The Trump death cult and the million-maggot march for mass death

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is million-magas.jpg

 On Friday, the COVID Tracking Project reported that the number of positive coronavirus infections in the last day had reached 170,000, the highest record ever and a number that was, just a few months ago, hard to imagine. It’s now our daily reality, and it’s likely to only get worse.

Other figures are just as frightening. Hospitalizations — one of the clearest signs of the seriousness of the outbreak —have reached a new high at 69,000, according to the project. Deaths are at a disturbing 1,300, though that rate is almost certain to spike in recent weeks following the more recent spike in cases. And as the newest and largest wave yet engulfs the country, reports have begun to appear of hospitals being overwhelmed with patients, which is almost certainly a precursor to a spike in the case fatality rate.

It’s our horrifying new status quo, and one that experts and observers have been warning would unfold this fall for months. But the mind-boggling truth is that for the Trump administration, everything is pretty much going as planned.

Ever since the first wave in the spring, Donald Trump has seemed increasingly drawn to the so-called (and, indeed, misleadingly named) “herd immunity” approach to the pandemic. On this approach, you reject government restrictions meant to stop people from getting the virus. What advocates of this strategy believe is that it’s best that more people get the virus, because eventually, enough people will have had it, they’ll immune, and life will return to normal.

Trump brought on Dr. Scott Atlas, a radiologist and Fox News guest, to the White House team, because he advocated this approach and opposed restrictions. His views were at odds with the approach favored by the bulk of the health experts in the administration, but Trump liked his ideas, so they have won the day.

The White House has occasionally denied or talked around the idea that it’s intentionally carrying out a “herd immunity” strategy, but reporting has made clear the plan the administration has adopted. Per the New York Times:

The White House has embraced a declaration by a group of scientists arguing that authorities should allow the coronavirus to spread among young healthy people while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable — an approach that would rely on arriving at “herd immunity” through infections rather than a vaccine.

On a call convened Monday by the White House, two senior administration officials, both speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to give their names, cited an October 4 petition titled The Great Barrington Declaration, which argues against lockdowns and calls for a reopening of businesses and schools.

“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” the declaration states, adding, “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.”

The problem with this approach — the reason it’s rejected by most of the public health community — is that it will lead to mass suffering and death. That’s what the increase in hospitalizations is telling us. Medical researcher Dr. Atul Gawande made the point in a recent tweet:

But there’s another important point. One crucial part of the “herd immunity strategy,” in theory, is protecting the vulnerable. Since COVID-19 poses the most significant mortality risk to the elderly and people with other health conditions, advocates argue, this population needs to be kept safe while the virus spreads and creates immunity among the rest of the people.

As people like Alex Tabarrok argued early on, though, this tactic has little hope of success. You can’t meaningfully isolate elderly people from the rest of society. What do you do with the grandmother living in a home with parents who are essential workers and kids who are back at school? What do you do with the workers a nursing homes, who have lives outside of work? Who will pay for people with chronic health conditions to stay home from their jobs for months on end?

It’s untenable. And at the same time, the White House hasn’t actually done anything to meaningfully protect vulnerable from the wave of the virus crashing over the country.

Trump has touted vaccines and therapeutics, including therapeutics that may have saved his own life when he was hospitalized with the infection. But there aren’t nearly enough therapeutics for all the patients in need — nor the top-notch care Trump received — and the vaccines won’t be ready for full distribution into well into 2021. On Friday, Trump announced that the vaccines will be available in April, though he had previously said it could be distributed last month, in October, which never happened. And right now, the administration has no plan to stop surging virus. Most Republicans are following his lead, and even Democratic governors who might prefer to take a more aggressive approach are hamstrung by a lack of federal resources.

There is no plan to stop the virus. The federal government just intends to let it spread through all of us. It’s a plan for mass death, because they don’t care enough to stop it.

Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Examiner note: Wear a f..ing mask!

Joe Biden is the winner and has been since Wednesday

This contest has not been a nail biting, back-and-forth affair with wild swings in tallies, and that the winner truly remains in doubt. It’s not, and the coverage reflects that as analysts go over the votes, the math, the projections and essentially tell voters that Trump can’t win. The race is stuck in neutral because the corporate media is terrified of the Trump Cult

The networks bowing to Trump bullying, as he and his cult fill the indecision vacuum with outrageous, fitful claims of the election being rigged! His television appearance from the White House this week where Trump lied nonstop about the U.S election process was a truly dangerous low point for his presidency, as his supporters feed off his lies and take to streets screaming about the election being “stolen.”

After four years, are major news organizations still tip toeing around Trump in hopes of not becoming the target of his wrath? It sure feels that way.

The Trump cult went ballistic when Fox News on Election Night called Arizona for Biden, waging an ugly smear campaign against the network. Fox has stood by the call and four days later, Biden has a lead of nearly 30,000 votes. Yet other networks still won’t call it for Biden.

