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Friday, June 30, 2017

Does Donald Trump have the same personality structure as a serial killer?

Every day, Donald Trump takes to Twitter to release his id. Every day, I read those tweets and sigh, or roll my eyes, or listen to my husband swear. But this morning, one of those tweets stopped me cold.

This morning, Donald Trump forgot his act, forgot his con, and wrote:

If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!

What Trump is saying in this message is clear: Throw millions of people off healthcare because he can't get his way. He doesn't care about the ramifications of this, he has no empathy for US citizens who depend on the ACA for insurance, he wants them to suffer. He wants us to suffer. The parents whose child has leukemia, the single mom with MS, the 9/11 first responder struggling with COPD or PTSD, the grandfather with Alzheimer's. Trump doesn't care about any of us, he only cares about Trump.

His supporters don't understand, in any way, what they are cheering. Much like the women who were lured to their death by Ted Bundy's fake broken arm, Trump's fans are falling for a dangerous confidence game. A game that could, for many of them, result in their demise. Because their hero is a narcissistic sociopath.

It's important to note that antisocial personality disorder (sociopathy) cannot be cured, anymore that narcissistic personality disorder can. These are both part of the B Cluster of personality disorders, along with histrionic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. From the Mayo Clinic:

Cluster B personality disorders

Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior. They include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

Antisocial personality disorder

  • Disregard for others' needs or feelings
  • Persistent lying, stealing, using aliases, conning others
  • Recurring problems with the law
  • Repeated violation of the rights of others
  • Aggressive, often violent behavior
  • Disregard for the safety of self or others
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Consistently irresponsible
  • Lack of remorse for behavior

Borderline personality disorder

  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as having unsafe sex, gambling or binge eating
  • Unstable or fragile self-image
  • Unstable and intense relationships
  • Up and down moods, often as a reaction to interpersonal stress
  • Suicidal behavior or threats of self-injury
  • Intense fear of being alone or abandoned
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Frequent, intense displays of anger
  • Stress-related paranoia that comes and goes

Histrionic personality disorder

  • Constantly seeking attention
  • Excessively emotional, dramatic or sexually provocative to gain attention
  • Speaks dramatically with strong opinions, but few facts or details to back them up
  • Easily influenced by others
  • Shallow, rapidly changing emotions
  • Excessive concern with physical appearance
  • Thinks relationships with others are closer than they really are

Narcissistic personality disorder

  • Belief that you're special and more important than others
  • Fantasies about power, success and attractiveness
  • Failure to recognize others' needs and feelings
  • Exaggeration of achievements or talents
  • Expectation of constant praise and admiration
  • Arrogance
  • Unreasonable expectations of favors and advantages, often taking advantage of others
  • Envy of others or belief that others envy you

Envy, anger, paranoid ideation, attention-seeking, speaking dramatically without facts or details, disregard for other people's feelings, repeated violation of the rights of others. This is Donald Trump.

Trump also shares a number of key personality structures with one of the most infamous and prolific serial killers in U.S. history, Ted Bundy. In 2007, a group of psychologists were asked to participate in a study focused on the personality of Ted Bundy. Because Bundy's personality disorders did not meet one criteria over another, the psychologists used the FFM (Five-Factor Model) along with the DSM to define Ted Bundy:

Of course, the most notable aspect of Bundy’s FFM profile was the consistently low ratings on all six facets of antagonism, indicating that the clinicians saw him as manipulative, deceitful, mistrustful, arrogant and callous. However, consistent with the reports of Bundy’s success in political endeavors, the clinicians also rated him highly in the domain of extraversion, describing him as assertive, active, and thrill-seeking although also extremely low in the extraversion facet of warmth.

Bundy was described as being particularly low on all the facets of neuroticism, with the exception of angry hostility. This indicates that he was seen as relatively free from experiencing negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, and self consciousness, but also as having great difficulty controlling his anger. Perhaps the most noteworthy finding from the FFM ratings was his generally high ratings on the domain of conscientiousness.

