Mean People

Republican Representative Matthew Gaetz’s rant at a July 23 Turning Point USA Student Action Summit got me thinking about mean people.

Gaetz called pro-abortion rallies, “Just disgusting.  But why is it that the women least likely of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions?  Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb!  These people are odious on the inside and out!” Gaetz’s glib diatribe ignores and insults attractive pro-abortion women and delivers a slap-in-the-face to, “5 foot 2 inch 350 pounds,” less physically fortunate on either side of the issue.

A decade back, sentiments such as Gaetz’s were anathema in civil discourse and virtually unheard of from a member of Congress.  Then, candidate Donald Trump mocked a handicapped journalist, and urged MAGA supporters to take dissenters out on stretchers, vowing to pay their legal bills!  Slander and lies became Trump’s trademark. The kid gloves were off. 

Rush Limbaugh seems to have pioneered “trash talk” on the airwaves.  Today, Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Alex Jones, and Fox personalities take sadistic satisfaction in publicly lying about and insulting any with whom they disagree.  On January 6, 2021, their rage acted out in terrifying, graphic form. 

The touchstone of Mean Ultra-Right-Wing rhetoric is an assumption that some humans are superior and others inferior.  Throughout human history, from the Stone Age to the Space Age, this paradigm predominates.  More recently, class conflict and revolutionary nationalism were cornerstones of Benito Mousseline’s Fascist regime.  Adolf Hitler proclaimed the superiority of a fair-skinned, blond, blue-eyed, Aryan race.  Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, physically handicapped, and others who did not look or behave according to this model were “subhuman.” 

Today, under the banner of a “Christian Nationalism” terrifyingly reminiscent of Italian Fascism and German Nazism, some challenge America’s Democracy!  The very Mean People who stridently defend the Second Amendment are intent on jettisoning the First!

What Was He Thinking?

For me, the “Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol’s” July 23 hearing boils down to one question: Why, with the safety and lives of thousands, including his Vice President, in imminent  danger; as his Chief of Staff, cabinet, legal eagles, family, even Fox personalities, urged him to call back his mob, did President Donald J. Trump, for 187minutes, monitor the attack on Fox and do nothing‽ What was he thinking?  

I’ve written elsewhere, but it addresses the question, in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump three dozen mental health professionals and others with credible knowledge, agree that Donald J. Trump exhibits symptoms a Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5) defines (NPD) as, “a persistent manner of grandiosity, a continuous desire for admiration, along with a lack of empathy. It starts in early adulthood and occurs in a range of situations, as signified by the existence of any 5 of the next 9 standards,

  • A grandiose logic of self-importance
  • A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty or idyllic love
  • A credence that he or she is extraordinary and exceptional and can only be understood by, or should connect with, other extraordinary or important people or institutions
  • A desire for unwarranted admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonal oppressive behavior
  • No form of empathy
  • Resentment of others or a conviction that others are resentful of him or her
  • A display of egotistical and conceited behavior or attitudes

What’s a slam-dunk folks, 9 for 9!

DSM5 does not define “Malignant Narcissism.” Campbell’s Psychiatric Dictionary describes it as combining characteristics of Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorders with aggression and paranoia, making the patient not only delusional but potentially dangerous!

It is impossible to conjure a more graphic scenario of Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder than President Donald Trump’s action and inaction on January 6, 2021.

During those tumultuous and dangerous 187 minutes, our President’s sole focus was to stop certification of the States’ Electors and cling to power!  As Capitol Police rushed our Vice President, Senators, and Representatives to safety from his mob, Donald called and texted those very men and women, concerned not for their safety, indeed their lives, but urging them to stop certification of the Electors!        

In Too Much and Never Enough How My Family Created the World‘s Most Dangerous Man, Mary Trump exposes the roots of Donald’s mental illness. When he was two years old, his mother became seriously ill and, thereafter, emotionally unavailable.  A real estate developer, at the office six days a week, father, Frederick, amassed fabulous wealth.  Conflating financial wealth, power, and the fame they bring, adopting this model Donald bonded with Dad.

