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February 11, 2018

Feb 11, 2018 to

Feb. 1 - 10, 2018

Feb. 19, 2018
↓↓↓For today's opinion

Excerpt: Where does Donald Trump rank on the list of American presidents?
We surveyed presidential politics experts to sketch out a first draft of Trump’s place in presidential history.
Since our previous survey in 2014, some presidential legacies have soared (Barack Obama’s stock has climbed into the Top 10), while others have fallen (Andrew Jackson toppled to 15, out of the Top 10).
And President Trump? Let’s say that, according to the 170 members of the American Political Science Association’s Presidents and Executive Politics section who filled out our survey, he has at least three years to improve on an ignominious debut.
Trump, panicking, reveals the depths of his awfulness 
Not  a link
by WaPo conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin
EXCERPT and Video: Apparently set off by a sweeping indictment of 13 Russians and plea deal with one American, which revealed the extent of the Russian conspiracy to manipulate the election President Trump spent the week in a frenzy, blaming the FBI and Democrats for the shooting in Parkland, Fla., and suggesting that if the authorities lay off investigating him, then more children won’t die. 
He falsely denied he ever doubted that Russia meddled in the election. (“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer. The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia — it never did!”) Twitter users almost instantaneously responded with tweet in which he had done just that. The Post’s Glenn Kessler found a bunch of these tweets as well. 
Trump lashed out: “If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!” Actually, they succeeded and are laughing, very likely, because they helped elect an unhinged, erratic president who will not protect the United States against Russian meddling. The discord comes from Trump smearing the FBI and making up lies (e.g., accusing President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower).

Tony the Tiger is the perfect emblem for the sugar-frosted flakes who support Trump
by Hal Brown

I just saw an MSNBC report, Jacob Soboroff who is their LA-based correspondent I think it was (Let me know if you saw it).
He was interviewing people in the home district of Devin Nunes. He couldn't manage to find anyone who knew much about the Russia probe. Several women in their mid-20's said it was fake news. 
Nobody seemed to care about Russia. Most of them hadn’t much idea who Nunes is or what he’s been doing.  These are the intellectually incurious vacuous people who don't have a skeptical bone in their heads, also known as Trump's base. Then I got to thinking that these are the young adults raised in families where mom fed them Sugar Frosted Flakes because they were all that the kids would eat because Tony the Tiger said they were great.
My hunch is that they never learned critical thinking, not at home and not in school.
After all, what rational parent would believe that a sugary cereal was actually a healthy breakfast? I’ve often said that critical thinking teaching should begin in preschool and that the lessons would start off with the teacher using television commercials as examples. Such teaching theoretically could make up for kids having parents who believed that lottery tickets were an investment and that smoking Marlboros made you a real cowboy.
Not much of a story for Daily Kos here, at least not until I decided to do an image search for Tony the Tiger just to put on my blog. And there it was on the first page:

The term snowflake has a new definition thanks to the Republicans:
Those words fell out of use while snowflake settled into the lexicon with its hushed and lovely literal meaning. In recent times, though, the word has been causing a ruckus. It's developed a new and decidedly less pleasant use as a disparaging term for a person who is seen as overly sensitive and fragile. In the lead-up to the 2016 U.S. elections it was lobbed especially fiercely by those on the right side of the political spectrum at those on the left. And the snowball fight has continued since. Merriam-Websters
I propose another term to describe those who blindly support our reality television president:

Below: Jacob Soboroff interviews Trump and Nunes supporters who barely pay attention to the news, and think if it is against Trump it is fake news. They even told Soboroff that his station, MSNBC, was fake news.

Above with The California prosecutor Andrew Nanz who is running against Devon Nunes in 2018. He has a new campaign ad out using his ridiculous "secret memo" against him.
This is one of his billboards: 


Whatever Trump Is Hiding Is Hurting All of Us Now

I wrote about this yesterday, scroll down

What does this scene from Caddyshack have to do with Trump?

Feb. 1 - 10, 2018

Feb. 18, 2018

I had to look up who Judge Smails (above left) was in Caddyshack because of this reference in The New York Times: 

"Mr. Trump as a golfer is like the villain in a comedy movie about golf. For “Caddyshack” fans, Mr. Trump is like if Judge Smails had a baby with Rodney Dangerfield and the baby grew to be a man’s size and yelled its net worth from his yacht at unsuspecting dolphins."


