By Robert A. Vella
In today’s post, we’ll cover the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic, related political developments, new incidents of racism, U.S. Supreme Court rulings, and other important headlines. But first, we’ll examine advance previews of a tell-all book by Mary Trump – the niece of the President – which details a pathological Donald Trump raised by a father I perceive as nothing less than sadistic.
If anyone had any doubts about the tremendous impact of social environment and upbringing upon the mental health of children, this book will surely give them good reason to reconsider.
Although I have no professional credentials in psychology or psychiatry, I have studied those subjects quite extensively. It has provided me with a basic understanding sufficient for the purposes of this blog, but I am not qualified as an expert. Regular readers are probably familiar with my frequent assertions that Donald Trump suffers from megalomania and sociopathy. In fact, these non-clinical terms describe the same general psychological condition which is technically identified as narcissistic personality disorder under the broader category of antisocial personality disorders.
Individuals suffering from these disorders are typically able to function in society and are not necessarily prone to egregious criminal behavior; however, when empowered in some manner, they are much more likely to act on their impulses. When Trump became President, he was empowered in the strongest way possible.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton
The intrinsic danger of empowered sociopaths was professionally addressed in a book published during Trump’s first year in office. From Wikipedia:
The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump is a 2017 book edited by Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist, containing essays from 27 psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals describing the “clear and present danger” that US President Donald Trump‘s mental health poses to the “nation and individual well being”. Authors argue that the President’s mental health was affecting the mental health of the people of the United States and that he places the country at grave risk of involving it in a war, and of undermining democracy itself due to his dangerous pathology.
Consequently, the authors claim, Trump’s presidency represents an emergency which not only allows, but requires psychiatrists in the United States to raise alarms. While it has been repeatedly claimed that they have broken the American Psychiatric Association’s Goldwater rule– which states that it is unethical for psychiatrists to give professional opinions about public figures without examining them in person, –the authors maintain that pointing out danger and calling for an evaluation is different from diagnosis. They have criticized the American Psychiatric Association for changing professional norms and standards, stating that it is dangerous to turn reasonable ethical guidelines into a gag rule under political pressure.
Mary Trump’s book, to be publicly released next week, adds a lot of weight to concerns about her uncle’s mental health. The cold-heartedness of Donald’s father, who ruthlessly engaged the world from a diametric viewpoint of winners versus losers, laid the psychological foundation of the man in the White House today – a man whose deep and intense insecurities obsessively compel him to dominate everyone and everything around him… no matter the cost.
From: A Guided Tour Into the Troubled Mind of Donald Trump [emphasis by The Secular Jurist]
(Bloomberg Opinion) — Mary Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and the niece of the president of the United States, knows of what she speaks.
Then again, Fred Sr. treated most people dismissively, and Donald is what Mary describes as a “Frankenstein’s monster,” shaped by his father’s pathologies. Fred Sr. lacked the marketing savvy and media know-how of his son, so he helped push Donald into the spotlight and risked the family fortune along the way so he could bask in his son’s glory. Donald thrived on the attention and took advantage of the license afforded by his father’s wealth, eventually adopting “cheating as a way of life.” Mary takes the media to task for searching for a “strategy” in anything Donald does and for soft-pedaling what she describes as multiple psychological disorders, which, by her account, check a variety of boxes in diagnostic manuals. She thinks that Donald, at a minimum, suffers from an “antisocial personality disorder” and a longstanding but undiagnosed learning disability.
“The fact is, Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neuropsychological tests that he’ll never sit for,” she writes.
Mary’s understanding of her family was also shaped by reporting in the New York Times. A landmark expose the Times published in 2018 about the Trump family’s tax dodging and financial chicanery relied on her as a key source. She provided the paper with pivotal documentation that showed how the Trumps used a shell company to skim millions from the family business to avoid estate and income taxes. It was the Times’s forensic work, using her documentation, that revealed the skimming to her and to readers – and also made her realize that her aunts and uncles had most likely been cheating her out of significant sums of money as well.
From: Mary Trump’s disturbingly credible assessment of her ‘dangerous’ Uncle Donald (opinion) [emphasis by The Secular Jurist]
On page after page of this book, to be published next Tuesday, the author relies on her perspective as an insider and her expertise as a psychologist to reveal the family dynamic that produced a person capable of the kind of outrageous acts Trump has committed. This is, after all, a man who used insult, racism, and lies to gain and maintain power. A president whose leadership contributed to lethal fiascos involving asylum-seeking children, hurricane victims and, now, a pandemic made far worse by his bungling. Through it, he has seemed immune to feelings of regret, grief and empathy.