Donald J. Trump has never experienced love!  Comments during and at the end of the January 6 riot point to Donald’s warped impression of love.  He alone saw rioters “hugging kissing” police officers.  When it became clear his coup had failed, President Trump finally called off his troops with, “We love you, you’re very special.”

Counsel For The Defense

I’m dumbfounded that Donald Trump can continue thumbing his nose and giving the middle finger to America’s laws and remain unindicted?  Then, I recall my two weeks on a jury.

A lady was suing two surgeons for medical malpractice.  After hearing the plaintiff’s case, at the conclusion of week one my feelings were, in effect, “hang the incompetents scoundrels!”  After hearing the defense, at the conclusion of week two I voted with nine of twelve other jurors to acquit.  (Two non-voting alternates concurred.)  What changed my mind?  Lawyers!

Plaintiff’s counsel presented an adequate but lackluster performance.  Defense counsel paired polished argument with a personable manner.  Debriefing with our judge, I observed, “If I needed a lawyer, I’d hire the defense counsel, Mr. Morgan.”  A fellow juror responded, “If you could afford him!”  In hindsight, I suspect the defense counsel was a $500 an hour Malpractice Specialist retained by the Insurance Company.

Some attorney opined that any prosecutor worth the price of his sheepskin can convince a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.  Ours was not a grand jury, but I’m convinced that the twelve of our jury who voted to acquit were swayed primarily, not by evidence, testimony, witnesses, x-rays, and laboratory tests, but by a slick, Big City, Hired Gun.  The poor plaintiff was hopelessly outlawyered!

In O.J. Simpson’s trial for murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, Los Angeles District Attorney Gilbert Garcetti seemed to have a slam-dunk case.  In assigning Deputies Marcia Cark and Christopher Darden to go up against Simpson’s “Dream Team”: Johnny Cockran, Robert Shaprio, F. Lee Bailey, Robert Kardashian, Alan Dershowitz, Gerald Uelman, et al., Garcetti pitted Poodles against Pitbulls! 

My grandson, Steven, is a Prosecutor.  I asked why he choose prosecution over defense.  Steven explained, prosecutors have the flexibility equitably to consider evidence and apply the law.  A defense attorney’s sole purpose is to get the client acquitted.

A battalion of Litigious Gunslinger keeps Donald Trump out of court and prison.  So long as the ex-president can con his Minions into picking up the tab, he may remain free to thumb his nose and show his middle finger to America’s laws.

Ignorance and Illusion

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance
when the need for illusion is great.”
Saul Bellow

January 6 committee member Republican Adam Kitzinger and his wife received voice and emails threatening to murder them and their five-month-old son.  No doubt these inarticulate, profanity-laced, ramblings are the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  Who knows how many Nancy Pelosi, Liz Cheney, and Chuck Schumer receive?  In Unthinkable, Congressman Jamie Raskin reports that, when he agreed to lead Donald Trump’s second impeachment, Speaker Pelosi arranged security for him and his family.           

Testifying before the January 6 Committee, aid to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson, alleged: (1) President Trump knew that some in his January 6 crowd were armed and prepared to commit violent acts.  (2) Demanding he be taken to the Capitol, the President grabbed at the steering wheel of the presidential limousine.  (3) Trump agreed Mike Pence deserved to hang.  (4) White House Counsel Pat Cipollini told Cassidy, “If he goes there, we’ll break every law imaginable.”  (5) A humorous note: Hearing a noise from the Oval Office, Cassidy went to investigate.  The valet was changing the tablecloth.  Cassidy observed, “There was ketchup on the wall and there was a shattered porcelain plate on the floor.”  Learning Attorney General Barr told the Associated Press there was no election fraud, it seems the President threw a tantrum.