From: Trump Makes Golf Look Bad

While Americans focus on Trump's recent Tweetstorm, Dan Coats tells allies to ignore his Tweets. Comments on Daily Kos 

by Hal Brown

As Trump Tweets make the news on two separate domestic fronts today, prompting teenagers in Parkland to  go in front of the cameras to address him directly, and digging himself into a deep hole he’ll never get out of once the whole truth comes out about his collision with Russia, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is telling our allies to ignore his Tweets. 
He is saying that the Twitter Trump is not the real Trump.


In the book “All I Ever Wanted to Know about Donald Trump I Learned From His Tweets” by Duty to Warn founder John Gartner, PhD, and Rachel Montgomery lay out why the Twitter Trump is the real Trump.
To make sense of his aberrant behavior, you need to understand, specifically, what is psychologically wrong with Donald Trump. His diagnosis is the Rosetta Stone to cracking the Trump Twitter code, revealing its underlying structure, and unfortunately, how much ­danger all the rest of us are in as a result. He is a malignant narcissist who is also on the bipolar spectrum. From a psychiatric perspective, the prognosis could not be more dire—for us.
Trump presents the most unfiltered view of a president we’ve ever seen because his Tweets are so representative of how he feels and what he thinks. As far as Trump is concerned, public perception be damned. As far as the world, why be concerned about how his Tweets are interpreted since foreign citizens can’ t vote in American elections.
Though Twitter Trump has put himself on the traditional psychoanalyst’s couch where the only instructions the analyst give to the patient is to free-associate, to say whatever comes into their mind.
He doesn't care about optics because he believes he is the optics (not that this makes sense, but then I'm writing about Trump). The president is a runaway train causing spokespersons to tear their hair out over how to best do damage control., to mix metaphors.
Today The Washington Post headline (illustration above) shows how U.S. Director of National Intelligence is trying to reassure our allies that they should assume a semblance of sanity in the president, basically saying that his Tweets are nothing more than a bad stand-up comic’ s act.
MUNICH — Amid global anxiety about President Trump’s approach to global affairs, U.S. officials had a message to a gathering of Europe’s foreign policy elite this weekend: pay no attention to the man tweeting behind the curtain.
U.S. lawmakers — both Democrats and Republicans — and top national security officials in the Trump administration offered the same advice publicly and privately, often clashing with Trump’s Twitter stream: the United States remains staunchly committed to its European allies, is furious with the Kremlin about election interference and isn’t contemplating a preemptive strike on North Korea to halt its nuclear program.
But Trump himself engaged in a running counterpoint to the message, taking aim on social media at his own national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, because he “forgot” on Saturday to tell the Munich Security Conference that the results of the 2016 weren’t affected by Russian interference, a conclusion that is not supported by U.S. intelligence agencies. They say they will likely never be able to determine whether the Russian involvement swung the election toward Trump.
But we know that the Twitter Trump is the real Trump and I do believe that our allies think any differently.
Americans know Twitter Trump is the real Trump. They believe this, whether they are Trump supporters or not. So how is Dan Coats going to sell the contrary story to the world? 

Feb. 17, 2018

Getting Caption-y this week thanks to Trump - Three stories about Trump's disastrous week, 

Hal Brown, in Daily Kos

Above: If Trump was normal after this week — a five day week at that — he’d need a shoulder to cry on. I doubt that even when she’s not being embarrassed in the news, Melania provides this kind of emotional support to a man whose only emotion when things go bad is anger. I don’t even think he’s capable of self-pity. The man has no real self, no core of self-awareness  — but this is another unwritten story for my TRUMPOLOGY: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY AND ANALYSIS OF DONALD TRUMPseries of Kos pieces — about 50 so far.
Now the Parkland shooting has Trump talking about mental health so he doesn’t have to address gun control. Ironic, to say the least, coming from someone who might have benefitted from psychological intervention when he first was identified as having a problem controlling his anger — possibly when he was in the second grade —  in 'The Art of the Deal' he said that he punched out his second grade music teacher and gave him a black eye because he 'didn't think he knew anything about music.’

  • The Rob Porter debacle rages into a second week.
  • Less than 24 hours after the murder of 17 people at a Florida school, Trump takes to Twitter to offer his thoughts. "So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior,"
  • An inspector general's report shows that Veterans Administration head David Shulkin's chief of staff doctored an email and made a series of false statements   Read Article
Here’s my runner-up captioned-by-me picture -  the photo I made to illustrate my story “Tom Steyer's panel sounds the alarm. Another warning about Trump's dangerous mental state.” 

