Thursday, August 4, 2016

August Is Trump Mental Health Month

If you tuned in to CNN or scanned the homepage of any major media outlet in the past few days, you'll have learned that the people running the asylum are whispering about staging an "intervention" for Donald Trump. 

Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani, for example, have turned into mental health concern trolls practically overnight. They echo the fear running throughout the Establishment that Trump is endangering American military might and exceptionalism by questioning wars and even by verbally jousting with the Gold Star Khan family. 

You might have noticed that these bereaved parents are oddly being described by major media outlets as "Muslim-Americans" rather than as American citizens who emigrated from Pakistan. So many politicians and journalists seem to think that Islam is a country rather than a religion. Did you ever hear anyone described as a Catholic-American, or a Baptist-American, or an Atheist-American? I thought not. Members of the media-political complex themselves need an intervention for their own Orientalism. 

And they also need to be confronted and called out for their own unhealthy greed. After recklessly giving Trump a year and a billion dollars' worth of free campaign advertising, letting him spout his misogyny, racism and xenophobia with reckless abandon, the moral arbiters of America are finally getting serious about Stopping Trump. The corporate media aren't even trying to pretend at anything close to objectivity. First, they red-bait Trump, accusing him without a shred of evidence of being a Russian tool. Now he's a mental case with a hankering to blow up the world, his short fingers just itching to press the red button the minute he enters the White House.

One congress critter has even started a Change. Org online petition, demanding that Trump be professionally screened for a psychiatric disorder. With its graphic depiction of him looking like a character straight out of Dante's Inferno, #Diagnose Trump also serves the dual purpose of demonizing the mentally ill.

In Your Guts You Know He's Nuts

Rep. Karen Ross (D-CA) writes:
Donald Trump is dangerous for our country. His impulsiveness and lack of control over his own emotions are of concern. It is our patriotic duty to raise the question of his mental stability to be the commander in chief and leader of the free world. Mr. Trump appears to exhibit all the symptoms of the mental disorder Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Mental health professionals need to come forward and urge the Republican party to insist that their nominee has an evaluation to determine his mental fitness for the job. It is entirely possible that some individuals with NPD can successfully function in many careers, but not the Presidency of the United States. We deserve to have the greatest understanding of Mr. Trump's mental health status before we head to the polls on November 8th, 2016. #DiagnoseTrump
You don't need to be a mental health professional to sign Ross's petition. You merely have to be afraid of Trump. As of this writing, more than 10,000 concerned citizens had signed on. Or at least, there are 10,000 signatures. Some could be duplicates signed by sufferers of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or even paid Democratic Party operatives. Maybe Putin or Wikileaks can hack into the Change.Org data base and give us some names.

Here's my take on this latest bout of electoral hysteria. If you force one candidate or politician to undergo a mental health evaluation, then you should require all of them to. Just think about how differently things might have turned out if Ronald Reagan had been screened for early stage Alzheimer's or George W. Bush's brain had been PET-scanned for evidence of alcohol-induced damage.  And then there's Bill Clinton's known sex addiction and Hillary's documented bouts of clinical depression.

As far as Narcissistic Personality Disorder is concerned, I doubt that anybody aspiring to become leader of the "free" world can be entirely immune from it. I'm sure you've seen the checklist:
  1. Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from others
  2. Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
  3. Self-perception of being unique, superior and associated with high-status people and institutions
  4. Needing constant admiration from others
  5. Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others
  6. Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain
  7. Unwilling to empathize with others' feelings, wishes, or needs
  8. Intensely jealous of others and the belief that others are equally jealous of them
  9. Pompous or arrogant demeanor.
Out of curiosity, I Googled "mental health screening," and was gifted with a whole slew of online tests. I decided to take the one sponsored by Psychology Today magazine. Based upon some recent weight gain, an occasional sleepless night, and once in awhile pondering my own mortality, I got a preliminary diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder. I was advised to seek an appointment with a mental health professional in my area (who'd paid to have his or her name included at the end of the magazine test.)

I immediately became anxious and worried (another scary symptom!) until I realized that Psychology Today couldn't stay in business without selling ads to drug companies with a vested interest in selling megatons of anti-depressive and other psychotropic medications to American citizens, many of whom are probably worried sick about the prospect of President Trump. (Trumpophobia, or Trump Derangement Disorder.)

Ironically, there was a recent  article in Psychology Today warning of the mental health dangers of watching too many drug ads on television:
 The average American TV viewer can expect to watch up to 30 hours of prescription drug advertising each year, the editors of Scientific American noted recently, with drug makers spending $5.2 billion on such ads in 2015. That’s a 60 percent increase on the total spent four years earlier, with no signs of slowing down.
Ironically, the article was accompanied by an ad for mental health screening and (drug) treatment.

Even more ironically, another article in Psychology Today describes how hard, if not impossible, it is to define exactly what mental health even is. 

