Who or what is (Dr.) Bandy Lee talking about?

THURSDAY, MAY 18, 2023

As we all know, our favorites won't listen: In the wake of CNN's "town hall" with Donald J. Trump, Maureen Dowd offered the following comments:

DOWD (5/14/23): Trump is spiraling into even more of a self-deluded narcissist, if that’s possible. And he’s even more obsessed with numbers—if that’s possible. When he was asked by the terrific Kaitlan Collins if he regretted his actions on Jan. 6, he began rhapsodizing about, and exaggerating, the size of the crowd that day.

“I have never spoken to a crowd as large as this,” he said, adding: “They were there with love in their heart. That was an unbelievable—and it was a beautiful day.”

He called one of the most heinous days in American history “a beautiful day.” He called the Black Capitol Police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt, who was trying to break into the House chamber, a “thug.”

New Hampshire voters in the audience were cheering on Trump, and many even laughed when he crudely re-defamed E. Jean Carroll.

The town hall was enlightening—and frightening. But we needed that reminder to be on full alert, because Trump is not just an unhinged and dangerous extremist; he is also a cunning and dominating insurgent.

At the start of that passage, Dowd uses a technical term from psychiatry, but she will likely be seen to be using the term in its colloquial sense. 

But the end of that passage, she refers to Trump as "unhinged" and as a "dangerous extremist." But what if he's something more or worse than that?

In her new essay at Medium, Bandy X. Lee seems to be speaking of Trump in explicitly clinical terms. That said, Lee is a psychiatrist with a long clinical career and a great deal of clinical experience.

She doesn't mention Trump by name in this new essay. As she starts, she does say this:

LEE (5/14/23): Having specialized in evaluating and treating violent offenders my entire career, I am considered an expert on psychopathy, and certainly sociopathy, which are dangerous personality disorders that best predict violence. These diagnoses are made cautiously and sparingly, since they can stigmatize persons, but we must counterbalance this with the need to warn potential victims and the public, so that they might better protect themselves. Above all, society needs to be better informed more generally, so that it does not fall easy prey to well-disguised, dangerous personalities who increasingly inhabit our midst.

Langston Hughes' protagonist had known rivers. Dr. Lee has known "dangerous personality disorders " of the kind which pose dangers to our society.

She says our society needs to be better informed in this general area. With that, she continues as shown:

LEE (continuing directly): At the onset of my quarter-century career, I encountered sociopaths and psychopaths mostly in jails and prisons, my main settings for clinical work. Very disturbingly, over time, I found them increasingly in leadership positions, as chief executive officers, legal professionals, or political leaders—and less in correctional settings. This means that society is not doing a good job at containing them, and they are escaping detection more and more. Just about all of them crave power, so that they can exploit the trust and privileges accorded them to bolster their fantasies of unlimited domination and their drive to harm others. Distinguishing them from true aspirants with real capabilities is crucial: they may masterfully disguise themselves as ideal candidates for a job, for example, but once given the task, they will only destroy whatever they are put in charge of—be it a family, a company, or a nation.

The kinds of people she's talking about will destroy whatever they touch. Increasingly, Lee has been seeing them in leadership positions—even, perhaps, in charge of an unnamed nation! 

At this point, Lee goes on to discuss two semi-technical terms:

LEE (continuing directly): What is psychopathy? Briefly, it can be defined as a personality disorder characterized by an absence of compassion or conscience, constant engagement in emotional manipulation as a way of navigating the world, and a propensity for destructiveness and cruelty. Sometimes called “outsiders to love,” individuals with this affliction are impaired in almost every human emotion, except envy of other human beings, rage, and revenge. It is arguably the most debilitating disorder known to humankind, for there is no cure—and the masterful guise of sympathy, humanity, and competence is all deception intended for predatory purposes. It is certainly the most dangerous disorder known to psychiatry, as it wreaks more havoc on individuals and society than all other psychiatric disorders combined.

What is sociopathy? Briefly, I call this a “societal disorder” rather than an individual one, since society is the cause for this affliction. It is a disorder characterized by a disregard for and violation of others’ rights since age fifteen, and can be diagnosed through observation of the following behavior[s]...