In Nevada where virtually all the counting is done, Biden leads by nearly two percentage points. That’s an advantage far larger than what Decision Desks usually need to make a pronouncement, when so few votes remain uncounted. If that race had the exact same vote count but were a Nevada contest for the U.S. Senate, instead of a state race that could seal Trump’s defeat, that election call likely would’ve been made 24 hours ago.

Meanwhile, for Fox News to call Arizona early, to correctly stand by it, and today refuse to call Nevada makes no sense. If Fox were to call Nevada for Biden, they’d have to announce him the winner, with 270 electoral votes. At the same time, what does Fox News know about Arizona that the other networks don’t, as they refuse to award the state to Biden?

The process is creating confusion, and real appearance that the media’s bowing down to Trump. Again.

Today, the election coverage continues to walk itself around in a “Groundhog Day” circle, as TV pundits all point to the obvious: Biden’s going to win, but claim they’re just waiting for the announcement. All the while, ironic “BREAKING NEWS” announcements fill the TV screens.

It’s a final absurdist ending to bully Trump’s absurd and radical four years.

edited from Press Run

Think Trump can’t sink even lower? Check out this evil shit

Transition for Tongass - American Forests
Tongass

Despicable Trump just opened up all 16.7 million acres of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and other forms of development, according to a notice posted 10-28-2020, stripping protections that had safeguarded one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests for nearly two decades.

As of Thursday, it will be legal for logging companies to build roads and cut and remove timber throughout more than 9.3 million acres of forest — featuring old-growth stands of red and yellow cedar, Sitka spruce and Western hemlock. The relatively-pristine expanse is also home to plentiful salmon runs and imposing fjords. The decision, which will be published in the Federal Register, reverses protections President Bill Clinton put in place in 2001 and is one of the most sweeping public lands rollbacks Trump has enacted.

For years, federal and academic scientists have identified Tongass as an ecological oasis that serves as a massive carbon sink while providing key habitat for wild Pacific salmon and trout, Sitka black-tailed deer and myriad other species. It boasts the highest density of brown bears in North America, and its trees — some of which are between 300 and 1,000 years old — absorb at least 8 percent of all the carbon stored in the entire Lower 48′s forests combined.

While tropical rainforests are the lungs of the planet, the Tongass is the lungs of North America,” Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist with the Earth Island Institute’s Wild Heritage project, said in an interview. “It’s America’s last climate sanctuary.”

While Trump has repeatedly touted his commitment to planting trees through the One Trillion Tree initiative, invoking it as recently as last week, his administration has sought to expand logging in Alaska and in the Pacific Northwest throughout his presidency. Federal judges have blocked several of these plans as illegal: Last week, the administration abandoned its appeal of a ruling that struck down a 1.8 million-acre timber sale on the Tongass’s Prince of Wales Island.

Alaska Republicans — including Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Sen. Dan Sullivan, who is locked in a tight reelection race — lobbied Trump to exempt the state from the roadless rule on the grounds that it could help the economy in Alaska’s southeast. Fishing and tourism account for 26 percent of regional employment, according to the Southeast Conference, a regional business group, compared with timber’s 1 percent.

When Sullivan briefed Trump on the Tongass earlier this year, according to an individual familiar with the conversation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly, Trump asked him, “How the [expletive] do you have an economy without roads?”

Asked about the exchange, the White House declined to comment.

Southeast Alaska’s economy has taken an enormous hit during the pandemic. Robert Venables, the executive director of the Southeast Conference, said in an interview that though 1.4 million cruise passengers typically visit the region each summer, that number dropped to just 48 this summer. The area’s fisheries also have suffered because of climate change, and the global economic crisis hurt seafood prices.

“The economy is collapsing,” he said, adding that the Trump administration’s action might allow loggers to extract timber from some relatively accessible old-growth stands. “There’s some common-sense, near-term relief.”

But even Venables criticized the administration as going too far and predicted that the decision probably would be reversed next year if Democrats won the White House.

“It seems like the ball’s being punted from one end to the other,” he said. “The real disappointment here is a compromise could not be found that could create a more lasting peace.”

Logging in Alaska costs U.S. taxpayers millions each year, because of a long-standing federal mandate that companies profit from any timber sale. This means the Forest Service often covers harvesters’ costs, including road building. According to a Taxpayer for Common Sense analysis of the Forest Service’s accounts, the Tongass timber program has lost roughly $1.7 billion over the last 40 years.

After Taxpayers for Common Sense commented during the federal environmental review that it would be more economically efficient to hold timber sales in parts of the forest that already have roads, the Forest Service acknowledged that that was true.

The agency said its plan “reflects a different policy perspective on the roadless management issue rather than a change in the underlying facts and circumstances,” adding that the Trump administration believes “that overall reduction in federal regulations is good for the American public due to reduced burden to the taxpayer and reduced burden to business.”

