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TBR News November 20, 2019

Nov 20 2019

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. November 20, 2019:“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.
Commentary for November 20: “There are no secdrets in Washington and so it is that medical reports on Trump’s recent serious heart problem are quietely circulating throughout the capitol. And aside from serious mental problems, Trump also has very srious physical ones. I heard yesterday that Trump is so outraged at the progress of the impeachment proceedings that his doctor predicted either a serious mental collapse or a serious or fatal heart attack. If he died in office, trust me, the right-wing lonies who love him will declare permanent mourning and will sigh that it is too bad Charlie Manson is dead or he could carry the Republican standard in the next Presidential election.”

The Table of Contents
Trump denies heart attack prompted sudden hospital visit
• Why you just can’t trust the White House on Donald Trump’s health
• An officer and an impeachment witness, he draws ire of Trump allies
• U.S. diplomat Sondland says he ‘followed the president’s orders’ on Ukraine
• Donald Trump has dragged America’s global reputation to an all-time low
• Donald Trump and The Definition of Insanity
• Erdogan’s Ethnic Cleansing of the Kurds Is Still Happening
• The Season of Evil

Trump denies heart attack prompted sudden hospital visit
‘I had a very routine physical,’ Trump insists as speculation intensifies after he stayed out of the public eye for two days following hospital trip
November 19, 2019
by Martin Pengelly in New York
The Guardian
As speculation over Donald Trump’s unscheduled trip to the hospital last weekend continued, the president denied he had suffered a heart attack.
“I had a very routine physical,” Trump insisted to reporters on Tuesday morning before a cabinet meeting, adding: “I was out of there very quickly and got back home.”
The president said the rest of the examination would take place in January and repeated his claim that while at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Saturday, he also visited the family of a badly injured soldier and toured the hospital.
When Trump returned to the White House, he said, “My wife Melania said, ‘Darling, are you OK? … They are reporting you may have had a heart attack.’
“I said, ‘Why did I have a heart attack?’ ‘Because you went to Walter Reed Medical Center.’ That’s where we go when we get the physical. I said I was only there for a very short period of time.”
He added: “I was called by our people in public relations: ‘Sir, are you OK?’ I said ‘OK for what?’ ‘The word is you had a heart attack. CNN said you may have had a heart attack. You had massive chest pains. You went to the hospital.’”
Such reports, he claimed, showed that “the press really in this country is dangerous”.
Now 73, Trump is the oldest president ever sworn into office for the first time. Speculation over his health intensified as he stayed out of the public eye for two days following his trip to Walter Reed, a short journey for which he used a motorcade including an ambulance rather than the Marine One helicopter as usual.
On Monday night the White House issued a memo in which Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, said the “interim checkup” was both “routine” and only kept secret because of “scheduling uncertainties”.
“Despite some speculation,” Conley wrote, “the president has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues. Specifically, he did not undergo any specialised cardiac or neurologic evaluations.”
Trump is notoriously fond of junk food and does little exercise beyond rounds of his beloved golf, but Dr Conley’s memo included cholesterol figures below those last released, from February this year.
That report, however, said the president was obese and concerns about Trump’s heart have been raised before.
In January 2018, the then White House doctor, Ronny Jackson, reported that the president was in “excellent” cardiac health despite having a form of heart disease common to men his age and a cholesterol level well above the desired figure.
Dr David Maron, director of preventative cardiology at Stanford University and not involved in Trump’s care, told the New York Times he would “definitely” be worried about the risk of heart attack if the president were one of his patients.
Asked if Trump was in perfect health, Dr Maron said: “God, no.”

Why you just can’t trust the White House on Donald Trump’s health
November 18, 2019
by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
CNN
(CNN)President Donald Trump, according to the White House, made an unscheduled trip to Walter Reed hospital on Saturday for a “quick exam and labs” as the first stage of his annual physical.
You shouldn’t just believe them.
Which is not to say that whatever happened on Saturday wasn’t minor or maybe even routine. What it is to say is that this is a President and a White House who have set a standard of dishonesty and obfuscation — up to and including the President’s health — that should force any rational person to question the explanation currently being offered by the White House.
Remember what we already know about this President’s health. Trump is 73 years old and is the oldest person ever elected to a first term as president. In his most recent physical exam — conducted in February — he clocked in at 243 pounds.
In his previous physical conducted in 2018, Trump had been diagnosed with a common form of heart disease and high cholesterol. (As CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta noted at the time, Trump’s heart disease meant that the President had a moderate risk of a heart attack in the following 3-5 years, according to guidance from the Mayo Clinic.)
At the time of his 2018 physical, Dr. Ronny Jackson, who was then serving as the President’s physician, suggested that the President change his diet and get on a regular exercise regimen. Aside from regular rounds of golf, there is very little public evidence that Trump has taken that advice to heart. Sources told CNN that a year later, Trump had made only minor changes to his food intake and exercise habits.
“The President received a diet and exercise plan last year after his annual physical, but the President admits he has not followed it religiously,” said Hogan Gidley, the principal deputy White House press secretary.
Now consider what we know about Trump’s visit to Walter Reed on Saturday. It was unscheduled. Unlike his past physicals, it was not on his public schedule and was not announced to reporters. The medical staff did not get a heads up that a “VIP” guest was coming, as they typically would. While White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the trip was simply Trump getting a jump on his annual physical, he did not have that physical done in phases or over multiple days in the past two years.
So, there’s reason — lots of it! — to wonder. Especially when you consider that Trump has shown little hesitation to doctor, um, doctor’s reports in the past.
In December 2015, shortly before voting began in the Republican presidential primary, Trump released a letter from his longtime physician Dr. Harold Bornstein.
“His physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,” Bornstein wrote of Trump. “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
If it seemed like Trump had written the letter himself, it’s because he had! Bornstein told CNN in 2018 that Trump “dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter. I just made it up as I went along.”
So, the paper-thin medical “record” that Trump provided to quiet questions about whether he was physically and mentally up to the job of being president was made up. It wasn’t based on Bornstein’s medical judgment. It was Trump doing what he always does — making up a story to tell himself and the public.
(Trump, it’s also worth noting, repeatedly sought to make Hillary Clinton’s health an issue in the 2016 campaign — particularly after she was seen feeling faint at a September 11 commemoration.)
Given that history — and the fact that Trump has made more than 13,000 false or misleading claims since taking office, according to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker — there is every reason to suspect the original story the White House is telling doesn’t paint the full picture.