In contrast with the impulsive, undercontrolled behavior that one would typically expect from an antisocial criminal, Bundy was described as being competent, orderly, achievement oriented and deliberate. Perhaps it was his characteristic style of careful planning and deliberate execution that enabled Bundy to avoid capture and arrest for so many years. 

Donald Trump has all the same traits as a violent predator: he's sadistic, he has no empathy, he believes he's more special than everyone else, he's arrogant, he has very frequent displays of intense anger, he lies, and he's even used aliases in the past.

When law enforcement arrest a serial killer or serial rapist, there are always people-friends, family members, neighbors-who stutter through an interview and say things like "He was so friendly, he was quiet, I had no idea." In Trump's case, we did have an idea, and yet, last November, it didn't matter. It didn't matter that he bragged about sexually assaulting women, it didn't matter that he enjoyed causing other people pain, it didn't matter that he objectified women, it didn't matter that he believed he deserved to be president because he was rich, it didn't matter that he's a racist, it didn't matter that many people already knew he had Cluster B personality disorders.

We are now a country run by a sadistic sociopath, who has zero regard for other people, who believes he is the smartest person in the world, who is all id, who rages against anyone and anything he deems less than, who hates women, who hates people of color, who sees the world's population as his own special plaything. 

Donald Trump has the launch codes. He is Commander in Chief. Donald Trump is the leader of the free world. And he has the same cluster of personality disorders as a serial killer. 

You can find a link to Trump's quotes about women, including where he says you have to treat women like shit, here.

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health specialist. However, having spent 30 years traversing the mental health landscape, coupled with decades of research, I am offering my opinion on Donald Trump. This article should in no way be viewed as a diagnosis.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Trump Throws Toxic Twitter Tantrum

Once again, Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to unleash his rage on a woman. And once again, this Twitter tantrum includes references to blood. And once again again, Melania Trump, who announced last November her platform would be combatting cyberbullying, is silent.

Let's start at the beginning. During the election, Morning Joe, or at least Joe Scarborough, was very gentle when it came to discussing Trump. Since Trump became president, both Scarborough and his co-host (and fiancée) Mika Brzezinski have let their hair down, and become harsh critics of the authoritarian president. This seems to be confusing for Trump, as evidenced by his toxic Twitter tantrum this morning:

He doesn't watch anymore because they "speak badly of him." What was this speaking badly that got Trump's Made-In-China boxers all in a twist? Morning Joe reported on a Politico story that claimed Rex Tillerson yelled at a White House aide, and commented on Trump's apparent favoritism toward his son-in-law. From the Washington Post:

During the show Thursday, both hosts raised concerns about the president seeming to sideline Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in favor of allowing his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to act as a de facto secretary of state. Brzezinski said that Trump's behavior is unlike that of any president before him.

"Let’s say someone came into NBC and took over NBC and started tweeting wildly about people’s appearances, bullying people, talking about people in the competition, lying every day, undermining his managers, throwing them under — the person would be thrown out. It’s just not normal behavior. In fact, there would be concern that perhaps the person who runs the company is out of his mind."

There's quite a bit of truth in Brzezinski's statement. If the CEO of a company behaved the way Trump does, that person would be thrown out. Trump is not exuding the calm, rational pragmatism we expect from the president. He's a 3-year-old, screaming in the middle of the mall because he didn't get his way. And Mika Brzezinski pointed out Trump has the hands of a toddler, too. Behold her response:

Some Republicans are not pleased that their orange mascot continues to have toxic tantrums on Twitter. Bill Kristol, a man not known for his liberalism, called Trump a "pig." The  White House however, in the form of the lovely and dishonest Sarah Huckabee, defended Trump's bullying, telling Fox Spews:

"This is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by the liberal media and the liberal elites within the media or in Hollywood or anywhere else."

Yes, that's fabulous, because what we really need is a president with a hair trigger who launches salvos when his ego gets bruised.

And yes, Melania Trump did really state last fall that her platform as First Lady would be cyberbullying. Many people, myself included, fell down laughing at the irony of Melania being married to a cyberbully while claiming she would fight cyberbullying. That's like being married to a Grand Dragon in the Klan, and working to rename a street in your town after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In fact, Mrs. Trump is not just ignoring her own husband's cyberbullying, she's defending it. In a statement to CNN, Mrs. Trump's communications director said:

"As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder."

