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Monday, February 18, 2019

Excerpted from The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017).

Donald Trump is so visibly psychologically impaired that it is obvious even to a layman that “something is wrong with him.” Still, putting a name to that disturbance has been a challenge for two reasons. First, because of the Goldwater gag order, discussed extensively in Part 2 of this book, which has forced mental health professionals to censor themselves, despite how alarmed they might be; and second, Trump’s is a genuinely complex case. Like the story of the blind men and the elephant, many writers have tried to analyze and diagnose Trump, and have gotten pieces of the elephant right. What is missing is the whole elephant. There are a lot of things wrong with him—and together, they are a scary witch’s brew.

One of the most recurrent debates, and a genuine mystery, is to what extent is Trump just a really bad person and to what extent is he really crazy? Psychoanalyst Steven Reisner has written in Slate, “This is not madness. Impulsivity, threats, aggression, ridicule, denial of reality, and the mobilization of the mob that he used to get there [to the presidency] are not symptoms. It is time to call it out for what it is: evil.” According to this view, Donald Trump is “crazy like a fox.” That is, his abnormal persona is an act, a diabolical plan to manipulate the public’s worst instincts for fun, power, and profit.

When Trump tweeted about his imaginary inauguration crowd size and about Obama having tapped his phones, was there any part of him that believed this “denial of reality”? If so, then Michael Tansey (“Why ‘Crazy Like a Fox’ versus ‘Crazy Like a Crazy’ Really Matters”), who writes about Trump having delusional disorder, may be right that Trump is not crazy like a fox but “crazy like a crazy.”

My old boss Paul McHugh, longtime chairman of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, used to say that “a dog can have both ticks and fleas.” I will argue that Trump can be both evil and crazy, and that unless we see how these two components work together, we will never truly understand him. Nor will we recognize how much danger we are in.

Bad: Malignant Narcissism

“The quintessence of evil” was how Erich Fromm described malignant narcissism, a term he introduced in the 1960s. Fromm, a refugee from Nazi Germany, developed the diagnosis to explain Hitler. While Fromm is most well known as one of the founders of humanistic psychology (whose basic premise, ironically, is that man’s basic nature is good), the Holocaust survivor had a lifelong obsession with the psychology of evil. Malignant narcissism was, according to Fromm, “the most severe pathology. The root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity.”

The modern figure most associated with the study of malignant narcissism is my former teacher Otto Kernberg, who defined the syndrome as having four components: (1) narcissistic personality disorder, (2) antisocial behavior, (3) paranoid traits, and (4) sadism. Kernberg told the New York Times that malignantly narcissistic leaders such as Hitler and Stalin are “able to take control because their inordinate narcissism is expressed in grandiosity, a confidence in themselves, and the assurance that they know what the world needs.” At the same time, “they express their aggression in cruel and sadistic behavior against their enemies: whoever does not submit to them or love them.” As George H. Pollock, the late president of the American Psychiatric Association, wrote, “the malignant narcissist is pathologically grandiose, lacking in conscience and behavioral regulation[,] with characteristic demonstrations of joyful cruelty and sadism.”

Much has been written in the press about Trump having narcissistic personality disorder. Yet, as critics have pointed out, merely being narcissistic is hardly disqualifying. However, normal narcissism and malignant narcissism have about as much in common as a benign and malignant tumor. The latter is far rarer, more pathological and dangerous, and, more often than not, terminal. It’s the difference between life and death.

Narcissism

Narcissistic personality disorder is described by Craig Malkin in his essay “Pathological Narcissism and Politics: A Lethal Mix.” Trump finds himself to be uniquely superior (“Only I can fix it”), and appears to believe that he knows more than everyone about everything, despite his lack of experience, study, intellectual curiosity, or normal attention span. Since he took office, an amusing video montage has made its way through social media in which, in the course of three minutes, Trump brags about being the world’s greatest expert in twenty different subject areas. “No one knows more about [fill in the blank] than me,” he repeats over and over.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Lance Dodes describes antisocial personality disorder, or ”Sociopathy.” Antisocials lie, exploit, and violate the rights of others, and they have neither remorse nor empathy for those they harm.

While we will not give a final diagnosis here, the fact-checking website PolitiFact estimated that 76 percent of Trump’s statements were false or mostly false, and Politico estimated that Trump told a lie every three minutes and15 seconds.

We have ample evidence of Trump’s pervasive pattern of exploiting and violating the rights of others. According to New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman, Trump University was a “straight up fraud . . . a fraud from beginning to end.” Also, dozens of lawsuits attest to Trump’s pattern and practice of not paying his contractors. Finally, there is Trump’s pattern of serial sexual assault, which he bragged about on tape even before a dozen women came forward, whom he then called liars.

Trump is allergic to apology and appears to feel no remorse of any kind. It is as if being Trump means never having to say you’re sorry. When political consultant Frank Luntz asked Trump if he had ever asked God for forgiveness, Trump said, “I’m not sure I have . . . I don’t think so.” His unrepentance notwithstanding, he also boasted that he had “a great relationship with God.”

And empathy? Even Trump’s former mentor, the notorious Roy Cohn, lawyer for gangsters and Joseph McCarthy, said that when it came to his feelings for his fellow human beings, Trump “pisses ice water.”

