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Seriously, How Dumb is Trump?

January 10, 2018
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IQ(知能指数)は駄目だが、EQ (感情指数)は凄く(相手の感情を利用して騙す能力)大(=詐欺師:conman): これがアメリカと世界に最大の危機をもたらす!

For more than a year now, I’ve been hearing from people in the inner circles of official Washington — GOP lobbyists, Republican pundits, even a few Republican members of Congress — that Donald Trump is remarkably stupid.

I figured they couldn’t be right because really stupid people don’t become presidents of the United States. Even George W. Bush was smart enough to hire smart people to run his campaign and then his White House.

Several months back when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “f–king moron,” I discounted it. I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to serve in a president’s cabinet, and I’ve heard members of other president’s cabinets describe their bosses in similar terms.

Now comes “Fire and Fury,” a book by journalist Michael Wolff, who interviewed more than 200 people who dealt with Trump as a candidate and president, including senior White House staff members.

In it, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster calls Trump a “dope.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus both refer to him as an “idiot.” Rupert Murdoch says Trump is a “f–king idiot.”

Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn describes Trump as “dumb as sh-t,” explaining that “Trump won’t read anything — not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored.”

When one of Trump’s campaign aides tried to educate him about the Constitution, Trump couldn’t focus. “I got as far as the Fourth Amendment,” the aide recalled, “before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head.”

Trump doesn’t think he’s stupid, of course. As he recounted, “I went to an Ivy League college … I did very well. I’m a very intelligent person.”

Yet Trump wasn’t exactly an academic star. One of his professors at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and Finance purportedly said that he was “the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.”

Trump biographer Gwenda Blair wrote in 2001 that Trump was admitted to Wharton on a special favor from a “friendly” admissions officer who had known Trump’s older brother.

But hold on. It would be dangerous to underestimate this man.

Even if Trump doesn’t read, can’t follow a logical argument, and has the attention span of a fruit fly, it still doesn’t follow that he’s stupid.

There’s another form of intelligence, called “emotional intelligence.”

Emotional intelligence is a concept developed by two psychologists, John Mayer of the University of New Hampshire, and Yale’s Peter Salovey, and it was popularized by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book of the same name.

Mayer and Salovey define emotional intelligence as the ability to do two things — “understand and manage our own emotions,” and “recognize and influence the emotions of others.”Granted, Trump hasn’t displayed much capacity for the first. He’s thin-skinned, narcissistic, and vindictive.

As dozens of Republican foreign policy experts put it, “he is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He does not encourage conflicting views. He lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate criticism.”

Okay, but what about Mayer and Salovey’s second aspect of emotional intelligence — influencing the emotions of others?

This is where Trump shines. He knows how to manipulate people. He has an uncanny ability to discover their emotional vulnerabilities — their fears, anxieties, prejudices, and darkest desires — and use them for his own purposes.

To put it another way, Trump is an extraordinarily talented conman.

He’s always been a conman. He conned hundreds of young people and their parents into paying to attend his near worthless Trump University. He conned banks into lending him more money even after he repeatedly failed to pay them. He conned contractors to work for them and then stiffed them.

Granted, during he hasn’t always been a great conman. Had he been, his cons would have paid off.

By his own account, in 1976, when Trump was starting his career, he was worth about $200 million, much of it from his father. Today he says he’s worth some $8 billion. If he’d just put the original $200 million into an index fund and reinvested the dividends, he’d be worth $12 billion today.

But he’s been a great political conman. He conned 62,979,879 Americans to vote for him in November 2016 by getting them to believe his lies about Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and all the “wonderful,” “beautiful” things he’d do for the people who’d support him.

And he’s still conning most of them.

Political conning is Trump’s genius. It’s this genius — when combined with his utter stupidity in every other dimension of his being — that poses the greatest danger to America and the world.

 

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Trump’s Nuclear Threat Warrants Removal From Office

January 10, 2018
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Donald Trump’s veiled threat to use nuclear weapons against North Korea is not only horrifying, but also illegal. It warrants his removal from office.

On New Year’s Day, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un asserted, “The entire area of the US mainland is within our nuclear strike range. The United States can never start a war against me and our country,” adding, “The United States should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table.” Kim clarified that he would not use those weapons except in response to aggression.

Not to be outdone by Kim, Trump tweeted in response, “I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!

The president’s cavalier threat to start a nuclear holocaust cannot be dismissed as the rant of an immature bully. Trump controls a powerful nuclear arsenal. In fact, a few days after Trump’s nuclear button tweet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared it would sponsor a public meeting to cover “planning and preparation efforts” in the event of a nuclear attack.

Trump’s Tweet Is IllegalTrump’s tweet violates several laws. Threatening to use nuclear weapons runs afoul of the United Nations Charter, which forbids the use of or threat to use military force except in self-defense or when approved by the Security Council. North Korea has not mounted an armed attack on the United States nor is such an attack imminent. And the UN Security Council has not given the US its blessing to attack North Korea. Trump’s tweet also constitutes a threat to commit genocide and a crime against humanity.

