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Member since: Mon Dec 5, 2016, 05:05 PM
Number of posts: 3,504

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Excerpt from The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump

This is from the chapter by John D. Gartner, "Donald Trump is: a) Bad b) Mad c) All of the Above":

"...Trump is a profoundly evil man exhibiting malignant narcissism. His worsening hypomania is making him increasingly more irrational, grandiose, paranoid, aggressive, irritable, and impulsive. Trump is bad, mad, and getting worse. He evinces the most destructive and dangerous collection of psychiatric symptoms possible for a leader. The worse-case scenario is now our reality.

"...It's a catastrophe that might have been avoided if we in the mental health community had told the public the truth, instead of allowing ourselves to be gagged by the Goldwater rule...History will not be kind to a profession that aided the rise of an American Hitler through its silence."

Another of the authors points out that the Goldwater rule prohibits psychiatrists from talking about Trump's mental health without having had him as a patient; but if he were a patient, they couldn't talk about his mental health either, because of patient confidentiality.

Posted by cyclonefence | Fri Oct 6, 2017, 10:28 PM (2 replies)

Paul Ryan's solution to gun violence: mental health

from http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/the-problem-paul-ryans-focus-mental-health-and-guns:

By Steve Benen

Following every high-profile mass shooting, much of the public naturally turns to policymakers to ask what, if anything, they’re prepared to do to help save lives. Yesterday, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had an answer in mind.

In the wake of one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, which happened in Las Vegas Sunday, House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked what Congress could do to prevent these tragedies in the future. Ryan answered with what Congress has already done.

“One of the things we have learned from these things, we have learned from these shootings, is often a diagnosis of mental illness,” Ryan told reporters at his weekly press conference Tuesday.

The Wisconsin congressman went on to talk about various mental-health reforms lawmakers have pursued in recent years, which he’s supported.

And at first blush, this may have sounded like a sensible response to the question. If we assume at the outset that Ryan will never consider measures to limit access to firearms, focusing on helping those with mental illness at least appears to be a constructive approach to the situation.

The trouble, however, comes when we look a little closer at the details. We could start, for example, by noting that the House Speaker has pushed for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits, which includes mental-health treatments. We could also note that Ryan has pushed aggressively for deep cuts to Medicaid, which provides mental health treatments to many low-income Americans. If the Republican leader is serious about this piece of the puzzle, he should probably reconsider some of his budget priorities.

But let’s put that aside and focus on the bill Ryan helped pass in February that expanded gun access to the mentally impaired.

As regular readers may recall, when an American suffers from a severe mental illness, to the point that he or she receives disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, there are a variety of limits created to help protect that person and his or her interests. These folks cannot, for example, go to a bank to cash a check on their own.

The Social Security Administration reports the names of those who receive disability benefits due to severe mental illness to the FBI’s background-check system – and one of the House Republicans’ first priorities for this Congress was passing a measure to undo that reporting. With overwhelming GOP support, this passed and received Donald Trump’s signature.

To be sure, there’s nothing to suggest the Las Vegas gunman took advantage of this policy. Indeed, we have very little information about the shooter’s motivation or the state of his mental health.

The point, however, is that Ryan’s argument is disjointed: asked about a brutal mass murder, the House Speaker turns his attention to mental health just eight months after he advanced a measure to make it easier for the mentally impaired to buy firearms.

He’s going to need some better talking points.
Posted by cyclonefence | Wed Oct 4, 2017, 04:06 PM (8 replies)

Family farms and the estate tax more recent article

The Myth That the Estate Tax Threatens Small Farms

This is from Chloe Cho of the CBPP:

The Myth That the Estate Tax Threatens Small Farms: Ahead of tomorrow’s (this was posted in April 2017) House Agriculture Committee hearing on tax reform, a group of agricultural trade associations have called for repealing the estate tax on inherited wealth, arguing that “all too often at the time of death, farming and ranching families are forced to sell off land, farm equipment, parts of the operation or take out loans” due to the tax. Their arguments miss the mark. Only 50 small farm and small business estates in the entire country will pay any estate tax in 2017 (see chart), and they’ll owe less than 6 percent of their value in tax, on average, the Tax Policy Center estimates.

...Moreover, most farmers and business owners with estates large enough to owe the tax have sufficient liquid assets ... to pay the tax without having to touch other assets or liquidate their farm and business, a 2005 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study found. Today’s estate tax rules are even more generous than those CBO assumed. ...

While doing next to nothing for family farms, repeal would provide a windfall to the wealthiest 0.2 percent of estates — the only ones large enough to pay the tax. A repeal proposal recently reintroduced in the Senate would provide the 0.2 percent of wealthiest estates with an average tax cut of more than $3 million in 2017. Roughly 330 estates worth more than $50 million would get more than $20 million apiece in tax cuts, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates. The proposal would also cost $269 billion over the decade, expanding deficits and adding to pressure for cuts in federal programs.

