Albert Einstein failed to discover his "unified field theory," But Eags (Timothy Egan) may have uncovered the best explanation of the Trump phenomenon. Der Trumpster has proclaimed his love of The Dickster's torture regimen, especially waterboarding. However, Eags has given us another aspect of the torture regimen that Der Trumpster self-inflicts. Just as the models/beauty pageant contestants that Der Trumpster admires are often plagued by self-inflicted eating disorders, Der Trmpster self-inflicts another compulsive behavior: sleep-deprivation. Of course, the Dumbos/Teabaggers are science-deniers, so Eags' citation of scientific truth about sleep-deprivation will be sloughed off by the science deniers. However (as the old joke goes), if the Foo $hits, you just gotta wear it. If this is a (fair & balanced) cognitive behavioral diagnosis, so be it.
[x NY Fishwrap]
A Unified Theory Of Trump
By Eags (Timothy Egan)
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In trying to explain Donald Trump and his hostile takeover of the Republican Party, people have trotted out a host of character disorders. Narcissist. Racist. Bully. Buffoon. Tyrant. Liar. Celebrity obsessive. Fact-denier. You’ve heard them all, and they all apply, in varying degrees.
But as we now must imagine what it would be like to have Trump’s short fingers on the nuclear weapon controls, consider another explanation for the dangerous man most likely to represent the Party of Lincoln — sleep deprivation.
If you actually take him at his word, the billionaire who will be 70 years old in a few months gets by on barely half the amount of sleep recommended for a healthy life. He says he needs only three or four hours, and sometimes just 90 minutes.
Sleep deprivation, we know, can make you cranky and temperamental, and throw off judgment. The severely sleep-deprived are more impulsive, less adaptable and prone to snappish decisions, and they have trouble listening to others. They miss out on essential REM time, which allows people to process emotions and events in their lives. Smaller things set them off.
“You know, I’m not a big sleeper,” Trump said last November. “I like three hours, four hours, I toss, I turn, I beep-de-beep, I want to find out what’s going on.”
Trump’s defenders — those who are historically literate — might point to the short nights of accomplished leaders as a defense. Five hours, max, was often reported as the typical slumber for President Bill Clinton. Winston Churchill was in the same league, though he took a lengthy late-afternoon nap, aided by his customary whiskey and water.
There are, in fact, a number of brilliant, driven people who function well with a bare amount of rest. Donald Trump is not one of them. He shows all the scary symptoms of sleep deprivation. His judgment is off, and almost always ill informed. He has trouble processing basic information. He imagines things. He shows a lack of concentration. He’s easily distracted. All of the above are disorder symptoms listed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
You saw all this in Thursday night’s debate. “Be quiet, let me talk,” he snapped at Marco Rubio. The shouting, the eye-rolling, the repetition of nonsensical pablum, the odd words (“bigly” when he meant hugely) — it was all there. And again, the delusions: “I will do really well with Hispanics.”
In addition, Trump is given to sudden, inchoate bursts of anger and profanity. He creates feuds. In his speeches, he picks up on the angry voice in the mob and then amplifies it.
When I see his puffy eyes and face, I don’t see a man who will carefully weigh all the facts and consequences of an action that could affect everyone on the planet. I see an impulsive, vainly insecure person who cannot shut his mind down for a night.
In just the last couple of weeks, we saw flashes of these symptoms, the irritability and inability to process things. After the lights briefly went down during a speech in South Carolina, Trump accused “the dishonest press” of being behind it. Then, when the lights came back on, he led his followers in a chant of “Turn off the lights.” It was bizarre.
After a protester interrupted his speech in Nevada, Trump said, “I’d like to punch him in the face.” The crowd roared. Trump continued. “You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” At an earlier event this year, he said a protester should be thrown into the cold without a coat.
Absent the minimum resting time needed to process things, Trump impulsively passes on what he’s heard without checking it. He retweeted completely bogus crime statistics about blacks. He also fanned the conspiracy wackos, who are legion among his followers, regarding the death of Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court. He questioned Senator Marco Rubio’s legal eligibility to be president. Pressed on the last claim, Trump shrugged.
“Honestly, I’ve never looked at it,” he said. “Somebody said he’s not, I retweeted it.” Regarding Scalia’s death, he gave a similar dodge for why he implied foul play: “I literally just heard it a little while ago.”
He stated as fact a much-debunked story about General John J. Pershing dipping bullets in pig’s blood to put down a Muslim insurrection in the Philippines. In all, PolitiFact has rated 77 percent of his statements as mostly false, false or pants-on-fire lies.
Here is a man who couldn’t see the Nigerian Internet money scheme for the fraud that it is, let alone sift through complex intelligence information in advance of a military strike.
Trumps [sic] forgets what he said, as in his earlier support of the Iraq war. “I really don’t know what I mean,” he explained. And he makes things up — remember those thousands of American Muslims cheering the collapse of the World Trade Center towers — to the point of hallucination, a possible side effect of extreme sleep deprivation.
“Clearly, your brain doesn’t work very well when you’re sleep deprived,” Dr. Steven Feinsilver, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine, told the website Live Science.
The media critic Jack Shafer says Trump is “everybody’s loopy uncle, constantly repeating and asserting the most spurious and sensational misinformation.” But the uncle is largely harmless, so long as he sits in the corner and babbles to himself. Imagine him as president, chronically sleep deprived, and you’ve got the probable 2016 Republican nominee. Ω
[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]
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