Ninety-six percent of the comments during the U.S. Forest Service’s environmental review opposed lifting the existing safeguards, while 1 percent supported it. In a sign of how unpopular the administration’s push to lift roadless restrictions has become, all five Alaska Native tribal nations withdrew as cooperating agencies in the process two weeks ago, after the Forest Service published its blueprint for opening up the entire Tongass to development.

“We refuse to allow legitimacy upon a process that has disregarded our input at every turn,” the tribal leaders wrote.

Some of these tribes had conducted clear cuts decades ago, when they gained legal control over their ancestral lands. Marina Anderson, the tribal administrator for the Organized Village of Kasaan on Prince of Wales Island, recalled in a phone interview that her late father was a logger and said that the entire village had suffered the consequences of felling so many trees. A landslide occurred Monday morning; while Anderson was speaking on the phone, a second landslide occurred.

“These landslides happen on clear-cut lands. This morning I said, ‘It’s landslide day,” she said, noting there had been heavy rain. “I’ve grown up seeing these mudslides my whole life. As a culture committed to balance, it’s my responsibility to bring back that balance from what [my father] had done.”

The roughly 60 residents in the village, which does not have a grocery store, rely heavily on salmon, berries and other staples they can harvest from the forest. “Climate change is hitting us pretty hard,” Anderson said, adding that tribal officials oppose extensive logging because old-growth trees help lower stream temperatures and provide key wildlife habitat.

Referring to the new plan, she said, “It will only devastate even more what is already in progress.”

Environmentalists, who have successfully blocked a slew of timber sales on the Tongass since the early 1970s, said they will challenge the repeal of protections in court.

“We’ve been protecting the Tongass for many years. We’ve done it through  Reagan’s Interior Secretary James Watt, we’ve done it through Republican administrations and we’ve done it through hostile Supreme Courts,” Sam Sankar, vice president for programs at Earthjustice, said in an interview. “There’s never been a strong economic argument for logging, and neither has there been a strong biological or cultural argument. And we’re confident we’ll continue to prevail in the courts.”

Still some experts said they worried the decision could greenlight timber sales that would release more carbon into the atmosphere. DellaSala, who estimated that clear cutting 160,000 acres of old growth would be equivalent to putting 10 million cars on Alaska’s roads, noted that last month he had to evacuate from his home near Talent, Ore., because of a massive blaze nearby.

“It’s personal for me,” he said, adding that his home survived but that many others nearby did not. “We don’t have a lot of time to get this right, and we are heading in the wrong direction.”

edited from Washington Post

Win or lose the Trump cult will remain a threat to the peace

If Trump wins his cult will feel emboldened to attack their opponents, if they lose the cult will lash out in anger at their opponents, so either way get ready for a rough ride!

The 2020 election will go down in history as one that was even more volatile than the 1968 election, and many Americans have been expressing fears that violence and voter intimidation will occur on Election Day. That fear is addressed in new articles by the Washington Post, Time, and USA Today.

Journalist Mark Berman, in the Post, reports that law enforcement are preparing for the worst.

“Tens of millions of Americans have cast ballots at early-voting sites, and tensions and accusations of voter intimidation have already flared up during this process,” Berman explains. “Many Americans still plan to turn out on Election Day; so, law enforcement officials have conducted drills involving multiple agencies to try to game out what could happen. Police officials in multiple cities stressed that they have no information about specific threats relating to the election, but are instead preparing to make sure they are ready.”

Andrew Walsh, a deputy chief for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, told the Post, “I don’t think we’ve seen anything like this in modern times…. When you look at previous elections, there’s always been the concern when you have large crowds…. We know (that) can be a target for someone who has an agenda.”

David Brown, a superintendent for the Chicago Police Department, told the Post, “We are all in conversations with our counterparts across the country about what we might expect. But everything is uncertain, and so, we’re trying as best we can to anticipate any hazard that might happen.” And Washington D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham noted, “It is widely believed that there will be civil unrest after the November election regardless of who wins.”

Reporter Melissa Chan, in Time, reports that police departments around the U.S. expect to be on high alert on Election Day.

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Police Executive Research Forum, told Time, “It’s fair to say the police are preparing in ways they never would have had to for Election Day. This year is unlike any other year.”

According to Chan, “The presence of militia groups at polls could pose real safety concerns in light of a new Amnesty International report that said U.S. law enforcement failed to protect peaceful protesters from violent attacks by armed vigilante groups and counter protesters in nearly 200 cases from May to September. The report, released Friday, said law enforcement often neglected to deploy an adequate amount of trained officers, separate or deescalate tensions between opposing groups and often harmed peaceful protesters while dealing with violent ones.”

In USA Today, journalist Trevor Hughes addresses fears that far-right extremists will resort to acts of voter intimidation on Election Day — and that Black voters will be among their targets.

