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Trump Isn't Crazy, He's Just a Terrible Person: Leading Psychiatrist

January 21, 2018 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

The president is more “bad than mad,” according to the man who wrote the book on personality disorders.


In an age when the current White House occupant has inspired unprecedented levels of armchair psychiatry, Allen Frances remains one of the foremost authorities in the field. As the chair of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) IV Task Force, he helped draft the criteria defining narcissistic personality disorder and other mental illnesses. He previously served as the chairman of the psychiatry department at Duke University School of Medicine and founded the Journal of Personality Disorders and the Journal of Psychiatric Practice. In other words, Frances knows his personality disorders.

This insight has come in handy as breathless speculation about Donald Trump’s mental state reaches fever pitch. The president’s belligerence, bellicosity and bad behavior have inspired mental health clinicians to break the Goldwater Rule—which deems diagnosis from afar unethical—and even to call for its elimination. Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee has briefed Congress on Trump’s “unraveling” and edited a book in which 27 other psychiatrists offer similar psychiatric takes. Nearly 70,000 mental health professionals have signed a petition alleging “Trump is mentally ill and must be removed.” As far back as 2015, psychologist George Simon told Vanity Fair that he had “archive[d] video clips of Trump to use in workshops because there’s no better example” of narcissistic personality disorder.

Dr. Frances, in a letter to the New York Times that got a lot a lot of attention, fervently disagreed.

Frances’s description of Trump as a man who is mentally fit but morally bankrupt deserves some turning over, in part because it doesn’t let the president off the hook. If Trump is mentally competent, that means he is responsible for the havoc he wreaks, the pain he causes and the hatred he stokes. There has to be an ultimate political reckoning for those behaviors—hopefully, one that ends with Trump not just being removed from office, but held accountable for alleged crimes and betrayals.

But what deserves further scrutiny is the discrepancy between how Frances describes Trump—whom he rightly …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Does ‘Fire and Fury’ Passage About Nikki Haley Imply She and Trump Are Having an Affair?

January 21, 2018 in Blogs

By David Ferguson, Raw Story

Author Michael Wolff said the clues are in his book.


On Friday night, author Michael Wolff set tongues wagging and pages turning by implying to “Real Time” host Bill Maher that President Donald Trump is having an affair and that the clues are in his book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

Slate.com pointed to a paragraph in Fire and Fury that reads, “By October, however, many of the president’s staff took particular notice of one of the few remaining Trump opportunists: Nikki Haley, the UN ambassador. Haley — ‘as ambitious as Lucifer,’ in the characterization of one member of the senior staff — had concluded that Trump’s tenure would last, at best, a single term, and that she, with the requisite submission, could be his heir apparent.”

However, it’s the next paragraph that would appear to be more damning.

“The president has been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a national political future,” Wolff said. “Haley, who was much more of a traditional Republican, one with a pronounced moderate streak — a type increasingly known as a Jarvanka Republican — was, evident to many, being mentored in Trumpian ways. The danger here, offered one senior Trumper, ‘is that she is so much smarter than him.'”

Haley was accused of having an adulterous relationship with political blogger Will Folks in 2007 prior to assuming the office of governor.

Folks published salacious details of the alleged affair on his blog, but later backtracked and took down the blog posts.

Haley has denied the affair.

 

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Facebook’s News Feed Changes Could Elevate Fake News While Harming Legitimate News Outlets

January 21, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Kaplan, Media Matters

A new algorithm could boost the spread of conservative misinformation.


This article originally appeared on New changes announced by Facebook to elevate content on its users’ news feed that is shared by friends and family over that shared by news publishers could wind up exacerbating Facebook’s fake news problem.

Over the past year, Facebook has struggled to combat the spread of fake news and misinformation on its platform. On January 11, the social media giant announced that it would change the algorithm of its news feed so that it would “prioritize what [users’] friends and family share and comment on,” according to The New York Times. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was named Media Matters’ 2017 Misinformer of the Year, told the Times that the shift was “intended to maximize the amount of content with ‘meaningful interaction’ that people consume on Facebook.” Additionally, content from news publishers and brands will be given less exposure on the news feed. Facebook is also weighing including some kind of authority component to its news feed algorithm so outlets that are considered more credible will get more prominence in the news feed.

