Connect with us

ANALYSIS

Trump Facing ‘Psychic Collapse’ After Mueller’s Report Puts More Pressure on His Unstable Mind: Psychoanalyst

Published

on

On Friday, as the full weight of the Mueller report sunk in, proving far more damning that Attorney General William Barr’s memo, Trump dismissed the findings as “total bullish*t.”

That statement seems at odds with Trump’s earlier claim that the Mueller report exonerates him of all wrong-doing.

Raw Story spoke with Howard H. Covitz, Ph.D., a psychologist-psychoanalyst, about the President’s likely state of mind.

Covitz was for many years Director and Training Faculty of the Psychoanalytic Studies Institute and the Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies in Philadelphia, and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. His Oedipal Paradigms in Collision was nominated for the Gradiva Psychoanalytic Book of the Year.

He’s also taught university-level mathematics and psychology in the past. His connectedness to his wife, grown children, and grandchildren motivates his activism.

He contributed his wide-ranging insights to “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Professionals Assess a President,” edited by Bandy X. Lee, which was re-released last month alongside a major Washington conference on presidential fitness (dangerouscase.org).

Raw Story: How did you come, as a psychoanalyst to enter public discussion about a public figure? Isn’t there a rule against professionals speaking in psychiatric terms about public figures?

Howard H. Covitz: I am a staunch advocate of that rule in all situations when there is no risk of catastrophic danger to others. I have chosen to speak out because a man was elected President (and given unimaginable powers to do good and evil) who shows the signs of those people who are prone to doing others harm.

For him, if I take his words seriously, life is a zero-sum game, and he must win all the time. The Psalmist said not about Trump but about the God that so many of his followers devoutly worship: “To God belongs the Earth and all that it contains” (Psalm 24). That’s not the way God-complex Trump sees it…. Furthermore, I must say, that any armed person who is not President and who is doing and saying what Donald Trump says often and openly would be whisked off by the gendarmes to a psychiatric facility for testing.

Raw Story: The Mueller report appears to at least legally clear Trump of collusion with Russia, although obstruction is still an open question. How do you explain Trump’s extreme negative reaction?

Howard H. Covitz: Since Donald Trump was a presidential candidate, we in the mental health community noted in him, one, an inability to see others as people in their own right (subjects with their own needs and intentions) but rather to see them as instruments for his use. Two, a splitting of the world into with-me and against-me camps, and three, an apparent lack of impulse control. He also appears to have no respect for extant organizations, laws or accepted wisdom. He’s shown an absence of nuanced thought (in addition to any question of cognitive decline). He’s demonstrated having only one truth, namely what he wishes to be true. The fact that he has nearly unlimited powers that are not being checked by the Senate or anyone else leaves the values of the Republic and the welfare of the world arguably in grave danger.

Raw Story: How do you think this information will land on the President’s supporters, given Trump’s unique relationship with his base?

Howard H. Covitz: We know the power of the mob and its allegiances to tribal beliefs. But beyond this, we know that the Fourth Estate, to a significant extent, has been wittingly or unwittingly complicit in treating many of Trump’s positions AS IF they were reasonable … they have been complicit, that is, in normalizing the pathological as during the rise of authoritarian regimes.

Having said that, it is difficult to believe that there will not be defections from the Trump cult, if room is made for these people who saw in Trump hope for a better day. I expect there to be efforts (either from the Right or from Russian bots) to paint the progressive camp as seeing half or more in the MAGA camp as “deplorables.”

Speaking not as a psychoanalyst but as a citizen, father and grandfather, it is absolutely necessary for us to avoid any further alienation of the right, including the Religious Right.

Raw Story: Do you envision the President doubling down on his agenda, including severely restricting immigration? Plus, today the President called the report “total bullshit” even though he also claimed it exonerated him. Why can’t the President stop while he’s ahead?

Howard H. Covitz: If, indeed, the elected President’s publicly displayed behaviors are indicative of severe pathology (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), the likelihood of his responding to the pressure of being exposed in any constructive manner is essentially zero.