The NAACP’s Stephanie Owens told USA Today, “The symbolism of who you’re supporting is a very large component of our election tradition, but there is almost nothing traditional about this election. People are already being targeted based on the candidates they are supporting.”

The Rev. Carl Day, a Philadelphia-based pastor and liberal/progressive activist, has been warning the Black community that they could be targeted for voter intimidation. Day told USA Today, “When the president of the United States seems like he’s inciting a demographic of people to be on standby and he’s saying he might not leave office, it brings legitimate fears to people. It’s in a lot of conversations in a lot of rooms I’m in.”

Carolyn Gallaher, a professor at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C., told USA Today, “Everyone I know is concerned both about voter intimidation at the polls and potential violence as we get results from the election — and sort of what that might look like not just around the election, but between the election and the inauguration.”

Gallagher fears that the far right will resort to violence whether Trump wins reelection or is defeated by former Vice President Joe Biden. The American University professor told USA Today, “The violence will occur either way. If Biden wins, it will be an excuse to try to delegitimize the results and to go after perceived enemies on the left — and of course, that means labeling pretty much anyone that you disagree with Antifa. But I worry, too, if Trump wins, this will be a signal to these far-right groups that have supported him — extremist groups like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, other groups like this — that they will see this is like an open season to go after people that have been opponents of Trump.”

Raw Story

Trump’s wall of bullying baffling bullshit, a national embarrassment

 

‘Standing by sir’: Proud Boys praise Trump’s comment telling them to ‘stand by’ during first presidential debate

Shedding all semblance of decency, let alone public civility, a desperate Trump turned Tuesday’s presidential debate not only into a brawl but also a national embarrassment. Behaving like a petulant teenager, Trump rolled his eyes, constantly interrupted, hectored, tried to pick fights, and generally made a fool of himself as more than 80 million Americans tuned in, most of whom were likely thinking, ‘What have we become as a nation?’

It was clearly the worst presidential debate in American history, as Fox News moderator Chris Wallace got completely steamrolled by Trump’s bullying ways. And it was a debacle that Trump pre-planned. Allergic to debate prep and still seething about the blockbuster revelation about his massive tax evasion practices, Trump arrived with one goal — to make sure the debate was incomprehensible and that viewers learned as little as possible.

That’s why it’s time to call off the next two debates. Tuesday’s car wreck was a complete waste of time.

Months ago, I urged the Biden campaign to not show up for any of the debates this election season because I didn’t see the benefit of sharing the stage with a madman for 90 minutes. There’s no upside to normalizing his behavior with a presidential debate and the legitimacy it provides. Now everyone sees the results. Biden held his own last night, there’s no question, telling Trump more than once to “shut up,” which in the past would have been unthinkable for a Democrat to utter on a debate stage. And it was exactly what was called for.

But there’s no need to repeat the fiasco. There’s no need for Biden to show up again so Trump can smear Biden family members, make a mockery out of public discourse, and lie relentlessly about every topic discussed during the forums. Running for president is serious business, and Trump is a child.

And yes, the 2020 debates are already so much worse than the 2016 debates, when, in retrospect, Trump at least pretended to occasionally follow some of the norms of public behavior. But all of that is gone now. Lost in the authoritarian power that he craves in the White House, Trump deems it beneath him to share the stage, and the spotlight, with another politician.

Another reason for Biden to politely bow out is because while the press is going to correctly portray the Tuesday debate as a stunning failure, they’re going to couch it in Both Sides language, suggesting Biden was somehow at all responsible for the national embarrassment when it was entirely Trump’s doing.

That was apparent in real-time last night. From Politico: “The first Trump-Biden debate: A trainwreck.” New York Times: “Sharp Personal Attacks and Name-Calling in Chaotic First Debate.” CNN: “Pure Chaos at First Debate.” The Washington Post: “First Trump-Biden meeting marked by constant interruptions by Trump.” Technically those headlines were accurate, but all the news outlets presented the story as if both sides were to blame for the televised disintegration.

There’s also the simple fact that unless the Commission on Presidential Debates allows moderators to cut off Trump’s mic for the next two forums, it’s not possible for any moderator to keep control of the event. Wallace was completely humiliated by Trump, who ran over the Fox News anchor at every turn, making it impossible for there to be anything remotely resembling a revealing or intelligent debate.

Comically, Wallace told the New York Times he wanted to be “invisible” during the debate, meaning it was up to the candidates to engage each other. Commission officials actually thought Wallace would act as a “facilitator,” gently walking Trump through the evening’s topics. That makes sense if you think Trump is a rational, sane person. But Trump’s a nihilistic actor. And the Beltway’s refusal to acknowledge that — to think that protocols like presidential debates could still be adhered to — fueled last night’s disaster.

It also lends credence to canceling the next two debates, because it’s not possible to stage a two-person debate when one of them is a sociopath. The debate Commission can act quickly to try to save this format, by allowing Trump’s mic to be cut. But anything short of that would be a waste of time. It would be a waste of Biden’s time, and a waste of Americans’ time.