In the past year or so, Facebook has attempted to employ some measures in its effort to fight fake news, including its third party fact-checking initiative. Though these efforts have thus far been far from effective, the new changes threaten to undercut the measures even more.

At least one study has shown that Facebook users are influenced by their friends and family members’ actions and reactions on the site. Last year, New York magazine reported on a study that found that “people who see an article from a trusted sharer, but one written by an unknown media source, have much more trust in the information than people who see the same article from a reputable media source shared by a person they do not trust.” With Facebook’s new changes, as the Times noted, “If a relative or friend posts a link with an inaccurate news article that is widely commented on, that post will be prominently displayed.”

An additional point …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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A Worker-Owned Cooperative Is Revitalizing Jackson, Mississippi

January 20, 2018 in Blogs

By Paul Sliker, Dante Dallavalle, and Mike Palmier, Democracy at Work

A dynamic yet under-documented experiment in radical social transformation taking place in the United States.


Left Out, a podcast produced by Paul Sliker, Michael Palmieri, and Dante Dallavalle, creates in-depth conversations with the most interesting political thinkers, heterodox economists, and organizers on the Left.

In this episode, we sat down with Kali Akuno — the co-founder and co-directer of Cooperation Jackson. We discuss the emerging network of worker-owned cooperatives and the people behind it building an alternative, solidarity-based economy inside the majority-black and impoverished city of Jackson, Mississippi.

In Jackson Rising, Akuno helps chronicle the history, present and future of one of the most dynamic yet under-documented experiments in radical social transformation taking place in the United States. The book follows the surprising story of the city’s newly elected Mayor, Choke Antara Lumumba, whose vision is to “encourage the development of cooperative businesses” and make Jackson the “most radical city on the planet.”

In the first part of the interview, we ask Akuno about the ongoing organizing and institution building of the black, working-class political forces concentrated in Jackson dedicated to advancing the “Jackson-Kush Plan.”

We then diver deeper into the different types of worker-owned cooperatives that makeup Cooperation Jackson; the importance of developing cooperatives with clear political aims; and the need for a nationwide network of cooperatives and solidarity economic institutions as a viable alternative to the exploitative nature of our current economic, social, and environmental relations.

Cooperation Jackson is one of the most important stories for those of us struggling for social justice, for human emancipation and self-determination, and for a solidarity economics as a base for working class political struggle and the fight against the systematic economic strangulation.

Pick up a copy of Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi

***  Please donate to Left Out on Patreon to receive exclusive content and access to engaging with our future guests. We depend on your support to keep this show alive: https://www.patreon.com/leftout  ***

 

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Trump Is Determined to Provoke War to Draw Focus from Racist and Erratic Behavior

January 20, 2018 in Blogs

By Amy Goodman, Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy Now!

Every wannabe dictator needs an emergency to cement his power.


The New York Times reports that the Pentagon is proposing widening the permissible use of nuclear weapons to include responding to cyberattacks and other non-nuclear attacks to U.S. infrastructure. The Pentagon has already outlined this expanded nuclear strategy in a draft document sent to President Trump for approval. It comes amid a series of moves by the Pentagon and President Trump that have escalated the threat of nuclear war. The Wall Street Journal reports the Pentagon is planning to develop two new sea-based nuclear weapons. The New York Times also reports the Pentagon is conducting a series of war games to prepare for a potential war with North Korea. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston, who has been covering Donald Trump for nearly 30 years. His latest book is just out, titled “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.”

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Uninformed. That was the word White House Chief of Staff John Kelly used to describe his boss, President Trump, on Thursday. According to The Washington Post, Kelly told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that some of Trump’s hardline immigration policies, including his call to build a wall along the entire southern border, were “uninformed.” Kelly said, quote, “Certain things are said during the campaign that are uninformed.” During the same meeting, Kelly reportedly said, quote, “The president is committed to a permanent solution to DACA,” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

But the president has struck a different tone. On Twitter this morning [January 18], Trump wrote, quote, “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it.” In an interview with Reuters, Trump also criticized a proposed bipartisan deal on immigration and border security as, quote, “horrible” and, quote, “very, very weak.” This comes as the government could shut down on Friday if a funding deal cannot be reached.

