Mick Mulvaney concedes that tax is theft

While defending the Trump administrations budget proposals, Mick Mulvaney concedes that taxation is theft.

To be fair, his statement is in the context of what he considers bad expenditures, which apparently are social services for people who are too poor to pay tax. Some of whom are the people who voted for Trump, after he promised that he would bring their jobs back.

Apparently the tax breaks given to the rich will create the jobs.

Mulvaney has not explained how that will happen.

The poor can feel relieved that they will be saved from being branded as criminals. Whew.

Is he, or isn’t he?

Donald Trump psychological profile is unusual. The question is whether he is fit to lead Amerca. There is a group of professionals who say not. See for yourself.

Common perception is that psychopaths are violent criminals, but not all are either criminal or violent.

In fact, amongst corporate leaders, research has determined that 3.9% are psychopathic1)Corporate Psychopathy: Talking the Walk, which is notably higher than the approximately 1% prevalence estimated for the general population.2)Corporate Psychopathy and the Full-Range Leadership Model

The basis for determining psychopathy is a checklist that assesses 20 personality traits, using the Hare Psychopathy Checklist – Revised:

  1. Glib and Superficial Charm – smooth talking, verbally agile, a psychopath is rarely stuck for something to say. They are not in the least bit shy. In fact, they are not afraid to say anything!
  2. Grandiose Self-Worth – they have an opinion on everything, they boast and brag about the things they have done, their skills and abilities. They have enormous egos, plenty of confidence and arrogance and consider themselves superior. One psychopath said that he preferred to hear himself talk, because what he said was more interesting than what other people had to say.
  3. Seek Stimulation or Prone To Boredom – they like to be doing new and different things, always looking for excitement and entertainment. They take risks in what they do as well as what they say. For example, cult leaders, in a subtle way, may explain to their victims how exactly they are manipulating them. They rarely engage in activities that they find boring, or they don’t finish the job.
  4. Pathological Lying – their ability to lie is stunning, even when they know there is a high probability of being caught. Lies can be cunning and sly or unscrupulously manipulative.
  5. Conning and Manipulativeness – they deceive, cheat, con, bilk, trick or defraud others for personal gain. This is separated from no. 4 to the extent that the subject shows ‘callous ruthlessness’, that is, a lack of concern or pity for the suffering and feelings of their victims.
  6. Lack of Remorse or Guilt – despite their words they experience little emotion or concern for the pain and suffering of their victims. They are unfazed, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. There is often a disdain for the victims, and they may even say the victims deserved it.
  7. Shallow Affect – emotional poverty or very shallow feelings, coldness towards others despite seeming very friendly.
  8. Callousness and Lack Of Empathy – a general lack of feelings towards other people. They tend to be heartless, contemptuous, indifferent and tactless.
  9. Parasitic Lifestyle – they will intentionally manipulate and exploit others for financial gain. This goes along with poor motivation and little self-discipline and no sense of responsibility in terms of earning their own living.
  10. Poor Behavioral Controls – there may be sudden expressions of annoyance, irritability, aggression and verbal abuse. There may be sudden outbursts of anger and temper and they may act hastily.
  11. Promiscuous Sexual Behavior – they may have many brief encounters, many affairs while married, and may be indiscriminate in selecting partners (heterosexual and homosexual relationships) and even maintain several relationships at the same time. There is often a history of attempting to coerce many people into sexual relationships and they may take great pride in discussing their sexual conquests.
  12. Early Behavior Problems – there is often a history of antisocial behavior before age 13, including lying, stealing, cheating, vandalism, bullying, truancy, sexual activity, fire-setting, substance abuse, and running away from home. Cruelty to animals or siblings is particularly ominous.
  13. Lack Of Realistic, Long-Term Goals – while they talk about big plans, they show an inability or persistent failure to execute long-term goals; then may drift from one place to another lacking any real direction in life.
  14. Impulsivity – many of their behaviors are not premeditated and seem to be unplanned. They seem unable to resist temptation and urges or to delay gratification. They may not consider the consequences and so they appear reckless, foolhardy and unpredictable.
  15. Irresponsibility – they will repeatedly fail to honor commitments or obligations, in school, work, family or social situations. The fail to turn up, don’t pay bills, fail to honor contracts etc.
  16. Failure To Accept Responsibility For Own Actions – it seems like it’s never their fault or their responsibility. They have little or no sense of duty or conscientiousness and often deny their responsibility. And in denying, they will even try and manipulate others!
  17. Many Short-Term Marital Relationships – inability to maintain a long-term relationship because they are inconsistent and unreliable.
  18. Juvenile Delinquency – behavioral difficulties between the ages of 13-18. Typically behaviors that are crimes or are clearly manipulative, aggressive and callous.
  19. Revocation Of Condition Release – they may have had their probation revoked for technical reasons such as failing to appear, carelessness and so on.
  20. Criminal Versatility – unlike other criminals who may specialize in one area they are often involved in diverse activities, taking great pride at getting away with crimes.