We have made inroads into treating some such people with success, but this is a lengthy process and is not accomplished under the type of duress that the President is being exposed to with the damning pictures in Mueller’s report. We see from even the redacted report that, without the likes of John Kelly and teams of legal consultants, the six characteristics mentioned above would have moved him to even more dangerous and illegal positions.

He is being portrayed in the report as one who can be controlled – the Emperor, in the report, does indeed have small hands, so to speak. How someone like he will be able to integrate the public shaming that this brings forth for him is not predictable but should be a source for grave concern.

That having been said and, again, assuming again that his pathological behaviors are not all a show, we may presume either an increase in these disturbing behaviors (pulling out of NATO, declaring national emergencies for whatever he chooses to do, ramping up tensions with Iran, using the full-force of the executive branch to leash friends and whip foes, … ), or a psychic collapse.

We saw a notable change in his behavior when he left the White House on Thursday for Mar-a-Lago and refused to take any questions. The next days and weeks should clarify which of these paths he chooses and how much and what kind of violence he chooses to promote. It is impossible to precisely predict the future actions of someone who apparently lives under the belief that après moi le deluge.

These are, in my estimation, the most dangerous times thus far in Trump’s presidency … Dangerous for the republic with dangers for the world and dangerous for my grandchildren.

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

ANALYSIS

Overturning Roe Is Just the Beginning

Published

on

Analysis 

The Supreme Court majority built by the hard-right legal movement with help from Republican presidents and senators, and turbocharged by three Trump-McConnell justices, is apparently preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminating a constitutional right to abortion and potentially eviscerating the constitutional underpinning of rulings protecting privacy and the rights of LGBTQ Americans.

While overturning Roe has been an intense focus and will be a massive victory for the religious right and right-wing legal movement, reversing Roe is just one part of a much broader agenda that has been promoted by the right-wing Federalist Society and allied political operatives who have worked with it to pack the federal courts. Trump basically outsourced his judicial picks to the group’s activists. Now, with the Trump justices cementing a hard-right majority on the Court, Federalist Society lawyers and judges and their political allies can move even more aggressively to reverse a century’s worth of precedents, pulling the constitutional rug out from under the New Deal and Great Society anti-poverty programs like Medicare and Social Security; further gutting voting rights in favor of states’ rights; weakening the separation of church and state; and undermining the federal government’s ability to regulate corporations and protect workers and communities.

Seeking a National Abortion Ban 

A leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision written by Justice Samuel Alito dispenses with any notions of nuance in favor of a complete repudiation and reversal of Roe. If the court ultimately rules along the lines set out in Alito’s draft, abortion would be banned or severely restricted in more than half the states immediately or in short order.

Some states already have bans in place. Some have passed “trigger” laws, most of which would take effect at the moment of Roe’s demise. Others, including Michigan and Wisconsin, still have old laws on the books that will come back into force once Alito and his colleagues have removed the constitutional barrier to their enforcement. While some anti-choice groups have talked about preparing for a “50-state battle,” they have already won many of those battles.

Eliminating Roe would intensify the already existing disparities in access to abortion between states. Many people seeking that care will be forced to travel elsewhere—a fundamental freedom that is also being targeted by anti-abortion legislators.

And for all the federalism-embracing, give-it-back-to-the-states rhetoric, expect anti-choice activists to quickly demand a national ban on abortion. The state-by-state approach pursued by anti-choice activists was a strategic decision to bypass Congress, chip away at Roe, and build momentum toward a day when the Court was in their ideological grasp. But a nationwide ban is their goal.

This is not speculation. The amicus brief submitted by Princeton University professor Robert P. George, a brief cited in Alito’s draft, is clear. George argues that “prenatal persons” and “unborn children” are persons under the 14th Amendment from the moment of conception, and therefore that states should be required to treat abortion as homicide. He argues that Congress would have to enforce such a ruling “if States failed in their duties.” George’s brief mirrors the arguments of the hard-core “personhood” wing of the anti-choice movement, which has successfully pushed anti-choice legislators away from even granting exceptions to abortion bans in cases of rape and incest. The right to contraception is at risk, too, as anti-abortion activists are hard at work to make the public believe that some widely used forms of contraception are the equivalent of abortion.

