Avenatti, Hillary, and Trump: thoughts about character and sociopaths

Avenatti and Clinton are self-serving criminals, while Trump is just a boaster and brawler — and he uses those traits constitutionally to serve America.

AvenattiI don’t know about you, but I’m finding completely fascinating the lengthening laundry list of malfeasance associated with Michael Avenatti. It turns out he’s not just a garden-variety crooked attorney with a gift for self-promotion who padded his bills or missed filing deadlines, only to lie about these things later. Instead, assuming the allegations against him to be true, Avenatti is a criminal of epic proportions. He embezzled millions of dollars from clients, one of whom was brain-damaged, in order to fund his other businesses enterprises as well as his high-end, race car-driving lifestyle.

Speaking only for myself, If I ever started engaging in crime, even minor crime, my instinct would be to keep a low profile. My crime motto, if I had one, would be “If you’re going to speed, do it in a boring car, not in a bright red sports car.” Thankfully, I am not criminally inclined, so this is not an issue.

Avenatti, however, who is apparently a true criminal, went in an entirely different direction. He did everything he could to make himself visible. Even more importantly for purposes of this post, he made himself visible at the national level by sitting in judgment — moral judgment — on the President of the United States. He spent months on Leftist TV speaking endlessly about what a corrupt person President Trump is. Then, when that fame started diminishing, Avenatti ratcheted up the fame factor again by thrusting himself into the heart of the baseless attack on Justice Kavanaugh.

To go back to my car metaphor, Avenatti wasn’t just speeding in a red sports car. He was speeding and running red lights, all while driving a red car with the top down, playing rap music at full blast on the top-end sound system, boasting a flag on the antenna reading “Hey, look at me” and, below that, another flag saying, “No, really, look at me!”

If I had to guess, I would say Avenatti is a sociopath. Or perhaps I should say he has an “antisocial personality disorder” (ASP), which is the modern DSM-5 classification for those people whom we once called sociopaths and/or psychopaths. I’m a little soured on the DSM, which seems more concerned with politics than clinical accuracy, but this laundry list of signs that someone has an ASP is remarkably accurate in describing not only Avenatti’s crimes, but his lust for fame, a lust entirely at odds with someone who actually wants to get away with criminal activity:

  • Violation of the physical or emotional rights of others
  • Lack of stability in job and home life
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Lack of remorse
  • Consistent irresponsibility
  • Recklessness, impulsivity
  • Deceitfulness
  • A childhood diagnosis (or symptoms consistent with) conduct disorder

Except for the last item in the list, about which we have no information, Avenatti ticks off all the other items. Nor is this a case of trying to massage a vaguely dishonest or insensitive person into the laundry list, even if that person really doesn’t belong there. Avenatti fits like a well-oiled key in a custom-made lock: His blatant attacks on others; his divorces and refusal to pay child care; his aggression; his manifest lack of remorse for his crimes (were he remorseful, he might be more low key); his carelessness with his clients and, indeed, with his own welfare as a criminal; the recklessness that drove him to the spotlight; and his blatant dishonesty — it’s all there.

Before I go further, let me say that, just because I’m a lay person willing to give Avenatti a diagnosis, doesn’t mean I’m going to go the next step and say something like, “Poor guy. He’s mentally ill. He can’t help himself. He deserves a pass.” Avenatti is a very competent man to have gone as far as he did with his corrupt behavior. He knew objectively that what he was doing was wrong because the law went directly opposite him. Even lacking a normal conscience, he understood that he was violating both the law and societal norms. He has therefore earned every bit of punishment that comes his way, and I hope he gets it good and hard. But back to my main point….

Should the transgender crowd every fully get its way and lead us into co-ed prisons, I do feel that Hillary ought to get the cell next to Avenatti’s. Even if we put aside the accusations against her from the 1990s on the ground that they were politically motivated hatchet jobs, there’s still no way around the fact that between 2008 and 2012 she grossly violated national security by conducting her business as Secretary of State over a home-brewed server. She then lied about it, spoliated evidence, and destroyed government documents. Her malfeasance is breathtaking. She’s right up there in the front seat of that over-the-top red car Avenatti is driving.

