Friday, August 17, 2018

Is Trump mentally ill? Or is America? Psychiatrists weigh in.

Review of "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump" by Bandy X. Lee (ed.), "Twilight of American Sanity" by Allen Frances, and "Fantasyland" by Kurt Andersen.




Gone are the days when euphemisms about President Trump’s mental health insulated the man like so many padded walls. ErraticUnpredictableUnstableUnmooredTemperamentally unfit. This was what politicians and commentators said when they wished to question Trump’s state of mind but feared the consequences of a more colloquial assessment. Yet the deeper we plunge into this presidency, the more willing people become to call it like they see and hear it.
“I think he’s crazy,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) confided to his colleague Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in a July exchange inadvertently caught on a microphone. (“I’m worried,” she replied.) CNN’s Don Lemon, flabbergasted after a Trump speech last month, concluded that “he’s unhinged. . . . There was no sanity there.” Even some Republicans have grown more blunt, with Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) recently suggesting that Trump “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence” to succeed as president.
Now, some psychiatrists and other mental-health professionals are shedding long-held norms to argue that Trump’s condition presents risks to the nation and the world. “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump”features more than two dozen essays breaking down the president’s perceived traits, which the contributors find consistent with symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, sociopathy and other maladies. “Collectively with our coauthors, we warn that anyone as mentally unstable as Mr. Trump simply should not be entrusted with the life-and-death powers of the presidency,” Judith Lewis Herman of Harvard Medical School and Bandy X. Lee of the Yale School of Medicine write in the book’s prologue.
If so, what should we make of the nation that entrusted him with precisely such powers? In his new book, “Twilight of American Sanity,” psychiatrist Allen Frances asserts that Trump is not mentally ill — we are. “Calling Trump crazy allows us to avoid confronting the craziness in our society,” he writes. “We can’t expect to change Trump, but we must work to undo the societal delusions that created him.” And those delusions, Kurt Andersen contends in “Fantasyland,” have been around for a long time. “People tend to regard the Trump moment — this post-truth, alternative facts moment — as some inexplicable and crazy new American phenomenon,” he writes. “In fact, what’s happening is just the ultimate extrapolation and expression of attitudes and instincts that have made America exceptional for its entire history.”
So, depending on which of these books you trust — and their persuasive powers vary considerably — you might conclude that Trump is of unsound mind, or that we’re the deranged ones for electing him, or that America has always been disturbed, with Trump’s presidency just the latest manifestation.
And here’s the really crazy thing: These options are not mutually exclusive.
***
Mental illness hardly disqualifies one from the presidency. Abraham Lincoln is thought to have suffered from severe depression, but he held himself together and the union, too. “Equating mental illness with incapacity merely stigmatizes the mentally ill,” clinical psychologist Craig Malkin writes in “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” But Malkin and other contributors argue that Trump’s behavior — his political statements and actions as well as his interviews, books and social-media activity — suggest more ominous possibilities.
Trump displays signs of “extreme present hedonism,” the tendency to live in the moment without considering consequences, seeking to bolster one’s self-esteem no matter the risk. Or he exhibits “narcissistic personality disorder,” which includes believing you’re better than others, exaggerating your achievements and expecting constant praise. Combine hedonism, narcissism and bullying, and you get “an impulsive, immature, incompetent person who, when in the position of ultimate power, easily slides into the role of the tyrant,” Philip Zimbardo (of the famous Stanford prison experiment) and Rosemary Sword write. Others suggest that Trump shows indications of sociopathy, including lack of empathy, absence of guilt and intentional ma­nipu­la­tion. Put it all together and you have “malignant narcissism,” which includes antisocial behavior, paranoid traits, even sadism.
“Mr. Trump’s sociopathic characteristics are undeniable,” retired Harvard psychiatry professor Lance Dodes concludes. “They create a profound danger for America’s democracy and safety. Over time these characteristics will only become worse, either because Mr. Trump will succeed in gaining more power and more grandiosity with less grasp on reality, or because he will engender more criticism producing more paranoia, more lies, and more enraged destruction.” And when the president stands before the U.N. General Assembly and threatens to “totally destroy” an enemy country of 25 million people, enraged destruction seems on point.
Full article at > https://tinyurl.com/ya2nf6ns

I scanned for tracking cookies and the results had me speechless


Have you noticed websites are telling you they use cookies and asking for permissions? A new consumer privacy protection law called GDRP forces them to tell you they are adding cookies to your computer's browser when you visit their website.
What are cookies?
Simply put, a cookie is a small snippet of code that is stored in your computer’s browser storage. Many companies add cookies to your browser when you visit a website and most are not harmful, however, some cookies can track you online.
What are Tracking Cookies?
Tracking cookies are very different from regular cookies, they are used to monitor, track and report your online activity to remote third party databases for further analysis. This means many companies and agencies are tracking your every movement online and reporting it to remote databases. The data is typically sold to advertising companies who use your private data to sell higher priced ads and make more money.
How to tell if you are being tracked with tracking cookies
Have you ever noticed an ad following you around the Internet? As new ad technologies evolve, it is becoming increasingly common that an ad for a product or service you looked at previously will appear on an unrelated website hours or even days later. This is a prime example of tracking cookies are being used and how creepy, annoying, and invasive they can be.
How to block tracking cookies and protect your private information
The easiest way to protect your privacy and stop companies from using tracking cookies to track what you do online is to add a browser extension to your browser that blocks tracking cookies. We like one called Ad Removerbecause it will scan your browser and tell you if you have any current tracking cookies on it. Additionally, it blocks these tracking cookies and every type of online ad as well.
Ad Remover has tested their extension on the top 1800 websites and test results showed that by blocking tracking cookies and ads from loading, websites loaded 44% faster and used 19% less data on average.

