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Laughter as Power and its medium: America is ruled by the late night comedians rather than politicians. Apparently, they are interchangeable, or so the public sees it, and very likely, wishes it. – M.N. – 10.24.17
Comics including Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers, addressed Trump’s call with the widow of a fallen soldier and the GOP’s tax reform plan
Late-night hosts on Monday discussed Donald Trump’s ongoing feud with congresswoman Frederica Wilson, the GOP’s plan for tax reform, and Trump’s false statement that he is allowing previously unreleased files about the JFK assassination to be made public.
“This weekend, the president sat down with Fox News host and salon haircut photo number seven, Maria Bartiromo, and Maria immediately held Trump’s feet to the fire to make sure they were nice and cozy,” began Stephen Colbert. The host then showed footage from Bartiromo’s interview with the president, in which she begins by crediting him for the stock market boom.
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Russia carries out and encourages ‘active measures’ in Europe to destabilise ….. the much-mythologised but nonetheless real ‘troll farms‘ such as the infamous … Putin’s disingenuous claim that the US electoral hack could have been ….. soil and also to arrange the quiet return to Moscow of three Russian …
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This issue, “Google censorship“, has the enormous importance, since the every aspect of our lives became so dependent on the Internet and the all thing digital, and became so interconnected with them.
Google Search is potentially able to decide, what we should or should not read, learn, and know. With all the benefits that Google brings into our lives, there are the very real and the very far reaching dangers too, first of all in this hidden censorship, which can potentially become the object of various manipulations, and we should be fully aware of these dangers.
Google has adopted Perspective API, which helps moderators identify and root out online comments that may be “toxic,” reports Liel Leibovitz at Tablet. It does so by reading various databases “and letting them figure out the likely patterns.” But in Google’s case, “the machines learned the comments sections of The New York Times, the Economist and the Guardian.” So the phrase “Jews control the banks and the media” was deemed only 10 percent toxic, while “Many terrorists are radical Islamists” was deemed 92 percent toxic. In other words, when the machines only “read the Guardian and the Times, they’re going to inherit the inherent biases of these publications.” So they’ve learned that “statements about Jews being slaughtered are controversial, addressing radical Islamism is verboten and casual anti-Semitism is utterly forgivable.”
The “German hypothesis” of the geopolitical developments and their drivers in 2010-2017: new rise of Germany as the “world power” and her role In “Trump-Russia scandal”
We are witnessing the inexorable and the most interesting rise of Germany as the world power, at the center of her old European Empire. At the same time the recent changes in the utterances, verbalizations, pronouncements, and probably the future policies of the European politicians, and first of all Ms. Merkel, suggest that these new developments, along with the conceptual historical lines of the German independence and assertiveness, might have benefited from the Trump Presidency and the circumstances around it.
And, which is much more, that this pattern of events and involvements that we see so far, might be indicative of a certain, perhaps, the leading, the strategic, and the planning role, that Germany hypothetically played in the Trump-Russia “affair” and “scandal”, according to the arguments presented in this article and as a matter of exercise in building a hypothesis for the journalistic investigation of the “Trump-Russia connections“.
Germany’s nuclear armament is promoted as the legitimate and timely subject for the public discussions: “The call for German nuclear weapons in one of the most powerful German daily newspapers two months before the Bundestag elections is a warning. In its plans to impose its imperialist interests a third time on the global arena, the German ruling class will shrink from nothing.”
The way the American Democracy handles the “Trump Crisis”: measured, fair, truth and roots seeking, etc., etc., proves that it is a viable, strong, and self-sustaining institution, and I have no doubts that it will resolve and overcome this crisis and will come out of it stronger. In the end, it will enhance the security of the country and, do not be surprised, the global security. “What does not kill us, makes us stronger“. Hopefully, it will not kill us.
But this crisis certainly raises a lot of interesting questions, and the role of Germany and her intelligence services in it should certainly be a part of these questions and a part of the Mr. Mueller’s, Intelligence bodies’, Congressional, journalistic, historical, and other investigations.
The set of issues and questions which have to do with and to deal with the motivations are always important for investigations, it is important for understanding of “what happenned”, but answers are often elusive and subjectively colored, skewed by our projective tendencies, which bring our own backgrounds, personalities, and experience into our attempts at interpretations and understanding. To put it simply, it comes to a question: “Why do you think, he (she, they, etc.) did it?
D. Hoffman claims, in his op-ed “The Russians Were Involved. But It Wasn’t About Collusion“, that in his “Operation Trump” Putin wanted to create turmoil and to prove that he is a worthy rival. I would argue that none of these goals would be as valuable to him as the genuinely good relations with the US, therefore this line of reasoning suggests the possibility of the third party or parties, who were just as interested in humiliating America as the Russians were, but were also interested, and maybe even more so, in humiliating and ridiculing the Russians themselves, by using them as their patsies and presenting them as the idiots, and also by re-planting and enhancing the level of hostility between US and Russia.
Mr. Hoffman’s former colleagues, J. Sipher and S. Hall think that “maybe it was collusion”, the possibility of which “is impossible to rule out”.
However, it is just as impossible “to rule out” the secret and overall directing role of the German intelligence in the case of the hypothetical German involvement, including the possible influence and manipulations of Putin’s and/or his intelligence services’ or other related structures’, the organized crime elements among them, thinking and plans. This staged, “probably innocent”, and “meant to be discovered” quality of the hypothetical or suspected “collusion incidents”, their unprofessional “loudness”, and their almost exhibitionistic character, only confirm this line of thought about the possible third party involvement.
The candidates for this role of the secret Demiurge are not that many; and, in the order of probability, include the Germans, the Israelis, the Chinese, and the others; and all or none of the above. Go figure!
However, all these possible attributional lines seem to intersect in its logical center (for the lack of better terminology available to a non-specialist) that seems to be Germany, which is connected with all the parties on her own terms and has especially close economic and geopolitical relations with Russia. To be somewhat schematic, this is the geopolitical US – Russia – Germany triangle in which economic sanctions on Russia became the geopolitical power tool and the important factor within the mutually competitive relations. This issue was addressed most bluntly and with a certain resonance by Friedman, among the others, who, I think, stated the axiomatic truths.
He recognizes that Russia has legitimate interest for its sphere of influence. However, he doesn’t hide that US is trying to geopolitically defeat and humiliate Russia and limit its sphere of influence. http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/…
Even though I fundamentally disagree with him about genuine American national and geopolitical interest in decades to come, his realpolitik gives us unique insight.
Friedman’s key points: The primordial interest of the United States for centuries (WWI, WWII and the Cold War) has been to stop a coalition between Germany and Russia.”
So far it works the other way around: Russia and Germany take turns at driving wedges between the other two “partners”. If in 2012 – 2016 it was the “martial arts hero” Putin who responded to sanctions with kicks at Obama on the posters, now it is matronly Merkel who kicks Trump on the cover of Der Spiegel.
“The major impact of these proposed sanctions is on Russia’s gas and oil industries – the lifeblood of the Russian economy where Western nations and companies are prohibited from engaging with Russian oil and gas producers and prohibited from passing on technology to Russian firms. This interdiction will be a dramatic inhibitor of Russian advances in Arctic offshore, deep water, and shale projects, and the planned second Nord Stream pipeline.”
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel signaled Germany intends to take a firm line in defending German-Russian energy cooperation.
This is another example and the one more piece of evidence of Germany’s playing the hypocritical double game: by inserting herself in the US – Russia relations and deftly playing one side against the other, or rather playing her own tune, depending on the circumstances, and most definitely, playing her own side, and first of all minding her own interests. It’s “natural”, you might say. But not in these circumstances, when the object of the threat is nothing less but the fate and directions of the Western Civilization as we know it, and when these double games and the double dealings, evolved as the instruments of the historical survival, look and feel quite unnatural presently, and also quite pre-meditated, pre-planned, possibly pre-manufactured, and more than suspicious.
Investigate the possible, the hypothetical role of Germany in the “Trump-Russia scandal” vigorously, objectively, and in-depth, this role might hold the key and provide the explanations. The strategic, long-term evaluation of the tensions within the US-Russia-Germany triangle also appears to be due and timely.
Lenin was said to be, and very likely so, the German agent, for example. Did Mr. Putin decide to fill the Leader’s slippers and to continue this noble tradition and pursuit?
The Euro-Asiatic Roots Of Russian State and Russian Kleptocracy go far back for ages, they got encoded into the Russian society and culture on the “socio-genetic level“, tying together the plundering traditions of conquerors and rulers, from Vikings to Byzanthians, to Tatars.
“If you don’t deceive, you cannot sell”, the old Russian saying goes: “Не обманешь не продашь”. Among these issues, some type of a political-financial love triangle can be traced.
To make the matters even more intriguing, apparently, there is some secret or semi-secret agreement between Russia and Germany on cooperation in intelligence matters, which opens up the whole slew of various security issues which should be the subjects of the separate discussions.
I do not think that we know enough at this time to make the definitive impression if Putin is and/or was the “German agent”, or if Merkel is and/or was a “Russian agent”, both witting or unwitting, or at least the agents of influence, but the impacts of the US Elections of 2016 visibly appear to benefit and to enhance further the stature of the “right honorable” Germany, and to paint the Russian Intelligence Services (and possibly RISS among them), presumably involved in this “operation”, almost as some hapless idiots, which they are not.
The use of the term and the theme of (child) “adoption” as a code word and the semantic substitute for the US elites’ and specifically Mr. Trump’s and his circle’s “co-option” by the Russian rulers, and by Putin in particular, most likely reflects their psychology and their condescending attitude towards this subject, as if by the wise adults towards the immature, silly, misbehaving children.
The Russians, in turn, probably are viewed, perceived and rewarded with the same attitude by the Germans, who see the Russian actors in this tragicomedy as their own “useful idiots”, as their own “unwitting agents”, as their own tools, and as their own, masterfully deceived, “manipulated manipulators”.
And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.”
I suspect, that the artist, whose style was described as “the idealization and stylization of known celebrities”, was well paid for her artistic mastery of disguise, which cannot really hide the crude, artificially over-sweetened, commercial, superficial, cheap, lying, showy sentimentality. It looks like the famed German propaganda machine is in a full up-swing mode. “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself”, Goebbels said. If you exaggerate the lie ad absurdum and artfully, they and you might eventually believe it too.
Would you trust the person in this portrait? I wouldn’t. Is she really a person or a well tuned, calculating political mechanism, painted over, for her own political reasons, with these absurdly deep, incredible, helpless, domineering, loving, so feminine, and so mysterious German-Russian blue eyes?
Some other interpretations of the same subject, just in case if you did not notice them, are here.
By the way, do you think that with such the astonishing audacity, reach, breadth and depth of the German surveillance activities and penetration (the very important questions in these circumstances about the degree of the German infiltration of the US Intelligence and Security services, and the FBI first of all, remain essentially and quite conveniently unasked and unanswered), as they were described in these recent German spying episodes, the German Intelligence was not informed in details about Trump-Russia activities, affair, and scandal, especially given the situation with and around the Deutsche Bank?
But the most intriguing questions areif the German Intelligence itself was involved in the planning and the execution of this affair from the beginning, using the Russians and the others as their unwitting patsies and laughing at them in the process. This is the more likely explanation for this tragicomedy, with all its funny incongruencies. It looks like the German historical revenge for their historical loss in the WWII, and the very convenient way to drive the wedge between two former allies and the Germany’s conquerors.
And there are some signs that the German Intelligence (with its long standing and deep roots buried and alive within the American society) might have been very much involved in this affair, and still very much is. The traditional benefits of the “plausible deniability” were most likely provided to the Madam Chancellor by her faithful Intelligence servants.
“Chancellor Angela Merkel, who took office in 2005, recently denied she had any knowledge of BND’s foreign spying operations.
“I assumed that the BND does not engage in such activities,” Merkel told a parliamentary enquiry Feb. 17. “It’s a waste of effort and energy.””
Apparently, some of her colleagues in the German Government and power structures have a directly opposite opinion on this subject.
Doesn’t the whole situation remind you the old tale about the peasant and the snake that he saved?
“In pity he brought the poor Snake
To be warmed at his fire. A mistake!
For the ungrateful thing
Wife & children would sting.
I’have known some as bad as the Snake.”
With the fall of Putin, the whole system of Putinism might collapse, despite its illusory stability, exposing all its ugly criminal Mafiosi underpinnings. This might lead to the major political repercussions inside Russia and on the global geopolitical scene.
“It now seems that the Russians − by meddling in a presidential election and by downplaying such aggression − has achieved an intelligence coup beyond the dreams of the Soviet era. The result is an America strategically and morally disarmed.”
Who and what are the culprits to point the finger at? The Russians, the Mob, the Germans, the Israelis, the Chinese, the Persian cats, any other cats, the excessive role of money in American politics, the fall in the standards of the moral-political values? All of these together, in various degrees, mixtures, combinations, and affiliations, imaginable and unimaginable? Can you picture this situation now? Is this a result of the irrational, sick, determined, aggressive, evil, malevolent, vicious hatred, envy, and the fear of America? The “soft power” concepts and the “understanding” diplomacy did not help much to diffuse these sentiments, despite the long, determined, and the sincere well-wishing efforts. This well intentioned, “eyes wide shut” blindness also paved the way to the present hell in which we find ourselves landed, now longing to keep our noses held.
“Here’s the irony. Were the Russians running Trump, they probably would have been cautious, unwilling to burn an asset on anything less than a major score. But as is, they can sit back, enjoy the show, and watch his one-man Putin tribute act.”
This is the same quality of “excessive, inappropriate, unprofessional loudness” that was astutely observed and discussed at the Congressional Hearings and that became a puzzle for many observers, as it was discussed earlier. The peculiar position of Germany was also noted by the observers. “NATO members are scrambling to build up their own defenses, in part, because they are no longer certain that they can fully trust Washington, something Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged in May.”
It might be somewhat premature to make any definitive impressions and conclusions before the Mueller Investigation is completed and its results are revealed. But the enormous, pivotal, trend setting importance of these issues are not doubted and disputed by anyone.
Do perform and publish the historical-political study of the foreign interference into the American political processes and elections from the beginning of the past century: in-depth, objective, detailed and well researched. There are definitely the lessons to learn from all of this. The present episode is really unprecedented and “unpresidented“, it can be explained in part by the Putin’s and his criminal Mafiosi minions’ extraordinary chutzpah and cunning, but these endeavors were not built on an empty ground, they have “solid and venerable” KGB foundation going back decades.
The Russians, just like the Germans and the others, love, preserve and study with diligence the historical traditions and the skills of their spycraft, especially if they worked, and worked well. As many people did say, it does encourage them to continue their pursuits unabated, especially if there is no resistance to them; just the bewilderment and confusion.
“Congrats”, bros. And what are you going to do about it now?
The self-assuring claims, including my own, that “it will never work” in America are not enough.
“The question is, how much more damage will he do to America and the world in the meantime, and at what cost?”
Trump is “married to the Mob”: literally, figuratively, or both? The question of motivation, difficult as always, apart, the couple apparently, got a nice dowry: a “yuuuge” big money washing machine, with a hair blow-dryer, included. We live in the age of the marriage equalities.
“Russia isn’t delivering for Trump”, and “Trump isn’t delivering for Russia”. So, what’s the deal, who is delivering what for whom, and who are the dealers?! Ask the Germans, they know but won’t tell you, even if they promise. Because they are so proper, so goody-goodies, and so absolutely innocent of “all zis nonzinz”. Until investigated properly, and until and if proven guilty, of course…
The legislation is “a declaration of fully-fledged economic war on Russia” that could last for “decades,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Facebook.”
With regard to the hypothetical but very important, maybe pivotal aspect of the role of Germany in Trump-Russia Affair and their Investigations, it is logical to ask a question: “What did the FBI know, when did they know it, and what did they do about it, including the use of this information?”
“According to EurActiv, “Germany, the main backer of Nord Stream II, [is] the driving force behind the hardline stance towards the US.”
The energy issue, however, is only one reason for the growing tensions between Berlin and Washington. The bitter struggle for markets, raw materials and strategic influence is bringing the two opponents in two world wars ever more frequently into conflict. There is an aggressive tone in the German media and among politicians towards Berlin’s closest ally in the post-war period that has not been heard for a long time.
One example of this is the latest edition of Der Spiegel, which appeared with a drawing of Chancellor Angela Merkel on the front page kicking a football with an outstretched leg at Donald Trump’s face. In the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Stefan Kornelius described the US as a country whose president produces a lot of filth and destroys “all standards of morals, ethics, decency and honesty.” The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung even called for Germany to develop its own nuclear weapons [- GS – M.N.]
In the federal election campaign, the parties are competing to see which can most aggressively uphold “the independent interests of Germany and Europe” against the “corrupt goals of US policy,” to use of the words of the Left Party’s Oscar Lafontaine.
Yet Trump only appears on the surface to be the cause for the deepening of transatlantic tensions. This is shown by the latest sanctions against Russia, which were passed virtually unanimously by the Democrats and Republicans in the face of initial opposition from Trump. The real cause is the irresolvable contradiction between private property relations and the nation state, on which capitalism rests, and the world economy and the globalised character of production. As in the last century, the tensions among the major imperialist powers arising from this threaten once again to provoke a world war.”
Europe is ready to adopt short-term countermeasures in other parts of the … The sanctions are a response to claims that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. … American intelligence agencies believe that attempts to do so were …
BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Germany threatened on Friday to retaliate against the United States if new sanctions on Russia being proposed by the U.S. Senate end up penalizing German firms.
The Senate bill, approved on Thursday by a margin of 98-2, includes new sanctions against Russia and Iran. Crucially, it foresees punitive measures against entities that provide material support to Russia in building energy export pipelines.
Berlin fears that could pave the way for fines against German and European firms involved in Nord Stream 2, a project to build a pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic.
Among the European companies involved in the project are German oil and gas group Wintershall, German energy trading firm Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman described the Senate bill, which must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by President Donald Trump before it becomes law, as “a peculiar move”.
He said it was “strange” that sanctions intended to punish Russia for alleged interference in the U.S. elections could also trigger penalties against European companies.
“That must not happen,” said the spokesman, Steffen Seibert.
In an interview with Reuters, German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said Berlin would have to think about counter-measures if Trump backed the plan.
“If he does, we’ll have to consider what we are going to do against it,” Zypries said.
The sharp response from Berlin comes at a time of deep strains in the transatlantic relationship due to shifts in U.S. policy and a more confrontational rhetoric towards Europe under Trump.
The new U.S. president has lambasted European partners for not contributing more to NATO, slammed Germany for running a large trade surplus with the United States and broken with allies on climate change with his decision to exit the landmark Paris agreement on combating greenhouse gas emissions.
Ironically, the part of the Senate bill that targets Russia was introduced by some of the president’s top critics, including Republican hawk John McCain.
They are intent on limiting Trump’s ability to forge warmer ties with Russia, a key foreign policy pledge during his campaign for the presidency, but one he has been unable to deliver on amid investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election.
Dialogue Breaks Down
Under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, Washington and Europe coordinated closely as they ramped up sanctions against Moscow for its 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
But the dialogue has broken down under Trump, who considered easing sanctions against Russia when he first came into office, according to U.S. officials.
“I regret that the joint approach of Europe and the United States on Russia and sanctions has been undermined and abandoned in this way,” Zypries told Reuters.
France and the European Commission also urged the United States to coordinate with its partners on such matters.
“For several years, we have underlined to the United States the difficulties that extraterritorial legislation spark,” a French foreign ministry spokesman told reporters.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, due to start pumping gas from Russia to Europe from 2019, has been dogged by controversy.
Eastern European and Baltic states fear it will make them hostage to Russian gas and undercut Ukraine by depriving it of transit fees for Russian gas supplies to Europe.
Nordic nations, meanwhile, have security concerns over the pipeline running through territorial waters, where Russia has bolstered its military presence in recent months.
Some EU diplomats fear the threat of new measures out of Washington may harden Germany’s defense of Nord Stream and complicate already difficult talks among EU nations over whether to seek joint talks with Russia over the pipeline.
“This is not helpful now. It tends to stir up desires to protect our territorial space,” one EU diplomat said.
The House of Representatives is expected to debate the Senate bill in the coming weeks but it is unclear whether it will come up for a final vote before lawmakers leave Washington at the end of July for their summer recess.
Additional reporting by Michael Nienaber; Writing by Noah Barkin; Editing by Andrew Roche
I am absolutely not interested in “transsexual issues”, including their service in the military. Let them serve if they want to, and if they are good and useful for the military. The whole issue is greatly blown out of proportions, and it is inherited from the Obama Administration, which was in its “noble search” for its great pseudo-liberal causes. As a matter of fact, I do not see it as the political, military, or the particularly “liberal” issue on the agenda. This issue has nothing to do with the political agenda, where it was inserted artificially; it has nothing to do with the human rights, or the Gay Liberation movement.
Many physicians and psychiatrists feel and think that it is entirely medical and psychiatric issue and cannot be treated as the item on the political agenda, and I agree with them. Many of them also think that these medically and psychiatrically complex issues cannot and should not be treated in a uniform fashion: one prescription or one “cut” for all, and I also agree with them.
Please, leave these complexities for the doctors to figure them out, the best they can. Give the transgender individuals the maximum of all the freedoms and the opportunities, including the military service, if they want to, and treat them just like any other individuals, and as they want to. But do not make the nonsensical and ridiculous “big issue” out of it, which it is not.
“They call themselves the Human ‘Rights’ Campaign as they take our rights away!” Dr. McHugh said. Noting that HRC is on the “warpath” against him, and “trying to send me down the memory hole,” he said, “I don’t think they can do too much to me.” He said he believes his position is safe at Johns Hopkins. And he remained confident that the media-hyped “fad” of transgenderism will fade as more and more Americans realize that performing radical operations on the bodies of self-described “transgender” men, women — and especially children — to match their confused “feelings” is “mistreatment.” “This craze is going to come apart, as crazes always do,” he said.
D. Hoffman claims, in his op-ed “The Russians Were Involved. But It Wasn’t About Collusion“, that in his “Operation Trump” Putin wanted to create turmoil and to prove that he is a worthy rival. I would argue that none of these goals would be as valuable to him as the genuinely good relations with the US, therefore this reasoning suggests the possibility of the third party or parties, who were just as interested in humiliating America as the Russians were, but were also interested, and maybe even more so, in humiliating and ridiculing the Russians themselves, by using them as their patsies and presenting them as the idiots, and also planting and enhancing the level of hostility between US and Russia.
The candidates for this role of the secret demiurge are not that many; and, in the order of probability, might include the Germans, the Israelis, the Chinese, or the others, and all or none of the above. Go figure!
Putin thought that Trump can consolidate his power just like he did: by thumping on everyone and everything. No way, Wolodimir: it is a different country, different people, and different social and individual psychologies.
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”, or for the shrewd Russian Mafiosi President to influence the kingdom of truth and liberties.
Donald Trump is perfectly “sane”. Which is not to say “normal” – in what way? Or “healthy” – how? He is “legally sane” on the basis of exclusion (he is not “insane – non compos mentis”) by the standards or criteria for the “legal insanity” (as defined by the Google Search), and by the standards, “measures”, and the “criteria” of his own and his milieu. Besides the legal ones, any other, e.g. “clinical”, definitions and standards in this situation are simply irrelevant and sound more like psychiatric-political name-calling rather than an attempt to establish a “diagnosis”, which in Psychiatry is a big unknown in and by itself.
At the same time, he is perfectly unfit to be the USA President, by the historical, social, political, moral, and psychological standards of this country and the significant proportion of its elites and populace. If voters decided at a certain historical point to elect him (leaving aside for the moment and for the purposes of this discussion the issue of legitimacy and the degree of “cleanliness” of this election), it does not necessarily mean that he is fit for this job. The voters, with all the due respect for the democratic concepts, made many historical errors in the past, and paid for them, and will do it again. The political behaviors of the “voting crowds”, with all its seeming “rationality of choice”, is just as irrational, immature, child-like, emotional, and even blind in its devotion to the leader, as any behaviors of any “crowds”; this is a feature of the “mass psychology” and the related phenomena. These issues, as we see it now, have the enormous practical implications and they have to be studied closely and objectively, “scientifically”. To make things even more complex and complicated, the Presidential “fitness” is a very relative phenomenon: everyone grows and changes on this job, and Mr. Trump obviously, makes his best efforts at adjustment. It is possible, to a degree, that this job, with its enormous, almost superhuman responsibilities, will make him into a different person. Possible, but not very likely. This possibility is also a subject to the relativeness of tones, shades, and hues.
It is much better to keep these two fields separate: not to “psychiatrize” politics, and not to “politicize” psychiatry. However, it does not mean, that we cannot use the psychoanalytic, psychological, and even the psychiatric knowledge, skills, and tools to understand the political phenomena better and deeper, and without examining the subject of the study directly or for the clinical purposes, which might be helpful but simply is not needed, is not feasible, and cannot be regarded as the reliable and proper source of information for the political-psychological evaluation purposes, with such an enormous wealth of the media reports about the President (and other political figures).
“The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological.”
Barry Goldwater wasn’t crazy. He was exceedingly conservative by the standards of his time—and that sometimes got him into trouble. In 1964, when he was running for the Republican presidential nomination, he suggested that maybe it wouldn’t be a terrible strategy to use just a few of the atomic bombs in the U.S. arsenal to defoliate forests in North Vietnam and give Americans a fighting edge. Was that extreme? Sure. Crazy? No. And, in the face of furious blowback, Goldwater was smart and sane enough to walk back his very bad idea.
That, however, didn’t stop the ironically named Fact magazine from running a sensational story with the provocative headline, “1,189 Psychiatrists Say Goldwater is Psychologically Unfit to Be President!” The story was junk: A questionnaire had been sent to 12,356 psychiatrists, nearly 10,000 of whom had simply ignored it. Of the 2,417 who did respond, a majority of 1,228 pronounced then-Senator Goldwater perfectly sane. The minority said he wasn’t — and the minority got the headline. Goldwater, who went on to win the GOP nomination only to get trounced by Lyndon Johnson, later sued the editor of Fact for libel, and he won. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) responded by adopting what it straightforwardly called the Goldwater Rule, forbidding members from offering a diagnosis of a public figure they have not themselves examined — and even then, not without that person’s consent.
But that was then. And then was before the age of Donald Trump. It was before the early-morning tweetstorms, before the febrile conspiracy theories, before the grandiosity and impulsiveness and the serial counter-factualism. It was before, in short, Americans made a man who at least appears unstable to a great many observers the most powerful person in the world. That has led a lot of people to argue that we may have over-learned the lesson of the Goldwater Rule and that it’s time to scrap or at least suspend it.
That is precisely the position another professional group, the American Psychoanalytic Association(APsaA), has now taken. In an internal email, the association urged its 3,500 members to speak their minds on the matter of presidential mental health, and if they consider Trump unwell, to say so. According to the health and medicine website STAT, some members of the group have gone so far as to conclude that not only is it alright to weigh in on the matter of Presidential sanity, but that doctors have an affirmative “duty to warn.”
In an email to TIME, the APsaA stressed that it is not suggesting that its members “defy” the Goldwater Rule—especially since it is not their rule to begin with. In its official guidelines on public figures, the organization instead urges members to “avoid the appearance of ‘wild analysis,'” to avoid overstepping “the bounds of psychoanalytic knowledge” and generally to comment with extreme care. The American Psychiatric Association quickly made clear it stands by the Goldwater Rule.
By way of disclosure, more than three years ago, I opened my book, The Narcissist Next Door, with five pages devoted to Trump. It was not a diagnosis — I’m not a clinician — but it was a description, and I continue to believe it’s a good one. I also believe the psychoanalytic group is right to take the muzzle off its members.
Consider first that we live in a far more psychologically savvy era than we did even 30 years ago, to say nothing of half-a-century back in the Goldwater years. During the 1988 Presidential campaign, Michael Dukakis took a lot of heat from the GOP over the fact that he had sought psychological counseling after the 1973 death of his brother. Would voters care if a grieving sibling — presidential nominee or not — sought such help today? Not likely. America hasn’t necessarily gotten more compassionate, but we have gotten smarter, and we have a better understanding of the difference between routine mental health problems and a truly debilitating psychopathy. If the President — any President — exhibits signs of clinical illness, we’re better able to weigh the evidence and understand the implications.
What’s more, it doesn’t take professional training or particular insight to recognize that certain human behaviors are psychic red flags. If you can’t eat a meal without first washing your hands until they bleed, it would be fair for your family to suspect that you just might have OCD. If you can’t have a single drink without then having 15 more, it doesn’t take a clinician to suggest that you may — may — be an alcoholic. Presidents have exhibited worrisome behavior before: Johnson’s exhibitionism, Richard Nixon’s seeming paranoia. But they projected a fundamental groundedness too, a basic understanding that certain actions would lead to certain results, and an ability to pursue desired ends in a linear and disciplined way.
Finally, the Goldwater Rule, while masquerading as enlightened, actually betrays an outdated divide between physical and mental health. If President Dwight Eisenhower, who at one time had been a four-pack-a-day smoker, had shown any outward symptoms of cardiovascular disease before his 1955 heart attack, it’s unlikely anyone would have been reluctant to ask whether the 60-year-old veteran of a World War was up to campaigning for reelection. Certainly no one was reluctant after he did get sick. So why stay decorously silent when behavioral symptoms are just as obvious?
It’s indeed impossible for anyone but a professional who is treating Trump to say with certainty what his clinical diagnosis is — if any. But when the mental health of one man can have such a profound impact on the lives of 323 million Americans — to say nothing of the 7.5 billion people living on the planet as a whole — it’s irresponsible to not at least have the conversation. And it’s a dereliction for the people who know the most — the doctors — not to lead it.
“Oligarchs”, both foreign and domestic, are the weapons of Putin, who probably considers himself to be the “super-oligarch”, and therefore, maybe, a “superman”, too.
Putin made a practical correction into an old dogma: “The Oligarchs International”, not the Workers International, will rule the world. Very pragmatic indeed: if the idea of “Russia uber alles” did not go that well from the left side, why not to try it from the right side, to rock the Western boat a bit? Any instability for “them” is the extra stability for Russia and for “us”, is his logic.
The wrong and twisted logic, it seems to me, and for a variety of reasons.
Did he also sell his soul, his honor, and his country after this “first step”? For how much? Mr. Mueller, give us your estimate for this bottom line, please, for the legal accuracy and correctness. Not that these figures matter that much, it does not really make much of a difference in this instance, if he did it for $1 or $1B. What matters if he did it, which still is very hard to believe.
After denial and deception come confrontation, “bargaining”, and acceptance of this possibility. Which is also hard to do.
“If you’re in relations with the Russian mafia, they’re the boss, you’re the apprentice. They can say “fired.” And they have compromised him. And they are also an arm of the Russian government. Russia is a mafia state. And I think what’s extraordinary, what Putin’s greatest achievement is, that he has weaponized organized crime so that it’s effectively a powerful foreign policy tool, and they’ve compromised the man who happens to be president of the United States now.”
Why Donald Trump and his circle were not investigated and prosecuted on money laundering charges earlier; before he started his election campaign and before he became a U.S. President?!
This is the great error of omission on the part of the FBI.
Investigate the FBI investigators! Reform the FBI! Prevent this scandal, this historical drama and political tragicomedy, this humiliation of the American political culture on the world stage, from happening ever again!
This quote is an example and an illustration of the FBI’s ineptness:
“The FBI also struggled to figure out where Ivankov lived. “We were looking around, looking around, looking around,” James Moody, chief of the bureau’s organized crime section, told Friedman. “We had to go out and really beat the bushes. And then we found out that he was living in a luxury condo in Trump Tower.””
FBI: think deeper, search better, including under your very noses, and very possible, among your own “valiant midst”.
“That helped him stay in office and also helped the FBI do its work, because if people trust the FBI they’re going to be more likely to cooperate and give tips,” said Kessler.
Luckily for Hoover, said Kessler, the truth about the infamous FBI director’s illegal investigations, instances of possible blackmail and improper espionage against Americans didn’t come to light until after his death…
Obviously, neither Starling nor Scully and Mulder nor even surfer/undercover Agent Johnny Utah will be reporting to Christopher Wray, the man on track to be confirmed by the Senate to take over the FBI after former Director James Comey was fired two months ago. But one man who could be is acting Director Andrew McCabe — who looks like he’s straight out of central casting, complete with those horn-rimmed glasses.
In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in May, just days after Comey was sacked by President Trump, McCabe had this to say about the agency: “You cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.”
Now that’s a line worthy of the movies.
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The media should start the journalistic, objective and in-depth investigation of the FBI, from its origins to the present days.
The Congress should start the independent, robust, definitive and objective investigation of the FBI, whose failures are at the roots of the major problems this country is facing. FBI should be reformed to deal with these challenges now and in the future.