The ominous tweet follows Trump’s promise last summer that North Korean threats would be “met with fire and fury,” a phrase that found its way into the title of Michael Wolff’s explosive new book. Trump also told the UN General Assembly he would “totally destroy North Korea.”

“Nuclear war is not a game,” said Derek Johnson, executive director of Global Zero, the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, in a statement. “We are flirting with unacceptably high risks that carry catastrophic consequences for the country and the world. No one can afford to not take Trump’s threats seriously — least of all the North Koreans, who could be provoked into striking first in order to preempt what they perceive as an imminent attack.”

Lawmakers are echoing the concerns of advocates like Johnson.

“A nuclear conflict on the Korean peninsula would be a catastrophe, leading to the deaths of potentially millions of people, including American service members and families stationed there,” Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) stated.

Indeed, “even a conventional war between the US and [North Korea] could kill more than 1 million people; a nuclear exchange, therefore might result in tens of millions of casualties,” The Intercept reported.

Jeffrey Lewis, an expert in nuclear policy at Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told HuffPost that after a nuclear strike, “there would be survivors for days trying to make their way out of the rubble and back home, dying of radiation poisoning.”

Markey said that Trump’s tweet “borders on presidential malpractice,” adding, “We cannot let this war of words result in an actual war.”

Eliot A. Cohen, assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the George W. Bush administration, was alarmed by Trump’s nuclear button tweet.

Some of those surrounding Trump are indeed laughing: Consider the disturbing comments of Michael Flynn Jr., son of Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Flynn Jr. thought Trump’s tweet was “just awesome.” Flynn Jr. tweeted, “This is why Trump was elected. A no bulls#t leader not afraid to stand up for his country.” Cohen tweeted, “Spoken like a petulant ten year old,” adding, “But one with nuclear weapons — for real — at his disposal. How responsible people around him, or supporting him, can dismiss this or laugh it off is beyond me.”

 


Removal Under the 25th Amendment
A president can be constitutionally removed from office — either by using the 25th Amendment or impeachment — even without actually committing a crime.The 25th Amendment provides for the vice president to assume the presidency when he and a majority of the president’s cabinet declare in writing that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” If the president challenges that determination, two-thirds of both houses of Congress are required to affirm that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.

“This tweet alone is grounds for removal from office under the 25th Amendment,” tweeted Richard Painter, ethics lawyer for George W. Bush and currently vice chairman of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington DC. “This man should not have nukes.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told The New York Times in October that Trump was setting us “on the path to World War III.” He said, “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him.” Corker noted that those apprehensions “were shared by nearly every Senate Republican.”

In his new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Wolff writes that his interviewees “all say [Trump] is like a child.” One source said it was frequently impossible for staff to determine what Trump wished to do. It was like “trying to figure out what a child wants.”

Wolff wrote in the Hollywood Reporter, “Hoping for the best, with their personal futures as well as the country’s future depending on it, my indelible impression of talking to them and observing them through much of the first year of his presidency, is that they all — 100 percent — came to believe he was incapable of functioning in his job.”

Impeachment of the PresidentThe Constitution provides for impeachment when the president commits “high crimes and misdemeanors.” This does not require actual law breaking. A president can be impeached for abuse of power or obstruction of justice, which were two of the articles of impeachment charged against Richard Nixon.

Impeachment is a political, not a legal, process. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 65, offenses are impeachable if they “proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” Hamilton added, “They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

As I described in my article, “Time to Impeach Trump,” his illegal threats against North Korea and his efforts to obstruct justice regarding the Russia investigation constitute grounds for impeachment.

But we cannot expect the Republican-controlled Congress will either impeach Trump or affirm a decision to remove him under the 25th Amendment. They are thrilled that Trump spearheaded their tax cuts for the rich and is appointing radical right-wing judges who will eliminate reproductive and LGBTQ rights.

“By all accounts,” Eric Levitz wrote in New York Magazine, “most GOP Congress members recognize that Donald Trump” maintains “only peripheral contact with reality.” But, Levitz added, “They have, nonetheless, decided to let him retain unilateral command of the largest nuclear arsenal on planet Earth because it would be politically and personally inconvenient to remove his finger from the button.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) introduced a bill that would establish a commission to evaluate Trump’s fitness for office. It has 57 co-sponsors.

Tell your Congress member to sign on as a co-sponsor to H.R. 1987, the Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act.

 

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. An updated edition of her book, “Drones and (more…)

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TRUMP COULD CREATE NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST IN FIVE MINUTES; CONGRESS IS NOW TRYING TO STOP THAT

December 19, 2017

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BY JASON LE MIERE ON 11/14/17 AT 10:28 AM

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It would take just five minutes from the time President Donald Trump ordered the launch of nuclear weapons—perhaps after being provoked by the latest insult from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un—for them to be fired.

That alarming scenario involving a president who has shown a thin skin and a propensity for rash decisions has prompted Congress to hold its first serious debate about the president’s unilateral authority to launch nuclear weapons in four decades.

Related: North Korea complains about U.S. Military bringing ‘nuclear war equipment’ near Korean Peninsula

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The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on “the executive’s authority to use nuclear weapons.” The hearing was announced last week by the committee’s Republican chairman, Senator Bob Corker, and it represents the first time either the Senate or House Foreign Relations Committee has addressed the issue since 1976.