In the same part of the book, Mary Trump notes that the President’s older sister Maryanne Barry, a former federal appellate court judge, considered him a “clown” with “no principles.” The author also describes how when her uncle was campaigning for president, she heard echoes of Trump family dinners in the way that candidate Trump mocked and disparaged others. “That kind of casual dehumanization of people was commonplace at the Trump dinner table,” she writes.
Mary Trump resists giving the President a formal diagnosis. However, she does note his narcissism and suggests that he seems to fit many of the criteria for the serious diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder. “He is and always will be a terrified little boy,” she says. It is her concern over the damage a terrified person might do, she writes, that makes her call him “the world’s most dangerous man” and compelled her to tell the truth she knows. The result is an insightful, well-crafted memoir written by someone familiar with the Trump story from the inside and out — and who wrote it in spite of family pressure to stop her.
From: The Inside Story of Why Mary Trump Wrote a Tell-All Book [emphasis by The Secular Jurist]
For most of her life, Mary L. Trump was shunted aside by her own family.
Her uncle, President Trump, for years looked down on her father — his own brother, Fred Trump Jr., an alcoholic who died when she was a teen.
Her grandfather, Fred Trump Sr., hated her mother, whom he blamed for Fred Trump Jr.’s drinking, court papers say. Her aunt, the president’s sister, once accused Ms. Trump and her brother in a legal deposition of being “absentee grandchildren.”
Ms. Trump’s status as an outcast culminated in 1999 when Fred Trump Sr. died, and she discovered that she and her brother had been cut out of his will, depriving them of what they believed was their rightful share of untold millions. A dispute over the will devolved into a court fight, its details shielded by a confidentiality agreement that Ms. Trump has adhered to for nearly 20 years.
Over 11.8 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.
Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 2.9 million diagnosed cases and at least 131,481 deaths.
Coronavirus crisis expanding in South and Southwest
US sets another record with over 60,000 new cases in a day
(Bloomberg Opinion) — President Donald Trump inherited the world’s best economy in 2017 and helped make it one of the worst. The coronavirus pandemic would have made Americans miserable under any president, but it was Trump’s defiance of science, muddled messaging and incessant vitriol that has plunged the country into a swamp of joblessness, receding labor participation and slumping business confidence unseen in other developed nations. Trump’s four years in office already measure up as the biggest economic disaster for any U.S. president in modern times, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The FBI is investigating an incident over the Fourth of July weekend in which an Indiana man says he was the victim of a racist attack involving threats of a noose.
His lawyer, Katharine Liell said it’s a hate crime investigation. When CNN reached out to the FBI to confirm that a hate crime investigation has been opened, FBI public affairs officer, Chris Bavender told CNN, “the FBI is investigating, we have no further comment.”
The alleged victim, Vauhxx Booker, spoke along with two witnesses and elected officials Tuesday, and publicly demanded justice.
“Without these folks, I would be a hashtag,” said Booker, who is a member of both the affordable housing and human rights commissions in Monroe County, Indiana.
Booker said he and a friend entered what they said is a public park to attend a lunar eclipse viewing party at Lake Monroe, south of Bloomington, when one of the five men, who they say appeared drunk and wearing a hat with a Confederate flag on it, began following them and telling them they were on private property.
“We later found out that these individuals had blocked off the public beach way with a boat and their ATVs claiming that it was also their land. When folks tried to cross, they yelled, ‘white power’ at them.
Booker continued, “The five were able to easily overwhelm me and got me to the ground and dragged me pinning my body against a tree as they began pounding on my head and ripped off some of my hair.”
CNN has reached out to individuals believed to be captured in videos of the incident restraining Booker or part of that group.
On Tuesday, at least three witnesses to the confrontation described the events of Saturday evening.
Ian Watkins accompanied his friend Booker when he first approached the group. He said when he tried to pull one of the men off of Booker, he too was punched and shoved to the ground. Watkins told CNN he heard one of the men say something to the effect of, “Let’s get a noose and take care of this boy.”
“I was horrified and terrified. I thought my friend would get killed,” Watkins said.
Both the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are also investigating the matter, with DNR taking the lead on the investigation.