Each of the twenty items are given one of three possible scores which are as follows:

  • 0 – It doesn’t apply to the subject at all.
  • 1 – It applies somewhat, meaning the trait is there, but it is not highly dominant in the person.
  • 2 – It fits the person perfectly, it defines dominant traits in character &/or behavior.

A person who receives a score at or above 30 is considered a psychopath and will receive the psychopathy diagnosis.

The highest possible score a person can get is 40.

The average neurotypical (normal) person receives a score between 3 and 6 (4 being the average estimate).

The average non-psychopathic criminal receives a score between 16 and 22.

The average criminal Sociopath and/or Antisocial Personality Disordered individual receives a score between 22 and 26.

The serious criminal Sociopath and/or Antisocial Personality Disordered individual receives a score between 26 and 29.

Criminal Psychopaths receive a score between 30 and 40.

A non-criminal Psychopath receives a score between 30 and 34.3)The Psychopathy Check List-Revised: (PCL-R)

A clinician is required to conduct the test, based on interviews and research into the subject past, including criminal, medical and educational history, work history, physical movement between locations and home addresses, relationships and possible marital history and/or status, and – not least – interviews with as many people as possible who know or knew the subject – Family, co-workers, teachers, friends, neighbors, counselors and therapists, etc. This is not a diagnosis that is given lightly! If the clinician honors the ethical implications of the seriousness of psychopathy and stays true to the hippocratic oath.4)The Psychopathy Check List-Revised: (PCL-R)

How would you score America’s new president?

More at:

5 Things Real-Life Psychopaths Do
Characteristics of the Psychopathic Personality
Corporate Psychopathy and the Full-Range Leadership Model
Corporate Psychopathy: Talking the Walk
The Devil Lurks in the Suit
Donald Trump: Profile Of A Sociopath
Hare Psychopathy Checklist
How to Avoid Hiring a Psychopath
Inside the Mind of a Psychopath
The July 2012 issue of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin dedicated psychopathy
The Mind of Donald Trump
Notes On The Robert Hare Psychopathy Checklist – Revised
On the trail of the elusive successful psychopath
The Psychopath in the C suite
Psychopathic C.E.O.’s
Psychopaths in the Executive Suite
Psychopathy A Clinical Construct Whose Time Has Come
Psychopathy as a Clinical and Empirical Construct
The Psychopathy Check List-Revised: (PCL-R)
Skilled Executive or Psychopath?
Strange answers to the psychopath test
Successful and Unsuccessful Psychopaths: A Neurobiological Model
Working for Trump is an embarrassment


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Trump fails conflict of interest test

Within a few days Donald Trump will be the President of the United States of America. His conflicts of interest are his Albatross. They have the potential to destroy his administration.

The big story at the press conference on January 11, 2017 was supposed to be about how the President-Elect is dealing with his conflicts of interests. Donal Trump is a master of diversion, and the subject took second place to his arguments with the press. And they fell for it.

Trump is not putting all his businesses into a blind trust, as is the precedent. His sons are going to continue running the business. His only concessions are: “no foreign deals while he is President” and “an ethics adviser to be appointed to the management board of the trust to oversee any potential conflicts of interest.”

The Office of Government Ethics said Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest plan is “meaningless” and sets up the incoming administration for constant controversy.

The plan does not match the “standards” of US presidents over the last 40 years.

Trump’s lawyer questioned that he should be expected to give up his businesses interests. Well yes, that goes with the job.

If Trump doesn’t like the conditions of employment, he’s free to resign.