Trump has torn up so many norms and traditions with his radical behavior. So let’s add another one to the list — let’s cancel the next two debates. Nobody will miss them.

 

Eric Boehlert Press Run

 

The authoritarian cult of Trump explained

The Brain’s Attention System Is More Strongly Engaged by Trump
According to a study that monitored brain activity while participants watched 40 minutes of political ads and debate clips from the presidential candidates, Donald Trump is unique in his ability to keep the brain engaged. While Hillary Clinton could only hold attention for so long, Trump kept both attention and emotional arousal high throughout the viewing session. This pattern of activity was seen even when Trump made remarks that individuals didn’t necessarily agree with. His showmanship and simple language clearly resonate with some at a visceral level.

America’s Obsession with Entertainment and Celebrities

Essentially, the loyalty of Trump supporters may in part be explained by America’s addiction to entertainment and reality TV. To some, it doesn’t matter what Trump actually says because he’s so amusing to watch. With the Donald, you are always left wondering what outrageous thing he is going to say or do next. He keeps us on the edge of our seat, and for that reason, some Trump supporters will forgive anything he says. They are happy as long as they are kept entertained.

“Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn.”

Some intelligent people who know better are supporting Trump simply to be rebellious or to introduce chaos into the political system. They may have such distaste for the establishment and Democrats like Hillary Clinton that their support for Trump is a symbolic middle finger directed at Washington. These people do not have their priorities straight and perhaps have other issues, like an innate desire to troll others, or a deranged obsession with schadenfreude.

The Fear-Factor: Conservatives Are More Sensitive to Threat

Science has unequivocally shown that the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening. A 2008 study in the journal Science found that conservatives have a stronger physiological reaction to startling noises and graphic images compared to liberals. A brain-imaging study published in Current Biology revealed that those who lean right politically tend to have a larger amygdala — a structure that is electrically active during states of fear and anxiety. And a 2014 fMRI study found that it is possible to predict whether someone is a liberal or conservative simply by looking at their brain activity while they view threatening or disgusting images, such as mutilated bodies. Specifically, the brains of self-identified conservatives generated more activity overall in response to the disturbing images.

These brain responses are automatic, and not influenced by logic or reason. As long as Trump continues his fear mongering by constantly portraying Muslims and Hispanic immigrants as imminent dangers, many conservative brains will involuntarily light up like light bulbs being controlled by a switch. Fear keeps his followers energized and focused on safety. And when you think you’ve found your protector, you become less concerned with offensive and divisive remarks.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Humans Often Overestimate Their Political Expertise

Some support Donald Trump do so out of ignorance — basically, they are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand. When Trump tells them that crime is skyrocketing in the United States, or that the economy is the worst it’s ever been, they simply take his word for it.

The Dunning-Kruger effect explains that the problem isn’t just that they are misinformed; it’s that they are completely unaware that they are misinformed, which creates a double burden.

Studies have shown that people who lack expertise in some area of knowledge often have a cognitive bias that prevents them from realizing that they lack expertise. As psychologist David Dunning puts it in an op-ed for Politico, “The knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task — and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at the task. This includes political judgment.” These people cannot be reached because they mistakenly believe they are the ones who should be reaching others.

Lack of Exposure to Dissimilar Others

Intergroup contact refers to contact with members of groups that are outside one’s own, which has been experimentally shown to reduce prejudice. As such, it’s important to note that there is growing evidence that Trump’s white supporters have experienced significantly less contact with minorities than other Americans. For example, a 2016 study found that “…the racial and ethnic isolation of Whites at the zip-code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.” This correlation persisted while controlling for dozens of other variables. In agreement with this finding, the same researchers found that support for Trump increased with the voters’ physical distance from the Mexican border.

Trump’s Conspiracy Theories Target the Mentally Vulnerable

While the conspiracy theory crowd — who predominantly support Donald Trump and crackpot allies like Alex Jones and the shadowy QAnon — may appear to just be an odd quirk of modern society, the truth is that many of them suffer from psychological illnesses that involve paranoia and delusions, such as schizophrenia, or are at least vulnerable to them, like those with schizotypy personalities.

The link between schizotypy and belief in conspiracy theories is well-established, and a recent study published in the journal Psychiatry Research has demonstrated that it is still very prevalent in the population. The researchers found that those who were more likely to believe in outlandish conspiracy theories, such as the idea that the U.S. government created the AIDs epidemic, consistently scored high on measures of “odd beliefs and magical thinking.” One feature of magical thinking is a tendency to make connections between things that are actually unrelated in reality.

Donald Trump and his media allies target these people directly. All one has to do is visit alt-right websites and discussion boards to see the evidence for such manipulation.

