Infected flea Trump has unleashed a plague on the nation

The Bubonic plague, often called just the Plague or Black Death, is spread by fleas after they  bite into an infected rodent or human host. The first bubonic plague (illustration above) killed 20 to 50 million people starting in around 500 AC and lasting 200 years. Europe experienced the most deadly disease outbreak in history when the disease hit again in 1347. It was then called the Black Death and ended up killing a third of the European human population. A third smaller outbreak occurred of the Plague in the mid-19th century killing about 80,000 people. In 1940 the Japanese bombed a town in China with bubonic infected fleas. Wikipedia

The bacterium that causes the plague still exists and there have been about 1,000 cases in the United States since 1,900. People rarely die since it is readily treated with antibiotics. This summer a child in Idaho was the first person diagnosed with the disease in 30 years. 

Trump isn’t an infected flea, but he’s just as dangerous.

When I get up where I live in Oregon, Trump has already had most of the of the morning to destroy the country and the world. When my friends ask me at the coffee shop later in the morning “what has he done today” since they know I am a political junkie I’m expected to report on his morning activities. I’m like an oncologist making rounds and telling patients how much their cancers had metastasized.

As a psychotherapist, I find it beyond terrifying that Trump, a malignant narcissist, is also a cancer on the country. “Malignant” is the one life changing horrifying word that patients and their families ever hear.

Of course personality disorders aren’t contagious like diseases like influenza or norovirus, and they aren’t zoonosis disease (spread by animals) like the Plague, Lyme, and Ebola.

However, malignant narcissists are destroyers.

They destroy the lives of their spouses, children, friends and co-workers. While not a highly contagious deadly disease like the bubonic plague, Trump is infecting the country.

Most obviously, he has become an enabler of racists and xenophobes and allow them to feel free to spread their venom believing they are doing the president a favor.

Most obviously, he has become an enabler of racists and xenophobes and allow them to feel free to spread their venom believing they are doing the president a favor. Trump’s disease has stoked the embers of fears and anxiety of people who have felt marginalized and disenfranchised from the mainstream of society into flames of outrage. He has not only celebrated misogyny but he elevated it to the Surpreme Court.

If someone presented the contagion of a disease with these ramifications they’d be placed in isolation and the CDC would be called in to identify the bacterium and seek a cure.

If someone presented the contagion of a disease with these ramifications they’d be placed in isolation and the CDC would be called in to identify the bacterium and seek a cure.

Of course he has done far more damage to our democracy than this by providing cover for self-serving elected Republicans across the country and by taking advantage of millions of people who depend on Fox News for information and lack the inclination or ability to engage in critical thinking, otherwise known s fact-checking.

Malignant narcissists are exponentially more dangerous the more power they have. If your boss is a malignant narcissist at least you can quit. If your spouse is one, you can get a divorce. There’s no therapy to treat malignant narcissism, but fortunately psychotherapy is successful in helping their victims and helping them gain the self-worth and strength to free themselves and regain their selfhood.

When your president a malignant narcissist, aside from moving to another county, you are stuck living in a country he has infected.

In the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949, in the Soviet Union twelve members of the Japanese army were tried as war criminals for manufacturing and using biological weapons. The four top generals were sentenced to 25 years in prison, and others to lesser terms.

It is possible President Trump will end up being impeached by the House and tried in the Senate. If he is found guilty he will be merely removed from office.


Getting scientific: “A Complete Psychological Analysis of Trump’s Supporters” by Bobby Azarian, Ph.D. further describes what I refer to as Trump’s contagion can do to people and the psychological reasons he has been so successful in spreading his “disease.” For example

  •  Donald Trump is unique in his ability to keep the brain engaged, America is addicted to entertainment and reality TV shows doesn’t matter what Trump actually says because he’s so amusing to watch,
  • some are supporting him simply to be rebellious or to introduce chaos into the political system,
  • the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening,
  • many who support him are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand so they simply take his word for things,
  • he plays on the discontent felt when one compares their position in life to others who they feel are equal or inferior but have unfairly had more success than them,
  • white supporters have experienced significantly less contact with minorities than other Americans,
  • some supporters may suffer from psychological illnesses that involve paranoia and delusions, such as schizophrenia, or are at least vulnerable to them,
  • he taps into collective narcissism which is an unrealistic shared belief in the greatness of one’s national group, he exploits social dominance orientation (SDO) — which is distinct from but related to  those with authoritarian personalities which is characterized by belief in total and complete obedience to authority,
  • and he consistently has appealed to bigotry, such as lacing speeches with “dog whistles” — code words that signaled prejudice toward minorities that were designed to be heard by racists but no one else.


Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

Trumpology: Trump isn’t a pathological liar. He’s worse.

The occasional Trumpology series of columns are informed by my 40 years of experience as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist and my understanding of psychiatric diagnosis, psychology, and psychopathology as applied to Donald Trump who I consider to be a sadistic impulsive malignant narcissist.

If you Google Trump and pathological liar you will find numerous articles explaining the evidence to support the claim that he is a pathological liar. The Washington Post undertook the tedious but useful task of determining the veracity of his words and the count is now over 4,000 lies. They recently introduced a new category, the Bottomless Pinocchio.

The original Pinocchio is more like Trump than the sympathetic Disney version:

“Pinocchio’s bad behavior, rather than being charming or endearing, is meant to serve as a warning. Collodi originally intended the story, which was first published in 1881, to be a tragedy. It concluded with the puppet’s execution. Pinocchio’s enemies, the Fox and the Cat, bind his arms, pass a noose around his throat, and hang him from the branch of an oak tree.” (Wikipedia)

Clinically, Trump’s persistent lying does not make him a pathological liar. It makes him a persistent liar, but pathological lying has a different meaning.

Trump, in the medical and psychiatric sense, does suffer from a mixture of symptoms when, taken together, add up to psychopathology as described in the “bible” of the mental health profession, the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic nd Statistical Manual (current edition DSM-5). Anyone can look up narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder and go over the indications to make these diagnoses and apply them to Trump. The diagnosis that fits him to a “t” isn’t in the DSM-5 but many clinicians, myself included, think it applies to Trump. This is malignant narcissism.

Pathological lying which is also called pseudologia fantastica and mythomania is, (as per Wikipedia) “a behavior of habitual or compulsive lying.[1][2] It was first described in the medical literature in 1891 by Anton Delbrueck.[2] Although it is a controversial topic,[2] pathological lying has been defined as ‘falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime’ ” (my emphasis added)

The reason Trump does not meet the criteria to be diagnosed as suffering from this disorder is emphasized in bold above. It is that most of his lies always serve a purpose. They range from self-aggrandizement (the size of his inauguration audience for example) to political (starting his run for president with two whoppers, the birther lie and the lie that rapists and criminals were flooding across our southern border) to the current flurry of lies which are attempts to save himself from impeachment or indictment, falsely accusing special counsel Mueller of having conflicts of interest and the staff led by the longtime Republican of being “angry Democrats” for example.

If Trump ever believes his lies this is symptomatic of a delusional disorder. That would mean that at least at times he is psychotic, indeed a troubling thought.

However it is more likely that his lies fit into the behavior repertoire of someone who is an anti-social personality, or to use the older and more common term, a sociopath.

Consider that lying is an aspect of anti-social personality:

a. Manipulativeness: Frequent use of subterfuge to influence or control others; use of seduction, charm, glibness, or ingratiation to achieve one’s ends.
b. Deceitfulness: Dishonesty and fraudulence; misrepresentation of self; embellishment or fabrication when relating events.

…and that lack of guilt is another characteristic of the disorder:

c. Callousness: Lack of concern for feelings or problems of others; lack of guilt or remorse about the negative or harmful effects of one’s actions on others; aggression; sadism as well as anger being a response to minor slights:
d. Hostility: Persistent or frequent angry feelings; anger or irritability in response to minor slights and insults; mean, nasty, or vengeful behavior.
There are many kinds of criminals. Think of a few television villains (I  contend Tony Soprano doesn’t fit, for example) and see how many meet the DSM-5 criteria for anti-social personality. You will find that some do and some don’t.
Then consider Donald Trump.

You be the judge.


Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

Trump’s tweets show an angry reptilian brain, Obama’s show humanity, humor

Trump and Obama’s Tweets

Trump, ignoring what any rational person would see as threats to their employment status, to put it mildly (check out the odds of him making it through his first term), once again went berserk on Twitter this morning focusing mostly on the border wall.

This morning:

1. Fake News has it purposely wrong. Many, over ten, are vying for and wanting the White House Chief of Staff position. Why wouldn’t someone want one of the truly great and meaningful jobs in Washington. Please report news correctly. Thank you!

2. Very productive conversations going on with China! Watch for some important announcements!

3. Great job by Michael Anton on @FoxandFriends. A true National Security expert!

4 ….People do not yet realize how much of the Wall, including really effective renovation, has already been built. If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall. They know how important it is!
5 …. I look forward to my meeting with Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi. In 2006, Democrats voted for a Wall, and they were right to do so. Today, they no longer want Border Security. They will fight it at all cost, and Nancy must get votes for Speaker. But the Wall will get built…
6….however, for strictly political reasons and because they have been pulled so far left, do NOT want Border Security. They want Open Borders for anyone to come in. This brings large-scale crime and disease. Our Southern Border is now Secure and will remain that way…….
7…..Ice, Border Patrol and our Military have done a FANTASTIC job of securing our Southern Border. A Great Wall would be, however, a far easier & less expensive solution. We have already built large new sections & fully renovated others, making them like new. The Democrats,…..
8 Despite the large Caravans that WERE forming and heading to our Country, people have not been able to get through our newly built Walls, makeshift Walls & Fences, or Border Patrol Officers & Military. They are now staying in Mexico or going back to their original countries…….

As it happens, most of these Tweets about the wall are lies, whether he has 10 actual qualified applicants for the chief of staff position is doubtful, and I doubt conversations with China will be productive for anyone besides China.

President Obama had one recent Tweet and it is already two days old. You can watch his video here if you are ready for fond memories of pre-Trump Christmas and Chanukkah seasons.

Barack Obama’s Dec. 10, 2018 Tweet and video

Here’s a president having a serious and calm, yet wryly humorous chat with his 104 million Twitter followers. Take that Donald Trump with your 56.2 million followers.

The “reptile brain” is shorthand for the part of the brain responsible for the fight or flight response. Trump’s reptile brain seems wired to fight, and to fight using any available means including venom, and never to flee. It could be said that a snake, even a cobra, fighting a mongoose would be well advised to flee.

“The mongoose is incredible, blurringly swift and is capable of dodging the strikes of the also very swift cobra, but the mongoose also possesses something called acetylcholine receptors which make it , not fully immune, but relatively tolerant of cobra venom. When it makes its move, the mongoose leaps, teeth bared, directly for the head of the snake. If the mongoose grabs the snake correctly it will kill it by biting right into its skull.” Reference

We know that Trump’s mongoose is named Mueller.

Trump’s reptile brain doesn’t seem to have a connection to his rational brain, the cognitive brain which enables most people to consider the longer term consequences of impulsive actions. In this day and age, Tweets are actions. Legal experts think some of them may end up as evidence of obstruction of justice or witness tampering.

Trump’s reptile brain doesn’t seem to have circuitry to enable it to connect to whatever part of the brain is capable of empathy. In fact it is difficult to find examples of Trump showing any other feelings besides anger, self-glorification, and boredom since he’s been president.

There has been reporting in the past two days that he “felt humiliated” when Nick Ayers turned down the chief of staff job; however I doubt this is true. True, he was humiliated. However, I don’t think he actually felt the feelings of humiliation (shame and embarrassment) someone who isn’t a malignant narcissist would feel.

In fact, Trump has been repeatedly humiliated, as an online search for Trump and humiliation shows. 

You’d never know it from his Tweets.


Dr. John Gartner, PhD, founder of the Duty to Warn group of psychotherapists (disclaimer: I was one of the first members) who have been warning about Trump having psychological problems making him unfit for two years, and co-author Rachel Montgomery, saved me the work of selecting a sample of Trump’s most revealing hostile Tweets, abet from last year, in this excerpt from their 2017 book “All I Ever Wanted to Know about Donald Trump I Learned From His Tweets.”