For ourselves, we don't understand what Lee means when she describes sociopathy as a "societal disorder." That said, Lee has had a long and distinguished career, and it would be interesting to see her interviewed by intelligent journalists, whether in broadcast form or for major print publications.

As everyone knows, no such thing is ever going to happen. Trump's manifest strangeness at last week's "town hall" inspired a lot of instant reaction. Lee may have decided to publish this essay in reaction to that latest bout of weird behavior—weird behavior Dowd briefly described in her column.

It's also natural to think that nothing will come of Trump's continued disordered behavior—to think that he'll never get elected again, and that he can't really produce societal harm unless he does get elected.

At any rate, you won't see Lee on broadcast TV or on "cable news." Nor will you see her interviewed by major print publications. Journalists will continue to use their colloquial words when they speak of Trump's disordered mental state. The sense of alarm which re-emerged last week has already largely faded.

Lee has long spoken of the psychiatrist's "duty to warn." We will speak again today of the citizen's "duty to notice reality."

The people we love on cable TV aren't going to rise to that challenge. They will continue to obey the rules of their corporations, in which they aren't allowed to mention the obvious possibility that Donald J. Trump—perhaps among others—may be afflicted with one of the serious clinical disorders Lee mentioned in the passages posted above.

We've long said that Trump deserves our pity, though of course he must be stripped of the power to do harm. That said, the people we love on cable TV will continue to speak with their "favorite reporters and friends" in the ways they plainly enjoy, and they'll speak with nobody else.

Borrowing again from Hughes, they'll continue to keep it simple. They'll continue to play by the rules, to cash their checks, and to tell us the stories we like.

We're coming to loathe these cable stars, though we don't believe in loathing. Also, we don't believe in horrible people, but we'd say that they're cutting it close.

As we noted on Tuesday—as Dr. Lee notes in her essay—something like 6 percent of adult males can be diagnosed with sociopathy. Lee says that she's increasingly seeing these people in leadership posts.

Our favorites won't ever discuss such claims. Dearest darlings, use your heads! It simply isn't done!


  1. The second amendment is evil.

  2. You'll see a lot less of them in leadership positions, with publicly funded elections.

  3. Easy for Bob to find pity for Trump. But what about the people who Trump literally terrorized like Ruby Freeman? He wasn’t interested, the committee wasn’t balanced enough for Bob.

  4. Somerby mind reads Dr Bandy Lee about her short essay that he references, assuming she is referring to Trump. In reality, it’s a brief overview of personality disorders she has encountered in her work, with the general thrust being that unresolved childhood trauma is widespread and often leads to harmful disorders. When Dr Lee wants to address Trump directly, she is neither shy nor coy about it.

    Somerby claims to not understand Dr Lee when she writes about a personality disorder being a “societal disorder”. What Lee means is evident from the context, but even this is not necessary as she immediately explains what she means:

    “I call this a “societal disorder” rather than an individual one, since society is the cause for this affliction”

    Right wingers don’t like to recognize this circumstance, but humans aren’t necessarily naturally sociopaths, it generally emerges from hierarchical and dominance oriented societies.

    Somerby falsely claims you won’t see Dr Lee on what he erroneously calls “mainstream” media, yet Dr Lee has been all over supposedly “mainstream” as well as actual mainstream media.

    Somerby ignores Dr Lee’s appearance on mainstream media because he doesn’t like what she says, preferring instead to reference a non political essay she wrote and extrapolating out a political view that he supports. But here is what Dr Lee recently actually said about Trump, and all Republicans:

    She talked about Trump’s traumatizing childhood, then said how Republicans are suffering from what she calls Trump Contagion, a pathology that has them stuck in survivor mode such that reasonable persuasion has no impact. Dr Lee says Trump and the Republicans are dragging our country down a death spiral.

    Somerby admits that he thinks Trump is harmful and that much of our media are trying to bring Trump down, but then weirdly says that while Trump should get our pity, the media (that’s trying to bring Trump down) is loathsome and nearly horrible.