An officer and an impeachment witness, he draws ire of Trump allies
November 19, 2019
by Susan Cornwell
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Inside the hearing room, U.S. Republican lawmakers repeatedly thanked Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman for his military service on Tuesday before challenging his testimony about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
But outside the ornate chamber in the House of Representatives, it was a different story, with the White House and its backers unleashing on social media a full-throated attack on the uniformed officer’s credibility and loyalty.
Vindman, a decorated Iraq war veteran serving as the White House National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, testified before lawmakers in an ongoing impeachment inquiry led by House Democrats.
His family left the Soviet Union for the United States when he was three years old. Vindman testified that Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate a domestic political rival was an improper demand.
“Lt. Col. Vindman was offered the position of Defense Minister for the Ukrainian Government THREE times!” Trump aide Dan Scavino wrote on Twitter.
While factually correct, Vindman told the lawmakers that as a loyal American, he would not consider such an offer. He called it “comical.”
Trump himself was dismissive when asked about Vindman on Tuesday. “I never saw the man, I understand now he wears his uniform when he goes in,” Trump said.
Vindman usually wears a suit, not his uniform, while working at the White House, one Republican lawmaker, Representative Chris Stewart, observed. It is standard practice for military officers to wear their uniforms when testifying on Capitol Hill.
Last month Trump described Vindman as a “Never Trumper,” using a term for Republicans who oppose Trump.
Republican lawmakers at the televised hearing appeared keen not to cross a line that would upset constituents with a background in military service.
“Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, I think all of us would agree that your father made the right move to come here, and we’re glad that he did,” Representative Will Hurd told Vindman in one of the warmer accolades from Intelligence Committee Republicans.
Tensions emerged, however. At one point Vindman instructed the senior committee Republican, Representative Devin Nunes, not to call him Mr. Vindman. “It’s Lieutenant Colonel Vindman please,” Vindman said.
Stewart asked: “Do you always insist on civilians calling you by your rank?”
“I just thought it was appropriate,” Vindman replied.
Representative Mark Meadows, a Republican ally of Trump’s, said critics can question Vindman’s judgment, but should respect his service to the country.
“Every person who serves needs to be applauded for their service. But it doesn’t mean their judgment is 100% above reproach,” Meadows said outside the hearing.
Others saw the attacks on Vindman differently.
“We have never questioned the patriotism of Republicans, but today’s vile attacks on Lt. Col. Vindman, for simply doing his duty as he saw fit, leaves us truly shaken,” Will Goodwin, the director of government relations for VoteVets.org, wrote on Twitter.

U.S. diplomat Sondland says he ‘followed the president’s orders’ on Ukraine
November 20, 2019
by Patricia Zengerle
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. diplomat who is a pivotal witness in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he worked with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine issues on “the president’s orders,” confirming Trump’s active participation in a controversy that threatens his presidency.
Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told the inquiry that Giuliani’s efforts to push Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for investigations into Trump’s political rivals “were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit” for the Ukrainian leader.
Quid pro quo is a Latin term meaning a favor exchanged for a favor.
Sondland, a wealthy hotel entrepreneur and Trump donor, said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was aware and “fully supportive” of their efforts on Ukraine, providing a fuller role of the top U.S. diplomat’s role in the affair.
Pompeo, a close Trump ally, has declined to defend State Department witnesses who have been attacked by Trump and other Republicans over the Ukraine controversy.
Sondland was appearing on Wednesday before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, which is taking the lead in the impeachment inquiry. He smiled and laughed as he took his seat at the witness chair in the hearing room on Capitol Hill in the fourth day of public proceedings in the investigation.
Sondland testified that Trump had ordered him and two other senior officials to work with Giuliani, who has refused to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. Giuliani at the time had been working to get Ukraine to carry out the investigations that would benefit Trump politically.
“We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we played the hand we were dealt. We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr. Giuliani, we would lose an important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine. So we followed the president’s orders,” Sondland said.
The inquiry focuses on a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Zelenskiy to carry out two investigations that would benefit him politically including one targeting Democratic political rival Joe Biden. The other involved a debunked conspiracy theory embraced by some Trump allies that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.
Ahead of his request that Zelenskiy carry out the two investigations, Trump froze $391 million in U.S. security aid approved by Congress to help Ukraine combat Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country.
Democrats have accused Trump of using the frozen aid and Zelenskiy’s desire for an Oval Office meeting as leverage to pressure a vulnerable U.S. ally to dig up dirt on political adversaries. Trump is seeking re-election next year.
“I think we know now … that the knowledge of this scheme was far and wide and included among others Secretary of State Pompeo as well as the vice president,” said Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the Intelligence Committee, referring to Vice President Mike Pence.
Schiff said Pompeo and Trump “have made such a concerted and across-the-board effort to obstruct this investigation and this impeachment inquiry. They do at their own peril.”
TRUMP ALLY
Sondland was one of three Trump allies who largely took over U.S.-Ukraine policy in May, with Giuliani also playing a key role despite holding no official government position. Career U.S. diplomats have portrayed Sondland in their testimony as a central figure in what became a shadow and “irregular” Ukraine policy operation, undercutting official channels and pressing Kiev to investigate the Bidens.
Sondland said he was “adamantly opposed” to any suspension of aid to Ukraine because Kiev needed it to fight against Russian aggression.
“I tried diligently to ask why the aid was suspended, but I never received a clear answer. In the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, I later came to believe that the resumption of security aid would not occur until there was a public statement from Ukraine committing to the investigations of the 2016 election and Burisma, as Mr. Giuliani had demanded,” Sondland said.
Trump has denied wrongdoing, called the inquiry a witch hunt and assailed some of the witnesses including current White House aides.
Sondland was tapped as Trump’s envoy after he donated $1 million to the president’s inauguration. In October, Trump called him “a really good man,” but after Sondland’s amended statement to House investigators this month the president told reporters at the White House, “I hardly know the gentleman.”
The investigation could lead the House to approve formal charges against Trump – called articles of impeachment – that would be sent to the Republican-controlled Senate for a trial on whether to remove him from office. Few Republican senators have broken with Trump.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday it was “inconceivable” that two-thirds of the Republican-controlled chamber would vote to convict Trump.
According to Reuters/Ipsos polling, 46 percent of Americans support impeachment, while 41 percent oppose it.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Andy Sullivan; additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, Karen Freifeld and Susan Heavey; Writing by Alistair Bell