Paranoia

Paranoia is not a diagnosis but, rather, a trait that we see in some conditions. When Donald Trump was asked to document his false claim that “thousands and thousands” of New Jersey Muslims openly celebrated the attacks of 9/11, he cited a link to Infowars, the website of radio talk show host Alex Jones. Jones, nicknamed “the king of conspiracies,” believes that the American government was behind the September 11 attacks, that FEMA is setting up concentration camps, and that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax. Yet, according to Trump, Jones is one of the few media personalities he trusts. “Your reputation is amazing,” Trump told Jones when he appeared as a guest on Jones’s show on December 2, 2015. Trump vowed that if he were elected president, “you will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center.”

In the same week, both the New York Times and the Washington Post  ran front-page stories on Trump as a conspiracy theorist. Before the election, Right Wing Watch accumulated a list of 58 conspiracies that Trump had proclaimed or implied were true. Of course, that list has grown since then. Many are truly bizarre. For example, not only is Obama a Muslim born in Kenya but, according to Trump, he had a Hawaiian government bureaucrat murdered to cover up the truth about his birth certificate (“How amazing, the state health director who verified copies of Obama’s birth certificate died in a plane crash today. All others lived,” Trump said); Antonin Scalia was murdered (“[T]hey say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow”); later, fake news websites sponsored by the Russians laid this “murder” at Hillary’s feet; and Ted Cruz’s father aided the Kennedy assassination, the mother of all conspiracy theories (“What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible”).

And still the world was shocked when Trump accused Barack Obama of illegally wiretapping Trump Tower. Why were we surprised?

When you combine these three ingredients, narcissism, antisocial traits, and paranoia, you get a leader who feels omnipotent, omniscient, and entitled to total power; and who rages at being persecuted by imaginary enemies, including vulnerable minority groups who actually represent no threat whatsoever. With such a leader, all who are not part of the in-group or who fail to kiss the leader’s ring are enemies who must be destroyed.

Sadism

Because he is a sadist, the malignant narcissist will take a bully’s glee in persecuting, terrorizing, and even exterminating his “enemies” and scapegoats. When a protester was escorted out of a Trump rally, Trump famously said, “I’d like to punch him in the face,” in a tone that suggested it would genuinely bring him great pleasure. Narcis- sists often hurt others in the pursuit of their selfish interests:

A notable difference between normal narcissistic personal- ity disorder and malignant narcissism is the feature of sadism, or the gratuitous enjoyment of the pain of others. A narcissist will deliberately damage other people in pur- suit of their own selfish desires, but may regret and will in some circumstances show remorse for doing so, while a malignant narcissist will harm others and enjoy doing so, showing little empathy or regret for the damage they have caused.

We often see Trump “punch down,” demeaning and humiliating people weaker than he. In fact, a substantial portion of the 34,000 tweets he has sent since he joined Twitter can be described as cyberbullying. Sometimes he will send the same nasty tweet six times across a day’s news cycle in order to maximally humiliate his victim.

Erich Fromm saw evil up close, thought about it throughout his life, and applied his genius to boil it down to its psychological essence. A malignant narcissist is a human monster. He may not be as bad as Hitler, but according to Fromm, he is cut from the same cloth. “The Egyptian Pharaohs, the Roman Caesars, the Borgias, Hitler, Stalin, Trujillo—they all show certain similar features,” Fromm writes.

Malignant narcissism is a psychiatric disorder that makes you evil. What’s scary is that’s not even the worst of it.

Mad

Before the 2016 election, I wrote an article for the Huffington Post warning about Trump. At that point, in June 2016, there was still a strong hope that Trump would “pivot” and become more presidential—a hope based on the assumption that while he might be a wicked opportunist and a con man, he was still a rational actor, and thus would change tack when it was in his own best interest. I wrote, “[T]he idea that Trump is going to settle down and become presidential when he achieves power is wishful thinking. Success emboldens malignant narcissists to become even more grandiose, reckless, and aggressive. Sure enough, after winning the nomination, there has been no ‘pivot’ towards more reasonable behavior and ideas, just the opposite. He has become more shrill, combative, and openly racist.” After riding his angry base to the White House, to alter his behavior to a saner presentation after the election would have been in Trump’s best interest. As Rob Reiner put it on Real Time with Bill Maher, “People don’t understand why Trump doesn’t just stop acting mentally ill? Why can’t he just stop being mentally ill?” Why? Because his illness is not a ruse. It can’t just be turned off when it’s convenient.

According to Fromm, “malignant narcissism is a madness that tends to grow in the life of the afflicted person.” In The Heart of Man, Fromm argues that malignant narcissism “lies on the borderline between sanity and insanity.” In more benign forms of narcissism, “being related to reality curbs the narcissism and keeps it within bounds,” but the malignant narcissist recognizes no such bound- aries. His grandiose fantasy trumps reality.

The thing that distinguishes the malignant narcissistic leader from a run-of-the-mill psychotic patient is his power to coerce and seduce others to share his grandiose and persecutory delusions.