Posted by Mark Thoma on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 01:28 PM in Economics, Politics, Taxes | Permalink Comments (25)


Family farms and the estate tax

But as to the actual number of family farms hit by the estate tax, only 20 farms in 2013 paid estate taxes and no farms have been reported sold to pay off an estate tax debt.

“It’s more accurate to blame lack of financial planning and a lack of interest or ability on the part of future generations to understand what it means to run a business, be it manufacturing or farming,” said Slugg.


We've found a great series on Netflix

"Rake"--an Australian 4-season series about a lawyer who is, well, a rake. There are mysteries, absorbing plots, lots of sex, plus it's funny as hell. I really love it.

We found it after watching "Dr. Blake", another Australian series, about a crime-solving physician, which isn't nearly as good as Rake.

Our next $1000 dinner is coming up in a couple of weeks

This time we're having my husband's tennis buddies and their wives. There will be 12 of us, so we'll put the 4X8 plywood extension up next to the dining room table--we can seat 14 easily, 16 if we have to--and covered with white tablecloths, it'll look like one big banquet table.

I always go apeshit over flowers--three big arrangements down the middle of the table, with a couple of smaller ones here and there. We have two old silverplate candelabra, five arms each, two big glass ones, and lots of individual sticks, so the table will be well-lit.

We started giving these dinners after we read the book The Thousand Dollar Dinner (http://www.beckyldiamond.com/the-thousand-dollar-dinner.html). We have loads of inherited dinnerware, silver and glasses that are never used, and we thought it would be fun to trot it all out. We've given probably a dozen of these dinners for from six to fourteen over the past two years, including one at which the author of the book and her husband were honored guests.

Here is the menu I'm working on as of now--it's subject to change right up to the last minute. One of our guests has celiac disease, so a lot of our go-to dishes are off the table.

We'll start with drinks in the living room, until everybody arrives. With drinks we're going to offer a great big pile of shrimp with cocktail sauce, piled over ice in a big bowl. There's a huge coffee table, and we'll put the shrimp and sauce in the middle, with little plates and cocktail napkins. Also some cheeses and a basket of rice crackers.

At the table, my husband is going to make sushi--California rolls and his own invention of lox and cream cheese rolls (delicious), and we'll have sake with that.

Next, the soup. Red Velvet Soup, my current fave. It's basically carrot and beet soup and is velvety and red. Voila. Really good.

Since we had shrimp already, and since one of our guests does not eat fish, we'll skip the fish course.

Next will be a light chicken parm (Cooks Illustrated) over cellophane noodles with zucchini and summer squash ribbons sauteed in butter.

The big heavy entree is going to be dry-rubbed baby back ribs my husband will have been cooking for at least four hours on the grill. With that we'll have grilled portobello mushrooms and grilled vegetables.

Salad will be a repeat for this group, mostly because one of the old guys liked it so much the first time. I make a chopped salad, again from Cooks Illustrated, that has romaine, cucumber, red pepper, pear, cranberries, pistachios and blue cheese in a very light vinaigrette.

Then store-bought lemon sorbet. We made our own sorbet a couple of times, and it wasn't worth the effort.

Dessert is my favorite course to make. I'm going to make a lemon mousse with raspberry sauce and a chocolate swirl crustless cheese pie. I'm also going to investigate some kind of cooked fruit--pears Helene, maybe, or maybe just half a baked apple. I like to serve three desserts--and everybody always takes one of each!

Fruit and nuts--probably pineapple and strawberries, with fancy mixed nuts. Although one time I served only enormous cashews, and they totally disappeared, so maybe it'll be cashews this time, too.


Savoy Truffle--I'm a Beatles fan, and I looked and found a recipe for savoy truffle online. Also the explanation that the song is about Eric Clapton's sweet tooth, listing all the chocolates he would eat from a box of mixed chocs. Savoy truffle is really easy to make.

We start at 4:30 (because we are all old; we are 70 and the youngest in the group. The oldest is 94) and end somewhere around 10. It's a whole lot of fun and really no pressure at all because we do this only with people we are good friends with, so that if something were to go horribly wrong, we'd all just laugh and move on to the next course.

It takes me about three days of cooking--I do as much as I can ahead of time--and close to a week to clean it all up.

Who would be a Republican having to vote on this health-care bill?

What a bind they're in, the craven slimeballs. On the one hand, campaign promises, Trump, major donors who want a tax break. On the other, the majority of their constituents, who don't want this bill passed. On the first hand, don't renege on campaign promises, or you won't be re-elected; on the second, voting against your constituents' wishes won't get you re-elected, either, plus Trump is so unpopular that his support is unlikely to be helpful to you. So the question is, which is more important? Getting major bucks from wealthy donors who want an end to ACA, or serving the people you were elected to serve--and who have the power to refuse to re-elect you, no matter how much money you have.