I may add to these, but last but not least so far, I had to include Fox News which has a memory so bad that collectively they couldn’t pass the simple mental status test Trump was given:

The Fox take on this centers around the fact that Rosenstein made it clear that the indictment didn’t include any Americans, and there is no allegation that the Russian conduct as charged influenced the outcome of the elect. Of course Fox News, unlike MSNBC and hopefully other cable stations, are not playing clips of Trump’s ranting and raving, and grimacing in his inimitable way of feigning outrage,  about the fake Russia story. Of course, the indictment proves Trump is a liar, and Rosenstein carefully parses his words so they only say what if and isn’t in THIS indictment. He doesn’t hint at what will be in the NEXT indictment. So, Fox News, luxuriate in your lies now because pretty soon they will come back and make chum out of your carcasses.
FROM FOX NEWS: And it indicates the investigation includes looking into whether Russia meddled in the run-up to the elections, following a string of charges relating to the actions of Trump associates.
However, the Justice Department made clear in its case that the indictment does not allege that any of the interference changed the outcome of the presidential race.
“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel probe, said at a Friday press conference.
Russia’s foreign minister dismissed the indictment on Saturday, calling it “just blabber.”
Asked about the indictments Saturday while at the same conference as McMaster, Sergey Lavrov replied: "I have no response. You can publish anything, and we see those indictments multiplying, the statements multiplying." He argued that U.S. officials also have said no country influenced the U.S. election results.
Lavrov added: "Until we see the facts, everything else is just blabber."  From Fox News McMaster: FBI indictments prove Russia meddled in US elections

I just want to add this for those who don’t read Time Magazine:

As is typical of the climate we’re in, Black Panther is already running into its share of trolls—including a Facebook group that sought, unsuccessfully, to flood the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes with negative ratings of the film. That Black Panther signifies a threat to some is unsurprising. A fictional African King with the technological war power to destroy you—or, worse, the wealth to buy your land—may not please someone who just wants to consume the latest Marvel chapter without deeper political consideration. Black Panther is emblematic of the most productive responses to bigotry: rather than going for hearts and minds of racists, it celebrates what those who choose to prohibit equal representation and rights are ignoring, willfully or not. They are missing out on the full possibility of the world and the very America they seek to make “great.” They cannot stop this representation of it. When considering the folks who preemptively hate Black Panther and seek to stop it from influencing American culture, I echo the response that the movie’s hero T’Challa is known to give when warned of those who seek to invade his home country: Let them try.
The Black Panther Party, the revolutionary organization founded in Oakland, Calif., a few months after T’Challa’s debut, was depicted in the media as a threatening and radical group with goals that differed dramatically from the more pacifist vision of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Lewis. Marvel even briefly changed the character’s name to Black Leopard because of the inevitable association with the Panthers, but soon reverted. For some viewers, “Black Panther” may have undeservedly sinister connotations, but the 2018 film reclaims the symbol to be celebrated by all as an avatar for change.
The urgency for change is partly what Carmichael was trying to express in the summer of ’66, and the powers that be needed to listen. It’s still true in 2018.

Feb. 16, 2018

My thought, as a compassionate concerned therapist, on Trump's worst week:
Not a link

Mueller plus Melania divorce: Russia and #METOO could bring down Trump presidency.

Click above to make comments on Daily Kos
ABOVE: Part of the note written by Playboy model Karen McDougal. "Trump and McDougal began an affair, which McDougal later memorialized in an eight-page, handwritten document provided to The New Yorker by John Crawford, a friend of McDougal’s. When I showed McDougal the document, she expressed surprise that I had obtained it but confirmed that the handwriting was her own." New Yorker The author, that's me, was a clinical social worker for over 40 years who counseled many couples in marriages where a spouse cheated, and many women whose husbands were unfaithful.
Can Trump survive a divorce? Could Melania bring help down a presidency?  There is such a thing as the final straw that breaks a president’s back, and if you want to believe in karma in this lifetime, there’s that too. The impact of #METOO can’t be overlooked. 
It is possible that what has kept Melania in this loveless marriage to an insensitive narcissistic husband is a prenuptial agreement that leaves her with "little" money if she divorces the president unless there is good cause. If she had a decent lawyer I assume there would be such a clause. Could two of his extramarital affairs going public be such a cause to dissolve the agreement?
This isn’t meant to be a treatise about why Melania might have stayed married to Trump for so long, there are many articles about this, for example, “Why Women Stay with Controlling Men.” There are a few reports that she was planning to leave him if he lost the election, and that she cried when he won. This is from Michael Wolff:

Melania Trump, who had been assured by her husband that he wouldn’t become president, could return to inconspicuously lunching. Losing would work out for everybody. Losing was winning.
Shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Night, when the unexpected trend — Trump might actually win — seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania was in tears — and not of joy.
Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) now feels free to go into detail about her sexual relationship with Trump because she thinks that Michael Cohen's admission he made a hush money payment to her negates her non-disclosure agreement.