“This Caesarian madness would be nothing but plain insanity,” Fromm writes, “were it not for one factor: by his power Caesar has bent reality to his narcissistic fantasies. He has forced everyone to agree he is god, the most powerful and wisest of men—hence his megalomania seems to be a reasonable feeling.”

According to Fromm’s description of the disorder, Trump lives on the border of psychosis. Does he ever go over the border? Is it all for effect, to rile up his base, deflect blame, and distract from his shortcomings, or does Trump actually believe the crazy things he says? If you take Donald Trump’s words literally, you would have to conclude that he is psychotic.

A delusion is technically defined as a “rigidly held, demonstrably false belief, which is impervious to any contradictory facts.” Is he “crazy like a fox,” asks Michael Tansey, or simply “crazy like a crazy?” With Trump, it’s often genuinely difficult to know, but as Tansey makes frighteningly clear, this is not a trivial academic distinction. Literally, the fate of the entire world may depend on the answer:

Surpassing the devastation of climate, health care, education, diplomacy, social services, freedom of speech, liberty, and justice for all, nothing is more incomprehensible than the now-plausible prospect of all-out nuclear war . . . Because of this existential threat, it is absolutely urgent that we understand the differences between a president who is merely “crazy like a fox” (shrewd, calculating, the truth is only spoken when it happens to coincide with one’s purposes) versus what I have termed “crazy like a crazy” (well- hidden-core grandiose and paranoid delusions that are disconnected from reality).

Insight into this question comes from, of all sources, Joe Scarborough, host of the popular MSNBC show Morning Joe. After Trump claimed that Trump Tower had been bugged by Barack Obama, Scarborough tweeted, “His tweets this weekend suggest the president is not crazy like a fox. Just crazy.”

Some of Trump’s false claims can be seen as giving him a perverse strategic advantage. For example, his claim that Obama was not born in the United States appealed to the racist portion of the electorate who were already inclined to see a black president as foreign and illegitimate. Other false statements of his seem more blatantly crazy, precisely because they offer him no discernible strategic advantage. Take his false claim that he had the biggest inaugural crowd in history. On the first day of his presidency, he lost credibility with the entire world with that demonstrably false claim—as Groucho Marx said, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”—when there was no longer any need to motivate his base, which was already ecstatically celebrating his inauguration. He needed to broaden his base and shore up his authority as president, but did the opposite.

On Morning Joe on April 3, Joe Scarborough and Donny Deutsch, both of whom had known Trump personally for over a decade, came to two conclusions: first, that Trump must suffer from a mental illness, because his behavior since ascending to the presidency had been so irrationally self-destructive; and second, that Trump had gotten dramatically worse since he was inaugurated.

Scarborough: People, stop tweeting at me “How could you not have known?” We’ve known this guy for ten, eleven, twelve years. We had misgivings, but it’s safe to say neither you [Donny Deutsch] nor I thought it would be this bad. We were concerned. Really, really concerned, but never thought this guy would be this much of a petulant brat. We didn’t think he would wake up every day and hit his hand with a hammer.

Deutsch: I also think it’s time. I know the psychiatric community has the Goldwater rule about not diagnosing from a distance. I just think he’s not a well guy. Period.

Scarborough: During the campaign, he would do things that were offensive to us [that energized his base], but that’s not like hitting your hand with a hammer. What he’s doing now is not in his self-interest. Then you start saying how well is he [pointing to his own head] when he’s doing things that any sane rational person would know would hurt him politically?

For these same reasons, Michael Tansey suggests that Trump may meet DSM-V criteria for delusional disorder, which require evi- dence of a delusion lasting longer than a month in the absence of a more serious psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder type 1, which would in themselves explain the presence of delusional thinking.

Trump doesn’t show signs of being schizophrenic, but we should explore where he fits on the bipolar spectrum. He definitely has the hypomanic temperament I wrote about in my two books, The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (a Little) Craziness and (a Lot) of Success in America (2005) and In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography (2008). Hypomanic temperament is genetically based, running in the families of people with bipolar relatives, but it represents a milder and more functional expression of the same traits as mania. Historically, hypomanic temperament has received little attention compared to bipolar disorder, but the founders of modern psychiatry, Eugen Bleuler, Emil Kraepelin, and Ernst Kretschmer, first described these personalities early in the twentieth century. In a 2005 article in The New Republic, I summarized the traits of hypo- manic temperament as follows:

Hypomanics are whirlwinds of activity who are filled with energy and need little sleep, less than 6 hours. They are restless, impatient and easily bored, needing constant stimulation and tend to dominate conversations. They are driven, ambitious and veritable forces of nature in pursuit of their goals. While these goals may appear grandiose to others, they are supremely confident of success—and no one can tell them otherwise. They can be exuberant, charming, witty, gregarious but also arrogant. They are impulsive in ways that show poor judgment, saying things off the top of their head, and acting on ideas and desires quickly, seemingly oblivious to potentially damaging consequences. They are risk takers who seem oblivious to how risky their behavior truly is. They have large libidos and often act out sexually. Indeed all of their appetites are heightened.