Donald Trump has dragged America’s global reputation to an all-time low
The president’s disdain for democracy, adulation for autocrats and contempt for the global rules-based order poses a unique peril. Ditching Trump in 2020 would be a gift to the world
November 19, 2019
by Simon Tisdall
The Guardian
Europeans, if they can bear to watch, are observing US politics with a mixture of fascination and horror – and it’s all down to Donald Trump. Each week seems to bring another democracy-shattering rumpus, scandalous revelation or shocking tweet. The depth and evident bitterness of America’s public divisions are unsettling for friends and allies who count on dependable US leadership.
It is hard to overstate how badly Trump has hurt America’s worldwide reputation. US presidents have been internationally unpopular before – George W Bush over Iraq, for example, or LBJ over Vietnam. But Trump has sunk to an all-time low.
Opinion surveys reveal the negative impact on US global standing. A 25-nation Pew survey last year found, overall, that 70% of respondents had no confidence in Trump’s leadership. While a majority still held a favourable view of the US, unfavourable views were up sharply from the Obama era. About 70% said the US under Trump did not take sufficient account of the interests of other countries and was doing less to address international problems.
Trump won’t be around forever. But this collapse in trust may have lasting, long-term implications for transatlantic ties. A survey of 60,000 people in 14 EU member states published this fall by the European Council on Foreign Relations found most Europeans “no longer believe the US can serve as a guarantor of their security”. Europe and America risk drifting even further apart in 2020.
Not all this angst can be laid at Trump’s door. But his personal hostility to the EU and individual European leaders, his denigration of Nato, his bypassing of his own intelligence agencies and state department, his collaboration with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and his willingness to betray staunch allies such as Syria’s Kurds are undoubtedly stoking fears about US reliability in security matters. Trump’s hope of scoring a big pre-election foreign policy “success” adds to the general nervousness.
Some of these fears are structural. Europeans, including Britons, are alarmed by Trump’s disdain for the UN and other multilateral decision-making bodies, and his readiness to ignore international treaties. His go-it-alone chauvinism weakens US leverage. It also shows ingrained disrespect for the global rules-based order that has sustained western liberal democracy in the postwar era.
Trump’s admiration for authoritarian regimes and “strongman” leaders such as Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, when set alongside his electoral shenanigans at home, has strengthened the view that he is no friend to democracy – at a time when democracies everywhere are under sustained attack.
The US under Trump’s baleful tutelage is not only losing influence and respect. It is also, increasingly, a source of and contributor to global woes and instabilities. His unilateral, nationalistic, self-defeating approach threatens deepening trouble across the board next year.
Unresolved issues around Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are one obvious 2020 flashpoint. Trump’s interventions to date have made matters worse. Now mounting anger and frustration in both countries could bring tensions to a head. In Iran’s case, such escalation may quickly draw in Saudi Arabia and Israel – and Turkey too, given Trump’s craven appeasement of Ankara after its invasion of Syria.
How much longer Nato can last as a coherent force, given Trump’s relentless antipathy, is an open question. It is one Russia will be constantly testing as it expands its influence in the Middle East, builds up its conventional and nuclear forces, and intimidates neighbors such as Ukraine and the Baltic states.
Another fraught 2020 issue is whether a worldwide recession can be avoided as Trump pursues his trade vendetta with China, market confidence falls and debt levels (including the projected $1tn 2020 US deficit) rise. Judging by his recent belligerence, Mike Pompeo, America’s undiplomatic chief diplomat, appears determined to trigger a new cold war with Beijing. Harsh words could easily turn to blows over Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea.
Yet more pressing still, in the wake of Trump’s renunciation of the Paris climate accord, is genuinely urgent action to tackle the environmental crisis engulfing the planet, evidenced most recently by record floods in Britain, lethal wildfires in California and Australia and the ongoing mass extinction of species from the Arctic to the Amazon.
In short, Trump has an awful lot to answer for in 2020. America’s friends fervently hope America’s voters make America great again – by agreeing to dump Trump. Think of it as your gift to the world.

Donald Trump and The Definition of Insanity
58,000 mental health professionals say Donald Trump is too unstable to be president. Here’s a deep dive into the diagnosis and what could happen because of it.
by Shane Snow
The Medium
Albert Einstein is famously quoted: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting something to change.”
This is not, of course, the actual definition of insanity. It also turns out Einstein never said this. It actually comes from an Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlet from the 1980s.
Which is apropos, because nearly 60,000 mental health professionals have diagnosed President Donald Trump with a type of insanity that is often compared to an alcoholic’s lack of honesty and impulse control. Sparked by Change.org petitions by a top former Johns Hopkins professor and a California congresswoman, the psychiatric community has declared that Trump suffers from “Malignant Narcissism.”
What is that exactly? Does Trump actually suffer from it? If so, what does that mean? With the help of some concerned psychologists, we’ve broken the answers down.
Psychologists say that Trump’s condition is a combination of mental disorders that cause one to distort reality and make violent, impulsive decisions. These disorders form, according to the doctor who coined the term Malignant Narcissism in the 1960s, “the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness.” (Full criteria below.)
This is the first time in history that so many mental health professionals have collectively diagnosed a living individual. Their conclusion, based on the hundreds of hours of Trump’s on-camera dialogue and off-the-cuff public speaking, is alarming because it says that our current president is too mentally disturbed to fulfill his office.
To be clear: Being a standard deviation or two away from the norm when it comes to one’s psychology does not automatically make a person dangerous, bad, or unable to do a job. Millions of people have depression, anxiety, or mild mania and still function well. Abraham Lincoln went through depression, after all.
Unfortunately, unlike many other mental disorders, Malignant Narcissism makes its sufferers actively dangerous to other people. It’s more akin to delusional schizophrenia than it is to anxiousness.
In diagnosing Donald trump, mental health pros are breaking with a decades-old precedent. After Barry Goldwater won a 1969 defamation lawsuit when psychiatrists called him crazy in Fact magazine, the psychiatric community put in place a “Goldwater Rule” in their ethics handbook that forbids diagnosing public figures.
So why are psychologists breaking with tradition now?
A big problem during the Goldwater scenario was that there weren’t objective criteria for diagnosing mental health conditions at the time. Therapists used all sorts of jargon and their best judgment—but they were all over the place. Since then, however, the community has put in place official, objective standards in their bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM for short). This makes it possible to unanimously agree on diagnoses.
The real reason for breaking with the code, however, is principle. Someone in power with Malignant Narcissism is likely to get people killed, and psychologists who know this feel morally obligated to speak up. This has legal precedent in a court case called Tarasoff vs Regents, in which the murder of a woman could have been prevented if the killer’s psychotherapist had warned her or police that the man might kill her. This resulted in The Tarasoff Rule: “When a therapist determines, or pursuant to the standards of his profession, should determine, that his patient presents a serious danger of violence to another, he incurs an obligation to use reasonable care to protect the intended victim against such danger.”
In Judaism, there is a principle called “Pikuach Nefesh” which says that it’s okay to break a rule in order to save a human life. Many in the mental health community believe that Donald Trump’s psychosis is that kind of a life-or-death situation, and that since he sees no mental health doctor, the Tarasoff Rule should supersede the Goldwater Rule. Thousands of psychologists feel morally justified in this. (And some even are saying it is immoral to not speak up.)
In addition to the mental health community, senators and congresspeople from both parties have expressed concern about Trump’s mental health. Whether they are right or not has enormous implications.
“I genuinely do not think this is a mentally healthy president.” — Eliot Cohen, US State Department under George W. Bush
Decoding Donald Trump’s Mental Condition
Malignant Narcissism, according to John D. Gartner, one of the country’s top psychologists, is basically a combination of three mental illnesses — Anti-social Personality Disorder, Paranoid Personality Disorder, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder — plus sadism, or the enjoyment of inflicting pain.
“The concept was developed by a famed psychologist named Erich Fromm, who escaped Nazi Germany, as a way to describe evil,” Gartner says. “He used it to describe Hitler.”
That’s pretty scary. And unfortunately, the assertion that Trump has it is not something that can be chalked up to politics.
“Even though I disagree with everything he stands for, I would be immensely relieved to have a president Pence. He’s conservative; he’s not crazy,” Gartner told me. Paul Ryan? He’d be great, too.
“Martin Luther King famously said the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice. If we hit a traffic jam on the way to social progress, we’ll still get there,” Gartner said. “But if we’re all dead from a nuclear war, we won’t.”
Which is exactly what someone with Malignant Narcissism might start.
Gartner, who taught personality disorders at Johns Hopkins University for 28 years and explained Bill Clinton’s mental issues in the book In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography, says Trump’s illness might be called “Dictator Personality Disorder.” Malignant Narcissism often coincides with mild mania — the ability to consistently stay up all night obsessing on a project — which helps sufferers achieve high career status despite their cruel tendencies. Trump exhibits this, too.
“I’ve been a specialist in personality disorders for 35 years,” Gartner says. “Trump is the most severe case I’ve seen in my career.”
The DSM is clear about what constitutes the three personality disorders that add up to Malignant Narcissism