Now Playboy model Karen McDougal is speaking out about her affair with a married Donald Trump even though she signed an agreement not to tell her story to anyone else besides the National Enquirer. (Daily Beast and The New Yorker)
The impact of #METOO can’t be overlooked:
McDougal fears that A.M.I. (owner of National Enquirer which bought her story be killed it) will retaliate for her public comments by seeking financial damages in a private arbitration process mandated by a clause of her contract. But she said that changes in her life and the emergence of the #MeToo moment had prompted her to speak. In January, 2017, McDougal had her breast implants removed, citing declining health that she believed to be connected to the implants. McDougal said that confronting illness, and embracing a cause she wanted to speak about, made her feel increasingly conflicted about the moral compromises of silence. “As I was sick and feeling like I was dying and bedridden, all I could do was pray to live. But now I pray to live right, and make right with the wrongs that I have done,” she told me. McDougal also cited the actions of women who have come forward in recent months to describe abuses by high-profile men. “Iknow it’s a different circumstance,” she said, “but I just think I feel braver.” McDougal told me that she hoped speaking out might convince others to wait before signing agreements like hers. “Every girl who speaks,” she said, “is paving the way for another.” New Yorker
We already know that Trump can get away having multiple credible accusations of sexual assault leveled against him. His supporters shrug these off, either not believing the women or giving him a free pass because he's their hero.
If Melania leaves him because she believes these accusations would the disbelievers stick with him?
Could a divorce for cheating in his marriage be the final straw for members of Congress still choosing to overlook all the impeachable Trump transgressions because they fear that this could lose them their seats in 2020? Polls suggest Trump supporters don’t care much about the growing evidence that Trump is a traitor (read veteran reporter James Risen’s “Is Trump a Traitor?”), and are giving him a Get Out of Jail Free card not only on that but on his history of sexual assault. But this can change. 
It may be unlikely. But it isn't impossible. Karma sometimes happens in this lifetime. If the final straw, the piece de resistance, the coup de gras finally putting down this disaster of a president comes from his mistreatment and abuse of women it would be immensely empowering to all abused women. 
Friday, Feb 16, 2018 · 9:24:02 AM PST · HalBrown

As Elura Nanos of Law & Crime explained, McDougal may have put herself in a potentially precarious legal situation by revealing her story:
Legally speaking, there’s good news and there’s bad news for Karen McDougal. The bad news is that her contract with AMI is probably enforceable, and she certainly breached it by talking to Ronan Farrow. There are a few arguments McDougal could raise, and while they aren’t likely to prevail, they’ll at least increase the cost of AMI’s litigation. She could argue that the contract wasn’t properly formed, because either she didn’t truly understand the nature of the agreement, or because she was pressured into signing the contract. Such arguments are likely losers – but it doesn’t hurt to try. McDougal could also argue that the scope of the contract is vague, and that “any married man” doesn’t necessarily include Donald Trump. That argument is a little better, but still won’t win, as there seems to be significant evidence that everyone involved knew protecting Trump was the purpose of this agreement.
There is good news, for the former Playmate, though. Breach of contract is not the same thing as commission of a tort. When one person harms another in tort (for example, by defaming, harassing, or assaulting that person), the sky can often be the limit with regard to damages. But with contract law, there’s far less possibility of a courtroom windfall. McDougal’s contract with AMI likely spelled out exactly what AMI’s damages would be if she breached in a “liquidated damages clause”. For all McDougal’s talk of moral epiphanies, it’s far more likely that she made a smart financial choice. If the story is worth more than the liquidated damages clause in the AMI contract, why notsell it?
Appearing on "Good Morning America" Friday, Farrow explained that more than just McDougal's legal status could be in jeopardy.
“This is the interesting and troubling dimension, George, these, you know, dirty stories about high-profile individuals would be used as leverage over those individuals,” Farrow told co-host George Stephanopoulos. “Obviously national security implications here when that happens to be the president.”
Friday, Feb 16, 2018 · 9:34:14 AM PST · HalBrown
This is getting a lot of coverage. Think of how Melania must feel if she realizes this. 