This description sounds an awful lot like Trump who reports, “I usually sleep only four hours a night,” which by itself is usually a pretty reliable indicator of hypomania Indeed, he boasts about it: “How can you compete against people like me if I sleep only four hours?” He claims to work seven days a week and, in a typical eighteen-hour day, to make “over a hundred phone calls” and have “at least a dozen meetings.” He also tweeted, “Without energy you have nothing!”—hence his taunt of Jeb Bush as “a low energy person,” by contrast, a charge that proved quite effective. Like most hypomanics, Trump is easily distracted. We could add attention deficit disorder to the Trump differential, except attention deficit disorder almost always goes with the territory for hypomanics. “Most successful people have very short attention spans. It has a lot to do with imagination,” Trump wrote with Meredith McIver in Think Like a Billionaire in 2004. He is correct. The same rapidity of thought that helps engender creativity makes it difficult for one to stay on one linear track of ideas without skipping to the next. Like most hypomanics, Trump trusts his own ideas and judgment over those of anyone and everyone else, and follows his “vision, no matter how crazy or idiotic other people think it is.”

One of my dictums when working with hypomanic patients is that “nothing fails like success.” If they succeed in achieving one of their wildly ambitious goals, there is often a noticeable uptick in their hypomania, sometimes even precipitating a full-blown hypomanic episode, which, unlike hypomanic temperament, is a diagnosable disorder. They become more aggressive, irritable, reckless, and im- pulsive. Now seemingly confirmed in their grandiosity, they drink their own Kool-Aid and feel even more invincible and brilliant. They pursue even bolder, riskier, and more ambitious goals, without listen- ing to dissent, doing their due diligence, or considering contradictory facts. Their gut is always right. Once, Trump was asked whom he went to for advice. With a straight face, he said, “Myself.” Trump is Trump’s most trusted adviser. In the same vein, with the increase in grandiosity comes a corresponding increase in paranoia over the fools and rivals who might nay-say the hypomanic’s insights, impede his progress, or destroy him out of jealousy or ignorance.

In fact, this is a pattern for Trump. In 1988, after the publication of his best-selling book The Art of the Deal, Trump’s celebrity really took off. His response was an increase in his hypomania, according to Politico writer Michael Kruse in his article “1988: The Year Trump Lost His Mind”:

[H]is response to his surging celebrity was a series of manic, ill-advised ventures. He cheated on his wife, the mother of his first three children. In business, he was acquisitive to the point of recklessness. He bought and sold chunks of stocks of companies he talked about taking over. He glitzed up his gaudy yacht, the yacht the banks would seize less than three years later. He used hundreds of millions of dollars of borrowed money to pay high prices for a hotel and an airline—and his lenders would take them, too. And he tus- sled for months with game-show magnate Merv Griffin for ownership of his third casino in Atlantic City, the most expensive, gargantuan one yet, the Trump Taj Mahal, which led quickly to the first of his four corporate bankruptcy filings.

During that period, Trump the storied dealmaker went on a buying binge, and made impulsive, ill-advised investments, often paying the asking price without negotiating at all. As Kruse wrote in his Politico piece:

That spring, though, he purchased the Plaza Hotel because he openly coveted the Manhattan landmark, so much so that he paid more for it than anybody anywhere ever had spent on a hotel—$407.5 million—[for] a hotel that wasn’t turning enough profit to service the debt to which Trump [was] committed.

And in the fall, he agreed to buy the Eastern Airlines [sic] Shuttle, which he wanted to rename the Trump Shuttle, for a sum that analysts and even his own partners considered excessive—more than the airline itself thought the shuttle was worth. . . .

“It was not a lengthy financial analysis,” [said] Nobles [president of Trump Shuttle], describing it as “back-of-the- envelope” and “very quick. . . . Donald said, ‘I really want to buy it.’”

Trump could be the poster child for the dictum that when it comes to hypomanics, nothing fails like success. Kruse continued:

If Trump’s current campaign is the culmination of a lifelong effort to turn his name into a brand, his brand into money and all of it into power, 1988 was the first sustained look at what the man who is the shocking favorite to be the Republi- can Party’s nominee does when he gets ahold of it. It was the year when Trump’s insatiable appetites and boundless ego— this early, spectacular show of success—nearly did him in.

Fast-forward 28 years, to 2016, when Trump once again achieved success beyond anyone’s wildest imaginings. He became addicted to rallies, where he excited crowds with his hypomanic charisma, and where they in turn threw gasoline on the fire of his hypomanic grandiosity. This culminated in the Republican National Convention, at which Trump made a grandiose statement that encapsulates it all: “Only I can fix it.”

David Brooks is not a mental health professional, but he astutely commented on what appeared to him to be Trump’s increasing hypomania:

He cannot be contained because he is psychologically off the chain. With each passing week, he displays the classic symptoms of medium-grade mania in more disturbing forms: inflated self-esteem, sleeplessness, impulsivity, ag- gression and a compulsion to offer advice on subjects he knows nothing about.

His speech patterns are like something straight out of a psychiatric textbook. Manics display something called “flight of ideas.” It’s a formal thought disorder in which ideas tumble forth through a disordered chain of associa- tions. One word sparks another, which sparks another, and they’re off to the races. As one trained psychiatrist said to me, compare Donald Trump’s speaking patterns to a Robin Williams monologue, but with insults instead of jokes.