For her courage and candor, no doubt Ms. Hutchinson receives death threats and marriage proposals.  The wannabe assassins and bridegrooms are motivated by testosterone and politics, rarely facts.

Did Ms. Hutchinson, “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”?  Or, is she a brazen, bald-faced liar?  Would an obviously intelligent Republican White House aid dream up allegations so easily reputed? 

For me, this raises a larger question: Apart from Chaney, Kitzinger, and a handful of others, do left-leaning Republicans legislators receive death threats?  They would have to be authored by Democrats.  It’s impossible to imagine Democrats scribbling, emailing, or texting, rambling, profanity-laced death threats. 

Mass Murderers

Richard Hickock, Perry Smith, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Adam Lanza, Nikolas Cruz, Payton Gendron, Salvador Ramos, and Robert E. Crimo III were never Student Body President or Homecoming King.  Never labeled “Most likely to succeed,” their infamy eclipses all other faces in their high school yearbooks.  Friendless, fearful, furious, these young men became Mass Murderers!

From a Kansas farmhouse to Columbine High, Sandy Hook Elementary, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Tops Supermarket, Robb Elementary, a Highland Park Fourth of July Parade, and doubtless beyond, in the name of God and Humanity, why do they do it‽

Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood recounts Hickock and Smith’s slaughter of Kansas farmer Herbert “Herb” Clutter, wife Bonnie, daughter Nancy, and son Kenyon.  Their ages and choice of victims make Richard and Perry outliers, but comments Capote attributes to the pair offer an explanation why some young men murder total strangers.  As memory serves, cryptically, “Somebody had to pay.”  Capote quotes Smith, “(Mr. Clutter) was a very nice gentleman.  Soft spoken.  I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat.”

Human history is permeated with individuals and groups striking out against standards of civil behavior.  In America, apart from circumscribed, depression-era gangland assassinations, multiple murders were unheard of.  Then, around two decades back, precedent, economics, and technology converged.  Harris and Klebold invented the model.  A profit-motivated, Arms-Industry/NRA/ Conservative-Congressional Cabal made military-grade assault rifles the, cliched, ticking timebomb.

I’ll wrap this up once again citing social psychologist, psychoanalyst, and philosopher Erich Fromm’s The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness.  Fromm argues man needs to “make a dent.”  If nowhere else, sometimes he makes it “in someone’s head.“

Biden’s “Mess”

Joe Biden’s administration can claim its full measure of mismanagement and blunders.  This said, Joe might echo his predecessor’s assertion he inherited a “mess.“  A mess largely created by that predecessor’s paralysis on being told, in early 2019, that an anonymous upper respiratory virus was sweeping China and would, inevitably, leap the Pacific.  Biden’s primary headache, inflation, may be attributed to that leap.    

In early spring, spurning a “Pandemic Playbook” crafted for just such an emergency, President Donald Trump assured Americans the “China” virus would infect a handful of Americans and vanish, “a miracle!”  By Easter churches would be packed, people “raring” to go back to work.  Through the remainder of his term, Trump’s denials and obfuscations greatly exacerbated America’s COVID-19 suffering and deaths.

A Lancet Commission report concludes that, had Donald Trump taken early, decisive, contravening measures, 40% of American’s COVID-19 infections and deaths “could have been averted.”  By July 2, 2022, 87,626,140 Americans had contracted and 1,017,266 died from the disease.  Rather than cower behind fear and denial, had President Donald Trump stepped forward with the courage and wisdom of real Leader, upward of 30,000,000 illnesses and 400,000 deaths from COVID-19 could have been averted.

The impact of COVID-19 on America’s economy cannot be overstated.  To ameliorate spread of the virus, businesses were forced to close.  Basics like toilet paper disappeared from Super Market shelves.  Desperate to rescue out-of-work, out-of-cash Americans, Congress flooding the country with free money.  More money chasing fewer goods and services: the classic recipe for inflation is.  A major piece of Biden’s mess.