Now let’s take a look at Donald Trump’s behavior — from the public record — against the criteria:
Antisocial Personality Disorder
Donald Trump’s diagnostic scorecard for Antisocial Personality Disorder
Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors
Trump consistently qualifies for this one. Here’s an abridged list:
Starting a fraudulent university that scammed thousands of people out of money (which he settled out of court for $25 million)
Sexually assaulting women and bragging about it on tape.
Raping his ex-wife and, allegedly, also a 13-year-old girl.(Both withdrew their accusations under duress.)
Intentionally barging in on naked underage girls while they dressed.
Hiring illegal workers and cheating union pension funds.
Misusing charity funds, and various other instances of self-dealing.
Deceitfulness: Repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
The list of Trump’s public lies is extensive and well-known. Politifact has tracked his public statements and found that Trump says things that are completely and demonstrably false more than he says things that are true or even half-true.
His use of aliases is less well-known. Here’s a report, which includes audio, of him pretending to be his own publicist — “John Barron” or “John Miller,” depending on the decade — and bragging about how great he is.
See the above Trump University for evidence of one of his business instances of conning others for profit.
Impulsivity, or failure to plan ahead
According to Pew, most Americans think Trump is too impulsive. Here are a few recent examples:
Not realizing what the President of the US actually does, not planning how he would staff the White House if he won, etc.
Calling world leaders unprepared
Going off script on most speeches
The fact that his cabinet is still woefully understaffed
The rollout of his immigration ban as if it were an emergency, without warning airports or even briefing his own staff or Congress
Sending 3am tweets attacking private citizens
Irritability and aggressiveness
Trump’s irritability is well documented. He’s proud of his aggressiveness (he even has a book called Time To Get Tough), which we repeatedly see in his debates, interviews, and tweets that he calls “smackdowns.”
He encouraged his followers to be aggressive and violent during his campaign. And most recently from the White House: Trump treats his staff badly. Here’s a list of 23 aggressive things he’s said in recent memory.
Reckless disregard for safety of self or others
This one there’s not much (clinical) evidence of so far.
Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
Trump’s having not honored his financial obligations is well documented. Here’s a recent report on the hundreds of contractors and workers he ripped off as a hotel developer. He’s declared bankruptcy six times and walked away from his debts over and over. The list of his failed business ventures is extensive due to inconsistent management behavior.
His work behavior as president and a candidate before that has been inconsistent. During the campaign, he switched to “acting presidential” several times and could only keep it up for a few days at a time.
Lack of remorse, or being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
Trump’s 8 books are full of insults toward everyone from models to celebrities to random private citizens. He relishes tearing people down on Twitter, and refused to apologize for insulting the parents of a dead U.S. soldier, or to the black community for his racist campaign against Barack Obama’s citizenship. In fact, here’s a list that Mashable put together of all the times Trump refused to apologize for things.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Trump exhibits at least 5 out of the 7 qualifications for Paranoid Personality Disorder. Only 4 are needed for a diagnosis:
Donald Trump’s diagnostic scorecard for Antisocial Personality Disorder
Suspects that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him
During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly accused the media of being biased against him. He claimed, with no evidence, that the election was going to be rigged against him.
Since then, he’s accused the parks department, Republicans, and the intelligence community of trying to tear him, his daughter, and the validity of his election down. He made up a story that 3–5 million people illegally voted against him.
These accusations have proven to be overblown or bogus.
Preoccupied with doubts about the loyalty of friends or associates
It’s hard to get Trump’s trust, and easy to get him to fire you for perceived disloyalty. He doesn’t trust his staff, except for a few in the inner circle. He doesn’t trust the intelligence agents who work for him. Federal workers don’t trust him to not spy on them. And it didn’t look like he trusted his wife to vote for him:
How much this preoccupies him is hard to say. But Trump is reported to be as paranoid in this area as Nixon, who was quite paranoid.
Reluctant to confide in others
Trump is mostly paranoid of people he sees as outside of his circle of trust. He’s keeping top officials out of his inner circle and elevating a few loyalists to lofty places. But he has a close circle of confidants that he shares information with (Bannon, Conway, Kushner, etc.). So it would be hard to conclude that he qualifies for this one.
Reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events
Trump believes in various conspiracy theories based on vague information from tiny corners of the Internet (falsehoods like Barack Obama’s not being born in the US, Hilary Clinton using performance-enhancing drugs for the debates, Ted Cruz’s father assassinating JFK, etc.), which is the definition of finding hidden meanings in benign events. His favorite writer is conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who among other things helped get the “9/11 was an inside job” conspiracy theory going.
Additionally, his overreactions to the petty — like Sean Spicer being played by a woman on SNL or the size of his inauguration crowd — betray a paranoia of anything he perceives as a threat to his image. The classic case of this is his weird defensiveness about the size of his hands.
Persistently bears grudges
Trump readily admits to this one. “When people treat me unfairly, I don’t let them forget it,” he said. Here’s an abridged list of people and organizations Trump has had public grudges with:
CNN
Congressman John Lewis
Judge Gonzalo Curiel
The family of Captain Khan
Rosie O’Donnell
Rev. Faith Green Timmons of the United Methodist Church
Nordstrom
Alicia Machado
His staff had to take his Twitter access away from him in the final days of the election because they worried his obsession with Twitter vengeance might jeopardize the election. As Trump communication aide Omarosa Manigault says, “Mr. Trump has a long memory and we’re keeping a list.”
Perceives attacks on his character or reputation and is quick to react angrily or counterattack
See the above list of grudges. Trump is infamous for publicly lashing out at people for slights big and small, from Meryl Streep to random blue collar workers. The New York Times put together this handy list of 307 people, places, and things Trump has insulted.
Here’s an example of a counterattack for a slight from his own party:
Has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner
There’s not enough public information to conclude anything on this one.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Donald Trump’s diagnostic scorecard for Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Grandiose sense of self-importance
Exaggerates achievements and talents — check. (Size of election win, size of inauguration crowd, number of jobs saved in Carrier negotiation, and so on.)
Expects to be recognized as superior