When Will the U.S. Dollar Collapse?


A dollar collapse is when the value of the U.S. dollar plummets. Anyone who holds dollar-denominated assets will sell them at any cost. That includes foreign governments who own U.S. Treasurys. It also affects foreign exchange futures traders. Last but not least are individual investors.
When the crash occurs, these parties will demand assets denominated in anything other than dollars. The collapse of the dollar means that everyone is trying to sell their dollar-denominated assets, and no one wants to buy them. This will drive the value of the dollar down to near zero. It makes hyperinflation look like a day in the park.

Three things that could cause a collapse

Three conditions must be in place before the dollar could collapse. First, there must be an underlying weakness. That situation exists in 2017. The U.S. currency is fundamentally weak despite its 25 percent increase since 2014. The dollar declined54.7 percent against the euro between 2002 and 2012. Why? The U.S. debt almost tripled during that period, from $6 trillion to $15 trillion. The debt is even worse now, at $21 trillion. The debt-to-GDP ratio is now more than 100 percent. That increases the chance the United States will let the dollar's value slide.
That's because it would be easier to repay its debt with cheaper money.
Second, there must be a viable currency alternative for everyone to buy. The dollar's strength is based on its use as the world's reserve currency. The dollar became the reserve currency in 1973 when President Nixon abandoned the gold standard.  As a global currency, the dollar is used for 43 percent of all cross-border transactions. That means central banks must hold the dollar in their reserves to pay for these transactions. As a result, 61 percent of these foreign currency reserves are in dollars.

The next most popular currency after the dollar is the euro. But it comprises less than 30 percent of central bank reserves. The eurozone debt crisis weakened the euro as a viable global currency.
China and others argue that a new currency should be created and used as the global currency. China's central banker Zhou Xiaochuan goes one step further. He claims that the yuan should replace the dollar to maintain China's economic growth. China is right to be alarmed at the dollar's drop in value. That's because it is the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasurys, so it just saw its investment deteriorate. The dollar's weakness makes it more difficult for China to control the yuan's valuecompared to the dollar.
Could bitcoin replace the dollar as the new world currency? It has many benefits. It's not controlled by any one country's central bank. It is created, managed, and spent online. It can also be used at brick-and-mortar stores that accept it. Its supply is finite. That appeals to those who would rather have a currency that's backed by something concrete, such as gold.
But there are big obstacles. First, its value is highly volatile. That's because there is no central bank to manage it. Second, it has become the coin of choice for illegal activities that lurk in the deep web. That makes it vulnerable to tampering by unknown forces. 

Three events that could trigger a collapse

These two situations make a collapse possible. But, it won’t occur without a third condition. That's a huge economic triggering event that destroys confidence in the dollar. 
Altogether, foreign countries own more than $5 trillion in U.S. debt. If China, Japan or other major holders started dumping these holdings of Treasury notes on the secondary market, this could cause a panic leading to collapse. China owns $1 trillion in U.S. Treasurys. That's because China pegs the yuan to the dollar. This keeps the prices of its exports to the United States relatively cheap. Japan also owns more than $1 trillion in Treasurys. It also wants to keep the yen low to stimulate exports to the United States.
Japan is trying to move out of a 15-year deflationary cycle. The 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster didn't help.
Would China and Japan ever dump their dollars? Only if they saw their holdings declining in value too fast and they had another export market to replace the United States. The economies of Japan and China are dependent on U.S. consumers. They know that if they sell their dollars, that would further depress the value of the dollar. That means their products, still priced in yuan and yen, will cost relatively more in the United States. Their economies would suffer. Right now, it's still in their best interest to hold onto their dollar reserves.
China and Japan are aware of their vulnerability. They are selling more to other Asian countries that are gradually becoming wealthier. But the United States is still the best market in the world. 

When will the dollar collapse?

A dollar collapse will not occur in 2018. In fact, it's unlikely that it will collapse at all. That's because any of the countries who have the power to make that happen (China, Japan, and other foreign dollar holders) don't want it to occur. It's not in their best interest. Why bankrupt your best customer? Instead, the dollar will resume its gradual decline as these countries find other markets. 

What would happen after a collapse

A sudden dollar collapse would create global economic turmoil. Investors would rush to other currencies, such as the euro, or other assets, such as gold and commodities. Demand for Treasurys would plummet, and interest rates would rise. U.S. importprices would skyrocket, causing inflation.
U.S. exports would be dirt cheap, given the economy a brief boost. In the long run, inflation, high interest rates, and volatility would strangle possible business growth. Unemployment would worsen, sending the United States back into recession or even a depression.

How to protect yourself

Protect yourself from a dollar collapse by first defending yourself from a gradual dollar decline. Keep your assets well-diversified by holding foreign mutual funds, gold, and other commodities.
A dollar collapse would create global economic turmoil. To respond to this kind of uncertainty, you must be mobile. Keep your assets liquid, so you can shift them as needed. Make sure your job skills are transferable. Update your passport, in case things get so bad for so long that you need to move quickly to another country. These are just a few ways to protect yourself and survive a dollar collapse.

Featured Posts

My New Akita Blog Link

 For those who have been around for years, once again I'm creating and expanding my blogs.  Some may find my "Akita' blog in...

Popular Posts