How must she feels when she sees the photos of the women her husband cheated on her with?
This is from Slate: 


Feb. 15, 2018
Unlike videos of people speaking at conferences, this video was professionally done in a studio. It is a fast moving 15 minutes if you want a refresher.
Another hard to find article:


White Supremacist Group Says Florida Shooting Suspect Attended Their Trainings

The leader of the Republic of Florida, a white nationalist militia, told reporters the suspect participated in the group’s drills.

In light of Trump’s response to the Parkland shooting I changed the image for my Daily Kos story:

Tom Steyer's panel sounds the alarm. Another warning about Trump's dangerous mental state. By Hal Brown Read comments on Daily Kos


Tom Steyer's "Need to Impeach" event held at the National Press Club on Feb. 12th has generated several online articles. It featured an introduction by Steyer, as well as comments by Rep. Jamie Raskin, as well as the founder of the Duty to Warn group of mental health professionals Dr. John Gartner, psychiatrist Steven Buser who explained how he evaluated nuclear personnel for the U.S. Air Force’s Nuclear Personal Reliability Program, psychologist and lecturer David Reis, and nuclear security specialist James Doyle an expert on the nuclear threat.

By coincidence, psychiatrist Bandy Lee, MD, MDiv  (Editor of the “Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” and organizer of the Yale Conference) also spoke to the Yale College Democrats on Wednesday questioning Trump’s mental health yesterday.

Everything helps to inform the public about Trump’s mental instability, though it seems that if anyone was open to concluding Trump was too mentally impaired to be president, they would have done so by now. Still, it is good to keep this in the public mind. 

I listen to Trump (while I write this) reading a speech where he fakes sincerity as he reads “deep and human meaningful connections” between people dealing with the tragedy in Florida. words written by someone who knows that the Trump has to pretend to feel empathy, I feel again that we must not normalize the decidedly not normal mental state of this president who may never have experienced empathy in his entire life.

It took Trump 24 hours to respond in front of the cameras about the shooting in Parkland. Here’s a man who Tweets in minutes in response to some perceived outrage or insult, often something he hears on Fox and Friends. There are times when the president has to TALK to the nation, not Tweet at the nation. 

 His first Tweet: “ My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.” Then he lectures us about mental health. Today he’s switched to railing against immigrants who aren’t worthy of his white America.


Feb. 14, 2018 

A Valentines Day Gift: 

Trump Can Fire Mueller, But Not a Grand Jury

The president can’t shut down the Russia investigation, even if he gets rid of the special counsel. By DAVID YASSKY and BENNETT L. GERSHMAN

Batshit Crazy News: Third White House official quits because he can't get permanent clearance. Why? He admitted to smoking marijuana in 2013. 
A former CIA analyst who also previously worked at the State Department and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Banks emerged last year as the administration’s lead policy expert on the Paris climate change agreement, and he played a key behind-the-scenes role in the months-long internal debate over whether to remain in the pact. 
A former Obama administration official who worked on personnel and vetting issues said the Obama White House usually only denied clearances when there was both past drug use and a lack of full disclosure.
Breaking News about the abuser-in-chief: A manager for the adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels told The Associated Press today that Daniels believes Trump’s lawyer invalidated a non-disclosure agreement by publicly discussing the payment. The actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, will discuss her alleged 20006 extramarital affair with Trump.

Russia might kill the Internet in order to censor a #TrumpRussia video

"Naked Russian women SUPPORT sex pest producer Harvey Weinstein in bizarre demonstration. The sickening scene was filmed near the US embassy in Moscow." One of the performers in this event also participated in an intervention at Navalsky's campaign headquarters and was also the author of a book describing deal-making between an oligarch and a deputy prime minister. 
Champagne wishes and caviar dreams… 
The Russians may try to kill the internet itself (at least within Russia) to stop a YouTube/Instagram video. 
Yachts, oligarchs, girls: the huntress for men
 exposes the bribe taker - Almost 5,000,000 YouTube
 views. Pinned comment: Friends. Without you,
 we will not break the information blockade. And
 I really want to see as many people as possible
 on this investigation. Therefore, please: do not be lazy,
 be sure to scatter links in social networks, forums,
 comments. Show your relatives (well, if it's convenient
 for grandmother to show it). Thanks in
 advance to everyone who will help.
And also write down observers for the
 elections by this link.
Fortunately the Web doesn’t drink polonium tea, and as the WH tells us, there’s no Russian-Trump collusion; it’s a hoax, don’t you know. 
However, this story has been percolating for many months and while its emphasis has been in Russian domestic politics, a new video has taken its #TrumpRussia association to become a social media threat against the Putin regime.  CONTINUED
I know Russians read this blog, so this is for them, at least for those who aren’t in their intelligence agencies.