    What’s clear is that Somerby is trying to push a right wing agenda, assumes he is erudite enough to accomplish the task, yet faceplants with every post.

  5. What is the point of speculating about Trump’s dysfunction? We still must vote to keep him out of office.

    1. It’s Somerby’s attempt to whitewash his support of Trump, but to an audience he seems to fundamentally misunderstand.

    2. You would think led an insurrection to end Democracy would be the end of the discussion.

  6. Republicans should support statehood for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

  7. We live in a barred spiral galaxy.

  8. Somerby keeps talking about Trump being deranged, but what about Marjorie Taylor Greene? Here is her latest stunt:

    "“Marjorie Taylor Greene at her press conference this morning said something incredibly dangerous and incredibly reckless about me, talking about my demeanor as being ‘aggressive’ and saying that she feels ‘intimidated’ by me,” Congressman Bowman told reporters Thursday afternoon. “Unfortunately, this country has a history of characterizing Black men who are outspoken, who stand their ground, and who push back as being threatening or intimidating.”

    Bowman declared Greene was “not even using a dog whistle,” but “a bullhorn to put a target on my back to the people that she refers to as MAGA people out there who might want to cause harm.”

    On Thursday, Greene tried to build a case against Bowman, telling reporters that at a recent New York City protest rally against Donald Trump, the New York Democratic lawmaker was “shouting at the top of his lungs, cursing, calling me a horrible – calling me a white supremacist, which I take great offense to. That is like calling a person of color the N word which should never happen. Calling me a white supremacist is equal to that and that is wrong.”

    After having attempted to paint the New York Democratic Congressman as dangerous, Greene declared, “I think there’s a lot of concern about Jamaal Bowman, so and I am concerned about, I feel threatened by him. He not only let a mob there, but his boisterous lies.”

    She then concluded her remarks by saying, “I am very concerned about Jamaal Bowman, and he’s someone that people should watch.”

    Congressman Bowman declared, ” This is the same reason why Mike Brown was killed. This is one of the reasons why Emmett Till was killed. And throughout history Black men have continued to be characterized as aggressive because one because of our skin color, but two because we happen to be outspoken and passionate about certain issues.”

    It’s reckless and dangerous what she said, Okay, characterizing me in my interaction with her yesterday. I never invaded her personal space. I was laughing and gregarious the entire time. How was that intimidating? What was intimidating about that? So she goes to a press conference today and say that she’s intimidated by me and my mannerisms are aggressive. Anyone who’s interacted with me, anyone knows me, even reported this, you know, I’m middle school principal energy, always loving and engaging and friendly, except when kids filled in our streets. Everyone should be outraged about that.”

    “But she knows what she’s doing when she does that,” Bowman added. “And unfortunately white supremacists historically, this is what they do. They try to dehumanize black people, black skin and black humanity so that they could be you know, more likely to be targeted for harm.”

    As NCRM reported earlier, Congresswoman Greene has a history of racism.


    There are numerous examples of Republicans supporting Trump being as deranged, if not more, than Trump is. Why is Trump being singled out as a problem when these mentally ill enablers make it impossible to solve the problem of Trump himself? And Somerby never says a word about this.

    1. The problem of vigilante violence on the right is serious. Greene has painted a target on Bowman's back, but there are any number of crazy gun-owners who will rise to her defense by threatening Bowman. He will be lucky if he is not shot, but his family shouldn't have to endure death threats either, and that is what happens when nutjobs like Greene tell their MAGAt cult members who to go after.

      Crickets from Somerby.

    2. MTG may actually feel intimated by Blacks, but not because they are directly threatening, but because 1) if they survive and thrive as a people, that threatens her sense of being dominant over them, and 2) she is threatened by the soul devouring guilt over the racial oppression that she supports and engages in.

      MTG’s existence is likely a living hell, both for her, and the people she oppresses; and if there is a god like the Christian’s say, I fear her eternity will be quite miserable.

  9. Defund the Supreme Court.