According to Bruce Blair, a nuclear command and control expert and research scholar at the Program of Science and Global Security at Princeton University, it is long overdue.

“We all need to confront the fact that this system gives one person the God-like power to end the world,” he told Newsweek Monday.

Tuesday’s hearing is not the first attempt to address Trump’s ability to launch nuclear weapons. Earlier this year, two Democrats, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Ted Lieu, introduced a bill that would deny Trump the authority to launch a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war from Congress.

“As long as President Trump has a Twitter account, we need a nuclear no-first-use policy for the United States of America,” Markey said in May.

 

Donald Trump

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump looks on during a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sideline of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Manila on November 13.
JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Blair shared a similar assessment of Trump and his perceived lack of judgment, concluding that “he is very capable of making a very bad call against the advice of others, even if he asks for it, and that could be the end.”

Under the current procedures, it is possible Trump could act without getting any high-level advice or even a note of caution. Were he to decide the time has arrived to go nuclear, Trump would descend to his bunker, known as the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, and initiate a conference with the war room at the Pentagon. But there is no requirement for the president to listen to advice and no guarantee that top advisers would even be on the call. The technology is so outdated and neglected that in both exercises and real-world scenarios the secretaries of defense and state never came on the line, said Blair, who once served as an intercontinental ballistic missile launch control officer.

Once the decision was made, Trump would authenticate the order with a code before the war room transmitted a launch order that is, ironically, roughly the length of a tweet. From the decision being made to nuclear weapons being launched, the time elapsed can be as little as five minutes, or, if launched from submarines—as would likely be the case for an attack on North Korea—15 minutes.

It is an incredible responsibility no matter who sits in the White House. If nothing else, Blair, who co-founded Global Zero, which is dedicated to eliminating nuclear weapons, said he is grateful to Trump for unwittingly highlighting that fact and pushing Congress to address the issue.

“I think the silver lining in Trump’s behavior and election is his single-handedly raised public’s awareness and concern about nuclear weapons to the highest level it’s been in decades,” he said.

Kim Jong Un missile launch
This photo taken on February 12, 2017 and released on February 13 by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) surrounded by soldiers of the Korean People’s Army as he inspects the test-launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 at an undisclosed location.
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For months, Trump has engaged in a nuclear war of words with Kim, in August famously vowing to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” As North Korea has stepped up its testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles it says can carry nuclear warheads, the United States and South Korea have engaged in increasing military exercises on the Korean Peninsula.

During Trump’s trip to South Korea last week, he even took the step of revealing that a “nuclear submarine is also positioned.”

A president who has shown a proclivity for snap reactions to minor perceived insults, his basically unchecked authority and the country’s outdated technology are not the only concerns about U.S. nuclear weapons systems: They are also vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and there have been numerous false alarms.

It is enough to keep anyone up at night, particularly someone intimately aware of the fragile sytems that keep the world from experiencing nuclear holocaust.

“I worry about it all day long and into the evening until I have my second cocktail,” Blair said.

TRUMP’S CONSPIRACY THEORY DELUSIONS WILL LIKELY LEAD TO NUCLEAR WAR WITH NORTH KOREA, PSYCHIATRISTS WARN

December 19, 2017

BY JASON LE MIERE ON 11/29/17 AT 6:00 PM

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President Donald Trump’s claims that the Access Hollywood tape and President Barack Obama’s birth certificate are fakes are not just lies he tells others, psychiatrists say, they are delusions consistent with a severe personality disorder. And according to two psychiatrists who have warned that Trump is dangerously unfit for office, this could lead to a nuclear showdown with North Korea that results in the deaths of millions.

Related: Trump could create nuclear holocaust in five minutes; Congress is now trying to stop that

“He has to bend reality to fit his narcissistic needs,” psychologist John Gartner, a former assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University and founder of a political advocacy group targeting Trump, called The Duty to Warn, told Newsweek Wednesday. “Reality can actually be bent and molded to fit his narcissistic needs and fantasies and to fit his persecutory and paranoid needs and fantasies.”

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Despite initially apologizing about the infamous Access Hollywood tape, Trump while among his allies has begun disputing that the voice heard bragging about sexual assault is actually his, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The president is even said to have told a Republican senator that he wants to investigate the recording. (Access Hollywood, meanwhile, has insisted that the tape is not a fake.)

At the same time, he has not dropped the disproved conspiracy theory that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery and that he was not born in the United States—despite saying during the campaign that he did not really believe it.

This should not necessarily come as a surprise, given that his presidency started with a delusion. Just hours after Trump was sworn in, then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer was pushed in front of the media—by Trump, many believe—to falsely claim that his inauguration crowd was the largest in history.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform at the St. Charles Convention Center on November 29, in St. Charles, Missouri.
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While some have portrayed the mistruths as a political strategy, it is far more than that, according to a former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Lance Dodes.

“He is a far more sick person than people realize or want to realize,” Dodes, who like Gartner was a contributor to the book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, told Newsweek. “To say for example that he is even a con man is way too benign. He loses track of reality when it comes to a challenge to his sense of himself, which is extremely fragile. It’s out of his control—he is not clever like a fox, he is just very, very sick.”