…. I got the idea for my story, also on Daily Kos, today  watching Velshi and Ruhle onMSNBC this morning. I usually agree with them. This time I didn’t. Neither did their two guests.


The fish rots from the head down. Velshi and Ruhle get it wrong, Alcindor and Kristol are right. By Hal Brown Comments on Daily Kos 

Scroll Down ↓↓↓↓


When it came to cops shooting unarmed blacks, those racist atrocities which led to the Black Lives Matter movement, Trump attacked it by saying he believes all lives matter. (Read: 'All lives matter' is and always was racist – and this weekend's Trump rally proved it ” )
Fast forward to this week when he refused to say that the lives of women victimized by Rob Porter mattered, and instead said that the lives of the accused mattered. 
This is a week where we find that he believes people on food stamps are buying lobster and wants to send them boxes of cheese instead and that waiters living on their tips should give their employers a cut (read Trump’s Tip-Polling Plan).
The demonstrable fact is that Trump believes that the only lives that matter are those of rich white men. Sexual, physical, and emotional abuser get a free pass from the abuser-in-chief, and most likely admiration. The abuse-in-chief is also the enabler-in-chief, and his top henchmen (and a few henchwomen) know how to please him.
It would be hypocritical for Trump to fire Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House counsel Dan McGahn,  or somewhat less culpable Communications Director Hope Hicks (read Why the Hell is Hope Hicks Getting Off Easy?). 

On Velshi and Ruhle, on MSNBC, Stephanie Ruhle said several times that it is all on Gen. Kelly and Ali Velshi seemed to agree. I usually agree with them. This time I didn’t. I wasn’t alone.
Then Bill Kristol came on and said what I have been thinking: the finger should be pointed where it belongs, that is, on Trump. Yamiche Alcindor then said the same thing even more strongly.
Stephanie for some reason seems to think the fault is with the underlings. 
Ali Velshi ended saying that Kristol and Alcindor gave him something to think about.
The focus is now on John Kelly. However, this is all about Donald Trump. The fish rots from the head down.

Feb. 13, 2018 - Below: Netanyahu in legal trouble, Omarosa offers sex to Piers Morgan, Morning Joe and Trump evangelical, Vox story on White House lunacy, Daily Beast on Trump lawyer's possible book.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing in both cases. In a Facebook video published last week in response to news of the impending recommendation, the prime minister maintained his innocence and said the investigations would turn up “nothing.” 
“Many of you are asking, what will happen? So I want to reassure you: There will be nothing, because I know the truth,” he said, according to a translation of his address. “I’m sure that at the end of the day the qualified legal factors will come to one conclusion, the simple truth: There is nothing.”  
In a follow-up statement, also posted to Facebook last week, the prime minister criticized the investigation and claimed “a great shadow” had been “imposed tonight on police investigations in the matter of Prime Minister Netanyahu.” 
“Any fair-minded person will ask themselves how people who say such delusional things about the prime minister can investigate him objectively and make recommendations in his case without bias,” he wrote.

"I’ve met a lot of vile human beings in my life, from dictators and terrorists to sex abusers and wicked conmen. But I’ve never met anyone quite so relentlessly loathsome as Omarosa; a vicious, duplicitous, lying, conniving, backstabbing piece of work," Morgan wrote.

Afternoon thoughts:

 The more we learn about the Trump sell-out to Russia the more the word traitor fits. I watched the open hearings today with the heads of our intelligence agencies. They have to know this. I can't imagine what they are thinking about working for this traitor. 

This doesn't even have much or anything to do with their knowing he is psychiatrically unbalanced. If they are doing their job they have top mental health professionals - perhaps some we know of and probably others they have on the payroll - explaining the dangerous case of the president.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be on TV for the presser in a few minutes. I keep hoping a reporter will ask her whether Trump considers Putin a friend (or to put it politely) an adversary. I don't expect them to use the word enemy. They should. Putin allied with Trump is far more an enemy of our democracy than Kim Jung Un.

Article: Christian author crashes and burns after Morning Joe challenges him to show evidence of Trump’s ‘spiritual voyage’

Video below:

Trump’s Lawyer Michael Cohen Is Shopping a Book About the First Family, Stormy Daniels, and Russia

Michael Cohen is promising publishers a book that truly ‘understands’ the president and will explore the ‘complexities and nuances of the Trump family.’