Carrier's laying people off after telling Trump they wouldn't lay people off, the rest of the world thinks we're insane, over twenty million Americans will lose access to healthcare once Trump's Death Care bill passes, and the Muslim ban went into effect today. And the president of the Divided States is attacking a female journalist on Twitter, ranting about blood.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Death Care, Johnny Depp, Bill Cosby, and Penn State: What a Week!

What a great week it's been. Trump's Death Care Bill was finally released to the public, and hot damn, it's a doozy. When you scrape away the technical jargon, and get down to the bare bones, you realize that's what many Americans will become if this bill becomes law: bare bones. The gist of the GOP's Death Panel legislation is the poor will pay a lot more for really, really shitty health insurance. Vox has a good article on this, and it includes a chart!

Johnny Depp's in the news this week, and not because the 416th "Pirates of the Caribbean" sucks. No, it seems that Mr. Depp decided, while in England, to joke about assassination. According to CNN:

Even before Johnny Depp said it, the actor seemed to know that his comment would ignite controversy.

"This is going to be in the press, and it will be horrible..." he said, speaking to a crowd on Thursday. "When was the last time an actor assassinated a President?"

The actor was at the Glastonbury Festival in the UK when he made his remarks, which were recorded.
    The Secret Service is aware of the comments Depp made about President Donald Trump, Secret Service staff assistant Shawn Holtzclaw told CNN.

    "For security reasons, we cannot discuss specifically nor in general terms the means and methods of how we perform our protective responsibilities," according to a statement from the Secret Service.
    Depp brought up the topic of President Donald Trump while speaking to the crowd.
    "Can we bring Trump here?" he asked.

    The UK crowd booed and roared, "No."

    "I think he needs help," Depp said, as the crowd laughed.

    "This is going to be in the press, and it will be horrible," he said. He paused briefly and said, "But I like that you're all a part of it."

    "When was the last time an actor assassinated a President?" he asked.

    It appeared to be a reference to John Wilkes Booth, the actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

    After posing the question, Depp said, "I want to clarify. I'm not an actor."

    The crowd laughed.

    "I lie for a living," he said.

    Conservatives who cheered when Ted Nugent told Barack Obama to "suck on his machine gun" are livid this morning because, well, Obama's black, which makes threatening to kill him okay, but Twitler's white-orange, which makes a tasteless joke DEEPLY OFFENSIVE. Conservatives like Kelly:

    Kelly Dover Jordan This is not free speech! This is a threat to the President! Why is the Secret Service allowing this? This type of violent rhetoric should not be tolerated!

    And Dee:

    Dee Byrum MINE TOO!!!!!! Do they have a CLUE how stupid they are?? And their words are THREATS??? Why aren't they ARRESTED??? Most are washed up has beens anyway just wanting attention because they have no work.

    And Linda:

    Linda La Londe What angers me more than these idiot liberals making their threats, is how the secret service does nothing. I bet if I said this I'd be locked up.

    Depp's joke is making headlines, while the fact that he is a domestic abuser is not. In fact, when Amber Heard accused Depp of being violent towards her, she was labeled a liar and a gold digger. I guess a tasteless joke about assassination is bad, but beating a woman is fine.

    There are more, but honestly, there's a limit to how much of their hypocritical drivel I can stomach. On to Bill Cosby!

    Bill Cosby, accused and acquitted serial rapist, has recovered from being blind and at death's door so well, he's headed out on a speaking tour. That's right, young Americans, soon you will be able to listen to a man who drugged dozens of women and sexually assaulted them tell you how to get away with rape! No, seriously:

    Embattled comic Bill Cosby plans to embark on a town hall-style speaking tour to educate young people about sexual assault allegations.

    His spokespeople said on Thursday that due to changing laws, more young men will face sexual assault allegations.

    Mr Cosby narrowly escaped a prison sentence when a sexual assault trial against him ended in a hung jury.