I'm so confused (one more troubling symptom probably requiring an emergency prescription.)

Does worrying about Trump give you a dry mouth, insomnia or palpitations?

A mental health professional is standing by, prescription pad at the ready. Ka-ching!

If that doesn't appeal to you, listen to any recent speech by President Obama for some nice New-Age therapy. According to him, American life has never been better. All you need are some bootstraps and a dream and a ladder of opportunity to reach the promised land of NotTrump.


The Black Swan said...

The thing that really bothers me with Trump is that he is the only thing standing in the way of the Clinton Machine. And he keeps doing stupid things. It's like he wants to lose. It's driving me crazy. I'd like to vote for him as a way of stopping Hillary, but he keeps making it impossible to give him my support. Depressing times indeed. The gloating over our "first female President" is going to be so painful (I live in a very liberal city) that I may have to leave the internet. Or move.

Nonni Muss said...

Don't overthink it: The Clintons' former pal is in the race in order to make you feel exactly the way you are feeling. He might not be a genius, but he's not a complete idiot. He would not be making rookie mistakes on a near-daily basis if he were in it to win it. He is playing a role. A kind of cross between a WWF bad guy and a cartoon villain. Remember, Hillary Clinton lost to a black man in a racist country. She's that hated. She was painfully aware that her only chance would be to run against someone even less likable than she. Since none exist in politics or in nature, it was necessary to invent Donald Trump, v.2016. (Actually his out-of-nowhere Birthrism, soon after Obama was elected, was probably the true start of, if not the audition for his turn as Hillary's foil.)

Pearl said...

Bernie Sanders Might Soon Be Out of the Race, but Not the Revolution via @truthout

annenigma said...

Is Trump crazy like a fox?

The fact is, there are many people who feel that Trump is just like them, or how they wish they could be if the could speak freely and not get fired or ostracized by their neighbors and friends. Or laughed and scoffed at as happened months ago to Rep. Keith Ellison when he stated on 'This Week' that Trump could end up winning the nomination. The panel burst out laughing. George Stephanoupolis even said dismissively "I know you don't believe that".

Trump is unfiltered and says everything he's thinking, which happens to be what many people are really thinking. When he admits that he hates it when babies are screaming and crying when he's trying to give a speech, most people recall hundreds of times where they wished they could have gotten crying or screaming kids removed from a theater, restaurant, etc. To dare say anything is considered insensitive, or politically incorrect if a politician.

Trump is speaking brazenly. We haven't had a non-politician be the nominee in a long, long time. He's never run for or held any elected office. Who was the last of those? He's not even trying to act like one - he's not parsing his words, kowtowing to the high and mighty, not even being respectful of politicians. That's actually not bad politics considering THEY'RE the ones with the single digit approval rating. But we only hear things from their perspective, or their media sycophants. The people think they're a bunch of sleazy dirtbags, so when Trump insults them, people feel they deserve it because it's true. It's not good politics in the traditional sense, but it is in a populist sense.

When he speaks about people sneaking into our country illegally, a lot of people think they deserve to be condemned for flaunting our laws. And that wall Trump wants to build? There's a wall around the White House and around every rich person's house on earth. There are barriers around nuclear power plants, military bases, and most anything else valuable or important. The popular sentiment, at least among those who don't hire cheap labor without benefits, is that our home country should be worth protecting too.

Trump said at the beginning of his campaign that lobbyists and big donors don't own him, and he's proving that. He just lets it rip. In the arena of the phoniest sport other than WWF, being outspoken and unfiltered in politics is the equivalent of being the most popular wrestler - the flashiest, wackiest, most outrageous. The guy who lets it rip.

The Establishment wants us all to keep buying tickets to their own boring, predictable political theater to keep us asleep, but Trump is getting attention and waking many of them up, particularly to the blatant media bias they've been claiming existed but now is being proven every day. They're not even trying to hide it anymore. It's unrestrained media warfare but since Trump still remains a viable candidate, that war will only escalate. The public's eyes will be opened further to how the media are the ones who create our political reality for the benefit of the powerful, not for the people.

Trump has his own real world reality show going on and it's a hit, like it or not. It's engaging because it doesn't have the same usual phony and boring predictability. Actually, it's no longer the Trump show. It's the media's Trump Bashing Show as the powerful try to prevent Trump from winning the election and wresting power from them, the power they bought from politicians. This is war, and really will be if millions of voters think the election was stolen. With electronic voting machines, it could be. Kind of reminds me of how Hillary won the nomination. Democracy be damned.

Jamie said...

The ruling class wants Hillary. From their point of view, Trump is nuts because he dares defy their wishes.

Neil said...

Part 1

Karen, this piece on Trump’s "mental health" is fantastic, and should be on the front page of The New York Times (along with the comments). Really great writing Karen. I love the crazy image of Trump with the quote, "In Your Guts You Know He's Nuts".