But what really shows that Hillary is every bit as sociopathic or personality disordered as Avenatti is the fact that, just today, after America had learned with absolute finality that Trump had nothing whatsoever to do with the Russians during his run for the White House, Hillary argued that Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday argued that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report showed President Donald Trump would’ve been indicted for obstruction of justice if not for the fact he’s president and protected by Justice Department guidelines.

“I think there’s enough there that any other person who had engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted. But because of the rule in the Justice Department that you can’t indict a sitting president, the whole matter of obstruction was very directly sent to the Congress,” Clinton said at the Time 100 summit in New York City.

Obstruction, Hillary? Do you really want to go there. I know I said I wouldn’t rehash her wrongdoing in the 1990s, but it is worth mentioning a couple of incontrovertible facts. For example, there’s the fact that Hillary deliberately hid her billing records from the Rose Law Firm. And there’s the fact that for Bill’s entire political life, she was out there, front and center, squashing Bill’s endless “bimbo eruptions,” including the rape accusation Juanita Broaddrick brought against him. I also mentioned above, didn’t I, her whole “hiding her server, erasing her hard drive, deleting her emails” activities. And please, don’t even get me started on the lies she told about Benghazi, where four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador, were brutally slaughtered.

Just like Avenatti, not only is Hillary a criminal, she’s a moralizing criminal who presumes to sit in judgment on those who have done nothing wrong or, at the very least, have committed inconsequential wrongdoing compared to Hillary’s grotesque legal and moral sins. There’s that recklessness and sense of superiority that marks the sociopath or disordered personality. Not only do they feel above the law, they feel above everyone and everything. Ordinary laws apply only to the little people and these sociopaths are big, big, BIG — at least in their own mirrors. Indeed, that disordered and undeserved sense of bigness often propels them quite far into fame and fortune before their misdeeds finally catch up with them.

People like Avenatti and Hillary are very frightening because they have no brakes. Moreover, they don’t even have the decency to hide in the dark corners with the other rats. Instead, they sit there brazenly, their throne propped up by ill-gotten gains, and presume to sit in judgment on others.

So where does Trump fit in all this? Trump is certainly a larger than life person, but is he a criminal? Is he a sociopath?

Leftists love to point to all of his endless factual misstatements, but I honestly don’t believe he’s the same kind of liar Avenatti and Hillary are. As I’ve often said, Trump is a “puffer.”

In advertising, puffery allows you to make claims that every sensible person recognizes as boasting, indeed, sometimes humorous boasting. “Ours is the softest toilet paper ever.” “You’ll think you’re drinking a fresh peach with our fruit juice.” “Ours will be the best economy ever!” Only pedants or humorless scolds would take this type of thing seriously. (Speaking of which, less than year ago, the Times was still claiming that, when Trump on the stump said “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he wasn’t jokingly referring to the fact that, owing to Hillary’s national security violations, Russia already had every bit of her correspondence, but was, instead openly colluding with Russia.)

If you’re opposed to or incapable of understanding puffery then yes, Trump lies. If you don’t mind exaggeration, he’s good. Salena Zito nailed it perfectly when she wrote about Trump’s often cavalier approach to data, such as unemployment statistics or inauguration attendees: “When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

The way I see it is that Trump exaggerates inconsequential details (although he seldom veers too far from the gist of things), but he never lies about core, consequential matters. By contrast, Hillary and Avenatti routinely tell huge, fraudulent, consequential lies that change people’s lives for the worse. Obama’s in that same class. Unlike Trump, he may have recited statistics accurately, but it was Obama who repeatedly promised the American people that their doctors and hospitals wouldn’t change — something of incredible importance to Americans — and not only was this wrong, it was a deliberate lie intended to sell the people on a deal they wouldn’t otherwise buy.

We have a family friend, someone I’ve known since I was three. She is the most delightful conversationalist because in her world everything is larger than life. The handsome man is “a God;” the luxury resort is “like a palace, you wouldn’t believe;” the former boyfriend “has turned into a fat old man. He’s so fat he’d take up three seats in an airplane;” and on and on. Everything is dramatic. Everything is exciting. And everything is taken with a grain of salt at the margins. What I know with certainty after talking with this lovely lady is that the man is handsome, the resort is great, and that the old boyfriend has filled out. Believe me, though, that I’m not disappointed, nor do I feel betrayed, when I learn that there is no Adonis, there is no palace, and there is no Jabba the Hutt.