Expects recognition without commensurate achievements.
Politifact has a whole list of Trump’s such tall tales here. But we’ll let the following quotations by Donald Trump himself clinch this and the next two checkboxes:
Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance; Believes he is “special” and unique
“Nobody knows more about taxes than I do, maybe in the history of the world.”
“No one has more respect for women than me.”
“I have the best temperament or certainly one of the best temperaments of anybody that’s ever run for the office of president. Ever.”
“Look, I know more about renewables than any human being on earth.”
“I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to the Secret Service.”
“I write a book called The Art of the Deal, the #1 selling business book of all time.”
“Nobody reads the Bible more than me.”
“No one has done more for people with disabilities than me.”
“I am the least racist person you’ve ever encountered.”
“I’m the most successful person ever to run for the presidency, by far. Nobody’s ever been more successful than me.”
Requires excessive adoration
Trump’s ego-stoking “victory tour,” obsession with ratings before and after entering politics, and fixation on the size of his electoral win, inauguration crowd, and his (false) claim of having received the biggest standing ovation ever easily check this one off.
Has a sense of entitlement
He certainly grew up with a silver spoon, but it’s unclear how entitled he thinks he is, in the clinical definition. So no check for this one.
Interpersonally exploitative
This post on Medium by my colleague Brad Hamilton (editor of The Contently Foundation and former investigations editor at New York Post) recounts how Trump exploited several people, including Brad, in order to get publicity for his golf course one time. This type of behavior, to use a regrettable pun, is par for him. Trump’s own books talk a lot about his strategies for exploiting people.
Lacks empathy
We covered the evidence for this one pretty thoroughly earlier. Trump is not remorseful about his hurting people. He’s dismissive of many people’s pain — even pain he’s caused them — while simultaneously claiming that “no one understands” them better than he does.
Often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
Trump’s been jealous of his senior adviser being put on the cover of Time Magazine, his running-mate having a great debate performance, and the fact that Jay-Z and Beyonce performed for Clinton instead of him. And he claims that Republicans are “jealous as hell” that Russian president Vladimir Putin likes him.
Arrogant: haughty behaviors or attitudes
We’ve now thoroughly established this one. But here are a few more quotes by Mr. Trump that remove any doubt about his arrogrance:
“My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.”
“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
“Nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.”
From Donald Trump’s diagnostic scorecard for Antisocial Personality Disorder
Sadism
Trump has been a bully since he was a child. We’ve already gone over some of his well-documented history of relishing humiliating people and groups weaker than himself. This is classic sadism.
The court deposition by Trump’s ex-wife, recounted in Harry Hurt’s biography Lost Tycoon, paints a disturbing picture of a sadistic episode where Trump pulls his wife’s hair out and violates her to make himself feel better after a painful surgery:
Manipulation
Many politicians could be categorized as manipulative. Trump is not a typical politician, but he literally wrote books on manipulation. His history and tactics of manipulation — from his followers to opponents to the media — are well-documented.
Use of projection
When Trump defends accusations of racism by calling someone else a racist, that’s psychological projection. He does this sort of thing all the time. One of the most surprising moments of Trump’s presidential debates with Hillary Clinton was the time she accused him of being a Russian puppet, and he automatically projected the accusation — with nothing close to evidence — directly back on her:
Here’s Donald Trump’s scorecard for Malignant Narcissism:
There is no question. Donald Trump suffers from Malignant Narcissism.
No other president has come close to this disorder. Manipulation is a common trait among politicians. It’s part of the definition of politics. Bill Clinton could be deceitful. George W. Bush showed some reckless tendencies (DUIs, etc.). Barack Obama could be private and a touch arrogant. But none of them remotely qualify as mentally ill.
Trump, on the other hand, over-qualifies. Says Dr. Gartner,
“If I wanted to take out the DSM and say, ‘I want to create a Frankenstein monster — I want to create the most dangerous leader that could possibly be imagined — and I had a free hand to mix and match any set of diagnoses and symptoms, I couldn’t improve on Donald Trump.”
So what now?
We need President Trump to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. If he refuses to do so, that’s bad news. Refusal itself could be validation of his personality disorder. People with personality disorders generally won’t consider that they might not be all right, whereas mentally healthy people will generally want to know if they have a problem.
And if Trump can be persuaded to sit down for an objective psychiatric evaluation—not from a doctor under his employ—there’s a high probability that he will be diagnosed with the mental illnesses we’ve discussed. Which will mean that he is not healthy enough to be president.
The 25th Amendment of the Constitution says that the vice president and a majority of the president’s cabinet can vote to remove the president for being “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” This was put into place after Kennedy was shot, in case a president becomes too ill, injured, or mentally unwell to perform.
Removing Trump would be tough because his cabinet is made of people who he’s chosen himself. There’s no restraining hand to stop him.
However, if the cabinet did decide to listen to the psychiatric community and remove Trump, someone with Malignant Narcissism like him would likely not go quietly. With his back to the wall, there’s no way to predict what a sadistic, antisocial, paranoid narcissist in command of special forces, a Twitter army, and nuclear codes will do.
But the danger of not removing him is very clear. “We’ve had presidents with psychological disorders,” Gartner points out. Lincoln had depression, after all. “But this is unique. We’re not just talking about mental illness, we’re talking about the worst possible mental illness.”
Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors
Trump consistently qualifies for this one. Here’s an abridged list:
Starting a fraudulent university that scammed thousands of people out of money (which he settled out of court for $25 million)
Sexually assaulting women and bragging about it on tape.
Raping his ex-wife and, allegedly, also a 13-year-old girl.(Both withdrew their accusations under duress.)
Intentionally barging in on naked underage girls while they dressed.
Hiring illegal workers and cheating union pension funds.
Misusing charity funds, and various other instances of self-dealing.
This list goes on, but the above are plenty enough to check this box.
Deceitfulness: Repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
The list of Trump’s public lies is extensive and well-known. Politifact has tracked his public statements and found that Trump says things that are completely and demonstrably false more than he says things that are true or even half-true.
His use of aliases is less well-known. Here’s a report, which includes audio, of him pretending to be his own publicist — “John Barron” or “John Miller,” depending on the decade — and bragging about how great he is.
Impulsivity, or failure to plan ahead
According to Pew, most Americans think Trump is too impulsive. Here are a few recent examples:
Not realizing what the President of the US actually does, not planning how he would staff the White House if he won, etc.
Calling world leaders unprepared
Going off script on most speeches
The fact that his cabinet is still woefully understaffed
The rollout of his immigration ban as if it were an emergency, without warning airports or even briefing his own staff or Congress
Sending 3am tweets attacking private citizens
Irritability and aggressiveness
Trump’s irritability is well documented. He’s proud of his aggressiveness (he even has a book called Time To Get Tough), which we repeatedly see in his debates, interviews, and tweets that he calls “smackdowns.”
He encouraged his followers to be aggressive and violent during his campaign. And most recently from the White House: Trump treats his staff badly. Here’s a list of 23 aggressive things he’s said in recent memory.
Reckless disregard for safety of self or others
This one there’s not much (clinical) evidence of so far.
Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
Trump’s having not honored his financial obligations is well documented. Here’s a recent report on the hundreds of contractors and workers he ripped off as a hotel developer. He’s declared bankruptcy six times and walked away from his debts over and over. The list of his failed business ventures is extensive due to inconsistent management behavior.
His work behavior as president and a candidate before that has been inconsistent. During the campaign, he switched to “acting presidential” several times and could only keep it up for a few days at a time.
Lack of remorse, or being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
Trump’s 8 books are full of insults toward everyone from models to celebrities to random private citizens. He relishes tearing people down on Twitter, and refused to apologize for insulting the parents of a dead U.S. soldier, or to the black community for his racist campaign against Barack Obama’s citizenship. In fact, here’s a list that Mashable put together of all the times Trump refused to apologize for things.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
Suspects that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him