The comment by annenigma, "Is Trump crazy like a fox?" really breaks it down, and nails it so good, that that I quoted from annenigma's comment in my rebuttal as "nonlawyer" to "Anonymous" on the SDFLA blog (SDFLA: Southern District of Florida).

The SDFLA blog is highly respected and read by federal and state judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and a number of nonlawyers.

Mental health screening is a hot topic within state regulatory bars, such as The Florida Bar, and is part of the admission process to the practice of law. In Florida mental health screening is done by the FBBE - Florida Board of Bar Examiners, as part of the "character and fitness" review.

The Daily Business Review reported March 26, 2015 that "the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the mental health screening imposed by the Florida Supreme Court on bar applicants. In a December 2004 letter, the DOJ notified Chief Justice Jorge Labarga of the probe and asked for information about the mental-health questions posed to applicants, conditional admission procedures and whether hearings were held concerning those for whom medical records are requested."

For a year and a half I have unsuccessfully sought that letter from the DOJ through the FOIA, and from the Florida Supreme Court under Florida law. On December 30, 2015 I made another FOIA through MuckRock, see the link below.

The DOJ has not provided the letter, and claimed on May 16, 2015, "The Civil Rights Division currently has approximately 148 pending FOIA requests. We received approximately 51 FOIA requests seeking access prior to your request that are currently pending. In an effort to be fair to the requesters that filed prior to your request, the Division is responding to these in the approximate order of receipt. We are making an effort to provide you with a response as soon as possible."

As shown at the link above, the DOJ has asserted a similar excuse 3 times prior.

Neil said...

Part 2

Mental health in the legal profession has been the subject of stories by the American Bar Association (ABA) such as, "The Legal Field Attracts Psychopaths, Author Says; Not That There Is Anything Wrong with That"

and "Law prof confesses: I am a sociopath". "The article is adapted from a memoir released on May 14, called Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight, written under the pseudonym M. E. Thomas."

"Before becoming a trial lawyer, the author says she prosecuted misdemeanors in the District Attorney’s office and was an associate in a law firm. "My sociopathic traits make me a particularly excellent trial lawyer," Thomas writes. "I’m cool under pressure. I feel no guilt or compunction, which is handy in such a dirty business. Misdemeanor prosecutors almost always have to walk into a trial with cases they’ve never worked on before. All you can do is bluff and hope that you’ll be able to scramble through it. The thing with sociopaths is that we are largely unaffected by fear. Besides, the nature of the crime is of no moral concern to me; I am interested only in winning the legal game.""

"Thomas says she was not a victim of child abuse, though she grew up in a family "with a violent father and an indifferent, sometimes hysterical, mother. I loathed my father. He was phenomenally unreliable as a breadwinner, and we often came home to find the power shut off because we were months behind in our electricity bill. He spent thousands of dollars on expensive hobbies, while we were bringing oranges from our backyard to school for lunch. The first recurring dream I can remember was about killing him with my bare hands.""

Given three lawyers are in the 2016 presidential race (HRC, Tim Kaine, and Mike Pence) I would also screen for psychopaths and sociopaths.

Jamie said...

This liberal narrative would not serve Obama and Clinton well in the Hague. Given that they epitomize mental health, they would have no mitigating circumstances for their numerous war crimes in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and the Ukraine; whereas Trump could commit war crimes and maybe get leniency with an insanity defense.

Pearl said...

Then there are lawyers like this who are legally committing their futures for real change:

"Like Bernie Sanders, Tim Canova believes you cannot reform a system that you benefit from, which is why it’s more important that we win this election without compromising on our values. That’s why, as noted by the Center for Responsive Politics, we have raised more money from small donors than any other House campaign in this election.

It’s time to reform our broken campaign finance laws, which is exactly why Tim Canova is running for Congress. There has been more than half a billion dollars of dark money in our politics since Citizens United. By the end of this presidential election, that figure will certainly be well more than a billion dollars. This is why our campaign has endorsed a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and why Tim believes reversing that disastrous decision should be a litmus test for any nominee to the Supreme Court.

When elected, Tim has pledged to organize a bipartisan caucus in which members of Congress are pledged to reforming our campaign finance system and cleaning up our political system.
This is in stark contrast to Wasserman Schultz, who has raised millions of dollars from large corporate interests. It's no surprise, then, that her policy positions and votes in Congress largely reflect corporate agendas.

No doubt, our distorted campaign finance system has shifted Wasserman Schultz in a heavily regressive direction - to a typical insider politician who is beholden to her corporate donors, not the people - and certainly not working people here in South Florida.
That’s why it’s so important we overcome the hundreds of thousands that Patriot Majority PAC is planning to spend -- and it’s also why we must do it without sacrificing the fundamental values we all share.

We know that if we do what is necessary to win, we will shock the establishment. Thanks for everything."
In solidarity,
Team Canova