Trump has never lied about the consequential stuff. Indeed, unlike every candidate in my lifetime, he’s kept his campaign promises. We all expect presidential candidates to lie about those things, but Trump didn’t. Some things didn’t happen as he promised (such as ending Obamacare) but that wasn’t for want of trying on his part. Instead, members of his own party blocked him.

And then there’s the whole obstruction thing, the thing for which Hillary, one of the most felonious people in American political history, had the temerity to rise in judgment against Trump. A few points as to that, all of which you’ve seen elsewhere, so I won’t belabor them too much:

It’s very hard to get excited about Trump doing anything to block an investigation that he knew at all times with absolute certainty was undertaken in bad faith. Even if Mueller went in thinking there might be something wrong, he would have learned within months that Trump was innocent of wrongdoing vis-a-vis the Russians. Continuing the investigations for two years could only have been meant to stymie Trump’s presidency, destroy the people in his orbit and, through that destruction, warn other people away from working with the Trump administration.

What I’m trying to say is that, from Trump’s perspective, this wasn’t just a case in which there was a known crime, but he was wrongly fingered as a suspect. If you’re wondering, that scenario was what happened with Richard Jewell, whom Mueller practically hounded into the grave with a wrongful investigation related to the bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta.

When Mueller’s investigation began, there was no known crime. Instead, this was a Lavrentiy “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” Beria investigation, in which Trump was the target and Mueller was trying to find a crime to attach to him. Even assuming Trump was obstructionist, obstructing an investigation that violates the 4th Amendment doesn’t get my dander up.

Another thing to keep in mind, again consistent with the American judicial system, is that Mueller, when talking about obstruction, essentially said, “Trump hasn’t really satisfied me as to his innocence.” But that’s not how our judicial system works. It’s Mueller’s job first to have a crime, and then to finger the perpetrator. It’s not Trump’s job to prove he was innocent of a non-crime and then prove again that he was innocent of not cooperating 100% with investigating a witch hunt against him.

I have no problem with the fact that Trump refused to be interviewed in person. Even after Mueller must have known there was no collusion, he was determined to destroy people with process crimes, bizarre imprisonments, and over-the-top night time arrests. Especially for someone like Trump, who’s not tight on details, a live interview with Mueller would have seen him sent to Club Fed for the rest of his life for lying about what he had for breakfast on June 15, 2016.

I’m also unimpressed with the Don McGahn testimony. I don’t care that Trump asked if he could fire Mueller. It was a perfectly reasonable question for a White House lawyer given that Trump knew at all times that he was innocent. I don’t care that he tried to bully McGahn into firing Mueller, because pushy clients do that all the time with their lawyers until the lawyers give them a super firm no. I don’t even care that Trump said, “Hey, don’t tell anyone about this conversation” — First off, McGahn ignored that direction and freely talked about the conversation; second, the conversation was meaningless because Trump didn’t act upon it. And of course, who knows whether Trump was joking when he made that request and who knows whether McGahn retrofitted his memory or his notes given that he must have noticed that Mueller systematically destroyed anyone who didn’t feed something to his investigation.

Finally, I refuse to accept that Twitter outbursts unaccompanied by action constitute obstruction.

I’m perfectly willing to admit that Trump probably has some sort of personality disorder. He is an odd man with his peculiar look, his verbal twitches, his puffery, and his Twitter outbursts, which I find both effective and amusing but will agree are not necessarily presidential. He’s a brawler and a manipulator. He lived a debauched lifestyle before settling down in the last few years. All that’s true.

But since Trump entered the White House, he’s been a model president in constitutional terms. Everything he’s achieved, he’s achieved within constitutional parameters. That’s a lot more than can be said for Obama, with his illegal Kyoto Accords and Iran Agreements.

Larger than life people are often difficult and sometimes crazy. But I’ll take Trump’s pro-American, constitutional craziness any day over Avenatti’s and Hillary’s selfish, amoral, immoral, and criminal sociopathy, especially when their particular brand of crazy is overlaid with self-righteous, completely unfounded moralizing about President Trump and others whom these sociopaths have targeted.

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