Eliminating Equality for LGBTQ Americans 

Alito’s draft includes language seemingly meant to suggest that if adopted by the majority, his ruling would not put LGBTQ equality at risk. “Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Referring to the Court’s rulings in Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned state laws criminalizing homosexual conduct, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized marriage equality, Alito’s draft says that the Court ruling against a right to abortion “does not undermine them in any way,” in part because those decisions do not involve “the critical moral question posed by abortion.”

But that reads as high-level gaslighting.

In a 2020 comment on the court’s decision not to hear a case brought by a marriage-resisting county court clerk, Alito and Clarence Thomas disparaged Obergefell, saying that a right to same-sex marriage cannot be found in the Constitution. And many anti-choice activists have portrayed opposition to marriage equality as inhabiting the same legal and moral plane as opposition to abortion.

brief submitted by Texas Right to Life was filed by Jonathan Mitchell, the author of the Texas abortion ban that the Supreme Court has allowed to take effect. The brief sneers at “court-invented rights to homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage,” calling the Lawrence and Obergefell decisions “as lawless as Roe.”

Robert George, who argues that states must treat abortion as homicide, is also intensely opposed to legal equality for LGBTQ people. A founder of the National Organization for Marriage, George co-authored The Manhattan Declaration, a 2009 manifesto whose signers frame opposition to abortion and marriage equality as similarly non-negotiable. The manifesto concludes with this:

Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.

Anti-LGBTQ activist Ryan Anderson, a Robert George protégé, has urged anti-marriage equality activists to follow his road map to overturning Obergefell, with the religious right’s anti-Roe campaign as a guide. The first step in his plan was to denounce the marriage equality decision as illegitimate, which George and others have done relentlessly. Other anti-LGBTQ leaders, like Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown, have also expressed hope that success in eradicating a right to abortion points the way toward doing the same for marriage equality.

And it is not just about marriage. Many religious-right legal and political advocacy groups defended state laws that made gay people de facto criminals and opposed the Lawrence decision. You can hear that in the rhetoric of anti-LGBTQ activists who express a desire to return to a time when gay people were disfavored in law and demonized in popular culture, and already, they are working to return us to that time with a wave of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and legislation smearing LGBTQ people and their allies as “groomers” and sexual predators.

Indeed, anti-choice activist Janet Porter recently said she hopes to apply the nefarious strategy of Texas’s abortion ban, which allows anyone to sue anyone who helps a person obtain an abortion, to LGBTQ issues in schools, making teachers, librarians, and school board members vulnerable to lawsuits for “pushing this garbage on our children.”

‘Rome Wasn’t Burned in a Day’: Return to a States’ Rights Constitution 

In the name of federalism, the Supreme Court’s conservative and far-right justices have repeatedly weakened the federal Voting Rights Act, giving a green light to state legislators to pass wave after wave of voting restrictions. That is far from the only way that the right-wing legal movement hopes Trump’s justices can continue to “fundamentally change the country.”

In 2017, Republican congressional and White House aides told a conference of religious-right activists that getting a second Supreme Court justice would allow Trump to create “epic, titanic” shifts and undo New Deal and Great Society programs created when Democrats had wide congressional majorities. Trump also filled lower federal courts with ideologically minded judges who give hard-right justices like Alito and Thomas the “troops” to carry out their judicial counterrevolution.

Dismantling much of what the federal government does to address poverty and access to education and health care has been a long-term project, a reality reflected in a bit of Federalist Society humor: “Rome wasn’t burned in a day.” But right-wing funders knew their long-term investments could bring huge returns.

The confirmation of Trump’s third Supreme Court pick, Justice Amy Coney Barrett—who some anti-choice activists believe was anointed by God to help the Supreme Court overturn Roe—could also strengthen the religious right’s already successful push to weaponize and redefine religious liberty in ways that weaken the Establishment Clause, which prohibits the establishment of religion by Congress, and the separation between church and state.

The net result is all too clear. As tragic as it is, the reversal of Roe is just one step in the far-right campaign to rewrite the Constitution and gut fundamental rights, harming millions of Americans in the process.

 

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

Continue Reading

ANALYSIS

George Conway Says DOJ Must Go After Trump: ‘Evidence Is Piling Up and Fits These Statutes Like a Glove’

Published

on

George Conway believes the House select committee has built an airtight case against former president Donald Trump.

The conservative attorney told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the evidence closely matched the statute for conspiracy to obstruct or influence an official proceeding, and he said the Jan. 6 committee has already presented a strong case against the former president and right-wing attorney John Eastman.

“This statute says what it says, but the problem for Trump and Eastman and others, and Eastman has had to plead the Fifth [Amendment] 146 times at his deposition before the Jan. 6 committee,” Conway said. “The problem for them is that the ‘evidence is piling up and mounting and it fits these statutes like a glove. I mean, the real issue is were they intending to deceive anybody, did they know they were deceiving people?”

The committee’s new brief shows all the various individuals who told Trump and his advisers there was no basis to overturn the election, which his own administration and various states had determined was fairly and safely conducted, and Conway said Trump was apparently aware he had, in fact, lost.

“There’s already, you know, reporting out there that Trump was telling his aides,” Conway said, “and I know for a fact this to be true, that he was saying, ‘How could I have lost to this guy? How could I have lost?’ which means he knew he lost, which means he knew he was engaging in a fraud and knew he was engaging in a deceit, and the fact he was trying to obstruct the lawful function of the United States government puts this squarely, squarely under the scope of 18 U.S.C. section 371.”

“At this point I don’t see how the Justice Department can pass on this,” he added.

 

Continue Reading

ANALYSIS

After Taking Heat for Praising Putin, Fox Segments Have Gone to Openly Calling for His Assassination

Published

on

The Fox network and the Republican Party stood in solidarity with Russia and President Vladimir Putin but that has evolved over the weekend.

Fox host Tucker Carlson has been begging Putin for an interview for weeks and the Russian state television networks have been running Carlson’s monologues on their media with subtitles.

It was just four days ago that Carlson asked why it was unpatriotic to support Putin.

“It may be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious, what is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much?” he said Tuesday. “Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? These are fair questions, and the answer to all of them is ‘no.’ Vladimir Putin didn’t do any of that. So, why does permanent Washington hate him so much?”

Carlson even went so far as to claim that Democrats would charge you with treason if you didn’t hate Putin. According to the GOP and Fox, the fight with Ukraine is nothing more than a “border dispute.”

Speaking to Laura Ingraham on Wednesday evening, former President Donald Trump explained that Putin’s fight is what the United States should be doing on the U.S./Mexico border.

According to Ingraham and Trump, the weakness of the U.S. and NATO is the reason that Putin felt he could invade Ukraine.

“He was going to be satisfied with a peace,” Trump claimed. “And now he sees the weakness and the incompetence and the stupidity of this administration, and, as an American, I’m angry about it, and I’m saddened by it. And it all happened because of a rigged election. This would have never happened.”

While many conservatives have bought into that narrative, the reality is that Putin has explained he wants to reestablish the Soviet Union. That goal would not depend on who was the president of the United States. The war from Putin has nothing to do with the United States, nor is the U.S. exclusively attacking Russia. As former Secretary Condi Rice explained, the global community would not be unified behind Trump the way they are with President Joe Biden.

On Sunday, Fox featured Judith Miller, the reporter who got facts wrong about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. She cited another moment on Fox in which it was suggested “someone” should “go Julius Caesar on Putin.” Meaning, someone should assassinate the leader.

Fox appears to be turning in their support of Russia. It may have come from intervention by the station’s owners, the Murdoch family, or Republican leaders.

Carlson’s show doesn’t air on the weekends, so it will be interesting to see if Carlson is continuing to fight to interview Putin.

See the video of Miller below:

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.