Impeach Trump Now

Anyone who has observed Donald Trump at work, or even read his daily hateful and disturbing tweets, must be painfully aware that these things point to a pathological obsession with narcissistic perfection, and are not what we should be learning about a man who is representative of the most powerful nation in the world. While enormous global problems fester, Trump tweets about celebrities who ridicule him or point out his imperfections, his daughter’s fashion line, and anything that suggests he is not the greatest man in the world.

These daily rants are, as is becoming more and more clear, evidence of a man in the throes of mental illness that threatens not only the office of president, but our republic itself. Ordinary people and professional psychiatrists recognized the signs of pathological narcissism early on. His long astonishing history of hatred of whole groups of people, his personal sexual aberrations, physical insults to women and men alike, insults in his dictated book, his daily lies, astonishing ignorance of so many things, and his very brief attention span, provide ample evidence of an incompetence that cannot be denied. These things have been continually exposed in virtually every public medium, including respected news media like the New York Times (which Trump tweets is failing), which carried the Letter shown below.

Meantime, Republicans in the legislative branch have until very recently been 100% silent as Trump set about to accomplish wholesale destruction of protections for citizens and environment alike enacted over the past half century. If allowed to continue unchecked, Trump will be personally responsible for the deaths and impoverishment of hundreds of thousands of people every year, while at the same time funneling vast amounts of cash to the owners of dinosaur corporations of the dying Carbon Age.

We have never had to impeach a sitting president for mental incompetence, but it becomes more and more evident that we must do it now. How this should be accomplished is not clear, but it is clear that Republicans cannot function in the obstructionist lockstep they practiced during the entirety of the Obama years, because to do so would be literally very dangerous. Trump and Trump alone—an unbalanced man given to temper tantrums—has the ability to launch a nuclear attack.

Please read the following and lend support to your representatives in every way you can. The enormity of the risk cannot be overstated.

To the Editor (NYT, 14 Feb. 2017):

Charles M. Blow (columnnytimes.com, Feb. 9) describes Donald Trump’s constant need “to grind the opposition underfoot.” As mental health professionals, we share Mr. Blow’s concern.

Silence from the country’s mental health organizations has been due to a self-imposed dictum about evaluating public figures (the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 Goldwater Rule). But this silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.

Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.

Lance Dodes, M.D. and 34 other respected practicing and retired psychiatrists

A Few Minor Observations for the Coming Age

Hillary Clinton was elected to the presidency, but it’s the fifth time the loser will move into the White House, thanks to the obscenely useless electoral college. Republicans and their disaffected are rejoicing.

Donald Trump is a despicable person, a persistent liar, philanderer, misogynist, and cheat, singularly unqualified to be president. A man with the attention span of a kindergartener, who has probably never actually read a book in its entirety. He won with lies and appeals to hatred, telling white America they have been cheated by Democrats. Trumpsters have short memories: it was Obama who rescued Michigan from economic oblivion, yet they voted for Trump.

I read what he wants to accomplish, and agree with some of it. But most of it is the usual Republican nonsense that gives money to the rich at the cost of those who aren’t, the triumph of Big Money. Not only will we now have a billionaire for president, the very rich will have complete control of all parts of the national government. The very rich and their Republican puppets will rearrange things so they can burn unlimited fossil fuels, which will affect the entire world in calamitous ways.

Unfortunately, Republicans and the very rich have almost no understanding, or even belief in, the most significant issue in the entire history of humankind, the inexorably changing climate. A Republican carried a snowball onto the Senate floor to “prove” that warming is a hoax, and too many others presented such stupidities like, warming can’t be real because carbon dioxide isn’t poisonous. 

But climate change is already here, increasingly obvious, and can only get worse. Melting of “permanent” ice is already decades old, and now it looks like the entire ice mass of Greenland and both polar ice caps will melt over the next century or so. This will increase the depth of the ocean by over eighty feet. Likewise, temperature increase is already advanced. In several parts of the globe extended periods of 120ºF or higher cause tens of thousands of deaths every year, and the hottest US cities and regions experience a month or more when the temperature never drops below a hundred. Eventually the average ambient temperature will cross the 125ºF mark, above which human life is not possible.