While many observers, including Obama, expressed a hope and expectation that Trump’s more outlandish mental gymnastics would be reined in when he took on the responsibility of the presidency, the opposite has proved to be true, both experts claimed. With a group of enablers surrounding him and a supporter base of millions who swallow his mistruths, they only grow more extreme.

Trump’s delusions appear to have taken yet another uptick in recent days. Just this week, he has proposed a Fake News Trophy that mainstream media outlets would compete over; retweeted anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right group; and suggested that a cable news host was a murderer.

Trump took similar dips into conspiracy theories shortly before the first indictments in the Russia investigation were unveiled last month. It is evidence of a clear, and worrying, pattern, Dodes stressed.

“He feels more threatened now, which we all predicted he would,” he said. “The more stress he’s under the more delusional he’s going to become, the more out of control and, from a danger standpoint, the more enraged he’s going to become.”

Trump’s latest dance with delusion comes at a particularly perilous time. On Wednesday, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile it called its most advanced yet, and some said it theoretically put Washington, D.C., within range.

There is a growing fear, including among some in Congress who recently held a hearing on the president’s authority to use nuclear weapons, that a rash decision could end in disaster.

“The noose is tightening,” Gartner said. “What do cornered animals do when they’re under attack? They lash out. Pushing that button solves a lot of problems for him. Psychologically it takes him out of the position of feeling like the weak victim, which is intolerable to him, and puts him back in the position of being the sadistic dominant power man. It will be irresistible to him to do that.”

As it has become clear that Trump’s mindset has not improved since entering the White House, some, including dissenting Republican Senator Bob Corker, have put their faith in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to keep the ship on course. But both Gartner and Dodes insisted that that was a forlorn hope. Not only is there no containing someone like Trump, who they define as a malignant narcissist, there is no treating him, either.

“People who are as empty as him can’t engage in therapy,” Dodes said. “He is more likely to become more psychotic if you treat him.”

A devastating war is inevitable, both men said, if Trump remains in office.

“We are truly on the edge of Armageddon,” Gartner said. “We are that close to losing millions of lives.”

The Even More Dangerous Case of Donald Trump

December 19, 2017

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
1:43 PM (7 hours ago)

The Even More Dangerous Case of Donald Trump

By David Swanson

http://davidswanson.org/the-even-more-dangerous-case-of-donald-trump/
Twenty-Seven psychiatrists and mental health experts have produced a book called The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, which I think, despite stating that the fate of the world is in the hands of an evil madman, understates the danger.

The case that these authors make is one that I believe would strike most readers not loyal to Trump as common sense. The evidence that they compile, and with which we’re mostly already familiar, strongly supports their diagnosis of Trump as hedonistic, narcissistic, bullying, dehumanizing, lying, misogynistic, paranoid, racist, self-aggrandizing, entitled, exploiting, empathy-impaired, unable to trust, free of guilt, manipulative, delusional, likely senile, and overtly sadistic. They also describe the tendency of some of these traits to grow ever worse through reinforcing cycles that seem to be underway. People, they suggest, who grow addicted to feeling special, and who indulge in paranoia can create circumstances for themselves that cause them to increase these tendencies.

As the Justice Department closes in on Trump, writes Gail Sheehy, “Trump’s survival instincts will propel him to a wag-the-dog war.” Of course, this builds in the assumptions that Trump stole the election and that we will all remain dogs, that we will start approving of Trump if he starts bombing more people. Certainly this has been the U.S. corporate media’s approach thus far. But need it be ours? The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists disapproves and has moved the doomsday clock closer to zero. The Council on Foreign Relations has begun listing the United States as a top threat to the United States. A Congressional committee has held a hearing on the danger of a Trumpian nuclear war (even while feigning impotence to do anything about it). It’s not beyond the realm of imagination that the U.S. public could refuse to cheer for more mass murder.

In this regard, certainly most past presidents have been more successful, not less, than Trump at what Robert J. Lifton calls the normalization of evil. He gives as an example the creation of the acceptance of torture. And certainly we’ve moved from Bush Jr. secretly torturing to Obama refusing to prosecute to Trump publicly supporting torture. But many still deem torture unacceptable. Hence this book’s assumption that the reader will agree that torture is evil. But murder by bomb or drone missile has been so normalized, including by Barack “I’m really good at killing people” Obama, that it’s passed over by this book as simply normal. Lifton does refer to the normalization of a nuclear threat during the (previous) Cold War, but seems to believe that phenomenon to be a problem of the past rather than one so successfully normalized that people don’t see it anymore.

Most of the symptoms found in Trump have existed in various degrees and combinations in past presidents and in past and current Congress members. But some of the symptoms seem to serve only as icing. That is, alone they are deemed unobjectionable, but in combination with others they point to severe sociopathy. Obama switched positions, lied, schemed, falsely marketed wars, reveled in the commission of murder, joked about using drone missiles on his daughter’s boyfriends, etc. But he spoke well, used a better vocabulary, avoided blatant racism, sexism, and personal bullying, didn’t seem to worship himself, didn’t brag about sexual assault, and so on.