Trump’s first hypomanic crash resulted only in a few bankruptcies, but while he is president, the consequences could be on a scale so vast it’s difficult even to contemplate.

Let’s put these two moving parts together, bad and mad. Trump is a profoundly evil man exhibiting malignant narcissism. His worsening hypomania is making him increasingly more irrational, grandiose, paranoid, aggressive, irritable, and impulsive. Trump is bad, mad, and getting worse. He evinces the most destructive and dangerous collection of psychiatric symptoms possible for a leader. The worst-case scenario is now our reality.

Often as therapists we are called on to help our patients see that their life circumstances are not as catastrophic as they might feel. In the case of Trump, however, our job is the opposite: o warn the public that the election of Donald Trump is a true emergency, and that the consequences most likely will be catastrophic.

It’s a catastrophe that might have been avoided if we in the mental health community had told the public the truth, instead of allowing ourselves to be gagged by the Goldwater rule. “See some- thing, say nothing” appears to be the APA’s motto when it comes to national security. History will not be kind to a profession that aided the rise of an American Hitler through its silence.

John D. Gartner, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist. He taught in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University Medical School for 28 years. He is the author of In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography and The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (a Little) Craziness and (a Lot of) Success in America. He practices in Baltimore and New York.

Copyright © 2017 by John D. Gartner from The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump (Thomas Dunne Books). Copyright © 2017 by Bandy X. Lee.

 

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77 responses to “Donald Trump Is: A) Bad B) Mad C) All Of The Above”

  1. Unkabob says:

    We’re so intent on explaining trump’s psychological hardware that we can’t seem to come to a steady conclusion of what he suffers from. Couldn’t we instead just see him as a self-important putz with delusions of grandeur who’s willing to take us to the heights of his fantasies or down to the lower levels of his hatred? Works for me without the main excuses of illness.

  2. Dominick Vila says:

    C, and there are many other terms I can think of to describe Trump’s behavior and actions including arrogant, narcissistic, vindictive, racist, ignorant, and dangerous.

    • Independent1 says:

      Dominick, it’s almost as if Satan had made another deal with God as he did with Job; except this time Satan wanted to prove just how unGod-like many Americans really are. So he said to God, “Since the mortal Donald Trump is already so much like me, let me fully take over his body and I’ll show you that no matter how evil I make Donald Trump act, there will be a large number of Americans who will accept and support my evil actions; no matter how corrupt and evil they are. And that includes many who claim to be in religions that supposedly believe in and worship your Son.”

  3. Mama Bear says:

    This absolutely confirms my worst fears. When will someone do the right thing? Or will this mad man be the next Hitler?

    • Dapper Dan says:

      The difference with Hitler is people of that era obviously don’t get instant news like we do today. If he was president of a small rogue nation he’d be ignored but as president of the greatest nation on earth people are ready to fight back by any means to keep this megalomaniac from getting too much power. Also Hitler was military and trump has never stepped foot on the battleground and afraid to get his big hands dirty. With the nuclear Football though he is more dangerous than Hitler in that respect and he needs to be removed ASAP before he starts WWIII as Sen Corker has voiced concerns about

      • CPANY says:

        Baloney! The German people of that era got all the news that they needed to make a choice at the polls. They chose Hitler and paid the price.

        • Dapper Dan says:

          More like the Jews and homosexuals paid the price. Honestly most people that voted for Hitler were of the same mindset that today’s trump voters are. They’re brainwashed by the propaganda spewed on Fox, Breitbart and Infowars and are not paying attention to what trump is doing. Those that do know are people like Richard Spencer who’s out to stoke the fires of hate at rallies where he’s not welcome. Because of Hitler other nations and lawmakers in our own country need to keep a tight leash on trump keeping him from following thru with his worst instincts. Today the biggest difference is trump has access to nuclear weapons that Hitler didn’t have in his time. It’s really not a unfair comparison to make between these two men and need to make sure we never have another Holocaust

  4. Incredibly accurate and timely synopsis of a man so thoroughly diseased, and still is in the throes of a process of further morbidity—Emotionally, and spiritually.

    Although tumors in the brain have been determined post mortem for erratic behaviors which certain deceased individuals had displayed, we need to consider the moral and spiritual dimensions of Donald’s ailment, and that of Bannon, Spencer, Dylaan Roof. The tumor angles and direct association with anti-social behavior is hard to verify, but correlating behavior like Trump’s and Bannon’s with outward signs should be easy to do. And when we add certain spiritual insights as provided by the Writings of Baha’u’llah and other Messengers, the link between proper/improper upbringing and the presence or absence of strong virtues should be quite clear.

    Absence of virtues and proper spiritual nurturing results in the human atrophying spiritually, and this in a cause-and-effect manner negatively influences out outward characteristics. This is directly analogous to what we see in an example from the plant kingdom—If a plant requiring sunlight for growth is placed in a darkened environment away from sunlight, the plant in time dies from lack of exposure, even though it still may be receiving adequate water and mineral uptake. Donald’s long-term lack of spiritual sustenance is the direct cause of his slow death, even though at birth he had all the potentialities inherent within him to flourish as a noble and productive human being.