Urban Gunslinger

For self-defense, some Americans chose to “carry” a handgun.

At Robb Elementary school, a shielded, armed-to-the-teeth squad of lawmen cowered in a hallway while a gunman massacred nineteen children and two teachers.

How often, on the street, in a mall, church, school, or at home, does an Urban Gunslinger unholster his or her trusty ol’ Glock and take down a Bad Guy with an AR-15?  At the same time, how many accidental shootings, murders, and suicides happen because of handguns?

Gunfight

Attempting to grasp the legalese in America’s new “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gun safety bill” made my head hurt.  So, as usual, I retreated to Google.  According to an Associated Press June 25 report, the bill includes:

“Expanded background checks: state and local juvenile and mental health records of gun purchasers will be part of federal background checks for buyers 18 to 20.  Three-day maximum for gathering records will be extended to 10 days to search juvenile data.  If 10 days lapse without a resolution, the sale will go through.”

In Oregon, I assume in most states, an eighteen-year-old must be licensed to catch a fish.  He or she may not purchase cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, or patronize businesses which primarily serve alcohol.  For license to driver a motor vehicle, he or she must have 15 hours behind-the-wheel experience, fork out upwards of $400 for driver’s education, and pass a Department of Motor Vehicles driving test.

To purchase an AR-15 assault rifle, designed and intended for the soul purpose of killing human beings, that same American teenager must wait 10 days.  No training.  No experience.  No license!  That’s it!

Why‽

In Firefight, My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America,

“A former firearms executive pulls back the curtain on America’s multibillion-dollar gun industry, exposing how it fostered extremism and racism, radicalizing the nation and bringing cultural division to a breaking point.”

That executive, Ryan Busse, details how, by hijacking and using the National Rifle Association as its mouthpiece, the Firearms Industry dictates America’s gun policy.

Crafted for the Firearms Industry/NRA‘s stamp of approval, America’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gun safety bill is cosmetic, a sham.  Make no mistake, so long as boys, whose brains have not yet developed the capacity to appreciate the significance and consequences of their actions, can purchase military grade assault weapons, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and Robb Elementary type massacres will repeat. 

Check It Out!

Someone I love and respect was told doctors get $30,000 for every COVOD-19 patient who dies!  Even in today’s insane world, this seemed outlandish.  So, I checked it out.

Like a virus, unchecked misunderstanding and lies spread exponentially.  It is always prudent to think and investigate rumor and hearsay, especially from “social media!” 

The closest I can find to a source for allegation doctors’ profit from COVID-19 deaths is a Fox, Laura Ingram interview of with Minnesota Senator, Dr. Scott Jensen.  The good doctor stated, “Right now, Medicare is determining that if you have a COVID-19 admission to the hospital you get $13,000.  If that COVID-19 patient is on a ventilator you get $39,000, three time as much.  Nobody can tell me, after 35 years in the world of medicine, that sometimes those kinds of things impact what we do.”

In a FactCheck.org, phone interview, Dr. Jensen “walked back” a seeming implication doctors cheat, “Do I think people are misclassifying?  No.”

FactCheck.org cites a Kaiser Foundation analysis finding the “average Medicare payment for respiratory infections and inflammations with major comorbidities or complications in 2017 .  .  .  was $13,297.  For more server hospitalizations, we use the average Medicare payment for a respiratory system diagnosis with ventilator support for greater than 96 hours, which was $42,218.”  It seems important to note, “respiratory infections and inflammations” include influenza, pneumonia, Legionares’ disease, tuberculosis, COVID-19, and others respiratory ailments.

According to FactCheck.org , “Robert Berenson, an institute fellow at the Urban Institute, said the notion that hospitals are profiting on the pandemic—as some of the social media post may imply—isn’t borne out by facts, either.”  Berenson and others point out, “’upcoding,’  .  .  .  can result in civil and criminal liabilities.”

Before we pass it on, check it out!