But these concerns are long range. Besides casual attitudes toward our descendants, Republican dominance means thoughtless voiding of laws that protect the lives of us all right now.

Trump never failed to play to the anger and racial hatred of people who feel they have somehow been wronged by people with darker skin. This is a common tactic of tyrants, one played masterfully by Adolph Hitler. The “wronged” come to believe that Those Others are the reason they are not rich and respected, and therefore they are treacherous and inferior. In so doing Trump earned the full support of the KKK, the neo-Nazis, and every other racist, white supremacist hate group in the country. In effect, Trump gives them all license to commit violence against Jews, blacks, homosexuals, Mexican-Americans, Muslims, immigrants—anyone. Nazi graffiti appeared even on election day. In many places it will become dangerous for anyone who seems even slightly different to walk down the street. With some 350-million guns in the country, Trump has issued a general license to kill.

One wonders why white supremacists believe as they do, since their only achievement is accidental paleness, and not one of them has accomplished anything of real significance.

A third element lies in the realm of economics. Trump has repeatedly proven to economists that he knows nothing about the subject. In fact, Republicans in general tend to be ignorant of it. Paul Ryan, majority leader of the House, is widely admired by Republicans for his economic plan for the nation, a plan of sheer nonsense that depends on many billions of dollars of phantom cash from mysterious unexplained sources that not even the GAO can find. Or perhaps they expect that doing away with their favorite boogiemen will put money into the budget and somehow make it work.

They will almost certainly rescind social programs they don’t like, programs that millions depend on: Social Security and Medicare, particularly Obamacare. This will throw Americans by tens of millions into abject poverty with no escape, including millions who believed Trump’s fantasies. These cuts will have absolutely no effect on the budget, but many bureau budgets will be cut enough to make their departments ineffective, thus crippling essential government programs. Since Obama already cut the bureaus, it’s hard to imagine how further slashing will help.

Trump himself brags about his business prowess, but it doesn’t really exist. As economist Robert Reich pointed out, if he had simply invested his entire inherited fortune in an index fund, he would be at least four times more wealthy than he is. Even the money he did make was largely due to up-front payment for use of his name, as well as out-and-out cheating of his clients and employees. Most of his ventures either went bankrupt or earned far less than he claimed. Frankly, he’s a liar and a cheat, which his election is unlikely to change. The economic benefits he promised followers simply do not exist.

Perhaps he didn’t really expect to win, and now finds himself confronted by his own ignorance, with a plan that will punish his followers. How long will it take them to realize that? What will happen when they do?

Oh, Thank You, Donald Trump.

You have done the world a vastly important service, Donald, by letting us know how very, very much remains to be done before women share their half of the sky.

We had become complacent. About the fact that at least a majority of women in the US were sexually molested, many of them beginning when their age was measured in single digits. About the lengthening list of women who tell us that Donald Trump forced himself on them, by unwanted kissing and groping. And men on busses and subways grabbed at them, even exposing themselves. By unwanted propositions, bragging, threats. About the endless unwanted catcalls to every woman on the street.

Conditions for most women in the Western world, particularly the US, are bad, but conditions elsewhere are unforgivable. In much of the world women are viewed as equivalent to livestock, as cheap commodities, to be used, abused, and discarded at the whim of men who are often their inferiors, but imagine they are superior.

We had forgotten about the father who buried his daughter alive because a boy looked at her. We had forgotten about how new brides who displeased their in laws were doused with fuel and set afire in a “kitchen accident”. How women who were criminally violated were murdered by brothers to preserve “honor”. How wives were divorced with a simple proclamation, whereas the unhappy and abused wife had no such option, and would be left penniless and homeless by him. How any male in the family was free to beat any female. About the many places where women owned nothing, and when their husband died they were left destitute, called witches, and shunned. How the kitchen is seen as the only place a woman is allowed to be, even wives of state rulers.