During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly accused the media of being biased against him. He claimed, with no evidence, that the election was going to be rigged against him.
Since then, he’s accused the parks department, Republicans, and the intelligence community of trying to tear him, his daughter, and the validity of his election down. He made up a story that 3–5 million people illegally voted against him.
These accusations have proven to be overblown or bogus.
Preoccupied with doubts about the loyalty of friends or associates
It’s hard to get Trump’s trust, and easy to get him to fire you for perceived disloyalty. He doesn’t trust his staff, except for a few in the inner circle. He doesn’t trust the intelligence agents who work for him. Federal workers don’t trust him to not spy on them. And it didn’t look like he trusted his wife to vote for him:
How much this preoccupies him is hard to say. But Trump is reported to be as paranoid in this area as Nixon, who was quite paranoid.
Reluctant to confide in others
Trump is mostly paranoid of people he sees as outside of his circle of trust. He’s keeping top officials out of his inner circle and elevating a few loyalists to lofty places. But he has a close circle of confidants that he shares information with (Bannon, Conway, Kushner, etc.). So it would be hard to conclude that he qualifies for this one.
Reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events
Trump believes in various conspiracy theories based on vague information from tiny corners of the Internet (falsehoods like Barack Obama’s not being born in the US, Hilary Clinton using performance-enhancing drugs for the debates, Ted Cruz’s father assassinating JFK, etc.), which is the definition of finding hidden meanings in benign events. His favorite writer is conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who among other things helped get the “9/11 was an inside job” conspiracy theory going.
Additionally, his overreactions to the petty — like Sean Spicer being played by a woman on SNL or the size of his inauguration crowd — betray a paranoia of anything he perceives as a threat to his image. The classic case of this is his weird defensiveness about the size of his hands.
Persistently bears grudges
Trump readily admits to this one. “When people treat me unfairly, I don’t let them forget it,” he said. Here’s an abridged list of people and organizations Trump has had public grudges with:
CNN
Congressman John Lewis
Judge Gonzalo Curiel
The family of Captain Khan
Rosie O’Donnell
Rev. Faith Green Timmons of the United Methodist Church
Nordstrom
Alicia Machado
His staff had to take his Twitter access away from him in the final days of the election because they worried his obsession with Twitter vengeance might jeopardize the election. As Trump communication aide Omarosa Manigault says, “Mr. Trump has a long memory and we’re keeping a list.”
Perceives attacks on his character or reputation and is quick to react angrily or counterattack
See the above list of grudges. Trump is infamous for publicly lashing out at people for slights big and small, from Meryl Streep to random blue collar workers. The New York Times put together this handy list of 307 people, places, and things Trump has insulted.
Has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner
There’s not enough public information to conclude anything on this one.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Grandiose sense of self-importance
Exaggerates achievements and talents. (Size of election win, size of inauguration crowd, number of jobs saved in Carrier negotiation, and so on.)
Expects to be recognized as superior. Expects recognition without commensurate achievements
Politifact has a whole list of Trump’s such tall tales here. But we’ll let the following quotations by Donald Trump himself clinch this and the next two checkboxes:
Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance; Believes he is “special” and unique
“Nobody knows more about taxes than I do, maybe in the history of the world.”
“No one has more respect for women than me.”
“I have the best temperament or certainly one of the best temperaments of anybody that’s ever run for the office of president. Ever.”
“Look, I know more about renewables than any human being on earth.”
“I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to the Secret Service.”
“I write a book called The Art of the Deal, the #1 selling business book of all time.”
“Nobody reads the Bible more than me.”
“No one has done more for people with disabilities than me.”
“I am the least racist person you’ve ever encountered.”
“I’m the most successful person ever to run for the presidency, by far. Nobody’s ever been more successful than me.”
Requires excessive adoration
Trump’s ego-stoking “victory tour,” obsession with ratings before and after entering politics, and fixation on the size of his electoral win, inauguration crowd, and his (false) claim of having received the biggest standing ovation ever easily check this one off.
Has a sense of entitlement
He certainly grew up with a silver spoon, but it’s unclear how entitled he thinks he is, in the clinical definition. So no check for this one.
Interpersonally exploitative
This post on Medium by my colleague Brad Hamilton (editor of The Contently Foundation and former investigations editor at New York Post) recounts how Trump exploited several people, including Brad, in order to get publicity for his golf course one time. This type of behavior, to use a regrettable pun, is par for him. Trump’s own books talk a lot about his strategies for exploiting people.
Lacks empathy
We covered the evidence for this one pretty thoroughly earlier. Trump is not remorseful about his hurting people. He’s dismissive of many people’s pain — even pain he’s caused them — while simultaneously claiming that “no one understands” them better than he does.
Often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
Trump’s been jealous of his senior adviser being put on the cover of Time Magazine, his running-mate having a great debate performance, and the fact that Jay-Z and Beyonce performed for Clinton instead of him. And he claims that Republicans are “jealous as hell” that Russian president Vladimir Putin likes him.
Arrogant: haughty behaviors or attitudes
We’ve now thoroughly established this one. But here are a few more quotes by Mr. Trump that remove any doubt about his arrogrance:
“My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.”
“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
“Nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.”
Sadism
Trump has been a bully since he was a child. We’ve already gone over some of his well-documented history of relishing humiliating people and groups weaker than himself. This is classic sadism.
The court deposition by Trump’s ex-wife, recounted in Harry Hurt’s biography Lost Tycoon, paints a disturbing picture of a sadistic episode where Trump pulls his wife’s hair out and violates her to make himself feel better after a painful surgery
Manipulation
Many politicians could be categorized as manipulative. Trump is not a typical politician, but he literally wrote books on manipulation. His history and tactics of manipulation — from his followers to opponents to the media — are well-documented.
Use of projection
When Trump defends accusations of racism by calling someone else a racist, that’s psychological projection. He does this sort of thing all the time. One of the most surprising moments of Trump’s presidential debates with Hillary Clinton was the time she accused him of being a Russian puppet, and he automatically projected the accusation — with nothing close to evidence — directly back on her
There is no question. Donald Trump suffers from Malignant Narcissism.
No other president has come close to this disorder. Manipulation is a common trait among politicians. It’s part of the definition of politics. Bill Clinton could be deceitful. George W. Bush showed some reckless tendencies (DUIs, etc.). Barack Obama could be private and a touch arrogant. But none of them remotely qualify as mentally ill.
Trump, on the other hand, over-qualifies. Says Dr. Gartner,
“If I wanted to take out the DSM and say, ‘I want to create a Frankenstein monster — I want to create the most dangerous leader that could possibly be imagined — and I had a free hand to mix and match any set of diagnoses and symptoms, I couldn’t improve on Donald Trump.”
So what now?
We need President Trump to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. If he refuses to do so, that’s bad news. Refusal itself could be validation of his personality disorder. People with personality disorders generally won’t consider that they might not be all right, whereas mentally healthy people will generally want to know if they have a problem.
And if Trump can be persuaded to sit down for an objective psychiatric evaluation—not from a doctor under his employ—there’s a high probability that he will be diagnosed with the mental illnesses we’ve discussed. Which will mean that he is not healthy enough to be president.
The 25th Amendment of the Constitution says that the vice president and a majority of the president’s cabinet can vote to remove the president for being “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” This was put into place after Kennedy was shot, in case a president becomes too ill, injured, or mentally unwell to perform.
Removing Trump would be tough because his cabinet is made of people who he’s chosen himself. There’s no restraining hand to stop him.
However, if the cabinet did decide to listen to the psychiatric community and remove Trump, someone with Malignant Narcissism like him would likely not go quietly. With his back to the wall, there’s no way to predict what a sadistic, antisocial, paranoid narcissist in command of special forces, a Twitter army, and nuclear codes will do.
But the danger of not removing him is very clear. “We’ve had presidents with psychological disorders,” Gartner points out. Lincoln had depression, after all. “But this is unique. We’re not just talking about mental illness, we’re talking about the worst possible mental illness.”

