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Ultimately, one day Donald wakes up in the White House, with his drug paraphernalia of choice — a smartphone and a Twitter app — and the entire world as his audience. Like the drug-addled guitar player whose band gets a hit and suddenly finds himself swimming in riches and rock stardom, Donald, the hopeless mendacity addict, has begun to lose all control.

(scroll down for article)

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[REPORTER (Jeff Mason from Reuters)]: President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

[PRESIDENT PUTIN]: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.

(post-summit Trump-Putin press conference; Helsinki, Finland; 7/16/2018.)

“I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!”

(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 7/24/2018.)

“Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; speaking to Veterans of Foreign Wars conference; Kansas City, Mo.; 7/24/2018.) (experts declare this statement compelling evidence that Trump may have read at least one book: George Orwell’s 1984)

Addict

President Donald Trump is an addict. Though publicly proclaiming to have a lifelong, total aversion to the common elements of chemical dependency — alcohol, nicotine, and all other drugs of abuse — Donald is addicted to lies. He enjoys the high they produce, the outrage they prompt in others. Part of the high also is that he keeps getting away with the ever-increasing number of large lies he tells. He relishes the adrenaline rush from the risk of throwing the next big one out there. He basks in the euphoria of prevaricacious success: his base embraces him more; his detractors flail trying to publicize their refutations; and Republican Party members in Congress grow evermore invertebrate, paralyzed with the fear of losing elections.

The only time he pays a significant price is when he’s caught telling the truth: on the Access Hollywood tape, he admitted sexually assaulting women; at the Helsinki press conference, he virtually admitted believing Putin’s election-attack denials, and enthusiastically deemed Vlad’s ridiculous suggestion of trading investigatory interrogations “an incredible offer.” Maddeningly, in spite of these incidents, which forced Trumpian apologies or walk-backs, the president still has suffered few consequences.

As with most addicts, their addictive behavior starts at a young age. It’s likely Donald learned to prevaricate while a child in a dysfunctional household, with an authoritarian, distant father and a loving but manipulative mother. You know the type. Dad is military strict and emotionally abusive. Mom teams up with kids to lie constantly to Dad about what Mom and kids are up to so they all can have some sort of life without constant verbal harassment. Lying becomes simply a way of running the household. Lying becomes a way of life.

Call me an armchair psychologist. But I am a former certified addictions counselor — which requires an associate degree and two years of on-the-job training, I’ll have you know. All seriousness aside, I don’t know Trump’s childhood history. But I like the dysfunctional-family theory, and it makes perfect sense.

Additionally, Donald’s older brother, Fred Jr., died from alcoholism. That came from somewhere in the family. As any addictions counselor worth his collection of platitudes will tell you, the alcoholic is simply the “identified patient”; everyone else in the household is also emotionally sick as hell.

From the time Donald entered into public awareness, his name has been associated with embellishment, exaggeration, even “truthful hyperbole,” as his ghostwriter wrote in one of his books for him. Regarding the addict angle, if truthful hyperbole (and a river in Egypt) is not denial, I don’t know what is. The guy lies like he breathes — all the time. And he often has come to believe many of his own fables, regarding his wealth, his women, his intelligence, etc. This is where the aspect of denial fits Trump’s addiction scenario so well.

Anyway, we’ve established that Donald has been a compulsive fabulist long before he became president. He saved his greatest hits until he seriously began considering a run for president, in 2011 or so. The most infamous and disgusting of these was the racist birther conspiracy: that Barrack Obama was not born in the United States, that he was probably a Kenyan Muslim (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and that Trump knew this through the work of his many hired investigators.

Here’s some more armchair psychology: You know Donald was a merciless bully as a kid. His go-to response to detractors today is schoolyard name-calling. Trump is also addicted to immaturity.



Information Warfare

Ultimately, one day Donald wakes up in the White House with his drug paraphernalia of choice — a smartphone and a Twitter app — and the entire world as his audience. Like the drug-addled guitar player whose band gets a hit and suddenly finds himself swimming in riches and rock stardom, Donald, the hopeless mendacity addict, has begun to lose all control. It took him — and the rock star — about a year and a half.