While many young women in the US view virginity as something to be disposed of at the earliest opportunity, they don’t view their bodies as something available to any man who decides he wants it. They don’t want to be drugged at some wild fraternity party and gang-raped. They don’t want to be raped, period, because rape is a violent invasion of a woman’s body, and a woman being raped doesn’t even know if she will also be murdered.

Donald Trump is a disgusting individual with not even vague redeeming values. He’s a liar, a cheat, a philanderer, a foul-mouthed braggart, a tax cheat, and much more. But there are plenty of other men not much better. Men whose income, perhaps, makes them think that they are at humankind’s pinnacle, and therefore they are entitled to take whichever woman they want, and treat her however they want. Men who achieve something, and come to believe they are not required to honor basic human values like honesty, trust, and love.

There are also macho-manly men, whose egos are so fragile they cannot let their wives work, lest they begin to feel even a little bit independent, who would feel betrayed if they earned less than their wives. Too many men believe it is their prerogative to beat their wives to keep them in their place, and even to injure them so badly they are hospitalized.

In some parts of the world the toxic machismo among so many men in the US is seen as tragic, as a terrible flaw that poisons relations between spouses, making divorce much too easy and, with all our guns, tragedy all too common.

The most important part of feminism is the realization that women are every bit as smart and talented as men. Men’s imagined superiority is nonsense. What this means is that, to the extent that women are held back, we are losing the benefit of their abilities. Our world is the lesser for it. Our lives are impoverished because of it.

In too many societies that means nearly half of the benefits they might have, those from women’s talents, are lost completely. How many women are stifled from becoming the scientists, surgeons, artists, composers, states-persons, philosophers, writers, and so on, they might have become? What forces are purposely used to suppress their talents? There are several, including religion, tradition, machismo, and others.

We are moving in the right direction, but far too slowly, and sexual abuse of every sort and pointless attempts to confine and limit women hold back progress for us all.

Is There Anything Left of the Republican Party?

9 November 2016, San Francisco

Now that the detestable Donald Trump has at last been slid off the speaker’s platform, we are free to wonder whether it will be possible for the Repubs to regain some semblance of normalcy and decency after eight years of blatant racism and hate. Some say no, that their core no longer exists. Maybe so. We are left to wonder how it was possible for the sensible Republican party platform of the 1950s—which was much like today’s Dem platform—to devolve into the obstructionism, fear, hatred, stupidity, and magical thinking that characterized the Republicans this past decade.

Let the survivalists who are terrified for some reason by the very thought of President Hillary Clinton help the American cause by buying up guns and ammo and dried foodstuffs in weatherproof containers, and retreat to lonely places far away from the rest of us. Let the few remaining real Repubs gird their loins and push the Tea Party nitwits out of the room to commune with the rest of those who reject reality. Let them search for other real conservatives who do not fear reality, who depend on a real world based on science and things that can be proven, such as climate change. Perhaps if that happened Repubs could regroup and devote time to actually governing, rather than making opposition to the president their only political goal.

The first cause the new Republicans should embrace is the wellbeing of all Americans, rather than just the rich. The efficacy of their favored “trickle down” approach has been disproven many times, and is the cause of our worsening inequality. States managed by Republican governors had sharply diminished tax revenue that created the necessity for large budget cuts in things like education, public health, and infrastructure. Any Repubs who still buy into “trickle” should be tossed out on their ears.

The second most important thing Repubs must do is to give up their sacred myth that people are poor because they refuse to work. Sorry folks, people are poor because they can’t earn a decent living, either because they aren’t paid a living wage or there simply isn’t any work. It’s important to understand that all work is worthy work, and the simplest job must be reasonably paid with a living wage. The reason raging Trumpsters have some legitimate gripes is because they can’t find work.

Third is acceptance of the truth that private enterprise is powerful, but it must be regulated and controlled, and it is not the universal economic answer. For many economic needs the most efficient mode is public financing: highways, defense, communications regulation… The prime unaddressed need, of course, is health care. As the only advanced nation without national health care, we spend double what all others pay, and our private insurance industry contributes not one red cent to actual health care. These are indisputable facts. Republicans must stop costing us so much to satisfy their free enterprise fetish.