Erdogan’s Ethnic Cleansing of the Kurds Is Still Happening
November 15, 2019
by Patrick Cockburn
The Independent
Mass expulsion or the physical extermination of an entire ethnic or religious community – ethnic cleansing – is usually treated by the media in one of two different ways: either it receives maximum publicity as a horror story about which the world should care and do something about, or it is ignored and never reaches the news agenda.
It appeared at first that the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey after its invasion of northern Syria on 9 October would belong to the first category. There was angry condemnation of the forced displacement of 190,000 Kurds living close to the Syrian-Turkish border as Turkish soldiers, preceded by the Syrian National Army (SNA), in reality ill-disciplined anti-Kurdish Islamist militiamen, advanced into Kurdish-held areas. Videos showed fleeing Kurdish civilians being dragged from their cars and shot by the side of the road and reporters visiting hospitals saw children dying from the effects of white phosphorus that eats into the flesh and had allegedly been delivered in bombs or shells dropped or fired by the advancing Turkish forces.
People wonder why armies with complete military superiority should resort to such horrific weapons that are both illegal under international law or, at the very least, guarantee the user a lot of bad publicity. The explanation often is that “terror” weapons are deployed deliberately to terrify the civilian population into taking flight.
In the case of the Turkish invasion of Syria last month, the motive is not a matter of speculation: William V Roebuck, a US diplomat stationed in northeast Syria at the time, wrote an internal memo about what he was seeing for the State Department. The memo later leaked. It is one of the best-informed analyses of what happened and is titled: “Present at the Catastrophe: Standing By as Turks Cleanse Kurds in Northern Syria and De-Stabilise our D-Isis [sic] Platform in the Northeast.”
Roebuck, with access to US intelligence about Turkish intentions, has no doubt that Ankara would like to expel the 1.8 million Kurds living in their semi-independent state of Rojava. He says: “Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, spearheaded by armed Islamist groups on its payroll, represents an … effort at ethnic cleansing, relying on widespread military conflict targeting part of the Kurdish heartland along the border and benefiting from several widely publicised, fear-inducing atrocities these forces committed.”
Later in the memo, Roebuck notes that the SNA irregulars had formerly been allied to al-Qaeda and Isis and that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan had openly broadcast, in a speech at the UN, Turkey‘s intention to fill depopulated Kurdish areas with Syrian Arabs from other parts of Syria who are currently refugees in Turkey. Roebuck’s reference to the extreme jihadi links of the SNA is certainly correct since its members have videoed themselves denouncing Sunni Muslim Kurds, Yazidis and Christians as infidels, along with threats to kill members of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which lost 10,000 fighting Isis in a coalition with the US.
None of this made much difference to Erdogan’s visit to Washington and his meeting with President Trump on Wednesday. He even handed back a letter sent at the time the invasion in which Trump had famously told Erdogan: “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”
In practice, Erdogan’s military assault does not look so foolish as he balances between Trump and Vladimir Putin and rides a wave of hyper-nationalist enthusiasm at home. Complains about Turkish brutality and that of its proxies are common but focus on the overriding aim of the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds from Turkey’s border is becoming blurred and less spoken of, though it is still ongoing. Making life impossible for a civilian population can take other effective but less dramatic forms than the use of white phosphorus or roadside killings.
An example of this type of compelling pressure is the deprivation of drinking water for about 400,000 people, mostly Kurds, who rely on the Alouk water station near Ras al-Ayn, which was damaged in the fighting at the time of the invasion and is under the control of Turkish proxy forces that prevent it being repaired. The UN has been making desperate attempts to restore the water supply from Alouk, but has so far failed to do so. It points out that even before 9 October, 900,000 out of the 3 million living in northeastern Syria were in acute need and since then the situation has gotten worse.
Sceptics say that all the publicity given to the Turkish ethnic cleansing of Kurds in northern Syria since the invasion does not seem to be doing the victims much good. But the price that Turkey pays in international obloquy counterbalances, to a substantial degree, what it has gained through getting its way through close personal relations between Erdogan and Trump. Mass expulsions and killings by al-Qaeda proxies are more difficult to carry out when they have become a factor in the political battles between the White House on one side and a large part of congress and the US media and foreign policy establishment on the other.
We know that Turkey’s pressure on the Kurds to leave Rojava could be a lot worse because this has already happened in Afrin, the isolated Kurdish enclave north of Aleppo that Turkey invaded and occupied in early 2018. This is an example of the type of ethnic cleansing mentioned earlier that never gets reported. Much of the original 200,000-strong Kurdish population are now refugees and those that stayed are being harassed by the same Syrian Arab militia groups that formed the vanguard of the invasion force east of the Euphrates in October.
Information from Afrin is difficult to obtain, but what news does emerge tells of Kurds losing their houses, land and farm machinery and being at the mercy of predatory Syrian Arab militia proxies under Turkish control. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, one of the few organisations with informants in Afrin, reports that in one village, on the day that Erdogan and Trump were meeting in Washington, six local people were kidnapped and taken to a private prison by militiamen. Earlier this year, local media reported that a 10-year-old boy with Down’s syndrome was kidnapped together with his father and grandfather. All three were later killed when the remainder of the family was unable to pay a $10,000 ransom.
Such atrocities are ethnic cleansing in action and are what Trump greenlit when he opened the door to the Turkish invasion of Syria.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

