advance, it sounds like you are assuming others considered his advances unwanted too. There are some consensual relationships in the workplace that are not harassment. It is hard to know what is going on with other couples, unless they tell you.

      I think it is a mistake to discount other people's stories just because they aren't the same as yours, whether it is the other women in your workplace or the guy whose comment was re-commented above.

      I can believe your experience, but you don't speak for anyone but yourself.

    11. The guy in the comment above wrongly said "always" and wants to speak for every woman's experience.

    12. He limited his "always" to his own experience. He didn't claim to speak for you, as you are doing for him.

      He said: ""I have seen many real sexual harassment cases in my career. There are two things that always happen."

      The always follows directly on "in my career" and refers to that time and place.

    13. No, if he meant these were limited anecdotes he would have said "two things that always happened" not "two things that always happen."

    14. That depends on whether he is still in his job and thus including the present or talking about the past. It doesn't speak to the generality of his limited statement, it speaks to the time period.

    15. Yeah, right. As if it's not crystal clear what slimy dembots are trying to do here with their "always".

      Squirm, squirm, soros-dembots.

    16. He isn't talking about anyone except his own experience. Stop trying to put words in his mouth.

  7. “A person who simply has horrible values may pull himself back from the brink. But at the moment of truth, might a genuine sociopath throw the world over the edge?”

    Like Somerby, I’m not a psychiatrist.
    And yet, the distinction between having terrible values and being a “sociopath” doesn’t strike me as clear cut.

    Putting children in cages, loosening environmental regulations, attempting to eliminate Obamacare: these seem to me to be the result of having terrible values; they are heartless, they can get people killed. And yet they were methodically planned and executed by officials in the Administration. Their “terrible values” didn’t stop them from carrying out these policies.

    McConnell wants states to go bankrupt. Wisconsin Republicans force voters to expose themselves to a deadly virus. Terrible values or sociopathy? Who can say?

    The Administration’s response to the virus: it isn’t just Trump’s response. There are others involved in the decision-making and the execution of policy (Kushner for example). Incompetence may be a partial explanation, as well. And I don’t see the GOP rushing to condemn Trump. Is that because they have terrible values or are themselves sociopaths?

    And, for an earlier example: Bush/Cheney lied us into a war that got thousands killed. Just policy, terrible values, or sociopathy?

    I also wonder about Somerby’s musing about sociopaths being unable to prevent themselves from “throwing the world over the edge.” Is that a necessary condition of sociopathy? Is that a likely result of being both antisocial and a narcissist?

    And at least some of the traits of these so-called personality disorders might actually be beneficial in political or business leaders. Huge self-confidence, a certain ruthlessness or at least an ability to make tough decisions that may harm a number of people in order to save a larger number that presidents or CEO’s may be called on to make.

    Ultimately, I can’t help thinking that Somerby just wants liberals to let Trump just fade away (if he loses) rather than demand accountability for his actions. Why else would he advise against anger and recommend pity because sociopaths, in Somerby’s obvious thought process, can’t be held accountable, even though that contradicts the views of most psychiatrists?

    1. The profession that benefits from psychopathy is surgery. Surgeons have to cut people open and many of their patients die. Surgeons tell the families. If doing that job were traumatic to the physician, they would be unable to help people. So being a bit less empathetic is an advantage to them. As it is, physician burnout is very high and many don't make it past 10 years before switching careers.

    2. "Bush Cheney lied us into a war that got thousands killed. Just policy, terrible values, or sociopathy?"

      That was avarice and Hegelian apathy.

  8. “Our high-end journalists just aren't super sharp. Our lives have long been in their hands.”

    That overstates their power and allows us citizen non-journalists to offload our own failures onto a convenient scapegoat.

    1. Can you flesh that out a little further and put into context their power as you see it?

    2. Every person has the power to turn off the boob tube and seek out the truth. We are more able to do that now than perhaps at any other time in history. Journalists, upper-end or otherwise, control our lives only to the extent that we let them. In a democracy, the citizens must exercise this control and stop blaming some amorphous entity (“the media”, “the politicians”, “the corporations”, etc) as if it exists apart from ourselves.

      Here’s a thought: One can read a NY Times op-ed without being hypnotized into believing it.

      If you want to argue that the public are too stupid to do this, then education is the answer, or better political outreach, if you think it’s an issue of politics.

      Perhaps it is an issue of economics. Mass protest movements are far less prevalent than the 1960’s. Perhaps that suggests a greater complacency today. Again, it’s a question of how willing ordinary citizens are to put up with prevailing conditions.

      And it seems that Republicans are mostly OK with Republican policies. That would seem to represent a problem for liberals being unable to dislodge them from their beliefs. In other words, I’m not sure that Republicans see every aspect of Republicanism or Trumpism as an existential crisis for America. Liberals do.

      And I really don’t see any period in our history where sanity prevailed and triumphed: we enslaved millions, we decimated the Native Americans, we almost destroyed ourselves in a Civil War, and that was all long before Lyin’ Brian Williams showed up.

    3. You're right that establishment zombie media are not all-powerful.

      But they are powerful enough to sway a non-trivial percent of the population to one side or the other. Using standard goebbelsian methods: hate- and fear-mongering.

      And that's how establishment propaganda works, always and everywhere.

    4. Common wisdom says Conservatives are fighting a culture war, and losing. Liberals are fighting for political power, and losing up until this next election, when I expect things to improve politically for liberals.

  9. "'He is an almost unbelievable negotiator,' says Irving Fischer of HRH Construction. 'I don't worship at the shrine of Donald Trump,' he says, 'but our company has given up trying to negotiate costs with him. We just say: 'Tell us what you want, you're going to get it anyway.''

    1. When Trump tells you what he will pay, he doesn't mean it. You won't get what you were promised. Why didn't Mr. Fischer tell us about that part of the deal?

  10. TDH continues to flog this issue. He is engaging in amateur psychoanalysis, which is probably worse than the common sense description we use every day, that someone or something is 'nuts' or 'crazy.' There is plenty of reasons to find fault with the main stream press, but its failure to initiate a discussion about whether Trump is 'suffering' from a psychological condition labeled 'malicious narcissism' isn't one of them. TDH has provided numerous insights in the past, but he is way off here - perhaps suffering himself from some type of compulsive disorder, as I may amateurishly suggest, in his ongoing mini-crusade about this. He is being highly reductive, unobjective, pseudoscientific and ahistorical (look at the history of the world and some of the other leaders there have been and still are who, as bad as Trump may be, were far worse in almost every respect).

  11. When it comes to psychology, all evil is not banal, that status is reserved for personality disorders.

    Not to minimize the toxicity of those disorders, but it's such fiddly work to engage in an armchair analysis of them.

    A national discussion, i.e., a panel of experts, expounding upon Trump's psyche would not be more substantive, in the long run, than what we've seen here.

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