We have barely recovered from the Great Recession that Obama was faced with on Day 1. Unfortunately, the slow but consistent recovery bypassed too many people, and this must be addressed by finding new ways for people to be employed. Republicans must for a change help this effort, not hinder it.

Some want a guaranteed minimum income, but in my opinion the most important element here is the standard work week. Once it was 72 hours—six 12-hour days including Saturdays. Half a century ago it became 40 hours, which was accomplished without the economic collapse that some predicted. Today, as John Maynard Keynes predicted nearly a century ago, there is no necessity for anyone to work more than about 20 hours. This has come about because of ever-improving efficiency, especially with computers and robots in recent times. The trend will continue. Republicans must help the effort to solve the problem, rather than pretend it’s some bygone year.

Maybe the biggest international problem is our need to prove our machismo by waging pointless wars against small nations. The US has been at war almost constantly since the Revolution, unsuccessfully more often than not. We need to improve the world by quitting that. It would help if some part of the Pentagon budget were switched to something more important, like child welfare.

Climate change is now impossible to deny, with record atmospheric greenhouse gasses, steadily rising temperature, vanishing glaciers, a melting arctic, withering Greenland ice cap, dreadful droughts, massive wildfires, frequent tornados, hurricanes with great flooding, shoreline erosion, and so on. The US has made some attempts to slow these processes, but we are long past the point of no return. All we can do now is hope to ameliorate some of the worst effects and hope we can deal with the rest. Continued Republican denial will cost many lives, in addition to billions of dollars.

There are many other faults that must be corrected before we can call ourselves a modern moral nation. Among these are clawing back the oligarchy-sponsored laws that allow huge corporations to avoid American taxes by setting up an office in some low-tax country and calling it home. Then there are those who ship billions of dollars, legally or not, to offshore places where the only real business is secret banking. If these outrages were ended we would have enough revenue to reform all taxes and live better lives.

Oh yeah, one last thing. If supposedly Christian Repubs want to prove they respect life, they could start with the life that’s already here, for example the 20% of American children who live in poverty and don’t have enough to eat. Everybody agrees that abortion is undesirable. If we want to eliminate it, birth control must be freely available everywhere. Trying to kill Planned Parenthood is nothing less than a cruel policy that will worsen the health of women. I note that a national health care system would make PP redundant and unnecessary.

Republicans must help to make the country what it should be. If they can’t, maybe there really isn’t a Republican Party anymore.

White Guys’ Burden?

Some years ago I was only moderately surprised at learning that virtually every black man in the country has been stopped without cause by the police, sometimes more than once a week.

But the reaction to the revelation of Donald Trump’s gross misogyny threw me aback. Not only were the reactions of women to what he says about women fierce, but one woman who asked for Tweets about their first assault—their first assault—found that millions of women responded within hours. It’s safe to say that assault is the norm. It really is a rape culture. It’s not a figure of speech.

For many it was difficult to determine which was their first. For literally all of them, sexual assault was the norm. It occurred everywhere, at any age, on the street, in subways, in stores, at work, at school… In short, we live in a society where men think that they don’t need to have the permission of a girl or a woman to touch her, to grope her, to beat her, to rape her. They don’t even have to know her. There are endless stories of men drugging women in order to rape them, which sounds to me little different from necrophilia.

College males seem to have grown up expecting to be able to force sex with any woman they choose. Consider the dozens of court cases. Consider the numerous rape reports of women in college. We have lost something important. Aren’t relationships that are interesting and loving worth something anymore?

Are women just too brazen these days? Not at all. These first assaults often occurred at the age of seven or eight, and were perpetrated by old men who were strangers, or others who were family acquaintances.

But no matter the degree of sexual assault, the bodies of women virtually everywhere are being violated, their psyches damaged, their freedoms diminished.