My point, I very much wish it were needless to say, is not the equivalence of any president with another, but the normalization of illnesses in society as much as in individuals. This book goes after Trump for falsely claiming that Obama was spying on him. Yet the unconstitutional blanket surveillance of the NSA effectively means that Obama was indeed spying on everyone, including Trump. Sure, Trump was lying. Sure, Trump was paranoid. But if we avoid the larger reality, we’re lying too.

The symptoms from which Trump suffers may be taken as a guide to action by his followers, but they have long been understood to be an outline of the techniques of war propaganda. Dehumanization may be something Trump suffers from, but it’s also a necessary skill in persuading people to participate in war. Trump was given the presidential nomination by media outlets that asked primary candidates questions that included “Would you be willing to kill hundreds and thousands of innocent children?” Had a candidate said no, he or she would have been disqualified. The authors fault Trump for his joining the long list of presidents who have threatened to use nukes, but when Jeremy Corbyn said he wouldn’t use nukes, all hell broke loose in the UK, and his mental state was called into question there. Alzheimer’s may be a disease afflicting Trump, but when Bernie Sanders mentioned important bits of history like a coup in Iran in ’53, the television networks found something else to cover.

Is it possible that refusing to confront reality has been normalized so deeply that the authors join in it, or are required to by their agent or editor? Academic studies say the U.S. government is an oligarchy. These doctors say they want to defend the U.S. “democracy” from Trump. This book identifies Vladimir Putin as being essentially the same as Adolf Hitler, based on zero offered evidence, and treats Trump denials of colluding with Russia to steal an election as signs of dishonesty or delusion. But how do we explain most members of the Democratic Party believing in Russiagate without proof? How do we explain Iran being voted the biggest threat to peace in the world by Americans, while people in most countries, according to Gallup and Pew, give that honor to the United States? What are we to make of the vast majority of Americans claiming to “believe in” “God” and denying the existence of death? Isn’t climate denial child’s play beside that one, if we set aside the factor of normalization?

If a corporation or an empire or an athlete or a Hollywood action film were a person, it might be Donald Trump. But we all live in the world of corporations, empire, etc. We also apparently live in a world in which numerous men enjoy abusing women. That all these sexual harassers in the news, some of whom I am guessing are innocent but most of whom appear guilty, have convinced themselves that women don’t really mind the abuse can, I think, be only a small part of the explanation. The large part seems quite clearly to be that we live in a country of sadists. And shouldn’t they get a chance to elect someone who represents their point of view? Trump has been a public figure for decades, and most of his symptoms are nothing new, but he’s been protected and even rewarded throughout. Trump incites violence on Twitter, but Twitter will not disable Trump’s account. Congress is staring numerous documented impeachable offenses in the face, but chooses to look into only the one that lacks evidence but fuels war. The media, as noted, while remarkably improving on its enabling deference, still seems to give Trump the love he craves only when he brags about bombing people.

The U.S. Constitution is and has always been deeply flawed in many ways, but it did not intend to give any individual beyond-royal powers over the earth. I’ve always viewed the obsession with the emperor that this article I’m now writing feeds as part of the problem of transferring power to him. But the authors of The Dangerous Case are right that we have no choice but to focus on him now. All we’d need would be a Cuban Missile Crisis and our fate would be sealed. The Emperor Formerly Known As Executive should be given the powers of the British queen, not be replaced by an acceptable Democratic emperor. The first step should be using the Constitution.

Similar analyses of George W. Bush’s mental health, not to mention a laundry list of abuses and crimes, never resulted in any action against him. And despite this new book’s claim to defend “democracy” it does not use the word “impeachment.” Instead, it turns to the 25th Amendment which allows the president’s own subordinates to ask Congress to remove him from office. Perhaps because the likelihood of that happening is so extreme, and because further stalling and protecting of Trump is naturally a means of appearing “reasonable,” the authors propose a study be done (even though they’ve just written a book) and that it be done by Congress. But if Congress were to take up this matter, it could impeach Trump and remove him without asking permission of his cabinet or doing any investigations. In fact, it could impeach him for any of a number of the behaviors that are studied in this book.

The authors note that Trump has encouraged imitation of his outrages. We’ve seen that here in Charlottesville. They note that he’s also created the Trump Anxiety Disorder in those he frightens. I’m 100% on board with treating fear as a symptom to be cured.

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Trump’s mental meltdown

December 10, 2017

President Trump speaks. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

By Joe Scarborough December 7
Donald Trump spent much of 2016 questioning his opponent’s stamina to be president of the United States. But it is now Trump’s own fitness that is being scrutinized by friends and foes alike. After Trump spent recent weeks creating a level of chaos unseen around the White House since Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974, Capitol Hill politicians and media outlets are quietly questioning whether Trump is fit for the highest office in the land. That the commander in chief slurred his way through the end of a speech on Jerusalem Wednesday was just the latest in a string of unsettling incidents.

Many who move through his orbit believe Trump is not well. That is a verdict that was reached long ago by many of the president’s own staff. More than a few politicians and reporters across Washington have shared similar fears.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) openly questioned Trump’s competence and suggested that administration officials are doing little more than running “an adult day care center.” The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also expressed fear that the president’s erratic behavior is putting the United States “on the path to World War III.”