    Prosecutors plan to retry the case. At least 50 other women accuse him of drugging and sexually assaulting them.

    Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told WBRC-TV's Good Day Alabama that the comedian will begin his summer motivational speaking tour in Alabama as early as July.

    "This is bigger than Bill Cosby," Mr Wyatt said, adding "this issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today".

    "They need to know what they're facing when they're hanging out and partying, when they're doing certain things that they shouldn't be doing," he told the interviewer.

    Just a smidge more:

    Ebonee Benson, who also appeared on the programme, noted that the statute of limitations on sexual assault accusations is being lengthened, allowing accusers more time to come forward to authorities.

    "This is why people need to be educated on - you know, a brush on the shoulder - you know, anything at this point can be considered sexual assault and it's a good thing to be educated about the laws," said Ms Benson, who is a spokeswoman for Mr Cosby's wife, Camille.

    PS: This right here, this bullshit, is why women don't report rape.

    Finally, in what might be the most tone-deaf thing ever done anywhere, Penn State students are collecting teddy bears to give to kids in "stressful situations." You know what's a stressful situation for a kid? Being raped and molested by an adult. An adult who's a coach. And the coach's boss, the coach's college, the college's entire football program, conspire to protect that coach. And you know what happened at Penn State? Young boys were raped and molested by Jerry Sandusky, and the Penn State football program covered it up. Protected Sandusky over his victims. But it's okay now, because Penn State students are giving out teddy bears.

    Take the weekend to regroup, recharge, mow the lawn, wash the car, take a nap, get some sun, go to work, join a protest or rally, hug your dog/cat/ferret/whatever, spend time with your family. Walk on sunshine for two days, because you know next week will be just as FUBAR as this one.

    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    The Bachmann Diaries: Comedy Makes Liberals Violent

    Dear Diary,

    Last week, a crazed liberal went on a shooting spree during GOP baseball practice. This loony lefty almost killed my dear friend and fellow Klan member Steve Scalise. Luckily, there were many patriotically armed Americans there, and the traitorous assassin was killed.

    Liberals always claim they're the party of love and peace and acceptance, Diary, but it's becoming more and more clear that liberals are really violent. Remember all those homos who attacked Marcus with glitter? That was awful! I used to get attacked every day when I was in Congress by liberals who thought I was evil for believing bullying is just a part of life. I would go on Fox, and Sean Hannity and I would commiserate about how often we were called names or made fun of. It was hurtful, and no one should have to put up with that.

    But Donald Trump's presidency has brought out the hate and violence of the left. I don't recall one time when a conservative threatened Obama, or called him names, or threatened to impeach him, or made fun of his wife or children. That's happening every day to President Trump, and frankly, it's disgusting. We may not have liked Obama, or agreed with him, or approved of his skin color socialist beliefs, but no one ever threatened to kill him.

    I blame a lot of things for violent liberals, but mostly comedians. There's this colored black guy on The Daily Show, and he's so mean! And that awful Samantha Bee, who just swears a lot and wears yoga pants. John Oliver, who's not even an American, just went after President Trump's promise to bring back coal jobs, and he had a giant squirrel come out and insult one of the greatest men in the country, Bob Murray. Bob's suing that squirrel, and I for one am thrilled.

    There is nothing funny about making fun of the president when he's a white conservative. The presidency is a sacred trust between rich people and the president, and it's very important. Not just anyone can be elected president; it has to be someone who's smart and Christian and who wants to blow up the Middle East except for Israel, and bring about the End Times. Yes, President Trump is not a career politician, no, he doesn't really know what he's doing, yes, he's sort of stupid, but he's better than Obummer! And he is leaps and bounds better than that old Jewish guy or Hillary Clinton.

    Diary, Marcus and I have been Skyping! Marcus is in Fort Lauderdale, praying over a dance troupe called EXXXOTIC. Isn't that a neat name? I guess the troupe is all male, and some of them think they are homosexual. Marcus flew down when one of the dancers, a very nice young man named Lucky, called him in the middle of the night, high on the pot. Marcus has been gone a few days, but we spend every night chatting on the computer. Last night, Marcus kept squirming in his chair, and after about 5 minutes, his eyes rolled back, and he let out a weird sort of "whooping" sound. Then I saw the top of someone's head come up around Marcus's lap. Marcus told me the maid had dropped her contact lens, and he was helping her find it. He's so sweet.