AMY GOODMAN: The possible government shutdown comes as President Trump is …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump Is Determined to Provoke War to Draw Focus from Racist & Erratic Behavior

January 20, 2018 in Blogs

By Amy Goodman, Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy Now!

Every wannabe dictator needs an emergency to cement their power, and Trump is determined to create his own.


The New York Times reports that the Pentagon is proposing widening the permissible use of nuclear weapons to include responding to cyberattacks and other non-nuclear attacks to U.S. infrastructure. The Pentagon has already outlined this expanded nuclear strategy in a draft document sent to President Trump for approval. It comes amid a series of moves by the Pentagon and President Trump that have escalated the threat of nuclear war. The Wall Street Journal reports the Pentagon is planning to develop two new sea-based nuclear weapons. The New York Times also reports the Pentagon is conducting a series of war games to prepare for a potential war with North Korea. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston, who has been covering Donald Trump for nearly 30 years. His latest book is just out, titled “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.”

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Uninformed. That was the word White House Chief of Staff John Kelly used to describe his boss, President Trump, on Thursday. According to The Washington Post, Kelly told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that some of Trump’s hardline immigration policies, including his call to build a wall along the entire southern border, were “uninformed.” Kelly said, quote, “Certain things are said during the campaign that are uninformed.” During the same meeting, Kelly reportedly said, quote, “The president is committed to a permanent solution to DACA,” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

But the president has struck a different tone. On Twitter this morning [January 18], Trump wrote, quote, “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it.” In an interview with Reuters, Trump also criticized a proposed bipartisan deal on immigration and border security as, quote, “horrible” and, quote, “very, very weak.” This comes as the government could shut down on Friday if a funding deal cannot be …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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What Can Be Done About the Attention Economy's Dark Side? Powerhouse Commission Ponders Reeling In Facebook and Google Before It's Too Late

January 20, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Big Tech's algorithms have turned billions of device users into addicts whose every whim is tracked and baited.


Everywhere you look, high tech is in somebody’s bullseye. Take Apple. On the inside, top investors are worried about its products’ effects on children. On the outside, liberal activists are grousing about its offshore billions it can now bring home under GOP tax reform. Even usually anti-regulation conservatives at the National Review are asking why Big Tech isn’t regulated like Big Oil or Big Tobacco.

These examples, all recently in the news, confirm the trend but skim the surface. New national polling has found public opinion is shifting from a warm embrace to growing skepticism. It’s not just the way so-called fake news on social media had a role in recent elections in the U.S. and led to congressional inquiries. And it's not just calls for federal anti-trust actions aimed at the most popular information curators, Facebook and Google.

Beyond these dots that attest to a backlash is understanding what’s really going on below the screens and in the minds of Facebook’s 2 billion users and Google-owned YouTube’s 1.5 billion users. There is a new phrase describing this sphere of human activity, the technology behind it and its effects. What’s being called the attention economy is coming under new scrutiny because it's seen as undermining the journalism profession as well as trust in public institutions and democracy.

“We come here in friendship,” said Anthony Marx, president of the New York Public Library, co-chair of the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy, at Stanford University this week. The panel was created last fall to try to fix the attention economy’s biggest problems, which also include the way Google search and Facebook have demoted the visibility of independent media, under the guise of fighting fake news.

Marx’s comments elicited nervous laughter, because he had just presided over a panel that laid out in vivid and disturbing detail how Silicon Valley’s best minds have created brain-tracking, brain-mimicking and brain-triggering computational formulas. These algorithms have turned billions of digital device users into …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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A Dating App’s List of ‘Most Eligible Singles’ in America Looks Like a List of White People

January 20, 2018 in Blogs

By Liz Posner, AlterNet

This doesn't resemble the America we know.


For the past few years, Business Insider has partnered with popular dating app Hinge to publish a list of the “Most Eligible Singles“ in major American cities. Sounds fun, right? But take a good look at this year’s list. You’ll notice a stunning lack of racial and ethnic diversity that seems to ignore the reality of the populations in the cities where these eligible singles live.