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[And about the 25th Amendment …]

The secretary of state reportedly called the president a “moron.”

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Opinion | Impeachment and the 25th Amendment: Is it time yet?
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Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin explains the probability of impeachment or enacting the 25th Amendment in the Trump era. (Adriana Usero, Kate Woodsome, Danielle Kunitz/The Washington Post)
The national security adviser allegedly said Trump has the mind of a “kindergartner.”

John McCain’s 2008 campaign manager Steve Schmidt said Thursday that “the question of his fitness, of his stability is in the air.”

Unfortunately, Schmidt is right. With the pace of headlines detailing Trump’s erratic behavior quickening, so, too, are questions about his well being.

White House insiders tell Vanity Fair that Trump is “unraveling” mentally.

One of the president’s regular early-morning reads, the New York Daily News, editorialized last week that “the President of the United States is profoundly unstable. He is mad. He is, by any honest layman’s definition, mentally unwell and viciously lashing out.”

The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman, who, along with The Post’s Robert Costa, has the best working relationship with this White House, described Trump’s recent behavior as “unmoored.” She told CNN, “Something is unleashed with him lately. I don’t know what is causing it. I don’t know how to describe it.” Haberman’s long history covering Trump makes her searing observations all the more troubling.

The president has spent the past few weeks insulting the United States’ closest allies, retweeting anti-Muslim videos from far-right British activists, spitting out racist slurs at a ceremony honoring Native American veterans, privately embracing conspiracy theories related to his “Access Hollywood” tape and Barack Obama’s birthplace, slandering CNN International, and, yes, pushing a bizarre conspiracy theory in my direction.

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Opinion | The national security risks of Trump’s tweets? A national embarrassment at a minimum.
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Post opinion writers Jonathan Capehart, Jo-Ann Armao and Ruth Marcus discuss the national security risks of President Trump’s tweets. (The Washington Post)
Any Fortune 500 company would have fired a chief executive exhibiting similarly erratic behavior long ago. Unfortunately, the Washington leaders most strategically positioned to limit the damage seem to be frozen by fear.

The president’s meltdown could not come at a more perilous time. For months now, national security insiders have been fretting about the possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula. But administration sources admit their greatest fear is their own commander in chief’s instability.

[For President Trump, the truth is beside the point]

That should surprise few Americans. In August 2016, Mika Brzezinski and I reported on “Morning Joe” that then-candidate Trump horrified foreign policy briefers by how flippantly he mentioned the option of using nuclear weapons on countries such as North Korea and Iran. During a 2016 interview with Chris Matthews, Trump even refused to rule out the use of such weapons in Europe and the Middle East. Mika grimly warned viewers that a Trump presidency could lead to nuclear war. She implored Republican leaders to pull their endorsement of the troubled candidate in the best interest of their party and country.

Many close to the candidate expressed concerns on background about Trump’s fitness for office. That is a conclusion Mika and I reached two years ago this week when Trump unveiled his Muslim ban proposal. Two years later, Trump has dragged America’s values and reputation to their lowest point in years. If Republicans don’t find their bearings soon, it may be America’s safety and security that are next to go.

Read more from Joe Scarborough’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

Read more about this topic:

Dana Milbank: Doesn’t Trump ever get tired of losing so much?

Eugene Robinson: This is getting worse

As Trump Sells War Ahead of Korea Visit, Groups Demand ‘Urgent Pivot Towards Peace’

November 6, 2017

Published on
Monday, November 06, 2017
byCommon Dreams

As Trump Sells War Ahead of Korea Visit, Groups Demand ‘Urgent Pivot Towards Peace’
“The people of Japan, South Korea, and United States oppose war.”
byAndrea Germanos, staff writer

South Korean protesters take part in an anti-Trump rally in front of the U.S. Embassy on November 4, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. Trump will visit South Korea on November 7 as a part of his Asian tour. (Photo: Woohae Cho/Getty Images)
South Korean protesters take part in an anti-Trump rally in front of the U.S. Embassy on November 4, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. Trump will visit South Korea on November 7 as a part of his Asian tour. (Photo: Woohae Cho/Getty Images)
As President Donald Trump continues his bellicose rhetoric towards North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during his trip to the Asia-Pacific region this week, organizations from the U.S., South Korea, and Japan on Monday demanded an “urgent pivot towards peace” and called on their leaders to rein in the militarization that could lead to “catastrophe.”

Trump is in Japan on Monday as he continues his nearly two-week “Indo-Pacific” tour, which will also include stops in South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. In Tokyo, Trump said (his “sidekick”) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would be able to ensure his country’s safety by buying “lots of” military equipment from the United States.

But according to the civil society organizations, such a move would add to the already antagonistic stew of verbal threats, sanctions, joint U.S., Japanese, and South Korean military exercises, Abe’s controversial move to re-militarize the country, and the continued nuclear weapons possession by any state. Instead, they say, Trump, Abe, and South Korea President Moon Jae-in should “take bold steps to ensure lasting peace.”