I’m saddened, because I love the beauty of the world. A warm day in spring is sublime. Baby animals are always impossibly cute. Mountains and water make us happy and peaceful. Good food and good company are the epitome of happy living.

I find the beauty of small children wonderful. A third-grade girl breathlessly telling her mother about the important events of the day is utterly charming. The beauty of women is of a different sort, but I am thrilled that little girls can become beautiful women.

But these feelings are tender, and they are crushed by whatever it is that makes men think it’s OK to fondle little girls, or put hands on any part of any woman one wishes. Tender feelings don’t exist under the onslaught of misogyny and coarse talk spewing from Donald Trump’s mouth, which in the meat market that is his tawdry election campaign, becomes permission for other men to behave the same way. And they do.

Trump seems incapable of expressing anything but crude and degrading talk. I doubt he understands anything about love, or anything at all that doesn’t involve some sort of financial conquest for his own profit. He fails completely to understand that other people’s lives are not his oyster, to devour if he wants to.

Nor does he appreciate a cardinal characteristic of beauty: You cannot possess beauty. You can’t even own beauty in a painting, say, because something that is beautiful will always be beautiful in and of itself. You can’t own it; it cannot become part of you. You could perhaps destroy it, and you might buy it, but you cannot possess it. You can’t even possess your wife, even with sex. Any real man knows he shouldn’t even try.

How Can We Say This?

Donald Trump has tried to sell himself as someone who will “make America great again”. The trouble is that the US is already great, not to mention that he has no idea how to do that even if it weren’t. He is quite ignorant about the Constitution and how government works, or doesn’t. He has the attention span of a kindergartener, for a position that requires hours of intense concentration.

The worst thing, though, is that he has encouraged and glorified hate. This has earned him the endorsement of every hate group in the country, the neo-Nazis, the KKK, yahoos who drive pickups with a gun rack and the Confederate flag on a broomstick, the pseudo-brave weekend machine gun warriors, and all the rest, all of them part of a minority white population, all of them racists, all of them intolerant and hateful and not terribly smart or well educated. Trump has shown them their violence is not only acceptable but desirable, which has been responsible for numerous attacks and hate crimes against innocents.

Trump’s attitude toward women has always been atrocious, as is forcefully demonstrated by recently revealed tapes and prior revelations in which he regards all women, even his own daughter, as sex objects available for whatever groping or sexual advances he wishes to make because he’s a big star. That was only a precursor to the arguments Republican presidential candidates had about who had the biggest dick.

He teaches that all immigrants are to be hated as inferior people who steal jobs, as well as hatching terrorist plots. This is a supreme irony in a country composed of 97% immigrants, not to mention that burning and bombing of black Christian churches, Jewish temples, Muslim mosques, and various minority businesses, all done by not-terribly-bright white hate groups, are terrorist plots themselves. 

No, what Trump calls the enemy is not the enemy. Trump himself is the enemy, because he is a self-proclaimed member of the very rich, and what he plans to do because of that can only weaken the country. If in fact he hasn’t squandered the entire fortune gifted to him. He fantasizes that he got this money because of his wonderfulness and brains. The truth is, however, that his money is inherited, and he has lost more than he has gained. If he had put his wealth in a good index fund and skipped all his yuge incredible projects—most of which have failed and gone bankrupt—he would be far richer than he is today.

He promises to do wonderful things for the poor and middle class, but what he has in mind, tax breaks for the rich, actually helps only the rich. Trump will make the rich even richer. He has no interest in the middle class, let alone the poor. What making the rich richer does is to make everyone else poorer, something we’ve had demonstrated many times, including in several Republican states in recent years. Not exactly what he is advertising, is it?

What’s that you say? Trump understands the middle class? Right. Trump is a guy who has always been a millionaire, who has never experienced a single day of deprivation, the kind where there isn’t enough money for food, or for essential medications. He got his start in business with a “little” loan of a million dollars from his father, who was also a despicable creature. Trump hasn’t a clue about how the real world lives, let alone how to manage the needs of a population of 325-million immigrant Americans.