Maybe Cohen is right, and all those of us who think Trump is a dangerous impulsive malignant narcissist are wrong, and Trump is as sane as Hitler was:
The proposal claims Trump Revolution will describe the “complexities and nuances of the Trump family” with chapters on first lady Melania Trump and the Trump children. Cohen also explains away Trump’s erratic tendencies, saying the president is just a wily strategist who pretends to be crazy to create “an incredibly effective smoke machine,” fooling even formerly close allies like ousted White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. 
“There truly is a method to his madness, to quote that old saw, and people who think otherwise can quickly get buried,” Cohen said. “Steve Bannon comes to mind, but there are plenty of others who are now six-feet under due to this basic miscalculation. I’ll also be talking about this in some detail.”

Feb. 12, 2018
Afternoon Update:

A Reckoning with Women Awaits Trump The New Yorker


Recently, fans of “Celebrity Big Brother” witnessed Omarosa Manigault-Newman, the unforgettably forgettable former White House aide in charge of nothing at all, tearfully confessing her global despair. “It’s not going to be O.K.,” she said.

No kidding. Sooner or later, Trump’s satraps and lieutenants, present and former, come to betray a vivid sense of just how imperilled and imperilling this Presidency is. In their sotto-voce remarks to the White House press, these aides seem to compete in their synonyms for the President’s modesty of intelligence (“moron,” “idiot,” “fool”); his colossal narcissism; his lack of human empathy. They admit to reporters how little he studies the basics of domestic policy and national security; how partial he is to autocrats like himself; how indifferent he is to allies. They are shocked, they proclaim, absolutely shocked. In the past few days, it has been Trump’s misogyny, his heedless attitude toward women and issues of harassment and abuse, that has shocked them most. And those who know him best recognize the political consequences ahead.

Last month, the journalist Joshua Green watched the Golden Globes ceremony on television with Steve Bannon, a Trump ideologist and self-described nationalist “revolutionary.” Green’s book on Bannon, “Devil’s Bargain,” was among the best on the 2016 campaign, and now Green was in search of material for a preface to his forthcoming paperback edition. He got it. As the two men watched the awards show—the women dressed in black to commemorate the #MeToo movement and the downfall of the likes of Harvey Weinstein; Oprah Winfrey winning such sustained applause for her speech (“Their time is up!”) that she was soon fielding questions about a Presidential run—Bannon could not fail to see it in terms of Trump’s political future.

“It’s a Cromwell moment!” Bannon said. “It’s even more powerful than populism. It’s deeper. It’s primal. It’s elemental. The long black dresses and all that—this is the Puritans. It’s anti-patriarchy.”

My Daily Kos story this morning. Includes hour long video of this incredibly moving ceremony ↓

Not a link

Feb. 11, 2018
A rare self-aware insight from Donald Trump. He knows he's a narcissist and thinks it's a good thing.
By Hal Brown

"In fun-house mirrors of Trump White House, disarray can look like victory" in today’s Washington Post has too many quotes to choose from to decide which is the best to excerpt. He writes that Trump operates from two major positions: always double or triple down when attacked and make sure you are always the center of attention. Senior editor Marc Fisher found a quote from a Trump book which I hadn't seen before. It is unusual in that it shows a self-aware, emotionally intelligent, side of Trump.  Scroll down left. ↓↓↓↓↓ 

Scroll down
Actually, he didn't flicker. But he might as well have.

Here’s the quote in context:
Another chief executive might look at the political landscape and feel the walls closing in — a New York Times report that U.S. spies paid a Russian last year for material including unverified compromising material on Trump, or the resignation Friday of the No. 3 official in the Justice Department, the woman who would be in charge of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election if the president gets rid of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.
Not Trump. He simply does what he’s always done — whatever it takes to claim center stage.
As he said in his book “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire,” visionary business leaders succeed “because they are narcissists who devote their talent with unrelenting focus to achieving their dreams, even if it’s sometimes at the expense of those around them.”  ↓S↓C↓R↓O↓L↓L↓

