For Whom the Trump Trolls

Even with his casinos, Trump wasn’t a gambler, either, saying he’d rather own slot machines than play them.

And yet, in a strange twist, Trump has ended up an addict.

.. Lanier, who met Trump a couple of times back in the real estate developer’s New York heyday, thinks the president’s addiction to tweeting is rewiring his brain in a negative way. As Trump picks up speed on Twitter, the Oval Office is becoming a Skinner box. Like other “behavior modification empires,” as Lanier calls social media sites, Twitter offers positive reinforcement for negativity.

.. “Twitter addicts take on this kind of nervous, paranoid, cranky quality, sort of itching for a fight,” Lanier said in an interview. “Trump used to be in on his own joke, and he no longer is. He’s just striking out every morning, fishing for somebody to harass or seeing who’s harassing him.

“I do think it creates a terrifying situation because somebody who is addicted is easy to manipulate. It’s easier for the North Koreans to lie to him than if he wasn’t an addict.”

.. I saw a report on PBS about a mother on the border who was reunited with her 14-month-old child after 85 days. “The child continued to cry when we got home and would hold on to my leg and would not let me go,” the mother wrote. “When I took off his clothes, he was full of dirt and lice. It seemed like they had not bathed him the 85 days he was away from us.”

On the occasion of America’s 242nd birthday, we must ask who we are, if we can see accounts of infants snatched from their parents and returned covered in lice, and not worry about our country’s soul.

.. We have a president who is an addict running a country overflowing with opioid and social media addicts. (In an interview with The Times a few days ago, our tech reporter Nellie Bowles said she dealt with her smartphone addiction by graying out her screen, noting, “These phones are designed to look and work like slot machines — hit us with bright colors and little pings to activate and please,” and “we all have to figure out little hooks to pull back into the physical world.”).. hopes people will resume a sense of decorum when they realize “there’s very little long-term profit from a viral tweet.”

.. He figured out how to dominate Twitter, not with the cool-kid arch style of making fun of someone, but by being school-yard-bully mean.

His tweets propel the story on cable news and shape the narrative for reporters — who are addicted to the First Addict.

Trump’s Psychopathology Is Getting Worse

Most pundits interpret the US president’s outbursts as playing to his political base, or preening for the cameras, or blustering for the sake of striking future deals. In fact, Trump suffers from several psychological pathologies that render him a clear and present danger to the world.

.. Most pundits interpret Trump’s outbursts as playing to his political base, or preening for the cameras, or blustering for the sake of striking future deals. We take a different view. In line with many of America’s renowned mental-health experts, we believe that Trump suffers from several psychological pathologies that render him a clear and present danger to the world.
.. Trump shows signs of at least three dangerous traits: paranoia, lack of empathy, and sadism. Paranoia is a form of detachment from reality in which an individual perceives threats that do not exist.
  1. .. Paranoia is a form of detachment from reality in which an individual perceives threats that do not exist. The paranoid individual can create dangers for others in the course of fighting against imaginary threats.
  2. Lack of empathy can derive from an individual’s preoccupation with the self and a view of others as mere tools. Harming others causes no remorse when it serves one’s own purposes.
  3. Sadism means finding pleasure in inflicting pain or humiliating others, especially those who represent a perceived threat or a reminder of one’s weaknesses.

.. Psychological expertise tells us that such traits tend to worsen in individuals who gain power over others.

.. his lying seems to have escalated in recent weeks. Moreover, Trump’s confidants describe him as increasingly likely to ignore any moderating advice offered by those around him. There are no “grownups in the room” who can stop him as he surrounds himself with corrupt and bellicose cronies prepared to do his bidding – all of which is entirely predictable from his psychology.

.. Trump’s wild exaggerations in recent weeks reveal the increasing severity of his symptoms.

.. Consider, for example, his repeated claims that the vague outcome of his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un constitutes an end to the nuclear threat posed by Kim’s regime, or his blatant lie that Democrats, rather than his own policies, caused the forced separation of migrant children from their parents at the southern border with Mexico. The Post recently counted 29 false or misleading statements in a mere one-hour rally. Whether intentional or delusional, this level of persistent lying is pathological.

.. Since Trump actually lacks the ability to impose his will on others, his approach guarantees an endless cycle of threats, counter-threats, and escalation. He follows any tactical retreat with renewed aggression.

.. Such is the case with the spiraling tit-for-tat trade war

.. Traditional allies, not accustomed to dealing with US leaders with severe mental defects, are clearly shaken, while adversaries appear to be taking advantage.

.. Many of Trump’s supporters seem to interpret his shameless lying as bold truth-telling, and pundits and foreign leaders tend to believe that his bizarre lashing out reflects a political strategy.