    One of things Marcus and I are discussing is me running for president in 2020. My feeling is, if a washed up, orange skinned, serial adulterer and liar man who's never held public office before can get elected, why can't I?

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxo Michele

    Dear Black America: I'm Sorry

    "A Tale of Two Hoodies" by Michael D'Antuono

    I never really took stock of my own white privilege until the murder of Trayvon Martin. That event changed everything. My son was two years younger than Trayvon, and I realized I would never need to have "The Talk" with him. You know, "The Talk" black parents have with their kids every goddamn day in this "post-racial" country. Don't wear your hood up, don't put your hands in your pockets, always say "yes sir," you will be followed in stores, white people will fear you, police will always assume you're up to no good. That talk.

    Philando Castile did all the right things. He was respectful, he obeyed the police officer, he stated he was legally carrying a firearm. He did not reach for that firearm. He did absolutely nothing wrong, and he's dead. Not only is he dead, the police officer who killed him was found not guilty by a jury. Have you watched the videos? The dashcam footage, the footage from the back of the police car? Have you heard the voice of a terrified little girl, begging her mom to not swear because "I don't want you to get shooted?"

    White America is defaming Diamond Reynolds, defending the police officer, blaming Philando Castile for his own death, and is slightly upset that little girl had to witness what she did, but blames that on Ms. Reynolds and Philando Castile as well.

    Black America, I'm sorry. I'm sorry white people are so racist and cruel. I'm sorry police-no matter their skin color, apparently-believe all black men are dangerous. I'm sorry your sons and daughters and husbands and wives are being murdered, and the people in power don't seem to care.

    I'm sorry the NRA has remained deafeningly silent about the murder of Philando Castile. He was a licensed gun owner, with a permit, but because he was black, the NRA has no interest in him whatsoever. The NRA doesn't support the right of black Americans to bear arms, just white Americans. Trevor Noah spoke about this fact on The Daily Show, and also brought up how the goal posts keep moving for black people: He was running away from the police, he was running towards the police, he had a gun, he didn't have a gun, it goes on and on. You can watch the video below; Trevor Noah's comments on Philando Castile and the NRA begin at about the 4:19 mark.

    I have to imagine that being black in America is terrifying. Whatever you do as an African American, it's never enough. It's never enough to guarantee you will survive the day. Black children are not promised a day when their father or mother or sister or brother, or themselves, will be safe from police brutality.

    Tamir Rice went to the park. Trayvon Martin went to the store. Charleena Lyles struggled with mental illness. Terrence Crutcher's car broke down. Alton Sterling was in police custody. Sandra Bland was in a jail cell. Mike Brown was walking down the street. Eric Harris was killed by a 73-year-old reserve deputy who mistook his own gun for a Taser.

    I'm sorry. This is all so wrong, and yet, no one is really willing to change anything. Especially White America. White America responds "All lives matter!" whenever anyone says "Black Lives Matter." White America preaches that black people should just do what the police say (just as Mr. Castile did). White America says this is a "post-racial country." White America doesn't care about black people.

    White America showed up in droves to airports when Trump's travel ban went into affect, donated millions of dollars to the ACLU, but bristles at the idea of teachers wearing "Black Lives Matter" shirts. White America donates to the NAACP, but won't attend a BLM rally, march, or protest.

    Yes, White America is both conservative and liberal. White Americans are Democrats and Republicans. And while conservative White America is more violent in their disdain of African Americans, liberal White America is just as dismissive.

    Dr. Martin Luther King wrote about the "white moderate" in a letter from Birmingham jail, and his words still ring true:

    I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”

    A more convenient season. Black people are being hunted, murdered, shot to death in front of family members and friends. Maybe White America can wait for a more convenient season, but African Americans cannot. 

    Image of "A Tale of Two Hoodies" from Michael D'Antuono's website.