    The same spiritual decaying process seen in Bannon, Sara Huckabee, Kelly Anne, most of the GOP, Putin, etc. is occurring, and for the same reasons, and is clearly manifested as plain as the noon-day sun in their dysfunctional behaviors.

  5. dpaano says:

    So, where does that leave our nation? Do we continue to be ruled by a madman or do we do something about it? It is very scary and the next 3 years could be the downfall of our democracy.

    • Mama Bear says:

      Great question, d. What do we do? Do you sometimes wonder if ordinary German citizens asked these same question about Hitler and…well…no one had the balls to do the patriotic thing?

      • Theodora30 says:

        From what I have read a lot of people who did not agree with the Nazis ignored the growing threat assuming it was a temporary aberration. By the time they woke up the Nazis had embedded themselves in so many civic institutions that it became dangerous to speak out. At best you would lose your job, at worst your life.
        I remember reading that Paul Krugman (I think that was who it was) had that reaction to Reagan and to the rightward shift of the Republican Party as well as to their willingness to sell the public blatant lies. His wife, on the other hand, did not believe this would be an aberration that would self correct. I do not think Krugman really took it seriously until Bush came into office.

        By that time the Republicans had been spreading deeply dishonest propaganda for years to their base – and too often to a gullible media. The media almost never even bothered to debunk the seductive lie that tax cuts pay for themselves. Then they got played with phony scandals like Whitewater, Wen Ho Lee/Chinagate, Gore claiming to have invented the internet….and then they got scammed on WMD. Still not learning their lesson they then got sucked into the nothingburger email contretemps, and willingly spread the lies in Breitbart author Peter Schweitzer’s anti-Clinton screed “Clinton Cash” which trashed the Clinton Foundation. (It took them until over a year, late in the campaign, to even bother to examine Trump’s actual scam of a foundation).
        The media seems to have finally come to their senses but now many of our courts are dominated by far right wing judges (a process Reagan started) and the right wing has seduced millions of our fellow citizens into believing their vast media machine’s propaganda. It is far too little and far too late. Trying to get our country back on the path to sanity will be much much harder now than it would have been if the media had actually told the public the truth about the radicalization and dishonesty of the Republican Party. I am afraid it might take a huge calamity to turn so many of our citizens against the non reality based world they have been living in for years.

    • CPANY says:

      So, what do you suggest “we” do about the madman and will you do it?

  6. Richard Prescott says:

    It leaves our nation in the hands of a different set of sociopaths, the GOP. And the VP Pence, someone I would call as near to a religious fanatic as any, it not much better, maybe even worse in some ways.
    I enjoyed the analysis, as I was trained in psychiatry by the military and worked in civilian hospitals for a while, as well as some education in it. He does embody many of the aspects covered, and since he has been that way for years, just “maturing” it with age, I am surprised he was not raked over the coals during the campaign for the GOP nomination.
    And the other side is the crazy he brought out, the people on the margins he “spoke to” who “identified” with him. That was truly the Hitler side, the charismatic swaying of attitudes. And, of course, Putin probably saw this and (my opinion) may have decided it would be a lot of fun to actually get him elected as he knew what would happen.
    Trump can be likened to a cancer, who gets the toehold then starts spreading his badness. Just look at all the inappropriate appointments he made, and still is making. Spreading the cancerous bad decision making and destructiveness.
    We need to surgically remove this cancer and provide a course of treatment to follow.

    • Mama Bear says:

      men brother!

    • Theodora30 says:

      And that course of treatment is??????? I think we have to break through the right wing propaganda machine. To me the crucial thing would be if James and Lachlan Murdoch finally decide to make Fox an actual news outlet. I keep reading that they hated Roger Ailes and wanted the network to more like Sky News – business friendly but not a right wing propaganda outlet. Also they want to buy a controlling interest in Sky News but are having trouble getting approval because Fox has been so off the wall. Maybe if people would put pressure on their advertisers they would feel pressured to stop the fake news??

      Sadly I know a lot of Trump supporters, a few in my extended family and many of my (affluent, educated, suburban) neighbors. Most watch Fox News and just spout their talking points. They are generally decent people but they are badly misinformed. Until we find a way to bring these people back to the reality based world, our democracy will continue to deteriorate.

  7. And as Fromm correctly noted by way of his intuition concerning human beings—“whose basic premise, ironically, is that man’s basic nature is good”—all humans are innately good as a prerequisite established by the Creator. No human being—NONE!—is born evil by virtue of the decree of its Creator.
    As Baha’u’llah repeatedly points out in a manner consistent with us having potentially reached the age of maturity as human beings, we are created noble. Yet, due to our choices we become ignoble, blinded by overemphasis on material wealth, lust for power and control of others, and unrestrained vices. This insight was understood implicitly by all the previous Messengers as well, but not stated as perspicuously, as copiously, and succinctly as we now are privy to, due to our lack of ability in earlier stages of evolving human capacity, to understand on a level we’re now capable of.