More at:
7 questionable claims Donald Trump’s lawyer made while detailing his business plan
Abbreviated pundit roundup: Trump can’t avoid his massive conflicts of interest
An ethical double standard for Trump?
Democrats’ bill to force Donald Trump to divest business empire
Donald Trump and the Lawsuit Presidency
Donald Trump: A list of potential conflicts of interest
Donald Trump’s Business Dealings Test a Constitutional Limit
Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest
Fact-checking what Donald Trump’s lawyer said about the president-elect’s finances
Full transcript of Trump press conference
Government Ethics Office Says Trump Should Divest Himself Of His Businesses
How Donald Trump should handle conflicts of interest
Remarks of Walter M. Shaub, Jr., Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics, as prepared for delivery at 4:00 p.m. on January 11, 2017, at the Brookings Institution
Top Three Issues that Could Lead to Trump Impeachment if Issues Aren’t Addressed
The tower of silence
Trump drops ‘no new deals’ pledge
Trump hands over business empire to sons
Trump Organization handover plan slammed by ethics chief
Trump Says Judge’s Mexican Heritage Presents ‘Absolute Conflict’
Trump’s Businesses Could Be Tripped Up By A 2012 Insider Trading Law
Trump’s Indonesian Business Partner Is Knee-Deep in Dirty Politics
Trump’s Plan To Shift His Businesses Is Lacking, Ethics Experts Say
United States Office of Government Ethics
What conflicts of interest could Donald Trump have as president?
What is the Emoluments Clause?
Would Donald Trump’s business abroad compromise his ability to lead?

In war, truth is the first casualty

We live in a world where the courage of conviction has gone missing in action. Today misinformed public opinion holds more sway than professional advice.

To make things worse, western bureaucrats have adopted the soviet belief that knowledge is power. The Snowden leaks exposed that “top secret” classification sometimes has more to do with an author’s sense of self-importance than the responsibility to permit voters to make informed decisions.

The government agencies fail to inform the American public.

To make it worse, America has been at war with itself for the last 170 years. It’s a big surprise to any new visitor to the country. The visceral hatred between the former slave states and those that prevailed in the civil war appears undiminished.

A group of enterprising Macedonian teenagers created a series of money making fake news, and the polarized public lapped it up.1)fake news

The incredible intellect and integrity of America’s founding fathers is what made America great. Washington, Franklin, Madison, Jefferson and Hamilton created the foundation. Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt continued that tradition of leadership with integrity. With the exception of Barack Obama, today’s American leaders disgrace that legacy.

The brilliance of the founding fathers was born in a time when having an opinion was the result of deep thought, and caring. Opinionation is an expectation of democracy. Debating politics (or religion) is not the start of a conflict – it is the openness to exchange views, and to understand thinking that differs from our own. The founding fathers did not always agree. Often they argued vehemently, but usually to the point of agreement, with imaginative solutions, rather than compromise.

An open mind is not an empty mind.

Democracy places a huge intellectual responsibility on ordinary people. A thoughtless member of a democracy is a delinquent member of a democracy.

Anti-intellectualism has been one of the regular features of populism, but in this respect populism is an offense against the people….Anti-intellectualism is always pseudo-democratic. In enshrining prejudices and dogmas, it robs the citizen of his exacting and proper role.

Democracy’s strength is the will of the people – when they are talking to each other.

More at:
The biggest fake news stories of 2016
The city getting rich from fake news
Obama is worried about fake news on social media – and we should be too
Reason and the Republic of Opinion
A reflection on Barack Obama’s presidency
The rise and rise of fake news
The scourge of the U.S. election: Fake news, exploding on social media, is seeping into the mainstream
This is a real news story about fake news stories
This Photo Of A Trump Billboard In Mumbai Is Real, And So Is The Dark Irony


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1. fake news

Congress Should Investigate Russia Along With Donald Trump’s Finances

Daniel Benjamin
Benjamin was Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department and is director of The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College.

It should be made illegal for presidents to hide their business dealings

Gettyimages 630075966Donald Trump’s refusal to take seriously Russian interference in the presidential election is darkening the clouds that already hang over the legitimacy of his victory. Without question, a special select Congressional committee is required to investigate the Kremlin’s work to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign and secure the White House for her opponent. Senator Mitch McConnell’s effort to bury the investigation in the usual committees is a recipe for slow-rolling an urgent inquiry.

But the inquiry can’t stop at Russia’s actions. It must also ascertain whether the Trump camp colluded in any way with Vladimir Putin. Equally important, it must further ensure that Trump’s financial entanglements do not threaten U.S. national security. Each of these points is connected.

Congress can start by enacting legislation that requires Trump and all future presidents to disclose all financial documents necessary to establish the full scope of their business dealings, including their tax returns. That there isn’t already such a requirement can be chalked up to the fact that there has never been a need for such legislation. Previous—and poorer, less avaricious—presidents approached such matters like Caesar’s wife, so they would be beyond reproach on issues of conflict of interest. Trump has spurned these concerns with the nonsensical remark that “the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” That line, which recalls his idol Richard Nixon’s “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal,” suggests that for Trump, there can be no distinction between his interests and the nation’s.