“Washington is forcing a trilateral military alliance and provocative war drills on Tokyo and Seoul that threatens North Korea and the region,” said Christine Ahn, international coordinator of global peace movement Women Cross DMZ. “The people of Japan, South Korea, and United States oppose war. Our demands are an urgent pivot towards peace.”

Many South Koreas are putting that opposition on display. Ahead of a protest that willl coincide with Trump’s visit to Seoul on Tuesday, thousands rallied in that capitol on Sunday chanting “We oppose war! Nengotiate peace!”

According to Choi Eun-a of the Korean Alliance for Progressive Movements, which is among the groups calling for a national protest on the day of the U.S. president’s visit, “The South Korean public is highly critical of Trump for making threats of war and dismissing the gravity of its consequences as something ‘over there,'” apparently referring to recent comments the president made to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

“The war-threatening, weapons salesman Trump is not welcome here, especially as he demands that South Korea pay more to host U.S. troops and set aside land for useless weapons like the THAAD missile defense system,” she added, referring to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system located at a base in Seongju, around 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of Seoul.

“The war-threatening, weapons salesman Trump is not welcome here.”The groups also spoke out about a series of joint U.S.-South Korean military drills scheduled to happen during Trump’s visit.

“Peace-loving people in the United States, Japan, and South Korea reject the war-mongering policies of our governments and express our friendship and solidarity with the people of North Korea,” said Jackie Cabasso, Executive Director of the Western States Legal Foundation in California, and the National Co-Convener of United for Peace and Justice. “The U.S. government must end its policy of sanctions and military threats against North Korea, cease the deployment of more weapons of mass destruction to the Korean peninsula and the region, and halt large-scale military exercises that impede dialogue with North Korea.”

The new statements come less than two weeks after U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation to prevent Trump from launching a pre-emptive strike against North Korea, and days after the Pentagon said that only a ground invasion could secure North Korea’s nuclear weapons sites “with complete certainty.”

That assessment, said 16 U.S. lawmakers, is “deeply disturbing,” and such an action “could result in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of deaths in just the first few days of fighting.”

The lawmakers, all veterans, said, the “assessment underscores what we’ve known all along: There are no good military options for North Korea.”

* * *

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Read the civil society groups’ full statement below:

U.S., South Korean, and Japanese Civil Society Organizations Call for a Bold Shift in Policy for Peace in Korea and Northeast Asia

As U.S. President Trump travels to Asia, we civil society groups from the United States, South Korea, and Japan call for a diplomatic solution to the dangerous conflict between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). As those who would be directly impacted by the outbreak of such a conflict, we call on our leaders to take bold steps to ensure lasting peace.

Recent events have set the stage for a possible catastrophe on the Korean Peninsula and even throughout the greater Northeast Asian region. Any further escalation of tensions could rapidly degenerate into violence. In its 27 October 2017 report, the U.S. Congressional Research Service estimates that over 300,000 people would die in the opening days of a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula, even without nuclear weapons, and would ultimately claim 25 million lives.

Even as President Trump calls his predecessor’s policy of “strategic patience” on North Korea a failure, he continues the same policy, i.e., intensifying U.N. and unilateral sanctions and military threats. Meanwhile, North Korea continues to escalate the pace and scale of its nuclear and missile tests. The Abe government, seizing on the crisis in Korea, has quickened the pace of remilitarization and revision of Article 9 of its constitution. South Korean President Moon Jae-in meanwhile, despite an unambiguous mandate from the South Korean people, who ousted his hawkish predecessor in hopes of a radical transition to harmonious North-South relations, instead continues to do the bidding of the United States as he assumes a hostile posture vis-à-vis North Korea. We therefore demand that:

1. The Trump administration boldly shift to a policy of peace by:
· Ending its policy of sanctions and military threats against North Korea;
· Ceasing the deployment of more weapons of mass destruction on the Korean peninsula and in the region, and withdrawing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system from South Korea as it only exacerbates tensions in the region; and
· Halting large-scale military exercises that impede dialogue with North Korea

2. The administration of President Moon Jae-in of South Korea honor the spirit of past North-South joint declarations for peace and reconciliation by:
· Assertively pursuing inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation;
· Halting future large-scale U.S.-South Korea combined military exercises to minimize the risk of confrontation ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyongchang, South Korea; and
· No longer cooperating with investments in costly weapon systems with the United States and Japan, including spending on missile defense, which only exacerbates tensions in the region and diverts precious resources away from human needs.
3. The government of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe immediately cease all further moves toward military buildup and instead contribute to regional peace by:
· Abolishing the controversial “Conspiracy Law” and “State Secrecy Law,” as well as the 2015 “Peace and Security Legislation” or war bills which permit the use of the so-called right to collective self-defense;
· Pursuing the normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea based upon the principles of the Pyongyang Declaration and the Stockholm Agreement; and
· Ceasing moves to change Article 9, the peace clause in its constitution.