    “O Son of Being! Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created”, is just one of numerous exhortations on this important theme regarding our innate potential. For those not capable of fully exhibiting nobility outwardly, sans some congenital defects and not for consciously failing to acquire virtues, there is an explanation by Baha’u’llah explaining why this appears. In a passage in a Tablet I shared with my daughter, who has a son born with what was diagnosed as Asberger’s syndrome, there is reference to physical ailments as being like a veil interposed between the inner essence of the afflicted child/youth and what the rest of us see outwardly. He goes on to compare this interpositioning using the analogy of the sun and clouds. When the cloud cover veils the sun, the sun is in no way affected—its light and heat are diminished, but the sun’s essential qualities remain intact. So it is with physical/mental ailments.

    • stcroixcarp says:

      This is off the subject completely. This morning I read about the Madison, Wisconsin Baha’i community and their plans for the 200th anniversary of Baha’u’llah’s birth. I did not know there was a Baha’i community in Madison. I don’t know what the appropriate greeting is, but may you find peace and joy in this time of remembrance and hope. Keep posting.

      • Thank you. You’re most kind. You may like to read about the activities which occurred across the country and across the globe. We had a few commemorative events in Portsmouth, NH and at the Green Acre Baha’i school in Eliot, Maine.

        The link is https://bicentenary.bahai.org/

        • CPANY says:

          I see that you haven’t purged yourself of your belief in Hubbah Bubbah Babaloo.

          • And thank you. I see you’re still a little boy, mentally. Are you capable of reading beyond grade school level?

          • dbtheonly says:

            I find it interesting that, ostensibly grown people, would take pleasure in name-calling. One is tempted to reply, “Sticks and stones…”.

            This does include Trump. Which says a lot in itself.

            To the issue. If Trump is indeed mad, then he is of diminished capacity, and

          • One other thing “CPANY”, or whatever you real name is. Your lack of knowledge about any religion is astounding. Your adolescent attitude is inappropriate for an adult who should have shed his adolescence long ago. Only a depraved, impotent grownup, with no religious sentiment and understanding to speak of, nor cultural appreciation, would resort to making fun of a name he has no intention of figuring what the name means.
            In summary, you are very much in the vanguard of a league of Dark Forces, spreading amorality and boorish behavior across the globe.
            Is this the example you wish your children and grandchildren to emulate??? Do you expect them to be proud that “CPANY” is a small-minded brat??

  8. David says:

    I love to read the whinings of you miserable libtards!

    • And we love to read about you complaining. Obviously, you’re a prisoner of anti-Christ sentiments. Don’t forget to post more pathetic drivel about how you love to be a divisive force in society.
      Cheerio!!

      • David says:

        Christ? What would you know about our Lord and Savior you abortion loving POS?

        • “Our Lord and Savior” coming from the likes of you? Your level of devotion to Jesus and lack of knowledge of Him matches that of Donald’s and a host of others who no longer know how to “exemplify” the Teachings of Jesus.
          Just because you can utter that phrase doesn’t automatically mean you understand its implication. Just ask Donald for proof.

          And how does your response explain Trump’s psychological problems??

          • David says:

            Trump’s “psychological problems” as was set forth are nothing more than the ramblings of a frustrated libtard psychologist. His “evaluation” would NOT be admissible in a court of law. It merits no more consideration than do the musings of a malcontent.
            You can only guess at the extent of my knowledge of Jesus Christ. You hardly occupy a position to criticize my Christianity. Go worship your Boo Boo Bullah.

          • Sure, pal. Whatever you say. Who is Boo Boo Bullah? And you have a warped sense of Christianity. I hope you’re not trying to convince anyone that you’re Christian, because you are impugning Jesus by your ill-mannered responses. Anyone who would disgrace the good name of Jesus by using the sort of language you use and his name in the same breath, and has no respect for Jesus in doing so, shouldn’t refer to Jesus as “Lord”.

            And does Jesus being your “Savior”, as you purport, entail “saving” you from good manners, and leading you to be satanic in character???

            Clearly, Jesus saving a believer includes “saving” the purpose from his ego, an ungodly nature, and churlish attitudes. You show no such signs of being rid of these qualities.
            Therefore, you can not be considered as “Saved”, except on paper(or computer screen).

          • David says:

            Gee…just where in Ezekiel does it mention Boo Boo Bullah? The “latest messenger” of God? Uh, that would be Jesus Christ. Many bring Christ’s message, but it ain’t Boo Boo Bullah.

          • Mama Bear says:

            report him as spam, Aaron and block him. He will go away if no one responds to his garbage.

          • David says:

            Let me guess…now YOU are going to evaluate and opine about Trump’s “psychological problems”? Live with it DS. He is our President. Maybe you Brits could learn something in dealing with the growing problems in Londonstan. Otherwise, hope you like living under sharia law!

        • Dapper Dan says:

          Ok bud your flagged and out of here. Bye bye ????

    • Dapper Dan says:

      Said the Trumptard ????

    • And we love hearing from a demented fellow in the employ of other sycophants.

    • my feet are normal says:

      OK thanks for dropping by, traitor.

    • Thoughtopsy says:

      LOL
      Just keep wallowing in the reflected aura of your pussy-grabbing, racist, ignorant, retarded, sadistic, rapist boss… Dave.
      It totally suits you. And I mean that.