Which is exactly why legislation is necessary—and Republicans should support it.

So much should be obvious. But Republican glee at capturing the White House seems to have smothered what should have been an instinctive horror at the Russian hacking. Republicans, who have spent decades portraying Democrats as soft on national security and themselves as hardheaded realists, are exposed on the issue of Putin and Trump. Moreover, there is nothing guaranteeing that future outside interference in our elections will benefit only the GOP. Yet to date, only a few Republican senators, led by John McCain and Lindsay Graham, have been prepared to call the Kremlin’s meddling the outrage that it is. (Though more GOP officials are reportedly wondering how they became the party of Putin.)

Russia—and the Soviet Union before 1991—has been employing “information operations” for decades to undermine ideological opponents in elections outside their borders and to turn the tide in national debates over strategic issues. The advent of the Internet—and with it the ability to gain access to years of confidential email correspondence and deploy thousands of fake news stories—has given Russia and other hostile powers an advantage unlike any they had ever dreamed of. That’s why in this year’s presidential race, the Kremlin saw its wishes come true on an unprecedented scale. Our elections are more integral to our sovereignty than our rule over any patch of territory. Right now, one would have to judge we are not in control of them.

No one can provide forensic proof that the release of the Democratic National Committee’s and Hillary Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta’s emails (the latter of which were released just hours after the Access Hollywood tape of Trump bragging about his sexual predations surfaced) and the deluge of fake news, which got more than 225 million views, made the difference on November 8 because no one can establish with certainty what impelled voters to pull the lever for Trump. But given the incredible amount of press attention to such minor scandals as Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s scheming against Democratic contender Bernie Sanders or the pullulating stories about Clinton’s health, no serious observer could think otherwise. To repeat the facts: Trump’s margin of victory was a mere 80,000 votes out of 14 million cast in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—a little more than a half of one percent, an electoral whisker. Of course the Russian intervention made that difference—along with some independent assistance in driving down Clinton’s support by FBI Director James Comey.

As the wide disparity in polls about the issue suggest, the American public is bewildered by the hack and unable to assess its importance, in part because the leaked material was treated as fair game by the press and because we don’t have a lexicon for grading cyber events the way we do acts involving the use of force. But as a longtime national security official, this covert operation qualifies for me as unmistakably hostile and too close on the continuum to an act of war to let pass. My former colleague and former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell went even further and called it “the political equivalent of 9/11.” It is staggering that Republicans, who from the Russian Revolution until their party’s last national convention, prided themselves on being the steel in American resolve against Russian expansionism, are so slow to bestir themselves.

So why tie this to Trump’s finances? Because Trump’s reaction to the hack and his unrelenting admiration of Vladimir Putin are so out of line with prevailing views about Russia and reasonable expectations that everyone should wonder what is going on. Any half-thoughtful response from Trump would have at least noted the gravity of the charge and that our electoral process is a vital U.S. interest. Instead, Trump rejected the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of Russian involvement and accused it of politicization. (That alone strengthens the argument that the man is fatally cavalier about American national security.) Shooting wildly like this only feeds the suspicion that Trump and Vladimir Putin are in cahoots.

My hunch is not necessarily that money is flowing one way or the other between these two, but that Trump’s financial exposure—in the form of Russian investment in the Trump Organization or debts that Trump has to Russian oligarchs close to Putin—has conditioned his thinking about Russia. I’m hardly the only one wondering about this bizarre relationship. From former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who called the real estate mogul Putin’s “useful idiot” just before the election, to New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, who called him the Russian strongman’s poodle this week, the astonishment is spreading.

I don’t know if I’m right about Trump and the Russians. But I do know we shouldn’t leave this in the realm of the conspiracy theory. During the campaign, Trump tweeted, “I have nothing to do with Russia,” and “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.” But his son Donald Trump Jr. observed in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” adding, “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Whatever became of all that cascading money? These are questions we should not need to ask. But we do, because Trump, despite winning the presidency, has shown himself unable to walk away from his business through divestiture. With the increasing dominance of the rich in politics—and in both parties—this is a problem that won’t end with him. So Congress must act to ensure that U.S. national security isn’t a secondary concern of American leaders.

This article originally appeared on Time’s web-site on December 23, 2016.