FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Nancy Pelosi’s Daring Diagnosis

Victor Lustig, who was born in Bohemia in 1890, was a child of unusual charm and imagination. He used these talents in unique ways during his life. Taking advantage of his mastery of several languages, he tricked the passengers of ocean liners steaming between Paris and New York City, making them believe that he had a money-making machine. He sold the machine at the exorbitant price of $30,000. Over 12 hours the machine would produce two $100 bills. As Lustig’s supply of those bills was limited, once they were finished, the machine ceased producing them. When the buyers realized what had happened, Lustig was long gone.

Lustig’s most remarkable feat, however, was still ahead. After reading in a newspaper an article that dealt with the problems the city of Paris was having in maintaining the Eiffel Tower, Lustig adopted the persona of a city’s high government official. In that capacity, he sent a group of six scrap metal dealers an invitation to discuss the possibility of selling the Eiffel Tower for scrap. One of the dealers bought the tower, and Lustig left for Vienna with a suitcase full of cash. The dealer was so humiliated that he decided not to complain to the police. Thus Lustig became one of history’s most notable impostors. Until now.

A few days ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi strongly criticized President Donald Trump’s totally wrong and inappropriate Twitter attack on a long-serving U.S. diplomat during the impeachment procedures. “He should not frivolously throw out insults. But that’s what he does. I think part of it is his own insecurity as an impostor. I think he knows full well that he’s in that office way over his head, and so he has to diminish everyone else,” said Pelosi referring to the President.

Perhaps without realizing it, Pelosi was referring to the “Impostor syndrome”, a psychological pattern of behavior in which individuals doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as “frauds”. This phenomenon was first described by Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Dr. Suzanne A. Imes in 1978. Individuals with this behavior often attribute their success to their believing that they are more intelligent than the rest of the people, a fact repeatedly expressed by the President in public or Twitter (his weapon of choice) pronouncements.

Researchers found that some people who experience this phenomenon suffer from low self-confidence. A way to overcome this is to diminish everyone else, often not even respecting diplomatic protocol. After Metten Frederiksen, the Danish prime minister, rejected a proposal floated by the Trump administration to purchase Greenland calling it “absurd” Trump called her “nasty”, his preferred insult for women in politics.

Trump is not shy about talking about his accomplishments, either real or perceived. Discussing the trade war with China he declared, “This is a trade war that should have taken place years ago…somebody had to do it. I am the Chosen One.” Some people speculated that he learned these words after reading “Ozymandias”, Percy Bysshe Shelley’s classic poem which contains the line: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings!”

Somebody not to be appeased by criticism, following his decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, Trump Twitted, “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off-limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over…”

Several mental health professionals have considered Trump’s grandiosity and disregard of facts as part of “narcissistic personality disorder” that drives the President’s behavior. This can be explained, to a certain extent, by his feelings of insecurity as an impostor. Until now, Victor Lustig was one of history’s best-known impostors. Now Lustig is taking second place. And Nancy Pelosi should take credit for this.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

July 14, 2020
Anthony DiMaggio
Canceling the Cancel Culture: Enriching Discourse or Dumbing it Down?
Patrick Cockburn
Boris Johnson Should not be Making New Global Enemies When His Country is in a Shambles
Frank Joyce
Lift From the Bottom? Yes.
Richard C. Gross
The Crackdown on Foreign Students
Steven Salaita
Should We Cancel “Cancel Culture”?
Paul Street
Sorry, the Chicago Blackhawks Need to Change Their Name and Logo
Jonathan Cook
‘Cancel Culture’ Letter is About Stifling Free Speech, Not Protecting It
John Feffer
The Global Rushmore of Autocrats
C. Douglas Lummis
Pillar of Sand in Okinawa
B. Nimri Aziz
Soft Power: Americans in Its Grip at Home Must Face the Mischief It Wields by BNimri Aziz July 11/2020
Cesar Chelala
What was lost when Ringling Bros. Left the Circus
Dan Bacher
California Regulators Approve 12 New Permits for Chevron to Frack in Kern County
George Wuerthner
Shrinking Wilderness in the Gallatin Range
Lawrence Davidson
Woodrow Wilson’s Racism: the Basis For His Support of Zionism
Binoy Kampmark
Mosques, Museums and Politics: the Fate of Hagia Sophia
Dean Baker
Propaganda on Government Action and Inequality from David Leonhardt
July 13, 2020
Gerald Sussman
The Russiagate Spectacle: Season 2?
Ishmael Reed
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Perry Mason Moment
Jack Rasmus
Why the 3rd Quarter US Economic ‘Rebound’ Will Falter
W. T. Whitney
Oil Comes First in Peru, Not Coronavirus Danger, Not Indigenous Rights
Ralph Nader
The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation
Raghav Kaushik – Arun Gupta
On Coronavirus and the Anti-Police-Brutality Uprising
Deborah James
Digital Trade Rules: a Disastrous New Constitution for the Global Economy Written by and for Big Tech
Howard Lisnoff
Remembering the Nuclear Freeze Movement and Its Futility
Sam Pizzigati
Will the Biden-Sanders Economic Task Force Rattle the Rich?
Allen Baker
Trump’s Stance on Foreign College Students Digs US Economic Hole Even Deeper
Binoy Kampmark
The Coronavirus Seal: Victoria’s Borders Close
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Power, Knowledge and Virtue
Weekend Edition
July 10, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Lynnette Grey Bull
Trump’s Postcard to America From the Shrine of Hypocrisy
Anthony DiMaggio
Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism
David Yearsley
Morricone: Maestro of Music and Image
Jeffrey St. Clair
“I Could Live With That”: How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade
Rob Urie
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice
Paul Street
Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama
Vijay Prashad
The U.S. and UK are a Wrecking Ball Crew Against the Pillars of Internationalism
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums
Richard C. Gross
Trump: Reopen Schools (or Else)
Chris Krupp
Public Lands Under Widespread Attack During Pandemic 
Alda Facio
What Coronavirus Teaches Us About Inequality, Discrimination and the Importance of Caring
Eve Ottenberg
Bounty Tales
Andrew Levine
Silver Linings Ahead?
John Kendall Hawkins
FrankenBob: The Self-Made Dylan
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Deutsche Bank Fined $150 Million for Enabling Jeffrey Epstein; Where’s the Fine Against JPMorgan Chase?
David Rosen
Inequality and the End of the American Dream
Louis Proyect
Harper’s and the Great Cancel Culture Panic
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail