A Raving Lunatic Is Doing Something Terrible To Our Country

He says he's "The Chosen One" and maybe he is-- but not God's Chosen One, Putin's and Franklin Graham's

Immediately after Trump occupied the White House Elizabeth Mica warned that "What we know about malignant narcissists is that they psychologically decompensate once they achieve the ultimate position of power. They worsen in every possible way: become more grandiose and paranoid, more aggressive and demanding, and progressively less in touch with reality (and Trump has never been fully in touch with it). We can expect his narcissistic rage to intensify in proportion to his increasing grandiosity and paranoia. His handlers will have to resort to increasingly more “creative” ways to placate and subdue him-- and it will work, for a while, until it doesn’t. There’ll be blood, symbolic, if not literal, as he’ll fire and destroy his previously 'trusted' associates, maybe even in rapid succession and without any rhyme or reason."

She continued that "His demands for adulation will also become increasingly intense and bizarre, and we’ll be witnessing idiotic and quite possibly dangerous displays of his 'superiority' and might, likely military as well. This is where the possibility of him starting a war or two just to satisfy his ego becomes quite real. It’s not only that he will never get better, but it is certain that he will get worse. There has never been a case of a malignant narcissist in power whose pathology improved, or even remained stable: they always deteriorate, and often rapidly, as they become drunk on (what they see as) now unlimited power and adulation."

Lance Dodes is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He was a guest on Lawrence O'Donnell's show a month after Elizabeth Mica's post. At the time, psychologist John Gartner said "If we could construct a psychiatric Frankenstein monster, we could not create a leader more dangerous mentally ill than Donald Trump. He's a paranoid psychopathic narcissist who's divorced from reality and lashes out impulsively at imagined enemies." Dodes responded that Trump "lies because because of his sociopathic tendencies that Dr. Gartner was talking about. He lies in the way that anyone who scams people does. He's trying to sell an idea or a product by telling you something that's untrue. There's also a kind of lying that he has that is, in a way more serious, that he has a loose grip on reality."

This week O'Donnell had Dodes back for another look at how things have been going for Putin's pick for the presidency of the United States. He said Trump's mental illness has gotten worse since he's occupied the White House. Watch the video... if you dare:

Trump, he explained, can't stand challenges. "It was predictable once he got into a position where people would challenge him-- there are two parties-- he would become more unhinged... The more you challenge him, the more unhinged he becomes, there paranoid and the more violent, potentially."

In his New York Magazine column yesterday, Jonathan Chair noted that the main reason Trump is melting down is because China won't give in to him on trade. (Denmark is still refusing to sell him Greenland and China is responding to his latest onslaught of tariffs against them with more of their own; that's how a trade war works. In response, the U.S. stock market crashed yesterday, the Dow sinking 522.70 points.)

Trump is in the midst of a public meltdown that is humiliating, scary, and banana republic–y even by Trumpy standards. The reason is that Trump started a trade war and China refuses to back down, having announced this morning that it is imposing retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods.

Trump has picked fights with lots of countries. Usually they either placate him or try to give him a face-saving way of de-escalating (e.g., Mexico, which is never going to pay for the wall but doesn’t talk about the fact that it’s never going to pay for the wall anymore). Sometimes they get Trump to fold by stroking his ego (the North Koreans have carried out the most over-the-top version of this tactic).

China is playing it differently. Trump is pressuring China with tariff threats, on the theory that China, which is more export-dependent than the U.S., has more to lose from a trade war. China, apparently, calculates that it is Trump who has more to lose from a trade war, since he is facing reelection next year and Chinese president Xi Jinping is facing reelection … never. What’s more, China has little incentive to cough up permanent concessions in its trade relations with the U.S., given that there’s a better-than-even chance Trump will lose and it can just wait for the next president.

This has provoked one of Trump’s wilder public tantrums. First, he has lashed out at Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell, who has become Trump’s scapegoat for bad economic news despite the fact that it was Trump who appointed him to the job. (“Trump installed a Fed chair who is singlehandedly destroying the economy” sounds like an attack on Trump, but oddly enough it is Trump’s own argument.)

Trump wants Powell to aggressively, quickly, and smoothly reduce interest rates to mitigate the economic harm Trump is inflicting on the economy. As Powell has pointed out, this is hard. “Because the most important effects of monetary policy are felt with uncertain lags of a year or more, the committee must attempt to look through what may be passing developments and focus on things that seem likely to affect the outlook over time or that pose a material risk of doing so,” the Fed chairman said today. “But fitting trade-policy uncertainty into this framework is a new challenge.”

Translation: Monetary policy is always hard, but it’s really hard when the president is erratic.

Trump has accordingly added Powell to his list of Enemies of the People. “My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?,” he tweeted, a message that is unlikely to calm the waters.

Trump followed up that crazy tweet with a series of even crazier tweets, in which he ordered American firms to “immediately start looking for an alternative to China.”

He added a “hereby” to the order, giving it the ring of a presidential decree. Trump does not actually have the power to unilaterally order private firms to redesign their global business models at the drop of a hat just because he is mad online.

The stock market has indicated that businesses have not exactly been enjoying Trump’s anti-China bluster, but their panic has been bounded by the expectation that he will ultimately back down, as he has in his other international confrontations. Surely Trump won’t escalate the trade war to the point where he tips his own economy into recession, right?

The normal rule is that presidents who run for reelection in the midst of a recession lose. Trump may not believe the normal rule applies to him. The Washington Post reported that Trump has been briefed on the ominous economic news but “has told aides that he thinks he can convince Americans that the economy is vibrant and unrattled through a public messaging campaign.” Maybe he thinks his propaganda apparatus can convince voters the economy is good even if it’s bad?

If Trump does believe this, then he might actually continue escalating his trade war with China-- not just with fake presidential decrees but with continued tariff increases. And maybe the assumption by business that this will all somehow end without too much collateral damage might turn out to be misplaced.

Down With Tyranny

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