A study published last year in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found a direct link between national collective narcissism and support for Donald Trump. This correlation was discovered by researchers at the University of Warsaw, who surveyed over 400 Americans with a series of questionnaires about political and social beliefs. Where individual narcissism causes aggressiveness toward other individuals, collective narcissism involves negative attitudes and aggression toward ‘outsider’ groups (outgroups), who are perceived as threats.

Donald Trump exacerbates collective narcissism with his anti-immigrant, anti-elitist, and strongly nationalistic rhetoric. By referring to his supporters, an overwhelmingly white group, as being “true patriots” or “real Americans,” he promotes a brand of populism that is the epitome of “identity politics,” a term that is usually associated with the political left. Left-wing identity politics, as misguided as they may sometimes be, are generally aimed at achieving equality, while the right-wing brand is based on a belief that one nationality and race is superior or entitled to success and wealth for no other reason than identity.

The Desire to Want to Dominate Others

Social dominance orientation (SDO) — which is distinct but related to authoritarian personality syndrome (#13) — refers to people who have a preference for the societal hierarchy of groups, specifically with a structure in which the high-status groups have dominance over the low-status ones. Those with SDO are typically dominant, tough-minded, and driven by self-interest.

In Trump’s speeches, he appeals to those with SDO by repeatedly making a clear distinction between groups that have a generally higher status in society (White), and those groups that are typically thought of as belonging to a lower status (immigrants and minorities). A study published last year in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that those who scored high on both SDO and authoritarianism were those who intended to vote for Trump in the election.

Authoritarian Personality Syndrome

Authoritarianism refers to the advocacy or enforcement of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom and is commonly associated with a lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others. Authoritarian personality syndrome —  a well-studied and globally-prevalent condition — is a state of mind that is characterized by belief in total and complete obedience to one’s authority. Those with the syndrome often display aggression toward outgroup members, submissiveness to authority, resistance to new experiences, and a rigid hierarchical view of society. The syndrome is often triggered by fear, making it easy for leaders who exaggerate threat or fear monger to gain their allegiance.

Although authoritarian personality is found among liberals, it is more common among the right-wing around the world. Trump’s speeches, which are laced with absolutist terms like “losers” and “complete disasters,” are naturally appealing to those with the syndrome.

While research showed that Republican voters in the U.S. scored higher than Democrats on measures of authoritarianism before Trump emerged on the political scene, a 2016 Politico survey found that high authoritarians greatly favored Trump

 

Edited from Raw Story by Bobby Azarian is a neuroscientist affiliated with George Mason University and a freelance journalist.

Trump goes after the Military when poll shows him losing their support

Trump: “Suckers” and “Losers.”

Donald Trump adopted a world-weary tone to again deny a new report that he insulted slain U.S. service members as “suckers” and “losers.”

Multiple sources told The Atlantic that Trump had disparaged American war dead and wounded veterans, and the Washington Post reported similar claims by former administration officials who say Trump questioned the search for troops who went missing in action.

“The Atlantic Magazine is dying, like most magazines, so they make up a fake story in order to gain some relevance,” Trump tweeted.

Trump and the White House have denied the reports, and the president groaned about the constant leaks from former administration officials.

“Story already refuted, but this is what we are up against,” he tweeted. “Just like the Fake Dossier. You fight and, and fight, and then people realize it was a total fraud!”

Except the Dossier has been proven to be remarkably accurate

Trump revenge?

According to a report from USA Today, an unpublicized memo from the Pentagon has ordered the shuttering of Stars and Stripes, a newspaper serving American troops since the Civil War. The memo wants a plan that “dissolves the Stars and Stripes” by Sept. 15 including “a specific timeline for vacating government-owned/leased space worldwide.”

“The memo ordering the publication’s dissolution claims the administration has the authority to make this move under the president’s fiscal year 2021 defense department budget request,” USA Today’s Kathy Kiely reports. “It zeroed out the $15.5 million annual subsidy for Stars and Stripes. But Congress, which under the Constitution has the power to make decisions about how the public’s money is spent, has not yet approved the president’s request.”

Fifteen senators, including combat veteran Tammy Duckworth, (D-IL), and four Republicans, called on Defense Secretary Mark Esper to “take steps to preserve the funding prerogatives of Congress before allowing any such disruption to take place.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is also speaking out too.

“As a veteran who has served overseas, I know the value Stars and Stripes brings to its readers,” he wrote.

Kansas City Star reporter Herbie Teope, an Army veteran, described the decision as a “mistake on monumental levels.”

“I would hope decision-makers actually served a day in uniform and knew how important [Stars and Stripes] is for troops to stay in touch with home and how it provides a sense of normalcy during deployments or while stationed overseas,” he explained on Twitter.

Another Army veteran, Paul Rieckhoff, said shuttering Stars and Stripes was “a glaring example of Trump’s disdain for the military and the press combined.”