Preface
This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.
To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccurate.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 3

Sometime later, after they had slashed all the leather chairs, Chuck was looking at the books that had been on the now-legless coffee table.
“Look at this trash, Lars. What is this? Courses of liberal worship for Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. And another whale book. Now here’s a wonderful title for you: ‘The Iron Orgasm…a History of Militant Feminism in Boston.’ Estelle hasn’t had an orgasm since the cucumber got stuck during an Elvis concert and Art hasn’t had an erection since the second Bush administration. Mercy, look at all the wonderful music. What do we have here? ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber played on the Forest Lawn Organ,’ ‘ Wayne Newton sings Verdi,’ ‘Oklahoma Sung in Greek,’ ‘The Chipmunks Sing Your Favorite Christmas Carols’ and…oh my God, what a find! Look at this CD. Lars! ‘The Special Olympics Chorus Sings the Messiah.’”
Lars looked at the pile of disks with curiosity.
“Please Chuck, what is the Special Olympics?”
“You don’t know about that? Oh, what you have missed my boy. A whole pack of crips and droolers playing at sports, lurching off in all directions with their keepers right after them. You really ought to consider a brief romance with one of the younger ladies who is a member.”
“Doing it with a retard is not fun, Chuck,” Osvald said with some spirit.
“You ought to know. You’ve probably tried. You know I saw you last week down at the bus depot when I went to get a package. You had a really young one in one hand and a big pink rabbit in the other. What ever were you up to? Maybe some aerobics behind the dumpster? A little hide and seek in the bushes?”
“That’s disgusting, Chuck! That was my niece just in from Minnesota if you must know.”
“No, I must not know. I like our host’s religious attitude. Remind me to tell you about the time I put a voice-activated tape recorder in a church confessional. You know, I have never heard such really filthy conversation, even at a whore’s convention. It really is remarkable, Lars. Cheat on your spouse, rob the boss, finger your niece and you can still get into heaven by saying a few Hail Mary’s and an Our Father or two.”
Lars looked very interested in the thrust of the conversation.
“Were they very interesting, these tapes? Do you still have them?”
“Not so much interesting as profitable, friend. And no, I don’t have them. I sold them back to the penitents. Now, shall we go upstairs and investigate the bedrooms?”
There was excited anticipation in Lars’ voice.
“Oh my yes, and I want to rescue Art’s magazines. I mean if he is impotent now, what does he want with magazines? I can keep those, can’t I?”
“Why certainly, friend, if the pages aren’t all stuck together.”
And the Winrods’ best salesman and the Norwegian nymph-muncher ascended towards heaven, containers in hand.
On the second floor were a master bedroom and bath, a guest room and half bath and a small office.
They looked around the master bedroom with its mirrored closet doors, bad abstracts and furniture covered with family pictures, ancient stuffed animals, a small TV set, two vases of paper flowers and a medley of Lladro china figurines.
Chuck pointed to the closets.
“I’ll do the bathroom while you get into the closets and cut a sleeve off of every piece of clothing. Oh yes, and one leg off of every pair of pants. And pile up one shoe from each pair on the floor. I’ll just be a few minutes in the powder room.”
Osvald stared at the bureau as if trying to see through the veneered doors.
“Where did you say that Art kept his nice magazines?”
“I didn’t. They usually keep them in the sock drawers,” Chuck said as he disappeared into the bathroom. hammer in hand.
In only a few minutes he had smashed the toilet and its tank, broken all the mirrors, cracked most of the tile on the walls, shattered the shower stall glass doors, crushed the weight machine and sprinkled the contents of the cabinets in artistic piles on the floor. He closed the drain on the large bathtub and turned on the hot water. With clouds of steam pouring out into the bedroom, he returned to observe his companion ripping the sleeves off of Art’s sweaters and adding them to a large pile of eviscerated garment parts lying haphazardly on one of the beds.
Soon, these forlorn remnants of sartorial pleasure were lying in the filling tub, joined quickly by armfuls of shoes, watches, family pictures and the shredded remnants of underwear, socks and electric blankets. Five gallons of concentrated bleach, a can of drain cleaner and a gallon of black wood stain joined the walloping mess.
Lars had found no books with pictures of fat women socializing with Shetland ponies in Art’s collection of oversized underwear but in the back of his closet he discovered a number of videotapes that looked promising.
“Oh look, Chuck, I found some lovely tapes. ‘Carla does Downtown Modesto’, ’Wet Wendy’ and here’s one called ‘The Organ Grinder’. What do you think that one’s all about?”
“Probably a whore with chipped teeth. That bathroom is a real mess, Lars. I advise you not to go in there because there’s water all over the floor and it’s starting to come in here. Let me go downstairs for a minute and bring back a big surprise for our hosts.”
He returned a moment later with the three semi-frozen crabs, which he began to insert underneath the box mattresses. Lars put down the tapes long enough to watch his efforts.
“Why are you doing that, Chuck? Why don’t we just cut up the mattresses?”
He waved a sharp linoleum knife in savage half-circles.
Chuck straightened up, wiping his fish-smelling hands on the pillow of Estelle’s bed.
“We can do that too, friend, and let’s rip up these pillows and make it look like your Grandpa’s chicken plucking emporium.”
When the sheets and mattresses looked like Jack the Ripper had finished with them, they added insult to injury by urinating copiously on the tufted messes.
“The crab, by the way, will go off in a few hours. Have you ever smelt rotten crab? No? It smells like a drunk diabetic pissing on a hot car manifold. Not that the smell will be noticed much. Just think of Art and Estelle downstairs, hip deep in hot water, rotten food and decayed cunt ointment. By the way, the water is not only coming in here but it’s starting to run down the steps so I suggest we go into the other room and attend to redecorating it before we get flooded.”
As a final act of societal barbarity, he picked up what was obviously a well loved and much repaired stuffed toy bear and proceeded to disembowel it, slice off the head and stick the shoe-button eyes in his coat pocket. The empty husk was thrown onto the floor where it instantly changed color in a spreading puddle of water coming out of the bathroom.
As the water began to rise in the first bedroom, they went into the second, Lars clutching a bag of tools in one arm and his precious tapes in the other.
The guest bedroom held a waterbed and Lars rushed joyfully into the room, knife upraised.
“”It’s all mine, Chuck, all mine!” he said as he began to slash at it.
“Cut the bottom too, Lars, let the water escape. Let it run free and be sure to rip out the heating element when you’re down there.”
The cheap furniture yielded gracelessly to pistoning feet and slashed drapes, bed covers and an electric clock went into the half-bath where Chuck jammed pieces of drape into the shower drain and soaked everything with bleach, a bottle of green dye and a jar of laxative he found in the medicine cabinet. When he had finished, he turned on the shower full force
(Continued)

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