Trump is engaged in a war of information against his own people, the American people. It has become a national emergency, a national crisis. His addiction to fabrication has allowed him to get to this point. Only a person drowning in denial can say the nonstop fictitious things he says. Only a person who has forfeited all personal ethics and morality — or never had these — can conduct himself the way Donald Trump does.

One thing that could save us now, that could break through the brainwashed groupthink of Trump’s support base — which would finally free Republicans in Congress to speak the truth — is an A Face in the Crowd inadvertent open-mic moment at the end of a rally:

“This whole country’s just like my flock of sheep! … Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, hausfraus, shut-ins, pea-pickers — everybody that’s got to jump when somebody else blows the whistle. … They’re mine! I own ’em! They think like I do. Only they’re even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for ’em. Marcia, you just wait and see. I’m gonna be the power behind the president — and you’ll be the power behind me!”

(Lonesome Rhodes, played by Andy Griffith; director: Kazan, Elia; writer: Schulberg, Budd; A Face in the Crowd [motion picture]; 1957.) (Lonesome accidentally said what he really believed into an open mic after one of his rallies, for all his supporters to hear)

You just know Trump talks like this with his closest henchmen.

Or we could hope for a moment like the mythical, accidental open-mic comment from famous 1930s children’s radio show host Uncle Don at the end of one of his broadcasts:

“There, that oughta hold the little bastards!”

Though this myth has been busted thoroughly over the years, you still want it to be true.

This past week alone, President Trump has put out a half-dozen super whoppers, any one of which would have sunk another politician. Trump is a propaganda phenomenon, the likes of which come around rarely, especially in high-level American politics. I’m no history major, but the only other one that comes to my mind is Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.).

FISA

“Looking more & more like the Trump Campaign for President was illegally being spied upon (surveillance) for the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC. … An illegal Scam!”

(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 7/22/2018.)

“So we now find out that it was indeed the unverified and Fake Dirty Dossier, that was paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC, that was knowingly & falsely submitted to FISA and which was responsible for starting the totally conflicted and discredited Mueller Witch Hunt!”

(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 7/23/2018.)

Last Saturday, the Trump administration declassified the Carter Page FISA warrant application in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. No FISA warrant application before this one has ever been released to the public. Trump authorized its release to use it as vindication. Almost all legal experts, however, say this document completely refutes all of the president’s Russia-related proclamations. In other words, all of the evidence contradicts the president.

Iran

“To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”

(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 7/23/2018.)

Officials of Iran threaten America every day. As Stephen Colbert’s writers humorously illustrated this week, Iranian government customer support reps answer the phone with a sing-songy, “Death to America. My name is Fakhri. How may I help you?”

This is an embarrassingly empty ultimatum from Trump, just as his “Fire and Fury” tweet to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was last year. As expected, Kim continued his threats and Donald did nothing. As expected, Rouhani will continue his threats and Donald will do nothing. Conventional wisdom says this latest Trump bluster was specifically for changing the subject away from the “Humiliation in Helsinki,” or as this writer so eloquently coined it last week: “Hinky in Helsinki.” Unfortunately, it puts the world at risk of increased conflict and American credibility in the toilet.

Russia Hoax Back-Track No. 47 (or 48)

“So President Obama knew about Russia before the Election. Why didn’t he do something about it? Why didn’t he tell our campaign? Because it is all a big hoax, that’s why, and he thought Crooked Hillary was going to win!!!”

(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 7/22/2018.)

Trump embarrassed himself in Helsinki — surely as if he’d wet his pants onstage — strongly implying he believed Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies who have unanimously determined that Russia did indeed attack our elections. Even sycophants such as Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and several Fox News pundits jumped all over him. The next day, 27 hours later, he broadcast a White House hostage video in which he mechanically read from a script: “I have said this many times, I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place.”

Then he went off-script: “It could be other people, also. There are lots of people out there.”

Donald is right: he’s “said this many times.” But he’s also said the opposite many times. On Sunday our president was back to “it is all a big hoax.”

Russia Supporting Democrats Now

“I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!”

(Trump; Ibid.; 7/24/2018.)