I pray to glob that this bill goes nowhere. I am enjoying contemplating the pain these creeps must be experiencing right now, and if the bill passes, my joy will come to naught.

Do you get to keep campaign contributions if you don't get elected? If so, that must offer them some comfort.

Abuser of girls "gifted" by their ex-Amish parents sentenced to prison

Lee Kaplan spent at least eight years sexually assaulting six underage sisters, starting with the oldest and taking each of them in succession as his “wives.”

For that, a Bucks County judge ruled Wednesday, Kaplan will spend 30 to 87 years in prison. <snip>

Beyond working in machinery and construction, Kaplan had studied aerospace engineering at Pennsylvania State University. He’d been a math and science tutor. And he’d spent “most of his life” working with children and college-aged people, including as a youth minister.

Kaplan was convicted in June on 17 counts of child sexual assault for abusing the six oldest daughters of Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus, a formerly Amish couple from Quarryville, Lancaster County. The incidents began in 2008, according to trial testimony, and continued until June 2016, when a neighbor’s tip to the state child-abuse hotline led child-welfare workers and police to knock on Kaplan’s door. <snip>

Kaplan had taken all six girls as his “wives,” teaching them that it was a wife’s duty to have sexual relations with her husband. He had two children by the oldest daughter, now 19, who first gave birth at 14. <snip>

The Stoltzfuses, who have 14 children in total and allowed all 10 of their daughters except one to move in with Kaplan, were both sentenced to up to seven years in prison in July for child endangerment. Daniel Stoltzfus, 44, pleaded no contest. His wife, Savilla, 43, pleaded guilty and testified at Kaplan’s trial after also persuading her children, who had at first denied that Kaplan had sex with them, to tell authorities about their life in Kaplan’s home. The couple met Kaplan in 2002, and he aided them over the years as they left their Amish community, faced financial troubles, and lost their home. <snip>

When officials showed up at Kaplan’s home in June 2016, the windows were covered or nailed shut, the rooms sparsely furnished — Kaplan had the only bed — and the house filled with food and supplies. Kaplan and the Stoltzfus girls grew crops, raised catfish and bees, ran Kaplan’s model-train business — and never needed to leave the home. And Kaplan regularly brought the girls into his bedroom, in turns, and told them not to tell anyone.

The girls did not have any toiletries in the home and did not know how to wash their hair. They had been extensively educated by Kaplan, their mother, and with books and the internet; they all know how to play musical instruments.

Although they testified about the abuse, the girls also said at the trial they loved Kaplan and had been happy in his home.


Keeping creatures out of a raised bed garden

I have a big (16 x 4) raised-bed (I mean *really* raised--it's about 3 feet tall) garden in my back yard, and every year by this time it has been overrun with weeds and unharvested green beans, and the reason is that the fence made it too hard for me to get into the dirt. We have a lot of wildlife--deer and groundhogs, especially--and we felt we needed a fence to protect our plants.

The fence we had was made of posts hung with sections of metal open-net wire fencing; it was in sections for easier removal and replacement.

This year I told my dear husband that I just couldn't work with a fence any more, and I wanted to see what would happen if we left the fence off. We grow a lot of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, herbs of various kinds, and flowers.

After the plants were established, I noticed that one pepper plant had been nibbled on. Otherwise, I was delighted with the no-fence garden. I was able to stay on top of it, and it was beautiful.

I went online for non-fence tips to keep animals out of the garden and found one that suggested shredding highly aromatic soap, like Irish Spring, onto the ground around your plants. The strong odor, it said, would repel animals. Problem was, you'd have to keep re-applying it, and I generally water my garden daily.

At Lowes I saw a shelf of really ugly citronella (mosquito-repelling) plants. They're actually scented geraniums, I think, but they are strongly scented. I bought six of them and planted them up and down the center of my garden, and guess what? I've had *no* animal depredations since!

I also have had very little--almost no--insect ravaging, either, and this bothers me a little because I notice there aren't any butterflies visiting the garden. But there are plenty of butterflies elsewhere in my yard, so I guess it's OK.

We are totally organic, using only our own home-made compost on the bed.

Anyhow, I thought I'd share this in the hope it might help someone else.

Community subscription to NYT and WaPo?

I don't want to buy an individual subscription to the Washington Post and the New York Times, both of which have paywalls and both of which carry stories referred to at DU every day.

I want to be able to read the articles posters mention here. Posters are generally good about posting the gist of the story when they refer to an article from one of these papers, not just posting the link, but I often am left wanting to know more. I am assuming most people here, like me, do not have online subscriptions.

I wonder if we could all chip in somehow and buy DU a subscription to WaPo and NYT? We could share the passwords and thus be able to participate better in discussions that arise from stuff printed in these papers.

Maybe it could be a benefit of the star membership, or maybe a "star-plus" membership?

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