David Frum – Surviving The Trumpocracy

Trump thought you can’t buy an AR-15 in a store legally. (2 min)

This is not 1933, but Trump is eroding the norms.

Not everyone has had the same advantages, don’t apologize, but live up to them.  (20 min)

Donald Trump was rated as “more honest” because he doesn’t equivocate.  This may change how future candidates speak.

After Charlottesville, leaders of all branches of the military posted (on twitter?) comments condemning the President (33-34 min)

We can’t restore bipartisanship, but we can’t do certain things. You can’t threaten to default on the national dept. It’s not acceptable to filibustering

President Trump played a respected, competent, caring business leader, holding people accountable people who never always avoid accountability but everyday people are fired.

They thought here’s someone who is going to be able get something done.

There are certain promises you make– I’ll balance the budget — and then there are promises you keep — I’ll be at your fundraiser. (47 min)

Saddam Hussein had been a threat — he had gotten into wars multiple times. In the upheaval after 911 he was going to be a dangerous actor. I assumed there was good evidence for it. The sanctions regime was deteriorating.

The most important media companies are Facebook, Reddit, Twitter.

There is a tension between Democrats wanting to influence 2018 and those who care about 2020.

America’s problems arise from cultural and economic issues. When native population falls below replacement thresholds, immigration raises cultural concerns.

You want unilateral disarmament. If you adopt his tactics, you don’t stop him, you replace him. You want the people in power to accept limits, which means that you have to accept limits.

Lyndon Johnson lied about the Tonkin, but he gave you the tools to confront him. He never isn’t that it didn’t make a difference.The present situation is an attack on the way the executive branch functions (1:14 min).

Fox News accused CNN of manipulating the town hall questions. (1:16 min)

On the matter of the FISA warrents, it was obvious to everyone that Trump was engaged in contacts with Russian intelligence and was surrounded by people with Russian ties. When Henry Wallace ran in 1948, his campaign was staffed with foreign agents. Charles Limburg accepted a Natzi medal. Carter Page was signaling that he wanted to be used. If that person were on the left, we would recognize the symptoms. (1:20 min)

Spasms of anti-Trump outrage are not going to win them back. If anything, they are confirming these voters’ conclusions that Democrats still don’t get it — and don’t get them. The left’s miasma of contempt may feel cathartic, but it is the best thing that ever happened to Trump. Indeed, it may very well get him reelected.

Democrats are targeting the “20% of Trump’s voters [who] told exit pollsters they didn’t like him” hoping these reluctant Trump voters will help power a “blue wave” in the 2018 midterms and defeat President Trump in 2020.

One problem with that theory: The left’s nonstop, over-the-top attacks on Trump are not peeling those voters away from him; they are pushing them further into the president’s camp.

In recent weeks, Trump derangement syndrome on the left has reached critical mass.

  • First, there was Robert De Niro’s “f— Trump” tirade at the Tony awards, followed by
  • Samantha Bee’s calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless c—” on her TV show. Then the owners of the
  • Red Hen restaurant threw out White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders because she works for the president, while chanting
  • protesters heckled Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen at a Mexican restaurant.
  • Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) added fuel to the fire by openly calling on mobs of left-wing activists to “absolutely harass” Trump officials. Then, there were the countless Trump opponents in the media, Congress and on Twitter who
  • compared family separations at the southern border with Nazi Germany, and the
  • Time magazine cover depicting Trump staring down heartlessly at a crying migrant girl and implying she was separated from her mother (until it emerged that she had not in fact been separated from her mother). And now come the
  •  threats to block Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before he has even nominated one.

.. How do liberals think that 20 percent of reluctant Trump voters respond to these displays of unbridled contempt? They are outraged not at Trump but at his critics. The unhinged hatred for the president makes these voters almost reflexively defend him.

.. “He’s not a perfect guy; he does some stupid stuff,” he tells the Times. “But when they’re hounding him all the time it just gets old.”

.. Democrats are deluding themselves if they think they lost because of “#NeverHillary” voters who will come home when she is not on the ballot. They lost because they have become a party of coastal liberal elites who have lost touch with millions of ordinary citizens in Middle America — working-class voters who are struggling with factories closing, jobs leaving and an opioid epidemic that is destroying their families. These voters concluded in 2016 that Democrats no longer care about their problems and that Trump does.

.. Spasms of anti-Trump outrage are not going to win them back. If anything, they are confirming these voters’ conclusions that Democrats still don’t get it — and don’t get them. The left’s miasma of contempt may feel cathartic, but it is the best thing that ever happened to Trump. Indeed, it may very well get him reelected.