Take the New York list as an example. Hinge’s 10 most eligible singles in the city look like this:

Credit: Business Insider/Hinge

Seriously, Hinge? In a city where only 33 percent of residents are white, at least 26 percent are Hispanic, 26 percent are black and 13 percent are Asian, you’d think the list would include a bit more diversity. The list plainly doesn’t reflect the diversity of New York in terms of skin color and background.

There’s limited diversity in sexuality in this list as well. On the New York list, only one person says they’re interested in dating people of the same sex. Not a single person on the roster for San Francisco, a cultural mecca for the LGBTQ community, says they’re interested in a same-sex match.

A full scan of the “Most Eligible” lists for other American cities such as Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago, show similar diversity rates: there appear to be no more than one to three non-white people in each list of 10. The list for Atlanta, known to be a beacon of black cultural and political power where only one of the four metro area counties remains majority-white, includes not a single African American.

Credit: Business Insider/Hinge

It’s unclear whether Hinge assembled this list though curation or user-generated data. According to Business Insider spokesperson Mario Ruiz, “the source of the list is Hinge, which compiles its list based on the data they have about their users. Business Insider made no editorial decision about who should make the list. That …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Second Women's March Draws Huge Anti-Trump Crowds as the Government Shuts Down

January 20, 2018 in Blogs

By April M. Short, AlterNet

Women take to the streets again, empowered by #MeToo and fed up over immigration.


It’s exactly a year since the historic 2017 Women’s March, which brought millions out in protest of Trump’s inauguration, flooding the world’s streets with pink knitted hats. Thousands have taken to the streets again this weekend, empowered by the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and fed up with Trump’s increasingly authoritarian and anti-immigrant policies, war-mongering and tantrum-centric presidency for the Women’s March 2018.

This year’s march arrives just one day after Trump’s attempt to block Planned Parenthood funding, and amid a dramatic government shutdown centering on immigration. The shutdown comes as Democrats and several Republicans refused to accept the border and deportation policies proposed by the Trump administration and GOP in the federal funding bill. It marks the first successful government shutdown under a single party controlled congress, and has become a big theme of the second Women’s March.


From Twitter:

 

 

Hundreds of Women’s March anniversary events are already underway or kicking off this weekend in every U.S. state. You can look up an event in your state and watch a live feed of today’s events on the Women’s March website.

The central organized 2018 Women's March event is a “Power to the Polls,” demonstration in Las Vegas on Sunday, which is focused on mobilizing national voter registration for the upcoming midterm election, which could reshape U.S. politics.

In Chicago, the turnout for the second Women’s March march had already exceeded last year’s numbers by …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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AlterNet’s 'Real News' Media Awards That Expose Trump as the Horrible Person He Is

January 19, 2018 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

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Here and there, the news does its job.


Donald Trump’s assault on the free press, and thus the First Amendment, reached its anti-climax with his 2017 Fake News Awards on Wednesday. For a man who launched his political career with the racist birther lie, and who had at last count told over 2,000 lies in his first year as president, it was supposed to be yet another chance to bathe in pettiness and vengeance. Instead, the website crashed for an hour and then revealed a bunch of stories the accused media outlets had already corrected. Because that’s how the profession of journalism necessarily works.

Trump’s dumb, propagandistic grandstanding is meant to undermine and discredit an institution that, in the absence of any other obvious checks on his power right now, is desperately needed. In recognition of that fact, it seems worthwhile to hand out another set of awards to the press, in honor of things done right.

Here are the winners of AlterNet’s Real News Media Awards, which expose Donald Trump as the horrible person and terrible leader he is.

1. Forbes: Trump Redirected Charity Money for Sick Kids to His Own Pockets

In late 2016, the Daily Beast reported the “Eric Trump Foundation [paid] hundreds of thousands over the last 10 years to host lavish fundraising events at Donald Trump’s golf courses.” A few months later, Forbes waded even further into the deep end and found that the Trump Organization had collected more than $1.2 million from a handful of charities, including Eric Trump’s. The analysis also uncovered that the Donald J. Trump Organization—which has a recorded history of shady dealings—”used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.” What’s more, people who donated to the Eric Trump Foundation expecting those funds …read more

Source: ALTERNET