Navy veteran Keith Humphrey said the news was “unbelievable.” Stars and Stripes “was my lifeline to the world (home) during long deployments,” he noted.

UPDATE: TRUMP BACKS DOWN

Under tremendous pressure, Trump said Friday that his administration would not cut funding to the U.S. military’s independent newspaper, Stars and Stripes, after the Pentagon moved to shut down the publication. – the hill

Raw Story

 

 

The Terrible Trump Taliban coming to your town next?

Trump cultists rally in Portland Oregon to try and provoke as much trouble and violence as possible

Many officials including the mayor of Portland, Oregon, are accusing Donald Trump of encouraging violence after a reported member of a rightwing group was shot dead when Trump supporters confronted “Black Lives Matter” protesters. Mayor Ted Wheeler said: “…. Trump, for four years we have had to live with you and your racist attacks on black people. We learned early about your sexist attitudes towards women … we have listened to your attacks on immigrants … do you seriously wonder that America in decades has not seen this level of violence?”

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Jacob Blake was shot by police and paralyzed, concern grew that the tense but currently peaceful situation could be inflamed by a planned visit this week from Bullyboy Trump, who appears keen to stoke law and order fears among voters heading into the election.

Trump Is Playing up Fears of Violence by inciting it.

Trump and his allies are trying to depict protests over racial injustice somehow as a law-and-order campaign issue, continuously attacking Democratic leaders, refusing to condemn deadly vigilante violence carried out by his cult members, and touting a fantasy of a “tranquil Trump’s America”.
Now former Vice President Joe Biden is accusing Trump of inciting the violence for his political gain.

All of this against a backdrop of a still-raging coronavirus outbreak, the White House has offered the clearest signal yet of a calculated GOP strategy of inciting violence and then exploiting voter fears of the violence as the campaign against Biden enters the final stretch and Trump badly trails in the polls.

This is an escalated version of the strategy Trump employed, unsuccessfully, in the 2018 midterm election, when he spent weeks warning of “caravans” of migrants fill with MS-13 gang members trying to reach the U.S. border with Mexico.

Trump plans to try an incite more violence by visiting Kenosha, Wis., where protests have flared for the last week over the unjustified police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was left paralyzed, and where a teenage Trumpy gunman who idolized law enforcement has been charged in two deaths. Administration officials provided no indication that Trump wants to meet with Blake’s family, with whom Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, have talked at length.

Joe Biden excoriated Trump on Monday as a threat to the safety of all Americans, saying he has encouraged violence in the nation’s streets even as he has faltered in handling the coronavirus pandemic.

Joe Biden condemned the violence, “whether on the left or the right,” and has called on Trump to do the same, don’t hold your breath.

 

 

Sources: Guardian, raw story, Washington Post, LA Times 

Trump has infected his cult followers with his symptoms

A Yale psychiatrist who has sounded the alarm on Donald Trump’s mental health for years warns that the party’s attempt to stoke fear in the electorate at the Republican National Convention could lead to violence against his opponents.

The convention featured an unprecedented number of false claims and downright lies, unhinged conspiracy theories, and hours of racial fear-mongering. Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist at Yale School of Medicine who taught at Yale Law School, told Salon that the stoking of fear was so coordinated that pushing back could provoke a violent response.

Lee has studied violence for years. She is the author of the textbook “Violence,” editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President (Trump),” and president of the World Mental Health Coalition, which recently issued a “Prescription for Survival Refill” and is releasing a new collection of statements, conference transcripts, and columns called “Documents.” She recently interviewed Mary Trump on her new website about Trump’s mental health.

Lee said that the American Psychiatric Association, which warned against mental health professionals offering their opinions of the Trump’s mental health, had denied the public a full view of what is happening in the White House.

“The public has been deprived of expert knowledge for too long, as it misunderstood and normalized serious pathology to a level of profound danger,” she told Salon. “Professional institutions should not function as lackeys of the government but do their public function. I have criticized from the very start the way the American Psychiatric Association intervened to mislead the public into believing that they cannot hear from mental health experts about the mental health of a president (Dictator). Imagine the American Bar Association prohibiting all legal professionals from commenting on societally relevant legal matters unless they personally represent the public figures and obtain consent from them to speak about them. It is absurd, and it is about time we stop treating mental health issues so differently and esoterically, when science demands the exact opposite.”

Other experts suggest a cautious, precedent-setting approach. “I think the same way that candidates have their physical health scrutinized, they could have their mental health scrutinized,” Amy Barnhorst, a psychiatry professor and the vice-chair for clinical services at UC Davis, told Salon in January. “But we have to ask ourselves: What would we do with that information?”

Lee spoke to Salon about the convention and how it could affect the electorate heading into November.

As a psychiatrist who has been sounding the alarm on this presidency for years, what were your takeaways from the convention? Did anything surprise you?