  9. Anthony06811 says:

    It’s clear what the Deep State is afraid of, by the energy they expend to have their minions continue the Big Lie that Obama is who he claims to be, and anyone who claims otherwise is somehow mentally unstable …..Anyone with high school level research skills can know for themselves. .Here are some basic facts. Perhaps we can start with the birth certificate proven to be an absolute forgery by two independent forensic laboratories commissioned by a law enforcement investigation into the matter.. .Or the CT issued SS# used by Obama even though he never lived in CT..Then there is the matter of the Selective Service registration. The only one known to have a two digit year stamp. 08 from 2008 flipped to read 80 with an upside down 8 on the forgery..All can investigate it!… ..Then there are the sealed records, that were sealed by Obama’s first executive order. .The Soviets were notorious for placing dissidents in mental institutions because they disagreed with the big State. .Following is a link to Obama fraud facts compiled by a former Soviet citizen, who is dismayed to see the same big State tactics employed in the US.
    http://www.orlytaitzesq.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Evidence-corrected-of-forgery-fraud-fabrcation-in-Obamas-IDs.pdf

    • Dapper Dan says:

      Please get a grip on reality. The real liar and horror show is now the incumbent

    • pisces63 says:

      Go to hell you inbred jackass!! Really? You’re a psychopath of the worse order.

    • yabbed says:

      Anthony, time to double your dose. You mind is out of control again.

      • Mama Bear says:

        he is a paid troll. They are paid for the number of comments they generate. Ignore him, block him and he will crawl back into the Russian hole.

    • Anthony06811 says:

      LOL..Obviously a product of public education. .Your arguments are so well thought out and articulate in their presentation. ..Thanks for the laugh!

    • Mama Bear says:

      HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Thanks for the morning laugh.

      • Anthony06811 says:

        You’re very welcome Mama Bear. .While you’re laughing most of America is waking up. .Time to break out of the echo chamber and use your mind to understand.

    • Thoughtopsy says:

      You’re so delusional that I call ‘paid troll’.

      Not even a deplorable could be that willfully ignorant and woefully stupid.
      I hope they’re paying you a lot, because it would actually make me dumber to type out that drivel you posted.
      You are what you eat, Trump-licker.

      • Anthony06811 says:

        LOL….My poor sad Sheeple…You Lost all ability to think. …You’re just able to react in hateful ways. ..You Lost all ability to analyze information and now are relegated to only being able to repeat what your masters want you to think and say. ..I must admit it’s very, very entertaining for the majority of Americans who are awake, but on some level we pity you. ..My poor sad Sheeple. …

  10. CPANY says:

    I had a boss like Trump. He was able to blame his subordinates for his failures, because those above him were weak and ineffective managers.He contrived to fire five or six subordinates who were good. His end came when he ran out of “blamees” and was recognized as the person solely responsible for a huge failure. Then he was allowed to resign. I believe the story was that he did so to devote more time to his family.

  11. iamhe says:

    Yale held a gathering of renowned psychologist and psychiatrists. They discussed Trump, their observations, and ignored the “Goldwater Rule” and published a warning about Trump to the American People.

    Here is an operant definition of Anti-social Personality Disorder, otherwise know as Sociopathy….. the psycho/social sickness a sociopath has…

    Regularly uses unconscionable tactics to accomplish unconscionable agenda, “thinks” he has “good reason” that “justifies” causing harm to others….. doesn’t mind causing harm to others….

    America lets people like this on to the ballot, and has no effective means to remove them from government office..

  12. yabbed says:

    Put in its simplest terms, Trump is a piece of sick trash.

  13. iamhe says:

    Will someone please empty the trash can in the White House

  14. He is also dangerous to know. But I think I would prefer my chances with Lord Byron. At least he was literate (and talented.)

  15. Thoughtopsy says:

    Accurate summary. Well put.

    The takeaway for me is that Trump is not only mentally ill, but also knowingly evil.

    That fits almost exactly with my own perception of him through his speech, body language and behavior. I can spot sadistic bullies a mile away through long practice and personal experience.

  16. ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

    what is DUMP 45 plain hateful evil a head to toe anal cavity filled with crap . he is not insane or crazy how he is just who he is . there’s nothing he dose or say’s he dosent mean he is an evil nasty Satan like MORON as it go’s today allies country’s will not seek leadership from him or the USA he is setting the USA so far aside from the rest of the world where he is putting America alone . what he is doing is forcing the American allies to seek allies elsewhere where thy will go . to Russia , China , who knows maybe even to North Korea or even Iran . thy will all go for not knowing what thy can count on with America thy will not stay allies with the USA . and rightfully so. thy cant count on any truth at all coming out of the mouth of the pathological liar DUMP 45 thy have no other chose but to go anywhere then the USA . no one can blame them either . other country’s also have to worry about just what kind of people are in the USA and feeling that the people of America cant be god people to vote and let an evil hateful racist & of course women beater rapist and an assaulter of women run America never mind being a leader of the whole world other country frown on the USA not being able to trust a word that comes out of the country . WW3 THE HITLER LIKE DUMPSTER DONNY DUMP 45 will lean us into and while he dose this he will be taking and pushing all America’s allies so we will be alone against the world . not a good place to be . AGAINST THE WORLD ALONE !! people don’t be fooled and think he cant make things that bad FOR HE CAN AND HE WILL COUNT ON IT !!

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