In early January, Joy-Ann Reid invited Pastor Mark Burns to be a guest on her MSNBC show to discuss disparaging comments that President Trump had made about Haitian and African immigrants. The pastor, a defender of Mr. Trump, refused to acknowledge a vulgarity the president had applied to those countries, as confirmed by two senators. Mr. Burns interrupted Ms. Reid when she spoke and talked over her when she tried to argue. Not one to brook insults from a guest, Ms. Reid called for a “time out” and told Pastor Burns he was wasting her time.
You’re wasting my time,” he replied.
“Oh, well, then, if I’m wasting your time,” she said, “then goodbye.”
The interview abruptly ended.
Duty to Warn therapists like me have long warned that Trump is a malignant narcissist, that he's a man with no empathy, a bully, and that he's and too impulsive to trust with the nuclear button. We also assumed that he has no self-awareness.  Perhaps he has some, not that that this is reassuring considering that Hitler probably showed a lot of self-awareness in Mein Kampf.
Tamara Taylor,  a business behavior specialist, calls this emotional intelligence, and writes:
 Adolf Hitler had a very high level of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence definition: "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically" (although, I think they mean empathically). 
It does not include ethics, morals, compassion, sympathy, or any form of altruistic behavior as a standard definition. 
He had a very low level of compassion and sympathy coupled with an incredibly misguided, twisted and corrupt sense of judgement, ethics, entitlement, self-importance, etc.... Emotional intelligence is, in fact, used by  many highly successful sociopaths and narcissists. 
As most things, in the hands of the corrupt, it will be used for self-gain.  From Quora
In the hands of the corrupt, it will be used for self-gain, indeed!
Here’s more:
Trump has acknowledged that his willingness to prioritize his success and well-being over that of other people close to him is a feature of his leadership style.
In his 2005 book, "Think Like a Billionaire," Trump compared himself to wealthy business executives such as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Turner Broadcasting founder Ted Turner, whom he characterized as "successful in part because they are narcissists who devote their talent with unrelenting focus to achieving their dreams, ev
en if it's sometimes at the expense of those around them."
To make the comparison, Trump drew on the work of psychoanalyst Michael Maccoby, who wrote the book "The Productive Narcissist."
In an interview Thursday, Maccoby said that Trump's focus on one-way loyalty is common in politics, but it is 
also common among the narcissistic personalities that Trump identified in "Think Like a Billionaire."  From Analysis: Sessions learns loyalty can be a one-way street with Trump — Chicago Tribune
Even more:
All three of those presidents (Clinton, Obama, Trump), to one degree or another, openly carried burdens from their parents’ lives. Trump admitted to no such troubles. He had never been very forthcoming about the texture of his home life. His father, he would admit, was sometimes distant — “His life was business . . . a very content person” — but ultimately a loving, strong figure. Trump had reduced his story of his mother, even more of a mystery to outsiders, to less than a sentence: “very warm . . . great sense of pageantry . . . very beautiful.” Donald Trump had walled off the pain in his past, hid it behind a never-ending show about himself.
The rest of the desk was devoted to Donald, the stacks of magazines featuring his image, the morning’s news clippings about himself. Yet in an office dedicated almost entirely to celebrating Trump’s success and performance, nothing spoke to the man’s private passions or predilections, nothing to indicate a hobby, an artistic interest, a literary bent, a statement about his credo, his crises, or his dreams.
In one of his books, “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire,” he had asserted that visionary business leaders succeed “because they are narcissists who devote their talent with unrelenting focus to achieving their dreams, even if it’s sometimes at the expense of those around them.” He approvingly quoted a writer who said, “Successful alpha personalities display a single-minded determination to impose their vision on the world.”  from 
And even more: (emphasis added)
Perhaps the clearest and most revealing statement of how Trump thinks of himself is in Think Like a Billionaire, the book Trump wrote to cash in on his renewed fame after the opening seasons of The Apprentice. In the introduction, Trump explains, “I’ve studied fellow billionaires from afar, and I’ve also read what others have written about us.”
Trump explains that one “student of successful entrepreneurs,” Michael Maccoby, “believes that billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and Ted Turner are successful in part because they are narcissists who devote their talent with unrelenting focus to achieving their dreams, even if it’s sometimes at the expense of those around them” (emphasis added). Trump notes that “Maccoby’s book The Productive Narcissist makes a convincing argument that narcissism can be useful quality if you’re trying to start a business.”
Let’s set aside the historical fact that after six bankruptcies and more than 4,000 lawsuits in the past three decades, Trump is much more of a “destructive narcissist.” The point is, Trump has rationalized his narcissism, and he’s fine with achieving his vision and dreams at the expense of those around him.
Indeed, Trump idealizes the most extreme form of single-minded determination to impose one’s vision. He quotes the author of The Natural History of the Rich: “Almost all successful alpha personalities display a single-minded determination to impose their vision on the world, an irrational belief in unreasonable goals, bordering at times on lunacy.”  Think Progress, 

Only by focusing on the one thing Trump really cares about—Trump.

Feb. 1 - 10, 2018