If this wasn’t so dangerous, it would be hilarious. But Trump supporters love his lies and delight in perpetuating them. They revel in their leader conducting business the way they wish they could. And they are always willing to “primary” any GOP candidate who isn’t sufficiently pro-Trump (i.e., doesn’t enthusiastically further the lies). In this way, congressional Republicans are being held hostage.

Selective Listeners

Donald Trump, as president, has learned he can give simultaneous polar opposite explanations or declarations about any issue. He does it constantly. First, as I said, his base loves to see him lie to get ahead and get away with it. Second, Trump supporters are expert selective listeners. As long as Donald has given them the answer they need to rationalize their support, they’re good. They simply don’t hear, i.e., don’t retain conflicting information — even if Trump himself is the source of the conflicting information.

“Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

(Trump; Ibid.; 7/24/2018.)

Trump supporters know he lies. They love it. They embrace it. Detractors know what Trump is doing, but their attempts to clarify the rhetorical subterfuge are like urinating against the squall.

You know that old saying: Before the truth can get its Ivanka Brand Women’s Lory3 Ankle Booties zipped up, the lie is half-way around the world.

Multiply that by a swarm of Trump lies circling the globe.

Johnsonian Surround

Like all addicts, Trump is chasing the dragon, looking to get that same rush he got the first time he snookered Dad by telling him he was going to study with friends, when actually he was bankrupting his first casino and paying off his first hooker.

Addicts’ lies and disgusting conduct, if left unchecked, continue to get worse, not better, until they bottom out. There are several types of interventions that can interrupt a junkie’s addictive behavior. There is the Johnsonian Surround, developed in the 1960s by Dr. Vernon Johnson. This is the classic version, popularized by the reality show Intervention, that involves a surprise (to the addict) meeting with family and friends. In the Johnsonian Surround, participants in the room try to communicate to the addict the harm he is doing to himself and others, and convince him to enter rehab.

Breaking Bad fans might remember the scene where ne’er-do-well meth junkie Jesse Pinkman shows up to an appointment only to find his estranged parents waiting for him. He exclaims, “Not another intervention!?”

In fact, they were taking his house away.

Other types of interventions generally fall into place due to the addict’s life circumstances. In a medical intervention, the user is forced to stop using, at least temporarily, due to hospitalization or home confinement. In a vocational intervention, an employer gives an employee the option of entering rehab or losing her job. In a legal intervention, the judge forces an addict in legal trouble to stay clean or face jail time. And in an incarceration intervention, the addict simply can’t use because he’s in jail — unless the jail’s contraband security is lax.

The legal or incarceration intervention is what I have in mind for President Trump. Perhaps the Special Counsel grand jury could interrupt Trump’s compulsive bearing of false witness with the threat of indictment. Perhaps incarceration would interrupt his chronic equivocation. At least it would interrupt his ability to be president, saving the country.

As all addiction counselors and Al-Anon members know, sometimes loved ones must “let go with love,” so that the addict does not bring down loved ones with him. For some dependents, there is no hope; they will never stop their addictive behavior and accompanying catastrophic actions.

Furthermore, the family needs to stop enabling the addict’s behavior. Enabling hurts the user and people around him. It’s difficult but crucial. In Donald’s case, this would involve his base of supporters and invertebrate Republicans in Congress. They must all learn to let Trump go (with or without love) and stop enabling him — so that the addict, Donald Trump, does not bring down America with him.

Andrew Johnsonian Surround

Donald Trump is not far from hitting his proverbial rock bottom. One final intervention option for him might be the Andrew Johnsonian Surround. Andrew Johnson, of course, succeeded Lincoln, majorly screwed over freed slaves, and was the first U.S. president to be impeached. In a presidential surround intervention, I imagine Mr. Trump being scheduled for a secret meeting with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. (this would guarantee his attendance). He arrives, only to find his Cabinet members waiting for him with their prepared notes of how Donald has hurt them and himself.

As they go around the table, confronting Trump about his destructive behavior, picture Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ turn to address the addict: “Mr. President, you really hurt my feelings when you called me ‘beleaguered’ and referred to me as ‘Mr. Magoo.’” (Jeff is getting choked up now.) “And once in a meeting, looking directly at me, you said you wanted to ‘thank a really tremendous attorney general — Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi.’” ■

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Trump Corruption Chronicles — We Must Never Forget