These are among the hundreds of civil society organizations who have signed on:

Japan

· Citizens Association against Constitutional Revision (許すな!憲法改悪・市民連絡会)
· Femin Women’s Democratic Club (ふぇみん婦人民主クラブ)
· Japan-Korea People’s Solidarity Network (日韓民衆連帯全国ネットワーク)
· Kyoto/Kinki Association against the U.S. X-band Radar Base (米軍Xバンドレーダー基地反対・京都/近畿連絡)
· Network of Religious Persons Making Peace
· Nonviolent Peaceforce Japan (非暴力平和隊・日本)
· Peace Boat (ピースボート)
· Veterans for Peace Japan (ベテランズ・フォー・ピース・ジャパン)

South Korea
• Federation of Korean Trade Unions (한국노동조합총연맹)
• Korean Alliance of Progressive Movements (한국진보연대)
• Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (전국민주노동조합총연맹)
• Korean Peasants League (전국농민회총연맹)
• Korean Street Vendors Confederation (전국노점상연합)
• Korean Women’s Alliance (전국여성연대)
• Korean Women Peasants Alliance (전국여성농민회총연합)
• Korean Youth Solidarity (한국청년연대)
• National Alliance of Squatters and Evictees (전국철거민연합)

United States
• Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security
• International Forum on Globalization
• Peace Action
• Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific
• United for Peace and Justice
• Veterans for Peace National
• Western States Legal Foundation
• Women Cross DMZ

Eisenhower, Trump and hubris: We’ve had misguided presidents, but not like this

November 5, 2017

https://www.salon.com/2017/11/05/eisenhower-trump-and-hubris-weve-had-misguided-presidents-but-not-like-this/?source=newsletter

Is Trump Unraveling?

October 15, 2017

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The Unraveling President
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Last week, Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview with the New York Times that Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”

Corker said he was concerned about Trump. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” Corker said, adding that “the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here … the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

Corker’s interview was followed by a report from Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, who wrote that the situation has gotten so out of control that Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis have discussed ways to stop Trump should he order a nuclear attack. Kelly has tried to keep Trump focused by intercepting outside phone calls to the White House and restricting access to the Oval Office. Many of Trump’s advisers believe he is “unstable” and “unravelling” quickly.

 
Is Trump really unraveling? Are Republican leaders ready to pull the plug? I phoned an old friend, a Republican former member of Congress who keeps up with what’s going on. I scribbled notes as he talked:

Me: So what’s up? Is Corker alone, or are others also ready to call it quits with Trump?

He: All I know is they’re simmering over there.

Me: Flake and McCain have come pretty close.

He: Yeah. Others are thinking about doing what Bob did. Sounding the alarm. They think Trump’s nuts. Unfit. Dangerous.

Me: Well, they already knew that, didn’t they?

He: But now it’s personal. It started with the Sessions stuff. Jeff was as loyal as they come. Trump’s crapping on him was like kicking your puppy. And then, you know, him beating up on Mitch for the Obamacare fiasco. And going after Flake and the others.

Me: So they’re pissed off?

He: Not just that. I mean, they have thick hides. The personal stuff got them to notice all the other things. The wild stuff, like those threats to North Korea. Tillerson would leave tomorrow if he wasn’t so worried Trump would go nuclear, literally.

 
Me: You think Trump is really thinking nuclear war?

He: Who knows what’s in his head? But I can tell you this. He’s not listening to anyone. Not a soul. He’s got the nuclear codes and, well, it scares the hell out of me. It’s starting to scare all of them. That’s really why Bob spoke up.

With Bomber Flyover, Trump Denounced for ‘Trying to Provoke War’ With North Korea

October 15, 2017

Published on
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
byCommon Dreams

Trump “is trying to provoke war to not be the aggressor,” says one observer
byAndrea Germanos, staff writer
75 Comments
B-1B Lancer bombers flanked by Japan Air Self Defense Force F-2 fighters
B-1B Lancer bombers flanked by Japan Air Self Defense Force F-2 fighters take part in a mission over the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Japan Air Self Defense Force/flickr/cc)
Amid the latest signs of escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, President Donald Trump was blasted on Wednesday for ordering B-1 bombers to fly over the Korean peninsula—a move critics characterized as a dangerous but intentional provocation.

According to John Dean, former White House counsel to President Nixon, Trump “thinks he’ll be admired for killing millions… so he’s trying to provoke war to not be the aggressor.”

He thinks he’ll be admired for killing millions. His stupid base would approve, so he’s trying to provoke war to not be the aggressor. https://t.co/VMYaxRQzyE

— John Dean (@JohnWDean) October 11, 2017

Others on social media similarly saw it as a move “to provoke war”:

A statement from the U.S. military said the display, which included missile drills over the waters east and west of the peninsula, was the first nighttime exercise conducted between the U.S. Air Force, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and Republic of Korea air force units.

It came hours after President Donald Trump met with his top military advisors to discuss “a range of options to respond to any form of North Korean aggression or, if necessary, to prevent North Korea from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons,” and weeks after Kim Jong Un’s regime—following ominous threats by Trump—warned of its “right to shoot down the U.S. bombers even when they are not yet inside the airspace border of our country.”

U.S. Air Force Maj. Patrick Applegate said of Tuesday drill: “This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies anytime anywhere.”

The development comes as a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll shows that two-thirds of Americans believe Trump’s comments about the situation with North Korea have made it worse.

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