It has not been surprising, but impressive in how well-orchestrated and coordinated the convention was, starting with holding the event on the White House lawn. No breach of rules or actual harm matters, as long as there is impression management, which is the key to psychological conditioning, manipulation, and control. Republicans understand this power of the mind and use it perversely. Democrats do not even inform themselves of it to achieve their political goals, let alone protect the population, as we learned from our attempts to obtain consultation. This election will be more difficult than 2016, since Donald Trump has infected his followers with his symptoms, by sheer duration in office. He will also no doubt use the full powers of the presidency now to choreograph his remaining in office, regardless of the means — and I believe people realize by now that there is no limit to what he will do to “win.”

Many of the speakers described a very different presidency than we’ve seen, one that successfully accomplished many things and beat back the coronavirus. Kamala Harris said the goal of the convention was to “soothe Trump’s ego.” Do you think that’s accurate?

That would be the most minimal description, falling far short of what the situation demands. Politics, without grounding in reality, seems to have become a circular enterprise that has to do with nothing but power: this side impeaching only because the other side has in the past, or hesitating with a valid intervention “in case” it backfires. Journalists need to offer grounding in facts, and experts must give evidence based on the best available knowledge. Politics should be based on facts and evidence. Our system is unusual in that we not have freestanding scholarly advisory boards or other means for scientists and other intellectuals to give independent input into governance. This was criticized in the 1970s, and now it is far worse: experts convene only when politicians invite us, for their purposes, and the end result for mental health is that administrations that need consultation the most will be the least likely to seek it.

Trump and other speakers repeatedly lied throughout the event. How does that affect the psychology of the overall electorate, to have a four-day stream of lies broadcast by all the major networks for four straight days?

This has now become a societal phenomenon. We do not think of mental symptoms as infectious, but they are potentially far more so than Ebola or coronavirus since you do not need physical contact for the symptoms to transmit to millions, as long as you have emotional bonds. The end result is dramatic, as we now see before our eyes.

In our individual-oriented culture, not even psychiatrists consider this phenomenon sufficiently, but contagion is well-documented in the literature, and especially my colleague at the World Health Organization, Dr. Gary Slutkin, has long advocated approaching violence as a contagious disease. [Editor’s note: Other experts have pushed back on this model.]

It is rather a mistake to believe that mental symptoms cannot transmit when we have set up the perfect conditions for it. Those who do not succumb also generally grow exhausted and acquiesce. The good news is, like the pandemic, we can contain it if we intervened intelligently and scientifically.

How can Democrats counter Trump’s lies? Is it possible to counter this non-stop narrative with facts and reality?

When lies are of a pathological degree, they may arise from delusions, which means they are resistant to facts and reality—all you will likely do is arouse defensive “doubling down.” This is what you see with the growing detachment from reality and the embracing of conspiracy theories like QAnon.  As evidence of Trump’s incapacity and criminal-mindedness mounts, increasingly outlandish explanations are necessary to hold onto cherished fixed beliefs: such as that the person one supports is a savior figure who can do no wrong. Donald Trump is masterful at cultivating and stoking this need since his (political)—or more importantly, his psychic—survival depends on it.  This level of denial can be dangerous, as challenging it could provoke a lot of violence.

How to intervene? The situation has gotten so serious, we are at a point where we need specialists. You would not order heart surgery by a politician, just because it is occurring in another politician, would you? And so why do we attempt to tackle a serious mental health problem politically? My colleagues and I have issued a “refill” to our “Prescription for Survival.”  People will see that what we issued in March of this year when we had about 1,000 COVID-19 deaths, is all the more applicable now.

Edited from a story by Igor Derysh in Salon / Alternet

Trump and his cult followers are stoking a race war

BuzzFeed News reported that the suspect in the Kenosha shooting attended a Trump rally in Des Moines, Iowa in January — and sat in the front row. It figures, we think he was clearly inspired to go out a shoot people after listening to “Dear Leader”

“Kyle Howard Rittenhouse’s social media presence is filled with him posing with weapons, posting ‘Blue Lives Matter,’ and supporting Trump for president,” reported Ellie Hall, Amber Jamieson, and Tasneem Nashrulla. “Footage from the Des Moines, Iowa, rally on Jan. 30 shows Rittenhouse feet away from Trump, in the front row, to the left of the podium. He posted a TikTok video from the event.”

“Seven months later, Rittenhouse went with his rifle to the third night of Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha,” continued the report. “Rittenhouse attended as an armed vigilante, supposedly assisting police and protecting property in an unofficial capacity but instead he prowled the protest with a gun. Videos captured him fraternizing with law enforcement and attempting to get their attention.” He is accused of opening fire, killing two protesters and injuring a third.

Rittenhouse, an Illinois resident, was arrested on Wednesday after allegedly fleeing back over the state line.

Trump has been sharply critical of the Black Lives Matter protests, recently threaten to stoke violence by sending the military to states with protests to supposedly keep order but really to provoke.

News source Raw Story